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With: Marshal Guyer, Leah Steelgrave
Location: Marshal's Office
When: December 1875
Time of Day: Afternoon

 

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The office was a place where plans for the business could be made. It was furnished, ready for the spring thaw. Speed needed some employees, mining men, secretary, and all of that would come in time. Right now they were blanketed in white and there was no mining to speak of but there would be, and hopefully plenty of it.

 

Not that he considered Kalispell to be a wealth of mining properties, but his people would fan out to other areas, that’s where they would uncover prospects in not just mining, but minerals, timber and the like. As he sat back with a cup of coffee, he was comfortable in the thought that his business would take off.

 

That was the very moment Leah Steelgrave walked in.

 

“Marshal Guyer, can I have a word with you?” She asked in a pleasant tone. He had not had a great deal of interaction with the woman, and seemed about to change. If it was about her brother, he was not being held on any charges, he was free to go whenever he wanted.

 

“Of course, I don’t believe I’ve had the opportunity or the pleasure Miss Steelgrave. Please, have a seat. How can I help you?” He asked.

 

She moved a chair closer, “I have some projects that I need to discuss with you. I have spoken to Mister Pike about this, so I’ll be direct. Doctor Danforth and myself are in the early stages of planning for the construction of a hospital here in town, well a ways out. After which we are hoping to build an orphanage.” She paused to let him digest that. “There is a problem, we building the hospital with my fathers money, which has already been appropriated, not entirely his, please understand. Rightfully, it will be mine after his demise.” Again she paused.

 

“If you know anything about my father I suppose you already know the type of man he is. I have two men, Bannister and Santee from his employ, he has a goodly number of riders, and they are the problem. They are the reason I spoke with Mister Pike, and the reason I am speaking to you.”

 

“You realize you have just confessed to a crime, Miss Steelgrave.” Speed informed her.

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“I have. So what I am asking you is this, since Elias Steelgrave has gained his fortune by murder and theft, and I am simply investing stolen money into the town, if there was a chance that the railroad would come through Kalispell, and...that the right of way would cost this town and the county not one red cent, could your legal action on my confession be postponed until Mister Steelgrave came forward with a complaint?”

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TBC

 

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“So what you are saying to me is, can I withhold your admission to stealing money from your father to build a hospital, and, that there would be no cost to Flathead County or the Town of Kalispell for the railroad right of way.” Speed asked. “Seriously?”

 

She reached into the inside pocket of her coat and withdrew a sheaf of papers. “You may want to call a meeting of the town council after you look over those papers. I’m sure they will be interested.” Then she added, “Marshal, I’m not asking that you forget what I admitted to, but even I know that until there’s a complaint technically I’ve done nothing illegal, and certainly nothing I’m ashamed of. Those papers you’re holding are made out to the Township of Kalispell Montana, they are not some sort of bargaining chip. I merely signed the agreements in the name of the town.” She waited while he read the agreements, sifted through the property deeds and grants with the railroad, and with the Governor’s office.


He dropped the hand with the papers in his lap maintaining a firm grip. Then with a sigh handed them toward her.


“Not my problem anymore, I got them here, now, it’s the Town Councils problem.” She said with a smile.


“So Miss Steelgrave, what is it you want after all this?” Was he question.


“Marshal, it’s quite simple. Let’s call it a trade. I’ve provided the town with the right of way, perhaps the town could see their way clear, in writing, to donate the land of our choosing for the Hospital and for the orphanage.” Leah offered.


“Of your choosing?”


“Yes, we’ll select the plots, and as soon as the thaw, we’ll begin construction.” Then she uncharacteristically laughed. Uncharacteristic because business was a serious matter with any of the Steelgraves. “Pardon me, I just find it amusing our back and forth.  But we’ll see what the Town Council has to say about this. Have no doubt Marshall, I'll not run should this work against me. I'll be right there, standing next to you."

 

TBC

 

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It was at this point in time that Judge Ben Robertson walked into the marshal's office.  Even though he was semi-retired from the bench, he still had a hand in various councils and boards within Kalispell and the surrounding area.  Today, he was coming to see the marshal to notify him of the date that the mayoral and county sheriff elections were going to be held.  He had just received the approval of the territorial governor to hold them and he wanted to get it started as soon as possible.

 

Seeing that marshal already had a visitor, he took off his hat and acknowledged the both of them, "Miss Steelgrave.  Marshal.  I hope I haven't come at an inconvenient time."

 

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@Flip

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 "Miss Steelgrave.  Marshal.  I hope I haven't come at an inconvenient time."

 

“Judge Robertson.” Leah said cordially.

 

“What bring you out in this weather, Judge?” Speed asked as he rose and extended his hand. “Must be important. And no, actually Miss Steelgrave has some information she’d like the Town Council to consider.

 

“That can wait for you to conduct your business with the Marshal here.” Leah deferred, her presentation would like take a bit longer than anything Judge Robertson had to convey. And of course, she was a bit nosy as well.

 

Tag @JulieS
 

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Ben smiled, "No, what I have can wait.  What is it that you would like to discuss with the town council?"

 

The last thing he wanted was a Steelgrave to be the first one to know when the elections were going to be held.  He was determined that Elias would have as little influence as possible.  What Kalispell didn't need was a Steelgrave or someone they could control in charge.

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Ben smiled, "No, what I have can wait.  What is it that you would like to discuss with the town council?"

 

 “Well then, Ben, best you take a seat, the lady has quite a proposition for you.” Speed said.

 

“Judge,” She began, I do have a proposition I believe will benefit everyone concerned. You know that the railroad had plans to cross the state, but no one knows where. I know where, but not exactly when. Now before the questions begin, perhaps you best have a look at these.” With that she looked to Speed who handed the sheaf of papers over to the Judge.

 

She gave him a few minutes to look over the papers. “As I had mentioned to Marshal Guyer, Doctor Danforth and I are planning to build a hospital, and later, an orphanage. Both will be privately funded. Then, what we need from the Town Council is the land to build them on. So, in exchange for the work done on the right of way, we would like to select some sites for the Council’s consideration to grant us for that purpose.” She cocked her head and smiled. “No strings attached.”

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Tag @JulieS

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After Ben had looked through the papers, he frowned, "There's a lot to take in.  It will me some time to go through it all and then I'm sure the other council members will probably want to take a look at it as well."

 

Facing at Leah, he smiled apologetically, "A plan this big also deserves to be discussed by the citizens of Kalispell as well.  We will probably need to hold a town meeting, at the earliest in spring to make sure there are no objections.  After all the land, the council has at its disposal is for all intent and purposes owned by the town.  We just can't go putting up any building, no matter how beneficial it may be to the community.  Then there's also federal and territorial laws to be checked on.  I can use the winter to start get the ball rolling on that."

 

He sighed, "I'm sorry, Miss Steelgrave, but putting up any new building can a long and drawn out process especially if you want to do it right."

 

night7.jpg.9df7a3481422b13fc5aa6a67a598fca2.jpg

 

@Flip

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After Ben had looked through the papers, he frowned, "There's a lot to take in.  It will me some time to go through it all and then I'm sure the other council members will probably want to take a look at it as well."


Leah smiled politely as the Judge spoke, knowing what was coming, so she said, “Of course, Judge. A great deal of information is there and needs to be presented to the rest of the Town Council, probably sooner than later."
 

Facing at Leah, he smiled apologetically, "A plan this big also deserves to be discussed by the citizens of Kalispell as well.  We will probably need to hold a town meeting, at the earliest in spring to make sure there are no objections.  After all the land, the council has at its disposal is for all intent and purposes owned by the town.  We just can't go putting up any building, no matter how beneficial it may be to the community.  Then there's also federal and territorial laws to be checked on.  I can use the winter to start get the ball rolling on that."


Now he was getting to the crux of the matter. This was not about presenting Kalispell with the right of way for the future railroad, it was not about the requested land, it was about her last name. It was anti-Steelgrave, not the idea of the hospital or the orphanage, the idea that a Steelgrave had done what the Town Council had not, taken the bull by the horns and done what was necessary for the idea, and for the town. She was neither surprised nor upset.
 

He sighed, "I'm sorry, Miss Steelgrave, but putting up any new building can a long and drawn out process especially if you want to do it right."


“Oh, I agree Judge. Doing it right is most important, so I will leave this gift in your most capable hands.” She concurred.

 

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11 hours ago, Leah Steelgrave said:

“Oh, I agree Judge. Doing it right is most important, so I will leave this gift in your most capable hands.” She concurred.

Ben was getting the impression, that she was not happy with the delay, "I hope you understand, Miss Steelgrave, that this is a big undertaking and all voices need to be heard.  We have to wait until the spring thaw to allow all interested parties to come into town and have their say.  There will likely be objections and we will hear them out just like we do with anything we vote on.  It would be better if we had a town mayor who could preside over this but if we wait until the elections, it may take even longer.  From what I understand so far, this is something you would like to see happen as soon as possible."

 

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@Flip

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“Judge Robertson, we can’t possibly consider construction before the spring thaw, that’s a given.” She stated. “However, realizing that there will be objections to a hospital and an orphanage in Kalispell, and that there might well be interested parties that would come to a town hall meeting in opposition, I suppose that we can delay plans to begin building as long as is deemed necessary.”

 

It was to be expected, that her name would overshadow anything she might attempt. However, they would happily take the granted right of way. “When considering a hospital for a town with a small clinic, I’m sure there will be a great deal of objections, perhaps Judge, we should abandon the project altogether, until someone not a Steelgrave comes forward with such a proposal.” Her anger simmered just below the surface.

 

“You have the right of way for the railroad that is coming, I’m sure that even though it was given to the town by a Steelgrave, and a woman on top of that, that you’ll come up with a way to have it seem completely different that the facts dictate.” She was on her feet now. “Perhaps what this town needs is a mayor. Someone like Shade Thornton, or Quentin Cantrell. I suppose until that happens we’ll just wait on the hospital. Good day gentlemen!” And out the door she went.

 

“Dang!” Speed exclaimed. “That set her off, Ben. Imagine she could be a real wildcat when she gets going, and she's pert-near there!”

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Tag @JulieS

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