Newspaper Page Text
A. C. TO WNLE Y, DREAMER,
Townley in Trouble, Fears Publicity
and Seeks Aid
By J. W. BKINTON
Townley's Former Private Secretary
and Personal Representative, and
J. It. WATERS,
Former Bank Examiner and Manager
of the Bank of North Dakota.
VpyriKhtid. All Kii?hts Reserved.
hi the last article we told you of
Townley's sisal and land enterprise in
Dade county, Florida, and related the
story from the time Townley became
interested in the project in 1916 up to
time of his financial difficulty at
Valley City, N. Dak., where he and
His attorney, and his employees, Box
ind Hastings, became involved in a
federal investigation as the result of
bank promotion and the reorganiz
ing of a national bank into a state
bank to be owned and controlled by
League men. Hastings and Box were
'being Bnvestigated by the federal
grand jury. Townley and his attor
ney, Lemke, were involved, and the
newspapers were full of charges and
counter charges. Hastings was about
co leave for Miami, to take personal
charge of Townley's Florida under
taking. He was to assume ownership
jf the project and Townley was to
deny any connection with it,_ but the
federal investigation of Hastings' ac
tivities forced Townley to discharge
Hastings not only as manager and
trustee of the Florida venture but as
financial secretary of the Nonpartisan
Here Mr. Waters will continue the
About the middle of March, 1919, I
was called from my bed at about mid
night, upon the arrival of the mid
night train from Fargo, by A. €.
Townley, who informed me to get
dressed and come over to the Mc
Kenzie hotel. Upon my arrival there
I found Townley in a very excited
state of mind. Mr. Brinton was also
there. We retired to a room, and
there Mr. Townley related to me a
long story of his Florida promotion
scheme, the difficulty that he was in,
the necessity of getting some one to
assume ownership of it—and the dan
ger of publicity—what it would mean
to him if it became publicly known
that he was the owner of 22,400 acres
of land away down in Florida. This
was my first knowledge of any inter
est that Mr. Townley had outside of
his North Dakota promotions—with
•which I was more or less familiar.
•Mr. Townley related to me the pos
sibility of an indictment being re
turned against his financial secretary,
Mr. Hastings, and that in such an
event it might involve or bring to
light his Florida investment. It
seems that Brinton had suggested to
Towijley my association with the
project as its owner. Townley related
I how I had been in the real estate and
fnrm loan business for 20 years in
I North Dakota how it would cause no
suspicion if it became known that I
were the owner of 22,400 acres of land
in Florida, California or Mexico. And
1 saw Townley's point and the mental
explosion that would take place in
North Dakota if it developed and be
came known that Townley had invest
ed money in Florida land.
I have always been open for a deal
when it came to real estate, and I
generally made my best deal when the
other fellow was the aggressor. I had
dealt in real estate in Iowa, in Min
nesota, Montana and North Dakota,
but I had never seen Florida. I was
reluctant to go into a project which
1 had never seen. But Townley was
impatient. "For God's sake, Jim, take
this deal off my hands," appealed Mr.
Townley. "You can go to Miami, and
take your wife with you," explained
Mr. Townley, "and it will be a fine
trip for you. I will pay your expenses
and after you have seen the property
and agree to assume ownership of it,
we can come to a more definite ar
rangement. I've got to get Hastings
out of the deal and get someone else
to take charge of it."
This was Townley's general line of
ta.lk I finally agreed to go to Florida
and look his proposition over, and
agreed to assume proprietorship of
the property if it was as he and Brin
ton represented it to be provided,
Mr. Brinton would join me in its man.
agement as he was familiar with it
and what had been done. Mr. Town
ley and Brinton went back to Fargo
and secured a release or withdrawal
from Mr. Hastings and Box, as I_ did
not care to have any association in a
business way with these gentlemen.
This Mr. Townley secured and deliv
ered to Mr. Brinton and I before we
left for Miami. It reads:
"Thos. P. Harvey, Miami, Flor
ida. Dear Tom: This will intro
duce Mr. Brinton, who is coming
to Miami to assume full charge
of the sisal proposition and prop
erty and the two companies which
have been organized. Please turn
over to him all property, records,
files, letters, documents, and all
the organization papers, etc., and
hereafter make all future ar
rangements with regard to your
employment, expenses, salary,
The days are growing shorter the nights longer. Un
doubtedly you are making increasing use of Electric Light
with each passing evening. I
Just as you make it a point to have your heating plant
overhauled for the Winter period, arrange now to give
your electric bulbs, shades and fixtures a thorough clean
ing as soon as possible.
Clean shades and globes are necessary if you want the
full benefit of the electric current consumed. Otherwise
you are wasting electricity and money.
Look over your lighting now. Replace
wasteful carbon filament lamps with
saving Mazda lamps. Put a Mazda
lamp in every empty socket.
201 Main Street South
Minot, North Dakota
etc., with Mr. Brinton, as Mr. Box
and myself are withdrawing from
the enterprise and turning over
our interests to Mr. Waters and
Mr. Brinton. Signed J., J.
Compare this with Mr. Hastings'
telegram printed in the preceding ar
ticle in which he said he was coming
to Miami. The telegram was dated
March 11, 1919, and the above was
dated three days later, March 14,
1919. This shows how fast things
were moving. Speed was my instruc
tions and secrecy my password until
we got Mr. Townley relieved from his
embarrassing position. We looked for
a front page cartoon .in the Fargo
Forum every morning showing a
"Townley pipe line" connecting Flori
da and North Dakota, with North Da
kota above and money like water
running downhill. I never refused to
help a man out in my life when I
could, and especially one who had 22,
400 acres of land that he wanted to
turn over to me to hold in trust. I
had nothing to lose and I knew that
it was necessary to get Mr. Townley
out of the land owning class and into
the "poverty-bankruptcy" class in
haste if he was to continue as the
leader of the Nonpartisan League—
and ?t this time I had no objection to
his running the Nonpartisan League
and all its machinery. But later when
he commenced to take public funds
out of the State Bank and involve me
and my associates and the state gov
ernment, I changed my mind about
Mr. Townley and his leadership.
Mr. Brinton went to Miami ahead
of me, as I couldn't get away imme
diately because of' official matters
that I had to attend to. Later, a few
days, I went to Fargo and got $1,000
at the Scandinavian American bank,
1 large Chester-White brood sow, weight about 400 lbs.
10 shoats weighing about 80 lbs. each
5 sets of breeching work harness
2 sets of driving harness
1 saddle, good as new
FEED AND SEED
40 acres of corn fodder in shock
1 large oats straw stack
18 tons of wild hay
38 A. of Sudan hay in stack, bound with binder
20 bu. 2-row seed barley
500 lbs. rye grass seed
Some timothy, alfalfa, Alsike clover seed
Some Minnesota 13 seed corn
Some White Cory seed corn
1200 bu. oats
which Mr. Townley had arranged for,
to pay my expenses, was joined by my
wife and we went to Miami and inves
tigated the property. It is needless
to say that I was pleased. Mr. Brin
ton has already told you of the won
derful future possibilities for money
making in real estate in Dade county,
Florida. I returned and again held a
conference with Mr. Townley, with
Mr. Brinton present who had returned
I from Florida with me. Townley
agreed to pay me $5,000.00 a year
land expenses to manage, help finance
and assume ownership of his project,
But at this time I discovered that
over $10,000 had been taken out of the
Scandinavian American bank and in
'vested in Florida, and one of the con
siderations for which I was to be paid
was to take care of this shortage by
raising the money and replacing it in
the bank. Mr. Brinton attended to
this for Mr. Townley by borrowing
:money from Townley's farmer friends
up in Walsh county. One of the con
siderations demanded by Townley was
that I should reorganize the company
and get anti-League bankers into the
company as additional protection to
the political boss, and this was
promptly done and large ads were in
jserted in the anti-League papers to
cover Townley's tracks, as Townley
reasoned that it would be easy to
prove to the farmers that he had
nothing to do with it if bitter anti
League bankers were shareholders.
Townley made arrangements with
Lofthus, his new bank examiner, who
inspected the property, and a blue sky
permit was secured and about 75
bankers of North Dakota bought
shares. The fact that these bankers
bought shares is proof that I did my
job of keeping Townley's interest
I under cover. Incidentally, I was
27 HpAD—HORSES—27 HEAD
1 sorrel stallion 16 years old, weight 1700 lbs.
1 grey gelding 8 years old, weight 1600: Ks.
1 black mare 5 years old, weight 1300 lbs.
1 bay gelding 4 years old, weight 1200 lbs.
1 bay mare 12 years old, weight 1300 lbs.
1 bay mare 9 years old, weight 1300 lbs.
1 bay mare 7 years old, weight 14001bs.
1 grey mare 9 years old, weight 1400 lbs.
1 bay gelding 4 years old, weight 1200 lbs.
1 bay gelding 4 years old, weight 1200 lbs.
1 driving mare 5 years old, weight 1100 lbs*
1 bay mare 4 years old, weight 1100 lbs.
1 bay gelding 4 years old, weight 1400 lbs.
1 bay gelding 4 years old, weight 1300 lbs.
1 brown gelding 4 years old, weight 1200 lbs.
1 black mare 3 years old, weight 1200 lbs.
1 black gelding 3 years old, weight 1200 lbs.
1 iron grey mare 3 years old, weight 1200 lbs.
1 brown mare 3 years old, weight 1300 lbs.
1 sorrel mare 3 years old, weight 1200 lbs.
1 bay gelding 3 years old, weight 1250 lbs.
1 bay mare 4 years old, weight 1250 lbs.
1 brown mare 3 years old, weight 900 lbs.
1 bay mare 2 yews old, weight 1000 lbs.
1 roan mare 1 year old
1 black gelding spring colt
2 bay spring colts, mare and gelding
27 HEAD—CATTLE—27 HEAD
4 red cows, ages 3 to 5 years, all giving milk
2 red cows, ages 4 and 7, fresh soon
1 spotted cow, 4 years old, fresh soon
1 spotted cow 3 years old, giving milk
1 full-blooded Shorthorn registered bull with 2 years papers
6 2-year-old red Shorthorn heifers, will be fresh
6 yearling heifers
2 steers 2 years old
4 spring calves
named president of the company, and
Townley's old employee, T. P. Harvey,
was continued as secretary.
That some may questiori my story
I have no doubt, as Mr. Townley is
supposed to be poverty stricken in
spite of the fact that I paid oyer
$2500 taxes for him in Dade county,
Florida, the 1918 taxes that were due
when I took charge of the enterprise.
But to those who doubt I will here
reproduce extracts from an affidavit
signed by J. J. Hastings, in June,
1919, after he had been fired and when
he was still in an angry frame of
mind, and long before Mr. Townley
and I, or Mr. Brinton, became in
volved in a lawsuit over the si3al mat.
ter in the Cass county court at Fargo,
which will be settled in due time be
fore a jury. The Hastings affidavit
contains the following statements:
"Furthermore, A. C. Townley
used the funds of the Nonpartisan
League Publishing company, to
promote the sisal enterprise in
Florida, which later developed
into the United States Sisal trust,
same having been organize1.1 by
Thomas Allen Box and myself,
we having taken control of the
project along in July, 1918, be
cause of the inability of Mr.
Townley to give it the persona!
attention keeping the
thing extremely quiet as the
farmers of the state should not
know the truth about it until it
was time when the names of the
organizers t:nd the conception of
the project could be so camou
flaged as to make it appear that
Mr. Townley bad nothing to do
with it. Mr. Box and I
made two separate trips to Chi
cago and held a conference each
time with the owners of a town
Having Decided to Quit Farming, I Will Sell at Public Auction at My Farm 2x/% Miles East
and 5 Miles North of Surrey 6 Miles South and 11/4 Miles West of Deering 15 Miles N. E.
of Minot 4l/i Miles West and 4!/£ Miles North of Norwich, Sec. 22, T. 156, R. 81, on
Friday, Od. 29th
Sale to begin at 9 o'clock promptly. All household goods must be sold before lunch. Lunch
wilt be served at 11:30 o'clock
TERMS OF SALE:—All sums of $10 and under, Gash. On sums over that amount, time
will be given until Oct. 1,1921, on bankable paper, with interest at 10%. 6% discount for
cash on sums over $10. No property to be removed untij settled for.
GEORGE BLOCHER, Owner
A. H. THOMAS, Auctioneer O. D. LaGRANGE, Clerk
ship of land south of Miami,
Florida, which was particularly
adapted for the growing of sisal.
After a great deal of considera
tion I purchased thirty-five sec
tions of land. I imme
diately formed' the common law
company known as the United
States Sisal Trust with a capi
talization of one million dollars.
I also incorporated a South Da
kota corporation. AH
the preliminary papers were
properly signed and executed.
(Mr. 'Brinton has the original
papers and the secretary of
state's office in South Dakota will
show the formation of *he South
Dakota company.) Mr.
Harvey immediiately commenced
the work of preparing the land of
the larger tract to receive the
plants from the nursery.
"I had never seen the planta
tion and they were continually
drawing funds which I did not
know were being judiciously
spent. A good many times I was
forced because of circumstances
to charge these various drafts
against me to my own perscnal
account at other times
I would hold the drafts against
my personal account until they
reached $5000 or $6000 in amount
at which time I would make one
note in the name of the United
States Sisal Trust, sign same as
trustee, which I had a perfect
right to do, and put it into the
Scandinavian American bank, no
collateral being put up but I had
at all times the verbal assurance
of Mr. Townley -that should it
become necessary for me to put
up collateral to take Consumers
(Continued on next page)
John Deere manure spreader
John Deere 2-horse cultivator
John Deere gang plow, 14-in., new
John Deere sulkey plow with stubble and' breaker bot
toms, 14 and 18 in.
Deering binder, 8 ft. cut
McCormick binder, 7-foot cut
Deering mower, 5-foot cut
Acme Queen mower, 5-foot cut
1 McCormick hay rake, 10-foot
1 bull rake
1 Emerson 16x16 disc, new
1 Van Brunt drill, 20 double-disc, with grass seeder
1 steel drag, 22-foot, with cart
3 bob sleds, 7-foot, nearly, new
1 double-shovel plow, nearly new
1 Stoughton wagon and box, in good shape
1 Gale running gear
2 good hay racks
1 truck wagon
1 Storm King Studebaker inclosed buggy, new., with pole
1 Martin feed mill, 10-inch burr
1R. &V. gasoline engine, 6 horse power
1 Newway gasoline engine, 4 Vz horse power
1 Emmerson gasoline engine, 1
1 pump jack
1 Fairbanks scale, 1000 lbs., new
1 Moline wagon scale, 6 tons
1 wood water stock tank, 15 bbL, new
1 galv. water stock tank, 120 gallon
1 galv. hog feeder, capacity 12 bu.
1 wire stretcher
2 stone boats
1 Planet Jr. garden drill and cultivator, new
20 ft. of barn door trade, new
2 post augers, forks, shovels, rakes, hoes, crowbar, grind
stone, eveners, neckyokes and chains
1 Landman hay carrier and track, 32 foot, complete
1 Stewart horse clipper
Vise, carpenter tools, steel wheelbarrow and potato grader
1 hog house 8x10 ft. 1 calf house 8x12 ft.
1 glass cupboard 1 clothes cupboard, 1 tool cupboard, 1 din
ing room extension table, 12-ft., 1 breakfast table, 1 kit
chen table, 1 book ease and writing desk combined, 1 Ele
gant Universal heating stove, 1 desk chair, 5 dining room
chairs, 1 high chair, 6 folding camp chairs, 3 rocking
chairs, 1 dresser, 1 chiffonier, 2 center stands, brass bed
complete, beds and springs, 1 vacuum cleaner, 36 yards of
rag carpet, 2 No. 12 De Laval cream separators, 1 8-gal
lon cream can, 1 5-gallon stone jar full of salt brine picldes,
1 15-gal. stone jar, 1 Quick and Easy washing machine, 1
galvanized wash boiler, 1 galv. wash tub,, 1 15-gal. barrel
churn, 1 gas lamp, 1 lot dishes, crocks, cooking utensils,
glass fruit jars, and other numerous articles