Fort Seward to Fort Totten topic of programMary Faith Young, Jamestown’s resident historian and expert on just about every facet of the city, its residents and politics, will accompany her daughter Rebecca Young-Sletten to present a researched program on the wagon trails of the area.
By: Sharon Cox, The Jamestown Sun
Mary Faith Young, Jamestown’s resident historian and expert on just about every facet of the city, its residents and politics, will accompany her daughter Rebecca Young-Sletten to present a researched program on the wagon trails of the area.
“Fort Seward to Fort Totten Trail: An Historical Perspective” will be the subject of the Sensational Sunday program, at 2 p.m. Sunday at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck.
The story is one close to Young’s heart: She and her husband Ernie started the annual trek from Fort Ransom north through Jamestown on to Totten. It has been one of the few living history re-enactments still available for the average citizen wanting to get the feel of life as it might have been following the Civil War era.
Young-Sletten and her mother will present an overview of the history of the trail including stories of Native Americans who inhabited the area, settlers who lived along the trail, and some antics of folks who operated the stage stops along this short-lived trail.
Also included will be experiences of those who reopened the trail on the 1969 wagon train. Research for this re-enactment included use of military maps, reminiscences and historic documentation. Both presenters were participants on that trail ride. Recently they received a grant from the North Dakota Humanities Council to document their unique historical perspective of the Fort Seward to Fort Totten Trail. There will be time for questions following the presentation.
This presentation is part of the Sensational Sundays series sponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota. All Sensational Sunday programs are free and open to the public. For more information, call the State Historical Society of North Dakota at 701-328-2792 or go to history.nd.gov.
Young-Sletten and her mother gave the presentation last month to a standing-room only audience during a Front Porch Chat at the Lutz Mansion, better known as the Stutsman County Memorial Museum.
At 91 this year, Young, from childhood, knew some of the families who were her grandparents’ ages, and who were among the original settlers here in Jamestown. She wrote for newspapers and journals and was the governor’s recipient in 1983 for the State Historical Society of North Dakota’s Excellence in Local History award.
She and Steven Reidburn are the only two individuals who have received that award from Jamestown for their volunteer work in promoting and preserving the area.
Although Reidburn went to school with her daughter, he describes her mother as his mentor. Reidburn credits Mary Young for his early interest in Fort Seward and area historic preservation.
Her influence continues today.
Young’s daughters, Cathy Lutz and Young-Sletten, are close by and are key to helping their mother continue to research and record her earliest memories of the area and its people. I personally encourage anyone who missed their presentation at the Front Porch Chat to attend Sunday’s event at the North Dakota Heritage Center. Young is a treasury of information.
The SHSND has a number of buildings and interests under its direction in Jamestown, including the original County Courthouse of Stutsman County (which is undergoing a renovation/repair in certain areas needing updating.) The Young family and many others have been actively involved in historic preservation in Jamestown. Having an opportunity to hear them discuss some of their activities is a real treat for anyone.
If anyone has an item for this column, please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.