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Replacing Postmasters

1/12/2017:

In 1910, Mrs. Minnie L. Budge, the Grand Forks postmistress, was ready to vacate her position. She had served as postmistress for the past four years, having replaced her husband, William Budge, who had held the office since 1898.

William Budge was a bit of a jack of all trades, having emigrated from Scotland at age 16. He travelled to Northwest Territory with the Hudson’s Bay Company, worked in a brick yard in Pembina, built a stage coach station near Turtle River, engaged in freighting between Bismarck and the Black Hills, started a store at Kelly's Point, engaged in real estate in Grand Forks, served as chairman of the county board, and was appointed sheriff for six months. He also was a member of the constitutional convention, and he was instrumental in helping establish the University of North Dakota.

Minnie Budge also had moved some distance to come to Grand Forks. Originally from New York, she married William in 1890. The couple had two children, Alexander and Jean.

With the Budges both exiting, it fell to North Dakota’s US Representative Hanna to make a recommendation for her replacement. He and Congressman Gronna had struck a deal, dividing up the "post office patronage" in alphabetical order. By luck of the draw, Hanna had Grand Forks.

According to the agreement, each congressmen would make a decision on post office successors, and then the two would come together to "unite in the recommendation that is sent to the post office department." But each congressman could also refuse to endorse his colleague’s decision.

On this date in 1910, the newspaper reported that Hanna was left to make the first move in getting a successor for Mrs. Budge, but was, for now, “letting things drift.”

There were five candidates, but in the end, the successor as Grand Forks Postmaster was Frank V. Kent, who, by the way, became the first North Dakotan to travel as a passenger in an airplane when he joined a barnstormer later that year for a nine-minute flight at the Grand Forks Fairgrounds.

Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker

Sources:

The Evening Times (Grand Forks) March 31, 1910, p5

The Bismarck Tribune, January 13, 1910, p1

Compendium of History and Biography, p178

1910 Grand Forks US Census p153 – William and Minnie Budge family