Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 43-3 Fall 2008

Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.

Volume 43

Volume 43, Number 3: Fall 2008

Pith Heart & Nerve,
 Truman M. Smith: From Banker to Market Gardener

Authors: Barry L. & Joan Miller Cotter
According to the authors, Truman Smith did not give up in the face of a major economic collapse in 1857; instead he showed resilience and used “pith, heart, and nerve” to survive in frontier St. Paul. He came to the city in 1851 with little money but in a few years had opened a bank. His wife and child came a bit later from Wisconsin, traveling in a private carriage. Smith’s anguish when the economy crashed is shown through excerpts from his letters to family and friends. He frantically tried to find financial support from Eastern sources and had success for a time, but soon he was overextended. His bank failed, and he continued to struggle to keep their heavily mortgaged home on the crest of Dayton’s Bluff. Smith was able to keep the house for a time by putting its ownership in his wife’s name, but unfortunately she died of tuberculosis in 1864 and the fight was over. His somewhat opulent lifestyle was reduced to a struggle to maintain subsistence. Smith then turned his horticultural hobby into a means of ongoing financial support. He grew splendid vegetables, fruit trees, and flowers and managed to make a decent, if not comfortable living.
PDF of Cotter article

Growing Up In Saint Paul:
 Random Recollections of Grace Flandrau

Author: Horace Blair Flandrau Klein
This is a memoir written by a nephew of Grace Flandrau, who was called  “Aunt Geese” by most of the youngsters of the family. Klein remembered her as having a strong “sense of presence” and never seeming to be flustered. He visited her from time to time and then spent two weeks as a paid chauffer to drive her around the state in her green Packard as she wrote about Minnesota for Holiday Magazine. Even though the trip was during the summer, Flandrau always wore a suit, even on hot days. There were visits to factories and conversations with many people, but Klein felt she seemed to live on another plane. He never saw her after their tour, as Flandrau became somewhat of a recluse, partly because of ill health.
PDF of Klein article

“Mr. Livingston … Had the Tenth:”
 An Episode in Minnesota Railroad Building

Author: John M. Lindley

On October 3, 1883, the Minnesota Supreme Court rendered its decision in the case of James H. Weed et al. vs. Little Falls & Dakota Railroad et al. One of many railroad cases of the era, the case resulted from an argument over who would profit over the building of the LF&D line. One of the vital findings was that that Henry Villard, president of the Northern Pacific Railroad, had agreed to pay Crawford Livingston one-tenth of any profits made from the sale of the LF&D to the Northern Pacific. The article examines how one nineteenth century Minnesota railroad was financed by asking several questions: how Livingston came to play a behind-the-scenes role in the financing; what his participation tells us about who profited and who lost in this railroad deal; and why the court ruled as it did. James Weed and the other plaintiffs in this case wanted the court to issue an injunction to stop the issuance of bonds secured by the railroad’s stocks and to benefit financially from the sale of the LF&D. The court found that Livingston had successfully brokered a sale between Colonel William Crooks of the LF&D and Henry Villard of the NP; therefore he deserved a one-tenth share of the profits. Although the plaintiffs owned stock in the LF&D, they did not profit from the sale of the railroad.
PDF of Lindley article

Minnesota at 150: Marking Minnesota’s Sesquicentennial: Four New Books
Author: Steve Trimble
An essay on four new books that were published in time to celebrate Minnesota’s sesquicentennial. The books are Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out, written by Annette Atkins; Stephen J. Keillor’s Shaping Minnesota’s Identity: 150 Years of State History; Karal Ann Marling’s Minnesota Hail to Thee: A Sesquicentennial History; and Minnesota 150: The People, Places, and Things that Shape Our State by Kate Roberts.
PDF of Trimble article