A Pioneer History of Becker County

Chapter XIX.

Organization of Becker County.

The county was organized by a special law approved March 1st, 1871. This law authorized the governor, Horace Austin, to appoint a board of county commissioners, three in number for Becker County. The commissioners appointed were John Cromb, John F. Beaver, and Chris. Gardner, and their terms of office were to continue until the beginning of the year 1872. The Tyler Hotel at Detroit was the place appointed for their first meeting, which occurred on the 23rd day of June, 1871. They were swron in by David Pyle, a notary public.

At this meeting David Pyle was appointed county auditor to serve until the first Monday in March 1872. Previous to 1882, the terms of all county auditors and treasurers commenced on that day. At this same meeting Charles E. Churchill of Burlington Township was appointed sheriff and Archibald McArthur, of Detroit, register of deeds, to serve until the beginning of the year 1872.

The next meeting of the board was held at the store of S. B. Pinney, on the Sherman farm, at Oak Lake, on the 5th day of July. The next meeting was held on the 15th of August. There was then a vacancy on the board caused by the death of Mr. Gardner, and William G. Woodworth of Detroit was appointed to fill his place. The county board on the 24th of September, 1871, for the first time, divided the county into commissioners' districts. The first district was made up of the southern tier of townships running the entire length of the county, from east to west with Lake Park added to it. The next tier of townships north, excepting Lake Park, comprised the second district. The three northern tier of townships, twelve of which were on the White Earth Reservation, made up the third district. An entirely new board was elected in the fall of 1871.

On Jan. 2nd, 1872, the new board of county commissioners held their first meeting. There were present commissioners L. G. Stevenson, first district, and W. H. H. Howe, second district. A. J. Haney, who had been elected from the third district, had left the county. The various meetings of the county board up to this time had been held sometimes at Detroit and more frequently at Pinney's store on the Sherman farm, on the shore of Oak Lake, but on the 13th day of March, 1872, they met at Oak Lake City, by the big cut on the Northern Pacific Railroad. At this meeting there was a full board; J. E. Vangorden having been appointed to fill the vacanct place in the 3rd district. The next meeting was held at Detroit on the 8th of June, 1872. On Tuesday, Sept. 10th, 1872, the board again met at Detroit. When the legislature passed the bill organizing Becker County and designating Detroit as the place at which the county commissioners should hold their first meeting, it was generally understood that the act of legislature fixed the county seat at Detroit. It was currently reported in those days that many years before, a townsite had been surveyed out at Detroit Lake and named Detroit, and that circumstance was supposed to have had its influence with the authorities in appointing that place for the county seat. The law, however, did not require the county officers to remain at the county seat until three years after the county was organized. Court was always to be held there, but to transact business with any one of the county officers, you must hunt him up by going to his residence in whatever part of the county his home might be.

The county treasurer and the sheriff and sometimes the coroner however, frequently reversed this rule and took pains to hunt some of the other fellows up, whether they wanted to see them or not.

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