Andy and Toots Ryan (Andrew and Margaret Ryan, to be exact) were brother and sister. They lived together in a small, tidy house in the middle of St. Vincent, across an alley just north of my grandparents' home. Toots and Grandma were friends... Andy ...

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"St. Vincent Memories" - 5 new articles

  1. Across the Alley: The Ryan Siblings
  2. The Men Who Built Fort Pembina: William Nash
  3. Update: Ephraim "Eph" Clow, Pedestrian Racer
  4. Frederick A. Bailey: An NWMP 'Original'
  5. James J. Barry, Pugilist
  6. More Recent Articles

Across the Alley: The Ryan Siblings

Andy and Toots Ryan (Andrew and Margaret Ryan, to be exact) were brother and sister.  They lived together in a small, tidy house in the middle of St. Vincent, across an alley just north of my grandparents' home.  Toots and Grandma were friends...

Andy worked for the Great Northern Railway; Toots kept house for her brother.

I remember often going over to visit at Toots' home with my grandma.  Sometimes I'd come on up our road to visit Grandma and if she wasn't home, I'd run across the alley, across the Ryan lawn, and up Toots' high, large steps.  Their house was on a very high foundation, probably made that way to avoid flood waters.  Their steps did not match what that foundation needed, and despite the high steps, the last one into the house was a doozy in itself, especially for a little girl.

I remember the inside of Toots' house very well, as well as I remembered Grandpa and Grandma's. When you went through their door, you were immediately in a small kitchen.  It had a stove and small old fridge one-step-above an icebox.  The sink and counters were on the west side of the kitchen, with a window over it.  The sink did not have a faucet, but rather had a hand pump that drew up the cistern water when you hand-pumped it.  The floors - like my grandmother's house - were covered with old-fashioned linoleum.

The door into the next room was on the far right (east) of the north wall.  That led into a parlor where there was a big chair in the northeast corner, that sat on a large, old, threadbare oriental rug.  When Toots wasn't in the kitchen, she would hold court in the living room, sitting in the chair, while Grandma would sit in a rocker nearby.  Her feet sometimes didn't reach the floor, because she was a small woman.  I remember her as seeming as round as she was tall, and having white hair.  She called me "PK", because my first and middle names' initials (Patricia Kaye) reminded her of PK Gum.

When I was very little, I remember being at Toots' house with both Grandma and Mom.  They were visiting as usual, and I think they were laughing over something.  I began to stare at Toots and really take her in.  It wasn't like I hadn't noticed her before, but something about the situation, the light coming in from the nearby window shining on her...I don't know...but I suddenly REALLY saw her. Her hair was fluffy white around her face, she was missing a tooth or two.  As she laughed her face lit up and made me smile, too even though I had no clue what the grownups were talking about.  She had a dress on, with a full apron, and as she laughed her whole body shook including her large belly.  She felt my eyes on her, and looked my way.  I suddenly blurted out, "YOU'RE FAT!"

The room went silent, and for a moment or two, you could hear a pin drop.  Then Toots began laughing, and said, "PK, so I am!"  I had no sense of it being wrong, but my Mom soon told me different.  I apologized, but Toots and Grandma both continued to find much amusement out of the situation.

There was also a very old piano in the northwest corner of the room, with a round stool that you could spin around to adjust the height of. Its four legs ended with cast iron claws that clutched glass balls. As you might imagine, I had a lot of fun sitting on it and spinning!

The piano was a dark walnut, and some of the keys were missing. But of the many keys that were still covered, they were covered with real ivory, and were so beautiful compared to the keys of modern pianos.  The seat was worn very smooth, evidence of many people who had sat upon the stool over the years.  One can imagine the many songs that were played, maybe even sung to, at that piano. Evenings where the piano brought music and joy into the Ryan home. Now, however, despite its beauty and history, it was a shadow of its former self, including the tuning. It sounded like a piano in an old western saloon, so out of tune, it had a sort of tune all its own.  As a little girl, the sound delighted me, and I loved playing little ditties I knew by heart.

My nickname's inspiration
The kitchen and parlor were the only rooms in the downstairs. However, in the southwest corner of the parlor were stairs that came out of the wall and projected into the living room.  There was a curtain that closed the opening where the stairs met the wall, but beyond that was open stairs, upon which were stacked books, and a plant or two.  There was just enough room to allow a person to get up the stairs. I never did get upstairs, although I was always curious.  I was too timid to just go up without asking, and never felt brave enough to ask.

There came a time, after my Grandma got more ill from her diabetes, that her friendship with Toots waned and we saw her less.  She was friends with the Friebohle family, through St. Anne's, who took her under their wing and helped her out to get to the store, or to the doctor.  I'm not sure what happened to Toots, except that she outlived her brother Andy, who has forever lived in my memory as a stout man in striped overalls and a trainman's hat, as he appeared every so often upon return home once upon a time.




     

The Men Who Built Fort Pembina: William Nash

Portrait of Nash, Compendium of
  History & Biography of North Dakota,
Geo. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1900

WILLIAM C. NASH enjoyed the distinction of being the first to settle in the vicinity of Grand Forks; but before that, among other things:
He was engaged in carrying United State mail in the early days from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina, and used dogs and sleds for the purpose, and he served four years as postmaster in East Grand Forks... 
He then accompanied General Hatch on his campaign through the northwest after Indians, and accompanied the expedition as far as Pembina, spending the winters of 1863-64 in Fort Garry and Pembina, and while there acted as agent for the government, and succeeded in bringing Little Six and Medicine Bottle, two Indian chiefs, back to the United States under arrest.
[Source: Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1900]

The following fall, he was appointed sutler at Fort Abercrombie, and held that position five years, during which time he was contracting.  In 18701 he helped build the post at Pembina, making the first brick used in Dakota.

____________________
1 - Prior to 1870 the Hudson Bay company had absolute control of practically all the trading interests west of the Canadian provinces. They even appointed the governor for Prince Rupert’s land, which, until the boundary was established in 1823 by Long’s expedition, was held to embrace much of present day North Dakota. A portion of the Selkirk settlement of 1812 was on American soil, as indeed was the old fort of Capt. Henry, and even later establishments. The old policy was to confine their business principally to the fur trade, but when Donald O. Smith succeeded Governor McTavish it was to trade with all the people.

     

Update: Ephraim "Eph" Clow, Pedestrian Racer

Boston Daily Globe, May 27 1881, Page 1
Boston Daily Globe, May 27 1881, Page 1

I recently wrote about a Kittson County native, Ephraim Clow, who went on to become a well-known sportsman of a late 19th century sport, Pedestrianism.

'Eph' also features in Chapter 22 (Rose Belt) of the book King of the Peds in a race in which he finished with 460 miles in that 6-day race.

Here are a couple of extracts from Chapter 28...
Out of the thirty men that started the 70-hour walking match at the Music Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, between the 16th and 21st of February, 1880, only seven finished. The winner was Peter Panchot with 345 miles. Jimmy Albert came in second with 330, Clow, third with 326, McEvoy fourth with 321, Dufrane, fifth with 318, Campana, sixth with 300, and Barrett seventh with 304. During the early part of the match, Albert had denied charges that he had been abusive in language towards a Mr. Hanson, who he allegedly struck with a cane.
---
Jimmy Albert was awarded $300 and a gold watch for winning a 75-hour go-as-you-please match (12½ hours per day) which took place at the Opera House in Brockton, Massachusetts, between Monday, the 22nd and Saturday, the 27th of March. The scores at the end were: Albert 435; Hughes, 423.16 ($200); Clow, 411.6 ($100); Hourihan, 385.14 ($75); Geldert, 361.4 ($50): The Boston Globe in its report on the match stated: The track not having been measured by a professional the above records will not stand as it is undoubtedly short. Campana, Colston and Mignault were also in the race.
There are many other mentions of the 'Canadian Champion of Toronto', in King of the Peds. For example:
In the 72-hour go-as-you-please “Toronto Walking Tournament”, which started on the morning of June the 7th 1880, Clow, of Prince Edward Island, had beaten Faber's celebrated record in Buffalo.
Ephraim "Eph" Clow, Champion Pedestrian
Courtesy of: 
www.kingofthepeds.com
     

Frederick A. Bailey: An NWMP 'Original'

Sgt. Fred Bailey
[Source:  RCMP Veterans Association,
Vancouver Division]

Let me introduce you to an ordinary man who happened to make a bit of local history by just doing what many in his day did - living life, making choices, taking risks.  

"This I believe is the diary of Frederick Bagley when he enlisted in the North-West Mounted Police as a trumpeteer at 15 years of age; They left Fort Dufferin in 1874 to secure the Medicine Line!" 
- J. Rempel

I will be sharing portions of that diary here on this blog at a later time. But for now, let us learn a bit about Sub-Constable Fred Bagley, Trumpeteer ...


According to a fascinating online biography (which I quote here in-full since so many such pages seem to disappear):
Fred Bagley’s musical talents and leadership provided a major contribution to the Force and to the communities he served in.

With regarding setting records, he was first in the following areas: 
a) being the youngest member to be sworn into the Force; 
b) first Trumpeteer in the Force; 
c) present to guard and witness the first person to be hung in the North-West Territories at Fort Saskatchewan; and 
d) first member to lead a musical performance before Royalty.
A FAVOR IS CALLED IN 
Frederick Augustus Bagley was born on September 22, 1858 in St. Lucia, British West Indies. He was the son of Robert Bagley – a retired sergeant of Her Majesty’s Royal Artillery and in 1874 was residing in Toronto Canada. 
Robert Bagley was an old friend of Commissioner George French as they both had served in the Imperial Army together. 
In 1874, Commissioner French received approval to recruit an additional 150 new members to the newly formed North-West Mounted Police. 
At this time, Fred Bagley was a Trumpeteer in “A” Battery Troop at the Royal School of Gunnery at Kingston and was very eager to join this new mounted unit. Despite the fact that the age for recruits was a minimum of 21 years of age, his father was able to convince Commissioner French to accept young Fred Bagley at the age of only 15. 
HE JOINS THE FORCE 
Prior to joining the Force, Fred Bagley recalls, “I had always been a close student of the works of James Fenimore Cooper and imagined that life in the NWMP would be one grand round of riding wild mustangs, chasing whisky traders and horse thieves, potting hostile savages, and hobnobbing with haughty Indian Princes and lovely unsophisticated Princesses. Alas! A few years in the service of the Force sufficed to dissipate much of this glamour.” [1] 
On May 1, 1874, Fred Bagley was sworn into the Force and assigned the regimental #247 and became the youngest member to be sworn into the Force. His pay rate was set as a Sub-Constable and was paid .75 a day. 
Upon departing Ontario, he told his mother that he would be back in home in a year. However, his sense of adventure and call to duty distracted him from going back to visit his mother. He did manage to return for holiday but it was fourteen years later. 
Being the youngest in the Force and not considered a full-fledged member, Fred Bagley performed his regular Trumpeteer duties such as: reveille, call to meals, lights-out, alarm, etc. 
In additional, he: attended regular drill and horsemanship practices; drew supplies for the cook’s kitchen; set the mess tables; brought cooked food from the cook-house; dished out food portions; washed dishes; and scrubbed tables and benches. 
With  the arrival of the second group of 150 members arriving at Fort Dufferin in 1874, uniforms were issued and training began. Prior to the commencement of the March West, Commissioner French ordered a full parade of all members of the Force. 
Fred Bagley recalls this first parade – it was “an inspiring sight with every man in new scarlet tunic, white puggaree-bound helmet, the loose ends hanging down each man’s back, giving a rather ‘Indian Mutiny’ effect; the horses fresh and in splendid condition, the metal parts of the accoutrements burnished and glittering in the sun, and the artillery troop ‘C’ with its 9-pounder, M.L. [muzzle loading], steel guns and bright chestnut horses conspicuous in the middle of the column. This was the one and only occasion in the entire history of the Force that it was to be seen thus on ceremonial parade in full strength, fully equipped and everyone officer and man present.”[2] 
At Fort Dufferin, the daily activities hinged around the trumpet calls provided by Fred Bagley. “Reveille, the 6:30 A.M. bugle call that reverberated through the barracks like thunder in a mountain valley, was a first-class effort by the youthful Fred Bagley, now known as the Kid Cop. He smiled broadly and appeared to gain at once the two additional inches he so dearly wanted for his boyish stature.”[3] 
THE MARCH WEST 
On July 8, 1874, the Force commenced its March West into the unknown and uncharted wilderness inhabited by warlike savages. According to accounts of the event, there was no special send-off. Troops and formations were established and the departure was an organized affair. 
The March West contingent consisted of: 302 policemen, 338 riding horses, 114 Red River Carts, 73 wagons, 142 oxen, 21 drivers, 2 field guns, and 93 head of cattle. 
For the March West, Fred Bagley was assigned to “D” Troop and was under the careful watch of Sub-Inspector James Walker. 
In the early weeks of the March West, Fred Bagley was delegated by Commissioner French to sometimes sound reveille at 3 AM. This early call was undertaken so the men would become more organized in their efforts to quickly advance westward and to become familiar with equipment. Eventually, the “healthful outdoor life molded them into a hardy lot as they trudged monotonously along to the accompaniment of thudding hoofs, clattering accoutrements and equipment and wailing, grease-hungry Red River carts.”[4] 
In an effort to preserve the condition of the horses, it was decided to alternate in riding an walking beside the horse. “Those walking hours in still-new riding boots produced painful blisters and painful memories. The Kid Bugler, Fred Bagley, told of conscientiously plugging along during the stipulated hours of riding and walking and then removing his boots on again. With still some distance to go to reach the camp, along came Sub-Inspector Walker, who hoisted Bagley on his shoulders and carried him piggy-back the rest of the way into camp.” [5] 
The heat and arid atmosphere of the prairie in mid-summer was intensified by a strong head wind causing cracked lips which rendered shouting or laughing painful. Bagley’s lips were so parched and swollen from thirst than when ordered to sound the trumpet – he couldn’t produce a note. 
“By early August, as a result of drinking brackish water, twenty-two men had dysentery, including the bugler, Bagley, whose lips were so swollen and blistered that he could not blow a single note. Horses were dying at the rate of nearly six a day.”[6] 
After the March West, Fred Bagley and his Troop turned back at Trois Buttes and returned to Swan River. In subsequent years, he assisted with the construction of Fort MacLeod, Fort Saskatchewan, Fort Qu’Appelle and Fort Battleford. 
CAREER DEVELOPMENT 
In 1877, Fred Bagley was a member of the first Force band which was formed by Sergeant Major Thomas Lake (Reg. #13). This first band performed at the Treaty signing at the Blackfeet Crossing. 
On December 20, 1879, Fred Bagley was in charge of guarding and witnessing the hanging of the first person in the North West Territories at Fort Saskatchewan. The individual who was hung was an Indian named Swift Runner. Swift Runner was found guilty of cannibalism by killing and eating his wife, their five children, and his brother. 
Between 1882 to 1885, Fred Bagley was stationed at Fort Battleford. On August 1, 1882, he was promoted to Corporal and to Sergeant on February 1, 1884. While at the Fort, he established a volunteer NWMP Band. 
NORTH-WEST REBELLION 
On March 26, 1885, the North-West Rebellion commenced when the Metis force under Gabriel Dumont defeated a combined force of 90 men from the Prince Albert Volunteers and the North-West Mounted Police led by Superintendent Leif Crozier at Duck Lake. 
The day after this battle, the Commissioner ordered Sergeant Fred Bagley to lead a group of 25 NWMP members with ammunition and supplies to reinforce Fort Carleton. As Bagley’s group approached Fort, they received a message from the Commissioner to return to Fort Battleford. Fortunate for the Bagley group, they were not spotted by the Metis force for these supplies would have greatly assisted their rebel cause. 
At Fort Battleford, Sgt. Bagley was involved in several scouting parties and came under fire on several occasions such as: retrieving the death body and pursuing Chief Little Poplar and his band for five days. 
Based on his actions at Fort Battleford and the surrounding areas, he was awarded a North-West Rebellion Medal. However, the medal was not issued until August 13, 1902.[7] 
PROBLEMS WITH THE COMMISSIONER 
On March 19, 1887, Fred Bagley was promoted to Staff Sergeant and transferred to Regina to assist Inspector Constantine in the planning and establishment of a NWMP Post at Banff. While in Regina, he was also asked to establish a Regimental Force Band. 
On May 4, 1888, while as the acting Bandmaster, Commissioner Laurence Herchmer gave Fred Bagley “an order regarding the attendance of the band members at the Church of England choir practice. When the band members failed to attend the practice – the Commissioner Herchmer flew into a rage. Bagley was arrested and brought before him charged with disobeying an order. He was found guilty and reduce in rank form Staff Sergeant to Sergeant.”[8] 
“The fact that Herchmer was a member of the Church of England and Bagley a Catholic was suspected to have been at the root of the demotion.”[9] 
Subsequent to this demotion and rage by Commissioner Herchmer, the Regina Leader newspaper published the incident and many other incidents which outlined the rages and poor leadership of the Commissioner. 
“It was soon clear that Bagley and Herchmer had different understandings of the meaning of the order. The former claimed that since he was a Roman Catholic he could not be ordered to sing in an Anglican choir. The Commissioner explained to (Jack) White (Comptroller of the NWMP) that it was not his intention that Bagley should attend, but only that he see that the Church of England members of the band participated. 
In response, the Deputy Minister (Jack White) chided him for his thoughtlessness. Church services could not be considered a part of a member’s duties, he told the Commissioner, and the cut of 50 cents a day in Bagley’s pay was a harsh punishment not in keeping with his good records.”[10] 
In 1887, S/Sgt. Bagley was placed in charge of the new Banff NWMP Post and was provided a staff of 18 members to patrol the new Banff Park. 
In 1888, the Commanding Officer for Fort Calgary was in need of a Band Master for their volunteer NMWP band. The Commissioner was convinced to transfer Fred Bagley to Fort Calgary. On May 1, 1889, Fred Bagley was promoted back to the rank of Staff Sergeant by Commissioner Herchmer. 
Fred Bagley’s band performed in the new Banff Spring Hotel and was a popular attraction for visiting tourists. 
After returning from three months of leave in Ontario, he was transferred to Calgary and married one of the town’s most respected and admired daughters. “They made an attractive couple, she with her charming air and hospitable grace, he with his soldierly bearing and gentlemanly conduct.” 
QUEEN VICTORIA’s DIAMOND JUBILEE

With the celebrations of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee scheduled for June 22, 1897, there was a push by members of Parliament and by the Commissioner to have a contingent of Force members to participate in the Diamond Jubilee parade. After much consideration, Sir Wilfrid Laurier agreed that 25 Force members would be included in the 200 member Canadian Contingent being sent to London. 
The Force’s participation in this parade would be the first international appearance of the NWMP. Many editorials had been written in England about the achievements of the NWMP in the Canadian West. It was important to Commissioner Herchmer that this initial presence of the NWMP in London be favourable in the eyes of the other Imperial regiments. 
By the end of April 1897, twenty-three members were selected. Fred Bagley was one of these members. The chosen members were all: young, trim, handsome, 5’10” to 6’0” in height, average waist of 35 inches, average chest of 39 inches and most sported long waxed mustaches which were considered dashing at the time.[11] 
The Commissioner received approval for new uniforms to be worn by the NWMP delegation: prairie suits, cowboy hats and overalls with elastic sided boots and box spurs for walking out.
While in England, Fred Bagley and his band gave a musical command performance at Windsor Castle and he himself was presented to Her Majesty (Queen Victoria).”[12] 
Shortly after returning to Canada, Fred Bagley was transferred to Maple Creek and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major. 
ADVANCEMENT IN LIFE 
On April 30, 1899 – Fred Bagley retired from the Force after completing 25 years of dedicated service. His pension was $328.50 per year. 
After retiring, he continued his dedicated service to his community and country as outlined below: 
a) Boer War – Captain in charge of “C” Squadron – Canadian Mounted Rifles; 
b) 15th Light Horse Regiment – Appointed Adjutant and headed up their Regimental Band; 
c) World War I – Captain with the 82nd Battalion then transferred to the 192nd Battalion and went to Europe in 1915. Later promoted to the rank of Major.
d) Assisted with the establishment of many community bands; 
e) Largely responsible for the creation of the Museum of Natural History; and 
f) One of the original members who pushed for the creation of the Royal North-West Mounted Police Veterans Association. 
In 1924, he returned to Banff with his wife. Despite the issues he had with the Force, he “never conceded that his youthful union with the Mounted Police was a mistake.”[13] 
Major Fred Bagley (1930) 

In writing to the RCMP Quarterly Editor in 1945, Fred Bagley stated “We old ‘originals’ are prone sometimes to believe that we are neglected or ignored by a generation that ‘knew not Joseph’ and his works … I am now in my 87th year and my interest and pride in the splendid fellows who are today carrying on, and even sometimes excelling the great traditions of the old Force, never slackens. I always get a great thrill whenever I see them on parade or swaggering down the street.”[14]

On October 8, 1945, Fred Bagley passed away in Banff, Alberta. In tribute to his support to the community of Banff, all the merchants closed their business for his funeral.

______________
[1] MacLeod, R.C. – “The North-West Mounted Police and Law Enforcement: 1873 to 1905.” Toronto: University of Toronto Press (1976) (page 85) 
[2] Turner, John Peter – “The North-West Mounted Police: Volume I.” – Ottawa: King’s Printer (1950)(120-121) 
[3] MacEwan, Grant – “Colonel James Walker: Men of the Western Frontier.” Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books (1989) (page 36)

[4] “They Opened the Way for the Peaceful Development of Canada’s Broad Plains.” Ottawa: RCMP Quarterly (Volume 11 – October 1945 – January, 1946) (page 144)

[5] MacEwan, Grant – “Colonel James Walker: Men of the Western Frontier.” Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books (1989 (page 47)

[6] Wilkins, Charles – “The Wild Ride: A History of the North West Mounted Police 1873 – 1904.” Vancouver: Stanton Atkins & Dosil Publishing (2010) (page 68) 
[7] Klancher, Donald – “The North West Mounted Police And The North-West Rebellion.” (1997) (page 77) 
[8] Beahen, William and Horrall, Stan – “Red Coats On The Prairies: The North-West Mounted Police 1886-1900.” Regina: Centax Books PrintWest Publish Services (1998) (page 135) 
[9] Wilkins, Charles – “The Wild Ride: A History of the North West Mounted Police 1873 – 1904.” Vancouver: Stanton Atkins & Dosil Publishing (2010) (page 184) 
[10] Beahen, William and Horrall, Stan – “Red Coats On The Prairies: The North-West Mounted Police 1886-1900.” Regina: Centax Books PrintWest Publish Services (1998) (page 135) 
[11] Beahen, William and Horrall, Stan – “Red Coats on the Prairies: The North-West Mounted Police 1886-1900.” Regina: Centax Books, 1998 (Page 289) 
[12] “They Opened the Way for the Peaceful Development of Canada’s Broad Plains.” Ottawa: RCMP Quarterly (Volume 11 – October 1945 – January, 1946) (page 163) 
[13] MacEwan, Grant – “Colonel James Walker: Men of the Western Frontier.” Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books (1989 (page 31-32) 
[14] “Editorial – Major Bagley.” Ottawa: RCMP Quarterly – Volume 11 (October 1945 – January 1946) (Pages 85)

     

James J. Barry, Pugilist

Louis Edgar Rogers, aka
Jim Barry, was born in
St. Vincent, Minnesota.

Jim Barry was a pugilist...and a mystery. His real name was Louis Edgar Rogers.  He seems to have left the US in December 1912 and returned in 1915. One document that was found - an application for a passport - showed he was in England at the time. Did he go to England to get treatment for his drug and alcohol problems? Then, a record showed he fought his old nemesis Sam Langford in Australia, most likely as part of a hopeful comeback? Or, was it an exhibition fight?  He has some more fights later but he lost them all. While in Panama, he was murdered at the age of 32. A short life of a promising young boxer - he was considered a capable, durable fighter in his prime - that took a wrong turn, that led to a sad end.

 
Barry lists St. Vincent, Minnesota 

as where he was born, on this 1915 
emergency passport application...
Louis was born on August 12, 1886 in St. Vincent, Minnesota.  In the 1900 US Census, Louis is listed as age 15 and going by Lue Rogers. Lue is a variant of the name Louis (English and French), and on the same census, Mary is listed as his mother, age 55 and widowed.  His father had been from Ireland, but his mother was French-Canadian.1 Very likely she would have called him Lue for short - or it could have been a simplified version of how Louis is pronounced in French.  

Barry's 1915 passport photo
According to the same census, Lue could neither read nor write. Nor could his mother.  It was not unusual for that time, but just like today, it limited job opportunities for a lifetime.  Lue was also listed as a 'Day Laborer', but that wouldn't last for long. Sometime during the next few years, probably sooner, Lue learned the art of boxing, left Drayton for the wider world, and became Jim Barry.


Sam Langford
Jim's start up the ranks of boxing are not known, but he eventually made a modest name for himself. He was characterized as a "hard-hitting white cowboy" ... who did not mind fighting the top black heavyweights of the Chitlin' Circuit. Although he did not beat Sam Langford--only to a draw, in their many fights--Barry did deck the Boston fighter on two occasions.

According to his May 1915 passport application, Barry was born in 1886 in St. Vincent, Minnesota, and called Drayton, North Dakota, his place of residence. He listed his occupations as "engineer and boxer" - what kind of engineer, we do not know, but if true, it was as a vocation between 'day laborer' and 'boxer'.

After returning from London, Barry went into treatment for cocaine addiction.  He was released from a New York hospital after taking the "Coke Cure" in July 2015.  The government was starting to crack down on cocaine and other drugs that had previously been unregulated. I think Barry had to get straight or risk losing chances to fight, or even get arrested.  So he was trying to straighten up. 

An article in the Pembina Pioneer Express for March 30, 1917, has this notation:
James Barry, whose right name was Rogers, is reported killed down in the Panama zone. Barry was raised in Drayton this county, and has relatives there. He had some repute as a heavyweight pugilist... 
To quote coverage in the Panama Star & Herald, 12 March 1917:
Jim Barry was shot and killed in the Lobby Hotel in Colon. His slayer was C. Jerrett, usually known as 'Tex Martin.' Martin accosted Barry in the Lobby Hotel bar and Barry pushed him back, saying that he didn't want anything to do with him. (There had been an altercation between them in Panama City the previous day, stemming from a disagreement over a gambling debt.) Martin then pulled a Colt 44 and shot Barry three times. Barry staggered out of the bar and fell dead. Martin was quickly arrested after the shooting and later stood trial for murder. Apparently it was found that Martin had been threatened by Barry, was acting in self-defense, and was released. He was later reported to have been killed in San Antonio, Texas.
"There was a story that when he died Barry was in possession of a gold and silver belt entrusted to him by none other than John L. Sullivan. The belt was never recovered."  December 10, 1912 Tacoma Times article. [Source: BoxRec]

Source:  The Little Book of Boxing

 A narrow escape:  Barry was carrying a fight purse when he
almost lost it - a serious financial loss averted by pure luck.


"On this date..." - Jimmy Barry, real name Louis
Edgar Rogers, born in St. Vincent, Minnesota!


1 - While Mary was listed as 'Canadian/French' in the 1900 U.S. Census (now living in Drayton, ND), in the Minnesota Territorial Census for 1885 (while living in St. Vincent, and later that year giving birth to Louis), Louis' mother is listed - out of the five choices given - as 'Mulatto' (one definition of that word meant half white, half Indian). In the 1910 census she was listed as simply 'Indian'. It can be confusing to the researcher what to make of such various ways of describing people's ethnicities and racial makeups, but it's fairly simple in this case. Mary was either born in Canada, or her parents were. She was probably a mixture of a First Nation mother and a French Canadian father. Louis' father was listed as Irish.
     

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