Laying the Cornerstone


Yesterday’s Ceremonies.  Brilliant Success.  The Masonic Grand Lodge.  And The Governor Present.  The New University Formally Inaugurated With Great Éclat.

Nothing could be more auspicious than the golden dawn which ushered in the day set apart for the inaugural ceremonies connected with the institution of the new University of North Dakota.

In fact the whole enterprise, from its very inception has been favored with a roseate light, and all circumstances connected with its progress seem to unite to promise that we may certainly look forward to the career of success and usefulness which its founders contemplated.  One of the brightest, crispest, freshest, most palpably, wholesome days of the most glorious autumn that even Dakota ever saw, crowned the object of the day’s proceedings with an approving and sunlit smile.


of the day had been fully outlined in previous issues of the HERALD, and the programme was carried out in its exactness.  In the morning there was a meeting of the Board of Regents called to confirm the action of the committee to whom the arrangements had been entrusted, but the work had been so well done that the approval was a mere nominal necessity and the meeting was dispensed with.  About the hour of noon there was a very perceptible rustle of excitement or anticipation as the preparations for the organization of the procession began to unfold themselves.  First, a band man with his neat Cadet uniform made his appearance, and was soon joined by a citizen in Fireman’s uniform and the twain having gone in to “see a man,” were surprised as they wiped their chins on the sidewalk by a third and a fourth and so on, until from the crude elements quite an imposing array of the body politic in the various branches of public service had gathered.


quite a number of distinguished visitors arrived, including His Royal Highness, Governor Ordway, Gen. Beadle, Supt. of Instruction for Minnesota, Kiehle, Grand Master Gifford of the Dakota Grand Lodge of Free Masons, and many other members of the order.  The Masonic body assembled in Grand Lodge meeting in the Hall of Acacia Lodge over W. H. Brown’s hardware store at 12:30 o’clock, where the visiting brethren were hospitably received by the local members of the order.


had been called for dress parade at 1 o’clock and turned out in strong force promptly on time, presenting a display for which we can safely challenge comparison, in point of neatness of appearance, accuracy in drill, excellence of physique and respectability of standing as citizens.  It is a body of men of whom the community have reason to be proud, and who ought to receive the most liberal and constant encouragement.  The firemen were, however, doomed to have their patience sorely tried before the regular formation of the procession was entered upon, but they stood the infliction with remarkable equanimity, whiling away the tedium of delay by sallies of humor and attention to the remarkable gyrastic performances of Private Judge Cutts, who executed some remarkable feats of dexterity.  Finally


and the first “order of business” of the day entered upon in the following order, the procession forming down Third street, and following the route laid out in our last issue:

GRAND MARSHALL.  (Capt. U. O. Krause.)
The Cadet Band of seventeen pieces, with W. H. Brown as Drum Major.
The Governor of the Territory supported by Regents Teel and Twamley.
Mayor McCormack.
Members of the City Council.
Marshall Col. Smith.
The Masonic Body.
The Fire Department.
Citizens in Carriages.
Citizens on Foot.

The latter element was conspicuously small, owing to the facts:  First, that the Masonic body and Fire Organizations made so heavy a draft on the available force of pedestrians.  Second, that the citizens of Grand Forks don’t have to go on foot to any great extent.


were out in full force, and gave an intimation to the public of its strength and respectability by a parade, including most of the leading men and reputable citizens of the city.


as we have previously remarked, reflected by their numbers and bearing no small credit upon the city.  They were led by Chief Engineer Whitbeck and Assistant Chief James Ryan, whose stalwart forms fitted them for the place of prominence, no less than their well-known intrepidity in time of action.  The Alert Hose Company was led by Foreman J. K. Winter, the Phoenix Hose and Ladder Company by Foreman J. H. Snyder, the Star Hose No. 2 by Foreman Geo. D. Lay, who as our citizens are aware has given many proofs that there is no “delay” about him when the alarm sounds, and the Relief Hose Co. No. 3, by Foreman O. E. Palmer.

The procession which just filled the space from International avenue to Kittson avenue, completed the circuit appointed in the programme and disbanded at the 3d street crossing of the railway.


A few moments after the breaking up of the procession, the train sped away to the grounds near Eshelman Park, carrying a large portion of the participants, while at the same time there was quite a procession of carriages, filled with citizens and their ladies, bound for the same destination.

The scene at the site of the new University, on the participants and spectators being to some extent organized, was quite a novel and attractive one.  A platform had been raised and neatly decorated at the point of interest, the southeast corner of the building, where the stone lay ready to receive into its granite bosom the relics which might be forthcoming, and to take its appointed place.  On this were the Governor, or as he calls himself, “the Executive of the territory,” the Grand Lodge of Masons of the territory, the Regents of the university, and many leading citizens, surmounted by a fringe of the inevitable small boy, who is just as numerous, apparently, in Grand Forks, as in any other part of the world.  Surrounding this point was the body of Masons, and the members of the fire department, while an outer circle again of soberly attired citizens was enclosed by a fair attendance of the fair sex, in carriages.


After some delay the dedication services were opened by a brief address by Grand Master Gifford.  He said they had come together to lay a corner stone with the ceremonial of the Masonic order.  It was the first corner stone of a public institution, he believed, which the Grand Lodge had been called upon to lay in the territory of Dakota.  He congratulated the people of Grand Forks on this occasion and hoped that to-day they were laying the foundations of a strong and stable institution in their midst.  The Masons had great pleasure in meeting their fellow citizens on such an occasion.

He then called upon the Grand Secretary, Mr. McCoy, to receive the various contributions to the contents of the stone which were as follows:

A $1 silver coin, on which was engraved P. B. Broughton, Builder; copy of a Norwegian paper of the Tidende; Roster of the Masonic body of Grand Forks, a copy of the Grand Forks Plaindealer of Sept. 28, ’83; a copy of the Grand Forks DAILY HERALD of Oct. 2nd, 1883; copy of the Grand Forks WEEKLY HERALD of Sept. 28, 1883; a list of the grand officers and visiting members present on the occasion, a token presented by the Board of Regents; a U. S. Treasury stamp, by Bro. West, of Yankton; a copy of his last annual message with stamp and coin, by Governor Ordway; the “Common Schools of Dakota,” by E. A. Healy; a 3 cent stamp, by M. W. Bro. Wheeler; a 3 cent coin, by Grand Master Gifford; a 1 cent coin, by Master Chas. E. McCoy; coin by Silver Star Lodge, No. 7; coin by M. Sackett; a 2 cent postage stamp, by Mrs. Goff; postal card, by Rev. Mr. Cary; card R. N. Brock; coin, from Grand Forks Knights of Pythias, No. 2; Chinese coin, by Wm. Long; Norwegian coin, by John Croman; badge, by Alert Hose Co., No. 1; coin, by A. L. Failor; a silver dollar, by the Grand Forks Cadet Band; 1 cent coin of 1879, by John Scrimshaw; an envelope, addressed Rev. F. W. Iddings, in which had been enclosed the draft for the first payment on the University; a nickel of 1883, by Miss Fannie Davis; a defunct excursion ticket, by J. A. Carr; a card by Prof. Kiehle, orator of the day.


The following is a list of the grand officers and members of the Masonic body in attendance upon the ceremony:

A. S. Gifford, Grand Master.
H. M. Wheeler, Deputy Grand Master.
L. M. Pratt, S. G. W.
J. L. Richmond, J. G. W.
M. T. Caswell, G. Treas.
C. J. McCoy, G. Sec y.
Eliphaz Smith, G. Mar.
N. W. Cary, C. Chap.
J. C. West, G. Sen. Deacon.
D. P. McLaurin, G. Jun. Deacon.
M. A. Walsh, G. Sen. Steward.
A. W. Dunn, G. Jun. Steward.
G. H. Walsh, G. Sword Bearer.
James Elton, G. Pursulvant.
Frank J. Drew, Grand Tylen.

Brothers G. B. Winship, W. B. Doyle, S. F. Markham, W. D. Hulbert, M. A. Walsh, D. D. Carruth, Wm. Budge, I. P. Armstrong, S. C. Ormiston, A. Clavet, Max. Stern, James Duckworth, John Connolly, C. P. Anderson, O. F. Linstrum W. B. Hayes, Alex. C. Mather, D. P. Reeves, Jas. A. Jenks, N. G. Ordway, F. W. Tuttle, John McClory, C. Myer, D. M. Holmes, J. S. Eshelman, Geo. A. Wheeler, J. H. Bosard, Alex. Oldham, Geo. B. Clifford, A. D. Sackett, Thos. C. Shapeligh, Chas. E. Holt, Geo. N. Ives, T. C. Canniff, Jno. S. Cole, W. H. Ingalls, Hans Spilde, A. Magnussen, John G. Roach, O. H. Lucken, Henry Goheen, M. Watts, J. E. Dyke, Frank Dodge, J. Buchanan, J. Nelson Jones, John Zerfass, Jr., S. W. McLaughlin, Ed. Neil, Jr., James Twamley, W. S. Russell, C. D. Fuller, John W. Cochrane, D. McMichal, R. J. Bratsman, John May, S. F. Beede.

The proper officers of the Lodge were then called upon and the square, the plumb and the level applied, and the report made that in each instance the craftsman had faithfully performed his work.

The Grand Master then received the working tools from the principal architect and having tried the stone, proclaimed:

“I have tried and proved this stone by plumb, square and level, and pronounce it to be well formed, true and trusty.”

Acting Deputy Grand Master Wheeler then presented the Grand Master with a silver vessel containing the No. 1 Hard of nourishment, of which the Grand Master scattered upon the stone.

Grand Senior Warden Platt then presented a silver goblet saying, “Most worshipful, I present you with the wine of nourishment,” of which the Grand Master poured upon the stone.

Grand Junior Warden Richmond then presented a silver vessel saying, “Most Worshipful, I present you with the oil of joy.”

The Grand Master having poured of the oil on the stone, made the following invocation:

May the all-bounteous Author of Nature bless the inhabitants of this place with all the necessities, conveniences, and comforts of life; assist in the erection and completion of this building; protect the workmen against every accident; long preserve this structure from decay; and grant to us all a supply of the Corn of nourishment, the Wine of refreshment, and the Oil of joy.  So mote it be, Amen.

The Grand Master then addresses the assembly as follows:

Men and brethren here assembled, be it known unto you, that we be lawful Masons, true and faithful to the laws of our country, and engaged, by solemn obligations, to erect magnificent buildings, to be serviceable to the brethren, and to fear God the Great Architect of the Universe.  We have among us, concealed from the eyes of all men, secrets which can not be divulged, and which have never been found out; but these secrets are lawful and honorable, and not repugnant to the laws of God or man.  They were intrusted, in peace and honor, to the Masons of ancient times, and having been faithfully transmitted to us, it is our duty to convey them unimpaired to the latest posterity.  Unless our craft were good and our callings honorable, we should not have lasted for so many centuries, nor should we have been honored with the patronage of so many illustrious men in all ages, who have ever shown themselves ready to promote our interests and defend us from all adversaries.  We are assembled here to-day in the face of all, to build a house, which we pray God may deserve to prosper, by becoming a place of concourse for good men, and promoting harmony and brotherly love throughout the world, till time shall be no more.

He then struck the stone three times with his “hiram” and the brethren present joined in the grand honors.

The Grand Master then delivered over to the architect the implements of building, and made the following address:  (must have been omitted)


The Grand Master having concluded the ceremonies by the benediction, then introduced Governor Ordway.

The governor said he was glad to be able to meet the citizens of Grand Forks and the dwellers in this favored and beautiful valley of the Red River of the north.  It was a very great satisfaction to him to have an opportunity of witnessing this ceremony and of participating in a work that had been carried on for centuries by the best and truest men in the world.  It afforded him very great pleasure to see that so much had already been accomplished by those who had the work in hand, in rearing up here an institution of learning, which he trusted would be of lasting benefit, to those who will come hereafter.  When Congress last year decided by a vote that could not be mistaken that neither division nor statehood could come at present, it then became the duty of the governor and the legislature to see shat provisions were necessary to be made for the public interests all over the state of Dakota.  They found it would be necessary to provide for some 300 or 400 insane persons and convicts, which would require increased accommodation.  They found it necessary to look after the educational interests of the Territory, where the population was increasing at the rate of 100,000 a year.  The members of the legislature of both sections met the executive and they counseled together as to what was necessary to be done to meet the requirements of the situation.  The result was that, instead of attempting to meet the calls, which some deemed extravagant, for a large number of Normal Schools, it was deemed that the provision of two Universities, with departments for Normal School instruction, would be the wiser and better way.  The people of Grand Forks and vicinity had offered to contribute nearly 33 1/3 per cent of the cost of necessary expenditure to provide such an institution.  The same offer had been made from the people of Vermillion, and both offers were accepted.  He could tell the citizens of Grand Forks that it did not require any bargaining or trading of votes to secure this result.  It was the free and willing offering of the representatives of the people, heartily coincided in by the executive of the Territory.  He was proud to meet them to-day and to witness the progress that had been made with this work.  He was proud as the executive of the Territory to be able to say that, at the present rate of progress, the elements favoring, this building of which they had just laid the corner stone, would be covered in before the winter season closed up the work.  He was proud to say that the building at Vermillion of a similar institution to this was already under cover, and that these two educational institutions would go on hand in hand to successful completion to aid and benefit the citizens of the two sections of the territory.  It had been said, and said so often that it was hardly worth repeating, that knowledge was power.  Education began in the family.  The first lessons were learned at the mother’s knee, which was the nursery of the common school, as the common school was of the academy and the academy of the college and university.  The people of North Dakota are prepared to build institutions of this character.  They were prepared to educate their people on their own soil.  They had the means to build these institutions.  He wanted to say that instead of there being any extravagance in the appropriation made for this institution at Grand Forks, they felt rather that they had been compelled to be too parsimonious in the matter.  But with the splendid contributions that have been made by Grand Forks, and which they would make, and with the appropriations which the legislature would be ready to make when the building was completed, to carry on the work with such a Board of Regents composed of men, such as those who had carried this work so far and so well forward, and with the other educational facilities which they already enjoyed, they could look forward to the day, and the not distant day, when the people of this valley would rise up and call those who had laid the foundation of this institution to-day, blessed.

Chief Superintendent of Education, Kiehle, of Minnesota, followed in a lengthy and eloquent speech, which want of space forbids our reproducing.

Rev. Mr. Iddings then came forward and called J. L. Bjorquist, the master builder, up to the platform and in a few well-chosen remarks presented him with a magnificent gold headed cane on behalf of the workmen employed on the building.  Mr. Bjorquist was overcome by the unexpected honor, and promised a suitable answer at a future occasion.

The proceedings were then brought to a close.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Wednesday Morning, October 3, 1883, Volume 4, Number 128, Page 1)


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