Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sheriff Brown's Business Partner

Trish, Your website is getting famous. Bill Kabernagle from the east coast hit on your site and found a relative, John Kabernagle, who was Charley Brown’s partner in the saloon. I happened to have a picture of John and Hannah; this is it. I knew Hannah well when I was young. My Mother and I took her to Minneapolis to a relative, Flossie Ayford. (Hannah was an Ayford.) Hannah taught at colleges, apparently after John had passed away. They were Icelandic. Other Ayfords moved to Mountain, N.D. - Chuck

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

WPA Tours of 1938: North Dakota

From the NDSU Center for Heritage Renewal's project, Highways and Trails of the WPA...

Tour 1
(Winnipeg, Man., Can.) – Pembina – Grand Forks – Fargo – Wahpeton – (Watertown, S. Dak.). US 81. Canadian boundary to South Dakota Line, 256.5 m.

N. P. Ry. parallels route between Canadian border and Joliette; G.N. Ry. between Hamilton and Fargo; Milwaukee R. R. between Fargo and South Dakota Line. Winnipeg-Fargo route of Northwest Airlines parallels route between Canadian border and Fargo. Graveled roadbed except about 31 m. bituminous-surfaced. Accommodations of all types in principal towns.

US 81 crosses North Dakota along its eastern boundary from the Canadian to the South Dakota border, and passes through the rich low valley of the Red River of the North, a wide level plain that was once the bed of the great prehistoric Lake Agassiz. The route parallels the Red River to Wahpeton, and the Bois de Sioux River between that city and the South Dakota Line. Constantly in sight to the left of the road are the heavily wooded river banks, but except for crossing several timbered tributaries the route runs through almost unbelievably flat green fields, broken here and there by an occasional farmstead.

During the early settlement of this region the Red River provided transportation into the newly opened Northwest, and beside its course slow-moving trains of creaking oxcarts preceded the steamboat into the new land. It was in the Red River Valley that the first white settlements in the State were made. Here in the last quarter of the nineteenth century flourished the bonanza farms--those huge land tracts entirely devoted to the growing of wheat that earned for this valley the title of "the bread basket of the world." Today the Red River Valley produces many other crops—potatoes, sugar beets, alfalfa—in addition to wheat. Its natural endowments of rich soil and good rainfall combine with the man-made facilities of transportation to constitute the most prosperous section of North Dakota.

US 81 crosses the Canadian border 64.5 m. S. of Winnipeg, Can.

PEMBINA (Chippewa, highbush cranberry), 3 m. (792 alt., 551 pop.), named for the berries that lend their flaming color to the nearby woods in autumn, is the cradle of North Dakota white settlement. Here, at the confluence of the Red and Pembina Rivers, the earliest trading posts and the first white colony in the State were established. Charles Chaboillez, representing the North West Co., built the first fur post on North Dakota soil on the south bank of the Pembina River within the present site of Pembina in 1797-98. Rudely constructed and of short duration, it had already disappeared when Alexander Henry, Jr., also of the North West Co., came up the Red River in 1800. The following year he built a post on the north side of the Pembina, and in the same year both the XY and the Hudson's Bay Co. opened posts at the mouth of the river. The three competing companies, with their free rum and unscrupulous trading, brought about a lawless social condition in the new settlement. Drinking bouts and brawls were continuous as the Indians were plied with liquor by the conscienceless traders, who excused their conduct on grounds of competition.

It was during this time that the first child of other than Indian blood was born on North Dakota soil. The child was not white, but Negro, the daughter of Pierre Bonza, Henry's personal servant. The first white child in the State was born at Henry's post in 1807, the illegitimate son of the "Orkney Lad", a woman who had worked at the post for several years in the guise of a man. Her imposture was not generally known until the birth of her child, after which a collection was taken up and she and the child were sent back to her home in the Orkney Islands.1

During the middle of the nineteenth century Pembina was the rendezvous for white and metis hunters, and the town was the starting point for the great Pembina buffalo hunts (see Side Tour 5A).

...Charles Cavalier, one of the most prominent settlers of the State [resident of Pembina, and what would become North Dakota], in the 1860s while making a trip with a party from Pembina..., saw a herd of buffalo like a black cloud on the horizon. The party immediately arranged their carts in a semicircle and prepared for an onslaught. The bison came on with a rumble like thunder, the rumble became a roar, and the earth trembled; but when they reached the carts the heard parted and swerved on either side, upsetting only the outside row of the improvised stockade. Not until the second day could the journey be resumed, and even then there were buffalo in sight for another day. The herd was believed to number two or three million, and in its wake was an area, several miles in width, entirely devoid of vegetation.
The fur trade brought some white settlers to this area, but it was not until 1812 that systematic colonization was attempted. In that year William Douglas, Earl of Selkirk, brought a group of dispossessed Scottish peasants to the Red River Valley to farm under an agreement with the Hudson's Bay Co. Untrained for the rigors of frontier life, and persecuted by the fur traders of the rival North West Co. who did not want settlers in their lucrative area, many of the Selkirk colonists moved to Canada in 1818 after establishment of the international boundary defined Pembina as United States soil. The next 30 years saw a slow influx of settlers into the Red River Valley and by 1851 Pembina had become a fairly important river port. In that year Norman Kittson, a fur trader, was named postmaster, the first in North Dakota; and Charles Cavalier, for whom the town and county of Cavalier were later named (see Tour 5), was appointed collector of customs at Pembina. Cavalier became postmaster in 1852, and, as under his influence newcomers arrived to farm, the fur trade declined and there developed the first permanent agricultural community in the State.

Pembina appears from a distance more like a grove of trees than a town. Most of its buildings are old, reflecting the rococo architecture of an earlier day.

On the Red River at the eastern end of Rolette St. is MASONIC PARK, where a marker commemorates the site of the first Masonic lodge in the State, organized at Pembina in 1863. Each year, both on July 1, which is Dominion Day (the Canadian holiday similar to the U.S. Independence Day) and on July 4, the flag of the United States and the Canadian Union Jack fly together from the park flagpole, a practice illustrating the neighborliness of the border States and Provinces. The Canadian flag is a gift of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Manitoba.

The highway crosses the Pembina River, which in dry seasons is likely to appear more like mud than water. Left on the highway is PEMBINA STATE PARK (good water, firewood, kitchens, and tables), which includes the site of the Chaboillez trading post.

A bridge over the Red River connects Pembina with St. Vincent, Minn., situated on US 59 (see Minn. Tour 17).

At 4 m. is the PEMBINA AIRPORT (R), airport of entry operated by the Northwest Airlines. It is on part of the former military reservation of Fort Pembina, established in 1870. The reservation was turned over to the U. S. Department of the Interior in 1895 and sold at public auction. The fort was situated a mile and a half S. of the city of Pembina on the Red River ...

1 - UPDATE January 29, 2016:  Since I posted this in 2007, I have found out a few more details about the "Orkney Lad" named John Fubbister.  Her name was actually Isobel Gunn, and while her story began with courage and inspiration (not to mention hard work), it ended with more hard work, but sadly. Another recent article shares even more information, along with the sources they came from. Hudson's Bay Company itself has a history write-up about Isobel Fubbister "Gunn", aka John Fubbister, on their website with additional parts of the story.  However, another version claims that Isobel and the father of her son, John Scarth, were not so unknown to one another as others have contended.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Chapter V: Sheriff Charley Brown

News from home, and love in the afternoon - both are in Sheriff Charley's immediate future in Chapter 5 of Sheriff Charley Brown...

Back at the jail, Charley sorted his mail, placing several new wanted posters in a separate pile. Briefly examining them, he found most to be from eastern states. Checking his few personal letters, he found one from LaMoure who was attending court in Fargo. Another was from his mother; He opened that one expectantly:
Dear Son,

Since your Father passed away I have been without ties. I feel out of place and not needed here. Perhaps if you can put up with me, I'll come to the Dakota Territory to live.

You'll be surprised to know that Josey now lives next door to me. She is financially secure and has two lovely teenagers, a boy and girl. I know she disappointed you grievously years ago, but she has matured and developed into a lovely woman. We discussed her marriage and she has related to me that it came about by her father's financial difficulties. She was forced into the marriage. I believe she loved you then, and still does.

In the event I decide to move, can you find a house for me? My home here should bring a good price and I have sufficient funds to live on. I hear Eugene is thinking of moving too. He is at loose ends; his apiary business leaves him too much free time. He had to put another fine jumper down last week. It came from an attempt to clear a high stone fence. I think this is the third horse he's gone through -- he'll never learn! His brother Charles is put out with him.

Your Grandfather is in fair health. Since Mother's passing, their black woman servant takes good care of him, albeit she must be in her late eighties by now.

There is little work available, forcing many of our neighbors to move west. Most seem headed for Oregon or California. I'm told the trip is difficult and hazardous. Eugene says we can now travel all the way to your location by the train cars. He says it will take only two or three days to make the trip.

Love, Mother
Charley leaned back in his chair, trying to get his thoughts in order. When mother gets the letter I sent last week she'll make a final decision. I'd better see Nixon. That house he built on Stutsman Street is still vacant. It's huge, but attractive, hopefully not too expensive. He reflected on Josey. They had been in love during their early teen years, but when the war ended she suddenly married a lawyer without so much as a word to him. Was she still beautiful? She had been only sixteen then, three years younger than him when the war ended Now she would be nearly thirty, with two grown children. He wiped her from his mind, knowing he would probably never again return to West Virginia.

Hunger pangs made him aware of the fact that he and Ian had covered nearly 50 miles since eating an early breakfast before daybreak. Surprisingly, their team held up well due to the sack of oats Mason had tossed into the rig. They had not stopped for lunch, wanting to be home before dark. He realized business in their saloon would be brisk until closing time, so decided to help. He would settle for the bar lunch, knowing it would be of cold roast beef or pork slices, bread, butter and pickles -- the usual Saturday night fare.

Passing Geroux's Hotel on his way his bar he was surprised to see Marguerite who stepped from the hotel doorway. She had obviously been waiting for him, more than likely watching from the front window. His senses whirled at the sight of her and he realized the old adage still held true, absence does make the heart grow fonder! It took all his willpower to restrain himself from taking her into his arms. She looked so clean, so neat, so utterly lovely!

She smiled nervously, words tumbling rapidly from her lips. "I'm so glad you're home safe and sound! I worried about you and Ian all this past week. Did you have trouble out there?" She seemed almost out of breath.

"Nothing we couldn't handle, mostly a waste of time. I've got to go back out on Monday with troopers from the fort."

A pleading look came to her face. "It's Sunday tomorrow. If you're not busy, can we picnic together south of the fort?"

His pique faded and a smile came. He knew she was referring to their trysting spot where they had first made love. At that moment he felt an irresistible longing and reached out to grasp her hands. He wished to kiss her, but they were on a busy street. When she looked up at him apprehensively he realized she had sacrificed her pride. Heretofore, all suggestions that they revisit their rendezvous had come from him. A twinge of guilt came.

"What time do you want to leave?"

Her timidity seemed to vanish at that instant, her face brightened. "How about after late mass? You'll be attending, won't you?"

"I'll join you there, sit with you." He smiled as he teased.

She laughed excitedly, "The service will be over before noon and it should warm up by then. I'll pack a lunch; you can furnish the wine." Turning, she stepped to the hotel doorway, pausing briefly to blow him a kiss.

Because of the shooting that afternoon, the streets were congested with out-of-towners. It seemed every farmer and railroad worker had heard of the affair and wanted the details. He realized there was also an abnormal influx of soldiers from the fort. Many locals had known and liked Gale, some men vociferously defending his action. Charley found himself avoiding any argument, not wanting to compromise his position as sheriff. By 11 p.m. he felt totally exhausted. John noted his appearance and suggested, "Go upstairs and get some sleep. You look to be dead on your feet! I can hold the fort -- things are beginning to slack off."

When Charley entered church the next morning he found Marguerite and Susan already in their pew. Joining them, he was amused at the way Susan engineered their seating arrangement. She stepped out into the aisle so he could sit between them. Marguerite surreptitiously slipped her hand into his with a shy, knowing smile, hiding their hands by fluffing out her voluminous skirt. Susan smiled to herself noting the nuance.

As the sermon spun by, Marguerite heard only a few words. She felt every breath, anticipating Charley's unintentional body movements. His hand covering hers brought a hot tide to her cheeks and she felt her hand perspiring. When she gazed up at his face she noted a strand of hair had dropped over his forehead, covering an eyebrow. She realized how appealing and utterly male he was, blushing as he turned his eyes down upon her. She knew she would love this man forever.

The mass was brief, the priest announcing his intention to hold another service elsewhere. As they strolled out of the church Charley noted Ian stepping from his buggy just across the street. A Presbyterian, Ian had not joined his wife's church. He hesitated momentarily to remove a large basket from his buggy, and then he approached, handing it to Charley. Smiling slyly, he said, "Good luck on your picnic. It's a lovely spot, Susan and I know it well."

"Darn you, Ian, you keep quiet." Susan was blushing.

It was obvious that both Susan and Ian knew and approved Marguerite's plan. Just as Charley placed the basket on the floor of his buggy, Susan added, "We're expecting you both for supper. It won't be fancy, just chicken and dumplings. Don't be late!" Charley caught Susan’s wink to her sister.

Marguerite chortled, "That's my sister, she's my champion. You may find yourself compromised."

He smiled and called out to Ian and Susan as they drove away. "We'll be there on time."

After seating Marguerite in the buggy, he said, "I've got to make a brief stop at the fort to arrange for my escort tomorrow. I saw Shawn last night and he told me Captain Collins would approve my plan, still its only common courtesy that I speak with the captain personally."

"How long will you be gone this time?"

He slapped the reins and the horse stepped out. "I suppose another week, maybe less."

Their stop at the fort was brief. The Officer of the Day, Lieutenant Greene, greeted Charley casually. "Captain Collins is out digging at the big Indian mound. It's a hobby of his -- artifacts. He has authorized two squads under Kirpatrick to leave tomorrow morning by 8 a.m. Shawn said to tell you he'd meet you in town. The men will be mounted and bring their own commissary wagon."

Charley was pleased. "Wonderful! Thank the captain for me and tell Shawn I'll be expecting him."

The steamboat SELKIRKFollowing the river trail Charley and Marguerite passed the old Indian dugout two miles south of the fort, continuing on another half-mile to where the tree line ended. The river was open to view at this point, the water appearing almost quiescent with a gray-brown hue. It looked to be shallow, but they both knew the appearance was deceptive. The steamboat Alpha had come downriver to Pembina just yesterday, towing a large barge of machinery destined for Winnipeg. Also, Charley knew the Selkirk was due on Monday, bringing by tow, three barge loads of lumber.

While Charley hooked the iron weight to the horse's bridle, Marguerite carried the basket down to the level near the water. As Charley joined her, she unpacked the basket, putting the food to the side. Reaching into the bottom of the basket she removed two blankets and a portfolio of papers. Looking up at him mischievously, she said, "It might get cold. I brought a spare blanket."

"So did I." Removing a bulging blanket from under his arm he drew out two bottles. "It’s champagne, the best John and I carry. Say, what's that you have there? Looks like some kind of tablet."

"Yup. I've brought some charcoal sticks too. I'm going to do a facial portrait of you."

"When did you get involved in drawing?"

"Ever since Susan and I were kids. You must have seen my charcoals and oils at our house, the sketches of Indians and animals."

"You mean you did those? I thought they were purchased somewhere."

She laughed, "Mom encouraged me. When she took me over to the Indian camp I would sketch while she visited. I had a problem though; most men wouldn't allow me to sketch them.

She looked at him with a saucy smile, "You really think we'll need both of those bottles? I believe you have nefarious plans for me. I don't need wine to warm me up, I have the extra blanket." Then, unfolding the larger blanket, she added, "Help me spread this out. I don't want to get my new dress soiled."

He had admired her dress when they left the church, but had made no comment at the time. "I thought it was new, couldn't remember seeing it before." He shook his head, "Some special kind of material isn't it? A real dressy, dress -- you look lovely!"

"Ha! So you've finally noticed! Trying to get on my good side now, flattering me!" she joshed. Then she said ruefully, "I should have brought a change. I'll have to be careful."

He dropped beside her to take her into his arms for a kiss. She struggled free to move the food onto the corner of the blanket. "We eat first, then talk."

"And make love," he grinned.

"We eat first, then talk," she turned to smile.

As she began unwrapping sandwiches, he remarked, "You've brought sliced ham; apparently you've done some planning."

"How so?"

"You usually bring chicken, and we're having that tonight at Ian's house."

She relaxed, "Not really . . . I told you, Susan's on my side. Why don't you draw the cork on one of those bottles of cheer. I would have brought lemonade, but we're out of ice at home."

The air was quiet, but buzzing with activity; bees and insects swarmed among the short willows along the river. Finally sated with food, Charley inserted the extra blanket under his head. Motioning Marguerite closer, he pulled her down to his chest. She leaned over with an impish smile and tweaked his lips with her finger, then leaned down to kiss him gently, her full lips crowding his mouth. She felt her hair coming loose as he reached behind her head to release her chignon. With his fingers he spread the thick fall to one side of her cheek, burying his face in the mass. She felt his passion and intensity matching her own and knew she would willingly give in to his wishes. Indeed, his wishes? What about my own? She knew her desire more than matched his as she began unbuttoning his shirt, then tugged at his belt. A reckless feeling of sheer joy came over her, she wanted to be held and loved. She moved her body searchingly close to him, shivering with pleasure as she felt his response. Kissing and caressing each other they dispensed the barrier of clothing.

The plunge of their love was as powerful and rich as it had ever been. When the wild culmination was over, they lay together, breathlessly clinging to each other as if to life itself.

Much later, as he rolled from her, watching her lazily, she ran her hands down over her stomach. "Oh, Charley, will it always be like this . . . a little bit like being in heaven?"

Later, sitting up, she said, "Put on your shirt, it's time you posed for me."

Unabashedly she slipped on her chemise and dress, and then reached into the basket to retrieve a stick of charcoal. "Sit over there on the edge of the blanket and look toward the river." She chided, "Wipe that silly grin off your face, this is no time to be self-conscious. No, turn a bit more toward me, but keep looking toward the river." She looked at him critically. "Lift your head slightly -- there, hold it! This will only take a few minutes."

Her hand moved jerkily over the tablet, stopping now and then to rub at the drawing with a finger.

Over fifteen minutes had elapsed when Charley said impatiently, "Are you almost done? We should be heading home soon?"

"Nearly done, just a minute or two more."

He noted her intense concentration on the drawing and wondered to himself, I've known her for nearly two years and never knew of this talent. Why was it never mentioned before?

Finally, she tossed the stub of charcoal toward the river. "I'm done now, what do you think?"

Reaching out, he grasped the folder. The face that looked back at him was so real he almost gasped. He realized her finger smudging had been to blend the shades of black to create depth and character.

"Where did you learn to draw like this? I can hardly believe my eyes. Do I get to keep it?"

Her face shone with pride. "No, that's my first charcoal of you. It's mine, but I'll do others. I'd love to do one of you with your horse someday." Turning to the basket she began to repack the dishes and remains of the picnic. "I've been doing mostly pencil work, but now I'm into oils, studying under Mrs. Mosten. She says I have a natural talent."

Charley looked at her fondly, "You've surprised me. How many other hidden talents do you have?"

She began to blush, and then said airily, "Oh, you've discovered most of those already."

When they left for supper at Ian and Susan's it had cooled. Marguerite felt fulfilled, but something kept gnawing in her mind. She suddenly realized that even after their lovemaking, Charley had made no commitment.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Profile: William Ash - In His Own Words

From left to right is William S. Ash, William H. Ash and William Ash all of rural St. Vincent, MN. Photo taken in 1933
I was born January 15, 1869, north of Toronto, Canada, of German parents who came to Canada as young children in the early 1850s from Alsace-Lorraine.

We came to Minnesota by boat by way of Georgian Bay and Lake Superior to Duluth in June 1879. We took the Northern Pacific from Duluth to Glyndon, and the Great Northern (which was then called the St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Manitoba) to Emerson, Manitoba, Canada. The present Great Northern connected with the Canadian Pacific R.R. at Emerson as of December 1878. The CPR built from Winnipeg to the border and the GN from Crookston, Minnesota to the same place. The CPR had its supplies shipped down the Red River from Fisher's Landing and Moorhead. The railroads and steamboats used wood for fuel at that time. Wood for the railroads was cut in shorter than cordwood lengths by horse-powered tread mills.

Father bought a Homesteader's title in St. Vincent Township of 160 acres. He made the transfer at Crookston, Minnesota June 25, 1879 and also received his first citizenship paperwork then.

The first night on the farm the family of nine found shelter in a house 14' x 24' with only one strip of tar paper left on the roof and an old-fashioned umbrella against a downpour of rain. The house was built of one-ply of lumber on the outside. Father shingled it and sealed up the room inside with paper and boards. He built a ladder up the wall into the loft above where our bed was made on the ceiling between the joists. The joists were 4 feet apart. My three brothers and I slept there foot to foot and if we raised up suddenly we bumped our heads.
Father also made a bed, table and benches from lumber. The cloth ticks were stuffed with prairie hay. These were the mattresses. By the second winter Father had built a log addition to the house. The boys had double bunk beds and a stove to keep warm.

After getting settled in the new home, it was a short time before Mother was able to bake bread. My brothers and I carried bread from Emerson in a basket across the prairie for five miles. I was then 10 years old. Later, from our first garden, I carried surplus vegetables to Emerson and sold them.

I can distinctly remember hearing the evening salute of the cannon fired at Fort Pembina.

The first hay Father cut with a scythe was a mixture of wild vetsch and red top grass the tallest of which was waist high. Father purchased a team of oxen while he held the plow [Note from Trish - not sure what that last sentence means...]

Later in 1882, Father traded the oxen and $160 for a team of mules. That year spring was very late. On April 11 Father and I drove several miles east with a sleigh to get a load of wood. We crossed the old Winnipeg to St. Paul trail that day.

Our first crop of about 25 acres was cut by cradle and threshed by horse-powered thresher. Later we used twine binders and the grain was threshed from stacks with steam-threshing outfits.

These in turn were followed by gasoline-powered machines. Now everything is handled with combines (some tractor-drawn and others self-propelled...)

The first threshing machines were equipped with straw carriers instead of blowers. Straw wanted for the barns had to be stacked by hand as it came from the carrier. Straw not wanted was bucked away from the machines to be burned) with a bucking pole and two horses driven by boys.

The threshing crews of early days were composed of 20-25 men working from 6 in the morning til 8 at night or later. Supper came after the machine stopped. No, 6 or 7 men take off the crop with combines. Meals are served in the field. Work stops when the dew falls. Dishes for the mean are washed not long before dark.

I purchased my first farm in 1895 and am still living on it.

[Written circa 1933]

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gambles...AFTER the Letters

Descendents of the original Gambles that settled St. Vincent have been in touch, and shared this with me about the "story after the story", i.e., what happened after the letters stopped...
I do know a little about what happened to everyone, thanks mainly to my late grandfather, Neill (Bo) Gamble (Willie's son), who sat down one day & went through the entire family tree with me, including the names of almost all of his Gamble cousins.

Mary Ann Neill Gamble was born in Ireland in 1841 and passed away in 1903 (as you know from one of the later letters). (The letter is dated 1902, but the headstone at the cemetery says 1903 -- perhaps a transcription error?). She would have been 61 or 62.

Alexander Gamble was born August 20, 1834, in Coot’s Hill, County Cavan, Ireland, and passed away September 8, 1925, at the home of his daughter, Ellen Gamble Lapp, in St. Vincent at age 91. They are buried in St. Vincent Cemetery; there is a large headstone erected in their memory.

She and Alexander Gamble were married in Dundee, Scotland, on November 5, 1861.

Their children, in order of age:

Elizabeth (Lizzie) was born February 13, 1863, in Dundee, Scotland. She married Hugh Griffith and had five children. Hugh died August 2, 1909 at age 58 -- killed instantly when struck by lightning while atop a haystack. Lizzie died of pneumonia on March 19, 1916 at age 53. They are buried in St. Vincent Cemetery, as is their son, Hugh Jr. & his wife Agnes.

Alexander Jr. (Young Alick) was born May 26, 1865, in Albany, New York. After the death of his first wife, Maggie, he remarried. His second wife's name was Martha, and Barbara Kennedy believed she was the sister of his first wife, from Emerson. He wound up in Idaho, where he worked as a contractor and carpenter. He died in Idaho Falls, Idaho, of complications due to asthma on November 28, 1943, at age 78. I am not sure how many children he had; the letters mention three.

In 1990, I was contacted by a woman with the last name of Gamble from Idaho, who had gotten my name through the Ontario Genealogy Society. She was married to one of young Alex Jr.'s descendants & interested in the family history. I was thrilled to hear from her and sent her a copy of all my research notes to that time, but unfortunately never heard a thing back from her.

Ellen was born in 1868 in Ontario (likely Beaverton), married Richard Lapp and lived in St. Vincent. She died in 1960 and would have been about 92 at the time. They are buried in St. Vincent Cemetery. They had five children, most of whom lived in the St. Vincent area, & some of their descendants are still in the area.

Jane (Jenny) was born in 1870 in Ontario (likely Beaverton). She married John (Jack) Griffith, Jr. on October 19, 1893 (we believe he was a cousin to Lizzie's husband Hugh, not exactly sure of the relationship) and lived in St Vincent until her death in 1950 at around the age 80. They are also buried in St. Vincent Cemetery. They had five children, some of whom lived in the St. Vincent area, & some descendants still live in the vicinity.

William (Willie, also later known as Bill) was born March 17, 1871, in Beaverton, Ontario. He married Lillie Maud Griffith of Winnipeg (another cousin of Hugh's & Jack's, again, not entirely clear on the relationship) in 1901. They had nine children. After her death in 1928 (at the age of 44), he and the younger children lived in Hallock, and he later lived in Crookston, where he passed away in 1952 at the age of 81. He & Lillie are also buried in St. Vincent Cemetery.

Alice was born in the early 1870s in Ontario (Beaverton), married Alec Forrester, and lived in Memphis, Tennessee, where she died sometime in the mid-1960s. She would have been around 90. They had two children.

Samuel (Sammy) was born in 1879 in St. Vincent, and wound up in Golden, Colorado, where he died on May 23, 1964 at age 84. His death certificate listed his occupation as "custodian, Colorado School of Mines," but my grandfather told me he ran a pool hall for awhile and also worked with the police department. He & his wife Thea (who was a schoolteacher at St. Vincent) had no children.

Margaret (Maggie) Neill, to whom all the letters were written, never married and lived by herself after the deaths of her parents. She died in Beaverton, Ontario, on November 29, 1949 at age 89, and is buried in the cemetery of St. Andrew's, also known as "The Old Stone Church," on the outskirts of town.

William & Lillie were my great-grandparents. The only descendants from this part of the family still living in Kittson County (in Hallock) are their grandchildren (my mother's cousins) Dorothy Berard Swan, Kaye Walters Cederholm, and Kenny Walters.

I feel sad to see the letters coming to an end -- even though I've read them before, it's almost been like reading them all over again for the first time. I appreciate your sharing them with the world through the Internet, & especially all the explanatory little links you've added that really add colour & context to the story.
...and thus ends the story of the Gambles, early settlers of St. Vincent, as told through their own words.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gamble #45-47: The LAST Letters

We now come to end of the Gamble Letters. Below are the final three letters in the collection. No doubt there were more, but they are lost to history, at least for now.

In these last letters, we learn of the death of Maryann...
Boulder, Colo
May 2, 1900

Dear Aunt

I got your kind and good letter a few days ago and would have answered sooner but I did not kno what I am going to do nor do I know yet

But I think I will eather rent or Sell and go home for the Summer and if I find I can live there I will move my dear one back there I will wright more next time you can answer this I will not leve for a good while yet

Alec Gamble

Boulder Colo.
April 16, 1901

Dear Maggie

I suppose you will be Surprised to hear from me after Such a long Silence.

But times have changed and tonight I am a broken harted man I buryed my dear wife on Saturday the 13, and I am left to fight the Sawers [sorrows] of this life with 3 small children to look after But we have to Submit to Gods will he knows what is best for us and I am Sure she is better off tonight She was to good for this world She had finished her work hear and has gone to him who Says come unto me you that is weary and I will giver you rest. My Dear Maggie it nearly kills me to wright this but when I think of how she died a pure good woman there is Some comfort for when my time comes I can meet my wive in Heven where there will be no parting I had too good Doctors and a nurse from the Hospital but all we could do we could not Save our loved one She died of inflammation of the baulles1 my father and mother came but not in time to see her alive none of her people came Pa and Ma are going home in the morning my father and myself have been talking about what I should do I will have to Stay hear on account of my health...

St. Vincent
March 30, 1902

My dear Maggie

You will be surprised to hear from me now after never answering your kind letter and easter card nearly a year ago, but I was sick all summer and Fall and had another baby boy in December and have been kept so busy I could not find time to write to you, although I often thought of you and felt sorry for you.

It is now my sorrowful duty to tell you our beloved mother passed away at 12-15 mid night March 30 she had not been feeling well for some years now but was not quite a week in bed it was with diabetes she died she will be buried tomorrow Tuesday at 2 o'clock, she had every care possible we were all with her except Alec and had 2 doctors and 2 trained nurses she was sensible and called us all by name until a few hours before she died but she was to weak to talk much she just slept away. Alice takes it very hard, and my poor father my heart achs for him God alone knows what he suffers. I will send you more about it later, it is likely Pa will write and tell you too I can't write any more now with Love in the Lord to you I remain

Ever your friend
Jennie Griffith

[First two pages missing...]

I was sorry Jack could not have heard him too but he could not get away, His father was down to Ontario for 2 months this winter he has just got back and there was no one we could leave with the children and do the chores I suppose Alice told you about Ellen's boy it is nearly 4 months old, I do not know for sure what she will call him she keeps a hired girl, all the time We heard to-day that Hugh Griffiths father was dead in Toronto and that he (Hugh) left today to go to the funeral. We don't see them very often they live over three miles from us, but it was Pa was telling Jack I guess they must have seen them. Willie has built a lovely new house on his farm it is just a few steps (you might say) from our place he did not finish up stairs now I think he will leave it until summer there is four rooms down stairs a parlor and dining room and bed room and kitchen and a bay window in the parlor and one on the dining room and a veranda on the front, the windows and front door have colored glass in them it looks very nice. I dont know whether he is thinking about getting married or not he keeps every thing very quiet. He is still working in the elevator.

Thank you for the pieces of those girl's dresses they are very pretty I am sure the wedding dress must have been lovely. I have not got any new dresses this year. I am glad you liked the little boys photo I think we will have it enlarged. If we are spared until next fall and everything well I think we will take a trip to Old Ontario. If we go I intend to go to Toronto to see Hughies people, and go from there on to see you. There is a lot of sickness around here and quite a number of deaths. But we have escaped from sickness thus far. I often think that we are not half thankfull enough to God for all his kindness to us.
[Last pages missing...]

1 - "Redness, swelling, pain, tenderness, heat, and disturbed function of an area of the body, especially as a reaction of tissue to injurious agents. This mechanism serves as a localized and protective response to injury. The word ending -itis denotes inflammation on the part indicated by the word stem to which it is attached - that is, appendicitis, pleuritis, etc. Microscopically, it involves a complex series of events, including enlargement of the sizes of blood vessels; discharge of fluids, including plasma proteins; and migration of leukocytes (white blood cells) into the inflammatory focus. In the last century, cause of death often was listed as inflammation of a body organ - such as, brain or lung - but this was purely a descriptive term and is not helpful in identifying the actual underlying disease..." - From Antiquus Morbus, a collection of archaic medical terms and their old and modern definitions

Friday, March 09, 2007

Business Law, Early St. Vincent Style

That litigous Brawley1 strikes again2...!

33 Minn. 377

DANIEL F. BRAWLEY and another, impleaded, etc.

Supreme Court of Minnesota.
May 25, 1885.

Ferry crossing Red River at St. VincentBy Sp. Laws 1876, c. 132, the defendant Daniel F. Brawley was granted a special ferry franchise for the Red river, at St. Vincent, upon the conditions stated in the opinion. This act of the legislature was repealed by Sp. Laws 1881, c. 364, approved February 24, 1881. On May 20, 1879, defendant Brawley assigned to plaintiff one-half interest in the ferry franchise. In April, 1881, the county commissioners of Kittson county, under the authority of Sp. Laws 1881, c. 364, granted to defendant Brawley an exclusive right and license to maintain and operate a ferry across the Red river, at St. Vincent, which right and license were exercised by the defendants to the exclusion of the plaintiff.

Plaintiff, alleging that the defendant Brawley, for the purpose of cheating and defrauding the plaintiff, and by false and fraudulent representations, procured the passage of the repealing act of 1881, brought this action in the district court for Ramsey county to have the repealing act declared null and void, and asking for an accounting and division of the receipts and profits derived from the maintenance and operation of the ferry under the license granted by the county commissioners.

The action was tried by Brill, J., who found, among other facts, that no ferry was kept or maintained during 1877 and the greater part of 1878, and, as a conclusion of law, held the repealing act of 1881 valid, and directed judgment for defendants, which was entered and the plaintiff appealed.

William Barrett and E. F. Lane, for appellant.

J. M. Gilman, for respondents.


By Sp. Laws 1876, c. 132, the legislature of this state granted to defendant Brawley, his heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns, the exclusive right and privilege, for a period of 10 years, of keeping and maintaining a ferry across the Red river at St. Vincent, in the county of Pembina. Section 2 of the act provides that "the said Daniel F. Brawley shall, within six months after the passage of this act, place and maintain upon such ferry such good and sufficient boat or boats as may be necessary to carry across said river all teams, horses, cattle, and other property, and for the accommodation of foot passengers, and shall at all times give ready and prompt attention to passengers and teams on all occasions, and at all hours of the day and night." Section 7 reads: "If the said Daniel F. Brawley, his heirs or assigns, fail to fulfil any of the conditions of this act, then the legislature may, at any time, alter, amend, or repeal the same." Brawley transferred a one-half interest in the ferry to plaintiff. As found by the court below, the conditions...

1 Read about Brawley and his high hopes for St. Vincent in this earlier post...

2 Brawley appears to have had a habit of trying to force his hand...
96 U.S. 168

24 L.Ed. 622


October Term, 1877
APPEAL from the Court of Claims.

This is a petition by Brawley to recover the amount of eight hundred and forty cords of wood, at $3.99 per cord, which the claimant alleges that he was prepared and ready to furnish, under a contract entered into by the claimant with Lieutenant-Colonel Holabird, Deputy Quartermaster-General United States Army, in May, 1871. The principal article, and that on which the present controversy arises, was in the following words:

'I. That the said Daniel F. Brawley, his heirs, assignees, administrators, and executors, shall sell, furnish, and deliver, cut and split in lengths of four (4) feet, duly piled or corded under the direction and supervision of the post-quartermaster, within the enclosure of the post of Fort Pembina, Dakota Territory, eight hundred and eighty (880) cords of sound, of first quality, of merchantable oak wood, more or less, as shall be determined to be necessary, by the post-commander, for the regular supply, in accordance with army regulations, of the troops and employees of the garrison of said post, for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1871, and ending June 30, 1872. The delivery of eight hundred and eighty (880) cords to be completed on or before Jan. 1, 1872; but any additional number of cords of wood that may be required over and above that amount may be delivered from time to time, regulated by the proper military authorities, based upon the actual necessities of the troops for the period above mentioned; provided, that if the wood be less than four (4) feet in length, due allowance shall be made for such shortage by an increased quantity, the cubical contents of the wood being measured in all cases. Delivery on this contract to begin on or before July 15, 1871, unless the time be extended by the commanding officer of the post.'

It appears by the findings of the Court of Claims that said contract was entered into in pursuance of an estimate made by the proper officer of the quartermaster's department, and after an advertisement for proposals, upon which the claimant made a bid which was accepted,—the quantity named being eight hundred and eighty cords of wood or more. The bids were opened April 15, 1871. The contract was awarded to the claimant May 6, 1871, but, although dated on that day, it was not executed until about the 14th of June. About the 18th of the latter month, the post-commander of Fort Pembina first learned of it, and informed the claimant that but forty cords of wood would be required thereon, and forbade his hauling...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

WPA Tours of 1938: Noyes to Hallock

From WPA's Guide To Minnesota Tour 4 (1938) - Part of the Federal Writers Project, comes this:

Section a. CANADIAN BORDER (NOYES) to MOORHEAD, 176.6 m. US 75.

At 0 m. US 75 crosses the Canadian Border, 67 miles south of Winnipeg.

NOYES, 0.1 m. (792 alt., 64 pop.), is a small village and a United States port of entry, with an almost cosmopolitan air of bustle and excitement emanating from the U.S. Customs and Immigration Offices. The American and Canadian flags flying not far apart, the trim uniforms of the officials, and the constant commotion usual to international boundaries contrast with the quiet of this remote north-woods country. A large force of railroad officials is necessary to take care of incoming and outgoing passengers and freight on both the Soo Line and the Great Northern Ry. passing through Noyes.

At 7.2 m. is the junction (L) with US 59.

HUMBOLDT, 8.2 m. (793 alt., 139 pop.), originated as a "Jim Hill town." James J. Hill, the railroad builder, owned the town site and platted it. The present name, honoring the great German naturalist, Baron Alexander von Humboldt, was a tribute from Hill to the German people, many of whom had invested in railway bonds.

The land in this vicinity is typical Red River prairie, an open expanse of gently rolling fields, broken only by farmstead windbreaks. The soil is clay and sandy loam, adapted to diversified agriculture, and so fertile that descriptions of the farms sound like Paul Bunyan legends. Records show the yield has been as high as 45 bushels of wheat or 500 bushels of potatoes to the acre, and farmers here have plowed furrows straight ahead for 7 or 8 miles without a twist or turn.

NORTHCOTE, 15.4 m., although considered a village, is administered as part of Hampden Township. The village, named for Sir Henry Stafford Northcote, English statesman and financier [NOTE: Northcote had financial interests in James J. Hill's projects], was settled chiefly by Irish and Scottish Canadians.

The Florence Farm at Northcote (open to visitors), once owned by James J. Hill, consists of about 25,000 acres (15,000 under cultivation in 1937) and is one of the largest successfully operated grain farms in the United States. The farm residence alone, built by Walter Hill in 1912, cost $49,000. Among the other structures are a powerhouse large enough for a city of 1,500, two immense silos, and two grain elevators with capacities of 55,000 bushels and 25,000 bushels respectively. Of the 15 tractors in use, 9 are equipped with Diesel engines and 6 with 10-horse-power gasoline engines. In a recent year the planted acreage of this completely mechanized farm was 3,600 acres of wheat, 4,000 acres of flax, 500 acres of rye, 2,000 acres of barley, and approximately 1,500 acres of oats.

The country along the highway between Northcote and Hallock, more rolling than that along the northernmost portion of the route, is broken by the curving branches of Two Rivers, whose banks are lined by graceful elm and ash trees.

HALLOCK, 20.4 m. (820 alt., 869 pop.), seat of Kittson County and in the area abounding with game, was named for the journalist and editor, Charles W. Hallock (1834-1917), founder of Forest and Stream magazine. In 1880 Hallock, who was a great sportsman, erected in the newly founded town a $10,000 hotel with water on every floor, bathrooms, speaking tubes, a barber shop, kennel rooms, gun rooms, and other facilities unusual in the far Northwest at that time.

Honey from more than 3,000 colonies of bees is extracted centrifugally and shipped in carload lots, some of it to European markets. Pollen carried by the bees fertilizes the sweet clover seed, and important source of revenue to the local farmers...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

WPA Tours of 1938: St. Vincent

From WPA Tour 17 (1938) - Part of the Federal Writers Project, comes this: St. Vincent to Iowa Line, US 59; Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railway parallels the Route between St. Vincent and Detroit Lakes; Graveled roadbed between St. Vincent and juntion with State 32; This route across the western part of the State [Minnesota] traverses in the north typical Red River prairie land for approximately 45 miles and crosses several beaches and sany shore lines of glacial Lake Agassiz...

Section a. ST. VINCENT to DETROIT LAKES, 200.6 m. US 59.

The residents of ST. VINCENT, 0 m., (788 alt., 304 pop.), stroll informally across the Canadian Border and back to visit friends and relatives. In many cases some members of a family live in St. Vincent and others in the nearby Canadian town of Emerson.

St. Vincent, peaceful and serene, the oldest village in Kittson County, seems little changed from its pioneer days. A trading post was established on or near the site in the 1790's. The town was named for St. Vincent de Paul, renowned for his work among the poor; in the early part of the 17th century he organized charities in France and established religious orders to care for the needy. Many of the early settlers migrated from Prince Edward Island, and endured almost unbelievable hardships as they traveled the frozen trail across Canada in subzero temperatures. Many of these sturdy pioneers later intermarried with the Chippewa Indians; their descendants were known for their remarkable feats of endurance.

At 2 m. is the junction with US 75 (see Tour 4), which is united with US59 for 4.3 miles.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Chapter IV: Sheriff Charley Brown

Exciting news, dear readers!

Chuck Walker recently informed me that Publish America has accepted his manuscript for Sheriff Charley Brown for publication and made him an offer; he has decided to accept. This is the first book about St. Vincent to have been published other than a straight historical book.

It has been my privilege to be able to offer Chuck's book here in serialized form, and I will be continuing to do so for the entire story. With that in mind, here is chapter four...Enjoy!

Deputy U.S. Marshal William Anderson1 was becoming impatient. While reclining on his bed at Fisk's hotel he pondered the action of Deputy LaMoure and Sheriff Brown. Apparently they had gone out to speak with, rather than seize Bill Collins. Imagine Billy posing as Bill Gale! Anderson snorted in contempt at the idea. Why, the fool didn't even change his first name!

To further his disappointment, the local officers seemed to think their matters of more importance than his. Brown had gone off on an Indian hunt to the west and LaMoure had gone to a court action in Fargo. Little did they know of real desperados! Perhaps nothing of criminal importance ever happens in this cracker-barrel town!

Anderson realized his reputation hung in the balance. He had to bring in Collins or his credibility with the U.S. Marshals Service would suffer. There would be no promotion. He would always remain just a deputy. He realized it made sense to await the return of the two local officers, but the idea tormented him. He wanted the entire credit for the capture. “I won't share with them!”

Deeply perturbed, he considered his options. Evidently Collins and his wife had been corresponding, and no doubt were still in contact. Yet, the marshals' service had intercepted only the one letter written by Collin's lawyer. She must be sending her return letters in a round about way, by having someone mail them from an outlying post office. Not one of her letters has been intercepted. That meant Collins must be getting her letters at a nearby post office, either in Pembina, St. Vincent, or perhaps even West Lynne, in Canada.

Early on Wednesday morning he walked to the Pembina post office and introduced himself to the postmaster, Charles Cavalier2. The mailman was popularly known as 'Doc', as he was always called -- the oldest settler and pre-emptor of the principal portion of Pembina. He was considered one of nature's gentlemen, in fact one of the great men of the town.

"Does the man who calls himself Bill Gale, come to your post office often?"

Cavalier studied the stranger. "A man called J. W. Gale gets an occasional letter here. Just who are you?"

Anderson was forced to display his credentials and briefly explain his purpose. "According to Sheriff Brown, Gale works at a hotel along the border. I hold a federal warrant for Bill Collins, alias Bill Gale. I've got to find him somewhere away from that hotel. If I go out there to make the arrest he can step across that so-called line into Canada and I can't touch him. Does he come often to your post office to pick up his mail?"

"Once in a great while and usually on a Saturday, likely it’s his day off. Just what are you planning?"

"I'll sit in here next Saturday and if he shows up, I'll arrest him. Sheriff Brown and Marshal LaMoure were supposed to assist in the arrest but they've both ducked out on me."

"Now hold on! I don't know a thing about you! Don't go chastising Charley and Jud; they are good men and I won't have you denigrate them!"

It was obvious to Anderson that he was rubbing Cavalier the wrong way; he attempted to smooth things over. "Like I said, I'll sit in here next Saturday and pick up Collins, alias Bill Gale. There shouldn't be any problem."

"Except for some shooting," Cavalier suggested warily.

"Oh, none of that, I'm sure. I'll have him covered."

"Well, it's your neck. Best you're out of sight though. You can wait around the corner in the kitchen. Thank the Lord my wife is visiting her folks in Winnipeg. She wouldn't allow anything of the sort!"

Returning to his hotel Anderson pondered how he would pass the time until Saturday, since this was Wednesday. Perhaps either Brown or LaMoure, or both, would be back in time to support him. He was beginning to have second thoughts about the wisdom of making the arrest unaided.

On Friday afternoon Anderson contacted lawyer Ewing who introduced him to one of the sheriff's deputies, Ned Cavalier. Ned advised, "Charley and Jud are still out of town as far as I know, but they should both be back by Sunday. If I were you I'd await their return. You may find Gale tough to handle."

"I knew him back in Texas. He won't be any problem." Sensing Anderson's arrogance, Ned shrugged, turning away.

Early on Saturday morning Anderson approached the post office. He hesitated briefly to study the new outside stairway built to give access to the upper floor. Apparently it would serve no useful advantage. Walking to the rear door of Cavalier's home, he knocked, knowing the post office door would be locked until 9:00 a.m. A barefoot Cavalier clad only in droopy, long underwear admitted him. He complained, "Pretty early for you to be here. I just lit the fire to make coffee. The drayman won't be here with the mail from the morning train for at least another hour."

"Thought I'd look over the place, so as to not make any mistakes. Collins is a crack shot, and if he pulls a gun, I'll have to nail him quick."

"Judas! I hope it doesn't come to that! You should have waited for Charley and Jud. They may be cautious, but they're thorough. Best you use the bench behind the counter instead of the chair at the rear. I'll see him in plenty of time to warn you."

Although Cavalier shared coffee with the marshal, he pointedly failed to offer him breakfast. Anderson regretted the impulse that had prompted his early arrival without first eating. Still, he would take no chance of missing his man.

When the drayman arrived and dropped two bags of mail at the door, Cavalier opened them and began sorting letters into various pigeonholes built into the wall. Anderson noted the second mailbag contained only newspapers and packages. "Mostly morning delivery," Cavalier grumbled. "Not much mail comes on the stage anymore, nearly all arrives by rail."

The morning went by slowly, the marshal alert to each customer that entered. By noon he realized he was getting nervous and jumpy. Dryness seemed to settle in his mouth and throat and he again began to question the wisdom of confronting Collins alone. He felt a tension building that he couldn't cast off.

Cavalier was no help. A garrulous man by nature, he questioned Anderson's experience as a marshal. This left Anderson on the defensive, since none of his previous arrests had been life threatening. Pointedly Cavalier brought up Charley's war record and his experiences during the arrest of the Fenian leaders: O'Neil, Donally and O'Donoghue.

"O'Neil was the leader of that Fenian raid against Fort Erie, Ontario, back in '70. The British ran his ass out of there. But in l871 a few grouped together west of here near St. Joe, in another attempt to take Canada. Captain Wheaton, at Fort Pembina got wind of their plan and sent Lt. Bradley west to find their camp. It was Charley who found them, but he got no credit. The very next day, I remember it was in October; the Fenian's crossed the border and captured the Hudson Bay Post just west of Emerson. When a breed brought the word to Captain Wheaton, he sent two companies across the border to capture the Fenians. When O'Neil and his men saw the troops from Fort Pembina approaching, they panicked and ran. Charley was instrumental in their capture." He smiled. "O'Donaghue escaped initially but a breed ran him down and hauled him back to Fort Pembina."

Anderson questioned, "What did they do with the Fenian leaders?"

Cavalier looked disgusted, "Heck, they turned all three loose after a trial at Fort Pembina and a second court appearance in St. Paul. It seems their seizure was considered out of the U.S. jurisdiction." Shaking his head, he added, "Those in power decided that although Wheaton had done an admirable thing, he had no business crossing into Canada."

When the noon hour came Cavalier made sandwiches. Local boys gathered in the mid-afternoon, playing on the outside stairs, shouting and running up and down the steps. Twice Cavalier went outside to yell at them, but they were soon back, seemingly unafraid of the jocular Doc.

As the afternoon wore on, Anderson began to further regret his decision to take Collins alone. He made up his mind to call off his vigil at 4 o'clock.

It was then Cavalier suddenly said, "Here comes your man now. He's just crossing the street."

Anderson nervously arose from the bench, nearly upsetting it. His heart raced as he took his stance behind the corner leading to the kitchen; it’s pounding seemed almost in his throat. He could hear the boys playing on the outside stairs to the north. Suddenly, he realized, my God! That's the direction in which I must shoot if Bill draws his gun. Long, tense seconds elapsed before the door on the northeast corner of the post office audibly squealed and heavy footsteps were heard.

When Anderson deemed Collins clear of the door, he nervously stepped from behind cover, his revolver in hand. "Get your hands up, Bill! You're under arrest!"

A surprised, but friendly smile appeared on Collins face as he raised his hands chest high. "Why, Bill Anderson, my old friend -- you wouldn't arrest me, would you? I've gone straight for four years and if you leave me alone I'll go straight the rest of my life."

Anderson was obdurate, "I was sent up here to serve a Warrant on you Bill, and it's my duty to do so."

Collins had allowed his hands to drop a little and with a sudden jerk wrenched a revolver free from under his open shirt.

Anderson fired at that instant, the bullet entering high in Collin's chest, staggering him.

Collins felt the hammer-like blow but fought the feeling of dizziness that came almost instantly. Leveling his gun at Anderson he fired and missed. Anderson felt an instant of panic and ran around the corner and out the kitchen door. Somehow, by sheer willpower, Gale staggered around the corner facing the open back door. At that moment, Anderson, suddenly regained a feeling of bravado, and thinking Collins perhaps dead, peered around the door casing. Collins fired at that instant, the bullet striking Anderson who collapsed on the stoop.

"Judas Priest!" Cavalier stood aghast, transfixed for seconds, then he pushed past the now sagging Collins, toppling him to the kitchen floor. Ripping open Anderson's shirt he realized the marshal had been hit in the center of his chest and was dead. Turning, he rolled Collin's body over, to find that he too, was dead.

Shouting was heard from the boys outside and in less than a minute the kitchen was crowded with men, accompanied by the boys who had been playing outside. In the commotion that ensued, it was discovered that a young boy playing just outside, had been narrowly missed by Anderson's bullet. The missile had passed through Collins chest and through the northeast door.

It took several minutes for Cavalier, assisted by deputy Bill Morehead to clear away the crowd and lock the door. A wagon was summoned and the bodies were removed to the local undertaker.

It was less than an hour later when Charley and Ian drove into town with a tired team, and were informed of the shooting. Charley immediately took charge and had the telegrapher contact Washington to report the affair:
Deputy Marshal W. H. Anderson, in attempting to arrest Wm. O. Collins, the Texas train robber in Pembina, Dakota Territory, was killed by Collins STOP Anderson also killed Collins STOP s/N. E. Nelson, Pembina, Dakota Territory STOP
When Charley and Doc Cavalier walked to the mortuary and further examined the body of Collins, they discovered his right thumb nearly severed at the joint by Anderson's bullet that had passed through his chest.

Charley marveled at the man's stamina. "Just think, shot fatally, yet he walked to the kitchen and fired at Anderson as he peered in the door. How he could even hold the gun with that useless thumb beats all." He puzzled, "Why didn't Anderson fire more than the one shot? I checked his gun and it's in working order. He had four more cartridges available. Why did he panic?"

Cavalier said resignedly, "Who knows? I believe he was flat-out scared! If the darned fool had hesitated a few more seconds before coming back through the doorway, he'd still be alive."

"Probably was ashamed of himself. I saw plenty of it during the war. Matter of fact some of the men that seemed to be cowards at first, turned out to be the bravest in the end." Charley shook his head. "Gale told Jud and me that he'd have it out with Anderson. He sure did!"

"He should have waited for you to return, but he must have been in a hurry to get back to Texas. Well, he'll get there now, but in a box.

"Are you going back to the hills again?" Cavalier queried as they left the funeral parlor.

"Yup! Soon as I can arrange some help from the fort."

"I heard they finished the qualifying on the rifle range yesterday. That should free some men. 'Course they'll start cutting next winter's firewood soon. Geez! They went through over 800 cords of wood at the fort last winter. They've got every tree on the fort property cut down and are working on trees nearly a mile up the river. Pretty soon they'll have to buy firewood. Say, best you come back to the office with me. You have some mail piled up."

"Doc, I imagine they'll send federal men down to pick up Anderson's body and snoop around. There'll be an inquest too; you'll probably be called to testify."

"That's no problem. I have no plans to leave town." Reflectively he added, "I suppose my wife will probably rush home when she hears news of the shooting. She'll probably give me hell for letting it happen in our house."

1 Anderson was eventually killed in the line of duty.

According to historical records in Dallas County (Texas), "...William O. (Billy) COLLINS m. 24 Feb. 1875, Dallas Co., Tx. to Sallie J. CATON, he d. 8 Nov. 1878, shot to death by Deputy US Marshall William (Billie) Anderson at Pembina, Dakota Territory--Anderson was also shot to death at the same time, Mr. George Waller and Mr. Lida Huffman went from Dallas to identify the body..."

2 CAVALIER, CHARLES - Born in 1818 in Springfield, OH, the son of Charles Cavalier and Rachel Trease. In the summer of 1841, a Methodist mission was established at Red Rock. Along with the Rev. B. F. Kavenaugh and his family came William R. Brown, Cavalier, and two schoolteachers. Brown erected the mission buildings, and he and Cavalier established a store and a farm in 1842. In 1845, Cavalier moved to St. Paul where he took up his original trade as a saddler, occupying a small building on the levee, then moving in 1847 to what was once called Charles Street. In 1848, he went into the drug business with Dr. John Dewey. He also served for a few months as Territorial Librarian. His real estate holdings were valued at $500 in 1850. In 1851, went to Pembina where he served over 25 years as Postmaster. He was married in 1856 to Isabella Murray, and had children: William, Albert, Edward, Sarah, and LuLu Bell. Sarah died at birth, and none of the remaining 4 children married. Charles, Isabella, and their 5 children are buried in the Pembina City Cemetary. Charles also had a son, Alexander, whose mother was Marguerite Descoteaux dit Baton; a daughter, Rachel, whose mother was a Sauteuse indian; and a daughter, Julia Isabelle, whose mother is unknown. [Source: Williams, J. Fletcher. A History of the City of Saint Paul to 1875. St. Paul, Minnesota Historical Society, ©1983. (Out of Print) and Minnesota Territorial Census 1850. Minnesota Genealogical Journal, Minnesota Historical Society, ©1972. (Out of Print)]

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Gamble Letter #41-44

1897 FloodThe winter of 1896/ was a portentious winter, with heavy snowfall. It would lead to one of the worst floods on record. Read about that winter, and more, in these Gamble letters...

St. Vincent, Minn.
Nov. 25, [18]96

Dear Maggie,

I received your letter some time ago I was waiting untill my school closed before answering it, it was so cold the last three weeks, I had to stay at Lizzie's I finished teaching my first three months, last friday.

The like of the fall of snow and cold weather has not been known for many years, it is almost impossible to go any place the roads are so badly drifted. 31 is the coldest is has been so far. Aleck has gone to Colorado Springs, he went with a boy George Ford, who has asthma too, we have had only two letters from him, he says he has not had the slightest touch of asthma, since he has been there. I think he will stay till spring. Maggie had a little girl a few days before he went away, she named it Mary Mildred, Jennie & Jack are living with Maggie helping take care of the place for the winter. They moved their house out of town unto their farm, but it was to cold to fix it up till spring. I think I have told you pretty near all the news this time is is still snowing and stormy. I think this all for this time.

Good by from Yours as ever,
Alice Gamble

- - - - -

St. Vincent, Minn.
Jan 25 [18]97

Dear Maggie,

I received your letter alright I have been waiting to see if something new would turn up before writing, but since nothing turned up only colder weather I decided to write.

It has been dreadfully cold lately Pa says it is the coldest winter since the year he came up 42 degrees [below?] is the coldest it has been yet, we have a snowbank as high as the house on the wash side, it is quite a protection from the north winds. There has been a blizzard almost every day

[1 page missing]

would like to go away with Aleck if they would let me. But I do not think I would be pleased no matter where I went for I am a dreadful crank.

Write soon, Good by from your loving niece,
Alice Gamble

- - - - -

St. Vincent, Minn.
Feb. 6, [18]97

Dear Maggie,

I received your letter today. Aleck is better now he has been sitting up now for two days, we think he will soon be all right again. The doctors did not have much hope for him, " was pleurisy he had." He is still very weak. I only seen him once since he was sick and then when he was sitting up. I would not have known him. He was so thin he is going back to Colorado a week from Monday. He has sold quite a lot of his things, but not sold

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May has been staying with us since Aleck is sick, she likes her Grandpa and Grandma better than her father and mother.

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St. Vincent, Minn.
March 7, [18]97

Dear Maggie,

I received your letter alright. Aleck has gone to Colorado Springs. He sold his farm, horses, and everything he had on auction sale. The things did not go very high, he sold the farm to man the name of Sandy Blair a scotchman who has been working on the Reid Farm he got $3700, I think and he sold $1000 worth with out the farm, horses and machinery they left here last Tuesday the 2nd he felt bad about going away, he will not be able to work for a while, his address is Colorado Springs Colorado, we have all had somthing like the Gripp. Ma is quite sick yet.

I pretty nearly came forgetting the best news. Lizzie has another little girl. I can scarecely keep track to the Babies there are so many this baby is just as pretty as the other two. I think Maggie & Alice, are the two sweetest little girls in the world. I wish you would see them. Lizzie says she don't know where they got their good looks. Maggie is dark and Alice fair. There is no sign of spring yet. The snow gets deeper and deeper. The natives prophesy a flood. In some places the snow banks are so high that a person walking can touch the telegraph wires. I think I have told you pretty near all the news this time do you know some pretty names for girls Lizzie can't get a name nice enough for her baby. I think you told us some nice names in one letter but I lost it, they were names of our cousins I think or some relation. Good by for this time, I remain as ever

Alice Gamble
Only a month or so after the last letter here, the flood would hit the Red River Valley.