John David Richardson

John David Richardson was born in 1720 in Randolph, North Carolina. He received a delayed birth certificate and that is how we know his full name. (Roll # NCVR_B_C081_68002, volume 16, page 369)

He is the son of Stephen Richardson and Mary Trueblood.

I don’t have a lot of information on him. I think he might have died in 1777 in North Carolina.

He married Nancy Mary and together they had maybe 5 children.

  • William Drury (1735)
  • William (1750)
  • Stephen (1753)
  • Elizabeth (1755)
  • David (1760)

The problem is, when you have someone with such a common name like David or John David, you find it difficult to distinguish them from other men of the same name who also live in the same area.

While trying to find information about John David and his wife, I had to start by working on the files of his son, David Richardson. His son had more information available because he was in the military, having fought in the American Revolution.


1845, Oct 27 — Revolutionary War Application
Sarah Richardson (age 85), widow of David Richardson applied
lists David Richardson as dying on May 17, 1842 in Moore County, NC
listed marriage as 1785 in Cumberland County, NC
lists children as John Richardson, Polly Cockman, Jenney Smith, Nancy Richardson, Vicey Richardson, Betsey Morgan, Angy Brown, Peggy Richardson & Malony Smith.

1852, Oct 25 — Revolutionary War Application
John Richardson, son and administrator of David Richardson, deceased applied for pension
lists David Richardson as dying on May 17, 1842 in Moore County, NC
lists Sarah Richardson as dying on Oct 30, 1847
lists children as Polly Cockman, Jenny Smith, Nancy Richardson, Vicy Richardson, Betsey Morgan, Angy Brown, Peggy Richardson & Malony Smith.

David Richardson

David Richardson was born in 1760 in Cumberland County, North Carolina.

David Richardson is the son of John David Richardson and the father of John David Richardson. Confusing? Yeah don’t worry, it was for me too.

David Richardson lived in Moore County, along Buffalo Creek, a tributary of Deep River.

We know that Jonathan David Richardson was born in 1760 because of his marriage record.

I was trying to find out if he was the same David Richardson that was born in 1760 in Cumberland County.  Turns out I couldn’t find out the record of his birth because in 1769 all Cumberland County records were destroyed in the burning of the Bladen County courthouse.

So what I needed to find is what could be the link between Cumberland County and Moore County.  And I finally found it!  Moore County was formed from Cumberland County in 1784.

A year later in 1785, he married Sarah in Moore County.

Name: John David Richardson
Gender: Male
Birth Place: NC
Birth Year: 1760
Spouse Name: Sarah
Spouse Birth Year: 1765
Marriage
Year:
1785
Marriage State: NC
Number Pages: 11

4 years after that he got a grant of land (50 acres)

And there we have it …. that is how I made the link, to confirm he is the same person.   I know it’s not scientific proof but it’s the best I can come up with. 🙂

Maybe one day I can get some kind of church records or whatnot to prove his birth is one in the same but for now, this will have to do.

David Richardson fought in the American Revolution. At the age of 85, his wife Sarah applied for a war pension as his widow. This is how we know he died on May 17, 1842.

She lists his children as John Richardson, Polly Cockman, Jenney Smith, Nancy Richardson, Vicey Richardson, Betsey Morgan, Angy Moore, Peggy Richardson & Malony Smith.

Through various records and notes, we found that David served as a Private and Lieutenant under Captain Cox-Captain Buie and Captain Henry Carter. He was taken prisoner at Charleston, SC and conveyed to Wilmington, NC where he was kept in confinement four months and then exchanged.

It appears that David Richardson fought on the side of the Confederate during the American Revolution. He served with the North Carolina Infantry as a Private. The American Revolution took place between 1765 and 1783. He was in the 45th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry, Company D. Film # M230 roll 33.

David Richardson was born in 1760. He married Sarah in 1785 (when he was 25 years old and Sarah was 20). That same year their daughter Polly was born.

In all, they had at least 9 children during their marriage.

  • Polly
  • Vicey
  • Jenney
  • Jonathan David
  • Peggy
  • Maloney
  • Nancy
  • Angy
  • Betsey

1789, Sep 3 — Land Grant #310, Moore County, NC

David Richardson died on May 17, 1842.

So to note this means he is not the same David who served in the Civil War because that was from 1861-1865. He was long dead. We know his exact date of death because of his widow’s request for a war pension.


  • 1780 — Tax List, Cumberland County, NC
    David Richerson listed in Captain John Cox’s District
    listed 400 acres valued at $450
    3 Horses, 7 Cattle and $7 cash
    Total tax value $7171783 — Tax List, Cumberland County, NC
    David Richardson listed as paying $10 in Captain John Cox’s District1789, May 18 — 1784-1795 County Court Minutes, Moore County, NC Page 228
    A deed from John Shuffield to Stephen Smith was proven by David Richardson

    1789, Jun 4 — Land Entry #189, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson entered 50 acres located on Mill Creek

    1789, Sep 3 — Land Grant #310, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson received a 50 acre Land Grant located on Mill Creek

    1789, Sep 3 — Land Grant #334, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson served as a Chain Carrier on John Morgan’s 50 acre Land Grant located East of Cabin Creek

    1790 — Census, Moore County, NC Page 156
    David Richeson
    (16+) 1M
    4F

    1790, Aug 17 — County Court Minutes, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson proved a Deed from John Morgan to William Morgan

    1790, Aug 17 — County Court Minutes, Moore County, NC
    Davey Richardson served Jury Duty

    1794, Aug 20 — County Court Minutes, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson served Jury Duty

    1795, Mar 27 — Land Grant #1054, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson served as a Chain Carrier on John Morgan’s 100 acre Land Grant located on Cabin Creek

    1795, May 20 — County Court Minutes, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson served Jury Duty

    1795, Nov 16 — County Court Minutes, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson served Jury Duty

    1798, Feb 14 — Land Grant #1740 & 1741, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson served as a Chain Carrier on William Smith’s (2) 100 acre Land Grants located on Wet Creek and Cabin Creek

    1798, Nov 30 — Land Grant #1474, Moore County, NC
    John Morgan receives a 100 acre Land Grant located South of Cabin Creek that included David Richardson’s improvement

    1800 — Census, Moore County, NC Page 69
    David Richardson
    (45+) 1M
    (26-45) 1F
    (16-26) 1F
    (10-16) 2F
    (0-10) 1M 2F

    1800, Jul 26 — Land Grant #1686, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson served as a Chain Carrier on Murdock McLeod’s 100 acre Land Grant located between Dry Creek and Horse Creek

    1803, Nov 15 — Land Grant #1837, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson listed as a Neighbor on John Dunn’s 100 acre Land Grant located South of Mill Creek

    1804, Apr 7 — Land Grant #1954, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson served as a Chain Carrier on Levy Deaton’s 50 acre Land Grant located East of Wet Creek

    1810 — Census, Moore County, NC Page 624
    David Richardson
    (45+) 1M 1F
    (16-26) 2F
    (10-16) 1F
    (0-10) 1M 4F

    1814, Nov 11 — Land Grant #2228, Moore County, NC
    Daniel McNeill received a 52 acre Land Grant located West of Wet Creek adjoining Grove, Neil McLeod, Thomas Harvel and Key. Phillip McNeill and David Richardson were chain carriers.

    1814, Nov 11 — Land Grant #2230, Moore County, NC
    Hector McNeill received a 15.5 acre Land Grant located East of Wet Creek adjoining own line, Neil McLeod and Grove. Phillip McNeill and David Richardson were chain carriers.

    1815 — Tax List, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson lists 75 acres valued at $75

    1818-1823 — Tax List, Moore County, NC
    David Richardson lists 75 acres valued at $100

    1820 — Census, Moore County, NC Page 310
    David Richardson
    (45+) 1M 1F
    (16-26) 2F
    (10-16) 1F
    (0-10) 1M

    1830 — Census, Moore County, NC Page 477
    David Richardson
    (60-70) 1M
    (50-60) 1F
    (40-50) 1F
    (20-30) 1F
    (15-20) 1M
    (10-15) 1M

    1836, Jan 9 — Land Grant #2970, Moore County, NC
    Hiram Deaton received a 100 acre Land Grant located between Mill Creek and Cabin Creek and adjoins the land that he purchased from David Richardson

    1845, Oct 27 — Revolutionary War Application
    Sarah Richardson (age 85), widow of David Richardson applied
    lists David Richardson as dying on May 17, 1842 in Moore County, NC
    listed marriage as 1785 in Cumberland County, NC
    lists children as John Richardson, Polly Cockman, Jenney Smith, Nancy Richardson, Vicey Richardson, Betsey Morgan, Angy Brown, Peggy Richardson & Malony Smith.

    1852, Oct 25 — Revolutionary War Application
    John Richardson, son and administrator of David Richardson, deceased applied for pension
    lists David Richardson as dying on May 17, 1842 in Moore County, NC
    lists Sarah Richardson as dying on Oct 30, 1847
    lists children as Polly Cockman, Jenny Smith, Nancy Richardson, Vicy Richardson, Betsey Morgan, Angy Brown, Peggy Richardson & Malony Smith.

Jonathan David Richardson

John David Richardson (Jonathan David) was my 5th great grandfather. He appears to have been born and died in Moore, North Carolina. He is also known as Jonathan David Richardson on some official documents.

Sometimes I swear it would probably be easier to find your family members if you just had a list of every person who lived in the town at that time and be like, yeah that’s my guy.

I mean really how many people could possibly have been living in Moore, North Carolina in 1800? Turns out the answer to that question is 4,767 people lived in Moore, NC in 1800.

If you step back to the 1790 Census specifically for Moore County, North Carolina, we find that there are a few Richardson’s. Keep in mind there were a few typos so these names might not be exact.

  • Fagan Richardson
  • William Richardson
  • Drury Richardson
  • David Richardson

Unforutenly for us, it only tells us that this David listed is the head of household and is living with 5 (free white) females.  Since our John David would be 5 at the time, this makes me think that’s not a David Richardson from my family tree. But then again, we don’t know so I’m going to write this one off as a dead end and move to the next clue.

Now let’s go with what we do know to be true. John David was a loyal military man.

We know he was in the Moore County Regiment, Fourth Company during the war of 1812 and appears on the NC 1812-1814 Muster Rolls.

This is a verifiable fact using database NC 1812-1814 Muster Rolls. This database contains indexes to the North Carolina (U.S.A.) portions of the 1790-1870 U.S. Federal Censuses as well as indexes to 1812-1814 Muster Rolls, the 1840 Pensioners Lists, the 1890 Veterans Schedules, and other early censuses. Information contained in these indexes can include name, state, county, township, year of record, and name of record set.

John Richardson fought in the Civil War. He was a farmer and enlisted on March 13, 1862, in Moore County, North Carolina. He fought on the side of the Confederacy.

This is another verifiable fact which comes from at least 16 sources, but mostly from Historical Data Systems, comp.. American Civil War Soldiers [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA.

He served our country from April 9, 1862, to April 9, 1865, under the 48th Infantry Regiment North Carolina. He fought in many battles including …

Fought on 25 Jun 1862 at King’s School House, VA.
Fought on 27 Jun 1862 at Gaines’ Mill, VA.
Fought on 31 Aug 1862 at Sharpsburg, MD.
Fought on 12 Sep 1862 at Frederick, MD.
Fought on 13 Sep 1862 at South Mountain, MD.
Fought on 14 Sep 1862 at South Mountain, MD.
Fought on 15 Sep 1862 at Maryland.
Fought on 15 Sep 1862 at Sharpsburg, MD.
Fought on 15 Sep 1862 at Harper’s Ferry, WV.
Fought on 17 Sep 1862 at Frederick, MD.
Fought on 17 Sep 1862 at Sharpsburg, MD.
Fought on 18 Sep 1862 at Sharpsburg, MD.
Fought on 19 Sep 1862 at Sharpsburg, MD.
Fought on 20 Sep 1862 at Sharpsburg, MD.
Fought on 2 Dec 1862 at Winchester, VA.
Fought on 13 Dec 1862 at Fredericksburg, VA.
Fought on 1 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, PA.
Fought on 3 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, PA.
Fought on 6 Aug 1863.
Fought on 14 Oct 1863 at Bristoe Station, VA.
Fought on 9 Nov 1863 at Culpepper, VA.
Fought on 10 Nov 1863 at Culpepper, VA.
Fought on 27 Nov 1863 at Payne’s Farm, VA.
Fought on 15 Feb 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 30 Mar 1864 at Fort Harrison, VA.
Fought on 4 May 1864 at Malvern Hill, VA.
Fought on 5 May 1864 at Wilderness, VA.
Fought on 6 May 1864 at Wilderness, VA.
Fought on 7 May 1864 at Charlottesville, VA.
Fought on 9 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA.
Fought on 10 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA.
Fought on 12 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA.
Fought on 15 May 1864 at VA.
Fought on 15 May 1864 at Wilderness, VA.
Fought on 15 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA.
Fought on 20 May 1864 at Little River, VA.
Fought on 22 May 1864 at Hanover Junction, VA.
Fought on 23 May 1864 at North Anna River, VA.
Fought on 24 May 1864 at Mechanicsville, VA.
Fought on 24 May 1864 at North Anna River, VA.
Fought on 24 May 1864 at Hanover Junction, VA.
Fought on 24 May 1864 at Hanover Court House, VA.
Fought on 31 May 1864 at Turkey Bend, VA.
Fought on 1 Jun 1864 at Cold Harbor, VA.
Fought on 2 Jun 1864 at Cold Harbor, VA.
Fought on 3 Jun 1864 at Cold Harbor, VA.
Fought on 4 Jun 1864 at Cold Harbor, VA.
Fought on 11 Jun 1864 at Gaines’ Mill, VA.
Fought on 11 Jun 1864 at Cold Harbor, VA.
Fought on 15 Jun 1864 at Richmond, VA.
Fought on 15 Jun 1864 at Riddle Shop, VA.
Fought on 15 Jun 1864 at White Oak Swamp, VA.
Fought on 15 Jun 1864.
Fought on 15 Jun 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Malvern Hill, VA.
Fought on 16 Aug 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 17 Aug 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 20 Aug 1864 at Weldon Railroad, VA.
Fought on 21 Aug 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 21 Aug 1864 at Globe Tavern, VA.
Fought on 24 Aug 1864 at Reams’ Station, VA.
Fought on 25 Aug 1864 at Reams’ Station, VA.
Fought on 26 Aug 1864 at Reams’ Station, VA.
Fought on 9 Sep 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 30 Sep 1864 at Fort Harrison, VA.
Fought on 1 Oct 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 2 Oct 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 7 Oct 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 27 Oct 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 27 Oct 1864 at Burgess’ Mill, VA.
Fought on 4 Nov 1864 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 15 Dec 1864 at Belfield, VA.
Fought on 5 Feb 1865 at Hatcher’s Run, VA.
Fought on 6 Feb 1865 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 7 Feb 1865 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 15 Feb 1865 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 15 Feb 1865.
Fought on 25 Mar 1865 at Hatcher’s Run, VA.
Fought on 25 Mar 1865 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 25 Mar 1865 at Fort Stedman, VA.
Fought on 31 Mar 1865 at Hatcher’s Run, VA.
Fought on 1 Apr 1865 at Point Of Rocks, VA.
Fought on 1 Apr 1865 at Hatcher’s Run, VA.
Fought on 2 Apr 1865 at Hatcher’s Run, VA.
Fought on 2 Apr 1865 at Petersburg, VA.
Fought on 2 Apr 1865 at Burgess’ Mill, VA.
Fought on 3 Apr 1865 at Hospl., Richmond, VA.
Fought on 3 Apr 1865 at Richmond, VA.
Fought on 3 Apr 1865 at Sutherland’s Station, VA.
Fought on 3 Apr 1865 at Amelia Court House, VA.
Fought on 3 Apr 1865 at Appomattox River, VA.
Fought on 4 Apr 1865 at Appomattox Court House, VA.
Fought on 5 Apr 1865 at Nottoway, VA.
Fought on 5 Apr 1865 at Paynesville, VA.
Fought on 5 Apr 1865 at Amelia Court House, VA.
Fought on 6 Apr 1865 at Farmville, VA.
Fought on 6 Apr 1865 at Sayler’s Creek, VA.
Fought on 6 Apr 1865 at Amelia Court House, VA.
Fought on 7 Apr 1865.
Fought on 12 Apr 1865 at Salisbury, NC.
Fought on 13 Apr 1865 at Raleigh, NC.


He married a lady by the name of Nancy Perry. Together they had at least 9 children. They might have married in 1819 (still looking for documents to confirm this).

  • Sarah Sallie (1821-1891)
  • Rosana (1822-1880)
  • Angelica (1824-1880)
  • Thomas (1826-1898)
  • Enoch Spinks (1828-1910)
  • Catharine (1830-?)
  • Eliza A (1833-1880)
  • Deborah Debby (1840-1900)
  • Lydia  (1842-1870)
  • Margaret Roseanne (1843-1885)

Thanks to the 1850 US Federal Census we know that he was 57 at the time, so is birth year was about 1793. He was family # 998 and lived in Moore, North Carolina at the time of that census. Nancy, his wife was 50 at the time.

These were the people who lived in his household at the time of the 1850 US census.

John Richardson 57
Nancy Richardson 50
Rosanna Richardson 31
Angelica Richardson 29
Catharine Richardson 21
Eliza Richardson 16
Deborah Richardson 14
Lydia Richardson 8
Sallie Moore 25

Interesting to note, despite the fact that he fought on the side of the Confederacy, which fought to preserve slavery, he himself didn’t seem to own any slaves prior to the war, even though farmers often did.

In the 1830 census, he had a total of 6 free white persons living in his household, and no slaves or free colored.

In 1840 you find the same thing, he lives with his wife and children – no slaves.

Total Free White Persons 6
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves 6

Something else that caught my attention – he, his wife, and his eldest three children couldn’t read or write. However, Eliza, Deborah and Lydia could – his 3 youngest children.

I wanted to know more about John David’s wife Nancy. We know her first name from the US census records. But I thought if we could find the death certificate of one of the children, we might be able to identify their mother’s maiden name.

The problem is, death certificates in the 1800s were rare.  So I’m also search for birth and christening records. I’ll keep you updated with what I am able to find.

  • Sarah Sallie (1821-1891)
  • Rosana (1822-1880)
  • Angelica (1824-1880)
  • Thomas (1826-1898)
  • Enoch Spinks (1828-1910)
  • Catharine (1830-?)
  • Eliza A (1833-1880)
  • Deborah Debby (1840-1900)
  • Lydia  (1842-1870)
  • Margaret Roseanne (1843-1885)

Jonathan George Wegley

Jonathan George Wegley was born on September 3, 1836, in Somerset Pennsylvania. He died on March 1, 1892, in Lockington, Shelby County, Ohio. We know this date of death from his gravestone.

Jonathan George Wegley is my 2nd great grand uncle

Jonathan George Wegley married Sarah Circle in Mercer County, Ohio on November 21, 1857, when he was 21 years old. Together they had at least 11 children.

jonathan wegley - sarah cirlce marriage

  • George Wegley (1859 – 1862)
  • James E Wegley (1860 – 1937)
  • Mary C. Wegley (1863 – 1932)
  • Emanuel Wegley (1864 – 1936)
  • Fredrick Wegley (1866 – 1951)
  • Joseph Wegley (1867 – 1946)
  • Eva Jane Wegley (1869 – 1939)
  • infant Wegley (1870 – 1870)
  • Adeline (Sarah) Wegley (1871 – 1948)
  • Daisy May Wegley (1876 – 1940)
  • Olive Alta Wegley (1884 – 1960)

Here is the death certificate for his son Fredrick Wegley. This shows us that we have the right family – Jonathan Wegley and Sarah Circle.

Jonathan George would have one son (Joseph) that would go on to be mayor of Williston, North Dakota and another son who ran a local watering hole or gathering place. Only problem was that it seems the area was “dry” and he was caught or at least accused of selling liquor. He would later be acquitted. Here is the text from the local paper at the time about the incident.

‘Grand Forks Herald’, Grand Forks, North Dakota.  8 Nov 1907

Williston, N. D., Nov. 7 – A warrant has been issued for Fred Wegley, a brother of the mayor, the charge being the illegal sale of intoxicating liquors in what is commonly known as “Wegley’s Pig,” the joint in the lower regions of the concrete building on East Broadway.  The warrant was issued this morning and is now in the hands of the sheriff, who will serve it as soon as the defendant can be found, the understanding being that he has left the city temporarily.

‘Grand Forks Herald’, Grand Forks, North Dakota.  10 June 1909

Williston, N. D., June 9 – Fred Wegley has been acquitted.  The jury in the case was out just three minutes this morning when it returned a verdict of not guilty.  This case has attracted attention for the last year and a half on account of the accused being a brother of Former Mayor Joseph Wegley, who has the reputation of being the man who cleared Williston of blind pigs, and it was asserted that the mayor was protecting his brother and allowing him an exclusive righty to conduct a “pig”.

  The accused was tried three times before justices of the peace and each time found not guilty, and then was indicted by the grand jury, on which indictment he was just found not guilty.

  The outcome of the case convinces Wegley’s friends that the case was only a piece of spite work on the part of those opposed to Mayor Wegley to throw suspicion on the sincerity of his administration.

Here’s a crazy story about how he became mayor in the first place.

Fact: First North Dakota mayor accused of horse rustling

Williston’s first mayor, William Denny, did a lot to make it the state’s fastest-growing city during the first decade of the 20th century, growing from 763 people in 1900 to 3,124 in 1910, a rate of more than 300 percent. Denny was also suspected of being the ringleader of a large horse-rustling organization.
Denny established the first bank in Williston when he arrived in February 1899. He also had a large ranch on which he raised horses and Hereford cattle. He had connections in Montana where large numbers of horses were brought to his ranch and sold to him at $10 to $30 a head. Because northwestern North Dakota was rapidly filling up with homesteaders, Denny was able to sell each of the horses to the settlers for $150. Initially, most Williston residents considered Denny a shrewd businessman.
In June 1904, Denny was elected mayor and went to work to provide electricity and running water for the residents. He ran unopposed for re-election in 1905, and later that year, Denny was arrested, convicted and sentenced to prison for being the fence of a large horse-stealing enterprise in Montana. He appealed to the North Dakota Supreme Court for a retrial, which was granted to him since key pieces of evidence against him had disappeared. With the major evidence missing, a new trial never occurred, and Denny was set free.
William Henry Denny Jr. was born in New Auburn, Minn., on March 17, 1870, to William Sr. and Marian (Joslyn/Josline) Denny. William Sr. was a gunsmith, and the family moved to the larger town of Glencoe soon after William Jr.’s birth. In 1885, William Jr. attended Anoka Business College and after graduating two years later, “worked at various stores in St. Cloud.” In the fall of 1889, he traveled to Montana and found work as a ranch hand on the Diamond G Ranch, which was owned by J. D. “Dad” Williams. Also working for Williams was “Dutch Henry” Jauch (pronounced Yaw), who later organized “the largest horse stealing operation in eastern Montana.”
Williams found Denny to be trustworthy and asked the youngster to drive horses to central North Dakota to be sold. On his drives, Denny established friendships in Benson County, and he developed a romantic interest in Kate Huffnail, a school teacher in Minnewaukan. He moved to Minnewaukan in 1897 and, in July, went to work for the Benson County State Bank. After working for a couple of years, learning how to operate a bank, Denny began exploring new opportunities. Seeing that the Great Northern Railway had reached Williston in 1898 and that it was about to establish branch lines from there to towns in the northwestern part of the state, he knew that settlers were soon to follow. Williston did not have a bank, and the town was ideally located, near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers. In 1898, Denny contacted Charles Hilton Davidson, a wealthy Canadian real estate dealer, and Thomas L. Beisaker, a Fessenden banker, who also owned a number of other banks in North Dakota and Minnesota, and the two men agreed to finance the establishment of a bank in Williston. When the Williams County State Bank opened on Feb. 19, 1899, Denny was named cashier and manager. Feeling financially secure, he married Kate on March 8. From the money Denny was making at the bank, he began purchasing land, between Williston and the Montana border, on which to raise cattle and horses. His plan was to buy horses brought in from Montana and sell them to the homesteaders who were coming into northwestern North Dakota. Denny also began selling real estate and, in 1903, established the town of Trenton on his property. On Feb. 3, 1904, Williston was incorporated as a city, and four months later, the newly elected councilmen chose Denny as mayor. According to Joseph Wegley, Denny’s successor as mayor, Williston was a wild-west town. Wegley wrote, “There were eleven saloons or blind pigs on Main Street and lots of them in the alleys … blind pigs prevailed and ruled the city.” Wegley also pointed out that Denny was in support of the saloons. In 1905, Denny was re-elected, and he sent out bid proposals for the construction of city waterworks and an electrical plant. Besides serving as mayor, he also was kept busy buying and selling horses. On Oct. 26, law officers from Montana went to Denny’s ranch and discovered stolen horses. Denny and Art McGahey, the man who delivered the stolen horses, were arrested. Denny’s lawyers pointed out that the lawmen had presented insufficient evidence, and the arrest was rescinded. Suspicion that Denny was the fence and possibly the kingpin of a large horse-rustling organization surfaced in September when Jack Teal, a Montana lawman, and George Hall, the stock inspector for the Montana Stockmen’s Association, arrested a horse thief. When the thief tried to escape, he was shot and killed. Teal and Hall went through the dead man’s belongings and discovered a letter that named Denny as the “chief fence” for stolen horses. This information was corroborated by George Miller, a saloon owner whose establishment had recently been robbed by horse thieves. He told Hall and Sheriff William Griffith about an incident in which Tom Ryan, who had injured his writing hand, had Miller write a letter to Denny. “Ryan was the major rustler in eastern Montana now that Jauch had disappeared.” The letter stated that Ryan was having McGahey deliver horses to Denny. Miller agreed to work with the lawmen. To make certain that the horses had been delivered, he went to the mayor’s ranch, posing as Ryan’s friend. Denny confirmed to Miller that the horses had arrived and had been sold. Denny also told Miller to tell Ryan to stop visiting his bank because “Montana authorities were breathing down his neck.” Armed with this additional evidence, law officials returned to Denny’s ranch in mid-November to arrest him, but he was gone. He had been tipped off and fled to Benson County. The lawmen located Denny in Churchs Ferry and arrested him, but they were unable to take him into custody because the district judge, John Cowan, issued a habeas corpus decree declaring Denny needed to appear in court before he could be detained. A trial was scheduled for August 1906, but Montana authorities did not believe justice would be served. In December 1905, Montana’s governor, Joseph Toole, made a request to Elmore Sarles, governor of North Dakota, that Denny be extradited, and Sarles agreed. However, Denny’s lawyers were able to get the extradition order rescinded. At his trial on Aug. 9, 1906, Denny was found guilty of selling stolen horses and sentenced to three years in prison. However, Denny’s lawyers appealed to the North Dakota Supreme Court for a retrial. The letters showing Denny’s involvement disappeared, before the court met on Oct. 11, 1908, and the court ordered a retrial. Since the prosecution no longer had their most important evidence, a new trial never occurred, and Denny no longer feared conviction. Although Denny was basically free, “he was a broken man and he never recovered.” He resigned his positions at the bank and as mayor. Denny remained in Williston and sold real estate until the 1930s, when he lived in Montana and California for short periods of time. He returned to Williston where he died on July 9, 1936.