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Bowman County, North Dakota

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  • Catherine Monica DeLay (1909 - 2006)
  • Sitting Bull (c.1831 - 1890)
    How and why sitting bull was murdered by US govt. Sitting Bull (Lakota: Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake (in Standard Lakota Orthography),[2] also nicknamed Slon-he or "Slow"; (c. 1831 – December 15, 1890) was a Hunk...

Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Bowman County, North Dakota.

Official Website

The legislature of the Dakota Territory designated Bowman (named for Edward M. Bowman, a member of the territorial House of Representatives during the 1883 session) as a separate county on March 8, 1883, although it was not organized at that time. In 1885, its boundaries were altered to cede territory to Billings and Villard Counties (Villard itself was eliminated in 1887). In 1891, and again in 1896, the South Dakota legislature eliminated the not-yet-organized Bowman County, due to scant settlement in the area, but these actions either were not put into effect (the 1891 vote) or were overturned in judicial appeal (the 1896 vote).

A decision by the North Dakota supreme court on May 24, 1901 resurrected Bowman County. That decision also caused the county's area to slightly increase; its former boundary descriptions were replaced by descriptions based on the boundary lines of adjacent jurisdictions, which added a strip along its south border and another strip along its east border.

Since the scantily-populated county was still unorganized, in March 1903 the legislature attached the area to Stark County for judicial purposes. This state of affairs continued until November 1904, when the legislature again dissolved the county and assigned its territory to Billings County. However, on June 10, 1907, ND Governor John Burke issued a proclamation which re-created Bowman County. This proclamation did not attach the area to any other area for judicial purposes, so on July 5, 1907 the new county's organization was set up, and Bowman was confirmed as the county seat.

Fort Dilts

Fort Dilts was a makeshift sod fort built near Rhame, North Dakota, United States, in September 1864 to fend off attacks by Hunkpapa Sioux Indians led by Sitting Bull upon an encircled wagon train of would-be gold-miners and a small military escort of convalescent soldiers.

The wagon train had set out from Fort Ridgely, Minnesota, under the command of Captain James L. Fisk of the U.S. Quartermaster Corps. In 1864, amidst the American Civil War, the Dakota Territory was relatively short of military protection. On September 2, the party came under attack by Sitting Bull and a group of Hunkpapa Sioux. Two days later, still harassed by the Sioux, the expedition found a suitable spot and constructed a defensive perimeter out of sod stacked 6.5 feet high and 300 feet in diameter. The defenders named it Fort Dilts in honor of Corporal Jefferson Dilts, one of eight U.S. Army soldiers who had been killed, out of 50. A number of civilians also died. Lieutenant Smith and fifteen others managed to reach Fort Rice, and reinforcements arrived to rescue the defenders on September 20.

Adjacent Counties

Cities, Towns & Communities

  • Adelaide
  • Amor
  • Bowman (County Seat)
  • Boyesen
  • Buena Vista
  • Fischbein
  • Gascoyne
  • Gem
  • Goldfield
  • Grainbelt
  • Grand River
  • Griffin
  • Haley
  • Hart
  • Ladd
  • Langberg
  • Marion
  • Minnehaha
  • Nebo
  • Rhame
  • Scranton
  • Star
  • Stillwater
  • Sunny Slope
  • Talbot
  • West Bowman
  • Whiting


Cemeteries of North Dakota



Fort Dilts

USS Bowman County - LST-391

Genealogy Trails

ND Oral History Collection

Roots Web

US Gen Web

Genealogy Village


Pioneer Trails Regional Museum