Reservation Area

The following section of this history is taken largely from the Golden Jubilee book, published in 1967. I have changed the wording for the sake of clarity, and to reflect that the present tense, as found in the book, was 1967, almost fifty years ago.

The Roseglen townsite and much of the surrounding area were once part of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The Three Affiliated Tribes — the Mandans, the Arikaras, and the Gros Ventres — sold the land in this area to the government. In turn, the government opened the area up to homesteading by white settlers, through an allocation, and those who were fortunate enough to draw a number were among the first non-Indian families to settle the area.

Indian names that were well known as leaders in the area in 1967, when the Golden Jubilee book was published, included Levi Waters, Pete Beauchamp, Byron Wildes, Frank Heart, Tom White, Jeff Smith, B.J. Youngbird, Martin Cross, Tom Yellow Face Goodall, Robert Fox, Jackson Ripley, a son of David Ripley, as well as the Hopkins families, the Howling Wolf families, the Starrs, the Fox families, the Yellowbirds, the Packineaus, and the Perkins, including Eli Perkins, who remained a true Indian, wearing his hair in braids as long as he lived. Others were the Ross families, the Bells, the Wilkinsons, the Plenty Chiefs, the Reeds, the Gillettes, the Everetts, the Eagles, the Bears, the Paintes, the Deanes, Badgers, Shells, Hosies, and the White Tails, the White Bears, the White Calfs, and several others.

Levi Waters was still living in the area in 1967, when the Golden Jubilee book was published. He was a land owner who, for many years, farmed his own land, raised sheep, cattle, and horses. He told how he used to take his team and rack, and follow the threshing rig in the Roseglen community. He and his family picked many gallons of native fruits to sell to the white settlers. He cut fence posts for his own use, and to sell to his neighbors. He traveled to Roseglen by team and wagon, in order to shop for supplies. He was also a member of the Tribal Council.

The sons and daughters of the Indian families who lived in the Roseglen community have gone on to get educations off of the Reservation, many of them, and have returned to to work as ministers, teachers, nurses, painters, and in every other walk of life. Many have taken their turn serving on the Tribal Council or as Tribal Judges.

Much Indian culture remained in the Roseglen community, at least in 1967. Attempts had been made to bring industry in, but they were largely unsuccessful. Most of the available work (in 1967) was in agriculture, and that was usually day work.

The most significant change on the Fort Berthold Reservation came with the construction of the Garrison Dam. Families were relocated, homes were flooded, and many people left the Reservation because their lands, coal fields, and timber were flooded. Elbowoods, the location of the Bureau of Indian Affairs office, as well as the government boarding school and hospital, were flooded, as was the Nishu Day School. The Agency office was moved off the Reservation and relocated at New Town. The hospital was not rebuilt, although a clinic was to be built at White Shield.

The White Shield School was constructed to replace the Elbowoods-Nishu Schools. Seven school districts surrounding the White Shield School reorganized to integrate and form the White Shield School District. In 1967, more than three hundred students attended this grade school and high school. The White Shield School was built by the federal government, with an agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the local school districts making it possible for local public school children to attend, as well as the Reservation children. Some of the teachers were hired through Civil Service, while others were employed by the district.

Other changes included the dismantling of the Four Bears Bridge at Elbowoods, with parts of it used to form the bridge that spanned the river at New Town.

Local churches, Congregational, Catholic and Episcopalian, were relocated due to the flooding caused by the dam, as was the Simons Store, which later became known as Ted’s Store. The Community Hall was moved to the Ziegler Corner.

Roads were improved. In 1967, the Reservation included several stretchs of oiled roads, which was an improvement over what had been there before.

Around the time that Roseglen Village was founded, some Indians were given permission to sell tracts of land to white settlers.

Since Paul Ziegler was not lucky enough to draw a number for a free homestead in the Roseglen area, he rented land on the Reservation and broke it up in 1917. In 1918, he bought an adjoining tract from Walter Plenty Chief, which was a bare 160-acre section, similar to a homestead except that it was not free. He began preparing it for his future home. He had a well drilled. He bought some buildings and had them moved to his land, then he built more. In 1920, he and his wife, four sons, and four daughters, moved to the land and built a farm.

Other white settlers followed, including the Kruegers and the Nelsons. A bit further west, on the Reservation, Engebret Holtan built his home. Several others owned land in the area, but left it, including the Petersons, Matt Putz, and John Slobojan.

After being flooded out by the Garrison Dam, the Henry and Almit Breuer families built new homes in the Roseglen area.

As more and more people came into the area, there was a need for a school. In 1924, Paul Ziegler helped to organize the Ziegler School District No. 85, which later became part of the White Shield School District. For many years, this country school also served as the polling place for Ziegler Precinct No. 60.

Paul Ziegler was born in Michigan in 1875, and raised there. In 1898, he enlisted in the Spanish-American War. After his discharge, he married a hometown girl and, because work was scarce in Michigan, he moved to North Dakota. For about a year, he operated an Elevator at Sanborn, then moved to Underwood where he farmed until 1915, then moved to the Blackwater community, where he lived until he moved to the Reservation land.