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Manuscripts by Subject - Family / Local History - #11048

Title: Lynn W. Sperry Family Papers

Dates: 1890-2009

Collection Number: MSS 11048

Quantity: 5.25 feet and oversize

Abstract: The collection primarily consists of material relating to, and owned by, Lynn W. Sperry, but also contains several items of his daughter Mildred (Moeller). Organized chronologically, the Papers contain correspondence between family members, programs and an invitation, a diary, Lynn Sperry’s financial ledger books, family genealogical research and notes, a funeral program, application for Daughters of the American Revolution National Society, photographs, photograph album, and newspapers.

Provenance: This collection was transferred to the State Archives Collections from the Mildred Moeller Collection of the Museum Division of the State Historical Society of North Dakota in April 2009. The collection was processed, and the finding aid created by Emily J. Ergen in December 2009.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs. Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.


Related Collections: Sperry, Lynn. Manuscript.(Mss 20160). n.d.
2 items. Consists of a manuscript entitled "Early History of Bismarck" ca. 1872-1900. Manuscript includes many of Sperry's personal reminiscences of Bismarck. OCLC 17998450. Bismarck (N.D.); Burleigh County–North Dakota.


Lynn W. Sperry was born on May 1, 1877, in Mayville, New York in 1876, and came to North Dakota with his parents, Eugene Howard Sperry and Mrs. Mary L. Sperry (and sister Mabel [later Mrs. Walter Sellens]), who settled in Burleigh County on April 28, 1885. Raised on the family farm, Sperry went on to graduate from Bismarck High School in 1894; he then attended Valley City State College, completing a business course, until the Spanish-American war broke out. He then enlisted in Bismarck’s Company A, 1st Regiment of North Dakota National Guard, and fought as a sergeant in the Spanish-American War in the Philippines in 1898-1899.

Returning home after the war, Lynn purchased farmland in Riverview township across Burnt Creek north from his father’s farm. Sperry married Idella Rodgers at McKenzie Township, Burleigh County, on June 20, 1905. Rodgers’ parents were Burleigh County pioneers Mr. and Mrs. Charles D. Rogers, originally from Iowa. Idella was born March 20, 1883, and graduated with the Bismarck High School class of 1903. A skilled gardener, Mrs. Sperry knitted clothing for soldiers in both World Wars. She was a member of several organizations, including the Daughters of the American Revolution, Burleigh County Pioneers, Riverview Homemakers, Pioneer Daughters, and the First United Presbyterian Church. Mr. and Mrs. Sperry had four children, Eugene H. Sperry (deceased), federal engineer at Bozeman, MT; Clara (Mrs. C. N. Borman), Minneapolis, MN; Frances (Mrs. Orlando H. Benson, rural Bismarck; and Mildred (Mrs. William S. Moeller), Bismarck, ND.

Sperry was nominated for the position of Burleigh County treasurer in 1904 and served in that capacity from 1905 to 1909. Sperry served as a Republican Precinct Committeeman for Riverview Township for sixty years, beginning in 1906. Sperry was a Burleigh County state senator, elected in the 1921, 1923, 1929, and 1931 sessions. In the regular session of 1927, Sperry served as state representative, and for a special session in 1928. While serving in the legislature, Sperry introduced enabling legislation for junior colleges which led to the creation of Bismarck Junior College, which was organized in 1939. Sperry was treasurer of Riverview School District for 20 years, and became chairman of the Burleigh County Draft Board in 1948, on which he served for 15 years.

While serving in the Philippines, in 1898 Lynn Sperry became a Master Mason in the military lodge. He was also a member of the Spanish-American War Veterans, and served as state officer. A member of the Mandan Indian Shriners until he was 80 years old, Sperry was a member of the Scottish Rite and El Zagal Shrine. Sperry was also involved in the First United Presbyterian Church, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Bismarck Elks lodge. Lynn Sperry passed away on November 15, 1969. He was survived by three children, seven grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren.


Mildred Lynn Sperry was born in about 1915, to Lynn W. and Idella Sperry. Mildred Sperry married William S. Moeller (born August 7, 1907), a graduate of the University of North Dakota, on August 12, 1939, in Burleigh County. William passed away December 15, 1999, at age 92 in Burleigh County.

“Eugene Sperry was One of Area’s First Cattlemen,” Bismarck Tribune, June 14, 1947.
“Lynn W. And Idella (Rodgers) Sperry,” by Mr. and Mrs. William S. Moeller, Burleigh County:
Prairie Trails to Hi-Ways, compiled and edited by Beth Hughes Bauman and Dorothy Jackson, copyright 1978 by the Bismarck-Mandan Genealogical and Historical Society, printed by Taylor Publishing Co: Dallas, Texas, p. 483.
The Palladium, Vol. 4. No. 40, October 25, 1904, p. 5.


Box 1:
1 Correspondence, 1891-1975
- Two letters from Lynn Sperry to his mother, Mrs. E. H. Sperry, August 1891
- Correspondence to Mrs. Sperry from Minnie Bradley, and history of Mrs. E. H.
Sperry’s grandparents on mother’s side (in envelope), 1931
- Sealed letter to Mrs. H.W. McArdle, 224 8th Street N., Fargo, N. Dak (from
Minnie Bradley?), c. 1931
- May Sperry Warren and Della and Lynn Sperry, 1934 & 1940-1946
- Letter to Mary (Mrs. C. C. Torrance, Ridgecrest, CA) from Frances Sperry Kelly
(daughter of Vaughn and Blanche Sperry)(Jay, FL), January 14,1975
- Letter to Ruelsa Barr Olsen from Edith (sister of Mary Torrance) (Jamestown, ND) about Mrs. Lynn Sperry’s address, February 14, 1975
- Letter to Mrs. Sperry from Ruelsa Barr Olsen, February 28, 1975

2 Programs and invitation, 1894-1932
- Eighth Annual Commencement of the Bismarck High School, June 8, 1894 (Lynn Sperry was a graduate) (two copies)
- Dedication of the Burleigh County Courthouse, July 25, 1931
- Laying of the cornerstone, North Dakota State Capitol, October 8, 1932
- Invitation to cornerstone laying ceremonies, October 8, 1932

3 Diary (might be Della Rodgers), March 26-November 31, 1889

4 Newspaper clippings, 1905 & 1974
- Clipping about Lynn W. Sperry and Idella Rodgers wedding, c. June 20, 1905
- Clipping about Claude Kelly (Frances Sperry Kelly’s husband), October 29, 1974
- Obituary for Vaughn Sperry, c. April 1974

5 Financial ledger books (1910-1915 and 1916-1918), 1910-1918

6 Financial ledger books (1927-1934, 1941-1944 and 1945-1949), 1927-1949

7 Financial ledger books (1950-1957 and 1958-1963), 1950-1963

Box 2:
1 Notes, 1944 & n.d.
- Notes about E. H. Sperry Sr.’s wife Mary Aylesworth Sperry, Warren Aylessworth, Samuel Howe, Theodasia Cooly (wife of S. Howe)
- Notes about Archie and May Sperry Warren’s family (1944)

2 Funeral program for Vaughn Sperry (March 9, 1891- April 10, 1974), services at First United Methodist Church, Tavares, Florida, 1974

3 Property information booklet for house sale, 114 W. Avenue A, Bismarck ND, Margaret A. Moeller, April 2009

4 Daughters of the American Revolution National Society, n.d.
- Blank application for membership
- Research for the Daughters of the American Revolution National Society - genealogical information about family names: Davison, Howard, Hansfield, Griswold, Sperry, Durkee, Wooding, Tolles, Clark, Peacock, Herrick, Wing, Tracy

5 Photographs from photo album: Bismarck scenes, L. W. Sperry’s farm, and E. H. Sperry’s
farm (photo numbers 11048-01 - 11048-05)
- 11048_01 E. H. Sperry’s farm equipment - Old Avery Yellow Kid thresher and tractor, Hay Creek Township, Burleigh County, N.D., ca. 1912
- 11048_02 Railroad Bridge over Missouri River, Bismarck, ND (post card), c. 1921
- 11048_03 Hilltop view of E. H. Sperry’s farm, Hay Creek Township, Burleigh County, N.D., ca. 1910?
- 11048_04 Hilltop view of Missouri River, between 1910-1920
- 11048_05 Storing hay at L. W. Sperry’s farm, Riverview Township, Burleigh County, N.D., ca. 1910?

6 Photographs
- 11048_06 Portrait- third grade, Richholt School, Bismarck, N.D., between September 6, 1921 and June 2, 1922 (with Mildred Sperry) (with typed listing of class information, and copy of Richhold School teacher’s final report with listing of students names)
- 11048_07 Missouri River spring flood, n.d.
- 11048_08 McKenzie School, back row: Mary Chaffeur, Della Rodgers, Miss Alexier (teacher), Lucretia Chaffin; Middle row: Robert Norton, Fred Lyler, Earl Rodgers, Ray Baker, Earl Baker, Viola Chaffin; Front row: Harley Lenthen, Mitchel Hughs, George Hughs, Lucy Leaither, about 1895
- 11048_09 Bismarck High School class of 1903: Top row, Birlea Ward, Florence Satterlund, Annie Logan, Ruth Hood, Hannah Lelaonen, Florence Esslone (sp?); second row: Ethel Barnes, Mabel Peterson, Mabel Wells, Alma Sunquist, Dora Michelson, Mae Wallace; 3rd row: Brooks Hoskins, Clarence McLean, Della (Idella) Rodgers, Isabel Hagen, Argus Falcones, Miles Marrel (sp?); “Frances Hare not here, donated by Lynn Sperry”

(loose) 11048_10 Photograph - E. H. Sperry’s farm house, Holmboe photograph, 1910

Box 3: Photograph album, 1890s-1910s:
- 11048_11 E. H. Sperry’s farm, Hay Creek Township, Burleigh County
- 11048_12 E. H. Sperry’s farm, Hay Creek Township, Burleigh County
- 11048_13 E. H. Sperry’s farm, Hay Creek Township, Burleigh County
- 11048_14 L. W. Sperry’s farm, Riverview Township, Burleigh County
- 11048_15 E. H. Sperry’s farm, Hay Creek Township, Burleigh County
- 11048_16 L. W. Sperry’s farm, Riverview Township, Burleigh County
- 11048_17 Driving on River Road, Bismarck, c 1910
- 11048_18 Bridge over Burnt Creek on River Road, Bismarck, c 1910
- 11048_19 Haying Sperry’s Ranch
- 11048_20 Railroad bridge over Missouri River, Bismarck
- 11048_21 Cleaning grain at L. W. Sperry's
- 11048_22 Cleaning grain at L. W. Sperry's
- 11048_23 A road grading outfit at L. W. Sperry's
- 11048_24 Plowing with Old Army at L. W. Sperry's
- 11048_25 Lynn W. Sperry
- 11048_26 Lynn Sperry from field
- 11048_27 Lynn and Della Sperry tenth anniversary June 20 1915
- 11048_28 Bismarck Post Office between 1913 and 1930
- 11048_29 Bismarck Auditorium about 1917
- 11048_30 1006 Avenue C Bismarck about 1918
- 11048_31 Clara Rogers in Girl Scout uniform
- 11048_32 Lynn W. Sperry
- 11048_33 Charles D. Rogers
- 11048_34 Mrs. Charles D. Rogers
- 11048_35 Della, Mrs. Charles D. Rogers and Reese outside home at section 18 township 139 R 71
- 11048_36 herding at Rogers farm
- 11048_37 Stacking headed grain near McKenzie ND post card
- 11048_38 duck hunters
- 11048_39 Lynn Sperry with soldiers at encampment, Devils Lake
- 11048_40 Earl Rogers with friends Grass Valley California about 1914

- Eagles nest between the Great Fall and Inspiration Point, Yellowstone Park, n.d.
- Where U.S. soldiers were buried in the Philippines, 1898 or 1899
- General View of Yokohama, Japan (clipping from book?), n.d.
- E. H. Sperry farm and ranch
- E. H. Sperry’s old farm next to L. W. Sperry’s farm
- L. W. Sperry farm scenes (some with Lynn)
- Missouri River scenes
- Francis and Louise Fuller, Arlowante Rodgers Kenyon, Josephine Williams, Wilma McWilliams Hoyt
- Claim shack
- Phillip McWilliamson’s house, taken in 1890?
- Rodgers


- The Bismarck Capital, June 30, 1936 (sections two and three)
- Bismarck Daily Tribune, Registration Section, c. 1918 (“Good Burleigh Co. Farmer,” p. 7; “Wealth from the Soil,” p. 15)
- The Bismarck Tribune, Pagent Edition, Section III, September 14, 1922
- The Bismarck Tribune, Golden Jubilee Edition, September 6, 1923
- The Bismarck Tribune, October 5, 1932
- The Bismarck Tribune, New Capitol Edition, April 7, 1934
- The Bismarck Tribune, September 29,1934
- The Bismarck Tribune, Diamond Jubilee and Garrison Dam Edition, June 14, 1947 (two)
- The Bismarck Tribune, Dakota Territorial Centennial Edition, February 28, 1961 (“Community Leaders Plan Observances,” p. 2; “All Bismarck Was Agog As Queen Marie Visited: ‘Royal Rumanian’ Topped All Other Crowned Guests,” C-1; “Masonic Bodies of the Bismarck Area and Affiliated Organizations Congratulate Dakota Territory on its 100th Anniversary,” William S. Moeller listed under Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Consistory, and Knights Commander of Court of Honor, C-12).
- The Bismarck Tribune, February 14,1964 (“Sperry Honored,” photograph p. 1; “Lincoln Day Crowd Told: Republicans Need More Fellowship,” p. 1-2).
- The Bismarck Tribune, July 11, 1973
- Dakota Student, Grand Forks, North Dakota, Vol. 1 No. 14. (William S. Moeller the new editor)
- Freedom: An American Paper for the American Soldier, Don C. W. Musser, Ed., Manila, Philippines, July 4,1899.
- The Palladium, Vol. 4. No. 40, October 25, 1904 (“Republican Candidates: L.W. Sperry,” p. 5, photograph on p. 8).
- The Weekly Pioneer Press, Vol. XXXIX No. 51, December 18, 1890
- The Settler, Special Industrial Exposition Edition of the Settler, c. September 1911
- The Wave, San Francisco, Vol. XVII, No. 26, June 25, 1898

Oversize (in map case drawer):
Certificate of honorable service in the Army of the Philippines and recognition of the formation of the society Camp Lawton, No. 5, Army of the Philippines, Bismarck (N.D.), July 1907 (R.W. Patzman, William J. Dolan, Charles Glitschka, Lynn W. Sperry, A. W. Lobner, E. Froening, J. W. Murphy, John L. Peterson, Fred L. Conklin, Henry T. Murphy, E. F. Wotz, P. F. Strock, L. W. Swett, C. B. Wilson, Frank C. McTavish, Andrew Anderson, Albert E. Edwards, Frank A. Ormes, Ezra P. Wing, E. A. Robbins)

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