(transcribed by Lisa Richards of the DCHS)


History of Port Emma.  (By T. W. B.)


Port Emma, a beautiful town at the head of Crystal Lake, named for Miss. Emma Williams, the first lady who took a claim in the eastern part of Dickey County, now joining the townsite.  The site of Port Emma was selected by T. W. Bush of county of Greenville, Ontario, Canada, who had spent two years traveling through the southern states, nowhere else finding climate and soil to meet his favor.

          On the 8th of June 1882, with his youngest son, J. W., and Edward Pletcher of Des Moines, Iowa, discovered the most beautiful and undulating slope on the James River; and the picturesque view for many miles to be seen from an elevation in the center of the townsite, (Capital Hill) down the lake and up the James River with all its natural beauties and advantages, compels all its visitors to admit that we have the most beautiful townsite in the northwest.

          The soil is deep, varying from two to six feet, and gravel, sustained by heavy clay from 10 to 100 feet; all qualities required to produce No. 1 Hard Wheat.


The Port Emma Times Nov. 29, 1883 Vol. 1 No. 1



“The Port Emma Times comes out with greeting for one and all, this glad Thanksgiving.  We do not hesitate to ask your patronage, for we trust that by energy and labor to merit it.  We would not put at the heading of this column “Two Dollars per year” did we not feel confident of giving value received?

          It is true that we are in a new country, new town; but we come with new hope, enterprise, and a high ambition to overcome every obstacle, and strive for success.  Merit will win.  If our paper is worthy of success, it will achieve it: if not, we deserve to fail.

          If there is no field for our enterprise, no reward for our labor, we will retire to some other calling.  The country is able to support a good paper it is our intention to furnish one that will be worthy of support.

          “We feel encouraged by substantial evidence that our enterprise is appreciated.”

                                                                   Edwin S. Gilbert, Editor.

We think it will not be out of place to mention some of the leading men of Port Emma.  At the head should come the originator of the town, Thomas W. Bush.  Mr. Bush was born in the county of Greenville, Ontario, Canada where he resided until December, 1880, when he visited Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and other western states; but not suited with the places visited, decided to come to Dakota; and drove from Des Moines Iowa, to this place, a distance of 600 miles.  When arriving here in June 1882, there was not a house nearer than 15 miles of what is now Port Emma; but the sparkling waters of the river and the green sward reaching from either bank over thousands of acres of the choicest land, called forth the good judgment of our fortune hunter, and he decide to locate.

It is due to the energy and business ability of Mr. Bush more than to any other man, that the town and surrounding country have developed so rapidly, and it must be indeed gratifying to witness the good results of his well directed efforts.

J.P. and F.L. Walker located in Port Emma in the spring of 1883, and have now the most complete store in Dickey County.  Their large stock consists of general hardware, agricultural implements lumber, and gents furnishing goods.  The senior member of the firm, Mr. J. P. Walker, is a man of good business ability, sound judgment and has the push and energy that might put to blush many younger men.  He has been in active business as a railroad contractor and builder for many years, and his large experience, intelligence and decision of character make him a valued citizen and a great acquision to the business of the town.  Mr. Fred L. Walker is a young man of marked ability and it is due in a great degree to his genial manners and integrity that “Walkers Store” is the favorite trading place in the valley.

Mr. J. L. Graham came to Port Emma from Inianola, Iowa, and started a grocery and provision store, erecting a large commodious building for the accommodation of his stock.  Having had years of experience in mercantile business he knows what the trade demands, and uses every effort to please his customers.

Mr. B. L. Adamson and O. B. Willard landed on their claims in March of the year 1883.  Mr. Adamson was joined by his wife, April 13th of the same year.

The spring of 1883 was called “Batching Spring.”  Towns and McKay built the first “shack” in Lovell Township one half mile north of the of the South Dakota line.  Mr. Couch built the next “shack” one half mile west of the lake that was named after Mr. Couch, owner.  The farm now owned by Mr. Hyatt.

T.W. Bush, the first postmaster of Port Emma, married his assistant, Miss Emma Williams.

“Ludden proper,” or “Old Ludden” as it is now referred to, was situated at the bend of the James River, one half mile north of the present bridge and opposite the house and farm known as the T. W. Bush place.  Said house was the old Ottawa house, a good hotel at one time in Port Emma.  The farm is now owned by Wm. Schrader.

The pool-room now owned by Mr. Jos. Fawcett, was originally an old saloon building that was moved from Port Emma.

“The most heartrending case of mortality that ever came under our observation is that of the death, at Hudson of seven children, sons and daughter of Thomas W. and Anna Millham; their ages ranging from 15 to 5 years.

But a short time ago, there was a family of eight bright, healthy children, now only the baby of the once promising household remains.

On the 16th of December 1883, the eldest daughter died; and about this time the other children were taken with the same disease, diphtheria.  The following Wednesday two more died, Albert, aged 11 years and little Bessie, aged 5 years.  The following night came with terrible and awful sadness to the stricken household, and two more of the dear ones were added to the list of the dead, as through to crush the already leaden hearts of the mourning parents.  All that the medical attendant could do to check the fatality of the malady was done, but to no purpose, and Friday night claimed two more of the children as its own.  Now came the saddest scene of all-the six inanimate forms of the brothers and sisters lying side by side-six little coffins carried out one by one and placed side by side in their last resting place.

No wonder the kind and loving father and mother bow with grief under so crushing a sorrow.  How we would all like to add some tender word of sympathy; but alas! How empty are words in such deep affliction.  We can but mingle our tears with theirs, and hope, with them, for a brighter future.  Rev. Witham conducted the funeral services on Sunday.”  The Sermon was printed in a condensed form and is to be found in a copy of the “Port Emma Times” of December 27th 1883.  Dr. Mathews was the medical attendant of the family.

Henry Ward Beecher visited Dakota in the winter of ’83 and commented on the country thus; “It is a wonderful region where a town is established in one year, fully built up in five years, on in ten years has railway communications with other towns.”  “We do not believe Mr. Beecher visited this part of Dakota if he thinks it takes ten years to secure railway communication.  Here, towns are established and in less than five years, are good sized cities and railroad centers.”  Mr. B. you must not forget when you leave the United States to come to Dakota, to bring your big ideas and your imaginative and descriptive powers along.




“There is a dignity attached to Dakota farming, which can be found nowhere else.  We have here Doctors, preachers, professors, lawyers, (the other professions, pardoning us) even editors as owners and actual tillers of the soil.

You do not see her, the ignorant, ragged, washed once a year farmer that the East produces; but here you find intelligent, well dressed farmers coming to town with their “spanking pair of bays” (usually oxen) and vehicles to match.

It seems strange to think that Washington had not heard of Dakota when he said that “agriculture is the most noble, the most healthful employment of man,” or something to that effect.

Listen to another Dakota enthusiast: “We are prone to speak of this beautiful weather, for we cannot do the subject justice.  We have heard of sunny Italy heard songs in praise of the soft, balmy atmosphere of the tropics, the golden orange covered groves of the Pacific slope; but all that is but a resting place, a “halfway house,” as it were, to this heaven, this paradise-December in Dakota.

We spent most of our life in Illinois, that muddy sinkhole of the Mississippi, and no one who has been there will blame us for going into raptures over a Dakota winter.  Words fail us.  With sympathizing tears for those in the East, for warm hearts and loving friends, down deep in the mire, we pause, our pen fails.

In December 1883 the Times Editor heard of two more kindred spirits, Mrs. Truman Thatcher and Geo. C. Foster, both printers.

Mr. Egbert Lovell fell from a scaffolding in December of ’83, sustaining a painful injury to his hand.

There was excitement in Port Emma in Dec. ’83.  Gold was discovered, it was removed, and the “Times” said that “mines were prospecting along the river.”

The same paper tells about Mr. George Baker finding a piece of wood in his well at a depth of twenty-five feet.  The wood was in good condition and it was a question as to how it got there.

Port Emma postoffice in ’83 was the best equipped and larger than any between Columbia and Jamestown.

Deer were noticed close to Mr. Begg’s house Dec. 19th. 1883.

The Port Emma saloon was closed in December ’83 and good citizens rejoiced.

A dance was announced at Ludden Hall (Old Ludden) for December 21 1883.  Mr. Wm. Leffingwell to furnish the music and the writer for the “Times” effused thus: “By the moon we sport and play with the night, begins our day; As we dance, the dew doth fall; Trip it! Little urchins all.  Lightly as the little bee, Two by two, and three by three.”

Born, Tuesday Feb. 12, 1884, a girl baby, to Mr. And Mrs. J. W. Rusco.  This was the first baby born in Township 130 Range 60.

The first marriage at Port Emma, occurred at the Ottawa house, March 4, 1884.  Mr. T. W. Bush and Miss. Emma Williams being the contracting parties.  Rev. Mr. Clark, pastor of the Presbyterian church at Ellendale, performed the ceremony.

Mr. Martin was the first person to die in this section of the country.  Mr. Martin held a life insurance policy that was of great help to his widow and aided her in erecting a commodious and comfortable house about five miles east of the town Port Emma.  Mr. Puffer hauled the lumber for Mrs. Martin’s house.

The first election of officers for Port Emma and Eaton school districts was held at Eaton, a small settlement south of Port Emma, on March 10th.  The day was quite warm and pleasant which brought out a large crowd.  The polls were opened at about noon and continued open until five o’clock.  Prof. Eaton, Messrs C. E. Tallmadge and Edward F. Kay were judges.

Frank Aldrich and E. S. Gilbert were chosen clerks.  The best feeling prevailed throughout the day, and while the friends of each candidate were anxious to have their man win, still all were willing to abide by the vote of the majority.  There were ninety two votes polled, as follows:


C. E. Tallmade          89

F. E. Randall         2

H. F. Eaton            1


Frank E. Randall          63

J. P. Walker                  26

T. H. Thacther       3


Edward F. Kay     90

T. H. Thacther        2

Name of Township

Eaton                     70

Crystal Lake          22


New Year’s morning mercury wrote 1884 with its icy finger pointing at 52 degrees below zero.

O. H. P. Moore visited Port Emma the first week of January 1884 with a load of beef which he sold for 9 cents per pound.

Hay was plenty at this time and selling for $3.00 per ton.

A cutter with one ox attached constituted the Eaton street car.  It jumped the track with a load of passengers one day in early ’84 and ran up to Port Emma; and it was necessary to keep the side track to make way for the self motor streetcar.

Robert Reid found some coal while digging a well on his claim adjoining the townsite of Port Emma in ’84.

A paper from Montpelia, Vt. was received containing resolutions of respect from the I. O. O. F. Lodge in memory of Aaron H. Martin who died at Port Emma, Nov. 8 1883.

The weather for Thursday Jan. 24, ’84; 14 degrees below zero; Friday, 8 above; Saturday, 4 above; Sunday, 20 above; Monday, 4 below; Tuesday, zero; Wednesday, zero.

Hay was selling for six dollars per ton in February ’84.

Mr. Gardner sold his ferocious dog, Frank, to Mr. Jere Devine in Feb. ’84 which was good news to a few who had felt his teeth impressions in their flesh.

N. D. Witham on Township 129 Range 60 S. E. quarter of 8, advertised in ’84 as a grower and dealer in nursery trees, vines, and shrubbery, yellow transparent apples, the latest variety of Russian apples, also roses and grapevines.

From the Jim River Journal, a paper printed at Eaton, W. W. of Port Emma.  In 1884 there was a paper printed at Eaton, called the Jim River Journal, with W. P. Watson and F. R. Sinclair, as publishers.  From volume 1 No. 27, we take the following; “The writer is well known to early settlers.  ‘A George Washington version.’  H. L. Armstrong formerly of Leslie, Mich., moved to Dakota last summer and sends his friend the following candid and modest statement of his impressions and experiences in ‘Granary of the West.’         

                                                                  “Eaton, Dickey Co. D. T.

                                                                                   Feb. 8, 1884

A.    J. Blake Esq., Respected Friend:

Having learned that you are about to move to this country and become another of its victims who shall spend their last dollar and be disappointed, quite likely freeze to death with your whole family and knowing that you had probably been induced to take this rash step by reading some of the many lies that are published about its great advantages; thought I would sit down and unfold to you the unvarnished truth of the whole affair, thus saving you from an ignominious and untimely end.  The ninth day of last October, the sun rose with a somber look, the wind shifted into the northeast and the thermometer dropped to zero.  It has not been above that point since.  Most of the time the mercury has sunk to the bulb, and no one knows how cold it is.  Nearly all the wells in the country are frozen over and people have to melt snow to water their stock.  My well is fifty feet deep with about fifteen feet of water in it.  The 7th of December it froze over.  The other day I went down into it to cut thru and get some water.  I worked six feet into the ice with no signs of getting thru.

          “Nearly all of the farmers have underground passages from barns so they are not obliged to go out of doors to get from one to the other.  I said that I would be damned if I would make any blizzard holes from my house to my barn.  I thought that I could make it in the worst blizzard that the Lord ever blew but I didn’t know anything about it.

          “I have frozen my nose until it has peeled nine times.  My ears have dropped off and my feet look like frozen hen’s.  I wear seven pairs of pants, six shirts and a buffalo overcoat and it is thirty feet from my house to my barn.

          “The wind blows at the rate of 150 to 300 miles an hour, first from the North then from the South.  When a man gets caught out and looses his footing, it is all day with him unless he strikes some shanty.

          “They blow back and forward until they are all worn out.  I have seen a poor Dutchman go by five times in the last two days, and all that was left of him the last time was his boots and a few bones with a piece of his shirt around where his neck was.

          “I thought it was false when you told me they had posts set all around the houses to hold on to when the wind blows, but I already have worn out three sets and have started on the fourth.  I would not live here if it was not for the immense wheat crops we raise here.  I helped harvest on a farm last summer where we all had self binders.  When we started out, we took three days rations for our first trip around the field.  I ate all of mine and had to live on raw wheat three days before we got around.  There were 7,000 men started out abreast.

          “We have railroads every three miles to carry off the products.  There will be one built along my East line next summer on purpose to take the wheat from this section next year, it being the first crop.

          “I will close by acknowledging the receipt of your letter containing price list of furs, and hoping you will take the advise of a friend, stay where you are and not be led astray by Dakota lies.” 


                                                                                    H. L. Armstrong”


          Coraton was the name given in 1884 to the settlement of Devendorf and Lane on section 20, 130, 59, named after Miss Cora Devendorf, daughter of L. M. Devendorf.

The Dell-Knott Theater Co. favored the Port Emma citizens Jan. 18 1884 with a five act play entitled “Dora, or Driven from Home.”

The Port Emma editor in company with W. H. Bush made a trip to Ticeville in Jan. ’84 and aside from other attractions of the place found Messrs Edward and Fred Kay, Jupp and Forbush cosily enjoying the comforts of bachelor life at the city hotel.  It is a pleasure to meet such gentlemen as these.  Mr. Town has a fine large house, nicely painted and it is a credit to the town.

We passed the nicely located and comfortable dwellings of Messrs. Egbert and Ogden Lovell, the numerous well built buildings belonging to these substantial farmers gave the impression of quite a village.  Messrs. Gorton and Moore have the farms a short distance north of Ticeville and have comfortable winter quarters.

Coming home we passed the Couch farms and here was the prettiest sight of all-an orchard of 1000 apple trees.  Crossing Lake Hampton (named for Col. Hampton, an old settler), and passing the fine residences of Messrs Head and Heald, we arrived safely home, with nothing to give romance to the trip farther than getting stuck in a snow drift.

Wm. H. Bush received his commission and seal as Notary Public of Dakota in Jan. 1884.

The crowning event of the season was the party given by the Misses Eva Smith and Anna Payne in January 1884.  The affair was gotten up in an hour’s time and the hall was filed with a merry crowd.  Wives escorted their husbands; bachelors their cooks; sweethearts their lovers, and all danced to the sweet strains of music furnished by Bert Cook.

Wm. Leffingwell put up a new building at Port Emma where he did blacksmithing in the year of 1884.

Thomas Smith sold a large yoke of oxen in April 1884 for $200.

The young people of Port Emma met at the residence of Bernard Cook and indulged in dancing for several hours last Thursday of March 1884.  The bachelor quarters were tastefully decorated and clean, nicely scalloped papers were put upon the shelves by the “genial hostess” Charley McDonald, who was mother, wife, cook and chambermaid in the happy establishment.  The always smiling countenance of Mr. Cook, this evening fairly beamed for joy, and the guests were made to feel so much at home that they came near staying all night.

Mr. Harvey McKee assisted Mr. Cook with the music.  The cake was made by Miss Anna Payne and Mrs. Gardner and was a credit to their skill.

Miss Aggie Baker canvassed for fancy address cards in March ’84 and the Times advised the public to liberally patronize her.

Weather report for March 7 ’84, Friday 6 degrees below zero.  Saturday, 12 below; Sunday, 6 below; Monday, 30 above; Tuesday, 12 above; Wednesday, 20 below; Thursday, 2 below.

Mr. Beggs purchased a yoke of oxen from Mr. McIntyre in March 1884.

The James River Valley R. R. Co. will positively have their road completed from Ordway to Jamestown at as early a date as the frost will permit, and there will be no lack of capital or material, everything necessary for the success of the road having been secured.  Trains will be running as early as July 4th.

The above is taken from a Feb. 1884 Port Emma Times.

Here is something more pertaining to the J. R. V. R. R.: “Near Ordway it will form a connection with both the Milwaukee and the Northwester systems, and while it may be absorbed by one of these great companies, nothing of the kind has been thus far arranged for.”

Well to make a long story short this brilliant scheme did not materialize altho a long tract of grading was completed towards the 100 miles of prospective railroad.

Mr. Boyce’s brother-in-law, Wm. Greenawald arrived from Milwaukee, Wis., in March 1884 and located in this vicinity.

Professor Eaton’s wife is noted for her fine artistic work on crayon portraits.  Mrs. Eaton has a diploma for crayon portrait work, presented to her by the state of Maine.

The ferry was place in operation on April 7th, 1884.

But few towns offered better inducements for business investments in 1883-4-5 than Port Emma.



James H. Rowe and Elnathan Woodward were drowned Monday April 14th 1884 in attempting to cross the James River at Port Emma.  About noon of that day, the above named men and two more, Josiah Smith and Dinnie Hillock started to cross the river in a row boat and when about half way across the swollen stream, the boat capsized throwing them in the water, when the two first named men sank at once to rise no more.  Mr. Woodward could not swim and was not heard to speak after striking the water; but Mr. Rowe was a good swimmer and started for the shore calling for help.  The last words he said were “Oh my God!” His cap was found floating on the water.  Both men had on overcoats.  Mr. Smith, by great presence of mind saved himself by placing his fingers on a board they had used for an oar, which enabled him to keep up until the boat came to the surfice.  By placing their hands upon the bottom of the boat Smith and Hillock floated down the stream until F. L. Walker and W. W. Youmans reached them with another boat.  Mr. Walker was closing his store to go to dinner when he heard cries for help, and Mr. Youman being near they both started to the river where the first to get there.  By skillful management they succeeded in getting the tow men in the boat and row them to the west shore.  Search was at once commenced for the two unfortunate men to no avail.  Mr. Towe was on his way to Ellendale to make final proof on his claim and Mr. Woodward was to serve as one of his witnesses.

Nettie Baldwin came up the river Thursday April 17th, 1884 and navigation was opened for the season.  The steamer left Columbia at 9 A.M. and arrived at Port Emma at 3 P.M.

The freight rates were: Lumber $3.00 per m; coal $3.00 per ton; Mdse. 15¢ to 25¢ per hundred pounds; passengers $1.50, round trip $2.50.

The first prairie blower of the season of ’84 was April 23rd on Glendale farm owned by Mr. Graham.


“Port Emma to Columbia”

At ten o’clock June 5th ’84, the steamer Nettie Baldwin, left this port with an excursion party on board bound for Columbia, the far farmed city situated in the banner county of Dakota and the seat of government for Brown County.  Our party consisted of Mrs. B. A. Raleigh, Mrs. T. T. Crandall, Mrs. Chas. Walker, Mrs. W. S. Booth, the Misses Squires, Jennie Williams, Anna Conkrite, Jennie Graham, Cora Devendorf, Wm. H. Elles, T. T. Crandall, J. M. Horning, Franklin Squires, W. C. Calhoun, Thomas S. Smith, Chas. F. McDonald, E. J. Scott, J. F. Couch, Dr. Basset, Robert Walker, Warren Jen Devine, and Mr. Mallory from Port Emma, and Mrs. Burrington, Miss Lillie Grow and Fred Sinclair from Eaton.  This comprised the party of excursionists who sailed upon the bosom of the “deep” for two days of unalloyed pleasure.

The scenery along the banks of the river was not very interesting except for the many fine farms and not a few fine houses, until we reached Sand Lake, a lovely sheet of water, four miles long and two miles wide, skirted by trees of various sizes from under growth of willows to graceful trees twenty feet in height.  This is one of the lonliest spots in Dakota, and it will in time become a famous summer resort.  Upon the west bank of this lake is Pictoria, a beautiful place for a town.

On the way down, ice cream, cake and sandwiches were served for the sum of 25 cents.

After a ride of sixty miles upon the winding Jim, the party reached Columbia where they were courteously received by a party of her citizens, Mr. G. M. Lyon being on hand to meet his many friends from Port Emma.  The party proceeded to the Grand Hotel, where captain Pontaine had arranged for special courtesies.  A very pleasant dance was given in the evening at Jackson & Savage’s fine big hall, which was much enjoyed by all.  The efforts of the young people to entertain our party were duly appreciated and many pleasant friendships were formed.  On the return trip lemonade and cake served as refreshments which added to the Port Emma church fund, the amount raised being $15.00.

Thanks were extended to the captain for making their trip so pleasant.

Rev. N. D. Witham came to this country June 23, ’83 from Beddeford, Maine and located on the S. E. quarter of section8 town 129 range 60.  His house was the largest to be seen at that early date, being 16x24 feet with an upper story.  The house was later reconstructed.  Rev. Witham possessed a notedly fine farm.  He was a very good preacher but somewhat eccrentric in character, and sometimes was made the subject of a harmless joke.  One Sunday as he was on his way to Guelph to keep an appointment, he passed near some decoy ducks put in a marshy place by some mischievous boys; of course the good man went after them and got his team mired in the soft mud and had to leave it and go for help, thus making him late to church.

The team, by the way was as peculiar as the owner and consisted of a large horse and a very small mule.

Mr. Witham was a populist by political faith and on week days during political seasons, he would stump the county dressed in overalls and short checked jacket and announcing that he was a “plain farmer.”

The fishing was good in the early days of ’84 and the Times tells of Mr. John Tomlinson catching two fish on the evening of May 6th ’84, one of which weighed twelve pounds and measured over three feet in length.  The other was about half the size.  They were cooked and eaten at the Ottawa House.

Found at last: The bodied of Mr. Rowe and Mr. Woodward who were drowned April 14th were found Friday and Saturday of May 7th and 8th.  Mr. Rowe was found first.  On account of the insurance policy of $2500, which Mr. Woodward carried, it was necessary to call a coroner’s jury to identify the corpse.  The coroner was absent but Justice Richie from near Ellendale acted in his place.  The jury consisted of T. W. Bush, H. S. Graham and F. L. Walker.

April 18th 1884 the ice was out of the river and the ferry boat running as usual.  Mr. T. W. Bush proprietor.

Lady equestrian-ship was quite fashionable at Port Emma in 1884.

Flour at Port Emma stores in the summer of ’84 was retailed for $2.80 per cwt.

Wm. H. Ellis with another business man was very anxious for a bridge across the Jim in the summer of ’84 the commissioners held a meeting June 11 and drew up a petition for that purpose.

From the Port Emma Times of June 12th 1884:

“Sheriff-Pt. Emma has no organized police, but if you want your man caught, set the land and loan agents on his track.

Hall patrols from La Moure via Yorktown to this point; Squires, has worn a trail clear to Melnor; Ellis, makes weekly trips from Pt. Emma to Dargent Co. by bay of Decora; Crandall has crossed every breaking from Ticeville to Eaton, and all farmers go to Ellendale across lots, weekly, besides guarding the main road, and both fences.

Just send along description and fees for final proof and he can’t get clear.

First pork sold in Port Emma in ’84 went for 10cts. per pound at Walker Bros. Store.

Egbert Lovell at one time was the owner of the only evergreen tree in this vicinity and consequently furnished braches for all the Masonic burials for many miles around.

June 7th, 1884, Mr. T. W. Bush moved a large story and a half house seven miles from out in the country, in half a day and about this time Everett Baker and John Empy fenced in forty acres for a pasture in four days, bored the holes, set the posts and put on three wires.  What do you think of all that for lively work?

The following persons from Ellendale registered at the Ottawa House Saturday June 7th; F. B. Gannor, T. H. Faus and wife and Miss M. E. Faus, W. O. Scott, E. W. Van Meter, L. L. Votow, F. Bishop, S. W. Kentner, F. G. Kenworthy, O. B. Arey, John T. Grow, T. N. Larson and E. J. Scott.

Wm. H. Bush at the age of twenty two in 1884 owned one of the finest farms in Dakota.  It adjoined the townsite of Port Emma in the south and was valued at $10,000.

Mr. T. W. Bush offered the Ottawa House for sale or rent on easy terms, in summer of ’84.

          Mr. and Mrs. Trueman Thatcher commemorated their 12th wedding anniversary June 25th ’84 and a large delegation of their friends surprised them and helped them enjoy the evening.

          The McCormick binder was given a trial on the streets of Port Emma during the first week of June ’84 by an agent of Mr. J.P. Walker. It was said to work to perfection, binding hay in a perfectly satisfactorily manner.

          The Nettie Baldwin discontinued making trips to La Moure in June ’84 on account of the many rocks in the river.

          Mr. Elmer Weston had wheat that measured one foot in length the last week in May 1884, it having been sown just twenty-four days.

          Prof. and Mrs. H. F. Eaton returned from a trip to Maine to visit their old home the second week in June ’84. They were accompanied by their daughter Minnie who had been attending school in the East. The Prof. said crops here looked better than any that he had seen during his travels.

          The subject of bridging the Jim River was beginning to agitate the people of Port Emma and vicinity. At about this time a petition was circulated and presented to the commissioners at their meeting in June ’84.

Rev. Mr. Wells, of Andover, Mass., has been secured as pastor at Eaton and a church organization was formed at that place. Mr. Wells is a recent graduate and comes highly recommended as a very talented young man and will doubtless prove an ardent worker in his new field of labor. Prof. Eaton informed us that services will be held each Sabbath at 3 p.m. in the school room. Good instrumental and vocal music, a promising young divine, and a number of pretty girls will doubtless lend and added charm to the social worship.

J. W Bush was badly disabled by a ball hitting him on the finger one day in June ’84, while the boys were out playing.

Josiah Smith of Ticeville reported corn in tassel on July 3rd ’84.

Port Emma advertised for a laundry in July ’84.

The Fourth of July at both Port Emma and Eaton in 1884 was calibrated with regular city programs.

July ’84 a Dakota product, Miss Maude and Roy Bateman brought to our office this morning a hen’s egg that measured eight and one quarter inches one way and six inches the other. The little folks will please accept our thanks for the charitable donation.

A subscription paper was circulated in July ’84 for a church fund for Port Emma; but although quite a sum was realized at that time and succeeding times, no church was built.

Mr. O. C. Watson was more than ordinarily fortunate in possessing an accomplished wife and two daughters and his wife’s brother who was with them, the whole family being possessed of more than ordinary talent in vocal and instrumental music.

The ferry was taken round the bend of the river in August ’84 and given to the management of Commander Chas. Devendorf.

A party of young people did wrong by enjoying a picnic in the hills last Sunday, Aug 10 ’84 picking the choke cherries and having a suffocating time generally. An earthquake occurred in New York the same day.

News was received in August, ’84, that the commissioners had located the court house at the head of main street, Ellendale not Yorktown west of the railroad. Seven acres of land and $150 were promised for locating it upon that site. Mr. E. W. Van Meter was the architect employed. The bid was $5,742.00

The river water could not be used in the thresher engines in ’84 on account of the moss in the water.

The first wheat sold in Dickey County as No. 1 Hard in August ’84 was marketed at Ellendale by a lad ? years old, who on being questioned, said the yield was about 20 bushels per acre, and his name was Fred J. Armstrong.

Drs. Whitten and Davison, and Messer. Jud, Bush and Harvey McKee took a trip to Missouri in Sept. ’84 to hunt buffalo.

A medley from an old Port Emma Times reads thus:

At Emma where the river rushes, Sweet Williams sometimes change to bushes.

During the fall of ’84 a huge turnip, which measured three feet in circumference, and also a sunflower which measured three and one half feet, were being shown at Port Emma. They were said to have been grown on the farm of T.W. Bush.

          About the same day that the above came to press the following climax in the turnip business was clapped by A. L. Beggs who came to the front with a bonanza blood beet, the largest of the season, weighing 18 pounds. Mr. Ismond presented the Times with four flat turnips weighing in all one hundred and twenty eight pounds, the largest one tipping the scales at forty seven pounds. They were on exhibition for ten days and then shipped to New Orleans exposition.

          The Port Emma ferry was made free to all in Oct. of ’84.

          In 1884 the straggling Luddenites were drawing their grain to Ellendale, a distance of over twenty miles.

          The Port Emma Times changed its editor, with the edition of Oct. 2, 1884 to Wm. H. Ellis. Mr. Edward S. Gilbert was the proprietor.

          Nov. 20, ’84 Times records two births at the Port, one a boy nine pounds to Mr. and Mrs. H. F. Eaton and the other a daughter to Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Taimadge.

          The Jim River Journal of Eaton preached its funeral sermon the third week in Nov. 1884 and the Port Emma Times took charge of it’s subscription list and obligations and indebtednesses.

          Mr. Alonson Lovell died Nov. 27 1884 at Ludden. He was a native of Ill. He was 83 years old at the time of his death. He left a large family of which those living here are, Ogden, Thomas and Figbert Lovell.

          The local market in 1884: Wheat No. 1 hard, 54 cents, Wheat No. 2 hard 49 cents, coal per ton $13; soft coal, per ton, $10; flax per bushel, $1; butter per pound, 30 cents, eggs per dozen 20 cents, and potatoes per bushel 25 cents.

          Stage line between Port Emma and Ellendale and Milnor. Rates per mile for passengers, parcels and freight; Passengers 7 cents, parcels under 10 pounds ½ cent, over 10 pounds, and under 25 pounds 1 cent, and freight per cwt. 2 cents.

          Man by Mrs. Julia Town, was read before the Ticeville Literary Club Nov, 27 1884:

In the beginning God created man upright,

A little lower than the angels in his sight;

Gave him his breath, and he became a living soul;

And placed the things of earth at his control.

But he has sought out many strange inventions

While meeting oft in councils and conventions,

He first made ships with many sails unfurled,

And great Columbus found our western world.

Then man boiled water and made steam so strong,

That it propelleth mighty loads along.

He sought out diving bells that sink into the deep,

To find the treasures that the waters keep.

And in a basket riseth he on high,

Held up by gas, and floating in the sky.

He claimeth lightening in a lengthened wire,

And sendeth thru it the electric fire.

In little dots and dashes readeth he,

The fate that’s coming unto your and me,

With pills and potion powders be the path,

That leadeth where all mortals sleep at last.

The scalpel with a steady hand he draws

And findeth by its nature’s broken laws,

He with a crucible of finest mole

Extracts the secrets that creations hold.

He maketh needles now in which the thread,

Goes through the point instead of through the head,

He knitteth garments in a wondrous way,

And his machine makes thousands in a day.

The printing press is man’s supremest thought,

For with it all the world can now be taught,

He maketh a machine so like his hand

It holds the grain and ties it with a band.

And the electric light conceived by one great mind

Is of all inventions the most wonderful we find.

A man in New York City hears the softest tones

That’s spoken in Chicago, thru a telephone.

But the most fearful things that man has brot to light

Are nitro-glycerine and deadly dynamite.

Niagara’s power, once viewed with awe and fear.

Is carried by electric wires across a hemisphere.

Nearly in the beginning Noah tried to find

Something to ease his body and stupefy his mind,

So from the luscious war taketh of each,

The clustering grapes and downy peach.

The rosy apple with its juices fine,

The stems of glowing currents red as wine.

And when distilled, he to the worked doth bring

From God’s best gifts to man, a deadly thing.

And thus tho great, in much he doeth well

The fruit in the beginning showed him to hell,

In fearful danger now on earth he lives;

His only hope is what the Savior gives,

He, lifted up draweth all men to him,

And saveth them from Satan and from sin.

Tonight is man’s Thanksgiving and he ought to thank his God

That his mind is made immortal tho his flesh rest neath the sod.

And while he eats roast turkey, partakes of cake and pie.

He outh to thank his Maker that his soul can never die.

Ticeville, Nov. 27th 1884

          Congratulations were in the Times of Dec. 11 ’84 for Chas. Randall and wife who were married at Hudson during the week.

          Prof. Eaton assisted a class of young people in their studies during the winter evenings of 1884.

          E. R. Kennedy of Ticeville carried the mail between Port Emma and Ordway on foot in 1883 and had trouble about getting his pay.

          In 1884 the biggest fish stories were told of the fabulous hauls of the fish from Couche’s Lake. The lake has long been a thing of the past and of late years, good farm products have been raised on the spot.

          Weather report: Friday Dec. 12 ’84, 8 degrees above zero; Saturday, 10; Sunday 10; Monday 14 below; Tuesday 10; Wednesday 17; and Thursday 34.

          A fine play and one long to be remembered was given Christmas Eve. 1884 called “The Flower of the Family.” Chas. S. Brown personated the great American dude, the other actors and actresses being W. H. Bush, A. H. McIntire, F. W. Bush, W. H. Ellis, Mrs. B. A. Raleigh, Miss Alice Raleigh and Jennie Graham. The proceeds were to go towards a church but it did not materialize.

          Rainy Day at Glenora, written by Fanny Helferty in 1885:

The pearl drops came down from the heavenly fountain,

And kissed the bright waves of the lake on the mountain.

Or dashed from the trees that environed her shore,

And mingled with the waters distinguished no more.

The heavens seemed lowering and casting a gloom,

And Glenora’s bright beauties seemed to meet here their doom,

The tall reeds bent over to hide the lilies from view,

While the trees bent their branches to shelter them too.

A golden rod weeping cast its teardrops of pear,

And nodded assent to the sad notes of the mearl,

While the mirth gifted graybird between sadness and glee,

Sang encouraging notes to the industrious bee.

The lake tossed its waves right up from the deep,

To give warning that nothing around it should sleep.

The pebbles rolled back in trembling and fear,

And each rock dropped its arrows as the loud waves drew near.

The fall tumbled merrily, seeming to say,

While everything is sad, I shall try to be gay;

Although mist come between me and Adolphenstown shore,

I’ll grandly roll down in the glen with a roar.

The Glen! Oh how handsome, how gorgeously grand;

As we view from the summit the work of God’s hand.

Trees looking down admiringly on that murmuring stream,

Vines clinging together of nature’s beauties to dream.

The time worn pathway seems to smile and to call,

Come, walk with me, and I will lead you to all.

To the pure limped water in the little cold stream

Near where asters and daisies their perfume wide fling.

Where mosses weave round to shield the weak from cold,

Always clinging most lovingly to trees that are old,

Thousands of small beauties down her proclaim birth,

Of the numberless blessings God conferred on His earth.

Let me lead you! Let me lead you to the shore of the bay,

Where, although the rain falls, waves do not sway,

The waters so placid in calm beauty doth say;

I am only a subjest-Monach Lake. Subject bay.


          A notice in the Times September 10, 1885: A social dance will be given at Prof. Eaton’s new granary September 8th. Music by Emerson’s Orchestra. Supper and dance tickets cost 75 cents.

          Some of the reports of threshers in September 1885: A. L. Begg’s averages 20 ½ bushel per acre and one man near Yorktown 27 bushels No. 1 hard. Smith Bros. thrashed until the granary room was e3xhausted and held 50 acres over until later. Flax went from 7 to 12 bushels per acre.

          Facsimile of masquerade ball written up March 19, 1885; The series of Eaton entertainments closed this evening with a masquerade ball which is pronounced by all to be the greatest success of the season. To a looker on it seemed as though the fairies and goblins of Grimm, with an occasional member of the family of Aesop, had assembled to dance the night away. At a late hour, in the midst of the grand march the bell for unmasking rang, and a transformation occurred as wonderful as the blooming of the Roses. The characters were too numerous and varied for a full description. The following are a few represented by the maskers: Italian girl, Miss Cora Heald; Greek Girl, Miss Hattie Armstrong; Snow Girl, Miss Halch; Nun, Alice Raleigh; America, Mrs. O. C. Watson; Starlight, Miss Belle Empey; Queen of Morning, Mrs. Armstrong; Morning Star, Miss Brandner; Winter, Miss D. McCarty; Night, Miss Hart; Spanish Lady, Miss Bell; Parlor Maid, Miss Osher; Old Lady, Mrs. Vanderveer; Quaker Lady, Mrs. Tomlinson; Esquimaux, R. Calles; Turk, Frank Emerson; Monk, Dr. G. A. Wilson; Colonel, Wallace Greenwood; Sailor, MR. Dodds, Mother Hubbard, Robert Smith; Clowns, J. McGinnis, Jud Bush and S. Shippy; Patronis, Tom Heald; Chinaman, Elia Clinkard; Oregen, Fred Sinclair; Coons, Messrs. Cunane and McGinnis; English Lord, Dr. Dent; Indian, Mr. Barnard; Iris Fisherman, M. H. McDivitt; Trailer, O.C. Watson; Cowboy, B. L. Adamson; Negro Preacher, C.W. Hunter; English Nobleman, L. Hayes; Summer, C. Hayes; Dude, C. Armstrong; Dakota Mossbacks, W. Moore and Will Hall; Negro, A. H. McIntice; Turk, W. E. Bush.

          Wm. Leffingwell ran a blacksmith shop in the early days of Port Emma and Ludden.

          Iceboat riding was one of the winter attractions of the early days on the Jim River. The following is from an 1885 paper: Invitation to ride-“Two minutes later we were starting on the ice gazing with admiration on the innocent looking contrivance called an ice boat, which in charge of Dr. Wilson was flopping its sails alongside of Dakota Ave bridge. After we had been stored away with full instructions to look out for the boom. Dr. Wilson, seized the helm and sail filled and well we thot we had traveled fast before, but that was a mistake. We looked to see the Port, but it had vanished in the distance. Eaton loomed up before us; the boom jerked a few gray hairs from our heads, Eaton vanished and we were home. On the way the shores resolved themselves into long lines of streaked indistinctness and the force of gravitation appeared annulled. It seemed to require but the proper turn of the rudder to start us on a trip among the stars. The indebtedness was due Dr. Wilson and R. Tomlinson. - Port Emma Times Staff.

          Last day of school exercises of Mrs. Raleigh’s school at Port Emma closed March 15th, 1885: interesting to many of our readers of the present day:

Song            School

Recitation          Aggie Barker

Reading          Minnie Woodall

Recitation          Arthur Baker

Song            School

Essay           Minnie Woodall

Recitation          Veda Graham

Reading          Everett Baker

Recitation          George Baker

Reading          Stanley Baker

Essay           Veda Graham

Recitation          Minnie Woodall


B. L. Adamson had an average of 28 ½ bushels of No. 1 hard wheat to the acre and 60 bushels of oats, in 1885.

          Township dads for 1885 were: C. E. Talmadge, H. F. Eaton, S. B. Dales, Wm. Ellis, John Nickson, M.P. Axtel and T. S. Smith.

          Old timers will remember the familiar face of J. E. Lawrence of the firm of Hall & Co., of Ellendale. In a December 10, 1885, Times we notice where he accepted the position as traveling salesman for Jewell Bro., wholesale grocers of Aberdeen, and commenced to make trips thru this vicinity which continued for many years.

          An accident reported: Willie Rowe had his heel cut off by a plow last Thursday. He had it sewed on, and is now tramping over the prairie on crutches.

          Prof. Eaton raised 1200 bushels of wheat with an average of 20 bushels per acre, in 1885.

          A notice put up on the Ticeville schoolhouse in 1885 read thus: “UNYUNS 4 sale 50 scents a bushill.”

          The Nettie Baldwin was lengthened to 80 feet and widened to 20 feet during the summer of 1885.

          The ladies of Port Emma met at Mrs. T. W. Bush’s home March 12, 1885, and organized a ladies aid. The first social was held in the old postoffice at Port Emma in a part of the Times building. After business meeting was over candy pulling and other amusements were indulged in.

          For awhile Ellis and Brown ran a general store in connection with their printing business, as was noticed in their advertisements of 1885.

          One of the notices taken from the Port Emma Times in 1885 was as follows: “Ladies desiring any information on euchre, will do well to call on Daniel Simpson.”

          In July 1885, Frank Fuller reported having lumber, laths and brick stolen from him to the amount of $40. Mr. Fuller had the contract to build the schoolhouses in Hudson school district. He distributed his material where it was to be used and when he commenced to work discovered a great portion gone. He offered a $100 for the apprehension of the thieves and the matter was put in the hands of experienced detectives.

          There was a great deal of guess work in 1885, as to the identity of “Narcross,” a person who wrote the Ellendale letters in the Port Emma Times.

          The people of Port Emma, thru the influence of Rev. Fawcett obtained $500, from the conference towards a Methodist church fund. The Port Emmaites subscribed $515 with promises of more, making in all $1300, a sum sufficient to construct a very commodious edifice; but that is as far as the effort ever went and the people held religious services in a hall until the schoolhouse was built. There was no church building until after the settlement of the present Ludden.

          In July 1885 we read an advertisement in the local paper asking for young bachelors, as there was an overplus of young ladies. Now at the present date, there is a deplorable dearth of girls here in this vicinity and visitors of the gentler sex are regarded, or nearly so, as beings from another sphere, and so treated.

          So far, we have not made any mention of any but English people. We do not intend to mislead anyone and will give a partial list of Finland representatives known to be industrious citizens and workers of the soil in locality during the early days of Port Emma and Ludden; John Korpua, Jerry Erickson, Wm. Watula, John Pictlo, Erick Jumisco and many others with their families.

          Among those owning bonanza wheat fields in summer of 1885, were: Josiah Smith, 65 acres; H. F. Muzzy 80 areas; John McIntyre and T. W. Bush 120 acres.

          One of Mr. Boyce’s little girls met with a severe accident in August 1885. She was standing beside Will Stevenson’s harvester, watching him oil the machinery. In order to better oil some of the parts he put the machine in motion. The arms struck the child throwing her onto the table and before the machine could be stopped the cycle had severely cut one of her feet. She received prompt attention.

          Mrs. Millham presented her husband with a fine boy about the middle of August 1885. He was named Leslie.

          Five ministers of the gospel were looking after the spiritual welfare of the community, Sunday August 30th 1885.

          Mr. Town of Ticeville was quite ill in August and September of 1885.

          The Board of Commissioners met according to law and proceeded to levy the taxes for Dickey Co., for 1885.  The entire board was present.

Territorial Tax 3.3 mills

County Tax 5. mills

Sinking fund 1.5 mills

Road and Bridge Tax 3. mills

School tax 2. mills

          Total Tax 14.8 mills Ed. N. Leiby, Auditor.


          Port Emma school commenced September 21, 1885.

          G. S. Stuart returned from Michigan, September 15, 1885, preferring Dakota for a winter sojurn.

          Miss Maude Batewa became a resident of the Port in September 1885.

          Prof. H. F. Eaton threshed 1200 bushels of wheat in the fall of 1885 which averaged 20 bushels to the acre.

          In 1885 Mrs. H. F. Eaton purchased the Mrs. McFarlin claim and a choicest of cattle from Mr. Hermanson’s herd. The land purchase taken in connection with Mr. Eaton’s quarters, being two solid miles of river front, makes it one of the finest farms in the County.

          Dr. Wilson bagged five geese at one shot October 1885.

          Thursday October 8, 1885, wheat was 73 cents and flax 85 cents.

          The organ for the church arrived October 10, 1885. Port Emma

          One of the severest accidents which has happened in this locality for some time occurred September 29th, 1885 to Mr. Curtis of Ludden. He was helping a neighbor thresh and had climbed on the cutting table for the purpose of getting on the stack, when that part of the machine gave way beneath him. In falling he struck the gearing and the wheel breaking of his small ribs, and receiving other internal injuries.

          Messrs. Frank Fuller, Capt. Willetts, and Tom Jones bagged thirty- nine geese October, 12th 1885.

          O. C. Watson, the new landlord took possession of the Ottawa House October 12th 1885.

          Ticevelle was noted as a matrimonial center in 1884 and 1885.

          H. E. McKee was on the board of county commissioners in 1885.

          In 1885 the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul R. R. Company published letters in pamphlet form from Dakota settlers, with such good results that the road asked the agent for letters two years later, deeming it the best kind of advertising for the western land man. It was stipulated that the letters be handed in early enough for distribution at the eastern fairs. It was a wise scheme and did wonders towards booming the western prairie land.

          In the winter of 1887, Dan Simpson, John Leach and Will Robinson spent the winter in West Virginia. ON their return they were accompanied by the following: J. L. Parker, John Koontz, Will Crow, Wattzal and family, B. W. Allen and family, Elza Simpson and Chas. Crow.

          The Nettie Baldwin made the last trip of the season October 15th 1885.

          Guy R. Lindersmith was county superintendent of schools in the year 1885.

          The following is a poem from the pen of one of our earliest settlers J. B. Town, and was published in The Times:


The fairest being formed at God’s command,

Studied by high and low, ignorant and wise;

A being only God can understand,

Artistic in construction, perfect in beauty,

Constant in love, faithful in every duty,

Weeping with those who weep, laughing with the merry.

Seeking to save the lost, by them unbidden,

Taken from man’s side his heart left unprotected,

Formed from a bone of finest make and finish;

And God creating thus, the best for this selected,

When man was formed, the dust of the earth was moulded.

But this most perfect of all wise creations,

From round his heart in beauty was unfolded,

Thus mother Eve stood up a glorious being;

For God and man combined to make her perfect.

All He who formed her, the wise “All Seeing.”

Knew wherefore from man’s rib He made Woman.


Messrs. Cook and McKee threshed for T. W. Bush in November 1885, and by their machine measure, he had over 3,500 bushels of No. 1 hard, with an average of 30 bushels per acre, of the finest grade of wheat.

          A grand raffle was held at the store of Ellis & Brown on November 22nd, 1885 of the famous ice boat “Queen of the Jim,” a beautiful skiff, and a rifle. The boat made the wonderful time of a mile a minute between Port Emma and Eaton. Further information could be had by interviewing any of the following parties, John Tomlinson, W. H. Bush or Ellis & Brown Port Emma. Signed, Dr. J. A. Wilson.

          1885-Prices of different kinds of coal: Pittsburg, $8.50 per ton: Hocking Valley, $8.25 per ton: Hard coal, $11.00 per ton.

          Josiah Smith drove into Port Emma July 15th, 1885, beneath a mammoth pie-plant leaf, taken from his garden, and being used as an umbrella. The leaf measured 30 x 36 inches.

          B. L. Adamson met with a severe and nearly fatal accident one day in 1885.

          In the Port Emma Times edition of February 18th, 1886, we notice the following: “The Dakota Admission Bill is resting on the speaker’s desk, awaiting its turn for introduction to the house.”

          Mrs. T. W. Bush has a bound Volume of the first eighteen months’ edition of the Port Emma Times commencing November 29th, 1883.

          Tom and Robert Smith sowed about 300 acres of grain in the spring of 1886.

          A local in the October 22nd, 1886 edition of the Times ran thus: “I am an independent candidate for Lord High Executioner of Rats.”

          In September of 1886 T. W. Bush offered to erect a hotel in the new town of Ludden if the people would donate him a suitable location.

          A meeting was held July 17th, 1886 at Port Emma in the office of Ellis & Brown to organize a Masonic lodge. Those attending were: D. W. Eaton, Ogden Lovell, C. B. Hale, M. W. Boyce and G. O. Briggs. The lodge was not organized.

          In 1886 Elmer McKee held the Plankington Mutual Hail Ins. Co. agency. His territory embraced Dickey, Sargent, and Brown counties.

          In 1886 The James River Mutual Hail Insurance Co., board of directors were as follows: C. E. Talmadge, J. C. Copley, N. B. Kent, J. P. Moulton, T. W. Milham, C. W. Porter, S. B. Dales, T. C. Rich, C. L. Ward, W. M. Wright, W. H. Ellis and C. D. Barlett.

          The Port Emma Times acknowledged the receipt of the first bouquet of prairie flowers June 16th, 1886 presented by Miss Maudie Bateman.

          Even in those days of 1886, we would occasionally hear of someone relaxing their mind with a frivolous reading, for instance: “As we were passing by Dan Simpson’s shanty the other day, we heard a terrible racket; and supposing some tragedy was being enacted, we ran to his assistance and what was our discovery? Dan was tipped back in his chair kicking and laughing with all his might, and in his hand was a book entitled “Peck’s Bad Boy.” That explained all and we made some excuse and passed on.

          April 28th, 1886 the grading commenced at Columbia on the C. & N. W. railway.

          Mr. Barnes of New Hampshire, was closely identified with the growth of the country near here in the early days by supplying the capital that improved and beautified many in Dickey County.

          The first traveling insurance agent appeared at the Port April 29th, 1886 which went to show that the place was coming into notice.

          People of the present time will be surprised to read an account of a big Fourth of July celebration at Ticevelle (a part of what is now Ludden) in 1885: “Our Fourth passed off gloriously. The processions started from Mr. Smith’s residence, headed by a six horse band wagon in which were seated thirteen girls in white, with Miss May Town in the center dressed as the “Goddess of Liberty;” and Miss Alice Devlin, as Dakota. It also carried a fine banner made by Mrs. Town, which attracted much attention, and was followed by several four horse wagons and other conveyances. The ground selected, was a high plateau on the hills where we could look over to four counties; and commanding a fine view of the surrounding country. There were from two to three hundred people present, and all seemed to enjoy themselves hugely. The tables fairly groaned under their weight of good things and none went home hungry. The choir sang “Freedom’s Banner” excellently. Major Copley made a fine opening address. Mr. Kennedy read the “Declaration of Independence” unusually well. Mr. Denison surpassed himself in his remarks to the school. Major Lovell protesting that he could not make a speech, made a good one and was cheered roundly. Col. Eaton made a ringing address which was very well received. The soldiers then formed in line, under the command of Maj. Lovell, and marched around the ground, singing John Browns Body and Marching thru Georgia. A game of ball was played with Couch and Tranger as captains. Five innings were played and the Couch nine came out two scores ahead. Mr. Flanders gave an excellent song, accompanied by his guitar, and Mr. Bales sang several songs with organ accompaniments.”

          In 1885-86 Ticevelle had a stage route all by itself, Mr. Town holding the contract.

          Strawberries were so plentiful in early days that two couples picked three bushels in one day, it was reported. This sounds such a big story that we think it advisable to give the names of the party: Mr. and Mrs. Devendorf and Mr. and Mrs. Lane.

          The Port Emma people built their schoolhouse in July and August of 1885.

          J. W. Bush attended college in St. Paul during the winter of 1886.

          Frank Emerson played for nearly all the dances nearby in 1886.

          One of B. L. Adamson’s daughters was a notedly fine equestrian in her childhood.

          In Lake Hampton News taken from the Port Emma Times of January 28th, 1886, we notice a challenge to Port Emma and Ludden to match Col. Garrigus with any of their champiagn checker players with the conditions not to bother him about dinner being ready or look over his shoulder.

          On May 11th 1886 as B. L. Adamson was ploughing on his place two miles south of Port Emma, his plough struck and turned up a ball six inches in diameter and in the surface was inserted a leaden plug one and a half inches in diameter. The plug was marked on its surface with a semicircle graduated into four principal divisions with subdivisions between. Mr. Adamson was unfamiliar with such a fossil, so took it to town for advise, where it was examined by old soldiers and pronounced to be an unexploded 12 pound cannon shell and was buried three feet und the prairie sod. Numerous were the conjectures concerning its being found in that particular locality, as no battle with Indians in that place has ever been recorded. The relic is highly prized by Mr. Adamson.

          May 28, 1886 listen to the uncomplimentary comments on the name of the new town, “Ludden’s the name; miserable dictu.”

          Three dollars per acre was the price paid for breaking land in the spring of 1886, which was truly a memorable year as harvesting was entirely completed before the middle of August, leaving a long period for fall work which was profitably employed.

          Tandall Bros. Finished moving their stock of general merchandise to the new town of Ludden August 13, 1886, and the popular song of the Port was, “The old town ain’t what it used to was.” Chas. Randall’s residence was completed the same month.

          It was confidently and assuredly talked of, that Aberdeen (S.D. now) would soon have street cars, as long ago as when Ludden was first started.

          Mr. Curtis moved his hotel to the new town in the first part of July 1886.

          We noticed in an old Times, the mention of the severe illness of little Pearlie Trauger. At the present time Miss Pearl Trauger is living at Long Beach, Cal., and holds a position of instructor of vocal music in a conservatory in that place. Miss Trauger posses a remarkably fine contralto voice, and has a very pleasing personality we remember her with pleasure.

          September 1886 Flanders & Wilcox purchased the material for a hotel building 28 x 50 feet. It has changed owners several times. The different owners, owning it for the longest period, are D. L. Holbrook, Walter Huffman and L. A. Samson, the later having owned it for the last seven years.

          In June 1886 the Methodist Society of Ludden was presented with a lot on which to erect a church. Soon there was a bee to haul the stone, which was donated by those who had stone on their land; and those who had none, hauled it from Bateman Bros. Farms. The contractor was Mr. Caldwell. The draughtmen were Joseph Leach and Bert Cook. The foundation was layed by Bert Cook. After the building was finished the dedication took place October 9th, 1886. Those who had placed their names on the subscription list were fore-invited to hand in the amount promised on that date, so that financial matters could be settled before the services commenced.

          The church was decorated with flowers both cultivated and wild. 300 were assembled to listen to Rev. A. D. Traveller, the Presiding Elder of the Aberdeen District, who conducted the dedication services. The choir opened with the anthem “Lord of Hosts we raise here a house of Prayer and Praise.” Prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Cleworth of Ellendale. Then the presiding elder of the Cooperstown Conference of the M. E. Church preached a good solid sermon. All were well pleased and al present were made to feel at home. At the close of his discourse, he spoke of the church debt and said that it had cost $1,900 and that $1,200 had already been collected and paid; and only $700 remained to be raised. He asked for subscriptions of $25 each and at once got them. Five subscribers of $20 each were asked for which he got, and then he asked for $5, and $10 gifts and the desired amount seemed to be easily raised. The whole time did not exceed twenty minutes and all gave willingly and truly according to his means.

          In the evening, Mr. Gelbert asked for a further donation of $60 in $1 subscriptions for the purpose of extending the unfinished steeple to the desired height. Well, to jump over a lapse of many years, I will add that quite a few of the subscribers were not prompt with their money, and were consequently waited on: and the promises to pay made on the 9th of October 1886 either back slid or were blown away by the Dakota winds; and in the year 1906, Luddenites, nearly all of whom were non-Methodist put their hands deep down in their pockets and paid that old church debt, contracted so many years before. Mr. Levi Yeoman was pastor of the church at this date and he it was who had the honor or satisfaction of burning up the formidable old mortgage.

          No one living at the present time seems to have any idea about the amount of money that has been raised to help pay off the above incumbrance; or what has become of it; as we have at irregular intervals, commencing as early as the play “Among the Breakers,” which was given March 11th, 1887, and the proceeds given for this same debt, read of quite goodly sums of money received for this same M. E. Church.

          Rev. C. B. Gilbert was the first M. E. minister in Port Emma, also the first on in Ludden after the town moved. He did a great deal for the welfare of his people and they felt sorry to listen to his farewell remarks, delivered November 13th, 1887. He was such a hard worker that his health began to suffer. He was in Ludden and Port Emma two years. He had organized the community into religious societies, established regular places of worship at four points on his circuit, and built a church at his place, and his loss was deeply felt by all deep thinking people.

          June 19 1886: The Nettie Baldwin made her farewell trip to Sand Lake. Soon afterwards the boiler and engine were removed.

          Here is a notice taken from the Port Emma Times of June 25th 1886: “Notice is hereby given to all owners or occupants of lands in Port Emma Township that all weeds known as Canada thistles, cockle bur, and wild mustard, which may be growing on such lands; must be destroyed on or before July 1st. 1886 in default of which the law will be strictly enforced. By order of Supervisors. C. S. Brown, Clerk.

          The circulation of the Port Emma Times in 1886 was 500.

          The heading, Ludden Times was ordered in June 1886, for the Port Emma Times.

          In a paper of February 18th, 1886 in the Gulf of Finland News, we read the announcement of Mrs. Rowe’s wedding which must have been an error or a dream.

          The heading in June 25, 1886 of Port Emma Times: “Ludden township offered, Lots selling rapidly. Other R.R. rumors.” Ludden made its debut Monday June 22nd 1886 when Mr. G. J. Bliss, general township agent for the C. & N. W. railroad, arrived on the ground, examined the site, priced the lots, and appointed an agent to sell them. 16 lots were sold the first day. Among the principal purchasers were C. E. Sessions of Columbia, two lots for a bank; Randall Bros., three lots for general store; Herman Pratt of Huron, two lots for machinery yard; H. F. Eaton, a lot for office; Ogden Lovell, lot for post office; Ellis and Brown, lot for office; Frank Shaw, lot for butcher shop; W. S. Whitely, residence lot and others. The company would not sell a lot only on condition that a building be erected within six months, costing not less than $350.

          The prospect was very promising for Ludden to be the best town on the line. The corner lots sold for $150 and inside lots for $125.

          During the period of the foregoing events crops looked better in the James River Valley than in Minnesota or Wisconsin and farmers were rejoicing everywhere. The grain that had been put in early was heading out.

          After the C. & N. W. railroad had sold enough Ludden lots to satisfy them that there would be good business interests and that the town would grow; they removed the clause in their contract requiring buildings to be erected and instructed their agents accordingly and after that there was a perfect rush for the lots, and as the Times of July 2nd, 1886 put it, “There is but little room left for doubting that Ludden is destined to become a city that will compare favorably with any in the territory.

          The grading of the C. & N. W. road was finished as far as Ludden the first of July 1886 and track laying began and was finished as far as this point about the first of August of the same year.

          Another extract from a paper of above date: “The new city of Ludden is now booming. All the lots in the first two blocks from the depot are taken and good buildings are under way. Three large elevators will be built at ones. A Minneapolis party has purchased three lots for a large hotel which will be erected as soon as possible. It is safe to say that ere another month rolls round, the city will be represented by nearly all classes of business. Lots are selling like hot cakes. Messrs. Mekee and Dunton purchased this week lot 7 block 1 and will immediately erect a large building to be used as a hardware store. These young men are known throughout the county as two best business men, and we predict for them a splendid business in their enterprise.


July 23, 1886

Vol. 1  No. 1

“The die is cast, the child is born and we’ll call it Ludden Times.

Vale Port Emma Times.

“With this issue comes a slight change in this family journal. For the past three years, we have stood before an indulgent public as The Port Emma Times: but now circumstances of financial nature have made it quite apparent to us that our future home should be at Ludden, just one mile from our present location, therefore, the die is cast, the child is born and we will call it The Ludden Times henceforth.

          In making this change from a small settlement of a dozen houses to the new and thriving railroad city of Ludden, that has such an encouraging outlook for a wonderful growth, a city only a few weeks in existence but destined to become one of Dakota’s chief cities, we will be able to give our patrons a much better paper than here-to-fore; we will have correspondents in every locality, and hope to be able to chronicle every event of importance that happens within a radius of 20 miles.

          Under this arrangement, it will be truly a west side paper as ever before, and we trust it will continue to receive the same generous support and encouragement from its many friends of that side which has been accorded it by them for the last three years.

          The Times will issue its first paper in Ludden with a list of 500 subscribers which we hope to increase to 1000 ere the snow descends this fall.

          Our office faculties have been greatly increased with a new and complete jobbing outfit of the latest style of type, and we propose to do as we have endeavored to do in the past, to give the farmers and business men a good clean, readable family paper that will prove of mutual benefit and interest to its patrons and proprietors. With this issue, therefore, we make our debut upon the periodical platform as “The Ludden Times, with Ludden First, Dickey County next and Dakota forever.”

          Ludden is booming but the climax will be reached when the iron horse with its train loads of lumber reaches here about August 10th, 1886.

          The water found in New Ludden is of the finest quality and at a depth of from 10 to 20 feet.

          July 23, 1886 Ludden Times chronicles the encounter of Mrs. Garrigus, with a calf. She successfully recovered from the effects of the combat and the calf got along as well as could be expected.

          T. W. Bush sowed 200 acres of wheat in 1886. MR. Bush was justice of the peace at this period.

          Previous to the coming of the C. & N. W. railroad, E. Crookston of Port Emma advertised thus: The kars r a kumin!

Dry Guds.

Gude Kalikos for 7 & 8 cents

Gude Muslin for 7 cents

Check Gingum for 9 cents

Plad Gingum for 10 & 12 ½ cents

Dres Launs for 8 cents

Ladies Hoze, 3 pare fur 25 cents

Ladies Kid & Lote Shuze, $1.25 tu $4.00

Mens Kaf & Gote Ssuze, $2.50 tu $4.50

Mens Plow Shuze,, $1.25 tu $1.75

Mans Kaf, Kip and Grane Butes

Straw Hats will now be sold so chepe that I hate tu see em go

Overhauls fur 40 cents

Janes Pants fur $1.00


Dry salt side fur 9 cents

Hole sides 8 cents pr. Lb.

Makerl and Whit fish n pales 90 cents

4 b-b-bars sope 25 cents

Boneless cod 10 cents

Dried Fruits.

Peaches 9 lbs $1.00

Plumbs 0 lbs $1.00

Proons 16 lbs. $1.00

Apels 20 lbs. $1.00

Black Baries 20 lbs. $1.00

Rise 20 lbs. $1.00

Smokin- 20 cents per pound

Plug 40 cents per pound

Tees, Coffeys, and Kand Guds tu chepe tu kote.

Tu mutch ritin duz make me soe tyred, so gude bi, E. Crookston, Port Emma Dakota.

          Most of this week has been hot enough to melt an improved steel McCormick, and cause the Dakota bachelors to seek the inviting shade of their clothes lines wrapped in nothing but their thoughts.

          Here is another account of the change of locality of the Port Emma Times: by which we may understand that there were at least two editions of the paper printed in the old quarters at Port Emma after the paper had received the new heading of Ludden Times, and before the office was really moved to the new office in New Ludden: “We have moved. The inspiration struck us about Wednesday August 11th 1886. Loading and moving our little 12x 16 on to wagons, we started with the avowed intention of trusting our all to the mercy of the Co., bridge; but thru the entreaties of friends and those who wished at least a foot connection between the two cities; was abandoned the building, but crossed the Rubicon metaphorically; the Jim literally; with our forces and instruments of warfare; and can now be found comfortably located in Major Lovell’s building by all those who wish to subscribe to one of the best family papers in the northwest. The new Ludden Times heading dated July 23rd. There must have been one or two issues printed before the office finally moved from Port Emma. The people of this section of the country were constantly kept stirred up over the promises of prospects of new railroads, and many of the good house wives, after a new road had been layed out abandoned, have kept their kitchen fires bright with the unused ties.

          Final Proof Notice September 10 1885:

Wm. H. Wilkins

Chas. W. Corwin

Chas. Shattuck

Helen M. Hodges

Edward Pletcher

Thomas H. Heald

          Allusion is made in an 1886 Times to the not wholly successful experiments of the Nettie Baldwin to navigate the unnavigable Jim. It was the third year of its trips and it encountered a sand bar which rendered it probable that a winter’s sojourn there would be the result.

          Oscar Dickey Beggs was the first child born in Port Emma Township. He was named after Dickey County. He was elected county register of deed in 1909 and 1911.

          The Nettie Baldwin made her first trip for the 1886 season on April 23rd with a cargo of flour and other merchandise.

          January 14, 1886 the mercury registered 20 degrees above freezing.





Continue with Part Two of A History of Ludden and Vicinity.

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