In 1936, North Dakota started a Historical Data Project recording biographies of the early settlers and pioneers. Allan was interviewed by A O Halvorson of the Data Project several times in the summer and fall of 1936. The following is the biography section of that interview:
Levi Markell, Edgar A. Markell's father, was born in Wales, Stormont County, Ontario, January twenty fifth, 1840, and died at Rolla, Rolette County, North Dakota, in 1923. The remains were taken to Ontario and buried in the Woodland Cemetery near Wales. For a number of years he was a merchant at Wales. In 1881 he left that place and went west to Manitoba, Canada, and took up a claim of one hundred sixty acres near the present Deloraine. In 1882 he was back in Wales and in the spring of that year took his son Edgar along west to Manitoba to find land for him also. The boom to get settlers into Manitoba was then in full blast and it appeared that all the land had been filed on so that there was no claim to find for Edgar.
There were others in the party with the Markells. Further details on the trip west and the later movements of the party will be given in connection with Edgar Markell when that point in the biography is reached. Suffice it to say here that Levi Markell and his party crossed the International Boundary Line between the United States and Canada when they discovered that they could find no land in Manitoba. In 1882 they seem to have gone back to Levi Markell's claim near Deloraine and broken ten acres of ground on it in an attempt to hold it. This was not sufficient, however, since Mr. Markell did not live on it so he relinquished it.
He filed on his full quota of land, three quarter sections in Fairview Township, one hundred sixty three, range sixty nine, Rolette County, Dakota Territory, namely the south east one fourth of the southeast quarter of section twenty, the southwest one fourth of the southwest quarter of section twenty one, the northwest one fourth of the northwest quarter of section twenty eight, and the northeast one fourth of the northeast quarter of section twenty nine; the east one half of the northwest quarter and the west half of the northeast quarter section twenty nine; and the northeast quarter of section thirteen.
Before Levi Markell left Wales he had built an up-to-date well-appointed residence. When he went west he rented his store. This did not seem to work so well, so he disposed of his merchandise, but seems to have held possession of the store building. The idea of going out to get land was to be a temporary proposition. The intention was to go back to Ontario as soon as they had "cleaned up". When this topic was up for discussion during the interview, Edgar Markell said: "We were to get rich in a year".
Levi Markell farmed his land in Rolette County until in the fall of 1892 when his son, Edgar, built and opened a store in Rolla, North Dakota. Mr. and Mrs. Levi Markell then moved to Rolla and remained there about a year. In 1893 they returned to Wales, Ontario, and Mr. Markell put in a stock of merchandise and re-opened his store. He conducted this business at Wales until Mrs. Markell died in 1898. Then he sold out his holdings in Wales and came back to Rolla and remained until his death in 1923.
Edgar A. Markell's mother, Sarah Ann Shaver, was born April third, 1844, at Lunenberg, Stormont County, Ontario, and died at Wales in the same county and province in 1898. She was buried in the Woodland Cemetery near Wales. That was the reason her husband's remains were shipped back there for burial. She was of Scotch-Dutch descent. This would make Edgar Markell partly Scotch and Dutch, although mostly English, as he said he was.
Going back again to 1882, we find that in the fall of that year Levi Markell returned to Wales and spent the winter of 1882-83 there, and that in the spring of 1883 he brought back with him to Rolette County, Dakota Territory, his wife and daughter, Annie, who later became Mrs. D. C. Boyd, being married to him in 1891.
Mr. and Mrs. Levi Markell had five children in all, three boys and two girls. Besides Edgar the other boys were Collin and Richard. The other girl was Ida May. They were all born in Wales, Ontario. Richard died as and infant. Collin and Ida May died in the spring of 1883 during an epidemic of diphtheria in Wales, which occurred while Levi Markell was still there. The fact that these two children died quite suddenly and at about the same time might have been at least a contributory cause of Mr. and Mrs. Levi Markell's remaining in Rolette County longer than they had otherwise thought of doing.
As already stated, Edgar Markell went with his father west to Manitoba, Canada, in the spring of 1882. in company with these two were Hiram Wood and his son, Allan, and W. F. Brassard, all of Wales; Charles McLaffery of Dickinson's Landing, John McKinnon and son, Angus, of Avonmore; and Al Tinkess of Lunenberg, all in Stormont County, Ontario. The names of Charles McLaffery and Al Tinkess do not appear on the tax list of Rolette County in the early days, so probably they did not come along to Rolette County. Mr. Markell did not mention them again and the writer neglected to inquire further about them.
The party left Wales April seventeenth, 1882. Their train was taken across the St. Claire River from Sarnia, Ontario, to Port Huron, Michigan, U.S.A., on a ferry. From Port Huron they went by way of Detroit, Michigan, Chicago, Illinois, and St. Paul, Minnesota, to Emerson, Manitoba, Canada. They were held up at St. Paul for some time on account of high water in the Red River which overflowed its banks at Emerson and put a stretch of the railroad out of business temporarily. When they did go from St. Paul, they got only as far as to Hallock according to Mr. Markell. At Hallock, Minnesota, the train had to stop because the railroad track from there on to Emerson was under water. This differs to a certain extent from the story as given by Allan Wood who was in the party. Mr. Wood said that the train took them as far as to St. Vincent, Minnesota, and that they went on a boat from St. Vincent to Emerson, a distance of about twelve miles. Mr. Markell stated that they went on a barge from Hallock to Emerson. This would be a much longer distance. Mr. Markell did not say how far they traveled on the barge. If Mr. Wood was correct about the distance, it is most probable that he was also right about the two points between which they traveled on water. From Emerson they went by train to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Mr. Wood stated that this distance was traveled at night with a man walking ahead of the train and carrying a lantern to look for wash-outs. The writer asked Mr. Markell especially about this point and he stated the case as given above. There is a discrepancy here between the stories of the two men that the writer cannot clear up. The only possible way of getting this straight would be to get the two men together and have them swap experiences that would definitely fix in their minds the time of day when they left Emerson. It is possible that due to the nervous condition in which Mr. Markell now is, his memory is not so clear on the point as that of Mr. Wood, but the writer hesitates to give a definite conclusion that may not be absolutely correct.
The party stayed at Winnipeg one week. The water was very high also there. From Winnipeg they proceeded west to Brandon, then a new town consisting of many tents and only a few permanent structures. No horses or oxen could be purchased around Brandon, so Levi Markell and Hiram Wood returned to Winnipeg and bought a team of horses and a yoke of oxen each. On the way back to Brandon by train there were delayed a week at Portage LaPrairie because of high water along the track. In each of the two sentences above there is a discrepancy between the accounts given by Edgar Markell and Allan Wood. The latter states that the two men who went back to Winnipeg bought two yoke of oxen each and that on the way back to Brandon again they were delayed by the worst blizzard that he had ever known, the storm lasting for four days beginning on May twenty fourth, 1882.
From Brandon they drove southwest to Deloraine. There was no railroad through there yet and no town at that point, but there must have been a post office, as Mr. Markell stated that that was their closest post office for a time after they had located on their claims in Fairview Township, Rolette County, Dakota Territory. Mr. Markell related how at one time, through a neighbor who had been at Deloraine, he received notice from the postmaster at Deloraine that there was a registered letter for him at the post office. This happened after his father had gone back to Ontario again in the fall of 1882. He had written to his father for money and was expecting a registered letter. Thinking that the one of which he received notice was the one containing the money, he went to Deloraine, walking both ways. When he opened the registered letter, he discovered that it was from a friend who wrote and asked him to please let the friend know his correct address.
When a person looks back over the time it took the party to go from Wales, Ontario, over the route given to Brandon, Manitoba, they seem to have been quite a while on the train. But it must be remembered that train service was slow and irregular and that at different times delays were made that were not mentioned by either Mr. Markell or Mr. Wood in their respective stories. This will be found to be the case also for the next five or six weeks. From Brandon to Deloraine and then on to other points travel was at the pace set by oxen even if some members of the party might have had horses. From Deloraine they drove west to the Mouse River. There were looking for a place where they all could find land close together. As already stated, all the land had been filed on around Deloraine and other places in Manitoba. They pitched camp on the banks of the Mouse River. Mr. Wood stated that they made two trips to Mouse River, But Mr. Markell maintained that they were there only once. While they were in this camp, a covered wagon drawn by horses passed by to the westward. This was on a Sunday. On the wagon cover was the inscription: "Moose Jaw, or bust". The next day, Monday, the wagon returned and went east again. Under their former sign was the single word: "Busted". This incident caused the Markell and Wood party to turn back again. They went east to Waukopa and camped there. Looking around they saw posters advertising the fact that the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation was open for settlers. Since they could find no land in Manitoba, they decided to cross the International Boundary Line and go into Dakota Territory, U.S.A. They struck out east from Waukopa and crossed the Boundary a little to the northwest of where the Village of St. John, Rolette County, Dakota Territory, was later established. It appears that the first white man they encountered in Dakota Territory was Theo P. Ricard who had a small store a short distance northwest from the present St. John village. Mr. Markell did not know what became of Mr. Ricard's store but said that it "disappeared". It evidently did not remain there very long, as Mr. F. Martineau said that he did not even know of it when he came to St. John in 1883.
The party from Ontario arrived at Ricard's place on July second or third, 1882, and camped there. While they were at that place, G.M. Gilbert, William Denny and Charles Kinney, all from Owatonna, Minnesota, joined them. These men had also been in Manitoba and found no land and had crossed the Boundary about at the same place where the others had come over. According to Mr. Wood, the three men who joined them at this pint were G.M. Gilbert, Charley Denny, and William Galloway. On July fourth, 1882, they broke camp and some of them including Edgar Markell went to an Indian's place on the east edge of Turtle Mountains. The Indian's name was Mimi or something like that. Thomas Craig homesteaded this land shortly afterwards. His claim was the north one half and the southwest one fourth of the northwest quarter and the northwest one fourth of the southwest quarter of section twenty five, Baxter Township, one hundred sixty three, range seventy, Rolette County, Dakota Territory. Jacob Urschell is the present owner.
At Mimi's place one Rev. David Hunt conducted religious services at ten o'clock in the morning on the July Fourth for the white people present. The Indians did not attend the meeting. During the day they had various athletic contests. Edgar was a standing broad jumper. According to his own statement, he had never been beaten at this feat. He came out victorious also at this celebration. Even the Indians could not beat him on this one thing. He also played the concertina. While they were engaged in their festivities he noticed and Indian girl standing with her arm around the neck of her horse and watching him play. She stepped up to him and invited him to come to a dance in the evening a short distance from Mimi's place and play at the dance. He and at least some of the other whites there went. it seems that the same girl made bannocka for supper. The mosquitoes were thick and while she was kneading the dough she had to brush them off her face and neck. In doing this her hands became bloody from crushing the well-filled insects. She kept right on kneading the dough. the sight of this caused Edgar Markell not to eat any bannocks. Hiram Wood ate some of them, Mr. Markell stated. Mr. Markell played for the dance part of the night.
On July fifth they went east about three miles, according to the map, and camped on land that John C. Hunt, son of Rev. Hunt, either had already picked out or then selected. Mr. Markell did not say which. At any rate John C. Hunt filed on the following land in this locality: the southwest one fourth of the southwest quarter, of section twenty eight, the southwest one fourth of the southeast quarter of section twenty nine, the northeast one fourth of the northeast quarter of section thirty two, the northwest one fourth of the northwest quarter of section thirty-three, the south half of the northeast quarter and the north half of the southeast quarter of section thirty two in Fairview Township, one hundred sixty three, range sixty nine, Rolette County, Dakota Territory. later he filed on the southeast quarter of section seventeen in Mt. Pleasant Township, one hundred sixty two, range sixty nine, in the same county and territory. The last two quarters he received patents on after the territory became a state.
None of the land was surveyed at this time. All the settlers could do was to squat on it. It appears that while they were camping on the land that John C. Hunt had selected that they picked out their own land. Levi Markell chose the land already listed above. Edgar Markell then and later took the following claims: - the northeast one fourth of the northwest quarter and the northwest one fourth of the northeast quarter of section twenty eight, and the northeast quarter of section twelve in Fairview Township.
The others took up claims as follows: - Hiram Wood, the northwest quarter of section twenty seven; Allan Wood, the southeast one fourth of the northwest quarter and the northeast one fourth of the southeast quarter of section twenty nine, and the northwest one fourth of the southeast quarter and the southwest one fourth of the northwest quarter of section twenty eight; John A. McKinnon, the southeast one fourth of the southwest quarter and the southwest one fourth of the southeast quarter of section sixteen, the northeast one fourth of the northwest quarter and the northwest one fourth of the northeast quarter of section twenty one, besides the northwest quarter of section twenty two; Angus McKinnon, the southeast quarter of section twenty two; Duncan McKinnon, another son of John A. McKinnon and who came a few years later, the southwest quarters of sections fifteen and twenty two; and W.F. Brassard, the southwest one fourth of the northeast quarter, the southeast one fourth of the northwest quarter, the northeast one fourth of the southwest quarter and the northwest one fourth of the southeast quarter of section twenty one, the southeast quarter of section one, and the east one half of the northeast quarter and the northeast one fourth of the southeast quarter of section two. Al of these claims were in Fairview Township.
No buildings had been erected on any of this land in July, 1882. Neither was there any other improvement on any of it with the possible exception that, if Mr. Markell remembered it correctly, John C. Hunt had plowed a furrow around a circular piece of land on the piece he had selected. On July thirteenth, 1882, a band of Indians, headed by chief Little Shell, on their ponies rode up to where the new settlers were camped. The Indians said that it was their land. The government had bought it, but had not yet paid for it. All the Indians wanted was to get their money and asked the whites to leave until they received it. After they had obtained their money, the settlers could come back. They made no threats at all and was in no hurry to have the whites get out. Mr. Markell said that he thought the Indians had been very fair in their demands. He said: "We had no trouble with them as we had made friends with them".
The white party then went north across the line into Manitoba. All the people from Ontario, were, of course, Canadian citizens and had no rights in the United States. But some of the men who were American citizens wrote to Washington and demanded their rights. In due time the government responded by sending up a number of soldiers who fixed things up with the Indians. On September third, 1882, the party in Manitoba received notice that everything had been straightened out and that they could come back.
In this connection it might be profitable and certainly is interesting to read the account of the party from Ontario up to this point as furnished by Allan H. Wood and to compare it with Mr. Markell's story as given above. Under all circumstances one supplements the other and on certain points one corroborates the other. Whatever discrepancies and differences there seem to be in those parts of the stories which cover the period from the time the party left Brandon and until it returned to Rolette County in September, 1882, are, in the biographer's opinion, due more to things forgotten and to the different view points entertained by the two narrators than to anything else. Of the two stories, that of Allan H. Wood is the more replete with exciting incidents and, therefore, the more interesting from one standpoint; but this in no way detracts from the historical value of the other or from the shrewd observations contained in it.
As will be seen from the story so far, it took Edgar A. Markell and his party from April seventeenth until September , 1882, to get from their former homes at Wales and other points in Ontario to finally locate on land in Dakota Territory and settle down to the business of making improvements on their respective claims. Because of high water and possibly a snow storm, muddy and almost impassable trails, slow and irregular transportation, and interference by the Indians the party was delayed in their efforts all that summer.
Had Mr. Markell been in full vigor, many more questions would have been put to him and a much more detailed and interesting story could have been obtained from him; but the biographer was delighted to have the opportunity to interview him under any circumstances and was well pleased with the information received from him.
The actual time consumed by him and his party traveling from Ontario to Brandon, Manitoba, over the route they took was probably about seven or eight days; but the number of days they spent driving back and forth with ox teams until they finally settled down could not be definitely ascertained or even remotely conjectured.
After they returned to their claims in September, 1882, they set about building cabins. On this they worked together.
With the help of some of the others, Edgar Markell built himself a one-room log shack about twelve feet wide and sixteen feet long, which he plastered with clay and covered with a sod roof. He put in two windows, one to the west and one to the south and a door to the south. He used this about a year and then added to it a small lean-to, making two rooms. This enlarged house was used as long as Mr. Markell stayed on the farm.
Of evenings the cabin was lit up with a kerosene lamp. It was furnished at first with a large packing box for a table. For chairs were used benches made from slabs of Turtle Mountain poplar through which holes had been bored into which were inserted short sticks for legs. The bed was a bunk of poles by the wall. Across the bottom of it were stretched ropes on which was placed hay for a mattress. He had brought blankets along from Ontario. This home made furniture was, of course, merely a temporary outfit, as Mr. Markell's father was a well-to-do man and brought out factory made furniture when he came back in 1883 bringing the rest of his family to Rolette County. In other words, it was not poverty that necessitated their construction and use. Mr. Markell had brought along tin dishes for use the first year. He could not remember what kind of stove he had at first.
His fuel was obtained free of cost from the Turtle Mountains in the shape of wood. He hauled it from the vicinity of Byrne's Lake in Baxter Township to the west.
Although he did not mention it, Edgar Markell might have purchased some supplies from Theo P. Ricard, since the latter was the first merchant he met when he came here and was the only one in the neighborhood at the time. During the summer of 1882 Wm. Brunelle opened a store at St. John. Mr. Markell specifically stated that he bought groceries from Mr. Brunelle. He bought flour, salt pork, and beans from him, but he did not remember the prices on any of the commodities he purchased.
He and his father and, the next year, his mother and sister brought along enough clothing to last them for several years, so they did not have to buy or make any for quite some time. The large packing box mentioned above was one of several such brought over on the first trip out filled with supplies.
Mr. Markell did not experience much difficulty in obtaining water on his claim. Beside a slough not so very far from his shack he dug a hole a few feet deep. Into this the water from the slough seeped through and became sufficiently well filtered to be used for drinking and cooking.
While he was at Wales, Ontario, Edgar A. Markell worked in his father's store. After he came to Rolette County he farmed his land until the fall of 1892 when he moved to Rolla and opened a store.
According to Mrs. Markell, Edgar and his father had always worked together. While they were on their farms they helped each other with the work. Up to the time they moved to Rolla his father had always taken the leading role. After that time Levi Markell turned the management of the farms as well as of the store over to his son. Mrs. Markell stated that farming appealed neither to her husband nor to her and that she had used all the influence she could to get him off the farm. When the Markells moved to Rolla they rented out their farms.
In Rolla, Edgar Markell built his store where Fred Wayne now has his pool hall. He operated this until he was burned out in about 1896, without a cent of insurance. He was not sure of the exact year in which this fire occurred, but the statement that it was in 1896 is substantiated by S. A. Taylor who stated in his biography that it happened about forty years ago. The morning after the fire he wired for another stock of merchandise and opened for business in a building across the street. A. T. Sumner had had a grocery store in this building before that, but it was vacant at the time. He operated this store for a while whereupon he sold his stock to Shell or the Shell & Rognas, he did not recall which. He went to work in the Shell store remaining there for about three years. Then he rebuilt his store on its former site and opened up again there. He continued in this place until in about 1918 when he closed the business. About that time he left Rolla. Since then he worked at different jobs, among other things he worked as clerk in a store in Clamath Falls, Oregon, for about seven years. He was forced to discontinue there when he was taken with a severe nervous disorder which afflicted him since that time.
The last few years he and his wife have stayed with their children, being at the present time with their daughter, Mrs. O. R. Anderson of Hansborough, North Dakota.
The Markells did not do a great deal of dancing, but spent most of their leisure time reading and visiting. They kept the New York Weekly Witness, the Christian Herald, and some Canadian papers besides the Turtle Mountain Star after that was established at Rolla in the fall of 1888.
Edgar Markell did not know how or why Fairview Township received its name. He did not remember who was the first white child to be born in the township, the first to be married, or the first to die there. The first cemetery was located at St. John.
His first pioneer neighbors were those already mentioned. These came here at the same time he did. Thus, he himself was one of the first pioneers in Rolette County.
The following were the first in their respective lines of endeavor of St. John and Rolla:
Boydton was the first post office with D. C. Boyd as postmaster. This was discontinued when the new town was established in 1888 and named Rolla.
The first school house in Fairview Township that Mr. Markell knew of was located on his father's farm in section twenty nine. He thought the first teacher was John Brown. Generally they had five to six months of school during the summer. The textbooks were furnished by the pupils themselves. He thought that his father was the first clerk of the school board with J.O.P. Durocher as chairman and Alfred Bourassa as another member of the board, but he did not remember the name of the third member. Mr. Durocher resides at Seattle, Washington and Mr. Bourassa at LaFleche, Saskatchewan, Canada.
The school house was made of logs and was probably about sixteen feet wide and twenty feet long with four windows and one door. The seats and desks were home made. It was heated with a cordwood length box stove. He did not know how long this building was used or what has since become of it.
There was no official religious organization in Mr. Markell's neighborhood, except that of the Catholics at St. John, until after Rolla was established in 1888.
As already stated, the first services that Mr. Markell attended in Rolette County were held by Rev. Hunt at Mimi's place July Fourth, 1882. Mr. Markell did not say whether or not Rev. Hunt conducted any services after that, but he did state that the first minister was Rev. Rogers who preached around for about six or eight months in the houses of pioneers. Meetings were held about once a month. Other early Methodist ministers were Revs. Wolner and one-armed Parsons. When Mrs. Markell asked her husband if Rev. Parsons had not stayed with him for a while, Mr. Markell chuckled and said: "Yes". When she asked what he was laughing about, he replied that he remembered how Rev. Parsons once had seen a skunk and admiringly had taken it up in his one arm. He did not admire it very long, however, and never touched another one.
The First Methodist Church was erected in Rolla in 1889. This was the first opportunity the writer has had of ascertaining the exact year in which this church was built. The information was furnished by A. A. Mundy at whose home in Rolla Mr. and Mrs. Markell were visiting at the time of the interview. The question was brought up about the first Fourth of July celebration in Rolla. Mr. Mundy was then nine years old. He remembered distinctly that on that particular day the members of the Methodist church brought their food along to town and had a picnic lunch in the church building. It was then under construction. The windows were not yet in, but the main part of the building was up. Neither Mr. Markell nor Mr. Mundy knew the exact size of the church, but estimated it to have been about twenty four feet wide and forty feet long and at least twelve feet high. It was made of lumber, with four windows on each side, two at the rear and one in the gable above the front door. Besides the front door there was also a rear door. It had no steeple and, therefore, no bell. The neighbors worked together in building it. Neither of the two men knew or remembered who was at the head of the building crew. The total cost of it was probably about seven or eight hundred dollars. It was used until in 1905 when the present tile and brick church building was erected.
At that time it was sold to M. Mangan who moved it to another location and used it for a while as a morgue, as he was the local undertaker. Later Mr. Mangan disposed of it to one Mr. Crosby who tore it down and used part of the material in it to build a cottage which he in turn sold to one Mrs. White, the present owner. Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Jolliffe now occupy this residence.
The lot on which the church is located was likely obtained gratis from the townsite company. Common kitchen chairs were used for seats. It was heated by a cordwood length box stove.
Edgar Markell organized the first Methodist Sunday School in Fairview Township in 1889 and became its superintendent. The teachers in this Sunday School were Mrs. Edgar A. Markell and Malcolm and Carrie Moss. Between fifteen and twenty children attended.
After the Markells moved to Rolla in 1892 Mr. Markell was elected superintendent of the Sunday School on the Methodist church in town and held that position practically all the time until he left the vicinity.
Mr. Markell was a member of the Fairview School District board some time before 1888, according to his own statement, but he did not remember the year in which he was elected.
He remembered the county seat election in May or June, 1885, but could give no further information on it than that many illegal votes were cast in St. John, where he voted. He went along with his yoke of oxen and wagon and helped to move the safes and records from Dunseith, where the county seat had been, to St. John. His wagon got stuck in the mud and was gotten out again only after considerable work.
Mr. Markell assisted in fighting many prairie fires in the first years he was here. Firebreaks were plowed and backfires set. In addition they used buckets of water and gunny sacks or brooms in hand to hand fighting. None of the fires did any damage to his property or to that of any of his neighbors. He remembered one prairie fire in particular. A big blaze driven by a terrific wind came racing along right towards W. F. Brassard's buildings. The flame struck the windward side of the house and bounded back just like a ball thrown against a wall. Then it fell to the ground like and died out. No damage was done to Mr. Brassard's buildings.
On February ninth, 1883, Mr. Markell was out in a blinding snow storm. He saw many blizzards after that, but always made it a point to stay at home when he suspected that one was on the way. On the day mentioned, Mr. Markell and W. F. Brassard went to Byrnes Lake for wood. The snow was deep all along the trail. It seems that a great deal of snow had fallen after Christmas that year. Either on that day or at some previous time they had stuck branches or small trees at intervals in the snow along the road to guide them in case of a blizzard coming up while they were in the timber. If it had not been for these guides, they would have had a hard time to get home that day. They could not see from one marker to the next, but they took turns in walking ahead of the teams and finding the next one. The one who located the next marker stopped as soon as he saw one and called back to the one driving the teams. The latter had kept in sight of the last marker until he heard the call. Thus, by jerks, they got home. When they arrived at Mr. Brassard's shacks, Mr. Brassard was going to the stable to close the stable door, which, it seems, had been left open. Mr. Markell was to stand by the house and direct him by calling to him. Mr. Brassard started off in the wrong direction and it became necessary for Mr. Markell to call him back. Then they found their tether ropes which they used for tying out their oxen in summer, tied them together, and tied one end around Mr. Brassard while Mr. Markell held onto the other end. In this way Mr. Brassard was able to get to the stable safely.
Mr. Markell recalled one time he hauled a load of wheat to Rolla when the thermometer registered fifty three degrees below zero. This was some time after he was married. It was a quiet day. He did not know until afterwards and did not realize how cold it was, but he did have to walk in order to keep warm.
Edgar A. Markell remembered his great-grandfather and -mother, Richard Markell and Sarah Mattice, and his grandfather, Richard Markell, but not the latter's wife's name. On his mother's side he recalled the names of his great-grandfather, Jacob Shaver, and his grandfather John Shaver and grandmother, Elizabeth Stewart.
As a present he received from his grandmother, Elizabeth Stewart Shaver, a one dollar gold piece that she had and had never been spent. He still has it in his possession. He was not absolutely sure where or from whom his grandmother had obtained it, but seemed to remember that she had given him to understand that it had been given her by her brother who had been in the 1849 gold rush to California where he had had at least a little luck and found some gold which he sent to the mint and had coined into money and had given her one of the original gold dollars. At any rate, he said, even if his memory did not serve him exactly right on this point, he had gotten the gold piece from his grandmother. Besides this one he has a three dollar gold piece, of which only two specimens are supposed to be in circulation. Mr. Markell must have used this one as a pendant in his watch-chain, because one day when he was in a jewelry store and happened to take out his watch to see what time it was, the jeweler noticed the gold piece and asked permission to examine it. After he had looked at it for a while, the jeweler offered Mr. Markell five dollars for it, then fifteen, twenty five, and finally seventy five, but Mr. Markell said that it was not for sale. The jeweler informed him that it was worth considerable money and that it could easily be disposed of at any time he wished to part with it. In addition to the two rare gold pieces, Mr. Markell has a five dollar bill issued in 1862, the same year in which he was born.
In the fall of 1888 Edgar A. Markell made a trip back to Ontario. On December eighteenth of that year he married Margaret Brownell at Aultsville. The marriage ceremony was performed by the Methodist minister, Rev. Crane.
Margaret Brownell was born August eleventh, 1864, at Aultsville, Stormont County, Ontario. Her father was English and her mother Dutch.
Mrs. Markell's father, George Thomas Brownell, was born in Stormont County, Ontario, December Twenty third, 1833, and died and was buried at Aultsville, in the same county and province, in September, 1889. He was a tanner and currier.
Her mother, Adelia Hanes, was born at Aultsville September eighth, 1837, and died and was buried there in 1878.
Mrs. Edgar A. Markell had three sisters and three brothers, all born in Aultsville. Only one of her sisters and none of her brothers ever came to North Dakota to live. Mr. Angie Logie came to Rolla in 1909 and stayed until 1911. She died and was buried at Toronto, Ontario in 1923. Mrs. Jennie L. Winters lives at Detroit, Michigan, and Mrs. Minnie Skeith at Hamilton, Ontario. Of her brothers, Charles W. died in October, 1933, at New York City and was buried there. George Stinson Brownell lives at Wyoming, Ohio. Thomas Wesley Brownell died and was buried at Aultsville, Ontario, in about 1875, when he was three months old.
Mr. and Mrs. Edgar A. Markell have four children, three girls and one boy. With the exception of their oldest daughter, they were all born in Rolla, North Dakota. They are all married. Minnie Evelyn Anderson was born on the claim in Fairview Township, Rolette County, North Dakota, November first, 1889. She lives at Hansborough, Towner County, North Dakota, where her husband, O. R. Anderson, has a farm close to town. Vera Ann Anderson was born February twelfth, 1893. She makes her home at Leupp, Arizona. her husband, Seymour E. Anderson, is in the government Indian service, the writer believes as a teacher. The two Andersons are not related. O. R. Anderson is a Swede and Semour E. Anderson, a Norwegian. Mollie Adelia Hamilton was born May twenty second, 1898, and resides at Hoquiam, Washington. her husband, Willard N. Hamilton, is also in government Indian service in the Indian office at Hoquiam. Raymond Levi Markell was born September first, 1904. His address is Portland, Oregon. He is a sailor on merchant vessels that ply between ports on the Pacific coast.
North Dakota Historical Project, Pioneer Biography Files 1936-1940 Micro film F635.P56 1988 Roll 24