From the private collection: first newspaper in North Dakota…

February 5, 2009 by · 3 Comments 

The FRONTIER SCOUT is considered to be the very first newspaper printed in what is now North Dakota. In 1864 two soldiers named Robert Winegar and Ira Goodwin issued at Fort Union a newspaper with this title, but only FOUR numbers were published at Fort Union. The Frontier Scout appeared again with a dateline of “Fort Rice, D.T.” in June of 1865 with Capt. E.G. Adams as the editor and Lieut. C.H. Champney as publisher. It is not know to have continued after 1865.

The first successful newspaper didn’t appear in North Dakota until the TRIBUNE of Bismarck began in 1873, to be followed  less than a year later by the EXPRESS in Fargo.

We are pleased to share with our collectors our issue of the FRONTIER SCOUT dated Sept. 7, 1865, the volume 1, number 13 issue. This newspaper measures just 8 by 12 1/2 inches and curiously is printed on blue-lined ledger paper. Such “necessity” paper was not uncommon in remote areas where regular newsprint was unavailable or very difficult to secure. Since it was published by military men much of the content has a military theme (see photos), although there is an eclectic mix of poetry, “local items” and literary items as well. Much of the back page is taken up with an excellent account of an expedition to “Devil’s Lake” in the Dakota Territory.

The newspaper claimed to be a weekly with a subscription price of $3.00 per year. If memory serves me correctly I believe this issue is the only one I’ve encountered in 33 years of collecting newspapers.