Tag Archives: north dakota

Lanark County Moves West — Sarah Plain and Tall it was Not




For weeks I have been gathering information and compiling names to write a piece on the migration from Lanark County to Manitoba. Twice in the 1880s people made their way west due to drought or crop failure. There was also the fact that many worked on the C.P.R. Lines. Few returned, and that is why I still get a lot of local information from the Winnipeg newspaper archives as so many from our area were living there and still very interested in the Lanark County news. In fact the new settlers out west ordered 800 plows from Messrs Frost & Wood in Smiths Falls to be shipped out to Manitoba.

There was a large migration from the area to the USA beginning in the 1850’s as second-generation pioneers left to acquire farmland in the new frontier of the American mid-west namely North Dakota, USA.

Mr. E. Rice, Carleton Place, has gone west and if he is pleased with the country will make a home in Dakota near Fargo.  Mr. D. McLaren and family, formerly of Carleton Place, also intends settling in the same place on a 400 acre farm.- Perth Courier

Prior to the Irish famine years, 1846-1854, most of the Irish emigrants who came to Canada were persons with some monetary means who were able to acquire new farmland in the Lanark County wilderness. The second generation of these families, however, facing land shortages here, often moved to the United States. Many of the Irish-Canadians who settled in Canada were disappointed with their land in Ontario. The availability of land in western Canada and the local conflicts with their Scottish neighbours was a huge incentive for them to move.

At that time it was easier for west bound travelers in Canada going from Ontario to Manitoba to take a train to St. Paul, Minnesota and then to proceed on toward either Fargo, ND or Fishers Landing, MN. From there they went northward by boat to the Red River to Manitoba.

In addition, James J. Hill, (originally born in southern Ontario) builder of the Great Northern Railroad, recruited farmers to emigrate from Ontario and settle the Red River Valley. Most people at the time said they were going to Grand Forks, North Dakota.


“It was a sorry lot of human beings that arrived here yesterday from
Winnipeg. They constitute the advance guard of the main body of deluded
Dakotans who went to Manitoba in search of land flowing with milk and honey.

They find instead, a barren waste of desert sand, either destitute of all
vegetation or grown up with sage brush, and an inhospitable climate where vegetable growth is impossible. These misguided unfortunates were warmly welcomed here and provided with necessary relief for their wants and will be given employment. They tell sad tales of destitution and suffering.”

As with businesswoman Elizabeth Lindsay from Almonte, women appeared to be a lot tougher out west than east. Here’s an advertisement which appeared in the Ottawa Citizen of October 21, 1882.

Newspaper Advertisement for a Spouse in North Dakota in 1882



Migrants to North Dakota from Eastern Ontario

Files from The Perth Courier and Bytown.net


The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
16 Aug 1911, Wed • Page 1

Dr. Andrew Elliott of Almonte — Tarred and Feathered


Dakota Outrage—October 31—1882– Grand Forks, N.D.

Dr. Andrew Elliott of Almonte



Early store in Grand Forks. Third Street looking north 1882


A dispatch from Grand Forks says Dr. Elliott of Almonte who was tarred and feathered, is in critical condition.  Half a day was spent washing his body with turpentine, grease and hot water after which he was put to bed. And he will recover.  He threatens to prosecute his persecutors. The Daily Pioneer Press of St. Paul remarks editorially under the date of the 31st Oct., concerning the outrage on Dr. Elliott of Almonte.

Evidence is accumulating that the tarring and feathering of Dr. Elliott at Grand Forks was a most cruel and unjust outrage.  The town authorities have tardily awakened to a sense of their duty and have responded and are doing all that they can for the injured man.  He now lives at the house of a friend critically ill with inflammation of the lungs induced by exposure after his rough treatment.

There is a disposition in Grand Forks to hold a few persons responsible for this outrage, but if there was anybody in the place who did not agree to or applaud the act when it was committed the telegraphic reports their local press failed to show it.  The good name of the whole community will suffer from the outrage.

Update from the Almonte Gazette November 3rd, 1882.

The Gazette waited to publish the update on Dr. Andrew Elliott of Almonte as they did not want to open up a painful topic for his family that was telegraphed as a special to the Globe.

There was indeed even doubt in the matter, and we now learn there is a great deal of exaggeration. The locality banded together to punish the man they believed to be an instigator. However, plans became known to officials, and the crowd was notified another act of Lynch Law  similar to the one the day before would not be tolerated.

The press are demanding for an investigation into the matter, and now that Dr. Elliot is on the spot, he will doubtless do his best to make the parties feel outrage. Hopefully he will be assisted by intelligent and law loving citizens, some of whom without knowing him have felt it to be their duty to denounce the action in communications with him. Meanwhile it is pleasing to know that the Doctor is getting better

Almonte Gazette Nov 17 1882
The stpry been reported now that some drunken man was seen by a little girl in the outhouse of the public school. It is also said in her imagination excited by the scenes of the day previous (lynching) suggested that Dr. Elliott was endeavouring to entice her to him. Two young newspaper reporters hearing of this story in the evening thought they had seen the man.

At midnight Dr. Elliot was dragged from his bed at the leading hotel in the town. The little girl aroused from her sleep at one o’clock in the morning identifies the good doctor and despite his protests that he was not the man, and he did not confess, was led to the riverbank and was treated as was reported in the newspaper.

The Gazette feels the guilt should be upon the shoulders of the young reporters who not only pointed Dr. Elliot out, but who also helped carry out the brutal plan Nov 17 1882.

So who was guilty?

You can read the Perth Courier at Archives Lanark

The Almonte Gazette online

Elizabeth Lindsay of Almonte — Victorian Women Business Owners


Much as it seems that women were passive in the Victorian era there were thousands of women business owners in the nineteenth century. They owned service, retail, manufacturing and agricultural businesses. In some cases they were sole traders, often working from home. In a great many cases they employed one or two hands, or an apprentice or two. Some employed 20, 50 and more. One of the most prosperous women of our area was Elaine Lindsay who was born in Almonte and made her way to Fargo to seek her fortune.


With files from the Perth Courier and North Dakota Archives.

Perth Courier, March 16, 1883

Lucky Lady—Fargo, Dakota

The Argus of March 5 gives a sketch of the business speculations of Elizabeth Lindsay, a young lady from Almonte who made her own fortune in the western land speculation.  The lucky miss paid a visit to her relatives in Almonte this winter returning a short time ago to Fargo.

The sketch says:  “A Miss Elisabeth Lindsay of Fargo, Dakota, is worth over $200,000, which she acquired solely by her own business acumen.  Her father was a poor Canadian farmer originally from Scotland who was said to have a large family. Her father eventually died and her mother was listed on the census as head of household with 6 boarders living with them.

Elizabeth began earning a livelihood as a school teacher in Almonte, then tried bookkeeping and subsequently undertook the millinery business where she saved money after seven years of hard work.

Then, having a desire to go west, she visited Winnipeg and Fargo.  While in the latter town, she invested $475 (note: it could have been $175) in two lots.  Returning to Canada, she sold out her stock and returned to Fargo in 1880.  She saw there a good chance to invest in real estate and bought 16 acres for $6,400 which is now called the “Lindsay Addition” to Fargo.

Men laughed at her for the risk she ran.  She drew her own plan of lots and employed S. Hunt’s son as a surveyor.  After paying all expenses she cleared on the second investment $14,000 and in five years had cleared $10,000 on the first investment.

Last Spring she bought at Grand Forks, Dakota, which five years ago was only a Hudson’s Bay trading post, 300 (note: could be 200) acres for $23,000.  She has since sold less than one third of her purchase and has cleared all expenses for the entire contract of land.  The rest is worth at least $73,000.

Miss Lindsay is a young woman of medium stature, fine and jet black hair, remarkably self-possessed and of a deliberate judgment and has surely demonstrated by business ability her right to consideration as a property holder and taxpayer of Dakota Territory.




Elizabeth Lindsay b1850 Fargo Ward 5 Cass North


First Name: Elizabeth
Last Name: Lindsay
Estimated Birth Year:1850
Age: 60
Place of Birth: Canada
State: North Dakota
CityFargo: Ward 5

Syverson House

Syverson house.

The Syverson house is located at 745 First Street North in Fargo.

Gordon J. Keaney and Harriet Young purchased 40 acres of land from US Government on May 23, 1877. Keaney deeded the property to Ms. Young who, on September 4, 1880, sold a portion of the land to Samuel G. Roberts and a portion to Elizabeth Lindsay on June 23, 1881. When this later became part of the city of Fargo, it became known as “Lindsay’s Addition” to Fargo.


You can read The Perth Courier at Archives Lanark