Biography of William C. Nash of East Grand Forks Minnesota

William C. Nash, born on June 1, 1833, in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, was a pioneer of East Grand Forks, settling there in 1870. He was the first settler in the region and served as postmaster for four years. Nash’s early ventures included carrying mail by sled from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina and acting as a government agent, capturing Native American chiefs. In 1869, he married Ida V. Slaughter and had seven children. Nash, a respected Masonic Order member, was known for his liberal views and influence in the Red River Valley.

William C Nash
William C Nash

William C. Nash is a respected pioneer resident of East Grand Forks. He settled on his current homestead in 1870, making him the first settler in the region. During the early days, he carried United States mail from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina using dogs and sleds. He also served as the postmaster of East Grand Forks for approximately four years. His home was utilized by early settlers as a temporary fort.

Born on June 1, 1833, in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, William C. Nash was the son of Ephriam and Lois (Warner) Nash. His parents, natives of New York state, relocated to Pennsylvania where they engaged in farming for several years before returning to New York, where they both passed away. The family originally hailed from Massachusetts. While two of their sons now reside in Washington state, and one other besides William C. resides in Minnesota. William spent a significant portion of his youth in New York and Michigan. He attended school in Adrian, Michigan, for three years. In 1854, he ventured to Harrisburg, Kentucky, where he entered the general merchandising business, remaining in that line until 1860.

In 1860, he accompanied General Hatch on a campaign against Native Americans in the Northwest, reaching as far as Pembina, North Dakota. During the winters of 1863-1864, he resided in Forts Garry and Pembina in Canada. While there, he acted as a government agent and successfully apprehended Little Six and Medicine Bottle, two Indian chiefs, and brought them back to the United States under arrest. The following summer, he spent time in Chicago. In the fall, he was appointed sutler at Fort Abercrombie, a position he held for five years. During this time, he was involved in contracting and, in 1870, built the post at Pembina, where he produced the first brick used in Dakota.

In 1869, Mr. Nash married Miss Ida V. Slaughter, a native of Ohio, in St. Peter, Minnesota. Miss Slaughter came from one of the old families of Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Nash had seven children—four sons and three daughters. Mr. Nash has been an esteemed member of the Masonic Order for the past fifty years, earning high regard within the organization. He aligns with the Democratic party but has never actively pursued or held public office. Known for his broad and liberal views, he is regarded as one of the most influential and substantial citizens in the Red River Valley.


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.

Pin It on Pinterest

Discover more from Minnesota Genealogy

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top