Horace E. Stockbridge

Horace E. Stockbridge photo

Horace E. Stockbridge

Horace Stockbridge was the first, and youngest, president of North Dakota Agriculture College, which later became North Dakota State University[1]. He was born in Hadley, Massachusetts on May 15, 1857[2]. He attended Massachusetts Agricultural College, where he received his degree in 1878[3]. He had a strong background in agriculture, which was probably why he was picked to be the president. Prior to his acceptance of the presidency of NDAC, Stockbridge was an associate professor of chemistry at Massachusetts Agricultural College from 1884-1885, a professor of chemistry and geology at the Japanese Imperial College of Agriculture and Engineering from 1885-1889, chief chemist for the Japanese government from 1888-1889, and director of the Experiment Station at Purdue University during the year 1889[4].

Stockbridge was elected president of NDAC in 1890, when he was only 33 years old[5]. He was the one who picked the location of the college, appointed the teachers, oversaw the construction of buildings, and organized the experiment buildings. He designed College Hall, now known as Old Main, and came up with the idea of special short winter courses so that farmers could get the planting done, in subjects like agriculture, chemistry, and other related topics[6]. He resigned from NDAC in 1893, because of political reasons, and then moved to Americus, Georgia[7]. After he left NDAC, Stockbridge became a professor of agriculture at Florida Agriculture College in 1897[8]. He was the agriculture editor and co-founder of the Southern Ruralist from 1906-1922, and in 1922 he started editing for the Southern Farmland and Dairy, which he continued to do until his retirement due to ill health[9]. Horace Stockbridge died on October 30, 1930 in Atlanta, Georgia[10]. In 1957, a new men’s hall on NDAC’s campus was named Stockbridge Hall in honor of the first president of the college[11].

-Rebecca Paton, Digital History 2012
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[1] NDSU Archives, President Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.


Education in Fargo, North Dakota, 1870-1900

The education system in Fargo in the early stages of the city’s development was heavily rooted in, and influenced, by religion. There were educational centers as early as there were churches. In fact, many churches started schools so they could develop their children’s minds in the way they wanted them to be; so the curriculums were filled with references to the Bible and God. The people of Fargo, N.D., wanted their children to become good, God-fearing citizens, who would become productive, active members of society. The first catalogue of classes at North Dakota Agriculture College defined the mission and objective of the college this way: “The object of this institution is not the making of farmers, but rather the making of men and women, and then equip them that, if their inclinations draw them toward the farm, their efforts there may be reasonably expected to be attended by success. It is not the intention, however, to limit or restrict the capabilities of students, and while the curriculum is made sufficiently rigid to enforce the principles on which the work of the institution is founded, abundant scope is given by means of electives for the display of individual preferences and the development of personal abilities,[1]” which means that the board members, the president, and the teachers did not just want to turn out farmers, they wanted to turn out men and women who would have the tools needed to go through life successfully and well.

-Rebecca Paton, Digital History 2012

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[1] NDSU Archives, North Dakota Agricultural College, First Annual Catalogue, May 1892.



The number of school children that were in the school district of Fargo in the year 1882-1883 is as follows:

High School 25, (12 boys and 13 girls)
Intermediate, 106 (62 boys and 59 girls)
Primary 246 (133 boys and 123 girls)[1].

There were a surprising number of tardies and people who dropped out, for various reasons like: sickness, death, they were wanted on the farm, or they just could not handle the course load for the year[2]. For High School; there were 145 tardies, 29 dropouts, and a 100% daily attendance rate, Intermediate; 324 tardies, 141 dropouts and a 93% daily attendance rate, and for Primary; 584 tardies, 233 dropouts and a 98% daily attendance rate[3].

-Rebecca Paton, Digital History 2012
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[1] NDSU Archives, Fargo (N.D.) Public Schools Records1874-1980.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Central High School

Fargo Central High, circa 1895. Image courtesy NDSU Archives (2042.15.5)

In 1874, a School Mill was passed to establish a school district in Fargo, North Dakota. In May of that year, Miss Gillings was hired to teach the children for $45 per month. In 1875, the first school house was purchased for the use of the school, and there were 105 school age children in Fargo, according to the Census records. In 1883, a combination grade and high school building was constructed, which was Central high School . This school building held all grades from kindergarten to 12th grade. In March of 1885, the Dakota Territory Legislature enacted a bill making Fargo an independent school district. In 1886, the first high school graduating class graduated with 8 students.[1]

-Rebecca Paton, Digital History 2012

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[1] NDSU Archives, Fargo (N.D.) Public Schools Records, 1874-1980.

North Dakota Agriculture College (NDAC)

North Dakota Agriculture College (NDAC) was established in 1890, by a law that allowed for an agriculture college to be formed in Fargo, North Dakota . This was part of the United States government’s effort to create colleges for the study of agriculture and the sciences. The following appeared in the Daily Argus on May 2, 1890: “At the meeting of the Fargo Agricultural College board yesterday afternoon the following members were present: J. B. Power of Power, E. M. Upson of Commings, M. Saunderson of Edgely, and O.W. Fancis of Fargo. Mr. Francis was elected president and J. B. Power, secretary. After organization the situation was discussed and steps taken to obtain for the college the $15,000 to be given by the government for an experiment station. The board adjourned until the fifteenth.” When the fifteenth rolled around, the board set up an experiment station that would reveal whether or not this new college would work out. The North Dakota State Legislature set up the rules and regulations for the maintanance and running of the college in the first and second session of the assembly.  The Daily Argus reported on May 16, 1890 that “Forty acres on the Lowell farm, one half mile south of the city, have been secured. Buildings will be secured in the city;” which meant that now the college had a place and buildings in which to meet and hold classes . These buildings were not made for the college, but were existing buildings that were used in case the college failed. The first building specifically built for NDAC, is the building now known as Old Main . At the time of its construction, this building was known as College Hall . Construction on Old Main started in 1891 and was completed in 1892, shortly followed by the “Farm House,” Francis Hall, and the Mechanic Hall in 1893, the Creamery in 1895, and the Festival Hall in 1897 . Old Main held classes, offices and laboratories for the faculty, a library, a gym, an office for the president, and room for an enrollment of 80. The first staff member hired by the school board was Clare B. Waldron, who was a botanist. He arrived in July 1890, and he was the only staff member around for the next three months. On October 15, 1890, the first budget was approved, the president, Horace E. Stockbridge, was hired, and the first three faculty members, Henry L. Bolley, Edwin F. Ladd, and Clare B. Waldron, were hired by the school board . The first regular classes were not held until September 8, 1891 . The students had unofficially called NDAC North Dakota State University right from the beginning, when NDAC was just an experimental school, but the name was not changed until December 8, 1950, because there were not enough votes to officially change the name of the college until 1950 .

Rebecca Paton, Digital History 2012

1 NDSU Archives, Law Passed at the 1st Session of the Legislative Assembly of North Dakota.
2 NDSU Archives, Daily Argus.
3 NDSU Archives, Daily Argus.
4 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893
5 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893
6 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893
7 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893
8 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893
9 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893