Search billions of records on

An Historic Spot

The most historic spot of the great American Northwest.

The Mound Builders lived here.

The haunt and battle ground of two Indian nations.

The abiding place of the buffalo hunting Metis.

The temporary residence of the Selkirk settlers.

Alexander Henry's garden opposite.

Commodore Kittson, American Fur Co., and Hudson Bay storesand forts were here or near.

Hatch's Battalion built a fort on the north point.

Since man inhabited this part of the American continent,there is no doubt of his presence at these points pictured below, whichit is the confluence of the Red River of the North and its branch the Pembinariver.

The Pembina river rises just about a hundred miles westin the Turtle mountains, after flowing northward through Rock Lake in Manitobait again crosses the International boundary southward and eastward and windsthrough heavily timbered banks across Pembina county, being joined on itsway about four miles from town by its branch, the Tongue river.

That the pre-historic mound builders were here is evidencedby the existence of five small mounds a short distance south of the junctionof the rivers which in earlier days were very plain but which now are plowednearly to the level of the prairie.

Here was the headquarters of the Metis who were the offspringof the Hudson Bay employees and the native Indians. These people lived anomadic life going out on the plains twice a year for the summer and thewinter buffalo hunt, returning to this point to get supplies and rest.

That the Indians also made this junction of waters a favoritehaunt is certain because of the abundance of fish being near the hauntsof all sorts of wild game, making fish, fowl, and animal flesh plenty. Onone side were the Chippewa and on the other side were the Dakotah or Sioux,and the river was not only a place for fish but also for war as these tribeswere always enemies. The Red River must have often been red indeed in manysanguinary conflicts between these hereditary enemies.

Here again was the temporary abiding place of the Selkirksettlers. Even to this day, the remains of their cellars can be found alongthe banks of the Pembina.

The Hudson Bay Company had a stockade at West Emerson afew miles down the river. Later, Commodore Kittson who was then in the furtrade built a store on southward point shown in the picture, the cellarof which is still a dent in the earth. The American Fur Co., a rival ofthe Hudson Bay Co., had headquarters here.

Just across the river, not far from where the Kodak waslocated when the picture was taken, Alexander Henry, who was the first whiteman to make a record of his experiences in this country, in his diary saysthat he had a garden and raised a month's potatoes.

On the northerly point shown in the picture, in 1861, Hatch'sBattalion, a company of U.S. soldiers, erected a log fort. They had marchedthat fall in pretty cold weather, and built the fort after arriving here.Their objective was to gather up some Indians that had fled to Manitobaafter the Indian massacre in Minnesota, and went back in the spring withthe Indians, and thirty-seven of whom were hanged on one gallows at onetime at Mankato.

Many other historical references can be added to the foregoing,and doubtless the junction of these two rivers and the immediate vicinity,if all were written has been the scene of more history than any other pointin the great northwest, counting from beyond Chicago to Hudson Bay and farto the west.

We have faith to believe that the same inducements thatbrought men here long before history was written still exist in other forms.The rich grasses that fed the buffalo have been replaced by the wheat thatfeeds millions of people, and cattle and horses have replaced the buffalo.The natural waterway is still here and added to that are many differentrailroad systems. Some day the water power now floating uselessly by tothe Hudson Bay will be harnessed and electric power will light the housesof the farmers as well as the town people and manufacturers will aboundbecause of the cheap power.

Agriculturally, it is the finest body of land in the world.Add manufacturers and progress and prosperity will make this a veritablegarden of Eden, and land will be valued as high as anywhere in the world.This may be a long look to the future, but it is only a question of time.The conjunction of land, water, and international boundary means somethingfor the future. They are factors which when multiplied together must bringa certain product.

A picture of the junction of the Red and Pembina Riversaccompanied this article, but the picture is unclear on the microfilm copyof this 1915 newspaper.

Source: The Pembina Pioneer Express, vol. 37, Friday, June25, 1915. Pembina, ND.

Researched, retyped and contributed by Angela Lucas, 20Feb 1999


Researched, retyped and contributed by Angela Lucas, 20Feb 1999