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Archive for the ‘Cass County’ Category

Grace, daughter of Amarilla and George Barclay was growing up and in the spring she turned sixteen on April 10th, 1898.

Grace circa 1895

Grace circa 1895

If you would like to learn more about my grandmother Grace Amarilla Barclay McDonald you can go to the blog “The Man Who Lived Airplanes” where I talk about Grace.  This other blog is about her son Keith, my father and his life and the heritage of the McDonald/McDonell side of the family.

http://macdonellfamily.wordpress.com/

Here are some posts about Grace and her children.  On the right of the above blog is an Archive and you can find the months involved.

  • Grace Barclay McDonald dated May 29, 2010
  • Ronald and Grace: Family Life! dated April 10, 2010
  • Ronald and Grace’s Children dated February 27, 2010
  • Keith’s Parents:  Ronald and Grace’s Marriage! dated January 20, 2010

As a young girl she went to Minneapolis/St. Paul to attended school there.  I have not been able to determine what the name of the school was and I have tried.  All I have found are vague references to Grace being at school or home from school and more.

While going to school Grace wrote in her composition book and titled her work:  Words of a Wasted Moment.  It was filled with poems, stories, home work and tall tales.

Grace's Words of A Wasted Moment - Table of Contents

Grace’s Words of A Wasted Moment – Table of Contents

I had hoped that it would be more autobiographical but it was not.  It was more a musing of a young girl and school lessons.  There is one comment she makes in which she references Ronald (R.S.), her future husband. Here is what she writes.

Words of a Wasted Moment -

All Day Long

I have fussed and fumed and fretted

All the long day through

I have worried puzzled and stormed

And thought of you (Ronald dearest)

 

I am tired now the evening is here

I am glad though all is well

With you my dear whom I’ve

Learned to love so well (better than life)

6 pm  Jan 20, 1897

How my grandparents met is one of great speculation. Pine River was a stopping place and George an Amarilla’s hotel probably brought a lot of traffic.  The train depot was right there so people were coming and going. The travelers were salesmen, hunters, fishermen, farmers, gamblers, railroad men, settlers, agents, government officials and lumbermen.  My grandfather Ronald’s profession was lumberman and actually Superintendent so he may have been looking for lumber sales and places to cut timber or on his way to another location.

Did they met on the train to Minneapolis and St. Paul?  It is possible because Grace was used to traveling the railroads with her parents and maybe on her own.  Or did Ronald come to Pine River to do business with George or other lumbermen?

My grandfather Ronald (R.S. McDonald) was not the only one that noticed Grace.

Hank Taylor came to Pine River about June 28th and was there till around the 5th an 6th of August 1898.  He paid attentions to Grace and she went for a boat ride with him accompanied by her mother, Amarilla.

Can you picture a boat ride?

Can you picture a boat ride?

Mr. Taylor was generally credited with a bad character by many persons and had words with George Barclay.   He had been a prize-fighter and bouncer and possibly a thief.  It was believed he stole a watch. The situation was not good and Grace and her father George had words.  George didn’t like Taylor and ordered him away.  I gave it a try in the 1895 Minnesota state census and then the 1900 U.S. Federal to see if I could find Mr. Taylor but no luck.

Oh my, events are getting very interesting in Pine River!

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Meanwhile, back in Pine River in 1898, Amarilla was involved in some land transactions.

May 3, 1898 she is involved with a deed where she is buying land from an Erik Thunell.  George witnessed this deed for her.

Instrument No. 3928, Erick Thunell of the county of ___ (cut off), State of Minnesota to Ammarilla Barclay of the County of Cass State of Minnesota consideration of one hundred and sixty ($160.00) to him paid…the East 1/2 one half of the southwest quarter (E SW) (32) township one hundred thirty-eight (138) Range ______(cut off). Signed by Erick Thun___ (cut off). Witnessed by G.A. Barclay and Wm. Fuller. 

Written on the side: Affidavit See K of Misc. pg. 519. 

Source:  Erik Thunell to Ammarilla Barclay, Deed Book P, pg. 164, 3 May, 1898, Instrument #3928, Cass Co., Register of Deeds, Minnesota.  This deed was a form and some of the writing was cut off on the side of the page.

A couple of months later on August 23, 1898 at 4 pm Amarilla buys land from a E.W. Davis.  This time George is not a witness.  The amount of the transaction is $950.00, was this money George gave Amarilla or was it her own?  These are lots in Brainerd.

Deed between E. W. Davis and Amarilla

Portion of a Deed between E. W. Davis and Amarilla

E. W. Davis to Ammarilla Barclay. This Indenture made this 16th Day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight between E. W. Davis, and Nellie G. Davis his wife of the County of Pipestone and State of Minnesota, parties of the first part and Ammarilla Barclay of the County of Cass and State of Minnesota, party of the second part. Witnessth that the said parties of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of nine hundred and fifty and no/100 dollars _____in hand part by the said party of the second part. The receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged do by these presents grants bargains sell [revise], release and convey unto the said party of the second part and her heirs in and assigns forever all the following described lot, piece or parcel of land situate in the County of Crow Wing and the State of Minnesota, and known as follows to wit: lots numbered nineteen (19 and Twenty (20) of block numbered one hundred (100) of the original Town (now city) of Brainerd of the recorded plat there of an filed in the office of the register of deeds for the County of Crow Wing in the State of Minnesota – To Have and to Hold the same together with all the hereditments and appurtenances thereunto belonging ______________unto the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns forever, and the said E. W. Davis and Nellie G. Davis, parties of the first part for and of themselves their heirs executors and administrators do covenent with the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns that they _____ not made, done ____________ or suffered any act of thing whatsoever, whereby the above described premises or any part thereof ____or at any time hereafter shall or may be ______________charges or encumbered in any manner whatsoever. and the _______ granted premises against all ______lawfully claiming the same _____through or under the said E. W. Davis the said party of the first part will forever warrant and defend. In testimoney whereof the said party of the first part have hereunto their hands and seals this day and year first above written. Signed, Sealed and delivered in the presence of Marion Hanna and S.E. Wharton. Signed by E. W. Davis and Nellie G. Davis.

State of Minnesota County of Pipestone
On this 16th day of August AD 1898 before me a Notary Public within the foresaid County personally appeared E. W. Davis and Nellie G. Davis husband and wife. ____known to be the Persons described in and who executed the foregoing and ____instrument, and acknowledged that they executed the same as their free act and deed. S.E. Wharton, Notary Public in and for Pipestone Co., Minnesota.

Source:  E. W. Davis to Ammarilla Barclay, Special Warranty Deed, Filed August 23, 1898 4 pm #10691, Vol. 9, pg. 129-130, Crown Wing Co., Minnesota.  This deed was a challenge to read and you can see I did not get quite a lot of the words. Sometimes I have to read a deed several times before I get all the words.  I think we can figure out what is happening.

So Amarilla is buying lots in Brainerd.  I wonder why?  Were George and Amarilla planning on retiring in Brainerd?  He was 54 years old and she was just about 40.  They had been working the land and businesses in Pine River for 25 years.  Oh there could be so many reasons, I guess I will never know.

On the City of Brainerd website there are maps and they have a 1892 Sanborn Map that features the blocks and lots for Brainerd. The one that Amarilla is focusing on is page #3.  Block 100 is between E. Ivy and E. Juniper and N. Broadway and N. 9th St.  Click on the image and scroll to the bottom.  Unfortunately I cannot find this block on a current map online.  Cities are known for changing street names over the years.  If anyone knows where this is located please let me know.

Sanborn 1892 Brainerd

Sanborn 1892 Brainerd

UPDATE:  Thanks too two very nice persons who commented on this post (see comments), the other map titled Turner 1871 also shows the 100 block in Brainerd (Lots 19 and 20).  According to this map the land is not to far from the Courthouse in with the Barclay’s did a lot of business and the Episcopal Church, well if it is St. Paul’s then they have their marriage record.  I did seek out St. Paul’s church when I visited but can’t seem to find my picture.  I was so close.

 http://www.ci.brainerd.mn.us/docs/maps/historic/Turner1871.pdf  Be patient it does open but slowly.

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George is involved in another round of politics in 1897 regarding the organization of Cass County. Of course George A. Barclay wanted Pine River to be the county seat.  He was too late in organizing the convention to vote on that subject. This notice for a convention to choose a county seat for Cass appeared in the  Cass County Pioneer newspaper in July of 1897 somewhat hidden in back pages.

A convention for choosing a county seat in Cass Co., MN

A convention for choosing a county seat in Cass Co., MN

Notice:  Pursuant to notice duly given calling a non-partisan convention for the county of Cass for the purpose of selecting a location for a county seat to be voted on at a coming special election.  Said convention was called to order by Wm. H. Hallett, who was elected chairman.  A. J. Collins was elected clerk.  After seating the delegates the chairman was authorized to retain an able attorney to look after an direct the petitioners who wish to change the county seat.  One hundred dollars was raised for current expenses, Geo. Barclay of Pine River giving his check for $50.  Owing to the inclemency of the weather, but twenty of the sixty delegates attended. Those present, wishing to give every part of  the county a chance to vote on this important question.  The convention was adjourned until the 21st of June 1897 to meet at the Ellis post office school house on section 7 town 135, range 31, at 2 o’clock p.m.  On said date the delegates present will proceed to select a site for a new county seat.  All precincts are requested to have their delegates attend said adjourned convention.  Dated at County convention this the day of June, 1897 A Collins, Sec.  Wm. H. Hallet, Chm.

Source:  Notice, Cass County Pioneer Newspaper, Walker, MN, Film June 17, 1897, #1/2/1897 to 6/2/1898, Thursday, July 15, 1897 edition, Minnesota Historical Society newspaper collection.

I return to the Logsleds to Snowmobiles book about the history of Pine River on page 110 lower part of the first column:

“The governor appointments as Cass County Commissioners those who “will organize the county and decide the county seat” consisted of men all friendly to the timber interests.

It soon became obvious to George Barclay and others that “timber forces” were in control of the politics of the county, at least temporarily, for on May 14, 1897, the boom town of Walker which had been in existence for only a little over a year was “named” by the new commissioners the county seat of Cass County. 

Barclay, together with W.H. Hallett immediately called a “non-partisan convention” at the Collins House precinct south of Barclay’s Ranch for the purpose of “selecting a location for the county’s seat.”  Barclay had high hopes that the “convention” would select his settlement in place of Walker, and, therefore, he readily contributed $50 to defray part of the $100 convention expense.  Apparently, he hoped that in an election resulting from the conflict over two alternative county seats that the more populated southern portions of the county would outvote the northern region.  Barclay was to be disappointed for the hastily called convention could not agree on any single policy and broke up without taking positive stand on an alternative county seat.”  From the Brainerd Dispatch June 18, 1897, pg. 4, Logsleds bibliography notes pg, 516. 

According to the Cass County Historical Society the reason Walker was named the county seat was because it was incorporated in 1896 having 100 male voters.  Pine River had not yet incorporated and that would not happen till 1901.

UPDATE July 11, 2013:  Apparently I have written this post 2 times.  I apologize for that confusion.  I wrote about the County Seat of Cass on March 21, 2013.  So I am adding the last part of that post to this one and then deleting the March post.

Once Walker was chosen as the county seat of Cass County, Minnesota the next step was to incorporate Pine River.  It took a few years for that to happen.

The Logsleds Book Continues on page 111:

“It is not known when George Barclay first conceived of the idea of incorporating his settlement into a village, but is certain that by the time of the official organization of Cass County in 1897, he had definite plans on his mind.”

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George Barclay’s Ranch was smack in a location that required that he have dealings with the railroads. We have seen this before in 1883 when he signed a deed for land.

The Logsleds to Snowmobile book about the history of Pine River mentions the Railroad and the right of way.

When the railroad actually arrived at Barclay’s in August, 1894, the right-of-way divided his buildings with the house and trading post west of the tracks and the hotel to the east.  The Barclay’s eventually donated to the B&NMRy 100 feet on either side of the track on condition that their buildings within the right-of-way be moved at railroad expense.” pg. 110 second column lower right.

There is a deed regarding this very thing dated 24, October 1895.

Right of Way

Right of Way

Source:  Right of way Deed, George A. Barclay and Wife vs. Brainerd & Northern Railroad, October 24, 1895 at 10 am. Book N, pg. #157 #3237, Cass County Courthouse, Register of Deeds, Walker, MN.

Know all [ ] by others presents that George Barclay and Amarilla Barclay, his wife of Cass County, State of Minnesota, for and in Consideration of one dollar with in Law paid by the Brainerd and Northern Minnesota Railway Company the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said Company this succession and assigns, a strip belt or piece of land, one hundred feet wide, extending across the following described tracts of land in Cass County, State of Minnesota, described as follows to wit:

Lot No. (6) of Section No. 8, the south east quarter of the northwest quarter (SE1/4 of NW1/4), and the North half of the Northwest quarter (N1/2 of NW1/4) of Section No. 6 – all in Township No. 137 of Range No. 29; and Lot No. Seven (7); of Section No. 21 in Township No. 138 of Range No. 29 hereby conveying a strip of land fifty feet wide on each side of the center line of said Company as now located and established. Including also a strip or piece of land fifty (50 Feet in with, situate and extending along an adjoining the west five of the above described right of way through and across the named tract in the Northwest quarter of Section No. 6 in Township No. 137 of Range No. 29. Said cash [ ] price being in addition of the 100 feet in width of the right of way above conveyed and with Right to said Company its succession and assigns to protect any cuts which may be made on said land by erecting on both sides thereof portable Snow Fences: provided however, that such…

Unfortunately, the 2nd page is missing so we don’t get the whole story.  This happens when you are doing research and having to move real fast.

Several years later, George on 19 July 1897, George entered into a contract with the Northern Pacific Railroad regarding timber.

Made on the 19th Day of July, 1897 between Edwin H. McHenry, Frank G. Bigelow as Receivers of the NPRR and Geo. A. Barclay of Pine River, MN, $50.00 to cut and remove pine timber suitable for saw logs on the following lands:  Twp 137, Range 30 etc. Not to include the cutting of Tamarac, Oak or Jack Pine.  Does not prevent the sale of other timber.  Signed by Barclay, Whitesides, Frank Vogel, and the Federal Land agent.

Timber Contract Northern Pacific RR

Portion of the Timber Contract Northern Pacific RR

A copy of this contact was in his Civil War pension file.

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The railroad had come to Pine River about 1894-95 and George Barclay’s Ranch was right in the middle of the RR’s plans to build.

Clipart from ABKL Designs

Clipart from ABKL Designs

http://abkldesigns.com

On October 24, 1895 a Right of Way Deed was filed in Cass County regarding the land that would be affected by this great event.

Source:  Right of Way Deed George A. Barclay & wife to Brd & Nor Minn Ry Co., Cass County, Deed Book N, pg. 157, #3237

Right of way Deed Filed Oct. 24, 1895 @ 10 am
George A. Barclay & wife to Brd & Nor Minn Ry Co.

Know all [ ] by others presents that George Barclay and Amarilla Barclay, his wife of Cass County, State of Minnesota, for and in Consideration of one dollar with in Law paid by the Brainerd and Northern Minnesota Railway Company the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said Company this succession and assigns, a strip belt or piece of land, one hundred feet wide, extending across the following described tracts of land in Cass County, State of Minnesota, described as follows to wit: Lot No. (6) of Section No. 8, the south east quarter of the northwest quarter (SE1/4 of NW1/4), and the North half of the Northwest quarter (N1/2 of NW1/4) of Section NO. 6 – all in Township No. 137 of Range No. 29; and Lot No. Seven (7); of Section No. 21 in Township No. 138 of Range No. 29 hereby conveying a strip of land fifty feet wide on each side of the center line of said Company as now located and established. Including also a strip or piece of land fifty (50 Feet in with, situate and extending along an adjoining the west five of the above described right of way through and across the named tract in the Northwest quart of Section No. 6 in Township No. 137 of Range No. 29. Said cash [ ] price being in addition of the 100 feet in width of the right of way above conveyed and with Right to said Company its succession and assigns to protect any cuts which may be made on said land by erecting on both sides thereof portable Snow Fences: provided however, that such…

George & The B&N Ry Co.

George & The B&N Ry Co.

Unfortunately, I did not get all of this deed and am missing page 2 which would give us the date it was written, who signed it and anymore information that may have been included like moving buildings.  The date given above is the date of recording.  We do get a description of what land was involved in this “Right of Way.”

There is a really nice pictures of the Brainerd and Northern Minnesota Railway engines at this website:

http://www.northerntrackersrrclub.com/history.shtml

Maybe there is someone out there that knows more about this particular railroad.  I find railroad history to be very confusing with all the buying and selling, building of lines and removal of tracks and merging of railroads.  I am not that familiar with Minnesota geography to really understand what they describe in some books etc. So I will defer to those with more knowledge than me.

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About 1895 to 1897 in Cass County the subject of organization of the county of Cass came up.  It was a political hot potato and my great-grandfather. George, joined the fight!

Cass County had gone through a great many changes over the years and now the real fight was taking place.

Photograph on the wall of the Pine River Visitor Center in Pine River, MN

Photograph on the wall of the Pine River Visitor Center in Pine River, MN

The photograph above is of George A. Barclay.  It was given to the Pine River Visitor Center by the Silbaugh’s who own a store there and I bought some T-Shirts and a hoodie.  It is also featured in the Logsleds to Snowmobile book written by Pine River that has given me a starting point for my research.  The picture was taken sometime in the mid 1890′s.

This particular photo of the picture hanging on the wall of the visitor center, was taken by me his great-granddaughter when visiting in 2001.  The visitor center was not open the first trip to Minnesota in 2000.  If you get a chance stop by the Pine River Visitor Center which is out on the highway #371 and take quick tour inside there are lots of treasures there and this photo on the wall. Say “Hello” to John, the man at the counter.  He is a good friend.  If the Train Depot museum is open stop in and look for the plaque I prepared as a tribute to George and Amarilla and their descendants.

Meanwhile, back in 1895 George wrote two letters to the Weekly Journal in Brainerd, MN.  They were featured on the front page of the newspaper.

Jan 24, 1895, Weekly Journal, Front Page, column 3, Brainerd, MN

“Cass County Organization” “A number of people in Cass county are again agitating the question of organization that counts in George A. Barclay one of the oldest residents and largest property owners of that county, is not in favor of organization which would benefit only a few office holders and other beneficiaries. He writes to the Journal as follows:

Pine River, Mnn. Jan 21, 1895
Editor of the Journal
“I notice there is a sober agitation over the question. “Shall Cass County Organize!” and I would like to venture a few remarks. “Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets, put out the kitchen fire.” I say “No Cass needs no organization.” We have all the liberty and protection guaranteed to us by the Constitution of the United States. What more do we need, unless it be for show? I have lived in Cass county since 18___ (big black mark covers the date) and my experience proves that we are far better off today than when the county was organized, as it was at one time. My tax receipts show that taxes were at least ten times as high proportionally when we were organized as they are today. Have we any guarantee that organization will not restore the same rates formerly? It is true we are greatly in need of a poor fund, but do we have to organize the county to get it? Do we have to buy all the luxuries of modern life in order that we may get the necessaries? If so, I fear the poor fund will suffer while we are spending our money for a court house and jail, and paying a horde of officers to look after our business, and when we get through there will be nothing left for the poor. We get just as fair assessments as when the county was organized. I have property in both Crow Wing and Cass, and my taxes are only a very small fraction higher than in organized Cass, and in one instance, when the assessor was from the southwestern part of the county they were even higher here than in Crow Wing. What would they be if we should organize? If the western portion of the county wants organization, we will readily grant it, but we will struggle just as hard to join ourselves to Crow Wing as they do to organize Cass. As I said before, we have all the government we need. Our commissioners have always treated one in a gentlemanly manner when I have had business before them. In what way will we be better by organization. We have not the population to maintain a separate organization, even if we do have plenty of pride and manly independence to induce us to do so. There would a court house and jail to build, and a multitude of officers to pay, and the result would be enormous taxation and a heavy bonded indebtedness at a high rate of interest, and we would have no better government than we have now. The men holding office would be benefited, and property in the immediate vicinity of the county seat would be enhanced in value, but all the rest of the county would suffer for it. What we want is a thrifty population , a development of our agricultural resources, and more wealth to support a county government, and we may be assured that organization will naturally follow. Let us not fly until we have few feathers on our wings. We should not jump out of the nest for a hundred foot fall, as we did a few years ago. Respectfully, G.A. Barclay.”

Portion of George A. Barclay's first letter on Cass Co. organization

Portion of George A. Barclay’s first letter on Cass Co. organization

On February 5, 1895 the Cass County Pioneer has an article refuting George’s first letter, pg. 108 2nd column Logsleds to Snowmobiles:

“An article in the Brainerd Journal signed by Mr. Barclay of Pine River would lead one to think that Cass County had not improved any since the time of that “premature organization.” And Mr. Barclay also seems to think that if a county is organized it naturally follows she must follow in the footsteps of Crow Wing County and bond herself for four times what she is worth to build elaborate buildings for which they have but little use.  Now we have a great deal of respect for Mr. Barclay and consider him one of the shrewdest businessmen within our borders, one whose farsightedness has gained for himself much wealth as well as much notoriety whose attendance to business is akin to self-slavery and a lumberman.  This last is sufficient to explain why he desired Cass County to remain unorganized.  It is to his business interests to oppose any such measure and we do not doubt but what he will be a formidable foe to the movement.” 

George’s Letter No. #2

Thursday, March 7, 1895, A Letter from Geo. A. Barclay, PINE RIVER, Minn., Feb 28, 1805

Editor of Journal:  We notice our organization friends are still having their say, one of them intimating that I do not believe what I say, but am simply trying to deceive others.  I suspect it is the deceiver that is throwing stones, but don’t intend to enter into a personal wrangle, and will leave it to the people to decide who is trying to mislead them.

Of course, I am working for my “business interests,” and I believe for the business interests of every man in the county who does not seek office, or expect to live at the county seat.  Increased taxation means increased burdens on the people, and very man should ask himself the questions, “How much will I and my family be benefitted by organization.  What are you going to give me for the increase in my expenses.”  Will it make my farm more fertile, or the rain more sure, or me more economical.  My prosperity depends on these.”

Of course there is good argument in favor of organization.  A home market is a great advantage to farmers.  Judges, lawyers and county officials are proverbial eaters. If we should organize, the judge, half a dozen lawyers and a few county officers with one editor would require an enormous quantity of food, probably as much as 13 cabbages and a bushel of potatoes every day more than are used at present.  Just think of it! 4.745 cabbages every year, one more on leap years, or one for every person in the county!  Farmers near Brainerd and other markets would not be benefitted, however, because very few of them are foolish enough to walk twenty-five miles with a cabbage when they could step out of their doors and sell it for a better price.

And those cheap(?) county buildings?  Every one knows it costs something to build a court house and jail, even if it is a log shack, as our friends propose.  Add to this the little (*) more that our officials would cost thousand costs to have our business done in Brainerd, and the $12,000 that Cass already owes, and then  the on that “sinking fund” and it would sink Cass so deep that it would be several generations before the neighboring counties could inspect our worthy editor’s tombstone.

What the people of the county want is not to bond themselves for these luxuries, but to be a little patient, and our natural advantages are such that we will have neighbors to help share the expense and build something that we can be proud of without having to tag ourselves with a sinking fund. 

In conclusion, let the people watch the way one of our fellow citizens striketh right and left at other editors and county officials, and ceaselessly hunteth for county advertising, and they will call to mind a warning from Scriptures, “The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

G.A. Barclay. 

The book about the history of Pine River gives quite an account of this process of the organization of Cass County starting on about page 108 and going through to page 110.  On page 109 this paragraph appears:

“Under this act, in the fall of 1895, petitions were circulated in the lower half of Cass County for the annexation to Crow Wing County of the 16 townships west of Crow Wing County.  The Brainerd Dispatch reported that “the idea originated with citizens of Cass County.  Fully two-thirds of the actual bona fide citizens have already (by October 1) signed the petition.” 

George Barclay apparently at first was not actively involved in the petition movement as he was opposed to any form of organization of Cass County. ”  

On page 110:

Meanwhile on February 23, 1897, Cass County was officially organized and in the organization the disputed portion annexed to Crow Wing County was, by design, included as part of Cass County.  The lumber interests as well as George Barclay by this time were concerned over the possibility that the 1895 annexation law might be employed to divide up Cass County altogether (Hubbard County already had annexed part of Cass County).  Pat McGarry, an anti-lumbering “progressive” who was just beginning what was to be a long and colorful political career, lead the fight against the organization plan calling it “A trick of the Walker-Pillsbury forces.”  

This fight was carried to the state legislature and was finally resolved. A person could spend a great deal of time learning about the organization of Cass County, Minnesota but I really don’t have time and there are those who are more informed than myself.

However, the next fight was where would the county seat be?

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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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According to several newspaper accounts, George Angus Barclay was accused of selling liquor in violation of state law. Here is one article that makes this accusation.

The article appeared in the Brainerd Dispatch on July 17, 1891 (Vol. 10, #35) on the front page about a murder near George’s Ranch.  The article spans two columns and goes the length of the front page.  Here is a small portion of it.

Murder near Barclay Ranch 1891

Stabbed in the Stomach, Pat Ryan is Murdered near

George Barclay’s Ranch with a Butcher Knife

Squaw-Man, White Men and Red Men All take a Hand in The Fiendish Bloody Tragedy.

 The unlawful selling of Liquor at the Bottom of the Murderous Mess.

“Patrick Ryan was murdered at Barclay’s lumber ranch on Saturday morning last by being stabbed in the stomach three times with a butcher knife, and his body lay bleeding in the hot rays of the sun until the authorities arrived from Brainerd on Sunday. 

On Saturday afternoon a Frenchman names Philip Provo, came to this city and notified Coroner Bain that the murder had been committed, who immediately procured assistance in the person of J. McNaughton, and started for the scene, which is 89 miles from Brainerd, in the vicinity of White Fish Lake and Pine River.  They arrived there the next morning and found a sickening sight.  Ryan’s body lay some 300 yards from Barclay’s ranch at the Indian camps in a pool of clotted blood.  The butcher knife which did the bloody work lay beside the man’s inanimate form which was cut and slashed in many pieces.  In his stomach were three cuts, any one of which would have caused death.  The back of both hands were cut and also his arms, and on the back of his head was a bruise as if made with a gun, and the supposition of many is that he was knocked down and then finished with the knife.  Coroner Bain called a jury together and during that day and the next they labored studiously to get at the facts in the case, swearing witnesses, taking testimony, and going over the ground.  The result of their deliberations was that Patrick Ryan met his death at the hands of Fred Ellis, a squaw-man, Wabash-can-we-gut, or White Cloud, a Leech Lake Indian, Waugh-bugh-chek, a White Oak Point Indian, and Cang-gee-geeluc, chief of the Cass Lake tribe. 

Just as the jury had reached this decision Sheriff Spalding arrived, he not having been notified until Sunday of the occurrence, and then only by rumor.  The parties charged with the murder were all there and he put them under arrest and started for Brainerd that night, going as far as Jenkins.’  Here the party put up for the night, at being late and very dark.  In the middle of the night Cang-gee-geeluc complained of being very ill, and his hand-cuffs were loosened, and as he seemed to get worse Coroner Bain gave him an emetic, the red man almost throwing up his moccasins–in the absence of boots.  In a short time he began rubbing his stomach and moaning again, and said he was “heep sick,” so the dose was again given him with a similar result, and as he had emptied the pail the first time he did so the second time, but as he stepped to the door he gave a jump into the darkness and was gone.  The Indian had played a very sharp trick.  It was useless to follow him, and the party came on to Brainerd the next morning and landed the three prisoners in the county jail.  They were brought up before the court for hearing on Wednesday, but Ellis said there were some witnesses he desired at Barclay’s, in the persons of two squaws who he claims saw the whole transaction, the hearing was postponed until Monday at 10 o’clock.

As near as can be ascertained from the parties who went up from Brainerd and the testimony given at the coroner’s inquest, the murder was the outcome of a drunken brawl, which was participated in by white man and Indians, and to judge from the scarred countenances of the witnesses and prisoners it must have been a terrible encounter.  It seems that at Barclay’s whisky and beer is sold as freely as in any saloon in Brainerd, and has been for some length of time in violation of the state law, and on this particular day “the boys” were having a high old-time.  Fred Ellis, who lives with a squaw at that place, came to Barclay’s in the evening, after having had a fight with his dusky wife, in which the red men at the wigwams interfered and gave him the worst of it.  He obtained some court-plaster, washed his wounds, and in company with Patrick Ryan stepped up to the bar and drank for thirty minutes, according to his sworn statement.  Ryan volunteered to go with him and “fix the Indians plenty,” and they started.  Ryan never came back alive, and his body was found next morning with a butcher knife lying beside it which belonged to Ellis, who accounts for it by saying that in the fight in the fore part of the evening the Indians took his knife and revolver.  Ellis says an Indian chased him and he ran leaving Ryan at the camp, and he finally came back and went to bed with the other fellows, and that in the morning Billy Burnet came and told them Ryan had been killed.  The case is a complicated one  The Indian who escaped was covered with blood and said he got it by holding Ryan in his arms when he died, he, and the Indians had been attracted to the spot by groans, and upon arriving found the man in a dying condition.  It is more than probable that the Indian will be recaptured and every effort is being made in that direction.  No one is to blame for losing him ____ the cunning known to people of his tribe was brought into play.  Philip Provo was arrested on Tuesday and is being held, but from what we can learn the evidence is not very strong against him.  Ryan’s body was brought to the city on Monday night and buried in Evergreen Cemetery.  A gentlemen who lives at Faribault, telegraphed to have it sent to him, then after they had prepared it for shipment he telegraphed back that they had found their son in Denver, alive and well, and that the murdered man was no relation of theirs.  The following is the testimony of the important witnesses at the coroner’s inquest…”

The article continues with more testimony from Charles Ashland, Ellis’ Statement, Mamie Vagwin, Philip Provo, and White Cloud which doesn’t really tell much but actually gets more confusing. 

I tried to locate this Coroner file but did not find one in the Crow Wing records which go back to 1887.  It might be in another location?  Cass County records start in 1898 at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul on one of my trips.  I have not check state law at the time. 

Articles like this give an idea of what life might have been like for George, Amarilla and my grandmother Grace in Pine River.

 

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The 1880′s were drawing to a close and events were unfolding in Minnesota that would make for lots of change in the state.  The next decade the 1890′s was going to be very busy and very eventful in Pine River and more.

Let’s take a quick review of the 1880′s. 
 
Starting a Family:
George and Amarilla started the decade with the birth of their son, George Alexander, who died  suddenly of an accident at 18 months in June 1881 .  The following year they found happeniness in the birth of their daughter Grace born in April  1882. 

Land More or Less:
They sold some land in a quit claim deed to a [Fred] Hitter/Hilter of Wright County on 25 October 1881.  This deed was recorded 8 May 1882 in the Crow Wing County Courthouse for Cass County, Deed Book E, pg. 247. 

Description:  $175.00 – The southeast quarter (SE1/4) of the northeast quarter (NE1/4) of section ten (10) and the north half of the northeast quarter of section twelve (12) all in township one hundred thirty-seven (137) north range twenty nine (29) west.  The total amount of acreage was not indicated in this deed? 

They added to their land holdings by  buying land from the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1883 (82 3/4). In 1884 they received another patent #11834 (40 plus acres), and expanded by adding a storage building sometime around the early part of the decade.*  The little settlement was growing with a total population of 29 people in 1885 per the Minnesota State Census.  Another land patent came through in April of 1888 #16446 (160 acres). 

A Mortgage Deed
Things must have been going well for the Barclays in 1888 when George and Amarilla executed a mortgage deed with Michael Hagberg on September 25, 1888 for $2077.38.*  It was filed for record January 11, 1889.   George would pay two promissory notes due one year after the date, each for $1038.69 and interest.  This mortgage was satisfied and on record in Book J, pg. 566 in the Crow Wing County Records. 

On October 2, 1914, 25 years later this same mortgage satisfaction appears in Book W, pg. 372 in a typed form, not handwritten.  It referred to M. Hagberg and Matilda Hagberg, his wife.  It is also attested to for accuracy by the Register of Deeds. We think the court was updating its books. 

Now it was suggested that “this deed was for equipment.”* Well, I do not think so.  Instead it was for the purchase of about 5 pieces of land in T137 R 29 (Wilson); two pieces in T138 R29 (Barclay); and one piece in T130 R30 (Walden).  Several lots were mentioned. 

There is a Michael Hagberg buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Brainerd a link to his him is at FindAGrave.  There is an article with the tombstone information stating he was a blacksmith in early Brainerd?  If this is the same man he lived in the Brainerd area for a long time.

Boy do I love a mystery?  What was George A. Barclay up to?

Well at some point I will do a summary of his land holdings and we will see what we come up with. 

A Robbery:
Unfortunately they ended the decade of the 1880′s with a robbery at the Ranch.  George Barclay reported a long list of items stolen in Pine River on April 20, 1889.  Among the items taken were 2 Winchester rifles and 6 boxes of cartridges, lots of clothing, lots of yardage, 400 ratskins and 5 linx skins for a total of $512.30 ? * 

I have often wondered what my great grandfather’s store might have looked like?  I visited the Harkin Store in 2001 (eight miles northwest of New Ulm, MN).  This museum is a period store set about 1870:   http://www.mnhs.org/places/sites/hs/  It is part of the Minnesota Historical Society historical sites. 

Do you think George and Amarilla’s was this neat and tidy?  The Harkin Store had a mail center, candy area, women’s items, flour bins, a place to sit by the pot belly stove and more.  Depending on the clientele at George’s store there might be a difference in the inventory?

Harkins Store

*Some of these events mentioned above were inspired by the book:  “Logsleds to Snowmobiles, A Centennial History of Pine River, Minnesota 1873-1973,” written by the Citizens of Pine River, edited by Norman F. Clarke, Pine River Centennial Committee 1979.   Chapter:  The Barclays, 102-129.   Page 106 for the Robbery or the Brainerd Dispatch April 21, 1889 pg. 1.  There is a copy of this book in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. A quick seach of WordCat and you will get 18 hits in various libraries across the country.

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