On April 6, 1897 Cass County was organized. Following on May 7, 1897 Walker was chosen as the county seat by the commissioners. Meanwhile several others made an attempt to turn the tide to Pine River and my great-grandfather George Barclay was in the middle.
“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 (or was it May 7th?), 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 took action, calling a convention at the Collins Precinct House south of Barclay’s Ranch…Barclay had high hopes that the convention would select his settlement in place of Walker…Apparently, he hoped that the more populated southern part of Cass 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 a positive stand on an alternative county seat.”
Source: Logsleds to Snowmobiles, page 110, Pine River Centennial Celebration 1873 to 1973. This book cites the Brainerd Dispatch, June 18, 1897, p. 4 as the source for this information.
Here is the notice in the newspaper calling the convention:
June 17: 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. Hallet, 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 and 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 impartant 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 9th day of June, 1897. A.J. Collins, Sec. Wm. H. Hallett, Chm.
Source: Cass County Pioneer, Notice, June 17, 1897, film January 2, 1897 to June 2, 1898. Minnesota Historical Society newspaper collection.
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.”