Skip to content

Fort Ransom, North Dakota

Fort Ransom was established in 1866 and named for General T. E. G. Ransom of the U. S. Army and the county was named after this fort.  It was built to protect settlers and railroad workers who were working on the Northern Pacific Railroad between Fargo and Bismarck.  The fort was abandoned in 1872 and moved to Fort Seward, near Jamestown.  The buildings left by the Government were stolen by the early settlers.  The final disposition of the military reservation took place on July 14, 1880, when it was turned over to the Department of Interior for survey and sale to homesteaders. The original site of the fort is located to the southwest of the town of Fort Ransom and 3 miles south of  Fort Ransom State Park.

The City of Fort Ransom was established in 1880 and is one of the very small number of towns that survived never having a railroad.  One reason for survival in the early days was the Walker Mill.  It served a large area and they produced “Hold the Fort” flour. It went out of operation in 1919.

In it’s early years, it was quite the trade center.  It had big, well stocked stores that handled everything from groceries to machinery, blacksmith shops, restaurants, two churches, doctors, post office, rural mail routes, garage, pool rooms, beer joints, a bank, harness shop, and a lumberyard. 

Today, Fort Ransom hosts the annual 4th of July parade and rodeo.  The annual arts & hobbies show (SVACA) is also well attended.  

The city of Fort Ransom is .31 square miles in area with it all being land, however, the only waterfall in North Dakota is located between Fort Ransom and Lisbon. The population was approximately 75 in 2019.