Biography of Benjamin F. Mackall of Moorehead Minnesota

Benjamin F. Mackall, a prominent figure in Moorhead, Minnesota, has been involved in the drug business since the pioneer days of the 1870s. He established himself as the leading pharmacist in Moorhead and has remained a continuous resident, actively contributing to the community. Serving in various civic roles, including treasurer of the village and auditor of Clay County, Mackall has played an important part in the town’s development. In addition, he has been deeply involved in religious matters, being a senior warden and lay reader in local churches. With refined tastes and high principles, he is respected as a gentleman of the old school.

Benjamin F Mackall
Benjamin F Mackall

Benjamin F. Mackall is a prominent citizen of Moorhead, who has been involved in the drug business since the early pioneer days of the 1870s. He began a business partnership in 1873 and continued under the firm name of John Kurtz until 1875, when it became Kurtz & Mackall. Mr. Mackall assumed full control in 1880, establishing himself as the leading pharmacist of Moorhead, a distinction he still holds. His store was originally a small establishment located at the corner of Fourth Street and First Avenue North, where the European Hotel now stands. In 1874, Dr. Kurtz erected the first brick building in Moorhead on Fourth Street, which served as the business location until 1883. From that time until 1890, Mr. Mackall operated a store in the Mason block at the corner of Front and Fifth Streets. He then constructed a brick building where he currently operates his business.

With the exception of a three-year interval between 1886 and 1889 when he conducted business in Duluth, Mr. Mackall has been a continuous resident of Moorhead, actively contributing to its commercial, social, and religious life.

He has served his community in various civic roles. He was the first treasurer of the village of Moorhead, and he held the positions of auditor and treasurer of Clay County for several years. He served as postmaster from 1884 to 1886 until his resignation to go to Duluth. He has frequently been a delegate to significant political and ecclesiastical conventions and currently (as of 1909) serves as vice-president of the Commercial Club.

In religious matters, Mr. Mackall has been a constructive leader. He is the senior warden of St. John’s Episcopal Church and has served as a lay reader in that parish and in Gethsemane Parish in Fargo since their establishment. He has not only been a steadfast friend and generous supporter of both churches but also played a crucial role in their founding.

In the community, Mr. Mackall holds a unique position. A man of refined tastes and cultured background, he embodies the manners and grace of a gentleman of the old school. His home has always been known for its warm hospitality.

Briefly summarizing the significant events in Mr. Mackall’s life, he was born on October 9, 1851, in Wilna, near Elkton, Maryland. He received his education at private schools in Elkton, Elkton Academy, West Nottingham Academies, and Georgetown College in Washington, D.C. On February 13, 1884, he married Miss Mary H. Kurtz, daughter of Colonel John D. Kurtz of the United States Engineering Corps, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Mackall passed away on January 27, 1902. They had one child, Henry Clinton, born on February 18, 1885.

As one of the pioneer settlers in the Red River Valley, Mr. Mackall is a man of strong business ethics, education, refinement, and high principles. He has played a significant role in shaping the institutions of the community he calls home.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past and Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns and Villages of the Valley from the Time of Their First Settlement and Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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