Thursday, December 27, 2012

PROFILE: Lapp General Store

A new general store.  Short sales people on the street showing off the latest .22 rifles.  Wide new sidewalks all along Pacific Avenue's north side through the entire town.  Yep, St. Vincent was on a roll in 1912...
One of the best historical essays is all about the history of this store - HIGHLY recommended reading!
Lapp General Store circa 1912, brand spanking new!
[Lapp Family Photo Collection, Courtesy Beth Lapp]
Winnie & Dick Lapp packing heat in front of the family's store
[Lapp Family Photo Collection, Courtesy Beth Lapp]

Richard Lapp:  Ready, Aim...Fire?
[Lapp Family Photo Collection, Courtesy Beth Lapp]
Interior of General Store - Lapp Family Can be seen in back;
Click on photo to see larger version and greater detail

[Lapp Family Photo Collection, Courtesy Beth Lapp]

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Early Hallock "Bird's Eye View" Map

[Click to Enlarge and See Details]

This postcard shows a depiction of Hallock by an unknown artist, date also unknown.  From the lack of buildings, as well as the presence of the Hotel Hallock1, it is definitely an early rendition of the town.

It is fascinating to see more of the original layout, helping the viewer to see how the town developed.  It also leads to questions such as, why does the town have a mostly classic grid layout, yet there is one road on the north side of town coming at an angle?

The main street of the town is Atlantic Avenue.  If you look at the image enlarged, you'll see in the middle of that street, right after the 'Ave', a depiction of a wagon heading north.  Just above that, to the east, is a large, two-story building.  Could this be the same building that Bakken's Boots occupies today?  If so, it would make it one of the oldest buildings still in existence in Hallock.

In the image, to the far east on Hallock Avenue, is an
impressive, possibly brick building - the old Courthouse? 
In the middle of the town, between Pacific and Atlantic, is the railway depot.

1 - The Hotel Hallock was quite the swanky sportsman's retreat. Mr. Hallock built it to have running water/bathrooms on every floor, speaking tubes, a barbershop, gun rooms, kennel rooms for the guests' hunting dogs, etc.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Dan Ohmann made these to hand out as thank-yous at
this summer's town reunion, using the town's
actually official seal stamp/press...
As Thanksgiving approaches, I reflect back on this year's town reunion.  I'm so thankful that we were able to make it happen, and that all those who attended were able to make it.  It was a wonderful day, a time for so many to reconnect, to reacquaint themselves with old neighbors and friends.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Solitary House in the Woods

Is this house the oldest surviving home in St. Vincent...?

This house, located all by itself in a woods that covers its entire block, is just west of the St. Vincent School.  To be a bit more specific, it's near the southwest corner of the block.  I went by that house hundreds of times when I lived in St. Vincent growing up.  It was near the corner of our own road going north, and as long as I can remember, no one lived there.

I wondered who had built it, why no one lived there now, and why that particular block of land was never cleared or anyone else built on it.

As I prepared for the St. Vincent town reunion earlier this year, I was making new connections with people who have old connections with the town itself through the St. Vincent Memories' Facebook page.  I learned  new things from them about the town.  This very house came up in conversation, and I attempted to find out something definitive.

Who lived here?
This is what I was able to find out, mostly in this one, long thread:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Red River Derby Revisited

There had never been a race like this before.

At the time it was run, it was the longest dog sled race in history. 

There was media coverage from all over the world. 

The course ran from Winnipeg to St. Paul, and came right past Emerson, Pembina, and St. Vincent, before veering slightly west and then again south towards Hamilton and beyond...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Profile: Velma Isley

This is a memory of Margaret Matthew Patzer about the St. Vincent Fair around 1928. Margaret is referring to Velma McCrystal Isely who was a great teacher and a wonderful person. Velma Isely was the Mother of John (Class of '63) and Elizabeth (Class of '57). She was a woman of great intelligence and compassion. I remember her silencing a group of bullies harrassing a mentally retarded girl with her great moral compass. I think I learned so much about social justice when she stood up for the weak and oppressed that summer day in 1957. I think that I was so impressed by Velma Isely's strong sense of ethics and she was a profile in courage. I have tried always to follow her example in being an advocate for the consumer in my work in law.

- Michael L. Rustad
My cousin transported my pet lamb along with some of his animals to the St. Vincent Fair. The afternoon I was to show my lamb, I convinced a friend to skip afternoon school with me and find a ride to St. Vincent so I could show my lamb. As we entered the gate Velma the lady in charge of registration and who knew me asked what I was doing there on a school day. When I said "to show my lamb" she said it was not registered so she registered it immediately. When it was time for me to show my pet lamb I found us moving closer to the front and finally in first place! I had won a trip to the St. Paul State Fair. When I left later that year my dad emptied his wallet to give me money to help buy food while there (this was about 1933 at the peak of depression) and I felt badly that he had to give me the only money he had.

- Margaret Matthew Patzer
Mrs. Isley was the wife to the agent at the depot in Noyes where my Dad worked. She was also my Kindergarten teacher.

The things I remember about Kindergarten are:

- Mrs. Isley singing Button Up Your Overcoat and encouraging us to sing along

- Learning the letter U's "short" sound - she taught us by using the example of what happened when you tried to lift a bucket full of sand - "...ugh" She had me demonstrate it in front of the class.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Depot Memories: Circus Train

The greatest show on earth...
One of my early memories is one night my father working a late shift at the depot, and calling Mom to hurry and come over there. Very unusual for him to do. Mom didn't tell me why, wanting to surprise me.

When we got there, he took us out back, onto the platform by the tracks. It was pitch black, but a clear night with stars twinkling overhead as I looked up. As my eyes adjusted, I looked straight ahead and noticed a stopped train. I could hear the engine down the line idling, and once and awhile I could hear a car shift and bang against the next one. I soon could make out smells like a farm, and colorful pictures on the sides of the cars.

"It's the circus train," my Dad said, a smile in his voice.

"Really?" I exclaimed, all wide-eyed.

"'s the Barnum and Bailey, Ringling Brothers, too - the Greatest Show on Earth - see it on the train?"

There it was, in large bold letters, along with pictures of elephants and clowns and horses.

"Can we go closer, Dad?" I asked.

"Sorry, but it's just made a quick stop before going into Canada. You can't board, and it's too dangerous to go closer."

I was disappointed, but that passed quickly. Just to get a chance to see the train was magical. I knew it even then...

Sunday, September 02, 2012

1955 3-Car Crash

The incident documented in the articles below, happened only a year after the tragedies of the drunk driver accident on the same street, and the drowning of the sisters and father of one of accident's victims three months later.  An already mourning community was hit with further tragedy within a year's time, all three incidents involving youth of the community...

NOTE:  At least one of the articles has names incorrect.  To make it clear, Gloria Gardner was the one who died; Virginia Gardner lived.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Best Kept Secret

This poster from 2010 represents what you can
typically see at the festival!
[Click to enlarge...]
I had the opportunity to share one of our state's 'best kept secrets' this week on Minnesota Public Radio, and it is related to our history up here in the far northwest corner of the state: The Chautauqua and French Festival at Old Crossing Treaty Park near Huot, Minnesota. Take a listen

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Buildup to War

Father Goiffon

In 1861, Joseph Goiffon, a missionary at Pembina, wrote that a Dakota runner passed through the area on his way to the western plains with a war summons in preparation for a conflict with the Americans.

- From Assassination of Hole-in-the-Day, by Anton Treuer

In the above-quoted book, Professor Treuer tells how there were concurrent uprisings, but their methods were different.  Where the Dakota decided to fight back due the injustices against them, the Ojibwe tried an overall more peaceful path.  The result for each was that the Dakota had loss of life in the fighting, and the biggest mass execution in U.S. history, while the Ojibwe experienced no loss of life and received some concessions from US Government that they were after.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Town Reunion Itinerary

For latest information and details, visit the St. Vincent Town Reunion Facebook page...

Saturday, July 28

1pm to 5pm - St Vincent Cemetery Walking Tour and Historical Displays - 8th Street, St Vincent, MN

9am to 6pm - 155th St Vincent Historical Exhibit at Pembina Museum - 805 State Hwy 59, Pembina, ND

6pm to 9pm (or until food is gone) - Pig Roast Dinner at the Pembina Fire Hall - 162 W Rolette St, Pembina, ND (Free Will donation for the Pembina Fire Department)

Open Until 2am - Meet after dinner at Pembina's Corner Bar and Cafe - 113 W Stutsman Street, Pembina, ND

Sunday, July 29

8am to 1pm - Pancake Breakfast at the Pembina Fire Hall - 162 W Rolette St, Pembina, ND (Free Will donation for the Pembina Fire Department)

1pm to 5pm - St Vincent Cemetery Walking Tour and Historical Displays - 8th Street, St Vincent, MN

1pm to 6pm - 155th St Vincent Historical Exhibit at Pembina Museum - 805 State Hwy 59, Pembina, ND

2pm – Saint Vincent Veterans Memorial Service at the St Vincent Cemetery - 8th Street, St Vincent, MN

Want to stay in the area Saturday Night?

Fort Daer Campground and RV Park, Pembina, ND - 701.825.6819

Red Roost Motel, 203 W Stutsman St, Pembina, ND - 701.825.6254

Budget Host Inn Caribou Inn, 203 East Broadway Street, Hallock, MN - 218.843.3702

AmericInn Hotel, 1015 12th St West, Grafton, ND - 701.352.2788

Select Inn Hotel, 948 West 12th Street, Grafton, ND - 701.352.0888

Get with friends and play a round of Golf at Pembina's LaMoure Memorial 9-Hole Golf Course - southwest of Fort Daer Campground and Louis Gooselaw Ball Field. 701.825.6619

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Peek into 1907 Pembina

Postcard:  Crossroads of Stutsman and Cavileer Streets 
[Photo Source:  Kris Kefgen1]
The image above shows part of  downtown old Pembina, circa 1907.  On the middle building's sign just to the right of the white awning, it says "Restaurant - Meals" on the top line, while on the bottom, it declares the proprietor to be A. D. Cavileer.  Along the side of the building are advertisements for some of the items to be found inside Mr. Cavileer's establishment - El Paterno cigars.  I especially like the building's unique "sky light".

A.D. Cavileer, son of
Charles Cavileer 
[Photo:  MSHS]
Across the street, to the north, is the elegant bank building - the Merchants Bank of Pembina.  I love the original windows with their arches and abundant glass, together with the beautiful lettering on some of the windows and their stylish window curtains.  The exposed iron supports add architectural beauty to the brick building, which soars over the humbler wooden buildings to its left.  The building still stands in Pembina to this day, although a bit worse for wear; today it is better known now as the Corner Bar and Grill.

1 - The postcards came from Kris Kefgen's grandfather, Lyman K. Raymond on his business travels through small towns in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan. He worked for the Union Mattress Co. which was out of St. Paul, Minnesota...

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Memories: Alan E. Wilwand

As a youngster growing up in Pembina, I had a second town - St. Vincent.

Wallace & Matilda Cameron's
Home during 1950 flood

[Photo:  Turner Family Collection]
My grandparents, Wallace and Matilda Cameron lived there.  I was crossing that old Red River bridge whenever I got the chance.  I loved my grandparents.  Grandma made the greatest date-filled cookies!  The house where they lived was north of Short's Cafe.  The house is gone now, but the memories linger on.  My grandmother was a seamstress and speculator.  She gave me the deeds to about half of the places that she had bought in St. Vincent.  Who knows?  I may own half of the town!

After WW II, my Uncle Ralph (Ike) Cameron worked at Short's Cafe.  He would give me those double ice cream cones, one side vanilla and the other cohcolate or strawberry, heaping the helpings.  Ma Short was taking a big loss on ice cream with those!

If walls could talk:  the
St. Vincent jail today...
I remember so many things about St. Vincent.  My Grandfather was the town constable.  I believe the old jail is still standing.  He gave me the big lock and key for it.  He also gave me the pair of handcuffs that he used.  I donated his daily log that he carried in his breast pocket, to the Kittson County Museum in Lake Bronson.  That diary saved his life the time that he was shot.  I believe the museum also has one of my paintings that I did of the old fire hall.  I remember the fire hall well.  This is where he set up his office once in awhile.  The depot that was established in 1878 was close by.  My grandparents' big barn floated down the Red River in the flood of 1948.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blue Star Grandmother

There were many mothers & grandmothers across America like
Mrs. Lang during WWII [Image Courtesy: Lang family descendants]
                                    - CLICK TO ENLARGE - 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

School Days

Class Photo, circa 1915.  
Far Left:  Ed Gooselaw, Ted Ryan, Dick Lapp, and John Gooselaw
Back Row:  Eliza Stranger (later Ma Short), Emma Godon, Christina
Stranger, --, Mary Ryan (teacher), Eva Bouie, and Henry Gooselaw
The rest of them listed on back of photo, but unknown who is who,
are:  Marie Parenteau, --nita Lucas, Wilma Cameron, Allen  Gamble,
Margaret Ryan, M--- Hutchinson, Lenora Lucas, L--- Gamble; there
are a few children whose names are no longer known, sadly...
[Photo Courtesy:  Margaret Gooselaw Cleem]

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Profile: A.H. Anderson

Who was the man who photographed the 1897 Red River flood in St. Vincent?  The man who took the famous "High Water" series photographs?

His name was Andrew H. Anderson.

He was a farmer who happened to have an eye for photography. He apprenticed in Fergus Falls, Fosston, and Grand Forks before he began a photography business in Hallock in the1890s. 

He eventually sold his interest in his photography business to then partner William Hartvig so he could focus on farming.  But he returned to photography when he bought the studio of G. G. Shaker in Hallock in 1936.  

Born in 1867, he lived a long life in our area, passing away in 1960.  He chronicled many events and families in Kittson County!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Curling Memories

Curling stone (or rock)
used in St. Vincent rink

[Courtesy:  Matt Cleem]

The curling rock (or stone) at left was recently shared on the St. Vincent Town Reunion Facebook page.  It brought out many memories from people who had grown up in and around St. Vincent, and had a connection to the St. Vincent Curling Rink...

Cleo Bee (Lang) Jones - I recall going to the St.Vincent curling rink with my uncle Laurence Turner when I was pretty young...

Trish Short Lewis - I was in the rink only a few times, saw a few older people curling.  I don't know if they ever had a warming house portion of the rink, but when I was there, it was always freezing on the bleachers in the front area, so I'd usually beat a fast path back to Grandma's house a block away...

Phil "Jack" Gooselaw - This we called a curling "rock" and may be one of the ones we used during the late 50's at the St. Vincent curling rink. My dad Manuel, Uncle Lewis Gooselaw, Dave Gooselaw and I had a curling team the last couple winters I was there prior to my graduation from high school (1960) and going into the Navy. As an aside, I was in the Navy for 2 weeks when I rcvd news that Dad had had a heart attack and passed away while throwing one of these rocks in a game (Feb. 1960)...

Delphine (Beaudette) Mundorf - Our Grandpa (Trish) use to curl. His team made it in the winning bracket and they came to Bemidji one year. I was so proud to watch my Grandpa curling. So exciting. I was quite young when Grandpa curled in Bemidji. I think they won and went on to state but not sure about that. Just know it was so exciting to watch him out there on the rink. I don't even remember for sure if he was the stone thrower or if he was one of the sweepers. But I think he threw the stone. I might have been around 12 then so would have been around 1950.

Judy (Turner) Ziesman - I remember when your dad passed away. I was pretty little, but I remember standing outside your house and talking to Denise and Debbie while everyone was in the house. Back then they would have the viewing at the house. I don't know how long after our family bought and moved into your house. My mom and dad always talked highly of Manuel [Gooselaw]. Sadly a few years later my dad passed away also. I think my dad was at the rink when your dad had his heart attack. I spent a lot of time at the rink.  I had my first lesson on that rink, they made it look so easy....little did I know!

Keith Finney - I remember the first time I curled. Herb Easter had a conflict so he could not curl one night. He gave me his shoes, broom and gloves and sent me to the rink. Almost put the rock through the end first time I delivered a rock. Herb forgot to give me instructions. :)

Dorothy (Giffen) Barber - I will never forget that night. Don was curling and saw Manuel when he threw the rock and slumped on the ice. He came home and told me about it. It was such a sad time.

Jake Rempel from Halbstadt, Manitoba shared: The Emerson Curling Club used to borrow the Rocks from St Vincent when they still had bonspiels in the shating rink in Emerson (right after New Year's). Lawrence Calder liked to tell the story of crossing the Border and as it happened an American from farther South was at the Customs and asked what they were? Curling Rocks. "What is Curling" It’s a game – you throw them 160 ft and see who can get them closest to the centre to win the game ! "Wow ! I would like to see the people that throw them!"

Betty (Short) Thorsvig had fond memories of hanging out in the rink; Jamie (Rustad) Meagher thinks her father also curled there.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Incorporated TWICE

1881 Charter heading...

ST. VINCENT Township, organized March 19, 1880, is opposite Pembina, N.Dak. Its name had been earlier given, before 1860, to a post of fur traders here, in honor of the renowned St. Vincent de Paul, founder of missions and hospitals in Paris...The city in sections 2 and 11, located on the site of an XY Fur Company trading post, was incorporated as a village on May 23, 1857, and again on March 8, 1881; it had a station of the Great Northern Railway in section 2, and at St. Vincent Junction in section 6; its post office began in 1878. 
- Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia, by Ward Upham

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Glimpse Inside

Simone Cameron baked homemade buns and
bread for the St. Vincent School children ...
A shot of a class descending the staircase at
the end of the day, at the St. Vincent School...

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Hill Farms

Threshing at the Walter Hill Farm in Northcote (1900);  this was
the year my grandmother began working in the farm's dairy.

[Click on photo to see large version]

J.J. Hill was a busy man with a wide variety of interests.  His business savvy was renowned, which brought him notoriety and admiration from a wide variety of people.  My grandmother and mother talked about him with tones of reverence when recounting his heavy influence on the region in which we lived.

Settlers in our little corner of northwestern Minnesota often found  stepping stones of employment thanks to Mr. Hill.  Elizabeth Fitzgerald, my grandmother, was one of them.  She wasn't able to have any schooling past third grade.  With 10 siblings at that time (eventually there would be 13), she was needed at home after that; eventually, in 1900, she found work on the Hill's Humboldt farm working in the dairy, among other responsibilities.  Such young women who did a variety of tasks were commonly called 'hired girls'.

Hill's interest in farming was tied directly to his building of the railroads.  Development of the surrounding land was their key to success.  Settlement was encouraged, but it was also necessary to supply motivation for settlers to come.  The land itself was rich with potential, but Hill was smart enough to know that he had to lead by example.  He started farms that were practical demonstrations of how it "could be done".  One of them was the Humboldt farm, its genesis in 1881, that became a bonanza farm, eventually splitting off 3,000 acres to create the Northcote division in 1910 (although it was part of the Humboldt farm prior to then...)

The Northcote division was created for his son, Walter, in hopes that it would give him focus.  The article below announces the completion of the mansion, as my grandmother called it.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

St. Ann's Memories

First communion at St. Ann's Catholic Church June 14, 1959
[Courtesy Rustad Family Photo Collection]
Finally, I have found more photos of St. Ann's Catholic Church.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

An Arduous Journey

I've been reading this book about Enos Stutsman titled Attorney for the Frontier. Ever since I came across "Stuts", as his contemporary friends called him, I've been fascinated by the man.  To my knowledge,  Attorney for the Frontier is the only book ever written about him, and it includes an entire chapter about his time in Pembina, his last home base.

Below is a letter he wrote to his supervisors.  As a past federal government employee myself, I am well-acquainted with the paperwork involved whenever you go away from the office.  Reports must be filed!  Read below on what this particular early government employee went through just to get from Point A to Point B; you'll note he has a pretty wry sense of humor, which I guess you had to have when encountering such difficulties.  All in all, if you take the time, you'll discover it's quite illuminating, and an enjoyable read...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

In Memorium: Marjorie Defrance

I was sad to hear recently that the last link to an old St. Vincent family had passed away.  I'm very thankful that I was able to get to know her a little bit a few years ago.  Marjorie DeFrance and I had some telephone conversations, and we met a couple of times in person.  She was very generous, opening her home and her memories to me...


St. Vincent, Minn. - Marjorie Oakes Baker, 102, St. Vincent, Minn. died at Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center in Hallock, March 29, 2012.

Marjorie DeFrance was born at St. Vincent, Minn. to Roy and Eva (Sheldon) DeFrance May 31, 1909.

She graduated from St. Vincent High School in 1926 and went on to attend St. Cloud Teachers College, graduating in 1928. Marjorie taught at McArthur School her first year and then taught in several Kittson County country schools.

In 1935, she married Harvey Oakes and moved into a log cabin six miles south of Pembina. They later purchased a home in Pembina and moved there in 1944. Harvey died in 1972.

Marjorie was very active in the Methodist Church, Ladies Aid and the WSCS. She served as District and Conference officer through the years and was a former Dean of Methodist School Missions. She was also county president of the Homemakers, a Past Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star and a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

In 1975, she married Frank Baker at Pembina. Frank died in 1996. Marjorie spent six months in Florida each year for over 35 years.

Family survivors include a son, Lawrence Oakes, Hemit, Calif.; a daughter, Linda Oakes, Albuquerque, N.M.; grandchildren, Jon, Lance and Brad Oakes, Patricia Ristvedt; six great grandchildren, and a sister-in-law, Amy Oakes, Drayton.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Gladys and Ione; and brothers, Melvin, Ralph, Ray, Norton and Delbert.

Funeral services were held April 2, 2012 at Pioneer United Methodist Church at Pembina, N.D. Interment was in St. Vincent Cemetery. Rev. Gary Johnson, presided...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Evolution of a Church

This is the story of how a church came to be.

Churches are sometimes founded; they may begin as missions or outreaches. Others evolve.

The Humboldt Methodist Church and the St. Vincent Methodist Church (whose official name was actually the St. Vincent Community Church1, of the Methodist Episcopal denomination) were small congregations, so often shared ministers when the need arose.

The church was in the block directly south of the St. Vincent school, towards its northwest
 corner; Beth Lapp, who was a member, remembers the windows had stained glass in them.
[Image Courtesy:  Marcy Johnson]

Once upon a year, a minister named Reverend Everett Hanson came to the Humboldt Methodist Church. Rev. Hanson eventually instituted a split in the Humboldt and St. Vincent churches in 1949. He took 39 people with him and formed a new church in St. Vincent. People that followed were called "Hansonites". This new church was named Valley Community Church (nondenominational).  The St. Vincent Community Church closed and some of the congregants joined this new church, while others chose to merge with the Pembina Methodist Church.  Several years later, Valley Community Church joined the Evangelical Free Church of America.  In 1969, St. Vincent EFC moved to Pembina, selling the church building (which was the old Green store; it was moved to Hallock to be used as the Masonic Lodge for many years, and is still in-use to this day...)

Rev. Clara Wagner & Rev. Alice Engelbretson, the last ministers of the Community Church...

1 - From the 1936 WPA Survey of the churches in St. Vincent, comes this description of the St. Vincent Community Church, part of what eventually became the St. Vincent Evangelical Free Church:

Name of church:  Community Church.
Location:  St. Vincent, Minnesoa.
Denomination:  Methodist Episcopal.
Date of establishment:  The church was started in 1899.
Charter Members:  Nelson E. Green, John Bernath, and Thomas Ash
Places of meeting:  For about two years after the founding of the church, meetings were held in the different homes.  In 1900, the present church was erected.
Church buildings:  In 1900, the present church was erected and the same year a parsonage was built two blocks south of the track (the same one used for the Free Church pastors many years later...)
First officers:  There are no records showing the early history of the church so the names of the first officers cannot be given.  Present officers:  Mrs. Thomas Ash, president, Mrs. John Monro, treasurer; Mrs. Roy DeFrance, secretary; trustees, Waldo Clow, Clifford Clow, Mrs. R. DeFrance, Mrs. J. Monro, and Mrs. Esther Ash.
Pastors:  Reverend A.A. Meyers, Reverend George Swinnerton, Reverend Charles Flesher, Reverend Benjamin Collins, Reverend John Finscke, Reverend George Powell, Reverend Eli Slifer, Reverend Edwin Trigg, Reverend James, Reverend E.R. Ingram, Reverend Stanley McGuire, Reverend Clara Wagner, and Reverend Alice Engelbretson.
Organizations within the Church:  Ladies' Aid was organized in 1916.  No dates can be found in connection with organization of the Sunday School.
Remarks:  There are no records of the early history of the church available so a complete list of the charter members and pastors cannot be given.

(Compiled by Cyril Cannon, September 1936)

NOTE:  The North Star Church was an associated church for many years.  The North Star Church began as a Presbyterian Church, later having Covenant ministers serving it.  Eventually it was served by ministers from the Valley Community/Free Church.
[Source:  Reynold and Carolyn Ward]

Friday, April 06, 2012

Then & Now: Downtown Hallock

Blended 1910/2012 shot of downtown Hallock, looking west...
[Photo Montage by Megan Sugden]

In this blended shot, on the right is what was once known as
the Farmer's Store;  sadly, it was torn down in recent years...

[Photo Montage by Megan Sugden]

Saturday, March 31, 2012

D.F. Brawley's Sad End...

The last time we saw Daniel F. Brawley, he was conducting some rather underhanded business tactics against another resident named Nathan Myrick, over the Pembina/St. Vincent Ferry.

Below is a sort of time-line of Brawley's history in Minnesota.  It was created by Vince Godon on his fascinating website, Historical Minnesota Bricks.  Vince is the son of Maurice Godon, a former resident of St. Vincent, who was featured in St. Vincent Memories in 2009.

Below, you'll read how he lived during changing times in Minnesota, as businessman, legislator, etc.  In the end, he died by his own hand, in St. Vincent, and is buried in the St. Vincent Cemetery...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Book

The book cover shows the town in
an iconic photo of the 1897 flood...

As a lead-up to this summer's St. Vincent Town Reunion, I have put together a book for anyone interested in my hometown. It is available now for purchase.

I have selected the posts that are most directly related to St. Vincent itself. Even so, it's still 300 pages long. It is being offered as a print-on-demand book, meaning you decide what version of the book you want - hardcover v. softcover, b&w images v. colored, and physical book v. digital eBook that can be read on an iPad, Nook or Kindle.

The book is just a slice of the blog, since the blog has so much more to it - hyperlinks that take you to further information or other posts in the blog related to the one you are reading. The book isn't meant as a replacement for the blog, but rather just a representation of it to share with family and friends.

As always, I recommend most of all the blog itself that you are reading. It's dynamic, every-changing, growing, and convenient. You can read it on your laptop, on your phone or e-reader (yes, there is a mobile version of this blog!)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fern Valley

Catherine Harris (wife), Gladys Harris (daughter), &
 Dr. Charles B. Harris, posing in Fern Valley, circa 1898...

[Source:  Walker Family Collection]
When I was up in Pembina recently, Hetty Walker allowed me to borrow their old family photograph album.  Chuck Walker, Hetty's late husband (and a mentor of mine, regarding local history), had inherited it from his grandfather, Dr. Charles Harris.  I found the photograph above which features Dr. Harris and his young family at the time, enjoying an outing to Fern Valley, a popular spot for walks and picnics in the late 1800's and early 1900's near Pembina.

The old album that the above
photograph came from...

[Source:  Walker Family Collection]

Chuck, when explaining a reference to it in his book, Sheriff Charley Brown, once shared with me:  Fern Valley was later the Joe O’Hara farm. When I was a kid and before it became private property, it was solid ferns with no weed. (And a beautiful camping spot.) It was on the north side of the Pembina River along the road just two miles west of Pembina. Turn south off Highway 55 and as you approach the Pembina River it’s just to the left and follows the north side of the river to the east. To my knowledge there are no ferns left there. Many people in town transplanted from there to their personal yards.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Interview: Beth Lapp

Elizabeth Lapp in 1948
[Courtesy:  Digital Archive, UMC

Thanks to Kristine Baldwin Ohmann, who facilitated our get together, I interviewed one of the oldest living natives (and a resident) of St. Vincent last weekend.

Elzabeth Lapp, better known as Beth, was raised in St. Vincent.  Her parents, Richard (Dick) and Lillian Lapp, met in 1926 when her mother came to town to teach at the school. Dick's parents were early settlers of St. Vincent, arriving in 1879 from Canada.

I share with you here the interview in its entirety, as it happened.  As you will read, there are a lot of clues for further stories, which I intend to explore in future posts...

1. Her earliest memory is of getting ill and vomiting on her workbook at school. In those days, you only got one workbook to use for your schoolwork, so she was mortified. She was sitting near chalkboard at the time. Her teacher was Miss Penovich.

2. Some of her other teachers were: Elaine Bergh, Gunda Hanson, Mrs. Isley, and Mrs. Monte(gue) Clinton.

3. The year she had Mrs. Clinton, “we didn’t learn anything”. Math and Science were "sacrificed for art". All she remembers is Mrs. Clinton having the class place chairs facing west and looking out towards Christ Church and drawing what they saw…

4. When it came time to go to high school, students during her time had three choices: Hallock, Pembina, or Crookston. Hallock and Pembina were public school (free) while Crookston was a boarding school and charged tuition. This was during the 1940’s and into the 1950’s.

Northwest School of Agriculture campus, in Crookston, MN
[Photo Courtesy Digital Archive, UMC]
5. Crookston was called the ‘Ag School’. It's actual name was the Northwest School of Agriculture.  Several area natives attended it, including Beth and her siblings.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

1948 Boys Baseball

St. Vincent Boys Baseball Team (1948)
[Photo Courtesy:  Margaret Gooselaw Cleem]
On February 25, 2012, I had the privilege to sit down with Elizabeth Lapp.  Kristine Baldwin Ohmann drove down from  St. Vincent with Beth so we could spend some time together, gathering stories about St. Vincent.  I'll eventually share the results of that interview here, but in the meantime, a little sample...

The photo above was among the photographs and other ephemera Kris and Beth brought with them, from Beth's collection as well as from Margaret Gooselaw Cleem.  The photo had four individuals identified, but the rest were not known.  After putting it out on the Humboldt-St. Vincent Facebook page, Perm Diamond responded:
Talked to Bob Cameron today about the baseball picture.  Back Row:  Dick Cleem, Jimmie Wold, John Stranger, Dick Lapp, Harold Rutherford.  Front Row:  Bob Parenteau, Maurice Godon, Sam Lapp, Merlyn Dewing, Bob Cameron (Catcher), Bob Hughes, with Bob Turner (Bat Boy) in front of them... 
I noticed the boys logo had something the girls didn't - a bird.  I learned that in 1948, an area Eagles Club sponsored them -  thus the eagles on the logo.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sheriff Charley Brown Revisited

Sheriff Brown's obituary
[Click to enlarge]
Source:  Grand Forks Herald Archives

It has been awhile since we talked about Sheriff Charley Brown.  The other day, my Bill was doing some research and came across two newspaper articles that mentioned him.

One of the articles was an obituary that appeared in the Grand Forks Herald.  As you can see, he led a very interesting life.  Sadly, he left this life far too soon.

The other article was about a county meeting wherein individuals were nominated for a ticket, for an upcoming election.

Source:  Grand Forks Herald (Oct 26, 1882)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

History for Sale

Starting in 1852, Pembina provided regular mail service to not
only Pembina residents, but also to the Red River Settlement

FOR SALE: Canada, 1859, Prince Albert, 10¢ red lilac (Unitrade 17), used with 5¢ vermilion (15), both tied by concentric-ring cancels on 1862 cover with "W. Couper, Naturalist" sender's label and addressed to "Mr. Mactavish Esq., F.B.S.C., Chief Factor, Governor of Assiniboia, Secretary of Institute of Rupert's Land, Red River Settlement, Northwest", light strike of "Quebec L.C., AP 11" origin c.d.s., reverse with Montreal (4.15) c.d.s.; the cover has a few tears at top around, but not affecting stamps, and at bottom, crossing through origin c.d.s, nevertheless Fine;. A Fine and rare use at the 10¢ rate to Red River Settlement overpaid by 5¢, with the 2½¢ service fee from Pembina to be paid on delivery. Scott 17. Estimate 3,000 - 4,000. Provenance: de Volpi, Robertson.

SOLD for $2,200.00

FOR SALE:  [Canada Beaver Stamps used from Red River Settlement via Pembina and the U.S. Mails] buff cover to Ottawa with two singles Canada 1852 3d Red (#4), both with large margins all around, tied by light strike of "Pembina, Min/Apr 27" (1862) datestamp, with bold strike of postmark repeated at right, blue arced "U. States/10" exchange office handstamp, Prescott transit and "City of Ottawa, U.C./My 19, 1862" arrival backstamps, then forwarded to Almonte with straightline "Forwarded" handstamp and Franktown and Almonte backstamps, extremely fine and handsome; one of only two recorded covers franked by the Canadian 3d "Beaver" stamp on mail originating from the Red River Settlement, a very evocative association cover with the beaver stamp being used from a beaver trapping center; ex-Jarrett, Dr. Chan, Nickle and K.L. Estimate $10,000-15,000.

SOLD for $20,000