Crow Wing County Historical Society (webpage header)


The following is intended to provide a glimpse of the early city of Brainerd, its surrounds, its earliest resorts and its prospects for the future as seen by the observers of the day.

Ann M. Nelson

NOTE: There are many accounts provided in this page. However, the Table of Contents displays only the accounts of some significant historical importance. In order to view the other accounts, it is necessary to scroll through the page.

1870 Ogemaqua
1870 The New Town of Brainerd—Graphic Description of the Place
1872 Brainerd According to the Brainerd Tribune
1872 Pete Bannigan in Brainerd
1872 Ellen McArthur Disappeared and Indians Lynched
1872 The Bear
1872 Cronk Beer
1872 Cass County is Born
1872 Steamer Pokegama—Excursion Party
1872 Oh, to Return to the Past!
1872 The Great Mille Lacs
1872 Census
1872 Street Garroting
1872 Brainerd as Seen by a Visitor
1870’s ‘Roaring Camp of Vice’
1873 A “Lo!” Kissing Affair
1873 Something for People to Read
1873 Indians In Want
1873 Brainerd
1873 Terrible Tragedy
1873 Indians
1873 Some Statistics
1873 Moving the State Capital to Brainerd
1873 A Cincinnati Newspaper Correspondent’s View of Brainerd
1873 Clean Up The Filth
1873 Hard Times
1873 The Tomahawk and Things
1873 Washing Day
1873 The Savage Mind Disturbed
1873 More Injun Dance
1873 Our City Government—Is It Not a Superfluous Luxury
1873 Old Lumber Jack Days Recalled
1874 Brainerd as a Manufacturing Place
1874 Indian Raid at Leech Lake
1874 Baseball
1874 Time is Money
1874 Two Items
1874 Sport Near Brainerd, Minn.
1874 When Duty Calls, ‘Tis Our’s to Obey
1874 State Atlas of Minnesota, A. T. Andreas
1874 Rocking the Cradle
1874 Croquet
1874 Eating Pie with a Fork
1874 Business
1874 Being a Family Man
1874 Town Matters
1874 Brainerd’s Improvements and Prospects
1874 The Northern Pacific Region
1874 Man’s Work Lasts from Sun to Sun, Woman’s Work is Never Done
1874 The First Snow—Deer, etc.
1874 Brainerd’s History
1875 Stage Line Between Brainerd, Little Falls and St. Cloud
1875 Brainerd, as Seen by a Lady Editor
1875 Historical Questions
1875 Some Statistics
1875 A Malicious Misrepresentation
1875 Brainerd—The Sportsman’s Paradise
1875 Reverie on a Rock
1875 A Ridiculous Farce Carried to a Glaring Outrage
1875 An Arsenal
1875 The Hunt
1876 Bird Dogs
1876 The Black Hills
1876 Disorganizing the City of Brainerd
1876 N. P. Junction
1876 An Inquiry
1876 A Move of Forty Head of Cattle
1876 A Thrilling Adventure
1876 The Sioux War
1876 “Buffalo Bill” Cody
1876 Three Hundred Troops
1876 A Nuisance
1876 Cutting a Man’s Head Off.
1876 Bull-dozing in Brainerd a Failure
1877 Fort Ripley
1877 Our Prospects
1877 The Saga of Pete Bannigan, Former Proprietor of the Last Turn Saloon
1877 Ellen McArthur’s Remains are Found
1877 More Baseball
1877 More From the Black Hills
1877 Christianizing Indians
1878 Rambles in Minnesota by the Editor of Forest and Stream
1878 The Domesticated Husband
1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1
1878 Tramps
1878 Settlers Flocking into Crow Wing County
1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-2
1878 A Drunken River Driver
1878 Two Runaways
1878 Crow Wing
1878 Brainerd
1878 Indian Outbreak
1878 Lost
1879 Black Hills News
1879 Diphtheria
1879 A Grand Scientific and Pleasure Excursion
1879 A Very Disgraceful Affair
1879 An Accident at the Ferry
1879 Filth
1879 Religious Lunatics
1879 A Visit to Our City of the Pines
1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration
1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm
1879 The Sidney Stage Company
1879 A Sad Case
1879 A Bank
1879 Deadwood is in Ashes
1880 A Miserable Brute
1880 Brainerd
1880 Another Accident at the Ferry
1880 Fishing Extraordinary
1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm
1880 Sells Brothers’ Circus
1880 A Man Shot at the Marshall House
1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July
1880 Census
1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort
1880 From Brainerd to Duluth
1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County
1880 Brainerd-2
1880 Brainerd-3
1881 Deed of Death
1881 Malaria Manufactory
1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters
1881 Marriage-Gin
1881 Sheriff Mertz Outruns a Railway Train
1881 Criminal Calendar
1881 The Building Boom
1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem
1881 Jack O’Neill Shoots “Fakir George” at the Last Turn Saloon
1881 Thunder and Lightning
1881 Progression
1881 A Fishing Expedition
1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad
1881 Gull River Gleanings
1881 Indian Troubles
1881 The White Earth Indians
1881 Awful Aitkin
1881 Journey of Captain Glazier
1881 Down the Great River, Willard Glazier
1881 A Day of Recreation
1881 Plain Truth
1881 Along the Line
1881 Brainerd Celebrity
1881 The Necessity of a Town Organization
1881 Motley
1881 Got Caught at It
1881 Court Calendar
1881 Glorious Promise
1881 Goes For Us
1881 The Show
1881 The Moral Tone of Brainerd
1881 History of the Upper Mississippi
1881 Clean the Streets
1881 Excursion
1881 Brainerd’s Boom Unparalleled
1882 4,706
1882 The New City Seal
1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress
1882 Will Go Over the Road
1882 Busy Builders
1882 Clean Up the City
1882 Mysterious Burglary
1882 Northern Minnesota
1882 Trouble in Hartley’s Hall
1882 Real Estate Boom
1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election
1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead
1883 Brainerd, Northern Pacific Manual
1883 Fred Hagadorn Remembers
1884 Crow Wing’s City, F. O. Von Fritsch
1884 The Burns-Mays Case
1885-1918 The Long and Checkered Career of Jack Burns aka John McGuire
1884, 1885, 1886 Cooking Clubs Are Organized
1885 Brainerd and the Region ‘Round It’
1885 The Murder of Abbie Snell and Her Son, Charles
1885 “The City of the Pines’
1885 Views of a Correspondent
1885 Brainerd Illustrated
1885 White Fish Lake
1885 Early Days in Brainerd
1885 “Didn’t Know It Was Loaded”
1885, 1893, 1900 Lake View Park
1886 The Hugh Dolan Murder
1886 Hunting Prairie Chickens
1887 Life in a Lumber Camp
1887 “The City of the Pines”
1887 A True Fish Story at Gull Lake, Lake Hubert and Lake Edward
1887 Great Manufacturing Center
1887 They are Thankful
1888 A Cutting Affray
1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd
1888 The Murder of August Zeigler
1889 Kidnapped
1889 The Old Settlers’ Union
1890 Indians and Indian Traders
1892 Headwaters of the Mississippi, Willard Glazier
1892-1893 Paving the Streets of Brainerd
1892, 1893, 1897, 1899, 1900, 1918 The Gray/Bishop Property on Gull Lake
1892 Muskelunge Fishing in Gull Lake
1893 A Haymarket is Established in Brainerd
1893 Brainerd Will Boom
1893 The Murder of Lee Chung
1893 Fourth of July Celebration
1893 Mille Lacs Lake
1893 Bears
1894 James McCabe Shoots Tom Murray
1894 Steamboat Flora Wrecked at Gull Lake
1894 The Land of Plenty
1895 Lake Hubert
1895-1898 Work on the Gull Lake Reservoir
1895 Some Moose Stories
1895 A Trip to Grand Rapids
1896 Why This Section of Minnesota is Delightful, Freeman Thorp
1896 Walker, the New Town on Leech Lake
1896 John Pryde is Hanged for Murder
1896 William Jennings Bryan Visits Brainerd
1897 The Lemen Brothers’ Circus
1897 State-Wide Encampment of the Minnesota G. A. R.
1897 The Great Rain
1897 A Huge Celebration
1897, 1899 Bound, Gagged and Robbed
1897, 1898, 1899, 1900 Klondike Gold Fever Strikes in Brainerd
1898 Blandy in Tacoma
1898 Labor Day Celebration
1898, 1899 Bloody Indian Uprising at Leech Lake
1898 The Killing of John Clark and James Adney
1898 The Murder of Jerry Root
1898, 1899, 1900 George Barclay Murdered
1899 Highway Robbery
1899 Mortgages Everything Including His Wife’s Sewing Machine
1899 The Nation’s Holiday
1899 Murderous Assault and Suicide
1899 The Stabbing of Joseph Bissiar
1899 Balloon Man Drowned
1899 Best Town in the State
1899 No Labor Day Celebration
1899 President McKinley Visits Brainerd
1899 Two Wild Rides
1900 Slashed With a Knife
1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”
1900 The Nation’s Birthday
1900 Labor’s Celebration a Great Success
1900 Escapade of Aitkin People
1901 A Quarter of a Million Dollars Expended on Building in Brainerd
1901 Brainerd Booming
1901 Electric Storm Plays Havoc
1901 Bicycle Thieves
1901 Anniversary of Historical Event
1901 A Warning to Youngsters
1901 Letter from Alaska
1901 Ruffian Attacks Officer Hurley
1901 They Fought a Duel
1901 Huge Labor Day Celebration
1901 Raising “Dead Heads” from the Mississippi
1901 700,000,000 Feet of Logs Floated Down the Mississippi This Season
1901 Hundred of Tons of Hay Burned
1902 A Perfect Deluge
1903 Big Street Carnival
1903 The Bachelor Maids are Organized
1904 The Bachelor Maids Give a Minstrel Performance
1905 Out After the Festive Chicken
1905 Missionary Smith
1905 The Death of Truman D. Merrell
1907 C. W. Parker Carnival
1907 County Officials in Early Days Were Foxy Boys
1907 Two Very Bad Storms, Miracle Block Badly Damaged
1907 The Beginnings of Brainerd
1907 Year Was a Prosperous One
1908 Brainerd, Coming City of Central Minnesota
1908 Four Days of Street Carnival
1909 The Storm is Unprecedented
1910 Old Days at Crow Wing
1910 New Phones Now in Commission
1910 The Momentous Saloon Question
1910 Deerwood to Brainerd
1910 More Illumination
1910 Young Girl Disappears
1910 Horse Stolen Sunday Night
1910 Mrs. Augusta Peake Remembers
1910 Passing of the Noble Red Men
1911 North Minnesota Charms Visitors
1911 Mrs. Augusta Peake Reminisces
1911 Business Good This Year
1911 The Church of the Holy Cross at Old Crow Wing
1912 Two Shafts in City of Brainerd
1912 George W. Holland Reminiscences
1912 Great Progress is Recorded on the Cuyuna Iron Range
1912 Drilling for Ore in City Limits
1912 The Killing of Hole-in-the-Day
1912 “Bullet Joe” Bush
1912 William Jennings Bryan Makes Another Visit
1912 Biplane Displayed at the Corner of Laurel and South Sixth Street
1912 The Bachelor Maids’ Saturday Matinee and Evening Program
1912 Barrow’s Mine is Stockpiling
1912 What “Guzie” Did
1913 "Bullet Joe" Bush, World Series Pitcher
1914 Iron Mining in Brainerd and on the Cuyuna Range
1914 The Bachelor Maids Give Another Vaudeville Performance
1914 Barrows Mine Starts to Ship
1914 High License Eliminates Six Saloons
1914 Advertising Crosby
1914 The Murder of George Rappel
1914 Chamber of Commerce Meets
1914 Hanna Mining Gives Up Its Lease at Barrows Mine
1914 Was a Circus Sure Enough
1914 Moving Pictures Taken of Brainerd
1914 Fine Birdseye View of City
1914 Indian Days at Old Crow Wing
1915 Holland Lands to be Explored
1915 N. E. Brainerd Enjoys Prosperity
1915 Brainerd-Cuyuna Mining Company
1915 Brainerd Shown in Moving Pictures
1915 First Couple Married in Brainerd, Nov. 15, 1871
1916 The Bachelor Maids Present Miss Cherryblossom
1916 The Brainerd Daily Dispatch Reviews the Movie, Birth of a Nation
1916 Brainerd Given Fine Publicity
1916 Sculptures in Sand
1917 All Aboard for Germany to Smash the Kaiser’s Bunch
1917 “I Only Weigh 484 Now,” Said Fat Wood to Courier-News, Fargo
1917 Charles D. Johnson Came Here 40 Years Ago
1917 A Local History of Old Crow Wing
1918 A Local History of Old Crow Wing
1918 Greatest Parade in Brainerd History
1918 Faith in Brainerd
1918 The End of World War I is Celebrated in Brainerd
1918 Two Nearly Killed Firing Off Cannon
1918 Emergency Hospital Opened in the Gardner Block for Influenza Patients
1918 Brainerd Dispatch Flashes the News
1918 Fund for the Cannon Victims
1918 Statistics Provided for Emergency Influenza Hospital in the Gardner Block
1919 Suffering on Russian Front
1919 Riots of Rum, Barrels of Beer
1919 Crazed Man Tries to Kill a Girl
1919 Lowering Sky Goes to Happy Hunting Grounds
1919 Tom “Fatty” Wood is Interviewed
1919 Busy, Beautiful Brainerd
1920 Big Distillery Found in Swamp
1920 Fringe of Tornado
1921 Grand View Lodge
1922 Homecoming Week
1922 Over 10,000 Visitors Here on 4th of July
1922 Oldtimers Take Possession of Brainerd
1922 Children’s Day Fills Whole Gregory Park
1922 Meetin’ Folks in Minnesota Towns
1922 Col. A. A. White in Reminiscences
1922 George Bertram in Reminiscences
1923 Past and Present Told in Brainerd’s Half Century
1924 Milford Mine Disaster
1926 A List of Known Area Resorts
1926 Elsie’s Vibrant Throat Stilled
1927 You are Wanted in the Movies
1927 Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Mertz Draws Governor Hartley
1928 The Christening of Brainerd
1928 Live Days in Historic Crow Wing, Part I
1928 Live Days in Historic Crow Wing, Part II
1928 Young Brainerd
1928 Historical Conclave Starts at Ft. Ripley Today
1928 Sanborn Map
1929 West Brainerd Once French Territory
1929 Mary Tornstrom, Principal, Brainerd High School
1929 Brainerd’s Who’s Who Get Limelight
1929 Pequot Bank Robbed
1929 Brainerd’s Building Program Over Million
1929 Kill Timber Wolf After Long Trek
1930 Peter Mertz, Now of Spokane, Tells of Experiences
1930 “Blueberry War” Events Recalled
1931 The Origin of the Old Trading Post Painting by Sarah Thorp Heald
1931 Pioneer Sheriff Pete Mertz and “Indian Jack” Capture Bad Hombres
1931 2 Indians were Hanged Here 59 Yrs. Ago Today
1931 Tells Eyewitness Story of Hanging
1931 Six Terrorize Pine River
1937 Inwood Lodge Purchased
1938 Summary of WPA Activities in Brainerd for 1937
1939 Slot Machine Raids in Crow Wing County
1940 Armistice Day Blizzard
1945 Cole Brothers Circus Train Derailment
1956 Ravines, Badgers, Bulldogs and Chamber Pots
1971 Charlie Chaplin Film Featuring Brainerd Resident, Tom “Fatty” Wood, is Shown
1971 Brainerd First Named Ogemaqua
1977 Fred Wels, Junkman Supreme
2017 Son of Ironton Miner Morphed Into ‘Nation’s Cruelest Criminal’ in the 1930s


Northern Pacific Items—The New Town

at the R. R. Crossing—Antagonism of

Races—A General Batch of News



CROW WING, Aug. 15th, 1870.

EDITOR JOURNAL.—Gov. Smith, Gen. Spaulding and G. A. Brackett, of the Northern Pacific, have been and gone. Leaving here Friday [12 August] morning on the commodious, &c., &c., &c., steamer Pokegama, they went up the Mississippi to where the last and best line of the N. P. R. R. crossed the Mississippi, and located the line for good; named the new town that is to be “O-ge-ma-qua” [sic], [Ogamagua] and steamed down to this place by dinner time, and then back to Sauk Rapids the same day. The excitement is not intense. Two hotels have begun at O-ge-ma-qua [sic] [Ogamagua] [Brainerd], of which being translated, means “Big man’s woman,” otherwise Queen) for one of which the proprietor has already expended twenty dollars in the purchase of lumber alone. There is a speculator for you! “He’s sly! devilish sly! is old Joe Bagstock!” and knows what he is about.

“Ojibwe woman and children in a dwelling called a nasawa'ogaan, or pointed lodge near Brainerd, ca. 1866. This is a portable version of what we usually call a wigwam, which was oval shaped. The nasawa'ogaan were more easily moved, so were used for maple sugar camps, berry picking, etc.”—Christy Hohman.
Source: Minnesota Historical Society

Peake has gone below after a fresh supply of goods, their store having been literally cleaned out in the last few weeks.

The telegraph office is in the room over the store, and is running under a full head of one lightning power.

There was one interesting case of a fight yesterday morning, to break the monotony. A tangle-footed Frenchman ran against a long-haired “Ab-oo-rig-i-ne,” whereupon “Aboo” clinched him and they pounded each other till satisfied. Four visual organs of purplish-black, two incarnadine nasal extremities and handfuls of long and short black hair, irregularly mixed, bear witness to the struggle.

Whipple “eats us” and “sleeps us,” and we snore ourselves. A tall man named Benjamin Edict (who by the way eats like an editor) is acknowledged to have the most snore-ous voice of any in the crowd. Major Bassett wasn’t here, but it is believed by good judges of the article that Mr. Edict is ahead.

Col. Owen started out toward Otter Tail this morning with provisions and “sich” for a party in that direction. Engineers Kimberly, Reno, Tooley and Crocker are here preparing to make a move early in in the week.

Major Atcheson, Indian Agent, has gone below.

Blueberries are yet abundant, raw, roasted, baked and stewed, and palatable in every shape.

There is nothing going on out of the even tenor (and hass) of the Crow Wing way. LOGOS.

(St. Cloud Journal, 18 August 1870, p. 3, c. 4)

NOTE: Ogamagua, or Ogimaakwe (modern double vowel spelling) usually translates as “Queen” or “Boss Lady”. (Dr. Anton Treuer, Executive Director, American Indian Resource Center. Bemidji State University; 27 February 2015)

NOTE: Ogamagua, meaning Queen or Queen of the Skies, was the abbreviated Ojibway name of Margaret Racine Beaulieu, wife of Bazil Hudon Beaulieu.

NOTE: On 01 October 1870 the Northern Pacific Board of Directors changed Ogemaqua [sic] [Ogamagua] to Brainerd. (Oldtimers II: Stories of Our Pioneers in the Cass and Crow Wing Lake Region, Volume II, Carl A. Zapffe, Echo Publishing and Printing, Incorporated, Pequot Lakes, Minnesota: 1988, p. 126)

SEE: 1928 The Christening of Brainerd

SEE: 1971 Brainerd First Named Ogemaqua

For more information about the steamboat Pokegama:

SEE: Steamboats in the Bridges, Mills, etc. in Brainerd page

The New Town of Brainard [sic]—Graphic

Description of the Place.



November 21st, 1870.

EDITOR JOURNAL.—Have you been up to Brainard [sic]?—that wonderful city of slabs and tents, on the line of the Northern Pacific railroad, on the east bank of the Mississippi. If not, GO!! Not that it is anything astonishing, but quite the con-tra-ry, considering what a fuss is made about it. From three to six stages a day go up past here, loaded with passengers, and all bound for “The Crossing,” as it is called, or for some point on the road, east or west. And it really is wonderful to see the amount of goods of all descriptions going up somewhere, and the number of teams going both ways. One cannot travel a mile without meeting or passing many. Forty to seventy-five teams a day go by, and mine host Batters gave supper to more than fifty men last night, between ten and twelve o’clock, besides a house full who stopped all night and ate at regular hours. Every stopping place along the road is crowded to its utmost capacity generally. But to return to Brainard [sic] (in imagination only.) It is on a level plain, covered with a thick growth of black pine, or was, but the streets have been cut out through the “heart of the city,” and probably the outside streets will be opened as fast as needed. There are two hotels—the “Brainard [sic] House,” which is two rows of boards set on end, about seven feet high, and after the fashion of a board fence, and covered with a canvass roof; and the “Seely [sic] [Stuart Seelye?] House,” which has more lumber in it, being boarded up outside and in, and filled in with saw-dust. This might be made quite a “house,” but in this enlightened day it won’t pay a hotel man to set his customers down to a table without a cloth, to drink out of tin basins and eat off tin plates with their fingers, unless there is really need of it, and in this case there is not, as Hazleton can afford not only table cloths but dishes, at the “Brainard [sic] House,” if it is a tent. The steam saw-mill runs night and day, but the lumber is used for the railroad, so that none can be had to build with, and teams are hauling from Little Elk. The slabs are seized with avidity as soon as they leave the saw, and are fast being made into houses, (?) stables, &c., and in fact the whole thing has jumped into existence in such a hurry that what buildings are made of lumber can hardly stand alone after they shrink. Quite a force are engaged on the bridge; the new railroad hotel, 100x58 feet, is begun, (the frame is up,) and on the whole it gives evidence of something being the matter. But lots are higher now than they will be in the future; for what is to build the concern up when the present need is over? and $400 to $1,000 for a lot is a little too much like the town-site fever of ‘57. The people are laborers, boarding-house keepers, merchants, blacklegs, cutthroats, and, I am happy to add, gentlemen, tho’ the latter are scarce. By the term “gentleman” I don’t mean men who have no business, but those who have business, who know their business, and mind it, and let other folks alone. (We are not overstocked anywhere.)

Fletcher, Bly & Co. have removed their store from Crow Wing to the crossing, and that will no doubt much increase the business, as all the railroad hands get their supplies of that firm. There are fifteen or twenty saloons only, besides a dozen other places where sly drinks are said to be taken, and there are two places where people stay where liquor is not kept. This speaks well for the morals of the place! and affords a good opening for a Good Templars’ Lodge. Little Falls has made a decided step forward in the “moral” business in the last few years, as it is rare to see men drunk in the streets in large numbers on Sunday, as was their wont. Some of the seediest old soaks are now “pillars of temperance.”

The “Elk Horn House” is popular, and should be, for Mrs. Batters don’t object to letting one have two pieces of her nice mince pie at a meal, if his constitution is good, and we are usually willing to risk it.

Yours, LOGOS.

(St. Cloud Journal, 24 November 1870, p. 2, c. 3)

NOTE: Is the Seely/Seelye House mentioned above actually the building built by Stuart Seelye mentioned by Anna Himrod her paper Town of Brainerd, Township 45, Range 31?



Our county, both as a farming and stock raising county, will probably rank about third-rate, as compared with best portions of the State. It lies on the eastern bank of the Mississippi river, has no stream of any importance except this, but is generally well watered by small streams, springs, and small lakes. The country is a timbered county, with but pine, fir and tamarack—except along the bottoms, where hard wood may be found. There are but few, if any water powers and but little stone. The county lies just at the southern edge of the great lumbering regions of the Upper Mississippi, and the town, on the river at the point of crossing by the great Northern Pacific Railroad. Lumber is worth about $20 per M. Brainerd is the county-seat, and we claim a population of 1,300, with a good prospect of at least doubling it during the present year. We are 140 miles from St. Paul—110 from Duluth—155 from Red River. Brainerd is a very healthful, pleasant and extremely picturesque location, and will doubtless become one of the half dozen principal points on the Northern Pacific. Perfectly sheltered in winter from winds, and in summer from heat by the beautiful, dense groves of pines in which it is situated. The Railroad Company are putting up very many mammoth and substantial buildings here with a view, we presume, of making Brainerd the winter asylum for all the superfluous rolling stock and other property used on the prairies west of here.




To illustrate the manner in which Western people improve and develop, and to inform the world at large of the importance of Brainerd as a point on the great Northern Pacific Railroad, we would state that notwithstanding the first house was erected here in October, 1870, we have a solid population of one thousand three hundred, and it is increasing rapidly. A little over a year ago, the restless wolf held high carnival in these beautiful fine groves, where now stand a dozen stores, as many hotels, scores of other business houses, clusters of dwellings, two church edifices—one a magnificent structure—a great “round-house,” a mammoth and elegant railroad “headquarters building,” a steam saw mill, and an enormous machine-shop in course of construction, and other factories, etc. soon to be commenced. And even yet Brainerd is but in her swaddling clothes as compared with herself a year hence. Who can say that Brainerd is non-progressive in view of these facts.




At present there is but one school in Brainerd, and that is a private school, taught by Miss Rorick, in a building hired for the purpose, in lower town. We have understood that a public school will be commenced ere long, and we hope so. We have not learned as yet the exact condition of the resources to keep up a public school, but believe there is something of a public school fund now standing to our credit.

We were also informed by Bishop Whipple [Episcopal Church], when here, that he proposed taking under consideration the propriety of establishing here a parish school, designed for girls principally, though small boys would be admitted as well. We heartily wish—with many others here—that the Bishop may find it practicable to establish such a school, for we feel sure such a one would be well supported. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 February 1872, p. 2, c. 2)

That Police Force.


From what expressions have come to our ears from leading citizens of our town, we are led to believe that a large majority of those who have interest here are in favor of establishing, at least for the present—or the next three months, and longer if need be—a well-ordered and lawfully-authorized police force, for the good of our people and the maintenance of the dignity of the community. Knowing what we do, we are heartily in favor of the movement. Just at the present time there is a vast amount of misdemeanor, a good share of it of a flagrant character, that our present officers cannot take cognizance of for the want of time or means. It keeps our Sheriff busy to attend to matters strictly in his line as a County officer; and although he does all that could be expected of a faithful officer of the law, yet there are scores of subjects for the law that he cannot attend to. He has intimated to us that if he had four good policemen—such as he could easily name—he would pay them for the first fifteen days of their services “out of the business,” and a good share of their salary during their term of service. This being the case, and the fact existing that we badly need a police force, we see no good reason why our citizens should not hold a meeting and empower our Sheriff to call to his aid a sufficient force to maintain the dignity of the law among us. The communication elsewhere in this paper on this subject, we think is an expression of the sentiments of the entire solid community, and it comes from one of our most substantial and influential citizens. Let this important matter be considered, and at once. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 March 1872, p. 1, c. 1)




EDITOR TRIBUNE.—In your last there were a few remarks in regard to having a proper police force put on for general protection during the coming spring months. I second that motion, or at least I think something should be done if it is going to be any worse; for the present state of affairs in Brainerd is bad enough. I have lived in many parts of the State—during the worst of her troubles, but have never been in a place where there was so much night prowling and shooting as in this little town of Brainerd. It is worse than the Sioux Indian outbreak; for then we knew who our enemies were; while here, we are in danger at all times from a set of half-drunken braggadocios walking the streets and firing pistols at every corner, and I think it is full time something was done. If it is police we want, let us have them, but let us have a proper police, and not such as we have had, who went around on their own accord and got a few subscribers and took up “watching” upon their own hook for a few days or weeks and then threw it up because they could not collect their subscriptions; and such, I have been informed, has been the case with some if not all who have undertaken that very important position. Now I do not wish anyone who has acted as policeman to think that I wish to reflect upon his capacity or efficiency to act as police, but I am merely reflecting upon the system under which they have labored. It seems to me that the proper way to get this thing up is to call a general meeting of the property owners of this town and jointly subscribe an amount sufficient to pay at least four good men for the next three months, to act as police, under the direct control of the Sheriff [John/Jack Gurrell], and I will wager a three-penny whistle that he will, with them, keep everything as cool as if it was laid in the shade—or his name is not “Jack.” I, for one, am willing to go into such an arrangement and pay my part; but I am not willing to give one cent unless it is done in such a manner that those employed will be sure of their pay, regularly each month. CITIZEN.

(Brainerd Tribune, 02 March 1872, p. 1, c. 2)

Call for a Citizens’ Meeting.

The citizens of Brainerd are hereby requested to meet together at the Court Room, over the jail, on Tuesday next, the 12th inst., at 2 o’clock P. M., for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of putting in operation a police force, for the better preservation of law and order in our town:

John Gurrell,

John B. Conant,

W. W. Hartley,

John H. Hanson,

Prof. R. L. Jones,

L. P. White,

G. W. Holland,

Dennis McNannay,

Cantwell & Co.,

William Wit,

E. H. Davie,

and twenty others.

Dated March 8, 1872.

(Brainerd Tribune, 09 March 1872, p. 3, c. 2)



The Duluth Tribune, of a recent date, pays the following truthful and handsome compliment to our flourishing young city, and likewise speaks well of the Brainerd TRIBUNE and its manager, for both of which we thank the able and unselfish editor of the Duluth Tribune—which is one of the very best weekly papers in Minnesota.

It says:

“It is now very evident that Brainerd is to be one of the best towns in Minnesota. Indeed, we are inclined to think that, next to Duluth, its growth has been more rapid than any other town in the State; and that its growth is to be substantial and permanent is evident from the fact that, like Duluth, it is one of the points which the N. P. R. R. Co., are determined to build up. We saw Brainerd about a year ago, when it was a mere paper town, and when its population consisted chiefly of two or three hundred railroad hands; but although most of railroad hands have passed on ‘out west’ along the line, yet Brainerd now has a population of from 1,000 to 1,200 bona fide citizens, and has many other marks of substantial progress almost unparalleled in the history of juvenile towns.

Prominent among the institutions of that progressive young city is the Brainerd Tribune, M. C. Russell, Esq., editor and proprietor. We are proud of our namesake, and one of the highest compliments that we can pay it is that, aside from its being a very handsome sheet, it contains more news than we supposed Mr. Russell or anyone else could gather up, even in so smart a town as Brainerd.”

The Tribune then proceeds to copy from our paper several articles of a local character, among which was one relative to the Headquarters Hotel, and then parenthetically pays the following compliment to Mr. Lytle, the accomplished and gentlemanly landlord thereof:

“When a mere boy—twenty years ago—we well remember Mr. Lytle at Logansport, Ind., where, for a long time, he held one of the most prominent and responsible offices in the county. He has been for more than a year in the employ of the N. P. road; is wide-a-wake and full of energy, and the traveling public will find him to be a most affable and courteous gentleman.” (Brainerd Tribune, 23 March 1872, p. 2, c. 2)

The Trunk Mystery.

About the first day of January last, there was a trunk stolen from the platform of the depot at this place, and up to within a short time since the disappearance of the trunk was completely wrapped in mystery. Sheriff Gurrell, however, in his usual quiet way went about unraveling the thing, although for a long time his skill failed to bring out any satisfactory developments. Nothing daunted, however, he patiently worked away at the case, and about ten days ago several arrests were made in connection with the affair. They came up in due time for a hearing in Justice court, which resulted in three or four parties being either bound over for their appearance at the next term of the District Court, or committed to jail in default of bail. Several other parties will doubtless be snatched from their usual routine of life to stand a trial for complicity in this famous trunk mystery. There is likely to be such a host of individuals finally brought into this great trunk maelstrom, that we do not think worthwhile to give names; but when the whole job is completed we may give the entire roll—if we have room in our paper. No telling how many or who may be brought into the matter, for Sheriff Gurrell is worse than poison when he once gets on the track of a miscreant; and if he can succeed in clearing out the thieves and cutthroats from this part of the country, he will certainly be remembered by all honest citizens. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 March 1872, p. 3, c. 2)

The Recent Accident on the Lake Su-

perior and Mississippi Railroad.

Among the most disagreeable episodes in a man’s life may safely be classed that one known as a “railroad accident.” We had the pleasure (?) of experiencing a railroad somersault on the L. S. & M. road on the 15th inst., which for life and animation we have never seen exceeded by any public assemblage. We were seated in the rear car with some twenty others, on our way from St. Paul to Duluth, and at about five P.M., and as we came in sight of the N. P. Junction, a crash was heard coming from beneath the coach, and the car began to jump up and down in the most unsteady manner. The train at the time was going at a very rapid rate, estimated to be at least forty miles per hour. For a moment after the crash, the passengers all sat still as statues; soon, however, as if rallying suddenly to a realization of the danger in which all were placed, several gentlemen sprang to the bell-rope and pulled vigorously several times. Every one sat or stood for a moment long then, for a response to the signal of alarm thus given, but no answer came, the train dashed on in its fearful course, and the vibration of the coach continued to become more alarming. It was afterward learned that the bell-rope had become entangled somewhere ahead, and the alarm never reached the engineer. Several gentlemen now rushed for the rear platform and commenced to set the brakes, while the writer and his friend John X. Davidson, of Saint Paul, started for the front platform of the car—we for the purpose of setting the brakes there, and the Captain with the intention of pulling out the coupling-pin and detaching the crippled coach from the train. The writer hereof succeeded in reaching the platform, but ere Captain Davidson could get to the door, it had become so sprung that he could not open it, though he tried to do so with all his strength. A wheel had broken on the rear trucks, and when the brakes had been set on that end, the coach commenced to plunge in the most fearful manner, and we, on the front platform, found it too late to avail anything there. We only had time to spring across to the rear platform of the second coach, when the crippled car turned over with a crash on to her side. The couplings did not give away, and the car, with its horror-stricken inmates, was dragging on its side along the ground, its timbers and windows being shattered at every lunge. It very quickly had great influence on the coach next to it, which threatened to also roll over on its side at every instant, and soon the rear end of it was thrown from the track, and commenced to plunge, drag and crash in the most frightful manner. Fortunately, however, the engineer had espied the trouble in time to stop the train, ere it had also shared the fate of the rear coach, and the train was brought to a stand. Everyone now rushed to the wrecked coach and got the doors opened, when it was found that although it was badly smashed, no more than half a dozen persons had been wounded and none killed. None were even seriously hurt, although Miss Anna Sullivan, of St. Paul, was very severely cut on the leg and otherwise injured, while two or three other ladies were also injured somewhat. Dr. V. Smith, of Duluth, was the worst hurt among the gentlemen passengers, although not seriously.

The two wrecked coaches were left, and the baggage car, (except the ladies and injured persons of both sexes, who were put into the mail car,) and taken to the Junction, where they remained until the foremost one of the coaches that had been abandoned, was placed on the track, when the train proceeded on its way, getting into Duluth at 10 P.M., five hours behind time.

Too much credit cannot be given Maj. Reynolds, the conductor, W. D. Rogers, the mail agent, Dr. V. Smith, and Capt. John X Davidson, for their heroic conduct throughout the frightful scene. Dr. Smith, although severely hurt himself, faithfully administered to the needs of others. No blame can be attached to the officers of the train, in our opinion, as the accident was caused by a defective wheel, and the whole affair occurred so quickly that nothing more could have been done under the circumstances. The man who has charge of testing the soundness of car-wheels, however, should be consigned to the everlasting contempt of humanity; for the crack in the wheel was an old one, a deep one, and one that any idiot might easily detect. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 March 1872, p. 3, c. 3)

The Pistol—Two Men Shot.

On Tuesday night last, as we have been informed, one Pete Bannigan, stepped into Dave Mullen’s Saloon, with drawn revolver, and at once avowed his intention of shooting the proprietor of that institution. At the time of his entrance, as our information goes, Mullen and a man named Harding were engaged in a game of cards. As Bannigan prepared to put his threat into execution, Harding and Mullen’s wife sprang toward him, (Harding grasping the pistol barrel) and tried to prevent him from shooting; Bannigan, however, seemed bent upon shooting Mullen, and in his attempt to do so pulled the trigger just as Harding stepped in front of him. The charge took effect in Harding’s left breast, passing within on inch of the heart and coming out of the back, striking Mullen in the thigh near the groin, inflicting a very severe wound, though not serious. Bannigan fled through the front door into the street, but was followed by Mullen who fired four shots after him but without effect. Bannigan was at once arrested by Deputy Sheriff Cassety, and committed to jail. Medical aid was summoned to attend the wounded men, and their wounds were dressed. At the time of this writing, Harding is said to be doing as well as the serious nature of his wound will permit, and it is believed he will recover; but the surgeon in attendance assured him that had the bullet gone half an inch nearer the heart death would probably have been the instant result. The pistol was a large navy revolver, and a piece of Harding’s shirt was blown clear through him and was afterwards taken out, with the bullet, from Mullen’s thigh. The fracas was occasioned by a falling out the day previous between Mullen and the assailant, the details of which we know not nor care not. Bannigan was to have a hearing on Thursday at 10 o’clock. The result will be mentioned in our next issue. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 March 1872, p. 3, c. 4)

Bound Over.

Pete. Bannigan, whom we mentioned in our last as having been arrested for shooting two men, had his trial before Justice Conant, which was concluded on Monday of last week after occupying several days. He was bound over in the sum of $700 for his appearance at the October term of the District Court. The two wounded men are recovering. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 April 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

SEE: 1877 The Saga of Pete Bannigan, Former Proprietor of the Last Turn Saloon

Fifth Street.

This street has filled up within the past few weeks with first class business houses so rapidly that we can scarcely take an account of them. Mr. Davie, who has just finished his handsome storehouse thereon, has bought the two corner lots, where Fifth intersects Front, and is building another large two story business house, that will be a credit to that fine location and an honor to the proprietor. Such is enterprise, and every day places the future importance of Brainerd far beyond the shadow of a doubt. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 April 1872, p. 1, c. 3)

Description of the Country on the Line of the

Northern Pacific Railroad.

BRAINERD, April 15, 1872.

EDITOR OF THE TRIBUNE—Permit me through the columns of your valuable paper to call attention to some observations made in a recent trip over the N. P. R. R., on the very substantial manner of the structure, easy grades, and the wonderful richness and fertility characterizing the major portion the Land Grant. As far out into Dakota as your observer went, after crossing the Red River, I think I never passed through a country excelling this in point of latent fertility. The beautiful spring-like appearance of that broad expanse of virgin soil, soon by the genial sun to be decked like a bride in her wedding garments awaiting the coming of the husbandman, charmed the eye and filled the mind with visions of the teeming productions which ere long will reward the pioneers over in that Promised Land.

What has been said of the lands on the further side of the Red River is no less true of those between the Buffalo and the Red. After a quarter of a century spent upon the prairies of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska in close observations, I am prepared to say that no more fertile or inviting field was ever opened to the occupancy of man.

At Fargo, where the road crosses the Red River, an imposing and substantial bridge is being pushed rapidly forward to completion. At Moorehead [sic], immediately opposite on the Minnesota side, where the new depot buildings are now already up, preparatory to the reception of the traffic for Manitoba and the great Saskatchewan valley, and the wondrous fur trade of the North, I found the people alive to their best interests, efficiently guided by the experience of my old friend and townsman Col. John W. Taylor, who has located, I think, as much land in the Northwest as any other man living.

A large number of settlers have already arrived, and as fast as lumber can be procured are nestling themselves into happy homes. The town now gives evidence of the great city that ere long must arise at the head of navigation of the Amazon of the Northwest.

At the new town of Glyndon where the St. Vincent branch crosses the Northern Pacific, all was life and activity. Claim taking and house building marked the commencement of what cannot fail to be at no distant day an important junction of two great thoroughfares. The gentlemanly and affable Land Agent of the Company at this point, Mr. Nettleton, is on the ground determined to make it one of the finest settlements on the line of the Road.

Coming up the valley of the buffalo the same inherent richness of the soil is everywhere strikingly manifest. Approaching the timber at Oak Lake, numerous farms are seen, already opened. The topography of this immediate neighborhood is singularly beautiful in its undulations, and its timber skirted lakes. At the next station, Detroit Lake, I had an opportunity of witnessing the operation of the enterprising and successful Boston Colony, that started in last year under the lead of Capt. Roberts. Truly they are doing great things. Already are they engaged in manufacturing to supply the wants of the rapidly developing country.

Continuing on the way, one is struck by the easy gradients and the absence of those sharp and dangerous curves so common to many roads.

Returning to your hospitable town of Brainerd, I felt I could exclaim “Now have mine eyes seen the glory of the coming of the Lord in opening up this country so vast and varied in its resources.” Think me not inclined to flatter, when I say that no town on the line of the Road presents more attractive features or impresses one more with a sense of its future greatness, than yours. Being the first harbor for the lumber borne upon the sweeping current of the Mississippi, it must supply mainly the prairies of the West with this indispensably necessary article. Already has the energetic and worthy contractor, Lyman Bridges, in process of construction fifty Station Houses, of the latest style of architecture, made from material obtained here. The lumber trade alone must add largely to your resources, and the freight receipts of this magnificent new Road so ably superintended by that efficient and popular gentleman, C. T. Hobart, Esq. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 April 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

BUILDING—Still the unceasing clash of mechanics’ tools from daylight till dark, all over town—and every morning, the place looks different. Ten or twelve business houses and residences have been put up on the block where we abide, alone; several of them being mammoth structures, and all are of a substantial character. While the pine groves on every hand are becoming filled with snug cottages and other buildings. Verily, Brainerd is spreading all over, and those most versed in the growth of western towns, and those who view our vast resources and natural advantages intelligently, confidently predict a population of from three to five thousand in Brainerd during the present year. We do not wish to overdo anything, nor entice either capital or immigration to Brainerd and this country wrongfully; but we are free to say that in all our experience in the live West, we have never seen a place improve so rapidly as our town has and is improving, nor have we seen a better class of improvements; further, we have never known a town more advantageously located for the sound elements of a lasting prosperity. This whole country will fill up with unprecedented rapidity during the immediate future, and as a country of natural wealth none other holds out any better attractions than that lying west of us along the line of the N. P. Road, and Brainerd is bound to be the central city of this section, where manufactories, trade, supply depots, and headquarters transactions in all branches of business will thrive, and build up here on the romantic shore of the grand Mississippi River a city soon to be the pride and envy of the Northwest. Let everybody seeking homes, or places to which to invest in business enterprises, come to Brainerd, our future is very many strides beyond the point where “speculation,” as to her “to be” or “not to be” was admissible. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 April 1872, p. 1, c. 3)

Fishing Party.

A SMALL clump of our prominent (you see, we were along) citizens went out to Rice Lake on Tuesday, and enjoyed a fine day’s sport in fishing on the placid bosom of that fine sheet of water. We all returned in the evening with a bountiful supply of very fine—”fisherman’s luck.” There would undoubtedly have been a very large lot of fish taken, had the committee on bait been sufficiently industrious to keep up the supply of worms; they, however, instead of delving deep and honestly in the earth for the needful “bivalves,” were discovered, by those who were riding a log and fishing with great earnestness of purpose late in the day, lying in a shade eating and making merry over the culinary supplies of the expedition. It is probably needless to name which branch of the enterprise we were identified with, but we have never been known to go around either hungry or thirsty in a land of plenty. One of the party, an attorney by trade, fell out of the boat (off the log, we mean,) and got very damp; so much so that we were compelled to wring him out and hang him up to dry in the sunlight—he is dry now, and has since been engaged in reading “Great Expectations.” All in all a good time was enjoyed, and we must have succeeded in amusing the fish, to say the least. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 May 1872, p. 1, c. 3)

Not Been Found.

The mystery of the disappearance of Miss Helen [sic] [Ellen] McArthur has not yet been unraveled. Mr. McArthur is a farmer living nine miles south of this place and about two miles this side of Crow Wing. He has a numerous family we believe, and among the rest was Miss, Helen [sic] [Ellen], aged twenty-two years. Over two weeks ago, she started from her home on foot, ostensibly for the purpose of going down to the village of Crow Wing to visit friends a few days, and she was accompanied about half the distance by a younger sister, when the latter returned home. This was the last that has ever been seen or heard of her. Her folks thinking she was visiting in the village, made no inquiry after her for two or three days, but when they did they were astonished to find that Miss Helen [sic] [Ellen] had not been there at all. The family, together with the villagers, at once instituted a thorough search of the neighboring country, which was vigorously prosecuted for many days, and until all hope of finding her had gone. Certain circumstances connected with the case, lead to the most common conclusion we can hear of, that she, upon separating from her sister, went to the river instead of Crow Wing and committed suicide by drowning. Among other circumstances was, that before starting from the house she took off her hoops and put them away; this was very strange conduct, especially as she was going on a visit, for she always up to that time wore her hoops at home and abroad. Some parties who were in search, claimed to have tracked her to the river, and for some distance along the sandy beach. She was considerably lame, one limb being shorter than the other, and by this they knew her track. She took a large shawl along, and it is thought she filled this with stones and tied it to her, so that her body might not raise, and thereby hide all trace of the tragic ending of her life. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 May 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

The Fate of Miss Helen [sic] [Ellen]


We have heard a naked rumor that the body of Miss McArthur, who so mysteriously disappeared from home two months ago, has been found in the Crow Wing River—that it was evident she had been murdered, and that three half-breeds have been arrested at Oak Lake as the perpetrators of this awful deed. This is but rumor, as we have said.

LATER.—Since writing the above we have been enabled to gather a few further particulars. Several days ago, as we are informed, the parents of the missing young lady, (who reside two miles this side of Crow Wing, ten miles south of Brainerd), heard that their daughter was at Leech Lake, among the Pillager Indians—having been kidnapped and carried off by one of this miserable band of wretches. Accordingly, parties were sent to Leech Lake authorized to ascertain the facts and retake her. Upon their arrival the Indians told them that the girl had never been brought there, but said that two half-breeds were then at Leech Lake who had told in a bragging manner that they had murdered Miss McArthur near Crow Wing village on the day of her disappearance, after ravishing her. They also had said that after the deed they took her shawl, tied it full of stones, and attaching it to her waist sunk her body in a slough near the place that they had committed the deed, and but a little way from where she had parted with her sister. The parties, upon this information, ferreted out the two half-breeds and arrested them. They arrived at Oak Lake on the N. P., with the prisoners on Thursday and telegraphed to Sheriff Gurrell to come out and get them, and bring them to Brainerd for safe keeping. On Thursday night our sheriff sent out a deputy who could speak the Chippewa language, and by yesterday’s train from the west they arrived, and were turned over to him and locked up.

A great crowd of our citizens gathered at the depot to see them, and followed them en masse to the jail, muttering many threats against the supposed perpetrators of this awful deed, the character of which causes one’s heart to almost sink within him. They will probably be brought up for a hearing today or Monday, and should they be proved guilty we cannot say what may be the course of an indignant and outraged public. This, coming upon the heels of the Cook family tragedy is calculated to excite the most orderly and law abiding community to take the law of self-preservation into their own hands. We hope, however, that they may permit the law to take its course, and if found guilty they will meet their just reward, though we are aware that the perpetration of such a deed in our midst is a hard thing to be patient over. The half- breeds are both young and about the same age. At the trial, the parents, friends and neighbors of the young lady will probably be here; and the tragedy, so long shrouded in mystery will doubtless be cleared up, when we shall publish the particulars. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 July 1872, p. 1, c.’s 2 & 3)


Tuesday last at 2 o’clock was the day and hour set for the examination of the two half-breeds confined in jail here, charged with the murder of Miss Helen [sic] [Ellen] McArthur. The family of the murdered girl, together with a large number of the citizens of Crow Wing and Little Falls were present, and as the hour drew nigh for the examination to commence, the court room was packed with citizens to witness the proceedings. The prisoners were brought up from the cells below by Sheriff Gurrell, the complaint read, to which they both plead “not guilty.” The defense for one of the prisoners—Te-be-ke-shick-wabe—asked further time, or an adjournment, in order that certain witnesses might be procured which it was alleged would establish the innocence of this Indian—or half-breed. After some argument upon points of law governing adjournments, etc., the court was adjourned until Thursday, the 25th inst., when a full examination into the case will doubtless be had. There was a very evident disappointment on the part of the crowd of spectators, at the adjournment, as the case is one fraught with horrible details, without a doubt, and one in which the deepest and finest feeling of sympathy of thousands of people are enlisted in the fate of this estimable young lady.



The citizens of Brainerd, by private subscription, have raised about two hundred dollars, which they offer, (in posters, now being circulated) to any person who will find and produce the body of Miss McArthur, supposed to have been murdered by the two half-breeds now in custody here. This is right, liberal, and just as it should be. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 July 1872, p. 1, c. 2)


On Wednesday last a large party of citizens went from here and Crow Wing, to search for the remains of Miss McArthur, in the neighborhood of where she was last seen, which was a short distance this side of the latter village. It had been learned through Indian sources that the murderers, after accomplishing their vile purposes had murdered her and sunk her body in one of the adjacent sloughs. Or, rather, tramped it down into the soft, marshy soil on the border of one of them. But as two months have intervened since then, the marshes and sloughs have grown full of grass and other vegetation, little hope was entertained of finding the remains, to start with, unless by mere accident. The search was vigorously prosecuted until toward evening, when it was abandoned, and they returned. Even under the most favorable circumstances, however, little hope could be entertained of finding it, as so long a time, at this season of the year, would have left nothing more than the bones, to be found. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 July 1872, p. 1, c. 5)

SEE: 1877 Ellen McArthur’s Remains are Found

SEE: 1901 Anniversary of Historical Event

SEE: 1928 Young Brainerd

SEE: 1931 Tells Eyewitness Story of Hanging

SEE: Last Turn Saloon in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.

Two White Earth Chippewa Indians, who are supposed to have murdered Miss McArthur, of Crow Wing, were arrested on Friday at White Earth. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 July 1872, p. 2, c. 2)


It has been reported on the street somewhat extensively, as we understand, that we were responsible for the contents of an article which appeared in the Duluth Tribune of last Thursday morning, relative to the hanging spree in Brainerd. This report is entirely false, as we did not see any of the Duluth newspaper men previous to Thursday near noon, and besides, if we had we should have made a different statement altogether. We did not send a word by telegraph to anyone, neither did we write or communicate with anyone in any way about the matter. What we have said and desire should be said—being governed by our best judgement and unadvised by anyone—we say in our own paper of today. St. Paul reporters and others will please take notice. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 July 1872, p. 1, c. 3)


The lynching which occurred on 23 July 1872 in front of the Last Turn Saloon on the corner of Fourth and Front Streets in Brainerd.
Source: Unknown
The Reconciliation plaque installed at the site of the 1872 lynching of two American Indians in the city of Brainerd, dedicated 18 June 2014. A 1500x998 version of this photo is also available for viewing on line.
Source: Carl Faust

It was not entirely unexpected on Tuesday evening last, by our citizens, when a long and continuous shout arose from the corner of Front and Fourth streets, which at once signified that the talked of mob had organized for the purpose of hanging the two half-breeds confined in our jail, charged with the murder of Miss Helen [sic] [Ellen] McArthur—a tragedy which has heretofore been recorded in these columns. Although it had been noised about for two or three days, however, that they would be hung, our citizens were not looking for so sudden an outbreak, and as a consequence all those not in on the secret were taken by surprise, not to say alarmed at the simultaneous uproar, and soon over a thousand people outside the mob proper were in the streets to divine the exact reason of the tumult. It seems that fifty or more persons had organized quietly near the place designated, and after a shout or two proceeded up Front to Fifth and down Fifth to the jail. By the time they reached it the street for nearly two blocks was packed with people, to witness the strange sight they knew was about to be enacted. Upon the arrival of the head of the column at the front door they promptly smashed it in with a stick of timber which they carried for the purpose, and ere Sheriff Gurrell (who had been sitting at his desk writing) was scarcely aware of what was going on, he found himself completely in the power of the mob. They got hold of the keys to the cells and in another instant the two prisoners were in the street marching under a massive guard back to the big pine tree at the corner of Front and Fourth streets, in front of the “Last Turn” saloon, which has two large limbs reaching over the sidewalk. Upon their arrival at the fatal spot they were allowed a few minutes for prayer, instructed and lead by a minister [Joseph A. Gilfillan], and after considerable trouble in getting the rope over the limb one of these supposed murderers was strung high above the heads of the vast assemblage. He died hard and it was many minutes ere death relieved him of his agony. Probably ten minutes elapsed before the other one was made ready for his gallows flight, during which time he plead piteously to be spared—telling many stories of explanation, etc., but we could not hear, from where we stood, what all he had to offer. Soon his arms were secured behind him, a handkerchief tied over his eyes, when he was run up beside his dead companion. In the first struggle he tore his arms loose from the thongs, and sprang along up the rope to the limb above. Just as he reached it, however, a shot from a revolver below brought him down with a heavy shock to the end of the rope. The first shot was quickly followed by many others, and in a short space he too was a dangling corpse. They were left hanging until morning when several photographs were taken, when they were cut down, placed in a box, and carted away. And thus ended, by a fearful scene, the lives of two young half-breeds, acknowledged on all sides to be very bad Indians, and BELIEVED, by a majority of this community, to be guilty of the crime for which they were hung. Of course there was a great diversity of opinion as to the justice or injustice of the deed, but it is generally acceded that they were deserving of the fate they met, on general principals, and outside the last offense with which they stood charged. Although the carrying out of such law cannot but be deplored by all good citizens, so long as there is a hope that justice may be done by a regular course of law. A higher power, however, we leave to judge of the righteousness of this deed done in our city on Tuesday night last. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 July 1872, p. 1, c. 3)


On Thursday night last, in answer to a telegram sent by Sheriff Gurrell, a detachment of seventy-five soldiers arrived from St. Paul, on the train from the east, under the command of Captain Buckner. Upon their arrival they seemed somewhat surprised at finding but some half-dozen solitary redskins, getting out of town as fast as they could at one end as soon as they saw the soldiers coming in at the other. They landed on the platform at the Headquarters, and after forming in rank, and showing the citizens what they knew about Indian fighting, marched, four abreast, to Bly’s Hall where they took up their quarters for the night. The next (Friday) morning, fifty of the detachment returned to St. Paul, and the remainder are still here awaiting further events. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 July 1872, p. 1, c. 3)







We have but just returned from abroad, whither we went, with others, to allay the fears and secure the comparative happiness of our family. The whole State at this moment has its eyes and ears turned toward Brainerd, awaiting from hour to hour the news from this place with reference to the probable outbreak of the Chippewa Indians, in retaliation for the hanging by a mob of two Pillager half-breeds, SUSPICIONED of the murder of Miss Helen [sic] [Ellen] McArthur, as chronicled elsewhere in our paper.

That there is a good and sufficient reason for a “scare” in Brainerd we admit and believe, especially when we know, as we do, the TOTALLY UNORGANIZED condition of its citizens, the contiguous position of several bands of Indians, and the undue haste in the execution of the two half-breeds. In the first place there are a thousand expressed opinions upon the necessity of any precautions against a raid. Many laugh and jest at the idea of any being frightened; many say THEY can “lick a dozen of the best men in the tribe;” others, that WE “can clean out the whole Chippewa nation in an hour!” others again, that “THERE IS ENOUGH MEN IN BRAINERD TO MAKE ONLY A BREAKFAST-JOB OF THE WHOLE OF THEM,” etc., etc. Now, all of this is the very vilest of cheap talk, and most mischievously adulterated at that. These are the men who KNOW least about it, care least about the safety of the citizens, are the very first men to back water in an emergency. It is generally acknowledged that the presence of the soldiers who have been so kindly and promptly sent us by the Governor is needless, PROVIDED there was the ghost of an organization of our citizens for SELF-PROTECTION. Very true, we have men enough in Brainerd to ”clean out the whole Chippewa nation,” if there was an organized mode of action; as it is, they would be the most worthless cypher before an attack of even a hundred Indians during the dark hours of night. What WE WANT, what WE NEED, and what WE MUST HAVE, is an IMMEDIATE organization of at least two companies of our citizens into a militia force, apply to the Governor for arms, let them be received and duly receipted for, let the arms—say two hundred stand with plenty of ammunition—be distributed among the members of these two companies, to be taken to their respective homes and kept right and handy and then all that remains to be done is to have a signal understood and a rendezvous appointed where they may come together, in any emergency, and protect life or property from any POSSIBLE raid, either in or about the town, or ANYWHERE among isolated settlers in this section of the frontier. We positively assert that this organization is needed, not on account of the MEN in town, but to save and prevent the agonizing fear and dread that is so bitterly felt in the bosoms of a large proportion of the estimable women and children of our town. To live in such cruel dread, as we know many of them do every hour in Brainerd, of late, is a shame to the thoughtless men, who have so simple and easy a remedy at their command to completely remove and prevent it. The State has been also put to more expense already, in the present “scare,” than would have kept up an effective home organization for the next twenty years, and had our private counsels heretofore (with those of a few others) been listened to and acted upon, there would not have been the slightest need for soldiers from abroad, though a thousand Indians might have threatened the place. Very soon the handful of soldiers now here will be taken away and then will again commence that accursed feeling of dread and uncertainty among families of women and children, which will make our homes scenes nearer that of mourning than of happiness and peace. In the present state of our town we would just as leave have but TEN citizens, as the nearly two thousand that are here, for as a score of drunken or murderous Indian outlaws would scatter the populace like a flock of frightened sheep. And now that we are speaking of it, we MOST EMPHATICALLY ASK AND DEMAND, for the reasons herewith given, the formation of at least two companies of our citizens, that SECURITY may be felt in our town, and SAFETY be assured to defenseless settlers in this section, or, mark our word, the “scare” just experienced will not be the last that will go out to the world to the great detriment of this country, and the almost ruination of timid families who will flee from the dangers they imagine exist. We have other reasons (though kindred in character) than the ones filed above, for demanding immediate action in the matter, but yet have faith to believe that there is sufficient common sense and foresight, and regard for the peace of our women and children, among at least the better class of our citizens to stimulate them to do their duty in the matter, and prevent any possible misfortunes in future, and save the reputation of our country along the line from condemnation abroad. There will be other “scares” and plenty of them, unless something is done.

We do not wish to be understood as intimating that there is danger of an attack on Brainerd, now or in the future; but why we so strongly urge the formation of these militia companies is, that our families here may enjoy a feeling of safety, and to bring to a speedy punishment any drunken outlaws among the redskins who might pounce upon isolated families anywhere about this section of country, from any motives of revenge, or from pure drunken Indian cussedness. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 July 1872, p. 1, c. 4)


Sheriff Gurrell is said to have ordered Indians in and about town to leave the community, on Wednesday, but that they refused to go. Thereupon he telegraphed the Governor for troops to make them go, which was strictly in accordance with the commands of the Governor’s proclamation in relation to officers ordering the Indians onto their reservation. If he did order them to leave, and they refused to go, he did just right to send for assistance to make them go. And now, we want to see them sent to their reservations and made to stay there by Governor Austin.


Someone, who says he knows, tells the following about the half-breed hanging:

“The two half-breeds hung in Brainerd on Tuesday night, died bravely—showing not the least sign of fear, either while going from the jail or under the gallows tree. Even when one had hung till he was dead, the other one laughed and jested with the crowd in a “devil may care” manner, saying that the one they had hung was dead, and asking why they didn’t take him down. It may be that he had some desire to cling to life a little longer, for just before being strung up the tree, he hinted to the crowd that he could find the head and feet of the girl, but it was of no avail, for he had scarcely uttered the words when he was dangling in the air. The manner in which he tore the thongs from his hands, and the swiftness with which he climbed the rope for the limb above, showed that he was not prostrated with fear. He had nearly reached the limb, when several pistol shots put an end to his miserable existence. While preparations were being made to hang them, they confessed several dastardly crimes of which they were guilty. Among them were the murder of a United States soldier not long since, at Little Falls, the killing of a lumberman west of this place, last winter, and several others of minor importance. Thus, even if they could be proven innocent of the crime for which they were hung, there was sufficient justification for the strict measures that were carried out by our citizens.

It has been rumored since they were hung, that Miss McArthur is not dead, and has been seen at the Junction; but as this is only rumor there can be no foundation for the statement. The whole tragedy is veiled as deep in mystery as ever, and as the thing now stands, there is no hope of the true facts of the case ever being brought to light. And thus, by taking the lives of the only persons who are supposed to know her whereabouts, the fate of the unfortunate girl may forever remain a mystery—a hidden thing—and pass into history as one of those strange, unaccountable disappearances, which sometimes, but not often, have to be recorded.” (Brainerd Tribune, 27 July 1872, p. 1, c. 6)


That our usually quiet and orderly town has of late undergone a convulsion or convulsions of excitement, no one who has been here can deny. The eyes of the whole country have been attracted hither, and the press far and near has led off its startling news columns with “The Latest from Brainerd!” There has been columns upon columns written, and a few heard of, and a thousand and one unheard of things recorded of our town, which will pass down to posterity, and eventually, we presume, be taken as historical facts. The reporters from St. Paul, in particular, seem to have taken the opportunity presented by the recent “scare” from Indians hereaway, as the occasion for giving vent to their pent up inwards for exciting news—war, bloodshed and carnage—and some of them have apparently thrown themselves entirely away, and shown to the world their entire calibre. They will doubtless undergo now a siege of nervous prostration, and for a time the Metropolitan journals will be dry and “barren of anything interesting,” to the minds of all lovers of sensation. Of late, if a man “stubbed his toe” in Brainerd, the fact was duly “specialed,” and by the time the electric shock reached St. Paul the convulsion was awful and flash-headed columns appeared in the dailies, announcing that John Smith got drunk, fell against another man, whereupon a fight ensued, joined in by friends of both sides, following which a riot ensued, several men killed many wounded, a few of the ring leaders hung, and—and—yes, Brainerd was consequently in her wonted glory.

The description recently contained in the Press about Brainerd, her gay saloons, dance houses and gambling palaces, was an imaginary picture, most extravagantly colored, and when we come to know, by reading that account, that we lived, moved, and edited a paper in such a wonderful center made up of all that is surpassing in sin, shame, gaiety, beauty, pistols and “awful enterprise,” we scarcely could believe our senses. That was one of the many wild-headed, nonsensical extravaganzas that have lately been enacted at the expense of our beautiful and really enterprising and law-abiding young city of the pines.

So much, and so many things, have lately been said of our town, that we have not time to refute them in detail, but simply lump them off as being—at least nine-tenths of them—idle tales, in point of truth, and only written with a view to have as well-painted and reckless a yarn as the most dare-devil of their contemporaries.

The attempt of some of the St. Paul papers to magnify the trouble that occurred at the Hotel Svea on Saturday night last, and draw exact lines between the right and the wrong, was another instance where they allowed themselves to say too much where they knew too little. To be sure there was a disturbance as indicated; but that it was “the railroad men of the Northern Pacific against the Swedes of Brainerd,” is untrue. That there were both Swedes and railroad employees engaged and drawn into the disturbance, we believe. But that there was any general and premeditated uproaring between the two, we do not believe. It was simply one of those unfortunate and unexpected disturbances that occasionally mar the quietness of all communities, both old and new, and which of course is deplorable, under any circumstances—one that was brought on by a few, and implicating others. We verily believe that no part of our State, or the Northwest in fact, is blessed with a more quiet, industrious, and law-abiding people than the Scandinavian portion of our population here in Brainerd, with but the fewest individual exceptions. A large proportion of them are among our foremost and most valuable citizens, imbued with the most honorable principles and peaceable instincts. And while, as a class, we can say so much in favor of our Scandinavian fellow-citizens, we can, on the other hand, as warmly endorse the entire corps of the Northern Pacific Railroad men. We have been among, and have known thousands of men employed by railroads, all over the country; and we have to see yet, a more thoroughly generous, straight-forward and upright set of men of any class, trade or profession. There may be individual exceptions, to be sure, as there is in all branches of the human family. But when anyone rises up and classes them, en masse, as a set of rioting ruffians, we are happy, in this instance to be able, in candor, to rise up against such imputations and defend their good name, and replace epithets with words of merited praise. The row referred to, was a row in the common understanding of the term, and nothing more; and no class, as a class, can be arraigned and charged with its character and results. (Brainerd Tribune, 03 August 1872, p. 1, c. 3)


The man who was stabbed in the melee at the Hotel Svea on Saturday evening last, is, we are glad to record, in a fair way to recover, although his wounds were severe and quite dangerous. The one who was shot is also doing well, and will soon be as good as new. We hope no more such misfortunes as that of Saturday night will befall our community in future, and in the time to come, for the love of humanity, “LET US HAVE PEACE.” (Brainerd Tribune, 03 August p. 4, c. 1)

SEE: Mahlum Hotel in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


The execution of the two Pillager half-breeds at Brainerd on July 22d [sic] [23rd], for sale at Thompson’s Gallery Tent, Front street, Brainerd, Minnesota. (Brainerd Tribune, 03 August 1872, p. 1, c. 4)



Editor Brainerd Tribune.

DEAR SIR.—The Weekly Record, Detroit [Lakes], of July 27, and August 3, dips rather heavily in a matter upon which it is either not posted, or willfully misrepresents; and for its benefit we would scribble a few lines, to set it right if it will be set, and at any rate to correct its falsehoods, let them come from whatever source. The articles we refer to are the ungentlemanly attacks in the issues of the Record above referred to upon John Gurrell, Sheriff of this county, touching his proceedings in the late lynching affair here and its connections. In reading the first article we were led to suppose that a false report of the affair had reached the ears of its hasty editor; and, we looked in vain for an apology in the next issue, thinking that another week would be sufficient to supply him with the necessary facts of the case. Instead, however, he has had three spasms of angry spleen during the week, and has given vent to each by a separate editorial in each of which his chief object appears to be to berate “Sheriff Gurrell, the hero of the blueberry war,” as he is pleased to call him. Now for our part we do not know that Sheriff Gurrell cares in the least what the Record says or thinks of him or his official acts, yet we term its attacks ungentlemanly and false, and deem ourself able to sustain the term.

Says the Record, “It was he, who, unadvised by the citizens of Brainerd and without any real or apparent danger from the berry peddlers of Gull Lake, telegraphed to Governor Austin for troops.” Now that is false everybody knows who knows anything about it. There was in reality no immediate danger of trouble with the Indians, nor did Sheriff Gurrell intend or expect to create any such impression by sending to the Governor for troops. The whole sensational aspect of affairs grew out of the unfortunate circumstances entirely beyond the control of either Sheriff Gurrell or Gov. Austin, and the injudicious manner in which the request was made. Now the question arises, did Sheriff Gurrell or someone else send for the troops? Let us review the affair a little. About an hour after the Indians were hung a man came in from the west on a handcar and reported about 400 Indians between this place and Gull River, and stated that they were unusually sullen and restive, and that he met two white men and a number of Indians on a handcar going out from Brainerd at great speed, as he supposed to the encampment of Indians, and that the two white men were men particularly identified with the Indians, and more to be feared. This report spread like wild fire, and coming from a reliable source carried great weight and gave ground for strong suspicions. In consequence a large number of our citizens spent a sleepless night, expecting every moment to hear the war whoop. Judging from the time the two white men and Indians were seen, at such breakneck speed making for the Indian encampment, the conclusion is that they were carrying the message of the hanging of the Indians, and we do not know, even yet, that those Indians were not assembled there for the express purpose of rescuing the prisoners from the mob when they should attempt to hang them, and that they were baffled by the Indians being hung earlier in the evening than they had anticipated. Early the next morning a number of families were making hasty preparations for leaving the town, and they did leave on the noon train.

This came to the ears of Judge Walters, who called in an interpreter, and in company with a number of citizens he interviewed a few Indians who were camping around the town, and finally directed them to leave and go to their reservation, in pursuance with the proclamation of Gov. Austin. They refused to go, saying they had as much right to remain in town as he had. Now what does the Governor’s proclamation direct under those circumstances? Does it order the peace officers to take them by the collar and forcibly compel them to go to their reservations? No. It directs them to call upon him for assistance, which was done. It may be and doubtless was the case that the troops were sent for for the double purpose of having the Indians removed according to the Governor’s proclamation, and to give the people of the town a feeling of security, and thus prevent a stampede. Justice Conant, after consulting Judge Walters, wrote out the dispatch which was received by the Governor from the Sheriff, and signed his own name to it as Justice of the Peace, and started toward the telegraph office with it. On his way there he met Sheriff Gurrell, who was very busy preparing to leave on the next train for the Junction, on some official business, and stopped him in the street. He asked him to sign the dispatch with him. Gurrell was about to do so when some of the bystanders advised that Gurrell sign it alone, and after a little consultation Conant struck his own name from it, and took the dispatch, signed by the Sheriff, to the telegraph office and sent it to the Governor. No one for a moment supposed the State militia would be sent here, but expected that the Governor would order a few soldiers either from Fort Ripley or Fort Snelling to come here and remain a week or so until the excitement died out, and in the meantime carry out the provisions of his proclamation, thinking they might as well eat Uncle Sam’s bread in Brainerd as at the Fort. But the excitement over the lynching affair was far greater in St. Paul than in Brainerd, and taking the Sheriff’s dispatch in connection therewith it was supposed that an Indian outbreak in the fullest sense of the term was about to burst upon us.

When the soldiers reached Brainerd they very soon found their mistake, however, and all returned the next morning, excepting twenty-five, who remained until quiet was restored.

Now we are of the opinion that the thanks of the citizens of Brainerd are not only largely due Governor Austin and the troops who came here to protect us, but also Sheriff Gurrell, for their prompt action in the matter. Therefore we feel proud of them, and it cannot fail to give the people of this vicinity at least, a feeling of security, heretofore not experienced, to know that we have officers so prompt in their duty, and that in case of any future troubles we can so readily be placed in perfect security.

We do not uphold lynch law as a principle, but we do believe that if those two Indians were guilty of the crime alleged against them they were too mercifully treated, and that under the circumstances the law could have found no charge against them, owing to certain technicalities in the law relating to evidence, and they would have gone scot free, emboldened to commit, if possible, fiercer and more brutal crimes. But that Sheriff Gurrell aided or encouraged the lynching of his prisoners, as alleged by the Record, is a falsehood of the basest sort, which, it is hoped by many, its editor shall be obliged to answer in a legal tribunal.

We may ask to trouble you again upon this point, so thanking you kindly, Mr. Editor, for bearing with us in so lengthy communication, we are yours, etc.,


(Brainerd Tribune, 10 August 1872, p. 1, c.’s 4 & 5)


We are informed that some of Pinkerton’s Chicago detectives are in town, supposed to be looking up matters concerning the Indian hanging. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 August 1872, p. 4, c. 1)


We understand that Sheriff John Gurrell has instituted a suit for libel against the editor of the Detroit Record. We commend the perusal of a communication to be found in today’s TRIBUNE to all who wish to know a reliable and exact statement of the entire proceedings of Sheriff Gurrell during the exciting time caused by the hanging of the two Pillager half-breeds at this place, after which they can determine in their own mind as to the propriety of his instituting a suit against the Record for its statements made against his honor and honesty during that exciting time. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 August 1872, p. 4, c. 1)

Dirty Alleys and Things.

A FEW of the alleys and back places in this town are decidedly out of sorts; if a person gets in a hurry and cuts across lots he is treated to a nosegay of a thousand stinks, none of which are desirable, though green flies do flourish muchly in these places. On this side of the bluff, too, just south of where Third intersects Laurel, is another charnel house of offalings which makes that locality a stench to the nostrils. It is a pleasant “lookout” there, but for this fact, and persons in the habit of throwing refuse matter there should stop it or else be stopped. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 May 1872, p. 1, c. 3)


THE work of building, and improving in all ways goes bravely on in Brainerd. The great things being done are so numerous that we can speak of but the more prominent.

E. H. BLY’s new and mammoth store house and public Hall, is among the greatest and most important in the list. This building is fifty feet front and seventy deep—two beautiful storehouses below, a grand public hall in the second story, besides private offices, and a fine room the full length in the attic story, finely adapted for a lodge room. This building has been put up in the most substantial manner, from cellar to attic, and Mr. Bly deserves more than a passing notice for his great enterprise and liberal public spirit, as so prominently and creditably displayed in this fine structure. The location of the building is one of the very finest, too, in the city—on the corner of Front and Sixth, fronting the Headquarters Hotel.

THE Railroad Headquarters building and hotel and its surroundings are being beautified in various ways. A lot of new picket fence has been built, the grounds raked up and cleared away and the offices newly fitted and painted. The hotel office has been furnished with a handsome counter—the design and workmanship of Mr. Doner—which is such a production as would ornament any first class hotel. It was painted by Mr. Foss, one of the champions of the brush in this western country. Mr. Foss, with his crew of artists has also been giving the outside of this mammoth building its final coat this week, and to say the thing has been radically changed in appearance, does not express it; the “Headquarters” really presents an imposing appearance as it now is, compared to what it then was.

Our friends W. W. and B. F. Hartley have also been putting on an extensive addition to the rear of their new store house, (now occupied by Messrs. Brown & Parkinson, grocers, etc.,) two stories high.

MR. P. Greene’s new hotel is also rapidly approaching completion, and is a very fine building.

THERE are probably twenty or thirty other new buildings in course of construction in various portions of town, including very many fine residences; but we have been so closely engaged in the office for the past week, that we are not “posted” as to details.

IMPROVEMENTS and building is so emphatically the order in Brainerd, that should one be absent a week he would scarcely recognize the place on his return.

THE manner in which this place is going ahead is entirely without precedent so far as we ever noticed in any town throughout the western country, in a residence of eighteen years. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 May 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

More Residences, Etc.

Among the large number of very fine residences that have gone up here within the past few weeks, we would mention the two, belonging to Messrs. Cantwell & Perry, of the firm of Cantwell & Co., as being among the best. They are building north of the railroad, near the park, and their residences, which will be similar in architecture, are to be models of neatness and taste.

Sheriff Gurrell is also building a neat residence on lower Fifth street, which is near and similar in style, to Mr. E. R. Perry’s fine residence in that beautiful locality.

A building, designed for a grocery store, is being put up opposite the TRIBUNE office, on Laurel street, by a gentleman from Hastings, whose name we do not remember.

A building, to be a gun shop, is also being put up on Fifth street.

Some fifteen or twenty other buildings have sprang into existence since last week, which we shall try and interview in the future.

The new Immigrant House across the river is about completed, and is one of the finest of its kind in the west. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 June 1872, p. 1, c. 5)



Her Arrival at Brainerd Upward Bound:




And Prepares to “Paddle his own Canoe.”



Julius Chambers owner of the canoe Dolly Varden, ca. 1872.
Source: The Mississippi River and Its Source: A Narrative and Critical History of the Discovery of the River and Its Headwaters, Brower, Jacob Vradenberg, Hill, Alfred James, Harrison & Smith: 1893, p. 166

BRAINERD, June 1.—The canoe Dolly Varden and her crew arrived here this evening by team, eighteen miles from Oak Lake. She is a model of beauty, and a vast improvement upon the Rob Roy pattern of MacGregor. She was built to order by Waters, Balch & Co., of Troy, N. Y., for Charles Chambers, of New York city. Her length is 14 feet, breadth 28 inches, and draft 4 inches. The hull is of paper with cedar deck; weight of boat and rigging, 66 1/4 pounds; crew, 128 1/4; baggage, 16 3/4; and galley, 4 1/2 pounds. She has a strong shear rising from a depth of 10 1/2 inches amidships to 20 1/2 inches at the bow, and 19 1/2 inches at the stern. She is fitted with large air chambers at each end, rendering the boat safe in case of a capsize, and capable of sustaining five men. She is rigged to carry a spreet-sail, jib and mizzen, and is fitted with ample accommodation for eating and sleeping on board. She left New York May 21st.

The Dolly Varden will be provisioned on Monday, and will start with two guides for Lake Itasca, 35 [sic] miles through the woods. One of the famous Beaulieu brothers will act as chief guide. After reaching Lake Itasca, she will start on her trip down the Mississippi. (Minneapolis Tribune, 02 June 1872, p. 1)

The Dolly Varden—From Lake Itasca to New


Mr. Julius Chambers, a young New York journalist was in Brainerd yesterday morning, with his canoe Dolly Varden en route for Lake Itasca, the head of the Mississippi, from which point he intends to perform the voyage through the almost unknown regions of the upper Mississippi, and to continue his trip to New Orleans, thus accomplishing triple the distance ever made by MacGregor among the rivers of Europe. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 June 1872, p. 1, c. 4)


On Monday evening last we received a call from Mr. Chambers, the young New York journalist who passed up a week or so ago for Lake Itasca, from whence he was to follow the Mississippi River from its source to its mouth in his canoe, the Dolly Varden. He stopped over night here and on Tuesday morning continued on his way down the bosom of the Father of Waters. He is a young enthusiast, and assured us that in his six [sic] hundred miles float from Itasca to this place he had gathered materials for one of the grandest books ever written; but we doubt it, muchly! (Brainerd Tribune, 22 June 1872, p. 4, c. 1)


—Brainerd and its Vicinity a Climate for Invalids—



Front Street, ca. 1871. A 1940x1387 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

This town is 127 miles from Duluth, a place where eighteen months ago, there was not a white inhabitant within a radius of fifteen miles; now there are 2,000 inhabitants. About 1,200, perhaps, are connected with the Northern Pacific railroad and its enterprises, directly or indirectly.

Headquarters Hotel, ca. 1871.
Source: Minnesota Historical Society

We had less realization of being in a wilderness when we stepped into a large, well-kept hotel, and dined on all the luxuries, gotten up in variety, that we could have obtained in the East; served with a little less conventionality and more dash, perhaps, but better in keeping with the condition of hungry travelers in a new country. Then the pretty Episcopal church, a “gem” to its founders; a Baptist church, which was fine, and all classes of stores in block; a bank with a rough pine desk and portable safes, seemed new and rustic, but it looked courageous. Our surprise was greater when we stepped into a book-store, in partnership with a grocer, conducted by one man, to find most of the monthly magazines, and many of the current novels of to-day.

Bly’s Store on the left, Front Street looking west, ca. 1872.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

It was not a little surprise to walk from this fine hotel to the business street through a thick grove of tall forest pines, swaying with the usual refrain of pines, and finding the regularly cut streets lined with double rows of the same. Lots on this street are selling at fifteen dollars per foot. Lumber and the lumber interests make the principal business here. The car manufactories of the railroad company, established at Brainerd, are immense and in most active operation

The climate here is superb in a sanitary view. There are no long rains, but frequent showers; no fog, but a clear, dry, electric air, which demands a great deal of eating, but no medicine. The class of inhabitants are made up largely of the same material that constitutes pioneer settlements the world over; rough, daring adventurers. There seems always to be enough of the better element to keep the balance from sinking a place. Here we met the gentlemanly superintendent of the road, C. P. Robert, who is a power in this new west; also, we made the acquaintance of Dr. Thayer, a character full of rare and extensive information, who, with our friend [George] Bracket, was with the first party of explore this great line of railway; this line which now in less than three years as far as it is finished, 230 miles from Lake Superior, is unquestionable in all its qualities. The road-bed is in as fine condition as any railroad in the United States.

Beyond this point is a more prairie country; more opening up of beautiful farms, with little lakes enough for every farm. If any one doubts this, visit Minnesota. Massachusetts people have found their way in here during the last year, and emigrants are pouring in with great rapidity. (Democrat and Chronicle, 12 June 1872, Rochester, New York


Last Wednesday was an exciting day among the sports and others. Two foot races, twenty dollars a side, and a horse race over the same track forty rods, where fifty or a hundred dollars changed hands, came off, and were witnessed and enjoyed by the “masses” equally well with Burke’s daily dog and bear fight on Fourth street. One of the pedestrians won the races and the money, and the other didn’t; and the same may be said of the horse race. The day closed in the evening, as a matter of course; but during the closing scene the bear-dog fight was witnessed by four or five hundred men, considerable “benzine” [whiskey] was punished, and thus the 12th of June wound up in Brainerd, barring the evening amusements on Front street. (Brainerd Tribune, 15 June 1872, p. 1, c. 6)

The glorious old “Fourth” for the year 1872, is close at hand, and now, what shall the sons of Revolutionary Sires sojourning at Brainerd, do to commemorate that eventful day? While the blaze of civil war racked the country, during the late discrepancy between the States, the Fourth of July was rather lost sight of, and for a time it seemed to be “sinking, sinking, slowly sinking, from those dreams so pure and holy,” in the hearts of Americans. We, for one were sorely pained because of this fact, but now we have to rejoice again to see that its memory is revived all over the country, and that it has almost resumed its old endearment in the hearts of America’s noble patriots. The papers from every quarter are laden with the programmes for a magnificent reception of the Fourth. And now, by St. Paul, let the work go bravely on in this quarter! Let us not lag in the rear, but let us contrarily to that, do something smart, patriotic, noble, good and noisy. Let every one of the two thousand people in Brainerd run their hand down deep into their pockets and disentomb from the depth thereof a goodly quantity of that filthy lucre for the cause. What do we live for but to enjoy life in a proper manner? And an American citizen, whether native or foreign born, who will refuse to bring forth a proportionate sum of money, and enjoy himself with his fellow citizens, on the Fourth of July, couldn't enjoy life even on the gallows, and shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy it anywhere.

Let us have a meeting!

Let us appoint a committee!

Let funds be raised!

Let orators be selected!

Let a grand pic-nic be had!

Let officers be appointed to keep order!

Let us eat, drink and be merry!

Let business be suspended!

Let us have fire works in the evening!

Let us wake up the Natives!

Let us jar these pine groves with something new!

(Brainerd Tribune, 22 June 1872, p. 1, c. 3)


The regular evening bear and dog fight to which our citizens have been treated for a month or two past, came near a fearful termination the other evening. The owner had “seen his friends” quite often during Friday afternoon last, and was not in good order to train his pet. He undertook to cuff Bruin, and Bruin hit his friend. He determined to pay Bruin for taking this liberty, and tied him to a pine tree to chastise him. Making sure that he was securely tied, and giving him but about five feet of chain and rope, the keeper took an eight foot, two by four board and began belaying him. Bruin howled and winced at the first two or three blows, but then began to show fight. His master was not quite quick enough to get out of his way, and about the first jump Bruin felled him. His claws having been cut, however, he could not hold on, and the keeper escaped only to renew the attack with redoubled spite and vigor. Bruin came to time, though, and after two or three attempts fastened on and threw his master down; and but for the crowd who rushed in, would have severely bitten him, for he took good hold of his leg and began the gnaw and shake business. A sober man may control a yearling he bear at this time of year, but he must be sober to keep out of the way of the rage he excites. (Brainerd Tribune, 22 June 1872, p. 1, c. 6)

SEE: 1928 Young Brainerd


The Fourth street bear and dog fight opened again on Thursday evening last by a brilliant set to. Bruin has been enjoying a vacation for a couple of weeks, and opened up his second term in excellent trim, covering himself with glory for his great valor among the swarm of dogs. He made one dog very sick during his first appearance, and the entertainment was witnessed by about 500 men. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 July 1872, p. 4, c. 1)


Burke’s bear got loose from his fastening on Sunday evening last, and made an onslaught on that end of town in the vicinity of Fourth street. Old bruin was considerably fractious, and went for things and people generally around the corners in that section. He gave two men with whom he came in contact, a lively old hug, and was about to come down Laurel street, probably to subscribe for the TRIBUNE, when the populace commenced shooting him, and after some ten or a dozen bullets had been lodged in his body, and a monstrous knife had been inserted into his ribs a foot or two, he passed in his checks and drew out of the game of life. Bear steaks were plenty during Monday morning, and this was the end of Burke’s bear, who had fought all the dogs in Brainerd, singly and together, a hundred times, for the edification of our citizens. (Brainerd Tribune, 28 September 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

Ho! for the Fourth of July!

Grand Fireman's Picnic

On Fifth street, North of R. R.



PROGRAMME.—At 9 A.M. Grand turnout, with full Band for the grounds. At 10 A. M. Dancing commences for which special preparations, on a very liberal scale, have been made. At 11 A. M. The Declaration of Independence will be read, followed by speeches suitable to the occasion by prominent speakers—both local and from abroad.

Afternoon.—Horse, Foot, Sack, and Wheelbarrow Races, and Target Shooting, for Purses.

In the Evening, an exhibition of the “Manly Art of Self Defense,” Gymnastics and other amusements. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 June 1872, p. 1, c. 2


New Yorkers all know what Cronk beer is. It is a thin but pleasant and healthy beverage, which strains hard on the cork, and hurries out of the bottle. It is composed of roots and herbs, much the same as the root beer your grandmother used to have in the brown earthen jug in the old stone spring house. It is good and healthful, and won’t make the drunk come. After saying so much on the subject generally it may be proper to add that Messrs. Alex. McKenzie & Co., of Brainerd, having a neat little factory on the corner of Fourth and Laurel streets for that express purpose. It may be had by the bottle or glass at any well kept saloon, and no saloon is well kept without it. It is a popular beverage. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 July 1872, p. 1, c. 5)


Trudell & Aylmer's Pop Factory is still alive. Let anyone that has forgotten they have any, call at any saloon in the town and try some of his new pop, and they will never forget it again These enterprising gentlemen have also started a cronk beer factory, and are now ready to supply the town with a delicious, wholesome, and nonintoxicating beverage. We trust they will do well in their new enterprise. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 July 1872, c. 6)

ED. R. FRENCH, of this place, has established a factory for the manufacture of the celebrated Cronk Beer, and is now prepared to furnish retail dealers on the line with that beverage in any quantity, at low rates on short notice, and first class article. (Brainerd Tribune, 11 March 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

[Written for the Brainerd TRIBUNE.]

BRAINERD, July 2, 1872.

‘Twas Autumn, and the leaves were dry,

And rustled on the ground,

And chilly winds went whistling by

With low and pensive sound,

As through the graveyard’s lone retreat

By meditation led,

I walked with slow and cautious feet,

Above the sleeping dead,—

Three little graves, ranged side by side,

My close attention drew;

O’er two, the tall grass, bending, sighed,

And one seemed fresh and new.

As, lingering there, I mused a while,

On death’s long, dreamless sleep,

And opening life’s deceitful smile,

A mourner came to weep.

Her form was bowed, but not with years,

Her words were faint and few,

And on those little graves her tears

Distilled like evening dew.

A prattling boy, some four years old,

Her trembling hand embraced,

And from my heart the tale he told

Will never be effaced.

“Mamma, now you must love me more,

For little sister’s dead;

And other sisters died before,

And brothers too, you said.

Mamma, what made sweet sister die?

She loved me when we played.

You told me if I would not cry,

You’d show me where she’s laid.”

‘Tis here my child, that sister lies,

Deep buried in the ground;

No light comes to her little eyes,

And she can hear no sound.”

Mamma, why can’t we take her up,

And put her in my little bed?

I’ll feed her from my little cup,

And then she won’t be dead.

For sister’ll be afraid to lie

In this dark grave to-night,

And she’ll be very cold and cry,

Because there is no light.”

“No, sister is not cold, my child,

For God, who saw her die,

As he looked from heaven and smiled

Received her to the sky.

‘Let little children come to me,’

Once our good Saviour said,

And in his arms she’ll always be,

And God will give her bread.”

And then her spirit quickly fled

To God, by whom ‘twas given.

Her body in the ground is dead,

But sister lives in heaven.

“Mamma, won’t she be hungry there

And want some bread to eat?

And who will give her clothes to wear

And keep them clean and neat?

Papa must go and carry some,

I’ll lend him all I’ve got.

And he must bring sweet sister home

Mamma, now must he not?”

“No, my dear child, that cannot be;

But if you’re good and true,

You’ll one day go to her; but she

Can never come to you.”

(Brainerd Tribune, 06 July 1872, p. 4, c. 1)


On Wednesday, July 3d Geo. A. Morrison, Geo. N. Bardwell, and Chas. Ahrens, in pursuance of instructions from Governor Austin and commissioned in due form from the State department, proceeded to organize a new county on the west bank of the Mississippi opposite Brainerd. The name of the county is Cass; its metes and bounds we do not know, but presume it takes in about 50 miles square, and we know that it embraces our favorite fishing ground, Gilbert Lake. The only knowledge we have is of a record character. Dr. A. Barnard was appointed Register of Deeds; Chas. A. Ruffy [sic], Auditor; Richard Ahrens, Treasurer; Frank F. Keating, Coroner; C. T. Moore, Sheriff. The county is now fully fledged and officered so as to do any business which the settlers may need, and make such records as the forms of law require to be made for the security of land holders. To make matters “more binding” the commissioners appointed our talented townsman, Mr. T. F. Knappen, County Attorney, and all matters of question relative to Cass county and its inhabitants must be brought to his office. He is in every way competent and trustworthy, and the new county, in depending on him for legal guidance “cannot materially err.” (Brainerd Tribune, 06 July 1872, p. 4, c. 1)


A little Swede girl was severely hurt on Fifth street a few evenings ago, while indulging in that too common practice of hanging on the rear end of passing wagons. She was swinging on the wagon, and in some way got her leg through between the spokes of the wheel, and her body drawn in between the wheel and the box. Her cries were frightful, but fortunately the team was only walking and the driver was prompt in stopping, otherwise the child would doubtless have been crushed to death. The child was promptly relieved and carried home, where it was discovered that although no bones were broken she was very severely bruised in several places. This severe accident should put an end to this practice so frequently indulged in by our little folks, and should be considered as a warning, both to children and parents. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 July 1872, p. 1, c. 4)



Captains George Houghton and A. R. Russell, left Aitkin on their regular July trip to Pokegama Falls yesterday. They will return the last of next week. It has been suggested among our citizens that a party of ladies and gentlemen of Brainerd charter her, on her return, to make an excursion trip to Pokegama Falls and back, taking in Sandy Lake on her way back, sailing all around it, and giving the excursionists a seven days’ trip through a country that no white woman ever saw, at least, and but comparatively few white men. The boat, for the seven days’ trip, will be furnished and manned by the gentlemen above named for about $200—the excursionists furnishing their own provisions for the trip. It is proposed to get up about fifteen or twenty couples, which would bring the expense down to a mere trifle, when considering the great extent of the trip, and besides the great benefits to be derived by all the participants. Such a trip into the romantic depths of the country on the upper Mississippi would be a treat in pleasure never to be forgotten. A splendid string band would accompany the expedition, and the craft would be entirely occupied and controlled by the passengers.

We received a dispatch on Thursday evening from Capt. Houghton, asking us to let him know by telegram on his return to Aitkin, as to the progress of the party, and if made up by Thursday next he would place his boat and crew at their disposal. Hence, parties wishing to register themselves and ladies for the trip, had better report to us at the TRIBUNE office that we may be able to communicate with Captains Houghton and Russell on their return. Particulars will also be given in regard to the details of the excursion. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 July 1872, p. 1, c. 6)


Mr. W. M. Falconer, the assessor for this town has left blanks with every property holder in the city, and he requests us to say that he desires to have them filled up by Tuesday next, as he will be around again to collect them in on that day, and make his returns. He cannot wait longer, and anyone who fails to fill out the blank left them by Tuesday, must trust to his estimate of their property—which he hopes will not be the case, as he does not wish to pass upon their property, which would give him much extra labor, and more of a responsibility than he cares to assume if it can be avoided. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 July 1872, p. 4, c. 1)


To the Editor of the Minneapolis Tribune:


The Lyman P. White house built in November 1870 and thereafter enlarged as seen in this photo, ca. Unknown. A 1804x1227 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

the first station of any importance on the main line of the railroad. And this place, wonderful in its growth and possibilities, invites a more intimate acquaintance. We alight at a long two story wooden building, built and owned by the railroad, and used as the headquarters of the Division offices, and for the residence of their families, and as a passengers’ eating-house. This flourishing town of Brainerd now numbers from twelve hundred to 1,500 inhabitants. It was first laid out by the Lake Superior & Puget Company—an association of capitalists interested in the purchase and development of lands along the line of the road. Mr. Lyman P. White, the gentleman who represents them here, built the first house in the place in November 1870. Now, on either side of the track, are streets lined with well-built houses and stores. The location of Brainerd is singularly beautiful; situated on a plateau sixty feet above the Mississippi river, well shaded by pines, it covers about 1,000 acres of even, level land. As one stands at the railroad depot and looks down the straight avenues hewn through the pines, the effect is striking and pleasant.

Episcopal Church, ca. 1871.
Source: Northwest Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Volume VI, Number 7, July 1888, E. V. Smalley, Editor and Publisher

A beautiful Episcopal church has recently been built there, principally by the liberality of Jay Cooke, and a Congregational church of tasty [sic] exterior will, during the coming season, be erected at the expense of Gov. Smith the President of the Railroad. It is surely a pleasant token of the policy of the leading men of this large corporation, to see such judicious and generous liberality. There are now three saw mills in operation there, and ere long the railroad company are to build a large one for their own use. Some gentlemen from St. Paul are now putting up an iron foundry where many of the castings for the railroad will be made. Aside from the trade which the employment of so many men in the car shops, (of which I will presently speak more fully), Brainerd has no small share of business in the selling of supplies to the numerous logging camps located above on the river. Indeed the Fall and Winter are its busiest seasons. But as the location of the N.P.R.R., shops is the greatest means of its growth, let us examine a little more fully into what has been done, and what the future business. Instead of the present station building (which must be at least 100 feet in length and 30 feet in width, with 2 1/2 stories,) there are now plans at the office of Mr. Lyman Bridges—builder for the road—which are to be carried out at once for a building 150 feet in length—fronting the track—50 feet deep; with a central tower projecting from the front of the building, and four smaller ones on each corner. [This new building is the passenger depot.] It is to be three stories in height, with brick basement, and will contain spacious rooms for all the offices of the road, with commodious waiting rooms for passengers. One characteristic feature of its arrangements, which again reflects the ideas of the leading men of the company, is a large hall for the use of the employees and for a library to which they can have free access. Architecturally this building will eclipse any railroad station of Minnesota, and is in pleasing contrast to the niggardly accommodations the older railroad corporations in this State affords for the traveling public. The car shops, about a quarter of a mile below the station, at present cover some forty acres, and give employment of over three hundred men. At a recent visit of the Directors of the Railroad, orders were given for the clearance of the land for a radius of half a mile about the present buildings, which indicates a decision to make large additions. Just above the station, on the West side of the Mississippi, is located a large immigrant building, where those who are unable to make provision for themselves at once, are allowed to stay free of expense. The building is furnished with stoves and other necessary furniture, and is another gratifying evidence of the humane policy of this large corporation. The officers of the Company—location here—headed by Superintendent C. T. Hobart, are a courteous and efficient corps.

We notice the store of our friend E. H. Davie in a flourishing condition.

Having thus given as thorough a glance at Brainerd as the brief time spent there will allow, we will take the train at 1 o’clock the next day, and proceed westward in this land of wonders.


(Minneapolis Tribune, 17 July 1872, p. 2)


Two amateur shoulder-knockers—professionally termed “scrubs,” we believe—had a regular ring tilt on Tuesday last, near the river, north of the railroad track. The innocent pastime was witnessed by about two hundred sports and citizens, and being No. 1 of that class of exercise in Brainerd, a great deal of hilarity was indulged in as they followed the combatants to the field of action, as also on the ground. They stripped to the belt, and after many preliminaries, the knockists entered the ring, shook hands, and struck a position. After considerable sparring and “shape,” the light haired youth went for the black mustache of his man, but on his way thither came in contact with the wrong man’s mauler, when he proceeded to sit down all in a pile. He was severely caught (we believe that’s the term) somewhere in the region of the fifth rib. They both took a little rest, arranged their toilet, and when time was called they again waltzed up, each in front of the other, and set in with considerable show of business. After a good deal of sparring, black mustache waded in, and caught his antagonist somewhere in the left breast, sending him reeling to his corner, and following him up, sent in a couple more blows on his starboard gunwale, doubling him up badly on his way to dirt. He was picked up by his seconds, carried to his corner and repaired. Time was again called, but the light haired pugilist was only able to wriggle into the ring, shake hands, and agree to quit without any additional laurels. Thus ended the first, and we hope the last “entertainment” of the kind in Brainerd; for prize fighting we consider one of the lowest barbarisms of any age. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 July 1872, p. 1, c. 4.


While we hear of dull times down in the towns and cities below here, we have to say that we know nothing of hard times, or a scarcity of either employment or money in Brainerd. Everything is animated, and every man, woman and child seems busy at some honorable employment the livelong day. There are probably 2,000 able bodied men permanently employed in and about Brainerd, and a large proportion of them either have families here or are building neat little residences for their families yet to come. Real estate for the last two months has been steadily on the rise, and hundreds of lots have been bought within the past few weeks by actual residents. Since the announcement that the Brainerd Branch Railroad is to be completed immediately, it is remarkable to see the renewed impetus it has given everything. The beauty of the whole is, that there is no unwarrantable rush at all, but a steady, sound and rapid growth and general development all around. No one fears now, to invest his last cent if need be in property here, as anyone can see with half an eye the permanent solidity of of the growth of our young city. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 August 1872, p. 1, c. 4)


We received a call on Tuesday last from our old Scott county friend, Mr. Hawkins, who was accompanied by a Mr. Lynch, both in from the region round about the remarkable lake above named. These gentlemen have spent the whole summer in that country, in the service of the L. S. & M. Company, platting out the lands of the company in that country. This lake lays some fifteen or twenty miles south-east of Brainerd, and the nearest point on the Northern Pacific to this lake is Aitkin, on Mud river. This river can be navigated, as these gentlemen tell us, by boats of considerable size, from within two or three miles of Aitkin station up the river to within less than two or three miles from the lake. This is a lake that up to the present has been almost unknown to white men, except the meager information obtained by maps. We are informed that the lake is twenty-five or thirty miles across, and containing an area of 200 square miles. Mr. Hawkins has traveled the length and breadth of Minnesota, and looked out upon nearly every sheet of water within this lake bespangled land, and he positively asserts that Mille Lacs is by all odds the most beautiful. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 August 1872, p. 1, c. 4)


A round dozen of the “fair maidens” of the forest emerged from the pine groves in front of our hospitable door the other day, and rather lingered as they gazed with protruding eyes into the open door of the TRIBUNE office. Our presses happened to be going at a galloping gait, and after a few moments one or two ventured to enter, when the other wild beauties followed, but with the most searching caution. They would advance a step, then halt, grunt a little, look down at the floor, up at the ceiling, at the printers and pressmen, and at everything about them in detail. They did not except from their gaze the editor, who sat in dignified majesty on a nail keg, grinding out an editorial of great profundity on the probable convulsion of the putty market in Liverpool, using the inverted end of an empty barrel of flour for a table. One of the younger members of the party had evidently seen another white man besides ourself, judging from her complexion, and she could speak a little English; ascertaining this we questioned her somewhat as to who our distinguished callers might be, where they came from, mostly, what they came for, and if so, how much. We ascertained that her name was Poison Root, and we promptly told her to be a little cautious how she slung herself about the TRIBUNE office if she was “pizen,” for we al’ers poisoned very easy. She said they were all from Pokegama Falls, and came down on a “bust,” and to sell moccasins, blueberries and things. Pointing to the most herculean of the party she said that was her mother, and her name was “Pokegama Moll.” Our big Gordon power press was a regular astonishment to them, and as they gazed at its wonderful motions, their scalp-locks fairly stood on end. They asked us what kind of a railroad we run in here, and we told them that we had been sent here by their great ‘Father’ at Washington to strike with the besom of destruction all bad Indians and Indianesses, and that the powerful machine they were then looking at was an infernal machine, with which we carried on the work of destruction among our enemies. Our manner was very passionate and towering, and just as we had their imagination worked up to its highest pitch of terrified wonder, our very ungallant pressman gave an unearthly “guffaw!” and the last we saw of that batch of callers was away down in the grove their legs scarcely able to keep up with their bodies. “Lo, the poor Indian!” (Brainerd Tribune, 31 August 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

HUBBARD, RAYMOND & ALLEN—ANOTHER BIG ESTABLISHMENT—$25,000 WORTH OF CLOTHING AND GENTS’ FURNISHING GOODS—WHOLESALE AND RETAIL!--The above named firm, who are well and favorably known all along the line of the Northern Pacific as extensive mercantile men, have shrewdly taken advantage of the situation and bought a fine property in Brainerd, on which to locate their grand headquarters clothing emporium. They bought two lots on Front street, adjoining Bly’s, paying two thousand dollars cash, and now a mammoth two story building, is being put up with lightning speed under the leadership our friend, S. E. Doner, Esq., who has the contract. Mr. Raymond started for the East the same day of the purchase, and inside of THIRTY DAYS from that time this firm will have their building completed, and $25,000 worth of fashionable clothing and gents’ furnishing goods on exhibition therein. So, get ready to see the sights, and DON’T BUY YOUR SUITS till this establishment opens. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 September 1872, p. 1, c. 5)


Wild Rice Harvest, ca. Unknown.
Source: Postcard

All day last Sunday our streets were made lively by about fifty or sixty Chippewas, in their war paint and breech-clouts, engaged in a regular series of dances, and pow-wows generally. Of course there were two or three—probably five—hundred spectators to the scene, and the series of dances were kept going a good share of the day. Their music consisted of a tom-tom, or Indian drum, which was beat, tump, tump, to the time of the dances. They had their war clubs, knives, etc., and some of the timid felt as though there was to be another “corner” formed in the blue-berry market, some time during the following night, but no more than the usual disturbances were noticeable. During Monday they sold their cranberries, bought some things, including a greater or less quantity of “wet groceries,” and returned to their camps, in excellent “spirits”—poor things. (Brainerd Tribune, 28 September 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

The Sheriff informs us he has the census of our town nearly completed. The following are the results: Total taken, 2,217; number of families, 161; children who should be in school, 304; unmarried girls, 64. (Brainerd Tribune, 05 October 1872, p. 4, c. 1)

WHERE in the name of common sense is that City Government, so much talked of and so urgently needed? has it gone to look after that School Fund? The census was completed long ago, the petition is ready, now where is the order for a city election? Let somebody enlighten us—we don’t care who. There are a dozen or two night-howlers about town who want a dose of genuine city government, bad; and many other things, we might mention, need the same thing. “Let us have peace,” and a city government, instanter. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 October 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

GOOD.—Sheriff Gurrell informs us that hereafter the frequent shooting off of revolvers in the streets at night will be stopped. If necessary, arrests will be made by the night Police, in order to suppress this tendency to careless shooting. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 October 1872, p. 1, c. 5)

BRAINERD’S twenty hotels are full of guests all the time. Who says hard times. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 November 1872, p. 1, c. 3)

STREET GARROTING.—Brainerd is not only bound to keep up with Boston, Duluth, New York, and other large cities in the line of “horse disease,” but is bound not to be outdone in the line of scientific robbery, etc., etc. On Monday last a young man named Griffin, of Sauk Rapids, arrived from White Earth, on his way home. Learning that the stage between here and Sauk Rapids had been discontinued, on account of all the stage horses being sick with the epizooty, he set himself about hunting up a private conveyance, (although already after dark) to carry him down Tuesday morning. In his search about town, he came across one James Connolly, who accosted young Griffin saying that he understood he wanted to go down to Sauk Rapids next morning, and, as he had a fine team he would not mind taking him down for a reasonable sum. The bargain was finally closed, and Connolly asked Griffin to go around with him to a barn and see his team; Griffin told him he did not care to see his team, that he presumed his horses were what he claimed them to be, etc. and said he would be ready very early in the morning for the start, and to call on him at the hotel where he was stopping as early as he could. Connolly then asked him to come around to the barn and see his sleigh, as it might be too light for all the luggage, etc.; whereupon the two started for the barn, around behind the St. Paul House, on the alley. When they had got well back into the rear premises, a third party suddenly emerged from cover (who, as afterward proved, was one Mike Horan, a desperate character), when Griffin was set upon and garroted in the most scientific manner. When the two had succeeded in choking him down and until he was helpless and senseless, they proceeded to take his gold watch, and other valuables, including some forty dollars in money, when the villains made off. When Griffin had sufficiently recovered, he made his way to his hotel, and from thence to the home of Sheriff Gurrell, to whom he made his statement. That officer at once accompanied him, and by his description speedily captured the two garroters in a saloon and proceeded to “snatch them,” on a double-quick to the jail, where, in less than an hour after the transaction, they were housed safely for the night. They came up for hearing before Justice Conant, on Tuesday evening, and the examination was concluded Wednesday morning, when Connolly was bound over in the sum of five hundred dollars, and Horan in two hundred dollars for their appearance at the next term of the District Court, in default of which they were remanded to jail. The Sheriff recovered the watch, but the money he did not get. Griffin continued his journey to Sauk Rapids as soon as his examination was over, none the worse, to all appearance, from the severe choking process, known as garroting, through which he passed. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 December 1872, p. 1, c. 3)


Mr. O. G. Wall, editor of the Houston County (Minn.) Journal paid the Northern Pacific country a visit recently, and gives a long and interesting article in his paper relative to what he saw and how he saw it, from which article we copy his impressions of our young “City of the Pines.” He says:

“Brainerd is a town of less than two years growth, yet possessing from 1,500 to 2,000 inhabitants—(our town has about 2,700 of population.—ED.) One will step upon the platform at the depot and stare in amazement at his surroundings. For hours and hours and miles and miles we have traveled through an almost continual forest. In fact for over a hundred miles we have seen evergreens on either hand so dense as to be almost impenetrable by sight. The wildest picture of the imagination would scarcely overreach the unvarnished reality to which we allude; and right in the heart of this peculiarly wild wilderness, we stumble upon the little city of Brainerd, and met men of marked intelligence, who are polished in their manners, thoroughly posted on the doings of the day, and enterprising in spirit. There is nothing peculiar in this, save in the inexpressibly abrupt impression created; for we were aware that such a place as Brainerd existed, and that it was a town of some importance, being the headquarters of the Northern Pacific railroad Company. But it is impossible to reach Brainerd without first discovering some near or remote signs of civilization, we soliloquized only to be disappointed. There are some magnificent structures in Brainerd, for such a youth of a town; but that wild forest look which characterizes the whole country is not yet dispelled, there being scores of tall pines in the business centre of the place, which rear their green tops far above any of the works of art yet constructed. The town is situated on the eastern bank of the Mississippi. The country surrounding Brainerd is a paradise for wild game. Thirty deer were marketed in the place the day we reached it.” (Brainerd Tribune, 14 December 1872, p. 1, c. 6)

A DASTARDLY OUTRAGE.—On Monday night last a shot was fired from the opposite side of the street into the window of the tailoring shop of A. Duffner, Esq., above Wm. Murphy’s store on Fifth street. The tailors were all at their benches, and it is presumed that the shot was intended to end the earthly pilgrimage of the gentleman—Mr. John Wilhelm—who worked in front of the center window. The bullet struck at the base of the window, directly opposite Mr. W.’s bench, but striking the casing, glanced off towards the south window, and went diagonally across the room to the opposite wall. A little boy of Mr. Duffner’s stood exactly in front of where the ball made its first appearance in the room, and had it not glanced off as above, but come straight in, it must certainly have killed the child. Certain parties were arrested on suspicion, but after an examination were discharged. Other arrests have been made, but we do not know that the guilty party has been found. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 December 1872, p. 1, c. 5)

The land improves in appearance, and shows more signs of occupation and tillage as it approaches the Mississippi. On the banks of the mighty river, which cuts the United States in twain, is the town of Brainerd, the most important place west of Duluth. Its appearance is very singular, the streets being merely glades and vistas cut through the forest, which stands in original integrity on either hand. Looking down Main [sic] [Front] St. from the corner of Broadway, we see an extremely wide thoroughfare, in which at the time the sketch was made, were groups of tall pines. On the right hand, elevated above the level is the railroad, running conveniently near to the hotel, restaurant, (twenty minutes for dinner), company, express, freight offices and so forth. To the left, on the southern side, are many stores and houses, of various construction, from the humble pioneer shed with its make believe square front, to the pretentious three story.

Sitting among piles of newly cut ties was a family of the red men, trying to count the stamps for which they had sold their blueberries—incipient effort of bookkeeping. In front of the shanty liquor saloon bearing the appropriate sign “The Last Chance [sic] [Turn], were the trees from which two Indians were hung [23 July 1872] for the supposed outrage and murder of a young white woman....

View of Brainerd from the west bank of the Mississippi River in August 1872.
Source: Alfred R. Waud, Minnesota Historical Society

The prettiest building in the young town is the Episcopal church; a picturesque wooden structure, admirably in keeping with its surrounding. The resident minister, a pleasant unassuming gentleman, somewhat addicted to healthy recreation—on the day we had the honor of an introduction had just finished a little constitutional in the way of a swim of fifteen miles down the Mississippi, and a walk back. The river winds away in beautiful reaches, which have a more romantic appearance from the presence of many Indian canoes, laden with mococks of blueberries. The mocock is a kind of basket of birch bark, holding nearly a bushel, which is usually sold for about two dollars.

Little can be seen of the town from the river, except some shanties and a saw mill. The railroad bridge is a prominent feature in the view, and above it is a rope ferry to West Brainerd, a suburb in embryo. Of the future of the young city who can tell? Is it to be a mere station at which to change locomotives and allow twenty minutes for refreshment, or will it develop into a lively center of business and travel? ...Time will show which is right. (From Duluth to Bismarck in 1872, Alfred R. Waud; edited by Robert L. Reid, Minnesota History, Summer 1994, MHS, pp. 77-79)


Editor’s Note: The following story about Brainerd’s very early days was published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, October 22, 1922. Written by H. L. Bridgman, it told of a visit to Brainerd 50 years earlier and carried the following headlines: “Easterners Found Brainerd Roaring Camp of Vice in Woods 50 Years Ago; Wicked Town with No Future as Rail Center, View Expressed by Visitors, Gambling Open at Dolly Varden Club and Other ‘Joints’; Hanged Suspects.”

Leaving Duluth at 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon, we arrived at Brainerd, “The City of Pines,” 115 miles from Duluth at 7 p. m. Considering that ours was a “wild” train with no right to the track, and orders to keep out of the way of all regular trains, our actual running time was not over four hours.

Our average speed was 30 miles per hour. One section of 20 miles was run in 30 minutes. Yet, an easier or less fatiguing trip could not have been made on any of the roads in the nation.

We shall see and learn more of the road, however, as we go west; only to relieve any anxiety, it may be best to remark that the official examination has not yet begun, and the commissioners, after yesterday’s experience begin to hope that their trip over this “new road in the wild country” may not be so extremely perilous after all.

A year or more ago, and particularly during the construction of the road westward to Brainerd, the junction was the headquarters of all the rough and abandoned characters which clustered and festered along the road, but they have long since disappeared and gone west leaving the junction today, deserted and depopulated.

Brainerd Wide Open

West of Aitkin the lakes which are so numerous and so beautiful in all parts of the state, appear more frequently and the country becomes more sandy.

The lumber is larger and more valuable. The soil is all the way, however, thin and light, and will not for a long time be sought by the emigrant farmers. At least if the stories which they tell here of the splendid prairies to the west are half true.

Brainerd which now enjoys the possession of the headquarters and general offices of the Northern Pacific, stands at the crossing of the road with the Mississippi, and at the junction of the unfinished St. Paul and St. Cloud branch with the main line.

The town is spread over a sand plain, well elevated above the river, and covered with a thick growth of pines. These are of a variety known in Minnesota as the “jack pine.”

We first saw Brainerd at night and the view was both novel and pleasant. The winds sang through the tops of the pines, the lights in the scattered houses twinkled among the trees, and the whole place seemed like a camp in the woods, or one of the cities of fairy tales.

Long dark vistas opened occasionally through the pines, indicating where some of the principal streets had been extended, and the fires burning in the eastern woods lighted up the heavens and threw a poetic color over the whole.

Leaving our car and its company and strolling out to see the town and its life, we soon found evidence that Brainerd pays attention to more practical matters than moony nights and the poetry of the pines.

Front street looking west, ca. Unknown.
Source: Unknown
Front Street looking west from near Fifth Street, ca. 1871. A 850x738 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

The principal street of the town, a long row of everlasting wooden fronts, peculiar to western railroad towns, and hiding cheaper and poorer structures behind, was flaming with illuminated signs and gambling places indiscriminate, and all of which seemed to be doing a thriving business. The arrival of the company’s pay car in the afternoon doubtless had something to do with the busy aspect of the place in the evening.

The most conspicuous and evidently the “highest toned” of the numerous sporting establishment on the streets sailed under the popular name of the “Dolly Varden Club,” and desirous of seeing all the life on the frontier I took personal observations of the place.

The building was a rough, wooden affair, whitewashed inside and the ground strewn thickly with sawdust in lieu of a floor. No attempt of concealment was made, but the gambling was carried on in full view of the street and every passerby.

The first room, entered directly from the street was perhaps forty feet long by twenty wide, and arranged around this at intervals were the tables where the various games were played. A cotton rag bearing in red paint the name of the game going on beneath it, was affixed to the wall above each table and served as a guide to the inquiring speculators.

The games in this room were all of the cheaper and commoner sort—”chuck-a-luck,” “high dice,” and “mustang,” while a new scheme that was called “grant and greedy” attracted little attention and no business. These back woods sports evidently do not bet much on certainties.

In the rear of this large place was a smaller room where the more aristocratic games were dispersed and where the true royal tiger may be met and conquered—if you have the luck. The faro and rough-et-noir tables were well patronized and a crowd of eager spectators throng each group of players.

The company, though largely of coarse material, is however singularly ordered and quiet. No liquor is sold on the premises in compliance with the conditions of the deed by which the site of the building was conveyed, but placards in red announced that “gentlemen will be furnished with refreshments” by the proprietor, for which they will please pay in advance.

On either side of the Dolly Varden are several similar establishments, the bulk of all their business coming, of course, from the employees of the railroad. Usually the stakes played for are small—the dealers will take anything from 10 cents to $50 but somehow in Brainerd, as in all other places, the leeches manage to make large and handsome livings out of the earnings of the working men.

Advance in position and population with a good local government which is near at hand will doubtless drive the gamblers into retirement, if not out of Brainerd. But meanwhile the railroad company might easily protect its employees and the public morals by exercise of its own authority.

Murder Suspects Lynched

Customers pose in front of the Last Turn Saloon, ca. 1885.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

Just across the street from the Dolly Varden is a conspicuous sign announcing the Last Turn Saloon which takes its expressive name from an incident which occurred in front of its doors a few weeks ago.

Some time in August, a murder was committed in the neighborhood town of Crow Wing, and two half-breeds, brothers who were suspected of the crime were imprisoned in the Brainerd jail to await trial. But two or three days had passed when a party of Crow Wingers, aided by some of the “citizens” of Brainerd proceeded one night to the jail, took the culprits, marched them out to the principal streets and beneath the largest pine in town, hung them.

No form of trial was suffered to delay the execution, and but few moments were allowed the wretched to prepare for death. While the ropes were being adjusted to the convenient limb, one of the half-breeds carelessly nodding toward its brother, repeated several times, “He did it,” but except this, there was no confession, no plea for life or mercy.

One of the brothers was elevated first into mid-air, the other looking calmly on, and when the latter’s turn came, he never flinched. In his unconscious struggles, however, he clutched frantically at the swinging body of his brother, and half senseless, began climbing up toward the limb from which they were suspended. This was the signal for a pistol shot from one of the lynchers and faster than they could be counted, fifty bullets were lodged in the bodies of the murderers.

Next morning the bodies were taken down and the formal investigation held to discover the participants in the tragedy and sustain the dignity of the law, the result of which was that the only person who was proved to have been present or to have had anything to do with the affair was the individual who kindly offered a prayer for the poor devils just before they were strung up. And this is why the saloon, in front of which stands the gallows pine, is called “The Last Turn.”

The hopes of Brainerd for the future are based upon the facts which have made it; that it is the official headquarters of the Northern Pacific; that the direct line from St. Paul and the south, up the Mississippi reached its junction with the main line here; that the company’s machine and repair shops are here; that steam navigation of the upper Mississippi begins here and that it is a beautiful, temperate, and agreeable place of residence.

All of these things are undoubtedly true, yet my faith that Brainerd is to realize all that she now hopes is not altogether clear. In the first place the town is artificial, the creature and product of the railroad, and the moment the plans of the corporation changes its life is checked and its growth stopped, as though the Merimac were taken from Lowell or the fishing banks from Cape Cod.

“A very pleasant town,” I remarked to one of the prominent officials who has no land or other speculation on his hands and who looks at things solely with an idea to business, “but there is nothing here which has not been put here and which might not as well have been put anywhere else.” “Just as well anywhere else,” he replied, “and which never ought to have been brought here.”

Skeptical of Town’s Growth

First Congregational Church, donated by J. Gregory Smith, at the northwest corner of 5th and Juniper, ca. 1872.
Source: The Word, a Century with Our Churches, Brainerd, Minnesota 1871-1971

Ex-governor Smith of Vermont may properly be called the father and founder of Brainerd. He gave it the name of his father-in-law, Lawrence Brainerd, the first president of the Vermont Central, has given it a memorial Congregational Church, which is now nearly completed, and had he continued president of the Northern Pacific would have undoubtedly dealt kindly and liberally by the town.

There is no denying the fact, however, that Brainerd is not now the proper and most convenient location for the general office and principal business center of the Northern Pacific.

The officers who are engaged in the daily operation of the road feel this constantly and say so openly and emphatically and one of the most important still disregards ‘orders’ of months standing to remove his headquarters.

He is held responsible for the efficiency of his department, and prefers to disobey orders rather than deprive himself of the absolutely necessary facilities for the discharge of his duties.

The disadvantage of Brainerd as a center of operation and supplies is apparent at a glance, when it is considered that St. Paul, the natural focus of the Minnesota railway system, is two days distant by rail. Duluth is the lake terminus, a day’s journey off that branch to St. Paul.

The Northern Pacific has, however, generous plans for Brainerd which even modified by the new regime will make the place one of the most important along the line. A large building for the offices of the company, two stories of wood and fifty by one hundred and fifty, or nearly that size, is just completing, and will be occupied during the coming winter.

The reason of the selection of Brainerd as the location of the main offices and central headquarters of the company appears nowhere clearly understood. When those who should know most about it are asked, they look wise and say, “The Lake Superior and Puget Sound Land Company had something to do with it.”

Churches and Newspapers

The Mississippi is one of the features of Brainerd, but not one particularly important or impressive. The river at this point is not more than 450 or 500 feet wide, and is deep, dark and slow-moving. The railroad bridge as substantial and permanent as could be, is wholly made of wood. During the summer small boats ply on the river to Pokegama Falls, nearly 200 miles to the north. Above that the river is still navigable for light draught boats almost as much farther. The boats, however, run only at irregular intervals and do but a moderate business.

Brainerd, like Duluth, is well supplied with the means of civilization—churches, schools and newspapers. The Episcopal Church standing in a beautiful grove a little distance north of the station, is a commodious well-finished building tastefully arranged and seating 250 persons.

A silver communion plate bears the name of Thomas H. Canfield of Burlington, Vermont as the giver, and William B. Ogden of Chicago has promised the society a bell for their church. Near the Congregational Church the Methodists are building, and the Episcopalians are about fitting up the former freight office of the railroad company for a day school house.

The leading journal of the town is the Brainerd Tribune, weekly, with 750 circulation and an enterprising manager who came up here from Nashville, Tennessee. A campaign sheet called the Greeley Wave is also issued from the same office by an individual who makes his appearance in his own columns as publisher and proprietor, editor, county auditor, judge of probate, deputy clerk of district court, real estate and insurance agent, liberal candidate for judge of probate, and “will also solemnize marriages.”

The whole force of printers in town consists of two men and a boy, and they work on in contentment, ignorant of the typographical union. Brainerd at present though a city only in name, aspires soon to be one in fact and is preparing for an election under a municipal charter of the last legislature.

She has robbed Crow Wing of the dignity of the county seat, and much nearer the geographical center of the state is ready in her ambition to enter fully organized and equipped to enter the lists with St. Paul for the ultimate possession of the capital

She has a company of state guards, fully organized and equipped and is doing herself a more practical service by raising and training an efficient fire department. Two large manufacturers of lumber are now in full operation and flouring mills are projected for next season. Its stores are well-stocked with all that the demands of the country people require.

Dry goods stores, groceries and household merchandise of every kind retail almost as cheaply here as in St. Paul and Chicago, and have taken from Brainerd though but two years’ old, nearly every privation and deprivation which in the early days attended life on the frontier.

All these indications of thrift and independence, encouraging anywhere, are doubly so in Brainerd whose hold upon the exclusive support and patronage of the Northern Pacific is at best not confirmed.

We have seen the town by night and day and tomorrow we “go west” again, to Moorhead at the end of the Minnesota division, the limit of the state, the Red River of the North. (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 22 October 1922, H. L. Bridgman)

The first school I attended was in a log building close to the flour mill on Front Street near the river. Next I went to school in the Catholic Church (the first one located on 5th Street between Laurel and Maple Streets). The next school I attended was held in the Baptist Church; then I went to the Episcopal Parish School. Soon after I started, the town did not have enough money to maintain it, so it became a "pay-school" and I built fires to pay my tuition:

Christie Dean sat in the seat in front of me. I used to pull her hair. Once she threw a book and hit me in the face. Professor White was there that first year. When snow came, we started snow-balling. I threw one and broke a window. I didn't have money enough to pay for it so I quit school. I remember Miss Ladd was the first teacher in the Episcopal Parish School. She taught in the Sixth Street school later.

We lived right near the Jones' [313 North Tenth Street]. Ernest's mother used to call me that "awful boy" because she heard me swearing at my ox-team. But did you ever drive an ox-team? You know, they'd make anybody swear. I broke twelve acres of land for C. B. Sleeper with that team—for five dollars per acre. I plowed the block between Eighth and Ninth, Front and Laurel Streets for Mr. Sleeper with that same team. He built his opera house in that block. Maud and Blanche Sleeper often used to ride on the ox yoke while I plowed.

The first drugstore in Brainerd was Sherwood's. In 1876 I worked there mixing cough syrup, etc.—I was just a kid then.

The most fun I ever had was when we first began band practice. We were living on a farm three miles south of town then and cold weather or hot, I used to tramp into town carrying my old alto horn. I played in the city band for forty-eight years. I am the oldest living member of the old original city band, under W. Dresskell. I played every brass instrument in the band at various times. Professor William Bartsch, a musician from Germany, played in that band.

There was the time Jack O'Neill shot 'Faker' George" says Mr. Kiebler. "I was standing on the sidewalk, right beside Jake Payne [sic] [Paine], and saw that myself. O'Neill grabbed a big .45 [sic] and shot 'Fakir' George right through the back. Then he yelled, 'There now, heal yourself, you faker.'

When he was twenty years old in 1880, Mr. Kiebler began his service for the N. P. shops and continued for thirty-eight years. He retired in 1930 as supervisor in the locomotive cab shops. (Biography: March 1936; Joseph Kiebler, born 06 April 1860; Crow Wing County Historical Society)

NOTE: The Kiebler family came to Brainerd about 1872.


A “Lo!” Kissing Affair.

We have been aware for some years that among the pale faces a habit or custom was generally indulged in of making New Year’s calls and wishing everybody and his brother a happy New Year, etc. But on Wednesday morning we and our household were somewhat taken back when into our cottage door some six or eight stalwart savages and as many squaws came boldly in and after a few emphatic grunts and some eloquent pow-wowing, they commenced a systematic series of kissing; all hands and the cook, was approached in rotation and received a rousing kiss on the cheek from each, from the greatest to the smallest, including the little ones of our household, and some lady visitors. It is needless to say that although inured to a life among the savages of the border, this proceeding on their part caused no little surprise on the part of all—for we never before knew that the poor untutored savage knew the difference between New Year’s day and any other day. After getting all through their kissing business, they seemed to tarry with patronizing smiles, and our better half gave them a piece of cake and some pie, each, which they received amid grunts of approbation, and soon retired as they came, with signs of well satisfied pleasure. They were dressed in their finest toggery, and painted to kill, with all their implements of war, etc., slung on promiscuously. If anyone can solve this singular phenomena, they can beat us in the line of unraveling mysteries. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 January 1873, p. 1, c. 3)

Something for People to Read.

BRAINERD, JAN. 20TH, 1873.

How often we hear the sad and shameful story of white men bringing girls of their own color and blood to disgrace and ruin, but let us for a moment turn our attention to the treatment the girls of mixed-blood received from some of these men, who pass off to the world to be honorable and respectable.

Imagine a bright, black-eyed dusky maiden, in the full bloom of youth and hope, tagged after by one of these men, until at last, by fair promises, he obtains her consent to live together as man and wife; then comes the yellow-haired little one, but only to suffer disgrace and neglect of that brutal parent, who takes the first opportunity to skedaddle and leave mother and child to take care of themselves.

By all outward appearance, these men are perfection. They are kind to other women. They smile sweetly to other children. To hear them talk, everything that concerns a girl of mixed-blood is a perfect pollution to them, while at the same time they are running their toe-nails off after them. They would not for worlds do anything that is not manly. Oh, no they never encourage vice of any kind, I am sorry to add, there are some females who profess to be ladies, that consider it an honor to ride and associate with these white-skinned brutes, and glory in having them slang and abuse these girls.

Once in a while these things in human form come in contact with civilized squaws; which perplexes them so of times that causes them to tremble a little, like Belshazzar of old. No wonder their hair turns gray before they are thirty; for what tokens of commiserations would be deemed equal to express their wretched and guilty consciences (if they have any). Would it suffice for the sun to veil his light, and the moon her brightness, and cover the Heavens with sackcloth?—They well know that such treatment to women belongs not to the high type of Christian civilization, but to those dark ages when women sought nothing holier than the gratification of the passions of men, and were content to be mere toys and slaves.

These men only daddle with life. They are never in earnest. They have lovely children to care for, and other bosom ties, perhaps equally tender. Where an individual only suffers by the consequence of his own thoughtlessness, indolence and folly, he may be excusable; nay, shining abilities and some of the nobler virtues may half sanctify a heedless character, but when God and Nature have entrusted the happiness of others to his care, where the trust ought to be sacred, that man must be far gone in selfishness, or strangely lost to human reflections, whom these connections will not rouse to exertions.

I hope what I have written will be duly appreciated by the class for whom it is especially intended.


(Brainerd Tribune, 25 January 1873, p. 1, c. 6)


There is a large camp of Chippewas east of the city on the railroad. Everyday there are scores of them in town, seeing what they can do in the way of begging, etc. It has been noticed by many of our citizens of late that these poor untrained denizens of the forest were in need of something to live on, and have given odds and ends to those who happened to come to their doors. On Thursday, however, the principal chief in the camp—old Washington, who is said to be a very worthy man of the kind—accompanied by two subordinate chiefs, came into town and interviewed some of our merchants, through an interpreter, in this wise:—

He said the winter was unusually severe; the weather very cold, and the snow in the woods very deep; his people could neither hunt nor trap to any advantage; they had for some time been short of provisions, and that although they were comfortably enough off for clothing, they were now entirely destitute of provisions, and, in short, starvation was staring them in the face. He said they were all anxious to do something or anything to pay for some provisions that they could do; that he had struck upon but one plan, however, that seemed possible with them to pay the white folks for a supply of provisions, and that was to get the use of one of the largest halls in town, and give the white people a regular genuine war dance; he said that it was entirely unusual for his people to perform the war dance in the presence of the whites, but necessity had driven him to the determination to give it if the whites would give them provisions; or something to buy them with; if he could get the use of a hall he would get the very best warriors he had, and a full line of Indian musical instruments, and give the people a genuine full fledged war dance, and they might either give money for admission to the hall, or bring something they could eat—for something to eat they must soon have, or starve.

This was a pretty good plan of old Washington’s, but it is doubtful whether any of our citizens would take enough interest in the matter to assist him in carrying it out. That the poor natives are actually suffering, there is scarcely a doubt; and the old Chief’s reasons for this state of things among them are good ones and true. Would it not be a kindness, and a charity well bestowed, for a committee of our citizens to go around and collect flour, etc., or the equivalent, and give it to the old Chief for distribution in his camp? It would not be best to give them money, but let the committee invest any money collected, in provisions, and relieve the sufferings of these Indians until the snow partially disappears and they can go to trapping.—We cannot allow them to go about even half starved, right in sight of plenty. We for one will be delighted to give liberally toward relieving the pressing wants of these poor creatures. Who will assist? (Brainerd Tribune, 02 February 1873, p. 1, c. 4)


During the many years we have lived in the Western country, it has been our lot to see many settlements made in the heretofore unsettled country. Many of these settlements have grown into villages, towns and cities. Some of them possessing all of the necessities and advantages of a Metropolis.

In all of the places referred to, it has been an inevitable fact that there dwelt among the LIVE men of the place a few “croakers”—men without ambition, or of careless thought, who predicted all sorts of disastrous consequences of investing money in property—that the town, then in its infancy, was in its prime—had seen its palmy days—that it had no advantages, and no future prospects, and so on, ad libitum.

We occasionally meet a “croaker” in Brainerd who makes like prophesies for the young, growing ‘City of the Pines.’ We cannot believe that these predictions will be verified, and see no foundation or basis upon which to build such opinions. It is true that “times are dull,” “money is tight,” and the “present” is dark and gloomy. It is the history of all towns, which spring into existence as rapidly as has Brainerd. A reaction on the first “hurrah” occasioned by immigration, the construction of railways, and the abundance of money, accompanying such enterprises. The reaction is healthy as a general thing, and those men possessing energy, pluck, and nerve, will hold on, work hard, and in the end realize a handsome business, and handsome fortunes, and build up a handsome city.

New York, Chicago, St. Paul, and other cities of large population, and immense capital and traffic, have, and are still experiencing the same dearth of business, the same want for money to carry on business that Brainerd is now experiencing.

It is no unusual occurrence that “times are hard, or money tight,” and we see no reason for a depression of spirits, or a want of confidence in the future of Brainerd on that account.

Spring is rapidly approaching, and with its coming, business will renew, all its channels will be bustling, active, and remunerative; and then will be forgotten the ordeal through which Brainerd, as well as other cities throughout the country, have passed, during the winter of 1873.

Hang on, keep a stiff upper lip, have faith in the City of your adoption, look ahead, build up, and take our word for it, you will have no reason to regret it. (Brainerd Tribune, 08 February 1873, p. 1, c. 3)


A terrible tragedy occurred at the Shades billiard Hall, of this place, on Wednesday evening last, whereby one Patrick Egan lost his life. It appears that he and a man named Jesse E. Wilson, (son of J. P. Wilson, of St. Cloud), were engaged at a game of cards—five cents ante—and after playing for some time a dispute arose as to which had won the stakes, which by this time had increased to two dollars. Finally a full-fledged quarrel came about, and blows soon followed. The two clinched, and during the scuffle Wilson drew a revolver from his pocket and fired. The bullet took effect in the upper portion of the forehead of Egan, who dropped dead without uttering a word. Before anything could be effectually done either to separate them or detain Wilson after he fired, he escaped through the back door and fled southeastward toward the river. Very soon the police were at the scene, and a party of citizens started in pursuit. Hand cars were dispatched east and west on the line, and a team was sent to Crow Wing. The snow in the woods being very deep, it was evident that he would strike for some road. The party who followed him, however, (consisting of Messrs. McInnis, Hamilton, and several other men) overtook him on the river, some two miles below the city, and brought him back. The sad affair occurred at 5 1-2 o’clock in the evening. He had his examination before a justice court at 12 o’clock the same night, and Sheriff Gurrell started with him to St. Paul on the early morning train; he will be kept in the Ramsey County jail, until the sitting of the Court here. The parents of Mr. Egan live in St. Paul, whither his remains were sent. He was a young man, and had for the past year been night dispatcher of engines at the round house. The occurrence cast a deep gloom over our new city, and it is the first death occasioned by the pistol in our history—and we can only pray it will be the last. The prisoner claimed he did not intend to shoot Egan, but that he only drew his pistol to frighten him, and that the discharge of the weapon was accidental. The courts will decide that. (Brainerd Tribune, 15 February 1873, p. 1, c. 4)


The case of young Wilson for the killing of Egan in this city a year ago was finally disposed of last night at the Special Term of the District Court, Judge McKelvy, now in session here. The prosecution on the part of the State was conducted by Attorney General Geo. P. Wilson and County Attorney Geo. W. Holland. The defense was managed by Col. Flint, of St. Paul, Capt. L. W. Collins, of St. Cloud, and J. W. Steel, D. O. Preston, and C. B. Sleeper, of Brainerd. The case was opened by Holland and closed by Wilson, on the part of the State. Defense opened by Steel and summed up by Flint. Yesterday the jury retired at about 3 o’clock p. m.; and at ten o’clock they returned a verdict of “NOT GUILTY!” The very late hour to which we have waited in order to get the verdict for this issue, prevents us making any further notice of this important case at the present time.

P. S.—The Court adjourned at 9 o’clock this morning. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 January 1874, p. 1, c. 6)


A dead Indian or two have been lying about the suburbs of town for a week or two past, and it would seem as though our authorities should see that they are buried, or done something with. The one that was stabbed and killed north of the track near Sixth street, was left lying there by the Indians when they moved to another location a fortnight ago, and those who saw it the first of the week say it was very offensive, owing to the mild weather. Either the Indians or someone else had endeavored to burn the body. The legs and arms had been burned off, but the trunk still remained, in a charred and outlandish condition, and is probably there yet. We hear of others who are lying about in the neighborhood, who have either been killed or died. The one who was stabbed last week reached Gull Lake before he died. A child that died out in one of the camps recently, is wrapped up like a mummy and rests in the branches of a tree out on the Gull Lake trail.

We should like to say about as much as is contained in an unabridged dictionary in condemnation of the “Indian business,” or, in other words, about the Indian policy pursued generally by the government in relation to the Indian tribes that live adjoining the white settlements, and the policy as it refers to the Chippewa Indians in Minnesota in particular. The same sort of patching up, petting up, and almost intolerable toleration is visible here as we witnessed in the management of the Sioux, on the Minnesota River, previous to 1862—when they were removed west of the Missouri River. The same sort of bungling botches, apparently, have the management of the Chippewa nation who had charge of the Sioux up to the time of the massacre. Agents who try every way to curry favor with the Indians, and are so lavish in the privileges they force upon them that even the red-skins themselves are forced to despise them for their sycophancy.

There are reservations, or tracts of lands set apart, which are called Reservations, for the habitation and exclusive use of the Indians, but instead of the authorities compelling the Indians to stay on their legitimate territory, they are allowed to wander at will through the length and breadth of the frontier, hunt and camp where they please among the settlements and pioneer settlers. They are allowed every facility for obtaining whiskey and the few who are not naturally vicious enough to do deeds of violence, are, it seems, perfectly free to guzzle bad whiskey enough to bring the worst part of their natures out, and prepare them, en masse, for raising the very devil at any time upon the whites, particularly in sparsely settled neighborhoods. Talk about that celebrated “law” that compels Indians to stay on their Reservations! If there is such a law we have never seen even an attempted enforcement of it in twenty years’ residence in Minnesota, and WE DON’T BELIEVE THERE EVER WAS SUCH A LAW! But one thing we DID SEE, and that was the result of such a law NOT being enforced—and we don’t want to either see or hear of it again.

This Indian management, and the outfit that manage Indian affairs, are a nuisance that cannot forever be tolerated by the brave settlers who are trying to open up and extend the frontier of our broad land, and if the Government is actually inadequate to the task, let it say so, and turn the administration of Indian affairs over to the settlers and they will fix themselves, and fix the Indians accordingly. If the Government don’t care a continental about the welfare, peace, happiness and prosperity of the frontier settlers—the country’s best citizens—why don’t it say so right out, and then they’ll fix things also. This half and half humbugging, that is a dependence, and yet worse than no dependence at all, is becoming too thin to subsist upon much longer. These prowling, itinerant vagabonds, who are all around among the settlements, at any and all times, in swarms, with whiskey, and as a natural consequence, want, always present with them, are a blight upon the prosperity of our beautiful frontier country, and we call, and ask everybody concerned, to join us in the call upon the government to take this Indian question in hand at once, and do something tangible about it. (Brainerd Tribune, 22 February 1873, p. 1, c. 2)


FOR the information of many inquirers living abroad we would state that Brainerd is a little over two years old; it contains 21 stores, 18 hotels and public boarding houses, about 15 saloons, 2 billiard halls, 1 livery stable, several manufactories, 2 boot and shoe shops, 1 merchant tailor shop, 3 barber shops, 2 blacksmith shops. 1 brewery, 2 photograph galleries, 1 newspaper and printing establishment, 5 fine churches, 2,700 inhabitants, 4 lawyers, 3 meat markets, the most extensive railroad repair shops west of Albany, N. Y., 1 Masonic Lodge, 1 Odd Fellows Lodge, 1 Good Templars Lodge, 1 public hall, and a magnificent General Office Building for general officers of the N. P. R. R., 1 mammoth Headquarters hotel and eating house, 1 cabinet shop, 1 gun shop, 1 tin shop, 1 jeweler shop and store, 1 pop factory, 1 military company, 1 Fenian Circle, and 1 fire company.

Besides, as liberal, enterprising and wide-awake set of people as can be found anywhere in this rushing Northwestern country. (Brainerd Tribune, 22 February 1873, p. 1, c. 5)

The Capital Question.

Map of Minnesota showing Brainerd as the center of the state, 22 February 1873.
Source: Brainerd Tribune

For several years our Legislature, at each session, has been more or less agitated over the vexed question of removing the State capital—when to move it and where to locate it. We this week, by the above “map,” show exactly where Nature intends to have the capital of Minnesota, and where art has vigorously taken hold to pave the way for the consummation of Nature’s evident intentions. A few years ago, when a bill was presented for its removal to the “capital grounds” at Kandiyohi Lake, a member whose name we have forgotten, made a speech against its removal to that locality, which able and sensible address killed the bill. He said the grand object in removing the capital should be to get it permanently located in the center of the State, and if a bill came up for its removal to a central point he should vote and work for it; but to remove it to Kandiyohi would not be coming so near the center, practically, and but little nearer geographically, than where it was then located—at St. Paul. He held that the removal of the capital should be seriously and carefully considered in the light of future years in our history, and our future development as a State, so that it might be removed once and for all, and located permanently at some point as near the geographical center of the State as was at all practicable. He cited the confluence of the Crow Wing River with the Mississippi (which is only eight or nine miles below here) as being about the central point, geographically, and added that though it was a howling wilderness then, the day was near at hand when the country would be full of people, and that point be completely encircled by railroads. The picture he drew then has already been realized. The country below us is settled up, and the Northern Pacific Railroad running east and west, with the Pembina road, the Brainerd Branch—to say nothing of the proposed Road from Brainerd to Fergus Falls, and the St. Paul and Pacific—has opened up the whole northern portion of the State to settlement, and the northern half of Minnesota excels the southern half in fertility of soil and its inexhaustible wealth in lumber. The country clear to the north and west of us is rapidly filling up with flourishing settlements; and the time is not far distant when there will be a Road running from Brainerd, north, northwestward, traversing in its course some of the very grandest pine and hardwood tracts of timber, richest grain and stock-growing regions on the continent. Ere the capital buildings here could be made ready for occupancy, were the work to commence at once, Brainerd will have become the center of the State in every particular essential to a State capital, with general and direct communication by railroad to every portion of Minnesota, and with both seacoasts of the continent as well. Brainerd holds out all the charms in the catalogue of Nature, and is very peculiarly fitted in its romantic surroundings for a State capital—and all institutions of learning, and the deliberation of the learned. Besides being the Central City of Minnesota, Brainerd is in the most romantic, pleasant and healthful portion of Minnesota. It is and will be an Eden for the tourist, sportsman, invalid and gentleman of leisure—cozy, well protected from winter’s winds and summer’s heat. We commend the subject of our claim to the favorable consideration of our Legislature now in session. (Brainerd Tribune, 22 February 1873, p. 1, c.’s 5 & 6)

The Capital Removal.


“Things is Workin’.”


Comments of the Press on the Subject.


From the St. Paul Press.

The Brainerd Tribune prints a map scratched on a pine shingle to illustrate the fact that Brainerd is the proper place at which to locate the State capital. The arguments on the same subject are all sound and good, and it will behoove other wide awake towns to get up maps and things before it is too late.

From the St. Paul Pioneer.

The Brainerd Tribune has published a map, and such a map, just to show that Brainerd is a more practical center of the State, than Kandiyohi, and therefore the to-be future capital of the State. The arguments advanced are quite ingeniously arranged, and had they not been accompanied by that map, there is no telling what a revolution they might have created in favor of Brainerd as against Kandiyohi or “any other man,” but now, good bye to the City of Pines. Another huckleberry war would not have damaged the future prospects of the town half so badly, and all done by one little map, carved out by Russell’s little hatchet. Too bad.

From the St. Paul Journal.

The Brainerd Tribune publishes what it is pleased to call, in a spirit of facetiousness, doubtless, since it bears a family resemblance to Mark Twain’s famous map of the “Seat of War,” in Europe, and which he executed with a blacking brush.—a “Map of Minnesota.” This map and the letter-press accompanying it, are designed to show that the “really and truly” central city of Minnesota is Brainerd. What do you think of that doctrine, desolate Kandiyohi?

The Tribune further demonstrates that Brainerd is not only the great Navel City of the State, but is possessed of all the charms in the catalogue of nature; that it is the most romantic, pleasant and healthful portion of Minnesota—an Eden for the tourist, sportsman, invalid, and gentleman of leisure,—cozy, well-protected from winter’s winds and summer’s heat,—in short, the best place in all the world at which permanently to locate—”Good Lord, deliver us!”—the capital of the State.

It is very evident that these fellows are all jealous of Brainerd, and mad because they can’t make “maps.”

From the Lake City Leader.

The Brainerd Tribune comes out with a map of Minnesota, on which it endeavors to prove that that town is most centrally located, and should be honored with the State capital. The Press says the map was made on a shingle; the Pioneer declares it was made with a little hatchet, and the Journal says it was made with a blacking brush.

None of ‘em guessed the right thing—we made that map with our little jack-knife, we did.

The Glyndon Gazette is also jealous of our map facts, and says Brainerd is not the “hub of the State,” as we claim, but is the “hub-bub;” which, of course, is another of Chambers’ whoppers. (Brainerd Tribune, 01 March 1873, p. 1, c. 2)


WE were in hopes that our member of the Legislature—Hon. T. F. Knappen—would open the Capital Removal ball, and he may yet, before the session closes. We have commenced to agitate the subject in earnest, and expect to see our efforts crowned with success at no distant day. Of course the St. Paul papers affect delight at what they are pleased to term “facetiousness” on our part, but they will yet have the mortification of seeing this choice “Capital plum” slip from their grasp and gravitate to where it rightfully belongs, viz: to the Central City of Minnesota—Brainerd. Mind that, now! (Brainerd Tribune, 01 March 1873, p. 1, c. 3)




The Rural “Deestricts” Heard From.


From the St. Cloud Press.

The Brainerd Tribune is darkly illuminated with a ‘orrid thing, it calls a “Map of Minnesota” in which Brainerd is the centre of a series of spider tracks, and, with this as a text, a sermon is preached on the superiority of Brainerd as a central site for the State Capital. Call Reavis up, and “go” for the National Capitol. Don’t rest content with small game.

From the Red River Star.

Mark Twain must look to his laurels. In addition to the grocery and newspaper business, Russell, of the Brainerd Tribune, has gone to making maps. He has mapped out a place for the Capital of Minnesota, and fixes it at Brainerd. The cut is published on the first page of that lively sheet of his, and underneath it is placed “Map of Minnesota,” without an index finger pointing to the object alluded to. Neither is there anything to show that his map is copyrighted. What will not a towering ambition accomplish? Wonder if R., is bidding for the State Treasuryship or what ship is it, that should make him want the Capital at Brainerd?

From the Minneapolis Daily Times.

There is a blot on the face of the Brainerd Tribune. Morris Russell, who is the editor of that festive sheet calls it a Map of the State, but it bears a close resemblance to the flag of our country on a big ‘drunk,’ and dressed in mourning for its lost virtue. The object of this exquisite work of art is to demonstrate that Brainerd is the centre of the State, and therefore the proper place for the capital. By way of apology the Tribune says:

“We are not a professional map engraver, as our first effort in this issue will probably prove; nevertheless, we attained our object after a fashion, and have shown to the world that of our young State, Brainerd is the “hub.” That it will, sooner or later, be made the capital of Minnesota, we cannot for a moment doubt—and it seems unreasonable to suppose that any one else can doubt it.”

If that map does not accomplish the desired purpose, the State of Minnesota will demonstrate that it has no soul for the appreciation of the fine arts. Go into the engraving business, by all means, Morris, you are wasting your genius by editing a newspaper.

From the Duluth Daily Tribune.

As soon as we heard of the great banquet which the citizens of St. Paul were to give the members of the Legislature, we wondered what particular ax our St. Paul friends had to grind; but that little matter is now all explained, by the tremendous effort which all St. Paul is now making to secure a huge appropriation for an addition to the Capital building. They are in constant terror lest the Legislature may take a notion to remove the Capital to a more central location; and they think, if they could get a good, large appropriation from the Legislature for improvements on the present building, that the work of removing the Capital would be postponed just that much longer.

That’s just what’s the matter, Mr. Tribune. Our recent “map,” and article, on removing the Capital from St. Paul to Brainerd, has just about frightened St. Paul out of its boots. (Brainerd Tribune, 08 March 1873, p. 1, c. 2)

ST. PAUL has become frightened about removing the Capital to Brainerd; the papers there are overjoyed at the proposal to build an extensive addition to the capital building, as in this event they hope to keep that institution out of our clutches “yet a little longer.” Things are ramifying very satisfactorily indeed. (Brainerd Tribune, 15 March 1873, p. 1, c. 4)

CAPITAL removal comments are getting somewhat scarce, but we have the pleasure of reproducing a short but tip-top one this week from that enterprising and reliable family paper, the Minneapolis Tribune:

“Russell, of the Brainerd Tribune has gone into the engraving business, and ought to be encouraged with his first effort. He has proved beyond cavil that the proper place to locate the capital of the State, is at Brainerd. The arguments accompanying the map are equal to the occasion.” (Brainerd Tribune, 15 March 1873, p. 1, c. 7)


HERE is what the satirical correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial condescends to say of Brainerd:

Brainerd is situated on the east bank of the Mississippi river, in the most lovely grove of pines I ever saw. These pines extend over the country for miles. What is remarkable about them is that they are all of a size, or very nearly so, and as straight as arrows. They are slender, so tall, so graceful. They are on an average height of a hundred feet, and six inches through. It is, without exception, the most beautiful grove of timber I ever saw. They stand close together, the tops are small, and all are so similar in size as to make a striking effect.

All about among these trees are streets laid off at right angles. Brainerd is nestled. Care has been taken not to cut away the trees, except for streets, and the effect to the eye is picturesque. The “city” consists of about one hundred and twenty-five houses, (500 really) nestled about among these trees.

In summer this must be a delightful place. This grand grove stretching away in all directions, the trees so slender, so straight, so uniform, as to be almost enchanting. Then there is no undergrowth. It is the tall pines and nothing else. In spring and summer the ground is said to be covered with a thick mat of evergreens and Indian red berries. To taste the delicious breezes here in August, and romp among the pines and roll on the bed of evergreens, must be equal to a first luxury indeed. (Brainerd Tribune, 08 March 1873, p. 1, c. 7)

THE notorious Redfield, correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial, would justly obtain the blue ribbon at a world’s fair of newspaper liars. Another of his letters to that paper is before us, occupying several columns of small type in the Commercial, and there is but one single item of truth contained in it, and that refers to our fine little Congregational church edifice in Brainerd, and is as follows:

“But Brainerd has a good side. At night I heard the sound of the “church-going bell,” and started out to find the church. The church is among the thick young pines, like the rest of the city, and it required some tall steps in the snow to find it, but within, all was bright and cheerful. The church was new, the white finish upon the walls reflecting the light from the lamp, which hung from the ceiling in chandelier shape. The easy seats, the stained windows, the carpeted aisles, the large organ, the gem of a pulpit, the genial warmth, all made the place inviting. The seats were chairs, and before each chair were two holes for the heat to ascend from the basement. The house was filled, the congregation attentive, the sermon good, and the whole indicative of a bright side to Brainerd.” (Brainerd Tribune, 15 March 1873, p. 1, c. 7)


We do hope that above all other things in their line, the City Council may speedily take into consideration the matter of preparing our young, and by nature, extremely healthy city, for the coming hot weather. There is dirt, dirty yards, dirty alleys, and dirty streets, that are dirty enough with filth, in this town, just now, to poison any atmosphere, no matter how pure, with deadly miasma's, as soon as the hot rays of the sun get fairly at them. We must have a general cleaning up and purification of unwholesome places. Much has been said in praise of certain disinfectants, and they are doubtless excellent things for special purposes, but the best of all prophylactics against disease is cleanliness. No chemical preparation can supersede the use of the scraper and shovel in backyards, cellars, out houses, streets and alleys, before the warm sun shall have time to scatter a thousand poisonous exhalations through the air. We certainly hope the Council may take this matter in hand quickly, and in no-half way manner, that the thousands of visitors who come to sojourn with us this season, may not be driven from our midst by the uncleanliness of our beautiful city.

If we but keep our Central City of the Pines in a neat, tidy and healthful condition, we will have hundreds of tourists here, who will spend the whole season in Brainerd, just because they cannot have found its superior as a summer resort on this continent. Will our Fathers see what is to our advantage in this great matter, and promptly do a work that for every cent expended a dollar will be gained, to say nothing of our own comfort and well being. We feel sure they will. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 March 1873, p. 1, c. 7)


“Dull.”—Many old croakers are in Brainerd, as elsewhere; hard times! no money! no business! is the salute one meets here and there. The thing is infectious; one will say it to another; another to another, and finally lots of men will even when in the act of hauling the shekels in over the counter, cry hard times! We sauntered leisurely down the street, the other day, to take a peep at the “hard times,” and see how it was ourself. We fell into a store up town, and looked on a few minutes. In ten revolutions of the second-hand of our watch, we saw sold two calico dresses, one poplin dress, ten yards toweling, a pair of serge slippers, a broom and two buckets—all for cash, and more customers to be served. This was enough, and we passed out; on the sidewalk, two boys were trading dogs, one giving the other a fifty cent scrip and a rubber ball to boot; trade closed and chattels paid over. Dropped into a grocery store; two clerks busy weighing out groceries, and customers feeling for their wallets. On down the street passed two barber shops; all the chairs full, and several “nexts” in reserve. A billiard hall—tables engaged with “four-handers,” and mint juleps and things being “mixed” to order. Soda fountain at the drug store in full blast. Boys playing a red hot game of base ball over the way—infant nines—and marbles flying away from “knuckle tight” on the sidewalks. Ladies tripping along inside of a little of the best “hard times” duds we ever saw. More stores, and more everything, all doing something—serving more or less customers, and getting away with more or less lucre. Even hardware was on the “fly”—all the way from a cant-hook, or stove, down to a three-cornered-gimlet. We kept making observations (we don’t mean “astronomical”) until we also got a mama to buy something. Accordingly, a hat store became the objective point, and we sidled along through the crowd in that direction; took in a friend on the way, and he bought a nice Sunday hat, and we also made an “arrangement” for one. We “dampened” the purchase, of course, and so pleased with our new hat, (an “Empire” purchase) we struck a diagonal dog trot for home, to show our hat to the folks, and thoroughly convinced that “hard times” was a new name people had hatched out for good “business times.” (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, Editor, 10 May 1873, p. 1, c. 6)



Another Trip Along the North Pacific Railroad.



Just before dark we arrived at Brainerd, at the crossing of the Mississippi. At the first glimpse of this beautiful city, one is carried away with delight. Here is a thriving, busy, bustling city, literally hewn out of the pine forest, for, two years ago, magnificent old pine trees occupied the present sites of these business or dwelling houses, and he who had then prophesied that this spot would be the site of a busy city would have been deemed insane.

Front Street looking east, 1874.
Source: Minnesota Historical Society

But yet here it is, beautifully embowered among the pines—for the citizens have had the good sense to leave all those standing which were not actually in the way of building operations—and a large and thriving business is carried on. The railroad company has done much to build up this point, by locating here its machine shops and business offices, while from here the construction parties were supplied for many miles beyond with the necessaries required by them. But Brainerd is not doing so much business this Spring, I am told, as it did last, and there be those who prophecy that it will experience the fate of many another railroad town, its greatness departing as the road stretches out beyond. Yet Brainerd will doubtless always be a good business point, even though it should not come up to the expectations of its projectors. Here is the great crossing of the Mississippi river, the junction with the (to be built) branch road from St. Cloud and below, and the point of departure for many of the logging parties which go into the pineries above in the winter. Whatever may be the fate of this city in the future, it is to-day a beautifully romantic and briskly busy town. (Minneapolis Tribune, 23 May 1873, p. 2)

The Tomahawk and Things.

On Tuesday morning last, our citizens were aroused from any lethargy they may have fallen into, by the war whoop of the red man. It may not have been a full fledged war whoop, but nevertheless it was a whoop; though it might have been simply a “Whoop ‘er up Liza Jane,” or something. But, at all events, upon casting the eyes north by nor’west, a little east by sou’ it was observable that some hundred or so painted savages were approaching the common in front of Headquarters, with rapid and gesticulating tread, adorned with all the fuss and feathers of the wild, untutored Chippewa Modocs—with Captain Jack at the head, in the person of old Bad Boy, chief of the Gull Lake band of Chippewas, which band it proved to be. Well, it is probably needless to add that our entire populace was right up on their ear to discover the density of all this unseemly muchness, and to inquire why all the wild wood to the north of us had so suddenly poured forth thusly. We, with everybody else, took our straw hat in our hand and galloped up to the common to see what was the matter with the condition, and by the time we arrived, the grand cavalcade—the rear of the procession being brought up by all the squaws and papooses of the band—had halted, and an excited and almost frenzied dance had opened by the painted braves, the tom-tom band in the center, with a dozen musical (?) female voices accompanying the monotonous thud of half a dozen dog-skin drums, manipulated by connoisseurs in the dog drum business. The braves were, as before stated, grotesquely painted, and their persons decorated with any conceivable oddity that the savage mind could conjure up. Their heads were decorated with feathers and weasel skins, their faces streaked, spotted and blacked, their necks bore necklaces of bears’ claws, skunk skins and other scented paraphernalia, while in their hands they held in threatening attitudes war clubs, tomahawks and other hunky-dory implements of destruction. The dance went on lively, with singing and whooping, and violent twistings and contortions of the body, for half an hour, witnessed by several of our astonished and awe stricken inhabitants. Many felt of their scalp-locks to see if they were duly “locked,” and the more timid viewed the brilliant orgies of the savages from afar off. Finally the dance came to a sudden close, and one of the oldest chiefs stepped forward to the center of the ring and prepared to address his constituents. After considerable search, we found a young and intelligent half-breed, whom we hired as interpreter, and with him we entered the arena to get a verbatim report of the addresses of each of the chiefs and braves, which we give verbatim, as given to us by our faithful interpreter. We felt sure something very important must be “on,” and was bound to give our readers the full gist of the “trouble,” even though it might be as serious a thing as the collapse of the putty market in Antwerp. The first orator was old John Washington, and he spoke in substance as follows:

“My braves: You are all fine men; your eyes are sharp, and you can see far into the white man; the white man admires you in your fine feathers, and in your strong dance; I am very old, and will not dance many moons longer; my legs are slow, now; I and two other chiefs are all that is left out of all the chiefs who made the first Chippewa treaty with the white men at Lake Superior; I like the white men because they have always been kind to me; my tongue never told lies to them, and they believe all I say to them; today one of the big war chiefs of the white men will pass through here on the railroad, and it is because he is coming that I told you to come down here and dance, that he might be pleased when he heard it. [This is the first intimation we had received that Gen’l. Terry and staff were to pass through the city, which they did; how the Gull Lake Indians knew it, beats us, and also the devil.—ED.] I want you all to be good young braves, and like the whites, but don’t drink any of their whiskey; it will make you as bad as they are, and will put lies into your mouths, and murder into your hearts. Dance, now, and when you get through, I know the white men will give you some tobacco and some flour.”

When he concluded, the dance was resumed with renewed energy for a time, and then all sat down. At this stage, their principal chief came forward to address them—old Bad Boy, chief of the Gull Lake Indians. We and our interpreter were on the qui vive for this address, as it would probably be a remarkable one, from one of the most remarkable looking individuals we ever gazed upon. He made two speeches, but we condense the substance of both into one. He was a very old, yet sprightly man, with about the most repulsive “mug” on his shoulders that can be well conceived. He wore a pair of green goggles, and was otherwise very seedily dressed, and bore the most aggravated scar on the north side of his face we ever beheld, and had a dirty calico bandage around his jaws, as if to hold the seamed parts of his face and head together. He wore no particular badge indicating his high office, nor did he need any, as he was a very “marked” man, just in his everyday condition. He shuffled restlessly into the ring; and, as he began his nervous harangue, the scores of young braves were all attention, and throughout his excited address he was greeted by scores of grunts of approbation. Says he:

“My braves—I am your chief; my father was your chief before I was; my son, who dances before you, [meaning the young and restless buck who did such tall dancing, hopping, skipping and jumping in front of the procession] will be chief when I go over into my father’s hunting ground; he will be a good chief; a brave chief like his father; I have been in five battles with the Sioux; the last one at Shakopee; I was nearly killed there; there was more Sioux there than there are white folks in this village; a Sioux shot me, and I fell down on my back; he ran up to scalp me, but just as he got close to me I jumped on my feet, put my gun to his mouth and shot him dead. I killed three more Sioux in that battle, and traveled a long way before I got sick. Many Chippewas were killed there, but we got twelve scalps, and all the wounded Chippewas got away; I am old now, and have seen my good days; I like to see your young legs dance; I like the whites, but not so well as some Chippewas do; I will not wear their dress, but like the breech-clout and blanket of my fathers; I want you all to be good Indians, but never be white men; always be Chippewas (applause)—the Great Spirit tells me it is right. Go on with your beautiful dance, and let your chief be glad, as he sits and looks at your quick legs and is glad.”

This address was followed by the most animated dance, and the wildest gestures. After a time it ceased again, and a man among them came out, and, in the most fervent manner, addressed them. We asked our interpreter who he was, and he told us his Indian name was Shadance, and that he was the most influential Indian among them; that he was the principal brave in all the Chippewa nation; that he was Hole-in-the-Day’s leader in battle, which is to say, he was the Lieutenant General of all the armies; he was reverenced by the whole tribe, as their greatest brave and leader. His speech was to the effect that he was the big brave; that he did not dance before white men unless they paid well for it. Said he:

“Brave young men—You know who I am; the Vice President of the United States was here before any white man’s village was here, and before any smokey elk came into our country on iron rails; he gave us eleven barrels of flour, five kegs of tobacco, and much fine jewelry, for dancing before him only three hours; we don’t expect much now, but good men will give us something to see us dance; we will not dance in front of any stingy man’s house; we want the white man’s heart to come out, when we do him the honor to dance before his wigwam; I led the Chippewas in nine battles with the Sioux, as Hole-in-the-Day’s biggest brave, and followed behind his army in four other battles, that the bad winds might be kept off, and in all these battles we destroyed our enemies. Let us dance now in front of all the good men’s wigwams, that their hearts may come out with tobacco and flour, then we will go to our own home in the woods, where all good, brave Chippewas ought to be, always.”

After this they danced in front of several stores, got a sack of flour, some tobacco, and considerable scrip, when they faded away from our streets like the dew of morning, and in the afternoon not an Indian was to be seen. Bad Boy’s son, the famous dancer and ladies’ man of the outfit, was a character who would bear a description, did we have time and space. Some other speeches were made by minor chiefs, but we did not get sufficient of them to make an intelligible report. Thus ended one of the many “street scenes” of Brainerd, that was interesting to even those who were used to such scenes, and would have been much more so to those who never saw the “caperosities” of the “noble red men” in their native haunts. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, Editor, 14 June 1873, p. 1, c.’s 2 & 3)

Washing Day.

This is a day of celebrated celebrity, more ancient than St. Patrick’s Day or Washington’s birthday. In all well regulated families, this holiday occurs fifty-two times in the year, and Monday is the day set apart for its observance. But as the Jews and Christians disagree as to which day of the week Sunday comes on, so different families disagree as to when washing day comes; some even stave it off till Saturday afternoon, and do their ironing the next week. In families that are well put together, however, washing day commences about 4 a. m. on Monday morning. The first intimation the head of the household receives of its coming, is a sharp nudge somewhere in the vicinity of the fifth rib, just as he is indulging in a fine feast, or attending a wedding, in his dreams; he is informed that it is wash day, and, as the washing is peculiarly heavy that week, an early start is indispensable; he is called, “Dear Albert, get up,” several times, and at last, in a fearfully agitated state of mind, and stupid for the want of just two hours more sleep, he slides out on the floor, and sits down on the oil cloth to cool off till he can wake up. Finally he gropes about and gets his pants, and stumbles into them, but does not discover that he has them on wrong side before, until he goes to button on his suspenders. Wife tells him about this time to build a fire, put on the boiler, carry the tubfull of water, and separate the colored clothing from the white, and if she can get the baby to sleep, she will be out by that time; of course you are to put on the teakettle, grind the coffee, cut the meat and split up some wood in the meantime. This is wash day, and the dearest wish he can think of is, that this day was not wash day. After a while Albert comes to the tub and pours his first turn of water into the thing, only to see it spurt out of every crack and go towards dampening the vegetation just outside the door; it has been left in the sun since the last similar holiday, and the staves are standing around in rows like a platoon of drunken soldiers. There is only one way to mend that tub, and that is to keep it damp till it swells shut. He pushes the upper hoop up a little, gets another turn of water, and with the dipper keeps the thing damp all around while he reclines on the floor, his legs on either side of the establishment, waiting patiently for the swelling to develop itself. Wife gets the baby to sleep about 8 a. m., and comes out to find the fire out, the kettle boiled dry, the flies all over the meat, and the dear husband she routed out at 4 o’clock, in happy unconsciousness of passing events, and leaning over the tub fast asleep. House-warming commences about this time, by building the fire and introducing a series of lectures more animated than classical. Albert responds feebly, but is encouraged a little by seeing that the staves of the tub have in the meantime waltzed together, and the tub ready for any reasonable amount of moisture. He strikes out for the well, while the chairs, table and dishes are dancing merrily inside, and things about that particular kitchen are supposed to be red-hot; for lost time must be made up. Albert thoroughly aroused by this time, perfectly deluges every hollow vessel in the house, and winds up by kicking the cat galley-west, and giving Towser an early and lively start by sousing the last pail full of water all over him. Finally Albert gets through with his part of the observance, and, after an extremely frugal repast, he betakes himself to business, thinking that an early start on washing day, and a pleasant wife, are among the most relishable things on earth. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, Editor, 26 July 1873, p. 1, c. 3)

The Savage Mind Disturbed.

The Leech Lake, or Pillager Indians located seventy miles north of here are mad. It seems that when Government gave them the tract of country on Leech Lake for a reservation it reserved, by treaty stipulation, all the pine timber thereon. Now, there are Government engineers up there running lines, or surveying off the lands into sections and quarter-sections, with a view to selling the pine timber thereon, thereby making it a source of revenue to the Government. Well, the Indians are pretty hard up for the necessities of life—spending what little they have, all the while, for whiskey in Brainerd—and they see that if they had not sold this timber to the Government, they could now sell it to lumbermen and have lots more money to gamble with and buy a great deal more whiskey in Brainerd. Hence, they are mad because the surveyors are there, getting it into shape to sell for the benefit of the Government, instead of for their benefit—in the matter of Brainerd whiskey. They are very sour, indeed, and, when not too drunk on Brainerd whiskey, they spend their time in painting up a good deal, in growling, and in being very impudent to the surveyors and the three or four white families at Leech Lake. We are informed that over a thousand of them came into the Leech Lake Agency a few days ago, all painted and stripped, and had a big war dance, made the most insolent speeches in regard to the Government, and swore that the pine timber was theirs, and shouldn’t be cut unless they got paid for it. They had in all, about a barrel of rot-gut whiskey packers had just brought in; they got jolly drunk, and well nigh frightened the families there to death with their fiendish and drunken conduct. The whites felt full sure their time had come, and say they will be murdered unless there is some sufficient steps taken to prevent the Indians from getting whiskey in Brainerd. There are pack Indians on the trail between here and there all the time, laden with whiskey—five gallons to the man—which they get at any time, and in any quantity desired, paying, of course, any price asked. By means of this, the lives of the isolated settlers are in continual danger from drunken Indians, that otherwise would be in no danger at all. The fact that they can get whiskey in Brainerd is a curse to the Indians themselves, a curse to the frontier settlers, and a burning shame to our fair city. The villains who are the bottom of all this whiskey selling to Indians, ought to be rooted out by our citizens and driven from the place, if the authorities cannot, or will not do it. And the Indians that are continually lying about in the city and vicinity—most of the time dead drunk—should be made, by a law that they would instantly respect, to “light out” of these diggings quicker than a very hot place would scorch a feather. SOMETHING has got to be done to effectually stop this selling whiskey to Indians, if we would preserve the good name of Brainerd and insure the lives of scores of settlers to the north of us who, at present, are living amid a fear almost as bad as death, and who are continually at the mercy of drunken Indians, made drunk on whiskey procured at Brainerd and vicinity. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 August 1873, p. 1, c. 2)

AN Indian told up at Leech Lake, that the way he got whiskey in Brainerd was as follows: They go up in the rear of the buildings, where there are two holes in the wall; out of one hole an arm is thrust to receive the money and jug, and out of the other hole the whiskey—governed in quantity by the amount of money received through the first hole referred to—was passed by another arm; the face of the seller is never seen, but the Indian said that generally the one that took in the money was other than the one that passed out the whiskey—showing two persons engaged in it. He said there was more than one place where they got whiskey in Brainerd, and our informant from Leech Lake said the Indian described the houses very minutely, although we did not ask him to describe them to us, and he did not volunteer to do so. But the few settlers at and toward the Leech Lake country are very justly, incensed against those who sell the Indians whiskey here, and speak in no complimentary terms of our city as a whole, because of its harboring such vermin. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 August 1873, p. 1, c. 6)


We have been informed that we were to be the victim of a “fearful deal,” very soon, by parties in this goodly city, because in a recent issue we dared denounce, in unmistakable terms, the selling of whiskey to the Indians. Well, there it is again; we have got ourselves into a devil of a fix, for doing what we thought was right, and what we thought would please God and a majority of our citizens. We find, that in denouncing what we esteemed an unholy practice, we made an egregious ass of ourself, and have got many of our “business” men “down on us,” and their friends more or less down on us, and so on, and so on, till it seems that a majority of those whom we look to for support, feel very jagged and cold toward us, while those most directly interested threaten to give us a “fearful deal” for writing that article. Now, in view of the condition of things, we most humbly pray for pardon at the hands of our citizens for writing that article, and swear we did it from no other motive than to please them; having mistaken human nature, and the character of things that would please our readers and supporters, we most humbly take the whole damnable article back, and shall jerk sack cloth and ashes all over us for the next sixty days in the hope to retrieve our good name and good standing among our people. To sell whiskey to the poor, thirsty Indian is noble and right; they like it, and should not be denied one of the principal good things of life, because they are “noble red-men;” a man that would refuse the parched Lo! a square drink, or a round gallon of whiskey whenever he asks for it, is a poltroon too despicably mean to live in a live financial community. We want furs, and we want lots of things from the noble Indian; let us give him that most valuable and exhilarating of all other goods, whiskey, No. 40, in exchange. It is in the world, and must be drunk up; and by trading it off to Indians our community can become possessed of much valuable fur, and maple sugar. Let whiskey to Indians hereafter be dealt out at the front, and not the back, doors, and the TRIBUNE shall exclaim, Amen! once a week in response to the righteous transaction. Confound that article of ours; we hope our citizens will forever forget it, and we shall try to bury the thought of it in the oblivion of our mind along with the rest of our almost unpardonable sins. Darn that article. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 August 1873, p. 1, c. 4)

More Injun Dance.

Leech Lake Indians camped near Brainerd, Frank Jay Haynes, Spring 1877.
Source: Haynes Foundation, Montana Historical Society

Last Saturday a hundred or more Leech Lake, or Pillager Indians, made their sudden appearance in our streets, in the morning, and held a series of their “whoop-a-law” dances, in various portions of our town. They made things just red-hot, a good share of the day, but outside of their general hurricane of Indian enthusiasm and music, they appeared quite civil—they probably thought it was the best mode of procedure among Brainerdites. Between dances they scattered about the town, begging cold grub, or “chuck,” and, between the crumbs that tumbled into their respective blankets from the tables of the rich men, and presents of flour and meat from our liberal merchants, they became immensely “swelled.” A full belly makes and Indian lazy; and so, when they became filled, they took up their presents and silently stole away to the neighboring forests to grease themselves and eat some more. One of their principal chiefs was with them—next best Modoc to old Flat Mouth. He jerked a spasmodic speech to his braves, something about that pine timber the Government was about to sell off their Reservation. He said he had always been a good Indian, and loved the whites. (We all know that a Pillager Indian “loves” a white man; of course he does—so does the devil love saints.) He said although the Pillagers were extraordinarily “good Indians,” yet, if the Government didn’t keep its chicken hooks off that pine timber, the Pillagers COULD be bad Indians. This was a clincher, and we felt as though a thunderbolt had located itself over our head, and we wanted to go home, or some place. They went away, and we don’t know exactly where they went. We understood from them that they expected to meet three other bands of Indians on Monday last, on the opposite side of the river at this place, in a great council about various things, that pine timber among others. They failed to connect, however. (Brainerd Tribune, 09 August 1873, p. 1, c. 6)




This is a question now being asked and very generally canvassed among the tax-payers of Brainerd. At the time of the organization of our city government, it was believed by many to be a step in the way of progress that was warranted, and by some it was believed that the circumstances even demanded such an organization. But even then a considerable portion of our actually interested citizens deemed it an unwise and premature move. It would seem that time has shown the entire correctness of the latter idea. At the time of our organization as a city, money was plentiful among all classes, trade was rushing, labor was bringing high wages, the town was alive with people, and all were flush with ready means. The town was also, as might be expected, the headquarters for hundreds who had but little respect for the law, and took no pains to conceal their contempt for law or its officers. Therefore, from such a basis of affairs the cost and profits of a city government showed up to the casual observer largely in favor of “organizing.” But since that, times have changed; the character of the people, who are alone interested in the welfare of the town, has come plainly to the surface, and the hundreds of “floaters,” who are only good to “keep up appearances,” have hied to other climes. And now it seems very evident, particularly among the working men, and others who have to furnish the funds to run the machine, that they have got one too many wheels on their cart; or, in other words, that there is about as much priority in keeping up a city organization now as there would be to attach a tail to a toad. The town is perfectly at peace with all mankind, and the executive officers of the county organization—which must be kept up, of course—could just as well discharge all the duties that are being now attended to by the city and county officers combined—all of which is certainly reasonable logic. The returnable property of the city and county together only amounts to some $200,000, and it has been discovered that upon this amount of property valuation, our taxes will be almost excessively high in keeping up our county organization alone—if we keep our orders up to where they should be, and place our county on a firm financial basis. We say, even if we do this, our taxes must necessarily be quite enough; but when in addition to this we saddle ourselves with the very expensive matter of a city organization, and undertake to keep that up too, why, the result that will speedily follow must be seen by everyone at half a glance. Brainerd is still running on the high pressure principle so universally common in the outstart of new principal towns, and matters are yet being conducted on the inflated idea that we are to land at a single jump where all this paraphernalia of offices and officers will be absolutely indispensable. But when we consider that Brainerd is Crow Wing County, and Crow Wing County is Brainerd, almost, in the matter of keeping up a treasury, and that, taking the whole together, we are poor at best, as our county lines NOW run, it does seem quite ridiculous for us to be keeping up one expensive form of government more than we need. It may be asked how we propose to get rid of the elephant we now have on our hands. We reply that it is the easiest matter imaginable, when the proper time comes. It was by an act of the State Legislature of last winter that we were made a city, and all that has to be done by our next Senator or Representative is to ask that the act or bill making us a city, should be repealed, and the thing is done. And, looking at the matter in the light of the greatest good to the greatest number, we, for one, are entirely in favor of having the act repealed at the earliest moment possible, and thereby drop the present city organization. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 September 1873, p. 1, c. 3)

At a meeting of citizens last Saturday night, to consider whether it was best to “bust” the city government, or to retain it, the folks, after a good deal of “tok,” concluded it was a good thing,—a necessity, and not a luxury—and that it had not plunged us head over heels in debt, as was feared, and so we are still a city, and not a one-horse cross-roads. People at a distance must understand that Brainerd never goes backwards; the road to future immensity for this town, is plainly visible to a majority of her citizens, and having an abundance of sand in our respective gizzards, we are on it, and will keep this city government up if it takes a leg square off. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 January 1874, p. 4 c.’s 1 & 2)



J. M. Quinn, Formerly of Brainerd

and Now of St. Paul, Writes Entertainingly of Old Days




Mr. Quinn Was Then Only 15 Years

Old, But a Husky, Likely Lad

at That Age

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Dispatch is glad to print these reminiscences of Brainerd and vicinity in the early days, as given by James M. Quinn, former Brainerd resident now living in St. Paul.

To Mr. Quinn goes the credit of sending to the Dispatch the finest “copy” received in many a day. The communication was typewritten on seven pages, double-spaced, paragraphed, etc.

In line with Mr. Quinn’s communication, the Dispatch is always glad at any time to print communications and reminisces of the pioneers of town and countryside.

Editor Dispatch: Regarding the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the town of Brainerd. I would respectfully request that you give space in the Brainerd Dispatch to the following story of the first visit of an old-time lumberjack to the town of Brainerd.

James M. Quinn, ca. Unknown.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

On the morning of November 11, 1873, twelve men and a boy, the latter 15 years of age (the writer of these lines), left Minneapolis in the employ of the old Todd, Connor, Gaines & Company, one of the old-time lumber concerns of Minneapolis for the northern pineries. We went via the old St. Paul & Duluth Railway to the Northern Pacific junction, now Carleton, on the Northern Pacific railway, west of Duluth. At that point we changed trains, and went west to Brainerd, arriving there at one o’clock in the morning. We went to the old Leland House, then kept by Warren Leland, on the corner of Fifth and Laurel streets. Brainerd then was composed of that part of town west of Sixth street, bounded by Laurel street on the south, Front street on the north, and the Mississippi river on the west. About all of the buildings were small frame shacks and log houses. There were several saloons along Front street above the “Last Turn.” South of Laurel street was all pine forest, also north of the Northern Pacific right of way was dense pine forest to the Mississippi river.

The old Number One Saloon stood on the corner of Fifth and Laurel, across from the Leland House. There was also a bar in the Leland House, and the big strapping lumber jacks made the town howl that night. There was a man killed that night in the saloon next to the Last Turn, but I do not remember his name.

Our crew was composed of the following named men, as I now remember them (forty-nine years is a long time): The foreman’s name was William A. Haney, a powerful man, six feet tall and weighing 210 pounds. He was better known to the boys as “Bill” Haney. Then there was Moses DeRocher, in later years a police captain in Brainerd. Moses was an able man in that day. There was Dan Lowell, cook; his brother, Loring Lowell, cook; Louis Gonyea; Sam Hodgeden, now of Aitkin; Charles Smith; Andrew White; Rose Richardson; Charles Richardson; George Quinn, and George Dougherty, who was a survivor of the famous Charge of the Light Brigade, at Balaclava; and the last, the boy, a cookee, was myself, James M. Quinn.

This was a very able crew of men. On the morning of the 12th, we left Brainerd at about 8 o’clock, crossed the Mississippi river on the railroad bridge (there being no wagon bridge at that time), took the old Gull Lake road west of the present N. P. hospital, went northwest out along the north shore of Red Sand Lake, until we came to the old government trail running from the old Indian agency at Crow Wing to Leech Lake. We went north on the old trail, and came to the west shore of Round Lake, where old Pete Roy, a half-breed Indian, kept a ranch. The foreman, Bill Haney, asked old Pete if he could get dinner for the crew. Pete said that his squaw was sick and that she could not do any cooking; so we could not get dinner there. We then went up to Gull Lake, and near where the Lynch Clubhouse now stands, old Reuben Gray and his wife kept a lumbermen’s ranch, and a good one, too. Bill Haney arranged for dinner for the men, and after we had a good square meal, we started on the trail again. We went northeast along the east shore of Round Lake to the west shore of Hubert Lake, on around the south shore of Hubert and up by the spot where Tony Bohlke’s sawmill now stands, south of the town of Hubert, and along the old trail northeast, until we came to the shore of Big Pelican Lake, near where Paul Markee’s home is now located. We arrived there about dark. We kept on around Pelican Lake for about two miles, up the east shore, where an old Irishman by the name of “Bat” kept a ranch. We got there about 7:00 p. m., and a pretty tired bunch of lumberjacks we were. Some of the men did not get in until long after dark, as they all carried heavy packs on their backs, containing clothes and other goods for the winter. There were about forty men and teams at Bat’s ranch that night. Among them was Ami Gould, who was going up to take charge of a camp for Big George Campbell, who lumbered up on Upper Daggett Brook, near the Big Pond Dam. Ami was an able man in that day.

Moses DeRocher, Sr., Brainerd Chief of Police, ca. 1890’s.
Source: Van Essen Family Archives

We lay on the ground floor all night, the bunks being all taken. Our two teams and supplies had arrived that evening, having left Brainerd the day before, and having driven all the way from Minneapolis to Brainerd over the tote road. We left Bat’s ranch next morning, and crossed Pelican Creek at the spot where Al Kimball’s home is now located. He has lived there for the past forty years. We crossed Big Pine River at the old ford about half a mile below where the Cross Lake Dam is now located, and in a large belt of big Norway timber on the east shore of Daggett Lake, we stopped and fed our horses and cooked dinner. Our dinner was composed of a slice of salt pork, roasted on the end of a forked stick over a fire, and a couple of soda crackers, with which we made sandwiches.

We pushed on up the east shore of Pine Lake to Eagle Lake, and past the spot where Free [sic] Doan kept a ranch in late years, and up the east shore of Eagle Lake and Mitchell Lake, crossed over the brook between Cross Lake and Mitchell Lake on an old bridge, and about half a mile north of Mitchell Lake, we came to a large grove of white pine timber, and camped there under the trees that night. We cut fir and balsam boughs for our beds and a few small trees leaned against the big white pine. Sam Hodgeden and I each had a blanket, and we made our beds in the pine boughs and were soon fast asleep. When we awoke in the morning, there was about five inches of snow on our blankets. We got breakfast early, roast pork and crackers, and about 10 o’clock in the forenoon, we arrived at our camping grounds on the shore of Upper Daggett Brook, about one mile below the old Big Pond Dam, in a tract of large white pine and Norway timber. In about ten days we had our camp and stables all built and moved in.

About December 1, the balance of our crew, forty men, arrived. They were a fine looking lot of old-time lumbermen from Maine and Canada. There were a number of Canadian Frenchmen in the crew, and one of the Frenchmen named “Bolivar” said: “They were all good man, every d----- one of it.” Moses DeRocher and his brother-in-law, Louis Gonyea, chopped down three million feet of timber that winter. (That was the day before they learned how to saw down timber.) Big Bill Hitchcock and his partner chopped down three million more feet of timber.

There was work there all winter until April 2d. We then broke up camp. When we got our checks, we were paid one-half when we got to Minneapolis, and a due bill for the other half, payable the next October. (How would our present day shopmen like those terms of getting their pay?)

Ami Gould took out the log drive, taking our logs and the Campbell logs, in all about ten million feet, in the spring of 1874. We left camp on April 3d, walked across Crooked Lake on the ice, and on east to Dean Lake, out to Aitkin. Carl Douglas kept the Douglas House at Aitkin at that time. There were about 300 lumberjacks in Aitkin that night, and they certainly had a wild time in that little town all night. There were eight or ten saloons in Aitkin at that time.

The next winter, 1874, we camped on Pokegama lake for Hainey, Bailey & White of Minneapolis. Sam Hodgeden was in the crew that winter also. Sam is now and has been for a great many years, a resident and merchant of Aitkin. He is now about 75 years of age.

On November 10, 1877, I came to Brainerd from Minneapolis, and drove four oxen for Jerry Howe from Brainerd to Long Prairie, in Todd county. Long Prairie was composed then of one house and a little store kept by old man Reichart, who still lives in Long Prairie. From there I drove the oxen up to Moran Brook, twenty miles to the camp of the old Farnham & Lovejoy company. Jerry Howe was then “walking boss” for Farnham & Lovejoy. We stayed there until April 1st, 1878, when we broke camp. We put in seven million in the two camps, with about eighty men; hauled the logs with six ox teams and four horse teams. Jerry Howe took out the drive the next spring into the Long Prairie river, then the Crow Wing river, into the Mississippi and down to Coon Creek, near Minneapolis, where he delivered the logs. Our logs that winter were all white pine, and averaged just seven logs per thousand for the whole seven million. Jerry Howe paid me $16.00 a month; one-half cash, and the balance the next October.

In the spring of 1880, I came to Brainerd in a crew for Howard DeLaittre, of the old Eastman, Bovey & Company, of Minneapolis later the Bovey-DeLaittre Lumber Company. Howard DeLaittre has retired and now lives in Minneapolis. He is about 76 years of age. We went up and camped on Quadinaw lake. We put in about eight million that winter with 75 men. We hauled all the logs with ox teams on snow roads. I was “second cook” or “cookee” that winter, and received $20.00 a month. The foreman’s wife, Mrs. “Hen Scott” was cook, and she put it all over me on the work that winter, as I did most of the cooking. We broke camp April 2d, and went to Minneapolis.

On April 30th, 1881, I came to Brainerd for Frank Farnham and Jerry Howe and from 1881 to 1917, I lived continually in Brainerd for 36 years. Most all of that time, with the exception of about three years, I followed the lumber, logging and log-driving business. Of that time I worked 22 years for Jerry Howe.

It is now about 49 years since I saw the first pine tree in Brainerd, and met for the first time those able and good-hearted whole-souled lumberjacks. Most of them were foolish men for themselves. They made lots of money and spent it. They made much more for the other fellow (the lumbermen). Those old-timers are mostly all gone now—just a few of us left.

I took out log drives for about 18 years, and had a good many men, and wish here to pay honorable mention to our old foremen, George Cossette and Tom Lee. Cossette, who is now dead, was one of the best lumbermen and river drivers that ever came to Minnesota. George was a giant in his day. He could do more work on a log drive with a peavey than any two men I ever saw. Trustworthy and faithful, he always worked for the interests of his employer. He would get up out of his bed at night, go and examine the booms and the dams, and see that all was well. George came to Minnesota 45 years ago, and followed the lumber woods and log driving during all those years. He was good-hearted and generous, and one of the best of men. It is too bad he could not have lived to enjoy the fruits of his hard labor for so many years.

Tom Lee, now of Backus, was another giant, and like George Cossette, could do as much work on a log drive as any two men. Tom was our foreman for a good many years in taking out log drives, and was an able and faithful man, and of course, like the rest of us, has seen his best days. He now lives on a little farm near Backus.

Speaking of George Dougherty, who was one of our crew in the winter of 1873. He was a survivor of the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. He told us that Lord Raglan issued the order to charge, and handed it to Captain Dolan, who delivered the order to the brave Colonel Moylan. Colonel Moylan drew his sword and roared out the order to charge the Russian center, and

“With cannon to the right of them

Cannon to the left of them, roared and thundered;

Across the valley of death into the jaws of Hell

Rode the six hundred.”

Mr. Dougherty said that less than 90 men survived the charge. Captain Dolan perished there that day.

There are not many of the old lumberjacks left now, who were with us 49 years ago, and I hope to meet some of them in Brainerd in July next, at the celebration.

Wishing Brainerd success in her celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the city. I am,

Very respectfully yours,

An Old Lumberjack,


(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 May 1922, p. 3, c.’s 1-3)

Fire animation On October 21, 1933 the historic old hotel located at the Old Mission near Bishop’s Creek, between Gull and Round Lakes, owned first by Reuben Gray, then by John Bishop, W. B. Chambers, Leon Lum and others, burned to the ground.

SEE: 1933 Gray / Bishop Hotel Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.



We have, ever since we cast our lot in the City of the Pines, been convinced that Brainerd was, sooner or later, to become a great manufacturing place for lumber with seventy-five per cent of the pine timber yet remaining in Minnesota being located upon the Mississippi River and its branches north of this place—all of which, to reach a market must pass under the railroad bridge at this place, whether worked up here, or at St. Cloud or Minneapolis. It must be evident to everyone of ordinary business capacity, that all which may be wanted for the use of the future population of the Empire between this and the Rocky Mountains would not be floated down the river to Minneapolis to be manufactured and then hauled back, making an increase of expense over what it would be to do the same at Brainerd, of some two or three dollars per thousand. The market of Southern Minnesota will probably continue to be supplied from Minneapolis, but there is no reason why a single board should come from there to supply the boundless prairies north of the 46th degree of latitude.

It was not be be expected that this business would be developed here until the railroad was open to the Missouri River and the country should be accessible to settlers. But with the small emigration already centered, the demand begins to assume a practical form sufficient to warrant the commencement of permanent investment of capital in manufacturing lumber. Our citizens will be glad to learn, as we said last week, that our worthy, far seeing and public spirited Mayor [Eber Bly] is making preparations for the demand of the ensuing season, and is about to lay the foundation of a business which will, in the end, equal any of the establishments at Minneapolis. It is now definitely settled that he has purchased of the Lake Superior & Puget Sound Company a large tract of land on the river, adjoining the branch track of the railroad, and embracing the booming facilities of Boom Lake, and will at once commence to erect saw mills, planing mills, etc., upon an extensive scale, and be prepared for the manufacture of lumber in all forms, as soon as logs can be driven down the river. This will give a new impetus to the business of Brainerd, add to its population, and, we are sure, will be but the beginning of more extended operations as fast as the demand will justify. This movement on the part of our enterprising Mayor [Eber Bly] will be hailed by all our citizens with satisfaction, and we trust will prove a successful one to him. Who will be the next man that will start a factory for manufacturing wooden-ware and household furniture. There is not better place than Brainerd for such an establishment. (Brainerd Tribune, 31 January 1874, p. 1, c. 4)

SINGULAR ACCIDENT.—There is a little crippled French boy who goes to the public school. He has little or no use of his legs, so he has a faithful dog attached to a little sled, and the animal hauls his juvenile master to school in the morning and home in the evening. The other evening, as he and his little dog were wending their way homeward, one of the other rollicking, thoughtless schoolboys hissed the dog on to a cow that was in the street; he went for her, and as he snapped at her heels, she let fly with hind foot at the dog, and struck the little cripple full in the face, hurting him very severely, causing his nose to bleed profusely. It created quite an excitement for the time, and one of the more sensible and good-hearted boys proceeded to give the boy who caused the accident a well merited and thorough flogging, then and there. That scholar deserves a large reward of merit. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 February 1874, p. 1, c. 5)


The Indian raid up at Leech Lake, according to the best information we can get, may briefly be stated thus: The Government warehouse there was full of supplies for the Indians and they were suffering for want of them; the agent could not issue them because red tape had not sufficiently unraveled to allow an order to reach him to do so. The Indians came several times, stating that they were starving and must have their supplies; agent could not issue them, because the little paper order to do so had not yet arrived; the Indians finally left, saying they would return a last time in one week. They came according to promise, requested an issuance of the “grub-pile,” but the agent “don’t got some orders yet already,” and couldn’t roll ’em out. Thereupon the red men broke down the battlements of the warehouse, issued the provisions themselves,—or a portion of it—killed a few head of cattle, and all who are intimately acquainted with Indians feel safe in offering the supposition, that immediately thereafter the “Pillagers” had a good square meal—in fact swelled up till their shrunken hides fairly cracked with the height of Indian comfort (leaving whiskey unconsidered). The Indians in this instance were entirely right, for once, and the Government, as it nearly always is in the administration of Indian affairs, was entirely wrong. (Brainerd Tribune, 28 February 1874, p. 1, c. 6)


During the last week, two important movements have been started by the young men of our city.

On Monday evening, at the Congregational Reading Room, an enthusiastic meeting was held, which proceeded to organize itself, under the name of the “Brainerd Base Ball Club,” into a permanent association. The following officers were elected, and steps taken to insure a selected Nine, which proposes to go into training at once to secure the championship of the State for our thriving city: President, Francis M. Roser; Vice-President, C. W. Darling; Secretary, F. A. Smith; Treasurer, W. C. Davie. Thirty-five members are enrolled, and the encouragement received from our people will inspire the players to win laurels for themselves and their friends. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 May 1874, p. 1, c. 5)

BASE BALL.—Our muscular and jolly young Brainerd men have organized a red hot Base Ball Club, and are now in daily training, on the beautiful plateau of ground they have cleaned up in front of the Headquarters. Most of them seem to be old coons at the business, and the way they can knock a ball, throw a ball, catch a ball, and straddle along from one base to another base, is just nothing short of artistic, to say the least. We understand they propose to challenge and clean out any other club on the Northern Pacific, as soon as they get around to it. Success to the Brainerd Nine. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 May 1874, p. 1, c. 7)


It is pretty well understood that we, ourself, individually and collectively, are a hardworking mortal—as most printers are. We have worked hard all our days, and since we have been in Brainerd has been no exception to the rule. The other day, however, was pretty hot, and being somewhat tired, we took a notion to have an hour or two’s idle stroll along the street, with no object in view whatever, except physical inactivity and mental “slouchiness.” Things were very quiet on the street—even rushing Ryan was leaning lazily over a dry goods box, barely going one eye on some object of interest away up town some place. It was very warm; Professor Jones, as we waddled slowly by his door, was sweating a good deal as he laboriously clawed around amid the husky beard of a frontiersman, to find a good starting point to bring his razor into play. We met a dog; his tongue was out longer and wider than his tail; we felt sure it must be too hot to work, and our conscience pricked us not for thus loafing around. A show window soon attracted our attention; like an idle, curious boy we leaned up against the frame and commenced looking at the “thing;” there were dolls—some with heads and no bodies, and some with bodies and no heads; marbles of all sizes and colors, their cost so arranged as to suit boys of all conditions in life; jackknives for boys, with bone and horn handles, and barlow knives, admirably arranged to cut a boy’s finger in the neatest style; there were glass beads—tinseled and plain—big strings for a quarter and “little ones for a cent,” just the thing to lead into captivity the eye of the little Miss; a “jumping jack,” with his limber legs all set for business, his arms akimbo, and string looking at us as much as to say, “if you don’t believe I can just ‘git up and dust,’ pull my tail a trifle;” a little goat peered up at us saucily, and we felt sure he said, says he, “you’re another;” we did not look at the goat any more. Pretty soon we discovered a little savings bank peering out from among a lot of notions, and right over the hole where you were supposed to stuff the nickels in were these words in prominent gilt letters: “Time is money.” This, taken in connection with the language of the goat, was the least bit too heavy for our conscience, and after pondering seriously for a moment, we took another small look at those ominous words on the little bank, and at that miserable little goat, and then we went right straight home again, just as straight as we could; we have firmly resolved that after meeting such a rebuke for our laziness and idling from such an unexpected and unheard of source, we shall never stop work again; but shall work ourself off up to the third joint, rather than stand any such cuts. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, Editor, 30 May 1874, p. 1, c. 5)


We clip the two following items concerning our beautiful little city, the first from the Renville Times, and contained a long letter written for that paper by D. S. Hall, Esq., (its late editor) on the Northern Pacific; he was here at the meeting of the N. P. Editorial Association; the other is an extract from a letter written by Rev. Cadwallader to the Lake City Leader:

“But when you come to Brainerd the scene changes, and the traveler beholds one of the most beautiful cities in the west; yes or in the east, or in any other country. It is appropriately named the City of Pines, located, as it is, in the midst of a pine forest; nor large pine trees, or scrubby jack pines, but small sized trees standing closely and running up straight as a candle, with no underbrush or any other kind of timber mixed in. Clearings have been made for the streets and building places, leaving those beautiful trees standing wherever a shade tree might be desired. Brainerd is the Headquarters of the offices of the N. P. Road. They have a large and handsome building erected for the use of the various officers, such as Sup’t., Auditor, Land Commissioner, and the like. They have, also, Machine shops, round house, and many other buildings which I have not room to mention, Brainerd is a city of no small proportions; beautiful residences with grounds tastefully laid out appear on every hand; churches and school houses are numerous showing a high state of civilization. The soil in the immediate vicinity is light, and farming is not carried on to any extent.”

“On arriving at Brainerd we found one of the most beautiful town sites we have ever seen, and I have traveled over twenty-six States. The soil is a sandy loam just rolling enough to carry off all surface water. The whole face of the country is covered with jack pines from six inches to thirteen inches in diameter, averaging about ninety feet high and ‘evergreen.’ One traveler after walking over the town said in his ecstasy, ‘Wouldn’t this do for heaven!’” (Brainerd Tribune, 06 June 1874, p. 1, c. 6)



Generally in new countries, well wooded and watered like this, that are being opened up, fish and game are plentiful, the rule holds good for this beautiful section of the whilom “land of the Dacotahs.”

Since the days when I used to “go gunning” with an old horse-pistol surreptitiously obtained, I have been ever on the move, and at all times have when possible, taken a hand in all legitimate sports. The trails in the north woods of New York state are as familiar to me as the streets of my home. I have cast my line in all the best trout pools, have still-hunted the deer in its wildest parts, and have explored the forests and streams of the Upper Ottawa, and seen the moose and bear in their fastnesses. I have had good sport and imagined that each place was the best, but I must now candidly state that for game in its different varieties, and black bass fishing, the country tributary to the Northern Pacific railroad bears away the honors.

Starting from the N. P. Junction—twenty-three miles east from Duluth—reached in one day from St. Paul—the road runs through a timbered country to this place, passing every few miles a lake, some large, some mere ponds, all swarming with fish, chiefly black bass and pickerel. The best lakes are Island Lake, twenty miles from the Junction, then the lake par excellence, at Withington Station, known as Serpent Lake, a clear and beautiful body of water, heavily timbered to the water’s edge, with high banks and gravely shores. Three years ago this lake had never been fished by white men, the writer and a friend put the first boat into its waters, and in one short joyous day caught two hundred and eighty pounds of black bass and two muskelunge weighing fifteen and eighteen pounds. We caught these fish by trolling for them with a long line and a Mann’s double No. 2 spinner. These uneducated fish will take any bait ravenously—a clam, piece of red flannel, anything, in fact, seems to suit them. I prefer the Mann spoons, if quantity is what one is after, but for pure sport, try a fish on an eight or ten ounce rod with a long leader, and two red ibis flies. When two of these gamey muscular fish take the fly at the same time, the sportsman must have his wits about him, and get in his best work, or he will have a broken rod on his hands.

There is a mooted question as to whether a black bass will take a fly or not, these Serpent Lake bass, will most decidedly, and if a green hand attempts this business he will find that the bass will not only take the fly but they will keep it. There is no ”let up” to them till you get them on shore or into the boat. Muskelunge will also take a miller or red ibis. I saw a twelve pounder last season that Evans, of the New York World, killed in this lake, with a light rod and ibis fly while bass fishing. Evans is a master of the gentle art, but this fish was almost too much for him, and after a long fight, when he had him securely in his boat, he owned to his boatman that he had “enough of that for one day.”

R. B. Coffin (he says he is a Nantucket Coffin, and of course he must be a good fisherman) has lately located on the bank of Serpent Lake, and has built some boats, and will be prepared to accommodate sportsmen this season. It is as much fun to hear Coffin “spin yarns” as it is to catch fish.

Deer abound near Brainerd, over a hundred and fifty were killed within five miles of town last season. This does not include those killed by Indians. In the swamps east of us bear are still plenty, and when blueberries are ripe can be easily found. North beyond Leech Lake, moose, caribou, and reindeer range. There is a good wagon road from here to Leech Lake, mail stage once a week, and twenty or thirty miles beyond along the Bois River valley, the big game is abundant, and will be for years to come for there is no one but lazy Chippewas to disturb it. West from town, the country gradually loses its wooded character, and the prairie begins to show itself, extending to the Red River of the North, and beyond to the Missouri. This whole section from Wadena west, is one vast game preserve. Pinnated grouse are in flocks like blackbirds in the east, all the different varieties of plover are to be found, and near Fargo and Moorhead snipe are abundant. Ducks of every known northern variety swarm in every bog hole and pond, and wherever there is cover ruffed grouse are plenty.

In Dacotah (between Fargo and Bismarck, on the Missouri River) Jackass rabbits and antelope can be seen from the train, grouse in flocks dust themselves on the grade, and geese and ducks fly up from the “slews” as the cars rattle past. The sportsmen visiting this section should make Brainerd his objective point, get posted and then make excursions to different points. He should come well provided with guns and fishing tackle, a light fly rod for bass and a heavy trolling rod, a heavy breech-loading shot gun, and a good rifle that carries a heavy ball. There are plenty of good styles of rifles, and if the sportsman thinks he has lost any Indians, and wants to find them anywhere beyond the Missouri River he had better bring an improved Winchester, or better still, stay on this side of the river. “Indians are mighty uncertain,” and all the good ones I ever saw were hanging by the neck, strung up by the indignant people.

Brainerd, as we have said before, makes a good starting point. We have here good hotels, good society, a sporting club,—the secretary of which will at all times cheerfully answer questions from sportsmen, and will do his best to “guide the wanderer on his way” should he stray into this country. Our young city is beautifully located on a high, level plateau, sixty feet above the level of the Mississippi River in a fine grove of pines which protects us from the keen winds of winter and shades us in the summer. It is fast becoming one of the chosen spots for the invalid, the clear, balmy air, laden with the piney aroma, the new fresh life of a frontier town, the sport by flood and field will do wonders for any sick person if he will only try to do something for himself, “eschew sack,” live cleanly and not trust all to the climate.—[American Sportsman. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 June 1874, p. 4, c.’s 1 & 2)


Being on the outskirts of the town, to the east, a few days ago, taking a walk, we sat down to rest and contemplate the things that were round about us; it was a dark, dismal day; it was a log we were seated upon—a once proud monarch of the forest, some six inches through at the butt. The town was at our back, some distance back of us; in front lay a wilderness—one of the pathless, howling variety; soon a wolf piped forth his dismal lay, as he lay in a neighboring thicket just over the ravine; he was one of your gray, bounty sort, on whose head was set a price; it was probably the first good square gaze he had ever enjoyed of a white man—a good-looking white man—and so he was vociferous in his expressions of delight; we presume it was delight, for we should have been very sorry to think he viewed us in the light of an intruder. He kept on howling some, and we feared, lest it might become monotonous, or something, and so we got up off the log and wended our way rather toward the abode of civilization than otherwise; you see, we just happened to think that we had been gone a long time from our humble cot, and that though it was only about 2 o’clock p. m., tea might possibly be waiting for us; the wolf, in the meantime, rather increased the volume of his lay, and seemed to be stirring about a little, and wasn’t laying down no how. We like to hear wolves howling; there is a something in their voices that is sort of fascinating, like; we are a total stranger to the fear of wolves. It was with a good deal of reluctance that we could consent to forsake the haunts of this wolf; but we always believed it wrong to spend too much time in idleness, and our conscience so pricked us for loafing around in a lazy walk, that we at once resolved to shake off the spell and go home at once—besides, supper might possibly be getting cold. So, we quickened our pace, and after having started in on a noble resolution we felt that what was worth doing at all was worth doing well, and so we almost cantered along through the forest, so anxious were we to make amends for the first half-hour of our walk. The enchanting music of the wolf was even much more distinct and charming than at first, and we were sorely tempted to tarry; but happening to think of the passage in the Bible that says, “whatsoever thou doest, do with all thy might.” Our duty was now plain, and throwing the temptation to stay, to the dogs, we at once struck into the most animated gallop, smashing over the brushwood, plunging through mud-holes, leaping over logs, and fulfilling the scriptural injunction both in letter and spirit, to the best of our humble ability. We came into the suburbs of the town at about two-forty, and upon arriving at our vine-clad domicile, the concern for our welfare was intense, among those we loved, as our appearance gave evidence of great fatigue. We assured them that it was a mere trifle, and that having been bantered up town, by a Swede wood-sawyer, we had sawed up a cord of oak wood in fifteen minutes, just to show him it could be done.

P. S.—We have not heard from the wolf since, but presume he is enjoying moderately good health. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, Editor, 20 June 1874, p. 1, c. 7)


DEAR SIR: I propose publishing an Atlas of the State of Minnesota, containing a map of every County in the State, showing Sections, Timber, Prairie, Roads, Railroads, Streams, School Houses, Churches, etc., etc. Fine Maps, 14x28 inches, of the State of Minnesota, United States and Territories, and of both Hemispheres. Plats, with histories of the Cities, Towns, Villages, and Counties of the State. Biographies of a large number of early settlers and prominent men in the State. Also a condensed political history of the State, giving votes, etc. Six maps of Minnesota, so colored as to show the Geological and Climatological conditions of the State, with also the Congressional, Senatorial and Representative Districts. Sixteen maps of the United States, colored in five fine grades to show the amount of Wheat, Hay, Corn, Cotton and Tobacco raised in proportion to acres cultivated. Also to show deaths by consumption and other diseases, in proportions to the deaths by all diseases, and to show density of population, and proportion of colored, and various foreign nationalities in the United States.

An immense amount of very useful statistical information, covering about 50 square feet of closely printed matter, in every Atlas. To the patron of this work is published, his name, residence, business, nativity, postoffice address, and when he came to the State, besides locating name and residence on his land. The whole work will be illustrated by fine lithographic views of hundreds of public building and private residences in both town and country, and portraits of prominent men.

I have a large force of experienced men and will commence immediately an experimental canvass; and if sufficient encouragement is received, I hope to complete the work sometime during 1874. Nothing of this kind has ever been undertaken. My purpose is to crown my many years of publishing Atlas maps of Counties by producing a stupendous Atlas of our young and thriving State. The only way you can form an idea of the magnitude of this undertaking is by seeing a sample and having it explained to you by one of my agents.

Yours truly,

A. T. ANDREAS, Publisher.

(Brainerd Tribune, 20 June 1874, p. 4, c. 4)

TO THE PUBLIC.—I desire to say to any patrons that the State Atlas of Minnesota is now in press, and that the delivery will commence about the middle of November in the northern portion of the state and work southward. Having been requested by a number of my subscribers to furnish them with a better quality of binding, I will bind in morocco, gilt edges, stamped gilt back, extra with Ellsbury’s Chromos of St. Paul, Minneapolis and Winona, 15x27 inches. The extra cost will be four dollars per copy. Orders for the extra binding must be sent to this office immediately. Delivery agents will not be allowed to sell atlases, but only furnish copies to subscribers. Having spared neither trouble or expense to make this the most complete work of the kind ever published, I will place it in your hands as near perfect as was possible to make it, and hope it will more than fill your most sanguine expectations.

Yours truly,


(Brainerd Tribune, 31 October 1874, p. 4, c. 3)

WELL PLEASED.—Andreas’ State Atlas of Minnesota has given very great satisfaction to some of its subscribers, and great dissatisfaction to others. For instance, all the editors who have their “picturs” included within its covers, are red-hot in its praise. It don’t contain our “pictur,” hence we should like to have our fifteen dollars back. The otherwise fine work appears to be greatly marred on account of this oversight of the publisher. We find the following advertisements in the Duluth Herald, which would seem to indicate that there are several more Brainerdites who haven’t got their manly brawn shadowed in the Atlas:

FOR SALE.—Several copies of the Illustrated Historical Atlas of Minnesota. Price $5 per copy. Apply at “444” 5th street, Brainerd, Minn. BEN HAZEN.

NOTICE.—The undersigned has six copies of the Minnesota State Atlas for sale, at $5 per copy. Send in your orders to J. C. Walters, Brainerd, Minn. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 December 1874, p. 1, c. 5)

NOTE: Ben Hazen ran the No. 1 Saloon, renamed the “444,” and J. C. Walters was a big time liquor dealer in Brainerd.

Rocking the Cradle.

We shall believe the scholar when he asserts that there is science in all things; we have only very recently made up our mind to receive such odd doctrine, but we have to believe now in the prevalence of science, or sleight, or talent, or what not, even in so simple a thing as rocking the cradle.

We discovered it the other day. The help was gone, baby cross, dinner behind, and weather hot. Taking in the situation at a glance, we tendered our services to appease the wrath of the youngster and peel the potatoes. We had often seen mothers rock the cradle with their toe and sew for hours, and with no apparent exertion. This was our plan, and to carry it out, so far as rocking the cradle and peeling the potatoes was concerned, we assured our wife, was a most trivial matter, if it would assist her any. After depositing the little junior in the cradle, and getting it all squared around so the rockers would be lengthwise of the boards, we seated ourself on a chair at easy leg distance, and called for the pan of potatoes and the butcher-knife. No sooner said, than a six-quart milk pan full of Celtic lemons and water was deposited on our knees, and we squared ourself for business. We stuck the knife into the end of the potato, and placed our foot on the rocker just as the expectant youngster was making up its mind that the old man was “slower than molasses in February.” We tore the skin off one side of the potato, and started the cradle on a regular canter; we were a leetle too brash, however, and the cradle slid off sort diagonally, and we had to put the pan down on the floor and move our chair a little; all set again, we moved on the cradle a little easier, and were getting along swimmingly, when about the time the first potato was finished (except, as wife said, we hadn’t cut the eyes out deep enough), we discovered that our leg was aching, for some unaccountable reason, and we told wife it must be an attack of rheumatism; she said yes, and we changed the other foot onto the rocker. Being left-handed, our right foot cut up some fearful capers to start out with. We gave the establishment such a down-lifter that it threw the baby into our lap, and the pan of potatoes into the crib. Of course there was a squall following this little episode, and it was some time before the family was placed in order again. Wife thought she could get the dinner and please the baby, if we would just go out in the backyard and take a walk; but our blood was up, and we resolved to successfully run that cradle and peel those potatoes if it took all summer.

The sweat was running freely, and our mind was exercised as to how to get the knack of running the thing better, and yet keep down the rheumatism in our legs. We peeled one potato before commencing on the cradle. Thinking that many hands made light work, we got up closer and spraddled our feet, and got one foot on each rocker; every time our knees would come up, though, the water would slop out into our lap; but this was a mere trifle, as long as the cradle was operating all right. Our legs soon began to ache most fearfully again, and wife remarked that the peelings were pretty thick—they averaged about half an inch—but we remarked that the part of the potato next to the skin wasn’t healthy; she said yes, again, and we wiped off the perspiration with our shirtsleeve, and cut our left ear a little with the butcher knife. Our legs were gradually failing, and the motion of the cradle was become very peculiar again, and it was evident something must be done—either we must take a rest, or else the baby must be lashed to the cradle to keep it from slipping out on the floor someplace. We went around on the other side, so as to “change hands” with our feet, and that was fatal to our success. We gave the cradle a lively pump to make up for lost time, our feet slipped off, we lost our balance and went head first over the pan, struck the crib with such a crash that it capsized, and the potatoes went all over the floor. Then there was another little matinee, engaged in by the whole family, and we cut a fearful gash in our thumb with the knife. We sub-contracted the potato peeling then, and tied up our thumb and went out to look at the garden, and came to the conclusion that “women were angels,” sure enough; for no one save a superhuman creature could do what we have seen women doing in the way of rocking a cradle with their foot, and working with their hands at the same time, for hours at a stretch. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, Editor, 27 June 1874, p. 1, c. 3)

THE citizens of this town had better hold a meeting, and see what can be done to bring out an interest in the establishment of some manufactories in Brainerd; or do something, besides sitting down on a dry goods box or empty salt barrel, and cuss the dullness of the place, and complain because there is not more business and more money in Brainerd. There is a lethargy, and apparent selfishness, and shortsightedness prevailing among the citizens of this place now, that is entirely inexcusable, and will prove in due course of time fatal to the place. Instead of moping about with half-closed eyes, waiting for something to be turned up for us, let us go in and turn something up ourselves—or at least show a disposition to do so, at the earliest opportunity, and hold out inducements to others to come and help us turn something up. Eh? (Brainerd Tribune, 27 June 1874, p. 1, c. 5)


Croquet on the grounds of the Headquarters Hotel, ca 1873.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

The feeble exercise of croquet, or outdoor billiards, is being extensively engaged in now during the evening hours. We don’t like this game very much, not for our own use, though we do not dislike to see others play it, if it is the game they like, right down on its merits. The reason we do not like it, is because we don’t. We never took a hand in it but once, and that was one time we were inveigled into it in a front yard in Tennessee, by a bevy of young ladies and some young gentlemen. They asked us would we like to take a hand, and we said we would. They gave us the deal, and told us the trick was to knock the ball right. We picked out the heaviest maul to be had, spat on our hands and squared ourself adjacent to a ball that was lying on the grass, and just where we could take it right fair on the stomach. They said we must knock it through one of the hoops; and as it wasn’t more than six feet from a hoop, we felt a little chagrined that they should so doubt our physical abilities as to even suspicion we could not knock it that far. We told them to stand aside a little, and they began to look bewildered, some. We felt bound to show them that we were like a singed cat—better than we looked; and supposing that the one who could knock it the furthest was the best man, we went down for that ball like a thunderbolt. The handle of the maul was transformed into kindling wood, and the ball skipped fantastically through the parlor window, just grazing the top of the old lady’s head, who was watching the game, scraping her specs, off the top of her cap, smashing and twisting them past all recognition, and then the ball brought up against a life size painting of General Jackson, and for once old iron-sides had to cave in. One or two of the young ladies fainted, the old lady ran upstairs and cried, “robbers!” Just about that time we caught the idea that we had outrageously broken some sacred rule of the game, in our innocent verdancy, and so, while the young gentlemen present were engaged in resuscitating the fainted feminines, we got over the fence and went up town to put a letter in the postoffice. Croquet is a dangerous game—the way we play it. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, Editor, 18 July 1874, p. 1, c. 7)


We like pie; we always did like pie. It used to be so, in the good old days, previous to panniers and “society” rings, that a man was granted all necessary facilities for eating pie; but now it is different. When you take a seat at a “society” table, the pie is trotted up before you on a little plate with a fork—this and nothing more—to eat it with. Even with the tenderest crust, an inexperienced person has a d—l of a time getting away with it; but when the crust happens to be a leetle tough, the struggle and embarrassment of a person not a “society” expert, is nothing short of awful. He works away with the side of his fork trying to dissect it, till the inside is all squished out of it, and daubed over the plate, with a good share of the intestines of the pie sloshed on the tablecloth, because of the slippery rind flying from under the fork, when the effort is made to cut it. Of course the agonies of the scene are doubled, because, in the first place, he don’t want to lose the pie, and then he don’t want to give up the fight and show those seated at the table that he is verdant, and not a “society” rooster. He sweats, and blubbers over it, and finally gets a chunk of the mashed up and mutilated thing severed from the main piece, and tries to get it to his mouth; which he generally does about the third trial toward balancing it on the fork long enough to get it within snapping distance. After a while, however, he succeeds in retrieving about one-third of the piece, scrapes up some of the rough of the plaster lying around, and then backs down, concluding he don’t like pie, nohow; he usually retires preaching a little sermon all to himself about the cussedness that is creeping over this world, and obliterating the last semblance of good old-fashioned common sense, in everything—even the little matter of eating a piece of pie. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, Editor, 12 September 1874, p. 1, c. 4)


Coming down town the other morning, with an axe on our shoulder, we met a man with a mattress on his back, and still another with a saw and buck, and noticed two or three men hustling along with rapid gait hither and thither across the square. The sight of so much life and business astonished us, and we stopped the wood sawyer and interrogated him as to why all this remarkable thusness. He said, “a man vash gome to down this morning, already; unt he say te Northern Pacific Railroad vas goin’ to be builted to der Plack Hills rad avay, already, dish fall, sure mit der ra’lroad.” We remarked, “S-o-o?” “Yaw! sure!” remarked the Teuton. “Dot man he vore a great pig hat, unt baper collar, unt vash a big man on der ra’lroad, und dot man knows his pishness about vhat he talks, unt vehn he talk mit der beoples at der tepo, der vash great oxidemend about der folks at der ra’lroad; und dot man he say he vhill make five hundert mans in ter machine shops rat avay, und puild der Brainerd Branch an’ der switch down to der Poom Lake, und make a pig, pig mills down dare und make five hundert more mans down in der mills, und Brainerd him be a pig, pig town, rat off, all der vhile, already.” This news seeming to be so entirely reliable, and, withal, more than probable, we sought our office by way of the back alley, lest we should meet some man who would contradict the rumor, and ruin our prospects for giving our readers a red-hot item of news. And now, as for ourself, we feel sure that all this will be done and more; for, didn’t the wood sawyer hear a man say so? and no gentleman would say such a thing unless it was so—especially if he wore “pig hat and a baper collar.” So, all laborers and mechanics should promptly raise their wages to a Black Hills’ standard, potatoes should go up to twenty cents a pound; gold and real estate be doubled everyday for a month, and every man get right on the rampage, and stay on it, whether the rumor proves true or not—but no gentleman would say so unless it was so. Even so. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 September 1874, p. 1, c. 4)


To be a family man of good repute, unexceptionable character and good square application, is an accomplishment rarely met with. Fast men, ladies’ men, and men out-o-nights, are numerous, but a family man is about as seldom as a chicken’s tooth. The labors and attentions expected from a genuine family man might be compared to the sands of the seashore, or mosquitoes of a warm night in July. He must be bright, apt, capable, loyal to nothing save the hearthstone of his ranch, and must, withal, be a keen observer and a good judge of human nature—particularly of the member of the human family with whom he keeps house. He should study the nature and disposition of his wife most studiously for the first five years, by which time he will know just what’s the matter every time he sees her coming for him—if he learns easy. He will also, by this time, be expert in the principal items that go to make up one of those enviable creatures, a red-hot family man. He can sling an early breakfast together with elegance and dispatch, iron a shirt, darn a stocking, twist the head off a chicken for dinner, milk the cow, take every young one in the house across his knee and polish them off respectively, and do many other needful things about the house and get off to his work “an hour by sun,” every morning; this is only ordinary; there are men who can also bake bread, scrub, make the beds, saw a cord of wood, tie up the dog, go to market and churn, before breakfast; but we never could get quite up to that strata of excellence as a family man; having rather a delicate constitution our better half always restrained our laudable ambition for fear we might become prematurely racked. If a person hopes for rapid advancement in becoming a family man, he must imitate, to all appearances at least, the noble example of Joseph, and he will find the atmosphere of the kitchen not nearly so hot as it would otherwise be, and his promotion and general comfort will be augmented in a wonderful degree. An estimable family man is never out late, unaccompanied by his family, but “goes to bed with the chickens,” and gets up as much earlier than the chickens as possible, especially during cold weather, when things need thawing out. The study of how to make good hash should be given much attention, until the mysteries of this article of diet are fathomed; for good hash for breakfast is a wonderful elixir to start the home circle in for the day, right end up. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, Editor, 26 September 1874, p. 1, c. 4)

Town Matters.

Some twenty barrels of blueberry wine have been made in Brainerd, by various persons, this season, and has in every instance proved a most wonderful success. Most that we have tested, is, to our notion, as well as others who are connoisseurs in the matter of anything approaching the ardent, quite as fine and delicate as California wine. Next year the manufacture of it will be extensively engaged in, when every habitation in town will have a wine-cellar attachment. Three to five thousand bushels of berries are tributary to this market, annually.

P. S.—Anyone having wine that we have not yet tasted can have our judgment on its quality by leaving a gallon at our office.

We shall return the jug, in every instance, free of expense to the owner. (Brainerd Tribune, 26 September 1874, p. 4, c. 2)

Brainerd’s Improvements and Prospects.

A view of the streets and residential section of Brainerd in 1873.
Source: F. A. Taylor

Several very substantial and costly residences have been put up, or finished off in this city this year. The day of “board shanties” and “cold shells,” has passed in Brainerd, and all the improvements now being made are radically opposed to the “paper town” idea of things. The natural beauty of Brainerd is deserving of a very high order of architectural adornment, and though the place has never been extensively cursed with shanties, yet we are pleased to note that each season adds to the high order, in cost and beautiful architecture, of the improvements. Brainerd is now being built to stay. It is found that she possesses a natural key-location, has a large field to herself, and is now certain to make an important and substantial town. The low-pressure condition of the times, is, of course, keeping us back, just now, the same as is the case in all towns, more particularly new towns. But when the revival of general business and public confidence comes again—which will probably be with the opening of another spring—then we shall go ahead once more with confiding step, and grow steadily, and business matters and business enterprises will thereafter build upon tangible ground. The country immediately around us has scarcely been fairly explored as yet, and not until this season have the citizens of Brainerd understood, known or realized the character, number or extent of our natural resources; which have been recently proven to be both numerous and extensive. Of course, four years ago this whole region being an unknown and unexplored region and a howling wilderness, it is not to be wondered that not until now, so to speak, have any of us known what sections of country were tributary to this point by nature, nor what kind of stores this vast timber country possessed to be opened by the insinuating key of an enterprising and intelligent community; until now, we have all been “strangers in a strange land,” literally; and are only beginning to realize that we have possession of a point in geography that in five years hence must loom up among the first of the New Northwest. We have the location, and we have the resources, gentlemen, so let all who have interests in our beautiful infant city just hold steady, “trust in the Lord and keep their powder dry,” and a success that they now little dream of surely awaits them. We have wonderful faith in Brainerd's prospects and ultimate importance in a commercial and manufacturing sense. (Brainerd Tribune, 03 October 1874, p. 1, c. 2)

The Northern Pacific Region.

We take the following scattering extracts from a lengthy and handsomely written letter which appears in the Monroe (Mich.) Commercial. The letter was written by Mr. S. Martindale, who spent a week or two along the line visiting with his old time friend and class mate, Thos. P. Cantwell, Esq., of Brainerd:

We told you in our last of our experiences as far as Brainerd on the N. P. R. R., at the crossing of the Mississippi. We knew it would rouse the Nimrod born in every true lover of woods and streams; and when thus inborn, yields to no exorcism of any kind.

NP Bridge, ca. 1874.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

The Mississippi at this point is about 400 feet wide, and spanned by a Howe truss bridge 80 feet above high water mark. Stepping aboard one of the N. P. R. R.’s magnificent coaches at the Headquarters Hotel, we are soon moving out and along upon one of the smoothest, if not the smoothest, running roads in the United States. Thirty miles an hour is the speed, while we would suspect it only 15 or 20 miles, if our eyes were not outside upon the objects whirling past us. Grand and glorious is the sparkling sunshine in these northern days! The senses are braced to the plenitude of new experiences, and the spirits dance to a chorus of new joys. We are soon running past the many lakes where we have “wetted our line,” and were you here, you would say, “surely your lines have been cast in pleasant places.”

The rude attire of the wilderness has yielded to a floral exuberance and vegetable wealth unsurpassed in any part of our vast and fertile country and you would be ready to say, “Jay Cooke’s pamphlets are not all a fable.”

The date of the sportsman’s tether—August 15th—is not yet passed, and our jottings of personal experience are few in the line of “fur, fin and feather;” but we know the forests are full of pigeons, deer and bear, the lakes of fish, and the prairies swarm with coveys of prairie chickens that have gone “unflushed” since the days of Noah.

At Fargo, on the west bank of the Red River, the train draws up in front of another of those Headquarters Hotels, and we step out upon its broad piazza, and through spacious, airy halls to our room, made as comfortable for us as could be at any metropolitan center 2,000 miles away. From the upper piazza and the observatory above, our eyes reach out upon the expanse of prairie—to the north and east, skirted by the heavy growth of timber that marks the sinuous course of the Red River—to the south, the vision is unobstructed, except by the sparsely scattered pioneers’ cabins; and to the west, the straight, undeviating track of the road points with unerring finger “whither the star of empire takes its course.”

Please say to the people “down east,” that to the sportsman, to the overworked in delving for sixpences, to the adventurer, for childhood’s past-time, or manhood’s sterner joys, there can be no more favorable retreat from the warfare of life than out along, and upon the N. P. R. R., with headquarters at Brainerd. We shall expect you to form one of our company to this region of newness and delight, at a future time. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 October 1874, p. 4, c. 1)

Man’s Work Lasts from Sun to Sun, Woman’s Work is Never Done.

“Monday—washing; Tuesday—ironing; Wednesday—baking; Thursday—scrubbing; Friday—washing out a few things that were missed; Saturday—more baking, scrubbing, and an immense sight of work, by way of getting things ready to enjoy a little comfort around the house the rest of the week.”

There! Mr. Editor, I have read a great many smart, funny and witty articles in your paper, but never a truer or more sensible one than the above, and I have stopped in the midst of my housework, sweeping, dusting, washing dishes, cleaning lamps and baking, (this is Wednesday) for the express purpose of telling you so. Wash Monday, iron Tuesday, bake Wednesday, &c. That is just the programme, and for what? “A little comfort the rest of the week!” It sounds rather funny, but I think it decidedly serious. Six days of hard work to be able to rest one. And then when we come right to the point, the one who has during the week gone through with all of the above work, gets very little rest. The head of the house rises an hour or two later than usual, dons his carefully prepared clothes, walks calmly out to a comfortable breakfast; after which he smokes his cigar and reads the papers, and when church time arrives wonders what the deuce wife is thinking about that she is not ready. And “wife,” what has she done? Risen at the usual time—no extra sleep for her—laid her husband’s clothes where he can find them, for men do hate to look for anything, (ten to one if they find it even by looking) put her house in order and prepared breakfast, after which she dresses the children for Sunday School, washes her dishes, gets things ready for lunch, and if the church bell rings before she has accomplished a day’s work, and is dressed for church, is it to be wondered at? This is merely her morning’s work, and if we follow her through the day, it will plainly be seen that she gets very little rest, and when at night she pillows her tired head, her last thought is, “Tomorrow I must wash.”

Three months ago, I began learning to do housework, and I have served a faithful apprenticeship at it, and now I can say, “I know how to do housework,” but, like the man who could eat “biled crow,” I must confess, “I don’t hanker arter it,” and just because one is never through with it—

“Man’s work lasts from sun to sun,

Woman’s work is never done.”

Oh, dear! while I’ve been writing to you my pies have burned black; the baby has tipped over the kerosene can; everything has gone wrong, and if I don’t hurry and make up for lost time, I shan’t have even one day of comfort this week.

Yours, L.

Minneapolis, Oct. 14th.

(Brainerd Tribune, 24 October 1874, p. 4, c. 1)

The First Snow—Deer, etc.

For the past month, twenty hunters of Brainerd have been talking “first snow”—”deer”—”track”—”fat”—”two every day,” etc., etc. At first, we didn’t notice these mutterings that were heard around every bar-room stove and street corner, because it was out of our line, and kind of Greek, at best. But after hearing such talk a week or two, it began to sound like the tick of an ancient wooden clock, or the endless rasping of a grub-worm in a fence-post. These were the premonitory symptoms. The third week we began to dream of parks filled with deer, and ourself roosting on the fence shooting them down with a squirt-gun, and skinning them with a candle. Every night we were at it, until hunting was our nightmare and we had the buck tremens. We finally told wife how it was, and that nothing would appease our wrath except blood and venison; the snow would soon be here, and we felt it our duty to go forth and bring forth a buck, because our children must have meat, and there was nothing like fat venison to keep off the scurvy. Sure enough that very evening the snow clouds rolled up in the west, and a fall of that article sufficient for “tracking” was inevitable. During the afternoon and evening all was life and animation wherever we moved—for you see we had it bad. At the office we fixed things so as to admit of our absence for a day, and purchased an ample supply of the munitions of war. We sat down and wrote numerous very vigorous editorials—one on the financial condition of the world previous to the flood, one relating to our opinion as to what the hieroglyphics on the inside of the pyramids meant in English, and an elaborate opinion to the effect that the sheep over which David presided when a boy, were nothing more nor less than the deer of the present day; also, several shorter articles upon other live and interesting topics, so that the boys might have plenty of copy while we were out drawing in the deer on the “first snow.” When tea time arrived we reported at our domicile, loaded down with supplies, including a hundred cartridges, which had to be warmed and the tallow wiped off them during the evening, besides an immense amount of other fixing up, so as to be prepared for a large amount of slaughter, and be as well fixed as the other fifty hunters who would be sure to be out next morning. Grind our tomahawk, whet the knife, oil up the gun, test the compass with the poker, provide matches, get a hunting suit prepared and a four o’clock breakfast set at half cock in order to facilitate matters in the morning. But, upon entering the rear door of our cottage, wife met us with a reminder that the Sociable met that evening, and of course it was the first of the season and it was our bounden duty to attend; it would never do not to go to the Sociable, and she was busily engaged darning up the numerous places in our best trousers that had been “rented,” like. We disencumbered our person of the “traps,” and then sat down on the edge of the washtub to think a little. We had clean forgotten the Sociable; wife was right about it being necessary that we should be there—she was always right, and we knew it. We rubbed bullets till sociable time, and afterwards till about midnight did we labor in the interest of deer, and on behalf of a meat hungry family. Daylight found us in the wilderness, and sunrise revealed to us a “fresh track,” and we vigorously, and watchfully pursued that deer most of the day. Although an amateur, we felt sure our operations in the rear of that animal bordered closely upon the professional; when in an opening, we would strike an animated canter, and when in the thick brush, we elongated our neck, ever and anon creeping on hands and knees through the tangled brushwood, straining our eyes and maintaining a ceaseless cock on both ears for sounds. Just as the sun was climbing down behind the jack pines in the west, we ran across a hunter who had a fine deer on his back on his way to town. We conferred with him as to what was necessary for us to do in order to get our deer similarly located with his, and showed him the beautiful fresh track we had been following round and round all day. He gazed at it briefly, and then told us that it was quite unreasonable to expect to find a deer by following a rabbit track—no matter if we followed it a week. For a moment we felt as though we were about to be stricken down with the yellow jaundice; our legs got weak, and we commenced sweating on the upper lip. He told us it was about four miles to town and, and he would give us fifty cents to help him in with his deer. We told him money was no object, but if he wouldn’t be communicative in relation to our case when he got home we would carry his deer all the way; to all of which he agreed, and we faithfully filled our part of the contract. When anyone speaks of “the first snow” in our presence now, it has a very cooling influence upon our ambition, and our appetite for venison. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, Editor, 07 November 1874, p. 1, c. 5)


The history of this town thus far may be summed up as follows:

First year—Shanties, Injuns, strangers, roughs of both sexes, whiskey and pistols, and knives for all hands in quantities to suit all tastes.

Second year—Red hot; piles of money; a few acquaintances formed; business flush; dance-houses in their glory; three card monte rampant; shooting and gambling the order; fires, and the d—l to pay night and day.

Third year—Commences with everything fairly seething; election excitements at their height, might made right all around; plenty of excitement yet to make life comfortable to the most reckless spirits; two Indians hung in a tree in the most public street; bear and dog fights; somebody shot, or badly shot at, every night, and, in short, lots of fun of every exciting kind; the close of the year witnessed the exit of hundreds, including transient men and roughs, and left the town more quiet and steady-going; except in election times.

Fourth year—Business duller, a less number of people, the town very orderly, several churches erected, schools established, the citizens well acquainted, circles and societies formed, substantial improvements crowding out the temporary structures, city governments in successful operation, the town clear of that uneasy, floating element as well as the “tough nuts” who shot at the drop of the hat; society is established on a firm basis, its citizens made up of the most liberal, enterprising and intelligent classes from every State, and thus we stand today. Business just now, as it is everywhere, is quite dull, though everyone has enough to do, and the city can be considered in a prosperous condition, but waiting for something to turn up in order to make another aggressive stride to the front.

Brainerd is the most beautiful town in the Northwest and in five years, with reasonably good times in the country at large, must become a flourishing young manufacturing city from three to five thousand inhabitants.

Brainerd has not “seen her best days.” (Brainerd Tribune, 21 November 1874, p. 1, c. 4)


New Year’s Calls.

This extremely innocent pastime was indulged in yesterday to quite an extent in the City of the Pines. The doctors called to see their patients; the trader called to see if his customer had that little balance handy; the milk-man called in the morning, just after the rooster had called; then mothers called the children up, and the ladies called for their morning lunch; the thirsty man called for his toddy, and the beaux called to see his dulcerin [sic], and seen her; we called at our cot at noon and got our dinner, and our offspring called for nickels to get candy with; the church bells called; the printer’s “devil “ called for more copy, and in short it was a calling time all around. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, 02 January 1875, p. 1, c. 6)

“Done Quit.”

The line of stages between here and St. Cloud has been “pulled,” otherwise hauled off—quit. The completion of the Brainerd Branch, early next season, being a foregone conclusion, they probably thought it the better part of valor to light out, before they were “run out.” Or else it didn’t pay—we don’t know which:

Good-bye, ye plodding stage-coach,

Thou subject of remorse;

Your mud and dust anatomy’s

Run out by the iron-horse.

There’s something about your whip-crack

Though, that’s cheering to the ear,

And in your jolting thump-box

There’s little, or nothing, to fear.

And that is what makes it more binding. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 January 1875, p. 1, c. 5)

NEW STAGE LINE.—We are glad to announce that the new daily line of stages between this city and St. Cloud is now a fixed fact. Mr. O. H. Hall is the proprietor of the new line. He favored us with a call the other day, and we found him to be a very pleasant gentleman, and energetic business man. Aside from carrying the mail and passengers, etc., all packages left at the store of T. P. Cantwell, will be promptly delivered at any point on the line, at a reasonable charge. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 January 1875, p. 1, c. 4)

Hall’s Stage Line Ad, 20 February 1875.
Source: Brainerd Tribune

THE BRAINERD & ST. CLOUD STAGE LINE.—The new daily stage line of Mr. O. H. Hall, running between this city and St. Cloud, is a “clean-limbed” institution, for a fact. During the awfully cold, stormy weather of the past few weeks, Old Boreas seemed to stand midway of the prairies that had to be crossed, with outstretched arms to welcome the passers to an icy tomb ‘neath the frosty snow, Hall’s stages came gliding through as regularly as clock-work, everyday depositing their warmly-wrapped passengers at either end of the seventy-mile journey. This display of energy on the part of Mr. Hall stands at the head of Minnesota stage history, entitling him to the belt. The coaches leave the Merchants Hotel here, every morning at five o’clock, and arrive here every evening at seven. John H. Moon, Esq., at the Merchants, is the manager at this end of the route, with whom all packages should be left and business transacted. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 February 1875, p. 1, c. 4)

HENRY RASICOTT, proprietor of the Brainerd and Little Falls stage line, has placed stoves in his stages, making his passengers as comfortable as travelers by rail. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 December 1876, p. 1, c. 7)


The following pleasant description of Brainerd and her institutions we clip from the Little Falls Courier, which is edited by Mrs. Wm. H. Wood. She says:

“Brainerd surprised us. We knew that its ‘local habitation’ was far up toward where the tall pines grow, but were unaware that she had reared herself in their midst. Were her dwellings only wigwams and log huts, they would still borrow a picturesque aspect from the tall, arrowy pines, that have been allowed to stand as sentinels over the magic city. Though built in a day, as it were, Brainerd has some good, well-built public houses, stores and private residences. “Headquarters” is a large, finely-finished hotel, and is really elegant without and within. Like most new towns, buildings are scattered, plenty of intervening lots being left for speculative purposes. And all these vacant lots covered thickly with the one Brainerd tree—the dark, towering pine. Indeed, this pine is interwoven with every impression of this fine northern young city.

It was difficult to realize that we were not in some region remote from Minnesota—some fairy-land—or distant isle of the seas. So unlike is it to all other places within our knowledge. But we liked it very much. The evergreens and the snow contrasted beautifully, and glimpses of the blue sky here and there completed a pretty picture. We could not help fancying that all the people who lived sheltered by those weird lords of the forest were like those we read of in fairy tales, and that good little girl’s godmothers, like Cinderella’s, there dwelt, converting bright impossibilities into charming realities—wooden shoes into golden slippers.

A small building, TRIBUNE, over the door, proved too attractive to be passed by. Had not the ruthless fire destroyed every type and vestige of the TRIBUNE office not ten days ago? Only an uninsured Editor, and a forlorn printer left to tell the tale!

And to the astonishment of even fast people had not, in just eight days, a Brainerd TRIBUNE boldly made its appearance, bright and new, as if by fire purified? And from new type, new press, new office?

We hurried in to take our view of this burned-out Editor, who under the electrifying influence of the shock, had made Time stop, as it were, until he had bro’t about another world’s wonder, and shamed Hercules by a thirteenth labor which casts his boasted twelve into the shade.

As, however, editors are modest people, and don’t like publicity, we will only say that like other great heroes, courage and perseverance lies couchant under a quiet exterior and a gentle manner. His office and material is good enough for a very Prince of the black art—what more could he have? He kindly invited us to his home close by, where we found his wife and five little daughters and sons, an interesting family group. All success to the BRAINERD TRIBUNE, which has been tried even by fire, and not been found wanting.

We return our kindest thanks to twenty-four new subscribers in Brainerd, and particularly to Mr. F. X. Goulet, County Auditor, who introduced us to his townsmen, and spake for us a kindly word. At his home we were most hospitably entertained nor shall we forget all his kindness, equaled only by that of his amiable lady. We hope some day, again to visit this pleasant city of the Pines. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 January 1875, p. 1, c. 6)

SEE: 1874 Brainerd Tribune Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

A WOLF comes up to the edge of town almost everyday, sits down on his tail and breaks the silence of the adjacent wilderness with his monotonous howl. Some folk would scare; but we are not of the scare kind—they don’t make any better locks than’s on our door. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 February 1875, p. 1, c. 5)


MR. EDITOR:—May I ask some old settler to give me either personally or through your paper, which I know would gladly put the facts on record, for answers to the following questions. I wish to forward them to the Minnesota Academy of Natural Sciences:

When was Brainerd settled?

By whom?

Origin and name.

First house built. By whom? Date.

First house of worship, and date.

First clergyman.

First physician.

First lawyer.

First newspaper and printer.

First school house and teacher.

First child born, name and date.

How many Indian mounds in township?

Have any relics been discovered?

What are they? Any bone or stone implements?

Can you send us any specimens of stone or copper implements discovered in mounds; if not, describe them.

Isn’t it about time to inaugurate an Old Settlers Club? The answering of these questions might furnish interest for one evening.

Respectfully yours,


(Brainerd Tribune, 13 February 1875, p. 1, c. 3)


BISMARCK, D. T., March 8th, 1875.

Rev. Edwin S. Williams, Brainerd, Minn.

SIR.—My attention has been called to some historical questions proposed by you to the “old settlers” of Brainerd, through the columns of the Brainerd Tribune. I have just had a conversation with one of the oldest settlers in Brainerd, on the subject, and the result of our united recollections I will now briefly describe to you, as my time at present is rather limited.

1. Brainerd was first settled in the latter part of August, 1870.

2. Mr. Stuart Seelye, from Minneapolis, was the first settler.

3. The origin of Brainerd may be safely given to the Northern Pacific Railroad company, as its first settlement is coeval with the first arrival of the surveyors of the road at its present Mississippi crossing. Brainerd received its name in honor of the wife of J. Gregory Smith, the then President of the N. P. R. R. Co. Her name was said to be Brainerd.

4. The first house built and occupied in Brainerd was a hewn log house, built by Stuart Seelye, on the east bank of the Mississippi, a few rods north of the railroad bridge. The house was finished about the 10th of October, 1870, and, after several changes of ownership, and passing through an eventful career, was burned down a little over one year ago.

5. The first house of worship in Brainerd was the Episcopal church, which was finished, I think, in June, 1871.

6. The first clergyman who officiated in Brainerd was Rev. Father Gurley.

7. The first physician was Dr. Chas. P. Thayer, who was in Brainerd about the 18th of October, 1870.

8. The first lawyer in Brainerd was George W. Holland, the present reliable and efficient county attorney of Crow Wing county.

9. The first newspaper published in Brainerd was called the Brainerd Tribune. For further particulars, see M. C. Russell.

10. The first schoolhouse in Brainerd was a hewn log house, on the west end of Front street, now used as an ice-house. The first teacher was Charles Lancaster, a graduate of the St. Cloud Normal School.

11. Jesse Ayers, one of Brainerd’s oldest settlers, says that a child of Charles Darby has the honor of being the first child born in Brainerd, but he cannot give me the name, or the date of its birth.

To your further questions I can give no reliable answers. I have not time to review what I have here written, so please excuse any mistakes. If I have given you any information that will help you, I will be satisfied.

With kind regards, I remain,

Yours truly, DAVID STEWART.

(Brainerd Tribune, 24 April 1875, p. 1, c. 4)


OF the ninety-two persons who have taken out naturalization papers in this county during the years 1873 and 1874, 23 are from the British American Provinces, 10 from England, 1 from Scotland, 6 from Ireland, 11 from Norway, 30 from Sweden, 9 from Denmark, 1 from Germany, and 1 from France. Number of marriages in 1873, 25; in 1874, 11; [would have been more the latter year, only the girls ran short.—ED.] Divorces, in the two years, 10; [marriages gaining on divorces slowly at last account]. Births in 1874, 12. These items we obtain from Court Clerk, W. W. Hartley. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 February 1875, p. 1, c. 6)

A Malicious Misrepresentation.

WE term it malicious, because it can be nothing else than the worst of malice, that will actuate a person to write an article for a newspaper, relative to any country, and compose it from beginning to end of falsehoods of the most glaring character. Such is the style of a letter which appears in the Barrow (England) Daily Times, written by “E. A.,” and concerning the merits of the State of Minnesota (U. S. A.)—as a country in which to live, move, and have a being.

Without dwelling in detail upon the “glowing description” of “E. A.”—our almost eternal winter, with a few weeks of seething heat which we call summer, our venomous reptiles, wire worms, no chance for employment and a still less chance to get one’s pay after working, and a thousand or so other terrible imaginary and exaggerated ills, such as famine, pestilence, the losing of your scalp, through the instrumentality of the festive red man, etc.,—we simply jot down in the limited time at our disposal, a few general facts, relative to Minnesota as a whole, and the Northern Pacific country in particular. We have lived twenty years in Minnesota, and our opinion ought to be worth something, particularly when we assure the good people of Barrow that, notwithstanding we should be delighted to welcome any or all of them to the broad, rich acres, and healthful and delightful climate of Minnesota, yet, we have a better opinion of ourself than to suppose we could willfully falsify in any particular, for the purpose of enticing them hither.

In the first place, Minnesota is a young State; twenty-five years ago it was an unexplored and lonely wild almost from border to border; to-day, our proud young commonwealth, only in its swaddling clothes and the development of its resources but just begun, contains a little upwards of half a million of as intelligent, noble, refined, enterprising, generous, happy and contented people as ever the god of day blessed with its rays. It contains a score of flourishing young cities, (and among the number the most gigantic improved water power in all the western States, already furnishing a great home market for much of our immense annual surplus wheat, corn, barley, oats, etc., and all of our wool, flax, and flax-seed, providing us in return with all kinds of woolen fabrics, wooden wares, and lumber) and hundreds of thrifty towns and villages, all provided with the best of free schools and churches. The fund provided for the maintenance of our public schools is both munificent and inexhaustible, and we challenge the world to a comparison. In 1870, the last census taken we had 2,479 schools in operation, with 2,886 teachers and 107,266 pupils; we have three palatial training or Normal Schools provided by the State, a University, and several denominational schools, seminaries and colleges. The laws of the State are administered very wisely as a whole, and taxation always kept at the lowest possible standard, and are never burdensome. Minnesota follows in the wake of its educational privileges with 128 daily and weekly newspapers, which with the vast number taken from abroad, furnishes our good people with all the affairs of the world—should Barrow have burned yesterday, Minnesotans could be apprised of its harrowing details in the papers of this morning. Minnesota already has 50,000 farms, producing annually, with its half million population, upwards of 20,000,000 bushels of wheat; five years ago, and before the vast and fertile Northern Pacific region could boast of a single farm, (where hundreds have since been opened up), the main productions to be added to our immense yield of wheat footed up as follows: Rye, 78,088 bushels; Indian corn, 4,743,117; oats, 10,678,261; barley, 1,032,024; buckwheat, 52,438; wool, 401,185 lbs.; beans and peas, 46,601 bushels; Irish potatoes, 1,943,063 bushels. Though Minnesota’s reputation on this continent as a producer of wheat and other cereals, is one we are justly proud of, yet we can with even better grace, boast of our capacity to produce nearly every production known to the vegetable kingdom, of the very best quality, huge growth, and in quantities to the given area, that is a marvel, even with our careless mode of farming, as compared with the care and labor applied by agriculturists of the old countries, or of our own eastern and middle States. Small fruits of every kind can be grown abundantly, as well as the hardier varieties of large fruits; while the delicious wild fruits of a score of kinds may be had for the gathering.

The stock raising and dairy privileges afforded by Minnesota must ere many years render her fame in this direction even much more enviable than she now enjoys as a wheat-growing State. No part of the country, save Texas and some of the southwestern Territories, offers as fine an opening for grazing and the manufacture of butter and cheese; and any advantage Texas may hold over Minnesota in a shorter winter-feed, we consider more than gained by the latter by reason of her superior markets, the greater healthfulness of her climate for beast, as well as man, the nutritiousness of the grasses, and unequaled purity and abundance of water. The Northern Pacific end of Minnesota, (the north half, or more, of the State) is peculiarly blessed in every needed requirement for a first-class stock-raising and dairy country, capable of supplying half the continent with a better quality of beef than can be elsewhere produced, and a grade of butter and cheese equal to that manufactured on the Western Reserve in Ohio—this, aside from the wonderful productions of the Northern Pacific country in an agricultural way. Beautiful streams flow hither and yon throughout the country, and a thousand lakes and lakelets sparkle in the almost perpetual sun and moonlight, and twenty feet below their burnished face may be seen the myriad's of fish, as distinctly as though they were in one’s hand; whilst on their glassy bosom a hundred species of delicious water fowl sport and play ‘neath the royal gaze of the stately swan, that floats o’er their crystal depth in proud consciousness that in no other waters can she rest and maintain the spotless white of her gorgeous plumage. As to our climate and seasons, we can refute the silly misrepresentation of “E. A.” in this particular by a simple statement: Our growing season in Minnesota is from two to four weeks shorter than in Central Illinois; this makes the single difference of requiring the farmer to make more haste in his seeding work; the development of the crops, however, is none behind in the end; we have so much greater length of sunlight during the twenty-for hours, than they have in more southern States, that the marvelously rapid growth of our crops bring them out even with or ahead of those in Illinois; there, they estimate one hundred days necessary for Indian corn (to illustrate) to mature—from time of planting till ready for the harvest; on the line of the Northern Pacific Railroad we know of a field of corn, six acres, which matured under very ordinary cultivation, in seventy-five days from the time of planting until it was ready to be ground into meal. So much for the seasons. As to the climate: Our winters are only of longer duration in proportion as our growing season is shorter than in Illinois. But here, our seasons are positive in their character. In Illinois, or other States south of us, the winters are composed of continuous and rapid changes from one extreme to the other overhead, and from rough and frozen earth to bottomless mud below; the cold is of so damp and piercing a character at nearly all times that it is not only severe to endure, but is, of course, extremely unhealthy; out-door business there almost approaches stagnation at times, owing to the fact that they neither have good wheeling or good sleighing—none of either. But how is it with us? you inquire. During our residence in Minnesota, with perhaps two exceptions, the present has been the coldest winter we ever experienced. January and February have been cold months, with a two-day storm, too cold to be out either day; with the exception of four or five days, house-carpenters have worked outdoors steadily, wood and lumber hauling has been engaged in unceasingly, the trains on the Northern Pacific Railroad have run uninterruptedly on time, save one day, while in more southern States trains have been blocked up with snow for a week at a time. A fall season in Minnesota cannot be excelled in lovely grandeur by Italy itself; winter sets in, on an average, at about the 20th of November, and ends about the same date in March. Autumn in all its glory ends abruptly, and winter, with constant good sleighing throughout, follows; we have on an average about two weeks of stormy, severely cold, windy weather, unsuitable for outdoor business; aside from this the winters are steadily and evenly cold, just right for outdoor work, no wind, and a brilliant sunlight, with an average of about fifteen inches of snow, and the ax-man may work everyday with his coat off; the air is dry and always the same, so that should mercury creep down from zero to twenty below, a person would not be aware of the change unless he should consult the thermometer; winter in Minnesota is a glorious time for men of all classes, and especially for the farmer to get out and hall his year’s supply of wood and fencing or market his grain, for the roadster to do his teaming and the lumbermen to get out his logs and timber. After fourteen to sixteen weeks of such jolly, rollicking business, to the tune of jingling sleigh-bells, winter ends as abruptly as it commenced, and ere you can scarcely realize it, spring in all its newborn joy is with you; the crisp, invigorating air of winter is quickly changed to balmy breezes, and the woodland resounds with the music of a thousand sweet songsters; often have we gathered bouquets of wild flowers on the hillsides whilst yet great patches of snow lingered in the more shady retreats. For the present winter, all our cold or stormy weather has passed and gone, and yet we can hardly realize that we are so close upon the beautiful spring-time, and that stern winter is all but gone, with so little discomfort as has been experienced.

So far as the “reptiles” is concerned the most dangerous ones we ever encountered in this latitude, was the innocent little garden toad, or equally harmless little garter-snake which is about the same class monster as the angling-worm.

None of the citizens of the Northern Pacific country are more steadfast friends or more enthusiastic admirers of our climate, soil, and rare natural advantages, than the English portion; and especially so the prosperous members of the Furness Colony, out at Wadena, who, we believe came from Barrow, and thereabout.

With this hasty, though truthful, general description of our adopted State, which we have been proud to call our home for twenty years past, we leave “E. A.” impressed, we hope, with the idea that this is one of the questions that has a “right and a wrong side.” (Brainerd Tribune, 06 March 1875, p. 1, c’s 3-5)


We find the following readable and truthful description of this section of country, as a “paradise for sportsmen,” in the Chicago Inter-Ocean. It was written for that paper by our fellow citizen, Thomas P. Cantwell, who know whereof he writes:

The country which the Northern Pacific Railroad traverses from east to west, and that which is tributary to it, is one vast game preserve, and presents attractions to the sportsman unsurpassed in the United States. Since the land rose above the vast inland sea which, according to the best authority, once covered this entire and surrounding States, game of all descriptions common to the Northwest has bred undisturbed, and thriven wonderfully, with no one to hunt it, save the few scattering bands of Indians, or an occasional trapper or surveyor; and their lines of march usually lay along the trails or water courses, while the vast forests and densely grown up swamps, into which the axes of the Northern Pacific surveyors first let the sunlight four years ago, remained in their primeval state.

Then hunting or fishing was the hardest of hard work; nothing but an imperfectly brushed outline to travel on, without a house or human habitation from Lake Superior to the Mississippi River, a distance of 120 miles; now the spacious and elegant cars of the Northern Pacific dash along past the reedy-margined lakes, the home of the wild fowl, through the pine forests and tamarack swamps, startling surly bruin, and past the oak ridges, where the deer delight to feed. Now at intervals cozy station houses, where the sportsman is always welcome, and then running into a little frontier town, where one can always find good hotel accommodation, teams, guides, and fellows who will help make the sportsman’s stay among them of the most pleasant nature. Duluth, the largest city on the line, at the lake terminus of the road, is the place to start from for trout fishing. Speckled trout abound in all the ice-cold spring-fed brooks along the north shore, and the trip to Superior, Bayfield, Ashland, and the numerous trout streams that lie in the vicinity of these cities, is enjoyable in the extreme. All along the line are numerous clear lakes and ponds teeming with fish, black and Oswego bass, pike-perch, barred perch, pickerel, and muskelunge. The lake par excellence is Serpent Lake, at Withington Station, a beautiful sheet of water, with high, gravelly banks, fringed with heavy hardwood timber to the waters edge.

Deer abound near Brainerd, and west through the hardwood ridges. They are very abundant. “Still hunting” only is permitted, the use of hounds not being allowed, and since the Chippewa Indians have been moved away and confined to their reservations, deer have increased wonderfully. Anywhere within a few miles of the stations they can be found. Black bear are quite common, and in this region, where berries and nuts are so abundant, grow to an enormous size. In the swampy country between Lake Superior and the Mississippi River they are most numerous, and frequently the engineer from his cab window sees the ungainly animals lumber off as he sweeps around a curve. Occasionally, either from fear or pure ugliness, they refuse to leave the track, and a mass of black fur and meat goes tumbling down the grade, to form a bonne bouche for the ravens and buzzards.

Far to the north, yet still within the limits of the State, beyond the Leech Lake and along the valley of the Bois River, moose and caribou range, and an occasional herd of reindeer. Until within a few years this northern portion of the State has been a terra incognita, so to speak, known only to lumbermen and explorers, and only attainable to the sportsman at great expense and exertion. Now a weekly stage runs between the railroad and Leech Lake. White settlers and traders have located at different points, and the trip can now be made easily, without much expense, and will certainly repay the ardent sportsman for all his trouble.

For grouse shooting the prairie country along the line from Wadena west to the Missouri River has not its equal in the world. The close season for these game birds expires August 15th, and they are then to be found everywhere as plentiful as blackbirds in the Easter marshes. From 100 to 150 a day for two guns is not an uncommon day’s work. Pinnated grouse are beginning to show themselves occasionally, but they are not numerous as yet.

A singular fact in connection with these birds is, wherever the pinnated grouse make their appearance, the sharp-tailed grouse begin to get scarce, and finally disappear entirely. Tetrao umbellus, the ruffed grouse, favorite alike of the epicure and sportsman, abound wherever there is cover for them, and the finest kind of sport can be had with them, shooting over trained dogs, or keeping well outside the brush, while a brace of lively cocker or springer spaniels flush the gallant birds from their cover. Wild ducks, geese, and all varieties of water-fowl common to the North are here in the spring and fall, going to and returning from their breeding ground in countless myriads. Every pond and slough is covered with them till the ice begins to form, when they take their departure for a more genial clime. Sportsmen visiting this section should come early in the season, in order to enjoy to the fullest extent grouse shooting, and stay late enough to hunt deer. They should be well provided with guns, a breech loader, ten or twelve gauge, for grouse or ducks; a Winchester, Remington, or Maynard rifle, of not less caliber than .46 for large game, and ammunition and supplies for camp use can be bought at any of the thrifty towns along the road, and at all these places one can find hotel accommodations and guides to any place.

In this connection it may be proper to remark that the officers of the Northern Pacific Railroad (particularly Superintendent Sullivan, himself a sportsman of no mean ability) are ever ready to advance the interests of sportsmen and tourists visiting this country. (Brainerd Tribune, 03 April 1875, p. 4, c. 1)


We started to go someplace the other day, and we went—part of the time, and part of the time we did not. The first place at which we found our locomotion materially impeded, was at Northern Pacific Junction; we were marked “Duluth,”—better known as the Zenith which is not salted. Having to wait three mortal hours at the Junction for a train upon which we could pursue our explorations, and there being no public gardens, operas, circuses or auction stores at which we could be entertained and edified, we betook ourself to the rocky shores of the St. Louis River, close at hand, and sat down on a rock that overhung an abyss of more or less merit as a big thing. That rock was somewhat cold, but being the best thing at hand, we remained with it, and gazed about us at the wonders of nature as presented by the bill before us. The adjacent hills were piled along the river in every fantastic shape in the catalogue of Nature, the crags along its shores formed a border of rustic beauty among the rarest in the country, while the raging torrent poured, leaped, and lashed itself into a foaming fury as it hastened onward to the sea—or to Lake Superior, which is about the same thing in this country. The scenery along the St. Louis is very rare indeed. No doubt California, Switzerland, and possibly the undiscovered country at the source of the Nile, may present equal views of rugged grandeur—but we don’t know it, you see, ‘cause we haven’t been there. We whiled away our time in deep contemplation of the “seen,” and wondered how long it had been built, and how much rougher and more mixed up they could have made it—had it been their best day for roughing it. We also wondered very much as to about how many snakes there were around among these rocks, to the square rod—take it on a right good day for snakes. Really, it was a gorgeous display of scrambled nature. That rock was very cold, upon which we sat, and we began to get rheumatism in one of our decayed teeth; we believe toothache is a contagious malady, if you sit on a stone the 12th day of April. The St. Louis River, from Thomson to Duluth, is the wonder of the traveler, and will well repay the sightseer to visit it. We never had a lively appreciation of natural scenery, but we always liked to pass over this route on the cars, just to hear the ladies express their wonder and fear, alternately, at the fine scenery and high bridges, in little shrieks, and hear them ask someone handy by if he wouldn’t just put his arm about their corset so they could lean out at the window and see how far it was down to the ground. It is admirable to see how long they can stand it to lean out and look down into the shadowy gulfs over which the iron horse wends his way—on stilts. But that rock grew no warmer, and our rheumatic tooth commenced to “speak out in meeting,” and we were reluctantly forced to leave the enchanting scene and go back to the depot. The train met us there, and we got aboard; we told the captain of the cars that we wanted him to pull us to Duluth; and he said if we’d sit down and shut our yawp, we could go for a dollar and a quarter. We got to the town in question, and a gentleman named Col. Hull gave us our supper. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, Editor, 17 April 1875, p. 1, c. 6)







Thomas Lanihan Elected Mayor.


The Citizens Indignant Beyond Expression.





Etc., Etc., Etc.


A special election was held in this city yesterday for the purpose of electing a mayor, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of M. C. Russell, Esq. The usual formula of a city convention was dispensed with, for the reason that up to Thursday evening but little if any interest was taken in the matter, and looked very much as though it would go by default (as it did with a vengeance). Numerous persons were spoken of as candidates, but by common consent it resolved itself down to two, Capt. C. B. Sleeper and Ald. L. C. Currier, of the second ward.

The result, however, as given below, precludes the necessity for any discussion upon the merits and demerits of either of these candidates, and in fact almost anything else pertaining to the election.

The contest was not unlike Brainerd elections in general; it had its farce, as usual, and as Jones, the Negro barber, has left the city, poor old Thomas Lanihan was made the hobby of those who, having no special interest in the city or its respectability—the rather perhaps having interests elsewhere to which this city is antagonistic, if interests they have—avail themselves of every opportunity to expose it to ridicule; but we were not a little surprised in this instance to see the large number of citizens, of whom better should be expected, who were made the willing tools of an element directly opposed to their best interests. To such we can only say, “A mean bird fouls its own nest.”

Another class also existed equally deserving of blame in this matter, we refer to those who allowed their disgust to over-rule their judgement, and purposely remained from the polls. To these we can say, you have what you deserve in return. If you trust your business to incompetent or unreliable hands you must expect to suffer, and the only proper way to display your disgust in this matter was to go like men and rebuke it by your ballot; as it is, you have none to blame but yourselves, and cannot complain if you are condemned severely by those who endeavored to defeat it.

An idea appears to prevail to a large extent that this will have the desired effect of doing away with the city government, that the council will resign, and as we have heard many say, “bust up the city.” To such, permit us to say, the city CANNOT be “busted” in any such way. In the first place the council cannot all resign in the manner stated, two of the aldermen can resign if all the others are present to accept their resignations, but less than a quorum can do no manner of business, not even accept a resignation; and if an alderman resigns the law makes it incumbent upon the council to appoint a special election to fill the vacancy. But, says one, suppose they refuse to do that? a mandamus will soon compel them We already have an instance on record.

But admitting they could all resign and elect no successor, there would be no provisions for the settlement of the affairs of the city, no one would be authorized to act or appear for the city in any matter or suit, and Mr. Goulet knows what that means; and in a short time the city would have a few judgments against it, and an order would be issued by the court to have a tax levied to pay them.

Now, if the citizens want the city organization abolished there is a proper way to go about it, and electing a thousand Lanihans mayor would not be the first step towards it.

The fact of the matter is, it is a ridiculous farce, carried to a villainous outrage, and the city has an elephant upon its hands that it is obliged to submit to. We would like to be a member of the city council, we would. We will be present, if possible, at the next council meeting “takin’ notes, an’ faith we’ll print ‘em.

Below we give the result of the returns:

1st Ward.

C. B. Sleeper, 14

T. Lanihan, 29

L. C. Currier, 1

Scattering, —

2nd Ward.

C. B. Sleeper, 26

T. Lanihan, 22

L. C. Currier, 5

Scattering, —

3rd Ward.

C. B. Sleeper, 18

T. Lanihan, 13

L. C. Currier, —

Scattering, 2

Total, 130

C. B. Sleeper, 58

T. Lanihan, 64

L. C. Currier, 6

Scattering, 2

Lanihan’s majority, 6

(Brainerd Tribune, 29 May 1875, p. 1, c. 5)

WE are credibly informed that the mayor’s lady was on her muscle last Wednesday night, and put the mayor and all the little mayors out of doors, and enjoyed the “Brainerd White House” in delightful and happy solitude. “Whoop ‘er up ‘Liza Jane.” (Brainerd Tribune, 05 June 1875, p. 1, c. 3)

MAYOR LANIHAN says he will remove policeman Weed as soon as he is inaugurated, because he worked against him in the election. We sympathize with Mr. Weed deeply. (Brainerd Tribune, 05 June 1875, p. 1, c. 4)

AT the meeting of the City Council on Monday night, the mayor was asked what action he intended to take in regard to the Dog Ordinance—if he intended to enforce it. He thought not, he would not bother the dorgs [sic]. Whereupon a motion was made and seconded to “impeach the mayor for refusing to enforce the ordinances of the city.” This frightened Mr. Mayor pretty badly, and he was very agile in declaring his intention to enforce the ordinance and everything else they asked him to do to the letter. He afterwards stated that he “thought he had lost his office sure.” (Brainerd Tribune, 12 June 1875, p. 1, c. 7)

City Affairs.

His Honor Mayor Lanihan has been discharging city officers by the wholesale this week, and exhibiting more real spunk than has characterized the office in a long time.

Chief of Police Bivins was the first to lose his official head, for refusing to enforce the ordinances as directed by the Mayor.

The night watchman was the next to receive notice that his term would expire after his month was up for being off duty. The mayor went out nights personally to ascertain this fact.

Policeman Weed was discharged peremptorily.

Aldermen Currier and Dressen were notified that they would soon be decapitated for disrespectful language to the Mayor, as he would report them to the Clerk of the Court. [The report was not received in time for this issue, which we regret.]

Wm. Ferris, United States Express agent, was informed his name would also appear in the report to the Clerk of the Court, and another agent would be appointed in his place.

The mayor was interviewed yesterday by our reporter with the following success:

R. Who do you intend to appoint as chief of police?

Mayor. None of your business.

R. Are you going to have the ordinances enforced?

Mayor. I tell you it’s none of your d----d business.

R. Well, the readers of the Tribune would like to know what you propose to do?

Mayor. Well, tell them its none of their business.

Our reporter left, and thinks he would like to see the Pioneer reporter who interviewed Senator McMillan on the postoffice question tackle our mayor. (Brainerd Tribune, 26 June 1875, p. 4, c. 1)

Proceedings of the City Council.


BRAINERD, July 19, 1875

Pursuant to a call of the City Attorney, the Common Council met, and was called to order by Pres’t. Pegg.

Present, Ald. McNannay, Whitney, Currier, Dressen, and President Pegg.

The following charges against the Mayor were then read.


Crow Wing, City of Brainerd

Before the Common Council of said city, July 19th, 1875.

To the Common Council of said City.

The undersigned, T. C. Bivins, would respectfully represent that he is a citizen of said city, that at an election held the 28th day of May, 1875, for the purpose of electing a Mayor of said city (besides other purposes), one Thomas Lanihan was elected to the mayoralty thereof; that on the 4th day of June, 1875, he took and filed the necessary oath of office, and thereupon assumed and entered upon the duties thereof, he has been and still is guilty of the following charges, that is to say:

First, Said Thomas Lanihan has willfully and without reasonable cause neglected to enforce Ordinance No. 1, being an ordinance of said city, and entitled “An Ordinance to regulate and license the sale of spirituous, vinous, fermented or intoxicating liquors in the city of Brainerd.”

Second, Said Thomas Lanihan has willfully and without reasonable cause neglected to enforce Ordinance No. 19, being an ordinance of said city, and entitled, “An Ordinance to compel the owners of dogs to procure a license, and to prohibit dogs from running at large in the City of Brainerd until their owners have procured said license, and had each dog registered and numbered.”

Third, Said Thomas Lanihan, since his qualification to said office, to-wit: during the month of June last, did, contrary to his oath of office and his duties as said mayor, advise the violation of Ordinance No. [?] being one of the ordinances of said city, and entitled, “An Ordinance to compel all places of business to be shut on Sunday.”

In consideration whereof the undersigned presents to your honorable body the charges above specified, and herewith prefers the same against said Thomas Lanihan, mayor of said City of Brainerd, and asks that action be taken thereon, and that a time and place be fixed for the trial of said mayor, touching the charges herein preferred against him, and that at the final hearing thereof, your honorable body remove said Thomas Lanihan from the mayoralty of said city, and declare the same vacant.

Respectfully submitted,



Crow Wing, City of Brainerd.

T. C. Bivins, being first duly sworn, states that he has heard the foregoing read, and that the same is true to the best of his information and belief. T. C. BIVINS.

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 19th day of July, 1875.


Notary Public, Crow Wing Co., Minn.

After hearing the above charges read, D. McNannay offered the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the Council:

Whereas, Charges have been preferred by T. C. Bivins against Thomas Lanihan, mayor of the City of Brainerd, and submitted to the Common Council thereof, praying the removal of said Lanihan from the mayoralty of said city;

Therefore, be it Resolved, That the 30th day of July, 1875, at the hour of 7 p. m., be, and the same is hereby fixed as the time, and the City Recorder’s office as the place for the hearing of said charges, and the trial of said Thomas Lanihan touching the same.

There being no further business to come before the meeting, it was moved and seconded the meeting now adjourn. Carried.

R. D. KING, Acting Recorder.

(Brainerd Tribune, 31 July 1875, p. 1, c. 4)

At the meeting of the City Council on Monday evening an argument arose as to who was to blame for the default in the trial of the mayor on the Friday evening previous, that does not appear in the minutes, and some hot words and a little bad blood came to the surface. Hut-tut, boys, that don’t pay. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 August 1875, p. 1, c. 7)

WE learn that his honor, Mayor Lanihan, is about to leave us, to go out to his claim near Fargo, in Dakota. We regret losing Mayor Lanihan’s familiar face from among us, but what will be our loss will be Dakota’s gain. Success to him. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 September 1875, p. 1, c. 6)

The Mayor in Jail.

It has been a recognized fact since Mr. Lanihan’s election to the mayoralty that Mrs. Mayor has governed the Brainerd “White House,” much to the chagrin at times and general discomfort of His Honor.

These schisms have often been enlarged and aggravated, more or less, by periodical spirituous introductions into the family. One of these unfortunate visitations took place on Wednesday evening of this week upon the part of His Honor creating in him a desire to be “baaus.” This was promptly met and resented by his aged amazon, and blood promised to “freely flow” in short metre, according to the complaint made before Justice Conant soon after by the mayor de facto.

Sheriff McKay soon appeared upon the scene, armed with the technical tools, and performed the transmutation of the belligerent ostensible mayor into a docile occupant of the iron-bound “County House,” where in “duress vile” he was obliged to lie and “sweat it out,” singing “I can’t go home till morning, and then I won’t go home.” He was arraigned on Thursday morning before Justice Conant, and no one appearing to prosecute he was discharged.

This we believe to be a villainous outrage, not only upon His Honor but the city. The charge, we are informed, was only made for the purpose of securing his incarceration in the dungeon over night, where he was held without privilege of bail to gratify a petty spleen. We learn it is the intention of His Honor to institute proceedings for false imprisonment, in which he will receive the merited sympathy and support of his constituents. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 November 1875, p. 4, c. 1)

Proceedings of the City Council.

Communication of the Mayor read, and, on motion, ordered spread upon the record.

“BRAINARD, february 7, 1876,

to the Honnorable Body of the Common Councell of the City of Brainard that I have disaproved of the Bills you have passed at your last meeting with ma objections that I had not give the city attorney my authority for calling on the meeting. THOMAS LANIHAN,


It was moved and duly carried that it is the sense of the council that the mayor was not justified in signing some of the said bills and in refusing to sign others, and that he be and is hereby censured for such duplicity and partiality. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 February 1876, p. 4, c. 1)

OUR mayor intends to veto the bill dis-organizing our city, because he was not consulted with regard to it before it was passed; and because he did not give authority for “callin on the matin.” So our legislature will see they are not going to relieve us of our city so easily after all. (Brainerd Tribune, 26 February 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

SEE: 1876 Disorganizing the City of Brainerd

Thunder and Lightning, Wind, Hail and Rain,

Great Damage to Buildings and Crops.

A little the worst tornado and hailstorm passed over this section on Wednesday it has ever been ours to witness.

The hail broke a window on the north side of our office, the rain appeared to pour in everywhere, and for a time we were, as Donnelly says “afloat.” We were made very busy moving desks, books, papers, etc. to dry spots, while the lightning flashed about our ears growing more livid with every flash; peal upon peal of thunder seemed to roll down the very roof, each more deafening than the last, and in such rapid succession not giving us time between to ascertain whether we were in this world or the next; the hail, the while, like grape-shot, splitting the shingles, and adding to the general tumult and dismay. We had about made up our mind that the united forces of the heavens had opened fire with all their artillery upon our little office, and were expecting every moment would be our last. The storm finally abated and we were appearing very bold, we never were afraid of lightning, never thought of such a thing, though we were perched in the corner farthest from the press, not because the press was liable to attract lightning, but kinder because we like it there best, you know, when in another portion of the room, without warning to us, and when we were looking in another direction, a chair was accidentally shoved a few inches across the floor making a grating noise and—well we were not scared anyhow, we only looked round kinder quick like to see if that chair was broken.

As soon as the storm was over we went up town to count the killed and wounded. We climbed over trees, waded brooks, and finally reached our destination. Mr. A. A. White’s lumber tent was hanging in strings on the neighboring trees to dry, and glass in nearly all the windows on Front street broken, twenty-eight lights in the Cass Co. Court House destroyed, the N. P. R. R. Reception House riddled on the North side, and in fact very few buildings in the City escaped damage.

The injury, however, sustained by the crops was much greater. W. Beane estimates his loss at over $500.00, S. English at over $300.00, E. W. Weed about the same, D. McNannay $300.00 to $400.00, N. R. Brown nearly $500.00.

Hail stones were picked up that measured over six inches in circumference. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 June 1875, p. 1, c. 7)


We happened into Capt. Sleeper's office the other day, and found nobody in—the Captain had probably gone out with a client to see a man. We sat down in the easy chair at the desk, and felt very like a lawyer, or something. We gazed around at the law books, and tried to estimate the amount of things inside their covers that we didn't know—but gave it up, 'cause the books were too big and there was too many of them. Then we swung around on the pivot-chair and viewed the thing generally. On the wall to the left there hung a map of "Evergreen Cemetery," which is one of the institutions of Brainerd. There it was, all laid off in blocks and lots, with beautiful walks, parks, etc. We always had an aversion to considering "grave" subjects, and not being of a speculative turn, we had no inclination to invest in corner lots in that kind of a town site; so we swung the pivot-chair around another quarter and beheld—what? Why an arsenal. There in one corner of the spacious office was more guns and things than we had seen since '63. We are not much of a gunster, and at first, thought probably we'd better go right home, and avoid accidents. But then our bump of curiosity is similar to other peoples', and so we thought we would just look 'em over a little. The only gun we are used to is the flintlock, and the long-tom rifle, common in the Mohawk valley, where we were bred; but here was double-barrel shot guns, single barrels, shot guns without ramrods, and with ramrods, and shot guns plain. There was ramrod rifles, single and double rifles, rifles with holes abaft, real guns, and old-fashioned guns. We finally got to examining the lot of miscellaneous artillery before us, and in fifteen minutes we had guns uncocked, cocked, half-cocked, and double-cocked, and cocked for business. But it was easier to get them into this ox than to get them straightened out again; and after we had worried away until we had got the whole kingdom of cocks before us into the most wretched confusion, we guessed we'd better slope, and we did. Whether the Captain has ever got the arsenal straightened out, or whether in his attempt to fix the armory to rights again the whole outfit went off and blowed the roof off the building and killed everybody within four blocks, we haven't heard. We hope no serious trouble will be the result. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris Russell, 25 September 1875, p. 4, c. 1)


The hunting season is open (that is, the season when white men have equal rights in the chase with the Indian) and it is being improved in this vicinity to the full extent of the law. It is extremely amusing at times, however, to witness the sublime assurance with which the novice oftentimes shoulders his gun, and with a wise, self-reliant look in the gable end of his weather eye, fond dreams gushing up the spring of hope from the cellar kitchen of his heart, of venison plenty, shots unexcelled, hairbreadth escapes and showers of glory trickling down his mortal clay from foot to head, as terbacker juice trickleth from the corner of his mouth and down the shirt-bosom of the inveterate chawer, or soft words rolling from the nose of the down east Yankee lover trickleth down the vanity and tickle the ears of his Dulcina Jerusha, and with impatience depicted on every feature he strikes a beeline for Deerdom, with the colors flying, “Deer, or bust.”

It might also be equally amusing to note his return, if he could make it convenient to come in at daylight and by any considerably traveled route; but a very slight stretch of imagination enables us to depict “little deer, but lots of bust.

At least with the heroes of this sketch—two Brainerd typos—both of whom we shall call R------, for short—this was largely the case. Saturday being an off day, they “armed and equipped for a two days hunt, and trudged off in the full possession of all the qualities of the true novice and a FEW other things we shall proceed to enumerate, in the direction of Rice Lake.

Being laden heavily, and unaccustomed to the yoke, they concluded to camp for the night before they were a mile from town. Accordingly they removed their burdens and began preparations for the night, which was yet several hours in the dim future. While thus employed our informant drew near behind a log and “took notes.” The following is his inventory of the outfit, and will be readily recognized by the said typos as correct and quite complete. We give it in full for the benefit of any of our readers contemplating a hunt.

A carpet sack containing two changes of linen, towels, napkins, toilet soap, paper collars, neckties, pomade, tooth-brushes, shoe-brushes and blacking, clothes and hat-brushes, tooth powder, gloves, night-caps, gowns, etc., etc. A box containing a large variety of grub, consisting of tarts, jellies, pies, cakes, tea, coffee, sugar syrup, oysters, peaches, Bolognas, etc., etc., with plates, cups, saucers, knives and forks, kettles and pans, spoons, etc., etc., besides blankets, guns, pouches containing 500 rounds of cartridges each, game pouches, axe, hunting knives, etc.

They prepared and ate their supper, looked at the sun, at each other and the chance for wood, and finally decided they didn’t want any deer no how—that they never did like camping out, and that they could be home easy enough before bed-time. With woebegone, yard stick faces, the junior R, wishing they could check their baggage, they shouldered their packs and returned home sadder but wiser men. (Brainerd Dispatch, Morris C. Russell, 23 October 1875, p. 1, c. 7)


Bird Dogs.


Ranger, a champion bird dog owned by S. B. Dilley of Lake City, 1876.
Source: Forest and Stream, 10 February 1876

As a matter of interest to the sportsmen of this section, we mention the fact that Mr. S. B. Dilley of Lake City, Minn., took four different prizes with his pointer dogs Ranger, Queen and Dash, at the Chicago Dog Show lately, which had over 350 entries. Ranger took first prize in his class; Queen and progeny first prize. Queen also took special prize donated by Rod and Gun, and Dash first prize over all pointers under a year old.

Mr. Dilley, in a private letter to a friend here, says: “It was the universal opinion of visitors and sportsmen that Ranger was the finest—as well as the handsomest—animal on exhibition,” and his friends, as well as Minnesota sportsmen in general, have every reason to be proud of such opinions, and glad to know that Minnesota stock took the prizes they did.

In this connection it may be well to remark that a good deal of attention has been paid to the raising of sporting dogs in this section during the last two years, and there are a number of “blue bloods” in Brainerd that would be hard to beat at a bench show or in the field; prominent among which deserving of favorable mention are the three young pointers owned respectively by Messrs. Hicks, Askew and Belmuth.

J. C. Whittaker has a fine lot of young dogs, as fine bred as any in the State—Gordon and Irish Setter cross, a cross that combines the beauty and style of the Gordon with the keen scent and lasting powers of the Irish Setter, and which is meeting with great favor among eastern and English sportsmen. Mr. W. takes particular pains to raise nothing but the finest and purest stock, and is justly proud of his thoroughbreds.

Mr. McFadden and Cantwell have lately had sent to them from New York a pair of Cocker Spaniels, bred from the best imported stock, keen, bright, intelligent little animals. These dogs are peculiarly adapted for ruffled grouse and snipe shooting, and are first-rate retrievers on land or in water, and from their small size they are not in the way in a bark canoe or wagon.

There has been some talk of having a dog show, open to the State, at some point on the N. P., and why not? it would bring sportsmen together, encourage the raising of first-class dogs, and advertise this country as a resort for sportsmen, and it certainly is second to none that can be as easily reached. (Brainerd Tribune, 12 February 1876, p. 1, c. 6)

SEE: 1878 Rambles in Minnesota by the Editor of Forest and Stream

The Black Hills—Custer City.

A letter from Custer City, in the Black Hills, of Jan. 25, says over forty houses are now up, and sixty in process of erection. Water is found 20 feet from the surface. A steam saw mill will be in operation in eight days. Flour is $12 per hundred; bacon, 30c per pound. Miners from the North this side of the Big Horn, report new discoveries far surpassing any yet made. Thirty men left here to-day to prospect them. Red Cloud and several hundred warriors have gone north, and it is reported have said they would rather die on the war path than stay on the reservation. It is stated Sitting Bull will co-operate with him. Everybody well. (Brainerd Tribune, 12 February 1876, p. 1, c. 6)

NEXT summer, when the Indians lift a few scalps of the Black Hills miners, there will be a great cry against the atrocity, and troops will be sent out to punish them. Yet, the country is theirs, and these miners have no more right there than they have in any farmer’s granary against his will. The government must first make a treaty in place of that existing, which recognizes the Black Hills as belonging to the Indians. (Brainerd Tribune, 12 February 1876, p. 2, c. 1)



Black Hills Nuggets Picked Up Before

the Grand Start—A Variety of In-

formation about the West-

ward Movement.


Railroads Open and Freights Go-

ing Through.


Minneapolis Tribune, March 1

Large quantities of freight leave this city for Bismarck and the Black Hills this morning, being the first that the Northern Pacific people have been willing to receive. Gen. Custer and others who have been waiting for the opening of the road, leave to-morrow morning.

J. K. Wilson, brother-in-law to Anthony Kelly of this city, is getting up a party for the Black Hills. He has secured such terms from the railroad companies and transportation lines that he will land persons in the Black Hills from St. Paul or Minneapolis, with one hundred pounds of baggage and fifteen days’ rations, within ten days from the time of leaving, for forty dollars. A detachment of his party will leave for Bismarck in a few days.

On inquiry of Col. Lounsberry and others it is found that the Lewis stages are ready for business from Bismarck to the Black Hills. Lewis has seventy first-class teams for passengers and freight. There are two or three hundred other teams at Bismarck assuring cheap freights and abundant facilities for passengers.

The Bismarck Tri-Weekly Tribune of Feb. 22d publishes a letter from John McClelland, now in the Black Hills, who reports digging on the hill sides which pay from 17 to 18 cents to the pan. The diggings heretofore reported were in the gulches; but opening to the deep water none of the streams in the Hills have been prospected to the bed rock.

The Bismarck Tribune is about issuing a map of Dakota and the Black Hills, copy of which was yesterday placed in the hands of the lithographers. The map will show all of the facts gleaned from the military surveys, and from recent explorations. It will be colored to show the counties, mineral regions, etc., and will be sent as a premium to anyone sending one dollar for the Bismarck Tribune six months. The Bismarck Tribune, it should be remembered, is published seventy-five miles nearer the gold fields than any other newspaper, and gives more reliable information concerning them. Address Col. C. A. Lounsberry, Manager, Bismarck, Dakota.

Advices from the Black Hills late as February 10th, indicate about 3,000 miners in the Hills at that time, and hundreds arriving daily.

Capt. Blackstone, writing to a friend in St. Paul, from St. Joseph, Missouri, says two thousand persons will leave that vicinity for Bismarck and the Black Hills within the next ninety days. The writer was shown a letter from Indianapolis, yesterday, which speaks of the organization of a large party at that point, which will leave March 15th, for Bismarck and the Black Hills.

Tom Cavanaugh and a large party of St. Paul mechanics and laboring men leave this morning for Bismarck and the Black Hills. Cavanaugh is an old miner, and is fully satisfied that the Black Hills afford opportunities for men of energy far superior to anything presented in the state during these dull times.

The last Wells Gazette reports a party of seventy-five miners at that point, fully armed and equipped for the Black Hills. They all know Lounsberry, and, of course, go via Bismarck. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 March 1876, p. 1, c.’s 4 & 5)

OFF FOR THE BLACK HILLS.—Chas. McKeever and C. H. Burke started this week for the Black Hills. Milt Askew has rented his place for a year and will start next week. A large party leaves Bismarck on the 4th inst. (Brainerd Tribune, 01 July 1876, p. 1, c. 7)



Main street, Deadwood, 1876.
Source: S. J. Morrow, National Archives

BISMARCK, D. T. July 5.—Joseph Pennell and two others who left Crook City, Black Hills, last Wednesday afternoon, arrived at Bismarck yesterday, coming in advance of a large train for supplies which will arrive Friday. Pennell, who is wholly reliable, states the condition of affairs in the Hills as follows:

There are no Indian disturbances and the country is now well supplied with provisions, but flour is $18 per sack in gold at $20 an ounce. Bacon and hams, 35c. Coffee, 35c. Sugar, 25c. There is a scarcity of miners’ clothing and no women’s wear of any kind.

About one-tenth of the mines in the Deadwood region are open and pay from $6 to $150 per day per man, and occasionally much better.

The Wheelers purchased a claim for $1,500 early in May. The second day after they commenced sluicing with six men, they cleaned up nine pounds of gold. Two weeks ago Thursday they had cleaned up from their claim $56,000.

Pennell says Deadwood City is as large as it can grow, the valley being wholly occupied. A week ago Sunday he was at Deadwood, and estimates the number in town, including those for trading, at not less than four thousand. The majority had plenty of money.

Freights from Cheyenne to Deadwood are eleven cents per pound; from Fort Pierre, 6 to 8c; from Bismarck, 5 to 8c.

Mr. Pennell went out with Major Whitehead and all reached the Hills in safety. Whitehead had gone prospecting, sending a team to Bismarck for supplies.

Fifteen miners, with teams, came in from Montana yesterday on the Yellowstone and have joined the party outfitting here, which leaves in a few days.

Bismarck is well supplied with everything needed except forage. There is a fine opening for an enterprising merchant in that line. (Brainerd Tribune, 08 July 1876, p. 4, c. 2)

A LARGE party left Brainerd this week, by rail, for the Black Hills, via Bismarck, with a large amount of supplies and several teams of oxen. Among them were Milton Askew, J. McElroy, J. Burno, E. M. Morton and J. Bertrand. May they return rich. (Brainerd Tribune, 15 July 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

Milt Askew received an offer, while in the Hills, from his old stamping ground on the Central Pacific railroad, of the position he filled on that road some years ago—that of conductor—which he accepted, and is now running a train out of San Francisco. (Brainerd Tribune, 09 December 1876, p. 1, c. 4)

Black Hills.


An ad wanting ox teams to transport supplies to the Black Hills, 30 December 1876.
Source: Brainerd Tribune

On Tuesday last, the 25th inst., we received the following private letter from Jas. Whitehead, dated July 10th, only 15 days from Crook City to Brainerd:

DEAR WILDER:—I am very comfortably situated here; have been off prospecting for the last 10 days. This country is rich in gold and other minerals, and I intend to have a share of it. Trade is dull, in consequence of an overstock of groceries rushed in by people who had heard of the high prices. Flour has sold as low as $9.00 per cwt. I am going on another prospecting tour soon, and after my return will be able to write you about what time I will return to Minnesota. Wm. Falconer is here selling goods; John McClelland is with him. A man by the name of Hinch was murdered here last night, by a man known as One-Eyed Riley, a notorious ruffian from Montana. He put his knife through him from the small of the back, and cut him across the abdomen, literally letting his bowels out. Riley lit out; but, if found, will be lynched. Just this moment, while I am writing, a messenger comes in stating that 100 Indians are in sight nearly all on foot; another arrives, stating the town is surrounded, and the call is, “to arms!” Men are hurrying to and fro, on horseback and on foot. I have loaned my gun to Burbank. John McClelland runs home for two guns, returns; I stop writing. [Here occurs a break in the letter, which is finished in different colored ink. The last words above bear evidence of having been quite hastily written, and are somewhat blotted, as though folded without drying, and indicates some excitement.—ED.] I went to the top of the highest bluff and scanned the prairie beyond the foot hills with my field glass, but could see nothing; the fact is, there has been no Indians around here since my arrival. A few mean white men report Indians and then steal horses and lay it to the Indians.



The following from the Black Hills Tribune of July 6th explains the character of the business engaged in by Messrs. Hazen, Whitehead & Watt, at Crook City, Black Hills:

“Among our advertisements of this week will be found that of Captain Ben. M. Hazen & Co’s. new supply depot on Central street. Capt. Ben. has one of the neatest places in the Hills, and what is of equal importance has on hand a large supply of first class flour, bacon, ham, shoulders, tea, coffee, etc.; also a complete wholesale stock of the best wines, liquors and cigars.” (Brainerd Tribune, 29 July 1876, p. 1, c. 4)

NOTE: Major James Whitehead was Wilder W. Hartley’s uncle, a brother of his mother Rebecca B. Whitehead Hartley.

For the Black Hills.


Mrs. Ben M. Hazen was on the east-bound train yesterday morning, en route for Bismarck, there to join her husband and proceed to the Black Hills. This is certainly and exhibition of bravery seldom met in the gentler sex, and especially with one of Mrs. Hazen’s type, possessing lady-like refinement and superior qualities that would, to appearances, repel such an undertaking, and shudder at the thought. It also gives a pretty decisive idea of Mr. Hazen’s conception of the perils of that country. If she reaches her journey’s end in safety, she will be the first lady in the Hills, and we wish her as pleasant a trip as the circumstances will permit; all possible relief from the hardships attendant upon life in such a country, and plenty of the adventure she apparently seeks. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 July 1876, p. 1, c. 4)

CAPT. C. B. SLEEPER is organizing a party for the Black Hills to leave here in early spring. He proposes to take provisions and outfit for a year’s tramp, and thoroughly prospect the Hills until they strike a lead. Success. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 December 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

Disorganizing the City of Brainerd

OUR Representative, Mr. Goulet, is making a fine record in his legislative capacity, and exhibits by his acts that he is a worker. His bill disorganizing the City of Brainerd has passed both Houses of the Legislature, and only needs the signature of the Governor to make it a law. (Brainerd Tribune, 12 February 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

AN ACT TO DISORGANIZE THE CITY of Brainerd and to Incorporate the same as a Township.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Minnesota:

SECTION 1. That the City of Brainerd be and the same is hereby disorganized as a city, and that the territory now comprised within the corporate limits of said city, and the inhabitants thereof be and are hereby incorporated as a township.

SEC. 2. The said township is hereby vested with all the power and duties, and shall be subject to the same form of government and by the same officers as prescribed in title one of chapter twelve of Bissell’s Statutes of Minnesota.

SEC. 3. The said township is hereby declared the successor of the said city, and subject to all the debts of said city.

SEC. 4. Until the next township election and until the township officers chosen at such election are elected and qualified, the present officers of the City of Brainerd shall be the officers of the said township with all and singular the powers now vested in them as officers of said city.

SEC. 5. The electors of the said town shall, on the second Tuesday in March, A. D. 1876, hold a town meeting at the usual place of holding elections in the said City of Brainerd, and elect all and singular the township officers prescribed in said title one of chapter twelve of Bissell’ Statutes, and for this election no notice shall be necessary.

SEC. 6. Nothing in this Act contained shall be construed as affecting any obligation or liability of the said City of Brainerd, but the same shall continue as the obligation and liability of said township, nor shall the town effect the validity of any assessment, or levy, or other tax proceedings, or discontinue, abate or delay the same, but the same shall be carried on, collected and enforced by the officers above named, To-wit: by the present city officers until they are superseded as above provided, and then by their successors the said township officers in manner and form as near as may be required by existing laws, and no error, and no act or mode of proceeding or change of proceeding made necessary by this Act shall in any manner make invalid any such tax or any proceedings in relation to the same.

SEC. 7. All acts and parts of acts inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

SEC. 8. This Act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage. (Brainerd Tribune, 11 March 1876, p. 1, c. 6)

IT has been suggested that a Town Caucus be held on Monday evening at Bly’s Hall for the nomination of town officers. A good idea. Let us meet.


IN another column we give the Act disorganizing the City of Brainerd and providing for the election of town officers, which takes place on Tuesday next at the usual place of holding elections.


THE following are the officers to be elected at our town election on Tuesday next: Three Supervisors, one Clerk, on Assessor, two Justices of the Peace, one Treasurer, and two Constables.


CARE should be exercised in selecting good men to fill the town offices on Tuesday, as the object of the disorganization of the city was economy, and any other course would render that object abortive. (Brainerd Tribune, 11 March 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

THE Town Meeting passed off very quietly Tuesday, resulting in the election of the following officers: Supervisors, E. H. Bly, chairmen, N. Gravelle, G. G. Hartley; Clerk F. X. Goulet; Treasurer B. F. Hartley; Overseer of Highways, L. P. White; Assessor, Wm. Paine; Justices of the Peace, H. D. Follett and Jos. Hare; Constables, John B. Conant and Jas. Dewar. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 March 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

AT the town caucus on Monday evening the following were appointed as the town committee for the ensuing year: W. W. Hartley, chairman, A. A. White and Ed. R. French. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 March 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

OUR city has finally merged into a town, and our mayor is no more. We drop the scalding tear in silent gloom. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 March 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

SEE: 1875 A Ridiculous Farce Carried to a Glaring Outrage


Our Junction Reporter.

N. P. JUNCTION, April 13, 1876.

In the absence of our associate editor, who has not put in an appearance yet, we have to go to work single-handed. When our partner comes we will give due notice in our Reporter. If it was necessary to give a description of our sanctum, we would say, from one of the principal hotels, as we look through our window the scenery is magnificent—a railroad track, a dozen or fifteen stumps, another railroad track with a line of box cars of various colors and the tops of the majestic pine in the back ground complete the picture. Such a view could not fail to strike rapture to the soul of an old lumberman and make him happy for life. But here we are thrown into confusion; such a shock pen cannot describe; our nerves are all unstrung, we will not be responsible for what we write for several days to come—we wonder if all editors are subject to the same disease. All this in the absence of the other half of our proprietorship. The cause of our discomfiture a beautiful young lady, a stranger in town, passing by, recognized us and smiled so sweetly. Never mind, Nellie, we will not be personal.

Yesterday we visited Thompson, our rival town. We wished to have a promenade on their side walks (they have side walks there) but the propriety of their elevation we could not get through our knowledge box. Is it snakes or another deluge? Their sidewalks are from five to eleven inches wide, skirted with posts with projecting nails in them. They say it is “for the good of trade.” No doubt of it, for we donated our overcoat to the rug department when we got home. We understand there is a movement on foot to disorganize Thompson—the village we mean, not the individual. We really cannot see the necessity, for we were several hours looking for the principal part of it, and only found it by accident behind one of Miller’s lumber piles.

Returning to our hotel we were grieved to hear that the best and only goose in town had taken French leave and departed for parts unknown. Said goose was bought in St. Paul and brought here at an enormous expense, and was intended for the propagation of a new enterprise. When last heard from the truant was going down the dells of the St. Louis at a rate that would distance John Gilpin or the flying Dutchman. Whether it shaped its course for the Sioux St. Mary or Nipigon river we have not yet ascertained.

Our town is very quiet and orderly, still the jail is not without an occupant. We never cherished much love for prison fare, but really we could not object to being in that structure at present.

Several of our young men have just returned from visiting their friends in Duluth. Serious affair and no insurance.

The ice obstinately retards driving yet, but we think next August will fix it.

And now comes the absent proprietor all in a flurry, glances hastily at the first four words, says it is all right, says they are going to remove the court house, that Paine & Co. have built a new barn, that there are two strangers in town, that there is to be an old maid’s convention in the second story of the school house, that there are several new fashions in Harper’s Weekly, said something about the Centennial, that somebody is going to be married, and something else we did not get the meaning of, and is gone in quest of more news, and again we are left to single handed loneliness so far as editorship is concerned.

Yours truly,


(Brainerd Tribune, 22 April 1876, p. 4, c. 1)

An Inquiry

BRAINERD, MINN., May 2d, 1876.

W. W. Hartley, Esq., Editor of Tribune:

Even though it be at the risk of appearing inexcusably ignorant, we feel like inquiring as to the reason why the community of Brainerd must endure the presence in its midst of such a squad of loafing swindlers as have for the past two weeks, every day, and in open daylight, in our quiet walks, on our business streets, at our hotels, and on our railroad trains continually preyed upon the unwary, whether citizens, stranger or trader, by the use of such means as have caused their expulsion from other towns, even from the dark alleys of St. Paul. Is it possible that men of this town who have to employ laborers will longer allow these vipers to sting their employees? Will the officers of our railroad longer allow these leeches to impoverish passengers on their trains? Can we not persuade some of our citizens, for whom we still retain a high regard, to desist walking our streets and visiting the billiard halls and saloons with lecherous intruders? If you or others are disposed to call in question the pertinence of these inquiries, we ask only that you or they form the acquaintance of these arriving men, and then determine whether or not neighbors and sons shall be needlessly exposed to their lawless tricks and polluting influence. We stand pledged to do what we can by this writing or by other means to rid our town of the parties referred to.



(Brainerd Tribune, 06 May 1876, p. 1, c. 5)

A Move of Forty Head of Cattle

A move of over forty head of beef cattle, belonging to N. P. Clark, of St. Cloud, reached Brainerd yesterday, and were shipped to-day to Bismarck to apply upon Mr. Clark’s beef contract with Fort Lincoln. The most cruel, brutal treatment was exhibited, on their arrival here, by the teamsters in charge of the drove, we have witnessed in a long time. Two of the cattle were completely exhausted and lay down in the street almost or quite unable to get up again, and were subjected to a course of pounding, dog eating, burning, probing—in fact, almost every conceivable, sickening torture, until the blood streamed from their noses, heads, ears, and other parts of their bodies, and our citizens who beheld it were thoroughly disgusted, and came very near, as they should have done, procuring the arrest and punishment of the perpetrators.

LATER.—After our departure from the scene yesterday, we learn the brutality was resumed with redoubled energy, insomuch that our townsman, T. H. Ward, went before a justice and lodged a complaint, and the party was arrested and taken before the justice, and discharged without any notice to the complaining witness. This was certainly a strange proceeding, and, if legal, the law must be terribly at fault. To require a complainant to remain with the justice after making the complaint until the defendant is arrested and brought before him, or risk his discharge in this manner, is, we believe, not justified by law—it certainly is not by reason—for if he would be obliged to remain one hour for such a purpose he could as well be required to wait a year, if the prisoner was not sooner arrested. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 May 1876, p. 1, c. 6)


G. G. Hartley, the junior proprietor of the Leland House, in charge of his Crow Wing River drive, met quite a thrilling adventure on the Little Falls recently in which he narrowly and miraculously escaped death. He was alone on a large quantity of logs lodged against a rock in the middle of the river, just above the brink of the falls breaking the jam, while a boat was being held nearby the men to rescue him when the logs started, which they soon did, but more suddenly than was anticipated, insomuch that it was found impossible to reach him. He took in the position at a glance, and telling the men to go ashore and not be alarmed, he ran hastily to the rear of the surging flotilla of logs fast nearing the vortex, and soon to be hurled upon the formidable array of rocks below, and, reaching the last log gathered his strength and sprang into the water as far up stream as he was able, where, being a good swimmer, he pulled against the current with all his main, thus giving the logs time to get entirely out of the way before he went over the falls, which, having clear water and nothing to fear but the rocks, he allowed himself to drop over, swimming clear of obstructions, swam where below to meet the loud cheers of the surprised and thoroughly frightened crew, who only expected to rescue his mangled remains in death, from which it is the verdict of all that only his excessive coolness and admirable forethought and determination saved him, as any attempt to cling to the logs and go over with them, or in fact any course but the one taken would have been certain and instant death. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 May 1876, p. 1, c. 6)



Gen’l. Custer Killed,


With His Two Brothers, Brother-

in-Law, Nephew, 15 Officers,

300 Men and Horses.





Not One Left to Tell

the Tale.




Terry Calls for Reinforcements.







The Tocsin of Grim-Visaged War

Sounds in Our Midst

Once More.





BISMARCK, D. T., July 6th, 1876.—On twenty-fifth (25) of June Custer, with his whole regiment, attacked Indian village on Little Big Horn. Repulsed with loss of fifteen (15) officers and over three (300) men. Two hundred sixty-one (261) dead have been buried; fifty-two (52) wounded brought away. Command is at mouth of Big Horn, waiting to refit.

BISMARCK, D. T., July 6th.—The Far West, which left the Big Horn fifty miles above its mouth Monday noon, traveling a distance of nine hundred miles since then, arrived last night at 11 o’clock, bringing Col. Smith of Gen. Terry’s staff and the wounded from Major M. A. Reno’s three days’ battle with the Indians.

Gen. Custer, with companies C, H, I, F, and E of the Seventh Cavalry, was entirely wiped out, not a man being left to tell the tale.

Mark H. Kellogg, former resident of Brainerd, special correspondent for the Bismarck Tribune, ca. Unknown.
Source: Unknown

Among the killed are Gen. Custer, Col. Tom Custer, Col. Calhoun, a brother-in-law, and Reed, a nephew of Gen. Custer, Col. Yates, Col. Keogh, Capt. McIntosh, Capt. Smith, Col. Cooke, Lieut. Crittenden, a son of Gen. Crittenden, Lieut. Sturgis, son of Gen. Sturgis, Lieut. Hodgeson, Lieut. Harrington, Lieut. Porter, Dr. Lord, Dr. DeWolf, Charles Reynolds, Mark Kellogg, the Bismarck Tribune special correspondent and soldiers, swelling the aggregate of killed to two hundred and sixty-nine; wounded fifty-two, thirty-eight of whom arrived on the Far West.

The battle occurred the 25th, 26th and 27th of June, twenty miles above the mouth of the Little Horn, a branch of the Big Horn.

Gen. Custer attacked a village of about four thousand warriors on the right with five companies and Reno on the left with seven companies. Custer fought about one hour, when, the entire command having been surrounded by twenty times their number better armed than the cavalry, were killed.

Reno cut his way through the Indians surrounding him, with a loss of forty-one killed and many wounded and reached a bluff, where he entrenched and repulsed repeatedly the assaults of the Indians without further serious loss.

Reno’s battle raged for three days, when Gen. Terry made his appearance and the Indians retreated in great confusion, leaving their camp strewn with buffalo robes, five dressed hides, gorgeous and valuable costumes and trinkets. One teepee contained the bodies of nine chiefs, painted, gorgeously arrayed, etc. and scores of their dead were found on or near the battle field. Many of their dead with their wounded were carried away and it is believed their loss will exceed the loss of the whites.

One Crow scout, of all those who went in with Gen. Custer, lives, and for three days after the battle he could not give an intelligent account of it, he was so frightened. He lay in a ravine near where Custer went.

The following are the names of the killed whose bodies were recognized:

Gen. Custer, Gen. Keogh, Col. Yates, Col. Custer, Col. Cooke, Capt. Smith, Lieut. McIntosh, Lieut. Calhoun, and Mark H. Kellogg, special correspondent of the Bismarck Tribune.

Among the missing are Lieuts. Crittenden, Porter, Sturgis and Harrington, and Asst. Surgeon Lord, but there is small hope that they have survived, as it is obvious the troops were completely surrounded by a force ten times their number.


Curly, the Crow Scout, who survived the battle at the Little Big Horn, ca 1885.
Source: D. F. Barry, Bismarck, N. D.

Gen. Terry has called for reinforcements, and accordingly six companies of infantry have been ordered to move at once from Fort Leavenworth for the Yellowstone, either by way of Yankton or St. Paul to Bismarck, probably the latter, it being the quickest and cheapest route.

The heads of the army are fully alive to the importance of giving Gen. Terry enough men and supplies for an aggressive campaign, and will send all the troops available. A rumor was current yesterday that Gen. Sheridan had decided to take the field with two regiments of cavalry, but it is unfounded.

The President, Secretary of War and Gen. Sherman will hold an immediate conference upon the subject of an Indian war, and the following bill was introduced in the Senate yesterday, with notice that it would be called up to-day for immediate action:

“Be it enacted, etc., That the President, if he deems it necessary, be and hereby is authorized to accept the services of volunteers from the State of Nebraska and Territories of Wyoming, Colorado, Dakota and Utah, or either of them, to be employed as part of the United States against the tribe of hostile Sioux in the Northwest, who have for years defied the authority of the government, and by whose hand recently, several hundred soldiers, citizens of the United States, have been slaughtered. Provided, That not more than five regiments of cavalry or infantry or both shall be accepted, and that the term of service shall not extend beyond nine months from the date of enlistment.”


Gen. Sheridan, in an interview with a reporter in New York yesterday, said:

I have sent every man I could spare into that region, even taking troops from Laramie and Salt Lake. The government directs an expedition like Terry’s necessary for the development of that country. We do the best we can with our material, but are on no condition to do the work required of us. We are doing this at the special request of the Indian Department. It does not originate with the War Department at all. Our purpose is to drive these Indians—who are of the very wildest and most savage sort known—on the reservations. We will do it now or exterminate them.”


The St. Paul Dispatch says: Referring back to the Dispatch specials of Monday last, bringing advices from Gen. Terry's command to the 25th, (the date of Custer’s battle) and mention a rumor that Custer had had a severe battle with the Indians, we find the following facts which relate to the sad ending of Gen. Custer’s gallant career:

Major Marcus Albert Reno, ca. Unknown.
Source: Unknown

Major Reno with a part of the Seventh Cavalry had discovered the trail of a body of Indians, supposed to number fifteen hundred warriors, but had not followed it far enough to give Brigadier Gen. Terry the information he desired concerning the movements of the Indians. Gen. Terry thereupon ordered Custer to take the trail Reno had abandoned and follow it into the Little Big Horn Valley where he supposed the Indians were gone. Gen. Gibbon was at the same time to move into the valley nearer its mouth and Custer was if possible to communicate with him. Major Reno was under Custer’s command. Custer’s instructions were necessarily of a general character and the details of his operations were left to his own discretion. He was at liberty to attack, retreat or make a stand and await reinforcements, as his own judgment should dictate.

It is, therefore, probable that Custer’s scouts had misinformed him or that, for some other reasons, he greatly underestimated the Indian force. The roughness of the country precluding rapid movements of the troops and preventing them from taking the Gatling guns with them, served also to conceal the enemy. We only know now, from the first reports, that their camp filled a narrow mountain valley for five miles; that Custer, from one point, with about three hundred men, and Reno, with about four hundred men, from another point, charged into the Indian camp about simultaneously; that Reno, with heavy loss, escaped; but that Custer leaves not a man to tell the story of his last and fatal charge, unless, through great good fortune, it should happen that Dr. DeWolf or some other person of the command has been captured or escaped instead of being killed.

The fact that the surgeons and civilians accompanying Custer participated in the charge and were killed is evidence that Custer left no reserve, and suggests a probability that the charge into the Indian camp may have been an attempt to escape from a desperate position—to join with Reno, or to cross the valley so as to be in position to open communications with Gen. Gibbon. (Brainerd Tribune, 08 July 1876, p. 1, c.’s 5 & 6)

MARK H. KELLOGG, the newspaper correspondent killed with Custer’s expedition on the 25th ult., was once a resident of Brainerd. For a time he was employed by the Northern Pacific as train dispatcher and operator, and was afterwards associate editor with ourself of the Daily [sic] Greeley [sic] Wave, a presidential campaign paper, published at this place in 1872, at which election he was the Liberal candidate for member of the State Legislature, and defeated by T. F. Knappen by a small majority. (Brainerd Tribune, Wilder W. Hartley, editor and publisher, 15 July 1876, p. 1, c. 5)

NOTE: Mark H. Kellogg was a close friend of Thomas L. Rosser, having been a member of his staff as a telegrapher from mid-1870 to 1873. During this time, Kellogg also chronicled the building of the N. P. from Duluth to Brainerd as a correspondent named “Frontier” for the St. Paul Daily Pioneer. Later, Kellogg was associate editor of one of the first newspapers in Brainerd, the Greeley [sic] Daily [sic] Wave. In all these positions he promoted the advancement of the railroad and the city of Brainerd. (Minnesota History Magazine, Summer 2006, Minnesota Historical Society, p. 82)



Blood Curdling Accounts of the

Gallant General’s Last Fight.

A correspondent with General Terry’s command on the Big Horn says:

Little Big Horn battlefield in Montana, 25 June 1876.
Source: Unknown

“At noon on the 23d day of June, General Custer, at the head of his fine regiment of twelve veteran companies, left camp at the mouth of the Rosebud, to follow the trail of a very large band of hostile Sioux, leading up the river, and westward in the direction of the Big Horn. The signs indicated that the Indians were making for the eastern branch of the last named river, marked on the map as the Little Big Horn.

“At the same time General Terry, with Gibbon’s command of five companies of infantry, four of cavalry, and the Gatling battery, started to ascend the Big Horn, aiming to assail the enemy in the rear. The march of the two columns was so planned as to bring Gibbon’s command within co-operating distance of the anticipated scene of action by the evening of the 26th. In this way only could the infantry be made available, as it would not do to encumber Custer’s march with foot troops.”

Gibbon’s command, on the first day marched thirty-five miles to the mouth of the Little Big Horn, in the hopes of opening communication with Custer. Twenty-nine miles were made on the second day, and on the third evidences of the unprecedented fight were early met with. The column soon arrived on the site of an immense Indian village, extending three miles along the stream, and where were still standing two funeral lodges, with horses slaughtered around them, and containing the bodies of nine chiefs. The ground was strewn everywhere with carcasses of horses and cavalry equipments, besides buffalo robes, packages of dried meat, and weapons and utensils belonging to the Indians. On this part of the field was found the clothing of Lieutenants Sturgis and Porter, pierced with bullets, and a blood-stained gauntlet belonging to Col. Fales [sic]. Further on we found the bodies of men, among whom were recognized Lieut. McIntosh, the interpreter from Fort Rice, and Reynolds, the guide.

General Alfred Howe Terry, ca. Unknown.
Source: Unknown

“Just then a breathless scout arrived with the intelligence that Colonel Reno, with a remnant of the Seventh cavalry, was intrenched on a bluff nearby, waiting for relief. The command pushed rapidly on, and soon came in sight of a group surrounding a cavalry guidon, upon a lofty eminence on the right bank of the river. General Terry forded the stream, accompanied by a small party, and rode to the spot. All the way the slopes were dotted with the bodies of men and horses.

The General approached, the men swarmed out of the works and greeted him with hearty and repeated cheers. Within were found Reno with the remains of seven companies of the regiment.

His command had been fighting from Sunday noon of the 25th until the night of the 26th, when General Terry arrived, which caused the Indians to retire. Up to this time Reno and those with him were in complete ignorance of the fate of the other five companies, which had been separated from them early on the 25th, to make an attack under Custer on the village at another point. While preparations were being made for the removal of the wounded, a party was sent on Custer’s trail to look for traces of his command. They found awaiting them a sight at to appall the stoutest heart.

“At a point about three miles down the right bank of the stream, Custer had evidently attempted to ford and attack the village from the ford. The trail was found to lead back up the bluff and to the northward, as if the troops had been repulsed and compelled to retreat, and at the same time had been cut off from regaining the forces under Reno. The bluffs along the right bank come sharply down to the water, and are interspersed by numerous ravines.

“All along the slopes and ridges, and in the ravines, lay the dead, arranged in order of battle, lying as they had fought, line behind line, showing where the defensive positions had been successfully taken up, and held till none were left to fight. There, huddled in a narrow compass, horses and men were piled promiscuously.

“At the highest point of the ridge lay Custer, surrounded by a chosen band. Here were his two brothers and his nephew, Mr. Reed, Colonels Yates and Cooke, and Captain Smith, all lying in a circle of a few yards, their horses beside them. Here, behind Yates’ company, the last stand had been made, and here one after another these last survivors of Custer’s five companies had met their death. The companies had successively thrown themselves across the path of the advancing enemy, and had been annihilated.”

Not a man had escaped to tell the tale, but it was inscribed on the surface of these barren hills in a language more eloquent than words.

Major General George Armstrong Custer, ca. Unknown.
Source: Unknown

It seems that Custer, with eight companies, reached the river on the forenoon of the 25th, having marched continually all the previous day and night. Seeing the upper or southern extremity of the village, and probably underestimating its extent, he ordered Reno to ford the river and charge the village with three companies, while he, with five companies, would go down the right bank behind the bluffs to make a similar attack at the other end. Reno made his charge, but finding that he was dealing with a force many times his own in numbers, dismounted his men and sought shelter in the timber, which fringed the river bank. This position, however, appearing to him untenable, he remounted and cut his way to the river, forded under a murderous fire, and gained the bluff where he was subsequently found. Here he was afterward joined by Col. Benteen with three companies which had just reached the field, and by Captain McDougall, with his company and the pack mules. The position was immediately after completely infested by the Indians, who for more than twenty-four hours allowed the garrison no rest, and inflicting severe loss. But for the timely arrival of relief the command would have been cut off to a man.

“In closing my hasty narrative of this affair, in certain respects the most hideously remarkable in modern history, I purposely refrain from comment. The naked facts, so far as they are known, must guide your readers to a conclusion as to the cause of the calamity. Information derived from many sources, including, of course, the observations of officers engaged in the battle, leads to the conclusion that 2,500 or 3,000 Indians composed the fighting force arrayed against Custer and his six hundred. Still these were odds which any officer of the Seventh cavalry would have unhesitatingly accepted for his regiment under any ordinary circumstances of Indian warfare. The force under Gen. Terry’s immediate command was designed not only to cut off the retreat of the Indians but to afford support to Custer if needed. Its march was made in accurate accordance with the plan communicated to each of the subordinate leaders before the movement commenced. It reached the point where the battle was expected at the time proposed, and had not the action been precipitated, for reasons which are yet unknown, a force would have been present on the field sufficient to retrieve any repulse of the attacking column. General Gibbon’s cavalry followed the Indians for about ten miles, and ascertained that they had moved to the south and west by several trails. A good deal of property had been thrown away by them to lighten their march, and was found scattered for many miles over the prairie. Many of their dead were also discovered secreted in ravines a long distance from the battlefield. Among them were Arapahoes and Cheyenne, as well as Sioux. (Brainerd Tribune, 15 July 1876, p. 2, c.’s 3 & 4)

SIOUX CITY, IA., July 12.—Agency Indians along the upper Missouri who have received the account of Custer’s fight through some hostiles who took part in it, say Custer shot three Indians with his pistol and killed three others with his sabre when he fell, shot through the head by Rain-in-the-Face, a Chief whom Custer had forcibly arrested some time ago for murder.

The Indians lost 70 killed, among them many noted chiefs; the fight was hand to hand. The Indians say they did not fear pistols as much as sabres. They are nearly out of ammunition, and will not fight again until they get a supply from the agencies. (Brainerd Tribune, 15 July 1876, p. 1, c. 5)

Gen. Rosser writes as follows to the Minneapolis Tribune: “I knew Gen. Custer well; have known him intimately from boyhood, and, being on opposite sides during the late war, we often met and measured strength on the fields of Virginia, and I can truly say now that I never met a more enterprising, gallant, or dangerous an enemy during those four years of terrible war, or a more genial, whole-souled, chivalrous gentleman and friend in peace than Maj. Gen. George A. Custer.” (Brainerd Tribune, 22 July 1876, p. 2, c. 1)



Thrilling Story of a Scout who was Present

at the Terrible Slaughter of Custer’s Regiment.

George B. Herendeen, Scout, gave his battle account, ca. Unknown.
Source: Unknown

George Herndon [sic] [Herendeen], a scout sent by Gen. Terry with Gen. Custer’s column, relates the following as his experience in the recent battle. He was sent by Gen. Terry from the mouth of the Rosebud with Gen. Custer’s command, to carry dispatches from Custer to Terry:


“We left the Rosebud on the 22d of June at 12 o’clock; marched up the Rosebud about 12 miles and encamped for the night. On the morning of the 23d we broke camp at 5 o’clock and continued up the Rosebud until 9 o’clock, when we struck a large lodgepole trail about ten days old, and followed it along the Rosebud until toward evening, when we went into camp on the trail. On the morning of the 24th we pulled out at 5 o’clock, and followed the trail 5 or 6 six miles, when we met six Crow Indian scouts, who had been sent out the night previous by Gen. Custer to look for the Indian village. They said they had found fresh pony tracks, and that 10 miles ahead the trail was fresher. Gen. Custer had the officers’ call blown, and they assembled around him, but I did not hear what he said to them. The scouts were again sent ahead, and moved along at a fast walk. We moved at 1 o’clock, and, while the officers were eating their lunch, the scouts came back and reported that they had found where the village had been quite recently. They moved again, with flankers well out to watch the trail and see that it did not divide. About 4 o’clock we came to the place where the village had been, apparently only a few days before, and went into camp 2 miles below the forks of the Rosebud. The scouts all again pushed out to look for the village, and at 11 o’clock at night Custer had everything packed up and followed the scouts up the right-hand fork of the Rosebud.


“About daylight we went into camp, made coffee, and soon after it was light the scouts brought Custer word that they had seen the village from the top of a divide that separates the Rosebud from the Little Horn River. We moved up the creek until near its head, and concealed ourselves in a ravine. It was about three miles from the head of the creek where we then were to the top of the divide where the Indian scouts said the village could be seen, and after hiding his command, Gen. Custer, with a few orderlies, galloped forward to look at the Indian camp. In about an hour Custer returned and said he could not see the Indian village, but the scouts and a half-breed guide, Nuch [sic] Rayer [sic], said they could distinctly see it some 15 miles off. While Gen. Custer was looking for the Indian village, the scout came in and reported that he had been discovered, and that news was then on its way to the village he was coming to. Another scout said two Sioux war parties had stolen up and seen the command; and on looking in a ravine nearby, sure enough, fresh pony tracks were found. Custer had officers’ call blown, gave his orders, and the command was put in fighting order. The scouts were ordered forward and the regiment moved at a walk. After going about three miles the scouts reported Indians ahead, and the command then took the trail. Our way lay down a little creek, a branch of the Little Horn, and after going some six miles we discovered an Indian lodge ahead, and Custer bore down on it at a stiff trot.

Chief Sitting Bull, ca. Unknown.
Source: Unknown

In coming to it we found ourselves in a freshly-abandoned Indian camp, all the lodges of which were gone except the one we saw, and on entering it we found it contained a dead Indian. From this point we could see into the Little Horn Valley, and observed heavy clouds of dust rising about 5 miles distant. Many thought the Indians were moving away, and I think Gen. Custer believed so, for he sent word to Col. Reno, who was ahead with three companies of the Seventh Regiment, to push on the scouts rapidly and head for the dust. Reno took a steady gallop down the creek bottom 3 miles to where it emptied into the Little Horn, and found a natural ford across Little Horn River. He started to cross, when the scouts came back, and called out to him to hold on, that the Sioux were coming in large numbers to meet him. He crossed over, however, formed his companies on the prairies in line of battle, and moved forward at a trot, but soon took a gallop. The valley was about three-fourths of a mile wide. On the left a line of low, round hills, and on the right the river bottom covered with a growth of cottonwood trees and bushes. After scattering shots were fired from the hills, and a few from the river bottom, and Reno’s skirmishers returned the shots, he advanced about a mile from the ford to a line of timber on the right and dismounted his men to fight on foot. The horses were sent into the timber, and the men formed on the prairies and advanced toward the Indians. The Indians, mounted on ponies, came across the prairies, and opened a heavy fire on the soldiers. After skirmishing for a few minutes, Reno fell back to his horses in the timber.

The Indians moved to his left and rear, evidently with the intention of cutting him off from the ford. Reno ordered his men to mount and move through the timber. Just as the men got into the saddle the Sioux, who had advanced in the timber, fired at close range and killed one soldier. Col. Reno then commanded the men to dismount, and they did so, but he soon ordered them to mount again and move out on the open prairie. The Indians were every moment getting thicker between the companies on the river bottom and the reserve on the hill.

“Col. Reno ordered his men to mount and cut their way through. A wild scramble for life now began. It was every one for himself. Indians on every side rose up and fired at the flying horsemen, and hundreds mounted on swift ponies pursued the soldiers, easily enough coming up with the heavy American horses. It was a hand-to-hand fight, one trooper often having as many as five Indians after him. The troops used their revolvers at short range, emptying an Indian saddle at every shot. At the ford, about a mile distant, a strong force of Indians was found holding it. But the troopers dashed on them, crossed the river, and began to ascend the high bank opposite. It was a mere Indian trail leading up the face of a bald hill. The Indians rallied, and, taking shelter in the bushes about the ford, opened a deadly fire on the soldiers as they forded and ascended the opposite bank.


Chief Gall, ca. Unknown
Source: Unknown

“On account of the narrowness of the ford a great crowd soon collected about the crossing and became jammed there; and into this mass of men and horses the Indians fired at short range. The loss of life here was fearful. Lieut. Hodgson fell while gallantly endeavoring to get his men across the stream. Hodgson had already crossed the stream himself and was ascending the opposite bank when his horse was shot and rolled down the bank with him. Detaching himself from the fallen animal he grasped the stirrups of a passing soldier to help himself up the bank, and had nearly reached the top when a shot struck him and he fell back. The Sioux, mounted on their swift ponies, dashed up by the side of the soldiers and fired at them, killing both men and horses. Little resistance was offered, and it was a complete rout to the ford. Just as I got out my horse stumbled and fell and I was dismounted, the horse running away after Reno’s command. I saw several soldiers who were dismounted, their horses having been killed or having run away. There were also some soldiers mounted who had remained behind. I should think in all there were as many as thirteen soldiers, and, seeing no chance to get away, I called on them to come into the timber and we would stand off the Indians. Three of the soldiers were wounded, and two of them so badly they could not use their arms. The soldiers wanted to get out, but I said no, we can’t get to the ford, and, besides, we have wounded men and must stand by them. The soldiers still wanted to go, but I told them I was an old frontiersman, understood Indians and if they would do as I said, I would get them out of the scrape, which was no worse than scrapes I had been in before. About half of the men were mounted, and they wanted to keep their horses with them, but I told them to let the horses go and fight on foot.

“We stayed in the bush about three hours, and I could hear heavy firing below in the river, apparently about 2 miles distant. I did not know who it was, but knew the Indians were fighting some of our men, and learned afterward it was Custer’s command. Nearly all the Indians in the upper end of the valley drew off down the river and the fight with Custer lasted about one hour, when the heavy firing ceased. When the shooting below began to die away I said to the boys, “Come, now is the time to get out.” Most of them did not go, but waited for night. I told them the Indians would come back, and we had better be off at once.


“Eleven of the thirteen said they would go, but two stayed behind. I deployed the men as skirmishers, and we moved forward on foot toward the river. When we had nearly got to the river we met five Indians on ponies, and they fired on us. I returned the fire and the Indians broke, and we then forded the river, the water being breast deep. We finally got over, wounded men and all, and headed for Reno’s command, which I could see drawn up on the bluffs along the river about a mile off. We reached Reno in safety. We had not been with Reno more than fifteen minutes when I saw the Indians coming up the valley from Custer’s fight. Reno was then moving his whole command down the ridge toward Custer.

Major Frederick Benteen, ca. 1865.
Source: Unknown

The Indians crossed the river below Reno and swarmed up the bluff on all sides. After skirmishing with these Reno went back to his old position, which was one of the highest points along the bluff. It was now about 5 o’clock, and the fight lasted until it was too dark to see to shoot. As soon as it was dark, Reno took the packs and saddles off the mules and horses and made breastworks of them. He also dragged the dead horses and mules on the line and sheltered the men behind them. Some of the men dug rifle-pits with their butcher knives, and all slept on their arms. At the peep of day the Indians opened a heavy fire, and a desperate fight ensued, lasting until 10 o’clock. The Indians charged our position three or four times coming up close enough to hit our men with stones, which they threw by hand. Captain Benteen saw a large mass of Indians gathering on his front to charge, and ordered his men to charge on foot and scatter them. Benteen led the charge, and was upon the Indians before they knew what they were about and killed a great many. They were evidently much surprised at this offensive movement, and I think in desperate fighting Benteen is one of the bravest men I ever saw in a fight. All the time he was going about through the bullets, encouraging the soldiers to stand up to their work and not let Indians whip them.

“He went among the horses and pack-mules and drove out the men who were skulking there, compelling them to go into the line and do their duty. He never sheltered his own person once during the battle, and I do not see how he escaped being killed. The desperate charging and fighting was at about 1 o’clock, but firing was kept up on both sides until late in the afternoon.


“I forgot to state that about 10 o’clock in the forenoon, and soon after Benteen made his charge, the men began to clamor for water. Many of them had not tasted water for thirty-six hours, and the fight and hot sun parched their throats. Some had their tongues swollen and others could hardly speak. The men tried to eat crackers and hardtack, but could not raise enough saliva to moisten them. Several tried grass, but it stuck to their lips, and not one could spit or speak plainly. The wounded were reported dying for want of water, and a good many soldiers volunteered to go to the river to get some or perish in the attempt. We were fighting on the bluffs about 800 yards from the river, and a ravine led down from the battlefield close to the river edge.

The men had to run over an open space of about 100 yards to get into the head of the ravine, and this open space was commanded by the Indians on the bluffs. The soldiers, about fifty strong, dashed over the open plateau and entered the ravine. They rushed down it to the mouth and found it closely guarded by a party of Indians posted in the timber across the river. The water could be approached to within about 30 feet under cover; but then one had to step out on the river bank and take the Indians’ fire. The boys ran the gauntlet bravely. Some would dash down to the river with camp kettles, fill them, and then take shelter in the bend of the ravine, behind the rocks, and whose canteens were filled and carried up the hill. Before all the men and wounded were supplied one man was killed and six or seven wounded in this desperate attempt. One man had the bone of his leg shattered by a ball, and it has since been amputated.

“About 2 o’clock the Indians began drawing off, but kept skirmishing until late in the afternoon, and near dark all drew off. We now got water for the animals, many of them being almost dead, and they were put out to graze on the hillside.

“In the evening Col. Reno changed his position and fortified the new one, it being higher and stronger than the old one. We expected the Indians would renew the attack next day, but in the morning not an Indian was to be found. Everyone felt sure that Crook or Terry was coming to our relief, and Col. Reno sent out runners. About 10 o’clock the glad intelligence was received that Gen. Terry, with a large column of troops, was moving up the valley, 6 miles distant, and the head of his column soon came in sight.”

In reply to questions, Mr. Herndon [sic] [Herendeen] said:

“I went in with the scouts on the left of Reno’s line. There were about sixty of us, thirty-five being Ree Indians, six friendly Sioux, six Crows, and the rest white men. I saw Bloody Knife, a Ree Scout, throw up his arm and fall over, and I think he was killed. The two cavalry soldiers I left on the timber when I went out I have no doubt were killed, as they have not been seen since. (Brainerd Tribune, 22 July 1876, p. 2, c.’s 4-6)

Mrs. Gen’l. G. A. Custer and other ladies, widows of the killed in the horrible Custer massacre, passed east this week, Tuesday, in a special car very kindly furnished by Sup’t. H. A. Towne for their comfort. As they passed through the town the large flag on the office building at the R. R. machine shops was lowered at half mast. (Brainerd Tribune, 05 August 1876, p. 1, c. 5)

“Buffalo Bill” Cody.

“Buffalo Bill Cody,” ca. 1875.
Source: Unknown

THE noted scout, “Buffalo Bill” (W. F. Cody) passed east on the train, on Tuesday evening, direct from Crook’s command, en route to Chicago to report to Gen. Sheridan, and thence intending to proceed to his home in Rochester, N. Y. Unable to obtain an interview with him here, we ran down on the train as far as Withington, and had the pleasure of a very interesting conversation with him, returning on the accommodation. Contrary to our idea, formed upon the many reports of daring exploits and border experiences we have read of “Buffalo Bill,” that he was a coarse, burly, double-fisted bully, we found him a very fine gentleman of pleasing address and polished manners, symmetrical in form, straight as an arrow, and of graceful mien, his hair very long, while his thick, dark brown beard is cropped quite short and evenly over his face. We should judge, from his appearance, that he puts the finishing touches upon the life of an Indian in so gentlemanly and courteous a manner that Poor Lo really thinks he is only making his politest bow to him, until he is launched into Kingdom Come.

In reply to our request to tell us all he knew of importance about Crook and Terry’s commands, why the expedition is a failure, etc., he said he had been with Crook all summer, and until Crook and Terry separated recently, when, in carrying dispatches, he got separated from Crook’s column, and concluded to go to Chicago and report to Gen. Sheridan, under whose special command and employ he acted direct.

We asked what Terry and Crook were doing for two months after the Custer fight, and why they did not follow up his attack with the united forces. He said that was a conundrum. The fact was, they needed Custer to take the lead. Terry was a fine gentleman, socially, and at military headquarters, made a good commander, but was far from capable of conducting the present campaign. In fact, he was little better than an old woman. The whole affair had terminated in a perfect farce, which he believed was chargeable to the removal of Custer from the command of the expedition. Those who charged Custer with rashness or indiscretion did not know anything about fighting Indians. The fact was, the soldiers were principally green boys, and were totally unaccustomed to warfare or firearms, more liable to shoot each other in an encounter than to hit the enemy, and frightened to death by the Indians. He told of one man who, in an engagement, was actually seen to run up to an Indian and hand him his loaded rifle. The Indian took it and shot him dead. He did not believe Custer killed forty Indians all told. At the time of the Custer massacre, Terry and Crook were within a few days’ march of each other, and should have united their forces and followed the Indians, but they were afraid of them. The friendly Indians have all left the commands in disgust, excepting a few Rees that have to come down this way, and they are on their way home with Terry. All the old soldiers and officers are thoroughly disheartened, many of them are sick, and both columns short of supplies.

We asked what he thought of the peace commission. He said that would amount to nothing; the Indians would laugh at it. We suggested that the commissioners' scalps were in danger if they approached Sitting Bull’s army proposing treaties. He replied that there was no danger of that; they would never venture beyond the agencies, or even to them, without a strong guard. He appeared to entertain the views prevalent among all who are acquainted with the Indians and their nature—that the only way to make Christians of them is to keep them frightened to death. “The Indians,” he said, “have divided into small bands, and many of them will return to their agencies, while the others will continue to harass the Black Hills and other points.” He did not know whether or not he should return to his expedition again this fall, until he saw Gen. Sheridan.

Having reached our station, we thanked him for the information we had received, and returned. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 September 1876, p. 1, c. 6)

Three Hundred Troops.

About three hundred U. S. troops passed through here on Monday morning en route to reinforce Terry’s command on the Yellowstone, and for a set of undisciplined, unruly roughs and loud-mouthed robbers, desperadoes and yahoos they certainly, as a whole, excelled anything we ever heard of or saw before. The commanders appeared to have no control of their men, except with a drawn revolver, and even then we actually expected to see them openly rebel. The officer in charge appeared to be a silly fop of the “lady killer” species, wearing a moustache consisting of about six hairs on either side about six inches long, more or less, and greased and waxed to a spindle, projecting in an exactly horizontal direct from the mouth, and reminding one of a species of rodentia. Of course these criticisms of the officer would be unjust upon the principle of “handsome is as handsome does,” had he conducted himself in a proper manner while here, but our citizens and those who witnessed his overbearing, insolent conduct that morning at the depot have anything but a favorable impression of his phiz. As soon as the train stopped at the depot the men broke for town in squads, singly and every other way upon a sort of foraging tour. A party of them entered Mr. Schwartz’s store and took possession.

Mr. Schwartz had just opened a barrel of apples. They helped themselves to these, stuffing their pockets. They called for cigars, and a box was set out to them, when they gobbled their hands full, and, snatching two pairs of boots, lit out on the dead run for the train. Mr. Schwartz started in pursuit with the hammer in his hand he was using in opening the barrel of apples, and a lively race ensued, in which Schwartz gained steadily upon the flying robber in blue, and, had the distance been a few rods more he would have overtaken him and given him at least a sore head, a result those witnessing the affair anxiously desired. Unfortunately, however, the villain succeeded in reaching the car just in time to evade his adversary and to hastily dispose of his plunder to his comrades before Schwartz, undaunted by the formidable array and belligerent attitude of the blackguards and accomplices of the object of his pursuit, entered the car. The officer came up, and finally succeeded in bringing out the leg-ball thief, a regular bull-headed plug-ugly, apparently reared in the Chicago sewers, and educated in a grog shop, and searched his pockets. Of course he had nothing, and was ready to be searched, and the only satisfaction Schwartz received, was that he was “fortunate he did not get his head broke.” The officer ordered his men to get into their cars several times, without any effect more than to bring more of them out, and he finally was obliged to draw and cock his “Navy” to enforce obedience. Having cleared his men, he undertook to drive the citizens from the train, and presented his revolver at the face of Mr. Simmons, of Little Falls, ordering him to move off. Mr. S. paid no attention to the command, and it was repeated a third time, when he told him that he appeared to be exercising a good deal of authority, and to attend to his own affairs.

If this is the style of recruits Uncle Sam proposes to send through this country to the front, and this the kind of treatment our citizens are to be forced to submit to, we should like to know it in advance. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 September 1876, p. 1, c. 6)

Gen’l. A. H. Terry and staff, consisting of Major Brisbin, Col. Benteen, Adjt. Smith and others, arrived here on Thursday from the front, en route for St. Paul. It is rumored that an effort is being made to have the General removed upon his arrival at St. Paul. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 September 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

A Nuisance.

A NUISANCE.—The most disgraceful and dangerous public nuisance in this town is the piece of sidewalk on Fifth Street, between Front Street and the alley, along the side of Currier’s hardware store. It is full of treacherous holes, a few of them botched up with clumps of wood or board, making stumbling blocks, and the whole is littered, and obstructed with pieces of cord-wood carelessly or maliciously tumbled onto the walk, from the large pile in the gutter joining, so that it is all one’s life is worth to pass over it after dark. Your foot first strikes an ugly, ungainly botch over a hole, and you stumble, you strike forward to regain your equilibrium, and plant your other foot in a hole half way to the knee, peeling, if not breaking, your shin. You are prone upon your face, and, ten chances to one, badly gashed upon a clump of oak purposely set to trap someone. You clamber to your feet, if you are able, count your losses, rub your bruises, and start on to repeat the scene.

Our authorities will consider themselves duly notified of the nuisance, and when someone brings suit against the town for a broken limb, as will surely be done if this is not repaired, perhaps our citizens will find they have not evaded all responsibility by repealing the city charter. (Brainerd Tribune, 30 September 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

Cutting a Man’s Head Off.

Cutting a Man’s Head Off.—Having business at Doctor Rosser’s office this morning, we were not a little startled and surprised upon opening the door by the horrible and sickening spectacle that met our bewildered gaze. A man—a Swede, residing in town—was sitting in a chair with his back towards the door, and a gaping, fresh wound across the back of his neck, about four or five inches in length, from which the blood was flowing profusely and forming a pool on the floor, streaking his shirt with gore in its course. Large drops of sweat stood out on his forehead and face like peas. Doctor Rosser was standing beside him with a lancet in his hand slowly but surely gashing, gashing, cutting, cutting the poor fellow’s neck; the wound was rapidly growing larger, the flow of blood increasing, and the victim cringing with every gash. Doc. McFadden stood opposite with a sponge absorbing the flow of blood as much as possible, while two or three other gentlemen stood around ready to hold the man’s head, or apparently catch it when it fell, or render any other aid needed in the horrible work. We were unable for a time to fully realize what was going on, and were almost led to wonder if we were not dreaming. The terrible facts soon forced themselves upon our mind, however, in all the vidvidity of life and reality, and a different sensation took possession of our frame. We grew perceptibly weaker very fast. The room, though brilliantly lighted by the dazzling sunlight, grew in appearance dark, the golden sunshine, assumed a bluish cast that became intensified with every sound of that knife, which gave forth a grating noise much like the filing of a saw. Our vision became indistinct and we sought the pure air outside, when, feeling revived, we hastened from the scene as rapidly as possible. We were afterwards informed by the doctor that he was cutting an abscess from the back of the fellow’s neck; but we are convinced of one thing, and that is, that we were never made for surgical purposes, either in the line of an operator or subject. (Brainerd Tribune, 30 December 1876, p. 1, c. 4)

Bull-dozing in Brainerd a Failure.

Sylvester Alexander (Colored), better known by the name of “West,” was arrested on Tuesday for assault and battery upon his wife, better known as “wife beating,” and fined $10 and costs, in all $15.85, in default of which he was committed to the county jail for ten days. But it happened that “West” entertained aspirations above jail life, and when Uncle John Conant, the jailer, opened his cell to give him his supper, on Tuesday evening, the “cullud gemman” concluded to indulge his butting propensity, and, landing Uncle John one in the stomach with his head, he scattered jailer, supper and crockery promiscuously about the floor, and prancing down the hall into the office, his head next came in contact with the office window, which proved as fragile as had his supper ware, and “Cuff” was very soon a “free nigger on de highway to Crow Wing.” Uncle John followed him as rapidly as possible, but while “West’s” exit was made in a jiffy, he was obliged to unlock the door to get out, which gave the darkey a good start, and when he reached the street he saw his prisoner many rods away, making strides that would do credit to a Goldsmith Maid, and made Uncle John feel sad. He soon got down to business, however, and started in pursuit, and the way he waltzed down that street with a revolver in each hand, was truly a sight worth seeing, until “West” reached his house, rushed in, procured his rifle and regained the street, when Uncle John suddenly recollected that he had left the jail open and the supper dishes lying on the floor, and concluded to go back and see if the handle wasn’t broken off that tea cup, or something; and if he didn’t beat his own time out, and the darkey’s too, on the home stretch, it wasn’t his fault. He is as docile as a lamb since, unless you chance to mention in his presence that the wind is blowing from the “West,” or something, when he turns white around the chin, and then look out. The darkey is still at large. (Brainerd Tribune, 30 December 1876, p. 1, c. 6)



Arrangements are being made for a Grand Ball at Fort Ripley, to take place on Thursday evening next, the 11th inst., as a welcome to company “G,” recently returned from Fort A. Lincoln, to which friends are cordially invited from Brainerd and elsewhere. The Brainerd band will be in attendance. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 January 1877, p. 1, c. 7)

The Brainerd String Band dished up some inspiring strains Thursday evening, for the good folk at the Fort. A good time all round. Lyle blistered his fingers badly by picking hot music off the strings. Uncle John forgot all about any late unpleasantnesses, and Fletch hung “threads of gold” upon his shoulder, and softly the inspired notes thrilled from under his bow till the wee sma’ hours o’ the morning’. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 January 1877, p. 1, c. 7)

Fort Ripley Partially Destroyed

by Fire.





Fort Ripley, ca. 1862.
Source: Minnesota Historical Society
Fort Ripley powder house and block house, ca. Unknown.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

A disastrous fire occurred at Fort Ripley on Sunday evening last, originating in the laundry department, and resulting in the complete destruction of two ranges of wooden buildings constituting the whole north wing of the Fort. Among the buildings destroyed were the commissary store house, Quartermaster’s office, Adjutant’s office, one division of the officers’ quarters, and the Laundry department. With the commissary store house, nearly six months’ supplies were destroyed, leaving the post almost destitute of provisions. Serg’ts. Jacob Simon and Woolsock, and acting Q. M. Serg’t. Thomas Ross, whose quarters were in the Laundry department, and each of whom had a wife and family, were the heaviest losers outside the government. Woolsock lost all he had, clothing, furniture, etc.; Ross saved a $500 New York certificate of deposit, but lost everything else, including nearly $200 in currency, and his clothing and furniture; Simon saved a sewing machine only, and had about $80 in currency burned.

What the action of the government will be in regard to rebuilding, we are unable to premise; but we are of the opinion that, instead of rebuilding at the present location, the post should now be removed to Brainerd, where it should be, and where it doubtless would have been for the past six years, but for the expense of building new quarters. As it is now, it is located 25 miles from railroad communication, and, in fact 25 miles “from anywhere.” Let the Fort be rebuilt at Brainerd, where several hundred dollars would be saved to the government in the one item of transportation of building material alone, saying nothing of the continuous expense of transporting supplies, and the inconvenience of having the troops located at a point so unavailable in time of need. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 January 1877, p. 1, c. 5)

A LARGE portion of old Fort Ripley was destroyed by fire a week ago, and now the Brainerd TRIBUNE wants the post removed to that city, where the troops will be available in time of need. Fort Ripley was once considered a strategic point, but it must be confessed that railroads have left it out of the way of useful service to anybody.—[Pioneer Press. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 January 1877, p. 1, c. 4)

IT is reported that the Secretary of War has ordered Fort Ripley, Minnesota, and Fort Seward, Dakota, to be abandoned. If this is true the Ripley reservation will be placed in the market and settled up at once, as it contains some of the best lands in the State, and will make a great many handsome and valuable farms. We of course regret that the recommendation of the TRIBUNE was not complied with in full and Ripley removed to Brainerd, but the acquisition of these beautiful lands will assuage our disappointment to a considerable extent. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 February 1877, p. 1, c. 5)


The following communication explains itself:


April 16th, 1877.

SIR:—The petition numerously signed by residents of Northern Minnesota, referred and commended by you, for the retention of troops at Fort Ripley for their protection was referred for information to the military authorities, and I have the honor to state that the General of the Army does not think a garrison necessary; this discontinuance of the post was recommended only after maturely considering all the interests involved.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.

To Hon. W. WINDOM, U. S. Senator, 130 East Capitol St, City.

Gen'l. McCrary evidently understood the views of the TRIBUNE upon this matter and acted accordingly. Now let an order be made opening the lands in the reservation to actual settlers, and Crow Wing county will be immeasurably benefitted. The troops with their accoutrements, furniture and baggage passed through town yesterday for Fort Snelling, and Fort Ripley is no more. (Brainerd Tribune, 05 May 1877, p. 1, c. 2)


About three years ago, as our readers are aware, the failure of Jay Cooke Co. was the heralder of a financial crash that has proved woefully disastrous not alone to the nation, but to the business interests of the whole world. It opened a crisis for which the universe appeared to be ripe, and that has brought hard times, scarcity of money and untold hardships and failures, upon the people of this country in particular, unequaled even by the tumble of 1857. But all disasters, financial or otherwise, are invariably followed in due time by a healthy reaction, and though the injury may be severe and recovery prolonged it is nonetheless sure, and is generally as apt to go to the opposite extreme.

The present indications in this country are that such a change is about to take place, and that speedily; and that we will very soon be reveling in peace and plenty as voluptuous as our strictures have been severe.

The presidential contest, which has added uncertainty and instability to the already tottering condition of our institutions, has been settled by the election of R. B. Hayes. Gold that has fluctuated at ruinous figures, sensitive to the slightest motion of the financial atmosphere; that has, in fact, been the barometer measuring every crisis since our civil war, has, with the political machine, settled down to a steadier gait, and is quoted at 1.04, showing that uncertainty no longer exists in financial circles, and that the long-sought “specie payment” will very soon be resumed, with which a healthy glow will flush the financial cheek of our nation unknown for years, and the country will take a shoot from beneath the weight of the recent financial depression that will be surprising.

The European war prospects, while they may not culminate in actual hostilities, have brought to our neighbors in the east that uncertainty that has hung like an incubus upon this nation for some time past. It has checked the production of wheat in Russia, the greatest wheat growing country in the world, and stopped entirely the exportation of that staple commodity, causing those heretofore dependent upon her to look to this country for supplies, which has already resulted in a heavy raise in prices here.

The Black Hills is fast becoming a prominent feature in the national horoscope. Thousands will flock thither the coming season, leaving more room and better wages for those who remain behind, thus bringing all the benefits of a civil war without its attendant horrors and losses. Millions in gold and silver will be unearthed in that vicinity and scattered broadcast over the country. New branches of Industry will be opened; new and rich agricultural territory will be made inhabitable. Already a company has been incorporated to build a narrow gauge railroad from Bismarck to the Hills, and many projects far more impracticable than this have proved successful. The Northern Pacific railroad if successful in obtaining required legislation has signified its ability to extend its line two hundred miles the coming summer, and the government proposes to build two forts on the Yellowstone as soon as navigation opens.

Coming home to our own State we find the same happy prospects awaiting us. The early opening of spring bids fair to relieve us of those pests the grasshoppers. They are hatching out in large quantities all over the State only to meet certain death in the cold nights that must follow in March and April. The St. Paul & Pacific railroad bill before our Legislature, which passed the House on yesterday, renders the construction of the Brainerd branch the coming summer about certain, and the early construction of the St. Vincent extension almost sure.

The prospects for the Ashland & N. P. Junction road, the Fergus Falls & Northern Pacific narrow gauge line and others are good. The price of lumber will be high, labor will be in good demand, property values will increase and the flood gates of commerce throughout the land will be thrown wide open, and that upon the solid basis of hard cash. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 February 1877, p. 1, c. 3)

Pete Bannigan

Judge A. H. Barnes stopped at the Headquarters Monday night bound for Bismarck to mete out justice to that horde of criminals, eighteen in number, in jail at that place awaiting trial. Peter Bannigan, formerly of this place, is one of the number, and is charged with murdering a soldier in a saloon at Bismarck. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 February 1877, p. 1, c. 6)



Bannigan Convicted of Murder

in the First Degree.


The District Court now in session at Bismarck, D. T., Judge A. H. Barnes presiding, is evidently becoming a terror to evil doers. The Bismarck Tribune gives the following account of the progress of business:

The court convened on Friday inst.; on Saturday Chas. Stuart, charged with burglary, was convicted. And on Monday the trial of Peter Bannigan for the murder of private Massingale, Co. “G,“ 17th U. S. Infantry, was commenced. Tuesday evening the jury reported a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree. The defense, it is said, was ably conducted by Messrs. Flannery, Williams and Davis, but the case seemed too clear to hope for anything less than the verdict the jury found. Words passed between the parties, it is true, but the evidence shows that the poor boy was shot down like a dog, and shot twice more as he lay on the floor begging for mercy. An attempt was made to show an assault by Massingale, but the witness hired to perjure himself, on cross examination admitted his perjury, and added to the strength of the prosecution. The penalty for Bannigan’s crime is death, and he will receive the death sentence some time this week. (Brainerd Tribune, 03 March 1877, p. 1, c. 5)



Bannigan’s Sentence.


From the Bismarck Tribune we clip the sentence by Judge Barnes of Peter Bannigan, at Bismarck on Monday last, given below. The Tribune account omits as indiscreet the remarks of the prisoner, made in reply to the customary interrogatory by the court, “Have you anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon you?” the reply to which was made in a bravado, independent sort of style, and in substance, that “if he was placed in the same position again, under the same circumstances, he would do the same thing again.” To this the judge replied as follows:

“I am sorry to hear that remark as it makes it my duty to say more than I would otherwise have said. I would not say one word which would cause a person in the position in which you now stand a moment’s unnecessary pain. But when you speak as you do I feel bound to say I do not see how twelve honest men could do less than render a verdict against you; it would have been to shrink from the faithful discharge of their duty. Keeping such a place of business as you did you publicly invited persons to come to your house; the evidence discloses the character of the house; the keeper of such a house, inviting persons there, is not supposed to be particularly sensitive about remarks that might be made there.

“Massingale was there in a legal sense by your invitation and doubtless used language not becoming a gentleman, but not language which would justify the act you committed. I don’t believe Massingale ever had the slung shot in his hand; it must have so appeared to the jury; there was no moment in which there was imminent danger to you; with perfect coolness you took your revolver and shot him; to my mind the fact that after the man was down you discharged the second and then the third shots at him is sufficient evidence of your total depravity. You are apparently a man of ordinary intelligence, capable by honorable means of getting an honorable living.

“Crimes of this kind have become very frequent, and the murders which have been committed here flow from vicious and disreputable persons being called together in such places as you have been conducting; you have been defended, from first to last, by counsel that have seemed determined, and still are determined, to do all that can be done to assist you in your unfortunate position; you have been ably defended and with great zeal, energy and ability, they have taken advantage of every point of law and evidence which might benefit your cause; the prosecuting attorney has conducted the prosecution with marked ability, and without evincing too great zeal has honestly discharged his duty as a public prosecutor. As I shall answer before my Maker I cannot call to my mind any way in which I could have ruled more leniently or have discharged my duties towards you more impartially. I wish that circumstances had been such that the jury could have, consistently with their duty, found you guilty of a lesser offense.

“The sentence and judgment of the law as pronounced by the court is, that you, Peter Bannigan, be taken by the sheriff of Burleigh county to the county jail of said county, that by said sheriff you be there confined and detained until the 26th day of April, 1877, and between the hours of 10 o’clock in the forenoon of said 26th day of April, 1877, and within the walls or yard of said county jail of Burleigh county aforesaid, you be hanged by the neck by said sheriff until you are dead.” (Brainerd Tribune, 10 March 1877, p. 1, c. 4)


As we go to press we learn that Peter Bannigan, sentenced to be hanged on April 16th [sic], at Bismarck, and who has been confined in jail at that point since his sentence, broke jail last night during the night and escaped, and up to the hour of going to press, 5 p. m., no trace of him has been found. The Sheriff has arrested a man supposed to be an accomplice in Bannigan’s escape, and lodged him in jail. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 March 1877, p. 1, c. 3)



A man named Fitch, from Winnipeg, who has taken an active interest in Bannigan’s fate since his arrival a few days ago, and Charles Driscoll (a friend of Bannigan’s) have had their examination and were bound over in the sum of five thousand dollars each to await the action of the grand jury. On Driscoll’s examination Harry Darrah (the jailer) testified that Driscoll arranged with him for the escape of Bannigan, agreeing, for Fitch, to pay him $200. Everything being ready and Darrah being alone in charge of the jail, the outer door was left ajar and the keys were placed on the table, when, Boughton, a prisoner in the jail charged with forgery, took them, opened Bannigan’s cell and he walked out, mounted a horse tied near the jail by Driscoll and fled. No alarm was given until Corey returned from the meeting of the city council. The prisoner then had been gone half an hour or more.

The county officials or their deputies do not seem to have been in any manner to blame. Corey was called to a special meeting of the city council, Livingston, deputy-sheriff, locked the prisoner securely, turned the keys over to Darrah, and went to supper. Darrah had been in the employ of the sheriff but a few days, but during a three year’s residence at Bismarck he had been known as a young man whom no one would suspicion of wrong. But, it seems, he fell when the tempter came, and if he escapes a ten year’s imprisonment it will be because those who tempted him can only be reached through his testimony.

It was hard for those who know Harry and his family to believe him guilty, but he owns his fault like a little man, as he naturally is, and no doubt would gladly give ten years of his life if he could undo the wrong he permitted to succeed. He is now in jail bound over as a witness. Fitch and Driscoll keep him company. No charges have as yet been preferred against Boughton, but he will be kept for the grand jury on other charges.

John A. Stoyell, who, with others, was engaged in the pursuit of Bannigan returned Saturday and reported that his trail leading north was struck near Bismarck and followed to the vicinity of Turtle Creek, about thirty-five miles north of Bismarck, where, his horse having failed him, he abandoned the animal and took to the woods, but those in pursuit were close on him and a number of Indian scouts and soldiers from Ft. Stevenson were engaged in the chase.—[Bismarck Tribune. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 March 1877, p. 1, c. 3)


Peter Bannigan, under death sentence, whose escape from the Bismarck jail on the 16th inst. was recorded in the TRIBUNE of the 17th, was recaptured yesterday morning at Audubon, in this State. He had traveled, it appears, on horseback from Bismarck to the point where he was captured, keeping near the railroad track the whole way, and says he thought when he crossed into Minnesota he was safe, and to a great extent abandoned secrecy in his movements, thinking he was beyond the jurisdiction of his pursuers; and his actions confirm this, for he went to a hotel at Glyndon on Wednesday morning at about four o’clock, and remained there (most of the time in bed) all day and until Thursday morning at 8 o’clock, when he proceeded on his way, reaching Audubon in the evening, and there, too, stopping at a hotel. The proprietor of the hotel at Glyndon, a man named McLellan, it appears, knew him, and refused to notify the officers of his whereabouts until Thursday noon, when Bannigan was four hours on his way. Sheriff Nichols, of Moorhead, was then made aware of the facts, and at once started, with ex-Sheriff Blanchard, and Sheriff Haggerty, of Fargo, in pursuit, overtaking and arresting him at Audubon, as stated above.

He was accompanied by a young man who our informant says is a resident of White Earth, named Beaulieu, but which of the Beaulieu’s it can be we are unable to divine. Beaulieu was also taken into custody and will probably be called upon to defend an action for aiding in the escape of the prisoner, though it is said he had only been in his company for a few days, and probably did not know with whom he was traveling. McLellan, of the Glyndon hotel, we understand, has likewise been arrested for aiding and concealing the prisoner in his escape. Bannigan was taken to Fargo last night by train and started in custody of the proper officers for Bismarck this morning, where it is reasonable to suppose stronger guard will be placed over him, and he will suffer the sentence of the law on the 16th [sic] of April. How he was taken from this State to Dakota without the proper requisition from the governor, however, is not entirely clear and may result in trouble to the kidnapper or kidnappers, notwithstanding the importance of his return and regardless of the fact that “that is the way they do it at Moorhead.” (Brainerd Tribune, 31 March 1877, p. 1, c. 3)

Bannigan’s account of his escape is briefly told. He first of all obtained impressions of the jail keys in soap, and forwarded the same to Brainerd for metal ones to be made of that pattern; these were not required. On the evening of his escape he was provided with a fast horse to ensure his getting away. He was pursued as far as Fort Stevenson and narrowly escaped capture, his pursuers coming close up, however, he evaded them and returned to Bismarck, where he stayed four days, then quitted the city during the night, and traveled east—generally by night—crossing the Red river eight miles above Fargo and made for Glyndon, at which place he obtained the first grain feed for his horse and good rest for himself. He met with a half-breed by the name of Beaulieu at Crystal Springs, who accompanied him on his travels from that point. Beaulieu is in custody for complicity in aiding Bannigan’s escape. Pete has suffered severely from a frozen face, and at one time, on his journey, was nearly blind. He appears to be in good spirits and thinks his end is not yet.—[Fargo Times. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 April 1877, p. 1, c. 4)

THE TRIBUNE account of the capture of Peter Bannigan last week, quoted by the Pioneer Press of the 5th inst., gives April 16th as the date fixed for his execution. It should have read April 26th. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 April 1877, p. 1, c. 5)

IT appears Gus. Beaulieu, of White Earth, was Pete Bannigan’s companion when he was captured. Beaulieu publishes a card denying that he was conniving in Bannigan’s escape in any way. He went to Bismarck with the Whitehead Black Hills party and there concluded to abandon his trip to the gold fields and return home with his pony, and overtook Bannigan by accident at Crystal Springs, D. T. He is under arrest at last accounts awaiting an examination upon the charges made against him. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 April 1877, p. 1, c. 5)

ALEX. McKINZIE, Sheriff at Bismarck, returned home from a visit to Washington this week. His ward, Bannigan, both escaped and was recaptured during his absence. Neither McKinzie nor his deputies were in any way responsible for his escape, however, the facts being that the jailer left in charge of the jail by McKinzie, quit during his absence, and his place was filled by the Board of County Commissioners by the appointment of Darrah, who accepted the bribe and let the prisoner escape. The jailer should, under the circumstances, have been appointed by Deputy Livingston, and the Commissioners had no authority whatever to interfere with his duties. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 April 1877, p. 1, c. 5)

William Wallis Erwin became one of the great defense attorneys of the 19th century, ca. Unknown.
Source: Unknown

W. W. ERWIN, of St. Paul, is on the west-bound train this morning, en route to Bismarck in the interests of Peter Bannigan. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 April 1877, p. 4, c. 1)

NOTE: William Wallis Erwin was born in 1842 and died in Florida in 1908. He arrived in St. Paul in 1870 and became one of the greatest defense attorneys of the 19th century.

SEE: 1881 Awful Aitkin

SEE: 1884 The Burns-Mays Case

SEE: 1888 The Murder of August Zeigler

SEE: 1893 The Murder of Lee Chung

JUDGE A. H. BARNES, of Fargo, D. T., passed west on Wednesday evening from Yankton, where he has been for several weeks with the other judges of the Territory holding a term of the Supreme Court. He informed us that they heard all the arguments in the application of Peter Bannigan, of Bismarck, for a new trial, and the matter was taken under advisement, to be determined at the fall term to be held about two months hence. This will give Bannigan an extended respite, even though he should be unsuccessful in his application, and will doubtless increase his hopes of final success. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 July 1877, p. 1, c. 5)

THE Supreme Court of Dakota Territory has finally decided the Bannigan case, granting a new trial. Bannigan’s first trial took place just a year ago and he was sentenced to be hanged on April 26th following. He took an appeal to the Supreme court, with the result above indicated. His second trial will take place in May, at Bismarck, when we predict he will be discharged. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 February 1878, p. 1, c. 4)

P. Brannigan [sic] [Bannigan] is out on $3,000 bail at Bismarck. His new trial will not be reached the present term. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 July 1878, p. 1, c. 1)

Judge Barnes is holding a session of U. S. District court at Bismarck. The new trial granted in the case of the Territory vs. P. Branigan [sic] [Bannigan] is to be had at this term. (Brainerd Tribune, 05 April 1879, p. 1, c. 1)

Peter Brannigan [sic], who was convicted two or three years ago at Bismarck, of murder in the first degree and sentenced to be hanged, has at last obtained a new trial which was had at a special term of court held at Bismarck last week. He was acquitted this time on the ground of self defense. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 August 1879, p. 1, c. 2)

Pete Brannigan [sic] [Bannigan], a sporting man well known in these parts died at Mandan [North Dakota] on Monday forenoon. He fell dead while in the act of taking a drink. He used to run the “Last Turn” saloon in Brainerd. (Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 20 September 1883, p. 3, c. 2)

NOTE: According to the 1875 Minnesota State Census, Peter Bannagan [sic] and his wife, Emma, were living in Brainerd. According to the 1880 Federal Census for Dakota Territory, Peter Bannigan was living with his wife, Emma, in Mandan, Burleigh County.

SEE: 1872 Pete Bannigan in Brainerd

SEE: Last Turn Saloon in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.



On Tuesday afternoon last our city was startled by the report that the remains of Ellen McArthur, daughter of David McArthur, of Crow Wing, who disappeared very mysteriously in April, 1872, had been found and brought into town. We hurried at once to the store of Mr. Martin where they had been taken, to find the skull, many of the bones and some remnants of clothing of the poor girl in a box, and bearing unmistakable evidences of their identity. One of the thigh bones was considerably smaller than the other, indicating a lameness the young lady was known to have possessed, parts of her shawl and underclothing were readily recognized by Mrs. Chapman, of the Merchants Hotel, and other intimate friends of the deceased, and even the buttons from her clothing were picked out and identified among the remnants of what had been the wearing apparel of this, at one time, very estimable young lady.

They were first discovered by a number of boys out pigeon hunting on Sunday last, within about two miles of Mr. McArthur’s house, and upon their report Whitney and Martin took a team on Tuesday, and with one of the boys as a guide found and brought them in.

A letter was at once dispatched to her parents, and they came immediately up identifying the remains beyond a shadow of doubt, and the mystery was solved.

It will be remembered by those who were in the county at that time, that one morning in April, 1872, the deceased left her father’s house to go to the village of Crow Wing, nearly two miles distant, on a visit. She was accompanied by her sister to the very outskirts of the village whence she only had a small strip of brush to pass through to reach her destination, since which time she was never seen and nothing positive has ever been learned of her fate until the present. Two young Indians camping in this strip of brush were suspected of her murder, arrested on suspicion and placed in jail in this city, whence they were taken one night by a number of citizens, with the consent of the sheriff, to a safe distance from town and under threats of hanging accompanied by a pretty severe joking with a rope over a limb one of them confessed the murder giving all particulars, implicating himself and comrade, and offering to take his custodians to the hiding place of the remains. A team was at once procured and the party directed by him to a spot not far from where her bones have now been found and the country was scoured without avail. The Indian doubtless having lost his fear somewhat was too sharp to guide them to the certain evidence of his guilt and misled them. They were returned to jail but to remain a very short time.

The friends of the girl were now convinced of their inability to prove anything against them in court, having no legal evidence of the crime, and the result was, the jail was broken open on the evening of July 28th [sic] [23rd], 1872, and they were taken out and hanged by a formidable but cool, deliberate mob, on the main street in the city.

Although very little sympathy was ever felt for these victims of lynch law, yet a certain mystery always overhung the matter since this occurrence that must many times have given those who were the means of their death a certain uneasiness of conscience almost bordering upon a twinge of the guilty that must now and then have given rise to fears, that perhaps after all the poor Indians may have been innocent and they guilty of murder. To such, the finding of these remains and the clearing up of the mystery will be welcome news indeed, as it leaves no doubt of the guilt of the lynched fiends, or that they richly deserved all they received.

To the family and parents of the poor girl it is equally welcome, as the knowledge of her fate will be far more satisfactory than the terrible uncertainty that has shrouded it heretofore.

And now that the mystery has been solved, after five years of waiting, that the crime has been cleared up and punishment meted to those who earned it, we tenderly consign its records to the archives of history, and her remains to that decent burial they have been heretofore denied, with the closing benediction—may they rest in peace. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 June 1877, p. 1, c. 4)

NOTE: The boy who found the skull was Jake Paine who was out hunting with his brother William and Arthur and Vincent Strauss. (Brainerd's Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923; p. 24)

SEE: 1872 Ellen McArthur Disappeared and Indians Lynched

SEE: 1928 Young Brainerd

SEE: 1931 Tells Eyewitness Story of Hanging

SEE: 1901 Anniversary of Historical Event

SEE: Last Turn Saloon in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


We were invited out the other day to witness a game of base ball. We went. The pitcher smiled benignly at us, looked at the sun, then at his toes, laughed hysterically, and then! the unfortunate man who held the round stick doubled up, while the umpire cheerfully called “dead ball,” but we in our simplicity thought it was the batter who was dead, but he wasn’t, however, and when we looked again he was just striking the catcher under the ear with the end of his bat, having missed his ball and swung round on his heel in order to hang on to his stick. The umpire this time called “one strike,” while the catcher, holding his bruised jaw in one hand, held the ball in the other, yelling loudly, for “judgment.” Again the ball came whizzing on. This time it was struck, and sent back even quicker than it came, and was neatly stopped by the pitcher, and the irrepressible umpire, after letting the striker run into and knock over the first baseman and bark his shins, slowly drawled, “Out on a fly.” Now we protest, there was no fly there. We told the umpire so, and he coolly told us to “tumble to ourself,” which we did by falling backward over a small boy, who, with malice aforethought had placed himself on his hands and knees right behind us. Just as we picked ourself up, the umpire called “time,” and we obligingly pulled out our watch and told him it was three o’clock, but he did not notice us. While we were wondering at his want of politeness, we heard someone yell “tally,” and looking around, we saw a knee-breeched fellow turn a double somerset over the batter’s base and land feet foremost in a bucket of lemonade. We admired his agility, but despised his judgment, as we were then very thirsty. Another strike was made, and soon another and another, until all the bases were full; then came a foul, and as the catcher caught it between his hands, we should judge from the way he spat out, that he thought it very foul indeed. Having by this time made up our mind “that distance lends enchantment to the view,” we retired to an adjacent grassy mound, and soon fell asleep to be awakened by a terrific hurrah! for “our side!” which was beaten by a score of 1,195 to 2,000. Some said that if the umpire had not been prejudiced, the result would have been closer. We don’t know. (Brainerd Tribune, 14 July 1877, p. 1, c. 5)


CROOK CITY, July 15, 1877.

Friend Hartley:

‘Tis well; at last your old friends again hear from you, and welcome the TRIBUNE in the Hills. Major Whitehead, Bill Wade and your faithful (?) correspondent received the first copy last week, and were made glad by hearing once more from your Pine—not city, but town.

Well, for our news budget. First on the list comes our notorious Mike McMahon. Mike keeps a restaurant here, and somehow got mixed up with the purchase of eighteen hundred weight of flour from a pilgrim, and paying for the same with bogus dust, our Deputy Sheriff marched (or rode) Mike off to jail with the Darbeys on, but Mike got off somehow. Mike is playing a high hand, and stands in with the “gang.”

E. R. Perry has opened a neat hotel, and will have a full share of the patronage of the traveling community.

Sam. Lawrence is here prospecting, and has visited all the diggings in range. He says he likes it well enough to stay here three or four months.

Major Whitehead has laid up for the season, as his interests in Bear Gulch have not proven very remunerative, as the water has dried up.

Lumber business here is overdone. Five sawmills arrived last week, and still more are reported on the way.

Flour is $9 per cwt., butter 40c; other articles maintain fair prices.


(Brainerd Tribune, 21 July 1877, p. 1, c. 3)

THE Black Hills party, Henderson, Smith and Lufkin, took their departure on Monday evening for the land of uncertain fortunes. May their success far exceed their hopes. Friend Henderson has promised to keep his friends here posted on their movements through the TRIBUNE. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 July 1877, p. 1, c. 5)

Brainerd as Viewed by a Stranger.

A correspondent to the St. Cloud Journal-Press, describing a trip from St. Cloud to Bayfield, Wis., via Brainerd, has this to say of the latter place:

The city of Brainerd has the elements of all civilized and uncivilized life in it, with nothing around it but pine forests. There are the fruits of business enterprise in a large hotel, a spacious business block, and machine shop for the business of the road, fine churches erected by the benevolence of eastern men, and cultured families from Eastern homes. On the other hand and hard by are the thriftless, half-starved, and dissipated Indians, bartering berries, skins, snake root, etc. principally for beads, blankets, tobacco and rum; there, too, are white men prepared to supply every demand of their savage appetites, for money or its equivalent. But order prevails. A stranger can see that, with Christian churches, a good school, a free reading room, and a newspaper loyal to virtue and intelligence, this important town is asserting its claim to a place of honor and influence among the new towns of the West. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 August 1877, p. 1, c. 3)


We are in receipt of a letter from A. A. Henderson, formerly of Brainerd, dated Silver City, Black Hills, Sept. 1st. He says his party, A. O. Lufkin, J. L. Smith and himself, crossed the plains from Bismarck on ponies, had fine weather and a pleasant trip; met Major Whitehead at Belle Fourche, found him well and still in possession of his scalp; reached Crook City August 10th; accepted the invitation of Ben. Hazen, proprietor of the Headquarters Hotel, to partake of his hospitality; visited Deadwood a few days, saw the sights and heard the music, then returned to Crook, took interests in some placer diggings, and are now camped at the foot of Ball Mountain, 3 miles from Deadwood, trying their hands in silver mining. He says: “There are some very good leads being opened here. I must say I am well pleased with the Hills, and think the country under-valued in the line of quartz mining. Our party is in good health.” (Brainerd Tribune, 08 September 1877, p. 1, c. 4)


BELLE FOURCHE, August 2nd, 1877.

Friend Hartley:

Quite a tragic scene was enacted here at the Northwestern Stage Co.’s ranche yesterday, which resulted in the death of a young man by the name of Wm. Nolan, of East Minneapolis. Young Nolan and Tom Collins were working for Mr. Hucksley putting up hay for the stage company. Tom was at the ranche building the stacks, while Nolan was with the party cutting hay. One of the party had $50 stolen from him, and Tom remarked that he believed Nolan was a party to the theft. Nolan, on hearing this, left the field, revolver in hand, saying that he would kill Collins. Arriving at the ranche, he fired two shots at Collins and then closed in with him, bit his under lip nearly off, and, after cutting him severely over the head by blows with his revolver, walked away. When about ten rods distant, Collins, in a half-crazed condition, seized his rifle and shot him, the ball entering the center of his left hip behind, and passing out about three inches above the left groin. Dr. Pottle was sent for, and arrived about 10 o’clock today. Examining the wound, he said there was no hope of his recovery, and at 12 o’clock young Nolan passed off quietly from this wicked world, a victim of his own folly. Nolan was buried here this evening, and Collins has gone to Crook City to give himself up to the authorities.

Yours Truly,


[Since the above was received Collins has reached Bismarck with Nolan’s body, and dispatched the following message to his wife who is Nolan’s sister:

“Will. and I had a fuss. We both shot. Will. is dead. What shall I do with the body? Will do anything you say.”

Collins was for a time in the employ of the Northwestern Telegraph Company on the line of the N. P. as repairer.—ED.] (Brainerd Tribune, 11 August 1877, p. 1, c. 3)


We are permitted to take the following extract from a letter written by William Wade at Belle Fourche to J. Howard at Leech Lake:

“Maj. Whitehead, Tom Sanders and I came to this place to cut some hay the day following the murder of the Wagner family, of Moorhead, by the Indians. We visited the scene of the murder on our way, and found the ground strewn with broken boxes, trunks, torn clothing and trinkets. One ox lay dead in the yoke, the other was badly wounded, and Birdwell killed him. Their dog, a large Newfoundland, lay beside the dead ox. The whole presented a wretched and sickening appearance indeed. Three men belonging to our party had preceded us to the meadow. These we met as we neared our destination, returning. Frank Black had been shot through the muscles of the right arm while running the mower. We continued on, however, and are at work now in the same place where Black was shot. We have seven good rifles and a small cannon, and think we can stand them off. They attacked the survey party locating the Dakota and Wyoming boundary, recently, taking their ammunition and provisions, and killing two of their men. They also killed four ranchmen near Red Water, the Deputy Sheriff from Deadwood, and a man who was with him—all this within the past ten days.

“A company of soldiers arrived at Crook on July 27th. They have raised two companies of volunteers at Deadwood to protect the place from Nature’s noblemen, who the Christian peace commission have failed to control by prayer and supplication or long-visaged hypocrisy. These Invincibles are from the various agencies, and all receive government annuities and religious (!) instruction, which, being interpreted according to appearances to a man up a tree, would be held to mean, ‘long-range rifles of the most approved pattern, and instructions in their use in dispatching the pale faces wherever found, with the greatest possible agility and precision.’ If government would support less Indians and Christians, and increase its standing army, the authority of the nation would not so often be set at naught by a set of rag-tailed Indians and tramps called strikers. I think the present peace policy the most miserable farce and damnable outrage upon those ‘inalienable rights’ of God’s humanity ever enacted in any age under the sun, not even excepting the human sacrifices of the dark ages in heathen climes.

“You may send the foregoing to the editor of the BRAINERD TRIBUNE if you choose.

“I think I will start for home about September 20th, and make the trip in about 20 days. I have given up the idea of joining Sitting Bull—his cavalry ride too fast for me, so you may expect me back soon if we don’t get our hair raised.



(Brainerd Tribune, 01 September 1877, p. 1, c. 4)


It is with the deepest regret that we learn through the letter from Maj. James Whitehead, appearing below, of the very sudden death in the Black Hills, on Sunday evening inst., of our friend William Wade. Mr. Wade has been a resident of this section of country for the past twenty-three years, and warm-hearted, social, and in every way honorable, he has in that time won a host of truly warm friends, to whose hearts the sad news of his sudden demise will bring the deepest sorrow, and from whose eyes will fall involuntarily to his memory the silent tear. It will be a consolation, however, to all to know that, situated as he was, so far from them and home, the last sad duties of man to man were in this instance directed and performed by the tender and friendly hand of Major Whitehead, between whom and the deceased there has ever existed, since their acquaintance some twenty odd years ago, that mutual attachment seldom known even to brothers.

Mr. Wade was born in Maine in 1841, came first to Little Falls in 1854, in his thirteenth year, and may be classed among the oldest settlers of northern Minnesota. He has held several positions of trust in this vicinity; among them he was the first sheriff of Crow Wing county, and a member of the last Board of County Commissioners of Cass county. In partnership with the late E. B. Lynde, the firm—Lynde & Wade—carried on a heavy business in the village of Crow Wing during the years 1869-70-71. The first year the writer spent in Crow Wing county was in the employ of this firm as clerk in their store. Closing out his interests to Mr. Lynde in 1871, Mr. Wade took up his abode at Leech Lake, where he has since resided the most of the time until in April last he joined Major Whitehead’s party and went to the Black Hills. Among the Indians he was known by the name, O-gitch-e-tah (The Brave), a name given him by them in his early days in this country, and which he has carried ever since, and among them the sad news of his death will find many deep mourners. Quite touching indeed was the scene on yesterday when we communicated the fact of his death to an old Indian from Leech Lake. The tears rolled down his cheeks, and he brushed them away with the corner of his blanket while he expressed in the most touching manner the sorrow that filled his heart.

The following is the letter of Major Whitehead giving the account of his death:

CROOK CITY, D. T., Sept. 16, ‘77.

W. W. Hartley:

DEAR SIR.—I have a sad story to relate to you today—the sudden, unexpected and melancholy death of our old and well-tried friend William Wade. Our party had been haying at the Belle Fourche, and, having finished, returned to this city on the evening of the 13th. William has been complaining of his lungs troubling him for the past few weeks, but continued to drive the team. He was feeling quite as well as usual this morning, and through the day, it being the Sabbath, was enjoying a social chat with his friends until about five o’clock p. m., when he walked over to the stable and took the horses out to water them at a well just across the street, and about ten rods from the stable he fell and expired almost instantly without a struggle or the slightest distortion of his face or any signs of pain. It is about three hours now since his departure, and his countenance is so natural that I can scarcely believe he is dead. He was much pleased to receive a letter from you a few days ago, and your TRIBUNE comes regularly now. Kind regards to all friends, though one of the most faithful and trusty has just obeyed the great summons, and I feel that he has left me but a few days behind.

Yours truly,


(Brainerd Tribune, 22 September 1877, p. 1, c. 6)



The Opinion of Rev. J. A. Gilfillan on that Subject.


White Earth Indians Compared with Brainerd Citizens—Greatly to the

Disadvantage of the Latter.


What a Former Pastor Thinks

of His Brainerd Flock.


Indians “Angels here Below,” and

Brainerdites Perfect Devils.


An Old Indian the Best Christian

He Ever Knew.


Editor Brainerd Tribune:

There appeared in your paper lately an article copied approvingly from the Wadena Tribune, in which my name also appears, rather throwing doubts upon the possibility of really changing or Christianizing Indians. There have been similar ideas of your own thrown out from time to time. Now, silence sometimes seems to give consent, and were I to say nothing when my name is mentioned in that connection, it might seem as if that were my own opinion also, or else that I was afraid to speak out the truth. I will, then, if you will allow me, lay some facts before you and before the many who know me in Brainerd, that truth may not suffer by my silence, and that you may judge for yourselves; and I would say that perhaps I am as well able to judge of this subject as the Wadena Tribune. I have now lived among Indians going on five years; I understand and speak their language, and so have access to their minds, and with what their ideas really are; I have associated with them almost exclusively for that length of time, have been at their death-beds, and seen them in every conceivable circumstance of joy and sorrow, so that unless I am a fool I ought to know something about them. I also resided in Brainerd for a year before coming here—saw it in its palmy days and in its quieter times, and I ought to be able to compare the two places and peoples. Let me state, then, the following facts, and draw your own inference:

Reverend Joseph Alexander Gilfillan, 1838-1913, noted Episcopalian missionary to White Earth, ca. 1875.
Source: MHS

1st. I could hear more swearing, blaspheming, and bad language, in five minutes, anywhere in the streets of Brainerd, when I lived there, than I have heard in the over four years I have been here among the 1,500 Indians of this place. I have never once heard an Indian swear, use bad language, or take the name of God in vain, since I have been among them, and do not, believe you could bring an Indian to do it.

2nd. I could see more men drunk in Brainerd in an hour than I have ever seen on this reservation. I have never seen an Indian drunk or under the influence of liquor since I have been here. There have been such occasionally, but very few, or I would have happened some way to see some of them.

3rd. I could see more drinking, gambling saloons, scenes of wickedness, by opening my eyes just once in Brainerd than I have seen altogether here. I have never seen any such things here.

4th. I could hear more rows, fights, and quarrels, any night in Brainerd, than I have heard here in nearly five years altogether. I have never seen any Indians fight, quarrel, or use bad language to each other, since I have been among them.

5th. I could see more desecration of the Lord’s Day, and more high-handed wickedness and daring of Heaven, by looking around me once on the Lord’s Day in Brainerd, than I have ever seen here; by far more fearful sights and sounds.

6th. This Indian community has always been quietness, order, morality, virtue and goodness itself since I have been in it, compared with my old, but fondly-remembered home of Brainerd.

7th. There is no law here, and it is known there is none; if a man steal, or murder, or do any other crime, he goes scot free, and it is known that such is the case, and yet there is hardly any crime here, very little stealing, no assault or murder, or crimes against person or property. How long could Brainerd have existed when I lived there had it been known that any man was at liberty to take what he pleased, and that nothing would have been done with him? You know what a man’s life would have been worth at that time had it been known, under certain circumstances, he had $10. Here I would not be in the least afraid, nor might any man, if the Indians knew he had thousands.

8th. Your friend before alluded he thinks the Indian’s is a religion for bread and butter, and that is a pretty general impression. Now let us test it by a few facts:

The Indians here attend divine service more regularly than any white congregation I ever knew. They live scattered on their farms to a distance of 4 or 5 miles from the church; yet their attendance is remarkable, walking, men women and children, in bad roads in rain, in snow, in cold.

In proportion to their means they give one hundred times as much as white people for the spread of the Gospel to other places, or for grasshopper sufferers, etc.

They are more tender and susceptible to the influences of Divine Truth than are the people of Brainerd, take them generally. I have spoken to many white people privately on these subjects, and to many Indians, and I find the Indians hearts softer, more impressionable, and I think I am more likely to succeed with them.

The communicants of any of the Christian bodies are not generally the worst and most dangerous class in the community; there are many hypocrites among them, of course, but, take them generally, you can form an estimate of the morality and worth of a community by the fewness or numerousness of those who kneel at the table of the Lord. Now there are more communicants of the church by far among the Indians, in proportion to the people, than there are in your own town. And as to the sincerity of their religion, and the genuineness of any change in them, we can apply one crucial test, not to speak of others, as regular attendance at church, liberal contributions of their substance, holy lives. We know that death strips off all disguises. If their’s be a bread and butter religion, it will then be manifest. They have then nothing more to gain. Now I have been at the death-beds of great numbers of them. They die off much more rapidly than white people. I should say the death rate is six times as high, and in over four years I have attended many and many, and I have found that then they cling to their religion with the greatest tenacity. It, and the hope it gives them, and the deliverance it promises them, makes them clasp it to their hearts closer than ever before. They send for their clergyman, they express a great desire to be prayed for, to have the Scriptures read to them; they ask to receive the Holy Communion; they address their friends and relatives standing around their bedside and touchingly exhort them to persevere in the Christian religion and in the Christian life. In short, after having lived most Christian lives, they die most Christian deaths, and what more proof of sincerity can any human being give than his life and death? If I were asked to point out the best Christian and the most sincere man I have ever known, I would point out an old Indian living here, and I have known several like him who are now in another world.


WHITE EARTH, Sept. 12th, 1877.

[We shall reply to this communication next week. We have not time or room to do so in this issue as we would wish.—ED.] (Brainerd Tribune, 22 September 1877, p. 1, c.’s 4 & 5)

To J. A. G., WHITE EARTH:—Send on the conclusions to your article on Indians vs. Brainerdites. We may as well have the whole of this startling panegyric and done with with it; we can stand it, if you can. The Indians may not survive it, but no matter; the sooner they are in heaven the better for the country at large, besides, it’s good time for them to go now while their name is good. (Brainerd Tribune, 22 September 1877, p. 1, c. 3)



Conclusion of Rev. Gilfillan’s Article.


White Earth Indians Compared with

Swedes and Norwegians.


Editor Brainerd Tribune:

The last part of my letter to you about Indians was lost in the mail, and I now proceed to replace it by a few remarks.

Our Wadena friend instances the case of an Indian who at his town offered to commit a grave offense, as proof that Indians cannot really be Christianized. But that man is not a Christian, but a heathen Indian, so that proof turns out to be no proof at all; and even had he been, white people who have been baptized and made Christians do like things sometimes, so that makes nothing to the point. Your Wadena friend knew very well when he wrote his article, that that man had no pass from me. He had taken such particular note of the pass that he had written down the difficult Indian name of the bearer, yet he was disingenuous enough to bring my name in in that connection, thereby creating the impression that it might be from me.

Now about this matter of civilizing and Christianizing Indians, I can tell you this in addition: I can show you here many Indian families who are as neat housekeepers, and keep their houses and themselves as tidy, and who are as industrious, as any farmers you can find. I can go with you and show you their houses, clean enough to take bread on the floor, their table covered with a snowy white table cloth, good butter, and as nice a light biscuit of their own making as you would find in any house, and everything else to correspond. I have often heard it said that our Indians here are tidier in their housekeeping than our neighbors the Swedes and Norwegians, yet they have been civilized and Christianized for eight hundred years. It is only from ten to twenty years since our Indians began walking in this path, and they were, when they began, what you are [seeing in] the Indians about Brainerd to-day. So they have made in less than ten years—for it is now nine years since they came here from Crow Wing and entered on this life—the progress which it has taken others centuries upon centuries, and generations upon generations, to make. We are to estimate, in judging people, the point from which they started, and the distance they have come, as well as their present standing; and, judging by this standard, the civilized Indians certainly take the palm for rapid progress. Sometimes we condemn them without ever having seen the Christian Indians in their own homes, without knowing really anything of them, or how they live. It would seem one who publicly condemns them and ridicules the idea of any change in them should at least have taken one look before he does so. It would seem as if, in common fairness, he ought to do so much. But those who do so have never even been on their reservation; never once seen how they live. They have seen strolling Indians, off their reservation, who are not Christians, but heathens.

And now, just one word more—the condensed experience of nearly five years living among the Indians: The Indian is just like any other man, neither more nor less. When you get down to the bottom line has precisely the same heart as any other man. He has the same fears, the same hopes, the same affections, the same varying tides of feeling. The same motives act on him as on white men. If you treat him well he will like you; if you treat him justly he will respect you; if you treat him kindly he will love you; if you treat him cruelly he will hate you, just as any other man will. You will often read in the papers that none but those who have knowledge of Indian character should be sent to deal with Indians. It is all nonsense, the Indian is a man, and my unvarying experience is, that if you treat him like a man, and lay out of account altogether his being an Indian, you will get along with him just precisely as you would with any other man. Outward circumstances may have made a little superficial change in his habits and actions, as much as they have made the American different from the German; but when you get down to the bottom there is precisely the same heart in both. As the great poet of humanity hath expressed it of another race, but speaking for all mankind, “hath not a jew eyes? hath not a jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? feed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed, and cooled by the same summer and winter as a Christian? If you prick us do we not bleed? if you tickle us do we not laugh? if you poison us do we not die? and if you wrong us do we not revenge?” the Wadena Tribune to the contrary notwithstanding. “A man’s a man for a’ that.”


WHITE EARTH, Oct. 1st, 1877.

(Brainerd Tribune, 06 October 1877, p. 4, c. 1)

NOTE: Joseph Alexander Gilfillan was born October 23, 1838, in Gorticross, County Londonderry, Ireland to Alexander Gilfillan and his wife Margaret. He emigrated to the United States in 1857, allegedly to work in a relative’s bank in Faribault, Minnesota. In 1869 he graduated from the General Theological Seminary, New York, becoming the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Duluth from October 18, 1870 to June 1872 and rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brainerd from June 1872 to June 1873 when he was sent to White Earth as missionary to the Ojibwas, serving there until September 1908. On April 19, 1877 he married Harriet Woodbridge Cook. Reverend Gilfillan retired in 1908 and went to Washington, D. C. Speaking fluent Ojibwa, he was the chief editor, working with the Reverend John Johnson (Enmegahbowh), of the 1911 Ojibwa edition of the Book of Common Prayer entitled "Iu Wejibuewisi Mamawi Anamiawini Mazinaigun" ("Iw Wejibwewizi Maamawi-anami'aawini Mazina'igan"). After being ill for a year, Reverend Gilfillan died in New York City on November 18, 1913.



In another column this week will be found the promised conclusion to the article written by Rev. J. A. Gilfillan for the TRIBUNE two weeks ago, advocating the present peace policy of our government in its treatment of the Indians, and the feasibility of civilizing and Christianizing them as other races of men. In the out set Mr. Gilfillan inadvertently commits an error in crediting the article that appears chiefly to have excited his righteous indignation upon this subject to the Wadena Tribune, and quite frequently throughout his argument he takes occasion to give Bro. Gatchell a sly dig that should have been directed against Bro. Geoghegan of the Perham Independent, who was in fact the author of the obnoxious article.

When, however, Bro. Gilfillan or any other person courts a controversy with us on the subject of civilizing the Indians, we are ready to meet him and hold our own or fail in the attempt. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” is a rule of life laid down by Him whose wisdom is unimpeachable, and for a moment let us refer to the fruits of the Christianizing policy, if indeed fruits are to be found. For more than a century this civilizing process has been in vogue, more than a century ago the “Pilgrims” landed on Plymouth rock, and for more than a century the Indians have had every inducement held out to them to embrace Christianity; they have associated with whites and Christians, more or less, all through that long vista of years, through five generations, (not five years alone, as Bro. Gilfillan would feign make us believe) have missionaries labored among them for their souls, salvation and for their civilization; the government has made them its wards, made treaty after treaty with them, and paid out millions of dollars annually for their support and the spread of the gospel among them, and what results have we to point to? Behold our statesmen, the prominent men of our country, do we find any Indians among them? No. Scan our business men, the citizens of the land, all those who earn an honest living, from the professional man to the clodhopper, do we observe the ranks dotted with the noble red-man? Nay. What do we find? A century of bloodshed, rapine and murder; a century filled with fiendish yells and savage mutilation of men, women and innocent children. From all stages of this civilizing process, even up to the month of October, 1877, the cries from mangled, butchered human victims come rolling down upon us as an avalanche—victims to this civilizing process so recklessly lauded by Rev. J. A. Gilfillan and other equally fanatical. Where in the name of all human reason have such elaborate efforts ever been made for the spread of civilization and the banishment of heathenism as in the United States among the American Indians? And, where are they today? Call upon the blood of the gallant Custer and his noble comrades for a reply. Ah, you shudder. It is well. Who that has been instrumental in maintaining our present policy can contemplate their sad fate without that feeling of self-condemnation and responsibility consequent upon actual complicity in the murder of that valiant, fated hand of noblemen worth more in reality than the lives of all the howling red devils in existence. In all this long range of years, and from all the thousands of tribes of Indians in existence during that period and alive today, would it not be reasonable to expect some evidences, to witness some instances of “Indian civilization,” if the theory has one single shadow of tangibility? Yet we see none, literally none. Their lives and customs remain unchanged to the present day. Wild—they hunt, trap and fish, and live a life picturesque and romantic in its way; while surrounded and beneath the influence of whites, “civilized,” if you please, they become aimless, indigent and filthy; degenerate in habits and physical tendency; roaming over the country as they are found to-day in the eastern States and provinces living upon the charity of the public; showing more conclusively than any theory can that water and oil will not mix, that the same natural character of the Indian and all that may be noble or self-sustaining in him is destroyed when brought into contact with civilization. We can easily find them in all stages of this civilizing process; as the western plains in their normal condition, on the frontier partially civilized, and in New England wholly civilized—and the most contemptible wretches on God’s green earth.

Such then, we may assume to be the standard of civilization by which “Indians take the palm for rapid progress.”

Mr. Gilfillan takes a great deal of pain to compare these wonderful beings, the result of the efforts of a century, with a class of citizens that predominated in Brainerd in its early days, composed chiefly of Union Pacific roughs and frontier cut-throats, congregated here as they invariably congregate in all frontier or new railroad towns while the “flush” times exist, but long since, true to their customs, “gone west,” and now to be found (those who survive) in the Black Hills or further west, fleeing with the noble red-men before the westward march of empire and law. If Bro. Gilfillan’s pet theory can gather any comfort from such comparisons, the present citizens of Brainerd have no reason to be envious, provided the explanation given above accompanies the comparison, nor will the position we maintain assailed by them, suffer from the attack.

“We are led to exclaim in the fulness of our heart: Wonderful! wonderful!! oh, Indian! is the advancement of thy civilization when, after the missionary labors of a century or more among thy people, thou canst compare thus favorably with a gang of cut-throats and desperadoes. Let it be sounded forth far and wide; let it be proclaimed from the house-tops and in all public places and journals, that the Indian civilizing policy is a success—a grand success. They will not sell or drink whiskey openly on their reservations, because it is imperatively forbidden by law and closely watched by a corps of U. S. detectives at a large government expense, for the reason that it is a well known fact that, with plenty of whiskey, the lives of the agency employees, even their pastor and deluded defender, would not be worth an old moccasin. But because it is not done openly is not any evidence that it is not done at all, and because Mr. Gilfillan hears none of their swearing, sees none of their rows, fights and quarrels, or is cognizant of none of their immoralities, is not any evidence that they do not exist, and largely, too.

Mr. G. closes his article with an attempt to show that the Indian is just like any other man because certain elements have the same effect upon him, the same food will feed him, the same means will warm and cool him, the same agencies will hurt and kill him, the same motives govern him. The very same may be said of the horse, the ox, the hog, the dog; and yet that save a proclivity of the Indian to take innocent blood, which can never be civilized out of him, does not exist in either. Are we to conclude from this that the horse, the ox, the hog, the dog, are equal to mankind? This is simply no argument at all.

Just so his senseless thrust at our Swede and Norwegian friends, which is at once uncalled for, unfair, unjust and untrue. The Swedes and Norwegians can claim some of our most intelligent, intellectual, worthy and prominent citizens. Can any existing tribe of Indian do this? No; they can claim a Sitting Bull, a Crazy Horse, and numerous other fiends and Modocs, but we defy Rev. J. A. Gilfillan, or any other man, to show us a single Indian as worthy a citizen as the most humble of our Swede or Norwegian citizens. The fact is, not a single full-blooded Indian is today a recognized citizen of the United States just because they are not considered capable of becoming such. The advent of the Swedes and Norwegians in this country only date back a few years, and yet they hold many prominent positions and offices of trust. Can the Indians claim any? Nay; and their existence here anti-dates the dawn of civilization in America.

Bro. Gilfillan’s comparisons may well be termed odious; they are, in fact, preposterous, absurd, untenable.

In conclusion, we do not believe (as many may be ready to jump up and charge) that the Indians should be exterminated, killed, we are more humane than this, but we do insist that it is high time that this informal peace policy, a glaring misnomer if one ever existed, breeding wars, wranglings and strifes, should be exterminated, and, if necessary, its supporters with it, and that the Indians should be placed under the control of the iron hand of the military, where justice would be meted out to them, where they would be taught their place and how to keep it, and not that they are the lords of creation and white men their serfs. (Brainerd Tribune, Wilder W. Hartley, Editor and Publisher, 06 October 1877, p. 1, c.’s 4 & 5)




Editor Brainerd Tribune:

In the TRIBUNE of the 22nd ult. we noticed an article from J. A. Gilfillan, of White Earth, wherein that Rev. Gentleman gave us “Brainerd Citizens” a terrible blow in comparing us with his Indians at White Earth, therein describing us as the most ungodly and uncivilized people that ever existed. As it then concerned us all alike, and as you, Mr. Editor, promised to reply, the case was left with you. In his “conclusion,” however, (written after he had learned your intention to reply to him, and something of what the nature of that reply would be) partaking, in fact, more of the character of an “amendment” than a “conclusion,” and published in the TRIBUNE of the 6th inst., he has limited his abuses to the Swedes and Norwegians, thinking perhaps, you would not be so severe in your reference to his former letter. Your reply was published, however, last week, in which we think such indisputable facts and figures were laid before the people that the Rev. Gentleman will be compelled to admit his error and think less of his “pets.” And here, in behalf of our nationality, we sincerely thank you for the noble defense you rendered as in that ably-written reply.

Now we wish to add a few remarks referring to this outrageous insult to our people. In the first place, the character of the Indians is too well and generally known to need any description from us. Many of us have lived in this vicinity for the past six or seven years, and during that time we have seen enough of them to place them, in our estimation, below any other class of mortals in existence, particularly as regards neatness and cleanliness, rendering Mr. Gilfillan’s comparisons too absurd and contemptible to merit attention, were it not for his inference, in selecting our nationality, that Swedes and Norwegians are less tidy and neat in their habits than other people, which we deny.

In passing, however, we wish to correct Mr. Gilfillan in this; he seems to hold his White Earth Indians above other Indians as to what concerns morality and Christianity, and knowing that Brainerd citizens have witnessed many an immoral act and habit in the Indians, which he also knows they never can abandon, he is ingenious enough to call the Indians about Brainerd “heathen Indians.” Is this not a trifle “too thin?” We would like to know if the government has not provided for the Leech Lake Indians who visit Brainerd and vicinity just as it has for the White Earth Indians? Do they not receive the same spiritual and corporeal aid and maintenance at both places? Or does the government indeed show partiality to its “Indian wards?” Or are the White Earth Indians better than other Indians, the citizens of Brainerd and us poor Swedes and Norwegians—just because Mr. Gilfillan is their pastor? Judging from the recent turmoil and troubles at White Earth, we should think he had chosen a very unfortunate occasion to show the pure, angelic and peaceful character of the Indians of that place. Comment is unnecessary. It is a pretty comparison, indeed, and mighty rough on us. A good thing everybody in this great Republic is not of your opinion, Mr. Gilfillan, in which case we had better have remained in that “immoral, uncivilized” country whence we came. But, notwithstanding your insults, we are proud of our native country beyond the sea and its fond memories. There our cradle stands and our fore-fathers slumber beneath the green sod. We will not deny it, though thousands of your creed undertake to disgrace us and heap contumely upon our nativity. Are you aware that those two little countries, Sweden and Norway, with a population of only some six millions, has brought forth genius and talent equal to any country on the globe in proportion to its population? There is, for instance, the great inventor, John Erickson, whose invention are known all over the world; Carl Von Linne, the celebrated botanist; Bjernstjerne Bjornson and Esaias Tegner, the poets; Hans Christian Anderson, the author; Ole Bull, Christina Nelson and Jenny Lind, whose fame is widely known. Wonder what they would say could they see one of your Indian “pow-wows?” As to the neatness and cleanliness in general of our people, we refer you to notes by the scientific Professor DuChally, upon his recent travels through our native countries. And should you visit our “City of the Pines” we invite you to come in and see some of us in our homes. Our “better half” is anxious to show you that she is a little superior to your squaws at White Earth. We remember you well, Mr. Gilfillan, when you were among us here five years ago, how you used to enter the taverns and saloons kept at that time by some of our countrymen, and how you invited our people to come to your church. It is true there was a pretty rough class of people here then, but we do not believe you were ever insulted by any of our people at such or any other occasions, even though some of them may have been at times considerably intoxicated. On the contrary, we admired you for the earnest zeal you displayed in working for your Master. We considered it a blessing to have a man of your calling and intelligence in our midst. We felt lonely when you left us. Imagine, therefore, our surprise and regret to find a man of whom we had thought so much selecting ours among the many nationalities in this country for such an unjust and unfounded comparison, with a class of beings generally considered and known to be beneath the whites, and setting them up as our superiors in civilization and ability, as you have done. You can not claim that the comparison and reflection was one hastily or thoughtlessly made, for you claim to have written the article over a second time from memory. It may, however, be accounted for thusly: You have, as you say, been with those pure (?) Indians for five years, and it is very likely you have forgotten how white people do live and conduct their domestic affairs. Memory sometimes “goes back” on the best of men, and this has undoubtedly been the case with you. Our advice would be, therefore, go live and associate with white people once more and you may be able to see for yourself that your opinions are exaggerated.

A few words more in regard to our nationality and we are done. We wish to inform you, Mr. Gilfillan, that every Swede and Norwegian knows how to read and write, and all are confirmed at the age of fifteen to sixteen; that we always respect and regard the religion we are taught, and, in fact, as far as we know how, endeavor to do right with all when we are treated well by our neighbors and superiors we always appreciate it and endeavor to return the favor. We all possess a white complexion, and have always thought we were white men and deserving to be treated as such until we learned your opinions of us. Nevertheless, since we came to this country we have obtained full citizenship here and shall still endeavor to show the American people that we are worthy thereof, and we have every reason to feel grateful to the people of this our adopted country for a generous recognition and our share of public trust, and we assure you that your reflection does not give us any discouragement.

In conclusion, we take the liberty to use your own quotations and apply them to our own nationality as follows: “Hath not a Swede eyes? hath not a Norwegian hands, organs, dimensions, sense, affections, passions, fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same summer and winter? if you prick us do we not bleed? if you tickle us do we not laugh? if you poison us do we not die? and if you wrong us do we not revenge? the Rev. J. A. Gilfillan to the contrary notwithstanding.

Respectfully yours,


(Brainerd Tribune, 13 October 1877, p. 1, c.’s 4 & 5)

Thanks to “Swedes and Norwegians.”

Dear friend Hartley:

I desire to thank your correspondent who signs himself “Swedes and Norwegian” most heartily for his truly noble, manly letter.



WHITE EARTH, Oct. 17th, 1877.

(Brainerd Tribune, 20 October 1877, p. 1, c. 6)


CROOK CITY, D. T., Oct. 16, 1877.

Friend Hartley:

Here goes for another chat. This time we will extend our talk to Deadwood and Gayville.

Log cabins being built in Gayville, Dakota Territory, 1876.
Source: National Archives

Gayville is about two and one-half miles from Deadwood, and on the same gulch, all along which an incredible amount of work has been done, and still the work goes on, every foot of ground being worked, and good pay still is made. Gayville was entirely burned down about one month ago, but now you can hardly see a trace of fire. New and handsome business houses have been erected, and business is going on as if nothing had happened. Here we met our old Brainerd friend, William Falconer, Esq. Bill looks better than we ever saw him. He lost considerable by the fire, but has a fine large store, and well stocked. He is the leading merchant in the place, and the same genial, warm-hearted Bill as of old. His increase in possession has not changed him.

Passing through Gayville, we come into Golden Gate, it being next door, the separating point being either a clothesline or a pile of sand, I’ve forgot which, and immediately we enter the now leading city of Hills Center. Here the constant day and night thud! thud! of the many quartz mills reminds us that we truly are in the land of gold. Heavily laden teams constantly going and coming, carrying in the golden quartz, the long ox trains loaded with every conceivable kind of merchandise, the busy kackmen [sic] [hackmen], and the weary looking tramps, all are here, and go to make up the mining community. We also noticed two gaily-dressed ladies in a hack, and both were smoking. The “Heathen Chinees” are getting as thick here as fleas on an Indian dog or----on an Indian’s head, but the Johnny washerman of our town has left in disgust, and wrathfully declared that there were too many dam Irish here.

Our District Court is in session, and you would be surprised to see the amount of business and the number of lawyers on hand. In some cases it is hard to find the distinguishing mark between lawyer and convict, or we mean client. One of the lawyers here is an old offender, having been ordered out of Denver by the vigilantes; but you must not take this as the rule, as there are gentlemen here of eminence and repute, but our infernal Territorial code (as it is termed) is a disgrace to any community, and the meanest pettifogger in the land could not have more disgraced Blackstonian precepts. AQUATIC. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 October 1877, p. 4, c. 2)


CROOK CITY, D. T., Oct. 20, 1877.

Friend Hartley:

Go where you will in the Hills you find Minnesota well and ably represented. Godfrey, of Litchfield holds large and valuable claims on Strawberry Gulch. Sam Lawrence holds five promising claims at Pennington, and is putting up a 20 stamp mill, which has just arrived. Minneapolis can claim the leading merchants and bankers of Deadwood, and many old residents of Brainerd can be found as our most energetic and prosperous people. And while talking of Minnesotians it is well to speak of Wait [sic], of St. Cloud, who has just brought in a 20 stamp mill, and after looking around has concluded to stow it away for the time being in hopes that he can starve out the pioneer discoverer, and expecting to buy out some rich claim for a song, which in the course of a few years would realize all the way from 10,000 to 100,000 dollars. This game of “freeze out” is going on all the time, but the capitalists do not always hold the winning hand as too many mills are coming in, and our miners have the pluck to hold right on, and generally “see the bluff” and go one better.

Your old townsman, Captain Ben Hazen, has struck it rich, he has a one-half interest in the Minnehaha (you see he has not forgotten his old Minnesota home) which promises to be one of the very best leads in the Hills, and Ben is just so situated that he can hold on to it, which is better than all. You can just prepare to call upon your friend at some future day in a fine brownstone front, with a spanking pair of bay horse accompaniments.

Harry Williams is also reported to have struck it rich in a lead on Whitewood near the town of Whitewood, he is the sole proprietor, and claims that the showings are very flattering.

We regret to say that James Whitehead has been quite ill for some time with mountain fever.

Provisions have materially advanced, all excepting flour, which commands about $8 per cwt. Potatoes bring 10 cents per lb. No other vegetables are offering. Butter, poor quality, 50 cents, and is scarce.

Politics are red hot, just booming, and it looks as if the bottled up appointees of Yankton and a carpet bagger governor will have to step down and out, as the people are determined not to have their rights usurped or abused.

The democratic convention for county officers was held in Deadwood on the 16th inst., and was celebrated by bonfires, booming cannon for anvils—same thing only in war, and bands of music, while enthusiastic speakers told the people of their grievances. The nominations were made with much care, and will no doubt clean out the Yankton ring.

Yours suriferously [sic], AQUATIC.

(Brainerd Tribune, 27 October 1877, p. 1, c. 6)

SEE: Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.

SEE: 1896 John Pryde is Hanged for Murder




[The Forest and Stream and Rod and Gun of January 10th contains an editorial correspondence recounting an excursion in September last, by the Editor, through Minnesota, from which we make the following selections.—ED. TRIBUNE.]

As we wander among the imposing remains of the once proud city of Duluth, we are inevitably reminded of ancient Athens, which is magnificent even in its decay. The stately edifices of sandstone abutting on the main thoroughfare in isolated grandeur and individuality; the spacious private residences which here and there occupy the ledges of over-shadowing rock behind the town; the extended avenues; the tremendous sweep of suburbs; the immature local improvements; the metropolitan features grouped around the focus; and, above all, the price of city lots;—these, in the titanic scale of their projection, are commensurate only with the anticipated magnificence of the completed plan. Here, in the golden epoch of ingenious schemes and far-reaching projects were concentrated the business sagacity and acumen of the land. Shrewd speculators congregated in crowds, like buzzards, upon the long corridors of Col. Hull’s notable caravansary, and watched the incoming steamers bringing greenbacks and more speculators from the East. Hungry and consuming locusts, grasshoppers, flies and drones swarmed around the bunghole and got stuck in the molasses. Real estate agents vied in selling to the credulous choice lots at $5,000 each, upon which it was expected that $100,000 structures would eventually stand. Stupendous public buildings were designed; and all around the printed plans and elevations thronged a rabble of ex-generals and colonels, cidevant senators, broken merchants, bankers and impecunious adventurers, jostling each other and scrambling for civic offices and emoluments in the high places to be created. Sitting in the lowly places and gazing up aloft to the summit of the boulder-strewn ridge of rock, up whose semi-precipitous activity, ambitious shanties had already climbed in straggling disorder, one could almost fancy an Acropolis or Parnassus, with Socrates and Plato pronouncing from the top, and declaring, with Proctor Knott, that this was destined to be the greatest place on God’s earth!

One early morning, before the sun was up or the citizens had stirred, I toiled with panting effort up one of the outlined avenues, which looked charmingly level on the maps, but was too steep for any vehicle to climb, and when I had surmounted the apex I looked out over a landscape so far reaching that its scope seemed marvelous.

Between Duluth and Brainerd on the Mississippi River, the country is well occupied with farms, stations and settlements, and one sees little to remind him of border life. At Brainerd, however, trains rest over Sunday, compelling a temporary halt of all through travel; and here at Col. Weed’s “Headquarters Hotel,” can be seen typical characters of all sorts. Here are Black Hills’ merchants coming East for goods; express agents guarding treasure in transitu; emigrants, red hot with the gold fever, bound West; gentlemen-sportsmen with dogs, plethoric outfits, and a retinue of servants—”well heeled,” as they say out there—going to the grouse country; occasional army officers attached to frontier posts, scouts, trappers, stock-grazers, surveyors and representatives from British Columbia, factors, merchants, officials, half-breeds and Indians. Very often little knots of passengers by the Deadwood stages may be found in the centre of a crowd, lugubriously relating how the road agents halted them, ordered them to “squat” and “hold up their hands,” and “went through them;” just as they did once with old Ben Halliday, the great overland stage proprietor, holding a double-barreled shotgun within a span of his face, and scratching his nose with the muzzle when he told them it itched. Cautious and experienced travelers, let me say, carry very little money with them; only checks and drafts. Possibly among the miscellaneous throng at Brainerd, are the same veritable desperadoes and highwaymen. It is probable that detectives are there who know them. But they are not recognizable by the chance traveler. If anybody supposes that he will find here desperadoes en grand tenue; trappers in buckskin, and bullies in buckram, he will be disappointed. One cannot but admire the universal affability of rough men—a marked quietness of manner, gentleness of address, civility in answering general inquiries, careful avoidance of personal jests or practical jokes, a studious disinterestedness in other people’s affairs, and a commendable mine-your-own business style not appreciated in the South and East. The roughest garb ofttimes covers a brilliant intellect, while the prevalence of superior information on general topics is quickly remarked. The reason for this can be easily understood, on patent ground, namely: It may be taken for granted that any person who has pluck enough to work his way out West and brave the hardships and dangers of pioneer life, has something in him more than the stuff that common men are made of—qualities above the average, and a degree of intelligence requisite to enable him to avoid, combat, and surmount the difficulties that continually beset him. These qualities, engrafted upon native stock, make up the indomitable American character. To cure vanity, selfishness, petulance, loquacity, choler and pugnacity, try the Western air, young man; it is a panacea.

Mississippi River north of the NP Bridge and Colonists’ Reception House each of which can be seen in the background, Frank Jay Haynes, ca. 1877.
Source: Haynes Foundation, Montana Historical Society

Brainerd, like Duluth, got a blow under the belt when the Northern Pacific Railroad “went up” four years ago. It has now about half the population it had then. When all was activity and bustle among its 5,000 people, it was a place for residence or money making. The streets are laid out at right angles in the midst of a pine and hardwood forest; the houses are comfortable and neatly painted; a public square has been set apart among the pines, the underbrush being cut away, and intersecting avenues laid out. On three sides of it are pretty churches. The farthest limit is the high bluff by the river side, where the Mississippi rolls in deep and placid volume. Its principal business street is built up with stores; but a fire cut out the most pretentious of them some time ago. I notice that most Eastern people have obtained the notion that the frontier buildings of our remote West are dug-outs, log cabins, and tumble-down shanties. They will be surprised to find great school-houses of brick in the open prairie, substantial frame farm houses, and as tasteful churches and ornate private residences in the towns as can be found in the villages of older States. A very substantial bridge crosses the river, giving appreciable advantages for the capture of large catfish, which take the hooks freely. The Railway Company’s offices are elegant and imposing. The “Headquarters” is a large and commodious hotel, noted for it good cheer and the rough gambols of its hospitable landlord. Col. E. W. Weed, a gentleman who has billeted many offices of responsibility and trust on the frontier. He had charge of one of the construction gangs which laid track at the rate of (?) miles an hour on the day when the iron ties were joined across the continent. I am indebted to him for the finest turn-out I ever saw let loose on the prairies after grouse.

Let me see how it was: Tom Cantwell, the “Wild Rice Man,” had notified me by telegraph to be in readiness on a given morning. I arrived only the night before, but my only preparation involved a change of clothing; for I have my kit always packed and ready. Ned Hicks was along with his blue pointer Count, Yankee’s sure, and the setter Sullivan. Hicks is one of the surest wing shots I ever saw, and death on hawks when no chickens are flying.

On the trip we three, in Col. Weed’s wagon, beat over many miles of prairie on both sides of the river from Brainerd down to Lake City, and across the Mississippi to Fort Ripley, and eighteen miles beyond. If we got but few birds it was not the fault of outfit, dogs, or gunners.

Coursing along beside the Father of Waters at eventide, when the after-glow of sunset rested on its broad bosom and illumined its wooded islands, we listened to the evening twitter of the cow-buntings and the sharp call of the cat-birds. Gradually a sense of weariness and hunger came over us. By the time the extensive hamlet of Dan Moore’s [sic] [Mooers’] ranche hove in sight, we were ready to stretch our limbs anywhere, in haystack, loft or chamber. Buildings and stockyards lined both sides of the road for many rods. Barns gushed with garnered hay and grain, and numberless stacks outside complemented the super-abundance of a fulsome harvest. Lowing of kine and the bellow of blooded bulls made the air resonant. Turkeys and chickens without number leisurely sauntered off to roost, and great corpulent hogs wandered about at will, whose insolence and intrusiveness the artifices and courage of the good dog Ranger could hardly circumvent or check. When he had to take them by the ears they would give him a sidelong glance to see if he “meant business” and then shuffle off with a shrug, turning up their noses and saying, deprecatingly, that it was “rough, rough, rough!” The place was crowded with wagons and wayfarers, like a fair or market-place. Possibly there were thirty brawny farmers, wayfarers, herders and sportsmen, all of whom, it seemed, desired accommodation for man and beast, and lodgings for the night. Now, it so happens that Dan Moore [sic] [Mooers], although he is one of the foremost men and most frequent prize winner in the State, has pitched his tent exactly on that part of the traveled thoroughfare which is most convenient for the wayfarer and intermediate to other local points. There are no other houses near him, and so he is obliged to entertain, willy, nilly. His house is a large two-story log house, fully fifty feet front, and being in process of repair the outside sheathing and clap-boards had been torn off, leaving spaces between some of the logs large enough for a man to shove his leg through. All the partitions were down, making one immense room in which a portion of his guests bunked. (Mosquitoes might have been troublesome but for bars which carefully protected the windows. Other guests found lodging room in garrets, barns, outbuildings and haystacks.

A little rain fell during the night but held up in the morning, when the clouds being broken, we determined to cross the government swing ferry in the flat-boat, which was worked by the only two soldiers left in charge of the now dilapidated and decaying post called Fort Ripley. Extending our journey many miles beyond the Mississippi we made a small bag of sharp-tails, and turned into a farm house for dinner. When we started for home the sun was shining, but a tremendous storm of rain soon came up on a driving mass of clouds from the west, and from that time on until we were housed at our hotel in Brainerd, at 9 o’clock at night, it poured in drenching torrents.

The next day was Sunday. The sun shone off, warm and bright, and no drop of water remained on the sandy bottom where the flood had risen the night before. HALLOCK.

(Brainerd Tribune, 26 January 1878, p. 1, c.’s 5 & 6)

SEE: 1876 Bird Dogs

The Domesticated Husband.

Lake City Leader.

There is just all the difference imaginable in men—married men, we mean. Some married men tame easy; some very hard, and some never become gentle and domesticated in their habits. They go bawling around the house, upsetting things, never setting a thing down on its right end, and ordering about just as though they were commanding a steamboat, and the other members of the family were the roustabouts. They eat their meals and then they go, slamming the door and gate after them, and whistling Yankee Doodle so boisterously that they cannot hear the patient wife yelling at the top of her voice to bring home fifteen cents worth of mustard and a codfish for supper, and they probably wouldn’t do it if they did. Such fellows are hopeless cases, and if a wife has neglected to get the upper hand of them very early in the struggle, they are doomed to a life of neglect, and will have to spend their evenings alone, except when their lord has a cold and wants good nursing and a good deal of petting—then the wife can enjoy (?) their company for an evening. Blessed privilege.

But, the “real nice” husband, presents a radically different picture—one that has come to know and realize just what a husband was made for. Take a thoroughly domesticated husband, and he is really a model of humanity—the very salt that keeps things sweet in this vale of tears. His outgoings and incomings are as regular and orderly as anything possible can be. You can set your watch by him, by simply watching any corner where he passes, and by referring to your watch you can always tell where he may be found. He spends his evenings at home with his wife, (you bet), and when he goes to the show she also attends the entertainment; there is no “stepping down to the post-office to get the evening mail” “all alone by himself,” not by a jug-full; in fact, a regular scalped specimen of domesticated husband never thinks of such a thing; that part of his nature has been punched out of him so long ago that he doesn’t remember that he ever possessed an inclination to go out of nights unattended by his “better half,” and now you couldn’t hire him to think of it. The roaring lion part of his nature has been subdued; and he wouldn’t be boss now if he could—and he couldn’t if he would. Such a husband is useful as well as ornamental, and he is ornamental just where he is useful, and is never otherwise than useful, because he is almost always in use. He can rub a big washing through the first water before breakfast, besides getting the breakfast ready, all but the neater finishing touches, which his wife does when she arises and gets her hair all put on, her teeth set for business, and her tongue so it will swing easy. The domesticated husband gets up at four o’clock the year round, and retires whenever his wife can’t think of anything more that ought to be attended to that day. He is always agreeable with everybody, and says “yes” to everything, and generally reaches home through the alley and over the back fence. Such a man has no enemies, because he has no time to attend to arguments or quarrels, and always votes the woman’s suffrage ticket straight. He generally dies before middle age, and thereby “makes way for liberty” and a second husband. Take these thoroughly domesticated husbands, and they are the silent toilers—the beavers—of the world, and constitute the great motor of our high and increasing civilization; and it is an outrage that there isn’t more tears shed when they peg out—and a new, untried and untamed man has to be called to duty.


(Brainerd Tribune, 09 March 1878, p. 1, c. 6, Morris C. Russell, former Editor and Publisher)


The Lake City Sentinel, whose editor took a run over the North Pacific to Bismarck recently, with a party of friends, looking up land, and stopped over a couple of days in our burgh, notice of which appeared in our columns at the time, contains a lengthy and extremely interesting history of their trip, occupying over four columns of that valuable journal. We regret that our space forbids the reproduction entire of this glowing account of the country and people, but we give below a few “specimen bricks,” spicily written, containing the impressions of the writer concerning Brainerd and her citizens, and may at another time draw further upon this able and interesting document:


Brainerd from the east, Frank Jay Haynes, 1877.
Source: Haynes Foundation, Montana Historical Society

The train which leaves St. Paul at 7:30 A. M. arrives at that point at 2 o’clock P. M., and passengers are allowed twenty minutes to devour a square meal at the Headquarters Hotel, kept by the “old vet,” Mr. Weed. This picturesque and romantic village is tastefully surveyed into blocks and streets, is located on the Mississippi, and is the capital of Crow Wing County. Its attractive residences and business houses, nearly all painted white, are couched beneath and almost surrounded by the evergreen, towering jack pines, and to our notion the place presents one of the grandest panoramas of variety and beauty to be found on the line of the Northern Pacific. The populace of about 1,000, represent nearly all nations, but the majority seem to be Americans from way down east. They are alive to their interests, at the same time they spare no pains to entertain strangers who may come that way. Their hospitality to our party during a two days’ sojourn will not soon be forgotten. We shall never think of the maiden trip over the N. P. without recalling the pleasant recollections of Brainerd and her good people, whose hearts seem too large and generous for their bodies—especially that of Uncle [Lyman] White, a Vermonter, and one of the town site proprietors, who fills a whole car seat and has to pass through a four foot door sidewise; and the fellow around the corner who sells a small keg of beer for a nickel.

Of course a town of this description generously supports her public institutions—schools and churches—and a lively paper, the TRIBUNE, issued Saturdays, by Hartley Bros. It is brim full of local and general news, and is a reliable headlight for its numerous readers. It screams officially for five counties. As. W. W. Hartley, the editor and manager, holds the very phat office of County Clerk and practices law, he does not mourn for employment and a spicy variety of life. He adjourned an important case to show us the sights about town and through the woods. And, by-the-way, Brother Russell of the Leader of this city used to push a pencil on the TRIBUNE, and the traces of his good work are manifest there.

In our perambulations about Brainerd, our attention was directed to the trunk and limbs of an aged oak [sic], on which two Indians were hung a few years ago for outraging and murdering a farmer’s daughter, and whose remains were found in the woods some time after. This tree is a warning to all evil doers; for the inhabitants, although a peaceful class, might serve the perpetrator of a similar crime as they did the red-skins. In such an event the old oak [sic] would again prove useful.

“Last Turn” is the inscription on a sign over a coffin [sic] shop [sic] door near this tree. Our party concluded not to take a deal.

We had a pleasant visit with Thomas Fernald, ex-deputy Auditor of Wabasha county. He is station agent at Brainerd, and one of the sociable fellows.

At Brainerd are located the offices and shops of the company. A few hours spent at the shops, a half-mile east of the village proper, gives a correct idea of the construction of engines and cars.

The several offices are in a large three story wooden building, located across the street east of the Headquarters Hotel, affording spacious departments for the General Agent, J. B. Power and his able assistants, C. F. Kindred and F. B. Thompson; Superintendent H. A. Towne, who was absent in Chicago; Chief Engineer, T. L. Rosser, and the train dispatcher, T. J. DeLamere. The last named took to himself a wife a day before we arrived, and of course was on his high heels.

The whole business is conducted very systematically. Every man has his duty to perform, and when night comes he knows just where to commence in the morning. We regret a limited time prevented us from making the personal acquaintance of all the officers and their assistants, but we hope to visit Brainerd again soon. Through the kindness and liberality of the Railroad company in donating the use of a spacious room in their building, the public are afforded a fine reading room, where many of the leading papers and magazines are on file.

We will here take occasion to say that those who contemplate locating railroad lands, should stop off at Brainerd at least one day and get some idea of the country. Here only can be obtained the desired information of where the vacant lands are, their quality and adaptability for the purposes desired. C. F. Kindred, who has had charge of the Land Department for several years past, is a great, big, good natured, polite fellow and is always ready for customers. From his intimate, personal acquaintance with every locality in the Territory where lands are offered for sale, he can tell you more in ten minutes about the country and soil from the complete survey and notes on file in the office, than you can learn in a week by actual observation without this information. Consequently time is spent here to the best advantage. And what Mr. Kindred tells you can be relied upon.

After a day spent in the land office you can leave Brainerd with an intelligent understanding of your mission, being in possession of a full stock of plats and notes. Without these documents to guide you, you would be afloat in Dakota like a ship in a storm without a rudder, which is by no means a pleasant situation.

The demand for lands during the past few months has been so great that the Company find it necessary to send out their engineers early this spring for the purpose of surveying towns into sections and quarters, and this time they will extend their work through to the Missouri river, and as fast as the survey is completed plats and notes will be sent to the land office for the benefit of eager purchasers. In the meantime they will sell the thousands of acres already platted and noted. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 March 1878, p. 1, c.’s 5 & 6)

SEE: 1878 Brainerd

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July

SEE: 1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad

SEE: 1881 Gull River Gleanings

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming

SEE: Brainerd Dam in the Brainerd Utilities page.


Complaints come in to us from numerous quarters of late regarding tramps, who appear to be overrunning the town at present and travel from door to door, begging their meals, insomuch that we feel called upon to warn our citizens against this contemptible nuisance. Almost without a single exception the representatives of this class who at present infest our town are strong, healthy, able-bodied men, but too confounded lazy to work, and many of them have money in their pockets. One of these gentry came to the residence of the editor of the TRIBUNE one day this week asking bread, which he received, and two hours afterward we observed him in a saloon “drunk as a lord” with plenty of stamps to buy whiskey and “treat the boys.” Another was given his dinner on Sunday and promised to return on Monday and saw wood for it, but of course never came. Uncle Ed. White chanced to be at home when one of four who have partaken of his charity this week asked for his breakfast. He gave it him, and then introduced him to his woodpile, requesting him to cut wood enough to pay for it. Mr. Tramp was much pleased (?) and went at it. Mr. White also informed him that he would pay him $1.50 per day and board him if he would cut the entire pile. Mr. Tramp was still better pleased (?) with this proposition, said he “wanted work the very worst way, and was glad to get anything to do;” and he actually worked until Mr. White had gone out of sight.

Now there is no good reason in this country why any man who is able to work should be begging his bread. Any industrious man will find work and plenty of it if he so desires, and for those who are not able to earn a livelihood we have a poor house where they will be properly taken care of at the expense of the county and not of a few individuals, and to enter which they will be obliged to undergo proper scrutiny. This may seem a heartless proposition to some, but it is in reality nothing of the kind. It is in fact the only avenue of escape from an outrageous and annoying imposition, and we recommend that hereafter our people recommend all applicants to the board of county commissioners. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 April 1878, p. 1, c. 6)

Settlers Flocking into Crow Wing County.

Settlers are flocking into Crow Wing County in large numbers this spring and the timber south east of Brainerd is being rapidly taken up. Houses are being built in every direction and land is being cleared and put in crop at a truly surprising rate. Go today where you will in the heretofore unfrequented wilds, inhabited in the past by none but Indians and beasts of the forest, and you will find life and animation. The energetic homesteader building a house, clearing a field, sowing his grain or cultivating the soil—hewing out a home for himself and family.

They claim that the soil is better than any of the prairie soil on the Northern Pacific outside the Red River valley, and they prefer timbered land to the naked prairie because it affords fuel, fencing, building material, and shelter, and the difference in placing it under cultivation is trifling when compared with these advantages. The timber and fuel alone on an acre of ground will more than pay the expense of clearing it, and each farmer has an inexhaustible supply of both and easily accessible. These are advantages that cannot fail to commend themselves to the prairie farmer or anyone who gives the subject a thought, and we predict that a very short time will see every available foot of ground in this county occupied. The only matter of surprise is that it has lain so long under our very nose, as it were, without attracting the attention it is now receiving. Many of our citizens, their eyes being opened by this movement on the part of outsiders and strangers, are now bestirring themselves, and “the woods are full of them” through the day, our streets are crowded in the evening with anxious excited farmers in embryo vying with each other in glowing reports of this or that section, or the beauties and advantages of the various locations, brooks, meadows, etc., and their nights are passed in blissful dreams of broad acres of rich tillage land, myriads of fat stock, and granaries overflowing with the golden grain.

Let the good work go on, we say, there is still plenty of room for hundreds more, though it is only a matter of a very short time when it will all be taken. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 May 1878, p. 1, c. 4)



Prof. Allison, in his editorial correspondence to the Northwestern Teetotaler, thus discourses our burgh and some of its citizens:

Among the cities of the future laid out on paper by the projectors of the Northern Pacific Railway was the place bearing the above name.

A point on the left bank of the Mississippi of great natural beauty was selected. Young but tall and graceful pines thickly covered the ground for several square miles. Just enough of these were cut away to enable the track-layer to put down the ties and also to afford room for the stately and ornamental buildings designed for the offices of the Railroad. Streets were also cut through the pine woods for the coming city at right angles to each other, these streets now present long avenues of light stretching miles along through the sombre woods. Like the narrow roads that telescope the Black Forests of Germany.

Gradually neat cottages were planted among the pines; gardens were extemporized, churches sprang into existence, large stores were erected and at present all the hum of activity of a frontier city is apparent in Brainerd. Men transact business, children play, artisans and mechanics pursue their avocations, printing presses stamp the type to spread among the citizens the news of the wide and noisy world outside. The shriek of the steam whistle proclaims the advent of the great modern iconoclast the locomotive and long trains of cars come thundering along laden with ardent hoping men and women who have fled from the busy centres of human life and who are now facing the trials inevitable to frontier existence. While high above all, sad, clear, musical, the winds hold the symphony of weirdly solemn music, high up among the branches of the pines just as it sang a hundred years ago, when cottage and industry and art were a thousand miles away. Man will overpower nature, the pines of Brainerd will yield to the necessities of civilization, the winds of the north will seek the equator but no music as now will be evoked by its harp. The pines like the deer and the red man will exist only in story and in song.

The St. Paul & Pacific Railway joins the Northern Pacific at this point. The car shops of the latter are located at this junction. These give employment to mechanics, while the lumber business of the river adds its quota to the stir of Brainerd. We wonder why some enterprising capitalist has not made this a great lumbering centre; we cannot see any necessity for driving logs to Minneapolis to be hauled back again in the form of lumber.

Among the enterprising merchants of Brainerd are Messrs. Smith & Campbell. The latter are energetic and prosperous young Nova Scotians whose pluck impelled them westward to reap the reward which industry and thrift are now bringing them.

Still another provincial is making himself felt in this upper valley of the Mississippi as an able and cultured newspaper man, Hartley, who publishes the Brainerd TRIBUNE. Mr. Hartley wields a vigorous pen, publishes a first-class paper, sound in its moral tone and ardently devoted to the development of the great Northwest. In the near future Mr. Hartley’s talents will be demanded for the Assembly and the, well, what? Of one thing we are certain, however high he may rise in the estimation and confidence of his fellow citizens, he will not forget the soil whence he sprang.

Traveling on this great Northern artery is unlike that to which we have been accustomed farther east. The traveler feels that he is cutting loose from society when he boards the cars; he rides miles and miles and sees only wide stretches of unbroken prairie and he is thrown more upon his fellow travelers for society. And here is just where either the company or Providence meets the want in furnishing sociable and often cultured conductors and well behaved intelligent trainmen. Such a conductor we found in Mr. Brinkerhoff, an old and thoroughly competent railroad man. Mr. Brinkerhoff entered the railroad college on Hudson River thirty years ago, studied under the tropics on the Panama Railway from which he bore remarkable trophies; an elegant gold watch with appreciative inscriptions, and an elegant diamond pin, the gifts of the company, and also a magnificent holster pistol bearing the following inscription: “Presented by the Panama R. R. company to Mr. Brinkerhoff for services rendered on the night of April 15, 1856.” Mr. Brinkerhoff deems his present distinction above all others; he runs the “Blue Ribbon Train” of the Northern Pacific. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 May 1878, p. 1, c. 5)

A Drunken River Driver.

A drunken river driver armed with a sixteen shot Winchester rifle and a cartridge belt filled with cartridges created a little riffle of excitement on Laurel street yesterday afternoon. In a beastly state of intoxication he started out of the Leland House with his rifle loaded and cocked vowing that he would shoot someone, that he was after blood. He started westward on Laurel street and the first object possessing life that attracted his attention was a large black dog belonging to Mr. E. R. French and lying in the street in front of Mr. French’s residence. The drunken blackguard at once drew up, his rifle and after several attempts to level it blazed away striking the dog in the breast when he ran as fast as his beastly condition would permit towards the river in order to reach his boat and crew. Mr. French accompanied by a number of our citizens followed him and succeeded in disarming him notwithstanding those of the crew who offered resistance insolently asserting that our citizens had no business there, and charging that he was being followed for his money.

If drunken river drivers and tramps are to overrun our town shooting and insulting ad libitum, it is about time it became known and that something was done to prevent it. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 May 1878, p. 1, c. 6)

Two Runaways.

Two runaways before breakfast is the way ye local started out on his day’s labors yesterday morning. A span of horses belonging to Phillip Boyden started with a lumber wagon loaded with sundries from the corner of Front street and Broadway, ran down Front street a short distance and then across lots towards Laurel street when they came suddenly to a full stop against a tree demolishing the wagon pretty badly and scattering the load. A few minutes later Lamont & Wilson’s team driven by Peter Darby and loaded with boxes, bales, buckets, etc., for their store was crossing the railroad track on Sixth street when a box upon which the driver was seated tumbled forward upon the horses’ heels carrying the driver with it rendering him utterly helpless and unable to manage the reins and frightening the horses into a run. One of the lines became entangled, reining the team out of the street when they also struck a tree smashing up the wagon and scattering the boxes, throwing the horses and detaching them from the wagon. Mr. Darby was fortunately thrown from his helpless position on the whipple-trees to the ground as the wagon turned from the street or his fate would have been instant death, as the wagon struck the tree at the very point he so recently occupied. No serious damage followed, however, in either case. (Brainerd Tribune, 15 June 1878, p. 1, c. 7)

A NARROW ESCAPE.—A number of boys on South Fifth street on the evening of the Fourth were carelessly playing with rifles, loading them with powder and wads and shooting them at each other, when a boy named Lingnau either carelessly or unintentionally put a ball in his rifle, at least he says he did not know it was there, and discharged it towards the little son of William Shontell. The ball fortunately did not hit the boy, though it passed through the crown of his hat and barely grazed his head. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 July 1878, p. 4, c. 1)

Crow Wing and That Sort of Thing.

Editor St. Cloud Times.

Crow Wing village is apt to recall to one’s mind a stanza of Tom Moore’s, Oft in the Stilly Night, for the deserted and desolate look of the place is truly melancholy. Then there is that Beaulieu house, the material and building of which cost thousands of dollars. What a sad relic it is! Its doors slamming to the winds, its windows smashed, and the doors of its many and fine rooms littered with all sorts of odds and ends. In the words of Ossain, I could not help exclaiming:

“Desolate are thy halls, O Selma!”

The village itself is nearly deserted—business dead, shops and saloons closed up, and what was once a flourishing trading-post, under a more honest and far-seeing policy, would actually have become the most flourishing on this side of St. Paul, is little else but the desolate, poverty-stricken, tumble-down houses of a few lazy, milk-in-water, chip-in-porridge, lackadaisical half-breeds.

Not a few historical and indeed tragical associations cluster around the village of Crow Wing. The sad and heart harrowing fate which befell the young and beautiful Miss McArthur, six years ago, as in the consciousness of her innocence and virtue she left her father’s house on a still Sabbath evening to visit her uncle in the village, furnishes a glimpse of the rude and bloodthirsty state of society, from which the inhabitants of the place are just emerging. She was waylaid and savagely outraged and murdered. Her remains were not discovered until two years ago.

Then, there was the treacherous and wrongful killing of that Indian brave “Hole-in-the-Day.” Owing to the influence of his talents, the cool treachery and double distilled deviltry which led to and instigated his assassination, on the road between here and Fort Ripley, smack rather of the doings of the commune or German Socialists than of those of untutored savages. Around here are several sections of land belonging to the heirs of the departed chief. It is pleasant to know that his children are receiving the highest educational and religious advantages in the gift of the State—his son being a student in St. John’s college, and his daughters pupils at a first-class convent.

About seven miles from Crow Wing is what is called the Long Lake Settlement. This is a rapidly growing settlement. Everyday newcomers are pouring in from Rich Prairie, St. Paul and Wisconsin. The soil is good, and hay meadows in rich abundance, while the roads and the distance from Brainerd—the best market outside of St. Paul in he State—have all the convenience which business, meaning farmers, would just like.

Folks are now in the full heyday of haymaking. Anokassippi—a river which takes its waters from Long Lake and disembogues itself into the Mississippi, has many valuable meadows on either side of it. There is every inducement “to put up” hay here, as it commands on the spot from $5 to $7 a ton; and, if kept until winter, from $5 to $10. Hence every Tom, Dick and Harry who can arm himself with an old scythe and a fork, sallies forth and straightway begins slashing right and left. Oh this is a glorious and right healthful exercise—one which would delight the heart of Horace Greeley himself. The jocund song of the scythe as it cuts through the grass; its bright steely glint as it is swung back again to cut, all make the work sprightly and exhilarating. Why, even your most obedient servant has caught the “Anokassippi fever,” and, after hours, is hilariously hieing himself to some sequestered spot of his own, “to make hay while the sun shines.” I tell you what, Mr. Editor, that with a conscience put somewhat at ease with the big world’s rogues and rascals placed at a safe distance; caring not a “continental” for their praises or their blames, well assured, like Paddy, that such “divils’ cursings are really God’s blessings on you,” this kind of life is pleasant, and ought to satisfy anyone possessed of good health and the “wherewithal” to live.

It is gratifying to see these new places being fast occupied by thrifty, honest, and religious settlers. OLD WORKERBEE.

(Brainerd Tribune, 27 July 1878, p. 1, c. 3)


From the Duluth News.

In February, 1872, the Northern Pacific track reached the Mississippi, 114 miles from Duluth. This point had been selected some time previous as the future headquarters of the road, and as the site for its machine and repair shops. Jack pines and sandy soil were the prevailing features, and these still exist, but Brainerd has grown to be a town of 1,500 people with churches, schools, a first-class hotel, a live newspaper and all the usual appliances of modern civilization. All the buildings of the road here are built in a substantial and tasty manner, and are evidently intended for permanent occupation. From all accounts business has improved considerably within the last year, the increasing business of the road demanding corresponding increase in the force employed in the various shops. Attention is also being turned to the agricultural resources of the country surrounding Brainerd, some of the leading people of the place being interested in the development of farms. E. W. Weed, proprietor of the Headquarters Hotel, owns 661 acres, C. F. Kindred, 800 acres, C. B. Sleeper, 156, N. McFadden, formerly of Duluth, 160, and in all some twenty persons have secured government and railroad land within four or five miles of the down with a view to cultivation. We drove out with Mr. Weed on Saturday afternoon for some two hours, and from what we saw and heard we judge the land to be similar to that around Wadena, which is praise enough. As an instance of what is being done, Mr. Weed has raised this year on a farm in which he is interested, 40 bushels of oats and 20 bushels of wheat per acre, and but for the severe drought would have done much better. This gentleman has somewhat of a fancy for real estate, owning with his book-keeper Mr. Steele, 1860 acres near Breckenridge. We found Smith & Campbell, the leading dealers in dry goods and groceries up to their eyes in business, having just received from Chicago $12,000 worth of goods. The senior partner will be remembered as an old Duluthian. N. McFadden attends to the drug business here and also takes care of the county’s money, and W. H. Lowe is the gentlemanly baggage smasher, as in bygone days he was in Duluth.

As a resort for invalids Brainerd is most healthful, the soil and the climate being specially favorable for those having lung troubles. But the pine forest in which the town is located is the special attraction for those having pulmonary troubles, and as we breathed the soft, sweet air our lungs seemed to fairly rejoice. The building of the Western railroad down to Sauk Rapids last season was an important event, and its extension, under Northern Pacific control, to Minneapolis next season, will be no less so, but till a future time we must leave any further description of the “City of the Pines.” (Brainerd Tribune, 05 October 1878, p. 1, c. 4)

SEE: 1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July

SEE: 1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad

SEE: 1881 Gull River Gleanings

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1899 Best Town in the State

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming






An Attempt to Hew Down Agent

King with a Tomahawk.


The Missionary, Rev. Mr. Wright,

Rudely Knocked Down.


The Agent Telegraphs for Troops.


Gen. Sturgis Leaves Brainerd this

Morning for the Agency.


On yesterday morning at an early hour a runner from Leech Lake arrived in town with private dispatches from Major King, the U. S. Indian agent at the Lake to General Gibbon at Fort Snelling, announcing trouble with the Pillager Indians and calling for assistance in troops. The message was immediately dispatched by telegraph on the arrival of the runner and these meagre facts were all the TRIBUNE could glean until the arrival of Major King, who followed in an ambulance and reached Brainerd at noon. The reporter, soon after, observing his autograph on the register at the Headquarters Hotel, sought his room to find him in private consultation with General Sturgis who had just arrived from Fort Snelling on the 1:50 train.

The interview soon terminated, however, and the General went to dinner when the reporter was invited in by the Major who proceeded to lay before a waiting world the full details of the difficulty as follows:

Reporter.—Well Major, if not intruding upon your time, I should like the particulars of the recent difficulty with your troublesome wards at the Lake for the readers of the TRIBUNE.

Maj. King.—Then you have heard of the affair?

Rep.—Yes, briefly through your runner but without details.

Maj. K.—Well, we had completed the payment and everything passed off smoothly and pleasantly and all appeared satisfied, in fact, my interpreter informed me that he never saw a payment pass off more quietly or in better order, or give better satisfaction. I had taken great pains with the assistance of my wife to distribute all the annuities exactly where they belonged, working day and night before the payment came off in assorting the goods and making the proper distribution. Last year the payment did not suit me—the goods were not properly divided and large sums of money were paid to the chiefs which belonged to other members of the bands—a custom of the past of which I never approved, and which is not supported by the treaty or my instructions. This year I divided everything equally denying the chiefs their usual supplies and giving them no more than the rest. I also had organized a sort of police force among the young men and braves in which they appeared to take considerable pride and they were doing good work in keeping whiskey off the reservation, and maintaining order and good government, and I had no more thought of any difficulty with them, than I have here this minute. I was busy in my office after the payment was over and the Indians had gone over to the trading post and their homes, when I saw a band, some eighteen or twenty in number, composed entirely of the worst characters on the reserve, pass my window in the direction of the warehouse, which was yet open, the interpreter being there straightening things up. I at once feared their mission and realized the danger of trouble and hastened after them. When I entered the warehouse they were taking things out of a box containing the school and utility goods (in which contrary to my positive instructions to the shipper, a portion of the annuity goods had been packed rendering it necessary to open the box before payment) and the interpreter was taking them from them as fast as possible and putting them back, and there they stood snatching back and forth until I jumped into the box upon the goods. They then went to hacking open another box of the same goods with their tomahawks, and I jumped upon that to stop them when I soon saw they would hack my feet and was obliged to get down. They soon opened it and commenced filling their blankets with the goods, and we, the interpreter Rev. Mr. Wright and myself, locked the door barricading it with barrels of pork and boxes determined if possible not to let them out with the goods. Their blankets filled, they started for the door, Mr. Wright stood on a barrel of pork to stop them, and they hurled him rudely to the floor, I seized a bundle from one of them as he was passing me when he turned, ran back to the box secured his tomahawk, and came for me brandishing it in the air. He was stopped by the interpreter and the other Indians, and his axe taken from him or I do believe he would have killed me then and there. Seeing it was useless to interfere, we desisted and they rolled away the barricade, broke open the door, breaking two large locks, and left with the goods.

Rep.—When did this occur?

Maj. K.—Yesterday. I started at once for Brainerd sending a runner in advance from Pine River, (where I stopped to rest) with a dispatch to Gen. Gibbon for troops.

Rep.—Do you not fear further depredations in your absence?

Maj. K.—No! I left my family there. I came because I wanted to attend to this business in person. I propose to have these parties arrested and properly punished if the government will stand by me, and if it won’t I want to know it. We have the winter supply of pork and flour in the warehouse, and they will soon want some of that, and if they find they can perform such deeds with impunity, they will even do worse and our lives will be in peril if we interfere.

Rep.—I see Gen. Sturgis is here?

Maj. K.—Yes, Gen. Gibbon telegraphed me that Gen. Sturgis was on the train and would confer with me here.

Rep.—What does the General say?

Maj. K.—He will go to the agency with me tomorrow to investigate the matter in person, and report to Gen. Gibbon. I have not had time to talk much with him yet. You will see him on the return and can get his views of the affair then.

Thanking the Major for the information the reporter took his leave.

The course that will be pursued by the government is not yet manifest and will be anxiously awaited by the public who have as much interest in knowing whether it will stand by the agent, as he has himself. If these blackguards, living upon the patrimony of the public—supported at an enormous annual expense by a heavy tax upon the pockets, industries, labor and wants of the people, who are no better able to earn a livelihood than the insolent greasy Indians they support. If, we say, these are to rob, raid and destroy the property thus gratuitously sent to them, treating our agents with insolence and even violence, and threatening their very lives, and the government winks at their dastardly outrages tacitly, applauding them and inviting the treacherous villains to goad the agent with the tomahawk, and help themselves to the goods, how long will it be ere they exceed the boundaries of their reservation and enter upon the private rights of private citizens? These raiders, together with their aiders and abettors and evil advisors, would one and all be made to feel keenly the rigorous hand of the law, should be punished as severely as a white man would be for similar crimes, and then these outrages will cease. Gen. Gibbon has so far exhibited a disposition to do this, having promptly sent Gen. Sturgis to investigate the matter, and we would have no reason to doubt that justice would be done in this instance, if the record in the past did indicate the reverse. We shall see. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 November 1878, p. 1, c.’s 3 & 4)

Gen. Sturgis, who visited Leech Lake two weeks since to investigate the Indian troubles at that agency, as related in these columns at the time, has returned and proceeded west to Fort Lincoln, and as our fears, then expressed, indicated, the matter ends there, and another tacit invitation to the Indians to repeat their devilish depredations and outrages is added to its thousands of predecessors and the vagabonds are virtually applauded in their robberies and attempted murder. Gen. Sturgis, who of course in common with the whole army and the people on the frontier realizes the injustice of placing the Indians in charge of the various churches, thus breeding dissension and strife among them, and then calling upon the army to suppress them, unjustly applies the rule to this case and goes away attributing the cause of dissatisfaction to the incompetence of the agent to manage the Indians, recommending the appointment of a new agent and taking no measures to punish the glaring outrages perpetrated, or to prevent their recurrence. He has jumped at the conclusion that this is only another instance resulting from the peace policy, which he despises, and shrugging his epauletted shoulders and turning up his aristocratic nose he forgets that agent King is not responsible for the policy of the government, forgets that it is his duty as an officer of the army and a servant of the people to aid and protect that policy and its agents, and scornfully leaves Maj. King to fight his own battles, the Indians to continue their diabolism and the people to suffer the consequences. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 November 1878, p. 1, c. 2)


Two prominent railroad officials of Brainerd, on Thursday morning last, to enjoy their Thanksgiving, shouldered each a rifle and struck into the timber southeast of town, with an eye “peeled” and arms “ready” for a deer. They wandered about promiscuously tracing “fresh tracks” here and hunting fresh “signs” there, but nary a horn obtruded itself upon their expectant vision. Still they continued to “tramp, tramp, tramp;” not that they were “professional tramps,” but that they did not relish the idea of returning without a memento. So on they clambered through brush and over wind-falls, around lakes, swamps and marshes, through woodland and meadow, over hill and through dale, until a setting sun warned them of approaching night fall, when at last they reluctantly abandoned the chase and began to retrace their steps. Alas, however, for their now anticipated rest in the family circle, “the schemes of mice and men cang aft aglee.” Alas for the steaming hot supper which floated phantom-like ever and anon o’er their troubled vision; alas for the expectation of the dear ones at home, those steps were not so easily retraced, and our friends soon decided to make, as they supposed, a straight shoot for home. Taking a course they started, and on, on, on they traveled—the sun retired behind the western hills, and they halted not; for a few moments the golden shadows tipped the towering tree-tops and fringed the fleeting clouds, and, though hungry and weary, they plunged into thicket here, strode o’er shadowed glen there. The startled fawn ever and anon forsook its snowy couch at their approach, though the prettiest standing shot known to the chase had no attractions for them now. In less time than we are telling it, darkness, gloomy darkness, in all its might fell about them, tantalizing them with frenzied fears that they were lost, mocking their mind pictures of cheerful firesides and fancied tales to the little ones at home of the adventures of the day, and yet they pushed on silently, sullenly, sorrowfully. Their chronometers pointed the hours of seven, eight, nine and on to twelve o’clock and they were still “in darkness and in chains.” “Ah, what is that?” they halt, they listen. “Yes, there it is again.” faint but audible, “a locomotive whistle, but where can it be?” (A locomotive was sent out at twelve on the branch to whistle for them and went as far as Fort Ripley sending forth scream, after scream, but returned at three with no tidings of the lost.) Over the tumultuous beating of their throbbing hearts they hear it plainly—long, loud and fierce, echoing and reverberating the forest through; but, Oh, Hades! ‘tis behind them, not before. To double their tracks again and travel in a direction, so absurd to them, for home was out of the question, and yet they did not fancy the idea of getting any further away from that whistle. The question being finally put to vote, was carried by a majority of two in favor of building a fire and stopping where they were until daylight. This they did. The first ray of light in the east was seen by them, it corroborated the whistle and they started, this time in the right direction reaching Brainerd at a little past eight o’clock on yesterday morning with good appetites for breakfast, but quite reticent upon the deer question or how they enjoyed Thanksgiving, (Brainerd Tribune, 30 November 1878, p. 1, c. 3)



From our Regular Correspondent.

CROOK CITY, Dec. 26, 1878.

Dear Tribune:—Christmas being over we are enabled to give you the full items of the holidays, as with us the holidays cease with Christmas, the miners being too practical to waste much time in idleness, but at present their work is abandoned, so far as gulch or sluice mining is concerned. Well, we had a gay ball at the Central Hotel, and the “light fantastic” engaged the youth and beauty until the early morn. Everything was gay and festive, and the supper which was served at midnight was a credit to our fair sex. Peace and harmony prevailed, and was so different from what is expected of a mining camp, that were a stranger to have dropped in he would not have imagined that he was so far removed from the States, and the best of all was that after defraying all expenses there was sufficient funds left to pay for three months school, to which purpose the surplus funds were appropriated. Snow has just struck us and we are having lots of it; in fact, us Minnesotians are now enjoying one of our homelike winters. The stages come into Crook on wheels but are changed for runners from here to the upper Hills.

Strawberry Gulch is now taking the lead on new developments in quartz, and some of the old mines are getting better every day, and in this particular we are happy to say that many of the leads are owned by Minnesotians, some of whom were the first settlers, and now relate how they lived the first winter on venison straight, and were out of tobacco, salt and rum, and to see them now as they partake of their cold turkey, sip their wine, and order the “best in the land” at the Welsh House in Deadwood one would think they were born millionaires.

Deadwood is rapidly and permanently improving, brick and stone warehouses with iron doors and shutters are taking the place of frame structures, and large and commodious buildings are constantly going up.

Adams & Brother, formerly of the U. S. Express company, Minneapolis, now established as the Bannen grocery of Deadwood, have just moved into a building 30 ft. by 150, and have as large and well assorted stock as you can find in any city, and the trade here demands it; as no class of people live better than miners—when they can afford it.

We met Will and Tyler Hazen at the lumber camp of Major Whitehead. Tyler is one more of the returned Black Hillers. He went out to look after something better, failed to find it, and came back bringing with him his brother Will.

Sam English rolled into our town with two good horse teams loaded with fresh pork, and sold out in Crook City, and went on his way towards home the next day well pleased with his venture.

P. H. Trudell left here this week for Minnesota for the purpose of purchasing stock and seed for his ranche on the Whitewood. He purposes returning some time in January.

Four fine loads of venison came into town today, the hunters having been out about three weeks.

Line of Ox teams in Sturgis, Dakota Territory, 1887.
Source: John C. H. Grabill

Sturgis City is a new town which has recently sprung up near the new military post. It has quite a population and some good buildings. So far no murder has been committed there, but several shooting scrapes.

Coal is said to have been found on the Centennial Prairie, about six miles from Crook City, and a company has been formed who are now at work developing the mines.

Hay is worth more this winter than it was last, it brings readily $20 to $25 per ton in Deadwood and Central, the military post having taken about 1500 tons assisted in making the price to the advantage of the ranchmen.

There will no doubt be a heavy immigration to the Hills during the coming season of farmers and others, who come here to settle up our fine farming districts, and they will no doubt do well; as no country pays them as good prices as this, and the prices will be maintained until we are ruined by the railroads.

Freights are still high and the demand for teams are as great as ever, and not much prospect of being any lower until late in the spring. AQUATIC. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 January 1879, p. 1, c. 3)


Several deaths have recently occurred at Wadena of diphtheria, and a number of children are yet reported very low with it. We also learn that a few cases have appeared in Brainerd. Having had considerable sad experience with this dread disease in years agone, we earnestly counsel parents to use the utmost care with their little ones. Keep them warmly clad; give them wholesome food, particularly avoiding partially decayed fruit or vegetables; renovate your dwellings frequently, purifying them with fresh air; examine your cellars and expel all decayed vegetables or mouldy matter, and if damp remedy them by introducing pure air, (if necessary using fire to prevent freezing while they are open—a kettle of burning coals will be found convenient for this purpose). There is more death in a foul cellar—sending up through the whole house its poisonous gasses and putrid air—than many imagine. Examine your sink and waste pipes, see that they are clean and not sending a foul stench into your kitchen, contaminating the atmosphere of the whole house. Use none but pure water—foul wells are a great source of disease. Your dishcloths too will bear scrutiny if they are greasy, black and sour, or indeed not perfectly clean and pure, consign them to the stove—a dirty rag will never leave a clean plate. If the disease shows itself, attend to it at once, an hour’s delay may prove fatal. Keep the patient warm and the bowels free. Hops, steeped in vinegar and applied, hot as can be borne by the patient, to the throat, is an excellent remedy. We once knew a patient, whose life was despaired of, relieved in half an hour by this treatment, and he now breathes this warning and advice. Diphtheria is a growth of fungus on the mucous surfaces of the system, the chief danger being swelling of the throat, in some instances choking the patient to death while in apparent health otherwise. It may be spread by contact, only, as in kissing, and is to this degree epidemic. Its first appearance is in the white patches of fungus on the throat and palate, and should no more be neglected than case of poisoning or a broken limb. From these local parts it will soon spread to the whole body, finally resulting in paralysis if the patient is not sooner choked to death. It is not necessarily fatal if taken in time and properly treated. A gargle or washing of one part chlorine water and two to four parts water, according to age, is the safest and surest remedy that can be applied internally to the throat. It is perfectly harmless even when swallowed, care being taken to keep the bowels free and the system well nourished. An ounce of preventive, however, is better than a pound of cure, and hence we trust our readers will observe the counsels given above in time, and upon those in particular who would feel affronted to be thought untidy it is most earnestly enjoined—examine your cellars, vegetables, sinks, pipes, wells, dishcloths, etc., and you will be surprised by the amount of filth, and hence disease they contain. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 January 1879, p. 1, c. 3)

A Grand Scientific and Pleasure Excursion.

A grand scientific and pleasure excursion to the Great Falls of the Missouri and the headwaters of the Yellowstone and Big Horn rivers is projected by Dr. W. A. Burleigh, of Yankton, to leave Bismarck on or about May 25th. More than 3,000 miles of country will be explored on the trip which will take about one hundred days and cost four hundred dollars per ticket, which includes steamer passage, a complete outfit of saddle horses, tents, provisions, bedding, arms, ammunition, fishing tackle, etc. Among the noted points of interest to be visited are the Great Falls of the Missouri, the Wall country and Petrified Garden, the Great Judith Basin, the Custer battlefield, the great falls and Canyon of the Yellowstone and the National Park. J. H. Hall, of the Fargo Republican, will accompany the party as special correspondent to Harpers and a number of eastern papers and the Brainerd TRIBUNE. (Brainerd Tribune, 08 March 1879, p. 1, c. 1)

A Very Disgraceful Affair.

A very disgraceful affair took place in our city on Monday evening last that merits the severest condemnation of our citizens and the most rigorous punishment of the law. A crowd of forty or fifty men and boys clubbed together to pursue, persecute and abuse a poor Indian, (so badly intoxicated with Indian rot-gut whiskey, furnished him by some miscreant, that he could scarcely walk) and pelted him with snow-balls, brickbats, etc., and otherwise abused and tormented the poor devil, until, driven to desperation, the native courage of the savage asserted itself, and, apparently sobered by the treatment he had received, he turned upon his tormentors with a drawn knife, gave a war-whoop which frightened half the crowd of cowardly curs yelping at his heels and sent them tumbling pell-mell down the street, and would have meted out a just punishment to some of the gang in a few moments more had not one of them coolly drawn a revolver and shot him, breaking his leg. Had he overtaken and “knifed” some of the foremost in the outrage, particularly the ruffian who fired the shot, he would have been applauded by every right thinking citizen of the place. The TRIBUNE gave these desperadoes, who make night hideous, a gentle warning a short time since to beware of an indignant public, and it now goes farther and states that determined efforts by determined men are on foot to rid the town of them in short metre if some of the outrages perpetrated are repeated. The citizens have stood a great deal and overlooked a great many deeds of villainy and disgrace until, given and inch, an ell is taken, and this class of ruffianism assumes to “run the town.” Forbearance in this case is no longer a virtue, and if the parties referred to are wise and consult their own interests they will heed our warning, which will not be repeated. (Brainerd Tribune, 08 March 1879, p. 4, c. 2)

An Accident at the Ferry.

Waiting for the ferry, Frank Jay Haynes, 1877.
Source: Haynes Foundation, Montana Historical Society

An accident occurred at the ferry on Thursday morning last which came very near making a serious inroad upon Mertz’s livery rigs, and might very easily have resulted fatally, though fortunately and miraculously but little damage was done. Mertz had started for Gull Lake with one passenger, a lady, and was crossing the ferry when the mishap took place. It appears that in landing the boat on the western shore it touched several feet above the usual landing place and stood cornerwise to the shore with the upper corner some distance from land, and without waiting for the ferryman, a young son of P. D. Davenport, to tie it which he was then endeavoring to do, Mertz undertook to drive off. The “off” horse being young and skittish and not accustomed to crossing the ferry jumped sidewise, throwing the other horse off the boat and himself on top of him. The boy at the rope instead of fastening it ran to the team permitting the boat to drift from the shore. Seeing this Mertz jumped on shore and tied the boat and called to the boy to cut the harness, which he did, leaving the horses floundering in the river and the carriage with a broken axletree on the boat—the lady had jumped from the carriage to the boat. The horses soon righted themselves, however, and instead of coming out struck for the opposite shore, which they reached just above the bridge, and here they would have landed but for some men on shore who, in their excited endeavors to entice them out drove them back, when they struck out against the current and swam some distance above the ferry, where they landed and were caught in a very exhausted condition, but strange as it may appear without a scratch, so that the broken axletree, the cut tugs and a bad cut in Mr. Mertz’s left hand, which he is unable to account for, completes the inventory of damages. Mr. Mertz says the fault was entirely his own in allowing his haste to induce him to drive from the boat before it was fastened, and does not blame the boy in the least, but does think, properly, too, that there should be at least two small boats at the ferry, one at each landing, He says he would have given $300, for a birch canoe when his team was swimming the river. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 April 1879, p. 1, c.’s 2 & 3)

SEE: 1880 Another Accident at the Ferry

SEE: 1881 Sheriff Mertz Outruns a Railway Train

SEE: 1881 Criminal Calendar

SEE: 1881 Jack O’Neill Shoots “Fakir George” at the Last Turn Saloon

SEE: 1881 Got Caught at It

SEE: 1881 The Moral Tone of Brainerd

SEE: 1882 Will Go Over the Road

SEE: 1882 Trouble in Hartley’s Hall

SEE: 1883 Fred Hagadorn Remembers

SEE: 1884 The Burns-Mays Case

SEE: 1885 Early Days in Brainerd

SEE: 1886 The Hugh Dolan Murder

SEE: 1927 Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Mertz Draws Governor Hartley

SEE: 1930 Peter Mertz, Now of Spokane, Tells of Experiences

SEE: 1931 Pioneer Sheriff Pete Mertz and “Indian Jack” Capture Bad Hombres

SEE: County / City Jail (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.

SEE: County Jail / Sheriff’s Residence (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


We hear considerable just complaint of late about the filthy condition of our streets and alleys and the running at large of cattle and hogs, and have been requested by a number of our citizens, to urge the prompt attention thereto of our town board, pound-master and overseer of highways, who, it is claimed by our County Attorney, to abate nuisances, and compel the owners of hogs and cattle to keep them off the streets. If the authority lies with the officers named, or any of our town or county officials, we move that it be applied and that speedily. There is not another place on the line of the Northern Pacific, of even two or three hundred inhabitants that makes a hog yard of its thoroughfares or that can lay claim to as untidy streets and alleys, as Brainerd, with a population of two or three thousand. It is a shame and disgrace to the town, and affords a poor inducement to strangers to make their homes with us. A town is viewed by strangers much in the same light as a hotel. If a traveler with any taste stops at a house where the hogs and dogs are admitted promiscuously to the sitting-room and kitchen, he is liable to get away as soon as possible. For the sake of the improvement of our town therefore and the desired increase of our population, if not for common decency, let those whose duty it is shut up the hogs and dogs and enforce cleanliness and order. (Brainerd Tribune, 03 May 1879, p. 1, c.’s 1 & 2)

Religious Lunatics.

The insane asylums all over the country are crowded with maniacs who have been made so by religious excitement. Their lunacy partakes of different forms, but is mostly of a murderous type. Some have had their bump of destructiveness abnormally developed by too great attention to the emotional features of religion; others have become simply driveling maniacs, without motive or aspiration. The most dangerous of all maniacs is the religious maniac. He finds, in his disordered interpretations of the scriptures, excuse for whatever crime he may desire to commit. A striking instance in point has been furnished within the week by Freeman, who deliberately murdered his own child at Pocasset in obedience, as he claimed to a divine revelation, in the confident expectation that the child would be restored to life in three days.

While this religious frenzy is deplorable, it is not to be wondered at. It is a legitimate result of much of the religious teaching of the time. The pulpit teems with teachings that lead directly to such results. If ye have faith ye can remove mountains is the refrain of the pulpit all over the country, and such principles, iterated and reiterated, have the natural effect on weak minds of prompting them to tests of that faith. The traditions that have come down through the ages of miraculous cures and even of resurrection from the dead have been harped upon until many weak intellects have come to look upon such occurrences in the light of everyday events. The pernicious effects of such teachings fortunately manifest themselves but seldom, but when they do come to the surface the effect is startling in the extreme. As long as superstition forms so important a part of religion, such events as that referred to will be of frequent occurrence. As long as the recognized leaders of religious thought give credence to traditions that bear their refutation upon their face, it will be perfectly natural for the foolish devotees who compose and essential part of the church to look for supernatural manifestations of divine providence. We claim special enlightenment for this age, and yet superstition, as dark and unreasoning as any that marked the middle ages, finds a strong foothold in the churches and is defended from almost every pulpit in the land. It is about time that such idiocy was banished from an intelligent country. It is about time that the insane asylums looked elsewhere than to the churches for recruits. It is about time that we had a religion comporting with reason, discarding all the played-out superstitions of the dim and distant past, and depending upon its inherent merits for support. As long as the doctrine is taught from the pulpit that deity will manifest his attention to the affairs of mankind in some startling manner, just so long will the asylums be crowded with religious fanatics and crimes of the character of the Pocasset affair recur.—[St. Paul Globe. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 May 1879, p. 1, c.’s 1 & 2)

A Visit to Our City of the Pines.

P. P. Wall, editor of the Preston Republican, thus relates his recent visit to our City of the Pines:

Leaving Fillmore county for a short trip to the Northern Pacific country, on Wednesday the 21st inst., I enjoyed a most delightful journey. The trains were crowded with land seekers, who were moving in shoals for the far west. The present hard times seem to be a blessing in many respects. They induce people to settle up and develop the waste places, which soon yield to civilizing influences, and bloom as a garden. I stopped off at Brainerd a day, on my way up and was kindly cared for by Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Hartley. Brainerd holds its own quite well, and will make a very important point some day. Quite a number of neat residences are being built at present, and other notable improvements are contemplated, among them a number of saw mills as well as a flouring mill. The surrounding country is being settled up and tilled, Mr. Hartley informed me. By the kindness of the latter we took a pleasant carriage ride about the city, and visited the big saw mill, which is in full operation, the graded school building which is an honor to the place, the commodious railroad headquarters buildings, the machine shops and the new brick yard, which latter will be quite an acquisition to the town, the clay being of very fine quality. The Northern Pacific railroad is being pushed along as fast as possible this year, and will be extended to the Yellowstone country before fall. It is expected to be finished within the next five years. Minnesota will reap many advantages from this great enterprise when it is finished. (Brainerd Tribune, 14 June 1879, p. 4, c. 3)

The Fourth.

...With her usual stoical indifference, however, while all portions of the country from the immense cities of half a million down to the country cross roads—from the Metropolitan centers of New York and Chicago down to the quiet burghs of Motley and Moorhead were exhibiting their patriotism in dust, perspiration and powder, were airing their talent and eloquence in the throes of sunstroke, accident and exhaustion, Brainerd, too much engaged in the busy affairs of life to be moved by the eagle’s scream or enraptured by a display of bunting, followed the even tenor of her way—the merchants supplying their thousands of customers with goods and the business men generally adhering to their usual avocations with little or no regard for the import of the day or the necessity of being patriotic. Oratory in sweet profusion and of every grade, from the soul-stirring rhetoric of Ingersoll or Blaine to the significant grunt of the wild aborigine lay dormant under every bush, while musical talent welled up in many a throat, but with the exception of an occasional fire-cracker exploded by a street gamin, or a miniature flag stuck in the loyal turban of a drunken lumberman or an imitative school boy, there was little or nothing but a sultry day to indicate the hour, until the shades of twilight in the usual diurnal routine began to envelop the town, and the moon, that self-same orb of night which rose upon the young republic the first day of its propitious though stormy birth, exhibited its broad, good-natured face above the tree tops and gazed about apparently taking an inventory of the changes of the past century and three years. Then it was, as though by magic the presence of a personal witness of that memorable state paper, signed in the course of human events in human blood, had given new life to nature and suddenly inaugurated a wave of patriotism, that a hot air balloon, slowly ascending from the yard of our townsman C. F. Kindred, Esq., and drifting eastward with the current as if to meet and welcome the venerable though festive old coon who holds the winds of the air, the tides of the sea and many other things in the hollow of his hand and disburses them ad libitum, signaled the pleasing fact to the town that the elaborate display of fire works procured by Mr. Kindred at a cost of over $300, had been opened and the show begun, and as the invitation to the exhibition was universal the streets were soon thronged with the old and young, male and female, old men with their families and young men with their beaux (and some without beaux) all making their way to the elaborate grounds of Mr. Kindred, which were arranged with impromptu seats for the guests and stands and posts for the exhibition. It is needless to add the seats were soon filled, as was the street outside, and all were indeed well repaid for going; for the display, which occupied two hours, and was followed by three cheers and a tiger for Mr. Kindred, was indeed magnificent. A few friends, including ye editor, were invited into the house after the display to find a repast of strawberries, ice-cream and cake awaiting them, and with this closed the Fourth of July in Brainerd. (Brainerd Tribune, 05 July 1879, p. 1, c.’s 2 & 3)

SEE: 1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1

SEE: 1878 Brainerd

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July

SEE: 1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad

SEE: 1881 Gull River Gleanings

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1899 Best Town in the State

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming




Its Development by Mr. C. F.

Kindred, of Brainerd.

N. P. Farmer.

At different times and through several sources, we have been told that there was good land east and southeast of Brainerd, extending from that place to lake Mille Lacs. Our eyes had never rested on any part of this tract of good agricultural land and we was a “doubting Thomas.”

On Thursday last we accepted an invitation from Mr. Kindred to ride out to his stock farm, four miles east of Brainerd, and view the “promised land.”

Behind his matched span of roadsters, which have a three-minute gait, the farm is reached, over a new road, in the short space of twenty minutes. A word about this road. When in the rear of the Northern Pacific car shops, Mr. K. remarked that we then struck his road—a new one, being built under his own individual supervision and expense. We circled to the left, around a large slough; crossed a small stream over a good new bridge; circled to the right around a pine ridge on a broad “dug-away” and crossed to the south side of the R. R.; crossed some 30 rods of well-covered corduroy; a turn to the left and the road is an air line nearly all the way through timber for three miles to the farm. This road for a long distance was neatly turnpiked this spring. Six men were at work upon it as we passed, and when completed it will have cost Mr. K. but little if anything short of $1,000.

As we pass along the “jack pines” are not so plenty, and the “blue joint,” the most nutritious of all the wild species of grasses, completely covers the ground in all directions, and is liberally interspersed with the wild pea vine, which makes the finest pasturage in the world on which to quickly fatten cattle. When within half a mile of Mr. Kindred’s farm, we entirely leave the “jack pines” and strike across the farm of F. B. Thompson, Esq., of Brainerd, who owns 480 acres and is opening up a fine farm. Here the land changes entirely in its character—from a light, thin, sandy soil to that of a clay loam with a good depth and a heavy clay subsoil. There is also a radical change in the character of the timber from the pines to that of oak and aspen, always a certain indication of good soil.

This ”broad-gauge” road of Mr. Kindred’s terminates on the west line of his stock farm. Turning to the left we emerge from a grove of aspen and before us are spread out field, prairie, oak groves, a beautiful gem of a lake, with its rock-ribbed shores and woodland, making as pretty and picturesque a landscape scene as could possibly be painted by the skilled hand and most vivid imagination of the landscape artist.

The farm contains over 1200 acres upon which old dame nature has lavished all her choicest gifts. The first improvement was begun upon this farm in May last. On May 25th, twenty acres of oats where sown on the sod, which give promise of a large yield. Three miles of substantial post and rail fence had been built and four men and teams were at work extending it at a rapid rate.

The farm has about 140 acres of good quality oak timber, 200 acres of meadow and the balance of prairie for grain fields and pasturage for stock. About midway of the farm, near the west side, is the site for the farm house and stock barn which is protected by a beautiful grove on the west and northwest, on a gentle elevation overlooking the prairie, lake and woodland in the distance, which is as pretty a view as the eye of man or woman would desire to gaze upon. Here has been dug a well which at less than 40 feet developed a large vein of pure, soft water, which will bountifully afford all the winter supply of water for stock, a wind-mill for that purpose having been ordered. Mr. K. has an admirable plan for a large stock barn which will be built this season. His plan is to break only enough land to supply his teams employed on the farm and those kept in town and his meat stock. The farm will be devoted to dairying and the raising of thoroughbred “Short-horns” and “Jerseys” for sale to farmers and the stock market.

He already has some beautiful specimens of thoroughbred Short-horns from some of the most renowned breeders in the blue grass region of Kentucky for this farm, and if all his plans are carried out he will soon have one of the best herds of thoroughbred stock in the State, and he certainly has one of the best locations and a tract of the best natural grassland on this farm that we have ever seen in this State. We are assured by Mr. K. that all the country, east and southeast of this farm is as good for stock raising and general farming purposes to lake Mille Lacs, a distance of 25 miles.

To all persons looking for lands for stock farms or dairying, or for general farming in a desirable location near the Northern Pacific R. R., where butter, cheese, or fat cattle will always command remunerative prices, we advise them to call on Mr. Kindred, at the land office of the Northern Pacific R. R. in Brainerd, and we are certain that they will be shown locations for any of the above named purposes with which they will be well-pleased.

We are glad to see Mr. Kindred taking the advance step in this business; a business that is much more certain of a steady and sure growth in prosperity than the growth of wheat as it pays every year and all the time; and we hope in the near future to see many more of our farmers turning their attention in this direction from exclusive wheat growing, which will be for the general and more permanent prosperity of our great natural dairying and stock raising country along the line of the great Northern Pacific in Minnesota. (Brainerd Tribune, 12 July 1879, p. 1, c.’s 2 & 3)

SEE: 1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1

SEE: 1878 Brainerd

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July

SEE: 1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad

SEE: 1881 Gull River Gleanings

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1899 Best Town in the State

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming

Wolves are making themselves quite numerous hereabouts of late, and we would advise our citizens to beware in tramping through the woods, and go armed with climbers and provisions for a siege in a tree top if surprised by a pack of the hungry devils. Several instances have already been reported. (Brainerd Tribune, 30 August 1879, p. 4, c. 1)




Aug. 28th, 1879.

Dear old Tribune:

Who would not be a rancher? at any rate for a short period, say on these moonlight nights, after a good supper and a whiff or two out of any old clay pipe, smoking the tobacco raised on your own place, and to partake of “a few” watermelons and cantaloupes which have been nicely cooled in the spring. Now that is jolly and how one does enjoy it.

Our farmers have done harvesting, and the huge stacks of grain surrounding their cabins makes many a heart feel glad, and the yield has been surprising. One man has just threshed his wheat and oats—the wheat turns about forty bushels to the acre—and the oats weighed 90 bushels to the acre. He was not satisfied with the first count and then had it measured in the bin, as he did not believe that the yield could be so large. The measurement proved the first count correct and even run a little over. Now talk about your Minnesota crops, will you. Of course our area of acreage is limited, but quite sufficient for the demands of the country. Hay this season is light and will not turn out over one-half of last year’s crop, and will no doubt bring a good price.

We have been wanting to tell you about the Sidney [Nebraska] Stage Company and their protection against road agents. In the first place they have a heavy iron-clad coach, drawn by six fine horses. In this the treasure is deposited, under the care of four well-armed men. The loop-holes on each side are about large enough to throw out a half-grown kitten. No passengers are taken on this trip, and the coach looks exactly like the others on the line. Then there are four out-riders also well mounted and armed—two ride on the outside of the coach and two ride ahead on ponies, relieving each other at proper distances. These eight men accompany the coach clear through from Deadwood to Sidney. No one knows when to expect it, when or at what time it may arrive. The intimation us folks at Crook City have of its arrival is some morning about daybreak we hear the heavy tramp of two men, and presently hear them thumping at the post-office door and calling the postmaster for the mail. We generally find one to be Boone May. Both carry heavy double-barreled shot-guns, with a whole arsenal of ammunition strung around the waist, guarded over by two formidable revolvers. Both men have cool determination in every action, and are in every way fitted for their arduous duties. Boone May has got away with his man, and carries the marks of two or three fights with road agents. Last summer he followed a gang of these desperadoes for over two months—all alone—and actually succeeded in bring in two of them, and leaving one where he will never tell any tales or stop any more coaches. The bullion carried out by this coach generally runs from $200,000 to $300,000, and even still higher.

We regret to say that the route via Bismarck is not doing near the trade that the Sidney route is. The stage via Sidney is loaded down every day while the Bismarck route has but few passengers. Their freight trains come in regularly, but the bulk of the freight coming to the Hills is via Sidney and Pierre. One reason for this is told quite readily. A merchant here can buy his goods in St. Paul, ship them to Chicago and thence to the Hills, via Sidney or Pierre, for 25c. per cwt. lower than by the Bismarck. This fact should be made known, as it is an injury to your folks; but it is hard to apply any remedy as the Bismarck folks own nearly the whole road.

We have had a dry summer, but crops are good; even corn is turning out well, much to our surprise, as last year the worms destroyed the great portion of the crop.

Large droves of cattle are coming to the Hills, and nearly all the ranchmen have their own cows, while hogs are becoming quite plenty, and pork promises to be an article of export, instead of importing it by the train load.

We are getting a grist mill up in Crook, with two run of stone, and it will no doubt be quite remunerative to those interested in the venture.

Everything here looks very promising for the future, and those who have stayed here and attended to business are all in a fair way of doing well, but the trouble has been that we have had too many scalawags, and your own State of Minnesota has furnished a good portion of them, but they have cleared out a great portion of them, as they find the Hills is not the place for loafers.

Yours truly,


(Brainerd Tribune, 06 September 1879, p. 1, c. 3)

Very many complaints are made of late against breachy [sic] cattle which ransack the city during the night time, tearing down fences, ravaging gardens, destroying shade trees and doing all sorts of damage. One old cow with a large bell entertains particular antipathy towards our garden, fences, etc., and has destroyed ten or fifteen dollars worth of property, besides littering our yard with filth. Make the fence as strong as we may she will tear it down every night, and, we give notice that we propose to take out our damages in beef ere long if she is not taken care of. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 September 1879, p. 4, c. 1)

A Sad Case.

A man was found in John Fenno’s back yard, Thirteenth street, Friday morning, by some boys, apparently dead. His features were terribly distorted. Eyes staring, mouth distended to horrible proportions, head and face crimsoned with gore. He was stiff and cold in death. Neighbors were alarmed, the authorities were notified, and in a very short time the coroner made his appearance and pronounced it a case of murder. A jury was summoned, and upon a full investigation and autopsy, a chicken’s foot was observed protruding from the dead man’s mouth. The coroner upon trying to extract the foot pulled out the balance of the rooster, feathers and all, from the corpse’s throat—when up jumped a full-fledged tramp, and growled out, “A purty set you are, to rob a poor man of his early breakfast, and his morning nap;” and he gently slid through the fence, leaving the coroner and jury agape with astonishment. John Fenno has one less chicken, and ye local editor has one less sad story to relate.

(We cannot vouch for the truth of this. Some of its features are somewhat overdrawn, and as soon as we have time to investigate we will give the public the facts.—ED. TRIBUNE.)

The above is the best we can do in the way of local sensation—without departing from the strictly truthful and if our readers do not like it they must furnish other material, when it will be dished up in the highest style of art. (Brainerd Tribune, 11 October 1879, p. 1, c. 3)

A Bank.

Gen. W. G. LeDuc, U. S. commissioner of agriculture, and formerly a resident of Brainerd and proprietor of a steam saw mill here in 1872 and 1873, was in the city this morning looking over his old stamping ground, and took the noon passenger today for Washington. The General says that in 1872 he conceived the wise project of starting a bank in Brainerd, and at once set about its consummation. He secured the charter, perfected the necessary arrangements for $50,000 capital, and had even secured the necessary brick for erecting a two-story fire proof building when, having selected a location, the lots on the corner of Front and Sixth streets, at present occupied by the Brainerd restaurant, he sought to effect their purchase. He went to Mr. Canfield; then president of the L. S. & P. S. company, stated his project and asked the price of the corner named. He was informed that they were worth the round sum of $3,000. He says he at once abandoned the undertaking—canceled his charter, notified the capitalists of whom he was to obtain the money that he did not want it, and as soon as he could he disposed of his interests in Brainerd. This is only one of many evidences of the undue estimate placed upon real estate in Brainerd in the early days. That sentiment has been very materially modified, however, by the stringent times which have since intervened and lots are selling at very reasonable figures, in consequence of which a permanent prosperity is dawning upon the town, and it is marching rapidly forward to the prominence it is destined to assume in spite of all obstacles. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 October 1879, p. 1, c. 2)


The usually quiet and orderly city of Brainerd has been the scene, within the past few days, of a sort of epidemic in the line of house-breaking and robbery, unknown in the history of the place and quite up to the fame of her name in the halcyon days of 1872, when the inoffensive little “City of the Pines” was reputed east, west, north and south to be a hard town—(a reputation always horribly exaggerated, however).

The ball was opened by some person entering W. E. Martin’s billiard hall during the night and abstracting some over $30 from the till. Next S. C. Leland’s place was gutted during the wee sma’ hours. Lebenski’s tailor shop was visited while the proprietor slept, and two suits of clothes departed. French's was entered through the cellar on Sunday evening and relieved of a music box valued at $50, silver spoons, money, etc., and, lastly, the book and stationery store of Mrs. Walter Davis, on Front street, was entered by breaking in the back door and she was worth some $75 in cutlery less the next morning. By this time our citizens became thoroughly aroused and a very enthusiastic meeting was held last evening at the post office to devise means of protection and safety. Another meeting will be held this evening, at which an organization will be perfected, which means business. (Brainerd Tribune, 01 November 1879, p. 4, c. 3)

Deadwood is in Ashes.

The entire city being burned to the ground on Thursday night. Details are not yet to be had. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 September 1879, p. 1, c. 1)



CROOK CITY, Nov. 24, 1879.

Dear Tribune:

It is a tarnal shame that we have so long neglected our letter to you. Here comes your ever welcome sheet regularly, and we never get a copy but we promise ourselves to sit right down and scratch off our copy; but the fact is our fall harvesting has kept us so constantly employed that when we had the time we were too tired.

Our whole country has suffered alarmingly from raging fires during the past fall. The area of burnt ground is fearful, and a more desolate country cannot be found. Many of our grangers have been heavy sufferers, some of them losing nearly all they had—grain, hay, and in some cases even their houses.

Deadwood is rebuilt. In fact you would not know that a short time since there was not a building standing where now the flourishing town stands, as full of life, business and energy as ever, not one faro table less, and if any odds there is an addition to the gambling fraternity, and bets are even heavier than before. The stocks of goods are just as heavy as ever, and the anticipated immense rise in prices has not been realized. Prices for all classes of goods have not advanced even proportionate to the eastern advances, and in many cases goods are lower than eastern quotations.

The only trouble experienced is the delay in freight, which is piled in immense masses at Bismarck and Yankton, and at the latter place it will probably have to remain all winter, as navigation has closed.

Crops generally in the Hills have been very good, and in many cases extremely heavy. It is no uncommon thing to find oats running 90 bushels, and wheat 40 bushels to the acre; but seed wheat procured from Colorado does not yield here; several parties tried it and the result was very unsatisfactory, the yield not being five bushels to the acre, while from Minnesota in adjoining fields 40 bushels were threshed.

Prices for produce are good compared with last year. Hay brings $30 per ton in Lead City; potatoes 2c. per lb., retail at 3c; oats sell readily at 4c. per lb. and retail at 5c.; corn 4 to 4 1/2c. per lb.; but wheat is a very slow sale at 3c. as there is only one mill erected so far. C. F. Hobart has erected a fine building in Crook for a mill, and his machinery is arriving. You will remember him as the brother of the first Superintendent of the N. P. R. R., and at one time a resident of Aitkin.

Machinery for the new smelter at Galena is all in, and the work of erecting actively being pushed forward. Everything indicates that Galena will at no very distant day be one of the best camps in the Hills. It is slow work developing the Galena ore, but it is one of the most permanent, and the ore in this district is pronounced by experts to be of a superior quality, and every indication of immense deposits. C. W. Carpenter, Esq., the well-known Minnesota stage man, has invested largely in this locality, which indicates that there is money in it, and will get it out.

Farming in the Hills must pay for some years to come, as prices are good and the demand constantly increasing. The military post has greatly added to our general wealth, and consumes quite all of what otherwise be be surplus. Oats early in the season sold rapidly at 2c. per lb., and just as rapidly advanced to 4c. per lb., which brought the contractors up standing, they having taken the contract at about 2 1/2c. per lb. The first parties, however, sold out at a good premium to parties here and consequently saved themselves, but “let in” the sub-contractors, and the same parties made large contracts with the stage companies and got “let in” just as bad.

Large herds of cattle are constantly coming in from Texas, Montana, and some few superior grades from Minnesota. The Texas cattle do not meet with ready sale, or bring even fair prices, their value being just what they are worth for beef, and even then grade far below Minnesota stock.

Stock winters well here without any protection or feed, except during storms when they have to be fed. A large stock farmer informed us that he would not use over five tons of hay during any winter he had so far passed through in the Hills, and his stock invariably came out in good condition in the spring.

Labor is plenty and hands very scarce—in fact good hands cannot be had at any price. You hail what you would take to be a man looking for work, and find that he is a well-to-do ranchman with the proceeds of the sale of two or three thousand bushels of grain in his pocket, or placed to his credit in the banks; and were his clothing an index to his pocket-book, one would say an old copper cent and a nickel, would be the sum total.

P. H. Trudell, Esq., is one of our best and most “forehanded” farmers, and had the “good management” to keep all of his grain for advanced prices, which in his case will make a snug little difference of about twenty-five hundred dollars in his favor.

Now who would not be a Black Hills Granger?

Yours truly,


(Brainerd Tribune, 29 November 1879, p. 1, c. 3)


Over fifty new buildings have been erected in this city the past season, at a cost of $30,000. Next year we will double it and yet, with a population of 3,500, the Pioneer Press “New Year’s” edition did not mention it. Strange, isn’t it? Fletcher, take her back—Crookston isn’t half as large as Brainerd—and both north of Minneapolis. Do you mind that now? (Brainerd Tribune, 03 January 1880, p. 1, c. 2)

A New Scheme.

Extensive preparations are being made by a number of our citizens for a Fourth of July Celebration this year on an extensive scale. A whole square has been purchased for the purpose, and the arrangements are already completed for the erection of a mammoth building. The programme has not fully developed yet and we will not anticipate, but it will be fully given in a short time. It is the determination to make it the biggest thing in the Northwest. (Brainerd Tribune, 31 January 1880, p. 1, c. 3)

A Miserable Brute.

Jo Deloney, a half breed, and as miserable a brute as ever God put breath of life into, or anybody else, became offended at his wife, also a half breed on Wednesday evening last, at his place of residence on Fourth street, in this city, and inaugurated a style of punishment as unique as it was brutal. Deloney came home partially intoxicated about nine o’clock, and commenced an attack on his wife and children, kicking, striking and beating them in the most cruel manner, knocking his wife down and kicking her in his drunken fury with all his might, and using a slung shot to make his punishment more effective. Not content with this brutal treatment of her he bit great chunks of flesh from her face, neck, shoulders, arms, thighs and legs, in fifty places or more, and notwithstanding the terrific screams of the poor woman at every bite, no one came to her relief, the neighbors not being very near, and though hearing screams, thought it nothing more than ordinary discipline that the brute was administering to his family, and thus the fiend, this human tiger, after almost eating the woman up and stripping the flesh from her bones, only ceased his appalling abuse when she became too weak with suffering and loss of blood to utter shrieks for and or to groan when the flesh was torn from her limbs. How the woman lived through the night is more than anybody can account for, and no aid or assistance came to her until the next day, when a neighbor happened to call. The woman was covered with blood, great patches of flesh were literally bitten clean out of her body. She was nearly dead. The children three in number, one being sick with fever, were all badly bruised, one, a little girl, being struck with the slung shot. A more horrid spectacle could not be conceived of or witnessed. Steps were immediately taken to arrest the brute, and he is now in jail. Mrs. Deloney is better at this writing, but what the outcome will be is exceedingly uncertain. This is not the first assault of this fiend, as the woman has numerous scars the result of other like savage assaults. This man is too good to live. He properly belongs somewhere else, and that neck of his should be stretched till those tigerish jaws are powerless to do harm. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 March 1880, p. 4, c. 2)

DeLoney has Skipped, and It is

Lucky Jo, this Time.

Jo DeLoney, the “wife whipper,” anticipating a deserved flogging and a coat of tar and feathers for his brutal treatment of his wife and children, has suddenly left town. Should he be found here again he will undoubtedly be subject to some rough treatment. The night of his departure he beat his wife unmercifully, using boards, clubs and fists and the wonder is, that he has not killed her long ago, with his brutal usage. Several of our citizens had determined to take DeLoney out and administer a good flogging with the “black snake” whips, just to see how he enjoyed (?) the sport, and Jo must have smelled “something” and skipped. He had better stay some distance away from Brainerd. (Brainerd Tribune, 31 July 1880, p. 4, c. 3)



A Lumber Manufacturing Center and

Resort for Tourists.

The future of Brainerd as a


is an assured success. We do not wish to use any language that may be possibly interpreted as boastful. We desire to be moderate in our predictions, and we trust we are when we assert that in less than three years Brainerd will contain a population of not less than 10,000, and be the third city in its magnitude and importance, especially as a lumber manufacturing mart, in the State of Minnesota. The reasons that move us to make this assertion can be briefly stated:

First. Its location, 125 miles north of Minneapolis, and just so much nearer the great wheat producing areas to the west and northwest of us.

Second. The nearest point to the inexhaustible pine timbered area of Northern Minnesota, at which facilities are offered by the Northern Pacific Railway for transportation of the manufactured material west.

Third. The saving of at least $3 per M. in driving logs and freighting lumber.

Fourth. The immense demand that is being and will be made upon these forests to supply Dakota, Western Minnesota, and Manitoba with lumber at lowest possible prices. And

Fifth. The facilities for manufacturing at this point, which are not excelled by any locality on the Mississippi River.

It is a well understood fact that in the economy of manufacturing lumber and the various industries supported by it, water as a motive power is not considered at all essential. Steam has superseded water power in most all instances for reducing the raw material. About one mile north of Brainerd is Rice Lake, a body of water covering an area of 80 or more acres, with an inlet from the Mississippi of only a few rods. The water in this lake rises and falls with that of the river, and the channel is always open. Here then is a perfectly safe depository for at least 35,000,000 feet of logs and room enough for a dozen mills with the capacity of the best at Minneapolis. A spur track of about one mile in length over a comparatively level grade would connect this with the N. P. R. R. near the shops.

Similar to this is Boom Lake, the reservoir that holds the logs for Jones Bros.’ Mill, with a capacity for about 3,000,000 feet. A spur track three-fourths of a mile long connects this with the N. P. R. R. In addition to these there are excellent boomage facilities in the river for miles above and below town.

Thus no better facilities could be required for the storing of logs, and none better for moving the lumber directly from the mills. The only remaining question, therefore, is as to the future demand on this lumber center for the manufactured material. We have not time to enter into detail on the present prospects of this vast western country that must depend upon the Upper Mississippi and its tributaries for timber supplies. We can estimate from a ratio of increase in the past five years, and approximate very nearly, and by so doing we predict that a quarter of a million people will be looking to our timbered regions for lumber, and largely for fuel supplies, before the next decade shall have passed away. The exact ratio would be far in excess of this number, but we are not drawing upon our imagination in these statements. We are trying to depict a great reality—greater, far greater, than the outside world is willing to admit, but nothing more than a few short years will force the four winds of the earth to concede. Then with this vast increase of population, and the development incident thereto of the agricultural resources of this vast territory, which are as grand as those of any country of similar extent on the globe, and are today moving the markets not only of our own State but of the entire nation and of Europe and the whole world, it is not difficult to predict what opportunities present themselves to the capitalist, and that, too, in the near future, by engaging in the manufacture of lumber at this point.

Besides the industry of cutting up the raw material, numerous other industries are attracted thereby; other industries again surround these, and so ad infinitum. Thus it is that Brainerd will soon be teeming with the elements of prosperity in active operation, and another business center will have opened up her wealth to the great State of Minnesota. The richest farming lands that a century has opened up for settlement, and that so rapidly that whole townships are settled in a day, are dependent upon us for material for residences, barns, granaries, fences and fuel, and the arbitrary law of economy in obtaining such needful supplies must push our prospects far in advance of the most sanguine hopes that any of our citizens have heretofore entertained.

Brainerd, as a


and sportsmen, cannot be excelled. The timber belts of pine, oak, elm, etc., in this vicinity, abound in deer, bear, lynx, and other game. The low brush lands contain ruffled grouse, and wood-cock hover about willow marshes. Rabbits are plenty, and furnish pleasant recreation in season. The lakes are well stocked with pickerel, muskelunge, pike, perch, bass, whitefish, and some lake trout. Others are being stocked with land-locked salmon, and many of the brooks with mountain brook trout. One and a half miles north and east of Brainerd is Rice Lake, a great thoroughfare for duck in the fall and spring. Across the Mississippi is Gilbert Lake—a fine body of water with a bold, precipitous bluff, well stocked with fish. Three miles further north is Long Lake, six miles in length, stocked with bass, pickerel, whitefish, pike and tulipes. An outlet of about one mile brings you into Round Lake about two miles in diameter, with an outlet of 1/4 of a mile into Gull Lake, 18 miles in its greatest length, and from 5 to 8 miles wide. These several lakes, in close proximity to each other, and from six to nine miles north and west of Brainerd, offer to the sportsman as good entertainment as can be found anywhere, and to the tourist many splendid views. West of Brainerd 3 miles is a fine sheet of water, one and a half miles in length and one mile in width, with good fishing, mostly pickerel. One mile father west is Red Sand Lake, (Little and Big Sandy as they are commonly called,) containing the fish common to Minnesota, and recently stocked with land-locked salmon. The smaller of these lakes is 1 1/2 by 2 miles in diameter, the larger 3 miles across, with beautiful shores. Six miles west are several other lakes of lesser note, but well stocked with fish, where trolling and spearing by torch-light bring splendid results.

Eight miles from town, with a short portage from the south side of Gull Lake, lies Fish-Trap, a splendid body of water, and a pleasant resort for tourists. Northeast of Brainerd 4 miles is Horse-Shoe Lake, containing several beautifully wooded islands, and beautiful at all times. Four and a half miles southeast lies Lake Emma, a small lake about one mile in diameter, in the midst of a brush prairie county. Seven miles southeast of town lies Long Lake—two lakes with a short thoroughfare connecting them. This body of water is 12 miles in extreme length, and from one to two miles in width, and is one of the best stocked lakes in the State.

In the eastern portion of the county lies the Mille Lacs Lake—a body of water that cannot be excelled anywhere. It is nearly circular in form, 28 miles across from northeast to southwest, and about sixteen miles at its narrowest point. Here is the fisherman’s paradise. Its shores are for the most part gravel, skirted by hardwood forests of maple, lynn, oak, elm and butternut, abounding in grouse and deer. It is the largest and grandest body of inland water in the State, and offers better entertainment to the camper out than any other locality in Minnesota. It is easily accessible from Brainerd by a good road in a three hours’ drive. All the lakes mentioned are reached by good roads, and any of them will furnish satisfactory amusement to the sportsman, however sanguine his expectations may be. Seventeen miles east of Brainerd are several fine lakes, patronized extensively ever since the opening of the Northern Pacific Railway, the most prominent of which, Serpent Lake, has been a frequent resort for picnics, excursions, tourists and sportsmen.

Hundreds of tourists from Vermont, Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis, and our own State, visit these lakes every summer, many having their families, and either camp out, or go out from town in the morning and return at nightfall, always pleased with their day’s sport.

Brainerd has thus already become a center for this kind of entertainment. Here Nature is more rugged and wild than in older and more frequented resorts; and the genuine waterman and woodsman can “look through Nature in all its verdancy, up to Nature’s God” and discover in it his opportunities for closer communion and the grandeur of being alone with the primitive he has dreamed of, and read about, but never before beheld. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 March 1880, p. 1, c.’s 3 & 4)

Two or three men, somewhat under the influence of drink, have been garroted and robbed on our streets the past week. Men who will get drunk and thus deliver themselves and their pocket books to the highwayman are entitled to very little sympathy. At the same time, if we have any villains engaged in this work our authorities should hunt them out, and tie them up to some of our jack pines. A man, though drunk, ought to be safe anywhere on our streets, and the first sneak thief found looking after his welfare must have his neck stretched. Two or three of this class are under surveillance, and it will not be at all healthy for them if caught. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 March 1880, p. 4, c. 2)

An Accident at the Ferry.

In crossing the ferry at this place on Sunday afternoon last our livery man and Sheriff, Mr. Mertz, met quite a disaster which came near resulting in the loss of a valuable team, if not the lives of himself and wife who were on board. When near the middle of the stream the ferry-boat was struck by a large cake of the floating ice which lodged against it rapidly accumulating a jam which finally succeeded in parting the wire rope and setting the boat adrift. Surrounded by the jam of ice it was carried down to the railroad bridge where Mr. Mertz succeeded in anchoring it to the western pier, between which and the west bank the ice formed a jam. He then unharnessed his horses and undertook to lead them to the shore upon the jam, when they broke through carrying him with them under the ice. Miraculously, however, Mr. Mertz succeeded in coming up on one of the horses' backs, and crawling thence upon the ice and with the aid of the bystanders and some planks and ropes succeeded in rescuing the animals from a watery grave, though nearly perished with cold and exhaustion. Mrs. Mertz, with the carriage and harness, were then safely conveyed to the shore, but the boat is so badly damaged, and so old and rotten anyway, that a new one will have to be built. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 April 1880, p. 4, c. 2)

SEE: 1879 An Accident at the Ferry

SEE: 1881 Sheriff Mertz Outruns a Railway Train

SEE: 1881 Criminal Calendar

SEE: 1881 Jack O’Neill Shoots “Fakir George” at the Last Turn Saloon

SEE: 1881 Got Caught at It

SEE: 1881 The Moral Tone of Brainerd

SEE: 1882 Will Go Over the Road

SEE: 1882 Trouble in Hartley’s Hall

SEE: 1883 Fred Hagadorn Remembers

SEE: 1884 The Burns-Mays Case

SEE: 1885 Early Days in Brainerd

SEE: 1886 The Hugh Dolan Murder

SEE: 1927 Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Mertz Draws Governor Hartley

SEE: 1930 Peter Mertz, Now of Spokane, Tells of Experiences

SEE: 1931 Pioneer Sheriff Pete Mertz and “Indian Jack” Capture Bad Hombres

SEE: County / City Jail (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.

SEE: County Jail / Sheriff’s Residence (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.

Fishing Extraordinary.

The boys are reveling in pike-perch and Gull Lake is the center of fish attraction. One would suppose to see the splendid preparations made by parties for that locality that another rebellion was on foot—Brainerdites vs. all the fish in Gull Lake, and the fish likely to win. One load is composed of four men, one box of tackle 2 feet by 4, four spears, one torch light, one case of goods with some Milwaukee producer’s name engraved thereon, one 1 lb. can pressed corned beef, one 2 lb. cheese, 1 lb. crackers, several willow covered glass bottles, capacity two gallons each, and four small flasks to each person, supposed to contain 1 tablespoonful of Jamaica ginger and 1 quart sweetened water to each flask—this to quench thirst, because spearing fish with an occasional plunge in the water after a missing spear is hot work to the average fisherman. This outfit is supposed to be amply sufficient for an afternoon, evening and forenoon tarry at the above celebrated resort. One party went out this week, brought back the beef, cheese, and nearly all the crackers, and left the case and willow ware somewhere about 14 miles from town in disgust, threw out of the wagon three pike-perch averaging one and one-half pounds each, and yet the said party was not happy, but anxious to try the same chances again, with, however, some increase of the necessary supplies, which did not hold out on the former trip. This fishing business is fun, no doubt, but it takes lots of prevention for an ounce of cure in case of colds, fatigues, etc., and the boys seem to like it. We used to like it, too, but not being able to reasonably account for the bringing back of so much solid food, and so few fish, and remembering George and his little hatchet, concluded there was more real comfort about home, reaching out after fishing excursions, however, with a very vivid imagination. Go in boys, but don’t—we warn you—don’t get too wet. (Brainerd Tribune, 08 May 1880, p. 1, c. 3)

Residences are going up at the rate of ten or a dozen per week, and still Brainerd is not growing! with her machine shops, brick yards and mills, Brainerd is not going ahead! oh no! (Brainerd Tribune, 29 May 1880, p. 1, c. 4)



A Short Sketch of One of the Finest

Farms in Northern Dakota.


Valley City Times:

In accordance with the promise of the Times, we proceed to give a faint idea of the magnitude, development and system established at the Kindred Farm, which lies two miles north of Valley City on the plateau of prairie east of and contiguous to the Sheyenne River.

The farm proper embraces some five sections of land in one body, and to say that for fertility, beauty and grandeur of prospect, relative proportions of wheat, grazing and hay lands, for a farm in the broad sense of that word, that there is no better in the country, would be quite expressive to those who understand the merits of Barnes county land, but we venture that there are no better lands in the Red River Valley, which statement really says, there are no better in the world. C. F. Kindred, the proprietor, from his connection with the land department of the N. P. R. R., was thoroughly conversant with all the land within fifty miles of the railroad track along the entire length of the road; and that he has chosen this spot as his preferred location, speaks volumes in favor of this section of the country.

Mr. Kindred does not propose to alone establish a wheatery, but in his tasty and liberal style proposes to place such substantial fixtures and improvement as will most fully make the farm a home, make it an elegant and comfortable residence as well as a profitable farm. Two years ago a one-half section was broken here, and last year the same was cropped, and some four hundred acres more was broke and backset. This year about 700 acres are in wheat, and aside from the lands newly broken for trees, shrubbery and residence grounds about 500 acres will be newly broke, and about this amount of breaking is intended for each following year, until the wheat lands which nearly occupy almost the whole tract are under cultivation. The building site is choicely selected, since the lands have a gently rolling character the house site has been so chosen that not only the beauties of the river lands with their "sod bound bluffs" garrisoning each curve and the stately elms which here and there stand by the river's bank, seem like a sentry from the groves and woods which ever and anon fill the valley from bluff-to-bluff. Valley City is in full view, and the roaring trains may be traced till the eye wearies. But to the farmer it has another and fairer view. The vast outstretch of wheat fields are well in sight, and the pasture which is supplied with luxuriant grass and countless springs, is all in view from the balcony. The farm villa which already includes some six substantial buildings is arranged so that they are not only convenient for use but elegant in position, near enough for comfort and economy and yet separated so as to give security in case of fire among them. Beginning at the north end of the open area between the buildings first comes the office, a building 18x22 feet, supplied with desks, easy chairs and a counter which separates the main entrance from the business part of the room. There is probably no manufacturing or mercantile business of a city which keeps a more exact account of its operations than does this farm. A complete set of blanks and books the forms for which were devised by Mr. Kindred are in use. The engagement book contains in duplicate the contract with employees, the following being employed for the season:

D. Becker, foreman; O. H. Havill, book-keeper; J. A. Loe, foreman on buildings; J. Gaugler, tree-planter; Sam House, gardener; Charles Boldt, Elmer Scott and Julius Wurst, plowmen; C. F. Kinsel, Geo. Neustel, J. A. Benson, Elmer Schoenhiet, Mrs. A. Moulton, J. Lingnau, Geo. Haas, P. S. Kindall, G. B. Runner, W. F. Tasker, O. L. Lawson, Jno. Bergland and J. A. Bergland, F. W. Staunard, Clarence Willey, Richard McGinty, Charles Barnard and E. H. Fagin, general laborers; Casper A. Skeals, cook; S. D. Daniels, stableman. The time ledger, has a daily report showing in a condensed form what part of the day was given for every branch of business carried on at the farm. From the time ledger each man's account is carried to the payroll. Also from the above ledger and general account, an account is kept with every department of business and every sub-division of each department, as with different varieties of wheat, locations, broke at different depths or at different seasons, &c., &c. Every department of labor has its individual account, and expenses and balance can be taken at a glance at the ledger. The grain warehouse is most substantially built, and for its intended purposes that of storing the seed grain is well planned. Its elevator, spouting, scale, ventilators, all necessary and convenient. A sample of the reigning order was see there in the attic of this warehouse, where in piles of twenty-five each hung suspended from a wire, the 1,000 sacks, where they were secure from vermin, counted and ready for use. The stable-barn is simply immense. Nobody could tell its dimensions, and no great wonder, for its wings, additions, sheds and fricassee work are better seen than described. It has room for 60 horses and with its feed elevator and storage bins in the upper story, its hay and feed spouts, and in fact all of its internal arrangement pronounce economy, solidity, elegance. The exterior of the building with its fair proportions, plans for ventilation and light, its brackets, hip roof and spire mounted by a horse in gilt is good enough for Kindred. One day a visitor inquired of Mr. Kindred how much lumber was used in its construction, and he replied, "don't know and don't want to know." The barn was built last year, before the present "system" was inaugurated. Machinery hall is on stone foundation, as are all the buildings, is 40x60, with a "drive," and has a loft and pulleys for hoisting the smaller tools, as plows, harrows, etc. The laborer's quarters looks well from without and is conveniently arranged within. It is arranged within and looks like the "barracks." The dining hall is a large two story building. Beside the mess room the kitchen and several elegantly furnished rooms for family and guests. Here we discovered were kept some very choice "Havannas." The residence for which plans are now being prepared will, if as handsome as its picture, be the most elegant in the whole New North West, and would not blush to stand upon a city avenue. The farm garden comprises seven acres and is under a high state of cultivation. The grove which is newly broken is at the west and north of the villa, and contains 35 acres, and is set with trees in an artistic order. It already contains 400 hard maples, 300 spruce, 6,400 cottonwood, 100 ash, 100 box elders, 1,100 balm of gileads, and 4,600 settings of rare varieties. The trees are trees already varying from one-half inch to three inches in diameter. This immense forestry has a man detailed with trees and tank to see that every tree has water at its roots in amounts sufficient to insure its growth. A graded road is to be immediately built from the headquarters to the city, which will cross at Sheyenne at the north bridge; and among the stock now is, and which will be here. Mr. K. has one team of "steppers" which can make the trip to town in six minutes, and the roads won't need to be very good either, if we rightly remember a ride we had last winter in Brainerd.

Thus hastily and imperfectly have we sketched one of the finest farms in Northern Dakota, which to be appreciated must be seen. "Other considerations may boast of a wider area, but none of a more liberal management or of more substantial improvements." (Brainerd Tribune, 05 June 1880, p. 1, c. 3)

SEE: 1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1

SEE: 1878 Brainerd

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July

SEE: 1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad

SEE: 1881 Gull River Gleanings

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1899 Best Town in the State

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming

Sells Brothers’ Circus.

It has come and gone. We refer of course to Sells Bros.’ Circus, and for once our citizens were agreeably surprised. Instead of coming out to see an old hackneyed, dilapidated, played-out lot of traps, and a company of dirty, poorly dressed and very poor performers as usually found in the circus of today, they found a comparatively new outfit; horses, animals and everything in good order and condition; the tumblers, trapeze performers and acrobats neat and clean, well liveried and excellent performers, giving some feats unsurpassed by any circus in the world; and their riders, notably the famous James Robinson, taking the lead in equestrian glory. The managers, officers, and employees, too, were gentlemanly, courteous and attentive to the comforts of their patrons, and entirely free from any taint of the swindling proclivities of circuses generally, being apparently bent upon giving legitimately a first-class entertainment, and letting gambling, counterfeit money, stealing, huckstering and the many impositions upon the public usually following in the wake of a circus, entirely alone. The change is a refreshing one indeed to the public, and one that will win them wreaths if not wealth wherever they go. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 June 1880, p. 4, c. 2)

A Man Shot at the Marshall House.

“A man shot at the Marshall House last night,” greeted the reportorial ears of the TRIBUNE as they wended their way up town on Tuesday morning last. Investigation developed that mine host McClery [sic] [McClary] having missed honey, eggs, wines, whiskey, canned goods and other goodies from his cellar in large quantities of late, had armed himself with a shot-gun on Monday evening and set himself on watch at a window in the kitchen directly over the cellar door to catch the gentleman whose kleptomania was displaying such exquisite taste. Patience hath its reward, it is said, and Mac was not without his, for shortly after midnight he espied a man in the backyard moving stealthily through the darkness towards the cellar door. He watched his movements closely as he approached, and soon discovered that his head was covered with a woman’s cloak, preventing any possibility of recognition. He entered the cellar way, reached through the transom over the doors, removed the bar on the inside, as he had evidently done several times before, and was about to enter the now open doors, when the sound of Mr. McClery [sic] [McClary] opening the kitchen door alarmed him and he ran. Mr. McClery [sic] [McClary] stepped quickly out and fired at the receding figure, which fell uttering a groan and crying, “My God, I’m shot.” Seeing that his man did not move, Mr. McClery [sic] [McClary] supposed he had killed or fatally wounded him, and instead of going to him went immediately for the sheriff. On his return with the officer, however, his man had disappeared, leaving considerable blood as evidence that he was hit, but no further trace rewarded their search. A man residing in town has since been arrested upon suspicion, but pending his examination in court the TRIBUNE will not pronounce his name. He claims to be very lame with rheumatism and unable to appear in court, and having furnished bail for his appearance his trial has been postponed until Monday. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 June 1880, p. 4, c.’s 2 & 3)

The Fourth of July with a Big 4.

We are to have something of a “4th” after all, thanks to the energy loyalty and public spirit of Mr. Kindred. This gentleman, aware of the apathy that has prevailed among our citizens with reference to an observance of our natal day, in the spirit of patriotism that ought to animate every breast has decided to take the thing into his own hands, and will on Monday evening next display to his individual friends and his fellow citizens, what enterprise can and should do. He will exhibit on his grounds near his residence pyrotechnics, excelling in beauty and magnitude those of last year. He has secured skilled operators and spared no pains to make the display a decided success. Many of his numerous and more intimate friends have been invited to participate in the enjoyment of the occasion, and the public will be treated to a rare exhibition. Mr. Kindred is always up and doing, and Brainerd folk realize that in him they have their most active and public spirited citizen. Would that we had more such. (Brainerd Tribune, 03 July 1880, p. 1, c. 3)

Mr. Kindred’s elaborate display of fireworks on Monday evening was witnessed by nearly every man, woman and child in the city, all of whom were delighted in the extreme and expressed their appreciation in three rousing cheers at the close of the entertainment. Would that Brainerd had a few more such enterprising citizens as Mr. Kindred. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 July 1880, p. 1, c. 3)

SEE: 1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1

SEE: 1878 Brainerd

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort

SEE: 1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad

SEE: 1881 Gull River Gleanings

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1899 Best Town in the State

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming


The census enumerator for Crow Wing county has filed his returns with the clerk of the court as required by law, and they show the population of the county to be as follows”


Withington [Deerwood]—30

Mille Lacs—30

Crow Wing—195


(Brainerd Tribune, 10 July 1880, p. 1, c. 3)

The Business Boom.

The Leland House passed, on Tuesday last from the proprietorship of W. H. Leland to that of Stratton & Heath who have leased it for five years at $3,000 per year. Mr. Leland has purchased the residence of Mr. D. E. Slipp on the corner of Fifth and Juniper streets. Mr. Slipp, in partnership with J. M. Hartley, has leased the new store building on Laurel street, just completed by J. L. Starcher, and they propose opening a stock of hardware at once. Mr. Slipp has also purchased two lots on the corner of Main street and Broadway and will erect a dwelling thereon forthwith. Dr. J. C. Rosser has purchased the vacant lot north of the TRIBUNE office and, the carpenters commenced this morning the erection of an office for the doctor. Mrs. C. Grandelmyer has purchased a lot on Front street between 6th and 7th streets and the lumber is being hauled upon the ground for a large millinery store and dressmaking establishment. Mr. L. D. Maxwell has purchased a lot on 6th street south of Laurel and has a large two story business house well under way, and new dwellings are going up on almost every street in town and nearly every block. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 July 1880, p. 1, c. 3)



The Grandest of Minnesota’s Grand

Summer Resorts.


“The More Than Minnetonka of

the Northwest.”


Stepping to Mr. C. F. Kindred’s light platform wagon, behind a team of spanking bay “steppers” ye editors were whirled along over hill and dale, across beautiful prairies and through pleasant groves and across splendid meadows, for a distance of eight miles west of Brainerd, and halted before a beautiful and commodious cottage on the south shore of Sylvan lake, at an early hour in the morning, a few days since. Sylvan lake is about seven miles in circumference, with very deep waters and a habitat for the finest bass and pike in the Northwest country. The cottage, boat houses, pier, stables, boats (of which there are several) were erected and constructed for Mr. Kindred, all with an aesthetic design on his part, to please his friends, whose number is “Legion.” The wonderful beauty of the lake, surroundings, the airy lobation of the cottage, the deep green tint of the water, the precipitous bluffs, splendid bays and island, all combine to make this a sublime locality, full of the ideal, and eminently gratifying to the lover of the grand and beautiful in nature. Here Mr. Kindred entertains his friends in royal style with numerous waiters, servants and a cook that knows his business thoroughly.

At four o’clock A. M. all guests who wish a morning recreation are called, provided with a cup of hot coffee and a light lunch, furnished with trolling lines, a light running row-boat with a skilled oarsman, and set to work raking in the bass. Three or four hours of the most exciting piscatorial employment to be found anywhere and the breakfast bell calls all hands “aft” to the dining hall, where an hour is devoted to breaking fast, after which gentlemen smoke, ladies indulge in small talk, read, sing and while away an hour or so when everyone becomes quiet and those who choose sleep till three o’clock P. M. A light lunch is again served and then three or four hours more sport on the water. Tea is served at eight o’clock, after which all retire for the night’s repose. This system has been found to meet the requirements of sportsmen better than any other. It furnishes six hours fishing everyday with plenty of time for rest, indoor recreation and sleep, and all who have tried it find it “just the best” of any method yet adopted for pleasure and repose.

Among the prominent visitors who have partaken of the hospitality at Sylvan lake, are the Messrs. Dilworths, family and party of Pittsburgh; General Manager Sargent and family, Col. Sheridan, wife and party of Chicago, with Dr. Fairbanks and wife of Minneapolis, several directors of the N. P. R. R. and numerous friends of Mr. Kindred from Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, New York and Boston and lastly and perhaps, leastly, the representatives of the TRIBUNE, though they enjoyed the sport and entertainment equally with their more noted predecessors, and are thankfully inclined accordingly.

Mr. Kindred is having a canal excavated to connect Sylvan with Gull lake. This canal will be only a few rods in length. Mr. K. will put on the course a splendid steamer, and will take his guests from Sylvan lake into Gull lake making a round trip of about sixty miles each day. Gull lake is a splendid body of water sixteen miles in extreme length, broad and expansive, hemmed in by beautiful groves, with abrupt bold headlands, and presents far more beautiful views than Minnetonka. To utilize this grand expanse of water and introduce the sublime scenery to the outer world, Mr. Kindred has perfected plans and completed arrangements to build three commodious hotels. One, the principal resort, will be located near the site of his present cottage, on Sylvan lake, south shore. The second, six miles up Gull lake, on a picturesque island, commanding a beautiful view of the whole lake surroundings; and the third will be eight miles further up, on the northwest shore of the lake. The main hotel will be two hundred feet in extreme length, two stories and basement, with a broad hall through the centre, the lower one for dining, the upper for dancing, and each suite of rooms so planned that it will be a separate cottage in itself, fronting on the main hall and having windows on three sides and a little plat of lawn either side with a fountain playing in each and between each two suites of rooms. A pump will elevate water into every room and furnish the fountains. This construction will afford delightful airiness and each room will have a splendid lake view. Ample balconies and broad piazzas at either end of the building, two stories, will make an imposing building, nowhere excelled in the west. The other structures will be similar in construction but not on so large a scale, with, however, complete equipment for the accommodation of patrons.

The steamer will leave Sylvan lake each morning, distributing parties over choice fishing grounds, visiting each resort in its round trip, returning to its landing in time for dinner each day, and repeating the trip again in the afternoon. Mr. Kindred has been pledged one hundred guests for next season, and expects many more.

These improvements will cost about $75,000, and will make these lakes the grand resort for tourists who desire quiet sport and rest, and whose ambition it is to escape the rush of localities more crowded but without half the comforts. In the not distant future Brainerd will be the grand centre from which will radiate, and at no great distances, the finest lake, river and forest attractions anywhere to be found. With fish and game in abundance; large areas of water with splendid fishing facilities and easy accessibility, and splendid accommodations, thousands of tourists will turn thitherwards with the advancing years, and find surcease from weary employment in the sublime wilderness of our natural surroundings. Thanks to Mr. Kindred, say we for our day’s recreation, and this we opine will be the universal verdict. Even when the ages shall fade away, a bright halo of gratitude will encircle his memory, a fitting monument for a public-spirited man. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 July 1880, p. 1, c.’s 3 & 4)

The annual picnic of St. Paul’s Episcopal Sunday School took place on Thursday. Mr. Kindred had extended a generous invitation to the teachers and scholars to spend the day at his summer resort, Sylvan lake, and not only so, but had added the hospitable request that no lunch basket should appear upon the scene. The merry party left Brainerd about seven o’clock in a special train and upon reaching the station found conveyances waiting to carry them to the picnic grounds. A short ride brought them close to the trees that fringe the lake and in a moment the wide-spreading water, with its rim of undulating land, lay before them. Close at hand were the boat houses, and the picturesque point, running adventurously into the water, with Mr. Kindred’s large new house to mark its junction with the main land. Swings were visible among the trees; a pretty summer-house sat on the bank just above the side pier, and curious eyes discovered the new pier stretching away one hundred feet further into the lake. With all these beauties before them it was brief work for the young folk to empty the wagons, and shortly the whole scene was alive with happy children, and admiring elders. Boats were at the disposal of the guests, and were used most appreciatively. A whole harvest of water-lilies was reaped. At noon a warm, hearty dinner met the appetites sharpened by the exhilarating air and delightful breezes, and, in fact, nothing was left undone by the hospitable host to make the day’s pleasure complete in every way. When at four o’clock the wagons were in waiting to carry away the party from this pleasurable time, there were some reluctant feet, but one and all united in the heartiest of “thank-you’s” to the kind donor of these hospitalities—Mr. C. F. Kindred. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 July 1880, p. 1, c. 4)

SEE: Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.

SEE: 1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1

SEE: 1878 Brainerd

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July

SEE: 1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad

SEE: 1881 Gull River Gleanings

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1899 Best Town in the State

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming

The Minneapolis Tribune publishes a list of seventy-eight cities in Minnesota with a population of more than five hundred each, with the census of each for 1870 and 1880, and showing the percentage of growth of each; but omits THE city with the largest percentage of growth in the entire State. The percentage in Minneapolis, the largest on the Tribune list, is 267 while Brainerd, which is omitted entirely shows an actual percentage of growth for the period named of 2109. When the census of 1870 was taken the present site of Brainerd was a howling wilderness, inhabited only by wild animals and Indians, while today its population will come very close to 2,500 (the increase being considerable since the census was taken in June) and is rapidly increasing everyday. (Brainerd Tribune, 31 July 1880, p. 1, c. 1)

One of the TRIBUNE editors accepted the kind invitation of Mr. W. E. Martin on Tuesday afternoon last to ride with him and a number of friends down to his new farm, about eight miles south of Brainerd, on the Fort Ripley reservation on the northwest shore of Crow Wing lake, and a pleasanter drive we have not experienced in many a day. About a mile out of town the new farm houses begin to appear and they grow thicker as you go south until the reservation is reached where every acre is occupied. Mr. Martin and his father have together 360 acres, about forty of which are covered by the lake which is a beauty, about a mile across, deep and clear and filled with bass. Wheat fields skirted by oak groves cover the landscape about the lake. Harvesters were just opening the campaign and life, thrift and comfort were visible on every hand. For near neighbors Mr. Martin has Wm. Cole, at whose house we were treated to a drink of milk, Charley Mayo, H. F. Phelps, M. E. Everett, D. McArthur and others. The depot lies a mile north, and upon the whole he has the prettiest and most convenient farm location in a thousand counties. (Brainerd Tribune, 31 July 1880, p. 4, c. 3)

From Brainerd to Duluth.

For nearly one year we have wanted to see Duluth, and last week our wish was gratified. The N. P. R. R. from Brainerd to the Junction passes through a track of country lamentably devoid of interest, except for the evidences of desolation on every hand left by the terrible fire of a few years since, which left nothing but a forest of charred, dead and leafless trees—nature’s tombstones for her children. Leaving the Junction the scene suddenly changes, and you enter a region where large masses and hills of granite seem to rise as if by magic from the earth, beautiful and sublime beyond description as you enter the valley of the St. Louis river. Taking our stand with our party on the rear platform of the “Pullman,” we watched with unflagging interest the ever-changing panorama, as we thundered over deep gorges, skirted lakes and river, and glided through the lovely valleys. Nowhere in this State have we seen such grandeur in nature as is shown in the “Dalles of the St. Louis.” What a mighty force was that which in past ages raised from its resting place that immense stratum of granite, broke it into a myriad of pieces of every conceivable form and hurled them into positions at every possible angle, scattering them here and piling them in huge masses there until it seems as if the chaotic condition “in the beginning” had never been disturbed. Over and among them sweeps the brown waters of the St. Louis, deep, dark and sullen here, ever and anon rushing merrily along, lifting itself in blinding spray as it dashes against some impassable barrier, then sweeping and foaming over the inclined plane of its rapids, until finally it glides silently and smoothly into the calm waters of Spirit lake, dotted with its emerald islets. We are not beyond the bounds of truth when we say that we believe no scenery more beautiful, wild, romantic and even sublime, can be found in Minnesota than this we have so briefly and faintly described. It is a wonder to me that excursions to this region are not more frequent than they are. You can leave Brainerd at 4 o’clock in the morning, spend from 7 to 8 hours in enjoyment there, and reach home at midnight.

At 10:30 we reached Duluth, the “Zenith City,” made famous by Proctor Knott’s speech in Congress in 1871. We had our ideal of Duluth, and expected to see a city of handsome residences, imposing blocks of business houses, with towering hills, tree-covered and tree-crowned for a background, but how greatly were we disappointed. The hills were there, but instead of the cool, shady groves we saw only a multitude of stumps dotting the bleak, barren hillside, and we instinctively reached for our overcoat, though the day was quite warm. Not a tree of any size was to be seen; for it is a fact known to the citizens of Duluth, if not to the outside world, that trees will not grow there. While we found a few handsome residences and fine business blocks in the heart of the city, the mass of buildings presents the same appearance that all new western towns possess, that of having been erected hurriedly and with no reference to architectural proportions and beauty. But there is a future for this city both as a summer resort and a commercial port, and in a few years it may rival our two central cities. Turning our eyes lakeward the whole scene was changed. Far as the eye could reach were the waters of Lake Superior, with here and there a white sail gleaming in the sunlight, or a steamer moving rapidly through the waters, while on the horizon could be seen the long lines of smoke from steamers out of sight. Nearer to us was the semi-circular cape, or island, separated from the city proper by the channel through which vessels pass into the harbor. This island has certainly the beautiful natural scenery around Duluth, with its large trees and pebbly beaches, and one can pass hours in wandering over it and never be wearied.

At 6 p. m. we started homeward, two thoughts finding prominence in our mind. 1. Why Mitchell, the would-be leader of infidelity in the Northwest, wanted to take Henry Ward Beecher, the most prominent leader of heterodoxy in America, out buggy-riding among those stumps, while they lovingly discussed the probabilities each had of getting to heaven on two different boats, and neither the right one. 2. That if Duluth only had our magnificent pine forests around and through her borders or Brainerd had her Lake Superior, we would be contented to spend the remnant of our early existence in either city.


BRAINERD, August 27th, 1880.

(Brainerd Tribune, 28 August 1880, p. 4, c.’s 2 & 3)

Agriculture in Crow Wing County.

Up to three years ago very little soil was cultivated in Crow Wing county. Messrs. Daniel Mooers, D. McArthur and W. Bean’s farms with a few small tracts cultivated in the immediate vicinity of Crow Wing village, and gardens in and about Brainerd, made up the sum of all the farming in the county. Then came experimental production, by Capt. Sleeper, C. F. Kindred, Russell, Mahan, Kiebler, Whitely, Wadham, Stillings, Pegg, Lingnau, Hart, Iaichner, Beschaft, and others, and the soil was thus demonstrated to be as good as the best.

The experiments of these gentlemen were, of course, with new soil—unsubdued—and for the most part on the upland clay soils, heavy, tenacious, and for the most part uninviting. Wheat was grown ranging from 22 to 40 bushels per acre, oats 60 to 65, splendid straw, clean and bright, when harvested, and wheat entirely without rust; corn has never failed to be a good crop and potatoes and root crops generally, not excelled anywhere. This result was obtained by no careful tillage, but simply from ordinary skill of average experience.

On some sandy soils, with periods of considerable time of drouth, crops suffered somewhat. For instance three years ago, no rain fell in certain portions of the county, to wet into the potato hills for about eight weeks, and on sandy soils only about a two-thirds crop was raised. On the clay soils root crops did not suffer, and an average yield of grain of all kinds was raised.

Two years ago we had a very wet June, and crops, especially potatoes were injured on low flat lands, but grain better than the average. We are satisfied that our clay lands will stand more drouth than the generality of Minnesota soil, and our sandy loams will stand any amount of wet without serious injury to farm products. The flat clay uplands, would in all cases be prepared to carry off readily surplus rain falls, and when this contingency is provided for there will be no complaint about success in farming.

This season Messrs. John Martin, H. F. Phelps, Wm. Cole, C. Bailey, C. L. Mayo, and numerous others on Crow Wing prairie, have raised splendid crops of wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn and vegetables, as well as Maurick, on the Kindred farm, Harman, Bain, Myers, Nichols, Drake, on the Sleeper farm; Dinwiddie, Warren, and a hundred others whom we have not space to name in detail. Indeed, Mr. J. B. Power, in gathering samples of the various cereals and root crops for his celebrated car exhibition of the products of the Golden Northwest, for the Eastern States, paid Crow Wing county a handsome and just tribute when he said “the best samples in this car of vegetables or grain are the productions of Crow Wing county farmers. “

The time is not far distant when our county will be as good as the best in the estimation of the public, and when her farmers quit relying wholly upon wheat and diversify their productions, engaging largely in stock raising, they will in seasons of disaster to the wheat growers have a sure and certain income and be prosperous and content. Our farming areas are not so favorable for grain production on a large scale as the Western prairies, being about equally made up of timber, meadow, and brush prairie lands, and hence the temptation to engage largely in raising wheat is not as great as on the bleak prairies, neither is the likelihood of farmers becoming bankrupt by the loss of some one crop, that other farmers place their whole dependence upon.

We congratulate the farmers of Crow Wing county upon their foresight and upon their success; and can assure them that their lands are as valuable as any in the west, and their market as good as exists anywhere. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 September 1880, p. 1, c.’s 2 & 3)

SEE: 1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1

SEE: 1878 Brainerd

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad

SEE: 1881 Gull River Gleanings

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1899 Best Town in the State

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming



Past, Present, and Future Outlook; Its

Advantages, Resources and




Some time in our past life we have read a story entitled, “Among the Pines,” and there was something so soft and beautiful in the words that we were prompted to peruse the story to the end.

The incidents of that narrative are now forgotten, but the above quotation is still fresh in our memory, and was vividly recalled to mind upon our entrance to the beautiful city of Brainerd and it occurred to us at once, what a spot for the romanticist, what food and material is here for the novelist. However it is not our purpose to write a romance, but to simply recount some of the numerous incidents of the early growth of “the City among the pines,” and portray as best we can some of the advantages and attractions of one of Minnesota’s fair cities. The origin and growth of all towns is prompted and takes form according to the conditions or circumstances by which they are surrounded. One is founded where the channels of commerce converge, and a metropolis is the result. Another is built with reference to healing springs and bracing atmospheres, and a Saratoga is the direct outgrowth. One is the result of extensive mining or industrial interests, while others are formed by superior agricultural advantages. The concentration and development of railroad enterprise is, in many cases, the signal for the accumulation of people and the augmentation of business matters. The settlement of all new countries is attended with a rapid influx of population, and the location of cities and towns becomes a matter of necessity. To railroad enterprise, more than any other perhaps, is due the existence of Brainerd. And while this element is still, to a great extent, the sustaining force, it cannot be denied that various other factors exist, which may be utilized to the advancement and growth of this young city. Less than a decade has passed since Brainerd was ushered into existence, and when we come to review the past, and take into consideration the depression in business matters, that, during the past ten years visited almost every town and city in the country, it cannot be with any degree of dissatisfaction that we view the results. Located in the heart of what was then a vast wilderness, with little or no agricultural resources, rapid and permanent advancement could not reasonably be expected.

The prosperity that marked the first few years of the existence of the town, was greatly the result of speculation, aided by the excitement that attends, to a certain extent, the construction of all new cities or villages, and the growth became abnormal, and the town was crowded in advance of its resources, and the subsequent lethargy was but an inevitable result. The town was far ahead of the surrounding country, and a halt was necessary, in order that the development of the country become sufficiently advanced to take its place as a sustaining agency. Many wearied in the waiting, but there were those who had faith in the future of the young city, and the time has now arrived when they are seeing anticipations realized. The revival of business matters throughout the land swept like a great wave over the country, and Brainerd has not remained unmoved by the rushing tide. During the years 1879-80 the improvements in Brainerd will aggregate ($120,000) one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, and when the fact is known that these improvements have been distributed among nearly or quite two hundred individuals; it must be conceded that the revival of prosperity is of a general character. These improvements consist of new buildings, private residences, business houses and public works; have been made by money that has accumulated here through the legitimate channels of trade, and are the most permanent and substantial character. New buildings may be observed upon every hand, with their white robed walls mingling with the green foliage of the forest pines. The census completed in June last, showed a population in Brainerd of over 2,100 and with numerous acquisitions since, the number has greatly augmented, until the number of inhabitants at the present time will not fall far short of two thousand five hundred souls.


Brainerd is possessed and surrounded with numerous elements calculated to contribute to the growth and prosperity of a city or town. As above observed, to railroad enterprise, Brainerd owes its existence and upon this agency depends greatly the future success of this place. Still each succeeding year unfolds new resources, and makes this dependence less absolute. The inauguration of other industries, prominent among which is the lumbering interest has, and will in the future greatly enhance the importance of business growth. The settlement and development of the farming lands of the county is also contributing not a little to Brainerd’s prosperity. Much of Crow Wing county, of which Brainerd is the seat of Justice, has in the past, been regarded with ill-favor; the soil, which is largely composed of a sandy loam, has been looked upon as valueless by the agriculturalist, and settlers have chosen other locations in preference. In more recent years, however, it has been discovered that this soil which is warm and nourishing, contains a large admixture of clay, and is not only adapted to the culture of wheat—the great staple product of the Northwest—but to the growth of vegetables of every description. The sandy loam soil, being warm and mellow, vegetation advances much more rapidly than in all clay ground. During the past few years the county is being rapidly settled up, and many valuable farms may now be found within the boundaries of Crow Wing county.

The county is well supplied with water, and an abundance of excellent hardwood and pine timber exists in almost inexhaustible quantities. The geographical position of Brainerd is most favorable for extensive growth. Situated as it is on the banks of the Mississippi river, and about equal distance from Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth and Fargo, it must sooner or later become the focal point of extensive commercial and industrial transactions. Brainerd is a division station on the line of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and the northern terminus of the “Western” or St, Paul branch of the road. The shops of the company—and which are among the most extensive in the Northwest—are located here, and a brief glance at the importance and magnitude of the same will be apropos to this occasion. The Northern Pacific Railroad, the eastern terminus of which is at Duluth, on Lake Superior, extends westward through the State of Minnesota and the Territory of Dakota for a distance of nearly or quite (500) five hundred miles, and the work of construction is rapidly progressing in the direction of the “setting sun.” In 1871 the road was completed to this place and that year shops were also erected; and at the present time all the work and repairs for the company is accomplished here. Under the guidance of the company’s gentlemanly and efficient Superintendent of machinery, Mr. A. P. Farrar, the writer recently enjoyed the pleasure of a tour of this company’s shops. The shops and round house are situated in the eastern outskirts of the town, and comprise numerous structures some of which are of mammoth dimensions. The main building which comprises the machinery department and the place where car building and wood work is accomplished, is 240 feet in length by 60 feet in width. Here the ponderous and complicated machinery used, is of the best and most desirable character, and while the entire capacity of the establishment, nearly, is required for keeping up repairs, and the manufacture of extras and supplies, they are provided with every facility for the construction, complete, of either engines, cars, coaches or palace cars. The blacksmithing department has recently been enlarged, and now comprises a building 120 feet long by 60 wide and contains 24 forges or fires. In addition to the above are the foundry, quite a large building, the tank house, the store house—this latter under the supervision of H. D. Follett, an intelligent, pleasant gentleman—the office, round house, with twelve stalls, and the paint shop which is 125 feet in length by 60 in width. The motive power for this mammoth industry is supplied by a 75 horse power engine made by the Columbian Iron Works at Chicago, Ill. The company owns sixty-seven locomotive engines, and to their large quota of rolling stock continually additions are being made. They have recently purchased four new coaches and two parlor cars for the accommodation of the traveling public. These cars are from the works of the Barney & Smith company of Dayton, Ohio, and attest the best skill of that well-known establishment. The equipments of the N. P. R. R. are indeed scarcely inferior in any respect to the best and oldest roads of the country, and under the enterprising management of General Manager Sargent and Superintendent Towne are constantly being improved. The company are the owners of a large and handsome structure here, which is used for official headquarters. The various officers of the company are quartered in this building which is situated near the depot, and chief of which is Mr. H. A. Towne, the efficient General Superintendent. Mr. Towne not only has the interests of the company at heart, but manifests no little interest in the welfare of Brainerd, his home, and many substantial improvements might be traced to him as the originator, and it is his intention to soon farther contribute to the substantial improvements of the place by the erection of a large brick block. The number of men employed by the N. P. company, amounts in the aggregate to 470. The months’ disbursements here in Brainerd, reach nearly ($25,000) twenty-five thousand dollars. We are credibly informed of the intention of greatly increased facilities, and extensive additions to the shops, together with a largely augmented force of hands, to take place in the not distant future. The rapid extension of the road requires increased facilities for work, and without doubt Brainerd will reap the benefit of contemplated improvements in that direction. The advantages of such an enterprise to a town are apparent to all. The absolute certainty of the distribution of a large sum of money, monthly, no matter from what source it comes, must create a healthy and prosperous condition in matters of trade.

As a point for the profitable manufacture of lumber, Brainerd is not surpassed in the Northwest. The upper Mississippi, the Gull and Crow Wing rivers and their tributaries, penetrate some of the most extensive and valuable pine forests in the State, and Brainerd, aside from being the place of distribution for logging forces of all this section of country, is easily reached by the raftsman or log-driver. With existing railroad facilities afforded by the N. P. company, penetrating the extensive prairie regions of the great northwest, connecting with the great lake routes forming in connection with other lines direct and continuous routes south, east and west, all considered, secures to those engaged in this industry—the manufacture of lumber—superior advantages. With excellent facilities for the shipment of lumber, and being situated so near the base of supplies—the pine forests—the business cannot be other than remunerative. As yet Brainerd has but one sawmill and of which we shall have occasion to speak hereafter.

The residence portion of Brainerd presents a neat and tasteful appearance. Many handsome, and some quite expensive dwellings are observed. Several good churches and a substantial school building bespeak a community of intellectual propensities. The business portion of the town is composed of frame structures, and really does not show a favorable comparison with other features. But this is the case in most new towns, and Brainerd is not worse off in this respect than many of her sister towns. We are informed that during the coming year, several brick structures will be erected, or take the place of the more primitive wooden buildings. Speaking of this matter leads us to remark another valuable and important industry that has been recently developed, and which is the manufacture of brick. Located only a short distance from the town is one of the best brick yards to be found in the State. This is the property of Mr. Wm. Schwartz. This enterprise is destined to figure prominently in the future of Brainerd, and its importance cannot be over estimated. But of this we shall speak more fully hereafter.

Brainerd is beautifully situated upon the left or eastern bank of the Mississippi river; the streets are broad, crossing at right angles and with the white robed cottages peeping out through the green foliage of the evergreen pines, presents a beautiful and unique appearance. Briefly we present a town, attractive in itself, and one possessed of many elements of prosperity.


This element so necessary to the business circles of any community is liberally supplied in Brainerd. First on the list is the Leland House, under the proprietorship of Messrs. Stratton & Heath. This house originally built and kept by W. H. Leland, has ever been a popular resort with the traveling public, and we have not the least doubt of the ability of the present proprietors, who have but recently assumed the management of the establishment, to maintain the former excellent reputation. Mr. Stratton has had many years experience in the hotel business, is a genial pleasant gentleman, as is also Mr. Heath, and they will ever make the comfort of guests their first consideration. Mr. E. L. Smith, who has been identified with the house for some time, is retained as clerk, and is a pleasant gentleman, and popular with the public. The Leland is a large three story structure neatly furnished and conveniently located. Briefly speaking, the Leland House embodies all the qualities calculated to insure its popularity—the most obliging of hosts, good rooms, good table, convenient location, and unusually low prices, and to the traveling public, who have occasion to visit Brainerd, we cheerfully commend it, and we speak whereof we know.

SEE: Leland House / Commercial Hotel in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


This hotel is under the proprietorship of Wm. Steele; the building is a large frame structure composing hotel and depot building. Trains stop here for meals and the house enjoys an excellent reputation.


is the next on the list, and is also a well-kept house. This house is conveniently located, and is doing a thriving business.

Shupe’s Hotel, the Marshall house and 5th Street hotel complete the list, and there is perhaps not another town of the same size in the State containing the same number of hotels that are as liberally patronized.

SEE: Merchants Hotel in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


The manufacturing interests of any community are, or should be of first importance, so we invite attention to those of Brainerd, commencing with the


of J. A. Davis & Co. This mill originally built by E. H. Bly some years ago, has ever been an element of great good to the town, but never more so than at the present time and under the present management. A word as to the personnel of the above firm. Mr. J. A. Davis, the manager of the establishment, and formerly of Minneapolis, has long been identified with the lumber and log business of the Northwest, for several years of the firm of A. S. Davis & Son, of the above named city. Mr. Davis also served for many years as U. S. Land Examiner. The “Company” of the above organization comprises the well-known firm of Farnham & Lovejoy, of Minneapolis, and extensive manufacturers and dealers in lumber in that city. The firm of J. A. Davis & Co. was organized in April of the present year, as the successors to Jones Bros. Last season the mill was greatly improved and the capacity increased by the introduction of new and improved machinery, and so far as the working facilities of the establishment are concerned is second to none in the Northwest. The products of this establishment consist of pine and hardwood lumber of every description, shingles, lath, etc. The manufacture of bill, and dimension lumber, bridge and builders’ material is also a very important feature. They are the owners of extensive pine forests, and are so facilitated as to enable them to do business at much less expense than many similar establishments. The mill is provided with one double circular saw and one steam fed sider, besides jointer saws, and contains a capacity for the manufacture of (60,000) sixty thousand feet of lumber per diem. This however does not include shingles or lath of which they have facilities for making respectively 30,000 and 20,000.

The mill contains two planers and they are prepared to furnish bills of dressed lumber as well as all kinds of rough material. It is the purpose of the proprietors, we believe, to erect next year a first-class planing mill which shall be entirely separate and distinct from the saw mill and which will not only add greatly to the facilities for doing business, but will also be a desirable acquisition to the industries of the town. The motive power of the establishment is supplied by a Milwaukee Allis steam engine of 125 horse power. About 75 hands are employed in all the various departments and nearly ($2,500) twenty-five hundred dollars disbursed monthly as wages to those employed. The mill is situated on the bank of the Mississippi river, and the log supply floated to its very doors, and at comparatively slight expense. A railroad track has been laid from the main line of the N. P. road to the mill, and the facilities for both receiving and shipping stock is all that could be desired. The products of this establishment find a ready market south and west, and the excellence of their quality, together with the low prices for the same is gaining for the establishment an enviable reputation, as well as securing to Brainerd the commendable importance of being the leading lumber mart of Northern Minnesota. The near proximity of this mill to the base of supplies—the pine forests—the excellent facilities for the shipment of lumber, the wide range of products, covering everything pertaining to the lumber trade, the excellent and well-known reputation of the proprietors, are all elements in favor of this establishment, and facts dealers and consumers will do well to consider when about to purchase. Brainerd may be somewhat deficient in the number of her industries, but in this establishment she may be excused for manifesting pride in its possession, for the enterprise is certainly one which any city, however great, might justly feel proud to own.

SEE: Bly’s Sawmill in the Bridges, Mills, etc. in Brainerd page.


Wm. Schwartz, proprietor, is in every essential respect a leading industry as regards not only this town, but Northern Minnesota as well. The importance to a town of all industrial enterprises, can scarcely be over estimated, but there are those occupying spaces of an indispensable importance and usefulness, and this is one of that kind. Mr. S. came to Brainerd nearly eleven years ago, and embarked in mercantile pursuits, and his large, well-stocked store of today, which stands in the front ranks of Brainerd’s mercantile affairs, bespeaks an active and enterprising disposition on the part of the proprietor. None have done more, perhaps, for the advancement of Brainerd’s interests than Mr. S., and this last stroke of enterprise—the opening of an extensive brick yard—will prove of untold value, not only to this city but to much of the entire northwest.

One year ago last spring Mr. Schwartz commenced the manufacture of brick on his land about a mile north of town. He commenced in a small way, making his brick by hand, but enough was accomplished to fully demonstrate that the business, properly managed, would prove a success, and Mr. S. set about the work of improving his grounds and procuring machinery with his characteristic energy. And now we will briefly review the result of his efforts. In the first place we will mention the fact that he is the owner of about 800 acres of land adjoining the city of Brainerd, which is underlaid with a superior article of clay, and which is of untold depth. This clay is found but a short distance below the sandy surface of the ground, and is easily obtained. Close upon the banks of the Mississippi river Mr. S. has located his yard, and which we are entirely safe in saying is one of the very best arranged and equipped, if not the best in the State. He has provided himself with four of the Coulson Patent Brick Machines, each capable of making 10,500 bricks per day. Two of these machines are kept constantly in operation, hence 21,000 bricks are made daily. About six months of the year is devoted to the business and it will be observed that about (3,000,000) three millions of brick is the annual product. Mr. S. is provided with a superb 40 horse power steam engine which operates the machinery, pumps the water from the river, and hauls the clay from the beds to the grounds. About 40 hands are employed, and the work is systematically conducted. Buildings have been provided for the accommodation of hands with lodging and boarding houses complete, barns, sheds, ice houses, &c., and in fact there is but one thing lacking to make the enterprise one of the most complete in the Northwest, and that is a railroad track from the main line of the Northern Pacific road to the works. And it is to be hoped that the company will soon find it to their interest to supply this needed addition to an important industry. Bricks are shipped in every direction over the Northern Pacific Road, and the demand for Brainerd bricks is constantly increasing. The productions of this yard are similar in appearance to the famous Milwaukee brick, and are fully equal to the latter in every respect, while they are afforded at much lower prices.

The material for making this brick is inexhaustible, and the facilities of wood, water, etc., so convenient, enables Mr. S. To produce brick at less expense than Eastern manufacturers who procure labor much cheaper. This industry not only brings money to the place, but furnishes employment to a large number of hands, and aids in building the towns of the Northwest in a substantial and attractive manner, and under the efficient management of Mr. Schwartz is bound to soon rank among the important industries of the State.

SEE: Brainerd Steam Brickyard in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


is the large grocery house of Hartley & Knox, an enterprise worthy of the place of honor as regards the line of business represented. In the various branches of trade necessary to complete the commercial ranks of all cities and towns, none are more indispensable than the grocery and provision store, and none are more susceptible—as the case may be—of a wider range of perfection or imperfection. In the present case a glance about the establishment discloses a stock of goods, which in character at least, will compare with that of similar stores of our larger cities. This store was organized January 1st, of the present year, and at once assumed, and has ever maintained, a foremost place in the line represented. Mr. Hartley has been identified with the business interests of Brainerd for many years. Mr. Knox came here from Aitkin, where for several years he has been engaged in mercantile pursuits, and both are men of experience, well and favorably known. They do quite an extensive wholesale business, and furnishing camp supplies is also a very important feature. Staple and fancy groceries, provisions of all kinds, flour and feed, teas, green, dried, and canned fruit, and in fact everything that belongs to a first-class trade is represented in stock. They are the occupants of a store 100 feet long by 25 feet wide, together with large warehouse, all of which space is well filled, and making one of the largest and most complete stores in western Minnesota. To say they are doing a leading business in every respect, is but doing justice to a worthy enterprise.


Banking interests when properly conducted comprise one of the most important and useful elements in the business affairs of any community. They form a cog in the great wheel of commerce, without which the ponderous machine called business would become absolutely demoralized. The above named institution, under the proprietorship of Wm. Ferris & Co., was inaugurated January 1st, 1880, and has already entered upon a career of usefulness, and as the only bank in the county is in the enjoyment of an extensive and increasing business. The proprietary management is vested in the following well-known gentlemen: Wm. Ferris & H. J. Spencer. Mr. F. who is the business manager of the establishment, came to Brainerd in the employ of the Express company in 1872, and as one of the old residents of the place is well and favorably known throughout this section of the State as a man of integrity, as well as one of our foremost enterprising citizens. A general banking business is conducted here and facilities for doing business are of the most desirable character. They have just completed a substantial fire-proof vault, with solid two foot walls, and in which will soon be placed a first class burglar proof safe, with time lock making the institution absolutely safe from the encroachments of either fire or theft.

SEE: Bank of Brainerd in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


This department of the business interests of Brainerd is well represented in the establishment of Wm. Ferris. Two years ago, Mr. F. Succeeded to his business, purchasing the stock of Mr. A. Lebon, and since which time a most successful business has been conducted. The stock here embraces gold and silver watches, clocks, jewelry, silver and plated ware, and so far as the style and quality of goods are concerned will compare favorably with similar concerns of our large cities. Mr. F. employs Mr. Fred. G. Sundberg, a practical watch make of many years’ experience, and the facilities for watch work and repairing are unequaled by the best.

This enterprise is worthy of a foremost place in this review of the town, and under the supervision of Mr. F. will ever maintain the standard of perfection that he has already gained for a popular place in public esteem.

W. A. SMITH, & CO.,

dealers in dry goods, clothing, boots, shoes, hats, caps, and furnishing goods, are entitled to a foremost place in this review. This house was established some five years ago under the style of Smith & Campbell, and only changed to the present name in March last. Here we find a store 70 feet in length by 25 in width, and filled to the utmost capacity with goods, every department being complete to the minutest detail. The showing in dry goods, notions, and fancy articles, is scarcely inferior as regards style and quality to the similar stores of our larger cities. The same may, without exaggeration, be said of the clothing and boot and shoe departments. The store presents a neat and inviting appearance, and indicates experience on the part of those who superintend the management of business. The proprietors are both men of experience, and Mr. W. E. Campbell, the junior member of the firm, being associated with the wholesale clothing house of Campbell & Burbank, of St. Paul, renders the facilities for the purchase of goods extremely advantageous. Mr. Smith, upon whom the chief management of the business devolves, is a pleasant gentleman, and under his supervision the establishment has gained a leading place in the mercantile ranks of northern Minnesota.


N. McFadden is the only representative of the above line of business in Brainerd, and as one of the leading elements of the mercantile interests of the place we allude to the establishment. This house was originally established in 1871 by J. P. Dunn. Mr. M. has been identified with the business for the past six years, and he has built up an enterprise that does credit to himself and an honor to the town. Mr. M. is the occupant of a large and handsomely arranged store, and the stock and appointments will compare with any similar enterprise outside our large cities. The stock is not only large but complete to the minutest details, embracing drugs, medicines, toilets, and perfumery goods, and a thousand and one articles of use and ornament, such as are found only in the first-class establishments of our metropolitan cities. The sale of fishing tackle, ammunition, cigars, tobacco, &c., is also a very important item. Mr. McFadden is both town and county treasurer, and one of Brainerd’s staunch and most enterprising businessmen.

SEE: McFadden Drug Store and Westfall Clothing Store in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


comprise the principal articles of stock in the large establishment of Linnemann & Koop. This house, inaugurated about two months ago, has already assumed a place in business matters not far from the best, and has every element of success. Mr. Koop, upon whom the management of the concern devolves, came here from St. Joseph, Stearns county, where Mr. Linnemann is located, and for the past 25 years has been one of the leading businessmen of that county. The stock carried here is large, and made up of goods of the most excellent quality. All departments are complete, and the prices for goods unusually low. They have the most complete hat and cap department in the place, and in the matter of supplying camps with provisions, which is a special feature, the facilities are unexcelled. Next spring Mr. Koop expects to build a substantial store on Front street, which will greatly facilitate business matters. The Tribune welcomes the new firm to Brainerd business circles, and bespeaks for them a permanent success.

SEE: Koop Blocks in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


Under this head we are pleased to speak of the new establishment of Nevers & Brown. This is a new firm, but is composed of men by no means strangers to the Brainerd public. Both gentlemen have for a number of years been identified with the business interests of the place, and are well known as enterprising businessmen. The inauguration of this establishment has given to Brainerd another important business enterprise, and one filling a long felt want, and its future success is already assured. All the various departments are well supplied with goods of excellent style and quality. The showing in furnishing goods is the best and largest in the place, and the same might perhaps be said of the hat and cap department. In furniture they carry a complete stock of the most reliable goods made, and they expect soon to add an undertaking department. Business is increasing constantly, and the time is not far distant when this house will take its place among the leading mercantile establishments of this section. Success to the new enterprise, say we.

SEE: Nevers Clothing Store in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


are the leading representatives of the hardware interests of Brainerd, and should be accorded a prominent place in this review. This house was originally established by T. Bason about two and a half years ago. The present firm, however, was recently inaugurated, and since which time, the facilities have been greatly augmented. They carry a large and complete stock, consisting of shelf and heavy hardware, stoves, tin, sheet iron and copper ware, agricultural tools and machinery, paints, oils, varnishes &c. Tools of all kinds, and cutlery are also well represented. In agricultural machinery they do the leading business, and make the sale of the Minneapolis Monitor Plow a specialty. The Messrs. Bason are both practical tin and coppersmiths, and manufacture the most of this class of goods sold. Roofing and spouting is is also an item of interest in business transactions, and as they are the only parties in the place doing this class of work are doing an extensive business. The Bason Bros. are wide awake business men, and none in Brainerd are more worthy of success.


Under this head we will allude briefly to the establishment of Mrs. Walter Davis. There is no feature in the business interests of any community that fills a sphere of greater usefulness, or one that is more deserving of being sustained. This business was established in a small way about five years ago, has grown to be one of the most important elements in Brainerd’s mercantile interests, and so far as the character and style of stock is concerned, can compete fully with the similar stores of our large cities. The stock embraces blank, school, and miscellaneous books, wall paper, and a thousand and one articles of use and ornament too numerous to be named. A complete news depository, where may be found all the leading daily and weekly papers, periodicals, magazines, &c., published in the country, is a very important feature. The sale of musical instruments, sheet music and musical goods, is also an item worthy of more than passing notice. In this line the Burdette and Western Cottage organs, or the Fisher, Lyon and Healy, and Metropolitan pianos are leading instruments. All in all this is one of the most commendable and useful features of Brainerd’s business interests, and should receive the support and encouragement of every citizen in the place.

SEE: Davis (Martha P.) Ice Cream Parlor / Bookstore / Music Store in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


In this line White & White occupy the leading place, so far as Brainerd is concerned, and the business conducted is of an extensive and growing character. This enterprise was originally inaugurated by Edward White, with the origin of the town. The present firm, which comprises Mr. White and his son was organized about two years ago. Both are practical men and first-class mechanics. They employ some fifteen hands and a large amount of the building accomplished in Brainerd during the past ten years might easily be traced to their hands. They also deal in doors, sash, window blinds, mouldings, glass, and dry planed lumber. There is scarcely anything in the line of wood work or building but what they are competent to perform. They have built up a business here of no little importance, and one the benefit of which to Brainerd is surpassed by no other. The Whites’ are enterprising men with progressive ideas, and none are more deserving of the success accomplished in the past.

SEE: White Brother’s Hardware & Contractors in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


Under this head we are pleased to allude to the establishment of D. E. Slipp. This is a new house with new stock, in all the various departments. Mr. Slipp has been in business in this city for the past three years, and was recently of the firm of Hartley & Slipp, in the grocery trade. In the inauguration of his present business, Mr. Slipp has supplied a want, and there is every indication of a permanent success. In hardware, stoves, tin ware, cutlery, &c., he carries a complete and well selected stock, and the showing in crockery, Queens and glassware is big, for the best and largest in the place. Good goods and low prices is the motto here, and the writer does not hesitate to commend the establishment to the public of Brainerd and vicinity, as a most desirable trading place.

SEE: Slipp Block in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


another of Brainerd’s old residents and businessmen, claims for a few moments our attention. Mr. S. first came to Brainerd in 1870. At that time he was connected with the construction forces employed by the Northern Pacific company, and here he has remained, and has been continually identified with the town ever since. At the present time he is at the head of a first-class tobacconist establishment carrying a large and complete line of tobaccos, cigars, pipes and smoker’s material of every description. In the same room and under the proprietorship of Mrs. S. is a complete news, book and stationery department. Here are observed a large line of blank and miscellaneous books, fancy articles, and periodical literature of every description. All the leading daily papers are also kept on hand. this, to say the least, is an establishment deserving well at the hands of the Brainerd public.

SEE: Post Office in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


Mrs. C. Grandelmeyer is the only representative of the above line in Brainerd, and there is no enterprise more worthy of notice in this connection. Mrs. G. commenced business as a dressmaker about seven years ago, and about two years since, added a stock of millinery and fancy goods, and today she carries a stock, which in character at least, will compare favorably with that of similar concerns of our large cities. The stock embraces all that is new and desirable in the millinery line, and the display of fancy goods and ladies’ furnishing, is very desirable. Mrs. G. keeps Butterick’s paper patterns, and her facilities for supplying the public wants in her line is fully equal to the demand. Possessed of experience, and excellent taste, her selections comprise the most stylish goods the market affords, and we do not hesitate to commend the establishment to the ladies of Brainerd and vicinity, thoroughly reliable in every respect.

SEE: Grandelmyer (Caroline) Millinery & Dressmaking Shop in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


dealer in groceries, confectionery, &c., is the next claimant of our attention, and there is no establishment in Brainerd more worthy of notice in this connection. Mr. Knox is located on Fifth street, is the recent successor to Julius M. Hartley and he carries a line of goods unequaled by any house in the place. Fancy groceries, fruit and canned goods, are specialties, and the showing all that could be desired. Mr. K. makes the sale of fruits and confectionery a very important feature, and carries the best and largest line in Brainerd. In fact all that belongs to a first-class grocery house, good and complete stock, low prices, and fair and honorable treatment, is embodied in this establishment which we cheerfully commend to the Brainerd public.


is the representative of interests somewhat novel in character, but nonetheless important for that fact. Mr. Veon is a dealer in a stock of goods widely varied in character, but containing almost everything in the line of the useful and ornamental. Fancy goods, notions, pictures, frames, paintings, chromos, and a thousand and one articles of use and beauty. Cabinet and wagon works also occupy the attention of Mr. Veon to a certain extent. The manufacture of picture frames is also a very important feature. A ten cent and five cent counter is also new, and getting to be a very popular element of the establishment. In brief, here may be found a wide range of useful and ornamental articles which are sold very cheap, and we see no reason why the success of such an enterprise should not be permanent. Mr. Veon is an honorable, fair-dealing man, and during the past three years that he has been doing business here, has gained many friends, and it is with pleasure we commend his establishment to public notice.

SEE: Veon (Andrew E.) Cabinet Maker / Undertaker in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


when properly cultivated, is deserving of the utmost encouragement, and as a rule true merit is sooner or later discovered and appreciated. The only representative of the photographic art in Brainerd is Mr. Jos. Hill, an artist of 32 years practical experience, and as his work indicates, one who has ever kept pace with the improvements that have been brought out from year to year. Mr. Hill is the owner of a large first-class gallery in St. Cloud, this State, and his facilities for the execution of anything pertaining to art matters is unsurpassed by the best establishments of the large cities. Views, landscape and stereoscopic, copying and enlarging, are among the specialties, and Mr. H. has numerous beautiful views of Brainerd and its surroundings that betray a more than ordinary artistic taste. Specimens of the various classes of work produced were observed by the writer and he does not hesitate to pronounce it equal to any that could be found in the best galleries of our metropolitan cities.


establishment of Miss Mattie Caley has become an indispensable feature to the business interests of Brainerd, and is worthy of extended notice in this connection. This enterprise, established about three years ago, embodies all the desirable qualities of a first-class restaurant and confectionery, and has gained a popularity that might well be envied by more pretentious concerns. Miss C. has excellent facilities for the accommodation of day boarders, of which she has quite a number. She sets a most excellent table, and at prices that cannot fail of satisfaction. The confectionery department is well stocked with candies, fruits, cigars and tobacco, the best goods being carried. A complete bakery department is also an important feature of this enterprise. All in all it is one of the most deserving and commendable features in the business circles of Brainerd, and should be well sustained.

SEE: Caley (Mattie) Restaurant and Bakery in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.


of the grocery trade, has been identified with the business interests of Brainerd for the past eight years, and none have gained a more popular place in the public favor that he. Mr. S. came here from West Virginia, is a man of experience, honorable in business matters, and is not only one of Brainerd’s oldest citizens, but one of her most enterprising businessmen. He has built numerous business houses here, and contributed in various ways to the advancement of the city’s interests. As regards his present establishment we find him with an excellent stock of staple and fancy groceries, fruit, cigars, tobacco, &c., and provided with the most desirable facilities for supplying the public want. It is to be hoped that Mr. S. will continue to make Brainerd his home for many years to come.


of J. C. Flynn & Co., is an enterprise worthy of more than a passing notice in this connection. This firm is a recent acquisition, but the establishment, which is under the management of Mr. R. H. Paine, a man well-known to the Brainerd public, has already assumed a foremost place in the line represented. The stock carried here is of the most excellent as well as most complete character and if there is an enterprise that deserves well at the hands of the Brainerd public this is one. Mr. Paine has carried on business in this village most of the time for the past seven years, and there is every indication that he is making the present establishment a success.


grocery house is the next subject for consideration, and deserving a place in the resume of our business interests. This enterprise was originally established by P. D. Davenport some eight years ago but a few months since it was reorganized with Fred Davenport as proprietor and the stock greatly improved, which has brought increased business, and bespeaks for the establishment a popularity second to none. The stock carried consists of staple and fancy groceries, provisions, fruit, &c., and is made up of the best goods the market affords. The sale of fruits and vegetables is a very important feature, and a rapidly increasing trade indicates public appreciation. Good goods and low prices is the motto at Davenport’s, and we can cheerfully commend the establishment to the public of Brainerd and vicinity.


is the proprietor of one of our leading meat markets, and one of the indispensable features of Brainerd’s business interests. Mr. G. commenced business here a few months ago as the successor to Erb, Nilson & McKee, but he is a man of over 30 years’ experience in the business, and has already secured a footing in business matters of the most permanent character. Mr. G. deals in fresh and cured meats of all kinds, lard, tallow and in fact all that pertains to the stock and appointments of a first-class market is embodied in this establishment.


of the custom boot and shoe business has been “pegging away” for the past year in the interest of the Brainerd public, and he has gained a footing in business matters of a permanent character. Mr. M. is a practical shoemaker of 14 years’ experience, and is equally at home in fine or coarse work. He is doing a leading business in his line, and with the assistance of two or three hands he can accommodate all that come. Give him a call.


Thus we close our review of the business interests of Brainerd. The professions are all well represented, and we can boast possession of men of talent. If in the foregoing resume omissions may have occurred, it is not through motives of interest, but rather through the inability of the writer to secure the facts necessary to their proper presentation. (Brainerd Tribune, 11 September 1880, p. 1, c.’s 1-4 and p. 2, c.’s 1-4)



Thos. McIntyre Caught Burglarizing

and Locked Up.


Mr. I. U. White, of White & White, in charge of the improvements on the private residence of Mr. E. H. Bly, this city, discovered the door to a private room containing some goods and property of Mr. Bly, broken last Monday morning with other evidences that someone had been maliciously trespassing on the premises. He had the door secured by a new lock. Tuesday morning the door was again found in a dilapidated condition, and suspecting that some thief was making himself “too previous,” determined to see who was doing the mischief. Tuesday night he set a couple of his men, Henry Dow and Chas. H. Sumner, on the watch, and about midnight they were aroused by the breaking of the wire screen over one of the windows, the breaking of a pane of glass, and raising of the window., soon the burglar came in through the window, and proceeded to help himself to certain blankets and things in the room, and rolled up a nice fat bundle and was on his way out, when the watchmen who had been taking leisurely notes of the proceeding, pounced upon and captured him. He proved to be a man calling himself Thos. McIntyre, and had been in the employ of Messrs. White & White for a few days, and at work on this building. McIntyre was put in jail, and upon his preliminary examination plead guilty, and was committed to await the action of the grand jury in October. Mr. McIntyre will undoubtedly devote some time to service for the State at Stillwater. He is undoubtedly an old offender and hardened in crime and took his bad luck very unconcernedly. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 September 1880, p. 1, c. 3)

Court Proceedings.

State vs. Thos. McIntyre, indicted by the grand jury for burglary. Defendant plead guilty and was sentenced to two years imprisonment at hard labor at Stillwater—G. W. Holland, County Attorney, for the State. (Brainerd Tribune, 30 October 1880, p. 1, c. 4)

New houses are going up so rapidly just now that we can hardly count them. Prominent among latest additions are a large two story residence and, on the corner of Juniper and Fourth streets by Wm. Ferris, a similar structure on the corner of Juniper and Fifth streets by Dr. Conger, another on the corner of Kingwood and Seventh by Dr. Howes, another on the corner of Kingwood and Ninth by D. C. Horn, another on the corner of Ninth and Main by James Clarke, another on East Front by Walter Davis, another on the corner of Norwood and Seventh by I. U. White, another on South Sixth by A. G. Lagerquist, another on the corner of Norwood and Seventh by Harry Brintnell, and another on the corner of Kingwood and Fourth by B. A. Huestis, besides a myriad of smaller structures all over the town, two large business houses on Front street, one by Linnemann & Koop the other by Mrs. C. Grandelmyer, and one on South Sixth street by L. D. Maxwell. White & White alone have twenty carpenters as busy as they can be and want twenty more to complete their contracts before cold weather, saying nothing of the many houses being put up by other parties. Another season will see a building boom in Brainerd unprecedented in the history of rapid growing western towns. (Brainerd Tribune, 09 October 1880, p. 4, c.’s 1 & 2)



Where and What it is. Its Elements of Prosperity.

There seems to be a disposition upon the part of many to ignore Brainerd and misrepresent or discredit her numerous elements of prosperity and prospects of future importance as a manufacturing and business center, and that, too, right in the face of facts and figures which are indisputable, immutable and irrevocable—facts and figures, however, which will work out their own salvation in due time, whether ignored and misrepresented or otherwise. (A very important step in which direction is the recent loan by the N. P. management of forty million dollars with which to push their road to an early completion to the Puget Sound. This will only hasten the day when Brainerd will become what she is destined to be, the most important lumber manufacturing center in the world.)

In view of these facts and the blindness, willful or otherwise, of very many, even in our own town, the TRIBUNE feels called upon to speak, at every opportunity, in season and out of season, of the resources of the town and the inducements it offers both to capital and labor, for already the demand upon our productions is far in advance of the supply, and there is great need of the induction of capital at once.

A brief glance, therefore, at our City of Pines—where and what it is, and what it is sure to become will demonstrate the basis of our claims and convince the unprejudiced mind that we are right.

Brainerd is located on the east side of the Mississippi river, at the crossing of the Northern Pacific railway, 136 miles north of St. Paul, 115 miles west of Duluth and 138 miles east of Fargo and will one day be the hub of all that vast circuit. It is beautifully laid out on a level plateau, fifty feet above high water mark, in a grove of jack pines, the trees ranging from 30 to 50 feet in height, standing very close together and constituting a cooling shade in summer, and a complete protection against storms of wind and cold in winter.

The first building was erected nine years ago and today Brainerd has a population of fully 3,000, scattered over a large area, extending a mile back from the river among the trees. To the casual observer the town does not show to advantage. An hour or two spent in driving about town, however, will convince the most skeptical that Brainerd is all we represent it to be—a beautiful city of cozy cottages among the pines, and a live railroad town, rapidly developing into the most important lumber manufacturing centre in America.

The N. P. R. R. Co. have here their general, central shops, the largest in the State, employing 250 to 300 men during the winter which number will be increased in the spring to 350 to 400. A new round house, with 24 additional stalls, will be erected the coming season from brick of Brainerd manufacture, and of the best clay west of Milwaukee.

The repair shops will also be enlarged and it is proposed, when the additions are completed, that it will require 1,000 men to keep the rolling stock in good condition to do the business of the road, and this number will be gradually increased as the road is extended west until, when completed to the Puget Sound, 2, 500 men will be required by the company at this point.

The future of Brainerd as a great lumber manufacturing centre is assured. The facilities for manufacturing lumber at this place are not excelled at any point on the Mississippi river, and when we consider that three-fourths of the lumber cut at Minneapolis is floated from the timber areas north of town; that Brainerd is the front door through which nearly all the timber and lumber supplies should and ultimately must go to all the great Northwest; that nearly all of its present supplies are now floated in the raw material past our doors, and brought back manufactured, and that by manufacturing here we can save at least $2.50 per M. for every thousand cut, the capitalist can see, everybody can see, what we have seen, know and assert, that here, in the near future, must necessarily grow up a lumber manufacturing interest second to none, and eventually even greater than the country affords. The immutable law of necessity and economy, will compel this growth and development.

When Minneapolis with her hundred thousand inhabitants and greatly expanded industries in everything excepting lumber, shall occupy the proud name of first in manufactures of all the great Western towns. When Duluth shall have toned down her rugged front, and taken her place among the prominent commercial towns of the world, with a population of 20,000, and Fargo the smiling village of the of the plain, rich in rustic memories and associations, and boasting of her millions in wheat options, and contented population of 10,000, this jack pine plateau will be dotted all over with industrial structures, sawing and planing lumber, making sash, doors and blinds, and building material of all kinds; building cars and repairing the rolling stock of this great transcontinental thoroughfare, and taking the front rank of prosperous towns, with a population of 50,000.

Brainerd is the entrepot to the extensive pineries of the State and to the best oak timber in the world. All the material for car building and repairing, wood, ties and lumber can be concentrated here cheaper than at any other point on the Northern Pacific. Here centres three divisions of the N. P. R. R., and here must develop those industries that are the necessary outgrowth of the business of operating this great national highway that now with a fund of $40,000,000 is certain to be pushed rapidly forward to the earliest possible completion.

Another element rapidly developing that is destined to cut no insignificant figure in the welfare of Brainerd is the rich farming lands in Crow Wing county. Thousands of tons of hay can be cut on its bottom lands and valleys, and the uplands, for the most part are especially adapted to raising of tame grasses. The sub-soil is a heavy clay, with a black mold, and will produce as fine vegetables as can be grown in the State, or in the world. Wheat, oats and corn are of splendid quality, and yield more per acre than on the prairie lands, and are much less liable to lodge. It is a soil that will last for years, and while large grain farms cannot be readily had, from the fact that there is contiguous timber, brush prairie and grass land on every quarter section, this peculiar condition is favorable to the development of a diversified farming, always more profitable and enduring. Over two hundred entries have been made in this county in the last eighteen months and the crops raised by our farmers contiguous to Brainerd were a great and agreeable surprise to many, who without having any knowledge, have been in the habit of thinking that all the lands of the county were light and sandy as in the immediate vicinity of Brainerd. For the poor man the attributes of the land are most favorable. For the rich man he has only to turn loose his thousand head of cattle, cut his hay at a cost of about $1.50 per ton, and the problem of his success is solved. The thousand lumber camps north and the extensive demand along the line, east and west, by the innumerable tie and wood camps for all kinds of produce, hay, flour and feed, vegetables of all kinds, horses, oxen, cows, butter, cheese, milk, pork, everything in fact that can be produced on the farm, and, that, too frequently, at extravagant, and always high prices, constitutes this the best market in the State, and so it must continue. Farmers now bring produce here from a distance of forty miles, and never experience any difficulty in selling for cash. This produce is raised on no better lands than are abundant in our own county, with the advantage of economy of transportation. There is not a section of land in Dakota or the justly celebrated Red River Valley of the North that would produce half the wealth in any one year, afforded by almost any quarter section in this county, cultivating a variety of small grains, vegetables, stock and dairy products, and yet people must be talked to and urged to see this fact, when it is so prominently pregnant, that the least ordinary apprehension ought to grasp it at sight. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 December 1880, p. 1, c.’s 1 & 2)

In our article on “Brainerd: Where and What it is, and its Elements of Prosperity,” appearing in our last issue [27 November 1880], a large number of errors occurred, typographical and otherwise, occasioned by its hasty production and imperfect proof reading, rendering it disagreeably incorrect. The number of employees in the N. P. shops was understated at 175 to 200, while Mr. Tennis, the time-keeper, informs us that over 250, and often nearly 300 are employed. Several words were misspelled, others misplaced, some omitted entirely and others repeated, twisted and distorted. Yet the demand for extra copies was so great that the entire edition was consumed almost before it was printed. The entire article is therefore re-produced this week in a corrected form, and those who were unable to get copies of the last issue can be supplied from this. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 December 1880, p. 4, c. 1)


The Storm in Brainerd.

Special Telegram to the Pioneer Press.

BRAINERD, Feb. 7.—Saturday's storm was the heaviest and the snow is the deepest at this point ever known, being about four feet on the level. The weather has been mild, however, and little or no damage or suffering has been occasioned beyond the obstruction to locomotion both in and out of the city. Our streets resemble a barren waste. Teams are not moving to any extent and only now and then is a pedestrian to be seen wallowing through the beautiful stuff. No train has reached here from St. Paul since Friday noon, though on the Brainerd and Fargo and the Brainerd and Duluth divisions there has been little delay, and the St. Paul division is clear as far as Sauk Rapids, the limit of the jurisdiction of the Northern Pacific, which believes in snow fences. This town and the country about, being so completely protected by timber, storms which wreak destruction upon the prairies are shorn of their fury ere they reach us, so that loss of life or destruction of property by storms is unheard of. There is fuel in profusion all about us, and the supply is ample. (Brainerd Tribune, 12 February 1881, p. 1, c. 3)





Franklin B. Smith Fatally Stabbed

by Samson McGaw.

It was only last week that the little village of Aitkin, on the N. P. line, received through the columns of the TRIBUNE, a considerable space and attention, by virtue of a distressing accident, involving, if not the loss of life, a mishap most serious in its character. And while our columns are ever open to the wants, wishes and welfare of our neighboring town and ever ready to chronicle any item of news therefrom, yet it is not without many regrets that we feel compelled, through justice and respect for our calling and position to lay before the reading public the details of a tragedy most horrible in its results, and one which fixes the brand of Cain upon the brow of another of the children of men.

From a summary of fact in the case, as we have gathered them, it appears that Samson McGaw had been buying his groceries, provisions, etc., of Potter & Co., of Aitkin, for sometime past, and had a running account at this place, the payment of which the proprietor of the store entertained some fears would not be made in reasonable time, and accordingly requesting his bookkeeper, Mr. F. B. Smith, to speak to McGaw about the matter the next time he came in, and request a partial satisfaction at least of the bill. On Saturday last McGaw was accordingly notified of the dimensions his bill was assuming, and requested to in some way negotiate for a settlement thereof. McGaw accordingly brought in his pass book and requested Smith to draw off his account on the book, so that he might know “just how he stood.” This was accordingly commenced, and while this proceeding was being carried on, McGaw advanced exceptions to some of the charges, and eventually became very abusive, and utilized his vocabulary of profanity with considerable vehemence. Smith becoming nettled at this tirade of billingsgate, began to respond in a manner not calculated to bring about any very amicable results. McGaw at last told Smith to “dry up,” or he would break his jaw. Smith immediately came from behind the counter, remarking, “you will, will you!” and with this they clinched, and after a brief scuffle McGaw drew a pocket-knife and drove it to the blade’s full length in Smith’s chest, passing through the rib and penetrating the left lung, breaking the blade off short in the body. Smith, who at this juncture had little idea of the seriousness of the wound he had received, said, “Oh, you have done it in good shape. You have put the knife where it will do the most good.” McGaw at once responded, “Well, I will defend myself if I am hung the next minute for it.” Smith took the affair very lightly, and laughingly joked about it at first, but fainted away in a few minutes. Whereupon a few generous and kind-hearted men of the place, among who were Messrs. H. B. Chase, Jack Gillespie and E. B. Lowell, telegraphed to Brainerd for Dr. J. R. Howes, to come at once, per special train, at their expense. In the meanwhile Sheriff Tibbett’s had arrested McGaw, who took the affair in a very unconcerned manner, and evidently little realized the extent of the crime he had committed. A special car from Brainerd, bearing Dr. Howes, soon arrived at Aitkin, and everything possible for the wounded man was done. The doctor at once proceeded to extract the blade from the man’s side, but soon discovered that he had encountered a not easily accomplished task, and it was only after a tedious and protracted effort that he succeeded in extricating this diminutive, yet terrible instrument of death from the wound. This was immediately followed by a violent hemorrhage, and from this a gradual failing in strength, until the following Monday evening at 8 o’clock, when death ended the suffering of Franklin B. Smith, and implanted the brand of MURDERER on the name of Samson McGaw. It was deemed unnecessary to hold an inquest, as the cause of his death was self-evident. On Tuesday a post mortem examination was held by Dr. Howes.

The foregoing was the current and generally accepted version of the commencement of this affair. However, the remaining items of interest in this horrible affair, and in substance part of the preceding is given in the following telegram to Wednesday’s issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

AITKIN, March 8.—The examination of Samson McGaw, arrested for the murdering of F. B. Smith, took place today before Justice E. O. Murray. County Attorney G. W. Holland, of Crow Wing county, was on hand to take the testimony for the State. The defendant had no counsel. The defendant’s wife was present, and awoke the sympathy of all by her silent grief. The complaint was read to the prisoner, charging him with, willfully, feloniously, and with malice aforethought, murdering Franklin B. Smith. McGaw said:

I hardly know what to say. I am not an educated man and do not know how to plead for myself. I am the man that did the job. The complaining witness, Frank I. Eddy, was the first sworn and said:

I was present when this affair took place at Potter’s store in Aitkin; Mr. McGaw wanted his bill; Smith made it out in bulk; he did not make out the items; McGaw said after Smith showed him what he owed, “I suppose it’s all right, but I have nothing but your d----d word for it;” Smith said he could show him every item; McGaw said, just before the affray, “I have to work for a living, too;” then he repeated, “You have to work for a living?” McGaw said, “Shut up your mouth; I don’t want to hear any more from you;” Smith said again, “You have to work for a living;” McGaw said, “Shut your------ ------ mouth, or I will break it for you;” Smith said, “You will, eh,” and came around from behind the counter, and drew back to strike him hard, and then struck him once that way (giving the motion of a slight blow); McGaw then struck a kind of underhanded blow; he pulled his hand back and pushed it down, and then pushed him with both hands, and they sparred at each other; Smith walked back to the end of the counter and then returned to the middle of the store, and said: “You have done it now. You have put it right there. You have put it in a good place. I am cut;” while saying this he pointed to his breast on the left side; Smith then went around the counter, took off his coat, vest, necktie and collar and tore his shirt down in front; it buttoned on the back; McGaw said, “I mean to defend myself if I am hanged tomorrow for it.”

Dr. J. R. Howes was sworn and said:

I have had charge of Mr. Smith’s case since he was stabbed; on examining him I saw a slight wound near the median line, about a quarter of an inch in length; probing it I [found a knife blade] which had penetrated the sternum, only a slight [touch] could detect something of the nature of steel, portion protruding; I then enlarged the wound in the soft parts a little, and after a long time succeeded in drawing out the blade of the knife; the knife penetrated the lung; without any doubt; it was this wound that caused the death of Smith.

Samson McGaw: On Saturday I hauled a load of wood and drove my team up there to the store and went in; it was about supper time; there was no one in the store then excepting myself and Smith; I asked him for my account; he said that he had something else to do besides making out my account every day; I told him I wished he would make it out, as I wished to see how we stood; I wanted to get something for my family, and did not want to overdraw; he then went to the office and set down the figures of my account on a piece of paper; didn’t set down the items; he then said he could soon tell me how much the bill was; “you owe us 80;” I said that might be all right, but that I had nothing to show for it but his word; that paper was full of figures before he set my account down; then he said he could show every item on the book; I then said, “copy it on my book, and then I can keep the account;” he said no, he wouldn’t bother with that; what I got hereafter he would set down; then he went to asking what I was mad about, and referred to a matter that happened a month ago; I told him I had reasons to be mad about that; I told him if I had been the teamster referred to I would have mashed his d----d mouth; then Smith commenced again on the subject with me, and I told him to shut his d----d mouth; I didn’t want to hear any more of it; I was mad; I was then leaning on the opposite counter, close against Frank Eddy, cutting up the twisted paper that had the figures on; Smith came around to where I was, without saying a word, and struck me once on the cheek and twice on the side of the head over the eye, at the same time seizing me by the shoulder or arm, and pulling me forward; then I struck him with my knife; I told him that if he would not stop I would take him again; he then stepped back a little ways from me, and Potter came into the room.

McGaw was committed to the Brainerd jail, where he will have to lie in durance vile until the court convenes next October, when it will be decided as to what should be the punishment of one whose hands are stained with the blood of his fellow man. The family consists of a wife and two children, who are in very destitute circumstances. The murdered man leaves a wife to mourn his untimely death. The funeral of Mr. Smith took place on Wednesday, at which there was a large attendance. (Brainerd Tribune, 12 March 1881, p. 1, c.’s 3 & 4)

The funeral services of Mr. F. B. Smith, the man who died at Aitkin last Monday from the effects of the wound received at the hands of Samson McGaw, were conducted by Dr. F. J. Hawley, of Brainerd, and were very largely attended. (Brainerd Tribune, 12 March 1881, p. 1, c. 1)

Court Calendar.

State of Minnesota vs. Sampson McGaw. Indictment for murder in the first degree, for killing Frank B. Smith, at Aitkin, March 5th, 1881. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 September 1881, p. 1, c. 5)



State of Minnesota vs. Samson McGaw; murder. No attorney appearing for McGaw, the court appointed C. B. Sleeper to defend the prosecution. The following jury was impanelled: R. G. Sparks, D. D. Smith, F. G. Sundberg, E. W. Kaley, Walter Davis, C. H. Netterberg, A. G. Lagerquist, M. Hagberg, N. D. Dean. S. V. R. Sherwood, J. F. Jackson, C. M. Child.

State of Minnesota vs. Samson McGaw. The jury brought in the following verdict in this case:

“We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty of murder in the first degree, but guilty of manslaughter in the second degree. S. V. R. SHERWOOD, Foreman.” (Brainerd Tribune, 17 September 1881, p. 5, c. 4)

Malaria Manufactory.

We can but observe during our daily meanderings through the streets of Brainerd, the amount of filth that has accumulated and is daily being piled up on our thoroughfares. Here is to be seen a heap of rotten and decaying vegetables, there a quantity of parings and table sweepings thrown out of “somebody's” dwelling, and in another place a pile of old shoes, barrel hoops, cast-off clothing and other miscellaneous rubbish, with perchance a savoring of defunct rodent or feline to set the heap off in an attractive and interesting manner. This all tends to advertise our town, but in what way? Does it instill into the mind of a newcomer who may have in contemplation a permanent location in the town, any impression of beauty, cleanliness, attraction or an idea of the picturesque? How does he conclude with reference to the general condition of the town? No such expletives as “lovely!” “magnificent!” etcetera, does he give vent to in the outpouring of his natural emotions. Nor is this all or the principal feature in this matter that should be given a passing thought. That decaying matter breeds malaria and agars broadcast the seeds of disease in every imaginable form, cannot be disputed. And it is a recognized fact that where decaying vegetables constitute the principal adornment of the streets and highways in a community, there does the dreaded disease diphtheria fasten its deadly fangs upon the hope and joy of every household, which may be the happy possessor of young children. Which is the best and proper policy, to use a little manual labor in cleaning up this garbage or refuse matter, or to sit idly by and see the germ of disease rooting itself in their very household, to eventually reap destruction and sorrow? Not only this, but how much more cheerful would everyone feel to walk about the streets of our beautifully situated little city, and see everything neat, clean and in order; and how much more would the value of property be enhanced by the exercise of a little taste compared with a small amount of exercise to the bones and muscles! We hope the thinking people of Brainerd will take these matters into consideration, and accept what has been ventured in a manner entirely devoid of strict personality, in all good will, and adopt it as an incentive to future improvement, and thus tend to build up our community to a position wherein ii can revel as a criterion to all neighboring towns and cities. (Brainerd Tribune, 26 March 1881, p. 1, c. 3)

The present condition of the streets of Brainerd is a good (?) advertisement for the town. What a favorable impression a newcomer must form from a squint up and down some of our principal thoroughfares! (Brainerd Tribune, 26 March 1881, p. 1, c. 1)

Blooded Stock.

The Globe of April 1st gives an extract from the Turf, Field and Farm, noting the sale to “a party in Minnesota, who does not want his name mentioned,,” of four highbred trotting fillies, viz: Maggie Downing, 2 years old, by Howard’s Mambrino, dam by Vandal; a bay yearling filly, by George Wilkes, dam by Humboldt; the black filly Night Bell, 3 years old, by Administrator, dam by Bell Morgan, and Annie West, a bay filly by Allie West, dam by Conductor. In noticing this sale the Globe said: “The purchaser does himself honor in the ownership of the highbred youngsters,” and that the honor may be rightly conferred, in spite of his great modesty, the Globe now takes pleasure in stating, upon what is believed to be good authority, that the purchaser is Mr. C. F. Kindred, of Brainerd, until lately connected with the land department of the Northern Pacific railroad, and owner of a large grain and stock farm at Valley City, D. T., on the line of the Northern Pacific road.

Upon equally good authority the Globe also desires to state that the four fillies named about were not the only purchases made by Mr. Kindred during his recent visit to Kentucky, but that at the same time he secured three of the products of the great Smuggler, the champion trotting stallion. The Globe regrets it has not the names of these youngsters, so it could give them beyond a doubt, but it is inclined to the opinion two of the three will be found in the following: The bay 1 year old filly Geneva by Smuggler, dam by Pacing Abdallah, second dam by Joe Downing; the bay yearling colt Pirate, by Smuggler, dam Polly by Clark’s Tom Hal.

But why Mr. Kindred should desire to remain in the background in a transaction that does him so much credit as an intelligent and enterprising horseman, as does the above, it a mystery to the Globe.

We also understand Mr. Kindred has purchased a half-interest in a promising young stallion owned in Minnesota, but in the absence of details the Globe refrains from designating the purchase. The foregoing is from the St. Paul Globe of the 4th inst. (Brainerd Tribune, 09 April 1881, p. 1, c. 4)

SEE: 1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1

SEE: 1878 Brainerd

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July

SEE: 1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad

SEE: 1881 Gull River Gleanings

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1899 Best Town in the State

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming



A Drunken and Boisterous Frolic,

if not Crime—The Law Asserting Itself.

A very novel and interesting case (for the lookers-on) was heard Tuesday before Judge Sleeper. It appears from the testimony that one Johnson, at work in the yard of the N. P., has been living with Kate, an Indian woman, for some two months past in the old court house building in West Brainerd. Leaving home Wednesday morning for his work Johnson left his blooming bride, “according to the Indian fashion of 60 days,” in charge of his domicile, apparently happy, and in appearance meekly submissive to the matrimonial yoke. Sometime during the forenoon a double-barreled enemy of the consistency of “thin” gin, about a quart of it, more or less, and a half-breed named Charley Goin, made its appearance, and in a very short time, Kate, failing to possess a strong will yielded to the seductive offering and took the gin, and as a result became highly sensational in her aspirations. Cass county was not large enough to hold her and she slopped over into Crow Wing, with Charley’s winning persuasions and became a guest at the trading post near the river, occupying a quilt, her shawl and the floor of a rear room, second floor, in that building. Wednesday night, Johnson returning from his day’s work at 6 o’clock, and learning that his domicile had been ruthlessly invaded, his marital relations disrupted, and his beautiful Indian maiden drunk, smelt a very large-sized mouse, and very naturally began to reason with himself upon the momentous question: “Who’s been here since I been gone?” His soliloquy closed with the firm conviction that the half-breed Charley was the guilty party. When Kate had modified the intensity of her etherealization (?) she stated that Charley came over in the forenoon to woo her, “Indian fashion,” presented her with a bottle of gin and a bottle of strychnine, instructing her to use the former as a beverage and distribute the poison promiscuously in the food of Johnson and the Deloney family, and then hie herself to the trading post that she might be wooed more exclusively; whether by Charley or someone else does not clearly appear. She followed the instructions with reference to the gin, but before she placed the poison one Jo Deloney put in an appearance and took the strychnine away. Kate, after sobering up and realizing the wickedness of her position and the enormity of the betrayal of her virtue, and feeling bad for the partner of her bosom, the sanctity of whose relation had been so grievously trespassed upon, made complaints against the festive go-between—Charley, and he was arrested, charged with attempting to perpetrate a crime and using the means herein recited to kill by poison Julius Johnson and Joseph Deloney.

Upon the conclusion of the hearing Thursday, Goin was held in the sum of $500 to await the action of the grand jury, and was fortunate in procuring bail, and is now at large. We are not particularly acquainted with any of the parties mixed up in this disgraceful if not criminal affair, but learn from many citizens who have known him for some years that Charley Goin is quite a respectable half-breed and not capable of advising so desperate a deed. There is clearly work for the missionary or detective amongst this class, hereabouts, and one or two other investigations may tend to aerate a traffic and commerce, of a sexual character, not at all creditable to Christian civilization. The authorities are awakened to a sense of duty, and the evils fostered by promiscuous and unlicensed association of white men and squaws, and by wholesale dealing out of liquor to this class are likely to be exposed and exorcised. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 April 1881, p. 1, c. 4)

Thirteen fights a week is the average pugilistic status of the town these times. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 April 1881, p. 1, c. 1)

[TOC: 1881 Heinous Hellishness.



An Old Man Horribly Beaten and Robbed of His Money.

Last Wednesday evening about half-past seven o’clock, we are informed that a Swede named John Berglund, who has been in the employ of C. F. Kindred for several months, and who is a man about sixty years of age, was walking in the vicinity of the railroad bridge, when some of the festive cyprians in one of the houses in that neighborhood, motioned to him to “come in.” The old gentleman shaking his head in the negative, one of the “fellows” of the institution came out and deliberately knocked the old man down, and before he could recover himself, a second man appeared and the two went through the old man’s pockets, relieving him of about one dollar in silver. Mr. Berglund had considerable money in the inside pocket of his leather vest, which these human bipeds failed to discover. The old gent was pretty roughly handled and bears several severe bruises and contusions as the result of this brutal assault. How long will the authorities of Brainerd endure such outrages upon the peace and dignity of the community? When it comes to the public robbing of old and unprotected men on the public thoroughfare, is it not about time to take some active measures? A warrant was issued for the arrest of the two men, and as they are well known, as also their capabilities for general cussedness, they had better look a little out, as our officials are watching them, and a trip down the road might not exactly coincide with their views of enjoyment and easy times. Other parties of similar inclinations and proclivities had better be on their guard, as a new departure in various matters is about to be inaugurated, and there’s vengeance and justice in the air. The old man’s story, as above, is generally believed. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 May 1881, p. 1, c. 5)



Sheriff Mertz Outruns a Railway Train,

and Deserves the Belt.

Sheriff Mertz had quite a lively chase down the track last Wednesday noon, but outran a railway train, and accomplished his design. A young man named Charles Carwyn, who had been employed as a painter in the N. P. shops, had been boarding at the residence of Mrs. Lyons for some time previous, and on Wednesday morning concluded that he didn’t care about remaining any longer, and accordingly made himself somewhat scarce and far between. He also wished to go prepared for fight, either with bullets or pen, as he purloined two revolvers, loaded to the full, and a fine gold pen and holder. With this heavy and dangerous booty he was ready to launch out upon the broad expanse of this great universe, and was, doubtless, intending to capacitate himself in the gush of an editor, or organize himself as a military company for the frontier. His movements indicating that a scarcity of presence in the neighborhood was contemplated, the sheriff was placed on the lookout, who laid low for his man. A deputy was stationed at the bridge and another on the route to Aitkin, and just as the train started, the sheriff spied his man dodge out from some hiding place and jump aboard the rear end of the train. Long lower extremities often come in good play, but in this case longer ones served better. Just to have seen our worthy sheriff at this juncture would have been better than to have paid 25 cents for a sight of Adam Forepaugh’s Colossal and Combined London Circus, Unequaled Superiority of Organization, Gigantic Hippodrome and Thirty-eight of the Largest Shows in the World, Combined in One Ponderous, Prodigious and Never-to-be thought-of Caravansary of Man and Mammal. Checks on coat tails were not to be thought of. The individual upon whom the clutches of the law were about to fasten, was very much amused at the gigantic strides of the, to him, supposed passenger in his attempt to catch the train. Said sheriff got there, saw, and he conquered and captured his man after a good deal of chin music, and a large display of sand on the part of the captive, who stands only about five feet in his shoes. The train was brought to a halt the man searched, the property recovered and identified. He was thereupon piloted back to Brainerd, and given lodging in the county hotel until Thursday morning, when he was brought before Justice Sleeper, and assessed to pay a fine of ten dollars and costs amounting to some six dollars, and also required to pay his delinquent board bill of nine dollars. He departed twenty-five dollars poorer in funds, and doubtless a great deal wealthier in wisdom as to the ways of the world. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 May 1881, p. 1, c. 3)

SEE: 1879 An Accident at the Ferry

SEE: 1880 Another Accident at the Ferry

SEE: 1881 Criminal Calendar

SEE: 1881 Jack O’Neill Shoots “Fakir George” at the Last Turn Saloon

SEE: 1881 Got Caught at It

SEE: 1881 The Moral Tone of Brainerd

SEE: 1882 Will Go Over the Road

SEE: 1882 Trouble in Hartley’s Hall

SEE: 1883 Fred Hagadorn Remembers

SEE: 1884 The Burns-Mays Case

SEE: 1885 Early Days in Brainerd

SEE: 1886 The Hugh Dolan Murder

SEE: 1927 Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Mertz Draws Governor Hartley

SEE: 1930 Peter Mertz, Now of Spokane, Tells of Experiences

SEE: 1931 Pioneer Sheriff Pete Mertz and “Indian Jack” Capture Bad Hombres

SEE: County / City Jail (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.

SEE: County Jail / Sheriff’s Residence (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.



A Prurience for Regret the

Source of Much Iniquity.


While Petty Misunderstandings

Furnish the Light Diet

for This Week.

Sheriff Mertz, like diverse other human beings on this mass of conglomerated atoms which we inhabit, gets hungry at times, and occasionally drops in at some convenient restaurant between meals to get a bite. In this case, and on this occasion, last Monday night, said sheriff feeling rather light and vacant around the stomach, dropped in at S. C. Leland’s establishment on Fifth street, to procure a little nutrition to stay the cravings of his appetite, and while in the dining department replenishing his larder with good things, his ears were greeted with sounds of pistol shots out in front. Suiting action to impulse, with a knife and chunk of beef in his hand, and fire and business in his eye, he sallied out to the scene of disturbance, and discovered two lumbermen scuffling over a revolver, each apparently desirous of securing the weapon from the grasp of the other. The sheriff thought something was irregular, and rushed into the arena, so to speak, and wrested the popper from the hands of one of the miscreants, whose nominal appendage we learn is George Ferguson, who immediately entered a plea of not guilty to the shooting part of the entertainment which had been going on. He was, however, considered worthy of a meal and lodging at the county hotel, to which place he was taken without further parley. The other party, whose name we failed to learn, was placed under the guiding influence of Deputy Sheriff Brockway, and the quartette waltzed over to the calaboose. Upon arriving at the jail a brief explanation convinced the officials in charge that the second party was a disinterested person with the exception of his endeavors to take the pistol away from Ferguson, who was striving to manufacture a sieve out of one Oscar Moore, against whom his wrath was piled up in mountain heaps. It seems that these two bifurcated individuals had got into a little difficulty at Glass’ place, on Front street, and Moore had shattered a whiskey bottle across Ferguson’s proboscis, at which the latter, very foolishly of course, became highly incensed, and swore vengeance dire against the offender. As soon as he could get the splinters of glass out of his eyes and nose, he started in search of Moore, with a man-slayer in his hand and a streak of blood in his eye. He was mad enough to annihilate a whole regiment of regulars, and the more he pondered over the matter, the more he boiled over. He soon discovered his man in Leland’s saloon, and sailed in upon him with a termination of results as stated. On Tuesday morning Ferguson was arraigned before hizzoner Judge Sleeper, who assessed a fine of twenty-five dollars. Moore, who had also been arrested, was brought before the same tribunal and paid the penalty of his transgression in the sum of about eight dollars, costs included, and the sorrowing pair went on their respective ways with a dearly bought lesson in the ways of law and justice, which should redound to the instillation of a little fund of surplus knowledge under the cutaneous vegetation of two craniums at least, and warrant a supply of good common sense to enable them to make a draw thereon when occasion demands. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 May 1881, p. 1, c. 5)

SEE: 1879 An Accident at the Ferry

SEE: 1880 Another Accident at the Ferry

SEE: 1881 Sheriff Mertz Outruns a Railway Train

SEE: 1881 Jack O’Neill Shoots “Fakir George” at the Last Turn Saloon

SEE: 1881 Got Caught at It

SEE: 1881 The Moral Tone of Brainerd

SEE: 1882 Will Go Over the Road

SEE: 1882 Trouble in Hartley’s Hall

SEE: 1883 Fred Hagadorn Remembers

SEE: 1884 The Burns-Mays Case

SEE: 1885 Early Days in Brainerd

SEE: 1886 The Hugh Dolan Murder

SEE: 1927 Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Mertz Draws Governor Hartley

SEE: 1930 Peter Mertz, Now of Spokane, Tells of Experiences

SEE: 1931 Pioneer Sheriff Pete Mertz and “Indian Jack” Capture Bad Hombres

SEE: County / City Jail (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.

SEE: County Jail / Sheriff’s Residence (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.



Brainerd Right on the Hop,

Skip and Jump.


The Coming Metropolis of the Great

Northwest Looming Up in Gigantic Proportions,

and Swelling its Borders with a

Mighty Boom.


Relative to the building of the railroad shops, but very little if any comment could be added, as all doubts and fears about their location and erection have been dispelled, and absurd rumors to the contrary have been thoroughly annihilated, and foreign projects abandoned. The erection of these shops will to a great extent settle all questions as to the future prosperity and growth of Brainerd. Hundreds, aye, even thousands of people will be enticed to the beautiful City of the Pines with the mighty boom which is just beginning to inspire the inhabitants with a zeal and earnestness which cannot be out rivaled by any of her sister villages.


Last Thursday morning the ground was broken for the mammoth structure to be erected by B. F. Hartley on the lots between Geo. Stevenson’s wholesale and retail grocery store and Wm. Schwartz’s dry goods store. This building is to be seventy-five by eighty feet in size, and to include three stories and a basement. The lower story is to be divided into suitable store rooms, while the second will comprise twelve suites of office rooms. The third and upper story is to be entirely finished up for a first-class opera house, to be equipped in the finest and most modern style, and in itself will be an honor to the city as well as a great credit to its possessor. It will be finished off with a fine dome in the centre, and no pains or expense will be spared to make it one of the finest edifices in the Northwest. It’s estimated cost is about $25,000; Buffington, the well-known Minneapolis architect, will have the supervision of its building. A contract for 400,000 brick has been made by Mr. Hartley, and a branch of track will be extended from a point near the freight house, directly to the building site.


Concerning this building we cannot definitely assert the full details, as the uses to which it will be put have not been as yet permanently decided. However, we gather that it is to be a mammoth brick building one hundred and ten feet long by fifty-five feet wide, and will be three stories high. The lower part will be divided off into desirable storerooms; the uses for which the second and third stories will be designed we are unable at present to give. The block will be a grand addition to Front Street, and Mr. Schwartz is to be given great credit for entering into such a gigantic enterprise.


Mr. L. J. Cale, of Minnesota Lake, has purchased lots on the corner of Seventh and Front streets, on which he will erect a two-story brick structure twenty-five feet in width by eighty feet in length, to be used as a general store. The work of building, it is expected, will begin in a few days. The estimated cost is $6,000. It will be finished in a first-class manner, and will be an ornament as well as a commendable addition to the town.


The Merchants Hotel has been purchased from Mrs. Chapman by Mr. J. H. Smith, who will take possession about July 1st. The consideration we learn is $4,100. Mr. Smith contemplates building a large addition and fitting the building up in a commodious and convenient style, and to make it second to none in the city. We wish him abundant success in his new enterprise and have fullest confidence that he will be a host of liberal and accommodating mien.


A building twenty-five by eighty feet is being erected on the lot between Wm. Paine’s office and R. Parker’s residence which will be occupied by a Mr. Lyon, from St. Paul, who will conduct a wholesale liquor business. This building will be completed in a few days, and will be occupied as soon as finished.


The spirit of enterprise now manifested in Brainerd, can but redound to good and practical results. Everything points to the fact that this is to be one of the leading points, if not the leading point, on the Northern Pacific Railroad. Everyday some new progressive project is heard of as having just been organized, and in a few days more matters pertinent thereto are in operation. As one stands on any public corner in the City of Pines and looks around him, he sees new roofs, new frames, and new buildings, and the sound of the hammer is at times almost deafening. Let every man do his part, and the desired end will be accomplished, the fame of our city shall have spread over all the country, and with a feeling of pride, those who aided in this metamorphosis so to speak, can point to the pillars of enterprise which their hands helped to erect, and their capital helped to carry out, and their ambition aided in bringing into execution.

We have understood that parties from St. Paul contemplate coming to Brainerd soon, to look over the field with a view of starting a general commission store. However, how true this rumor may be, we can not vouch. It surely would be a good opening for something of that nature. We hope the supply in “articles” may soon be brought up to the demand. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 May 1881, p. 1, c. 7)

C. F. Kindred, Land Commissioner.

NEW YORK, Feb. 21.—Director Dilworth, of Pittsburgh, one of the leading members of the Northern Pacific directory, is urging the appointment of C. F. Kindred to the position of Land commissioner of the road, vice Power resigned. It is thought Mr. Kindred will be appointed and his headquarters established in Fargo, as he desires to retain his residence in Dakota, being commissioner from that territory to the international exposition. Mr. Kindred’s long connection with the land department, and his active business qualifications, it is believed, renders him peculiarly fitted to fill the highly responsible position vacated by Mr. Power. (Brainerd Tribune, 26 February 1881, p. 1, c. 1)



An Interview with C. F. Kindred,

in Which the Charges of Fraud

are Denied.

With regard to the alleged land frauds claimed to have been brought about during the administration of James B. Power as land commissioner of the Northern Pacific railroad, we can give no better statement regarding the charges and their refutation than by copying the version of a correspondent of the Minneapolis Journal upon the subject; giving in detail the result of an interview with Mr. C. F. Kindred concerning the matter; and while we refrain at present from publishing all the facts in our possession, yet the statements portrayed below will doubtless be sufficient to convey a fair idea of the nature of the matter which is exciting the stern comments of the press on all sides. The report in the Journal herewith reproduced:

BRAINERD, Minn., April 13.—I had a master-stroke of good fortune in finding C. F. Kindred, for many years chief clerk in the Northern Pacific Land Commissioner’s office, at home. That was what I hoped and pra— longed for most devoutly. By chance he was in his office, and as good natured and complaisant as a man could be. The late sensational reports that have been published about Chief Clerk Kindred and commissioner Power—all Evening Journal readers know what they are, for they have already appeared in these columns—were the prime cause of the visit. Having given one side of the case, an epitome of the bills files against Power and Kindred—charging gigantic frauds by them, as commissioner and chief clerk, in the sale of Northern Pacific lands—the Evening Journal was determined to give the other side also. Hence this bearding of the lion in his den.

“Take an easy chair,” said the urbane whilom chief clerk as the interlocutor made his beneficent presence known. The small bore gimlet—or great bore, as the case may be—did as invited. An easy chair has charms to him (said bore) that are not to be resisted.

“Thank you. You do not appear to be suffering in mind or body, Mr. Kindred. Can’t see any evidence of nervous prostration or bodily deterioration. How about prospective annihilation?”

“Call it damnation. One term’s as another, if I correctly grasp the towering idea you are struggling to present. Me prostrated, or deteriorated, or debilitated! Why should I be? I have a good stomach, eat hearty, sleep well, and have a non-elastic conscience in good trim and constantly on deck. What more can a man want?”

“You are well fixed, assuredly. Now, Mr. Kindred, I am commissioned to talk to you like a father. I would like to ask you a few questions and hear what you have to say concerning the charges made against yourself and Mr. Power, and the bills filed in court against you both, in relation to the sales of lands for the Northern Pacific railroad company. May I proceed with the questions?”

“Open your battery, sir. I’m not only all attention and submissive as a sheep led to the slaughter, but am also curious to know what it is I know that you would like to know.”

“Keno. That’s the stage of amicability I am anxious to arrive at. Here goes.”

Q. “In what light do you regard the bills filed against yourself and Mr. Power and others?”

A. “They are instigated by the personal malice of R. M. Newport, present general land agent of the Northern Pacific.”

Q. “You are so convinced?”

A. “We can prove it.”

Q. “Do you think they will be able to sustain the charges?”

A. “No, sir, emphatically no!”

Q. “Has the company any ground for filing such bills?”

A. “None whatever.”

Q. “Do you expect the suits to come to trial?”

A. “I think they will.”

Q. “Do you expect to be able to disprove and refute the charges in the bills?”

A. “We can do it. I don’t expect anything about it. I have not seen the bills, but I can refute anything that reflects on my character.”

Q. “You are willing that a full and free investigation of the charges should be had, are you?”

A. “You may rest assured we shall not take any steps to stop it.”

Q. “Were there ever any Northern Pacific lands sold for cash, so understood between you and Mr. Power, as the parties selling and the parties purchasing, that were paid for by preferred stock of the company?”

A. “No, sir, never a case. We never did any such business. We are not thieves and robbers up here. We could never have held the positions through so many years if we had been.”

Q. “Were there any cash sales at all?”

A. “Not of lands. There were such sales of town lots.”

Q. “Have you any idea of compromise in any shape whatever in these suits?’

A. “None whatever. We won’t compromise one iota. The cases are in court and we will fight them out if it takes all summer.”

Q. “What do you think of the similar charge that is made against President Billings appearing in a New York letter to the Fargo Argus, that is a charge similar to that made against you and Mr. Power?”

A. “He is in the same boat we are. If there is any blame attaching to us, it attaches also to him.”

Q. “Did you ever, in any case, transcend the authority vested in you by the company in the sale of the company’s lands?”

A. “We never did.”

Q. “You sold the lands for the company, I am to understand, just as you would for yourself?”

A. “We protected the company’s interests, just as we would our own.”

Q. “Have you any statement to make or further information to offer, or suggestions to make, Mr. Kindred?”

A. “None whatever. You have applied the pump pretty thoroughly, and I have freely answered, because I have nothing to hide. If I were to express an opinion I would say these charges are an outrage, but I don’t care to be expressing opinions or making counter-charges or tearing around like a chicken with its head cut off. What I may have to say will be said in court, where it will count a full score.”

Q. “Have you filed your answer, or cross-bill, or in any way made response to the bills already filed?”

A. “No, sir. I have not yet conferred with my lawyer, ex-Gov. Davis, but we will have our deck cleared in time for action, and when we do and the fight begins there will be music on the ambient air, and don’t you let it escape your feeble memory; in other words, don’t you forget it. Have a cigar?” The invitation to have a cigar floored me. Such a thing hasn’t occurred before for years, and I was overcome with gratitude. The idea of smoking a free cigar was gorgeous. I smoked and listened to the entertaining talk of the well-nigh exhausted interviewed, and thought him all the time the greatest man since George Washington or N. Bonaparte, Esq., for he gave me a sure-enough fragrant Havana.


(Brainerd Tribune, 16 April 1881, p. 4, c. 3)



What the New York World has to Say

of the Alleged Land Frauds.

The New York World of a recent date mentions the suits recently announced in the United States Circuit Court for the District of Minnesota, by the Northern Pacific Railroad Company against Mr. J. B. Power, a former land commissioner, and Mr. C. F. Kindred his chief clerk to compel a reconveyance to the company of land purchased by them from it and the repayment of the purchase price. There are two sides to every consideration and the “true inwardness,” as Mr. Kindred would say, of the prosecution is as follows:

For some years past the land department of the Northern Pacific has been under the charge of a land commissioner to whom persons desiring to purchase land made application from time-to-time and from whom they obtained their contracts. Payment for the lands of the Northern Pacific Company have been made of late years in the preferred stock of the company, which is receivable at par in payment for lands. Monthly reports were made by the land commissioner or his chief clerk, to the land committee of the board of directors of the Northern Pacific Company at New York, or direct to the president, enclosing the name of the purchaser, the price, the description of the lands and sending deeds for execution; and the deeds, upon execution by the president and secretary of the company, would be returned for delivery. A number of members of the board of directors of the company, including Frederick Billings, Charles B. Wright, Samuel Wilkeson, George W. Cass, B. P. Cheney, Charlemagne Tower, the general counsel, George Gray, and others from time-to-time purchased lands directly from the company in this manner, and paid therefor in preferred stock. In other words, they, the officers of the company, bought these lands of the company.

Prior to the determination and announcement by the company of the building of the Casselton branch of the road the president, Mr. Frederick Billings, bought very largely of the lands along the line of that proposed road and paid for the same in stock, and just prior to the determination of the company to build what is known as the Southwestern branch, Mr. Billings, the President, telegraphed to the Land office, directing that all the lands upon the line of the proposed road should be reserved for him. About this time one of the officers of the road obtained contracts from the Land office for a part of this last-mentioned land, whereupon the Land Commissioner and chief clerk—because of making this contract to the detriment of Mr. Billings and subsequently on this ground, and for having at other times purchased lands on their own account, at the market price and in precisely the same manner as the officers of the company had—were discharged, and these suits have been brought against them to compel them to reconvey the land upon repayment of the purchase price. The amount of lands bought from time to time by Mr. Billings is between 30,000 and 35,000 acres. Mr. Tower has taken 100,000 acres, Messrs. Cass & Cheney have taken from 6,000 to 10,000 acres each, and Mr. Wright from 2,00 to 3,000 acres. Ex-Governor Davis, of Minnesota, certainly a very high authority, writing to Mr. Kindred of these transactions, says: “The same course of dealing in company lands which is charged against you in these cases has been indulged in by Mr. Billings and others who are co-operating with him in his efforts to retain control of the company. It is not necessary to state here the extent to which they have purchased lands or the manner in which they have done so. There is no doubt that the value of the property of the company has been seriously impaired by their operations—so much so, in my judgment, as to authorize the stockholders to maintain a bill in equity to set aside their transactions and reinvest in the company the lands they acquired, and to compel them to account for the value of the lands they have disposed of and to which they no longer have title. They have not the defenses which exist in your case, as the facts are entirely different. But all that is alleged in the complaints against you, most undoubtedly exists against them. The fact is, as you have stated matters to me, this land business out here has been for the private benefit of Mr. Billings and his associates.” (Brainerd Tribune, 23 April 1881, p. 1, c. 4)

A Lively War Promised.

FARGO, May 19.—W. A. Kindred [brother of C. F. Kindred] has commenced suit in the United States district court here against Frederick Billings, president of the Northern Pacific railroad, for $25,000, and has attached all of Billings’ lands in Cass and Richland counties, pending the action of the court. The animus of the suit is doubtless the allegations made by Col. Newport in the recent [suits] instituted against Power and [C. F.] Kindred by the company. Kindred claims in his complaint that Billing owes him money on account of some land transactions in which they were mutually interested; that a settlement was never had. It is also claimed that the evidence will go into Billings’ penchant for catching on to numerous sections of land through which branches of the Northern Pacific were about to be ordered built, and that the air will be black with mud. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 May 1881, p. 4, c. 1)

OUR esteemed friend, Mr. C. F. Kindred, has recently been appointed Assistant Land commissioner for the Canada Pacific Railroad Company, a position which the wide experience of Mr. Kindred renders him eminently well qualified for. This is a fitting tribute to the past successful career of this gentleman while connected with the Northern Pacific, and the C. P. is to be congratulated upon securing his services in a similar capacity. Mr. Kindred will have control of the Land Department business, which will warrant a very extensive field in this branch of labor. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 June 1881, p. 1, c. 2)

SEE: 1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1

SEE: 1878 Brainerd

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July

SEE: 1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad

SEE: 1881 Gull River Gleanings

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1899 Best Town in the State

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming






Minor Squibs of Crime and Little

Pieces of Cussedness for

Dessert this Week.

By the TRIBUNE Special Reporter.

      Last night about 15 minutes before 9 o'clock the citizens of this rapidly growing town were electrified by the sound of firearms coming from the west end of Front Street. The shots were fired in rapid succession. Your correspondent upon appearing at the scene found about 100 men gathered about the saloon known as “The Last Turn” and kept by Jack O’Neil. Upon the floor of Mr. Davenport’s store 50 feet west of the saloon lay the almost lifeless form of the daring bagnio-keeper Fakir George, or rather Geo. G. Boomhower [sic]. He was bleeding profusely from the wound of a rifle ball. Upon his breast, moaning piteously, lay his supposed wife. Dr. Parsons was called but of course could do nothing for the wounded man. He was shot in the back, the ball passing through the left lung, between the 3rd and 4th ribs and came out about a half inch above the nipple, probably slightly touching the heart, and rising in its transit about an inch and a half. He died about 30 minutes after the shot took effect.

      This morning, the prisoner, Jack O’Neil was brought before Justice Sleeper and pleaded “not guilty.” The trial was postponed until Monday morning next. Your correspondent called upon Mr. O’Neil this morning and found him quite ready to answer any questions that were asked. He said that Fakir George had at many different times threatened to kill him. But the night before the shooting they had been “out” together and had parted as friends, shaking hands, etc. Last night about six o’clock Fakir George came in quarreling with another party. Fakir George finally hit one of his opponents on the head with his revolver. Jack O’Neil therefore told Fakir to go away and not create any disturbance. This seemed to irritate Fakir George and he said to O’Neil, “Here you are,” “You son of a b—h go and heel [sic] yourself.” Or in other words defend yourself. O’Neil upon this invitation went into the back room and returned with his rifle. He walked up to within ten feet of Fakir, (who stood just in the door way,) his rifle in his hands. Fakir fired one shot which passed near O’Neil’s head tipping his hat to one side. O’Neil then returned the fire just as Fakir turned and ran up the sidewalk, the ball entering his back as described above. After the first shot O’Neil fired again without any effect, excepting the scare it gave to people on the sidewalk, one of whom felt the effect of it on the end of his nose, as it whistled by. When Fakir ran into the store he was bleeding profusely and groaned, “My God! My God!” He still held his revolver in his hand and dropped it when he was nearly dead. There is some difference of opinion in regard to O’Neil’s position when he fired the fatal shot. Some think he was outside of the building and that the last shot was the one that killed Fakir. At the time, Fakir George was under bail for his appearance at the fall term of court, to be tried on the charge of assault with intent to kill Harry Burgess about two months ago. The general feeling existing among the best citizens here is that Fakir George was a dangerous character, and was considered a hard subject generally throughout the community.

      It has since been ascertained that “Fakir George” has relatives living at Clinton, Clinton Co., New York. His name was Boonhower [sic], and not Smith, as generally supposed in this community.


(Brainerd Tribune, 28 May 1881, p. 1, c. 3)






A Summary of the Evidence Elicited

During the Trial Last Monday,

Before Justice Sleeper.

The case of the State of Minnesota vs. John O'Neil, on the charge of murdering Fakir George Smith, as he was generally known in the community, of which brief mention was made in our last issue, came before Justice C. B. Sleeper last Monday morning for a preliminary hearing. Below may be found a summary of the most important and leading testimony in the case:

      Mr. Ed. E. Bates testified, under oath, giving the conversation which occurred between Mr. O'Neil and Smith, previous to the shooting. Smith had been drinking during the P. M., and had some trouble with a man in Mr. O'Neil's saloon. George flourished a revolver rather promiscuously; Jack remarked to his bartender, Ph. Clifford that he did not want him (Smith) in the saloon, whereupon Smith said to O'Neil, "Have you got your gun? If you have, get ready, heel [sic] yourself." Heard three shots. Smith was considered a dangerous man, when under liquor.

      James Plant, being duly sworn, testified as follows: "George had been in O'Neil's saloon during the P. M., flourishing a revolver, and had threatened a man several times, finally O'Neil told him that he didn't want him around, when George went out, returning presently, telling O'Neil to "heel [sic] himself," saying, "Come on, I am ready." Witness stepped to the east door, and heard a shot, followed immediately by another. Smith fired the first one. Heard a third shot soon. After Smith told Jack O'Neil to heel [sic] himself, Jack stepped, or rather backed back into another room where his gun was, and then walked towards the north end of the saloon where Smith was standing. After the shooting O'Neil gave himself up to Sheriff Mertz.

      Mr. O'Neil then explained that while Smith was abusing the man, before mentioned, in his saloon, he told Smith to go home, when Smith said, "D—n you I'll send you home," firing at him at the same time. Mr. O'Neil had no cartridge in the barrel of his Winchester rifle at this time, but had a few in the chamber. He immediately pumped one into the barrel, and discharged it at Smith, taking no aim. This was in the saloon near the north door. Smith seeing that he had failed to hit O'Neil, started to run home, when, in the excitement, O'Neil said he pumped another cartridge into the barrel and fired again at Smith, as he turned to run, taking no aim. He did not mean to shoot this time.

      Mr. J. D. Davenport was then sworn: "heard some noise, looked out of my store door, saw some men on the sidewalk. I told them to come in as there would be some shooting, probably. Saw Fakir George go past the door towards O'Neil's, swinging his revolver, yelling, "Clear the way or get to the front—get—." Soon heard a shot and stepped to the door again, when I heard two more shots, quite near each other. Saw the flashing of the last one. I then saw Fakir jumping towards my door, coming sideways, his left side drooping after the last shot was fired. Smith was on the sidewalk about half way between O'Neil's and my store. He came by me into the store. I following him, putting my hand on his shoulder. He said, "My God! My God!" His revolver was cocked and in his right hand, with thumb and finger on the trigger. I said, "George, you are shot." He groaned. I led him back to a pile of paper, keeping behind him, for fear that he might shoot me. He was so limp that he could not sit up on the pile of paper, but leaned over on it. The revolver finally dropped on the floor, as he grew so weak. I kicked it behind a salt barrel. I saw the hole in his back; could see the bare skin through the hole. My building is the third from O'Neil's, west. Smith was a very reckless, bad man when he was drunk; has frequently got on sprees. I have considered him dangerous at these times. We were friends, and I have often lectured him about his recklessness.

      In response to a question from Mr. O'Neil, witness stated:

      George came into my store about 4 P. M.; he was just full enough to be ugly; was in my store just before dark; wanted three cigars; paid 20 cents, and said that, "By G-d he wanted to shoot Jack O'Neil, that he knew something." Took his revolver out, swinging it, and swearing that, "By J---- C----- he would shoot old Tiell." I said, "Fakir, you have just got out of one scrape, don't get into another." Said he, "Old Tiell has thrown dead cats and dogs into my yard, and I will shoot him dead!" I think he has intended to kill some one this summer, from what I have heard him say when he has been under the influence of liquor. Think he would unhesitatingly have shot anyone that evening whom he might have had any spite against.

      Mr. James Minough [sic] testified under oath to the same effect as the previous witness.

      Dr. A. W. Parsons being sworn, stated in substance the following:

      Was called to see the deceased; arrived at his house about five minutes after he was shot—about 8:45 P. M.; found two holes in his left side; he was lying on his back, and the blood was flowing freely from the lower wound, gravitating downward; thought the wound a fatal one and decided not to disturb him; he was unconscious all the time, and died in about 15 minutes—9:15. I made an examination Saturday morning; the bullet was a .44 calibre, and was from a Winchester rifle; entered the back about three inches to the left of the spinal column, between the 6th and 7th ribs—passed directly through the left lung, severed some large blood vessels at the back of the heart, and coming out about half an inch about the left nipple, between the 3d and 4th ribs, the point of exit being about one inch and a half higher than the point of entrance. The immediate cause of death was loss of blood.

      In reply to a question by the county attorney, as to whether the wound was necessarily fatal, witness stated that no person could survive a wound of that nature.

      Mr. Cathcart substantiated the previous testimony, as did Mr. Sloan.

      Court adjourned until 1 P. M.

      In the afternoon the defendant, Mr. O'Neil, testified in his own behalf, very clearly and concisely as follows, after relating circumstances connected with Fakir George's assault upon the man before referred to, what took place in his (O'Neil's) saloon:

      "I was telling my bartender never to allow George to abuse my patrons; again, that I did not want him in my place and turning just then, I saw George passing by the door. I went in to my supper, and almost immediately heard George's voice saying, "Come out here, you d—n son of a b—h!" I went out and saw George setting on a beer-keg. Went up in front of him, and saw that his revolver was cocked, and his thumb on the hammer. He said to me, "You son of a b—h, have you got a gun?" I said, No. Sir, for God's sake, George, go home; this is no way for a man to do. You are intimidating everybody." He said, "You son of a b—h, if you haven't got your gun, go and get your gun, for I am heeled [sic]." I was close to him, he being on the right side of the saloon, near the East door. I said, "All right, Fakir," edging back toward the back door, which I opened and seized my gun by the barrel. There was no cartridge in the chamber—about three in the magazine. I walked toward him—in front of him, with gun in hand, saying "Go home, for God's sake." His pistol was pointed dead upon me. he said, "G-d d—n you, I will send you home, you son of a b—h;" firing immediately, I was about six feet from him at this time—the bullet went so close to my face that I felt a stinging sensation, and my hat was tipped to one side. I pumped a bullet into the chamber of my gun, and he seeing that he had failed to hit me, turned and started to run out of the saloon; my gun went off without aim. I then saw him sag, and run up street; followed him out on the street, and they tell me that I fired again, but I do not remember it—did not intend to; returned to the back door of my building, and saw my wife running across the back lot; told her to come back; thought George had disappeared between the buildings, and expected him to appear at the back of my house and renew the assault, when some one came and told me that I had fixed George, and that I had better put up my gun and deliver myself up to Sheriff Mertz, which I did. Have known the deceased casually for about fifteen years, and quite intimately for about five years. He has lived in Brainerd about two years, lived with me when he first came here, a few months.

      This closed the defendant's testimony.

      Sheriff Mertz testified to the events connected with the arrest of the defendant. After taking considerable more testimony of a corroborative nature the court adjourned, with reserve of decision until 9 o'clock Tuesday morning.

      On Tuesday morning Judge Sleeper rendered a verdict in substance, that Mr. O'Neil was not guilty of the crime with which he was charged, viz: Committing a willful murder, and therefore discharged Jack from custody. The decision was received with general satisfaction by every one, and considered a very just one under the circumstance and from the evidence elicited during the trial. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 June 1881, p. 1, c.'s 1 & 2)

SEE: Last Turn Saloon in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.

SEE: 1879 An Accident at the Ferry

SEE: 1880 Another Accident at the Ferry

SEE: 1881 Sheriff Mertz Outruns a Railway Train

SEE: 1881 Criminal Calendar

SEE: 1881 Got Caught at It

SEE: 1881 The Moral Tone of Brainerd

SEE: 1882 Will Go Over the Road

SEE: 1882 Trouble in Hartley’s Hall

SEE: 1883 Fred Hagadorn Remembers

SEE: 1884 The Burns-Mays Case

SEE: 1885 Early Days in Brainerd

SEE: 1886 The Hugh Dolan Murder

SEE: 1927 Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Mertz Draws Governor Hartley

SEE: 1930 Peter Mertz, Now of Spokane, Tells of Experiences

SEE: 1931 Pioneer Sheriff Pete Mertz and “Indian Jack” Capture Bad Hombres

SEE: County / City Jail (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.

SEE: County Jail / Sheriff’s Residence (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.



A Merry Crew of Brainerdites on a

Fishing Expedition.

BRAINERD, June 1, 1881.

Gilbert Lake, ca. Unknown. A 960x518 version of this photo is also available for viewing on line.
Source: Andy Walsh, Postcard

The first day of the month of roses was celebrated by about twenty of the Brainerd folks in that most delightful of sports, fishing and boating. At half past eight the party had gathered at Mr. Miller’s boat house. They were a jovial looking crowd in which youth and age were well represented, from sweet sixteen to the honorable three score. The countenances of all were bright and cheerful in the anticipation of a good time. Five boats were loaded with provisions and precious freight, and rowed up the river nearly a mile when a landing was made, and then we had to make a portage for a short distance to get in the bay of Gilbert Lake. The boys were no-ways backward in shouldering the boats and carrying them over, while the ladies took charge of the commissary department. Everything was soon ready and again we were on the water. All seemed lovely, as the sun was shining bright, and a balmy breeze stirring, to cool the sweaty brows of the rowers. We rowed to a point on Gilbert Lake, landed, made lemonade of which all partook very freely, as it was very cooling, but tame. Some of the ladies stayed on shore to get dinner, while the rest of the party went trolling for some of the finny inhabitants of the lake. A scream now and then from some of the ladies, was a sure sign that a fish was about to come on board. The sport was jolly, waters calm, scenery grand, day pleasant; everything just right for a good time, and we were having it. Dinner was called and all the boats were pulled for shore, and a good dinner was ready for us, for the ladies had spared no pains in preparing their pastry work for this occasion. The dinner was a credit to them, and all seemed to enjoy it. After eating we were off again for some more fish, two boats containing four persons each started in nearly the same direction had not been out long before it began to look like rain, the black clouds, vivid flashes of lightning, sharp and deafening peals of thunder, were plain facts of the approaching storm. Our boat lost no time in making the nearest shore as we had a skilled oarsman, and there we soon had the boat on land and a very good shelter made with it to protect us from the storm which was beginning to rage, and grew worse until it began to hail, and some of the largest hailstones fell that I ever saw. Finally the storm abated, we lost no time in launching our boat and pulling for the further shore where we joined the rest of the party, gathered up the fragments, and then were homeward bound. Soon made the trip back to Mr. Miller’s safely. No accident occurred, no one drowned, but several were somewhat moist. All the party were well satisfied with the trip; I really enjoyed it, as I have long since learnt to take the “bitter with the sweet.”


(Brainerd Tribune, 04 June 1881, p. 4,c. 3)



A Grand and Ominous March to

the Front.


Shop Straws—D. E. Slipp and W. A.

Smith Step to the Front—Minor

Notes of Interest.


The St. Paul Dispatch discourses as follows in regard to the new N. P. Shops: “Architect Gilbert, of Brainerd who has prepared the plans of the new shops to be erected at Brainerd for the Northern Pacific Company, is in the city today. He states that the buildings are to be of solid brick and iron, so as to be perfectly fireproof. The roundhouse is to be 316 feet in diameter and will have a capacity for forty-four engines. The machine shop is to be 120x144 feet, but it is intended to add 556 feet as soon as convenient. There is also to be a transfer table operated by steam. The plans provide for a boiler, blacksmith and repair shops, 80x500 feet, but it is not proposed to build these this year. The machine shop and round house will be completed before the advent of winter. The buildings will cover about thirty acres and are to be built on thoroughly scientific principles.”


Step-by-step the good work of progression goes on. D. E. Slipp proposes to build a residence on the north side of the track which will be a fine addition to the appearance of the town. The contract for building is already let, and the building is to be completed by the middle of August. The main part is to be forty feet in length by sixteen in width, and two stories high, while on the north side an addition eight by sixteen is to be erected to the full height of the main part, with verandahs on either side. On the east side another section sixteen by eighteen will be added, this portion of the building to be a single story in height. Mr. Slipp expects to have his new residence finished off in fine style, and everything completed after a neat model. The cost of this new enterprise is estimated at from $2,000 to $3,000. Now, if a few more of our best citizens will come to the front and follow the example of Mr. Slipp, we shall soon have a pretty respectable, and even model town.


Mr. Smith is erecting a commodious dwelling on the corner of Kingwood and Sixth streets. The main part of this building is to be twenty feet in width by twenty-six in length, with twenty feet posts, and the second addition fourteen by eighteen, one and half stories in height. This building is to be completed in neat style, and will be quite an addition to the town. It is to be completed by the first of August.


Arrived in town from Minnesota Lake yesterday, and expects to proceed at once with the erection of his building on the corner of Front and Seventh streets.


Mrs. Dressen, we understand will erect a general boarding house on Seventh street soon (Brainerd Tribune, 11 June 1881, p. 1, c. 1)

A Fishing Expedition.

Yesterday morning, the genial roadmaster of the N. P., Mr. A. E. Taylor, Mr. W. H. Jones, and the TRIBUNE man started on the morning train for Withington [Deerwood] on a fishing expedition. Mr. Taylor had just purchased a new boat, and a good one for the use to which it was to be used. Steering out on Serpent Lake, trolling hooks were let out, and the way the black bass and rock bass soon floundered about in the boat, was a caution to the inhabitants of piscatorial regions. Some sixty or seventy pounds of fine bass were caught, and a nice row was thrown in as a part of the pleasures of the day. After fishing until nearly time for the afternoon freight to come down, we made for the shore, and from thence to the depot, only to ascertain that the train was three or four hours late. The crew wanted to get home very badly, and while devising some means to accomplish the desired want, a hand car of about 13-horse power was discovered, mounted and started for Brainerd. The first quarter-mile the car sailed at about the rate of 38 miles an hour, but on account of fear for a possible (?) damage to the car, it was shifted about and tenderly wheeled back to Withington [Deerwood], where after a short boat ride on Reno Lake, we were safely carried back to Brainerd. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 June 1881, p. 5, c. 5)

Canadian Pacific Matters.


Mr. C. F. Kindred and wife arrived in St. Paul Tuesday afternoon en route from Ottawa, Canada, to their home at Brainerd, Minn. Mr. Kindred having recently been appointed, and having accepted, the important position of assistant land commissioner of the Canada Pacific railway, it was natural that some interesting facts might be expected from him by the ubiquitous interviewer.

Mr. Kindred, in his free, genial manner, seemed ready to reply to questions, but it is doubtful if his Yankee training allowed him to give himself away much.

“What do you think of the Canadian Pacific land grant as a productive and enriching country to the producers and the government?” Thus queried the conundrum man, and the answer came quick:

In three years it will be the richest part of her majesty’s dominions, and I know whereof I speak, for at Ottawa I have seen and studiously inspected the plats and surveys thus far made. There are possibilities there that few have as yet understood, and which will surprise the world on development. I am still unable to even hint at the magnificent opening opportunities of the country. I do not yet understand it myself. I know wheat and corn and all the production of the middle states, are raised there, in perfection, but I dare not state what I really and truly believe, because I may not be believed. I was not yet prepared to admit that the country was better or equal to that I live in, but I must think it over.—I will give you my ideas later.”

“What do you think of the policy of the Northern Pacific, in regard to the transfer of lands?”

“Well, I know so much about that business that the question is not fair. The present management believe in cultivation and development, and they will soon learn that the present flat price is right, or whether it will drive settlers to points which other roads are sure to reach. I will say that between Duluth and Bismarck the Northern Pacific railroad has not two townships of land left worth $2.50 per acre, unless it is opened to markets by side feeders.”

“Do you know anything about a change in the administration of the land department of the Northern Pacific?” “No, except that I am convinced there will be some changes, but who will go out or come in I would rather not say.”—[Pioneer Press. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 July 1881, p. 1, c. 4)

Mr. C. F. Kindred is bustling about, getting initiated into the mysteries of his new position as assistant land commissioner of the Canada Pacific. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 August 1881, p. 5, c. 3)

Mr. C. F. Kindred now has charge of the sale of Canada Pacific railroad lands. (Brainerd Tribune, 26 November 1881, p. 5, c. 4)

SEE: 1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1

SEE: 1878 Brainerd

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July

SEE: 1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem

SEE: 1881 Gull River Gleanings

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1899 Best Town in the State

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming



[This letter arrived too late for last week.]

The Fourth of July being a day on which all patriotic Americans find pleasure in commemorating, by indulging in the various amusements, such as speech making, picnics for Sabbath schools, clubs, private parties, shooting matches for lovers of the trigger, fishing parties, boating, etc., all of which in their own way, and to the best of their own feelings enjoy themselves. So it was with the inhabitants of Gull River. Through the patriotic and kindly feeling towards the people of this place, the firm of Messrs. Chase, Pillsbury & Co., of the Gull River Mills, furnished teams, and placed at the disposal of the inhabitants of this young and vigorous town, their new and splendid steamer on Gull Lake, the offer which was gladly accepted, and gratefully acknowledged by a full turn out of almost the entire town. The teams were ordered for 7 A. M. sharp, and as usual in well-organized concerns like this, was promptly on time and commenced to pick up their joyous and expectant passengers, the last team leaving about 7:30 A. M. Passing through a beautiful country of hill and dale, the first two miles comprising what is known as the Hole-in-the-Day-Prairie, which was some few years ago occupied and farmed by the Chippewa Chief, Hole-in-the Day, who was shot by some of his own tribe while traveling from Crow Wing to the Agency, on the banks of Crow Wing river, about three miles from this place. After passing through this prairie the country becomes somewhat undulated and covered with a thick growth of brush oak, interspersed with pine of various kinds. A mile and a half more is traversed, and a gleam of silver light breaks through the forest in broken patches, a scene to behold, and not to be forgotten. The bright and beautiful morning sunlight gleamed on the numerous and various tints of foliage. The beautiful Sylvan Lake, owned by Mr. C. F. Kindred, with its broken foreshore and picturesque surroundings break more fully into view. As we travel along behind the sturdy teams, four in hand, handled by men who are used to holding the ribbons by which they check their refractory steeds, we are now fast approaching Gull Lake, which forms one of the most magnificent of a chain ofd lakes in this upper country. In passing through the Great Lakes from Buffalo to Duluth, one sees and enjoys a succession of magnificent scenery, which we thought some few years ago, that it would be hard to compare; but here in this virgin country, that up to this time has been, as it were, alone for the Indians. We find magnificent lakes, beautiful scenery with splendid surroundings, which would captivate the eye and invigorate the tourist, with a climate unsurpassed, water pure as crystal, fish and game in abundance. It would seem strange to us if this Sylvan spot does not soon become the resort of vast numbers seeking health and recreation. Now, in our admiration, we have wandered from our subject, the picnic. Well we have reached the steamer and a loud hurrah rends the air and three cheers for Chase, Pillsbury & Co. A busy scene here took place; passengers, provisions, etc., are quickly transferred from wagons to steamer, and in twenty minutes the word, all on board! let her go! was the signal to be off. A stiff breeze was blowing, which bid fair to turn some of the rosy cheeks pale before returning. Passing through the first and second lake the scenery is very fine; from these we emerge on the bosom of Gull Lake, which is heaving and tossing as though some great trouble lie beneath. We still press on in spite of the rolling and tossing, amidst music, singing, dancing, eating and drinking, and merry groups indulging in pleasing conversation, until we arrive at Peter Roy’s; here we take on board this gentleman, and some few friends, and then steam across to a beautiful point, and run into a bay sheltered by this point. We here disembark and prepare for dinner, everyone of the 125 falling to with an appetite such as is only known to people in a northern frontier country, such as this. Dinner over, everyone feeling better, we re-embarked, and again made across the lake for Mr. Roy’s, put this gentleman and his friends on shore. About an hour was now spent in dancing, and other amusements, when it was decided to steam back to the starting point on Nelson Lake. The return trip was a somewhat boisterous one, the boat pitching and tossing in such a manner that the captain, Mr. Burgoyne, thought it advisable that the passengers should take to the lower deck, which they did, and all arrived in safety, having passed so far one of the most pleasant and agreeable days ever passed by any community, as the most perfect harmony reigned all round. The various parties partook themselves to their teams, and made their way back to Gull River, at which place in due time they arrived, and afterwards repaired to the Clayton Hall, to wind up the most agreeable day of pleasure with a dance, ending with the small hours.

C. J.

(Brainerd Tribune, 16 July 1881, p. 8, c. 1)

SEE: 1878 Brainerd by a Stranger-1

SEE: 1878 Brainerd

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred Hosts a Fourth of July Celebration

SEE: 1879 Mr. Kindred has a Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has Another Farm

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred has a Resort

SEE: 1880 Mr. Kindred Celebrates the Fourth of July

SEE: 1880 Agriculture in Crow Wing County

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has Some High-Stepping Trotters

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred has a Problem

SEE: 1881 Mr. Kindred Now Employed With the Canadian Pacific Railroad

SEE: 1882 Mr. Kindred Prepares to Run for Congress

SEE: 1882 Charles F. Kindred vs. Knute Nelson in the Fifth Congressional District Election

SEE: 1882 As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead

SEE: 1885 Views of a Correspondent

SEE: 1887 They are Thankful

SEE: 1888 Mr. Kindred Leaves Brainerd

SEE: 1899 Best Town in the State

SEE: 1900 A “Maladroit Bosslet”

SEE: 1901 Brainerd Booming

Indian Troubles.

Gov. Pillsbury has received a petition from citizens of Grand Rapids complaining that a band of Chippewa Indians had left their reservation and have threatened to burn the town and kill all of the inhabitants, and asking him to take steps to protect them from the copper-colored, as if he does not they will be forced to leave the place. They say that the Indians have been performing their war dances in the streets, and that they recently took possession of a hotel and compelled the proprietor and his assistants to set them out a square meal.

An investigation of the situation at Grand Rapids shows that the evil passions of the Indians were aroused by the wanton killing of one of their number by a white man belonging to the town. No attempt was made to arrest the murderer, and he has left that part of the country and will in all likelihood never be punished for his crime. The citizens did not appear to regard the killing of the Indian of any moment, and the Indians are now resenting this indifference regarding their rights to life and liberty. Gov. Pillsbury, Sunday, sent a letter to Maj. C. A. Ruffee, agent at the White Earth reservation, referring the petition to him, and requesting him to have the Indians removed to the reservation and kept there. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 July 1881, p. 1, c. 5)

The White Earth Indians.

Dr. Knickerbacker returned from a visit to the White Earth Indian reservation last week, whither he had gone in company with Bishop Whipple. On Sunday evening last he gave an account of his visit to the people at St. Paul. It is well known that the doctor has always taken a deep interest in this people, and has been in the habit of visiting them every year for the past twenty-five years.

He reviewed their history and the wonderful changes that have taken place in this time. When he first became acquainted with this people they resided at Gull Lake and in the vicinity of Crow Wing. Their condition was miserable indeed. They lived in wigwams, wore the blanket, were intemperate, lazy and filthy, and poor, depending upon the chase and the government for their living. Now at White Earth they were living as farmers in their own homes. Clothed as white men earning for themselves a comfortable living. The children are gathered in schools, and making good progress in civilization and Christianity. The agent reported them as last year raising 36,000 bushels of wheat, besides large supplies of vegetables. They do all the teaming, etc. Mission work was begun among them at Gull Lake, in 1851 by Dr. Buck, and has been continued ever since. A flourishing Indian church exists at White Earth, presided over by Rev. John Johnson [Enmegahbowh], a full-blooded Chippewa, and ordained Indian deacons are at work at various points under the superintendence of Rev. J. A. Gilfillan. These missions are at Wild Rice River, Red Lake, Cass Lake, Winnibigoshish and Leech Lake, in each of which churches are built. The friends of Mr. Johnson and Indian missions are building a substantial stone church at White Earth, to cost about $10,000. During the visit of Bishop Whipple the cornerstone was laid with imposing ceremonies by the bishop, Dr. Knickerbacker, and Rev. Peake, an old missionary among them, making addresses. On the following day Rev. Clem Beaulieu was ordained priest by the Bishop, a large congregation of Indians being present. Mr. Beaulieu is a son of one of the old residents of the country and thoroughly understands the Indian language. He has been engaged in teaching for some time among them and ministering to the whites and mixed bloods in the country. His ministry proves to be one of great usefulness. The White Earth reservation is well adapted to agriculture and to promote the self dependency of the Indians. All the Chippewas of Red Lake, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, etc., should be gathered on this reservation. There is room for them all. We hope this may be soon accomplished. After the ordination on Thursday the Indian women invited the bishop, clergy and white Presbyterian friends to a bountiful feast they had prepared in the industrial hall. This was reversing the old rule, when the white brothers were expected to provide a feast for the Indians. The company were cordially welcomed to the feast by the lady president of the society, Mrs. Roy. On the bill of fare were wild duck, fish, venison, wild rice, etc. and all cooked nicely with vegetables, cake, meat, etc., a novel meal sure. After dinner speeches ere made by the Bishop and Dr. Kuchebeh [sic], of Miss. The Bishop, accompanied by Mr. Morgan an English gentleman, and Mr. Gilfillan, went to Red Lake, Leech Lake, etc. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 July 1881, p. 1, c.’s 5 & 6)



Wanton Murder of an Indian Brave

by Two White Men at Aitkin.


Gov. Pillsbury Orders the Murderers to

be Taken Away for Safe-Keeping.

Gov. Pillsbury on Sunday last received the following telegram about the wanton murder of an Indian chief by two white desperadoes at Aitkin:

AITKIN, July 17.—J. S. Pillsbury: Yesterday at about 2 o’clock in the morning, two white men, outlaws, went to an Indian camp where some Mille Lacs Indians, who had come into our station to trade were encamped, and with Winchester rifles shot five shots and killed one Indian chief instantly. Both are arrested and I am holding them to hear what you advise in the matter. The Indians were sober and peaceful when the attack was made. The Indians say they will await your reply. Some action must be taken at once or they will make the matter a serious one.

N. TIBBETTS, Sheriff Aitkin county.


Gov. Pillsbury immediately sent the following reply to the above:

ST. PAUL, July 18—N. Tibbetts, Sheriff, Aitkin, Minn.; Hold the murderers, and give them preliminary examination before magistrate immediately. Then bring them to Hennepin or Ramsey or Washington county jail for safe keeping. Obtain help enough to insure safety, or telegraph for aid if necessary. Further by mail to county attorney.

J. S. PILLSBURY, Governor.

The letter to the county attorney suggested to that functionary the fact that the crime was not a bailable one, and impressed upon him the necessity of having the prisoners removed with all possible dispatch.

On Tuesday, Attorney G. W. Holland went to Aitkin, to represent the state, while Counselor Erwin, from St. Paul, appeared in behalf of the two men who had committed the deed, viz: Geo. Harris and Henry Taylor. The Indian killed was not the chief, as the telegram stated but one Qui-ke-ge-shick, a brother of the Mille Lacs chief. The affair caused much excitement among the red men of that community, and it was with great difficulty they could be persuaded to listen to any legal or reasonable measures. After a preliminary investigation, the two men were committed until the September term of district court, and remanded to the Ramsey county (St. Paul) jail for safekeeping in the meantime, to which place they were taken by Sheriff Tibbetts. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 July 1881, p. 1, c. 5)

Harris and Taylor, the alleged Indian murderers demanded a separate trial. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 September 1881, p. 5, c. 2)

Court adjourned until the 23d, when the case of the State of Minnesota vs. Geo. Harris and Henry Taylor was brought into court. The defendants on being arraigned demanded a separate trial. County attorney G. W. Holland, C. D. O’Brien and attorney general Hahn appeared for the prosecution, and W. W. Erwin, and attorney Hollingshead for the defense. The following jury was impaneled: I. T. Dean, A. G. Lagerquist, E. W. Kaley, C. H. Netterberg, F. G. Sundberg, D. D. Smith, E. J. Bunce, W. C. Robinson, Albert Anderson, Thos. Bason, J. H. Koop, W. A. Smith.

The jury in this case returned a verdict of guilty as charged—of murder in the first degree. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 September 1881, p. 5, c. 4)

Harris and Taylor, the Aitkin murderers, were both sent up for life, a warning to leave the noble RED alone. (Brainerd Tribune, 01 November 1881, p. 5, c. 2)

SEE: 1877 The Saga of Pete Bannigan, Former Proprietor of the Last Turn Saloon

SEE: 1884 The Burns-Mays Case

SEE: 1888 The Murder of August Zeigler

SEE: 1893 The Murder of Lee Chung

Journey of Captain Glazier.

Capt. Glazier, who left Brainerd last week, on his way to Itasca Lake by way of Leech Lake, had a very pleasant trip to the latter point from which our latest advices from him are received. Leaving the city on Tuesday morning, in one of Mr. Stratton’s best rigs, engineered by that excellent driver, John Monahan, the party was soon among the jack pines, out of sight and sound of civilization. A brisk drive of three hours brought them to Gull Lake where they were hospitably entertained by Mr. Gray, first, however, admiring the beautiful lake and taking a short row on its rippling bosom. After a couple of hour’s rest the horses were again hitched up, and the party continued their journey.

The afternoon was pleasantly passed in chatting and laughing as they bowled along, and almost before they were aware of it the bridge across Pine River was crossed, and in a few moments they drew up before the Hotel de Barclay, where they were warmly welcomed and all possible arrangements for their comfort made. After supper was over Mr. Barclay and a number of gentlemen who make Pine River their home—all pioneers of great experience with the Indians in earlier days—made the long twilight slip away agreeably by relating stories of the Indians and adventures in the pineries. After this they retired in order to be up bright and early for a good start, and by the aid of wire-screens on the windows and bars on the beds, bid defiance to the mosquitoes, and secured a good rest. An early start in the morning brought them to Fourteen-mile Lake for lunch, after traversing one of the roughest roads in the state. Here the luxury of a plunge in the crystal waters of the lake was indulged in, and afterwards lunch on the shore of the lake.

Starting once more on the last stage of the trip and afternoon of jolting brought Capt. Glazier and his party to Leech Lake, where accommodations were secured at the “hotel” of Mr. Weaver.

At last accounts Capt. Glazier was busily engaged inspecting birch bark canoes and securing Indian guides for Lake Itasca. He hoped to leave Leech Lake on Friday of last week, but owing to the absence of the traders and a large number of the Indians, might be delayed another day.

LATER.—Capt. Glazier left Leech Lake for Itasca Saturday, being delayed by difficulties in obtaining guides. He took one guide, two voyagers and three canoes. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 July 1881, p. 1, c. 5)



Arrival of the Explorer at Aitkin—A

Full Account of His Journey

From the Source of the


We are pleased to announce the safe arrival of Captain Willard Glazier at Aitkin, after his arduous journey from Lake Itasca down. The letters from our correspondent with the party all came to hand at once owing to the lack of postal facilities, but we are sure will be shorn of none of their interest by being published simultaneously. The trip from Grand Rapids to Aitkin was an uneventful one, occupying three days.


July 26, 1881.

The journey of Captain Glazier’s exploring party from Lake Itasca to this point was one of great difficulty and many hardships. Leaving our camp on Schoolcraft’s Island about 3 o’clock p. m. on the 22d inst. we paddled through the lower end of the lake to its outlet, where the stream flows directly north, at first, we made our way downwards through water almost choked with weeds, for a distance of about five miles. The river here flows between marshy meadows, and it was with difficulty we could fine a suitable camping place. At last we found a small grove of poplars near the stream and pitched our tents under their shelter.

Next day our troubles on the downward course really began, for a more crooked or log-obstructed channel never existed. All day long we worked hard cutting logs and clearing the channel of drift, only to find our progress barred a few rods further down by other obstructions. Countless mosquitoes, of size and ferocity unequaled, attacked us, biting us on every exposed spot and even through our clothing and gloves. During this day’s travel we made one portage of about a quarter of mile, passing around a rapid with a fall of about twenty feet, and altogether the party was a weary one when we pitched our second camp on the way from the source of the Mississippi to the sea. Another day of similar hard work followed, and then at last comparatively clear sailing was reached.

No sooner, however, had we surmounted one difficulty than we were brought face-to-face with another—and unless we could reach a trading post within a couple of days we would have to subsist on what game and fish we could catch. The two days passed and for supper on the second we had nothing, no trading post having appeared, not even and Indian being seen in this wild country since our departure from Leech Lake. Next morning, we really experienced the pangs of hunger, but without breakfast we launched our canoes again and paddled vigorously onward, hoping to reach Lake Bemidji, where there is an Indian wigwam. We did not reach the lake, but fortune favored us in another direction. By ten o’clock the Captain had caged four ducks, and another of the party had caught two fish, so we went ashore, and, building a fire, roasted our ducks and fish before it and devoured them without much ceremony. Shortly after we met some Indians, of whom we got some provisions, and, later in the day reached this fine body of water on which we are at present encamped.


July 29, 1881.

Captain Glazier and his little band of voyagers, after leaving Lake Bemidji at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, dropped down the river some miles and encamped on a high bluff, free from mosquitoes. The bluff was well wooded with Norway pines and commanded a fine view both up and down the stream. Freed from mosquitoes, with commissary department well supplied and making good progress on our journey, things assumed a brighter hue, and by the cheerful campfire we sat and talked until time to retire to our tents.

Early next morning we were on the water, gliding down the stream, which is quite rapid after leaving Bemidji. That portion of the river that we traversed during our journey to Cass Lake was very beautiful, flowing between green groves which cast their cool shades over the water. Every mile or two we would meet with rapids of more or less swiftness and force, the excitement of shooting which was a pleasing variety. Later on the rapids ceased and the river flowed again between waving meadows.

About one o’clock, after passing through a small lake, we reached the Cass Lake trading-post and delayed a couple of hours for dinner and to allow the guides to pitch the canoes. After this we paddled across Little Cass Lake, through the narrows, and at last into the lake.

While passing through the narrows we were hailed by an Indian chief of unpronounceable name, the translation of which is “King of Men,” who requested that the newspapers be informed that the Indians all objected to the reservoir claim, which, he said, would nearly ruin them. Lusty paddling all the afternoon carried us through the rough water of Cass Lake and we camped at its lower end. The following day we made an early start and pursued our journey through a similar country as on the day before, and reached this lake a little before noon. We made our way through a pretty rough sea, around a point and reached an Indian village where we encamped.


August 3d, 1881.

Captain Glazier’s arrival at Winnibigoshish was at a time when a strong south wind blew the waters of that fine lake into white-capped waves, and it was at the imminent risk of swamping them that the canoes were forced through the rushes and into the little bay upon the shores of which the Indian village stands. The village itself is of no importance, consisting of about a dozen wigwams and a couple of log houses, and, indeed, the place has nothing to attract except the broad view of the magnificent lake. The party encamped near one of the wigwams and proceeded to make themselves as comfortable as circumstances would permit—that is, all except the Captain, who was received with great courtesy by the missionary of the place, Mr. George Smith, an Indian by birth, who spoke no English, either from bashfulness or inability. At any rate he entertained the Captain quite royally, making him understand by signs and through the interpreter that he was welcome to all the comforts the household of the missionary afforded.

For two days we were wind-bound at the village, during which the Captain had the pleasure of attending services conducted in the Chippewa tongue. The sea ran high and the waves came in on the sandy beach with a continued roar, putting all thought of further progress out of the question. On the third day the wind had moderated somewhat and, striking our tents, we concluded to attempt to coast along part of the lake and endeavor to reach the outlet by this method. After tugging away all the morning we reached a little river and were forced, by the again increasing wind, to seek shelter in it. We spent the afternoon and night there.

Next morning we started again and after some very rough work reached the outlet of the lake and pushed our way uneventfully until we reached Pokegama Falls, two miles and a half above this place. Here a lot of men are encamped in tents and engaged in building a steamboat to run up to Lake Winnibigoshish. We portaged around the falls, and in an hour arrived at this point, where there is a postoffice, and other evidences of civilization. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 August 1881, p. 1, c.’s 5 & 6)



A CAREFUL study of the route to Leech Lake, with a few valuable suggestions from Warren Leland, an old resident of Brainerd, led me to seek wagon conveyance to the former place over what is known in northern Minnesota as the Government Road. This road stretches for seventy-five miles through immense pine forests and almost impenetrable underbrush, and the only habitations to be seen from it are the half-way houses, erected for the accommodation of teamsters who are engaged in hauling Government supplies, and the occasional wigwams of wandering Indians. It was opened in 1856, by James Macaboy, for the convenience of Indian agents and fur traders.

Fully equipped and with a driver celebrated for his knowledge of the frontier, we commenced at eight o’clock on the morning of July twelfth [Glazier arrived in Brainerd on 07 July 1881.] our wagon journey to Leech Lake, the third objective in my expedition to the head waters of the Mississippi. John Monahan, who held the reins in this seventy-five mile journey over one of the roughest roads of Minnesota, is a true son of Erin, who need not take a back seat for Hank Monk, or any of the famous drivers of the border.

A ride of between three and four hours brought our little party to Gull Lake, where a halt was made for rest and refreshments. Gull Lake was for many years the home and head-quarters of the noted Chippewa chief, Hole-in-the-Day, and was the scene of many sanguinary struggles between his braves and those of the equally celebrated Sioux chief, Little Crow. The remnant of a block house, fragments of wigwams, and a few scattered graves, are all that is now left to tell the tale of its aboriginal conflicts.

Gray-Bishop Hotel, the log house in the rear was built by Reuben Gray about 1869, the house was built by John Bishop and this became the Gull Lake Club house in 1892, ca. Unknown.
Source: Oldtimers . . . Stories of Our Pioneers, Carl A. Zapffe, Jr., Echo Publishing Company, Pequot Lakes, Minnesota: 1987

A family of four persons, domiciled in a log-house, constitute the entire white population of the place. Reuben Gray, the genial patriarch who presides over this solitary household in the wilderness, delights in the title of landlord, and his hotel has become somewhat famous as one of the pioneer half-way houses between Brainerd and Leech Lake.

Our arrival at Gull Lake was duly celebrated by launching a canoe, which soon returned with a fine mess of fish. These, with such fruits and vegetables as were in season, afforded a dinner which our appetites, whetted by a forenoon’s jolting in a county wagon, had fully prepared us to enjoy.

After dinner we resumed our journey, with Pine River as the evening destination. Sometimes in the road, sometimes out of it; now driving along the shore of a lake, and again over huge logs and boulders, it was voted that our ride to Pine River was unlike anything we had ever elsewhere experienced.

The ranche [sic] of George Barclay, the only white habitant between Gull Lake and Leech Lake, was reached at five o’clock in the evening. Here we were most agreeably surprised to find very good accommodations for both man and beast. Barclay is a decided favorite with the Indians, and his prosperity in this isolated corner of Minnesota is largely due to his friendly relations with them. He is always supplied with guns, knives, beads, tobacco, and such other goods as are in demand by his dusky neighbors, for which he receives in exchange furs, game, snake-root, and such other products of the forest as find a ready market at Brainerd or Saint Paul.

Much valuable information was obtained at Pine River concerning our route to Leech Lake and beyond, the peculiar traits and characteristics of the Indians whom we were likely to encounter, and those persons at the Agency who could be of most service to us. (Down the Great River, Willard Glazier, Hubbard Brothers, Philadelphia, 1887, pp. 32-36)

SEE: 1911 Mrs. Augusta Peake Reminisces

Fire animation On October 21, 1933 the historic old hotel located at the Old Mission near Bishop’s Creek, between Gull and Round Lakes, owned first by Reuben Gray, then by John Bishop, W. B. Chambers, Leon Lum and others, burned to the ground.

SEE: 1933 Gray / Bishop Hotel Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

Twenty-Eighth Day.


Brainerd, Minnesota

August Eighteenth [1881]

We drank more coffee at sunrise, and breakfasted on bread and bacon. Put our paddles into the water at six o'clock, and with favorable weather pulled with a will for Brainerd, our evening destination. Halted at one o'clock at the mouth of a small creek three miles above Brainerd, and had dinner in the shade of a large tree. Re-embarked at four o'clock in the afternoon. We had scarcely proceeded a mile when we were met by a large number of ladies and gentlemen in canoes and skiffs, including a detachment of the Brainerd Boat Club. Among those who were prominent in receiving us were Warren Leland, Arthur E. Chase, of the Tribune, and Dr. Rosser, brother of General Rosser, late of the Confederate service. Our greeting by these genial people, whom we had left some six weeks previously when starting for the head-waters of the Mississippi, was most cordial, and will not soon fade from the memory of those who were the recipients of their courtesies.

Bly’s Hall was located above Bly’s store, ca. 1905.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

That evening, in accordance with an appointment, I delivered the first lecture of my trip in Bly's Hall, after an introduction by Judge Chauncey B. Sleeper. The audience was large and attentive, and the subject presented was, "Pioneers of the Mississippi," in which I talked of De Soto, Marquette, La Salle, Hennepin, and others who had engaged in the exploration of the Great River. Several of my hearers showed their interest in the subject by coming long distances to the lecture, and one, George Barclay, a pioneer, told me he had brought his family thirty-seven miles with an ox-team to hear what I had to say of the old explorers.

An event subjecting me to some inconvenience at the time, but amusing in many of its details, occurred at this place. As the flotilla of citizens met me upon the river, the first question with which I was hailed was: "Captain, what did you have in your trunk?" I thought it a singular question, to say the least, and did not at first know whether to set it down to absolute impertinence or merely to the excessive but innocent curiosity of frontiersmen. However, the matter was soon explained. My trunk, containing clothing and other personal effects, had been dispatched from Aitkin to Brainerd, and on the previous evening the express office in which it was stored had been broken into and the trunk stolen. The thieves had taken it into a pine thicket on the outskirts of the town and there rifled and distributed its contents among themselves. Fortunately for my lecture appointment I had brought a coat and vest with me in the canoe. At the very time I was delivering my lecture a half dozen ruffians, with my clothing on, were walking the streets of Brainerd. What they had no personal use for, they had pawned in the saloons for liquor. The beaded pipe and tobacco pouch presented me by Flat-mouth, with a pair of moccasins, were left at a saloon as a consideration for half a dozen drinks. A mosquito-helmet, made of bolting-cloth by my wife before we started for Northern Minnesota, and the use of which they failed to recognize, was offered and received in pawn as a dress. After the thieves had drunk quite freely at my expense, they went out to the "Last Turn," as a certain locality with a history is called, and lay down in a row in a state of intoxication.

The Northern Pacific Express Company, in whose charge the trunk had been placed, took active measures to discover the guilty parties and succeeded in finding and arresting them with some of my clothing still upon them. On the following morning I was subpoenaed to give evidence against them, and went out with the district attorney through the streets of the town in search of stray articles of apparel. During this search I met a man having on the pair of cavalry boots which I had worn on my horseback journey across the continent in 1876. We picked up articles here and there, some of which, as has already been mentioned, had been pawned.

Willard Glazier, ca. 1892
Source: Headwaters of the Mississippi, 1892, Glazier

At the examination which ensued, a man who expressed willingness to testify against the thieves was a little snubbed by the prosecuting attorney, who thought that he probably knew very little about the affair. But when his turn came to take the witness-stand, he told a straightforward and interesting story. He said he happened to pass the thieves in the woods, while they were engaged in the disposition of their booty, and thinking their proceeding a little strange, asked them what they were doing. They replied that they had just arrived from New York, and being too poor to go to a hotel, had decided to take advantage of the grand dressing-room which nature had furnished them, and make their toilet under the trees. They finally made their questioner a present of a shirt and a pair of drawers. The witness concluded his testimony by throwing open his coat and exclaiming, "And I've got one of Captain Glazier's shirts on now, your Honor!" The shirt spoke for itself, as my name was marked upon it. His evidence and mine were conclusive, and the thieves were remanded to appear at the next term of court. They were not persons, however, to be easily disconcerted, for while the testimony was being given, one of them drew a bottle of whiskey from his pocket, and passing it up to the judge, invited him to take a drink. It is needless to add that he was promptly reprimanded.

Frank Jay Haynes, photographer, leaning against the tree along the Mississippi River near Brainerd, ca. 1877.
Source: Haynes Foundation, Montana Historical Society

Brainerd has already been referred to as a thriving town. It is situated on the borders of an extensive pine forest, in a bend of the Mississippi, at the crossing of the river by the Northern Pacific Railroad. It is ninety-five miles below Aitkin by river, but only twenty-eight by railway. The town is literally built among the pine trees, the streets having been cut directly through the original forest, and only such trees removed as were necessary for building and business purposes. Brainerd is the second town from the source of the river, and, after Saint Paul and Minneapolis, one of the most enterprising and populous on the Upper Mississippi. Seen from the river, which winds around it, it is very picturesque, the tall pines, straight as an arrow, overtopping the houses. Without a history, this town appears to have leaped into existence with a considerable population, mostly of New England origin, and will doubtless in a few years become a city of respectable dimensions. The "Northern Pacific" has its shops located here, and this circumstance, together with the large and growing lumber interest, and the spirit and enterprise of the people who have cast their lot in this section, have given Brainerd its present prominence and prospective importance as a centre of industry. It is the capital of Crow Wing County is one hundred and thirty-six miles northwest of Saint Paul by railway, and supports a weekly paper and a bank. The population at the time of my visit was about three thousand five hundred. (Down the Great River, Willard Glazier, Hubbard Brothers, Philadelphia, 1887, pp. 147-151)

A Day of Recreation.

“You see the ways the fisherman doth take,

To catch the fish, what engines doth he make?

Behold! how he engaged all his wits,

Also his snares, lines, angles, hooks and nets;

Yet fish there be, that neither hook nor line,

Nor snare, nor net, nor engine can make thine;

They must be groped for, and be tickled too,

Or they will not be catched what e’er you do.”

Last Thursday morning, accepting a cordial invitation the proprietors of this paper, in company with a few others, boarded the morning train—east-bound—and rode down to Deerwood where part of the fishing crew had been in camp for a day or so, and where preparations for a splendid reception and entertainment had been provided. Boats and fishing tackle in ample quantity had been held in readiness and everything in apple-pie order. Among the assembly were Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Dow, Mrs. A. E. Taylor, W. H. Jones, Miss McFadden, Charlie and Lena Taylor, Chase & Frater, and others. Launching two large boats on Serpent Lake, which lay before us in all its beauty, reminded one of the effusion of a modern bard:

“Tis sweet to view the limpid waters dance,

As o’er their pebbly bed they eager rush,

Or in the sun’s effulgence brightly glance,

As through the mead meandering they gush;

Now rising forth rich music, now all hush,

While song-birds chant the ever varied lay,

From out the willow and o’erhanging bush;

O, sweet it is to thread the blithesome way.

Clad in an angling guise, to spend a happy day.”

After a few hours adventure with the finny members of the piscatorial regions, dinner was announced, and such a dinner. It was quite enough to tempt the tooth of an epicurean god, to say nothing of a crew of hungry fishermen. No pains had been spared in procuring the good things of this world in abundance, and with a sigh of inward satisfaction, we thought that we never should want another meal after the close of that one. The only misfortune which occurred to any of the party was a serious dislocation of the basement of Jones’ pants, which occasioned some considerable merriment. In the afternoon after a pull in Serpent Lake, the boat was carried through a thicket into Agate Lake, where after considerable abbreviated profanity, the return was made to the former resort, and some nice hauls were made. A bounteous repast was again spread at supper time, after which fun and a paddle in all delineations until about 12 o’clock, when the merry crowd returned home by the midnight passenger train, all in the best of spirits, and satisfied that a season of rare sport had been indulged in. (Brainerd Tribune, 30 July 1881, p. 5, c. 3)

There are now six hotels in Brainerd, viz: Headquarters, Leland, Merchants, Marshall, Nicollet and Ottawa, beside the almost innumerable boarding houses, and still everything is crowded, so that at times it is almost impossible to find sleeping room upon the bare floor, under a roof. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 August 1881, p. 5, c. 6)

Plain Truth.

That period in the existence of Brainerd has at last arrived when it requires no exertion of the perceptive faculties to observe that a glorious future is as positive as the movements of the magnetic needle. With our present railroad facilities, and strong probabilities of more, our milling interests and shops, what can hinder Brainerd from being a second Omaha or Ft. Wayne, or even better still? It is a positive fact, be it disputed or not, that no town on the line of the Northern Pacific has swelled its borders more rapidly than our own Brainerd. On every hand residences, solid and substantial, are going up, and the only drawback experienced is the inability of many to procure material, or even workmen, to carry on the amount of building required. One fact, which is particularly notable, and well be it so, everything indicates that this rapid growth is no mere spasmodic growth, which will soon meet a relapse, and again drop into its former lethargic existence, is enough in itself to insure the most Thomas-like individual that it is a reality of no mean assertion. Solid brick blocks are being built, and in course of projection, and Front street has already become nearly a solid front, something which could not have been asserted a short time ago. Several new buildings of brick are yet to be built on the eastern portion of this street; yet by no means is this progression confined to this one street alone. On every street can the same steady, earnest and substantial growth be observed. There are many devices and ways by which the town could otherwise improve as well. If people would build neat fences about their premises, put down substantial side-walks, etc., their property would not only be greatly increased in general appearance, but largely enhanced in actual value. The small item of cleaning the streets of the immense amount of debris would be a light task, if each individual property-holder would only consider it his actual duty to attend to these pertinent matters relative to his own particular premises. What impression does a stranger form of the main characteristics of a town which he enters for the first time, and sees the streets and alleys heaped with rubbish of every description? Does he not at once opine the chiefly avaricious principles with which such a place must be inhabited? He evidently considers it more of a location for politic selfishness that for caterers for public prosperity and local attraction. These matters may be deemed by critics as impertinent, and of trivial design, but a second thought should convince any man, woman or child of their solidity and substance. Public spirit exhibits a lack of proper interest in the formation and existence of sufficient protective measures against the destructive elements. No regularly organized fire department in a town of some four thousand inhabitants is a slur spot of no small note—in truth, an unpardonable grievance to the locality, and a vacancy, which proper measures should at once be brought into effect to fill up. This is not a mere trivial fantasy, but an actual and pertinent reality. It is a blight to an intelligent community, and should so be considered. Those who oppose modern improvements and protective facilities, are living a life in direct opposition to their own vital interests, ambitions and necessary requirements. This matter is liable at any time to be broached in a most destructive manner to the minds of the thinking people of this commonwealth. Men of reason bestir yourselves, and exert the manhood with which Dame Nature has endowed you toward the general natural improvement of your homes, your town, YOUR COUNTRY, YOUR NATION! Cast aside the niggardly avarice by which you hoard every penny you possess, and expend a portion of your earnings and income in beautifying your homes, town and community. IT WILL PAY! It will bring a reward a HUNDRED FOLD! We are now in a fair way to prosperity, and Brainerd is getting a cognomen of no mean worth in the country about us. Let us not disgrace the trust, which is daily sliding into our hands, but use the talents so generously bestowed, and show to the world about us that our status in the make up of a noble country will place itself on a grand level with superior, if not to rise above it. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 August 1881, p. 5, c.’s 3 & 4)






The Country, the Sights, the Pros-

pects, and a General Prospectus

of What is and What May be.

One week ago last Monday evening the quill driver of this great family journal, accepting the kind invitation of Mr. A. E. Taylor and others, who were about to make a trip over the road, donned the ordinary picnic habiliments and a smiling countenance and boarded the midnight train, the pay-car and observation car (No. 4001) having been secured for the occasion. On the train we found Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Taylor, Mrs. E. T. Williams, with her son and daughter, Gen. Geo. C. Smith, principal of the Madison schools, at St. Paul, Mr. S. D. Buck, of Peoria, Illinois, M. L. Vining, from the roadmaster’s office, and who, by the way is one of the best fellows that ever drew bead on a prairie dog, or other small game, Mr. J. M. Paine, of Minneapolis, Mrs. E. W. Shaw, of Newport, Maine, Charlie and Lena Taylor. The writer counting himself competent to take up room enough for two, swelled the combination to about fourteen. Now, Vining being somewhat of a constitutionally nomadic disposition, after depositing his carpet-sack on a seat in one of the coaches, wandered aimlessly about the depot; evidently trying to discover what a depot was. He probably had never seen one before, and was dead bent on taking it all in at one gob. On returning to the car, the valise, which we have every reason in the world to believe was a borrowed one, (However, we won’t say anything about that) was minus, and has not thus far, been heard from. Probably it never will. This rather served as a damper to start out with, but choking down his emotion with his gigantic game expectations, he was carefully loaded in and then but one thing seemed lacking, viz: Jones with his picnic pants; but we concluded not to let Jones go this time. Speeding rapidly over the road we soon arrived at Fargo, where breakfast was served, when again the iron horse sped on toward Jamestown where Mr. A. E. Taylor left the party, business preventing his accompanying us through to the end of the track. At Mandan, however, we were joined by Mr. D. R. Taylor and daughter. D. R. is Superintendent of the Missouri Division, and an affable, jolly good fellow. After leaving Mandan several miles behind, out expectations relative to scenery were more than realized. The country, known as the Bad Lands, is a vast basin filled with the still horizontal and semi-indurated sediment of an inland sea. The wear of the weather has left many deep scars, says an eminent writer, on the face of the country, and these lands present us with the mere ruins of that which were once doubtless continuous. The entire country is a treeless and desolate waste. The soil beneath the feet of the traveler covers the bones of the numerous populations which enjoyed existence in the earlier Tertiary epochs. The scene has the air of the domain of death and solitude. The view of the Bad Lands proper is a most impressive and awful exhibition. Here, on the surface of the vast plain, is a sunken area of considerable proportions. From the bottom of this sunken plain rise domes, pinnacles and monuments, and massive walls, which persuade one that he is about to witness the movements and listen to the hum of a vast city. Quoting Dr. Evans, an eminent geologist, who almost “dwelt among the tombs” of the ancient world, as they lie stretched out from the Mississippi to the Pacific shores—”these rocky piles, in their endless succession, assume the appearance of massive artificial structures, decked out with all the accessions of buttress and turret, arched doorway, and cluster shaft, pinnacle and finial, and tapering spire.”

As one draws nearer this grand illusion reluctantly vanishes and all the imaginary architecture is resolved into piles of hardened clay and sand. These rise from the bottom of the vale to the height of fifty, one, two, and even three hundred feet, displaying along their vertical sides the varied courses of masonry of which they are composed. A thousand storms have washed these slopes, and furrowed them into the similitude of fluted shafts and clustered columns, which, at the top, bear sometimes a brown entablature of overhanging grass or continue upward with tower and minaret. The bottom of the vale is baked by the sun, and utterly destitute of vegetation. The water which oozes out of the foundation wall of the prairie is said to be brackish and unpalatable. In winter the wind and snow rush through the lanes and corridors of this city of the dead, as it were, in eddying whirls, while the withering grasses and voiceless solitude, together with the relentless frost and never-tiring storm, make the place the utter realization, comparatively, of bleakness and dreary desolation. In summer the scorching sun literally bakes the clays which have been kneaded by the frosts and thaws of spring, and the daring explorer of the scene finds no tree or shrub to shelter him from the fond rays poured down from above, and reflected from the white walls which tower around him and the white floors which almost blister his feet. Explorers say that the most impressive feature of the scene is the multitude of fossil bones which appear built into the massive masonry of this mimic architecture. The wearing and crumbling of the elements roll them out of their long resting places, and they lie strewn over the bottom of the valley. The traveler evidently feels like one walking upon the floor of a long deserted and ruined vault. Of this scene, Dr. Mitchell, a great geologist, speaks of the carnival death has held there, and the deserted scene of his ghastly repast and the long ages that have glided by since these flesh-covered bones were slain and gathered to the charnel house! Scarcely a form familiar to the anatomist reveals itself. Here are, indeed, the forms of turtles, large and small, with all the sutures of their protecting carapaces distinctly preserved; but, though turtles, they are unknown species, and some attain a size which, in their present condition, must weigh nearly a ton. Here lie the bones of rhinoceroses—known certainly by their teeth—but different from any existing species. As for the rest of these remains, we do not even know the genera to which they belonged. They present us with strange combinations of characters. One seems intermediate between a tapir and a rhinoceros, while the canine and incisor teeth ally it likewise with the horse. One of the commonest skulls has the grinding teeth of the elk and deer, and the canines of a hog. It evidently belonged to a race which lived both on flesh and vegetables, and yet chewed the cud like our cloven-footed grazers. This has been named Oreodon. One of the most wonderful of the beings entombed here is the Titanotherium, first discovered by Dr. Prout, of St. Louis. It somewhat resembles a horn-less rhinoceros, but is more massive in its proportions. One of the jaws seen by Dr. Evans had a length of five feet along the crowns of the teeth, and the skeleton of another individual was eighteen and a half feet in length. Of all the relics uncovered in this ancient cemetery, it is remarkable that but one carnivorous quadruped has been noticed. The fauna of the period was eminently characterized by the presence of pachyderms and ruminants, and this in the same age when Europe was populated by a large admixture of the higher carnivores.

He says this valley of death has the appearance of a subsidence in the wide extended plain. The suggestion is so natural that one almost irresistibly regards it as a vast sunken grave, where the slain of an geological convulsion have been gathered together and decently entombed, and the earth has at last settled down upon their crumbling remains. A better judgment, however, discovers the valley to be the work of excavating waters. Organic as the scale of such digging must appear, the geologist is acquainted with other examples immeasurably more sublime. They belong to the phenomena of the Post Tertiary Age. These towers, then, have not been built up, but have been left in relief, like the figures on the sculptor’s marble. Torrents of rain have wielded the instruments that have fashioned the Titanic architecture.

From the Golgotha, if we wend our way northward some hundreds of miles nearer the sources of the Missouri, we find ourselves standing again upon the deposits of a vast inland sea-a sea which was still remaining when the Bad Lands were drained. Around the shores of this far northern basin of water lived, in a later age, the rhinoceros, the elephant, the mastodon, the camel, the horse, the beaver, the wildcat, the wolf, the land tortoise, and other genera of quadrupeds now extinct. In this lake the Missouri took its rise, while the Yellowstone and other rivers poured into it the drainage of the region beyond, and transported the relics of then existing races, with other sediments, to the burial place from which they have recently been exhumed.

It gives us great pleasure to make known to the reader that we are indebted for our knowledge of the details of the geology of these remote and wilderness regions to the energy and science of two young geologists, Messrs. Meek and Hayden, and especially to Mr. F. B. Meek, for the production of paleontological results which vie in thoroughness and exactitude with the best work ever done in any country. In the department of mammalian paleontology, Dr. Leidy is our great authority—the Owen of America. These regions were first visited in 1850 by Mr. Thaddeus Culbertson, under the joint auspices of the Smithsonian Institution and his brother Alexander. Later researches were instituted by Professor James Hall, and by Dr. D. D. Owen while in charge of the geological survey of the Northwest, under the auspices of the general government.

Such are some of the phenomena of the Age of Mammals. It was an interval of time when, on all sides of the globe, progressive improvements had brought our earth to a condition suited for high existence, and the reptiles which reigned in the preceding age were beckoned into the background or driven to extinction. Who that has observed the indications of gradual but systematic advance in animal forms through the ages of the world can resist the conviction that man was contemplated as the termination of the perfecting series?

Arriving at the town of Glendive an indeed novel sight presented itself to our view. A town of perhaps six or eight hundred inhabitants almost wholly under tent roofs, not more than three or four permanent buildings as yet having been erected. The town is made up of a postoffice, two or three stores, a hotel or two, and the balance saloons, gambling houses and houses of assignation. After a hearty supper at the Grand Pacific Hotel, which is kept by a Mr. McKee, formerly of Brainerd, we turned in for the second night on the road, having passed the night before at Mandan.

In the morning, the male persuasion of the outfit boarded a construction train, and rode to Iron Butte, the present romantic termination of the track, or nearly so. A good portion of the day was passed in specimen hunting and shooting prairie dogs, and other amusements. Mr. Vining, by the way, is a good shot when it comes to prairie dogs. We didn’t intend to mention his experience in shooting with a Winchester rifle at 20 yards, some five or six times, when a second canine popped up from the burrow, and seated himself immediately beside his companion, evidently thinking that the safest place in the vicinity. He attempts to avert this joke at his expense by telling a similar story on us relative to two birds on a telegraph wire, but little credence should be given to this report. Vining is a good shot, we expect. He can shoot off a gun just as easily as anybody we know of. After a day’s tour about Glendive and vicinity, gathering specimens from the buttes, and from the banks of the Yellowstone, the party reluctantly started on the return trip, remaining the first night in Bismarck. A great deal of fine country may be seen along the line between Bismarck and Fargo. The grasshoppers are doing very little damage. They were noticed more at Tower City and Casselton than elsewhere. On the line between Mandan and Fargo, it was our serious misfortune to lose a brand new hat, which was wrenched from its dignified position by a furious gale of wind, as we were passing from one coach to another. This leaves us in a somewhat precarious situation as we had saved up our extra pennies to attend the first circus that came to town, and now that it is coming, it is somewhat embarrassing, to say the least, to be obliged to choose between a new hat or a ticket to the show. However, if the agent will kindly bestow a “comp,” this difficulty may yet be dissolved. As it is, we shall trust in Providence and Burr Robbins’ ticket agent, and see which may be the most liberal. Various species of game were observed from the train, such as black-tailed deer, antelope, mountain sheep, wild ducks, geese, mallard, brant, etc., the feathered bipeds being almost numberless. Our excellent marksmanship might have been the means of securing considerable game, but lack of a culinary assistant at home prevented our making the attempt, and we know that such high living would be somewhat deleterious to the system of the junior proprietor of the TRIBUNE, whom we have every reason to believe is subsisting upon cucumbers and cracked wheat, judging from various points of view, and the fact that subscriptions are coming in so slow.

We had intended mentioning in particular the various points along the line, but lack of space forbids, owing to so much being taken up with comments on the Bad Lands. However, we hope, at no very far distant day, to take another trip over the road, with the sole intention of procuring a general idea of such places as Fargo, Bismarck, Jamestown, Valley City, Mandan, Glendive, et al. At present suffice it to say that the golden Northwest from St. Paul to the end of the Northern track, is a country of which a nation may well be proud. Its rapid growth must indicate a great future, and we are rapidly speeding onward to that illustrious goal, at which we may stand as a criterion and without rival in the known world. Many who know nothing of the northwestern country, only from hearsay, can form no adequate conception of the reality of these assertions. It requires personal observation to take it all in.

Sunday morning at 1:30 the crew safely arrived in Brainerd, all satisfied that they had never passed a more enjoyable season in their lives. However, before leaving the train, in consideration of the exceedingly kind accommodations and favors from the hands of Messrs. A. E. and D. R. Taylor, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:

WHEREAS, through the kindness and accommodation of Mr. A. E. Taylor, Chief Roadmaster of the N. P. R. R., and Mr. D. R. Taylor, Superintendent of the Missouri Division, the undersigned have been enabled to make a pleasure trip over the line of the N. P. R. R., to the end of the track with extraordinary courtesies extended throughout the entire journey, therefore, be it

Resolved, That as a unit we tender our heartfelt thanks to those two gentlemen for their kind interest manifested in our behalf, and the courtesies extended at their disposal.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be published in the Brainerd TRIBUNE.




S. D. BUCK, and others.

(Brainerd Tribune, 20 August 1881, Arthur E. Chase, Editor and Publisher, p. 8, c.’s 1-6)

Brainerd Celebrity.

A special correspondent to the Fargo Argus has been writing up the town of Brainerd, and thus remarks:

Brainerd has very justly acquired more celebrity than any other point on the Northern Pacific between St. Paul and Fargo. This may be accounted for from the fact that it possesses more natural advantages than any intermediate station, and is also a terminus of a section of the road. The Mississippi flows through it, and the surrounding country abounding in immense pine forests, millions of feet of timber is boomed down it. The Northern Pacific company has erected large car shops at this point, employing three hundred men therein, which gives a great boom to the place. Mr. Villard on his recent tour over the N. P., in conversation with one of Brainerd’s prominent citizens, said it was the intention of the company to employ two thousand men in the machine shops at this place. Another road is in contemplation from St. Paul to Grand Forks, which will run through here. The farming country surrounding Brainerd is said to be good. Fine lakes abounding in fish, vast forests of timber and good water invariably is the boast of the inhabitants. The city contains a population of four thousand, among which are many prominent businessmen who act upon the theory that they have a common interest and join their efforts to promote the various enterprises going on. The city is handsomely laid out and its adaptation to the comforts of the inhabitants admirable; the business part and private residences being entirely separate. The former is confined exclusively to the south of the railroad track, while the latter is to the north, and a more handsome cluster of neat, cool cottages is not to be seen. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 August 1881, p. 5, c. 4)

The Necessity of a Town Organization.

Can someone suggest a way by which the people can be brought to see the necessity of a town organization? It is only necessary for any fair-minded man who passes along our streets and sees the filth and refuse matter, to recognize the fact that organization is necessary. A council to regulate public improvements, and a board of health to look after the sanitary condition of the town, as well as a fire company with first-class equipments are some of the essential, protective departments of which every town the size of Brainerd should consist. The town will not improve as it should without organization. There will be sickness and disease among us as long as the filth and corruption is thrown out in the streets, and in the alleys and backyards, which fills the air with a sickening stench. And if a fire breaks out the people would be powerless to stop it until a considerable part of the town was swept away by the devouring elements. The above reasons, we think, ought to put people to thinking, and we hope that some action may be taken in the near future to remedy these matters which will be of mutual benefit to all parties concerned. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 August 1881, p. 5, c. 4)


On Thursday, having a little business out at neighboring stations, we boarded the noon passenger west, and soon arrived in Gull River, but not finding parties whom we were looking for, concluded to go on to Motley, some 22 miles farther west. At this place, having several hours leisure, we “took in” the town. Motley has a population of probably three hundred people. Its interests are almost entirely tributary to lumbering, if not direct. Among the business portion of Motley may be mentioned C. W. McMillian, a dealer in hardware, S. E. McMillian & Col., general dealers; the post office is also located at this point; Hartshorn & Co., general merchants; Chas Baker, hotel and saloon; D. J. Fisher, saloon; B. Lufkins, hotel; Curtis & Lawrence, hotel; Scovill & Rose, blacksmiths. H. B. Morrison is proprietor of the large saw and planing mill, which does an enormous business, and employs a large force of men. Curtis & Lawrence have a larger mill some three-fourths of a mile from town, and also employ a large force of hands. At Motley there are two elevators. A new steam water tank is now in course of construction. H. Hawkins, the genial station agent was absent, attending the fair at Minneapolis, and in his place, temporarily was—well, what was he? Two or three gentlemen present asked him casually, a civil question, and were almost dumbfounded at the retort which would be crankily responded. We have seen Grant in all his glory, and Sarah Bernhardt, but we never have seen so much pompous ill-manners and non-accommodation piled up in one chunk, as exhibited itself in this Joe Nichols. Every man in the town, with scarcely an exception were continually remarking something concerning the conduct of this human cur, so to speak, for his actions would remind one more of the general disposition of an ordinary mongrel, than of a man. Two or three even openly declared that should they again be treated as they had been in the past by this individual, there would be hostilities in the wind. Several of the leading citizens of the town have signified their positive intention to report him to headquarters. A man openly declares his ignorance and poor breeding when he exhibits so much unoccasioned pomp and discourteous relations with the world around him. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 September 1881, p. 5, c. 5)

Today at noon, we received a call from Mr. Nichols, who has been station agent pro-tempore at Motley during Mr. Hawkins recent absence, and of whom rather critical mention was made in last week’s issue. Mr. Nichols desired to state that any seeming rudeness to any with whom he might have had dealings was entirely unintentional on his part, and that the cares of his position were of such a nature as possibly to render him at times somewhat out of humor, something which will occur in any business or profession, and that he has endeavored to discharge his duties faithfully and carefully, and stricture of procedure may have been somewhat misconstrued. On our part we desire to apologize to Mr. Nichols for our own haste, if we have trespassed on rational judgment. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 September 1881, p. 6, c. 3)

Got Caught at It.

Last Tuesday evening Sherif Mertz had a little exercise, and came near having a small lump of lead laid away in his system. It appears that an old gentleman named Chris. Sorenson, a Norwegian, who is in the employ of J. A. Davis & Co., had been “gone through” to the tune of about thirty-five dollars, and the parties who did the funny business were watched by responsible persons, who at once reported to the sheriff, who was soon on hand, ready for business. The first two parties pointed out were Frank Sullivan, commonly called “Reddy,” and Ed. A. Gifford. These two were marched off and placed in safe keeping, when the balance of the party, George Davis and James Robertson, were marked for capture. Robertson made no effort to escape, but submitted like a little man. Davis was the star actor of the occasion. He sailed out in the direction of Crow Wing about as fast as his lower extremities would carry him, with the sheriff after him. But taking a turn around the block, the sheriff soon came up to him, when he wheeled, presented his revolver and dared the officer to approach him. After being informed that he was wanted, and who was after him, he still stubbornly refused to surrender. Mertz moved up toward him, when Davis fired, without effect. It was now the sheriff’s turn, and he blazed away, but the night being so dark he could not take good aim, and missed his man, who again started to run, but was soon stopped, and ordered to throw up his arms, which he did, and was marched off to a place previously prepared for such as him. Their case will probably come before the grand jury next week. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 September 1881, p. 1, c.’s 5 & 6)

SEE: 1879 An Accident at the Ferry

SEE: 1880 Another Accident at the Ferry

SEE: 1881 Sheriff Mertz Outruns a Railway Train

SEE: 1881 Criminal Calendar

SEE: 1881 Jack O’Neill Shoots “Fakir George” at the Last Turn Saloon

SEE: 1881 The Moral Tone of Brainerd

SEE: 1882 Will Go Over the Road

SEE: 1882 Trouble in Hartley’s Hall

SEE: 1883 Fred Hagadorn Remembers

SEE: 1884 The Burns-Mays Case

SEE: 1885 Early Days in Brainerd

SEE: 1886 The Hugh Dolan Murder

SEE: 1927 Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Mertz Draws Governor Hartley

SEE: 1930 Peter Mertz, Now of Spokane, Tells of Experiences

SEE: 1931 Pioneer Sheriff Pete Mertz and “Indian Jack” Capture Bad Hombres

SEE: County / City Jail (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.

SEE: County Jail / Sheriff’s Residence (First) in the Buildings & Parks of Brainerd page.



The first matter coming before the court was the bringing in of indictments by the grand jury against Frank Sullivan, C. A. Gifford, Geo. Davis, and E. A. Robertson, for the crime of larceny, the particulars of which have been given heretofore. Attorney C. D. O’Brien, of St. Paul, appeared for Robertson and moved for a continuance until the next term of court, which was granted, and bail fixed in the sum of $500, with two good securities, to be approved by the county attorney. The other three indicted plead not guilty. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 September 1881, p. 5, c. 4)

Court Calendar.

An affair from Shell River was also brought in for consideration. It appears in this case that two brothers-in-law, Chas. Wilkins, and William King, had been living at Shell river, Cass county, and that a difficulty having arisen, Wilkins is shot and killed by King. As near as we can ascertain, Wilkins had repeatedly threatened to kill his wife (King’s sister) if she did not deliver over to him some money which she had received from relatives in Germany. Becoming thoroughly alarmed, during a temporary absence of her husband, she sought refuge in her brother’s house. Wilkins returning home, and finding his wife absent, at once repaired to King’s house and the two ladies in the house, observing him making steps in that direction warned King, who placed his revolver in his pocket and met the enraged man at the door. Upon inquiry as to what was wanted King [sic] [Wilkins] replied that one or the other of them must die that night, and at once pulled a revolver and fired, without taking effect. King at once retaliated with four shots, one of which took effect, killing his opponent. A jury was impanelled, the case was presided over by a notary, and a verdict of justifiable homicide rendered. What may be done further remains to be determined. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 September 1881, p. 1, c. 5)



Brainerd Walking Ahead of Everything on the Line.


Not a Town Where Money Can be

Found Only When the Farmers

“Thrash their Wheat,”


But a Rapidly Growing City of Beauty, Enterprise,

and Magnificent Facilities for Everything

which Constitutes a Live Place.

Bound to Come out Ahead.

While other points on the Northern Pacific are booming right along, it can safely be asserted that there is no place which is swelling its borders as rapidly as our own Brainerd.

Reliable and indisputable statistics show that about four hundred dwellings have been constructed during the past six or eight months; and when one presumes to associate with this the number and quality of the business blocks which have been built and those which are now in course of erection, it is something simply astounding.


Alone would make a large and active town of itself. In connection with the present shops located here, a new machine shop 120x244 feet is now under rapid headway, and this is to be increased next year to 500 feet in length, and so on each succeeding year as the business of the road may necessitate. There is also a transfer table operated by steam. The plans also provide for a boiler, blacksmith and repair shops 80x500 feet, we have been informed, but these are not to be constructed till next year. The N. P. buildings alone will cover about thirty acres, and are to be constructed on thoroughly scientific principles. Mention might be made of the new round house, which is over one thousand feet in circumference, and has a capacity for forty-four engines. The N. P. outfit alone, brings into Brainerd each month—winter or summer—from forty thousand to seventy thousand dollars. It is not money that simply comes in when the farmers “thresh their wheat,” but it comes every month, fair weather or foul. No bad season can affect the town on that score. Besides all this, the farming element in Crow Wing county is rapidly growing larger.


Is building a brick block on Front street seventy-five by eighty feet, which will include two stories and finished basement. The lower story is divided off into two large store rooms, one to be occupied by W. A. Smith & Co., for a dry goods and general store. The other room will contain a mammoth stock of hardware, owned by David E. Slipp. The upper portion is divided off principally into offices and sleeping apartments. The TRIBUNE office will soon be moved into this block, and occupy the rooms designated by the six windows nearest the store of H. Gross & Son. The estimated cost is $25,000.


A gentleman of rare business qualifications, coming here from Minnesota Lake, not being able to secure enough brick, at first, on account of the wonderful demand for that essential article, erected a large frame building, and stocked up a general store, and now in addition to this, has a fine two story brick store under fair way to completion.


Who came her from Sauk Rapids a few months since, first erected a frame store building on Front street, between Seventh and Broadway, but has recently disposed of this to a Mr. Barton, of Long Prairie who will put in a general stock of millinery. Mr. Cheney then commenced the erection of a large double store, on lots adjoining; this building will be veneered with brick, and be a fine business block when completed. A Mr. Cragg will occupy a portion of this building with a stock of drugs, medicines, etc., while Mr. Cheney will put in a general stock of merchandise in the eastern portion of the block.


Have erected a neat two story frame building on the corner of Fifth and Front streets, the lower portion of which is used as a fashionable billiard parlor. This building is neatly constructed, and presents quite an attractive appearance.


Is building a magnificent two story brick structure on Front street, which when done, will probably be as neat a building as will be found in this section of the country. The lower portion is to be occupied partly by Mr. F. M. Cable, a well-to-do druggist from Minneapolis, who will put in a complete druggist’s outfit, and will doubtless be as fine a store as money can make it. The other portion of the lower story Bason Bros., will stock up with an extensive line of stoves, tinware, etc. The upper story, we are informed, is to be fitted up for offices.


Has built a commodious two story frame building on Laurel street, the lower part of which is occupied for a general store, and register of deeds office.


Have built a neat structure nearby which is occupied by Peter McStay for a billiard parlor.


As will be observed in another column of this issue, have commenced building a large addition to their large general store on Front street.


The Congregational society of Brainerd, which were so unfortunate as to lose their church by fire several months ago, have commenced a new brick church which when completed will cost probably $12,000, and will be a beauty.


Are under contemplation for next season, among which, will probably be some that will walk away with the laurels of northern Minnesota.


Neat, tasty and substantial, have been put up on every street. New street ways have been opened out, and everything indicates that Brainerd has a glorious future before it.

This is to be the only point on the line of the Northern Pacific railroad, where the company’s cars will be manufactured. Here is where the largest and principal shops on the line are to be. Here is the point where all three divisions centre, and the most beautiful location for a town that the country affords.

We are bound to prosper, although other points, jealous of our advantages and flattering prospects, are endeavoring to sit down upon us. Let every citizen gird himself and wade in with determination to work for one common interest, and to the promulgation of the best interest of Brainerd and the country surrounding. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 September 1881, p. 10, c.’s 1 & 2)

The time has come, when, if the people desire, the town can be incorporated by legislative act. As the Legislature is now in session, it is only necessary that we get up a petition, have it signed by our leading citizens, secure the interest and cooperation of our representative, and we can have an organization. It is not necessary to go on and state the reasons why we should organize, several of which have been enumerated in our columns heretofore. But we wish to urge our citizens to take hold of the matter while we have the chance and secure a safe organization which the growing town demands. (Brainerd Tribune, 15 October 1881, p. 5, c. 2)



Brainerd, Thou Art

a Jewel.


A Matter Long Neglected, is at Last

Brought to a Proper Focus,


And a Bill Passed by the Legisla-

ture, Authorizing Brainerd

to Incorporate as a City,


Providing the People Will Indicate Their Dis-

position So to Do, By Their Votes, Which

They Will be Very Likely to Do.


For some time past the subject of incorporating the town of Brainerd has been a topic for general discussion, but owing to lack of disposition on the part of any party to take the lead in such an action, it has been neglected until the extra session of the legislature, at which a charter was drawn up, and a bill introduced by the Hon. C. B. Buckman, praying for power to incorporate. Through the efforts of this gentleman, and other leading public men, the bill was passed without dissent, and ere long Brainerd will have an opportunity of saying whether or not, her appearance shall be improved, her streets and alleys cleaned, the value of her property enhanced, and a general change from her present appearance to better shall take place, or not. The people of Brainerd have begun to open their eyes to the want of a more stringent local government, and to the fact that the lack of an incorporative power was a serious detriment to the thriving young town in question in more ways than one. As a matter of course, as in all matters of this kind, there are objections raised, although none of a very prominent nature have come to light as yet. It has been a sort of bucking post for the people of Brainerd for some time past, to have thrown into their teeth the insinuation that they lacked even municipal government, but now the right to charter as a City, has been granted, and we may expect to soon be living under a city government, and have the views of “city dads” a la eastern municipalities, to discuss and be disciplined by. This is a step in the right direction. The idea of of a town of between 4,000 and 5,000 inhabitants having no local government has become exceedingly obnoxious to the greater portion of the citizens of this community, and when an election is held for the purpose of deciding whether or not we shall still remain in the same old rut, or rise from the dust of our former self, it is quite evident how every thinking, working citizen will vote. Let us be alive to the interests and wants of our rapidly growing young town, and cater to them in a manner which shall be appropriate with the times. It is a known fact that already arrangements have been negotiated for an immense amount of building and general improvements as soon as spring shall open up; therefore, be ready to meet whatever comes, and Brainerd will soon stand without a peer in this western country. Mills, hotels, stores, shops, etc., are being built, and all these will help swell the borders of the City of Pines. (Brainerd Tribune, 12 November 1881, p. 5, c. 5)



Read and Ponder Care-









EDITOR TRIBUNE.—Being the author of the bill which became a law at the recent session of the legislature, authorizing the town of Brainerd and certain contiguous territory to become a city, and fearing that my efforts to procure the publication of that law in your columns prior to the acceptance election thereunder which takes place on Tuesday, the 6th day of December next, and believing that the people should generally understand the provisions of the proposed charter before it is voted upon, I have endeavored to answer fully the numerous inquiries that have been made of me regarding it, and now would like, with your permission, to use your columns, the more thoroughly to make this matter fully understood.

First let me say, however, that I still have hopes that the law itself will be published before the day of election, as the Secretary of State says he will send it to me as soon as possible, but having a great deal to do just now and the act being rather lengthy, it will necessarily be some time before he can complete its exemplification.

The territory proposed to be incorporated is fractional township 45 range 30, and is divided into three wards as follows: First ward, all south of the railroad track and west of Broadway; second ward, all north of the railroad track, and west of 10th street, and the third ward, all east of the first and second wards.

The council is authorized to change the wards at certain periods as required by changes in population.

The elective officers are Mayor, six Aldermen—two from each ward—Treasurer, Clerk and Police Justice.

The appointive officers are Chief of Police and such policemen as the council deem necessary, Surveyor, City Attorney and Street Commissioner.

The Mayor is the head of the police force, appoints the appointive officers by and with the consent of the council, has the veto power, and holds his office one year.

The aldermen constitute the City Council, have the usual powers to enact ordinances, etc., and hold their offices two years.

The City Clerk performs the usual duties of that office and the Treasurer in addition to being the custodian of the funds of the city receives all poll taxes commuted by the payment of money.

The Police Justice must be a regularly admitted practicing attorney and has exclusive jurisdiction within the city in all criminal cases and all cases cognizable before a justice of the peace where the amount claimed does not exceed $250, and holds his office two years. Appeals may be taken to the district court as in justice court.

The Street Commissioner shall oversee all street labor including convict labor of prisoners sentenced to street labor, the council being empowered to provide, by ordinance for such convict labor.

All fines and licenses go into the city treasury.

The annual elections are to be held on the first Tuesday in March in each year and the fiscal year begins with the day of election. The first election of officers, provided the charter is accepted, takes place on the second Tuesday of January 1882, and takes the place of the annual election for that year, the officers holding over the same as though elected in March, 1882.

The election districts of Crow Wing county remain unchanged for all state and county elections.

The qualifications of voters are the same as at state elections except that they shall have resided in the city six months and the ward ten days, and they must be registered at least ten days preceding the election at which they offer to vote.

The Mayor and Aldermen are required to be the owners of real estate and residents of the city for one year preceding their election and receive no salary or remuneration of any kind.

This Mr. Editor, is a brief outline of the proposed charter, and now one word personal to myself.

The intimation has reached my ears that I was desirous of official honors under this charter, my understanding of the imputation being that my aspirations in that direction were the chief prompters to my activity in drawing it up and laboring for its enactment and acceptance.

I cannot say, Mr. Editor, that the thought of becoming a candidate for the mayoralty has never entered my mind, for, quite unexpectedly to myself a number of my friends have asked me to allow my name to be used, but I do say that the faintest intention of complying with any such request has never once entered my mind, for two very important and sufficient reasons.

First, I have no aspirations in the direction named, and if I should happen to be the unanimous choice of our citizens for the office, (a decidedly improbable event), I should positively decline with thanks.

Second, I could not hold any office under our charter if I desired to, without vacating the office I now hold, that of postmaster, which is all the honor I want just now.

The facts are these and only these with reference to this matter: I waited for others, better qualified than myself, to draw up a charter, but no one seemed inclined to move in the matter, and feeling as did a great many others that something ought to be done at this session of the legislature, I concluded to draw one up myself according to my own ideas, and sent it up, considering that if it did not suit the ideas of the majority of our people, it would not cost them much to say so, while on the other hand, if they concurred with me, we would have what everyone concedes we very much need, a city charter. My only desire now is its success, with the power to compel the man who leaves a stove pipe sticking through his roof for the avowed purpose of driving his neighbors to buy his property at exorbitant prices or burn them out, or for any other cause, to remove his nuisance, and otherwise to govern ourselves. Thanking you for so much space,

Your Obedient Servant,


Brainerd, Nov. 25, 1881.

(Brainerd Tribune, 26 November 1881, p. 4, c.’s 1 & 2)



In pursuance of an Act of the Legislature of the State of Minnesota, approved November 1881, providing for the incorporation of fractional township numbered 45 of range 31, and the west half of sections 18, 19 and 30, of township 45, of range 30 in Crow Wing county, as a City, to be called the City of Brainerd, under which act an election is required to be held within the territory aforesaid on Tuesday, December 6th, 1881, for the purpose of accepting or rejecting the Charter for said city provided by said act. Notice is hereby given to the electors residing within the territory aforesaid, that said election will be held at the Town Clerk’s office in the town of Brainerd, on Tuesday, December 6th, 1881, and that the polls at said election will be opened at 10 o’clock a. m., and closed at 5 o’clock p. m. of said day. The voters at said election to accept said act of incorporation shall have written or printed, or partly written and partly printed upon their ballots the following words: “Organizing City Government, Yes.” And the ballots used at said election by those voting against accepting and organizing shall have printed or written or partly printed and partly written the following words: “Organizing City Government, No.”

Dated Brainerd, Minn., Nov. 25th, 1881.

W. M. PAINE, Town Clerk

B. F. HARTLEY, Ch’mn. Bd. of Town Sup. of Brainerd.

(Brainerd Tribune, 26 November 1881, p. 5, c. 6)



Which Inscription the

Tickets Should

Adorn Next



Let Us Cast Off the Insignificant

Habiliments of Non-Organ-

ization, and Rise Phoenix-

like from the Ashes of

Our Former Self.


Voters of Brainerd, Show the World

at Large, That This Long Desired

and Much Needed Transition

is Made Through Your Unan-

imous Expression at the





As will be seen in another column of this issue a call has been issued for a special election to be held on Tuesday, December 6th, 1881, at which time the voters of Brainerd will have an opportunity to show by their votes whether they prefer to jog along in the old rut without any form of municipal organization, and with streets, alleys and by-ways filled with rubbish and rotten refuse matter, breeding disease and pestilence, or a respectable standing in comparison with our many enterprising neighbors, who are continually flinging into our teeth the belittling insinuation that we cannot even boast of a village organization, to say nothing of the title of A CITY. Every person residing within the limits of the proposed city of Brainerd knows full well that there is not a point on the line of the Northern Pacific railroad, possessing the rights and powers of ordination, but whose general appearance is more pleasing, by way of contrast, to the causal observer, than Brainerd. But our brilliant prospects and rapid growth have attracted many, whose gift of foresight indicate plainly the prospects—aye, the certainty—of a city of no mean dimensions which is rapidly looming up before us. Think of it! Over four hundred dwellings, all neat, model and substantial structures, have been erected within a space of eight or nine months. Several fine large brick business blocks, and numerous frame ones, now grace the different streets of the town. The population of Brainerd is now ranging between 4,000 and 5,000 souls, and bids fair to more than double this within the next twelve months. But no civil government other than merely the state laws!. No local rights! No municipal authority! Everybody permitted to empty their stables, hog-pens, or anything they choose, into the middle of the streets, and nobody to complain. A few wooden sidewalks, with a third of the planks gone or broken, and no prospects of anything better under the old way. No crossings fit for a lady to pass from one side of the street to another, and all such minor matters, as well as a great many more which might be mentioned. Shall these things continue thus? Is there a citizen within the limits of this town, who will dispute the assertion that the value of his property will be greatly enhanced as one result of incorporation? If such a mortal should exist, his metal faculties must be of a very obtuse construction. This assertion is made in all good faith, and we trust none will be offended, or misconstrue our motives in so expressing our views, through the medium of “a newspaper.” Does any being whose organs of understanding are located far enough up in his anatomy as not to conflict with his appetite, for a moment dispute that the immense amount of debris lying about the streets and sidewalks, should all be cleared away, and that the heaps of pine boxes which ornament the walks in many places are no particular ornament to the town. There are almost an innumerable number of small matters like these, not taking into consideration subjects of greater or more vital interest, which would doubtless all be provided for by acts of a board of aldermen.

The territory proposed to be incorporated is fractional township forty-five (45), range thirty-one (31), and the west half of sections eighteen (18), nineteen (19) and thirty (30), of township forty-five (45), range thirty (30), and is mentioned in Mr. Harley’s communication of last week to be divided into three wards, viz: First ward, all south of the railroad track and west of Broadway; second ward, all north of the railroad track, and west of 10th street; third ward, all east of the first and second wards. It shall be optional with the board of aldermen to change the wards as they may deem necessary and consistent.

The police force will be an essential element which would come into vogue under the “reconstruction.” It would have a tendency, if properly conducted, and efficient men were placed on the force, to tone down a certain class of refractory individuals, who frequent this place at various seasons of the year to replenish their finances through various illegitimacies. It is a known and undisputed fact that at nearly all periods of the year these western towns are frequented by professional tricksters and confidence men from cities outside, who, as their sole occupation, despoil their fellow men, feeding like human vultures off the fruits of labor, garnered by many well-meaning, yet weak-minded and easily persuaded human beings. Several rather questionable affairs, which have transpired during the past few months, which have been surreptitiously hushed up for unknown reasons, and justice has lost her dues in many cases, through a lack of sufficient instrumentality or power to act. It cannot be doubted that the weight of reason on the positive side of this question will overbalance that on the negative. As to TAXES, which some are groaning about is indeed singular if a little heavier taxation to improve property, thereby doubling, in some instances, is not much more profitable in the end, than to permit matters to run in their present groove, and allow ourselves to be classed as a sort of nonentity in the eyes of the world, when it could just as well, and better, be otherwise. Let every thinking man wonder well this subject, and then considerer which way he should cast his ballot. Vote right. (Brainerd Tribune, 03 December 1881, p. 1, c.’s 5 & 6)

City Government, Four

to One.






We will be a City after all, with

All the Title Signifies.


By a Vote of 370 out of some 1,300

Qualified Citizens, the measure

is carried—296 to 74.


Last Tuesday was election day, it having been duly advertised that on the specified date, it was to be decided whether or not Brainerd was to be a city or a mere town, as before. Considerable interest was manifested during the day, though but a light vote was polled. There are some 1,300 names on the poll list, while only 370 votes were cast. Out of these 370 votes, 296 were in favor of city government, while 74 were opposed to the measure. General satisfaction it is thought, will be manifested by nearly all interested. On the evening previous to the election, a meeting was held, and an organization perfected, we are informed, to resist and oppose the adoption of “City Government, Yes,” but not nearly as much opposition was developed, as it was quite generally supposed would be. Several hot disputes characterized the usual election day’s proceedings, but no bloody noses were visible, and no disturbance manifest. It is sincerely to be hoped that all our citizens will unite in their endeavors to make the city of Brainerd a prosperous and beautiful point on the line of the Northern Pacific, which shall merit compliment.

The first election under this act will be held on the second Tuesday in January next, and the officials then installed shall be qualified to hold their respective office until one year from the following March. It is to be presumed that the usual wire-pulling will be indulged in at the local city election, as that which characterizes our county elections, and it is already a surmise who is to be the next mayor, or who the aldermen are to be. This will soon be all settled, and ere long, we shall be gliding smoothly along under the ordinances laid down by our prospective “city dads.” (Brainerd Tribune, 10 December 1881, p. 6, c. 1)

One of the most important events in the history of Brainerd will take place on the 10th of January. On that day the first city election will be held and prior to that time every good citizen should give the matter his earnest and thoughtful attention. Brainerd has entered a new era—the town is now a city, and the importance of a right start in her municipal government cannot be overestimated. We have plenty of able and honest men who would perform the duties pertaining to any office within the gift of the citizens not only with honor to themselves but in a manner acceptable to their constituents. As no man is permitted to vote unless he has registered at least ten days before the election, all voters whose names are not already on the list are urged to be prompt in registering on the date which will be set today or Monday by the judges of election and duly announced by the town clerk. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 December 1881, p. 8, c. 1)

Brainerd has bloomed into a city with the following officers: Mayor, B. F. Hartley; clerk, R. G. Sparks; treasurer, J. N. Nevers; police justice, H. D. Follett; aldermen: First ward, James Dewar and G. H. Stratton; Second ward, Wm. Ferris and A. P. Farrar; Third ward, George Forsythe and Adam Brown. (Brainerd Tribune, 14 January 1882, p. 5, c. 2)



The Perham Quill Whittler Pic-

tures a Big Town on Paper.


A Neighboring Way Station Brought

Into Ridiculous Comparison with

a Western Metropolis.

The Burr Robbins & Co.’s flaming posters announce the fact that their “grand moral show” is to set up its tents at Brainerd on the 29th inst. Why don’t traveling circuses take in Perham? There is no place except Fargo on the entire line of the road where they can draw such crowds as would greet them here. They should come and look over the town—[Perham Journal. When Perham presumes to compare herself with Brainerd; Elk River might consider herself on a like footing with Minneapolis—BRAINERD TRIBUNE.

Post that up, Brother Chase, where you can refer to it in the sweet by-and-by. Then come to Perham, travel around it, see the golden wealth accumulating on every side, in stacks and shocks, in warehouses and granaries, and then acknowledge your error.

Brainerd, we gladly admit, is a prosperous town, led by business men full of energy, foresight and hope, of which the TRIBUNE men are not least. It is a central railroad point and division headquarters. A visit to that borough has shown us that the manufacturing interests are fairly represented, within certain narrow limits. But the backbone of the nation, and in degree, of every town and city, is the agricultural interest, and on this how do Brainerd and Perham compare?

Half a score of scattered farms, it may be, have by liberal expenditure of money been started within some miles of Brainerd and—there the tale ends.

Perham has equally with Brainerd manufacturing interests. The extensive saw mills of Me