Another story of an early pioneer was one written by W.N. Buswell for the Tower City Topic in 1901. His story went as follows:
.... "About the 23 of April, 1879,
four persons, to wit Capt. L.J.
Allred, Geo. Weimer, B.W. Marsh, and the writer stepped off the cars here at
the siding, on a small platform, fore there were no depot yet. There were just
three small buildings, then, that constituted the town of
It did not take
a great while to look the town over. We made our way to the hotel which we
found under the direction of Charles Haskell and wife, who had also come here
Morning dawned in due time nice and bright, but soon the wind began to rise and some of our party made a remark that the wind was getting stronger. Laird said yes, we have a gentle zephyr once in a while, but not any bad wind, only a gentle zephyr. (Poor old man, the zephyrs must have been hard on him.) The next morning we made a compact with Laird to act as guide, while we traveled around looking for claims. He was called land locator. I afterwards found out that it meant to get all the money you could for showing a man some claim, right or wrong, and prevent you from getting what you wanted unless you paid dear for it. Well, we hired the only horse and buggy there was hereabouts from old man LeDuc, the horse was a poor cripple, the harness tied up with cords, and the buggy, well it had wheels and spring, one seat on top of a rickety box, but we were lucky to get that, so that two of us could take turns and ride awhile and then get out and let the other two try it.
We started in a
northwest course and after traveling along about hour we came across some fellows trying to break a little prairie with
some oxen and a plow. It was the Mayo boys, M.S .and Charlie, and two well
disgusted fellows they were at that time, and no wonder, for this was all new to
them. We had a long talk with them and pursued on northwest into township 141,
Range 56.We were looking for tree claims then, and Laird assured us we could
not get them any nearer the railroad then. We traveled on and were out about
section 14, township 141, range 546, we came to the Stoney Cooley, the grass
was all burned off and one could see every stone. Laird said they would be
utilized some day in the near future for building purposes. Ben Marsh made a
suggestion that they would make good manure, if they ever rotted, at which we
all smiled and turned southwest, traveled a few miles and stopped to eat our
lunch, which we had in our grips under the buggy seat. As we sat down on the
dry burnt ground, and opened up our grip. I took out a quart bottle filled with
cold tea, (each one of us had prepared one.) I took a swallow and handed to
Brother Laird to take a drink, well you ought to have seen his face and the
look he gave us all. He appeared to fell as though he had fell in among
thieves, but I assured him it was harmless, only tea, which we had been advised
to take along. We had been told the water was so bad, upon which he took some
and said, it was good, but still assured us that the water in these parts was
the best and purest in the known world. Of course we did not have any reason to
doubt it, for we had not tasted of a drop in two days, and there was none to be
sure on the prairie, and there were no wells yet, there was water at Spring
Tank, a little less than one mile east of the hotel. We hitched the poor horse
up again and all concluded we had better try and get back to shelter again,
before dark, which we accomplished in due time and delivered our horse to its
owner and paid him for its use, (enough if it was today to buy the whole rig,)
but we were satisfied, had to be we stayed another night in the best hotel and
the only one west of Casselton then, and were glad to get a chance to pay to
sleep on the floor. The next day we left for the land office at
After getting home and having had
time to reflect on
John Schmitz had up and enclosed
a building for blacksmith shop on
Well, I had of course, provided
myself with a compass, and one day after resting my team for a few days we
started out to locate the tree claims we had filed on, and after working nearly
all day hunting for corners I got my claim located. There had been a little
rain before this and we got plenty more the rest of the month. Every slough was
filled with water. I bought a plow from Hascall; he was the first implement
As we were passing the Pickett place, about the 16th of June, we were compelled to turn in to try and get shelter from one of the worst rain storms I had ever experienced. We found O.B. in the act of making coffee, and getting supper and you may be assured we were welcomed in royal style, he had eight horses in one shack and a cook stove, table and bed in the other and a jolly Pickett he was then.
We left after supper and came to town to get our meal; Ted Chapman was postmaster, the office located in his little store. The next day as we were going back to the claim we passed Pickett holding a breaking plow, and wading through his sloughs. Never turned out for water he had prepared himself for it evidently for he was dressed only in a straw hat and a shirt, but he seemed to be happy. (He had a claim in Dakota, we had one too,) well in due time we got twenty-five acres broken on the four claims. We had lots of experience looking up corners and fighting mosquitoes.
Well on the 5th day of July
after dinner, I started back to
About the 16th of May 1880, B.W. Marsh and myself arrived at Tower City with a car loaded with emigrant goods, six horses, harness wagon, stove, a couple of old chairs and about three hundred bushels of oats and some eatables for ourselves. We unloaded and after paying our freight bill had about fifty dollars in money left. The town was all bustle and lots of people were here, no room for horses or men, so I took my horses out to Capt. Allred. He had put up quite a house and stable and had a shed that I put my stock into. He had put in one hundred acres of wheat.
There were a good many who had
got here from different states and Michigan Avenue was quite a lively place just
then Henry J. Miller and sons, E.L. Bickford and sons, A.M. Allyn, A. Poe, E.J.
Whittlesey, Stearn Bros., and George Earl were on Broadway, J. Wagar was here
and had begun to open up the farm Geo. Weimer and Jim Greeno had preceded me,
Weimer had built a shed on the lots where he afterwards built the barn now
owned by Hobe Smith, and I stored my oats in the shed and slept there for
sometime. In a couple of days, Wagar wanted to buy some horses so I sold him my
big team, of course they were good ones, I don't think Wagar asked me about
their age but I remember one nineteen and the other eleven years old, but I
sold them cheap, two hundred and seventy-five dollars cash and he was satisfied
and always has been. I found by the plats from the private land office of
Ellsbury that the SE 1/4 of sec. 30, township 141 and range 56 was vacant. So I
filed a pre-emption on that and bought about thirty-five dollars worth of
lumber and hauled it out there to build me a claim shanty. My wife’s Father
Geo. Pogue, came on then and filed on the NE 1/4 of the same section. Doc.
Humphrey was here and had put up a small dwelling on lots where Young’s feed
mill now stands, Well, I said, I hauled out my lumber, Marsh and Pogue went
along as it was short time it took us to put up the shack. With four horses in
one end and stove, bed tables and chairs in the other, we were prepared to live
in royal style. After staying on the claim a few days I had to come to town to
get my mail. I got Jim Greeno to seed the six acres of breaking I had on my
tree claim, to wheat, he did it the 28th of May, and the next day I came to the
H.W. Gilman had a shack built
near where Ben Marsh now lives, it was fourteen by thirty-two and he called it
a livery stable. He had one pair of horses and harness and an old two seated
buggy, he wanted to sell out to me that day and I offered him two hundred and
twenty-five dollars and after about five minutes of talk I bought him out at
two hundred and thirty dollars and took possession that same evening and took
Marsh with me. We were the proprietors of the Tower City Livery Stable. The
next day I took out a party of four from
John Charles was here and had
taken a claim ten miles north, George Kelley had also taken a claim, W.C. Gray
was living on his claim that summer, Stouffer and Keller came, I think, and
took claims that summer. George Earl built and ran a saloon where Kiffs store
now is, Poe built the building now used by McCollough and two houses, Geo. Hunt
also built the house King lives in. There was quite an addition built to the
hotel, Eb Young had built an office on the corner where the Park Hotel now
stands. Stearns had built and was operating a store where the post office now
stands. Chapman had taken a partner H.V. Smith, and they had enlarged their
building and business was good and people were coming in nearly every day.
About the 10th of June I took a trip with a Northern Pacific civil engineer up
to where Hope now stands, I was gone six days out of sight of civilization,
slept under my wagon nights, but found our way back all right, in fact I was
driving nearly all the time and never got lost. Well about this time I made the
first trip to
Two men were with me from
J.F. Wilcox had come in the fall of 79 and stayed all winter, he built the west part of the hardware store, now owned by Heffron and Voorhees in the spring of 80, and put in a stock of hardware; the depot was also built in the early spring of 80. Fred Klinger also came in the fall of 79 and took his claim and lived here ever since. The old school house was built in the spring of 1880. W.A. Matson was the first operator and agent of the Northern Pacific Railway Company, here in the early '80. About this time the late Benjamin Outram came with his family (he had taken a claim in 76) I remember taking the family out from the depot to the claim. Ole Hustad came in the summer of 80.
George Kenward put in the first meat market kept in a dry
goods box on lot about where the present market is now. About this time I made
a second trip to
The great desideratum business, had improved and we must have a barn I then went to Ellsbury and bought one hundred by one hundred and forty feet of the corner where the livery barn now stands and commenced to build after laying out my own plan. J.M. Hill and Mr. Pogue had the west half of the present barn completed and Marsh and I moved in. We had a small office in the corner and slept there but took our meals at the hotel.
About the 20th of July I left
I got here with my family about
the last of September and my car came in due time in charge of the never to be
forgotten Rafe Rigdon. All the old settlers will remember him he worked for me
a long time, he is now dead, was killed at Staples,
While I had been gone Ben Marsh
had sold one team to Laird, but I brought five horses with me. So we had plenty
for business and business kept up very good all the fall, and the road to
The ground froze up in November but no snow and the wheeling was good, Colton, the Lisbon town site man had done a good deal of missionary work for Ransom County and its effects were bearing fruit, every week brought settlers and land seekers bound for Lisbon the beautiful little town of the Sheyenne, and we were getting some of their good coin for taking them overland and we were well pleased and paid.
About the 20th of November, Marsh left for Iowa on a visit and to winter there, but we got along all right, made a good many trips across the country that winter, no snow up to the 2nd of February 1881, wed had a storm lasted six days with southeast wind and snow, well we had enough then to last till April. H.B. Knowles and son Fred took possession of the Tower City Hotel the 30th day of November 1880and they ran the hotel for over a year and Fred will remember what crowds there were here. At times it was almost impossible to care for the large crowds that came.
About the 1st of January ... H.J.
Wisner, Maj. Engle, and Harvey Oliver appeared on the scene, they were bound
for New Eldorado,
There were a number of buildings
About this time Geo. Earl had
sold out his saloon building and of course had to quit business. M.H. Kiff
appeared on the scene and bought the Earl building and returned to
The Red River Land Company,
located in Minneapolis composed of E.H. Steel, Dr. Steel, S.S. Small and Young
of Boston, Mass. had bought six townships of railroad land north of here and
were making preparations to sell the same to settlers, they had built a home
just north of where the town of Hope now stands, and had sent a man with a team
to stay all winter and hold the fort. H.B. Smart was his name, a bright young
fellow. He had plenty of feed and provisions and two ladies as house keepers.
This is thirty miles from
About this time parties began to
arrive from the east and were unloading cars of movables and stock. I had a
telegram from a Mr. Ross at
About this time R.P. Sherman
appeared and at once built the building he now uses, and established the Tower
City Bank and has continued for twenty years in the same building and business.
M.H. Kiff had by this time returned and opened up a general store in the
building he had bought of Earl. "The State of
Every day bought new settlers with car loads of stock and eatables and it was not uncommon to have four or five cars left at this point from one train and numerous single men came to take claims without stock.
Spring opened about the first of April the heavy body of snow melting in a very few days left all the coulees full of water, and making it inconvenient if not dangerous to try to cross these natural water courses as there were no bridges at this time. S.S. Small of the Red River Land Company came here with a customer to sell land to, wanted to go to Hope. I remonstrated with Small about going and told him it would be impossible to reach Hope until after the water had run off, but to no purpose; he must go so I took the best team we had and after loading in a sack of coffee between the seats of our spring wagon and twenty pounds of hams under the back seat, we started to make our way to Hope, well we got along all right until we got north of W.C. Grays place we came to a regular river the water spread out for nearly one half a mile. We wandered west up the stream to find the place to cross the main stream, which one could tell by the current. I got up on the front seat and told my men to look out, and started my team in to cross; well the faithful team took us through all right although they went out of sight only their heads. After getting on land once more I looked back and saw the two hams floating downstream with one of my halters in tow, but we could not stop for anything like that in those days. Small had a man he expected to sell a section of land to that was of more consequence than hams and halters.
We reached Humphrey's place at Ellsbury before night and put up for the night, the next morning we started for Hope, I was well satisfied we would be back to Humphrey's for dinner. On coming up to the big coulee about five miles south of Hope, I stopped and looked the matter over; there was a stream of water eighty rods wide and deep enough to run a good sized steamboat. Small concluded he did not want to go to Hope, that way, so we turned around and started for Tower City and after a good dinner at Ellsbury, we got home that night all right, I speak of some of these things to show what experiences we had here in the early days with no roads or bridges and many times hairbreadth escapes but we thought nothing of those trials then, no one did.
About the 1st of May 1881, I
took contract to carry the mail to Lisbon, one trip a week, it was one of those
star routes and was bid off to a man living in the state of
There was a post office
established at Lisbon, Joe Colton, post master, one at Kibbyville with Mrs.
Kibby as post mistress, I think well - we used to carry the mail regular once a
week and oftener when we were going with passengers, and before the summer was
near out we had orders from the Post Office dept. at Washington to increase the
service to three trips a week. Well the town was growing out of sight and left.
H.J. Miller and E.J. Bickford had laid out additions to the original town site
and Ellsbury also added more to his plat, and some of us expected to see a young
At one time Tower City had fifty business houses and was the outfitting point for Ellsbury, Hope and other points south and all kinds of business was well represented here in this flourishing village, of course there was talk of more railroads and everybody expected that they would get run over with a new road especially if they got out a few miles from the main line of the great trans-continental line, the Northern Pacific who build castles in the air, especially in regard to railroads. "