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State Historical Society 








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Copyrighted by 

Orin Grant Libby, 




Letter of Transmittal PA ? E 


Officers, Directors and Members ]4 

Report of the Secretary 

Financial Statement 

Library ... 

„ v 25 



Field Work 


A Story of the Grandson, A Hidatsa Legend 33 

Early History of McKenzie County, Geo. F. Shafer .;i 

Bohemians in Richland County, Wm. H. Elznic 

Conditions in Bohemia 

__ oJ 

The First Settlers ... 

_, - DO 

Present Conditions 


No. 1. Western Bohemian Fraternal Association, Z. C 

B. J., in North Dakota 73 

No. 2. Catholic Workman, Katolicky Delnik- 74 

No. 3. Western Bohemian Catholic Union, Zapadni- 

Ceska Katolicka Jednota, Z. C. K. J 76 

No. 4. The Bohemian-Slovonic Benevolent Society 

Cesko-Slovansky Podporujici Spolek 77 

No 5. Western Bohemian Fraternal Association, 

Zapodm Cesko-Bretrske Jednota, Z. C. B. J 80 

ie First Dunker Colony of North Dakota, Roy Thompson 
The Brethren Church gl 

The First Dunker Settlement in North Dakota . 83 

Religious Activities and First Church 91 


No. 1. Report of Max Rass to the Great Northern 

Railroad, March 25, 1902 03 

No. 2. Some Inquiries addressed to F. L. Thompson 95 



No. 3. Sketch of Max Bass 96 

No. 4. Sketch of S. W. Burkhart 98 

No. 5. Sketch of T. Judson Beekwith 98 

History of the Early Presbyterian Church of North Dakota, 
Bev. Jas. P. Schell 

Introduction 101 

Organized Work on the Northern Frontier 105 

Story of Presbyterial and Synodical Genesis 114 

The Pembina Presbytery, 1879-1885 120 

The Pembina Presbytery, 1885-1888 129 

The Fargo Presbytery, 1877-1900 134 

Fargo *- 134 

Elm Biver 135 

Grandin 136 

Jamestown 136 

Casselton 137 

Wheatland 138 

Tower City 139 

Buffalo 139 

Mapleton 139 

Lisbon 140 

Hillsboro 141 

Monango 141 

Ellendale 141 

Sheldon 142 

Hunter 142 

Blanchard 143 

LaMoure 143 

Ayr .: 144 

Milnor 145 

Lucca „ 145 

Enderlin 146 

Sanborn 147 

Galesburg 148 

Broadlawn 148 

Erie 148 



Courtenay 149 

Oakes 149 

Chaffee 149 


No. 1. Reminiscences by the Pioneers 

Rev. O. H. Elmer : 153 

Rev. I. O. Sloan 155 

Rev. John H. Baldwin 158 

Rev. J. F. Berry 162 

Rev. A. K. Caswell 164 

Rev. Daniel Williams 165 

No. 2. Statistical Report 170 

Location and Survey of the Northern International Bound- 
ary Line, Ethel J. May 179 


No. 1. British Commission 217 

No. 2. American Commission 218 

No. 3. Journal of J. E. Bangs 219 

The Hudson Bay Company and the Red River Trade, Hattie 

Early History, 1670-1821 235 

International Relations 249 

The Rise of Free Trade 257 

The End of the Monoply 289 


No. 1. Petition of the Inhabitants and Natives 307 

No. 2. Petition (translated from the French) 310 

No. 3. Deed of Land to Joseph Monkman 312 

No. 4. Memorial from Red River Country 317 

No. 5. Papers delivered in by A. K. Isbister, March 

5, 1857 .' 322 

No. 6. Supplies from Colony, 1841, to Norway 

House 326 

No. 7. Freighter's License 327 

No. 8. Petition of American Importers 328 

No. 9. Translation of a Letter from Rev. Mr. Bel- 

cour to Mr. A. K. Isbister 329 



No. 10. Copy of Instructions to the Delegates by 

Members of the Committee 331 

No. 11. To the Metis and Colonists of Red River 333 

No. 12. The Hudson's Bay Company Trading Form 333 
No. 13. Letter Received from the Red River dated 

Sept. 8, 1848 334 

No. 14. Resolutions adopted at Red River, May 

25, 1857 334 

Bibliography 336 

The Dakota Territorial Census of 1885 

Allred County 1 338 

Bowman County 340 

Buford County 345 

Dunn County 359 

Mcintosh County 361 

McKenzie County 373 

Mercer County 375 

Mountrail County 383 

Oliver County 393 

Renville County 402 

Stanton County 404 

Towner County 413 

Villard County , 423 

Wallace County 429 

Ward County 431 

Wells County 439 

Wynn County 447 

Summary of Evidence in the Controversy between the Hud- 
son's Bay Company and the North West Company 449 

The Minutes of the Council of the Northern Department of 

Rupert's Land, 1830-1843 

Introduction, Isaac Cowie 644 

Minutes of Council, 1830 649 

1831 663 

1832 679 

1833 694 

1835 713 



1836 727 

1837 745 

1839 761 

1840 777 

1841 .: 792 

1842 809 

1843 824 


Standing Rules and Regulations 841 

Russian Agreement, 1839 853 

Instructions for Preparing Caviare 859 

Average Price List of Valuing Returns of Trade 859 

Estimated Requisition for Country Produce, 1845 

Norwav House 864 


G. M. Frye 43 

Daniel Manning 46 

W. J. Goodall 50 

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Chezik 63 

Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Lorenz 63 

Albert Formanek 65 

Mrs. Albert Formanek 66 

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Polda , 68 

Mr. and Mrs. John Wacha 68 

Mr. and Mrs. Fr. Philip 68 

Mr. and Mrs. Matt Kouba 70 

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Novotny 72 

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Chezik 72 

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Bezenek 74 

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Formanek, Jr 74 

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Formanek 76 

Dr. Fred Formanek 76 

Max Bass .. 96 

Bev. John Irwin 118 

Bev. B. J. Creswell 121 

Bev. C. B. Stevens 134 

Bev. E. J. Thompson 138 

Bev. Francis M. Wood 143 

Bev. O. H. Elmer 153 

Bev. I. O. Sloan 155 

Bev. Daniel Williams 165 

Bev. and Mrs. John Scott 167 

Special Great Northern Train at Union Station, St. Paul, Minn., 

with Dunker Settlers 89 


Map of Vicinity of the North West Point of the Lake of the 

Woods 200 

Maps of Survey of International Boundary from Lake of the 

Woods to the Bocky Mountains 214 


To the Governor : 

The secretary of the State Historical Society of North Da- 
kota, in behalf of the directors of the same, herewith transmits 
the report of the Society for the biennial period ending Jnne 
30, 1912. 

The increased interest in our work and the widening scope 
cf onr labors are both registered in the material contained in the 
present volume. 

0. G. LIBBY, 

Grand Forks, N. D., Jan. 11. 1913. 


671 Thomas Taylor, P. M. for Thomas Taylor, P. Mr. 

Wm. Clouston, P. M. for Wm. Clouston, P. Mr. 

674 Omit the words "Columbia continued and "New Caledonia 

Benjamin McKenzie P. M. for Benjamin McKenzie, P. Mr. 
690 Omit the words "Columbia contd". 
707 Omit the words "Columbia contd". 
725 Further for futher. 
754 between for betwenn. 

763 Bussian American Fur Company for Bussian American Fure 

773 Omit the words "Columbia arrangements continued". 





Term Expires 

Chas. F. Amidon, Fargo, President March 31, 1915 

C. B. Little, Bismarck, Vice President March 31, 1917 

J. L. Cashel, Grafton, Treasurer March 31, 1915 

0. G. Libby, Grand Forks, Secretary March 31, 1915 


J. L. Bell, Bismarck March 31, 1917 

L. F. Crawford, Sentinel Butte March 31, 1915 

Chas. J. Fisk, Bismarck March 31, 1917 

John M. Gillette, Grand Forks March 31, 1915 

H. J. Hagen, Fargo March 31, 1917 

Sveinbjorn Johnson, Cavalier March 31, 1915 

X. G. Larimore, Larimore March 31, 1915 

W. H. Mann. New Salem March 31, 1915 

W. B. Overson, Williston March 31, 1917 

Dr. J. D. Taylor, Grand Forks March 31, 19117 

F. A. Wardwell, Pembina March 31, 1917 

fm. H. White, Fargo March 31, 1917 

Ex-Officio Directors — Governor, Auditor, Secretary of State, 
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commissioner of Agricul- 
ture and Labor. 



¥m. H. White Fargo 

Geo. B. Winship .....The Palms, National City, Calif. 

C. A. Lounsberry Washington, D. C. 


T. E. Cooper Grafton 

Mrs. Christina A. Dunn Bismarck 

Rev. C. L. Hall ...Elbowoods 

Judson LaMoure Pembina 

Grant A. Marsh ...Bismarck 

Mrs. Phoebe Marsh Bismarck 

E. R. Steinbrueck Mandan 

Helen Veeder Mandan 



Amidon, Chas. F Fargo 

Anders, Frank L Fargo 

Andrews, C. W Walhalla 

Anderson, 0. P. N Starkweather 

Arnold, H. V Larimore 

Babcock, E. J University 

Babcock, E. J University 

Bangs, Tracy R , - Grand Forks 

Barnes, F. R Wahpeton 

Batt, Max - Fargo 

Bek, W. G University 

Bell, J. L - Bismarck 

Bergman, E. H Gardar 

Berry, H. L Stanon 

Black, R. M - - Wahpeton 

Blaisdell, Alfred - - Minot 

Brannon, M. A University 

Brown, A. D Stanton 

Bruce, A. A Bismarck 

Burleson, Rev. John K , Grand Forks 

Campbell, R. D. Grand Forks 

Carmody, John Hillsboro 

Carter, E. H Wahpeton 

Cash el, J. L , Grafton 

Clarke, Sidney .Grand Forks 

Clifford, J. E -.Minneapolis 

Clifford, Geo. B ...Grand Forks 

Collins, Stephen Grand Forks 

Conklin, F. L Bismarck 

Cooley, Chas. M Grand Forks 

Cooper, E. C Grand Forks 

Cooper, R. C Cooperstown 

Corliss, Guy C. H '. Portland, Ore. 

Crawford, Lewis F ..Sentinel Butte 

Davis, Mrs. Mattie M Fargo 

Dimpfl, Rev. Clemens Mandan 

Dixon, Arthur Rolla 

Doran, J. K Bismarck 

Dorval, H. E _ ...Langdon 

Engsted, J. E ' Minneapolis, Minn. 

Farrell, Alfred C 141 Broadway, N. Y. 

Farrand, John D Fargo 

Fish, H. C Bismarck 

Fisk, C. J Bismarck 

Fjelde, H. ....: ..Abercrombie 

Foley, Jas. W. ..Medora 

Folsom, E. Fargo 


Forbes, Rev. J. H Oakwood 

Gillette, John M r University 

Griffith, R. B. Grand Forks 

Grassick, J Grand Forks 

Grimson, G Munich 

Hagen, H. J Fargo 

Hall, Thomas Bismarck 

Hansborough, H. C Devils Lake 

Hanson, Adolph Driscoll 

Heerman, Capt. E. E Devils Lake 

Heyward, Richard Grand Forks 

Holmes, D. M Grand Forks 

Hoople, A Hoople 

Hoyt, Mrs. C. L Mandan 

Hunter, W. H Fargo 

Hurtt, Geo. H Hoople 

Jackson, Leroy F Pullman, "Wash. 

James Memorial Library Williston 

Johnson, S Cavalier 

Joy, Willis A Grand Forks 

Kittel, R. C Casselton 

Ladd r A. J Grand Forks 

Lander, E. J Grand Forks 

Larimore, N. G Larimore 

Lauder, Mrs. W. S Wahpeton 

Leonard, A. G Grand Forks 

Lewis, Robt. S Fargo 

Lee,..Chas. H Walhalla 

Libby, 0. G Grand Forks 

Linn, Albert Osnabrock 

Little, C. B ; Bismarck 

Mager, Ernestine Walhalla 

Mager, John F Walhalla 

Maher, John W Devils Lake 

Mann, Bishop Cameron Fargo 

Mann, W. H., New Salem 

Marshall, Thosr F Oakes 

McDowell, W. C Marion 

McFarland, Geo. A Valley City 

McHose, J. W Fargo 

Mclntyre, Geo Mayville 

Merrifield, Webster Pasadena, Calif. 

Middaugh, Henry G Devils Lake 

Nash, W. K Minneapolis, Minn. 

Newton, Geo. W Bismarck 

North Dakota History and Social Science Assoc. 

Miss Bertha Palmer Williston 


O'Driscoll, Rev. M. J Fargo 

Overson, W. B Williston 

Plumley, H. C Fargo 

Pollock, Eobt. M Fargo 

Pollock, J .R Casselton 

Powell, A. M Devils Lake 

Powell, W. D Fargo 

Radcliffe, Samuel J Larimore 

Rathman, Mrs. Chas. F Jamestown 

Roach, Joseph Minot 

Roning, 0. E Charleson 

Schell, Rev. Jas. P Leeds 

Schweigert, C. F Stanton 

Schultheis, A. G Grand Forks 

Scott, Col. H. L Ft. Sam Houston,, Texas 

Serumgard, Ole Devils Lake 

Skulason, B. G Portland, Ore. 

Spalding, B. F Bismarck 

Spokesfield, W. E Jamestown 

Stanley, Chas. H Steele 

Stearns, W. N Fargo 

Steinbach, Alex Jamestown 

Strong, J. F Wakpala, S. Dak. 

Styer, Mrs. C Crosby 

Taylor, J. D Grand Forks 

Terrett, J. H Michigan 

Thomas, Geo. S Grand Forks 

Thompson, F. L Cando 

Torgerson, Samuel Grand Forks 

Trimble, W. J ; Fargo 

Trovaaten, A. A Fargo 

Truax, Allen L Crosby 

Upson, F. M Englewood, N. J. 

Vick ; H. C Cavalier 

Wardrope, Victor Leeds 

Wardwell, F. A Pembina 

Wehrle, Rt. Rev. Vincent Bismarck 

Welch, A. B Bismarck 

Wheelock, H. H Fargo 

White, C. D 2616 Emerson Ave. So., Minneapolis, Minn. 

Whithed, H. L Grand Forks 

Whipple, Howard Devils Lake 

Will, Geo. F Bismarck 

Williams, Mrs. S. E University 

Winter, C. B Bismarck 

Wright, E. H South Bend, Wash. 

Yoder, W. A Fargo 

Report of the Secretary 

BEGINNING JULY 1, 1910, and END- 
ING JUNE 30, 1912. 

Report of Receipts and Expenditures of the State Historical 
Society of North Dakota from July 1, 1910 to June 30, 1911. 

Balance of annual state appropriation of $4600 

on hand July 1, 1910 $2931.36 

Annual state appropriation available for use 

January 1, 3911 4600.00 

Regular appropriation for the His- 
torical Society $2,000 

For salary of curator 1,800 

For field work 800 

Collections (sale of land belonging to 

State Historical Society) 177.00 

Total $7708.36 

Total amount expended by vouchers drawn by 
the secretary on the annual state appropri- 
ation and paid by state warrants from July 

1, 1910 to June 30, 1911 $5298.39 

Balance on hand July 1, 1911 2409.97 

Balance in the Treasury of the State Historical 

Society July 1, 1910 $112.25 

Dues received from July 1 1910 to June 30, 1911 96.00 
Sale of volumes of Collections from July 1„ 1910 

to June 30, 1911 _ 20.87 

Miscellaneous receipts 6.30 

State Warrants : 

90397, Sept. 16, 1910 '. 150.50 

91037, Oct. 24, 1910 81.51 

92318, Dec. 22, 1910 49.33 

92319, Dec. 22, 1910 53.71 

96340, Apr. 21, 1911 139.89 

Total $710.36 


Warrants drawn by the secretary on J. L. Cashel, treas- 
urer of the State Historical Society from July 1, 1910 

to June 30, 1911 - $527.89 

Balance on hand July 1, 1911 182.47 

Report of Receipts and Expenditures of the State Historical 
Society of North Dakota from July 1, 1911 to June 30, 1912. 

Balance of annual state appropriation of $4600 

on hand July 1, 1911 $2409.97 

Annual State Appropriation 4600.00 

Total $7009.97 

Total amount expended by vouchers drawn by the sec- 
retary on the annual state appropriation and paid by 
state warrants from July 1, 1911 to June 30, 1912.... $4209.78 
Balance on hand July 1, 1912 2800.19 



Balance in the treasury of the State Historical 

Society of North Dakota July 1, 1911 $182.47 

Dues received from July 1, 1911 to June 30, 1912 234.00 

Sale of volumes of the Collections from July 1, 

1911 to June 30, 1912 30.12 

Miscellaneous Receipts 4.75 

State Warrants: 

No. 100755, Oct. 9, 1911 132.19 

No. 103710,. Jan. 23, 1912 5.25 

No. 103711, Jan. 23, 1912 41.71 

Total $630.49 

Warrants drawn on J. L. Cashel, treasurer of the State 

Historical Society from July 1, 1911 to June 30, 1912 $296.56 
Balance on hand July 1, 1912 333.93 


Library and Exchange List 


Field Work 



During the past year the board of trustees of public property 
have put in order the old boiler room adjoining the museum 
for the purpose of a library. This increase of space has furnished 
an opportunity for the Society to properly display its books and 
to give the public access to them. 

During t'he past two years the library has grown rapidly by 
the purchase of books bearing on our state history and also on 
history of the entire northwest. Very large additions have been 
made, also, by exchanging publications with other societies and 
libraries in both the United States and in Canada. 

Our collections have been enriched by the addition of im- 
portant diaries formerly belonging to the pioneers of the state. 
Two of these are especially important for the information they 
contain regarding the life on the upper Missouri. A portion of 
the diary of Henry Boiler, trader at Fort Berthold from 1858 to 
1862, was furnished us by Mrs. Henry Boiler along with many 
other letters he wrote at that time. The diary of Rev. C. L. Hall, 
Congregational missionary at Fort Berthold and Elbowoods, 
which he has kept from 1876 to the present time, forms an ex- 
ceedingly valuable record of mission work and Indian life for over 
thirty years. The diaries of Eben Starr of Tracy, Minnesota, and 
Frank Myers of Miller, S. D., furnish valuable material on the Sib- 
ley and Sully expeditions in this state. The relatives of F. A. Van 
Ostrand, Whose diary has been copied by the Society, have sent 
additional data and letters written during the early seventies. 

A number of old maps have come into the possession of the 
Society along with a fine set of local maps donated by the San- 
born company. 

Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California. 
Academy of Science, Springfield, Illinois. 
Agricultural College, Fargo, N. D. 
Alabama Historical Society, Montgomery, Ala. 
American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. 
American Geographical Society of New York. 
American Museum of Natural History, New York. 
Atlanta University, Atlanta., Ga. 
Boston Book Co., Boston, Mass. 
Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, D. C. 
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, Cal. 
Carnegie Library, Ottawa, Canada. 
Carlisle Indian Press, Carlisle, Penn. 
Chicago Historical Society, Chicago, 111. 
Charleston Museum, Charleston, S. C. 


Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Col. 

Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Conn. 

Dedham Historical Society, Dedham, Mass. 

Delaware Historical Society, Wilmington, Del. 

Department of Agriculture, Ottawa, Canada. 

Department of History, Pierre, S. D. 

Davenport Academy of Sciences, Davenport, la. 

Deutscher Pioneer- Vereins, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Entomological Society of Ontario, Guelph, Can. 

Essex Institute, Salem, Mass. 

Evanston Historical Society, Evanston, 111. 

Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, 111. 

Fort Totten Review, Fort Totten, N. D. 

Free Public Library, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Ga. 

Geographical Society of Quebec, Quebec, Can. 

German-American Historical Society of Illinois, Chicago, 111. 

Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. 

Historical Department of Iowa, Des Moines, la. 

Historical Society of Southern California, Los Angeles, Cal. 

Illinois Academy of Science, Springfield, 111. 

Illinois State Historical Library, Urbana, 111. 

Indian Rights Association, Philadelphia, Penn. 

Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, Ind. 

Iowa Academy of Sciences, Des Moines, la. 

Ipswich Historical Society, Ipswich, Mass. 

Laidlow, G. E., Ontario, Canada. 

Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. 

Long Island Historical Society, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans, La. 

Maine Historical Society, Portland, Me. 

Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Md. 

Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Mass. 

Michigan State Library, Lansing, Mich. 

Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, Wis. 

Minneapolis Public Library, Minneapolis, Minn. 

Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis, Mo. 

Mississippi Valley Historical Society, Lincoln, Neb. 

Moorhead W. R., Andover, Mass. 

Nebraska Legislative Reference Bureau, Lincoln, Nebr. 

New Brunswick Historical Society, St, Johns, N. B. 

New England Historical and Genealogical Society, Boston, 

New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, N. J. 
New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord, N. H. 
New Hampshire State Library, Concord, N. H. 
New Mexico Historical Society, Santa Fe, N. M. 


New York Historical Society, New York. 

New York Public Library, New York. 

New York State Library, Albany, N. Y. 

Niagara Historical Society, Ontario, Canada 

North Carolina Historical Society, Chapel Hill, N. C. 

Northern Indiana Historical Society, South Bend, Ind. 

Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, Columbus, 0. 

Ohio Historical and Philosophical Society, Cincinnati, 0. 

Ontario Agricultural College, Guelph, Canada 

Ontario, Historical Society, Toronto, Canada 

Ontario Provincial Museum and Art Gallery,, Toronto, Canada 

Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Ore. 

Ottawa Literary and Historical Society, Ottawa, Canada 

Pacific Monthly, Portland, Ore. 

Peabody Historical Society, Peabody, Mass. 

Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia, Pa. 

P'hillips Academy, Dept. of Archaeology, Andover, Mass. 

Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Princeton University, Princeton, N. J. 

Records of the Past Exploration Society, Washington, D. C. 

Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, R. I. 

Riggs, A. L. Santee, Neb. 

Shafer, Joseph, Eugene, Ore. 

Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D. C. 

Society of Montana Pioneers, Helena, Mont. 

Society of California Pioneers, San Francisco, Cal. 

South Dakota State School of Mines, Rapid City, S. D. 

State Historical Association, Austin, Texas 

State Historical Society of Illinois, Urbana, 111. 

State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City, la. 

State Historical Society of Kansas, Topeka, Kan. 

State Historical Society of Louisiana, New Orleans, La. 

State Historical Society of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn. 

State Historical Society of Mississippi, University, Miss. 

State Historical Society of Montana, Helena, Mont. 

State Historical Society of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebr. 

State Historical Society of Oklahoma, Guthrie, Okla. 

State Historical Society of Washington, Seattle, Wash. 

State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. 

State Museum of Natural History, Springfield, Mass. 

Tennessee Historical Society, Nashville, Tenn. 

Tennessee Valley Historical Society, Guntersville, Ala. 

Texas State Historical Association, Austin, Tex. 

The Historian, Mission Hill, S. D. 

Trinity College Historical Society, Durham, N. C. 

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark. 

University of California, Berkeley, Cal. 


University of Colorado, Boulder, Col. 

University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. 

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn. 

University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo. 

University of North Dakota, University, N. D. 

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa. 

University of Toronto, Canada 

University of Washington, Seattle, Wash. 

Vermont Historical Society, Montpelier, Vt. 

Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society, Vineland, N. J. 

Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Va. 

Washington Historical Society, Tacoma, Wash. 

Wentworth Historical Society,. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 

Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, 0. 

West Virginia Historical Society, Charleston, W. Va. 

Wisconsin Archaeological Society, Madison, Wis. 

Wyoming Historical Society, Cheyenne, Wy. 

Wyoming Valley Historical and Genealogical Society, Wilkes- 

barre, Pa. ' 
Yale University, New Haven, Conn. 



The crowded condition of the museum rooms have made it 
impossible for the Society to enter into any considerable collect- 
ing in the state. For the past two years considerable work has 
been done however in the collecting of material illustrative of our 
early Indian agriculture, their secret societies and the hunting of 
their game. A collection of. food stuff used by the upper Missouri 
Indians has been begun and already includes many specimens of 
corn, squash, sunflower seed, Indian turnip and wild cherries, in 
the various stages of preparation. To this collection is being 
added another of the agricultural implements in early use, such 
as the shoulder blade hoe, bone spade, digging stick, and wooden 
mortar and pestle. 

Of the weapons used in hunting, the society is in possession 
of the elk horn bow backed with sinew, arrows tipped with flint, 
bone, sinew, iron and copper, the flint knife set in a wood handle 
and the Hudson Bay Co. knife. For tools used in the preparation 
of the hides there are numerous specimens of bone fleshers and 
elk horn scrapers. The latest addition is the old style fish trap 
with the accompanying paraphernalia including the songs, and 
also photographs showing various stages of manufacture and use. 

The Indians of the state are manifesting an increased interest 
in what the Society is doing to preserve the relics of their early 
days. They have visited the museum constantly and are taking 
a personal interest in adding to its collections. A Mandan woman 
has given us a model of the old earth lodge of her tribe, fashioned 
according to the sacred rites of her ancestors. 

Mrs. A. D. Anderson of Bismarck recently loaned the Society 
a considerable collection of Sioux specimens. Other citizens are 
contributing from time to time pioneer relics of the early days. 
A number of old guns and revolvers have been donated, also a 
Hudson Bay Co. bullet mold. The curator is anxious to secure rep- 
resentative collections illustrating the early life of the various 
nationalities represented in this state. So far the Icelandic col- 
lection is the only one which is at all complete. 



During the season of 1911 two important explorations were 
conducted. A preliminary examination of the Sheyenne and 
James River valleys was made and among other results the first 
true effigy mounds in the state were discovered. Later in the 
season the Mandan villages on the east side of the Missouri river 
were explored and listed and the field work was extended to the 
Grand river, South Dakota. The principal value derived from 
this trip was the widening of the field of inquiry to include the 
Sioux. Work in this region will be continued next year. The 
Society found the assistance of Rev. A. McG. Beede, field mission- 
ary at Cannon Ball, of great value ; he is a keen observer and has 
the confidence of the Indians. 

The field work of 1912 was done largely among the Indians 
on the Ft. Berthold reservation. Through co-operation with the 
United States Bureau of Ethnology we were able to secure the 
services of Miss Frances Densmore, government expert in Indian 
music. Miss Densmore recorded and transcribed a considerable 
number of old Mandan songs. With them she secured exact ac- 
counts of the significance of many of the songs and a large amount 
of material upon the secret societies of this tribe. Next in im- 
portance came the Hidatsa songs of which many were secured, 
some unusually fine. In addition to this there were secured twen- 
ty-three records of typical Mandan words and five records giving 
entire an ancient Mandan legend. The cylinders recording all 
this materia] were deposited in the vault of the Society at the state 
capitol. The complete report will appear later in the publica- 
tions of the Bureau of Ethnology. While this work was going 
on, the secretary, in company with Rev. Beede, spent some weeks 
among the Arikara, procuring from the surviving scouts who 
served under Custer in 1876 a complete account of that remarka- 
ble campaign. This hitherto unused evidence throws a flood of 
light upon many obscure phases of the subject and will be later 
published with the Sioux account of the same events. Among the 
most valuable results of this piece of field work is a chart of the 
Little Big Horn battle field illustrating the part played by the 
Arikara scouts under Reno. 

All of which report is respectfully submitted, 

0. G. LIBBY, Secretary. 




The sun and the moon had a quarrel. The sun said to the 
moon, "I know the most beautiful woman in the world." "No" 
said the moon, " It is I who know the most beautiful woman in 
the world." The sun said to the moon, "Who is the most beau- 
tiful woman in the world?" And the moon replied: — "The most 
beautiful woman in the world is a Hidatsa maiden whom I see 
every night going from the village over the bank through the 
woods to the river for water, carrying in her hand the earthen 
pail." The sun replied: — "The most beautiful woman in the 
world is the Creek woman, whom every day I see at the bottom 
of a deep hole in the ground as I pass overhead." The moon 
laughed and said to the sun: — "How can a Creek woman com- 
pare in beauty to the maiden whom I see every evening?" The 
sun answered: — "If this maiden were to look me in the face she 
would no longer be beautiful, but the Creek woman looks upon 
my face with open eyes and not like your maiden with her eyes 
closed and her face twisted and distorted." So they quarreled, 
and finally they agreed that they would each bring his favorite 
up into the heavens and there compare them, one with the other. 
The sun drawing water sent down his long rays and drew the 
Creek woman up along one of these lines to himself. The moon 
also sought to obtain this Indian maiden in the following way. 
One evening the Indian maiden was going with one of her com- 
panions to the river for wood. They passed out of the village 
through the ditch over the edge of the hill upon which the vil- 
lage was located, and down the path into the brush and timber 
growing on the edge of the river. As she walked alon^ Jie no- 
ticed how large and beautiful the moon Avas, shining through the 
trees, for it was the time of full moon. Presently she car e to 
where a large tree had partly fallen against its companions and 
as she glanced up the slanting trunk she saw near the top a large 
hedgehog. She said to her companion: — "Sit here and I will go 
and kill this hedgehog and get his quills. She seized 
a stick and started up the slanting trunk, finding it a very 
easy pathway for her feet, and plenty of branches to take hold 
of to 'help her going up. When she arrived near the hedgehog 
she raised her stick to strike it, but it slid backward up the tree 
a little way. Again she advanced and again it slid or scuttled 
up the tree, each time just avoiding her attack. This went on 
for some time until presently she was aroused by the cry of her 
companion. Looking down she found she had come a very long 
way indeed and saw herself far above the tops of the tallest trees. 
She noticed also that the trunk over which she had walked was 

This legend is given exactly as told by Scattered Corn, daughter of Move 
Slowly, the last of the Mandan holy men and guardians of the sacred tribal 
relics. The interpreter was Jas. H. Eagle, grandson of Move Slowly. [Ed.l 


now entirely smooth and without branches. She glanced quickly 
back at the hedgehog, who now stood black against the moon, 
and she realized that this was a magic animal who had power 
to destroy her. She called down to her companion as do all In- 
dians in times of extreme peril, or when they are about to die, 
"You may have all my things." As she said this, the hedgehog 
melted into the moon, and the moon seized her and carried her 
off. So the sun and the moon came together, each bringing the 
most beautiful woman in the world. They decided that the test 
should be made by giving each of their favorites some food to 
eat, and they agreed that whichever one made the most noise 
while eating should be declared the winner. In this contest the 
Creek woman was unable to make any noise, and, not wishing 
to be entirely beaten by the Indian maiden, she took from the 
fire some coals and chewed them with her food, making a slight 
crushing sound. The black from the coal ran down from the 
corners of her mouth and the moon began to laugh and jeer at 
her appearance, whereupon she leaped upon the moon and fast- 
ened on his breast. He tore her away and threw her into the 
edge of the fire, but again she leaped at him and clung fast. At 
last he began to be weary of this and the Creek woman remained 
clinging to his breast. You will still see her in the sky when you 
look at the moon. The Indian maiden became the wife of the 
moon and lived with him many years^ A son was born to them 
and when the boy was five or six years old, his mother took him 
out with her to dig Indian turnips. The father warned them not 
to dig the largest turnip nor pull it from the ground. This 
aroused her curiosity and she pulled up a large turnip. She no- 
ticed that a deep hole was left in the ground and being anxious 
to know what it contained she lay close down and looked through 
the hole. To her great astonishment she found she was able to see 
the earth far below and also the Missouri river. She looked care- 
fully and thought she made out her own village close to the river 
bank. This made her extremely homesick and she longed to 
return to the earth, but she had to turn back to her home, carry- 
ing her boy on her back. "When her husband returned from hunt- 
ing, for he was accustomed to go out every day, she said to him : 
"When you go tomorrow, hunting, bring back to me all the sin- 
ews of a buffalo. Do not leave any out." As this was her first 
request, he obeyed without question and the next evening re- 
turned with the bundle of buffalo sinews. But by mis- 
take he had left out three small sinews, but neither of 
them knew it at this time. The next day when her 
husband left for the hunt, she set about making a long cord by 
braiding the sinews which her husband had brought her. She 
worked so rapidly that soon she had a very long cord which would 
bear her weight easily.. Then she started out for the hole in the 


ground which she had marked with a stick the day before. When 
she arrived, she placed her stick crosswise of the hole and fast- 
ened one end of the sinew cord to it and let the cord down 
through the hole toward the earth. Then she fastened her boy 
securely upon her back with her blanket and began to descend 
the cord hand over hand. As she climbed further down, tue 
wind caught her, and swung her to and fro slowly through the 
air but she climbed down farther and farther, feeling with her 
feet for the rope beneath her which she could not see. At last, 
as she grew quite weary, she discovered that she could no longer 
feel the rope Avith 'her feet below her hands. She glanced down- 
ward with great effort and discovered that the rope was too short 
to reach the earth. The three sinews that her husband had not 
brought her made the rope that much shorter. Now she hung 
far above the top of the tallest tree. Here she remained sus- 
pended without daring to let go and unable to form any plan 
whereby she could save herself and her boy. When her husband 
returned home at night with his game Which he had killed in the 
hunt, he found the tepee dark, no fire burning and his wife and 
boy gone. Instantly he set about to discover the trail by which 
they had left the tepee and speedily he found himself at the en- 
trance of the hole through which his wife had escaped toward 
the earth. When he saw the stick and sinew cord, he knew at 
once what had happened and he became extremely angry at what 
his wife had done. Looking through the hole, he discovered that 
she had not yet reached the earth and, in fact, she had ceased to 
descend because the rope was too short. Thereupon he selected a 
large stone lying on the ground near by and began to make it of 
the right size to go through the hole by rubbing it with both 
hands and saying at the same time, ' ' Get smaller, get smaller, get 
smaller." AYhen it had been made very small indeed, he took 
it to the sinew cord and placed it firmly against the side and said 
to the stone : " Go down,, following the cord all the way and kill 
the woman Who has tried to steal my boy." The stone thereupon 
slid swiftly downward, faster and faster, until finally it struck 
the woman upon the head and killed her and she fell as a bird 
falls to the earth, her blanket fluttering and swelling in the wind, 
so that she did not strike the earth hard enough to kill the boy. 
The boy had been crying from fright before his mother fell and 
the fall stunned him for some time. Then he came to himself and 
found his mother did not move; he struggled with the folds of 
the blanket and finally succeeded in getting free and began to run 
about on the ground, calling for his mother to find him something 
to eat. When she did not move, he began to go further and fur- 
ther in search of something to eat. At nightfall, he returned to 
her body where he slept. The next day he sought still further 
for food, so that he never returned again to his mother's side. 


At length, he came to the garden of the grandmother, an old 
woman who lived alone in what the Indians noAv call the ' ' Grand- 
mother 's Lodge," the remains of which they still point out,, in 
dim outline, upon the edge of the bank in the tall grass on the 
Fort Berthold Reservation. The garden was in the low ground 
among the bushes*and weeds of the bottom land at the foot of the 
hill where her tepee stood. The boy found the garden full of 
corn, squashes and sunflowers and he ate eagerly of the green 
corn. When morning broke, he hid himself at some distance 
from the garden and the old woman, coming down the hill to the 
garden, discovered his footprints in the soft ground in all parts of 
the garden. Now this garden was guarded and protected by the 
animals who helped the grandmother raise her crop each year, 
The deer plowed the ground with their horns, the ducks and geese 
picked the harmful insects and helped to keep the garden free 
from weeds, so that she was much surprised to find in the soft 
mould of the garden footprints entirely unlike what she had ever 
seen there before. She recognized them as belonging to her own 
race and she desired very much to possess the child who had wan- 
dered into her garden. In order to do this, she must first make 
medicine but she could not make medicine until she knew whether 
the child was a boy or a girl. So she returned to her lodge and 
spent the day making a beautiful playing ball, such as the Indian 
girls use in their games, and a bow and arrows such as the boys 
are accustomed to use in learning to shoot. These she took back 
to the garden just at dusk and placed upon the ground, retiring 
to her lodge for the night. When the boy again sought the gar- 
den for his meal, he discovered the bow and arrows and the play- 
ing ball upon the ground. He paid no attention to the playing 
ball, but eagerly seized the bow and arrows, the first he had ever 
seen. He practiced shooting upon the corn, the sun flowers and 
squashes and when morning came the garden was a wreck. Eag- 
erly the old woman descended from her lodge to discover by the 
traces in the garden whether the child was a boy or a girl. When 
she saw the corn and squashes and sun flowers shot to pieces by 
the arrows, she exclaimed joyfully, "It is a boy!" and immedi- 
ately began to make medicine by which she might seize and hold 
him as her own. All day she labored in her lodge, using her ut- 
most powers of enchantment and at dusk she descended the hill 
and changed herself into an old carrying basket, such as the 
women are accustomed to use about the village. When the boy 
came back again once more to the garden for corn to eat and to 
shoot again at the squashes and the sun flowers in the garden, 
he passed close by the old carrying basket without noticing it. 
As he did so, the old woman changed her shape and seized him 
and held him fast. She carried him to her tepee and he became 
the grandson whom all the Indians know as the ' ' Morning Star. ' ' 


As he grew older, he developed magic powers which at times 
alarmed the grandmother and made her fear him. He noticed 
that the grandmother was in the habit of taking a dish of food 
into a corner of the lodge, where a large blanket lay upon a low 
bed or couch. He saw her thrust under this blanket the dish 
of food and that when it was removed it was always empty. At 
last he said. "Grandmother, what is it that you give food to un- 
der the blanket?" But she said to him, "Never ask and never 
look, it will do us all harm." So when the old woman was in the 
garden gathering corn, the grandson took his bow and arrows 
into the lodge, went softly to the side of the blanket and pulled 
it back to see what was concealed there. To his great surprise, 
there was an enormous snake, very large, around, with eyes as 
large as sunflowers. It opened its mouth at him but he said "I 
am not afraid of you" and taking his bow and arroAv, he shot 
the snake in the neck just under the mouth and the snake writhed 
and twisted and fell from the couch and filled the room with 'his 
body, twisting and turning in every direction. The grandson 
went out, saying "I will tell my grandmother what you are do- 
ing." When the grandmother climbed the hill with her load 
of corn, the grandson said, "Grandmother, there is a big snake 
in the house and it covers the floor of the lodge. I shot it in the 
neck but it is not yet dead." The grandmother then said, "You 
are a bad child. The snake is my husband and now we shall all 
die." So she entered the lodge, pulled the arrow from the throat 
of the snake and lifted it in her arms as best she could saying, 
"My grandson is a bad child and did not know who you were." 
So carrying it she reached the edge of the Short Missouri and 
threw it into the water where it still lies, as all the Indians know. 
The grandson gradually came to wander away from the lodge 
in every direction but the grandmother said to him, "Do not go 
on the hill behind the lodge where- the thick bushes grow, and 
when he asked why he should not go there, the grandmother 
said, "You will be hurt if you go there." So at the first oppor- 
tunity the grandson climbed the hill back of the lodge and came 
close to the bushes there, when a great bear thrust his head out 
of the bushes and growling attempted to seize the grandson in his 
claws, but he said to him, "Are you not ashamed to try and fright- 
en me," and he ordered him to stop and the bear stopped. Then 
the grandson pulled a long bull snake out of the grass, made a 
noose at the end and placed it about the bear's nose and turned 
and led him down the hill to the lodge. He tied him to the door 
of the lodge and ran to meet the grandmother who was climbing 
the hill with her load of corn, saying "Grandmother, I have a 
pet dog and he is tied to the door of the lodge." When the grand- 
mother saw the huge bear she was very much frightened and she 
ran quickly to the lodge door and unloosed the snake from the 


bear's nose,, saying, "My grandson is a bad child and does many 
things which I have asked 'him not to do." The bear being re- 
leased ran growling up the hill and was seen no more. 

By this time the grandmother had become thoroughly afraid 
of the grandson, since she was convinced that he possessed strong- 
er medicine than she had. She had told him on a previous occa- 
sion never to go to the large red butte which still stands on the 
bank of the Missouri near the lodge of the old grandmother and 
which the Indians call the "Snake's Home." This command of 
the grandmother had aroused the grandson's curiosity and he de- 
termined to explore this hill. One day he climbed the rising 
ground and came to the foot of the red butte or the Snake's Home. 
To his great surprise, it appeared to be open at the end like a 
cave. After thinking it over for a moment, he picked up a large flat 
stone and carried it with him into the hill. As he passed the en- 
trance, it was closed behind him, leaving no trace of an entrance. 
He found himself in an immense underground room within the 
hill and on every side of him were ranged rows and rows of snakes 
of all sizes and descriptions, with their heads up from the ground, 
tier upon tier. He did not show any fear of them but placed his 
large flat stone upon the floor of the room and sat down upon it, be- 
ing careful to draw his feet under him. Thereupon the leader of the 
snakes said to him, "Now, grandson, we have you here in our 
secret lodge and you will never come out again. We intend to 
kill you here and put an end to your power." This they said 
they would do because they had heard how he had shot his arrow 
into the throat of the great serpent, the husband of the grand- 
mother. The grandson sat still upon his stone and the snakes 
attempted to reach him in order to kill him with their poisonous 
fangs. Since he was seated upon the stone which came from 
outside their lodge, they could not touch him. A number of the 
snakes dived down into the ground and came up underneath, 
thinking to bite him in that way, but one and all bruised their 
heads against the stone, which they could not pierce, and finally 
they formed a row around the stone, each one vainly endeavoring 
to reach across and kill the grandson. But he only laughed at 
them and told them they had better go back to their places since 
they could not reach him. Then they asked him if he was not hun- 
gry and he said he was and would like to have some meat. They 
promised to roast it for him but, after roasting it, many of the 
more poisonous snakes bit into the meat, leaving their poisonous 
fangs imbedded there. These fangs had the power of poisoning 
whoever ate the meat and of returning to the mouth of the snake 
to which they belonged. But the grandson took the meat they 
offered to him and instead of eating the roasted meat as they 
supposed he would, he threw it into the fire and burned the poi- 
son out of it. All the snakes whose fangs remained in the meat 


suffered the most excruciating pain from the heat which was burn- 
ing their fangs. 

After eating the meat, he said to the snakes: — "You see that 
you cannot harm me. My medicine is stronger than yours. 
Would you like to have me tell you a story?" The snakes as- 
sented and the grandson began, "All day when the wind blows, 
the leaves on the trees shake, the branches wave, the grass on the 
prairie rustles and sings, and the waves in the river and on the 
lakes dash and beat on the shore. But when the night passes and 
morning comes, the leaves cease to rustle and the grass is still 
and the waves no longer sound upon the shore." At this point a 
number of the snakes fell down asleep. Again the grandson re- 
peated the same words with a slight variation at the end and more 
snakes fell asleep until finally upon the third repetition of this 
story all the snakes lay asleep flat upon the floor, their heads all 
pointing toward the grandson in a ring completely around their - 
lodge. The grandson thereupon leaped to his feet, drew a large 
knife and, stepping from the stone, he proceeded to cut off from 
each of the snake's heads the hard horny beak with w'hich they 
were accustomed to bite the Indians and kill them. He passed 
his knife swiftly in a circle about the room, severing the beak 
from the head of each snake at a single stroke. As he did this 
the door of the lodge opened and he passed out into the air, leav- 
ing the awakening snakes wallowing in their blood,, with all their 
poisonous beaks lying strewn about the floor. But one little 
snake had not slept when the grandson had sung his magic song 
and this one alone escaped from his knife and darting down into 
the floor of the lodge, he called to the grandson, "Do not dare to 
drink water that touches the earth." The grandson heard him 
but was unable to reach him in time to do him harm. So he 
passed out of the lodge leaving the snakes as they have been ever 
since, blunt-nosed, still showing the mark of the knife of the 
grandson. As the day went on, the grandson became thirsty and 
started to find water but, as he stopped to drink, he remembered 
the words of the little snake and did not dare to drink the water 
that everywhere touched the earth. At last he came to a great 
boulder lying on the surface of the ground and in it there was a 
little hollow filled with water. "This," 'he said, "at least does 
not touch the earth" and he stooped to drink, being by this time 
extremely thirsty. But the little snake 'had penetrated the stone 
from the earth and as the grandson opened his mouth- to drink 
the water, he darted into his mouth and down his throat. In- 
stantly the grandson pulled off his own head but the snake slid 
further down his throat. He pulled his body in two but the snake 
eluded him by darting again into his 'head which lay upon the 
ground. Then the grandson called upon the winds to blow and 
they blew the head containing the snake into a stream near by. 


Then he called upon the sun to make the water boil and the water 
boiled and the snake escaped from the head and the grandson 
caught him. When he had put his body and head together again, 
he held the snake in his hand and said to him: — "You have made 
me much trouble, you little snake. It is no light thing you have 
done to make me tear my body into three parts and now you shall 
be punished for it all." So he took the snake to a small piece of 
soft sand stone and rubbed his beak upon it until there remained 
not one bit and the nose of the little snake was rough and bloody. 
So when he had taken from him his medicine, he let him go and the 
little snake's head and nose have remained to this day as the 
grandson left them. 

After this exploit the grandson did not live any longer with 
the grandmother, only visited her occasionally. He went about the 
earth killing the monsters that plagued the Indians, causing the 
rivers to flow in the right channels and the difficult hills to be 
smooth for the pathway of the Indian, and in every way seeking 
to make the lot of the Indian a happy one on the earth. He is 
still going about on the earth a long way off, and he will some day 
return to make the Indians happy, and to give them back the land 
of their fathers which the white people have taken from them. 


Geo. F. Shafer. 

McKenzie county, more recently known as the "Island Em- 
pire," is situated in the extreme western part of North Dakota, 
and has an area of about twenty-seven thousand acres of land. 
It derives its latter appellation from the peculiar fact that with 
the exception of a few miles on the southwestern border, it is en- 
circled by water. The northern and eastern boundaries are 
formed by the Missouri, a part of the southern boundary by the 
Little Missouri and its picturesque range of Bad Lands, while 
on the west is the Yellowstone. The history of this new county 
is to a large extent but a repetition of that of most of the coun- 
ties of the western states. It is an interesting and romantic story 
'of the subjection of the hostile Indians, the extermination of the 
buffalo, and the many different kinds of wild game, the era of 
the traditional cattle-kings, ranchers, and cowboys, and last of all 
the advent of the farmer. It is another example of the marvel- 
ous transformation of a wilderness into a highly civilized com- 
munity within the short space of a quarter of a century. 

The early civil and political history of this new county is 
somewhat varied and indefinite. The territory of which McKen- 
zie county is now comprised was originally a part of Howard 
county, and, in 1883, was divided into three unorganized coun- 
ties, namely Wallace, Allred, and McKenzie. Wallace was an- 
nexed to Stark in 1897, for judicial purposes ; McKenzie was an- 
nexed to Billings in the same year for the same purpose; a part 
of Allred was attached to Billings in 1897, and the remainder to 
Williams in 1890. In this condition they remained until 1905, 
when the legislature organized the new county out of these three 
previously unorganized counties, and called the new consolida- 
tion, McKenzie. Thus, as far as practical purposes were con- 
cerned, there was no local government in McKenzie county prior 
to 1905, except the law of self-preservation and the unwritten 
law of the frontier. While it was true that different sections of 
the county were attached to other counties for judicial purposes, 
which condition was supposed in theory to give the people the 
protection of the law, yet the fact was that such a condition was a 
hindrance rather than a benefit to the settlers. If, for instance, 
a resident of Wallace County desired the arrest of a horse-thief, 
it was necessary for him to travel to Dickinson, a distance of 
eighty miles, in order to secure a warrant and an officer. The 
result would be that the thief could place himself far beyond the 
reach of the law long before the injured settler could avail him- 
self of legal assistance. Needless to say this process was but sel- 
dom resorted to. On the contrary, the victim of a theft would 


immediately secure his rifle, avail himself of a posse of friends, 
and without any legal ceremony or display, Avould pursue his 
stolen property with vigor, and usually with success. Likewise, 
there was no demand for the civil law, as there was much land 
and but few people, hence their interests and rights did not con- 
flict. There seems to have been only one civil lawsuit in McKen- 
zie county before its organization, the case of Cuskelly vs. Shafer. 
In that case the plaintiff was a resident of Dickinson and the ac- 
tion was never tried, owing to the fact that the defendant ex- 
hausted himself traveling back and forth between his home and 
Dickinson, eighty miles each way, attending terms of court. 
Moreover, in absence of all government or law, the people were 
not subjected to the troubles and burdens of an organized com- 
munity; as there were no offices to be filled, there were no elec- 
tions, no' political strife, and none of the evils engendered thereby. 
There were no schools, no jails or poorhouses, no bridges or coun- 
ty roads ; in short there were none of those institutions of civiliza- 
tion which must be established and maintained at the#expense of 
the people. There was no representation and no taxation. To 
those pioneer people the burdens and the benefits of organized 
society were unknown. Thus, without the aid of state or nation, 
without the help of any law, except the natural laws of self-pro- 
tection, and the equally effective un-written laws of the West, 
these simple but rugged people lived together in prosperity and 
good order. 

The first official census taken in McKenzie county was re- 
corded in 1890. The record shows a population of twenty-seven 
persons at that time ; twenty-four in Wallace, and three in Mc- 
kenzie county. 1 This is nearly correct, exclusive of Indians, who 
were supposed to have been stationed on the Berthold Keserva- 
tion, but who made no pretence of staying there when hunting 
was good elsewhere. This report, however, includes eight Indians, 
but it does not include several white people who were there at the 
time. 2 Naturally there were many transient cowboys, hunters, 
and trappers which these lists do not include, but otherwise, they 
fairly represent the stationary population there at that time. 

As a matter of course the earliest settlers were hunters and 
trappers. While McKenzie county was never a favorite resort 
for the buffalo, yet such game as elk, antelope, black-tail and 
white-tail deer, mountain sheep, bear, beaver, otter, mink, musk- 

1. The following are the names of the white people contained in the census : 
In McKenzie County, Wilbur Pool, Thomas Grasier, and Charles O. Armstrong ; in 
Wallace County, Daniel Manning, Kate Manning, William Manning, Bennie F. 
Manning, Dell Dickinson, Frank Chesrown, John McGee, Geo. M. Frye, Angus 
Schrader, Arthur N. Jeffries, Nora C. Jeffries, William F. Cantelow, John Arm- 
strong, Henry Neetert, John Thompson, and Alex A. Carp. 

2. The following are the people not enumerated in the census, but who were 
living in McKenzie County in 1890 ; Frank Banks, B. B. Chase, W. Arett, Sid 
Tarbelt, Arthur Mahoney, Wilkes Richards, — Merril, Geo. Bacon, Chas. Shafer, 
Eva Shafer, and Geo. F. Shafer. 

G. M. Frye 


rats, wolves and coyotes, were very plentiful. The pioneer hunt- 
er and trapper of McKenzie county is Chas. Shafer, who claims 
to have trapped on every running stream, and hunted in every 
valley within the boundaries of the Big and Little Missouri riv- 
ers. The most fruitful part of his hunting career was between 
the years of 1883-1890. Among others who made it a business 
to hunt during those early years, were E. E. Chase, Geo. M. Frye, 
Arthur Mahoney and Theodore Roosevelt. 

The first log cabin known to have been erected within the 
county, was built in 1883 by Messrs. Chase and Frye mentioned 
above, at the mouth of Cherry Creek on the Little Missouri river. 
The purpose of its erection was that it might serve for a hunt- 
ing camp. This cabin still stands and is in good condition. 
About this time another one was built at the present county seat 
by Chas. Shafer ; this cabin was accidentally burned, a few years 
later. Ex-president Roosevelt also built one at his ranch on the 
Little Missouri, but the ranch and the cabin have both long since 
disappeared. The cabin was taken to the St. Louis Exposition in 
1904, to the Portland Exposition in 1905 and now stands on the 
capitol grounds at Bismarck, North Dakota. 

The next stage in the development of this pioneer region was 
the era of the stock-raising industry. Contrary to the opinion 
of many, this did not mean the passing of the hunters and trap- 
pers. Indeed, they became more plentiful than ever, although 
the buffalo had been exterminated by 1883, and the mountain 
sheep and elk a few years later. Yet the business of hunting and 
trapping the many other kinds of game flourished even as late 
as 1900. In many cases the small rancher and the hunter was 
one and the same man. In fact every rancher had to be a hunter 
in order to provide himself with fresh meat, which was always 
the staple food in the west. And nearly every hunter became a 
rancher when hunting became unprofitable. 

The honor of inaugurating the ranching business in McKen- 
zie county is due to the firm of Chase and Frye. These men came 
from Elk River, Minnesota, and, after hunting one winter, that 
of 18'83-4, started a ranch the following spring at their hunting 
camp on the Little Missouri. They imported a small herd of cat- 
tle and a few horses, and their place was known as the No. 7 (pig- 
pen-seven) ranch. A few years later they moved to the mouth 
of Seven-mile creek, two and one-half miles south of Schafer. At 
about that time the firm was organized into the Percheron Horse 
Co., but the new concern was always known as the mule-shoe bar 
ranch. They specialized in the breeding of draft-horses,, and de- 
veloped Avhat is generally reputed to be the finest herd of Perch- 
eron horses in North Dakota. In the summer of 1910 the busi- 
ness was sold to a new company. 


During the same year the largest and most famous cattle 
ranch in McKenzie county was organized. It was owned and 
financed by Reynold Bros, of Texas. It was conducted on a large 
scale, and according to the old traditional way of allowing the 
cattle to roam on the prairies at will until in a condition to be 
shipped to the market. This company also performed what is 
considered to be one of the most remarkable feats in the history 
of ranch life, that of driving large herds of cattle across the coun- 
try from Texas to North Dakota. This achievement was first 
accomplished in 1884, when, under the leadership of A. N. Jeff- 
ries, the manager of the company, a daring band of Texan cow- 
boys piloted a monster herd of cattle from the Eio Grande to the 
Little Missouri. The herd was guided by means of a compass, 
and reached North Dakota in September, having left Texas early 
in the spring. This process was repeated each year until 1897, 
and in this way the grazing lands of McKenzie county were re- 
plenished by new cattle. Among the men who helped drive the 
first herd from Texas were A. N. Jeffries, Wilkes Richards, Frank 
Banks, "W. Arett, Chas. Armstrong, and Mr. Tarbelt. This con- 
cern was always known as the Long X outfit, deriving its name 
from its official brand on the left side. The kind of cattle thus 
imported from Texas were usually two year old steers. They 
were called "trailers" because of their tendency to roam back 
and forth over the prairies. After traveling all the way from 
Texas to North Dakota they seemed to develop a nervous habit 
of aimless roaming, which was not excelled even by the wolves. 
Particularly were they inclined to follow buffalo trails, for if they 
once struck a trail across the prairie, there was no rest, day or 
night, until they found its destination. Because of this charac- 
teristic they were very obnoxious to the smaller ranchers, as they 
would continually lead astray the more domestic cattle. Every 
spring when the "trail herd" was turned loose at the mouth of 
Spring creek, the small ranchers were compelled to put forth 
additional efforts to keep their own herds nearer home, and to 
keep the range cattle away. Realizing this trouble the Long X 
outfit at times, furnished the small ranchers extra saddle horses 
in order that they might be better able to protect themselves, but 
it was all of no avail. The task was like that of keeping away 
the mosquitoes in the springtime, or the flies in midsummer. At 
the time of their arrival these cattle were small, thin, scrawny 
looking animals; about the only thing worth noticing about them 
were their long horns. However, after experiencing two years 
on the northern range they developed into large, magnificent ani- 
mals, and always brought first class prices on the Chicago markets. 

Naturally such a large and extensive stock business necessi- 
tated the employment of a large number of men during the spring 
and fall of each year. These men were all cowboys, most of whom 


had come from Texas with the trail herds. The chief purpose 
for which they were used was to brand the calves in the spring, 
and to round-up for shipment the beef cattle in the fall. Two 
crews, or speaking in terms of western language, two "wagons" 
were operated each season to gather the beef cattle. With each 
wagon there were about twenty-five men, including represent- 
atives from other ranches, who were called "reps." After gath- 
ering the beef herd, it was driven to Belfield, N. D., loaded on the 
cars, and shipped east. The operations of a " beef -round-up " 
were most interesting to strangers and have often been described. 
Beginning at the point farthest from the railroad the "round- 
up" would work in the general direction of the railroad. With 
each outfit there were two wagons, a mess-wagon, driven by the 
cook by means of a four-horse team, and the bed-wagon, driven 
usually by the "night-hawk," whose other duty was to keep 
guard over the saddle horses every night. Camp was moved 
twice each day, in the forenoon and afternoon, a distance of about 
six or eight miles each time. With the wagons always went the 
saddle horses, driven by the man in charge, whose other duty 
was to bring fire-wood and water for the cook. The rest of the 
cowboys were engaged in what was called "riding circle." That 
is, every morning, under the instructions of the foreman, two 
groups of riders of about ten each, left camp in opposite direc- 
tions. They would proceed about ten miles from camp, detail- 
ing a couple of riders every two or three miles. Then this line 
of riders would travel across the country in a half circle, gather- 
ing all range-cattle they found, and meeting the mess-wagon at 
its noon camp. After dinner the cowboys would change riding 
horses, and make a similar detour in the afternoon, meeting the 
wagons again at the evening camping grounds. Thus, twice a 
clay, all the range cattle within a circle of fifteen or twenty miles 
in diameter would be gathered in. The cattle collected in this 
way were driven along with the wagons. Every few days, the 
round up would stop a half day, and separate the beef-cattle from 
the rest, leaving behind those not in condition to be shipped, and 
taking the beef herd with them. The men on the round-ups work- 
ed seven days in the week, both day and night in all weathers, 
Nothing stopped them but fire. If there was a prairie fire, the 
beef herd was abandoned at once, and all efforts were devoted 
to save the range from the fire, which, outside of winter, was the 
ranchman's greatest enemy. Every man, except the cook, had 
to stand guard over the beef herd two hours each night before 
his day's work was done. While the life of the cowboy has been 
pictured as most beautiful and romantic, it is in reality full of 
hardships and nerve racking experiences. The cowboy had to be 
in the saddle from daylight until dark, with two hours breaking 
his short period of sleep. He was often wet to the skin for days 


at a time ; and, sleeping on a damp bed in the rain, the sleet, and 
the snow, there is little wonder that nearly every cowboy is a 
victim of rheumatism and a physical wreck at the age of thirty 
five years. 

The Long X outfit had the reputation, during the early years, 
of doing business on the most economical basis of any ranching 
concern in the west. It is said that in the fall of the year, when 
the regular beef round-up was being made, it was the custom of 
the cook to drive the mess-wagon to the side of a patch of wild 
plums, and then shout "grub-pile," whereupon everyone would 
fall to, and make a meal of nature's food. The variety of food 
was not very great, consisting only of bacon, flour, and coffee. 
Later however, in its more prosperous years, the rations were 
raised to the regular standard, consisting of black coffee, potatoes, 
fried beef steak, hot baking powder biscuits, canned tomatoes, 
canned corn, and baked beans. This menu was served three 
times a day without fail, and it tasted better each time. No 
cowboy ever had indigestion while on the job, for if there is any- 
thing that will give a man an appetite it is riding fifteen hours 
a day, and there is nothing that will satisfy it like a large cut 
of fried beef steak, a plate of fried potatoes, a cup of hot coffee, 
and a number of warm baking powder biscuits. 

Other well known men, besides those mentioned, who worked 
for this company were Sam Sellman, "Colonel" Rush, Ben Arp, 
Ralph Hatton, Ralph Raum, Daniel Manning. Frank Poe, Jay 

Grantier, Arthur Mahoney, Geo. Bacon, Merrill, Geo. Frye, 

and E. E. Chase. Of these, the first three have long since returned 
to Texas, from whence they came ; Ralph Hatton is in Alaska ; 
Ralph Raum is deceased; Daniel Manning and Geo. Frye are resi- 
dents of Dickinson, N. D. ; Frank Poe, Jay Grantier, Arthur Ma- 
honey, and Geo. Bacon are still living in McKenzie county; E. E. 
Chase is in Elk River, Minnesota : Of the first list given, A. N. 
Jeffries, manager and foreman, is deceased, Wilkes Richards and 
W. Arett are residents of Dickinson ; Frank Banks is in Willis- 
ton. The headquarters of this company was at a ranch on Squaw 
Creek, which was purchased from Hall and Braden in 1885. The 
head quarters were at first on Bowline Creek where a log shack 
still stands. Hall and Braden had intended to operate a sheep 
ranch on Squaw Creek, but the Vigilantes, who made their noto- 
rious raid thru Montana and western North Dakota in search of 
alleged horses in the fall of 1884, burned their hay. Being with- 
out hay, they lost their sheep in the following winter and conse- 
quently, they were compelled to sell out the next spring. The 
Long X Cattle Co. was not so fortunate in a business way, as some 
of its competitors. The hard winter of 1886-7 dealt it a severe 
blow at the beginning of its career, from which it never recovered. 
After the hard winter of 1896-7, it sold its entire business to the 

Daniel Manniru 


Converse Cattle Co., thus closing the career of the largest and 
most famous stock ranch in the county. With it passed away 
much of the best, and certainly the most romantic, portion of the 
history of the region. 

With the exception of the ranch just referred to, all of the 
ranches, large and small, operated on the plan of herding their 
stock within a few miles of the home ranch and of providing 
shelter, and feed for the cows, calves, and young stock during 
the winters. Most of the larger ones had what were called cow- 
camps, or summer-places where the cattle were taken in the sum- 
mer time in order that grazing near the home ranch might be in 
better condition for fall and winter pasturage. The second larg- 
est ranch in the county, the Morning Star Cattle Co., familiarly 
known as the Birdhead outfit, did business on this plan. It was 
organized in 1893 by J. M. Uhlman, Jaynes Bras, and others from 
Wisconsin. The home ranch was situated near the mouth of 
Timber Creek, in the valley of the Missouri. The ranch was first 
built in 1891 by Stroud Bros, of Texas, who engaged in the cattle 
business there for two years. At the end of that time they sold 
out to Landers and Green, who in turn, disposed of their interests 
to the Morning Star Cattle Co. The manager of this ranch, and 
the man who was responsible for its early success, was J. M. 
Uhlman. It continued its enterprise until 1904, when it was suc- 
ceeded by another company. The principal ranches in McKenzie 
county, outside of the ones mentioned during the years between 
1884-1900, were owned by Daniel Manning, Brooks, Goodall, Geo. 
Bacon, Frank Banks, Jay Grantier, Townsend Bros., Noble Bros., 
Stroud Bros., Cartwright and Sons, Frank Poe, R. B. Gore, and 
Chas. Shafer. 

The Hidatsa Indians were supposed to 'have been stationed 
on the Berthold Reservation, but they did not by any means stay 
there. They were not hostile, but exceedingly arrogant and over- 
bearing. It was their custom during the earlier years, to visit 
new settlers and to give them so many hours in which to leave 
the country. The famous old chief, Crow-Fly-High, took great 
pleasure in thus intimidating the white people. He actually did 
succeed in causing some of the more weak-hearted ones to seek 
other locations. As a pretext for ordering the settlers out of the 
country, the old chief always claimed that the reservation ex- 
tended over all of the territory now included in McKenzie coun- 
ty, and no amount of evidence or argument could convince him 
of the contrary. As a matter of fact he knew better than any 
one else Avhere the boundary line actually was. While these 
Indians outwardly appeared to be bold and dangerous, in reality, 
they were cowardly and harmless. These Indians had the repu- 
tation of being the most cowardly tribe in the west. A few illus- 
trations will give some idea of their tendency to threaten, and 


their lack of courage to carry out their threats. When Chas. 
Shafer first established his hunting camp at the present county 
seat in 1884, he was waited upon by Crow-Fly-High, and given 
to understand that he had to leave the region at once. His de- 
mand was promptly refused. Whereupon the chief departed in 
a great rage, threatening to return at sun-rise the next morning 
with two hundred warriors, and that should the hunter be found 
there at that time, he would be scalped. Crow-Fly-High did not 
put in an appearance for many weeks, and when he did return 
he came alone, and with a meek request for something to eat. It 
was also their habit to leave the reservation without authority, 
and to camp along the rivers all summer for the purpose of hunt- 
ing deer since the game supply on the reservation was exhausted. 
This was very destructive of game, since the killing went on dur- 
ing the breeding season. Shafer was determined to put an end 
to this practice. After securing an appointment as special game- 
warden, he succeeded in putting them all Back on the reservation 
without any assistance other than the seal of his authority. For 
many years afterwards it was the custom of the Indian agent at 
Berthold, to allow the Indians a couple of weeks leave of absence 
from the reservation during the fall of each year, in order to give 
them an opportunity to hunt. So great was their respect for the 
seal with which Mr. Shafer was equipped, that invariably they 
came to the game warden for permission to hunt within his terri- 
tory. The writer well remembers these many occasions and was 
the recipient of many presents in the form of moccasins, buck- 
skin breeches, and other products of Indian genius. 

Crow-Fly-High was a peculiar character. It is said that he 
took part in the historic Custer Massacre. No one knew how 
old he was; he was surely the oldest Indian in the tribe, because 
his memory seemed to reach farther back than that of any other 
Indian. Whenever he went anywhere with his band he always 
rode a few miles in advance on his pony. Anyone that knew him, 
could identify him for miles, as he always rode alone at high speed, 
and his quirt, which consisted of a short stick with straps at- 
tached at one end, was constantly applied. Upon arriving at a 
ranch, he would leave his comrades, and visit the rancher. He 
always knocked at the door, and then entered before he was bid- 
den. After entering, he would grunt ''How" to anyone that 
might be present, appropriate a chair, select a good position near 
the stove, take out his pipe, and smoke until he was invited to 
eat. His only purpose of visiting was to get something to eat, 
and he would never end his visit without eating, unless told to 
get out. Although he could speak English fairly well, he would 
never converse in that language. The result was that if there 
did not happen to be anyone present that could speak in his na- 
tive tongue, he would sit for hours like a sphinx. Unlike his fel- 


low Indians he never adopted the white man's method of dress, 
but always clung to his traditional blanket. This fact together 
with his ugly look, and his haunting silence, gave him a terrify- 
ing appearance, especially to women and children. The old chief, 
like the rest of his comrades, had the appetite of a glutton, nor 
were his table manners strictly up-to-date. On one occasion when 
Crow-Fly-High and two other Indians were eating dinner at a 
ranch, there was on the table a pan of exceedingly large sized 
baked potatoes. After emptying and filling their plates two or 
three times, there was one hugh potato left in the pan. The In- 
dians looked at the potato, then at each other, and began an eat- 
ing contest. At first the race was about even, but soon it became 
apparent that youth must be served, for the chief's age was tell- 
ing on him. Finally realizing that he had lost, he suddenly stop- 
ped, looking at the potato and then at one of his competitors who 
was just finishing. He stood up, reached nearly across the table, 
secured the coveted prize, placed it along side of his plate, re- 
seated himself, and went on eating as calmly as though nothing 
had happened. 

Another characteristic of the Indian was that he never ques- 
tioned the quality of his food. He was never known to reject 
meat no matter what its quality. On one occasion an Indian 
asked my father if he might have a calf that had died the night 
before from Black Leg. The hired man, who had just come from 
the east, inquired in a rather curious way, what he wanted to do 
with that old dead calf. Wherupon the Indian replied that he 
wanted to eat it, Seeing the look of incredibility and astonish- 
ment on the face of his inquirer, the Indian added : ' ' Ugh ! calf 
make good eat; put a little salt on 'em, then, he make good eat." 
Gradually the Indians ceased leaving the reservation except for 
the purpose of visiting their so-called cousins, the Crows in Mon- 
tana, The Indians were very much inclined to visit each other, 
especially for the purpose of trading horses. All of the Indians 
have since left that part of the reservation between the Little 
and the Big Missouri rivers. And that portion of the land which 
they formerly occupied, is now leased by the United States gov- 
ernment to the Springville Cattle Co. for stock raising purposes. 

Prior to 1903, there were but few families living in McKenzie 
county. The first white women to make their home in this pio- 
neer county were Mrs. Daniel Manning and Mrs. Hans Christian- 
son. These women with their families, spent the winter of 1889 
in McKenzie county, returning to Dickinson, N. D. the follow- 
ing summer, where they still reside. The first family to make 
permanent residence in the new region was that of Chas. Shafer, 
consisting of three, Chas. Shafer, Eva Shafer, his wife, and Geo. 
Shafer, their two year old son. They came to McKenze county 


in 1890 from Dickinson, N. D., making the journey of eighty miles 
by means of a team and Avagon. Shafer had already established 
his home there six years before. The Shafer homestead occupied 
the site of the present county seat, twenty-one years before the 
organization of the county. Later, the Shafer family was joined 
by Wm. Benson and wife, Mrs. Frederick Diehm and John and 
Fred Diehm. The first of these returned to Dickinson after a 
short stay, not being able to accustom themselves to the hardships 
of a frontier life. Hunting was the chief means of subsistence 
for these pioneer families during the first few years. As game 
of many kinds was plentiful, the hunter was able to supply a 
larger quantity and better quality of meat than can be found in 
more modern communities. It was Shafer 's custom in the fall of 
each year to go into the Little Missouri Bad Lands, and„ after a 
week's hunt to return with a wagon load of deer, sufficient to 
last until spring. Then he would secure a second load, and with 
that would journey to Dickinson, where it was traded for flour, 
sugar, shoes, and other necessaries of life. He would next take a 
22 calibre repeating rifle and shoot a load of prairie chickens; 
these, after being drawn and frozen, remained in good condition 
until disposed of on the market at from thirty-five to fifty cents 
apiece. The proceeds from these sales provided incidentals until 
the next hunting season. But after the ranching business was 
well established, hunting was no longer relied upon except as a 
means of providing fresh meat. For three or four years the Sha- 
fer family was the only one within the boundaries of the county. 
During the next six years, several settlers came in, the Poes„ Uhl- 
mans, Goodalls, Grantiers, Parks, Eggies, Ventlings, Smiths, and 
Porters took up their abode in the new territory. The last five 
families however, departed after a short period of residence, the 
hard winter of 1896-7 being mainly responsible for their depart- 
ure. At the close of the decade ending in 1900, there were only 
five women and five children living in the county. This will give 
some idea of how slow the progress of settlement was during 
those pioneer days. It was thirteen years after the first family 
established its home there, before the immigration of others was 
begun in earnest. 

Until 1896, there was no means of communication other than 
that afforded by the rather irregular travel of the settlers to and 
fro from the railroad. At first Dickinson was the chief center of 
supply, but later its place was taken by Williston. Whenever a 
rancher went to town he made it his business to get the mail as 
well as many other incidentals for all of his neighbors within a 
circumference of twenty-five or thirty miles, and after carrying 
it to his home, it would remain there until some other took it on 
to its destination. Since the settlers went to town but two or 
three times a year,, it was not an uncommon thing for a letter to 

W. J. Goodall 


be six months old before it reached the one to whom it was ad- 
dressed. Needless to say, the people were not very much given 
to correspondence. However, they would read a newspaper a 
half-year old as eagerly and with as much interest as the modern 
city dweller does his morning daily. In 1896 the first postoffice 
was established within the limits of the Island Empire, it was 
named in honor of Joseph G. Stroud, who was the first postmaster, 
and who was mainly responsible for its creation. It was located 
at the Stroud ranch, now known as the "white House," Where, 
although at different times it migrated back and forth from the 
Bird-Head ranch to Baker's Ferry, it is now situated. 

The mail was carried twice each week from Williston, every 
Tuesday and Saturday, by means of a spring wagon as far as the 
river, it was then taken across the river in a row boat. On the 
opposite bank, the stage-driver was met by the postmaster, who 
conveyed the mail to the post office, a distance of three miles. 
After dinner the mail and its carrier was conveyed back to the 
river, and started on the return journey to Williston. In the 
winter time the stage-driver crossed on the ice with his team, but 
there was always a period of several weeks in the fall when the 
river was freezing, and in the spring when the ice was breaking 
up, when it was impossible for any mail to be carried. Brothers 
operated this stage line, and was the first to supply mail to the 
people of McKenzie county as an agent of the government. 

The second, and what has since become the largest 
postoffice in the county. Schafer, came into existence in 
1900 at the ranch of Charles Shafer. The mail was car- 
ried from Stroud, by means of a spring wagon in the 
summer and a saddle horse in the winter. The dis- 
tance was twenty-six miles, and the trip was made twice each 
week. The staa:e-driver, leaving Schafer in the morning, met the 
driver from Williston at Stroud at noon and returned to Schafer 
the same afternoon. During the first year, the postmaster con- 
veyed the mail without compensation, in order that postoffice fa- 
cilities might be established in the new county. 

During the next five years, Banks, Cartwright, Al- 
mira, and Charlson postoffices were created in the order 
given. Since then the following postoffices have been es- 
tablished : Wilbur, Tobacco Garden, Spearinville, Sanford, 
Rothville, Nameless. Mary, Kingsley, Goodall, Farland, 
Estes, Elsworth, Elida, Dore, Cherry, Catlin, Berg, Arnegard, 
Alexander, Williams, and Almira. The last two, however, have 
been abolished. 

Thus at the close of the nineteenth century. McKenzie county 
was a typical pioneer community, one of the last to release its 
hold upon the old order of things, and to accept the changes of 
progress. From this time on, a rapid series of changes takes 


place, resulting in the almost complete passing of this era of west- 
ern life, together with its strange customs and peculiar industries, 
and the inauguration of the era of agriculture. There seems to 
be no official record of the population of the county in 1900, but 
there is no reason to believe that there were more than two hun- 
dred, including ranchmen, cowboys, hunters, trappers, women and 

It was in 1901 that the government surveyors first made their 
appearance, and began the laborious task of giving the land a 
definite description by which it might be located in the future. 
This arduous undertaking was not completed, especially in the. 
Bad Lands, until after the county was organized in 1905. About 
this time also, the region was subject to a great influx of small 
ranchers. It seemed that the entire state awoke suddenly to the 
special adaptation of this region to the stock raising business. So 
rapidly did they come, and so thickly did they settle the country, 
that it not only put an end to stock-raising on a large scale, but 
made anything except ranching on a small basis, unprofitable. 
Contrary to the general opinion, it was not so much the farmers 
as it was the small ranchers, that throttled the business of the 
traditional cattle kings. The large stock companies were not 
able to withstand the fierce competition of the small competitors, 
and, consequently, were the first that were compelled to close 
out. The reason for this is not hard to see. The success of the 
larger concerns depended upon giving their cattle sufficient range 
upon which to graze unmolested. When the small ranchers came 
in, they appropriated the public lands to themselves, and drove 
the range cattle off to the grazing grounds of their neighbors. 
They, in turn, would drive them on to someone else. Thus when 
the county became thickly settled with little ranchmen, not 
only did they deprive the range cattle of the necessary range 
upon Which to feed, but kept them moving back and forth between 
the ranches. In this one-sided contest the larger concerns were 
soon vanquished. The struggle between the small cattlemen, 
however, was much more intense. It was a struggle for the sur- 
vival of the fittest, in which the one with the fewest stock and 
most favorable location, had the advantage. The chief objects 
of the controversy were the range and the hay. While the land 
all belonged to the government and any one could graze his stock 
anywhere on it, yet in the very nature of things, a man with a 
few cattle was able to retain more than his proportionate share 
of the land, and in that way could crowd the larger herds out, 
sooner or later. In the matter of hay, it was the unwritten law 
of the plains, that each man was entitled to all the hay between 
his place and half way to that of his neighbor. Thus if one man 
had a better hay meadow than his fellow ranchmen, he had a de- 
cided advantage in the struggle. But this rule was a good deal 


disregarded during the later years, and it became a question of 
getting the hay first. Sometimes two neighbors would be seen 
cutting hay on the same meadow, in which case, each man took 
the hay mowed by himself. The hay problem was solved very 
nicely by one of the ranching companies, which imported men 
from the east to file on the hay lands. These men were given em- 
ployment on the ranch while making proof, after which they sold 
their land to the company. It was in this way that one of the 
well-known meadows was acquired, and it was mainly because of 
this meadow, that the company holding it was able to continue 
its ranching business notwithstanding the advent of the farmer. 

The era of the little rancher however, was destined to be 
very short. No sooner was he settled than there could be seen 
coming over the horizon of the east the advanced guard of the 
farmers' army of invasion. Early in 1903, a few farmers settled 
in the northeastern portion of the county in the neighborhood 
of Charlson. From that time until 1907 a constant stream of land 
seekers poured into the county, and began the process of filing 
on and proving up claims under the Homestead law. In a time 
so short that it can hardly be realized, the broad plateaus, the 
rolling hills, and the fertile valleys, which but recently had been 
occupied only by herds of horses and cattle, were now dotted with 
little claim shacks, and small strips of plowed ground, indicating 
the transfer of possession, and the beginning of a new regime. 
The tide reached its high water mark in 1907, when most of the 
best land was taken, and the emigration of those who had com- 
pleted proof on their land was commenced. 

Most of the new settlers were of Scandinavian descent, chief- 
ly Norwegians, although there was a fair sprinkling of Swedes, 
Danes, Russians and Germans. A very large per cent of these 
people were foreign born and not naturalized at the time of the 
settlement. Whenever district court convenes within the county 
new citizens are created by the dozen. Probably a majority of 
the new class come from other counties within the state, while 
the rest were mainly from Minnesota and Iowa. There can also 
be found representatives from nearly every state in the Union, 
Canada, and most of the countries of Europe. While many of 
the first to come were speculators and transients, who left the 
county immediately upon proving up on their land, yet most of 
them brought their families with them, and came prepared to 
make permanent residence. This class has proven itself worthy 
of its opportunity and has done much in the way of over-coming 
hardships, and in aiding the transformation of the wilderness into 
an agricultural community. 

A small part of the new people entered McKenzie county 
from the south, traveling across country from Dickinson, and 
fording the Little Missouri river at the Diamond C crossing. But 


by far the larger share came in from the north, by way of Buford, 
Williston, and Nesson. The greatest barrier to settlement, and 
the real reason why McKenzie county was one of the last counties 
in the state to become settled, was, of course, the Missouri river. 
Prior to 1900, the only means of crossing it in the summer time, 
was the row-boat ; all stock had to be swum across. Every fall 
hundreds of beef cattle were crossed in that way. Whenever a 
rancher went to Williston for a load of supplies, he drove to the 
river, left his team and wagon at some ranch, crossed the river in 
a row-boat, walked to town, had his supplies hauled to the river 
bank, conveyed them across by means of his boat, and then re- 
turned home. For many years, a public row-boat was operated 
opposite Williston by a man named Roberts, and another at the 
present site of Raum's Ferry by Geo. Baker. Between 1901 and 
1905, six ferries were established. One at Banks, N. D., by Frank 
Davis, one at the mouth of Tobacco Garden Creek by C. Sax, one 
at the present site of Uhlman's Ferry by Geo. Baker, one at Raum's 
Ferry by Ralph Raum, one at Williston by Cap. Bailey,, and one at 
Buford. All of them were cable-ferries except Bailey's which was 
run by gasoline power. These ferries have afforded ample trans- 
portation facilities, and have played an important part in the set- 
tlement of McKenzie county. 

It was in 1903, that the need of schools, bridges, better roads, 
and other conveniences of an organized county became apparent 
to the people. An agitation for organization was immediately 
begun. But this proposition met stubborn opposition at the hands 
of the big stock interests. The cause of this opposition is at once 
obvious. So long as the county remained unorganized there was 
no taxes to be paid. There were thousands of horses and cattle 
on the range upon which not a dollar of taxes had ever been paid, 
and the owners of Which lived in other counties and other states. 
The small ranchers who had no families, felt that the burden of 
a newly organized county would outweigh its benefits, 
and, consequently, cast their influence on the side of the 
larger stock interests. Still others were financially bound 
to some of the large companies, so they, too, were found 
opposing the idea. It was only those ranchers who had 
families living in the county, and who felt the need 
of school facilities, that joined the farmers in their campaign for 
organized government. The leaders in this struggle for or- 
ganization were F. S. Kellogg, Wm. Jansen and Chas. Shafer. 
These men organized and conducted the campaign throughout. A 
petition was circulated and signed by nearly a hundred and fifty 
citizens, requesting the Governor for a special election to deter- 
mine the issue. The request was granted, and a bitter campaign 
followed. So bitter was this contest that ties of friendship which 
had bound men together for years,, were broken. Charges of 


bribery and selfishness were hurled back and forth, and it was 
freely predicted that blood would be shed. While Jhe question 
of organization was the pivotal issue around which the battle was 
waged, yet there were three full tickets in the field for the county 
offices, and three towns competing for the county-seat, namely, 
Cartwright, Stroud, and Schafer. It was proposed that the new 
county be organized out of Allred, Wallace and old McKenzie, 
and that it be called Roosevelt county, in honor of the presi- 
dent, who had once lived and hunted within its borders. The 
election was finally held on June 4, 190-4, and resulted in the de- 
feat of the organization forces by a majority of eighteen votes. 
The joy of the anti-organization forces knew no bounds, for they 
thought they had given the idea a blow from which it could not 
recover for some years. The hard earned victory of the stock 
interests, however, was short-lived. When the Ninth Legislative 
Assembly met the following winter^ it arbitrarily organized a new 
county out of the unorganized counties last mentioned, and named 
it McKenzie county. Thus was the matter definitely settled, with- 
out any further struggle betw T een local interests and without en- 
gendering any more bad feeling between the farmers and the 
ranchers. The latter accepted the situation without further con- 
troversy. Early in the spring of 1905, an impromptu convention 
was called at Cartwright, for the purpose of ascertaining the gen- 
eral sentiment of the people with reference to the location of a 
temporary county seat, and for the selection of county officials. 
At this meeting, a place know T n as Stone-house, situated near the 
mouth of Timber Creek and belonging to Joe Stroud, was chosen 
as the temporary county seat. For the various county offices the 
following gentlemen were recommended: — for sheriff, Frank Poe; 
for auditor B. W. Dimmick; for treasurer, Geo. W. Milhouse; for 
clerk of court, W. S. Graham ; for coroner, J. J. Wanka ; for sur- 
veyor, Wm. Janson ; for probate judge, F. S. Kellogg ; for county 
superintendent, S. M. Starr ; and for commissioners, John H. Shaw, 
James Waters and Joseph Stephens. No one was selected for 
state's attorney as there w^as no attorney in the county at that 
time. State's Attorney Van E. Brown of Williams county acted 
in that capacity until Robt. Norheim was appointed. All of the 
gentlemen enumerated above w r ere appointed by Governor Sarles, 
except the tw r o commissioners last named. Frank Banks and A. F. 
Noble being appointed in place of Joe Stephens and James Waters. 
In the matter of the location of the county seat, the choice of the 
convention was utterly disregarded by the Governor, and a cer- 
tain place owned by A. F. Noble, situated near the head of Camp 
Creek,, and not even suggested in the convention, was duly ap- 
pointed county seat, and named Alexander. Thus the first town 
to come into existence in the new born county was Alexander. 
Almost immediately after its designation as the capital of the coun- 


ty, a bank, store, livery stable, lumber yard, hotel, blacksmith 
shop and barber shop appeared, and by autumn a thriving little 
village replaced the reecntly isolated cow camp. In January, 1906', 
the firm of Glieve & Martin commenced the construction of a store 
building on the present townsite of Schafer, and thus was begun 
the building of a rival village. By the time spring had opened 
nearly all the business establishments of Alexander had been dupli- 
cated at Schafer, and a fierce competition for predominance in 
political, social and industrial affairs was well started. 

Another evidence of the rapid change from the old to the new 
was the creation of rural schools. That, after all, was the chief 
purpose for which the friends of organization had carried on the 
struggle, and their cherished end was now to be attained. The 
first common school in McKenzie county was opened in August, 
1905, at Schafer. The school house was a one roomed, frame 
building, owned by F. F. Gonion, and located on his homestead 
adjoining the townsite. The position of teacher was filled first by 
Mrs. S. M. Starr, and then by Cecelia Uhlman, and the pupils were, 
John and Christiania Belgard, Eugene and Lettie Uhlman, Chas. 
and Fred Shafer, and James Oeder. The school furniture con- 
sisted of one circular table, and a half dozen straight backed 
chairs. The teacher and students gathered around the table, and 
learned as best they could, using one reader, one arithmetic, one 
geography and a spelling book. This primitive school con- 
tinued its sessions until winter, but it was not long before many 
schools sprang up all over the county, and now there are eighty 
or ninety schools in all. 

Almost from the day of its birth, McKenzie county was a 
center for political fights. The chief issue before the people was 
the question of the permanent location of the county seat. The 
arbitrary designation of Alexander as county seat, by the Gov- 
ernor was the cause of a great deal of dissatisfaction among the 
citizens. The coveted prize was contended for by three places, 
Alexander, Stone-house, and Schafer. The first and last being 
the principal competitors. So bitter was the contest and so de- 
termined were the contestants, that each faction put a com- 
plete ticket in the field in order that the victorious party might 
dominate the county government. All distinctions between po- 
litical parties and individuals were lost. The platform of each 
candidate was his preference for county seat, and by that alone, 
he was judged by the electors. In November, 1906, the first gen- 
eral election was held. The result was favorable to the village 
of Schafer. The vote was as follows : Stone-house, 94 ; Alexander, 
212 ; and Schafer, 311 ; the last mentioned town winning by the 
small majority of five votes. This result was the signal for a 
change of battle ground from the ballot box to the courts. The 
election was contested, the constitutionality of the law under 


which the election was held was attacked, the legality of the 
organization of the county was assailed. The hostile board of 
county commissioners refused to declare Schafer the county seat 
pursuant to the result of the election, and county officers favora- 
ble to Alexander declined to move their records to the new coun- 
ty seat and uncertainty prevailed everywhere. For over three 
years writs of mandamus, injunctions, prohibition, etc., were the 
order of the day. Some phase of this question was, at one time 
or another before five different district judges, and m the su- 
preme court three times. Bach decision was favorable to Scha- 
fer the present county seat. The attorneys who conducted these 
suits for the Schafer people were, T. S. Becker, of Schafer and 
Geo A Bangs of Grand Forks. Alexander was represented by 
Falda and Burke of Minot, Engerud, Holt and Frame of Fargo, 
and A J. Bessie of Williston. During the winter of 1907 the 
official records of the county were moved to Schafer in obedience 
to an order of the court. In January, 1909, an attempt was made 
by some enthusiasts from Alexander to regain the records by 
force To that end a party of men journeyed thru the deep 
snow from Alexander to Schafer, but the plan was discovered 
and frustrated. All of the legal remedies having been exhaust- 
ed, the matter was at last definitely settled. 

In the short period of ten years a marvelous change had been 
wrought The antelope and deer, the herds of cattle and horses. 
have been replaced by grain fields, school houses, and villages. 
The Indian, the hunter, the trapper, and the cowboy have all de- 
parted and in their place is found the tiller of the soil, the busi- 
ness and the professional man. While the rancher has not yet 
entirely vanished,, he has been driven from his home on the prai- 
ries and he has taken refuge in the Bad Lands of the Little Mis- 
souri. The new industrial era has come and the story of pioneer 
life in McKenzie. county now is but a memory. 



No character is so inseparably associated with pioneer life 
in western Dakota and eastern Montana, as that of the notorious 
horsethief. Of the many forms of lawbreaking that daily oc- 
curred, for only one was the death penalty inflicted, that of horse 
stealing. Assault and battery, robbery, rioting, and murder 
went not only unpunished, but often unnoticed, except as a mat- 
ter of transitory interest. But with horse-stealing it was differ- 
ent. If a man was assaulted, he would soon recover; if he was 
robbed, he could soon regain what he had lost, money was a small 
object anyway; but if his horse was taken, he would be left 
afoot, stranded on the prairie without means of transportation, 
deprived of that which, next to his gun, was the pioneer's most 
valuable possession. Hence, to steal horses was a crime for which 
no punishment was too severe. Because horses were the most 
valuable of chattel property, and the easiest to make way with, 
horse stealing was indulged more than any other kind of thievery. 
It was to suppress this great evil, that the leading stockmen of 
Montana held a meeting at Miles City in 1882, and organized a 
Vigilance Committee. The prime mover in bringing about this 
organization was Granville Stewart, then the richest stockman 
in the west, The committee was simply an unauthorized com- 
pany of men banded together for the purpose of catching and 
summarily hanging every man suspected of being a horse thief. 
The committee was composed of two kinds of members, honor- 
ary members and active members. The honorary members were 
those who did the organizing and planning, but who did not care 
to risk their lives and reputations in actual execution. The ac- 
tive members were those who did the actual work, and their num- 
ber was about fifty. They were composed mainly of shifters, 
irresponsible parties, men without property or character, ex- 
convicts and horse thieves. They were hired on a salary basis, 
ranging from $35.00 to $50.00 per month. For two years, this or- 
ganization operated in all parts of Montana and waged a success- 
ful campaign. It proved a highly efficient instrumentality in rid- 
ding the territory of undesirable citizens in so far as it was used 
to accomplish its primary purpose, but at times it served a second- 
ary purpose which overshadowed the first in importance. 

In the fall of 1884 it was deemed advisable to make an ex- 
pedition into Dakota. To this end a detachment of about twenty 
men was made up at Glendive, and a character known as Flopping 
Bill was put in charge of the party. Being in need of a suitable 
guide, it was decided to take Louis LaPache, a French Canadian, 
who was at that time in Miles City,, awaiting trial for horse steal- 
ing, having been arrested in Dakota a short time before by U. S. 


Marshal Aatte. Thus equipped the committee moved down to 
Medora and began preparations for an active campaign into Mc- 
Kenzie county. The company first proceeded along the north side 
of the Little Missouri River. Its first stop was at the mouth of 
Beaver Creek in Billings county, where there was a ranch owned 
by Wm. Roberts, Geo. Medlock, and Jim Monroe. No one was 
found there but their hired man, Thomas Webb, an Englishman. 
The proprietors had received word of the advent of the vigilantes, 
and had wisely taken refuge elsewhere. After allowing the Eng- 
lishman to feel the sensation of a lariat around his neck, he was 
released on the condition that he leave the country and never re- 
turn. Needless to say McKenzie county has not been visited by 
Webb since. The vigilantes further dignified their proceeding by 
placing the sign of the skull and cross-bones on the door of the 
cabin, together with a notice to vacate upon the penalty of death. 
They promised to return in thirty days to execute their judgment. 
The next stop was at the W ranch in old McKenzie county. The 
vigilantes expected to find allies at this place, as the ranch was one 
of the several owned by the noted Grece and Webeaux firm, one 
of the large stock concerns in Dakota and Montana, members of 
which had participated in the organization of the Vigilance Com- 
mittee. However, they were disappointed. The W ranch fore- 
man, Charley Armstrong, and his comrade, Sid. Tarbell, were not 
in sympathy with the movement, neither did they feel themselves 
bound by the acts of their employers,, so they not only refused to 
entertain the vigilantes, but ordered them to depart. Passing 
down the river, a sheep ranch operated by Thomas McGregory, 
Scotty Dunorout and Bennett was next visited. No one was at 
home however for the intended victims had been forewarned and 
had taken advantage of their opportunity. The sign of the skull 
and cross-bones greeted them upon their return. The committee 
then went to Eaton Bros, ranch, but the brothers were not there, 
for a very obvious reason. It is here that a Hidatsa Indian, called 
Two Shields, was captured, he had been hunting in the woods. 
Being anxious for amusement a mock hanging scene was put on, 
the Indian was hanged to a tree with a rope so tied as not to stran- 
gle him. Then he was told to go to his cabin, to stay there three 
days, and then leave the country. Two Shields went to the cabin, 
climbed upon the roof and sat there singing and crying for three 
days and nights, after which he disappeared. At that time Hall 
and Braclen were running a sheep ranch at a place on Squaw Creek, 
which later became the famous Long X ranch. The vigilantes 
burned 500 tons of hay, the barn, all the machinery, harness, and 
all other property that could be burned, ending up by setting the 
prairie on fire. The only one present was Charley Nacy, the hired 
man. He was taken along to act as guide, as it was thought that 
'he possessed valuable information as to the whereabouts of cer- 


tain persons. Nacy accompanied them as far east as Spring 
Creek, where he misdirected them and made his escape. In due 
course of time, the committee found its way to the Shafer ranc'h. 
There were three cowboys there at the time, Jasper Holts, Frank 
Chase, and Kid Edgar. These boys were taken entirely una- 
wares, not having heard of their expedition, and they invited the 
travellers to dinner. The invitation was accepted, but after the 
meal, the hosts suddenly found themselves prisoners, and were 
told that they were to be hanged to the cotton-wood tree which 
stood near the cabin. The situation was for them critical, but 
they were saved by Frank Chase, who was a brilliant speaker, of 
striking personality,, and a man of wonderful ingenuity. Chase 
told them that they were mistaken in their parties. He said 
that he was one of the biggest stockmen in that country, that he 
sympathized with their project, and would gladly co-operate 
with them. To prove the truthfulness of his statement, he took 
them out and showed them several herds of stock, He told them 
of what he had accomplished and his plans for the future. They 
listened and believed, and they departed thinking that they had 
found a friend, but in fact he was their dangerous enemy. Many 
years afterwards, Kid Edgar said: "I never was so dead sure 
of anything in my life as that we would be hanged to that cotton- 
wood tree, but Chase lied out of it." After leaving Sc'hafer the 
expedition was uneventful for some time. The party continued 
to move eastward until it reached the Missouri River near the 
mouth of the Little Missouri. There the committee boarded a 
steam boat and went up the river to Ft. Buford. While on the 
steamboat the vigilantes did not by any means lose sight of their 
purpose. At a place called Nerson Flat, near the mouth of To- 
bacco Garden Creek, they found two hunters, Eve Bronson, and 
a man known as Red Mike. Bronson attempted to escape and 
was shot dead but Red Mike was captured. Every effort was 
made to make the prisoner divulge information which it was be- 
lieved he possessed. To this end he was bound securely to a 
chair and a fire was made under it, but Red Mike refused to give 
any information, probably due to the fact that he had none to 
give. He was taken along to Ft. Buford and later let go. Thus, 
after a month's sojourn in Dakota, the vigilance committee re- 
turned to Montana. The results of the campaign might be briefly 
summed up in this way: a large amount of property was de- 
stroyed, countless miles of prairie was burned, one Englishman 
was persuaded to leave the territory, Two Shields, the Indian, 
was frightened back to the reservation; one man was killed, one 
man scorched, and no horse thieves were captured. The original 
purpose of the vigilance committee was to catch and hang horse 
thieves, but it sought later to achieve a secondary purpose which 
was not so commendable. The real purpose of the expedition 


into Dakota was not to catch horse thieves, but to drive the 
small ranchers out of the country. There are five circumstances 
which point to that conclusion. First, it was at this time that the 
big stockmen of the West fully realized that they were soon to be 
crowded out of business by the ever increasing number of small 
settlers, and nothing was left undone to discourage settlement. 
Second, the expedition was largely one of devastation and not 
of pursuit. Horse thieves were not interested in grazing condi- 
tions, neither were they injured by the destruction of property, 
for. they had none. Third, the campaign seemed to be directed 
entirely against permanent settlers. Horse thieves in those days 
were not permanent settlers, engaged in the cattle and sheep 
business, but instead, were transients of the most migratory char- 
acter. Fourth, the committee did not catch, or so far as is known, 
attempt to catch any one suspected of being a horse thief. The 
expedition was in fact, the most notorious example of vandalism 
known to that part of the region. It was in that expedition that 
lawlessness reached its height. The small ranchers and cowboys, 
anticipating another invasion, provided a proper defense, but 
neither the vigilance committee, nor any of its members, ever re- 



William H. Elznic. 

Conditions in Bohemia, 

The early Bohemian settlers in Richland County came chiefly 
from Veseli, Tabor, Pisek, and Budejovice. They came to the 
United States during the period between 1859 and 1872, years 
in which an exceptionally large number of Bohemian immigrants 
came to this country. These were all of the peasant stock, be- 
longing to the class of small farmers. Their parents were self 
supporting and owned a few acres of land. 

There were several causes that led to their coming to America, 
but not all of them who wished to come were allowed to do so, 
for many were unable to obtain passports. 1 The general causes 
were, the severe military requirements, the overpopulation of the 
country, and the consequent scarcity of land for farms §nd homes. 
The land was owned mostly by nobles and by the churches, and 
the poorer classes were obliged to work this land for a small com- 
pensation. The wages in some eases were so low that children 
were often required to herd geese or cattle in the summer months 
for mere board and clothes, and rather meagre quantities of each. 
Thus as they grew up, many of the young people were easily in- 
duced to leave their mother country, and come to America. Many 
had friends who had already crossed the ocean and were quite 
prosperous here. These friends wrote them letters in which 
they told of the high wages, scarcity of labor, and of the opportu- 
nities to secure free land from the United States government. 
But the newspapers of the country discouraged immigration in 
every way possible. Immigration agents had not invaded that 
part of Europe and newspapers could say anything without 
much danger of denial. However, the letters and promises of 
the friends were relied upon rather than the printed accounts. 

But there were other causes that contributed to this immi- 
gration from Bohemia. The revolution of 1848 seemed to prom- 
ise for Bohemia local independence and general reforms in gov- 
ernment, but in the end no permanent reforms were secured. As 
soon as the revolution was over the emperor declared himself 
liberated from all constitutional restraint and liberties which the 
people had temporarily gained were taken away. In the suc- 
ceeding period of reaction absolutism everywhere prevailed. The 
liberty of the press was at an end, and not a single paper was 
allowed to be printed in the Bohemian language. As late as 1859 
the prime minister would not even permit the Bohemians to print 
their own political paper, and not till October, 1866 did it become 

1. Austrian subjects could not leave the Empire without a passport and 
the government would grant only a few. 

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Chezik 
Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Lorenz 


lawful to send a telegram in the Bohemian language. During 
these years it is not remarkable that many liberty loving Bohe- 
mians abandoned their native country and migrated to America. 

I The First Settlers. 

The pioneer Bohemians in Richland County were Albert Che- 
zik and Matthew Lorenz. The former came from Veseli and was 
chiefly responsible for the settlement in this part of the state. 
Albert Chezik was born in Bohemia in 1847, where he lived till 
1859 when, with his parents and four brothers, he came to Amer- 
ica. His father was a small farmer in Bohemia, but this farm 
being too small to provide for the family in the future, he de- 
cided to seek a more prosperous future in America. 

Albert Chezik first settled on a farm with his parents near 
Muscoda, Grant County, "Wisconsin. On April 15, 1871, with 
Matthew Lorenz. also of Muscoda, he set out for Dakota Territory. 
They left Muscoda on the Milwaukee road enroute for Iowa City. 
Iowa, and from there took the stage to Yankton, the territorial 
capitol of Dakota. Here the quality of land was not sufficiently 
attractive so they came back to St. Paul, Minnesota. After a few 
days stay in St. Paul, they received some information regarding 
land in northwestern Minnesota and eastern Dakota, and departed 
for St. Cloud. Minnesota. From there they decided to continue 
their journey on foot, partly because of lack of funds, and partly 
because the stage was very slow and offered them very little 
opportunity to examine land. They traveled for days, reaching 
Fort Abercrombie in Dakota, where, besides the fort, there were 
a few straggling log houses. 

The first impression of the new country was very favorable 
and the two pioneers decided to make this their stopping place. 
They did not take up land immediately but waited for some time 
to get a better view of the surrounding country. In the mean 
time they hired out to Mr. Harris, a prosperous farmer near Mc- 
Cauleyville. Minnesota, where they worked for about three weeks. 
On Sundays they would borrow Harris' team and drive through 
the country searching for a good place on which to locate. They 
finally succeeded in selecting laud near the present site of Wah- 
peton. where at that time was only a dug out occupied by M. F. 
Rich. Albert Chezik filed on the northeastern quarter of section 
five, range forty-seven, township one hundred thirty-two, and 
Matthew Lorenz filed on the northwestern quarter of section 
thirty-three, range forty-seven, township one hundred thirty 
three. The land at that time was not surveyed, and they held 
their claims by squatter rights. In 1873 an agent from the Pem- 
bina land office came down to take their filing papers. 

They at once began to erect sod shanties, and by the use of 


Harris' team they were each able to break five acres of land, haul 
some necessary supplies from Fort Abercrombie, and plant some 
potatoes. When their shanties were finished and all other work 
done, they again worked for Harris till about the 15th of June. 
While on their homesteads they were .able to secure provisions 
from Fort. Abercrombie, and with game such as fish, deer, and 
antelope, they were abundantly supplied with food. 

In July of the same year (1871) Albert Chezik returned to 
Wisconsin to help his father and brothers with harvest, leaving 
Matthew Lorenz in charge of their claims. After harvest he pur- 
chased two teams of horses, and in company with Frank For- 
manek, Joe Formanek, and his brother Joe Chezik, left Muscoda, 
Wisconsin, in two prairie schooners drawn by the horses he had 
purchased. The journey was a difficult one as roads were poor, 
bridges were few, and at times they traveled for miles without 
seeing a single human being. They frequently slept in their 
wagons, and for the most part depended upon the food they car- 
ried with them. They crossed the Wisconsin River at Bridgeport, 
Wisconsin, and the Mississippi at McGregor, Iowa. They used a 
ferry in each case and were charged fifty cents per team for 
crossing. On account of the unusual heat they did not travel 
in the middle of the day. They usually drove from four in the 
morning till ten, and then again from four in the afternoon till 
ten at night. Except for the heat they enjoyed excellent weather 
all the way and were not delayed by heavy storms. Upon their ar- 
rival in Dakota, Frank and Joe Formanek, and Joe Chezik imme- 
diately took up land near the present site of Wahpeton. As the 
land was not surveyed they had to wait for their title till the fol- 
lowing year. In 1871, the St. Paul Minneapolis and Manitoba 
railroad was completed as far west as Breckenridge, thus giving 
the pioneers a close market for whatever products they had to 

In the spring of 1872, Mike Chezik. Frank Bezenek, Joe Ku- 
bela, and Chas. Formanek,, arrived from Muscoda, Wisconsin, 
and took up land in the neighborhood, thus forming, with 
those already there, a fair sized settlement. In the fall of the 
same year, the following settlers arrived from Fort Atkinson, 
Iowa: Thomas Koza, Jacob, Frank, and Wenzl Mikes, Frank 
Novotny, Frank Doleshy and his father. Those who came in the 
spring all stayed in Albert Chezik 's sod shanty till they built 
similar shanties of their own. Many were the amusing meals 
the pioneers prepared over their fires while on their homesteads. 
The cooking arrangements were necessarily crude and often times 
there were not enough dishes to accommodate the entire party. 
Meals were prepared over the open fire by means of a tin pail 
and a skillet. In the fall of 1872 Albert Chezik purchased a 
modern stove at Mankato, Minnesota, the first one owned among 

Albert Formanek 


the pioneers. In 1872 Albert Chezik built the first frame house 
in the settlement and the second was built by Matthew Lorenz 
the following spring, both of these still stand, where they were 
first built, two miles north of Wahpeton. The lumber for these 
buildings was hauled from Hancock, Minnesota. The same year 
Albert Chezik veneered his house with brick, manufactured by 
Frank Novotny, from clay found in the vicinity. Frank Novotny 
later took up a homestead about twelve miles northeast of the 
present city of Lidgerwood. 

In the fall of 1872 Albert Chezik and John Farmanek went 
back to Wisconsin to spend the winter. During the stay at their 
old home they were both married and in February, 1873, with 
their wives, they took the train at Muscoda, Wisconsin, for their 
new home. They speut nearly four weeks in making the journey 
by rail. Snow delayed the train and several days elapsed before 
they reached St. Paul, Minnesota. After spending a week in St. . 
Paul, they resumed their journey with no better result. The 
weather was cold and stormy and very slow progress was made. 
After several days travel they succeeded in reaching Herman, 
Minnesota. Here another week was spent waiting for the rail- 
road to be cleared by a gang of men employed for that purpose. 
From Herman, Minnesota, Albert Chezik telephoned to Frank 
Formanek at Kichville, Dakota (now Wahpeton) for a sleigh 
and a team of horses. The next morning after his arrival the 
two men left Herman for Richville, reaching their destination 
in the evening. Several days later the rest of the party arrived 
on the train. 

In the spring of 1873 Albert Formanek, or Grandpa Tor- 
manek, as he was called, came to visit the new country. The 
excellence of the soil immediately attracted his attention and 
upon returning to Wisconsin, he sold his land and, with the rest 
of his family, came to settle in Dakota. He, too, came in a prairie 
schooner, and brought over a few head of stock besides various 
articles useful on the farm. The growth of the community still 
continued. The same year Thomas Koza, Joseph Stluka, and 
Frank Mickesh and sons came to settle. At this time settlers 
of other nationalities also came to settle, thereby populating the 
country around Kichville very rapidly, and also increasing the 
size of the village itself. The next year, 1874, Albert Chezik 's 
oldest daughter, Margaret, was born, she was the first white child 
born in the village of Richville, and the first Bohemian child born 
in Richland County. 

In the years 1875 and 1876 the crops of the settlers suffered 
greatly from damage done by grasshoppers. Some fields were 
totally destroyed by these pests, while others were partly left 
untouched and brought their owners at least seed and flour for 
the next year. The new country was rapidly becoming settled, 


making it necessary for the United States government to survey 
the lands in Richland County. This was done in 1872 by govern- 
ment surveyors who were assisted by Frank and Joe Formanek, 
both members of the pioneer community. Albert Chezik was 
elected sheriff of Richland County (1872) and since it was the 
sheriff's duty to do the assessing, he was also elected assessor, 
being the first sheriff and assessor of Richland County. The 
latter duty took him upon a disagreeable trip through the western 
part of the county, as there were a few settlers living on the 
Sheyenne River. "While on this trip he experienced a three days 

Thus far the pioneers had been able to secure the services 
of Father Thompson, a missionary priest among the Indians. He 
held the first services in Albert Chezik 's house in 1872, and he 
continued to do this till 1873. After that, services were held in 
any house in the small but growing village of Richville. Be- 
sides the Bohemian Catholics, there were also other Catholics in 
the vicinity, and these, together with the Bohemian Catholics, 
concluded to build a church and support a pastor. About eight- 
een families in all formed a congregation, bought burying 
grounds with the church property, and a small church building 
was built. This supplied the spiritual wants of all Catholics 
for some time. But as years went by and the congregation in- 
creased in size, the Bohemian Catholics decided to erect a church 
of their own and support a pastor. In 1884 a church was erected, 
known as the St. Adalbert Church, named in honor of its founder 
Albert Formanek, Sr. The first pastor of the St. Adalbert's 
Church was Rev. Father Bely, and the second was Rev. Father 
Dvorak. Both were Bohemians and spoke the language very 
fluently. This building was burned on April 21, 1906, and was 
replaced by a handsome brick structure in 1907. 

During the pioneer days freight between "Winnipeg and Rich- 
ville was carried by boat on the Red River during the summer 
months and hauled in sleighs drawn by oxen or horses during the 
winter months. The Bohemian pioneers spent many weeks trav- 
eling to and from "Winnipeg. There were ten regular stopping 
places or stage stations as they were called. 1 They usually made 
two stations a day. 2 For several years following the arrival of 
the first pioneers, there was considerable danger from prairie 
fires, which caused much loss of property at times, and even en- 
dangered the lives of the settlers. 3 In the spring of 1880, through 
the work of Peter Polda, the nucleus of another Bohemian com- 
munity developed near the present site of Lidgerwood. This 

1. These stage stations were : Thompson, Georgetown, Goose River, Frog 

Point, Grand Forks, Turtle River, Kelly's Point, Pembina, ( ), Winnipeg. 

2. From a letter written by Albert Chezik. 

3. From a letter written by Joseph Chezik. 

Mrs. Albert Formanek 


country had been visited in 1879 by Frank Bisek of Alexandria, 
Minnesota, but he did not settle in Dakota for some years. Peter 
Polda had settled at Fort Atkinson, Iowa, in 1871 upon his ar- 
rival in America from his home in Budejovice, Bohemia. 

The crops in Iowa had been ruined by chinch bugs or by 
rust for five consecutive years, and the farmers were looking 
for a better location. Having been informed through newspa- 
pers and immigration agents that the Red River Valley was one 
of the best wheat raising districts in America, Polda organized 
a small company to visit this cuntry. The Company con- 
sisted of Peter Polda, Matt Kouba, John Kouba, Albert Heley, 
Sr., John Kadecka and Joseph Factor, all of Fort Atkinson, Iowa. 
They came to Dakota in the spring of 1880, filed on land, and re- 
turned to Iowa where they stayed till the following summer. 
About the 1st of May, 1881, this party with their families, and a 
few others, numbering about twenty in all left Fort Atkinson, 
Iowa for Dakota. The party traveled in prairie schooners drawn 
by oxen. They carried enough provisions for the journey, and 
the tools which would be most necessary upon their arrival. 
Their progress was rather slow, as roads were poor and bridges 
few. Often the immigrants were obliged to follow a stream for 
miles before they could find a bridge or a crossing place. When 
the party arrived near the place where the town of Fairmount 
now stands, they divided and the new comers, who had not pre- 
viously filed on land in Richland County, continued their jour- 
ney northward. On May 29, 1881, the remainder of the party 
pitched camp on their respective homesteads, and at once began 
building huts, and preparing the land for crops. The first ground 
was broken in making a fire break around the buildings to pro- 
tect the settlers from prairie fires. 

Peter Polda soon began writing a series of newspaper arti- 
cles in the Czech language, telling of the great opportunities 
which this new country offered. These accounts were exten- 
sively circulated and Bohemians soon began to come from the 
states of Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, Nebraska and 
Wisconsin. Besides these immigrants, others came direct from 
Bohemia and thus the new community grew rapidly. While a 
majority of these immigrants were farmers, many were factory 
hands not accustomed to working in the open air under the hot 
sun. Among the early immigrants were several artisans, but 
practically no tradesmen or professional men. Most of these 
new comers became farmers, but some settled in Wahpeton as 
day laborers. Among the newcomers were : John and Peter 
Wacha, Frank Blazek, and John Melonowsky from Ypsilanti, 
Michigan, Frank, Carl, and Wenzl Parizek from LaCrosse, Wis- 
consin, Frank Phillip, Frank Speral, and Frank Voyek from Fort 
Atkinson, Iowa, and Frank Sheleney who came direct from Bohe- 


mia. Between the years 1871 and 1910 the Bohemian popula- 
tion in Richland County increased to three hundred six persons, 
all of' foreign birth. 1 

The furniture of the cabins, and the dress of the people were 
of necessity simple. In many cases tables, benches and cupboards 
were made from the poplar and tamarack trees, hauled from the 
Sheyenne River, a distance of some forty miles. Deer skins and 
buffalo hides were often used as a part of the bedding. Caps 
were made usually from rabbit and badger skins. Wool was quite 
abundant and a spinning wheel was to be found in every home. 
Most of the clothing for ordinary wear was home made. Meat 
was obtained by hunting. Cranes, ducks, and geese were so 
plentiful, that the farmers had to watch their small patches of 
grain to protect them from destruction. The usual means of 
transportation was the wagon drawn by oxen. Many of the set- 
tlers were at first obliged to walk to Wahpeton, a distance of 
thirty miles, to secure food and other necessities for their fami- 
lies. The pioneers had no money to buy fuel, and for the winter 
wood was hauled from the Sheyenne River. The spirit of econo- 
my animated the community, and gradually led them to success. 
The people spent most of their time on the tillage of land ; every 
year they plowed as much of their land as was possible till most 
of it was under cultivation. The land was very productive, and 
every one was pleased with the new country. The first crop 
was cut and bound by hand. Peter Polda's first crop was one 
hundred and seventy bushels of wheat and seventy-five bushels 
of oats, raised on about ten acres of land. With this grain crop, 
and the garden products he considered himself well off. The 
first threshing machine in this community was owned and oper- 
ated by Mr. Sandwork, who did all the threshing for some years. 

The marketing centers were at first, Wahpeton, and Breck- 
enridge, Minnesota, the latter also being the postoffice. The mill- 
ing center was Elizabeth, Minnesota, a distance of fifty-five miles, 
as flour there was cheaper than either at Wahpeton or Brecken- 
ridge. The trip both ways usually took two or three days, de- 
pending upon the weather. Peter Polda tells of several times 
being caught in a snow storm while on such trips, his only guide 
being the bunches of grass along the road which were not burned 
by prairie fires the previous fall. Not infrequently the settlers 
were overtaken by darkness when on their way home from the 
market, and would be compelled to camp out for the night. The 
mill at Elizabeth, Minnesota, was a small one operated by water 
power and was excellently situated on the Otter Tail river. As 
the town had no railroad connections, the flour was hauled to 
Breckenridge, Minnesota, to be marketed. For this reason it 

U. S. Census Report, 1910. 

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Polda Mr. and Mrs. John Waeha 

Mr. and Mrs. Fr. Phillip 


was sold at the mill cheaper than in Breckenridge. The owner 
of this mill was Charles Lesticle, an industrious and good-natured 
pioneer, always willing to help the newcomers in every way pos- 

In 1884 the Northern Pacific Railroad was built from Wah- 
peton through Moorton and Wyndmere to Oakes, thereby 
bringing the market nearer to the settlers. The nearest market 
was now r a distance of from five to eight miles from the different 
settlers. Every farmer now began to raise more grain each year, 
and the farms began to increase both in number and size. From 
this time on the settlers made rapid progress. 

Present Conditions. 

The purpose of the following chapter will be to briefly dis- 
cuss the changes that have taken place since 1871,. and to men- 
tion some of the forces which tend to Americanize the settlers. 

Many of the old country customs still exist among the set- 
tlers, though most of them will pass away with the old pioneers. 
Some, however, are planted so firmly in the minds of the coming 
generation that they will survive the old settlers for years to 
come. Of these survivals, the Bohemian language -is the most 
important. Though the young people use English in their con- 
versation to a large extent, the mother tongue is usually used at 
home. Every child is first taught to express his ideas in this lan- 
guage. English is acquired before the first school years, as the 
children speak the language quite fluently at the age of five or 
six. A large percentage of the children are taught to read and 
write Bohemian. The numerous papers printed in that language, 
which are found in nearly every home, contribute much to this 
result. Some of these papers are the "Hospodar," "Amerikan," 
"Hlasatel," "Svornost," "Hlas," and "Katolik." Very few 
books written in the native tongue are read in the community. 
Another cause which tends to perpetuate the use of the mother 
tongue, is the constant immigration from the old country. These 
newcomers hire out to the farmers, and, not being able to speak 
English, are compelled to use the native language. 

In early days, spinning wheels were used by the settlers very 
commonly. The spinning was always done during the long win- 
ter evenings and practically all the hosiery and mittens used 
were home made. However,, all the spinning wheels have dis- 
appeared, and knitting is a thing of the past. 

The first buildings were of sod, clay, and other material 
close at hand. The natural clay served for the first floor. The 
walls were made of sod, or home made bricks, and were about 
two and a half feet thick. The houses' were usually boarded and 
Whitewashed on the inside. The roof was also of clay, the rafters 
were tree trunks. The windows were made of small panes, which 


admitted just enough light for the people to see. These houses 
were much warmer than a modern house, and the settlers were 
able to economize on their fuel. The other buildings on the farm 
were made of the same material as the dwelling houses. These 
sod buildings are now no longer in use and even their ruins have 
disappeared. The first frame buildings, erected by Chezik and 
Lorenz in 1'872 and 1873, still stand as relics of the pioneer days. 

The Catholic religion has remained the predominating faith 
among the Bohemians. At first the settlers were poor and few 
in number, and they Avere unable to build a place in which to wor- 
ship. However, at the present time, circumstances have changed. 
Two of the largest churches in Richland County have been erect- 
ed by them, St. John Nepomuck church located at Lidgerwood 
with a membership of about 275 and St. Adalbert church located 
at Wahpeton with a membership of about 300. Each church 
has a pastor ; the present pastors are Rev. Father Alois Gaydousek 
at Lidgerwood, and Rev. Father Jos. Gaydousek at Wahpeton. 

Very important factors, which tend to perpetuate unity 
among the Bohemian people of Richland County, are the pres- 
ent religious and non-religiious Bohemian fraternal; organiza- 
tions. The two important national religious organizations of 
this nature are the Catholic Workman (Katolicky Delnik) and 
the Western Bohemian Catholic Association (Zapadni Ceska Kat- 
olicka Jednota. 1 

The order of the Catholic Workmen at Lidgerwood was 
organized in 1899 with a membership of seventeen; its present 
membership is eighteen. The first officers of this organization 
were : President, Joseph W. Novotny ; Vice President, Wenzl 
Fuka; Secretary, Wenzl Kuzel; Accountant, Frank Pokorney; 
Treasurer, John Pasak. 

The Western Bohemian Catholic Association order at Lid- 
gerwood was started in 1899 with a membership of eight, and 
since has increased to seventeen. The first officers of this order 
were: President, Albert Heley ; Secretary, Joseph Hajney; Treas- 
urer, John Heley. 

Besides the two above named, the young peoples societies 
have been organized in 1911, one for young men having a mem- 
bership of thirty, and the other for young ladies having a mem- 
bership of twenty-five. These four organizations are affiliated 
with the St. John Nepomuck Catholic Church of Lidgerwood. 

Similar organizations are in existence in connection with the 
St. Adalbert's Catholic church at Wahpeton, each of which has 
been quite prosperous. The Western Bohemian Catholic Asso- 
ciation order at Wahpeton was organized in 1888. Its present 
membership is thirty-four. The Catholic Workmen was organ- 

1. These two organizations are described in the appendix. Nos. 2 and 3. 

Mr. and Mrs. Matt Kouba 


ized in 1890, and at present has a membership of twenty-six. 
In 1908 the married ladies of the St. Adalbert Church organized 
the Altar Society. At present they have a membership of twenty- 
three. The same year the young ladies of that church organized 
the St. Cecilia Society and have a present membership of six- 
teen. 1 

The non-religious fraternal organization is the Western Bo- 
hemian Fraternal Association, (Zapadni Cesko-Bratrski Jednota) 
also national in character. 2 The Lidgerwood order, August Her- 
man, No. 30, was organized by Joseph Gadrny in 1889 with a 
membership of fifteen. 3 The first officers were as follows : Pres- 
ident, Peter Polcla; Secretary, Karl Parizek; Treasurer, Peter 

The first meeting of this order was held on the farm of Frank 
Novotny, as there was no other more convenient place. Meet- 
ings were held later at the city hall of Lidgerwuod till the year 
1908, when enough money was raised among the members to erect 
their own hall at the cost of $9,000. Its membership 
has increased from fifteen in 1889 to one hundred twenty 
one in 1912, making it the largest order of its kind in the state, 
there being thirteen such orders in the state at present. The 
membership is composed of eighty men and forty one women. 4 

The Wahpeton order, Red River, No. 42, was organized on 
August 1, 1897. This was the reorganization of a previous order 
having the name, Red River, No. 155, affiliated with the national 
organization, C. S. P. S., of which the entire "Western Bohemian 
Fraternal Association is an outgrowth. The order began with 
a membership of ten, and has now increased to seventy-one, con- 
sisting of fifty two men and nineteen women. The charter mem- 
bers were as follows : Thos. Sramota, Frank,. Dolejsi, Alois Les- 
ovsky, Jos. Matuska, Emil Hrubes, John Chada, Chas. Benes, Jos. 
Brush, Thos. Chezik, and Wenzl Mikesh. The first officers were : 
President, Thos. Sramota ; Vice President, Jos. Brush ; Recording 
Secretary, Wenzl Mikesh ; Financial Secretary, Chas. Benes ; 
Treasurer, John Chada ; Escort, Thos. Ghezik ; Guard,, Emil 

The order holds regular meetings in the I. O. O. F. Hall 
every second Sunday of each month. In 1903 the order purchased 
its own cemetery, and its next aim is the construction of its own 
hall. 5 

1. For tins information I am indebted to A. Chezik, and Rev, J, Gaydousek. 

2. This organization is further discussed in appendix No. 4. 

?,. The charter members were : John Busta, Frank Hogza, John Krupicka, 
Thomas Kruchek, Joseph Kochian, John Kochian, Frank Maruska, Wenzl Parizek, 
Frank Parizek, Karl Parizek, Peter Polda, Thomas Polda, John Ryba, Frank 
Trnka, and Peter Wacha. 

4. For this' preceding information I am indebted to Matt Kouba and Wenzl 
Wenzl Parizek. See appendix No. 4. 

5. For the above information I am indebted to W. J. Zluticky. Secretary 
of the Wahpeton order. For a more detail discussion of the Z. C. B. J. in North 
Dakota see appendix No. 1. 


The settlers have always taken much interest in educating 
their children. All children receive at least a common school edu- 
cation, and a fair portion go to the high school. For the last five 
or six years,, students of Bohemian parents have graduated with 
every graduating class in hoth the Lidgerwood and the Wahpe- 
ton High Schools. Up to the present time ten have graduated 
from the Lidgerwood High School, and about twenty from the 
"Wahpeton High School. Some twenty students are attending 
college every winter. Besides these several have already received 
their degrees or diplomas from some higher institution. 

The Bohemians are naturally fond of music. Hardly a home 
is without its musical instruments, and there are always one or 
more performers in each family. The violin is the favorite in- 
strument. Many, however, prefer the guitar, accordion, piano 
or the organ, hut lately wind instruments have been much used. 
Some five years ago the Elznic and Pavek Band was organized 
and it has furnished music for celebrations, fairs, and various 
social events throughout this part of the state. 

The industrial development of the settlers has been marked 
by steady growth. Land has greatly increased in value since 
the pioneer days, the average price now being sixty dollars per 
acre. In 1882 John Zimmerman traded a quarter section of 
land for an old horse, now the same land would sell for eight 
thousand dollars. 

In the matter of buildings the settlers have always kept pace 
with the rest of the state. Nearly all the farmers have a windmill 
to pump water for the stock, and some have gasoline engines for 
grinding feed. The average farm is about 300 acres though 
many farmers own as many as 1000 acres. The Bohemians are 
good grain growers and great lovers of trees. Each farm is 
surrounded by a thriving grove and every corner of the land is 
utilized. They are hard workers, and have little faith in schemes 
to save work; they give the same amount of energy to the virgin 
soil of North Dakota as they did to the crowded,, and much-used 
soil of old Bohemia. On the other hand they believe in using 
farm machinery and their farms are fully equipped with all 
modern improvements. The first rural telephone was built in 
1908. It is not owned by the farmers, but by the Lidgerwood 
Rural Telephone Company. This company has built some thirty 
lines which extend through different parts of the surrounding 
country. Nearly all the families have a telephone and during 
the last five years they have also secured daily rural mail ser- 
vice. Many of the settlers own one or more shares in the Lidger- 
wood Farmers State Bank. Farmers' stores, and farmers' ele- 
vators have been organized in the different towns in the county, 
within the last five years. In these corporations the capital stock 

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Chezik 
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Novotny 


■ • 

is subscribed entirely by the farmers, who thus control them and 
receive all the returns. 

The Bohemians have always taken an active interest in 
polities, although not many of their nationality have held office. 
The men who have held offices are Albert Chezik, elected the 
first sheriff and assessor of Richland County in 1873, and Frank 
Heley elected in 1908 to the office of sheriff, which he held for 
two years. In the party divisions the republicans and demo- 
crats predominate and there are a few socialists. 

During the last few years some of the pioneers have rented 
their land and others have gone into business in the neighboring 
towns, though most of them are still living on their farms. 


No. 1. 

The Western Bohemian Fraternal Association, Z. C. B. J., in 
. North Dakota. 

As will be seen in a later chapter, the Western Bohemian 
Fraternal Association, Z. C. B. J., is an outgrowth of the Bohe- 
mian Slovanic Benevolent Society, C. S. P. S. The first Z. C. 
B. J. order in North Dakota was started at Lidgerwood in 1889 
under the name of August Herman, and with a membership of 
fifteen men. Its membership throughout North Dakota has grown 
very rapidly, and at present, January 1, 1912, it consists of four 
hundred thirty-five men and two hundred twelve women, making 
a total of thirteen orders and six hundred forty-seven members 
distributed among the different towns as follows : 

No. of Membership. 

Order Town Men Women Total. 

30 Lidgerwood 80 41 121 

36 Conway 50 13 63 

42 Wahpeton 52 

58 Pisek 30 

106 Lankin (country district) 58..... 

147 Mandan 60 

187 Dickinson 21 

188 Minot 17 

189 Ross 18 

190 Kensal 4 

191 Lawton 12 

202 Lankin (City) 25 

208 Adams 9 



. 7 










. 9 




. 7 







No. 2. 
Catholic Workman, Katolicky Delnik. 
The Catholic Workman was organized in the year 1891 at 
St. Paul, Minnesota, with a membership of twenty-three, all of 
whom were strong believers in the Roman Catholic faith. The 
general purpose of the organization is to promote the moral, so- 
cial and intellectual culture of its members and to provide by 
monthly and special assessments certain funds, namely : Widows 
and Orphans Fund ; Reserve Fund ; Disability Fund ; and Gen- 
eral Fund. The assessments were at first to be somewhat less 
with younger members than with older members. But this idea 
was soon abandoned, and now all members pay the same. The first 
officers of the Catholic Workman were as follows : 

Chaplain Rev. J. Rynda, St. Paul, Minnesota. 

President John Vacek, New Prague, Minnesota 

Secretary Joseph Hovorka, New Prague, Minnesota 

Treasurer Jacob Steinbar, Winona, Minnesota 

Physician Dr. Jas. McKeon, Montgomery, Minesota 

Lawyer C. C. Kolar, Le Sueur Center, Minnesota 

The directors were : John Kovarik, Montgomery, Minnesota ; 
Frank Moudry, Le Sueur Center, Minnesota; Emil Povolny, St. 
Paul, Minnesota, (died 1911.) The members soon became anx- 
ious to extend the organization into other parts of the country 
among other Bohemian believers of the Roman Catholic faith. 
In 1892 the organization was incorporated under the laws of 
Minnesota, and became a national organization. Rev. John Rynda 
of St. Paul was elected chief organizer. Each member also ap- 
pointed himself a committee of one to help this new cause to 
the best of his ability. Their efforts soon began to bear fruit 
and the new movement spread very rapidly. It was soon taken 
up by Roman Catholics of the other towns and cities in Minne- 
sota as well as in other states. Nebraska soon followed with a 
rapid increase both in the number of orders and membership ; 
Iowa took advantage of the movement ; then followed Illinois, 
Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, 
Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Maryland, and Pensylvania. 

Thus it will be seen in comparing the year 1891 with the year 
1911 that considerable progress was made. The number of orders 
increased to one hundred seventeen and the total membership 
increased from twenty-three to three thousand seven hundred 

In a report of the National Convention held at Chicago, Illi- 
nois, in January, 1911, the following is given by states for 1910 : 

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Formanek, Jr. 
Mr. and Mrs. Joe Bezenek 


State No. of Orders Total 


Nebraska 32 1174 

Minnesota - 19 595 

Illinois . 8 424 

Iowa 8 267 

Texas 16 309 

North Dakota 6 146 

Kansas 6 119 

South Dakota 4 62 

Oklahoma 4 75 

Wisconsin 3 62 

Ohio 2 . 100 

Pennsylvaia 1 324 

Maryland 3 139 

Missouri 1 17 

Michigan - 1 12 

114 3625 

During the same interval, 1891-1911, occurred two hundred 
thirty-two deaths, and the total amount paid out on policies was 
two hundred sixty-five thousand five hundred dollars. The poli- 
cies vary in amount from five hundred to two thousand dollars, 
no one being allowed to exceed the latter amount. 
The officers for 1911 are as follows: 

Chaplain Rev. John Vlcek, Plattsmouth, Nebraska 

President John Jirousek, Plattsmouth, Nebraska 

Vice Pres Joseph Drozd, Penelope, Texas 

Secretary Thos. Hovorka, New Prague, Minnesota 

Treasurer ~Fr. J. Polak, Prague, Minnesota 

Physician. ...Dr. M. E. Lorenz, 1800 Alfort St. Chicago, Illinois 
Attorney C. C. Kolar, Le Sueur Center, Minnesota 


Wenzl Vachal 1247 So. 15 St. Omaha, Nebraska 

. Anton J. Malek Toma. Iowa 

Anton F. Vrana 1754 W. 18 St. Chicago, Illinois 

There are six branch societies of the Catholic Workman in 
North Dakota with a total membership of one hundred forty-six. 1 

Vesleyville 46 

Pisek 47 

Lidgerwood 18 

Wahpeton 18 

Lomice 10 

Lankin 7 


1. For the foregoing information I am indebted to the present national sec- 
secretary, Thos. G. Hovorka, New Prague, Minnesota. 


No. 3. 

Western Bohemian Catholic Union, Zapadni Ceska Katolicka 
Jednota, Z. C. K. J. 

To give a brief history of the Western Bohemian Catholic 
Union, I will quote part of a letter from K. J. Kovarik, the na- 
tional secretary: 

"The Western Bohemian Catholic Union was organized in the 
year 1898 from the Branch Societies of the First Roman Catholic 
Central Union, Prvni Ustredni Jednota, existing in the states of 
Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North and South Dakota. On Janu- 
ary 1, 1899, it was incorporated under the laws of Iowa,, and au- 
thorized to do business in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North 
Dakota. On March 13, 1912, there were eighty-seven branch so- 
cieties with 2828 male and 1435 female members insured to the 
amount of $3,176,900. The Reserve Fund on that date was $43,- 
958.49. From January 1, 1899, to March 31, 1912, the amount 
paid to the beneficiaries of deceased members was $324,900. On 
May 1, 1912, there were eight branch societies of the Western 
Bohemian Catholic Union in North Dakota. 

St. John Nepomuk at Lidgerwood with 10 male and 7 female 

St. Cyrill and Method at Pisek with 60 male and 23 female 

St. Peter and Paul at Bechyn with 57 male and 24 female 

St. Wenceslaus at Veseleyville with 47 male and 21 female 

St. Wenceslaus at Wahpeton with 34 male members. 

St. Wenceslaus at New Hradec with 55 male and 9 female 

St. Adolph at Lomice with 10 male and 8 female members. 

St. Peter and Paul at Dickinson with 22 male and 3 female 

The officers for 1912 are as follows: 

Chaplain Rev. J. Rynda, St. Paul, Minnesota 

President _ L. J. Krdny, Wahoo, Nebraska 

Vice Pres John Prusa, So. Omaha, Nebraska 

Treasurer : Joseph Machovec, St. Paul, Minnesota 

Secretary J. J. Kovarik, New Prague, Minnesota 

Physician Dr. W. J. Hovorak, St. Paul, Minnesota 


F. J. Fencl Protivin, Iowa 

F. J. Karnik Veseleyville, North Dakota 

Joseph M. Petrik Lake Andes, South Dakota 

Dr. Fred Formauek 
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Formanek 


"The following is a list of members of the St. John Nepo- 
muck Order at Lidgerwood, Richland County on January 1, 1912: 
John Heley, Albert Heley, Frank Sheleney, Frank Voyek, Frank 
Franta, Joseph Hajney, Albert Kovar, Wm. Heley, Joseph W. 
Novotny, Rev. Alois Gaydousek, Elenora Heley, Verona Sheleney, 
Antonette Voyek, Anna Franta, Anna Hajney, Mary Kovar, Jose- 
phine Novotny." 

"The members of the St. Wenceslaus Order at Wahpeton, 
Richland County on January 1, 1912, are as follows : John Dvorak, 
Frank Kosik, Frank J. Kosik, John Mares, Ed. Mares, John Busko, 
Frank Pechlat, Joseph E. Chezik, Ed. J. Chezik, Frank Tehle, 
John Holecek, Jas.. C. Holecek, Albert Holecek, Frank Holecek, 
Ed. Holecek, Anton Holecek, Frank Lorenz, Chas. "W. Lorenz, 
Bernard Lorenz, Albert Lorenz, Frank Srnka, Fred Srnka, John 
Cimbura, John Bricks, Rev Jos. Gaydousek, Joseph E. Korbel, 
Wenzl Kubala, Wenzl Pazdernik, Chas. L. Pazdernik, John Paz- 
dernik, Joseph Pazdernik, Joseph Barina, Frank L. Kub, and Ed. 

No. 4. 

The Bohemian-Slovanic Benevolent Society. Cesko-Slovansky 

Podporujici Spolek. 

In a report of the Jubilee Festival of the 50th anni- 
versary of the Bohemian Slovanic Benevolent Society, C. S. P. 
S., held at St. Louis, Missouri in 1904, is found in part the fol- 
lowing brief history. On March 4, 1854, several Bohemian citi- 
zens of St. Louis, Missouri, had gathered at the residence of 
Jacob Mottl. located on 9th St. between Soulard and Lafayette 
streets, for the purpose of discussing the possibilities of organiz- 
ing a Bohemian lodge, not solely for providing life insurance for 
their families after their death, but also to serve as a fraternal 
tie among the members. After a lengthy discussion both pro and 
con, it was finally decided that a lodge would be organized. This 
was the beginning of one of the largest present day organiza- 
tions of its nature namely, The Bohemian-Slovanic Benevolent 
Society commonly known as the C. S. P. S. lodge. The charter 
members of this society were as follows : Joseph Stankovsky, 
Anton Neustadt, Albert Masek, Jacob Svacina, John Smr'ha, Peter 
Masek, John Baun, John Kadlec, John Stuchel, Joseph Kriz, John 
Stais, Joseph Petracek, John Dospiva, V. Stanek, Mat Stankow- 
sky, Wenzl Panuska, Karl Sauer, Jos. Marsolek, Anton Morstein, 
Joseph Meyer, Jacob Mottl, Frank Nikrle, Wenzl Svec, Frank 
Voracek, Frank Sykora, Lawrence Gahn, Martin Vovec, and John 
Benda. Thus there were twenty-eight members in all to lay the 
foundation of this organization. 


In the course of six months following the organization twen- 
ty-four new members had joined, but at the same time twenty of 
the members had been expelled,, so during the first year the so- 
ciety had made little progress as far as membership was con- 
cerned. The first officers were as follows : President, Frank 
Nikrle; Vice President, Karl Sauer ; Secretary, Anton Neustadt. 

The dues at first were as follows : Initiation fee $1.25, month- 
ly assessments, 50 cents, and special assessments for the support 
of sick brethren totaled $2.00 for the first year and $2.50 for the 
second. The expenses paid by the association were, support to 
widows $5.00 per month, and funeral expenses which the associa- 
tion was authorized to pay, $20.00 towards the funeral of a brother 
and $10.00 towards the funeral of a member's wife. The finances 
of the organization were in a satisfactory condition, as at the end 
of the first six months the treasury showed a balance of $186.00 
and at the end of the first year $214.00 were on hand. During 
the years 1855-57 nothing of great importance had taken place 
within the association. Thus far it had not been strictly of a 
secret nature, but on March 1, 1857 it was launched for the first 
time as a secret organization. In this manner it progressed till 
March 3, 1862, when it was placed upon a national basis. 

The First National officers were: President, Wenzl Polak; 
Secretary, Karl Claudius ; Treasurer, Karl Roth. 

Immediately after the Civil "War broke out, this new associa- 
tion felt its effect, and by the end of June, 1862, it had prac- 
tically ceased to exist. But in other parts of the city of St. 
Louis, this new idea had gained a firm hold, and on July 4, 
1862, was organized the Missouri Lodge No. 2 of the C. S. P. S. 
This order was immediately placed on a national basis that is, 
other orders could be organized under the ruling of the same 
charter without a reorganization of the old one. The organizers 
of this order were : "Wenzl Polak, Joseph Stankovsky. Andrew 
Mik, Martin Kovanda, Joseph Schanel, "Wenzl Euzicka, John 
"Votava, Frank Vesely, Anton Klement, Jacob Dvorak, F. Zamra- 
zil, V. Rehacek. "Wenzl Hruska, Frank Novotny, and Jacob Bayer, 
making a total of fifteen. Following the organization of Order 
No. 2 others gradually came into existence. In September .of 
that year it was publicly announced that Order No. 1 C. S. P. S. 
had been dissolved, and this was the end of the first Bohemian 
Benevolent Society in the United States. But its purpose, aim, 
and principles were so firmly fixed in the minds of those who 
had been connected with it, that instead of permanently ceasing 
to exist, it had made greater achievments than ever. Missouri 
Lodge No. 2 C. S. P. S. was steadily progressing, and its funda- 
mental principles were gaining a strong foot-hold among Bohe- 
mians throughout other states. On February 2, 1870, was or- 
ganized in Cleveland, Ohio, order Svornost, and upon the 8th 


of March, 1870, received its charter from Order No. 2 C. S. P. S. 
for national existence under the name Svornost, No. 3, C. S. P. S. 

The first permanent national officers, after Lodge No. 1 had 
ceased to exist were: President, Frank Polak; Secretary, Karl 
Claudius; Treasurer, Karl Roth. 

A gradual but permanent progress followed and in 1873 we 
find that five orders were in existence with a total membership 
of 220. Till the year 1880 the number of orders increased to 66 
and the membership to 3,957. In the September, 1912, issue of 
the Brotherhood Organ, Organ Bratrstve, we find there were 216 
orders in existence with a total membership of 24,976 distributed 
among the various states as follows : 

States Members 

Alabama 13 

Arkansas 26 

California 63 

South Dakota 157 

Illinois 8,292 

Iowa 960 

Kansas 256 

* Maryland 429 

Massachusetts 240 

Michigan 650 

Minnesota 480 

Missouri 1,088 

Nebraska 535 

New Jersey 442 

New York 4,234 

Ohio 3,769 

Oklahoma 22 

Wisconsin 791 

The association had been without an official organ from the 
time of its beginning till the year 1886, when it was decided to 
publish a national organ. The publisher of a paper called Den- 
nice Novoveku agreed to do the work in connection with his own 
paper. The paper was published twice a month in regular size 
eight page paper, at the cost of 40 cents per year and every 
member was compelled to subscribe. Since then several changes 
have been made in the paper, and it is now a thirty-two page 
paper, published monthly by Karl Jirak of Oak Park, Illinois, 
the cost being 40 cents per year per member. 


No. 5. 

Western Bohemian Fraternal Association. Zapadni Cesko-Brat- 
rske Jednota, Z. C. B. J. 

On account of many deaths in the large eastern cities, 
in proportion to the west, a number of the members of the 
Bohemian Slovanic Benevolent Society severed their connection 
with this society, and on February 11, 1897, together with some 
who had not been connected with the society, organized a new 
association at Omaha, Nebraska. The name of this new associa- 
tion was the Western Bohemian Fraternal Association. Their 
membership at the time of organization was 927, and the first 
officers were as follows: President, J. Zbanek, Cedar Eapids, 
Iowa ; Vice Pres., A. Novotny, Cedar Rapids, Iowa ; Secretary, A. 
Blaha, Cedar Eapids, Iowa; Treasurer, A. Brayer, Cedar Rapids, 
Iowa. On the 4th of July, 1897, it was incorporated and since 
known as a national association. The principles of this new 
association are the same as those of the old order namely, Truth, 
Love and Loyalty among the members. It is a social organiza- 
tion as well as a beneficial one, and social members are admitted. 
It is open to women as well as men, and the policies range from 
$500.00 to $2,000.00. Any person is eligible to membership pro- 
viding he has the usual requirements. Of course it is essential 
that one is able to speak the Bohemian language, as all the meet- 
ings are conducted in the native tongue. 

The official organ of this association is the Fraternal Adver- 
tiser, Bratrsky Vestnik, published monthly at the main office of 
the Association, at 509-511 So. 12th Street, Omaha, Nebraska,, with 
F. J. Kutak as editor. The paper is sent free of charge to all 
members, and at the rate of 50 cents per year to non-members. 
According to the official report, on January 1, 1912, the associa- 
tion had a total of 17,500 members with 226 orders, throughout 
15 states as follows: 

Montana 2 North Dakota 13 

Minnesota 22 Oregon 3 

Michigan 4 Oklahoma . 16 

Kansas 18 South Dakota 17 

Iowa 24 Washington 3 

California 2 Wisconsin 33 

Colorado 1 Wyoming 1 

Nebraska 67 

The National Officers of the Association on January 1, 1912 
were as follows: President, F. M. Barta, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; 
Vice Pres. F. J. Salda, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Secretary, Louis 
Blaha, Cedar Rapids, Iowa ; Treasurer, Emil Falda, Linwood, Ne- 
braska; Physician, Dr. V. V. Smrha, Milligan, Nebraska. 


Roy Thompson. 

Members of the Church of the Brethren, or, as they have 
until recently been called, German Baptist Brethren, and com- 
monly spoken of as Dunkers, have been settling in North Da- 
kota since 1891. 1 Their colonies were at first restricted to the 
territory surrounding Canclo, Mayville and Devils Lake, bu^ now 
they are well represented in almost every section of the northern 
half of the state, especially in the central and western portions 
of this aiea where government land was left vacant until after 

The first Dunker colony to settle in the state was the one 
which came to Towner County in the spring of 1894 and located 
near Cando. 2 Other and larger colonies came later, both 
to Cando, and to other parts of the state, but the colony of 189-1 
was the pioneer, and it is with the history of this colony that the 
present paper deals. 

Before taking up the history of this particular group, how- 
ever, it will not be out of place to briefly review the history of 
the church, taking up its origin and growth, and some of the 
principal tenets which distinguish it from other Protestant de- 


The organization now known as the Church of the Brethren 
originated during that period of upheaval on the continent of 
Europe caused by a reaction against the Catholic Church. 3 The 
valley of the Rhine became the theatre of much persecution of 
persons and sects who were courageous enough to hold and de- 
fend religious convictions of their own or who interpreted the 
Bible in a different sense from that of the state religion. Such 
was the tremendous impetus acquired by the reaction that the 
extreme position of no form and no religion was soon reached 
by the Pietists. In 1708, under the leadership of Alexander Mack, 
himself a Pietist, a group of eight persons was formed whose 
religious convictions impelled them to follow the spirit if not the 
letter of the Scriptures, and who believed that the radicalism 
of the Pietists tended to disorder and anarchy. After prolonged 

1. This is a German word and means one ivho dips or immerses, an immerser. 

2. The point farthest north and west reached by the Dunkers up to this 
time was Bijou Hills, S. D. A few single families from this settlement moved 
across the southern broder of North Dakota in the spring of 1894 but no com- 
munity settlement was started by them. 

3. For this sketch I have used Brumbaugh, History of the German Baptist 
Brethern in Europe, Elgin, 111., 1907 and Two Centuries of the Church of the 
Brethern, Elgin, 111., 1909. 


study of the Bible they met at Mack's house in Schwarzenau, 
Germany, for the purpose of putting their beliefs into practice. 
Following a period of solemn consultation and prayer, they pro- 
ceeded to a little river, the Eder, where they performed baptis- 
mal rites, which, in accordance with their views, they did by 
triune immersion. Thus was founded a sect which grew rapidly 
into what is now known as the Church of the Brethren. 

The text which was the basis of the organization of the church 
is found in Luke 14 :25-33. It was used by Mack just before the 
ordinance of baptism, and is still used on such occasions. The 
particular part which led to its selection were the three words 
"counteth the cost" found in verse 28: "For which of you, in- 
tending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the 
cost,, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" Thus during an 
age of turmoil, religious and political, this group of earnest 
thinkers, abandoning all denominational precedents, founded a 
church, at once opposed to the formal religion of state and at the 
same time wisely kept free from the utter disorganization of the 
Pietists. These Brethren, or Taufers, carried the spirit of Pro- 
testantism to the acceptance of the maxim "No exercise of force 
in religion." For this they suffered every sort of persecution. 1 

The church grew rapidly, branch congregations soon sprang 
up throughout Germany, and in 1719 the first emigration to Amer- 
ica took place under the leadership of Peter Becker. The first 
settlement was made at Germantown, Pennsylvania. Dreams of 
moving to America were probably not new to some of the emi- 
grants. William Penn had preached his way up the Rhine to 
Switzerland in 1672 and again in 1678. No doubt some of those 
who entered the compact of 1708 had heard him and were thus 
more easily influenced to move to Pennsylvania where they could 
worship as they pleased. Other colonies followed Becker's un- 
til most of the leaders, including Mack, left Europe for America. 
This land of political and religious freedom soon became the 
center of activity and the home of the church 

The history of the church in America is one of remarkable 
growth and progress. From the mother-congregation of German- 
town the Dunkers reached out, established other congregations, 
and, keeping pace with the growth of the nation, have established 
themselves in every state in the Union. 

The United States Census special report for 1906 on Religious 
Bodies gives the following data : 

1. Non-coercion gave them the following principles which they rigidly ad- 
here to : 

We cannot compel any one to join our church, therefore we are oppoesd to 
infant baptism. 

We are opposed to taking the oath by force of law. 

We are opposed to war. 

We are opposed, logically to state religions ; we sustain freedom of con- 
science and exalt allegiance to God above allegiance to rulers. 

Each individual is free to follow his own conscience. 


"The Dunker or German Baptist Brethren bodies are four 
in number, as follows : German Baptist Brethren Church (con- 
servative), Old Order German Baptist Brethren (withdrew in 
1881), The Brethren Church (Progressive Dunkers withdrew in 
1882), German 7th Day Baptists (withdrew in 1728). 

. "At the close of the year 1906 the four bodies taken to- 
gether had 1,097 organizations ; the total number of communi- 
cants reported by 1,090 organizations was 97,144. The Dunker 
Brethren have never formulated a written creed, deeming the 
scriptures sufficient. ' n 


The first settlement of Dunkers in North Dakota owes its 
existence primarily to the activity of the Great Northern rail- 
road, which, in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, 
spent much money and employed many men in finding settlers for 
the vacant government land lying within the territory of its 
newly built lines in the northwest. At the head of the immigra- 
tion activity of the railroad from 1892 to 1909 was Max Bass, 
a man to whose remarkable energy and personal enthusiasm for 
his work is due, in very large measure, the rapid settlement and 
consequent development of the northern half of our state. North 
Dakota owes much to Max Bass, for it was his vital interest in 
the settlers themselves, his sympathetic concern for their welfare, 
born of a larger impulse than that of merely earning his salary, 
which made him so important a factor in laying the foundations 
of the commonwealth. 2 

In accordance with his policy of finding homes for settlers, 
Max Bass, during the summer of 1893, endeavored to secure for 
Towner County a colony of Amish, a religious sect. His plan 
was to persuade two or three families to move from their homes 
in the eastern states and settle in North Dakota. "The Amish 
people are very clannish, where one goes, others will follow like 
sheep," is his own expression of the situation. 3 In a letter to F. 
L. Thompson, of Cando, he suggests that Thompson find a place 
for one C. F. Kidder, one of the Amish, upon his farm, "for the 
sake of establishing a colony near Cando." 

The plan of establishing a colony of people who were 
bound together by religious ties suggested to F. L. Thompson 
the idea of securing a Dunker colony for North Dakota. This 
was very natural since he had lived as a boy near such a commu- 
nity at Girard, Illinois, and had had many dealings with them 
while in the mercantile business at that place. He had had ample 

1. Special Report of the Bureau of the Census, I'. S. Government, Wash- 
ington, D. C, 1906. 

2. For a sketch of Max Bass, see appendix No. 3. 

3. Letter from Max Bass to F. L. Thompson. June 27, 1893. 


opportunity to become acquainted with them, and was confident 
that they would make good settlers and desirable citizens. Par- 
ticularly was he impressed with the fact that in the matter of 
religion, they practiced what they preached. Accordingly he 
communicated his ideas to Max Bass and suggested that he visit 
the Girard community with a view to organizing an emigration 
from that district. 

Following this suggestion Bass visited the Illinois commu- 
nity, and endeavored to interest its members in North Dakota 
lands. He found them, however, unwilling to move. This was 
due, and very naturally,, to the fact that they were enjoying very 
prosperous conditions and had no reason to be dissatisfied. Al- 
though this visit did not yield any direct results in the matter of 
immigration, it served to bring him into touch with the Dunkers. 
and to impress him with their desirability as settlers. His next 
move was to visit the annual conference of Dunkers at Muncie 
Indiana, in June, 1893. In answer to his inquiries he obtained 
the information that Rev. A. B. Peters, of Walkertown, Indiana, 
and T. Judson Beckwith, of Teegarden. Indiana, would probably 
be glad to change their locations and move to North Dakota. 

The visit of Max Bass to the conference resulted in some 
correspondence between him and Rev. Peters, .and ultimately in 
a visit on the part of Bass to Rev. Peters' home. The possibili- 
ties and advantages of the northwest were presented to the lat- 
ter, free transportation was offered him for a trip of investiera- 
tion and prospecting. Rev. Peters was much interested in the 
prospects held forth, and asked permission to take a number of 
friends with him. This request was readily granted by Bass, 
and a committee of Brethren was immediately organized for the 
trip of investigation. They were T. Judson Beckwith of Tee- 
garden. "William Baughman of Walkertown, William Holland of 
Tyner City,. Rev. J. R. Miller and Samuel W. Burkhart of Nappa- 
nee, Indiana. 1 

It was with much hesitation that this group of men con- 
sented to take the trip, for they knew that if they sold their 
homes in Indiana and cast their lot with the pioneers of North 
Dakota there could be no going back; they would be obliged, 
by reason of their slender finances, to remain where they set- 
tled. The price of land in Indiana was so high that once they 
sold, they could not re-establish themselves there. 2 The pros- 
pect of free government lands, however, was sufficiently allur- 
ing to induce these men to make the initial trip of investiga- 

This committee of Brethren, accompanied by Max Bass, left 

1. For a sketch of T. Judson Beckwith, see appendix No. 5. 

2. Land sold for $40 to $05 per acre in the neighborhood of Teegarden, and 
from $50 to $100 around Nappanee. 


Chicago, August 2, 1'893, for North Dakota. They arrived at 
Mayville August 4, where they made their first stop. The ap- 
pearance of the country and its apparent possibilities highly 
pleased the visitors. They found the prospects, however, un- 
suited to their financial condition for the government land had 
been taken up and improved, and could be had only by out- 
right purchase, or on the crop-payment plan. By the crop- 
payment plan is meant that system whereby the purchaser of 
land pays a certain amount at the time of purchase and agrees 
to give the original owner a certain per cent of each crop raised 
on the land,, usually one-half, until the whole amount agreed upon 
is paid. This plan is subject to much variation, however, de- 
pending upon the individual agreements between buyer and seller. 
This fact decided them to go further west, where government 
land was still open for filing. 

Leaving Mayville, they continued their trip west. A stop 
was made at Lakota, August 6, but the conditions upon which 
they could acquire title to land were the same as at Mayville. 
On August 7 they arrived at Cando. Here they were hospitably 
received and entertained by the citizens of the town. Several 
days were spent in looking over the country. U. S. Land Com- 
missioner F. L. Thompson. C. J. Lord of the Towner County 
Bank (now the First National), and E. J. Hanson assisted the 
visitors in the matter of transportation, and, being familiar with 
the quality and physiography of the land still open for settle- 
ment, were of much assistance in helping the Brethren to find 
a suitable location. The first day was spent east of town. 
Thompson and Hanson conducted the party, and took them as 
far east as the present town of Newville. None of the Brethren, 
however, was sufficiently satisfied with the country to file. Burk- 
hart, who had lived in Kansas from 1885 to 1888, years when 
Kansas suffered from severe drought, thought this land compared 
unfavorably with Kansas land, especially that it was less level. 1 

That evening as the party gathered in Thompson's office, a 
remark was made, which, though unimportant in itself, is yet 
remembered by all the Brethren, and is still told by them with 
much interest, Kev. Peters had said, "We're ready to locate, but 
have not yet seen the spot." 

"I'll show the spot tomorrow," replied Thompson, indicat- 
ing a certain quarter-section on the plat-book. 

The following day, August 10, the party having been joined 
by C. J. Lord, spent the day west of Cando. Having covered a 
large amount of territory, the party returned towards town and 
arrived at the quarter mentioned by Thompson the night before. 2 
This quarter is comparatively level, with a well-rounded hill at 

1. For a sketch of Samuel W. Burkhart, see appendix No. 4. 

2. The S. W. Yi of Sec. 158, R. 68. 


its approximate centre, and is admirably situated for a building 
site. Rev. Peters liked the land but could not make up his mind 
to file. He consulted Burkhart, and, after agreeing to stand by- 
each other through thick and thin, both decided to take land. 
Rev. Peters filed on the quarter mentioned above, and Burkhart 
contracted for another quarter on the crop-payment plan. 1 
Beckwit'h, too, decided to file at this time, and selected the quar- 
ter adjoining that of Rev. Peters on the south. 2 The homesteads 
of these three men marked the central point around which the 
future colonies settled. The people of Cando were given an 
opportunity to become acquainted with the Brethren, both in pub- 
lic and in private. Rev. Peters, who was an elder in the church, 
preached to the general public during the visit of the committee. 
His friends take great pride in the fact that this was the first 
sermon preached in North Dakota by a minister of the Brethren 

The committee returned to Indiana. All of its members were 
convinced that North Dakota's opportunities were well worth seiz- 
ing. They were enthusiastic about it and began to communi- 
cate their enthusiasm to their friends and neighbors. The Great 
Northern railway now employed Rev. Peters to act as immigra- 
tion agent, particularly among his own brethren. As a result of 
this activity a second party of twenty-nine homeseekers was or- 
ganized. With Max Bass and Rev. Peters this party came to 
North Dakota early in September, 1893. This party was espe- 
cially impressed with the prospects offered to the poor man. Of 
the twenty-nine, twenty-two filed on homesteads. 3 They returned 
at once to their homes and began to make preparations for mov- 
ing in the following spring. 

Still a third party was organized the same fall and came to 
North Dakota about the middle of October. This party numbered 
thirteen and resulted in several more filings. 

The movement had now assumed large proportions and a col- 
ony of Brethren in North Dakota was definitely assured. Rev. 
Peters started an active campaign in Indiana. He endeavored 
to interest the members of his church, as well as others outside 
the church, in North Dakota. He did not restrict his operations 

1. The amount specified in the contract was $800. Mr. Burkhart savs 
that this contract aroused a considerable amount of curiosity among those to 
whom he showed it in Indiana. They were curious to know how land could be 
bought on such terms. 

2. Beckwith asked Thompson to hold the quarter until he could go home 
and consult his wife. He sent the amount necessary for filing ($16) by mail, and 
his filing was recorded Aug. 19, 1893. 

3. This party, like the first, was shown about by F. L. Thompson. All 
settled near the filing of Rev. Peters and all, of course,' wanted land next to his. 
They were quarrelling over this when Rev. Peters stepped up and told them to 
stop. Then he and Thompson, plat-book in hand, picked out and assigned land 
to each one. No one complained. Moreover, at the conclusion of the assignment, 
the Brethern surrounded Rev. Peters, raised him to their shoulders, carried him 
a short distance, and set him down on his claim. 


to liis own locality, bul covered an extensive range of territory 
in north central Indiana, even going across the border into Ohio 
to gain recruits. 

The method pursued by Rev. Peters in securing immigrants 
was largely that of personal solicitation among his personal 
friends and the members of his church. He traveled from com- 
munity to community, telling the poor man of the wonderful op- 
portunities which awaited him in the northwest. He visited the 
homes of those he thought he could interest, took a meal with 
them, or perhaps stayed over night. His work took the form of 
a personal canvass, and, because he himself was a poor man, and 
was venturing his all in a new country, the people whom he ap- 
proached placed especial confidence in him. 

In the work of securing immigrants for North Dakota Rev. 
Peters was aided at every opportunity by Max Bass. The far- 
sighted judgment of the latter in selecting a man of the type of 
Rev. Peters for the particular work for which he did is only an- 
other instance of his thorough knowledge of men. One plan 
which proved exceptionally satisfactory was that of calling pub- 
lic meetings in the smaller towns for the purpose of coming in 
touch with a large number of people and advertising North Da- 
kota. Bass spoke at most of these meetings and explained the 
conditions which awaited the prospective settler. Other officials 
of the Great Northern were present at some of the meetings and 
in every instance pamphlets and circulars descriptive of North 
Dakota were distributed. Those who had definitely decided to 
emigrate were usually requested to sign a paper to that effect. 

In a letter written December 18, 1893, to F. L. Thompson, 
Bass said: — "I take pleasure in advising you that the prospects 
for a large emigration to your country are growing brighter and 
brighter every day. I am making new converts right along and 
receive the heartiest eo-operation of all the parties who filed on 
land this fall." 1 

In another letter of January 20, 1894, he urged Thompson 
to see that accommodations were made for a large number of 
colonists in the spring. He suggested also that the Cando pa- 
pers take the matter up and that the citizens of the town per- 
fect an organization for the purpose of assimilating the new set- 
tlers when they should arrive. This organization would operate 
a central bureau where a list of rentable lands would be kept on 
file; also the names of those who wished to hire help. Bn<s 

1. The following incident shows the personal interest taken by him in 
his work. A certain Mr. Blocher had come to North Dakota with one of the parties 
in the fall of 1S93 and had made a rental contract with Hankey of Cando. The 
conditions of this contract were manifestly unfair to Blocher, since he was to 
receive only one-third of the crop and was to bear his proportional part of ex- 
penses. Bass wrote to Thompson, urging him to see Hankey and endeavor to 
persuade him to make a fairer contract with Blocher, for, he wrote, "I deem it 
my duty to look out for the interest of those people." 


felt that he was undertaking a great responsibility in bringing 
such a large number of people to North Dakota, and wished to 
assure himself that they would be well taken care of. 1 That his 
predictions for a large colony were well founded was shown by 
the gathering of emigrants at Walkertown, Indiana, the last 
week in March, 1894. They came from all parts of the north 
central portion of Indiana. A majority came from farms, a few 
from small towns of Marshal and Elkhart counties. They brought 
their families with them and they brought their household goods, 
their live stock, farm machinery, in fact everything which could 
possibly be moved. Those who owned land either sold it or of- 
fered it for sale. They had prepared to sever all connections 
with their old homes and establish themselves premanently in 
new ones. 

A special train was made up for the emigrants at Walker- 
town which was to make a through trip to Cando. The date set 
for departure was March 27. For several days previous to this 
date Walkertown was the scene of unusual activity. Everybody 
was busy loading household goods and live stock into freight 
cars. The excitement caused by their leaving for a new coun- 
try was accelerated for the emigrants by the leave-taking of 
friends and relatives. Rumors of the terrible hardships to be 
met in North Dakota, the rigor of its winters,, were on every 
tongue. News of the Bomburger murder had just reached Indi- 
ana, and friends of the colonists freely predicted for them a simi- 
lar fate. 2 Stories of starving and freezing were heard on every 
hand. But the colonists were not deterred in the least. They 
continued their preparations for leaving, and found that com- 
radeship in a new and uncertain venture made strong friends, so 
that their sorrow at leaving some friends was not wholly with- 
out recompense. The -gathering of such a large number of peo- 
ple and their effects naturally caused some delay, and it was not 
until two o'clock on the morning of March 28 that the long train 
was ready to start. When finally assembled the train consisted 
of over thirty emigrant, or freight cars, and eight or nine pas- 
senger cars ; the number of passengers was about 350. The expe- 
riences of the emigrants on this trip were many and varied. Each 
passenger car was provided with a stove which could be used for 
cooking so far as its limited capacity allowed. This stove was 
used chiefly for coffee-making. The colonists took ample lunches 
with them from their homes, and were enabled by frequent stops 
along the route to buy such provisions as bread and fruit. An 
experience most vividly remembered by the members of this first 

1. The nature of the inquiries sent F. L. Thompson by those who thought 
of buying land here may be seen from appendix No. 2. 

2. The Bomburger murder occurred at Cando, July 7, 1893, six of a 
family of eight were killed by a hired man. 


colony was the water famine. The water supply gave out, there 
was no water to drink, neither was there any for washing. Only 
those who have had the privilege of eating and sleeping in an 
emigrant coach can fully appreciate the significance of this latter 
statement. The sleeping accommodations, too, were limited. 
There were beds only for the women and children, the men gen- 
erally were obliged to content themselves with the chair cars. 
There were no porters on board, every one was his own porter. 
At St. Paul a free lunch, consisting of coffee and buns, was fur- 
nished during the wait at the Union depot by the Great Northern. 
Max Bass had a photograph of the train and colonists taken dur- 
ing the wait in the yards. This he afterwards used for adver- 
tising purposes, as well as for personal remembrances to those 
who had taken the trip. 

Bass accompanied the colony throughout t'he entire trip. 
To advertise the trip and arouse the "Dakota fever," he so ar- 
ranged the train's schedule as to travel through Indiana, Illinois, 
and Wisconsin during the day time. The outside of the cars 
was covered with large banners upon which the opportunities 
of North Dakota were set forth in conspicuous letters. One, for 
example, bore the following statement : 

"From Indiana, to the Rich Free Government Lands in North 
Dakota, via the Famous Red River Valley, the Bread Basket of 
America! For information about them apply to F. I. Whitney, 
Gen'l Pass. Agt., St. Paul, Minn., or Max Bass, Immigration Agt." 
The route from Walkertown to Chicago was by the Baltimore 
and Ohio, from Chicago to St. Paul the Chicago and Great West- 
ern, and from St. Paul to Cando the Great Northern. From St. 
Paul the train ran in two sections. 

On March 31, 1894, the two sections of the emigrant train 
arrived at Cando. The citizens had made extensive preparations 
for the reception of the colonists. The town hall was thrown 
open to afford sleeping accommodations, and private residences 
were generously placed at their disposal until they could find 
permanent locations. In a few instances small temporary shacks 
were erected. Three boarding cars were sidetracked by the Great 
Northern for temporary use and a number of tents were provided 
from the railroad's construction crews to be used in case of ne- 
cessity. The livery barns and some private barns were opened 
for the reception of live stock and household goods as they were 

All the immigrants wished to rent land the first summer, pend- 
ing improvements upon their homesteads. Bass endeavored to 
discourage renting as much as possible, for he realized that the 
settlers should be homesteaders rather than renters. All but 


one, however, lived on rented land the first summer. 1 / Those liv- 
ing on rented land, after putting out their crops, immediately 
began to improve their homesteads. The Homestead laws at that 
time provided that, in order to make 'his claim good, a home- 
steader must establish a residence upon the land filed on within 
six months from the date of filing. 2 By the following spring they 
were living on their own homesteads. With hardly an exception, 
the colony of 1894 was made up of farmers. Some followed the 
carpenter's trade, but merely as a side line. Nearly every colo- 
nist was his own carpenter, his own blacksmith, and his own me- 
chanic. In fact, eac'h family was, to a remarkable degree, self- 
sufficing. This characteristic is traceable back to the German 
ancestry of the Brethren, and to a time when division of labor 
among those specially trained in certain trades was either un- 
known or not generally practiced. 

The homesteads filed on by this group of Brethren were, for 
the most part, situated in Township 158, Range 68, around the 
homesteads of Elders Peters and Beckwith and Mr. Burkhart. A 
few filed in Township 158, Range 67 to the east and 159, 68 to 
the north. But the greatest number, nine-tenths at least, set- 
tled in 158-68, and later additions to this colony have made the 
township predominantly Brethren. 

Such is the history of the first Brethren Colony. As is shown 
by the report of Max Bass to the Great Northern for the year 
1902, there were other colonies and immigrations in ever increas- 
ing numbers every year thereafter for six years. 3 . But as the 
number of immigrants continued to increase they no longer set- 
tled together in one community but spread out over the state to 
different localities. Then, too, after the year 1894 the total num- 
ber of immigrants did not come in a single body; neither were 
they predominantly Brethren. In all these respects the first col- 
ony of Brethren was unique. It was composed almost wholly of 
Brethren ; all of its members settled in one community, and all 
came at the same time. For these reasons I have confined my- 
self to this one colony, leaving the interesting story of other col- 
onies for later treatment. I shall add, however, an account of 
the religious activities of these Brethren during their first sum- 
mer and fall. Although no church was built, a church organiza- 
tion was perfected and a Sunday School organized. Such an 
account belongs properly to the story of the first colony, and 

1. William Walterhousc. 

2. "He must within six months after making his entry, establish his 
aetual residence in a house upon the land, and must reside upon and cultivate the 
land continuously in accordance with law for the term of five years. Occasional 
visits to the land once in six months or oftener do not constitute residence. The 
homestead party must actually inhabit the land and .make it the home of himself 
and family, as well as improve and cultivate it." Act Mav 14. 1S80, 21 Stat., 
140 ; appendix No. 15, p. 174. See circular of October 21, 1885, 4 L. P.. 202. 

3. See appendix No. 1. 


may be considered part of' the first chapter of the history of the 
Brethren in North Dakota. 


As every one who is familiar with the Brethren or Dunkers 
knows, they give religion first place in their various activities. 
Religious duties hold precedence over all others. It was to be 
expected, therefore,, that, after the colony of 1894 had attended 
to their most urgent material wants, its members would look to 
their spiritual welfare. 

A real zeal for religious work manifested itself in this col- 
ony from the first. The immigrants no sooner satisfied their im- 
mediate needs for food and shelter than they began to look for 
a place in which to worship. The Methodist Church was placed 
at their disposal for this purpose, and it was there that they 
held their first public meeting. Rev. Peters preached the ser- 
mon on this occasion. Later, after the immigrants had found 
homes upon farms and until a church was built, the county court 
house and the public school building at Cando were used as meet- 
ing places. Regular services were also held in a country school 
house twelve miles northwest of Cando near their settlement. A 
Sunday School was organized within six weeks after the arrival 
of the colony. 

The first definite church organization was effected August 4, 
1894, four months after the colony's arrival. This was done at 
the J. W. McVey farm seven miles southwest of Cando, where a 
meeting was called for the purpose. The local Brethren were 
assisted in perfecting the church organization by Elders W. R. 
Deeter of Milford, Indiana, and Daniel Whitmore of South 
Bend, Indiana. Elder Deeter acted as moderator of the 
meeting ; George C. Long was chosen secretary, Judson Beck- 
with, treasurer • and Samuel W. Burkhart, clerk. Burkhart esti- 
mates the number of bona fide church members present at one 
hundred. Of these, eighty-four were admitted to membership in 
the new church by presenting certificates < of membership from 
their home churches. Some of those present were not supplied 
with such certificates and some who were so supplied did not 
wish to present them. At the same time there were admitted 
four ministers and four deacons. The four ministers were G. W. 
Strong, A. B. Peters, Levi E. Miller, and S. N. Eversole. The 
four deacons were Wm. Kesler, senior member, T. Judson Beck- 
with, Samuel W. Burkhart, and Wm. Baughman. After the 
meeting the ordinances of Foot-washing, the Love Feast, and the 
Salutation were observed, after which the Communion was ad- 


ministered. 1 This church organization is noteworthy because it 
was the first of its kind in North Dakota. "With the account of 
this organization the history of the Dunkers' first year in North 
Dakota is complete. 

1. "Foot-washing, as taught in John 13, is held to be a divine ordinance, 
It has always been observed in connection with the Love Feast. It is not ob- 
served at any other time. 

The Love Feast, or Lord's Supper, as a divine ordinance is observed in con- 
nection with the Communion, never at any other time. It is a full meal, partaken 
by the members in the evening only. 

The Holy Kiss, or Salutation, is given at the close of the Lord's Supper and 
just before the Communion. 

The Communion is administered after foot-washing, the Lord's Supper, and 
the salutation, and not without these attendant ordinances. The Communion 
consists in the bread and wine, commemorative of the sufferings and death of 
the Savior, Jesus Christ. Unleavened bread and unfermented wine are the emblems. 
Tne four ordinances last named are open to all members in good standing and to 
no others. The entire service is generally known as the love feasjt, and is usually 
held twice each year." Brumbaugh, History of the German Baptist Brethern in 
Europe and in America, p. 514. 


No. 1. 

Report of Max Bass to the Great Northern Railroad, March 

25, 1902. 

Chicago, March 25, 1902. 
Mr. J. W. Blabon, 

4th Vice Pres., G. N. Ry., 
St. Paul, Minn. 

Dear Sir : — 

Complying with your verbal directions, I beg to submit a 
brief resume of our immigration work, from the time I took charge 
of same until now. 

Possibly no state had a worse reputation than North Dakota 
and Minnesota at that time, owing to the peculiar conditions 
under which the earlier settlements were made. A homestead, 
tree claim, and pre-emption was possible for all settlers, and the 
spirit of speculation filled the country with a horde of land seek- 
ers, who were anything else but practical farmers. Of course 
these first settlers made a failure of their attempt at farming, and 
from the report of these failures, the impression grew that this 
region was unfit for agricultural pursuits. Many of our leading 
newspapers even took the stand that North Dakota ought to be 
obliterated from the map. Prior to this, General Hazen had re- 
ported to the Government that this region was unfit for agricul- 
ture. Another difficulty met with, not only at that time but even 
to the present, has been the general prevailing impression that 
settlers in North Dakota are during each winter in constant dan- 
ger of freezing to death, while the untold horrors of a "BLIZ- 
ZARD" has been so often repeated to the Eastern people, with 
every variation of exaggeration that the would be settler cannot 
disabuse himself of this idea. Only actual experience as a set- 
tler can ever convince an Eastern man that while the winters in t 
North Dakota are colder than in the Central States, still the cold 
is not more seriously felt. Possibly no other factor has proven a 
greater hindrance to us in settling these lands. 

I had lived for some years in North Dakota, and was well 
advised of the situation and fully convinced that a practical 
farmer could go there and make success. I was first compelled 
to secure settlers by making personal effort and persuasion direct- 
ly to the farmer, and while I met with fair success, this process 
was too slow. 

In 1893 I came in contact with members of the German Bap- 
tist Brethren Church, (commonly known as Dunkers) and suc- 
ceeded in getting them to appoint a committee to go along our 
line in North Dakota and make a thorough investigation of the 


opportunities to be found there, and without going into details 
of this trip, this committee reported the country good. The in- 
fluence of this report enabled me to collect a little colony of set- 
tlers, (350) in the spring of 1894 and move them by special train 
from Chicago. These people were mostly Dunkers and came 
from Northern Indiana. Almost universal success crowned the 
efforts of these first settlers, and their good reports to Eastern 
friends coupled with judicious advertising caused our work to 
grow from spring to spring until now; we have been taking set- 
tlers from each of the Central and Eastern states in largely in- 
creasing numbers as the following schedule will show : 
Spring of 1894 we had 350 people 

Spring of 1895 " ' 


Spring of 1896 " ' 


Spring of 1897 " 


Spring of 1898 " ' 


Spring of 1899 " 


Spring of 1900 " ' 


The foregoing represents only those homeseekers whom we 
were able to collect and move on our special trains, and of whom 
we could keep a record. Thousands moved at other seasons of 
the year, and no record was, or could be made of them. In addi- 
tion to the showing of settlers it is worthy of note to call atten- 
tion to the special trains of box cars going out each spring 
loaded with the personal effects of the farmers who were seeking 
new homes. Without wearying you with a list of tabulated fig- 
ures, our records show that we moved on an average about one 
freight car to every five settlers. If there has been any varia- 
tion in this proportion, it has been to increase the average of 
freight, since, as the country becomes better known, more farmers 
move family and goods without first making a personal investiga- 

We have endeavored to keep record of those who failed to 
remain in North Dakota, and while the circumstances prevented 
exactness, we can state with assurance that fully ninety-five per 
cent of this great colony movement are living on their homes in 
North Dakota today. They were home-seekers indeed. 

Remarkable as this growth has been, the effects are even 
more noticeable along the lines of the Great Northern Railway 
in North Dakota where these people located. Eight years ago 
this region was a vast expanse of prairie country unsettled and 
uncultivated ; now the entire region is dotted with the homes of 
our prosperous and contented settlers, every desirable home- 
stead of 160 acres is now occupied as far west as Berthold. The 
official records of the United States Land Offices at Grand Forks, 
Devils Lake, and Minot show the number of acres thus occupied 
to be over five millions. 


A trip along our main line and branches in this region eight 
years ago and now, would show even a more pronounced change. 
Little villages then are prosperous towns today; mere sidetracks 
eight years ago are thriving villages now. At every station the 
many large elevators bear witness to the wonderful change thus 
wrought. Still a better evidence of what has been accomplished 
may be obtained from a comparison of the passenger, freight and 
express receipts of these stations, eight years ago and today. 

Two years of successful work remain to be accounted for. In 
1900 it was decided to exploit the country along our lines in Mon- 
tana and Washington. Bulletins were prepared, setting forth 
the opportunity to home-seekers and during the winter of 1900-01 
energetic and careful advertising was carried on with the result 
that during the spring and summer of 1901 we moved to points 
along our line from the Red River Valley to Puget Sound no 
less than 55,000 home-seekers. 

This last season we have pushed our work with equal energy 
and at the present writing are receiving such results as warrant 
the statement that the movement of home-seekers this spring will 
surpass that of 1901. 

As an investment, the Great Northern Railway is sure of 
abundant returns for the money expended in this development of 
the country along its lines, and is bound to be well repaid. In- 
creased passenger travel, shipment of supplies for these thous- 
ands of settlers and the caring for of their annual productions are 
not for just one year, but must continue in increased proportion 
for all the years to come. 

"The man, who causes two blades of grass to grow where 
one grew before, is a benefactor of his country." This adage 
easily places the Great Northern Railway in a front place as a 
developer and benefactor of our great country; and. none the 
less insures abundant reward, financially, for its promoters, and 
bespeaks the far-seeing policy of its management. 

Yours truly, 

General Immigration Agent. 

No. 2. 

Some of the inquiries addressed to F. L. Thompson by east- 
erners concerning North Dakota are of interest, and may be of 
some value in showing the prevailing ideas of North Dakota less 
than twenty years ago and a few of the most common ones are 
given below. 

1. "Please give me prices of hay, oats and potatoes, and what 
the prices are likely to be in the spring (of 1894). Also of horses, 
lime, lumber, and hardware. 


2. Is it true that great herds of stock roam the prairies de- 
stroying the crops, on account of there being no fences? 

3. How much money will a man have to have to get along 

4. How many horses does it take to farm 160 acres? 

5. Is it true that four out of five crops are usually failures? 

6. Is there any consumption or lung fever in the winter? 

7. What are the prevailing wages of day laborers and car- 

8. Where can I get pine trees? Will all kinds of pine trees 
do well there? 

9. Is there plenty of wood, rivers, and creeks?" 

No. 3. 


Max Bass was born May 9, 1853, at Reichenberg, a town of 
34,000 population in the northernmost section of the province of 
Bohemia, Austria. He spent his childhood and early youth in 
Vienna and there received his education. At about the age of 
twenty-four he came to the United States. Here he engaged in 
the business of commission merchant until his removal to the 
West. In the year 1883, being thirty years of age, he left New 
York and moved to North Dakota, locating at Belfielo, now a 
small town on the Northern Pacific, a few miles west of Dick- 
inson. Here, in company with several other New Yorkers, bank- 
ers and merchants, he founded the town called Belfield. He was 
the proprietor of a hotel, which afforded, for a time, a prosperous 
living, as the new town offered a stopping place for the freight 
outfits from the Black Hills. Later on, however, when this traffic 
ceased, the town did not prosper. In 1884 he was married in 
Bismarck, and in 1886 left Belfield for that place. At Bismarck 
he occupied a position as Deputy Commissioner of Immigration, 
under the first Commissioner of Immigration, Lauren Dunlap. 
This position he retained under the next two succeeding com- 
missioners, P. F. McClure and Frank Hagerty. At the end of 
Hagerty's term the office was abolished, having been in existence 
six years. 

Soon after this Bass went to St. Paul in charge of an exhi- 
bition advertising the resources of North Dakota. This exhibit 
was so ably handled that its excellence attracted the attention 
of F. I. Whitney, then general passenger agent of the Great 
Northern railway. Mr. Whitney became interested in Mr. Bass, 
and offered him a position as Immigration Agent with the Great 
Northern. This position he filled with eminent success until his 
death in 1909. His report to J. W. Blabon, Fourth Vice-Presi- 

Max Bass 


dent of the Great Northern, of March 25, 1902, is an eloquent 
testimonial of the remarkable services rendered by Max Bass 
to the Northwest. 1 / 

During the first period of his service his home was in St. 
Paul, but after the year 1900, he and Mrs. Bass moved to Chicago, 
where they resided until his death. In 1908 his health began to 
fail and in the following year an unfortunate accident hastened 
his death, some years perhaps, before his time. The accident 
was occasioned by a truck wagon which ran into him, and he was 
carried, fainting, into a drug store. The accident occurred about 
May 18, 1909, and he died soon after. It is seldom that the death 
of an individual who occupies no conspicuous official position 
causes so much comment as did the passing of Max Bass. His 
life work was the upbuilding of the northwest, and he considered 
no obstacle too great to be removed if it stood in the way of 
stimulating immigration into Minnesota, the Dakotas and Mon- 
tana. He was at all times a consistent promoter for the country 
he loved, and his tact and business knowledge did much 
to make the early settlers prosperous. He was always ex- 
perimenting with new ways to make farming profitable and the 
results of his experiments were freely given to all who asked. 
He never considered that he was working for a salary, but held to 
the theory that his efforts would be rewarded by that feeling of 
satisfaction a man has who does well his duty when its accom- 
plishment means the happiness of thousands of persons. 

The following story is significant, and emphasizes one of Max 
Bass' most marked characteristics: An old employe of the Great 
Northern in speaking of Bass' habit of renewing old acquaint- 
ances, said : — 

"The company during the early days would send out a train 
load of settlers. These were located along the right of way miles 
in advance of the settled districts, and Max was always one of 
the party to accompany them. After they had been located on 
homes and had a chance to raise a crop, Max would pay them an- 
other visit. I never knew him to fail on that second visit, and it 
helped to keep him in touch with his work. The settlers soon 
came to know him as their friend, and I have known him to hold 
general meetings at small towns, where farming in its different 
branches was discussed, and many a settler would drive in from 
the farm with his family just to meet Max and hear him tell them 
how to get the best out of the ground." In appreciation of his ser- 
vices, Lewis W. Hill, president of the Great Northern, named one 
of the new towns in western North Dakota Maxbass. He was fur- 
ther honored by having one of the extension lines of this railroad 
named after him. 

1. See appendix No. 1. 


No. 4. 

Samuel "W. Burkhart was born in Lancaster County,, Pennsyl- 
vania, January 6, 1864. He moved with 'his parents to Elkhart 
County, Indiana, in 1879, where he resided until he was 21 years 
old. On February 25, 1885, he went to Harvey County, Kansas, 
and worked as a farm hand one year, after which he went to Ness 
County in the same state, and filed on a homestead of '80 acres. 
After perfecting title on this land he returned to Elkhart, Indi- 
ana, where on December 31, 1887, he married Anna R., daughter 
of Joel H. and Katie Miller. After four years of experience on 
rented land and a year and a half on his own forty acre tract 
of brush land, his memory often dwelt on the scenes and ex- 
periences on the prairie during his brief stay in Kansas. This 
gave him a longing for a real farm home on the prairie. Fortun- 
ately, in July, 1893, Max Bass, the well known immigrant agent 
of the Great Northern railroad, called on Burkhart person- 
ally and told him of the opportunities awaiting him in the north- 
west. After Mrs. Burkhart 's objections had been overcome, 
Burkhart consented to join the first committee of Brethren to 
visit North Dakota, early in August, 1893. Being favorably im- 
pressed with the appearance of North Dakota, Burkhart decided 
to move his family and personal property to Towner County, 
North Dakota. He started from Nappanee, Indiana, March 27, 
1894, with the first North Dakota colony, and landed in Cando 
March 31. The first year Burkhart rented a quarter-section be- 
sides farming the one he had formerly bought on the crop-pay- 
ment plan, and homesteaded eighty acres in 1895. He has re- 
sided in Towner County since that time and is the present owner 
of 720 acres of land in that county and 160 acres in Pierce 

No. 5. 

About the year 1850 E. A. Beckwith, then a lad sixteen years 
of age, left Buchanan, Michigan, for Iowa. Beckwith made the 
trip with Joseph Henry, serving as the driver of the latter 's ox- 
team. They settled in Cerregard county, Iowa. About six months 
later Mary Argabrite, with her parents, left Sauk Town, Indiana, 
and settled likewise in Cerregard county. The place of settle- 
ment was then two hundred miles from a postoffice. In 1854 E. 
A. Beckwith and Mary Argabrite were married. Many hardships 
were experienced by them in their frontier home. They started 
with the sum of $7 as the whole of their worldly possessions. 


They always referred to these days, however, as the happiest of 
their lives. The first child, John W., was born November 27, 
1856, and the subject of this sketch, T. Judson, October 29, 1858. 
In the meantime the elder Beckwith, having accumulated some 
property, started, in the spring of 1860, with his family for the 
old home in Michigan. The trip was made in a covered wagon. 
Here, October 27, 1860, a third child, Ida L., was born, and here 
the family lived until the three children had reached their ma- 
jority. The younger Beckwith worked in his father's shingle 
mill from his earliest years until about fourteen years of age. At 
this time, the grandfather having died, Beckwith 's father moved 
to the old estate and began farming. 

At the age of nine years Beckwith received four months of 
schooling. This was all he received until nineteen years of age. 
Hence his school education was limited, but he always showed a 
keen desire for intellectual pursuits when an opportunity pre- 
sented itself, and developed a wholesome appreciation for those 
stories which had a good moral effect. At eighteen, he rented 
his father's farm, and has ever since followed agricultural and 
horticultural pursuits. In 1881 he bought a forty acre tract 
adjoining his father's. On December 7, 1881, he married Mary 
L. Vetter. Nearly a year previous to this they had been bap- 
tized into the Church of the Brethren by being immersed in a 
creek through three feet of ice. They lived on the forty acre 
tract purchased the year of their marriage until August, 1887, 
when they removed to Teegarden, Marshall County, Indiana. 
Two boys, Harry A. and Thurston H., had been born to them. 
A farm of 120 acres was purchased here and every effort was 
made to get out of debt and make some advancement. About a 
year after moving to Indiana, (T888) Beckwith was made deacon 
in the Pine Creek Church. The same year another son,, Jesse A., 
was added to the family, two girls, one a twin to Jesse, died in 
infancy. During the winter of 1891-1892 a considerable finan- 
cial embarrassment was met with. Beckwith gave bail for a 
neighbor, and was obliged to forfeit the sum of $600. 

At the General Conference of the Church of the Brethren 
at Muncie, Indiana, in 1893 Max Bass, general immigration agent 
for the Great Northern railroad, came in touch with the Brethren 
and began to secure the names of those who would be interested 
in emigrating. He secured several names from Beckwith 's father 
(E. A. Beckwith) and soon they began to receive circulars de- 
scriptive of the northwest. A short time after the Conference 
a communication came from Kev. A. B. Peters informing Beck- 
with that free transportation to North Dakota had been offered 
by Max Bass to a committee of Brethren, and that he (Peters) 
wished Beckwith to be one of the members. The committee left 


Indiana the latter part of July, 1893, to investigate the prospects 
offered by North Dakota. 

Beekwith did not,, at this time, intend to move to North 
Dakota, but rather intended to go to Nebraska. But the oppor- 
tunities of North Dakota were too good to be left behind. At 
Mayville, North Dakota, he had his first surprise and one which 
made him realize the large scale upon which farming was done 
in the Northwest. Here he saw fourteen gang plows (only one- 
half the force) plowing summer fallow. The investigating com- 
mittee went from Mayville to Lakota, and from there to Cando. 
As a result of the committee's visit to this town, two of its mem- 
bers, Rev. Peters and Beekwith, filed on claims. These two 
filings established a nucleus for a later Brethren settlement. 

In March, 1894, Beekwith and family left Indiana, with the 
first Brethren colony of 350, for his claim in North Dakota. The 
Great Northern officials and the people of Cando were very cour- 
teous to the colonists and the latter were comfortably provided for 
upon their arrival in Cando. Beekwith rented land the first sum- 
mer of F. L. Thompson, and lived in a small granary, but after 
putting out the first crop he began to build a house. The first 
experiences on the raw prairie were many and strange. The 
barn was quite large but had no partitions, and had for a roof 
the open sky ; a wagon was the manger. 

In August, 1894, at the organization of the Brethren Church, 
Beekwith was chosen treasurer, a position he held until he re- 
moved from the state in 1899. In the same year, 1894, he was 
chosen school director and served in this capacity as long as he 
remained. The Church, having decided to erect a place of wor- 
ship, appointed a committee consisting of A. B. Peters, William 
Kesler, and T. Judson Beekwith, to make suitable arrangements. 
The church was built during the summer of 1896 upon land do- 
nated by Beekwith, and dedicated in November of that year. 

Beekwith still recalls the famous Thanksgiving blizzard of 
1896, and often tells the story of finding his way from the house 
to the barn by means of a roll of binding twine. Before leaving 
North Dakota Mr. and Mrs. Beekwith returned several times to 
their old homes in Michigan and Indiana, and were the means 
of many more emigrants leaving their eastern homes for the west. 
One entire winter was spent by Beekwith in immigration work 
in the East. In the fall of 1899 Beekwith made proof upon his 
claim and soon thereafter sold it. He moved thence to Payette, 
Canyon County, Idaho, his present place of residence, where he 
has since been fruit farming upon a forty-acre tract near that 



Rev. Jas. P. Schell. 

The earliest missionary effort expended on what is now North 
Dakota soil, was confined to the valley of the Pembina river and 
the Turtle Mountain district, along the northern borders of the 
early Territory. This work was represented at first by the 
Catholic missionaries, Frs. Desmoulin and Belcourt; the former 
of whom founded a mission at Pembina as early as the year 1818 ; 
and the latter renewed the work at the same place in 1816, or 
earlier, after having located the Mission of St. Joseph on the 
present site of Walhalla, some thirty miles west of Pembina, about 
the year 1843. 

Some years later, about 1853, a mission was also planted in 
the vicinity of the Turtle Mountains; in which the name of the 
founder, Fr. Belcourt, still survives. This early work was con- 
fined almost exclusively to the native French and half-breed pop- 
ulation of the country. 

Protestant missions, in the same region, were inaugurated by 
James Tanner, an American half-breed, whose father, a noted 
scout, had been stolen from his home in Kentucky by a band of 
Indians, was adopted by them, and afterwards married into the 

The son, James, having been converted at a Methodist Mission 
(L'Anse) in upper Michigan, was afterward employed as inter- 
preter at various mission stations in Minnesota, and came to the 
Pembina region in the summer of 1851. He was accompanied at 
the time by the Cass Lake missionary, Rev. Alonzo Barnard ; who, 
at the urgent solicitation of Gov. Ramsey and Norman W. Kitt- 
son, made a prospecting trip thither with a view to opening a 
protestant Mission at St. Joseph for the education and evangeliza- 
tion of the mixed population gathered there, and whom it was 
felt were not sufficiently provided for by the French missionary. 
As a result of this visit by the missionary Barnard to "the regions 

The matter contained in the following pages is not so much a history of 
the Synod of North Dakota as it is a compilation of facts and materials that may 
prove useful for historical purposes in after years. It will be found to contain 
about all that is really most valuable with reference to the earlier formative periods 
of our North Dakota work. And this we regard as most important for preserva- 
tion in the present form, as later records of our presbyterial and synodical work 
are more fully recorded and easily accessible. 

The committee appointed by the Synod to perform this task, Jas. P. Schell, 
W. EL Hunter and T7 U. Richmond, wish to express their great obligation to Rev. 
J. F. Berry for his early papers on the history of Pembina presbytery, covering at 
the time pretty much all of the northern half of the State ; to Rev. Willard C. Lyon 
for his summary of the early proceedings of the "Northern Pacific" and Fargo pres- 
byteries, which practically cover the other half ; and also to Rev. Sidney Stone 
for the local church histories of Fargo Presbytery, collected and edited by him, 
as well as to the other brethren who have contributed interesting and valuable 


beyond," he decided to return at an early date with his family 
and additional helpers and open up a mission school in the vicin- 
ity of St. Joseph. This purpose, however, he was not permitted 
to carry into execution until some years later. Stopping in 
Pembina over night on his way back to Cass Lake, he, in company 
with Tanner, conducted religious services in the house of one of 
the citizens there; and Barnard, a Presbyterian minister, was 
accordingly the first ordained protestant missionary known to 
have held a religious service on Dakota soil. 

Only a month or so later (September 15, 1851), the late Dr. 
Black, a student of Knox College, Toronto, having been appointed 
by the Presbyterian Church of Canada to visit and explore the 
Red River country as their missionary,, after a long and toilsome 
journey arrived at Pembina on his way to Fort Garry and old 
Kildonan (now Winnipeg). He had been accompanied from St. 
Cloud, Minnesota, by Gov. Ramsey, who was already on his way to 
Pembina to negotiate a treaty with the Indians as the U. S. Com- 
missioner. In the early spring of 1852 Tanner returned from a 
missionary tour in the east, accompanied by a young man, Elijah 
Terry, from the First Baptist church of St. Paul, Tanner himself 
having also become connected with that denomination during his 
brief sojourn in the east. Arriving at Pembina in the latter part 
of March, they proceeded to the Red River settlement of Kildonan 
(Winnipeg) for some needful supplies, and soon after their re- 
turn began the erection of a log building in which to open a school 
for the native youth. 

This early Baptist mission was, however, brought to a pre- 
mature and mournful close by the death of young Terry at the 
hands of a party of hostile Sioux Indians, on the morning of June 
28, 1852. 

On June 1st of the following year (1853) the Barnards, ac- 
companied by David B. Spencer and family, and "good old John 
Smith of Ohio," arrived upon the ground from their Minnesota 
station at Cass Lake, where for some ten years they had been 
engaged in missionary work among the Ojibway Indians in the 
vicinity of Red and Cass lakes. The Barnards were Presbyteri- 
ans, and the Spencers Congregationalists, — but both had hitherto 
been associated in missionary labors, independently of either of 
their great missionary boards. 

Cordially welcomed and provided for at first by the trader 
Kittson and others, and encouraged by the results of Governor 
Ramsey's interest in securing from the Federal government a 
grant of $500 to aid in the erection of suitable buildings for school 
purposes, the new arrivals at once entered enthusiastically upon 
the work they had set out to accomplish. * 

The details of the tragic story of the "martyrs of Walhalla" 
need not be dwelt upon here, as it has been more fully given else- 


where ;* hut a few years more of arduous toil and patient self- 
denial sufficed to bring the devoted wives of the missionaries to 
their untimely graves and endow them with the martyr's crown. 
Thus those early attempts to establish a Protestant mission at old 
St. Joseph were indefinitely discontinued. "Well-nigh forgotten 
now are the weird and barbarous scenes formerly enacted at 
that old frontier trading post; and gone forever is that numer- 
ous, lawless and heterogeneous population amid Whose former 
dwellings the quiet little village of Walhalla, fitly named, now 
stands ; surrounded by such mild sylvan and picturesque charms 
as would scarcely suggest to the transient summer visitor the va- 
ried riot and uproar of the once well-known rendezvous and lead- 
ing fur emporium of a vast region lying to the north and west. 2 

From that once important trading post of the Kittson and 
Northwestern fur companies, whose motley population of French, 
Indians and half-breeds numbered at times fully 1600 souls, the 
deep-worn trails extended northward far out into Manitoba, and 
westward into all the northern sections of our now populous 

After the abandonment of the work at St. Joseph in the spring 
of 1855, we find very little to record for the space of about eigh- 
teen years, no other attempt having been made to evangelize the 
trader and aboriginal population. It was doomed to pass away; 
and as might have been expected, it has left no trace behind, save 
the deeply furrowed trail over the prairies, which will also soon 
be obliterated. 

These eighteen years constituted a transition period, a time 
When the old was passing away and all things were becoming 
new. The white man's rifle had only too surely done its work 
on the buffalo-haunted plains of Dakota and the farther west. 
The wide-spread slaughter of the wild animals could not continue 
always. The decimated herds began their retreat, and with them 
those dusky tribes of the prairies, the Sioux and the Chippewas. 

Fort Garry was developing into the modern city of "Winni- 
peg, the queen of the northwest; while at the other end of the 
Red river, Moorhead. at thr crossing of the Northern Pacific rail- 
way, was the door of entrance for thousands of eager immi- 
grants. Was it any wonder that the hoarse screams of the Red 
river steamers soon broke the long silence of the borders of "the 
great lone land," proclaiming the advent of a new day in its his- 
tory ; or that the first permanent sign of the far-reaching change 
was the erection of log huts close by the busy landing-places along 
the stream. It had been observed that the half-breeds were rais- 
ing an excellent quality of wheat in northern Minnesota; and the 
question was raised. Why could not the white man do the same 

Schell, In the Ojibway Country. Walhalla. North Dakota, 1911. 
Personal letter from Rev. J. F. Berry to Rev. Jas. P. Schell. 


over in Dakota? The experiment was tried; and with its suc- 
cess there began a new era in the development of the country. 
From that day on, the grass was destined to encroach more and 
more upon the old cart trails ; for the plaintive, prolonged squeal- 
ing of the uncouth wooden structure, fit emblem of the barbaric 
age, was becoming faint in comparison with the smart rattle of 
the White man's wagon, which as the herald of a more hopeful 
time, was beginning to be heard along the Red River of the North, 
and would soon extend to all its timbered tributaries. 

Ten years later, even this was to be drowned in the rush and 
roar of mightier and swifter wheels ; and the spot at which these 
significant voices of the future were first to be heard, north of 
Moorhead, was already marked by a hamlet, Which though no 
more important than several others located along its fertile banks, 
had received from the French traders in the early years of the 
last century the prophetic name of "Grand Forks." 

"With the beginning of religious work at Fargo, December 
17, 1871, at Grand Forks in February, 1872, we reach the modern 
period of our Dakota church history." 



October 1871-187!). 

The three principal "ports of entry" for the incom- 
ing immigrants, and the home missionary as well, in 
those early days, as now, were Fargo, Grand Forks, 
and Pembina. Among the first to penetrate our new 
Territory along the line of the Northern Pacific railway, 
in the interest of our own denomination, were at least three truly 
missionary pioneers, namely, Elmer, Sloan, and Baldwin. The 
first of these, indeed the first representative of any Protestant de- 
nomination to enter the Red River valley as a regularly ordained 
minister of the gospel, was Rev. 0. H. Elmer, who came from 
Sauk Center, Minnesota, to Moorhead in the autumn of 1871. 

He came in advance of the railroad ; and his own account of 
his entrance and early occupation of this new region, is presented 
as being both interesting and informing. 

"I have," he says, in a letter addressed to some of his old- 
time friends, "a full journal containing many items of public 
interest, from which I could read to you for hours, of facts and 
events dating from Oct. 20, 1871, when I first drove into the Red 
River valley. I was drawn by a little black pony. In the front 
part of the buggy, and standing on end, was the trunk containing 
my most important personal effects ; while the space under the 
seat and on top which I did not occupy, was filled with extra 
clothing, blankets, etc. I had driven from Sauk Center, some- 
thing over 100 miles distant. On Thursday night, the 19th, I 
reached the grading camp of J. I. Jenkinson, who kindly gave me 
a bunk for the night. My breakfast might have been more pal- 
atable had I not seen the cook, with a pipe in his mouth, fishing 
a dead mouse out of a kettle over the fire ! The following Janu- 
ary, near the same spot, N. K. Hubbard and I took dinner in what 
was appropriately called the 'snow T bank house.' It was located in 
the side of a coulee, drifted over with snow, and from the west 
there was nothing visible but a stove-pipe chimney sticking out 
about a foot above the snow. Returning to my main narrative; 
driving toward Moorhead on that first mentioned October day, 
when nearly a mile out, I could almost read the large letters of 
the Chapin House sign, painted on a tent hotel; where I boarded 
for two weeks; and in the dining room of which, I held, on Oct. 
22, 1871, the first religious service ever held at what was then 
known as 'the crossing.' Three weeks before that date the 
town site of Moorhead had been surveyed, and about twenty 
buildings, mostly tents, had been erected. Across the river, on 
the Dakota side, was an Indian reservation, on which the present 
city of Fargo was afterward located. There was a heavy growth 


of timber from the river back to the prairie; and a street cut 
through it was lined on either side with tents and shanties, in 
many of which, as well as in Moorhead, liquor was freely sold. 
There were a few men whose sense of 'dignity' led them to live 
without work; but some of the others, to whom we belonged, 
added to their other occupations that of the carpenter. I built a 
house 12x16, in which I studied and slept from 1871-6. 1 

"But time would fail me," he continues, "to tell of all the 
odd characters of those early days, as well as of the oddities and 
customs of life and business common enough then. The railroad 
was finished by January 1st, 1872; but trains were not able to 
get through the snow-filled cuts before March of the following 
spring. We, however, had a mail three times a week by stage 
during the winter. Preaching services were maintained in the 
dining room of the 'Chapin House' in Moorhead, until spring, 
when we were crowded out by the throng of travelers going down 
the river by boat. Then we met in railroad coaches, in new un- 
finished buildings, warehouses, etc., until in June, 1872, When a 
rough chapel was erected for our purpose ; and a church was soon 
thereafter organized, consisting of eight members gathered from 
both sides of the river. Meanwhile a Sunday School had been 
attempted in the timber on the Fargo side, in J. G. Keeny's board 
shanty law office; but it did not prove a success. An evening 
preaching service was begun in Fargo, December 17, 1871, in a 
tent hotel, and maintained during the winter. By a notice posted 
on a tree in front of the tent, and by a vigorous use of the dinner 
bell, at the hour for service, an audience of about twenty-five was 
usually gathered, consisting largely of gamblers, saloon-keepers 
and do-nothings. They generally gave close attention, and it 
was really surprising how zestfully and well they sang the old 
familiar hymns. ' ' 2 

How the beginnings of a later rivalry in denominational en- 
terprise were viewed by some of the "boys" outside, the follow- 
ing spirited account, while not vouched for as being absolutely 
correct in all respects, is nevertheless so illuminating at this point, 
that we make no apology for inserting it here, as reported in the 
Minneapolis Journal some years since : 

"The first M. E. church in Fargo grew out of a disagree- 
ment over a Christmas tree and festival in 1873, between the two 
rival burghs of Fargo and Moorhead. There was at Moorhead 

1. While occupying this primitive structure, he received a visit from 
the venerable Dr. Cyrus Dickson, Secretary of the Home Missions Board in New 
York ; to whom he willingly yielded his single cot, and lay on the floor beside him, 
wrapped in some borrowed blankets. And as they lay there, commenting on the 
situation in general, and the present one in particular, the older doctor suddenly 
exclaimed, "But I'll make them cry for this, brother Elmer !" — referring to the 
members of wealthy congregations in the east. And he did make some of them 
open their pocketbook and shed their dollars, if not their tears ! 

2. Letter read at Old Settlers' Meeting, Grand Forks. 


a little Presbyterian church, presided over by Rev. Elmer, and 
it also had a Sunday School attachment. The two towns were 
very small that winter, and notwithstanding their rivalry, it was 
a common thing for the people from each to attend the services 
and festivities that were held in the other. It was decided to 
have a joint Christmas celebration, and a tree was ordered 
from eastern Minnesota. But the question of location was not 
broached until later; and then there was trouble. Men who had 
not been inside a church since coming from "God's country," 
became as heated in the strife as the most devout. Rev. Elmer 
boarded at the old Headquarters Hotel in Fargo, which was kept 
by Jeremiah Chapin, a profane old Montanian and frontier hotel- 
keeper, but a big-hearted and enthusiastic man. He took every 
opportunity to disparage preachers and church-goers; and Elmer 
being full of nerve to contend for what he believed to be right, 
the battle between him and Chapin finally grew so warm that 
he was bundled out of the Headquarters, and left to find What 
other resting-place he could. Then it was decided to have two 
Christmas trees. Fargo 's, however, got switched off on the Moor- 
head side and spent the winter under the snow on an old siding 
down by the river bank. But the loss of the tree certainly failed 
to diminish the animosity between the two rivals. Fargo 'knew 
it had been stolen'; but could not discover it. However, the 
Fargo people had their entertainment, and every child that at- 
tended the show got what was rare in those days of paper money, 
a shining silver half-dollar. And Fargo 's crowd was bigger than 
Moorhead's ; so the winners were happy. Soon after this auspicious 
occasion, one Sunday when the little Moorhead church was work- 
ing over time — with Rev. Elmer preaching morning and evening, 
and an Episcopal clergyman imparting his doctrines in the same 
place in the afternoon — along came "Webb, ' a Methodist itiner- 
ant. He could find no resting-place in Moorhead, so he drifted 
across to Fargo, met landlord Chapin, told him of the plethora 
of preaching across the river, and pointed out the evident dearth 
in Fargo. Chapin was at once in arms to get for Fargo what 
Moorhead already had. He said, "We'll find you a place to 
preach tonight, and scrape you up a congregation, too!" — which 
he did. C. W. Rossiter was enlisted to get up some music; and 
every business place, saloon, and railroad car made to send out its 
occupants to swell the congregation. "Webb was called a 'sooner' 
preacher, sooner fight than preach ; and he looked it. A large 
share of his congregation that night were men who had been 
paid fifty cents in bar checks to be present, although he never 
knew it. He was so pleased at the size of the congregation that 
night on such short notice that he at once advanced the idea of 
a church ; and in consequence of the fight over the Christ- 
mas tree, it was taken up with enthusiasm. About $600 was 


raised, saloons and gambling houses contributing a large share, 
and a building was erected. But there were no Methodists ; and 
Mr. "Webb was told, '"We have built you a church; now go ahead, 
and make your Methodists!' There were none to be found for 
trustees,, for Fargo 's population at that time resembled that of 
Sodom in the days of Abraham, with Lot out of it. This diffi- 
culty, however, was finally overcome by importing a few Moor- 
head men; and thus the first Methodist church building in the 
Red River valley was dedicated." 1 

Meanwhile the new railroad was plowing its way across the 
broad Dakota prairie toward the Missouri, followed by our ener- 
getic field missionary, Rev. D. C. Lyon, westward into the "re- 
gions beyond." 

The first church to be organized, however, in what is now 
the state of North Dakota, was at Bismarck, on the east bank of 
the Missouri river. The organization was effected on June 15, 
1873, by Revs. D. C. Lyon of St. Paul, and I. 0. Sloan, the latter 
of whom was in charge of a congregation at Belle Plain, Minn. 

In making their first journey thither, they made a portion of 
the distance on a construction train, and the remainder of the 
way by team, in advance of the railway. 

From the Fargo Record,, edited by Col. C. A. Lounsberry, 
we extract the following account of the organization of the Bis- 
marck church : 

"The meeting was held in a large tent, erected by George "W. 
Crummey for gambling purposes ; although it had never been used 
for any such purpose prior to that date ; and it was afterwards 
thought to have been 'hoodooed' for the business intended, as its 
owners soon failed and left the country 'broke.' 

The tent stood on a lot nearly opposite the Tribune office, 
where McLean and Macnider afterwards established their busi- 
ness. The saloons on either side the building, and indeed 
throughout the town generally, were closed through the hours of 
religious service, and the football game, which was usually played 
on Sunday in front of this block, was considerately postponed 
to some other time. 

Rev. Sloan addressed the audience in the morning, which 
was a fairly good one, and Rev. Dr. Lyon in the evening. His 
remarks were supplemented by those of Rev. Dr. Gates, who 
had secured lumber for a Congregational church, and had come 
hither for the purpose of superintending its erection. Indeed, 
through the active efforts of Mrs. Slaughter, the postmistress, the 
building was afterwards erected and used for the first school 
house, but never dedicated for church purposes. It was finally 
sold, and went into service as a business house. 

1. Narrated by C. S. Weaver, an old Dakota resident. 


In September (1873) the building erected by the Presby- 
terians was enclosed, and services were held therein. Rev. I. 0. 
Sloan who had recently resigned his former charge in Minensota, 
came to the work in August, and continued in charge there and in 
the vicinity for a number of years; and when he finally, by rea- 
son of age and infirmities, was constrained to relinquish his work 
and retire from the field, he was followed by the love and pro- 
found esteem of all who knew him. For more than four years 
after his arrival (August 1873 — October 1877) Sloan was the 
only Presbyterian minister in the present territory of North 

The members enrolled at the time of the organization of 
the Bismarck church were C. A. Lounsberry, I. C. Adams, J. W. 
Fisher, Henry F. Douglass and Mrs. W. C. Boswell. 

Rev. Dr. Lyon had previously visited the field, on May 11, 
1873. One other sermon had been preached before that date, by 
a chaplain of one of the military posts ; and a Union Sunday 
school had been organized by Mrs. Slaughter, with Col. C. A. 
Lounsberry as secretary. 

On the day of the organization of the church, Revs. Lyon 
and Sloan went to Fort Lincoln and conducted services in the 
afternoon. They were accompanied hy Rev. John Douglass and 
Prof. W. F. Phelps of Winona, and by Col. Lounsberry; and 
while there, the Indians made an attack on the fort. The attack 
was made while the services were being conducted., and the par- 
ties heard the call of ''boots and saddles," and witnessed the 
dash made by Gen. Custer and his men. 

The church at Bismarck was the first church organization 
effected by any Protestant denomination in North Dakota ; and 
the building erected by Sloan, in the autumn of 1873, was also 
the first Protestant church edifice built in the same territory." 

At Jamestown also the Presbyterians were early on the 
ground ; Rev. D. C. Lyon, the Synodical missionary, having vis- 
ited that point on his return from Bismarck, in June, 1873, when 
he also conducted a religious service there. An organization 
was effected there some years later, as well as at other points 
along the Northern Pacific railway, by the veteran, Rev. J. H. 
Baldwin, who entered upon his pioneer labors in North Dakota 
after he had passed the age of three-score years. 

In October, 1877, Rev. C. B. Stevens came from Manitowoc, 
in the Presbytery of Milwaukee, with the tide of new settlers who 
were drawn hither by the glowing reports of wonderful success 
in wheat raising. Stevens was a man of high moral character, of 
marked executive ability, and full of missionary zeal. He was 
also a genial, cultured minister of the gospel, and soon wielded 
a wide and commanding influence, not only in the rising city of 


Fargo, but also in the broad field of missionary endeavor that 
was being inaugurated throughout the northern half of the new 
territory of the Dakotas. 

Shortly after his arrival, he gathered in some newcomers, 
and with those whose membership had previously been in the 
Moorhead church, he and Rev. Elmer organized (December 30, 
1877) the First Presbyterian church of Fargo with nine mem- 
bers ; and within a year thereafter, secured the erection of a house 
of worship. This was accomplished without aid from the Church 
Erection board ; and, indeed, it is said that the Fargo church has 
never yet received missionary aid from any one of our church 


Our second "port of entry," that for the central and more 
northerly portions of the territory, was Grand Forks, and at this 
point also Rev. 0. H. Elmer was the pioneer. 

Referring again to his narrative, he says: 

"In a home-made jumper four long trips were made from 
Moorhead to Detroit, Breckenridge, Abercrombie and Grand 
Forks. That to the Forks was in February, 1872 ; at which time 
the first preaching service was held there, and also the first mar- 
riage ceremony (Protestant) performed. 

The journey thither was a novel one,, as well as a very cold 
one. The distance was fully eighty miles, but in all that dis- 
tance I met (beside the daily stage) only one other conveyance 
on the way. Stopping over night at Frog point, I first met How- 
ard Morgan, who kept the Hudson's Bay post and stage station. 
He was his own cook, and a first-rate one at that. Travelers 
were supposed to provide their own robes and blankets on that 
line in those days, but Howard kindly furnished what I lacked. 

"Under the loft where I slept, some stage men were drinking 
and playing cards and swearing most of the night ; and in the 
morning I overheard Howard give one of them an overhauling 
for doing so. One of the men came to me afterwards and apolo- 
gized, and tried to induce me to accept as a present a two-dollar 
bill. Of course I would not take his money, and also promised 
not to report him to the officials of the Hudson's Bay Company, 
which he seemed greatly to fear; but I also improved my oppor- 
tunity to counsel him to lead a better life." 

"Grand Forks then numbered about a half-dozen buildings. 
The principal dwelling was that of Capt. Griggs, and that was 
unplastered, and had only a stove-pipe for a chimney." 1 

"What changes," he observed some years later, "have been 

1. Rev. O. FT. Elmer in a letter read at the Old Settlers' Meeting at Grand 



wrought since these long cold rides were taken in the winter of 
1871. "When I drove into Moorhead on that late October day, 
the river counties in Minnesota were still unorganized. At the 
same time none of the counties in North Dakota were organized. 
Probably not a thousand acres of land were actually under culti- 
vation. Since then two whole States have been formed out of the 
original Territory, and in North Dakota alone, millions of acres 
are already under successful cultivation. Cities and villages 
have sprung up, with fine public and private buildings, and with 
all the equipments of law, of commerce, of education, as well as 
of religious and beneficent agencies." 

The early religious work in Grand Forks is thus briefly 
sketched : 

"On the 11th of February, 1872, the first Protestant sermon 
in Grand Forks was preached by me in the house (used later for 
a barn) of Capt. Alexander Griggs. On the second of June I 
preached again in Stewart 's Hotel ; this was after returning from 
an exploring and preaching tour in company with Rev. I. 0. Sloan, 
up the Red Lake river as far as to the present site of Crookston. 

"No regular religious work was attempted at the Forks, 
however, until the fall of 1873; when Rev. John Webb, a Meth- 
odist minister, was sent to the field. He began the erection of 
a church building; but for some reason failed to do much work 
at the Forks, and the church edifice was not completed until the 
spring of 1877. In 1871 a young man by the name of Curl fol- 
lowed him, but remained, I believe, less than a year. 

"In 1875 I was summoned by telegraph to perform the bur- 
ial services of two persons on the same day, and drove the dis- 
tance, 80 miles, by team. In January,, 1877, there having been 
few, if any, services held there for more than a year, I again drove 
down and conducted services on ten successive evenings. The 
people cordially welcomed me, and attended in good numbers, 
the services being held in the school house. 

"In the spring of 1877, Rev. J. B. Starkey, being the presiding 
elder for that district, the Methodist church was completed. But 
very few services were held therein, and in February, 1878, I 
drove down again and gave the people ten-days' services. That 
was in an open winter and I went and returned in my buggy. 
There was no snow on the ground, and prairie fires were running. 
Our services were held at this time in the Methodist church, newly 
finished. I did not at any time attempt to effect an organiza- 
tion in the place, as we had no one to step in and care for the 
flock ; I preached to awaken the people and to strengthen them in 
the gospel. 

"In September of this year (1878), Rev. F. W. Iddings came 
upon the field from the Presbytery of Superior, and became,, I 
believe, the first settled Protestant minister there. And the fol- 


lowing spring, April 6, 1879, Rev. C. B. Stevens and myself drove 
to Grand Forks and assisted Iddings in organizing a Presbyterian 
church at that place, with about thirty members. 

"My next trip to Grand Forks was by rail, in the spring of 
1881, to attend the first meeting of my Presbytery, or other body 
of ministers, ever held within the present limits of North Dakota ; 
and great were the improvements noted after the two intervening 
years." 1 

Iddings' arrival was the signal for an advance in the en- 
largement of our work, both in Grand Forks and in all the sur- 
rounding region. He was a man of fine Christian spirit, an ex- 
cellent organizer and committeeman, an efficient Clerk, and a wise 
and moderate counselor in our church courts. 

The entrance to the extreme northern portion of the Territory 
at this time, was by the old frontier post of Pembina, at the 
junction of the Pembina with the Red River of the North. 

"It was early in the year 1876," writes Rev. Berry, "that 
our denomination came to acquire a 'local habitation and a name' 
in this then new and wild region ; and it did so through the set- 
tlement of its worthy representative, Rev. John Scott, of precious 
memory. There is a pleasing coincidence, furthermore, in the 
fact that this first settlement of a Presbyterian minister, within 
the bounds of the present Pembina Presbytery, was upon the very 
spot on which the first Protestant services were held by our mis- 
sionaries in the summer and autumn of 1851, nearly a quarter of 
a century previously. 

" 'Father Scott,' as he was afterwards affectionately called, 
having come to Manitoba a year previous, went to Pembina with 
an 'international' commission; for there was a special agreement 
between the American and Canadian churches in regard to his 
services and support. 

"Our Methodist friends had indeed begun work there as 
early as the summer of 1873, which was continued with more 
or less vigor during 1874-5. Very little appears to have been 
accomplished there by them, however; and an effort, which must 
have seemed hopeless from the first, was abandoned before the 
close of the latter year. 

"But Father Scott possessed in a remarkable degree the 
heroic qualities of patience and perseverance; and while con- 
tinuing in charge of his field- in Manitoba, he resolutely entered 
upon the work at Pembina, where others had already failed and 
where still others were also destined to fail. 

"Arriving at Pembina in the summer of 1876, his reception 
was at first exceedingly discouraging ; some of the citizens of the 
"baser sort" even threatened to drive him from the place. But 

1. Rev. J. F. Berry in a letter to Rev. Jas. P. Schell. 


he found a few influential friends and gathered a little company 
in a small log schoolhouse to whom he preached the gospel. He 
was surrounded by saloons, something like a dozen of them. There 
was not a Presbyterian family in the place. The congregation 
ranged from six to ten persons all told. However a small Sab- 
bath school was organized ; and the following summer the country 
was explored as far west as St. Joseph (Walhalla), where occa- 
sional services were held; and in succeeding years also at "Smug- 
gler's Point," near the present town of Neche. And thus the 
work was gradually extended by him, not only in Dakota, but 
also in Minnesota, east of the Red river, as well. 

"The spring of 1879 witnessed the almost simultaneous or- 
ganization of three churches during the first week of April. These 
were Forest river, with twenty members ; Turtle river, with 
twenty-one members ; and the church of Grand Forks, with twen- 
ty-nine (!) members, all organized by the same committee of the 
old St. Paul Presbytery, and consisting of Revs. F. W. Iddings, 
0. H. Elmer, C. B. Stevens and the venerable synodical mission- 
ary, Rev. David G. Lyon, D. D., of St. Paul. 

"During the summer of the same year, also, the international 
mission of Father Scott had grown from two to nine stations, cov- 
ering a territory of twenty miles in extent on the Dakota side, 
and fifteen miles on the east side of the Red river in Manitoba 
and Minnesota. 

"The close of the year (Dec. 1879) witnessed the dedication 
at Pembina of the first church of our denomination erected in 
Dakota north of Fargo and Bismarck. And the truly cosmo- 
politan spirit of the pastor was happily illustrated in his calling 
to his assistance on the interesting occasion, Rev. Dr. Black and 
Dr. Bryce of Winnipeg, the former having preached the first 
Protestant sermon to English speaking people at Pembina, in 1851, 
and Rev. C. B. Stevens of Fargo. 

"But if Pembina thus secured the first church building in 
this northern section of the Territory, Grand Forks was not far 
behind in erecting the second. The locomotive crossed the Red 
river at that point in the spring of 1880, and the impetus given 
thereby to the young town, as well as to the settlement of the 
surrounding districts, prompted the people to arise and build 
another edifice for the worship of God. Beginning the year with 
the conception of the enterprise, it closed upon its actual real- 
ization, and the first Presbyterian church of Grand Forks was 
completed at a cost of about $5,000. 

"Having thus secured some actual footing in these three prin- 
cipal gateways west of the Red river, our denomination was now 
in better position to receive and care for the incoming tide of 
immigrants already sweeping over the newly opened country." 1 

1. From a letter by Rev. J. F. Berry to Rev. Jas. P. Schell. 


[The work as thus far narrated, was performed under the 
jurisdiction of the old St. Paul Presbytery. But at the meeting 
of the Synod of Minnesota, in October, 1879, the original Pres- 
bytery of Red River was formed out of the northern portion of 
the old St. Paul, and for some years thereafter our Dakota work 
was prosecuted in connection with it.] 


In 1855 the Presbytery of St. Paul formed a part of the 
Synod of Iowa. In 1860 the same Presbytery was divided into 
three new Presbyteries, known as Mankato, Winona and St. Paul, 
and together made to form the new Synod of Minnesota. 

The last of the above mentioned presbyteries, St. Paul, be- 
came later the mother of the old Red River Presbytery, and also 
of the two synods of North and South Dakota. 

The old St. Paul Presbytery has become the fruitful mother 
of a numerous offspring, numbering no less than seventeen large 
and healthy children, represented by the three northern presby- 
teries of Minnesota and those now connected with the two stal- 
wart synods of North and South Dakota . 

Before parting with this large area, in 1879, the older Pres- 
bytery of St. Paul included all of Minnesota lying north of an 
east and west line forty miles south of St. Paul,, together with 
the still vaster territory of the two Dakotas. The actual area 
thus covered, was equal to more than 200,000 square miles, or 
nearly one-sixteenth of all the vast region controlled by the Fed- 
eral Government at that time. The three churches in northern 
Minnesota, Fergus Falls, "Western, and Moorhead on the banks 
of the Red river, together with Fargo and the lonely outpost at 
Bismarck on the Missouri, five in all, were the only northern rep- 
resentatives of the old St. Paul Presbytery, prior to 1879. The 
first of the new presbyteries to be segregated from the old St. 
Paul was formed by the Synod of Minnesota in session at Albert 
Lea, Minn., Oct. 11, 1879, and named the Presbytery of Red River. 
The designated boundaries of this new presbytery included the 
six northwestern counties of Minnesota, and also the area of the 
present Synod of North Dakota. The first meeting was held at 
Fergus Falls, November 12, 1880, with Rev. Oscar H. Elmer as 
the first moderator. 

The fourteen churches,, with 320 communicants, enrolled in 
the new presbytery at that time, were those of Moorhead, Fergus 
Falls and Western Minnesota ; while on the Dakota side of the 
Red River were those of Fargo. Casselton, Wheatland. Jamestown 
and Bismarck, all on the line of the Northern Pacific railway. 
Also, lying north of Fargo, and on the same side of the river, 
were the churches of Elm River (Quincy), Elm Grove (Kelso), 


Grand Forks, Pembina, and the two inland congregations of 
Forest and Turtle rivers, the latter long since disbanded. 

The names of the eight ministers enrolled at the same time, 
according to seniority of age, were James H. Baldwin, E. J. 
Thompson, Cicero B. Stevens, Oliver W. Winchester (in transit), 
Joseph K. Burgster, Oscar H. Elmer, Francis W. Iddings, William 
C. Stevens, and William Cobleigh (licentiate). Two additional 
field workers were found in John Irwin, presbyterial missionary, 
and U. C. Campbell, colporteur. It is proper to add here, also, 
that the church at Euclid, Minnesota, was organized by Revs. 
Lyon, Schell and Irwin, only a fortnight later (Oct. 24, 1880), 
and consequently not enrolled until the following spring. Schell, 
although having entered shortly before upon his work at Euclid 
and regions beyond, was not enrolled at this first meeting of the 
new presbytery on account of irregularity in the transmission of 
the mail. Rev. R. N. Adams, late field secretary for Minnesota 
and Dakota, located at Fergus Falls, Minnesota at about the same 

After referring to the immense area of the field, the commit 
tee on Home Missions adds: "The immigration to the western 
portion of our synod has been almost without precedent, in the 
history of the Northwest. Especially is this true in regard to 
the Red River valley and the portion of Dakota lying between 
Fargo and the Missouri river. The population occupying this 
large and fertile district is composed very largely of Presbyte- 
rians from Canada, together with a smaller element direct from 
Scotland. The work of planting churches among these people 
evidently belongs to us, and it is earnestly hoped that we may 
be enabled to accomplish it." 

The actual condition and state of advancement of the work in 
connection with the Presbytery of Red River at this time (Oct. 
1880) is so fully and vividly sketched by the veteran synodical 
missionary, Dr. D. C. Lyon, in his final report to the synod that 
year, that we think it worth giving almost in full in this connec- 
tion, and which is as follows: "The attention and labors of your 
missionary during the past synodical year, have been directed 
largely to the extreme western and northern portions of the ter- 
ritory embraced within the bounds of our Synod, for the very 
good reason that the bulk of the incoming population has been 
largely in those directions. This is especially true of Dakota 
and the valley lying on either side of the Red River of the North. 
That valley comprises a very important mission field, and one 
that strongly invites the occupancy of our denomination. Many 
home-seekers from Ontario and other Canadian provinces, and 
from Manitoba as well, have been lured by our government's 
more favorable terms to settlers, to claim a share of our broad, un- 
occupied and fertile acres ; and by this means there have come to 


us from the other side, an industrious, thrifty class of people,large- 
ly Presbyterian in their education and preferences. And it is this 
class very largely that increases the demand upon us for a vig- 
orous occupancy of the Red River valley, and which demand we 
are trying our best to meet. Beginning at Fargo, on the Northern 
Pacific railway, we find already a vigorous and growing church, 
with the best house of worship in northern Dakota, well filled on 
all ordinary occasions, and without a dollar of debt. Following 
down the course of the Red river northward, and a little distance 
west of the same, Rev. J. K. Burgster has charge of a field em- 
bracing two churches, Elm River and Elm Grove, (now Kelso 
and Quincy), in a region fast filling up. Grand Forks, eighty 
miles down the river from Fargo, is a growing town at the junc- 
tion of the Red and Red Lake rivers. It had a population of 
1,700 at the time the census was taken the present season; and 
when the United States Land Office was opened there last spring, 
over 600 claims were at one time pressing for registry, and two 
whole days were consumed in relieving the crowd. This shows 
us unmistakably the enormous rush now on in that part of the 
Territory. Our own work commenced there at a most auspicious 
juncture. After repeated visits by Elmer, Rev. F. W. Iddings was 
providentially obtained for that region at a most important 
period. His labors soon resulted in the organization of a church 
at the Forks, and also of two farther north on the Turtle and 
Forest rivers. Of course one man could give comparatively lit- 
tle attention to each of these points, where each seemed to re- 
quire the undivided efforts of a whole man, and a pretty vigor- 
ous one at that. We have accordingly secured the services of 
two other brethren for this wide field, Mr. Johnson, late of 
Auburn Seminary, and Wm. Cobleigh, a licentiate of the Pres- 
bytery of Red River. Another brother, J. P. Schell, from 
Iowa Presbytery, has just gone up into that region. His loca- 
tion had not been definitely decided upon, though his objective 
point was Grafton post-office in the Park river district. Fol- 
lowing the Red river still northward, the next point occupied 
by us is Pembina, where the Red river crosses the boundary line 
which separates us from the Queen's dominions. Here we have a 
good congregation, in possession of a good house of worship, large- 
ly the result of the labors of Rev. John Scott, of the Presbytery 
of Manitoba. Rev. Evans, of South Bend, Ind., has been invited to 
Fisher's Landing, on the Red Lake river, in Minn., and is already 
on the ground. Euclid and one or two other points in northern 
Minn., on the line of the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba rail- 
road, are also asking attention from us ; but it is not yet deter- 
mined what we may be able to do for them. Brother Stevens, 
whose successful work at Fargo has been referred to, occupies 
in that city the principal gateway to Dakota. Passing westward 


from there, along the line of the Northern Pacific railway, we come 
first to Mapleton, one of brother Elmer's pet out-stations, where 
we organized ten days ago, with fourteen members and three eld- 
ers. Eight miles farther on, we have Casselton, where we organ- 
ized last winter. These two points (Mapleton and Casselton) 
Prof. E. J. Thompson, late of our State University, has chosen as 
his field of labor. With him is associated one of his proteges in 
the University, Evan D. Pritchard, who will seek to cover points 
within a radius of 35 miles or so from Casselton. The next three 
places, going west, are Wheatland, New Buffalo, and Tower City, 
2">. 35, and 45 miles distant, respectively, from Fargo. These com- 
prise the chosen field of brother James H. Baldwin, who. like your 
synodical missionary, has passed the noon of active life. "His third 
organization on his present field was effected within the past two 
weeks at New Buffalo. He has also given some attention to Val- 
ley City and Sanborn, distant from Fargo about 55 and 65 miles 

The next point we occupy, going on still, is Jamestown, mid- 
way between Fargo and Bismarck. The population in this beau- 
tiful valley of the James River, has been largely increased of late, 
and our little church there, organized last winter, is likely to 
receive from it a valuable addition to her membership. They are 
about to undertake a church-building enterprise; and hope to 
have their house built and under cover before winter fairly over- 
takes them. They have secured Rev. Fanning as their minister, 
who is now on the ground and about to receive his family. 

From Jamestown we pass on to Bismarck for our next sta- 
tion. This place, the most of our brethren are familiar with as 
being located on the hither bank of what is familiarly known as 
the Big Muddy. You will also remember it in connection with the 
labors of our esteemed brother, I. 0. Sloan. A monument to 
Sloan is seen there in the comfortable house of worship he se- 
cured for the place; while a more enduring one, and more to be 
prized is the warm affection and esteem with which he will long 
continue to be cherished in the hearts of the people, irrespective 
of class or condition or religious belief. Rev. Sloan having been 
called east by reason of friends who were dependent upon him. 
especially of an aged mother, our young brother, Rev. W. C. 
Stevens, son of the Fargo pastor, was fortunately secured, just 
when there was most need of him, at Bismarck. But brother 
Sloan could not content himself away from us very long ; and last 
spring he put in an appearance again, just as we who knew him 
best felt sure he would. But his old field being now otherwise 
provided for, he pushed on across the 'Big Muddy' and planted 
himself down at Mandan, not, however, to sit idly down there, 
but simply to have, his shanty and old clothes there, while he is 
taking the whole line of the Northern Pacific to the end of the 


track, moving on as it pushes out. Of course, he finds out there 
numbers of his old friends, the Bismarckers, who hail him as 
'brother Sloan,' and are always ready to carry him on their 
shoulders, even as he has carried them on his heart ! ' ' This last 
survey and report of our first synodical missionary, covered, if we 
include the churches of Fergus Falls and two or three others in 
northern Minnesota, practically all the churches and stations thus 
far occupied by our denomination in the Red River Presbytery 
in the autumn of 1880. 

One year later, October, 1881, the narrative presented to the 
Synod, from Fargo, D. T., states: "Our work is moving forward 
with encouraging significance. Our bounds present a field as 
large as the entire State of Minnesota. Immigration is unpre- 
cedented. Settlement has pushed out beyond the government 
survey; and wherever the railroad lines have been built, and 
even along the preliminary surveys, towns and villages have 
sprung up with amazing rapidity. Thus the demand upon 
ministerial effort has increased far beyond our ability to supply. 
In order to meet this demand, a presbyterial missionary, John 
Irwin, has been in the active service of the Home Board of Mis- 
sions within our bounds during the past year. 1 Seven ministers 
and three licentiates have been added to our corps of workers, and 
seven churches have been organized, with an aggregate member- 
ship of 86. Our increase in laborers has been from 14 to 21 ; in 
churches, from 17 to 24." 

The rapid growth and administrative demands of the new 
Presbytery, soon called for a division and readjustment of its 
boundaries and forces ; and an overture was accordingly ad- 
dressed to the Synod of Minnesota, Oct. 12, 1882, which was fa- 
vorably acted upon, and resulted in the division of the Red River 
Presbytery into three new ones, namely, Pembina, Grand Forks, 
and Red River. These divisions were made, not in accordance 
with legislative or natural boundaries, but simply for the sup- 
posed convenience of travel and assemblage for presbyterial 

The first of these new presbyteries, Pembina, included all 
that part of the parent Presbytery lying between the forty-eighth 
parallel of latitude and the inter-national boundary on the forty- 
ninth. The second of these,' designated as the Presbytery of 

1. Rev. John Irwin was born August 19, 1848 and died at Atlantic City, N. J., 
June 6, 1S90. He was the son of Rev. Leslie Irwin, for thirty-four years pastor 
of the Allen Township Presbyterian church, Northampton county, Pa. In 1S68, 
Rev. John Irwin removed to Quincy, 111., where he both taught and engaged in 
mercantile business. In 1878, he forsook the secular life and entered the ministry 
and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Schuyler in 1879. Rev. Irwin 
was ordained an evangelist in 1880, laboring in Dakota, his residence being Moor- 
head, Minn. The Presbytery of Red River elected him their missionary. In 1884 
his labors were enlarged by his appointment of synodical missionary by the Synod 
of Minnesota. In 1885, Rev. Irwin was called to become Assistant Secretary of the 
Board of Church Erection in New York. In February, 1890, because of failing 
health, he retired to Atlantic City, where he died in June. 

Rev. John Irwin 


Grand Forks, covered the adjoining degree of latitude lying be- 
tween the forty-seventh and forty-eighth parallels, traversed by 
the proposed Great Northern Railway. And the third, which 
inherited the ancestral name of Red River, retained the remaining 
portion of the divided inheritance, namely, all that lay between 
the forty-sixth and forty-seventh parallels, with the Northern 
Pacific Railway for its principal highway. However, when the 
churches and ministers came to be regularly enrolled, it was 
found that the General Assembly had to be memorialized in some 
cases where pastors and their flocks were afterwards discovered 
to be on different sides of the imaginary lines of latitude. 

This was a period of phenomenal growth for the young pres- 
byteries, and a single year sufficed for the newly devised patterns. 
The following autumn (October 13, 1883) the Synod of Minne- 
sota, in session at Dulut'h, ordered new measurements for the 
growing children. This time a more natural and reasonable 
fashion prevailed. And while the number of the new presbyteries 
remained the same, the rejuvenated Presbytery of Red River was 
now confined to her original nucleus in Minnesota, namely, the 
six northwestern counties ; while the remaining portion of her 
eminent domain, lying west of the Red river, was divided into 
the two re-adjusted Presbyteries of Pembina and Northern Paci- 
fic. The two later shared about equally in the ancestral patri- 
mony that comprised the area of North Dakota, the dividing line 
being in the main based on the eleventh standard parallel, running 
east and west some thirty miles north of Fargo. 

But the synodical consciousness was rapidly approaching 
the point of self-assertion; and only a year later, October 11, 
1884, the Synod of Minnesota listened to the appeal of the Da- 
kota presbyteries and welcomed a third, and joined in an over- 
ture to the General Assembly for the erection of the Synod of 
North Dakota. This action was taken at the session of the As- 
sembly held in Cincinnati, May 26, 1885. 

The names given to the three Dakota presbyteries which con- 
stituted the new Synod, were (1) Pembina, comprising all the 
northern portion of the present state of North Dakota, north of 
the eleventh parallel (very nearly) ; (2) the Presbytery of North- 
ern Pacific, covering the south half of the state, as far west 
as to the east lines of Emmons, Burleigh and McLean counties, 
about forty mi]es east of Bismarck; (3) the new Presbytery on 
Bismarck, taking in all the other unc 1 aimed, and largely unex- 
plored, portion of the emergent stat-3 of North Dakota, to be ari- 
mit+ed four years later into the sisterhood of sovereign stales. 
The Synod itself was formally constituted at Fargo, October J 2, 
1885; Rev. Francis M. Wood, of Franklin, Ohio, opened the 
meeting with prayer and was chosen to preside as its first mod- 


At the time set for the assembling of the new Synod at Fargo, 
members of the recently dismembered presbytery in Minnesota, 
then also in session in Moorhead, came over to share the common 
interest attending the occasion. 


We have already presented, in the preceding chapter, the 
Synodical missionary's review of the field of the old Red River 
Presbytery in the autumn of 1880, the first year of its organiza- 
tion. Confining our attention now to the northern section of her 
territory, or to what was afterwards embraced in the Presbytery 
of Pembina, Ave find that it included in the autumn of 1879, the 
churches of Grand Forks, and of Forest and Turtle rivers, Pem- 
bina not having been organized until in the spring of 1881, and 
the only Protestant minister in all this region, apart from Father 
Scott, who was still enrolled in the Presbytery of Manitoba, was 
the Rev. F. W. Iddings, who had been located at Grand Forks 
only a short time previously. But during the summer of the fol- 
lowing year, 1880, Wilbur Johnson, a licentiate of the Presbytery 
of Cayuga, N. Y., supplied the churches of Forest river and Turtle 
river for several months. He was succeeded at Turtle river by 
Wm. Cobleigh, a licentiate of the Presbytery ; while the church 
of Forest river remained vacant until the following spring. 
There were, however, occasional services held there by Revs. Id- 
dings and Cobleigh, during the interim ; and about the same time 
the latter extended his field of labor as far north as Grafton P. 
0.,, on the Park river. 

It was also in the spring, or early summer, of this year that 
John Irwin, who was until then in the employ of the American 
Sunday School Union, became our efficient field worker, and or- 
ganized a Sunday school at Meckinock,thus preparing the way for a 
church organization somewhat later. Rev. Cobleigh also extended 
his labors farther down the valley; and October brought us 
our fourth church, that of Greenwood on the west bank of the Red 
river, organized by Rev. F. W. Iddings, assisted by J. Irwin and 
W. Cobleigh. A month later, our fifth church, Meckinock, was 
organized with eight members, by Rev. F. W. Iddings. Mean- 
while, in the early part of October of the same year, Rev. J. P. 
Schell, of the Presbytery of Iowa City, having previously visited 
the field, arrived at Grand Forks, commissioned by the Home 
Mission Board for new work in the Park and Forest river dis- 
tricts with headquarters at Grafton postoffice. But being unable 
to secure a house for his family in the new district to which he 
had been previously appointed, and urged at the same time to lo- 

1. The following sketch was first prepared by Rev. J. F. Berry and was after- 
ward put into its present form by Rev. J. P. Schell. 

Rev. R. J. Creswell 


cate at the new town of Euclid, Minnesota, he was transferred 
to that point. As a result of his efforts, at the end of two weeks 
a church of eleven members was organized there by the Synodical 
missionary, Rev. D. C. Lyon, assisted by Messrs. Schell and Irwin. 
on October 2L 1880, and the erection of a church building was 
begun early the following spring. Rev. Schell remained on the 
Minnesota side, in the old Red River Presbytery, some five or six 
years longer, before passing over into Dakota. His labors, while 
in Minnesota, resulted in the organization of the greater portion 
of the churches in the northern part of the valley, between Crooks- 
ton and St. Vincent. 

The spring of 1881 brought with it to our work four addi- 
tional laborers ; and their services were needed,, for a great wave 
of immigration had reached this region, and a number of new 
towns were destined to spring up before the close of the year 
along the fifty or sixty miles of new railway being constructed 
west and north of Grand Forks. In March, Rev. J. A. Brown, 
father of our late Synodical missionary, came to us from the Pres- 
bytery of Washington, Pa., and located at Meckinock, including 
also in his field the town of Ojata (then the railroad terminus), 
and the vicinity of the Orange schoolhouse, near the present town 
of Arvilla. In May, Rev. D. G. McKay, from the Presbytery of 
Huron. Out., settled at Kensington on the Park river, including 
in his field also, both Crystal and Sweden. The latter point, 
however, was soon afterward dropped,, and Cavalier and Tyner 
were added instead. During the same month, also, Rev. J. F. 
Berry, of Alton, 111., located at Forest River, supplying that 
church and Minto every Sabbath during the summer months, and 
also Inkster during the fall and winter. He afterwards did con- 
siderable pioneer work in other portions of the country. He 
afterward, at the request of the Presbytery of Pembina, collated 
and prepared a very complete narrative of the early workers and 
churches within its bounds, the greater portion of which is em- 
braced in the present account. 

A long-delayed church organization was effected at Pembina 
in April of this year, by the Synodical missionary, Rev. D. C. 
Lyon, the result of the patient labors of Father Scott. In the 
following June, Rev. R. J. Creswell, from the Presbytery of Alle- 
gheny, settled there with his family,, taking up aggressively the 
work relinquished by his faithful predecessor, who now confined 
himself to that part of his original field which lay within the 
province of Manitoba. Rev. Creswell proved to be a very ener- 
getic worker ; and his bishopric soon included considerable por- 
tions of the territory previously explored and worked over by the 
tireless Father Scott. He also enjoyed the honor of becoming the 
first regularly installed Presbyterian pastor of any church within 
the boundaries of the present Synod of North Dakota. The call 


of the Pembina church for his services, having been presented 
.to the Presbytery of Red River, at its fall meeting in Fargo, Oct. 
1881, the installation took place some weeks later, Nov. 13th, the 
committee on installation consisting of Revs. J. A. Brown and J. 
P. Schell. This service was followed, only two weeks later, Nov. 
27th, by the installation of the pioneer, Rev. 0. H. Elmer, at Moor- 
head, in which Revs. Stevens, Thompson and Schell officiated. 

Rev. Creswell's really able and aggressive activities, in the 
trail of his worthy predecessor, resulted early in November in 
the organization of a church at Earnest, in the vicinity of the old 
frontier town of Walhalla. This organization consisting of some 
thirty-five members,, mostly Canadian people, being located very 
close to the forty-ninth parallel, was given the name of the Bound- 
ary church. This was the mother church of what afterwards be- 
came divided up into no less than five organizations, namely, 
Neche, Hyde Park, Bay Center, Tyner and "Walhalla. About the 
same time, Rev. Wm. Cobleigh, who had been recently ordained, 
removed from Turtle river to the new town of Grafton, antici- 
pating the entrance of the railway locomotive, and being the 
first minister on the ground. Rev. F. "W. Iddings, having been 
compelled by failure of health, to give up his work at Grand 
Forks, was succeeded in December by Rev. Rockwood McQuesten, 
of the Presbytery of St. Paul. 

Very early in January, 1882, Rev. U. C. Campbell,, our first 
missionary colporteur in this region, reported to Revs. Creswell 
and Schell, while conducting a series of special meetings in Pem- 
bina, that he had discovered as many as sixty-five Presbyterian 
families in a district bordering the Tongue river, some fifteen 
to twenty miles westward from Pembina. Nearly all were from 
the province of Ontario, and had never yet been visited by any 
minister of the gospel since their arrival in the country. Rev. Cres- 
well afterwards visited the field and held occasional services at 
the home of one of the settlers, D. Mcintosh, and in the following 
March he organized the Sutton Memorial church. This name was 
changed later to Hamilton, when, with the advent of the new rail- 
road, a town sprang up in that vicinity,, bearing that name. 
In the same month, Rev. D. G. McKay organized a church 
at Kensington, afterwards changed to Park River, when 
the new town by that name was located on the new 
railroad, at the crossing of the Park river. It should 
also be noted that in the preceding month, February, 
1882, Rev. J. A. Brown organized the first "Women's For- 
eign Missionary Society, at Meckinock. In the spring of 1882 
Rev. Brown visited Larimore, and having secured promises from 
Col. 0. M. Towner, and Messrs. Stevens, "Waleott and others, that 
they would support a Presbyterian church, measures were at once 
taken to occupy the ground. In May Rev A. K. Caswell arrived 


from the Presbytery of Toronto, and took for his field the large 
out-lying region of which the Boundary church at Earnest was the 
center. Kev. Caswell was an earnest and untiring worker, who 
attempted to cover regularly the entire field, until relieved of 
Neche and Tyner by the arrival of the Kev. Wm. Mullins from 
Manitoba, a few years later. 

In June the Grafton church was organized by Revs. Idd- 
ings and Cobleigh, making the tenth on our roll. In this month, 
also, came Rev. H. H. Brownlee, from the United Presbyterian 
Church, who took the place of Rev. R. McQuesten at Grand Forks ; 
and Rev. Jas. Cherryholmes of the Presbytery of Springfield, who 
settled at the new railroad terminus at Larimore. In July, Rev. 
J. F. Berry, under peculiarly adverse circumstances, began work 
in the western part of^Walsh county, holding services regularly 
at Garfield and in the vicinity of Edinburgh. About the same 
time Rev. Daniel Willliams arrived at Bathgate, a day or so ahead 
of the railroad locomotive, having driven through from Grand 
Rapids, and preached the first sermon at that new point, on Au- 
gust 6th, 1882. His wife was a most enthusiastic worker for For- 
eign Missions, and with the aid of Mrs. C. 0. VanCleve of Minne- 
apolis, organized the second Foreign Mission Society in this new 
region. In July, also, the Larimore church was organized by Revs. 
Irwin and Cherryholmes. 

As stated in a previous chapter, in accordance with the ac- 
tion taken at the last meeting of the old Red River Presbytery, 
held at Casselton, in October, 1882, the original Presbytery was 
divided by the Synod into three : namely, Pembina, Grand Forks, 
and Red River. The first meeting of the new Presbytery of Pem- 
bina (considerably modified later, until confined as to its juris- 
diction to practically the northern half of the new State of North 
Dakota), was held at the town of Pembina in November of the 
above-mentioned year. In our review of the work, therefore, it is 
viewed from that early stand-point as covering the northern half 
of the present state, but with its western boundary practically 

The year 1883 opened very auspiciously for our w T ork ; in Feb- 
ruary Rev. N. W. Carey, from the Presbytery of St. Paul, took 
the place of Rev. H. H. Brownlee at Grand Forks. The latter pre- 
ferred to go to Devils Lake, to which place the railroad was now 
about to be extended, our church having first been represented 
in that region by licentiate E. W. Day, who had been located at 
Harrisburg for a few months. In the same month also, were or- 
ganized the two churches of Minto and Ardoch by Rev. John Ir- 
win and Rev. A. G. Forbes. The latter had lately come from the 
Presbytery of Bruce, Ont., and settled upon that field, which in- 
cluded Forest river and Greenwood, the church of Turtle river 
having been previously dissolved. In March, Rev. A. K. Caswell 


began holding regular services at Neche, a small chapel having 
been built there soon afterwards. About the same time, also, 
Rev. J. A. Brown began regular work at Arvilla, by organizing 
a Sabbath school, although occasional services had been held 
there for a year previous. A Sabbath school was also organized 
at Tyner, which became the nucleus of a church. 

Having now reached the commencement of the ecclesiastical 
year in which the present organization of this presbytery was 
effected, we judge it proper to present some statistics of growth, 
not only to show what had been already accomplished prior to 
that time,, but also to serve as a basis of comparison in the future. 
By April 1st, 1883, we had 12 churches,, with an aggregate mem- 
bership of 575 ; while the amount raised, for congregational pur- 
poses was $6,476. We may also add that we had three church 
edifices, estimated to be worth in all about $7,000. 

Another venerable and most efficient missionary, Rev. Ransom 
Waite, came from the Presbytery of Mankato in 1883 and settled 
te Beaulieu. He also supplied Walhalla, thus relieving Rev. 
Caswell, whose work had now embraced a large portion of the 
country on both sides of the Pembina river. In the same month, 
April, Rev. D. G. McKay resigned his Charge of Kensington and 
was succeeded in June by student Wykoff, who took up the work 
for the summer months. In July a very promising church was 
organized at Beaulieu by Revs. Creswell, Waite and Travis. This 
latter minister, from eastern Pennsylvania, was engaged in teach- 
ing at Pembina, but was also taking an active interest in our 
work, engaging wholly therein soon after. Rev. Creswell had at 
this time begun the erection of a parsonage at Pembina, which 
was completed before the close of the year at a cost of $1,400. In 
August the churches of Hyde Park and Neche were also organized 
by Revs. Creswell and Caswell, the latter having gathered these 
congregations. In the same month, also, Rev. Alexander Burr 
arrived from the Presbytery of London, Ont., and entered upon 
the work at Kensington and Mount View. September was not 
without its fruit, even in North Dakota. The Westminister 
church at Devils Lake was organized in September by Revs. Ir- 
win and Brownlee. In October the church of Bathgate was or- 
ganized by Rev. D. Williams, and a church at Niagara by Rev. 
Brown. It was also in this month, Oct. 1883, that Rev. J. F. Berry 
began his work in Cavalier County at Milton, (Elgin) and Alma, 
and continued it under much difficulty and privation. 

At the last meeting of the "Grand Forks" Presbytery 
(merged into Pembina) which took place at this time, Rev. Cher- 
ryholmes,, owing to failing health, was dismissed to the Presby- 
tery of Omaha, while Rev. W. A. Smith was received from the 
Presbytery of Chillicothe and took up work at New Rockford 
and Minnewaukon. Concerted measures were taken at the fall 


meetings of the three presbyteries erected the year before for peti- 
tioning the Synod of Minnesota to reconsider their previous ac- 
tion, and to create a division more in accordance with geographi- 
cal boundaries and with the existing lines of travel. The Synod 
acted accordingly while in session at Duluth, in October, 1883 ; 
and the bounds of this presbytery were declared to be the Red 
river on the east, the Dominion of Canada on the north, Montana 
on the west, and a line extending along the south side of Trail, 
Steele and Griggs counties, and thence along the eleventh stand- 
ard parallel to the Montana border, on the south. 

The same enabling act also declared this presbytery to be the 
legal successor of the original Presbytery of Pembina, and also 
of that of Grand Forks, the history of Avhich is accordingly in- 
cluded in this sketch. The new Presbytery of Pembina, as now 
constituted, contained some thirty-three counties. Still further 
modifications would yet be found to be necessary ; but not such 
as to require a re-organization. 

In accordance with the action of the Synod of Minnesota, the 
new presbytery was called to meet at Grafton on November 7, 
1883,for the purpose of completing its organization, by Rev. Wm. 
Cobleigh, and was opened with a sermon by Rev. N. W. Cary. 
Rev. J. A. Brown was elected moderator, and N. W. Cary stated 
clerk. The pastoral relation between Rev. R. J. Creswell and the 
church at Pembina was dissolved, and Rev. Creswell was dis- 
missed to the Presbytery of St. Paul. Rev. W. A. Smith was ap- 
pointed to work at Minnewaukon. Rev. John Irwin presented a 
request from the Presbytery of Northern Pacific (Fargo), desir- 
ing the co-operation of this presbytery in the effort to establish 
a Presbyterian college in northern Dakota. The matter was re- 
ferred to a committee of three to prepare resolutions, as follows : 
Resolved, that the Presbytery of Pembina hereby expresses its 
desire to co-operate with the other presbyteries of North Dakota, 
and also recommend the appointing of Rev. F. W. Iddings, Rev. 
C. S. Converse, and elder D. W. Luke as commissioners to meet 
those appointed by the other presbyteries. The necessity of dis- 
seminating a Christian literature among the incoming settlers 
was also felt by presbytery, and elder J. R. Crum was recom- 
mended to the Board of Publication as colporteur for this region. 
The appointment of J. R. Crum had been preceded by the em- 
ployment, in 1881-2, of U. C. Campbell, in the same region, "by the 
old Red River Presbytery. Mr. Campbell was accustomed to 
make his long toilsome journeys on foot, both summer and win- 
ter, calling upon the settlers in their isolation, supplying them 
with copies of tracts and other literature, and reporting their 
spiritual needs to the neighboring ministers. One such journey 
at least, he made in mid-winter down the Red river, drawing his 
load of books and tracts on a hand sled over the snow and ice, 


and visiting the homes and lonely shacks found along the shel- 
tered banks of that stream. 

Nor was the great importance of woman 's co-operation over- 
looked at this first meeting. On the contrary, it was duly recog- 
nized in a resolution of the presbytery, requesting Mesdames J. A. 
Brown,, Wm. Travis, D. Williams, Wm. Cobleigh, V. M. Kenney, 
A. G. Forbes, D. W. Luke, J. F. Berry, A. K. Caswell, W. J. Shum- 
way, Roger Allin, R. J. Creswell, and Miss Sadie Lanterman, of 
Hillsboro, to meet at Grand Forks and organize a Woman's Mis- 
sionary Society. How ready the women were to respond to this 
request is attested by the fact that within a week thereafter, a 
second local missionary society was formed by Mrs. D. Williams 
at Bathgate, and also by the following report of the Women's 
Foreign Missionary committee to the presbytery the following 
April: "The committee appointed by the Presbytery of Pembina 
at Grafton, Nov. 7, 1883, met as requested at the Mansard House 
in Grand Forks, November 15, 1883; and after due deliberation, 
agreed to divide the territory of said presbytery into districts, 
and appoint ladies to visit or communicate with the various 
churches and organize auxiliaries in them, as far as possible, 
with the view of forming a Woman's Presbyterial Missionary 
Society, to be held the last week in June, 1884, at Grafton. Dur- 
ing their stay in Grand Forks, they organized a Society in that 
place, which has since increased in membership and interest. 
This Society has already contributed $11 to Foreign missions. At 
Larimore there has been organized a Mission Band and a Home 
Society,, composed of most of the women of the church, has re- 
solved to give a percentage to Foreign Mission work. Creel City, 
(Devils Lake) has organized a Woman's Missionary Society, 
which, judging from the efficiency of its officers, will do well. 
Meckinock, Bathgate, Grafton, Pembina and Hillsboro have or- 
ganized Societies, or bands, and some of them have both. These 
Societies meet once a month. The Committee have sent copies of 
the Constitution and other printed matter to most of the churches 
in the presbytery. The Committee would ask the continued co- 
operation of presbytery, that we may have a Woman's Missionary 
Society in every church. 

Mrs. J. A. Brown, 
March 31, 1881. On behalf of the Committee." 

It was also in November of this year, 1883, that Rev. H. G. 
Mendenhall arrived from the Presbytery of Chester, Pennsylva- 
nia, and entered upon work at Larimore, where he remained un- 
til the following June. The winter of 1883-4 was one of the most 
severe ever known in this country. In March, 1884, the church 
of Arvilla, in the vicinity of Meckinock was organized by Rev. J. 
A. Brown; and also the church of Alma, some miles from Milton, 


organized by Kev. J. F. Berry. This brings us to the close of 
another ecclesiastical year, April 1, 1884. Our roll of churches 
contained twenty-five names, the number having more than 
doubled within the twelve months. Our communicants numbered 
580, a gain of 45 per cent. Our Sunday School membership 
was 753, a gain of nearly 41 per cent. 

In April, 1884, the spring meeting of presbytery was held at 
Neche, and Kev. J. F. Berry was elected moderator. Four new 
preachers were received: namely, Rev. C. S. Converse, who had 
been at work at Devils Lake and Grand Forks for some time, and 
who was from the Presbytery of Boulder; Rev. J. W. Cathcart, 
vv-ho had settled at Pembina, from the Presbytery of Red River; 
Rev. William Mullins, of Manitoba, who was about to occupy 
Neche and West Lynn; and our old friend, whose name appears 
in the earlier part of our history, and who had returned to take 
up the work at Walhalla, Earnest and Hyde Park, Rev. John 
Scott, from the Presbytery of Manitoba. But Rev. A. Glenden- 
ning went to the Presbytery of Palmyra ; and Rev. A. K. Caswell 
was dismissed to the Presbytery of Manitoba in exchange for 
Father Scott. A third was also soon to leave us ; at this meeting 
of the presbytery, the pastoral relation between Rev. N. W. Cary 
and the church at Grand Forks was severed. 

At this meeting also, the presbytery for the first time elected 
Commissioners to the General Assembly, Rev. Wm. Cobleigh, of 
Grafton, and elder V. M. Kenney, of Larimore. The presbytery at 
the same time overtured the General Assembly to erect the Synod 
of North Dakota, it being felt by all that the development of the 
work in this part of the Territory both warranted and called for 
such action, but the Assembly refused to grant this request. 

This month (April) witnessed the dedication of a church 
edifice at Bathgate, costing $1,200. Others were also to be com- 
pleted this year; one at Larimore, costing $1,800; and another 
by Rev. Williams at Hamilton, at a total cost of $1,800. In May 
the church of Minnewaukon was organized by Rev. F. M. Wood ; 
while in the same month, Rev. J. F. Berry began regular work in 
the vicinity of Osnabrock. In June the churches of Mona and 
Elkwood were organized by Revs. John Scott, J. F. Berry, and 
Ransom Waite ; the Bethel church at Tyner, organized by Revs. 
Cathcart, Williams, and Mullins. The ladies of the various 
churches were also busy, a missionary society having been organ- 
ized at Arvilla by Mrs. Brown, and another at Alma by Mrs. 
Berry. In June Rev. Mr. Mendenhall removed from Larimore 
to Grand Forks, to which church he shortly afterwards received a 
call to become its pastor. In the summer of the same year, 1884, 
a Sabbath school was organized at Gilby by colporteur Crum, 
assisted by the session of the church at Meckinock, and thus work 
was started which eventually developed into another church. 


At this time a line of railway was being constructed north- 
ward from Larimore, which was to contribute to the development 
of two of our fields, Inkster, at which place an organization was 
effected in September by Rev. F. M. Wood, was placed in charge 
of Rev. D. McGregor, who had come from the Presbytery of Man- 
itoba, and Park River, the terminus of the new line, where work 
was immediately begun by Rev. Alex. Burr of the Kensington 
church. In October the presbytery met at Larimore, Rev. C. S. 
Converse being elected moderator. Rev. W. A. Smith was dis- 
missed to the Presbytery of Ft. Dodge. Rev. 'Win. Travis, to the 
Presbytery of Red River, while Rev. Wm. M. Blackburn, D. D., the 
first Chancellor of the University of North Dakota, was received 
from the Presbytery -of Cincinnati. Rev. F. M. Wood was recom- 
mended to the Board of Home Missions for appointment as our 
presbyterial missionary, in the place of Rev. John Irwin, who 
had recently resigned to accept a position with the Board of 
Church Erection in New York. Rev. D. G. McKay was assigned 
work at Mount View, Lampton and the vicinity of Edinburgh,, 
relieving Rev. Alexander Burr, who was instructed to devote him- 
self to the needs of our work at Park River. The following over- 
ture was adopted, concurrent with one before the Northern Pacific 
(Fargo) Presbytery: '* Whereas it is highly necessary for the in- 
terests of Presbyterianism and the cause of Christ, that North 
Dakota be formed into a Synod ; and whereas it is necessary there- 
unto to have a division of the existing presbyteries, therefore 
the Presbytery of Pembina respectfully overtures the Synod of 
Minnesota, first, to divide Northern Pacific and Pembina Presby- 
teries on the following lines, and erect them into three presby- 
teries, to be known as Pembina. Northern Pacific and Bismarck. 
The first of these to embrace all that part of the Territory of 
Dakota lying between Montana on the west, the provinces of 
Canada on the north, the Red river on the east, and the north 
line of Trail, Steele and Griggs counties, due west to the Missouri 
river, and then along its course to the Montana border, on the 
south. The Synod acted accordingly at its next meeting, and in 
consequence of that action there were six counties taken from our 
jurisdiction; while Rev. E. P. Forsman, with the churches of 
Hillsboro, Elm River and Elm Grove, were transferred to the 
Presbytery of Northern Pacific, or Fargo, to which its name had 
now been changed. 

By this time work had been begun in the Turtle mountain 
region ; and October, 1884, gave to us the two churches of Bot- 
tineau and Dunseith. organized by Rev. F. M. Wood. In Novem- 
ber the church at Osnabrock was organized by Revs. D. G. McKay 
and J. F. Berry ; while in December, the church at Elkmont was 
organized by Rev. F. M. Wood and Rev. D. McGregor, the latter 
having supplied this point along with Inkster. 



We had now thirty-one churches within our bounds, with an 
aggregate membership of 777, a gain of nearly 34 per cent; while 
our Sunday School membership was 067. a gain of over 28 per 

The spring meeting of the presbytery was held at Grand 
Forks, April, 1885, Rev. D. Williams being chosen moderator. The 
original boundary church at Earnest was dissolved, its member- 
ship having been absorbed by the neighboring ch arches of Wal- 
halla, Bay Center, Tyner and others. Rev. N. W. Cary resigned 
as stated clerk and treasurer, and was dismissed to the Presby- 
tery of Fargo ; while Rev. F. W. Iddings was elected as his suc- 
cessor to these offices. Rev. Alex. Burr resigned his field at Park 
River and went to the Turtle mountain district, where he took 
up Work at Bottineau. Amity and other stations. Rev. J. A. 
Brown was elected commissioner to the Assembly; and presby- 
tery overtured the Assembly again in regard to the erection of 
the Synod of North Dakota, and also instructed the commissioner 
to press the importance of the matter upon the Assembly. 

About this' time, also, the field previously occupied by Rev. 
J. A. Brown was divided; he confined his labors to Arvilia and 
vicinity, while Meckinock and Gilby were supplied during the 
summer by student Harris. In April of this year the church at 
Walhalla was organized by Rev. F. M, Wood, absorbing the mem- 
bership of the church formerly at Earnest. In June Rev. Howard 
Wallace, from the Presbytery of Bismarck, entered upon the 
work at Larimore, while Rev. J. H. Kerr, from the Presbytery 
of Kittanning, settled at Park River, but unfortunately was com- 
pelled to leave that field at the end of six months, by reason of ill 
health. In June, also, the church of Fairview (now Rolla), an- 
other out-post on the east side of the Turtle mountain district, 
was organized by Rev. F. M. Wood. In July a pro re nata meet- 
ing was held in Grand Forks, at which Rev. Wm. M. Blackburn. 
D. D., was dismissed at his own request, to the Presbytery of 
Central Dakota. 

In October the regular fall meeting of the presbytery was 
held at Devils Lake, Rev. Wm. Mullins being elected moderator; 
at this meeting the church at Niagara was finally dissolved. In 
the same month, also, Rev. D. McGregor left Inkster and vicinity, 
and began supplying West Park and Mount View, where he re- 
mained during the ensuing six months. In the following month. 
November, churches were organized at both those places by Revs. 
F. M. Wood and D. G. McKay, while at the same time a church 
building was completed at Ardoch, at a cost of $1,800- Tn this 
year, also, a church was begun and partly completed at Devils 
Lake, at a cost of about $2,000. In January, 1886, Rev. D. G. 


McKay began work at Inkster and Elkmont, while Rey A. G. 
Forbes began a term of three months work at Meckinock and 
Gilby. In February a church building was completed/' at Ink- 
ster, costing about $2,000. 

There were now thirty-two churches to report, with a mem- 
bership of 875, a gain of over 12 per cent. We had a Sunday 
School membership of 961, which was a slight decrease from that 
of the previous year. 

The presbytery held its regular spring meeting at Bathgate, 
April, 1886, Rev. H. G. Mendenhall was chosen moderator. Rev. 
H. H. Brownlee was dismissed to the Presbytery of Neosho, while 
Rev. Wm. H. Hunter, who had entered the work at Minto and For- 
est River, was received from the Presbytery of Washington, Penn- 
sylvania. Rev. Daniel Williams, of Bathgate, and elder Ludden, 
of Grafton, were chosen as commissioners to the General Assembly. 
A call was presented from the church at Grafton for the formation 
of the pastoral relation with Rev. Wm. Cobleigh. Recommenda- 
tions were also made for the appointment of Rev. A. G. Forbes 
to the new field of Lincoln and St. Andrews, afterwards Drayton, 
and of Rev. Z. B. Taylor, who had recently arrived from the Pres- 
bytery of Clarion, to Minnewaukon. 

In May, 1886, Rev. D. Williams left for Iowa, being after- 
wards dismissed to the Presbytery of Ft. Dodge. This proved to 
be a prosperous year in church building; one being completed at 
Park River, costing $3,500, and another at Arvilla, costing $3,000. 
Three parsonages were also erected; one at Larimore, costing 
about $1,200, one at Walhalla, with a glebe of 20 acres, at a cost 
of about $1,000, and another at Inkster, worth about $800, and 
built on an acre of land donated by Mr. McGilvrey of that place. 
A church was also completed at Sweet Water lake (Webster 
chapel) some twelve miles north of Devils Lake, as the direct re- 
sult of work done by Rev. C. S. Converse, the building being worth 
about $1,000. In June Rev. R. H. Fulton came from the Presbytery 
of St. Paul, and entered upon the work at Park River, remaining 
there one year. At the same time Rev. J. A. Baldridge came from 
the Presbytery of Zanesville, and settled at Larimore, while Alex- 
ander Duan began to supply the field at Meckinock and Gilby. 
He is mentioned among our workers for the reason that he was 
instrumental in gathering together the church at the latter place, 
it being organized in the following August by Rev. F. M. Wood. 
In July the church at St. Andrews was also organized by the 
Synodical missionary, Rev. F. M. Wood. The fall meeting of the 
presbytery was held at Grafton, Rev. W. H. Hunter being chosen 
moderator; at this time a call was presented from the Larimore 
church for the pastoral services of Rev. J. A. Baldridge; and 
which being favorably acted upon, the installation took place the 
following month. In October Rev. Wm. Travis returned to this 


presbytery, and entered upon work at Meckinock, Emerado and 
Gilby; while Kev. J. F. Berry came to Ardoch and Greenwood 
for six months. In November Rev. J. P. Schell, one of the pioneer 
missionaries in the old Red River Presbytery, came from Euclid, 
in that presbytery, and entered upon the work at Bathgate and 
Hamilton. In the early part of the year 1887 Rev. L. E. Danks, 
from the Presbytery of Bismarck, came to Devils Lake' to take the 
place of C. S. Converse, who had left the previous summer on 
account of sickness in his family. In the month of March an- 
other church, that of Minot, was organized in the remote western 
portion of the presbytery, a region that had been opened up the 
preceding fall by the extension of the railway from Devils Lake. 
Thus the year of 1886-7 closes with a roll of thirty-four churches 
and an aggregate membership of 943, being a gain of nearly 8 per 
cent. There was also a Sunday School membership of 1,249, 
which represented a gain of over 32 per cent. 

In April,, 1887, the presbytery held its regular spring meet- 
ing at A r villa. Rev. Ransom Waite being chosen moderator. Rev. 
C. S. Converse was dismissed to the Presbytery of Elizabeth. A 
call was presented from the churches of Bathgate and Hamilton 
for the formation of the pastoral relation between them and Rev. 
J. P. Schell ; but, in view of the probable division of the field in 
the near future, Rev. Schell saw fit to decline. Rev. J. F. Berry 
and elder J. M. Smith of Meckinock were elected commissioners 
to the Assembly. It was found that two of our most important 
churches, Grafton and Park River, as well as some others, were 
about to become vacant; this was viewed as the more serious by 
reason of the urgent need of ministers in other places then open- 

The unparalleled work of railroad construction, begun the 
preceding year, was also to be carried on in 1887, thus contribut- 
ing to the development of several of our out-lying fields, namely. 
Edinburgh. Milton, Osnabrock, Langdon, Meckinock. Gilby, Johns- 
town. Forest River, as well as those of Lincoln (Drayton) on the 
bank of the Red river, and Bottineau at the western limit of the 
Turtle Mountain district. In this time of stress, the call of our 
synodical missionary resulted in securing four additional pastors. 
Rev. Jonathan Osmond, a veteran foundation builder from Des 
Moines Presbytery, for Bottineau and vicinity; "Wm. T. Parsons, 
a licentiate from the Presbytery of New Castle, for Fairview 
(Rolla) and Mount Pleasant; Rev. Chas. F. McLean, from the 
Presbytery of Dubuque, for Pembina ; Alexander McLeod. a stu- 
dent from the Presbytery of "Winnipeg, for West Park and Mount 
View (near Crystal). Rev. J. F. Berry also returned to his for- 
mer field in Cavalier county, in -the spring, while Rev. D. G. Mc- 
Kay began work at Johnstown in the latter part of the summer. 
A church building and parsonage were also completed at Neche. 


at a cost of $1,500, the exclusive work of the Ladies' Aid Society- 
there. Another church had been completed at Emerado, at a 
cost of about $2,000. This gave us by the first of October, 1887, 
sixteen church buildings and six parsonages, worth in all about 
$42,000, exclusive of the ground on which they had been erected. 
The fall meeting of the presbytery this year was held at Ar- 
doch, Rev. Wm. Travis being elected moderator. The most import- 
ant action, apart from the regular routine, was the ordination of 
W. T. Parsons, as an evangelist. Formal action was also taken 
with reference to the matter of temperance, the presbytery hav- 
ing been addressed by Mrs. Barker, president of the W. C. T. U. 
in Dakota. An adjourned meeting of the presbytery was ap- 
pointed to be held in connection with the meeting of the Synod 
at Grand Forks, at which time Rev. L. E. Danks was formally 
received from the Presbytery of Bismarck, and the pastoral rela- 
tion between Rev. Wm. Cobleigh and the Grafton church was 
dissolved. In the fall of 1887, there were added three churches 
to our roll, namely, Webster Chapel in September, and Glasston 
and Milton in October, all organized by Rev. F. M. Wood, as- 
sisted in the case of the Glasston church by Rev. J. P. Schell, of 
whose field this congregation had formed a part. The church of 
Bottineau erected a church building, costing $1,800, while those of 
Larimore and Bathgate had taken steps toward the erection or 
purchase of parsonages. There was a greater dearth of ministers 
than usual within our bounds during this season, and in conse- 
quence some of our more important fields were vacant during the 
greater portion of the year, namely, Grafton, Park River, Ardoch, 
Pembina, Bottineau, and Lincoln (Drayton). Ardoch was, how- 
ever, supplied after December by Rev. W. T. Parsons. 

The winter of 1887-8 was one of more than ordinary severity. 
A general call was extended to all Christian workers for a con- 
ference, held at Minto in January, 1888, for the purpose of pre- 
paring the way for united evangelistic work, the first attempt of 
the kind in the history of the presbytery. In connection with the 
conference at Minto, the presbytery held a pro re nata meeting 
to consider the matter of dividing the Bathgate and Hamilton 
field on account of the removal of the minister from Hamilton to 
Bathgate. This was accomplished later, and Bathgate was con- 
nected with the Tyner congregation under the care of Rev. J. P. 
Schell. The presbytery also received Rev. Robert Goudy from 
one of the Canadian presbyteries; and acted on an application of 
the Grafton church for the services of Rev. H. H. Brownlee. Rev. 
Goudy took up work for a brief period at Langdon, a new ter- 
minus of the Great Northern railroad, where Rev. F. M. Wood had 
already organized a church in the early part of the winter. 

The regular spring meeting of the presbytery was held at 
Inkster, April 3, 1888, Rev. J. P. Schell being chosen moderator. 


A pleasant feature of the occasion was the very encouraging re- 
port concerning the Academy at Arvilla, presided over by Rev. 
J. A. Brown in connection with his ministerial work, and which 
had been officially endorsed by the presbytery one year previously. 
Rev. H. G. Mendenhall and elder John Montgomery, M. D., of 
Ardoch, were elected commissioners to the General Assembly. A 
call was presented by the Minot church for the pastoral services 
of Rev. Jas. Quinn, of Emerson, Manitoba. The Alma church was 
formally dissolved, its membership having been merged with the 
new organization at Milton. Our churches now numbered thirty- 
six, with a total membership of 1,057, which was an increase of 
nearly 11 per cent over the previous year. Our Sunday School 
membership was 1,275, being an increase of about 2 per cent. 

An adjourned meeting of the presbytery was held at Grand 
Forks, May 1, 1888, for the purpose of acting on the call of the 
Minot church to Rev. J. Quinn, and also on that of the Pembina 
church to Rev. Chas. McLean. 

June opened with the organization of the Elora church (near 
Crystal) by the synodical missionary. Rev. F. M. Wood. And on 
the 21st day of the same month, a very interesting Memorial Serv- 
ice was held at Walhalla. under the direction of a committee of 
the Synod, of which Rev. J. P. Schell was chairman, and repre- 
sentatives of the "Woman's Synodical Missionary Society. The 
Woman's Board of the Northwest was also represented by Mrs. 
C. 0. VanCleve, Mrs. Oliver, and others. The occasion was marked 
by the erection of monuments to the memory of our martyred 
missionaries, Mrs. Spencer and Mrs. Barnard, whose precious re- 
mains, after lying some thirty-five years in the vicinity of Wal- 
halla, in unmarked graves, had recently been exhumed and re- 
moved to the beautiful cemetery on the hillside back of the vil- 
lage. Rev. Alonzo Barnard, the aged survivor of the early Mis- 
sion, Mrs. VanCleve, Hon. Chas. Cavileer, and other pioneers, 
were among the speakers on the interesting occasion. 

In August the church at Conway was organized by the synod- 
ical missionary, and in September two others, Drayton and Hope. 
In October the church of Edinburgh was also organized by the 
synodical missionary. 

The fall meeting of the presbytery was held at Grand Forks, 
Oct. 9, 1888, Rev. D. G. McKay being chosen moderator. Rev. 
Wm. Travis was dismissed to the Presbytery of Oregon ; after hav- 
ing done very effective service at Emerado and Gilby. The most 
important work of the presbytery at this time was the licensure 
of P. Ahern, who had been preaching very acceptably during the 
summer to the new congregation at Drayton ; and also the exam- 
ination for ordination of Alexander McLeod, who had returned 
to his former field at Mount View and vicinity. A special meet- 
ing was held at Mount View on Nov. 1st to ordain Alexander Mc- 


Leod. A further meeting was appointed for Ardoch two weeks 
later, for the purpose of installing Rev. W. T. Parsons as pastor 
over that church and- the congregation at Greenwood, the call 
having been presented at the regular meeting of the presbytery. 

Notwithstanding the very unfavorable character of the sea- 
son in respect to crops, the work of church building was not over- 
looked, an edifice having been undertaken at Gilby at a cost of 
about $1,800,, one at Elkwood at a cost of about $1,000, one at 
Beaulieu at a cost of about $2,000, one at Drayton at a cost of 
about $1,500, and one at Langdon, costing about the same amount. 
The latter enterprise was beset with special difficulties, and its 
success was largely due to the strenuous efforts of Rev. Jonathan 
Osmond, who had been induced to return to this presbytery to 
meet this emergency. The dedication of this church took place 
on Sunday, December, 1888. Several parsonages were also com- 
pleted this year. Rev. Thos. Douglass entered upon the work at 
Gilby, Johnstown and Forest River, the latter church having been 
separated from Minto, with which it had been connected during 
some seven or eight years previously. 


Fargo : 

Fargo church has the place of honor in the history of this 
presbytery ; the church having been organized on December 30th, 
1877. This, however, was not the beginning of our work in Fargo, 
as regular services had been held there for six years before this 
later date. Rev. E. "W. Day says: — "From December, 1871, reg- 
ular missionary work, in connection with the work in. Moorhead, 
Minnesota, was performed in this place by Rev. O. H. Elmer, until 
the autumn of 1876, with an occasional service afterwards." 

In October, 1877, Rev. C. B. Stevens visited this region and 
preached his first sermon in Fargo, November 11, 1877. A care- 
ful canvass made by him with a view to organizing a church, dis- 
closed the fact that, at this time there was in Fargo a population 
of between seven and eight hundred people. Circumstances at 
the time all seemed favorable to planting a Presbyterian church 
in the young city, especially as the attention of the public was 
beginning to be directed to the Red River valley by the successful 
opening of the great wheat farm, known as the Dalrymple Farm, 
and the influx of new-comers in the autumn of 1877 was largely 
increased thereby. The organization of the Fargo church, as 
stated above, occurred December 30, 1877, at which time Rev. O. 
H. Elmer presided, and F. J. Burnham was chosen secretary. 
Nine persons, whose names follow, were constituted the original 

1. Compiled by Rev. S. Stone and by Rev. W. H. Hunter. 

Eev. C. B. Stevens 


church membership : Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Fish, C. "W. Rossiter, 0. 
W. Francis, Mr. and Mrs. S. G. Roberts, Mrs. W. L. Stevens, Mrs. 
P. P. Goodman, Jennie Wilson. 

The first elders elected were C. W. Rossiter, S. G. Roberts, 
and 0. W. Francis. The church has had six pastors as follows: 

Rev. C. B. Stevens, from December, 1877 to March, 1882; 
Henry B. Newell, from July, 1882 to July 1884; Daniel E. Bierce, 
from October, 1881 to September, 1887 ; Granville R. Pike, from 
October, 1888 to October, 1893; Edgar W. Day, from February, 
1894, to 1904; Chas. Ryan Adams, from 1905 to 1911. 

Revs. Stevens and Bierce are dead. Rev. H. A. Newell is a 
pastor in Los Angeles, Cal. ; and G. R. Pike is in Chicago. 

Elm River : 

The second church to be organized within our present bounds 
was the church of Elm River, this occurred in June, 1879. An 
appeal was made to the Synod of Minnesota, Which sent Revs. 0. 
H. Elmer and C. B. Stevens, by whom the church was organized, 
and Rev. J. K. Burgster was inducted as their minister. 1 The 
number of members at its organization was sixteen. Two elders, 
Robert McCradie and John Falconer, were then elected. Rev. J. 
K. Burgster removed from the field in 1881. In 1882 Rev. A. 
Glendenning was sent by the Presbytery of Red River to work in 
this field along with Grandin. In December of that year James 
McAndrew was elected as a third ruling elder. In the winter 
of 1882-3 the first manse was built, at a cost to the congregation 
of Elm River of $1,000. Rev. Glendenning removed from the 
field late in the year. In the spring of 1884 Rev. C. W. McCarthy 
was appointed to this field and that of Hendrum, Minnesota, the 
church at Grandin being left without supply. In 1887 John Fal- 
coner withdrew from the church, and soon after from the state. 
In 1888 the manse was destroyed by fire ; the insurance on which 
was $400, and a new manse was erected at a cost of $600. In 

1889 William Black and Stuart McCradie were elected elders of 
the Elm River church; but Mr. Black soon afterward removed 
to Minnesota and joined the church at Hendrum. Rev. McCarthy 
removed to New York state in October, 1890. Rev. R. Waite 
was in charge of this field and of Hendrum from the autumn of 

1890 until the following fall. In the beginning of 1892 Rev. T. 
E. Douglass came as minister to this place and Hendrum. In the 
summer of 1892 the first Presbyterian church at Elm River was 
built at a cost of $1,500, and was dedicated, August 7th, 1892. 
Previous to this time the congregation held its services in the 
schoolhouse at Quincy. Rev. Douglass removed at the end of the 
year 1894. In this month, December, 1894, the church was 


1. Written by Rev. W. H. Hunter. 


burned, the insurance being $1,000. In the spring of 1895, Rev. 
Thos. Hickling became minister of this field and of Hendrum. 
in the summer of 1896, a new and more commodious church was 
built, costing nearly $1,900. Rev'. Hickling left this field in Octo- 
ber, 1897. At this time the officers of this church, together with 
those of the church at Hendrum, conferred with the officers of 
the church at Grandin, when it was resolved to unite the three 
churches of Grandin, Hendrum and Quincy into one self-support- 
ing field. 

Rev. A. Lang was chosen as minister in October, 1897, and 
remained till October. 1899. In March, 1900, Rev. T. D. Whittles 
became minister of these churches. 

Grandin : 

During the year 1882, a few Presbyterians of Grandin made 
an effort to secure the organization of a church, and on Septem- 
ber 3rd, Rev. J. Irwin effected the same, with twelve members. 
For about one year services were held regularly by Rev. A. Glen- 
denning who acted as pastor, then the church was disbanded 
because of insufficient support. 

The records of this early attempt have been lost, and the 
only information obtainable is from the memory of the early mem- 

On August 16, 1896, with five of the original members, and 
twelve others, this church was re-organized by Rev. F. M. Wood. 
On January 5th, 1899, the new church was dedicated, a beautiful 
building, attractive and commodious, seating over 200 and valued 
at $4,000. This church is served in connection with the Elm River 
(Kelso) and Hendrum churches by Rev. T. D. Whittles. 1 

Jamestown : 

In the summer of 1878, six years after the founding of James- 
town, Rev. C. B. Stevens, pastor of the Presbyterian church of 
Fargo, visited and preached on several occasions at points along 
the line of the N. P. railroad between Fargo and Bismarck. Rev. 
D. C. Lyon. D. D., had already preached here as early as June, 
1873. As a result of these tentative missionary excursions, on 
the 1st of January, 1879, Rev. J. H. Baldwin was commissioned 
to explore and preach and otherwise labor along the line of road 
between Fargo and Jamestown. In carrying out his commission 
Rev. Baldwin preached at Jamestown every third Sabbath from 
January 1, 1879 until the following December. 

About this time, or shortly previous to this, a petition con- 
taining the names of ten of the principal Christian workers of the 
rapidly growing town, was presented to the Red River Presby- 

1. Written by Rev. S. Stone. 


tery, asking that the said petitioners, and others uniting with 
them, be organized into a church under the name of the First 
Presbyterian Church of Jamestown. In compliance with this 
petition, on the 5th day of December, 1879, in the court house at 
Jamestown, a meeting of those interested was held, the church 
was duly organized, and its first staff of officers elected. 

The organization proceedings were conducted by a commis- 
sion of Ked River Presbytery, composed of Rev. J. H. Baldwin 
and the Synodical missionary, Rev. D. C. Lyon, D. D., of St. Paul. 
The original elders, elected and ordained at this time, were John 
Bell and Mathew Bennett. The first mentioned was a sturdy 
Scotchman who had immigrated with his family from Canada, 
and in whose veins flowed the bluest of Presbyterian blood, in- 
herited from many generations of staunch defenders of the faith. 
The latter was equally sturdy, but holding to the faith of the 
Wesleys and the traditions of the great Methodist church. The 
congregation was incorporated, August 12, 1880 ; the trustees 
were Jerome J. Flint, Edward P. Wells, Henry M. Tabor, and 
Lewis Lyman. In 1881 the new congregation erected a hand- 
some and commodious house of worship, at a cost of $6,500 ; the 
building erected at that time being still in use by the present con- 
gregation. Since its organization the church has had six pastors 
in the following order: Rev. J. H. Baldwin, December 5th, 1879 
to October 1880; Rev. N. D. Fanning, November 1st, 1883 to Sep- 
tember 15, 1889; Rev. G. S. Baskerville for some months; Wm. 
Gibb, October 6th, 1890 to June, 1893; Rev. E. W. Thompson, 
October 30th, 1893 to January, 1896; Rev. W. P. Price, October 
1896 to Septemebr, 1897 ; Rev. H. G. Gunn, March, 1898 to 1900. 
Of these six pastors only Revs. Fanning, Thompson, and Price 
were regularly installed ; the others serving as stated supplies. 
Financially, the church of Jamestown is one of the strongest in 
the synod. On their own motion they became self-supporting in 
1882, only three years after organization, and they have main 
tained that standard up to the present time. 1 

Casselton : 

The church at Casselton was organized in December, 1879. 
In January of that year Rev. J. H. Baldwin began to preach at 
various points along the line of the Northern Pacific, from Fargo 
to Jamestown. He preached two Sabbaths out of every three at 
Casselton until December 6th, when a petition was presented to 
the Red River Presbytery, signed by twelve persons, namely, Mr. 
and Mrs. Hackett, Mr. and Mrs. H.' P. Bannerd, Mr. and Mrs. A. 
F. Norrish, Mrs. Minnie Lawrence, H. W. Rowe, Wm. Mclntyre, 
Robert Morrison, J. W. Malette, and N. C. Winchester-, asking to 

1. Written by Rev. H. G. Gunn. 


be formed into a church under the name of the First Presbyterian 
Church of Casselton. In accordance with the request, Rev. 0. 
H. Elmer and Rev. J. H. Baldwin, of the Red River Presbytery, 
and Rev. D. C. Lyon, Synodical missionary for Minnesota and 
Dakota, met at Knight's hall, December 7th„ 1879, when the 
church was regularly constituted. At the same time, E. Hackett, 
H. W. Rowe, and H. F. Bannerd were elected ruling elders, and 
were ordained and installed by Rev. Elmer. Rev.. E. J. Thomp- 
son, the first pastor, entered upon his work as stated supply in 
1880, and remained until 1884. 1 During his ministry in 1881, a 
church was built at a cost of $4,000, and a manse the following 
year at a cost of $2,000. He was followed by Rev. H. M. Dyck- 
man, from 1884-1887 ; Rev. J. H. Stewart succeeded him in 1887, 
but how long he remained is not stated. Then there were several 
supplies, one of whom was Rev. G. S. Baskerville, December, 1889 
to October, 1892. Rev. G. H. Whiteman then took charge of the 
church and remained about one year, when the church was again 
pastorless. Rev. G. A. Hutchinson took charge in March, 1895, 
and remained until January, 1896. Then came Rev. E. D. Galla- 
gher in May, 1896, who remained until July 1st, 1900. 

Wheatland : 

The Wheatland church was organized about the same time 
as the church at Casselton, December 7th, 1879, by a committee 
of the Red River Presbytery, consisting of Revs. O. H. Elmer, and 
J. H. Baldwin, and the synodical missionary, Rev. D. C. Lyon of 
St. Paul. Three elders were elected at the same time, and two of 
them duly ordained and installed. The church was constituted 
with a membership of seventeen, and they appear to have been 
cared for by Rev. J. H. Baldwin until July, 1881. In 1882 men- 
tion is made of the sacrament being administered by Rev. E. J. 
Thompson, and in the following year Rev. T. C. Clark appears to 
have supplied the church for a short time. The name of Rev. H. 
M. Dyckman appears as moderator of the session under date of 
October 20, 1884, and that of April 5, 1885. Mention is made 
of the fact that Rev. M. Rutherford preached the first sermon 
in the new church, May 31, 1885. The building was dedicated 
the same year, August 30th, Rev. H. M. Dyckman preaching the 

Under date of October 4th, 1885, appears a record of a call 

1. Rev. E. J. Thompson was born in Middlebury, Vermont, October 7, 1834 
and died at Albany, Oregon. He was educated in New England and in the normal 
school at Albany, New York, and he taught for some ten years in the University of 
Minnesota. In 1881, Rev. Thompson entered the Presbyterian ministry at Cassel- 
ton, N. D. From there he removed to Oregon. He served Salem two years ; then 
was made president of Albany College. In 1885, he was called to the pastorate at 
Corvallis, where he remained until 1901. He served Independence for five years, 
then retired to take up work in the home mission field at Turner. He was stated 
clerk of Williamette Presbvterv from its organization until his death, which oc- 
curred Jan. 23, 1907. 

Rev. E. J. Thompson 


being voted for the pastoral services of Rev. G. S. Baskerville, but 
no further mention of his name appears. On July 4th, 1886, occurs 
the name of Rev. J. C. McKee as moderator of the session ; and 
the record shows that he continued to serve the church as stated 
supply for nearly if not quite four years, the last record contain- 
ing his name being dated November 2, 1889. On July 12, 1891, 
is a record of a session meeting, in which Rev. Samuel Andrews 
was moderator; followed by another, July 2, 1893, with W. C. 
Hunter as moderator. The last record containing his name is 
June 28, 1896. Rev. Bucher moderated the session, October 22, 
1898, and continued as stated supply for two years. 

Tower City: 

The First Presbyterian Church of Tower City was organized 
June 10th, 1880. Rev. J. H. Baldwin was the first pastor and 
served from its organization until May, 1883, when he was suc- 
ceeded by Rev. G. S. Baskerville, who served the church 
until October 1st, 1889. He was succeeded by Rev. J. 
T. Killen, who served till April, 1890. Several minis- 
ters and students served the church as stated supplies for 
short terms after Rev. Killen ; among these were Revs. Creswell, 
Parsons, Sangree, Hartman. Woodruff, Rutherford, Blue, Byers, 
and Hibbard. Rev. F. J. Hibbard began to serve the church as 
stated supply in May, 1897, and remained for the summer months, 
when he returned to Princeton to complete his course. During 
the winter the pulpit was vacant, but in June, 1898, Rev. Hibbard 
returned as stated supply again, in which capacity he served un- 
til March, 1900, when he was installed pastor. 

Buffalo : 

The Buffalo church, which is connected with Tower City, 
was organized in October, 1880. Rev. J. H. Baldwin was the 
first pastor, and was followed by Revs. G. S. Baskerville, J. C. 
McKee, J. T. Killen, J. H. Blue, W. J. Byers, and seven or eight 
students. Rev. F. J. Hibbard became stated supply in May, 1897. 
and continued as such until March, 1900, when he was installed 
as pastor. 

Mapleton : 

The Mapleton church was organized in October, 1880, by 
Revs. O. H. Elmer, J. H. Baldwin, and the Synodical missionary, 
Rev. D. C. Lyon. The church has been served by several stu- 
dents and a number of stated supplies, with the inevitable result 
that there has been but little growth, the church having barely 
held its own. 


Lisbon : 

Sometime during the summer of 1881 Rev. Daniel Williams 
came from Grand Rapids, and held one or two services in Lisbon, 
the first Presbyterian services held in the town or county. In the 
fall of 1881 Rev. J. H. Pollock arrived from Wisconsin, and, upon 
the advice of the Home Mission's committee of the Red River 
Presbytery, went down into Ransom county to see what could be 
done for the many immigrants going in there. He preached in 
Sheldon and Jacksonville on the first Sabbath of November, 1881. 
On the following Sabbath he came to Lisbon, but as the Methodist 
people were having regular services there, he met with no en- 
couragement. He, however, continued his services in Sheldon 
and Jacksonville on every second Sabbath, spending the alternate 
Sabbaths wherever he could gather a body of listeners. He came 
back to Lisbon and preached there on Christmas day, 1881. He 
was then invited to come again on the following Sabbath by Rev. 
LaCell, a local Methodist minister, who from that time yielded 
every alternate Sabbath for the holding of a Presbyterian serv- 
ice. This service, alternating with those at Sheldon, was kept 
up by Rev. Pollock until the fall of 1882. Services were held 
during the winter of 1881-2 in Colton's hotel, at the corner of 
Main and Second streets. During the summer of 1882 the ser- 
vices were held in a tent at the corner of Main and First streets. 
In the latter part of September, 1882, Rev. E. W. Day, late of Alle- 
gheny Seminary, came as Rev. Pollock's successor, and com- 
menced work on October 1st, preaching at Lisbon and Sheldon 
on alternate Sabbaths until November 15, 1883. 

At the fall meeting of the presbytery, 1882, held at Cassel- 
ton, Revs. E. W. Day and J. H. Baldwin were appointed a com- 
mittee to organize the church at Lisbon. November 12, 1882, 
was named as the date for effecting the organization, but Rev. 
Baldwin being unable to be present, the date was postponed until 
the 26th of November. Rev. Baldwin being then still unable to 
attend, Rev. Day proceeded with a partial organization, there 
being no male members whom it was deemed wise to elect as 
elders. At this time five persons were received on profession of 
their faith, and four by letter. These nine persons, thus received, 
were thereupon declared by the officiating minister, Rev. Day, to 
be the incipient organization of a church to be thereafter known 
as the First Presbyterian Church of Lisbon, Dakota Territory, 
under the care of the Presbytery of Red River. 

During the fall of 1883 and the spring of 1884, a chapel was 
erected at a cost of $1,500. On October 19, 1884, the first elder, 
A. F. Morton, was elected and installed. Bev. Day finished his 
pastorate in the spring of 1894, and on May 27, of the same year, 
Rev. J..M. Waddle, D. D., having accepted the call tendered him, 


entered upon his duties as minister in this church. On Sabbath, 
June 12, Rev. Waddle tendered his resignation. During the sum- 
mer of 1898, services were held Sunday mornings by Mr. Leech, 
a student of Princeton Seminary, and aside from this the church 
was without a minister for more than a year. On August 27, 
1899, Rev. C. W. Harris entered upon his duties as stated supply, 
and he was installed. April 2. 1900. 

Hillsboro : 

The Presbyterian church of Hillsboro was organized in the 
fall of 1882 by Rev. W. d 'Argent and the Presbyterial missionary, 
Rev. John Irwin, with a membership of sixteen. In the fall of 
1882 the Presbytery directed Rev. G. S. Baskerville to supply the 
church in connection with Buxton. In May. 1883, Rev. E. P. 
Forsman took charge of the field, comprised of Hillsboro and 
Kelso (Elm River), which Avere thereafter grouped together as 
one field. The church was erected in 1884, and was dedicated in 
1885 ; the present membership is twenty-four. 

Monango : 

The First Presbyterian Church of Keystone (now Monango) 
was organized September 3, 1882. by Rev. W. S. Peterson, Pres- 
byterial missionary for South Dakota. Previous to the organiza- 
tion, a student, H. H. Sangree. held services here for three 
months on alternate Sabbaths. The following ministers have 
served the Monango church : Revs. Bracket!. S. A. Barnes, J. C. 
Grey,, J. "W. Dickey. J. E. Vance. Wm, Snyder, Wm, Sangree, and 
J. B. Hobart. All of these men were simply stated supplies, as the 
church has never had a pastor. The church has had no regularly 
ordained. minister since Mr. Hobart left in 1894. Since that date 
students have had the field for three months each year in the sum- 
mer. Messrs. Green. Mitchel, Zeigler. Stitt. and Burrell. 

Ellendale : 

The church at Ellendale was organized October 6th, 1882, by 
Rev. W. S. Peterson, of Huron, South Dakota. Rev. J. H. Clark 
was the first pastor, serving the church from May. 1883 to Octo- 
ber, 1885. After that the church was vacant for a year, when 
Rev. W. E. Voss took charge, and served the church one year, 
after which for a year the church was without a pastor. Rev. J. 
W. Winder served another year. After another interim of a year, 
Rev. John McCoy took up the work and remained three years, 
le was followed by Rev. Robert Bradley, who served one year. 
Next the church was served for a year by Rev. A. Streimer. Rev. 
X. C. Shirey served the church for two years, and Rev. D. H. 
Dever one year. The last pastor. Rev. F. E. McGillivray, took 


charge of the church in 1899, and remained until his death, on 
the 3rd of June, 1900. All of these pastors were stated supplies. 

Sheldon : 

Presbyterian ministers began work in the vicinity of Shel- 
don in 1882, preaching first in the schoolhouse at Jenksville, and 
later on in the schoolhouse in Sheldon. The church building was 
erected in 1885, and dedicated in 1886. The church has been 
served thus far by numerous supplies, Rev. J. H. Baldwin, E. W. 
Day, Remington, Forbes, Vance, Chalfant, Bellville, Craighead, 
Kerr, Clatworthy, Ryder, Brown, and Harrison. Only one of 
these, Rev. Joseph Brown, was installed as pastor. 

Hunter : 

On the 14th day of May, 1882, Rev. B. R. Prichard visited 
Hunter, and held the first religious service in the new town. From 
that time until December of the same year, he preached there 
every three weeks. In December he took up his residence in Hun- 
ter, and in the following June he began to hold service every 
Sabbath. In the July following, a petition was presented to the 
Red River Presbytery, signed by seventeen persons, asking to be 
organized into a church. In compliance with this request, Rev. 
E! J. Thompson and Rev. E. R. Prichard were authorized by the 
presbytery to organize the church. This was done in the school- 
house at Hunter on July 29th, 1883. Three ruling elders were 
elected and ordained at the same time and place, Rev. E. J. 
Thompson officiating. Rev. E. R. Prichard was the first stated 
supply of the church, and Robert Morrison, Walter Muir, and 
Henry Ruthruff were the first elders. How long Mr. Prichard 
remained with the church is not known, as there is no record of 
any meeting between October 7, 1883 and March 28, 1886. At 
this last named date a meeting of the session was moderated by 
Rev. Q. L. Young, who appears to have taken charge of the 
church in 1885, and to have served it about two years. From 
April, 1887 f .o February, 1889, the records are again blank. Then 
they speak of a session being moderated by the Synodical mis- 
sionary, Rev. F. M. Wood, Rev. George Furniss being also present. 
At this meeting it was voted to receive Mrs. Furniss into the 
church, and doubtless Rev. Geo. Furniss entered upon his work 
with the church about this time. He remained as stated supply 
until the summer of 1891. His successor was Rev. Samuel An- 
drews, whose term of service lasted about two years. Rev. L. E. 
Danks followed Rev. Andrews, taking charge of the work in April, 
1894. In July, 1886, there is a record of a meeting presided over by 
Rev. S. G. Tyndall, who appears to have taken charge of the work 
a short time before. He supplied the church for about two years^ 

Rev. Francis M. Wood 


and was followed by Rev. S. Stone, who entered upon his work 
November 1st, 1898, and was installed pastor December 1st of the 
same year. 

Blanchard : 

The Blanchard church, which is a part of the Hunter field, 
was organized June 5, 1887, by Rev. F. M. Wood and Rev. Q. L. 
Young, with six members, D. S. Colley being elected and ordained 
as a ruling elder. The church has been served by the same pas- 
tors as have served the Hunter church. 
LaMoure : 

Rev. F. M. Wood, having visited the James River Valley in 
the fall of 1882, preached at Grand Rapids (eight miles north of 
the present town of LaMoure), and was urged during the follow- 
ing winter to have in view the settlement of Grand Rapids, and 
also the prospective settlement of LaMoure, in the early spring of 
1883. 1 

Rev. Wood was in the field and began preaching at Grand 
Rapids in April, 1883. The town of LaMoure was not yet organ- 
ized and the 20th day of May of that same year was set for the 
first meeting in LaMoure. On the 20th day of May a meeting was 
held in Mr. Matheson's boarding-house at LaMoure, and there 
were about 20 persons present. Services were continued here 
for several successive Sabbaths with varying attendance. About 
the first of June a Sunday School was organized by F. M. Kinter, 
who was one of the chief workers in the organization of the church. 
The school was conducted as a single class, with Mr. Kinter as 
superintendent and teacher. As the audiences increased, the 
Merchant's Hotel was secured for a Sabbath or two. This was 
given up for a single room over a new store building. The pul- 
pit was a dry goods box, y the seats were constructed of bundles of 
shingles and nail kegs, surmounted with boards. This, however, 
was but temporary, as chairs, lamps, table, and pulpit stand were 
soon secured by subscription from the towns-people. On the 7th 
of October, 1883, Rev. F. M. Wood, a member of the Red River 
Presbytery, organized the First Presbyterian Church of LaMoure, 
with a membership of six persons. 2 F. M. Kinter was elected 

1. See p. 166, Early work at Grand Rapids by D. Williams. 

2. Rev. Francis Marion Wood was born at Fairton, Cumberland County, 
New Jersey, June 23, 1834, and died April 11, 1911 in Carlisle, Ohio. As a 
young man, Rev. Wood engaged in business in Galveston, Texas. He graduated 
from Princeton College in 1858 ; from the Seminary in 1861 and was married to 
Martha G. Van Tuyl, of Carlisle, Ohio, in 1862. Rev. Wood became pastor of the 
New Jersey church at Carlisle, O. in 1S62. He served churches in Clifton, O., 
Marshall, Mich., San Francisco, Cal., Oxford and Xenia, O., from 1870 to 1883. 
He went to North Dakota in 1883, supplying churches of La Moure and Grand 
Rapids. In 1884, he was made Presbyterial missionary, and from 1885 to 1897 
was synodical missionary of North Dakota. Rev. Wood then relinquished his 
pioneer work in North Dakota, going to Willington, Cape Colony, Africa. Here 
he was engaged as assistant-superintendent of the Mission Institute of Dr. Andrew 
Murray and also acted in the capacity of stated supply of the church. In 1904, 
he returned to America and did not engage further in regular ministerial work. 


and installed as a ruling elder in the church. A board of trustees 
was also elected at this meeting. Rev. F. M. Wood acted as stated 
supply for the church, until April, 1884, when he was called to 
enter upon his work as Superintendent of Home Mission work in 
North Dakota. 

The next month, May, 1884, Frank Fish, a student from Alle- 
gheny Seminary, conducted services until September. From 
September, 1884, until May, 1885, there were no regular preach- 
ing services. The erection of a church building had been begun 
during the month of August, and was continued during the fall 
and winter, and the church was dedicated on the 10th of May, 
1885. This was also the date of the beginning of the labors of Rev. 
R. W. Ely in the LaMoure and Grand Rapids churches. It was not 
until the year following, however, that Rev. Ely was duly installed 
as the pastor of those churches. It was during Rev. Ely's pas- 
torate in 1887, that a storm of wind totally demolished the church 
building so recently occupied. With characteristic western 
pluck, however, the people rallied and proceeded to erect a new 
building. After serving the churches of LaMoure and Grand 
Rapids three years and five months, Rev. Ely accepted a call to a 
church in Missouri, and closed his labors in this field, October 1st, 
1888. For the next six months Rev. J. J. Thompson acted as 
stated supply. Rev. J. S. Boyd came as stated supply in Novem- 
ber, 1889. He was followed in 1894 by Rev. A. A. Zabriskie, who 
was installed as pastor on April 10th of that year. He resigned 
in December following to accept a call in the east. 

Nine months later Rev. Sidney Stone was called as pastor 
and served the church until May, 1897. The church was without 
regular preaching thereafter from May, 1897 until July, 1898, 
when Rev. Willard Crosby Lyon came into the field. He was 
installed as pastor October 31st, 1898, and is serving the church 
at the present year, 1900. 

The church at Elgin (now Ayr) was organized on Septem- 
ber 9, 1883, by Rev. J. H. Baldwin, who had previously explored 
the field and forwarded to the Red River Presbytery a petition 
signed by the heads of four of the leading families, namely, Peter 
Beattie and wife, J. P. Riddle and wife, Peter Aitcheson and wife, 
and James Dunlop and wife, eight in all. 1 

At the same meeting held at the home of the Dunlops on the 
Park Farm, Peter Beattie and Peter Aitcheson were elected and 
ordained ruling elders. The church was served by Rev. Baldwin 
as its stated supply from the date of its organization, until the 
year 1888, when it was supplied for a year, October 1, 1888 to 
October 1, 1889, by Rev. J. T. Killen. At a meeting of the trus- 

1. In 1882-3 Rev. J. H. Baldwin secured the organization of churches at Ayr, 
Page City, Colgate, Broadlawn, Galesburg and Erie. 


tees held in the postoffiee at Ayr, July 26, 1888, it was agreed that 
the Board meet on Saturday afternoon at the lumber yard to 
make benches for the church,, and it was further agreed that Levi 
Johnson make a desk for the minister's books as soon as possi- 
ble. The church was built some years later during the incum- 
bency of Rev. J. N. B. Smith, 1904-5. 

Milnor : 

The church at Milnor was organized May 13th, 1884, by Rev. 
F. M. Wood, the Synodical missionary, assisted by Rev. E. "W. 
Day, of Lisbon. The church consisted of six members and John 
Shuman and J. H. Vail were elected and installed as ruling elders. 
The church building was erected in 1893, at a cost of $2,000, and 
was dedicated on November 1st, of that year. The first minister 
was Rev. J. E. Vance, who preached about six months, his work 
ending in April, 1886. Then Rev. D. A. Wilson from Missouri, 
former pastor of elder J. H. Vail, and associated with him on the 
Union side in the skirmish at Camp Jackson,, near St. Louis, spent 
six months with the church, from June to November of the same 
year. Through the summer of 1887 the church was served by 
John Hobart, a student. Soon after this Rev. D. J. McKenzie 
began work in the field, and remained with the church three years. 
E. S. Miller, a student, came for the summer of 1890. Then there 
appears to have been no service until the summer of 1892, when 
Rev. G. H. Fallers supplied the church for the summer months. 
From October, 1892 until October, 1893 the church was served by 
Rev. W. T. Gibson. Then for three years the church was without 
a minister. C. W. Berg, a student, supplied through the summer 
of 1896 and he was followed in September of the same year by 
Rev. Geo. Gerrie, who remained until March, 1898. J. C. Leech, 
a student, filled the pulpit for the two succeeding summers. Rev. 
John Fernie is the present pastor, and has had charge of the 
church since January, 1900. 

Lucca : 

On Saturday, June 16, 1883, a congregation assembled in the 
schoolhouse, called at that time, Kibby schoolhouse, for the pur- 
pose of presenting letters and deciding as to the possibility of a 
church organization. At this time nine names were presented; 
three trustees were elected, but elders were not chosen for lack 
of proper material. The action was reported to the Red River 
Presbytery and the Lucca church was placed on the roll. For the 
first two years Rev. J. E. Vance preached regularly, and the Sab- 
bath School was maintained both summer and winter. For about 
three years this incomplete organization was reported to the Pres- 
bytery, but as no progress was made, the stated clerk ceased to 


call the name of the church. During the summer of 1885 there 
was no preaching, but through the summer of 1886, Rev. G. S. 
Baskerville preached three Sabbaths out of the month. During 
the winter only occasional Bible reading services were held in ad- 
dition to the Sunday School, but the next April Eev. "W. M. Spoor 
commenced his services. On May 15th, 1887, Rev. F. M. "Wood, 
the Synodical missionary, visited the field to find out the condi- 
tion of things, and at this time five names were added to the list 
of members. On May 22nd, of the same year, Rev. G. S. Basker- 
ville preached, and at the close of the sermon, two ruling elders 
were elected and ordained, and the organization of the church, 
thus long deferred, was completed. At this time Rev. J. E. 
Vance began to serve the church for the second time, and his 
services were continued until June, 1892, when Mr. Hilton, from 
Princeton Seminary, spent four months with the church. In May, 
1893, the work was taken up by W. L. Oliver, a student from 
Allegheny; he also stayed four months, and preached at More's 
schoolhouse, six miles south of Lucca, in connection with the lat- 
ter church. The next summer Robert Hartman, from McCormick, 
spent four months in the field, and in April, 1895, Rev. J. E. Vance 
began preaching again,, supplying the church until the following 
December, when Wilson Stitt, of Canada, took up the work. On 
January 26, 1896, the service at More's schoolhouse was trans- 
ferred to Enderlin. In May, 1896, Rev. M. J. Doak took charge 
of the two churches of Lucca and Enderlin, and he served until 
March, 1899. During the early summer of that year, Rev. W. 
Harrison supplied the church four Sabbaths, when he accepted 
an appointment as a missionary to Alaska. Services were kept 
up during the summer and fall, sermons being read, and occa- 
sionally there was preaching. In November, Wm. P. Doty, of 
Princeton, took up the work, remaining until April, 1900. 

Enderlin : 

The first religious service in the vicinity of Enderlin, held 
under Presbyterian auspices, was conducted in More's school- 
house, situated about four miles from that town. These services 
were started, and for a period were maintained by Rev. J. E. 
Vance. In fact it is largely due to his efforts that religious serv- 
ices have been maintained at all in this region, including Lucca 
and vicinity. Later, Rev. E. W. Day, who was stationed at Lis- 
bon, preached frequently at the same schoolhouse ; and later still 
Mr. Hilton labored for a time in the same field. Mr. Hilton was 
followed by Mr. Oliver, a student, who spent a summer in this 
region and met with great success. As a result of the labors of 
these devoted men, a church was organized, and called the Oliver 
church, in honor of Mr. Oliver who had labored so faithfully for 
its establishment. It was in the summer of 1892 that this church 


was organized, with a membership of eighteen. This little church 
never had a regular pastor, but was served chiefly by seminary 
students, who. only remained through the summer months. After 
Mr. Oliver's departure, the services were continued at intervals 
through the efforts of Rev. Vance. Meanwhile, the town of En- 
derlin was founded and growing rapidly ; and several earnest 
Christian people decided that a Presbyterian church ought to be 
organized and a house of worship erected in the new town. Ac- 
cordingly the Fargo Presbytery was petitioned to organize such 
a church. The petition was granted at the spring meeting in 
1896, and a committee, consisting of Revs. P. M. Wood, Joseph 
Brown, and J. M. Waddle, D. D., was appointed to visit the town, 
and, if advisable, to proceed with the organization. The com- 
mittee met at Enderlin on May 3rd, and the Enderlin Presby- 
terian Church was organized. The number of members is not 
stated, but W. Gilbraith and H. Morton were elected and ordained 
as ruling elders. To this church, thus organized, the members of 
the Oliver church transferred their membership. Thus in large 
measure, the Enderlin church is the outgrowth of the Oliver 
church. The members and friends of the new enterprise, both in 
town and country, though few in numbers, were energetic and 
determined. They began at once to raise funds for the building 
of a suitable house of worship, and were so successful that the 
building was started in March, 1897, and completed that same 
fall. In the meantime Rev. M. J. Doak had been called to supply 
the church. He took up the work in May, 1896, and remained 
about three years. After an interval of six months the work of 
the church was continued by W. F. Doty. Mr. Doty, however, 
remained only six months, resigning in April, 1900, in order to 
accept a government position in Alaska. Since Mr. Doty's de- 
parture, many of the members and best supporters of the church 
have moved away from the town and vicinity, so that the church 
has been left in a greatly weakened condition. 

Sanborn : 

The Presbyterian church at Sanborn was organized January 
23rd, 1887, by Rev. F. M. Wood, with seven members. The pul- 
pit was supplied by persons secured by the session for a time, and 
in November, 1888, Rev. Samuel . Andrews took charge of the 
church and remained until August of the following year. In June, 
1890, Rev. Wm. Sangree began work as their pastor, and con- 
tinued with them until April, 1893. Previous to his coming the 
number of members had increased from seven to eighteen, and 
during his term of service seventeen more names were added, 
making a total to date of thirty-five. During the summer of 1894 
the pulpit was supplied by a student named Mitchel; and soon 
after this Rev. D. J. Sykes took up the work, and continued about 


two years. He was followed by Rev. J. H. Blue, who stayed in 
the field only three months, leaving in the fall of 1896, after which 
the church remained closed until October 1st, 1897. Rev. I. G. 
Smith then took up the work, and in October of the following 
year was finally installed pastor of the church. He continued 
to act as pastor until September 1st, 1900, when he resigned. 

Galesburg : 

The organization of the Presbyterian church in Galesburg 
was the result of the work and preaching of Rev. J. H. Baldwin 
and the Synodical missionary, Rev. F. M. Wood. A petition for 
church organization was presented and acted upon favorably by 
the Fargo Presbytery. The organization was completed August 
24th, 1887, by Rev. F. M. "Wood and by Rev. J. H. Baldwin, who 
from that time became the acting pastor. The number of orig- 
inal members was seventeen. 

Broadlawn : 

The church of Broadlawn, eight miles west of Galesburg, was 
organized November 3, 1889. Before this organization was ef- 
fected, the members were a part of the Presbyterian church at 
Colgate, ministered to by Rev. J. H. Badwin and Rev. W. C. 
Whisnand. During the winter and spring of 1889, special meet- 
ings were held, in which many persons were added to the Colgate 
church. This and the distance of one congregation from the other, 
led to the desire on the part of the Broadlawn people for a sepa- 
rate organization. Such desire being expressed in due form to 
the fall meeting of the Presbytery of Fargo, a committee, con- 
sisting of Revs. J. H. Baldwin and W. C. Whisnand, was appointed 
with authority to effect the organization. The chairman of the 
committee invited Rev. F. M. Wood to be present and assist in 
the organization, which was accomplished on November 3rd, 1889. 
The number of original members was forty-eight, and the number 
of members at the present time, 1900, is twenty-seven. 


The Erie church was first organized by Revs. F. M. Wood 
and B. W. Coe, June 30, 1889. Rev. Coe had been in the field 
some time before this date, and the organization was the result 
of his preparatory labors. He resided at Galesburg, and in- 
cluded that field in his ministrations. In 1891 Rev. Hoyt took 
charge, followed in 1893, by Rev. Moore. In 1896 F. J. Hibbard 
began preaching here. Galesburg had already been dropped from 
the Erie circuit, and the Ayr field included. During Mr. Hib- 
bard 's ministry the church records were lost. This necessitated 
a re-organization, which was effected by Rev. F. M. Wood, in 1896. 
Mr. Hibbard was followed by Rev. Eakins in 1898 ; theu followed 


Rev. Weatherstone in 1899, and Rev. J. M. Smith, returned mis- 
sionary from China, in November of the same year. 

Courtenay : 

The Presbyterian church of Corinne was organized August 
12, 1888, with 23 members. The name was subsequently changed 
to the Presbyterian Church of Courtenay. A church building 
was erected in 1896-97, costing $2,000, and a manse was built at 
the same time at a cost of $650. The church was served by stu- 
dents from seminaries until 1896, except a short time by licenti- 
ate James Hoyt, in 1891. The following stated supplies have 
served the church: Rev. J. S. Corky, 1896-98, and Rev. J. F. 
Cheesman, 1898 to 1900. The present membership, 1900, is 44. 


On August 27, 1887, Rev. R. H. Hook, assisted by Rev. F. M. 
Wood, of the Fargo Presbytery, organized the First Presbyterian 
Church of Oakes, with eleven members. Services were held in 
the schoolhouse until the new church was completed. This was 
dedicated on the 27th day of January, 1889, and cost about 

Chaffee : 

The First Presbyterian Church of Chaffee originated in the 
organization of a Sunday school by Mr. Bigler, a Sunday school 
missionary, in the Watson schoolhouse, in the year 1887. This 
led to the coming of a minister from Sheldon to preach occasion- 
ally. These meetings continued with varying regularity, some- 
times being held in the private homes in the neighborhood. In 
the year 1889, the home of the Sunday school was moved to the 
hall over the store of the Hunter Mercantile Company in the vil- 
lage of Chaffee. Rev. G. H. Booker, then pastor of the Wheat- 
land charge, began preaching here and organized the Chaffee 
church. The following year the store was destroyed by fire and 
services were held in the Chaffee Hall. Here they continued un- 
til the new church building was occupied, December 22nd, 1907. 
Among those who preached to the Chaffee congregation before 
the organization, were, B. B. Bigler, Revs. Joseph Brown and 
N. B. Harrison. 

The first members were Andrew Watt and family, Mrs. Fin- 
ney, and T. R. Peart and wife. 

1. Report of Alfred Brownson, clerk. 


Rev. O. H. Elmer 


No. 1. 

Reminiscences by the Pioneers. 

Rev. 0. H. Elmer 

"Saturday, November 19th, 1880, the mercury marked sev- 
enteen degrees below zero, at Moorhead, Minnesota, and a stiff 
breeze from the northwest made the fireside of one's own home 
a most desirable place. 

However, answering a ring at the door, I found a young 
man, dressed in fur cap and buffalo coat, who had come 2,000 
miles, all the way from Washington, D. C, to be married to a 
young lady who had preceded him by several weeks to an imag- 
inary city lying about fifty-five miles to the southwest. The only 
conveyance at that time was the team, and no other Presbyterian 
minister was available from any point nearer by. So the groom 
started out on his cold ride, with the understanding that the par- 
son would follow on the ensuing Wednesday. The young man in 
quest of a bride proved to be one of the government experts in 
arranging and cataloguing the National Library at Washington, 
had a collegiate and theological education,, and, though still 
young, had been previously associated in important work for 
publication with the Harpers of New York City. The lady was a 
graduate of Vassar College, had travelled and studied in Switzer- 
land and Germany, and had already attained some distinction in 
Washington, where she had spent some years. But why should 
this interesting couple come from the heart of civilization and 
comfort, cross the borders of Minnesota,, and be married in the 
land of the Dakotas, in the yet unorganized county of Ransom? 
Away out upon the Sheyenne river dwelt the parents of the bride. 
The father, a robust man in his sixties, had once been a professor 
of Greek in an eastern college. He was a man of staunch, New 
England type ; and varying fortunes had led him to a delightful 
spot in the summer time, among the sheltering hills through which 

Thirty years or so ago most of our western synods and presbyteries were of 
vast extent. The synod of Minnesota embraced within its jurisdiction, not only the 
state from which it took its name, but the two western wings of the Dakotas as 
well. And the northern division of the old St. Paul presbytery, which was after- 
wards (1879) erected into the presbytery of Red River including all northern 
Minnesota north of St. Cloud, together with the northern half of the original 
Dakota Territory known now as North Dakota. But notwithstanding the large 
area over which the early presbytery extended its sway, all its churches, with the 
solitary exception of Bismarck on the Missouri river, were to be found at first in 
the Red river valley. Then as new and more remote districts were opened up for 
settlement, there would come at times to the already over-worked missionaries, 
for every pastor was a missionary in those days, a call to preach the gospel, to 
officiate at a marriage, or to bury the dead. To answer these calls would some- 
times involve a journey of one or even two hundred miles, sometimes in the dead 
of winter. More than one such journey with horse and "jumper" was made by 
the pioneer Elmer, from Moorhead to Grand Forks and beyond, before the com- 
munity was able to command the services of any Protestant minister nearer at 
hand. Of one of these expeditions to the original settlement of Lisbon some fifty 
miles southwest of Fargo, at the constraining call of a young couple desirous of 
marriage, he has left us the following interesting account. (Rev. J. P. Schell.) 


flowed the little stream of the Sheyenne. The wife, noble com- 
peer in culture and courage, was now his only companion. The 
home was a pioneer log cabin showing various evidences of thor- 
ough culture and refinement. The location selected was both ro- 
mantic and practical, near the house was a spring of water pleas- 
antly impregnated with iron, and also constitutionally proof 
against freezing in the coldest weather. The location was favora- 
bly mentioned as a suitable town site for the county seat of a 
district rapidly opening to settlement, and as being especially 
suitable for the crossing of the railroad which was being sur- 
veyed from Fargo southwest to the James river. Hither had come 
the daughter for a brief visit with the parents whom she had not 
seen for years before ; and hither followed her suitor, each mak- 
ing a wagon journey abounding in trial and adventure which we 
cannot now relate. Leaving Moorhead early on "Wednesday 
morning, the day before Thanksgiving, we reached the sand hills 
at noon ; where the only eating station was a log cabin built into 
the hill and familiarly known as a "dug out." This, however, 
we missed, and came to another where the driver and myself 
could not be served with dinner, but lunched on crackers and 
cheese prudently provided for such emergencies. The evening 
brought us to a better settlement, where a farmer of but one 
year's residence had a good start, and kept travellers merely for 
accommodation, making the most trifling charges. Twelve of us 
ate and slept in the only two rooms of the house. Thanksgiving 
morning dawned bright and cold, but not so severely so as the 
day before. Following my host out to the stables, I looked over 
some really fine stock, and also used the occasion to reprove the 
owner for his habitual profanity in the house. He treated the 
matter lightly and good-naturedly, and returning to the house 
told his wife in the presence of us all, how the preacher had re- 
proved him for swearing. The wife heartily indorsed the 
preacher, and shortly after went to a chest, took out a large 
Bible, and asked him to read for them. Singing and reading 
were followed by an exhortation and prayer; and in that little 
wayside inn was held a Thanksgiving service, so evidently enjoyed 
by the family and the strangers far from their homes,, that I felt 
compensated for being away from my own little family on that 
day. At ten o 'clock we were on the road again ; but in driving 
down across the Sheyenne, we found some open water, and in 
getting upon the ice on the farther side, the horses broke the 
whiflletrees leaving the wagon in the stream. An hour was 
lost in making repairs, and another hour brought us to the end 
of our journey. The afternoon was spent in making the acquaint- 
ance of the family and of an excellent dinner. At six o'clock the 
neighbors who had helped the family during the day, departed to 
their own home a mile or so awav. At eight o'clock, the bride 

Eev. I. O. Sloan 


and groom, both faultlessly arrayed, presented themselves for the 
important ceremony, at which only the minister and the parents 
of the bride were witnesses. The various lines of history con- 
verging in that little pioneer home among the frozen Dakota 
hills gave interest and solemnity to the occasion; and the scene 
gathered saeredness when the parents and these, their two child- 
ren, stood in a group apart, as if a little world unto themselves, 
while the father, holding a hand of each, spoke words of sacrifice, 
trust and encouragement. And thus ended a memorable Thanks- 
giving day, recording one of the real romances sometimes en- 
acted, even in the isolated places of our rapidly growing fron- 
tier." 1 

Rev. I. 0. Sloan. 

' ' In reply to your request for some account of my labors and 
experiences in the Home Mission work in Dakota, chiefly along 
the Missouri river, I may say that one scarcely knows where to 
begin after so many years engaged in the work. And to give 
a sketch that would afford any degree of interest, one would have 
to make it too long. I look upon brother Elmer as the pioneer 
minister of the Northwest. Well do I remember my first visit 
to Moorhead where he had settled,. and the first time I set foot 
on Dakota soil. That was in May, 1872. I came in company 
with the Rev.. D. C. Lyon, whose memory is cherished by all the 
early ministers of Minnesota and Dakota. Brother Elmer had the 
peculiar tact of winning the confidence of the people and gaining 
an influence over that rougher element always to be found gath- 
ered at the opening of a new town on the frontier. He held the 
first religious services in Moorhead, and Breckinridge, in Minne- 
sota; and in Grand Forks, Fargo, and other points in Dakota. 
He made a journey of eighty miles to Grand Forks in the winter 
time in a rough jumper made by himself, and drawn by little 
black Jim, as noble a little animal as ever trod the prairie. 
I wonder where he is now? Jim has a warm place in my heart 
for he carried me, in company with brother Elmer, many a mile 
down the Red river and along the Red Lake river as far as the 
present site of Crookston, where we held the first religious 
service June 1, 1872. Brother Elmer has his own story to tell, 
but my memory contains a nest of little incidents connected with 
that trip which might be fraught with interest to those who 
might care to hear of those early days. The next year, 1873, I 
came to Bismarck, in company with Rev. D. C. Lyon, soon after 

1. Rev. O. H. Elmer after leaving Moorhead, about 1884-5, was installed as 
pastor of the Presbyterian church at Crookston. Here he remained until about 
1890, when he received a call to the Presbyterian church at Hamlin, Minneapolis. 
He died there some twelve years later, having been previously disabled by a stroke 
of paralysis. 


the railroad reached that place. We came in on Friday just be- 
fore dark. A long row of shanties and tents on the street facing 
the track, met our view. The most of these were saloons and 
resorts for gambling. "We heard profanity on every hand, and 
there was little to be seen or heard that would encourage a min- 
ister to remain and labor there, where Pandemonium seemed to 
reign. Our sleeping quarters that first night were over a large 
railroad section-house room, having a dozen or more cots. Men 
were coming in at all hours of the night, and generally quiet. 
The next day we mingled with the people, and talked with them 
about a minister settling among them and the building of a 
church. All seemed pleased, and said they would help towards 
the erection of a church. The next day we preached in a large 
tent just erected on the front street, to be used as a saloon. It 
was filled with people. In the afternoon we rode over to Fort 
Lincoln and held services there. Gen Custer had not come to the 
Fort then, there was only the infantry post then on the hill. 
"While the services were going on, the hostile Indians made an 
attack, but were soon driven off. We returned to Bismarck and 
preached in the evening to a full tent. At this meeting a vote 
was taken for a minister, and, quite unexpectedly to myself, they 
voted unanimously for me to settle among them. The next day, 
Monday, trustees were appointed and a church of four members 
organized. Lots, also, were procured, and arrangements made 
for a building. I returned with' Rev. Lyon to my church in Min- 
nesota. I did not think of going back to Bismarck, but in the 
following August I went out again, and then concluded to remain 
for awhile. I found the frame work of the church already up, 
but no roof on. Much was to be done, and, worst of all, no money 
to do it with. The failure of Jay Cooke and the Northern Pa- 
cific Railway Co. had left us in a bad way. Jay Cooke sent us 
$100, but it came too late to be available. We needed $500 im- 
mediately, and we were not far enough advanced with the build- 
ing to get anything from the. Church Erection Board. Not to 
weary you with a long story, let me tell you how that money was 
secured. I went down to St. Paul, hoping to borrow that amount 
there. But the financial crisis (1874) prevented any borrowing 
from bank or friends. I met one day a member of the Lackawana 
Presbytery, Pa., and as we talked together I told him my errand 
to St. Paul. He kindly said, ' I will let you have the money ; make 
a note with some good signers, and you shall have it.' I had no 
difficulty in getting the note endorsed by some of the best mer- 
chants in St. Paul, got the money, and came back to Bismarck. 
I then paid the carpenters and hurried up the work, so that we 
had the house ready to occupy about the middle of December, 
and had our first Christmas in it. We also had a bazaar, realiz- 
ing nearly $400. As no trains ran as far as Bismarck for two 


winters, Ave were exposed to hostile Indians, but we believe no one 
lost his scalp. There were many good people at that time in 
Bismarck, although it had the name of being a very rovigh town. 
But I never was afraid of what they call rough people. Some of 
the warmest and most kindly and unselfish hearts I found among 
those who were called rough men in Bismarck and towns beyond 
the Missouri in those early days. A man called to me one day 
out of his saloon, as I was walking along the street, in a town fur- 
ther west. He said, "Elder, come in; I want to show you some- 
thing." I went in and he took down from a shelf a beautiful, 
large, illustrated Bible ; it was up among some bottles. I looked 
it over carefully, and asked him if he ever read it. He said, "Oh, 
yes; I believe the Bible. I always went to Sunday school when I 
was a boy; and I know I'm in a bad business." "Well," I said, 
"you ought to get out of the business,, and do what the good Book 
tells you to do. This is a beautiful copy of the Bible; but it is 
in very bad company, surrounded by those bottles up there!" He 
apologized by saying it was up there to keep the fellows from 
handling it. 

I held the first religious services at Sims and Glendive. The 
road was not completed to Glendive at this time, and it was with 
great difficulty I reached there. I stopped and visited at Senti- 
nel Butte, a collection of tents and shacks occupied as saloons 
and resorts of wickedness. I talked to the people, and all were 
respectful. One man gave me two dollars for my church, and 
said that it was all he had. I refused to take his last dollar, but 
he said, "Oh, take it; I wish it was ten times as much more, I'm 
a hard case; but I respect anybody who is trying to do us good." 

As I journeyed on I found a man going to Glendive with a 
load of oats, who said he would take me there. It was near night- 
fall, and I climbed up on his load. It was quite dark when we 
got to Glendive creek, and as we attempted to cross it, we got 
into the quicksand, and then the horses sunk, sinking deeper and 
deeper. I got out and waded across thru deep water, after which 
I walked a mile and a half to a grader's camp, and there found 
help for the man. As we had many miles to go before reaching 
Glendive, I waded back thru the creek again, to find the camp 
of a man at whose marriage I had officiated a few weeks before. 
I found both him and his wife, and after getting something to eat, 
I hung myself up to dry. The next morning was the Sabbath, 
and starting out very early, I reached Glendive about eleven 
o'clock. I had a cordial welcome from the saloon men, and took 
dinner, like the Master, with a publican and sinner. Preached 
in the afternoon at a saloon, and had a good attendance, good 
singing, and a respectful attention. There was the usual "wind 
up," after the benediction, when one of the "boys" arose and v 
passed around the hat, with the remark, "Come, boys, chip in 
and help pay the preacher." 


Later I accompanied Dr. Roberts, the Secretary of the Home 
Mission Board, on his way west to the coast, as far as to Miles 
City, and then with a brother whom I had succeeded in securing 
for Miles City, went seven miles further out to preach 
at a mining camp. We found some Christian men there, and had 
a good meeting. But had to stay there all night, and a bed was 
made for me on the floor. We organized, about seven years ago, 
a church of 12 members at Stanton, 50 miles above Mandan, and 
also a good Sabbath school, both of which, by reason of removals 
and lack of sufficient care, have since died out. But I will close 
by saying that the church at Glencoe,, some ten miles south of 
Bismarck, will be dedicated on the 15th. We have a beautiful 
church, well attended, and a good Sunday school." 

Rev. John H. Baldwin. 

"For many years it has been my privilege to be connected, 
for the most of my time, with the work of Home Missions in sev- 
eral of our western states ; and in the winter of 1878-9, after cor- 
respondence with Rev. Mr. Stevens, pastor of the Fargo church, 
and by his strong solicitation, I came from Wisconsin to Dakota 
to engage in missionary work along the line of the Northern Pa- 
cific Railroad. I received at the same time from our Home Mis- 
sion Board a commission as an exploring and organizing mission- 
ary between Fargo and Jamestown. There was no one preaching 
in the English language in this field at the time, except a Metho- 
dist student, who preached for a few months at Casselton. At 
that time all was wild, uncultivated prairie, with the exception 
of a few small villages, Mapleton, Casselton,, Wheatland, Valley 
City, and Jamestown, and their immediate vicinity. Jamestown 
was at that time little but an old dilapidated shanty and whiskey 
town. It was the terminus of the railroad for a time, and a sta- 
tion from which Fort Totten received its supplies. A regiment of 
soldiers had also been stationed there, creating a special demand 
for whiskey. When the road was extended, and the soldiers 
were removed, there being very few farms yet opened in the 
neighborhood, most of the small business of the place also moved 
on. As yet there was no boom, and that beautiful natural site 
for a town was quiet and dull. I commenced holding services 
once every three weeks at Mapleton, Wheatland and Jamestown 
on the Sabbath, and on week-day evenings at Valley City. My 
first appointment was at Jamestown. The railroad company had 
kindly furnished me with a free pass, which was continued for 
two or three years subsequently. On my first visit to Jamestown I 
secured the use of a small, tar-paper-covered shanty, belonging to 
a young man who was teaching what they called a 'subscription 
school' (for they had no public school house) to hold my first 


service in, on condition of furnishing my own fuel and lights. 
So I hired a boy to draw some wood on his sled to the shanty, and 
borrowed some lamps of my neighbors. On Sunday morning I 
had eight hearers, in the evening thirteen. On the following 
evening, while I was preaching in Valley City, a telegram was 
laid on my desk, requesting me to come back to Jamestown to 
conduct the funeral services of the only man who had as yet 
shown any interest in my work. I had left him that morning 
attending to business in his store. In the afternoon he felt un- 
well, lay down on his bed, and in a few moments expired. He 
was one of the most prominent men of the village. Most of the 
people turned out to his funeral, which afforded me a favorable 
introduction to them and secured for me a better attendance for 
my later services. We held our next service in the depot, and 
afterwards in a small room, vacant for the winter. In the spring 
we were obliged to occupy a small building, just sheeted up, with 
not even the cracks battened. Here we organized the first Sun- 
day school, which has never been suspended, and afterwards it 
became the Sunday school of the first Presbyterian church of 
Jamestown. During the latter part of the summer, as we were 
holding our services in the unfinished building above mentioned, 
a circumstance occurred which many have not forgotten, and 
which is often referred to when I meet them. We had, on that 
particular Sabbath, rather an unusual number of strangers pres- 
ent, among them two bankers, the Lloyds, from Pennsylvania. 
Such visitors were becoming more common, men seeking invest- 
ments and locations. These things had served to awaken a little 
ambition and village pride. On the occasion referred to, we had 
gathered for the evening service, having more than our usual 
attendance. The weather was hot and sultry, and we were 
obliged to open all the windows ; which proved also an open and 
welcome invitation to our very familiar neighbors, an innumera- 
ble multitude of mosquitoes, from the near bush and low wet, 
bottom lands of the Jim river. We found their response so gen- 
eral that we were likely to be completely overwhelmed with their 
attentions, and before the preliminary portions of the service 
were half thru, I determined to shift the responsibility of holding 
my congregation for what seemed likely to be a fruitless attempt 
to listen to a sermon, which, even were it a success on my part, 
must in the nature of things be of no avail in the midst of this 
bloody onslaught, So I explained (what was already so appar- 
ent) and put the matter to a vote; but the congregation, some of 
them evidently bent on mischief, unanimously held me to my her- 
culean task. Then to aggravate my affliction, I had no sooner 
announced my text than all the tallow candle lights which I had 
at my own expense placed in the wooden blocks I had nailed up 
around the walls, went out, with the single exception of one be- 


hind the desk. And this, while insufficient to answer my pur- 
pose, was quite sufficient to turn the tide of mosquitoes and con- 
centrate the whole force of the attack upon the preacher, as the 
numerous wounds upon his bald head all too plainly witnessed 
for many days thereafter. The effect, of the mosquitoes and of the 
extinguishment of the lights was not, perhaps, anticipated; but 
everybody appeared to look upon it as a good joke, except my- 
self. But there is no loss without some gain, and it was seen at 
once how much we were in need of a suitable house of worship. 
The next morning was seized upon as a good time to start a sub- 
scription paper,, something like one hundred and twenty-five dol- 
lars being subscribed by our visitors. Some thought the attempt 
a little premature in view of our otherwise small beginning, nev- 
ertheless we kept the ball rolling, and tho it cost us a struggle, 
it was a final success. 

In the latter part of my first year (1879) a list of fourteen 
names had been secured for a church organization at Jamestown, 
and about the same number, also, for organizations at the same 
time at Casselton and Wheatland ; and the St. Paul Presbytery, 
with which we were then connected, had appointed old father 
Lyon, synodical missionary for Minnesota and the Dakotas, with 
Rev. Stevens, of Fargo, and myself, a committee to organize the 
new congregations. Father Lyon came two weeks before we had 
expected him, and I was obliged to hurry up to Jamestown the day 
before the, organization, to notify and rally the people. In doing 
so I found it necessary to go out into the country some five miles. 
So I started out on foot just before sundown, the snow was about 
six inches deep. When it grew dark I lost my way and wan- 
dered around for at least ten miles, sitting down occasionally, 
and thinking I should be obliged to wait for daylight. Once I 
stepped through the thin ice on Pipestone creek, but scrambled 
out so quick I did not get mucli wet, tho from that time on my 
trouser legs clattered against my boots like pieces of stovepipe. 
I started once more, as I thot, for a last effort, and had not pro- 
ceeded far before I saw a light in some lone settler's shack in the 
distance. The next day, Saturday, we organized a little 
church. From such small beginnings has already grown 
to its present proportions the Presbyterian church of James- 
town. On the next morning, which was the Sabbath, we or- 
ganized a church at Wheatland, where I had been laboring one 
Sabbath in three during the same time. There we found a Scotch 
and Scotch-Irish element from Canada. They had not all gotten 
so far along in the temperance reform as total abstinence. The 
subject was laid before the committee, who, after a brief consul- 
tation, decided not to invite any to come forward who had not 
settled that question in favor of total abstinence, altho otherwise 
exemplary people. And while this kept some out, it saved the 


church from controversy and discipline, and gave it a moral char- 
acter and influence it would not have had otherwise. In the even- 
ing of the same day, December 7, 1879, the committee organized 
the church at Casselton. When I came upon this field, Kev. Ste- 
vens informed me of the fact that a young Methodise student was 
preaching there, and that there might be no call for me to occupy 
that place. But I could find no room on the whole field where I 
could set up my library, save in a small story-and-a-half temper- 
ance hotel in Casselton, I had not yet brot my family into the 
field. Soon after establishing my headquarters at Casselton, the 
Methodist brother being indisposed, invited me to fill his appoint- 
ment on Sabbath evening ; which I consented to do, telling the 
congregation that I was only filling the brother's place for the 
time, and that having so many other appointments, I did not in- 
tend taking Casselton into my field. The next morning, however, 
a lady called at my boarding house for milk, I was introduced to 
her; and she at once inquired if I was not going to organize a 
church in Casselton. I replied that I had not yet learned how 
to organize something out of nothing. She then told me that she 
was a Presbyterian, and that she knew of others there who were 
also, and that her husband,, tho formerly an Episcopalian, had 
told her he would go with her into a Presbyterian church, if one 
should be organized there. A few hours after, her husband, a 
druggist, placed a note in my hand, which I found to be a request, 
signed by all the business men of the place, that I would make a 
regular appointment there. I consented to do so ; and thus intro- 
duced, I began at once, preaching at Mapleton in the morning 
and walking eight miles to Casselton and preaching there in the 
afternoon. On the following Sabbath I would preach at Wheat- 
land in the morning, and walk seven miles to Casselton for an 
afternoon service there again. Then every third Sabbath I 
preached at Jamestown, following it with a service on Monday 
evening atValley City. We also organized Sunday schools at 
once in all these places. When services were required all the 
time at Casselton and Mapleton, Prof. E. J. Thompson was secured 
to take charge of them, and Rev. Fanning was also secured for 
Jamestown. Then I commenced work at Tower City and New 
Buffalo. At both these places churches and Sunday schools were 
organized, and at Tower City was completed an ample and tasty 
church under my ministry. Later, under the ministry of Rev. 
G. S. Baskerville, who succeeded me on that field, a fine house of 
worship was built at Buffalo. 

After stated supplies and pastors were secured for our 
churches along the Northern Pacific, I turned my attention to the 
fields along the branches of the Great Northern railroad. There 
I broke ground and secured the organization of churches at Ayr, 
Page City, Colgate, Broadlawn, Galesburg and Erie, and finally 


at Goose lake, 1882-3, where I am now laboring one half my time. 
Since coming to this field I have travelled something over 50,000 
miles, most of it on wheels and runners, and have not failed in a 
score of appointments during the twelve years by reason of in- 
clement weather. I have on several occasions travelled from 
twenty-five to thirty miles to find not a solitary hearer, owing to 
the severity of the weather, at the usual place of meeting. Once 
I lost my way in a severe snow storm, and wandered around until 
near dark, when in the providence of God, I fetched up at a house, 
where I found the door unlocked and a base burner all aglow, tho 
there were no inmates. Here I found the most comfortable quar- 
ters for myself and horse, and left in the morning before the fam- 
ily arrived, they having started for home the previous day, but 
were obliged to stop on their way and remain over night on ac- 
count of the storm. It was Sunday morning, and on my way to 
meet my appointment some five or six miles away, I met an old 
member of my congregation on a mission to see how it had fared 
with a neighbor in the storm, and not at first recognizing me, all 
bundled up as I was, in the storm, he came near, and pulling up 
my cap front and recognizing me, he broke out with the exclama- 
tion, 'Good old Abraham! Why! Where are you going?' I replied, 
'To meet my appointment. Are you not going to the meeting?' 
'Why, no!' he replied, 'no one will go.' And I found his predic- 
tion true." 

Rev. J. F. Berry. 

"At the close of two years' pastorate at Edwardsville, in the 
Presbytery of Alton, 111., I happened, in the spring of 1881, to fall 
upon a magazine article descriptive of the Red River Valley. 
Such interest did this awaken that a correspondence was soon 
opened with Rev. D. C. Lyon, of St. Paul, whose supervision then 
extended over the almost limitless Presbytery of Red River. So 
urgent were his letters to me to come at once, as there was plenty 
of work and the Board had need of men, that in the month of 
May of the above year, I set out for St. Paul and the far north, 
with only about $100 in cash to my name. 

On arriving at St. Paul I learned that my correspondent was 
out somewhere in his immense diocese and would not return for 
three days. So there was perforce another delay, which one was 
not, however, altogether unpleasant, as it permitted me to look 
over a city that was considerably fresher than it is now ; and also 
to make the acquaintance of the worthy pastor of the House of 
Hope church, whose kindly encouragement I have not forgotten. 
Tho reminded by Mrs. Lyon that there was plenty of work in 
Minnesota, I still determined to see that wonderful valley west 
of the Red River. And at length the veteran superintendent came 


in with his robust enthusiasm to tell me of Pembina and Hillsboro, 
and to provide for my further transportation to Grand Forks. 
After another halt at a small town called Crookston. where I left 
the main line of the St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Manitoba road, I 
took the 'dinky' for Grand Forks, and soon beheld that com- 
bination, for the most part, of pine boards and tar paper. Hav- 
ing been directed to the committee man, Rev. F. W. Iddings, I 
found in him another sample of northwestern fervency, in fact 
an imagination that was actually 'red hot.' It is certain, too, 
that it was in fine contrast with the mud and water which ap- 
peared to be omnipresent.. Three days were spent in Grand 
Forks while Bro. Iddings and I considered the problem of my 
ability to get farther. To find the dry est route I finally went out 
to the terminus of the railroad, some twelve miles west of the 
town, then by following the trail which was never without a home- 
seeker in sight, and by plunging blindly thro several 'coulees,' 
I at length gained higher ground on which I followed the sur- 
veyors' stakes for twenty miles directly north, and thus reached 
the nucleus of the later village known as Forest River. This 
settlement, with that about Minto, nine miles east, and that about 
Inkster eleven miles to the west, constituted my first field in Da- 
kota, altho before the end of the year there was added to it Ar- 
doch, because of the extension in the fall of the. railroad north- 
ward from Grand Forks to Grafton. Being unfamiliar with the 
procedure of Home Missions. I failed to receive any salary until 
cold weather, and thus compelled to run a store bill for necessa- 
ries, which mortified me not a little, as I had always been accus- 
tomed to pay my way. Another trouble was the matter of resi- 
dence. On the promise of a young man that I could have the use 
of his house, I sent for my wife and child, and discovered when 
too late that while the house was comparatively commodious, the 
walls were unchinked and the trifling matter of a roof had not 
yet materialized, another instance of the too fervid imagination ! 
The upshot was that several contributions of logs were delivered 
to the little saw mill near by. and that I received boards of vary- 
ing thickness and heavy with sap, out of which, with a day's help 
from a carpenter, elder Morrison and myself constructed a dwell- 
ing, the first of four architectural projects of my own brain and 
hands, as I moved from place to place in that region during the 
succeeding eight years. All this, however, not only took time 
which a missionary might have spent more appropriately, but 
also failed to be any distinct help to one's preaching ability. By 
the end of the year I was ready to move. But I had 'caught on' 
to the western gait and had become naturalized in a peculiar 
sense. I had been told to go out and make my own field. So out 
I went, not only beyond any other man's foundation work, but 
also beyond the farthest line of the surveyor. Henceforth the 


wilderness, as with Moses, was to be my home. The very first 
day out I had a genuine taste of it, for in a journey of some forty 
miles to the northwest, I had to unload and reload my wagon 
five times on account of the wheels cutting thro the sod. But at 
length I was on the virgin prairie beyond every semblance of 
human habitation. What matter, the congregation would soon 
follow, and is it not well for the minister to be an example of 
promptness? Follow it did; for in three months' time I had an 
invitation to hold a regular service only a few miles in the rear, 
while soon afterwards every Sunday was being spent with my 
three appointments in the western part of Walsh county, the first 
one near to where the town of Edinburg now is, the second at the 
then promising, but long since deserted village of Garfield nine 
miles west of Park River, and the third near the present town of 
Adams. This work was carried on in connection with some farm- 
ing operations and without any expense to the Board of Home 
Missions. The next fall, however, I was authorized by the Pres- 
bytery to explore the country farther, the result being that the 
work was extended into what is now Cavalier county, in the neigh- 
borhoods of Elgin P. 0., now Milton, and Alma P. 0. At this 
place a church of seventeen members was organized in the fol- 
lowing spring, while another resulted from my work at Osna- 
brock in the summer of 1885, and the Milton church, on the rise 
of that town with the advent of the railroad in 1887. ' Still other 
appointments were at Rosa Lake and at Easby P. 0., where reg- 
ular services were held in connection with the work of Rev. Ran- 
som Waite of blessed memory, the only co-laborer I had in all 
that region for a long time. Besides this principal mission of my 
life, I supplied the following churches in Pembina Presbytery ; 
Ardoch for six months, Sutton Memorial (Hamilton) and Ram- 
sey's Grove for ten months, and Gilby and Johnstown for two 

Rev. A. K. Caswell. 

"I wish I could tell you something that would be interesting 
and helpful. I often recall the time of my leaving the Seminary 
with my wife and three babies, and going to that far and unknown 
land of winter frost and snow, 1,500 miles from our former home. 
It was in the spring of 1882, and we were laid up on the way out 
by the prevailing floods of that notable year of high water. And 
after doing our utmost to reach Pembina for the meeting of the 
Presbytery, we were four days too late. We were rowed across 
the Red River in a small boat ; and from that we stepped into the 
door of the house in which dwelt 'bishop' Creswell and his family. 
I was immediately assigned by that dignitary to the outlying 
field of Earnest and Hyde Park, where two small churches had 

Eev. Daniel Williams 


been organized the winter before. Having purchased a horse, 
which wore out in two months and was traded off for a cow, I 
rode out to Earnest, the town being composed of a very small 
store and a school house about a mile away, with a few small 
farm houses scattered over the prairie in the distance. It was 
some time before we could find a place in which to live, and then 
it was in a granary of one room, which did not need dusting, for 
it was lined and loaded with dust and cobwebs. It took six 
weeks to arrange matters and get my family in. This house we 
occupied from May until harvest time, when we had to give way 
for the grain, it being more important just then than ministers 
or bairns. But we found another granary where the man had no 
crop to put into it that year, this being a two-room mansion. 
Unfortunately for us the man who built this granary did not know 
much about building, or did not know how cold the weather got 
to be in that country, for he built it double boarded, but crossed 
the boards so that we could look out at a hundred peep holes, 
while the frost could come in without peeping. Here my poor 
wife and babies spent our first winter, tho I could hardly be said 
to have done so, as so much of my time had to be spent on the 
road or among the people scattered so widely over the prairie. 
In each of these houses my wife had little occasion to quarrel 
with her neighbors, the nearest being a mile away, but neither 
was it much comfort for a lonely woman, during some of those 
wild Dakota blizzards, to know that the nearest human being 
was so far away, tho well aware that a band of roving Indian 
half-breeds might pass that way at any time. The next spring 
the town of Neche was started, and we built a one-room mansion 
in that new railroad terminus, and moved into the city, after 
being thirty miles from any such avenue of egress to the outside 
world. The next fall we raised the roof of our little shack and 
added another room. This building the Ladies' Aid generously 
took off our hands when we returned to the east. During our 
stay on the field, we maintained preaching stations at Walhalla, 
Tyner, Neche, Gretna (in Manitoba), and Bay Center, and built 
churches at Hyde Park and Neche. The membership more than 
trebled; and yet neither the people nor myself were satisfied." 

Rev Daniel "Williams. 

"It was in mid-summer, 1881, when I went to the new north- 
west. The leading minister, taking age and experience into ac- 
count, was Rev. C. B. Stevens. He preached his first sermon in 
Fargo, December 11, 1877. The church was organized December 
30th; and the church building was dedicated about the latter 
part of the next October. 'Mr. Stevens,' it was stated at his 
funeral, 'saw the number of our churches within the bounds of 



the old Eed River presbytery, including at first all of northern 
Dakota, increase from one to twenty-six.' He was a loyal Pres- 
byterian, and the development of our churches in this region was 
ever near his heart. He was ably assisted, however, by his prede- 
cessor and colleague, Rev. 0. H. Elmer, of Moorhead, and at this 
time, also, by the presbyterial missionary, Rev. John Irwin. 
There were also other brave men in 1881, holding important 
points, Prof. E. J. Thompson was at Casselton, Rev. F. W. Iddings 
was at Grand Forks, Rev. R, J. Creswell had recently gone to 
Pembina; Rev. Fanning was at Jamestown, Father Baldwin at 
Tower City, Cobleigh at Grafton, and Rev. Schell at Euclid, Min- 

I arrived at Fargo, June 21, 1881, the longest of the summer 
days, and the summer days are remarkably long in that northern 
latitude. The committee, after consultation, requested me to go to 
Grand Rapids, about forty-five miles down the James river from 
Jamestown. Getting off the train at Jamestown, I found that a 
stage would soon start for Grand Rapids, and found also, to my 
dismay, that a Mr. Wirt, a Congregational minister, from Chicago, 
had started that afternoon for the same place. This was my first 
taste of denominational rivalry, and I did not like it. The fol- 
lowing Sabbath, June 26, at Grand Rapids, Mr. Wirt preached in 
the morning, and I in the evening. When the question finally 
came up between Presbyterianism and Congregationalism, it was 
found that there was only one man leaning toward the latter, and 
his leaning was hardly perceptible, while there were several with 
a decided preference for the Presbyterian church. The leader of 
these was J. R. Crum, who had been an elder for twenty years or 
more in Ohio. He was quite faithful, and did more than any one 
else for our church in that county. 

Here then I was, dropped down from an eastern Seminary 
into this lonely spot in the Jim river valley, forty miles from 
Jamestown and eighty miles from Aberdeen. It has occurred to 
me since I began to write, that I was then the only minister of 
our denomination within the present bounds of the synod, south 
of the Northern Pacific railroad. My friend and college class- 
mate, E» R. Prichard, now of Puyallup, Washington, preached 
during the same summer at some point in the vicinity of Cassel- 
ton, and that dear old missionary, I. 0. Sloan, was no doubt 
preaching the gospel in the vicinity of Bismarck and beyond. 
Father Baldwin, also, still made occasional trips into the south 
country, but with these few possible exceptions, I suppose I was 
the only minister of our order that year in all that region of coun- 
try. Our meetings started out hopefully at Grand Rapids, but 
the room which we were using at the hotel was divided up later 
into bedrooms, so we had no suitable place for our meetings until 
the court house was built early in December. The county was 

Eev. and Mrs. John Scott 


organized that summer, and named LaMoure, in honor of the well- 
known politician of Pembina. In my diary I find this entry: 
'Yesterday, October 27, 1881, was an important day for Grand 
Eapids. The county commissioners met and elected officers. 
They decided to build a bridge across the river, and erect a court 
house 16x24 feet. ' This court house was used by us for our ser- 
vices from that time until the following spring, and in that room, 
April 16, 1882, a church was organized. It was composed of six 
members, with two elders, J. E. Cruni and F. M. Kinter. From 
there I made two trips to Lisbon in Eansom county. Eev. LaCell, 
the Methodist minister, and myself after some correspondence, 
had arranged to exchange pulpits, t'ho neither of us had a pulpit, 
or even a church to exchange. The diary reads, 'Saturday, 
August 27, I went to Lisbon, four miles north and thirty-two 
miles east of here, and preached on Sunday, A. M., and also in the 
evening. ' I went over again for Sunday, October 30, and preached 
morning and evening, this time not in the school house as pre- 
viously, but in the hall. Eev. LaCell failed to get to Grand Eap- 
ids both times. If I remember aright he was not at this time en- 
tirely free from worldly cares and avocations, and these probably 
interfered with his part of the agreement. The only worldly 
care I had was the pony on which I rode. 'I started,' says the 
diary, at 7 A. M. and stopped at Bear creek to eat my lunch and 
let the 'pony graze around me.' I found Lisbon an easy place 
to preach in, and had crowds both Sundays. The church of 
Grand Eapids has since disappeared from the roll, and I pre- 
sume it has been merged into the church of LaMoure. I see by 
the last minutes that the two churches of Lisbon and LaMoure 
are now rivals, each having the same number of members, seventy- 
one. They are also the strongest churches in the Presbytery, with 
three exceptions : Casselton, seventy-two ; Jamestown, eighty- 
three; and Fargo, one hundred forty-three. These were all well 
cared for in early days. My successor at Grand Eapids was Eev. 
F. M. Wood, for many years the Synodical missionary, and the 
faithful pastor of Lisbon for a number of years was Eev. Edgar 
W. Day." 

Eecollections of Eev. John Scott of Walhalla by Eev D. "Williams. 

"A week or so ago I saw in the North and West a notice of 
the death of Eev. John Scott of Walhalla. His mental powers, 
it appears, had for some time been impaired, so he ended his 
days at the hospital at Jamestown. Twenty years ago, Father 
Scott, as he was called even then, was one of the most interesting 
ministerial characters in North Dakota, just as 'brother Sloan r 
of Bismarck was, in the Territorial days of Dakota, in the '70s. 
I knew him quite intimately during the four years I spent at Bath- 


gate from 1882-1886 ; and when I read of his death a flood of rem- 
iniscences came to my mind. North Dakota began to open up 
in earnest about 1880. I arrived at Fargo in June, 1881 ; and 
after a year of labor and new experiences at Grand Rapids and 
vicinity, I was ordained and transferred, at my own 
expense and conveyance, to Bathgate on the northern 
border of the territory, some fifteen miles to the south- 
west of Pembina. I arrived there a few days in ad- 
vance of the railroad, early in July, 1882. At that time 
Rev. R. J. Creswell was pastor at Pembina; and Rev. A. K. Cas- 
well was doing strenuous work about 20 or 30 miles west of that 
point along the Pembina river. A church had been organized 
out there, and called the Boundary Church, as it was so near the 
boundary line between the United States and Canada. The re- 
gion then covered by the Boundary Church now includes the 
churches of Walhalla, Bay Center, Hyde Park, Neche, Tyner. and 
possibly others. Two or three miles down the Red River from 
Pembina, not far from Emerson on the Manitoba side, was the 
sheltered farm home of Father Scott. Altho an indefatigable 
missionary, he was an expert gardener and botanist, and de- 
lighted to employ his early morning hours in delving in the soil 
and tending his numerous beds of flowers as well as other more 
useful plants. He had been in this region since 1875, and was 
the pioneer missionary in that part of the country, at least so far 
as the Protestant missions, subsequent to the days of the Wal- 
halla martyrdoms, are concerned. I believe he did some work 
among the Indians in the vicinity of Emerson and Pembina, or 
at least attempted to do something of the sort, for he told us 
once at a meeting of the Presbytery how he purchased a box of 
crackers for the Indian children to encourage them to come to 
his Sunday school. He said they came faithfully as long as the 
crackers lasted, but when the box of crackers failed, their en- 
thusiasm for the Sunday school soon failed likewise. When a 
young man he had a great desire to go to Africa as a foreign mis- 
sionary, and went over to England to offer himself as a candidate 
for one of their fields. He told me that he was examined by John 
Brown, M. D., author of 'Rab and his Friends,' and that the 
medical examiner decided that he was not strong enough physi- 
cally to endure the African climate. 

He was well known all over the country; and was so genial, 
so kindly, and so full of sunshine, that he was warmly welcomed 
in every home. The children would soon be gathered around him, 
and he would always entertain them in a most edifying manner. 
He was perfectly familiar also with the language of plants ; and 
was always ready with the full botanical name and properties 
of any plant that met his eyes. Indeed his knowledge was ency- 
clopedic, in the estimation of most of his parishioners and also of 


many of his fellow presbyters. About 1884 he removed from his 
farm at Emerson to Walhalla, and took charge of the congrega- 
tions at Walhalla, Bay Center and Hyde Park. Not long after 
this he took up a rather strange idea: He wanted the church or 
churches, to purchase a forty acre tract of land on the sloping 
hillside back of Walhalla, for church, a parsonage and a cemetery. 
The site was beautiful, but what possibly suggested the appro- 
priateness of such a scheme to his mind was the fact that Presby- 
terian and Baptist missionaries who had been sent to the Indians 
and half-breeds of that region in the early times had been killed 
and were buried in that vicinity. The cemetery scheme, we 
understand, developed afterwards in his mind into a great inter- 
national hospital, and numerous other accessories, which he be- 
lieved would minister greatly to the needs of suffering humanity 
all thro the United States and Canada. This vast project took 
such hold upon his kindly and enthusiastic temper that his mind 
was finally overpowered by it, and thus his closing days came to 
be spent in the state hospital at Jamestown. Father Scott, like 
Zaccheus, was small of stature; at the same time, when I knew 
him, his shoulders were stooped and his hair was white, giving 
him quite a venerable appearance. He had a lively, bright dis- 
position, a pleasant countenance, and a very kindly expression." 


No. 2. 


April, 1880. 

Presbytery of Red River (all northern Minnesota and Dakota) 

Number Membership 
Ministers, Licentiates Churches of Com- in Sunday 

and Candidates municants School 

James H. Baldwin Jamestown 14 30 

Wheatland 20 25 

E. J. Thompson Casselton 10 

Cicero B. Stevens Fargo ? ~. 34 100 

Oliver W. Winchester..Fergus Falls, Minn 32 75 

Western 21 60 

Joseph K. Burgster Elm River 24 50 

Elm Grove 7 

Oscar H. Elmer Moorhead, Minn., 32 65 

Francis W. Iddings Grand Forks 34 50 

William Coit Stevens... Bismarck 42 85 

Pembina 10 40 

Licentiate Forest River 20 

William Cobleigh Turtle River 21 

321 580 
April, 1881 

Presbytery of Red River. 

Charles A. Evans Fisher's, Minn 35 

Isaac Oliver Sloan Mandan 

James H. Baldwin Tower City 25 40 

New Buffalo 13 40 

Wheatland 20 35 

Cicero B. Stevens Fargo 51 100 

Edwin J. Thompson Casselton 30 55 

Mapleton T ... 22 46 

Robert N. Adams Fergus Falls, Minn 41 100 

Western 20 36 

Joseph K. Burgster Quincy 28 30 

Elm Grove 11 

Newville D. Fanning.... Jamestown 28 100 

Oscar H. Elmer Moorhead, Minn 34 60 

Francis W. Iddings Grand Forks 49 45 

James P. Schell Euclid, Minn 11 

William C. Stevens Bismarck 46 90 

Daniel Williams Grand Rapids 



Churches Number Membership 

Ministers, Licentiates of Com- in Sunday 
and Candidates municants School 

William Cobleigh Turtle River 23 20 

Greenwood 7 20 

Evan R. Prichard Barrie 18 50 

John Irwin Moorhead, Minn 

Pembina 24 80 

Meckinock 8 26 

Forest River 20 

564 973 

April, 1882. 

Presbytery of Red River (northern Minnesota and Dakota) 

I. O. Sloan Mandan 10 30 

James H. Baldwin Tower Citv 51 50 

New Buffalo , 14 40 

John A. Brown Meckinock 16 50 

H. A. Newell Fargo 86 104 

R. J. Creswell Pembina 31 113 

St. Vincent, Minn 27 

O. H. Elmer Moorhead, Minn 54 70 

R. N. Adams Fergus Falls, Minn 76 100 

Western 30 30 

N. D. Fanning Jamestown 59 121 

A. H. Hollo way Sabin, Minn 

A. Glendenning Grandin 

Quincy '. 18 60 

Elm Grove 7 

F. W. Iddings.... Grand Forks 

E. J. Thompson Casselton 61 85 

Mapleton 31 55 

J. P. Schell Euclid, Minn 11 30 

Angus 9 40 

J. H. Berry Garfield 

J. W. Cathcart Fisher's, Minn 40 75 

J. K. Burgster 

H. H. Brownlee Grand Forks 62 75 

H. C. Baskerville Crookston, Minn 15 

D. G. McKay Kensington 27 

W. C. Stevens Oberlin, Ohio 

Bismarck 50 80 

D. Williams Bathgate 61 

W. E. D 'Argent Hillsboro , 



Churches Number Membership 

Ministers, Licentiates of Com- in Sunday 

and Candidates municants School 

J. H. Pollock Sheldon 

John Irwin Moorhead, Minn 

Wm. Cobleigh Grafton 11 40 

E. W. Day Lisbon 23 

J. H. Cherryholmes Larimore 15 

A. K. Caswell Earnest 35 40 

Evan R. Prichard.., Portland 

Forest River 37 

Warren 10 

Northcott 13 

Hallock 10 

Wheatland 29 46 

Barrie 18 50 

Grand Rapids 15 30 

Greenwood 7 20 

Steele < 10 

Keystone 14 

1093 1434 

Oct. 15, 1883. 

(1) Red River Presbytery 

I. O. Sloan Mandan 

J. H. Baldwin Page City 


H. A. Newell Fargo 

O. H. Elmer Moorhead, Minn 

N. D. Fanning Jamestown 

R. N. Adams Fergus Falls, Minn. ... 

E. J. Thompson Casselton :.... 116 

Mapleton 37 

J. K. Burgster Saratoga 

W. C. Stevens Winona, Minn 

J. H. Pollock (In transitu) 

John Irwin Moorhead, Minn 

E. W. Day Lisbon 24 70 

Sheldon 24 45 

E. R. Prichard Hunter 17 60 

J. E. Vance Kibby .„ 55 

L. E. Hanna Livingston, Mont 

G. Sumner Baskerville.. Tower City 35 65 

New Buffalo 16 

















- STATISTICAL REPORT (continued). 

Number Membership 

Ministers, Licentiates Churches of Com- in Sunday 

and Candidates municants School 

F. M. "Wood LaMoure 6 15 

Grand Rapids 15 40 

A. H. Holloway Sabin, Minn 8 30 

Scotland 20 25 

C. W. Remington Sims 50 

Sterling 13 40 

Licentiate 1. Keystone 21 50 

Western, Minn 40 

Bismarck 65 120 

Thomas C. Gay Wheatland 34 

Barrie 16 

Steele 20 45 

Belfield 8 30 

Menoken 9 40 

974 1566 

October 15, 1883. 

(2) Pembina Presbytery. 

R. J. Creswell Pembina 57 106 

St. Vincent, Minn 25 50 

Lincoln 13 

Daniel "Williams Bathgate 10 

Sutton Memorial 30 

William Cobleigh Grafton 24 75 

A. K. Caswell Boundary 48 60 

Park 18 30 

Neche 21 35 

Ransom Waite Beaulieu 36 30 

A. Burr Kensington 30 35 

A. G. Forbes Ardoch 16 35 

Knox 28 45 

Forest River 24 40 

Greenwood , 7 

Wm. Travis Prin. Pembina 

H. M. Dyekman Warren, Minn 23 36 

J. P. Schell Argyle. Minn 8 35 

Halloek, Minn 9 35 

Northcote, Minn 13 40 

Davis, Minn 20 40 

Tamarac, Minu 13 25 

Angus, Minn 15 40 



Ministers, Licentiates Number Membership 

and Candidates Churches of Com- in Sunday 

municants School 

J. F. Berry Garfield 50 

W. A. Smith Pembina 50 

Donald G. McKay Kensington 

488 892 

(3) Grand Forks Presbytery (Afterwards merged with 

Pembina l/&c.) 

John A. Brown Meckinock 36 23 

Robert L. Adams Crookston 18 35 

J. W. Cathcart Fisher 

James P. Schell Euclid 11 35 

N. W. Cary Grand Forks 6 50 

E. P. Forsman Hillsboro 8 

Norton K .... 13 

Elm Grove 7 

A. Glendenning Elm River 30 65 

Grandin 10 

F. W. Iddings Grand Forks v 

R. H. Fulton Knox .'. 44 50 

H. H. Brownlee "Westminister 

Devils Lake 22 

W. C. Beebe Red Lake Falls 9 

Red Lake River 5 

J. C. Cherryholmes Larimore 21 33 

Hunter 17 60 

Niagara 13 

W. E. D 'Argent 

270 351 
Oct. 13, 1884. 

(1) Red River Presbytery (In Minnesota.) 

A. H. Holloway Sabin 7 

Scotland 20 30 

Robert H. Fulton Fisher's Landing 35 50 

Robert L. Adams Crookston 22 57 

O. H. Elmer Moorhead, Minn 63 70 

Robt. N. Adams Fergus Falls 98 142 

George Johnson Western 22 50 

J. P. Schell Angus 16 40 

Tamarac 19 40 



Number Membership 
Ministers, Licentiates Churches of Com- in Sunday 

and Candidates municants School 

H. M. Dyckman Warren 30 45 

Wm. C. Beebe (in tr.)~ Euclid 11 35 

Hope 9 35 

Hallock 14 40 

Northcote 13 

Davis 30 49 

398 683 

(2) Pembina Presbytery (In Dakota Territory) 

John Scott Walhalla .. 

John A. Brown Arvilla 8 

H. H. Brownlee (in tr.) Meckinock 17 51 

Adam G. Forbes Minto, Knox 15 

"W.E.D' Argent (in tr.) Ardoch 11 

A. K. Caswell (in tr.) Greenwood 6 

Forest River 10 13 

Ransom Waite Beaulieu 37 37 

Alex. Burr —Kensington 35 

J. W. Cathcart Pembina 34 75 

N. W. Cary Grand Forks 77 100 

E. P. Forsman Hillsboro 9 36 

Elm Grove 7 

Elm River 37 50 

Chas. S. Converse Devils Lake 19 30 

F. W. Iddings Grand Forks, Niagara.... 11 

J. F. Berry .Alma 17 

Wm. Cobleigh Grafton 40 90 

Wm. A. Smith Hannaford, Norton .. fc ..... 13 

Daniel Williams Bathgate 20 40 

Hamilton 19 30 

D. G. McKay Kensington, Lincoln 13 

W. M. Blackburn Grand Forks, Park 21 25 

Wm. Mullins Neche 26 37 

Dugald McGregor Lock, Boundary 48 35 

Larimore 30 104 

580 753 

Oct. 13, 1884. 
(3) North Pacific Presbytery (In Dakota Territory) 
Isaac O. Sloan Mandan 45 55 



Number Membership 
Ministers, Licentiates Churches of Com- in Sunday 

and Candidates municants School 

Jas. H. Baldwin Page City 28 

Ayr 8 30 

C. W. McCarthy Quincy 30 65 

R. S. Feagles Menoken 

Stirling .'... 

F. M. Wood Fargo . v 

N. D. Fanning Jamestown 131 300 

C. "W. Remington Sheldon 25 35 

Jas. W. Dickey Keystone 16 

Jas. E. Vance Kibby 

John C. McKee Sims 11 

Chas. B. Austin Bismarck 70 60 

Edgar W. Day Lisbon 14 55 

G. S. Baskerville Tower City 51 70 

Buffalo 12 40 

D. E. Bierce Fargo 130 150 

Casselton 130 85 

Wheatland 27 30 

Mapleton 36 

Grand Rapids 22 50 

LaMoure 10 30 

Howard Wallace Steele 15 59 

Belfield 9 

Milnor 8 

828 1114 

April, 1885. 

Presbytery of Red River (In Minnesota) 

Alpkeus H. Holloway....Sabin 10 20 

Scotland 20 30 

William Travis Fisher's L'd'g (Knox).. 42 127 

Oscar H. Elmer Moorhead, Minn 52 75 

Robert N. Adams Fergus Falls 115 50 

George Johnson Western 34 10 

James P. Schell Euclid 3 45 

Angus 20 30 

A. H. Carver Warren 44 53 

Tamarac 21 40 

Davis 25 39 

J. C. DeBruyn Kops Red Lake Falls 9 50 

St. Hilaire (R.L'keFls) 4 25 



Number Membership 
Ministers, Licentiates Churches of Com- in Sunday 

and Candidates municants School 

Hallock 14 40 

Northcote 10 

Hope (St. Vincent) 9 

Licentiates Crookston 17 75 

J. Henry Long Hallock 

J. R. Crum Donaldson 

449 709 

April, 1885. 

Presbytery of Pembina (In Dakota) 

Number Membership 
Ministers, Licentiates Addresses Churches of Com- in Sunday 

and Candidates municants School 

John Scott Walhalla Walhaila 13 

Hyde Park 76 80 

Wm. M. Blackburn E. Pierre 

Adam G. Forbes Minto 

Ransom Waite Beaulieu Beaulieu 47 50 

John A. Brown Arvilla Arvilla 11 50 

Elkwood 27 

Mona 20 30 

Alex Burr Park River.. Park River 36 31 

John W. Cathcart 

Norman W. Cary Fargo 

Charles S. Converse Devils Lake.. Westminister .... 22 50 

Francis W. Iddings Gd. Forks 

Dugald McGregor Inkster Inkster 25 

Belleville ....Elkmont 26 

Hervey H. Brownlee.... 

Donald G. McKay Park River.. 

James F. Berry Alma Alma 24 16 

Osnabrock 10 13 

William Mullins Neche Neehe 12 50 

Tyner Bethel 31 45 

William Cobleigh Grafton Grafton ". 45 117 

Daniel Williams ............Hamilton Hamilton 19 30 

Bathgate 42 45 

Gd. Forks ....Grand Forks .... 90 141 

Larimore Larimore 32 100 

Arvilla Meckinock 23 62 

Pembina Pembina 34 



April, 1885. 

Number Membership 
Ministers, Licentiates Adresses Churches of Com- in Sunday 
and Candidates municants School 

Bowesmont ..Lincoln 13 

MHnto Knox 17 15 

Ardoch Ardoc'h 9 10 

Turtle River Greenwood 8 20 

Forest River Forest River .... 12 12 

Niagara Niagara 11 

Thompson ....Norton 13 

Minnew'kon Minnewaukon .. 8 

Bottineau ....Bottineau 14 

Dunseith Dunseith 7 

777 967 

Presbytery of Northern Pacific (In Dakota) 

James W. Dickey Keystone Keystone 25 30 

J. H. Baldwin Tower City ..Page City 20 30 

Ayr 16 35 

C. "W. McCarthy Quincy Elm River 44 55 

Francis M. "Wood Fargo 

Daniel E. Bierce Fargo Fargo 86 125 

James E. Vance Kibby (Lucca) 

C. W. Remington Milnor Milnor 9 50 

E. P. Forsman Hillsboro Hillsboro 8 46 

Kelso 8 

N. B. Fanning Jamestown ..Jamestown 148 247 

Edgar W. Day Lisbon Lisbon 36 60 

G. S. Baskerville Tower City Tower City 51 75 

H. M. Dyckman Casselton .... Casselton 58 62 

Buffalo 21 45 

LaMoure 13 40 

Wheatland 50 

Sheldon 30 40 

Grand Rapids .... 18 50 

Mapleton 20 30 

Hunter 16 40 


677 1062 



Ethel J. May. 

For convenience of discussion, the northern international 
boundary line reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, 
has been divided into three sections. The first, although the 
longest and most complicated because of the many waterways and 
islands involved in its location and survey, will be given merely 
in outline, with suggestions, only, of the many controversies that 
entered into its settlement. It extends from the Saint Croix 
river through the forests of northern New England and New 
York, through the Great Lakes and the smaller lakes and streams 
in northern Minnesota to the northwesternmost point of the Lake 
of the "Woods. 

The second division, the account of which forms the main 
part of this paper, begins at the above mentioned northwest point 
of the Lake of the Woods and extends westward to the summit of 
the Rocky Mountains. 

The third and last part of the boundary line follows the 49th 
parallel of north latitude from the summit of the mountains west- 
ward to Fuca's Straits and down its channel to the Pacific Ocean. 

In the early colonial days of America, all boundaries were 
very indefinite. Perhaps the earliest line which later developed 
into an international boundary was the rather obscure one sepa- 
rating the territory of the English from that of the French and 
described as a line surrounding the "bay and streights of Hud- 
son, together with all lands, seas, sea-coasts, rivers, and places 
situate in the said bay and streights, and which belong there- 
unto" as laid down by the tenth article of the treaty of Utrecht. 1 
This line is reported never to have been surveyed but is practi- 
cally the same as was used to limit the territory included in the 
charter granted to the Hudson's Bay Co. in 1670. 

The treaty of Paris, 1763, which marked the close of the 
French and Indian War, defined the western limits of the British 
territory, but no northern boundary line was then necessary as 
all the land east of the Mississippi river was under the control 
of Great Britain. Later in the same year the Royal Proclama- 
tion, forming four districts for governmental purposes, viz: East 
and West Florida, Quebec, and Granada, was issued and the south- 
ern limits of the province of Quebec form the line which was later 
to become the northeastern boundary of the U. S. 2 

1. MacDonald, Documentary Source Book. New York, 1908, p. 93. 

2. lb., 113. . 


The Quebec Act of 1774 retained the same line. It was but 
roughly stated and remained so until the treaty of 1783, when a 
more accurately defined boundary was required to separate the 
new United States from the possessions of Great Britain on the 
north. 1 It was intended however that the line following the 
highlands, mentioned in the treaty of 1763, be retained and that 
the words " Atlantic Ocean" be substituted for "the sea." 

Because of a misunderstanding concerning the St. Croix 
river the fifth article of Jay's treaty of Nov., 1794 provided for 
the appointment of a joint commission to ascertain what river was 
truly intended under the name St. Croix. The work of these 
commissioners was completed and reported in 1798. 

"To run and mark the remainder of the line, from the source 
of the St. Croix to the head of the Connecticut river," that is the 
line following the highlands indicated in article two of the treaty 
of 1783, "was as easy as to find the summit of Mount Washing- 
ton." 2 The diplomats of Great Britain did not find this so sim- 
ple, particularly since the words "the sea" had been changed to 
"Atlantic Ocean." 

The treaty of Ghent, 1814, provided for commissioners to 
determine the boundary line which had been described, but had 
not yet been surveyed and marked ; and Art. 4 of the same treaty 
specified to which country certain islands in the Bay of Fundy 
and of Passamaquoddy belonged. 

The commissioners appointed according to Art. 5, to deter- 
mine the boundary from the source of the St. Croix to the St. 
Lawrence river, met and disagreed. 3 By the convention of 1827 
the dispute was left to the decision of the King of the Nether- 
lands who offered a compromise line which was not accepted by 
either government, and the boundary of the Maine highlands re- 
mained unsettled until the Webster-Ashburton treaty of 1842. 4 

The report of the commissioners, appointed under Art. 6 of 
the treaty of Ghent, to determine the line from the St. Lawrence 
river to the water communication between Lake Huron and Lake 
Superior, and to decide to which of the two countries the several 
islands within the said rivers, lakes, and water communications 
do respectively belong, was long but carefully and accurately 
done and still remains as determined by them. The latter part 
of the boundary, that extending from Lake Huron to the Lake of 
the Woods was not completed as the commissioners disagreed, 
and this too was left to be settled by the treaty of 1842. 5 

1. Treaties and Conventions concluded between United States and Other 
Powers since July 4, 1776, 48th Congress, 2nd Session, Executive Documents No. 
47. Washington, 1889, p. 370. 

2. Poor. The First International Railway. New York, 1892, p. 201. 

3. Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols and Agreements, 1776- 
1909, 61st Cong., 2nd Sess.. Sen. Doc. 357, Serial No. 5646, Washington, 1910, 
I. 620. 

4. lb., I., 649. 

5. lb., I., 624. 


To return to the northeastern boundary, it was soon discov- 
ered by the British commissioners that the river St. John flowed 
into the Bay of Fundy instead of into the Atlantic Ocean. Ac- 
cording to this interpretation the Highlands was a line drawn 
around the head waters of the Penobscot and Kennebec rivers 
instead of between the St. Lawrence and St. John rivers. This 
was the question which had been left to the King of the Nether- 
lands, and which he had failed successfully to settle, and when the 
commissioners met in 1842 to frame that treaty there were many 
questions awaiting settlement. For this reason the Webster- 
Ashburton treaty is regarded as of great importance, and had it 
determined the Oregon boundary instead of ignoring it, the com- 
missioners as well as the treaty would have received less criti- 

However, by this commission were settled the remaining 
parts of the eastern division of the boundary line. By Art. 1 the 
line following the highlands of Maine was carefully described. 
This was in part a compromise line, but ran along the lower 
rather than the upper highland, and England gained territory 
which according to the original interpretation of the treaty be- 
longed to Maine. By Art. 2 was determined and described the 
line from Lake Superior westward to the northwest, point of the 
Lake of the Woods. 1 

In 1908 a treaty was ratified and proclaimed between the 
United States and Great Britain providing for the appointment 
of expert geographers and surveyors to serve as commissioners 
because the above mentioned countries were "desirous of pro- 
viding for more complete definition and demarcation of the inter- 
national boundary between the United States and the Dominion 
of Canada." 2 

A second treaty between the same two countries was signed 
Jan. 11, 1909, known as the "Waterways Treaty, in accordance with 
which an International Joint Commission has been appointed to 
regulate the questions regarding the boundary waters between the 
United States and Canada. 3 


The Central division of the northern boundary line, and per- 
haps the part of most interest to the Mississippi Valley, reaches 
from the northwesternmost point of the Lake of the Woods, west- 
ward along the 49th parallel of north latitude to the summit of 
the Rocky Mountains, and separates into a north and a south 
half the great western plains of North America. 

1. Treaties, Conventions, etc., Serial No. I., 5640., 651. 

2. lb., Ser. No. 5646, I., 815. 

3. Members on part of U. S. appointed March 9, 1911. Members on part of 
Canada appointed. November 19, 1911. Meeting of Commission at Washington 
for organization, Jan. 10, 1912. Rules of Procedure of International Joint Com- 
mission, Washington, 1912, p. 2. 


In the early history of this continent, when the value of 
the furs in the interior was discoverd, the Hudson's Bay 
Company was formed. Its charter, granted in 1670, gave 
to it the monoply of "trade and commerce of all those 
seas, straits, bays, rivers, lakes, creeks and sounds in 
whatsover latitude they shall be, that lie within the en- 
trance of the straits, commonly called Hudson's Straits, 
together with all the lands, and territories upon the countries 
coasts and confines of the seas, bays, lakes, rivers, creeks and 
sounds aforesaid, that are not actually possessed by or granted 
to any of our subjects, or possessed by the subjects of any other 
Christian prince or State." 1 .Numerous interpretations have 
been given to the limits of this grant. In general it seems to 
have been held to include the present Red River Valley, but in 
the report on the Judicial Findings on the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany's charter is the quotation, "This particular portion (Mani- 
toba) of the Northwest was not in possession of the Hudson's Bay 
Co. until long after the date of their charter, and in reality the 
authority of England over it was only established by the treaties 
of Utrecht 1713, and Paris 1763. " 2 So little was then known of 
the interior, and so overlapping were the claims of the countries 
that had made discoveries on the continent that all of the earliest 
treaties were very obscure and usually the lines laid down by 
them would admit of more than one interpretation. 

The whole Central Valley was claimed by France, and some 
of the early maps even represented New France as extending to 
and including Hudson's Bay. Perhaps more exactly what was 
considered New France and what Louisiana may be understood 
by the grant from Louis 14th to Antoine de Crozat, a rich mer- 
chant of Paris: — "We have resolved to grant the commerce of 
the country of Louisiana to sieur Crozat solely to carry on a trade . 
in all the lands possessed by us, and bounded by New Mexico and 
by the lands of the English Carolina, the river of St. Lewis, here- 
tofore called the Mississippi, from the edge of the sea, as far as 
Illinois, together with the river of St. Phillip, heretofore called 
the Missourys — with all the countries, territories, and lakes 
within land, and the rivers which fall directly or indirectly into 
that part of the river St. Lewis. Our pleasure is that all the 
aforesaid lands, streams, rivers and islands, be and remain com- 
prised under the name of the government of Louisiana." 3 

The treaty of Utrecht, 1713, by which France gave up all of 
her claims in Canada to England, made another attempt to de- 
fine the line of separation between that section and the part above 
mentioned as Louisiana. A provision was made in the same 

1. Hudson's Bay Company. Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons, Aug. 8, 1842, p. 6. 

2. Martin, Hudson's Bay Company Land Tenures. London, 1898. appendix C, 183. 

3. Hermann, The Louisiana Purchase, Washington, 1898, 14-15. 


treaty for the appointment of a commission to determine within 
a year the limits between "the said Bay of Hudson and the places 
appertaining to the French." 1 Whether or not these commis- 
sioners ever were appointed, or ever performed the survey, re- 
mains still an unsettled question. Senator Benton, in his discus- 
sion of the Oregon problem in Congress said: — "I affirm that the 
line was established ; that the commissioners met and did their 
work ; and that what they did has been acquiesced in by all the 
powers interested from the year 1713 down to the present time." 

On this question John H. Haswell, of the Department of State 
said: — " There is no evidence, either in French or in British ar- 
chives of the appointment of a boundary commission under the 
Treaty of Utrecht. And in the memorial of the Hudson's Bay 
Co. marked as received Aug. 13, 1719, it is stated that 'the running 
of a line betwixt the English and French territories yet remained 
to be done." 2 

Greenhow in his history of Oregon and California writes :— 
"There is reason to believe that persons were commissioned for 
that object, but there is no evidence which can be admitted, as 
establishing the fact that a line running along they 49th parallel 
of north latitude, or any other line, was ever adopted or even 
proposed by those commissioners or by their governments, as the 
limit of any part of the French possessions on the north, and of 
the British Hudson's Bay territories on the south." 3 Again from 
the Ontario Boundary Papers of 1882 is the statement: — "No offi- 
cial statement of the action of such commissioners is at present 
available for reference." The Attorney General adds in a foot 
note. "It has since appeared on official authority that no bound- 
ary was settled by the commissioners." 4 

The question of how the 49th parallel first came to be desig- 
nated as a line of demarcation between the territories of England 
and France in America is not yet known, and although no men- 
tion of that line was made in any treaty or convention until 1818, 
it seems to have been generally accepted by both nations and 
was often mentioned in negotiations and official correspondence. 

In the transfer of Louisiana to Spain in 1762 the phrase "all 
the country known under the name of Louisiana" was used mean- 
ing the same extent of territory as had in 1712 been granted to 
Crozat for trading purposes by Louis 14th. 5 

The treaty of 1763, at the close of the intercolonial wars did 
not affect this part of the boundary line, but was necessary to 
mark the western limits of the English territory, which limit was 

1. MacDonald, Documentary Source Book of American History, 93. 

2. Haswell, Notes upon the Foreign Treaties of the United States, p. 1324. 
Hermann, The Louisiana Purchase, Washington. 1898, p. 57. 

3. Greenhow, History of Oregon and California, Boston, 1844, p. 281. 

4. Correspondence, Papers and Documents relating to the Northerly and West- 
erly Boundaries of the Province of Ontario. Toronto, 1S82, p. 14. 

5. Treaties, Conventions, Etc., Ser. No. 5646, I. 587. 


placed at the Mississippi river. The line through the Great Lakes, 
it was not necessary to define because this was all English terri- 
tory. After the thirteen colonies had won their freedom from 
Great Britain, by the Treaty of Paris it became necessary to de- 
fine the boundaries of this new nation, hence Art. 2 of the De- 
finitive Treaty of Peace 1783 reads : — 

"The following are, and shall be their boundaries viz: From 
the northwest angle of Nova Scotia, viz. that angle which is formed 
by a line drawn due north from the source of the Saint Croix 
River to the Highlands; along the said Highlands which divide 
those rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence, 
from those that fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the northwestern- 
most head of Connecticut River ; thence down along the middle of 
that river to the forty-fifth degree of north latitude ; from thence, 
by a line due west on said latitude, until it strikes the river 
Iroquois or Cataraquy ; thence along the middle of said river into 
Lake Ontario, thru the middle of said lake until it strikes the com- 
munication by water between that lake and Lake Erie ; thence, 
along the middle of said communication into Lake Erie, thru the 
middle of said lake until it arrives at the water communication 
between that lake and Lake Huron; thence along the middle of 
said water communication into the Lake Huron ; thence through 
the middle of said lake to the water communication between that 
lake and Lake Superior ; thence through Lake Superior northward 
of the Isles Royal and Phelipeaux, to the Long Lake; thence 
through the middle of said Long Lake, and the water communi- 
cation between it and the Lake of the Woods, to the said Lake of 
the "Woods ; thence through the said lake to the most northwestern 
point thereof, and from thence on a due west course to the river 
Mississippi ; thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of the 
said Mississippi." 1 

With this treaty we are first introduced to that peculiar 
northwesternmost point of the Lake of the Woods which is the 
starting place of the central section of the northern boundary line, 
and which after having been located as nearly as possible by the 
first surveyors, caused innumerable difficulties to subsequent com- 
missioners, and, as will be shown later, may even yet be cause 
for a new convention and a new survey. Had the early treaty 
makers known the geography of this section better, much of the 
laier trouble might have been avoided, but as has been already 
noted, no adequate maps of the region in question were available, 
as surveys had not yet been carefully done. The statement in 
this same treaty, that, from the said most northwestern point of 
the Lake of the Woods, the line was to run in a due west course 
to the river Mississippi, again shows clearly this lack of geograph- 

1. Treaties, Conventions, Etc., Serial No. 5646, I., 587. 


ical knowledge, as the source .of the Mississippi river is many 
miles south of these two points and this resulted in an effort to 
correct the mistake, if it was a mistake, by the fourth Article of 
Jay's treaty of 1794. It reads as follows: "Whereas it is uncer- 
tain whether the river Mississippi extends so far to the northward 
as to be intersected by a line to be drawn due west from the Lake 

of the Woods it is agreed that measures shall be taken 

for making a joint survey of the said river, from one 

degree of latitude below the Falls of St. Anthony to the principal 

source or sources of the said river and that if, on the 

result of such survey, it should appear that the said river would 
not be intersected by such a line .the two parties will there- 
upon proceed to regulate the boundary line in that quarter." 1 

When in 1800 Louisiana was retroceded from Spain to France, 
the boundary lines were still undetermined and the treaty stated 
that the cession included "the colony of the province of Louisi- 
ana with the same extent that it now has in the hands of Spain 
and that it had when France possessed it." In 1803 When the 
same territory was purchased by the United States its extent could 
only be described by repeating the statements of the two preced- 
ing treaties, and we received the "whole territory known by the 
name of Louisiana with all its rights and appurtenances as fully 
and in the same manner as they had been acquired by the French 

Only a decade later it became necessary to give to the newly 
acquired territory a definite northern boundary. The increased 
activity of the fur companies, for now the Northwest Co. was a 
keen competitor of the Hudson's Bay Co., was pushing the trade 
westward to the Pacific and southward into the Red River Valley 
and the Dakota plains. Lewis and Clark had made their voyage 
of exploration to the coast. The American Fur Co. had come 
into the field and the grant of Lord Selkirk, in all probability, was 
intended to include the valley of the Red River. This and the 
colony founded under his direction was sufficient evidence that 
the indefinite boundary laid down by the treaty of 1803 was no 
longer satisfactory, and clashes were bound to arise unless the 
lines of demarcation were more carefully drawn. 

In 1807 a treaty had been drawn up by commissioners from 
the U. S. and Great Britain, which provided among other things 
for the establishment of a line westward from the Lake of the 
Woods along the 49th parallel, but the treaty was never ratified. 1 
In 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was negotiated. It provided for the 
appointment of commissioners to determine "the latitude and 
longitude of the most northwestern point of the Lake of the 
Woods," 2 but the line westward from that point was left unset- 

1. Treaties, Conventions, Etc., Ser. No. 5646, I., 593. 

2. Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, 1898, VIII., 198. 


tied until the convention of 1818, when it was agreed ''that a 
line drawn from the most northwestern point of the Lake of the 
Woods, along the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, or, if the 
said point shall not be in the forty-ninth parallel of north lati- 
tude, then that a line drawn from the said point due north or 
south as the case may be, until the said line shall intersect the 
said parallel of north latitude, and from the point of such inter- 
section due west along and with the said parallel shall be the line 
of demarcation between the territories of the United States and 
those of his Britannic Majesty." 1 The commissioners under the 
treaty of Ghent are reported to have met June 22, 1822, and dis- 
agreed, leaving the location of the North "West point not accom- 

Several early and rather temporary surveys of the 49th par- 
allel followed the announcement of that line as a boundary by 
the convention of 1818. David Thompson, an astronomer and 
surveyor in the employ of the Northwest Co., located this line 
for the company. 2 "The Hudson's Bay Co. had a post at Pembina, 
and in the spring of 1823, when observations by their own astron- 
omers led them to suspect that it was south of the line, they moved 
the fort down the river." 3 

In 1823, Major Long visited Pembina for the pur- 
pose of determining the 49th parallel. When the line 
was determined it was marked by an oak post, having on 
the north side the letters G. B. and on the south side the letters 
U. S. 4 From this point Major Long traveled, mostly by water, 
until he reached that part of the Lake of the Woods known as 
Eat Portage, which he writes, "has become a point of some im- 
portance, as it appears probable that the northwest point, of the 
boundary line of the United States will be at or near its extrem- 
ity." 5 He also says, the determination of such a point in a lake 
which presents so great a number of bays will be a very difficult 
task. They had heard from some Indians that the line had been 
extended to Rat Portage, where they found evidences of the com- 
missioners having been there, but no landmarks were discovered. 

Shortly after this Major Long met Dr. Bigsby Who was at- 
tached to the British Commission. He reported that the line had 
not been run but that the commissioners were working farther 
east. The Commission appointed under the Treaty of Ghent con- 
sisted of Peter B. Porter, for the United States, and Anthony Bar- 
clay for the British government. 6 Their work continued into the 

1. Treaties, Conventions, Etc., Serial No. 5645, 1., 632. 

2. Chittenden, History of American Fur Trade of the Far West, N. Y., 1902, 
I.. 89. 

3. Major Long's Expedition to Source of the St. Peters River, Philadelphia, 
1824, II., 42. 

4. lb., II., 46. 

5. lb., II., 106. 

6. Minnesota Historical Society Collections, VIII., 203. 


next year; David Thompson, astronomer, and Dr. Bigsby were 
among this party. They were forced to do their work hurriedly, 
but their maps were carefully made. They- were the first who 
located the northwest point of the Lake of the Woods, not at Rat 
Portage as was first thought, but several miles to the south and 
west of that point, They reported the location of the northwest 
point as in "Latitude forty-nine degrees, twenty -three minutes, 
and fifty-five seconds north of the equator, and in longitude 
ninety-five degrees, fourteen minutes, and thirty-eight seconds 
west from the observatory at Greenwich." 1 

This location was accepted by the commissioners in the treaty 
of 1842, and showed that the line of boundary should be drawn 
south to meet the 49th parallel. Accordingly, a provision was 
made for such a line, the same to extend along that parallel to 
the Rocky Mountains, and the interest in boundary lines so far 
as the 49th parallel was concerned was transferred to the west 
beyond the mountains. 

The rather hasty survey of the line by Major Long and also 
by David Thompson, shortly after it had been adopted by the 
treaty, was for a time satisfactory. The survey of 1856 supplied 
for a time all that was needed for this region. But settlers were 
moving westward, particularly into the Red River Valley, and 
protection from the Indians as well as the preservation of order 
soon demanded troops and military posts on the frontier, and in 
1870 the following letter was received from the department of 
Dakota : 2 

"Report of Maj. General Hancock, 
Headquarters, Dep't, of Dak. 
Saint Paul, Minn. 

Nov. 1, 1870. 
General : 

I have the honor to submit the following report of military 
operations in this department since the date of my last annual 

report In view of these facts (hostility of the Sioux) I 

deemed it essential to establish a new post at or in the vicinity 
of the town of Pembina, which is situated on the Red River of 
the North, near where it crosses the national boundary line 

1. The United States Northern Boundary Commission Washington 187S, p. 303. 

2. "Under an Act of Congress, approved August 11, 1856, for marking the 
boundary along the 49th parallel from the summit of the Rocky Mountains to 
the Gulf of Georgia, Mr. Archibald Campbell was appointed United States Com- 
missioner on February 14, 1857. The demarcation was conducted by a Joint In- 
ternational Commission, work was begun in 1858 and the results were shown on a 
series of seven maps, signed by the Commission in May, 1869. The boundary 
between the summit of the Rocky Mountains and Point Roberts is about 410 miles 
long. It was marked by 161 iron monuments, stone obelisks, bench marks, earth 
mounds, or piles of stone and earth, but it was not traced out between many of 
the monuments. Only about 190 miles were traced and cleared." 

Letter from O. H. Tittman, Superintendent, U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey 
and U. S. Commissioner, U. S. and Canada Boundary Survey. 


I have but recently returned from a tour of inspection at that 
place and am able to report that the site for the post has been 
judiciously determined In view of the growing import- 
ance of the country in question I would recommend that early 
measures be inaugurated whereby our boundary may be authori- 
tatively determined." 1 

This report coming to the War department was supplemented 
by another letter which had been received by the Treasury De- 
partment in June of the same year. It read : 

"Custom House, Pembina, 
June 23, 1870. 

Sir : — I have the honor to call your attention to the fact that 
the U. S. military commission, under Major General Sykes, U. S. 
A., and Capt. Heap, U.S. Corps of Engineers, while here this spring 
for the purpose of locating the new fort and military reservation, 
have by a series of careful solar and lunar observations located 
and established the 49th parallel or international boundary line, 
upward of forty-six hundred feet north of the old established 
post, and that from the initial point established on the west bank 
of the Eed River by said military commission a careful survey 
of said boundary line was made for military purposes as far west 
as St. Joseph, and the same distinctly marked and stakes driven 
every mile. This change brings the Hudson Bay Co.'s trading 
post north of here, within our lines on the U. S. territory, which 
in case the said last established location shall be recognized as 
an actual boundary line, would subject the whole of said Hudson 
Bay Co.'s stock of goods on hand at said trading post, and all 
future importations thereto, to payment of duty. I have there- 
fore ordered a full inventory of all their goods and effects for the 
the purpose of assessment of duty, in case said last established 
line shall be recognized as the true boundary. 

I would, therefore, in view of these facts, respectfully request 
instructions in the premises, and beg to be advised as to which 
of the two different lines I am to recognize as the true boundary 
for customs revenue purposes. 

I am, sir, very respectfully, 

Tour obedient servant, 

J. C. Storer, Collector. 
Hon. Secretary of the Treasury, 
Washington, D. C." 1 

1. Executive Document 1, Part 2., House of Rep., Serial No. 1446. Washington, 
1870, pp. 24-28. 

1. Congressional Globe, 3rd Session of 41st Congress, part 2, 1870-71, p. 1439. 


This matter was referred by the Secretary of the Treasury to 
J.C.B. Davis, acting Secretary of State, who on Aug. 13, 1870, sent 
a communication to the Treasury Dept. informing them that no 
joint action had been taken by the United States and Great Brit- 
ain for marking upon the surface of the ground that portion of 
the boundary line along the 49th parallel which extends from the 
Lake of the "Woods to the Rocky Mountains and suggesting that 
no proceedings be adopted by the custom house authorities which 
would disturb the existing condition of things on the border 
until the British government could be informed of this discovery 
which had been_ made by the officers of the engineer corps. A 
copy of this letter was sent to Mr. Motley, U. S. ambassador to 
Great Britain and he was requested to inform the British Govern- 
ment of the discovery made regarding the true location of the 
boundary line which was accordingly done in a letter to the Earl 
of Granville. Oct. 17, 1870. 1 

On Nov. 4, of the same year, Sir Edward Thornton, in a let- 
ter to acting secretary of State, wrote: — "Whether the post 
which was erected last spring is on the 49th parallel or not can 
easily be verified ; but in the mean time it would be very desira- 
ble that the small force now in that neighborhood should remain 
there for the protection of persons and the security of the mails. 
The only shelter, however, which they can find is in the Hudson 
Bay Company's fort. The Governor General has therefore for- 
warded a request from the Canadian Government that I would 
confer with the Secretary of State as to the expediency of allow- 
ing the boundary line which was run by Captain Pope to be con- 
sidered as the boundary for the present, until the real boundary 
is ascertained and finally settled, so that the Hudson Bay post 
may be used as a shelter during the winter; for they consider 
that it is in the interest of the inhabitants on both sides of the 
line that order should be preserved on the frontier, which result 
can best be obtained by a body of troops of both nations being 
stationed in its vicinity." 2 

The matter of settlement was brought before Congress in 
President Grant's annual message dated Dec. 5, 1870: "I deem 
it important, however, that this part of the boundary should be 
definitely fixed by a joint commission of the two Governments, 
and I submit herewith estimates of the expense of such a com- 
mission on the part of the United States and recommend that an 
appropriation be made for that purpose." 3 

With this was sent, as he states, a letter from A. A. Hum- 
phreys, Brigadier General and Chief of Engineers dated Wash- 

1. Congressional Globe, 3rd Session, 41st Congress, 1870-71, part 2, p. 1440. 

2. lb., Pt. 2, p. 1440. 

3. Richardson, Messages and Papers of the President, Washington 1898 VII., 


ington, D. C, Nov. 23, 1870, containing the following statements 
regarding the expense of the survey: — 

"1st. A properly organized commission with two sets of 
astronomical and surveying parties would require while engaged 
upon field duties, $100,000 yearly. 

2nd. The line would be about 860 miles long. And as the 
season for working advantageously was short, and from eight to 
twelve months of actual field work would be necessary it would 
cover a period of two years with another year of office work at 
the close. 

3rd. The probable estimate of the entire work would not 
exceed $335,000. m 

This part of the President's message relating to the bound- 
ary was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and on 
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 1871, Mr. Swann of Maryland brought be- 
fore the House, by direction of that committee, a report asking 
for a joint resolution authorizing the President to appoint a joint 
commission on the northwestern boundary. The resolutions 
offered by the committee read as follows : — 

"1st. Be it resolved .....that the President of the United 

States by and with the advice and consent of the Senate be, and 
he is hereby authorized to co-operate with the government of 
Great Britain in the appointment of a joint commission in accord- 
ance with the plan and estimate of A. A. Humphreys, Brigadier 
General and Chief of Engineers, submitted Nov. 23, 1870, for de- 
termining the boundary line between United States and Great 
Britain's possessions, between the Lake of the Woods and the 
Eocky Mountains, at such time as he may deem advisable. 

2nd. Be it further resolved that $100,000 per annum, or so 
much thereof as may be required, be, and is hereby appropriated 
out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated 
to carry into effect the object of said joint commission on part 
of United States and Great Britain until said boundary shall have 
been established." 2 Much discussion followed the presentation of 
this resolution. Mr. Swann urged immediate action as the matter 
had been duly considered by the committee and delay was caus- 
ing confusion on the boundary. The principal objection to its 
adoption was that the amount asked for was far too large. The 
matter was allowed to be left over for a few days and referred to 
the Committee of the Whole. 

Saturday, Feb. 18, 1871, Mr. Swann called up the joint reso- 
lution which had been negelected so long on account of some ap- 
propriation bills which had engaged the attention of the House. 
The discussion lasted during the remainder of the day and was 
left over until Monday when all communications concerning the 

1. The U. S. Northern Boundary Commission, Washington, 1878, 19. 

2. Congressional Globe, 3rd Session of 41st Congress, part 2, p. 1399. 


matter were called for and read. Chief of these were the Pres- 
ident's message, the letter from the Custom House at Pembina 
to the Treasury department, and the letter from Sir Edward 
Thornton to Mr. Davis, acting Secretary of State, from which 
parts have already been quoted. Mr. Swann then called for im- 
mediate action and the resolution was passed, one hundred twenty 
voting for and seventy-three against it. The Senate received the 
resolution from the House, Monday, Feb. 20, 1870, just as they 
moved to adjourn, and as the session closed on March 3rd, the 
resolution was not called up and was lost. 

Such an important matter was not allowed to be forgotten, 
and in the beginning of the new session Mr. Morgan from Ohio 
brought before the House a second report from the Committee on 
Foreign Affairs in the form of a joint resolution to the same 
effect as the former report. It was read a first and a second time, 
referred to the Committee of the Whole and with the accompany- 
ing report ordered to be printed. On Jan. 16, 1872 Mr. Morgan 
moved that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole 
and consider the joint resolution. It was first changed to a bill 
on motion of Mr. Dawes from Mass., a proviso added to section 1 
by Mr. Holman from Indiana, and further amended by him "so as 
to strike out $100,000 and insert $50,000, because the proviso 
added to section 1 stated that the engineers in the regular ser- 
vice of the United States should be employed exclusively in the 
work and without any additional salary. The bill was then read a 
third time and passed, and on March 13, 1872 it was reported in 
the Senate and passed. A period of nearly two years had elapsed 
since the first communication had been received from the col- 
lector of customs at Pembina, and the first appropriation, $50,- 
000 provided for in the bill, was so small and so large a part of 
it had to be used for the purchase of instruments, that the organi- 
zation of the commission was deferred until late in the year. 

The work of this commission has for us in North Dakota a 
vital interest. For three successive years they traveled across 
our state in their work of surveying the northern boundary line 
and in the reports, both personal and as a whole, is much that 
is early history for North Dakota. 

In June of 1872, Archibald Campbell was appointed com- 
missioner with instructions to organize a party for the survey of 
the boundary as provided by Congress. 1 The engineers who were 
to assist in the survey were, according to the bill, to be appointed 
from the regular corps in the U. S. service and the Chief of Engi- 
neers detailed for duty on the Commission, Capt.and Brev't Lieut. 
Col. F. V. Farquhar, Capt. and Brv't Major W. J. Twining, Capt. 
James F. Gregory, and Lieut. F. V. Greene. 2 

1. U. S. Northern Boundary Commission, 20. 

2. lb., 20. 


After some preliminary preparations, Col. Farquhar with the 
engineer officers and assistants left Washington for St. Paul, 
Minn., and organized the party for field work. Provision had 
been made by the Government for transportation and the neces- 
sary train of mules, wagons, etc., for field work. This was in 
charge of Second Lieut. 0. D. Ladley, who acted as quartermas- 
ter and commissary to the commission and who preceded the party 
to Fort Abercrombie, on the Red River, to have the train in 
readiness for the march to Pembina and the 49th parallel. After 
purchasing supplies and hiring necessary employees the party was 
ready to leave St. Paul in August. 1 The party started northward 
from Fort Abercrombie on Aug. 29, 1872 and reached Fort Pem- 
bina Sept. 5. 2 

Meantime Great Britain had been making ample provision 
for her part of this work, with a large appropriation and a care- 
fully equipped commission consisting of eighty-nine members, 
besides teamsters, ax men and laborers, who were hired during 
the season of work in the field for a daily wage. 3 The Commis- 
sioner and his secretary left England in July, 1872, for Wash- 
ington, D. C. From here they went to Ottawa and finally started 
for the Red River country early in Sept. 4 The officers and men 
of the Royal Engineers went from Liverpool direct to Quebec, 
then by water to Toronto, by rail to Collingwood on Georgian 
Bay, and embarked on one of the Lake Superior steamers for Du- 
luth. 5 From Duluth they went overland on the Northern Pacific 
to Moorhead, where they overtook the Commissioner and his sec- 
retary. They traveled overland with baggage and stores to Frog 
point, the head of navigation at that season, where they were all 
embarked on the- Dakota, one of the Kittson Red River line of 
steamers and reached Pembina shortly after the arrival of the 
American Commission. 

1. "The U. S. surveying party whose duty it will be to look up the boundary 
line, will probably start on Tuesday or Wed. next. It will be in charge of 
Major Twining, U. S. Engineer, and will consist of about 30 persons, several of 
whom belong in this city ; Major T., with Messrs. Beard, DeGoot, and Chrust, of 
this city, and a gentleman from White Bear Lake, will constitute the astronomical 
corps. They will probablv be absent until December." — St. Paul Daily Press, 
Aug. 17, 1872. 

2. The Commissioners on the part of the TJ. S. to survey and establish the 
boundary line from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains passed through 
Moorhead yesterday with four ambulance and fourteen six-mule supply wagons. 
The party consisted of Archibold Campbell, Commissioner ; Col. Farquhar, Col. 
Twining and Capt. Gregory of the U. S. Engineer corps ; J. Francis Harding, Sec- 
retary ; Professors J. C. Clark and J. E. Bangs, Astronomers ; F. Van Shraeder, 
Assistant Engineer ; Capt. Ladley Quartermaster ; and G. W. Hatch, Surgeon. 

Duluth Tribune, Sept. 12, 1872. Copied from "Red River Star." 

3. For list of members see appendix No. 1. 

4. Featherstonhaugh, Narrative of the Operations of the British North American 
Boundary Commission, 1872-76, from Professional Papers of the Corps of Royal 
Engineers, Woolwich, 1876, New Series, Vol. 23, p. 25. 

5. "A party of civil engineers belonging to the Northwest Boundary Commission 
and sent from England by Her majesty to aid the American Commission in es. 
tablishing the long disputed boundary line between this country and Canada, ar- 
rived on the "Frances Smith" yesterday morning and took the western bound train 
for Pembina where they will join the American party of engineers." Duluth Tri- 
bune. Sept. 19, 1872. 


A joint meeting was held to agree upon a general plan of 
work for the remainder of the time. The agreements were as 
follows : 

1st. A point on the western bank of the Red River on the 
49th parallel of north latitude was to be ascertained. 

2nd. The part east from the Red River towards the Lake of 
the Woods was if possible to be surveyed that fall so that the 
next year's work might begin with the above mentioned point 
and continue westward. The boundary line, eastward from the 
Red River, was to be cleared where wooded, by the British Commis- 
sion, at the expense of both. This was to be done during the win- 
ter season and was to be thirty feet wide. Astronomical stations 
were to be located approximately at intervals of 20 miles and 
each commission agreed to make a topographical survey of a 
belt of territory 5 miles wide on its own side of the line. It was 
also agreed later to plant iron monuments along the southern 
border of Manitoba from longitude 96° W to longitude 99° W 
at intervals of one mile, and west of Manitoba to mark the line by 
stone pyramids or otherwise at approximate intervals of three 

The time until Oct. 1st. was used in making surveys near 
the boundary line at Pembina and Red River, 1 and after the point 
from which the parties were to work eastward and westward was 
determined, the point of most interest, the northwest point of the 
Lake of the Woods, was to be located. 

On Oct. 1st the American party was divided into two sec- 
tions, one under Lieut. Greene to work eastward from the Red 
River, the other under Major Farquhar chief astronomer and his 
assistants went to the Lake of the Woods to meet the British 
Chief, Capt. S. Anderson to determine the initial point of the 
boundary line. The country being impassable between the Lake 
of the Woods and the Red River, the party went by way of Fort 
Garry and the Dawson Road to the northwest angle, which place 
they all met Oct, 19th. The astronomers with their parties had 
with much trouble succeeded in locating the point which they 
decided must have been that described by the commissioners, 
Messrs. Porter and Barclay in 1823, as being in Lat. 49° 23' 55" 
N. and Long. 95° 14' 38" W. 

The country in the vicinity of the northwest angle is low and 
swampy and covered with a dense growth of coniferous trees, 
mostly tamaracks. Because of this, it had been impossible for 
these early commissioners to find any solid ground which could 
be marked at what they determined to be the northwest point. 
Accordingly, on the nearest firm ground they erected the refer- 

1. At this point the line was found nearly to coincide with that surveyed by 
Major Long in 1823 and the post of Hudson's Bay was, according to that line, on 
British soil. 


ence monument from which, by following the direction laid down 
in the report, the angle in question could be located. It was this 
reference monument and its location which occupied so much of 
the first year's work of the commissioners of 1872. 

The monument was described by David Thompson as a 
"square monument of logs, twelve feet high, by seven feet square, 
the lower part of oak, the upper part" of aspen." 1 

The British Commission had searched in vain for traces of the 
reference monument, Col. Forrest had sought information from 
the Indians in the vicinity but nothing definite was learned. The 
Indians remembered the visit of the party that erected it, and 
said but a few years had elapsed since its total disappearance. 
They refused to point out the locality which they claimed to know r 
except on payment of extravagant rewards. 2 One day some In- 
dians brought a part of an oak log, charred and much decayed, 
which they declared was part of the monument, but refused to 
say where they got it. 

To explain why the above mentioned monument had so en- 
tirely disappeared is not a difficult task. The region was ravaged 
by forest fires, and. the natural decay was hastened because the 
place, as later appeared, was frequently entirely covered by water. 

The maps used by the surveyors were small and details of lo- 
calities were not recognizable. Continued attempts were made 
to locate the monument according to the latitude and longitude 
directions and when they all proved unsuccessful it was inferred 
that the discrepancies must be accounted for by the differences in 
the two observations. 3 

Mr. James McKay, then member of Parliament for the prov- 
ince of Manitoba, and manager of the Dawson route, now arrived 
at the angle. 4 He was of mixed descent, spoke fluently the Ojib- 
way language, and at once became interested in the recovery of 
the monument site. Both this fact and his official position gave 
him much influence with the Indians and he prevailed upon an 
old chief, who knew where the monument was, to go with him 
and point it out. Accordingly the Indian, Mr. McKay, Major 
Farquhar, and Captain Anderson went in a canoe to the same 
point of land which had been searched over so many times. There 
the Indian pointed out a place in about two and a half feet of 
water where he knew the monument to be. By wading, Major 
Farquhar discovered what were to him and those with him, sat- 
isfactory evidences that this was the place for which they were 
searching. "There were depressions where portions of two logs 

1. Tinted States Northern Boundary Commission, 81. 

2. lb., 305. 

3. This statement was verified during the winter by a study of the official 
reports of the early observations by Maj. Twining. This was made necessary 
by objections to the location of the angle, on the part of the British Commissioners. 
U. S. Northern Boundary Commission, 80. 

4. lb., 307. 


had evidently lain at right angles to each other, and in the in- 
cluded angle, a cavity such as would have been left by the re- 
moval of a log, probably the one the Indians had brought to Col. 
Forrest." 1 The Indians said the water surface was eight feet higher 
than at the time of the erection of the monument. The white 
people living at the angle verified this statement by saying that 
there had been no season in which the water .'had been so high, 
in the fall of the year. And with the water four feet lower the 
site would have been on as "firm ground", as could be found in 
a low and swanipy country. The commissioners had been search- 
ign too far inland most of the time, mislead by the statement, "A 
monument erected in this Bay, on the nearest firm ground to the 
above northwest extremity of said Bay." 

There are slight variations in the accounts given on the re- 
covery of this monument site. The British Report says, "The 
searek for the monument occupied 3 days at the end of which 
time some Indians appeared who said they could point out its 
site. They indicated a spot which was covered with water about 
18 inches deep, and here the remains of a square crib of logs was 
found. This was assumed to be the reference monument." 2 The 
British account, as a whole is very much shorter than that pub- 
lished by the American Commissioners and this fact may in a 
measure account for the lack of careful description given to this 
particular point. 

From this most northwestern point the line of survey was to 
be run due south until it intersected the 49th parallel, and in so 
doing would cut off from the mainland and leave to the United 
States a portion of territory projecting into the lake of great im- 
portance to the province of Manitoba, as upon this point of land 
was a depot and steamboat landing at the terminus of the Fort 
Garry road. The British Commissioner, while declining to 
agree officially to the northwest angle as determined by the 
chief astronomers, was willing to cut the line southward from 
that point through the timber along the meridian boundary, with- 
out agreeing to it as a part of the boundary line. His object is 
thought to have been to leave the question unsettled in the hope 
that before the line was completed to the Rockies some arrange- 
ment might be made between the two governments whereby they 
might secure the small but much coveted piece of ground. 3 Be- 
cause of this Mr. Twining during the winter of 1872-3, made a 

1. t'nited States Northern Boundary Commission, Report of Astronomer, 307. 

2. Featherstonhaugh, Narrative of the Operations of the British North American 
Boundary Commission, 1S72-76, from Professional Papers of the Corps of Royal 
Engineers. New Series, Vol. 23, p. 2S. 

This, however, was never done and in the final meeting of the Commissioners 
in the field Aug. 13, 1874, Capt. Cameron stated that he was now prepared to agree 
to the northwesternmost point of the Lake of the Woods as determined by the 
chief astronomers. 

3. U. S. Northern Boundary Commission, 23. 


very careful study of the reports of Mr. Tiarks and David Thomp- 
son, to determine the causes for differences in latitude of the point 
reported by these early investigations and that determined by the 
Commission of 1872. He reports in a letter to. the Commission 
that these differences were due to the sextant which were used 
to make the computations, "and that while the English Commis- 
sioner, without being considered as acting in an obstructive man- 
ner, takes the ground that the evidence was not conclusive, still 
it would be incumbent on him to suggest some other point, as the 
most northwestern, which the shape of the bay would render im- 
possible." 1 

This point being determined, the Commissioners returned by 
way of Fort Garry to Pembina, which place they reached Nov. 
6th. The chief astronomer with the surveyors in his party re- 
turned by wagon train and arrived at Pembina the 8th, after a 
hard journey on the poor roads. Here they waited the return of 
Lieutenant Greene, who had been working east from Red River. 
The stoves and instruments were left at Pembina, and the entire 
train went to Fort Abercrombie, where the animals were to be 
wintered. They were left in charge of Lieut. Ladley, quarter- 
master, while the party went by rail to St. Paul. Here the men 
were discharged on Nov. 21st 2 and the officers proceeded to De- 
troit where an office had been rented for the winter. The work 
in the field was discontinued for lack of funds. The British 
Commission remained at Pembina, and completed their astronomi- 
cal and topographical work. They had remained in the field all 
winter working on the line westward from the Lake of the Woods, 
which part they were to do alone and receive pay for the same by 
the American Commission. "During February and March the re- 
maining portions of the boundary between the Lake of the Woods 
and the Red River were cut through the woods and temporarily 
marked with posts of 8-in. diameter. The survey of the 6 mile 
belt north of the line was also completed, and nothing remained 
to be done in this part of the country except the putting up of the 
iron pillars and permanent monuments." 3 They returned to 
Pembina by April 1st. where their lodgings called "Dufferin" 
had been built during the winter by a contractor from Fort Garry. 

1. U. S. Northern Boundary Commission, 27. 

2. "Return of the Engineering Party — It will winter at Davenport — Observa- 
tions made from Pembina to the Lake of the Woods. Long's Old Line nearly- 
correct. Col. F. W. Farquar, chief of the surveying party of the American divi- 
sion of the International boundary survey, returned with his party to this city 
yesterday. The astronomical party, in charge of Major Twining, has not returned, 
but will be in in a few days, being in Breckenridge last evening. The whole party 
will rendezvous at Davenport this winter. Observations have been made from 
Pembina westward to the Lake of the Woods, the line being nearly identical with 
Long's old line, leaving the Hudson Bay Co.'s post some 300 ft- in British territory. 
The line has not been marked nor will it be officially determined until the work 
is completed, when the commissioners will meet, locate the line and establish iron 
Monuments." Saint Paul Daily Press, Nov. 22. 1S72. 

3. Featherstonhaugh, Narrative of the Operations of the British North American. 
Boundary Commission, 34. 


Six weeks were given to prepare for the summer's work. Sup- 
plies were brought from St. Paul and Mr. Boswell brought from 
Ontario a train of 180 horses by way of Moorhead and the Red 
River cart road. 

The United States party was organized in St. Paul as in the 
previous year. 1 Their appropriation was $125,000 and they plan- 
ned to accomplish much. They went by rail and steam-boat to 
Pembina where they arrived about June 1st. 2 Several changes 
had been made in the Commission. Col. Farquhar had asked to 
be relieved, preferring his regular duties in the Engineer Corps, 
and Major W. J. Twining, who was assistant, was made chief 
astronomer. J. E. Bangs, acting secretary during part of the 
first year's work, was made secretary of the Commission. 3 We 
are particularly fortunate in having for a review of this year's 
work the unpublished diary of J. E. Bangs, in which the progress 
and difficulties of the Commission are carefully noted. 

The survey was commenced at the astronomical station on 
the west bank of the Red River established the previous year and 
the work carried rapidly westward. It is needless to enter into 
all of the details of the work. The two parties journeyed not very 
far apart, and constant intercourse was possible between them. 
Occasional Indian scares were experienced, as well as trouble from 
lack of water. The first real difficulty on the line was the Turtle 
Mountains. The cutting through them was estimated at twenty 
miles, and it proved to be thirty-four. This caused some delay, 
so that the plan for the summer's work had to be shortened. And 
the astronomical parties who had gone on ahead were ordered 
to return, to prepare for the trip back to St. Paul. The weather 
was turning cold and on Sept. 21 the snow fell for several days 
to a depth of ten inches. On Oct. 10, Gregory and Twining re- 
turned with their parties and immediate preparation was made 
for their return. They set out overland by the nearest route to 
Fort Totten. There was a sufficient supply of provisions and by 
eking out the forage with flour and hard bread a half ration for 
the animals was provided. The prairie had been burned in every 
direction for several days and not much grass could be found. 4 

1. "Northwestern Boundary Survey : — The officers and men attached to the 
Northwestern Boundary Survey are now fully prepared for their long trip and will 
start on their journey to Pembina "and beyond", during the latter part of this 
week. The British party were at work last winter in running lines near or at 
the Lake of the Woods, because that portion of the survey must necessarily be 
done in the winter season, while the lakes are frozen. The line thus run will be 
tested by the American party upon their arrival at the point designated, and it is. 
presumed that thereafter the two parties will travel in close proximity to each 
other." St. Paul Daily Press. May 20, 1873. 

2. U. S. Boundary Commission, 275. 

3. This was perhaps due to the illness and death of Mr. Harding — See Bang's 
Journal, Aug. 24. "Mr. James B. Bangs, Secretary to the Commission, has per- 
formed with fidelity and accuracy the various duties pretaining to his position 
and particularly those concerned with the disbursement of the funds appropriated 
for expense of the Commission." lb., 32. For Bang's Journal, see Appendix No. 3. 

4. Journal of J. E. Bangs, Oct. 13, Appendix No. 3. 


But certain that there would be occasional pools of water and 
fearing another storm while they were still on the open plains, 
they marched toward the head of Cut Bank Creek, which they 
reached after a march of twenty-four miles, suffering much for 
want of water. The prairie fires, burning brightly in every di- 
rection, had swept every bit of grass from the plains except near 
the pools, leaving the ground covered with a light film of ashes. 
The strong east wind raised the dust and ashes in clouds, filling 
the eyes, nose, and mouth with the irritating alkali and made the 
march most distressing. They reached Ft. Totten Oct. 20 1 and 
Lieut. Greene arrived with his party on the 22nd of the same 
month. He had followed the Mouse till he reached the Great 
Bend and then had gone direct to Devil's Lake. 

Arrangements were made at Pembina to complete the sur- 
vey between the Lake of the Woods and the Red River because 
owing to the swampy ground it was impracticable to work during 
the summer months. Hay had been cut at several points and a 
part of the winter clothing prepared. The party to remain was 
chosen and the remainder left on the 24th of Oct. to march to 
Ft. Seward. The weather was cold, the ice on the pond was five 
inches thick, there was much snow and the men suffered greatly. 
The animals were sent to St. Cloud for the winter and the men 
went by rail to St. Paul. 2 The office work continued in Detroit 
and the field party completed its work and returned to St. Paul. 
March 14th. 

The work of 1874 was much delayed because of the necessity 
of waiting for the yearly appropriation, the bill not being passed 
until June 5th. The train which had wintered at St. Cloud was 
sent by rail to Bismarck, taking upon the way the wagons left at 
Ft. Seward. They were then taken by steamer to Fort Buford. 
The slow progress made by the boat made it necessary to land the 
live stock at Tobacco Garden and drive them overland, where they 
arrived a few hours after the boat, June 15th, and on the 21st the 
party started from Ft. Buford. On the 25th the party divided, Capt. 
Gregory and the astronomers going on ahead. There remained 
two hundred forty miles of boundary yet to be finished. After 
some delay in the arrival of supplies and in the establishment of 
a permanent camp, the work was pushed rapidly forward. 

The British Commission had spent the winter, as in 1872-73, 

1. Journal of J. E. Bangs, Oct. 20. 

2. "On Monday a large number of men and mule-teams connected with the 
Boundary Survey sent out last summer by the Government, arrived in town. The 
teams will be kept in this vicinity until spring." A St. Cloud Journal, Feb. 26, 1874. 

"Major Twining and party of the Northwestern Boundary Survey, arrived here 
yesterday, all looking well after their arduous and difficult work. Even the animals 
of the expedition are in good order after their extended trip over the unbroken 
wilderness. Lieut. Greene's party of the Northwestern Boundary Survey has gone to 
Pembina, and will operate between that place and the Lake of the Woods, until 
the month of February, when Lieut. Greene and his office assistants may return to 
Detroit." St. Paul Daily Press, Oct. 30, 1873. 


at Dufferin and were in the field 10 days before the arrival of the 
American Commission, and in less than six weeks the work in the 
field was completed. On Aug. 13 a joint meeting was held in the 
field and Capt, Cameron agreed to the northwest point of the Lake 
of the Woods as determined by the chief astronomers, being di- 
rected to do so by his government. They then adjourned to meet 
some future day when the office work had been completed, to 
compare records, final maps, etc. A party crossed the mountains 
to find the monument erected on the summit, by the provisions of 
treaty of 1846. It was found in a difficult place of access, the 
survey was carried to this place and the line was completed 
Sept. 12, 1874. 

The American party went overland to Fort Benton, where a 
fleet of mackinaw boats had been built purposely to take them 
to Bismarck, which place they reached after a voyage of eigh- 
teen days. From there they went over the Northern Pacific rail- 
road to St. Paul and here the employes were discharged, except 
those assistants who would be needed in the office. 1 The British 
Commission returned to London, and, when all final reports were 
completed, a joint meeting was held in that place. 

During the season of 1874 the iron posts, which were to mark 
the boundary line, had been placed by the British Commission. 
Those which were placed by the United States Commission were 
made in Petroit, Mich., inspected by Major Twining, and shipped 
over the Great Lakes and by the Northern Pacific Railroad, to 
Moorhead, Minn. From Moorhead they were taken down the 
Red River on the steamboat "Dakota" and a party was organ- 
ized at Pembina to set them in place. This occupied nearly all of 

1. Northern Boundary. The Work Completed — Return of the American Com- 
mission. After two seasons labor, involving a considerable outlay upon the part 
of the American and British governments, the work of locating the Northern 
boundary line from the Lake of the Woods west to the Rocky Mountains, a distance 
of 780 miles has been completed so far as the field work is concerned. The party 
of engineers under Major Twining arrived in this city last night. All the officers 
of the survey save American Commissioner Campbell are now in the city. It is 
needless in this connection to re-state in detail what the commission have per- 
formed, more than to say that they have located the boundary line which has long 
been in dispute, westward to the summit of the Rocky Mountains. Of the work 
performed, "60 miles has been completed since the commission left here on the 
10th of Tune. From Major Twining, the chief astronomer, it is learned that there 
are no points in contention between the British and American governments, but a 
year will be required for the engineers to work up their notes before making 
their report. The party consisting of sixty-five persons, that arrived here last 
evening were accompanied to Fort Buford by two companies of infantry that have 
acted as escort. Those that are in the city besides the engineers are their as- 
sistants, etc. All look brown and hearty after their season of roughing it. They 
report the British Commission as having started from Pembina overland and that 
they will probably arrive there about the 10th of this month and probably pass 
through this city to Canada. Mr. .1. E. Bangs, the Secretary of the Commission ; 
Major W. J. Twining, Chief Astronomer; Capt. J. F. Gregory, and Lieut. F. V. 
Greene, Assistant Astronomers ; L. Boss, First Civil Assistant, and V. T. Gillcuddy, 
M. D., D. Crowther, Second Assistant ; and Capt. O. D. Ladley, Quartermaster ; and 
Dr. Elliot Coues, the Surgeon and Naturalist, are among the learned gentlemen 
of the expedition at the different hotels. All express themselves as right glad 
the work is completed, and to return to civilization again. The gentlemen will 
remain in the city for a time, and proceed on to their homes in the East and to 
Washington to write up their notes. — St. Paul Daily Press, Oct. 4, 1874. 


the year 1875, the work being completed and the party discharged, 
Oct. 7, of that year. 

The work of the Commissioners who met in joint session in 
London was completed and the report signed May 29, 1876. 

There is, however, a further dispute which may arise over the 
conditions in the Lake of the "Woods, which can be understood 
by referring to the accompanying map. The line of boundary 
running, according to the provisions of the treaty, due south from 
the northwest point to the 49th parallel, crosses another portion 
of the boundary several times and thus leaves the ownership of 
some small areas of land still unsettled. These sections, although 
swampy and apparently of little value at the time of the 
survey, may be desired by the United States government and a 
special commission may be necessary to settle it. And although 
the Northern International Boundary line has been the subject 
of much controversy, there still remains more work to be done 
before we can say our boundary on the north is definitely laid 


The third and last part of the northern international bound 
ary line to be settled was that part which extended from the sum- 
mit, of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, and fixed the 
northern limits of the Oregon Territory. The right to ownership 
to the Oregon country was for nearly half a century a disputed 
question between the government of the United States and that 
of Great Britain. 

When the fur trade in the great central valley had been 
pushed as far west as the mountains, the great distances to the 
coasts, both north and east, caused the traders, and the fur com- 
panies as well, to begin searching for some outlet toward the 
western ocean. Expeditions of discovery were sent out for this 
purpose and all returned with glowing accounts of the Pacific 
country. Two westward flowing rivers, the Frazer and the 
Columbia, were discovered, and settlements and fur trading posts 
were soon established. Great agricultural farms were developed 
by the Hudson's Bay Co. in the interest of Great Britain. Fur 
traders from the United States pushed westward into the Colum- 
bia valley and the Willamette until it soon became evident that 
should either United States or Great Britain lay claim to the ter- 
ritory, that claim would immediately be contested by the other 

All the early negotiations show clearly that boundary lines > 
at that time were very uncertain. But few expeditions through 
the interior had been sent out, and but little surveying and map- 
ping had been done. When Louisiana was purchased from France 

\tt r n r or} h West Point 

Conq IS" Of S6"7 


of the vicinity of the 





in 1803 its boundaries were so indefinitely stated that many did 
not know whether they extended to the Pacific Ocean or ended 
at the Rocky Mountains. President Jefferson took the latter 
view, but when he in 1804, commissioned Captains Lewis and 
Clark for the exploring expedition to the Missouri river and its 
sources, he told them also to "seek out and trace to its termina- 
tion in the Pacific, some stream, whether the Columbia, the Ore- 
gon, the Colorado, or any other, which might offer the most di- 
rect and practicable water communication across the continent 
for the purpose of commerce." 1 

The interest in the Pacific coast was growing and each of the 
countries, United States and Great Britain, was desirous of 
strengthening its claim in that region. Senator Benton men- 
tions the fact that in the same year of the Louisiana purchase, a 
treaty was signed fixing the boundary line from the Lake of the 
Woods to the Mississippi river, but this was rejected by Mr. Jef- 
ferson for fear it might compromise the northern boundary of 
Louisiana. 2 The British did not then know of its purchase from 

The negotiations of 1807 also show the attitude of the re- 
spective countries towards the Oregon Coast. A treaty was 
drawn up in which the 49th parallel was agreed upon as the 
boundary between his majesty's territories and those of the U. S. 
"Provided that nothing in the present article shall be construed 
to extend to the northwest coast of America, or to the territories 
belonging to or claimed by either party on the continent of Amer- 
ica to the westward of the Stony Mountains." 3 The Chesapeake 
outrage, together with the change in the British ministry about 
this time, prevented the ratification of this treaty, and the bound- 
ary of the Northwest remained an unsettled question until 1818, 
when the representatives of the two countries again met in con- 

The line of the 49th parallel from the Lake of the Woods to 
the Rocky Mountains was adopted, but when the commissioners 
on the part of the United States proposed the extension of this 
line westward to the Pacific Coast, it was not accepted. 4 A dis- 
cussion followed in which the claims of both countries were 
clearly set forth. The United States commissioners did not at 
this time assert that they had perfect right to the Oregon country, 
but they insisted that their claim was at least as good as that of 
Great Britain. 5 They supported their claim by these facts: 

First, the discovery and naming of the Columbia River, by 
Capt. Gray in 1792.9 

1. Greenhow, History of Oregon and California. 2S4. 

2. Benton. Thirty Years in tbe U. S. Senate. New York, 1859, II.. 47.">. 

3. Greenhow. History of Oregon and California. 2S2. 

4. lb., 314. 

5. lb., 314. 

6. ' lb., 434. Extract from the Log-book of the ship Columbia of Boston, 
Capt. Gray, May, 1792. 


Second, the first exploration of the river from its sources to 
its mouth by Lewis and Clark in 1804-6. 1 

Third, the establishment of the fur trade-post, Astoria, near 
the mouth of the Columbia river in 1811, by the Pacific Fur Com- 
pany, of which John Jacob Astor was the head. 2 

The British agents affirmed that the earlier voyages of Cap- 
tain Cook, 1778, in which he discovered Nootka Sound, gave them 
the first right. 3 The discovery of Frazer river by Sir Alexander 
Mackenzie in 1792, 4 and the establishment of a trading post west 
of the Rocky Mountains in 1806, by Frazer, 5 strengthened their 
claim to this territory. 

Although they did not offer any formal line as boundary, 
they intimated that the Columbia river would be a most conven- 
ient one and that they would not agree to any that did not give 
them the harbor at the mouth of that river, in common with the 
United States. Already the mouth of the Frazer River was found 
not to afford a good harbor, which accounts for the determina- 
tion of Great Britain to secure at least a joint ownership of the 
mouth of the Columbia.^ 

In the face of these statements, it seemed useless to argue 
further. Accordingly, it was agreed that any territory which 
might be claimed by either party on the northwest coast of Amer- 
and the waters within the same should be free and open for a 
term of ten years, to vessels, citizens, and subjects of both coun- 
tries. Although Senator Benton criticizes this as the first of the 
acts of the government that endangered our title to the Oregon 
country, it was perhaps the wisest measure that could have been 
adopted at that time, as Spain by her early explorers had strong 
claims to this same western coast. She had confirmed these claims 
by the Nootka Treaty of 1790 with Great Britain, in Which it was 
agreed that the subjects of either country should have free access 
to the settlements of the other and could carry on trade unmo- 
lested. 7 

Russia had made discoveries and formed establishments on 
the west coast, consequently was another claimant for territory 
in that section. 8 In 1819, by the treaty of Florida, Spain ceded 
all her rights to the territory north of latitude 42° to the United 
States. 9 

1. Hosmer, The Expedition of Lewis and Clark, Chicago, 1903, I., 384. 

2. Greenhow, History of Oregon and California, 296. 

3. Kippis, A Narrative of the Voyages Round the World, Capt. Jas. Cook, 
Philadelphia, p. 343-46. 

4. Mackenzie's Voyages, New York, 1802, p. 164. 

5. Greenhow, History of Oregon and California, 290. 

6. "There is a bar at the mouth of the Frazer River, vessels with a small 
draught of water would take the ground. The bar could be removed but it would 
fill up again immediately. The water on the bar was probably 8 or 9 feet deep. 

Report of Select Committee on the Hudson Hay Co., London, 1857, p. 52. 

7. Greenhow, Oregon and California, 447. 

8. lb. 162. 

9. Treaties, Conventions, Etc., II., 1651. 


In a treaty with the United States in 1824 Russia relinquished 
her claims on the Pacific Coast south of the parallel 54° and 40' 
N. Lat., 1 and England in a treat}", 1825 agreed to accept the same 
line of demarcation, thereby leaving England and the United 
States sole claimants for the Oregon Territory. 

Meanwhile the period of joint occupation was drawing to a 
close, and a strong desire was beginning to be felt, particularly 
on the part of the American government, for a settlement. But 
conditions had changed since the convention of 1818. The two 
rival fur companies, Hudson's Bay Co. and the Northwest Co., 
had consolidated in 1821, and formed one great power for extend- 
ing trade and settlement into the Northwest. 

At the same time, by special act of Parliament the jurisdic- 
tion of the Courts of Upper Canada was extended to the "Indian 
territories, and other parts of America not within the limits of 
either of the provinces of Lower or Upper Canada, or of any civil 
government of the United States.' 2 "Under such favorable con- 
ditions the Hudson's Bay Company could not fail to prosper. . . . 
Its posts were extended and its means of communication in- 
creased. . . . The agents of the company were seen in every 
part of the continent, north and northwest of the United States 
and Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, hunting, trapping, 
and trading with the aborigines. . . .Of the trading posts, many 
were fortified and could be defended by their inmates. . . . and 
the whole vast expanse of territory above described, including the 
regions drained by the Columbia, was, in fact, occupied by Brit- 
ish forces, and governed by British laws." 3 This being true many 
difficulties were certain to arise when the attempt to settle the 
boundary of the West, was made, particularly if the United 
States still desired to make the 49th parallel its northern limit. 

The attention of Congress was called to our needs on the 
western coast by President Monroe in his message of Dec. 7, 1824. 
He said: "In looking to the interests which the United States 
have on the Pacific Ocean, and on the western coast of this con- 
tinent, the propriety of establishing a military post at the mouth 
of the Columbia or at some other point in that quarter, within 
our acknowledged limits, is submitted to the consideration of 
Congress. Our commerce and fisheries on that sea, and along the 
coast, have much increased and are increasing. It is thought that 
a military post, to which our ships might resort would afford 
protection to every interest and have a tendency to conciliate the 
tribes on the Northwest with whom our trade is extensive. It is 
thought also that by the establishment of such a post, the inter- 
course between our western states and territories and the Pacific. 

1. Treaties, Conventions, Etc. II. 1512. 

2. Greenhow, History of Oregon and California. 457. 

3. lb., p. 345. 


and our trade with the tribes residing in the interior on each side 
of the Rocky Mountains would be essentially promoted. To carry 
this object into effect, the appropriation of an adequate sum to 
authorize the employment of a frigate with an officer of the corps 
of engineers, to explore the mouth of the Columbia river and the 
coast contiguous thereto, to enable the executive to make such 
establishment at the most suitable point, is recommended to Con- 
gress." 1 

President Adams, in his recommendations a year later ad- 
vised in addition to the establishment of a military post, the equip- 
ment of a public ship to explore further the northwest coast of 
the continent. 2 

These facts, together with the knowledge which we already 
have, concerning the activities of the fur companies in the West 
and their constant and successful efforts to push southward into 
the basin of the Columbia river show that the American govern- 
ment was beginning to realize that some definite action was neces- 
sary if she wished to secure her claims to Oregon against those of 
Great Britain. 

In 1824 the first of the conferences which resulted in the 
treaty of 1827 met in London. "The parties were so entirely at 
variance with regard to facts as well as principles" that this 
attempt only resulted in an arrangement and a discussion of 
proofs on both sides. The proposal of Mr. Rusk, one of the Amer- 
ican commissioners, that any territory west of the Rocky Mount- 
ains claimed by either country, should be free and open to citizens 
of both nations for ten years, provided that during this period no 
settlements were to be made by British subjects south of the 49th 
parallel nor by Americans north of that line, was answered by the 
proposal which had been intimated in the conference, of 1818, that 
is, that Great Britain was unwilling to consent to any agreement 
whereby they would be deprived of the navigation of the Colum- 
bia river and the use of the harbor at its mouth. 

All prospects of compromise thus destroyed the negotiation 
ended and was not resumed until 1826, when the offers of 1824 
were renewed and Great Britain again refused to accept the plan 
of the United States and commissioners Rush and Gallatin were 
' ' equally determined not to give up their title to any part of the 
country south of the 49th parallel," and they turned their atten- 
tion to the renewal of the arrangement for joint occupation. 

It was during the early part of this conference that the 
claims of both countries were re-stated and carefully investigated. 
The United States claimed possession of the territory west of the 
Rocky Mountains between the 42nd and 49th parallels of latitude 
because by the Louisiana treaty they had acquired the titles which 

1. Williams, Statesman's Manual, New York, 1853, Vol. 1, p. 477. 

2. lb., II., 591. 


France had to this region, and by the Florida treaty they had 
secured the title of Spain. They claimed the region because of 
the discovery of the mouth of the Columbia, the first exploration 
of countries through which the river flows, and the establishment 
of the first posts in those countries by the American citizens, and 
lastly by contiguity. 

Great Britain did not claim sovereignty over any part of this 
disputed tract but only demanded the right of joint occupation, 
hence proceeded to refute America's claims. Marbois, in his his- 
tory of Louisiana says "the shores of the western ocean were cer- 
tainly not included in the cession to the United States." 1 Presi- 
dent Jefferson in a letter to Mr. Breckenridge dated, Monticello, 
Aug. 12, 1803 says, "The boundaries which I deem not admitting 
question are the highlands on the western side of the Mississippi 
enclosing all its waters, the Missouri, of course, and terminating 
in the line drawn from the northwestern point of the Lake of the 
"Woods to the nearest source of the Mississippi as lately settled 
between Great Britain and the United States. " 2 Besides these two 
statements the words of the treaty of transfer given by Louis 
14th to Crozat, the same extent being preserved thru all the sub- 
sequent transfers, were that Louisiana included all the countries 
watered by the rivers which empty directly or indirectly into the 
Mississippi. 3 From these facts it will be seen that the British 
commissioners were justified in throwing out the claim of the 
United States to the Pacific coast thru the titles acquired in the 
treaty of Louisiana because this Louisiana could not have been 
intended to extend to the western ocean. 

While admitting the validity of the claims acquired from 
Spain through the treaty of 1819, the commissioners from Eng- 
land dismissed it on the grounds that the only claims Spain had 
at that time to cede to the United States were those held in com- 
mon with Great Britain as stated in the provisions of the Nootka 
Convention of 1790. 4 In interpreting the other documents used 
to sustain their claims the British made many mistakes. "They 
insisted that, Mr. Meares, a lieutenant in the royal navy . . . 
really effected discovery four years before Gray is even pretended 
to have entered the river." The accounts of Lieut. Meares, him- 
self, do not bear out this statement. To be sure he sailed along 
the western coast searching for such a river. He found the prom- 
ontory to the south of where the river was supposed to be and 
also entered the shallow bay near the mouth, but the 
very names which he gave to these forms, Cape Dis- 
appointment and Deception Bay, prove that his search 

1. Hermann, Louisiana Purchase, p. 77.' 

2. lb., 77. 

3. Greenhow, History of Oregon and California, 277. 

4. Nootka Treaty, 1790, lb., 466. 


was not successful and his diary contains the following 
statement. "We can now with safety assert that there 
is no such river as that of St. Roc exists, as laid down 
in the Spanish charts." 1 A long line of breakers and sand bars 
formed by the tides and current of the river was the cause of 
Lieut. Meares concluding that no such river existed and although 
this voyage preceded that of Capt. Gray by four years, it did not 
result in the discovery of the Columbia river as was claimed by 
Great Britain. That honor unmistakably belongs to Capt. Gray 
who in May, 1792, made a passage between the sand bars and 
breakers, against the ebb tide into the "large river of fresh water 
beyond." Capt Gray gave to this stream the name of his ship, 
Columbia. 2 

The commissioners on the part of Great Britain refused to 
allow that the claims of the United States were strengthened by 
the exploration of the Columbia by Lewis and Clark, claiming that 
if not before, at least in the same and subsequent years, the agents 
of the Northwest Co. had established posts on the northern branch 
of the river, and were extending them down to its mouth when 
they heard of the formation of the American post at that place 
in 1811. 3 Greenhow submits these facts: "That Lewis and Clark 
descended the Columbia and reached its mouth before the middle 
of November, 1805 — that the North-West Company made their 
first establishment beyond the Rocky Mountains, at some distance 
north of any part of the Columbia river, in 1806 — that the Ameri- 
can establishments were formed on the Columbia in 1809, 1810, 
and 1811, and finally, that Thompson did not arrive among the 
Kootanie and Flathead tribes until the spring of 1811, after the 
foundation of Astoria." 4 

The British negotiations declared, however, that they still 
claimed the rights of trade, navigation, and settlement in the 
territory under discussion, and admitted that the United States 
had the same rights and none other. The principal reason for this 
declaration on their part was the fact that there were many Brit- 
ish posts and settlements between the parallels 42° and 49° north 
latitude, for which the navigation of the Columbia to and from 
the sea was indispensable. 

The claim of contiguity, the last in the arguments of the 
United States was based on the international doctrine which is as 
follows : To the nation under whose flag the mouth of a river 
is discovered, all the country drained by that river is conceded, 
"as so held, Mr. Calhoun's attempt, to claim Oregon through the 
Louisiana Furchase by virtue of contiguity can not be sustained." 5 

1. Greenhow, History of Oregon and California, p. 

2. Log book of the Ship Columbia, lb., 434. 

3. lb., 350. 

4. lb., p. 298. 

5. Hermann, Louisiana Purchase, p. 74. 


By the same doctrine, however, the United States could justly 
claim the Oregon country through the discovery of Capt. Gray 
at the mouth of the Columbia River, but this discovery was not 
admitted by the British commissioners as preceding her discovery 
of the same river. 

Mr. Gallatin, of the American commission then intimated 
that his government was ready to agree to a simple extension of 
the treaty of 1818 for a term of ten years provided that both par- 
ties were restricted, during its continuance in force, from exercis- 
ing, or assuming to themselves the right to exercise any exclusive 
sovereignty or jurisdiction over the territories mentioned in the 
agreement. 1 The objections to this were strong and in reply he 
was informed that Great Britain would not complain of this ex- 
tension, provided that no custom house should be erected in the 
country west of the Rocky Mountains. 2 That citizens and subjects 
of the two powers residing in those countries be subject to the 
jurisdiction of their own nation respectively, and that no military 
post should be established by either party in those countries, at 
least no such post as would command the navigation of the Co- 
lumbia or any of its branches. 

Mr. Gallatin would accept the first condition, but feared col- 
lisions might result from an attempt to carry out the second, and 
on the third he believed it would be impossible to come to any 
understanding since the British were not willing to admit that the 
posts of the Hudson's Bay Co. were military establishments. 3 
The commissioners from England would consent to no renewal of 
the agreement for a fixed period of time whereby they might lose 
the right of free navigation and settlement in the disputed sec- 
tion. Finally, on Aug. 6, 1827, a convention was signed in which 
the provisions of the third article of the treaty of 1818 were fur- 
ther extended for an indefinite period, provided that either party 
had the right to annul and abrogate the agreement, on giving a 
year's notice to the other party. 

This extension was again criticised by Senator Benton as en- 
dangering our title to the region in dispute and as discouraging 
to emigration. 4 Greenhow again states as he did in referring to 
the convention of 1818, that the indefinite extension was the most 
wise, as well as the most just arrangement which could then have 
been made. While there is no doubt that the claim of the United 
States was stronger than that of Great Britain and should have 
given to her the right of possession to the Oregon country, she 
was not at that time ready to insist upon the recognition of that 

1. Hermann, Louisiana Purchase, pp. 73. 74. 

2. Greenhow. History of Oregon and California, p. 353. 

3. "The Hudson's Bay Co.'s establishments west of the Rocky Mountains are 
called forts, and are all sufficiently fortified to resist any attack which might be 
expected." lb.. 33. 

4. Benton, Thirty Years in the U. S. Senate, New York, 1859, p. 469. 


But few Americans were then in the west, as late as 1843 the 
whole number is reported as not more than two hundred. 1 At 
the same time there were a good many British posts within the 
Columbia country alone, several of which were already beginning 
to take the form of settlements. 2 Fort Vancouver was surrounded 
by a farm of 600 acres, containing gardens and orchards, with 
not less than 700 inhabitants. Near Fort Nasqually a large agri- 
cultural establishment was being developed, and it may be truly 
said that England through her agents the Hudson's Bay Co. was 
in actual possession of the country west of the Rockies. 

The American missionaries and settlers had not yet become in- 
terested in the far west. This interest was soon aroused, how- 
ever, after the Convention of 1827, and the question of the right 
of the United States to Oregon country was becoming a live issue. 
It was a matter concerning especially the then western states and 
the western statesmen were the ones upon whom the responsibil- 
ity of making good our claims rested. 3 The presidential election 
of 1828 resulted in the choice of Andrew Jackson, a man from the 
new west and the frontier. He was aware of the importance of Ore- 
gon to the United States and under his direction Mr. Slacum in 
1836 was commissioned to go to the Oregon country and to ob- 
tain some specific and authentic information in regard to the in- 
habitants of the country in the neighborhood of the Columbia. 

"Mr. Slacum went to the Columbia valley and during the 
winter of 1836-7, visited various factories and settlements. He 
presented the results of his examinations to Congress in a memo- 
rial on Dec. 18, 1837. 4 

The first efforts at settlement without any special commercial 
interest was the missionary colony founded in 1834 in the valley 
of the Willamette, by a small party from the Northern and Eastern 
states under the direction of Messrs. Lee, Shepherd and other 
Methodist missionaries, 5 who cleared land, erected houses, and 
opened schools for the instruction of the natives^ 

1. Greenhow, History of Oregon and California, p. 35. 

2. A list of these forts is as follows : — 

Ft. Vancouver, Ft. George, Ft. Umqua, Ft. Walla-Walla, Ft. Okinagan, Ft. Colviile, 
Ft. Nasqually, Ft. Langley, Ft. Boise, Ft. Hall. 
Ib„ p. 34. 

3. The American fur traders in the region west of the Rocky Mountains are 
referred to as conducting their operations at the head waters of the Colorado or 
Utah Lake. lb., 360. 

4. Published in Senate Documents of 1837-8. 

Large extracts from the same are used in Mr. Linn"s report. Niles Register, 
Vol. 55, 139. 

"It contains no information of value, and abounds in errors, many of them on 
material points." Greenhow, History of Oregon and California, p. 361. 

5. Among these early missionaries was Marcus Whitman, concerning whom, 
and his work for Oregon much has been written. While he had a place in this 
early time, undue emphasis has been placed upon his efforts to save Oregon. See 
Legend of Marcus Whitman in American Historical Review for January, 1901, p 276. 

6. "Mission family for Oregon. — It is perhaps generally known that the ship 
Lausanne, Capt. Josiah Spaulding, will sail from N. Y. in a few days for the 
Columbia river, via Valparaiso, and the Sandwich Islands, with the mission 
family bound to Oregon. This mission is under the care of the Missionary Society 
of the M. E. church and was established some four years since, and from the last 


This was the beginning of a movement which continued to 
grow in importance, and attracted settlers from many parts of 
the Union. The people as well as the government were now in- 
terested in maintaining our claims to the country in the west. 
The situation there was becoming alarming and every effort was 
being made to secure accurate information concerning conditions 
in the northwest. 

In 1841 Lieutenant Wilkes had been ordered by the Secreta- 
ries of War and Navy to survey as nearly as he could the Columbia 
regions and inquire into conditions there. 1 He visited the Metho- 
dist missions in Willamette Valley and at Fort Nasqually and re- 
ported them in good condition although small, and makes special 
and valuable report concerning the development of the agricul- 
tural establishments of the Hudson's Bay Co., managed and con- 
trolled by the off-shoot of that company called the Puget Sound 
Agricultural Co. 2 At Fort Nasqually the establishment consisted 
of a large dairy farm, several hundred head of cattle, with a 
farmer and dairy man brought from England as Superintendent. 3 
They grew large crops of wheat, oats, and peas. The Company 
farm on the Cowlitz occupied extensive prairie on both banks 
of the river, and included 600 or 700 acres, with large granaries, 
a large farm-house, and numerous out-buildings, and they were 
about to erect a saw and grist mill. 4 The Vancouver Farm on 
the Columbia was perhaps the largest of the three and consisted 

and recent advices it was in a very prosperous condition. The Rev. Jason Lee, 
who was the pioneer of this mission over the Rocky Mts., and who is now Supt., 
returned some months ago to make known to the parent board the condition and 
prospects of the mission. He now goes back with an addition to the mission family 
of 50 persons, viz. 

Rev. Jason Lee & wife, New Eng. Conf. 

Rev. J. H. Frost, wife & child, New York Conf. 

Rev. Wm. W. Kone & wife, N. Carolina Conf. 

Rev. Alvan F. Waller, wife and 2 chidren, Genesee Conf. 

Rev. J. P. Richmond, M. D. wife and 4 children, Illinois Conf. 

Rev. Iva L. Babcock, Physician, wife and child, Ithaca. N. Y. 

Mr. Geo. Abernethy, missionary steward, wife and 2 children, N. Y. 

Mr. W. W. Raymond, farmer & wife. 

Mr. Henry B. Brewer, farmer & wife, Mass. 

Mr. Lewis H. Judson, Cabinetmaker, wife and 3 children, N. Y. 

Mr. Josiah L. Parrish, blacksmith, wife and 3 children, N. Y. 

Mr. Jas. Olby, carpenter, Troy, N. Y. 

Mr. Hamilton Campbell, carpenter, wife and child, 111. 

Miss Maria T. Ware, teacher, Gillston, N. H. 

Miss Chloe A. Clark, teacher, East Windsor, Ct. 

Elmira Phillips, teacher, Springfield, Mass. 
Almira Phelps, teacher, Springfield, Mass. 

Orpha Laukton, stewardess, Hartford, Ct. 

Thomas Adams, Indian boy, Oregon." 

Niles Register, Nov. 9, 1839, Vol. 53, p. 175. 

1. Greenhow, History of Oregon and California, p. 376. 

2. "I have mentioned these agricultural establishments as connected with the 
Hudson's Bay Co., and they are in reality so, but as their charter precludes their 
engaging in these operations, another company has been organized, under the title 
of the 'Puget Sound Company' the shares of which are held by officers, agents 
and servants of the Hudson's Bay Co., and its officers are exclusively chosen from 
among them." Wilkes' Exploring Expedition, Phildelphia, 1845, IV., 307. 

See also Report of the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 8, 
1857, pp. 64, 118, 294. 

3. Wilkes' Exploring Expedition, IV., 307. 

4. lb., IV., 315. 


of a large dairy and sheep farm in charge of a Canadian and his 
wife. 1 There were three thousand head of cattle and two thou- 
sand five hundred head of sheep. A saw mill, a grist mill and a 
smith's shop were included in this farm. 

The American people were beginning to understand that only 
"by developing a population in Oregon, to counteract the influence 
of those rapidly growing British establishments could we hope 
to secure that territory. Societies were formed for emigration to 
Oregon, and from these as well as from settlers already in the 
west petitions were constantly being presented to Congress ask- 
ing for grants of land and for protection. 2 

This movement westward was purely a voluntary under- 
taking as no aid was given by the United States government 
either in grants of land or in protection and in many cases the 
settlers were dependent at first upon the hospitality of the British 
inhabitants. Bills and resolutions were constantly being intro- 
duced in Congress, but no definite action was taken until 1843. 3 

As early as Feb. 1838, Linn, senator from Missouri who had 
shown much interest in the West beyond the Rockies, introduced 
a bill 4 authorizing the occupation of Columbia or Oregon river, 
establishing a territory north of latitude 42° and west of the 
Rocky Mountains to be called Oregon Territory, authorizing the 
establishment of a fort on that river, and the occupation of the 
country by military force of the United States because "there is 
every reason to apprehend that if this territory should be ne- 
glected, in the course of five years it will pass from our posses- 
sion." 5 

1. Wilkes' Exploring Expedition, IV., 334. 

2. "For Oregon. A number of young men of Portland, Maine, are getting up a 
company to go to the Oregon territory." Niles Register, Vol. 57, p. 256. 

Petition by Mr. Young, from Levi Owen and other citizens of Kentucky, asking 
grants of lands in Oregon, and permission to take their negroes with them and 
that John Brown, of Kentucky be appointed governor of the territory. lb., Vol. 
59, p. 123. 

"Feb. 27, 1840 — Mr. Tappan presented memorial from 238 citizens of Ohio 
asking aid of congress in making a settlement in Oregon territory, on Lewis river,' 
by making such grants as may be deemed proper." lb., Vol. 58, p. 10. 

"June 4, Petition by Mr. Linn, from 70 citizens of territory of Oregon, praying 
the extension of the jurisdiction of laws of U. S. over the same." lb., Vol. 58, p. 236. 

3. "Mr. Cushing reported a bill for the protection of the citizens of the 
United States residing in the Oregon territory or trading on the Columbia river 
or its tributaries." lb., Vol. 55, p. 304. 

"In 1839 Mr. Cushing of Mass. offered the following resolution : Resolved that 
the President be requested to communicate whether the government of the United 
States has given to that of Great Britain the stipulated notice to annul and abrogate 
the convention of Sept. 6, 1S27, under cover of which, and of the convention of 
the 20th of Oct., 1818, the Hudson's Bay Co., has proceeded with permission or 
by connivance of the government of Great Britain to establish military posts in 
the territory of the U. S. beyond the Rocky Mountains." 
lb., Vol. 55, p. 364. 

4. Life and Public Services of Dr. Linn, New York. 1857, p. 195. 

5. "The Oregon. It is time that the question of jurisdiction over the Oregon 
territory now mooted by the Eng. and this government, were examined and the 
facts clearly ascertained and settled, whether we are entitled to the country, as 
is generally believed, or whether the Eng. can claim it according to the law of 
nations. The longer that the adjustment of this question is delayed, the more 


Clay urged that the stipulations of the treaty be inquired 
into to see whether we could now occupy the country without giv- 
ing offense to Great Britain, while Senator Buchanan from Penn. 
was much in favor of the measure and thought that the time had 
come when the Government ought to assert its rights to the Ore- 
gon country or abandon it forever. He mentioned the year's no- 
tice provided in the treaty of 1827 and said this was the time to 

The matter was referred to a select committee composed of 
Senator Linn, chairman, Senator Preston of S. C. Senator Walker, 
Miss., Senator Wall, N. J., and Senator Pierce, N. H. This com- 
mittee after careful investigation presented in June a lengthy 
report. They reviewed the entire question to date and included 
much of Mr. Slacum's report, They made clear our title to the 
Oregon country, its importance, England's influence and our dan- 
ger from that influence and offered a bill for the protection of 
persons and property of the residents of that country. The bill 
was lost, Early the next session, Mr. Linn introduced a similar 
bill, which was again referred to a committee. This continued 
through every session and special session. Either in the form of 
a bill or a resolution, the Oregon question was introduced by Mr. 
Linn and was as often defeated. He was earnestly supported 
during this time by his colleague, Senator Benton and by the 
senators from Pennsylvania and Illinois. It is also interesting 
to note that the two senators from South Carolina were its strong- 
est opponents. 

In August, 1842, Mr. Linn addressed the Senate in support of 
his bill. He presented a bundle of memorials from settlers in 
Oregon, and letters from nearly every quarter of the Union, mak- 
ing inquiries as to what was doing and what was likely to be done 
by Congress. The committee urged that the bill be passed but 
just then Lord Ashburton arrived from England to enter into a 
negotiation touching all points of dispute between Great Britain 
and the United States and further action on the bill was sus- 
pended. The work of the commissioners was anxiously watched, 
particularly since President Tyler had written that he intended 
to urge upon Great Britain the importance of an early settle- 
ment of the Oregon question. ' Great disappointment was felt 
when the treaty was signed and completely ignored the North- 
west Coast. Considerable excitement in both the United States 
and England arose when Senator Linn's bill was introduced at 

difficult it will be to come to an amicable settlement. The Hudson Bay Co., already 
act as if the whole of the country west of the Rocky Mountains belonged to 
(Treat Britain, to the great detriment of American citizens, who are engaged in 
similar undertakings, and are struggling with difficulties thus thrown in their way." 
(Mer. Jour.) 

Niles Register, Oct. 3, 1840. 


the next session of Congress and passed in the Senate. 1 Although 
it was lost in the House, a wholesome enthusiasm had been aroused 
over the discussions of this bill and settlers moved rapidly west- 
ward, forming a colony which was to hold the disputed territory 
and demand the settlement of the boundary line. 

In November 1842, the year of the "Webster-Ashburton 
Treaty, the British minister was instructed to propose a negotia- 
tion for the settlement of the western territory but nothing came 
of it, and in 1844 the matter was renewed, but settlement was 
.prevented by the death of Upshur, Secretary of State. 2 Later in 
the same year Calhoun and Pakenham met seven times to come 
to some agreement, but they could not agree and Mr. Calhoun 
refused to leave the matter to arbitration as was suggested by the 
British minister. "When Polk was elected president in 1844, one 
of the campaign cries was " Fifty-four-forty or fight" The British 
spirit was aroused and it soon became evident that, in any fur- 
ther settlement of the boundary line, the United States must take 
the initiative. Accordingly Buchanan, the new Secretary of 
State, after waiting for some time sent a notice to Pakenham offer- 
ing the 49th parallel as a possible settlement. A political storm 
immediately arose, mostly in the newspapers, because this offer 
was directly in opposition to the platform upon which President 
Polk was elected and the negotiation was dropped. Meanwhile 
the House and the Senate had passed a bill providing for notifica- 
tion of Great Britain of the termination of the joint convention 
of 1828. It was rumored that Sir Robert Peel regretted that the 

1. Benton. Thirty Years in the United States Senate, II., 477. 
Votes of Mr. Linn's bill was as follows : 


Allen Ohio Archer Va. 

Benton Mo. Bagby Ala. 

Buchanan Penn. Barrow La. 

Clayton Del. Bates Mass. 

Fulton Ark. Bayard Del. 

Henderson Miss. Berrien Ga. 

King Ala. Calhoun S. C. 

Linn Mo. Choate Mass. 

McRoberts 111. Conrad La. 

Magnum N. C. Crafts Vt. 

Merrick Md. Dayton N. J. 

Phelps Vt. Evans Maine 

Sevier Ark. Graham N. C. 

Smith Conn. Huntington Conn. 

Smith Ind. McDuffle S. C. 

Sturgeon Penn. Miller N. J. 

Tappan Ohio. Porter ■. Mich. 

Walker Miss. Rives Va. 

White Ind. Simmons R. I. 

Wilcox N. H. • Sprague R. I. 

Williams Maine Tallmadge N. Y. 

Woodbury N. H. Woodbridge Mich. 

Wright N. Y. 

Young 111. 


Kerr Md. Cuthbert Ga. 

Morehead Ky. Vacant Tenu. 

Crittenden .... Ky. Nicholson Tenn. 

2. lb., II., 660-61. 


earlier offer of the 49th parallel had not been accepted and in a 
short time the British minister sent an offer of the same line 
which was accepted and it only remained to formulate a treaty. 
The President, advised by some of his cabinet, and in order 
to ward off party troubles, addressed a communication to the 
Senate asking for their advice in regard to the settlement of the 
Oregon boundary. It was resolved in the Senate, to advise the 
President to accept the proposal of the British Government for a 
convention to settle the boundaries, etc., between the United 
States and Great Britain west of the Rocky or Stony Mountains. 
Four days afterwards the treaty was sent in due form and the 
convention was concluded and signed June loth, 1846, establish- 
ing the 49th parallel as the northern boundary of the Oregon 
territory. 1 A further provision in the same treaty secured to the 
Hudson's Bay Co. the rights to their property in the newly settled 
territory and also securing to the Puget Sound Agricultural Co. 
their farms, lands, etc., north of the Columbia River, but it pro- 
vided that in case these lands should be considered of public and 
political importance they should be transferred to the United 
States Government at a proper valuation. 2 In 1863 this transfer 
was made by a special treaty. The Commissioners Alex. S. John- 
son, for United States and John Rose, for Great Britain, met in 
Washington in 1865. when memorials were presented stating the 
claims of the two companies. Many witnesses were called. The 
investigation was made during 1867 and 1868 and the Hudson's 
Bay Co. asked $3,822,036.67 to relinquish their claim, including 
fourteen forts, 3 and the navigation of the Columbia River. The 
Puget Sound Agricultural Company owned two large establish- 
ments, one, Nasqually, on Puget Sound containing not less than 
261 sq. mi. and the Cowlitz Farm, containing 3,572 acres with 
1,500 acres improved. Together with the farms were listed large 
herds of cattle, horses and sheep and for their rights they asked 
the sum of $1,168,000. 4 After the investigation which occupied 
more than two years the award was made Sept. 10, 1869, giving 
to the Hudson's Bay Co., $450,000 and to the Puget Sound Agri- 
cultural Co. $200,000 in gold coin. 5 For this the above named 


Treaties, Conventions, Etc., 

Ser. No. 5646, I., 656. 


Art. 4, Treaty of 1846. lb., 

p. 656. 


The forts were : 




Fort Hall. 






Post at month of Cowlitz 

River. 10. 



Ft. George. 


Nez. Perces (Walla-Walla) 


Cape Disappointment. 










Flat Head. 

British and American Joint Commission for final Settlement of the Claims 
of Hudson's Bay and Puget Sound Agricultural Companies, Washington, 1865, 
I, 10. 

4. lb., I.. 26. 

5. lb., XIV., 31. 


companies were to relinquish all their possessory rights and 
claims to property in the Oregon Territory. 

The commissioners provided for by the treaty of 1846, to 
survey the 49th parallel from the summit of the Rocky Mountains 
westward to the Pacific Ocean were appointed in 1858. The 
work, however, was not done until several years later and the 
maps of the survey were not approved until 1870. These com- 
missioners, being unable to agree upon the channel southward 
from the 49th parallel through Fuca's Straits, the matter was by 
the treaty of 1871 referred to the Emperor of Germany for set- 
tlement, his decision to be final and conclusive. 1 The English 
Commissioner claimed that the line should be run through Ros- 
aris Straits, and the United States commissioner claimed that it 
should go through the Haro Channel. The German Emperor, 
after carefully examining the maps, and other evidence presented 
to him, decided in favor of the line claimed by the American 
commissioners, this giving to the United States the San Juan 
group of islands in Puget Sound. 2 The final action on the Ore- 
gon question is the protocol of a conference at Washington, March 
10, 1873, which contains an exact statement of the boundary line 
as laid down by the commissioners in accordance with the terms 
of the treaty of 1871. 

1. Treaties, Conventions, Etc., Ser. No. 5646, I., 700. 

2. lb., I., 716. 

o the Rocky Mountains 


companies were to relinquish all their possessory rights and 
claims to property in the Oregon Territory. 

The commissioners provided for by the treaty of 1846, to 
survey the 49th parallel from the summit of the Rocky Mountains 
westward to the Pacific Ocean were appointed in 1858. The 
work, however, was not done until several years later and the 
maps of the survey were not approved until 1870. These com- 
missioners, being unable to agree upon the channel southward 
from the 49th parallel through Fuca's Straits, the matter was by 
the treaty of 1871 referred to the Emperor of Germany for set- 
tlement, his decision to be final and conclusive. 1 The English 
Commissioner claimed that the line should be run through Ros- 
aris Straits, and the United States commissioner claimed that it 
should go through the Haro Channel. The German Emperor, 
after carefully examining the maps, and other evidence presented 
to him, decided in favor of the line claimed by the American 
commissioners, this giving to the United States the San Juan 
group of islands in Puget Sound. 2 The final action on the Ore- 
gon question is the protocol of a conference at Washington, March 
10, 1873, which contains an exact statement of the boundary line 
as laid down by the commissioners in accordance with the terms 
of the treaty of 1871. 

1. Treaties, Conventions, Etc., Ser. No. 5646, I., 700. 

2. lb., I., 716. 

Maps of Survey of International Boundary from Lake of the Woods tn the Rocky Mountains! 


companies were to relinquish all their possessory rights and 
claims to property in the Oregon Territory. 

The commissioners provided for by the treaty of 1846, to 
survey the 49th parallel from the summit of the Rocky Mountains 
westward to the Pacific Ocean were appointed in 1858. The 
work, however, was not done until several years later and the 
maps of the survey were not approved until 1870. These com- 
missioners, hpinnr n"<-W" *- aS r ree U Don the channel smith ward 



No. 1 


His Majesty's Commissioner, 

Major Cameron, R. A. 

His Secretary, an officer of Royal Engineers. 

A Chief Astronomer) Officers of the 
Two Astronomers ) Royal Engineers. 

Two Surveyors. 

Lieut. Col. Forrest of Canadian Militia P. L. S. 
Mr. A. L. Russell, P. L. S. 

One Veterinary Surgeon 
Mr. W. G. Boswell. 

The last named selected and purchased the transport animals, 
horses, oxen, dogs and wagons, and carts. During the survey 
he made extensive journeys through Canada, Minnesota, and 

One Geologist and Naturalist 
Mr. G. M. Dawson, 

He examined the whole country traversed and has published in 
Canada an exhaustive report on the geology and flora of the 
boundary line. 

One Commissariat Officer. 

Mr. L. W. Herchmer. 
His line of supplies was 400 miles in 1873 and 860 miles in 1874. 
He had many hard journeys through the Indian country with only 
one attendant. 

One surgeon. 

Dr. F. J. W. Burgess, M. D. 

One Assistant Surgeon. 

Dr. T. Milman. 
Four Sub-Assistant Astronomers. 

G. F. Burpee, 

W. F. King 

W. A. Ashe 

G. G. Coster 

Three Assistants to the Surveyors. 

Lieutenant Rowe. 

Mr. D'Arcy East 

Mr. G. G. Crompton. 
The last fourteen places were filled by Canadian gentlemen 
who were nominated by the government of the Dominion. 



Besides these there were 

Forty-four non-commissioned officers and. men of the Royal 

One wagon master. 

Twelve depot-servants. 

Thirteen officer's servants. 1 

This made a total number of eighty nine and during the 
period of work in the field, teamsters, axemen, and laborers were 
hired for the season at a daily wage. 2 

The Commissioner and his Secretary left England in July, 
1872 for "Washington, U. S., from there they went to Ottawa and 
finally started for the Red River country early in Sept. 3 

No. 2 
Members of Am. Commission. 1873-4. 

From Sec'y Bang's Pay Roll. 

(Major) Capt. W. J. Twining. 

Com. Archibold Campbell. 



H. W. Bayard 

Dr. Cones 

0. D. Ladley — Quartermaster 

Chas. Allen 

R. Garrett 

A. Smith 

W. H. Watt 

Joseph Montraille 

D. H. Ridgley 

J. Davenport 

J. N. Speel 




A. C. Turner 

H. B. Dickerman 

H. C. Armstrong 

R. N. Flint 




F. Von Schrader. Ass't Eng. 

Jos. Le Vaille 

Lewis Boss 

Louis Dimant 

Z. P. Hammer 


F. V. Greene 


B. C. Wilson 






B. J. Estes 





1. Professional Papers of the Corps of Royal Engineers, Woolwich, 1876. New 
Series, Vol. 23, 24. 

2. lb. Vol. 23, 60-61. For various trades of the non-commissioned officers, and 
clothing allowance for each man. 

3. lb. Vol. 23, 25. 






J. Collins 





0. S. Wilson 
C. L. Doolittle 
John McDougal 
David Davis 

No. 3 

Journal of J. E. Bangs. 

Wed. 21, May, 1873. 

Left home at 8 P. M. for Dayton, Ohio, enroute to St. Paul — 
very wet and disagreeable, melting time. 

Thurs. 22 [1873]. 

Arrived in Dayton at 10 o'clock P. M. Went to Beckel House 
and went to sleep. 

Friday, 23 [1873]. 

Called on Judge Baggot — found Mrs. Baggot and Dearing 
had gone to Louisville- — very warm day. Called on Judge and 
dined with him. Left at 2 :40 for Louisville where arrived at 11 
P. M. and put up at the Willard Hotel. 

Saturday, 24 [1873]. 

Called on Mrs. D. — met Aunt Fannie for the first time — like 
her very much. Mrs. D. looks well and is enjoying her trip. I 
take a Hackride in the afternoon with Mrs. D. and the two Mrs. 
B's — very delightful Spend the evening with the family and 
retire at 11. 

Sunday, 25 [1873]. 

I go to church with Mrs. Dearing, two Mrs Baggots, Mrs. 
Thomas. Mrs. Hayes and Miss Pope — Chestnut St. M. E. Ch. S. — 
Dr. Revers — text — "The fall and Recovery of Peter" — very in- 
structive and comforting discourse — Invited to dinner with fam- 
ily but refuse and bid them all adieu. Mrs. D. and Aunt Fannie 
affectionately — Leave Louisville for Chicago at 3. But have to 
lie over in Indianapolis until next morning — go to Epis. church 
at night and take room at "Spencer House." 

Monday, May 26 [1873]. 

Disappointed in getting off at 6. I leave at 11 :10 by Kan- 
kakee route for Chicago where I arrive at 9 o'clock and crossing 
the city to the Wisconsin depot take the 9 :30 train for St. Paul. 


Tues., May 27 [1873]. 

Reach Elroy, Wis., at 7 where we breakfast and after a te- 
dious journey arrive in St. Paul at 6 :15 P. M. and put up at the 
Metropolitan Hotel. Supper and telegraph to Mr. Campbell my 
arrival. Met Mr. Maxfields and took walk with him. 

Wed., May 28 [1873]. 

Making out vouchers and paying bills — very busy. Sent my 
trunk to Clifford and Maxfields for storage. Left St. Paul at 8 P\ 
M. with the party via L. S. & M. and N. P. R. R. for Pembina. 

Thurs., May 29 [1873]. 

Reached Duluth for breakfast — the celebrated Duluth made 
famous by Proctor Knott — Don't think much of it. — Left at 7 A. 
M. and passed through Brainard enroute to Moorhead which we 
reached at 8 and took Steamer "Selkirk" for Pembina. Boat 
crowded with freight and passengers. 

Friday, May 30 [1873]. 

Reach Georgetown on Red River where post letters. 

Saturday, May 31 [1873]. 

Pass Grand Forks — where teleg. to Harback. 

Sunday, June 1 [1873]. 

Reach Fort Pembina at 9 A. M. Raining horribly — Pitched 

Camp. Invited to lunch by Bradley and to bed by Woodruff — 

Monday, June 2 [1873]. 
Clear weather. 

Thurs., June 5 [1873]. 

Clear weather — Wrote to Dr. Roszen — Hail storm in after- 

Friday, June 6 [1873]. 
Rain in morning. 

Saturday, June 7 [1873]. 

Cloudy — threatening rain — Wrote to Mrs. Dearing. Green's 
party left camp for the line at 12 o'clock. 

Sunday, June 8 [1873]. 

In afternoon rode up to the English Barracks at Dufferin. 
Received letters from Ned Hay (Postal Card) Mother and Mrs. 
Dearing — Wrote to Ned at night. 

Monday, June 9 [1873]. 

Mr. Gregery's party left Camp at 6:30 for the 40 mile point 


Tues. June 10 [1873]. 

Major Twining 's party left camp at 6:30 for the 20 mile 
point West. Mail came in from south. Kec'd letters of May 31 
and June 1 — Night cool, thermometer at +30 during night. 

Wed. June 11 [1873]. 

Morning cool — warm during day — Dacotah arrived with 
Stiles. Sent Flint to Twining. Greene came down to see me. 

Thurs., June 12 [1873]. 
Warm and clear. 

Fri., June 13 [1873]. 

Cloudy but pleasant — Boswell came in — I went up to Watts — 
Whist at night — clear. 

Sat.., June 11 [1873]. 

Money order for $30.00 sent to mother — Rode up to Watts — 
Wrote to Mr. Henderson — Weather lovely — Received letter from 
Ida and papers of June from home, also vouchers from Kittson — 
Bradley came in from Twining. 

Sun., June 15 [1873]. 

Beautiful day — Wrote to Ida, Susie and Jim Bremerman. 

Mon., June 16 [1873]. 

Roused at 6 :30 by whistle of boat — Got up hastily and 
dressed and went down where met Mr. Campbell coming off the 
boat — glad to see him — stopped at Wheaton's. 

Tues., June 17 [1873]. 

Pleasant day — Sent checks to Dandy and vouchers to Wilcox, 

Mayer and . Sent in Weekly statements — May 24 to June 

14— Rain in afternoon. 

Wed., June 18 [1873]. 

Beautiful morning — getting warmer — Rain in afternoon- — 
Violent blow at night — couldn't sleep. 

Thurs., June 19 [1873]. 

Continued gale — rose at 7. Sleepless night. Money arrived 
from St. Paul — No letters. 

Fri., June 20 [1873]. 

Morning clear — wrote letters to Mr. Thomson and Josie. 
Boat arrived with store and other freight. 

Saturday, June 21 [1873]. 

Cloudy all day. No mail at night — Wagons came in from 


Sunday, June 22 [1873]. 

Cloudy still— Mail in. Rode horseback to Watts, saw Bur- 
gess and Dawson. 

Mon., June 23 [1873]. 

Clear — Eain in afternoon. 

Tues : — 

Rec'd letter from Jim Bremerman of June 15. Rode out in 
evening. Greene came in. 


Cloudy and rain in afternoon— Paid Greene's men — Twining 
came in. Regular spree at night of all parties at Woodruff's. 

Thurs., June 26 [1873].' 

Drizzling rain in morning — cleared off about noon. Hot as 
Wrote to Jim Bremerman. 

Friday: 27 [1873]. 

Mail in — Jamboree at night. 

Saturday: 28 [1873]. 
Sick all day. 

Sunday-29 [1873]. 
Mail in. 

Mon., June 30 [1873]. 

Decided to go out with Twining — Clear and pleasant. Busy 
all day. 

Tues., July 1st [1873]. 

Invitation to Commencement from Rowe — Twining employs 

Wed., 2— [1873]. 

Cavalry move out to St. Joe. 

Thurs., 3 [1873]. 

Paid Stiles for Twining— $13.70 
Due from Twining— $3.70 

Sat., 5 [1873]. 

Mail in. Night cool. 

Monday, 7— [1873]. 

Rode with Dr. to Watts — Mail in extra stage. 

Tues., July 8 [1873.] 

Wrote to Jim Brem. and mother, sent check for $10. 


Wed., 9 [1873]. 

Com. decides to move — start tomorrow— busy packing up — Called 

on Mrs. Bradley. Played whist — Birthday — paid International. 

Thurs., 10 [1873]. 

Breakfast at 7, wagons off at 9 — Dr. and myself soon after. 
He in buckboard — I on my pony, "Buffalo." Stop for lunch at 
Ethur's 11 miles from Pembina and camp for night at Grant's 25 
miles by odometer. Late supper and restless night. 

Friday, July 11 [1873]. 

Arose at 5 :30 — Breakfast at 5.45. Wagons loaded and 
started at 7. Passed St. Joe and bought Pork etc., at Gingras. 
Met Emeling — Pell from horse — went on 17 miles further and 
camped at big Coule. Horseback all the way but 1 mile. Day's 
march 28 miles — tents blew down — devil of a time generally — 
Perfect Hurricane ! 

Sat., July 12 [1873]. 

Remained in Camp and concluded to wait until the arrival 
of Commissioner. Wrote to Lillie and Ida — altho' no chance to 
send letters. 

Sunday, July 13 [1873]. 

Breakfast at 9 — Major Smith and Graham passed about 10 — 
bringing papers but no letters for me. Mr. Campbell arrived at 
11. Wanted to go on. Concluded to wait till the morrow. Slight 
rain in afternoon — beautiful sunset. 

Monday, July 14 [1873]. 

Awaked at 4 A. M. by the Dr.'s and Corn's vociferous howl- 
ing out the hour — Arose at 5 :30 and breakfasted at 6 — Warm day 
threatened. Wagons off at 7. Marched 25 miles and camped on 
Green's old camp ground — Sheets thick — bad nights. Mailed 
letters to Ida. Lillie and Ladly (by Estes). 

Tues., 15 [1873]. 

Marched 29 miles and came to where Mess. Gregory and 
Greene were encamped. They came out to meet us. Met Down- 
ing and party coming in. Dined with Greene, Dr. and I. Terri- 
ble thunder and rain storm in morning — remained in camp. 

Wed., July 16 [1873]. 

Terrible rain storm early in morning — remained in Camp 
during day — Showery all day — decided to push in towards Turtle 
Mountain in the morning. 

Thurs., 17 [1873]. 

Started at 7 in company with Gregory's camp and marched 
17 miles, camping by side of a stream — Very disagreeable day — 


raining, blowing fearfully — Met Lieut. Alexander going towards 
Pembina with Escort for Greene — Wet to the skin. 

Friday, July 18 [1873]. 

Arose at 5 — breakf asted and on march by 6 :30. Morning 
cool and delightful— very rolling country. "Indian Scare" 
about 9 o'clock — Lent Mark my horse and reached Twining 's 
camp at Turtle Mountain at 4 :3Q* o 'clock. Dined with him. 

Sat., 19 [1873]. 

Mail going out. 

Sun., 20 [1873]. 

Lying in camp. Rode with Bell in evening. Called on Bos- 
well and Burgess — English Camp. Mail in — letter from Ned Hay 
of July 4. 

Monday, July 21 [1873]. 
Lying in camp. 

Tuesday, 22 [1873]. 

Lying in camp — Weather delightful. 

Wed., 23 [1873]. 

Lying in camp — Mail in — Busy all day. Received music sent 
by Ned also paper. Sent check to Nichols and Dean H. McKen- 
ney — J. S. Foster — Rec'd statements of Ass't Treas: for June 
30. — Finished and sent quarterly accounts to Harwood to mail — 
Telegraphed to Sec'y of State about money — Up at night till 3 
o'clock — Slept an hour — Move to-morrow morning to other side 
of Turtle Mts. 45 miles about. 

Thurs., July 24 [1873]. 

Aroused at 4 by Wilson. Breakfast at 5. Just as we were 
in the midst of loading wagons a terrific rain and hail storm arose 
drenching everything. Wet to the skin again — Still raining when 
left camp — Cleared up about 12. Road terrible — stuck fast in 
several places. Marched about 14 miles and camped at 5 :30 by 
a big coulee which by the way is to be crossed in the morning; 
but how? Echo refuses to respond — Course N. W. 

Friday, July 25 [1873] . 

Morning clear and cool — Breakfast at 5 and off at 6 — Cou- 
lees innumerable — Marched slowly — country rolling — Met two 
Wahpeton Sioux. Camp on a bearitiful coulee — Deer was seen 
at 5 — Nash came into Camp and slept in my tent — skeets fearful 
— Course W. by north. 

Saturday, 26 [1873]. 

Up at 3:30.. Breakfast at 4:30 and off at 5 :30— Struck off 
from trail and travelled south west and south. Camped at 4 near 


the 49th parallel west side of Turtle Mountain, 14 miles march — 
bourse W. of S. and South. 

TWs, July 31 [1873]. 

Wrote to Ned, Jim, and mother (sent checks for $20. and $10. 
to Eunderson). Acknowledged statement of ass't Treas. 

Friday Aug. 1 [1873]. 
Rec'd letters. 

Saturday, 2 [1873]. 

Mailed letters of 31. Sent vouchers to Kennedy. 

Saturday, Aug. 9 [1873]. 

Left Camp on West side of Turtle Mountain and marched 
about 19 miles camping on the Mouse River — 9 miles below the 
1st crossing. 

Sunday, Aug. 10 [1873]. 

Lay over to-day to build boundary mounds between Turtle 
Mt. and Mouse River. 

Monday, 11 [1873]. 

Broke Camp at 5:30 and marched 9 miles north, crossing the 
Souris River at 1st crossing, marched 10 miles more and camped 
on N. Antler Creek. 

Tuesday, Aug. 12 [1873]. 

Broke camp at 5:30 and marched about 18 miles camping at 
Elm's end on South Antler Creek — 4 miles west of Mr. Gregory's 
Camp. Received letters through Lt. Bradley from Ida, Jim B., 
Geo. Thomas and papers announcing Mrs. Cuthcorts death — also 
official letters from State dept. and 1st Nat. Bank, St. Paul an- 
nouncing deposit of funds. 

Wed., Aug. 13 [1873]. 

Broke camp at 6 and marched about 21 miles — reaching the 
cavalry camp at 2nd Crossing of Mouse River at 5 o'clock — beau- 
tiful location. 

Valentine Wheeler 2 carts at $2 per day — 'hired by Greene. 

Thurs., Aug. 14 [1873]. 

Wrote to Treas 'r and sent weekly statement for 6 weeks past 
— also to 1st. Nat. Bank for Check Books. Twining hired John 
Howard — Scout at $2.50 per day. 

Fri., Aug. 15 [1873]. 

Mail goes out to Stevenson. Twining hired 3 carts at $2 each 
per day. 

Sat, Aug. 16 [1873]. 

Rode out in evening to Galwey's Camp. 


Sun., Aug. 17 [1873] 

Wrote letters all day. Rode out in evening to desecrate sup 
posed Indian graves — found nothing. 

Mon., Aug. 18 [1873]. 

Remained in camp — wrote weekly statement to Treasurer. 

Tues., Aug. 19 [1873]. 

Warm — Hot as — Terrific Avind all day like hot air Masts — 
Wrote to Kate McMahon and Will Maxfields — sent key of trunk 
to latter — Weir, Bell, Van Shrader and Hart to lunch — good time 
— Cavalry Camp in afternoon, — sent note and vouchers to Boss 
and $20. to Bayard^ Drew check to Helen M. Boss and enclosed it 
in letter to her — not feeling well — Wrote at night — cool and 
pleasant. Com'r broke claret for dinner. 

Wed., Aug. 20 [1873]. 

Fine — Wrote to Harvey Beck. 

Thurs., Aug. 21 [1873]. - 

Windy — Diplomatic dinner — Twining and Harbeck ride in 
to our camp about dark. Over to Cavalry Camp at night. 

Friday, Aug. 22 [1873]. 

Mail in. Wrote to Mr. Warren forwarding check for $300. 
and 30.50 to Mrs. H's order — asking him to attend to the matter 
and see that the papers were all correct. 

Sat., Aug. 23 [1873]. 

Busy all day — Ladley leaves for Stevenson— and St, Paul. 

Sun., Aug. 24 [1873]. 

Mail in — Papers announce death of Harding. 

Mon., Aug. 25 [1873]. 

Mail in — Papers with death of Harding — Busy all day. 
Mailed estimates to Sec'y of State. Sent in weekly statement. 
Wrote to Gurley at Stevenosn — Edgerly in. Writing till nearly 
3 o'clock in the morning. 

Tues., Aug. 26 [1873]. 

Twining left for his own camp. Anderson came up on his 
way west. Com. and Dr. take a ride. Howard came in with re- 
port of Indians. Not well all day. 

Wednesday, Aug. 27 [1873]. 

Nave goes to Stevenson carrying mail with him. Dr. — and 
Hart go shooting — Kill chickens 20 and 4 ducks. Storm arrives 
at night. Wind, rain, and hail as large as a hen's egg. Terrible 
blow ! Tents barely stand— Dust, Dust, DUST. 


Thurs., Aug. 28 [1873]. 

Wind still high — unable to write — sleep till 10 — Read ' ' Talis- 
man" all day. Ride in afternoon with Dr. Green and party came 
Up — go over to Green's camp. See Alexander — Cool at night. 
Wind abated at sun down, but rose again after dark. Greene 
"interviews" Commish — Would give anything to see "Potsey." 

Friday, Aug. 29 [1873]. 

Move camp about 100 yards — better spot. 

Saturday, 30 [1873]. 

Busy all day — Weather fine. 

Sunday, Aug. 31 [1873]. 

Rode down in the river bottom. Mail goes out in evening — 
Stoning Scout — Sent checks to Harwood (12.44. Cass 5.13) Mc- 
Kenny (162.20) Westermann & Co. (37.91) and vouchers to Stiles 
for signature. 

Monday, Sept. 1 [1873]. 

Weather fine — Greene moves West. 

Tues., 2 [1873]. 

Weather fine — but rain in morning — take a horseback ride — 
busy all day recording. 

Wed., Sept. 3 [1873]. 

Weather cloudy and raining in morning. Cool — Mail in. 
Note from Gurley. Mail vouchers of Winnie to Gen. Card. "Sel- 
kirk" to Harwood and weekly statements to Treasurer — Send 
mail out on the line by Joe. Ridgley returns with buckboard. 

Thurs., Sept. 4 [1873]. 

Wrote and mailed letters — sent to Stevenson by Bagley for 
gloves and moccasins. Weather cold and mean. In evening Mr. 
C, Dr. and myself pay a visit to Cavalry Camp. Make Ridgley 
mail carrier at $75. month, decide to send him out on Tuesday 
Sept. 9. 

Friday, Sept. 5 [1873]. 

Broke camp at 7 and started for Wood End Depot 50 miles 
further west. Morning cold and rainy. Dismal indeed ! Marched 
36 miles and camped at night at 7 o'clock by the side of St. Peter's 
Spring. Very Cold! 

Saturday, Sept. 6 [1873]. 

Woke in the morning by Ridgely with the mail — letters for 
Dr. and Mr. C. — none for me — Got a late start and passed La- 
Roche Percee — visited and inspected the same — very curious — 
reached Long Coteau River about 5 o'clock — Found Twining and 
Greene encamped — Very pretty. 


Sunday, Sept, 7 [1873]. 

Rose at 9 :30 and after breakfast wrote to Ida — Mrs. D. and 
Gurley— official to Haywood — paid Doolittle $200. 

Monday, 8 [1873]. 

"Weather fine — in Camp. 

Tues., 9 [1873]. 
In Camp. 

Wed., 10 [1873]. 
In Camp. 

Thurs., Sept. 11 [1873]. 

Cloudy — Twining leaves and goes back to Mouse River De- 
pot. Commissioner decides to return in morning — Capt. Cam- 
eron calls in morning and has an interview with Mr. Campbell — 
lively time. Plain talk — Invite him and Ward to dinner. He 
comes but not Ward. Very pleasant time — Duck, Beef, all the 
luxuries of the season. He stays till 9 — buzzing Com'r. To bed 
early but restless and not able to sleep. 

Friday, Sept. 12 [1873]. 

Damp and disagreeable— chilly and cold. Awakened by Wil- 
son at 4 o'clock. Arise and breakfasted at 4:30 and started off 
about 6 :30 — drizzling rain at intervals all day. Passed LaRoche 
Percie and St. Peter's Spring and encamped at the head of La 
Rivier de lac at 5 o'clock — making a march of about 38 miles. To 
bed early — very cold. 

Saturday, Sept, 13 [1873]. 

Slept till 8 o 'clock as had a short march to make that day. 
Joe came with mail at 5 o'clock, letters from mother (Aug. 26) 
and Jim Bren. (Aug. 26) Also note from Gurley. Started at 9 
o'clock and reached Mouse River at 2, about 4 miles an hour — 
saw Twining, Reno, etc. Twining and Reno call on British Com- 
missioner — came back full of spirits. Grand Council on the offi- 
cial status of Corns. See Boss and Von Schrader. 

Sunday, Sept. 14 [1873]. 

Mild pleasant morning — write to Mother — Mail goes out — 
mail letters — Send check for $300 to order of A. H. Herr to Mother 
asking her to have Jim Brem. pay it and get receipt check dated 
Sept. 13, B. 34,224. Wrote letters to Jim Brem and Mr. Thomson 
— Mailed Weekly statement to Treasurer — Boss and Von Shreder 
go down and take the mail with them. 

Monday, Sept. 15 [1873]. 

Arose at 8:15 — Twining and Reno came over — fix Grebe in 
box to send to Ida — Ride in afternoon with Edgerly — Mr. Camp- 
bell and I have a long talk about Cameron etc. — Ice in buckets 


at 10 P. M. — Twining, Bell, and Hart come over at night. Twin- 
ing leaves in morning for. Wood End Depot, 

Tnes., Sept. 16 [1873]. 

Fearfully cold last night — Basin froze solid — Couldn't sleep, 
arose this morning at 8 — Busy all day. Mailed check to Kennedy. 
(1,110). Walked over to Cavalry Camp in afternoon, saw Reno 
and Keogh — All rest out hunting and Minking. 

Wed., Sept. 17 [1873]. 

Began raining before got up — continued so all day. Cold! 
Paid Bell — Mr. C and Dr. in at night till 12. Dyspepsia — Write 
to Mother. Eidgley expected but does not arrive. Bell and 
Strong call. Paid Bell 3 checks for $100.— $43.92 and $1,418.70 

Thurs., Sept. 18 [1873]. 

Mail goes out: Jimmie takes letters of 14th, 16th and 17th. 
Cool day — over to Cavalry camp in afternoon, take a ride with 
Edgerly — Mail in at night, note from Bremerman. Note from Gur- 
ley sending stamps as per request. 

Friday, Sept. 19 [1873]. 

Blustering and cool all day — Remained in my tent all day — 
reading and writing. Edgerly came over and stayed about an 
hour. Dr. in my tent in the evening. Blows up cold and sky 
lowering — Wrote to Windsor. Received account of expenses of 
cutting line East of Pembina from Ward. 

Sat., Sept. 20 [1873]. 

Weather cloudy and windy — rain at intervals. In tent writ- 
ing all day — Bell and Hart over at night — Write to Harry Beck — 
Weekly statement to Treasurer. 

Sunday, Sept. 21 [1873]. 

Weather cloudy — Write all day. Mr. Henderson — Gurley — 
Keogh and Edgerty over at night — Dr. and I walk in afternoon 
before dinner. 

Mon., Sept. 22 [1873]. 

Mail goes out. Ridgely taking letters. Note to Gurley — De- 
licious day, Edgerly and Bell over — Mr. Campbell and myself call 
to Cavalry Camp at night. See all but Reno — he in bed — 8 o'clock 
— selfish. Retire at 11 — Deliciously fine day. 

Tues., Sept. 23 [1873]. 

Another fine day — Reading all day. Wind blows furiously 
at night. 
Wed., Sept. 24 [1873]. 

Arose at 10 — Snow fell last night, changed to rain. Rain at 
intervals all the morning. Read "Middle March" — Telegram for 
Mr. Campbell in evening telling him not to come home — brought 


up by two "Ree" scouts — Reno and Keogh over a few minutes 
in evening. . 

Thurs., Sept. 25 [1873]. 

Weather cloudy — and intervals rain — Write to mother and 
Clara — Began "Waverly" — raining hard at night. 

Friday, Sept. 26 [1873]. 

Awoke to the pattering of snow on my tent. Snow an inch 
or two deep^Rodney Smith arrived in morning with Indian 
Scouts as escort. Over to Cavalry Camp in morning and at night 
— Dr. and I have long talk. 

Saturday, Sept. 27 [1873]. 

Dr. and I go hunting with Bell and Hart. Cold, raw day. 
Snow and rain at intervals — Mail goes off with Rodney Smith — 
(letters of 23 and 25). Snowing hard at night. — Count Cash — ■ 
Reading "Simpleton." 

Sunday, Sept. 28 [1873]. 

Up at 7. Snow on ground and snowing at intervals all day. 
Cold and disagreeable — Reading all day — finished "Waverly" — 
With Mr. C. in afternoon — long talk about Cameron etc. and mat- 
ters relating to boundary — Very cold — Ice at night — slept warmer 
than any night. 

Monday, Sept. 29 [1873]. 

Cloudy — pleasant day — Busy all day with Pay Rolls. Fin- 
ished "Red Gauntlet." Ice at night. Clear night. Hard less 
on the Astronomers. Mr. C. expatiates on the enormity of Cam- 
eron's bill for cutting. He may kick, but of course we'll have 
to take their word for it. 

Tues., Sept. 30 [1873]. 

Cloudy morning— pleasant day — busy all day with F'ay Rolls 
etc. and making up estimates for money required after Mr. C. 
leaves — Mail ought to be in to-night or early to-morrow morning 
— no news for nearly two weeks — (except on 23rd, light mail). 
Feel anxious about my family. 

Wed., Oct. 1 [1873]. 

Cloudy opening — cleared about 12. Reading "To the Bitter 
End" all day anxiously looking for the mail. Commissioner 
takes the day to "interview" me (the Dr. being out shooting) 
long conversation in which Cameron, Farquhar, Twining, Comes, 
and everybody generally gets a good scoring. Mr. C. recounts 
many reminiscences of his earlier official life, much to my enter- 
tainment. Tells of Benton, Barnes, Provost, "San Juan" and 
many — up till 3 — Weir and Edgerly drop over. 

Thurs., Oct. 2 [1873]. 

Beautiful morning, like a spring day. "Still waiting" for 


that darned mail — It must come in to-day or my faith in Human 
nature and horse flesh is gone. Mail in at 9 o'clock P. M. 
Col. Stone. MeKemiey acknowledging receipt of check and Wes- 
terman & Co. Wrote to Ned Hay — Rec'd statement from Ass't 

Friday, Oct. 3 [1873]. 

"Wrote to Ida. Told her to address me at St. Paul. Acknowl- 
edged Ass't Treas. statement — Sent in weekly statement (Sept, 
27). Mailed check to Winnie ($515.28) McKenny ($194.19) Paul 
Harwood ($20.00)— Sent draft of $60. to Willie Leute by Joe- 
also Bill for cutting etc. to Twining — Sent check to 1st National 
Bank in my favor for $8,080.00 "Jimmy from Cork" goes out 
with the mail at 6 P. M. — through to Bismarck. Over Cav. Camp 
at night— got $400. from Bell. 

Saturday, Oct. 4 [1873]. 

Morning cloudy — In tent all day — Bell, Keogh, and Reno 
came over — give Bell check for $500. Twining comes in from 
Wood End Depot. Green and Gregory will probably be through 
by 12th and be here by 15th. "Let us hope so." 

Sunday, Oct. 5 [1873]. 

Beautiful day — air cool. Reading most all day — Over at 
Cavalry Camp with Twining in afternoon — -Very cool at night. 
Beautiful sunset, first for 10 days. 

Monday. Oct. 6 [1873]. 

Lovely day — Writing most of day — Bell over at night. 

Tues., Oct. 7 [1873]. 

Twining goes back to Wood End. Mr. Campbell decides to 
go home to-morrow- — over to Cav. Camp in morning, sending 
letters and making out checks in afternoon. Sent check for ($10) 
to Mother. Also wrote to Cashier of 1st National Bank. 

Wed., Oct. 8 [1873]. 

Mr. C. and Dr. leave Stevenson. Move my tent over to Cav- 
alry Camp and move men nearer. Mail goes to Stevenson with 
Dr. and Mr. C. Mail in at night. [Letter from] Mr. Warren (17th) 
enclosing receipts and letters of administration of Mrs. Harding, 
and private letter in regard to Secy ship — Note from Mr. Camp- 
bell about escort etc. 

Thurs., Oct. 9 [1873]. 

Wrote to Ida and Lillie — and note to Twining. Rode in af- 
ter noon with Bell. 

Friday, Oct. 10 [1873]. 

Twining and Gregory with their parties came in from Wood 
End Depot. Ride with Weir over to their camp — Pay Greg. 
$13.20 due him. Wrote to Mother at night. 


Saturday, Oct. 11 [1873]. 

Move my camp to Twining 's preparatory to starting out in 
the morning for Totten. Pay Joe — Mail goes out with letters of 
9 and 10. 

Sunday, Oct. 12 [1873]. 

Breakfast at 5 :30. Left Camp at 7 :45 and struck across the 
prairie S. E. for Totten. Found water about dark — 24 miles — 
Had to go 2 miles north of our course to find water. Twining 
discovered the pool and consequently its name is "Lake Twin- 
ing." Day pleasant and good for marching. 

Mon., Oct. 13 [1873]. 

Breakfast at 5 :30 and off at 7 — made 19 miles and camped 
about 7 — going S. E. and E. Struck the [ ] trail and fol- 
lowed it some distance until it struck a cart trail when we left it 
and followed the cart trail. Camped on a coulee to the left. At 
night there being prairie fires in all directions, Twining burnt 
a circle of about 20 feet in width all around the camp, thus secur- 
ing our safety in case they should reach our vicinity. 

Tues., Oct. 14 [1873]. 

Breakfast at 4 :45 off at 6 :10 — along the cart trail. Marched 
20 miles and camped on Burnt Prairie by a coulee. Cloudy and 
disagreeable all day. Turtle Mountain to the N. E. all day. 
Course E. by S. 20 miles. 

Wed., Oct. 15 [1873]. 

Breakfasted at 6 and off at 7. Marched all day over burnt 
prairie still — Strike the Mouse River below Willow Creek about 
12. travel an hour longer and cross it about 2 miles below. Sand 
hills on the right. Cloudy and cool all day. Very cold at night. 
Eoast duck for supper. 17 miles. 

Thurs., Oct. 16 [1873]. 

Up at 4:30. Breakfast at 4:45,, and off by 6. Cold as 
Blazes. Thermometer at +12. March 10 miles and water at a pool. 
Beautiful day — warm and pleasant. Hills in distance. Course E. 
and S. E. by S. distance 23 miles — Camped at 3 o'clock in a pool 
in the hills— saw a herd of 8 antelope on the prairie — just as we 
got into camp 5 loose ponies came towards the camp and were 
captured by Zub and Howard. 

Friday, Oct. 17 [1873]. 

Breakfast at 5 and off at 6 — cloudy and threatening rain 
begins to rain about an hour after leaving camp — winding about 
in the hills all day. Course S. E. — Pass several lakes — mostly 
alkaline, some dry — all the grass burnt off — Bruce and Bean 
chase a Jack rabbit, but don't catch him. Camp at a large lake 
well timbered — about 15 miles from last camp — Wind blowing 


and black dust flying — ugh ! horrid — Hurricane Lake the name of 
the place. 

Saturday, Oct. 18 [1873]. 

Breakfasted at 5 — off at 6 — Cold, cloudy and blustering. 
Course S. E. by S. over burnt prairie — dust and cinders nearly 
blinding — terrible. Follow cart trail some distance and then 
strike off into an Indian trail — stop for lunch at 12 by a lake in 
the hills — Hills all around go on about 2 miles farther and camp 
by a pond about 12 miles. N. W. of Devils Lake — distance traveled 
20 miles. 

Sunday, Oct. 19 ]1873[. 

Breakfast at 5 — mules lost and not found till 6 :30 when 
started — Saw Devils Lake from a ridge off to S. E. Stopped on 
prairie for lunch — travelled 2214 miles and camped about 6 miles 
from Totten. Day warm and pleasant, delightful. Last of Greg- 
ory's "oil of Joy." 

Mon., Oct. 20 [1873]. 

Breakfasted at 7 :30 and off at 8 :30. Wind blowing and dust 
flying, miserable and uncomfortable. Col. Hunt met us just as 
we came in sight of the Fort, accompanied by his two little boys 
on ponies. Rode in and saw Bannister. Camped about 500 yards 
to the east of the Fort. 

Tues., Oct, 21 ]1873[. 

Dined with Col. Hunt together with Major and Gregory and 
Harbach. Alex and Dave and Bell in evening — Porter and wife. 

Wed., Oct. 22 [1873]. 

Send Mr. Wilson's pay to J. Q. Wilson. Sturgis, Michigan — 
after Oct. 1. Send Mr. Doolittle's pay to Mrs. M. C. Doolittle, 
Ontario, LaGrange Co., Indiana. Mr. Downing 's pay to be de- 
posited in Detroit, Greene and party arrived about 12. 

Friday, Oct. 24 [1873]. 

Started from Totten for Jimtown — pleasant day. Made 
Cheyenne river at 1 o'clock — 18 miles. Left checks for 2m 
and shoes for St. Morris with Gen'l Hunt. 

Saturday, Oct. 25 [1873]. 

Left camp before daybreak and marched 32 miles along the 
Jim River toward Seward. Snowing at intervals all day — 
ice in lakes and River 4 inches thick. 

Sunday, Oct. 26 [1873]. 

Marched 20 1 /o miles and camped at coulee 10 miles from 
Jimtown. Very cold and chilly all day but clear. 

Monday, Oct. 27 [1873]. 

Cold — Reached Seward at 9. Breakfast with Patterson — 


Gave Thornton $150.00, Welch $10.— Kelly 15.— Tickets $753.31. 
Paid Strong $240.00. Bought Twining 's ticket. Left Seward 
for St. Paul. 

Tuesday, Oct. 28 [1873]. ,.'„ -,•''■., 

Paid for hotel bills of Twining and Gregory ($1.50 each) and 
men $46.50— Lent Bannister $40. Reached St. Paul in after- 



Hattie Listenfelt. 

Early History, 1670-1821. 

About the year 1663 two French fur traders, Radisson and 
Groseilliers, attempted to interest the merchants of Montreal and 
Quebec in a fur-trading venture in Hudson Bay. In the years 
just previous to this, these two had been exploring and trading 
in the region around the upper part of Lake Superior. It is not 
known positively just where they went in the course of a journey 
which they made in 1662, but immediately upon their return from 
that trip they began to agitate the subject of trade in Hudson 
Bay. If they had not actually reached the Bay, they had at least 
learned a great deal about it and about its great advantages in 
the way of fur trade. They met with no success in their efforts 
to arouse interest in this trade because the Canadian merchants 
were busy with other ventures and in consideration of the exist- 
ing friendly relations between the English and French, perhaps 
they had no wish to antagonize the English by encroaching on the 
territory which they claimed. Since 1610 the Hudson Bay coun- 
try had been claimed by the English by reason of the discoveries 
of Henry Hudson, Button, Fox, and James ; later English explorers 
had strengthened the claim. 

The New Englanders had been interested in fur trading and 
it was probably a knowledge of this fact Which led Radisson and 
Groseilliers to seek help in Boston. The story goes that in 1664 
they secured the services of a ship in Boston under a certain 
Captain Zachary Gillam to undertake an expedition to the Bay. 
Such an attempt may have been made, but if so, nothing came 
of it. 

Radisson and Groseilliers next tried to secure help for their 
venture at the French Court but without success. Some one of 
influence, however, seems to have become interested in their ex- 
plorations and projects and to have secured for them letters of 
introduction to Prince Rupert, the cousin and favorite of Charles 
II. of England, who was well known as a patron of such under- 

The extravagant and dissolute court of the restored Stuarts 
was in chronic need of money at this time. Charles II. had "no 
desire to go on his travels again" so he was trying to get along 
without asking Parliament for any great amounts of money. Ac- 
cordingly, Radisson and Groseilliers found willing listeners for 
their scheme, to secure great wealth in the fur trade. Prince Ru- 


pert, the Duke of York, and the King himself entered readily 
into the plan and a company was organized and stock taken in 
1667. The stock holders were practically all men of high birth 
and great court influence. Two ships were fitted out at .their ex- 
pense for a preliminary expedition. The ship on which Eadisson 
sailed never reached the Bay. The other, under the command 
of the same Captain Gillam whom the Frenchmen had met in Bos- 
ton, reached the lower part of the James Bay in 1668 near the 
mouth of a river which was named Kupert River in honor of the 
patron of the enterprise. Here the Englishmen built a fort known 
as Ft. Charles, where they spent the winter' trading with the In- 
dians. After a profitable season they returned to London with 
a cargo of furs. 

The promoters of the venture were so well pleased with the 
result that they at once applied to the King for a charter, which 
was granted May 2, 1670. The Company thus organized con- 
tinued its existence under this same Charter until past the middle 
of the nineteenth century. 

The preamble of the Charter states that the grant is made 
because the incorporators had at their own cost undertaken an 
expedition to Hudson Bay for the "discovery of a new passage 
to the South Sea and for the finding some trade for furs, min- 
erals, and other considerable commodities," and in the pursu- 
ance of this design "there may," continue the Royal words, 
"probably arise very great advantage to us and our kingdom." 

The full name of the Company is given in the Charter as 
' ' The Governor and Company of Adventures of England trading 
with Hudson's Bay." The Company is usually referred to in the 
documents of the time as "The Honourable Hudson's Bay Co.," 
while in the region where it operated it was known simply as 
"The Company." 

The main provisions of the Charter may be given as follows : 

1. The usual powers of corporations (the rights of succes- 
sion, possession, the right' to sue and be sued in the 

courts and the right to adopt a common seal.) 

2. Provisions for the election of officers and _the manage- 
ment of affairs of the Company. 

3. The grant not only of exclusive trading privileges but 
also of absolute ownership in the territory drained by the rivers 
flowing into the Hudson Bay. This territory is to be regarded 
as one of the English plantations in America and to be known as 
Rupert's Land. 

4. Government and execution of justice in the territory to 
be left to the Governor and Council. 1 

As soon as the Charter received the royal assent, more ships 

1. Hudson's Bay Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons. Aug. S, 1842, pp. 3-9. 


were fitted out, one of which with Radisson on board went to the 
mouth of the Nelson River where the important York Factory 
was later located. From this time on, trade was regularly estab- 
lished between London and the Bay. The Company prospered 
during these first years but common report in London probably 
gave it a much greater profit than it really enjoyed. An air of 
mystery surrounded its transactions on account of the secrecy of 
its meetings and the fact that its operations were carried on in 
the unknown New World. 

For a very long time the agents of the Company showed no 
disposition to branch out from the edge of the Bay but were con- 
tent with the furs which the Indians brought to them. Fifteen 
years after the Charter was granted, only five trading posts had 
been established : Rupert, Moose, Severn, Albany, and York, all 
of which are on the very shore of the Bay. 

The men who were sent over first by the Company do not 
seem to have been suited either by inclination or experience for 
such a venture. Their manner of living here did not tend to 
change their inclinations ; the longer they stayed in the forts the 
harder it was to stir from them. 1 A few early explorers did go out 
from the trading posts but they seem to have acted on their own 
initiative rather than from encouragement they received from any 
one connected with the Company. The Governor and Board of 
Directors in London who had complete control over the affairs of 
the Company knew very little about actual conditions in their 
territory. They did not have a proper conception of the size of 
the region nor of the importance of sending out explorers to take 
actual possession of the country. Friends of the Company con- 
tended that it did have the only kind of possession possible at 
such a time, in that it had the country under its control through 
the fact that the Indians of the interior brought their furs to the 

Another people, however, were soon to show that there was 
another kind of possession which was likely to be much stronger 
and more lasting. Various commissions issued to the French fur 
companies in Canada since 1540 had defined the northern bound- 
aries of the grants in more or less vague terms and thus given 
rise to French claims to the Hudson Bay country. It was as- 
serted, too, that French traders had visited the region as early 
as 1627 and at various times since then. In 1670, the French 
Intendant Talon wrote to Colbert that information had been 
brought to him by some Algonquins that European traders had 
been seen on the shores of the Bay. Talon surmised at once that 
they were Englishmen conducted by Groseilliers. He determined 
to offset such efforts by sending traders among the Indians to the 

Willson, The Great Company, London, 1900, I., 108, 219. 


North to persuade them to bring their furs down to the French 
instead of taking them to the traders on the Bay. From this time 
dates the rivalry of the two nations to secure this trade. 

In a short time Radisson and Groseilliers returned to France 
and entered the service of the French King again. Considering 
the more than friendly relations which existed between the courts 
of England and France at this time — Charles II. being the bene- 
ficiary of Louis XIV. — it is perhaps not strange to learn that in 
the next few years Eadisson served first one king and then the 
other. At one time we find him leading an expedition of French 
to compete in trade with the English Company he had helped 
to found ; at another time he hands over to the English a cargo of 
furs which he had secured for a French company. 

After the Stuarts were expelled from England, Louis XIV. 
supported the exiled King and thus brought on a war. In his 
declaration of war King William mentioned as one of his griev- 
ances the fact that the French had in a time of peace, 1682 to 
1688, seized English possessions in Hudson Bay. During the 
war which followed this declaration, some of the trading posts 
changed hands several times. By the terms of the treaty of Rys- 
wick, 1697, which closed the war, the French got decidedly the 
best of it in regard to the Hudson Bay country. All places 
which had been taken by the French during the peace which pre- 
ceded the war and were retaken by the English during the war 
were to be left in the hands of the French. Commissioners were 
to be appointed to determine the respective rights of the claim- 
ants to the territory. This meant that the French possessed cer- 
tain rights which had never before been acknowledged by the 
English and that the Hudson's Bay Company's claims were not 
definitely recognized. 1 

Negotiations looking toward a settlement of the disputes 
had not accomplished anything before war broke out again. The 
peace of Utrecht, 1713, closed this war and by the terms of the 
treaty, the claims of the English to the Hudson Bay country 
were acknowledged and the Company was given undisputed pos- 
session of the forts on the Bay. A commission was appointed to 
settle the boundary between Hudson Bay territory and the 
French possessions but this was not accomplished. In 1763 Can- 
ada passed into the hands of England and from this time on the 
boundary question was not international but domestic in char- 

In the meantime the Company had been doing little to make 
its possession strong by extending its trade. The French, on the 
other hand, had been very active in the years from 1680 to 1750. 
About 1680 we hear of Duluth, a French explorer and trader, 

1. Willson, The Great Company, I., 235. 


conducting trading operations around Lake Xepigon and in the 
region between Lake Superior and the upper Mississippi. It was 
his design to hold here trade which would otherwise go north to 
the Company. This was a good point from which to reach the 
heart of the Company's possessions and we soon find the French 
taking advantage of the opportunity. 

In 1731 the famous French explorer Verendrye organized a 
trading company at Montreal and set out to establish trading 
posts in the country northwest of Lake Superior. He had great 
difficulty in securing help to carry out his plans but in the thir- 
teen years which he spent in this region he accomplished as much 
as the great Hudson's Bay Company had accomplished since its 
organization 70 years before this time. He established forts on 
Lakes Manitoba and Winnipeg, and on the Saskatchewan and As- 
siniboine Rivers, at all points which he considered best calculated 
to secure trade and keep it from going north to the Bay. How well 
he selected these places may be judged from the fact that on the 
sites of these posts the Hudson's Bay Company later established 
posts. After Verendrye 's death in 1749 the enterprise of the 
French in the west languished and finally in 1763 the country 
passed out of their hands altogether. 

Meanwhile the Company had scarcely stirred from the posts 
on the Bay. They had, it is true, noticed the effect of Verendrye 's 
enterprise on their trade and in 1742 built a post 150 miles up the 
Albany River. They did this in the hope of keeping some of the 
trade of this region which was being drawn to Verendrye 's posts, 
but they were not moved to make any further effort. 

Affairs had not been moving smoothly at home all this time. 
In 1689, the Company petitioned Parliament for a confirmation 
of the Charter. The probable explanation of this action is that 
the Company feared that its close connection with the Stuarts 
might work it harm under the new government. The Charter had 
been granted by Charles II., the first Governor had been Rupert, 
who was closely connected with the exiled family, and the second 
Governor had been the banished King himself. It would be no 
wonder if the Company felt that it needed the sanction of Parlia- 
ment. The confirmation was granted in 1690 for a period of 7 
years and its renewal was never asked for, probably because the 
Company feared the issue of such a request. 

The same year a petition was presented to Parliament against 
the confirmation of the trading privileges of the Company. The 
reasons for the complaint alleged were that the high price of bea- 
ver was turning an immense amount of the trade to the French 
in Canada and that the monopoly had kept the English dealers 
from getting the best beaver. Some of the London trade guilds 
interested in the beaver trade attempted to push matters against 
the Company but owing to the press of other business Parliament 


could not consider the petition and it was placed in the archives 
and forgotten. 1 

In 1748, the enemies of the Company headed by a certain 
Arthur Dobbs, started an agitation against .the Company 
because it had not tried to find the North West pas- 
sage and had not extended its trade to the limits of 
the Charter. They attempted to show in a petition to 
Parliament that the Charter was either void on account 
of the uncertainty of the land grant and the fact that a 
trade monopoly was established or else that the Company had for- 
feited its privileges by not using and by abusing them. They 
asked that these privileges be annulled in order that an undesir- 
able monopoly be destroyed. The matter was referred to a com- 
mittee of Parliament and both sides were allowed to present their 
arguments. The Committee found that "considering how long 
the Company have enjoyed and acted under this Charter without 
interruption or encroachment," that it was not advisable to make 
any declaration against its validity until a decision by a court of 
justice should warrant such declaration. As to the alleged neg- 
lect of duty on the part of the Company the Committee held that 
such neglect was in a large measure unavoidable. The matter was 
then dropped by the petitioners and the Company allowed to con- 
tinue in its privileges. 2 

If the traders on the shore of the Hudson Bay were not mak- 
ing use of their opportunities there were not wanting other trad- 
ers to penetrate into the interior of their country. Iinmediatpl >' 
after Canada passed into the hands of the English there was a 
short period of prosperity for the Company. The French license 
system of trading ceased, the posts in the West were abandoned, 
the French traders did not make their accustomed trips into the 
interior and the Company reaped the profit. The English con- 
querors did not attempt trading ventures at once. They were 
unacquainted with the country and lacked confidence in the half- 
breeds Whose services were necessary in conducting operations in 
the interior. There were many difficulties to be encountered : 
such as, the hostility of the Indians to the English, immense dis- 
tances to be traversed, the risk of property and the heavy expense 
necessary to start a trade. But this state of affairs did not con- 
tinue long. The half-breed and the French trade soon began to 
revive. A great number of Scotch Highlanders were coming over 
to Canada about this time and they were quick to see the oppor- 
tunities offered in fur trade. Traders — Scotch, French and half- 
breed were soon out in the Hudson Bay Company's territory inter- 

1. Willson, The Great Company, [., 211-21 P. 

2. ReDort of the Committee appointed to Enquire into the State and Condition 
of the Countries adjoining to Hudson's Bay. Reported by Lord Strange, April 24, 
1749, p. 285. 


cepting the trade which had gone back to the Company after the 
conquest by the English. 

This free trade assumed great proportions and seriously cut 
down the profits of the Company, whose. representatives finally 
became alarmed and in 1774 attempted to hold their own by the 
establishment of Cumberland House on the eastern shore of Stur- 
geon Lake. "From this period to the present time," writes Alex- 
ander Mackenzie at the" close of the century, "they have been 
following the Canadians to their different establishments, while, 
on the contrary, there is not a solitary instance that the Cana- 
dians have followed them." 1 / The competition for trade between 
these independent traders was carried on far away from any legal 
restraints, so there was no limit on the. means which were used 
to secure advantages. Liquor was used freely in the transac- 
tions and rival traders were injured as much as possible by mis- 
representations. This policy tended to destroy the confidence of 
the Indians and the profits of the trade. 

From year to year the traders pushed a little farther to the 
West and North "West. In 1778 some traders on the Saskatche- 
wan entrusted a trading expedition. to Mr. P'eter Pond who was 
to proceed to the Athabasca country if possible. He succeeded 
in reaching Elk River where he passed the winter, trading with 
the Cristineaux and Chipewyan tribes who had been in the habit 
of carrying their furs annually to Ft. Churchill, of which cus- 
tom Mackenzie says: "the latter by barren grounds, where they 
suffered innumerable hardships, and were sometimes even starved 
to death. The former followed the course of the lakes and rivers, 
through a country that abounded in animals, and where there was 
plenty of fish ; but though they did not suffer from want of food 
the intolerable fatigue of such a journey could not be easily re- 
paid to an Indian ; they were, therefore, highly gratified by see- 
ing people come to their country to relieve them from such long, 
toilsome, and dangerous journeys; and were immediately recon- 
ciled to give an advanced price for the articles necessary to their 
comfort and convenience." 2 These words explain why the Com- 
pany was losing its trade. The French had always disputed the 
English claim to this territory and these free traders naturally 
inherited the French idea. 

The trade with the Indians was checked in 1781 by an out- 
break of smallpox among them but in 1783 — 81 it took on a more 
important character through the union of several Montreal mer- 
chants in a new company to be called the North West Company. 
In 1787 the organization was completed by the addition of an- 
other important group of merchants. With these were joined 
traders of the better class and half-brfeeds who bad been traffic- 

1. Alexander MacKenzie, Voyage from Montreal, New York, 1802, p. 7. 

2. lb., 9. / 


ing with the Indians. The Company did not secure any license 
or charter from the Government. The stock was composed in 1787 
of twenty shares divided between two sets of partners. The first set 
were agents of the Company who lived in Canada and managed 
the importation of the goods from England and the shipping of 
the furs. The other set were the "wintering partners" who car- 
ried on the actual trading expeditions among the Indians. One 
of the strongest points in the organization of the company was 
the provision that employees might by long service and ability 
become partners. This ensured great effort and faithfulness on 
the part of the men in the service. 

Once a year two of the agents went to Grand Portage on Lake 
Superior where they met the traders and made a settlement of 
the year's business. The trading operations were carried on 
over such wide territory that a very long time was needed for a 
return from the venture. Mackenzie states that goods ordered 
from Montreal in Oct. 1796 were not finally paid for from the pro- 
ceeds of the sale of furs in London until May or June, 1800. 1 In 
some cases the furs had to be brought from such great distances 
that another year was needed to bring in the payment. Business 
like this required a great amount of credit and skillful manage- 
ment but the new company carried on its operations with great 
vigor and prospered from the very first, It pushed its trade far 
out to the Red and Saskatchewan Rivers, Where the free traders 
had already been. Indeed, these half-breed traders were an im- 
portant element in the strength of the new company. 

In the midst of this prosperity, factions arose within the Com- 
pany on account of jealousy among the partners. Some of the 
disaffected withdrew in 1801 and formed a new organization 
known as the X Y Company. This combination did not long 
continue a separate existence and in 1804 was re-united to the 
parent company. 

During the early period of rivalry between the North West 
Company and the Hudson's Bay Company, the traders often met 
in the wilderness without any feelings of personal animosity. As 
competition grew more intense, however, these feelings changed 
and many scenes of violence were enacted in the effort to keep 
the rival from getting trade or to despoil him of what he had 
already secured. The effect of such occurrences on the Indians 
was altogether bad. . Both parties seem to have been guilty of 
violence but the N. W. Co. was especially so by reason of the 
great number of half-breeds in its employ. As to the manage- 
ment of the business, the N. W. Co. seems to have had the advan- 
tage in that it was newer and its members more energetic. It 
had an advantage, too, in its point of operations. It was easier 

Mackenzie. Voyage from Montreal, 17. 


, «. 

to reach the fur producing country from Ft. William than it was 
from the icy shores of Hudson Bay. 

The operations of the North West Company interfered so 
seriously with the business of the Hudson's Bay Company that 
the profits of the older Company ceased entirely and they incurred 
great losses in the period after the amalgamation of the North 
West and X Y companies in 1805. The Napoleonic Wars and the 
Continental System made the situation all the worse by destroy- 
ing markets and increasing the risk of transportation. In 1809, 
the great corporation was reduced to the necessity of applying to 
the government for aid. They did not succeed in securing any- 
thing, however*, but a slight concession in regard to storing furs 
free of duty. 1 

Soon after this time, the Earl of Selkirk, a Scotch nobleman, 
who had visited Montreal and had learned a great deal there about 
the situation existing between the rival companies, came forward 
to take a hand in the matter. He began to buy Hudson's Bay 
Company stock which was selling at a very low price at this 
time, and by 1811 he had secured the controlling interest. He 
then proposed to the Company that they grant him a tract of land 
from their territory on which to found a colony. (Some years 
before this he had wanted to found a colony in the region of Lake 
Winnipeg but had been prevailed upon to select Prince Edward's 
Island instead.) In spite of spirited opposition he secured such a 
grant in May, 1811. The new district was to be known as Assini- 
boia and its limits are described as follows in the deed given to 
Lord Selkirk: "All that tract of land or territory bounded by an 
imaginary line running as follows, that is to say, beginning on 
the western slope of Lake Winnipeg at a point in 52° 30' north 
latitude, and thence running due west to the Lake Winnipegoos, 
then in a southerly direction, through the said lake so as to strike 
its western shore in latitude 52°, then due west to the place where 
the 52nd. degree intersects the western branch of Red River, As- 
siniboine River, then due south from that point of intersection to 
the height of land which separates the waters running into Hud- 
son's Bay from those of the Missouri and Mississppi, then in an 
easterly direction along the source of the Winnipeg River (mean- 
ing by such last named river, the principal branch of the waters 
which unite in Lake Sagenayas), thence along the main stream 
of these waters, and the middle of the several lakes through which 
they flow, to the mouth of the Winnipeg River, and thence in a 
northerly direction through the middle of Lake Winnipeg to the 
place of beginning." 2 Thus Assiniboia included the Red River 
valley, the greater part of the Assniboine. parts of Lakes Winni- 

1. Willson. The Great Company. II., 123-129. 

2. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, See. 5782. 



peg and Winnipegoosis and all of Lake Manitoba, in all about 
116,000 square miles. It was the strategic region of the fur 
trade. Here Verendrye had planted his trading posts and here 
the North West Company carried on their immense operations. 
"Whoever controlled this region had the firmest grip on the trade. 
Not only was it valuable for the furs which it contained but it 
had a good outlet by the way of the Great Lakes and it was a 
base of the operations for the great fur region lying to the north- 

The colonists necessary for the carrying out of the new ven- 
ture were right at hand. Shortly before this time, the large land 
owners of the Scottish highlands, especially the Duchess of Suth- 
erland, had begun to drive away their tenants in order to turn 
their farms into sheep pastures. The dispossessed tenants were 
badly in need of relief. Lord Selkirk had been interested in 
philanthropic projects, so naturally he found many of his first 
colonists among these people. 

The first lot of immigrants, secured from Glasgow, Orkney, 
and Ireland, came over late in the year 1811, and spent the winter 
at York Factory. They were mutinous and quarrelsome and the 
events of this winter were not at all propitious for the success of 
the colony. The next summer they journeyed on to the Red River 
but arrived there so late in the year that they could not hope to 
raise any provisions to support them through the winter. So in- 
stead of remaining at the point they had selected for settlement 
near the mouth of the Assiniboine, they went on up the river to 
Pembina where the North West Company had a trading post and 
where a number of half-breeds had collected. Here they were 
received kindly and helped through the winter. In the spring 
they returned to their new home and 'built Ft. Douglas. 

The story of the next few years is simply a repetition of this 
story. Every year a fresh lot of immigrants was sent over from 
Scotland and Ireland. All of them experienced many hardships 
on the way and arrived at their destination much diminished in 
number. Although Lord Selkirk seems to have been a kind 
hearted man, he did not make adequate provision for the estab- 
lishment of a colony. The people suffered from want of food, 
clothing, and farming implements. Although strong and hardy, 
they were unused to the hardships of pioneer life and totally 
ignorant of the devices by which such a life is made comfortable. 
From the very beginning there was complaint and dissatisfacton. 
There was a feeling all along that the colonists were not getting 
fair treatment. 

The North West Co. had a trading post called Ft. Gibraltar, 
close to Ft. Douglas. Naturally their traders had many commu- 
nications with the colonists here as well as at Pembina. At first 
there seem to have been friendly feelings between the two and 


the North Westers on more than one occasion befriended and aided 
the colonists, although they must have felt that this new project 
did not augur any good to them. Jan. 8, 1814, the Governor of 
the colony, Miles McDonell, issued a proclamation which showed 
that the object of founding the colony was not purely philan- 
thropic. The proclamation was to the effect that no provisions 
of any sort were to be carried out of the colony without license 
from the Governor. This was virtually a declaration of war 
against the North West Company for if complied with, it would 
mean that they would be unable to carry on their trading opera- 
tions in the northwest, for all their provisions for that trade had 
to be carried through the district of Assiniboia and of course the 
Governor would not grant licenses to them. In October of the 
same year the Governor issued a second proclamation in which 
the Canadians, as the members of the North West Company were 
often called, were warned to leave their posts and give up their 
trade. Of course they did not comply with this demand which 
the colonists were wholly unable to enforce. They had that very 
strong right, the right of possession and they meant to hold on 
to it. They would not give up so easily their immense property 
interests at the mere word of those whom they regarded as foreign 
intruders. In the meantime Governor McDonell had begun to 
drill his colonists as soldiers and military supplies were being sent 

The agent of the North West Company at Ft, Gibraltar had 
been circulating among the colonists with the object of persuad- 
ing them to leave the place. This man was a Scotchman and 
they were disposed to listen to him as a friend Who was warning 
them of the danger and difficulty of their position. In the spring 
of 1815 actual war was on and in an encounter between the rival 
forces. Governor McDonell was made a prisoner and the Hudson's 
Bay Co. officers agreed to the abandonment of the colony in order 
that trade might go on as usual. Some of the colonists entered 
the service of the Hudson's Bay Co.; others went to Jack river 
or Norway House, as it was afterwards called; and one or two 
to York Factory. About fifty families were taken by the North 
West Company to Canada and to all appearances the colony had 
failed utterly. 2 

In the fall, however, another lot of immigrants came, who 
in company with the colonists returned from Norway House, were 
forced to winter at Pembina. After their return to Ft. Douglas 
in the spring of 1816, they seized Ft. Gibraltar and took posses- 
sion of the furs stored there. In June of this year there was an 
encounter between a number of the Northwesters and the colon- 
ists in which about twenty of the latter were killed. This affair 

1. Ross, Red River Settlement, London, 1856, pp. 26-28. 

2. lb., 29. 


so' disheartened the remaining settlers that they withdrew to Nor- 
way House again. 1 Shortly after this time Lord Selkirk accom- 
panied by a number of soldiers, arrived at Eed River and suc- 
ceeded in restoring order. The colonists were brought back from 
Norway House and the colony seemed to be for the first time on 
a sure footing. 

Of course such disturbances as had taken place had attracted 
the attention of the government and in Feb., 1817 the Home Gov- 
ernment sent a dispatch to the Governor General of Canada pro- 
viding for the settlement of disputes and the restoration of order. 
According to the instructions contained in this dispatch, all forts 
and trading posts were to be restored, all blockades or hindrances 
to the free passage of traders were to be withdrawn and all per- 
sons to be allowed to continue their usual trade without molesta- 
tion. 2 A commission did what it could to carry out these instruc- 
tions and finally reported that the only means of restoring peace 
completely would be through the union of the rival companies. 
In the meantime, there was being contested bitterly in the courts 
of Canada a series of law suits, which had grown out of the acts 
of violence of both parties. These suits only increased the bad 
feeling and made the .prospect of a union seem impossible. In 
1820 the Earl of Selkirk died and it became possible to come to an 

In 1821 a union was finally brought about, largely through 
the efforts of Edward Ellice, a prominent member of the North 
West Company who also held some stock in the Hudson's Bay 
Company. According to the terms of this agreement the stock of 
the new company was to be divided equally between the original 
Companies. The profits were to be divided into 100 shares, 40 of 
which were to go to the chief factors and chief traders who had 
actual charge of the trading operations. The rest of the profits 
were to go to the stockholders. 3 The association was to continue 
under the name of the Hudson's Bay Co. The trade center was 
shifted now from Montreal to York and the old route by Ft. 
William fell into disuse. The Montreal capitalists felt that it 
was a victory for the foreigners against natives and as we shall 
see later did not forget that the wealth that was now taken to 
London had formerly flowed into Montreal. 

The same year that this union was accomplished, Parliament 
passed an Act which gave to the sovereign power to issue licenses 
conveying exclusive trading privileges. Dec. 5, 1821, George IV. 
issued, in accordance with this act, a license which granted exclu- 
sive trading privileges to the united companies in the part of 
British North America which lay to the north and west of the 

1. Ross, Red River Settlement, p. 36. 

2. Willson, The Great Company, 203-204. 

3. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, 1857, p. 325. 


territory covered by the charter of 1670. The reasons for this 
grant are given in the license as being; (1) The H. B. Co. and the 
N. W. Co. had extended the fur trade over many parts of America 
which had not been before explored; (2) they had entered into 
an agreement to end the competition in trade which had proved 
so injurious to the trade itself, to the Indians and to the various 
British subjects. # The exclusive privileges were to continue for 
twenty one years on consideration that the Company keep an 
accurate record of its employees and turn in annually a register 
of the same to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Further- 
more they were to give security in the sum of £5000 for due ex- 
ecution of justice in criminal processes and in civil processes 
where the amount in dispute was in excess of £200. The Com- 
pany were to submit as soon as possible rules and regulations for 
carrying on the fur trade with the Indians which would look 
toward their moral and religious improvement and the abolition 
of the use of liquor in fur trading operations. 1 

In the meantime the colonists had been undergoing great 
hardships and discouragements. Nothing had been said about 
their interests or position under the new arrangements which 
indicates, perhaps, that they were no longer objects of usefulness. 
They struggled during the summer to get a little grain harvested 
and then spent the winters at Pembina in order to be close to the' 
food supply of the plains. The whole colony does not seem to 
have been reduced to the necessity of wintering at Pembina after 
1821. In both 1818 and 1819, the colony suffered greatly owing 
to the fact that the entire crop of both years was destroyed by 

The colony received additions from various sources. We 
noticed the fact that Lord Selkirk was accompanied by a number 
of soldiers when he arrived at Red River. He had come by the 
way of Canada where he found these soldiers just discharged from 
service in the "War of 1812. He hired them to go with him to his 
ill-starred colony; they were for a small price to navigate the 
boats for him to the Red River. If they wanted to remain, they 
were to have lands assigned to them. If not, they were to be 
conveyed back to Montreal or to Europe as they chose. They 
decided to stay with the colony and were assigned land opposite 
Point Douglas. They were a motley lot. There were four offi- 
cers and about eighty men from the de Meuron regiment, largely 
Germans and Piedmontese who had been forced by conscription 
into Bonaparte's army and had joined the English regiment when 
it was stationed at Gibraltar in 1809. There were also about 

1. The Hudson's P.av Co. Return to an Address of the ITonorahle The House 
of Commons. August 8, 1842, pp. 21-29. 


twenty of the Watteville regiment and a few of the Glengarry 
Fencibles. 1 

In 1818, a few French families from Lower Canada accom- 
panied by two Catholic priests arrived at the settlement. They 
were forced to go with the others to Pembina where most of them 
remained four years. At the end of that time the greater -part 
of the Pembina settlers returned to Red River ^because they had 
learned that Pembina was on American soil. 

In 1821 the colony received a new set of recruits in the shape 
of a number of Swiss families who had been lured thither by a 
prospectus of the Earl of Selkirk. They were mostly mechanics 
and as such were utterly unfitted for their new circumstances. 
Most of the soldiers whom Lord Selkirk had brought from Canada 
were unmarried and many of them now secured wives from among 
the young Swiss girls. 

After the union of the companies in 1821, a number of em- 
ployees were thrown out of work and came to Red River to set- 
tle. These included not only the Scotch and English employees 
of the Hudson's Bay Company but also the French Canadians and 
half-breeds who had been employed as voyageurs. With these 
additions the population consisted by 1822 of some 1,500 people, 
according to A. Ross, the historian of this period. They were 
divided into the following distinct groups, occupying separate 
districts in the settlement: the Scotch, the De Meurons and the 
Swiss, the French (Canadians), the retired servants of the Com- 
pany and the half-breeds. 

All accounts agree that of these groups, the Scotch made the 
best farmers. They were a hard working, steady people. The 
old soldiers made very poor farmers and were altogether an un- 
desirable addition to the colony. The French and half-breeds 
were best fitted by nature and experience for life in the Red 
River but they gave more trouble to the authorities than the other 
groups because they were more independent. The Rev. John 
West, chaplain of the Hudson's Bay Company, notes in his jour- 
nal in 1822, that the half-breed children were growing up in great 
numbers and if their education were neglected they would some 
time threaten the peace of the country. He remarks, too, on the 
wild and hunter-like state of most of the inhabitants and on the 
fact that most of them preferred to go to hunt on the plains rather 
than attend to their agricultural pursuits. In another place he 
mentions the fact that on the occasion of a wedding, the guests 
danced almost continuously from 2 o'clock Friday till late on 
Saturday night. 2 

1. 'Martin. The Hudson's Bay Company Land Tenures, London, 1898, pp. 25 
and 26. 

2. Journal of Rev. John West, Collections of the State Hist. Soc. N. D., 
III., pp. 448, 458, 469. 


Professor Keating, the historian of the expedition of Major 
Long of the U. S. Army, gives a description of both Pembina 
and Red River as he saw them in 1823. At this time there were 
about 350 people, % of whom were half-breeds, at Pembina in 
some 60 log cabins. We may get some idea of the life of these 
people from Prof. Keating 's statement that about 300 of them 
returned from a buffalo hunt while he was there, having been 
absent 45 days without being heard from. He speaks of the neat- 
ness and comfort in many of the cabins of the Scotch and Swiss 
at Red. River and of the agricultural improvements taking place 
there all the time. There seemed every prospect that the colony 
might succeed in an agricultural way as soon as proper farming 
implements were provided. Wheat had yielded at this early time 
as much as fifty bushels an acre and the colonists had been very 
successful in growing potatoes. 1 


International Relations. 

As already noticed, after the union of 1821, the old Lake 
Superior route was abandoned and the only outlet of the new 
Company was the route by York Factory and Hudson Bay. Their 
communication with the outside world was difficult and uncer- 
tain. Their port was ice bound nine months out of twelve. If a 
ship met with any mishap or delay in leaving for London in the 
autumn, it was likely to be held in the Bay during the winter, for 
the ice formed quickly and at times very early in the season. As 
a fur trading concern the Company managed to get along very 
well without making any systematic effort to establish roads 
through their territory and with their port useless the greater 
part of the year, but it remained to be seen as to how long the 
new colony would depend solely upon such precarious methods 
of communication. In the earliest years of its existence, the col- 
ony depended altogether on the Company for supplies which were 
brought from York Factory in boats on the Nelson River during 
the open season, and drawn over the snow in dog sledges during 
the winter. The Nelson River was full of obstructions, thirty 
three portages being necessary in the course of the journey from 
York Factory to Red River. 2 It would have been possible to re- 
move these obstructions only at very great expense, and the Com- 
pany had not seen fit to make any improvements in the naviga- 
tion from the time when they had first made use of the river as 
a means of transport. Their opponents said that means of com- 
munication were not improved because it was to the interest of 

1. Keating, Narrative of an Expedition to the Source of St. Peter's River, 
Philadelphia, 1824, p. 65. 

2. Report from the Select Committee on' the Hudson's Bay Co., 1857, No. 5621. 


the Company to keep the country "impassable to rival traders, 
and impervious to inquiry." 1 

The colonists were not slow to discover that the long, ardu- 
ous journey to Hudson Bay was not the natural outlet of their 
territory. Instead they found that it lay to the south by way of 
the Eed Eiver and the Mississippi. In fact as early as 1818 the 
famous British trader, Col. Robert Dickson, had discovered the 
practicability of the route and was making regular use of it, as 
the following extract from a letter written at the time shows: 
"Dickson, as I have before observed, is situated near the head 
of the St. Peter's, to which place he transports his goods from 
Selkirk's Red River establishment in carts made for the purpose. 
The trip is performed in five days, sometimes less." 2 There was 
evidently a knowledge of this route at the time of the return of 
Lord Selkirk to Canada, for he journeyed back to Montreal, not 
as he had come, but by the way of Prairie du Chien and St. Louis. 

The entire Red River valley had been included in the Charter 
of 1670 and the Company considered it a part of their territory. 
In 1803 the United States purchased Louisiana, with the northern 
boundary obscure and it was a matter of doubt as to whether 
the purchase included the southern part of the Red River coun- 
try. It was noi until 1818 in a convention between the United 
States and Great Britain that the forty-ninth parallel was finally 
agreed upon as the dividing line. This cut off from the British 
possessions a large part of the Red River 'valley, but it could not 
permanently divide two sections between which there was such 
great natural affinity. The forty-ninth parallel was merely an 
artificial line ; no lake, no ridge of mountains, no river formed 
a natural barrier between Red River Colony and what was to be 
later Minnesota territory. In fact the two regions were bound 
closely together by the Red River, which offered an easy means 
of reaching the Mississippi and consequently all the great country 
to the south. For four months of the year the Red River was 
navigable to the mouth of the Sioux Wood River to vessels of 
three feet draught. Overland travelling was much easier in the 
prairie country than it was in the direction of the Hudson Bay. 
There was not such a great need for roads because there were no 
great obstacles to be met in the open -prairie travel. Mere trails 
served very well. There were three routes by which the Missis- 
sippi could be reached from the valley of the Red River. The 
most southern was from Lake Traverse across the St. Peter's — 
now the Minnesota River — and thence on down to the Mississippi. 
The middle route left the Red River near its southern point and 
crossed the Mississippi at Sauk Rapids, seventy six miles above 

1. Hudson's Bay Co. Return to an address of the Honorable the House of Com- 
mons, April 23, 1849, p. 61. 

2. Letter dated at Prairie du Chien, Feb. 19, 181S, from Benj. O'Fallon, U. S. 
Agent to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Niles Register, XIV., p. 3S8. 


the mouth of St. Feter's. The northern route left the Red River 
near the mouth of Buffalo River and passing north of Ottertail 
Lake reached the Crow "Wing River a short distance above its 
junction with the Mississippi. 1 

The operatons of early traders like Col. Dickson, the close 
connection which the Selkirk Settlers had with Pembina, and the 
comparative ease of communication all led to the early estab- 
lishment of trade relations with the Americans, which were des- 
tined to be far-reaching in their consequences. 

In 1819, the entire crop at Red River was destroyed by grass- 
hoppers, so several men were sent to Prairie du Chien on the Mis- 
sissippi, almost one thousand miles distant, to buy a supply of 
seed Wheat. The men made the trip on snow-shoes and at the 
end of three months time reached their destination, where they 
bought from a trading firm 250 bushels of wheat at 10 s. per 
bushel, 100 bushels of oats and 30 bushels of peas. One account 
of the transaction mentions that chickens were also purchased 
at this time and taken back to Red River. 2 The grain was loaded 
on three Mackinac boats manned with six-hands each and ac- 
cording to the account of H. H. Sibley 3 placed in charge of Dun- 
can Graham, and a Scotchman named Laidlaw, who was acting 
as superintendent of farming for the Earl of Selkirk. They 
started up the Mississippi April 15, 1820 but were delayed by the 
ice in Lake Pepin and planted the Maypole there. May 3, they 
were able to continue the voyage and passed on up the Minne- 
sota River to Big Stone Lake from where they made the portage 
of a mile and a half to Lake Traverse by drawing the boats across 
on wooden rollers. From the Lake they journeyed on down Red 
River until they reached the colony safely in June. 4 The boat- 
men returned across the plains on foot and from Big Stone Lake 
by canoe. 5 

The expedition cost Lord Selkirk £1040 sterling. This is 
the only instance in which heavy articles were transported the 
whole distance from Prairie du Chien to Red River Colony by 
water with the exception of the portage to Lake Traverse. 
Enough of the wheat sown at this time ripened for seed and Red 
River never again lacked seed for grain, although the food sup- 

1. 31st. Cong., 1st. Session. Senate Ex. Doe. No. 42. Exploration of Capt. 
Pope, p. 9. 

2. Collections, Minn. Hist. Soe., Vol. 1.. p. 220. 

3. "Reminiscences : Historical and Personal," H. H. Sibley, Minn. Hist. Col- 
lections. Vol. 1, pp. 470-471. 

4. Alexander Ross. Red River Settlement, pp. 50-51. 

5. In 1820 an expedition was sent by the U. S. Gov't from Council Bluff to the 
mouth of the St. Peter's where Ft. Snelling was later established. Stephen Watts 
Kearney, a member of the party left a journal describing the expedition. Under the 
date of July 23, 1820 when the party was a short distance above the mouth of the 
St. Peter's he has this entry: "a boat with some Frenchmen from Lord Selkirk's 
establishment on the Red River arrived at this time." In all probability these 
were some of the boatmen returning to Prairie du Chien, as they would just about 
have reached this point at this time. Journal of Stephen Watts Kearney, reprinted 
from Mo. Hist. Colls., III., 26. 


ply did run short several times. This expedition is very signifi- 
cant for it showed the practicability of establishing trade rela- 
tions with the Americans. 

The next year Alexis Bailly, an enterprising half-breed trader 
of Prairie du Chen, took advantage of the opening. Accom- 
panied by Francois Labothe and two hired men he started to the 
colony with a herd of cattle to be disposed of on speculation. 
The trip proved to be full of hazard. The party were several 
times in great danger from the Indians, who on one occasion stole 
all their horses. In spite of this danger they reached Red River 
safely and had the good fortune to dispose of the cattle at a very 
high price on account of the period of speculation inaugurated 
by the Buffalo Wool Company. 1 Milch cows sold as high as £30 
and oxen trained to work brought £18 each. 2 

In 1822,. Col. Dickson brought a drove of cattle all the way 
from Clarkesville in Missouri, but had the misfortune to lose many 
of them on the way. 3 In 1825 American drovers ventured on 
another speculation and brought four or five hundred cattle to 
the settlement but prices were very much lower this time owing 
to the fact that the Buffalo "Wool Co. had failed. Milch cows 
brought only £4 to £10 each and the largest trained oxen as low 
as £14 the pair. 4 These were the last cattle brought in from the 
United States. 6 

Another transaction which served to make the Red River 
settlers familiar with the Americans was the purchase at a little 
later period of sheep in Kentucky by representatives sent out by 
the Colony. Although the sheep raising experiment failed, there 
was a permanent result in that the Americans and the road to the 
south were better known. 

The Swiss who had come to make their homes in the colony 
were dissatisfied from the very first. Almost immediately after 
their arrival in 1821, five Swiss families started for Ft. Snelling, 
as the American post at the mouth of the Minnesota River wa& 
afterwards known. Two years later thirteen families followed. 

1. Sibley's Reminiscences, Minn. Hist. Colls. Vol. I., 469. 

2. Ross says that something like 300 cattle were introduced into the colony by 
Americans at this time, see his Red River Settlement, p. 73. Rev. Neill says that 
when Alexis Bailly left Ft. Snelling in August, 1821, that he had a drove of S& 
or 40 cattle under his care. Neill, "Occurrences in and around Ft. Snelling." 
Minn. Hist. Colls., II., 25. 

3. Keating says that previous to this time a drove of cattle had been procured 
from Mackinaw. Keating, Narrative of an Expedition to the Source of St. Peter's 
River, II., 70. 

In Niles Register for July 29, 1820, is given an extract from the St. Louis En- 
quirer, stating that a new market had been found for the produce of that section of 
the country. A number of citizens had contracted to deliver at Selkirk's Settle- 
ment 120 head of cattle, principally cows. These were probably the cattle which 
Col. Dickson drove up to the Settlement. Vol. XVIII., 400. 

4. Ross, Red River Settlement, p. 82. 

5. Rev. G. A. Belcourt, The Department of Hudson's Bay, Minn. Hist. 
Colls., I., 220. 


After a long difficult journey by the way of Lake Traverse 
they arrived at the fort where their extreme want was relieved 
by the officers of the garrison. 1 After the disastrous flood of 1826, 
the majority of the Swiss abandoned the colony for a more favor- 
able location and found new homes in the United States. A part 
of them drifted on down the Mississippi. to various French settle- 
ments but some of them remained where the city of St. Paul now 
stands. 2 These journeys of the Swiss helped to make the road 
to St. Peter's better known and to strengthen the growing attach- 
ment for American trade. 

We will pause for a moment in the story of the British col- 
ony in order to trace the development of its American neighbor. 
After the purchase of Louisiana, the United States Government 
hastened to get a firm grip on the new possessions by sending 
out exploring expeditions. In 1805, Lieutenant Zebulon Mont- 
gomery Pike was ordered to set out from St. Louis to trace the 
upper waters of the Mississippi and to warn British traders out 
of American territory. September 23 of that year he reached 
the mouth of St. Peter's Kiver where he held a council with the 
Sioux. He addressed them in well chosen words, assuring them 
of the benefit which would come to - them from intercourse with 
the Americans and warning them against the Canadian traders 
as ''bad birds" who would cheat them. 3 After the speech he dis- 
tributed presents among them to the value of $200 and gave them 
about sixty gallons of liquor to "clear their throats." In re- 
sponse to this liberality the chiefs signed a treaty granting to the 
United States Government a tract of land nine miles square near 
the junction of St. Peter's and Mississippi for the establishment 
of a military post." 4 

Feb. 7, 1806 Lieut. Pike wrote to Hugh M'Gillis, a trader 
for the N. W. Co. at a post on Leech Lake, making the following 
demands : 

1. That the goods for the Indian trade brought into the 
United States through Ft. William be subject to duties, for 
American traders had made complaint that they could not com- 
pete with the British as long as the latter continued to evade the 
lawful duties. 

2. That the British flag should at no time be hoisted over 
the British trading establishments. 

3. That the British traders hold no conferences with the 
Indians on political subjects and no longer bestow upon them 
British flags or medals. 

M'Gillis replied to this letter in a very friendly tone, prom- 

1. Reminiscences of Mrs. Ann Adams, Minn. Hist. Coll., VI., pp. 88-89 

2. lb., 93. 

3. Pike's Expeditions, Philadelphia, 1810. Appendix to Part I., pp. 

4. lb.. Appendix to Part I., pp. 8-9. 


ising to endeavor in every way to act in accord with the interests 
and the desires of the United States Government. 1 

Thus by conciliating the Indians, by warning off the foreign 
intruders and by making preparations for the establishment of 
a military post were the first steps taken toward wresting the 
trade of this region from the British. American authority had 
been proclaimed and the prestige of the American name estab- 
lished in the minds of both Indians and traders. But in spite of 
this beginning, the Government did nothing further for a num- 
ber of years toward holding the country. Under the stress of 
the more pressing dangers incident to the War of 1812 this re- 
mote western wilderness was forgotten and the British traders 
continued their operations without molestation. 

From this time on a new factor is to be reckoned with in 
the struggle for the possession of this territory. In 1809 John 
Jacob Astor had organized the American Fur Co. to carry on 
trading operations around the Great Lakes. The War of 1812 in- 
terfered somewhat with this plan but by 1816 the Company was 
again on a firm foundation. The Great Lake region soon becom- 
ing exhausted, the outlet of the Company was changed from 
Mackinac to St. Louis. In 1823 it was first demonstrated that 
it was practicable to navigate the Mississippi with steam boats 
from St. Louis to the mouth of the Minnesota River. 2 This was 
of the utmost importance to the development of the American Fur 
Company, for it meant that with the Mississippi as the great ave- 
nue of trade there was a sure outlet for the furs of the northwest. 

In 1816 Astor took a definite step toward driving his British 
competitors from the field by securing the passage of a law by 
Congress forbidding the granting to any one but American citizens 
a license to trade with the Indians. This order was not as effect- 
ual as it might have been, for it was evaded by the British traders 
taking advantage of permission given foreigners to act as boat- 
men and interpreters. In this manner many of them were en- 
abled to carry on their business as usual by acting in the names of 
Americans. 3 

After the fixing of the boundary, the British were barred 
from the territory south of the line. The union of the North West 
and the Hudson's. Bay Companies took place at about the same 
time that the boundary was definitely determined. 4 A number of 
persons who had been in their service now found themselves with- 
out employment. In conjunction with a few Americans they 
formed the Columbia Fur Company under a license granted by the 

1. Pike's Expeditions, 1S10. Appendix to Part I., pp. 14-19. 

2. Neill, Occurrences in and around Ft. Snelling. Minn. Hist. Colls., II., 26. 

3. Wise. Hist. Coll., Vol. II., p. 103. 

4. The actual location of the boundary was fixed at Pembina by Major Long 
in 1823 ; before this time it had been rumored that Pembina was on American soil, 
and the British were preparing to abandon the southern country in 1821. 


Indian agent at St. Peter's. 1 The new Company had its head- 
quarters at Lake Traverse, with another trading post a mile above 
Ft. Snelling. The experience which its founders had and its loca- 
tion made the new Company a formidable rival of the Hudson's 
Bay Company for the trade of the upper Red River valley. A few 
years later the Columbia Fur Company passed under the control 
of the American Fur Company. 

The interests of the American Fur Company and the rumors 
in regard to Lord Selkirk's colony again drew the attention of the 
Government to this section of the country. There was a decided 
feeling in the West that the establishment of Selkirk's colony 
might mean danger to the American possessions around the head 
waters of the Mississippi. 2 It was thought, too, that our gov- 
ernment, not realizing the importance of the fur trade, had never 
given fur companies proper protection. 3 

By 1816 there was a renewed interest in the West and a de- 
termination to hold it. That year four companies of. infantry 
were sent to Prairie du Chien, at that time the chief western 
post of the American Fur Company, and Ft. Crawford estab- 
lished there. 

Although Lieut. Pike had bargained with the Indians for a 
tract of land on which to establish a military post at the mouth 
of the St. Peter's, no move had been made toward carrying out 
the terms of the agreement. Congress had made the purchase 
price $2,000 but the money had never been paid. Late in the 
summer of the year 1819, Col. Leavenworth with two companies of 
the Fifth Regiment of United States Infantry came up the Mis- 

1. Keating, I., 426. 

2. The letter referred to on page 250 contains a passage to the following effect: 
"The military force of this country is too small to keep Dickson and his emissaries 
in check. I think a force should be posted here (Prairie du Chien) sufficiently 
strong to enable the commandant to send a detachment with suitable officers at its 
head to scour the heads of this river (the Mississippi) and the St. Peter's and 
awe the establishment -of Lord Selkirk into a proper respect for our laws." Niles 
Register, Vol. XIV., p. 3SS. 

3. The following article from the St. Louis Enquirer on "The Fur Trade" shows 
the Western viewpoint : "The importance of this trade has not been sufficiently 

"estimated by the American Government. The English have always seen its value. 
They have aided their subjects in carrying it on, and have made it the means of 
individual wealth, and of national power. The North West and Hudson Bay Com- 
panies, protected by the English Government, have carried down the St. Lawrence 
the furs of the Missouri and Mississippi, Montreal has flourished on a commerce 
that belongs to St. Louis, and the British traders have acquired from their govern- 
ment the command of all savages of the North American continent. 

The Hudson Bay and North West Companies, for a long time enemies and 
rivals to each other, are now reported to be united under the direction of the 
Earl of Selkirk. The policy and the enterprise of this chieftain will give a new 
energy to the united operation of these companies. The seat of their power is at 
the junction of the Assiniboine and Red River in Latitude 50 and longitude 21 
from Washington. Here the Earl of Selkirk has planted a Scotch colony, built a 
fort, and established a garrison, and from this point the British traders extend 
their operations into the territories of the United States, spreading themselves 
over the head waters of the Mississippi, the river St. Peter, and all that part of 
the Missouri which lies above the Mandan villages. From these villages the 
British establishment on the Assiniboine, is but five miles travel ; and a constant 
communication is kept up between them as well by the Moose River as by the 
trading path which goes overland. Niles Register, Vol., XV., p. 182. 


sissippi and landed near the present village of Mendota. He 
made the long delayed payment to the Indians and the next year 
began the construction of a fort (later known as Fort Snelling), 
which was finally completed in 1822. 1 

The following year the government sent an expedition in 
command of Major Long, of the topographical engineers of the 
army, with instructions to explore the country between the St. 
Peter's and the Red River to the forty-ninth parallel and to' take 
possession of it. Major Long followed the now well known trail 
to Lake Traverse and then went down the east bank of the Red 
River to Pembina, where he set- up an oak post to mark the inter- 
national boundary. 2 From Pembina, he proceeded on down the 
river to the Selkirk Settlement and from there returned to the 
United States by the way of the Lake Superior route. This expe- 
dition carried the authority of the United States to the boundary 
line and made it known in the Red River Colony. 

In 18.45, the Selkirkers received a positive reminder of the 
authority of the United States Government when Capt. Sumner 
warned the British half-breeds that they would no longer be 
allowed to hunt buffalo on American soil. 3 

In 1849, Capt. Pope of the United States army was sent to 
Pembina with a view to ascertaining the state of affairs on the 
frontier. He recommended the admission of a new state from the 
territory and the establishment of railroads and steamboat lines. 
He made the point that the territory was too much under English 
influence and that the establishment of a military post somewhere 
on the frontier was imperative if the country was to be held for 
the United States. He thought it very desirable that courts of 
justice should be established at Pembina and that American offi- 
cers should be located among the people in order to bind them to 
the government. He considered that the agent of the American 
Fur Company had done a great deal to hold the people to their 
allegiance, but would not b.e able in all probability to hold out 
against the Hudson's Bay Company without assistance. 4 

Under the protection of the military posts at Prairie du Chien 
and St. Peter's, the fur trade bad been steadily extended. The 
period from 18.30 to 1840 was marked by the entrance of several 
persons into the fur business, who were to take a prominent part 
in developing this section of the country. In 1834 the American 

1. Feb. 10, 1819 : The Federal Government gave the following reasons for 
erecting a fort at this point : "To cause the power of the U. S. Government to 
be fully acknowledged by the Indians and settlers of the N. W., to prevent Lord 
Selkirk, the Hudson Bay Co. and others from establishing trading posts on U. S. 
Territory, to better the conditions of the Indians and to develop the resources of 
the country." Flandreau, History of Minnesota and Tales of the Frontier, St. 
Paul, 1900, p. 15. 

2. Keating, II., 47. 

3. See page 292, footnote 1. 

4. 31st. Cong. * 1st. Sess. Senate Exec. Doc. No. 42, Exploration of Capt. 
Pope, p. 29. 


Fur Company received a strong addition to its force in the per- 
son of Henry Hastings Sibley, a young man from Detroit, who 
in that year became a partner in the Company with Mendota as 
his territory. 1 In 1837 he was joined by William H. Forbes who 
from that time on was prominent in the Indian trade in one capac- 
ity or another. In 1839 Norman W. Kittson began business on 
his own account as a fur trader in the vicinity of Ft. Snelling. 
He continued- as an independent trader until 1843 when he became 
a partner of the Company with his headquarters at Pembina. 2 
He was one of the best known and most successful of the Indian 
traders and his entrance into the Pembina district was an event 
fraught with serious consequences to the Hudson's Bay Company. 
One of his able assistants at Pembina was the famous Joe Rollette, 
son of the old Indian trader at Prairie du Chien of the same name. 
Summing up the results of the early connections between the 
Red River Settlement and the American settlements, especially 
that at St. Peter's, we find: (1) The English colony had. become 
familiar with Amewican authority by means of the military ex- 
peditions of Long, Sumner, and Pope, (2) The establishment of 
the well known route paved the way for important commercial 
relations, which were to seriously affect the profits and policy of 
the Hudson's Bay Company. 


The Rise of Free Trade. 

While Minnesota was rapidly developing, the Selkirk Col- 
ony did not prosper, although as we have seen Jhere was no 
inherent difference between the sections which would retard the 
growth of the latter. The cause for the failure of the English 
settlement has to be sought in other differences than those of the 
climate or soil and the colonists found what they considered the 
explanation in the fact that the Americans lived under a free, 
representative government while they were held in subjection by 
a despotic, fur trading corporation. They came to this con- 
clusion in spite of the fact that during their early days of dis- 
aster and calamity, the officers of the Company in London were 
continually devising plans by which conditions in the colony 
might be bettered. But all of these efforts resulted in failure 
and each successive failure only added fresh cause for complaint 
and dissatisfaction. The actual management of the affairs of the 
colony had to be entrusted to the representatives of the Company 
who resided in the territory, and it was continually charged that 

1. Nathaniel West, The Ancestry, Life and Times of Henry Hastings Sibley, St. 
Paul. 1889, p. 55. 

2. Minn. Hist. Colls., I., p. 469. 


these men were only posing as the benefactors of the settlers and 
that the various failures could be attributed to them. ■» 

In 1822, under support from the Company's officers, a joint 
stock company was formed to establish a tannery and to manu- 
facture cloth from the wool of the buffalo. This association 
under the name of the Buffalo "Wool Company inaugurated a 
period of speculation. Prices rose and provisions, especially, 
became dear for agricultural pursuits were abandoned and those 
who should have been cultivating the soil hastened away to the 
plains to hunt the buffalo. They imagined that there was to be 
a period of marvelous prosperity and everybody was to have 
money. A few yards of cloth were manufactured at a cost of £2 
10s. per yard and sent to England where they sold for 4s. 6d. per 
yard. The Company soon failed owing to the impracticability 
of the venture and the mismanagement and the inefficiency of 
the officials. A period of hardship followed and the people were 
dissatisfied and resentful because they thought they had been 
duped. 1 

Shortly after this time the Governor attempted to introduce 
the cultivation of flax and hemp by granting premiums. It was 
charged that a favored few managed to monopolize the premiums 
and the experiment came to nothing. As soon as the premiums 
were withdrawn, the crops were allowed to rot in the fields. 2 

Another scheme of the Governor's was designed to make 
Eed River a great sheep raising country. A joint stock com- 
pany was formed and representatives were sent down into the 
United States to purchase sheep. A large number were bought 
in Kentucky and the attempt made to drive them all the way back 
to Red River, but most of them perished on the Way. 3 This, too, 
had failed and the people were no nearer prosperity than they 
were before. 

The next project of the Governor's was the "Tallow Com- 
pany." This concern was to further the interests of the colony 
by the introduction of cattle raising on a large scale. But the 
cattle put into the speculation died of cold or were killed by the 
wolves, so this plan did not bring the long-heralded prosperity. 4 

The long catalogue of failures may be completed by men- 
tion of the pet scheme of the Company, — the establishment of 
experimental farms. The theory was that these farms were to be 
models for the colonists and that by means of them agriculture 
would be improved. Three of these farms were established in 
the period from 1823 to 1837. The first, the Hayfield Farm, in 
addition to its function as a model was designed to furnish the 
people with food in case of scarcity. All three of the farms were 

1. Ross. Red River Settlement, 69-72. 

2. lb., 139. 

3. lb., 146-150. 

4. lb., 151. 


conducted along the same lines — great expense for equipment 
and buildings but with every conceivable sort of mismanagement 
and waste. The persons chosen to manage the last two farms 
were utterly without experience in farming. Any of the Scotch 
settlers could have filled the place much better. The farms did 
not produce any more provisions than were needed by their own 
innumerable farm help. If they had succeeded in doing so they 
would have lessened the market for the settlers' produce and 
so really have proved a detriment. It goes without saying that 
not only were the farms of no use as models but they were con- 
ducted at great loss to the Company. 

The fact that every one of these farms failed gave rise to 
the suspicion that perhaps there was some motive behind them 
other than the welfare of the people and that they failed through 
design. According to the gentleman sent over to manage the 
last farm, the officers of the Company in London were very anx- 
ious to have the project succeed, while their representatives in 
the colony did everything in their power to make it fail. The 
following remark, current in the colony suggests an explanation 
of this situation: "When the Company deal in furs, they work 
for money; but when they farm they work for fame!" A promin- 
ent settler gave his opinion in these words : "The colony on a small 
scale is favorable to the Company's interest, in order to secure 
its supplies on the spot and give a tone to its proceedings at home ; 
but were it to increase in numbers, wealth, and power, the colony 
in the nature of things, must soon have a voice of its own, and 
that voice would render allegiance extremely doubtful : even the 
existence of the great monopoly itself might receive a shock from 
a thriving settlement at the Red Eiver. And this mode of rea- 
soning is applicable to the export trade question, as well as the 
experimental farms, and many things else in this quarter; so that 
we can very easily and reasonably account for their failure on 
the same principle inherent in all governments, to pursue that 
line of policy best suited to their own aggrandizement." 1 

In the grant made to Lord Selkirk, provision was made that 
the colonists were to be allowed to send the produce of their 
country to England by the Company's ships. 2 Agriculture was 
in such a backward state in the beginning that not only was there 
nothing to export to England but the Company was obliged to 
depend largely for their food supply on articles imported from 
home. In 1829, they reduced the price of the articles which they 
did secure from the colonists, which proceeding did not tend to 
encourage agriculture. The legal price for wheat was made 3s. 
6d. per bushel, for good beef 1% d. per lb., for butter 7 d. per 

1. Ross, Red River Settlement 218-220. 

2. Martin, The Hudson's Bay Company Land Tenures, 178. 


lb. 1 Not only was the price low, but the market was limited. 
Mr. John McLean who spent the years from 1820 to 1845 in the 
service of the Company says in regard to the market situation: 
"A single Scotch farmer could be found in the colony able alone 
to supply the greater part of the produce the Company require ; 
there is one in fact who offered to do it ; if a sure market were 
secured to the colonists of the Red River they would speedily 
become the wealthiest yeomanry of the world; their barns and 
granaries are always full to overflowing; the Company purchase 
from six to eight bushels of wheat from every farmer, at the rate 
of 3s. per bushel, and the sum total of their yearly purchases form 
the Whole settlement amounts to 600 cwts flour, first and second 
qualities ; 35 bushels rough barley ; 10 half-firkins butter. 28 lbs. 
each ; 10 bushels Indian corn ; 200 cwt. best kiln-dried flour ; 60 
firkins butter, 56 lbs. each ; 240 lbs. cheese, 60 hams, where he 
(the Red River farmer) finds a sure market for the remainder of 
his produce, Heaven only knows ; I do not ; this much, however, 
I do know, that the incomparable advantages this delightful coun- 
try possesses are not only in a great measure lost to the inhab- 
itants, but also to the world, so long as it remains under the 
dominion of its fur trading rulers." 2 An examination of the 
Minutes of the Council of the Company for 1840, 1843, and 1845, 
will show that Mr. McLean's figures are correct with respect 
to the yearly purchases from the settlement. 3 

Although the farmers continually complained of the lack of 
an adequate market, Sir George Simpson, who had been Governor 
of the territories of the Company for 37 years, testified in 1857 
before the Select Committee of Parliament that the Company 
purchased all the surplus agricultural produce, and that in spite 
of the encouragement given to farming, they had actually been 
under the necessity during the previous ten years of importing 
grain from the United States and Canada, and that they had 
never «been able to get the quantity of grain to hold in store 
that they required. 4 

When the news of this testimony reached Red River there 
was a storm of protest. A meeting was called and the following 
resolution passed: 5 "That nothing can be farther from the 
truth than the statement that the Hudson's Bay Company have 
been in the habit of taking our surplus produce, for, for thirty-five 
out of over forty years that this colony has been farming, they 

1. Statistics of the Red River Colony, Donald Gunn. Report from the Select" 
Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 1857. Appendix, p. 383. 

2. Notes of a Twenty Five Year's Service in the Hudson's Bay Territories- 
Quoted in Report from Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Co., Aug. 17,- 
1857, p. 50. 

3. See Appendix, No. 6, p. 326. 

4. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Co., Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 50. 

5. Other resolutions passed at this time concerned the fur trade, and will b<* 
mentioned later. 


have not taken even a tenth of what we could have supplied them. 
It is equally untrue that for the last seven years they have been 
obliged to import grain from the United States in order to supply 
their own wants. As to our wheat crops being uncertain, we 
can state, that during the last ten years, we have not known a 
total failure of crops from any cause whatever, and never known 
them to fail from the causes given by some of the witnesses before 
the Select Committee." 1 

At the same time that unrest and dissatisfaction had been 
groAving from these various causes, there was developing in the 
colony a force that was to be more potent than any other in the 
final breakdown of the great monopoly — independent fur trade 
in defiance of the exclusive privileges conferred by the Charter. 
The Company had been fully aware of the fact that the presence 
of a colony in the midst of their possessions might lead to this 
very result and had sought to guard their rights in the following 
provisions of the Grant to Lord Selkirk: 

(1) Neither Lord Selkirk nor any person deriving rights 
from him was to carry on a trade in furs or to assist anyone in 
such trade, without a license from the Company. 

(2) The Hudson's Bay Company servants were to be allowed 
to carry on their trade as usual. 

(3) The colonists were to be allowed to send the produce of 
their country to London by way of the Company's ships but it 
was expressly stated that such produce was not to include ' ' furs, 
skins of beavers, and other animals of wild and untamed nature." 2 

In spite of this prudent safeguard, free trade developed nat- 
urally, inevitably. The small traders and merchants were among 
the first to overstep the' rights of the Company in this respect. 
In the first days of the colony, the colonists secured all their 
supplies from the Company store. Goods were sold on credit, to 
be paid for in produce or in work. The system seems never to 
have w r orked well, the colonists declaring that the accounts were 
poorly kept and the officials dishonest in their transactions. In 
1822 there was a slight reform in this respect and in 1824 the 
use of credit was discontinued and the ready money system sub- 
stituted. The change brought hardship to many, especially to 
the improvident half-breeds. Supplies became very scarce and 
at times people were unable to get goods, even when they had the 
money to pay for them, on account of the arbitrary methods used 
in managing the store. 3 

About 1833 a number of private individuals resolved to im- 
port goods on their own account in order to avoid the evils at- 
tendant on the ' f Company store" system. The Company allowed 

1. The Hudson's Bay Question (Reprinted from the Colonial Intelligencer) 
F. W. C, p. 13. 

2. Martin, The Hudson's Bay Company Land Tenure, 176-178. 

3. Ross, Red River Settlement, 67-69, 155-156. 



them to bring out goods in their ships at the rate of &a per ton, 
with free storage at York Factory. From importing for their 
own use, these individuals soon came to importing on speculation, 
selling the goods to others on credit. 1 This competition forced 
the Company to adopt a more satisfactory policy in their trans- 
actions but the petty traders increased rapidly in number and 
influence. 2 - Some of these traders merely went out with their 
bundles of goods and disposed of them without having any defi- 
nite place of business, while others set up regular shops, which 
they kept open as long as their stock of goods lasted. Dealing 
as they were in the same goods and supplies as were used by the 
Company in the fur trade with the Indians, it was the most nat- 
ural thing in the world for these traders and merchants to at- 
tempt to share in the immense profits of that trade. It was an 
easy thing for them to do, too. The trader had only to take his 
outfit with him and slip out on the plains among the Indians and 
there quietly dispose of his ammunition or cloth for valuable 
peltries which were easily secreted. This was done clandestinely 
at first but after 1849 the petty traders openly outfitted Indian 
traders. 3 The Company did not take any decided measures 
against the practice until it was too late to break it up. 4 

The infringements of the Company's rights which they found 
it hardest to deal with, came from the half-breeds, who formed a 
continually increasing proportion of the population. 

The following table compiled from the Census records of 
1843, 1849, and 1856, shows the relatively large increase in these 
native half-breed families. 5 

Resident Families. 

Birthplace of 

Increase in 

Head of Family 




13 years. 

Rupert's Land 

(half-breed natives) 













92 : 

Decrease 60 





18 . 















1. Ross. Red River Settlement, 156. 

2. In 1847 there were 102 English importers in the colony and nearly as many 
more who brought goods in from the TJ. S. lb., p. 395. t 

3. In 1856 there were 56 of these "merchant shops," while there had been none 
in 1849. Statistical Account of Red River Colony. Report from the Select 
Committee on the Hudson's Bay Co., Aug. 17, 1857, p. 363. 

4. The import duties of 1835, 1844 and 1845 were designed to injure the busi- 
ness of the petty traders. See pp. 267 and 278. 

5. Papers Relative to the Exploration of the Country between Lake Superior and 
the Red River Settlement, London, 1859, p. 108. 


They were, largely the off-spring of the French Canadians, the 
voyageurs who had found wives among the Indian maidens. 
They were hardy and fearless, but easily influenced, quick to 
adopt new views and new plans, so that they were ready at any 
time to join in any disturbance or agitation. They were of a 
roving disposition and preferred to hunt the buffalo, rather than 
to settle down to a steady agricultural life. Improvident in the 
extreme they hastened the extinction of the buffalo by killing 
them recklessly and wasting a very large part of the proceeds of 
the hunt, at times taking only the skins and tongues of the ani- 
mals. Under these circumstances the buffalo soon began to 
diminish in numbers and as they did so, drew farther away 
toward the Rocky Mountains. The hunters were compelled to 
travel greater distances in search of them and consequently 
spent more time away from their farms. 1 

There were usually two hunts in a year, one in the 
spring and another in the fall. The number who went out on 
these trips increased very rapidly as is shown in the following 
table given by Alexander Ross ; 2 

In 1820. th number of carts assembled here for the first trip 
was 540, in 1825 it was 6S0. in 1830 it had increased to 820, in 
1835 it was 970 and in 1840 it was 1210. 

Of course the great number who Avent to the plains — there 
were altogether 1.630 persons in the hunt of 1840 — brought back 
such an immense amount of meat and hides that it was impossible 
for the Company to purchase all of it. The demand for pemmi- 
can was becoming less all the time because the settlers were pro- 
ducing more food. Naturally the cry arose that the Company 
should be compelled to furnish a market, so that tallow and hides 
could be exported. The Company refused to take any steps in 
that direction and the lack of a market became a standing cause 
of complaint among the half-breeds as well as among the farmers. 

There was another and perhaps more important feature of 
this habit of hunting on the plains. The greater part of the 
buffalo ranged on the American side of the boundary line and in 
the course of the chase the hunters often came into contact with 
the American fur traders. It was the most natural thing in the 
world that the half-breeds should hunt and traffic in furs. Their 
disposition and habits of life led to such a course. It was said 
that probably not more than one-third as many hunters assem- 
bled for the fall hunt on the plains as for the spring, for the rea- 
son that the majority of them not having the means of subsist- 
ence for the winter spread out over the country where they could 
hunt the elk, the moose, and the bear or trap the fur bearing ani- 

1. Report of the Exploration of the Country between Lake Superior and Red 
River Settlement, Toronto, 1857, p. 354. 

2. Ross, Red River Settlement, p. 246. 


nials. 1 Undoubtedly the most of the furs obtained during the 
winter were slipped across the line to American traders, whom the 
half-breeds had met during the previous summer and who had 
promised higher prices than those offered by the Hudson's Bay 
Company. It was the practice to take the smaller, more valuable 
furs to the Americans for the simple reason that they were much 
easier to conceal and much less difficult to carry. The success of 
these transactions led the half-breeds to branch out in their opera- 
tions and secure furs from their Indian relatives, in order to take 
them to the Americans. Of course all of this was illegal in the 
eyes of the Company and the half-breeds were warned continu- 
ally that they would be punished if they persisted in violating 
the Company's rights. 2 The warnings seem to have been of no 
avail and the smuggling continued in spite of the vigilance of the 
Company's officers. The half-breeds persisted in asserting that 
they had the first right to the country and that any attempt of 
the Company to control them was unlawful. 3 

Closely connected with the question of the illegal fur trade 
was the regulation of the Company that the half-breeds should not 
import or manufacture liquor. They considered this a special 
grievance for they wanted it not only for their own consump- 
tion but also for use in trade with the Indians. This was one of 
the reasons why they would not raise barley or oats. If they raised 
any more than was needed for their mere subsistence, they were 
not allowed to export or distill it, so they found .it more advan- 
tageous to buy what supplies they needed with the produce of 
the plains than to attempt to cultivate the soil. 4 By this very 
regulation, then, the Company were driving them into the illegal 
fur trade, for the more they depended on the plains, the more they 
took part in the trade. 

The restlessness of the half-breeds finally showed itself in 
open violence. During the winter of 1834 Mr. Simpson, an offi- 
cer of the Company, brought down upon his head the wrath of 
the whole half-breed population by severely punishing a French 
half-breed named Larocque who had been insolent to him. A 
number of Larocque 's friends held a meeting and demanded that 
Mr. Simpson be delivered to them that they might punish him as 
they saw fit. They warned the Governor if their demand was not 
complied with that they- would attack Ft. Garry and take Mr. 

1. Report of the Exploration of the Country between Lake Superior and Red 
River Settlement, p. 356. 

2. Ross, Red River Settlement, p. 237. 

3. In his testimony before the Select Committee of 1857, Sir John Richardson 
said : "I had conversation with some of the half castes from the Red River that 
we employed ; and they told me that they had a right to their country in virtue 
of their parentage, and wished, if they could, to get possession of it. They look 
upon the exclusive fur trade as our poachers do on the game laws in our country, 
and they wish to have the fur trade to themselves." Report from the Select 
Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 1857, No. 1492. 

4. lb., 172. 


Simpson forcibly. Soon all of the half-breeds of French extrac- 
tion had joined the party, which then began a war dance in In- 
dian fashion. Representatives went to them from the fort, and 
they finally persuaded them to return to their homes without fur- 
ther demonstration. 1 This outbreak showed the temper of the 
half-breeds and gave fair warning as to what might be expected 
in the future. 2 

The next spring — 1835 — the half-breeds again gathered be- 
fore Ft. Garry in a spirit of rebellion. This time they demanded : 

1. An increase in the price of provisions sold to the Com- 

2. An export trade. 

3. A remission of the duty on the goods imported from the 
United States. 3 

Ross lays these demands and others which followed to "de- 
signing and disaffected demagogues" who were using the half- 
breeds for their own purposes. These "demagogues" were un- 
doubtedly individuals engaged in the fur trade who found it to 
their interest to keep reminding people continually of the wrongs 
which they had suffered. The rioters were again appeased by 
vague promises and the threatened revolt averted. 4 t 

In 1836 there seemed for a time to be still greater danger 
of a general outbreak. A man named Dickson who called him- 
self the "Liberator of the Indian Race" appeared in the settle- 
ment and managed to assemble a number of half-breeds with the 
object of seizing the Company's trading posts and wresting from 
them the trade and the country. He succeeded in arousing some 
enthusiasm and in giving genuine alarm to the authorities but 
the affair ended in miserable failure."' 

The next year Papineau's Rebellion broke out in Canada and 
the rumors of it reaching Red River added to the feeling of dis- 
content and insubordination. The French half-breeds naturally 
sympathized with the rebels. They sang songs praising the Cana- 

1. Ross, Red River Settlement, pp. 167-169. 

2. Father Belcourt, who was this time in charge of a Catholic mission in the 
Colony at St. Paul gives an account of a disturbance which took place among the 
half-breeds in 1833. He says that the situation became so alarming that Gov. 
Simpson sent up to the St. Paul mission for him to come to the settlement to 
calm the people. Rev. Belcourt possessed a great deal of influence over the half- 
breeds and according to his account soon appeased them on this occasion. He drew 
up petitions for them in both French and English and secured promises that their 
grievances would be redressed. This may have been the demonstration described 
by Ross as taking place in 1835 or it may have been a similar, though slighter dis- 
turbance which finally resulted in the general demands of 1835. 

3. Ross, Red River Settlement, p. 169. 

4. ftunn. Fight for Free Trade in Rupert's Land, Miss. Valley, Hist. Assoc. 
Proc, 1910-11, IV., 81. 

5. Hudson's Bay Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable The House of 
Commons, Aug. 8, 1842, p. 26. One account of this affair relates that Dickson set 
out from Washington, attended by officers with high sounding titles and brilliant 
uniforms, and that he was supplied with money by Americans who wished to injure 
the Hudson's Bay Company. If this is true, the expedition is very similar to the 
filibustering expedition which took possession of Texas at about this same 
time. Martin, Hudson's Bay Territories and Vancouver Island, London, 1S49, p. 72. 


dians and made a flag called Papineau's standard, which waved 
in triumph for a number of years. 1 

By this time it had been recognized that a firm system of 
government was imperative in order to keep down the unruly ele- 
ments of the population. Since 1822 the Company had been ap- 
pointing special governors for the district of Assiniboia and there 
had been a part of the time, nominally, at any rate, a council to 
assist the governor. There seems to have been a great deal of 
confusion and dispute as to the exact rights of the Company in 
regard to the administration of justice. In the Imperial Statue 
43 George III. cap 138, jurisdiction over Indian territories and 
all parts of America belonging to Great Britain, not within the 
Canadas, was vested in the Canadian Courts. 2 There was some 
controversy as to the interpretation of this act and it was con- 
firmed by another passed about, the time of the union of 1821 (Act 
of 1 and 2 Geo. IV., cap 66) Which stated that the former act 
should apply to the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company, 
any thing in their Charter or any of their grants to the contrary 
notwithstanding. The Crown was empowered to create Courts 
of Record in the territory of the Company without the interven 
tion of the Canadian Courts for the trial of minor criminal cases 
and of civil cases where the matter in dispute was less than £200. 
In spite of this provision for courts at Red River, little was done 
along this line for a number of years. The explanation is sim- 
ple. The people were few in number and the occasions rare when 
regular judicial procedings were needed. Summary decisions 
by the Company's officers answered very well, but in time, as the 
colonists increased in number they demanded laws passed by a 
representative legislative body and courts which guaranteed 
ordinary English justice. Disputes became more frequent and 
the need for some means of maintaining order more pressing. 
Then, too, the Company realized that they would have to insti- 
tute some systematic method of protecting their monopoly rights 
or lose them altogether. After they had secured' sole management 
of the colony through the purchase of the interest of Lord Sel- 
kirk's heirs, they hastened to set up a more stable form of gov- 
ernment. 3 

In 1835 new councillors were appointed by the committee in 
London from residents of the colony who in connection with the 
Governor of Assiniboia and the Governor of Rupert's Land were 
to constitute a legislative council with the power to make laws 
on both civil and criminal matters. This council, composed of the 

1. Ross, Red River Settlement, p. 239. 

2. Correspondence Papers and Documents Relating to the Northerly and West- 
erly Boundaries of the Province of Ontario. Toronto, 1882, p. 26. 

3. The date of the final transfer from the Selkirk executors to the Company 
is given variously as 1834, 1835, and 1836. 


most influential men in the colony, met for the first time Feb. 12, 
1835. 1 The new councillors were all connected with the Company 
in some capacity and thus directly under its influence. For this 
reason the people felt that they were not representatives, that 
their acts and decisions were all biased in favor of the Company, 
and that the council had been devised merely to further the inter- 
ests of the great monopoly as against those of the colony. The 
half-breeds felt that their interests did not get proportional rep- 
resentation, especially since the Council was overwhelmingly 
Protestant. 2 

The population had increased considerably by this time and 
many new questions of law and the administration of justice were 
arising, such as those with respect to property rights. The coun- 
cillors were interested solely in their business/the fur trade, and 
had neither the time nor the inclination to concern themselves 
with such matters. 

The proceedings of the first meeting justified the fears of the 
people. The Council voted to levy a duty of 7%% on all exports 
and imports. The explanation given for these duties was that 
the proceeds were to be used for the erection of public works but 
nothing was done in that direction afterward. The duties on 
import was aimed against the business of the petty traders who 
were persisting in smuggling furs out of the country on the trips 
they took to St. Peter's and other American posts from time to 
time. 3 The duty on exports seem to have been a precautionary 
measure as there were really no exports of consequence at this 
time. The measure, however, was against the interests of the 
settlement for the half-breeds were continually demanding an ex- 
port trade. ■ There was so much objection to these rates that the 
Company was forced to reduce them first to 5% and then later to 

The attempt to establish a system of law enforcement occa- 

1. Constitution of the First Council : 

Sir. George Simpson. Governor of Ruperfs Land, Pres. 

Alexander Christy. Governor of Assiniboia. 

Rt. Rev. J. N. Provencher, Bishop of Juliopolis. 

The Rev. D. T. Jones, Chaplain to the Hon. H. B. Co. 

The Rev. Wm. Coekran, Assistant Chaplain. 

James Bird, Esq.. formerly chief factor Hudson Bay Company. 

James Sutherland. Esq. . 

W. H. Cook, Esq. 

John Pritchard. Esq. 

Robert Logan, Esq. 

Alex. Ross. Esq., Sheriff of Assiniboine. ■ 

John McCullum, Esq.. Coroner. 

John Bunn, Esq., Medical Adviser. 

Andrew McDermot, Esq., Merchant. 

Cuthbert Grant. Esq., Warden of the Plains. 

2. It was stated of the Council of 1855 that nine of the Councillors were 
Protestant and three Catholic. According to the census taken the next year, 
there were 548 Frotostant and 534 Catholic families in the settlement. The half- 
breeds comprising nearly all of the latter. These figures probably indicate the 
situation of 1835. 

3. II. G. Gunn. Fight for Free Trade in Ruperfs Land. Proc. Miss. Valley Hist. 
Assoc, 1910-1911, IV., 82. 


sioned some disturbance. In 1836 a public flogging was adminis- 
tered to a French Canadian for the crime of theft. A number of 
settlers gathered to witness the proceeding and became so ex- 
cited by the spectacle that they almost mobbed the individual 
who inflicted the punishment. Public feeling became so strong 
against such a method of chastisement that it was practically 
abandoned. Such a method of punishment might have been 
suitable for the enforcement of discipline in the early days of 
the Company's despotic rule over the Indians but it was utterly 
out of place in an English colony. This incident shows the tur- 
bulence of the people and their attitude toward the authorities. 

The various outbreaks and the general attitude of the people 
undoubtedly made the Company feel insecure, so in 1837 we find 
their officials opening negotiations looking toward the renewal of 
their license of 1821 although it was not due to expire until 1842. 
They probably feared if they waited until that time that condi- 
tions in the colony might have reached such a pass that they 
would be refused a further extension of the privileges they had 
been enjoying. 

. In a letter to Lord Glenelg, Colonial Secretary, Feb. 10, 1837, 
J. H. Pelly, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1 states 
that — "changes which have occurred in the situation of these 
countries" make it imperative that the grant be renewed and that 
adequate measures be taken for the administration of justice. He 
cites the fact that the population of Red River had increased to 
5,000 of whom 3,000 were Indians or half-breeds. The turbulent 
character of this population demanded that regular courts of 
justice be established under a competent Recorder. "This rising 
community," he says, "if well governed, may be found useful at 
some future period, in the event of difficulties occurring between 
Great Britain and the United States of America who have several 
military posts, say those of Sault Ste Mary's, Prairie du Chien, 
and the River St. Peter's, established on their Indian frontiers 
,along the line of boundary with British North America." As a 
final justification for his request, Governor Pelly enumerates the 
services which the Company has rendered in the past : 

1. Peace and tranquility of the country have been restored. 

2. Abuses arising in connection with the use of spirituous 
liquors in trade have been discontinued. 

3. British commercial, interests have been improving under 
the Act of 1821. 2 

Lord Glenelg referred the matter to the Lords of Trade who 
recommended the renewal of the grant although they considered 
such a proceeding objectionable in most commercial affairs. Lord 

1. That is, Governor of the Company in London, not the resident Governor, 
who was often called the Governor of Rupert's Land, in distinction. 

2. Hudson's Bay Company. Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons, August 8, 1842, .pp. 12-15. 


Olenelg concurred in their opinion with the stipulation that pro- 
vision be made for colonization in the territory of the Company. 
There is evidence in this official action that it was considered that 
the Company were not taking sufficient measures toward coloniz- 
ing the country. A grant was finally signed May 30, 1838. It 
was practically the same as that of 1821, except that it contained 
the following clause: "Provided, nevertheless, and we do hereby 
declare our pleasure to be, that nothing herein contained shall ex- 
tend or be construed to prevent the establishment by us, our heirs, 
or successors, within the territories aforesaid, or any of them, of 
any colony or colonies, province or provinces, or for annexing any 
part of the aforesaid. territories to any existing colony or colonies 
to us, in right of our Imperial Crown, belonging, or for constitut- 
ing any such form of civil government as to us may seem meet, 
within any such colony or colonies, province or provinces." 1 

The rights of the Company had been renewed and their posi- 
tion recognized but with distinct limitation and a display of lack 
of confidence. They were never to regain their old place of su- 

In 1839 Mr. Adam Thorn was appointed Recorder of Rupert's 
Land, with the power to sit as judge of the court and to act as 
executive over Assiniboia. He became very unpopular on account 
of his arbitrary methods of administering justice. It was claimed 
that he was partial to the Company and acted only with their in- 
terests in view. The proceedings of the court were conducted 
in the English language. This was a real grievance to the greater 
part of the population who understood only French. No inter- 
preter was provided for these people. 2 

The methods used by the Council were also unsatisfactory. 
There were no adequate means of acquainting the people with the 
laws. New regulations or ordinances were supposed to be posted 
on the church doors where they could be examined by everybody. 
Copies from these notices were often made by the settlers living 
in different parts of the country, so it was considered that every 
one had sufficient notification. 3 This was about the best that 
could be done, for there were no newspapers or printing presses 
in the country, and consequently no means of publishing the laws 
in permanent form where they could be accessible at any time. 
The colonists claimed, however, that not even this primitive 
method of publishing the laws was always used and that they 
were kept in the dark concerning the operations of the Council. 
On more than one occasion they pled ignorance of a law or regu- 

1. Hudson's Bay Company. Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons. August 8, 1842, p. 28. 

2. Ross, Red River Settlement, p. 377. 

3. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bav Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 71. 


lation, which the Council claimed to have passed with all due 
formality. 1 

The course adopted immediately after the institution of the 
new system of government justified the predictions of the people 
that the whole thing was merely a scheme to protect the trading 
rights of the Company. It was rumored that a Canadian named 
Register Larant had been guilty of illegal trading in furs. The 
officers of the Company broke into his house and seized the furs 
which they found there. Shortly afterward a similar seizure was 
made from another Canadian ; a third culprit was made prisoner 
at Manitoba Lake, taken to York Factory and threatened with 
deportation to England. These things were done on mere sus- 
picion, as there was no proof that the furs were not to be taken 
to the Company's store. So much ill feeling was aroused by these 
high handed proceedings that the Company at home were forced 
to disallow them and to re-imburse the parties whose furs had been 
confiscated. 2 

The Canadians were not appeased by the retraction but per- 
sisted in their course of opposition to the Company. They ex- 
ercised a great deal of influence over the French half-breeds and 
from now on that class were united with them. The English half- 
breeds had been steadfast in their loyalty to the Company but 
shortly after this time they, too, were added to the list of mal- 
contents by reason of a slight put upon one of their numbers by 
a Company officer. 3 

Thus, as we have shown, by 1840 the Canadians and the half- 
breeds, both French and English, had what they considered just 
causes for complaint and had had some experience in trying to 
secure their rights by actual revolt. The Scotch, the more steady 
and sober element of the population were not so outspoken in 
their complaints, nor riotous in making demands but they, too, 
had their grievance in that they had never been allowed a min- 
ister of their own faith in accordance with a promise made to 
them as far back as the time of Lord Selkirk. The lack of market 
for farm produce bore heavily on them for they were the main 
part of the farming population. 

In spite of this condition of affairs the rule of the great cor- 
poration was to continue a number of years in seemingly the 
same strength. But it was only strong in the semblance, for all 

1. For an example, see protest of American Importers, Appendix, No. S, p. 328. 

2. Ross, Red River Settlement, pp. 237-238. 

3. A young English half-breed became a suitor for the hand of a young lady, 
whose father, a Company officer, had placed her in boarding school at the settle- 
ment under the guardianship of the Company's chief officer there. She had an- 
other suitor, a Scotchman, whom her guardian favored, although she herself 
preferred the first mentioned lover. In order to end the matter, the guardian 
sent for the half-breed and gave him a severe reprimand for presuming to aspire 
to the hand of a young lady so much his superior in society. That was enough to 
turn all of his countrymen against the Company and from that time they joined 
with the other half-breeds in any disturbance. 


the time the force which was finally to break the monopoly — free 
trade— was steadily increasing. 

During the years 1844 and 1846 especially there was consid- 
erable ferment in the colony owing to the determined effort which 
the Company made to stamp out all illegal trade, which was in- 
creasing very decidedly on account of the near approach of the 
American traders. There seems to have been an attempt at first 
to compromise with the Americans by buying off their opposition 
as is shown by the following extract from the minutes of the Coun- 
cil held at Norway House June 18, 1840: "That the sum of £300 
sterling be paid by draft on the Governor and Committee to Ram- 
say Crooks, Esquire, in consideration of the opposition having 
been removed from the frontiers of Lake Superior, Lac la Pluie 
and Red River District, conformably to the terms of an arrange- 
ment entered into between the Hudson's Bay Company and the 
American Fur Company the said amount to be charged to the 
Lac la Pluie Outfit, 1839." In the next resolutions of the same 
meeting there is evidence that the rival companies had arrived 
at an understanding by which all independent traders were to be 
crushed. The resolutions are: "Minutes of Council, Norway 
House June 18, 1840, Information having been secured through 
Mr. Keith from Ramsay Crooks, Esquire, Pres. of the American 
Fur Company intimating the probability of Mr. W. A. Aitkins 
establishing a trading post on the borders of Lac la Pluie Dis- 
trict near Vermillion Lake with a view of carrying on a trade 
with the natives of that quarter, and Mr. Crooks having requested 
permission to oppose Mr. Aitkin in order to restrain his encroach- 
ments upon the trade of Lac la Plue District, it is — 

Resolved 44 : That Mr. Crooks be requested to oppose him 

45 : That Chief Factor Mr. Donell be instructed to make the 
necessary arrangements for meeting the expected opposition with 
vigour; and that any additional supply in men and goods re- 
quired for that purpose be furnished him from Red River by C. 
P. Finlayson." 

In the meeting of June 10, 1843, provision is again made for 
payment to Ramsay Crooks, so the agreement must have lasted 
until that time at least. But the next year there is a change in 
the course of events for Norman W. Kittson, who had established 
a post for the American Fur Company at Pembina sent six Red 
River carts loaded with furs to Mendota. 1 These, furs were of 
course secured largely from hunters north of the boundary line. 
The Company instantly became more vigilant than ever in at- 
tempting to enforce their rights. 

I£ a man were suspected of having furs in his possession, a 

1. The Red River carts were curious two-wheeled vehicles composed entirely 
of wood and drawn by oxen. 


deputation of. special constables headed by a Company clerk came 
to his home and demanded admittance. If refused, they broke 
into the house and made a thorough search for furs. They usu- 
ally carried with them a long pole which they used to bring to 
light any furs that might be secreted in the tall chimney of the 
house. Any furs found were taken to the Company's store. An 
unpublished journal of one of these free traders which covers 
these years tells of many such occurrences. 1 The petty traders 
were watched more closely than ever. Their caravans were 
searched under the direction of Cuthbert Grant who acted as 
deputy sheriff. In the words of a petition drawn up a few years 
later, "On our annual commercial journeys into Minnesota, we 
have been, pursued like felons by armed constables, who searched 
our property, even by breaking open our trunks : all furs found 
were confiscated." 2 

The settlers were forbidden to take furs for food supplied 
to the Indians, although the latter might be famishing. 3 It is said 
that a hunter was imprisoned for having given one of his over- 
coats to a destitute Indian for its value in rat skins. 4 

In addition to measures such as these, the Council instituted 
a series of regulations, which had for their object the destruction 
of all competition in the fur trade. 

One of their first acts was to devise a land deed which would 
tend to discourage settlement and protect the fur trade. Any 
person taking out such a deed bound himself: (1) not to trade 
in furs, not to aid any one else in such trade, and not to distill 
liquor without license from the Company. (2) Not to sell the 
land or any portion of it without the written consent of the Gov- 
ernor and the Company. (3) Not to import goods into Red River 
to any port but York Factory, from any port but London nor 
from any place in London but from ware houses belonging to the 
Company, nor in any ship but the Company's ship. 

No half-breed who had been trafficking with the Indians, no 
petty trader who had been dabbling in the fur trade, and no 
importer from the United States could take out such a deed with- 
out promising to give up what had been his means of gaining a 
livelihood. The scheme did not have the effect intended, for the 
people went on settling on the land without applying for deed 
or title of any sort. The Company did not dare to bring mat- 
ters to a crisis by attempting to enforce the regulation. The deed 
was actually used in some cases, however, as was shown by pa- 
pers produced in the Parliamentary Investigation of 1857. 5 

1. The Garrioch Journal. Gunn, Fight for Free Trade in Rupert's Land, Miss.. 
Valley Hist. Assoc. Proe., 1910-11, IV., 84. 

2. Petition to Legislative Assembly of Canada. Report from the Select Com- 
mittee on the Hudson's Bav Company, Aug. 17, 1857, p. 438. 

3. Ibid. P. 438. 

4. Minn. Hist. Soc. Collections, I., 217. 

5. For a copy of one of these land deeds, see Appendix, No. 3. 


In addition to the land deeds, there were various other regu- 
lations bearing directly on the subject of the fur trade. Mr. 
John M'Laughlin, a young Irishman who had been engaged in 
the free trade in the colony and had been the consistent opponent 
of the Company presented at the Inquiry of 1857 what he claimed 
were the original or copies of these documents. 1 Officers of the 
Company denied the authenticity of most of the papers and offered 
the following letter from Andrew McDermot, an uncle of Mr. 
McLaughlin's to show that that young man was not reliable: 
"My nephew, who went home last year, has not made his ap- 
pearance yet. I am sorry to say that he is a very impudent 
young man. He might well know that, whatever he might gain 
with the Company by being polite, he could gain very little by 
bullying them to come to terms. When he left here I advised 
him for the best, but he did not follow my advice in one instance. 
And all the stuff he collected about this settlement was furnished 
him by people in the service, and others who could be little 
suspected for such a thing." 2 

The attempt to impugn the authenticity of Mr. M'Laugh- 
lin's documents by the production of this letter failed: (1) The 
letter was written to the Secretary of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany and for that reason may not have been entirely unbiased, 
especially as Mr. McDermot was very friendly with all of the 
Company officers; (2) Although Mr. M'Laughlin may have been 
impudent in attacking the great Corporation, it did not follow 
necessarily that he was not telling the truth about them; (3) 
Documents secured from persons in the service of the Company 
were likely to be authentic. (4) Mr. M'Laughlin managed to pre- 
sent a very respectable amount of evidence that the most of these 
papers were genuine. 

The Company produced no documentary evidence beyond this 
one letter. They showed in the course of the investigation that 
Mr. M'Laughlin had been engaged in a lengthy controversy with 
them, hoping by this means to prove that his testimony was actu- 
ated by resentment, and to draw the attention of the Investigat- 
ing Committee away from the real matter at issue, the truth or 
falsity of his charges. The Company showed here their old dread 
of getting into print by making no effort to prove their state- 

1. Mr. McLaughlin had resided at Ked River from 1S44 to 1S49, carrying on 
business as a general trader. He had dealt in furs with the Indians and had 
consequently incurred the animosity of the Company. He had also taken part 
with them in the altercation concerning a charge for over-freight brought by the 
firm of McDermot & Sinclair. The matter was finally ended by the Company 
paying a sum of money to Messrs. McDermot & Sinclair but in the meantime Mr. 
McLaughlin had gone to England in order to present the matter there and had gone 
about it in such a way that the Company had him arrested on the charge of 
publishing a libel against them with the intent to extort money. The case was 
finally dismissed and young McLaughlin was only prevented from action against 
the Company for false imprisonment by the prudence of his father. 

2. Keport from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bav Compauv, Aug. 17, 
1857, No. 4910. 


ments by reference to the documents in the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany offices in London. 

One of the first documents presented was a regulation di- 
rected against the petty traders, who by this time were becoming 
bolder and were carrying on a considerable business by openly 
outfitting independent traders. Mr. M'Laughlin brought forward 
what he affirmed to be a true copy 1 of a proclamation issued De- 
cember 7, 1844, by Governor Christie to the following effect: 
"Whereas certain persons are known to be trafficking in furs, I 
hereby give notice that, in order to preclude, if possible, the ne- 
cessity of adopting stronger measures for the suppression of this 
illicit trade, the Hudson's Bay Company's ship hence- 
forward will not receive at any port goods addressed 
to any person whatever, unless he shall, at least a week 
before the day appointed for the departure, of the win- 
ter express, lodge at the office of Upper Ft. Garry a 
declaration to the following effect: 'I hereby declare that since 
the 8th day of December instant I have neither directly nor indi- 
rectly trafficked in furs on my own account, nor given goods 
on credit or advanced money to such as may be generally sus- 
pected of trafficking in furs; moreover, if before the middle of 
August next I shall appear to have acted contrary to any part 
of this declaration, I hereby agree that the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany shall be entitled either to detain my import of next season 
at York Factory for a whole year, or to purchase them at the 
original cost of the goods alone.' " 2 

There was presented also the original of a second proclama- 
tion issued the same day to provide for carrying out the terms of 
the first. This proclamation follows : ' ' Whereas under the funda- 
mental laws of Rupert's Land, it is notoriously illegal to traffic 
with other countries, or in imported commodities, unless under 
the protection of the written license of the Hudson's Bay Com j 
pany; and whereas, under the general law of England, an illegal 
transaction cannot be aided by a court of justice, whether to 
make" the debtor pay what he owes, or the agent account for what 
he has received, I hereby give notice, that in order to guard the 
fair and honest dealer against otherwise unavoidable embarass- 
ment and loss, I shall forward to every maritime importer who 
has lodged a declaration against trafficking in furs a license to 
the following effect: 'On behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company, 
I hereby license ... to trade, and also ratify his having traded 
in English goods within the limits of the Red River Settlement, 
this ratification and this license to be null and void from the 
beginning in the event of his hereafter trafficking in furs, or 

1. He stated that Mr. Isbister had the original. 

2. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, No. 4895. 


generally of his usurping any one whatever of all the privileges 
of the Hudson's Bay Company.' " x 

It will be noticed at once that there is no specific guarantee 
in these proclamations that a person suspected of illegal trade 
should have the benefit of a regular judicial trial. The way was 
left open for arbitrary decisions. 

In telling of this law Mr. M'Laughlin said that although he 
did not know of any instance in which the effects of any importer 
were confiscated in consequence of his having violated the stipu- 
lations of the license, he did know of one case in which an order 
was not complied with and the goods of a trader was detained in 
London. 2 

Edward Ellice, who was a member of the investigating com- 
mittee of 1857 attempted to bring out the fact that this regula- 
tion was probably disallowed by the Company in London, but 
it must have been in force for some time after its passage for 
there was produced as evidence a freighter's license which bore 
the date July 29, 1845. 3 Mr. Ellice did not offer to prove his 
contention by producing the minutes of the Company's meetings. 

Governor Simpson denied that he had ever heard of any 
regulation concerning freighter's licenses but declared that the 
Company took all goods that came to them if there was room in 
their shipping. 4 At the same time, however, he was forced to 
admit that the Company had refused to carry British manufac- 
tures for Mr. James Sinclair on the grounds that he wanted 
them for the fur trade, thus acknowledging that the Company 
had on one occasion at least'enforced a similar regulation. 5 

The next in point of time of the disputed documents which 
Mr. M'Laughlin brought to the attentian of the Committee in 1857 
was the original of a proclamation of Governor Christie issued 
December 20, 1844 to the following effect: "All letters which are 
intended to be sent by this conveyance (winter express) must 
be left at this office on or before the first of January ; every letter 
must have the writer's name written by himself in the left hand 
corner below, and if the writer is not one of those who have a 
declaration against trafficking in furs, his letter must be brought 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company. Aug. 17, 
1857, No. 4786. 

2. This may have been the ease of Mr. Sinclair, alluded to later. 

3. It is true, however, that the regulation might very well have been disallowed 
in London and still have been in force in the colony at that time. This was one 
of the chief causes of complaint. Means of communication were so poor, that the 
officials in the colony could pass a law detrimental to the interests of the settle- 
ment and long months had to elapse before news of it reached London, and a still 
longer time before word of its recall could be brought back to Red River. 

4. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 103. 

5. Another bit of evidence which goes to show that the law was passed, just 
as Mr. McLaughlin claimed, in that according to the Minutes of the Council, 
June 10, 1845 (to be noticed later), exemption from certain duties was to be 
granted to all importers who had not been suspected of trading in furs after Dec- 
ember 8, 1844. This is the same date as the one named in the above Proclamation, 
after which the importer was to declare that he had not dealt in furs. 


open, its inclosures, if any, being open also, to this office and 
here closed," 1 

A letter, December 29, 1844 from R. Lane, a clerk in the serv- 
ice of the Company to Andrew M'Dermott, the uncle of Mr. M'- 
Laughlin was produced to show that this proclamation was au- 
thentic. The letter reads : 

"My Dear Sir: — As by the new regulation regarding the 
posting of letters, it would be necessary that Mr. M'Laughlin 
should send up his letters for my perusal, a thing which cannot 
be agreeable to him, will you have the goodness to tell him that 
in his case I shall consider it quite sufficient his sealing the let- 
ters in my presence without any perusal on my part, and for that 
purpose I shall call in at your house tomorrow evening. Believe 
me, yours very sincerely, R. Lane." 2 

This letter is very strong proof that such a regulation must 
have been passedby the Council, and when Governor Simpson 
was confronted with it he conceded that the handwriting was 
very likely that of Mr. Lane but refused to acknowledge that he 
had any recollection whatever of such a ruling by the Council. 
The skillful questioning of Mr. Roebuck and Mr. Gladstone, two 
of the most aggressive members of the Select Committee, finally 
forced him to admit that there must have been something of the 
sort, but he contended to the last, just as he did in regard to any 
of the alleged high handed measures that it must have been dis- 
allowed at home. 3 He did not produce any documents to prove 
his statement, however. 

Mr. M'Laughlin himself testified that there was general ob- 
jection to the proclamation from one end of the settlement to 
the other and that the settlers refused to submit to it. The offi- 
cials endeavored to enforce it in one case, at any rate, by refusing 
to take the letters of Mr. James Sinclair because he would not 
bring them open to the fort. 4 

Another witness, the Rev. Corbett, asserted that he had heard 
the settlers say again and again that they were afraid to send 
their letters by the Company's post for fear they would be in- 
spected by the authorities but that they also feared if their ob- 
jections were too widely voiced that they would be unable to 
secure a market for their produce in the country. They were very 
anxious to see postal communication established with St. Paul in 
order that they might send their letters in that direction without 
danger of their being inspected. Rev. Corbett claimed that he had 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, No. 4772. 

2. lb., No. 1895. 

3. lb., p. 98, 

4. lb., No. 265. 


such apprehensions that his letters might be opened that he ob- 
tained a special stamp with his own initials in order to detect 
the fact if they were tampered with. In spite of this assertion 
he was unable to cite any case that had come within his knowledge 
of letters having been actually opened. 1 

Naturally the question must have come up often during this 
period of disturbance extending from 1844 to 1846 as to how jus- 
tice was to be administered in case of the infringment of any of 
the numerous regulations. According to a copy of the Minutes 
of Council April 3. 1845 presented by Mr. M'Laughlin to the Se- 
lect Committee there was some friction over the enforcement of 
revenue regulations. The meeting was called in consequence of 
certain American importers having refused to pay the import 
duty. The collector asked for instructions from the Council as 
to the method to be used to enforce such payment. The Council 
declined to share his responsibility but passed a resolution pro- 
viding that all cases of revenue, prohibition or license should be 
tried by the Governor and Council, and a jury, that in such cases 
the plaintiff should have power to summon the defendant and 
the defendant the plaintiff as a witness and that Adam Thorn, 
John Bunn, and Alexander Ross be appointed a commission to 
examine witnesses according to English principles of equity, and 
that the results of this examination be placed before the jury 
either with or without evidence. 2 

The last provision left the way open for any arbitrary de- 
cision the commission might see fit to make, but this seems to 
have been the common mode of administering such cases after 
this time. 3 

It is evident that there was still further opposition to the 
authorities, from a copy of the Minutes of Council of June 19, 
1845. According to this document the Council passed a law pro- 
viding that if any person endeavored to influence the testimony 
of any member of his family who may have been called upon to 
testify against him, he should be held guilty of the offense with 
which he was charged and be liable to punishment for attempting 
to tamper with the course of justice. Liquor was the article of 
trade most in demand with the Indians ; it was always used where- 
ever there was competition and in this same law the Council 
sought to deprive the free traders of its use, 4 by providing for 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 149. 

2. lb., No. 4S07. 

3. Such at any rate was the testimony of Mr. M'Lauglin. 

4. They had already (June 10, 1845) decreed that any intoxicating drink found 
in a fur trader's possession beyond the limits of the settlement might be destroyed 
by any person on the spot. The law of June 19 simply rounded out the previous one. 


tinging the "native spirits" of the Company with a peculiar hue 
not easily imitated. 1 

Mr. M'Laughlin said that he had never heard of a case in 
which a person was punished for attempting to influence the tes- 
timony of any member of his family. 2 If enforced, this law 
might' have borne' very heavily on the half-breeds who were very 
much attached to one another and whose family connections were 
very numerous. 

No attempt seems to have been made to enforce the regula- 
tion in regard to tinging the liquor with a peculiar hue. This 
would have been difficult on account of the widespread practice 
of diluting the liquor freely with water. 

Rev. Corbett handed into the Committee an extract from 
the Minutes of a meeting of the Governor and Council of Rupert's 
Land, held at Red River June 10, 1845. This was a most import- 
ant meeting and the severity of the measures adopted show what 
the alarm over the illicit fur trade must have been. The follow- 
ing resolutions were adopted : 

(1). That, once in every year, any British subject, if an 
actual resident, and not a fur trafficker, may import, whether 
from London or St. Peter's, stores free of any duties now about 
to be imposed, on declaring truly that he has imported them at 
his own risk. 

(2) That, once in every year, any British subject, if quali- 
fied as before, may exempt from duty, as before, imports of the 
local value of ten pounds, on declaring truly that they are in- 
tended exclusively to be used by himself within the Red River 
Settlement, and have been purchased with certain specified pro- 
ductions or manufactures of the aforesaid settlement, exported 
in the same season or by the latest vessel at his own risk. 

(3) That, once in every year, any British subject, if qualified 
as before, who may have personally accompanied both his ex- 
ports and imports, as defined in the preceding Resolution, may 
exempt from duty, as before, imports of the local value of £50, 
on declaring truly that they are either to be consumed by him- 
self, or to be sold by himself to actual consumers within the afore- 
said settlement, and have been purchased with certain specified 
productions or manufactures of the settlement, carried away 
by himself in the same season or by the latest vessel at his own 

1. Governor Christie justified the proceedings in the following proclamation : 
"Finally in taking this second step in a well weighed cause of negative coercion, of 

which the still distant close will, if necessary, usher in a different system of pro- 
ceeding,! confidently expect the cordial sympathy of all good citizens in aiming at 
the suppression of the illicit trade in furs ; a trade as prejudicial to the solid 
prosperity of the settlement as it is pernicious to the permanent welfare of the 
Indians." — Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug, 
17, 1857, No. 4902. 

2. lb., p. 272. 


(4) That all other imports from the United Kingdom for the 
aforesaid settlement, shall before delivery, pay at York Factory 
a duty of 20% of their prime cost, provided, however, that the 
Governor of the settlement be hereby authorized to exempt from 
the same all such importers as may from year to year, be reason- 
ably believed by him to have neither trafficked in furs themselves 
since the 8th day of December 1844, nor enabled others to do so 
by illegally or improperly supplying them with trading articles 
of any description. 

(5) That all other imports from any part of the United States 
shall pay all duties payable under the provisions of 5 and 6 Vict. 
C. 49, the imperial statute for regulating foreign trade of British 
possessions in North America ; provided, however, that the Gk>v- 
ernor-in-Chief, or, in his absence, the President, of the Council, 
may so modify the machinery of said Act of Parliament as to 
adapt the same to the circumstances of the country. 

(7) That henceforward no goods shall be delivered at York 
Factory to any but persons duly licensed to freight the same, 
such licenses being given only in those cases in which no fur traf- 
ficker may have any interest direct or indirect. 1 

(8) That any intoxicating drink, if found in a fur trafficker's 
possession, beyond the limits of the aforesaid settlement, may be 
seized and destroyed by any person on the spot. 

"Whereas the intervention of middlemen is alike injurious to 
the Honorable Company and to the people ; it is Resolved, 

(9) That henceforward furs shall be purchased from none 
but the actual hunters of the same. 2 

As a whole these regulations were directed against the petty 
traders. The second, however, limited even the import of goods 
intended for private consumption. A settler, not a fur trader,, 
might bring in once a year goods for his own use, to the value 
of ten pounds, provided he paid for them with certain specified 
productions, which of course were not to include furs. Any other 
goods that he might want to bring in were to be subject 
to the new duties. The third resolution limited the amount of 
the imports of the petty traders while the fourth and fifth laid 
heavy duties on the imports of those who were also fur traffick- 
ers. Probably the majority of them were dealing in furs at this 
time so if the collection of these duties were enforced it would 
mean serious hindrance to the business of the colony. The final 
resolution would bear heavily on the half-breeds whom the Com- 
pany had been employing as middlemen, the half-breeds securing 
the peltries from the Indians and then disposing of them to the 

1. For a copy of one of these licenses, See Appendix No. 7. 

2. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857. Appendix No. 4, p. 373. 


Company with some profit to themselves. In this way they 
learned of the enormous profits of the trade. They were not al- 
lowed to export furs, so they had been taking advantage of the 
situation by disposing of the more valuable furs to the Americans 
at a much greater profit than they could secure from the Com- 
pany. The new ruling would cut off a valuable source of profit. 1 

Governor Simpson asserted that these regulations, if passed 
at all, were probably disallowed by the Company at home and 
were at all events never enforced, but he offered no proof beyond 
his own recollection of the matter,, which the following extract 
from his testimony shows to have been extremely uncertain: 

"2020. Mr. Roebuck.) I think you are or have been gov- 
ernor of Rupert's Land. In 1845, were you at the Red River set- 
tlement ? — It is very likely I was there in 1845 ; I do not exactly 

2021. You had a council there, I suppose? — Yes, in all proba- 

2022. That council was held on the 10th of June? — Very 

2023. I see that you passed certain resolutions at that time ; 
have those resolutions been allowed or disallowed? — If you will 
allow me to see the resolutions I may have some recollection of 
them. I cannot exactly call them to mind. We pass resolutions 
for our own operations. 

2024. You do not bear in mind whether any of those reso- 
lutions were allowed or not? — I think the Company did disallow 
some of our resolutions, but I forget exactly what they were. 

2025. Will you be kind enough to inform us why, amongst 
your resolutions, you resolved this, 'That all other imports from 
the United Kingdom for the aforesaid settlement shall, before 
delivery, pay at York Factory a duty of 20% on their prime cost, 
provided, however, that the governor of the settlement be hereby 
authorized to exempt from the same all such importers,, or any of 
them, from year to year, as can be reasonably believed by him to 
have neither trafficked in furs themselves since the 8t'h day of 
December 1844, nor enabled others to do so illegally or improperly 
supplying them with trading articles of any description.' Do 
you recollect passing any such resolution as that ? — I do not recol- 
lect such a resolution ; it may have been so. 

2029. Laws are made to be enforced? — But I do not think 
that was. 

2030. Mr. Edward Ellice.) Is it so now? — Certainly not. 

2031. Has it ever been so in your recollection? — Not in my 
recollection. I never recollect to have heard of it. 

1. James Edward Fitzgerald, Hudson's P»av Company and Vancouver's Island, 
London, 1S49, p. 211. 


2033. Mr. Gladstone). How can you be very certain that 
the regulation is not in force now ; it appears to have been in 
force at one time without your knowledge, how do you know that 
it may not be in force without your knowledge still? — I do not 
think it was ever in force. 

2034. Mr. Roebuck). You do not deny that it has been in 
force? I do not deny it. I have no recollection of it. It was 
disallowed if so. 

2035. Mr. Edward Ellice.) But you say that if passed, it 
has not been enforced as against the 'importers? — No. 

2036. Lord Stanley.) You would have known if any ac- 
tion had been taken upon it? — I should have known as a matter 
of course." 1 

Mr. M'Laughlin testified that he thought the higher rates 
were paid in several cases, but that he conld not remember posi- 
tively whether they were the 20% duties or differential duties 
levied on goods imported from the United States in accordance 
with the provisions of the Act of Parliament mentioned in the 
Resolutions. He said that the duties were imposed arbitrarily 
on mere suspicion that the importer trafficked in furs and that 
they were always paid under protest. He offered as proof of his 
statements a petition brought forward in 1848 by a number of 
American importers. 

The petition shows that special duties were imposed on Amer- 
ican imports June 15, 1845 and Jan. 15, 1847 and were actually 
paid in some instances although under protest. It received no 
attention from Mr. Thorn to whom it was presented, but in 1849 
it seems that no further attempts were made to enforce itsjpro- 
visions. 2 

According to the testimony of Rev. Corbett, however, there 
was an effort as late as 1855 to make American importers pay a 
heavy duty with an avowed purpose of using the proceeds to im- 
prove the roads. 3 He returned to England in that year, travel- 
ling to St. Paul in company with about 200 carts. He informed 
the Committee that when they reached the boundary line, the 
settlers held a council as to whether they would pay the new 
duty on their return. They argued, "The roads are not improved, 
we are obliged to make our own bridges as we cross; we are 
obliged to wade across with our carts ; we will not pay the im- 
port duty." This resolution was made public and doubtless be- 
came known to the Company officer. Rev. Corbett said that he 
learned later that they were firm in their resolution, and paid 
only the former rate of 4% on the goods which they carried back 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bav Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, pp. 103-104. 

2. For a copy of the petition, see appendix No. 8. 

3. Rev. Corbett could not remember whether the proposed duty was 10 per 
cent or 20 per cent. 


with them. 1 The authorities had undoubtedly thought it unwise 
to attempt to force payment. 

As the most of these repressive measures affected the half- 
breeds more than any other class, they raised the question many 
times as to whether the Company had the ri?ht to prevent them 
from trading in furs, claiming that as natives of the soil they 
had the rights to their products. In August,, 1845, immediately 
after the time when the Council had passed the most stringent 
measures a number of their leading representatives sent the fol- 
lowing letter to Governor Christie : 

"Red River Settlement, 
August 29, 1845. 

"Having at this moment a very strong belief that we, as 
natives of this country, and as half-breeds, have the right to hunt 
furs in the Hudson's Bay Company territories, Whenever we think 
proper, and again sell those furs to the highest bidder; likewise 
having a doubt that natives of this country can be prevented 
from trading and trafficking with one another; we would wish 
to have your opinion on the subject, lest we would commit our- 
selves by doing anything in opposition either to the laws of Eng- 
land or the Honourable Company's privileges, and therefore lay 
before you, as Governor of Red River settlement a few queries 
which we beg you will answer in course. 

1. Has a half-breed, a settler, the right to hunt furs in this 
country ? 

2. Has a native of this country (not an Indian) a right to 
hunt furs? 

3. If a half-breed has the right to hunt furs, can he hire 
other half-breeds to hunt furs? 

4. Can a half-breed sell his furs to any person he pleases? 

5. Is a half-breed obliged to sell his furs to the H. B. Co. 
at whatever price the Company may think proper to give him? 

6. Can a half-breed receive any furs as a present from an 
Indian, a relative of his? 

7. Can a half-breed hire any of his Indian relatives to hunt 
furs for him ? 

8. Can a half-breed trade furs from another half-breed, in 
or out of the settlement? 

9. Can a half-breed trade furs from an Indian,, in or out of 
the settlement? 

10. With regard to trading, or hunting furs, have the half- 
breeds or natives of European origin, any rights or privileges 
over Europeans? 

11. A settler having purchased lands from Lord Selkirk or 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bav Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, pp. 143-145. 


even from the H. B. Co., without any conditions attached to them, 
or without having signed any bond, deed or instrument whatever 
where he might have willed away his right to trade furs, can he 
be prevented from trading furs in the settlement with settlers, or 
even out of the settlement ? 

12. Are the limits of the settlement defined by municipal 
law, Selkirk grant, or Indian sale ? 

13. If a person cannot trade furs, either in or out of the 
settlement, can he purchase them for his own or family use. and 
in what quantity? 

14. Having never seen any official statements, nor known, 
but by report, that the Hudson 's Bay Company has peculiar privi- 
leges over British subjects and half-breeds resident in the settle- 
ment, we would wish to know what those privileges are, and the 
penalties attached to the infringement of the same? 

James Sinclair 

Baptist LaRoque 

Thomas Logan 

John Dease 

Alexis Gaul at 

Louis Letendre de Batoche 

William McMillan 

Antoine Monan 

Bat. Wilkie 

John Vincent 

"William Bird 

Peter Garoch 

Henry Cook 

John Spence 

John Anderson 

Thomas McDermot 

Adall Throttier 

Joseph Monkman 

Baptist Farman." 1 

On September 5, Governor Christie returned an answer to 
this letter. He answered the first ten questions with the state- 
ment that the half-breeds as British subjects had no rights above 
those born in England or Scotland. As to the eleventh question 
he stated that the restrictions in the land deeds were not intended 
to bind individuals already bound by the fundamental law of the 
country but to act as a special guarantee that their obligations 
would be fulfilled. The twelfth question he regarded as unim- 
portant. For the thirteenth and fourteenth he referred them to 
the Charter, the Land Deed and the Acts of the Council and if 

1. Fitzgerald, Hudson's Bay Company and Vancouver's Island, pp. 206-208. 


after the examination of these documents any of them were still 
in doubt as to the legal rights of the Company, he would be 
pleased to grant them a personal interview on the subject. 1 

As might have been expected this letter did not tend to make 
the relations between the authorities and the dissatisfied popu- 
lace any more friendly. The prevailing discontent was increased 
by the attitude which the government took on another important 
matter. In 1843 Mr. James Sinclair sent a small quantity of 
tallow to London in one of the Company's vessels. He made a 
profit on the transaction, and a number of his countrymen deter- 
mined to try the same thing. The Governor at Red River in- 
formed them that the freight on tallow would be £8 per ton. He 
had already offered Mr. Sinclair the same rate, but that gentle- 
man had applied privately to the authorities in London for rates 
and received in reply the information that the Company were very 
glad indeed that the colonists wanted to attempt an export trade 
and that the freightage would be £2 per ton. 2 

Accordingly about twenty of the leading half-breeds of the 
settlement addressed the following letter to the Governor and 
Committee in London : 

"Red River Settlement. 

December 30, 1843. 
Honoured Sirs, 

Presuming on the liberal manner in which your Honours met 
Mr. James Sinclair's views of exporting tallow on his own ac- 
count to England, in your ships, at the moderate freight of 40 
francs per ton, We, the undersigned, have determined to turn our 
attention to collecting a quantity of the article sufficient to be- 
come a matter of some consideration in the London market, as 
well as a source of profit and employment to a large portion of the 
population at the settlement, who are incapable of directing 
themselves to agricultural occupations, and whose orderly con- 
duct and attachment to the Honourable Company so materially 
depends on a market being afforded for the proceeds of the chase. 

After, giving the subject a careful consideration, we are of 
the opinion that, if your Honours would favor us so far as to 
lower the very high freight charged at present on the goods we 
import from London, we can send a considerable quantity of tal- 
low to England, with a small profit to ourselves and considerable 
benefit to the prosperity of the settlement. It would be presump- 
tuous in us to pretend a knowledge of the extraordinary expense 
of fitting out a ship for Hudson's Bay, but £8 per ton is so much 
more than the freight exacted on goods to far more distant parts 

1. Fitzgerald, Hudson's Bay Company and Vancouver's Island, pp. 208-210. 

2. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 279. 


of the world, as to induce us to indulge a hope that your Honours 
will take our case into your favorable consideration." 1 

It seems that they never received any answer to this com- 
munication. The next year Mr. Sinclair sent a much greater 
quantity of tallow to York Factory. 2 He learned later that it 
was detained there on account of lack of room in the Company's 
ship. The very same thing occurred the next year and Mr. Sin- 
clair despairing of getting his tallow to England finally disposed 
of it to the Company at their own price, July 25, 1845. Governor 
Simpson asserted that a part of the Company's own goods was 
detained that year because there was no room for them in the 
ship, 3 but Capt. Herd who had for almost twenty years commanded 
a ship of the Company's sailing between London and York Fac- 
tory, stated that as a usual thing the ship was not full on the 
return voyage, perhaps not full once in seven years. He did not 
remember anything about the return cargo in 1844 and 1845. He 
said that it was very often necessary to take about 200 tons of 
stone ballast at York on account of the lightness of a cargo con- 
sisting of furs. When questioned as to why some heavy article 
like tallow might not be used in place of stone ballast, he re- 
plied that he had always understood that there was not enough 
tallow produced at Red River to supply the demand there to say 
nothing of exporting any. He stated positively that he had never 
heard of a case in which the application to bring home produce 
in the Company's ship had been refused. 4 

The authorities seem to have declared frequently that the 
half-breeds had no tallow or hides to export and yet they con- 
tinually complained that the half-breeds spent their time hunt- 
ing on the plains rather than attending to agricultural pursuits. 
There is obviously an inconsistency here. 

In 1844 when the half-breeds were clamoring for a market, 
Alexander Ross attempted to bring up a bill in the local council 
providing for an export trade. He failed utterly, for, in his 
own words T "The measure was offensive in a certain high quarter 
and the council considered it the wisest policy to look upon it 
in the same light." The president of the Council settled the mat- 
ter in a peremptory manner by declaring it not a subject for con- 
sideration by this Council but for the Council of Rupert's Land. 
"From that day," declares Ross, "the half-breeds turned their 
thoughts towards the Americans and American Government." 5 

In taking this attitude on the export trade question, the Com- 
pany was fighting for existence as a fur-trading monopoly. Mr. 

1. Fitzgerald, Hudson's Bay Company and Vancouver's Island, pp. 201-202. 

2. Mr. McDermot seems to have been interested in this venture also. 

3. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bav Company, Aug. 11 
1857, p. 279-280. 

4. lb., p. 257. 

5. Ross, Red River Settlement, p. 337. 


Sinclair was a fur trader, as were most of the half-breeds who 
demanded an export trade in tallow and hides. If they were 
allowed to export large amounts of their produce they could 
secure more trading goods and consequently become still more 
formidable competitors of the Company in the Indian trade. The 
fur magnates had seen the signs of the times and in the specific 
regulations of the Councils and the measures directed against 
individuals were merely seeking to retain their ancient privileges. 
The general policy which they pursued during this period and to 
a less extent earlier in their history shows the same purpose. 

Where they held a monopoly in trade, the Company exer- 
cised almost complete control over the Indians. After a trading 
post was established in their midst, the Red Men lost the indepen- 
dence they had formerly enjoyed and became dependent on the 
Company for the means of subsistence, — food, clothings and am- 
munition. When competition entered, the Company endeavored 
in every way possible to retain this power. It was claimed that 
they often threatened to stop the supplies of the Indians unless 
they brought all their peltries to the Company's post. 1 If an In- 
dian's supplies were cut off it would mean that he was in danger 
of immediate starvation, unless he could secure food from some 
other quarter. In case supplies were actually refused by the 
Company, the extremity of the measure probably led to the very 
result which an effort was being made to prevent. The Indian 
naturally turned to others from whom he could get supplies — 
the petty traders, for instance. His only means of payment was 
the promise to bring the next furs which he secured to his bene- 
factor instead of taking them to the Company post. So when 
there was 'competition it was almost impossible to keep the In- 
dians in a state of subjection. 

It was asserted, too, that the Company officers endeavored 
to prevent the Indians from trafficking in furs among themselves, 
from making presents of furs to one another, or even from wear- 
ing them. The story goes that on one occasion some one in au- 
thority in the Company asked Mr. Smithurst, a missionary, to 
try to persuade the Indians not to wear furs, but he refused to 

1. June 29, 1847, five retired servants of the Company, whose periods of service 
extended from 1799 to 1844 and who had been located in the various parts of the 
territory, were examined at the request of Mr. Isbister on a number of matters 
connected with the Company. Their answers to the question, "Is an Indian 
allowed to do with his furs as he thinks proper?" follow: 

(1) Thp natives at that time had liberty to do as they chose with their 
furs, except in cases where they were in debt at any of the forts. 

(2) At that time there were several rival companies, and the Indians generally 
had power to do with their furs as they thought proper. 

(3) He has no other resource than to give them in trade to the Company's 

(4) No; they are not. 

(5) No ; they are not. 

Hudson's Bay Company. Return to an Address of the Honorable the House of 
Commons, Apr. 23, 1849, p. 82. 


use his influence for any such purpose. 1 The charge was made, 
however, that certain of the missionaries had accepted favors from 
the Company in return for such services, but the facts seem to 
show that the missionaries were devoted, faithful men, not sub- 
ject to undue influence. The contributions which they received 
from the Company do not appear to have made them dependent. 
On the other hand they were quite the contrary, as the general 
attitude of the Company shows. They taught the Indians to be 
more independent and to demand higher prices for their furs. 

It is said that on one occasion when a number of the agents 
of the Company and some of the clergymen of the settlement had 
assembled to discuss how the system of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany worked in the colony that some of the former expressed 
their opinion in these words: "If missionaries and missionary 
settlements increase, chief factors and fur trading posts must de- 
crease." This was accepted as a statement of a generally ac- 
knowledged fact, no one in the assembly taking exception to it. 2 

There was a great deal of objection raised by the authori- 
ties at Red River to the establishment of the missions at Portage 
la Prairie and Headingly. The missionaries persevered and finally 
succeeded in establishing their stations, although at the latter 
place they met with some difficulty, for immediately after the 
station was formed, the deposit required of each settler before 
he could take possession of a tract of land was raised from the 
original amount of £2 to £12. This sum was later increased to 
£15, in spite of the remonstrance of the missionaries and settlers 
alike. 3 

Wherever a mission was established, a settlement formed 
naturally, so the missionary question was connected closely with 
the policy of the Company concerning colonization. Provisions 
were made in the grant of 1838 for future colonization, but noth- 
ing was done toward carrying them out. The population of the 
settlement amounted in 1843 to 5,143 and by 1856" had reached 
only 6,523. This very low rate of increase is explained somewhat 
from the fact that there had been removals to other localities, 
some 120 persons having moved to Portage la Prairie and over 
500 half-breeds to Pembina. 4 But even taking these and other 
withdrawals into consideration there had been nothng like gen- 
eral settlement of the country. There had been practically no 
accessions from foreign countries. This was at the very period 
when Minnesota was enjoying such phenomenal growth and the 
contrast was duly noted in many quarters. 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 264. 

2. lb., p. 139-140. 

3. lb., p. 139. 

4. Report of the Exploration of the Country between Lake Superior and Red 
River Settlement, p. 302. 


The reason given by the authorities for their discouragement 
of colonization was that new settlements would increase the 
local expenses of Bed River Government. This objection was met 
with the statement that as population increased, the means of 
maintaining the Government would be increased proportionally. 
In the light of this fact it seemed as if the fear expressed as to in- 
creased expense was only a pretext to conceal the real reasons 
why the Company opposed colonization. 

In the first place, the Company was primarily a fur trading 
concern and as such could have little to do with coloniza- 
tion. The men in the service were fur traders and had no time 
to busy themselves with the petty affairs of the colonists. The 
Company had lost money on all the transactions undertaken for 
their benefit. But it was not merely that the colony was an incon- 
venience and expense ; it was a much more serious matter that 
colonization was incompatible with monopoly in trade. In spite 
of all the efforts of the powerful organization, the insignificant 
Red River colony had gone into the fur trade so extensively as 
to occasion serious apprehensions as to the consequences. It was 
obvious that if facilities were offered for settlement, and the 
country filled with people that the monopoly could be no longer 

Aside from the fact that settlers would engage in fur trade 
and thus violate the monopoly, there were other reasons why 
their advance was to be feared. If the public generally par- 
ticipated in the trade, competition would become so fierce that 
although the trade would be greatly stimulated for a short time 
it would soon be absolutely destroyed. The settlers themselves 
would kill the animals instead of leaving that task to the Indians. 
They would hunt at all seasons of the year while the Company 
had been very careful to ensure the preservation of the fur bear- 
ing animals by discouraging their destruction during the breed- 
ing season. 

In his testimony before the Select Committee in 1857, Edward 
Ellice stated that the increase of civilization south of the bound- 
ary line was putting an end to the fur trade there but he refused 
to reverse the proposition and admit that civilization had not 
reached across the line on accpunt of the maintenance of the fur 
trade. On the contrary he averred that the existence of the fur 
trade prevented colonization in no respect, but in the end he was 
forced to acknowledge that as settlement advanced the fur trade 
would be driven back, thus virtually conceding that the existence 
of the Company as a fur trading monopoly depended on keeping 
the country unsettled. 1 After an admission like this from one of the 
principal members of the Company, it is not to be wondered that 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, A us. 17, 
1857, p. 342. 


they had opposed the establishment of mission stations and de- 
vised land deeds that would hinder settlement. It was their 
policy at all times to represent in England that the climate was 
so rigorous, the soil so poor and the crops so uncertain that a 
large population could never be 'supported in the territory. That 
prevented any thought of emigration to their country. 

It appears that in one case at least the Company went so far 
in their policy of opposition to colonization that they ordered 
the breaking up of a flourishing settlement. R. King, a surgeon 
with an Arctic expedition, extending from 1833 to 1836 and pass- 
ing through the Hudson's Bay Company territory told of see- 
ing a prosperous settlement about forty miles from Cumberland 
House. About thirty persons, mostly half-breeds, had gathered 
there and had, in Dr. King's opinion, something like 1000 acres 
under cultivation. According to his story, when he reached the 
colony a number of the settlers came to him and told him that 
they had been ordered off because the project was against the 
Company and asked him as a government officer to help them 
keep their farms. Of course he could do nothing for them but 
he said that appearances indicated that they were telling the 
truth. He was given to understand that the project had been 
started by the chief officer at Cumberland House who had been 
"hauled over the coals" and ordered to another post when the 
authorities learned what he was doing. Dr. King said that this 
colony was quite distinct from the extensive agricultural experi- 
ment carried on by the Company at Cumberland House itself, 
which was abandoned because it was declared unprofitable. No 
such reason could be given for destroying the little colony, for 
the desire of the colonists to keep their farms shows that they 
considered them successful. Although Dr. King did not know 
whether the order of the Company was carried out to the letter, 
he stated that the time he left the colony it appeared very much 
as if it would be. 1 


The End of the Monopoly. 

The illicit trade and the efforts of the Company to suppress 
it led to certain well-defined results, all of which tended to weaken 
their power and break down their monopoly. There was a con- 
certed movement against the government of the Company, car- 
ried on both in Red River and England; the struggle for trade 
brought on certain abuses which placed the Company in disrepute ; 
in consequence of the operations of the American fur traders and 
the close approach of American settlements there grew up in the 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bav Company, Aug. 17, 
1S57, pp. 317-319. 


colony a decided American sentiment; the general notice which 
the affairs of the Company were receiving attracted the atten- 
tion of the Canadians and they determined to secure possession 
of the Hudson's Bay Company territories. We will notice these 
things in order. 

In 1846 the prevailing discontent reached such a stage that 
a number of prominent half-breeds determined to bring their 
grievances to the attention of the Government at home. A com- 
mittee consisting of William Dease, J. Baptiste Payette, J. Louis 
Rielle, 1 Charles Montigny, and Cuthbert M'Gillis was chosen to 
draw up a petition to the Queen asking for redress of grievances 
and to elect a messenger to take the petition to England. They 
entrusted the wording of the petition to the Rev. G. A. Belcourt 
who had several times previous to this acted as a peace maker 
between the riotous settlers and their rulers by reason of the 
great influence which he possessed over the half-breeds. He jus- 
tified his championship of the half-breeds by sayng that it was 
necessary in order to preserve peace, for there would soon have 
been open sedition unless some effort were made to better condi- 
tions. 2 By June 1, 1846, the petition had been signed by 977 
persons. It was taken to England by the determined opponent 
of the Company, James Sinclair, who carried with him the in- 
structions from the Committee of which the following were the 
main points: He was to represent the true state of affairs in 
the colony, making every effort to promote the welfare of his 
people, but. by moderate means and without advancing any claims 
which could not be proved. He was to ask that the Company be 
obliged to put silver money in circulation in the country in place 
of the bills of exchange payable only in London, which the Gover- 
nor had threatened to withdraw in case the illicit trade was not 
stopped. It was to be his duty to request that the Company be 
required to furnish a market for the produce of the country at 
reasonable prices and to represent that they had been guilty of 
an abuse of power in forbidding the inhabitants of the country 
to exchange furs among themselves, in making arbitrary seizures 
of furs, and in imprisoning fur traders on mere suspicion that 
they were going to smuggle furs out of the country. 3 

In the petition itself the first complaint is that settlers had 
been drawn to this remote quarter of the earth by "pompous 
promises" which were as yet unfulfilled. They cite the lack of 
a. market for their produce as one of the most important of the 
unfulfilled promises. 4 Their next grievance was that the mon- 

1. Father of Louis Riel. the rebel of later years. 

2. For a copy of a letter which he wrote on the subject, see Appendix No. 9. 
i Hudson's Bay Company. Return to an Address of the Honorable the uouse 

of Commons, April 23, 1S49. pp. 48-49. 

For a copy of these instructions, see appendix No. 10. 

4. One of the promises which" Lord Selkirk made to his settlers was that they 
were to have a market for all their produce, Ross, Red River Settlement, p. 30. 


opoly of the Company was weighing on them more heavily all the 
time so they could no longer exchange furs for imported goods or 
vice versa without being imprisoned or having their goods seized 
on the mere suspicion that they were about to exchange them for 
furs. They asserted that this severity had been pushed to the 
point of keeping them from supplying Indians perishing of hun- 
ger with the necessities of life, since furs were usually the only 
means of payment which the Indians possessed in such circum- 
stances. They were forbidden to do this notwithstanding the fact 
that these very furs were often brought to the Company store af- 
terward and sold at their own price. The petition closed with the 
following supplications : 

(1) That justice might be administered by judges or magis- 
trates chosen from among the people themselves in order that 
the present system of partiality to the Company might be pre- 

(2) That they might have the same liberty of trade which 
was maintained by law in all the other British possessions. This 
they considered necessary to the peace of the country for. as they 
averred, the people would not go on indefinitely seeing their riches 
exploited for the benefit of foreigners while they themselves were 
held in a kind of commercial slavery. 

(3) That land be sold to those wishing to emigrate to the 
country and that a sum be taken from the proceeds of the sale to 
help pay for their transport. 1 

The petition was presented to the Colonial Office, Feb. 17. 
1847, together with a memorial signed by A. K. Isbister, Thomas 
Vincent. G. Sinclair. D. V. Stewart.- John M'Leod, and James 
Isbister. 2 The memorial which served as an introduction for the 
petition, presented the following points : 3 

(1) The Government should enquire into the discontent and 
misery prevalent among the natives of Rupert's Land. 

(2) The trade monopoly of the Company had enabled them 
to amass a t great fortune to "the utter impoverishment, if not 
ruin of the natives." 

(3 — 9) That the Company had done nothing to better the 
conditions of the Indians but on the contrary through their fur 
trading policy had reduced them to destitution in many cases 
and had made a general famine imminent. 

(10) and (11) That those inhabitants of the colony who had 
engaged in independent trading had been subjected to many per- 
secutions, their furs being seized or they themselves being im- 

1. Hudson's Bay Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons. April 23. 1849. pp. 4-5. For the petition in full, see appendix Xo. 2. 

2. Mr. Alexander K. Isbister. a native of Rupert's Land, who had resided for 
some years in England and where he afterward became a prominent educator, took 
charge of the interests of the colonists and spared no effort in their behalf. 

3. In the correspondence concerning the memorial, it. was divided into numbered 
paragraphs for th"e sake of clearness. The same numbers are used here. 


prisoned. It had been impossible to obtain redress for these 
wrongs in the local courts and the memorialists thus felt them- 
selves under the necessity of applying to the Government for pro- 

(12) Hunters from Red River had been warned off of Ameri- 
can hunting grounds but had been offered the alternative of be- 
coming American citizens. 1 Thus they were either to suffer great 
want or else to be lost to the colony altogether. 

(13-15) The memorialists stood ready to bring forward evi- 
dence to corroborate their charges and to suggest means by which 
the Indians might be saved from the fate to which the selfish 
policy of the Company had doomed them and the colonists made 
"happy, contented, and grateful subjects." 2 

Shortly after the receipt of the petition, Earl Grey, Colonial 
Secretary of State, requested Mr. Isbister to make his charges 
somewhat more specific by furnishing additional information on 
the subject. He also wrote to the Governor of the Company in 
London, to the Governor General of Canada, and the Governor of 
Assiniboia, presenting the charges and asking for a report on 

In answer to this request Governor Pelly — the London Gov- 
ernor — gave the following explanation of the preferment of 
charges against the Company : Some of the Red River Settlers had 
been carrying on an illegal trade in furs, employing as their agents 
the half-breeds, particularly those of Canadian origin. The 
Company had adopted certain measures for stopping this prac- 
tice and in proportion as these measures proved effectual they 
offended the persons who were making a profit from the trade. 
Now these same persons were affecting commiseration for the 
Indians and parading a long list of alleged grievances. 3 

Governor Pelly entered a denial of the charges in detail and 
forwarded a number of documents bearing out his assertions. 
On the other hand Mr. Isbister sent in a still more imposing list of 
documents corroborating the charges. 

February 12, 1848, Col. Crofton who had recently returned 
from the military command of Red River, where he had also 
served as Governor, sent his report on the charges. He stated 
that it was his opinion that the memorial was due to one or two 
discontented men who since Papineau's Rebellion had been stir- 
ring up disloyal feelings among the half-breeds. According to 
his observation the government of the Company was mild and 

1. Capt. E. V. Sumner. 1st. Dragoons, TJ. S. Army received instructions from 
the headquarters of the Third Military Department, dated May 7, 1845 to warn 
the half-breeds not to hunt south of the line. Mr. Kittson sent a copy of these 
instructions to the authorities at Red River. Report from the Select Committee 
on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 1857, p. 273. 

2. For the memorial, see appendix No. 4. 

3 Hudson's Bay Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons, April 23, 1849, pp. 20-22. 


protective and admirably suited to the state of society. He denied 
the specific charges advanced in the memorial with the exception 
of the one concerning the prevention of smuggling. As to that, he 
stated that he had known some instances when Indians and half- 
breeds had smuggled furs across the line to exchange them for 
American goods, but that they did so at their own risk and never 
thought of invoking the law in defense of their acts. He re- 
called some instances in which furs had been forfeited and the 
smugglers fined. 1 

The next year Major Griffiths, Col. Crof ton's successor, made 
substantially the same report. He viewed the petition not as an 
attempt to obtain redress of grievances but to share in the trad- 
ing privileges of the Company and threw the blame of the whole 
movement on the French half-breeds. 

In June 18-18, the Earl of Elgin, the Governor General of 
Canada, sent in a report in which he enumerated the difficulties 
attending any investigation in the Company's territory. He 
stated, however, that the information which he had been able to 
secure was highly favorable to the Company. In spite of this 
fact, he recommended that as it was highly desirable that the 
Government possess some means of probing the charges to the 
bottom, it would be advantageous to establish a military officer 
in the territory who could see that order was maintained and 
justice executed and at the same time give the Government ac- 
curate information as to the true state of affairs in the terri- 
tory. 2 

Finally in January, 1819, Earl Grey came to the conclusion 
that 'it was unnecessary to prosecute the inquiries further and 
on the strength of the reports received from the Governor Gen- 
eral of Canada, Colonel Crofton, and Major Griffiths sent word 
to Mr. Isbister that he did not consider that conditions demanded 
an investigation by Parliament and for that reason the matter 
would be dropped. At the same time and in the same manner he 
disposed of the charges which had been brought against the Com- 
pany by Mr. William Kennedy in regard to conditions in the 
Eastern department. 3 

Although the Company would seem to have been exonerated 
by the outcome of the investigation, their position had, never- 
theless, been considerably shaken. Their affairs could never be 

1. HudsorTs Bay Company. Return to an Address of the Honorable the House- 
of Commons, April 23. 1849, pp. 101-102. In his testimony before the Committee in 
1857, Col. Crofton told of an occasion when one of the soldiers under his command 
was reported to him for having traded some tobacco to an Indian for a paltry fur. 
He said that he "did not see the offence distinctly, but they" — presumably Com- 
pany officers — "pointed out to me that was against the law of the place, and of 
course I punished the soldier." Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's 
Bay Company. Aug. 17, 1857, p. 171. 

2. Hudson's Bav Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons. April 23. 1849, pp. 8-9. 

3. lb., pp. 113-114. 


cloaked in quite the same mystery as before. The burden of 
proof had rested with them and in the eyes of many Englishmen, 
Mr. Isbister had made out a better ease against them than had 
been made in their defense. The testimony which cleared them 
had come from their paid officers — Governor Pelly, Colonel Oof- 
ton and Major Griffiths. The Governor General of Canada had 
based his report largely on information received from Colonel 

Among the colonists the feeling was pretty general that 
their cause had been considerably advanced in spite of the ad- 
verse decision. A copy of the Confirmation of the Charter by Act 
of Parliament in 1690, which had been unearthed in the course 
of the investigation, was carried back to Red River and became 
public there. This Act had confirmed the exclusive privileges 
of the Company in their original territory for a period of seven 
years. The Act had never been renewed and according to the 
interpretation of the colonists the exclusive trading rights of the 
Company had expired in 1697 in the original territories and as 
the license of 1842 had referred only to the Indian country there 
was now no legal basis for the Company's claim to the sole right 
to trade in furs in the Red River Settlement. 1 

Mr. M'Laughlin who was in London shortly after this time 
wrote back to the colonists in 1850 that Mr. Isbister had roused 
very powerful friends to their aid and if they proved them- 
selves worthy they would certainly be supported in any con- 
tention against the Company. He informed them that the news- 
papers and members of Parliament were continually declaring 
that they had the right to sell their productions of their country 
to whomsoever they pleased. 2 This strengthened the opinion al- 
ready prevalent in the country. 

In addition to their general policy, the authorities at Red 
River had not hesitated to adopt stringent measures towards 
individuals who had dared complain of the policy of the Com- 
pany or call their power into question. Mr. James Sinclair had 
long been known as one of the principal agitators against the 
Company and had as early as August 25, 1845, received the fol- 
lowing letter from Governor Christie : 

"Ft. Garry, Red River Settlement, 

"August 25, 1845. 

"I beg to state, that in a private letter from Mr. Secretary 
Smith, dated the 18th. April last, and received on the 25th. in- 
stant, — I am requested to acquaint you, that no goods will be 

1. Hudson's Bay Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons, April 23, 1849, p. 47. 

2. Appendix, No. 11. 


shipped in your name on board the Hudson's Bay Company's 

ship for York Factory this season. 

"I remain, Sir, 
"Your most obedient Servant, 

"Alexander Christie." 1 
"Mr. James Sinclair." 

Mr. Sinclair was a merchant and this meant a serious busi- 
ness loss to him. It explains, too, his subsequent activity with 
respect to the petition. 

Father Belcourt was to be punished for the part he had 
taken in drawing up the petition. In 1848 he was arrested by 
an officer of the Company on the charge of trading in furs with 
the Indians. His trunks were broken open and searched, although 
he indignantly denied all the charges against him and maintained 
that the arrest was made merely as an act of vengeance for the 
part he had taken in the late agitation. . .Governor Simpson 
threatened to cease all communication with the Red River clergy 
unless Rev. Belcourt was recalled from his mission but Mr. Isbis- 
ter laid the case before the Society of St. Thomas of Canterbury, 
an organization the object of which was to defend the rights of 
the Catholics. According to the account which Rev. Belcourt 
himself gives of the affair, Governor Simpson made a speedy re- 
traction, rather than explain his attitude before this body and 
requested that the clergyman be sent again to Red River. 2 But 
Rev. Belcourt preferred to locate in Pembina where he continued 
his good work among the Indians and half-breeds and his policy 
of opposition to the Company. 

No measures were taken against Mr. Isbister who had done 
more than any one else, perhaps, to bring the Company into dis- 
repute, for the simple reason that he was not a resident of Red 
River and could not be reached in the same way as persons like 
Mr. Sinclair and Rev. Belcourt. 

In September 1846, there had been sent to the colony under 
secret instruction several companies of the 6th Royal Regiment 
of Foot, under the command of Col. Crofton, who was to act as 
Governor. This act was probably due to the disturbances in the 
colony over illegal fur trading coupled with the uneasiness over 
the Oregon question and a consequent desire to protect the fron- 
tier in case of hostilities. Immediately on the arrival of the 
troops a number of those who had been stirring up discontent 
went across the line into the United States. The soldiers suc- 
ceeded by their presence in restoring order and also in lessening 
the cause of discontent by providing a market for the produce 
of the country. They remained until 1848 when their place was 

1. Fitzgerald, Hudson's Bay Company and Vancouver's Island, p. 230. 

2. Minn. Hist. Colls., Vol. I., p. 243. 


taken by a small squad of pensioners under the command of Major 
Caldwell, the new Governor. 1 

It seemed for the time being as if order was restored, although 
the illegal trade continued. In 1849 Major Caldwell determined 
to make an example of certain traders. He caused the arrest of 
William Sayer, a French half-breed, on the charge of accepting 
furs from an Indian in exchange for goods. Sayer was soon re- 
leased on bail. Three other half-breeds, M'Gillis, Laronde, and 
Goulle were arrested on the same charge but were not imprisoned. 
Saver's trial was set for May 17, and early in the morning of that 
day the French Canadians and half-breeds began to assemble 
with the avowed intention of resisting any infliction of punish- 
ment on the offenders. A rumor had. been current that the pen- 
sioners were to be out under arms to protect the court and this 
provoked anger and violence. Alexander Ross who witnessed 
the proceedings says that he counted as many as 377 guns in the 
crowd. Others had missiles of various sorts. A very slight prov- 
ocation might have precipitated a riot. 

At eleven o'clock, court was opened and Sayer summoned 
to appear. He was surrounded by a body of armed friends and 
refused to answer the summons. The court occupied itself with 
other business until one o'clock and then called for Sayer again. 
Mr. John M'Laughlin attempted to intervene to settle matters but 
was peremptorily ordered by the half-breeds to stay out of the 
affair. After consultation the court sent word to Sayer and his 
friends that they might appoint a leader and select some of their 
number to speak in Sayer 's defense. Accordingly Sayer entered 
the court room guarded closely by a man named Sinclair and 
eleven other half-breeds. 2 

After Sayer 's entrance, about twenty of the half-breeds 
placed themselves on guard at the door at the court yard gate in 
order to be ready to rescue Sayer at any moment. After some 
delay caused by Sinclair challenging some of the jurors, the trial 
proceeded and.Sayer confessed that he had traded in furs with an 
Indian. The court pronounced him guilty but he proved that 
some connected with the Company had given him permission to do 
so. He was discharged promptly on this pretext and the other 
cases were dropped. 

Nothing was said about the rights of the half-breeds with 
respect to the fur trade in the future and they got the idea that 
as a result of this trial all trade was open to them. As soon as 
the trial was over one of the jurymen hurried to the door and 
after cheering cried out in a voice that all could hear "Trade is 
free!" The Canadians and half-breeds took up the cry until 

Ross. Red River Settlement, pp. 364-366. 
Undoubtedly this was James Sinclair. 


the whole court yard resounded with it. 1 To these people this 
seemed only a confirmation of what they had always believed — 
that the privileges which the Company claimed were unjust and 

Besides the illicit fur trade carried on by the settlers and the 
efforts of the opponents of the Company in England, there were 
other forces breaking down the power of the Company. One of 
these was the alleged use of liquor in trading operations despite 
their promises to the contrary and the remonstrances of mission- 
aries against the practice. They were condemned both in Eng- 
land and America on this score. "When they secured the license 
of 1821 and again at the time of its renewal in 1838, they entered 
into an agreement to take such measures as would lead to 
the abolition of the practice of selling or distributing liquor 
among the Indians. According to most accounts they succeeded 
in accomplishing this result pretty generally in the northern dis- 
tricts but where there was competition, notably in the Red River 
country, liquor continued to be a very important factor in all 
trades with the Indians. 

Governor Simpson is authority for the statement that the 
average annual importation of liquor into the country up to the 
year 1837 did not exceed 3,612 gallons. In 1847 Mr. Isbister ex- 
amined the annual returns of the custom house and found that 
in the previous year 9,075 gallons of spirits were brought into 
the colony by the way of Hudson Bay alone. This did not take 
into account what was brought from Canada which Mr. Isbister 
estimated at as much more or what was supplied from the Red 
River distillery the production of which it seems impossible 
to ascertain. 2 Of course the presence of the troops in the 
settlement necessitated the importation of more liquor in 1846, 
but it is a question whether the entire increase can be laid to that 
cause, rather than to the competition which the Company was 
meeting with at this time. 

Although Governor Simpson asserted positively in his testi- 
mony of 1857 that the Company never used liquor as a medium 
of barter, he admitted that when there was opposition liquor was 
sometimes given as a present to the Indians after the bargain had 
been concluded. In his own words, "Where we have opposition, 
we must in order to get furs, do as other parties do, but we never 
sell liquor." 3 To most people this looked like a distinction with- 
out a difference. 

Rev. Corbett who had resided at Red River from 1852 to 
1855, informed the Select Committee that he had often seen In- 

1. Ross, Red River Settlement, pp. 372-376. 

2. Hudson's Bay Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons, April 23, 1849, p. 61. 

3. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 61. 


dians and half-breeds in a wild state of intoxication not only 
in their encampments in the neighborhood of Ft. Garry but actu- 
ally within the gates of that post. He felt sure that they must 
have obtained the liquor at the fort. He told of one occasion 
on which a number of Indians and half-breeds of his own district, 
Headingly, took their furs down to Ft. Garry and returned with 
a quantity of rum and other supplies. They took complete pos- 
session of the house of one of the settlers and after warming 
themselves began handing the rum around. They were soon 
engaged in a general figlit which became so furious that the owner 
of the house began to wonder how he could ever get them to leave. 
Finally he decided to pull down the stove piping and stove, which 
he did. The house rilled so completely with ashes and smoke 
that the drunken Indians and half-breeds rushed out of doors 
pell-mell. 1 Occurrences like this must have been very effective 
in making the more orderly and lawabiding of the settlers desire 
the abrogation of the Company's privileges and the substitution 
of a form of government under which such disturbances could not 
take place. 

There was a very strict prohibition laid on the use of spirits 
in trading operations with the Indians in the licenses issued by 
the American Government to the fur traders. The British claimed 
that this law was constantly evaded and that it would have been 
much easier for the Hudson's Bay Company to enforce its regu- 
lations in regard to the liquor, if it had not been for its reckless 
and illegal use by the Americans. On the other hand, it is said 
that Mr. Kittson often remonstrated against the increasingly 
large quantity of rum used by the Hudson's Bay Company among 
the Indians, and constantly deprecated its demoralizing effects. 

The complaints of Mr. Kittson and others interested in this 
section led to a correspondence in 1849 — 50 between representa- 
tives of the Governments of the two countries on the subject. 
December 8, 1849, H. H. Sibley,, then representative in Congress 
from Minnesota territory, wrote to the Secretary of State calling 
attention to the complaints which had come in from the frontier 
in regard to the use of an immense amount of spirits by the Hud- 
son's Bay Company. He asked to have the matter laid before 
the proper British authorities, for the reason that. the peace of the 
frontier was in danger as long as the practice continued. Feb. 
12, 1850 the American Minister to England, Abbot Lawrence, in 
a communication to the Brtish Minister of Foreign Affairs, the 
Viseount Palmerston, in which was inclosed a copy of Mr. Sib- 
ley's letter, asked that the British Government co-operate with 
the Government of the United States in repressing the evil by 
issuing suitable instructions to the Hudson's Bay Company. 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 147. 


April 11, Mr. Lawrence received a reply from Lord Palrners- 
ton, stating that the matter had been referred to the Secretary 
of State for the Colonies, who had demanded an explanation from 
the Company and had received in return a letter from Governor 
Pelly containing an emphatic denial of the charge. Governor 
Pelly declared that all of the efforts of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany to suppress the evil were neutralized by the fact that liquor 
was used so extensively by the American traders. 1 

In the midst of all this accusation and denial, one fact seems 
to stand out clear — liquor was used wherever there was compe- 
tition. Although the Company might not have been guilty to 
such an extent as their enemies claimed, nevertheless, they could 
not entirely clear themselves of the charge. Many Englishmen 
felt that the cause of humanity and civilization demanded that 
the Company be removed from their position of power. Mem- 
bers of the Aborigines P'rotection Society became particularly 
active in investigating such charges against the Company. Their 
publications influenced public opinion greatly. 

We noticed Ross's remark in connection wth the rejection 
of his bill for export trade in 1814 that from that day the half- 
breeds turned their thoughts toward the Americans and the Amer- 
ican Government. This influence of the Americans was felt in 
more ways than one. Their traders secured annually a large 
amount of the furs that would otherwise have gone to the British 
Company.' They forced their rivals to pay higher prices. The 
low prices which the Hudson's Bay Company had been in the 
habit of paying were in fact largely responsible for the extensive 

It has been estimated that the value of the goods bartered 
for the furs was under one-twentieth of the value of these furs 
in England. 2 A servant of the Company,, Alexander Simpson, 
declared that in one year the gross value of the furs traded by 
the Company amounted to £211,000 and the net profits to £119,000. 
The prices of the articles of trade were estimated to the Indians 
in the beaver skins according to a fixed scale. 3 In some cases this 
scale was 200% or more above the London price. 4 It was claimed 
that at times a silver fox skin might be obtained for three or four 
tin kettles. 

In 1839, silk was substituted for beaver fur in the manu- 
facture of hats. Beaver began to decline in price and continued 
to do so for several years, but in spite of this fact the Company 
increased the price which they paid for the furs. 5 They were 

1. For this correspondence, see appendix, No. 5. 

2. Hudson's Bav Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons, April 23, 1849, p. 18. 

3. For a description of the trading process, see appendix. No. 12. 

4. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bav Company. Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 34. 

5. Ib. r pp. 34, 35. 


compelled to do this on account of competition, and could afford 
to do it because manufactured goods were becoming cheaper at 
the time and according to most authorities because their profits 
had been excessive in previous times. 

Mr. M'Laughlin testified in 1857 that he had given as much 
as 100% more than the Hudson's Bay Company when he was car- 
rying on trade in competition with them. He exhibited a con- 
tract which he had entered into,, March 14, 1845, at Ft. Union on 
the Missouri with a representative of the American Fur Company 
to carry on a trade with the Indians north of La Souri River. Ap- 
pended to the contract was the following table of prices showing 
the difference between the American prices and those of the Hud- 
son 's Bay Company: 

s. d. 

Otter skins $3.50 6. 

Fisher skins 2.00 2. 

Martin skins 1.75 2. 

Mink skins 40 10 

Lynx skins .....:. 2.00 2. 

Wildcat skins 10 3 

Black bear skins 3.50 7. 

Black cub skins 2.00 4. 

Brown bear skins 4.50 7. 

Brown cub skins 2.50 2. 

Seasonable robes 2.50 5. 

Summer robes 1.25 will 

Yearling robes .75 not 

Parchment skins .10 per lb take 

Wolf skins 75 2. 

Red fox skins 1.00 2. 

Cross fox skins 3.00 4. 

Silver fox skins 15.00 10. 

Prairie fox skins .25 

Beaver skins 3.25 6. 

Price lists of the Company similar to this were reported or 
published frequently in England during the various investiga- 
tions of the Company's affairs. Their officers always denied the 
correctness of these lists, but on the other hand refused to make 
public their price lists on the grounds that if other people saw 
the profits of the trade they would want to enter into competition 
with the Company. 1 

Granting that Mr. M'Laughlin 's prices are approximately 
correct, we can readily understand that the Americans were gain- 
ing great influence in the Red River settlement. As a matter of 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Comoiuv, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 349. * • 


course the Indians and half-breeds looked to those who paid them 
the highest prices as their best friends and natural protectors. 
Indeed it got to be very common after the Sayer trial, when they 
did not get the price they wanted at Ft. Garry, for them to an- 
nounce boldly that they would take their furs to Pembina. 1 

This attachment for the Americans was shared by many 
Scotch settlers but for a somewhat different reason. They felt 
that the stability of the American Government would afford se- 
curity against the violence and dominance of the half-breeds. 2 
In the census for 1849 there were 137 more males than females in 
the colony,, but in 1856 there were 73 more females than males. 
This change is explained by the fact that many young men had 
gone down into the United States to get employment which they 
were not able to secure at Red River. 3 A part of them stayed 
only during the winters and the words which they spoke in praise 
of the Americans on their return helped to keep up the strong 
American tendency. 4 

British pride was touched by the knowledge of these facts, 
and in spite of the expressions of loyalty found in the commu- 
nications from the Red River settlers to the Home Government, 
serious apprehensions were aroused that unless something were 
done to hold the country it would be eventually lost. Again and 
again do we find this opinion expressed. In the words of Chief. 
Justice Draper of Canada, "the effect of all the commercial in- 
tercourse of the country being necessarily with the United States, 
will be to make all the interests of the inhabitants American, all 
their dealings American and the Americans will come up there 
for the purpose of obtaining payment for any goods which they 
furnish ; the whole tendency of that must be to make the people 
look more to the country with which they are continually deal- 
ing, than to one which they have nothing at all to do with." 5 

Certain specific events have given reasonable grounds for 
this fear. About the time of the discussion over the Oregon ques- 
tion, American influence in the settlement became so strong that 
a petition was actually drawn up by the settlers and sent to 
Washington to be presented to Congress, but where it was refused 
admission. The general purport of the petition was said to have 
been an expression of complaint against the government of the 
Hudson's Bay Company and a desire for annexation to the United 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. an. 

2. Life and Travels of Thomas Simpson, p. 88. 

3. Lake Superior and the Red River Settlement, p. 109. 

4. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 383. 

5. lb., p. 230. 


States, together with a promise of assistance to the Americans 
against the Company in case of war." 1 

A letter written from Red River in 1848 by a person well 
acquainted with the half-breeds stated that they had decided, 
if they continued to be excluded from the fur trade, to transfer 
their allegiance to the United States. 2 An event which took place 
the next year gave especial alarm to every one who feared this 
growth of American power. 

We have already noticed the expedition of Capt. Pope in 1849. 
On his return from Pembina to Ft. Snelling he was accompanied 
by a number of half-breeds who made remonstrance to the Gov- 
ernor of Minnesota concerning alleged acts of aggression by the 
Hudson's Bay Company. In commenting on this petition Capt. 
Pope suggested that the Government establish two military posts 
on the frontier for the purpose of protection. He also made the 
statement that the 7000 people of the Red River settlement were 
"only awaiting the slightest encouragement to settle and develop 
the rich resources of this portion of Minnesota." 3 

To the English these two statements taken together indicated 
a deliberate policy on the part of the American Government to 
take possession of all of that part of the country. This belief 
was strengthened by a treaty entered into in 1851 between the 
United States Government and the Indians and half-breeds who 
claimed the upper part of the Red River valley. The treaty 
provided for the purchase of the lands from the Indians in con- 
sideration of the payment of a certain sum of money at once and 
an annual payment for twenty years. 4 To the British it looked 
as if the object was to get the half-breeds from Red River set- 
tlement to go across the line to lay claim to lands and then keep 
them there by annual payments. 5 

Trade was carried on openly between Red River and St. 
Paul after 1849 and in increasing amounts all the time. As we 
noticed, six carts had been sent in 1844 but by 1856 this number 
had grown to something like 500. This profitable trade which 
was one of the causes of St. Paul's rapid growth attracted atten- 
tion in other quarters. Chicago merchants had established a line 
of steam boats running from Chicago to the western end of Lake 
Superior, where the town of Superior was established in 1856. 
The place grew with marvelous rapidity and in 1857 a project 

1. Hudson's Bay Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons, April 23, 1849, p. 101 and Report from the Select Committee on 
the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 1857, pp. 131-132. Mr. Isbister gave an 
account of this petition to the Committee. He stated that Mr. McLaughlin was 
in a position to give authentic information on the subject but that gentleman's 
testimony was never called for on that point. 

2. For a translation of this letter, see appendix, No. 13. 

3. Senate Executive Document, No. 42, 31st Cong., 1st Sess., p. 29, 32. 

4. Ross, Red River Settlement, p. 411. 

5. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bav Company, Aug. 17. 
1857, p. 136. 


Avas started to open a trade route between Lake Superior and 
Red River in order. to share in the profits of the now well-known 
"Red River trade." General Cass was said to have introduced 
a petition in the Michigan State Legislature asking that the Gov- 
ernment explore and improve such a route, representing that 
such a thing could be done at a very reasonable cost. 1 

About the same time a Democratic Convention was held in 
St. Paul, and according to a report published in a Toronto news- 
paper there were present delegates form the Red River district 
who had been elected by British subjects. Naturally the ques- 
tion had arisen as to their rights in such a convention and it was 
finally decided that as this whole country would soon be settled 
by white people and as the Hudson's Bay Company would not aid 
in such settlement no good reason existed as to why these people 
should not have the benefit of American institutions if they 
wanted them. 2 

But the American influence and the American power were 
not to extend any further. Rumors had been circulating in Can- 
ada for some time as to the profits of the Red River trade and the 
encroachments of the Americans. An association of Toronto 
merchants was formed for the purpose of reviving something like 
the old North West Company to draw back to Canada the wealth 
she lost in 1821. 3 A number of traders went out from Toronto 
and other parts of Canada to engage in trade against the Com- 
pany. The Toronto merchants sent Capt. William Kennedy 4 in 
January, 1857, to Red River to look over the situation and report 
the feasibility of attempting to break down the monopoly of the 
Company. On his return to Toronto after an absence of several 
months he published a report in which he strongly condemned 
the policy of the Company and represented that great profits 
could be secured by opening up a trade between Canada and Red 
River. 5 

During the month of April 1857,, there was presented to the 
Canadian Parliament a petition signed by "Roderick Kennedy 
and 574 others", residents of Red River. The most important 
points in the petition are : 

(1) The land deeds offered by the Company would reduce 
the colonists to slavery. 

(2) Persecution of those who have been engaged in fur trade 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bav Company, Aug. 17, 
1S57, pp. 109, 185. 

2. The Hudson's Bay Question, (Reprinted from the Colonial Intelligencer) 
F. W. C. London, 1857, p. 6. 

3. Renort from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bav Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 7. 

4. The same Capt. Kennedy who was joined with Mr. Isbister against the 
Company in 1846-47. 

5. The Hudson's Bay Question (Reprinted from the Colonial Intelligencer) 
F. C. W. London, 1857, p. 15. 


has been carried to such an extent as to endanger the peace, of 
the country. 

(3) Colonists are compelled to pay from 100 to 400% on the 
prime cost of articles imported by the Company, while they are 
prohibited from exporting their' own productions. 

(4) Colonists have no share in making the laws and no means 
of exercising any control over either the Council of Assiniboia 
or the Council of Rupert's Land. 

(5) A belief was expressed that the Hudson's Bay Company 
territory was a part of Canada according to the terms of the 
treaty of 1763 and that the dominion of the Company should be 
exchanged for that of Canada immediately. 1 

The last point was an expression of a view that was wide 
spread in Canada at this time and which the petition shows to 
have gained support in Red River Valley — namely, that this terri- 
tory did not by rights belong to the Company and that it should be 
annexed to Canada. In all probability the Canadians pressed this 
claim, not so much from a desire to relieve distress in Red River 
as from a determination to share in the advantages of the 
trade. The members of the Board of Trade of the City of Toronto 
busied themselves in the matter by presenting a petition to the 
Canadian Parliament, April 20, 1857, which declared that the 
Company had no legal rights in the Chartered territory and that 
it would be injurious to interests of the inhabitants and unjust to 
the Canadians to renew their rights in the Licensed territory. 2 

In the meantime there was taking place in England an im- 
portant investigation of the affairs of the Company which gave 
the Canadians an opportunity to bring their claims into promi- 
nent notice. The license over the Indian country was due to ex- 
pire in 1859. Some time before that date, the Company officers 
gave notice that they intended to apply for a renewal. The Colo- 
nial Secretary determined to make a thorough examination be- 
fore any definite steps were taken. He invited the Canadian 
Government to present any views or claims that it might desire 
to have considered. Accordingly Chief Justice Draper was sent 
as a Canadian Representative. 

February 3, 1857, it was ordered in the House 'of Commons 
to appoint a Select Committee, "to consider the state of those 
British possessions in North America which are under the admin- 
istration of the Hudson's Bay Company or over which they pos- 
sess a license to trade." February 13, a Committee, consisting 
of nineteen members was appointed. They continued their inves- 
tigations until July 31, holding twenty sessions, and examining 
in all 24 witnesses. Mr. Gladstone, and Mr. Roebuck were the 

1. Report from the Select' Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, pp. 437-439. For the petition in full see appendix No." 1. 

2. lb., p. 435. 


most aggressive members of the Committee and the most active 
iu bringing out points against the Company. Mr. Edward Ellice 
look a very prominent part in the proceedings, first as a mem- 
ber of the Committee, endeavouring to bring out facts favor- 
able to the Company and finally as a very skillful witness for the 

The witnesses were drawn from practically every source from 
\y!:'.< ii information could be secured. Sir George Simpson, for 
thirty seven years resident Governor of the Company's territories, 
was a most able defender of its policy in Rupert's Land. Edward 
Elliee represented the stock-holders and upheld the general sys- 
tem of management. Mr. Isbister was the earnest supporter of 
the interests of the Red River colonists. Chief Justice Draper, 
John Ross, the President of the Canadian Grand Trunk Railway, 
and Alfred Roche, who had been in the Government service in 
Canada, advocated the Canadian claims. The fiery Irishman, 
John M'Laughlin, paid off an old grudge against the Company by 
the character of his evidence. The Rt. Rev. David Anderson, 
Bishop of Rupert's Land, gave an impartial account of the con- 
ditions in Red River from the view point of the clergy. On the 
other hand. Rev. G. 0. Corbett was particularly bitter against the 
Company. Explorers like Sir George Back, Dr. King, Lieut. Col. 
Lefroy, and Sir John Richardson were for the most part favora- 
ble to the Company. Mr. "Wm. Kernaghan, a Chicago merchant, 
represented those persons who were interested in seeing the Red 
River trade diverted to the Great Lakes. 

The Committee made their final report July 31, the main 
points of which were : 

(1) It was recommended that Canada be allowed to annex 
portions of the territory most suitable for settlement and that the 
authority of the Company cease entirely in such portions. 

(2) In case that Canada was ready to assume jurisdiction 
over this territory immediately, it was recommended that a tem- 
porary government be established. 

(3) It was considered advisable that the Company be al- 
lowed to continue in their exclusive trading privileges in the por- 
tion of the territory not suited to settlement. 

(4) A hope was expressed that at the next session of Parlia- 
ment a bill could be presented which would lay the foundations 
for a satisfactory settlement of the whole question. 1 

This report together with the proceedings of the Committee 
and the Minutes of Evidence were bound together in one large 
volume which is still a perfect mine of information on every sub- 
ject connected with the Company. 

While these investigations were progressing in London, a 

1. Repert from tbe Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, iii. and Iv. 


somewhat similar though much less searching inquiry had been 
going on in Canada. A select Committee was appointed in the 
Canadian Legislative Assembly to enquire into the validity of 
the Company's Charter and the availableness of the country for 
trade and settlement. June 8, 1857, the Committee made their 
report which consisted of the evidence of the three witnesses 
whom they had examined on these points. The witnesses fur- 
nished a great deal of general information concerning the inter- 
ests and feelings of the colony. Their opinion was that the Char- 
ter was. void and that much valuable trade would be lost unless 
an effort was made to secure it. 1 A copy of this report was for- 
warded to the Select Committee sitting in London and they gave 
it due consideration when they made their final report. 2 

Later in the same year the Canadian Government sent out an 
exploring expedition to survey a route between Lake Superior 
and the Red River settlement. A favorable report was made and 
the construction of a road begun but no official steps were taken 
toward transferring the country to Canada. It was pretty gen- 
erally agreed that the only way of effecting this result would be 
by purchase from the Company. There was nothing else for the 
Company to do but to give it up — Canada was clamoring for the 
territory, the Red River settlement was involved in new disturb- 
ances, the American influence was growing, and the ever-increas- 
ing Red River trade had broken down all semblance of mon- 
opoly. In 1863 the majority of the share holders disposed of their 
shares to the International Financial Association. 

After this change in ownership it was easier to effect a 
settlement. In 1867 Parliament passed an Act which provided for 
the transfer of jurisdiction to the newly-organized Dominion of 
Canada. The terms were very liberal to the Company, providing 
for the payment of £300,000 and the retention of certain lands by 
the Company. From that date the Company has been merely a 
trading corporation in the lands where it once held Complete sway. 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, pp. 385-402. 

2. When news of the character of the evidence given before the Committee 
reached Red River there was considerable excitement among the people and a meet- 
ing of protest was held May 25. The resolutions adopted are' found in appendix 
No. 14. . 



No. 1. 

"Petition of the Inhabitants and Natives of the Settlement 
situated on the Red River, in the Assiniboin Country, British 
North America. 

To the Honourable the Legislative Assembly of the Province 
of Canada, in Parliament assembled. 

The Petition of the undersigned Inhabitants and Natives of 
the Settlement situated on the Red River, in Assiniboin Country, 
British North America, 

Humbly showeth. 
That many years ago a body of British emigrants were induced to 
settle in this country under very flattering promises made to them 
by the late Earl of Selkirk, and under certain contracts. 

All those promises and contracts which have led them to hope 
that, protected by British laws, they would enjoy the fruits of 
their labors, have been evaded. 

On the coalition of the rival companies, many of us. Euro- 
peans and Canadians, settled with our families around this nu- 
cleus of civilization in the wilderness, in full expectation that none 
would interrupt our enjoyment of those privileges which we be- 
lieve to be ours by birthright, and which are secured to all Her 
Majesty's subjects in any other British colony. 

We have paid large sums of money to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany for land, yet we cannot obtain deeds for the same. The 
Company's agents have made several attempts to force upon us 
deeds which would reduce ourselves and our posterity to the most 
abject slavery under that body. As evidence of this, we append 
a copy of such deeds as have been offered to us for signature. 

Under what we believe to be a fictitious charter, but which the 
Company's agents have maintained to be the fundamental law of 
"Rupert's Land," we have been prevented the receiving in ex- 
change the peltries of our country for any of the products of our 
labour, and have been forbidden giving peltries in exchange for 
any of the imported necessaries of life, under the penalty of being 
imprisoned, and of having our properties confiscated; we have 
been forbidden to take peltries in exchange even for food sup- 
plied to famishing Indians. 

The Hudson's Bay Company's clerks, with an armed police, 
have entered into settler's houses in quest of furs, and confiscated 
all they found. One poor settler, after having his goods seized, 
had his house burnt to the ground, and afterward was conveyed 
prisoner to York Factory. 


The Company's first legal adviser in this colony has declared 
our navigating the lakes and rivers between this colony and Hud- 
son's Bay with any article of our produce to be illegal. The same 
authority has declared our selling of English goods in this colony 
to be illegal. 

On our annual commercial journeys into Minnesota, we have 
been pursued like felons by armed constables, who searched our 
property, even by breaking open our trunks ; all furs found were 
confiscated. ♦ 

This interference with those of aboriginal descent had been 
carried to such extent as to endanger the peace of the settlement. 

Thus, we, the inhabitants of this land, have been and are 
constrained to behold the valuable commercial productions of our 
country exported for the exclusive profit of a company of traders 
who are strangers to ourselves and our country. 

We are by necessity compelled to use many articles of their 
importation, for which we pay from one hundred to four hundred 
per cent on prime cost, while we are prohibited exporting those 
productions of our own country and industry, which we could 
exchange for the necessaries of life. 

This country is governed and legislated for by two distinct 
Legislative Councils, in constituting of which, we have no voice, 
the members of the highest holding their offices by virtue of rank 
in the Company's service. This body passes laws affecting our 
interest; as, for instance, in 1845 it decreed that 20 per cent, 
duty would be levied on all imports of all who were suspected 
of trading in furs ; this duty to be paid at York Factory. Again, 
in 1854, the same body passed a resolution imposing a 12^ per 
cent, on all the goods landed for the colony at York Factory. 

The local legislature consists of the Governor, who is also 
judge, and who holds his appointment from the Company : there 
are appointed by the same body, and are, with one or two excep- 
tions, to a greater or less extent dependent on that body. This 
Council imposes taxes, creates offenses, and punishes the same by 
fines and imprisonments, (i. e.) the Governor and Council make 
the laws,, and execute their own sentence. We have no voice in 
their selection, neither have we any constitutional means of con- 
trolling their action. 

Our lands are fertile, and easily cultivated, but the exclusive 
system of Hudson's Bay Company effectually prohibits the tiller 
of the soil, as well as the adventurer in any other industrial pur- 
suit, from devoting his energies to those labors which while con- 
ducing to the individual prosperity and wealth, contribute to the 
general advantage of the settlement at large. 

Under this system our energies are paralyzed, and discontent 
is increasing to such a degree, that events fatal to British interest, 


and particularly to the interest of Canada, and even to civiliza- 
tion and humanity may soon take place. 

Our country is bordering on Minnesota territory : a trade for 
some years has been carried on between us. We are there met by 
very high duties on all articles which we import into that terri- 
tory, the benefits of the Reciprocity Treaty not being extended 
to us. Notwithstanding this, the trade has gone on increasing, 
and will continue to do so ; we have already great cause to envy 
those laws and those commercial advantages which we see enjoyed 
by our neighbors, and which, wherever they exist, are productive 
of prosperity and wealth. 

As British subjects, we desire that the same liberty and free- 
dom of commerce as well as security of property, may be granted 
to us as is enjoyed in all other possessions of the British Crown, 
which liberty has become essentially necessary to our prosperity, 
and to the tranquility of this colony. 

We believe that the colony in which we live is a portion of 
that territory which became attached to the Crown of England 
by the Treaty of 1763, and that the dominion heretofore exer- 
cised by the Hudson's Bay Company is an ursnrpation antagon- 
istic to civilization and to the best interests of the Canadian people, 
whose laws being extended to us, will guarantee the enjoyment 
of those rights and liberties which would leave us nothing to envy 
in the institutions of the neighboring territory. 

When we contemplate the mighty tide of immigration which 
has flowed towards the north these six years past, and has al- 
ready filled the valley of the Upper Mississippi with settlers, and 
which will this year flow over the height of land and fill up the 
valley of the Red River, is there no danger of being carried away 
by that flood, and that we may thereby lose our nationality? We 
love the British name! We are proud of that glorious fabric, the 
British Constitution, raised by the wisdom, cemented and hallowed 
by the blood of our forefathers. 

We have represented our grievances to the Imperial Govern- 
ment, but through the chicanery of the Company and its false 
representations we have not been heard, and much less have our 
grievances been redressed. It would seem, therefore, that we 
have no other choice than the Canadian plough and printing 
press, or the American rifle and Fugitive Slave law. 

We, therefore, as dutiful and loyal subjects of the British 
Crown humbly pray that your Honourable House will take into 
your immediate consideration the subject of this our petition, and 
that such measures may be devised and adopted as will extend 
to us the protection of the Canadian Government, laws and insti- 
tutions, and make us equal participators in those rights and liber- 


ties enjoyed by British subjects in whatever part of the world 
they reside,, Wherefore, your petitioners will ever pray, 
(Signed) Roderick Kennedy, 

and 574 others." 1 

No. 2. 

(Translation from the French.) 

"We, the undersigned humble and loyal subjects of her 
Majesty Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of England, Scot- 
land, and Ireland, etc., inhabiting a remote corner of her vast 
domain on the Red River, Department of the Hudson's Bay, have 
dared, with complete confidence to apply to your Lordship to lay 
at the foot of the throne and to support with your influence .the 
representations and the demands which we set forth with humble 
deference in the present petition. 

Drawn by pompous promises to this spot in the vast terri- 
tory of Hudson's Bay, our fathers hoped that the plans of the 
late Lord Selkirk would be punctually carried out ; that accord- 
ing to the contracts in favor of the colonists, their commodities, 
etc., would be sold at a satisfactory price, fixed in the said con- 
tracts, and that the toil of the laborer would not be paralyzed by 
his inability to sell his productions. All these promises have been 
evaded, all hopes frustrated. 

The monopoly, which has weighed heavily on us for about 
one hundred and seventy-six years, is getting heavier all the time, 
to the degree that we are no longer permitted to exchange the 
peltries of our country for imported goods, or vice versa, under 
pain of being imprisoned, or of seeing our goods seized on the 
mere suspicion that they are to be exchanged for furs. This 
severity had been pushed to the extent of prohibiting us from 
receiving payment for food procured by Indians perishing of 
hunger, at long distances from all succour, considering that such 
payment can only be made in furs, and notwithstanding the as- 
surance that we will deliver up the said furs at the very store 
of the Company and at whatever price they wish to give. A 
severity, so revolting, not to say inhuman, has irritated all and 
although we are in part disposed to suffer for a still longer time 
in order to prevent disturbances and to evade the direful conse- 
quences of an irritation very nearly general, not being able to 
address our complaints to the Governor of the Company, in whom 
the people no longer have confidence, we take the only means 
which remain to us of avoiding carnage and bloodshed, by de- 

1 Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Auj>'. 17 
1S57, p. 437. 


positing at the foot of the throne our humble and respectful sup- 

(1) As British subjects, we desire ardently to be governed 
according to the principles of that constitution which makes 
happy all the numerous subjects of our august Sovereign. 

Justice being administered by a judge paid by the Company, 
the Councillors who make the laws being, creatures of the Com- 
pany, or interested only in not displeasing it in any way. being 
all of them, moreover, elected by the Governor and Committee of 
the said Company, it follows that the people feel a lack of con- 
fidence, and do not believe at all in the possibility of winning a 
suit in any ease which concerns the Company, or a friend, or a 
favorite of theirs. This disposition of minds, so dangerous to the 
peace and public tranquility, will 'not exist if the people, as is 
the case elsewhere in the British possessions, had a part in mak- 
ing the laws and if they were independent of the Company. 

We dare humbly to express the thought that justices 
of the peace or magistrates, chosen from among those whom the 
people respect and consider upright, would be a mode of justice 
sufficient for a long time yet, or at least until the municipal rev- 
enues are great enough to meet the expenses demanded by a reg- 
ular court of justice. 

(2) As British subjects we desire and demand urgently that 
there be accorded to us that liberty of trade, so necessary to the 
prosperity of states and so powerfully maintained by the laws 
in all the other possessions of our august Sovereign. 

By reason of the monopoly accorded to the Hudson's Bay 
Coinpany. the natives have the painful imposition of seeing ex- 
ported all the wealth of their country for the exclusive profit of 
foreign traders, and all the colonists find themselves under the 
necessity of using imported goods, without being able to export 
in exchange any of the productions of their country ; if some- 
times certain individual traders have wished to attempt, to trans- 
port some of the goods of the country, the Company has caused 
them so much embarrassment, that they have been compelled to 
desist, and always to the detriment of the country. Under such 
a rule people are reduced to a kind of slavery ; the efforts of the 
most energetic of those persons who are industrious and who are 
endowed with ability along commercial lines are neutralized ; and 
under this state of affairs, public discontent can only go on in- 
creasing all the time until there is an explosion fatal to all the 
parties. . . A word of clemency from the lips of our Sovereign 
will spare us these dangers by establishing happiness and peace 
in our country ; then in giving to trade the energy which it draws 
from liberty, will deposit on our soil the germ of prosperity. 

(3) We beg also that our municipal Council may be per- 
mitted to sell lands -to those who emigrate from a foreign country 


to ours; and we make urgent demand that for a time and at a 
rate fixed according to the pleasure of her Majesty, a sum may 
be taken from this sale, in order to better means of transporta- 

Placed in the center of North America, about six hundred 
miles from Hudson's Bay, the waterway which communicates 
with that place is obstructed in various places by impracticable 
passages, where all the goods are carried . . . , which requires a 
great many men, a great deal of time and expense and definitely 
lenders impossible the export of a great part of produce. 

Our lands are fertile and easy to cultivate. The laborer only 
awaits the hope of being able to sell in order to give himself up 
to the work which can make this country a granary 

We are near the boundary line ; we can go over to the neigh- 
boring territory ; we are invited there ; but we admire the wis- 
dom of the British Constitution, and we desire its privileges. 

The sincere desire which our august Queen has of making her 
subjects happy is known as far as this place and even beyond; 
we hope everything then from her clemency. In granting our 
prayers, she will make us happy ; and we beg, etc., etc." 1 

(With 977 names attached). 

No. 3. 
"Deed of land to Joseph Monkman, 12th day of March 1844. 

This Indenture, made the Twelfth day of March, in the year 
of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and Forty-four, be- 
tween the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England, 
trading into the Hudson 's Bay, of the one part, and Joseph Monk- 
man, of Red River Settlement, yeoman, of the other part. 

Whereas the said Joseph Monkman is desirous of becoming 
a settler upon the land hereinafter described or intended so to be, 
being certain part of a territory, in North Aemrica, belonging 
to the said Governor and Company, and held under the Crown 
by Charter. Now, therefore, this indenture witnesseth, that in 
consideration of the said Joseph Monkman having derived right 
to the title formerly held by the late Michel Kilcool to the pos- 
session of the lands hereby demised, and in consideraton also of 
the covenants hereinafter contained on the part of the said Jo- 
seph Monkman, they, the said Governor and Company do hereby 
grant, demise, and lease unto the said Joseph Monkman, his ex- 
ecutors, administrators, and assigns. All that piece or parcel of 
land distinguished in the survey of the Red River Settlement as 

1. Hudson's Bay Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable the House of 
Commons, April 23, 1849, p. 4. 


No. 142, and therein described, the whole containing one hundred 
and twenty-five statute acres or thereby, and well known to the 
said Joseph Monkman, with the necessary appurtenances thereto, 
To have and to hold the said piece or parcel of land hereby de- 
mised or intended so to be, and every part thereof, with the ap- 
purtenances, unto the said Joseph Monkman, his executors, ad- 
ministrators, and assigns, from the day next before the day of 
the date of these presents, and for and during the full term of 
one thousand years,, thence next ensuing; yielding and paying 
therefore yearly and every year, during the said term, and upon 
the Michaelmas day in each year, the rent or sum of three pep- 
percorns, the first payment whereof to be made upon the twenty- 
ninth day of September next ensuing the date hereof. And the 
said Joseph Monkman. for himself, his heirs and executors, and 
administrators, doth hereby covenant and agree with the said 
Governor and Company, in manner following, that is to say, That 
he the said Joseph Monkman shall or will, within forty days from 
the date- hereof, settle and establish himself or themselves and 
continue to reside upon the said hereby demised land, and shall 
or will Avithin five years from the date of these presents, bring, or 
cause to procure to be brought into a state of cultivation one- 
sixth part of the said hereby demised land, and thenceforth con- 
tinue the same in such state. And that the said Joseph Monk- 
man, his executors, administrators, or assigns, shall or will from 
time to time, and at all times during the said term, contribute in 
a due proportion to the expense of all public establishments, 
whether of an ecclesiastical, civil, military, or other nature, 
including therein the maintenance of the clergy, the building 
and endowment of schools, which are or shall or may be formed 
under the authority of the Charter or charters hereinbefore re- 
ferred to. And also that he or they at the proper seasons in 
every year, and in or toward the making and repairing of sneh 
roads and highways as lie within two miles from the hereby de- 
mised premises, shall or will employ himself or themselves, and 
his or their servants, horses, cattle, carts, and carriages, and other 
necessary things for that purpose, where and when required so 
1o do by the surveyor or overseer for the time being, appointed 
for the making and amending public roads, bridges and highways, 
within such limit as aforesaid ; such requisition, nevertheless, 
in point of time not to exceed six days in each year computer! 
day by day. and from Michaelmas to Michaelmas ; and shall or will 
use. his or their endeavors for the benefit and support of the cler- 
gyman to whom or whose communion he or they shall belong, by 
employing himself, or themselves, and his or their servants, horses, 
cattle, carts, and carriages, and other things necessary for the 
purpose, not exceeding at and after the rate of three days in the 
spring, and three days in the autumn of each year, and in every 


other respect, when and whereby the said clergyman shall appoint. 
And also that the said Joseph Monkman, his executors, adminis- 
trators and assigns, shall not nor will, without license of the said 
Governor and Company for that purpose first obtained, carry on 
or establish, or attempt to carry on or establish in any part of 
North America, any trade or traffick in or relating to any kind 
of skins, furs, or peltry, nor dressed leather, nor in any manner 
directly or indirectly aid or abet any person in carrying on such 
trade or traffic ; nor shall nor will at any time or times during 
the said term, distil or cause or procure to be' distilled, spirituous 
liquors of any nature or kind soever, either upon the land hereby 
demised, or within any other part of the territories belonging to 
the said Governor and Company in North America, nor during 
the said term, knowingly suffer or permit any other person or 
persons whomsoever, to distil any such liquors upon the said 
demised land, or any part thereof. And also that he the said 
Joseph Monkman, his executors, administrators and assigns, shall 
not nor will at any time export beyond the territories of the said 
Governor and Company any effects, being the produce of the 
said land, or acquired by the said Joseph Monkman, his executors, 
•administrators and assigns, within the territories of the said 
' Governor and Company, and intended to be exported by him the 
said Joseph Monkman, his. executors, administrators and assigns, 
other and except at Port Nelson (one of the ports belonging to the 
Company), and in ships or vessels or in a ship or vessel belonging 
to or in the service of the said Governor and Company to be con- 
veyed to the port of London, and there to be lodged and depos- 
ited in some or one of the warehouses belonging to or used for 
that purpose by the said Governor and Company, and with power 
to sell or dispose of the same effects on the account of the said 
Joseph Monkman, his executors, administrators, and assigns. 
And also shall not nor will import any goods or effects into the 
territories of the said Governor and Company in North America, 
nor any part thereof, other than except from the said port of 
London, and through some or one of the warehouses belonging to 
or used by the said Governor and Company for the warehousing 
of goods in the said port of London, and other than and except in 
a vessel or vessels, ship or ships belonging to the said Governor 
and Company, or in their service. And also that he or they shall 
or will pay and allow to the said Governor and Company in re- 
spect of all such produce, goods and commodities, whether ex- 
ported or imported, all charges as and for and in the nature of 
gaugage, wharfage, warehouse room, and commission for sale, 
which shall be or constitute the average or ordinary price or prices 
in similar cases, together with such charge for the freightage as 
shall at any time or respective times be fair and reasonable; and 
shall and will allow, or pay as in the nature of a custom or duty, 


any sum not exceeding five pounds, for and upon every one hun- 
dred pounds in value or amount of the produce, goods and com- 
modities which shall or may be conveyed to or from F'ort Nelson 
from or to the port of London as aforesaid, and so in propor- 
tion for a less quantity in value or in amount than one hundred 
pounds, unless the same kind of produce, goods, and commodi- 
ties shall be subject to a higher rate of duty on importation at 
Quebec^ and then in cases of importation. That he or they shall 
and will pay and allow unto the said Governor and Company 
sums at and after the same rate as shall be paid or payable at 
Quebec, such value or amount to be from time to time fixed and 
ascertained in all eases of import by and upon the actual bona 
fide invoice prices, and in all cases of export by the net proceeds 
of sales at London aforesaid. And the said Joseph Monkman, for 
himself, his heirs, executors, and administrators, doth hereby fur- 
ther covenant, with the said Governor and Company, and their 
successors, that the said Joseph Monkman, his executors, adminis- 
trators, and assigns, will use his and their best endeavours to 
maintain the defense and internal peace of the territories of the 
said Governor and Company in North America, and shall and will 
be chargeable therewith according to such laws and regulations 
as are now in force in respect of the same territories, or as shall 
from time to time be made by competent authority ; and also that 
he the said Joseph Monkman, his executors,, administrators, or 
assigns, shall not nor will at any time or times during the said 
term, or by any direct or indirect, mediate or immediate manner, 
ways or means, infringe or violate, or set about or attempt to 
infringe or violate, or aid, assist, or abet, or set about or attempt 
to aid, assist, or abet, or supply with spirituous liquors, trading 
goods, provisions or other necessaries, any person or persons 
whomsoever, corporate or incorporate, or any prince, power, po- 
tentate, or state whatsoever, who shall infringe or violate, or who 
shall set about or attempt to infringe or violate the exclusive 
rights, powers, privileges, and immunities of commerce, trade, 
and traffic, or all or any of the exclusive rights, powers, privi- 
leges and immunities of or belonging or in any wise appertain- 
ing to, or held, used, or enjoyed by the said Governor and Com- 
pany and their successors under their charter or charters, with- 
out the license or consent of the said Governor and Company and 
their successors for the time being first had and obtained. And 
lastly, that the said Joseph Monkman, his executors, administra- 
tors, or assigns., shall not, nor will at any time during the said term, 
underlet, or assign, otherwise alienate, or dispose,, or part with, 
the actual possession of the said land hereby demised, or any 
part thereof, for all or any part of the said term, or any interest 
derived under the same, without the consent in writing of the 
said Governor and Company for the time being first had and 


obtained. And also that he the said Joseph Monkman, his ex- 
ecutors, administrators, or assigns, shall or will, within six cal- 
endar months from the date hereof, as to these presents, and 
within six calendar months from the date of each respective as- 
signment or under-lease, to be made under or through these pres- 
ents; and with respect to each such assignment and under-lease 
respectively, cause these presents and every such assignment or 
under-lease, when made, to be registered in the register of the 
said territories in North America, or of the district in which the 
said hereby demised land shall be situate, and wherever such reg- 
ister shall be kept at the time. Provided always, nevertheless, 
and it is hereby declared and agreed, that the said Joseph Monk- 
man, his executors, administrators, or assigns, shall not in all 
things well and truly observe and perform all and every the cov- 
enants and agreements herein contained, on his or their behalf 
to be observed and performed, then, and in either of such cases, 
and either upon or after the first breach, or any subsequent breach 
or breaches of covenant, and as to any subsequent breach or 
breaches, notwithstanding there may have been any waiver or 
waivers, or supposed waiver or waivers thereof, by the accept- 
ance of rent or otherwise, it shall or may be lawful to and for the 
said Governor and Company, and their successors or assigns, to 
enter into or upon the hereby demised premises, or any part 
thereof, in the name of the whole thereof, and to have, hold, 
retain, and enjoy the same as in their former state, and also to 
put an end to, and determine the same term of one thousand 
years, or so much thereof as shall be then unexpired, and all and 
every person or persons then occupying the same, premises or 
claiming title thereto, to put out and amove anything hereinbefore 
contained to the contrary notwithstanding. In witness whereof, 
the said parties of these presents have hereunto set their hands 
and seals, the day and year first above written. 
For the Governor and Company aforesaid, 

Dun. Finlayson, Governor of Assiniboin (L. S.) 
Joesph Monkman, (L. S.) 

Signed, sealed, and delivered in the presence of George Tay- 
lor, of Red River Settlement, Surveyor, and John Black of the 
same place, Clerk in the service of the said Governor and Com- 

George Taylor, Witness. 
John Black, "Witness." 

Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 1857. 
p. 371. 


No. 4. 

"To the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the 

The humble Memorial of the undersigned Deputies from the 
Natives of Rupert's Land, North America. 

Most respectfully showeth, 

That your memorialists are natives of Rupert's Land, North 
America, entrusted with the duty of presenting the accompany- 
ing petition from their fellow countrymen, the Indians and Half- 
breeds, residing in and near the colony of the Red River, pray- 
ing for the redress of certain grievances. 

That, from the harsh administration of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, discontent and misery prevail among the natives of Ru- 
pert's Land, to an unparalleled extent; and your memorialists 
are most anxious that Her Majesty's Government should, as early 
as possible, inquire into the condition of the unfortunate people, 
who are compelled to appeal to their Sovereign for protection, 
against the ruinous effects and consequences of the monopoly 
which the Hudson's Bay Company have so long enjoyed under a 
charter, that, according to some of the highest legal authorities, 
has long since lost its force. Your memorialists, trusting that a 
wise and paternal Government, distinguished for its attachment 
to a liberal policy and the principles of commercial freedom, will 
not suffer to pass unheeded the prayers of an oppressed and in- 
jured race, proceed to lay before your Lordship the grievances 
which gave rise to the accompanying petition, and humbly solicit 
your earnest attention to the same. 

They complain, in the first instance, That, by the practice 

of exclusive trading with the natives, which the Hudson's Bay 
Company assert is secured to them by the Royal Charter, that 
Company has, for nearly the last 200 years, to the utter impover- 
ishment, if not ruin, of the natives, amassed a princely revenue, 
which, as your memorialists believe, now amounts to nearly a 
quarter of a million sterling per annum. Though one of the lead- 
ing objects contemplated by the incorporation of the Company 
was the introduction of Christianity amongst the Indians, and the 
securing a due provision for their moral and religious improve- 
ment, little or none of the vast sums the Company has been per- 
mitted to accumulate has been devoted to such purposes. 

That, on the contrary, with a view of keeping the natives in 
a state of utter dependence, and of perpetuating the wandering 
and precarious life of the hunter, on which they erroneously con- 
sider the existence of the fur trade to depend, they have permitted 
generation after generation of the hapless race consigned to 
their care to pass their lives in the darkest heathenism. There 


is not at present, nor, as your memorialists confidently believe, 
has there ever been, a single school, church or other establish- 
ment for religious and general instruction, established by the Com- 
pany, throughout the whole of their extensive territories. What 
little has been done for the religious and moral improvement of 
the natives is wholly due to the persevering exertions of the 
Church Missionary Society, and since the year 1839, of the Wes- 
leyan Society of London. The Church Missionary Society re- 
ceives no assistance whatsoever from the Company; and owing 
to the heavy expenses attending the establishment of Indian 
Missions, its operations are necessarily very circumscribed. What 
assistance the Wesleyan missionaries receive from the Company, 
if indeed they receive any, your memorialists are not prepared to 
say. The other objects for which the Charter was granted, 
namely, for the improving of the country by opening up its min- 
eral and agricultural resources, and facilitating the means of in- 
ternal navigation and transport, so as to fit it for a future colony, 
have been equally overlooked, with a like view of adding to the 
aggrandizement of the Company. 

That the Company, after having entered into a solemn obli- 
gation with the British Government to discontinue the supply 
of spirituous liquors to the Indians, and after having actually 
abolished the trade in ardent spirits in some districts, for obvi- 
ous purposes, for the first few years before and after the renewal 
of their last license, have again introduced this deadly and de- 
moralizing poison, thus undoing the slight amount of good which 
the missionaries were beginning to effect, and interposing the 
greatest obstacle to their future success. 

That, owing to the numerous hunting excursions which the 
demands of the fur trade render necessary, and to the great 
slaughter of the animals consequent thereon, the only present re- 
sources of the country have been gradually diminishing to such 
an extent, that the larger part of the native population can no 
longer find the means of supporting life from the produce of the 
chase, or the natural productions of the soil. In the more north- 
ern parts of the country, from which all missionaries are rigor- 
ously excluded, and where the richest furs are obtained, but where 
the animals which supply the food of man have almost become 
extinct, as well as in many other districts, the Indians are exposed 
to the most frightful destitution. Numbers of them die yearly 
of famine, whilst others in the extremity of want and despair, 
are tempted to commit the most revolting crimes to preserve a 
wretched existence. It is impossible for your Lordship's memo- 
rialists adequately to describe the sufferings of the natives who 
inhabit these portions of the country, arising from the exorbitant 
prices demanded by the traders for the wretched and almost val- 
ueless articles given in a mockery of exchange for the richest 


and most valuable furs. Without tents of any kind to pro- 
tect them from the severity of an arctic climate, unable, from their 
migratory pursuits, to abide in permanent habitations, half naked, 
owing to the exorbitant prices demanded for the clothes furnished 
by the Company, whilst they are at the same time restricted from 
exchanging the produce of their toil with any other parties, kept 
constantly in the Company's debt, which they spend their whole 
lives in an ineffectual effort to clear off, exposed yearly to all the 
horrors of famine, and the attendant crimes of murder and can- 
nibalism; the wretchedness of the peoples' condition can scarcely 
admit of addition. The scarcity which prevails in the northern 
districts is gradually but surely extending to the south, and un- 
less the Government of this country interpose its parental in- 
terference to wean the Indians from their present wandering 
habits, and endeavour to turn their attention to agricultural pur- 
suits, the whole of the northern tribes must, at no distant period, 
when the resources of the chase shall have failed them, be sub- 
jected to all the horrors of a wide-spread famine, from which 
they never can emerge. 

That, from the line of conduct pursued by the Company, it 
does not appear probable to your Lordship's memorialists that 
sufficient precaution will be taken by them to avert so overwhelm- 
ing an evil. Their agents in the country are, for the most part, 
men of very limited information, and loose moralists ; wholly im- 
bued with the mere spirit of trade, few of them are possessed of 
these generous sympathies and enlarged views which are neces- 
sary for undertaking and carrying out any comprehensive scheme 
of social amelioration. Their deity is gold, to obtain which they 
trample down Christianity and benevolence. 

That, feeling the utter inadequacy of the remuneration for 
their furs from the Company, many of the more enterprising of 
the natives have formed a resolution to export their own produce 
and import their own supplies, independently of the Company. 
They argue that, even supposing the Charter to be still valid, and 
that it vests in the Company an exclusive right of trade to the 
Hudson's Bay as against all other traders from Britain, none of 
its provisions are or can be binding on tin 1 natives to trade with 
the Company exclusively or can prevent them from carrying their 
furs or property out of the country to the best market. Where 
this course has been adopted, however, the Company's agents have 
seized the furs of such parties as lef'used to sell them at the 
prices fixed by the Company, and. in some instances, have im- 
prisoned the recusant natives. Against such gross aggressions on 
the rights and liberties of the natives, your memorialists most 
vehemently protest. Being unable to' obtain redress from the 
local courts of the country, your memorialists feel entitled to 
claim the protection of the British Government, and humbly en- 


treat your Lordship to take the case into your kind considera- 

It is likewise the painful duty of your Lordship's memorial- 
ists to advert to the precarious state of the public peace among 
the native population, particularly in and about the Red River. 
The majority of the Indians and half -breeds in that district de- 
pend mainly on the yearly buffalo hunts; the colony itself verg- 
ing on the boundary line of the United States, the whole of the 
hunting grounds are within the American territories. From 
these grounds the American Government has warned off the 
hunters of the Red River, in favour of the natives of the plains; 
who are under its protection, and for this purpose detachments of 
American troops are stationed throughout the plains to warn off 
all persons intruding from the British side, but at the same time 
proffering them the alternative of becoming American citizens. 
The Hudson's Bay Company, on the other hand, claim whatever is 
hunted on the British side of the line, detaining the goods and 
imprisoning the persons of those who refuse to accede to their 
prices. Owing to these conflicting claims, the natives,, who are 
the original owners of the soil, have their energies and hopes com- 
pletely paralysed, and are doomed to starvation, in a land which is 
their own both by birth and by descent. 

Deeply convinced that the present appalling conditions of 
the native population — their ignorance, their barbarism, and the 
sufferings and crimes consequent thereon, are ascribable to the 
present system of misgovernment, and also being fully satisfied 
that the existing evils would be remedied and the still more fear- 
ful ones now pending averted by the adoption of a system founded 
upon more humane and enlightened views, your memorialists 
most earnestly desire to impress upon your Lordship the solemn 
and sacred duty of inquiring into the condition of this deeply 
suffering people (the last remnant of a noble race) before inquiry 
and remedy prove too late. Hitherto no efforts have been made 
in their behalf by the Government of this country, at least such 
as have been made public, are destitute of truth, and were evi- 
dently framed with a view to mislead colonial authorities, and 
avert further inquiry. To show this, we need only request your 
Lordship's attention to the report of Sir George Simpson, and 
beg of you to contrast them with the work published in 1845, in- 
titled, "The Life and Travels of Thomas Simpson, by his brother, 
Alexander." Though both brothers participated in'the profits of 
the monopoly, and must therefore presume to be less than impar- 
tial witnesses, your Lordship will find that the book (published 
by Bently, New Burlington street) strongly sustains and corrobo- 
rates the statements which we have the honor of laying before 

The spirit and tendencies of the Hudson 's Bay Company are, 


lor reasons that will readily appear, opposed to the spread of 
information among the native population, and unfortunately they 
jossess too many facilities for carrying into effect the short 
sighted and pernicious policy by which they have been uniformly 
guided in their intercourse with the natives. They are without 
di-ect or positive accountability to the Legislature of this country, 
ani as regards their operations in the distant region over which 
they exercise jurisdiction, are practically beyond the reach of 
pullic opinion. Their sole aim is. avowedly, to draw the greatest 
possible revenue from the country, to attain which the considera- 
tions of humanity and religion are overlooked; while, as your 
Lordship will perceive by the statements now submitted, the lives 
of the unoffending native race, who for no fault of their own, and 
for no reason that can be given, are deprived of their inheritance 
and their natural rights, and thus of the power of helping them- 
selves, and are being virtually sacrificed year by year to the same 
selfish and iniquitous object. What must be the ultimate fate 
of this unhappy people, under such a system, it is easy to forsee 
as it is painful to contemplate. 

Tour memorialists feel assured that upon a due consideration 
of the statements now brought forward, supported as they are by 
a weight of testimony which places their accuracy beyond dis- 
pute, your Lordship will extend to them that humane and con- 
siderate attention to which their great and urgent importance 
entitles them. What further corroboration may be deemed neces- 
sary in support of the above allegations, your memorialists are 
ready to supply, as well as to suggest such remedies as are calcu- 
lated to remove the evils complained of — such remedies as a peo- 
ple,, both willing and able to help themselves, but deprived of the 
power, alone require, to restore to them the blessings of peace and 
prosperity, and render them happy, contented and grateful sub- 

(Signed), A. K. Isbister. 

T. Vincent. 

G. Sinclair 

D. V. Stewart, 

J. M'Leod. 

J. Isbister. 
17 February, 1847." 

Hudson's Bay Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable the House of 
Commons, April 23, 1849, p. 1. 


No. 5. 

"Papers delivered in by Mr. A. Isbister, Mar. 5, 3857. 

Correspondence between Mr. Abbot Lawrence and Viscou/it 
Palmerston, respecting a complaint alleging that the Hudson's 
Bay Company furnish large Quantities of Spirits to the Indians 
on the Northwestern Frontier of the United States. 

No. 1. / 

Mr. Lawrence to Viscount Palmerston. 

United States' Legation, 
138 Piccadilly, 12 February, 1850. 
My Lord, 

Representations have been made to the Government of the 
United States, from reliable sources, that the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany annually furnish to the Indians on the northwestern fron- 
tier of the United States large quantities of spirituous liquor, 
endangering thereby the peace of the border, as well as corrupt- 
ing the Indians themselves. It has been the policy of the United 
States to prevent, as much as possible, the use of spirituous liquors 
among the natives. The interests of Her Majesty's Government 
are believed to be identical with those of the LTnited States in 
this respect. As complaints of this nature have been frequently 
made to the Government of the United States, and it has become 
satisfied that they are well founded, I have been instructed to 
to make this practice the subject of a friendly remonstrance to 
Her Majesty's Government, and request it to co-operate with the 
Government of the United States in the repression of the evil, by 
issuing suitable instructions to the Hudson's Bay Company, or in 
such other manner as may best accomplish the desired result. I 
have the honour, therefore, to ask your Lordship to lay this re- 
monstrance before the proper department of Her Majesty's Gov- 
ernment, and to request its co-operation in a measure dictated 
by policy, as well as demanded by humanity. 

I enclose a copy of the letter to the Secretary of State of the 
United States, accompanying my instructions on this subject, and 
I have, etc, 

(Signed) Abbot Lawrence. 

Enclosure in No. 1. 
Mr. Sibley to Mr. Clayton. 

House of Representatives, 

Washington, 8 December, 1849 

There exists on our northwestern boundary a state of things 
which calls imperatively f Or the interference of the Government, I 


refer to the immense amount of spirituous liquor which is imported 
by the Hudson's Bay Company annually, not only for their trade 
in the British possessions, but which is furnished to the Indians 
who reside and hunt within the limits of the United States. That 
ibis evil exists to a very great extent, and renders null all the 
efforts of our Government to prevent the introduction of ardent 
spirits into the Indian country, is a fact which can be established 
by incontestable testimony, and has already been made the sub- 
ject of memorials to the proper department. My object in mak 
ing the communication which I have now the honor to address 
you is, to ascertain whether there would be any impropriety in 
having the matter brought to the notice of the British Govern- 
ment, in the shape of a friendly remonstrance from you to the 
Minister of that power. I know of no other way to accomplish 
the proposed end, which is the repression of an evil of great mag- 
nitude, threatening the peace of our northwestern frontier. 

I have, etc. 

(Signed) Henry H. Sibley. 

No. 2. 
Viscount Palmerston to Mr. Lawrence. 

Foreign Office, 11 April, 1850. 

I did not fail to refer to Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of 
State for the Colonies your letter of the 12th of February last, re- 
monstrating against the practice alleged to be pursued by the 
Hudson's Bay Company of furnishing annually to the Indians 
who reside and hunt within the limits of the United States, large 
quantities of spirituous liquors ; and I have now the honour to 
transmit, to you herewith a copy of a letter which Earl Grey has 
received from Sir John Pelly, the Governor of the Hudson's Bay 

In that letter, Sir John Pelly states that spirits are never 
given to the Indians by the Hudson's Bay Company in the way of 
trade, either on the frontier or in any other part of the terri- 
tories of the Company. Sir John Pelly states, however,, that per- 
sons residing at the Red River Settlement and at Pembina, within 
the American frontier, carry on an extensive .and illicit traffic in 
furs with the Indians residing within the territories of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company, and that great quantities of spirituous liqu- 
ors are sold to the Indians in the course of that traffic ; and Sir 
John Pelly adds, that although the Hudson's Bay Company employ 
all the means in their power to suppress this traffic, their efforts 


have been in a great measure defeated by the encouragement 
which it receives on the American side of the border. 

I am, etc. 

(Signed) Palmerston. 

Enclosure in No. 2. 

Sir John Pelly to Earl Grey, 

Hudson's Bay House, London, 

9 March, 1850. 
My Lord, 

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Mr. Under 
Secretary Hawes' letter of the 6th„ instant, accompanied by the 
copy of a letter from the office of the Secretary of State for For- 
eign Affairs, enclosing a remonstrance from the Government of 
the United States against the practice alleged to be pursued by 
the Hudson's Bay Company of furnishing large quantities of 
spirituous liquors to the Indians on the north-western frontier 
of those States. Mr. Hawes adds a request on the part of your 
Lordship that I would make a report to you on the allegations 
contained in those papers. 

To the allegations contained in this remonstrance, and in the 
letter of Mr. Sibley, on which it appears to be founded, I have 
no hesitation in giving the most unqualified denial. Spirits are 
never given to the Indians by the Hudson's Bay Company in 
trade, either on the frontier or in any other part of their terri- 

The average quantity of the spirits supplied annually to each 
of the frontier posts, according to the best information to which 
I have access at present, does not exceed twenty gallons. A small 
portion of this not very extravagant supply rendered harmless 
by dilutions, is given to the Indians as a "regale" when they 
bring the produce of their hunt to the station, in conformity 
with a custom of long standing, which it has been found impossi- 
ble to discontinue without altogether abandoning the fur trade 
in a large district of country. Whether this can endanger the 
peace of the frontier, I leave your Lordship to judge. 

Far be it from me, however, to say that the spirits are not 
used, and that in large quantities, in trading with the Indians on 
the frontier. The Hudson's Bay Company are well aware that an 
illicit traffic in furs is carried on to a great extent within the Com- 
pany's territories by persons residing, some at Eed River Settle- 
ment, and others at Pembina, within the American frontier ; that 
the articles chiefly used by those persons in this traffic is spirits, 


and that the furs so procured invariably find their way to the fur 
traders at St. Peter's. This is the evil which endangers the peace 
of the frontier, if it be endangered, and which the Hudson's Bay 
Company is using every means in their power to suppress; but 
their efforts toward this end have been in a great measure neu- 
tralized by the encouragement given to it from the American side 
of the border. 

The American Government, I am aware, has established strin- 
gent regulations against the use of spirits in the Indian Trade, 
but it is a well known fact that those regulations are evaded, and 
that spirits are even clandestinely introduced into the Company's 
territories by citizens of the United States. In a country situ- 
ated as these frontier districts are, it is not an easy matter to 
give effect to regulations or laws, to the breach of which there is 
so strong a temptation in the gain to which it leads; but I can 
confidently assure your Lordship of the readiness of the Hudson's 
Bay Company to use the most strenuous exertions to carry out 
any measures which her Majesty's Government and the Govern- 
ment of the United States may agree upon as best adapted to re- 
press the evil in question. 

I am not sorry, my Lord, that this subject has been brought 
under your Lordship's notice, as it affords me an opportunity of 
correcting the erroneous statements which have been made in Par- 
liament, and promulgated through the press, respecting the quan- 
tities of spirits imported into their territories by the Hudson's 
Bay Company. 

Your Lordship will probably be surprised when I inform 
you that, from the year 1842 to 1849 inclusive, the average quan- 
tity annually imported by the Company into the whole of the 
territories under their control, to the east and west of the Rocky 
Mountains, is only 4396Vo gallons; a quantity, which, if distrib- 
uted only to the men employed in the service in daily allowances, 
would amount to less than two table-spoonfuls to each man. It 
is to be observed, too,, that out of the above mentioned quantity 
the troops stationed at Red River Settlement in 1846, 1847 and 
1848 (whose consumption in daily rations alone was upwards of 
4500 gallons) had to be supplied, and also the corps of pensioners 
who succeeded them. There cannot, therefore, have been much 
left for the demoralization of the natives. 

I have, etc., 

(Signed) J. H. Pelly." 

Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 'A 
1857, p. 369. 


No. 6. 

Supplies from Colony, 1841, to Norway House. 
Minutes of Council of Hudson's Bay Co., June 18, 1840,, Reso- 
lution 37. 

30 Bushels Rough Barley 

12 Cwt. Corn Beef 

30 Cwt. Biscuit i ' 

42 Oak Boards 

40 Firkins Butter, 56 lbs. each 

10 Half firkins, 28 lbs. each 

6 Maccarons 

80 lbs. Cheese 

15 Kegs Eggs 

650 Cwt. Kiln dried Flour 

70 Well cured Hams 

50 Bales dried meat, 90 lbs. each 

400 Bags Com. Pemican 

45 Cwt. Salted Pork 

40 Kegs Potatoes 

3 Bushels Onions 

1000 pairs hacking shoes 

200 Portage Straps 

2 Kegs Salted Suet 

15 Assortments Garden Seeds. 

Minutes of Council of Hudson's Bay Company, June 10. 1843. 

34. That the following supplies be provided at the Colony 
for exportation 'to Norway House, Summer 1844. made up in sound 
and transportable packages, and purchased at the usual prices: 

35 Bushels rough Barley 

3 Bushels French Beans 
12 Cwt. good corned Beef 
50 Cwt. Biscuit 

34 Oak Boards, 12 feet long, 7 in. broad by % in. 

60 Firkins Butter,, 56 lbs. each 

10 Half firkins Butter, 28 lbs. each 

6 Maccarons Butter 

240 Lbs. Cheese 

10 Bushels Indian Corn 

15 Kegs Eggs 

600 Cwt. best dried Flour 1st and 2nd quality 

2 Casks salt Cabbage 

200 Cwt. best kiln dried Flour 1st quality 

60 Hams 

50 bales of dried meat 

500 bags of Com. Pemmican. (45 Cwt. of salt-pork) 


Estimated Requisition of Country Produce, 1845, From Red 

12 Cwt. corned beef 

3 CAvt. smoked beef 

3 Bushels Barley, rough 

50 Cwt. Biscuit, fine 

60 Boards, Oak l2y 2 ft. 7x% in 

10 Boards, Oak 15 ft. 7x% in 

(for sleds) 
70 Firkins, 56 lbs. Butter, salt 
10 Firkins 28 lbs, Butter, salt 
6 Tinnets 10 lbs. Butter, salt 

(or Maccaroons) 
220 Cheese, sweet milk 
10 bus. Corn, Indian, hulled 
15 Kegs, Eggs 
200 Cwt. Flour 1st quality 
550 Cwt. Flour 1st and 2nd quality 
6 Cwt. Grease, Soft 
50 Hams 

50 Bales, .Meat ; dried 
400 Bags, Pemmican 
70 Cwt. Pork, salted 
8 bus. Onions 

No. 7. 

Freighter's License. 

Copy of a license which had been issued^to an importer July 
20, 1845 by Governor Christie. The license is practically the same 
as the one provided for in 1844, except that it is slightly more 

"I hereby license , of Red 

River Settlement, to carry on the business of a freighter between 
Red River Set! lenient aforesaid and York Factory; provided, 
however, that this shall lie null and void for every legal purpose 
from this date, if he traffic in anything whatever beyond the limits 
of the said settlement exeepting in so far as he may do so under 
any municipal regulation, or if he traffic in furs within Rupert's 
Land or without, or if he become or continue to be the employer, 
oi' agent, or the partner of any person who may traffic or usurp 
or may have trafficked or usurped as aforesaid, or of any such 
person's debtor." 1 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1S57, p. 272, No. 4S92. 


No. 8. 

Petition of American Importers. 

""We, the undersigned American importers,, most respectfully 
lay before the Governor and Council of Assiniboia certain claims 
for drawback upon imports from the United States, paid the Col- 
lector of Customs under protest, which we hope your honourable 
body will order to be refunded, as at the time of importing these 
goods your humble petitioners were not aware of any revenue 
law being in force other than the one known as the 4% law, and 
applicable to imports either way; that as ignorantia facti excusat, 
and a sufficient publicity not having been given, your petitioners 
do not consider themselves liable to this extra impost, and would 
with submission urge their reasons for so believing: 1st. That 
this duty, founded on the Canadian tariff, was never promulgated, 
and was framed for peculiar purposes,' 15th June 1845, to suit 
the exigencies of that period ; 2nd. That it remained a dead let- 
ter for two years, and as no action had been taken on it during 
that time it should be now considered as null ; 3rd. That several 
of your petitioners had sent for goods before aware of its exist- 
ence, and have sustained losses in consequence ; that many of 
them are yet ignorant of the duties payable upon the different 
descriptions of merchandise, so that as likely as not the articles 
imported might be under prohibition, or such as would entail 
positive loss to the importer ; 4th. That these goods were brought 
at a time when the settlement stood greatly in need of them ; 5th. 
That a colony situated as this is, isolated from the world, and 
possessing no export advantages, should not be taxed the same as 
Canada; for whilst we admit that there should be a protection 
extended to British manufacture here, as well as in other English 
colonies, still the tariff should always be regulated to suit the 
condition of the country, for what may be admitted free in one 
country might be heavily assessed in another, and both under the 
same government. Your petitioners respectfully consider that a 
trade earved out by themselves, and attended with so much risk 
and labour, should rather be fostered and encouraged than have 
restrictions thrown in its way; they would therefore beg of you 
to rescind the 7th resolution passed 15th January 1847, except 
in so far as relates to the exportation of cattle, as the wants of 
TTer Majesty's troops stationed here could in no way so improve 
the condition of the American importers as to justify its adop- 
tion, as it is a well known fact that most of our exports to the 
United States consist in leather, mocassins, buffalo tongues, and 
Indian curiosities, articles which meet with no demand from the 
military, and afford employment to many families in the settle- 
ment, Your petitioners would earnestly urge upon the considera- 
tion of your honourable body„ the necessity of assimilating the 


duties imposed upon American imports to the English tariff, or 
at least in so far remodelling the same that they Avill not amount, 
as at present, almost to a prohibition, and respectfully suggest 
that live per cent, or six be the maximum rate on all foreign im- 
ports, without any differential duty, except on such articles as 
may interfere with the existing laws of the United States or Eng- 
land, or your honourable body may deem injurious to the welfare 
of the settlement." 1 

No. 9. 

"Enclosure No. 21. Translation of a letter from Rev. Mr. 
Belcour to Mr. A. K. Isbister. 

Quebec, Lower Canada, 21 December 1847. 
Sir j 

As 1 was leaving the Red River at the end of October last, I 
had the pleasure to catch a hasty and partial glance at your pam- 
phlet on the subject of the petition of the inhabitants of the Red 
River district against certain proceedings of the Hudson's Bay 
Company. As 1 do not find a single copy of it in this place,, you 
will confer a favour on me by sending me a few impressions of it, 
so that 1 may be enabled to make the Archbishop of Quebec per- 
fectly acquainted with the matter. I ought to tell you, that for 
the sake of peace I have been obliged to take this step. I believe 
that 1 both may and ought conscientiously and lawfully take it. 
Of two evils one must choose the less; and it was necessary for 
me either to consent to become a witness to the excesses of an 
outraged and irritated people, or to consent, by drawing up this 
petition, to expose myself to the animadversions of the Company. 
I now endure this animosity on the part of the Governor, who, far 
from acknowledging the good services that 1 have really rendered, 
by preventing the shedding of blood, by means of my influence 
with the people, persecutes me to the uttermost. What you have 
learned, as well from the petition itself as from the instructions 
placed in the hands of Mr. James Sinclair, the Commissioner, con- 
tains nothing but truths verified by facts. It is perhaps for this 
reason that the Company finds it so difficult a task to defend it- 
self. The Governor, Sir George Simpson, having complained of 
this step, as regards myself, to the Archbishop of Quebec, has 
gone so far as to tell his Grace that he demanded my recall to 
Canada; failing which, he threatened to let the effect of his re- 
sentment fall on all the clergy of the Red River. Now, by re- 
calling me, or causing me to be recalled, he prevents, as much as 
in him lies, the advancement of civilization among the Indians. 

1. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Auf. 17, 
1857, p. 266. 


Having been for 17 years a missionary in this country, I have ac- 
quired a knowledge of the languages of the people. I now find 
myself forced to leave these missions desolate, there being no mis- 
sionary acquainted with the native tongues to take my place. If 
I have done wrong in advising the colonists to present a petition, 
why do they satisfy themselves by exposing my culpability? And 
if the Company have actual rights, which are unjustly disputed,, 
why do they not demonstrate them, without heaping their ven- 
geance on an individual who has done them important service in 
similar troubles, and who, by his influence over the people, might, 
in ease of need, arrest the progress of 'disorder? They ought to 
know, that in order to manage a populace, or whole people, it is 
necessary to show them that we are seeking their interest, with- 
out which conviction on their part it is impossible to direct them ; 
that if in doing this we have clashed with the interest of some 
body of men, or some individual, it is only an accidental collision, 
or at times., an inevitable consequence in affairs of a critical char- 
acter. It remains for the parties injured to protest and to prove 
against the measures which have injured it. I have thought that, 
considering the interest you have taken in this affair, to the great 
satisfaction of this people, you will feel affected by the proceed- 
ing of Sir George Simpson, which surprises me so much the more, 
as- 1 thought him more capable of generous sentiments, and more 
grateful for services conferred ; for if his heart were as generous 
even as men in general, he would have remembered that day in 
which he came, escorted by the leading men of the country, to 
seek me in my poor cottage to appease the troubles of the time, 
and to facilitate those measures that he looked upon as necessary 
to the security of his own life. But such is the misery of man, 
that, however devoted he may become, he will sometimes commit 
those littlenesses. Omnis homo mendax. 

You will afford me real pleasure by relating to me all that 
has been written in England on this business. I am tenderly 
attached to the poor people, who on their part were in despair 
at my departure ; and this, nevertheless, without wishing ill to 
the Company, anxious only to regard, as the error of its officers, 
the unjust acts which are committed here, being in fact, unable 
to believe that an intention to oppress the weak can exist in so 
trespectable a body. 

If you think it advisable that this letter should be published, 
I shall be very glad, in order that the truth may be known. 

I am, &c. 

(Signed) G. A. Belcour, 

Mr. Isbister. 

P. S. — You may address your letter, if you honour me with 


one, to Quebec, to the care of the Rev. Charles F. Cazeau, Secre- 
tary to the Archbishop of Quebec. 

G. A. B." 1 
No. 10. 

"Enclosure in No. 11. Copy of Instructions to the Delegates 
by Members of the Committee. 

We, the undersigned members of a Committee elected by the 
people in order to redact a petition, to elect a messenger, and 
commit to writing instructions to the same, in conformity with 
the desires and unanimously known interest of the people, have 
inscribed the following observations: 

It will be a duty to the commissionary to take the opportunity 
of every favourable circumstance to" give a true state of the man- 
ner in which this colony and this country in general is governed ; 
to expose sincerely the desires of its inhabitants, and the possible 
improvement for their welfare. He shall make use of moderation, 
speaking of those whose interests are opposed to oars with dis- 
cretion, and in honest terms. He shall have a peculiar care in 
advancing nothing but what could be duly proved. 

He must note, previously, that the Company having brought 
from the succession of Lord Selkirk his rights upon this colony, 
we do consider the same Company as being obliged to fulfiMhe 
contracts of it, and to promote the prosperity of the said colony. 

He shall represent,, — 

1st. That several individuals are complaining that the Com- 
pany have obliged them to pay lands, without giving them any 
contract in legal form, and in spite of their will, the officers of the 
Company retaining upon the wages of their servants the price of 
the same lands, which price has been placed not in the municipal 
trunk (bank), but in that of the Company; is it then that the 
Company might have the property of the lands? This appears to 
us inseparably united to the rights of the Crown. 

2d. The Company gives in circulation, bills; the exchange 
thereof cannot be received but in London, a thing which is im- 
possible to the greatest number of us. Could we not have a right 
to require that exchange of them be done in this country, and in 
the most central part of the colony? 

3d. Already the chief factor, named Governor of the Assini- 
boin, has made us to understand that he might suddenly stop the 
course of the money-papers, which would expose us to losses, and 
occasionate great difficulties in our transactions. In order to 
avoid a danger of which we have threatened, and. that the least 
pretext in a quick-minded man might lead to execution, the com- 
missionary shall invocate the influence of his Lordship, in order 

1. Hudson's Ray Company, Return to an Address of the Honorable the House 
of Commons, April 23, 1849, p. 99. 


to obtain that silver money be put in course in this country; the 
bank-houses or Company-house being too far off from us. 

4th. Le portage of certain goods on the Company's ship 
having been refused under eluding pretexts, and with the visible 
end of discouraging, could not the Company be obliged to take, 
on their bond, everything that would be exported from the colony 
at the risk and expenses of private traders? Seeing that the 
Company's exclusive right to the only important branch of com- 
merce, until now, take off for another ship a chance of an ad- 
vantageous load, when it would consist in articles exclusive from 
furs. , 

5th. That if the Company must have for some time again 
the exclusive right in the trade of this country, would it not be 
a duty of justice that they would be obliged to purchase at rea- 
sonable prices all that the inhabitants have to sell; and does it 
not look unjust, that having kept exclusively for them all the 
advantages, they could not be obliged to take the changes? 

6th. The same exclusive right would seem to put us, in rea- 
son, to require from the Company to bring to the shop of the col- 
ony the things necessary, and in a sufficient quantity for the want 
of the inhabitants ; then it is common to us, wanting things the 
most important to life in this country ; viz. gunpowder, thread 
for nets, tea, &c. ; the same articles being sometimes taken off from 
the colony shop to be transported to trade posts afar, and even 
on the American territory, and this to the great discontent of the 

7th. We think the Company is guilty of an abuse in extend- 
ing their claims as far as to forbid to the inhabitants of this coun- 
try to exchange between themselves furs ; and we believe that they 
have acted unjustly by confining in gaol individuals who were not 
attempting, Who had not even the idea to take off from the coun- 
try the furs that they had, and also in putting under a caution 
and seizing the goods imported, under that pretext that they 
were intended to be exchanged for furs. We have believed, that 
in law we could not be punished for the intention, but that the 
infraction of the law only could deserve punishment. 

8th. That the wise laws forbidding to deliver intoxicating 
liquors to the Indians being in force amongst the settlers, we feel 
it repugnant to see an exception for the Company in the penalties 
of that law; that it would be forbidden to the settlers to sell beer 
to the Indians under penalty of fine, and that the Company be 
free to sell strong liquors to the same Indians. That partiality 
excites indignation against the legislators. 

9th. The Commissionary shall beseech 'his Lordship to sup- 
ply by his credit to the wants of formalities from the part of a peo- 
ple which lives t>o far off to be aware of them, and to have the 
goodness to do so that the attention of our good Queen be rather 


fixed upon the truth of our observations, and the sincere inten- 
tion that we have to keep the peace and spare the life of Her de- 
voted subjects." 1 

No. 11. 

"To the Metis and Colonists of Red River. 

This is written to inform you that your cause in this country 
is making progress and gaining ground. I was really surprised 
on arriving here how generally it had aroused the interest of the 
people of Great Britain. Persevere and be fearless in your pres- 
ent, attitude. Especially do not resort to violent means, but be 
firm and resolute in maintaining your rights. As the English 
papers and especially the British Parliament keep saying that you 
have full power to carry on trade with whomsoever you please 
and in all products of your country. 

Do not listen to the ridiculous stories told you to intimidate 
you. You have Right on your side. Your compatriot Mr. Isbis- 
ter has aroused the interest of very powerful friends on this side 
of the sea, who will support you if you show yourselves worthy of 
the interest they feel towards you. 

Don't be afraid, friends. Go ahead!! 

Your very sincere friend, 

John M'Laughlin." 2 
No. 12. 

The Hudson's Bay Company Trading Form. 

"Thus, an Indian arriving at one of the Company's estab- 
lishments with a bundle of furs, which he intends to trade, pro- 
ceeds, in the first instance, to the trading room ; there the trader 
separates the fnrs into lots, and, after adding up the amount, de- 
livers to the Indian a number of little pieces of wood, indicating 
the number of made-beaver to which his hunt amounts. He is 
next taken to the store-room, where he finds himself surrounded 
by bales of blankets, slop-coats, guns, knives, powder horns, flints, 
axes, &c. Each article has a recognized value in made-beaver. 
A slop-coat, for example,, is 12 made-beavers, for which the Indian 
delivers up 12 of his pieces of wood ; for a gun he gives 20 ; for a 
knife, 2; and so on, until his stock of wooden cash is expended." 3 

1. Hudson's Bay Company, (Red River Settlement). Return to an Address of 
the Honorable the House of Commons, April 23, 1849, pp. 4S-49. 

2. Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay Company, Aug. 17, 
1857, p. 263. 

3. lb., 35. 


No. 13. 

"Letter Received from the Red River dated, 

Sept. 8, 1848. 

They have confidence that if the Company obtain the con- 
firmation of their Charter, that the Charter will be at least modi- 
fied in such a way as to exclude from the right of trade only for- 
eigners and by no means natives of the country. That if the 
Metis see that they are forbidden the enjoyment of the products 
of their country to the profit of foreign adventurers exclusively 
and by an act of Parliament at that, they are determined to place 
before the Congress of the United States the reasonableness of 
their complaints and of their demands, and the refusal given them 
by the British Parliament; then they will decide to ask said Con- 
gress to kindly take' possession of their country and will submit 
themselves to the laws of the United States. Now I know from 
good authority that this offer will be accepted. There are already 
some Metis established at Pembina, and just as sure as the Com- 
pany obtains a power as despotic as that which it has exercised 
for so long a time, all will finally go over from this side 
of the line and finding themselves stronger they will then show 
who was wrong to have scorned their complaints." 1 

No. 14. 

Resolutions adopted at Red River, May 25, 1857. 

"Resolved. .... That a portion of the evidence, as given 
in the Toronto Globe, purporting to be that given by Sir George 
Simpson and Dr. Rae before the Select Committee of the House 
of Commons, being read to this meeting, and found to be not only 
utterly at variance with truth, but also calculated to act prejudi- 
cially to our interests, and gave a most untrue and unfavorable 
opinion of this country, this meeting feels itself called upon to 
express its astonishment and indignation at the prolonged persist- 
ence in a course of false representation on the part of Sir George 
Simpson and his colleagues, in order to perpetuate a fur monopoly 
that has been fruitful only of poverty and degradation. 

"That, respecting the free trade of this country,, this meet- 
ing feels bound to say, that should the fur trade be longer re- 
tained in the exclusive hands of monopolists, the disorder pre- 
dicted by Sir G. Simpson and his colleagues as likely to spring up 
from opening the trade, will inevitably follow, unless, indeed, the 
Government can have troops in the country and support a mon- 
opoly. It is the feeling and opinion of this meeting that there is 
nothing to prevent the fur trade from being carried on in the 
same way that trade is pursued in all civilized communities ; and 

1. Fitzgerald, Hudson's Bay Company and Vancouver's Island, p. 329. 


that one way by which to prevent the disorders apprehended 
would he, vigorously to exclude such as threaten disorders be- 
cause they cannot have the exclusive possession of it 

"That it is a duty on our part to contradict, in most unquali- 
fied terms, the statements respecting the use of spirituous liquors 
in this country. So far from its even being withheld as an arti- 
cle of trade, not only have many of us, when in the service of the 
Company, obtained furs in barter for it, but even a settler among 
us had his stock of this article taken from him, and the same was 
afterwards used by the Hudson's Bay Company as an article of 
trade. The entire valley of the Saskatchewan is so flooded with 
this fruitful source of mischief to the Red Man, that it is almost 
the exclusive commodity with which the Hudson's Bay Company 
procures the large stock of provisions obtained from the Saskatch- 

"That nothing can be farther from the truth than the state- 
ment that the Hudson's Bay Company have been in the habit of 
taking our surplus produce ; for, for thirty five out of over forty 
years • that this colony has been farming, they have not taken 
even a tenth of what we could have supplied them. It is equally 
untrue, that for the last seven years they have been obliged to 
import grain from the United States in order to supply their own 
wants. As to our wheat crops being uncertain, we can state 
that, during the last ten years, we have not known a total failure 
of crops from any course whatever, and never known them to 
fail from the causes given by some of the witnesses before the 
Select Committee m 

1. The Hudson's Bay Question (Reprinted from the Colonial Intelligencer) F. YV. 
C, Report of Committee of House of Commons, London, 1857. 



Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson's Bay 
Company; together with the proceedings of the Committee, Min- 
utes of Evidence, Appendix and Index. Communicated from the 
Commons to the Lords. Ordered to be printed 17th August 1857. 

Hudson's Bay Company. Return to an Address of the Hon- 
ourable The House of Commons,dated 26 May 1842;— for; Copy 
of the existing Charter or Grant by the Crown to the Hudson's 
Bay Company; together with Copies or Extracts of the Corres- 
pondence which took place at the last Renewal of the Charter be- 
tween the Government and the Company, or of Individuals on 
behalf of the Company; also the Dates of all former Charters or 
Grants to that Company. Ordered by the House of Commons, to 
be Printed 8 August 1842. 

Hudson's Bay Company. (Red River Settlement.) Return 
to an Address of the Honourable the House of Commons, dated 
9 February 1849; — for, "Copies of any Memorials presented to 
the Colonial Office by Inhabitants of the Red River Settlement, 
complaining of the Government of the Hudson's Bay Company; 
of the Instructions given to the Governor General of Canada, for 
the Investigation of those Complaints ; of the Reports of the Officers 
appointed by Lord Elgin,, or by the Colonial Office, for the pur- 
pose of such Investigation ; and of any Correspondence which has 
passed between the Colonial Office and the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, and the Inhabitants of the Red River Settlement respec- 
tively, upon the subject of the above Memorial." Ordered by the 
House of Commons, to be Printed, 23 April 1849. 

Ross, the Red River Settlement ; its Rise, Progress, and Present 
State, with some account of the Native Races and its General His- 
tory to the Present Day, London; Smith, Elder and Company, 

Alexander Mackenzie, Voyage from Montreal on the River 
St. Lawrence, through the Continent of North America, to the 
Frozen and Pacific Oceans; in the years 1789 and 1793. With a 
preliminary account of the Rise, Progress and Present State of 
the Fur Trade of that Country, New York, 1802. 

31st. Congress, 1st Session, Senate Executive Document, No. 
42, Report, of the Secretary of War, communicating The report 
of an exploration of the Territory of Minnesota, by Brevet Cap- 
tain Pope. March 22, 1850, Ordered to be printed. 

Report on the Exploration of the Country between Lake Su- 
perior and the Red River Settlement. Printed by order of the 
Legislative Assembly. Toronto, 1857. 

Martin, The Hudson's Bay Territories and Vancouver's Is- 
land, with an exposition of the Chartered Rights, Conduct, and 
Policy of the Honourable Hudson's Bay Corporation, London; T. 
and W. Boone, 1849. 


Fitzgerald^ An Examination of the Charter and Proceedings 
of the Hudson's Bay Company with reference to the Grant of Van- 
couver's Island. London, 1849. 

Report of the Committee Appointed to Enquire into the State 
and Condition of the Countries adjoining to Hudson's Bay, and 
of the trade carried oil there, Reported by Lord Strange, 24th 
April, 1749. 

Martin, The Hudson's Bay Company Land Tenures and the 
Occupation of Assiniboia by Lord Selkirk's Settlers, with a list 
of Grantees under the Earl and the Company, London, 1898. 

Keating, Narrative of an Expedition to the Source of St. 
Peter's River, Lake Winnepeek, Lake of the Woods, etc., etc., 
performed in the year 1823, by order of the Hon. J. C. Calhoun, 
Secretary of War^ under the Command of Stephen H. Long, Major 
U. S. T. E. 2 Vols. Philadelphia : H. C. Carey & I. Lea, 1824. 

Begg, History of the North-West, 3 Vols., Toronto, 1894. 

Willson, The Great Company (1667-1871) being a History of 
the Honourable Company of Merchants — Adventurers trading 
into the Hudson's Bay, 2 Vols., London, 1900. 

Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, Vols. I., II., 

Williams, A History of the City of St. Paul and of the Coun- 
ty of Ramsey, Minnesota,, Saint P'aul, 1876. 

Stevens, Personal Recollections of Minnesota and Its People 
and Early History of Minneapolis, Minneapolis, 1890. 

Bishop, Floral Home or First Years of Minnesota, New York, 
Sheldon, Blakeman, and Company, 1857. 

Folwell, Minnesota the North Star State, Boston, 1908. 

Andrews, Minnesota and Dacotah, with information relative 
to the public lands and a table of statistics. Wash. D. C, 1857. 

Neill, The History of Minnesota: from the earliest French 
Explorations to the Present time. Philadelphia, 1882. 

Dodds, The Hudson's Bay Company, Its Position and Pros- 
pects. London, 1866. 

Correspondence, Papers and Documents Relating to the 
Northerly and Westerly Boundaries of the Province of Ontario. 
Toronto, 1882. 

Pike, An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Missis- 
sippi, and through the Western Parts of Louisiana, Philadelphia, 

The Hudson's Bay Question (Reprinted from the Colonial 
Intelligencer) F. W. C, London, 1857. 



From the Original Records on File at Bismarck, N. D. 

Census Returns for the Counties of Allred, Bowman, Buford, 
Dunn, Mcintosh, McKenzie, Mercer, Mountraille, Oliver, Renville, 
Stanton, Towner, Villard, Wallace, Ward, Wells and Wynn. 


Males 12 Attended school during 

Females 1 1885 

Married 2 Woodchopper 5 

Single 11 Hunter 3 

Under 21 years of age Riverman 3 

Wood dealer 1 

Born in Dakota Territory 

Born in other parts of the U. S 9 

Foreign born 4 

Total population 13 











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Females 115 

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Railroad Employee 3 

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Blacksmith 1 

Real Estate 1 

Mail Carrier 1 

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