Created By: North Dakota State University
The Emmons County seat was not always located in Linton, North Dakota. Starting in 1883, Williamsport, in the northern part of the county, held that distinction. Its designation as the seat was contested nearly from the beginning, with citizens of the south protesting the unfair advantage of the larger populations in the north. Nearly every election, starting in 1884, had a referendum on the ballot to move the seat. The bid was finally successful in November of 1898. Arrangements were made for a courthouse building in Patterson's Hotel in Linton's Old Town.
The process of moving the seat was slow. Finally, in February 1899, armed with shotguns and fence posts picked up along the way, disgruntled Linton citizens rode to Williamsport to secure the county records and bring them to Linton. Two of the Linton group rode their horses back and forth in front of the guards of the courthouse, kicking up snow and dirt, appearing to witnesses as a larger group. The ruse was successful and they met no resistance as they opened up a wall in the courthouse vault and brought out the county records and a safe. The items were brought back to Linton. However, a judge ruled the recods stolen and they were returned to Williamsport, until two days later when they were officially allowed to move them permanently to Linton. The infamous safe is now on display at the Emmons County Museum in Linton.
Construction on the current courthouse began in 1933. Architects Bugenhagen, Hess, and Deeter out of Minot designed the structure. Local labor was used as much as possible and under the National Industrial Recovery Act, thirty percent of the building cost was given by the Federal government. The dedication ceremony was held on October 6th, 1934, the 50th anniversary of Emmons County.
I. Wenzel, Euvagh and Ellen Woods. Emmons County History: Compiled for the Bicentennial, 1976. Emmons County Historical Society, 1976.
This point of interest is part of the tour: German Russian Country Driving Tour