SHSND Home > North Dakota History > Unit 4: Building a New State,1878-1914 > Ranching > Louis Connolly Introduction

Unit 4: Set 3. Ranching - Louis Connolly Introduction

Introduction | Louis Connolly Introduction | Arthur Huidekoper Introduction | Activity

June 28 Letter | July 14 Letter | Aug. 12 Letter | Aug. 24 Letter

Connolly letter June 1879
Louis Connolly letter, June 1879

Louis Connolly came to Dakota Territory about the same time as Roosevelt and de Mores. He was born in Dundee, New York in 1846, but like many other families of the mid-nineteenth century, the Connolly family moved often, always aiming farther west and ending up in Henderson, MN. At nineteen, Louis Connolly went to northern Dakota Territory as a member of the 3rd Illinois Cavalry. After army service, he worked as a railroad surveyor until 1879. By that time, he was very familiar with Dakota Territory and decided to bring his family to the Bismarck area to live. He purchased land from the public domain at a low price (a pre-emption claim) three and one-half miles east of Bismarck on Apple Creek. He sold this ranch in 1881 for the very good price of $10 per acre and moved to what became in 1884 Oliver County. There he established, with his father-in-law, the community of Hensler. Connolly was the mail carrier and had the post office in his home. Though reluctant to move, Connolly’s wife Mary and their three children, Celia, Florence, and Louis, Jr., joined him in Dakota Territory. When Louis and Mary retired from ranching in 1900, they sold 1200 acres of land along with livestock. They moved to Mandan where Louis served as mayor before he died in 1911. Mary Connolly lived until 1918.

SHSND Mss 20402

612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
Get Directions

State Museum and Store: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
We are closed New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
We are open 8 a.m.-noon on Christmas Eve.
State Archives: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F, except state holidays; 2nd Sat. of each month, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
State Historical Society offices: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F, except state holidays.

Contact Us:
phone: 701.328.2666