Sunday, April 05, 2009

Profile: Frank A. Wardwell

A native of Maine, born December 23, 1843, of American parentage, the career of Frank A. Wardwell of Pembina, has been an eventful one, and his reminiscences of adventures on land and sea, would make a chapter of interesting reading both for young and old.

After an academic and normal school education, he went to sea, at the age of seventeen, and was before the mast for seven years. Then he served three years in the United States Navy, and when he came ashore, bade farewell to the Atlantic coast, and cast his lot with the adventurous pioneers to whom the Red River Valley gave promise of an inland empire of inexhaustible resources and destined to become the home of a vast population whose prosperity and progress would challenge the admiration of the world.

This image of the first school house in
ND was located in Pembina -  (1876)
Photo Courtesy of:
State Historical Society of North Dakota
In June 1872 he came to the land of the Dakotas and took a homestead at Hawley. He remained there five years and braved all the hardships that fall In the lot of the pioneer whose faith in the future is often stronger than his strength to endure them. He went to Pembina to teach school being the first teacher in the first public school building erected in this state. This school house was built in Pembina in 1875. He has always made Pembina his home, for the past thirty-one years he has been the editor of the Pembina Pioneer Express, which was established in 1879. "Deacon Wardwell," as he was known to the newspaper fraternity, was one of the truly good men among the editors of the state. From 1881 to 1889 he was treasurer of Pembina county. He was married January 23, 1878, and from that union there were eleven children, four girls and seven boys, of whom four were inm the service of our country overseas.

Mr. Wardwell has ever been interested in the upbuilding of North Dakota and has wielded an influence for good in the community in which he has lived for so many years. He was much interested In the organization of the Historical Association of North Dakota and for a number of years has been director in the Association.

Source: 1919 North Dakota Blue Book

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