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Farmers Press Staff, Steve, Williston, N.D.
Farmers Press Staff, Steve, Williston, N.D.
TitleFarmers Press Staff, Steve, Williston, N.D.
Date of Original1942?
DescriptionView of Steve Westdal, editor of the Farmers Press newspaper at work.
General SubjectCity & town life
Work Life
Subject (LCTGM)Men
Newspaper industry
Personal NameWestdal, Stephen Thorstein, 1873-
Organization NameWilliams County Farmers Press (Williston, N.D.)
LocationWilliston (N.D.)
Item Number1-73-8-3
Format of OriginalPhotographic prints
Dimensions of Original2 x 2 cm.
Transcription"Farmers Press Staff - about 1942" - Handwritten on envelope holding prints.
NotesTitle created by staff.
Biography/HistoryWilliam E. "Bill" Shemorry was a native of Williston, N.D. who began work in the newspaper industry as a newsboy selling the Williston Herald and the Williams County Farmers Press. In 1953, he started to publish the Williston Plains Reporter, which he operated for 25 years before selling to the Williston Herald. Shemorry then began to concentrate on his own writing and photography. In addition to writing many books on the history of Williams County, he also collected photographs of early North Dakota photographers. Shemorry was an active member of the Williston Fire Department, was Civil Defense Chief of Williams County for three years in the 1950's, and was a combat photographer in World War II. Shemorry's photograph of the discovery of oil in North Dakota on April 4, 1951 at the Clarence Iverson No. 1 is one of the most famous oil photographs ever taken, and was published in many national publications.

Stephen Thorstein Westdal was born in Iceland on June 21, 1873. In 1880 his father, John G. Westdal moved the family to the United States and settled in Minnesota. On April 15, 1900 Stephen Th. Westdal married Miss Pauline J. Sigurdson of Wisconsin. Mr. Westdal went to school in MN and Washington D.C. and in 1907 he took a homestead in McKenzie County, North Dakota, which he made his home until 1911 when he settled in Charlson, McKenzie County and he became the publisher of the McKenzie County Journal, a newspaper with which he identified with until November 1, 1919. He then took up residence in Williston, where he entered the employ of George Farries, the publisher of the Williston Herald and on March 15, 1924, he participated in forming a corporation known as the Williston Herald Corporation which bought the newspaper. Mr. Westdal acted as editor and publisher of this publication until at least 1931… Later images, from the 1940s, in the Bill Shemorry Photograph Collection show "S. Th." Or "Steve" Westdal working at the Farmers Press newspaper. S. Th. Westdahl was a member of the Williston North Dakota Rotary, and was included in The Rotarian, Sept 1943 issue as a Rotarian who had not missed a Club meeting for 15 years or more.
Bibliographic ReferenceInformation from History of North Dakota by Lewis F. Crawford, published by the American Historical Society in 1931, page 530.
Repository InstitutionState Historical Society of North Dakota
Repository CollectionWilliam E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection Mss 10958
Credit LineState Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection (1-73-8-3)
Rights ManagementPermission to reproduce this image must be requested from the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Ordering InformationTo order a reproduction, inquire about the collection, or provide information about an image, please email Emily E. Schultz at
Digital IDws17383
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