A Tragedy Occurs, the Loss of a Daughter…

Amarilla was no stranger to tragedy.  She had lost her mother when she was a little baby. Her son George Alexander died from an overdose of medicine at about 18 months old.  Her full brother Henry, the only other child that survived from the first family of Daniel Spracklin, was killed in a tragic accident in 1893 in Davenport, Iowa. Her half-brother Alfred died in 1899.  George Angus Barclay, her husband, was shot and murdered in their hotel in October of 1898.

These were all terrible and must have taken their toll on great-grandmother, but the death of her daughter Grace must have been the worst.

Amarilla lost her only daughter and child on December 25, 1911. Grace died at the hospital in International Falls.  She had given birth to a premature baby they named Grace Elizabeth and then succumbed to pneumonia. She is buried in the McDonald family plot in the St. Thomas Cemetery along with Archibald and Mary McDonell, the parents of Ronald, Grave’s husband. Grace is the writers grandmother.

Grace Barclay McDonald

Grace Barclay McDonald

Card of thanks from R.S. and Amarilla regarding Grace's death

Card of thanks from R.S. and Amarilla regarding Grace’s death, Pine River Journal

Grace’s story is featured in the blog:  The Man Who Lived Airplanes, see right side panel for link.

The 1910 U.S. Census and Pine River…

Ammarilla in 1911

Amarilla in 1911 – Grandma Dawes

The above photograph of Amarilla was among her grandson possessions.  It is dated 1911 but I think it gives us an idea of what she looked like at that time.

Amarilla is living in Pine River, Minnesota in 1910.  She is alone and divorced.  She states her father was born in England but that is not true, her grandfather John A. Spracklin was born in Somserset, England.  Daniel, Amarilla’s father, was born in Ohio, although I don’t have confirmation of that with a bible record.

Street 33?, Visitation# 113, Family #115, Dawes, Ammarilla, Head, female, white, age 51, divorced, born in Iowa, father born in England, mother born in Ohio, trade/profession is milliner, millinery store, self-employed, able to read and write, owns her home, mortgage free, owns a house.

Source:  1910 U.S. Federal Census, Pine River Village, Cass Co., Minnesota, SD 6, ED 23, Sheet 6A, 3085, T624, Roll 693. 

Pine River was now a city with names like Hauge, Grover, Gillespie, Holmquist, Benjamen, Hill, Fosburgh, Holman, Rohr, Huffman, McCallister, Kline, Crossman, Stanley, Larson, Robideau, Shaub, Glover, Lincoln, Kinler, Smith, Feakes, Russ, Sherwood, Hemness, Westfall, Edwards, Ruscor, Stingley, Johnson, Thorpe, Oliver, Jones, Kline, Sleepas, Socks, Strawsell, Eastvold, Townsend, Rice, Ames, Batchelder, Anderson, Blackburn, Stutson, Casper, Lancaster, James, Thornton, Francis, Leef, Heninger, Emery, Bowman, Coleman, Harmon, Vaughan, Westcott, Horkey, Waughan, Porter, Brown, Matteney, Olson, Finsaas, Berge, Mitchell, Greenwalt, Peabody, Graham, Parker, Weaver, Jones, Shuman, Marcott, Peabody, Behler, Wideman, Perigrine, Geary, Allen, Hill, Hussick, Ellwood, LaDu, Kulla, Cromett, Conrad, Nash, Westgren, Soper, Gilbert, Fox, Green, Luidberg, Jackson, Shill, Thompson, Pike, Brower, Ager, Lonis, Barker, Saxton, Wood, Peters, Henry, Jewel, Carver, Halvorsen, Forbes, Zigmund, Moulster, Spencer, Hardy, Loomis, Sandall, Rounds, Eidam, Dawes, Boode, Linden, Curtis, Senechal, Woesner, Dahl, Southwick, Bell, Williams, Waggner, Wagoner, Staples, Husel, Krukow, Linden, Henry, Becker, Erickson, Davis, Ritche, Ingraham, Silk, Andrews, Miller, Wehrman, Levoy, Andrews, Snell, Chyrklund, Lillstrom, Hanson, Haugen, Clarke, Lalone, Arnold, Hall, Kierstine, Ralya, Austin, Bickford, Rovik, Christen, Patterson, Brewer, Stewart, Moberg, Mattson, Bark, Webber, Parson, Kennedy, Rice, Modok, Kenney, Rugg, Petti, Fritzner, Peterson, Loper, Butler, Ritzler, Lindell, and Palmo.

Many were families with the same last name, I only listed once, I hope, and many were lodger’s which means they may be on the move.  This is not a complete listing of the population for Pine River.  I do recognize names other than Dawes.  Pine River has grown up.

Amarilla and J.G. Dawes go their Separate Ways! 1910

About the time of George A. Barclay’s murder in 1898, J.G. Dawes entered into Amarilla’s life. He became her second husband.  He join her in business activities.  He became mayor of the town of Pine River and helped to plat the town.  J.G. Dawes also built her a house in Pine River.  About 1905 he started building a hotel in Longville and expanding his business interests.

Part of the Divorce Decree of Amarilla and J.G. Dawes

Part of the Divorce Decree of Amarilla and J.G. Dawes

After 1905, J.G. Dawes and Amarilla started to go their separate ways.  I do not know exactly when J.G. made the break and left Pine River for good.

In 1909 Amarilla filed for divorce. There were three documents.  The divorce was not friendly and both made unkind statements towards the other. Here is a summary of the contents and I have chosen not to include some of the language. You will note that her name is spelled in the documents with the two “m’s.”

J.G. called her “Rilla.”

The first is a Serving of the Complaint to Jefferson G. Dawes by the Sheriff of Hennepin Co., Minnesota, Otto S. Langum on 10 December 1909.

The next is a two page document called a Complaint between the two parties, stating that Ammarilla is 51 years old and J.G. is 57 years old. That they were married on the 2nd day of September in 1902 in the city of Minneapolis, MN. That the plaintiff, Ammarilla, has been living in the state of Minnesota for more than one year. That the plaintiff was treated in a cruel and inhuman manner….. There are no children issued from this marriage. That the plaintiff has real and personal property valued at $7000. That the plaintiff demands Judgment to dissolve the marriage between the two parties.

On the second page of the document, Ammarilla is sworn to truth and the document is notarized on the 8th day of December 1909. Below is a summons to J.G. Dawes to answer the complaint and if he does not do so in 30 days, judgment will be rendered.

The third and final document is the Divorce Decree itself. Apparently J.G. Dawes did not appear or contest the divorce and it was granted to Ammarilla on 1 February, 1910 in Cass County, Minnesota.

The Court, by virtue of the power and authority therein vested and in pursuance of the Statute in such cases made and provided, does order, adjudge and decree the marriage between the said plaintiff Mrs. Ammarilla Dawes and the Defendant Jefferson G. Dawes be dissolved and the same he hereby dissolved according, and the said parties are and each of them is freed and absolutely released from the Bonds of matrimony and all the obligations.”

I don’t know why this makes me sad. I like J.G. Dawes even though he may have been a big talker and told a good tale. He was still a very interesting person and I wish I knew more about him and where he came from so I could judge his character.  Some articles that appeared in the newspaper about him, that I have posted in past posts on this blog,  suggest he was a little arrogant.

The story of what happened to Jefferson G. Dawes is not yet over and he will appear in future posts.  His time with Amarilla had ended and they both moved on.  Amarilla would be on her own for nine years before she decided to remarry for the third time.

Amarilla Participates in Pine River Festivities…circa 1908

Amarilla participating in the festivies

Amarilla participating in the festivities – Photo Courtesy of the City of Pine River, Logsleds to Snowmobiles

I ponder what life may have been like for my great-grandmother Amarilla.  In the photo above, we see that she is participating in a Pine River gathering that I place about 1908.

From the description, she is the third person in the row of ladies who are seated on the right of the photo. Amarilla is the third lady from the left.  You cannot see her face because she is behind another woman’s hat.  It looks like she purposely hid herself?

Even though she failed to cooperate in the photo, we do see the setting and the clothing and something of the fun she had.

The Death of Sarah, Amarilla’s Step-mother – 1907!

Amarilla’s father Daniel Spracklin had remarried after the death of his first wife Elizabeth Keller. Elizabeth was Amarilla’s mother. He married Sarah Blacketeer Allgood a widow in 1863.

Sara Spracklin

Sarah Spracklin

Amarilla and Sarah didn’t get along according to family stories, the particulars of their relationship are not clear.  By 1875 or 1876 Amarilla left home and headed to Minnesota. Amarilla would meet and marry George A. Barclay in 1878 and reside in Pine River till her death.  I have shared about their lives together in past posts on this blog.

It is unclear as to how the death of her step-mother affected Amarilla. Sarah died 22 August, 1907 in Dayton Twp., Iowa Co., Iowa. Her tombstone is on Find A Grave and she shares it with Daniel.

“Sarah Spracklin, died April 22, 1907, wife, mother and step mother to parties named in said record.”

“Obituary for Sarah Spracklin
Mrs. Sarah Spracklin was born Sept. 28, 1836, in Park County, Indiana and died at her home near Deep River, IA, April 22, 1907. She had been a citizen of the neighborhood for over thirty years. She had been in poor health since last October and was a patient sufferer. In her early life she united with the M.E. Church and had ever been a faithful member. Funeral services were held at the Deep River M.E. church Thursday afternoon, conducted by Rev. Keopple of Millersburg. A large concourse of friends were present to pay a last tribute of respect. The children of the Bunker Hill school were present in a body at the home Thursday morning to pay respects to their dear old friend. By her kindly acts and comforting words she had endeared herself to every child and young person in the neighborhood. She was a loving wife and devoted mother. Those left to mourn their loss are an aged widower and seven children together with grand children and other relatives and friends. The children are Verd, of Dakota; Mrs. Gilchrist and Dan and Ed, of What Cheer; George and Reed, of this vicinity. The procession of teams that went from the home to the church from the neighborhood was represented. Internment was in the U.B. Cemetery (Community Cemetery 5-7 miles west of Millersburg).”

The Deep River Journal – 5/3/1907 pg. 2 – Sarah Spracklin. 

Finding this obituary of Sarah Spracklin was a challenge. As you can see Daniel and Sarah lived very close to Deep River which is in Poweshiek County, Iowa and not Iowa County, Iowa, where they actually resided on their land in Dayton Twp. The obituaries of both Daniel and Sara Spracklin were found in the Deep River newspaper. Daniel’s will be shared in a future post.

Grace Barclay McDonald as Administrator of Alexander’s estate…

Grace was pregnant with Miriam at the time of her uncle Alexander’s death. Giving birth in January of 1906. She took action and petitioned the court for the administration of Alexander Barclay’s estate about January 11, 1906. Alexander did not have a will.


Grace was unable to travel because she was pregnant with Miriam.  By the time the testimony was given below was presented she had given birth, so the court was delayed in getting started.  Grace sent Charles W. Stanton as her representative:

Charles W. Stanton called and being duly sworn says (about March 14, 1906)

“My name is Charles W. Stanton.  I am the Attorney-in-Fact for Grace A. McDonald, the same person who made the petition for letters of administration shown me in this matter.  The other instrument shown me is my Power of Attorney executed by Grace. A. McDonald.  She was unable to appear at this hearing on account of delicate health.  On or about February 1st Mrs. McDonald gave birth to a child and has not as yet, regained sufficient strength to warrant a journey from International Falls to Hastings.  The distance according to the present means of travel, being over 700 miles.

I am a resident of the Village of International Falls, Itasca County, Minnesota.  I am well acquainted with Grace A. McDonald, wife of Ronald S. McDonald.  She is also a resident of the Village of International Falls, Itasca County, Minnesota.  I have known her since about the year 1890.  I also became acquainted with George A. Barclay, the father of said Grace A. McDonald about the year 1890.  Grace is now about 25 or 26 years of age.  I was, at that time, visiting in the Pine River, Cass County, this State and have visited there since then many times, at the home of George A. Barclay and his family.  I know from my own knowledge of the family and from information received relative to said family that Grace A. McDonald was a daughter and the only child of George A. McDonald.

 George A. Barclay was shot at Pine River, Cass County, Minnesota some few years ago, and was survived by his wife and daughter, Grace A. Barclay, (who has since been married to said Ronald S. McDonald).  Mrs. Barclay, the widow of said George A. Barclay, has since inter-married with a certain man, and is now Mrs. Daws.  I never heard any mention of their being any other children in their family.  I have never seen any family record of their family, do not know that they kept any such record.  I do not know where Mrs. McDonald was born, although she may have told me. I do not recall now. 

 I know that said George A. Barclay is dead of my own personal knowledge and know that he was killed, as before stated.  He left some estate both real and personal.  I believe the personal property was divided amicably between his wife and daughter after his death.

 I did not know that there was such a person as Alexander A. Barclay prior to the death of George A. Barclay.  I have heard Mrs. McDonald speak of him since.  She also told me of the interest he took in the trial of the alleged murder of Mr. George A. Barclay.  She said the deceased assisted them financially many times during the lifetime of her father and has also assisted her mother since his death by loaning her money.  Mrs. McDonald visited Mr. Alexander A. Barclay, during his lifetime, while she was attending school in St. Paul or Minneapolis.  He (the deceased), visited them many times also, particularly during the trial and investigation of the murder of George A. Barclay.  Of my own personal knowledge, I do not know that the loans of Mr. Alexander Barclay to Mr. George A. Barclay were paid, or whether they were not, but have been informed by Mr. W. A. Gray of Farmington, Minnesota that they were paid in full.  Mr. Gray knew all about the affairs and business connections or transactions of Alexander A. Barclay, with the exception of some mining stock owed by the deceased.  Dr. Rogers of Farmington, knew and was well acquainted with the deceased prior to his death and knew all about the mining stock owned by the deceased at the time of his death, knows what companies they are invested in and also knows the amount invested by the deceased, which was, I believe $2300.00.  I made inquiries of both these men and think they can give and gave all of the necessary information relative to the estate of Alexander A. Barclay, deceased, that was in their possession. 

When I went to Farmington, which was on the 10th day of January, this year, I was not acquainted with anyone, but had a letter of introduction to Mr. George R. Taylor, who is Cashier in the Bank at Farmington.  He told me what he knew of the deceased’s financial and referred me to Mr. Gray and Dr. Rogers, from whom I obtained the information stated in the petition for letters that I made as attorney in fact for Grace A. McDonald, in this matter.  From information obtained from Mr. Gray by me, I believe the value of the personal property is about $2000. and consisted of  a mortgage of $1400; a chattel mortgage on a Blacksmith shop at Farmington, for $300 an another note executed by a party at Pine River for $100, on all of which there is probably some accumulated interest.  There was a check in the Bank of $50., some personal effects, etc., aggregating in all, about $2000.  The present value of the mining stock for investments, I know nothing about a personally, but was informed they are unlisted stock and in my opinion, not worth very much, perhaps about $1000.

I visited the real property owned by the deceased at Farmington, which consists of a house and lot, worth probably $800.00.  The Lakeville farm, I did not see, but it consists of 105 acres of agricultural land, and taking into consideration the answers to inquiries I made about it, it is worth between $4000. and $5000.  I know of no other real property owned by the deceased at the time of death.

George A. Barclay was engaged in Hotel business at Pine River, also the delivery and stable business at one time, but I have never heard anything about the deceased having any interest or partnership in any of the aforesaid business of said George A. Barclay, although he loaned him money at different times, according to Grace A. McDonald.

I know nothing about the other heirs of the deceased, although I have heard Mrs. McDonald speak of them perhaps.  I do not recall anything to the affect now.

The petition for letters asked for the appointment of Dr. H. N. Rogers, and we still desire this appointment.”

This testimony of Mr. Stanton is probably the best piece of information I could have found.  I now feel confident that my research on the Barclay’s is true and good. I wonder what other stories Mr. Stanton or the others may have had to share.  Sigh!

Apparently there were other reasons for delay and Dr. H.J. Rogers was not appointed administrator till about March 13, 1906. The bond was $5,000.

Dr. H.L. Rogers also was called to testify:

Dr. Rogers called, and being duly sworn, says: –

 “I reside at Farmington, Dakota County, Minnesota.  I knew and was well acquainted with Alexander A. Barclay, prior to his death.  I know the real property he owned at Lakeville and Farmington.  The property in Lakeville consisted of a farm of 105 acres of agricultural land and that at Farmington of house and lot.  I knew something of his financial affairs and his personal property to the best of my knowledge, consisted of something like $1800.  In notes, most of which are secured and $50. in certificate of deposit & $1000 shares of mining stock.  I know that Mr. Barclay paid for the mining stock and I am familiar with the kind of stock.  I would not attempt to place a value on this stock, as it is all unlisted stock but will give the Companies and the most of the stock of Mr. Barclay.

Dr. Rogers gives a detailed list of about 7 stocks and their total $2812.50

 In addition to the above the deceased had some “Shamrock” shares…I know of no other personal property belonging to the deceased, except two old trunks, containing cloths, which are of no particular value.  There may be papers of value in those trunks.  The farm implements and farm property owned by deceased, were disposed of sometime prior to his death.  The house and lot at Farmington is worth about $800.00.  His farm is valued at about $50 an acre.

My knowledge of the heirs of the deceased was obtained from him, and through correspondence with his heirs before and since his death.  I have no personal acquaintance with but two of the deceased heirs, viz: Charles Barclay at Shakopee, Minnesota, and Grace A. McDonald at International Falls, Minnesota.

Grace A. McDonald is the only child of George A. Barclay, who was killed a few years ago at Pine River, Minnesota, and who was a brother of Alexander A. Barclay’s.  I am not acquainted with the other heirs of the deceased named in the petition, but from what I have learned believe, that John A. Barclay named in the petition died prior to the death of the deceased, and that John A. Barclay left surviving him two children, who were his only heirs, viz: Sarah Ellen Sears and John Avery Barclay.  I believe John A. Barclay had no other children, except Sarah Ellen and John Avery.

 I know of the deceased death and arranged for his funeral at Farmington, and attended his funeral.  He died at Rochester, Minnesota, December 9th, 1905, at the State Hospital for the Insane.  At my request his remains were prepared for burial at Rochester, and shipped to Farmington, where he was buried.”

You never know what you will find in a probate file.  In this case, I had copies of the packet which I paid a high price for.  I did not have the court clerk books which might shed light on the process of the probate court.