Reverend Dr. Charles Edgar Haupt (1917) Mn Historical Society
Eighth of 11 children (seven sons & four daughters) of Herman Haupt, Sr. and wife Anna Cecilia [Keller] (also his sister-in-law by marriage to brother Lewis), Charles Edgar Haupt was born in Philadelphia on August 25,1854. His father Herman, Sr. was a brilliant civil engineer, and during the Civil War was the Union Army's chief of construction & transportation, and rose to the rank of Brigadier General.
Haupt and his siblings grew up in early childhood in Greenfield and later Cambridge, Massachusetts while his father started construction of the Hoosac Tunnel. The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his family were across-the-street neighbors. He attended Christ Church elementary school and took to Catechism and related studies. At the age of 16, they returned to Philadelphia where he attended a private school run by an ex-Congregational minister. He later claimed his preparation for college was "not as thorough as it should have been."
After high school, he went to Virginia to help the mapping survey for his fathers newly acquired 100,000-acre Mountain Lake land. He attended the University of Pennsylvania in 1871 for about a year and a half, but dropped out. He worked as principal assistant to his mother running the Mountain Lake resort hotel. He started to study the law in the evenings during the off-season.
When his father was appointed General Manager of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1881, they made the move to St. Paul, MN. This ended his law studies, now lured by the chance to make it big with land speculation in the rapidly growing country. Haupt admitted in his autobiography that more due to his father's standing than his own, he seemed "to have more credit in the bank than was good for me." He met and became close friends with Hiram Lyon, who was at the time also Cashier of the Second National Bank of St. Paul.
With his $5000 credit note, he was invited by Lyon to join a prominent group of businessmen in Mandan, Dakota Territory to set up the first bank on the west side of the Missouri.
The only bank Director not already with a full-time business, Haupt was elected as the First National Bank of Mandan's first bank president at age of 27. James Bellows (contractor for the railroad and Mandan's first "village president" (i.e., mayor)) was elected Vice President. With Lyon's obligation to remain in St. Paul for a while, "the task of balancing the books everyday" typically expected of the Cashier was left to Haupt.
Bank Ad in Mandan Pioneer 1883
Haupt was happy to turn over bank duties after Lyon relocated permanaently to Mandan. Haupt moved to the position of bank Vice President in 1882 when Bellows assumed the role as the bank's President. Eventually Haupt would resign from the bank's Board of Directors with Michael Lang taking over the role as Vice President.
Haupt and a partner started the Mandan Enterprise Clay Company to manufactured brick, decorative stone & water pipe located in the far west edge of the city today known as the Heartview Addition. Haupt also constructed and sold homes in Mead's Addition which is west Mandan, north of the tracks. His own home was permitted for $1800 ($50,000 2021$), the largest amount listed for 1883.
C. Edgar left Mandan in 1883 to join his brother Herman Haupt, Jr. to partner with the infamous Marqius de Mores in a business venture in western Dakota Territory.
1884 Medora Meat Packing Plant (courtesy of Nat'l Park Service)
Haupt had been introduced to the Marqius de Mores by Henry Villard, then recently elected as President of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
The Northern Pacific Refrigerator Car Company ran the abattoir (i.e., meat slaughter and packing house) in Medora. The plant could process 150 cows per day, and consisted of a slaughter house, power house, cooper shop, fertilizer room, three ice houses, a cooling and storage building, loading platform, and holding pens.
The company was bolstered both by railroad and bank connections of the Haupt family. Given the company shared the name with the railroad, the family connection may have secured favorable freight rates contrary to the frequent speculation by some historians that the Medora venture failed due to price fixing by the railroads to protect their real or imagined partnership with established stockyards and meat packers in Chicago. Other historians attribute the venture's failure to customer preference for corn-feed vs. grass-fed beef. Yet the same business model worked for similar operations in Fargo and Grand Forks only a few years later.
After two years, the Haupt brothers pulled out of the partnership. As later reported to a Theodore Roosevelt biographer, de Mores ignored their advice repeatedly. The Marquis spread investments across too many ventures in Medora, built too much or too big, and tried to raise (pigs, cows, beef cattle and sheep) and/or process too many types of animals (bison, beef cattle and sheep). The brothers also attributed his failure to not negotiating the best prices for livestock and not cutting their losses when they had the chance. The Haupt brothers exchanged their stock for company bonds and considered themselves fortunate to get out before it closed down entirely in the summer of 1887. Western Dakota Territory experienced a terrible winter in 1886-87 when 60-75% of all the livestock were lost.
Haupt returned to Philidelphia to join his brother Frank in the lumber business. While there, he met Mary Belle Griffith. After a brief courtship, they were married on December 10, 1884. He admitted they "were more happy than commonly permitted to mortals."
Tragedy struck on Thanksgiving 1885. Mary went into convulsions while giving birth to their daughter, Isabelle. Both died. He would later describe it as "the darkest moment in my life."
His brother Alex would come to stay with him, consoling him with the hope of the resurrection. Haupt admitted it brought to his mind a vivid call to a higher purpose.
At the age of 30, he entered the Seabury Divinity School. During the summers he would staff abandoned missions on behalf of the Episcopal Church. He was ordained in June 1889. He turned down an asssignment in an established church, choosing instead to venture into "an unchurched district." Leveraging his father's financal standing, he would borrow the necessary funds to build and develop St. Matthew's Episcopal Church congregation in St. Paul in 1891.
He met and married a Canadian of Irish/Scottish ancestry Alexandra Victoria Dougan (1864-1931) in 1892. Their children included daughter Alma Cecilia born in March 1893, followed by 4 sons John Paul (b. March 1895), David Richardson (b. April 1897), Theodore Gilbert (b. October 1902) and Samuel Edgar (b. November 1903).
In 1892, C. Edgar Haupt was designated as first Rector of the Messiah Episcopal Church in St. Paul, although he served informally as rector prior to that time. He returned to the Seabury Divinity School in Faribault, Minnesota and earn a Doctor of Divinity degree in 1909. He served as rector at St. Matthew's from 1909 to 1931. He spearheaded the effort to build a larger church in 1914 which currently serves the congregation. He took on multiple leadership roles for many of the church's auxiliary services until his ultimate retirement in 1938.
Among his efforts, Reverend Dr. Haupt took over the newly founded Breck School, moving it from Wilder, Minnesota, to St. Paul's St. Anthony neighborhood before it moved to Luther Seminary in St. Paul and eventually to Golden Valley. This Episcopal parochial school originally opened to provide rural students a chance to obtain an education comparable to larger school districts. It has grown to become one of the premier private schools in the state of Minnesota.
On March 14, 1921, he delivered a memorial sermon in St. Paul for his former Mandan business partner and lifelong friend Hiram Lyon.
During his later life, Dr. Haupt wrote several books on both his family's history including Two Pioneers of the Haupt Family published in 1937 and multiple ecclesiastical treatises.
The Reverend Dr. Charles Edgar Haupt died in St. Paul on June 10, 1942. He and both his wives Mary and Alexandra, Isabelle and other family members are buried in the family plot in Oakland Cemetery in St. Paul.
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