The act of the legislature organizing the county authorized the county board to locate the county seat. Then the legislature on Feb. 24th, 1873, passed a bill locating the county seat on the NE 1/2 of the SE 1/4 of section 17-107-40 where Currie now stands, but later in the same session of the legislature an act was passed changing the location of the county seat to the NE 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of section 34-107-41. When the commissioners met they were evidently not satisfied with the act of the legislature and on Sept. 4th, 1872, ordered that a vote be taken to decide the location of the county seat.
The county records at that time fail to show when the election was held, where it was held, and the result of the election. Politics were getting warm and there was a real hot election.
On January 7, 1873, the commissioners met at the home of L. D. Bonesteel about three miles north of what is now Slayton. This house was nearest the point or place selected by the legislature.
At the election in Nov. of 1872, L. D. Bonesteel, W. H. Mellen, and John H. Low were elected commissioners. At this meeting the salary of the Supt. of schools was raised to $100.00 a year. The political leaven was working at a meeting of the board. W. H. Mellen moved that they meet "at Currie's Mills, the county seat of Murray County on May l6th at 9 o'clock A. M." The board met the next day and as Bonesteel was absent, John H. Low acted as chairman pro tem. This would indicate that the election for the removal to the NE 1/4 of the SE 1/4 had carried. At this place Neil Currie established the first store in the county and later a flour mill. The first store of the '70 wave was that of L. D. Bonesteel. He kept a little tea, coffee, flour and tobacco.
The first grand and petit jurors were drawn in January 1874.
A county seat war which started in the early '80's kept the county in an uproar for several years. The county seat, that is the records, were moved from Currie to Slayton and then back again to Currie and then returned to Slayton in 1889. Some of the county officers lived at Currie and some at Slayton during
the county seat war. The county seat election of 1889 reminded one of the elections of New York and Chicago. Votes were openly bought on both sides and Jerry Baker, whom you will find mentioned in the Cameron twp. article, drew down the top price for his vote. One of the campaign men told the writer that they had to pay him $7.30, the highest price paid in the county by either side. The county had those staunch men of every decade, who would not sell their vote under any circumstance, but they did accept two quarts of whiskey from the well-filled back end of the buggy. That was the election of the county. Committees from both sides were present at every polling place and the going price of votes was three dollars and a half. If one got more, one had to be watched. That was one early Murray County election where party lines, which were mighty strong in those days, were forgotten. The people of the county voted $22,300.00 for the erection of the present courthouse in 1892. Slayton carried the election by a majority of 12 votes.
The term "Poverty Hill" for the highest area in Mason township has been the cause of much inquiry and argument. Back in the '70's two of the young men who came west for land made their home at Currie. One of them, John Dennison, settled on the high area in Mason and G. H. Smith settled on a place in Cameron township. They batched it at first and as conditions were not of the best, Dennison jokingly called his place "Poverty Hill."; G. H., not to be outdone, called his place "Calamity Ranch." They would spend the weekends in Currie and naturally told the folks about their places. The "Poverty Hill" name stuck but that of "Calamity Ranch" was soon forgotten. The voyageurs' name for the hill was "Butte Des Morts" the equivalent of the Sioux name meaning "Mound of the Dead." Here on the hill on scaffolds, the Sioux who hunted and lived nearby, deposited their dead. Fremont and Nicollet camped on top of the hill on the way to Bear Lake Woods in 1838.
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