Sanford C. Cady

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They were joined in August, 1869, by Sanford C. Cady, who also put up a cabin during the following year and on the land now covered by Viets’ addition to Grand Forks.  These parties were engaged in carrying the mail by sub-contract with Blakely & Carpenter from Breckenridge to Pembina and were found there with one Antione Gerard or Geroux, a Canadian Frenchman, in the fall of 1870.

Sanford C. Cady is a native of Ohio.  Like many other of the old time frontiersmen, he came to Dakota in the employment of the government, and was engaged between 1866 and 1869 as Chief Wagon-master in hauling supplies from Fort Abercrombie to the frontier posts.  He quit the government service in the spring of 1869 and engaged to haul goods to Fort Garry, taking through three ox-teams, the wagons being loaded with a stock of boots and shoes, and he received $350 for hauling this freight. 

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Mr. Cady was the first postmaster of Grand Forks.  Some correspondence passed between Cady and (Enos) Stutsman relative to the matter, and, among other things, the question of naming the office (in Grand Forks) was broached.  Mr. Cady suggested Grand Forks, a name, he states, already used by the Canadian French employees of the Hudson Bay company and others.
Mr. Cady’s (postmaster) commission, which is still in his possession, bears the signature of John A. J. Creswell, Postmaster General under President Grant, and shows that the appointment was made June 15, that Mr. Cady qualified July 18, while the commission is dated August 2, 1870.

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In the summer of 1871 a telegraph line was constructed between the point selected by the Northern Pacific engineers for the railroad crossing of Red river (Moorhead) and Fort Pembina, the line following the stage road.  It was put up by the Northwestern Telegraph company, of Kenosha, Wis., and was owned and operated by them.  Sanford C. Cady contracted to furnish and set the poles, which were cut along the river.  After the line was completed to Pembina, Cady was assigned the position of line repairer.  This was the first telegraph line that was constructed in North Dakota.

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The first wedding in this county (Grand Forks) wherein both bride and groom were purely white people was that of S. C. Cady

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and Sarah J. Fadden, who were married at Grand Forks September 29, 1871, by John E. Harrison, a justice of the peace.  Miss Fadden was a daughter of John Fadden, Sr., who came with his family from McLeod county, Minn.

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The letter of (Enos) Stutsman concerning the naming of the Grand Forks post-office in 1870, was given, Mr. Cady states, to the Old Settlers Association.  R. M. Probstfield thinks the name to have been in use for nearly or quite 100 years, both himself and S. C. Cady stating that it is from “le grand fourche” the French of the voyageurs and trappers for “the great forks.”

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Another act of the county commissioners of the same year was to grant to John Fadden a charter for a ferry across Red river at Grand Forks at $21 per annum for five years.  Fadden’s house was located nearly opposite the point of land formed by the confluence of the Red and Red Lake rivers, and here the ferry was established so that those who crossed the main stream could be landed or taken on just below the mouth of Red Lake river.  The road on the Minnesota side that led from the landing up through the timber is still to be seen there, for it is occasionally used by persons who drive down to the river for sand.  This locality is now spanned by two bridges, one over either stream.

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In 1876 Frank Viets purchased the Fadden claim near the confluence of the rivers.

History of Grand Forks County With Special Reference to the First Ten Years of Grand Forks City
H. V. Arnold
Pioneer Press, Larimore, North Dakota, 1900


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Sanford C. Cady, N. D. Pioneer, Who Helped Found Grand Forks And Gave It a Name Dies at 85

First Postmaster of City Served During Civil War; Captured Prisoner and Exchanged; Marriage Was Earliest Union of Whites in Present City.

Sanford C. Cady, 85 years old, one of the founders of Grand Forks, and who gave the city its name, died at the Soldiers’ Home at Lisbon Thursday from illness incident to old age.

He was a veteran of the Civil War, the first postmaster at Grand Forks, and played a prominent part in the early development of the Red River Valley.

Surviving him are his wife, four daughters, and three sons.  One daughter, Mrs. Wallace Brandt, lives near Emerado, and another, Mrs. Pat Carl, Near Arvilla.

Mr. Cady will be buried will military honors at Arvilla Monday.  Services will be held at the Arvilla Presbyterian church at 1 o’clock Monday afternoon under the auspices of Grand Forks Post, American Legion.  Rev. J. G. Moore will officiate at the service.

Served in War

Born in Washington county, Ohio, in 1844 Mr. Cady enlisted in an Indiana regiment at the outbreak of the Civil War.  At the Battle of Perryville in September, 1862, he was captured by the Confederates, but was exchanged a few weeks later.  Subsequently he served under General Sherman in his campaign on the Yazoo river in Mississippi, and with General Banks in the Texas expedition.  He was one of the builders of the dams in the Red River of the South by which Admiral Porter’s grounded gunboats were floated, and saved from capture.

He was wounded three times during the war, before being mustered out of the army July 14, 1865.

Mr. Cady then came west and entered the government service as a wagoner, hauling supplies to Fort Abercrombie and other frontier posts.  In the spring of 1869 he quit government service to freight 

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goods to Fort Garry, and took up his residence at the Forks of the Red and Red Lake rivers.

Named Grand Forks

Being joined by several other settlers about the same time, Mr. Cady suggested the establishment of a postoffice at the settlement and after some correspondence with Enos Stutsman of Pembina county, the office was established by the government.  On the suggestion of Mr. Cady it was named “Grandes Fourches” given to the junction of the two streams by the French Canadian boatmen.

In the fall of 1870 Mr. Cady built a cabin near the present site of the city waterworks.  This was the first postoffice, and Mr. Cady was appointed postmaster.  John Stewart who operated the stage station, was his deputy.

Mr. Cady’s marriage to Sarah J. Fadden, daughter of John Fadden, who operated a ferry here, took place in 1871.  It was the first marriage of white people to take place in Grand Forks.

Shortly after this Mr. Cady took an active part in building the telegraph line north to Pembina, and in other enterprises which led to the opening up of the territory.

Engaged in Farming

He engaged in farming in Pembina county for some time, and also operated a farm west of Larimore.  Later he was town marshal of Larimore, and was also in charge of the Larimore pumping plant.

For several years past Mr. Cady had made his home with his daughter, Mrs. Carl, between Arvilla and Gilby.  A few months ago, being in feeble health, he went to the Soldiers’ Home at Lisbon.

Grand Forks Herald
Sunday, December 15, 1929
Volume XLIX, Number 39 


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