George H. Walsh


George H. Walsh has had a large force of men engaged in erecting a commodious stable on his farm three miles from town, for the past week. When completed it will be one of the largest and most complete structures of the kind in the Red River Valley – having capacity for all the grain raised on his 480 acre farm, besides apartments for 18 or 20 head of horses, a carriage repository and a spacious loft for hay, etc. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Thursday, July 31, 1879, Page 1)

Hon. Geo. H. Walsh, another old citizen of St. Paul, is one of the leading business men here (Grand Forks), and has long since become an important factor in working out the progress and development of Grand Forks. Mr. Walsh is the president of the territorial council of Dakota and in future political complications may yet grasp the scepter of delegate to Congress. He is a thriving and prosperous business man, of genial and popular demeanor, and is daily growing in the confidence and affection of the citizens of the Northern section of the territory especially. His name has already been mentioned prominently for delegate, and all Northern Dakota responds heartily to the suggestion. (The Saint Paul Daily Globe, Monday Morning, January 12, 1880, Volume III, Number 12, Page 2)

Hon. George H. Walsh, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 20, P. O. Grand Forks, has been before the citizens of Dakota so long and prominently that his name is familiar to all, from Wyoming to Minnesota and from Nebraska to the International boundary. He is a native of Montreal, Canada; came to St. Paul, Minnesota, when young, where he was reared, educated and resided twenty years. He came to Grand Forks, in 1873 and established a law and real estate office, with which business he is still identified. His partner is John W. Maher, of Devil’s Lake. For a number of years he was one of the most extensive real estate dealers in north Dakota and at present is one of the largest land holders and farmers in the Territory. All of his land is tributary to the Red River, about four miles northwest of Grand Forks and is well adapted to raising No. “1” hard. His residence is a palatial one with fine barns and out buildings. Mr. Walsh was owner and editor of the Grand Forks Plaindealer, the first newspaper in the county and the second in north Dakota, now owned by W. J. Murphy. Mr. Walsh has attained his political prominence by being a member of the Territorial Senate for six years; was chairman of three of the leading committees of that body and President of the Senate four years. He is a man of independent views, is governed by his own judgment which is logical, reasonable and beneficial to whatever cause he may advocate. Walsh County was named in his honor. (Andreas Historical Atlas of Dakota, A. T. Andreas, Chicago, The Lakeside Press, 1884, Page 254)

George H. Walsh is having telephone connections made with his farm buildings four miles north of town. (The Saint Paul Daily Globe, Tuesday Morning, September 15, 1885, Volume VII, Number 128, Page 258)

George H. Walsh, one of the pioneers of Grand Forks, Dak., was recently narrating his experience in the early days of the frontier settlement along in the seventies. According to his narration his frontier experience caused him to have an aversion for fish that time has never effaced and probably never will completely obliterate. In those days Grand Forks was not reached by a railroad and everything which its residents enjoyed was carted from St. Paul. During certain seasons of the year the roads were impassable and freighting was temporarily abandoned. On one occasion the provisions at Grand Forks were about exhausted and it was found impossible to forward stuff from St. Paul. The blockade continued and everything of an edible character was consumed and still the supply from St. Paul was not forthcoming. This lasted for over three weeks, two weeks of which the people lived on fish which they caught in the streams round about the settlement. Fish was served for dinner, breakfast and supper. It was cooked in all sorts of styles, but there was a sameness about the diet that tired out the most devoted lovers of fish. At last the fresh stock of provisions arrived and the disgusted fish-eaters turned their attention to more varied bills of fare than had been afforded during the blockade. From that day to this the people of Grand Forks who survived that blockade have never eaten fish in any shape. They were disgusted with the diet at that time and have never experienced a desire for the most dainty morsel of the most palatable fish. They know when they get enough of a good thing and entertain the belief that they have had their share of fish. (The Saint Paul Daily Globe, Sunday Morning, August 15, 1886, Volume VIII, Number 227, Page 4)

Geo. H. Walsh. Of the earlier pioneers none have been more closely identified with the history of the city than George H. Walsh. Mr. Walsh was born in Montreal in 1845 and in 1875 came to North Dakota as clerk for the Red River Transportation company. The same year he established the weekly Plaindealer of this city, continuing its management until 1878 when he sold out to D. McDonald. Subsequently Mr. Walsh was appointed clerk of the federal court, which position he held until 1882. Mr. Walsh owns a handsome farm just north of the city and may be said to have retired from active business life. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Tuesday Morning, June 27, 1899, Volume 18, Number 205, Page 38)

HON. GEORGE H. WALSH. Hon. George H. Walsh, one of the best known attorneys of northern Minnesota and North Dakota, is a gentleman of excellent business ability and has a wide knowledge of men and the world. He is one of the founders of Cass Lake, in Cass county, Minnesota, and has made his residence there since the organization of the village. He is the owner of extensive farm lands in North Dakota, and is one of the well-to-do and progressive citizens of his locality. Mr. Walsh was born in Canada November 24, 1845, and was a son of Thomas and Ellenor (Ranson) Walsh, the former a native of Ireland and the latter born in England. When he was ten years of age he left Montreal, Canada, and came to Henderson, Sibley county, Minnesota, with his parents. There he attended the common schools and worked in his father’s mercantile establishment until he was sixteen years of age, when he went to St. Paul and entered a printing office to learn the trade. He worked on the St. Paul papers until August, 1862, when he enlisted in Company I, Tenth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and was sent to fight the Indians. He served one year between New Ulm and Litchfield, Minnesota, and in 1863 went south and served through the Civil War until 1865. He participated in seven hard-fought battles and was mustered out of the service at Fort Snelling, St. Paul, September 10, 1865. He then completed a course in commercial law and book-keeping in the Commercial Business College of St. Paul.

He worked on the Mississippi river steamers as book-keeper during the summer months and in the printing office in winters for three years, and in 1869 founded a paper for himself, located at Forest City, Minnesota. He disposed of his interests there in 1870 and established a paper at New Ulm, Minnesota, the Plaindealer, which he continued to publish three years. In 1874 he founded the St. Paul News, and after a short time removed the plant to Grand Forks, North Dakota, where he continued four years. During this time he continued his studies with Judge Cox, of New Ulm. He practiced the profession of law in Grand Forks in connection with his newspaper business, and he was also clerk of courts and United States commissioner. He became the owner of twelve hundred acres of land in North Dakota, and this farm is now under high cultivation, is well improved with buildings, valued at ten thousand dollars, and he has it well stocked with cattle and horses. He has plenty of good farm machinery, including a steam threshing outfit, and the farm is well adapted to diversified agriculture. Mr. Walsh located in Cass Lake in 1899 and assisted in organizing the village. He has his law office on Second avenue and is the village attorney.

Mr. Walsh was married, in 1868, at St. Paul, Minnesota, to Laura Griggs. Mrs. Walsh was born in Wisconsin, August 15, 1850. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Walsh, namely: Florence E., Stuart T., Abbie C. and Loren F. Mr. Walsh is an active participant in public affairs of the community in which he makes his home, and he has occupied high stations of trust in North Dakota and Minnesota. He served as a member of the North Dakota legislature from 1880 to 1896, and was president of the council and speaker of the house one session. He was prosecuting attorney and county commissioner one year in North Dakota. He is very prominent in secret society circles and is a member of the Masonic fraternity, having passed thirteen degrees in this order, the Elks, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Order of Red Men, and Grand Army of the Republic. Politically he is Republican and stands firmly for his convictions and takes an active part in local affairs. He has a host of friends in North Dakota and Minnesota, irrespective of party affiliations. (Compendium of History and Biography of Northern Minnesota, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1902, Page 385)

Name Unchanged. The chief point of interest in the election held at Koochiching was whether the name of the village should be changed from International Falls back to Koochiching. The matter has been agitated for some time past, but the result of the vote was a decided surprise, standing 80 to 20 against the change. The following officers were elected: , George H. Walsh and D. J. Glendenning, justices of the peace… (The Bemidji Daily Pioneer, Monday, March 20, 1905, Volume 2, Number 272, Page 4)

International Falls. Justices – …, George H. Walsh. (The Bemidji Daily Pioneer, Thursday, November 7, 1907, Volume 5, Number 170, Page 1)

Mrs. G. H. Walsh, wife of George H. Walsh the municipal judge at International Falls, came to Bemidji yesterday from a visit to her old home at Grand Forks, N. D., and spent the night here, leaving this morning for the “Falls.” (The Bemidji Daily Pioneer, Friday Evening, October 8, 1909, Volume 7, Number 147, Page 3)

George Walsh To Soldiers’ Home. One-Time Prominent Politician and Newspaper Man of This City Becomes Public Charge. Citizens of Grand Forks, who knew George H. Walsh when he was a prominent newspaper man and politician of this city, will be interested in the following dispatch from Minneapolis: “George H. Walsh, who served in the Thirteenth Minnesota regiment during the civil war and for many years has been prominent in North Dakota, having resided at Grand Forks, where he succeeded in locating the university and bringing other industries to the northern Red river city, has been admitted to the state Soldiers’ home at Minnehaha Falls, near here. “After serving three years in the civil war, at its conclusion Mr. Walsh returned to the northwest, learned the printing trade and during territorial days of Dakota located at Grand Forks, where he later established a newspaper and served as a United States commissioner.

Amassed Fortune. “There fortune favored him and in time he amassed a comfortable fortune. Getting into politics he was elected to the territorial legislature, where he served with distinction and was honored with the position of president of the senate. The division of the territory followed, and before the public activities of the subject of this sketch were completed he had secured the state university for Grand Forks, at the expense of great personal effort and a considerable part of his fortune. “Everywhere throughout the Dakotas Mr. Walsh was known as an astute politician, liberal, public-spirited citizen, and one of the most generous friends a man ever had. “But in time his fortune slipped from his grasp, his health became impaired, and both physical and mental decline began, with the result that the soldier boy of fifty years ago, who won honorable discharge from the service of his country, is today an inmate of the Minnehaha Falls Soldiers’ home, where he went Thursday of his own accord and where he will perhaps pass the remaining years of his life.” (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Tuesday Morning, July 11, 1911, Volume XXX, Number 217, Page 8).

DEATH CLAIMS GEORGE WALSH. Was First President of Grand Forks Village Board of Trustees. Death Occurs at Soldiers’ Home in Minneapolis, Where He Had Lived Several Years. Funeral Services Will Be Held from Episcopal Church Friday, Masonic Bodies Being in Charge of Arrangements. George H. Walsh, one of the pioneers of this city and long a prominent figure in territorial and state politics, is dead. His death occurred yesterday (April 2, 1913) at the Soldiers’ Home in Minneapolis, where he has been a resident for several years, he having been in failing health for some time. Funeral services for the deceased will be held from St. Paul’s Episcopal church Friday morning. The Blue lodge of Masons, of which he was a member, will have charge of arrangements. The hour for the funeral has been changed from Friday afternoon to Friday morning. Services will be held at the home at 10 o’clock and from the church at 10:30. Yesterday the flags on all public buildings were flown at half mast as a tribute to the man who had been prominent in the development of the city and the state.

President of City Board. Mr. Walsh was the first president of the board of trustees of the village of Grand Forks, being elected to that position at the first meeting of the board on June 5, 1878. On the first board with him were W. H. Brown, John McRae, William Budge and Frank Viets. The clerk was R. W. Cutts. Mr. Walsh was a member of the territorial council in 1879, 1881, 1883, 1885 and 1889. Twice he was elected president of that body. During 1891 and 1892, he was a member of the state board of railroad commissioners. The next year he was chosen a member of the house of representatives from this county and was chosen speaker of the body. As a member of the territorial council, Mr. Walsh was leader of the fight to bring the university to Grand Forks and it was largely due to his efforts that the institution was located here.

Established Plaindealer. On coming to Grand Forks, Mr. Walsh established the Plaindealer, which he continued to publish for several years. Later he sold the paper and engaged in the practice of law and real estate business. Shortly after his retirement from the legislature, he went to what is now Cass Lake, Minn., and he was prominent in the founding of that city. From there he went to what is now International Falls, Minn., and again was one of the main spirits in the organization of the village, which was then known as Koo Choo Ching Falls. So he may be said to have been a pioneer in the founding of three cities. Mr. Walsh was a prominent member of the Masonic bodies, having been a charter member of the Lodge of Perfection and of the Commandery in this city.

Served in Civil War. Before coming to Grand Forks, Mr. Walsh made his home in St. Paul. As a lad of 16 he enlisted in Company I, Tenth Minnesota regiment, and for three years saw active service in the Civil war. At the battle of Nashville he was promoted for bravery. He also saw duty in the Indian war. The deceased is survived by his wife, Mrs. George Walsh, of 621 North Third street; his daughters, Mrs. J. B. Wineman of Fourth avenue, and Miss Gertrude Walsh, residing with her mother, and Stewart T. Walsh of this city, and Loren F. Walsh of Ely, Minn. His father, Thomas Walsh, is still living, making his home with Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Wineman. Mr. Walsh was born in Teribonne, Canada, November 24, 1845, being 68 years old. He was wedded September 5, 1868. Walsh county, just north of Grand Forks, was named for Mr. Walsh. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Thursday, April 3, 1913, Page 8).

A FINAL TRIBUTE PAID TO PIONEER. A final tribute was paid to George H. Walsh, pioneer legislator and prominent citizen of Grand Forks for many years, yesterday morning when a large number of his old friends followed his remains to their final resting place in Memorial park cemetery. Funeral services were held from the house at 10 o’clock and from St. Paul’s Episcopal church at 10:30. The services were simple but impressive, Rev. J. K. Burleson officiating and the Blue Lodge of Masons having charge. As pallbearers, E. J. Lander, D. M. Holmes, Don McDonald, W. L. Wilder, S. S. Titus and Tracy R. Bangs acted, all of them old time friends of the deceased. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Saturday, April 5, 1913, Page 1)

Page 1. Mrs. Laura Walsh, One of City’s Earliest Pioneers, Dies at 87. Ranks of Grand Forks’ pioneers, who came here by boat and ox cart, dwindled further Thursday afternoon as Mrs. Laura M. Walsh, one of the city’s earliest residents, died at her home, 615 North Third street. She had been ill a month. Widow of George H. Walsh, early territorial legislator, lawyer and publisher, Mrs. Walsh was 87 years old. She came to Grand Forks 63 years ago, in 1874. The story of early Grand Forks, when steamships plied up and down the Red river, when settlers struggled in by ox train, is the story of the part played by Mrs. Walsh, her husband; and her three brothers, all famed captains of Red river steamers – Alexander, Bruce and John Griggs. Her maiden name was Laura Griggs. Funeral rites will be held Saturday at 2 P. M. in the church of which she was a charter member – St. Paul’s Episcopal. The body will lie in state Saturday at the church from 11 A. M. to 1:30 P. M. Pallbearers will be four grandsons, Charles, George, Donald and Thomas Walsh, of Grand Forks; a nephew, Stuart Griggs, and the husband of a granddaughter, H. J. Tierney of East Grand Forks. Rev. Homer Harrington will officiate. Mrs. Walsh was born in Cassville, Wis., Jan. 10, 1850, and moved to St. Paul, where she lived until coming here, when she was still a child. There, she married George

Page 17. H. Walsh, Sept. 1868. He died April 2, 1913. Her husband, a member of the first territorial legislature, which met in Yankton, was credited with obtaining the University for Grand Forks. In addition, he was a prominent lawyer, and publisher of the Grand Forks Plaindealer, the city’s first newspaper.

Came Here at Age of 24. The Walshes had been urged to come here by her brother, Captain Griggs. Awaiting her were her husband, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Walsh and her three brothers. Also here was a daughter, the late Mrs. J. B. Wineman. Leaving St. Paul by train in the spring of 1874, Mrs. Walsh, only 24 years old, with her three other children, arrived the first night in Brainerd. Continuing to Fargo by train the next day, Mrs. Walsh and the three children boarded a river boat there, spending two nights and a day in reaching Grand Forks. The life of Grand Forks then was centered along the banks of the river. The Walsh home stood between Third street and the river, about where the Northern States Power Co. now is located.

Became Social Leader. One of the city’s first women, she immediately became a leader of the social, cultural and religious activities. An ardent church member, her house became the stopping place for itinerant preachers. Always sure of finding a minister there, many frontier couples were married in the Walsh home. At one time she said she and Mr. Walsh were affiliated with five churches. She was one of the founders of St. Paul’s Episcopal church, formed in 1881. First Episcopal services had been held earlier aboard the famed river boat, International. She also was a member of Eastern Star. Mrs. Walsh once said, “It seemed we always pioneered.” After coming here, two of her children died in the first two months. Recalling several years ago, the fight her husband made to obtain the University of North Dakota she said a friend offered to help Mr. Walsh in swinging the vote of the territorial legislature, but “I told the friend if Mr. Walsh couldn’t handle it himself, he shouldn’t be helped.”

Memory Remained Clear. In recent years, Mrs. Walsh has been a source of much information regarding the early days of Grand Forks. She was always willing to tell of the events that happened in the late seventies and early eighties. Surviving are two sons, Stuart Walsh of Grand Forks and Loren Walsh of Ely, Minn.; one daughter, Gertrude Irene Walsh of Grand Forks; eight grandchildren, Thomas, Charles, Donald, George and Stuart Walsh of Grand Forks, Esther Munns of Grand Forks, Mrs. H. J. Tierney of East Grand Forks, and Mrs. Edward Damon of Grand Rapids, Minn., and 10 great grandchildren. (Grand Forks Herald, Friday, December 3, 1937, Volume 57, Number 28, Page 1)


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