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?
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
“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.