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Monday, February 8, 2016

Buffalo Bone Industry – 1915 Tales From Old Timers #14 –

  About this time the Buffalo Bone Industry began to flourish. Settlers traveled hundreds of miles over the prairies gathering the sun dried bones, so it was no unusual sight to see four or five hundred Red River carts lined up and down Main Street. The bones were used for sugar refining purposes and the market price ranged from $4.00 up to $26.00 per ton. The Indians also contributed to the supply and they would bring valuable buffalo skins to exchange for whiskey. Some of our present citizens made their start in this business. Farming was still being done on a small scale. There were practically no cereal grains raised except for individual consumption and collecting buffalo bones offered a means of support that was almost a blessing to early pioneers. 


Friday, February 5, 2016

The Dull Seasons -- 1915 Tales From Old Timers #13 –

For a number of years after the Great Northern passed through the town of Minot was very quiet. Times were dull and the citizens resorted to many strange pranks to pass the time. Mock trials were held, the prisoners were always found guilty and the penalty was usually cigars and refreshments for the entire crowd. When the boys wanted a barbecue they would shake dice and the loser had to catch one of Tompkins pigs, kill it, and prepare it for the roast. Chasing the “Pig” is popular today, but it is of a somewhat different breed. If the needed a little money to buy whiskey they would appropriate anything that was lying around and peddle it over at the bar. One day, W.E. Mansfield missed the youngest member of his family. He searched everywhere without success, so the police department took up the mystery. Imagine Mansfield’s surprise when he found the child had been peddled to a saloon-keeper for a round of drinks for the boys. He took the joke good naturedly and paid the bill before he could redeem his offspring. Thus the citizens managed to relieve the monotony of the dull period of Minot’s history.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Arrival of the Great Northern Railway – 1915 Tales From Old Timers #12 –

In 1886 the settlement was nothing but a assortment of tents and shacks. The construction of the Great Northern was going on and the town was crowded with people. These were some of the most exciting times recorded. Money was plentiful and everybody reaped a rich harvest. It was a banner day in the history of the settlement when the first train pulled into town. A few years later the Soo Line came through town and from that time the city has grown in leaps and bounds. The following year the Great Northern built more than 500 miles of road west of Minot. All material was shipped here and distributed to points as far west as Great Falls, Montana. Section houses were even built on flat cars and shipped out. Minot was a typical town of the west with everything wide open. It was not until the year 1887 that the county seat was removed from Burlington and established in Minot.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How Minot Became the County Seat – 1915 Tales From Old Timers #11 –

 The fight between Minot and Burlington for the county seat is an interesting time in the history of Minot. About this time there were hundreds of railroad employees in the town. A committee of citizens traveled to Burlington and literally stole the records from the county seat. The Burlington men immediately proceeded to take out an injunction to prevent the Minot men from leaving town. While the necessary papers were being prepared the Minot men had started on their return trip home, taking the trail on the South side of the Mouse River. As soon as the papers were ready the Burlington men, who by this time had grown to an angry mob, gave chase. They made a fatal mistake and that mistake would cost them the county seat. They took the trail North of the Mouse River and in consequence failed to overtake the men from Minot. The case was taken up in the courts and voted upon. Pressure was brought to bear on the railroad employees and Minot polled a vote of 900 in a village of less than 500 souls. This proves that “Padding the Ballot Box” was not unknown in the early days. Thus Minot became the county seat and was incorporated the same year. …. A side note (as depicted in the drawing), the votes of the men at a rather large railroad camp at Lone tree were included in the Minot count).




Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The First Grand Jury – 1915 Tales From Old Timers #10 –

The meeting of the first Grand Jury was held in a schoolhouse at Burlington. Judge Francis presided and Steve Whitbeck was appointed foreman of the jury. The trials were conducted in a rather careless manner. As each juryman arrived he deposited his whiskey bottle in a straw-stack behind the schoolhouse. The court opened and one by one, the prisoners ranging from cattle thieves to murderers were brought before the judge. “Are you guilty or not guilty?” asked the Judge. “Not Guilty,” replied the prisoner. “This court is adjourned for consultation,” said the Judge. “And to attend to the needs of nature,” added Steve. One by one the jury filed out to the straw-stack. The Judge grew tired of waiting for the jury to reach a decision, dismissed the prisoners, and joined the consultation himself.

When Minot was a third-class Post Office, the Postmaster’s salary was derived from the cancellation of postage stamps up to a certain amount. When the postmaster had cancelled sufficient stamps to pay him his salary, he would ship the balance of the mail to neighboring postmasters in order to enable them to earn their salary


Monday, February 1, 2016

The First Board Meeting – 1915 Tales From Old Timers –

 The first State’s Attorney was one Preston, by name, and strange to relate, a lawyer without political ambitions. He was elected in 1885. The election took place in the office of the Occidental Hotel. To avoid being elected, Preston sneaked upstairs to his room and went to sleep. When he awoke, he started to descend the stairs, (as the elevator was out of order), but he tripped and fell the entire length to the bottom. One of  his friends rushed over to assist him, at the same time remarking, “You had a narrow escape from getting you neck broken.” Preston replied, “Yes, I reckon it was the will of God.” He was helped to his feet and informed of his appointment. Looking over the assembled crowd he solemnly replied, “That’s the will of God also, but I guess the Devil had a hand in it.”

The first man to hold the seat of Mayor in Minot was James Scofield. He was elected in the spring of 1887.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Horse Thieves Part 2 - 1915 Tales From Old Timers #8a –

  In the meantime, Bates heard of the fate of his partner and barricaded himself into an old shack, preparing to resist arrest. After a fierce gun battle, Bates was captured and made prisoner and the camp moved south. Bates was a large man and had the reputation of wearing the largest boots of any man in the settlement. A few months later a pair of size 12 boots was found in Snake Creek. The assumption was made that Bates and Ravenwood met the fate of all horse thieves who were caught with the goods.

Mr. A. McDonald settled in Minot in 1884 and was appointed Deputy Sheriff under Sheriff Coleman in 1887. His duty was to transport prisoners to Burlington and lodge them in the county jail. They were transported in an open wagon and a pair of horses. Only the worst characters were handled in this manner. Of course they did have an armed escort also