History of New Rockford: Sept. 28, 2020
September 28, 2020
On July 17, 1903, Walter Immel and Mr. and Mrs. George M. Pike and family returned from the Chautauqua, as did the younger members of the Treffry family. Joseph Maxwell went to the Chautauqua; he and his family returned on July 19. H.G. Lathrop was in town. James Dafoe was down from Sheyenne on business [but see the next paragraph]. Miss Norah Kennedy went to Moorhead, Minn., with her little brother Harold, who would be undergoing another operation.
That evening there was a dance at the Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Richter farm southeast of town.
On that day a group of farmers returned from a tour of NDAC in Fargo arranged by C.J. Maddux. They included T.L. Adam, C.A. Berg, Gilbert Bymoen, W.G. Carter, H.M. Clark, F.F. Creppa, James Dafoe [did he stay to do some business?], D.D. Dailey, Hugh Davidson, James Davidson, Rene Davidson, J.M. Ducke, Barney Engberg, F.F. Fisher, O.H. Foster, A.G. Gardner, F. Graham, Nils Gunvaldson, James Hackney, John Henderson, Barney W. Hersey, Burton Hulbert, Rudolph Indergaard, A.O. Johnson, H.B Johnson, N.W. Kauten, W. Knable, S.O. Lee, Ole Mattson, Joseph Maxwell, Timothy O’Connor, Herman Olsen, N.C. Olson, Robert O’Neill, C.A. Parker, S.P. Pisel, Walter Priest, George Schwoebel, John Seckinger, P.J. Shanahan, E.B. Thomson, A.D. Tomlinson, Jr., Fred Topp, John Topp, George Treffry, Isaac Walden, John Weipert, W.B. Whetham, John A. Wren and Fred Zimmerman. Ten men originally scheduled to go could not attend, so 10 men were last-minute replacements (10 minutes before train-time). In addition, Sheriff J.E. Bennett and C.J. Maddux went along, paying their own way.
That evening the Methodist choir and the couple’s friends gave a reception for Prof. J.N. Moore and his family at Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Dressers’ home, which was “handsomely decorated,” in appreciation for all the work he had done with the organization.
From July 17 to 20, mill man J.W. [G.W.?] McDonell was in Valley City, visiting “his folks.”
On the morning of July 18, a son was born to Mr. and Mrs. James Hamilton. Miss Mary Rion, Miss Mary Wedell, and Robert Wedell arrived from Elizabeth, Minnesota, to attend the upcoming Lies-Hartl wedding in Wells County; they were cousins of John Von Almen. R.H. Baker of eastern Eddy County and John Dodds were in on business. Percy Wiltsie came down from his Ward County homestead; he returned on July 28. Knute Vick was down from Sheyenne to talk with Judge W.C. Beardsley. At 2 p.m. the Eddy County Teachers’ Association met at the Tiffany School.
On Sunday July 19, Dr. C.J. McNamara came up from Barlow. That night some “unprincipled whelps” broke open the penny chewing gum box in front of the Prader & Goss store; they got some gum, but only a little money. “The ‘fellows’ are known, and one of these days they will answer for even more than this.”
On July 19 and 20, Joseph Dutee was in from eastern Eddy County.
On the morning of July 20, George Fahrer’s smokehouse in the lots in back of his butcher shop and between the Hotel Davies and Thomas Ose’s Hardware caught fire, but it was put out in just a few minutes with the only damage being a scorched roof. A clearance sale of all summer millinery began at Mrs. Gus Gullick’s shop. George Lovell from eastern Eddy County and John T. Olson from southeast of town were in on business. Col. Seth Bailey, manager of the Gudgell Ranch in the Plainview district, was in town. Vin Hall returned from Balfour via the Soo Line to Carrington. Miss Lou Arnold returned from Rushford, Minn. Martin Larson and Edgar Bailey went to Velva, where Larson had a large number of cattle which they were going to drive home. Prof. and Mrs. J.N. Moore went to Minneapolis to attend the Swedish Sangerfest. Mrs. Moore remained until July 28, but Mr. Moore went on to Iowa to visit relatives and would return to New Rockford about September 1.
At 10 a.m. July 21 John Lies and Annie Hartl, both of eastern Wells County, were married in the Catholic Church in the Germantown community, Father Gallahue of New Rockford. A wedding dance was held at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Hartl of the Twist Post Office area. The couple would live on the Lies farm.
On that day Erwin Forbes was in on business. A.C. Buck returned from the Chautauqua. Mrs. W.O. Baird met the train, expecting to see one or two relatives, but when the train stopped, stepping onto the platform were her mother Mrs. Johnson, her sister Miss Johnson, Miss Lenora Knox, and Miss Minnie Knox, all of Riverton, Ill. That evening W.C. Dresser, George M. Pike, W.E. Radtke, G.W. Brownell, W.E. Biggs, and Rev. J.R. Beebe went to Carrington to attend a Masonic meeting; they returned the next morning. Also that evening Barlow druggist O.A. Burger was in New Rockford.
On the afternoon of July 21, Blanche Butler, 14, and a Miss Gronvold went wading in the James River a half mile east of the wagon bridge [that bridge was probably the site of the currently closed steel bridge near the north end of 6th street]. Two smaller children remained on the bank. The area of the river in which they were wading had many deep holes. Blanche waded out into the river and back again, seeing how deep the water actually was at various places. She went upstream a short distance and waded out again, up to her waist. Suddenly she stepped into a hole and went under. Miss Gronvold saw her struggling, but she could not swim, so she could not reach Blanche. Blanche’s little brother ran a quarter mile to the outskirts of town and got help [I think the land now comprising Riverside Park and south with 4th Street as the western boundary was Winslow’s pasture]. People also telephoned others to come to the river. People came on foot, on bicycles, in wagons and buggies. Some men swam out to the hole and dove under, searching. Grappling hooks were dropped into the murky hole which was 60 feet from shore and about 10 feet in diameter.
B.W. Rantz located the body and raised it to the surface, but his feet got tangled in the girl’s clothing and he was forced to let go of her body to save himself. It took several minutes more before he could find the body again.
A line of men was formed and the body was slowly pulled to the shore. Drs. MacLachlan and Murphy worked for over an hour to resuscitate the girl, as her parents stood nearby and watched. Finally, she was pronounced dead, and her body was taken to the funeral home on Stimson Avenue [more accurately, North Chicago St.].
The Requiem Mass was on the morning of July 23, Fathers McDonald and Gallahue, with interment in the Catholic Cemetery north of town. The casket was completely covered with floral arrangements and flowers. Her uncle Hugh Butler of Anoka, Minn., had arrived the day before.
“Never in the history of the county was there such a large attendance at a funeral.”
Her gravestone in St. John’s Catholic Cemetery is an upright white stone with a cross carved on the top, resting on a dark stone with the word “BUTLER” on it. It reads “BLANCHE M. BUTLER Born Jan. 8, 1889 Died July 21, 1903.” [Her parents Peter G. Butler (1862-1946) and her mother Mary Elizabeth Canning Butler (1865-1960) and her brother Walter David Butler (1890-1981) are all buried in Washington State].