Created By: North Dakota State University
The area just ahead is now Ponte's Park but it used to belong to Charles Webb Darling. Born in East Virgil, New York in 1844, Darling would make his way to the west coast in his lifetime. Darling must have been quite the go-getter! After serving in the NY Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, he married his first wife in 1868. While it appears they headed west together, it wasn’t meant to be. Though no divorce record has been found both Charles and Harriet remarried in the late 1880’s.
Darling is listed again and again in Fargo’s City Directories as Treasurer of Fargo Brick and Tile (1881-1883), co-owner of Darling and Angell Real Estate and Loan which he founded in 1878, and owner of prime real estate along the Red River where Lindenwood Park is now located and a home on 8th St S (now a parking lot).
In 1882 he partnered with others to begin a horse-drawn street car company that was unfortunately destroyed by fire. In 1885 he married Marcella Rolph. 1888 it was written about Darling and crew, “They are masters of the history and prospects of western real estate, and being far-seeing men they can tell pretty accurately where certain event will occur that in a short time are bound to double or treble the value of property now held at a very low price.”
Darling's long-time partner in business, Erasmus Angell, was also from a tiny town in New York. In fact, Lapeer was only 7 miles from Virgil. Though the men were 11 years apart in age, I wonder, did they know one another? Were they shocked to meet in Fargo, or was it planned? Why did the business end?
Darling arrived in Fargo near it's beginning and did quite well, but he still moved west, and when he left he had his sights set on California. He sold the Fargo land to Sam Crabbe, who would raise Marguette the famous butter fat producer right here! The Darling's settled into National City, California, just south of San Diego. In 1917, at 75 years old, Charles Darling’s passport application listed his occupation as rancher, census data in 1920 listed him as a fruit farmer, and his wife Marcella’s passport explained that she and Mr. Darling would frequently be crossing into Mexico in order to manage their southern Californian mining company.5
Charles Webb Darling died in 1922. Marcella Rolph Darling died in 1950. Both are both resting peacefully now in San Diego. Darling’s approximately 4000 mile trek from tiny East Virgil, NY to National City, CA is one I’d love to learn more about.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Walk with the Dead: Fargo's Riverside Cemetery