Trails to the Past

North Dakota

Admitted to the Union

November 2, 1889




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Trails to the Past of North Dakota is excepting any donations of genealogy materials that you may have such as marriage announcements, news articles, old obituaries, births, (you do not need the birth certificate) just the information, and biographies.  If you have any of these items please contact me Marie Miller the North Dakota State Administrator.

 For those that are interested this site is listed on Facebook under North Dakota Trails to the Past. It is a group that you can join.

History Of North Dakota

Much of present-day North Dakota was included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Much of acquired land was organized into Minnesota and Nebraska Territories. Dakota Territory, making up present-day North and South Dakota, along with parts of present-day Wyoming and Montana, was organized on March 2, 1861. Dakota Territory was settled sparsely until the late 1800s, when the railroads entered the region and aggressively marketed the land. A bill for statehood for North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington titled the Enabling Act of 1889 was passed on February 22, 1889 during the administration of Grover Cleveland. After Cleveland left office, it was left to his successor, Benjamin Harrison, to sign proclamations formally admitting North and South Dakota to the Union on November 2, 1889.The rivalry between the two new states presented a dilemma of which was to be admitted first. Harrison directed Secretary of State James G. Blaine to shuffle the papers and obscure from him which he was signing first and the actual order went unrecorded. However, since North Dakota alphabetically appears before South Dakota, its proclamation was published first in the Statutes At Large. Since that day, it has become common to list the Dakotas alphabetically and thus North Dakota is usually listed as the 39th state. It is believed that nobody recorded which paper was signed first, thus nobody can actually know which of the Dakotas was admitted first.  Bismarck is the state Capitol of North Dakota.

A round of federal construction projects began in the 1950s including the Garrison Dam, and the Minot and Grand Forks Air Force bases. There was a boom in oil exploration in western North Dakota in the 1980s, as rising petroleum prices made development profitable. The original North Dakota State Capitol burned to the ground on December 28, 1930, and was replaced by a limestone faced art deco skyscraper that still stands today.

State Governors

North Dakota Veterans


State News Items

 For those that are interested this site is listed on Facebook under North Dakota Trails to the Past. It is a group that you can join.

Counties County Seat

Date Formed

Adams Hettinger


Barnes Valley City


Benson Minnewauken 1883
Billings Medora 1879
Bottineau Bottineau 1873
Bowman Bowman 1883
Burke Bowbells 1910
Burleigh Bismarck 1873
Cass Fargo 1873
Cavalier Langdon 1873
Dickey Ellendale 1881
Divide Crosby 1910
Dunn Manning 1883
Eddy New Rockford 1885
Emmons Linton 1879


Carrington 1873
Golden Valley Beach 1912
Grand Forks Grand Forks 1873
Grant Carson 1916
Griggs Cooperstown 1881
Hettinger Mott 1883
Kidder Steele 1873
LaMoure LaMoure 1873
Logan Napoleon 1873
McHenry Towner 1873
McIntosh Ashley 1883
McKenzie Watford 1905
McLean Washburn 1883
Mercer Stanton 1875
Morton Mandan 1873
Montrail Stanley 1873
Nelson Lakota 1883
Oliver Center 1885
Pembina Cavalier 1867
Pierce Rugby 1887
Ramsey Devils Lake 1873
Ransom Lisbon 1873
Renville Mohall 1873
Richland Wahpeton 1873
Rolette Rolla 1873
Sargent Forman 1883
Sheridan McCluskey 1873


Amidon 1915
Souix Fort Yates 1915
Stark Dickinson 1879
Steele Finley 1883
Stutsman Jamestown 1873
Towner Cando 1883
Traill Hillsboro 1875
Walsh Grafton 1881
Ward Minot 1888
Wells Fessenden 1873
Williams Williston 1890



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