Explorer: Andre Jerome

by

Renee Giffen

Explorers had very exciting lives because of the dangersthey faced and thrilling moments they experienced while trying to reachand settle in this unsettled areas of Northwestern Minnesota.

Andre Jerome was the first settler or explorer of KittsonCounty. After Andre was settled and had made a cozy home for himself inthe county, other settlers came to this area to settle.

Robert Thompson was the second settler in Kittson County. He was born in Ireland in 1861 and entered America in 1861. He workedon the railroad construction in northwestern Minnesota with his brother-in-lawJack O'Mally was murdered and his body was thrown into a river by unknownpersons. Robert Thompson died in California in 1922.

Ed McLeod, a young man who came down from a Selkirk settlementnorthwest of Winnipeg, ranks as third settler in the county. He claimedto have raised the first wheat in the county.

Two brothers, Erik and Ole Norland, came up from Iowa in1878. They brought along their wives, and Ole had a little daughter. Theyalso made a raft and floated down the Red River to a place near Andre Jerome'sfarm. Andre transported the travelers and their belongings to the Hallockarea.

After these men moved into the county, others followed. A number of Canadians settled in the northern part of the county includingthe Ash, Finney, Perry, Walton, Nelson, Ford, Bernath, and other familiesof St. Vincent. Most of the first settlers were former residents of PrinceEdward Island. in Canada. It is recalled that the Earl of Selkirk fostereda settlement there. This connection was responsible for the migration ofPrince Edward Islanders to the St. Vincent community. In the Humboldt area,the first settlers were chiefly Scotch. Some of these had come from Canadaand others had come directly from Scotland.

Andre Jerome was of mixed blood and hardy stock. Andre,one of seven brothers of the Red River county, was born near Fort Garryin 1821. His ancestry has been traced back to the French Huguenots. Theseven sons were very intelligent and couragous, and from their mother'sside of the family they inherited their physiques and the skill of handlingthe redman. The lives of these brothers were very typical of the fur tradingera in the Red River Valley.

Andre Jerome was accused of participating in the firstRiot Rebellion. He took active part against the British government in RiotRebellion and 0' Donahue Fenian raid of 1869 -70. He was imprisoned atStony Mountain penitentiary in Manitoba and was bridled up like a horseand was expected to break stone day and night until he told the secretsof his leaders. But Andre withstood his cruelties, and never spoke a word. After many months, he was freed.

When the Indian outbreak occurred in 1862, he proved ofgreat value to the government, aiding in supression of the revolt.

He was very familiar with the Indian languages and theIndians of this county. Not only did Andre know the Indians well, he alsoknew the county trails very well. He knew them so well that Northwest laylike a map before him. It is doubtful if there is a human who has passedthrough as many thrilling scenes and events of pioneer life as did AndreJerome.

Andre is dead now, and he is noted most for his scoutingand voyages of his time. The earlier part of his life he spent amid theinfluences of the forests trails, and was for many interested in scouting,carrying messages, and pathfinding for the Hudson's Bay Company.

Mr. Jerome married early to Miss Margret Goslin and hada family of nine children.

Andre's activities and his manners of living were typicalof the era in which he lived. Andre Jerome gave glamour to the northernforests.

 

Bouvette, J. C. & Sons, Kittson County Enterprise,"Andre Jerome", 1881, page 18
tson County Enterprise,"Andre Jerome", 1881, page 18