The Aftermath of a murder – Pine River in October 1898!

Pandemonium rained on the night of my great-grandfather George’s murder, October 29, 1898.  People were running here and there, shouting and yelling and there was a great deal of confusion.  There were many witnesses that had their own take on the actual happenings of the event.

In my last post I wrote a possible scenario of what may have happened that night taken from these eye-witness accounts.

Cowardly Murder

Someone had been standing out in front of the Barclay Hotel in the dark with a gun and aimed through the window.  The bullet went through the front window of the hotel and through George Barclay’s neck and into the post behind/or near him.  Nothing could have been done for him even though they tried to wire for medical aid which would come by train from Brainerd to Pine River.  He was gone!

Whatever aspirations that George had left to realize, they would not happen now and he would not be there for the births of his grandchildren.

Some people have been a little mean and unfeeling about George’s death.  He did have a married daughter, Grace, and she would have children. George’s grandchildren were my dad’s family and from them would come great-grandchildren.  Yes, descendants are living today of this man George Angus Barclay and his wife Amarilla.

My family knew of the murder of George but there was not much detail about the events of that night and what happened after. All we knew was that he was murdered and he “yelled a lot,” and may have had enemies?

The notes of my Aunt Miriam did little to explain the murder. She has the 28th not the 29th.

George's Death

Upon finding the court documents in 2001 and reading them, I will have to say that it was indeed emotional.  The murder was 103 years old back in 2001 when I read about it.  Here I was grieving over the rather sad way that my great grandpa died.

I have studied and read every line of the court documents looking for clues.  Frankly, I was surprised to find anything in the court records on this event.  After looking at the court documents that have survived, I feel a lot of documentation is missing and possibly removed from the files, which is probably not surprising, after all it was at that time 103 years old.

It would be difficult to solve this murder, why.

1.  The crime scene is gone:  The Barclay hotel burned in 1915 (a subject for a future post).  I have not been able to find any blue prints for the hotel which could be of help by telling us where things were inside.

2.  Evidence is long since gone.  The bullet was dug out of the post and removed by Deputy Sheriff Frank Breese with permission from the court.  It was examined and weighed.  What happened to it and where it has gone is unknown.   How long does a county keep evidence?

3.  Witnesses and suspects are gone:  Those individuals present at the scene of the crime are long since dead.  So witnesses and suspects who one would talk too are gone.

4. George himself has been gone a very long time and the condition of his body would be unknown.

5.  The only items left are the court records which to me are not complete and newspaper accounts.

It has long been a dream of mine to hire a forensic expert or CSI but it might be a little expensive.  Just having them review what information I have collected might be of great interest.  I was hoping Cold Justice the TV show would take it on but after having watched their first season I have learned that it is very difficult to work a case that is 25-30 years old because the evidence is lost imagine a hundred years ago. The Cold Justice website would only accept cases referred to them by a law enforcement officer.  I can just imagine the laughter from the county police regarding this 115 year old murder (2013) when they have more urgent cases to solve.

I know, I am dreamer or either I have watched too many crime shows. HA!

Oh, this murder case may be 115 years old but it is still an open case but inactive for there is no statute of limitations on murder in the USA.

So what did happen that night of October 29, 1898. Well, let’s start with a few newspaper accounts.

1898 – Amarilla Handles a few land Transactions!

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.  Be patient it does open but slowly.

July 1897: Walker vs Pine River – A County Seat Decision

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.”

George Applies Again for his Civil War Pension

George tried again in April of 1897 for his Civil War Pension.  I refer you to the post I wrote on July 15, 2012 titled “George Barclay Seeks His Civil War Pension.”  In that post I did a list of the documents in the pension file that covered the time period of 1891 to 1895.  George’s first attempt at securing his Civil War pension.

1, On April 5, 1897 he again filled out the “Declaration for Invalid Pension” form

Soldier’s Application, George Barclay, I 9 Minn Inf. Pine River, Crown Wing Co., Minn.  Filed by H.D. Phillips Law Offices, (Stamped several times April 10, 1897, and April 20, 1897.)  Minnesota, Crow Wing, 5 April 1897 in the Dist. Court a record for George Barclay aged 52, resides at Pine River, County of Crow Wing, State of Minnesota, identical person who enrolled on the 15 Day of August 1862 in 1st Lt. M. Greenleaf’s Company I 9th Regiment, Minnesota, Infantry, as Wagoner in the war of the Rebellion and served at least ninety days and was honorably discharged at Fort Snelling Minn on the 24th of August 1865.  

That he is unable to earn a support by reason of Disease of Spine, partial Deafness, kidney trouble and weakness of lower limbs. Pension Application 1066560.  Signed in Pine River, Crow Wing Co., Minnesota by George Barclay and Attested by Louis [Zachering] and John F. [Frakes].  Louis [Doche] residing in Brainerd and John F. [Frater] also residing in Brainerd both knew claimant 14 years.  Signed by these men on 5th April 1897.  Prosecution of this claim by a Sam’l Parker, Clerk Dist. Crt, Crown Wing Co., Minn. 

2. On April 10, 1897 at the bottom another document has a big “ABANDONED” written across it.

NOTE:  Next in the file was the Timber Contract that I shared in the May 16, 2013 post, “Right of Way Brainerd & Northern RR October 1895 and the Timber Contract with NPRR in July 1897.” Why this Timber Contract was in the pension file I do not know.

3. A year later on April 28, 1898 a Department of Interior document was in the file.  Two of the same type of document.

1st form:  Western Div. Inv. Orig. No. 1066560 I 9 Reg’t Minn. Inf. April 28, 1898, Surgeons: 1st National Bank Block Sixth Str., Brainerd, Crow Wing Co., Minn. 10 o’clock am, every 1st and 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Signed by [H. Clay Evans] Commissioner.  Claimant:  George Barclay, Pine River, Crown Wing Co., Minn. Examined by [J.S. Camps], [Wemer Hemstead] and [A.F. Graves] 18 May 1898, signed by [Wemer Hemstead]. 

2nd form reads:  April 28, 1898 Mr. George Barclay, late a Wagoner Co. I, 9 Regt, Minn. Inf. Original #1066560, disease of spine, partial deafness, kidney troubles and weakness of lower limbs or any other disability.  Sign by W. Hemstead, Brainerd, Crown Wing Co. Minn. Claimant’s Post office:  Pine River, Crown Wing Co., Minn. 

George's Civil War Pension 2nd try 1897-98

George’s Civil War Pension 2nd try 1897-98

4. Followed by another larger document from the Department of the Interior asking questions of George.

Western Div. Inv Orig #1066560, George Barclay Co. I, 9th Reg’t. Minn Inf. Dated April 28, 1898. Mr. George Barclay, Pine River, MNN.  Signed by H. Clay Evans.  Are you a married man.  Answer: Amarilla Spracklen.  When, Where and by whom were you married:  Herbert Root. What record of marriage exists: married cerifect.  Were you previously married:  none.  Have you any children living:  Gracie A. Barclay Aprile 10, 1 o’clock 1882., Date of reply Af 6, 1898, signed by George Barclay.  

NOTE:  I featured this documents when I posted about Grace and her birth on May 23, 2011, “A daughter is born: Grace Amarilla 1882.” Since I do not have a birth record for Grace, my grandmother, this document serves as the acknowledgement that Amarilla was his wife and Grace (Gracie) was his daughter.  The document was in George’s handwriting  and signed by him.

5. The next month on May 18, 1898 he once again had a medical examination and the information was written on the Surgeon’s Certificate.

Surgeon’s Certificate, I, 9th Reg’t., Minn. Inf. Applicant for Original #1066560, Date of Examination May 18, 1898 Signed by J.S. Camp, Pres., Wemer Hemstead, Sec., A. G. Groves, Treas. (Board), PO:  Brainerd, County: Crow Wing, State Minnesota.

Original #1066560, George Barclay, Wagoner, Co. I, 9th Reg’t, Minn. Inf., Brainerd, Minn, Pine River, Minn. May 18th, 1898.  Disability:  Disease of Spine, Deafness, Kidney trouble, and weakness of lower limbs.  

Here is my partial summary of what was written on the Surgeon’s Certificate:  height 5 feet 4 1/2 inches; weight 130 pounds, age 54 years.  

a.  Disease of spine, no objective symptoms, no disability

b.  Deafness: can hear with both ears ordinary conversation at six feet, no disability

c.  Kidney trouble, no objective symptoms, no disability

d.  Weakness of lower limbs:  exaggerated knee reflex, no difference in measurement of legs, walks with difficulty and stiffness Rate 6/18.

f.  Disease of Urinary organs and other body parts:  he was given a rate of 4/18 and 6/18 respectively.  He had some problems that I am not going to share here.

g.  No evidence of vicious habits. 

Signatures of the 3 physicians at the bottom. 

There are no more documents regarding this attempt to obtain the pension by George himself  till November 21, 1898 and that one is under Amarilla’s name and called a Power of Attorney.

There will be more posts on this Civil War pension process from November 1898 to 1939.  All Amarilla’s attempt at securing her husband’s pension.

George Barclay & McNanny’s Estate Sept & Nov 1897

Sometime in the middle of 1897 Dennis McNanny/ie, George’s partner in the early years of the settlement of the Pine River area, died.

Crow Wing Courthouse

Crow Wing Courthouse – National Reg Historic Places

George petitioned the court filing a claim against McNanny’s estate.  He did this on 10 September 1897 and was awarded land on the 27th of November 1897.

Source:  Suit against McNanny estate, (Lis Pendens) September 10, 1897, Crown Wing Co., Minnesota, Vol. Misc. E, pages 121-122.  This suit was very difficult to read, I did my best and hopefully you get the idea:

Notice of Lis Pendens, George A. Barclay plaintiff vs. Heirs of Dennis McNanny – State of Minnesota, County of Crow Wing, In district court, 15th Judicial District

George A. Barclay, plaintiff vs.
Unknown Heirs of Dennis McNanny deceased and all other parties, unknown, claiming nay rights, title, _____, lein or _____ in the real estate described in the complaint herein, defendant

Notice is hereby given, that an action has been commenced in the Court by the above named Plaintiff against the above named Defendants, and the object of said action is _______a judgement and decree of said Court declaring and adjudging the ad___ claim of said unknown heirs of Dennis McNanny deceased and ______ other persons or parties unknown in ______Land hereinafter described ____ void, ____that the said unknown heirs of said Dennis McNanny deceased and all other person or parties unknown and _____ who right Title, Inherit or _______ in claim ____said Land or any ____thereof, that the Plaintiff ______and adjudges ____fee simple absolute of said land ______ whole thereof. and for such other and further relief as ____ Court seems just and proper.

The premises affected by said action an situate in the County of Crow Wing and State of Minnesota ______described as follows to wit:

Lot #6 in the South East quarter of the North East quarter (SE 1/ 4 NE 1/4) of Section numbered Eight (8). The South West Quarter of the North west quarter (SW 1/4 NW 1/4) and the North West quarter of the South west quarter (NW 1/4 SW 1/4) of Section numbered Ten (10) all in the Township numbered one hundred and thirty-seven (137) Range numbered Twenty nine (29) Dated August 31st, 1897.

S.A. Alderman, Plaintiffs Attorney, Brainerd, Minnesota.

George Barclay returned in November 1897 for the final decision.  Again, I had trouble reading the deed:

Dennis McNanncy et all Rgr Court – Geo. A. Barclay
State of Minnesota, County of Crow Wing, District Court, 15th Judicial District

George A. Barclay vs. the unknown heirs of Dennis McNanny, deceasd and all other persons and parties unknown claiming any right, title, estate, lien or interest in the said real estate described herein. Defendants.

This course having been duly brought _______heard before the Judge of said Court at Chambers and it appearing satisfactory to the Court that this Summons herein have been duly served on the defendants herein, that more than twenty days have elapsed since the ______of said Summons and that no ____________ ____________or copy of either has been served upon the Plaintiff’s attorney and that no appearance has been made herein by the Defendants, the unknown heirs of Dennis McNanny deceased or any other defendant and _____ proof having been made after the matter and things alleged in the ___________and the Court having duly counsel ____the same and having made and filed its findings, affacts and ____________________ ____on Motion of A.F. Alderman, attorney for the Plaintiff herein it is adjudged and decreed that the _____claim defendant, the unknown heirs of Dennis McNanny deceased and of all persons or parties claim ____through _________otherwise and the Land herein ______particularly described is void and that the said Defendants the unknown heirs of Dennis McNanny deceased and all persons and parties claiming through or under them or otherwise ____________________title, inherit or estate in or claim ____said Land ______part thereof – and it is further adjudged and decreed that the Plaintiff George A. Barclay the owner in fee simple of the following described land situate int he county of Crow Wing, State of Minnesota to wit:

Lot number six (6) in the south west quarter of the Northeast quarter (SE 1/4 NE 1/4) of section number Eight (8). The Southwest quarter of the northwest quarter (SW 1/4 NW 1/4) and the Northwest quarter of the Southwest quarter (NW 1/4 SW 1/4) of Section numbered Ten (10) all in Township number one hundred thirty seven (137) Range numbered Twenty-nine (29) said land being the same described in the ______account here in _____the findings of said Court. Dated at Brainerd, Minnesota this 27th day of November AD 1897. Samu’l H. Parker, Clerk of the District Court Crow Wing County, Minnesota, By N.A.M. Johnston, Deputy.

Source:  Dennis McNanny et. all vs. George A. Barclay, Suit against McNanny’s estate filed December 6, 1897, Crow Wing Co., Minnesota, Book Misc. E, pages 147-148. 

There is so much more research I could do in court records and deeds regarding my great-grandfather George Barclay.  I wonder if these deeds have something to do with the lawsuit that George was involved in earlier in the year per the gossip column of the newspaper, or is it something entirely separate?  For McNanny a search of court records might be very interesting for any court proceedings involved with his estate and deed research.

George & Amarilla Barclay sell land in May 1897

Right in the middle of the Cass County organization we find that there is a deed in the Crow Wing County Deed books where George and Amarilla are selling land to a Dennis [Sixton].  This is a form deed that was filled out and is the county clerk’s version of the deed.

George Barclay & wife to Dennis Sixton

George Barclay & wife to Dennis Sixton

This indenture made this 3rd day of May in the year of our Lord 1897, between George A. Barclay and Amarilla Barclay his wife at Crow Wing County, Minnesota part of his of the first part and Dennis Sixton of said County, part of the second part…..

the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter (SE 4 NE 4) of Section Eight (8) in Township one hundred and thirty-seven (137) of Range Twenty-nine (29) and containing forty (40) acres more or less according to government survey thereof.

In the presence of S.F. Alderman, and L.E. [Slerus] signed by George A. Barclay and Ammarilla Barclay.

I, S. F. Alderman…..3rd day of May 1897 personally came before me George A. Barclay & Ammarilla Barclay his wife to me well known as the same persons described in and who executed the deed…they acknowledged that he executed the same freely and voluntarily as his free act and deed. S. F. Alderman, Notary Public, Crow Wing Co., Minn. 

Source:  Deed Book Y, pg. 112 Instrument No. #9727, filed for record 3rd of May 1897 at 3 pm. [A. Mahlum] Register of Deeds, Crown Wing Co., MN. 

When I use the brackets [   ] it means I am making my best guess on the spelling of that word or name.  The other interesting piece of information is that in this deed Amarilla is spelling her name with two “m’s,” and may have signed it that way in the original.