The Amenia and Sharon Land Company had an inauspicious beginning. The residents of Amenia, New York, and Sharon, Connecticut originally bought bonds in The Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1873, they lost their wealth due to the railroad bonds becoming worthless. They exchanged the bonds for 27,831 acres of land eight miles north of Casselton in Cass County, North Dakota. The bond holders met in 1875, elected Eban W. Chaffee chairman, and in 1877 planted the first wheat crop. As the company grew, it continued to purchase more and more land. It would eventually become the largest bonanza farm in North Dakota. When its first general agent E.W. Chaffee died in 1892, his son, H.F. Chaffee took over. Unfortunately, in 1912 he and his wife, Carrie Toogood, were on board the HMS Titanic. Chaffee put his wife on a lifeboat and he died when the ship sunk. Without a leader and the dropping grain prices due to World War I, the company dissolved, sold its properties to smaller farmers, and closed for good in 1922.
The Amenia and Sharon Land Company Collection at the NDSU Archives consists of photographs, papers, records, letters, interviews, and more. To access the collection, go to library.ndsu.edu/ndsuarchives and search the Finding Aids IR for "Amenia and Sharon Land Company" (see screen shot below for reference).
Titanic Letter, May 20, 1912:
"To WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
This is to certify that the name of Mr. H.F. Chaffee appears on the first class passenger list of the S.S. 'Titanic' which sailed from Southampton and Cherbourg on April 10th 1912, but this name does not appear amongst the list of survivors furnished by the S.S. 'Carpathia'.
Yours very truly,
For the PASSENGER DEPARTMENT,
For questions about this collection or other topics related to the NDSU Archives, contact Matt Tallant, Processing Archivist.