Neighbors: Minnesota man found an old surprise while fishing in Saskatchewan

Mike Boldingh found this old claim plate in the early 1990s while on a fishing trip in northeastern Saskatchewan. Special to The Forum
Mike Boldingh found this old claim plate in the early 1990s while on a fishing trip in northeastern Saskatchewan. Special to The Forum

Neighbors once carried a story and picture of a claim plate — a metal plate with a claim number cut into it from territorial days — that a farmer found on an area farm.

In response, Mike Boldingh, Breckenridge, Minn., sends this picture of a claim plate he found in the early 1990s in northeastern Saskatchewan while on a fishing trip.

“The closest civilization from where I found the tag was Sandy Bay, Sask.,” Mike says. “I found it in a spot where I would have placed an enormous wager no one else had ever set foot!

“It was on the top side of a very aggressive L-shaped rapids where very few people have traversed.

“The plate is made of copper and very thin.

“If my memory serves me right,” Mike says, “someone gave me the idea that it may have been used on bundles of furs while being transported.

“I wish I had more details about it.”

So does Neighbors.

FBI director writes

Now, here’s an email relating to a murder that occurred many decades ago.

It comes from Michele Sherman who, with her husband Dave Sherman, lives in Moorhead.

Michele writes that Dave, while going through some of his mother’s things, found a letter written to the Fargo commissioner of police by none other than J. Edgar Hoover, the famed late director of the FBI, concerning the solving of the crime.

It was written Jan. 10, 1936, to Commissioner W.W. Fuller, and reads:

“My dear commissioner:

“I have reviewed with keen interest your letter of Jan. 1, 1936, describing the investigation by our department into the murder involving Charles Marratto; Peter E. Stewart, victim.

“The expeditious manner in which this investigation and conviction was consummated and conviction obtained from December 20 to December 30, 1935, is indeed a gratifying record. The evidence against Marratto, consisting of the two separated fragments of a handwritten letter, is indeed unique and must have been quite convincing to the jury.

“Thanking you for bringing this case to my attention, I remain

“Sincerely yours,

“John Edgar Hoover, director.

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The family

Hoover sent a copy of his letter to Andrew Quam. He was a Fargo police detective prior to World War II. He created the police department’s fingerprinting department and was a key figure in the solving of this case, the details of which are unknown to Neighbors.

Andrew was Dave Sherman’s mother’s father and Dave’s grandfather. His brother Walter Quam once was Cass County sheriff.

Walter’s son Fred Quam, who has written to Neighbors in the past, lives at Rosewood on Broadway, Fargo. Fargo’s Air Museum library is named for him.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email