Oliver Dalrymple – A Bonanza Farmer
Oliver Dalrymple was an esteemed bonanza farmer in 1878 who brought wealth and respectability to northern Dakota Territory.
In August 1876, he took on the management of Cass-Cheney Bonanza Farm outside Fargo under a contract from the railroad to return their capital investment through profits generated from farm operations.
He created an efficient system for running wheat farms using modern and efficient machinery.
Early Life and Education
Oliver Dalrymple was raised on his family’s farm near Casselton, North Dakota, attending The Blake School – a private co-educational day school – before returning home and managing their wheat farm in Eastern North Dakota where he went on to become both an experienced farmer and land speculator.
In 1874, the Northern Pacific Railroad started purchasing land in Eastern North Dakota at discounted prices to attract investors. General George W. Cass and Benjamin Cheney, president and vice-president respectively of the railroad respectively, purchased 13,440 acres some miles west of Fargo as absentee owners who hired managers to oversee operations of these large “Bonanza farms”.
Dalrymple devised an ingenious system for farming thousands of acres efficiently. He divided his farms into 5,000-acre tracts with their own superintendent/foreman/stock barn/stable and granary; as well as homesteads containing barracks to house 50 men for sleeping and kitchens that could serve three large meals daily to 100+ men in each division.
Oliver secured employment in public relations and sales with a clothing store before transitioning into automotive dealership sales before returning to farming – his childhood ambition. Oliver served as both baseball broadcaster and part-time bailiff during this time, continuing his service until his death at Alleman High School.
Oliver wasn’t known for hitting with much power, but was known for his excellent defensive catching skills. These led to perception that Oliver might make an ideal backup catcher for Phil Niekro’s knuckleballer Phil Uecker; consequently on June 6, Braves traded Oliver to Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Bob Uecker. Oliver responded to such suggestions by hitting 30 homers in his first season with Philadelphia Phillies.
Achievement and Honors
Yale-educated attorney Henry Kling invested his earnings as a lawyer into land purchases in southern Minnesota and turned them into one of America’s premier wheat farmers.
Curt Eriksmoen of InForum history columnist notes that Cass and Cheney farms, as well as Grandin brothers’ acquisition of land in North Dakota, ushering in what became known as “Era of Bonanza Farms.” These newly large land owners had heard of Dalrymple’s expertise managing large tracts of farmland; hence hiring him to oversee their purchases.
Oliver “Boo” Dalrymple thinks he died while reciting the periodic table at school, but upon awakening in a special heaven called Town designed specifically for thirteen-year-olds who have passed, he discovers that death is only just beginning for him.
Oliver Dalrymple owned and managed large-scale wheat farms in Northern Dakota, drawing people in and helping it thrive.
George Cass and Benjamin Cheney, directors of the Northern Pacific Railroad, purchased land near Traill County near present day and hired Dalrymple as manager because he could plow and sow large areas.
Dalrymple had two brothers who went on to become professional baseball players, including Mel Dalrymple (1928-2015). Mel made six seasons’ worth of appearances for Chico and Salt Lake City Bees of Class C league baseball.
Jean stated in her April 2 letter to Woolf that Jose Ferrer’s performance as Jose in the film version of “The Man of La Mancha” is extremely subpar; she considered him one of her three Joses.
Dalrymple quickly acquired additional land near Mayville and established his first bonanza farm for them.
He devised an economical system on his estate that proved highly lucrative. Always using cutting-edge machinery, and hiring people only when necessary. Furthermore, he had devised means of cutting costs on housing and feeding his workers.
Dalrymple made a considerable fortune and boasted about it to attract other investors in North Dakota’s eastern wheat fields. Being a skilled businessperson, he knew land values in this region were sure to increase rapidly – and indeed this proved true.