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...

First Brick Yard – D. F. Brawley. The first brick yard was opened and worked by D. F. Brawley, now of St. Vincent, who came to St. Paul, in April, 1849. The yard was near where D. W. Ingersol’s residence now stands. He made 300,000 brick in 1849, and most of them went into the building of the Methodist Church on Market street. Mr. Brawley says that “this is the best laid up brick building in this city, and, if not taken down, will stand for years.” Contractors better look at it. We do not know what other special business Mr. Brawley was engaged in during his residence here, except as we remember his running a ferry boat, and was once a member of the legislature. He was a good deal of a politician, and very decided in his convictions. As a man, he was generous, kind-hearted, social; physically strong and energetic. He is about 60 years old, but when he gets among the old settlers in St. Paul, he is about 20. In his humble sphere he did a good deal towards laying the foundation for our present growth and greatness, and deserves more than this brief mention. He has three children in the city, one married daughter, one single and one son. (The Saint Paul Daily Globe, Sunday Morning, March 23, 1884, Volume VII, Number 83, Page 9)


“We called on friend BRAWLEY the other day, at his brick yard. He is now in a most successful state of operations. He employs two mills, ten men, and has now on hand some 400,000 brick. The quality is better than can be shown north of Saint Louis. If we are really going to build a city we must use brick.” – [Pioneer, Aug. 30.] This was the first kiln of brick ever burned in Minnesota. The yard was near the present residence of D. W. Ingersoll. E. D. Neill had a dwelling built from this kiln, and the Market Street Methodist Episcopal church was also built from it.


Daniel F. Brawley was granted a charter to run a ferry for ten years, from the upper levee to West Saint Paul. (This ferry ran until the completion of the bridge, 1858) (A History of the City of Saint Paul, and of the County of Ramsey, Minnesota, J. Fletcher Williams, Published by the Society, Saint Paul, 1876)
In 1850 St. Paul was beginning to spread along both sides of the river, and regular ferry service was demanded. This was supplied in the spring of that year by James M. and Isaac N. Goodhue, and two years later D. F. Brawley established another, and the two ferry lines were operated as successful business enterprises until growth demanded a bridge, which was completed in 1858. (The Saint Paul Daily Globe Golden Jubilee Edition, Sunday Morning, July 3, 1904, Page 68)
Commissioners to supervise the erection of the capitol were elected April 17, 1851. D. F. Brawley and Louis Robert represented Ramsey county, E. A. Hatch, Benton county, and J. McKusick, Washington county. (The Saint Paul Daily Globe Golden Jubilee Edition, Sunday Morning, July 3, 1904, Page 56)
D. F. Brawley, Pembina, 1870 (Early History of North Dakota, Essential Outlines of American History, Clement A Lounsberry, Liberty Press, Washington, D. C., 1919, Page 361)
A disagreement over a contract to supply a certain amount of wood to Fort Pembina, Dakota Territory, led to a lawsuit that ended up in the Supreme Court of the United States. The case was called Brawley v. United States, 96 U. S. 168 (1877).
By Mr. McCrea – Amending the act granting ferry privileges to D. F. Brawley at St. Vincent. (The Saint Paul Daily Globe, Saturday Morning, January 26, 1878, Volume I, Number 12, Page 2)
The (Old Settlers) association again met at Grand Forks, December 8, 1880, D. F. Brawley was elected president… (Early History of North Dakota, Essential Outlines of American History, Clement A Lounsberry, Liberty Press, Washington, D. C., 1919, Page 356)
Business Directory. Brawley D F, brickmaker. (Minnesota State Gazetteer and Business Directory Including Dakota Territory, 1880-81, Volume II, R. L. Polk & Co. and A. C. Danser, St. Paul and Detroit)
Postmaster of St. Vincent, Minnesota1…D. F. Brawley 1881 (Official Register of the United States, Containing a List of Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service on the First of July, 1881, Volume II, The Post-Office Department and the Postal Service, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1881, Page 465)
D. F. Brawley also got into a court case with Mr. Myrick over ferry operations at Pembina/St. Vincent. The verdict of the case stated: “But where the legislature grants a ferry franchise, and in the same act imposes on the grantee certain duties, and reserves the power to repeal the act in case the grantee fails to perform those duties, it may, in case he does so fail, repeal the act without a previous judicial determination that he had so failed. Whether he had failed so that the repeal was effectual is a question for the courts.” (Myrick v. Brawley, 33 Minn. 377, 23 N. W. 549)
Suicide at St. Vincent. St. Vincent, July 9. – The citizens of St. Vincent were much shocked this afternoon on learning that Hon. D. F. Brawley had attempted suicide by shooting himself through the head with a revolver. He called at the postoffice in the morning as usual for his mail, and expressed much surprise at not having received a letter. It appears that he wrote his son, who is in St. Paul for money, and not having received it, grew despondent and attempted his life. He had been here about ten or twelve years, and was postmaster six years ago. Before coming here he was a resident of St. Paul and a member of the legislature. Before shooting he wrote several letters to different parties, saying want of money had led him to bid his best friend good bye. At this writing he is not dead, but unconscious. The ball entered the head over the right temple. He cannot recover. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Thursday Evening, July 9, 1885, Volume 7, Number 210, Page 4)
DIED. Brawley – At St. Vincent, Minn., July 7, (1885) D. F. Brawley, aged 68. Remains will be buried at St. Vincent. Plattville, Wis., paper please copy. (The Saint Paul Daily Globe, Thursday Morning, July 9, 1885, Volume VII, Number 190, Page 2)
D. F. Brawley, a prominent citizen and formerly postmaster at St. Vincent, Minn., attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head. He had written his son in St. Paul for money and not receiving it shot himself. His injuries were fatal though he may live some days. (Western Appeal, St. Paul, Minnesota, Saturday, July 11, 1885, Volume I, Number 6, Page 2)
1 - St. Vincent's post office opened on September 23, 1878, and Daniel Brawley was it's first postmaster!