Clement A. (Clement Augustus) Lounsberry.

North Dakota history and people; outlines of American history (Volume 1) online

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Founder of the Bismarck Tribune






ASTsn. : I


Copyright 1916 by


Washington, D. C.

Published 1916

To THE North Dakota Pioneers
and their successors, the fathers, mothers
and children of the North Dakota of today,
this work is affectionately dedicated, by

The Author.
October 31, 1916.


"I hear the tread of pioneers,

Of nations yet to be,
The first low wash of waves where soon
Shall roll a human sea."

— John G. IVhitticr.

More intensely interesting than a fairy tale is the story of the development
of the great Northwest. It is a story of adventure and of daring in the lives of
individuals not unmixed with romance, for there were brave, loving hearts, and
gentle clinging spirits among those hardy pioneers, and many incidents and choice
bits of legend have been handed down, which I hope may serve to make these
pages interesting.

It is a story with traces of blood and tears, illustrating "man's inhumanity to
man," for there were some among the early traders who had little regard for the
expenditure of these precious treasures, in their pursuit of "Gold ! gold ! gold !
gold !" that is "heavy to get and light to hold," as suggested by Hood — the

"Price of many a crime untold


How widely its agencies vary,
To save, to ruin, to curse, to bless.

As even its minted coins express,
Now stamp'd with the image of good Queen Bess,

And now of a Bloody Mary."

It is a story of man's love for man, in the \\ork of the early missionaries, who,
in obedience to the command of the Master, went forth into the wilderness to lift
up and benefit the "untutored" savage, who only "sees God in clouds, or hears
Him in the wind," and to bring refuge to his white children, who had blazed
the way, and who were languishing in des])air. It is a story of heroic deeds^
of patriotic devotion to duty, of suffering and bloodshed and of development.

Whether I am the one to write the story, let others judge.

"Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us ;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night wind, there's a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling — let us go."

—Robert IV. Service, "The Call of the Wild."



My family in all of its branches were among the early settlers of New York
and New England, frontiersmen and participants in all of the early Indian wars.
My mother's people suffered in the Wyoming massacre. Among the slain in
that bloody affair were seven from the family of Jonathan Weeks, her paternal
ancestor, who with fourteen fatherless grand-children returned to Orange County,
New York, whence he came, abandoning his well developed farm near Wilkes-
barre, as demanded by the Indians.

I knew many of the people directly connected with the Minnesota massacre
of 1862, and the incidents leading up to it, and the campaign following — settlers
in the region affected, prisoners of the Sioux, traders, soldiers, missionaries, men
in public life, and many of the Indians. One of the stockades built by the settlers
for defense, was situated on the first real property I ever owned, and in a log
house within this stockade, my first child, Hattie, wife of Charles E. V. Draper of
Mandan, N. D., was born.

In July, 1S73, I established the Bismarck Tribune, the first newspaper pub-
lished in North Dakota. There were then but five villages in North Dakota —
Pembina, Grand Forks, Fargo, Jamestown and Bismarck ; no railroad, excepting
the Northern Pacific under construction ; no farms, no agriculture, except the
cultivation of small patches by Indians and half-bloods, or in coimection with the
military posts or Indian agencies ; no banks, no public schools, no churches. It
was my fate to be one of five (John W. Fisher, Henry F. Douglas, I. C. Adams,
Mrs. W. C. Boswell and myself) to organize the Presbyterian Church Society
at Bismarck, the first church organization in North Dakota, in June, 1873, ^'id ^^
the autumn of that year I was instrumental in organizing the Burleigh County
Pioneers, developed through my direction into the North Dakota State Historical
Society, of which I was the first president.

I was at Bismarck when a party of Northern Pacific surveyors started west
to siirvey the line of the road from that point to the Yellowstone River, in the
spring of 1873, and saw the smoke of battle and heard the crack of rifles, as the
engineers were forced to fight, even before they got as far west as the site of

I saw Gen. George A. Custer as he marched to his last battle — the massacre
of Custer and 261 men of the Seventh United States Cavalry on the Little Big
Horn, by the Sioux. Accompanying him was Mark Kellogg, bearing my com-
mission from the New York Herald, who rode the horse that was provided for
me — for I had purposed going but could not — and who wore t!ie belt I had worn
in the Civil war. which was stained with my blood.

I saw the wounded brought down the Yellowstone and the Missouri, by Grant
Marsh, on that historic boat, the Far West, and the weeping widows whose hus-
bands returned not.

The trail of blood, beginning at the Atlantic, taking a new start at the Gulf,
extending to the Pacific, and, returning, starting afresh on the banks of the
]\Iissouri. came to a sudden check on the banks of the Little Big Horn but it was
not ended, the blood already spilled was not enough. The Seventh United States
Cavalry, Custer's Regiment, was again baptized in blood at \\ounded Knee,
and the end was not reached until the tragic death of Sitting Bull in 1891.

We have the Indians with us yet — in many instances happy and prosperous
farmers, their children attending the schools and universities, the male adults


having taken lands in severalty under the Federal Allotment Act, being recognized
citizens of the United States, and entitled to the elective franchise in the Slate
of North Dakota.

If I dwell upon Indian affairs, it is because I have been interested in the
Indians from childhood. After the battle of Spottsylvania I lay in the field
hospital beside an Indian soldier, wounded even worse than I. Not a groan
escaped his lips. I admired the pluck and courage, and the splendid service
of the Indian soldiers from the states of T^Iichigan and Wisconsin in the Civil
war. I have seen them in battle. I have known their excellent service as
Indian police, I have seen them in their happy homes, when roaming free on the
prairie, and I know their good points. Although I shall picture the horrors
of Indian wars in a lurid light, I have no sympathy with the idea that "the only
good Indian is a dead Indian." and I am glad to know that they are no longer
a "vanishing race," but their numbers are now increasing, and to feel that they
have a splendid destiny before them.

I have seen the growth of North Dakota from the beginning, I have per-
formed my part in its development, but in the words of Kipling's Explorer:

"Have I named one single river? Have I claimed one single acre?
Have I kept one single nugget? — (barring samples?) No, not I.
Because my price was paid me ten times over by my Maker,
But \'ou wouldn't understand it. You go up and occupy."

I feel it a duty, as well as a privilege, to contribute these pages to its history.

Clement Augustus Lounsbeerv.
Bismarck, N. D., October 31, 1916.

(The Willi Rose)


The State Floiver—the Wild Rose,
Five petals of a pale, pink tint

Are round its heart of gold.
And hither, thither, ivithoitt stint,

It scatters o'er the world.

A touch of color, faint and fine

The artist at his best.
Beneath a careless, szuift ^design,

Supreme and self-confessed.

This flower that runs across the hill

With such unconscious grace.
That seeks some wilderness to fill

And make a heavenly place;
This masterpiece for common folk.

Lit with the artist's joy,
Let no unthinking, 'wanton stroke.

No ruthless hand, destroy.

■ — Marion Lisle.

"The forest has spells that enchant me
The mountain has pozvcr to enthrall.
Yet the grace of a wayside blossom
Can stir my heart deeper than all.

O sentinels! piercing the cloud land,

Stand forth in stupendous array.
My brow by your shadow enshrouded,

is humble before you today.

But peaks that arc gilded by Heaven

Defiant you stand in your pride!

From glories too distant above me,

I turn to the friend at 7ny side."

— From the French of Louis Frechette,

translated by Hon. J. D. Edgar.





























Ix THE Beginning , 3

Occupied for Indian Trade 17

The Buffalo Republic 32

Foltnding of Pembina 40

The Louisiana Purchase 53

"When Wild in Woods the Noble Savage Ran" "]•]

Graft in Indian Trade 88

The Northwest Territory — A Chapter Apart 99

The War of 1812 117


Early Exploring Expeditions 139

The Conquest of the Missouri 154

The Conquest of the Missouri (Continued) 166

Including the Sioux Massacre of 1862 186

In the Sioux Country 205

Dakota Pioneers 220

The Conquest of the Sioux 237

The Conquest of the Sioux (Continued) 248

Dakota Territory 259


Dakota Organized 271

Dakota in the Civil and Indian Wars 282

Politics in Indian Affairs 307

Transportation Development 325

Red River Valley Old Settlers' .\ssoci.»ition 351


Division of the Territory 365

The North Dakota Constitutional Convention — Ena-
bling Act 383

The State 414

The Codes of North Dakota 437





XXVIII. The Supreme Court 444

XXIX. Prohibition 461

XXX. The Press of N^orth Dakota 474

XXXI. Naming North Dakota Counties 483

XXXII. Stories of Early Days 487

XXXIII. Pioneer Settlers and Settlements 508

XXXIV. History of Banking in North Dakota 530

XXXV. History of Methodism in North Dakota 538

XXXVI. Historical Sketch of the University of North Dakota. . . 549

XXXVII. North Dakota Volunteers 561

XXXVIII. The Revolution in North Dakota • 586





"Swiftly walk over the western wave, Spirit of Night."

— Shelley.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form,
and void ; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon
the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.

— Holy Scriptures.

Long before the earth took form, the universe existed. Compared with the
whole, the earth's proportion is that of a thought snatched from a busy Hfe,
a leaf from the forest, a grain of sand from the seashore, a chip from the work-
shop of Eternal Energy.

Perhaps it existed in impalpable dust, or fragrnents left when other worlds
or celestial bodies were created, hurled together by Almighty Force, forming a
burning mass, still burning in the interior, changing but not destroying the
material of which it was made. Gases from the flames still form, and finding
vent at some weak spot, the explosion and the earthquake follow, and portions
shake and tremble, cities are destroyed or buried, and the face of the earth is

Perhaps a crust formed upon the surface of the burning mass when this old
earth was young, which, shrinking as it cooled, gave the mountain ranges and
the depressions which make the beds of the seas and oceans, and out of the vol-
canoes, belching forth their clouds of smoke and gases, came the "darkness"
which "was upon the face of the deep," and when the darkness disappeared, and
life and growth became possible, "the morning stars sang together," for a new
world was born.

And that world took its course among the planets, the portion receiving the
direct rays of the sun becoming tropical, while immense bodies of ice formed at
the poles. "The testimony of the rocks" indicates that when the ice was broken
loose, and plowed over the surface of the earth, it was miles in depth. It broke
down, and ground to gravel and dust, mountain ranges, leaving here and there



the boulders, forming new valleys and new plains, burying the immense mass of
vegetation of that earlier period, giving to the world its fields of coal.

Perhaps, under this enormous accumulation of ice, the earth was changed in
its axis, possibly by some convulsion of nature. The fact that a large portion of
North Dakota was, time and time again, beneath the waters, is apparent to any
observer, and in all of the eastern part of the state, the work of the ice is as
visible as the stitches of a seamstress upon a completed garment.

Neither life nor light was possible in the earth's earlier stages, and after the
creation of all other forms of life, man appeared, and into his organization there
was carried every element in nature, whether on the earth, in the waters which
surrounded the earth, or in the atmosphere — whether in the chattering ape or
creeping thing, in beast or bird, in fish or fowl, in life-supporting or life-destroying
principle, and to all these life was added, breathed into man, created indeed
from the dust of the earth by Divine Energy. And what is life? We may fol-
low matter and find it in its changing form, but when life passes from its earthly
tenement, who can say whither it goeth ?

Man ate of the tree of knowledge. That was God-given, and its use brings
its reward and its punishment, but death is essential to development, and is as
natural as birth. The seasons come, and the seasons go; winter has its work
no less than summer; the flowers bloom and fade, and so man is born, matures,
and falls into decay, and, like the dead worlds which have performed their mis-
sions, passes into dust to be born again into some new form of life.

"The stars shine over the earth,
The stars shine over the sea ;
The stars look up to the mighty God,

The stars look down on me.
The stars have lived a million years,

A million years and a day;
But God and I shall love and live

When the stars have passed away."

— Rev. Jahez Thomas Sunderland.

When man appeared upon the, face of the earth the strenuous life began.
Doubtless from the beginning he "earned his bread by the sweat of his brow"
and the quiet life of Abel invited the first flow of human blood, which has formed
a continuous trail that marks the course of human development. Without blood-
shed there has been no advancement, without bloodshed no redemption ; no great
reforms have ever gained a masterly headway without bloodshed ; no nation has
ever been established without its baptism of blood.

Persecution in the old world led to the peopling of the new, and everj' step
in the development of the new world is marked by human blood. There was
war between the French and the English colonists, war between the Dutch and
their neighbors, and cntelty in most revolting form by those who sailed under,
the flag of Spain and gained a permanent foothold in the country west of the
Mississippi River. And from the beginning the whites were at war with the
reds, driving them from one section, then another, destroying their homes, taking
from them their wealth of game, and planting within their breasts hatred almost
undying. Who does not remember the pathetic words of Tah-gah-jute called

B B il t| J |s\Mi jpM^i*iL


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Ht NOKRli fETt

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■'Logan?" He was the son of a white man reared among the Indians, and was
known as a Mingo chief — a common term for those Iroquois hving beyond the
proper boundaries of the tribe. He was named for James Logan, colonial secre-
tary of Pennsylvania, his father's friend. All the members of his family were
killed in the spring of 1774, while crossing a river in a canoe, and after the
defeat of the Indians in the bloody war which followed, instead of suing for
peace with the rest, he sent this message to be delivered to John Murray Dun-
more, the last royal governor of Virginia.


"1 appeal to any white man to say if he ever entered Logan's cabin hungry,
and he gave him no meat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed him
not. During the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an
advocate of peace. Such was my love for the whites that my countrymen pointed
as they passed by, and said, 'Logan is the friend of the white man.' I had even
thought to have lived with you, had it not been for the injuries of one man.
Colonel Cresap, who last spring, in cold blood, unprovoked, murdered all the
relatives of Logan, not even sparing my women and children, and he an officer
in the white man's government ! There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins
of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it. I have
killed many. I have glutted my vengeance. For my country I rejoice at the
gleams of peace ; but do not harbor a thought that mine is' the joy of fear. Logan
never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to
mourn for Logan? Not one."

KING Philip's w.-\r

"Here still a lofty rock remains,

On which the curious eye may trace —
Now wasted half by warring rains, —
The fancies of a ruder race."

— Philip Frcncau. 1752-1832.

In July, 1675, the King Philip's war commenced. The old and friendly
chiefs, who appreciated the sturdy integrity of the Pilgrims, and their braves
who knew what war was, had passed away. The young men who followed them
had become proficient in the use of firearms and were chafing for war, and
determined to provoke it, but believed they would be defeated unless they avoided
shedding the first blood. So they wandered about committing depredations of
every kind, sometimes snatching the prepared food from the tables where they
appeared as unbidden guests at meal times. They killed the domestic animals
of the colonists, sharpened their knives on their doorsteps while boasting of
what they intended to do, and finally on Sunday. July 20, 1675, ^ party of eight
called at the home of a colonist and demanded the privilege of sharpening their
hatchets on his grindstone, well knowing that it would not be permitted in view
of the Pilgrim idea of the Sabbath. They went to another house where the
people were at church and ransacked the closets, helping themselves to food ;
they shot the cattle of other colonists and finally demanded liquor of one and


tried to take it by violence when he in his desperation fired on one of them wno
was slightly wounded, and their purpose was gained — the whites had drawn the
first blood, and war was declared and waged in all its fury.

Of the ninety villages which had been settled by the New England colonists,
twelve were utterly destroyed during that war, and forty others suffered from
fire and pillage. The isolated settlements were nearly all destroyed, the Indians
taking but few captives and these being held for torture or ransom.

The traditions of many families run back to King Philip's war, some of
the women and children escaping by being placed in an out-of-door brick oven
before which wood was piled when the men were called out for the common
defense. When the men returned they found the family safe, but the buildings
had been destroyed by fire. In Abbott's "History of King Philip," the author
graphically tells the story, and concludes with these words : "But the amount of
misery created can never be told or imagined. The midnight assault, the awful
conflagration, the slaughter of women and children, the horrors of captivity in
the wilderness, the impoverishment and mourning of widows and orphans, the
diabolical torture, piercing the wilderness with shrill shrieks of mortal agony,
the terror, universal and uninterrupted by day or night — all, all combined in
composing a scene in the awful tragedy of human life, which the mind of the
Deity alone can comprehend."

Plymouth and Bristol counties in Eastern Massachusetts witnessed some of
the most exciting episodes of the Indian wars, and the conflicts with King Philip
and his warriors occurred frequently in this locality. Their woods and the
country lying between the present cities have rung many times with the war
whoop of savages, and the waters of Mount Hope Bay, and the many lakes,
rivers, and large ponds, have assisted in the transportation of countless parties
of attack, and of escape, as well as great councils leading to transactions of far-
reaching consequence to the country.

King Philip and about five hundred lodges of his people numbering upwards
of three thousand, took up their winter quarters in 1675, near South Kingston,
R. I., on an elevated tract of land surrounded by an almost impenetrable swamp.
It was fortified by palisades, a ditch and a slashing of some rods in width, and
here as at Pequot Hill, they had gathered immense quantities of supplies. Decem-
ber 19, 1675, they were attacked in this position by a force of about one thousand
colonial troops and their camp and supplies entirely destroyed. More than
one thousand warriors were slain, and a large number were wounded ; few of
the women and children escaping, although many of the warriors reached the
swamp, and continued their warfare until the bitter end in the summer of 1677.

King Philip, however, was killed August 12, 1676, at Mount Hope, R. I. His
body was beheaded and quartered and the parts hung up in trees to be devoured
by vultures ; his wife and children being sold into slavery. This was the fate
of the captives generally. Those for whom there was no market were parceled
out among the colonists as ser\'ants. The tribes engaged in this war were the
Wampanoags, Narragansetts and Nipmucks.

Similar scenes were enacted in the W'yoming Valley, Luzerne County, Penn-
sylvania, July 3, 1778, when more than three hundred settlers were slain.



Before the Revolutionary war, steps were taken to extend the settlement to
the west, partly from the impulse to expand, to grow, and partly from a desire
to extend the frontier as a measure of protection. This ambition was the leading,
moving thought among the great minds of Virginia, and it was sons of Virginia
who blazed the way into the trackless wilderness, and took possession of Ken-
tucky, "the dark and bloody ground," where the battles were fought and the
minds cultured which made apparent the advisability of the purchase of Louisiana,
and contributed so much to its development.

As Washington, then a young surveyor and lowly citizen, extended the lines
of survey, he was watched by the red men, who dogged his footsteps and scalped
his unfortunate assistants who happened to fall into their hands, and often it
became necessary to drop the tripod and compass, and take up the rifle and the
knife. That which occurred in his case was true in the life of almost all of the
frontier surveyors, and the frontier farmer carried the rifle, as well as the hoe,
into the field where the work was done.

When the little band of Virginians passed down the Ohio River on their way
to the unknown land, muffled oars guided the Indian canoe behind them, and
stealthily treading feet followed their footprints on the land. When they sent
their representatives back to Virginia, it was the eloquence, the force and the
patriotism of Patrick Henry — and the loving sympathy of his wife, Dorothea,
a gift of God, indeed — which gave to the settlers 500 pounds of powder,
to Kentucky a name as a county in \'irginia, and the support necessary to the
life of that colony.

Startling and fruitful of results were the incidents in the years of warfare
which followed. We find in them the chain of forts, the campaign of "Mad"
Anthony Wayne, the battle of Tippecanoe and the war with Mexico.

The horrors of Indian war were again visited on the frontier settlers in the
Minnesota massacre of 1862, which brought the trail of blood home to Dakota
doors, the story of which will be told with considerable detail in this volume, for

Online LibraryClement A. (Clement Augustus) LounsberryNorth Dakota history and people; outlines of American history (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 77)