Monday, February 17, 2014

News from the Past VI

First & Last Chance Saloon

More News from the Past...
George Bates Murdered While Intoxicated, at St. Vincent
Wednesday morning the news went mouth to mouth that George Bates had been found dead in his house. The details as they began to develop were highly sensational. Mr. Bates was addicted to excessive drinking. When under the influence of liquor he was apt to quarrel with his family. On Wednesday afternoon he had trouble of this kind. Later, he went to St. Vincent. What happened there is still somewhat contradictory at this writing. 
Wednesday morning Mrs. George Bates came down stairs and found her husband lying on the floor with every evidence of having been severely pounded. She hastily summoned Register of Deeds Chisholm from the office nearby and upon examination it was found that Bates was dead. He had a hole in his skull near the right temple from the effects of a blow of some kind and his face was badly bruised and had been bleeding profusely. As nearly as the facts can be gotten at they are as follows: Last night at 11:30 two young men from St. Vincent, Minn., just across the river brought Bates home and deposited him on the floor. They then notified Marshal Moorhead, who went up to see Bates. He found him apparently sleeping off the effects of a boozer and did not arouse the family. This morning as above stated he was found dead.
Bates’ collar and a piece of his shirt were missing and this morning they were found in front of a saloon in St. Vincent kept by John Smith. Smith denies any knowledge of the affair, except that several Pembina parties were in a row in front of his saloon last night, but he had a badly swollen right hand and fails to account for it. He has been placed under arrest to await the verdict of the coroner’s jury. 
George H. Bates, the deceased, was a heavy set man, aged about 50 years. He leaves a wife and two grown daughters in this city and one son, who resides in Grand Forks, who are much respected by our citizens and have the sympathy of the community. 
Mr. Bates was naturally a bright man and but for his unfortunate habits would have been a prominent man in the community. In past years he had occupied responsible positions and has been well off peculiarly. He was for some years a customs officer at St. Vincent.

John Smith, the saloon keeper, over whom hangs so dark a cloud, has an excellent family, consisting of a wife and three children, one of the latter being a young man of about twenty one years of age.
Reprinted from the Pembina Pioneer Express, in the St. Thomas Times - March 17, 1889

A further note – Later Smith was given a preliminary hearing and arraigned for manslaughter, to be tried at the next term of the criminal court at Hallock, Minn.

Read here about the eventual trial...

From the Pembina Pioneer Press:

April 10, 1896
St. Vincent had red hot election on Tuesday. The issue was pontoon bridge1 and the political breakers wrecked the bridge by a six to eight majority. We suppose some people really enjoy living in a graveyard.

Read about how Pembina/St. Vincent got
their first bridge across the Red River;
it only took them 20+ years
January 24, 1896
The agricultural department at Washington has ordered the office at St. Vincent closed on the 31st of this month and observer W. H. Grasse is commissioned to take charge of the signal house at Williston, on the Great Northern road, in the western part of this state. It is closed by the department that the observers furnished by the Canadian government covers this territory, and that it is done to curtail expenses. While the office is of no special benefit to any community yet we regret to see this old landmark, that dates back twenty years or more, removed from this neighborhood. Steps have been taken by the people of St. Vincent through their congressman to have it retained.

Cavalier Chronicle, as taken from the Pembina Pioneer Express - April 1912
According to the annual custom there is always one last man to cross the Red River in the spring and usually celebrated the event by taking a bath. This year it was Robert Griffith of St. Vincent who on Wednesday attempted to cross with a horse and buggy and when in about the middle of the river, the ice gave way and both horse and vehicle went to the bottom of the river through the ice. Fortunately the ice and the bottom are not very far apart this season, as when Mr. Griffith stood up in the buggy the water came up just above his waist. Help was soon on hand and Drayman Fowler with his team hauled the horse to firm ice while Mr. Griffith crawled along a plank from the buggy to the ice. Mr. Griffith is badly crippled with rheumatism and a very little change in circumstance might have made a tragedy, which after all resulted in no damage.

This trim 2-6-0 Mogul, a Brooks-built D-5, carried a St. Paul, 
Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway number when delivered 
in 1896, although Great Northern already had taken over the 
Manitoba properties. No. 371 became No. 450 in 1899. 
[Credit:  Great Northern Railway Page]

Pembina Pioneer Express - January 1913
Wednesday morning's flyer came in from the north with the big Mogul engine literally covered with blood from the pilot to the smokestack, and chunks of horse flesh embedded in every opening. At a crossing near Letellier the engine struck a farmer's team hitched to a load of grain and cut them in two, leaving the farmer sitting on the load on the side of the track without a scratch. Those who witnessed the accident say the escape of the farmer was nothing short of a miracle. The team were heavy draft horses and they were killed instantly.
Pembina Pioneer Express - May 1913
John Hanneson of Pembina, had fourteen head of cattle killed by the N. P. Flyer the other night. The cattle had followed the track down to the river and were in a bunch on the bridge when the train came along and engineer could not stop in time to avoid the accident.

Cavalier Chronicle
July 14, 1911
Auto Drops in Red River
Pembina, ND July 10 -- An automobile in the bottom of the Red River was the excitement for the early risers Sunday morning and it was several hours before the Model T Ford was brought to the surface and landed, after being submerged since 11 o'clock the night before. 
The car was in the possession of R. J. Ralph of Bantry, McHenry County, who is making a tour of the valley with P. A. LaFleur, and who was returning from Emerson via St. Vincent. As the story goes the car was stopped at the end of the ferry on account of approaches being low, and with the assistance of bystanders was pushed on the ferry, with James Kneeshaw at the wheel. 
As the rear wheels struck the ferry the car shot forward and leaped over the end of the ferry fully ten feet before it settled down to the bottom in about five feet of water. Mr. Kneeshaw stood by the wheel until the excitement was over, and emerged from the water as if from a submarine craft. The fact that the application of motive power worked opposite to other cars of similar make he was used to, is said to be the principal cause of the accident. The damage to the car was considerable as the woodwork was swelled and out of shape.

And finally:

Pembina Pioneer Express
November 15, 1901

St. Vincent Treasure Seekers
A short time ago a young man who had been working around Hallock and Northcote this season came to St. Vincent to see a little life, and brought his wages along with him. He celebrated his advent for a couple of days and then decided to seek green fields and pastures new in Pembina, but with rare good sense, before venturing into brother Wardwell's balliwick he went into the scrub, and taking sight by two churches, dug a hole with his jack knife and cached $100 in bills in a hole between two oak trees. On his return from darkest Dakota he got mixed up so with churches and oak trees that after two days of vain search he left for the south, and appointed Mr. Barney Peterson, a bosom friend of his, his agent, advising him to continue the search on a 50 per cent commission. Barney worked among the oaks for half a day and then declared he must share his secret or bust, and the news grew and grew until a great part of our inhabitants were scratching, so they said, for acorns for seed, and every now and then taking a sight at a church. We, in the meantime, took sight by two saloons and if we did buy and pay for a car load of wood this week, we wish it perfectly understood that is has nothing to do with the $100, our unfortunate visitor lost; subscriptions have been pouring in at a great rate lately. [Original Source:  St. Vincent New Era]

1 - And the end of the Pontoon Bridge era...

August 28, 1925

Grafton purchases Pontoon Bridge from St. Vincent

Last week the Grafton Civic Club purchased the old pontoon bridge that spanned the Red River between St. Vincent and Pembina, and will remove it to a point east of Grafton, at the end of the Oakwood road running east from Grafton. Here it will span the river and transport people, autos and other vehicles at so much per head.