17 November, 1939 – Founder of Pine River Celebrates her Birthday

A group of Amarilla’s friends put together a birthday celebration for her on her 81st Birthday.  The picture below was in the possession of her grandson Keith B. MacDonald and also appeared in the newspaper article which was on the front page of the local paper.

Amarilla a little older

Amarilla in older years…

Mrs. Amarilla Urton Founder of Pine R., Celebrates Birthday 

A birthday has been arranged honoring Mrs. Amarilla Urton, founder of Pine River, on her eighty-first birthday to be held at her home Friday afternoon (today). A group of friends and old time acquaintances will gather on the memorable occasion and partake of a turkey dinner, which is being prepared by Mrs. Frank Shepard and Mrs. Katie Silk. The group will also present her with a purse of sliver in memory of her anniversary. As a fitting gesture to such a distinguished old lady, a short history of her colorful years during the early days of Pine River are related in the following paragraphs. The dates and facts were obtained by the editor thru the courtesy of a number of her friends.

Mrs. Amarilla Urton was born in Iowa County, Iowa on November 17, 1858, coming to Brainerd in 1877, where she was engaged as a seamstress. Here she met and married George Barclay on July 27, 1878. The young couple drove as far as Gull by team the first night and continued their trip the following day by tote-team to the territory now known as Pine River, where Mr. Barclay operated a trading-post on the river, here the property now used as a cemetery. The trading-post was built by Mr. Barclay and McNany in 1877. The following year, the store was moved to the site now occupied by the Round residence, this was really the first business place in the territory. In those days it was known as the trading-post as this was where the Indians brought their furs and exchanged them for supplies, this being the only business conducted at this time as the lumber-jacks had not yet arrived. Mr. Barclay then purchased three 40’s from the federal government, the deed of which was signed by the President, received three years later which will give you some idea of the rapidity in which land deals were made in those days. Additional land was purchased by Mr. Barclay in this vicinity a short time later.

During all this time Mrs. Urton was the only white woman in the territory. For fourteen years the closest white people were at Gull Lake, which was a considerable distance in those days. One can well imagine the pioneering courage needed by a young woman to carry on in the face of all these obstacles. She spent many lonely years up here in the north, planning with her husband, the future of a town, never complaining and always doing her part in the struggle.

The second white woman to make her home here was Mrs. John Leef who arrived in 1895. Shortly after this time several pioneering settlers arrived and lumbering and timber work was in full swing. The railroad came through here in 1892, and was known as the “Brainerd Northern” running from Brainerd as far north as Hackensack which was then known as Laporte. Their main source of revenue being in hauling lumber.

The first post office was built previous to the advent of the railroad, by Mr. Barclay. Mail was delivered twice a week by stages, which traveled from Brained to the Leech Lake Agency. Four days were necessary to make one roundtrip.

The first shingled building in Pine River was the Barclay Hotel, operated by Mrs. Urton and her husband. The hotel was located on the lot across the street from the Farmers Supply store and was destroyed by fire several years ago. It was while engaged in this business that Mr. Barclay was killed while sitting in the lobby of the hotel in 1898. This was the first death recorded in the records of Cass county. Mrs. Urton later married the late George Urton.

Mrs. Urton took an active part in the building of the village donating the property now occupied by the railroad right-of-way, the Pine Ridge Cemetery, power-house site, two parks, the Lutheran and Methodist church sites and ten lots for the first school which was built in 1897. The first school teacher was Mrs. Peck. Abe White has the distinction of being the second station-agent in Pine River, coming here in 1900, and continuing in that capacity until two years ago when he retired.

The Urton residence was built in 1905 by Mr. Zigmund, father of Harris and Arthur Zigmund.

All in All, this grand old lady has had a colorful life, one that few have the privilege of experiencing. She has spent 61 years of her life here and is well past her allotted three score and ten, still has a keen mind and enjoys keeping posted on world affairs and the progress of Pine River, to which she gave the best years of her life.

It is only fitting and proper that the citizens of this community salute her as the founder and pioneer of this modern city which has developed far beyond her fondest dreams.

Friday, November 17, 1939, will no doubt be one of the most memorable days in her life as her friends gather to honor her on her 81st anniversary, bringing her the well-wishes of everyone, and the making a happy event by her already eventful life.

Source: The Pine River Journal, Pine River, Minnesota, Friday, Nov. 7, 1939, page 1 col. 4, with Picture.

The article is by far one of the best and pretty accurate regarding the life of Amarilla. It is my belief that she was probably born in Benton County, Iowa near Blairstown because that is where her father Daniel had his land at that time.  He would move to Iowa County but that was not till after 1870.

I think it is very interesting that no mention is made of her children George Alexander Barclay and Grace Amarilla Barclay McDonald. Both children had died well before 1939, but there were descendants still living.  They also don’t mention Jefferson Dawes her 2nd husband, nor much about George Urton.  I am sure they didn’t have the room to really cover all the history.

It is too bad great-grandmother never wrote down her life story or her memories, it would have been wonderful to know her life in her own words.

One last and final try for George Barclay’s Civil War Pension – 1939

Money for Amarilla must have been tight, she was having trouble paying her taxes on her land. Based on gossip from the local paper both her and George Urton did not seem to be in good health. Amarilla apparently suffered a slight heart attack in 1936 and in the same article George was not doing to well either.  In 1937 Amarilla got into trouble with some wood.

Meets with Unfortunate Accident New Years:  Mrs. George Urton had the misfortune of having a pile of wood fall on her on New Years Day. While in the basement gathering wood before building a fire, a stack of wood which had been piled to the ceiling fell on her, seriously cutting the back of her head and blacking her eye. A physician was called immediately to dress her wounds. She is recovering nicely.  Pine River Journal January 7, 1937.

Gordon MacDonald, grandson of Mrs. Urton, arrived Saturday from St. Paul, to be with Msr. Urton who suffered a stroke last week and is still quite ill. He returned to St. Paul, Monday. Mrs. Urton is being cared for by Mrs. Frank Shepard.  Pine River Journal 21, April, 1939.

She tried again for George Barclay’s Civil War pension and this time her grandson Gordon McDonald tried to help her. I actually think her friends rallied and made the attempt to get this pension for her.

Remarried Pension form for Civil War 1939 a portion

Remarried Pension form for Civil War 1939 a portion

She had to fill out a Declaration for Remarried Widow’s Pension form again. The form was completed on 17 April, 1939.  She was required to restate information about her marriage in 1878 to George Barclay, and write about her marriage to Jefferson S. Dawes in 1902 and their divorce in 1909.  Lastly, she had to revisited her marriage to George Urton in 1919 and who died March 13, 1939 in Pine River. The form was signed by Ammarilla Urton and witnesses were Mrs. Frank Sheppard of Pine River and R.G. McDonald (Gordon) 1809 Marshall Ave. St. Paul, Min.  She must have been very sick because she signed with an X.

A letter on State of Minnesota Adjutant General’s Office letterhead for St. Paul dated April 19, 1939 was sent to E. L. Bailey the Director, Dependant’s Claims Service, Veterans Administration, Washington D.C.

Dear Sir: Herewith enclosed “Power of Attorney” given this office by Ammarilla Urton, Pine River, Minnesota, claimant in the above entitled claim fro Civil War widow’s pension.

Mrs. Urton is eighty years of age and very sick and if her claim can be expedited in any way it will help her to take care of expenses. Also enclosed the following additional evidence 1) application for Remarried Civil War widow’s pension, 2) Coroner’s Inquest in the death of George Barclay 3) certified copy of public record of the marriage of Ammarilla Urton to the veteran, George A. Barclay July 27, 1878. Very truly yours E.A. Walsh, The Adjutant General. 

They did not waste any time and Amarilla’s claim was denied the reason given:  “forfeiture under act of August 7. 1882.”

I spent some time trying to find a copy of this Legal act that they refer to and here it is.

7 August 1882 c. 438 22 Stat. 345

CHAP. 438.- An act to amend section forty-seven hundred and two, title fifty-seven, Revised Statutes of the United States, and for other purposes.Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section forty-seven hundred and two, title fifty-seven, of the Revised Statutes of the United States is hereby amended so as to read as follows:

“Sec. 4702. If any person embraced within the provisions of sections forty-six hundred and ninety-two and forty-six hundred and ninety-three has died since the fourth day of March, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, or hereafter dies, by reason of any wound, injury, or disease which under the conditions and limitations of such sections would have entitled him to an invalid pension had he been disabled, his widow or if there be no widow, or in case of her death without payment to her of any part of the pension hereinafter mentioned, his child or children under sixteen years of age, shall be entitled to receive the same pension as the husband or father would have been entitled to had he been totally disabled, to commence from the death of the husband or father, to continue to the widow during her widowhood, and to his child or children until they severally attain the age of sixteen years, and no longer; and if the widow remarry, the child or children shall be entitled from the date of remarriage, except when such widow has continued to draw the pension-money after her remarriage, in contravention of law, and such child or children have resided with and been supported by her, their pension will commence at the date to which the widow was last paid.”

SEC. 2. That marriages, except such as are mentioned in section forty-seven hundred and five of the Revised Statutes shall be proven in pension cases to be legal marriages according to the law of the place where the parties resided at the time of marriage or at the time when the right to pension accrued; and the open and notorious adulterous cohabitation of a widow who is a pensioner shall operate to terminate her pension from the commencement of such cohabitation.

APPROVED, August 7, 1882.

It is the Sec. 2 part that was the reason they denied Amarilla the pension.  The Claims Service signed the denial on May 5, 1939. Mrs. Bertha Robideau and Mrs. Alice Leef gave their affidavits but apparently that didn’t help. Amarilla was told she could repeal the decision after a year.

George A. Barclay’s Civil War pension would not be awarded ever; however, the file would become very thick and has provided a great deal of information about George and Amarilla my great grandparents so I am happy. I am sad for her however.

1933: Jefferson G. Dawes succumbs…

J.G. Dawes 1900 to 1902

J.G. Dawes in about 1900 – 1902

Jefferson G. Dawes came to Pine River about 1899 for business reasons. He was a flour salesman. He ended up staying in Pine River and helping Amarilla manage her store and other businesses. He also got involved with the murder investigation for George A. Barclay’s death by testifying at the grand jury trial. Apparently J.G. made a move to try to get Pine River made the county seat in 1901. We know that George Barclay was not happy with Walker being selected. An article appeared in the Saint Paul Globe:

New County, Maybe. Cass Lake to be the prospective Seat of Government

Cass Lake, Minn, April 9, 1901, First Edition, page 3 – During the past week, the plans of a number of the residents of the southern portion of Cass county to move the county seat from Walker to Pine River, the southern residents in return to assist in creating a new county with Cass Lake as the county seat, have been made public. J.G. Dawes, a resident of Pine River, was here for several days and broached the subject to a number of prominent citizens. 

He appears with Amarilla in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census as store clerk. In 1902 and they married in Minneapolis. He became mayor of Pine River and he and Amarilla platted the city of Pine River.  He built the house in 1904 for Amarilla which still exists. He ventured out to Longville, about this time, and platted that town and built a hotel there.

Source: Jefferson was listed with Amarilla in the 1905 Minnesota State Census, in Pine River, Walden Twp., Cass Co., Minnesota, enumerated 1-2 June, 1905 by Daniel Kline, Line 11, Dawes Jefferson G, Pine River, Male, 56, W, born New York, parents born in England, 29, 1, 9, 4, Retired. Dawes, Ammarilla, Pine River, F, 46, W, born Iowa, parents born Ohio, 28, 3, 28, 3, Retired.

After 1905, I have not been able to show that Amarilla or J.G. were together. So what happened to J.G. Dawes from about 1905 to 1919 when I pick up his trail again. Well J.G. Dawes, being the salesman he was, got a long just fine. Here are some articles about J.G. from the newspapers that I found very interesting.

The Brainerd Daily Dispatch, Friday, March 20, 1908, page 3, J.G. Dawes Back From Mexico, J.G. Dawes, of Pine River, in Brainerd on His Way Home from a Two Month’s Visit in Southwest. J.G. Dawes, for many years a prominent business man of Pine River, is in Brainerd on his way home from a two months’ visit to New Mexico. He also visited Mexico while there…He also visited Texas…

The Brainerd Dispatch on Tuesday, May 19, 1914, page 5 J.G. Dawes impresses visitors from Duluth, B.J. Madden and J.D. Campbell, large stockholders in the Cuyuna-Mille Lacs mine – In the city they met J.G. Dawes former mayor of Pine River, who now makes his headquarters in Brainerd and who is selling agricultural lands and stirring up immigration for Crow Wing county. He has some of the best kind of land for stock raising. 

The Brainerd Dispatch on Friday, May 14, 1915 page 23 had an advertisement for the Dawes Farm Land Company, J.G. Dawes, Manager.

J.G. Dawes Company in Brainerd, the AD

J.G. Dawes Company in Brainerd, the AD

The Brainerd Dispatch on Monday Nov. 6, 1916, page 5 – Value of Farms Lands Increase, J.G. Dawes of the Dawes Farm Land Agency, Gives Reasons Why an Advance is Due. Now is the Best time to Buy, Prices for Farm Products are the Highest Since the Civil War, Land at Bottom Price.  This is a long article with J.G. giving his opinion about agricultural lands and it is quite interesting, here is a little bit: “In an interview accorded the Dispatch, J.G. Dawes, head of the Dawes Farm Land Agency, stated that now was the time to buy land, as in his opinion the bottom had been reached in prices, etc…But now the fear of war has vanished, and the political campaign will be over in a few days. With the prices of farm products still at such a high notch and stocks of all kinds of farm products so far below normal it will take at least three good average crops to replace our stocks to a normal condition….He goes on to encourage people to buy. 

The Brainerd Dispatch presents another article on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 1919, page 5  with J.G. Dawes’ Plan Selling Farms, In These Days of Over Inflation of Land Values, Mr. Dawes has the Sanest Selling Plan. No Options are Allowed, Substantial First Payments are required on Land, Owner Continues Tenancy for Period….J.G. Dawes of the Dawes Land Co. of Brainerd has a plan which is conservative and just alike to buyer and seller, protecting especially the farmer wishing to sell his land.”  The article is very detailed and went on about how the plan works.

The Brainerd Dispatch reports on in another very detailed article on Tuesday, August 25, 1925, page 1 that J.G. interacts with Chicago Big Capitalists. These men were taking options at Rocky Point on Gull Lake with an additional 400 acres adjacent. “As stated by J.G. Dawes, the difficulty of securing the options was negotiated by Wrigley’s agent hinges on acquiring additional land so as to get an acreage of 800 acres. The eventual price, it is claimed is between $50,000 and $60,000. Cottages are to be built for fifty Chicago millionaires, says Mr. Dawes…”

So we see from the above that J.G. Dawes was making his way in the world and doing well.

Stepping back in time a little we review that on 18 August, 1909 Amarilla was granted a divorce from J.G. Dawes. J.G. didn’t contest it even though he felt it was unfair.  The terms of the divorce was divorce by cruel and inhuman manner which is a catch-all for just about any reason to get a divorce back then. In today’s world we have some form of no fault divorce. 

I could not find J.G. in the 1910 census but he is tracked down by the Special Examiner for Civil War Pensions. This man found J.G. Dawes living in Brainerd in 1919 which is confirmed by the above articles from the newspaper. This places J.G. Dawes in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census there and he has not remarried.

Source: Jefferson G. Dawes, 1920 U.S. Federal Census, City of Brainerd, Crow Wing. Co., Minnesota, Vol. 15, ED 122, Sheet 18, Line 93, M1569, Roll #31, D200.

Jefferson G. Dawes, white, age 71, divorced, birth place New York, living on 6th street, in-house 2215, living alone, father born in Ohio, mother in England. Occupation: Sales, [real estate].

J.G. Dawes is still in Brainerd in 1930 but he is now 83 years old.

Source:  J.G. Dawes, 1930 U.S. Census, Brainerd, Crow Wing Co., Minnesota, ED#18-1, SD#5, Sht#5A, enumerated on April 4, 1930 by a Mrs. Margaret I. Henderson.

Line 35, 30, 62, Dawes, Jefferson G, Head, R, 5, No, M, W, 83, S, No, Yes, born New York, father born Ohio, mother Canada English, yes, no occupation. 

Jefferson G. Dawes died on October 4, 1933 in Brainerd, Crow Wing Co., Minnesota. He was 86 years old.

Source: Jefferson G. Dawes (Daws), Certificate of Death, #3082 – Oct 4, 1933, FHL#2242330.

Died in Brainerd, Crow Co., Minnesota. Residence 404 4th Ave NE., died on Oct. 4, 1933. Male, white, single. Born Mar 7, 1847 (1874 crossed out), 86 yrs, 6 mos. 27 days, occupation laborer, born in New York, father was James Daws and mother was Mary Ann Sooderhaus (spelling unclear). Birthplaces of both parents unknown. Information was a Mrs. M. Hall B…….Place of burial Brainerd on Oct. 6, 1933, signed by undertaker D.E. Whitney, filed 10/10/1933. He died of Cardiac Insufficiency and other complications.

A brief obituary appeared in the Crow Wing County Review about J.G. Dawes:

Aged Resident of City Succumbs, October 6, 1933, page 1.  

J. G. Dawes, aged resident of Pine River and Brainerd died after a long illness Tuesday evening at the Brainerd City home. Funeral services were not announced yesterday. Mr. Dawes was well known resident of the area, having lived in Pine River for many years since, in fact, the early lumber days in this vicinity, and was involved in some of the early events of the community. He had been residing for some time in Brainerd, and for several years had made his home in the municipal home in Northeast Brainerd.

Another brief article appears in the Brainerd Dispatch on 4 Oct. 1933 pg. 8, c.3

Funeral arrangements were being completed today for Jefferson G. Dawes, 86, who died in the city home early today. The deceased was born in New York, March 7, 1847.

Brainerd Journal Press, front page 1.

On October 6, 1933 this appears:  Jefferson Dawes Dead, Jefferson Dawes, 86 year old, a familiar figure in Brainerd for the past few years, formerly being in the real estate business here, passed away Wednesday and the funeral was held today. Mr. Dawes was born in New York, March 7, 1847.

After searching, I was unable to locate a probate or estate record in the Crow Wing Court records for J.G. Dawes, which I find as odd. I now feel that I would like to do deed search on J.G. Dawes to see where it lead him.  I was focusing on the Barclay’s so I had not really sought out J.G. Dawes.

On one of my trips to Minnesota, I visited the Evergreen Cemetery in Brainerd and sought out J.G. Dawes’ burial location and tombstone. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a tombstone for J.G. but he is buried there.  The picture below is the approximate location of his grave.  This cemetery is well-kept but even with the best care a stone can disappear.  Whether he had one originally it is hard to say.

There is a Find A Grave memorial for Jefferson Dawes with some links.

He is in Sec NWC L17 B31 – Evergreens Directory of the Dead:  http://www.brainerd.net/~evergreencem/dotdnames_d.html

J.G. Dawes, Evergreen Cemetery in Brainerd, MN.

J.G. Dawes, Evergreen Cemetery in Brainerd, MN.

A PAGE at the top of this blog had a table of contents of the posts written about Amarilla and J.G. Dawes is listed as well. You will have to scroll down to find his section but remember you might need to read about Amarilla from about 1898 on so that you can understand how J.G. fits into the events of the town of Pine River.

I wish I could have learned more about his background, parents and family.  I suspect that he had a sister in living in Brainerd, maybe that is the Mrs. Hall in the death certificate?  If his parents came from England this means he is a newer line of the Dawes Family.

Amarilla tries again for George’s Civil War Pension – 1916 to 1919

Every time the laws were changed and passed a new round of submissions for Civil War pensions would follow. In 1916, Amarilla tried again to obtain George Barclay’s Civil War Pension. This meant that she had to fill out the Declaration for Widow’s Pension form to get things started. The Barclay Hotel burned down in 1915 and it appears she had to seek out another set of marriage, divorce and other papers if she could not find them in her home or hotel and resubmit.

I find that interesting because the government had a 2 inch file on George’s Pension which I obtained from the VA not the National Archives.  Of course the Veteran’s Administration really didn’t start till 1921.

The National Civil War Museum Entrance

The National Civil War Museum Entrance in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

This Widow’s form was filed on 24 October, 1916 and submitted.  As far as I can tell the process took till July of 1919 to finally come to an end. The application was being considered for pension a total of three years in process.

Here is a summary of what happened. In these documents her name is spelled Ammarilla and the last name is Barcklay.

Summary of this attempt at obtaining George Angus Barclay’s Civil War Pension 1916 to 1919

October 24, 1916: Declaration for Widow’s Pension signed and forwarded.

March 2, 1917: Overview card for Remarried Widow of George. A. Barclay with summary of the file.

Jacket cover of Pension

Jacket cover of Pension

April 3, 1917: Letter from War Division to D. Elliott Waggeman, Atty, Wash D.C.

They want testimony from two credible witnesses who knew the soldier from the time he attained marriageable age, showing whether he had been previously married with further instructions in order to comply etc… Signed by the Commissioner. 

April 13, 1917: Letter from the Auditor for the War Department to Treasury Department, Wash D.C.

….For use in the above-cited claim for pension, please furnish a tracing of the soldier’s signature, and loan to this Bureau any papers that may have been filed in a claim for arrears of pay or bounty based on his service. Signed by the Commissioner 

May 12, 1917: Letter from Treasury Department to Commissioner of Pensions, Wash D.C. for Bounty:

An application was filed December 17, 1867, in the Paymaster General’s Office, War Department, for bounty under Act of July 28, 1866, by George Barclay, late of Co. I, 9th Minn. Inf. and said application is herewith transmitted with the request that the same be returned to this office at the earliest practicable date. Signed by a J.L. Baity Auditor. (No copy of this bounty claim was in the pension file).

August 25, 1917: General Affidavit

General Affidavit, Minnesota, Cass County, Personally came before me ____Shiller in and aforesaid County and State Ammarilla Dawes age 58 years, residing in Pine River, Cass Co., Minn. who being dully sworn, declares:

That her husband’s full and correct name was George Angus Barclay and he was born in Connecticut. His age at enlistment as nearly as she can compute was between 16 & 18 (he was 18), and his occupation when he enlisted was farmer, and when he enlisted he lived at Shakopee. She further states that his height was 5 feet 6 inches, his complexion dark, color of eyes dark brown, hair dark, and as to marks and scars she states he had none that she knows of.  She further states that her own maiden name was Spracklin and that after the soldier George Angus Barclay died she was remarried to Jefferson G. Dawes from whom she was divorced in the year 1910 on her own application. She further states as to any former marriages of the solider George Angus Barclay that he was never married until he married the affiant and that she states that she was never married before she married George Angus Barclay. Signed Ammarilla Dawes, and F……Shiller, 25 August 1917. Notary Public seal. 

September 10, 1917: General Affidavit.

That her various places and dates of residence since the death of the soldier, Geo. Barclay, have been Pine River, Cass Co., Minnesota.

Cover form from Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions card with summary of contents. This is like their cover piece.

September 18, 1917: General Affidavit:

John Leef, age 55 residing in Pine River, Cass Co. and Mrs. J. P. Leef aged 50 years. That they have been personally acquainted with the claimant, Ammarilla Dawes since of the date of the death of the solider, George Barclay and that she has not been married since that time other than to Mr. Dawes who divorced.  

November 27, 1917: A note asking for more information about the marriage to Dawes.

January 17, 1918: State of Minnesota, District Court, Co. of Hennepin – the Marriage License of Jefferson and Ammarilla Barclay 2 September 1902 was submitted to the Commissioner.

February 5, 1918: Additional Evidence General Affidavit.

That her husband, Jefferson G. Dawes, did not render any military or naval service to the United States in any capacity. 

July 9, 1918:  This was a note/letter talking about rules about pensions and the marriage of Jefferson G. Dawes and the name and service of George Barclay etc.

July 22, 1918: Returning of documents by Auditor of the War Department, and their divorce papers are submitted by Cass Courthouse County, Minnesota.

March 3, 1919:  Miscellaneous papers contained in the pension file. April 22, 1919 and on April 25, 1919 a formal letter to the Postmaster…. a H.M. Vandervort requesting more information about the situation – ret’d to Chief _______to call on Postmaster at Pine River, Minn. and determine whether she has remarried and what her standing and reputation in the community since February 1, 1910.

The report back is not good something about her living with a man by the name of George Urton and it is not known if they are married. Her reputation is mixed.

May 18, 1919: A letter was sent to the Chief and Special Examination Division requesting a special investigation to 1) to determine whether she has remarried more than once and after her divorce from Dawes which would jeopardize the pension.  2) They then wanted to know her involvement in George’s death.  3) a Mr. Young was assigned the task of investigating Amarilla Barclay Dawes.

June 7, 1919:  A letter telling the Postmaster that they want to personally interview Amarilla and J.G. Dawes, Mr. and Mrs. Leef, please supply information about where they were living, Signed by E. W. Young, Special Examiner.

June 20th, 1919: Letter to Mr. E.W. Young signed by A.K. McPherson, Clerk of the Court, Walker, Minn. He states he finds no evidence in the proceedings of the Coroners inquest that show that any suspicion was lodged against the Widow of the deceased G. A. Barclay.

June 18, 1919 Brainerd – Jefferson G. Dawes personally appears before me E.W. Young…

June 21, 1919 – letter to the Commissioner of Pensions. He is submitting his report with documents on the Claim for George’s pension and E.W. Young’s investigation.  I have moved this ahead of the depositions of J.G. and Amarilla of E.W. Young:

He took the deposition in Brainerd from J.G. Dawes. While husband of the claimant he was also mayor of Pine River and that he was regarded as something of a four-flusher which was reference to his business transactions and he says he observed this behavior in J.G. The special examiner believed J.G.’s testimony about Amarilla. He then went to Pine River and didn’t tell Amarilla about his interview with J.G. prior to visiting her. She is now engaged to George Urton who lives with her. Then the special examiners remembers George that this soldier was a storekeeper, saloonist, postmaster, logger and big in the area, also a hotel keeper and his death and the gossip. The case appears for final action. 

Deposition of J.G. Dawes, June 18, 1919 in Brainerd, Minn. This is a summary not a full transcription.

My age is 70 years last March, my residence and address are Brainerd, MN in real estate business. I got married to Rilla Barcklay in Minneapolis date do not remember, but some 15 or 16 years ago. I did not know her husband in his lifetime. Became acquainted with her at Pine River when I was there on a matter of business. She was in the logging and store business there and wanted me to manage it for her, offering me half. I took it and turned over to her probably as much as $10,000.  He then makes comments about Grace and Ronald which are not good…She and I always lived together after our marriage, until the separation in Pine River, where I built her home she now has….I did not get a divorce from her. She got it from me. I let her get it. He comments about the divorce are not good.  Then Mr. Young asked about her reputation and her conduct during the marriage. J.G. proceeds to give details about her behavior which are not good…He states he has no interest in her pension claim and nothing against it.  

Deposition of Amarilla Dawes, June 19, 1919 in Pine River, MN. This is a summary and not a full transcription.

My residence and address are Pine River, Cass Co., Minn, am keeping house, I am claiming pension as the widow of George. A. Barcklay who was a Civil War Soldier. He was not a pensioner. My only claim to pension has been made on account of him. He was in the I, 9 Minn. Inf. I married Jefferson G. Dawes after Barcklay’s death, date do not remember.  Married him at Minneapolis and got divorced from him going to Bemidji to meet the judge, I guess the papers are in Walker….She talks about George Urton and that she is engaged to be married. Mr. Young proceeds to ask her questions about her conduct and she replies refuting J.G.’s comments.  I was never accused of having anything to do with Mr. Barcklay’s death, except by Mr. Dawes. She mentions Louis Bebeau being arrested, tried and acquitted of the murder of her husband. I would rather forgo any pension I might possibility get than to have this read in the presence of witnesses or to have any further inquiry made about it. 

July 8, 1919: Wid. Org. Ammarilla former widow of Geo. A. Barclay…Pension is rejected warranted on the facts show in this claim? 1) Adulterous cohabitation while claimant was the wife of J.C. Dawes is no bar to pension. 2) There is nothing to show adulterous cohabitation after claimant’s divorce from Dawes until Sept/Oct 1918.

July 10, 1919: Another statement, our further consideration of the case and in view of claimant’s statement before the special examiner that she would rather foregoing any pension she might possibly get than to have her deposition read in the presence of witnesses or to have any further inquiry made about it. The claim may be rejected as if now stands on the ground of abandonment of further prosecution of same as declared in her deposition taken by special examiner on June 191, 1919. Signed A.A. Aspenwall, Chief, Board of Review.

On July 22, 1919: C.M. Saltzgaber, Commissioner writes to W. Elliott Waggaman, Atty, Wash D.C. and to Amarilla that the claim is rejected on the ground of the claim’s abandonment of further prosecution of claim etc.

Well, isn’t this a fine pickle. I really am proud of my great-grandmother for abandoning the pension claim. I think both her and J.G. did not have any understanding of what was happening and it appears they were not informed by Mr. Young that he was going to approach them both.  It was unfortunate but not uncommon that this type of investigation occurred.

It seems to me the facts were:  1) Whether George was a soldier and what was his service; 2) that George and Amarilla were married, where and when; 3) when did George die; 4) after George’s death her remarriage to J.G. Dawes, where and when; 5) and that Amarilla divorced Dawes in 1910; 6) she had not remarried but was engaged to George Urton in 1918.  These are the facts to me, anything else is irrelevant, but this apparently was not the case as the quote below presents:

The Commissioner of Pensions refused to issue a certificate to allow pension under the special act on the ground the evidence shows that since the passage of the act of August 7, 1882, and prior to an since the approval of the special act, the claimant has been guilty of open and notorious adulterous cohabitation. Appeal was entered August 14, 1919.  

One of the general provisions of the pension laws is as follows:  the open and notorious adulterous cohabitation of a widow who is a pensioner shall operate to terminate her pension from the commencement of such cohabitation. Act of August 7, 1882, sec. 2, 22 Stat., 345.

Source:  Decisions of the Department of the Interior in Appealed Pension and Bounty Claims, Editors John W. Bixler and Ralph W. Kirkham, Google Books. page 441.

Amarilla would try one more time in 1939 for George’s pension and get a little help from her grandson Gordon.  If you are wondering what the term “four-flusher” used to describe J.G. means it is a reference to the game of poker and how someone presents a certain face to others.  I have posted about J.G. Dawes on this blog and you can review his posts and Amarilla’s just go to the Page at the top of this blog that covers George and Amarilla’s table of contents of posts written.

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.

The 1905 Minnesota Census – Amarilla and J.G.

Pine River was changing and growing up, so to speak.  The 1905 Minnesota State Census for Pine River includes both Jefferson G. Dawes and Amarilla on lines 11 and 12.  They are on page 1 of this census for the Village of Pine River.  They are enumerated after the Wideman family and after them come the Tardies, Phillip and Anna.  Mr. Tardy is listed for his occupation Saloon.  Amarilla and J.G. are listed as “retired.”  The Wideman’s are merchants.

1905 Minnesota State Census, Pine River, Twp. of Waldon, ED 9, County of Cass, State of Minnesota, enumerated on June 1 and 2, 1905, by Daniel Kline.

1905MinnJ&ADawes

 

A piece of good news:

The Pine River Journal with a date span of 1935 to 1946 is on display at the Minnesota Digital Library,

Minnesota Reflections http://reflections.mndigital.org/cdm/

This is much later than my time period at the moment but still good news.  You might want to check out their website.  When I was researching I used the actual newspapers at the Pine River Journal office in Pine River, and the Minnesota Historical Society newspaper collection in St. Paul.  I noticed that some of the Pine River newspapers were not microfilmed and in the MHS collection so I am glad to see this run of the Pine River Journal online.