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Archive for the ‘Brainerd’ Category

The time had come for Cass County, Minnesota to organize and become a real county.

Cass County was created on September 1, 1851 by the legislature of the Minnesota Territory. It was not formally organized until 1897. Cass County was formed from portions of Dakota, Mahkatah, Pembina and Wahnata Counties. The county was named in honor of Lewis Cass.[4] In turn, before formal organization, land from Cass County was split off to form other of the surrounding counties.

Source:  Online at Wikipedia – Cass County, Minnesota

Cass Counties timeline

Cass County’s timeline

The Cass County Government website has a nice history of Cass County Government.  It didn’t have officers till 1872 and the boundaries where sliced off over the years by other counties – see the above timeline.

http://www.co.cass.mn.us/index.html

http://www.co.cass.mn.us/government/gov_home.html

The book:  “Cass County Heritage,” by the Cass County Historical Society, 1999 has several pages of the history of the county, Chapter III, page 15 to 23, and goes into more depth. This book can be located by using WorldCat to find it in several libraries.  I tried to find it at the Minnesota Historical Society but was not getting a hit.  They usually have these types of books in their reading room.

In Chapter III, they describe the organization of Cass County and Crow Wing County’s maneuvering to take more land from Cass before it did finally become a county.

Cass remained part of Crow Wing until the re-organization in 1897.  In 1897 Walker was made the county seat but before that it was West Brainerd where you went to do business.

Like all political events the organization of Cass County, Minnesota in 1897 was of great interest to the inhabitants, businessmen and more. My great-grandfather George Angus Barclay was against the organization of the county and wrote several articles for the newspaper which I will feature in the next post.  Here the Weekly Journal makes a comment about the 2nd letter.

Weekly Journal News Feb 1895.

Weekly Journal News Feb 1895.

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My family has not always been easy to trace and doesn’t show up in published works as much as I would like.  Once in a while I get lucky.  George A. Barclay appears in the article “Homes for Settlers in Northern Minnesota,” in February of 1895 of the Northwest Magazine on pages 34 and 35.

As an example of prosperous pioneer life in this region, George A. Barclay settled there in 1873, at Pine River, thirty miles north of Brainerd and in the heart of the region. He entered 6.0 (640?) acres of Government land under the old and now repealed cash-entry system, at $1.25 an acre. He had $50 left and all his other worldly goods he carried in a pack on his back. He hired a Chippewa Indian to help him build a log house the first in that region. It is still standing in good condition. The Brainerd & Northern Minnesota track runs between his old home and the log barn on the left. Mr. Barclay has now ninety acres under successful cultivation; he has a good store, doing a business, as shown by his books, of $3,000 a month, and he has just completed a new hotel and store building. His property is now worth $18,000 or $20,000.”

A portion of the article about George Barclay's Ranch

A portion of the article about George Barclay’s Ranch

Of course, this article was written to attract other settlers to the area.  I am guessing the Chippewa Indian was McNanny/Nannie.  The article included a picture of George’s Ranch.

George's Ranch 1895 NW Magazine

George’s Ranch 1895 NW Magazine

Source:  “Home for Settlers in Northern Minnesota,” Northwest Magazine, Feb. 1895, Vol. 13 #2, St. Paul, MN

Compare the above picture with this photograph of George’s Ranch in the Logsleds to Snowmobiles book.  Permission given by the town of Pine River.

This is where my grandmother Grace grew up.  Do you see a little girl with pigtails running around and possibly a dirty face?

Barclay's Ranch in Logsleds Book

Barclay’s Ranch in Logsleds Book

When I was traveling in Minnesota in 2001, my goals was to seek out museums that might show me a little of what life might have been like for my great grandparents, George and Amarilla, and their daughter Grace.   So I took out a Minnesota Historical Society membership and it gave me access to several of their historic sites such as the Harkin Store in New Ulm:  http://sites.mnhs.org/historic-sites/harkin-store  This store is a living museum set in 1870 which is close to the time frame of George’s first trading post but I lean toward his later store.

This store seemed very well stocked, with a stove in the center and some chairs.  It also had a mail center (George was postmaster for a time) and a bulletin board.  Did great grandfather’s store look like this or was it totally different?  Somehow I think that his very early store was probably a little cruder and there was the smell of liquor and cigars? He did have to bring goods from Brainerd or trade with the Indians.  When Amarilla joined him in 1878 things might have gotten a little more organized and cleaner, maybe?

Harkin Store

Harkin Store

Warm yourself by the stove

Warm yourself by the stove

I was also curious about their living quarters what would it have been like.   My travels took me to the Cross Lake Historical Society and Pioneer Village:  http://www.crosslakehistoricalsociety.org/  It was wonderful and I highly recommend it.

Cabin at Cross Lake Historical Society 2001

Cabin at Cross Lake Historical Society 2001

If you compare the two photos above of George’s ranch you see the outside of the buildings and these cabins look similar.  Below are two photos which show a little of the interior of the cabin.  In this cabin they had everything.  The kitchen, dining area, laundry area and sleeping area.  Did my great grandfather’s cabin look like this one?  With the addition of the Barclay Hotel, things might have changed a lot.

The Interior with a bed, dishes, rugs and more.

The Interior with a bed, dishes, rugs and more.

More of the interior with a stove and a wash area.

More of the interior with a stove and a wash area.

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4th of July

4th of July

4th of July Celebrations

“The glorious fourth will be celebrated as it never was before at Pine River. There are to be horse races, pitching the weight and climbing the greasy pole and a match game of baseball between Pine River nine and the Big Bend nine in the afternoon. The day’s pleasure will wind up with a grand dance in the bowery kindly lent by G. A. Barclay. The Pine River Cornet band, under the leadership of Prof. Sam McConnell will be in attendance all day. The chief orator of the day will be George Barclay.

The glorious Fourth passed off at Pine River in fine shape.  It commenced at sunrise with a salute of one hundred guns.  At ten o’clock a grand street parade took place, headed by the city band under the leadership of Prof. Sam McConnell.  All the various trades of our city were well represented and the mayor and city council rode in carriages.  After parading the principal streets the procession made it s way to the city park, where all kinds of games were indulged in and a patriotic speech was delivered by the mayor.  In the evening the  day’s fun wound up by a grand bowery dance in the park.”

Source:  The Brainerd Tribune, Local News, Pine River, July 7 and 14th, 1894, from the newspaper collection at the Minnesota Historical Society.

It is too bad that George’s speech was not published in the newspaper!  It does sound like it was a wonderful celebration.

Image courtesy of Vintage Holiday Crafts – http://vintageholidaycrafts.com/

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George apparently took Amarilla and Grace with him on his trip to the East.  The Brainerd Tribune of June 30, 1894 gives these accounts in the Pine River section of the Local News.   There was a lot going on for the Barclays at this time.

The banner of the newspaper in Brainerd

The banner of the newspaper in Brainerd

1. George Barclay returned from the east last Sunday, accompanied by Mrs. and Miss Barclay, who will spend the summer vacation here and watch our city grow.

2. George Barclay while away visited Minneapolis, Chicago and New York City and says things are very dull.

3. George Barclay will commence building in a few days on the new town site.

4. Last week our neighbor correspondent said that George Barclay was as tickled as a boy with a new pair of shoes,  as the road passed through his place, etc. But George Barclay was in Chicago at the time and knew nothing of the line and when he came home last Sunday the shoes did not fit at all.  When a man has to tear down four buildings and dig a new well for thirty feet, and have his gardens torn up, I don’t think there is anything to be tickled about. Do you?

Source:   The Brainerd Tribune film 1/6-12/29/1894, article dated June 30, 1894 under Local news “Pine River.”   Below is the actual article.

Pine River News June 30, 1894

Pine River News June 30, 1894

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At the end of the month of June the Brainerd Dispatch Newspaper reported on June 29, 1894 the following series of  robberies that were taking place in the area.  Note the article on this front page about the Railroad strike?

Front page – see next photo for the entire story

Under Local News Notes the full article appears in the second column about a series of robberies in the north area:

HUNGRY MEN WILL EAT

Robbery at Barclay Ranch – 1894

From the country north of Brainerd comes reports of much suffering and destatuion among hundreds of men who have been enduced to come to this region by the beginning of operations on the Brainerd & Northern Minnesota railroad extension, and who have not found employment as expected.  During the past few days many depredations have been committed by men who claim they cannot starve. 

At Geo. Barclay’s place on Saturday night his warehouse was broken into and some $65 worth of eatables, such as flour, hams, potatoes, and a quantity of tobacco were stolen.  The same day a tote team loaded with provisions and belonging to Beckus & Co. was stopped on the road above Gull Lake and all the article that could be made into food was transferred from the owner’s wagon to a wagon belonging to the men and they told the driver that it was a matter of life or death with them as they had nothing to eat for several days but boiled fish without even salt to flavor it with.  There were 25 men in this gang and they stated that an account would be kept of the amount taken and that if they ever got money enough they would pay for it.  On Monday night about 10 o’clock Geo. Jenkins was stopped near Long Lake on the Leech Lake road by three men who sprung out of the brush and siezed his horses by the heads while the third man looked his wagon over, and seeing nothing in it that they could eat he told his companions to let Mr. Jenkins proceed as he had nothing they wanted.  Articles have also been taken from teams belonging to Nelson, Tenny & Co., H.B. Frey and A. Leonard.

It is to be regretted that so many men are being sent to this section for work on the new road when there are twice as many men on the ground as can find employment.  We are informed that advertisements are posted in St. Paul and Minneapolis stating that men are wanted here for this work, and it is undoubtedly for the sole purpose of getting the unemployed out of those two cities and dumping them into a country where there is nothing to do with no chance of getting enough to eat even.  The men are willing to work and say they will not starve as long as there are provisions in the country that they can get, even if they have to resort to force to obtain them.”

“Hungry Men will Eat,” Brainerd Dispatch, Brainerd, Minnesota, Friday June 29, 1894 under Local News, 2nd column.

In 1893 there was a major economic panic.  If you just Google “Panic of 1893″ you will get many hits on the subject.   Here is a link to an article about this panic: http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/whitten.panic.1893

So there were many contributing events going on that were causing a lot of problems for many people so this article is not too surprising.  Apparently George Angus Barclay was doing well in spite of the economic troubles for he was about to build the Barclay Hotel.

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More news about the railroad coming to Pine River appears in the Brainerd Tribune for June 9, 1894:

1. George Barclay returned from Brainerd last Friday.

2. The engineers are pretty near through with surveying the line for the new railroad, and work will soon begin. Sooner the better.

3. Last Monday a delegation of railroad magnates called on Mayor Ed Allen to ascertain if the city authorities of Pine River would grant the new railroad the right of way through our main street, where they now have their stakes drove, and after a short council it was granted. Watch our smoke.

4. F. H. Kimball the chief engineer, came up from Brainerd last night.

NOTE:  There is a notation that an F.H. Kimball was the architect for the Reading Railroad’s headhouse terminal in 1891 at Wikipedia was this the same man?

June 16, 1894 the Brainerd Tribune reports:

1. Paddy McDonald, the Duluth railroad contractor, was in Pine River last week looking over the route of the new road.

Note:  According to the Duluth Township Newsletter pg 5, July 2006:

“Paddy McDonald ran the crew that cleared the trees and brush from along the right of way. He was a well-known pugilist (Boxer) who had fought some very noted heavyweight contenders. He was also the man who was entrusted by the railroad to carry the payroll by dogsled from Duluth to Two Harbors and then Soudan before the track was completed to there. Alone and at night, he carried in excess of $16,000 in gold and silver coins contained in a heavy wooden box with lid nailed down. A formidable foe with either deadly weapons or fists, he was a man to be reckoned with. Now he ran the crews engaged in clearing the line.”

2. Mr. Grant, the Faribault railroad contractor, was here last Wednesday looking over the line of the proposed new road.

3. Last Week George Barclay located some farmers from Todd County who are hunting homesteads in Cass county. Emigration to Pine River will soon commence.

4. We will soon have the cars passing our doors now. The last line that was run passes the front of the house so near that its necessary to tear the old house down and build a new one. We’ll build a solid brick block to start the town booming. Hurrah for Pine River!

5. George Barclay returned from a cruising trip last Sunday and says the country is all on fire over toward Woman Lake. He had a narrow escape from being killed by a falling tree whilst coming home.  

Note:  I tried to find out more about this fire but online lead me to the big one that occurred in later in September of 1894.

June 24, 1894 the Brainerd Tribune has these items of interest:

1. George Barclay left last Tuesday for the twin cities and Chicago. He will be gone about two weeks.

2. Mr. Foley, who has the contract for building the new railroad , was here last Saturday.

3. When the new railroad is completed as far as Pine River,  Mayor Ed Allen will issue invitations to all city authorities between here and St. Paul.

Note:  The Minnesota Historical Society  has an excellent newspaper collection and I have visited this archive on several occasions 2000, 2001, 2007.  The Brainerd Tribune was only one newspaper that I studied.  I had prepared a spreadsheet with date events for each person/surname I was targeting.  I had studied the society’s holdings in advance so that I knew which newspapers were at what times and dates.  I was then able to pull the microfilm reels to access the newspapers quickly.  Newspaper research is hard work and takes time, so if you can prepare yourself before going to an archive it helps a great deal to save time.   It doesn’t hurt to practice at home before going on your trip.  Where do they place obituaries and funeral notices, where are important stories placed, what are the sections of the newspaper etc.  Newspapers can add little pieces of information that can make the lives of your ancestors more interesting.  Each newspaper is a little different so you need to take your time and get us to the format when you first begin.  Also the time frame of the newspaper can mean a different focus.  Most newspapers in the earlier part of the 1800’s did not really have obituaries unless you were wealthy and were more business oriented. The gossip columns or the news of different local areas did not show up till about the 1880’s.

So what do you think was George Barclay’s reason to go to the Twin Cities and Chicago for two weeks?  I would love to know why he went on this trip.  I do know that Grace, his daughter was at school in the Twin Cities at the time.  Why Chicago?

The Minnesota Historical Society & Me 2007

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The year of 1894 was a very busy year for the Barclays of Pine River, Minnesota.  The following news was reported in the Brainerd Tribune June 2, 1894:

G.A.R. Badge

1) “Mr. & Mrs. Barclay came up from Brainerd last Sunday, returning Tuesday for Decoration Day.

Note:  Decoration Day is now known as Memorial Day http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Army_of_the_Republic

2) George Barclay went to Brainerd to-day to attend the G.A.R. ceremonies on Decoration day, he being master of transportation.

Note:  George was a member of the G.A.R. Pap Thomas Post No. 30 in Brainerd.  Unfortunately their records were lost in a fire in 1910.  There are some records at the Minnesota Historical Society but they are from 1914 to 1920 and that is too late for my needs.

3) The mayor and council will visit Brainerd as soon as the palace sleeping cars are running on our new railroad.

This link will take you to an interesting article with pictures and diagrams of what a palace car was like.

ttp://www.midcontinent.org/rollingstock/builders/pullman1.htm

4) H.B. Frey came up from Minneapolis last Tuesday, looking after the engineers of the new railroad.

Mr. Frey seemed to be in the business of buying land for he appears in the land records for the St. Cloud office in Minnesota on a great many occasions.

5) Last Monday night about eleven o’clock some persons attempted to go through George Jenkins’ warehouse and got left. The thieves, whoever they were, were not on to their job. They carried a light and made too much noise. They were surprised by one of the hired men who happened to hear them after he was in bed. He got up and loaded his Winchester and ordered them to halt, but not complying with his request he fired and the next morning he found flour, beans and pork, also a piece of a shirt all covered with blood. It’s a pity he did not find the man as George Barclay has suffered likewise. The parties are known and had better be more careful. We don’t want any of the Coxey army up here.”  

I didn’t know anything about what or who the Coxey army was so I found this Wikipedia article that explained a lot.  Just do a Google search and you will get many hits on this subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxey’s_Army  It had something to do with the 1893 Panic which sort of reminds me of the financial crash a few years back, something about banks failing:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_of_1893

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