James Diamond

by

Loree Johnson

 

James was born on January 11, at Prince Edward Island,Canada. James grew up on this island and here he received schooling andtraining on the carriage maker trade.

Later, he was married to his wife, Amelia. They had twogirls, Lydia and Zula.

The challenge of a new land drew James Diamond and manyother to the Red River Valley of Northwestern Minnesota. James and hisfamily arrived in the Red River Valley in the fall of 1879. He was metat the end of the railroad, which was 1 1/2 miles from the present townof Humboldt, by his cousin Charles Clow. Charles owned and operated a smallgrocery store and mail service. This was located 1/4 mile north of theAlfred Rustad Jr. farm, which is now the Hurdis Diamond farm. Charles'store received its supplies mostly from the freight trains that came throughHumboldt, and the Fort Pembina and St. Vincent settlements. due to theapproaching winter, James found it necessary to purchase a homestead witha home already built. This homestead was owned by Duncan Cameron whichis located on the southwest quarter of section 14 of St. Vincent Township.

The winters were extremely cold. Storms lasted up to threedays. It became necessary to tip ropes to the buildings to hold on to sothey could see where they were going.

The prairie which James lived on had very few trees. Asthe farmers broke up the soil, dust storms increased. During one of thesedust storms, James' first house burned down. The storm was so thick theneighbors living close by couldn't see it burn.

James used his carriage making trade to earn extra moneydoing carpenter work to purchase necessities for his family. He would travelto the St. Vincent - Pembina settlement where he would work throughout theweek, returning home on the weekend. While James was gone, his wife, Amelia,would take care of the farm.

If there was no work as a carpenter, there was always aneed to haul cord wood for fuel. The prairie land of the Red River Valleyhad few trees and it was necessary to haul wood from Roseau or from NorthDakota. They set out with a team of horses very early in the morning togo get a load of cord wood and return home. They received 50 cents a cord.

As spring came, James and the other settlers used horsesto plow the land and seed the grain. during the summer, the grain grewtall in the rich Red River Valley soil.

When fall approached, the binders cut the grain. The menwould then tie the bundles and place them in shocks. The wagons would haulthe grain to the separating machines which would separate the grain fromthe straw. Neighbors and friends would get together and help during thistime.

Religion was important to the settlers. James helped tobuild the present North Star Church. It was then called the North StarPresbyterian Church. He attended it regularly and was an elder of the churchat the time of his death. James also gave land for the Methodists to buildtheir church. This was located on the corner of section 15. Later, itwas moved to the village of Humboldt. James Hill gave the land to the MethodistChurch to be used as church property. It is presently the Humboldt UnitedMethodist Church.

Early settlers used to have fun. People used to meet inschool houses before there were any churches or town halls. Basket socialswere always popular. The ladies would bring a basket which was auctionedoff. The highest bidder would get the basket to share with a lady of hischoice. Ladies would hold quilting bees. Each town had a baseball team. A typical outing would include a baseball game while everyone else wouldwatch and eat their picnic lunches.

During the time James was here his family increased totwelve children. Mrs. Roy Stewart is the only living child left of thefamily of James and Amelia.

My great, great, grandfather, James Diamond has accomplishedvery much. Even though times have changed and living conditions have improvedwe will always have our memories to turn to for information of the past.

 

Bibliography

Diamond, Mrs. Ann, Interview, February 1973y

Diamond, Mrs. Ann, Interview, February 1973