James T. Sullivan


Page 339. JAMES T. SULLIVAN. Having had a large share of difficulties and losses in his career as a Polk county farmer, and yet having won a substantial and impressive success through his operations as such by his good management and persistent industry, James T. Sullivan, proprietor of the Sullivan farm, which comprises the North half of Section 30, Sullivan township and is four miles and a half northeast of East Grand Forks, has shown that he possesses the qualities which always count well in the struggle for advancement among men. He was born in Lanark county, province of Ontario, Canada, December 10, 1853. He was prepared for the work of teaching school but did not enter the profession. His first money was earned as a timekeeper in a lumber camp when he was eighteen years old. He passed eleven months in the camp and on the river, and received a check for $270 for his services. The next season he returned to his father’s farm in Canada. His father came to Minnesota and Polk county in 1877 and the next year James T. and the rest of the family joined him here. The children all remained with their parents until 1881.

On the arrival of the family in this county in 1878 the father filed on claims for his sons, that of James T. being the Northeast quarter of Section 30, on which he now lives. Before he took possession of his claim it was jumped, but the man who jumped it afterward abandoned it and Mr. Sullivan retained the ownership of it without a contest. In 1882 he returned to his native county (country) and there married Miss Elizabeth Hollinger whom he at once brought to the new dwelling he had built on his land in 1881. He also bought the Northwest quarter of Section 30, and thus became the owner of the whole North half of that section, his new purchase having been improved by its former owner, O. E. Thoresen. For many years Mr. Sullivan devoted his attention to raising grain and did well at it. But during the last six years he has been keeping cows on a large scale and breeding high grade Holstein cattle. His herd consists of at least fifty head as a rule, and he milks twenty-five cows regularly, and to be supplied with feed for his cattle he uses two silos of generous proportions.

Mr. Sullivan has been township clerk ten years, township assessor fifteen years and a member of the school board and its clerk and treasurer from the time when the school district was organized. His wife died in 1908 after they had lived together twenty-six years. She was the mother of five children one of whom, a daughter named Stella, died in 1898, aged eight. The four who are living are Charles and Wellington, who are living at home, and Elizabeth and Wilfred, who are married. Elizabeth is the wife of Ralph Van Voores, who is employed in the office of the Northern Pacific railroad at East Grand Forks, and Wilfred married Miss Emily Jacobson, a resident of that city also. On November 8, 1911, Mr. Sullivan contracted a second marriage, which united him with Miss Elizabeth Ryan. She was a teacher in the Polk county public schools for fourteen years, teaching her first school at Mallory when she was but seventeen years old. She was also a stenographer in a law office in Grand Forks three years, and cared for her parents

Page 340. to the end of their lives. She belongs to all the clubs and other useful organizations in her neighborhood and is an active worker in them and the church societies and a very forceful and effective occassional speaker. She and her husband are active members of the Catholic church of the Sacred Heart. Hail and other storms have seriously injured Mr. Sullivan’s crops at times, and in 1887 (June 16) a cyclone destroyed a new horse barn which he had just built and injured his house, causing a loss of several hundred dollars. In 1884, when his whole crop was destroyed by hail he was appointed deputy county auditor under P. J. McGuire, who was the auditor for years but is now a resident of St. Paul. (Compendium of History and Biography of Polk County, Minnesota, R. I. Holcombe and William H. Bingham, W. H. Bingham & Co., Minneapolis, 1916)

James T. Sullivan Dies At Farm Home. Heart Stroke Fatal to Pioneer Resident of East Grand Forks Community. James T. Sullivan, 79 years old, a resident of the East Grand Forks farming community for more than 50 years, died at 3 P. M. Wednesday following a heart attack. Death occurred at Mr. Sullivan’s farm home, three miles east of East Grand Forks. His brother, Mayor T. A. Sullivan of East Grand Forks is in Minneapolis and will return today. Active in all community affairs, Mr. Sullivan was township clerk for 10 years, township assessor for 15 years and a member of the school board from the time the township was organized until several years ago. He also was secretary of the Huntsville Mutual Fire Insurance Co. of East Grand Forks. Born in Lanark county, Ontario, December 10, 1853, Mr. Sullivan came to this vicinity when 26 years old. He settled on a homestead near the city in 1879, and three years later married Elizabeth Holinger. Four children survive. Mrs. Sullivan died in 1908, and Mr. Sullivan married Elizabeth Ryan in 1911. Besides his widow, Mr. Sullivan leaves three sons and a daughter. They are Charles, Wilfred and Wellington, all of East Grand Forks; and Mrs. Ralph VanVoores of White Bear, Minn. Two brothers, Mayor Sullivan and Mike Sullivan reside in East Grand Forks, and one sister, Mrs. Neil Cummings, lives in Glendale, Cal. Funeral arrangements will be completed this morning. (Grand Forks Herald, Thursday, November 19, 1931, Volume 51, Number 19, Page 1)


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