My Adventures in the West
by Joseph Wegley 1867 - 1946
They immediately started building an addition to the building. A carpenter was working on it, he, himself a gambler, but he kept me posted as to the plans, etc. Jack said he was building a place that neither the mayor or his policemen would get into.
Well, they finished it, and started gambling behind closed doors. Of course, I could have broken in, but I had in main a better plan. I kept still until he thought I was whipped. Finally, they got careless and didn’t lock the door.
One evening, I arranged with the state attorney to raid the place. I called two police along with three others, namely, Judge Butler, A. H. Brown, and Eugene Field. We quietly walked in. Two games were running. The players looked surprised. I said, “Just leave your cards and chips on the table, boys. We will take charge.” We gathered all the stuff up, and put it in our overcoat pockets. Chase was playing, but I didn’t have him implicated.
I am a little ahead of my story. Dwire met me at the door and asked me what I was doing. I said, “We came up to see what you were doing.” He said, “It’s none of your damn business.” I said, “We will see, later.”
After we gathered the stuff off the table, Chase got up and looked at a chip rack on the wall where they kept their supplies. This implicated Chase, so I said, “Unlock that!” He unlocked it. At that Jack got tough and jumped to grab a hammer off the chip rack. I quietly put my hand under my overcoat and got hold of my gun, but I kept it out of sight. He said, “I wasn’t going to hit you.” I said, “No, Jack, not while I am around.” I told him what kind of a man I thought he was and told the police to take all of them to the state attorney’s office. Jack said, “Never mind us, we will be there. You go ahead.” I said, “Jack, you are with us, we are not with you.” So they went with the police.
They were convicted and sentenced to a good long term in the jail in Minot. When they got out, they didn’t come back, but Jack told the Chief of Police, “I’ll get that blankety blank yet.” I told the chief to tell Jack to name his time and place and I would be there. I never heard any more from Jack, and the rest quietly disappeared.
The places were closed, but I had made some enemies of which I am still proud. Many instances occurred in this clean-up which would fill a book.
Well, before Denny resigned as mayor, he, with the rest of us, started a water and light plant for the city for which he should have credit. The city auditor, D. C. Page, was a fine efficient man but addicted to booze, so he got the records mixed up to some extent.
We bonded the city for $27,000. When we got the plant finished, with light wires up, there was no complete records of debts contracted. Bills came in. We found ourselves beyond the debt limit. We had no distributing system to receive any revenue from. We were seemingly stuck. The administration at that time was Dr. Vandyke, Sam Boyd, S. Broonell, E. M. Atterberry, and myself. We were all financially responsible, so we decided to borrow on our joint note to finish the plant. I went to see Hank Delaney, the banker, about the money. He said he would carry the accounts against the city until we collected some taxes, which we did.
At about the time we started the plant, we also started a sidewalk system. As there were no sidewalks except lumber sidewalks, but we had plenty of opposition. The old timers along with the blind piggers and their sympathizers did not approve of the idea. The old timers meant all right, but they didn’t see the necessities of modern improvement. For instance, after we had in water, I thought we should have a sewer system. Some of those old timers, who were well meaning citizens, fought it. They said it was a dangerous extravagant plunge. Records will show that quite a lot of the Main Street property never signed the petition.
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