Erasmus Angell

Walk with the Dead: Fargo's Riverside Cemetery

Erasmus Angell

Fargo, North Dakota 58103, United States

Created By: North Dakota State University


E.D. Angell came to Fargo in August 1881 from New York. Born in 1855 to native New Yorkers who farmed in tiny Lapeer, Erasmus attended local primary schools, Cazenovia Seminary, and Syracuse University, graduating in 1880. He taught for a season at the orphan school in Mansfield, PA before trekking over 1300 miles to Fargo.

Upon arrival he worked for a short time as a thresher near Casselton. He then worked for N.K. Hubbard, who had purchased the first two business lots put for sale in Fargo in 1873. By December of his arrival year, Erasmus had settled permanently in Fargo and began work in real estate.1 By 1889, when Erasmus married Jennie Burns, a classmate from Syracuse, he and new business partner Charles Darling were in ownership of prime parcels from Canada, Angell’s area of knowledge, to Nebraska, Darling’s focus.

In 1917, after 30 years together, Darling headed west. That same year it was written of Angell that “his business activity, his public-spirited citizenship, and his devotion to the general welfare combine to make Mr. Angell one of the representative and leading residents of Fargo. He has been associated closely with the city’s interests of a third of a century, his memory forming a connecting link between primitive past and the progressive present.”

I wonder, after learning that Angell and Darling grew up 11 years apart in age, but only 7 miles apart in distance, if they knew one another, or ever expected to meet up again in the Wild West that was Fargo in the 1880’s. I hope that as you meet the Darling’s later in the tour, you’ll ponder what drives some men to settle down while others feel the need to move on.

A side note, from doing research on the family: Erasmus’s mom Sarah Lake’s family can be traced back to the voyage from Bristol, England in 1635 to his plot here in Fargo! Only one of Angell’s six siblings had any children that lived through infanthood. Angell’s nephew, Wilmer Smith, never left Lapeer, NY where he was born, never married or had children, and died in 1946, thereby ending a 311 year Lake legacy in America.


  1. Clement Augustus Loungberry. North Dakota History and People: Outlines of American History. Vol. II. III vols. Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1917. Accessed November 19, 2016.
  2. Fargo, the Gateway of the Northeast. H.S. Reed & Company, 1888.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Walk with the Dead: Fargo's Riverside Cemetery


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