Flags of Our Nation
Issue Date: April 16, 2010
City: New York, NY
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 11 vertically
Bismarck became the capital of the North Dakota Territory in 1883. But many residents felt the capital should be moved to the more populous eastern part of the territory. So the official territory records were relocated to Jamestown, which was selected as the new location of the government.
Once a frontier town with a rough reputation, Bismarck sat on the edge of the Badlands, where many outlaws hid out. Theodore Roosevelt hunted criminals as deputy sheriff during the time he lived in the area, which now bears his name as a state park. A town like Bismarck wasn’t ready to accept such a loss in status as territory capital. A group of citizens rode 100 miles through a blizzard, broke into the Stutsman County Court House in Jamestown, took the state records, and brought them back to Bismarck – while avoiding a posse. The records remained there until the state legislature agreed to reconvene in Bismarck.
With the statehouse built there in 1883-84, the issue of Bismarck as capital was effectively over. It remained the seat of government when North Dakota gained statehood in 1889. Still, a small protest remains, as the legislature has never voted to confirm Bismarck as the official state capital.