Biography of Joseph R. Poupore of Grand Forks North Dakota

Joseph R. Poupore, a prominent county commissioner and railroad contractor in the Red River Valley, was born in 1860 in Pontiac, Quebec, Canada. At sixteen, he began managing logging crews for his family’s lumber business, gaining valuable experience in labor management. Poupore moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota, in 1881, initially farming before transitioning to railroad contracting and large-scale projects. His work included street excavation, railroad grading, and bridge construction. Elected county treasurer in 1903 and county commissioner in 1905, Poupore also promoted the Grand Forks Central Creamery and managed the Poupore & Kennedy Brickyard. He married Teresa Landon in 1885, and they had ten children, with four surviving into 1909.

Joseph R Poupore
Joseph R Poupore

Joseph R. Poupore – One of the busiest and most genial men in the Red River Valley is Mr. Joseph R. Poupore, our well-known county commissioner and a prominent railroad contractor.

Mr. Poupore appears to be well-suited for managing large groups of people and overseeing major projects. He was born in 1860 in Pontiac, Canada, in the province of Quebec. At the young age of sixteen, he was put in charge of crews handling logs for the lumber market in Quebec. His father and uncle were prominent lumbermen in Canada, employing hundreds of workers. During that time, trees would be felled, squared, and smoothed before being rafted down the Ottawa River to Quebec, which was a significant lumber port at that time. It was during those early days that Mr. Poupore gained experience in labor management, which has proven valuable for successfully completing numerous large-scale projects he has undertaken in recent times.

In 1881, Mr. Poupore first arrived in the vicinity of Grand Forks. He initially ventured into farming, purchasing and operating a quarter section of land for a few years. However, following his natural inclinations, he soon began contracting for railroad projects and other large enterprises.

Excavating streets, grading for railroads, constructing county bridges, and engaging in the buying and selling of large land estates for timber purposes have been the primary tasks Mr. Poupore has undertaken since coming to this part of North Dakota, except for a few years in political life. From 1882 to 1891, he was extensively involved in farming, working one and three-quarter sections of land on Forest River in Grand Forks County, and renting two additional quarter sections near Grand Forks. In one year, he managed to harvest 29,870 bushels of first-grade wheat, selling for eighty-four cents per bushel, with an average yield of thirty-three and one-fourth bushels per acre. Between 1883 and 1904, he was heavily involved in the threshing business, using five expensive threshing machines during that period. There was one twelve-day stretch where he averaged 2,990 bushels per day, with the most he ever threshed in a single day being 3,680 bushels. In 1887, he began working on railroad construction, continuing his trend of undertaking large-scale projects. He played a role in promoting the Grand Forks Central Creamery and served as the manager of the Poupore & Kennedy Brickyard during its first year of operation, both of which are mentioned elsewhere in this publication.

As a wood dealer, he employed hundreds of workers and purchased and cleared several sections of land. The timberland he acquired was railroad property on the Minnesota side. His practice involved buying a section of land, employing around 100 workers, converting it into wood for fuel purposes, and transporting it to the city. In a single year, as many as 4,000 cords of wood were cut and sold.

In 1903, Mr. Poupore was elected county treasurer and served in that position for four years. In 1905, he was elected county commissioner, a role he continues to hold.

Mr. Poupore married Miss Teresa Landon of Ottawa in 1885. They have had ten children together, although six of them have sadly passed away.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past And Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns And Villages of the Valley From the Time of Their First Settlement And Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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