October 6, 2020 — When the Civil War ended, the desire for free land in the West brought many settlers to the Dakota Territory to start anew, and among them was John Hammond of New York. Mr. Hammond had lost his leg in the War of the Rebellion and had settled near the city of Hope in Steele County.

As reported in the Jamestown Alert on this date in 1899, while Mr. Hammond was in the city tending to business, he happened upon a man by the name of C. H. Carpenter, who was also minus a limb, but it was noted that Mr. Hammond was minus the right leg while Mr. Carpenter was minus his left leg. It was also noted that their feet appeared to be of similar size. So, the two men hatched a plan.

They immediately proceeded to the firm of Beckerjeck & Langer and tried on a pair of shoes. Since both men wore a size 8 ½ and had a low instep, they could each be supplied one shoe from the same box. Mr. Beckerjeck presented each man with a single sock, and the bargain was made. After paying $1.50 each, they stepped out on the street rejoicing with their co-owned, brand new, “pair” of shoes, soon to go their separate ways.

“Dakota Datebook” is a radio series from Prairie Public in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota and with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council. See all the Dakota Datebooks at prairiepublic.org, subscribe to the “Dakota Datebook” podcast, or buy the Dakota Datebook book at shopprairiepublic.org.

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