Dakota Datebook

Torkel Njaa’s German Shepherds

by Merry Helm

March 13, 2019 — Torkel Njaa was born during this week in 1870 in Thime, Norway.

He pioneered in Griggs County with a farm in the Sheyenne Valley southeast of Cooperstown.

Njaa was well known for his experimentation with cerea1 grains and livestock, and some of finest horses and cattle in the county came from Torkel’s farm.

In 1914, Njaa wanted a good watchdog and decided try importing a German shepherd.

He was impressed, imported several more, and started breeding them for sale.

The quality of his dogs gained widespread attention, selling in all parts of the country, including Hawaii, and also the Philippines.

Torkal’s canine industry reached its peak in about 1924, but the popularity of German Shepherds continued to grow and ended up becoming a nationwide fad.

Reagan Speech

by Lane Sunwall

March 14, 2019 — On this date in 1983, President Ronald Reagan spoke before members of federal law enforcement agencies at a memorial service in Washington, D.C. to remember agents who had fallen in the line of duty over the past year.

Among the thirteen remembered on that cold March day were U.S. Marshal Kenneth Muir and Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Cheshire, Jr.; both killed during the tragic standoff at Medina, ND, one month earlier.

In remembering the fallen, President Reagan left the audience with these words,

“It’s wisely said that nothing worth having comes cheaply or easily.

And the price of a free nation is sometimes counted in the dearest currency: human life.

These … men, all the best of professionals, were dedicated Americans.

They gave their lives in a continuing battle to preserve the domestic peace and to make America safe from those who would prey on the innocent.”

“Dakota Datebook” is a radio series from Prairie Public in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota and with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council. See all the Dakota Datebooks at prairiepublic.org, or subscribe to the “Dakota Datebook” podcast.

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