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North Dakota Counties
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North Dakota Counties

There are fifty-three counties in the state of North Dakota. Pembina County was created by the 1866-1867 Dakota territorial legislature, and was organized on August 12, 1867. The city of Pembina, the oldest European-American settlement in the state, was the county seat from 1867 to 1911. The seat was relocated to Cavalier.

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Cavalier County, North Dakota

Cavalier County Education, Geography, and HistoryCavalier County, North Dakota Courthouse

Cavalier County is a county located in the state of North Dakota. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 3,993. Its county seat is Langdon. The county was created by the 1873 territorial legislature and named for Charles Cavileer of Pembina (1818-1902), one of the earliest white settlers. The county was organized on July 8, 1884. It is south from the Canadian border of Manitoba.

Etymology - Origin of Cavalier County Name

Named by the Territorial Legislature for Charles Turner Cavileer (1818–1902), a well known fur trader, customs agent and postmaster. There is no explanation for the difference in the spelling of "Cavalier," though one placename historian suspects it was an attempt to Gallicize, or make the name appear French.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Cavalier County History

Created by the 1879 territorial legislature and named for Charles Cavalier of Pembina (1818-1902), one of the state's earliest white settlers. The variation in the name is unaccountable. Government organized: July 8, 1884. County Seat: Langdon, 1884-present.

After petitioning the Territorial Governor for permission to organize the county, Patrick McHugh, W. Hudson Matthews, and L.C. Noracong met for the purpose on July 8, 1884. On July 26 the new county officials met for the second time and chose Noracong as Chairman of the Board with William H. Doyle and Matthews as Commissioners. The first Register of Deeds and County Clerk was McHugh. W.J. Mooney became the first Judge of Probate, Charles B. Nelson was the first Cavalier County Supt. of Schools, and Clarence Hawkes the first Sheriff. Cavalier took its current form in 1887 after the Territorial Legislature authorized an increase in size by taking a portion from Pembina County. The expansion added 15 new townships to the county.

The site of the new county seat was chosen at this meeting and named Langdon after Robert Bruce Langdon of Minnesota and official with the Great Northern Railroad. Langdon never visited the town, but reportedly donated a bell for the local school.

The first court house was built in the fall of 1884 at a cost of $360.00. It was used briefly and then abandoned for warmer and more centrally located quarters in a downtown bank. A large brick court house was built in 1895 on the present site at a contract cost of $9,099.00. This building served county officials until the current court house was constructed in 1957-58

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,510 square miles (3,900 km2), of which 1,489 square miles (3,860 km2) is land and 21 square miles (54 km2) (1.4%) is water

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Rural Municipality of Louise, Manitoba (north)
  • Rural Municipality of Pembina, Manitoba (north)
  • Rural Municipality of Stanley, Manitoba (north)
  • Pembina County (east)
  • Walsh County (southeast)
  • Ramsey County (south)
  • Towner County (west)


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