Page 166. HON. GEORGE B. WINSHIP, founder and publisher of “The Herald,” the leading daily paper west of the Twin cities, is one of the prominent men of North Dakota. He has devoted his attention to the growth and success of the “Herald,” and after over twenty years of earnest labor has met with the success he so well deserves, and may well be proud of the results of his effort. Aside from his work in connection with the “Herald,” he has found time to labor for the advancement and development of the social and financial resources of North Dakota, and is one of the well-known public-spirited men in the state. A portrait of Mr. Winship will be found in connection with this sketch. Our subject was born in Saco, Maine, September 28, 1847, and emigrated to LaCrosse, Wisconsin, with his parents in 1851, and to LaCrescent, Houston county, Minnesota, six years later. He attended the district school until thirteen years of age,
Page 167. and then spent three years sanding brick molds, and setting type in the local printing office. He offered himself as a soldier for the Civil war in 1862, and was rejected on account of his youth, but in 1863 he was accepted and became a member of the Second Minnesota Cavalry, in which he served till the close of the war. He was then engaged at various employments, and in 1867 started to Idaho gold fields with Captain Davy’s expedition, but part of the outfit failed to arrive at Fort Abercrombie, and our subject, with others, declined to go on account of danger from hostile Indians, and he then spent a year driving a freight team from the end of the railroad at St. Cloud to the various posts for the government, and in the spring of 1868 he engaged with Dr. Schultz, of Winnipeg, (who later became lieutenant-governor of the province), and the work of our subject was on the “Norwester,” then the only paper published north of St. Cloud. He remained there about two years and then went to Pembina and spent a year in the employ of A. W. Stiles, post trader. There he met William Budge, and in 1871, when the Blakely & Carpenter line of stages from Breckenridge to Winnipeg was started, the two men formed a partnership, and established a stage station at Turtle river, fourteen miles north of Grand Forks, where Manvel is now located. They built rough stables for the accommodation of stage and other horses, and a rough log house furnished shelter for guests, and thus business prospered at Turtle river station. In 1873 Mr. Winship sold his interests to Budge and Eshelman, and went to St. Paul, where he stayed three years, setting type on all the prominent papers then established in the city. He moved to Caledonia, Minnesota, in the spring of 1877, and established the weekly “Courier,” which he operated two years with success, and in 1879 he moved his plant to Grand Forks, North Dakota, and established the “Herald,” and has remained here continuously since that date.
Our subject had taken an active interest in public affairs, and has served as state senator, to which position he was elected in 1889, being the first state senator from the seventh district, and gave his best energies for the interests of his community. In politics he is an ardent Republican, and the policy of the “Herald” has always been for the advancement of the principles of that party. Mr. Winship was married, in 1874, to Miss Mary J. Minshall, of La Crescent, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Winship have one daughter now, Mrs. F. W. Weego, of Grand Forks. He is a member of the G. A. R. and Masonic fraternity. (Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1900)
Mr. (George B.) Winship was born at Saco, Maine, in 1847. In 1851 his parents emigrated to the west and located at LaCrosse, Wis., the place then being little more than a settlement. Six years later they moved across the river to La Crescent, Minn., which place was started about that time. It was here that Winship learned something about the printer’s trade in the office of the local paper, a fact that determined his future career as a publisher. In 1863 he entered the army as a member of the 2d Minnesota Cavalry and served until the end of the war. In 1867 he came into the country as a member of Davy’s overland expedition to Idaho which became stranded at Fort Abercrombie. He then put in a year at teaming and in the spring of 1868 went to Fort Garry where he worked on Dr. Schultz’s paper, the Norwester – afterward published by Riel as “The New Nation” – and printed $50,000 of Hudson Bay company money used to pay Riel’s soldiers. Winship came to Pembina about the first of May, 1870. Here, about a month later, he first met Wm. Budge. Both were then young men. Winship was stopping at Peter Hayden’s, and the two camped there about a month, or until the work of building Fort Pembina began, Nathan Myrick and W. C. Nash having the contract for construction. About the first of July, Winship was offered a position in A. W. Stiles’ sutler store at the fort and accordingly entered his employment as clerk. (History of Grand Forks County, With Special Reference to the First Ten Years of Grand Forks City, H. V. Arnold, Larimore Pioneer, Larimore, North Dakota, 1900, Page 73)
The last school building to be erected was the Winship school, which was built during the past year at a cost of $30,000. It is a substantial two story structure of four rooms, besides offices, class rooms, etc., and is designed to provide for an addition corresponding to the original building as the needs of the city in that section shall warrant it. The Winship school, named in honor of George B. Winship, of The Herald, was opened in January last. Like each of the other buildings previously erected, it was built in the centre of an entire block of land which gives an opportunity, otherwise impossible, not only for commodious play-ground for the pupils, but for ornamentation and improvement with trees, making it in fact a city park and centre of attraction. (Grand Forks Herald Silver Anniversary Edition, June 26, 1879 to June 26, 1904, Page 54)
Editor Winship Retires Today. Herald and Times Will Be Consolidated at Grand Forks. Grand Forks, N. D., Aug. 15. – George B. Winship, for over thirty years owner of the Grand Forks Herald and which he established as a weekly paper in pioneer days, today announces through the Herald, his retirement from the business. This announcement comes with an announcement of the consolidation of the Herald and Evening Times and the taking over of these two papers by a new corporation, the organization of which has not been completed, but which is backed by Grand Forks capitalists. Mr. Winship was an early pioneer of the west, being for many years engaged in freighting in northwestern Canada, afterwards operating a stage in the Red river valley in company with William Budge. (The Bemidji Daily Pioneer, Tuesday Evening, August 15, 1911, Volume 9, Number 92, Page 1)
Page 1. George B. Winship Tells Of Establishment And The Early History Of Paper. First Issue Appeared June 26, 1879 In Lumber And Paper Shack; James Elton Was First Subscriber; Early Years Are Described. “Great oaks from little acorns grow” is an ancient proverb, and a true one. Fifty years ago this month a small acorn, to use the term in a figurative sense, which contained the germ plasm of the Grand Forks Herald, was planted in the soil of North Dakota, and locally in the rich black loam of Grand Forks. Today, as you behold the wonderful product of that germ plasm you see the fully matured great oak of journalism, for the seed planted June 26, 1879 is now the tall, hardy, enduring oak of 1929.
Originated In Thought. Everything originates in thought; if we did not think we would not grow; we would not have a definite purpose in life – be just animals, that’s all. The original thought which ultimately germinated and assumed a definite material form was conceived in my cranium during the summer of 1873. I left Grand Forks, or rather, Turtle River, in November, 1872, after participating in the Grant Greeley election, and sought employment in St. Paul. The following summer I was called back to Grand Forks to assist in the organization of the county. Governor Burbank had appointed me a commissioner, and heeding the appeal of some of the citizens, notably Griggs, Walsh, Eshelman and others, I returned in August ’73 and stayed until the organization was completed. When I left St. Paul I carried with me the thought of some time returning and starting a weekly paper in Grand Forks. I thought I might be able to do so two years hence (1875), but in 1874 George H. Walsh, with whom I worked in the St. Paul Pioneer office, informed me that he would start a paper at Grand Forks, that his father and brother-in-law had urged him to do so and assured him of a living business. I was not disappointed in Walsh anticipating me. I believed the time too early, and having just married I was illy prepared to make the venture. For two years more I worked on the Pioneer, and afterwards when it was consolidated with the Press, I worked on the present Pioneer-Press.
Goes to Caledonia. In 1877 I received a call from Caledonia, Minnesota, to publish a paper there. The one already there was wholly controlled by the county “ring,” which organization the people were determined to over-throw. I established the Caledonia Currier and entered vigorously into the campaign of 1878, and was given the credit of overwhelmingly crushing the county “ring” with an independent ticket, and every gangster was swept out of office. This was the most complete and satisfactory political victory of my life; none of my North Dakota achievements could parallel it. Early in May 1879 I received an urgent call from Budge and Eshelman to return to Grand Forks and start a paper. The Plain Dealer was not giving satisfaction, besides it was issued irregularly. The fact is that the town had grown large enough to have two antagonistic factions, and as the Plain Dealer could not represent both, I was invited to step in to serve the recalcitrants. Griggs, Walsh and McCormack dominated one faction, and Viets, Budge and Eshelman the other. I arrived at Grand Forks during the last of May, travelling by train as far as Fisher, thence by stage to Grand Forks. The growth of the village during my absence surprised me; in 1873 I had left a small hamlet of perhaps seventy-five people and returned five years later I found a vigorous young village of about nine hundred. No town in the Red River Valley presented prospects more alluring to the homeseeker and business man.
Conditions in 1879. In order to give the reader a complete and comprehensive grasp of the conditions prevailing before 1879 I will dwell briefly upon the important ones. Those who have passed some time on the frontier are familiar with the conditions that govern the development of new communities. Periods of prosperity and adversity come and go, following one another with almost mathematical precision. Fat years and followed by lean ones. Settlers are buoyant one season and depressed the next; and quite often they lose courage and quit the country. Of course these cycles of prosperity and hard times affect older and higher civilized communities as well, but in a much milder form, for the people do not have the crude conditions to deal with that prevail in the new settlements, where all sorts of hardships and problems innumerable are encountered. The decade ending with 1878 was one fraught with tremendous difficulties for the people of the sparsely settled West. In the first place the political and financial condition following the Civil War was extremely bad. Problems growing out of the settlement of the war had not been fully solved, and the various industries were in a semi-paralyzed state, due in a measure to the depreciated value of the circulating medium of exchange. Gold and silver were still in hiding, and “Greenbacks” were discounted from 25 to 40 per cent.
New States Hard Up. This was the national condition, and of course it affected the internal affairs of the country. Many of the young western states were so desperately hard up that they adopted measures that bordered closely upon repudiation. Minnesota, for instance, practically repudiated certain bonds issued for railroad construction, and they were not redeemed subsequently, until a wholesome public sentiment throughout the country forced favorable legislative action. But these unfavorable state and national conditions were not all the difficulties the people of the West had to contend with. There were local troubles that tried their patience to the uttermost. The winters were long and rigorous, there were no passable roads, no bridges over streams, and no adequate hotel accommodations for the traveler. Provisions were scarce, grasshoppers and other insect pests annoyed the settlers almost beyond endurance, and famine conditions prevailed along the border from the northern boundary line to the lower Mississippi Valley.
Grasshopper Period. The grasshopper period was one of the most depressing and exasperating. For nearly five years the settlers fought the pests with all the death-dealing devices that could be invented, but it was not until the season of 1876 that victory over them was finally achieved. From that time the ‘hoppers ceased to be a menace. The disappearance of this pest, together with Congressional action resulting in the resumption of specie payments, making “Greenbacks” redeemable in gold and silver, marked a new epoch in the history of the country, and no section responded more quickly to the stimulating effects than the young and struggling settlers in the Red River Valley. The growth of Grand Forks and other places of prominence in the valley was quite pronounced during the years 1877-78, and when I returned I found the people prosperous and happy. I could not have struck the town at a more auspicious moment for the launching of my newspaper enterprise. Everybody was feeling good, and the welcome given me was royal and whole-hearted.
For Paper Building. My modest little printing plant did not reach Grand Forks until about the 12th of June, 1879. The small one-room building on Third street I had arranged to have built was completed. It was constructed of elm lumber and tar paper. It cost about $150.00, and I paid the munificent sum of ten dollars per month for its use. It did not take long to install the plant after its arrival, and on the 26th of June the first issue of the Grand Forks Herald was presented to the public. The population of Grand Forks at that time was bounding upward, and the business representations, professions, churches and schools, of which a complete list was published in the first issue of the Herald, were as follows: – Churches – Four organizations of religious bodies and two resident pastors, Rev. F. W. Iddings, Presbyterian, and Father L’Hiver, Catholic. The Methodist and Episcopalian societies were without buildings or resident pastors, and were supplied by Minnesota itinerants. Schools – Comprised two grades, one in charge of R. H. Young, now a resident of Long Beach, California, and the other, Miss Maggie LaLand. The building was a small two room structure which later became a part of Knutson’s Park Hotel.
Business Houses. Banking – S. S. Titus and J. Walker Smith. General merchandise – Viets & McKelvey, Metler & Singleton, J. E. Dow, J. H. Lyon, O. & E. Tharldson, and A. Abrahamson. Lumber dealers – Viets & McKelvey and Mallory & Thring. Flour mill – Viets & McKelvey controlled the business. McCormack and Griggs had a building under construction nearly ready for machinery. Hardware – Crookston & Co., Brown & Metzler, M. Callahan and B. E. Tallant, the first two firms carried a general stock, and the others handling only tin ware. Drugs – D. M. Holmes and George Budge. Clothing – Tallant Bros. were the only exclusive clothiers. Boots & Shoes – Henry Gotzian carried an exclusive stock, L. Styles and Ed Bosey did a repairing business. Agricultural Implements – Thos. Collins, Veits & McKelvey, H. Tharldson, Budge, Eshelman & Co., D. M. Holmes, J. G. Ketcham. Hotels and Boarding Houses – The Veits House by W. B. Dow, Northwestern by P. Carroll, and the Mansard by Capt. H. E. Maloney were the leaders. The Valley House by James Hanrahan, Central House by J. B. Moosette, Grand Forks House by Peter Green, Dakota House by Jos. Fish, and the Red River House by Jos. Beauchamp.
Attorneys. Attorneys – Woodruff & Wilder, Hamilton & Eddy, George H. Walsh and R. W. Cutts. These firms also conducted insurance business. Livery Stables – Marshall, Jaris & Co. Harness Makers – Thos. Hill and R. Stewart. Tailors – J. Belzung and Jack McCallum. Jewelers – C. A. Allen and M. Addison. Milliners and Dressmakers – Mrs. Geo. H. Ames, Mary Trepanier, Maggie Bray, Zena Aury and Miss Lampland. Blacksmiths and Wagonmakers – Chas. Freeman, P. H. Haggarty, Josh Burrows, Halleck & Bro., Sherin & Robinson. Carpenters – John O’Leary, M. T. Caswell, Michael Moran, Ed. Crane and Harry Goheen. Meat Market – Fred Foster. Barbers – Chas. A. Maloney, Jas. Highwarden. Painters – Thos. Johnson & Co., Williams Bros. Printers – McDonald & Witt, publishers of Plaindealer. Photographers – Wm. Caswell. Feed Store – Burt Haney. Doctors – Wm. T. Collins, M. W. Scott. Saloons – There were a dozen or more doing a thriving business, and the town was as wide open as it could be made.
OFFICIAL ROSTER FOR 1879. Territorial Officers. Delegate in Congress, G. G. Bennett, Yankton. Governor, William A. Howard, Yankton. Secretary, H. C. Hand, Yankton. Auditor, E. A. Sherman, Sioux Falls. Treasurer, J. C. McVay, Jamestown. Supt. Of Public Instruction, W. H. H. Beadle, Yankton. Surveyor General, Henry Asperson, Yankton. Judge Third District, A. H. Barnes, Fargo. U. S. Land Office at Fargo – Horace Austin, register, Thos. D. Pugh, receiver.
County Officers. Commissioners, J. H. Eshelman, K. Knutson, M. McGinness. Register of Deeds, Thos. Walsh. Sheriff, Richmond Fadden. Deputy Sheriff, James Ryan. Judge of Probate, R. W. Cutts. Treasurer, J. J. Cavanaugh. Clerk Dist. Court, Geo. H. Walsh. Supt. of Schools, Alex Oldham. County Surveyor, Alex Oldham. Coroner, Dr. M. W. Scott. Assessor, Andrew Hallickson.
Village Officers. President of Council, Geo. H. Walsh. Trustees, Frank Viets, M. L. McCormack, Newt. Porter, John McRae. Justice of the Peace, D. J. Tallant. Treasurer, J. J. Cavanaugh. Attorney, J. G. Hamilton. Marshal, Richmond Fadden. Deputy Marshal, James Ryan. Clerk and Assessor, Alex Oldham.
Embarrassed Financially. The expense of getting out the first issue of the Herald drew so heavily upon my meager supply of money, that on the day of its publication I was decidedly embarrassed financially. Two weeks board bill at the Veits House for myself and printer was due, besides some other small bills, and unless cash subscriptions came in promptly my standing in the community was in danger of serious impairment. At least I thought so, and the unpleasant situation caused me some anxiety. But fortune favors the patient. My little newspaper had scarcely been in existence an hour before the generous people of the town dropped in to proffer congratulations, and these, in many cases, were accompanied by cash subscriptions. The first man to thus respond was James Elton; he laid a $4.00 Canadian bill on my improvised desk and ordered one copy of the Herald for himself and one mailed to his wife in Canada. So let this be recorded as a historical fact that James Elton was the first cash subscriber to the Grand Forks Herald. His example was followed by others, and before the day closed I had taken in money enough to pay all current expenses.
Canvassing Town. The two weeks following the first issues were spent in canvassing the town for subscribers, advertising and job work. After that I struck out for the country, devoting the last three days of the week to canvassing. The first settlement I tackled was Turtle River, my former home. Here I met with my best success, having the assistance of August Christiani and Joe Colosky, who kindly escorted me from house to house. The Forest River, Walshville and Park River settlements were canvassed in their turn; then I took in the country south, along the river to Caledonia, and by the first of August I had covered the entire territory contiguous to Grand Forks.
Files On Claim. At that time but little land had been homesteaded much more than five or six miles from the Red River and each of its various tributaries. Settlers made selections of land as close to town as possible, and took to the wide expanse beyond only when they were obliged to. Within a few weeks after getting the Herald in good running order I filed on homestead and tree claims situated about seventeen miles west of Grand Forks, and commenced improvement by employing Wm. Schrump to break five acres on each of the tracts. Henry Gotzian located near by, and Wm. Wowry, Dave Blair and others soon filled in the gaps. Before winter set
Page 2. in there was a good sized settlement in that neighborhood. Quite frequently during the season, Mrs. Winship and I would visit our homestead and spend a night or two; long enough to gain some knowledge of the hardships incident to homesteading. Our shack was small and primitive, having a board roof which provided poor protection against rain. Many times when taken unawares by a heavy rainfall we were thoroughly drenched. Then, too, the mosquitoes were active and voracious, and our evenings were generally spent in keeping smudges going in order that we might rest a part of the night. What roads there were, were almost impassable during the fall months. Rain storms were frequent and the low lands were flooded to the size of small lakes. I recall several instances when our team got down in the mud and water, and I had to carry Mrs. Winship quite a distance before landing her on a dry spot. These pilgrimages to our homestead, at the start, were anticipated with a degree of pleasure, but later in the season we entertained no such pleasurable thrills. To go out there and spend a few days was a downright hardship.
Borrows Money. Within a year after filing the Commutation Act was passed and I was enabled to prove up at $1.25 per acre, borrowing the money from D. D. Webster. I took two good crops of wheat off the ten acres broken and got $1.23 per bushel for it. In 1882 I sold the half section to Senator Mitchell of Pennsylvania, realizing $15.00 per acre. The senator opened up a large farm, which subsequently passed into the hands of Louis Emery, also a Pennsylvanian. All this land now adjoins the town of Emerado, and it is one of the best farms in the country. The proceeds of this land I put into printing material which enabled me to keep abreast of the growth of the town and country, as well as pay up some past due debts incurred in establishing the Daily Herald late in the fall of 1881.
First Home In Addition. By the first of September ’79 business was so good that I felt justified in building a small house in Traill’s Addition, just platted at that time. I selected Lots 9 and 11 in Block 9, and having succeeded in standing off Veits & McKelvey for the lumber bill, I began the erection of the first house built in Traill’s Addition. Basswood and elm lumber and tar paper comprised the material, and the total cost after completion was $165.00. The lots were bought on time payments and cost $70.00 each, so my first home in Grand Forks cost me a little over $300.00, two-thirds of which was paid subsequently at my convenience. This house contained two rooms and an attic large enough for a sleeping room. The first winter the little house was very comfortable; but the second winter it was a veritable refrigerator, no cold-storage plant could surpass it. The green elm and basswood lumber had warped in all forms and shapes, and the interstices were large and numerous. During snow storms the snow actually drifted in upon our bed, and the drifts about the doors and windows were large and deep, requiring constant sweeping to clear the room. We burned cords and cords of wood that winter, but the little tar paper shack gave us no comfort. I started in early the following spring to make it habitable by plastering the interior and siding the exterior. A front porch and two coats of white paint made it comfortable and good looking. No further improvements were made until after the organization of the Building and Load Association, when I made a loan of $1000.00 and built a large addition. My family occupied this house until the winter of 1894, when I sold it and occupied rooms in the Herald Building.
Called Quality Row. James Elton, Wm. Budge, Thos. Hill and John O’Leary built comfortable homes in Traill’s Addition later in the season. For lack of a better designation for the street Mr. O’Leary dubbed it Quality Row, a name that stuck until the more aristocratic one of Belmont Avenue was officially adopted. The old Winship house was subsequently moved on to the inside lot, and became the home of W. H. Shultz. Later he sold it to the St. Mary’s Society. A. W. Warren built a fine residence on the corner lot, which a few years later was sold to Dr. Andrew Ekern. In 1913 Dr. Courvette acquired the property, and a year or two later he transferred it to the St. Mary’s Catholic Society, who removed the buildings and erected the fine church that now stands there. Everybody was busy and prosperous in Grand Forks during the summer of 1879. The building record of the season showed that nearly $80,000.00 was spent for improvements. The prairie west of the city was dotted with homesteader’s shacks; new business firms were established, and the stages from Fisher’s Landing brought scores of new comers every day. The crossing of the Red River at the point was by Ed Williams ferry, and on many occasions hungry passengers were much perturbed because of the long wait for their turn to cross the river.
Recalls Names. I cannot recall the names of but few who came during this season, but the following were among the number, and most of them became permanent residents: – Webster Merrifield, J. H. Bosard, D. D. Webster, Phil McLaughlin, Dr. Howard Lankester, Col. E. Smith, Charles Wisner, Capt. Wisenberg, Brooks Bros., W. N. Roach, D. W. Luke, W. N. Steele, Chas. Paine, D. S. Dodds, Mike Moran, J. B. Winter, S. S. Titus, J. Walker Smith, P. J. Bye, J. H. Mathews, John Hawkins, John Forsythe, W. G. Smith, John E. Cooley, Thos. F. Eastgate, Lewis Keller, W. C. Shering, F. D. Hughes, B. S. Fryar. During the early season the prospects of the railroad being extended from Fisher’s Landing to Grand Forks were not very promising. J. J. Hill was the general manager, and despite the anxious importunities of the Grand Forks people, no definite information could be gained. It was the general impression, however, that if the crops were good the road would be extended.
Railroad Comes. Early in September the railroad company announced that grading would begin as soon as the crops in fields through which the line passed were harvested. By the first of November the work was finished and early in December the snort of the iron horse was heard on the East side of the river. In Grand Forks, however, nothing had been done by November first to comply with the demands of the railroad company in the matter of right of way and depot grounds. So Mr. Hill dropped into town one day early in the month and suggested that we exert ourselves a little if we expected to see his railroad on our side of the river. Add 50 years GALLEY FOUR…. A public meeting was called and Mr. Hill emphatically told our people what he wanted them to do, and it must be done within the next thirty days. Assurance was given him then and there that Grand Forks would meet his demands. A soliciting committee was appointed and within a week the money was raised to purchase the right of way and depot grounds. There was some kicking among the unprogressive element, but they money was finally raised and the entry into town of Mr. Hill’s road assured. The bridge builders, in charge of Alex McCallum, began work immediately, and early in January the structure was completed and a few days later the first locomotive handled by engineer Jack Burnell, crossed the river. The day was cold and stormy, and but few people were out to greet this most welcome arrival, but Burnell kept up a constant “tooting” of his locomotive whistle and celebrated the occasion himself the best he knew how.
Winter Beastly Cold. The recollection most indelibly stamped upon my memory is that the winter of 1879-80 was a beastly cold one, and that I spent the greater part of my time feeding fuel to the big stove in my dinkey little printing office. December was a corker! The snow was deep and the cold intense, the temperature dropping on one occasion to 58 degrees below zero. Days and days passed without mails, and several times the Herald had to go to press without its patent “insides.” We looked anxiously for spring, when business activity would again rouse us from the lethargic state occasioned by the months of hibernation. Then, too, most of us wanted to ride to St. Paul on our new railroad. We imagined we were of some importance in the outside world because of having our own line of direct communication to eastern and southern commercial centers.
Other Prospects. Besides our railroad we had the promise of a United States Land office, increase of steamboat traffic, and other helpful enterprises tending to swell the volume of trade and give us a conspicuous place on the commercial map. We were confident that we had secured a foothold on the best part of God’s earth, and that the people from the effete east would soon join us in making our young town and the fertile region contiguous the most productive and prosperous in the Golden Northwest. Every dollar that I could spare went to purchase printing material. I knew from positive indications that the “boom” was on, and that if I got out of it all that was in sight for me I must have plenty of display type and printers’ ink. Summing up the results of my personal activities during the last six months of 1879 I find that I had established a printing business, had built a home and had acquired 320 acres of Uncle Sam’s choice land. All on a modest capital of $450.00, and no pressing debts confronting me.
Unparalleled Record. The year 1881 closed with an unparalleled record in the Northwest for prosperity and substantial development. Thousands of well-to-do settlers came in on every train, and the towns in the valley received an impetus that perceptibly swelled their populations and added to their business facilities. Another big crop was harvested and wheat sold in Grand Forks for $1.04 per bushel. Business houses and dwellings could not be erected fast enough to supply the demand, and all sorts of habitations were improvised to house the new-comers. Grand Forks gained many of its best business men during the season; men who since have been prime factors in its splendid development, adding much to its material and moral prestige. Among these were R. B. Griffith who opened a small grocery store on DeMers Avenue, near Fifth street. Only a few hundred dollars were invested in stock, but R. B. kept his small capital moving so rapidly that larger quarters for doing business became a necessity year by year, until he got permanently located in the commodious building he now occupies. Parker & Johnson was another new firm that did a fine business. Dan McLaurin opened a general store, carrying a line of dry goods, crockery and glassware; Ephraim Bros. clothing; Mendelsohn & Co. dry goods and notions; John H. Snyder, stationery; A. H. LeLaney, farm machinery; Fred Fulton, loans and real estate; D. D. Webster, loans; T. G. Fladeland & Co., real estate and loans; Morgan & Noyes, attorneys; Peterson, Sargent & Co., farm implements; Hunt, Holt & Garner, farm machinery and lumber; H. P. Wilson & Son, real estate and insurance; John Maher, attorney; Woodward Bros., attorneys; Geo. D. Lay, attorney; H. G. Stone, banking; E. P. Gates, banking; Reder & Newman, meat market; Rucker & Spaulding, farm machinery; W. J. Murphy, attorney, Frank J. Drew, auctioneer, and scores of others whose names have slipped my memory.
Banking Facilities. The banking facilities of Grand Forks were vastly increased during the year and three banks were doing a rushing business. The First National was organized by H. G. Stone, of Chicago. Its first location was in Hamilton’s building on Third street, and afterwards in the building later occupied by Mrs. Stinson, corner of Third and Bruce. Titus & Smith made the Citizens a national bank and occupied their new building on the corner of Kittson and Third. They took in as stockholders a large number of local capitalists, and their bank became one of the strongest in the territory. The Merchants Bank, by E. P. Gates, was located in the Walsh building, corner of Third street and DeMers avenue. These strong banks, together with Fred Fulton & Co, and D. D. Webster and other financiers, made Grand Forks the leading financial center of the northern territory. The business done at the U. S. Land Office in the fall was immense, cash receipts running from $5,000.000 to $8,000.00 per day. The line-up at the door of the office began early in the morning and continued all day, as long as the officials would consent to take in the money. About half of the business was the filling of new applications for homesteads, the rest being final proof payments.
Boom At Larimore. In railroad matters the principal events were the extension of the Manitoba road west to Larimore and north to Grafton. A nice little boom was on at Larimore, and everything was at high pressure. O. M. Towner of the Elk Valley farm was the livewire of that locality. He was doing things every day of the week, and his fame as a promoter and booster was second to no other. He broke and back-set nearly 8000 acres that season, besides erecting a cluster of buildings on the farm, and surveying and selling a good part of the townsite. J. H. Mathews, Thos. S. Edison, Thos. Eastgate, L. P. Goodhue, W. M. Scott, H. F. Arnold, Wm. Clone, and many others joined in the work of boosting, and, before the close of the year Larimore was on the map in conspicuous capital letters. Railroad service from St. Paul was very good. At least we thought so. Trains left St. Paul at 8:30 in the evening, arrived at Fargo at 8 the next morning, and Grand Forks at 4 p. m. Returning, the train left Grand Forks at 4 p. m. and arrived at St. Paul at 10:30 a. m. the following day. James Walker was the local agent, and a very obliging and popular official he was.
Progress Of Herald. I am obliged at this point to curtail my story concerning the early progress of Grand Forks and confine the balance of space allotted me to a mere glance of the progress of the Herald. Let me say at the start, that from the time of the first issue of the paper until my last connection with it I had very little difficulty in meeting my competitors. The Herald soon took the lead after it was established; a position it has since maintained. My four years in Minnesota in the newspaper business, in which I got a very accurate knowledge of the inside workings of politics and politicians placed me in a position to assume an independent attitude, so when I started the Herald I was deeply imbued with the principles of its future; that it should be a newspaper of character; that it should be progressive; and that it should be independent of political factions. This position was taken in the first issue of the Herald and very soon the ambitious politicians in the neighborhood became convinced that the paper was run in the interests of the people and not for the interests of the politicians. Having established this standard it was not difficult for me to maintain it. I soon won the confidence of the people and had all the business that I could handle, so when the “boom” era in ’82 came I was in fine condition to move along with it.
Issued Semi-Weekly. During the late months of 1881 the Herald was issued as a semi-weekly paper; then in November I made it a daily and success from the start was my reward. It began life as a six column evening sheet with patent insides; in two weeks it was an all at home print, and in two months it was a morning paper with a special telegraph service from St. Paul that gave the latest news every morning to a large clientele up and down the valley. The initial numbers of the Herald were very kindly received throughout the Red River Valley.
Friendly Excerpt. The following excerpt from the Fargo Argus, November 12th, 1881, is a fair example of the friendly attitude of the press and people: “Grand Forks has a valuable new boomer in the Daily Herald. It is a handsome little six-column paper, bright, wide awake, and crammed with news and advertising. Its local department would do credit to many a town of half a century’s growth in the older regions of the country. The Argus trusts its editor may Winshiploads of fame and pelf while pushing on the glorious chariot of Dakota progress, and contributing incalculably to the building up of the Red River valley, the world’s fairest of all fair garden spots.”
Oppositions Starts. For two years following 1882 the Herald had fierce opposition. The Plaindealer began an evening publication, and a few months later the News by Hansborough & Briscoe, backed by H. G. Stone, entered the evening field. All these dailies flourished after a manner for a year or two. Mr. Stone, with his Chicago backing of big financiers, announced that the News had secured the Associated Press franchise and would, on completion of the new telegraph line to St. Paul, publish the full report, which would, of course, place it vastly in the lead. As I had taken the precaution in November ’81, when the Daily Herald was started, to file my application for the franchise I felt quite safe in my rights. A hasty trip to Chicago gave further assurance, and in due time the Herald became the Associated Press paper of the Northwest. The News survived only a few months following the announcement of the Herald’s achievement, and with my co-operation part of its plant was shipped to Devils Lake and the Inter Ocean started. The local field was then solely occupied by the Herald and Plaindealer.
Quiet Period. The period from 1884 to 1889 was a comparatively quiet one. Slow but steady growth was our reward. The Herald was in the ascendancy, both in the hearts of the people and as a newspaper. In 1890 when it occupied its new building, its present quarters, it was conceded to be the leading paper of the state. In closing this rambling review of the early days of the Herald I want to say that much of the credit for its success is due to the loyal helpers who co-operated with me. To such energetic men as John W. Dwyer, Cyrus R. Hunter, Harry L. Willson, W. P. Davies, and many others, no measure of credit and praise is too great. They assisted me most manfully in steering the Herald through three tempestuous decades of its existence. I am proud of the Herald. For thirty-two years I gave it the best that was in me. And more, in my retirement in California, I cherish sweet memories of the past. I dwell upon them with great pleasure and satisfaction. May the Grand Forks Herald continue to do good and grow and prosper for at last another half century. (Grand Forks Herald, Wednesday, June 26, 1929, Volume XLVIII, Number 201)
Page 1. George Winship, City Pioneer, Dies at 84. Birthday Attack Results in Fatal Illness for Founder of Herald; Funeral to Be Thursday. George B. Winship, 84-year-old founder of the Grand Forks Herald and prominent early-day resident of North Dakota, died Tuesday in San Diego, Calif., where he had lived since leaving this city 28 years ago. Funeral services will be held Thursday in San Diego. Mr. Winship’s death terminated an eventful career and was the result of an illness beginning late in September when he was the honor guest at a gathering of former North Dakotans on his 84th birthday anniversary.
Rallies Several Times. Neuralgia set in on September 28, followed by a series of complications. He seemed on the verge of death several times, but rallied temporarily until a few days ago, when his condition became grave. News of his death came in dispatches from The Associated Press and in a private message from his daughter, Mrs. Barbara W. Fogarty, to W. P. Davies, editor of the Herald, and long-time associate of Mr. Winship when the latter was publisher of the Herald. Besides Mrs. Fogarty, who was with him when he died, Mr. Winship is survived by a grandson, George Winship Wiego of New York; a brother, F. M. Winship of San Diego, and a sister, Mrs. May Kinmore, Chula Vista, Calif.
Born in Maine. George B. Winship was born at the village of Saco, Maine, September 28, 1847. Of English ancestry, the family had been residents of New England since early colonial times. In 1851 the family moved west and settled at La Crosse, Wis., moving in 1857 to La Crescent, Houston county, Minn., in 1857. For about three years the boy attended the village school in intervals between the odd jobs which occupied much of his time, and in 1860 he entered the local printing office as an apprentice. He con-
Page 6. tinued at this work for about two years, when, business being slack, he left the printing office and spent a summer in a local brick yard. The civil war had fired the lad’s imagination, and at the age of 15 he offered himself for enlistment, but was rejected because of his youth. He spent the next year in various manual occupations, and again offered his services to the government, this time being accepted.
Enrolled as Private. He was enrolled as a private in Company A, First Minnesota cavalry, in which regiment he served until the close of the war. During this period his company was engaged in the Indian uprising of 1862. This uprising left the territory in an unsettled condition, and troops were required constantly to protect the scattered settlements and keep the Indians in order. The months following the war were spent chiefly in outdoor work, and in 1867 Mr. Winship started with Captain Davy’s expedition for the Idaho gold fields which then were attracting much attention. Arrangements had been made for the party to leave Fort Abercrombie on June 1, but because some of the members of the expedition failed to arrive on time the start was delayed. Rumors of fresh Indian troubles in the west convinced Mr. Winship and some others that it would be unwise to proceed, and they abandoned the project. A portion of the party started and reached the Missouri river that fall, and every man in that group was killed by Indians.
Engaged in Freighting. For about a year Mr. Winship engaged in freighting for the government, hauling goods by wagon from St. Cloud, Minn., which then was the end of the railroad, and from which point goods were distributed to many northwestern points. In the spring of 1868 he engaged with Dr. Shultz, later lieutenant governor of Manitoba, to work at Fort Garry – now Winnipeg – on the Norwester, at that time the only newspaper north of St. Cloud. Louis Riel then was engaged in the agitation which culminated in the first Riel rebellion, and it was while Mr. Winship was at Fort Garry that Scott was executed by order of Riel. The rebellion disorganized conditions in the Canadian Northwest and made the printing business undesirable, and Mr. Winship came south to Pembina and worked there and on the Red river for a year for A. W. Styles, the post trader. It was at Pembina that Mr. Winship met William Budge, who later became an important figure in the business and political life of North Dakota.
Formed Stage Company. In the spring of 1871 two young men formed a partnership and established a stage station at Turtle River, about 14 miles north of Grand Forks. This station was one of a series about 14 miles extending from Breckenridge to Fort Garry for the use of the Blakeley-Carpenter line of stages which was the rapid transit line between those two points. In the following spring Mr. Winship sold his interest in the station and resumed his regular trade of setting type. He served as a compositor on papers in St. Paul and other cities, receiving good newspaper training under Colonel Wheelock, the founder and editor of the St. Paul Pioneer. In 1877 Mr. Winship started out as a publisher, establishing the Weekly Courier at Caledonia, Minn., which he published successfully for two years. Believing that the time had come for the real development of the Red river valley, with which he had become familiar, he loaded his possessions into a wagon, and with a boy as helper started overland for Grand Forks.
Founded Weekly Herald. At Grand Forks he established the Weekly Herald, printing the first issue June 26, 1879. In 1881 the paper became an evening daily and a few months later it was changed to a morning issue. Mr. Winship continued the publication of The Herald until 1911, when because of advancing years and the desire to enjoy the leisure for which he had been preparing, he sold his interests to a local corporation which consolidated The Herald and the Evening Times.
Moved to West Coast. Upon retiring from the newspaper business Mr. Winship moved to San Diego, Cal., where he spent the remainder of his life. Mr. Winship’s early activities were such as to develop and strengthen a naturally robust constitution. Much of this part of his life was spent in the open – on the wagon trail, on the river, in the forest, on the farm, with abundant experience in the hardest kind of manual labor. His middle life was that of the active business man in intimate touch with the business, social and political activities of a rapidly growing commonwealth. He settled at Grand Forks at a time when what are now the two Dakotas constituted one territory, with only a few of the counties organized. He was an active participant in all the subsequent organization work, in the division of the territory, and in the creation of the new state of North Dakota.
Served as Senator. He served a term as senator from his district in the first general assembly of the state, and in that body he was one of the small group of eight whose support enabled Governor John Miller to defeat the proposed chartering of the Louisiana Lottery Company of North Dakota. He served also as registrar of the Grand Forks land office under appointment of President Roosevelt in 1901, but resigned before the completion of his term to devote his full attention to his expanding business. It was, however, as a citizen and editor rather than as an official that his chief influence was felt. He had attended school only a few months all told, but all his life he had been a reader and student. Keenly interested in all the activities of mankind, he entered vigorously into the support of whatever cause he deemed just. A man of strong convictions, he found himself the center of many a hard-fought conflict. Of keen, analytical mind, he had grounded himself in early life in certain principles which he considered fundamental, and these principles he applied throughout a long life to the changing circumstances of the times. An outstanding characteristic was the broad human sympathy which enabled him to remain on terms of warm personal friendship with men with whom he had been in strenuous conflict over divergent public policies. In early life Mr. Winship married Miss Mary Minchell of La Crescent, Minn. The one son born to this union died in infancy. An adopted daughter, Mrs. Barbara Fogarty of San Diego, has spent much of her time with her foster parents during their later years. (Grand Forks Herald, Wednesday, November 4, 1931, Volume 51, Number 3)