Alexander Oldham

Came to Grand Forks in 1877 (Old Settlers Association Files)

The platting of Mr. Viets’ addition was the work of Hector Bruce and that of Mr. Traill was done by Alex. Oldham.  (History of Grand Forks County with Special Reference to the First Ten Years of Grand Forks City, H. V. Arnold, Larimore Pioneer, Larimore, 1900, Page 87)

The Larimore townsite was platted by Alex. Oldham during the fall of 1881; the plat, however, was not dated until March 13, and it was placed on file by the townsite company March 29, 1882.  (History of Grand Forks County with Special Reference to the First Ten Years of Grand Forks City, H. V. Arnold, Larimore Pioneer, Larimore, 1900, Page 125)

The 1885 Dakota Territory census showed Alexander Oldham (age 46, civil engineer, born in England) married to Angeline W. (age 31, born in Quebec).  Children were Alice D. (age 19, born in Minnesota), Emma D. (age 17, born in Minnesota), Ida G. (age 15, born in Minnesota), and Dora I. (age 10, born in Minnesota).  The family resided in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Alexander Oldham, County Surveyor.  Well known among the earlier settlers of this section is Mr. Oldham, whose residence dates from 1875.  He has been County Surveyor for six years, was City Engineer for a time, and Superintendent of Schools for three years, holding the superintendency and county surveyorship at the same time.  Mr. Oldham is a native of Manchester, England.  He came to Washington County, Minn., in 1852.  For sixteen years was County Surveyor of that county, and was also Superintendent of Public Instruction several years.  As an architect he is second to none in northeast Dakota; has drafted the designs of many of the buildings in Grand Forks, school houses in adjacent towns, and the addition to the Grand Forks court house.  (Andreas Historical Atlas of Dakota, A. T. Andreas, Chicago, The Lakeside Press, 1884, Page 254)

Grand Forks, N. D. – Alexander Oldham, city and county engineer, died suddenly of apoplexy this morning.  He was an old resident and Grand Army man.  Funeral Wednesday.  (The Saint Paul Globe, Tuesday, March 6, 1900, Volume XXIII, Number 65, Page 3)

ALEXANDER OLDHAM DEAD.  An Old and Respected Citizen is Sincerely Mourned.  Many hearts in this city and county were saddened yesterday by the announcement that Alexander Oldham had dropped dead at his home in this city yesterday morning.  He had retired the night previous feeling as well as usual, but when he arose yesterday morning complained of severe pain in his head.  Mrs. Oldham was asking him a question regarding his indisposition when he fell back upon the bed – lifeless, apoplexy being the probable cause.  Mr. Oldham was one of the most familiar figures in Grand Forks, having resided here about 22 years.  He was the first superintendent of schools and the first county surveyor of Grand Forks county as well as the first city engineer of Grand Forks.  He has held the office of county surveyor continuously for 22 years, and has been city engineer at various times and at the time of his death was serving in that capacity.  The deceased was well known throughout the county as well as in the city, and was possessed of those kindly traits of character which made all who knew him his friend.  He was of a very charitable disposition and had a kind word for all, ever willing and anxious to aid a friend and departed this life without an enemy.  He was identified with several secret societies, being a member of the Masonic, K. of P.’s, G. A. R., W. R. C., and K. of M.  Deceased leaves a wife, six daughters and two nephews to mourn his loss, he having no other relatives in this country.  His daughters are as follows:  Mrs. J. M. Oldham, Afton, Minn.; Mrs. J. D. Bennett, Roy, Washington; Miss Alice Oldham, Grafton, N. D.; Mrs. W. C. Francis, Hoople, N. D., Miss Ida Oldham, City; Mrs. A. D. Marble, Crystal, N. D.  As soon as his death was announced the city offices were closed for the day, and the board of county commissioners immediately adjourned after passing resolutions expressing their sorrow.  The funeral will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 from St. Paul’s church, Rev. Gesner officiating, under the auspices of the Masons.  Members of all the fraternal societies to which he belonged and the city and county officials will meet at the residence just prior to this and escort the remains to the church.  Alexander Oldham was born at Manchester, England, on June 18th, 1837, and would therefore have been 63 years old had he lived but a few months longer.  Previous to coming here in 1878, he had resided for several years at Afton, Minn., where one of his daughters still resides.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Tuesday Morning, March 6, 1900, Volume 19, Number 108, Page 8).

Funeral Services Held Over the Body of Alexander Oldham Yesterday.  The funeral of Alexander Oldham held yesterday was one of the largest and most impressive ever held in the city.  The cortege left the residence at 2:30, the body being escorted by delegations from the Masonic lodge, under whose auspices the services were held, the G. A. R., K. of P.’s, K. of M. and W. R. C.  Those acting as pall bearers were George Wheeler and C. L. Graber, representing the G. A. R., Orange Wright and W. I. Barnard, representing the Masons, and J. W. Anderson and Wm. Prescott representing the Knights of Pythias.  The city officials, county officials and board of county commissioners were also present in a body, and hundreds of friends followed in the sad procession to pay a last tribute of respect to one who was beloved by all who knew him.  Upon arrival at St. Paul’s church as many as the building could hold entered and listened to the impressive ritual of the Episcopal church and a feeling sermon by Rev. A. T. Gesner, many a cheek being dampened ere the services were over.  The floral offerings were magnificent, the various organizations to which the deceased belonged as well as the city and county officials tendering beautiful pieces which told in a silent but eloquent way the high esteem in which Mr. Oldham was held, and the deep loss that was felt in his death.  After the conclusion of the services at the church the cortege moved to the cemetery where the Masonic burial rites were observed.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Thursday Morning, March 8, 1900, Volume 19, Number 110, Page 8). 

Washington, March 19. – Pensions granted:  North Dakota – Angeline M. Oldham, Grand Forks, $8.  (The Minneapolis Journal, Wednesday Evening, March 19, 1902, Page 5)


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