First Election, 1880

The first election was held in Griggs at a time when it was still a part of Traill County, at the residence of Omund Nelson Opheim, on November 2, 1880.  Although it was a presidential election, politics did not create much excitement in this locality, mostly for the reason that North Dakota had a territorial government and settlers here had neither a voice in electing the president nor in the choice of territorial officers, except a delegate to congress.  They were also allowed to elect a delegate to the territorial legislature to be convened at Yankton in January of 1881.  Knute Nomland was elected to represent the district in the legislature.  County officers of Traill County were also elected at this time.

Nearly all of the voters at that time, ten or twelve in number, were present, and organized by electing judges and clerks as follows: 

Omund Nelson Opheim

Ole Johnson Skrein

C. P. Bolkan

John Hogenson

John Dahl


When the votes were canvassed C. P. Bolkan was elected to carry the returns across the open prairie, with no house within twenty miles on the trip, to the county seat located on the Red River about sixty miles away.  Mr. Bolkan carried the ballots in a wooden box and crossed the country on foot.

By John Hogenson

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 page 6

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