Sunday, March 24, 2013

1857 Incorporation

As I have earlier hypothesized when discussing St. Vincent's earlier incorporation (the first of two), it appears I was right -  it was most definitely linked to Minnesota's "impending statehood"...
Impending statehood stirred speculative interest in the future of the area's northwestern reaches. That interest was reflected in the 1857 sessions of the legislature, where a remarkable number of acts benefiting the Red River area were passed.

Among the 49 towns incorporated during the extra session alone, seven were located in the valley. One of them, St. Vincent, was situated on the Red River just south of the international border. For it the legislature chartered a ferry and authorized the construction of a branch railroad1 as well as telegraph lines to terminate there. Although it was located on land that still belonged to the Ojibwe, a St. Paul firm sent Charles W. Iddings2 to St. Vincent in the summer of 1857 to survey the new town site along with that of Pembina on the opposite shore of the Red. By February 1858, the two towns had been platted with streets named for well-known fur traders and legislators.

- Minnesota's Boundary With Canada: Its Evolution Since 1783, by William E. Lass
Sewall & Iddings 1860 Map
[Copyrighted 1857]

1 - May 22, 1857, the Territory accepted the grant and conferred it upon the Minnesota and Pacific Railroad Company.  Breckenridge, at the mouth of the Sioux Wood River, and St. Vincent, on the Red River of the North, were designated as the western termini of the main and branch lines respectively (Law of Minnesota, Minnesota Territorial Legislature extra session 1857, p.3)  The Minnesota & Pacific Railroad Company was one of four such companies created to take advantage of the eventual  federal land grant act. It eventually reorganized as the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad Company, which in turn became part of James J. Hill's Great Northern Railway Company. 

2 - Charles W. Iddings was a surveyor living over the post office in St. Paul in 1856. After the Densmore expedition he was associated with Joseph S. Sewall of St. Paul, the engineer who built the Wabasha Street bridge. During this connection the two men published a map of Minnesota which is known as the Sewall and Iddings map of 1860.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mystery Woman

These two photos were taken in the same general area of St. Vincent, around the same general time period (early 1900s). There appears to be one or more areas used for pasture and/or gardening/orchards in the central part of town just off of the main road. In both photographs, you can see the St. Vincent School in the background. The photo below features my grandmother and great grandmother (both Fitzpatrick). The photo above is a mystery on who it is. I have scanned it large, so if you want to try identifying the woman, click on it to see it full-screen. I'd appreciate any assistance you can give on who she is - even guesses are welcome!

NOTE: A working theory I have about these is, they may have been taken on the same day, by the same person. They both feature women working, and both feature a bit of humour. The mystery woman looks like she was trying to say don't take my picture by leaning back with her hand in front. Regarding the broom - one thing they sometimes used old, worn-down brooms like this one appears to be, was to use outdoors for things like brushing dirt off shoes and boots. Maybe she was trying to do that when the paparazzi caught her!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

River Cities in Cahoots

Having had its own County Seat stolen - and for other more practical
reasons - St. Vincent came to the support of its neighbor across the river

St. Vincent Saloons To Help Pembina Fight

Red river bridges and St. Vincent beer couldn't 
stop the court house from coming to Cavalier...

Some time since, rumor was set afloat that the saloons of St. Vincent, Minn. -  which have for many years been receiving large profit on account of the Pembina county seat being located in Pembina -  would put up the money needed to aid Pembina in making her fight against county seat removal. Not much evidence was given this rumor at the outset, but later developments would seem to indicate that there is probably truth in the same.

In its issue of last Friday (June 3rd) the St. Vincent New Era says:
That excellent daily journal, the Grand Forks Herald, has printed lately some very interesting articles about the county seat fight now on between Cavalier and Pembina which are read and pondered over here.
In another place in the same issue of the New Era, the editor of that paper jumps into the county seat fight in Pembina’s interest as follows:
The county seat battle among our neighbors across the river, is not only interesting, but also something fierce. The Cavalier crowd have let it be known that they are long in finances, having, it is reported, 1,500 dollars subscribed, to be spent where it will do the most good, and have also let it be known that they are ridiculously short in common sense, by committing a blunder which in a county seat scrap as well as in politics, is worse than a crime, by bragging that three towns, settled almost exclusively by Icelanders, they are sure of 96 percent of the votes, and in another township, similarly settled every voter signed their petition except one, an absentee.
In gazing enraptured and abstractly at those four townships, the Cavalier blunderbuss schemers have overlooked a fact, that a majority of the citizens of Pembina county are either of French, German, Canadian, Scotch, Irish, English or U.S. birth, and when the Cavalier bunglers have rubbed it into the people of Pembina county, that they propose to rule that county by the vote of four Icelandic towns they may afterward mortgage their city for what it will being, add the proceeds to their “reptile fund, blow it all in, and then would not be within a rifle shot distance of beating Pembina, at the show down”.
Now what do you think of that for an exhibition of pure, unadulterated newspaper gall?