- Associated Press - Friday, August 15, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A bash at the state Capitol to celebrate North Dakota’s 125th year of statehood will include the display of the pen that President Benjamin Harrison used to sign the admission papers for North Dakota and South Dakota in 1889.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard is bringing the pen to Bismarck for the daylong celebration Saturday that will include entertainment, food, an art exhibit, crafts and children’s activities.

It’s the first of two “signature” events to celebrate North Dakota’s quasquicentennial. The second is planned Nov. 2 - the state’s official birthday - to coincide with the grand opening of the expanded state Heritage Center museum on the Capitol grounds.

North Dakota and South Dakota were both granted statehood on Nov. 2, 1889, when Harrison signed the admission papers for the two states. North Dakota became the 39th state and South Dakota the 40th.

After the signing, Harrison handed the pen to a land agent named John Martin Ruggles. When Ruggles died in 1937, his son, Darwin, gave the pen to his neighbor, Adelaide Finsland, who in turn gave it to her son, Bob. In 1989, in commemoration of South Dakota’s centennial, the Finsland family donated the pen to the South Dakota State Historical Society. It is on display at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

The pen will be on display Saturday at the North Dakota Heritage Center, starting at 10:30 a.m.

Festivities will kick off at 11 a.m. with an opening ceremony featuring remarks by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple; Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley; U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.; and Daugaard.

South Dakota also is holding events this year to celebrate its 125th anniversary, including an event planned in the state capital of Pierre on Nov. 2.

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