Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shot in a Bagnio

A typical brothel 'menu' around the turn of the century
- Click to see clear copy -
[Warning:  Graphic Language]
HEADLINE:  The Fate of a Hotel Proprietor at Emerson

Winnipeg, Man., Oct. 19, 1892 - John Wagner, proprietor of the Carney house1, Emerson, Man., was shot in a bagnio a mile (south)west of the town last night. His body was taken to Pembina, where an inquest will be held tomorrow. The inmates of the house are under arrest in the Pembina jail. The murderess was Nellie Gunn, keeper of the house. She originally resided in Winnipeg. Wagner and others were in the act of battering down the door, when five shots were fired, one taking effect in the breast, from which he died in ten minutes. He leaves a wife and two children. The murderess is one of those under arrest at Pembina. Drink was the cause of the whole affair.

From the St. Paul Daily Globe October 20, 1892

For a more detailed description of Nellie and the event above, read the following recollection by an eye witness (courtesy J. Rempel of Halbstadt, Manitoba...)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Godon: The REST of the Story

Adz:  The murder weapon


Gilbert Godon has appeared in this blog before - the first time, as a character in a novel based on fact; the second time, referred to by a descendant relation when discussing our shared history in and around St. Vincent.


Now, I have found him referred to in a book of recollections by a soldier who served in our area; it fills out the tale we already knew about Gilbert.

It's always fascinating to find out more than just the bare facts...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

St. Vincent for Sale

From Daily globe (St. Paul, Minn.) April 16, 1882 
Source: Library of Congress' Chronicling America
Coolican took his stand before a huge plot of St. Vincent, ambitious enough in appearance for a city of a hundred thousand, and opened the ball. Shades of Andrew Johnston, how he talked! There was not a symptom of let up for two hours. Here is a sample:
James Sarsfield Coolican,
Auctioneer of St. Vincent
“Gentlemen, I can’t go away from St. Pauland believe that you are all paupers. Twenty dollars for such a lot as that, two blocks from the shop reserves, and a corner lot, too; just the place for starting a saloon! Do I hear thirty? Going at thirty. Do I hear thirty-five? Remember, this sale is without reserve. Hitch on while the boom is on, and you will be wearing seal-skins and diamonds next year. Thirty dollars! Thirty dollars! Thirty dollars! Five do you say? Just in time; why I met a young man on the train the other day, and he showed me his bank book with a credit of $18,000, and he said he had $45,000 worth of real estate. He came to Winnipeg in a cattle car, and was returning in a Pullman. Made a little stake shingling roofs, caught on and there you are. Gentlemen, this double row of lots clear outside the town was bought by Winnipeggers yesterday at $250 per lot (whereupon he proceeded to sell a block in St. Vincent’s centre at prices ranging for $33 to $56 per lot). Hitch on to the boom boys, while she is moving. Telegraph to Sheppard, the town clerk in St. Vincent, or any one else there, and if he don’t say lots such as I am offering you are selling to-day at from $250 to $300, I'll open the wine for the house, provided there’s enough wine in town to fill such a thirsty crowd. Now pick your block; I’ll sell in any one of them not already purchased.”
From: Manitoba Historical Society

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tales of the St. Vincent Signal Station

A typical Signal Corps station setup in the 1880's
There were many brutal winters in the 19th century up around my hometown area.  Some were before official record keeping, others after.  All were documented in one way or another, however.

The winter of 1887-1888 was one of the hard ones.  The quotes below are from an article written from a meteorological point of view, and contains some fascinating details of temperature and snowfall as recorded by the St. Vincent Signal Corps station1.  The quotes I chose are mainly about the temperatures recorded in St. Vincent over that winter, but they also refer to a notorious blizzard that occurred in January 1888.

And we think we have hard winters now!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Letters from Fort Pembina


Found amongst archived auctions comes this image and description of letters sold in 2007 that were written by residents of Fort Pembina in the 1880's...
Four letters - 3 written by a soldier with the last name of Dean, to his brother in Liberty, Mo. The 4th letter is written by the daughter of a man working at the fort, to Alice Warner in Wooster, Ohio. One letter from Dean to his brother states:   
We are situated on the Red River of the North which is frozen over with ice 28" thick...The public use the rivers in the winters for wagon roads or sleigh roads rather and they run the cars across on the ice also up in Pembina city, which is a mile & 1/2  - a lively little town too - it has 3000 population and is growing very rapidly.  Hunting is not as good as it was in Garland, Colorado, but there are some elk and plenty of geese, ducks, prairie chickens & grey wolves. 36 below zero... 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Letter to Rusty



The letter below was received by Alfred "Rusty" Rustad while he was in the service during WWII. It was written by a local representative of the Red Cross; the introduction is from an article that featured the letter, which appeared in the Kittson County Enterprise a few years ago. It paints a unique picture of his hometown area around Humboldt, capturing the people and events of that time...
Another View
by Rev. Hugh Bell
It's been almost one year since my last "View" so when I received a copy of this enclosed letter I thought it a most opportune time to catch up on correspondence in the Enterprise.
The enclosed letter was sent to Alfred Rustad, Jr. "Rusty" 60 years ago this month. For those of us old enough to remember WWII, we remember a time when just about everyone was in the same boat. It was a time of sacrifice and unbelievable hardship. It was also a time of great family support and great national support. Something that perhaps is lacking in the most recent of our wars including the present day battle in Iraq and Afghanistan. WWII was a time when the whole country pulled together for a common good. Today it seems as tho more energy is put into political rhetoric and profit seeking than into freedom in the Middle East. If we could just stop blaming others for our problems, wouldn't it be a wonderful world. Enough sermon, now to Rusty's letter.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guest Post: Michael Rustad

Lyle Dexter, Michael Rustad, Jane Dexter, & Carolyn Wiese (in back)
watch videos in church during 2007 town centennial/school reunion

This is the first in a new series called "Guest Post: YOUR NAME HERE", which will feature essays by guest writers, recalling memories and/or reflections of our hometown area. If you are from Kittson County, Pembina County, or southern Manitoba, and have memories you'd like to share about our area, let me know.

The first writer is Michael Rustad, who is (to coin a phrase) the midwife of this blog...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Troop Socials

A pass was regularly made out for a Non-Com and file to go to Pembina, Dakota, for the mail. Passes were also granted at intervals to exchange visits with the American troops in their new fort, which was built a mile south of the town and named Fort Pembina. Our fellows were well treated by the American soldiers and citizens, except by those who had fled from Fort Garry and were wintering in Pembina. Among these were Colonel Stutsman, Jimmy (McCarthy) from Cork1 (a cranky little Irish-American) and Bob O'Lone2. Stutsman and Jimmy resented the visits of the Volunteers to Pembina. Bob O'Lone a more genial character, and the United States Sheriff, John Lennon, a brother of the late Dennis Lennon, the well-known hotel proprietor in Winnipeg, were always ready to prevent interference with the Canadian soldiers. In December, 1870, Bob O'Lone was killed in a brawl at a half-breed dance on the Pembina River, and the redoubtable Jimmy from Cork suffered death the following summer in a fight with Indians.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Pembina vs. Fargo

Competition for political and economic power between the emerging territorial cities was common in the early days, even between Pembina and Fargo...
The first active politics, in the way of a spirited clashing of interests, occurred in 1872, when old Pembina and youthful Fargo locked horns, as it were, in a contest for supremacy. A term of the United States court was held at Pembina in June, presided over by Judge French1, and in order to secure the necessary jurymen almost the entire northern part of the territory was thoroughly combed. After exhausting the Pembina and St. Joe settlements, drafts were made at Grand Forks, Goose River, Elm River, Fargo, and Richville. Every available man was utilized for the grand and petit panels, and the work of subpoenaing them was no small task. 
Jud LaMoure was deputy United States Marshal, and upon him devolved the selection and notification of the jurors. During this process, when LaMoure visited every settlement in the northern section, it developed that the deputy marshal had something else on his program besides the business of subpoenaing jurors. The first to scent the alleged "darkey in the wood pile" was the coterie of live-wires at Fargo, led by S. G. Roberts, G. I. Keeney, John Haggart, Captain Egbert, and others.