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Fee Family - Canada to Dakota Territory

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Fee Family - Canada to Dakota Territory

Posted: 1289494737000
Classification: Biography
*NOTE: I am not related to the following persons.

A train laden with farm machinery, lumber, cows, horses and household goods belonging to a group of settlers bound for the prairies of Dakota left Lindsay, Ontario in the spring of 1881. They arrived in Minto on May 21, 1881.

Francis Fee, was nicknamed "Columbus Fee" by his friends, had gone ahead to Dakota in 1880 and set up the basis for making homestead claims for himself and and several of his brothers and married sisters and their families, also his wife's two brothers: William and Martin Coffey.

These people homesteaded in Ops Township which they named after a township of the same name near Lindsay. The Fees and their families had claims and lived for the first years in sod shanties and "claim shacks" on the prairies, planting trees and breaking sod.

Winters were cruel to these people fra the lower reaches of Canada. Summer heat with flies and mosquitoes must have made life nearly unbearable at times.
One of the Fee sisters, Mrs Cayley, lost all three of her children within a few days fra the disease known as "Black Diphtheria." they are buried side-by-side in St Patrick's cemetery in Minto. Catherine Cayley was not daunted and had six other sons and a daughter.

Jane Fee, the mother of this pioneer family, who was born Jane McInerney in 1811, died in 1883 and was probably the first to be buried in the cemetery at St Luke's in Vesleyville. The stone is still there. How odd that this woman, born on the Irish Sea, who spent her first years in Scotland, and most of the remainder of her life in Ontario, who must have been a Presbyterian, to have been interred in alien soil, in a totally new country, where her grave would become surrounded by graves bearing Czechoslovakian names. This woman has descendants in almost every town fra Walhalla to Grand Forks and some on each coast and Canada. Several of the Fee children married Irish Catholics.

One of the sisters is reported to have said that on a clear, windless morning, she could see the smoke rising fra the chimneys of each of her sister's and brother's homes on their surrounding prairie farms in Ops Township.

Many of the children of these settlers left Dakota and went to western Canada, Montana and other places. "Columbus Fee", eventually got the "pioneer fever" and took the younger members of his family to Alberta. He was an artist, a writer, a musician and a seeker. He joined the Salvation Army later in life and achieved a reputation for himself. He was the last of the family to die, in 1935, Alberta, Canada. His son, Charles, lived many years in Grand Forks where he sold real estate and entertained his many friends with fascinating stories. He dies in 1956.

The Grahams, Millers and Callahans (could also be Callaghans) all moved fra Walsh County early in the century, the Grahams to western North Dakota. It is said that Josie, the wife of Senator Quentin Burdick, is a descendant of may Ellen Fee, who married Thomas Graham.

William Henry Fee is buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Minto. Three of his daughters married men named Kennedy.

Charles Fee, Vesleyville is a descendant of this line and the head of the Fee family in Walsh County.

Mrs O'Keefe was one of the older sisters and by the time of the move to Dakota she had several adult sons, one of whom was a doctor in Minto for several years before moving to Grand Forks. Another son, John, was one of the early settlers in Cavalier. John later became collector of customs in pembina in 1933. Thomas, another son, was the grandfather of Mrs Wallace Goulet and also Mrs Rene French, both of Grafton.

The late C. J. O'Keefe, Crystal, was a grandson of this Fee girl, who married an O'Keefe. Judge James O'Keefe, of Grafton, is a descendant of this line.

James Cayley, the auctioneer, was well known around Grafton until his death in 1948, where his widow Alyce lives. Catherine Fee Cayley also had a grandson in Cavalier.
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tejmex63 1289494737000 
hartleywood 1348783502000 
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