Weeds are always a problem in agricultural areas. They seldom rise to the level of holding a region wide convention like thistles did in 1893 in southern North Dakota.
Thatâ€™s when the â€œCactus Conventionâ€ was held in LaMoure to deal with the infestations of Russian thistles that were occurring. The Russian thistle is known by a lot of names but I suppose the most common is tumbleweeds.
About 200 farmers journeyed to LaMoure in November to try to find a way to deal with the weeds.
The farmers blamed the recently constructed Soo Line Railroad built through the area although tradition also blames immigrants who brought their own seed wheat from Europe for the infestation.
Farmers at the Cactus Convention complained that even if they managed to control the thistles on their fields the tumbling tumbleweeds would blow across the land and spread seeds.
They were right. According to plant specialty sites on the Internet a Russian thistle spreads about 250,000 seeds while it rolls across the farm land.
I doubt any of the farmers in North Dakota in 1893 had counted them.
But Dr. Merchant of Dickey County had a solution.
He suggested a wire fence be placed completely around each township in southern North Dakota. Cost for the fence was estimated at about $1,200 per township. The fences were to be built with a gap or lane between each fence to provide common roads outside the townships.
Merchant argued that if the farmers of a township managed to eradicate the Russian thistle on their own lands the fence would prevent the weeds from reseeding as plants that grew far away blew across their land.
But not everyone agreed.
J. J. Deisch of Stutsman County thought the fences would make it too difficult for farmers to get to town.
In the end the Cactus Convention took no action. A committee was named to try to find a solution and to seek both Federal and state assistance in fighting the weeds.
But I donâ€™t think they resurrected the fence around each township idea.
Itâ€™s hard to believe the Christmas holiday is so rapidly approaching. Â
Iâ€™ll be doing a book signing from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18 at Simply Home located down the strip mall from the Dollar Tree. Stop by and talk a little about the history of Jamestown.
Maybe we can resurrect the idea of a ski jump here in the Buffalo City.