Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




This thesis is the examination of Ward County as a violent and lawless county between the years of 1905 and 1920. A general history of the county prior to 1905 is presented along with a description of the major economic activities with in the county during this period of study.

A breakdown of the jurisdiction of the three courts located in the county is accomplished by using North Dakota legislative materials which originally gave them the jurisdiction The type of offense and the number of offenses tried in the three courts, along with a general review of the categories of crimes, is used as the foundation of the thesis.

Illustrations of the lawbreaking which was occurring within the county is given by tracing instances of criminal activity through the county's newspapers. Prohibition violations, vagrancy, I.W.W. rioting, larceny, prostitution, drug trafficking, gambling, assault and batteries, and murders were some of the lawbreaking taking place in the county. The type of people who were committing the various crimes, the scope of their operations and the circumstances under which they were caught are provided as are the editorials which pointed out particular situations and unusual conditions.

Concern is also given to the law enforcement raid of 191/' which took place in Minot, a raid which is the most spectacular and sensational ever to occur in North Dakota.

In conclusion, Ward County was conducive to crime due to its geographic location, economic conditions and tradition. The vice and violence in the county continued a tradition the county had developed during its formative years, a tradition tolerated by the residents of the county because they were accustomed to it and because there was money to msiip j_n it by the more unscrupulous.