William C. Nash

 

Yesterday morning about 10 o’clock the teachers and scholars of the Baptist Sunday school, together with the parents of some of the children and young friends of the school, all joined in having a good time, assembled at the church, where conveyances were soon in readiness to take the happy picnickers to the beautiful grove of Mr. W. C. Nash, one mile south of the city on the Minnesota side of the raging “Ruby.” Numerous were the baskets and plentiful the excellent lunch which had been previously provided by kind and loving friends. In due time these baskets were broken into and great was the quantity of fragments left when all had feasted. The day was happily and joyously spent in the numerous games which help to make a good picnic party a success, and surely this was one of those. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Friday Morning, August 7, 1891, Volume XX, Number 227, Page 5)

Page 1002. WILLIAM C. NASH, who enjoys the distinction of being the first to settle in the vicinity of Grand Forks, is now one of the widely known and most honored men of the state. He resides at East Grand Forks on a pleasant farm, where he located in 1870. Our subject was born in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, June 1, 1833, and was a son of Ephraim and Lois (Warner) Nash. His parents were natives of New York, and they removed to Pennsylvania and engaged in farming, and later returned to New York, where they died. The family originally came from Massachusetts. Our subject has three brothers, two of whom now reside in Washington and one in Minnesota. Our subject passed his boyhood in New York and Michigan, attending school at Adrian, of the latter state, for three years, and in 1854 he went to Harrisburg, Kentucky, where he followed general merchandising until 1860. He then accompanied General Hatch on his campaign through the northwest after Indians, and he accompanied the expedition as far as Pembina, North Dakota, spending the winters of 1863-64 in Forts Garry and Pembina, Canada, and while there acted as agent for the government, and succeeded in bringing Little Six and Medicine Bottle, two Indian chiefs, back to the United States under arrest. He spent the following summer in Chicago, and in the fall was appointed sutler at Fort Abercrombie, and held that position five years, during which time he was contracting, and in 1870 built the post

Page 1003. at Pembina, and made the first brick used in Dakota. He went to East Grand Forks in 1870, and entered claim to the land on which he now resides, and he was the first settler of that region, and has held continuous residence there since that date. He was engaged in carrying United State mail in the early days from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina, and used dogs and sleds for the purpose, and he served four years as postmaster in East Grand Forks. His home was used by the early settlers as a temporary fort. Our subject was married in St. Peter, Minnesota, in 1869, to Miss Ida V. Slaughter, a native of Minnesota. Her family was one of the old families of Virginia. Seven children, four sons and three daughters, have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Nash. Mr. Nash has been a member of the Masonic fraternity for the past forty-three years, and is well known in Masonic circles. He is a Democrat politically, but never sought public preferment or filed public office. His portrait found elsewhere, is an integral part of this sketch, for it serves to reveal the real man. (Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1900)

Page 224. WILLIAM NASH, one of the prominent and influential citizens of the Red River Valley, is a resident of section 1, East Grand Forks township, Polk county, Minnesota, where he is engaged in a general farming and stock-raising business. He is a native of Pennsylvania, born in New Castle, on the 1st day of June, 1833, and is the son of Ephraim and Louisa (Warner) Nash, natives of New York State. William Nash spent his younger days in the common schools of his native State and Michigan, where he attended school for three years. After completing his common school education, he decided to pursue the study of medicine, and was planning to attend the medical department at Ann Arbor, Michigan. His eyes cause him so much trouble that he was obliged to give up his intended course in medicine. He then removed to Kentucky, where he remained a few years, engaged in the mercantile business, and in 1862 removed to St. Paul, Minnesota. He remained in the capital of Minnesota for one year, being there for his health. In 1863 he went to Pembina, Dakota Territory, and from there to what was Fort Garry, now Winnipeg, Manitoba, and remained some time, recuperating. The following summer he spent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois, and in the spring of 1864 went to Fort Abercrombie, where he was employed as sutler and Government contractor. He remained there five or six years, and during that time had the contract to furnish wood and hay for

Page 225. the fort. He also held the contract to supply the brick to build Fort Pembina and also the contract to carry the mail between Fort Abercrombie and Winnipeg. There was a trackless stretch of country to pass through and the Indians in that region were a source of constant danger, and it was next to impossible to secure a driver. Mr. Nash made the trip with dog teams, and many were the dangers which he encountered during those early days. At one time when there were but two making the trip they were attacked by Indians, and barely escaped with their lives. After that Mr. Nash could secure no one to make the journey with him, expect a young stranger, and they made the trip in safety. Indians were not the only cause of danger. Many times the drivers would be so badly frozen that Mr. Nash would have to make the trip himself. He remained in this capacity until 1869, when he removed to what is now East Grand Forks, Polk county, Minnesota, and located on section 1, East Grand Forks township, where he has since remained. Through his influence with Senator Ramsey, the post-office of Nashville was established and also the appointment of the postmaster. He also was the means of the postal route being established between Crookston and East Grand Forks. When the village of East Grand Forks had attained a moderate size, through Mr. Nash’s influence the name was changed to East Grand Forks, and principally through him it received its city charter. He is one of the substantial and well-to-do farmers of the county, and without doubt one of the most influential agriculturists in Polk county. He is extensively engaged in general farming operations and has a well cultivated farm of 700 acres, lying on the banks of the Red Lake river. One hundred acres of his beautiful farm is timber land, and he has a fine and commodious residence just in the suburbs of the city.

Mr. Nash was united in marriage in St. Peter, Minnesota, on the 19th day of January, 1869, to Miss Ida V. Slaughter, the daughter of Robert and Mary (Clark) Slaughter, natives of Virginia and Ohio, respectively. The grandfather of Mrs. Nash studied law with Henry Clay, and was an influential citizen in the locality in which he lived. Mr. and Mrs. Nash are the parents of the following named children – Lois, Mary I., Nellie K., William C., Jr., Dudley L., Robert F. and Harold S. Mr. Nash has held all of the school offices in his district, including school director, treasurer, etc. He is a member of the A. F. and A. M., of the Grand Forks lodge and chapter. In political matters he affiliates with the democratic party, and is a man of more than ordinary education and ability. He is actively interested in all movements calculated to benefit either town or county, and is highly esteemed and respected by all who know him. (Album of Biography of the Famous Valley of the Red River of the North and the Park Regions, Alden, Ogle & Company, Chicago, 1889)

THE EARLY DAYS. Interesting Reminiscences by W. C. Nash, one of the Pioneers Settlers in Grand Forks – The Chase for Little Six and Medicine Bottle, the Leaders of the Massacre of 1862 – Pioneer Business House of Grand Forks. W. C. Nash of East Grand Forks, came from St. Paul with an expedition organized to capture Little Six and Medicine Bottle, who were the leaders in the 1862 massacre. The party camped on the site of the present residence of Major J. G. Hamilton. Mr. Nash relates to the North Dakota Record some interesting reminiscences. His party found that Little Six and Medicine Bottle were on British soil, and says Mr. Nash, as this was the time when our government was having trouble in the Mason and Slidell affair, President Lincoln did not approve their doing anything to make greater complications between our country and England. The troops did not cross the line, but often individuals did. Nash’s party sent out a Frenchman who brought the two Indians in. They were finally secured and bound and taken to Fort Pembina, where they were kept until spring, when they were taken to Fort Snelling, had a trial, were found guilty and hung. The Indians were captured when drunk and were hurried across the line strapped to dog sledges. They awakened from their drunken stupor to find themselves in the log jail at Pembina. Frequent attempts were made to kill them by the apparent “accidental” discharge of fire arms. Several times bullets passed through the clothing of Little Six, but the fates saved him for the gallows. Some of the crimes of which he was guilty were the most atrocious recorded in the annals of Indian warfare. Mr. Nash speaks of the location of the store of the Hudson Bay company at Grand Forks in 1871, when they moved up from Georgetown.

They built a store on the corner of South Third street, Kittson avenue, where now stands the Union National Bank building and Platky’s store. This store was known afterwards as Rae’s T store, and was removed a few years ago to Fifth street. They also built a steam saw mill which was located on the river bank back of in the rear of the present Herald building, on lands where now stands the North Dakota Milling association’s mill and elevator. They also built the Northwestern hotel on the corner of Third street and DeMers avenue where now stands Bye’s clothing store and Trepanier’s drug store. This was kept by Col. Frank Viets, now of the Hotel Dacotah. Viets afterwards built the Viets house, now known as the Richardson house. The old Northwestern was removed to the East Side of North Third street, on the corner of International avenue; remodeled, and now known as the Arlington house, and is kept by Col. Knudson. Among those who were residents of Grand Forks in those days were Capt. Alexander Griggs, Thomas Walsh, Hon. M. L. McCormack, James Elton, J. W. Anderson, Geo. B. Winship, Col. Frank Viets, Capt. H. E. Maloney, proprietor of the Ingalls house, D. M. Holmes, Nick Hoffman, Dr. Haxton – who died from smallpox – W. G. Woodruff, the lawyer, James Jenks, who died two years ago at St. Paul, David Blair, Wm. Budge, O. S. Freeman, D. P. Reeves, Jacob Eshelman, J. J. Cavanagh, the first city treasurer of Grand Forks, W. C. Nash, now postmaster of East Grand Forks, et. al.

Prior to 1870 the Hudson Bay company had absolute control of practically all the trading interests west of the Canadian provinces. They even appointed the governor for Prince Rupert’s land, which, until the boundary was established in 1823 by Long’s expedition, was held to embrace much of North Dakota. A portion of the Selkirk settlement of 1812 was on American soil, as indeed was the old fort of Capt. Henry, and even later establishments. The old policy was to confine their business principally to the fur trade, but when Donald O. Smith succeeded Governor McTavish it was to trade with all the people. The post established at Grand Forks, as a result of this new policy, was continued until about 1879, when they sold out their extensive real estate interests to J. P. McKelvey and E. V. Holcomb, having determined upon a concentration of their business principally at Winnipeg. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Sunday Morning, December 19, 1897, Volume 17, Number 43, Page 9)

Page 1073. William C. Nash is one of the pioneer residents of East Grand Forks, having located here on his present homestead in the year 1870, and was the first settler in this region. He was engaged in carrying United States mail in the early days from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina, using dogs and sleds for the purpose, and served for about four years as postmaster of East Grand Forks. His home was used by the early settlers as a temporary fort. Mr. Nash was born in Newcastle, Pa., June 1, 1833, and was the son of Ephriam and Lois (Warner) Nash, who were natives

Page 1074. of New York state and moved to Pennsylvania, where they farmed for several years, and then returned to New York, where they both died. The family originally came from Massachusetts. Two of their sons now reside in Washington state and one other besides William C. resides in Minnesota. William spent most of his youthful days in New York and Michigan; he attended school at Adrian, Mich., for three years, and in 1854 he went to Harrisburg, Ky., where he engaged in general merchandising and followed the business until 1860. He then accompanied General Hatch on his campaign through the Northwest after Indians, as far as Pembina, N. D., spending the winters of 1863-4 in Forts Garry and Pembina, Canada, and while there acted as agent for the government and succeeded in bringing Little Six and Medicine Bottle, two Indian chiefs, back to the United States under arrest. The following summer he spent in Chicago, and in the fall was appointed sutler at Fort Abercrombie and held that position five years, during which time he was contracting, and in 1870 built the post at Pembina and made the first brick used in Dakota. Mr. Nash was married in St. Peter, Minn., in 1869, to Miss Ida V. Slaughter, a native of Ohio; her family was one of the old families of Virginia. Seven children – four sons and three daughters – were born to Mr. and Mrs. Nash. Mr. Nash has been a prominent member of the Masonic Order for the past fifty years and is highly esteemed in the order. He is a Democrat in political sentiments, but has never sought or held public office. He is a man of broad and liberal views, and is considered one of the most substantial and influential citizens of the Red River valley. (History of The Red River Valley Past and Present, Volume II, C. F. Cooper & Company, Chicago, 1909)

AGED PIONEER SUCCUMBS HERE. William C. Nash, First Settler in East Grand Forks, Dies of Heart Failure. Funeral arrangements for the burial of William C. Nash, aged 84, first resident in East Grand Forks, who died at his home on Pleasant avenue in this city shortly before 7 o’clock yesterday morning (February 3, 1917), have not been completed, pending word from relatives. Deceased had been in good health up to the time of his death, and succumbed to an attack of heart failure before rising yesterday morning. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Sunday, February 4, 1917, Page 7)

Arrangements May Be Completed Today. Expected That All of Sons and Daughters of W. C. Nash Will Arrive Here for Last Rites. Funeral arrangements for the burial of William C. Nash, aged 84, pioneer, who died at his home on Pleasant avenue in this city early Saturday morning, will not be completed until this afternoon or tomorrow, when word can be received from the absent members of the family. It is expected that all of the surviving sons and daughters of the deceased will be here to attend the funeral. Dudley L. Nash, of Minot; Robert Nash of Elgin, Minn., and Mrs. W. K. Chandler of Winnipeg, Man., children of deceased, already have arrived in the city to attend the funeral. W. C. Nash, Jr., of Wichita, Kan,; Fred Nash of Pasadena, Cal.; Mrs. J. C. Colson, of Trinidad, Colo., and Mrs. D. E. Sussen of North Battleford, Sask., surviving children, are yet to arrive. It is probable that if the remainder of the members of the family can arrive here, funeral services will be held on Wednesday from the home. Interment will be made in Memorial Park cemetery, Grand Forks. Meanwhile, the body is lying in state at the residence. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Tuesday, February 6, 1917, Page 7)

FUNERAL TO BE HELD HERE TODAY. Last Rites Over Body of W. C. Nash, Deceased Pioneer, to Be Held From Episcopal Church. Funeral services for the late William C. Nash, pioneer of this city, who died at his home on Pleasant avenue, East Grand Forks, early Saturday morning, will be held this afternoon at 2 o’clock from the St. Paul’s Episcopal church, Grand Forks, Rev. Jonathon Watson, rector of the church, officiating. Special services in charge of Acacia Lodge, A. F. & A. M., will be conducted at the Masonic Temple at 1 o’clock. The Blue Lodge burial service will be held in the auditorium of the temple. The remains will lie in state at the temple between the hours of 10 and 12 o’clock. The public is invited to attend the ceremonies at the temple. Active pallbearers are: G. R. Jacobi, A. G. Schultheis, Rev. C. E. Coles, J. B. Wineman, C. C. Gowran and E. J. Lander. Honorary pallbearers have been selected from among the older friends of the deceased, as follows: James Elton, John Nelson, D. M. Holmes, Don McDonald, W. L. Wilder and A. I. Hunter. Interment will be made in Memorial Park cemetery. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Thursday, February 8, 1917, Page 7)

 

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