Reverend Dr. Charles Edgar Haupt (1917) Mn Historical Society
One of eleven children (seven sons & four daughters) of Herman Haupt, Sr. and wife Anna Cecilia Kellie, Charles Edgar Haupt was born in Philadelphia on August 25,1854.
His father Herman, Sr. was a brilliant civil engineer who served in the Civil War. He was the Union Army's chief of construction & transportation, and rose to the rank of Brigadier General. His father would play a crucial role in C. Edgar's early adulthood.
Haupt and his siblings grew up in Philidelphia while his father was rising through the ranks of the Pennsylvania Railroad, eventually moving up to chief engineer. C. Edgar attended public schools before leaving to attend the University of Pennsylvania from 1870-1874.
James Bellows came in to Mandan from Rochester, NJ and brought years of experience working for the Northern Pacific Railroad. His company was awarded the contract for the initial 100 miles of track west of the river, including the approaches to the new Missouri River bridge.
C. Edgar's father was President of Northern Pacific Railroad from 1881 to 1884. He likely made suitable introductions for his son. James Bellows, C. Edgar Haupt, Hiram Lyons and other businessmen started the First National Bank, the first bank west of the river, in November 1881.
Haupt was elected its first president, while James Bellows was elected Vice President and Hiram Lyons as Cashier. The following year, Haupt moved to Vice President and James Bellows assumed the role of President.
Haupt started the Mandan Enterprise Clay Company with partner McGechin, formerly of the Bismarck Artificial Stone Company. They manufactured brick, decorative stone & water pipe was located in the Heartview Addition of Mandan (far west edge). Haupt also built multiple dwellings in Mead's Addition in western Mandan and north of the tracks. His home was permitted for $1800 ($50,000 2021$), the largest amount listed for 1883.
Bank Ad in Mandan Pioneer 1883
C. Edgar and brother Herman Haupt, Jr. partnered in 1883 with the infamous Marqius de Mores in one of his many business ventures in western Dakota Territory. 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.
Sketch of Meat Packing Plant in Medora DT 1884 (courtesy of Nat'l Park Service)
The company was bolstered both by money & bank connections of the Haupt family, as well as its connection with the railroad. Their father served as President of the Northern Pacific Railroad until 1884. 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 reported to a Theodore Roosevelt biographer, the Marquis ignored their advice repeatedly, spreading his investments across too many ventures in Medora, building too much or too big, and trying 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 his stock and not cutting their losses when they had the chance. C. Edgar and Herman, Jr. exchanged their stock for bonds in the company, and considered themselves fortunate to get out before the company closed entirely in the summer of 1887. Western Dakota Territory experienced a terrible winter in 1886-87 when 60 - 75% of all the livestock did not survive.
Haupt returned to Minnesota in 1889, where apparently he was called to a higher purpose. He became heavily involved in local church affairs and performed missionary work on behalf of the Episcopal Church. He helped to establish a separate building for the 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 Samual 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 eventually returned to the Seabury Divinity School in Fairbault, Minnesota and received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 1909. He returned to St. Matthew's as rector from 1909 to 1931. He would spearhead the effort to build a larger church in 1914 which currently serves the congregation. He would take on other leadership roles for several of the church's auxillary 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 his wife Alexandra are buried in Oakland Cemetery in St. Paul.
The MHSoc's museum and office is located at 3827 30th Avenue NW; PO Box 98; Mandan, ND 58554 Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org