Hidatsa Red Field

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The Oscar H. Will Seed Company in Bismarck, North Dakota was founded by Oscar Will who began selling vegetable seeds in 1884. He introduced this variety in 1917 under the name ‘Red Indian.’ Oscar Will sourced a number of his catalog offerings from local native peoples and stated this bean was acquired from Mandan Indians. Two years later, the company reoffered this variety under the name ‘Hidatsa Red,’ named after the Ft. Berthold Tribe where the bean was originally acquired. John Withee received this variety in 1979 from Robert Kennedy of Michigan. Robert purchased his seed stock “years ago” from the Oscar H. Will Seed Company. One day, he realized that he had not grown the seeds in several years. Fearing the worst, he planted the seeds and only a few sprouted and survived to maturity. That fall, Robert harvested the seed and sent half of his seed stock to John for safe keeping.