Wherein George Grinnell came to his death through an Act of God, by the hand of His Agent, Josephine Grinnell.
Grinnell had broken her nose nine times and once blinded her for seven months from his poundings, she murmured tonelessly. Head bowed and hands clasped in her lap, the young half-breed woman went on with the story of her tragic life for the coroner's jury. "He run over me the last time with a horse. That's what makes my body sore. At one time I stood in a creek for two days, standing up to my neck in water to get away from him."
While the damaging testimony rolled from the woman's lips like water from a breached dam; the three members of the jury, sitting at Williston, reached back in their memories. Every one of them had known George Grinnell. At least one of them had gotten drunk with him. And they all knew that he was one mean son of a bitch after the first drink was downed. As the saying went in those days, he was not a man "to ride the river with. "
As one of a number of characters inhabiting the Upper Missouri beginning in the 1860's, George Grinnell is a standout. The best that can be deduced of his early life is that he was born in 1840 in Baltimore, Md. and that he was an orphan and a newsboy. At the age of 18, he made his way to Minnesota. In May of 1861, he enlisted in the First Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers, an infantry unit. He was discharged in October of 1862 and immediately enlisted in Troop B, 6th Battalion, 6th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. In his wartime tour of duty with that outfit, George participated in some of the toughest campaigning and fiercest fighting of the Civil War, including the Battle of Gettysburg. Some accounts state that Grinnell served as a spy for General Sheridan.
After the war, in 1865, George emigrated by wagon train to Beaver Creek in what is now eastern Williams County, North Dakota. He hunted for a living and unsuccessfully dug for gold. To augment his income, he became a wood hawk. Many years later an acquaintance described him as "an aristocratic, English type of person, and a heavy drinker; a wonderful man when he was sober, but a terror when he had a skinful." Grinnell's Army discharge declared that he was five feet, eight and a half inches in height. The time element is vague, but it must have been sometime in 1866 when he left for the gold fields of Montana.
In the course of seeking his fortune in the West, George seemed determined to establish a reputation as a mean man. His search for gold turned up nothing, so he went back to wood hawking. Taking over an abandoned fur trading post, Fort Dauphin, at the junction of the Milk and Missouri Rivers, he hired four men and put them to work.
In the fall of 1867, a tenderfoot named Henry Keiser was traveling west from Fort Union when Indians killed his only companion. He had not eaten for two days when he stumbled into the woodyard asking for food. Grinnell showed no sign of the customary frontier hospitality. Instead, he handed the weakened Keiser an ax and ordered him to chop wood to earn his board. For two days the inexperienced man labored, his only nourishment a few slices of bread stolen for him by one of the hired men. The second night Keiser was awakened by a small herd of buffalo rubbing themselves against his cabin walls. He shot one. Grinnell fed him then in exchange for the meat, but Keiser remembered his conscienceless host as "that damnable Grinnell, whom I had come to hate more than the most heinous red man of the plains!"
In the spring of 1869, George found an opportunity to revel in the highest ambition of all plainsmen—extermination of Indians. Some 50 wood hawks and wolfers—Grinnell, Liver-Eatin' Johnson, and Keiser among them—gathered at a small trading post at the mouth of the Musselshell River. On Sunday morning, May 9, about a hundred Indians attempted a sneak attack. They were seen and the whites set an ambush in a coulee. Completely surprised, the redskins fled, leaving their dead. The victors boiled and peeled about 20 of their victims' skulls, then mounted the grisly, grinning globes on high poles along the river bank as a warning against further depredations.
It was shortly after this scrap that Grinnell must have returned to his former haunts along the Missouri, east of Fort Buford. He opened another wood yard about ten miles below Tobacco Garden and took up farming and ranching. In a land that was without white women, he took upon himself a pure-blooded Indian mistress. The French had a term for the type of woman Grinnell took, "a woman of convenience." A man living in uncivilized country needed a woman around "to do for him," as the trappers coined the phrase. As in a white home, her responsibilities were to keep the household under control and to share the sleeping quarters of her protector. American trappers, though, invented a more entertaining and earthy term for a woman of her status, "sleeping dictionary." After all, it proved to be the easiest method of learning the tribal language.
Grinnell began to prosper after 1871 when Leighton and Jordan, post traders at Fort Buford, staked him funds for improvements and additional hired help. Some of the unpaid loans would return to haunt his family in future years. His home place assumed the aspects of a small settlement. There was a bunkhouse for employees and travelers, a blacksmith shop, a store that later contained the post office, a saloon and several barns, sheds and corrals. George dammed Beaver Creek and irrigated his fields by flooding in the spring. The Army at Fort Buford contracted for his oat crops. His farming operations encompassed 1200 acres and required the labor of 16 men. In addition, the ranch became a station for changing horses on the mail run. A number of the employees were Indians who insisted on being paid every day. It was perfectly all right with George. They promptly spent their wages in his store and bar.
Another side of Grinnell's reputed character is founded in rumor and supposition. So strong and so persistent are they that there may be some foundation in fact.
The safest and fastest route from the Montana and Idaho mines to the States was by way of the Missouri River. Hundreds of miners organized themselves into armed parties and built mackinaw boats for the trip. Grinnell's roadhouse was a handy stopping place where weary travelers could get a civilized bed, a change of food and plenty to drink. In the course of a session at the bar, liquor-loosened tongues often leaked too much information. Mysterious disappearances began to occur. Some small parties of miners were never heard of again. Their boats and effects were never found. Neighborhood whispers began to lay the blame for the missing people at Grinnell's door. Too many of the suspected victims turned up missing shortly after or during their sojourn at Grinnell's roadhouse. The disturbing news must have traveled the length of the river since Grinnell's became known as a bad place to stop for anyone with gold in his possession.
Grinnell was thought to have hoarded his ill-gained fortune in various caches in his locality. Among his faults was one of being an inveterate gambler. As late as the mid-1930s, a farmer in the area was found by a visitor with the floorboards of his dining room and shack torn up. Signs of recent digging were everywhere. The farmer freely admitted that he hoped to find some of the gold hidden by Grinnell and his gambling friends.
Relations between certain white men and a few otherwise hostile Indians had improved to the extent that, on occasion, a traveling band would drop in on a white camp for a handout of food, a smoke, hopefully some firewater, and lots of talk. Such was the case at Grinnell's wood yard in 1875.
Over an aromatic pipe, the Hunkpapa Chief Red Shirt boasted of the wiping out of a white citizen, Teck Aldrich, near Fort Buford five years earlier. "I have helped to kill a great many white people along this river," he intoned, "but 1 never saw one fight so well or die so bravely as that boy at the mouth of the Yellowstone." It can be wondered whether Grinnell told Red Shirt about the part he had played in the insulting, demeaning display of naked Indian skulls over on the Musselshell.
Over on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation an 18-year-old half-breed Hidatsa girl, Josephine Malnourie, left her home for the East in November of 1878. There she enrolled in a Negro school, Hampton Institute, at Hampton, VA.
Born in 1860, Josephine or All-Goes-Out, as she was known in the Hidatsa tongue, was both independent and intelligent. She was the daughter of the former Fort Berthold white trader Charles Malnourie, and Beaver Woman, a Hidatsa Indian.
Although Indians were notably prone to homesickness, Josephine seems to have adjusted well to her schooling. A report filed on her during the early months of her marriage in 1882 stated that she was an "excellent girl at school." Her scholastic record provides more information:
That she was a determined girl is evident from an article that appeared in a Hampton publication:
Age 18, the happy possessor of a very few English sentences. She improved very much, and just before she went away, September 1881, asked to say a few words of farewell from the school platform. When actually facing the large audience she was overcome with stage fright and, covering her face with her hands, moaned, "I'm so 'shamed!" A derisive laugh from some unsympathetic fellow student stirred her to the quick, and uncovering her face she eloquently exclaimed, "You laugh! You don't know what's in my heart!" and went on to express herself most fluently.
She returned to the reservation.
In April of 1882, she reported on the progress of her life in a letter written to a favorite Hampton teacher. It is obvious, too, that she was preoccupied with the lot of her people:
I am getting along very pleasant indeed. Dear friend I want to keep to be a good girl and to help those Indian getting along very indeed, makes me feel so bad. I want keep try help all I can. Those white people, who live with Indian, never help Indian, never give any work,nothing to do Indian. I teach Indian children now. I study my books too. I stay Mr. (Rev.) C.L. Hallhousee. I never go home my fathers house.
When I see Indian house, makes me feel so bad Oh! dear me what shall I do with those Indian? I am going to try hard to help to them. I hope God will help me. If I live my father house I will very hard time because people do not know anything about God word, don't care about him. I love him myself. I hope he will care of me. I want keep try help them, I want show how good live and know Bible way. They do not know great word.
By this time, Grinnell's success with his multiple ventures had attracted a number of neighbors. An application for a post office was honored and on May 11, 1881, George became the first postmaster in the county outside the military post.
1882, though, turned out to be a bad crop year everywhere. In an attempt to make up his losses, Grinnell formed a partnership with Bob Matthews to supply buffalo hunters in the Yellowstone Valley with equipment, food, and arms. But the great herds were gone forever and George sensed financial disaster. He sold out to Matthews. George got out in time, but there was some speculation that Matthews may have lost about $10,000.
Sometime during that year, George's Indian woman shucked him off. It may be that his cruelty became too much for her. The rancher lost no time in looking out for another female companion. This time he got married. The wife he chose was youthful Josephine Malnourie.
At this stage of his life her father, Charles Malnourie, was squatting on lands along the Missouri near Grinnell. George may have been attracted by the refinements Josephine had acquired in the East. In 1974, a grandson remembered her as "ladylike and forceful." Contemporaries said of George that he was a fine-looking man. His photograph, taken about that time, bears out their opinions. He probably appealed to the impressionable girl.
In the first blush of their marriage, it would appear that all was serene between George and Josephine. Her pleasure in her new life was reflected in a letter to a friend:
I got new name now. I've got everything very pleasant. I had very fine dresses and gold watch, and rings. I had very pleasant home, I always go anywhere, I always go down to see all my folks, then when I came here, I went up to Fort Buford. I have very good time.
Four children were born to the couple. In early 1885, a report on the progress of Josephine's life was received at Hampton Institute:
"Christian marriage. Visitor reports a nice house, marble-topped furniture—two boys—civilized living."
Nothing was too good for the Grinnells. Periodically, George made business trips to Canada. There he ordered household furnishings from Europe. The articles were shipped to Canada and from there transported by wagon to the ranch on the Missouri. A descendant today owns a marble-topped table, which has been passed down through the family. In his business dealings, George handled a good deal of money. His Canadian journeys provided him with silver with which he paid his men.
It is impossible to know when the honeymoon was over and George's brutal habits surfaced. It could not have been very long. Indian-like, George had adopted one of the customs of redskin males known as "lodgepoling." It was the simple, age-old native practice of beating a wife when the husband was displeased. Josephine was in for a beating whenever George was drunk, which was often. She grew to fear him greatly. The hired hands sympathized with her. Even they dreaded the days when George was tippling.
With no law but sporadic military supervision at that time, the Dakota bluffs and plains provided innumerable and excellent hiding places for numerous white outlaws and renegade Indians. George Grinnell ran his roadhouse wide open. He asked no questions and tolerated those on the shady side of the law while he made money out of them. All too often, he indulged his passion for the bottle. On one occasion he returned from Fort Buford well liquored-up, driving a high-spirited team of horses at full tilt. Josephine saw him coming and remarked to employee George Newton, "Here comes my grandfather, drunk as usual."
She was referring to the discrepancy in their ages. Both of them knew that she was in for her usual beating. Newton suggested that if she would show more affection toward her husband, perhaps he would treat her better. He advised her to throw her arms around George and kiss him when he came in. When Grinnell entered the house, he was met with a big hug and a kiss. The greeting was so unexpected that he wanted to know whether his wife was feeling well. "George Newton told me to do it", she explained. Grinnell glowered. Newton made a hasty departure.
Newton, though, was one of the few men known to stand up to Grinnell. One bitter winter day with the temperature hovering around 40 below, her sister, All-Good, the wife of a neighboring rancher, visited Josephine. As All-Good left in her sled, nobody noticed that one of the little Grinnell boys followed, toddling along in only thin moccasins and light clothing. When Josephine discovered his absence, she became frantic and appealed for help in finding him.
Several of the hired men volunteered, but Grinnell stopped them. "Let the damned squaw kid go!" he raged. "I'll kill any man who goes after him!" Newton shot back, "Well, then you've got me to kill!" He left, found the boy in a badly frostbitten condition and returned him to his mother. Quickly, the child's hands and feet were thrust into cans of kerosene. Gradually and painfully, the frost was driven out With the exception of the loss of some fingernails, the youngster recovered.
Grinnell descended to the lowest depths of meanness when he denied that the children were his. Then he would accuse Josephine of all sorts of infidelities. More often than not, his tirade ended in a beating for his wife. Moreover, a suspicion of Josephine's that some of George's trips to Fort Buford were made to visit his former mistress made matters even more unpleasant.
Eleven miles to the northwest of George Grinnell's spread, a squatter by the name of Frank Fleming had located. Fleming had married Josephine's sister, All-Good or Mary to the whites. Formerly, Fleming had worked for Grinnell. Due to some disagreement, the man had left the rancher's employ. He had then gone to work elsewhere. Neighbors described Fleming as a "chip on the shoulder type," a difficult man to like. He was often heard mouthing nasty remarks about Grinnell at the post office when he called for his mail. George's strong dislike for Fleming turned to hatred.
Near Fleming lived another squatter, John Jones. At one time, Jones and Fleming had been involved in a partnership. Their venture included a joint claim to a certain quarter section of land. When they split their interests, they quarreled bitterly over the land parcel and the matter had not been settled. The grievance went deep.
Sunday, May 6, and Monday, May 7, 1888 were beautiful spring days. On Sunday morning, Fleming rode up to Jones' cabin and announced to his former partner that he had come over to whip him. Naturally, Jones wanted no part of physical combat with the larger and stronger Fleming. Standing in the doorway of his cabin, he reached up and took down his double-barreled shotgun loaded with Double-O buckshot. Pointing it at Fleming, he grated, "If you get off that horse, I'll kill you!"
Thinking it was only a bluff, Fleming slid from the saddle and started toward Jones. The big gun boomed twice. At that close range, the awful charge caught Fleming in the neck and shoulder. His back hit the ground before his feet came down. He was killed instantly.
That same day, Jones hurriedly sold his horses, cattle, and machinery. Then he fled to Grinnell's where he told the rancher of the shooting. It was the best excuse George had found all day to have a drink. The two men toasted the death of their enemy. Secretly, they laid plans to get Jones out of the country.
When word of the shooting got to Grinnell's hired men, some of them stopped working. They collected a few of Fleming's neighbors and went to Jones' cabin to bury the body. It was still lying in the doorway.
Josephine's first concern was for her sister. She began to keen and moan in the Indian fashion of mourning. She sobbed too, "Oh, poor Frank!" Her husband sharply reprimanded her and grunted, "It was good enough for him!" His stern look reminded her that she was close to a lodgepoling, so she got away from him.
Grinnell went on drinking, but in spite of becoming inebriated, he managed to spirit Jones away. No effort was made by anyone to search for the killer or detain him. He was never heard of again.
Morning came. Badly hung over, George went for the hair of the dog. As he grew drunker and meaner, he noticed that Josephine was still sorrowing for her bereft sister.
A man came in and applied for work. Ole Thorsen was hired on the spot and went to work immediately. In one hour, he would be without a boss.
A local squatter, Hans Barstad, stopped at the post office where he tried to talk with a thoroughly drunk Grinnell. George fell down several times. His condition was so bad that Barstad and some other men put him to bed. Then Barstad left.
But George would not stay in bed. He got up, found the big bullwhip he habitually carried and stumbled to the kitchen where Josephine was preparing dinner. Renewing their quarrel of the day before, he warned her to stop mourning over her sister and Fleming.
Then he struck her with the whip. Grabbing up her baby girl and with her three sons following her, she ran out of the house. Raving like a madman, George tried to catch her, but his legs had lost all coordination. A saddled horse dozed nearby. Awkwardly, he clambered aboard the startled animal and set out in pursuit of his wife and children.
Not far from the house a hired man, Joe Robinson, was plowing. The mother and her brood ran to him seeking protection. As Grinnell caught up with them, she dodged between the team of horses. With the drunken rider ranting and swearing and the hysterical family weeping and screaming, there was such turmoil that the horses went out of control and reared. Grinnell's mount showed nervousness too. George rode away a short distance. Robinson persuaded Josephine to lock herself in the house for safety until George sobered. Seeing her making off, George again galloped after her, reeling in the saddle.
Overtaking the frightened group, he rode his wife down, knocking her and the baby girl sprawling. Repeatedly, he slashed with his whip at the poor woman. Leaning far off his horse, he swung to strike her again. Fighting for her life, Josephine threw up her hand to ward off the blow and caught hold of the leather and hair watch guard that Grinnell wore around his neck. With a strength born of sheer animal desperation, she pulled as hard as she could. The horse shied and George tumbled out of the saddle on the side away from Josephine. The sliding knot on the watch chain tightened around his throat and the frantic girl pulled it as taut as her strength would allow. As long as she felt his struggles, she kept a tightly clenched grip on the chain. Not until all movement had ceased did she relax her hold. George slumped to the ground, dead.
A hired man, Martin Egan, and Joe Robinson were the first to reach Josephine's side. Others gathered. "Is he dead?" she demanded of Robinson. "If not, I'll pull again to make sure!"
A look at the livid face with the tongue sticking out, blank eyes protruding from their sockets and a fruitless search for a pulse convinced the field hand. He nodded, "Yes, he is."
Nobody spoke for a while. Then a man said, "Let's go get a drink." Leaving the body where it lay, they all repaired to the saloon. After they had swilled down a few, they brought the body in, stripped it of boots and watch guard, and propped it up on a chair in a corner. Then they toasted the late George W. Grinnell, dead at the age of 48.
That night the hired men, together with a bunch of bums and drifters, threw a party in the cottonwood slab roadhouse—a sort of a wake. It was tradition in those days that a host drinks with his guests. In a manly effort to keep tradition alive, the boys poured a drink on George's head every third or fourth round. By morning, when three men came out from Williston to investigate the death, everybody allowed as how old George was certainly well preserved. By that time, too, many of Grinnell's personal effects and some of his clothing had disappeared never to be found. The officials loaded the body into a wagon and set out for Williston.
The news astounded Hans Barstad. He wondered how anyone as drunk as Grinnell was, could possibly get on a horse.
Mail carrier Billy Snyder viewed the body that night at Bob Matthews' place at Little Muddy. He noticed a wide cut in the throat. Josephine's strength in her terrible fear must have been superhuman.
The coroner ruled that no inquest was necessary in the death of Frank Fleming inasmuch as Jones had left the country and the neighbors felt that the homicide was justifiable.
A coroner's jury composed of George Marelius, C.A. Wittmeier and Billy Snyder was impaneled to view the remains of George Grinnell and to hear the testimony of witnesses. Having done so, they reached a verdict which stands unique in the annals of judicial history in the United States.
Desiring to exonerate her from all blame, the verdict was to the effect that the deceased had come to his death through an "act of Almighty God, by the hand of His agent, Josephine Grinnell." This strange verdict was quoted by newspapers all over the nation.
However, through one of those strange incidents which do happen, somebody decided that posterity might not approve of such trifling with the Deity, and members of the coroner's jury signed another paper, now on file in the office of the Clerk of District Court (it is now missing) in Williston, North Dakota, which reads: "We, the Jury, find that there is no blame resting upon Mrs. Grinnell for committing the above act."
George Grinnell was buried in the military cemetery at Fort Buford with full military honors.
A feature article from the FARGO FORUM of August 25,1935, reveals a good deal of trial testimony:
Mrs. Grinnell came before the jury with her eye terribly black, her face bruised, her body livid with scars inflicted by a brutal husband. After hearing her story of stark misery, of inhuman treatment and of a wrecked married life, the coroner's jury returned the strange verdict in which it found no blame rested on Mrs. Grinnell for her husband's death. Explaining its verdict the jury reported, "George Grinnell was choked to death by his wife with the aid of a leather watch chain around his neck done accidentally in protecting her own life." Mrs. Grinnell in her appearance before the jury testified that her husband had struck her first three weeks after they were married. He had whipped her often and three times attempted to cut her with a knife. Grinnell had broken her nose nine times and once blinded her for seven months from his poundings.
"He run over me the last time with a horse. That's what makes my body sore," she told the jury. "At one time I stood in a creek for two days, standing up to my neck in water to get away from him," she continued. The woman, married five years, "had left home lots of times and once she walked barefoot for miles while he followed with a rifle." Relating her tragic story of the final incident in which she killed her husband, she told of the trouble starting at dinner time. She said her husband was drinking heavily. When he threatened her she ran screaming for help to men in the fields. Grinnell followed her on horseback, and pulling a revolver, slugged the frantic woman in the head as she fell to the ground. They wrestled in the field until she finally grabbed a leather watch chain around his neck, pulling it tight. "I didn't think I killed him," she testified. "I tried to get along with him but I couldn't." She didn't know that Grinnell was dead until the men fetched George home about five o'clock.
Inconsistencies aplenty, but they were all after the fact. George Grinnell was stone dead, and Josephine came out of the ordeal a heroine of the upper river.
For a while Josephine stayed at the ranch. Then some of George's unpaid loans came home to rest. Leighton, Jordan, and Hedderich moved in:
... that Leighton, Jordan, and Hedderich of Fort Buford, Dakota Territory, had a mortgage upon all Grinnell's property, that upon Grinnell's death they took possession of the property, that in the settlement with Mrs. Grinnell she received about nine hundred dollars worth of property consisting of household goods, some lumber, a few horses, a cow, etc. that subsequently Mrs. Grinnell gave Power of Attorney to one Dennis Hennessey to handle her property, that said Hennessey disposed of the property and left the territory—leaving Mrs. Grinnell nothing, that all this occurred during the spring and summer of 1888, that some months after Grinnell's death she went to reside with her father, one Charles Malnourie.
Cold, hard, heartbreaking facts taken from Josephine's Ward County Court deposition. Incredibly, her troubles were not nearly over.
Somehow, she learned of the army pension system. In March of 1891, she petitioned the government for the payments due her as George's widow. For six long years the ponderous wheels of the bureaucratic mills ground along with investigations with red tape. Finally, in late 1897, she was granted the sum of $8.00 per month plus $2.00 for each child, a total of $16.00 per month. Including back pay her first check amounted to about $1,800. Trustingly, she endorsed it and turned it over to a former Fort Berthold Indian agent and friend, a man named Murphy. Taking the check to Towner, Murphy cashed it and drew two drafts, one to Josephine for $300, and the balance to himself. Then he had the gall to charge her $80.00 for legal fees. His last blow relieved her of another $20 for "Washington attorneys."
Much later, acting on the advice of friends, Josephine took Murphy to Federal Court at Grand Forks. The trial began in 1903 and dragged on for three years. In 1906, Murphy was sentenced to prison.
Josephine's second try at marriage brought no better results than her first. Apparently, she met Charles W. Moore, a Little Muddy River rancher, at Elbowoods on the Fort Berthold Reservation. The two were wed and Moore brought his wife to her new home near Williston in late October of 1894. This second mismatch was just another unpleasant episode in the long series of unfortunate events which plagued the woman's life. Within a month, Moore, known as "Colonel," deserted her and disappeared. Eventually, Josephine filed for a divorce in Ward County District Court at Minot. It was granted on September 14, 1897. The defendant defaulted.
In 1900, Josephine was awarded 160 acres of homestead land in McLean County. After her sister, All-Good, died in 1910 she inherited another 80 acres.
Her continuing financial troubles robbed her of badly needed income—and dignity. In 1903 her pension was stopped after the Bureau of Pensions received a letter from an unidentified man who listed a number of nasty charges against her. She was an adulteress, the informer claimed; she would sleep with anyone. She bore many illegitimate children and neglected all her offspring. She was a drunk. A male descendent now living on the reservation said recently (1975) that the family has never known the reason why she was hounded so desperately by the unknown enemy. Sick and tired of the whole mess, Josephine chose not to appeal the decision when her pension was rescinded for "adulterous cohabitation." She became somewhat of a recluse.
In later years, her situation became desperate. A series of letters she wrote appealing for help resulted in a grant of $10 a month from public welfare. In 1926, with the aid of friends, she requested reinstatement of her pension. A testimonial from a Congregational minister stated that "her life and conduct are blameless and above reproach." Another affidavit bore the information that she was a "good woman of excellent character, a devout Catholic, and very active in church work." There is no evidence that the pension was ever restored.
In 1921, she went to live with her second son, George, and his wife. She made an appearance at the Fort Union celebration in 1925 where she was photographed with Mrs. Bob Matthews. From November of 1944 until her death in March of 1945, feeble and bedridden, she was cared for by George's wife. She was buried in the Catholic Cemetery at Elbowoods. Her body was later disinterred and moved to the Queen of Peace Cemetery at Raub, N.D. Several of the Grinnell descendants are living on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation today.
But even in death, an uncaring fate had one more blow to strike at the harried woman. Each of her four children was billed $173.80 to repay the government for the public welfare payments she had received.
Dec. 31, 2008