Midnight Raid

The granary that was used for a County office immediately following the November 1882 election was the only building on the townsite and stood just about opposite the entrance to the present courthouse block.  It was built to store the grain that grew on the townsite in 1882.  I think it must have been at least 70 feet long and about 16 wide.  It was constructed of heavy dimension lumber in order to carry the weight of the grain when filled.  It was sheeted on the inside of the studding with shiplap but there was no covering on the outside.  It had a gable roof and was shingled.  It was built for use and not for show.  When Cooperstown was declared the new County Seat, we had to have an office quick, so we partitioned off about 16 feet at the east end of the granary, putting in a small window, and a door made with inch boards and fastened with a 25 cent lock.  It was the plan to occupy it only a few weeks while they were constructing a new and commodious building two or three hundred feet to the north, which was later known as the Dakota House.

When the records were brought from Hope, I was made deputy register of deeds and placed in charge of them.  John Houghton and Allan Pinkerton, carpenters, who were constructing the new building, slept in my "office", because they had no other place on the townsite to occupy, and besides, they were counted on to assist me in holding the records in case an attempt should be made to steal them.  Because certain people who resided between Cooperstown and Hope visited in my "office" in the daytime, but appeared to have no business there, I became satisfied that they were looking the situation over with a view of recovering the records.  I communicated my suspicions to the Commissioners and asked that they bring a couple of loads of plank and board in the "office" so that in case a raid was made in the night time they could not get in without waking us up.  I stated that the door and window were no protection whatever, and particularly that we all slept at night.  I was told that my fears were groundless; that in just a few days' time we would be moved into the new building, and all would be well.  Still, I argued and I thought I was in a better position to judge than the Commissioners were because I had an opportunity to talk with these visitors and observe their actions.  There was nothing done.  It was cold and we all slept on the floor under loads of blankets.

When they came we were asleep.  They went through that door with one little push and were right on top of us in a second.  They lit our lamp and I saw that every one of that dozen raiders had a gun in his hand, while ours were hanging on the walls.  They soon had the records carried to their sleighs and then ordered us to dress and accompany them as far as the Sheyenne river, presumably, so we would be delayed in sounding an alarm.  We all refused to dress and go.  They tried force but after the stove and table had been overturned and the place thoroughly wrecked, they left, taking our guns with them.

William Glass, written in 1937

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 15

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