Biography of the Pioneer Residents and Businessmen of Absaraka
As Far as Possible from the Records at Hand
written by R. E. Monilaws about 1957
transcribed and edited by Steve Pueppke in 2012

I will now try to write a biography of the pioneer residents and businessmen of Absaraka as far as possible from the records at hand.

Nelson Staples and his wife came here from Plainview, Minnesota, in 1879. They had two unmarried children, a son William and daughter Jennie.

Also coming in 1882 were two sons-in-law, John B. Meacham and William Metzger. Mr. Staples bought 3_ sections of land in Buffalo Township and William Metzger was foreman on this farm. His son William ran a store in Ripon under the firm name of Nelson Staples and Son. After a few years Nelson Staples retired and it went under the name of Staples and Meacham, this was William Staples and John B. Meacham. Sometime later Mr. Meacham left the business to devote all his time to farming. Nelson Staples died about this time (1891) and the son, William Staples, took full charge of all interests. He operated the store until 1907 when it was sold to Nels Nelson.

William Staples married a Marshall girl, a sister of A. P. Marshall, Anna D. Dorsey of St. Paul in 1888. They had one adopted daughter, Carrie M. Mr. Staples was an ardent church worker and was one of the men credited with establishing the Methodist Church and Sunday School in Absaraka. He must also be credited with helping to bring the school to Absaraka and establishing the first lumber and coal business in town, which he personally operated for several years.

His was a credit business entirely. Nobody thought of paying him any more than once a year and if crops were poor, this sometimes stretched to two or more years.

Mr. Staples died December 26th, 1911, in San Diego, California, where he had established residence after leaving Absaraka in 1907.

John B. Meacham was born in Monmouth, Illinois, June 7, 1847, and died June 6, 1916, at his farm home on Section 8 in Wheatland Township.

Mr. Meacham was a graduate of Hamline University of Red Wing, Minnesota. He enlisted in the Union Army in 1863 at the age of sixteen and served as a bugler in Company A, Hatches Battalion, until 1866, most of the time in the Dakotas as an Indian fighter. After his discharge in 1866 he returned to Minnesota and worked at his trade, which was a printer on some leading papers of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

He married Martha Staples in 1870 and they moved to their homestead in 1882. They had one son, Fred L.

Mr. Meacham was a partner of William Staples in a general merchandise store in Ripon. This store was built in Absaraka about 1890, and Mr. Meacham retired from the firm to devote his time to farming. Mr. and Mrs. Meacham were ardent church workers and were instrumental in getting the Methodist Church and Sunday School started in Absaraka. They were untiring church workers and gave liberally of their time and talent to the church. Both were musicians; they played and sang in the church during their lifetime here. Mrs. Meacham was Superintendent of the Sunday School for over twenty years and was a W. C. T. U. worker on the local, county, and state level. Mr. Meacham was one of the first farmers in the community to devote most of his time to dairying, milking as high as twenty cows. He used a dog treadmill to turn the cream separator, which was a great innovation at this time.

One of the real early pioneers of Cass County and our community was Albert F. Pinkham. He came to Cass County ahead of the Northern Pacific Railway, settling for several years in Fargo.

Mr. Pinkham was born in Maine in 1847; in 1850 he went to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, with his parents. In 1864 he went to Minnesota where he remained until coming to Cass County, in 1871.

He took up a claim near Fargo and lived there four years. During this four years he lived on his claim; he built a building in Fargo that was known as Pinkham's Hall. This was located near the foot of Front Street; here many of the organization meetings for Fargo and Cass County were held. In this hall the organization of the Methodist Church in Fargo was completed.

Mr. Pinkham also taught school in this building during weekdays, and it was used for church services on Sunday.

The first election on a bond issue of $10,000 for a courthouse and jail for Cass County was held in this building, February 14, 1874.

Mr. Pinkham left Fargo in 1875 and spent six years in Montana, Wyoming, and the Black Hills of South Dakota. He then returned to Cass County and settled on the land in Empire Township, Section 32.

He married Sarah Pebles in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 1887. They had three children: Margarete, Ray, and Sherman.

Mr. Pinkham served as Registrar of Deeds in Cass County for four years, 1890 to 1894. The Pinkham family moved away from the farm to Casselton in 1902, where the family received their education, and the elder Pinkhams passed the remaining years of their lives. Mr. Pinkham served on the local school board for several years while living there.

Hamilton Eckert was born April 29, 1848, in Cattaraugus County, New York. His parents were Robert and Persis Eckert.

He left New York in 1864 for Alma, Wisconsin, and lived there until 1872. He then moved to Wabasha County, Minnesota, where he lived until 1880, coming to Cass County that year.

He married Elizabeth Burnie of Alma, Wisconsin, in 1880. They had three children; Robert B., who died in 1943, Roy W., who lived on Section 19, Empire Township, and Persis, now Mrs. Hanson of Turtle Lake, North Dakota.

Mr. Eckert was very active in this township and school district. He was a road overseer for many years and built many of the first graded roads in the township. He died in 1917 at the age of 70. His grandson, Donald Eckert, son of Robert B., now occupies the original farmstead.

Thomas Lindsay and family came here from Bervie, Ontario, Canada, in 1886. They built their home on the NE_ of Section 26 in Empire Township. Mr. and Mrs. Lindsay were both born in Bervie and were married there. They had three sons, Wilfred, George and Frank born there and a daughter Clara born here. The Lindsay family farmed at this location until about 1915, when they sold the farm and built a house in Absaraka. They lived here until 1928 when they moved to Wheatland where the elder Lindsays spent the remainder of their lives.

Wilfred died in 1950 and George lives at Mahnomen, Minnesota and Frank at Ogema, Minnesota. Clara, now Mrs. Bart, lives in Fargo.

The senior Lindsay was a member of the school board in District 73 and held various township offices in Empire Township.

The son Wilfred ran a store, cream station, and glove factory in Absaraka, and at one time was acting postmaster.

George married Ruby Zieske and lived at Ripon where he was employed by the Great Northern until moving to Minnesota.

Frank was employed by the Great Western Elevator Company at Myra for a number of years before moving to Minnesota.

All the Lindsays were active in church and community affairs and were very much devoted to the work of the Camp Meeting Association.

One of the first men to take up land and residence in this vicinity was Ed L. Sears. He came here in 1876 and homesteaded at what was known as Ripon. I believe he named this town after Ripon, Wisconsin, where he lived before coming to Dakota Territory.

Mr. Sears was born in 1850 in Racine, Wisconsin. He was married to Jennie Stevens there in 1878. They had one son, Frank L.

Mr. Sears devoted much of his time here to raising and training race horses. He had a full size race track on the farm at Ripon where he trained horses to take part in the racing circuits throughout the country.

He also had a livery barn in Fargo, which he established in 1879 and which he managed many years after leaving the farm here. Mr. Sears was the first postmaster when Ripon was established a post office, probably in 1879.

He spent his entire lifetime here and in Fargo where he died in the 1920's.

William Staples, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Staples, was truly a man who helped make Absaraka.

He was a man of means and was instrumental in trying to keep business in Absaraka that belonged to Absaraka. He had the first general merchandise store, the first elevator, the first lumber yard, and the first coal and wood business. He also managed one of the biggest farms in the vicinity and was very successful in all endeavors.

He was also an ardent church worker, and supported other community enterprises.

He was born in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1849. His family moved from there to Plainview, Minnesota, then came to Dakota, arriving here about 1879. After his father's death he took charge of all the stores and the farm, later acquiring the other business, which he successfully managed until 1907 when ill health required that he give up all activities.

The farm was sold to W. D. Crocker and the store and elevator business to Nels Nelson. Mr. Staples and his family moved to California where he died in San Diego, December 26, 1912.

He and Anna Dorsey of Minneapolis were married in 1896. They had one adopted daughter, Carrie M. (his first marriage was to a Marshall girl).

The farm buildings of Col. Thompson were located in the village of Absaraka. These buildings were occupied by Silas R. Stow and his family. Mr. Stow was also agent for the St. Anthony Elevator Company. He also farmed the Thompson farm until 1897, when the elevator burned and the Stow family moved to Casselton. The Stow family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Stow, one daughter, Maud, and three sons, Alex, Jay, and Silas.

In the early days, Thomas Monilaws had the first blacksmith shop in Absaraka. It was located where the Roy Faught residence now stands. He moved the building to the farm in 1897 or 1898 and continued to do some work there for many years.

Wilson Kerr was the next blacksmith in Absaraka. He had a shop just west of the track on the same land the Robert Monilaws Jr., residence now stands. He operated here until he moved to Belfield about 1905.

Absaraka was without a blacksmith from then until 1908 when Nels Nelson built the present shop.

Various blacksmiths were hired, mostly of the boomer variety, for about three years when Fred Ahlstrom of Valley City bought the building and a small house. Mr. Nelson had built just west of the shop near the railroad track. This is in the part of town in Wheatland Township. Mr. Ahlstrom continued to run the shop until 1927 when he moved to Amenia. He was assisted by a son, Gunder F., who also moved to Amenia.

The shop was purchased by E. H. Ford, William Cuthbertson, R. E. Monilaws, and C. J. Nepp, who operated it on a rental basis to Charles A. Wilcox in 1928, Chris Anderson in 1929. It was sold to Arnt Johnson in 1930, the operator until his death in 1961.

William Staples operated the store and elevator, lumber yard, and coal and wood yard until 1907 when he sold it to Nels Nelson.

Mr. Staples lived in a house on lot 8 in block 10, during his residence in Absaraka. Part of this house was built in the early 1880's and a large two story addition was built on it in 1900. This house was also sold to Mr. Nelson, and he and his family, consisting of two daughters, Anna and Tena, and a won William, a nephew Fred Cory, and Mrs. Nelson, moved in from the farm in 1907 and occupied the residence. Mr. Nelson ran the store until 1912, when he sold it to H. O. Foulkes.

Mr. Nelson built a house south of the store in Wheatland Township, this was sold to Mr. Foulkes along with the store, and he and his family consisting of Mrs. Foulkes, three daughters, Ina, Maud, and Marvel, and three sons, Lawrence, Ray, and Max, moved from Cherokee, Iowa, in the fall of 1912. Mr. Foulkes continued to operate the store until 1925 when he sold it and the residence to T. K. Myhre of Hawley, Minnesota. He ran it until 1926, when he sold it to J. J. O'Connor of Casselton. He sold the stock out and we had no store for a short time. It was next purchased by Henry Peterson of Leonard. He and his son Carmen operated it until Carmen's untimely death in 1931. It was then sold to James Swanick of Sterling, North Dakota. Mr. Swanick and family moved here in 1933. He operated the store until ?? when he sold out the stock and the store was empty.

Richard Faught bought the store building in 1933 but did not stock it until 1934. He was operating a small store and cream station located just west of the E. H. Ford residence. He moved out of this store and into the large store in 1934. He and his wife, Violet, operated it until 1936 when he sold the building to his mother, Mrs. L. R. Faught. John and Roy Jr. went into partnership in the operation of the store in July of 1936 and Roy Jr. and his wife Dacotah operated it until January 1st, 1942, when they left for Montana to operate a Buttrey Store. John and his wife Grace started operating the store and are doing so at present.

It is now one of the best stocked general stores in any small town in the state. The post office is in the store, and has been ever since the post office was established, except the times when the store was closed for short periods. Grace Faught has been postmistress since 1943. Before her, Horton Ford was postmaster and before him his father, E. H. Ford. Mr. Ford succeeded T. K. Myhre, he H. O. Foulkes, and he Nels Nelson, and he, William Staples and he, J. B. Meacham, the first postmaster.

John Faught built a new house on the lot just east of the store in 1946, he and his family reside there.

John Hay: their family consisted of a daughter Emma, and two sons, John Jr. and Clarence B. John Jr. died in 1924 and Clarence B. in 1950. Emma, now Mrs. Wilson Kerr, is living at Fryburg, North Dakota. Mrs. Hay was active in all community activities including the church and was a music teacher. Many of the youngsters growing up at that time owe their opportunity to get some musical education to her willingness to teach them.

Mr. Hay traveled all over the country working at his trade. His mode of travel was a horse and road cart as they were known. This is a two wheeled vehicle, pulled by one horse, with a cradle like seat hung between the two wheels and a box or basket under the seat to carry small amounts of cargo, which in Mr. Hays' case, was the tools of his trade and clothes to last him while away from home, which varied from a few days to a month or more. Mr. Hay was an expert at his trade and worked on many of the buildings in Fargo, one of which was the old Sherman Hotel at Bismarck and the State “Pen” and the first hotel at Bozeman, Mont. He also helped build most of the brick buildings that are now in Casselton. The original First National Bank Building, the English Block, Portland Hotel, Casselton State Bank Block, and many others. While working on the Portland Hotel in Casselton, he fell and was nearly killed. He finally recovered by never was as active again and confined himself to small jobs close to home. Their son, Clarence B., was a druggist and at the time of his death was owner and manager of the Hay Drug on Broadway in Fargo, where the White Drug is now located.

Emma married Wilson Kerr, a farm boy from Erie, who was also a blacksmith in Absaraka. After a few years they moved to Belfield, where they engaged in farming until Mr. Wilson Kerr's death when Mrs. Wilson Kerr moved into Belfield, where she still resided.

The Hay family could really be classed as one of Absaraka's first families.

About 1878 or 1879, a man by the name of Nelson Staples arrived in North Dakota from Plainview, Minnesota. He had a son, William Staples, and a son-in-law, John B. Meacham, with him. The elder Staples and his son purchased land in Buffalo Township and the son-in-law Meacham, purchased part of section 5 and 8 in Wheatland Township. These people, while coming from Minnesota, had not too long previously come from Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Nelson Staples was a southerner, her father having been a plantation and slave owner in a southern state before the Civil War.

Nelson Staples had also been a merchant in the past and thought he saw an opportunity for a little merchandising in the newly settling country. He built a store on the newly constructed railroad at Ripon on the Portland Line and installed his son William in it, and Nelson Staples and Son General Store came into being. It wasn't long until it was found that Ripon had been located in a (narrative missing here).

He continued to live here until 1907 when he bought out the Staples interests in Absaraka, consisting of the elevator, lumber yard, store, and residence. He moved the family to town that year and started a successful business career. During his time here he built numerous buildings, including the present Hansen house, the blacksmith shop, a barn on the Nepp place, a lumber office, a machinery shed, and numerous other small buildings and improvements.

He was one of the first automobile dealers in the county, selling Overland and E. M. F. automobiles in this vicinity in 1912.

He was postmaster in Absaraka from 1907 to 1912.

He at one time owned over two sections of land here and a section at Pingree. He sold the store to H. O. Foulkes in 1912 and traded the elevator, lumber, and machinery business to George Humphrey in 1917 to devote all his time to farming. When he (narrative missing here).

Mr. and Mrs. Amos Hagemeister came to Absaraka in 1899. They moved on the SE _ of Section 19 of Empire Township. After a short time they moved to the NW_ of 27 and made their home there until 1930.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Hagemeister were born in Ayton, Ontario, Mr. Hagemeister in 1866 and Mrs. Hagemeister in 1872. They were married there February 18, 1889. Mr. Hagemeister came to Argusville, North Dakota, with his parents in 1885 and engaged in farming there until coming to Absaraka.

Mr. and Mrs. Hagemeister were active in church and school activities in this community as were their family. Mr. Hagemeister served a number of years on the school board of districts 73 and 65.

Mr. Hagemeister was a custom thresher all his active life, both at Argusville and after moving here, always having one of the largest threshing outfits of the period. His was a complete outfit with facilities for boarding and housing the crew which most times consisted of twenty or twenty-five men. About forty horses and twenty wagons were required on this kind of an operation. Every fall an outfit like this would thresh many thousands of acres, some of them running as long as fifty days at well over 100 acres a day.

Mr. and Mrs. Hagemeister were the parents of ten children, four of whom are now living: Mrs. Andrew (Minnie) Vlahos, Mrs. R. E. (Florence) Monilaws, Wesley, and Esther.

Mr. Hagemeister died in October 1940 and Mrs. Hagemeister in July 1930.

Thomas Lockett arrived in our vicinity about 1878. He was an immigrant from England. He homesteaded on the NE_ of 6 in Wheatland Township.

He married Lizzie Boyd who died, leaving a family of one boy and three girls. Ethel became Mrs. Charles Mishan, Maggie married Leon Fordice, Emma married Paul Franke. The son Fred and his father moved to a farm east of Amenia, where the father died. Fred was married there to Belva Jones. They moved back to our vicinity and lived here until moving into Wheatland about 1953. He died in Florida in 1955 while on a vacation.

The Keyes family were also early residents of the community. David Keyes came from Kincardine, Ontario, about 1880. He homesteaded (in the) NW (quarter) of Section 2 of Wheatland Township. He and Mrs. Keyes had four sons, Thomas, Fred, James, and David, Jr., and one daughter, Annie. Mrs. Keyes died at the age of 41 in 1890. In 1895 Mr. Keyes married a girl from New York. They left the farm here about 1899 and moved to Pingree, North Dakota, and engaged in ranching. They both spent the remainder of their lives there. The entire family are now dead. Mr. Keyes was one of the organizers of the Methodist church in Absaraka and was a Sunday school teacher for many years.

Otto W. Thoemke bought the west 320 acres Section 2 140-53 in 1899 and owned it until his death, November 29, 1927. He also owned SE 160 acres of Section 3 since 1911, which he bought from Thomas E. Jones who bought it from Mr. Trott. Mrs. Thoemke, who had been Emily L. Ebert of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, died September 16, 1938, and the farm was sold November 1, 1938, to Earl A. Vining and wife.

Joseph Warrington came to Dakota in 1881 and settled on the NE_ Section 28 Empire. He was born in 1855 near Kincardine, Ontario. He was married there about the time he came to this country. They had four children, George W., Mary. Dorsey, and Edna. Mary and Dorsey died of typhoid fever in 1898. Mr. Warrington died in 1904. The son George took charge of the farm and ran it until 1909 when it was sold to Herman Boyce. George married Minnie Jenkins of Erie and they moved to a farm of their own. Edna married Gilbert Peterson and they moved to Minneapolis. George and Mrs. Warrington are now dead, and Edna still lives in Minneapolis.

Arthur P. Marshall was a pioneer of this vicinity, coming here in 1880 from West Salem, Wisconsin, where he was born March 26, 1864. He homesteaded on the SW_ of section 30, Empire Township. He kept bachelor quarters for several years and had many stories to tell of his prowess as a cook. He was an entertaining story teller and delighted in telling of the early day escapades of the pioneers while making their own entertainment. He was a practical joker and if there was any of that going on, you could be sure A. P. had a hand in it.

He married Emma Berry of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 1888. They had six children. Mary and Hattie died in infancy. Gertie died in 1920. Alice, Mrs. Fred Gavin, died in 1950. Mr. Marshall died in 1927 and Mrs. Marshall in 1928. The only survivor of the family is Elmer W., who has retired from farming and lives in Fargo. Elmer died in 194?. (Jessie, Mrs. Robert Punton of Ayr).

A grandson, Kenneth Marshall, now resides on the original home farm. Another grandson, Allan, resides on Sect. 3, Wheatland Township, and a granddaughter Marjorie (Mrs. V. Olsen) in Milaca, Minnesota.

William Matters, a native of Devonshire, England, came to the Absaraka vicinity in 1879. He had been a copper miner in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Homestead opportunities led him to Dakota Territory, where he homesteaded in the NE_ of Section 20, Empire Township. He lived here until his death in 1889.

Mrs. Matters was also a native of England. A family of six children was born to Mr. and Mrs. Matters, some of whom were born in England and some in Michigan. Joseph Matters was born in Keweenaw County, Michigan, in 1862. He took over the homestead on the death of his father and continued its operation until about 1909, when he moved to Fargo and lived the balance of his life there.

He married Lizzie Brunham of Wheatland in 1886. They adopted a son Fay. Mr. and Mrs. Matters were progressive workers in the community and church. They were among the organizers of the M. E. Church and Sunday School. Mr. Matters was a Sunday School superintendent, held various offices in the township and school district.

He sold the farm in 1913 to George Fear, and he to the late F. M. Davis in 1915. A grandson of Mr. Davis, Leo Hagemeister, is on the farm now. Mrs. Matters is still living in California.

George M. Gavin was born in Well County, Indiana, May 23, 1870. He married Lucy E. Huffman December 25, 1892. He was a school teacher before coming to Absaraka.

Mr. and Mrs. George Gavin came to Wheatland from Indiana in 1908. After a short stay, they moved to the Meacham place south of town and a short time later they moved to the farm now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Allan Marshall.

Mr. Gavin built the house and barn on these premises, and they lived there until moving to the place now occupied by their son, Fred. Mr. and Mrs. Gavin came here from Bluffton, Indiana, where they had both been born and raised.

They were both active in church and community activities and contributed of their time and talents to every worthwhile project in the community.

Mr. Gavin was a progressive farmer, and was one of the first, if not the first, to grow alfalfa in the immediate vicinity. He also pioneered in potato growing on a commercial basis. He was a writer and contributed many articles in a humorous vein to the local papers. He served on the school board at Absaraka and was a member of the church board.

Mr. and Mrs. Gavin had one son, Fred. They also had a niece and nephew, Martha and Ralph Irick, whom they raised after they were orphaned at an early age.

Mr. Gavin died on March 27, 1916, and Mrs. Gavin in 1923.

Mr. and Mrs. Herman Boyce came to Absaraka in 1895, Mrs. Boyce as a bride, and started a home on the SW_ of Section 21, Empire Township.

Mr. Boyce was born in Quebec, Canada, in 1870 and came to Argusville in 1892, where he married Lydia Hagemeister of Ayton, Ontario, who had also recently arrived in the United States with her parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Boyce were the parents of 10 children, eight of whom are still living.

Mrs. John (Mabel) Hocking, Mrs. Clayton (Crystal) Hill, Mrs. Edwin (Lydia) Nygaard, Mrs. Gerald (Jeanette) Wical, Mrs. Arnold (Marjorie) Aamodt, Lillian, Bernice, and Ervin, the latter now living on the original home place.

Mr. and Mrs. Boyce lived on the original land purchased by him in 1895 until 1910, when they purchased the Warmington place and after building an addition to the house moved there and lived there the remainder of their lives.

Mrs. Boyce died in 1937 and Mr. Boyce in 1948.

Mr. and Mrs. Boyce were active in church work and other community activities, as were their family as soon as they grew up.

Mr. Boyce served as representative in the 19?? session of the legislature from the 11th district. He was a member of the school board in District 73 and 65 for a quarter of a century and was active in getting a consolidation of the two districts in 1914, the building of the present school, and the inauguration of high school courses in it.

He was also one of the founders of the Absaraka Camp Meeting Association, a nonsectarian religious association, which is still active after forty-seven years, having started in 1910.

He was a tireless worker for the Methodist Church in Absaraka, was superintendent of the Sunday School for many years, and was interested and active in all religious and civic activities in the community.

Nels Nelson came to Absaraka in 1895 from Argusville, North Dakota. He settled on the SW_ of Section 21, Empire Township. A native of Sweden, he immigrated to the United States in 18??. He first settled in Michigan and later moved to Argusville, where he married Anna C. Hagemeister in 1887. After his marriage he worked at his trade of carpenter and also farmed until buying the west one-half of Section 21 in 1895, when he and Mrs. Nelson came there to make their home.

John A. Hill was born in Woodstock, Ontario, in 1857. He came to Cass County in 1880 and farmed there until 1911, when he moved to Erie, from there he moved to Fargo in 1919, where he resided until his death in 1930.

He was a Representative of the 11th district from 1901-1903.

He was the son of Henry T. and Elizabeth Hill, with whom he came to Cass County with the Senior Hill, settling in Erie Township.

He married Elizabeth Baker of Woodstock in 1877. She died in 1956 at the age of 97 years. Mr. and Mrs. Hill were the parents of …. Children: Mrs. E. H. Ford (Luella), who died in 1941. Albert J., now living in Casselton, Mrs. Al Cuthbertson (Mae), living on Section ?? of this township. Harrison, who with his wife and two children died of scarlet fever in May of 1910, and Dr. Lawrence, a dentist in Chicago. Two other children died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Hill and their family were ardent church workers and were untiring in their devotion to the Methodist Church in Absaraka. In the horse and buggy days they were rarely absent at any church service, often attending two meetings on Sunday, even though this represented driving 12 miles each trip with horses and buggy or sleigh, over what we would call no roads, merely a trail.

A grandson, Robert Hill, son of Albert J., is now living on the original farm. Vincent C. Pinkas, a pioneer settler in this community, was born in Austria of Bohemian parents of January 11, 1853, son of John and Bette Pinkas. He immigrated to the United States in 1878. He never married and lived somewhat the life of a recluse, but was always progressive enough to be interested in what was going on in the world. He died in 1911.

The Cuthbertson family, consisting of John, born in 1823, and his wife, born in 1838, arrived in Ripon in 1880, settling on Section 8, Wheatland Township. They had six children: John, William James, Lizzie, Sarah, Maggie, and a son, Alexander, all born here.

Mr. Cuthbertson died March 1, 1895, and Mrs. Cuthbertson, May 13, 1908. James and Sarah Cuthbertson died within a short time of each other of typhoid fever in 18??. John married and moved to Erie and spent his entire life there. William married Martha Madsen and lived on the original farm for a number of years, then moved into a new home he built on Section 35, Empire Township, where he lived until 19??, when he moved to Finley, where he died in 1946. They had four children: Merle, Gladys, Orma, and Lloyd. Lizzie married Donald McLean of Erie and lived there her entire life. Maggie married John Hocking. They lived in Amenia and Casselton for a few years, when they returned to Empire Township, where she died in 1945. They had five sons.

Alexander married Mae Hill, and after living at Amenia a few years, returned to Empire Township and built a set of buildings on the NW_ of Section 25, where they lived until his death in November of 1956. They had three children.

The Cuthbertsons were all a very important part of the community, all generations taking an active part in church, school, and community affairs. They contributed much to the wellbeing of the community. From grandparents to grandchildren, they were outstanding citizens, and people in the community are certainly better for having lived with them.

A pioneer family that lived in our vicinity was the Powlison family. Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Powlison came to this vicinity in 1882, settled on the SE_, Section 34. They had seven children. Mr. Powlison died in 1888 and the family moved away shortly thereafter. Son Fred married Anna Boyd, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Boyd, and lived in the community longer than any of the rest.

The Robert Hood family came to the Absaraka vicinity in 1880, building on the SE_ of Section 22. Mrs. Hood was a sister of Mrs. Dave Jack, who lived on the SE_ of this same section. They came from the same part of Canada as many of the other early residents of this community. Mr. Hood died in July of 1895 and the family moved away shortly after. They had two sons, James and Fred.

The Robert Moore family came here in 1879 from Bervie, Ontario, and homesteaded the SE_ of Section 28. He was a brother of Mrs. Thomas Monilaws. Mrs. Moore died in 1889 and the family returned to their old home in Canada to spend the rest of their life. They had two children, Frank and Bertha.

John Richards homesteaded the NE_ of Section 26. He was a relative of John S. Hocking and was a native of England. He died en route to England on a visit. Mrs. Richards and two daughters, Annie and Millie, continued on the farm for a number of years. Annie married William Ford. She died in 1898 at the age of 22 years, leaving one son, Ferris. The family moved to Washington about 1900 and lived the balance of their lives there.

The George T. Hawley family were early pioneers of the community. They came here from Arden, Ontario, in 1879 and homesteaded on the NW_ of Section 34. He built the house and barn that still stand on the Monilaws farm. He resided here until about 1889, when he sold the farm to Thomas Monilaws and moved to Casselton; from there to Lemmon, South Dakota, and from there to Minneapolis, where he spent the remainder of his life. Mrs. Hawley died in Casselton in 1935. One daughter, Mrs. Dave Griffith, still lives in Casselton.

The Dave Jack family came to Dakota Territory in 1880 from Ontario. They homesteaded the SW_ of Section 22. Mr. and Mrs. Jack had five children, two sons and three daughters. The one son became a prominent lawyer in Spokane, Washington. He died in 1926. The family lived on the farm until 1904, when they moved to Page. They resided at Page until 1910, when they moved to Idaho, where they spent the rest of their lives. Mrs. Jack was a sister of Peter McLaren.

Peter McLaren homesteaded the SW_ of Section 14 in Empire about 1880. He married Jessie Baker of Buffalo, and they lived on the farm until 1899, when they moved to Wheatland. Mr. McLaren was a rural mail carrier out of Wheatland from 1903 to 1931, when he retired. He died in 1941. Mrs. McLaren died in 1955. They had three daughters, Mrs. Art (Lettie) Elwell, Mrs. Louis (Alfrida) Easton, and Mrs. Russell (Katherine) Brown.

Andrew K. Boyd was a native of Scotland, born at Ayrshire in 1826. He came to America in 1840 and settled at Paris, Ontario. He was a shoemaker by trade, engaged in the hotel business and general merchandising before coming to Dakota, March 16, 1879. He married Margaret Newcombe in Preston, Ontario, who came to Dakota with him. Mr. Boyd homesteaded the SW_ of Section 6, Wheatland Township, which is still owned by the Boyd family. The present owner, LeRoy Boyd, is a grandson of Andrew K. Boyd.

Mr. and Mrs. Boyd had three sons and six daughters: Mrs. John (Jane) Hay, Mrs. Thomas (Lizzie) Locket, Mrs. Fred (Anna) Powlison, and Robert B. and Hiram E. were the ones that remained in our vicinity during part of their lives.

Hiram E. was a clerk in the Staples store but left here about 1900. Mrs. Powlison lived here considerable of her lifetime. Mrs. Hay and Mrs. Locket lived their entire lives here, and Robert B. had the home place and considerable other land here at the time of his death in 1926.

Andrew K. Boyd died in 1888, and Mrs. Boyd a few years later.

Robert B. took charge of his father's interests in 1889. He was a successful farmer and added to his original holdings until he had about 1500 acres of land and a residence in Fargo at the time of his death.

He represented the 11th legislative district in the 1896-1898 sessions. He was married to Mae Burney of Wheatland in 1900. They had two sons, Howard B. and LeRoy.

He lived on the farm and also lived in Absaraka at various times but moved to Fargo in 1909.

He was elected County Commissioner in Cass County in 1911 and was serving in this capacity at the time of his death.

Mrs. Boyd was a former teacher in the Absaraka school and came to Wheatland with her parents in 1895 from Elgin, Illinois, where she had attended school and college. She was born in 1873 and died in 1948.

LeRoy is presently teaching school at Argyle, Minnesota, and Howard is in Washington State.

George E. S. Trott was a pioneer resident of this community. He was born in Maine in 1844 and came to Fargo in 1877. In 1878 he homesteaded on Section 10 in Wheatland Township. He continued farming on this location, buying adjacent land, until he owned all of Section 10 and Section 3, which he sold about 1908, when he returned to his native state and spent the remainder of his life.

He married Elizabeth Hauck of Michigan in 1894. They had no children. Mr. Trott was a member of the Maine State Legislature in 1874-1875 before coming to Dakota.

John S. Hocking, one of the first settlers around Absaraka, came here in 1878. Mr. Hocking was born in Cornwall, England, in 1841. In 1866 he came to the United States, landing in New York. He went from there to Connecticut, where he worked as a miner. He then went to North Carolina and worked in copper and gold mines. In 1868 he went to Michigan and was a copper miner until 1878, when he came here.

It was while working as a miner he acquired the nickname of “Cap,” derived from his title as Captain in the copper mine, which is equivalent of supervisor or foreman.

He homesteaded the SE_ of 34 and took a tree claim on the SW_ of the same section, where he lived his entire life.

At the time Mr. Hocking settled here, there was only one other settler between his place and Casselton. Mr. Hocking told of the time during the building of the Portland Line, that James J. Hill, the President of the Great Northern Railway, slept in his granary. Mr. Hocking also recalled that William Port, builder of the Portland Block in Casselton and former restaurant and hotel keeper in Casselton, was a cook for the construction gang that built the Portland Line.

Mr. Hocking was active in school and community affairs. Always interested in educational affairs, he endeavored to make the local schools his main interest. He was a theology student in his native land and was well versed in the Bible. He was chairman of the township board for several years, and was interested in the development of roads in this township.

Mr. Hocking was a successful and progressive farmer, and at the time of his death had acquired two and three quarter sections of land, a large number of horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs.

Mr. Hocking was married in Michigan in 1870 to Mary J. Matters, also a native of England. They were parents of ten children, two daughters and eight sons: Ella, Jennie, Edmund, Samuel, Richard, John, William, Thomas, Harry, and Newton. Five of these sons now survive. Richard, John, and Newton live in Casselton and Absaraka, Harry and Tom in California. Three of the sons were dentists: Samuel, William, and Harry. Samuel died shortly after graduation. William and Harry were dentists at Devils Lake, North Dakota, until their retirement. John and Tom are retired farmers. Richard was a storekeeper and farmer at Wheatland many years and is now retired and living in Casselton.

Edmund went to Alberta early in life and farmed there until his death a few years ago.

Newton is on the original farm and is farming it with his son Wayne. Mr. Hocking died November 29, 1915, and Mrs. Hocking died in 1926.

Thomas Monilaws was born in Kincardine, Ontario, in 1849. He learned the blacksmith trade at an early age and followed it while in his native land.

He married Mary Ann Moore of Bervie, Ontario, in 1873, and in 1879 he brought his family to Dakota Territory, arriving as an immigrant at Casselton in March of that year.

They stayed at Wheatland until he completed a homestead shack on the NE_ of 34 in Empire Township. The family lived here until about 1890, when he bought the NW_ of 34 from George T. Hawley and moved there that year and continued to live there until moving into Absaraka in 1928.

He engaged in blacksmithing in Absaraka for a number of years in addition to farming. He bought a quarter section from Martin Larsen in 1895 and also bought the homestead of his brother-in-law, Robert Moore, about the same time. His oldest son Albert had this quarter until his death in 1935.

Mr. Monilaws was a member of the school board in District 65 from its organization in 1892 until a few years before his death. He was also a member of the Empire Township board almost all his life, resigning in 1932 because of poor health. Mr. and Mrs. Monilaws had nine children, two of whom died in infancy. Albert E. died in 1935 and Mrs. John (Mamie) DeNiue died in 1952. Five are still living: Alice, now Mrs. Masterson of Buffalo, Eva, Mrs. Bryan of Lincoln, Nebraska, Frances, Mrs. Albert Hill of Casselton, and Belle and Robert E. of Absaraka. Mr. Monilaws died in 1933 and Mrs. Monilaws in 1928.

There are many more family who were part of the Absaraka community down through the years. People who lived here a few years but were a contributing factor to the wellbeing of the church, the school, and the community, and I think these names will be remembered as part of the history of Absaraka.

The Families of John Zuske, George Fear, Ed. Tucker, Sam People, Joe Stine, Harry Crowell, R. R. Armstrong, Albert Hill, Joe King, S. R. Stow, Fred Ahlstrom, H. O. Foulkes, James Swamek, Henry Peterson, George Cooper, Clayton Hill, Robert Gust, William Teetz, Gus Adams, Sherman Pinkham, Elmer Marshall, Henning Pearson, Alf Pearson, Wesley Hagemeister.

Roy Faught Jr. moved a house from Fargo to lot 12 in block 11 in 1944, and he and his family reside there.

The Foulkes house across the street has been owned by T. K. Myhre, J. J. O'Connor, Henry Peterson, James Swanick, Emil Krueger, and was purchased by the J. C. Miller Elevator in 1939 for their agent, Neil McKay. He was succeeded by Merlin Keyes, and he by the present occupant, Maynard Hansen and his family, who have occupied it since 1943.

Public telephone service came to Absaraka in 1904. The North Dakota Independent Telephone Company, with headquarters at Hope, constructed many miles of telephone lines in 1903 through 1905.

The towns of Hope, Page, Ayr, and Erie and most of the farms around them were connected by telephone for the first time. A switchboard was installed in the store and long distance connections established. This service was enjoyed for many years, but falling revenue forced some changes to be made in this service, and the line was sold to the Amenia Telephone Company, which operated the line until 1930.

When the Absaraka Telephone Company was incorporated for the purpose of buying and operating the lines in the immediate vicinity of Absaraka, it was a cooperative company, with local telephone users as stockholders. A switchboard and Bell long distance connection was installed in the home of Anna Nelson, who was telephone operator for many years. The central office was next moved to the store building and Dacotah Faught became operator. When she moved to Montana, Grace Faught became operator and is still carrying on in this capacity.

Men who figured in the history of Absaraka are the men who worked as clerks in the store, ran the elevator, the depot agents, and the section foreman. As many as can be recalled will be mentioned: Hiram E. Boyd was one of the first clerks in the Staples store, he was a son of the Andrew Boyds and a sister of Mrs. John Hay. He and his family lived in the house that was located where the Robert Monilaws Jr. residence is now. He was followed by Ed. H. Ford, who held the job for close to twenty years. Ivan Dunning of Amenia also worked in the Nelson store as did Gilbert Peterson and Fred Correy.

In the elevators John Norgaard for Staples, Gust Gustafson for Staples and Nelson, E. H. Ford for the Amenia and Sharon Land Company, Neil McKay, Merlin Keyes, and Maynard Hansen for J. C. Miller and Silas Stow for St. Anthony.

A man by the name of Shephard ran the Cargill Elevator.

In the depot since coming to Absaraka have been Ernest Hornback, E. J. Swanson, John Burns, Clyde Clough, and Carl Nepp.

On the section has been Arne Bjorke, Erick Griswold, John Rand, M. J. Haley, Ed Roesler, Martin Dahl, John Hammerling, William Radloff, Nels Crowell, Paul Iverson, and Olaf Eldevig.

THE POST OFFICE The first post office was established at Ripon about 1879 on the arrival of the railroad.

E. L. Sears was the first postmaster.

The post office was moved to Absaraka in 1890, John B. Meacham, Wm. Staples, Nels Nelson, H. O. Foulkes, T. K. Myhre, E. H. Ford, Horton Ford, and Grace Faught have been the postmasters in the order named.

At one time in the early history of this community, a cemetery was proposed in the NE_ of Section 33. However, it never materialized. However, there were burials made at this spot which is at present part of C. J. Nepp's pasture just east of the bridge, between Section 33 and 29.

Mrs. Hugh Barrett, a daughter of William Matters, and her husband, a homesteader on the SE_ of Section 20, was the first person buried there. She died in the 1880's. Her body was exhumed about 1900 and taken to Michigan for final burial.

Two small children of a homesteader near Tower City, victims of diphtheria, were also buried here, and are still there. I have forgotten their names, but remember my father telling me that their father carried the remains in a homemade casket on his back, and walked to this place and my father helped him bury them. The father returned here a few times afterward and called at our place but their names have been forgotten and probably will never be known now.