George W. Aker


One of Earliest Grand Forks Residents Died Here Thursday Morning 

Funeral services for George W. Aker, 76, one of the oldest residents of Grand Forks, who died Thursday morning (October 30, 1924), will be held from the J. C. Sheppard residence, 71 Fourth avenue, at 2:30 o’clock Saturday afternoon.  There will be only a short service at the home and Banner lodge I. O. O. F., will take charge of the service at the cemetery.

Mr. Aker suffered a light stroke of paralysis Sunday and was unable to talk that day.  He showed improvement Monday and on Tuesday was able to walk around.  He suffered a second stroke Tuesday night and never regained consciousness.

Here in 1870.

George W. Aker was born at Milwaukee on Sept. 26, 1848.  He came from Milwaukee to McCauleyville in the fall of 1869 where he teamed during the rest of the fall.  In the spring of 1870, he came from McCauleyville to Grand Forks which was then known as the “Forks” with H. R. Vaughn who had persuaded him to live on Vaughn’s claim which embraced that section of Grand Forks now known as Riverside Park.

It was at the intersection of Viets avenue Lewis Boulevard that he built a log cabin, which was the first permanent residence in Grand Forks.  Later, he added to the cabin.  The claim was later turned over to Mr. Aker by Mr. Vaughn as compensation for having filled his agreement in living on it.

During his young manhood, he also teamed a little between Georgetown and Ft. Totten, and between Georgetown and Pembina.  At one time, he held a mail contract between points in Dakota territory.

Elected Alderman.

Mr. Aker was elected alderman from the Sixth ward in 1887 and served his ward during that and the following year.  In 1892 and 1893, he was superintendent of waterworks and street commissioner in Grand Forks.

He was a charter member of the Old Settlers association, which was formed in 1879 in Grand Forks with 20 old settlers taking part.

He is survived by three daughters; Mrs. Lee J. Noble of Ft. Smith, Ark., who was the second white child born in Grand Forks; Mrs. J. C. Sheppard, 71 Fourth avenue, and Mrs. Robt. H. Green Jr., 515 North Third street.

Mrs. Lee G. Noble is expected to arrive here this evening.

Grand Forks Herald
Friday, October 31, 1924
Volume XLIII, Number 258, Page 5



Geo. W. Aker, whose death occurred on Thursday morning, may be considered the first permanent resident of Grand Forks.  Others were here before him, hunters, freighters, stage drivers, but they were transients, birds of passage, who used “The Forks” as a stopping place rather than an abiding place.  Mr. Aker built the first permanent residence on the site of the future city, and established there a permanent home.  And, while the cabin which he erected has long since disappeared as an independent dwelling, Grand Forks remained his home for more than fifty years, and he witnessed its expansion into the village, the country town and the modern city.

Grand Forks has reached its present size and importance during the lifetime of one man who had reached maturity before his arrival here.  The time seems insignificant, yet within it the character of a territory imperial in extent has been changed.  The railroad has superseded the ox trail.  The buffalo range has been transformed into grain fields and dairy farms.  Instead of cartloads of furs, trainloads of wheat are being sent east, and the old frontier is gone forever.

Men of Mr. Aker’s temperament were needed to balance the more mercurial dispositions often met in the frontier settlements.  He was quiet, industrious, and concerned with home building rather than adventure, and those qualities were needed to give stability to the social structure.  He performed well his duties as a citizen.  He was respected and trusted by his associates.  He was loved by his friends.  He leaves the record of an honorable life.

Grand Forks Herald
Saturday, November 1, 1924
Volume XLIII, Number 259, Page 4



Funeral services for George W. Aker, pioneer resident of Grand Forks who died Thursday morning, were held Saturday afternoon from the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Sheppard, 71 Fourth avenue.  The services were attended by many old residents of the city and members of Banner and Maple Leaf lodges, I. O. O. F.  Rev. F. Halsey Ambroso officiated at the home and members of Banner lodge conducted the services at the cemetery. 

Honorary pallbearers, selected from among the old timers of the community, were:  Joe Colosky of Manvel, D. M. Holmes, John Milne, James Turner, Sr., Joe Greenwood and John C. Cromarty. 

Active pallbearers, selected from among members of Banner lodge, I. O. O. F., of which Mr. Aker was a member for many years, were:  G. W. Buckingham, Sr., Jacob Welsh, Jacob Graff, A. B. Paxson, A. G. Schultheis and T. W. Rickett.

Grand Forks Herald
Sunday, November 2, 1924
Volume XLIII, Number 260, Page 5


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