Patrick Devitt

Patrick Devitt

Patrick Devitt was born in Ireland. He emigrated to the US with his parents in 1843. He volunteered in St. Paul on August 19, 1864 to serve in Company G, 11th Regiment of the Minnesota Infantry. After serving a year and rising to the rank of sergeant, he mustered out in June 1865.

Patrick went to work for the Northern Pacific Railroad and helped build the bridge across the Red River. He homesteaded three miles northeast of Fargo and became one of Cass County's first settlers. In 1874, Patrick was appointed to be the first road supervisor for the district three and also the Treasurer of the Fargo School Board. A year later he lost his bid to be Fargo's first mayor, losing to George Egbert 86 to 51.

In 1877, Devitt and Gordon Keeney joined in purchasing land which both men claimed. A joint land patent was issued for 125.75 acre parcel now known as Keeny and Devitt's Addition and Second Addition to Fargo. From 1880 to 1885, Devitt managed the Lake Hotel (on the corner of Front Street and 14th Street). Patrick Devitt moved in 1885 to Scoville, Ransom County, Dakota Territory, where he was the town's first postmaster (making $1.78 per year). Devitt became a United states citizen in 1884 and passed away in 1917 in the Soldier's Home in Lisbon.

Andrew Devitt (born April 30, 1865, brother of Patrick, no picture available) came to Fargo in 1875. He purchased a butcher shop from his brother Patrick in August 1875 [the shop was sold to a man named Harris in 1877]. Andrew lived in a house on the corner of Broadway and NP Avenue. The house burned down in the winter of 1875.

Andrew (age 10 in 1875) started school in Fargo, a one room school house taught by Miss Pinkim. The schoolhouse was on Ninth Street about two blocks south of Front Street (Main Avenue). Two rooms were later added to the school house.

The image of Patrick Devitt and the biographical information was generously and graciously provided by Jody Tesch Sorenson, great grandniece of Patrick.