Thursday, October 30, 2008

Profile: Randolph Probstfield

Randolph and Catherine ProbstfieldRandolph Probstfield (seen here with his wife Catherine) emigrated from Germany to Minnesota and became one of the earliest settlers in the Red River Valley, at the Georgetown fur station (HBC). His experiements in agriculture helped determine what could best be grown in the Valley.
Along the banks of the Red River, a woman gives birth to her third child. As her husband helps to deliver the baby, her two older children huddle at the side of the tent, trying to stay warm. The muddy waters flow by, and just days later, the group heads out again. They battle the cold, the wind and the river, only stopping when they reach the plot of land that they can call their own. “The crossing of the river that night is one that I shall never forget,” said Randolph Probstfield, an early settler to the area. “The sufferings, the anxiety, the terrors and the disappointment to me were all events most deeply impressed upon my mind.”
In his diaries, Probstfield talks of buying a ticket for the stage to Pembina, but when he went to board, it was too full and couldn't...overbooking, even in those days!

He also talked about men being robbed at Pembina by someone named 'Lennon'; later, upon arriving at Georgetown, teamsters arrived from Fort Garry. He put them up for the night and provided them with breakfast. He did a lot of business at Pembina and seemed to be coming and going between his post at Georgetown and Pembina by riverboat and stage both.

From 1874 journal...

NOTE: An interesting bit of trivia. Probstfield writes above he has agreed to testify in court for Marshall Burdick. U.S. Marshall James H. Burdick was the man who brought in James McCall, the man who shot and killed Wild Bill Hickock at Deadwood while playing poker. McCall was eventually hanged for it.