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Probably no historical work was ever put to press which entirely satisfied 
its author. There are so many pitfalls in the path of him who seeks to record 
the events of the past; the human mind is so prone to err in recalling dates and 
names of a former day. So it happens that the writer of local history, compiling 
his story from data of which only a part can be verified, knows that there must 
be errors in his work, albeit he may have exercised the greatest care. With no 
apologies, but with this brief explanation, and the realization that the work is 
not perfect, the History of Nobles County is put forth. 

With this volume is presented the first Nobles county history, and the ma- 
terial for its compilation is obtained from original sources. Friendly coadjutors 
have assisted materially in its preparation. To the editorial fraternity of Nobles 
county the author is under many obligations. The files of their publications 
have been of inestimable value in furnishing authent ; c data. Especially valuable 
were those of that pioneer journal, the Worthington Advance, of which liberal 
use has been made, and without which much of historical importance must have 
remained unrecorded. Due acknowledgment is made to county and village of- 
ficers, who assisted in the hunt for early day records, and to scores of citizens 
in private life, who interested themselves in the work to the extent of devoting 
time to the detailing of early day events. Special mention is due the assistance 
given by the late Judge B. W. Woolstencroft, who was one of the very first 
settlers of Nobles county, and who died at his home in Slay ton, Minnesota, after 
this volume had been put to press. A large part of the history of the county's 
early settlement, of its organization and early political history was written from 
data furnished by Judge Woolstencroft. 

To Dr. George 0. Moore, of Worthington; Senator S. B. Bedford, of 
Rushmore, and Mr. A. J. Rice, of Adrian, the committee of pioneer residents 
belected to review and revise the work, great credit is due. After the manuscript 
had been prepared these gentlemen devoted considerable time to the work of 
revision. Errors were discovered and corrected and suggestions for additions 
were made that resulted in a better history. In the work of gathering the data 
the author has been ably assisted by Mr. P. D. Moore. 

The biographical sketches, forming the second part of the volume, were 
written, in nearly all instances, from facts obtained by personal interviews. 
Typewritten copies of the sketches were submitted to the subjects for correction, 
and nearly all made the necessary corrections and returned the manuscript to 
the publishers. This has resulted in reducing to a minimum the possibility of 
error in that part of the volume. 


Worthington, Minnesota, September, 1908. 

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Worthington, Minn., Sept. 14, 1908. 

We, the undersigned, chosen as a committee to review the History of Nobles 
County written by Mr. A. P. Eose and to be published by the Northern History 
Publishing Company, of Worthing, on, have read the historical part of the work 
in manuscript. We bear testimony that the history gives evidence of extensive 
reading and careful research and that it presents — to our best knowledge — an 
accurate, comprehensive and impartial record of events. As such we endorse and 
commend it. 

A. J. RICE, 
Committee of Citizens. 

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ABORIGINAL DAYS— 1834-1866. 

In Primeval State — An Imagery — Inhabited by Wild Beasts — And Wilder Red Men — 
A Contrast — The Sioux — Tribal Divisions — The M'daywakantons — The Lower Sis- 
setons Claimed Nobles County — Early Explorers — Nicollet Visits Nobles County — 
His Map — The Coteaus Des Prairies— "Okebene" Lake — Ocheyedan Hillock, or 
Mourning Ground — "Karanzi" River — Surveyors Run Minnesota -Iowa Boundary 
. Line — Nearby Settlements — Operations of Trappers — Jude Phillips and Brother — 
Effect of the Panic of 1857— Spirit Lake Massacre— Hostiles Retreat to Indian 
Lake — Southwestern Minnesota Depopulated — Incident of 1857— Boom Days — Paper 
Railroads — Original County Divisions — Nobles a *£art of Dakota, Blue Earth and 
Brown— Creation of Nobles County— Colonel W. H. Nobles— The Boundaries— Pro- 
visions for Organization — Gretchtown Named County Seat — Organization Post- 
poned — Boundary Lines Surveyed— Settlers Return to Southwestern Minnesota — 
Census of 1860— Names of Inhabitants— Their Conditions— The Sioux War— The 
County Deserted— Soldiers Established on the Frontier— The Military Road— Its 
Course— Trappers Appear— Evidence of Early Occupation Disappear— Judge Wool- 
stencroft's Letter — First Railroad Survey — The Land Grant— Close of an Era 



Obstacles Overcome — Frontier Line Recedes — First Settlers Arrive — The Graham Lakes 
Country — Stephen and Joseph Muck — Planting Corn — Messrs. Woolstencroft, Drury, 
Rice and Barnett Arrive — Stake Claims — Build Shanties — Other Settlers of 1867 — 
Conditions Prevent Farming — Farmers Turn Trappers — Plentiful Small Game — Big 
Game — Bison — Elk — Deer — Township Lines Run — Mail Route Established — The 
First Postoffice— Settlers of 1868— First Birth— Andy Dillman Comes to Okabena — 
County Survey Completed — Indians Arrive — And Create Stir — A Scared Boy — 
Settlers on Indian Lake — Their Romantic Surroundings — Adventures in Blizzards — 
Three Perish— Indian Scare— Exciting Times— Company Formed— The Island For- 
tified— Cottonwood County Settlers Notified— No Indians— First Sunday School- 
Census of 1870— Arrivals of That Year— Talk of County Organization— Decision 
Reached — Governor Austin Appoints Commissioners — First Meeting — First Official 
Acts— Wandering County Seat— Organization Legalized — Court House Talk — Sad 
Death of Mrs. Palmer— Another Sunday School— Public Schools— Creation of Gra- 
ham Lakes Township — Its Organization — The Name — Indian Lake Settlers Peti- 
tion — Their Township Created — And Named — Settlers of 1871 — First Financial 
Statement 45 

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A Remarkable Year — Birth of the Colony Idea — Miller, Humiston & Company — Visit 
Nobles County — Secure Control of Railroad Lands — Elaborate Plans — Thorough 
Advertising Campaign — Its Results — Hundreds Flock to Worthington— Their Char- 
acter — The Temperance Feature — Fate of the Colony Company — An Appreciation 
of Professor Humiston — Hard Winter — State Relief — First Jurors — Railroad Begins 
Operations — Worthington-Sioux Falls Mail and Stage Route— Postoffices Estab- 
lished — Dewald — Hebbard — Westside — Mail Route Operated by Daniel Shell — A 
Beautiful Country — Experiences of Colonists -Roseate Prospects-Land Values— 
Worthington Township Organized — Petitioners — Bigelow Township — Hersey— Grant 
— Name Changed to Ransom — Its History — Fairview- Renamed Lorain - -Dewald — 
Early Settlers There — Little Rock — Elk — Conferring the Name -Seward — First 
Assessment — Real Estate — Personal Property — Livestock — Townships Compared — Li- 
cense Voted Down — Proposed Change in Boundaries— Nobles Votes to Add Four 
Townships — But Rejects Proposition to Give Away Four— Vote by Precincts 01 


Days of Adversity — Professor Humiston's Charities — A Severe Winter — The Terrible 
Blizzard of January 7 — Samuel Small, Mrs. John Blixt, John Weston and Taylor 
Perish — Weston's Ghost— School Children Imprisoned — Joe Poots' Experience — 
Other Adventures — District Court Established— Jurors — First Grasshopper In- 
vasion — Relief Work — Wilson Township Organized — Petitioners — Name Changed 
to Akin — To Summit Lake — Hebbard Township Created — Petitioners — Name 
Changed to New Haven — Later to Olney — Grand Prairie Organized — Petitioners — 
Selection of Name — Wandering Life of County Seat — Located at Worthington — 
Stephen Miller Fathers the Bill — The Act — Provision for Permanent Location — 
Hersey Becomes a Candidate — Second Bill Provides for Vote on Question — County 
Offices Moved to W'orthington — Buildings Rented — Railroad Company Donates 
Court House Square — Contest Between Worthington and Hersey — Former Wins 
Easily— Vote by Townships — Tax Levy — School Conditions— Social Conditions 71 


Large Acreage Sown — Fine Growing Weather — Ravages of Young Hoppers — First In- 
vasion — Commissioners Appropriate Money for Relief —County Paper Sold — Flour 
and Pork Apportioned — Distributing Agents — Second Invasion— Fields Swept Bare — 
Discouraging Sight — Grasshopper Stories — Third Invasion- -The Harvest — Average 
Yields — Auditor Bear's Estimate — Losses — A Prophesy — Rigid Economy — Hay for 
Fuel — Potatoes for Food — Preparing for Winter — Soliciting Aid- J. C. Clark Raises 
$1,800 — Solicitation for Private Account — Mass Meeting — Adopts Resolution Stat- 
ing Conditions — Three Hundred Destitute Families -Appeal to Governor — "No 
More Bonds" — Formal Appeal for Help — Clothing Worn to Rags — Bed Clothes of 
Prairie Hay — No Improvidence — Must Have Help— State Aid Received— Tax Paying 
Time Extended — Statement by Treasurer— Why Not Desert County? — Tax Levy — 
Reduced — Assessment— Schools in 1874— New Mail Route— Postoffices — Matter of 
Taxes— State Furnishes Seed Wheat — Its Distribution Anxious Days— Grasshop- 
pers on the Wing — Again Attack the Crops— Hersey, Graham Lakes and Seward 
Suffer Most — A Degenerate Breed — Census of 1875 —Assessed Valuation — First Dis- 
trict Court— Cases Tried— Jurors 81 

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THE GRASSHOPPER SCOURGE (Continued)— 1870-1879. 

Railroad Rumors— Southern Minnesota to Extend— Settlers Enthusiastic— $40,000 Sub- 
sidy Voted — Vote by Precincts — Project Fails— Sioux Falls Wants Railroad— Presi- 
dent Drake Favors Worthington for Terminus — So Does Sioux Falls— Nobles 
Asked to Aid— Company Incorporated — Survey Made— Construction — Lively Times — 
First Train — Founding of Adrian — Miller Station— Grasshoppers Again — Myriads 
Appear — Crops Disappear — Partial Wheat Crop — Damaging Setback — Relief Meas- 
ures — "The Indians Are Coming" — Refugees Flock to Worthington— Camp on 
Public Square — Great Excitement — Xo Indians — Origin of the Scare — Scouting 
Party— Its Members -Lieutenant Plotts' Report— Settlement in West End— West- 
side Township Organized — Petitioners — First Town Meeting — Court House Erected 
— Thurber & Chandler, Builders — Hoppers Scarce in 1877 — Small Acreage — Weed- 
Grown Fields — Seed Grain Appropriation — Adrian Catholic Colony — Bishop Ireland 
Visits Adrian Country — Decides to Locate Colony — Contract With Railroad Com- 
pany — Father Knauf Arrives — Coming of First Colonists — Lands Sold — Rush in 
Spring of 1878 — Land, Land, Land — Grasshoppers — Partial Crop Failure — Organi- 
zation Willmont Township — Derivation of Name — Southern Minnesota Extends — 
Heron Lake-Pipestone Branch — Railroad War — Kinbrae and Dundee Founded — 
Last of the Grasshoppers — Organization Afton Township — Squabble Over Name — 
Plethora of Petitions — Name Changed to Bloom — Leota Organized — Petitioners — 
Named for Indian Maiden — Seney's Operations — Rushmore Founded — Activity in 
West End — Railroad Lands Bought — Improvements by Adrian Colony — Good Times 
Coming 91 


ERA OF PROSPERITY— 1880-1893. 

Reconstruction — Dawn of a Brighter Day — Adrian Colony Active — The 1880 Crop- 
Census of 1880 — Lismore Township Organized — The Name — Signers to Petition — 
The Long Winter — An October Blizzard — Railroads Blockaded— Snow Boats— Out 
of Fuel — Schools Close — Burning Grain — First Train in Six Weeks — Blockaded 
Again — April 13, Thermometer Zero — Roads Opened— First Freight Train in Eleven 
Weeks — Floods Stop Traffic — Burlington Road Makes Proposition— Subsidy Voted — 
Road Built — Last Spike Driven — Round Lake Founded — A Bumper Crop- -The 
"Park Proposition"— Plan to Sell Part of Court House Block—Strong Opposition- 
Scheme Defeated — County Seat Contest — Adrian to the Front — Exciting Days — 
Legislature Petitioned — But Fails to Respond— Larkin Township Organized — 
Petitioners— Selecting the Name— Fraud Charged — Tornado— Cora Graf Killed — 
Property Destroyed — Burlington Extends — And Founds Ellsworth — A Year of Jubi- 
lee — Diversified Farming Begun— Exports of 1884r— Real Estate Values Soar— Census 
of 1886 — County Seat Removal Talk— Big Crops — Another Railroad — Blizzard of. 
1888— Three Perish— Hail Storm— Census of 1890— Plan to Divide the County— 
Rushmore Sees a Conspiracy — And Protests — Plan Defeated 105 

CURRENT EVENTS— 1893-1908. 

Panic of 1893— Dull Times— Plans for New Court House— And Jail— Work Begun— 
Opposition — Temporary Injunction— Commissioners Win in Supreme Court — 476 
Residents Remonstrate — Contract Let— Corner Stone Laid— Building Accepted — 
County Seat Removal Again an Issue — Census of 1895 — Prosperous Period — Land 
Values Increase — Spanish -American War — Nobles County Furnishes Company — 

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Mustered In — Typhoid Fever Epidemic — Three Deaths — Camps Ramsey, Snelling, 
Meade, McKenzie— Mustered Out— Roster of Company— Losses— Burlington Road 
Extends— Wilmont and Reading Founded — Lismore Started— Census of 1900 — 
Disastrous Year 1903 — Destructive Hail Storm — Big Losses— Stories of the Storm — 
The Floods — Okabena Overflows — Streets Traveled in Boats — Kanaranzi on a 
Rampage — Sweeps Everything Before It— Fury of the Little Rock — Freight Wreck 
— Record of Precipitation — All Records Broken— Crop Failure — Dull Times — Census 
of 1905 — By Precincts — Native and Minnesota Born — Foreign Born — Countries of 
Birth— Good Crops of 1906 and 1907— Prosperous Times— In 1908 116 

POLITICAL— 1870- 1 874. 

Governor Austin Appoints First County Commissioners — The Missing Records — Other 
Officers Named — First County Convention — The Bolt — Violence Narrowly Averted 
at First Election— The Result— Auditor Harris Refuses to Canvass the Vote — 
Early Day Members of the Legislature — Difficulty Getting Officers to Serve — 
Election of 1871 — One Democrat in the County — List of Voters — Changed Condi- 
tions in 1872— Voters of That Year— Polling Places— Election Officers— County 
Overwhelmingly Republican — Legislative History — Opposition to Republican Party 
in 187a— Republican Ticket Wins— Politics Dull in 1874— Democrats Put Up a 
Ticket— It Meets Defeat : 123 


POLITICAL— 1875-1887. 

Passing of Pioneer Ways — Prohibitionists Enter Politics— Election of 1876 — Big Vote 
in 1876 — Hayes Carries County — Republican Split in 1877 — Peculiar Conditions That 
Year — Result in Giving Democrats a Few Offices — Only One Ticket in 1878 — 
Exciting Contests of 1879 — Republicans Bolt and Fuse With Democrats — Republi- 
can Ticket Defeated— Spectacular Contests for Sheriff, Auditor and Treasurer — 
Tie for Sheriff — Dramatic Scene When Lots are Drawn — Court Decides Two 
Contests — Garfield Gets Majority in 1880— Republican County Ticket Elected — 
Democrats and "Anti-Ring" Republicans Combine in 1881 — Crushing Defeat of 
Republican Ticket — Little Interest in 1882 — Fusion Forces Name Part of Ticket 
in 1883— And Elect It— Blaine Carries County in 1884— New Element Enters Poli- 
tics — Antagonism Between East and West Ends — Big Vote of 1886 — Republicans 
Elect Majority of Ticket 131 

POLITICAL— 1888- 1 908. 

Vote Increases — Passing of the Independents — Election of 1888 — Alliance Party Com- 
plicates Matters in 1890 — Democrats and Republicans Break Even — Birth of Peoples 
Party — Its Part in. Politics — Australian Ballot Employed in 1892 — Harrison Car- 
ries County — Result Locally — Fusion in 1894 — Republicans Win — Fusion Forces 
Take Three Offices in 1896— McKinley Gets Majority— Death of Peoples Party- 
John Lind Carries the County in 1898 — Republican County Ticket Elected — 
Record Breaking Vote of 1900 — McKinley Again Carries County — Three Offices 
for Democrats — Primary Election Law — Revolutionizes County Politics — Primary 
of 1902 — Nearly Clean Sweep for Republicans — Interesting Primary of 1904 — 
Roosevelt's Record Breaking Majority — Republicans Win in County — Primary of 
1906 — Democrats Carry County for Governor and Congressman — Primary of 1908 — 
Summary 141 

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WORTHINGTON— 1871 -1872. 

Location — Elevation— Population — A Bower of Beauty — First White Men Visit the 
Site — Infrequent Visits by Trappers — Andy Dill man's Sod Shanty — G. J. Hoff- 
man's Dug-Out — First Building of Wood — Railroad Construction — Original Town- 
site Abandoned — The Town Platted — Original Owners— Additions — National Colony 
Assumes Control — Professor Humiston and Doctor Miller Visit the Site — The 
Town Named — Incidents Connected with the Selection of the Name — The Historic 
Worthington Family — Regrets that. "Okabena" Was Not Selected — A Hoax — 
Start of the First Building— Ceremonies When the First Nail is Driven — Business 
Houses Opened in 1871 — The Worthington Hotel— Postoffice Established — Post- 
masters — Winter of 1871-72— Rush in the Spring — Impressions Upon Early Day 
Visitors— The Town in August, 1872— Building Improvements That Year — Miller 
Hall — Worthington Township Organized — The Temperance Feature — Petitions — Li- 
cense Refused 163 


WORTHINGTON— 1873-1889. 

Promises Fulfilled — Worthington Becomes Important Trading Point — 1873 Opens Aus- 
piciously — Okabena Flouring Mills — Their Importance— Incorporation — Provisions of 
Charter — Liquor Selling Prohibited — First Election — Those Who Voted — Charter 
Adopted — First Officers — First Acts of Council — Worthington Becomes County 
Seat— Grasshopper Days— In 1874— The Land Office— Election of 1874— Voters That 
Year — Census of 1875 — Big Business — Election of 1875 — Building Record for 1876 — 
Election That Year— Big Vote in 1877— Immigration in 1878 — The Town Lively — 
First Brick Block— Miller Hall Burns— Elections of 1878 and 1879— Census of 
1880 — A Comparison — Election of 1880— Wrangling Over Temperance Question — 
Two Parties Born — Exciting Election of 1881 — Prosperous Times in 1882— A New 
Railroad — "The Elgin of Minnesota" — Annual Election— Boom Times in 1883 — 
Board of Trade— New Buildings — Repeal of Temperance Clause in Charter — Under 
Local Option — License Carries in 1883— -And Again Next Year — Population in 
1885 — License Carries — Improvements in 1886 — Exports and Imports — Elections of 
1886 and 1887— "Dry" in 1888— Likewise in 1889 165 


WORTHINGTON— 1890-1908. 

Steady Growth- -Census of 1890 — License Again in Vogue— Water Works Plant In- 
stalled — Election of 1891 — Prosperous Days— Building Record — License Wins Again 
in 1892— The Panic— Its Effect— Election of 1893— Two Fires— Officers Elected in 
- 1894 — Big Gain in Population — Electric Lighting System — Temperance Wave in 
1895— A Cyclone— Return to License in 1896— Elections of 1897, 1898 and 1899— 
A Prosperous Decade ^-Census of 1900- Big Vote of 1901— The Citizens' Movement- 
Three Years of Dullness— The Flood — Worthington "Dry" at the Time— Goes 
"Wet" in 1904— Census of 1905— Clean Sweep for License in 1905 and 1906— 
•Dry" in 1907— "Wet" by One Vote in 1908— The Contest 177 


Public School— The First School— Early Day Teachers— The Attendance— Worthington 
Seminary — Its Promoters— Its Failure— Petition for Independent District— Formed 

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— First Directors — First School Building — Bonds Issued — Robinson Gets Contract — 
The Hexagonal Building — Railroad Company Donates Land — High School Or- 
ganized — Alumni Association — List of Graduates — New School House — Present 
Condition of Schools — Fire Department — Early Day Protection — Cisterns — Bucket 
Brigades — Fire House — Department Organized — Charter Members — The Tourna- 
ments — New Fire Station — Officers — Militia Company — Recruited — Mustered In — 
Officers— Enlisted Meu — State Bank of Worthington— Elihu Smith Starts First 
Bank — Thomas Parsons — George D. Dayton — Becomes State Bank — Later History — 
Worthington National Bank — As Nobles County Bank — Founded by Thompson & 
Day — Evans & Lynd Secure Control — Reorganized as National Bank — Citizens Na- 
tional Bank — Founded by C. T. Tupper — Changes in Management — First National 
Bank — Farmers and Citizens Bank — First County Fair — Association Organized — 
"Bull and Pumpkin" Story — Grounds Leased — Officers — Worthington District Fair 
Association — Its Operations — Chautauqua Association — Organization — Officers — The 
Chautauquas — Commercial Club — Carnegie Library — The Directors — Bath House As- 
sociation — Bands — Gun Club — Worthington Hospital 187 


"City of Churches" — Ten Organizations — Colony Christian Union — Union Plan Adopted 
— First Religious Service — Church Organized — Born in a Saloon Building — Union 
Plan Fails — Three Churches Founded — Union Congregational — Charter Members — 
House of Worship Erected — Destroyed by Fire — The New Church — Pastors — 
Sunday School Superintendents — Methodist Church — Rev. Crever — First Trust ees — 
Many Places of Worship — Early Struggles — First Church Edifice — The New One — 
Later Church History — Pastors — Presbyterian Church — Charter Members — Elders — 
Trustees — First Church Building— Pastors — The New Edifice — Sunday School Su- 
perintendents — Swedish Lutheran Church — First Members — Incorporated — Church 
Building — Pastors— Parsonage— Episcopal Church — Rev. Gunn — Church Building — 
Difficulties Overcome — Catholic Church— First Steps — Building Erected — Incorpor- 
ated — Evangelical Association — Members— Trustees — Church and Manse — Pastors — 
Baptist Church — Initial Steps — Organization —Members— Council of Recognition - 
Incorporated — Trustees — Building — Pastors — Swedish Mission Church — Members - 
Church and Parsonage— Pastors — Christian Church — Lodges — Grand Army Post - 
Mustered In — First Officers — Later Officers — Largest in Minnesota — Disbanded— 
Reorganization — Charter Members — Relief Corps — First in Minnesota— Chart or Mem- 
bers — First Officers — The Masons — Blue Lodge Organized — Certificate — Charter 
Members — First Officers — Chapter Organized — Its Prosperous Condition — Eastern 
Star — Workmen — Degree of Honor — Knights of Pythias — Modern Woodmen — Royal 
Neighbors — Odd Fellows — Mku»cabees — Yeomen 199 



Location — Its Attractive Site — Settlers in West End — Railroad is Coming — Selecting 
the Site — Surveyed — The Dedication — Additions — The Name — Mistakes as to Origin 
— George H. Carr Erects First Building — And Opens Store — Other Enterprises of 
1876 — Postoffice Established — Postmasters— Bright Prospects — First School — First 
Church Services — New Enterprises in 1877 — Business Directory of 1878 — Prosperous 
Times — Census of 1880 — Incorporation— Charter Granted- First Election — Officers 
1881 to 1908 — Adrian's Big Trade Territory — Improvements in Early Eighties — 
Liveliest Town in the County- -Flouring Mill Burns — Building Boom in 1891 — 
Panic of 1893— Census Figures — Loss of Trade Territory — Quiet Times— Assessed 

Digitized by 



Valuations— Conditions in 1908— First School— Held in an Attic— The Teacher- 
First School House — District Formed — Officers — The New Building — Public and 
Parochial Schools — City Hall— Water Works— Electric Lights — Fire Department — 
National Bank of Adrian — Adrian State Bank — First National Bank — St. Adrian's 
Catholic Church— Its History— Fine Church Edifice — Methodist Church — Norwegian 
Lutheran Church — Peoples Church — Fraternal Orders 217 


Nobles' Third Town— Rich Trade Territory -The Site— Settlement of Grand Prairie— 
"Uncle" Stillwell— His Prediction— Selecting the Site - Platted— Additions— The 
Name — Prospects — Sale of Lots— Rush to the Site— First Building — Henry Tor- 
rance Opens First Store — Business Houses of 1884 — The Depot- -First Lady Resi- 
dent — Postoffice Established- -Postmasters — Lively Times — Selected as a Division 
Point — Census of 1886 — Petition for Incorporation — Petitioners — Incorporation Car- 
ries — Officers Chosen — Political History — On a Normal Basis — Census of 1800- -Cy- 
clone — Brings Disaster — Fire — City Hall — Population in 1895 — In 1900 — Prosperous 
Years — Bujlding Operations — City Hall Burns- -New City Hall — Water Works — 
Electric Lights — Census of 1905— Fire Department — German State Bank -First 
National Bank — St. Mary's Catholic Church — Organization — Church Building — 
Pastors — Parochial School — Congregational Church — Charter Members — Building — 
Pastors — Methodist Church — Its History — German Presbyterian Church — Knights of 
Pythias Lodge — Workmen — Degree of Honor — Foresters — Modern Woodmen — Royal 
Neighbors 227 


Wilmont — Fourth in Size — Location — Trade Territory — Site Selected — Platted — Addi- 
tions — The Name — First Train — Rush to the Site— First Resident— Prophesies — 
First Business Houses — A Town in a Day — First Lady Residents- -Prosperous 
Times — Incorporation — Petitioners — Village Officers — After One Year — Population — 
First School — District Formed — Fire Department — Water Works— Churches — Lodges 
— Brewster — Location — A Substantial Village — Old Town of Hersey — Station Es- 
tablished — Depot and Cottage — Platted — Additions — W. R. Bennett is Agent — Found- 
ing the Town — First Business Men — The Postoffice — Grasshoppers Bring Disaster - 
Retrogression — Change in Name — Origin of "Brewster"— Prosperous Days — Petition 
for Incorporation — Petitioners — Granted- Officers— Steady Growth — Population - 
Water Works Troubles — Drainage System The Park -Schools — Churches- lodges. .237 



Round Lake—The Sixth Town— The Old Postoffice- Site Selected— Platted— Was First 
Indian Lake — Name Changed — Section House and Depot -E. A. Tripp Comes as 
Agent — Postoffice— First Business Houses- Slow Growth— Replatted — Additions — 
The Awakening — Petitioners Ask for Incorporation — Municipal Life -Political His- 
tory — Building Boom— Smallpox Epidemic— Population— Cyclone — School Church-- 
Rushmore — Its Trade Territory— Business Houses — As Miller Station — A Quiescent 
Period — George I. Seney's Operations--S. M. Rushmore and Associates Arrive — 
And Found the Town — First Buildings — Pioneer Business Men — Name Changed 
to Rushmore — Postoffice — Platting— Additions Directory of 1879 -Flouring Mill — 
Slow Growth — Succeeded by Prosperous Times— Incorporated — Petitioners — Village 

Digitized by 



Officers — Prosperous Decade — Population — The Schools — Churches — Bigelow — An Old 
Town— Location— The First Building— S. O. Morse Becomes First Resident- 
Platted — The Name — First Business Houses — Cheese Factory— Slow' Growth — Booms 
in 1892— Activity During Nineties — Petition — Incorporated — Political History — 
Population — The First Church — Woodmen Lodge 247 


Dundee — Enterprises — As Warren Station — Surveyed — Founded— Postoffice — First Store 
— Slow Growth — Incorporated — Political History — Population — Lismore — Youngest 
Town— Rich Territory — Railroad Arrives — Selecting the Site — Farmers Donate $800 
— The Name — Platted — First Business Houses — Postoffice — Incorporated — Elections — 
Kinbrae — Location — In Early Days — Founded as Airlie — Later DeForest — Dundee 
Improvement Company — First Enterprises — Platting — Postoffice — Quiet Times — 
Fire — Named Kinbrae — Boom Days — Replatted — Incorporated — Village Officers — The 
Decline — Reading — Centrally Located — Business Houses — Site Selected — Named — 
The Start — First Buildings — Postoffice — Postmasters — Townsite Surveyed — Telephone 
Company — Bank — St. Kilian — A Church Town — Building the Church — Jbhn Mock 
Starts Store — Postoffice — Business Houses — Bright Prospects — Railroad Masses 
Town — Retrogression — Church History — Leota — Founded by Hollanders — Business 
Houses — Churches — Postoffice — Townsite — Org — Smallest Town — Many Names — As 
Sioux Falls Junction — N. A. Call— His Operations — Station Established — Named 
Org— Boom of 1899— Postoffice— Trent 259 



Over Thirty Newspapers Established — Nine Now in Existence — Part Played by the 
Colony Journal — Founding the Western Advance — Changed to Worthington Advance 
— Estimate of A. P. Miller — Changes in Ownership — The Daily Advance — The Ad- 
vance-Herald — Claim Shanty Vindicator — Literary Triumpli — Romantic History of the 
Worthington Journal — Adrian Advertiser — Adrian Guardian — Its Veteran Editor — 
Worthington Record — Minnesota Home — Ellsworth News — Worthington Globe — Its 
Many Editors — Adrian Citizen — Nobles County Democrat — Outlives Its Rivals — 
State Line Sentinel— Nobles County Independent — Minnesota Allahanda — Rushmore 
Gazette — Kinbrae Herald — Worthington Herald — Rushmore Times — Minnesota Sig- 
nal — Round Lake Wave — Rushmore Magnet — Round Lake Graphic — Dundee 
Advocate — Rushmore Enterprise — Brewster Beacon — Brewster Tribune — Wilraont 
Initiator— Wilmont Tribune— Ellsworth Herald— Lismore Leader 273 



Location — Boundaries — Area — Surface — Soil — Grand Prairie Plain — Geological History — 
Glacial Epoch— The Ridge — Forms Watershed— Elevations — Graham Lakes — Oka- 
bena — Ocheyda — Indian— Summit— Creeks— Champepadan — Kanaranzi— Little Rock — 
Ocheyedan — Okabena — Elk — Jack — An Agricultural County — Products — Average 
Yields — Live Stock — Numbers and Value — Dairying — Creameries and Their Output — 
Manufacturing — Banks — Schools — Churches — Railroads — Telephone Lines — Assessed 
Valuation — Prices of Land — Compared With Dakota and Canada — Proximity to 
Markets — Prospects — Wanted, More Settlers , , 287 

Digitized by 




The Dreaded Prairie Fire— What it Was— Methods of Fighting— The Fire of 1875— 
Origin — Damage — Prosecution — ''The Wild Girl" — Her Accomplishments — Worthing - 
ton's First Saloon — Big Sale of Rainwater — Battle of Stony Point — Finding of Old 
Gun — Causes a Dream — Story Results — The Diagonal Road — Its Building — Early 
Day Importance — Petition for Abandonment — A Mirage — Produces a Fairy Land — 
The First Circus — Barnum & Baily Draw Crowds — An Old Stove — Its Story — 
Early Day Trials — An Illustration — The First Democrat — Michael Maguire — The 
Father of Democracy — Incident of the Sixties — .John Freeman Drowns 293 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 



Nobles County Court House Frontispiece 

Joseph Nicolas Nicollet 33 

VYorthington Street Scene, 1874 54 

Worthington Street Scene, 1908 54 

Facsimile Letter, (Jovernor Austin 04 

Sod Sliantv 87 

Old Map of Nobles County 87 

Early Day Adrian Street Scene 94 

Old Court House and City Park 98 

Noble* County in Spanish -American War. . 118 

Worthington Militia Company 118 

Scenes on Lake Okabena 127 

Sports on Lake Okabena 135 

Worthington Chautauqua Grounds 146 

Worthington 153 

Worthington Street Scene, 1880 157 

Facsimile Letter, Professor Humiston 157 

Panoramic View of Worthington, 1875 169 

Idlewild Pavilion 169 

View of Worthington, 1882 174 

View of Worthington, 1884 180 

View of Worthington, 1895 180 

Worthington in Holiday Attire 184 

Winter Street Scene, Worthington 184 

Worthington High School 192 

Worthington Carnegie Library 192 

Worthington City Hall \ 192 

Worthington's Churches 206 

Adrian in 1883 217 

Adrian in 1887 217 

Main Street Adrian 218 

Adrian in Winter Garb 218 

City Hall and Opera House, Adrian 223 

Adrian High School 223 

Adrian's Churches 225 

Ellsworth Business Street 230 

Catholic Church, Ellsworth 230 

Methodist Church, Ellsworth 230 

Wilmont One Year Old 237 

Wilmont's Residence District 237 

Scenes in Wilmont 239 

Brewster Business Street 241 

( ity Park, Brewster 241 

Residence Street, Brewster 241 

Brewster Public School 241 

Brewster's Churches 244 

Round Lake Street Scene 249 

Historic Indian Lake 249 

Views of Rushmore 254 

Lismore Street Scene 262 

Catholic Church, Lismore 262 

Leota Village 270 

Typical Pioneer Home 270 

(■rand Army Post 280 

Miller Block, Worthington 280 

Swedish Baptist Church of Indian Lake.. 289 

Catholic Church of St. Kilian 289 

The Raging Kanaranzi 296 

Relic of the Early Days 296 

Professor R. F. Humiston 303 

Peter Thompson 321 

Judge B. W. Woolstencroft 349 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Saxon 369 

John H. Scott 386 

Father C. J. Knauf 403 

Stephen Muck 421 

Governor Stephen Miller 421 

Henry Brayton 421 

William Dwyer 421 

Home of August Anderson, Indian Lake.. 439 

An Old Orchard 439 

Farm Residence of J. IT. Scott 500 

Farm Home of J. C. Hoskins 500 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 




Abbott, A. A 373 

Abbott, L. W 460 

Ackerman, Peter H 377 

Addington, James M 570 

Ager, Wilson 546 

Albinson, John A 487 

Allen, Samuel 458 

Althoff, John 453 

Althoff, William 606 

Anderson, August 439 

Anderson, Carl A 572 

Anderson, Charles J 607 

Anderson, Erick 428 

Anderson, Henry M 333 

Anderson, John A 478 

Anderson, Oscar A 615 

Anderson, Peter C 379 

Anderson, Simon 476 

Anderson, S. J 593 

Anderson, Victor 397 

Andresen, D. J 415 

Anton, Philip 418 

Antritter, Charles D 611 

Apel, Henry 526 

Asquith, George 416 

Baal, Henry 637 

Bahls, Theodore 604 

Baird, James 443 

Baker, Frank 448 

Baker, George W 535 

Baker, Thomas P 584 

Baldwin, James 600 

Barnard, Charles 429 

Barron, Walter 569 

Bassett, Edward H 359 

Beacom, George 577 

Becker, Casper 424 

Becker, C. W 431 

Becker, Henry A 627 

Beckley, L. H 453 

Bedford, S. B 331 

Behr, Peter N 458 

Behrends, Hiram 580 

Behrens, E. K 558 

Beilke, A. R 569 

Beireis, Adam 577 

Bingham, Jonathan J 474 

Bird, C. A 420 

Bird, Robert 362 

Birkett, Miles 313 

Bixler, George C 631 

Blair, John S 430 


Blomgren, B. C 479 

Blood, Oscar F 592 

Bloom, William E 422 

Blume, Henry J 600 

Blume, William H 601 

Boberg, John A 495 

Boden, Sidney 529 

Boecker. Henry 632 

Bofenkamp, Theodore 376 

Bofenkamp, William 435 

Booth, Charles C 350 

Boots, Ernest 633 

Boots, Henry 528 

Boyle, M. S 348 

Brace, F. C 585 

Brandt, Ole A 410 

Bratager, OUis B 417 

Bratsberg, John A 385 

Brayton, Henry 421 

Brayton, Matt 505 

Brickson, Edwin 571 

Brinkhous, . Charles 624 

Britt, James F 591 

Brommer, Lambert 473 

Brooks, Albert 592 

Brown, Edgar H 502 

Brown, Frank 606 

Bruns, John B 446 

Bi van, Madison J 451 

Bryan, Oscar D " 320 

Buchan, Andrew 355 

Buchan, Edward F 442 

Bulick, George T 323 

Bullerman, Theodore 571 

Burchard, William 628 

Burfeind, Ernest H 477 

Burgeson, Henry 450 

Busehman, John 449 

Campbell, James P 330 

Carpenter, Will 1 537 

Carstensen, Hans C 407 

Cass, J. F 364 

Cederblade, Charles A 563 

Chaney, Allen 351 

Chanev/ W T illiam 439 

Chepa^ John 467 

Chermak, James 563 

Christensen, William H 484 

Chute, Daniel W 401 

Clark, Loren 568 

Clark, William. . . , 461 

Claussen, Peter 505 

Digitized by 





Cline, Western M 444 

Clower, Edward F 578 

Comer, Stephen A 512 

Condon, John 416 

Conlev, Timothv (5 613 

Cook/ X. H. . . ." 468 

Cook, Paul 517 

( ooper, Edward 373 

Cory, Charles M 469 

Coughran, Frank K 475 

Cowin, Thomas G 372 

Cox, John S 446 

Coyour, John 579 

Cramer, Theodore 617 

Crandall, Charles M 448 

Crever. Benjamin H 349 

Crever, Thomas H 488 

Cross, Grant 581 

Crowley, Dr. Jay M .526 

Crowley. John 403 

Cmit, 'Michael 371 

Cutler, Frank W 564 

Dahlheim, Albert 590 

Dalin, Carl A 524 

Darling, Ai P 012 

Daugherty, Albert 567 

Daughertv, R. L 333 

Daughertv, Stewart 542 

Davey, W. C 590 

Davis, Henry 331 

Dayton, George D 367 

Dealand, George \V 414 

Dean, Frank 630 

DeBoer, John 411 

DeBoer, Nicholas r 499 

Denkmann, B. C 494 

Denton, Charles H 404 

DeVaney, William 607 

Didier, Alexander 506 

Didier, John X 5 9 " 

Diekmann, Frank 608 

Dierks, William. . .- 547 

Dillehay, Charles 511 

Dillman, W. A 322 

Dodge, Dr. Wilbert J 604 

Doe, Kufus K 447 

Doeden, Andrew G 517 

Doeden, Fred 524 

Doeden, Herman G 535 

Dolan. Dr. C. P 549 

Dunning, W. W 635 

Durfee, Francis A 381 

Durfee. Howard L 616 

Duwenhoegger, Theodore 488 

Dwyer, William 326 

Eggleston. Frank E 626 

Eide, Lars T. .• 636 

Eisele. Albert F : . . .598 

Elias, Christ 551 

Elliott, Nathan IT 551 

Ellsworth, Frank 360 

Elv, John D 380 

Eppers, Nick 404 

Erickson, Charles A 560 

Erickson. John E 533 


Erickson, Robert 502 

Erlandson, Nels 522 

Erskine, Arthur H 537 

Erskine, R. L 315 

Erwin, Charles C 620 

Esser, Lawrence 570 

Estes. Gardner 338 

Evans, W. M 481 

Evenson, Andrew 452 

Fagan, Thomas J 514 

Faragher, J. A 531 

Faragher, William R 544 

Fauskee, Newton 409 

Fauskee, Ole 314 

Fa uskee, Ole A 335 

Feathers, A. M 404 

Feeney, John B 403 

Fellows, Guy C 357 

Fields. Edward E 345 

Fiistman, Henrv B 542 

Fink, Fred A. * 382 

Finnerty, Martin 485 

Finstuen, Hans H 560 

Firth, Arthur S 383 

Fischenich. Nerris 520 

Fischer, Leonard E 519 

Fischer, Louis K 452 

Fish. Matson E 539 

Fitch. John J 359 

Fitzgibbons, Daniel 518 

Fletcher, Thomas 563 

Flynn, John F 454 

Foehr, Joseph 594 

Foelschow, Charles 497 

Fogarty, Edward 573 

Forrest. E. F 547 

Fox, Charles J 326 

Fremming, Fred 462 

Frink. John S 5?9 

Galbraith, Andrew T 490 

Gehl, Hans H 565 

Geisel, John 532 

Gerardy, Matt 576 

Geyerman, Peter 365 

Geverman, Dr. Peter T 525 

(Jill, Dr. C. A 492 

Gilomen, John F 455 

Glasgow. Frank 427 

Glovka, Charles 508 

Glovka, Henry 615 

Glovka, William 509 

Glvnn, Patrick 457 

Goff, Alfred 7 609 

Goodrich, George 545 

Gordon, Charles A 484 

Gotmer. Herman H 617 

Graf, A. C 631 

Graf, Emil 344 

Graf, Emil F 529 

Graves. Frank T 372 

Green. J. Frank 385 

Greig, James 382 

Greig, James A 609 

Griffin. Father W. E. F 586 

Grote, Anton 577 

Digitized by 




Grundsten, Olof G 426 

G under m an n, Leonard 394 

G undersoil, Thomas 341 

Hacker, George 496 

Haegle, Frank 456 

Hagberg, Andy 560 

Hagberg, Gust A 482 

Hagberg, Louis 546 

Hagerman, Asher M 379 

Hagerman, James M 483 

Hagge, Thomas H 417 

Halverson, C. H 499 

Hamstreet, Charles 437 

Hansberger, John 335 

Hansberger, William L 553 

Hansen, Joseph P 463 

Hardekopf, William 587 

Harding, C. E 436 

Harrington, James H 623 

Hart, A. E 530 

Hart, John 314 

Hart man, Joseph 404 

Hartmann, Ferdinand 616 

Harvey, Daniel E 506 

Haseman, H. F 633 

Hawkins, Levi H 454 

Hawkins, O. H 525 

Heffran, Tim 534 

Hein, J. J 522 

Heise, Hans G 539 

Heling, Herman 575 

Heling, Joseph 554 

Hendel, Nicholas 549 

Hennekes, Henry 500 

Hensley, Edward 602 

Herbert, John 474 

Herlein, David 426 

Hesselroth, E. W 307 

Higgins. William 567 

Hildred, Charles R 583 

Hinricks, Theodore 476 

Hobson, Harry S 498 

Hocking, William E 564 

Hoffer, Jacob G 455 

Hoffman, George 485 

Hoffman, John M 518 

Hoffmeister, George 453 

Hofkamp, John 581 

Hokeness, Nels H 606 

Hollaren, Michael 441 

Holmes, Henry 328 

Honnef, John 575 

Hornstine, Henry 415 

Horton, Frank H 623 

Horton, Isaac 310 

Hoskins, Josiah C 500 

Hovey, Melvin W 478 

Hubner, William 511 

Hulser, Fred D 517 

Hum is ton, Dr. Edwin Ray 407 

Humiston, E. R 308 

Humiston, Fred L 444 

Humiston, Prof. R. F 303 

Humiston, W. 1 396 

Hurd, Minor G 625 

Hurd, R. S 622 


Hutton, Thomas 588 

Hynes, James V ' 513 

Innes, George 556 

Isaacson, Isaac 464 

I vers, Henry 552 

Jacobson, Severt A 353 

James, John F 510 

Jay, George 375 

Jenkins, W. W 392 

Johnson, Albert 568 

Johnson, Andrew 431 

Johnson, August 588 

Johnson, Carl J 643 

Johnson, Charles W 596 

Johnson, Frank J 585 

Johnson, Haken 410 

Johnson, J. H 566 

Johnson, L. W 486 

Johnson, Peter G 617 

Jones, Burgess 498 

Jones, Clyde S 608 

Jones, David. Jr 584 

Jones, David', Sr 553 

Jones, Edwin J 466 

Jones, Ned 529 

Jones, Rol>ert J 423 

Jorgensen, Jens 554 

Joul, Gust 432 

Joul, Ole B 380 

Kain, Martin 605 

Kallemyen, Martin 448 

Kaufman, Nicholas 375 

Kellen, Dominick, Jr 629 

Kellen, Dominick, Sr 614 

Keller, G. A 632 

Kelley, Irwin F 627 

Kerr, Robert F 513 

Kerr, William 402 

Kiessling, Ferd J 599 

Kindlund, Svante 479 

King, Charles 526 

Kinsman, C. E 533 

Kizer, B. F 400 

Klenken, John B 473 

Klessig, Henry A 541 

Kleve, Henrv J 523 

Kleve, William J 506 

Kliffgard, A. A 393 

Klindworth, John 498 

Kline, Henry 575 

Klinkhammer, C. H 629 

Klontz, Math 580 

Kniese, B. F 479 

Knips, G 430 

Knowlton, Ed 561 

Kolp, Charles F 574 

Kopplow, Carl 635 

Kreun, Lawrens 430 

Korgman, Herman H 598 

Kuhl, Charles 591 

Kuhl, Fred 392 

Kunze, C. H 465 

Kunze, Henry 427 

Digitized by 




Lais, Herman A 420 

Larimore, William E 574 

Iiarkin, Thomas 425 

Larson, Axel E 461 

Larson, H. W 449 

Larson, Lewis 35(5 

Latta, A. T 510 

Lawrence, Allen H 559 

Lawton, M. E 621 

Lebens, Peter 411 

Ledine, Erick 504 

Ledine, Peter 509 

Lees, D. V 618 

LeGros, George H 661 

Lenz, John N 383 

Lcnz, Peter, Jr 469 

Lenz, R. M. V 583 

Lenz, Thomas, Jr 541 

Lenz, Thomas, Sr 458 

Levine, Martin 519 

Lewis, Harry B 613 

Lewis, Gerhard 586 

Lindemann, William 595 

Lindstrom, Carl A 559 

Little, Arthur W 603 

Long, Dickson S 443 

Loosbrock, John A 530 

Loveless, Capt. Charles B 316 

Loveless, William W 416 

Lovrien, Ernest E 528 

Lucht, Andrew F 394 

Ludlow, Horace J 374 

Ludlow, J. Burr 440 

Luepker, L. H 634 

Lyon, Arthur W 491 

Lyon, Franklin H . x 378 

Mackay , James 504 

Madison, William E 411 

Mahlberg, Alfred 482 

Mahlberg, Erick .* . .338 

Malcolm, William 466 

Mangelson, John L 579 

Mann, Milton P 418 

Manson, Dr. F. M 523 

Marr, Charles 554 

Marr, Thomas 599 

Marten, William F 472 

Martens, Henry H 624 

Martin, Charles F 564 

Martin, Michael J 624 

Matheson, Floyd A 508 

Matheson, Richard H 503 

Mauch, John L 529 

Maxwell, James H 358 

McAuliffe, Dennis 550 

McCann, Martin M 442 

McCarthy, John 445 

McChord, W. R. D 350 

McConkey, James L 400 

McKenzie, John 471 

McLean, Francis E 399 

-McLean, Thomas 485 

McMaster, S. H 630 

Meester, Ike 555 

Meier, Fred 625 

Meier, John 550 


Metz, Eugene 499 

Metz, Jacob 614 

Millard, Charles T 512 

Miller, Stephen 304 

Milton, Isaac A 648 

Mishler, Ira 508 

Mitchell, G. S 634 

Mitchell, Hugh 426 

Mitchell, John G 483 

Mitchell, T. L 614 

Moberg, J. E 536 

Moberg, Nels 471 

Moberly, R. W 339 

Modisett, C. F 389 

Mohr, Fred 530 

Mohr, Herman 465 

Montgomery, Alexander 474 

Montgomery. James 38© 

Moore, Dr.* George 309 

Moore, Stanley 590 

Morland, Robert L 398 

Morrison, Grant 566 

Morrison, William H 440 

Moss, William F 388 

Muck, Charles S 446 

Muck, Stephen 329 

Mulroy, Joseph 608 

Mulroy, Matthew 490 

Murphy, Frank 489 

Murphy, Joseph G 460 

Myers,* Howard S 596 

Myrum, Hans H 606 

Nash, Austin 480 

Nash, Christ 413 

Xaylon, James 360 

Nazarenus, Asmus 423 

Nazarenus, Joseph 617 

Neff, James 443 

Nelson, Albert 615 

Nelson, Anton 384 

Nelson, Francis 366 

Nelson, Hans 341 

Nelson, Henry 345 

Nelson, John 448 

Newell, Dr. Thomas G 353 

Neyens, Nick H 434 

Nienaber, Charles 390 

Nienkerk, August H 494 

Nilson, Andrew 520 

Nolan, P. F 412 

Nolte, Henry 346 

Noonan, Thomas P 468 

Nystrom, Hans 316 

Nvstrom, Ole .351 

Nystrom, Ole H 637 

Obele, A 688 

Oberman, Adolph 646 

O'Connor, John F 435 

O'Connor, Patrick 468 

Oliver, Will E 447 

Olsen, Ole 391 

Olson, Adam 467 

Olson, Ed 643 

Olson. Gust 429 

Olson, Henry 412 

Digitized by 





Oppek, Florian J 522 

Osbon, Peter H 395 

Oxford, William 438 

Paine, Charles J 489 

Paine, James M 472 

Paine, Walter H 500 

Palleaen, A. D 525 

Palm, Julius 542 

Palmer, Thomas A 559 

Pank, Frederick 347 

Pannell, Edwin C 465 

Paradies, John 478 

Parry, William 312 

Pass, Hubert 437 

Paul, Erick B 332 

Peterburs, Henry 543 

Peters, Andrew 501 

Peterson, Charles 583 

Peterson, Charlie 596 

Peterson, E. L 541 

Peterson, John P 459 

Pettit, George V 635 

Pfeil, Henry 377 

Pfingsten, H. P. W 475 

Pieper, Julius 574 

Pink, George 571 

Pint, Anton 536 

Pint, Matt 408 

Plemp, Michael 597 

Plotts, R. B 317 

Prideaux, Thomas H 621 

Ramage, John 614 

Ramert, Adolph 507 

Ramerth, John 557 

Randolph, John S 495 

Read, Henry H 334 

Recker, Frank 480 

Recker, Ludwig 568 

Reckers, W. J 548 

Reddy, James 518 

Reiter, Michael 365 

Remackel, Jacob 618 

Renshaw, W. C 477 

Rice, Arthur J 318 

Richards, Frank D 552 

Riss, John 581 

Roetman, John 577 

Rogers, J. H 548 

Roll, Henry 376 

Rose, Arthur P 527 

Rose, Samuel N 521 

Roskam, OUie J 496 

Ross, Perle C 593 

Ross, Robert 507 

Rowley, Charles L 482 

Royer, Lee W 538 

Rudman, E. R. L 613 

Ruprecht, Harry 459 

Rusho, Charles 621 

Rust, Albert 506 

Rust, Arjen 357 

Sadler, A. M 486 

Sadler, F. M 466 

Sands, Charles A .432 


Sanger, Edward 491 

Savig, Thomas 602 

Saxon, Charles 369 

Saxon, Charles R 629 

Saxon, John 422 

Saxon, John A 462 

Saxon, Wallace 573 

Saxon, Walter A 541 

Scharping, Emil W 532 

Schechter, Joshua, Jr 534 

Schels, Father Sebastian 576 

Scherlie, H. A 489 

Schinkel, Fred 395 

Schinkel, Henry 424 

Schmidt, Anton R 510 

Schmidt, Arend O 610 

Schmidt, Oltman 604 

Schmitz, Fred 425 

Schnieder, Henry 557 

Scholtes, Peter/ 452 

Scholtes, Peter B 619 

Schraan, Edward H 633 

Schreiber, Gustaf 532 

Schreiber. Rudolph 576 

Schuck, Jacob H 388 

Schutz, John 628 

Schwartz, E. L 605 

Schwartzkopf, Michael 515 

Scott, John H 386 

Scott, O. H 623 

Scott, W. F 471 

Scriven, James M 497 

Selberg, Albert 588 

Selberg, Gust 480 

Selburg, John P 610 

Selby, James R 401 

Sell, Robert 354 

Severson, Albert C 515 

Seward, Henry 619 

Shanks, William N 622 

Shaw, John W 389 

Shaw, William 535 

Shell, Daniel 304 

Shelquist, A 509 

Shore, Charles 434 

Shore, Henry 554 

Shore, John E 402 

Shore, Robert 311 

Shore, Robert W 573 

Sieve, August 601 

Sievert, William H • 556 

Sipes, Charles W 398 

Sisson, De H 540 

Skillicorn, James 582 

Slade, George 344 

Slater, Henry 342 

Smallwood, Charles J 405 

Smith, E. K 413 

Smith, George W 487 

Smith, John R 625 

Smith, Milton S 433 

Smith, Robert R 562 

Smith, Stelle S 490 

Smith, Zeno M 611 

Soehner, William 603 

Sorem, Ben L 526 

Sorem, Louis M 512 

Digitized by 





Sorem, Michael 396 

Sorem, Severt M 626 

Sowles, Louis W 595 

Spafford, John A 336 

Spartz, Peter 565 

Stangeland, Nela 516 

Stanton, F. W 445 

Steinman, C. A 520 

Sterling, Oscar 609 

Stevens, Francis A 406 

Stewart, Sam M 511 

Stoutemyer, William B 597 

Stramer," Charles J 627 

Strand, Thomas T 582 

Stuntebeck, Henry 463 

Sundberg, Charles A 325 

Swanberg, Gustavus 370 

Swedberg, M 488 

Swenson, Alfred L 62h 

Synkersen, P. C 595 

Taylor, W. E 538 

TenBroeck, Rev. Robt. C 558 

TenCate, James 457 

Tentler, William 384 

Terrv, Edwin S 337 

Thorn, Arthur (1 500 

Thorn, Robert Guv 601 

Thorn, Rov 597 

Thorn, William 319 

Thorn, William C 594 

Thomas, Knute 369 

Thompson, Albert A 354 

Thompson, Anthony 339 

Thompson, F. H 363 

Thompson, Peter 321 

Thomsen, John C * 397 

Thuesen, Ole B 603 

Thurber, Benjamin F 328 

Tiemens, Fred H 378 

Tilman, W. 560 

Tinnes, George E 592 

Tinnes, Syvert I) 347 

Titenberg, Henrv 393 

Torrance, F. A 391 

Tow, Samuel 589 

Town, J. A 306 

Tregoning, W. B 589 

Tripp, Edgar A 367 

Tripp, Harry R 419 

Trunk, Fridolin. . . . .. 572 

Turner, Frank 492 

Turner, Frederick A 473 

Turner, Ira 378 

Tweet, Hans R 584 

Ullrich, Joseph F 454 

Ulveling, Frank 531 

Vail, Amos 470 

Vail, John P 361 

Yersteeg, Jacob 516 

Von Holtum, Ludwig 383 

Voss, H. A 492 

Voss, Herman 600 

Voss, John 599 

Voss, S. A 444 

Wagner, John (Bigelow) 494 

Wagner, John ( Ellsworth) 548 

Wahl, William A 545 

Walker, Dr. F. E 501 

Wallgren, Peter A 503 

Wallrieh, Peter J 636 

Walters. Truman 610 

Ward, Charles B 619 

Ward. William E 552 

Wass, August 461 

Wass, Axel 630 

Weidman, George V 623 

Weitgenant, Charles 483 

Wellhausen, Edward H 540 

Wells. Charlie 533 

Wells, Frank D 433 

Wemple. Edwin S 462 

\\ emple, E. 1 319 

West, Charles 555 

West. Christopher R 408 

West, Fred 553 

Westenberg, Derk 630 

Wheatley, William 405 

Wheeler^ George W 602 

Whelan, John 475 

Whelan, William 620 

Whipkey, Edwin S 505 

Wiokstrom, Andrew P .562 

Wit kstrom, Charles J 342 

Wiedow, Dr. Henry 578 

Wigham. Capt. William 310 

Williams, Dr. A. B 544 

Williams. Frank E 438 

Williams, Henry G 582 

Wilson, Alexander 534 

Wilson, George W 363 

Winohell, G. C 631 

Wolven. Edwin J 502 

Wood. Sherman T 493 

Woodford. A. J 593 

Woolsteneroft, Benjamin W 349 

Wulf . William .- 514 

Yale. Bruce 587 

Young, Benjamin F 330 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 



Nobles County 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


7 - ,. / 

Digitized by 



The First White Man to Set Foot On the Soil of 
Nobles County. 

Digitized by 



ABORIGINAL DAYS— 1834-1866. 

Turn buck, as it were, the leaves of 
Time's great book to the period before 
the all-conquering White Man had set 
foot on the soil of the present day county 
of Nobles. We, of this generation, who 
play our part in the affairs of the pres- 
ent clay, are apt to think of that time as 
long past. Yet there are men and wom- 
en residing in Nobles county today who 
were living at the time of that event. 
Before a civilized eye had gazed on the 
country we now call home, Lewis and 
Clark, those intrepid explorers, had pen- 
etrated the Rocky mountain regions 
and pushed on to the Pacific coast, ob- 
taining information of inestimable value; 
Marcus Whitman had planted his col- 
ony in the wilds of Oregon and taken 
the first step to secure possession of the 
Northwest to the United States. While 
knowledge was being gained of the far 
western country, southwestern Minne- 
sota, on the border of civilization, re- 
mained a terra incognita. 

Let us imagine what this country was 
in its primeval state, when all was as 
nature had formed it. The broad and 
rolling prairies stretched as far as the 
eye could reach, presenting, in summer, 
a perfect paradise of verdure, with its 
variegated hues of flowers and vegeta- 
tion; in winter, a dreary snow mantled 

desert. The creeks flowed in the same 
courses as now; the lakes occupied the 
same banks; the topography of the coun- 
try was the same. But what a contrast! 

Wild beasts and birds and wilder red 
men then reigned supreme. Vast herds 
of bison, elk and deer roamed the open 
prairies and reared their young in the 
more sheltered places. With that won- 
derful appreciation of the beautiful 
which nature has made an instinct in 
the savage, the untutored Sioux had se- 
lected the country as his hunting ground. 
If inanimate things could speak, what 
wild tales of Indian adventure could be 
poured forth! 

The country which such a short time 
ago was an" uncharted wilderness is to- 
day a prosperous land, filled with an en- 
terprising, intelligent and happy people. 
Cities and villages, the peer of those 
that were centuries in building, adorn 
the former barren prairies; civilization 
and progress have supplanted savag- 
ery; schools, churches and libraries oc- 
cupy the sites of the aboriginal's tepees. 

That part of the North American con- 
tinent which is now designated on the 
map as Minnesota was occupied by the 
Dakota or Sioux Indians from the very 
earliest days up to the time when the 
white man supplanted the red man in 


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the nineteenth century. Indian tradition 
tells of no earlier inhabitants. Certain 
it is that when the first explorers, cen- 
turies ago, came to the Northwest coun- 
try they found the Dakotas or Sioux in 
possession. When- knowledge was first 
gained of these people there were three 
great tribal divisions, namely: The Isan- 
tis, residing on the headwaters of the 
Mississippi; the Yanktons, who occu- 
pied the region north of the Minnesota 
river; and the Titonwans, who had their 
hunting grounds west of the Yanktons. 
The last named was the most powerful 
and numerous tribe. 

Coming down to the year 1834, we 
find that definite knowledge had been 
gained of the tribal divisions of south- 
ern Minnesota, and that their places of 
summer residence were known. General 
H. H. Sibley, an authority on Indian 
affairs, described the Indian bands as he 
found them in 1834. There were seven 
bands of the Dakotas, known as the 
M'daywakantons, or People of the Leaf. 
Their summer residences were in villages, 
the lodges being built of elm bark upon 
a frame work of poles. These villages 
were situated at Wabasha Prairie, where 
the city of Winona now stands; at Red 
Wing and Kaposia, on the Mississippi; 
three bands on the lower Minnesota, be- 
low Shakopee; and the Lake Calhoun 
band, on the lake of that name. These 
bands could bring into the field about 
600 warriors. 

The Wakpatootas, or People of the 
Shot Leaf, were in villages on Cannon 
lake, a short distance from the present 
city of Faribault, and at a few other 
points. They numbered about 150 war- 
riors. The lower Wakpatons r or People 
of the Leaf, were located at Little Rap- 
ids, Sand Prairie and on the banks of 

the Minnesota, not far from Belle Plaine. 
The lower Sissetons occupied the regions 
around Traverse des Sioux, Swan lake 
and the Cottonwood, extending to the 
Coicau des Prairies. It was this band 
which claimed jurisdiction over the pres- 
ent day couuty of Nobles. The upper 
Wakpaton tribe had its villages on the 
shores of the Lac qui Parle. The upper 
Sissetons were on Big Stone lake and 
lake Traverse. 

Portions of Minnesota had been vis- 
ited by whites at a very early day, but 
the southwestern portion was unvisited 
until long after other parts were fairly 
well known. Catlin, Schoolcraft, Feath- 
erstonhaugh, Allen, Keating and Long 
were early explorers to the wilds of 
Minnesota, but they confined themselves 
to the ready routes of travel, passing 
through the country in a single season. 
But in the late thirties appeared one 
who crossed the upper Mississippi coun- 
try in all directions, spending several 
years, winters included, in procuring 
data for his map. This was Joseph 
Nicolas Nicollet, 1 who, so far as I am 
able to learn, was the first white man to 
set foot on the soil of Nobles county. 
He gave names to many lakes and phy- 
sical features or adopted those which 
were current, and his map, issued in 
1842, shows the scope of his explorations. 

The country of which Nobles county 
forms a part was labeled "Sisseton Coun- 
try" on his map, he finding that that 
branch of the Dakotas were in possession 
T Ie found that the region west of the 
Mississippi had several plateaus, or ele- 
vated prairies, which marked the limits 
of the various river basins. The most 
remarkable of these he called Plateau du 
Coteau des Prairies (plateau of prairie 
heights) and Coteau du Grand Bois 

•'Do not confound with Jean Nicollet, an country nearly 200 years earlier. 
American pioneer from France who visited the 

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(wooded heights). Nicollet described 
the Coieau des Prairies as a vast plain, 
elevated 1,916 feet above the level of 
the ocean and 890 feet above Big Stone 
lake, lying between latitudes 43 and 46 
degrees, extending from northwest to 
southeast for a distance of 200 miles, its 
width varying from 15 to 40 miles. 2 He 
described it as a beautiful country, from 
whose summit grand views were afforded, 
and said that at the eastern border par- 
ticularly the prospect was magnificent 
beyond description, extending over the 
immense green turf that forms the basin 
of the Red River of the North, the forest 
clad summits of the Hauteurs des Terres 
that surround the sources of the Missis- 
sippi, the gigantic valley of the upper 
Minnesota, and the depressions in which 
are lake Traverse and Big Stone lake. 
That Nicollet visited Nobles county and 
other portions of the southwestern part 
of Minnesota is evidenced by the fact 
that several physical features of the 
country with which we are familiar were 
• given names and more or less accurately 
located. "Okebene" lake has a place on 
the map, as also has "Spirit lake/' 
"Ocheyedan lake," "Ocheyedan Hillock, 
or Mourning Ground," "Okoboji river 
and lake," and "Karanzi river, where the 
Kansas were killed." 

For several years after the visit of 
Nicollet the future county of Nobles 
was visited by white men only occa- 
sionally. In fact the whole of southwest- 
ern Minnesota remained the country of 
the red man up to the middle fifties and 
nearly to the time when Minnesota was 
admitted to the union as a state. Even 
then, although the settlements extended 
up to the borders of Nobles county on 
the south, east and north, Nobles county 

2 On the map it is marked as extending 
from a point a short distance northwest of 
lake Traverse in a southeasterly direction into 

was without actual settlers. It was sev- 
eral years behind its neighboring coun- 
ties, and permanent settlement did not 
begin until 1867. 

While the settlement of the south- 
western part of the state-to-be was not 
attempted until a late day, other por- 
tions received some settlement, and Min- 
nesota territory was created in 1849. 
Three years later the boundary line be- 
tween the new territory and Iowa was 
surveyed. The territory from which, 
later, Nobles county was formed, being 
on the southern boundary of Minnesota, 
was visited at that time by surveyors, 
and on August 5, 1852, the first line 
was run that marked a boundary of the 
county-to-be. That day the line along 
Grand Prairie township was surveyed; 
the following day that along Little Rock; 
on the seventh the surveyors completed 
Ransom and part of Bigelow ; on the 
eighth Bigelow was finished, and the line 
along the southern boundary of Indian 
Lake was completed, and the surveyors 
continued their way eastward. 8 

Although the permanent settlement of 
the western counties of southwestern 
Minnesota was backward, trappers oper- 
ated over the whole country for many 
years prior to actual settlement. The 
abundance of game that roamed over the 
region drew hunters and trappers re- 
gularly to its lakes and streams. Some 
of these later took claims in the coun- 
try they had trapped over and became 
the first settlers. 

In 1856 there was a great tide of 
emigration "toward the setting sun" 
from the eastern states, and Minnesota 
territory grew rapdily in population. 
This inpouring of settlers continued dur- 
ing the following year. Then came the 

Iowa, and including the present Nobles county. 
•Surveyors' field notes. 

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panic of 1857, and the influx of set- 
tlers almost completely ceased. Times 
were very hard all through the country, 
and especially was this condition of af- 
fairs felt in the Northwest. It was dur- 
ing this activity in the settlement of 
Minnesota that the first settlement was 
made in the southwestern part of the 
territory. During the years 1853, 1856 
and 1857, a few hardy pioneers found 
their way to and made settlements in 
territory which now forms Faribault, 
Martin, Jackson and Cottonwood coun- 
ties, in Minnesota, and the Spirit Lake 
country, 4 in Iowa. In some of these 
counties substantial settlements were be- 
gun ; villages were founded ; counties were 
organized ; civilization took its first ad- 
vancing stride into the frontier. 

During this period of activity in 
southwestern Minnesota the future No- 
bles county had no active part; it was 
just beyond the "jumping off place." 
The greater part of the settlers engaged 
in trapping for furs, and in the pur- 
suit of this avocation they frequently 
visited the lakes of Nobles county. Un- 
fortunately data of the doings of these 
men have not been preserved. They 
were trappers, not historians, and they 
left no record of their adventures. Only 
a few of these early day trappers are 
left. Of a nomadic temperament, when 
permanent settlement was begun, the 
majority of these frontiersmen pushed 
on to still unsettled countries to the 

One of these trappers who operated in 
what is now the western part of Nobles 
county was Jude Phillips, and one of 
his adventures is worth relating. In 
company with a brother, he was trap- 
ping one season on Kanaranzi creek, his 

camp being near the present site of 
Adrian. His brother's camp was some 
five miles distant, also on the creek. A 
terrible cloudburst raised the Kanaranzi 
to a raging flood. Jude Phillips bare- 
ly escaped with his life. The morning 
after the disaster he started out to 
look for his brother, but found no trace 
of him, and never did. The raging 
Kanaranzi had claimed its first victim. 

As before stated, the financial panic 
of 1857 retarded the growth of the ter- 
ritory and brought to a standstill the 
activities in southwestern Minnesota. But 
there was another event of that year that 
changed the whole history of the country. 
That was the Inkpadutah massacre. The 
Indians, under the leadership of Ink- 
padutah, went on the war path and 
ruthlessly murdered settlers at Spirit 
Lake, Iowa, and along the Des Moines 
river in Jackson and Cottonwood coun- 
ties, Minnesota. Had the settlement at 
that time been, extended to Nobles coun- 
ty there can be no doubt that its soil 
would have been drenched in blood, as 
the savages operated in the county dur- 
ing the famous massacre. 

The women and children of Inkpadu- 
tah's band were camped on Indian lake, 
in the southeastern corner of the county, 
while the warriors were committing their 
deeds of violence. After the massacre at 
Spirit Lake part of the murderers re- 
treated to the northwest and made their 
camping place at the same point. It is 
siid that a force of soldiers, who were 
in pursuit of the redskins, came as close 
to this band as Iowa lake. Had they 
struck the Indians on Indian lake, No- 
bles county would doubtless have played 
an important part in the history of the 
massacre. When the first white settlers 

4 The Spirit Lake settlement was only twenty- Ave miles from the Nobles county line. 

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came to the Indian lake country in 1869 
the remains of the Indian camp were 
plainly seen. 6 

The massacre proved to he a serioufe 
blow to the growth and development of 
this region. The counties in which set- 
tlement had been made were depopu- 
lated. The pioneers fled for their lives; 
everything was abandoned. Troops w T ere 
soon stationed in the country, but it 
took time to restore confidence, and for 
some time all of those counties lying 
west of Faribault county remained al- 
most wholly devoid of inhabitants. 

During the boom days of 185b* and 
the early part of 1857 the people of 
Minnesota were optimistic. Thousands 
of people were pouring into the terri- 
tory and building themselves homes in 
the heretofore frontier sections. Elabor- 
ate schemes for big ventures were plan- 
ned; nothing was done in a niggardly 
manner. Frenzied finance reigned su- 
preme. Railroad rumors filled the air, 
and it was indeed an out of the way 
place that did not look forward to the 
coming' of the iron horse in the immedi- 
ate future. Paper roads covered the 
territory from one end to the other, and 
southwestern Minnesota was no excep- 
tion to the rule. The territorial legis- 
lature caught the fever, granted bonuses 
to various contemplated railways, and in- 
discriminately created counties in all 
parts of the territory — in many of which 
there was not at the time a single resi- 

And Nobles county came into exis- 

*An incident of these days was recalled by 
the finding of a revolver on the shore of lake 
Okabena in 1872. The Western Advance of 
Aug. 31. 1872. said: 

"A revolver was found on the shores of the 
lake last week, which was lost there fifteen 
years ago by A. H. Bullis. of Winnebago City. 
Minn. Mr. Bullis. in company with a friend. 
had been to Yankton on horseback, and while 
on their return stopped at the lake to cook 

tence under these conditions. It had no 
settlers at the time, but abundant pros- 
pects. Had it not been for the panic 
and the Indian outbreak, there can 
be no doubt that the county would 
have been inhabited and in a prosper- 
ous condition within a very short time 
after its creation in the spring of 
lSoT. As it was, it was ten years 
later when permanent settlement was 
begun and thirteen when the organi- 
zation was perfected. Before consid- 
ering the creation of the county let us 
take a backward glance and trace the 
structural history of Minnesota territory 
from the date of its creation, insofar as 
is relates to Nobles county. 

When the first legislature convened 
after the organization of the territory in 
1849 it divided Minnesota into nine 
counties, named as follows: Benton, 
Dakota, Itasca, Cass, Pembina, Ramsey, 
Washington, Chisago and Wabasha. The 
whole of southern Minnesota was in- 
cluded in Wabasha and Dakota, and of 
these two, Dakota had the bulk of the 
territory. Wabasha included that part 
of the territory "lying east of a line 
running due south from a point on the 
Mississippi river known as Medicine 
Bottle village, at Pine Bend, to the 
Iowa line." Dakota county (created 
Oct. 27, IS ID) was "all that part of 
said territory west of the Mississippi 
and lying west of the county of Wa- 
basha and south of a line beginning at 
the mouth of Crow river, and up 
said river and the north branch thereof 

and eat some flsh. While the horses were 
quietly grazing Mr. Bullis espied a party of 
Indians approaching, and as this happened 
near the time of the Spirit Lake massacre, 
the white men were naturally shy of the 
8i«>ux, so they hastily mouted their beasts and 
tied. The revolver is silver mounted, but rust 
and decay have ruined it for use." 

'Near St. Paul. 

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to its source, and thence due west to 
the Missouri river/' 7 

Although Dakota county was larger 
than many of the eastern states its pop- 
ulation was almost nothing, and it was 
declared "organized only for the purpose 
of the appointment of justices of the 
peace, constables and such other judi- 
cial and ministerial officers as may be 
specially provided for/' For judicial 
purposes it was attached to the county of 

The future Nobles county remained a 
part of Dakota county until March 5, 
1853, when there was a readjustment of 
Wabasha and Dakota county boundaries, 
and Blue Earth county came into exis- 
tence. The boundaries of the latter 
were described as follows: "So much ter- 
ritory lying south of the Minnesota river 
as remains of Wabasha and Dakota coun- 
ties undivided by this act." As the 
boundaries of the two older counties 
as defined by this act was very indefi- 
nite, it is impossible to state exactly 
what the dimentions of Bine Earth coun- 
ty were. It is known, however, that it 
included all of southwestern Minnesota. 

For two years the unknown Nobles 
county country remained a part of Blue 
Earth county, and then come another 
change. By an act approved Feb. 20, 
1855, the county of Blue Earth was re- 
duced to' its present boundaries, Fari- 
bault was created with the boundaries 
it now has, except that it then extended 
one township farther west than now, 
and the new county of Brown came in- 
to being. It was described as follows: 

^Minnesota territory then extended west to the 
Missouri river. In this mammoth county of 
Dakota were the following present day coun- 
ties (or ]!>arts of counties) in Minnesota, in 
addition to many in what is now the state 
of South Dakota: Rock. Nobles. Jackson. 
Martin, Faribault. Freeborn, Steele, Waseca, 
Blue Earth. Watonwan, Cottonwood, Murray, 
Pipestone, Lincoln, Lyon. Redwood, Brown, 
Nicollet, Lesueur, Rice, Dakota (part), Scott. 
Sibley, Renville, Yellow Medicine, Lac qui 

'That so much of the territory as was 
formerly included within the county of 
Blue Earth, and has not been included 
within the boundaries of any other county 
as herein established, shall be known as 
the county of Brown." All of the terri- 
tory lying south of the Minnesota river 
and west of a line drawn south from the 
western boundary of the present day Blue 
Earth county now became Brown county, 
and Nobles remained a part of this un- 
til two years later, when it became a 
political division of itself. 8 

The conditions which led up to the 
creation of Nobles county and the many 
others in the southwestern corner of the 
territory have been briefly referred to. 
Among the other contemplated enterpris- 
er of the boom days of 1856-7 was the 
building of a railroad into the southwes- 
tern part of the territory. This enter- 
prise was, of course, arrested by the pan-* 
ic. But it had not prevented the build- 
ing of air castles in the young country 
prior to the financial crash. Although 
no survey for the railroad had been made* 
it had been learned that it was to be 
built through the Graham lakes country, 
and an imaginary town came into ex- 
istence there. This was known as 
Gretchtown, and in the very early days 
it found itself on the maps of the fron- 
tier country. It was located on the 
south bank of West Graham lake — on 
land which in time came into the pos- 
session of Hon. J. B. Wakefield, of 
Blue Earth City. Gretchtown was lit- 
erally a "paper town." It was never 
even platted, nor did it rise to the dig- 

Parle, Chippewa. Kandiyohi (except small 
corner). Meeker (part). McLeod, Carver, Hen- 
nepin, Wright (part). Stearns (small part). 
Pope (part). Swift. Stevens (part). Big Stone 
and Traverse (part). 

"Brown county was not organized at once, 
but by an act of the legislature of Feb. 11, 
1856, it was permitted to organize. New Ulm 
was named as the county seat. 

Digitized by 




nity of having a trapper's hut there- 
on. Yet it became the county seat 
of a county — a county without inhabi- 

On the 23rd day of May, 1857, the 
bill was passed creating the county of 
Nobles and eight others in the south- 
western corner of the territory. It was 
named in honor of Col. W. H. Nobles, 10 
of St. Paul. Section three of the act 
describes the boundaries: 

See. III. That so much of the territory 
of Minnesota as is embraced in the following 
boundaries be, and the same is hereby', es- 
tablished as the 'ounty of Nobles: begin- 
ning at the southeast corner of township 
101 north, of range 39 west; thence north 
to the northeast corner of township 104 
north, of range 39 west; thence west to the 
northwest corner of township 104. range 43 
west; thence south to the southwest corner 
of township 101 north, of range 43 west; 
thence east to the place of beginning. 

Of the nine counties created by the 
act only Maitin, Jackson, Nobles and 
Big Sioux were declared to be organized 
counties and "invested with all the im- 
munities to which organized counties are 
entitled by law." They were attached 
to the third judicial district for judi- 

•The territory at this time extended west 
to the Big Sioux river. The other counties 
created by the act were Martin. Jackson, 
Murray, Pipestone, Big Sioux, Cottonwood, 
Rock and Midway. The first three named 
were given the boundaries they now have. 
The boundaries of Pipestone county were de- 
scribed as including the present Rock county 
and the eastern portion of the present Min- 
nehaha county, S. D. The boundaries of 
Rock county were described as including the 
present Pipestone county and a small part 
of the eastern portion of the present Moody 
county. S. D. This transposition of the 
names Rock and Pipestone in the description 
of their boundaries in the original act of 1857 
may have been due to a lack of knowledge of 
the physical features of this part of the coun- 
try, or it may have been due to a clerical 
error. The mistake was corrected later. Big 
Sioux county took in part of the present 
Minnehaha county, S. D., and extended from 
the Big Sioux river eastward to Pipestone 
(Rock) county. Cottonwood had the same 
boundaries as now, except that it did not 
then have three townships in the northwest 
corner which It now has. Midway county in- 
cluded that part of the present Moody county. 
S. D., that lies beteen the Big Sioux river 
and the western boundary of the original 
Rock (Pipestone) county. 

"•Col. Nobles was noted as the discoverer of 
the pass in the Rocky mountains which short- 

cial purposes, and to the tenth council 
district for elective purposes. Provision 
was made for the early organization of 
the four counties named. Commission- 
ers residing within the respective coun- 
ties were to be appointed by the governor 
to perfect the organizations. 11 These 
commissioners were to meet during the 
first week in July, 1857, at the county 
seat and set in motion the machinery of 
the county government. The county seat 
of Nobles county was temporarily lo- 
cated at (iretclitown, that mythical city 
in Graham Lakes township, but provision 
was made for the selection of the per- 
manent seat of government by the vot- 
ers. 12 

It is needless to say that the organi- 
zation did not take place as provided. 
Only a short time later, there were not 
only no settlers in Nobles county, but 
the whole of southwestern Minnesota -was 
deserted. County government was not 
begun in Nobhs county until 1870; then 
it was organized under the provisions of 
the act of 1857. The panic and Indian 
troubles had caused a setback of thir- 
teen years. 

ened the emigrant route to the Pacific side 
some 500 miles, and through which the Tnion 
Pacific now passes. The people of California 
raised a purse of $10,000 and presented it to 
Col. Nobles in appreciation of this discovery. 
During the year 1861 he was president of the 
Minnesota Old Settlers* association. The late 
Daniel Rohrer is my authority for the state- 
ment concerning the naming of the county. 

"Section eleven of the act reads: "The 
governor shall appoint three persons for each 
of the respective organized counties, being 
residents and legal voters thereof, commission- 
ers for each of said counties, with full power 
and authority to do and perform all acts and 
duties devolving upon the board of county 
commissioners of any organized county in this 
territory, the said board of commissioners shall 
have power to appoint all other officers that 
may be required to complete the organization 
of their respective counties." 

""On the petition of twenty legal voters 
in any of said counties at any time after the 
passage of this act it shall be the duty of the 
county commissioners to order the legal voters 
of any of the said counties to vote at any gen- 
eral election for the location of the county 
seats of said counties, and the point receiving 
the highest number of votes shall be the 
county seat of said county." 

Digitized by 




It will be remembered that so early as sus July 16, 1860. These were located 
1852 surveyors had established the line in the Graham Lakes country, and Jack- 
between Minnesota and Iowa, and for a son was their postoffice address. The 
few days had operated in Nobles county, enumerator stated that he had visited 
That was the only surveying done for eleven dwelling houses, and that there 
several years. But after the territorial were the same number of families. On fol- 
legislature had divided southwestern lowing page are names of the inhabiants, 
Minnesota into counties, it was deemed their ages, occupations and places of 
advisable to establish their boundaries, birth as listed by Marshal Bruner: 14 * 
A surveying party visited the county in All of these were white, free inhabi- 
September, 1858, and marked its boun- tants. Being squatters, they did not 
daries. Guide meridian No. 5, along . have title to real estate, but four of the 
the eastern boundary of the county was number had personal property, as fol- 
surveyed, as was also standard parallel lows: John Oleson, $200; Uriah Kush- 
No. 1, which was the county's northern man, $175; William Hertwinkle, $275; 
boundary. It was nine years later when John Hertwinkle, $100. Other informa- 
the county was divided into townships, tion contained in the schedule is to the 
and one and two years after that when effect that none had been married within 
the section lines were run. the year, none had attended school with- 

So soon as confidence was restored in the year, only one person over twenty 
after the Spirit Lake massacre, settle- years of age (Thomas Marks) could not 
ment was begun again in portions of read or write, and none was deaf and 
southwestern Minnesota, and in the late dumb, blind, idiotic, pauper or convict. 15 
fifties and very early sixties quite a The development of this frontier re- 
number of settlers had founded homes in gion was destined to delay. It had only 
Martin, Jackson, Cottonwood, Murray fairly recovered from the effects of the 
and Nobles counties. Some of the coun- Inkpadutah, or Spirit Lake, massacre 
ties east of these had not been seriously and the hard times period when the 
affected by the Indian outbreak, and had outbreak of the civil war in 1861 again 
substantial settlements. 18 set a brake on emigration. Then in 

Eleven families, comprising thirty-five August, 1862, was inaugurated the ter- 

people, had pushed out to the heretofore rible Sioux war, which again depopu- 

unknown Nobles county country. That lated the western part of Minnesota and 

was the number found by Elias D. Brun- crimsoned the fair soil with the blood 

er, assistant marshal, who took the cen- of so many innocent men, women and 

"The federal census of 1860 showed the fol- **It is greatly to be regretted that nothing 

lowing: populations: further can be learned of this attempted early 

Faribault 1,335 settlement. Although I have made extensive 

Blue Earth 4,203 research for information concerning it, I have 

Brown 2,339 been able to find little more than is contained 

Watonwan in the bare census returns. These people 

Martin 151 doubtless came to Nobles county some time 

Jackson 181 after the Spirit Lake massacre, and probably 

Cottonwood 12 only a short time before the census was taken. 

Murray 29 This is made evident from the fact that in 

Nobles 35 three different families were children of two 

Rock 23 years of age or younger, and none of them 

Pipestone was born in Minnesota. How they happened 

to locate in this frontier land, stories of their 

M The list was obtained from the director of adventures, when and why they left, will 

the census at Washington through the kind- probably always remain a mystery. We can 

ness of Hon. W. S. Hammond. only surmise. 

Digitized by 









*John Oleson 



Barbara Oleson 


it J 

Maria Oleson 



George Oleson 




Betsey Oleson 



*Uriah Kushman 



Betsey Kushman 

Hownis Kushman 



William Kushman • . . 



Ann Kushman 



♦John Bell 



New York 

♦Thomas Marks 

Henry Jordan 




*George Wilkin 


Indian Trader 


♦George Bumgardner 




Ann Bumgardner 



Henrietta Bumgardner. 



Willmetto Bumgardner. . 


Maria Bumgardner 



•William Hertwinkle 




Julia Hertwinkle 



Thomas Hertwinkle 


4 t 

Marie Hertwinkle 



William Hertwinkle 



♦John Hertwinkle 




Joanner Hertwinkle 


t I 

Monnie Hertwinkle 



Thomas Hertwinkle 


Farm Laborer 


♦George Evert. . 




Henry Hanson 




♦William Eavens 



Maria Eavens 



Thomas Eavens 



♦George McFarlane 



Henry McFarlane . 



'Heads of families. 

children. Fiendish atrocity, blood curd- 
ling cruelty and red handed murder ran 
riot. At New Ulm was enacted one of 
the most atrocious massacres recorded in 
the annals of Indian warfare. At lake 
Shetek, in Murray county, and other 
places in southwestern Minnesota the 
murder crazed redskins fell upon the 
settlers and enacted lesser tragedies — 
lesser only because the victims were not 
so numerous. Those farmers, trappers 
and traders who had builded themselves 
homes in Nobles county had taken their 
departure, and so escaped the fate that 
befell so many in southwestern Minne- 
sota. Whether they had departed of 
their own volition or taken alarm and 
retreated when the Indians went on the 

warpath is not certain. It is certain 
that they were not in the country dur- 
ing the war, and nearly every trace of 
their occupancy disappeared. 

The growth of Minnesota received a 
set back from which it took many years 
to fully recover. After the inauguration 
of this fiendish warfare the western fron- 
tier line receded eastward, and the great- 
er portion of southwestern Minnesota 
was again left in the midst of the hostile 
Indian country, and for many months 
no white man trod its soil. After the 
settlements in the eastern part of the 
state had partially recovered from the 
first rude shock of the Indian outbreak, 
which fell like a thunderbolt from a 
clear sky, steps were at once taken to 

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defend the exposed settlements, to con- 
quer the redskins and drive them back. 
The civil war was in progress, and the 
majority of the able bodied settlers were 
in the south fighting for the union. It 
therefore required some time to muster 
troops and place them in advantageous 
positions to cope with the wily red foe. 
In the meantime the Indians carried on 
their brutal warfare, murdering men, 
women and children, and burning as 
they went. After considerable delay the 
Indians were driven back, soldiers were 
placed all through this western country, 
and the prairies were constantly patroll- 
ed by companies which were detailed 
for this service. 

The expeditions against the hostile 
Sioux resulted in Nobles county being 
frequently visited by military parties. 
On one occasion a force under General 
Thomas pursued a band of the hostiles 
to the shores of Okabena lake and be- 
yond. For convenience in operating 
against the savages military roads were 
constructed in different parts of the 
country. One of the main thoroughfares 
was through Nobles county, extending 
from Jackson to the present site of Lu- 
verne and on to Yankton. Another one, 
coming from Blue Earth City, united 
with this on section 27, Graham Lakes 
township. The road from Jackson cross- 
ed Hersey township, traversing it in a 
northwesterly direction. It crossed Jack 
creek and entered Graham Lakes town- 
ship in section 34, continued in a north- 
westerly direction to its junction with 
the other trail on section 27, and then 
bore to the southwest. It passed through 
the northern part of Elk and Summit 
Lake townships and entered Larkin a 
short distance southeast of the present 
village of Wilmont. Larkin township 
was traversed, the road leaving it at 

section 18. Lisinore township was en- 
tered at section 13; thence the road con- 
tinued its way through sections 14 and 
15 and on to the west. The road was a 
good one, and in after years was used 
as the mail route from Blue Earth City 
and Jackson to Luverne, Sioux Falls and 
Yankton. To this day evidence of the 
old road can be seen in places. 

The savages were soon subdued after 
troops were placed in the field, but for 
a number of years the settlers on the 
extreme frontier lived in a state of con- 
stant fear and anxiety, not knowing at 
what time the scenes of 1862 might be 
repeated. Soldiers were kept on the 
frontier for some time, and some of 
them were among the first settlers to 
take up their homes in the new country 
when peace was assured, not a few se-. 
lecting their claims while here in the 
service. When peace was established on 
the border, settlement again began — de- 
stined this time to be permanent — and 
the frontier line moved westward very 

During the first half of the sixties the 
settlement did not extend so far west as 
Nobles county, if we expect a few trap- 
pers who regularly plied their trade here. 
A few of these built shanties, which 
they occupied during the trapping sea- 
son. They would then depart to their 
homes farther east or south and dispose 
of their catch. Sometimes they would 
return to the trapping grounds of No- 
bles county the next season; sometimes 
they would not. In no sense of the 
word could they be called permanent set- 
tlers. They neither laid claim to land 
(except under the unwritten law govern- 
ing trapping rights) nor intended to 
make their homes here. On the other 
hand, while those first settlers who came 
in the earlv summer of 1867 also en- 

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gaged principally in trapping for a liv- 
lihood, they were "permanent settlers, and 
the settlement of the county may pro- 
perly be said to date from that time. 
They came to build permanent homes for 
themselves and engage in agricultural 
pursuits so soon as conditions would per- 
mit, and they all took land claims. Their 
trapping was done because of necessity, 
not because they were trappers. 

When the settlers of 18(JT appeared 
they came as pioneers to a new country. 
Practically all trace of the former occu- 
pation had disappeared, and the only evi- 
dence found were a few trappers' shacks 
and dugouts. These early settlers knew 
nothing, or very little, of the people who 
had preceded them, so completely had the 
efforts at civilization been obliterated, 
and few people today know that there 
were settlers prior to 18t>7. 

For evidence of occupation of Nobles 
county prior to the arrival of the settlers 
of 1867 I am under obligations to .Fudge 
B. W. Woolstencroft, now of Slay ton, 
who became a resident of the county 
July 4, 18(>T. In his occupations of 
hunter, trapper and surveyor he visited 
nearly all parts of the county in the 
early days, and knows whereof he speaks. 
The evidence of this letter and other 
sources of information lead to the be- 
lief that evidence of former occupation 
had almost completely disappeared. 
Judge Woolstencroft writes: 

Slayton, Minn., June 24, 1!M)7. 
Mr. A. P. Rose, 

Worthington, Minn. 
Dear Sir: — So far as I know, and am of 
the opinion that no one known better, there 
was no settlement in Nohle.s county prior to 
1867 — no village laid out or platted. I re- 
member seeing an old map, upon which 

'"Early settlers also report the finding of 
evidence of a trappers' camp in Klk township, 
on Elk creek, which had probably been in 
existence from an early date, 

"Much confusion has resulted because of the 
peculiar naming of this road, which was 

(■retchtown was marked as being located 
near the south end of West Graham lake, 
but there was no evidence of a plat or set- 
tlement when I came to the county. 

There was a trapper's shanty on section 22, 
on the southwest bank of West Graham, and 
one on what has been called "the Island." 
These were made by digging two or three 
feet in the ground, the walls built up of 
logs and covered with brush, hay and earth. 

There was also a trapper's shanty on the 
east bank of Ocheyedan lake and one on 
Indian lake, but 1 do not know the exact 
location of the latter. These were all the 
evidences of settlement prior to 18b7. 

Yours truly, 


When the civil war closed, railroads — 
those great civilizers — began reaching out 
and interlocking through the Northwest. 
For Minnesota this was the starting 
point of such an era of rapid growth 
and development as was the marvel of 
the times. The iron horse had reached 
the eastern part of southwestern Minne- 
sota late in the sixties, and early in the 
next decade railroads were built through 
and beyond these counties. It was in 
1S71 that the first railroad was built 
into Nobles county, although the road 
was projected and the preliminary sur- 
vey made as early as 18(>b\ This was 
done by the Minnesota Valley Railroad 
company, which later became the St. 
Paul & Sioux City and the Sioux City 
& St. Paul. 17 The line of the proposed 
road eniered Nobles county in section 12, 
(iraham I .dikes township, and passed in 
a southwesterly direction between the two 
Graham lakes. It left the township at 
section 31, passed through the northwest 
corner of 1 Jersey and into Worthington 
township, continuing its general south- 
western direction, going along the north 
and west side of West Okabena lake. 

the southern end was officially known as the 
Sioux City & St. Paul. They were to all in- 
tents one road, owned by the same people and 
maiuiKMl by the same officers, 
built from St. Paul to I.eMars. The northern 
portion was the St. Paul «& Sioux City, while 

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The route thus surveyed was much Ion- A country through which railroad sur- 

ger than the one finally decided on. Af- veys are. being made is not destined to 

ter the land grant had been secured — al- remain long without settlers, and the 

ternate sections in a strip of country on year 186G marks the close of an era. 

each side of the survey — the route was At that time there was not a settler in 

changed to the shorter one, over which the county, Nobles had not yet been 

the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & divided into townships and smaller di- 

Omaha is now operated. visions, it was an untamed country. 

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EARLY SETTLEMENT — 1867-1871. 

Facts supplying the context of tlie 
preceding chapter lead to the conclusion 
that the settlement of southwestern Min- 
nesota, and particularly Xobles county, 
was exceedingly slow. Obstacles to its 
development were encountered that tried 
men's souls. Few communities in these 
United States have been called upon to 
pass through struggles such as were en- 
countered by the early settlements (or 
settlers, rather) of southwestern Minne- 
sota. The hardy pioneers would push 
their way to the frontier and establish 
themselves nicely when the war whoop 
would resound over the prairies. Then 
the country would have to be abandoned, 
and the savages would remain in control 
until the oncoming tide of immigrants 
would again force its way westward. 

After this civil war was brought to a 
close immigration to the western states 
was large, and it was during this period 
that permanent settlement was made in 
Xobles county. It was in the month of 
June, 1867, that Nobles county received 
its first settler. There is always some- 
thing connected with the settlement of a 
country that interests. Often there is a 
tendency on the part of the chronicler 
to paint, polish and varnish the stories 
of early days. Sometimes those who 
were the principal actors in the drama 
enacted are unable to recognize them- 

selves or their part in the play. It is 
my intention to steer clear of this error 
and avoid fiction in dealing with the 
eajly day events, and to rely solely upon 
the facts to make the narrative interest- 

The beautiful Graham lakes country 
was the first portion of the county to 
receive settlers. They were attracted by 
the natural beauty of the place, as well 
as the fact that there were about sev- 
enty-five acres of timber on the lakes — 
an important item to the first settlers. 
On the 19th day of June, 1867, Stephen 
and Joseph Muck (brothers) came from 
Jackson and decided to make their 
homes in the beautiful lake country. 
Joseph Muck had resided at Jackson for 
many years, having been there at the 
time of the Spirit Lake massacre in 
1857; Stephen Muck 1 was a recent ar- 
rival. The former had visited the Gra- 
ham lakes country previously and knew 
of its advantages. Arriving there, the 
brothers appropriated the old trapper's 
shanty on section 22, mention of which 
has been made before. 

The land had not yet been surveyed, 
but these pioneers of pioneers were not 
to be deterred from becoming land own- 
ers because of that fact. Each laid claim 
to a homestead by "squatter's rights." 
Joseph Muck staked his claim on the 

"For sketch of the life of Stephen Muck gee biographical section. 


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south bank of West Graham lake, which, 
when surveyed, proved to be the south- 
east quarter of section 21, Graham Lakes 
township. His brother laid claim to 
land on the east bank of the lake, which 
proved to be the northeast quarter of 
the northwest quarter and lots one and 
two, of section 22, consisting of 133 
acres. The brothers at once plowed a 
few acres of land, which they planted to 
corn. 2 Then they returned to Jackson 
to attend to their harvest there. In the 
fall they returned to their claims. Jos- 
eph Muck was accompanied by his fam- 
ily, and Stephen Muck by his five child- 
ren — Agnes, Elizabeth, James, Emma 
and Charles. 3 

Before the Muck families came that 
fall, however, a few other settlers had 
come for the purpose of acquiring homes 
in the new country. While the Mucks 
were at work on their claims in June, 
John Barnett and Martin Rice, formerly 
of Fillmore county, Minn., arrived on 
the scene. Finding the land unsurveyed, 
they were unwilling to locate lest they 
should happen to get on odd numbered 
sections, which under the land grant had 
become the property of the railroad com- 
pany. They started out With the Mucks 
on their return trip to Jackson during 
the first days of July. 

At the outlet of Heron lake this party 
was met by Benjamin W. Woolstencroft,' 
formerly of Clayton county, Iowa, and 
his brother-in-law, Charles H. Drury, 
formerly of Fillmore county. Minn., 
who were also on their way west looking 

for homes in the unsettled sections. 
These two informed Messrs. Barnett and 
Rite that congress had made provisions 
for the protection of "squatters" who 
might locate on railroad land. They 
Mere convinced, and all, four set out 
for Graham lakes, while the Mucks con- 
tinued their journey to Jackson. The 
party of four arrived on July *4, and 
all immediately staked claims. 

Mr. Woolstencroft located on the 
northeast bank of the west lake, which 
was afterwards found to be the south- 
ea>*t quarter of section 15. Mr. Drury 
toi)k land on the east bank of the east 
lake, which was the southeast quarter of 
section 23. Later in the year he brought 
in his family. Mr. Rice took the east 
half of the northeast quarter of section 
15, and Mr. Barnett the northeast quar- 
ter of section 9. Each of these four 
erected log cabins, 5 put up a small 
amount of hay and did some little break- 
ing. Although Messrs. Rice and Bar- 
nett had made improvements on their 
claims, they -deserted them after a short 
time and did not return to the county. 
B. F. Tanner arrived in the settle- 
ment in July with his family and se- 
lected the island in East Gr ham lake at. 
his claim, but made no improvements 
thereon. A few more homeseekers ar- 
rived in the fall, and the little settle- 
ment began to take on the airs of civili- 
zation. 0. B. Lacy came and took up 
land in section 22, but did not make 
improvements. E. J. Clark arrived Nov. 
20. and H. M. Tanner the same month. 

2 A question has been raised as to who was 
the first man to put plow in Nobles county 
soil, the claim of one of the early settlers of 
the Indian lake country having been advanced. 
There was no settlement there whatever prior 
to 1869, and the fact that plowing was done in 
the Graham lakes county in 1867 is beyond 
dispute. The honor belongs to the Muck 
brothers, if we leave out of the consideration 
the possibility that the earlier settlers may 
have engaged in agricultural pursuits. 

:, Now resides at Kinbrae. 

4 See biographical section. 

•In th" fall Mr. Woolstencroft learned that 
his house had been "renoved" by one of his 
neighbors, and. therefore, he was compelled to 
delay the removal of his family until spring. 
ut which time the neighbor "made good" by 
furnishing another and better lot of logs than 
those he had taken. 

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John Leitz and family arrived in the 
fall and settled on the claim which had 
been deserted by John Barnett. An- 
other arrival of the year was W. H. 
Ingles. This completes the list of all 
who came to the settlement during the 
year. All of these did not pass the 
winter in their new homes, as several 
went out to make arrangements for 
bringing in their families or to remain 
away permanently. Those who passed 
the winter of 1867-8 in Nobles county 
were Chas. H. Drury and family, Steph- 
en Muck and children, Joseph Muck 
and family, B. F. Tanner and family, 
John Leitz and family and 0. B. Lacy. 
Ail of the early settlers of Nobles 
county took land with the idea of ulti- 
mately engaging in farming, and most 
of them did so. But conditions were not 
propitious for carrying on agricultural 
pursuits in anything but a meagre style. 
Here was a mere handful of men gath- 
ered together a long distance from civ- 
ilization and all that goes to make life 
comfortable. The nearest market was 
Jackson, a little inland hamlet on the 
frontier itself. There the Graham lakes 
settlers had to -go for their flour and 
other necessities of life. There were no 
threshing machines in the country, and 
the nearest flouring mill was miles away. 
It would have been unprofitable business 
to raise small grain, which could not 

•Big same was also quite plentiful for a few 
years after the first settlers arrived, and oc- 
casionally some of it would be bagged for 
food. The bison had nearly all left the coun- 
try by the time these settlers arrived, but 
Nobles county's prairies were thickly covered 
with his bleechlng bones, and his wallows 
were seen in all parts of the county, indicat- 
ing that this had been a favorite pasture 
gTound. So far as I have been able to learn, 
only two bison In native state were ever seen 
in the county after settlers arrived. These 
two were seen by B. W. Woolstencroft on the 
prairie at a distance. But quite a band of 
them undoubtedly had their home here during 
the summer of 1868. On land in Seward town- 
ship which is now the farm of W. H. Booth 
was found evidence that a herd of forty or 
fifty had spent the season there. The camp- 

have been threshed and could not have 
been taken to market except after a 
long and rough journey. 

So the pioneers contented themselves 
with raising potatoes, corn and garden 
truck for their own immediate needs, 
and that was the extent of farming op- 
erations the first four years. Countless 
hardships were endured during these 
years. Almost without exception, the 
settlers were poor men, who had been 
attracted to the new country because of 
the desire to become the owners of 
homes. Without means to accomplish 
this in the settled portions of thts coun- 
try, they resolutely pushed out onto the 
frontier, where free homes could be se- 
cured under the homestead laws. 

Not being able to earn a livlihood at 
farming because of the inconveniences 
before mentioned, they turned their en- 
ergies in another direction. The coun- 
try was literally alive with small fur- 
bearing animals, including muskrats, 
foxes, martens, mink, badgers and 
skunks, and the taking of their furs of- 
fered profitable employment. 6 So the 
farmer settlers became trappers. Inex- 
perienced in the art of setting traps, 
they had no easy task. They were often 
caught in the blizzard miles from home, 
sometimes being on the prairie during 
an entire storm, where nothing but cour- 
age and physical strength could save 

Ing place and wallows were found, but If 
the herd itself was seen it was not reported. 
Elk were here in more considerable numbers 
and remained for several years. In all parts 
of the county they were found. The first set- 
tlers in the Indian lake country saw many of 
them, and old settlers of that neighborhood 
report having seen them In bands of 100 or 
more, and they frequently dined on elk 
meat. One of the Graham lakes settlers has 
told me that he counted a band of seventy - 
two at a point four miles north of the pres- 
ent village of Worthington. So late as 1872 
and 1873. after the settlers had begun pouring 
In by the hundreds, elk were occasionally 
seen by the colonists who had made their 
homes on the prairies. Only on rare occasions 
were deer seen, a few having been reported 
seen in the Indian lake country. 

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them. But in time all became expert 
trappers. Generally the market for fur 
was good, and thousands of dollars worth 
was taken during the season. 

During the months of July and Au- 
gust, 1867, the county was divided into 
townships by a party of surveyors. This 
proved of little benefit to the settlers, 
however; but next year the section 
lines were run, and thereafter homestead- 
ers were able to definitely locate their 

During the summer of 18f>7 a mail 
route was established from Blue Earth 
City to Yankton 7 over the old military 
trail, which passed through the Graham 
lakes settlement. The line was then 
complete from the Mississippi to the 
Missouri. Philo Hawes was the contrac- 
tor, and "Stormy Jack" Grier was the 
mail carrier. 8 In January, 1868, a post- 
office was established for the benefit of 
the settlers, and Chas. H. Drury became 
the county's first postmaster. He was 
succeeded by H. C. Hallett, who also 
"kept tavern" in a log hut. 9 In 1874 
the office was moved to the home of N. 
H. Smith, on section 24, and that gen- 
tleman served as postmaster until the 
office was discontinued in 1879. Then 
the Graham lakes settlers were supplied 
from the Airlie (Kinbrae) office. 

There were only a few additions to 
the settlement in 1868. John Woolsten- 
croft arrived in the Graham lakes settle- 

T Thls was an extension of the old route 
from Red Win* to Blue Earth City, which 
was opened In 1856, and of which Philo 
Hawes was the contractor. The country be- 
tween those towns was then as wild as was 
Nobles county during 1867. and there was only 
one stopping place along the route. 

""One thing we must not forget to mention, 
and that is the mall route. Under the man- 
agement of Philo Hawes. it was one of the 
Institutions of which we felt proud, and the 
many acts of kindness bestowed by the con- 
tractor will never be forgotten by that band 
of pioneers."— An Early Settler. 

•A party of the National colony founders 
who spent the night there in 1871 reported 
that Mr. Hallett informed them that Tor- 

ment June 2 and settled on the claim 
that had been deserted the year before 
by Martin Rice. Johii Anscomb and 
family came that year, and possibly a 
few others joined the band on Graham 
lakes. In March the first white child 
born in the county arrived on the scene. 
She was Minnie Leitz, daughter of Mr. 
and Mrs. John Leitz. 10 

The Okabena lake country received 
its first settlers on September 24, 1868, 
when \V. A. (Andy) Dillman, 11 Frank 
Fortner and John Wilson, trappers came 
and erected a sod and log shanty on the 
east bank of East Okabena lake. Fortner 
remained only two days, and then re- 
turned to Blue Earth City. Wilson 
stayed a month, and then he, too, re- 
turned to Blue Earth City. Dillman, 
however, remained until Christmas, and 
lie was rewarded with a fine catch of 
furs. Around the Okabena lakes and 
the sloughs in the vicinity were many 
kinds of fur bearing animals. During 
the three months he was there Mr. Dili- 
man secured about 1,000 muskrat, 12 
fox, fixe mink and several other hides. 
These he disposed of at Jackson and 
Spirit Lake. He then departed for the 
settlements farther east, but returned 
to Xobles county early the next year. 12 

The running of the section lines dur- 
ing the fall of 18f>8 was an item of 
great importance to the people then liv- 
ing in the county. Before that event the 

merly he had kept the mail in his hat, but 
that recently the business had grown so that 
a drawer was necessary, and that there was 
a prospect of his salary being raised to $10 
a year. 

IO The first mate child born In the county 
was Arthur A. Woolstencroft, born July 20. 
1869. the son of Mr. and Mrs. B. W. Wool- 

"See biographical section. 

"Mr. Dillman Informs me that during his 
residence here in 1868 his nearest neighbors, 
excepting the. settlers of Graham lakes, were 
two families who lived where Lake Park, Iowa, 
now is, and two or three families who were 
located on Rock Creek, in Rock county. 

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settlers held their land by "squatter's 
rights ;" now they were enabled to defi- 
nitely locate their lands and make their 
filings in the government land office at 
Jackson. Under contract, dated Aug. 
3, 1868, Surveyors E. H. L. Jewett and 
G. 6. Howe undertook the work of 
making the survey. Accompanied by a 
man named Howard, they at once en- 
tered upon their duties, and from Aug. 
27 to Oct. 29 they were engaged in sur- 
veying the section lines and marking 
the corners of all the townships except 
the western tier. 18 The four townships 
on the western border were surveyed by 
R. H. L. Jewett, under contract of July 
30, 1869, during the fall of that year. 14 

There is no evidence that Indians ever 
had their permanent villages located on 
Nobles county soil, but such may have 
been the case. For a few years after the 
first settlers came, however, Indians were 
permanently domiciled here. In Sep- 
tember, 1868, a band of seven or eight 
families came down from the Pembina 
country (from the Minnesota side of the 
river), and spent the fall trapping on 
Graham lakes. Part of the Indians 
were full blooded Sioux ; the others" were 
half breeds (English and Chippewa). 

Although perfectly friendly, their ar- 
rival created something of a stir, and 
at least one young man will remember 
them during his lifetime. He was the 
son of John Anscomb, one of the set- 
tlers of Graham lakes. He was return- 
ing from the postoffice when he came 
suddenly upon a number of teepees erect" 
ed immediately in his pathway. He had 
passed over the road less than an hour 

'The surveys of the several towrshlns were 
nade as follows: Hersey, Auff. 27-Sept. 1; 
F^ward. Sept. 1-4; Bloo^, Sent. 4-7; WIIItioth. 
Sept. 8-10; Larkin, Sept. 11-15: Summit Lake. 
Sept. 15-18; Elk, Sept. 19-23; Worthinston, 
Sept. 23-26; Dewald. Sept. 26-30; Olney. Sept. 
30-Oct. 2; Little Rock. Oct. 3-6; Ransom, Oct. 
7-10; Bigelow, Oct. 12-16; Indian Lake, Oct. 

before, and his surprise was great. Ter- 
ror lent wings to his feet, and he lost 
no time in getting home. He left the 
road, waded the outlet of Jack lake, 
where the water was up to his chin, and 
came on a run to his father's place, his 
eyes bulging, and so out of breath that 
he could with difficulty tell of his find. 
Messrs. Anscomb and B. W. Woolsten- 
croft set out at once to investigate. They 
found the Indians to be friendly and in 
possession of passes from the agent, per- 
mitting them to leave the reservation 
and to hunt and trap. 

The Indians spent a few months in 
the vicinity, and then returned to their 
northern homes. The next year they re- 
turned and made their camp on the west 
shore of Ocheyda lake. They spent the 
winter of 1869-70 there. They were on 
very friendly terms with the whites, and 
more than one of the pioneer settlers 
could vouch for their hospitality. An- 
other band of Indians and half breeds 
made their home for a while on Indian 
lake. They had their tepees in the tim- 
ber of the lake when the first settlers 
located there in 1869, and were there 
two years. There were seventeen fami- 
lies of them, and they spent their time 
in trapping and hunting. Their rela- 
tions with the few whites there were al- 
ways friendly. 

More settlers arrived in 1869. In the 
spring of the year came H. L. Wallace, 
B. B. Brain and several others to the 
Graham lakes country. W. A. Dillman, 
nccompanied by Aaron Fortner, returned 
to the county in February to resume 
trapping operations. They took up their 

15-20; Lorain, Oct. 20-22; Graham Lakes, Oct. 

"The dates of survey of these four town- 
ships were as follows: Westside, Aug. 30- 
Sept. 4; Grand Prairie. Sept. 6-11; Leota, Oct. 
1-6; Lismore, Oct. 7-13. 

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abode on the east shore of Ocheyda lake, 
taking possession of an old trapper's 
shanty which they found at that point. 
They remained there until the close of 
the fur taking season in the spring, and 
made a good catch. They divided ter- 
ritory with the Indians in the vicinity, 
and were the only white men in the 

To the Indian lake country, in the 
southeastern part of the county, came 
a few resolute pioneers in 1869, who had 
all the experiences and suffered all the 
hardships of first settlers. Although the 
Graham lakes country had been settled 
for two years, it was some twelve or 
fifteen miles distant, with barren coun- 
try intervening, and there was no in- 
tercourse between the two communities. 
The Indian lake settlement was as iso- 
lated as had been that of Graham lakes 
two years before. 

Isaac Horton was the first to take a 
claim in the Indian lake country. He 
had moved to Spirit Lake in 1867, and 
during that year had visited Indian lake 
while on a hunting trip. He liked the. 
looks of- the country and decided that 
some day he would make his home there. 
On May 6 he filed on land on the east 
side of Indian lake, and on October 3 
he moved his family there. About the 
middle of May, Henry Brayton, accom- 
panied by his family, came to the same 
vicinity and selected land on the west 
side of the lake, on section 34. There 
was at that time not an inhabitant 
within many miles, and Mrs. Brayton 
was the pioneer white woman of In- 
dian Lake township. Chas. W. Bullis 
also came that, spring and took a home- 
stead. R. L. Erskine and family, con- 
sisting of a wife and five children, ar- 
rived in the fall and located on the east 
bank of the lake, on the northwest quar- 

ter of section 35. Soon after, however, 
he abandoned that and filed on land in 
section 26, just to the north of his first 
locatiou. He built a sod house, in which 
the family lived for several years. His 
trading point was the old town of Mil- 
ford, Iowa. Asal Horton came the 
same year, but departed in 1870. Myrus 
Johnson came in the fall and located on 
the southeast quarter of section 26, and 
made his home there until about 1875. 
A. 0. Campbell also came that year. 

The surroundings of these few settlers 
were romantic. Surrounding their homes 
were the camps of the redskins, who 
were then in that locality. Wolves 
howled in the timber skirting the shore 
of the lake and made night hideous. To 
build their homes lumber had to be 
hauled from Mankato, nearly 100 miles 
away, or else log and sod shanties had 
to suffice. 

Many stories of hardships and dan- 
gers encountered by the first settlers have 
been told. An incident of the year 1869 
is worthy of being placed on record. The 
following is from the pen of B. W. 
Woolstencroft : 

Tn February, I860, a company consisting of 
John Anscomb and his son, William, Chas. 
TIaus and C. M. Thompkins (a Quaker who 
had both his feet frozen off on a former oc- 
casion) started out to find a slough in town 
102, range 40 (now Worthington township). 
They were not certain of its whereabouts, 
and did not understand traveling by the sec- 
tion, and consequently got lost. The second 
day in the morning they were overtaken by 
a storm of blinding fury and could only 
guess their course. After wandering about 
for two days on the prairie they happened 
to find the corner of a section of which I 
had given them a plot with the section, 
town and range mRrked thereon. They then 
knew where they were for the first time in 
two days. They turned their team around 
(for they were going almost directly away 
from home), and, although the poor cattle 
had been three days traveling in the snow 
with no roads, nothing to eat but a little 
cornmeal, and were snow blind, they had to 
be driven home to save the lives of the men, 
as they, too, were snow blind with one ex- 

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ception, and that one nearly so. The won- 
der was that they were not all frozen to 

The same writer gives another instance 
of adventure in a blizzard the next win- 
ter in which he was personally inter- 
ested : 

The other case was Chas. Derby and the 
writer. We were camped on the bank of 
Summit lake in a small tent. On the night 
of the 17th of January, 1870, a severe stnrm 
arose and raged for three days and nights. 
The snow drifted terribly, covering the tent 
and crowding it down so that we had no 
room to lay down. On the third night at 
nine o'clock we started home, having been 
ejected, fo to speak. We had no road, no 
guide, and the thermometer at 27 degrees 
below zero. We got along very well until 
we got into a large slough, where the snow 
was very loose and deep, and we could find 
no way out for some time. When we did 
my feet were frozen almost solid. We fin- 
ally arrived home about three o'clock in the 
morning. I could enumerate a number of 
instances of like adventures, but these are 
enough to satisfy me, and 1 judge will sat- 
isfy the reader. 

That winter was an exceptionally se- 
vere one, and "lingered in the lap of 
spring." The settlers suffered severely, 
and many were the narrow escapes from 
death in the storms. Early in March 
occurred one of the big blizzards, which 
lasted six days. This was followed on 
the 21st and 22nd by another severe 
storm, in which three lives were lost — 
the first of several in the county's his- 

On March 21 there passed through the 
settlement at Graham lakes over the old 
trail two freighting outfits bound for 
Sioux Falls. Three men were in charge 
of these outfits — two Johnsons, father 
and son, and a man named Sharp. They 
hailed from Lesueur county and were 
freighting flour to the Dakota settle- 
ment. When the storm struck fear for 
the safety of the freighters was felt by 
the people of Graham lakes. On the 
23rd, the storm having abated, the whole 

community turned out to search for the 
strangers. That day the bodies were 

It appears that the storm had struck 
them when they had reached a point in 
Seward township, seven miles west of 
Graham lakes. They camped there that 
night, and the next day set out on their 
journey. Seven or eight miles farther 
west — in the township of Bloom — Sharp 
was stricken. His dead body was found 
beside those of his horses. Two miles 
farther on the Johnsons unhitched their 
team and tied the horses to the sled. 
Both were overcome by the blizzard and 
met death. The body of the elder man 
was found wrapped in bed quilts about 
two rods from the sled. The body of 
the son was discovered between that of 
the father and the sled. 

Two months after this disaster came 
another event of thrilling interest. In 
May, 1870, the settlers about Graham 
lakes were electrified by the rumor that 
the Indians were coming to "wipe them 
out," and although the rumor proved 
groundless there were exciting times 
among the little band. The scare was 
originated by John Leitz and Lyman 
Oaks, the latter from Cottonwood county, 
who went to New TTlm to dispose of 
their fur, the product of their winter's 
trapping. While there they were enter- 
tained with stories of the 18G2 massacre, 
and on the way*home they allowed their 
imagination to work to an extent suf- 
ficient to make them see Indians all 
over the prairie. Immediately upon 
their return they spread the alarm and 
succeeded in creating considerable ex- 

Some were in favor of abandoning the 
settlement and leaving for a more civil- 
ized community, others to stay and fight 
it out. The latter prevailed, and a corn- 

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pany was organized to defend their 
homes. S. E. Harris was chosen captain, 
John Cunningham, first lieutenant; B. 
W. Woolstencroft, second lieutenant; B. 
F. Tanner, sergeant. It was decided to 
fortify the island in East Graham lake, 
and to accomplish this to build a stock- 
ade across the two narrow strips of land 
connecting it with the main land, and 
work was at once commenced to that 

The captain and first lieutenant de- 
tailed themselves to go to Jackson for 
ammunition (which may not look very 
military; nevertheless it is true), leav- 
ing the command in the hands of Sec- 
ond Lieutenant Woolstencroft and Ser- 
geant Tanner. The officer in command 
was taken sick, the weather was exceed- 
ingly warm, and the men preferred sit- 
ting in the shade and telling stories to 
building stockades. So the work lagged. 
Lieutenant Woostencroft recovered some- 
what from his sick spell, returned across 
the lake, and took charge of the opera- 
tions. Work was at once resumed, but 
the hot weather had overcome the fright 
of the workers, and their work plainly 
showed that they were beginning to 
doubt the stories told by Oaks and Leitz. 

Their scepticism was short lived. 
About five o'clock in the evening Emma 
Muck, a girl of some fourteen years, 
who lived with her father on the east 
bank of West Graham lake, arrived on 
the scene and told the men she had seen 
five Indians on the west bank of the 
lake. The men required no one to urge 
them to work from that time, and more 
work was done from that moment un- 
til nightfall than during the whole day 
previous to that time. B. W. Woolsten- 
croft and E. J. Clark mounted the only 

"One of the members of this pioneer mili- 
tary company has facetiously remarked: "For 
this service we never received any pay; and 

horses in the place, except the team that 
had been taken to Jackson, and scoured 
the country west of the lakes, with the 
result that they found five sand hill 
cranes. This relieved the tension some- 
what, but that Indians might be in the 
country and on the war path had not 
been disproved. 

The suggestion that the settlers of 
Cottonwood county, living at Lake Tal- 
cott and on the Des Moines river, should 
be notified was acted upon. A courier 
took a horse, and, going first to lake 
Talcott, eight miles away, notified John 
Crapsey's people, then rode down the 
river two miles and notified the Doore 
brothers. The latter came over the next 
morning, joined the company, and did 
excellent service in telling stories. By 
the time the captain and first lieuten- 
ant had returned from Jackson the rest 
of the company had worked upon Leitz 
and Oaks to a point where they were 
willing to admit that most of the story 
was imagination. The stockade was 
never completed. The work was so ad- 
vanced, however, that less than one 
day's work would have put it in shape 
to hold it against any number of In- 
dians. The company was disbanded, 
thankful that the Indian scare had 
been conducted without Indians. 15 

The people of Nobles county did not 
put in all their time having experiences 
in blizzards and planning defense against 
Indians, however. Most of the settlers 
were of religious and social disposition, 
and one of their first considerations was 
religious worship. In the spring of 1870 
John Crapsey, a Lutheran preacher who 
had located on Crapsey lake in Cotton- 
wood county — only a short distance from 
the Graham lakes settlement — was in- 

I have not heard of anyone who received pen- 
sions for wounds received or injuries incurred.*.' 

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Looking Down Main Street from Third Avenue, Where the State Bank of Worthington 

Now Stands. 

Showing the Same Block Thirty-four Years Later. 

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/ / 

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strumental in organizing the first Sun- 
day school in Nobles county. The school 
was held in a combination sod and log 
shanty on the island, the home of B. 
F. Tanner. Nearly all the settlers at- 
tended the meetings of the school, the 
average attendance being about 25 or 
30. John Crapsey was superintendent; 
Mrs. B. F. Tanner, assistant superin- 
tendent and primary teacher; S. R. 
Harris, bible class teacher. 

By an act of the legislature, approved 
March 7, 1870, the counties of Nobles 
and Rock were detached from the county 
of Martin, with which they had formerly 
been attached for judicial purposes. Pro- 
vision was made for holding court in 
Jackson county, and the two counties to 
the west were attached to that county 16 

The first federal census after settlers 
arrived in the county was taken in 1870. 
According to it there were 117 people 
residing in the county on the first day 
of June. 17 Of these, 108 were native 
born; nine were foreign born. Of the 
108 native born, 25 were born in Min- 
nesota, 19 in New York, 14 in Wiscon- 
sin, eight in Illinois, one in Ohio, and 
41 in other states. Of the nine for- 
eign born, three were born in Greait 
Britain, two in British America, two in 
Germany, one in Ireland and one in 
Sweden. Of the total population 63 
were males and 54 females. Of the 
adult population (over 21 years of age), 
the sexes were evenly divided, there be- 
ing 36 of each. 

Rumors that a railroad was to be 
built through Nobles county within a 
short time were responsible for a com- 
paratively large settlement during the 
year 1870. The Graham lakes and In- 

dian lake countries received the bulk 
of this immigration, but a few pushed 
out a little farther and made settlement 
in what are now Seward, Hersey and 
Bigelow townships. Being obliged to de- 
pend wholly upon the memory of the 
few surviving settlers of the early days 
(and memory is a fickle thing at best,) 
it is impossible to give a complete list 
of the arrivals. 

Among the first corners of the year 
were two parties from Rochester, Minn, 
both of whom arrived at Graham lakei 
on May 15. The parties were composed 
of J. II. Cunningham, E. W. Iiessel- 
roth, Richman Morton, Chet. Cutting, 
Stephen Howell and a Mr. Stanfield. 
These men were on their way to Sioux 
Falls, looking for homes in the new 
western country, and were traveling 
ovqr the old trail. When Jack creek 
was reached the party was met by II. C. 
Hallett, who advised them that they 
could do no better than cast their lot 
with the people about Graham lakes. Mr. 
Hallett, himself, had arrived only a 
short time before. The new arrivals 
decided to take a look at the country. 
They did so, and all except Stanfield 
took claims in what later became Gra- 
ham Lakes township. He remained in 
the s<ttlement about a month and then 
returned to his old home. Capt. J. W. 
Miller came in June and settled near 
Graham lakes. A man named Bent 
came in the fall and located on section 
10 of the same township. Other settlers 
of that year were Benjamin Harrison, 
S. R. Harris, Wm. H. Brown, W. G. 
Brown, J. W. Palmer and John Hart. 18 
Nearly all these brought families with 
them. Three settlers, one of whom was 

"Nobles remained attached to Jackson un- Murray, 209; Jackson, 1,826. 
11 1873. when i " 
was established 

til 1873. when a Nobles county district court took the Nobles county census. 
>IisI • 

Aiken Miner 

ls Took homestead in 1870, but did not make 
"Other nearby counties: Cottonwood, 534; his permanent home there until the next year. 

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Wm. W. Cosper, arrived in the fall and 
took claims in Seward township. Ed- 
ward Berreau took up a residence in 
Hersey township that year. 

To the southeastern portion of the 
county in 1870 also came quite a num- 
ber of settlers, many of whom were 
Scandinavians. The first of these were 
Ole Ellingson and John Christ Johnson, 
who came in the spring. Closely follow- 
ing these were two brothers, Ole Fauskee 
and Ole A. Fauskee, who filed on claims 
June 8. The former selected land on 
the north shore of Ocheyda lake (the 
northwest quarter of section 6) ; the 
latter took a preemption claim on the 
same section. The brothers walked into 
Nobles county from a point in northern 
Iowa, where they had left their families, 
then walked to Jackson, where they 
made their filings, and from there back 
to where their families had been left. 
They constructed a combination log, sod 
and hay shanty, in which they lived five 
years. 19 

Henry Haggard arrived in the same 
neighborhood on June 10, and became 
a permanent resident. Eric B. Paul 
came to the county in May, and in Au- 
gust took up land. Nelson Coyour located 
at the south end of Indian lake on sec- 
tion 34. John Brown took up land m 
section 26, where he lived until about 
1874. Gundro Joul homesteaded on 
section 18, and lived there until the 
late seventies. Grove Lummis, a sin- 
gle man, located on the southwest quar- 
ter of section 20, built a cabin, but soon 
after departed. A. A. Abbott took as 
his claim the northeast quarter of sec- 
tion 28 and became a permanent settler. 
Samuel Barnes took land in the vicinity. 
Nels Gilson settled just over the line in 
Bigelow township. A. M. McCollum 

"See biographical section. 

and two boys located at lake Ocheyda, 
just south of the isthmus, and lived in 
a dug-out. Nearly all of these settlers 
in the Indian lake and Ocheyda lake 
countries brought families with them 
and became permanent settlers. Many of 
them are today living upon the land 
they took in that early day. 

The census taken in the spring of 
1870 had shown a population of only 
117 people, but during the remainder of 
the year the emigration had been large, 
and by fall the population had very 
nearly doubled. This large increase and 
the prospects of very rapid settlement in 
the near future, due to knowledge that 
the railroad was coming, brought up the 
question of county organization. The 
act of 1857 creating the county was 
still in force, and all that was necessary 
to bring about the organization was to 
secure the appointment of three com- 
missioners by the governor. 

The matter was first discussed by the 
settlers during the first few days of Oc- 
tober. Nearly all the householders of 
the Graham lakes community had gath- 
ered at the home of H. C. Hallett, who 
was conducting a "house raising." There 
for the first time the matter was dis- 
cussed. There was no formal meeting, 
no "whereases" and "theref ores ;" the 
question was talked over, and afterwards 
a \ r ote on the question was taken. There 
was no opposition, and the settlers then 
named Chas. H. Drury, B. W. Wool- 
stencroft and Benjamin Harrison com- 
missioners, who should take the neces- 
sary steps to bring about the organiza- 
tion. Mr. Woolstencroft wrote to Gov. 
Horace Austin, stating the facts and 
asking that official to name commission- 
ers who should be empowered to set the 
machinery of county government in mo- 

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Governor Aifttin responded promptly. 
He named as commissioners the three 
gentlemen who had been selected by the 
settlers, and these, in accordance with the 
provisions of section 11 of the act of 
185?, at once proceeded to name the 
other county ofEicers 20 and perform the 
other duties of their offices. On Oc- 
tober 27, 1870, the commissioners met 
for the first time at the home of Chas. 
H. Drury, in Graham Lakes township, 21 
and the government of Nobles county 
was under way. The first acts of the 
board were to make provision for the 
general election to be held in Novem- 
ber, for which notices were ordered post- 
ed; to divide the county into three elec- 
tion precincts — one in Indian Lake and 
two in Graham Lakes; and to appoint 
the county officers. This organization 
was doubtless legal, but to avoid any 
possibility of future trouble, the legis- 
lature on Feb. 17, 1874, passed an act 
declaring the organization legal. 22 

Hardly had the county organization 
been perfected when talk of erecting a 
court house began. S. K. Harris, the 
county auditor, was the prime mover in 
the matter, and he proposed that the 
county should erect a suitable building 
in Graham Lakes township. The com- 
missioners, as well as the people in gen- 
eral, did not approve the idea. They 
held that when the county became set- 

*For the early political history see chapter 

"Under the original act the county seat had 
been named as Gretchtown. But, as there was 
no such place when the organization was per- 
fected (and never had been), the commission- 
ers exercised considerable latitude in the mat- 
ter of selecting a county seat. As a matter 
of fact, there was no county seat during the 
first few years. The county officers (what 
few had any duties to perform) transacted 
the county business at their respective homes. 
Until the faU of 1871 the board met at the 
home of Chas. H. Drury. Then the residence 
of H. D. Bookstaver became the regular meet- 
ing place. There was no iron clad rule pro- 
viding that the "county seat" should be at 
any particular place, and the meetings of the 
board were held where it was the most con- 

tled, a more central location for the 
county seat would be selected, and that 
it would be folly to erect a county build- 
ing in Graham Lakes township, in the 
extreme northeastern part of the county. 
So "no action was taken. 

The winter of 18^0-71 was another 
one of hardship and suffering for the 
settlers of Nobles county. Again was a 
life sacrificed to the terrible blizzard. 
The one called was Mrs. J. W. Palmer, 
of Graham Lakes township, one of the 
county's most talented and highly re- 
spected women, and her tragic death 
was a terrible shock to the community. 
Mrs. Palmer, who was soon to become a 
mother, was alone with her small chil- 
dren in the family home when the bliz- 
zard struck. Her husband had been 
obliged to make a trip to Lake Shetek. 
He had made arrangements to have one 
of the neighbor's boys come and stay 
with his wife during his absence, but 
the boy did not put in an appearance. 

Mr. Palmer was delayed and was ab- 
sent from home three days. When he re- 
turned he found the children in the 
house alone. He notified the neigh- 
bors, and a search was at once instituted. 
At daybreak the dead body of Mrs. Pal- 
mer was found, partly drifted over 
with snow, about one hundred rods from 
the house. By following the back tracK 
it was found that she had wandered 

venient. In the proceedings of Jan. 9. 1872, 
was an entry providing that the next meeting 
should be held at the home of J. H. Cunning- 

a "An act to legalize the organization of the 
county of Nobles and to legalize the official 
acts of the officers of said county. 

"Be it enacted by the legislature of the 
state of Minnesota. 

"Section I. That the proceedings for the or- 
ganization of the county of Nobles be and the 
same are hereby declared legalized, and the 
county of Nobles is hereby declared to be a 
legally organized county, and the official acts 
of the officers of said county since its or- 
ganization are hereby legalized. 

"Section II. This act shall take effect and 
be in force from and after its pasage. 

"Approved Feb. 17, 1874." 

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about in the storm for a long time and 
had covered considerable ground. Alone 
and in distress, she had left home in 
search of help, and had miserably per- 
ished in the storm. 28 

In the spring of 1871 a second Sun- 
day school was organized in the Gra- 
ham lakes country, the one started the 
preceding year having been discontinued 
during the winter. The school was held 
in a sod shanty, which had been used by 
surveyors, and which was located on the 
north shore of the east lake. W. H. 
Brown was superintendent and taught 
one of the classes. E. W. Hesselroth 
was the other teacher. 

Public schools were also established, 
for a time supported by subscription. 
The first was held in the open, in the 
shade of a huge elm tree which stood on 
the island in Graham lake. The people 
of the Indian lake country also estab- 
lished a school. A log structure was 
built by the settlers at the inlet at the 
north end of Indian lake; Miss Mary 
Jemerson was the first, teacher. 

The communities about Graham lakes 
and Indian lake asked for township or- 
ganizations in the spring of 1871, and 
favorable action was taken by the county 
commissioners. These were the only 
townships in the county with any consid- 
erable settlement at the time. Graham 
Lakes township has the honor of being 
the first to be granted local government. 
A petition had been circulated and pre- 
sented to the board, and on April 11 
that body declared the township for- 
mally organized by the following pro- 

a An outgrowth of this death was one of 
the most noted law suits ever originated In 
N*obles county. Mr. Palmer brought suit 
against Warren Smith for slander, and after 
a prolonged trial judgment to the amount of 
$1 was given the plaintiff. 

**The lakes in the township furnished the 
name. Although I have made diligent search 

STATE OF MINNESOTA. County of Nobles. 

Pursuant to the petition of the majority 
of the legal voters of township number 104, 
range 39, in said county, we, the county 
commissioners of said county, did on the 
11th day of April, A. D., 1871, at the house 
of \Ym. H. Brown, in said county, proceed 
to fix and determine the boundaries of such 
new town and to name the same, and did 
then and there lay off said town and desig- 
nate the boundaries thereof as follows, to- 
wit: Commencing at the northeast corner of 
section one, township 104; thence west to 
the northwest corner of section six, town 
104; thence south to the southwest corner of 
section 31; thence east to the southeast cor- 
ner of section 3b"; thence north to place 
of beginning. 

The petitioners failing to designate the 
name of said town we, the commissioners, 
did name such town Graham Lakes.* 4 In 
testimony whereof we have hereunto set our 
hands and caused the seal of said board to 
be affixed this 11th day of April, A. D. 


Wm. H. Brown, Clerk. 

The people were not slow in perfect- 
ing the township organization. A "town 
meeting" was held at the residence of H. 
C. Hallett on Friday, April 21, when of- 
ficers were elected, and township govern- 
ment began. The meeting was held in 
compliance with an order of the com- 

The people of the Indian lake country 
were only a few days behind their neigh- 
bors to the north. On March 14 the 
following petition was circulated: 

STATE OF MINNESOTA. County of Nobles. 
To the Board of County Commissioners of 
Said County: The undersigned legal voters 
of said town in township 101, range 39, in 
said county of Nobles, which said* township 
contains twenty-five legal voters, do hereby 
petition your honorable board to be organ- 
ized as a town, and respectfully request that 
you forthwith proceed to fix and determine 
the boundaries of such town and to name 
the same as provided by law. 

for the origin of the name "Graham," I have 
discovered not the slightest clue. The lakes 
were known by the name they now bear when 
the settlers of 1867 arrived, and no one of 
them has been able to tell me for whom or 
what they were named. It is possible that 
they were named in honor of some trapper 
of the early days who operated in the vi- 

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Dated this 14th day of March, A. D. 1871. 

[Signed | Isaac Horton, J. D. Brown, R. L. 
Erskine, L. \V. Brown, R. 0. Brown, James 
Christ ianson, G under 0. Joul, Frank H. Mosh- 
er, Chas. B. Bullis, John Haggard, H. M. 
Johnson, John Haggard, Jr., Ole Ellingson, 
Alhert L. Haggard. 

[Addenda] By request of above legal vot- 
ers we petition that said township 101, range 
39, be named Indian Lake. Also that said 
town 101, range 39, be organized with of- 
ficers elected. 

The commissioners acted favorably on 
the petition April 22, and the county's 
second township was organized and nam- 
ed Indian Lake. 25 Soon thereafter the 
first town meeting was held and the or- 
ganization perfected. 

Following is a partial list of the set 
tiers of 1871, with the dates of arrival 
and place of settlement, when known: 26 


A. L. J. Cornish. 
John Hart. 27 
Henry Holmes. 
Michael Maguire. 
Anton Nelson. 
Joseph Stone. 
Peter Swartwout. 

"This township also took its name from 
Its- principal lake. The lake was so named 
by the first settlers because of the fact that 
when they arrived there in 1869 there was 
quite a band of Indians camped there, who 
remained in the vicinity for several years. 

"Data for the preparation of this list has 
been obtained from many sources — from per- 
sonal interviews, from a register of early 
settlers prepared by the Nobles County Old 
Settlers' association, from an historical atlas, 
and from the Nobles county poll list for the 
election of Nov. 7, 1871. It has been taken 
for granted that the names on the poll list 
were of men who were residents of the 
county. A few of these may l)ave been set- 
tlers of prior years. A few of those on the 
list came to the county in 1871, took claims, 
but did not become permanent settlers until 
the next year. 

"Took claim in 1871. Became permanent 
settler in 1872. 

*Mr. Church came to the county early in 
September and took as a homestead the south- 
west quarter of section 32. His home was in 
Missouri, but during the summer of 1871 he 
had been harvesting in the neighborhood of 
Rochester, Minn. Hearing of the railroad 
building through this part of the state, he 
decided to come and take land. It was his 
intention to take a claim at a point where it 
was believed the Sioux City & St. Paul and 

H. D. Bookstaver. 
S. W. Laythe, May 25. 
Warren Smith. 
Frank Zeiner. 
Englebrith Zeiner. 


Herman Berreau. 

Otto Berreau, June 2. 

John J. Fitch. 

Erastus Church. 28 

Jonathan Gordon, 29 May 28. 

William Cunningham. 

Chas. Frisbie. 


W r m. Dwyer, 30 June. 
Robert Firth, 31 Sept. 30. 


John Blixt. 32 

Lars Johnson. 

John 0. Larson 83 

E. Nordquist, May 23. 

Ole N. Langseth, 34 June. 

Nels N. Langseth, June. 

Henry Solomonson, 36 December. 

the Southern Minnesota would cross. He 

walked from Winnebago City to Jackson, and 

then caught a ride to Graham lakes. Mr. 

Church was here eight days in 1871. In 

May of the following year he returned and 
has since made his home here. 

^Brought his family with him. Filed on 
land in section 2. 

'•Mr. Dwyer and his eldest son had come 
from Albert Lea to Nobles county to work on 
the new railroad. In June he filed on the 
southeast quarter of section 10, and that has 
ever since been his home. His family joined 
him in the fall. 

"Homesteaded the northwest quarter of sec- 
tion 6. With him were his wife and four 
sons. R. A., William, Joseph and Arthur. They 
came from Whitewater, Wis. 

^Accompanied by a wife and three sons. 

w Did not become a permanent settler until 
the next year. 

"Came from Wisconsin with family consist- 
ing of the following children: Nels, Jens, 
Martin, Martina and Olof. 

"Arrived just before Christmas with wife 
and three children. Settled on southwest 
quarter of section 18. 

Digitized by 




Charles Saxon. 36 

August Anderson, 37 September. 

Peter Nystrom. 

John Nystrom. 

Gust Nystrom. 38 

Albert Haggard. 

James Walker, 39 October. 
Otto Burroughs, 39 October. 
Albert Pygall. 40 
Hosie Bryant. 40 
Ole Nystrom. 
Hans Nystrom. 
C. J. Wickstrom. 
Peter Wickstrom. 
Erick Mahlberg. 41 
Jonas Moberg, 42 June 21. 
Peter Larson. 43 
Lars Elofson, 44 October 12. 
Lars Erickson. 45 

J. T. Whitlock. 

••Did not become a permanent settler until 
following 1 year. 

"Came to reside permanently in 1872. 

••The NVstroms had just arrived from 
Sweden. They settled on the western edge 
of Indian Lake township. 

••Both these gentlemen were accompanied by 
their families and came together, and both 
settled on section 20. Mr. Burroughs died the 
following summer. Mr. Walker threw up his 
claim and took another one in Indian Lake. 

*°Came together and took homesteads near 
the Indian Lake line. Mr. Pygall proved up 
on his homestead and later was a stage 
driver on the line from Worthington to Sioux 
Falls. Mr. Bryant had a contest and lost his 

"A party consisting of Ole and Hans Ny- 
strom, Charles J. and Peter Wickstrom, Erick 
Mahlberg and Elof Nordquist in the spring of 
1871 were engaged in working on the new 
railroad through southwestern Minnesota. 
They all left their work during the month of 
May, and. under the guidance of L. B. Ben- 
nett, filed on homestead claims in Nobles 
county — all in Blgelow township except Mr. 
Nordquist, who took his claim over the line 
In Indian Lake. The Wickstrom s and Ny- 
stroms took all of section 24; Mr. Mahlberg 
filed on the southwest quarter of twelve. 
They took possession of their claims on 
October 28. 

«Took the northwest quarter of section 26. M Left soon after, but became a permanent 

Was later Joined by his family. resident the next spring. 

W. A. Dillman. 46 
C. C. Whitney, June. 
E. F. Whitney, June. 

0. M. Whitney, 47 June. 
John Alley, August 12. 

Cyrus Ciingensmith, August 12. 
B. R. Prince, August 12. 
L. B. Bennett, May. 
G. J. Hoffman. 48 
August Lang. 49 


Prof. R. P. Humiston. 51 

H. W. Kimball, September. 

S. C. Thayer, September. 

L. F. McLaurin. 

Levi Shell. 

Daniel Shell, December. 


Henry Davis. 

E. C. Pannell, 62 September. 

1. N. Sater. 

Peter Thompson, 58 September. 

"Accompanied by his wife and two chil- 
dren, Jacob and Lewis. Took the northeast 
quarter of section 26. 

"With wife and four children settled on the 
northeast quarter of 14. 

"With his wife settled on the southwest 
quarter of 14. 

"Had been in the county since 1868. In the 
spring of 1871 took a claim on section 34. 

47 The Whitneys selected a quarter section 
each on section 30, and secured about as 
sightly locations as could be found in the 

4 *Came very early in the year and was the 
first permanent resident in the township. First 
lived in a dug-out on the south bank of Oka- 
ben a lake. Later he brought down a house 
from St. James, and started the now famous 
Ludlow grove. • 

"Mr. I^ang took a claim on land that later 
came into the possession of Allen Chaney. 
He and Mrs. Lang lived in a dug-out about 
thirty rods from the house later erected by 
Mr. Chaney. He left the county in 1872. 

^Worthington was founded in the fall, and 
nearly all the residents of 1871 engaged in 
business or were there for the purpose of do- 
ing so in the spring following. 

"Founder of Worthington. Was in the vil- 
lage only part of the time in 1871. 

ft2 Had visited the site early in the spring. 

Digitized by 





Wm. B. Moore. 

E. E. Humiston, Nov. 3. 

A. P. Chamberlain. 

C. C. Goodnow. 
J. C. Goodnow. 
Jerry Haines. 
Wm. F. Hibbard. 
Jerome Stewart. 

W. H. Booth, February. 
Philo Snyder. 

J. H. Scott, September 16. 

D. K. Gordon, September 16. 
Joseph Hill, 64 September 16. 


E. E. Fields. 
Knute Thompson. 65 
Knute Thomas. 
Hans Paulson. 
Ole Gars. 

Hans Olson. 
Ole Peterson. 
Chris Peterson. 66 
J. D. Roberts. 
Henry Bo6twick. 
Anthony Thompson. 
Edward F. Erickson. 

S. D. Tinnes, 67 July. 

Miles Birkett. 

"Messrs. Scott, Gordon and Hill came to- 
gether and took claims on section 24. Mr. 
Scott's family came about one month later. 
Hill left the county about 1874; Gordon in 
1878; Mr. Scott is still a resident of the 
county. These three were the only settlers in 
the township in 1871. 

'•Messrs. Fields and Thompson took their 
claims in July and were the first settlers of 
the township. 

••A few days after the arrival of Messrs. 

Fields and Thompson, a party of six whose 

names are given above arrived in the town- 
ship and all took claims. 

James Walker. 
George Barnes. 68 
Oscar D. Bryan. 69 
Oley A. Olson. 
Thomas Johnson. 
H. A. Swenson. 
John Butcher. 
C. C. Peterson. 


Hans Halverson. 

Wm. Travis. 

Chas. H. Weise. 

John Meyer, June 2. 

T. G. Bigelow, September 19. 

Thos. Wills, May 12. 

C. L. Peterson, September 12. 
Jas. Hazard, November, 22. 

D. A. Reynolds, June. 
G. K. Middleton, June. 
S. P. Middleton, June. 
L. A. Lytle, June. 
Carl Nelson. 

A. W. Burnham. 
Wm. M. Bear. 

E. J. Bear. 
Henry Fullweiler. 
Al Fullweiler. 
Eli Fenstermaker. 
Knut Holden. 

N. V. McDowell. 
Phil Reynolds. 
P. G. Swanson. 
John Ilpstrom. 
Asher A. Allen. 
L. Allen. 

BT Was the first to take a claim in Olney 
township. He filed on land in section 34, but 
did not become a permanent resident until 

w The three settlers first named came to the 
township in the spring of 1871 and filed on 
claims on May 18. They were the first set- 
tlers of the township. 

••Took his claim on section 18 in June and 
has resided there since. 

"•Most of these settlers were in Graham 
Lakes and Indian Lake townships. 

Digitized by 




Mark Amundson. 
Martin Amundson. 
Rasmus Anderson. 
Caleb Blake. 
Orwen Blake. 
Alexander Clark. 
Nathaniel Cox. 
Orange Chapman. 
Chas. H. Cutler. 
Daniel Downy. 
Stephen A. Door. 
Selim Fox. 
H. A. E. Hesselroth. 
Hearth Bros. 

E. F. Jackson. 
Bennett Linderman. 

J. Parshal and brother. 
Joseph Stone. 
Irwin S. Swan. 

F. Umbrid. 
Isaac Waterhouse. 
Wm. Willcox. 
John Weston. 

J. Westinghouse. 
Wolf brothers. 

Frank Tucker. 

Elihue Ellis. 

Ole Johnson. 

Jas. Christianson. 

Louis Sundburg. 

Andrew Sundburg. 

P. S. Swanson. 

Hanson Estrom. 

Louis Hardo. 

Henry M. Johnson. 

The county officers had neglected to 
make a tax levy for fthe year 1871, and 
as a result the annual financial state- 
ment for that year is an interesting 
document. Following is the statement 
as recorded by the board of county com- 
missioners at the meeting of March 13, 

On motion the board proceeded to make 
their annual statement, the following which 
they certify to be fuU and correct for the 
year 1871: 

Receipts during the year $ 0.00 

Expenditures 130.03 


Floating debt in county orders $130.03 

St. Paul Pioneer Press Co., for books, 
. stationery, etc 508 .40 

Total indebtedness $638 .43 

Assets $ 0.00 

Digitized by 




A new epoch begins. 

We have seen Nobles county grow 
from an unpopulated and unknown coun- 
try in the early days of 1867 to a com- 
munity of some little importance in the 
closing days of 1871. Remarkable had 
been the changes wrought in less than 
five years. But how much more re- 
markable is the story of advancement 
we have to record for the year 1872. 
During that one year a revolution was 
accomplished. Where were found a pos- 
sible 300 or 400 men, women and chil- 
dren at the close of 1871, one year later 
were living nearly that many thousands. 
Nobles county had advanced from one of 
the least known and least settled coun- 
ties in southwestern Minnesota to a 
populous and the most talked of county 
in the state. Everybody was headed 
for Nobles county. In hundreds of 
homes in New England, New York, 
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and 
other eastern and central states people 
were discussing the new county — its 
soil, its climate, its prospects — and plan- 
ning to cast their lot there. 

In- the office of the Toledo Blade, in 
Toledo, Ohio, was born the idea that 
brought about this abnormal interest in 

"There were two men who took a prominent 
pert In the early history of Nobles county who 
bore the name A. P. Miller, but who were not 
related. The one who aslsted in establishing: 
the colony is referred to as Dr. A. P. Miller 
in aU places in this volume. The other A. P. 

the heretofore unknown county of No- 
bles. It was during the year 1871. There 
were present when the matter was first 
discussed D. R. Locke (Petroleum V. 
Nasby), Prof. R. F. Humiston, of Cleve- 
land, Dr. A. P. Miller, editor of the 
Blade, and A. P. Miller, also connected 
with that publication. 1 The idea was 
to organize a company for the purpose 
of locating a colony of settlers in some 
western country. The name first pro- 
posed was Blade colony, but before an 
organization was perfected the name be- 
came National colony. 

Miller, Humiston & Company was 
the name of the company which con- 
ducted the colony enterprise. Prof. R. 
F. Humiston and Dr. A. P. Miller were 
the gentlemen who owned the majority 
of the stock, and upon them devolved 
the management. These gentlemen had 
no place selected in w T hich to plant their 
proposed colony, and they immediately 
set out to select one. They traveled 
over 20,000 miles, 2 examining the coun- 
try from Missouri to the Red River 
coun try, and from Iowa to Utah. 

In a happy moment they wandered 
into Nobles county, and were so struck 
with the beauty of the location, the fer- 

Miller. who was for many years publisher of 
the Worthington Advance, is referred to with- 
out any title. 


^Worthington Advance, Sept. 26, 1874. 

Digitized by 




tility of the soil and the prospect for 
an immediate and convenient market for 
the products of the soil that negotia- 
tions were at once opened with the 
Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad com- 
pany, with a view to securing the rail- 
road lands in Nobles county for their 
colonization purposes. An agreement 
resulted, by the 'terms of which Messrs. 
Miller and Humiston secured, upon ad- 
vantageous terms, control of the rail- 
road lands 8 (odd numbered sections) in 
twelve townships in Nobles county and 
three and one-half townships adjoining, 
in Osceola county, Iowa. The contract 
was closed in the fall of 1871. 

Almost immediately settlers began 
arriving, as has been stated in the pre- 
ceding qhapter. Most of these secured 
claims on government land, and then re- 
turned to their homes for the winter. 
The colony company laid its plans on 
an elaborate scale. Almost as soon as 
the contract was signed the village of 
Worthington was founded, as a base 
from which to operate. During the 
winter the company carried on an adver- 
tising campaign, which for thorough- 
ness has seldom been equalled in the his- 
tory of colonization projects. It was 
liberal, but judicious. By this means 
the company came into correspondence 
with thousands of persons who were in- 
terested in the scheme. 4 A few came 
on at once and wintered in the new 
settlement ; the many waited until spring. 
Then came the deluge. 

In the spring of 1872 hundreds flocked 
to Worthington and took up adjoining 
lands. The government lands within a 

•Which had been acquired from the govern- 
ment under the land grant. 

4 In making the personal interviews for the 
preparation of this work I invariably asked 
each pioneer settler how it happened that he 
came to Nobles county. In nine cases out of 
ten the answer has been that it was because 

radius of eight or ten miles of the town 
were soon taken, and many had settled 
at other more remote points in the 
county. Much of the railroad, or col- 
ony, land was also quickly disposed of 
and passed into the hands of people who 
had come to make their homes here. 
Miller, Humiston & Co. expended be- 
tween $40,000 and $50,000 in locating 
the colonists and in setting on foot en- 
terprises designed to found a prosperous 
community. An idea of the settlement 
of the year is gained when it is known 
that between 10,000 and 20,000 acres of 
raw prairie land were broken out. Be- 
tween five hundred and seven hundred 
families arrived during the year, and 
many others purchased shares, took 
claims, and made preparations to come 
later 5 . 

The settlers were a homogenous class, 
being nearly, or quite, all American 
born, and witli the current of their re* 
ligious faith * flowing calmly down be- 
tween the banks of an observably nar- 
row, but strikingly orthodox, stream. 
The evangelical denominations were all 
represented, with Methodist, Presbyter- 
ian, Congregational and Baptist churches 
leading in point of numbers. The colony 
was organized upon a temperance basis. 
The authorities determined that no al- 
coholic or intoxicating beverages, of 
whatever kind or character, should, un- 
der any circumstances, be sold within 
the limits of the purchase. This fea- 
ture was made a strong point in the ad- 
vertising, and attracted a people who 
were strong in their religious and tem- 
perance beliefs. The standard of mor- 

of the National colony advertising. The ad- 
vertisements and "readers" had been seen in 
the Toledo Blade or other papers patronized, 
or the settler had had his attention called to 
the project by some friend who had read 
the advertisements. 

•Minneapolis Tribune, Aug. 26, 1872. 

Digitized by 




ality was high (particularly so for a 
new community), and the courage and 
pluck of the first settlers is beyond ques- 

The colony company operated in 
Nobles county until the spring of 1876, 
when it withdrew. The terrible grass- 
hopper scourge had practically bank- 
rupted its promoters. Litigation over- 
whelmed Prof. Humiston, and the earn- 
ings of a lifetime were swept 'away. 
When disaster overtook the company its 
liberal policy toward the settlers became 
a thing of the past, and there was dis- 
satisfaction expressed in some quarters 
because of the policy of the National 
colony's managers. The conditions as 
they were during the active life of the 
company were summed up by the Win- 
dom Reporter of May, 1876, from which 
the following is taken: 

Local jealousy may have made Home of 
us look upon the colony enterprise with con- 
siderable prejudice, yet it is due to Prof. 
Humiston to say that he has accomplished 
a great deal for his town and county, and 
in a great measure his work and sacrifice 
are overlooked. He has spent probably not 
less than $50,000. the earnings of hi* life- 
time, and we infer has become seriously in- 
volved in his attempts to develop Nobles 
county and build up a model community. 
To accomplish this end he has spared noth- 
ing. He has been first in most of the en- 
terprises inaugurated in Worth ingt on. giving 
of his resources freely, if not lavishly, to 
make successful the numerous enterprises 
that have from time to time railed for as- 
sistance; the more public enterprises, the 
mill, the church, Miller hall, and kindred 
projects have in him met with the same 
generous and unselfish spirit. Xo doubt that 
to him the three magnificent institutions are 
indebted for life and success. He has in- 
duced hundreds of dollars of capital to in- 
vest at Worthington, and we guess that 
hardly a citizen but has derived more profit 
from his expenditures than he himself. His 
time and money have gone to build up the 
material prosperity of "Okabena," with a 
prospective view of profit in the future, to 
be derived from the sale of Tail road lands. 

Others have thrived and prospered, while he 
has become somewhat involved in litigation 
as the result of his personal enterprise and 
indomitable determination to either sink or 
swim with his colony. The professor has 
made many investments, and large ones, 
thought by many at the time to be injudi- 
cious and impracticable, but what would have 
resulted if the grasshopper had not visited us 
no one can fell; probably he would have met 
with better success, but having started, he 
was determined to go through with the un- 
dertaking if it took the last dollar. He has 
not worked without opposition, encountering 
it at home and in the neighboring towns, but 
he has worked for his life's idol against it 
all with an energy and perseverance that we 
certainly respect, and no doubt this is often 
overlooked by many who have cause to re- 
member his devotion to home prosperity. 
ProfesHor Humiston has done more to build 
up a barren and wild country than any one 
man in this part of the state. He has been 
the direct means of drawing to Nobles county 
a great amount of wealth, a refined and in- 
telligent community. . . Had it not 
been for the three years of grasshopper vis- 
itation the growth of this part of the state 
would have progressed, and prosperity would 
have abounded on every hand; then we 
could have seen whether Prof. Humiston's 
schemes were practicable, but since devasta- 
tion has been our lot it is surprising that 
Mr. Humiston has come out as lucky as he 

In giving the history of the National 
colony and its operations the chronologi- 
cal order of events has been interrupted. 
To return to the early days of 1872. 

The winter was quite severe. A heavy 
fall of snow in the early part of the sea- 
son blockaded the railroads and it was 
very difficult to obtain provisions for 
the settlers, many of whom were poorly 
provided therewith; in fact there were 
times when money would not buy pro- 
visions, and the man with money was in 
no better position than his less fortunate 
neighbor. 7 The exigencies of the times 
were increased because of disasters to 
some of the settlers during the year 1871 
from prairie fires and hail. Governor 
Austin, early in February, 1872, sent a 

•For sketch of the life of Prof. Humiston 
*ee the biographical section. 

T "It was no uncommon thing," a gentleman 
of the early days has written, "to see chil- 

dren of all ages running barefoot during the 
coldest days of winter. A gentleman who lived 
in Graham lakes informed me that he had 
seen a boy skating on the ice barefoot, and he 
seemed to enjoy the sport." 

Digitized by 




check for $100 to the county commis- 
sioners to' be divided among the needy. 8 
There were several applications for por- 
tions of this state relief fund, and on 
March 13 it was apportioned as follows: 
Nelson Coyour, $25.00; John H. Ans- 
comb, $21.50; Irwin S. Swan, $17.50; 
H. D. Bookstaver, $15.00. The remain- 
der of the money, $22.00, was given to 
R. L. Erskine on April 30. 

Nobles county was called upon for the 
first time, in 1872, to furnish jurors for 
the district court of Jackson county, to 
which it was attached for judicial pur- 
poses. The following were selected by 
the board of county commissioners on 
January 10: 

Grand Jurors — Orange H. Chapman, 
Isaac Horton, H. D. Bookstaver, Frank 
Tucker, B. W. Woolstencroft, A. A. 
Abbott, A. A. Allen, Warren Fish, Peter 
Swarwout, H. W. Kimball, J. W. Miller, 
H. Berreau. 

Petit Jurors — John Weston, Henry 
Brayton, H. C. Hallett, Albert Hag- 
gard, Byron Brain, E. W. Branch, H. 
L. Wallace, Henry P. Davis, Anton 
Nelson, William Rhinehari W. H. Booth, 
John Hart. 

Although the railroad had been com- 
pleted to Worthington in the fall of 
1871, and it had been the intention of 
the company to begin the operation of 
trains at once, it was the spring of 1872 
before regular service was established. 

""Treasurer Board of Commissioners. Noble 

"Sir: Please find check for $100, a dona- 
tion from the relief fund to sufferers by fire 
or hail in the county of Noble. I recommend 
the investment of this sum and an equal 
. amount donated by the county in such sup- 
plies' as will afford to destitute settlers the 
most relief. And that the countv board dis- 
tribute the supplies at once. Trusting: that 
every effort will be made to do good, and 
prevent abuses, I place the matter in their 
hands. Please acknowledge receipt on behalf 
of the county. 

"Per Wallace." 

The heavy snows kept the road covered 
nearly all winter. Occasionally during 
the winter a construction train would 
get through, but not often. The first 
passenger train arrived in Worthington 
April 16, and thereafter there was regu- 
lar service. The road was opened to 
Sioux City in the fall. 

The coming of the railroad brought 
about a change in mail facilities. In 
the spring of 1872 the old mail route 
from Jackson to Sioux Falls, via Gra- 
ham lakes, was discontinued, so far as 
that portion east of Worthington was 
concerned. The mail was now brought 
by rail to Worthington, and an overland 
route from that village to Sioux Falls 
was established. Philo Hawes, that pio- 
neer mail contractor, was given the con- 
tract, and "Stormy Jack" Grier was 
employed to carry the mail. Along this 
route came into existence a number of 
country postoffices and stage stations. 
In Nobles county were three such. The 
first out of Worthington was Dewald 
postoffice, located on section 20, De- 
wald township, less than a mile from 
the present village of Rushmore. J. B. 
Churchill was the postmaster. 9 Hebbard 
postoffice was on section 20, Olney town- 
ship, one mile east of the present vil- 
lage of Adrian. It was known as the 
Childs' place. The third postoffice was 
named Westside, and was on section 18, 
of whait is now Westside township. 10 
Renselear Simmons was postmaster. 

•Mr. Churchill located there in March. 1872. 
Early in 1873 he established a small store and 
stopping place, which was known as the 10- 
Mile house. 

10 Mr. Hawes retired Jan. 1. 1874, when Dan- 
iel Shell secured the contract, and for five 
years thereafter he conducted the mall, ex- 
press and passenger business over the line. 
During the first two years he had only two 
rigs, and made the trip three times a week. 
Thereafter trips were made dally, the 68 
miles being made on a ten hour schedule. By 
the time the contract expired Mr. Shell had 
fifty horses on the route, and the rigs were 
drawn by four horse teams. He had barns 

Digitized by 






*v^.^C » V 

KX, ^v^- __> *i^v<^ ' 

•5 L^^tt^t /K~t~ *»-~*. »~W«* 


Enclosing Check for $100 for the Relief of Sufferers 

from Fire and Hail During 1 87 1 in the 

County of "Noble". 

Digitized by 




- -.J 

Digitized by 




Because there was an enormous im- 
migration to the county in 1872 and the 
whole order of things was changed, it 
must not be imagined that the country 
was changed in a day. Most of the set- 
tlers arrived too late to get a crop in 
the ground, and very little was raised the 
first season. Except for the fact that 
the prairies became dotted with the 
homes of settlers, it was largely the same 
virgin country it had always been. 

The game lover found himself in a 
paradise. Birds abounded. There were 
ducks, wild geese, brant, curlew, peli- 
can and prairie chickens. The local 
poet wrote: "Fleets on fleets of ducks 
float 'round the lake/' Occasionally 
glimpses were caught of some of the big 
game that formerly roamed the prairies 
in vast numbers. The summer was fine. 
The days and nights were frequently 
glorified by thunder storms of terrific 
and ineffable grandeur. At night the 
colonists often sat till midnight watch- 
ing the frolic of sheet-lightning playing 
over miles of cloud banks, vividly sug- 
gesting the possible glories of another 
world. Vegetation grew rank. The far- 
mer rode along the creek bottoms or on 
the edges of the lakes and sloughs 
through seas of wild bluejoint grass up 
to the horses' backs. 

It was the experience of a lifetime, 
this breaking up the virgin lands and 
building a community from the ground 
up, and many have been the probable 
and improbable stories told of those days. 
Letters went back to the old homes in 
the east telling of how the colonists 

at Child's place, at Luverne, and at Valley 
Springs, S. D., where changes were made. 
James McRobert, now of Ellsworth, and 
Leonard McCllntock, now an engineer on the 
Omaha road, were drivers on this route dur- 
ing all the time Mr. Shell was the contractor. 
After trains were put in operation between 
Worthington and Luverne, the contract for 
carrying the mall between those two places 

planted corn with an ax and caught fish 
with a pitchfork, and how the pianos 
were set up in the shanty and the li- 
brary stacked up under the bed. 

Of the conditions and prospects, as 
viewed by those who were casting their 
lot in the new country, the following ex- 
tract from an article appearing in the 
Western Advance of Aug. 31, 1872, will 
give an idea: 

. . . But, railroad center or not, we 
are in the midst of one of the finest agri- 
cultural regions on the globe. The vast 
prairie rolls out on every side, covered with 
luxuriant grass, and we have only to put in 
the plow and reap the crop, to tickle it with 
the hoe, and it will laugh with the harvest. 
No clearing, ditching, grubbing or stone 
gathering to be done here, but simple, beau- 
tiful farming, where the improved agricul- 
tural implements can be used, and the farm- 
er can sit aloft in the shade and direct his 
team to a competence or a fortune. Of 
course hard work can and needs be done 
here as elsewhere, but the farmer can ac- 
quire an independence here with one-fourth 
the labor and one-fourth the time required 
in district* where clearing is to be done. 
The government lands have been nearly all 
taken, but there will be for the first year or 
two claims to be had at moderate figures. 
In some instances they have sold high, ac- 
cording to the value of the location or the 
judgment of the purchaser. In some cases 
thev are held as high for cash as the rail- 
road lands are held on five years time. The 
railroad lands around the town are grad- 
ually selling off, and by next vear a large 
amount will undoubtedlv be sold to men of 

The advertisements of the colony company 
throughout the eastern states are daily at- 
tracting the attention of substantial^ men 
who are writing for information or visiting 
the colony in person. To show the estimate 
that is nut upon the value of certain lands 
about Worthington, we may state that one 
gentleman has refused one hundred dollars 
an acre for land fronting on the shore 
of lake Okabena, and lands have been sold, 
a mile west from town, and fronting on the 
lake, for thirty dollars an acre. Another 
tract of ten acres has been applied for, and 

was sublet to the railroad company. There 
was a big rush to Rook county and the Sioux 
Falls countrv after the railroad building was 
begun, and during the time Mr. Shell operated 
his coaches only from the end of the rail- 
road at luverne to Sioux Falls, he did an 
immense business. His passenger list some- 
times ran as high as 75 or 100 per day. 

Digitized by 




the owner asks fifty dollars an acre and will 
not take a cent less. But abundance of 
good farming land can be had within from 
one and a half to three miles of town at 
from eight dollars to ten dollars an acre. 
In some instances government land may be 
had for less. 

The bulk of the settlement of 1872 
was in the eastern and southern part of 
the county, in that portion most acces- 
sible to the railroad. In nine of the 
townships the population had reached a 
point where the residents desired town- 
ship organization. Each of the town- 
ships of Worthington, Bigelow, Hersey, 
Grant (Ransom), Fairview (Lorain), 
Dewald, Little Rock, Elk and Seward, 
in the order named, asked for the priv- 
ilege of organizing, and in each case 
the request was granted by the county 
commissioners. All held meetings, elect- 
ed officers, and entered upon township 

The greatest settlement in the county 
was in and around the village of Worth- 
ington, and the people of that commu- 
nity were the first to circulate a peti- 
tion asking for the organization of their 
township. The petition was filed March 
30, 1872, and was signed by the follow- 
ing residents: William B. Moore, E. R. 
Humiston, J. B. Haines, Jr., J. C. Good- 
now, J. A. Jones, W. B. Akins, J. M. 
Brown, J. N*. Lemon, R. J. Cunding, B. 
P. Wickerstam, L. F. McLaurin, J. N. 
Fron, C. P. Hewitt, A. L. Perkins, W. 
S. Stockdalc, E. D. Southy, V. J. South, 
II. W. Kimball, H. P. Davis, J. W. 
Stonaker, W. H. Willmarth, W. R. Law- 
rence, Levi Shell, Daniel Shell, Samuel 
Leslie, R. D. Barber, Erastus Church, C. 
C. Goodnow, H. G. Foster, C. H. Stew- 

u For the history of the adoption of the 
name Worthington for the village see chap- 
ter 12. 

"The station had been named in honor of C. 

On April 30 the commissioners grant- 
ed the petition and named the new town- 
ship Worthington, after the village .of the 
same name. 11 On the 20th day of May 
following the first town meeting was 
held, and from that time dates the offi- 
cial existence of the township of Worth- 

The request for the organization of 
the township lying south of Worthington 
came on April 29, the petition being 
signed by James Maloney, Xels N. Lang- 
seth, Hans Nystrom, Charles John 
Wickstrom, Lars Elofson, P. A. Wick- 
strom, C. A. Tillander, Peter Larson, 
Ole Nystrom, Peter Nystrom, Erick Mahl" 
berg, Lars Eriekson, P. G. Swanson and 
L. P. Hardow. They asked that it be 
called Ocheeda township, but the fol- 
lowing day, when the commissioners 
granted the petition, they named the 
township Bigelow, after the railroad 
station of that name in the township. 12 
The first town meeting was held May 
20, the same day that Worthington town- 
ship was organized. 

Hersey 13 was the next to begin town- 
ship government. The potition was 
filed May 14, the board created the 
township May 30, and the first town 
meeting was held June 11. The signers 
to the petition were Geo. W. Pyne, Will- 
iam Grono, A. A. Parsons, D. Haffey, 
W. R. Bennett, John Manley, Chas. 
Frisbie, A. O. Conde, A. J. Timlin, 
Matthew Smith, Chas. Smith, Jos. S. 
Thurston, Wm. H. Berger, P. Haffey, 
Neil Mclhreavie and Matthew Smyth. 

The townships of Grant, Fairview, 
Dewald and Little Rock were all cre- 
ated by the county commissioners on 

H. Bigelow, of St. Paul. 

"The township took its name from the sta- 
tion of Hersey (now Brewster), which had 
been named In honor of General S. F. Hersey. 

Digitized by 




September 3, and the dates for the firat 
town meetings, as set by the commission- 
ers, were September 20. The people of 
Grant were the first to present the peti- 
tion. It was filed June 14 and was 
signed by the following settlers: John 
H. Scott, Joseph Hill, T. J. Belknap, E. 
H. Belknap, H. Nelson, Richard Pri- 
deaux, Benjamin Midboe, A. C. Guern- 
sey, Leroy Cole, B. F. Condgon, D. K. 
Gordon, Geo. M. Smith, S. I. W. Alen, 
M. S. Belknap. The first settlers of the 
township were mostly veterans of the 
civil war, and at their request the name 
Grant was given the township in honor 
of the great commander. For nearly a 
year that was the name. Then it was 
found that there was another township 
in the state with that name, and on 
July 10, 1873, the commissioners re- 

,4 Mr. Robert Shore furnishes a number of 
Items concerning the early days In Ransom 

"The first settlers In the town of Ransom 
were John H. Scott, D. K. Gordon and Joe 
Hill, who came together from Tama county, 
Iowa, in September. 1871. and took adjoining 
claims on section 24. At that time there was 
not a settler within miles of them. Mr. Scott 
and Mr. Gordon, with their wives, spent the 
winter of 1871-72 in the same house; and dur- 
ing that dreary winter, in that lone shanty on 
tbe prairie, far from neighbors and friends. 
was born to Mr. and Mrs. Gordon their first 
borp, Ti boy (Edward), — the first birth in 
what is now Ransom township. As this was 
before the town was organized, there is no 
mention of it in the town records. The first 
birth on record is that of Mary Scott, daugh- 
ter of John H. and Sarah A. Scott, born Sep- 
tember 27. 1872. 

"The first town meeting was held at the 
bouse of M. S. Belknap on section 14, Satur- 
day, September 21, 1872. Dr. Geo. O. Moore, 
Justice of the peace, of Worthington. was pres- 
ent and swore in as judges of election F. W. 
Burdette. M. S. Belknap and H. R. Gray, and 
l>voy Cole i\a clerk. At the election which 
followed seventvn vot?s were cast by the fol- 
lowing named persons: A. C. Guernsey. D. K. 
Gordon, M. S. Belknap, John H. Scott. L. S. 
Roberts. F. W. Burdette, Anthony Mutter. Le- 
roy Cole. R. Prideaux, Cole Guernsey, J. R. 
r>ewey. James H. Hill. Geo. M. Smith. H. R. 
Gray. Hiram Norton, B. F. Congdon, S. I. W. 
Alen. ' 

""When the votes were counted it was found 
that the following persons had been chosen 
as first town officers of the town of Ransom: 
H. R. Gray, chairman of the board of sup- 
ervisors; M. S. Belknap and A. C. Guernsey, 
supervisors: Leroy Cole, clerk; D. K. Gordon, 
treasurer; John H. Scott, assessor; F. F. Bur- 
dette and B. F. Congdon, constables; F. W. 
Burdette and Geo. M. Smith, justices of the 
peace. Of the men who were elected town of- 
ficers at the first election, but one remains 
with us in Nobles county today, John H. Scott, 

named the township Ransom, in honor of 
Prof. Ransom P. Humiston, one of the 
founders of the National colony. This 
was done by the commissioners without 
consulting the wishes of the people of 
the township. 14 

The petition for the organization of 
Fairview township was circulated July 5, 
and was signed by Richard D. Bagley, 
Albert Haggard, Lafayette Strever, A. 
A. Burton, Wm. P. Hamilton, Alfred 
Small, William Madison, James Hazard, 
Jeremiah Lynch, William Dedgon, P. 
Ulveling, Stephen Horake, Joseph Hor- 
ake, H. McCollum. The topographical 
features furnished the name Fairview, 
which it bore until June 15, 1874. Then 
the name was changed to Lorain, after 
the town of Loraine, Adams county, HI., 
the superfluous "e" being dropped. 15 

who may also be said to be the first settler 
in the township. Of the seventeen who voted 
nt th« first town meeting four only are in 
Nobles county today: John H. Scott. Cole 
Guernsey. R. Prideaux and J. R. Dewey. What 
memories are called up by the mention of 
some of these names! Of the seventeen who 
voted at the first election in Ransom, four re- 
main; where are the rest? Some have gone to 
their long home, and the rest are scattered to 
the four winds. Many left us on account of 
the struggle and poverty of those early days. 
In those times of grasshoppers, of blight and 
of blizzards, no wonder that men's hearts 
failed them. 

"I have endeavored to make a list of those 
who were neighbors in Ransom during the 
very early days. The list I have no doubt is 
far from perfect, but it is the best I could 
make at present: Settlers of 1871 — John H. 
Scott. D. K. Gordon, Joe Hill. Settlers of 1872 
— Leroy Cole, A. C. Guernsey, Cole Guernsey. 
M. S. Belknap, R. H. Belknap, H. R. Gray. 
F. W. Burdette. F. F. Burdette. R. Prideaux, 
C. W. W. Dow, 8. I. W. Alen, L. 8. Roberts. 
Hiram Norton, Anthony Mutter. J. R. Dewey. 
Geo. M. Smith. B. F. Congdon, Robert Shore, 
Thomas Jay, Geo. Jay, Frank Lane. John 
Lane, D. Davis, Jerry Twomey. D. C. Holmes. 
Dan Twitohell. David Twitchell, Waters. C. 
Chamberlain. H. Toms, Hoff, G. Rhone. Fnrn- 
ham, Lewis Larson. Hans Nelson. Gould. Bow- 
ers. Settlers of 1873— Geo. W. Dow. Geo. W. 
Miner. Settlers of 1874—1. N. Wilson, Wm. 
Clark. Other years— B. W. Goff. James Goff, 
P. McCann." 

W "A communication from the state auditor 
was presented, stating that older towns In 
the state bore the names of New Haven, Wil- 
son and Fairview, and requesting that the 
names of said towns be changed in conformity 
to law. The following names, by request of 
residents of towns, were changed by the com- 
missioners: New Haven to Olney; Wilson to 
Akin pater Summit Lake]; and Fairview to 
Lorain." — Commissioners' Journal, June 15, 

Digitized by 




The Dewald township petition was 
filed July 15 with the following signers: 
Amos Dewald, Jos. S. Randall, Edmund 
Bedford Nathaniel Childs, Benjamin T. 
Ross, C. D. Snow, A. B. McChord, Jonas 
Bedford, R. W. Miller, N. 0. Miller, 
Robert J. Daugherty, C. T. Shattuc, 
Thos. Wilson, Samuel F. Pepple, G. 
Grover Stoddard, P. A. Stoddard, J. B. 
Churchill, Hiram Dewald, Solon Haugh- 
ton, Wra. R. Lawrence. The name was 
given in honor of Amos and Hiram De- 
wald, pioneer settlers. 16 

The petition for the formation of 
Little Rock township was presented Au- 
gust 24 and was signed by the following 
settlers: Ole C. Peterson, C. C. Peter- 
son, Knute T. Thompson, Hans Paulson, 
P. Harrison, Hans Solberg, Hans Jen- 
sen, Edward E. Field, Christian Solberg, 
Hans N. Dahl, Gunder D. Tinnes, Will- 
am R. Queine, Gullick, Knute Thomp- 
son, J. D. Roberts, Henry Faragher, W. 
H. Bostic, E. S. Wickerre, D. M. Sweet, 
W. R. Faragher, Wm. Colvin, Wm. W. 
Jenkins, T. A. Bunker, Sylvester Jen- 
kins, and G. Gullickson. The creek 
which flows through the township and 
its physical features furnished the name. 

Elk township was created September 
16, the same day the petition was filed, 
and a short time afterward the govern- 
ment was begun. Those who asked for 
its formation were W. B. Akins, T. L. 
Taylor, R. B. Plotts, John P. Warner, 
Henry Baldwin, Chas. Wilkinson, Isaac 
Allerton, M. L. Miller, T. D. Fowble, 
Gamaliel Scutt, Allen McLean, R. E. 
Covey and S. P. Bon. The noble ani- 
mal which once roamed the prairies of 
the future Elk township prompted the 
name. The creek which flows through 

"The Dewalds nnd John Churchill c^me tr> 
the township together in April. 1872. and were 
*he first permanent settlors. They wer<* fol- 
lowed almost Immedlatelv by Messrs. Robert 
Daugherty, 8. F. Pepple, Aaron Lambert, 

the township had been named Elk by 
the early day trappers, and it was partly 
because of the name the creek bore and 
partly because of another event that 
caused the first settlers there to ask that 
the new town be called Elk. On the 
morning of September 6, 1872, a lone 
elk came across the prairie and close to 
the house of T. L. Taylor, sniffed at 
the unexpected sight, and bounded away. 
Ten days later when the petition was 
presented to the board of county com- 
missioners Mr. Taylor suggested the 
name Elk for the new township, and 
upon a vote it was adopted. Several 
other names, including McLean, were 

Seward was the last . township or- 
ganized in 1872. The petition was filed 
September 28, and had the following 
signers: Wm. W. Gosper, M. Hill, 
Hiram Jankee, Jonas Parshall, Wm. 
Sowles, Geo. Parshall, Philo Snyder, 
James Parshall, Julius Westinghouse, 
John P. Vail, J. E. Walling, John Wes^ 
ton, "R. B. Linderman, C. Charles John- 
son, Horace Will, William H. Booth, H. 
N. Booth, Edward B. Cook and Phineas 
Oager. The commissioners acted fav- 
orably in the matter, and the first town 
meeting was set for October 30. The 
township was named in honor of Wil- 
liam H. Seward, the noted statesman and 
secretary of state under President Lin- 
coln during the civil war. 

The first Nobles county assessment 
was made in 1872, the officials having 
neglected to make a levy the year be- 
fore. A tax of fifteen mills was levied 
for the use of the county, of which ten 
mills was "for the general use of the 
county," and five mills "for the payment 

Solon Houphton. Sherlie. Joe Mason. Joe 

Foots, W. R. D. MoChord. A. R McChord. 

Richard Berggrnt. Tom Childs, Sam Childs 
and Chas. A. Sundberg. 

Digitized by 




of the floating debt and interest of the of over $150,000, of which $63,815.13 
county/* 17 The assessment as equalized was real estate, 
by the county board showed a valuation 

The real estate assessment was as follows: 


lo. Acres 


Tito Lots 


per Acre 

Aggregate Value 
Real Property t 

Value City 
Lots and 

Total Value 
of Real 



Graham Lakes 

Indian Lake 



Hersey . 

1st Assessment Dist* 
2nd Assessment Dist 






S 8,197.00 







$35,200 00 

$ 8,197.00 


49,17tf 29 











* At the time the assessment was made only five townships had been organized, 
was divided into two assessment districts. 
+ Exclusive of town lots. 
t Of a value greater than $100. 

The rest of the county 

The personal property valuations were 
divided among the several townships as 
follows : 






Graham Lakes 

Indian Lake 




1st Assessment Dist. 
2nd Assessment Dist. 














The number and value of livestock 
by townships is shown in the following 

The other items of personal property 
assessed, and their value, were as fol- 
lows : 

Sixteen carriages $595 

Sixty-nine watches 957 

Three pianos 466 

All personal property not included in 

foregoing 17,690 

Appertaining to merchandise 13,010 

Appertaining to manufacturing 711 

Moneys, book accounts, credits, etc... 2,506 
Moneys invested in bonds and joint 

stock companies 500 

(•old and silver coin and bank notes in 

possession or on deposit 4,494 

Value of improvements on and interest 
of the claimant in lands entered un- 
der homestead act 16,328 

















Graham Lakes 

Indian Lake 














$ 4 

















1st Assessment District.. 
2nd Assessment District. 







$1,020 1 30 




"Commissioners* Journal, Sept. 16, 1872. 

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Under the provisions of a state law, 
townships were given the privilege of de- 
ciding whether or not license for the sale 
of intoxicating liquors should be granted, 
and at the general election on Nov. 5, 
1872, several of the Nobles county town- 
ships voted on the question. The class 
of people who came as members of the 
colony were such that it is not surpris- 
ing that nearly all the voters registered 
against the licensing of saloons, and that 
all townshps voting decided the question 
in the negative. Following is the vote: 
Dewald, 17 to 0; Little Eock, 15 to 4; 
Bigelow, 23 to 1; Hersey, 8 to 0; In- 
dian Lake, 10 to 2. 

Another question decided at that elec- 
tion related to a proposed change in the 
county's boundaries. The legislature on 
February 29 passed two bills — one pro- 
viding that range 38 (four townships on 
the western edge) should be taken from 
Jackson county and attached to Nobles; 
the other that range 43 (the present 
townships of Leota, Lismore, Westside 
and. Grand Prairie) should be taken 
from Nobles and added to Bock county. 
Neither act was to be put in force until 
both counties interested in each case 
should, by a majority vote, ratify the 

The proposition was almost a farce. 
In order to add the Jackson county 
townships to Nobles county both the 
counties must vote in the affirmative. 
Nobles county naturally favored the bill, 
but just as naturally Jackson county 
voted not to give .away any of its ter- 
ritory. In order to give to Eock county 
the western tier of Nobles county town- 
ships, both these counties must so vote. 
Of course Bock county voted almost 
unanimosly to make the change, but in 
Nobles only eleven electors were found 
who favored the surrender of territory. 
The vote of Nobles county by precincts 
on these propositions: 



e-» be 
u Q 
O c8 




J ft 




* S 
o * 



•2 bo 

* c 


Little Rock 



Graham Lakes . 






















Indian Lake 

Worthington . . . 






* Vote not recorded. 

Digitized by 




Now come the dark days of Nobles 
county history — the grasshopper days. 
For a period extending from 1873 to 
1879 the people of Nobles county, in 
common with those of all southwestern 
Minnesota, suffered as few pioneer set- 
tlers in any country ever suffered. Ad- 
versity followed adversity. The frowns 
of fortune overwhelmed those who had 
come with so much hope in 1872 and 
cast them into the slough of despond. 
The picture cannot be painted too dark. 

The colonists had come to Nobles 
county because they were poor people 
and believed that the new country of- 
fered opportunities for securing a com- 
petence. Some had started with a rail- 
road ticket as their only asset, and even 
before the grasshopper days a few were 
in sorry plight. 1 All set to work with 
a will to break out the raw prairie land, 
and great were the expectations for the 
first crop — a crop destined never to be 

The winter of 1872-73 was the most 
severe one in the county's known his- 

1 Prof. R. F. Humlston in a letter to the press 
in July. 1875, described his part in relieving 
the situation. Seldom did he speak of his 
charitable deeds, and this exception was called 
forth by rumors questioning- his sincerity in 
certain matters. He wrote: 

"From the advent of the colony in 1872, I 
found that a number of persons had come 
with barely sufficient means to bring them 
here. To many of those I furnished employ- 
ment, paying out therefor sums to the amount 
of several thousand dollars, and to others I 
loaned money without interest and with very 
remote prospects of payment, amounting in 

tory, before or since, and the settlers re- 
ceived their first experience of hardships 
to be borne in the new country. Winter 
began November 13. The day had been 
fine, but toward night those who knew 
the Northwest saw indications of a bliz- 
zard. At dark a gale from the north- 
west struck the houses with a whack as 
distinct as if it had been a board in 
the hands of old Boreas. One of the 
famous northern blizzards was on, and 
it continued until the afternoon of the 
third day. Thenceforth it was winter. 
Snow covered the prairies and blockaded 
the railroad most of the time until late 
in the spring. 

On January 7, 1873, came the mosi 
violent storm known in the Northwest 
for fifty years, as the records kept at 
Fort Snelling showed. It extended over 
the whole Northwest, and all telegraph 
wires west of Chicago refused to work. 
For three days the blizzard raged. The 
temperature was about eighteen degrees 
below zero during the whole period of 
the storm, and on the prairie the air 

the aggregate to many hundreds of dollars. 
During the first winter [1872-73] and before 
any relief committee was organized, anticipat- 
ing the danger of a snow blockade of the rail- 
road, and knowing that many of our people 
were unprovided with fuel for the winter, I 
ordered several hundred tons of coal. This 
coal was distributed over a radius of twenty 
miles from Worthington, a large proportion 
being donated and a greater portion of the re- 
mainder is still unpaid for. Those who spent 
the first winter here are familiar with these 


Digitized by 




was filled with snow as fine as flour. 
Through every crevice, keyhole and nail- 
hole the fine snow penetrated, puffing in- 
the house like steam. Seventy human 
lives were lost in Minnesota, and four 
of these were lost in Nobles county. 
Innumerable were the narrow escapes 
from death in the storm, and many resi- 
dents of the county had experiences that 
will never be forgotten. 

The morning of the first day of the 
storm was beautiful and bright. The 
sky was clear, and there was no wind. 
It seemed as though a "January thaw" 
was imminent, and the settlers set out 
for town on business or went to neigh- 
boring farmhouses with their teams. 
While the general indications were for 
fair weather, an aneroid barometer, own- 
ed by Professor Humiston, foretold a 
storm. The instrument had been falling 
for twenty-four hours, and it had never 
been known to fall so low before. 

Toward noon a change was apparent. 
The sky lost its crystal clearness and 
became a trifle misty. Between twelve 
and one o'clock a white wall was seen 
bearing down from the northwest. The 
front of the storm was distinct and 
almost as clearly outlined as a great 
sheet. In a few minutes a gale, moving 
at the rate of thirty or forty miles an 
hour, was sweeping the country. When 
the storm struck Worthington the farm- 
ers began to scatter for their homes. A 
number, however, did not take the 
chance of death, and remained in the 
village during the three days of the bliz- 
zard. Some residents of the village, 
who were not in their homes when the 
storm struck, remained until it abated, 
not daring to venture upon the streets, 
although only a few blocks from home. 

One of those who perished was Sam- 
uel Small, of Indian Lake township, a 

man about forty years of age. Just af- 
ter the storm struck he started out from 
Worthington with his ox team and sled 
for his home, four miles southeast of 
town. He drove within a few rods of 
his own door, but in the blinding snow 
failed to discover his house. He wan- 
dered over the prairie until he came to 
some hay stacks, around which a rail 
fence had been built. He evidently at- 
tempted to climb the fence and seek the 
shelter of the stacks, but he was too near 
gone to accomplish it. He was found 
the day after the storm, standing with 
one hand on the fence, covered with ice 
and as stiff as an icicle. 

There was another fatality in the 
same neighborhood. Mrs. John Blixt, 
who lived with her husband and child- 
ren on section 2, Indian Lake township, 
met a very sad death. Mr. Blixt had 
gone fishing, and when the blizzard 
struck, His wife, fearful that he would 
lose his way, started out to meet him. 
She became blinded by the snow, wan* 
dered off on the prairie and perished. 
Mr. Blixt returned in safety. 

The third fatal case was that of John 
Weston, a farmer who resided in Seward 
township. On that fateful morning he 
hitched his oxen to a sled and set out 
for Graham lakes to get a load of wood. 
While returning to his home the storm 
caught him. He drove across his own 
farm, but in the blinding gale missed 
the house. Weston then turned and 
drove in a circle, making the same cir- 
cuit twice, as was shown by the tracks 
of the sled. He bore to the north and 
reentered Graham Lakes township. He 
unhitched and abandoned his ox team, 
and the animals, after wandering awhile, 
turned the yoke and choked to death. 
They were found later on the bank of 
Jack creek. From this point Mr. West- 

Digitized by 




on evidently concluded to walk with the 
storm, for he made a bee-line for Hor- 
sey station (now Brewster). After walk- 
ing about twelve miles he was overcome 
by the storm and fell forward on his 
face, clutching at the long grass where 
he fell. 

Immediately after the storm the set- 
tlers about Graham lakes organized a 
searching party and scoured the country 
for the missing man. They found the 
oxen and sled, but the search for Wes- 
ton was fruitless, and toward evening 
they abandoned their efforts and return- 
ed home. Late in the following April, 
when the snow had disappeared from 
the prairies, the dead body of the miss- 
ing man was found by another party of 
searchers at a point one and one-half 
miles northwest of Hersey. 

As a result of the death of Mr. Wes- 
ton there was originated a ghost story 
which became famous all over the coun- 
try, due largely to its reiteration by Mr. 
A. P. Miller. The story is here given 
as it was told by Mr. Miller in the 
Worthington Advance of Jan. 13, 1881: 

The story of John Weston's ghost was 
first published in the Advance and widely 
copied, so that it became known through- 
out the country. Weston appeared to Mr. 
Copper, who is still a resident of Seward 
township, and was an intimate friend of 
Weston. A few days ago we caught Mr. 
Oosper in town and had the story from his 
own lips. He is a practical, unimaginative 
man and gives the story in a circumstantial 

The day after the storm Mr. Cosper had 
been out with some neighbors searching for 
Weston's body. He had returned to his 
home and was at his stable feeding his stock 

"During 1907. in the Swastika Magazine, Den- 
ver, Mr. Miller retold the story of John Wes- 
ton's ghost, and therefor received a prize of- 
fered for the best verified and corroborated 
psychic and ghost experience or story. In that 
article he says that Mr. Cosper came to his 
office to tell him the story, and that as near 
as he can remember it was in these words: 

"I went into my stable after the bucket, in- 
tending to water my horses. I came out and 
turned the corner to go down the path. When 
about half way down the slope to the well I 
was surprised to see John Weston coming up 

just before sundown. He came out of the 
stable, and, passing around to the east end, 
saw John Weston coming up the path from 
the creek. Weston had on the blue soldier 
overcoat which he usually wore. His hands 
were tucked up under the cape, and he ap- 
proached Cosper with his usual smile and 
usual salutation, saying, "How goes it?" 
Cosper said, "Why, Weston, I thought you 
were frozen to death!" Weston replied, "1 
am, and you will find my body a mile and 
a half northwest of Hersey!" Saying this, 
he vanished. Mr. Cosper says that even # 
after Weston had gone it took him some" 
time to realize that he had seen a ghost, 
and to "feel queer." 2 

Before this, Weston had evidently an- 
nounced his death to his wife. Mrs. Weston 
related the incident, and it was confirmed 
by her son. The second night of the storm 
she was awakened by a knock at ihe door. 
She dozed off again and was aroused by a 
second rap, when she asked what was wanted. 
A voice answered, "Did you know that 
John was frozen to death?" The voice 
sounded like that of her brother, Mr. ^ind- 
erman, who lived in the vicinity. The boy 
heard the voice, and raising up in bed, said: 
"Mother, did uncle say ' that pa was frozen 
to death?" Mrs. Weston went to the door, 
but there was no one there, and no tracks 
could be found in the snow. Mr. Linderman 
had not been there, and it seems that Wes- 
ton, wishing to announce his death, and at 
the same time not to frighten his wife too 
much, assumed the voice of his brother-in- 

Now for the confirmation of Cosper's story. 
He told it at once, and it was published 
throughout the country before the winter 
was over. Search was made for Weston's 
body, but in vain. When spring came, how- 
ever, and the snow began to melt off, Wes- 
ton's body was found near a slough, where 
the snow had been deep, a mile and a half 
northwest of Hersey. We believe that Mr. 
Erickson, who now lives at Worthington, 
was the first to discover the body. 

Another man who lost his life in this 
storm in Nobles county (but knowledge 
of which was not gained until a year 
later) was a man by the name of Taylor. 
His home was in Lake Benton, from 

the path to meet me. He approached with 
his usual familiar smile, and his hands were 
tucked under the cape of his blue soldier over- 
coat, just as I had seen him approach many 
times. I called to him and said: 'Hello, Wes- 
ton! why, I thought you were lost in the 
storm.' Weston replied: 'I was, and you will 
find my body a mile and a half northwest of 
Hersey!' He then began to melt or fade 
away, somewhat like smoke thinniug out, and 
disappeared. I had not time to realize what 
was occurring till it was over, and then I be- 
gan to feel mighty queer." 

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which place he and four other men had 
gone to mill. When the storm struck, 
Taylor became separated from his com- 
panions and the ox team which they 
were driving, and wandered afoot a 
distance of about thirty-five miles. 

It was during the next winter that 
the body was found in the northern 
part of Seward township, in a barren 
country, by Andy Dillman and George 
T. Bulick, who were out trapping. Cor- 
oner Churchill was notified, who took 
possession of the body, and finally, 
through advertising, the body was iden- 
tified. Mr. Taylor was one of four 
members of a family who froze to death. 

A few of the adventures in this mem- 
orable storm are worth relating. In the 
little log school house at the north end 
of Indian lake the teacher, Miss Mary 
Jemerson, and the scholars were obliged 
to stay for three days and two nights. 
The snow drifted in through the crevi- 
ces and soon covered the floor. The 
supply of wood was soon exhausted, and 
then the furniture had to be split up to 
keep alive a meager fire, which barely 
kept them alive until the storm abated. 
To keep up circulation the children 
formed in Indian file and marched 
around the stove through the dreary 
days and long nights. Being without 
food, except what little they had left 
in their dinner buckets, they suffered 
greatly, but all escaped without damage. 

Joseph Foots w T as caught in the storm 
in the western part of the county and 
lay for several days in a snow drift. 
His feet, becoming exposed, were frozen 
and had to be amputated. J. H. Max- 

'Jurors were chosen in 1873 as follows: 
Grand — O. H. Chapman, Peter Swartwout, 
Warren Smith, Henry Bray ton, R. L. Erskine, 
Albert Haggard, J. C. Clark, Peter Thompson, 
H. C. Rice, A. A. Parsons, Jonathan Gordon, 
W. S. Stoekdale, J. B. Churchill, F. W. Bur- 
dette, D. S. Law. B. S. Langdon, E. S. Mills, 
W. B. Akins, J. H. Barnfleld, J. D. Roberts. 

well drove four miles against the storm 
and then took refuge with a neighboring 
farmer, not being able to reach home. 
Eev. Mr. Stone walked five miles facing 
the storm between Worthington and 
Jackson, and finally took refuge in a 
sod shanty. A party of Worthington 
men, among whom were Dr. Langdon 
and Cornelius Stout, were caught on the 
road between Jackson and Worthington, 
and also remained snowed up in a sod 
house. A man north of Worthington 
was caught on the trackless prairie, driv- 
ing an ox team. He unhitched his oxen 
and took off their yokes. Then he took 
one of the animals by the tail, and by 
twisting the tail, kept the beast on a 
trot. The other ox followed, and the 
man in time brought up against his own 
wood pile. 

An act of the legislature, approved 
Feb. 27, 1873, provided for the estab- 
lishment of a district court in Nobles 
county, the law to go into effect on July 
4, of the same year, but for some reason 
no court was held in the county until 
two years later. Rock county was at- 
tached to the new district for judicial 
purposes, but in 1874 it became a dis- 
trict by itself. 3 

Many new settlers arrived in the 
spring of 1873, and the colony was in- 
deed in a flourishing condition. Those 
who had arrived during 1872 put in 
crops, which had come up and were 
growing beautifully. The faith in the 
soil had been justified. Everybody was 
enthusiastic over the prospects. 

Then came the never-to-be-forgotten 
plague — the grasshoppers — and the coun- 

Petit— N. H. Smith, B. B. Brain, E. W. Hes- 
selroth. Julius Westinghouse, J. A. Cosper, 
C. L. Johnson. W. R. Bennett, Chas. Fris- 
bie. W. G. Brown. B. W. Woolstencroft, 
Chas. Wilkinson, Peter Swetzer, J. P. War- 
ner. H. S. Finn. Rlehard Bagley, A. A. Kim- 
ball, Edward Bear, S. D. Sprague, B. F. 
Congdon, J. B. Haines. 

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try that looked so bright and had been so 
prosperous was wrapped in gloom. Im- 
migration ceased; farmers, mechanics, 
merchants, everybody became discouraged 
at once. 

It was on or about the 15th day of 
June that the people noticed something 
floating through the air from west to 
east, which some thought at first sight 
to be cottonwood seeds. They seemed 
to be drifting with the wind, and some 
of them were at a great height. They 
kept increasing in numbers, and soon a 
few scattering ones began falling to the 
earth, where they were found to be grass- 
hoppers, or Rocky mountain locusts — 
forerunners of a scourge that for sev- 
eral years devastated this part of the 
country and resulted in the retardation 
of settlement for many years. 

The flight kept up for several days, 
and a great number of the hoppers came 
down and feasted on the growing crops, 
and deposited their eggs. They did 
great damage, but not so great as in 
later years, and a light harvest was 
gathered. 4 Many families were left des- . 
titute, and in the early winter a relief 
committee was organized, which looked 
after the wants of those in greatest 

Three new townships were organized 
during the year 1873, Wilson (Summit 
Lake), Hebbard (Olney), and Grand 
Prairie. The petition asking for the 
creation of Wilson township was pre- 
sented May 9, and was signed by John 
Ward, Jas. F. Hollopeter, N. F. Gan- 
onny, Jas. Marden, Geo. W. Akin, J. F. 
Cannern, Henry C. Moore, John J. 
Weaver, Albert J. Ryan, A. B. Coe, D. 

♦Different from most of the accounts of this 
first invasion is that of G. L. Ellsworth, which 
was published in the Nobles County Demo- 
crat in 1896. Mr. Ellsworth wrote: "... 
Although a great number of the hoppers came 
down, they did not create much alarm at that 

Stone, S. Wass and Irwin L. Wass. The 
commissioners created the township May 
20, named the new township Wilson, 
and provided for holding the first town 
meeting at the home of J. F. Hollopeter 
on June 5. The state auditor notified 
the commisisoners that there was an- 
other township of the name of Wilson in 
the state, and that therefore it would 
be necessary to change the name of the 
Nobles county division. The name was 
changed to Akin, in honor of one of the 
settlers, on June 15, 1874. Upon re- 
quest of the settlers of the township the 
name was again changed, July 27, 1874, 
to Summit Lake. The name was given 
for the lake within the borders of the 
township, and the lake was named be- 
cause of its topographical location. 

The petition for Hebbard township 
was circulated January 6, and was 
signed by fi. C. Stillman, John John- 
ston, Jos. V. Bartow, John G. Culpin, 
R. W. Moberly, Benjamin F. Renn, T. 
Thompson, Toor Anderson, Wm. F. 
Hebbard, Allen Simons, Alex Simpson, 
Chas. J. Fox, W. H. Forencrook and Ole 
Gunderson. July 10 the commissioners 
took favorable action on the petition, 
named the township Hebbard in honor 
of Wm. F. Hebbard, one of the settlers, 
and provided for the completion of the 
organization at the residence of Chas. 
J. Fox on July 29. The town meeting 
was not held at the appointed time, and 
the completion of the organization was 
postponed. October 14 Mr. Fox ap- 
peared before the commissioners and made 
affidavit that up to that time no officers 
had been elected and no town meeting 
had been held. The commissioners then 

time, as there was not much crop for them to 
eat, had they been so disposed. Their prin- 
cipal business seemed to be the depositing of 
their eggs, and after staying for a day or 
two, they all took flight again towards the 

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changed the name of the township to 
New Haven and made further provision 
for the organization of the township. 
June 15, 18*4, another name had to be 
selected, because of a prior disposal of 
the name New Haven upon a township 
in another part of the state, and Olney 
was then bestowed upon the new town- 
ship, after the county seat of Eichland 
county, 111. 5 

The people of the southwestern cor- 
ner township asked for organization on 
August 30, the petitioners being Miles 
Birkett, M. S. Merriss, M. J. Bryan, 
Oley Olson, Edmond Olson, P. J. John- 
son, Thos. Johnson, H. A. Severson, 
Paine Stilmets, J. Spalding, Robert 
Williamson, John Bootcher, 0. D. 
Bryan, Wm. H. Ingraham, Geo. S. 
Barnes, Chas. A. Barnes, A. W. Walters, 
Jas. Walker, P. M. Merriss and J. 
Pride. At a meeting of the board of 
county commissioners on September 22 
the township was created, and on Oc- 
tober 30 the organization was perfected. 
The name Grand Prairie was selected 
by the commissioners out of a list of 
three suggested by the petitioners, 6 and 
.the name selected is not a misnomer. 

It will be remembered that during the 
first few years of the county's history 
the county seat was officially located at 
Gretchtown, but that, as Gretchtown had 
no actual existence, the county seat had 
led a wandering life. The commissioners 
transacted their business at the homes 
of the different members (always in 
Graham Lakes township), and the var- 
ious county officers attended to their 

5 The name was suggested by R. W. Moberly. 
Several other names were suggested by the 
residents of the township, among others be- 
ing Springfield. 

""The name of Colfax we think appropriate 
to eall our township, or if that will not do, 
call it Giand Prairie or Union township." 

7 "The question now stands. Firstly: Do 
the voters of Nobles county desire the re- 
moval of the county seat from Gretchtown? 

official duties at their homes, or where- 
ever was most convenient. 

When Worthington was founded agita- 
tion for the establishment of the seat 
of government in that village was be- 
gun. 7 Through the efforts of ex-Gover- 
nor Stephen Miller, who was at the 
time the representative of southwestern 
Minnesota in the lower house of the leg- 
islature, a bill was passed, early in 1873, 
providing for such action. Following is 
the full text of the act: 

An act to establish and locate the county 
seat of Nobles county. 

Be it enacted by the legislature of the 
state of Minnesota: 

Section 1. That the county seat of Nobles 
county is hereby established and located at 
the village of Worthington, in said county 
of Nobles, on section number 23, town num- 
ber 102. and range number 40. 

Sec. 2. It shall be the duty of all 
county officers who are required by law to 
hold their respective offices at the county 
seat to remove their several offices, with all 
the books, records and papers pertaining 
thereto, to the said town of Worthington 
within sixty days after the passage of this 
act, without further notice; and each and 
every officer who shall fail to comply with 
the provisions of this section shall forfeit 
the county office held or occupied by him. 

Sec. 3. In the event of the passage of an 
enabling act, during the present session of 
the legislature, authorizing the electors of 
said county to vote upon the question of 
the removal of said county seat at the next 
general election, no indebtedness shall be 
contracted on behalf of the said county by 
the officers thereof for the erection of county 
buildings at the said Tillage of Worthington 
until the location of such county seat at 
said village of Worthington shall be con- 
firmed by the vote of a majority of those 
who may vote upon the question of remov- 
ing said county seat, in pursuance of such 
enabling act, at the general election in Nov- 
ember next. 

Sec. 4. All acts and parts of acis incon- 
sistent with this act are hereby repealed. 

Sec. 5. This act shall take effect and be 
in force from and after its passage. 
Approved March 6, 1873. 

Secondly: Where is Gretchtown.? Can anyone 
tell us where to find Gretchtown? Is It a 
seaport or a railroad center? Is It a manu- 
facturing town or a rural district? Did it 
vote for Grant? Any Information under the 
sun of this lost sister town will be tearfully 
received by the mourning: friends, as well as 
other members of the unhappy family. Gretch- 
town, Gretchtown, thou long lost sister, re- 
turn, re-e-turn, return." — Western Advance, 
Nov. 9, 1872. 

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It was not the intention of the legisla- 
ture to arbitrarily locate the county seat 
at Worthington permanently, and on the 
same day the act was approved, another 
one became a law which left the matter to 
the voters. It was in the form of a 
law removing the county seat from 
Worthington to Hersey, which was at 
the time just budding into a village. 
But provision was made that before the 
law became operative a majority of the 
voters of the county must ratify it at 
the general election in November, 1873. 
The effect of these two acts was to put 
before the people the selection of the 
permanent county seat, limiting them in 
their choice to the two villages of 
Worthington and Hersey. The second 
act reads: 

An act to remove the county seat of 
Nobles county from the village of Worth- 
ington to the village [of] Hersey, in said 

Be it enacted by the legislature of the 
state of Minnesota : 

Section 1. That the count v seat of the 
county of Nobles, in the state of Minne- 
sota, be and the same is hereby removed 
from the village of Worthington, section 23, 
township number 102, of range number 40, 
where the same is now located in said county. 
to the village or town of Hersev. on section 
number 25, township number 103, range 39 
west, in said county. 

Sec. 2. At the time of giving notice of 
the next general election it shall be the 
duty of the officers of said count v of Nobles, 
required by law to give notice of said 
election, to give notice in like manner that 
at said election a vote will be taken on the 
question of adopting this act removing the 
county seat from the village of Worthington 
to the village or town of Hersey, as is pro- 
vided in the first section of this act. But 
no failure of, or irregularity in, such notice, 
or the giving of such notice, shall in any 
wav vitiate the vote on such question. 

Sec. 3. At said election the electors of 
said county in favor of the removal of the 
said county seat as provided in this act, 
.shall have distinctly written or printed, or 
partly written and partly printed, on their 
ballots "For removal of county seat;" those 

opposed to such removal, "Against removal 
of county seat," and such ballots shall be 
received by the judges of election and can- 
vassed at the same time and in the same 
manner, and be returned to the same office 
as votes for county officers. 

Sec. 4. The county canvassing board of 
said county, to whom said election returns 
are made, shall canvass the votes on said 
question, at the same time and in the same 
manner as returns of votes for county offi- 
cers, and if upon such canvass being made 
it shall appear that a majority of the votes 
cast at such election were voted in favor of 
the removal of said county seat, an ab- 
stract of the canvass of said votes shall be 
made on one sheet, signed and certified in 
the same manner as in cases of abstracts of 
votes cast for the county officers, and shall 
l>c deposited in the office of the county au- 
ditor of said county, and the said county 
auditor shall immediately thereafter trans- 
mit to the secretary of state a copy of said 
nbs tract, duly certified by said auditor. 

Sec. 5. If this act shall be adopted by a 
majority of the electors of said county of 
Nobles 'voting at the said election at the 
next general election, the governor shall 
forthwith make proclamation, as provided 
by law in such cases, and it is hereby made 
the duty of all officers who are required by 
law to hold their office at the county seat, 
to remove the said offices, books and records 
to the new county seat at Hersey within 
thirty days, without further notice, and any 
failure to so remove said offices shall oper- 
ate as a forfeiture of their said offices. 

Sec. 6. All acts and parts of acts incon- 
sistent with this act are hereby repealed. 

Sec. 7. This act shall take effect and be 
in force from and after its passage, except 
as to section one, which is to take effect and 
be in force from and after the adoption of 
the same as provided herein. 

Approved March 6, 1873. 

The county officials made prepara- 
tions to carry out the provisions of the 
first act. Arrangements were made to 
secure a building at Worthington for 
court house purposes, and on May 7 a 
contract was signed leasing the back 
room of the building known as the post- 
office building. This was leased for a 
period of one year from Charlotte E. 
Goodnow for $150. 8 

By resolution of the county board of 
May 20, the auditor officially gave no- 

•A paragraph of the contract read: " in the morning until nine o'clock in the 

that they shall have free access to said evening of each day of the week, Sundays 

room by use of the back door at all times and excepted." 
access by the front door from seven o'clock 

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tice to the other officers that they must 
remove their offices at once to the 
county seat, and before the first of June 
the county business was being transacted 
in Worthington. On June 10 the first 
meeting of the commissioners was held 
there. 9 

When Worthington was founded the 
railroad company gave to the county the 
block of land in the heart of the city, 
still used for court house purposes, and 
now worth many thousand dollars. A 
clear title was not given at first. It was 
provided that a court house should be 
erected thereon within three years (from 
1871), and that in case the property 
ever ceased to be used for court house 
purposes it should revert to the railroad 
company. When the hard times period 
came on it was found impossible to 
er^t a court house within the time 
specified, and the railroad company 
granted an extension of two years. In 
1876 another extension of time was 
given, and in 1877 a court house was 

In accordance with the provisions of 
the second act of March 6, the county 
seat question was decided at the general 
election on November 4, 1873. There 
was never much doubt as to the out- 
come, and the bitter animosities so of- 
ten engendered in county seat contests 
were lacking. Worthington was the 
logical location. It was the center of 
population and the only town of any 
pretentions in the county. Hersey was 
on the extreme eastern edge of the 
county and a place of relatively small im- 
portance. Hersey and Graham Lakes town- 
ships returned majorities in favor of 

the smaller place; in only two other 
precincts, Seward and Fairview (Lor- 
ain) did Hersey receive any considerable 
vote. The result in detail follows: 


Fairview (Lorain) 



Wilson (Summit Lake) 

Graham Lakes 




Grant (Ransom) 

Little Rock 

102-42 (Olney)t 


Indian Lake 

Grand Prairie 

Totals 104 










2 *> 






* Including township l(M-4l (Bloom). 
+ A voting precint had been established, but the 
township organization had not yet been perfected. 

A tax of fifteen mills was levied in 
18<3, of which eight mills was for the 
general fund, two mills for road pur- 
poses, one mill for the poor fund, and 
four mills to he applied on the payment 
of interest on the county's debt. 

The report of school conditions during 
the year 1873 is very meager. From it 
we learn that then? were fourteen dis- 
tricts in the county, in only three of 
which schools were held, however. The 
total number of pupils in the county 
was 369. One frame school house was 
erected at a cost of $51.31. 

Despite the terrible times through 
which the early settlers of Nobles county 
passed, the pioneers made the best of 

•After the first year the county rented of stairs, and in that were gathered the principal 

J. H. Johnson an office in a little building functionaries of the county. There were two 

located on Ninth street, just west of the pres- living rooms upstairs. Mr. Johnson later 

ent court house, for a rental price of $57.50 opened a harness shop in this building, 
per quarter. There was only one room down 

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their trials, and their social relations 
were always pleasant. I can give no 
better idea of the social conditions dur- 
ing these days of hardships than by quot- 
ing a letter written by Robert Shore, of 
Ransom township, in 1901 : 10 

"Here in Nobles county some 27 or 
28 years ago the lonely settlers' cabins 
were few and far between, and in the 
long, cold winters of those early times 
the days often dragged heavily. . . . 

'In the rigorous winters of those early 
days there were no coal fires in the 
homes of the farmers on these prairies; 
no carpeted floors; but few books and 
papers; and as for the luxuries or life, 
they were unknown. And yet people en- 
joyed themselves even then; ijideed, I 
don't think I ever saw people enjoy 
themselves better than at some of the 
sociables, so-called, of those primitive 
times. It would be arranged that on 
some specified evening there was to be 
a sociable at the house, say, of Timothy 
Sharp or some other good neighbor, and 

"Published in the Nobles Countv Democrat, 
of Dec. 20, 1901. 

at the appointed time people would come 
from every direction for miles around to 
spend a pleasant evening together. And 
then would follow a time of as unre- 
strained enjoyment as I ever saw. It 
seemed as if all the pent up jollity of 
one's nature was let loose, and, as Byron 
says, 'joy was unconfined.' 

"One reason for this was, I think, 
that the little bickerings which too often 
disturb the peace of a neighborhood had 
not arisen ; people were animated by a 
common purpose — the making of homes 
for themselves in this then new country. 
Then, too, people were all on an equal- 
ity ; there were no rich and poor, con- 
sequently no social distinctions. Every 
man felt that he was as good as his 
neighbor, and his neighbor as good as 
he. Then, again, people in those days 
were blessed, it seemed with abounding 
good health. People -lived very plainly 
in those days — were obliged to — and 
plain living, we are told, is conducive to 
health. ..." 

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If there had been a belief that the 
grasshopper visitation of 1873 was only 
a temporary blight on the prospects, it 
was rudely dispelled. The story of the 
years to follow is one of heartrending 
misery. From Manitoba to Texas the 
grasshoppers brought desolation and suf- 
fering in 1874, the visitation being gen- 
eral along the whole frontier. Especially 
destructive were they in southwestern 
Minnesota and in Kansas and Nebraska. 

A large acreage was sown in Nobles 
county in the spring on land that had 
been broken the. year before. Then the 
settlers commenced breaking, and plant- 
ing "sod corn." When warm weather 
set in grasshoppers began to hatch from 
the eggs that had been deposited the 
summer before and began their ravages 
as soon as the first tender blades of 
grain appeared. Whole fields were strip- 
ped entirely bare in those portions of 
the county where the young hoppers 
were most numerous, principally in the 
northern and western townships. The 
southeastern part escaped almost en- 

Had this been the only damage, the 
county would have survived the inflic- 
tion. A fine growing season caused the 
crops in* many places to get ahead of 
the young hoppers. Wheat and oats 
were growing finely, "sod corn" was an 

especially good crop, and all garden 
vegetables were growing as they seldom 
have since. Then on July 2 came a 
visitation of "foreign" hoppers out of 
the northeast, who made it evident that 
the country was not to escape with the 
ravages of the young, pests. 

Conditions were such in the early 
summer that the people realized that 
something must be done to assist those 
who had met misfortune. On July 1 
the board of county commissioners, com- 
posed of I. P. Durfee, chairman; J. W. 
Miller and M. L. Miller, met at Worth- 
ington to consider the condition of "the 
destitute and the sufferers from loss of 
crops by the grasshoppers, and to pro- 
vide for their wants. County Attorney 
M. B. Soule was present and offered the 
following resolution, which was adopted: 

Be it resolved by the board of county com- 
missioners of Nobles county and state \oi 
Minnesota] that an amount not exceeding 
two thousand dollars ($2,000) be and the 
same is hereby appropriated for the immed- 
iate relief of those persons in said county 
who are in need of such relief, and that 
same be expended for this purpose alone, 
under the direction of said board of com- 
missioners, and in accordance with such rules 
and regulations as they deem best. And 
that an order of said county be issued un- 
der the direction of said board, bearing in- 
terest at the rate of twelve per cent, for 
the amount of such part thereof as may be 

County Auditor William M. Bear went 
to St. Paul, and, through the influence 


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of Governor Cushman K. Davis, sold 
one thousand dollars worth of the coun- 
ty's paper at its face value to the First 
National Bank of St. Paul. It must 
not be imagined that this money was 
raised for the purpose of reimbursing 
the sufferers; it was to prevent actual 
starvation. One hundred barrels of flour 
and eighteen barrels of pork were pur- 
chased and brought to the county for 
distribution. An informal meeting of 
the county board was held at the resi- 
dence of J. W. Miller, in Graham Lakes 
township, on July 7, when the following 
residents were named to act as distribut- 
ing agents in their respective townships: 

N. H. Smith, 1 Graham Lakes. 

J. Westinghouse, 1 Seward. 

C. A. Barrows, 1 Hersey. 
W. B. Akins, Elk. 

S. Wass, 1 Wilson (Summit Lake). 

D. Fogo, Lorain. 

I. P. Ihirfee, Worthington. 
J. B. Churchill, Dewald. 
R. Stillman, 1 Olney. 
Jas. Atcheson, Indian Lake. 

E. S. Mills, Bigelow. 
Leroy Cole, Ransom. 

J. D. Roberts, 'Little Rock. 

H. S. Barnes, Grand Prairie. 

These gentlemen at once apportioned 
the supplies among the most needy. 
They found many in a precarious con- 
dition; the thousand dollars worth of 
provisions was only a drop in the 

The destruction to crops done by the 
young grasshoppers and those which 
came on July 2 was as nothing com- 
pared with what was to follow. About 
ten o'cl ock on the morning of July 15 
the grasshoppers were again seen coming 

*Were suoerseded bv Julius Westinghouse, 
Graham Takes: Jonas Parshall, Seward: A. A. 
Parsons, Hersey; J. J. Weaver, Wilson; J. V. 
Bartow. Olney. 

out of the northeast. The sky was so 
full of them that the sun was darkened 
as with dense clouds, and the roar of 
their wings sounded like the approach of 
a storm. This time they came down for 
good; and what havoc they wrought! 
Those that alighted on the prairies 2 
seemed to know where the grain fields 
and gardens were, and gathered in them 
from all directions. Every cornstalk 
bent to the earth with their weight. The 
noise they made eating could be heard 
for quite a "distance and resembled that 
which might have been made by hun- 
dreds of hogs that had been turned into 
the fields. In fact, such was the de- 
struction that within four hours after 
they came down, whole fields of corn 
and small grain were as completely har- 
vested as though they had been cut with 
a reaper and hauled away. It was a dis- 
couraging sight. 

After gorging themselves with the 
crops the hoppers became stupid and 
piled up in the fields and along the 
roads, often to a depth of one or two 
feet. Horses could hardly be driven 
through them. Stories have been told 
of railway trains becoming blockaded 
by the pests, so as to be unable to move 
until the insects were shoveled from the 
tracks. After resting from their feast, 
they took their departure. 

On August 3 came another horde, 
seeking to destroy what had been left, 
and those settlers who had escaped with 
only a partial loss before were now 
called upon to go through the tortures 
of seeing their grain disappear, with no 
means of checking the disaster. It 
seems incredible that any grain should 
have been left, but such is the case. 8 

*The name applied to these pests is a mis- 
nomer. They never ate grass. 

*" We have stated that half a crop 

of wheat had been raised. Since threshing 

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From a carefully prepared estimate 
made by Auditor William M. Bear, we 
learn that out of a total of 16,410 acres 
planted to crop in 1874, only 82,183 
bushels of grain and vegetables were 
saved. Wheat averaged about five and 
one-half bushels per acre, oats seven 
bushels, corn two and one-half bushels, 
potatoes 38 bushels, while all other 
grain was nearly a complete failure. 
The old settled township of Indian Lake 
was the most fortunate, and escaped 
with small damage. The wheat average 
there was a little less than ten bushels. 4 
The lowest wheat average was in Sew- 
ard, being less than two bushels. In 
Hersey and Graham Lakes the loss was 
also nearly complete. The largest acre- 
age sown was in Worthington township, 
where 1,465 acres were planted and 10,- 
916 bushels of wheat harvested. Pol- 
lowing is Auditor Bear's estimate of the 
number of acres sown, the number of 
bushels harvested and the average yield 
per acre of the different grains and vege- 
tables : 5 





Per Acre 


| Oats 

















5 57 
38 12 



Buckwheat . . . 


Flax Seed . . . 




this will have to be slightly changed, for the 
crop falls a little below half a crop. Nobles 
county raised this year two or three times as 
much wheat as it needed to bread the county, 
but, as we stated before, those who have any 
surplus must sell to pay debts and procure 
other supplies. Those who raised nothing are 
left destitute and must be carried through the 
winter." — Worthington Advance. Oct. 3, 1874. 

4 When relief supplies were distributed later 
In the year the people of Indian Lake re- 
quested that no supplies be sent into that 

The Minnesota commissioner of sta- 
tistics prepared a report of the estimated 
loss in the principal grain crops in 
Minnesota due to the grasshopper raids 
of 1874. His estimate for Nobles county 
was as follows : 



Loss in 









The colonists had now been in the 
county over two years, and not a crop 
had been raised. They were poor peo- 
ple when they came; not having realized 
a cent of income since their arrival, 
the result can well be imagined. The 
people were compelled to practice the 
most rigid economy. Hay furnished the 
fuel; potatoes, pumpkins and squashes — 
a few vegetables left by the grasshop- 
pers — furnished the food. Meat was 
not on the bill of fare, except for those 
who could use a gun and bag the prairie 
chickens and ducks that were in great 
abundance. In this manner a large 
number of the settlers were obliged to 
pass the winter. 

* They bore their trials more cheerfully 
than might have been expected, and 
made preparations to try their luck 
again next year. In preparing their 
land for the crop the following year, 
the farmers nearly ruined their horses, 

5 Said the Advance of Jan. 20, 1876: "These 
figures will be interesting to the future his- 
torian of the great grasshopper visitation. 
When Nobles county is annually turning out 
an average of from 17 to 25 bushels per acre, 
and when several more railroads will be de- 
manded to do the carrying for the fertile 
prairie regions of this latitude, these figures 
will be looked upon with a melancholy inter- 
est, and our children will wonder at the pluck 
and energy of the people who stuck it 

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Being without the necessary grain to 
feed them. About 18,500 acres of land 
was prepared that fall, 6 which was 
more than had been sown in 1874. 

Many were left destitute and badly in 
need of aid, but during the summer and 
early fall the actual suffering was not 
severe. But a few realized what the con- 
dition would be when cold weather set 
in, and steps were at once taken to pre- 
pare for the time when food, clothing 
and fuel would have to be supplied to 
prevent starvation and freezing. It was 
apparent that such aid as the state would 
furnish would be wholly inadequate to 
meet the demands of the destitute. 
Several gentlemen concluded that the 
only safety lay in providing a fund to 
meet the emergency which was sure to 
arise in midwinter. To this end J. C. 
Clark was selected to visit the eastern 
cities for the purpose of soliciting aid. 
Assurances were given Mr. Clark by 
Professor Humiston and others that 
whether successful or not his expenses 
would be paid. He succeeded in raising 
about $1,800 in eastern cities, and, sub- 
sequently, about $300 in St. Louis. 
Others went out soliciting on private 
account entirelv, and were more or less 
successful in relieving their own wants. 7 

Although precautions had already 
been taken as outlined above, by the 
middle of October it was realized that 
a united and more thorough effort must 

•Estimate by Auditor Bear. 

T It Is possible that a few took advantage of 
the terriUe conditions prevailing, and. repre- 
senting themselves as duly authorized col- 
lectors for the relief fund, were In realitv 
working for their own benefit. The Advance 
of September 26. 1874. sqJd: 

, "Our correspondent mentions the fact that 
some one from Hersey township hns gone to 
St. Paul bagging, and has secured quite a 
sum of money and a good supply of other 
articles. We judge from the tenor of the 
statement that this was done on privpte ac- 
count entirely. Of course If people will go 
abroad and beg there Is no way of preventing 
them, but these persons are bringing reproach 
upon the whole region and giving us the rep- 

be made to secure funds to prevent ter- 
rible tragedies that otherwise would 
surely come with the wintry blasts. With 
this in view a mass meeting was held in 
Miller hall, Worthington, on October 13, 
to devise means of meeting the emer- 
gency. I. P. Durfee was chairman of 
the meeting and J. A. Town was secre- 
tary. The following statement of condi- 
tions in the county, and the purposes of 
the meeting was adopted, one section at 
a time : 8 

Whereas, There is urgent and immediate 
necessity for aid to many destitute families 
in our county; and 

Whereas, The efforts put forth and sup- 
plies now on hand are totally inadequate to 
meet the demands which are constantly made 
for help; and 

Whereas, We are fully convinced that the 
more favored portions of our own state and 
other states do not appreciate the destitution 
in our midst; therefore 

Resolved, That we appeal (1) to the chari- 
table of our own state for help; (2) to the 
people of the United Stales; (3) to the state 
government; (4) to the government of the 
United States, for the preservation of which 
many of us offered our all during the late 
terrible civil war. 

The conditions were discussed in de- 
tail. Estimates as to the possible num- 
ber of families that would require aid 
varied from two hundred to three hun- 
dred. Mr. Durfee, who was chairman 
of the county relief committee, reported 
that 37,000 pounds of flour and a large 
quantity of pork, furnished by the coun- 
ty, had been distributed. He also stated 
that he had appealed to the governor 

utation of chronic mendicants. We heard a 
few days ago that one man from Graham 
Lakes township had recently been through 
Wisconsin and Michigan begging-. This Is 
his second begging tour, and no doubt he Is 
realizing a handsome sum. We wish to warn 
the puhlte against all beggers from this region 
who profess to have letters from responsible 
parties in this county. Th rt papers are gen- 
erally forged, and when it Is known that 
there is an organized method of obtaining 
and distributing supplies, people ought to re- 
fuse those who are begging on private ac- 

"Published in the Claim Shanty Vindicator 
of Oct. 21, 1874. 

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for state aid. Governor Davis replied 
that the county government ought to do 
something for the destitute and sug- 
gested that an additional $1,000 bonds 
be issued. Mr. Durfee informed his 
excellency that in his opinion the peo- 
ple of Nobles county would sooner leave 
the state than issue more bonds. This 
opinion was somewhat borne out when 
the mass meeting passed a resolution re- 
questing that the county commissioners 
do not issue more bonds for the purpose 
of relief. 

Warren Smith favored the immediate 
distribution of the $1,800 which had 
been raised by Mr. Clark, and suggested 
that the reason the governor did not 
favor rendering assistance was because 
that fund was as yet unapplied. Prof. 
Humiston said that he was satisfied that 
the governor was not cognizant of any 
such fund, that the money had been 
placed in the bank against the extreme 
suffering which parties foresaw would 
exist during the coming winter, but that 
if the time had arrived when it should 
be given out, it only awaited the order 
of the proper officers. 

A committee was appointed to draft 
an appeal for aid, and soon thereafter 
was issued the following entreaty, in 


A meeting of the citizens of Nobles county, 
Minnesota, was held at Worthington, Octo- 
ber 13, 1874, at which the undersigned were 
appointed a committee to draft an appeal 
to the charitable of our own state and to 
the friends in our old home states, in be- 
half of the needy and destitute in our midst. 
Our people have suffered a calamity as real 
and overwhelming as if everything had been 
swept away by fire and flood. We refer to 
the raids of the grasshoppers during the last 
two years. Ours is a new country. Most 
of our settlers came here in the spring of 

1872 and since that time. The first year of 
settlement is necessarily spent in breaking 
the prairie in order to procure a crop the 
second season. . . . Thus it will be seen 
that many of our people have raised no crop 
in the three seasons of their residence on 
these new lands. Their need is urgent and 

The question may be asked what things 
are needed. We answer: First, food. Many 
families have lived for weeks on such vege- 
tables as escaped destruction, and the sup- 
ply is almost exhausted. They have neither 
bread nor meat. Second. They need cloth - 
irg. They have raised nothing to sell, and 
the clothing they brought with them is worn 
to rags. We would suggest that yarn for 
stockings, thread and material for children's 
clothing be sent. This will give help and 
employment at the same time — the best 
human charity. Third. They need bedding. 
There are those who are now sleeping under 
a covering of prairie hay, and winter is ap- 
proaching. Fourth. They will need seed 
grain next spring or another year will not 
relieve the destitution. 

Some may ask why we do not abandon a 
country which is liable to such a plague. We 
answer: We have seen enough in some 
favored portions of this and adjoining coun- 
ties to demonstrate the matchless fertility of 
the soil. In Jackson . county, immediately 
east of us, more than forty bushels of wheat 
and one hundred and ten bushels of oats 
per acre have been reaped in former years. 
Our climate is as agreeable as any in the 
world. We have a temperate, intelligent, 
industrious, moral class of people. Their 
misfortunes cannot be laid to any improvi- 
dence on their part. We came here to make 
homes for ourselves and our children, and 
most of us have invented our all here in 
improvements on our homesteads and have 
no means to get away, even temporarily. 
And besides, where else can we go? Is 
there any land on earth that is exempt from 
calamities of some kind? 

We feel that our destitution is only tem- 
porary. The grasshoppers did not deposit 
their eggs here the past season. They may 
not be seen here again in a generation. We 
have faith that next year we will reap boun- 
tiful harvests. But in the meantime, many 
of our people must Have help or they will 
perish. Careful estimates warrant the state- 
ment that not less than half of the seven 
hundred families in the county are partially 
or wholly destitute. We call, therefore, upon 
our more fortunate brethren to help us in 
our distress. If this appeal should meet with 
a response, let the contributions be sent to 
I. P. Durfee. chairman of the board of 
county commissioners, Worthington, Nobles 
county, Minnesota. He has the entire con- 
fidence of all our people, and will make prop- 
er distribution of all that is sent. The 

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receipt of all contributions will be promptly 

and thankfully acknowledged. 

J. A. TOWN,- 
T. C. BELL, 
W. M. BEAR, 

To this appeal there was quite liberal 
response, but the needs were not over- 
supplied by any means, and there was 
some suffering during the winter. 

The state came to the aid of the grass- 
hopper sufferers when the legislature 
convened during the winter. On Feb- 
ruary 12, 1875, General Sibley reported 
that he had turned over to Nobles coun- 
ty $1,952.82.* The distribution was 
under the direction of the governor. In 
Nobles county the work of distribution 
was delegated to the board of county 
commissioners, and they left the details 
of the work to I. P. Durfee, chairnidn 
of the board, and W. M. Bear, county 
auditor. • 

To relieve the situation, the legisla- 
ture granted an extension of time for 
the payment of taxes in some of the 
counties, and, of course, Nobles was 
among the number. Times not improv- 
ing, the extension was of little benefit. 
People who had not money to buy food 
and clothing could not pay taxes. An 
interesting relic of this period is the 
following notice published in the pub- 
lic press of Nov. 20, 1874, by County 
Treasurer Humiston : 

To Tax Payers: 

The noble efforts which are being made 
by many of our settlers to pay their taxes 
is worthy of a public acknowledgment. Some 
are still in arrears, and although the time 
granted by the legislature last winter is 
past and the personal property tax of 1873 
became delinquent on the first day of Nov- 

•The total amount distributed was $15,551.66, 
divided among the devastated counties as fol- 

Plnewood $200 . 00 

Martin 1,363.87 

Rock 1,400.00 

Cottonwood 3,237.02 

ember, yet I am still receiving taxes at my 
office. I must very soon call on those who 
do not call on me, and I do not wish to 
make any unnecessary trouble or costs, but 
the laws compel me to make the effort, and 
it is hoped that it will not be necessary to 
perform this (to me) very unpleasant duty. 
County Treasurer. 

The question naturally arises: Why 
did the people of Nobles county stay in 
a country in which the grasshoppers 
wrought such damage? It is doubtful if 
they would have remained could they 
have looked ahead and foreseen what 
they still had to go through, for this was 
not the end of the scourge by any means. 
A few discouraged ones did depart for 
their former homes. All who could went 
away each summer to work in the har- 
vest fields of more fortunate communi- 
ties and earn enough to supply their ab- 
solute needs. 

The ipajority stayed with their claims 
and . weathered the storms of adversity. 
Hope was abundant that each year's visi- 
tation would be the last. The fertility 
of the soil had been demonstrated, and 
it was known that once the country was 
free from the pests, it would become one 
of the richest spots in the west. The 
settlers had invested all their accumula- 
tions of former years in improvements, 
and to desert the country meant that 
they must go as paupers. Many were 
literally too poor to pay transportation 
charges out of the country. 

A tax levy of 16 mills was made in 
July, 1874, divided among the several 
funds as follows: General, eight mills; 
poor, two mills; road and bridge, two 
mills; county interest, two mills; float- 
ing debt and county orders, two mills. 

Watonwan 1,808.83 

Jackson 2,817.82 

Murray 1,902.82 

Nobles 1,952.82 

Brown 300.00 

Others 768.38 

Digitized by 





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• Ml 



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* \ * 



Digitized by 



In Buildings Such as This Hundreds of Nobles County's Pioneer Settlers 
Had Their Homes* 

"1 , 

^ i ^ \ if ti I 

a t m 



- ■ 

SI MMt I | „\iu 


iJLwUi — rl 

« t x h v »** V:X -'W& 

II V, u * >:• V 

g U A I N 


Reproduced from a Print Made in 1874. 

Digitized by 




The levy was revised in November, be- 
ing cut down to 13 mills, divided as fol- 
lows: General, seven mills; poor, one 
mill; road and bridge, two mills; county 
interest, one mill; floating debt, two 

The assessment showed a total valua- 
tion of $432,433, of which $250,125 was 
on personal property and $182,308 on 
real property. The total number of 
acres of deeded and contracted land was 
37,444. Seven hundred forty-five per- 
sons were assessed. The population of 
the county, estimated from figures fur- 
nished by the assessors, was between 
3,000 and 3,500— probably a slight over- 

Other statistics for the year 1874 
show that there were 86 births, 24 
deaths, 20 marriages, one divorce and 32 
first naturalization papers granted. 

Despite the prevailing hard times the 
public schools showed a healthy growth. 
Ten new buildings were erected, and the 
attendance was greatly increased. The 
following items appear in the report of 
the superintendent of schools of Oct. 
31, 1874: 

Number of districts in county, 37. 

Number persons five to 21 years, 751. 

Number persons 15 to 21 years, 197. 

Number pupils enrolled in winter schools, 

Average daily attendance, 71. 

Average length of winter schools in months, 

Number teachers in winter schools, 2. 

Number pupils enrolled in summer schools, 

Average daily attendance in summer 
schools. 221. 

Average length of summer schools in 
months, 3 1-7. 

Number teachers in summer schools, 16. 

Number pupils enrolled in schools within 
the year, 311. 

School houses built during year 1874, 10 

Value of schools houses built during the 
year, $2,435. 

Total number school houses in county, 11 

Value of all school houses in the county, 

Paid for teachers' wages in 1874, $875.81. 

Gash in treasurer's hands at close of school 
year, September 30, 1874, $53.83. 

One improvement in this year of dis- 
asters was the establishment of a star 
mail route in the southern part of the 
county. The route extended from Bige- 
low to Ash Creek and passed through 
the townships of Kansom, Little Kock 
and Grand Prairie. This proved to be 
a great accommodation to the settlers in 
those townships. Two postoffices were 
established along the route in Nobles 
county. One was Little Rock, of which 
J. T. Green was postmaster; 10 the other 
was Grand Prairie, located first on sec- 
tion 10, Grand Prairie township, ana 
conducted by a settler named Ayers. 11 

The legislature of 18*5 took prompt 
action to relieve grasshopper devastated 
southwestern Minnesota. An act approv- 
ed March 1, 1875, provided for an* ex- 
tension of the payment of personal pro- 
perty tax in the counties of Martin, 
Jackson, Nobles, Rock, Murray, Cotton- 
wood, Watonwan, Renville, Lyon and 
parts of Blue Earth, Faribault and 
Brown to November 1. In order to se- 
cure this extension it was necessary for 
the residents to give proof that they 
were unable to pay their taxes because 
of loss of crop in 1874 from grasshop- 
pers or hail. 

The commissioners of Nobles county 
also took action to relieve the hardships 
of taxation by abating the interest and 
costs on the delinquent real estate tax 
for 1874. All who should make satis- 

M He was succeeded by W. T. Jones, and "Ayers was succeeded by Oscar Lund, Geo. 

he by Wm. Parry, who remained In charge Barnes, Oscar Bryan and John Butcher. The 

until the office was discontinued Dec. 31, office was discontinued in 1884, when Ells- 

1903. worth village was founded. 

Digitized by 




factory proof, on or before December 1, 
1875 A under oath to the county auditor, 
that they were unable to pay the 1874 
real estate tax, should escape the penal- 
ties, providing the taxes were paid at 
the time of making proof. 12 

Notwithstanding the terrible exper- 
iences of the two preceding years, the 
people determined to put in a crop again 
in 1875. The ground had been prepar- 
ed, but the farmers were without seed 
grain and without the means to purchase 
it. The legislature came to their rescue 
with an appropriation of $75,000, the 
act providing for the distribution of seed 
grain to that amount, with certain pro- 
visions for its repayment. A state board 
of commissioners was appointed to con- 
duct the distribution, and a local board 
was named in each of the stricken coun- 
ties to assist in the work. Daniel Rohr- 
er, I. P. Durfee and Peter Thomp- 
son served in Nobles county. The money 
market was tight, and the state was not 
able, to procure the money to purchase 
more than $50,000 worth of grain. 

Applications at once began pouring in, 
there being between 250 and 260 in 
Nobles county. The state commissioners 
arrived in Worthington March 31 -and 
immediately began delivering the grain. 
Nobles county's share of the $50,000 was 
about $3,000, and to each applicant was 
given twelve bushels of wheat. 13 It was 
expected that so soon as the state could 
negotiate a loan for the other $25,000 
of the appropriation, it would be issued 
in corn, potatoes and other seed, but this 
was not done. With the grain received 
from the state and that which was in the 
county there was enough to seed about 
eighty per cent of the prepared land. 
The seed grain furnished by the state 

"Commissioners' Journal, June 10, 1875. 
"The settlers were slow in paying for this 

was a Godsend. "Our farmers never 
started with better prospects as to seed 
than they do the present year," said the 

The grain was sown; it germinated, 
and appeared above the ground. Then 
came anxious days. Would the grass- 
hopper scourge again come with its ruin 
and desolation? As the season advanced 
the people with deep concern scanned 
the skies for the appearance of the pests. 
Eggs had not been deposited in the 
county the preceding season, and the 
only apprehension felt was in regard to 
another invasion. Tidings soon came. 
On Monday, June 28, it was reported 
that a vast army was on the way to the 
northwest from Iowa and other states to 
the south, headed, it was said, for the 
Bad Lands of Dakota. They passed over 
Sioux City in great numbers, and ex- 
tended as far north as Sheldon. A few 
stragglers along the right flank of the 
army were seen in Nobles county and 
created some apprehension and caused a 
great deal of upward gazing. But the 
settlers thanked Providence that, so far, 
they were in the suburbs of the move- 
ment. One curious feature of this move- 
ment was that it came from the south- 
east; before the hordes generally came 
out of the northeast. What few were 
seen passing over Nobles county did no 
damage whatever. 

But on Saturday afternoon, July 10, 
the grasshoppers settled down in con- 
siderable numbers in various parts of the 
county. They came from the northeast, 
and as they were not full grown, it was 
believed they belonged to the Minnesota 
valley hatch, eggs having been deposited 
there in great numbers the year before. 
Sunday morning they began eating in a 

grain, and accounts were carried on the books 
of the county until November, 1903, when the 
last payment was made. 

Digitized by 



few fields of wheat and barley, but most July 30, 14 and worked from there slow- 
of them waited until Monday before they ly southward, depositing their eggs as 
tested the merits of the growing grain, they went. They invaded Lorain and 
On Sunday Ransom and Bigelow town- Elk townships and on the 31st put in 
ships were invaded from the southwest, an appearance about Worthington in 
and a few fine stands of grain in eacn considerably numbers. They were not so 
of those townships were badly damaged, numerous as they had been the year be- 
Tuesday, July 13, the greater part of fore, however, and were only enough 
the hoppers took their departure, flying to cover one tier of townships at a 
in a northwesterly direction. The dam- time. Neither did they eat so raven- 
age in Nobles county was not general or ously as formerly. 

great. In no part was there total de- They continued their way southward 
struction, and probably not over 100 and spread out over several Iowa coun- 
acres were seriously damaged. By the ties, where they did little or no dam- 
16th the grasshoppers had not only de- age to the crops. It has been a ragamuf- 
parted from the county, but from the fin Falstaffin army, compared with that 
state. of the 1874 army. Their appetities ap- 
The settlers kept track of the move- peared to be poor, and they were of a 
ments of the grasshoppers as they would degenerate breed; bushels died after lay- 
have those of an invading army of sol- ing their eggs, and the exhausted rem- 
diers. They knew that- only by chance nant left the county in the first half of 
would they escape. They felt as though August. 

the sword of Damocles were suspended Oats and garden vegetables suffered 

•over them, ready to fall at any moment, most. Outside of the. three northeas- 

The pests were absent only a short time, tern townships, where the loss was nearly 

In the latter part of July they invaded total, the damage was slight, and an es- 

the townships of Hersey, Graham Lakes timate placed the crop at nine-tenths 

and Seward — communities which had of a full one. Probably twice the quan- 

suffered so greatly the year before — in tity of farm products ever before raised 

great numbers. For several days they was marketed in 1875. 
were there destroying the crops and de- The population of the county in 1875, 

positing their eggs. Some of the farm- according to figures taken by the asses- 

ers lost everything, and all in the three sors in the different precincts, was 2738, 

townships suffered considerable loss. It divided by precincts as follows: 

is needless to say that the farmers there Worthington village 419 

were discouraged. Some parts of the Worthington township 207 

& r Little Rock 204 

county had escaped without great loss Bigelow 192 

in 1874 and most of the county did in 2F* ham Lakes 192 

J Elk 189 

1875 ; but these townships in the north- Seward 184 

eastern part of the county had now suf- J-oram 182 

r J Ransom 17o 

fered two nearly complete crop failures. Hersey 170 

The grasshoppers began leaving the * ndian Lftke : j<j2 

northern tier of townships on Friday, Grand Prairie 107 

M "We were at Graham lakes on Wednesday the county. At present they do not extend 
[August 4], and found there was scarcely a more than three or four miles north of Worth- 
grasshopper in the whole northern portion of ington. — Worthington Advance, Aug. 6, 1875. 

Digitized by VjOOQLC 


Dewald 103 The first list drawn was not signed by 

2nd Assessment District 67 . . , . - . , . n . , , , 

Summit Lake t 62 the chairman oi the board, and the 

First Assessment District 15 second list was not filed with the clerk 

Total 2,738 °f court. The grand jury was therefore de- 
clared not competent to find an indict- 
There was an increase in the as^ ment> md the pr i son er was given his 
sessed valuation in 1875. The total was liberty 

$656,363, of which $254,250 was for 0f the sev enteen civil cases on the 

personal property and $402,113 for real docket? several were quite important, 

property. The levy was again placed The only j liry case was that o{ Je8ge 

at thirteen mills divided as follows: Gen- w . Palmer against Warren Smith for 

eral, five mills; interest on bonds, etc., Hbel. The trial occupied several days, 

three mills; road and bridge, two and anc ) the case was decided in favor of 

one-half mills; floating debt, one and the plaintiff, who was given a verdict 

one-half mills; poor, one mill. f one dollar. 

The first term of court held In Following were the jurors who served 

Nobles county convened at Miller hall, a t this first term: 

Worthington, on Tuesday, Sept. 14, Grand j urorS) Michael Snyder, John 
1875, and was in session until Saturday, t. Green, A. Buchan, Charles Fake, T. 
Sept. 18. Judge D. A. Dickinson, of p. Crowe, C. B. Loveless, Coleman 
Mankato, judge of the Sixth district, Guernsey, W. G. Randall, John D. Brown 
presided. During the term E. D. Had- B. F. Tanner, David Fogo, J. R. Dewey, 
ley, of Luverne, and Daniel Rohrer, of Alfred Terry, James Thorn, John De- 
Worthington^ were admitted to practice. Boos, W. B. Akins, 0. A. Fauskee, G. 
Besides the members of the Worthington M. Plumb, G. T. Bulick, A. W. Burn- 
bar there were present Daniel Buck, of ham, David Bates, William Cuff, Otto 
Mankato; E. Clark, of Windom; Geo. Berreau. 

L. Otis, of St. Paul; Mr. Seegur, of Petit jurors — Peter Sweitzer, J. Tar- 
St. James; J. W. Knox, of Jackson, and bert, John Alley, T. H. Parsons, Wil- 
Samuel Lord, of Mantorville. Ham H. Parry, H. C. Rice, H. M. John- 
There were two criminal cases on the son, Frank Densmore, E. W. Hesselroth, 
docket. One was against one Larson, Charles Peterson, Henry Brayton, B. D. 
charged with selling diseaped meat. The Churchill, Richard Bergraff, L. B. Har- 
grand jury failed to return a true bill, don, Robert Firth, James Parshall, E. 
Andrew Jacobson, charged with burglary, J. Bear, A. 0. Conde, Charles Drury, 
was discharged, owing to the fact that William Ditty, B. W. Lyon, L. E. Kim- 
the grand jury was not properly drawn, ball, B. F. Congdon, John Hart. 

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(Continued)— 1876-1879. 

The year 1876 opened auspiciously. 
Despite the forebodings of disaster from 
another grasshopper visitation, the peo- 
ple were in fine spirits. This was caus- 
ed by the prospects of another railroad 
building into the county. Everybody 
was worked up over the matter, and the 
belief was almost unanimous that upon 
the coming of another railroad depended 
the future welfare of the county. 

The Southern Minnesota 1 was the 
name of the road that caused the flurry 
in Nobles county. It had a road com- 
pleted and in operation as far west as 
Winnebago City and let it be known 
that the line would be extended to the 
west, provided sufficient money was rais- 
ed as a bonus. Nobles county was 
asked to vote bonds to the amount of 
$40,000 as a subsidy to be paid subject 
to the condition that the road be com- 
• pleted to Worthington and in opera- 
tion on or before September 1, 1877. It 
was also made known that the road 
would later be extended. Mass meet- 
ings and conventions were held to bring 

*A company formed by Chicago, Milwaukee 
& St. Paul interests. The road is now a 
branch of that system. 

'In the light of present conditions, this pre- 
diction is amusing. The Southern Minnesota 
did build north of Worthington; the point of 
crossing with the Sioux City road is at Prairie 
Junction, or Miloma; and anyone who has 
spent his time there waiting for trains will 
corroborate the statement that it is not a 

about the desired condition, and very 
little opposition to voting the bonds 
developed. The Worthington Advance 
of Jan. 13, 1876, said of the necessity 
of having the new road, and thereby 
voiced the sentiment of the people of 
Worthington, at least: 

The Southern Minnesota is YVorthington's 
opportunity. If the road comes here, Worth- 
ington becomes from that day a railroad 
center and an important inland city. If it 
goes north of us, the railroad center for 
this section of country will be at the point 
of crossing the Sioux City road.* Worth- 
ington can better afford to pay the whole 
bonus herself than to let the road go north 
of us. About one-half the tax will fall 
upon Worthington in any event, for about 
that per cent of the realty on the tax list 
is in Worthington. . . . But of course 
Worthington will not be asked to do this. 
The surrounding country will, if anything, 
be benefited more than the town, and will 
not hesitate to bear its share of the small 
burden necessary to secure the road. 

A petition was presented to the board 
of county commissioners on February 
19, asking that the Nobles county law 
makers call an election to vote on the 
question of issuing bonds. 3 The same 
day the commissioners took favorable ac- 

*The petition was signed by Daniel SheU, H. 
W. Kimball. H. J. Grant, L. E. Kimball, Otis 
Bigelow, C. P. Hewitt, R. F. Baker, Geo. O. 
Moore. H. Davis, S. A. Davis, E. C. Hill, A. 
M. Smith, Elihu Smith. C. B. Loveless, C. T. 
Pope, B. N. Carrier. T. C. Bell, A. P. Miller, 
M. B. Soule, J. P. Moulton, W. S. Stockdale, 
R. D. Barber. H J. Ludlow, C. Z. Sutton, M. 
Grinager, L. B. Bennett, Daniel Rohrer, J. A. 
Town, C. Johnson and I. N. Sater. 


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tion, and called a special election for 
the village of Worthington to be held 
March 14. Provision was made for vot- 
ing on the question in the townships on 
the same day, that being the date of the 
regular township elections. By a vote 
of 353 to 199 the bond issue was au- 
thorized. Following is the result by 
precincts : 


Worthington Village 
Worthington Twp. . . 


Dewald . 




Summit Lake 

Graham Lakes 


Indian Lake 



Little Rock 

































That was the end of the matter for 
the time being. The road was not ex- 
tended until three years later, and then 
it barely touched Nobles county, passing 
through the northeastern corner of Gra- 
ham Lakes township. The bonds for the 
subsidy voted were not issued. 

But the Southern Minnesota was not 
the only railroad that showed activity 
in 1876. Simultaneous with the agita- 
tion for the extension of that line, the 
people of Sioux Falls and vicinity were 
laying plans to have a road built into 
that prosperous community. In the fall 
of 1875 several public meetings were 
held in Sioux Falls, the object of which 
was to secure a road, either by building 
one with local capital or by inducing" the 
Sioux City & St. Paul Eailroad company 
to construct a branch from some point 

on its main line. The point favored 
was Sibley or some station in Iowa. 

The wants of the Dakota town were 
made known to the officials of the 
Sioux City & St. Paul road. President 
E. F. Drake responded as follows: 

St. Paul, Minn., Oct* 28, 1875. 
Sir: Your favor of the 21st duly received. 
Absence has pre\ented an earlier reply. It 
seems to me your proper line of road is 
from Worthington, or a point on our road 
at the state line. The great product of your 
country is to be wheat, and our route to 
Lake Superior is always to be the best route 
for it. Had the west escaped grasshoppers 
we would have long since taken up this 
project, but our stockholders have sunk in 
operating our road about as much as would 
be required to build to Sioux Falls. Foreign 
aid cannot be had until the state of Iowa, 
by some act of her legislature, can assure 
investors that they will be free from un- 
friendly legislation. I think, as matters now 
stand, our preference will be to build from 
some point in Minnesota. While we are not 
ready to begin to build, and would desire 
(in case we do) the cooperation of Sioux 
Falls, still we are not losing sight of the 
importance of the proposed route, and will 
give it every encouragement in our power. 
I am of the opinion that the road can only 
be built by local aid liberally voted. It will 
not be in my power to be with you at your 
meeting, but whatever may be its result, 
and whatever route you may determine on, 
I shall wish you success. Your people are 
entitled to a road out in some direction, and 
when you develop your plans and determine 
what you wish to do, I shall be glad to have 
further correspondence. 


E. F. DRAKE, Prest. 

The information contained in the let- 
ter did pot prove entirely satisfactory to 
the progressive people of Sioux Falls; 
they wanted a road at once, and Presi- 
dent Drake had stated that the company 
was not in position to build at once. 
They continued the agitation, determin- 
ed to construct a road themselves if nec- 
essary, and an association was formed, 
composed mostly of people of Minne- 
haha county, Dakota territory. Presi- 
dent Drake had given a hint as to the 
proper place from which to build, and 
late in December, 1875, the Dakota 

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boomers met and designated Worthing- 
ton a 3 the eastern terminus of the pro- 
posed road. 

A preliminary survey of the country 
adjacent to Big Sioux river and Brown 
creek from Sioux Falls to the Minnesota 
line near Valley Springs was made. The 
surveyors reported a route favorable for 
construction as well as operating. The 
people of Minnehaha county very strong- 
ly urged the people of Rock and Nobles 
counties to unite with them in further- 
ing the work. 4 But the people of No- 
bles county were at the time too much 
absorbed in the Southern Minnesota to 
be aroused in the interest of the I)ako- 

During the month of January, 1876, 
the Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad 
company decided to build the road. This 
action was taken because of the evident 
intention of the Southern Minnesota to 
invade the territory. The decision was 
reached, ostensibly, through the efforts 
of the Minnehaha county committee, who 
visited the officers of the railroad com- 
pany and secured from them the promise 
to build the road. 5 The railroad com- 
pany asked that the three counties 

4 "Valley Springs, Dec. 27, 1875. 

"A. P. Miller. Dear Sir: ... Of course 
it is idle for this county to attempt the enter- 
prise unless the Nobles and Rock county peo- 
ple will unite with them. By solicitation of 
the committee appointed to forward the pro- 
ject. I write to ascertain if we may expect 
prompt action on the part of your people. 
. . . T am confident that if Nobles and 
Rock counties will act with as much effect as 
our own people, and a3 promptly, we can be- 
fore the next harvest show a line three - 
fourths of the entire distance graded and 
ready for the ties. Of course this can only be 
done by the most active work in organization 
and in subsequent prosecution of the work. 

"I hope and trust that you will, with such 
others of your people as should enlist In the 
work, extend to us the hand of greeting in 
the most liberal manner, and aid in binding 
our little commmunities together with bands 
of Iron at the earliest day practicable. I very 
much wish a personal Interview with you and 
your people, and will. If you desire, under- 
take to come to Worthington with some two 
or three of our Sioux Falls friends if by so 
doing we may reasonably hope to secure ac- 

through which the road was to run pay 
a bonus. 

The company was incorporated in 
March as the St. Paul & Dakota Rail- 
road company by President E. F. Drake 
and his associates of the Sioux City & 
St. Paul. The capital stock was $600,- 
000, there being 6,000 shares of $100 
each. As told in the incorporation act, 
the company proposed to build a branch 
iond "from some point on the line of 
the Sioux City & St. Paul railroad, in 
Xobles county, state of Minnesota, to 
the west line of the state of Minnesota, 
in Rock county." 

The preliminary survey was started 
west from Worthington on March 31, 
the original lines being run on the 
north side of Okabena lake. Later this 
course was abandoned in order to avoid 
the heavy grade that would have to be 
overcome in building directly out of 
Worthington. It was decided to leave 
the main line at a point about three 
miles southwest of Worthington known 
as the summit, later known as Sioux 
Falls Junction. 

Preparations were rushed, funds were 
secured, bonuses were voted in Minne- 

tive cooperation. 

"Very truly yours. 

"M. S. WOOD. 
"Chairman Com. Sioux Falls R. R. Co." 

""Editor Advance: Permit me through the 
medUim of your very excellent paper to state 
to your people that as a result of a visit of 
the Minnehaha railroad committee we have 
the pleasure to state thai our interview with 
the president and several of the directors of 
the St. Paul & Sioux City railroad was of a 
highly satisfactory character. 

"Briefly, let me say that as a result we 
bring with us a written proposition bearing 
the signature of President Drake, which we 
regard as highly reasonable, and we mav say, 
liberal, which, by prompt acceptance and ac- 
tion on the part of Nobles. Rock and Min- 
nehaha counties, promises to give us a rail- 
road to T.uvcme in time to move the crops qf 
this year, and final completion to Sioux Falls 
before the close of the year 1877. . M. 

S. Wood, Chairman." 

•The name was changed to Worthington & 
Sioux Falls Railroad company in July, 1876. 

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haha and Rock counties, and in May a few in Indian Lake, Dewald and Sum- 
grading was begun. 7 The work of con- mit Lake. For a time they ate quite 
struction on the branch made business ravenously; then during the first week 
lively. Nearly every train brought work- in June they appeared to become inac- 
men to Worthington, and the hotels there tive. They scattered through the prairie 
were filled to overflowing. The lumber grass, became apparently demoralized, 
yards, blacksmith shops and hardware stores and appeared to have lost their appe- 
also did a good business. It was the tites. As usual, the three northeastern 
first time in several years that ready townships were the most severely hurt, 
money had circulated in the county. The and the other portions of the county 
track was completed to the present site were not damaged to any great extent 
of Adrian in August, and October 2 the by the early operations of the pests, 
track had been laid to the crossing of About the middle of June the young 
Rock river at Luverne, and the first re- hoppers recovered their appetites and re- 
gular train was run over the line. 8 turned to the charge. The local hatch 
The stage line between Worthington was not considered numerous enough to 
and Luverne was discontinued. The do any extensive damage, and the great- 
village of Adrian was founded, and at cast anxiety was the fear of another in- 
once became an important trading vasion. The Advance of June 22 said: 
point. 9 A station named Miller, in In thia county the damage is 8till slight . 

honor of ex-Governor Stephen Miller, We hear from Seward that nearly all the 

.it i ^ , n . . , grain there is destroyed. Our Hersey cor- 

was established at the point where Lpondent writes that in that town the in- 

Rushmore now stands. The postoffice jury is not great. Mr. Ames, of this town- 

iJTTuuj JJ.AJ- t ship [ Worthing! onl, thinks his crops are 

of Hebbard was moved to Adrian, and h J { t ' ken . M * r . ji u i weiler , f Bigelow, has 

that at Dewald was discontinued. The ]o ^ a g°°d portion of his grain, 
road was extended from Luverne to The invading hosts appeared July 8, 
§ioux Falls in the summer of 1878. dropped down upon the county, ate a 
The grasshoppers again brought des- f ew days, and disappeared. Then on 
traction to the crops in 1876. The de- July 22 they came in countless numbers, 
posit and hatch was confined mainly to The country was invaded again! They 
those townships which had been invaded extended as far east as Martin county, 
the year before. The pests began to south to Sibley, west to Yankton, and 
hatch, and late in May commenced their north an indefinite distance. They re- 
ravages. They were quite thick in Gra- mained until July 29, when they nearly 
ham Lakes, Hersey, Seward, Elk and all migrated. Oats, barley, corn, vege- 
Worthington townships, and there were tables, and all crops except wheat, were 

..* t> ™.„ -r, " 7 Lf Mar ?; April 3, 1876. the ground, and will cheerfully furnish em- 

♦• \if\_ Mlller - Esq. Dear Sir: Upon condl- ployment for all the men and their teams 

tion that we secure the stipulated bonus in i n your county and Rock that are desirous to 

Rock county we have secured every dollar of labor — S Miller Agent " 

the sum required to complete our branch 

road from your place to Luverne by or before "The train consisted of one coach and a 

the first day of October next, and if the bonus caboose, and carried a party of visiting rail- 

t>e voted it will be so completed. Col. Drake, road officials. Peter Becker was conductor; 

Col. Merriam and Horace Thompson, Esq.. Frank Swandollar, engineer; Matt Dulan 

telegraph from New York that the money fireman. John McMillan was roadmaster in 

is ready so soon as the bonus is voted; and charge of the branch line when it began 

General Bishop writes that if the vote be operations, 
favorable, he will immediately thereafter 

finally locate the road, and will commence its 9 For the early history of Adrian see chap- 
construction so soon as the frost is out of ter 17. 

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almost entirely destroyed in all parts of 
the county. For some reason the wheat 
was not so seriously damaged, the loss in 
that crop being no greater than it had 
been during the previous year. 10 

There was no disguising the fact that 
Nobles county had met another damag- 
ing setback. The people were discour- 
aged, and some left the country. The 
hoppers had again deposited their eggs, 
and there seemed no prospects that the 
count ry would ever be free from them. 11 
The majority of the settlers remained, 
determined to fight to a successful end 
or meet utter failure in the attempt. 
The result of the invasion of 1876 was 
to change the tactics. Instead of stak- 
ing all on grain farming, many now 
turned to stockraising. 

During the winter following the in- 
vasion, it was again necessary to extend 
relief. Early in January the county 
commissioners began issuing supplies to 
relieve actual suffering. Captain E. S. 
Mills distributed at Bigelow and Worth- 
ington, A. C. Robinson at Worthington 
and A. 0. Conde at Hersey. This 
county aid was given only to bridge over 
the time until supplies could be received 
from the state, after an appropriation 
had been made by the legislature. The 
Minnesota law-making body appropriat- 
ed $100,000 to be used in bounties to 
pay for the destruction of grasshoppers 
and their eggs, $75,000 to furnish seed 
grain, and another sum as a common 
relief fund. A rule was established in 
Nobles county that parties desiring re- 

,# "They rthe grasshoppers] will of course 
harvest the wheat next unless farmers can 
get In ahead of them and cut their wheat. 
There is a bare possibility that the wheat 
crop, in the main, will escaoe, and we are 
sure of our cattle and other live stock. Reallv 
we shall be grateful if they do not eat the 
shirts off our backs. Our hope is that a 
friendly tornado or a three days* blizzard will 
come and blow them away. How long!— 
Worthingrton Advance, July 27, 1876. 

lief should apply to the township super- 
visors and make their statement, no af- 
fidavit being required. These statements 
were then sent to the state authorities, 
and supplies were sent direct to the 
needy parties, thus dispensing with the 
need of a county distributing commit- 

During the days that the grasshoppers 
were feasting on Xobles county grain 
came the last Indian scare. It seems 
hardly creditable that such an event 
could take place so late as 18705, when 
the whole surrounding country had be- 
come quite thickly settled, but such is 
the fact, and those who lived in the 
northern part of the county at the time 
will never forget it. Xeedless to sav, 
there were no Indians within a long dis- 
tance of Xobles county, and no hostiles 
within several hundred miles. But it 
was only a short time after the fearful 
Ouster massacre in Montana, and the 
rumor that Indians were on the way to 
wipe out the settlements of southwest- . 
era Minnesota came to credulous ears. 

It was on the morning, of July 12, 
1876, before daylight, that some settlers 
from the nortli hurriedly rode into 
Worthington and reported that the In- 
dians were coming. It was stated that a 
band of 500 was camped on one of the 
lakes of Murray county. The scare spread 
through the southern part of Murray and 
the northern part of Xobles counties, 
and the evil done to nervous woman and 
children (and some men) was great. 

Soon after the arrival of the first 

"There was reallv very little that the set- 
tlers could do to destroy or check the pests, 
although many schemes were tried. Nothing 
availed against the invading hordes, but in 
the case of the young hoppers the farmers 
waged a more or less successful war by the 
use of tar. A sort of drag, made of sheet 
\ron and wood, would have tar spreid over it 
and would then be dragged over the ground. 
The young hoppers would be caught in the 
tar and destroyed, but If there was an in- 
vasion all the work would be for naught. 

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refugees people began to pour into Worth- 
ington from the country to the north. 
They had been aroused from their slum- 
bers by the startling announcement that 
the Indians were coming, had driven 
all night, and were in a high state of 
nervous excitement. The roads through 
Elk and Seward townships were lined 
with wagons, the occupants of which 
were all bound for the county seat. Ar- 
rived there, they camped on the public 
square. The same evening some of the 
settlers returned to their homes when 
it became evident there was no truth in 
the rumor. Others waited for more 
substantial proof than had been obtained. 

The scare had originated with a boy 
named Hemphill, in southern Murray 
county. He had been sent out to rake 
hay, but not being of a very enterpris- 
ing nature, he conceived a plan to es- 
cape the work. He rushed to the house, 
crying that the Indians had attacked 
him. A man named Hampton, who was 
preparing to leave the country, spread 
the alarm, and within a short time a 
full fledged Indian scare was on. 

A scouting party was at once organ- 
ized at Worthington by Lieutenant "R. B. 
Plotts, made up of the following gen- 
tlemen: Oeo. Brant, Prof. R. F. Hum- 
iston, A. P. Miller, Will Bunnell. Ohas. 
Covey. Captain Aiken Miner and Alex 
Dickey. 12 They scoured the country to 
the north looking for Indians or Indian 
signs. They found nothing but a lot 
of scared people. After the return 
Lieutenants Plotts made the the follow- 
ing report of the expedition. 

Gentlemen of the Council of the Village of 

Worth inert on: 

Agreeable to instructions, T have the honor 
to report the following facts gathered by our 
party while scouting the country on Wednes- 

day, July 12, and Thursday, 13th. After 
leaving Worthington we proceeded north of 
the lake Shetek road, accompanied by a 
considerable party in wagons and on horse- 
back. The whole party proceeded as far as 
Jack creek, where we found the first occupied 
house, but no news from occupants of In- 
dians. We next stopped at the house of Mr. 
Alexander, on the north edge of the county, 
where some men were gathered who had 
just returned from a scout around the coun- 
try a number of miles, and who had been 
unable to find anything. They informed us 
that they thought the whole thing had 
originated with a boy named Hemphill, of 
that neighborhood, and followed by the re- 
ports of a man named Hampton a few miles 
further north and in Murray county. The 
whole party then proceeded to the bank of 
Seven Mile lake, unhitched, fed our teams 
and lunched, after which it was decided, in 
consultation, that Prof. Hum ip ton and his 
immediate party, with two of the horsemen, 
should return with the news as gathered. 

The remainder of the party then proceeded 
north till we came to the house of Mr. King, 
town of Bondin, Murray county. Here is 
quite a large settlement, and most of the 
men were at Mr. K.'s house, which contained 
the only woman in the township. Here we 
found that it was unnecessary to proceed any 
further north, as a man had just arrived 
from lake Shetek a short time before our ar- 
rival, and he reported everything quiet north 
of this immediate neighborhood. Scouts also 
came in from the surrounding country while 
we were there, and all reported that no In- 
dians or signs of Indians could be found any- 
where. The report of Hampton, following 
the report of the bov Hemphill has caused 
the whole of the trouble, and no small 
amount of damage to us as a people. 

Having thus traced the alarm to its foun- 
tain head, Messrs. Clark, Shirlev and Chase 
returned to town from this place, and our 
guide and interpreter, Mr., accompanied 
by two men from Bondin on hor?es, and two 
of my own neighbors from Elk, pushed out 
■west to Lone Tree or Barker lake, where we 
spent the night at the house of Mr. Ander- 
son. This place is close to the Beaver Creek 
settlement, which knew nothing of Indians, 
and were pursuing the even tenor of their 
ways, unalarmed by Indian scares. 

From Badger lake we pushed west across 
the country to Cora Belle lake, one of the 
old camping grounds of the Indians, and 
here we found no trails fresh, or new camps, 
neither of them having been used at least 
since last May or June. From Cora Belle 
we pushed across to that trail leading across 
Sunken Timber, as that is the only place 
anyone can cross without going way north 
or coming in south by Luverne. Before 

"Some of the scouts were mounted, others Humiston were armed with parasols, high col- 
went In buggies, and a few of them were lars and kid gloves, 
prepared to meet Indians. Those with Prof. 

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getting there we met a man just from it, 
who had not been more than one hour's 
time away, and he informed us that he had 
seen nothing of any Indians, nor had heard 
of any until seeing us. 

In conclusion, I would add that should I 
ever be so unfortunate as to have another 
such duty as this to perform, I should cer- 
tainly like to have in my party such men 
as accompanied me through, and especially 
such a one as our interpreter, Mr. Brant. 
And now, trusting this report may allay the 
fears of all our people throughout this coiin* 
try, I beg to remain, 

Very truly your servant, 

Late in Charge of Scouting Party. 

Had it not been for the terrible grass- 
hopper scourge there can be no doubt 
that the whole of Nobles county would 
have been rapidly settled during the 
first half of the seventies. A big set- 
tlement had been made in the eastern 
half of the county because of the prox- 
imity to the railroad and because of 
the activities of the National colony, and 
a few had pushed out to the fertile 
lands in the western portion. If the 
hard times had not come there is no rea- 
son to doubt that a railroad would have 
been built through the west end and that 
that portion of the county would have been 
as thickly settled as the east. But im- 
migration had ceased when the scourge 
came, with the result that the extreme 
western and the whole of the north- 
western part of the county was left 
with a very small population. 

From 1873 to 1877 no new townships 
were organized. At the close of the for- 
mer year 14 of Nobles county's minor 
divisions had been granted local govern- 
ment ; the other six were unorganized, and 
had but small population. When the 
branch road was built during the summer 
and fall of 1876, resulting in the 
founding of Adrian village, the lands 
along the new road were settled to a 
considerable extent. In township 102- 
43 was located part of the new village, 

and there also was the greatest farm- 
ing settlement in any of the unorgan- 
ized townships. 

A petition praying for the organiza- 
tion of that township was presented to 
the board of county commissioners Jan. 
24, 1877. It was signed by Thos. H. 
Childs, G. E. Otis, J. C. Ludlow, 0. 
Klock, R. Washburn, Horace Westbrook, 
H. M. Moffatt, David W. Hovey, Isaac 
Emerson, Matthew Emerson, Nils Elias, 
Thron Gunderen, Henry Myices, Ira E. 
Crosby, J. V. Bartow, Wm. Wigham, 
John Ellsworth, Geo. L. Ellsworth, 
John Nesh, A. R. Calkins, M. 
J. Klock, Peter Doltsmark, S. K. 
Hovey, L. C. Long, J. W. Yost, 
John Misemas, F. W. Ellsworth. The 
'board took favorable action February 6, 
and named the township Westside, the 
name being given because of its geo- 
graphical location. The organization 
was perfected Feb. 24, when the first 
town meeting was held at the Childs' 
hotel in Adrian. 

Twenty-three votes were cast at this 
initial election of Westside township. 
Thomas Childs and J. A. Ellsworth 
were judges of election, and Ira Crosby 
was clerk. The following officers were 
elected : Chairman, J. A. Ellsworth ; 
supervisors, John Wiseman and Isaac 
Emerson; clerk, L. C. Long; treasurer, 
Ira E. Crosby; assessor, J. V. Bartow; 
justices of the peace, T. H. Childs and 
R. Simmons; constables, Geo. L. Ells- 
worth and Thomas Baltuff. Another 
election for the selection of township of- 
ficers was held March m 13, 1877, when 
eighteen votes were cast and the toh 
lowing officers were elected: Chairman, 
Ira E. Crosby; supervisors, John Wise- 
man and A. R. Harris; clerk, L. C. 
Long;, treasurer, P. Voigtlaender ; as- 
sessor, J, V, Bartow; justices of the 

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peace, J. A. Ellsworth and T. H. 
Childs; constables, Geo. L. Ellsworth 
and Geo. Slade. 

Nobles county's first court house was 
erected in 1877. It was put up at that 
time in order to secure title to the block 
of land which had been donated by the 
railroad company with the provision 
that a county building should be erected 
thereon within a certain time. The 
building put up was intended to serve 
as a temporary affair, but the build- 
ing was destined to be used as a court 
house — with some modifications — for 
eighteen years. 

The question of its construction was 
first officially discussed by the board of 
county commissioners on Feb. 6, 1877, 
when CommissiQncr A. C. Robinson was* 
instructed to prepare plans. 18 The plans 
submitted were accepted March 20, and 
the auditor was authorized to advertise 
for sealed proposals to furnish material 
and erect the building, which should 
be completed by June 28. Several bids 
were submitted, and the contract was 
let to Thurber & Chandler (B. F. Thur- 
ber and S. E. Chandler) on a bid of 
$1124. 14 The building was completed 
and accepted by the commissioners June 
20, and on June 27 the county officers 
took up their quarters in the court 

The annual dread of grasshopper visi- 
tation was again felt in the spring and 
summer of 1877 — and this time the set- 
tlers were agreeably disappointed. The 
season was admirably adapted to two 
ends: the best possible development 
of small grain, and the worst pos- 
sible development of the locusts. 

M A. O. Conde moved that A. C. Robinson be 
and is hereby instructed to prepare a plan 
and estimate the cost of a temporary building 
for county offices and report the same at the 
next meeting of the board." — Commissioners' 
Journal. Feb. 6, 1877. 

The cool, rainy weather of the 
spring and early summer seemed to 
have been sent on purpose to give wheat 
and other small grain a rapid and healthy 
growth, and at the same time give 
the grasshoppers a slow and feeble de- 
velopment. After the young grasshop- 
pers hatched, here and there a field was 
somewhat damaged by them, but the 
people knew that unless raided again by 
the invading hordes there could not 
be universal destruction. And the inva- 
ders did not come. July 26 the Wor- 
thington Advance said: "The deeper we 
get into the magnificent harvest of 
1877, the more we realize that this is 
our year of Jubilee." 

Yet conditions were not so rosy as 
one might imagine. The several years 
of grasshopper invasion had discouraged 
the farmers of Nobles county to such 
an extent that each year saw less and 
less grain sown. The spring of 1877 
witnessed the planting of a very limit- 
ed acreage, and the big yield per acre 
did not result in the bountiful times 
that would have come had the farmers 
sown as in former years. 

The state of affairs in Nobles coun- 
ty is described by a gentleman who visi- 
ted it that fall. In November he wrote: 

"The country around Worthington, as 
well as for a long distance before reach- 
ing there along the line of the St. Paul 
& Sioux City road, gives evidence of 
the sad effects of the grasshopper plague 
in the thousands of acres of land that 
have once been broken and perhaps a 
crop or two taken from it, and the 
owners have left it to grow up to weeds, 
not daring to risk the chances of har- 

,4 The bids submitted were as follows: Thur- 
ber & Chandler. $1124; Edwin Humiston. 
$1330; G. Anderson. $1100. C. B. Langdon 
offered to sell the Farmers hotel or sd much 
as might be needed and move it to county 
grounds for $800. J. H. Johnson offered to 
sell the building then in use for county pur- 
poses for $1,000. 

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vesting their crops. Nothing so forcibly 
brings to the mind of the visitor the 
reality of the grasshopper scourge as 
the sight of these desolate, weed-grown 
fields, with occasionally a deserted home 
standing cheerless and lone in the midst 
of the broad prairie." 

The legislature of 1878 passed another 
appropriation bill (approved February 
13) providing for furnishing seed grain. 
The Nobles county officials received 
$1,686.50 of this appropriation in cash, 
purchased the grain, and made the dis- 
tribution. There were 91 farmers who 
made application for grain. They had 
prepared 3,344 acres of land and de- 
sired 2,274 bushels of wheat and 1,169 
bushels of oats. 15 

The population of the county in 1877 
according to an estimate made by the 
Minnesota commissioner of statistics 
was 1,596. This was undoubtedly an 
underestimate. The population was 
nearer 3,000. 

By far the most important event of 
the year 1877, and one of the greatest 
moment in the county's history, was the 
founding of the Adrian Catholic colony 
and its beginning of operations in the 
western part of the county. It was 
to the west end what the temperance 
National colony had been to the east 
end five or six years earlier. The sav- 
ing of the 1877 crop was largely respon- 
sible for several leading Catholics se- 
lecting western Nobles county as the 
place in which to plant a colony. 

It was in the first few days of Sep- 
tember, 1877, that Bishop John Ireland, 
of St. Paul; Father C. J. Knauf, of 
Jordan; and Father A. Pint, of Shako- 
pee, arrived in Nobles county to look 
over the country with a possible view 
to selecting it as the place to establish 

"Report of County Commissioners to State 
Auditor, March 6, 1878. 

their followers. These gentlemen were 
pleased with the location, and immediate- 
ly decided that they had found the place 
which they sought. Bishop Ireland and 
the railroad company entered into a 
contract, whereby the former was given 
the exclusive sale of the railroad lands 
in Grand Prairie, Little Rock, Westside, 
Olney, Lismore and Larkin townships, 16 
under the following plan : When a mem- 
ber of the colony selected his land a 
permit was to be isued by Father Knauf, 
who at once took up his residence at 
Adrian and became local manager of the 
company and the resident priest. The 
settler was then to take his permit to the 
railroad company, which was to issue a 
contract for the sale of the land. 
The people who composed the colony 
were principally German and Irish 
Catholics from Minnesota, Wisconsin, 
Michigan and other central states. Be- 
fore the close of September several of 
the colonists arrived and contracted for 
land, and by October 5 Father Knauf 
had issued permits for the purchase of 
1,780 acres of land. Before the year was 
over this had been largely increased. 
The Worthington Advance of Oct. 4, 
said : "The influx of people into this 
section of country reminds us of the 
first year of our settlement here. The 
hotels are full nearly every night. " 
Only a few of these arrivals located per- 
manentlv that winter. They came, se- 
cured their permits, and then returned 
to their former homes to make prepara- 
tions for moving on in the early spring. 
To the Adrian colony, to northwestern 
"Nobles conntv, to eastern "Nobles coun- 
ty, to the Sioux Falls country, to all 
parts of Minnesota, the settlers flocked 
in the spring of 1878. It was be- 
lieved that the grasshopper days were 

M Th«* two last named had not then been 
named or organized. 




past, and once more the new country 
was the goal for thousands of immi- 
grants. They came by railroad and in 
the primitive prairie schooner. During 
one day in April 32 heavily loaded cov- 
ered wagons reached Worthington. The 
new settlers thus arriving had their 
families with them . and were ready to 
commence operations on their farms. Of 
the rush to the once more promised 
land Mr. T. McCleary in March wTote 
to the Mankato Review: 

T came to Luverne on Friday, March 1. 
All the way from Mankato the c^rs were 
crowded with people bound for the west. 
Manv of them were voting men seeking land 
at Worthington. The hotel was full, four 
of us sleeping in one room. The great cry seems 
to be for land, land, and the crowds are 
pushing to Sioux Falls and. vicinity. One 
cannot have much idea of the magnitude 
of this prairie country without a trip over 
it. What a population it can support, and 
how it invites the starving multitude that 
hang about the cities, to come and make 
themselves independent. 

The grasshopper days were not yet 
over. Late in the season they appeared 
in small numbers and did some little 
damage in parts of the county, but the 
destruction they wrought was as noth- 
ing compared with that of the early 
days. A partial crop failure also re- 
sulted from natural causes, and aftet 
harvest, times were not so prosperous as 
thev had promised to be in the spring. 

One more township was organized 
that vear. Tn the fall a maioritv of 
the legal voters of that township which 
later became Willmont signed a petition 
asking for organization and suggesting a 
name for the same. The name sug- 
gested was not satisfactory to some of 
the settlers, and a petition of remon- 
strance, signed bv 18 voters, was pre- 
sented, asking that the county commis- 
sioners do not name the town as sug- 

,r For the naming of the village of Wllmont 
and the change In the spelling of the original 

gested, but that they select the name. 
One faction wanted the township named 
Willumet, the other Lamont When the 
commissioners, on November 22, pro- 
vided for the organization, they named 
the township Willmont, 17 a combina- 
tion of parts of the names suggested by 
the two factions. The first town meet- 
ing was held at the residence of Wil- 
liam Moody Dec. 12, 1878. 

Two new railroads touched Nobles 
county in 1879, both passing through 
the extreme northeastern corner. One of 
these was the Southern Minnesota (now 
the Milwaukee), the proposed exten- 
sion of which caused so much stir in 
1876. The line of the road was defi- 
nitely located in the spring, and con- 
tracts for its construction were imme- 
diately let. The Sioux City & St. Paul 
road again resented the proposed en- 
croachment on what it considered its own 
territory. To bead off the Southern 
Minnesota that road hurridly made a 
survey for a branch line from Heron 
Lake to Pipestone, paralleling the sur- 
vey of the other road. 

Then began a lively race in construc- 
tion. Side by side the construction 
crews of the two roads worked. At 
times violence was narrowly averted be- 
tween the workmen, so bitter had be- 
come the strife between the two com- 
panies. It was admitted that it was 
a cut-throat policv to continue the 
work of building the parallel roads, but 
neither would give in. Late in Mav a 
conference was held at St. Paul between 
representatives of the Milwaukee and 
Sioux Oitv & St. Paul interests, when an 
attempt was made to come to an un- 
derstanding and to reconcile differences. 
The conference served onlv to make 
matters worse, and the work of con- 

word see chapter 19. 

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8truction on both roads was rushed to 

Not only did they run their roads side 
by side; they laid out their towns 
almost within a stone's throw of each 
other. Two of these were in Ifoblea 
county, about a mile apart, Airlie (Kin- 
brae) was laid out on the Southern 
Minnesota; Warren (Dundee) was built 
on the Pipestone branch of the Sioux 
City & St. Paul. 

The grasshoppers reappeared in the 
summer of 1879 and ate their last No- 
bles county grain. They were not pres- 
ent in great numbers, but they re- 
mained several weeks. A few farmer* 
lost whole fields, but the destruction 
was not general. The only crop damaged 
to any considerable extent was wheat, 
and the hoppers were generous enough 
to divide that with the farmers. About 
the middle of July they departed, never 
to appear again. The great grasshopper 
scourge was a thing of the past. 

The townships of Afton (Bloom) and 
Leota were organized in the spring of 
this last grasshopper year, both com- 
ing into existence at the same time. 

An abortive attempt had been made 
to organize township 104-41 (Bloom) 
during the summer of 1878. The meae- 

u "To the Honorable County Commissioners 
of Nobles County: 

"Wc, the undersigned, do offer a remon- 
strance against the action of a certain meet- 
ing held at the residence of Peter Bloom, on 
the southwest quarter of section 22 In this 
town, on the 31st day of May, said meet- 
ing: being called for the purpose of naming 
said town and signing petition to your hon- 
orable body for permission to organize. 

"Charge 1st. That there were no notices 
posted in the town giving due notice of the 

"Charge 2nd. That deceptive language was 
used at said meeting to induce certain per- 
sons to sign petition who had already signed 

"And as there is the town of Center in 
Murray county we are opposed to the name 
of North Center as a name for the town. 

"[Signed] G. Larchinger, Daniel Larchin- 
ger, Thos. J. Lynch, William Sanger, Paul 

ure was defeated that year largely be- 
cause of the inability of the settlers to 
agree upon a name. From the spring 
of 1878 until the township was organ- 
ized the following year, petitions and re- 
monstrances were pcfured in upon the 
county commissioners, urging the selec- 
tion of one name or protesting against 
the bestowal of some other. A meeting 
was held at the residence of Peter 
Bloom, May 31, 1878, when a peti- 
tion was drawn up and signed, asking 
the county commissioners to grant town- 
ship government and name it North Cen- 
ter. This at once brought forth a pro- 
test from those residents who were not 
in favor of the name, and on June 3 they 
presented a remonstrance to the county 
board. 18 The commissioners, evidently 
concluding that they would wait until 
harmony should be restored, took no ac- 
tions on the petitions. 

The contest for the choosing of the 
name resulted in the formation of two 
factions, one favorable to the name 
North Center, the other to Hamberg. 
Early in the year 1879 the "Hamber- 
gers" became active and circulated a 
petition. This was followed on Jan- 
uary 30 by a remonstrance from the 
"North Centers." 19 The opposition came 
to the front with another petition March 

Sanger, Jacob Sanger, Ernest Sanger, Stephen 
Naylor, Lemuel Eby, Aaron Eby.'" 

lB "To the Honorable Board of Commissioners 
of the County of Nobles and State of Min- 
nesota : 

"We, the undersigned, citizens of the town- 
ship 104, range 41, in the county and state 
above named, would respectfully remonstrate 
with your honorable body to a certain peti- 
tion that is said to be presented to you, re- 
questing that you name the said town Ham- 
berg, and for the purpose of convincing you 
of the wishes of the people, we, a majority 
of the actual residents of said township, do 
respectfully pray that you will name said 
township North Center. 
*Dated January 30, 1879. 

"Signed: Geo. B. Fellows, Guy C. Fellows, 
S. C. Chrestenson, Charles Chrestenson, Levi 
H. Baxter. Byron Gage, V. Krier, John Krier. 
Sr.. Nicholas Bertrand, John Krier, Jr., J. O. 
Bathen, Thomas Murrey, Peter Krier." 

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Id, demanding the selection of Haniberg. 20 
Three days later a compromise wa*> 
reached, all joining in a petition asiang 
tliat the township oe named Alton. inia 
was signed by Geo. W. Cale, Geo. ±s. 
i?'ellows, Peter jKrier, John J^iier, br., 
Valentine Krier, IS. (J. Christenson, 
John Krier, Casper i5loom, John Bloom 
Peter Bloom, Lemuel Eby, Geo. Gage, 
Stephen Nay lor, John 11. Hall and G. 
(J. Eellows. The commissioners took fa- 
vorable action the same day, named the 
township Alton, and selected April 5 as 
the date, and the home of Caspar Bloom 
as the place, for holding the iirst town 

The new township was destined to have 
trouble in the matter of a name. 
March 31 State Auditor 0. P. Whit- 
comb wrote to the Nobles county offi- 
cials, stating that Afton was inad- 
missable because of the fact that a 
township in Washington county had 
been so named several years before. 
This put the selection of the name up 
to the commissioners, who on April 8 
named the township Bloom, in honor 
of Peter Bloom and family. 21 The com- 
missioners had troubles of their own 
in making the selection. As the Blooms 
were the first settlers it was decided that 
the township should be named in their 
honor, and the names Bloomberg, Bloom- 
ville, etc. were suggested. County Au- 
ditor James Walker advocated the drop- 
ping of the "bergs," "villes," etc., and 
suggested the name Bloom. The com- 
missioners accepted the hint. Fred Bloom, 
who was a relative of the Blooms of 
the new township, but who was him- 

^"To the Honorable County Commissioners 
of Nobles County, in the State of Minnesota: 

"We, the undersigned legal voters, being de- 
sirous of organizing said town, petition your 
honorable body for permission to do so, and 
that it be known as the town of Hamberg, 
being bounded as follows: . . . 

"Signed: Caspar Bloom, Thomas J. Lynch, 
Horace G. Norman, Aaron S. Eby, Geo. W. 

seif a resilient of beward, was a mem- 
ber oi tne county board at me time. 

ine petmon ior cue organization of 
Leota townsnip, was nieu j?eoruary n 
ana was signea Dy i?. A. btevens, ±i. ±\. 
lioiorook, Edward Gray, J. L. .bellows, 
Hiram W. Jbordney, John Lay, (J. Jt\ 
Vargason, Warren (Jlartf, August Joseph 
Knips, James Hackett, U. Knips, JN. Li. 
tfellows, T. H. Fay, A. J. Itice, H. J. 
.barber. The township was created March 
18, and the commissioners named April 
5 as the date for holding the lirst 
town meeting. It was held at the home 
of Gerhard luiips. The name was sug- 
gested by W. G. Barnard, one of the 
township's earliest settlers. It is the 
only township, village or physical fea- 
ture in Nobles county named in honor 
of an Indian. Leota was an Indian 
maiden who figured in a story of Indian 

There was a general feeling of dull- 
ness in the eastern part of the county 
during 18? 9, caused by the partial crop 
failure. In the central and western 
portions events were taking place that 
bode well for the future, and quiet but 
steady progress was made in those por- 
tions during the season. A basis was 
laid for a large influx of sturdy set- 

In the central part of the county 
Messrs. I. N. Seney and S. M. Kushmore 
had the year before founded the village 
of Kushmore at Miller station. In the 
summer of 1879 they broke out several 
thousand acres of prairie land and in- 
duced quite a number of settlers from 
Now York and other eastern states to 

Cale, William E. Norman, Peter Bloom, Lem- 
uel Eby, Peter Krier, Casper Bloom, carpen- 
ter; J. O. Bathen, John Krier, Jr., John Bloom, 
Stephen Naylor. 

"Petition filed March 15, 1879." 

"Peter Bloom and three sons, Casper, Peter, 
Jr.. and John, located on section 22 In 1874, 
and were the first settlers in the township. 

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locate in the vicinity. They cut up the 
railroad lands there into small farms 
and sold them to settlers of limited 

In the vicinity of Adrian the progress 
was more marked. Bishop Ireland, the 
head of the Adrian colony, visited the 
east and was successful in forming a 
stock company, the object of which was 
to purchase the railroad lands in the 
west end. The company purchased out- 
right all the lands still owned by the 
railroad in Grand Prairie, Little Rock, 
Leota and the still unorganized Lis- 

more townships. Instead of inviting 
settlers to come onto these land in their 
raw state the colony managers decided 
to improve them. On each of fifty 
quarter sections thirty acres of break- 
ing was done and preparations were 
made for erecting fifty farm houses on 
the lands. This was not done until the 
following spring, however. This ac- 
tivity made times lively in the Adrian 
country. The fact that at least fifty 
families were expected to arrive in 
the spring tended to create an optimis- 
tic feeling regarding the future. 

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ERA OF PROSPERITY— 1880-1893. 

Henceforth the story of Nobles coun- 
ty is one of advancement. The dark and 
gloomy days are past. No longer do the 
grasshoppers threaten the very existence 
of the settlement; no longer is it found 
necessary to solicit aid for the relief 
of the inhabitants. The days of adver- 
sity have become a memory. 

Beginning with the year 1880 came 
the reconstruction period. People began 
anew the work of progress that had 
been interrupted when the first army of 
grasshoppers came and placed a mort- 
gage on the country in the summer of 
1873. In some ways the people were in 
better condition than they had been be- 
fore the scourge. Those who had taken 
government land now had title to their 
homes — and land began to have a value. 
Some had escaped with small loss dur- 
ing the three preceding years, and were 
already in position to begin the forward 
march. But others found it necessary 
to free themselves from debt before the 
effect of the prosperous times became 

Of vast importance during these days 
of reconstruction was the work of the 
colony under Bishop Ireland. Hun- 
dreds of settlers were brought into the 
county and located upon the lands in 
the western part, which otherwise might 
have remained unsettled for several 

years. In February, 1880, the colony 
company let the contract to John Tim- 
mons, of Adrian, for the erection of 39 
houses on the farm lands owned by the 
company. The cost of the houses was 
about $200 each. During March and 
April 50 families arrived from New 
York and other eastern states and be- 
came permanent settlers. The houses 
constructed were not enough to supply 
the demand, and several more were put 
up by the new arrivals. 

Nobles county harvested a good, 
though not a large, crop in 1880. Wheat 
and oats were not an extraordinary crop, 
but, taking the county as a whole, aver- 
aged pretty well. Corn and flax were 
unusually good. Here and there the 
crop of some one farmer was a com- 
parative failure, and some who had fair 
crops were not permitted to enjoy the 
fruits of their harvest because of the 
debts contracted during grasshopper 
days. But in the main crops were good, 
and the fact that hoppers did not put 
in an appearance led to a cheerful feel- 

The federal census showed a popula- 
tion of 4,435, a gain of 3,700 per cent 
in ten years. 1 This population was di- 
vided among the different precincts as 
follows : 

'Population of adjacent counties according son, 4,795; Murray, 3,609; Pipestone, 2,093; 
to the 1880 census: Cottonwood, 5,654; Jack- Rock, 3,669. 


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Bigelow 215 w ith this one in duration, continued se- 

Dewald .!.!..!!..!!.!.!!!..!!.......... 210 verity, depth of snow and damage to 

Elk 176 property. From the middle of October 

SSTpiSsr .::::::::::::::::::::::::: S tui i»te m April it was winter nearly 

Hersey 199 every minute of the time. 

Lorain ^ . '. .' '. ! '. ! ! .' ." .' ! '. ! ! : I .' i : : : : : : : : '. '. So Friday, October 15, in the afternoon, 

Leota 97 a heavy rain set in. The downpour 

Olney *!**. . '. ! ! 1 '. '. W. '. ! '.!'.'. 1 '. ! !! !! '.V. W. '. '. 284 continued until^ evening, when a strong, 

Ransom 165 chilling wind came down from the north, 

Seward 226 . . ... n * 

Summit Lake 68 turning the ram into a fine snow. A 

Willmont ill severe blizzard "now took the place of the 

WorthiSS Village hlP ^\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ 636 rain, and it lasted three days and three 

Westside 339 nights. It was the first and only bliz- 

103-43 ji^more) 'WWW WWW \\\\\\\\\\\ 119 zard ever experienced in the country in 

— 1 October. The county fair, which waB 

r ° tal ' ° being held at the time, had to be aban- 

Township 103 of range 43 received a doned. The railroads were blockaded, 
large settlement of Irish Catholics, due and there were no trains or mail until 
to the activities of the Bishop Ireland Tuesday, the 19th. When the storm sub- 
colony, and the summer of 1880 that sided great drifts of snow filled the 
township was organized. It was named roads and other places, which did not 
Lismore, after a village of that name in disappear until the following May. 
county Waterford, Ireland, the name be- Following this storm came a few 
ing suggested by Father Knauf. The weeks of nice weather. On Friday, No- 
petition for organization was filed July vember 19, a cold snap set in, the mer- 
17, and was signed by Geo. A. Beireis, cury getting down to 19 degrees below 
Gustave Frick, Alex Roach, Conrad zero on the night of the 20th. Another 
Beireis, James Orkney, Charles Lord, blizzard came up December 3, which 
M. S. Boyle, R. O'Day, W. J. Heaney, blockaded trains from the east until the 
Joseph Haegle, John Travis, Charles A. 5th. Monday, December 27, came a se- 
Blake, Thomas McLean, Allen Pieason, vere cold spell, the thermometer regis- 
Austin Nash, William Landes, William tering 30 degrees below zero. The fol- 
H. Welch, John H. Sands, William lowing day it was 34 below, and an- 
Welch, A. A. Boyce, S. W. Swanman, other blizzard was raging. All trains 
Henry Carlson, Albert A. Thompson and were stopped until the 30th. 
Peter Havican. The township was creat- Thereafter the winter was an extreme- 
ed by the county commissioners July 21, ly severe one. Blizzard followed bliz- 
and the first town meeting was held at zard. The railroads were blockaded -for 
the house of Moses Hurd on August 9. weeks at a time. Fuel and food were 

One of the dates from which time is nearly exhausted. People burned hay 

reckoned in Nobles county is the winter and grain, and went without lights. In 

of 1880-81 — the time of the long, severe some places there was suffering from 

winter. There have been worse storms lack of food. Roads remained unbroken 

than any that occurred that winter, but all winter, and the farmers obtained 

never was there a winter to compare their supplies from the villages by means 

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of handsleds. Snow sail boats came into 
requisition, being employed to bring in 
supplies and for sport. 2 

Following is the story of the winter 
from Jan. 1, 1881, until the breakup in 
the spring, given in chronological or- 
der : 3 

Jan. 4. Bain. 

Jan. 7. Freight train breaks through 
Bigelow bridge, ditching cars and kill- 
ing some cattle. 

Jan. 21. Snow storm. Road blocked 
until 23rd. 

Jan. 26. Blizzard. Trains again 

Feb. 1. Railroads again blockaded. 

Feb. 3. Longest snow storm of the 
winter sets in from the southeast. Con- 
tinues four days. Fifteen days' block- 
ade begins. 

Feb. 11. Another blizzard. Contin- 
ues two days. 

Feb. 16. First train from the east 
for fifteen days arrives at Worthington. 

Feb. 18. Blizzard. Last eastern train 

Feb. 22. Snow storm. 

March 4. Blizzard all day. Worth- 
ington schools close for lack of fuel. 

March 5. Fair weather begins, last- 
ing five days. Main line road opens ex- 

2 "Hiram Allen arrived on Tuesday from 
Fulda. having made the trip in about an hour 
and a half on a snow boat. The structure is 
a simple one, having merely a pair of snow 
shoes for runners, with erosspieces, a board 
to sit on and a light mast to support the sail. 
Mr. A. tells us that he has made a half 
dozen trips, one of eighteen miles to Luverne 
In an hour and a half. Also that a few days 
ago a party of six left Fulda for Fairmont on 
one of these snow sail boats. They left Fulda 
about five o'clock In the evening and reached 
Fairmont at nine the next morning, a distance 
of seventy miles. 

"Messrs. Loveless and Day are now having 
one made of considerable size, and if the 
snow lasts a few weeks longer, men will be 
sailing over the prairies at the rate of seven 
knots an hour as easily as they can sail on 
our lakes." — Worthington Advance, March 24, 

"Compiled largely from newspaper accounts. 

cept strip between St. James and Win- 

March 11. Terrific blizzard, continu- 
ing two days. All roads blockaded 
worse than ever. 

March 24. Fuel famine at Adrian. 
People burning screenings, tailings, hay, 
straw, oats, corn/ rags and anything that 
will burn. 

, March 30. Main line road shoveled 
out and train arrives from the east — 
first in nearly six weeks. West end and 
branch roads still blockaded. 4 

April 5. First train arrives from 
Sioux City. Carries letters dated Feb. 
21. Boad open three days. 5 

April 8. Snowed again. Traffic stop- 
ped. Train from St. Paul tied up at 
Windom. Train from Sioux City gets 
as far as Sibley. 

April 11. More snow. 

April 12. North wind drifts snow, 
making complete blockade. The block- 
ade has now been in force ten weeks, 
•with only five trains from the east. 

April 13. Thermometer registers zero. 

April 16. First train in from the 

April 17. Main line opened. First 
freight train for 11 weeks reaches 
Worthington and delivers 50,000 pounds 

4 "The east end of the main line was cleared 
on Tuesday [March 29], and yesterday [March 
30] a train left here for St. Paul. A train also 
left St. Paul and reached here last evening. 
Yesterday the road was clear on the west end 
from Bigelow west, and the forces doubled on 
the big cut this side, and today a train is ex- 
pected from Sioux City. The branch is open- 
ing up rapidly and will probably be open to 
Luverne today or tomorrow and to Sioux Falls 
by Saturday. The long blockade 1s over . . 

It lacked just two days of being six weeks 
since we had a train from the east." — Worth- 
ington Advance, March 31, 1881. 

5 "Our old friend Boreas sticks closer than 
a brother. We did hope that the Advance 
would miss it in predicting that we would not 
have regular trains before the middle of April, 
but it looks as though we could extend the 
time somewhat and still be correct." — Worth- 
ington Advance, April 7, 1881. 

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of freight. Several freight trains pass 
during the day. That night first train 
to pass over the Sioux Falls branch for 
nine weeks makes its way from Worth- 
ington to Luverne. 

April 26. Worthington schools re- 

For four days there was fairly regular 
service on the railroads. Then came the 
floods, caused by the melting snow, and 
on April 20 traffic was again suspended. 
For ten days not a train ran over the 
line of the Sioux City & St. Paul, and 
not until May 2 was regular service es- 

Talk of the construction of another 
railroad into Nobles county was begun in 
1881, and the road was built the next 
year. In May it was given out that the 
Burlington system was planning to build 
a branch line north into Minnesota. The 
first intimation the people of Nobles 
county had of this was when a pre- 
liminary survey was made to Worthing- 
ton in May. 

This was followed in September by 
the appearance of agents of the road, 
who submitted a proposition to the resi- 
dents of eastern Nobles county. They 
asked that $15,000 and a free right of 
way be pledged, in which case the road 
would be built to Worthington during 
1882 and the depot located within a 
half mile of the business center of the 
village. The proposition was accepted. 
The amount was pledged, the agreement 
being signed by nearly all the business 
and monied men of the county seat town. 

The railroad officials were not prompt 
in beginning the work, and there was 
much speculation as to whether or not 
the road would be built. In June, 1882, 

•In Worthington village the vote was 145 
to 2; in Worthington township 21 votes were 
cast, all in favor of the bonus; Lorain town- 
ship was solid for the bonus; and in Bige- 
low It had two majority. 

the matter was definitely decided. Bur- 
lington officials came to Worthington 
and submitted a new proposition. They 
stated that the road would be construct- 
ed at once providing the people would 
vote a bonus of $21,300. Again did the 
people of eastern Nobles county agree 
to the terms. The bonus to be voted 
was divided among the several interested 
townships as follows: Worthington 
township, $5,500; Worthington village, 
$G,300.; Indian Lake, $3,000; Bigelow, 
$2,000; Elk, $2,000; Lorain, $2,500. 
The elections were held on different days 
in June, and the bonus was voted. 6 

Grading contracts were let for the line 
north from Spirit Lake in July, and an 
army of workers was* at once put in the 
field. The road was completed to Worth- 
ington October 7, and the driving of the 
last spike was made a memorable oc- 
casion. It was a gala day, and the peo- 
ple were present en masse. The driving 
of the spike that united the new road 
with the Omaha was driven with cere- 
monies by Rev. D. G. Gunn and Mayor 
C. H. Smith, of Worthington, amid the 
ringing of all the bells of the village 
and the firing of cannon and anvils. 
Regular train service was established 
October 18. 7 As a result of the build- 
ing of this road another Nobles county 
town, Round Lake, came into existence. 

But the building of the new road was 
not the only thing that brought glad- 
ness to the hearts of the people of No- 
bles county in 1882. The farmers gath- 
ered the largest and best crop ever be- 
fore seen in the county, and as good as 
was ever grown anywhere. Said the Ad- 
vance on August 31 : 

"To sum up: We have a big crop in 

T The road is now a branch of the Rock Is- 
land system. 

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the stack and a prospect of the best, 
briskest and livliest times we have ever 
seen in this county. We are sure of a 
lively fall and winter trade, and farm- 
. ers, merchants, laborers, everybody, will 
feel like *human benrV " 

An event of not great importance in 
itself, but which resulted in quite an is- 
sue, was the park vacation matter, which 
troubled the people of Noble6 county 
early in 1883. The prevailing good 
times had brought activity in business 
and improvements. All the towns in 
the county felt the effect of prosperity, 
and out of the good times grew the 
strife over the "park proposition." 
Messrs. Miller & Thompson, of Rock 
Rapids, wanted to engage in business in 
Worthington and were prepared to erect 
a handsome business block there. They 
could find no site suitable, and coveted 
the court house square. They submitted 
a proposition, agreeing to erect a brick 
block, 50x100 feet, with a public hall 
in the second story, providing the east 
corner of the public park (the property 
of the county) could be secured as a 

On December 29, 1882, a petition was 
circulated among the business men of 
Worthington, the prayer of which was 
that the county commissioners should 
lay off into lots 125 feet of the public 
square, facing Tenth street, and sell the 
same. They were asked to take this ac- 
tion only on consideration that the Sioux 
City & St. Paul Railroad company, which 
had conditionally donated the block to 
the county, would relinquish its rights 
for a small consideration, and that the 
building as outlined above should be 

•The signers were C. P. Hewitt. W. G. Mar- 
tine. Otis Bigelow, Geo. M. Plumb. Henry 
Davis, C. H. Smith, Mons Grlnager, J. A. 
Town. H. H. Anderson, H. E. Torrance, Azom 
Forbes, C. W. Smith, S. S. Hewitt, M. S. 

erected during the year 1883. The peti- 
tion was signed by most of the leading 
business men of Worthington. 8 

The commissioners considered the peti- 
tion Jan. 2, 1883. The motion pre- 
vailed that the request of the petitioners 
bo complied with. Commissioners Daniel 
Shell, Maurice O'Hearn and P. Blaine 
voting in the affirmative and T. L. 
Taylor and James Cowin opposing. Mr. 
Shell was directed to confer with the 
railroad officials to obtain their assent to 
the sale. The latter offered no serious 
objection. Many of the residents of the 
county did, however, and the matter 
became a much mooted question. Those 
favoring the plan argued that the county 
would realize several thousand dollars 
from the sale of the lots and that Worth- 
ington would secure several hundred 
thousand dollars worth of improvements 
in a short time. Those opposed pro- 
tested from a sentimental viewpoint; 
they desired not the abridgment of the 
beautiful public park. Strong opposi- 
tion developed, especially in the west 
end, and the park was kept intact. 

This was not the only question that 
troubled the people of the county in 
the early days of 1883. During the time 
the park vacation argument was at its 
height, there came the agitation for the 
removal of the county seat to Adrian. 
The west end had been making vast 
strides during the few years preceding, 
and Adrian had become a town of con- 
siderable importance. When the peo- 
ple of the west end metropolis decided 
to have a try at the county seat they 
went at it in earnest. 

No satisfactory county seat removal 

Twltohell, W. F. Thayer. W. A. Peterson, H. 
C. Shepard, R. D. Barber. A. S. Husselton, A. 
P. Miller, E. S. Mills, F. H. Wells. Thos. II. 
Parsons, I,. B. Bennett, B. F. Johnson and 
S. McLean. 

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law graced the Minnesota statute books, 
and the residents of western Nobles 
county set to work to secure the passage 
of a special law allowing the people to 
vote on the question of removal to Ad- 
rian. Excitement was at fever heat in 
the west end. Men with teams scoured 
the western and central portions of the 
county securing signatures to a petition 
to be presented to the legislature, ask- 
ing for the passage of such an act. 
Something less than 600 signatures of 
voters were obtained. 

The plan for a special law, such as 
Adrian first proposed to advocate, was 
abandoned. But through the efforts of 
Nobles county people a general county 
seat removal law was introduced and 
passed the senate. It failed to pass the 
house, and the legislature adjourned 
without complying with the request of 
the citizens of western Nobles county. 
The question was definitely settled for 
two years at least. 

Nobles county's last township was or- 
ganized in 1883. The following set- 
tlers of township 103-42 asked for its 
organization: Andrew Thompson, John 
J. Thompson, Geo. Umbaugh, Abraham 
Abrahamson, Gunder Hansen, M. S. 
Conley, Geo. Pudge, Henry Slater, An- 
ton Titenberg, Franz Kurchel, H. I). 
Hosmer, John W. Johnson, Peter Wiese, 
Samuel J. Hamilton, Sam Nelson, J. P. 
Hosmer, Timothy Conley, James Cowin, 
Thos. Barnett, Ed. Cooper, Jos. Cowin, 
C. J. Swanson, Alphonse Spitz, Joseph 
O'Grady, John J. McCormack. The 
board granted the petition March 6, and 
on March 27 the first town meeting was 
held at the residence of Andrew Thomp- 
son on section 32. 

The new township was named Larkin, 
in honor of John Larkin, of New York 

city, one of the prominent workers in 
the Catholic Colonization association, 
and a brother of Mrs. Maurice O'Hearn, 
who recently died at her home in Grand 
Prairie township. Mr. O'Hearn was 
county commissioner at the time the 
township was formed. As was the case 
with several * of the last townships or- 
ganized, a name was not selected with- 
out contention. Soon after the name 
was designated by the commissioners, a 
resident of the new town wrote: 

"Now it is certain that a gross fraud 
has been committed in this case, as the 
petitioners requested it should be named 
Grove, and it was so stated in the peti- 
tion when signed by them, the name be- 
ing changed on the face of the petition 
by a certain party who has no authority 
to do so, and who makes his home and 
carries on his business in the village of 
Adrian. The petition has been tampered 
with, and criminal proceedings will be 
taken against the man for so doing. 
The only connection he holds with the 
town is by holding a quarter section 
by suff ranee. As to John Larkin, 
he may be a very good and chari- 
table man, but a large majority know 
nothing of him, never having heard his 
name before." 

A tornado visited the northwestern 
part of the county on Monday, July 21, 
1884, and did considerable damage. Miss 
Cora Graf, daughter of County Com- 
missioner Emil Graf, of Willmont, was 
killed, and D. F. Ufford, of Larkin, was 
seriously injured. The storm was most 
severe in Larkin and Lismore townships. 
Many buildings were destroyed, stock 
was lost and killed, and crops were ruin- 
ed. The school house in district 43, con- 
taining teacher and students, was car- 
ried several feet by the force of the 

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wind, but fortunately no one was hurt. 
Of the results of the storm the Adrian 
Guardian said: 

Cora Graf, daughter of Emil Graf, county 
commissioner of Willmont, was killed by be- 
ing struck on the head by a piece of heavy 
timber. She was at the barn and started to 
go to the house when the storm struck the 
large barn, 40x54, blowing off the roof and 
scattering the heavy timbers, one of which 
struck her, with the result recorded above. 
She was thirteen years of age. . An- 

other sad accident occurred at Jas. Barry's 
in Larkin township. The new house which 
they recently moved into was Completely torn 
to pieces, and D. F. Ufford, Mrs. Barry's 
father, was carried a considerable distance, 
and when found was unable to speak. Dr. 
Sullivan was immediately sent for, and upon 
his arrival found him in a critical condition — 
several ribs broken, shoulder dislocated, and 
shoulder blades shattered; there was also 
severe bruises about his head, and at first it 
was thought that his injuries would prove 
fatal, but the doctor now has hopes of his 

Another railroad was built through a 
portion of the county in September, 
1884. The Burlington constructed a 
line northwest from Lake Park, which 
passed through the southwest corner of 
Grand Prairie township. The village of 
Ellsworth was founded that fall, and soon 
took its place as one of the best towns 
in the county. 

The year 1884 was one of the most 
prosperous in the county's history, and 
was a year of jubilee. Exclusive wheat 
farming had been found unprofitable, 
and only a limited acreage was sown. In- 
stead of raising only wheat, farmers 
raised flax and hay, and turned their at- 
tention to stock raising and dairying 
more than formerly. Flax growing be- 
came one of the big industries. There 
was an immense crop in this year of jub- 
ilee, and it commanded a big price. 
Hay was also a big price, and an un- 
usual quantity was put up, pressed and 
shipped. Flax, hay, butter and cattle 
were the principal exports; other pro- 
ducts shipped out of the county were 

wheat, oats, barley, wool, hides, eggs, 
potatoes and timothy. The following 
table shows the shipments (car loads) 
of principal exports during the year 
from the various railroad stations: 






Bigelow ... 



Adrian . 
















The excellent crops had a good ef- 
fect on the real estate market, which 
was more active than it had been at any 
time previous, with the possible excep- 
tion of 1872. The value of lands sold 
during the year was $549,639. The re- 
sults of prosperous times were seen in 
building improvements in all parts of 
the county and in the prompt payment 
of debts. The farmers were at last 
firmly on their feet, and the high road 
to wealth was henceforth open. The re- 
covery from the grasshopper scourge was 
almost complete. 

The census of 1885 gave the county a 
population of 5,642, a gain of 1,207, 
or about 25 per cent, in five years. The 
population was divided by precincts as 
follows : 

Adrian Village 533 

Bigelow 252 

Bloom 115 

Pewald 181 

Elk 98 

Graham Lakes 262 

Grand Prairie 580 

Hersey 196 

Indian Lake 234 

Larkin 84 

Leota 174 

Lismore 182 

Little Rock 382 

lx>rain 106 

Olney 204 

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Ransom* 208 eighties with those of the decade before. 

Summit Lake!!..!...!!..!..!!.!!!!!!!! 89 Compare this item from the Worthing- 

Westside 228 ton Globe at the close of the year 1887 

Willmont 205 ... , . r 

Worthington Township 182 w,th 80me of ten y ears earher : 

Worthington Village 997 "In our own immediate vicinity all 

Total o 5 642 branches of industry have been unusu- 
ally prosperous. Mechanics have gener- 

The legislature of 1885 passed a ally been busy, labor has been in de- 
county seat removal bill, providing for mand, and the weather has been favor- 
the submission of the question of re- able for all kinds of business, and the 
moval to the voters in any county in country is very rapidly recovering from 
the state after certain formalities had the grasshopper scourge, which impov- 
been complied with. The act provided erished so many people a few years 
for the removal if the town seeking the ago " 

honor should receive 55 per cent of the During the history of the Northwest 

vote. There was some talk of the west there have been a few winter storms of 

end metropolis entering the race, but no 8UC h unnatural severity that they stand 

formal action was taken. The rapid ad- 011 t a s events of historical importance, 

vancement of the west side during the T ne most severe of these awful storms 

early eighties caused Adrian to be hope- was the blizzard of January 7, 8 and 9, 

ful of some day securing the honor. 1873 ^ an acC ount of which has been giv- 

The vigorous growth is shown by the en K an king second was the terrible 

census figures. In 1880 the eight wes- b i izzar a of January 12, 1888, when scores 

tern townships had a population of only of people peri8he a i n the country. In 

1616, to 2,193 to the eastern eight, ^ ob ] es county three lives were sacri- 

while there were 526 in the middle tier. fice(1 and many people became lost in 

In 1885 the west end had distanced the the storm an( j were badly frozen, 

east end. Then there were 2,572 in the Two Hollanders, Jacob DeVries and 

west, to 2,477 in the east, with 593 Douwe Postma, were caught in the 

in the middle tier. storm and froze to death, one in Bloom 

Another excellent crop was harvested township, the other in Summit Lake, 

in 1885, and everybody made money. As The third death was that of Seselia 

a result there was a big immigration Knutson, wife of Knut Knutson. She 

in the fall. New settlers poured into perished in the country near Rushmore. 

the county, and the real estate transfers People caught in the storm in different 

were numerous. The next year was al- part of the country wandered for miles 

so a prosperous one, the real estate over the prairies, not knowing where 

transfers amounting to $565,799. The they were. Several were so badly frozen 

Burlington road that year built a branch that it was necessary to amputate hands, 

line from Ellsworth to Rock Rapids, feet or limbs. Even people in the vil- 

thus adding another railroad to the lages were, in some instances, unable 

.county, although only a short distance to reach home and took refuge in the 

of the road was in Nobles county. A nearest houses. Much stock was lost, 

strange contrast were these days of the In August, 1888, came one of the 

•Populations of other nearby counties: Rock, m0st 8evere hail stormS ever witnessed 
6,243; Murray, 4,216; Pipestone, 3,897. 

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in the county, causing much damage 
to crops in the southwestern portion 
of the county. In places the fall of 
hail was remarkable. 10 

During the late eighties the people 
were blessed with good crops and pros- 
perous times. The result was a big 
increase in population. In 1890 the feder- ' 
al census disclosed the fact that there 
were 7,958 people residing in the county. 
This was a gain of 3,523 in ten years 
and 2,316 in five years. The population 
by precincts was as follows: 

Adrian Village 671 

Bigelow 408 

Bloom 175 

Dewald 320 

Elk 248 

Ellsworth Village 258 

Graham Lakes 561 

Hersey 282 

Indian Lake 320 

Larkin 185 

Leota 185 

Lismore 328 

Little Rock • 433 

Lorain 234 

Olney 257 

Ransom 249 

Seward 324 

Summit Lake 148 

Westside 310 

Willmont 329 

Worthington Township * 289 

Worthington Village 1,164 

Total 7,958 

The citizens of the west end of the 
county adopted new tactics concerning 
the county seat question early in 1893. 
Instead of agitating the removal of the 
seat of government to Adrian, a plan 
of dividing the county and forming a 
new one, with Adrian as the county seat, 
was conceived. Hardly had the legisla- 

M An Ellsworth citizen tells me that In that 
village he saw hall stones piled up to the 
depth of about four feet where they had 
fallen between two buildings. 

""Changes were spoken of which may. If 
they are carried, add another county to the 
state of Minnesota. The matter will doubtless 
be discussed for a considerable time before 
any measure will be matured to ask the con- 
currence of the people interested. We shall 
give further details when we are in posses- 
sion of further light. The committee to 


ture convened that year when a num- 
ber of the representative citizens of 
Adrian requested a conference with a 
like number of the prominent citizens 
of Worthington for the purpose of talk- 
ing over certain matters, about which 
their interests and views were supposed 
to differ — notably the matter of the re- 
moval of the county seat. It was made 
known that it was the desire of the west 
end people to arrive at an amiable set- 
tlement of the controversy. 

The Worthington people accepted the 
invitation, and a conference was held 
Saturday, January 14. The subject of 
the division of the county was brought 
up and discussed. In a neighborly way 
the feasibility of dividing Nobles county 
and creating another one was debated. 
There was no inclination to take hasty 
action in the matter. The proposition 
was a new one, and it was deemed best 
to take more time for consideration. The 
subject matter was left in the hands of a 
committee for further investigation, and 
arrangements were made for future con- 
ference. 11 

Hardly had the conference adjourned 
before the people of the central part of 
the county were up in arms against the 
movement. They saw what they believed 
to be a conspiracy. Here were the 
erstwhile rivals, Worthington and Adrian, 
in earnest and friendly consultation, se- 
cretely planning to divide the county 
without consulting the wishes of the peo- 
ple through whose country the boundary 
line must run. 12 They arose in their 

whom the matter is referred must consult be- 
fore any further movement is made." — Worth- 
ington Advance. Jan. 19, 1893. 

12 The fact that such a meeting was held was 
known, but the deliberations were not made 
public. The Worthington Advance resented the 
statement that it was a secret meeting and 
said: "There was no secret for anybody to 
keep. The Advance stated the substance of 
the talk in its next issue, nor was there any 
suggestion made from any quarter that we 
should not make the matter public. There was 

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might and denounced the proposed uary 28. 18 The plan resulted only in 
dismemberment, calling a mass meet- "talk," and no such measure as pro- 
ing to be held at Rushmore Jan.- posed was presented to the legislature. 

no conspiracy thought of against any portion the best interests of the county at large, and 

of our county, and the interests of the people call upon all honest men to oppose the scheme, 

of all parts of the county were kindly and and be it further 

thoughtfully spoken of. In fact, nothing was "Resolved, that all citizens of said county 

said that anybody would be ashamed of." who are interested in their own welfare be. 

and they are hereby, requested to attend a 

""Whereas it has been announced that the mass meeting to be held in the Rushmore 
citizens of Adrian and Worthington are hold- ' school house on Saturday, Jan. 28, 1893, at 

ing a series of secret meetings for the pur- two p. m. 

pose of dissecting Nobles county for their own "A. SCHAEFFER, 

selfish ends, be it wherefore "W. DOUD, 

"Resolved, that we, the citizens of the cen- "A. W. FERRIN, 

ter tier of townships, in council assembled, de- / "Committee." 
nounce such action as a conspiracy against 

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CURKENT EVENTS— 1893-1908. 

Prosperous times continued up to the 
summer of 1893. Then came the mem- 
orable panic and the few years of hard 
times. Two banks, one at Worthington 
and one at Ellsworth, closed their doors; 
several business houses failed; business 
was for a time paralyzed; and a period 
of dull times set in which was not en- 
tirely broken until the late nineties. 
The depression was not so keenly felt 
in Nobles county, however, as it was in 
many of the less favored portions of 
the country. The panic was preceded by 
a decade of flourishing times. Every- 
body had prospered and was in position 
to weather the financial crash and its 
resulting period of depression. 

The building of a suitable court house 
had long been a mooted question. Time 
and again grand juries had investigated 
the county building, made known its in- 
adequacy for the proper care of the re- 
cords and for the transaction of busi- 
ness, and recommended the building of a 
new court house. The jail, which was 
in the court house building, had often 
been condemned by state officials as an 
unsafe place for the holding of prison- 
ers. Prisoners of very ordinary expert- 
ness were able to break out almost at 
will. In the spring of 1891 a bill was 

Uuly 18 the resolution was amended. It was 
decided not to issue the bonds, but to apply 

introduced in the legislature, the pur- 
port of which was to allow the people 
of the county to vote on the question of 
bonding for the purpose of erecting a 
court house and jail, but the bill was 
killed in committee. 

In the summer of 1893 a majority of 
the county board were in favor of erect- 
ing a building, and they took the matter 
in their own hands and proceeded with 
the plans. By a vote of three to two 
it was decided, on Jan. 12, 1893, to 
build a jail and sheriffs residence at a 
cost not to exceed $10,000, and to issue 
bonds for that amount. 1 On the same 
day and by the same vote the following 
resolution was passed : 

Resolved, That we take immediate steps to 
build a new court house in the court house 
park at Wortbington, and that the same be 
built without unnecessary delay, and that $8,- 
000 taxes be now levied for that purpose, the 
work of building to be commenced this fall 
if the money can be procured for that pur- 

Six days later it was decided to in- 
crease the levy from $8,000 to $12,000. 
Commissioners H. M. Palm, John Mock 
and Chas. L. Peterson were named a 
building committee for both the court 
house and jail. As a majority of the 
board of commissioners they instructed 
.themselves to proceed at once with the 

to the state for a loan of $10,000. 


Digitized by 




construction of the jail and to employ 
an architect to prepare plans for the 
court house. 

Opposition developed so soon as the 
first steps were taken. The commission- 
ers had only fairly started with their 
work when a suit was brought against 
the county by D. J. Forbes, of Adrian, 1 
who asked for an injunction to restrain 
the county officials from proceeding with 
the erection of either the court house or 
jail. A temporary restraining order was 
granted, and work was necessarily sus- 
pended. The case was carried to the 
supreme court, the county being repre- 
sented by Geo. W. Wilson. The proceed- 
ings of the county officials were upheld, 
and the injunction was dissolved. 

Architect Geo. Pass drew the plans for 
the jail, which were approved Jan. 3, 
1894. The contract for its erection was 
let to John D. Carroll, of St. Paul Park, 
on a bid of $9,655, and on October 19 
the building was accepted. 

A remonstrance against the building 
of the court house was presented to the 
county board Feb. 15, 1894. It contain- 
ed the signatures of 476 residents. The 
commissioners responded by passing a 
resolution to the effect that application 
be made to the state for a loan of $30,- 
000 to help pay for the court house. 8 
Albert Bryan was the architect selected 
to furnish the plans. May 5 the con- 
tract was let for the erection of the 
court house and the installation of the 
heating plant to J. D. Carroll on a bid 
of $42,469. Mr. Bryan, the architect, 
was employed by the county to superin- 
tend the construction. 

Work on the building was rushed. 
The corner stone was laid with interest- 
ing ceremonies August 1. In January 
the contracts were let for furnishing the 

^Entitled D. J. Forbes vs. J. J. Kendlen. 

building, and on May 28, 1895, the new 
court house was turned over by the con- 
tractor and accepted by the county. 

While the legal proceedings against 
the erection of the court house were in 
progress the talk of county seat removal 
was resumed, and the subject again be- 
came a live issue. Some preliminary 
work was done with a view to having the 
matter submitted to the voters, but those 
interested, not securing the encourage- 
ment necessary to guarantee the success 
of the movement, soon abandoned their 
efforts. This was the last time the ques- 
tion of removal was brought up. Dur- 
ing the eleven years, 1883 to 1893, that 
the county seat question was an issue, 
the question was not once brought to a 

By 1895 the population had increased 
to 11,905, which was 3,947 more than 
it had been ten years before. By pre- 
cincts : 

Adrian Village 1,072 

Bigelow [']'[ 577 

Bloom 325 

Dewald 514 

Elk 368 

Ellsworth Village 352 

Graham Lakes 616 

Grand Prairie 487 

Kersey 425 

Indian Lake 474 

Larkin 308 

Leota • 345 

Lismore 418 

Lit! le Rock 559 

Lorain 288 

Olney '. . . 394 

Ransom 395 

Seward 480 

Summit Lake 256 

Westside 435 

Willmont 545 

Worthington Township 353 

Worthington Village 1,918 

Total 11,905 

The latter half of the nineties was a 
very prosperous period in Nobles county. 
Excellent crops brought hundreds of new 
settlers. Land values jumped several 

'Passed by the usual vote of three to two. 

Digitized by VjOOQLC 



hundred per cent; farm lands that had 
sold for $10 to $20 per acre now brought 
$30 to $70. It was a time of unpre- 
cedented prosperity. The forward move- 
ment continued into the present decade. 

In 1898 Nobles county furnished a 
company of soldiers, who took part in 
the Spanish-American war, serving a lit- 
tle less than ten months within the 
United States. After the Minnesota mi- 
litia had been called out under the 
president's first call for troops, steps 
were taken in various parts of the state 
to raise volunteer companies to be in 
readiness to enter the service should 
there be another call for troops. The 
first steps toward this end in Nobles 
county were taken April 19, when a 
mass meeting was held at G. A. R. hall, 
Worthingjon. The initial proceedings 
were then taken toward enrolling a com- 

When it became /evident that another 
call would soon be made further steps 
were taken. On May 6 another meeting 
of citizens was held in Worthington, 
when forty names were enrolled. An- 
other meeting was held May 24, when 
the list of members increased to 60, and 
these officers were elected: Edward Dol- 
an, captain; Fred Bitner, first lieuten- 
ant; James McGee, second lieutenant. 4 
The company was quickly recruited, the 
villages of Worthington, Adrian *md 
Rushmore furnishing the bulk of the 

President McKinley made the call on 
May 25, but owing to the necessity of 
recruiting the skeleton companies of the 

*8oon after the election it was made known 
that Gov. Clough reserved the right to name 
the second lieutenant, and the name of James 
McGee was dropped. 

5 Resigned Dec. 13, 1898. Was succeeded by 
Lucius V. Hubbard on Dec. 31, 1898. 

former Minnesota regiments, the troops 
waiting to respond under the second call 
were not mustered in at once Finally 
Gov. Clough issued the long awaited or- 
ders for the mobilization of the Fif- 
teenth Minnesota regiment, and on July 
6 the Nobles county company departed 
for St. Paul. There was a grand de- 
monstration at Worthington when the 
company took its departure. 

The Fifteenth Minnesota regiment, of 
which the Nobles county company be- 
came company H, was mustered into the 
United States service July 18. The 
commissioned officers of company H 
were Edward Dolan, Worthington, cap- 
tain; Fred Bittner, 6 Worthington, first 
lieutenant; Lucius V. Hubbard, 6 Red 
Wing, second lieutenant. The company 
and regiment were stationed at Camps 
Ramsey and Snelling, near St. Paul, 
until September 15. During that time 
the regiment went through a fearful 
typhoid fever epidemic, when about 60 
men of company H, out of a total of a 
few over 100, were ill with the disease, 
resulting in three deaths in the com- 
pany 7 and several others in the regiment. 

From Minnesota the regiment went to 
Camp Meade, near Harrisburg, Pa., 
where it was assigned to the third bri- 
gade of the first division of the second 
army corps. There it remained until 
Nov. 15, when the regiment was trans- 
ferred to Camp McKenzie, near Augusta, 
6a. The regiment and company were 
mustered out at that camp March 2i', 
1899. Following is the roster of the 
company at the time of mustering out, 

•Was succeeded by James G. Kennedy, 
Adrian, who was promoted from first ser- 
geant Dec. 31, 1898. 

'Everett Calvert, of Plattsville, Wis., died 
Aug. 15, 1898; George L. Michael, of Bigelow, 
Minn:, died Sept. 5, 1898; Joseph R. Moffitt, 
of Burchard, Neb., died Sept. 5, 1898. 

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with the rank of the soldier at that time, 
apd his place of residence as given in the 
original muster roll: 


Edward Dolan (captain), Worthington. 

Lucius V. Hubbard (first lieutenant), Red 

James G. Kennedy (second lieutenant), 


Loren B. Town (first sergeant), Worthing- 

Samuel A. Copeland (quartermaster ser- 
geant), Adrian. 

Russell B. Moberly, Worthington. 

Charles P. Tinnes, Adrian. 

Arthur P. Rose. Worthington. 

Howard Childs, Adrian. 

Leo A. Dewey, Worthington. 
William F. Norman, Adrian. 
Henry M. Twitchell, Worthington. 
John W. Rogers, Worthington. 
Austin L. Kindred, Worthington. 
James D. Cummings, Worthington. 
Thomas Maloney, Worthington. 
John E. Bass, Worthington. 
John Butler, Dayton, Ohio. 
Charles H. Johnson, Worthington. 
John J. Scanlon, Worthington. 
Lee H. Wetherby, Adrian. 
Ward A. York, Missouri Valley, Iowa. 
Bert H. Woolson (musician), Windom. 
Frank R. Marrs (artificer), Lakefield. 
Burr Randall (wagoner), Adrian. 

William Apel, Worthington. 
John H. Ballard, Jackson. 
Henry Basset t, Rushmore. 
Andrew L. Bigelow, Worthington. 
John Bier man, Fulda. 
Charles Blackburn, Worthington. 
William F. Brabetz, Adrian. 
Walter Briggs, Rushmore. 
Irving Briggs, Worthington. 
Henry Bruner, Bigelow. 
Carl Buttschau, Worthington. 
James F. Byrnes, Worthington. 
Eugene Campbell, Adrian. 
Joseph Collins, Chicago, HI. 
Patrick Cox, Adrian. 
Timothy Cox, Adrian. 
John A. Dahlberg, Rushmore. 
Nelson DuBois, Graceville. 
Joseph S. Eastman, Brainard. 
William A. Eastman, Brainard. 
Simon Ebaugh, Worthington. 
John Edwards (Erickson), Worthington. 
Lincoln M. Erhardt, White Bear. 
Clarence T. Faragher, Adrian. 
Henry W. Forder, Rushmore. 
James F. Gallagher, Waukesha, Wis. 
Garrick M. Green, Worthington. 

Olaf Hanson, Rushmore. 

Charles G. Hawkinson, Worthington. 

Louis H. Herzig, Kinbrae. 

Clarence C. Holton, Lakefield. 

Geo. V. Hovey, Worthington. 

Frank Irwin, Graceville. 

William H. Kilpatrick, Adrian. 

Charles Klunder, Toledo, Iowa. 

Frederick Knuth, Brewster. 

Edward E. Libaire, Adrian. 

Amos Lund, Adrian. 

Gust Lundquist, Worthington. 

Otto R. McChord, Rushmore. 

Vernon Markham, Bigelow. 

Morris E. Miller, Worthington. 

Archie L. Moberly, Worthington. 

David L. Monroe, Adrian. 

Walter Mundweiler, Adrian. 

Herman J. Naegeli, St. Cloud. 

Roscoe B. Palmer, Worthington. 

William Panno, Fulda. 

Aubrey Patton, Memphis, Tenn. 

William A. Patterson, Worthington. 

Joseph Paulson, Adrian. 

Louis Paulson, Minneapolis. 

Henry F. Peters, Browns Valley. 

Charles Peterson, Lakefield. 

Andrew Pierce, Worthington. 

Albert C. Pike, Spofford. 

William Phrindable, Adrian. * 

Ralph Richar, Worthington. 

Henry M. Roberge, St. Paul. 

Theodore Sundstrom, Worthington. 

Lionel Vought, Windom. 

Robert G. Welsh, Morris. 

Earl C. Wigham, Adrian. 

John A. Winchell, Marion, Ind. 

Ivan M. Warren, Owatonna. 

In addition to the three deaths al- 
ready mentioned, the company sustained 
the following losses during the period 
of enlistment: 

Joseph E. Stearns, Brewster, Sept. 20, 1898 
order secretary of war. 

John F. Tinnes, Adrian, Oct. 24, 1898, dis 

Edward Brooke (corporal), Owatonna, Nov 
13, 1898, disability. 

John Fixemer, Worthington, Dec. 9, 1898 
transferred to hospital corps, U. S. army. 

Daniel O'Neil, Adrian, Dec. 12, 1898, dis 

Walter E. Black, Pipestone, Dec. 17, 1898 
transferred to company I. 

William J. May, Graceville, Dec. 22, 1898 
transferred to hospital corps, U. S. army. 

James G. Kennedy (sergeant), Dec. 30, 1898, 
order of secretary of war, to accept commis 

James J. Walsh, St. Paul, Jan. 2, 1899 
transferred to company B. 

Harry E. Bonsall, Minneapolis, Jan. 6, 
1899, transferred to signal corps, U. S. army 

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Harry H. Burmeister, Mankato, Jan. 15, 
1899, order secretary of war. 

Guss Taylor, Minneapolis, Jan. 27, 1899, 
order secretary of war. 

John F. Johnson, Red Wing, Feb. 10, 1899, 
order secretary of war. 

Jacob A. Glenn, Worthington, Feb. 15, 1899, 

Charles F. Humes, Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 
15, 1899, disability. 

Fred E. Tuttle, Worthington, Feb. 25, 1899, 
transferred to signal corps, U. S. army. 

The Burlington branch road (now 
the Rock Island), the northern termi- 
nus of which had been Worthington for 
so many years was extended northwest- 
ward in the fall of 1899. Grading on 
the line was commenced in October, 
tracklaying was begun the next month, 
and in December regular trains were run 
to the temporary terminus at Wilmont. 
Two new towns were added to the coun- 
ty that fall as a result of the building 
of the road — Wilmont and Reading. The 
former soon took its place as a prosper- 
ous village, and now ranks fourth in 
the county in population. Work on the 
road was resumed in March, 1900, and 
three months later the line was complet- 
ed to Hardwick, where it joined the 
main line. The village of Lismore was 
founded that spring. 

The census of 1900 showed a total 
population of 14,932, a gain of 3,027 in 
five years. The population by precincts 
follows : 

Adrian Village 1,258 

Bigelow 719 

Bloom 519 

Brewster Village 234 

Dewald 654 

Dundee Village 217 

Elk 484 

Ellsworth Village 454 

Graham Lakes 485 

Grand Prairie 464 

Hersey 386 

Indian Lake ' 373 

Kinbrae Village 137 

Larkin 496 

Leota 552 

lismore 479 

Little Rock 532 

Lorain 378 

Olney 486 

Ransom 428 

Round Lake Village 226 

Seward 558 

Summit Lake 497 

Westside 438 

Willmont 699 

Worthington Township 393 

Worthington Village ^ 2,386 

Total 14,932 

The year 1903 was one of disaster. 
The most destructive hail storm in the 
county's history visited the western town- 
ships on July 20, and did awful damage. 
An estimate placed the damage to crops 
in western Nobles county at $260,000, 
covered by about $100,000 insurance. 
Ellsworth people estimated the crop loss 
in trade territory of that town, which 
extends into Rock county and Iowa, at 
$350,000. The story of the storm is told 
in the Nobles County Democrat of July 

Monday morning [July 20] the sky was 
clear with the exception of a long, low line 
of dark looking clouds in the north. As the 
wind was from the south, it looked for sev- 
eral hours as if the clouds would be driven 
farther to the north, and few thought there 
was any danger of the storm coming this 
way. But despite the south wind, the cloud 
bank moved slowly in this direction, and 
finally, about noon, it was evident that a 
terrific storm was approaching. The dark 
clouds were tinged here and there with 
streaks of green — a sure indication of hail. 
At one o'clock hugh raindrops began to fall, 
and a few minutes later the hail, driven by 
a strong wind, came thick and fast, cutting 
the leaves from the trees, breaking windows 
and beating grain to the ground. The hail 
was accompanied by torrents of rain, which 
aided in the work of destruction. But it was 
all over in ten minutes, and where the ruin- 
laden clouds had been, blue sky appeared, as if 
nature wished to show how quickly she could 
do the trick and smile at a man's misfortune. 
For some minutes after the storm had passed 
the roar of the falling hail could be heard 
far to the south — and then the sun shone, 
not on fields of waving grain and laughing 
corn, but on flat masses of tangled, broken 
%traw and corn blades cut to ribbons. Here 
and there on the north, west and south were 
patches comparatively uninjured — oases in 
the desolation. 

Leota, Lismore, Westside and Grand Prairie 
townships were hit hardest, while Willmont, 
Larkin, Olney, Little Rock, Dewald, Ransom, 

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Bigelow, Bloom and Summit Lake were dam- 
aged only in spots. So far as the Democrat 
has been able to learn, there was no loss to 
speak of in the other parts of the county. 

The general direction of the storm was 
from northwest to southeast, though it 
frequently changed its course for short dis- 
tances, and split up into several parts or 
streams. Its entire width here was more 
than twenty miles, the path of greatest de- 
struction being between here and Luverne, 
with Kenneth, Magnolia and Ellsworth in 
line for the worst of it. 

The Democrat qualified its previous 

article somewhat in the issue of July 

31. It said: 

According to reports there are many fine fields 
of grain in the country northeast, east and 
southeast of Adrian that escaped serious 
damage by hail. On the west there is not 
much that is worth cutting, but still there 
is some, and we are not so everlastingly 
wiped out after all. 

The Ellsworth News of July 24 told 
of the storm in that part of the county: 

The most destructive hail storm that ever 
visited this section struck here Monday at 
one o'clock in the afternoon, and half an 
hour later hundreds of thousands of dollars 
worth of grain and corn crops were worthless. 
As one farmer remarked: "Our harvesting, 
stacking and threshing was all done quickly 
and all together." Where but a half hour 
before stood magnificent fields of rich, waving 
grain and luxuriant corn, now only the 
broken straw and stalks, pounded into the 
ground by the ruthless hail and presenting a 
chaotic apearance, greeted the eye. 

The storm came from the north. It first 
appeared seven miles south of Watertown 
early in the morning and came on over Clear 
lake, going southeast to Woodstock and 
thence over Kenneth, Lismore and Adrian. At 
the latter place much damage is reported. 
The most of Grand Prairie township suf- 
fered heavy loss; also the west part of Little 

There appeared to be two divisions of the 
storm here. The west division appeared first 
five miles northwest of Kanaranzi and came 
on over that place. From the Ole Fostenrud 
and Miller places to the creek everything was 
hailed out. This branch of the storm passed 
just west of town and on south toward 
George. . . . From east to west the 
storm appeared to be about eight miles wide, 
and must have covered a tract of country over 
100 miles long from north to south. . . . 
The hail fell in torrents and in many places 
are reported as large as hens' eggs. . 
This blow will be severely felt both by the 

farmers and business men. A great many are 
uepending on this crop to pay debts in- 
curred last year on account oi tiie com fail- 
ure. . . . .Lisiiiore ana Wcstside town- 
ships are nearly wiped out, as well as Grand 
r/rairie and the larger portion of kittle Kock. 

The elements seemed determined that 
the crops should be a total failure in 
IVO'd. The hail storm had been a ser- 
ious blow to the western half of tlie 
county, , and the Hoods of rainfall that 
continued all season brought destruction 
to crops in all parts of me county, par- 
ticularly in the eastern half. 

The climax of the long wet season was 
reached (September 11. During the after- 
noon and evening of that day about 
six inches of water fell in as many 
hours. The ground was already thor- 
oughly saturated, and the precipitation 
of GOO tons of water to the acre in so 
short a time made it look as though 
an ark might come handy. Every ditch 
and gutter became a raging torrent; 
every stream a raging river. At Worth- 
ington Okabena lake overflowed its 
banks, and many of the streets were 
covered with water, so that they had 
to be traveled in boats. Houses on low 
ground were filled with water, and some 
of the residents had to flee for their 
lives. Thousands of dollars worth of 
property was destroyed. 8 

Much damage was also done in the 
western portion of the county. The Kan- 
aranzi river rose so rapidly that before 
midnight it was running over the Oma- 
ha track just west of Adrian. So swift 
was the current that more than 100 feet 
of the grade was washed away, leaving 
the rails and ties hanging in the gap. 
Approaches to wagon bridges over the 
usually peaceful river were carried away. 
Heavy timbers were torn from their 
places, and even telephone poles were 

•For a more detailed account of the flood in Worthington see chapter 14. 

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washed out of the ground. But the fury 
of the Kanaranzi was as nothing com- 
pared with the frenzy of the Little Bock, 
which swept everything before it. As 
a result of the flood there was a bad 
freight train wreck on the Omaha be- 
tween Worthington and Org. 

An idea of the dampness of the sea- 
son is gained from the following table 
of the rainfall for the eight months 
ending Oct6ber 31, prepared by Weather 
Observer J. H. Maxwell: 

Month — Inches. 

March 2V 2 

April 1% 

May 12 l /„ 

June 6Vi 

July 5% 

August 5% 

September lOVi 

October 4 

The crop was a failure that year. Wet 
weather continued for two or three years 
afterward, and partial crop failures re- 
sulted. Depending almost entirely on 
its agricultural industries, Nobles coun- 
ty was hard hit. A period of dull times 
set in. Immigration ceased, and the re- 
sult is seen in the census figures of 
1905. The total population then was 
15,056, a gain of only 124 in five years. 
Worthington, Adrian and some of the 
small villages showed a small decrease. 
The population by precincts, according 
to this last census, was: 

Adrian Village , 1,184 

Bigelow Township 458 

Bigelow Village 194 

Bloom • 496 

Brewster Village 273 

Dewald 481 

Dundee Village 182 

Elk 464 

Ellsworth Village 537 

Graham Lakes 453 

Grand Prairie 476 

Hersey 421 

'Indian Lake 348 

Kinbrae Village Ill 

Larkin 395 

Leota 586 

Lismore Tow nship 450 

Lismore Village 181 

Little Kock 594 

Lorain 370 

Olney 446 

Ransom 458 

Round Lake Village 245 

Rushraore Village 228 

Seward 523 

Summit Lake 473 

Westside 417 

Willmont Township 645 

Wilmont Village 279 

Worthington Township 412 

Worthington Village 2,276 

Totat 15,056 

Of the total population 11,977 were 
native born — 5,845 born in Minnesota; 
6,132 born in other states. The foreign 
born population was 3,079, divided 
among the various countries as follows: 

Germany 1,31 1 

Sweden 576 

Norway 313 

Canada 138 

Ireland 145 

Denmark 92 

England 103 

Bohemia 11 

Scotland 48 

Wales 17 

Austria 62 

All other countries 263 

Total 3,079 

The setback caused by the wet sea- 
sons was only temporary. A good crop 
was raised in 1906 and a bountiful one 
in 1907. Good prices prevailed during 
the latter year, and the financial flurry 
that came late that fall caused no anxi- 
ety among the people of Nobles coun- 
ty. The year 1908 opened with the 
people feeling happy and contented. 
They live in the best country the bright 
light of heaven, ever shown upon. 

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POLITICAL— 1870-1874. 

The political history of Nobles coun- 
ty dates from the fall of the year 1870. 
When the settlers residing in the vicin- 
ity of Graham lakes determined that 
their needs warranted the organization 
of the county they asked Governor Hor- 
ace Austin to appoint commissioners, 
who should perfect the organization un- 
der the provisions of the act of May 23, 
1857, — the act of the legislature creat- 
ing the county. The governor complied 
with the request of the settlers, and in 
September, 1870, appointed Benjamin 
W. Woolstencroft, Charles H. Drury and 
Benjamin Harrison commissioners, giv- 
ing them authority to name the other 
county officials. 1 

The three commissioners met Oct. 27, 
1870, elected Charles Drury chairman 
and B. W. Woolstencroft secretary, and 

'Unfortunately the early county records have 
not been preserved, and the data for the 
political history prior to the election of No- 
vember, 1871, is furnished by Judge B. W. 
Woolstencroft, of Slayton, who gives the facts 
from memory. These are supplemented some- 
what by data obtained from a historical atlas 
of Minnesota, published in 1874. the compilers 
of which doubtless had access to the records. 
The early day commissioners' proceedings 
were kept on legal cap paper and were not 
transcribed into a permanent record. The rec- 
ord is complete from January, 1872. 

On January 9, 1872, the commissioners took 
official note of the fact that the papers were 
missing, as follows: 

"Complaints having been made to the board 
that Charles Drury, one of the former com- 
missioners, retained certain records of the old 
board of commissioners in his possession and 
refused to deliver them up on demand, the 
board passed the following resolution: 

" 'Whereas, One Charles Drury retains in 
his possession certain records of the board of 
county commissioners and refused to deliver 
them to the proper officer. 

appointed the following officers: Simon 
Jl. Harris, auditor and county attorney; 
John H. Cunningham, treasurer; Steph- 
en Howell, register of deeds; E. W. 
Hesselroth, judge of probate; Bichard 
Morton, clerk of court; Captain Miller, 
surveyor. 2 

These appointments were intended to 
be temporary, as the general election of 
November, 1870, was only a few days 
away. Active preparations were at once 
begun for this event, and a mass con- 
vention was called to be held at the 
home of Edward Berreau, on section 14, 
Hersey township. In the log house of 
that pioneer settler, in the closing days 
of October, gathered the voters, who 
put in nomination a complete county 
ticket. Then, as now, all was not har- 
mony in a political way. Because of 

'* 'Resolved, That proper action be com- 
menced by the board immediately against the 
said Drury to recover the said records.' " 

The next day the journal records the fol- 
lowing proceedings: 

"Papers purporting to be the records of the 
board of county commissioners from Oct. 27, 
1870, to Jan. 5, 1871, inclusive, were presented 
to the board by the auditor as received from 
Charles Drury. On examination of the papers 
it was ascertained that they were not the 
original, but altered copies of the original rec- 
ords. On motion of Mr. Tucker the auditor 
was instructed to employ competent legal 
counsel and to proceed against the said 
Charles Drury immediately for unlawfully de- 
taining the property of the county." 

This is the last mention of the matter. If 
the original records were recovered they have 
disappeared again. 

2 The historical atlas before referred to 
states that at this initial meeting Hiram L. 
Wallace was apointed sheriff and B. F. Tan- 
ner and William Hesselroth justices of the 


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the nomination of S. R. Harris for au- 
ditor there was a bolt. A few days 
later the dissatisfied ones met at the 
home of B. W. Woolstencroft, in what 
is now Graham Lakes township. All of 
the nominees of the first convention were 
endorsed with the exception of Mr. Har- 
ris for auditor; the name. of B. W. Wool- 
stencroft was substituted for that of 
Mr. Harris. 

The election was only a few days 
away, and the contest between the two 
nominees for auditor became spirited. 
The board at its first meeting had di- 
vided the county into three election pre- 
cincts, the polling places for which were 
at the homes of S. R. Harris and H. L. 
Wallace, in Graham Lakes, and the home 
of Isaac Horton, in Indian Lake. There 
was no red tape connected with this 
first election held in Nobles county. At 
the Harris home a cigar box with a slit 
cut in the top served as a ballot box. 
Into this opening a jack knife was 
stuck; when the polls were declared 
open the knife was withdrawn and vot- 
ing began. So bitter was the contest 
between the friends of the nominees for 
auditor that violence was narrowly avert- 
ed at the Harris polling place. Revol- 
vers were worn conspicuously, knives 
were displayed, and intimidations were 
indulged in. Despite these manifesta- 
tions of hostility the situation was con- 
trolled by the cooler heads, and the day 
passed without bloodshed. The home of 
Isaac Horton — the Indian Lake polling 
place — was on section 34, on the east 
bank of Indian lake. Mr. Horton had 

8 Thls was the case for several years during 
the county's early history, and was the cause, 
doubtless, for the many changes during the 
early days. Nor were there duties attached 
to some of the offices, and some of the of- 
ficers did not qualify. Mr. E. W. Hesselroth, 
still a resident of the county, tells me that 
during the time he was probate judge he did 
not have a case; neither did he have any 
duties to perform during the years he served 
as justice of the peace. 

made a ballot box which was used at 
that election and for several elections 
thereafter. It was three and one-half 
inches deep by four inches wide, and 
was twelve inches long, fitted with a 
sliding cover in which was a slit for 
receiving the ballots. 

Thirty-two votes were cast, and there 
were possibly at the time twelve or four- 
teen other electors in the county who 
did not use their franchise. The party 
favoring Mr. Woolstencroft for auditor 
was successful. The officers elected 
were: B. W. Woolstencroft for auditor; 
John H. Cunningham, treasurer; Steph- 
en Howell, register of deeds; E. W. 
Hesselroth, judge of probate; Richard 
Morton, clerk of court; H. L. Wallace, 
sheriff; Stephen Muck, coroner. 

Dissatisfied with the result of the 
election, Mr. Harris as auditor (which 
he held by appointment) refused to can- 
vass the vote. While he was undoubted- 
ly wrong in taking such a course and 
could have been compelled to make the 
canvass, conditions were such that no 
action was taken, and for the time be- 
ing there was no change in the person- 
nel of the county officers. No salary 
was attached to any of the offices, 8 and 
the officers-elect were not ambitious 
enough to compel the canvassing of the 
vote, which would result in placing 
them in office. There was a spirited 
contest between Messrs. Thompson and 
Whalen for state senator and Messrs. 
Chamberlain and Patchen for represen- 
tative, and the votes for these offices 
were canvassed by Auditor Harris. 4 

4 While this was the first election in which 
the electors of Nobles county were permitted 
to vote for legislative candidates, it may be 
of interest to know who our legislators had 
been previously. Under the legislative ap- 
portionment of 1860 southwestern Minnesota, 
including the counties of Faribault, Martin, 
Jackson, Cottonwood, Murray, Nobles, Pipe- 
stone, Rock and Brown west of range 34, was 
designated as the Twentieth district In the 
legislatures of 1861 and 1862 Guy C. Cleveland 

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So the election of 1870 resulted in 
no change. But between the date of 
organization and the time when the of- 
ficers elected in the fall of 1871 took 
office there were numerous changes. It 
seemed difficult to find men willing to 
serre the county in an official capa- 
city, 8 and several appointments were 
made for some offices before men could 
be found who would qualify. Soon af- 
ter the organization Origen B. Lacy was 
named register of deeds, Henry Bray- 
ton, county attorney; S. B. Harris, 
judge of probate; Benjamin Harrison, 
coroner; Edward J. Clark, clerk of 
court; Charles H. Drury and John 
Leitz, justices of the peace. At a 
meeting of the board in January, 1871, 
William H. Brown was appointed coun- 
ty attorney, James W. Miller, surveyor; 
Charles W. Bullis, Samuel Barnes and 
Ole Ellingson, constables. About this 
time there was a change in the board of 
commissioners, W. G. Brown being ap- 
pointed to fill the vacancy caused by 
the removal of Benjamin Harrison from 
the county. At a meeting on April 15, 
1871, there was a change in one of the 
important offices. S. B. Harris, who 
had held the offices of auditor and coun- 
ty attorney from the date of organiza- 
tion, resigned, and in his place was 
installed W. H. Brown, auditor, and J. 
W. Palmer, county attorney. These are 

was senator, and he was succeeded in the 
next four legislatures by D. G. Shlllock. The 
Twentieth district was represented In the house 
as follows: 1861. A. Strecker; 1862, B. O. 
Kempfer; 1863, J. B. Wakefield; 1864, J. A. 
Latimer; 1865, J. A. Kiester; 1866, J. B. Wake- 
field. Another apportionment was made in 
1866, in which Nobles county was not men- 
tioned. It was doubtless intended, however, 
that It should still be a part of district No. 
20. In the legislatures of 1867 to 1869, 
inclusive, J. B. Wakefield was senator. J. A. 
Latimer served in 1870, and C. W. Thompson 
In 1871. During this period the district was 
represented In the house by A. Andrews, A. B. 

the only changes that resulted prior to 
the election in the fall of 1871. 6 

The election of Nov. 7, 1871, brought 
about an almost complete change in 
county officers. There were contests for 
only a few of the county offices, and 
for state offices there was almost an 
unanimity of choice. Almost without 
exception the first settlers of the coun- 
ty were republicans, and out of the total 
of 73 votes cast 72 were for Horace 
Austin for governor and one for Win- 
throp Young. This democratic vote was 
cast by Michael Maguire, still a resident 
of Nobles county. There was no poli- 
tical division on county offices, the nomi- 
nees being put forward by independant 
conventions. There were only two town- 
ships organized at the time-— Graham 
Lakes and Indian Lake. The polling 
place for Graham Lakes was the resi- 
dence of H. C. Hallett. The judges of 
election were E. W. Hesselroth, Asher 
Allen and C. H. Cutler, and the clerks 
were Henry D. Bookstaver and B. W. 
Woolstencroft. In Indian Lake the poll- 
ing place was the residence of Isaac 
Horton, where R. L. Erskine, Frank 
Tucker and Isaac Horton officiated as 
judges and Chas. W. Bullis and Henry 
Brayton as clerks. 

Following is the vote by precincts, as 
certified to by Auditor William H. 
Brown : 

Colton. J. W. Hunter, M. E. L. Shanks and A. 
L. Patchen. 

B It may not be out of place to note the 
fact that conditions have changed since then. 

•Although W. H. Brown was nomlnall]' 
county auditor for the rest of the term he 
had very little to do with the office. He neg- 
lected to have a tax levied for the year 1871, 
and in the summer H. D. Bookstaver took 
charge of the office and was, to all intents, 
county auditor. He was formally appointed 
auditor Jan. 10, 1872, to serve until March 1, 
1872, when the new officers qualified. 

Digitized by 




Governor— ~ 

Horace Austin (rep) 43 28 71 

Winthrop Young (dem) 1 .. I 

Lieut. Governor- 
William H. Yale (rep) 43 29 72 

D. L. Buell (dem) 1 . . 1 

Secretary of State— 

S. P. Jennison (rep) 43 29 72 

Eric Nelson Falk (dem) 1 . . 1 

Treasurer — 

Wm. Seeger (rep) 43 29 72 

Barney Vosberg (dem) 1 . . l 

Attorney General— 

F. R E. Cornell (rep) 43 29 72 

John L. McDonald (dem) ... 1 . . 1 

Asso. Justices— 

S. J. R. McMillan (rep) 43 29 72 

John M. Berry (rep) 43 29 72 

Daniel Buck (dem) 1 .. 1 

Wm. Mitchell (dem) 1 . . 1 

Auditor — 

H. D. Bookstaver 21 29 51t 

Walter G. Brown 22 . . 22 

Treasurer — 

Henry Brayton 44 29 73 


H. C. Hallett 23 . . 23 

Charles W. Bullis 19 29 48 

Scattering 2 . . 2 

Register of Deeds— 

Selim Fox 44* 29 69 

O. B. Lacy 4 . . 4 


B. W. Woolstencrof t 31 28 59 

Chas. Frisbee 7 . . 7 

Scattering 3 3 

Clerk of Court- * 

John H. Cunningham 44 29 73 

Probate Judge — 

E. W Hesselroth 41 29 70 

Court Commissioner — 

WarrenFish 23 28 51 

Coroner — 

Stephen Muck ! . . 41 29 70 

Scattering 1 1 


Wm. D. Rice 43 29 72 

C. C. Sylvester 1 . . 1 

Represen tati ve — 

Geo. C. Chamberlain 43 29 72 

O. Nason 1 1 

Commissioner Dist 1 — 

Irving S. Swan 13 

Orange Chapman 6 

Commissioner Dist. 2 

J. W. Miller 15 

John H. Cunningham 4 

Scattering 1 

Commissioner Dist. 3 — 

Frank Tucker 28 

•Evidently a mistake In addition • 

tin the Graham Lakes township abstract this vote 
is given as 40. and was Incorrectly put on the county 

T Citlzens of Nobles county residing out- 
side these two townships were allowed to 
vote. A few citizens of the new town of 
Worthington cast their ballots in Indian Lake. 
The few settlers of Hersey and Seward voted 
in Graham Lakes. 

The seventy-three voters who east 
ballots at this election were as follows: 

Graham Lakes precinct 7 — J. Anscomb, 
A. A. Allen, L. Allen, H. D. Bookstaver, 
W. H. Brown, W. G. Brown, Byron B. 
Brain, W. H. Booth, Caleb Blake, Or- 
wen Blake, Edward Clark, Nathaniel 
Cox, A. L. Y. Cornish, Orange Chap- 
man, J. H. Cunningham, Chas. Cutler, 
Chas. Dniry, Stephen A. Door, Selim 
Fox, Chas. Frisbie, John J. Fitch, Hen- 
ry C. Hallett, E. W. Hesselroth, H. A. 
E. Hesselroth, 0. B. Lacy, Michael Ma- 
guire, Joseph Muck, Stephen Muck, J. 
W. Miller, Stephen Muck, Jr., J. W. 
Palmer J. Parshall, Joseph Stone, Ir- 
win S. Swan, Philo Snyder, B. P. Tan- 
ner, F. Umbrid, Isaac Waterhouse, B. 
W. Woolstencroft, H. L. Wallace, Wil- 
liam Willcox, J. Westinghouse, Frank 
Zeiner, JSnglebrih Zeiner. 8 

Indian Lake precinct — R. L. Erskine, 
Frank Tucker, Henry Brayton, Isaac 
Horton, C. W. Bullis, Albert Haggard, 
Henry Davis, Elihue Ellis, Erick Paul, 
Wm. A. Dillman, Ole Johnson, Moulton 
McColluns, James Christianson, Louis 
Sundberg, Gundro Joul, Ole N". Lang- 
seth, Ole Fauskee, N. K Langseth, Ole 
A. Fauskee, Andrew Sundburg, P. S. 
Swanson, Hanson Estrom, Charles Wick- 
strom, Peter Wickstrom, Louis Hardo, 
Erick Mahlberg, Henry M. Johnson, 
John Pygall, Nelson Coyour. 

The officers elected in 1871, with few 
exceptions, served their full terms. J. 
W. Miller, who had been elected com- 
missioner from the second district, did 
not qualify. In his place appeared 
John H. Cunningham, who had been his 

"Others registered in Graham Lakes town- 
ship, but who did not vote, were Mark 
Amundson, Martin Amundson, Rasmus An- 
derson, Edward Berreau, Alexander Clark, W. 
Cosper, Daniel Downy, Hearth, Hearth, 
Johnson, E. F. Jackson, J. Leltz, Bennett 
Linderman, Parshall, Perkins, Peter Swart- 
wout, Weston, Watingr, Wolf, Wolf, Younker. 

Digitized by 


1 J h 

4 - 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 




opponent at the polls. Mr. Cunning- 
ham was elected chairman of the board 
Jan. 2, 1872, he resigning the office of 
treasurer to accept the position on the 
board. • He resigned the latter office, 
and on May 30 Irwin S. Swan was 
elected chairman. C. C. Goodnow took 
the oath of office as commissioner from 
the third district, replacing Prank Tuck- 
er, and M. L. Miller replaced Mr. Cun- 
ningham on the board. There had been 
no candidates for the office of county 
attorney, and J. W. Palmer continued 
to hold the office by virtue of a former 
appointment. He resigned the office 

•Those who voted In the several townships, 
excluding Little Rock and Dewald, were as 

Worthington, 85— S. P. Sheppard, W. K. 
Fish. Chas. Fletcher, R. H. Putnam, Wm. 
Wallace, J. C. Clark, Chas. Newton, L. M. 
Chase. Geo. O. Moore, John Alley, J. B. 
Haines. L. B. Bennett Frank Stringham, 
Wm. E. Martin. A. P. Miller, L. F. McLaurin, 
Jas. Marden, L. Griswold, R. F. Humiston, 
David Bennett, H. C. Duggen, M. H. Stevens, 
E. Dilabaugh, Otis Bigelow, T. C. Trimble, 
Daniel Stone, H. M. Farnam, Wm. H. Will- 
marth, T. C. Bell, James Gibson, Cyrus Kling- 
ensmitb. J. T. Shaw, J. S. Shuck, C. B. Love- 
less. M. B. Odell, James S. Stone. I. N. 
Sater, C. P. Stough, I. P. Durfee. C. D. Will- 
iamson, E. R. Humiston, Chas. H. Stewart. S. 
D. Sprague, David Stone, E. S. Terry, A. J. 
Wilcox, Mons E. Distead, H. Davis, W. S. 
Langdon. E. W. Branch, C. P. Hewett. Jas. 
Gould. Andrew Buchan, John F. Humiston, 
H. W. Kimball, L. D. Lay the, C. B. Lang- 
don, Allen Chaney. Ole Hanson, Edward Gill- 
en, John Herzig, C. C. Whitney. C. W. Lewis. 
B. F. Thurber, Wm. N. Phillips. Chas. E. 
Tourtelotte, Oscar Whitney, C. C. Goodnow, 
A. C. Robinson, W. A. Dillman. Edwin F. 
Whitney, A. J. Manley, J. A. Town, A. L. 
Clarke, J. C. Goodnow, B. R. Prince, M. B. 
Soule, Peter Thompson, O. G. Grundsten, C. 
Hill, C. J. Miller, Cornelius Johnson, Geo. 
Cline. A. P. Chamberlain, Osmond Barkland. 

Indian Lake, 29— R. M. Small, C. Saxon, O. 
Langseth, A. Anderson. John Haggard, Sr., L. 
Johnson, G. O. Joul, O. M. Skinner, O. 
FJlingson, O. Anderson, A. C. Lofstedt, John 
Blixt, E. Paul, J. Cristesson, John Saxon, L. 
Wheeler, G. Horton, R. L. Erskine, Henry 
Brayton A. A. Abbott, James Acheson, S. W. 
Bolton, J. D. Brown, H. M. Johnson, Andrew 
Sunburgf, Lewis Sunburg, Charles Peterson, 
John Haggard. Jr., Nelson Coy our. 

Elk. 15 — T. D. Fowble, . Cyrenius Alley, S. P. 
Bon, W. B. Akins, M. L. Miller. Peter Swet- 
aer, John P. Warner, Chas. Wilkinson, R. B. 
Plotts, Peter Kleven, Andrew Nord, T. H. 
Barnfleld, Allen McLean, Elliott Covey, D. 
P. Balrd. 

Hersey, 31 — W. R. Bennett, Daniel HofTy, 
A. A. Parsons, J. W. Dyer. Louis Gotthelf, 
Chas. Smith, W. G. Brown, John Myers, 
Jermeiah Lynch, Otto Berreau, John Polster, 

Sept. 16, 1872. Prior to Feb. 9, 1872, 
the county had been without a superin- 
tendent of schools, but on that date W. 
H. Cunningham was appointed. He 
served until September 16, 1872, when 
T. C. Bell was appointed to the office. 

There was a big change in conditions 
in Nobles county between the time of 
the elections of 1871 and 1872. From 
the seventy-three votes cast in 1871 the 
number at the election of Nov. 5, 1872, 
had increased to 321 f the number of 
organized townships had increased to 
eleven, and in each of these, polling 
places had been established and elections 

Chas. Hartoon, Herman Berreau, Levi Wright - 
son, Erastus Church. Caleb Blake, Orwell 
Blake, Geo. Payne, Chas. Frisbie, W. H. 
Berger, O. B. Lacy, Jonathan Gordon, John 
Parsons. Pat Haffy, I. K. Cole, Wm. Grono, 
John Newberry, Wm. Ditty, A. J. Timlin, 
A. O. Conde, C. A. Barrows. 

Bigelow. 34— J. Ruprecht. Wm. G. John- 
ston, N. McDowell, S. O. Morse, F. J. Peace, 
J. Upstrom, E. J. Bear, Adolph Anderson. Ole 
Lienquist, Wm. M. Bear, Ed. Sprague, T. T. 
Reynolds, H. B. Tripp, A. A. Kimball, Hugh 
Mitchell, A. C. Esker. P. Larson, Lars Erick- 
son, J. Moberg, E. Kain, H. Mitchell. S. 
Elofson, H. Nystrom, Erick Mahlberg. C. J. 
Wickstrom, Oley Mastrom, John T. Preuett, 
E. S. Mills, P. G. Swenson, L. R. Hollenback, 
Charles A. Tellander, Thos. Wills. Robert 
Frothingham, Geo. M. Plumb. 

Fairview (Lorain). 22 — Champlin Brown, 
William Hannah. H. D. Humiston. Dr. J. 
Craft, W. L. Shoemaker, B. S. Langdon, T. 
H. Parsons, David Fogo, Richard W. Bagley, 
William Madison. Crasey Key, Wm. F. Ham- 
ilton. Abram A. Burton. Robert Firth, Albert 
Haggard. James Hazard, Hamilton McCollum, 
H. S. Finn. B. H. Crever, William Stockdale, 
Daniel Shell, Alfred Small. 

Graham Lakes. 32 — J. H. Anscomb, Jere- 
miah Anscomb, H. D. Bookstaver, W. H. 
Brown, O. Briggs. Alexander Clarke. Edward 
J. Clark, A. L. Y. Cornish. O. H. Chapman. 
J. H. Cunningham, Chas. Drury, A. L. Dun- 
lap, N. Erickson. Seltm Fox, H. C. Hallett. 
E. W. Hesselroth. John Hart, E. F. Jackson. 
M. McGuire. Stephen Muck, J. W. Miller, A. 
Nelson, J. W. Palmer. Joseph Stone, Warren 
Smith, N. H. Smith, I. S. Swan, B. F. Tan- 
ner, H. L. Wallace, W. Willcox, F. Zelner, B. 
Woolsten croft. 

Seward, 13— W. H. Booth, W. W. Casper, P. 
Gagoe, C. C. Johnson. James Parshall. James 
Parshall, Jr., Jonas Parshall. P. Snyder, J. P. 
Vail. J. Westinghouse, J. M. Weston, J. G. 
Walling, W. Sowles. 

Grant (Ransom), 14 — Richard Prldeaux, 
Stlllman I. W. Alen, F. W. Burdett, A. C. 
Guernsey. H. S. Belknap, J. H. Scott, Leroy 
Cole. Coleman Guernsey. Hiram Norton. H. 
R. Gray, D. K. Gordon, Geo. M. Smith, B. F 
Congdon, Anthony R. Mutter. 

Digitized by 




were held. 10 The county was overwhelm- 
ingly republican, as was shown by the 
vote for president and congressman. 
Following is the official abstract of the 

Presidential electors — republican 
(Grant), 276; democratic, (Greeley), 

Congressman — M. H. Dunnell (rep.), 
274; Morton S. Wilkinson (dem.), 43. 

Representative 11 — Stephen Miller, 257; 
H. Anderson, 55. 

"The election officer? of the several pre- 
cincts were as follows: 

Dewald (polling place at the house of 
Leander Shirley), Thos. H. Chllds, Andrew O. 
Miller and Thomas Wilson, judges; Leander 
S. Shirley and Samuel F. Pepple, clerks. 

Little Rock (polling place at the house of 
Ole C. Peterson), Sylvester Jenkins, J. D. 
Roberts and Ole C. Peterson, judges; J. T. 
Green, town clerk. 

Grant (polling place at the house of M. S. 
Belknap), H. R. Gray, M. S. Belknap and A. 

C. Guernsey, judges; Leroy Cole and Cole 
Guernsey, clerks. 

Seward (polling place at the house of Jos. 
Willing). John P. Vail, C. L. Johnson and 
Jonas Parshall, judges; Julius Westinghouse 
and Phllo Snyder, clerks. 

Graham Lakes (polling place at the house 
of H. C. Hallett), O. H. Chapman, E. W. 
Hesselroth and E. F. Jackson, judges; N. 
H. Smith and H. C. Hallett. clerks. 

Fairview, B. S. Langdon, Thos. IT. Parsons 
and W. L. Shoemaker, judges; R. D. Bagley 
and Wm. F. Hamilton, clerks. 

Bigelow (polling place at the house of Lars 
Elofson), E. S. Mills, P. T. Reynolds and P. 
G. Swenson, judges; William M. Bear and A. 
A. Kimball, clerks. 

Hersey, Walter G. Brown and A. A. Par- 
sons, judges; W. R. Bennett and Ira K. 
Cole, clerks. 

Elk, Samuel P. Bon, W. B. Akins and Allan 
McLean, judges; Chas. Wilkinson and Thos. 

D. Fowble, clerks. 

Indian I ake (polling place at the house of 
C. W. Bullls), R. L. Erskine, Geo. W. Bottom 
and John Haggard, Jr., judges; James Ache- 
son and A. A. Abbott, clerks. 

Worthlngton (polling place at the village of 
Worthington), Benjamin R. Prince. M. B. 
Soule and Benjamin F. Thurber, judges; Jer- 
rie B. Haines and L. B. Bennett, clerks. 

"For the want of a better place I shall here 
give the legislative history of Nobles county. 
The legislature of 1871 reapportioned the 
state into legislative districts. Nobles county 
became a part of the 38th, the other counties 
comprising the district being Martin, Jackson. 
Rock, Watonwan, Cottonwood, Murray and 
Pipestone. The district was entitled to one 
senator and three members of the house. The 
senator was to be elected from the district at 
large; Martin county was entitled to one rep- 
resentative, Watonwan to one. and the rest of 
the district to the other. Under this - appor- 
tionment the district was represented *n the 
several legislatures as follows: 

1872 — Senate, Wm. D. Rice; house, E. "Berry, 
W. W. Murphy, G. C. Chamberlain. 

1873— Senate, W. D. Rice; house, J. W. 

County Attorney — M. B. Soule, 274; 
Ole Hansen, 22. 

Commissioner First District 12 — J. W. 
Miller, 32; Scattering, 5. 

Commissioner Second District — M. L. 
Miller, 32. 

Commissioner Third District — I. P. 
Durfee, 13 113; John Alley, 91. 

Court Commissioner — J. S. Shuck, 
270; Joel A. Pegg, 20. 

Such were the election laws in the 
early history of Nobles county that elec- 

Seager, Edwin Berry. Stephen Miller. 

1874— Senate. E. P. Freeman; house, J. F. 
Daniels, Ole O. How. N. H. Manning. 

1875— Senate, E. P. Freeman; house, Chas, 
F. Crosby, E. Berry, Thos. Rutledge. 

1876— Senate, I. P. Durfee; house, J. A. 
Everett, Lee Hensley, W. H. Mellen. 

1877— Senate, I. P. Durfee; house, H. N. 
Rice. Lee Hensley. Christopher H. Smith. 

1878— Senate. Christopher H. Smith; house, 
Frank A. Day, L. H. Bishop, Alex Fiddes. 

1879— Senate, A. D. Perkins; house, M. E. 
L. Shanks, T. Lambert, P. J. Kniss. 

1881— Senate, A. D. Perkins; house, J. A. 
Armstrog, W. D. Rice, P. Kniss. 

A new apportionment was made in 1881, 
under which Nobles, Murray. Rock and Pipe- 
stone counties were made to form the seventh 
district, entitled to one senator and two rep- 
resentatives. In 1889 one more representative 
was given to the district. The seventh dis- 
trict was represented in the Minnesota legis- 
latures as follows: 

1883— Senate. A. M. Crosby; house, W. H. 
Johnson, W. A. Crawford. 

1885 — Senate, A. M. Crosby; house, Peter 
Peterson. W. B. Brown. 

1887— Senate, W. B. Brown; house, J. F. 
Shoemaker, B. M. Low. 

1889— Same as 1887. 

1891 — Senate, Jay LaDue; house, Lamed 
Coburn, Wm. Lockwood, Patrick Gildea. 

1893 — Senate, Jay LaDue; house, Daniel 
Shell. Wm. Lockwood, Ole O. Holman. 

1895— Senate, H. J. Miller: house. Daniel 
Shell. Wm. Lockwood, Ole O. Holman. 

1897— Senate, H. J. Miller; house, Daniel 
Shell, Ole O. Holman. A. S. Dyer. 

In 1897 Nobles and Murray counties were 
made one district, the fifteenth, entitled to one 
senator and one member of the house. The 
district has been represented as follows: 

1899— Senate, Daniel Shell; house, Henry C. 

1901— Same as 1899. 

1903— Senate, Daniel Shell; house George W. 

1905— Senate, Daniel Shell; house, S. O. 

1907— Senate, S. B. Bedford; house, S. O. 

"On May 30, 1872. the county commissioners 
had redistricted the county. District one in- 
cluded the northern tier of townships and 
Hersey: district two included the present 
townships of Elk, Summit Lake, Lismore, 
Larkin. Westside. Olney and Dewald; dis- 
trict three Included the southern tier of 
townships and the townships of Lorain and 

"Served as chairman. 

Digitized by 




tions were held every year. All the of- 
fices were for two year terms, but only 
part of the officers were elected each 
year. This condition prevailed until 1885, 
when a new law went into effect, making 
the elections only in even numbered 
years. During the seventies and early 
eighties the more important county offi- 
cers were chosen in odd numbered years. 

The election of Nov. 4, 1873, brought 
out a vote of 527, a big increase over 
that of the preceding year. A lively in- 
terest was manifested in the election, 
and for the first time there was organized 
opposition. The democrats, as a party, 
were not yet strong enough to enter the 
field alone with any prospects of a suc- 
cessful outcome, but conditions were such 
that quite a strong opposition party was 
formed, which went into the campaign 
with the hope of defeating the regularly 
nominated republican ticket. The ticket 
which was put up in opposition was 
labeled "peoples" and was made up of 
democrats and republicans. The re- 
gular republican nominees were generally 
successful. Following is the official vote 
of this election: 

Governor — Cushman K. Davis (rep.), 
371; Samuel Mayall, 40; Ara Barton, 

Senator — E. P. Freeman (rep.), 490; 
Scattering, 5. 

Representative — Nelson H. -Manning, 
(rep.), 315; Warren Smith (dem.), 191. 

Auditor— W. M. Bear (rep.), 493; 
Scattering, 12. 

Sheriff— C. W. Bullis (rep.), 333; A. 
Miner (peo.), 174; Scattering, 4. 

Judge of Probate— Dr. J. Craft, 253; 
B. S. Langdon, 244; Scattering, 1. 

Clerk District Court — B. N. Carrier, 
294; J. A. Town, 213; Scattering, 1. 

Surveyor— B. W. Woolstencroft (rep.), 
355; Otto Berreau (peo,), 153. 

Treasurer — H. D. Humiston (rep.), 
263; Peter Thompson (peo.), 242; Scat- 
tering, 1. 

Register of Deeds— T. C. Bell (rep.), 
369; B. F. Thurber (peo.), 133. 

Court Commissioner — B. S. Langdon, 
242; Dr. J. Craft, 252; Scattering, 1. 

Coroner— J. B. Churchill (rep.), 350; 
Dr. J^ewis Gotthelf (peo.), 161; Scat- 
tering, 1. 

Commissioner First District — M. L. 
Miller, 23; T. H. Childs, 21. 

The grasshoppers and the prevailing 
hard times had an effect on the politics 
of the county in 1874. Owing to these 
causes and the fact that only a few 
officers were to be chosen, not a great 
deal of interest was manifested, and 
there was a falling off in the vote — 
only 448 votes being cast. To such a 
small extent did the people interest 
themselves in politics that it is said the 
republican nominating convention was 
attended by "eleven persons, including 
one little boy." Nor was there a much 
better showing at the democratic con- 
vention. For the first time in the coun- 
ty's history the voters met with straight 
republican and democratic tickets in the 
field. While the republicans were in 
each case successful, the democrats made 
a good showing, compared with the re- 
sults of previous elections. The vote: 

Congressman — Mark H. Dunnell 
(rep.), 336; Franklin H. Waite (dem.), 

Judge Sixth Judicial District— D. A. 
Dickinson (rep.), 345; Daniel Buck 
(dem.), 99. 

Senator — Niel Currie (rep.), 259. 

representative — Charles F. Crosby 
(rep.), 326; Leonard Aldrich (dem.), 

County Attorney— Martin B. Soule 
(rep.), 322; B. N. Carrier (dem.), 119. 

Digitized by 




Commissioner Third District — I. P. 
Durfee 14 (rep.), 196; L. B. Bennett 
(dem.), 80. 

The only changes resulting before the 
next election were in the board of coun- 
ty commissioners, two members being 
legislated out of office by their own acts. 
The board on Oct. 12, 1875, redivided 
the county into commissioner districts. 
The whole of the north half of the 
county was made district No. 1; the 
townships of Lorain, Worthington, De- 
wald, Olney and Westside were made 

M Was elected chairman of the board. 

district No. 2; the southern tier of 
townships was designated district No. 3. 
This made vacancies in districts No. 2 
and 3, which were represented by Messrs. 
M. L. Miller and I. P. Durfee, and 
those gentlemen withdrew. The regis- 
ter of deeds and probate judge filled the 
vacancies by the appointment of A. C. 
Robinson from district 2 and Edward 
Mills from district 3. They took office 
October 23, and Mr. Robinson was chos- 
en chairman of the board. He served 
until Jan. 3, 1877, when Mr. Mills was 
chosen chairman. 

Digitized by 



POLITICAL— 1875-1887. 

Pioneer days and ways were passing 
away. Cigar box ballot boxes with jack 
knife locks were out of date. In the 
middle seventies voting precincts were 
to be found in nearly all parts of the 
county. Salaries were now attached to 
the different offices, and no longer was 
it necessary for the offices to go beg- 

A temperance wave spread over Min- 
nesota in 1875. A* reform party was 
organized and made an excellent show- 
ing at the polls. Prof. R. F. Humis- 
ton, one of the founders of Worthing- 
ton, became the nominee of that party 
for governor and received a largo vote 
in the state at large, as well as in his 
home county. The temperance senti- 
ment had always been strong in Nobles 
county and enthusiasm was unbounded 
among its adherents here. It was de- 
cided to enter the local field of politics 
and endeavor to capture the county of- 
fices. With this in view a reform or 
temperance party came into existence, 
which complicated the political situa- 
tion in the campaign of 1875. The 
party was known officially as the "in- 
dependent reform party." It held a 
convention on Oct. 9 and placed a ticket 
in the field. Nearly all the nominees 

'Mr. Durfee received a major! tv of the votes 
in the district, but owing: to the failure of 
some of the county auditors to make return 
to the state authorities Mr. Thompson was 
seated. Mr. Durfee began a contest before; 

refused to make the race, but a com- 
mittee appointed for the purpose placed 
another ticket in the field, made up of 
one republican, several democrats and 
a few of the reform party. The repub- 
licans had a complete ticket in the field, 
the democrats a partial one, and the en- 
trance of the new party added interest 
to the contest. 

The republicans were successful in 
electing all their nominees with the ex- 
ception of one commissioner, who had 
the support of both the other parties. 
Four hundred thirty-five votes were cast. 
Following is the result of the election': 

Governor — John S. Pillsbury (rep), 
242; D. L. Buell (dem), 77; R. F. 
Humiston (reform), 109. 

Senator 1 — I. P. Durfee (rep), 236; 
Geo. S. Thompson (reform), 162. 

Representative— W. H. Mellen (rep), 
286; E. L. Brownell (reform), 137. 

Auditor— Wm. M. Bear (rep), 267; 
0. A. Fauskee (reform), 157. 

Treasurer — H. D. Humiston (rep and 
reform), 372; B. W. Lyon (dem), 52. 

Sheriff— J. A. Town (rep), 244; W. 
S. Stockdale (dem and reform), 177. 

Register of Deeds— T. C. Bell 2 (rep), 
251; G. M. Plumb (reform), 172. 

the senate, and In January, 1876, was given 
the seat by a unanimous vote. 

*Mr. Bell also served as superintendent of 
schools, receiving the appointment January 
4, 1876. 


Digitized by 




Surveyor 8 — B. W. Woolstencroft (rep , 
222; Otto Berreau (dem and reform), 

Probate Judge — E. D. Barber (rep), 
269; L. B. Bennett (reform), 152. 

Coroner — J. V. Bartow 4 (rep), 253; 
Lewis Gotthelf (dem), 71. 

Commissioner First District — J. 
Westinghouse (rep), 63; A. 0. Conde 
(dem and reform), 75. 

Commissioner Second District — A. C. 
Robinson (rep), 97: Peter Thompson 
(reform), 78. 

Commissioner Third District — E. S. 
Mills (rep), 73; A. A. Abbott (dem), 

The presidential election of Nov. 7, 
1876, brought out the largest vote that 
had yet been polled in the county, 545 
votes being cast. The county was again 
found to be overwhelmingly republican 
on national issues. The opposition to 
the republican ticket on county offices 
was slight, and the republicans had a 
walk away for the few officers chosen. 
The vote: 

President — Republican electors (Hay- 
es), 479; democratic (Tilden), 63; pro- 
hibition (Smith), 1. 

Congressman — Mark H. Dunnell 
(rep), 488; E. C. Stacy (dem), 57. 

County Attorney — M. B. Soule (rep), 
508; Scattering, 10. 

Surveyor — Allen Chaney (rep), 417; 
Otto Berreau (dem), 121. 

Court Commissioner — Henry D. 

Humiston (rep), 399; L. B. Bennett 
(dem), 140. 

Coroner — Asher Allen 6 (rep), 532. 

Commissioner Second District — A. C. 
Robinson (rep), 218. 

Representative — Christopher H. Smith 
(rep), 464; B. N. Carrier (ind), 78. 

A split in the republican party of 
Nobles county gave the democrats a few 
offices in 1877. . The two factions of 
the majority party were very bitter in 
their denunciations of each other. Each 
declared the other to be a ring, which 
ought to be downed. To accomplish 
the downfall of the controlling faction 
alliance was sought with the democrats, 
with the result that party organiza- 
tions were badly demoralized.* The 
campaign was the most exciting one 
that had been witnessed in the county 
up to that time. The fight was most 
bitter over the offices of auditor, sheriff 
and judge of probate. Personalities 
were indulged in, and the cry of "ring" 
was heard on all sides. Five hundred 
thirty-nine votes were cast on election 
day. The official vote: 

Governor — John S. Pillsbury (rep), 
467; W. L. Banning (dem), 52; Aus- 
tin Wiley (pro), 4. 

Senator— C. H. Smith (rep), 299; 
Wm. R. Bennett (dem), 222. 

Representative — Alex Fiddes ( rep ) , 
466; A. A. Clifford (dem), 55. 

Auditor 7 — James Walker (ind), 280; 
E. S. Mills (rep and dem), 241. 

•Mr. Woolstencroft did not qualify, and Jan. 
13, 1876, Mr. Berreau was appointed to fill the 

4 Mr. Bartow did not qualify, and the office 
of coroner was declared vacant by the com- 
missioners Jan. 13, 1876. "L. B. Bennett was 
appointed on that date. 

B Did not qualify. Leroy Cole appointed Jan. 
3, 1877. 

•"We have this campaign a peculiar state of 
affairs so far as county politics are concerned. 
Both the republican and democratic conven- 
tions ignored party lines in their nominations. 

The republican convention put on a democrat 
for the leading county office and also nomi- 
nated a democrat for coroner. The 
democratic county convention nominated 
three republicans, viz: for auditor, 

sheriff and register of deeds. The result, 
therefore, cannot fail to be a mixed set of 
county officers for the next term." — Worthing- 
ton Advance, Oct. 11, 1877. 

7 There was a bolt in republican ranks over 
the nomination of Mr. Mills, and Mr. Walker 
was put forward as an independent candidate, 
winning out over his opponent, who had the 
endorsement of both parties. 

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Treasurer — Peter Thompson (dem 
and rep), 422; A. 0. Conde (ind), 52. 

Sheriff— J. A. Town (rep), 323; B. 
P. Johnson (dem), 191. 

Register of Deeds — Joseph Chadwick 8 
(rep and dem), 505. 

Superintendent of Schools 9 — J. C. 
Ogle (rep), 304; N. • Jordan (dem), 

Clerk of Court — B. N. Carrier (dem), 
3:52; C. T. Pope (rep), 182. 

Probate Judge— R. D. Barber (rep), 
285; J. Craft (dem), 233. 

Coroner — L. B. Bennett (dem and 
rep), 485. 

Commissioner Third District — Rob- 
ert Shore 10 (rep), 99. 

A. 0. Conde was elected chairman of 
the board of county commissioners Jan. 
1, 1878. On the last day of February 
he resigned the office of commissioner 
and Jonathan Gordon was selected to 
complete the unexpired term by the 
probate judge, register of deeds and au- 
ditor. A. C. Robinson was elected 
chairman on March 1. 

There was not much interest taken 
in the election of 1878, and only 473 
votes were cast. The democrates did 
not place a couniy ticket in the field. 
The vote: 

Congressman — Mark H. Dunnell 
(rep), 338; William Meighen (dem), 

Senator — A. D. Perkins (rep), 348; 
W. V. King (greenback), 125. 

Representative — P. J. Kniss (rep), 
282; J. H. Brooks (greenback), 171. 

County Attorney — M. B. Soule (rep), 
193; Daniel Rohrer (ind), 277. 

Surveyor — A. M. Chaney (rep), 467. 

•Took office Nov. 12, 1877, a few days after 
his election. T. C. Bell, former register of 
deeds, left the state and the office was de- 
clared vacant. Mr. Chadwick was then ap- 
pointed to fill the short unexpired term. 

•Prior to this date the county superintend- 
ents of schools had been appointed by the 

Court Commissioner — H. D. Humis- 
ton (rep), 465. 

Commissioner First District — Fred 
Bloom 11 (rep), 59; Jonathan Gordon, 
34; JS. P. Bon, 28. 

The split in the republican party oi 
Nobles county was in working order 
when the campaign of 1819 began, and 
as a result the election of Nov. 4, 1819, 
was the most hotly contested and clos- 
est election ever held in the county. 
Seven hundred eighty-seven votes were 
cast, a gain of 248 over the vote of two 
years before. 

The democrats were the first to enter 
the field with a ticket, which was nom- 
inated at a convention held at Worth- 
ington September 20. The republi- 
cans met in convention at Worthing- 
ton October 9, and nominated a ticket. 
The convention was controlled by the 
faction which was in office, and very 
little consideration was given to the 
wishes of the other faction. A bolt re- 
sulted, and there soon appeared another 
ticket, labeled "independent peoples tick- 
et." An understanding had been 
reached with the democrats which made 
possible the success of the bolters. Many 
of the democratic nominees withdrew 
from the contest. Those that remained 
were given assurances of support, and 
in turn, the democrats generally sup- 
ported the independent nominees. A 
merry campaign resulted. The offices 
of sheriff, auditor and treasurer became 
the center of strife, and the result was 
so close that it took the courts to de- 
cide who had been elected for two of 
the offices. The democrats and bolting 
republicans were generally successful; in 

commissioners. Mr. Ogle took office Nov. 12, 
to fill the unexpired term of T. C. Bell, -who 
had left the state. 

"Was chairman in 1880. 

"Served as chairman in 1881. 

Digitized by 




only two cases did the straight republi- 
can nominees win where there were op- 
posing candidates. The official vote 
was as follows: 

Governor — John S. Pillsbury (rep), 
581; Edmund Bice (deni), 201. 

Auditor— J as. Walker (rep), 389; E. 
S. Mills (ind peo), 391. 

Treasurer — Wm. M. Bear (rep), 360; 
H. C. Shepard (dem and ind peo), 

Sheriff— J. A. Town (rep), 393; K. 
K. Miller (ind peo), 393. 

Probate Judge — R. D. Barber (rep), 
407; B. N. Carrier (dem and ind peo), 

Coroner — Geo. 0. Moore (rep), 381; 
L. B. Bennett (dem and ind peo), 397. 

Commissioner Second District — A. M. 
Crosby (rep), 199; W. A. Turner (dem. 
and ind peo), 176. '• ""* 

Superintendent of Schools — J. C. Ogle 
(rep and ind peo), 765. 

.Register of Deeds — Jos. Chadwick 
(dem, rep and ind peo), 786. 

The most spectacular contest was that 
between J. A. Town and B. R. Miller 
for the office of sheriff. From the day 
of election until Saturday, when the 
final result was known, the interest was 
intense. Wednesday the suspense hung 
upon the result in, Graham Lakes town- 
ship, which was the last to report the 
result. It was in favor of Mr. Town, 
and cut Mr. Miller's lead down to one 
vote, according to the unofficial figures. 
The official count was then made, which 
left the vote a tie, each having received 
393 votes. Saturday at four o'clock the 

u ". . . The interest now became so In- 
tense as to be almost painful. The law pro- 
vides that in case of a tie on any county 
office the board shall cast lots to decide who 
shall take the certificate. Mr. Durfee retired 
into the treasurer's office and Mr. Humiston 
turned his back, while Auditor Walker pre- 
pared two ballots whereon were written the 
names of the two candidates. The ballots 
were given to Mr. Humiston. who placed them 
in a hat and •raffled* them up. Then Mr. 

matter was decided by lot by the board 
of county commissioners, Mr. Miller 
winning. 12 

Appeals from the decisions of the can- 
vassing board were taken by J. A. 
Town, contesting the election of K. E. 
Miller for the office of sheriff; James 
Walker, contesting the election of E. S. 
Mills, who had been declared elected 
auditor by a plurality of three votes; 
and W. A. Turner, who doubted the 
election of A. M. Crosby, who had been 
declared elected county commissioner 
from the second district by a plurality 
of twenty-three votes. The last named 
withdrew his contest before it came to 
trial, but the other contests resulted in 
more excitement than had the election. 
The cases came to trial in district court 
at W.Qrthipgton' in February, 1880, be- 
*f&te. JtrtJgeiBk St. Julian Cox, of the St 
Peter district. Daniel Kohrer appeared 
for the' contestants, while Emery Clark, 
•of Worthin^ton, and James N. Castle, 
of Stillwater, represented the respond- 
ents. In the latter part of March 
Judge Cox handed down his decision in 
the contest for the office of sheriff. He 
held that B. K. Miller had been elected 
by twenty-six majority. A few days 
later he sustained the action of the can- 
vassing board in seating Mr. "Mills, hold- 
ing that that officer had received a ma- 
jority of thirty-eight. 

There was a large increase in the vote 
in 1880, and 945 ballots were cast in 
the county for presidential electors. The 
two leading parties had tickets in the 
field for the few county offices to be 

Durfee was called in to draw one of the 
ballots. We suppose every man in the room 
held his breath as Mr. Durfee' s hand went 
down into that hat. But down it went, and 
up came a ballot. At this point the anxiety 
was absolutely painful. Mr. Durfee unrolled 
the paper with nervous Angers, hesitated a 
moment, and then read the name in a dis- 
tinct voice: 'R. R. Miller?' "— Worthington 
Advance, Nov. 13, 1879. 

Digitized by 



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filled, and again did the "peoples" party 
(opposed to the dominant faction of the 
republican party) enter the contest. 
That party nominated Moses A. Strong 
for representative and endorsed the dem- 
ocratic nominees for county offices, 
but the combination did not succeed in 
electing any of the officers. • The vote: 

President — Republican electors (Gar- 
field), 693; democratic (Hancock), 227; 
greenback (Weaver), 25. 

Congressman — M. H. Dunnell (rep), 
543; Henry R. Wells (dem), 186; W. 
G. Ward (ind rep), 118; C. H. Rob- 
erts (greenback), 23. 

Representative — P. J. Kniss (rep), 
474; Moses A. Strong (peo), 455. 

County Attorney — Geo. W. Wilson 
(rep), 616; L. S. Nelson (dem and 
peo), 320. 

Surveyor — Allen Chaney 13 (rep), 584; 
Otto Berreau (dem and peo), 359. 

Court Commissioner — H. D. Humis- 
ton (rep), 617; Thos. H. Parsons (dem 
and peo), 320. 

Commissioner Third District — Miles 
Birkett (rep), 137; J. T. Green (peo), 

Although Nobles county has been 
strongly republican ever since its organi- 
zation, the dominant party has on sever- 
al occasions met disastrous defeat. One 
of the most remarkable instances was in 
1881, when the democrats, in combina- 
tion with one faction of the republican 
party, carried the county by big majori- 
ties, the republicans saving only two 
commissioners, one of whom was with- 
out opposition. 

No sooner had the republican conven- 
tion adjourned than there was a demand 
for a "peoples" ticket, as formerly, it 

being alleged that the "ring" had again 
controlled the republican convention. A 
call was issued and the opposing forces 
met at Worthington Saturday, Oct. 15. 
The deliberations of the convention were 
participated in by the democrats and the 
"anti-ring" republicans, so called, and a 
complete county ticket was put in the 
field. The campaign was a spirited one, 
enlivened by charges of mismanagement 
on the part of some of the officers who 
were seeking reelection. The Worth- 
ington Advance, as usual, took the part 
of the peoples ticket, while the republi- 
can ticket was supported by the new 
Worthington Journal. A perusal of the 
files of these publications lead one to 
the belief that the future welfare of the 
nation depended upon the outcome in 
Nobles county. When the ballots had 
been counted and it was found that the 
fusionists had been successful by decided 
majorities there was great joy among 
those who had been instrumental in 
bringing about the victory. Nine hun- 
dred thirty-eight votes were cast. The 
battle in detail: 

Governor — L. F. Hubbard (rep), 632 
R. W. Johnson (dem), 281; I. C 
Stearns, 12; Scattering, 3. 

Judge Sixth Judicial District 14 — M, 
J. Severance, 917. 

Auditor— E. S. Mills (peo), 603 
Fred Bloom (rep), 334. 

Treasurer— H. C. Shepard (peo), 538 
Robt. Shore (rep), 397. 

Sheriff— R. R. Miller (peo), 548; J 
C. Thorn (rep), 345; Chas. Chase (ind), 

Register of Deeds — B. F. Johnson 
(peo), 542; Jos. Chadwick (rep), 392. 

"Resigned Jan. 1, 1882, and the office was county became a part of the 13th district 
vacant until after the election of 1882. A. D. Perkins was then appointed to fill the 

unexpired portion of Judge Severance's six 
14 In 1886 the district was divided and Nobles year term in the new district. 

Digitized by 




Surveyor — Otto Berreau 15 (peo), 921. 

Clerk of Court — L. B. Bennett (peo), 
566; H. D. Humiston (rep), 360. 

Probate Judge — L. S. Nelson 18 (peo), 
540; I. P. Durfee (rep), 380; Jonathan 
Gordon, 10. 

Court Commissioner— L. S. Nelson 17 
(peo), 539; I. P. Durfee (rep), 375. 

Coroner — J. S. McManus (peo), 531; 
E. Coleman (rep), 398. 

Superintendent of Schools — M. A. 
Doane 18 (peo), 526; Ira K. Cole (rep), 

Commissioner First District 19 — P. 
Blaine (peo), 73;' John Upstrom (rep), 
30; Jonathan Gordon, 13. 

Commissioner Second District — T. L. 
Taylor (rep), 51; Emil Graf (ind), 44; 
J. W. Bead (ind), 32; Thos. Wilson 
(peo), 27. 

Commissioner Third District — James 
Cowin (peo), 166; L. C. Long (rep), 

Commissioner Fourth District — Maur- 
ice O'Hearn 20 (peo), 120; Miles Birk- 
ett (rep), 75. 

Commissioner Fifth District — Daniel 
Shell 21 (rep), 204. 

The only thing that kept the 1882 
election from being a very uninteresting 
affair was the legislative campaign. Be- 
cause of the nomination of W. H. John- 
Commissioner First District — A. E. 

"■Did not qualify, and owing to the refusal 
of Mr. Chaney to continue in the office, there 
was no surveyor until after the election of 

"Resigned Nov. 13, 1882, to accept office of 
superintendent of schools. Wm. Wighara was 
appointed and filled the unexpired term. 

"Resigned Nov. 13, 1882, to accept office of 
superintendent of schools. Frederick Bloom 
filled the unexpired term. 

"Died during his term, and L. S. Nelson 
appointed by the commissioners Nov. 13, 1882, 
to complete unexpired term. 

"In conformity with a new law, the county 
commissioners had on July 19, 1881, divided 
the county into five commissioners' districts, 

Tuttle (ind), 16; P. Blaine (rep), 53; 
Jonathan Gordon, 33. 
son, of Murray county, for the house 
there was a split in the republican ranks. 
An independent convention placed T. D. 
M. Orcutt in nomination, and he was 
indorsed by the prohibitionists. Other 
independent candidates entered the race, 
but all withdrew before election day ex- 
cept Dr. J. Craft. Dr. Craft carried 
Nobles county but Mr. Johnson was 
elected. There was also dissatisfaction 
over the republican nomination for sena- 
tor, and C. C. Goodnow, of Pipestone 
county, became an independent candi- 
date. The regular nominee was elected. 
The official vote: 

Congressman — Jas. B. Wakefield 
(rep), 538; Felix A. Borer (pro), 97; 
J. A. Latimer (dem), 139. 

Senator — A. M. Crosby (rep), 465; C. 
C. Goodnow (ind), 211; Charles Sax- 
on (pro), 73. 

Representative — W. H. Johnson (rep), 
314; T. D. M. Orcutt (ind and pro), 
73; Dr. J. Craft (ind), 387. 

County Attorney — Geo. W. Wilson 
(rep), 750. 

Surveyor 22 — J. W. Miller, 774. 

Again in 1883 did the republican 
ticket have opposition, although that 
party was practically the only one in 
the county with anything like an or- 

as follows: No. 1, Graham Lakes, Hersey, 
Lorain, Indian Lake; No. 2, Seward, Elk, 
Bloom, Summit Lake, Dewald, Willmont; No. 
3, Olney, Westside, Lismore, Leota,' Town 103, 
range 42 (Lark in); No. 4, Bigelow, Ransom, 
Little Rock, Grand Prairie; No. 6, Worth - 
ington township and village. 

*>Dled July 14, 1883, during term of office 
No successor appointed. 

"Served as chairman of the board from 1882 
to 1886, inclusive. 

"Surveyors were elected in odd numbered 
years, but the county had been so unfortu- 
nate In selecting a surveyor who would hold 
the office that In 1882, by mutual agreement, 
Captain J. W. Miller, of Hersey, was put on 
both tickets and elected without opposition. 

Digitized by 




ganiaation. But> as formerly, the inde- 
pendents decided to pnt an opposition 
ticket in the field. The call was issued 
to "all the independent voters of No- 
bles county, irrespective of party ." The 
convention, which was held at Worth- 
ington September 29, was attended by 
the democrats and those republicans who 
were dissatisfied with the actions of the 
republican organization. A ticket, which 
included some of the republican nomi- 
nees, was put up, and a lively cam- 
paign followed. Personalities were in- 
dulged in, and for a few offices the fight 
was bitter, this being especially true as 
to offices of auditor and superintendent 
of schools. Every nominee of the inde- 
pendent convention was elected, and 
again the republican organization met 
defeat. On the state ticket the demo- 
crats made a better showing than they 
had done at any previous election. Nine 
hundred four votes were cast. The re- 

Governor — Lucian F. Hubbard (rep), 
547; Adolph Biermanm (dem), 311; 
Chas. E. Holt (pro), 41. 

Auditor— Fred Bloom (xep), 304; E. 
S. Mills (peo), M 589. 

Treasurer — Wm. Wigham (rep and 
peo), 556; A. Forbes (ind), 348. 

Eegister of Deeds — B. F. Johnson 
(rep and peo), 890. 

Sheriff— R. R. Miller (rep and peo), 

Superintendent of Schools — Maud 
Graves (rep), 357; J. Craft 24 (peo), 

Probate Judge — J. A. Town (rep), 
380; Emery Clark 25 (peo), 509. 

a3 Candidates so labeled were nominees of the 
Independent, or people's, convention. 

^Resigned Dec. 8, 1884. Albert Campbell 
was appointed Jan. 7, 1885, to complete the 

"Resigned Jan. 20, 1885. Gov. Hubbard ap- 

Court Commissioner — J. A. Town 
(rep), 389; Emery Clerk, 2e (peo), 469. 

Surveyor — W. A. Peterson 27 (rep and 
peo), 880. 

Coroner — L. W. Warren (rep and 
peo), 883. 

Commissioner Second District — S. 
Wass (rep), 54; Emil Graf (peo), 62. 

Commissioner Third District — Geo. 
Slade (rep), 54; Jas. Cowin (peo), 136; 
L. C. Long (ind), 62. 

Commissioner Fourth District — Rob- 
ert Shore (rep), 72; W. R. Faragher 
(ind), 103. 

Nine hundred thirty-seven votes were 
cast in the presidential election of 1884, 
which was within one as high as had 
ever before been voted in the county. 
For the few county offices which were to 
be chosen the democrats made no nomi- 
nations, but the prohibition party devel- 
oped some strength in county politics, 
as it also did in the state at large. A 
county convention was held, at which 
candidates were nominated for court 
commissioner and county commissioner 
from the fifth district. The nominees 
of that party for president, congressman 
and representative, as well as the county 
nominees, received much support. The 
vote : 

President — Republican electors 
(Blaine), 491; democratic (Cleveland), 
246; prohibition (St. John), 131; green- 
back (Butler), 38. 

Congressman — J. B. Wakefield (rep), 
553; J. J. Thornton (dem), 238; Wil- 
liam. Copp (pro), 146. 

Representative 28 — Peter Peterson 

pointed I. P. Durfee In March to complete the 

"Resigned September, 1884, and J. A. Town 
was appointed to complete the term. 

•designed July 26, 1886. 

"'Mr. Shepard carried Nobles county, but 
Mr. Peterson was elected. 

Digitized by 




(rep), 344; H. C. Shepard (dem), 427; 
W. J. McAllister (pro), 137. 

County Attorney — L. M. Lange (rep), 

Court Commissioner — I. P. Durfee 
(rep), 753; C. C. Christianson (pro), 

Commissioner Fifth District — Daniel 
Shell (rep), 175; Peter Thompson 
(pro), 77. 

Commissioner Fourth District — Wm. 
Parry (rep), 99; H. B. Tripp (ind), 54; 
Butcher, 27; A. W. Ferrin (pro), 9. 

In accordance with the provisions of 
a new state law, no county elections 
were held in 1885. After that date elec- 
tions were held every two years only, in 
even numbered years. An entire new 
set of officers was elected in 1886, and 
the campaign of that year was an excit- 
ing one. A new element entered into 
the political life of the county, a feeling 
of antagonism between the east and west 

The republicans were the first in the 
field with a ticket. Residents of the 
west end claimed that the convention 
was controlled by the Worthington 
"ring," and that the Adrian country 
was not given just recognition. This 
led to the calling of another convention, 
which was held at Adrian, participated 
in by democrats and many west end re- 
publicans. A few of the republican nom- 
inees who were not from Worthington 
were endorsed, and the rest of the ticket 
was made up largely of democrats. 29 
This ticket was supported by democrats 
from all parts of the county and almost 
solidly by republicans from the west end 
of the county. The prohibitionists en- 
tered the field with almost a complete 

*In giving the result of this election I have 
marked the nominees of this convention 
democrats, although one or two of the nomi- 
nees never affiliated with that party. 

ticket, and there were a number of in- 
dependent candidates, making the cam- 
paign one of much interest and uncer- 
tainty. The republicans elected the ma- 
jority of their ticket, although the inde- 
pendents captured some of the import- 
ant offices. On state and congressional 
tickets the democrats made the best 
showing in the party's history in Nobles 
county up to that time, their nominee 
for governor being only about 250 votes 
behind. Thirteen hundred eighty-six 
votes were cast, by far the largest ever 
recorded, being 449 more than the vote 
of two years before. The vote as offi- 
cially canvassed : 

Governor— A. B. McGill (rep), 758; 
A. A. Ames (dem), 503; J. E. Childs 
(pro), 122. 

Congressman — John Lind (rep), 769; 
A. H. Bullis (dem), 334 ; 80 Geo. J. 
Day (pro), 132. 

Judge Thirteenth Judicial District — A. 
D. Perkins 81 (rep, dem and pro), 1,385. 

Senator — W. B. Brown (rep and pro), 
1,188; Fred Bloom (ind), 188. 

Representative — B. M. Low (rep), 
1,236; A. E. Tuttle (pro), 144. 

Auditor— R. R. Miller (rep), 306; D. 
Ryan (dem), 431; T. L. Taylor (pro), 
48; E. S. Mills (ind), 588; John O. 
Larson (ind), 3. 

Treasurer — R. W. Moberly (rep and 
dem), 1,284; J. C. Boddy (pro), 102. 

Sheriff— M. J. Bryan (rep), 326; Gil- 
bert Anderson (dem), 658; W. H. In- 
graham (ind), 392. 

Register of Deeds — B. P. Johnson 
(rep), 570; A. R. Harris (dem), 522; 
A. O. Lofstedt (pro), 191; I. B. New- 
kirk (ind), 95. 

County Attorney— L. M. Lange (rep), 

^Not included in this, were 150 votes cast 
for H. C. Bullis. 

"Served until early in 1891, when he resign- 
ed. P. E. Brown was appointed to fill the 
office for the unexpired term. 

Digitized by 




754; C. 0. Dailey (dem), 546; C. B. 
Loveless (pro), 76. 

Surveyor— W. D. Smith (dem), 861; 
L. Foote (pro), 134. 

Clerk of Court— W. W. Herron (rep), 
260; F. A. Stevens (dem), 452; A. 
Hamilton (pro), 344; L. B. Bennett 
(ind), 313. 

Probate Judge — E. L. Wemple (rep 
and dem), 1,103; J. W. Lewis (pro), 

Coroner — B. W. Lyon (dem), 575; 
L. W. Warren (rep), 680. 

Superintendent of Schools — A. Camp- 
bell (rep, pro and dem), 1,360; E. B. 
Plotts (ind), 59. 

"Was chairman of the board from 1887 to 
1892, inclusive. 

Commissioner First District — "0. 
Thompson (pro and dem), 64; J. H. 
Denton (rep), 91; William Firth (ind), 

Commissioner Second District — S. B. 
Bedford (rep), 89; C. Fritz (dem), 25; 
Emil Graf (ind), 20; W. H. North 
(pro), 48. 

Commissioner Third District — 0. S. 
Meliok (rep), 166; J. Blesius (dem), 
126; E. Copper (ind), 86. 

Commissioner Fourth District — J. De- 
Boos (rep), 112; R. O'Hearn (dem), 
161; Wm. Wigham (ind), 74. 

Commissioner Fifth District — J. A. 
Town 32 (rep), 145; (). G. Grundsten 
(dem), 84; S. S. Morton (pro), 66. 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 




An index of the progress of retrogres- 
sion of a community is the increase or 
decrease in the vote cast. That there 
was an advancement during the middle 
eighties in Nobles county is plainly 
shown. In 1882 the total vote was 774, 
in 1883 it was 904, the next year 937, 
in 1886 it had advanced to 1,386, and 
in 1888 the handsome total of 1,754 was 
reached. The last named year marks 
the passing of the strong independent 
movement which had been a power in 
the politics of Nobles county for so 
many years. Its place was taken by the 
democratic party, which for the first 
time in the county's history developed 
enough strength to insure its perma- 
nency. That it had become a factor to 
be reckoned with in county politics is 
shown by the vote for president. Har- 
rison electors received 896 votes; Cleve- 
land electors-, 682. 

The republicans, democrats and pro- 
hibitionists had tickets in the field for 
county offices in 1888, and an interest- 
ing campaign and close election resulted. 
Besides the regular parties there was an 
attempt made by the old independent 
forces to get a ticket before the people. 
A mass convention was held at Worth- 
ington for this purpose, and several 
nominations were made. With the ex- 
ception of A. M. Thorn for sheriff, all 

who had not received prior nomination 
in one of the other conventions declined 
to make the race. The independents 
endorsed several of the republican and 
prohibition nominees. The contest was 
very close for several of the offices, es- 
pecially for sheriff and auditor. The 
democrats captured both those offices, 
while the republicans elected the rest of 
the ticket. The result in detail: 

President — Republican electors (Ben- 
jamin Harrison), 8%; democratic elec- 
tors (Grover Cleveland), 682; prohibi- 
tion electors (Clinton B. Fisk), 142; 
union labor electors (A. J. Streeter), 

Governor — William R. Merriam (rep), 
859; Eugene M. Wilson (dem), 710; 
Hugh Harrison (pro), 159; J. H. Paul 
(union labor), 22. 

Congressman — John Lind (rep), 896; 
Morton S. Wilkinson (dem), 672; D. 
W. Edwards (pro), 179. 

Representative — B. M. Low (rep), 
833; Thomas Johnson (dem), 674; C. 
S. Bond (pro), 226. 

Auditor— 0. S. Melick (rep), 580; J. 
J. Kendlen (dem), 694; H. W. North 
(pro), 193; E. S. Mills (ind), 274. 

Treasurer — R. W. Moberly (rep), 
1,015; H. C. Shepard (dem), 612; Al- 
bert Hector (pro), 125. 

Register of Deeds — E. R. Humiston 


Digitized by 




(rep), 893; J. A. Kennedy (dem), 644; 
A. Hamilton (pro), 195. 

Sheriff— C. C. Peterson (rep), 713; 
Gilbert Anderson (dem), 777; P. A. 
Christianson (pro), 117; Alex M. Thorn 
(ind), 118. 

Probate Judge— C. W. W. Dow (rep), 
764; J. W. Crigler (dem), 610; C. W. 
Hildreth (pro), 279; Daniel Rohrer 
(ind), 78. 

County Attorney — L. M. Lange 1 
(rep), 866; H. E. Jeffers (dem), 654; 
E. B. Hall (pro), 227. 

Surveyor— W. D. Smith 2 (rep), 936; 
J. W. Abbott (dem), 661; Lewis Poote 
(pro), 153. 

Coroner— R. D. Barber (rep), 957; 
A. E. Tuttle (pro), 210; R. O'Hearn 
(dem), 42. 

Court Commissioner — C. W. Hildreth 
(rep), 1,075; J. W. Crigler (dem), 607. 

Superintendent of Schools — A. Qamp- 
bell (rep), 1,039; Edward Mott (dem), 
423; J. W. Lewis (pro), 243. 

Commissioner First District — J. H. 
Denton (rep), 126; C. S. Bond (pro), 

Commissioner Third District — A. G. 
Lindgren (rep), 236; John Blesius 
(dem), 205. 

Commissioner Fifth District — J. A. 
Town (rep), 190; R. H. Matson (dem), 
129; C. B. Loveless (pro), 44. 

State, congressional, legislative and 
county politics were complicated in 1890 
by the entrance of a new party which 
was made up of members of the farmers* 
alliance and knights of labor. The for- 
mer had maintained an organization in 
Nobles county for a number of years 
and had a large membership. When it 

designed Oct. 16, 1889, to accept the posi- 
tion of register of the Marshall land office. 
C. O. Dailey appointed to complete the term. 

*Milton S. Smith was appointed surveyor 
July 81, 1891. 

was decided to enter politics it was real- 
ized that the alliance was to be a factor 
of no small importance. A ticket was 
put in nomination, and it received added 
strength by the action of the prohibi- 
tionists, who endorsed most of the nomi- 
nees. Both the democrats and republi- 
cans put up strong tickets, and the elec- 
tion was an exciting one. The state 
ticket was carried by the republicans, 
but the alliance forces carried the coun- . 
ty for congressman and state senator. 
For representative the race in Nobles 
county was close; two republicans car- 
ried the county; the third member, who 
had the support of both democrats and 
alliance, carried the county by a large 
plurality. The alliance party fared not 
so well on the county ticket, and did not 
elect a single nominee. Six democrats 
and five republicans were elected to coun- 
ty offices. There was a falling off from 
the vote of two years previous, the total 
vote being 1,596. As officially canvas- 

Governor — William B. Merriam (rep), 
611; Thomas Wilson (dem), 498; Sid- 
ney M. Owen (all), 423; J. P. Pink- 
ham (pro), 57. 

Congressman — John Lind (rep), 688; 
James H. Baker (all), 852; Ira B. Rey- 
nolds (pro), 56. 

Senator— H. J. Miller (rep), 664; A. 
M. Becker (dem), 141; Jay LaDue 8 
(all), 762. 

Representatives — Geo. W. Wilson 
(rep), 635; Lamed Coburn 4 (rep), 630; 
William Lockwood 4 (rep), 638; E. L. 
Rork (dem), 464; C. P. Shepard (dem), 
526; John Pemberton (all), 442; Pa- 
trick Gildea 4 (dem and all), 877; C. 
Gustafson (all), 457. 


Digitized by 




Auditor — John J. Kendlen (on all 
tickets), 1,548. 

Treasurer — B. W. Moberly (rep), 757; 
H. C. Shepard (dem), 511; C. S. Bond 
(all and pro), 318. 

Register of Peeds — B. L. Wemple 
(rep), 582; J. A. Kennedy (dem), 665; 
0. G. Grundsten (all), 318. 

Sheriff — James F. Boardman (rep), 
541; Gilbert Anderson (dem), 735; 
Frank Ellsworth (all and pro), 304. 

Probate Judge— C. W. W. Dow (rep 
and all), 1,532. 

Clerk of Court — F. A. Stevens (rep), 
661; L. B. Bennett (dem), 545; A. E. 
Tuttle (all and pro), 380. 

Superintendent of Schools — John W. 
Shaw (rep), 423; Thos. B. Maguire 
(dem), 699; Mrs. M. J. Barron (all 
and pro), 679. 

Coroner— W. S. Webb (rep), 653; C. 

C. May, 341; M. Sullivan (dem), 517; 

D. L. Kenyon (pro), 62. 

County Attorney — 0. W. Freeman 
(rep), 586; C. 0. Dailey e (dem), 640; 
Daniel Rohrer (all and pro), 350. 

Commissioner Second District — S. B. 
Bedford (rep), 104; John Mock (dem), 

Commissioner Fourth District — F. T. 
Graves (rep), 149; R. O'Hearn (dem), 
142; J. T. Green (all and pro), 80. 

An outgrowth of the alliance party 
was the peoples party, otherwise known 
as the populist party, which made its 
first appearance in Nobles county poli- 
tics in 1892. Now only a memory, the 
peoples party was an important factor in 
the politics of the county during the 
nineties. While it never became the 

■Mrs. Barron started contest proceedings 

against Mr. Maguire for the office, but they 

were dropped before the matter came up for 

•Resigned Nov. 22, 1892, and O. W. Free- 
man, attorney -elect, was appointed to com- 
plete the short unexpired term. 

dominant party here, its strength was 
such during several campaigns that by 
forming alliances with, and endorsing 
nominees of, other parties it was able 
to control the situation. 

In 1892 the new party was the first 
in the field with a county ticket, select- 
ing as its nominees several of the demo- 
cratic office holders. These the demo- 
crats promptly endorsed. The republi- 
cans put up a strong ticket and the 
prohibitionists selected a partial ticket. 
The republicans were generally success- 
ful in the county field, although some 
of the most important offices were cap- 
tured by the opposition. The Austral- 
ian ballot system was employed for the 
first time in this election. The hand- 
some total of 2,159 ballots were cast, 
which was a big increase, but the sys- 
tem being so poorly understood, not 
more than 1,991 were able to be counted 
for any one office, many voting for one 
presidential elector only. The vote: 

President — Republican electors (Har- 
rison), 886; democratic electors (Cleve- 
land), 6:33; peoples party electors (Weav- 
er), 305; prohibition electors (Bidweli), 

Governor — Knute Nelson (rep), 810; 
Daniel W. Lawlet (dem), 614; Ignatius 
Donnelly (pp), 373; Dean (pro), 126. 

Congressman — Jas. T. McCleary 
(rep), 793; W. S. Hammond (dem), 
584; L. C. Long (pp), 446; E. H. 
Bronson (pro), 135. 

Judge Thirteenth District— P. E. 
Brown (non partisan), 899. 

Representatives 7 — Daniel Shell (rep), 
1,003; Ole O. Holman (rep), 726; Wm. 

'Although two of the fusion candidates 
received pluralities in Nobles county the lead 
was overcome in other counties of the dis- 
trict, and the three republican nominees were 

Digitized by 




Lockwood (rep), 753; J. H. Maxwell 
(dem and pp), 928; Patrick Gttdea 
(dem and pp), 798; Geo. McGillivray 
(dem and pp), 839. 

Auditor — J. J. Kendlen (dem, rep 
and pp), 1,616. 

Treasurer— B. W. Moberly (rep), 959; 
E. W. Goff (dem and pp), 968. 

Register of Deeds — Wm. Parry (rep), 
707; J. A. Kennedy (dem and pp), 

Sheriff— Jas. C. Thorn (rep), 841; 
Gilbert Anderson (dem), 819; J. B. 
Green (pp), 325. 

Probate Judge — C. M. Cory (rep), 
766; C. W. Hildreth (pp), 578; C. W. 
W. Dow (ind), 401. 

County Attorney — 0. W. Freeman 
(rep and pp), 967; C. 0. Dailey (dem), 

Surveyor — M. S. Smith (rep), 1,192. 

Coroner— C. C. May, 37; W. S. Webb, 
20; R. B. Plotts, 53; M. Sullivan, 31. 

School Superintendent — Geo. W. Cale 
(rep), 782; T. B. Maguire 8 (pro, dem 
and pp), 1,193. 

Court Commissioner — C. M. Cory 
(rep), 53; L. B. Bennett (dem), 83. 

Commissioner First District — C. L. 
Peterson 9 (rep), 141; J. M. Paine (pp), 

Commissioner Third District — A. G. 
Lindgren 10 (rep), 303; Geo. Knips 
(PP), 198. 

Commissioner Fifth District — Peter 
Thompson 11 (rep), 290; 0. G. Grand- 
sten (pp), 126. 

Fusion was accomplished between the 
democrats and peoples party on part of 
the county ticket in 1894, but the re- 

•Died during term. John Ireland appointed 
Oct. 19, 1894, to complete the term. 

•Served only part of term. The office was 
declared vacant because of removal from the 
district, and Jan. 2, 1894, E. A. Tripp was 
chosen to complete the term. 

publicans captured the majority of the 
offices. There was another increase in 
the total vote, 2,283 ballots being cast 
for the office of governor. Following is 
the vote: 

Governor — Knute Nelson (rep), 1,112; 
Geo. L. Becker (dem), 632; S. M. 
Owen (pp), 427,; Hilleboe (pro), 112. 

Congressman — Jas. T. McCleary 
(rep), 1,094; Geo. H. Baker (dem), 
605; L. C. Long (pp), 453; Kellam 
(pro), 91. 

Senator— H. J. Miller (rep), 1,207; 
J. C. Marshall (dem and pp), 972. 

^Representative — Daniel Shell (rep), 
1,179; Ole O. Holman (rep), 947; Wm. 
Lockwood (rep), 988; John E. King 
(dem), 693; J. J. Eyder (dem), 675; 
J. T. McKnight (pp), 613; Norwood 
(pp), 366; Jaycox (pp), 285. 

Auditor— B. W. Moberly (rep), 1,093; 
J. J. Kendlen (dem), 1,140. 

Treasurer — J. P. Peterson (rep), 
1,181; E. W. Goff (dem), 1,015. 

Sheriff— J. C. Thorn, (rep), 1,014; 
Gilbert Anderson (dem), 1,000; B. G. 
Lagrange (pp), 258. 

Register of Deeds — Wm. Wigham 
(rep), 938; J. A. Kennedy (dem), 

Probate Judge — C. M. Cory (rep), 
1,469; M. E. Foley (dem), 707. 

County Attorney — O. W. Freeman 
(rep), 1,325; Z. R. Cheney (dem), 848. 

Surveyor— M. S. Smith (rep), 1,660. 

Coroner— R. B. Plotts, 1,458. 

Clerk of Court — F. A. Stevens (rep), 
1,368; Chas. Fritz (dem), 704. 

School Superintendent — Maud Graves 

"Was chairman of the board from July 10, 
1893, to Jan. 1, 1894. 

u Resigmed July 10. 1893. Had served as 
chairman up to that time. H. M. Palm chosen 
to complete the term. Mr. Palm served as 
chairman of the board from 1894 to 1900, 

Digitized by 




(rep), 1,459; Julia Hyland (dem), 

Commissioner First District — E. A. 
Tripp (rep), 205; Otto Berreau (dem), 

Commissioner Second District — B. W. 
Pope (rep), 197; John Mock (dem), 
82; Fred Pank (pp), 112. 

Commissioner Fourth District — Chas. 
Hallas (rep), 184; Richard O'Hearn 
(dem), 192; Henry Nolte (pp), 56. 

Commissioner Fifth District — H. M. 
Palm (rep), 338; Walter Aagaard 
(dem), 138. 

The democratic and peoples party 
forces combined again in 1896 and elect- 
ed three officers on the county ticket. 
One independent candidate was elected; 
The other offices were captured by the 
republicans. The free silver agitation 
was at its height, and Nobles county 
fusionists brought out a large vote for 
William Jennings Bryan for president, 
coming nearer carrying the county for a 
democratic nominee for president than 
had ever been the case before or has 
been since. The state, congressional and 
legislative tickets of the fusionists were 
also given big votes. The total vote of 
the county had now reached 2,937, which 
was the number cast for sheriff. The 

President — Republican electors (Mc- 
Kinley), 1,568; democratic electors 
( Bryan V, 1,204 ; prohibition electors (Le>A- 
ering), 48; gold democratic electors 
(Palmer), 32; socialist labor electors 
(Matchett), 7. 

Governor — D. M. Clough (rep), 
1,430; John Lind (dem and pp), 1,315; 
W. J. Dean (pro), 54; A. A. Ames 
(ind), 9; Wm. B. Hammond (soc-lab), 

"The three republicans were elected. 

Congressman — Jas. T. McCleary 
(rep), 1,558; F. A. Day (dem and pp), 
1,193; B. Price (pro), 71. 

Representatives 12 — Daniel Shell (rep), 
1,509; Ole 0. Holman (rep), 1,343; 
A. S. Dyer (rep), 1,273; M. Sullivan 
(dem and pp), 1,295; Thos. Lowe (dem 
and pp), 1,136; F. M. Payne (dem and 
pp), 1,117. 

Auditor— E. A. Tripp (rep), 1,609; 
J. T. McKnight (dem and pp), 1,254. 

Treasurer— J. P. Peterson (rep), 
1,862; B. F. Young (dem and pp), 

Sheriff— L. L. McCartney (rep), 929; 
Gilbert Anderson (dem and pp), 1479; 
J. G. Murphy (ind), 529. 

Register of Deeds— A. J. Lindgren 
(rep), 1,460; J. S. Blair (dem and pp), 
1,029; W. J. Parry (ind), 415. 

Probate Judge — C. M. Cory (rep), 
1,778; W. R. Kyle (dem and pp), 

County Attorney — C. M. Crandall 
(rep), 1,659; O. W. Freeman (dem and 
PP), 1,217. 

Surveyor— M. S. Smith (rep), 2,047. 

School Superintendent — John Ireland 
(rep), * 1,045; Wm. Finley (dem and 
pp), 1,017; Maud Graves (ind), 1,350. 

Court Commissioner — L. B. Bennett, 
34; C. M. Cory, 16; Scattering, 12. 

Coroner— R. B. Plotts (dem), 1,699; 
Scattering, 28. 

Commissioner First District — F. D. 
Lindquist (rep) , 343. 

Commissioner Third District — M. S. 
Boyle (rep), 338; A. J. Rice (dem and 
PP), 375. 

Commissioner Fifth District — H. M. 
Palm (rep), 370; H. C. Shepard 
(dem), 169. 

There was a decrease in the vote for 
the off year 1898, the total number poll- 

Digitized by 




ed being 2,038, and the highest number 
cast for any one office being 1,966 — for 
sheriff. In the election of 1896 the fu- 
sion ticket had been labeled democratic 
on the ballots. Under the election laws, 
therefore, there was officially no peoples 
party in Nobles county, and the nomi- 
nees of that party could not have their 
names placed on the official ballot ex- 
cept by petition. The third party held 
a county convention, nominated nearly 
a complete ticket, but only one of the 
nominees, that for school superintendent, 
was able to obtain the necessary sig- 
natures, and that was the only one to 
appear on the ballot/ 

For the first time in the county's his- 
tory the democratic nominee for govern- 
or carried the county. The republi- 
cans carried the county for congressman, 
senator and representative by small ma- 
jorities and elected the whole county 
ticket except the nominees for sheriff 
and coroner. The vote: 

Governor— W. H. Eustis (rep), 812; 
John Lind (dem and pp), 993; Hig- 
gins (pro), 63; Wm. B. Hammond 
(soc-lab), 7; L. C. Long (middle of the 
road populist), 77. 

Congressman — Jas. T. McCleary 
(rep), 954; D. H. Evans (dem), 874; 
T. P. Grout (pro), 103. 

Judge Thirteenth District— P. E. 
Brown (non partisan), 1,442. 

Senator— Daniel Shell (rep), 1,038; 
John Butler (dem), 857. 

Representative— H. C. Grass (rep), 
1,067; Edward Mott (dem), 833. 

Anditor— E. A. Tripp (rep), 1,033; 
J. A. Kennedy (dem), 930. 

Treasurer— J. P. Peterson (rep), 

Sheriff— M. J. Bryan (rep), 890; 
Gilbert Anderson (dem), 1,076. 

"Was chairman during 1901 and 1902. 

Register of Deeds — A. G. Lindgren 
(rep), 1,051; C. W. Schultz (dem), 887. 

Probate Judge — C. M. Cory (rep), 
1,240; John F. Flynn (dem), 712. 

County Attorney — C. M. Crandall 
(rep), 1,283; J. J. Parsons (dem), 644. 

Surveyor— M. S. Smith (rep), 1,526. 

Superintendent of Schools — Maud 
Graves (rep), 945; V. S. L. Owen 
(dem), 718; Clara Knips (pp), 396. 

Clerk of Court — P. L. Humiston 
(rep), 871; Jas. Cox (dem), 785; F. 
A. Stevens (ind), 308. 

Coroner — J. ST. Mallory (rep), 904; 
R. B. Plotts (dem), 970. 

Commissioner Second District — Fred 
Tiemens (rep), 230. 

Commissioner Fourth District — John 
W. Shaw 18 (rep), "208; O. D. Bryan 
(dem), 180. 

High water mark was reached in the 
total vote cast in the presidential election 
of Nov. 6, 1900. Then 3,109 ballots 
were deposited in the ballot boxes, but 
the highest number of votes cast for 
any one office was 2,963. This is the 
largest vote recorded in the county, be- 
fore or since. The republican national 
ticket polled a larger vote than it did 
four years before and the democratic 
ticket a smaller vote, with the same can- 
didates. John Lind, the democratic-peo- 
ples party nominee for governor, who 
had carried the county two years be- 
fore, now lost it by 58 votes, and the 
fusion nominees for congressman and 
representative were from 300 to 450 
votes behind. The peoples party was 
eliminated from county politics, and the 
two old parties lined up for the cam- 
paign. The republicans elected all offi- 
ces except treasurer, sheriff and one 
commissioner. The vote : 

President — Republican electors (Mc- 

Digitized by 













Digitized by 


Digitized by 




Kinley), 1,709; democrat-peoples party 
electors (Bryan), 1,101; prohibition 
electors (Wooley), 137; socialist demo- 
crat electors (Debs), 14; socialist la- 
bor electors (Malloney), 2. 

Governor — Samuel R. VanSant (rep), 
1,369; John land (dem and pp), 
1,311; Bernt B. Haugen (pro), 109; S. 
If. Fairchild (middle of the road popu- 
list), 5; Thos. H. Lucas (soc-dem), 26; 
Edward Kriz (soc-lab), 2. 

Congressman — Jas. T. McCleary 
(rep), 1,618; M. E. Mathews (dem and 
pp), 1,158; S. D. Works (pro), 137. 

Representative — H. C. Grass (rep), 
1,592; L. C. Long (dem and pp), 

Auditor— E. A. Tripp (rep), 1,614; 
I. T. Branigan (dem), 1,344. 

Treasurer — J. H. Denton (rep), 
1,355; E. W. (dem), 1,575. 

Register of Deeds — B. I. Tripp (rep), 
1505; C. W. Schultz (dem), 1,446. 

Sheriff— C. W. Slade (rep), 1,389; 
Mike Reiter (dem), 1,495. 

Probate Judge — C. M. Cory (rep), 

1,836; Gilbert Anderson (dem), 1,109. 

County Attorney — C. M. Crandall 

(rep), 1,831; O. W. Freeman (dem), 


Surveyor— M. S. Smith (rep), 2,133. 
Court Commissioner — F. A. Stevens, 
24; J. R. Jones, 3. 

Superintendent of Schools — L. W. Ab- 
bott (rep), 1,887; V. S. L. Owen 
(dem), 1,339. 

Coroner — G. R. Curran (rep), 1,551; 
R. B. Plotts (dem), 1,244. 

Commissioner First District — Henry 
Haggard (rep), 405. 

Commissioner Third District — Wm. 
Thorn (rep), 302; J. G. Murphy 14 
(dem), 392. 

Commissioner Fifth District — Gust 
Swanberg 18 (rep), 445. 

The primary election law went into 
effect in 1902, and thereafter party nom- 
inations have been made by direct vote 
of the people, in place of the old style 
county convention. This has resulted 
in revolutionizing county politics. No- 
bles county being normally strongly re- 
publican, the principal campaign is now 
for the republican nomination. Under 
the law anyone can become a candidate 
by filing his name and paying a small 
fee, and there have been as high as 
eight candidates for one office. Gener- 
ally there are only a few contests at 
the general election for county offices, 
but at the primaries there are more con- 

At the first primary, held Sept. 16, 
1902, the following were nominated on 
the republican ticket without opposition : 
Congressman, Jas. T. McCleary; treas- 
urer, J. W. Shaw; register of deeds, B. 
I. Tripp; judge of probate, C. M. Cory; 
surveyor, M. S. Smith; clerk of court, 
F. L. Humiston, school superintendent, 
L. W. Abbott; commissioner second dis- 
trict, Fred H. Tiemens. The result of 
the election for officers where there was 
more than one candidate was as follows: 

Senator— H. C. Grass, 284; Daniel 
Shell, 767. 

Representative — S. O. Morse, 501; 
Geo. W. Wilson, 547. 

Auditor — Jas. Cowin, 260: H. M. 
Palm, 379 ; E. C. Pannell, 444. 

Sheriff— Newton Fauskee, 449; Chas. 
TCinpr, 133; L. L. McCartney, 263; Levi . 
Rue, 219. 

County Attorney — C. M. Crandall, 
504; E. J. Jones, 561. 

Commissioner Fourth District — P. C. 
Pratt, 142; Jas. H. McRobert, 37. 

The following were chosen for the 
democratic ticket without opposition: 
Congressman, Chas. "N". Andrews; audi- 

*^ erved M chairman °* the boarfl during w^g chairman during: 1903, 1904, 1905 and 

1906. 1907> 

Digitized by 



tor, E. L. Schwartz; treasurer, E. W. County Attorney — E. J. Jones (rep), 

Goff; sheriff, Mike Reiter; probate judge, 1,526; John B. Gergen (dem), 996. 

C. W. Mead; clerk of court, H. J. Surveyor— M. S. Smith (rep), 1,929. 

Blume; superintendent of schools, A. J. Coroner — P. M. Manson, 40. 

Schaeffer; commissioner fourth district, Clerk of Court — P. L. Humiston 

Jos. Roll. Por three nominations there (rep), 1,585; H. J. Blume (dem), 900. 

were contests, as follows: Superintendent of Schools— L. W. Ab- 

Senator— I. T. Branigan, 146; John bott (rep), 1,771; A. J. Schaeffer 

P. Flynn, 193. (dem), 1,211. 

Register of Deeds — H. B. Kamp, 120; Commissioner Second District — Fred 

J. A. Kennedy, 204. Tiemens (rep), 366. 

County Attorney — John B. Gergen, Commissioner Fourth District — P. C. 

173; J. J. Parsons, 164. Pratt 16 (rep), 259; Jos. Roll (dem), 

At the general electicm 2,602 votes 204. 

were polled, although the highest cast The 1904 primary resulted in many 

for any one office was 2,555. The re- contests for the republican nominations, 

publican party was found to have re- some of which were very close and hard 

gained some of the loss sustained dur- fought battles. The following were 

ing the previous campaigns, and car- chosen without opposition: Judge thir- 

ried the county by big majorities, teenth district, P. E. Brown; auditor, 

E. W. Goff, for treasurer, was the only E. C. Pannell; superintendent of schools, 

democrat elected. The vote: L. W. Abbott; commissioner fifth dis- 

Governor— Samuel R. VanSant (rep), trict, Gust Swanberg. The result where 

1,515; Leonard A. Rosing (dem), 871; there was more than one candidate was 

Meighen, 20; Scanlon, 83; Nash, 4; as follows: 

Vanlear, 8. Congressman — Jas. T. McCleary, 993; 

Congressman — Jas. T. McCleary H - J - Miller, 615. 

(rep), 1,596; Chas. N. Andrews (dem), Representative— S. O. Morse, 831; H. 

g46 #f C. Grass, 638. 

Senator— Daniel Shell (rep), 1,483; Treasurer— E. K. Smith, 760; P. C. 

John P. Flynn (dem), 1,020. Stitaer, 709. 

Representative — Geo. W. Wilson Sheriff— Newton Fauskee, 1,120; M. 

(rep), 1,499; Walter Sweetman (ind), J- Bryan, 351; W. IT. Jleitritter, 145. 

816. Register of Deeds — IT. Hawley, 338 

Auditor— E. C. Pannell (rep), 1,628; B. T. Tripp, 288; J. M. Messer, 210 

E. L. Schwartz (dem), 927. W.-Z. Newell, 210; Loren Clark, 168 

Treasurer— John Shaw (rep), 1,112; J. C. Thorn, 166; C. H. Halverson, 125 

E. W. Goff (dem), 1,404. D. R. Chaney, 99. 

Sheriff— Newton Fauskee (rep), 1,319; Probate Judge— C. M. Cory, 1,042; 

Mike Reiter (dem), 1,215. n - c - Carter > 515 - 

Register of Deeds— B. T. Tripp (rep), County Attorney— C. M. Crandall, 

1,483; J. A. Kennedy (dem), 1,037. 834 ^ E - J - Jme *> 769 - 

Probate Judge — C. M. Cory (rep), Coroner — F. M. Manson, 879; Henry 

1,701: C. W. Mead (dem), 804. Wiedow, 556. 

"Resigned July 13, 1903. and O. D. Bryan with the board for the first time July 22. 
was named to complete the term, meeting 

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Commissioner First District — J. L. 
McConkey, 158; Albert Hector, 115. 

Commissioner Third District — 0. W. 
Freeman, 160; G. Gullick, 94. 

There were no contests for the demo- 
cratic nominations and candidates for a 
few only of the more important offices. 
The following were nominated: Con- 
gressman, Geo. P. Jones; representative, 
Wm. O'Neill; treasurer, E. W. Goff; 
register of deeds, Jas. F. Cox; sheriff, J. 
N. Holbrook; commissioner third dis- 
trict, J. G. Murphy ; commissioner fourth 
district, 0. D. Bryan. 

Two thousand five hundred fifteen 
votes was the highest cast for any one 
office in the general election of 1904. 
President Roosevelt received a record 
breaking majority, but the republican 
nominee for governor carried the county 
by a bare plurality of 14 votes. The re- 
publicans carried the county for con- 
gressman and representative by big ma- 
jorities and elected every county officer 
with the exception of two commission- 
ers. The official vote: 

President — Republican electors 
(Roosevelt), 1,733; democratic electors 
(Parker), 621; peoples party electors 
(Watson), 21; prohibition electors 
(Swallow), 68; public ownership elec- 
tors (Debs), 12. 

Governor — R. C. Dunn (rep), 1,167; 
John A. Johnson (dem), 1,153; Chas. 
A. Dorsett (pro), 79; J. E. Nash (pub 
own), 6; A. W. M. Anderson (soc-lab), 

Congressman — Jas. T. McCleary 
(rep), 1,593; Geo. P. Jones (dem), 

Judge Thirteenth District— P. E. 
Brown (rep), 2,090. 

Representative — S. 0. Morse (rep), 
1,647; Wm. O'Neil (dem), 796. 

Auditor— E. C. Pannell (rep), 2,073. 

Treasurer— E. K. Smith (rep), 1,278; 
E. W. Goff (dem), 1,230. 

Sheriff — Newton Pauskee (rep), 
1,829; J. N. Holbrook (dem), 675. 

Register of Deeds — H. Hawley (rep), 
1,390; Jas. P. Cox (dem), 1,125. 

Probate Judge — C. M. Cory (rep), 

County Attorney — C. M. Crandall 
(rep), 2,076. 

Surveyor— M. S. Smith, 85. 

Coroner — F. M. Manson (rep), 1,888. 

Court Commissioner — F. A. Stevens, 

Superintendent of Schools — L. W. 
Abbott (rep), 2,068. 

Commissioner First District — J. L. 
McConkey (rep), 363.. 

Commissioner Third District — 0. W. 
Freeman (rep), 279; J. G. Murphy 
(dem), 283. 

Commissioner Fourth District — 0. D. 
Bryan (dem), 281. 

Commissioner Fifth District — Gust 
Swanberg (rep), 387. 

At the primary election of Sept. 18, 
1906, there were many contests for the 
republican nominations. The result was 
as follows: 

Congressman — Gilbert Guttersen, 
1,034; Jas. T. McCleary, 858. 

Senator— Daniel Shell, 717; S. B. 
Bedford, 1,201. 

Representative — S. 0. Morse, 1,418. 

Auditor— E. C. Pannell, 1,681. 

Treasurer— E. K. Smith, 1,668. 

Register of Deeds — Harry R. Tripp, 
958; H. Hawley, 903. 

Sheriff — Newton Fauskee, 1,327; 
Western M. Cline, 414; J. M. Scriven, 

County Attorney — E. J. Jones, 780; 
C. M. Crandall, 751; S. S. Smith, 362. 

Probate Judge— C. M. Cory, 1,643. 

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Clerk of Court— F. L. Humiston, 
1,206; E. F. Clower, 634. 

School Superintendent — L. W. Ab- 
bott, 1,413; Maud Graves, 977. 

Coroner— A. B. Williams, 1,543. 

Commissioner Second District — W. F. 
Moss, 147; Fred H. Tiemens, 124; 
James Montgomery, 81; H. J. Westrip, 

There were no contests for the demo- 
cratic nominations and only two candi- 
dates on the county ticket. The demo- 
cratic vote: Congressman, W. S. Ham- 
mond, 59 ; 17 senator, John F. Flynn, 58; 
register of deeds, J. H. Eew, 58; com- 
missioner fourth district, 0. D. Bryan, 

At the general election of 1906 2,133 
votes were cast. For the second time in 
history Nobles county returned a ma- 
jority for a democratic nominee for gov- 
ernor, and for the first time gave a ma- 
jority for a democrat for congress. The 
republican county ticket was endorsed. 
One democrat, for commissioner, who 
was without opposition, was elected. The 

Governor — A. L. Cole (rep), 769; 
John A. Johnson (dem), 1,255. 

Congressman — Jas. T. McCleary 
(rep), 911; W. S. Hammond (dem), 
1,123; Tucker (pro), 67. 

Senator— S. B. Bedford (rep), 1,100; 
John F. Flynn (dem), 1,033. 

Representative — S. O. Morse (rep), 

Auditor— E. C. Pannell (rep), 1,717. 

Treasurer— E. K. Smith (rep), 1,692. 

Register of Deeds — Harry R. Tripp 

(rep), 1,110; J. H. Rew (dem), 987. 

"The smallness of the democratic primary 
vote is easily accounted for. There being 
no contests in their own party, the democrats 
assisted the republicans in the selection of 
nominees, and under the primary law they 
are legally entitled to do so. For instance: 
The law provides that a primary voter shall 
vote the ticket of that party, the majority 

Sheriff— Newton Fauskee (rep), 1,833. 

County Attorney — E. J. Jones (rep), 

Surveyor— M. S. Smith, 16. 

Probate Judge — C. M. Cory (rep), 

Clerk of Court — F. L. Humiston 
(rep), 1,722. 

Superintendent of Schools — L. W. Ab- 
bott (rep), 1,717. 

Coroner — A. B. Williams (rep), 1,625. 

Commissioner Second District — W. F. 
Moss (rep), 352. 

Commissioner Fourth District — O. D. 
Bryan (dem), 287. 

The republican primary election of 
September 15, 1908, resulted as fol- 

Congressman, Paul A. Ewert, 348; 
Gilbert Guttersen, 474; James T. Mc- 
Cleary, 479 ; representative, S. O. Morse, 
524; Herman Nelson, 731; auditor, E. 
C. Pannell, 1,122; treasurer, E. K. 
Smith, 1,115; sheriff, Newton Fauskee, 
1,138; register of deeds, Harry Tripp, 
1,125; judge of probate, C. M. Cory, 
1,090; county attorney, C. M. Crandall, 
598; E. J. Jones, 762; coroner, A. B. 
Williams, 999; school superintendent, 
L. W. Abbott, 1,093; commissioner, first 
district, T. B. Maguire, 110; J. L. Mc- 
Conkey, 142; fifth district, Gust Swan- 
berg, 269. 

The democratic primary election re- 
sulted as follows: Congressman, W. 
S. Hammond, 55; commissioner third 
district, J. G. Murphy, 14. 

The prohibition primary election re- 
sulted as follows: [Representative, H. L. 
Blake, 8. 

of whose nominees he supported at the pre- 
ceding general election. A democrat might 
have voted for every nominee of his party In 
the general election of 1904 (also voting for 
the republicans who had no opposition) and 
yet vote the republican ballot at the primary 
election of 1906. 

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And now the political history of No- 
bles county is brought to a close. It 
covers a period from the time in 1870, 
when the first county official took the 
oath of office — when there were 32 men 
in the county who availed themselves 
o,f the privilege of voting — up to and 
including the last general election before 
the date of publication of this volume, 
during which time the total vote reached 
over 3,000. A brief summary of the 
conditions during this time may not be 
out of place. 

The county has always been normally 
republican. During the first year of 
its political history there was only one 
voter who registered against that party. 
There has been an increase in the demo- 
cratic vote since. But, although the 
party of Jefferson polled over 1,200 
votes at one presidential election, it has 
never carried the county for the na- 
tional ticket. For many years the coun- 
ty was overwhelmingly republican, and 
it was not until the eighties that the 
democratic party maintained an organi- 
zatioD. But during this time there was 
a strong independent movement, kept 
alive by one faction of the republican 
party and the democrats, which opposed 
the republican organization and on sev- 
eral occasions gained control of the 
county offices. 

With the settlement of the west end 

of the county came a change. The 
democrats increased in numbers, and 
during the eighties the democratic party 
took its place as a factor in county poli- 
tics, which it has ever since retained. 
During the free silver days of the nine- 
ties the peoples party came into existence 
and for several years was a power in 
politics. When its power began to wane 
fusion was accomplished with the demo-* 
crats, and for several years more, there 
was strong opposition to the dominant 

Since 1884 there has been quite a 
prohibition following. For many years 
a county organization was maintained, 
and county tickets were regularly placed 
in nomination. The socialists have nev- 
er had much of a following here, and no 
organization has ever been effected. 

While the county is strongly republi- 
can the voters are independent and not 
party bound, as the vote for governor 
and congressman at the 1906 election 
shows, and as is made evident by the 
fact that in many instances the opposi- 
tion candidates have been elected. 

Nobles county has been fortunate in 
its selection of county officers. During 
its political history of nearly 40 years 
there has not been a defaulting county 
officer. Nor has there been a removal 
because of criminal action or incompe- 

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WORTHINGTON— 1871-1872. 

Worthington, the capital of Nobles 
county, is the oldest and largest town in 
the county. It is located on the east 
shore of lake Okabena, and its eleva- 
tion above sea level is 1,593 feet. 1 It 
is in the eastern part of the county, the 
business center of the town being 16 
miles from the county's northern boun- 
dary, eight miles from the southern, sev- 
en and one-quarter from the eastern and 
twenty-two and three-quarters from the 
western. Otherwise described, it is 178 
miles southwest of St. Paul, the state 
capital, and is located on three lines of 
railroad— the Chicago, St. Paul, Min- 
neapolis & Omaha, the Worthington & 
Sioux Falls, and the Chicago, Eock Is- 
land & Pacific. 

The population, according to the last 
census,— that of 1905— was 2,276. There 
has been an increase since that date, and 
there are now about 2,500 people resid- 
ing in the village. It is one of the 
most progressive and prosperous towns 
in southwestern Minnesota. All lines of 
business that are to be found in the prai- 
rie communities of the Mississippi valley 
are represented. It is noted for its 
schools, churches and social organiza- 
tions, and in this respect it is the peer 
of any town of its size in the state. It 

is the kind of town in which one pre- 
fers to live. 

The location of Worthington, consid- 
ered in its natural state, is one of un- 
usual beauty, and with the embellish- 
ments that have been added by the 
hands of its residents, it stands at the 
present time as one of the prettiest lit- 
tle cities of a state distinguished for 
its pretty towns. Especially is one 
charmed with its loveliness in the sum- 
mer season. Then the broad avenues 
and parks are clothed in emerald fol- 
iage. Trees are everywhere. Ihie to 
the foresight of the town's founders, the 
spot which was once barren prairie is 
now a bower of beauty. Picturesque 
lake Okabena, upon the shores of which 
the city is builded, is another beauty 
spot that adds charm to the location. 

One can hardly realize that less than 
half a century ago this spot was an 
uncharted wilderness; yet such is the 
case. Time was when the dusky red 
men pitched his tepee where now our 
churches are located; vast herds of 
bison moved about lake Okabena and 
made their wallows where now our 
courts are held; timid deer browsed 
where now the student studies his nat- 
ural history; elk in countless numbers 

1 Thie is the elevation as given by the C. 
St. P. M. & O. Ry. The elevation as given 
by the B. C. R. & N. engineers is 1,586 feet. 

At the point of crossing of the two roads it 
is 1,573 feet. 


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roamed the adjacent prairie and saw 
their antlers reflected in the clear wa- 
ters of Okabena as they bent down to 

The first white men to set foot on 
the site of the town, so far as shown 
by any records I am able to find, was 
the party of explorers under Joseph Ni- 
cholas Nicollet, mention of whose ex- 
plorations has been made in a previous 
chapter. On the map which he issued in 
1842 "Okebene" lake is accurately lo- 
cated, showing that in the late thirties 
or very early forties the site of the 
town had been visited by white men. 
Between that time and the date of the 
permanent settlement of the country the 
site was visited infrequently by explor- 
erers, military parties, scouts, and trap- 
pers. The latter were the more frequent 
visitors. During the late fifties and 
early sixties the country a short distance 
to the east and south was settled, to a 
very limited extent, by trappers. The 
abundance of game which overran the 
region drew hunters and trappers regu- 
larly to its lakes. The Okabenas were 
on the itinerary of these nomadic fron- 
tiersmen, and the site of Worthington 
was visited occasionally by these men 
long before there was any thought of a 
town there. Their permanent abiding 
places were further to the east in Min- 
nesota or in the settled portion of north- 
ern Iowa, about Spirit Lake, and until 
the late sixties none claimed even a 
temporary home within the limits of 
what is now Worthington. 

It was in the month of September, 
1868, that the first building was erected 
on land which is now within the cor- 
porate limits of the town. On the 24th 
of that month, there came to the Oka- 

a Stlll a resident of Worthington. 

bena Lake country, from Blue Earth, 
three trappers — W. A. Dillman 2 Frank 
Fortner and John Wilson. They erect- 
ed a combination sod and log shanty 
on the east shore of East Okabena lake. 
Fortner remained only two days, Wil- 
son a month, but Mr. Dillman occupied 
the shanty and engaged in trapping un- 
til Christmas, and became Worthington's 
first citizen. 8 

Although over 100 people became set- 
tlers of Nobles county during the years 
1867 to 1870, inclusive, on the site of 
the future village of Worthington not 
one established his permanent home. 
During the winter of 1870-1871 G. J. 
Hoffman engaged in trapping on lake 
Okabena and succeeded in taking $600 
worth of furs. He spent the winter in 
a dug-out on the 6outh shore of the 
lake, a few paces to the west of what 
is known as the "swimming hole." In 
the spring of 1871 he walked to Osage, 
Iowa, and back again, carrying on his 
return trip a bundle of willow cuttings — 
the start of the now famous Ludlow 
grove. That summer Mr. Hoffman went 
to St. James, bought a small house there, 
and hauled it down to the future city 
of Worthington on wagons. That house 
constitutes a part of what has been the 
Ludlow home up to the present year. 
It was the first building of wood within 
the corporate limits of the town. Mr. 
Hoffman's family, consisting of a wife 
and two children, came to the new 
home as soon as the building was ready 
for occupancy, and was Worthington's 
first family. 

Although both the Dillman shanty 
and Mr. Hoffman's house were within 
what is now the corporate limits of 
Worthington, they were located outside 

*A more detailed account of this event is to 
be found in chapter 2. 

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the present platted portion of the town, 
and the construction of those buildings 
had nothing to do with the founding of 
the village. 

Worthington came into existence as 
the result of the building of the Sioux 
City & St. Paul railroad. 4 The perman- 
ent survey was made early in 1871. 
Immediately thereafter graders and 
bridge builders were put to work, and 
before the winter set in the grading was 
completed to LeMars, Iowa, and the 
track was laid as far as. the present town 
of Worthington. During the time grad- 
ing was in progress one of the camps 
was located at the point where the vil- 
lage afterwards made its appearance. 
The contractors erected a shanty just 
across the track from the present loca- 
tion of the freight depot, which was 
used as a boarding house for the grad- 
ers. Immediately after the grading was 
completed the shanty was torn down. 
It was early the intention of the rail- 
road company to locate a station and 
build a town on land at or 'near the 
point where the road passed Okabena 
lake. The site first selected was on the 
south side of the lake, where Mr. G. J. 
Hoffman had taken his claim. That 
gentleman refused to sell his property 
to the railroad company for what the 
company considered a reasonable figure, 
and that site was abandoned. 5 

The railroad company, of which E. F. 
Brake was president and guiding spirit, 

^•Now the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & 

"Worthington Advance, Nov. 29, 1883. 

•The railroad company was the owner of 
the greater part of the original platted town- 
site (on section 23), which it had acquired 
through the land grant. A small three cor- 
nered piece of the original plat (on the south- 
west quarter of section 24) was the property 
of Mr. Drake, personally, he having come 
into possession of it by purchase. The quar- 
ter had been filed on by Geo. E. Stewart on 
Dec 16, 1871, and that gentleman had secured 

then selected the site at the east end of 
the lake and made the survey. Although 
the original townsite was surveyed in 
the summer of 1871, the plat was not 
put on record until the following year. 
The original plat extended from Eighth 
street to Fourteenth street, and from the 
railroad track (along which ran Firet 
avenue) to Eighth avenue. Blocks two 
to 25, inclusive, were surveyed by Alex 
L. Beach, and blocks 26 to 45, inclu- 
sive, by T. P. Gere. The Gere certificate 
of survey was dated May 22, 1872. The 
dedication was in the following words: 

The Sioux City and Saint Paul Rail Road 
company by Elias F. Drake, its president, and 
the said klias F. Drake, on hehalf of him- 
self*, proprietors, hereby acknowledge that so 
much of the plat of the town or village of 
\\ orthington, as is shown hereon has been 
made by said proprietors and is acknowledged 
and filed in accordance with the requirements 
of "an act providing for the record of town 
plats" now in force. The streets and. aUeys 
indicated on said plat are dedicated to 
the use of the public for streets and alleys 
only and in case of the vacation of any such 
streets or alleys by any competent authority, 
the reversion and title in fee of such vacated 
streets or alleys is hereby expressly reserved 
and declared to be in said proprietors, and the 
fee of any part of any street or alley is 
declared not to be included in or as part of 
any lot herein. 



The acknowledgement was made June 
24, 1872, before G. A. Hamilton, a no- 
tary public of Ramsey county. The in- 
strument was filed in the office of the 
register of deeds of Nobles county June 
27, 1872, by Selim Fox, register, per 
John H. Cunningham, deputy. 7 

the patent from the government on May 20, 
1874. The property was deeded to Mr. Drake 
the same day the filing was made. 

Clary's addition, which, however, was not 
platted until later, comprises parts of the 
northwest quarter of section 24. The east 
half of that quarter was filed on June 1, 
1872, by Elias D. South. The west half was 
filed on May 27, 1872, by Veeder J. South. 

'Additions to this original townsite have 
been platted as follows: 

Park— Surveyed by O. D. Brown June 12, 

•1876; dedicated by the S. C. & St. P. R. R. 

Co., by E. F. Drake, president, and G. A. 

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Before the lots were placed on the 
market, before a building wafl erected 
on the townsite, an event occurred which 
vitally affected the history of the town- 
to-be. This was the formation of the 
National colony and the assumption by 
it of the coijtrol of affairs in Nobles 
county. It is not necessary here to re- 
peat the story of that organization, 
which has been told in a preceding chap- 

Hamilton, assistant secretary, Sept. 29. 1876: 
filed Oct. 4, 1876. 

Second— Surveyed by John O. Brunlus; dedi- 
cated by the S. C. & St. P. R. R. Co., by E. 
F. Drake, president, and G. A. Hamilton, 
secretary, Nov. 1, 1879; filed July 8, 1880. 

Anderson's — Surveyed by T. Linus Blank 
Oct., 1882; dedicated by Henry H. Anderson 
Oct. 25, 1882; filed Oct. 26, 1882. 

Clary's— Surveyed by F. L. Diserens October, 
1882; dedicated by Timothy F. Clary and Eliza 
F. Clary Dec. 2, 1882; filed Dec. 12, 1882. 

Subdivision of Blocks 20, 21 and 22— Sur- 
veyed by Orrln Nason; dedicated by the S. C. 
& St. P. R. R. Co., by Elias F. Drake, presi- 
dent, and G. A. Hamilton, secretary, Aug. 24, 
1883; filed Sept. 7, 1883. 

Drake's— Surveyed by Wm. A. Peterson; 
dedicated by Elias F. Drake Feb. 11, 1884; 
filed Feb. 20, 1884. 

Anderson's Subdivision of Blocks 1 and 6 
of Clary's addition— Surveyed by L. L. Palmer; 
dedicated by Daniel Shell, Henry H. Ander- 
son and Otis Bigelow April 23, 1884; filed 
April 23, 1884. 

Smith & Shell's— Surveyed by L. L. Palmer; 
dedicated by C. H. Smith and Daniel Shell 
June 1, 1887; filed June 1, 1887; corrected plat 
filed June 29, 1895. 

Moulton's Resurvey and Subdivision of 
Clary's Addition — Surveyed by Myron Shep- 
ard July, 1887; dedicated by Minnesota Loan 
& Investment Co., by Geo. D. Dayton, presi- 
dent, and Geo. O. Moore, secretary, Aug. 24, 
1887; filed Aug. 25, 1887. 

Lots A, B, D and E. of Block 8 — Surveyed 
by W. D. Smith; dedicated by Minnesota 
Loan & Investment Co. (by Geo. D. Dayton, 
president, and Geo. O. Moore, secretary), R. 
F. Baker, L. Singer, W. S. Lewis and J. H. 
Johnson Dec. 19, 1887; filed May 9, 1888. 

McLean's Subdivision of Block 49 and Part 
of 50, Second Addition — Surveyed by M. S. 
Smith; dedicated by Wm. McLean March 16, 
1892; file<l March 18, 1892. 

Okabena — Surveyed by M. S. Smith; dedi- 
cated by Benjamin F. Johnson, C. H. Alford, 
Adelia A. Prince, Alex Sterling, Gilbert An- 
derson and Wm. McLean Aug. 30, 1892; filed 
Oct. 7, 1892. 

East — Surveyed by M. S. Smith; dedicated 
by H. T. Drake, A. M. Drake and W. H. 
Lightner, executors of the will of E. F. Drake, 
deceased, Oct. 16, 1894; filed Oct. 22, 1894. 

Nobles Street Crossing and Subdivision of 
Block 3 of East Addition— Surveyed by M. S. 
Smith; dedicated by H. T. Drake, A. M. 
Drake and Wm. H. Lightner, executors of 
will of E. F. Drake, deceased, Sept. 17, 1895; 
filed Sept. 28, 1895. 

Southwest quarter of section 24, Worthing- 
ton township, embracing all lands in that 
quarter not already platted, Including several 
additions and plats. Amended plat filed Sept. 
28 1895. 

Smith & Shell's Division of Block A, of 

ter. With the purchase and subsequent 
manipulation of the railroad lands by 
the company, arose the necessity for a 
town in the new country to be used as 
its headquarters — a town builded in ac- 
cordance with the temperance beliefs of 
its founders, who had extensively adver- 
tised that the community to which they 
were to bring emigrants should be moral 
and temperate. Prof. B. F. Humiston 

Meander Lot 1, in Section 25, Worthington 
Township— Surveyed by M. S. Smith May 13. 
1894; dedicated by C. H. Smith and Daniel 
Shell July 6, 1895; filed Nov. 13, 1895. 

Hansberger's Subdivision of Block 39 — Sur- 
veyed by M. S. Smith March, 1896, by order 
of county auditor for W. I. & F. L. Humis- 
ton, Jas. S. Ramage, Susan Ditty, U. F. 
Hansberger and Minnesota Loan & Investment 
Co.; filed Aug. 5, 1897. 

Shell's Subdivision of the Southeast 48 
feet of Hotel Lot, Block 1— Surveyed by M. 
S. Smith; dedicated by Daniel Shell Dec. 30, 
1899; filed Dec. 30, 1899. 

Kraft's Subdivision of Block 11, Clary's Ad- 
dition—Surveyed by M. S. Smith Feb. 13, 
1900; dedicated by Geo. Miller, Samuel N. 
Rose and John G. Kraft May 18, 1900; filed 
June 5, 1900. 

Barnes' Subdivision of Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 

Block 50, Second Addition— Surveyed by M. S. 

Smith April 21, 1900; dedicated by Nathan 

. Barnes, Carl A. Anderson and Wm. McLean 

June 27, 1900; filed July 26, 1900. 

Shell's Rearrangement of Lot 26, Block 1, 
of Anderson's Subdivision of Block 1, of 
Clary's Addition — Surveyed by M. S. Smith. 
July 20 and 21, 1900; dedicated by Daniel 
Shell July 23, 1900; filed Aug. 16, 1900. 

Paulson's— Surveyed by M. S. Smith; dedica- 
ted by Anna B. Paulson, S. A. Paulson, 
Mary Wass and J. E. Darling April 27, 1901; 
filed April 30, 1901. 

Clifton— Surveyed by M. S. Smith; dedicated 
by Minnesota Loan & Investment Co., by 
Geo. D. Dayton, president, June 27, 1901; filed 
July 17, 1901. 

Scott's Subdivision of East Half of Block 
3, Clary's Addition — Surveyed by M. S. Smith; 
dedicated by Minnesota Loan & Investment 
Co., by Geo. D. Dayton, president, Aug. 
9, 1901; filed Sept. 9, 1901. 

Clement's — Surveyed by M. S. Smith; dedi- 
cated by Walter L. Clement, Sept. 30, 1901; 
filed Oct. 14, 1901. 

Ramage 's Subdivision of Lots and Alleys 
In Blocks 3 and 7— Surveyed by M. S. Smith; 
dedicated by Jas. S. Ramage Dec. 6, 1901; 
filed Dec. 26, 1901. 

Clement's Subdivision of Block 65, of the 
Second Addition — Surveyed by M. S. Smith; 
dedicated by Walter L. Clement Sept. 30, 
1901; filed April 16, 1902. 

Block 1, North Worthington — Surveyed by 
M. S. Smith; dedicated by D. M. Bliss 
May 31, 1902; filed June 4, 1902. 

Alblnson & Bo berg's Subdivision of Lots in 
Block 52, Second Addition — Surveyed by M. 
S. Smith; dedicated by John A. Albinson and 
John A. Boberg June 4, 1902; filed June 

11, 1902. 

McLean's Subdivision of Block 47 Second 

Addition— Surveyed by M. S. Smith; dedicated 

- by Wm. McLean June 2, 1902; filed July 

12, 1902. 

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Corner of Main Street and Third Avenue. The' Building in I he Center is One or 

the First trected in the City. To the Right is Seen the Old Congregational 

Church, the^Town's First Church tidifice. 

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Facsimile Letter, Written in 1888. From Professor R. F. Humiston to Llias F. Drake, 
in Which is Told the Story of the Naming of Worthington. 

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and Dr. A. P. Miller, who were the 
leading spirits of the colony company, 
at once assumed the duties of founding 
the town, and late in the summer of 
1871 they paid a visit to the site. The 
land upon which the town was built a 
few months later did not then have a 
sign of habitation on it, nor had it yet 
been definitely named. 

The party consisted of Professor 
Humiston, Dr. Miller, Ttfrs. Miller and 
Captain Aiken Miner, who made the 
trip by team from Jackson. They came 
to view the lake and the site of their 
future labors. As they stood on the 
shore of the lake they viewed the coun- 
try as it had been since time begun; the 
hand of man had not changed the work 
of nature. 8 The two promoters made 
the trip around the west lake on foot on 
an exploring expedition. At the inlet 
at the west end of the lake they con- 
structed a raft and floated across the 
stream. It was nearly nightfall when 

■"In th* early autumn of 1871. in company 
with Professor Humiston and my husband. I 
stood on the shore of lake Okabena, looking 
westward at the unaccustomed spectacle of 
the sunset on the prairie and its glorified re- 
flection in the water below. There was not a 
house then where Worthlngton now stands, 
and the professor, with his accustomed gal- 
lantry. Jocosely invited me to baptise the new 
townsite with the crystal water sparkling 
at my feet. But with what I now see to 
have been an excess of modesty. I declined." 
—Extract from letter written by Mary Dor- 
man Miller, dated New York, Dec. 11, 1888. 

•Although I have a mass of data concern- 
ing the naming of Worthlngton. including 
letters written by everyone connected with 
the naming, I have been unable to learn the 
exact date the name was conferred. Prof. 
Humiston. Mrs. Miller and Mr. E. F. Drake 
have written detailed accounts of the event, 
but not one has mentioned the time the 
christening was made. 

"Correspondence in 1888 between Prof. R. 
F. Humiston, E. F. Drake, Mrs. Marv Dorman 
Miller and A. P. Miller of the Advance, has 
brought forth many incidents connected with the 
naming of the town. A St. Paul paper made the 
statement that the Minnesota town was named 
in honor of the Worthlngton family, of 
Toledo. Ohio. To this the Worthington Ad- 
vance took exception, declaring that it was 
in honor of that branch of the family residing 
at Chilllcothe, Ohio. Mr. Drake defended the 
statement of the St. Paul paper and erron- 
eously declared that the name was given in 

they finished surrounding the lake, and 
the party then went to Graham lakes, 
fifteen miles away, to spend the night. 
Shelter was secured in the log hut of 
H. C. Hallett, who "kept tavern" and 
was the postmaster. 

During the time the railroad was be- 
ing graded through southwestern Min- 
nesota the site where afterwards the 
town of Worthington was built was 
known as Okabena. When the colony 
company became interested, and before 
the town was founded, the name was 
changed to Worthington, which was the 
name of Mrs. Mary Dorman Miller's 
(wife of Dr. A. P. Miller) mother be- 
fore her marriage. The name was sug- 
gested by Prof. Humiston. 9 The Worth- 
ington family was a prominent one in 
Ohio. Among its members were Thomas 
Worthington, xmce governor of the state, 
for whom the town of his name in 
Franklin county was named; and Gen- 
eral J. T. Worthington. 10 Not alone is 

honor of Prof. Humlston's wife's family, who 
lived at Toledo. Again the Advance corrected 
the statement of Mr. Drake. The latter 
then appealed to Prof. Humiston for a state- 
ment concerning the naming of the town. 
Prof. Humiston. in a letter dated Boston, 
Oct. 13, 1888, wrote: 

"Dr. Miller, my partner, wanted to name 
the town 'Dorman.* after Mary Dorman, his 
wife. You [Drake] and the railroad directors 
objected, saying that 'Dorman is a sleepy, 
dull, uneuphonius name,' and asked me to 
select something else. Wanting to please Dr. 
Miller. I concluded that if I could not give 
the town Mary Dorman's father's name. I 
would give it her mother's maiden name, 
which was Worthington, her father being 
the brother of Gov. Worthington. I believe, 
and General Worthington. of Chilllcothe. be- 
ing her first cousin. When I suggested the 
name of Worthington, It was satisfactory 
to you and the directors, you remarking that 
you had relatives by marriage of that name; 
so. then and there, the name of Okabena was 
changed to Worthington." 

Mr. Drake added the following to Prof. 
Humlston's letter: * 

"... When he [Prof. Humiston] pro- 
posed the name Worthington I said to him 
that I had relatives of that name. but 
neither he nor I supposed they were of the 
same family. You [Worthington Advance] 
were probably right that the person in whose 
honor the name was given was related to the 
Chilllcothe family, and I was rteht in say- 
ing that the name was not given for Governor 
Worthington or any of his descendants, all of 
which I know intimately." 

Mrs. Mary Dorman Miller, in a letter to 

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the name distinguished for its Ohio con- 
nections. It is one of the oldest in 
America. From a member of the Worth- 
ington family 11 it is learned that the 
name can be traced back of the time of 
the Norman conquest in England. It is 
a Saxon name and originated before the 
time of William the Conqueror. The 
Saxons bearing the name lived in Derby, 
and there was a town of the same name. 
Some member of the family came to 
America on the Mayflower, and the 
American branch is founded from that 

The name was not entirely satisfac- 
tory, and several times in the early days 
suggestions were made that a change be 
made, but no action to that end was 
ever taken. Many regretted that the 
Indian name "Okabena" was not given. 12 

So soon as it was definitely settled 
that the colony company was to build a 
town on Okabena lake preparations were 
begun to start the town. Before winter 
set in quite a little town had made its 
appearance on the 6pot where late in 
the summer there was not a sign of hab- 
itation. Construction on the first build- 
ing was begun on Sunday, the first day 
of September, probably only a few days 
after the Miller-Humiston party had 
visited the site. It was a frame business 

the Advance, dated New York, Dec. 11, 1888, 

"You and Mr. Drake are far 'at sea' In 
your attempt to give a historical account of 
the naming of Worthington; but I come to 
your rescue, though not as the traditional 
straw to the drowning man. My mother's 
maiden name was Worthlngton. Her father 
was Robert Worthlngton, of Chlllicothe, Ohio, 
who was the brother of Thomas Worthlngton, 
governor of Ohio; and the now beautiful, pros- 
perous town of Worthlngton, Minn., was nam- 
ed for 'the Chlllicothe family.' " 

The correspondence was closed with the 
following from Mr. Drake in the Advance 
of Dec. 27, 1888: 

"It will now be well enough to consider the 
name of your thriving village settled, as to 
the question for whom it was named. Mrs. 
Miller, by virtue of her sex, is entitled to 
the last word. As Rip Van Winkle says, 
'We will not count this.' My memory was at 
fault In saying the name was in honor of 

house erected by H. W. Kimball for a 
hardware store. A detailed, and appar- 
ently authentic, account of the building 
of this first structure is furnished by a 
letter written by S. C. Thayer,, the car- 
penter who did the work on the build- 
ing, and it is here reproduced. The 
letter was dated Liberal, Mo., Jan. 6, 

The fir^t nail was driven with the following 
ceremonies : 

First I go back a little that you may under- 
stand it. At that time (August to September, 
1871) I was living on a claim in Jackson 
county and had been living in Jackson. Had 
done some work for one, W. S. Kimball, of 
that place. At this time said Kimball had 
a nephew come from Illinois, who was to 
start a kind of branch hardware store at 
Worthington, which at this time was an unin- 
habited prairie, not a stick or house within 
some distance, the railroad not yet completed 
to Worthington. 

So, on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 31, 1871, 
said nephew (Herb Kimball) came to my 
claim "shanty" with a span of horses and 
wagon loaded with lumber for the commence- 
ment of his new hardware store at Worthing- 
ton. He had with him a carpenter from Jack- 
son by the name of Stephen Ford, who was 
to assist me in the erection of the building. 
As it was getting late in the afternoon and 
T had some arrangements to make in order 
to leave my wife and one child comfortable, 
I prevailed on the "ship's crew" to stay with 
me over night, and take a fresh start on 
Sunday morning, which was done. 

On Sunday morning all was ready, and we 
set out for our long journey (some thirty 
miles or more) across the wild prairie, with 
shot guns, carpenter tools, lumber, wagons 
and horses, with plenty of the necessaries of 
life for a week or two. On we went. Noon 

Mr. Humlston's family, instead of Mrs. Mil- 
ler's. It was given, doubtless, in honor of her 
Immediate ancestors, and not the family at 
large. So, it seems Mrs. Miller, you and I 
were all right, only differing as to whether 
the name was for the Worthington family 
at large or her branch of It . . . The 
contro\ersy is ended. Let us have peace." 

"George E. Worthington, student of history 
at the Wisconsin University. 

"Some credence has been given to a hoax 
on the naming of Worthlngton, originated in 
the early days. It was said that when set- 
tlers first came here and the question of a 
name for the town came up it was suggested 
that as the county had such a noble name, it 
was but fitting that the first town in it 
should have a name worthy of the county — 
and that Worthlngton was derived from the 
word worthy. Of course there Is no truth In 
the statement. 

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came, and yet we were on wild prairie. 
Stopped and fed, took a lunch, and we went 
toward the New Jerusalem. On, on, on until 
about five or half past we passed a kind of 
swamp lake, and a beautiful southern slope 
of another little sheet of water, and very 
close to it we stopped. It was a most beau- 
tiful evening and also a beautiful spot of 
ground. Nothing to be seen except land and 

Then arose the question in what manner we 
could best fit up our temporary quarters un- 
til we could get our building enclosed, 
or partly so, I suggested the wedge shaped 
shanty with ridge pole, which was adopt- 
ed. Now for a couple of stakes to rest our 
ridge pole on, but lo! we were not in a tim- 
bered country. So we took a piece of 2x4x14 
and cut it in two, sharpened the ends of each, 
drove them into the ground. Then for the 
ridge pole took another of the 2x4. Here it 
was found that it would take a 20d spike to 
fasten the ridge to the poles of our building. 
So out of the wagon was rolled a keg of 
spikes, and .Mr. Kimball suggested that, inas- 
much as I was a carpenter, I had better do 
the nailing. I took the hammer and nail and 
stepped upon the keg, which had been placed 
at the foot of the post, it being a little too 
high to reach. At this moment it occurred to 
me that I was to be the man to drive the first 
nail in the (what was to be) city of Worth - 
ington. So with these remarks I "sent the 
nail home" that fastened the ends of the 
two first pieces of wood together in your 
city : 

"Be it recorded and by these witnesses (H. 
Kimball and S. Ford) remembered that I, 
Solon Cassius Thayer, who was born in 
Bloomfield, Ohio, on the 21st day of August, 
1843, now a carpenter and joiner, and hav- 
ing no faith whatever in the popular Chris- 
tian religion, Gods or devils, but do believe in 
doing justice at all times and in all places, 
and for the purpose of the upbuilding of a 
little city that may bud and blossom for the 
good of its inhabitants, do on this beautiful 
Sunday evening, the first day of September, 
1871, drive the first nail that shall fasten 
the ends of two pieces of wood together for 
the protection of its inhabitants from the 
weather. ,n * 

Off and up went the three hats and cheers 
for the city of Worthington. 

On the next morning we went at the frame- 
work of the new store, while Mr. Kimball went 
to Heron Lake for more lumber. About the time 
we got our frame up the lumber was on the 

"Extract from Mr. Thayer's diary. 

u "l also built the first sail boat that sailed 
on lake Okabena (as it was then called), a 
little six foot beam by about twenty feet In 
length, which I sold my interest In to Prof. 
Humlston. It was called the Pioneer. I did 
considerable in and about the village, and 
about June 25, 1872, I left there for Jackson, 

ground for a large hotel and so on, and by 
the time we had ours done there was quite 
a village. 14 

The site of this first building was on 
Tenth street, where Devaney's billiard 
hall is now located. As stated by Mr. 
Thayer, that fall there were a number 
of others who came, erected buildings, 
and added to the population of the town. 
The railroad was not yet completed to 
Worthington, and the material for all 
the buildings erected in the fall of 1871 
was hauled from Heron Lake, then the 
terminus (temporarily) of the road. The 
building that fall was nearly all done in 
October and November. Nearly all the 
buildings were under way at the same 
time, and it is impossible to give the 
order in which they were completed. 

One of the first buildings started and 
completed was a store building put up 
at the corner of Tenth street and Third 
avenue by L. F. McLaurin, 15 who opened 
a general stock of goods, including dry 
goods, groceries, etc. A man by the 
name of Leslie erected a little building 
on Ninth street, between Third and 
Fourth avenues, 16 where he opened a 
store and sold whiskey as a side line. 
Henry Davis & Brother opened a gen- 
eral store in a tent, carrying tobacco, 
shoes, shirts and other articles, which 
found a ready market among the graders 
who were then at work there. This tem- 
porary affair was discarded that fall, 
when Henry Davis erected a one and 
one-half story building on Tenth street. 17 
Although their stock had to be hauled 
in on wagons from Heron Lake, three 
lumber yards were opened that fall. One 

and have never seen your city since." — Ex- 
tract from Mr. Thayer's letter. 

"The McLaurin building: still stands, and is 
owned and occupied by P£ter Thompson. 

"On the lot upon which T. A. Palmer's 
house now stands. 
1T Where the Davis brick block now stands. 

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of these was in charge of I. N. Sater; 
another was owned by Crocker Bros. & 
Lamoraux, with a man by the name of 
Folsom in charge; the third was owned 
by Henry Young & Co., of which Levi 
Shell was the manager. 18 

The most pretentious building erected 
in Worthington in 1871 was the Worth- 
ington hotel. Excavation work was be- 
gun in October, the building was com- 
pleted that fall, and was opened during 
the winter. It was erected jointly by 
the railroad company and the National 
colony, and its management was vested 
in the latter. The cost is said to have 
been about $30,000. It was three stories 
high and was, practically, the front half 
of the present day Worthington hotel. 
Wm. B. Moore was the first manager. 19 

The postoffice was established in De- 
cember, 1871, and H. W. Kimball, the 
hardware merchant, was appointed post- 
master. Regular trains were not then 
running to Worthington, the mail being 
brought in by stage by "Stormy Jack" 
Grier, over the route from Jackson to 
Luverne. 20 

Times were lively in the little village 
during the building days in the fall of 
1871. When cold weather set in some 
of those who were not in business left 
the town to spend the winter in their 

"The members of this firm were Henry 
Young. Levi Shell and Daniel Shell. The office 
was opened In November, having temporary 
quarters with Crocker Bros. & L.amoraux. 

"Mr. Moore did not give satisfaction to the 
colony company, and after having been in charge 
about ten months he gave up the lease. He 
was succeeded by Captain A. P. Lyon, who 
conducted the business only two or three 
months, working for a salary for the own- 
ers. W. S. Stockdale was the next landlord. 
He was succeeded shortly after by Jonathan 
Ames, who leased the property and ran it 
about one year. On May 1, 1874. Daniel Shell 
took a five years' lease on the property and 
became its manager. At the end of the sec- 
ond year he purchased the property, which 
had come into the hands of Peter Thompson, 
who had secured a judgment against Miller. 
Humiston & Co. Mr. Shell conducted the 
business until 1888. Samuel Espey then 
leased the property, and after being its man- 
ager ten months, died. He was succeeded 

old homes, and times were dull during 
the cold weather season. A man who 
visited the town in January, 1872, said 
of the conditions at that time: 

"I counted thirteen buildings all told 
and was informed that there were thir- 
teen inhabitants at that time. It was 
one of the 'snow winters/ and drifts 
were piled all around the houses. I 
think there were seven snow steps lead- 
ing down to the depot platform. There 
was in the hotel one newspaper and a 
lot of greasy pieces of pasteboard with 
heart shaped devices on them and other 
devices. Several men boarders were 
waiting for spring to open." 

Almost all the inhabitants were men 21 
who had established business enterprises 
and could not leave them. They amused 
themselves with the newspaper, the heart 
shaped devices, and practical jokes. 
About twenty men resided in the town 
during the whole winter. Among these 
was a "mess" of five — E. R. Humiston, 
A. P. Chamberlain, C. C. Goodnow, J. 
C. Goodnow and Jerry Haines — who, 
soldier-like, went into barracks in a 
boarding house near the railroad and 
boarded themselves. Besides those in 
the village proper were G. J. Hoffman, 
who spent the winter on his claim on the 
south side of the lake; Wm. F. Hib- 

by John Fisher, who conducted the business 
four years under a lease. Mr. Shell then sold 
the property to F. R. Coughran and others, 
and Mr. Coughran was the landlord for sev- 
eral years. The property then passed Into 
the hands of Geo. W. Tear, who had charge 
of it personally for a short time. W. H. 
Doolittle became the leasee and was landlord 
for a number of years. He was succeeded 
in recent years by Geo. W. Lear, Thomas 
Dorgan and Stanley Moore. 

^The Worthington office has been held by 
the following postmasters: H. W. Kimball, 
C. C. Goodnow, M. B. Soule, R. D. Barber. 
Ij. B. Bennett, Frank Lewis, E. L.. Schwartz 
and F. R. Coughran. 

"Mrs. Herbert W. Kimball was the first 
woman to come to Worthington. She came 
here with her husband in the fall of 1871. 
but returned to her old home for the winter. 
Mrs. Daniel Shell was the second lady to be- 
come a resident of Worthington. 

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bard, who wintered in a small house on 
the east lake; and Jerome Stewart, a 
blind man, who lived in a shanty just 
across the track from the town. 

While times were dull during the win- 
ter it was known that with the opening 
of spring Worthington would be one of 
the liveliest towns on the frontier. As- 
surances were received from the colony 
managers that hundreds would pour into 
the country in the early spring. Some 
of the colony immigrants arrived be- 
fore spring 6et in, and even during the 
month of January quite a few came and 
took up their residence in Worthington 
in order to be in on the ground floor. 
Among these were some of the best 
known citizens of Worthington today. 
The people who were looking for the big 
rush were not disappointed. The first 
regular passenger train ran into Worth- 
ington April 29, 1872, bringing with it 
many settlers, and thereafter each day 
the train was filled with families who 
came to find homes in the new country. 
Mrs. Clark, who was among the advance 
guard of the colony, has written of the 
conditions in Worthington as she found 

"We were among the first members of 
a colony to arrive at the station of an 
unfinished railroad, which was to be the 
nucleus of the colony and the county seat 
of the county. There was a good hotel, 
well and comfortably furnished, one or 
two stories neatly furnished and already 
stocked with goods, several others in pro- 
cess of erection. A few rough board 
tenements, temporary shelters, to serve 
thj occupants until better houses could 
be built. The streets, scarcely to be de- 
fined as such, were full of prairie schoon- 
ers, containing families, waiting until 
the masters could suit themselves with 
'claims,* the women pursuing their house- 


wifely avocations meanwhile — some hav- 
ing cooking stoves in their wagons, 
others using gypsy fires to do their cul- 
inary work; all seeming happy and hope- 

Freeman Talbott, in a letter written 
July 20, 1886, tells of the impressions 
he received of the new town during the 
rush time in the spring of 1872: 

"Fourteen years ago last May I made 
my first visit to Nobles county, intend- 
ing, if the surroundings suited me, to 
make Worthington my future home. 
Quite a number of the first settlers had 
arrived. Some were living in comfort- 
able houses, some in rough board shan- 
ties, 12x14, others in tents, and still 
others on the bleak prairie, about to se- 
lect the site x)f future independence on or 
near the banks of the beautiful lake 

The arrival of the colonists had a 
magical effect upon the village, and new 
business enterprises sprang into exist- 
ence. On the last day of August, 1872, 
there were 85 buildings on the town- 
site, where a year before the plat had 
been located. Of these nearly all were 
permanent and much more substantial 
than is usually the case during the rush 
of starting a new town. A list of the 
business houses in Worthington on that 
date is furnished by a directory publish- 
ed in the first issue of the Western Ad- 
vance. Certainly an excellent showing 
had been made in one year: 

A. P. Lyon, Worthington Hotel. 
C. B. Loveless. 


Peter Thompson, Ninth street. 
L. F. McLaurin, Tenth street, corner Third 
Davis & Brother, next door to postoffice. 
Davis & Morripon, "Colony Store." 

C, P, Hewett & Co., opposite the park. 

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H. W. Kimball, near Worthington hotel. 
H. D. Humiston, "Colony Store." 

I. N. Sater, with Harrison's, 
J. A. Town, with Crocker Bros. & Lam or > 

A. K. Veitz, opposite Worthington hotel. 
• Barber & Lawrence, opposite park. 

Heilburn & Pratt, Tenth street, opposite 
the park. 

S. D. Sprague, Ninth street, opposite park. 
P. B. Crosby. 

S. F. Shepard, Third avenue. 
Peter Thompson, Ninth street. 


Hugh & Dorman, Ninth street, opposite 


Fred Hascall, Tenth street, near the post- 

C. P. Stough, Ninth street. 

Hugh & Dorman, Ninth street. 

Daniel Shell, Tenth street. 

Bigelow & Co., Third avenue. 
M. B. Soule, Third avenue, opposite park. 
J. S. Shuck, Tenth street, opposite park. 

Geo. O. Moore, corner Fifth avenue and 
Tenth street. 
J. Craft. 
R. D. Barber, Tenth street, at drug store. 


C. C. Goodnow, postoffice. 

M. B. Soule, Third avenue, opposite park. 


Miller, Humiston & Co. 


A. Miner, at postoffice. 
C. C. Goodnow, at postoffice. 
Soule & Langdon, Third avenue, opposite 


L. F. Margrat and — . — . Shaw. 


Western Advance. 

a A contributor to the Advance of Aug. 31, 
1872, said: "From frequent conversations with 
gentlemen of different parts of the state, 
we are assured that Worthington today has 


C L. Johnson, Ninth street, opposite park. 


C. B. Loveless, Eleventh street. 
W. Hodgkinson, Eleventh street. 


C. Moore, Eleventh street. 
J. S. Stone, Fourth avenue. 


Advance Printing Co. 

The improvements for the year foot- 
ed up to $80,550. Included in this 
amount was the public hall building, 
known as Miller hall/ which was erected 
by the colony company at a cost of about 
$7,000. The building was 48x80 feet, 
was two stories high, and had three 
large store rooms below. For several 
years the hall served the purposes of 
church building, lodge rooms, school 
room, and was the place of all social 
gatherings. It was destroyed by fire 
in 1878. The town was extensively ad- 
vertised, and during 1872 gained the 
reputation of being one of the best 
towns in southern Minnesota.** 

One of the events of the year was the 
organization of Worthington township. 
A petition was filed on March 30, ask- 
ing the board of county commissioners 
to take action toward bringing about the 
organization, and on April 30 the peti- 
tion was granted. On May 20 the first 
town meeting was held, and the village 
was under township government for the 
first time. 

The temperance question was a very 
live issue in Worthington during -the first 
year of its existence. One of the first 
things determined on by the founders 
of the National colony was that the 
colony should be a moral community, 
and to secure this end it was decided to 

the best reputation of any new town in Min- 
nesota, and that great expectations have been 
raised in the minds of the better class." 

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exclude the liquor traffic from the town 
and country over which it had jurisdic- 
tion. This fact was emphasized in all 
the advertising, and the result was that 
the majority of the first settlers were 
temperance people, who had been drawn 
to the colony largely by the promises 
made. A large sum of money was set 
aside by Prof. Humiston and his asso- 
ciates to prosecute liquor dealers should 
the traffic be started in the new town. 
A large part of this fund was expended 
during the year 1872 in bringing actions 
against three men who made attempts to 
establish liquor saloons in Worthington. 
The saloons were promptly closed, and 
thereafter for many years there was no 
liquor sold in the village. 

The village government had not been 
organized in 1872, and license legisla- 
tion was enacted by the board of county 
commissioners. To that body the peo- 
ple of Worthington went with their re- 
quest that no saloons be licensed in 
Worthington township. A petition was 
circulated August 30, and was worded as 
f ollow8 : 

To the Honorable Board of County Commis- 
sioners of Nobles County, State of Minne- 

We, the undersigned, citizens of the town 
of Worthington, in said county, respectfully 
represent that we believe that a majority of 

"The petition was signed by the following: 
John A. King, L. S. Roberts, Ed. Chandler, 
L. C. Chaney, James S. Stone, M. H. Stevens, 
E. T. Dillabaugh, M. B. Soule, W. B. Akins. 

A. P. Miller, Wellington Sherwood. John H. 
Johnson, I. N. Sater, M. E. Distad, H. "W 
Kimball, H. Davis. C. E. Tourtelotte. Z. 
Keller, A. P. Lyon, A. L. Perkins, B. ». 
T-angdon. Otis Bigelow, W. Hodgkinson, I. 
Allerton, Jas. McKirahan, John Alley, A. J. 
Willcox, D. S. Law, Benjimin R. Prince. C. 

B. Langdon, Stephen Miller, W. S. Langdon, 
R. D. Bagley, Daniel Shell, E. J. Bear, J. B. 
Haines, John U. Herzlg, A. L. Clark, J. S. 
Goodnow. George. O. Moore. James Gibson, L. 
H. Farnham, R. D. Barber, D. Stone, C. B. 
Loveless, W. S. Stockdale, B. H. Crever, C. S. 
Newton, J. C. Clark, E. R. Humiston, Levi 
W. Chase, Benjamin F. Thurber, E. S. Terry, 

C. P. Hewitt, C. H. Stewart, R. F. Humiston. 
J. S. Shuck, J. P. Shaw, J. F. Humiston. A. 
C. Robinson. S. D. Sprague, H. M. McLean, P. 
A. Stoddard. C. P. Stough. Peter Thompson. 
T. L. Taylor, Hugh Kilpatrick. James Marden, 
John Ward, Benjamin Midboe, Chas, B. 

our citizens within- our said township are op- 
posed to the granting of license for the sale 
of any kind of intoxicating liquors — either 
spiritous, vinus or malt — in our said town as 
a beverage. And whereas the statute authoriz- 
ing towns to vote on the question of license 
provides that such vote shall be taken at a 
general election. And whereas the next gen- 
eral election at which such vote can be 
taken will not be holden until November 5. 

We therefore petition your honorable board 
that they rescind the vote of the former 
board of commisisoners so far as it affects 
the said town of Worthington, and that your 
honorable board refuse to grant licenses for 
the sale as a beverage of any kind of in- 
toxicating liquors within the limits of our 
said town of Worthington until after the next 
general election. 

Dated this 30th day of August, A. D., 1872 s * 

Attached to the petition was a memo- 
randuin as follows: "Will Mr. Miller 
[county commissioner] please present 
this petition? Many more names could 
have been secured if there had been time 
to circulate it throughout the township. 
The wish is almost universal that no li- 
cense should be granted. I have asked 
but five to sign it who have refused. — R. 
F. H." 

At the same time the ladies of the vil- 
lage presented a petition of similar im- 
port 24 with the following attached mem- 
orandum, evidently made by Prof. Hum- 
iston: "These are all from the village 
of Worthington, and there are other la- 
dies' who would have signed the petition, 

Moore, C. L. Chandler, P. C. Bcker, A. J. 
Manley, E. B. Hull, J. E. Riley, Wm. M. 

^Signed by Mrs. M. B. Soule, Mrs. Mary 
Herzig, Mrs. Harriett A. Lyon, Mrs. R. F. 
Humiston, Mrs. E. R. Humiston, Mrs. C. 
Davis, Mary H. Crever, Mrs. S. C. Crever, 
Mrs. L. J. Foster, Clara F. Moore, Sarah 
Humiston, Mrs. M Stone, Mrs. A. Taylor. 
Mrs. Daniel Shell, Mrs. H. M. Farnam, Miss 
Celia E. Farnam. Mrs. B. Morsdem, Almira 
Weaver, Jane Moore, Ann Miller, Mrs. Mary 
Chandler. Mrs. A. C. Robinson. Mrs. A. J. 
Manley, Mrs. A. S. Hun*, Mrs. N. S. Roberts, 
Mrs. E. B. Akins, Mrs. A. Shuck, Mrs. M. D. 
Barber. Mrs L. H. McKirahan, Mrs. M. E. 
Bear, Emma Bear, Mrs. R. L. Langdon, Mrs. 

B. E. Parks, Mrs. Mary Shaw, Mrs. D. S. 
Law. Mrs. M. Stewart, Miss Mary Tangleson, 
Miss Susan B. Langdon, Mrs. Mahala Lang- 
don, Mrs. Olive Clark, Mrs. C. Stougle, Mrs. 

C. B. Loveless, Mrs. Mattie Johnson, Mrs. 
Mary E. Gould, Mrs, C. E. Davis, Mrs. Hattle 
H. Bigelow. 

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but they were absent from home. Only malt liquors be granted to any person in 
two have declined to sign and they on the township of Worthington before the 
account of their husbands. — R. F. H." next general election/' At the election 
This overwhelming sentiment on the in November only iour votes were cast 
part of the people of the village and in favor of the licensing of saloons. The 
township was not disregarded by the promises of the colony managers to pro- 
commissioners, and at a meeting held vide a temperance town had been ful- 
September 3 they resolved "that no li- filled, 
cense for the sale of spiritous, vinus or 

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WORTHINGTON— 1873-1889. 

Worthington had come into existence 
under unique conditions. At the time 
of its founding the surrounding country 
had not been settled, nor was there any 
settlement until several months after the 
village made its appearance. Such con- 
ditions were unusual, even in the early 
days, when town founding was an art. 
Other towns in southwestern Minnesota 
were built contemporary with the settle- 
ment of the country surrounding ; Worth- 
ington was builded on the promises of 
the National colony. That organization, 
which played such an important part in 
the early history of Nobles county and 
the town of Worthington, promised to 
bring large numbers of immigrants to 
its recently purchased lands, and the 
promises were amply fulfilled. During 
the year 1872 large numbers of home- 
seekers had arrived at Worthington and 
taken claims in all parts of the county. 
There was also a rapid settlement in 
Rock* county and farther out on the 
frontier, in the Sioux Falls country. All 
that country was then tributary to 
Worthington. Owing to the favorable 
location of the village, from a railroad 
standpoint, Worthington was the supply 
point and grain shipping point for a vast 
stretch of country. 1 

'"Worthington is the center of a large trade, 
and is destined to become a place of consider- 
able importance as an Interior trading point. 
Trade is now drawn from nine or ten of the 
surrounding counties, and settlers come a dis- 

Being the most convenient shipping 
point for this big country, Worthington 
advanced faster than its neighboring 
towns and faster than the needs of the 
immediate surrounding country demand- 
ed. In the summer of 1872, before the 
grain began pouring in from the out- 
laying districts, the advantages of the 
town, due to its location, were apparent 
A writer in the first issue of the West- 
ern Advance, August 31, 1872, sized 
up the situation as follows: 

"Several warehouses, we learn, will 
soon be erected to accommodate the grain 
which is seeking this point for ship- 
ment Worthington is the natural ship- 
ping port, if the term may be used, for 
Kock county, the Spirit Lake region and 
a portion of Jackson county. The Sioux 
Falls region, also, which now draws lum- 
ber and other supplies from here, should 
bring its grain here for shipment. By 
another year, therefore, we may expect 
to do a heavy grain business. If the 
neighboring town of Windom shipped 
20,000 bushels last year, and will ship 
75,000 this year, which is the estimate 
of Windom merchants, we ought to do 
a large grain business next year. If the 
amount for one town reaches nearly 
100,000 bushels the first two years, what 

tance of seventy or eighty miles from the 
west to market their grain, and to obtain 
lumber and other supplies, Worthington be- 
ing their most convenient railroad point." — 
Minnesota Historical Atlas, 1874. 


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may we not expect when all these lands 
are under cultivation, as they will be in 
from five to ten years! We have the 
assurances of good judges of soil that 
ours is, of all soils, the soil for wheat. 
We anticipate, therefore, that in a few 
years the railroad will scarcely be able 
to transport the millions of bushels of 
grain which must flow into the ware- 
houses along the line of this road from 
Sioux City to St. Paul." 

The year 1873 opened auspiciously, 
and the prospects of the little village by 
lake Okabena were bright. The colony 
company erected the Okabena flouring 
mill, at a cost of over $40,000, which 
had a capacity of manufacturing over 
100 barrels of flour a day. Its construc- 
tion proved to be one of the most im- 
portant events in the history of the town. 
It was the only flouring mill within a 
radius of many miles, and it did an im- 
mense business. It brought trade to 
Worthington that otherwise would not 
have come. From the Spirit Lake coun- 
try on the south, from Jackson county 
on the east, from Murray county on the 
north, and from Bock county and the 
Sioux Falls country on the west, came 
the golden grain to mill; 2 returning, the 
farmers would take with them lumber 
and supplies to their homes on the 
bleak prairies to the west. 

The year 1873 was an important 
one in the history of Worthington be- 
cause of two events that took place. One 
was the incorporation of the village; the 
other the naming of the town as the 
count}' seat. 

A charter was granted the village by 
the legislature, the bill being approved 

•Pioneer settlers of Worthington tell me they 
have seen the roads to the west lined for 
miles with teams hauling grain to this mar- 

by the governor March 8. All of sections 
23, 24, 25 and 26, of Worthington town- 
ship, were included in the limits of the 
town. It provided for the government 
of the city by a president of the council, 
a recorder (both of whom should be ex- 
officio trustees) and three trustees. Other 
elective officers provided for were a 
treasurer, an assessor, a justice of the 
peace and a constable. All offices were 
to be one year terms, except justice of 
the peace and marshal, who were to serve 
two year terms. The charter named the 
third Tuesday in March of each year as 
the date for holding elections. The first 
election was to be held at Miller's hall 
on Tuesday, March 18, 1873, where at 
one o'clock the voters present should 
choose, viva voce, two judges of election 
and one clerk, who should conduct the 
election. Provision was made for voting 
at that election on the question of the 
acceptance or rejection of the charter. It 
forbade the granting of license for the 
sale of intoxicating liquors, 8 and provided 
that the act should go into effect im- 
mediately upon its adoption by the 

The first election was held at Miller 
hall, in accordance with the provisions 
of the charter, on March 18, and the 
charter was adopted by a vote of 14 to 
2. Daniel Shell and S. D. Sprague 
were chosen to act as judges of the elec- 
tion, and C. C. Goodnow as clerk. Only 
sixteen votes were cast, the voters being 
M. H. Stevens, E. F. Humiston, S. D. 
Sprague, C. C. Goodnow, Daniel Shell, 
M. E. Distad, S. E. Chandler, C. B. 
Loveless, L. F. McLaurin, H. Davis, I. 
N. Sater, J. A. Town, John Humiston, 

'"No license for the sale of any wine, beer, 
or cider, or spiritous, intoxicating, alcoholic, 
vinous, fermented, malt or mixed intoxicating 
liquors, liquids or drinks as a beverage shall 
be granted to any person within the corporate 
limits of said village." 

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C. P. Hewitt, J. C. Craft and W. H. 

There was only one ticket in the field, 
and only two scattering votes were cast. 
Those who were elected and served the 
city during its first year of official ex- 
istence, with the votes cast, are as fol- 
lows : 

President— I. N. Sater, 13; H. C. 
Shepard, 1. 

Trustees— J. C. Craft, 16; B. S. Lang- 
don, 14; Pegg, 1; M. H. Stevens, 16. 

Recorder — C. C. Goodnow, 16. 

Treasurer — Peter Thompson, 16. 

Assessor — Daniel Shell, 16. 

Justice — C. B. Loveless. 4 

Marshal — Daniel Stone, 16. 5 

Much difficulty was encountered in 
securing men to serve in the positions 
of the two appointive offices — street com- 
missioner and fire warden. A. S. Hus- 
selton was appointed street commissioner 
May 6; he did not qualify, and on May 
13 the office was declared vacant and L. 
P. McLaurin appointed. May 20 the 
appointment was reconsidered, and W. S. 
Stockdale was named. He resigned Sept. 
2, when C. B. Langdon received the ap- 
pointment and served the remainder of 
the term. Jonathan Ames was ap- 
pointed fire warden May 13, but a week 
later the action of the council was re- 
considered, and A. P. Chamberlain was 
named. The office was declared vacant 
Nov. 24, and C. B. Langdon, who had 
received the appointment of street com- 
missioner, was made fire warden, as well. 

The village council met for the first 
time on April 23, 1873, at the office of 
I. N. Sater. The charter was read, and 
then an adjournment was taken until 
April 26. There was no quorum at the 

♦The office of justice was declared vacant 
Aug. 15, and B. N. Carrier was appointed to 
the office. He resfgned Jan. 6, 1874, and L. 
B. Bennett received the appointment. 

meeting of April 26, and the next meet- 
ing was not held until Monday, the 28th. 
The first official act of the council was 
to pass an ordinance ordering a side- 
walk laid on the east side of Third ave- 
nue from Ninth street to Tenth street. 
The second ordinance of the village was 
passed at the same meeting. It pro- 
hibited "the use of firearms within the 
limits of the corporation in any manner 
whatever on Sunday." At a subsequent 
meeting (May 13) the ordinance was 
amended by adding "that the use of fire- 
arms upon the town plat is strictly pro- 
hibited." ThuB the village of Worthing- 
ton began its official existence. 

The county seat of Nobles county was 
temporarily located at Worthington by 
an act which passed the legislature and 
was approved March 6, 1873, which pro- 
vided for the removal from Graham 
Lakes township within sixty days. The 
change was made in May, and Worthing- 
ton was made happy over the event. By 
the action of the voters at the Novem- 
ber election the village was declared the 
permanent county seat. 

The boom times of the first two years 
of Worthington's history were not des- 
tined to continue. With the terrible 
grasshopper scourge, which devastated the 
country during the middle seventies, 
came a period of depression for Worth- 
ington. Business became dull, and the 
growth of the town was checked. Sev- 
eral business firms failed, and there was 
a general feeling of dejection. How- 
ever, Worthington suffered less severely 
than most of its neighbors. Being in a 
highly prosperous condition when the 
grasshoppers swooped down upon the 
country, and drawing its trade from a 

5 The office of marshal was declared vacant 
Aug. 15, to which Julius C. Goodnow was 
then appointed. 

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larger area than the other towns of the 
vicinity, it withstood the awful calamity 
better than those less fortunately situ- 
ated. For the story of the grasshopper 
times the reader is referred to chapters 
five and six. 

A writer has described the town as it 
appeared to him in 1874: 

"It contains four hotels, a large pub- 
lic hall building, a large flouring mill, 
several grain warehouses, over twenty 
stores, two church buildings, and a num- 
ber of comfortable private dwellings. 
The principal buildings are the Okabena 
flouring mills, the Worthington hotel, 
Miller hall, the Union Congregational 
church, and the Presbyterian church. 
Some of the lots are neatly fenced, and 
the principal streets are lined with young 
trees. The town has adopted the inde- 
pendent district plan, and has a good 
graded school. A seminary of learning, 
auxiliary to Hamline university, is lo- 
cated at Worthington, which is now, 
owing to the grasshopper visitation, tem- 
porarily suspended. The town contains 
three church organizations, viz.: Metho- 

•An overestimate. 

T This building is now used as the freight 

•This office had been opened at Brownsville, 
on the Mississippi river, In 1854, with Messrs. 
McKinna and Welsh in charge. In 1856 it 
was moved to Chatfleld, and in 1861 to Win- 
nebago City. When the last named change 
was made Mr. Hoi ley was receiver and Mr. 
Bullis register. In 1869 the office was moved 
to Jackson, and E. P. Freeman went in as 
register, and J. B. Wakefield as receiver. 
After the colony immigrants began to arrive, 
the bulk of the business was in the west end 
of the district and Nobles county settlers ex- 
perienced much Inconvenience in making their 
trips overland to transact their business be- 
fore the land office. It was not until the 
spring of 1874, however, that the government 
took action to have the office moved to 

Soon after the removal Mr. Freeman re- 
tired as register. He was succeeded by Dr. 
Leonard, of the Rochester Post, who took the 
office and filled it for a time. The latter's 
appointment was not confirmed, and Captain 
Mons Grinager became register in August, 

1874. He resigned June 1, 1886, having held 
the office nearly twelve years. In January, 

1875, J. P. Moulton took the place of Mr. 
Wakefield as receiver, and held it until June, 
1881. C. H. Smith was the next receiver, 

dist, Presbyterian and Union Congrega- 
tional; a Masonic lodge, a post of the 
Grand Army, a public library, and a 
good newspaper. The population of the 
town is between 600 and 800."* 

The year 1874 passed without impor- 
tant events. A new depot was built by 
the railroad company in the summer, 
which was said to have been the finest 
and largest on the line between St. Paul 
and Sioux City. 7 The land office was 
moved to Worthington from Jackson in 
the spring of the year, which event added 
somewhat to the importance of the 
town. 8 

There was only one contest for vil- 
lage office at the election in the spring 
of 1874, and the event was a quiet one. 
Thirty-three votes 9 were cast, with the 
following. 'result, scattering votes not be- 
ing given : 

President— J. C. Craft, 31. 

Trustees — Horace L. Lackor, 33; Otis 
Bigelow, 33; Jonathan Ames, 29. 

Recorder — Chas. C. Goodnow, 20 Bos- 
ton N. Carrier, 13. 

Treasurer — Peter Thompson, 32. 

occupying the office until Sept. 1, 1885, when 
August Peterson, of Albert Lea, took the 
office. He held it until after the removal 
from Worthington. C. P. Shepard succeeded 
Captain Grinager as register in June, 1886, 
and held the position while the office was lo- 
cated in Worthington. 

The land office at Worthington was closed 
Feb. 28, 1889, there having been a consoli- 
dation among the offices in Minnesota. Those 
at Benson, Worthington and Redwood Falls 
were discontinued and the papers turned 
over to the office at Tracy. The Tracy of- 
fice was then moved to Marshall. The land 
office was under democratic management from 
1854 to 1861; the republicans were in charge 
from 1861 to 1885. Then each party had one 
official in the office until 1886, when Mr. 
Shepard took office; thereafter it was demo- 

•The voters were L. F. McLaurin, William 
H. Wllmarth, Peter Thompson, Henry Davis, 
J. D. Tarbut, C. B. Langdon, H. J. Grant, 
Morgan M. Jenkins, David Bennett, Julius 
C. Goodnow, Otis Bigelow, Julius A. Town, 
Akin Miner, S. D. Sprague, J. C. Craft, B. 
H. Bennett, Jonathan Ames, Datus Stevens, 
J. Londy, Chas. C. Goodnow, L. B. Bennett, 
J. Moll, Liberty Bowen, Thos. Crever, W. R. 
Bennett, Peter Walpole, Horace L. Lackor, 
Wm. Carroll, Boston N. Carrier, R. Ander- 
son, D. E. W T llliams, P. Quinlin and John 
H. Johnson. 

Digitized by 


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Justice — L. B. Bennett, 33. 

Assessor — Akin Miner, 33. 

Constable — Morgan M. Jenkins, 10 
30. 11 

Worthington's first census was taken 
in 1875. The population, according to 
the figures of the assessor, was 419. Al- 
though then in the midst of the grass- 
hopper scourge and resulting hard times, 
from a business standpoint the town was 
fairly prosperous, due almost entirely to 
the fact that its trade territory was so 
large. Following is the wheat receipts 
for the year 1875: 

Buyer Before Harvest After Harvest 

Okabena Mills 12,479 bus. 1 14,000 bus. 

Bennett & Stone. . . 21,000 bus. 

Peter Thompson . . . 4,929 bus. 32,215 bus. 

Henry Davis 3,200 bus. J 5, 705 bus. 

Totals 20,608 bus. 182,920 bus. 

Grand total, 203,528 bushels. 

The lumber and fuel business was 
also large. Bennett & Stone received 
127 cars of lumber after opening their 
yard in August, and I. N. Sater received 
a somewhat smaller amount. H. J. Grant 
shipped in and sold 288 cars of wood, I. 
N. Sater about the same amount, and E. 
8. Mills a small shipment. The two 
leading dealers each shipped in about 
180 tons of coal. 

There were no contests for any of the 
village offices in 1875, and only 30 
votes were cast. A violent storm raged 
on election day, which accounted in a 
measure for the smallness of the number, 
it being alleged that there were 100 vot- 
ers in the village. The result: 

President— Albert C. Bobinson, ' 30. 

Trustees — Isaac N. Sater, 29; Chas. 
B. Loveless, 28; Daniel Shell, 29. 

^The office was declared vacant Oct. 27. 
1874. and J. C. Goodnow was appointed to 
complete the term. 

"Appointive officers under this administra- 
tion were Akin Miner, street commission* r, 
and C. B. Langdon, fire warden, who were 
appointed April 9, 1874. 

Recorder— C. C. Goodnow, 29. 

Treasurer — Henry D. Humiston, 30. 

Assessor — Henry J. Grant, 30. 

Constable— J. C. Goodnow, 29. 12 

The year 1876 was another quiet one, 
because of apprehension of another grass- 
hopper visitation. However, there was 
some building done in the village, the 
principal items being the following: 

\V. R. Bennett, residence $4,000 

H. J. Ludlow, residence 2,000 

R. R. Miller, residence 1,000 

H. E. Torrance, store building, two 

stories, 32x40 1,200 

Otis Bigelow, store building, 20x40 1,000 

The election that year was the most 
exciting one yet held, and 96 votes were 
polled. There was some dissatisfaction 
with the result of the Peoples' caucus, 
and opposition candidates for trustees 
were placed in nomination by another 
caucus. The contest was a spirited one, 
and was won by the regular Peoples' 
ticket. The result: 

President — Peter Thompson, 96. 

Trustees — Elihu Smith, 44; Daniel 
Shell, 90; C. Z. Sutton, 53; A. C. 
Bobinson, 22; I. N. Sater, 18; C. B. 
Loveless, 23; J. Craft, 34. 

Becorder — B. N. Carrier, 96. 

Treasurer — H. D. Humiston, 92. 

Assessor — W. S. Stockdale, 94. 

Justice — L. B. Bennett, 96. 

Constable— J. C. Goodnow, 82; !N. M. 
.Carroll, 14. 13 

Probably every vote in the village was 
polled on March 20, 1877, when 98 votes 
were brought out as a result of a contest 
between I. N. Sater and W. B. Bennett 
for trustee. Mr. Sater was the caucus 

"Appointive officers who served during the 
term, and dates of appointments: March 31, 1875, 
S. E. Chandler, street commissioner and fire 
warden; Oct. 8, 1875, A. Miner, assistant street 
commissioner; Oct. 8, 1875, Frank H. Wells, 
city marshal. 

"Appointive officers: April 6, C. B. Lang- 
don, street commissioner and fire warden; 
July 6, H. McMillen, night policeman. 

Digitized by 




nominee, and Mr. Bennett, who ran in- 
dependent, was elected. For the other 
offices there were no contests. Follow- 
ing is the vote of that year: 

President — Feter Thompson, 98. 

Trustees — C. B. Loveless, 94; Daniel 
Shell, 91; W. E. Bennett, 62; I. N. 
Sater, 38. 

Becorder— C. C. Lucky, 14 96. 

Treasurer — H. E. Torrance, 97. 

Assessor — A. C. Eobinson, 96. 

Justice — Leroy Cole, 15 92. 

Constable— Wm. M. Carroll, 1 * 96. 17 

Ultimately, the building of the branch 
railroad westward from Worthington re- 
sulted in the cutting off of a large ter- 
ritory which had formerly relied upon 
Worthington for its market. But at 
the time it added much to the town's 
prosperity. Worthington was the gate- 
way through which all the settlement of 
the western country must come, and it 
was the chief supply point of the new 
settlers. The saving of the crop in 1877 
brought large numbers to the country in 
1878, and this immigration passing 
through Worthington made the little 
town lively. 18 Considerable building was 
done during the year, including the first 
brick block. This was located at the 
corner of Tenth street and Second ave- 
nue (now known as Masonic block), and 
was put up during the summer by Ben- 
nett & Grissell. Times became dull again 
during the fall because of the failure of 
crops from another grasshopper visita- 

"Reslgned April 28, 1877. Geo. J. Day ap- 
pointed May 4, 1877. 

"Resigned March 18, 1878, when he became 
a candidate for the office of recorder. Jus- 
tices of the peace were elected for two years. 
B. N. Carrier was appointed Nov. 1, 1878, to 
complete the term. 

'•Resigned Aug. 24, 1877. Chas. Chase was 
then appointed. 

"Appointive officers: March 28, 1877, A. 
Miner, street commissioner and fire warden; 
July 2, 1877, H. McMillan, night policeman. 

tion, and there were a number of busi- 
ness failures during the winter. 

Worthington's first fire came on Tues- 
day morning, Aug. 6, 1878, when Miller 
hall, one of the first buildings erected 
in Worthington, was burned to the 
ground, causing a loss of between $8,000 
and $10,000. The fire was undoubtedly 
of incendiary origin, but the perpetrators 
were never discovered. The fire started 
at about six o'clock. Not a breath of 
air was stirring, but neither was there 
any fire protection to speak of. Al- 
though the whole village turned out and 
fought the flames, within three-quarters 
of an hour after the blaze was discovered, 
the hall was a heap of blazing and smok- 
ing ruins. 

Owing to the fact there was no wind 
the flames were confined to the hall, and 
nearby buildings were saved. For a time 
it looked as though the town was doom- 
ed, 19 but when the last wall fell it fell 
inward, thus assuring the safety of the 
town. When the last wall fell the crowd 
sent up a ringing cheer. The building 
was the property of J. T. Hite and John 
P. Henry at the time of the fire. It 
had cost about $7,000, and was covered 
by only $1,000 insurance. Other losses 
were the Worthington Journal plant, $3,- 
000 or $4,000, covered by $2,500 insur- 
ance; and the library of Rev. J. C. Ogle, 
, valued at $800 to $i;000. 

One hundred one votes were cast at 
the election in the spring of 1878. There 

""The rush for "the soil of the river bot- 
toms" continues. The trains are loaded every 
night, and our hotels are unable to furnish 
accommodations for the people. The hotel 
offices and parlors are called Into service, and 
the depot affords shelter to numbers nearly 
every night. Send them along. All the region 
to the west of us lies out of doors, and Uncle 
Sam is rich enough to give us all a home." — 
Worthington Advance, March 7, 1878. 

""Had there been anything like a stiff 
prairie breeze blowing, no human effort could 
have prevented Worthington from being laid 
in ashes." — Worthington Advance, Aug. 8. 

Digitized by 




was no party contest, but several inde- 
pendent candidates appeared in the field. 
With the exception of the nominee for 
constable all the caucus nominees were 
elected. The vote: 

President— A. C. Robinson, 50; C. B. 
Loveless, 44. 

Trustees— M. B. Soule, 80; J. Craft, 
94; L. E. Kimball, 82. 

Recorder — Leroy Cole, 53; R. F. 
Baker, 41. 

Assessor — H. D. Humiston, 96. 

Treasurer— H. E. Torrance, 68; D. S. 
Law, 33. 

Justice— L. B. Bennett, 64; B. N. 
Carrier, 34. 

Constable — Chas. Chase, 52; J. A. 
Town, 48. 20 

In 1879 there was another increase 
in the vote polled, the number reaching 
128. There was little excitement at the 
election and no organized opposition to 
the caucus nominations. There were 
fourteen scattering votes cast for the 
several offices which do not show on 
the following table: 

President— Daniel Shell, 124. 

Trustees— M. S. Twitchell, 121; John 
McMillen, 127; Azom Forbes, 98; Jos. 
Lowe, 28. 

Recorder — N. A. Barlow, 125. 

Treasurer— H. E. Torrance, 126. 

Assessor — H. D. Humiston, 123. 

Justice — H. D. Humiston, 103; Win. 
Carroll, 21. 21 

According to the federal census of 
1880 the population of Worthington was 

••Appointive officers: H. D. Humiston, 
street commissioner and Are warden, appointed 
March 25. 1878; H. McMillan, night policeman, 
appointed June 14, 1878. 

Nonstable had been made two year term 
office. Appointive officers: March 29, E. C. 
Pannell, street commissioner and Are warden. 

a The populations of* other towns in the vi- 
cinity were as follows: Windora, 443; Fair- 
mont. 641; Pipestone, 222; St. James, 434; 
Jackson, 501; Luverne, 697; Madelia, 489; Heron 
Lake. 226. 

636, a gain of 227 during five years. Al- 
though small, it ranked second among 
the towns of southwestern Minnesota. 22 
The election of that year was not excit- 
ing, and there were no contests. The to- 
tal vote was 141. The question of licens- 
ing billiard rooms was submitted to the 
voters, and by a vote of 51 to 57 it was de- 
cided that such license should not be 
granted. The vote, not including 11 
scattering votes: 

President— Daniel Shell, 134. 

Trustees— M. S. Twitchell, 125; J. 
McMillen, 81; Azom Forbes, 80. 

Kecorder— N. A. Barlow, 28 89. 

Treasurer — H. E. Torrance, 94. 

Assessor — B. W. Lyon, 120. 

Justice— A. C. Robinson, 24 72. 

Constable— Frank Wells, 26 75. 2e 

For several years during the late sev- 
enties and early eighties Worthington 
was divided into two factions because of 
the temperance question. There was con- 
tinual wrangling. Several arrests were 
made and prosecutions pushed against 
those who sold liquor in the town. Cider 
was placed under the ban, and there 
were several prosecutions for violations 
of the law forbidding the sale of that 
drink. One faction insisted that the 
other was fanatical in its temperance be- 
liefs; the temperance people insisted 
on the enforcement of the law against all 
offenders. Two parties came into ex- 
istence which fought for the control of 
the village government at the polls. Each 
party put tickets in the field, and the 

^Resigned May 28, 1880, and R. B. Plotts 
appointed May 29. 

•♦Resigned June 19. 1880. J. S. McManus 
appointed Feb. 5, 1881. 

^Resigned Dec. 7, 1880. C. T. Shattuc ap- 

"Appointive officers: April 3, 1880, E. C. 
Pannell, street commissioner; Oct. 2, 1880, H. 
McMillen, night policeman. 

Digitized by 




contest at the 1881 election .was very 
close and exciting. This was the begin- 
ning of the parties, later known as "li- 
cense" and "against license," which have 
contended for supremacy ever since. 
Those who favored the more liberal pol- 
icy were successful at the polls, winning 
out by a narrow margin. In the follow- 
ing table of the vote the first named were 
the nominees of the "liberal" party; the 
second those of the temperance party. 
The total vote was 141: 

President — Daniel Shell, 78; Peter 
Thompson, 62. 

Trustees— M. S. Twitchell, 74; J. 
McMillen, 74; Azom Forbes, 75; R. F. 
Baker, 07; H. B. Wisner, 63; C. B. 
Loveless, 66. 

Recorder— R. B. Plotts, 76; E. F. 
Buchan, 64. 

Treasurer — H. E. Torrance, 141. 

Assessor — Aiken Miner, 76; B. W. 
Lyon, 64. 

Justice 27 — L. B. Bennett, 28 72; H. D. 
Humiston, 64; J. A. Town, 64. 20 

One of the most prosperous years in 
the history of Worthington was 1882. 
Several new business blocks and resi- 
dences were erected, new business enter- 
prises were started, and the town en- 
joyed a small boom. This activity was 
due, in part, to the construction of the 
Cedar Rapids, Iowa Falls & Northwest- 

"H. D. Humiston was nominated for .a two 
year term and J. A. Town for a one year 
term. The canvassing board, after looking 
up the law, determined that the law did not 
provide for the election of a justice of the 
peace for a one year term. The board threw 
out the votes of both Mr. Humiston and 
Mr. Town, except three for the latter, which 
had been voted on a scratched ticket. 

^Resigned Jan. 6, 1882. Fred Bloom ap- 

» Appointive officers: April 16, 1881, Aiken 
Miner, street commissioner; May 14, 1882, 
John Dahlstrom, night policeman; Aug. 27, 
1882. H. McMillen, night policeman, John 
Dahlstrom having resigned. 

*>Stock in the railroad company was pur- 
chased with the money so voted, and the 
stock is still held by the village. 

ern railroad into the village from the 
south, and in part to the prosperous 
times in the country at large. At a spec- 
ial election, held June 17, it was de- 
cided, by a vote of 145 to 2, to issue 
bonds to the amount of $6,300, to aid 
in building the road. 80 When trains be- 
gan running into the town in the fall 
there was great rejoicing, and the pre- 
diction was freely made that Worthing- 
ton was to become a great railroad cen- 
ter. 81 

Out of a total of 240 registered votes, 
189 were cast, the largest in the town's 
history up to that time. Although the 
two parties were again lined up for bat- 
tle, the election was not exceptionally ex- 
citing. The vote: 

President^-C. H. Smith, 98; C. B. 
Loveless, 87. 

Trustees— H. E. Torrance, 113; 0. G. 
Grundsten, 108; Emery Clarke, 110; J. 
H. Johnson, 72; B. F. Thurber, 77; W. 
W. Herron, 72. 

Kecorder— R. B. Plotts, 113; E. P. 
Buchan, 74. 

Treasurer— R. F. Baker, 186. 

Assessor — Aiken Miner, 113; H. D. 
Humiston, 76. 

Justice — J. S. McManus, 115. 

Constable — Josiah T. Lyons, 111; 
Frank Wells, 74. 82 

The prosperous times, which had be- 

w Printed matter on the back of letter heads, 
endorsed by the Worthington board of trade, 
referred to Worthingrton as "the Elgin of 
Minnesota," stated that it now had three rail- 
roads and that Ave more were on the way. I 
quote from the advertisement: "The C. St. 
P. M. & O., the B. C. R. & N\ and the W. & 
S. F. railroads run daily trains to Worthington. 
The B. C. R. & N. extension north to Join the 
Fargo Southwestern Is in progress. The Wa- 
bash through Worthington to Bismark is 
projected. The Spencer branch of the C. M. 
& St. P. road, now built to Spirit Lake, is 
bearing toward Worthington. A branch of the 
C. & N. W. east to Elmore is also projected. 
A branch of the B. C. R. & N\ to Deadwood, 
Dakota, is in contemplation." 

"H. McMillen served as night policeman, re- 
ceiving the appointment May 18. 

Digitized by 




gun in 1882, continued during 1883. On 
April 25 a board of trade was organized, 
which was quite active in advertising the 
town and in bringing new business en- 
terprises to the village. The officers of 
the board were: President, Geo. D. 
Dayton; vice president, J. S. McManus; 
secretary, W. A. Peterson ; treasurer, Geo. 
J. Day. 88 The building operations for 
the year amounted to about $40,000. In- 
cluded in this were three brick business 
blocks — the Masonic building, the Henry 
Davis store building, and the Singer 

Those favoring the licensing of saloons 
in Wortlungton were able to bring about 
an amendment to the charter in 1883 
which put the village under local op- 
tion. A bill was introduced in the leg- 
islature early in the session by Senator 
Crosby. It provided for the repeal of 
the temperance clause in the charter and 
placed the control of the sale of intoxi- 
cating liquors with the village council. 
Later the bill was amended and was 
made to provide that the matter of li- 
cense or no license should be decided by 
the voters at the annual elections. The 
temperance people at once circulated and 
presented a petition to the legislature, 
asking that the charter be left as it 
was. Friends of the repeal of the tem- 
perance clause also presented a petition, 
asking that the bill be passed. The bill 
passed and became a law Feb. 26 upon 
receiving the signature of the governor. 
Worfhington was placed under local op- 
tion law, and each year since that date 

**Otner members of the oreanizntion w«»rp T. 
J. Sfrnnson. Mons Grinaeer. Azorry Forbes, 
Frank T. Eastman. H. C. Shenard. H. E. Tor- 
rance. C. P. Sbenard. Oeo O. Monro. H. ,T. 
T.udlow. Frank Lewis. S. V WvoVofT. C. H. 
Smith. Cbas. Chase. Daniel Shell. H. H. Hart. 
"R. p. Miller. A. S. Hiisselton, Iv. B. Bennett, 
W. F. Thayer. Geo. W. Wilson. J. C. Robin- 
son. "E. S. Mills. B. F. Thnrber. Geo. M. 
Plumb, L. H. Beckley, G. C. Hagman, C. E. 

the question of license or no license has 
been fought out at the polls. 

Naturally the first election under the 
new law created considerable interest. 
The two parties went to work with a 
will — one party to continue the town 
under the prohibition feature and the 
other to bring about the licensing of 
saloons. By the decisive vote of 114 to 
62 the people decided to license saloons 
in the village for the ensuing year. 
There were only two contests for vil- 
lage offices, the two factions devoting 
their energies to the license question and 
not to the election of candidates. The 
total vote cast was 180. Following is 
the result, a few scattering votes for 
various candidates not being given: 

For license, 114; against license, 62. 

President— C. H. Smith, 120; T. H. 
Parsons, 60. 

Trustees— H. E. Torrance, 171; Otis 
Bigelow, 176; O. G. Grundsten, 168. 

Recorder— R. B. Plotts, 170. 

Treasurer— R. F. Baker, 179. 

Assessor — Aiken Miner, 177. 

Justice— Fred Bloom, 84 93; C. B. 
Langdon, 82. 8B 

The year 1884 was another prosper- 
ous one in Worthington, although very 
little building was done. The issue be- 
tween the license and against license 
forces was sharply defined in the cam- 
paign of that year. Both parties had 
tickets in the field, and considerable cam- 
paigning was done before the election. 
Two hundred nineteen votes were cast, 
by far the largest in the town's history. 

Peabody. Fred Bloom, R. J. W. Bloom, R. B. 
Plotts, A. P. Miller, J. H. Johnson. 

"♦Resigned Jan. 3, 1884. I. P. Durfee ap- 

^Appointive officers: April 5, B. F. Thur- 
ber, street commissioner: April 19. B. F. 
Thurber, Are warden; May 23, Frank H. 
Wells, night policeman. 

Digitized by 




The license party elected every member 
of its ticket. The result: 

For license, 119; against license, 98. 

President— Geo. W. Wilson (for M ), 
121; C. B. Loveless (ag), 97. 

Trustees— H. E. Torrance (for), 123; 
H. C. Shepard (for), 128; Burr W. 
Lyon (for), 119; A. S. Mitchell (ag), 
96; A. 0. Lofstedt (ag), 93; Geo. 0. 
Moore (ag), 95. 

Recorder— R. B. Plotts (for), 123; 
Geo. M. Plumb (ag), 93. 

Treasurer— R. P. Baker, 219. 

Assessor — 0. G. Grundsten (for), 123; 
W. W. Herron (ag), 95. 

Justice — Jonathan Gordon (for), 121; 
C. B. Langdon (ag), 98. 

Constable— R. E. Covey (for), 121; 
A. S. Husselton (ag), 97. 87 

The census of 1885 gave Worthington 
a population of 997, a gain of 361 dur- 
ing the preceding five years, and of 
588 in ten years. 

There was a slight falling off in the 
vote of that year, only 201 ballots being 
cast. The two parties again lined up 
for the fray, and again was the license 
party successful, carrying the mooted 
license question by a majority of 40 and 
electing all its nominees by slightly larg- 
er majorities. The vote: 

For license, 119; against license, 79. 

President— Daniel Shell (for), 127 
C. B. Loveless (ag), 66. 

Trustees— H. C. Shepard (for), 124 
Azom Forbes (for), 128; S. S. Hewitt 
(for), 127; H. H. Anderson (ag), 71 
S. Kindlund (ag), 68; J. F. Humis- 
ton (ag), 74. 

Recorder— R. B. Plotts (for), 120; 

•"In giving the result of this, and succeed- 
ing elections, I have labeled the nominees of 
the license party (for), and the nominees of 
the against license party (ag). Those who 
were on both tickets or had no opposition are 
not labeled. Party lines were not always 
clearly defined, especially for minor offices, 
and occasionally names of persons have ap- 

E. F. Buchan (ag), 79. 

Treasurer— R. F. Baker, 201. 

Assessor — 0. G. Grundsten (for), 119; 
C. W. Hildreth (ag), 79. 

Justice— I. P. Durfee (for), 120; T. 
L. Taylor (ag), 79. 88 

Worthington was very prosperous in 
1886. The building improvements for 
the y6ar amounted to about $40,000, in- 
cluded in the list being the Bank of 
Worthington building, erected at a cost 
of $15,000 to $20,000; the Catholic 
church, depot, and many residences. 
Over 600 cars of freight were received 
and between 500 and 600 were 'ship- 
ped. Of these about 400 cars were of 
hay, 82 flax and 40 livestock. 

The annual village election disclosed 
the fact that the temperance people had 
made gains. License was voted by only 
12 majority, and the majorities of the 
license nominees were cut down to an 
average of 27. Two hundred eleven 
votes were cast. The result: 

For license, 107; against license, 95. 

President— Daniel Shell (for), 121; 
Azom Forbes (ag), 89. 

Trustees— H. C. Shepard (for), 119; 
S. S. Hewitt (for), 122; Frank Glas- 
gow (for), 121; J. W. Lewis (ag), 93; 
J. E. Hammerberg (ag), 91; T. L. 
Taylor (ag), 89. 

Recorder— R. B. Plotts (for), 119; 
E. F. Buchan (ag), 92. 

Treasurer— R. F. Baker (for), 120; 
Geo. O. Moore (ag), 91. 

Assessor — O. G. Grundsten (for), 121; 
Frank Lewis (ag), 88. 

Justice — Jonathan Gordon (for), 118; 
C. T. Pope (ag), 92. 

peared on the tickets whose beliefs were not 
with the party nominating them. 

"Appointive officers: R. E. Covey, street 
commissioner; Frank Wells, night policeman. 

"•Appointive officers: S. M. Smith, night 
policeman; B. F. Thurber, street commis- 

Digitized by 














s ® 




^ CO 

1 = 

2 f 








Digitized by 



Digitized by 




Constable— J. E. Wells (for), 120; A. 
S. Husselton (ag),.91. 89 

The building improvements duriDg 
1887 were not very extensive. Quite 
a number of dwelling houses were erect- 
ed, but the business part of town evi- 
denced little improvement. Times were 
fairly prosperous, however. 

There was a slight change in village 
politics in 1887. There were two tick- 
ets in the field, one put in nomination 
by the license party, the other nominated 
at a general caucus, participated in large- 
ly by the anti-license element. Two 
hundred forty-five votes were cast. Li- 
cense was carried by Gl majority, and 
the license ticket was elected. The vote: 

For license, 151; against license, 90. 

President— H. C. Shepard (for), 147; 
Peter Thompson (gen 40 ), 96. 

Trustee?* — Frank Glasgow, 243; Chas. 
L. Peterson, 241: S. McLean (f6r0, 
154; S. V. Wyckoff (gen), 93. > '.,' ^ 

Recorder — Frank Lewis, 241. 

Treasurer— C. W. Smith (for), 146},, 
R. F. Baker (gen), 100. ' 

Assessor — 0. G. Grundsten (for), 146; 
S. Kindlund (gen), 102. 

Justice— E. B. Hall, 244. 

Constable — W. I. Humiston (for), 
142; A. S. Husselton (gen), 102. 41 

In 1888, for the first time since lo- 
cal option went into effect, the anti-li- 
cense party was successful, defeating li- 
cense by 12 majority. The result came 
as a surprise to many people, as license 
had carried the year before by 61. The 
vote for village officers was close, the 

•Appointive officers: B. F. Thurber. street 
commissioner; S. M. Smith, night policeman, 
succeeded by B. W. Lyon, who was appointed 
Feb. 19, 1887. 

"Nominated at the general caucus. 

"By resolution of March 18, 1887. the office 
of city attorney was created, and J. A. Town 
was appointed to the office April 6. Other 
appointive officers; B. W. Lyon, nfght police- 
man; B. F. Thurber, street commissioner. 

license party capturing the majority of 
the offices. Two hundred fifty-two votes 
were cast. The result in detail: 

For license, 11*2; against license, 124. 

President— C. H. Smith (for), 126; 
J. W. Crigler (ag), 122. 

Trustees— E. R. Humiston, 233; 
Frank Glasgow (for), 127; S. McLean 
(for), 117: S. Kindlund (ag), 124; E. 
S. Mills (ag), 122; C. L. Peterson, 42 20. 

Recorder — Frank Lewis, 231. 

Treasurer— C. W. Smith (for), 127; 
John Humiston (ag), 125. 
"Assessor — 0. G. Grundsten (for), 142; 
J. W. Lewis (ag), 107. 

Justice 43 — Jonathan Gordon (for), 
126; C. T. Shattuc (ag), 126. 44 

Again was the license question decid- 
ed in the negative in 1889, this time by 
a reduced majority of 6. While the 
.tickets- -i»- the- field were the usual li- 
cense* ' 'aS(£. gainst license, they were 
labeled ^respectively citizens and inde- 
pendent. The former elected all officers 
except' .the nominee for treasurer. Two 
hundred eighty-six votes were cast. The 

For license, 138; against license, 144. 

President— Daniel Shell (for), 155; 
(\ P. Shepard (ag), 129. 

Trustees — Frank Glasgow (for), 160; 
Chas. W. Smith (for), 157; C. J. Sam- 
uelson (for), 154; E. S. Mills, (ag), 
124; W. H. Gilbert (ag), 130; August 
Felk (ag), 129. 

Recorder — Frank Lewis (for), 152; 
M. P. Mann (ag), 132. 

°Mr. Peterson had been nominated by the 
license caucus, but declined to make the race. 
E. R. Humiston, who had been nominated at 
the against license caucus, was then placed on 
the license ticket ! n his place. Twenty votes 
were vast for Mr. Peterson, despite the fact 
that he refused to be a candidate. 

°C. W. Hildreth was appointed justice on 
June 6, 1888, for a two year term. 

"Appointive officers: J. A. Town, city at- 
torney; B. F. Thurber, street commissioner; 
B. W. Lyon, night policeman. 

Digitized by 



Treasurer — F. L. Humiston (for), Justice* 5 — Wm. M. Bear, 255. 
139; A. L. Johnson (ag), 147. Constable— W. I.. Humiston. 4e 

Assessor— C. W. Hildreth, 253. 

46 Jonathan Gordon appointed Justice Aug. 9, of 1890. Appointive officers: J. A. Town, 

1889, to fill an unexpired term. city attorney; B. F. Thurber, street commis- 
„_ „ sloner; Chas. A. Covey, night policeman; 
"Served one year and resigned March 15, August Strom, police officer. 

1890. His successor was chosen at the election 

Digitized by 



WORTHINGTON— 1890-1908. 

The growth of Worthington during 
its early history was slow but continuous. 
At the annual elections each year a larg- 
er vote was polled than on the pre- 
vious year. Every five years the census 
showed an increase in population. In 
1875 the population had been 419 ; . in 
1880, 636; in 1885, 997. When the 
census of 1890 was taken the number 
of inhabitants had increased to 1,164, a 
gain of 167 over that of five years pre- 
vious and 528 over that of ten years be- 
fore. Prom the time of the grasshopper 
visitation the village had been prosper- 
ous. From 1880 to 1890 there had been 
no boom, but a substantial gain in all 
branches of business was noticed. The 
town had advanced from a frontier vil- 
lage of the shack and shanty period to 
a well built, handsome and prosperous 

Three hundred six votes were cast at 
the annual election of 1890. Sentiment 
had turned back to the license idea of 
regulating the liquor traffic, and the li- 
cense party carried the day by 33 major- 
ity. That party also elected its village 
ticket. The vote: 

For license, 164; against license, 131. 

President— Daniel Shell (for), 163; 
C P. Shepard (ag), 138. 

Jonathan Gordon was appointed justice on 
Nov. 19, 1890, to complete a short unexpired 

Trustees — Frank Glasgow (for), 113; 
C. J. Samuclson (for), 156; C. W. 
Sraiui (for), 163; J. W. Crigler yag), 
131; Gubt Swanberg (ag), 136; Frank 
Hiinsberger (ag), 139. 

Recorder — Frank Lewis (for), 157; 
M. A. Nichols (ag), 143. 

Treasurer — A. L. Johnson, 282. 

Assessor — J. A. Town (for), 157; C. 
W. Hildreth (ag), 141. 

Justice 1 — L. B. Bennett (for), 163: C. 
W. Hildreth (ag), 136. 

Constable — David Anderson, 300.* 

A system of water works was installed 
by the city in 1891. The question of 
issuing bonds to the amount of $15,000 
for the purpose was decided in the af- 
firmative by a vote of 237 to 52 at the 
annual election in March. The contract 
fr.r putting in the system was let to 
Harrison & Hawley on June 10, 1891, 
on a bid of $14,700, and the system was 
completed late in the year. E. B. Plotts 
was inspector of construction. The total 
cost of the plant and system was $17,- 
549.22. s 

The license party was victorious at 
the polls again in 1891, carrying the 
day by 7 majority. Three hundred nine 
votes were polled. The vote: 

For license, 150; against license, 143. 

*Appolntlve officers same as preceding: year. 
Recorder's annua] report. March 21, 1892, 



Digitized by 




President— Daniel Shell (for), 168; 
C. P. Shepard (ag), 138. 

Trustees — Frank Glasgow (for), 164; 
J. P. Monlton (for), 170; Aug. Falk 
(for), 158; 0. G. Grundsten (ag), 144; 
B. S. Hurd (ag), 136; M. A. Nichols 
(ag), 143. 

Recorder — Frank Lewis (for), 160; 
E. F. Buchan (ag), 142. 

Treasurer — A. L. Johnson, 307. 

Assessor— E. W. Goff (for), 157; L. 
B. Bennett (ag), 151. 

Justice (one year) — C. W. Hildreth 
(for), 153; Jonathan Gordon (ag), 143. 

Justice (two years) — W. M. Bear 4 
(for), 160; L. B. Bennett (ag), 144. 

Constable— H. W. Fuqua (for), 151; 
B. G. Lagrange (ag), 147. B 

One of the most progressive years in 
the town's history was 1892. Nobles 
county's land values were rising, real es- 
tate transfers were numerous, and set- 
tlers came into the country by hun- 
dreds. The population of the village in- 
creaised wonderfully, and many new 
business enterprises were started. So 
great was the influx of settlers that resi- 
dence houses became scarce, and the 
town could not take care of all that 
came. Every available living room in 
the city was utilized. 6 The sound of the 
hammer, the rush of the plane and the 
grind of the saw were heard in the 
streets, and new structures went up in 
all directions. The improvements for 
the year amounted to over $100,000, the 
largest expenditure ever made in a sin- 
gle year up to that time. With the 
exception of $3,000 the expenditure was 

4 Died during term. L. B. Bennett appointed 
Jan. 4, 1893. 

■Appointive officers same as preceding year. 

•"For months every room that a human be- 
ing could consent to dwell In has been oc- 
cupied. Hotels and boarding houses have 
been crowded to repletion by families who 
• would fain keep house for themselves. The 
old hexagonal school house has given shelter 
within the last two months to about fifty 

all of a private character. Among the 
improvements were the brick store build- 
ings of H. E. Torrance, $12,000; Geo. 
W. Wilson, $7,000; and W. I. Humis- 
ton & Co., $4,500; and the water works 
building, erected at a cost of $3,000. 

The vote at the annual village election 
that year was 352, a gain of 43 over the 
preceding year, and the largest vote that 
had yet been cast. License carried by 
46 majority. The vote in detail: 

For license, 191; against license, 145. 

President— H. E. Torrance, 344. 

Trustees— E. W. Goff, 341; F. E. 
Durfee (for), 171; Fred L. Humiston 
(for), 183; Gust Swanberg (ag), 174; 
R. W. Moberly (ag), 157. 

Recorder— E. E. Warren (for), 190; 
H. M. Palm (ag), 152. 

Treasurer — M. P. Mann, 345. 

Assessor — O. G. Grundsten, 343. T 

During the first half of 1893 the 
prosperous times continued; then came 
the memorable panic and the resultant 
hard times period, and the village was 
at a standstill for several years. One of 
the banks closed its doors; business wag 
for a time paralyzed; the town was with- 
out life. Before the panic came, it had 
been decided to install an electric light- 
ing system. On July 10 the question of 
issuing $8,000 bonds for that purpose 
was submitted to the voters at a special 
election. The matter was affirmatively 
decided by a vote of 202 to 24, but the 
bonds could not be disposed of, and it 
was two years later before the plant was 
put in. 

Three hundred ninety-one votes were 

persons. Though not at all adapted for resi- 
dence purposes. It has been a welcome refuge 
for many worthy people who have come to 
dwell with us." — Worthlngton Advance, April 
21, 1892. 

7 Appointlve officers: March 22, J. A. Town, 
city attorney; April 2, David Anderson, night 
policeman; April 2, O. G. Grundsten, street 
commissioner. Mr. Grundsten resigned Aug. 
17, when Thomas Crever was appointed to 
complete the term. 

Digitized by 




cast in 1893. License was carried by 
22 majority, and the whole license ticket, 
with the exception of the nominee for 
constable, was elected. The vote: 

For license, 198; against license, 176. 

President— Daniel Shell (for), 236; 
A. Rakestraw (ag), 154. 

Trustees— E. C. Pannell (for), 237; 
David Anderson (for), 235; Jas. Man- 
ning (for), 216; Gust Swanberg (ag), 
177; W. W. Loveless (ag), 140; B. W. 
Moberly (ag), 149. 

Recorder — A. L. Johnson (for), 232; 
H. M. Palm (ag), 157. 

Treasurer — M. P. Mann, 289. 

Assessor — L. B. Bennett (for), 226; 
C. W. Hildreth (ag), 150. 

Justices— C. W. Hildreth, 380; L. B. 
Bennett (for), 226; R. W. Moberly 
(ag), 161. 

Constable— H. M. Twitchell (for), 
158; H. W. Fuqua (ag), 221. 8 

Worthington has been miraculously 
free from destructive fire losses, due 
largely, in recent years, to its excellent 
fire department. On only a few occas- 
sions has serious loss been encountered 
from the fiery element. One of the most 
destructive blazes occurred early on the 
morning of June 30, 1894. The fire 
was discovered about three o'clock in the 
rear of two frame store buildings on 
Tenth street, between Second and Third 
avenues, occupied by Blair & Co., shoe 
and harness dealers, and W. S. Lewis, 
grocer. When discovered, the fire had 
a good start, but within one hour after 
the alarm was given, it was under con- 
trol, and half an hour later it was out. 
Both buildings were destroyed, and both 
stocks of goods were consumed. On 

•Appointive officers: B. F. Thurber, street 
commissioner; David Anderson, night police- 
man; J. A. Town, city attorney. 

•The vote of this election is not obtainable. 

"Had been made an elective office. Ap- 

November 12, of the same year, Blair & 
Co., was again burned out in a new lo- 
cation. The latter fire was caused by 
the falling of a lamp. 

License carried by 92 majority in 
1894, , and the following officers were 
elected: 9 President, Daniel Shell; trus- 
tees, E. C. Pannell, David Anderson and 
Frank Glasgow; recorder, A. L. John- 
son; treasurer, A. H. Palm; assessor, 

E. B. Plotts; street commissioner, 10 B. 

F. Thurber. 

The gain in population from 1890 to 
1895 was 753, and in the last named 
year the census showed a population of 
1917. Worthington was again the me- 
tropolis of the southwestern corner of the 
state. 11 One of the events of 1895 was 
the installation of an electric lighting 
plant by the village. At a special elec- 
tion held June 11 the matter was sub- 
mitted to the voters. On the first pro- 
position submitted, that the village put 
in an electric lighting plant at a cost of 
not more than $15,000, the vote was 201 
in favor to 79 against. On the second 
proposition, that the village issue bonds 
not to exceed $15,000 for the purpose of 
putting in the plant, the vote was 197 
in favor to 87 against. The contract for 
the system was let in September to 
Clausen & Bonwell, of St. Paul, repre- 
senting the General Electric company, 
of Chicago, on a bid of $8,099. The 
contract for the engines and boilers was 
let to Sioux City Engine & Iron Works 
on a bid of $5,095. The system was 
completed that fall, and the lights were 
turned on for the first time December 
10. The plant started with a patronage 
of 300 lights. 

pointive officers who served under this ad- 
ministration were R. P. Free, night police- 
man, and J. A. Town, city attorney. 

"Populations of other nearby towns: Lu- 
verne, 1,890; Pipestone, 1,668; Jackson, 1.356; 
Adrian, 1,073, 

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The election of 1895 was a complete The license people regained control of 

victory for the against .license party, the city government in 1896, carrying 

License was defeated by 35 majority, the "question" by 61 votes and electing 

and, with the exception of nominees for all except one member of their ticket. 

one trustee, one justice of the peace and Four hundred sixty-three votes were cast. 

constable, all the temperance nominees The result: 

were elected. Four hundred seventy-six For license, 260; against license, 199. 

votes were cast. The vote: President — Azom Forbes 18 (for), 277; 

For license, 219; against license, 254. W. W. Loveless (ag), 181. 

President— Daniel Shell (for), 231; Trustees— E. C. Pannell (for), 280; 

C. J. Smallwood (ag), 245. Frank Glasgow (for), 275; 0. G. Grand- 
Trustees — David Anderson (for), 247; sten (for), 260; H. N. Douglas (ag), 

Azom Forbes (for), 236; E. C. Pan- 199; E. F. Buchan (ag), 179; J. D. 

nell (for), 234; H. M. Palm (ag), 238; Matteson (ag), 191. 

G. B. Curran (ag), 237; Marvin Ham- Becorder— C. H. Sibley 14 (for), 279; 

mond (ag), 231. P. G. Johnson (ag), 178. 

Becorder — C. M. Crandall (for), 214; Treasurer — H. E. Torrance (for), 

Gust Swanberg (ag), 260. 263; A. H. Palm (ag), 199. 

Treasurer — A. L. Johnson (for), 233; Street Commissioner — Bobert Free 

A. H. Palm (ag), 242. (for), 228; B. F. Thurber (ag), 232. 
Justices— C. M. Cory (for), 247; L. Assessor— E. W. Goff (for), 256; J. 

B. Bennett (for), 208; C. W. Hildreth H. Maxwell (ag), 200. 15 

(ag), 257; J. B. Green (ag), 225. There was a falling off in the vote 

Street Commissioner — B. E. Covey in 189.7, 399 being the highest number 

(for), 169; B. F. Thurber (ag), 305. cast for any one office. With the 

Assessor — B. B. Plotts (for), 231; W. exception of two minor offices, the li- 

H. Buchan (ag), 242. cense party elected its ticket. The vote: 

Constable — Gilbert Anderson (for), For license, 204; against license, 189. 

238; H. W. Fuqua (ag), 232. 12 President— Frank Glasgow (for), 213; 

Worthington was visited by a hard H. M. Palm (ag), 186. 

wind storm on the night of May 11, Trustees — A. N. Douglas (for), 215; 

1896, when several houses and other B. B. Beeson (for), 215; O. G. Grund- 

buildings were partially destroyed. The sten (for), 206; E. A. Tripp (ag), 189; 

worst damage was done in Clary's addi- S. Kindlund (ag), 181; J. D. Matteson 

tion. Boofs were torn off, buildings (ag), 182. 

blown from their foundations, and con- Becorder — E. K. Smith (for), 220; 

siderable loss sustained. No one was W. W. Loveless (ag), 176. 

killed, and only one person, Wm. Guise's Treasurer — H. E. Torrance (for), 

child, was injured, and that not ser- 213; Jas. S. Bamage (ag), 182. 

iously. Street Commissioner — B. P. Free 1 * 

"Appointive officers: Samuel Gibson, night "Died during term. M. S. Smith appointed 

policeman; Daniel Rohrer, city attorney; H. to fill the vacancy on Nov. 13, 1896. 

W. Fuqua, policeman; M. S. Smith, city clerk. u Annn | nt | vo *«*„**.*. t a t. ,„ „ tt . * 

The office of city clerk was established Dec. tor^v? T T wirSn^ n^f SLf . u 

9. 1895. and Mr. Smith was appointed on that £™ mlthT dty cS * policeman; M. 

"Resigned Aug. 27. 1897, to accept office of 

"Pled during term of office, night policeman. B. F, Thurber appointed 

Sept. 10. 

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Loo'cin^ ]Down Fourth Avenue from Main Street. The Building in the Foreground 

is the Miller Block. 


Looking North from the Corner of Fourth Avenue and Eleventh Street. Showing the 
Site of the Present Fair Grounds and a Vacant Country Now Largely 

Built Up. 

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(for), 213; B. F. Thurber (ag), 183. 

Assessor— E. W. Goff (for), 230; L. 
B. Bennett (ag), 167. 

Justices— C. H. Schechter (for), 212; 
B. W. Lyon (for), 189; J. H. Maxwell 
(ag), 178; C. W. Hildreth (ag), 208. 

Constable— R. C. Dana (for), 214; H. 
W. Puqua (ag), 177. 17 

Four hundred thirty votes were cast 
in 1898. License carried by 24 majority, 
and nearly the whole license ticket was 
elected. The vote: 

For license, 215; against license, 209. 

President — Frank Glasgow (for), 237; 
H. M. Palm (ag), 193. 

Trustees — Walter Aagaard (for), 226; 
\V. E. Madison (for), 238; E. K. Smith 
(for), 212; Otis Bigelow (ag), 208; 
Gust Swanberg (ag), 209; J. D. Mat- 
teson (ag), 195. 

Recorder— T. D. Palmer (for), 234; 
H. Hawley (ag), 194. 

Treasurer— E. C. Pannell (for), 247; 
S. Kindlund (ag), 183. 

Street Commissioner — C. H. Alford 
(for), 204; B. F. Thurber (ag), 224. 

Assessor— R. B. Plotts (for), 176; E. 
W. Goff (ag), 251. 18 

Again was the license party successful 
in 1899 by a small majority. All its 
nominees were elected with the excep- 
tion of the one for recorder. , Four hun- 
dred fifty-seven votes were polled. The 
result : 

For license, 230; against license, 220; 
no license, 3. 

President— E. C. Pannell (for), 250; 
A. N. Douglas (ag), 206. 

Trustees— W. E. Madison (for), 251; 

"Appointive officers: J. A. Town, city at- 
torney; M. S. Smith, city clerk; R. P. Free, 
night policeman. 

u Appointive officers: J. A. Town, attorney; 
M. S. Smith, clerk; R. P. Free, nightwatch- 

•Appointive officers: J. A. Town, attorney; 
M. S. Smith, clerk; S. A. Roshon, marshal; 

Walter Aagaard (for), 243; J. N. Gould 
(for), 248; Peter Thompson (ag), 212; 
H. M. Palm (ag), 203; Jas. Mackay 
(ag), 204. 

Recorder— C. M. Cory (for), 222; E. 
W. Goff (ag), 232. 

Treasurer— Aug. Palm (for), 229; C. 
L. Peterson (ag), 227. 

Street Commissioner — C. H. Alford 
tfor), 238; B. F. Thurber (ag), 219. 

Justices — F. A. Stevens (for), 238; 
H. S. Hobson (for), 238; A. E. Tuttle 
(ag), 196; C. W. Hildreth (ag), 222. 

Constable— S. A. Koshon (for), 251; 
H. W. Euqua (ag), 204. 19 

The decade from 1890 to 1900 was 
one of advancement. Despite the few 
years of hard times, the growth was mar- 
velous. Land values rose several hun- 
dred per cent during the decade, and 
thousands of new settlers came to Nobles 
county. The effect on Worthington was 
a healthy growth in all lines of busi- 
ness. New enterprises came into exis- 
tence, and prosperity abounded. The 
census of 1900 gave the village a popu- 
lation of 2,386, an increase of 1,222, or 
over one hundred per cent, in ten years. 
During the last half of this ten year 
period the increase was 469. 20 

Out of 456 votes cast in 1900 license 
carried by a small majority. Two mem- 
bers of the council and treasurer went 
to the temperance party; the license 
party was otherwise successful in elect- 
ing its ticket. The vote: 

For license, 232 ; against license, 220. 21 

President— E. C. Pannell (for), 230; 
Gust Swanberg (ag), 223. 

M. J. Bryan, nightwatchman. 

"•Populations of other nearby towns, ac- 
cording to that census: Adrian, 1,258; Lu- 
verne, 2,223; Pipestone, 2,536; Slayton, 883; 
Jackson, 1,756; Windom, 1,944; St. James, 

"One vote cast for "no license," and one 
for "against license — yes," is not included. 

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Trustee*— W. E. Madison (for), 225; 
J. N. Gould (for), 226; Walter Aagaard 
(for), 220; EL N. Douglas (ag), 230; 
David Anderson (ag), 223; E. W. 
Goff (ag), 234. 

Becorder — John Boberg (for), 237; 
Geo. D. Palm (ag), 217. 

Treasurer— E. P. Pepple (for), 218; 
C. L. Peterson (ag), 238. 

Street Commissioner — Pat O'Connor" 
(for), 251; B. F. Thurber (ag), 200. 

Assessor— J. J. Kendlen (for), 254; 
J. P. Vail (ag), 198." 

The village election of 1901 brought 
out 500 votes, the largest that had up 
to that time been polled in the village, 
and the largest in the history of the 
village up to the election of 1907. Li- 
cense caried by 34 votes, and the whole 
license ticket, with the exception of 
president of the council, was elected. 
The vote: 

For license, 265; against license, 231. 

President— J. B. Conway (for), 216; 
H. N. Douglas, (ag), 282. 

Trustees— W. E. Madison (for), 302; 
W. B. Hibbard (for), 273; John Bo- 
berg (for), 310; John Bamage (ag), 
198; Adolph Amondson (ag), 219; G. 
M. Walker (ag), 188. 

Becorder— F. M. Hickman (for), 285; 
Loren Clark (ag), 215. 

Treasurer— Merle Hurlbert (for), 288; 
H. Hawley (ag), 212. 

Street Commissioner — Pat O'Connor, 

Assessor — J. J. Kendlen (for), 314; 
W. E. Stoutemyer (ag), 182. 

Justices — Gilbert Anderson (for), 
286; F. A. Stevens 23 (for), 300; J. P. 
Vail (ag), 194; J. H. Scott (ag), 213. 

"Appointive officers: J. A. Town, attorney; 
M. 8. Smith, clerk; S. A. Roshon, marshal; 
M. J. Bryan, nlghtwatchman. 

"Resigned July 16, 1902. C. W. W. Dow ap- 
pointed to vacancy. 

Constable— S. A. Eoshon (for), 287; 
David Bergstresser (ag), 208." 

Municipal politics were conducted on 
slightly different lines in 1902. An ef- 
fort was made to have both parties unite 
on a ticket and do away with the bit- 
ter campaigning that had characterized 
former elections. With this in view a 
citizens' caucus was held, participated in 
by the no license party and some of the 
opposition, and a full ticket was put in 
nomination. The license party then put 
up a ticket, endorsing many of the 
nominees on the citizens' ticket, and was 
successful in electing two of the nomi- 
nees. The total vote was 465, and li- 
cense caried by 53. The vote: 

For license, 256; against license, 203. 

President — Frank Glasgow (for), 214; 
H. M. Palm (cit), 251. 

Trustees— Walter Aagaard (for), 212; 
E. A. Tripp (cit), 265; J. N. Gould, 
453; A. E. Albertus, 430. 

Recorder — J. M. Messer, 454. 

Treasurer — Merle Hurlbert (for), 
233; Loren Clark (cit), 231. 

Street Commissioner — Pat O'Connor 
(for), 267; B. F. Thurber (cit), 192. 

Assessor — J. J. Kendlen, 444." 

For several years prior to 1903 Worth- 
ington had witnessed very prosperous 
times. Crops had been good, and the 
result was lively business in the county 
seat town. Then came three years of 
partial crop failures due to heavy rains, 
and during that time business was at a 
standstill. No building improvements 
were made; no new business enterprises 
started; there was a falling off in popu- 

The village was visited by a flood on 

^Appointive officers: J. A. Town, attorney; 
M. S. Smith, clerk; S. A. Roshon, marshal; L. 
L. McCartney, nlghtwatchman. 

25 Appointive officers: J. A. Town, attorney; 
J. M. Plotts, clerk; S. A. Roshon, marshal; 
L. L. McCartney, nlghtwatchman. 

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Friday, Sept. 11^ 1903, and considerable 
damage resulted. It was due to an ab- 
normal rainfall that almost took the 
form of a cloudburst. Okabena lake 
overflowed, and every low part of town 
was covered with water. The Bock Is- 
land railroad was completely covered 
along its whole course through the city. 
Many houses were filled with water, side- 
walks floated away, basements and cel- 
lars were filled, and much livestock was 
lost. Many of the streets were navigated 
in boats, and rescue parties worked all 
night rescuing people who were in dan- 
ger from the flood. Thousands of dol- 
lars were lost as a result of the disaster. 

For the first time in several years the 
no license party was successful in voting 
out the saloons. The majority was an 
extraordinarily large one — 68. Three 
tickets were in the field, one of them, 
however, being made up almost entirely 
of the nominees of the other two. The 
citizens' party, which had its origin the 
year before, placed a complete ticket in 
the field, and the no license party did 
the same. The license caucus was held, 
but adjourned without naming a ticket. 
Later another ticket appeared, labeled 
"peoples independent," which was an 
endorsement of nominees of the other 
two tickets. Four hundred seventy-nine 
votes were polled. The result: 

For license, 203; against license, 271. 

President— J. N. Gould (cit), 236; 
E. A. Tripp (peo 2C and ag), 238. 

Trustees — W. E. Oliver (peo and cit), 
310; W. I. Humiston (peo and cit), 
266; 0. W. Dieckhoff (peo and ag), 
226; M. P. Mann (cit), 248; David 

"Peoples independent. 

"Died during term. J. S. Kiea appointed 
Dec. 19, 1904, to nil the vacancy. 

"•Appointive officers: J. A. Town, attor- 
ney; J. M. Plotts, clerk; 8. A. Rosbon, night- 

Anderson (ag), 203; John Kamage (ag), 

Kecorder — J. M. Messer (cit), 212; 
Loren Clark (peo and ag), 261. 

Treasurer— Fred Wall (cit), 297; J. 
S. Tolverson (ag), 165. 

Street Commissioner — Pat O'Connor 
(peo and cit), 324; A. E. Bloom (ag;, 

Assessor — Harvey Kew (cit), 256; J. 
H. Maxwell (peo), 220. 

Justices— C. W. W. Dow (all tickets), 
438; Gilbert Anderson 27 (peo and cit), 
316; J. W. Bead (ag), 169. 

Constable — K. P. Free (peo and cit), 
277; J. P. Loveless (ag), 196. 28 

There was a change of many votes on 
the license question in 1904, and license 
was voted by 37 majority. Former con- 
ditions in politics were resumed, and the 
two old parties — license and against li- 
cense — again fought the battle. The for- 
mer elected every nominee. The total 
vote was 467. The result: 

For license, 250; against license, 213. 

President— J. N. Gould (for), 275; 
E. A. Tripp (ag), 188. 

Trustees— M. P. Mann, 452; S. M. 
Stewart (for), 298; W. I. Humiston 
(for), 263; O. W. Dieckhoff (ag), 197; 
W. O. Saxon (ag), 168. 

Kecorder— W. E. Madison (for), 269; 
Loren Clark (ag), 196. 

Treasurer— Fred Wall 29 (for), 268; A. 
T. Latta (ag), 199. 

Street Commissioner — Z. M. Smith 
(for), 240; W. E. Bloom (ag), 222. 

Assessor — Ira Mishler (for), 274; J. 
H. Maxwell (ag), 191. 80 

The census of 1905 gave Worthington 

"•Resigned June 10, 1904. John A. Boberg 
completed the term. 

■•Appointive officers: J. A. Town, attor- 
ney; J. M. Plotts, clerk; H. A. Thurber, 

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a population of 2,276, which was a loss 
oi liU in live jears. It was the lirst 
census since the founding of the town 
that showed a loss of population. The 
population was divided by wards, as fol- 
lows: Mrstj 1,142; second, 1,134. Of 
tiie total population, JJ04 were Minne- 
sota born, 1,013 were born in other states 
of the union^ and 3&ti were foreign born. 
Of the last named, the countries of 
birth were as follows: Germany, 6b; 
bweden, 105; Norway, 24; Canada, 21; 
Ireland, 18; Denmark, 21; England, 15; 
Bohemia, 1; Scotland, 7; Wales, 5; Aus- 
tria, 6; all other countries, 8. 

Jtour hundred thirty-seven votes were 
polled in 1905. License was carried by 
(i? majority, and the license party elect- 
ed every nominee on its ticket. The 

For license^ 248; against license, 181. 

President— J. N. Gould (for), 249; 
L. E. Fitch (ag), 188. 

Trustees— S. M. Stewart (for), 271; 
W. E. Madison (for), 272; W. I. Hum- 
iston (for), 250; E. A. Tripp (ag), 
178; Wm. Chaney (ag), 173; Frank 
Saxon (ag), 167. 

Eecorder— W. I. Carpenter (for), 272; 
Jas. Gibson (ag), 159. 

Treasurer— T. A. Palmer (for), 263; 
A. H. Segerstrom (ag), 170. 

Street Commissioner — Z. M. Smith 
(for), 262; W. E. Bloom (ag), 174. 

Assessor — Ira Mishler (for), 250; S. 
Kindlund (ag), 187. 

Justice*— J. S. Kies, 433; C. W. W. 
Dow, 424. 

Constable— Robert Free (for), 255; 
David Bergstresser (ag), 182. 81 

Again in 1906 was the license party 
successful in electing every nominee. Li- 

"Appointive officers: S. S. Smith, attorney; 
C. L. Mann, clerk; H. M. Twitchell, night- 

cense was voted by a majority of 70. 
The total vote was 448. In detail: 

Eor license, 252; against license, 183. 

President— W. E. Madison (for), 262; 
E. A. Tripp (ag), 183. 

Trustees— C. P. Dolan (for), 277; 
Ed. Stoltenberg (for), 275; S. M. Stew- 
art (for), 264; J. H. Maxwell (ag), 
166; E. V. Voak (ag), 177; L. E. Pitch 
(ag), 177. 

Kecorder — J.. M. Addington (for), 
278; John A. Sahlbom (ag), 167. 

Treasurer— G. H. Luehrs (for), 277; 
Carl Anderson (ag), 171. 

Street Commissioner — Z. M. Smith 
(for), 286; W. E. Bloom (ag), 162. 

Assessor — Ira Mishler (for), 280; S. 
Kindlund (ag), 168. 82 

In 1907 the no license party made al- 
most a clean sweep. License was de- 
feated by 43 majority, and the temper- 
ance party elected all its nominees with 
the exception of two minor officers. Five 
hundred twenty-six votes were cast — 
more than at any preceding village elec- 
tion. The result: 

Por license, 238; against license, 281. 

President— W. E. Madison (for), 259; 
E. A. Tripp (ag), 266. 

Trustees— J. N. Gould (for), 252; C. 
P. Dolan (for), 258; Ed. Stoltenberg 
(for), 248; Ray Humiston (ag), 267; 
Fred Goff (ag), 279; E. V. Voak (ag), 

Recorder — Sam Swanson (for), 249; 
A. W. Fagerstrom (ag), 274. 

Treasurer— G. H. Luehrs (for), 256; 
James Mackay (ag), 268. 

Street Commissioner — Z. M. Smith 
(for), 269; Ed Cheatham (ag), 254. 

Assessor — Ira Mishler, 520. 

Justices— J. S. Kies, 522; C. W. W. 
Dow, 517. 

"Appointive officers: S. S. Smith, attorney; 
C. L. Mann, clerk; August Anderson, night- 

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Constable— R. P. Free (for), 250; S. 
A. Roshon (ag), 272. 83 

The election on March 17, 1908, was 
the most bitterly contested ever held in 
Worthington, and 529 votes were cast — 
the largest vote ever polled. License 
carried by one vote, and with one ex- 
ception the whole license ticket was 

A contest was brought by members of 
the no license party, who alleged that 
illegal votes had been cast, that "in 
favor of license" had not received a ma- 
jority of the votes cast, and other rea- 
son* why the court should set aside the 
canvass of the election board, and de- 
clare the election void so far as it re- 
lated to the license question. The case 
was tried before Judge P. E. Brown, 

■'Appointive officers: S. S. Smith, attorney; 

who held that there was no law on the 
Minnesota statute books which provided 
for the bringing of a contest of the kind, 
and the case was dismissed. 

The result of the election in detail: 

For license, 263; against license, 262. 

President— W. E. Madison (for), 289; 
E. V. Voak (ag), 237. 

Trustees— C. P. Dolan (for), 290; 
William Ronan (for), 282; C. B. Ward 
(for), 261; Fred Goff (ag), 247; Bay 
Humiston (ag), 239; Geo. Weidman 
(ag), 252. 

Recorder— R. H. Torrance (for), 270; 
Will Schrader (ag), 256. 

Treasurer — Sam Swanson (for), 271; 
Oscar Sterling (ag), 253. 

Assessor — Robert Reed (for), 252; Ira 
Mishler (ag), 271. 34 

••Appointive officers: J. A. Town, attorney; 

C. L. Mann, clerk; S. A. Roshon, nightwatch- C. L. *Mann, clerk; Z. M. Smith, street corn- 
man. The latter resigned, and on Nov. 11, missidher; Chas. Duel, nUrhtwatchman. 
1907, Chas. Duel was appointed nightwatch- 

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One of the very first institutions to 
be provided after the founding of a town 
is the public school. While Worthing- 
ton was founded in the fall of 1871, the 
population during the first winter was 
so small (and included no children) that 
no steps were taken to provide for a 
school. With the rush of settlers in the 
spring and summer of 1872, however, 
the matter of providing a school be- 
came a live issue. 

While preparations were being made 
to organize a public school a private one 
was started in the summer by Mrs. M. 
B. Soule, who gave instruction to about 
twenty students for a few weeks. Sev- 
eral public meetings were held during 
the summer months, at which plans for 
the organization were talked over, and it 
seemed to be the general desire that the 
new town should make liberal provis- 
ions for its school. 1 

A district school, No. 5, was organ- 

,,4 So far as we can learn there Is a very 
general expression among property owners in 
favor of the erection of a school building for 
a graded school to cost about $15,000. The 
meetings held upon the subject have been sur- 
prisingly harmonious and unanimous upon the 
point that nothing which the community can 
do to attract settlement and investment 
among us, and consequently, to facilitate the 
rapid enhancement in the value of real prop- 
erty, will be so effective as first class school 
advantages. The first step is to organize first 
class common schools. In time, by which we 
yean In a few years at farthest, we feel con- 
naent the efforts we are making to secure the 

ized, but it was decided to postpone the 
erection of a building. In December, 
1872, Worthington's first public school 
was opened, and it continued four 
months. Seventy-five pupils attended, 
enrolled in two grades. Major T. C. 
Bell was the principal and taught the 
higher grade; Miss Kate Chaney (later 
Mrs. J. A. Town) was the teacher of 
the lower grade. The school was main- 
tained during the summer months and 
was attended by about forty students. 
Miss Clara Horton was the teacher. In 
November, 1873, the school opened 
again under C. C. Luckey and Mrs. Jen- 
kins and continued about five months, 
with an attendance of between seventy- 
five and eighty students. 

From the first it had been the desire 
and intention of the founders of the 
town and leading citizens to establish a 
school of higher learning. On Decem- 
ber 1, 1873, the organization of the 
Worthington Seminary association was 
perfected, the object of which was '"to 

location of a seminary of learning at this 
point will be sucessful; meantime we shall 
have excellent common school privileges. The 
best of talent can be secured to conduct the 
schools, and the contribution of apparatus 
for illustrating physical science, which Pro- 
fessor Humiston proposes to make to the 
public schools at a cost of $500 or $600, is 
only one among many other features which 
will tend to make our schools first class. The 
people who are settling here have been ac- 
customed to such privileges elsewhere, and to 
the manifestation of a liberal spirit, and they 
will have the same facilities here." — Western 
Advance, Aug. 31, 1872. 


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establish a seminary of learning for the 
education of persons of both sexes in 
science, languages, arts and useful and 
polite literature." The first board ot 
directors, chosen at the time of the or- 
ganization, was composed of Eev. B. H. 
Crever, E. F. Humiston, C. Z. Sutton, 
Eev. J. W. Lewis, G. Anderson, Allen 
Chaney, H. D. Humiston, of Worthing- 
ton; Eev. J. E. Fitch, of Windom; Eev. 
Bronson, of Luverne; Eev. H. Webb, of 
Saint Peter; Levi Shell, of Sibley. The 
association was incorporated on Decem- 
ber 8, 2 and it was decided to ask the 
Minnesota conference of the Methodist 
church to assume the relation of patron, 
which was done. The seminary was es- 
tablished and had an intermittant exis- 
tence of a few years. Had it not been 
for the disastrous times that came upon 
the country there can be no doubt that 
the institution would have become a 
prosperous school. 

During the summer of 1874 the pub- 
lic school was again maintained and was 
attended by sixty or seventy pupils. Mrs. 
Jenkins and Miss Ary Grant were the 
instructors. Up to this time the schools 
had been maintained under the ordi- 
nary district organization, but in the 
summer of 1874 the residents decided 
to adopt the independent district plan, 
which had been provided for by the leg- 
islature of 1872. A petition was cir- 
culated, asking the electors to assemble 
at the school room on August 12 to 
vote 'for or against the adoption of the 
new plan. 8 At the election sixteen votes 
were cast in favor of the change and 
four against it. On August 25 a board 
of six directors was chosen, as follows: 

2 The incorporators were the same as the 
first board of directors except that I. N. Sat- 
er's name appeared in place of that of Allen 

"The petition was signed by I. N. Sater, 

E. F. Humiston, I. N. Sater, Peter 
Thompson, C. Z. Sutton, M. B. Soule 
and J. A. Town. At the first meeting 
of the board Mr. Humiston was chosen 
president; Mr. Thompson, treasurer; and 
Mr. Town, clerk. The school under the 
new arrangement opened in October with 
three departments and with 160 pupils 
in attendance. Miss Barbara Cosier was 
principal and George M. Plumb and 
Miss Phila Eowell were assistants. 

For several years after the establish- 
ment of the school there was no public 
school building, and it had been con- 
ducted in rented buildings, part of the 
time at least in the famous Miller hall. 
The matter of erecting a building was 
taken up in 1875, and at a special meet- 
ing of the electors on April 27 it was 
decided to erect a school house at a cost 
of not more' than $5,000. Specifications 
were prepared and bids called for. A. 
C. Eobinson was the only bidder, and 
he was awarded the contract on August 
25, on a bid of $4,888. By a vote of 
20 to 5 bonds were voted August 23. 
Six thousand dollars worth of bonds 
were authorized, but only five thousand 
dollars worth were issued. Mr. Eobin- 
son erected the hexagonal building, which 
was in commission for so many years, 
and during the first week in January, 
1876, it was turned over to the school 
district, the event being accompanied by 
a public demonstration. The block of 
land upon which the school building was 
erected, and which is still used for school 
purposes, was donated to the village of 
Worthington in an early day by the 
Sioux City & St. Paul Eailroad com- 
pany and was later turned over to the 

Daniel Rohrer, C. P. Stough, C. B. Loveless, 
John W. Smith, Geo. O. Moore, L. F. Mc- 
Laurin, J. A. Town, Daniel Shell, Otia Bige- 
low, R. D. Barber, Benjamin F. Thurber, J. H. 
Johnson, W. S. Stockdale, C. Z. Sutton, C. C. 
Goodnow, J. Craft and H. D. Humiston. 

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school district, quit claim deeds having 
been given to the school district early 
in 1882 by both the village and the rail- 
road company. 

Until the fall of 1881 the Worthing- 
ton schools had been simply graded 
schools. Application was made in Octo- 
ber for state aid to the amount of $400, 
under a legislative act for the encour- 
agement of higher education, and on 
November 12 the organization in accord- 
ance with the regulations of the state 
high school board was perfected. Since 
that date an excellent high school has 
been maintained, from which have been 
graduated 181 pupils. 4 An alumni as- 
sociation was formed in 1894, which has 
since held annual meetings. 

The old hexagonal school building was 
in service until 1889. At a school meet- 
ing held August 20, 1888, it was de- 
cided, by a vote of 19 to 0, to erect a 
new school building. That the cost 
thereof should not be less than $20,000 

•The graduates of the Worthington high 
school are as follows: 

1887 — Jane Husselton, Alice Durfee. 

1888— None. 

1889— Dora Barber. Earl P. Free, Julia Hv- 
land. Kate Hovey, Grace E. Smith, Julia Van 

1890— Alma Covey, Laura Bingham. Mary 
Humlston. Mary Mitchell. George Foster Moore. 
Blanche H. Ram age, Winnifred Shell. Anna 

1891— T.evi E. Covey, Feme Bull is, Eva 
Oaks, Frank R. Pepple. 

1892— Jennie Covey, Nellie Stevens, Mar- 
guerite Wright. 

1893— Loren Clark, Lura Moberly, Martha 
Covey, William Thurber. 

1894— Stelle Smith, Carrie Allen, Arthur P. 
Rose. Isabel Shanks. Warren A. Rose, Mary E. 
Moffat, Gertrude Olive*-. 

1895— Mary Dobner, William V. Kennedv, 
Fred Bedford, Susan H. Chaffer, Charles H. 

1S96 — Gertie Blair. Sadie Lewis. Susan Gib- 
son, Jennie M. Beckley, Martin Edgpr Barnes. 
Eureka San 1 bom, Cora Covey, W. B. Stoute- 
myer. Jennie E. Torrance, Lulu L. Putnam. 

1897— Mary I/. Damon, Draper Davton, Maud 
Forbes. J. Burr Ludlow, Russell B. Moberly, 
Lee Shell, Robert R. Smith. 

1898— Alma Anderson. Irving Bedford, lima 

Cale, George M. Damon. Rosa Dobner. Don 

Carlos Dow. Jessie Kerr, Leone McKeever. 

Louise Riley. 

1899— Raymond Peterson, George Hurd, 

Horace Peterson, George M. Cale, Georgette 

Dow. Harold S. Tuttle, J. Manning Plotts. 

Harley Chaffer, Alta Beeson. 
1900— Eva Pearle Barnes, Besie Bedford, 

Mabel Bryden, Anna Erickson, Roy V. 

was caried by a vote of 32 to 4 and was 
later made unanimous. The board of 
education was also authorized to issue 
bonds for not less than the same amount, 
and preparations for the construction of 
a suitable building were put under way. 
Architect T. D. Allen, of Minneapo- 
lis, furnished the plans, and the contract 
for its construction was let to S. Hackett 
& Son, of South Dakota, December 4, 
1888, on a bid of $25,990, not including 
the heating plant, which cost $3,100. 
Bonds to the amount of thirty thousand 
dollars were sold April 3, 1889; the 
corner stone was laid with ceremonies 
June 8, and the new building was . ac- 
cepted October 25, 1889. The handsome 
structure has been in use since. Every 
available part of the building is in use 
and the schools are overcrowded. In the 
summer of 1907 bonds were voted to 
build additional school room, but a con- 
test was started, and it was found thaf 
the election was illegally held. 

Lewis. Byron E. Smith, Susan A. Stoutemyer, 
Jen E. Stoutemyer. 

1901 — Maude Ager. Walter Ager. Jeanette 
Bliss, Frank Bryden, Nancy Clark. Addle 
Crever. Edith Cale, Frances Clark, Carrie Day- 
ton. Alice Firth. Neta Harden. Dwight Har- 
den, Florence Maxwell, John Mosher. Reuben 
Oakcs, Jet Smallwood. Prue Town. 

1902— Edna Goodrich, Eva Miller, Stella Wil- 
bern. Ella Cloud. John Glasgow. Robert Town, 
Fred Tripp, Harry Hawley. Elmer Johnson, 
Ella Wood, Amanda Sundberg. George Wyck- 
off. Mattle Bryan. 

1903 — Harris Darling, Alida Loveless, Harry 
Wilbern. Louis Jones, Pearl Luehrs, Angle 
Erie. Clayton Bedford, Amelia Bliss. 

1904— Rosa C. Sather. Addle Ely. Nellie 
I yon. Mary Ella Morton, Amy Darling. Stella 
Anderson, Mae Tupper, Ray Hawley, Helen 
Ludlow, Clinton Mann. Luther M. Ramage, 
Laura Pepple, Herbert Frank, Lillian Webb. 
Esther Harding. 

1905 — Beulah Sain. Maggie Ackerman, Flor- 
ence Lyon, Nettle Ely. Nellie Crever. David 
Tripp, Clarence Pannell, Eva Darling, Stella 
Gray, Clyde McConkey. Orval Tupper. Flora 
Buchan. Lillian Morton. • Fanny Henricks, 
Clo.vd Comer. Martha Kindlund 

1906 — Alida Bedford. Jessie Ager, Rensie De- 
Boer, Amy Forbes. James Mott. Edward Law- 
ton, Mabel Kunzeman, Emma Ferguson, Lloyd 

1907 — Vergil Fellows. Harry Gray, Nell Ad- 
dington, Hazel Pepple, Arlouine Loveless, 
Florence Lysle. Agnes Ryan. Charles Haggard, 
Ivan Pettit, Benjamin Hilyard, Emily McCon- 

1908 — Oakley Tripp. Stanley Swanberg. War- 
ner Hubbard, Jay Voak. Florence Webb, 
Mabel Nichlas. Myrtle Turner, Anna Asman, 
Julia Town, Marjorle Shell. 

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Prom the little private school of twen- 
ty students in 1872 the Worthington 
schools have advanced until today they 
rank among the best of the state. In 
the high school are enrolled 117 stu- 
dents; in the graded schools, conducted 
by a corps of thirteen teachers, are en- 
rolled 555 pupils. 


During its history of thirty-seven 
years Worthington has not had a disas- 
trous conflagration. On three or four 
occasions fires have gained some head- 
way, but have generally been confined 
to the building in which they originated. 
The loss at any one fire has never been 
over a few thousand dollars, and the to- 
tal losses from the fiery fiend have been 
as small as any town of the size and 
'age in the state. In the early days this 
was due more to luck than because of 
any organized fire protection. After the 
water works system was installed, and 
the Worthington fire department came 
into existence, the immunity was due to 
that efficient body of fire fighters. 

Nearly every town and village takes 
more or less pride in its fire depart- 
ment, and when writing of them it is 
customary to search a book of synonyms 
for high-flown adjectives to properly de- 
scribe the work of the department and 
the heroism of the fire fighters. Some- 
times such encomiums are deserved, and 
sometimes they are not. It is because 
of this custom' among newspaper writ- 
ers to write only pleasing things of lo- 
cal institutions and men, that frequently 
sincere praise is taken with a degree of 
allowance. Let it not be so with regard 
to the Worthington fire department. I 
desire to state that, from a personal 

knowledge of the work of the depart- 
ment from the time of its founding, I 
know it to be an exceptionally capable 
organization. Thoroughly organized and 
drilled, it has always been able to con- 
trol any situation that has confronted it. 
Scores of times has the department been 
called upon to fight the "lurid leveler," 
and on every occasion has it been vic- 
torious. It has fought fire in a syste- 
matic way, and its work has been equal- 
led by but few volunteer departments. 

At an early day steps were taken to 
provide fire protection. For several years 
during its early history Worthington's 
buildings were constructed entirely of 
wood. The danger from fire was real- 
ized, and in June, 1874, the first steps 
to minimize the danger were taken. The 
village council provided for the building 
of three cisterns on the court house 
square, two on Tenth street, at the in- 
tersection with Third and Fourth aven- 
ues, and one on Ninth street, where 
it intersects with Third avenue. The 
cost of these cisterns was not to be over 
$36 each. Each was to be filled with 
water and kept so, that in case of fire 
a supply would be always on hand. - A 
bucket brigade was organized, but no 
cause arising to give it employment, it 
soon went out of existence. 

The council again bestirred itself in 
December, 1875, when action was taken 
toward providing means of fighting fire. 
The business men also took a hand, and 
employed H. McMillen to act as night 
fire patrol. The cisterns, which had 
been out of use for some time, were 
filled with water. A fire house, 24x30 
feet, was erected on the court house 
square, in which were kept a few lad- 
ders and buckets. A wagon, upon which 
were barrels filled with brine, was for a 
time kept at the fire house, to be used 

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in case of fire. Of course the water 
froze in the winter time, and the town 
would have been at the mercy of the 
flames had serious conflagrations started. 
The futility of the fire fighting appara- 
tus, as it was in the early days, is shown 
by the result of the Miller hall fire in 
1878, when no headway could be made 
in controlling the fire. 

With this primative fire fighting ap- 
paratus the people of Worthington 
fought their fires for many years. There 
was no regularly organized company, but 
the buckets and ladders were kept on 
hand, and when a fire broke out they 
were at the service of those who wished 
to use them. In the spring of 1889 an 
effort was made to secure better fire pro- 
tection. A meeting was called for March 
9 to consider ways and means, but no de- 
finite action was taken, and the village 
was without adequate protection until 

When the water works system was un- 
der construction, during the year 1891, 
preparations were made for providing 
adequate fire protection. The village 
council ordered 700 feet of hose, a hose 
cart and a hook and ladder truck, at 
an expense of $855. It then asked the 
citizens to organize a volunteer fire de- 
partment, and late in August the Worth- 
ington fire department came into exis- 
tence with 38 active members 8 and the 
following officers: Jas. Manning, chief; 
Frank Glasgow, assistant chief; H. C. 
Crawford, secretary; C. W. Smith, fore- 
man hose department; Jas. Mackay, as- 

•The charter members were F. G. Martin. 
John Mackey. J. C. Durfee. F. J. Straka, E. C. 
Wilson, M. A. Nichols. C. A. Covey. Geo. 
Shirck. C. W. Smith, Jas. Manning. H. C. 
Crawford. H. H. Graham, Jas. Rflmage, David 
Anderson. Jas. Mackav. Ernest Perrv. A. L. 
Johnson. F. L. Humiston. Henrv Twitchell. 
W. E. Madison. M. P. Mann, A. H. Palm. Will 
Wright. Merle Hurlbert. R. H. Bibby. Will 
Clippenger, F. H. Day, Ray Humiston, Frank 
Glasgow. C. Lamb, C. W. Mitchell. W. S. 
Webb, John Sahib om, M. S. Smith, Will Post, 

sistant foreman hose department; M. A. 
Nichols, foreman hook and ladder de- 
partment; J. C. Durfee, assistant fore- 
man hook and ladder department. 

Shortly after its organization the 
Worthington fire department became a 
member of the Columbian Inter-state 
Fireman association, an organization 
comprising departments in parts of Iowa, 
Minnesota and South Dakota. For sev- 
eral years the Worthington department 
was represented by a team at the annual 
tournaments, and distinguished itself by 
winning more prizes than any other team 
in the organization. 

For many years the department was 
purely volunteer, and received no aid 
from the village. Now the members re- 
ceive nominal fees for attending meet- 
ings and fighting fires. In the fall of 
1906 the department gave $2,000 toward 
the erection of the handsome city hall 
and fire station, which is now its home. 
The total cost of the building was about 
$7,000. Elegant quarters, with bath and 
all modern conveniences, have been fit- 
tod up, and the Worthington fire de- 
partment now has as fine a home as any 
volunteer department in the state of 

Following have been the principal of- 
ficers of the department since the or- 
ganization : 

1892 — Frank Glasgow, chief; Eobert 
Bibby, assistant; A. H. Palm, secretary; 
M. P. Mann, treasurer. 

1893— H. C. Crawford, chief; R. H. 

Ira S. Mishler, R. P. Free and J. D. Humis- 

The following became honorary members at 
the time of organization: Daniel Shell. J. P. 
Moulton, August Falk and Frank Lewis. The 
following have been elected honorary members 
since organization: M. S. Smith, John R. 
Newton, L. E. Covey, H. C. Crawford. Jas. 
Manning, Leon Morris, F. R. Durfee, L. L. 
McCartney. Ray Humiston, Frank Glasgow, 
W. B. Stoutemyer and J. C. Durfee. 

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Bibby, assistant; A. H. Palm, secretary; 
M. P. Mann, treasurer. 

1894— A. H. Palm, chief; Jas. Mac- 
kay, assistant; Vere Hurlbert, secretary; 
C. H. Babcock, treasurer. 

1896— A. H. Palm, chief; R. H. 
Bibby, assistant; Harry S. Hobson, sec- 
retary; Jas. S. Ramage, treasurer. 

1896— J. C. Durfee, chief; W. B. 
Madison, assistant; Harry S. Hobson, 
secretary; Jas. S. Ramage, treasurer. 

1897— R. P. Free, chief; C. H. Bab- 
cock, assistant; Loren Town, secretary; 
Jas. S. Ramage, treasurer. 

1898 — Jas. Mackay, chief; A. L. John- 
son, assistant; Harry S. Hobson, secre- 
tary; Jas. S. Ramage, treasurer. 

1899 — Jas. Mackay, chief; Harry S. 
Hobson, assistant; Arthur P. Rose, sec- 
retary; A. R. Albertus, treasurer. 

1900 — Jas. Mackay, chief; Harry S. 
Hobson, assistant; A. W. Fagerstrom, 
secretary; A. R. Albertus, treasurer. 

1901 — Jas. Mackay, chief; Harry S. 
Hobson, assistant; A. W. Fagerstrom, 
secretary; A. R. Albertus, treasurer. 

1902— Jas. Mackay, chief; W. E. 
Madison, assistant; A. W. Fagerstrom, 
secretary; A. R. Albertus, treasurer. 

1903, 1904 and 1905— Same as in 

1906— W. G. Ramage, chief; W. I. 
Humiston, assistant; A. W. Fagerstrom, 
secretary; A. R. Albertus, treasurer. 

1907— W. G. Ramage, chief; W. I. 
Humiston and T. A. Palmer, assistants; 
A. W. Fagerstrom, secretary ; A. R. Al- 
bertus, treasurer. 


One of the institutions in which the 
people of Worthington take pride is the 

•The non-commissioned officers were ap- 
pointed January 26, 1906. 

militia company — company F, of the 
Second infantry M. N. G. — commanded 
by Captain Stelle S. Smith. 

The preliminary steps towards organi- 
zation were taken in the fall of 1905, 
when those interested met and took the 
first steps necessary to bring about the 
admission of a company to the Minne- 
sota national guard. The village coun- 
cil, by resolution of October 13, 1905, 
bound itself to furnish an armory build- 
ing, equip, light, heat and maintain the 
same. The company was quickly re- 
cruited, and on November 22 Adjutant 
General Fred B. Wood issued special 
order No. 60, directing Col. Charles A. 
Van Duzee, of the Third infantry, to 
muster in the Worthington company on 
November 28. The. company was mus- 
tered in as directed with the following 
commissioned officers: Anton Schaeffer, 
of Rushmore, captain; Stelle S. Smith, 
of Worthington, first lieutenant; Charles 
B. Ward, of Worthington, second lieu- 
tenant. It was designated company F, 
of the Third infantry, of which Col. Van 
Duzee was the commanding officer. 

Following were the enlisted members 
at the date of muster-in: Oscar B. 
Blood, first sergeant; 6 Arthur Albertus, 
quartermaster sergeant; Ira P. Fox, 
Elmer H. Bassett, Morrill Ramage, J. 
D. Matteson, sergeants; Robert Smith, 
Edward Lawton, W. J. Dodge, Clyde S. 
Jones, Orville Tupper, J. M. Barron, 
corporals; Carl A. Anderson, Charles 
Ashbaugh, David Bear, Arba S. Bed- 
ford, Earl Black, Milton J. Black, Guy 
M. Borst, Bert B. Buck, Elmer Carlson, 
Charles M. Crandall, George E. Cun- 
ningham, Fred J. Deuth, Joseph P. 
Derlin, Vergil Fellows, John F. Glas- 
gow, Fred O. Green, Charles H. Hag- 

Digitized by 












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t < 7 

Digitized by 




gard, Albert E. Hayward, Bay Humis- 
ton, Outhwaite Kumler, Sterling Law- 
ton, Charles Loveless, Earl McBride, 
James McGee, Bert Malmquist, Frank 
M. Manson, James G. Mott, Henry A. 
Nelson, Fred Wetter, Arthur Nieman, 
Robert Oberman, Lloyd Patterson, John 
H. Peterson, Walter Pfeil, Warren A. 
Rose, Thomas Rowe, John Seline, Or- 
val W. Tupper, Henry M. Twitchell, 
Claude White, Gould Wilson. 

At the request of the company, on De- 
cember 9, 1907, Adjutant General Fred 

B. Wood transferred the company from 
the Third regiment to the Second, the 
company letter remaining the same, and 
it has since been a company of the Sec- 
ond regiment. 

Captain Anton Schaeffer resigned Jan- 
uary 31, 1908, and on February 25 an 
election was held to select a captain and 
to fill other vacancies. First Lieuten- 
ant Stelle S. Smith was elected captain; 

C. B. Ward, first lieutenant; Oscar F. 
Blood, second lieutenant. The annual 
inspections show the company to be 
among the best in the state service. It 
attends the camps each year and has an 
unexcelled rifle team. 


In Worthington are three banking in- 
stitutions, one state and two national 
banks. These are the State Bank of 
Worthington, Worthington National 
Bank and Citizens National Bank. 


The oldest bank in Nobles county is 
the State Bank of Worthington, which 
was founded as a private bank under 
the name Bank of Worthington by Elihu 
Smith and his son, A. M. Smith, in 


1875. The former was president of the 
bank; the latter cashier. The Smiths 
sold the bank to Thos. H. Parsons July 
16, 1881, at which time C. T. Pope was 
installed as cashier. Mr. Parsons sold 
his interest in the institution April 1, 
1883, to Geo. D. Dayton, who operated 
it as a private bank in connection with 
the Minnesota Loan & Investment com- 
pany. Mr. Dayton erected the brick 
block at the corner of Tenth street and 
Third avenue, which has since been the 
home of the bank, in 1885. 

In 1893 Mr. Dayton incorporated the 
institution as a state bank, capital stock 
$50,000, under the old name. In June, 
1900, the name was changed from Bank 
of Worthington to State Bank of Worth- 
ington. Mr. Dayton disposed of his in- 
. terqpts in August, 1898, when the pres- 
ent management took charge. The offi- 
cers now are Geo. O t . Moore, president; 
Geo. W. Wilson, vice president; Ned 
Jones, cashier. 


This institution is better kriown un- 
der the name of Nobles County Bank, as 
it was only during the present year that 
the reorganization which made it a na- 
tional bank took place. 

The Nobles County Bank was organ- 
ized as a private bank with a nominal 
capital of $50,000 by Peter Thompson 
and Geo. J. Day in 1879, the doors of 
the bank being opened on the first day 
of the year 1880. The institution was 
located in what was then known as the 
McLaurin building, at the corner of 
Tenth street and Third avenue, now 
known as the Thompson building. Mr. 
Thompson was president and Mr. Day 
cashier. The latter had practical charge 
of the bank from the time of founding 

Digitized by VjOOQLC 



until July, 1886, when he left to take 
charge of the First National Bank, then 
just starting. 

After the departure of Mr. Day, Mil- 
ton P. Mann became the cashier, in 
which capacity he served many years. 
The final breakup in the partnership be- 
tween Messrs. Thompson and Day came 
February 13, 1888, and thereafter until 
1894 Mr. Thompson was the sole owner 
of the Nobles County Bank. The insti- 
tution closed its doors during the panic 
of July, 1893, but was later reorganized, 
and it paid all liabilities. 

Mr. Thompson sold a half interest in 
the bank to W. M. Evans and E. A. 
Lynd Nov. 1, 1894, and the following 
year the other half was purchased by 
the same parties. Mr. Evans became 
cashier and manager, and has had charge 
of the bank ever since. The new man- 
agement erected the handsome brick 
block on Tenth street, which has since 
been the home of the bank, in 1899, 
and it was occupied for the first time 
on December 23 of that year. 

A reorganization was effected early in 
1908, and the Nobles County Bank be- 
came the Worthington National Bank. 
The capital stock is $25,000, all paid in, 
and is owned by twenty stockholders, all 
of whom are residents of Worthington 
or the immediate vicinity. The char- 
ter was dated Jan. 10, 1908, and the 
bank under the new name began opera- 
tions January 15. The first officers and 
directors were W. M. Evans, president; 
Daniel Shell, vice president; A. W. Fag- 
erstrom, cashier; John A. Boberg, Stelle 
S. Smith. 


The establishment of the Citizens Na- 
tional Bank was conceived in April, 

1901, when C. T. Tupper came to Worth- 
ington and succeeded in interesting J. 
D. Humiston, Geo. W. Patterson, O. G. 
Grundsten and W. W. Loveless in the 
project. Stock was subscribed by these 
gentlemen and by N. T. Burroughs, of 
Chicago, and W. A. Sanford, of Chero- 
kee, Iowa, who were president and vice 
president, respectively, of the First Nat- 
ional Bank of Cherokee. Application for 
the charter of the Citizens National 
Bank, with capital stock of $25,000 
($10,000 paid in), was made, and the 
treasury department issued the document 
July 22, 1901. 

August 19 the bank opened its doors 
in a frame building, which was tempor- 
arily located in Fourth avenue. A lot 
was purchased at the corner of Tenth 
street and Fourth avenue, and in Jan- 
uary, 1902, the present home of the 
bank, a handsome brick block, was com- 
pleted. The officers and directors at the 
time of founding were Geo. W. Patter- 
son, president; J. D. Humiston, vice 
president; C. T. Tupper, cashier; W. 
W. Loveless, O. G. Grundsten. Mr. 
Loveless disposed of his interests in 
1903, and was succeeded on the board by 
John H. Scott. Mr. Humiston sold his 
stock in 1904, and was succeeded by 
Frank Glasgow. Mr. Tupper sold in 
May, 1907, and his place as cashier and 
director was taken by S. M. Stewart. 
The bank has returned regular annual 
dividends since the date of organization. 


For over two years in the late eighties 
the First National Bank of Worthing- 
ton had an existence. The bank was op- 
ened July 1, 1886, with Geo. J. Day 
in charge. Among the stockholders were 
Messrs. Mendenhall, of the Diamond 

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State Iron Works, of Wilmington, Del.; 
George W. Bush, president of a Wil- 
mington savings bank; Capell and Pen- 
nypacker, capitalists of Wilmington; and 
Anton Knoblauck, a banker of Carver, 
Minn. In September, 1888, two of the 
principal stockholders appeared in 
Worthington and' closed the institution. 
The accounts and notes were placed in 
the hands of Geo. 0. Moore, of the 
Bank of Worthington, for collection, and 
funds were left with the same gentle- 
man to pay depositors. The affairs of 
the institution were soon wound up. 

The Farmers and Citizens Bank was 
a private banking house managed by 
Geo. J. Day for a short time during the 
nineties. It was closed as a result of 
legal proceedings brought against Mr. 


For nearly thirty years annual fairs 
have been held at Worthington, for many 
years under the auspices of the Nobles 
County Fair association, but in later 
years under the auspices of the Worth- 
ington District Fair association, which 
took the place of the earlier organiza- 

So early as 1876 the settlers of Nobles 
county decided to hold a county fair. 
Early in the summer of that year the 
grasshoppers had not put in their annual 
appearance, and hopes were entertained 
that they would not. It was then that 
an agricultural society was formed, and 
a few determined to put forth efforts to 
hold a fair that fall. On Monday, July 
24, 1876, five members of the executive 
, committee of the organization met at the 

T A stock joke is to the effect that at this 
first fair the only exhibits were a bull and a 
pumpkin; that the ouU got loose gyring the 

Worthington hotel to consider plans for 
proceeding with the preparations. These 
gentlemen were C. A. Barrows, J. H. 
Cunningham, J. P. Vail, R. B. Plotts 
and W. S. Stockdale. They decided to 
hold the fair at Worthington on Thurs- 
day, September 7, and Messrs. Barrows, 
Stockdale and Plotts were named a com- 
mittee to prepare a premium list. For 
very good reasons the fair was not held. 
Soon after the preparations were begun 
the hoppers swooped down upon the 
country again, and all thoughts of a fair 
were given up. 

After this failure no further steps 
were taken toward holding a fair un- 
til 1879. Then there was organized the 
Nobles County Fair association, an or- 
ganization which had a life of many 
years, and was only succeeded by the 
Worthington District Fair association in 
recent years. A. L. Runyon was the 
first president of the pioneer organiza- 
tion, and C. T. Pope was the first sec- 
retary. The first fair was held at Worth- 
ington October 10 and 11, 1879. There 
were no buildings, no race track. The 
fair was held in the open on grounds 
between West Okabena lake and the 
Sioux City & St. Paul railroad tracks — 
about where the Stoutemyer ice houses 
are now located. It was indeed a prim- 
ative affair. But while the exhibits 
were few and the attractions not many, 
everybody took a deep interest in this 
first exhibition of the county's resources, 
and it was a success. 7 

This was a start. Thereafter annual 
fairs were held. The next year the fair 
was spoiled by the terrible blizzard which 
swept over the country October 15. Land 
waa leased on the south shore of Oka- 
bena lake, buildings were erected, and 

night before the fair opened, ate the pump- 
kin, died from the effects, and that the fair 
was necessarily declared off. 

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for many years the county fairs were 
held there, about one mile from the city. 
The association was put on a business 
basis March 10, 1892, when the Nobles 
County Fair Ground association was in- 
corporated with a capital stock of $10,- 
000. The incorporators were W. E. 
Stoutemyer, Daniel Shell, John H. Den- 
ton, John II. Scott, H. M. Palm, L. B. 
Bennett and J. W. Read, and the first 
officers were W. E. Stoutemyer, presi- 
dent; J. B. Green, vice president; Frank 
Lewis, secretary; H. M. Palm, treasurer. 
The annual exhibits were held on the 
fair grounds of the old association until 
1902. In the summer of that year the 
Worthington District Fair association 
was incorporated. The capital stock was 
$15,000, and the first board of directors 
was composed of Geo. W. Patterson, E. 
A. Tripp, A. R. Albertus, H. Pfeil, G. 
T. Bulick, H. N. Douglas and C. T. 
Tupper. Spacious grounds were pur- 
chased in the north part of the city, suit- 
able buildings were erected, and since 
that date the fairs have annually been 
held under the auspices of the new or- 


The Worthington Chautauqua associa- 
tion is a comparatively new organization, 
hut it has done more to advance the in- 
terests of the city in which it is located 
than many an older organization. The 
association came into existence in 
March, 1906. Many Worthington peo- 
ple had realized for a long time that 
the city had everything necessary to 
make a chautauqua a success. Among 
the culture loving people the matter had 

"Those who participated In this first meet- 
ing were J. S. Ramagre, A. T. "Latta. H. R. 
Edwards. Geo. O. Moore, Ned Jones. Jas. 

often been discussed, but no action was 
taken to crystalize the movement until 
one day in March, 1906, when Prof. C. 
H. Warne, chautauqua organizer, of 
Waterloo, Iowa, arrived in the city, 
prepared to launch the movement. 

The stock was readily subscribed, and 
on March 29 the stockholders met and 
organized the Worthington Chautauqua 
association 8 with the fololwing officers 
and board of directors: A. T. Latta, 
president; J. S. Ramage, vice president; 
A. R. Albertus, secretary; H. B. Lear, 
treasurer; Thos. Dovery, William Chan- 
cy, A. J. Goff, S. S. Smith and Gust 

The beautiful city park on the north 
shore of Okabena lake was secured for 
the chautauqua grounds, and a more 
beautiful place would be hard to find. 
Located on the higher banks of the lake, 
it is a beauty spot. It is convenient to 
the business center of the town, and af- 
fords unequalled opportunity for camp- 
ing, boating, bathing and fishing. The 
grounds are lighted by electricity, are 
connected with the city by long distance 
telephone lines, and are supplied with 
city water. There the first annual as- 
sembly was held August 6 to 14, and 
the list of attractions was such that the 
chautauqua was a success from the start. 
A permanent assembly hall was erected 
in 1907 at a cost of $2,500. The second 
assembly was held July 4 to 14, 1907, 
and the association was then put on a 
paying basis. The third assembly was 
held in July, 1908. 


An organization of great benefit to the 
city is the commercial club, which was 

Mackay. L,. R. Gholz, William Chaney, T. A. 
Palmer, H. Hawley, H. B. Lear and C. T. 

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organized Jan. 15^ 1907. The first of- 
ficers chosen were A. R. Albertus, presi- 
dent; A. T. Latta, first vice president; 
R. L. Morland, second vice president; 
Ned Jones, secretary; lioren Clark, treas- 
urer. The whole of the second story of 
the Loveless block was leased, and the 
rooms were fitted up for the convenience 
of the members; later quarters were es- 
tablished in the city hall. The club 
takes an active part in the affairs of the 
village, and is a strong organization. 


The Carnegie Library was completed 
in December, 1904, at a cost of about 
$13,000. Of this amount Andrew Car- 
negie gave $10,000; the balance was 
raised by subscription. The city bound 
itself to expend $1,000 annually on its 
maintenance. The library was opened 
March 4, 1905. Its management was 
vested in a board consisting of C. M. 
Crandall, president; F. L. Humiston, F. 
M. Manson, Frank Glasgow, A. T. 
Latta, John Ramage, secretary; C. T. 
Tupper, 9 C. P. Dolan and R. L. Mor- 
land. Mrs. Emma Sibley served as li- 
brarian from the date of opening until 
1907, when she was succeeded by Mrs. 
Emma Mackintosh. 


This organization came into existence 
iu 1905 with the following officers: J. 
S. Ramage, president; A. R. Albertus, 
secretary; E. L. Nance, treasurer. The 
association now has about ninety mem- 
bers, owns a bath house, toboggan slides, 
boats, etc., valued at over $1,200. The 

present officers and directors are J. S. 
Ramage, president; A. R. Albertus, sec- 
retary; W. M. Evans, treasurer; O. W. 
Dieckhoff, Jas. Mackay. 


Worthington has two brass bands. 
The Worthington band was organized in 
3906, when Prof. Wilson Abbott became 
the leader. The band now has nearly 
fifty pieces, and is one of the best bands 
in southwestern Minnesota. For many 
years the Scandinavians of the city have 
maintained an excellent band — the 
Worthington Concert band, Carl A. An- 
derson, leader. 


The Worthington Gun club was or- 
ganized in June, 1900, with about forty 
members. Harvey Rew was captain of 
the club and O. W. Dieckhoff was secre- 
tary. There have been several organiza- 
tions since the first club started. For 
some time the Mauga trap was used in 
the tournaments but in late years the 
club has been using the expert system. 


In the fall of 1906 Dr. F. M. Manson 
founded the Worthington hospital and 
has since been its proprietor. The build- 
ing is a two and a half story structure,, 
located at the corner of Fourth avenue 
and Eleventh street. 

The hospital is provided with all mod- 
ern conveniences. It is perfectly ven- 
tilated, heated by steam, lighted by elec- 
tricity, and is furnished with sound 
deadeners and electric annunciators. 

•Upon the removal of Mr. Tupper from the by C. J. Small wood. Otherwise there has 
city In 1907 his place on the board was taken been no change. 

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The arrangement of the building is 
admirable for the purposes for which it 
is used. On the first floor are a large 
reception room, a private consultation 
office, a dark room for optical work, a 
general practice office, a drug and sup- 
ply room, and a ward room, furnished 
with four hospital beds. All the wood- 
work of the lower floor is of Antwerp 
finished oak. 

On the second floor are the nurses' 

room, an operating room, sterilizing 
room, bath room, and private rooms for 
patients. All the woodwork of the sec- 
ond floor is white finished. The third 
floor is fitted up into a large sun bath 

The institution has been liberally pat- 
ronized since its founding and is one 
of Worthington's enterprises which has 
been of great benefit to the community. 

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With more propriety can the title 
"City of Churches*' be given to Worth- 
ington than to Brooklyn. There are in 
Worthington ten church organizations — 
one for each 230 inhabitants. Of these 
all except one have church edifices, which 
range in value from $20,000 down. The 
societies maintaining organizations in 
the village are Congregational, Metho- 
dist, Presbyterian, Swedish Lutheran, 
Episcopal, Catholic, Evangelical Asso- 
ciation, Baptist, Swedish Mission and 
Christian. Only the last named is with- 
out a church building. 

The first three named are the oldest, 
all having come into existence during the 
month of May, 1873. But for over a 
year before any of these were organized 
an organization, styled the "Colony 
Christian Union/' a union of all the 
christian denominations represented in 
the village, worshipped regularly. 


When the pioneers of the National 
colony began to arrive in Worthington 
in the spring of 1872 one of their first 
considerations was a place of worship, 
and steps were at once taken to bring 

about the organization of a church so- 
ciety. Prof. R. F. Humiston, one of the 
founders of the colony, was a member 
of the "Union Church" on Cleveland 
Heights (Cleveland, Ohio), and was 
heartily in favor of a union church in 
Worthington. His plan was to have a 
church organization which should be par- 
ticipated in by every evangelical chris- 
tian in the community, regardless of 
previous denominational affiliation. A 
large majority of those on the ground 
expressed themselves as favoring such a 
movement, and of those who were doubt- 
ful of its expediency no one was found 
who did not advise the proposed plan 
for the first year, at least. 

For some weeks before a formal or- 
ganization was made services were held 
at different places in the little village. 
The first service was held in a partly 
finished store building on Fourth avenue, 
which was being erected by Wm. B. 
Akins. On Saturday evening the shav- 
ings were swept up, the work bench was 
brushed off, and planks were laid on 
boxes and nail kegs to serve the pur- 
pose of seats. Here on Sunday morn- 
ing the first religious service was held 
in Worthington. 

*For the data concerning the history of this Moore. The facts are secured almost wholly 
church, as well as that of the Union Congre- from his pamphlet "History of the Union Con- 
gational. I am under obligations to Dr. Geo. O. gxegatlonal Church." 


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Before the next Sabbath the building 
was occupied by Mr. Akins ? hardware 
store, and the worshippers were com- 
pelled to seek accommodations else- 
where. One or two Sabbaths, services 
were held in a carpenter shop on the lot 
just to the east of the present location 
of the Citizens National Bank, and one 
Sabbath in the store building on Ninth 
street, now occupied by S. V. Wyckoff. 
In the meantime one Samuel Hiley had 
purchased the two corner lots opposite 
the Worthington hotel, and on one of 
them proceeded to erect a frame store 
building (where Sterling Bros/ clothing 
store now stands.) Notwithstanding the 
well understood principles and wishes of 
the colony founders in regard to the 
sale of intoxicating liquors, a man had 
leased, in advance of its erection, the 
Hiley .building and had already made 
arrangements to open a saloon therein. 
Now, it so happened that there came a 
time when this was the only room open 
to the worshippers, and there a service 
was held before the building was com- 
pleted. The next Sabbath the room was 
completed and the bar in position, but 
as no liquor had yet arrived, the church 
people again assembled therein. One 
week later the saloon was in operation 
and the church had to seek other quar- 

Previous to the opening of the saloon, 
however, a church society had been or- 
ganized. The meeting was held in the 
saloon building on the twelfth day of 
May, 1872, at five o'clock in the after- 
noon, for the purpose "of organizing a 
society for the furthering of the wor- 
ship of Ood in the community." Prof. 
Humiston presided, and Dr. Geo. 0. 
Moore was the secretary. The chairman 
suggested the formation of a "union so- 
ciety," with one pastor. Remarks were 

made by Rev. David Bear, A. P. Miller, 
R. B. Plotts, G. Anderson, I. P. Dur- 
fee, R. D. Barber and Geo. 0. Moore in 
favor of the idea. I. N. Sater cordially 
favored the plan for the present, but 
thought the time should be left indef- 
inite. Rev. B. H. Crever, a Methodist 
preacher who was a resident of Worth- 
ington at the time, was chosen pastor. 
A committee, consisting of A. P. Miller, 
I. N. Sater, Dr. R. D. Barber, J. C. 
Clark and Dr. Geo. 0. Moore, was ap- 
pointed to report for adoption a plan 
of organization, fix the salary of the pas- 
tor, and attend to other necessary mat- 
ters pertaining to the new church. The 
committee held two meetings in the of- 
fice of Prof. Humiston, and at another 
meeting of the church held May 19 re- 
ported the following recommendations, 
in substance: 

That a society for religious purposes be 
organized under the name of the Colony 
Christian Church, to be officered as follows: 
A president, secretary, treasurer and an 
executive committee of five; that the pastor 
act as president, and that the other officers 
be elected annually; that any person believ- 
ing in the dectrines set forth in the Apostles' 
Creed should be eligible to membership; that 
the society continue until May 1, 1873; that 
the regular services consist of one preaching 
service on Sabbath morning by the regular 
pastor, with Sunday school and Bible class 
in the afternoon, and that on Sabbath even- 
ing the free use of the house be tendered to 
any orthodox clergyman who may choose to 
preach to us; that Rev. B. H. Crever be our 
pastor; that a building be erected by volun- 
tary effort, 30x50 feet in size, 12 foot story, 
at a cost not to exceed $1,200. 

The report was adopted, article by ar- 
ticle, and the permanent organization 
was completed by the election of Geo. 0. 
Moore secretary and I. N. Sater treas- 
urer. An executive committee, composed 
of J. C. Clark, B. S. Langdon, I. P. 
Durfee, A. C. Robinson, H. D. Humis- 
ton, R. F. Humiston, I. N. Satet and 
Geo. 0. Moore, was named. 

In the meantime Prof. Humiston and 

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Dr. Miller, the colony promoters, mind- 
ful of the needs of a place for public 
assemblage, took council together, and 
their deliberations resulted in the erec- 
tion of the structure known as Miller 
hall. The upper floor of this building 
was divided into one large hall, 48x55 
feet, and two small halls in front on 
either side of the stairway. It was the 
intention that the large hall should be 
used for public worship and other pub- 
he gatherings, the Union church having 
the preference. The hall was subse- 
quently leased by the society for $250 
per annum, and the first services were 
held there Nov. 17, 1872. 

It was the general understanding and 
wish that the organization be completed 
and that by vote the church place itself 
under the watch care of one of the de- 
nominational bodies, which event would 
place the church in position to receive 
aid in paying the pastor. Rev. Crever, 
notwithstanding repeated urging to com- 
plete the organization, for some reason 
neglected to do so. The first year ended 
as it had begun; all met together in one 
place ior worship, but the organization 
was not perfected and there was no 
affiliation with any denomination. These 
conditions were unsatisfactory, and the 
discussion of the matter grew more earn- 
est as the first anniversary of the 
church approached. Finally a meeting 
was held at the hall on April 22, 1873, 
to which were asked all who were in- 
terested in a union organization, to 
comprise all of the evangelical elements 
of the place. J. S. Shuck was chairman 
of the meeting. Dr. Geo. 0. Moore has 
written concerning the deliberations of 
that meeting: 

After a lengthy discussion an adjourn- 
ment was taken to allow the Presbyterians 
oportunity to consult as to their course. It 

had been agreed by the different state sup- 
erintendents that we should not be inter- 
fered with by them, but should be allowed 
to consider and decide the question among 
ourselves, uninfluenced by outside help or 
interference. In conformance with this un- 
derstanding, Mr. Richard Hall, the Congrega- 
tional superintendent, studiously avoided this 
part of the field, but Mr. Lyon, Presbyter- 
ian, and Mr. Wright, Methodist, took active 
part in our deliberations, both by their per- 
sonal presence and by written communica- 
tions, and it was no doubt largely owing to 
their influence and advice that the union ef- 
fort was unsuccessful. 

Two or three general meetings and 
frequent private conferences made it 
plain that nothing could be accomplished 
in the matter of permanent organization 
along the lines already followed. Then 
a meeting was called of "all those spec- 
ially desiring union organization." The 
meeting was held April 26, 1873, and 
was presided over by Dr. R. D. Bar- 
ber. Twenty-nine residents had signi- 
fied their intention to take part in the 
deliberations of the proposed church or- 
ganization. A committee was appointed, 
consisting of C. S. Newton, Presbyter- 
ian; I. P. Durfee, Christian; R. F. 
Humiston, Congregational; Mrs. M. P. 
Manley, Baptist; and J. Ames, Independ- 
ent, to draft articles of faith for the as- 
sociation. This committee reported to 
an adjourned meeting on April 29 a 
platform, which was read article by ar- 
ticle, and referred back to the committee 
for further action. On Sunday, May 
24, 1873, the committee reported a con- 
fession of faith, and it was adopted, ar- 
ticle by article, without a dissenting vote. 
The committee was continued, with in- 
structions to report a covenant to be 
adopted at a future meeting. Arrange- 
ments were made to procure a room for 
a church and to secure a temporary sup- 
ply of preaching. It was at this meeting 
of May 4 that, on motion of Prof. Hum- 
iston, the members decided to ask the 

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Congregational denomination to take the 
new organization under its watch care. 


The idea of a union church, embrac- 
ing all denominations, was abandoned, 
and the three denominations having the 
greatest strength, Congregational, Metho- 
dist and Presbyterian, each organized a 
church society. The Union Congrega- 
tional church was the first of these to 
perfect an organization; in fact, its 
organization was simply a continuance 
of the temporary arrangement of those 
who desired a union of all denominations 
in one church. For some time corre- 
spondence had been carried on with Kev. 
Eichard Hall, Congregational state su- 
perintendent, in regard to church affairs 
in Worthington. On Sunday, May 18, 
1873, that officer was present, and the 
Union Congregational church of Worth- 
ington was formally organized 2 with the 
following charter members: Prof. E. F. 
Humiston, Harriet Humiston, Geo. 0. 
Moore, Clara F. Moore, John C. Clark, 
Lydia H. Clark, Charles S. Newton, Sid- 
ney Harrington, Cornelia L. Harrington, 
John Blodgett; and on profession of faith 
B. D. Barber, Mattie Barber, J. Ames, 
A. P. Miller and Jacob Neil Dow. 8 

The official title of the organization 
was "The Union Congregational Church 
and Society of Worthington." Boy's man- 
uel furnished the new church with a 
constitution, which was formally adopted, 
with a code of by-laws, on June 24, at 

2 "The Union Congregational church was 
fully organized on Sabbath last by Rev. 
Richard Hall, of St. Paul. This new organiza- 
tion starts out with favorable prospects. We 
understand that no delay will be made in se- 
curing a pastor." — Western Advance, May 24, 

a Others who became members of the church 
during 1873 were Mrs. J. Ames, B. R. Prince, 
Mrs. B. R. Prince, J. H. Maxwell, I. P. Dur- 

which time the first church officers were 

The urgent need of a church building 
was recognized by all, and on Aug. 24 a 
meeting was held, when the first steps 
were taken looking toward the erection 
of a church edifice. A building com- 
mittee, a finance committee and a comit- 
tee to correspond with the Congregational 
Missionary societies, with reference to 
aid in building and in paying the sal- 
ary of a pastor, were appointed. These 
committees immediately set to work, 
plans were reported, and a lot was se- 
cured on the corner of Third avenue and 
Eleventh street. Bids were then asked 
on the construction of a building which 
it was estimated would cost about $3,300. 

Ground was broken early in Septem- 
ber, 1873, and on Dec. 28, of the same 
year, the edifice was dedicated, Bev. Rich- 
ard Hall, the state superintendent, offi- 
ciating. The building was 33x45 feet 
and had a 16-foot ceiling. The auditor- 
ium had a seating capacity of 200, and 
there was also a basement, which prov- 
ed an exceedingly valuable convenience 
for Sunday school, prayer meeting and scr 
cial purposes. This pioneer church build- 
ing of Worthington was entirely destroy- 
ed by fire on Jan. 15, 1905, entailing a 
loss of $4,000, with $1,200 insurance. 
A handsome and commodious new church 
was erected during 1906 by the congre- 
gation. The cost was about $7,000, and 
it was dedicated in February, 1907. 

During the summer of 1874 the first 
regular pastor was installed. Following 
is a list of the pastors who have served 

fee, J. F. Holllpeter, Ellen A. Weatherbee, 
Elmira Holllpeter, Mary Humiston, Mrs. M. 
P. Manley, Rachel D. Rice, A. C. Durfee, Mrs. 
Miller, O. L. Howard, James Mann. Jennie A. 
Mann. Elihu Smith, Gracla R. Smith. Alpheus 
M. Smith, Mary B. Smith, Henrietta Q. 
Smith, John W. Smith, Calista Smith and 
Henry J. Grant. During 1874 the following: be- 
came members: Chas. B. Loveless, Mary c. 
Loveless, Amy J. Miner, Mrs. R. B. Plotts, R. 
B. Plotts, Mrs. W. S. Stockdale. 

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the church since its founding and the 
dates of their service: 

C. C. Foote, June 24, 1874, to Oct. 
1, 1874. 

H. B. Tuttle, Dec. 1, 1874, to June 1, 

Chas. W. Hanna, June 1, 1879, to 
June 1, 1880. 

H. H. Hart, Aug. 8, 1880, to Aug. 
1, 1883. 

M. S. Crosswell, Oct. 1, 1883, to Jan. 
1, 1884. 

David Henderson, Jan. 20, 1884, to 
Jan. 20, 1888. 

F. L. Fisk, May 13, 1888, to July 25, 

Kobert McCune, Aug. 3, 1891, to Aug. 
1, 1897. 

C. W. Merrill, Oct. 3, 1897, to Oct. 
13, 1898. 

<T. P. Dickerman, May 1, 1899, to 
Nov. 1, 1900. 

C. H. Curtis, Feb. 1, 1901, to Jan. 1, 

C. H. Mcintosh, May 1, 1904, to Sept. 
24, 1905. 

John E. Evans, Jan. 1, 1906, to De- 
cember, 1907. 

William Fletcher, Jan 1, 1908, to date. 

Following is a list of the Sunday 
school superintendents in chronological 
order, the dates of service being given 
of all but the earlier ones: Elihu 
Smith, J. Ames, R. F. Humiston, A. P. 
Miller, A. L. Runyon, R. D. Barber, 
M. P. Mann, 1882-3-2-5; J. W. Crigler, 
1886-7-8; R. W. McCune, 1889; J. W. 
Crigler, 1890; M. A. Nichols, 1891; 
John R. Newton, 1892; Ray Humiston, 
1893; M. E. Fish, 1894; Mrs. E. L. Por- 
ter, 1895 ; Geo. O. Moore, 1896 ; Mrs. H. 
J. Ludlow, 1897-8-9; Dr. G. R. Curran, 
1900-1-2-3; Mrs. H. J. Ludlow, 1904; M. 
P. Mann, 1905-6; A. W. Fagerstrom, 


When the union church idea was aban- 
doned in the spring of 1873 the Metho- 
dists, under the leadership of Rev. 
B. H. Crever, who had been the pastor 
of the union church during the year 
of that body's existence, were among 
the first to take steps to bring about 
the organization of a denominational 
body. During the month of May those 
members of the union flock who were 
grounded in the faith of John Wesley 
banded themselves together and formed 
the first Methodist body in Nobles coun- 
ty. The first paper of record concerning 
the founding of the Methodist church of 
Worth ingt on is the following certificate, 
which was filed in the office of the regis- 
ter of deeds of Nobles county on May 
21, 1873: 

Know all men that on the 19th day of 
May, eighteen hundred and seventh -three, I, 
B. IT. Carver, pastor of the First Methodist 
Episcopal church of Worthington, county of 
Nobles and state of Minnesota, in the interim 
of the quarterly conference, and agreeable 
to the discipline and usage of the Metho- 
dist Episcopal church in the United States 
of America, and of the statutes of Minne- 
sota, have appointed the following named 
persons trustees of the said Methodist Epis- 
copal church in the United States of Amer- 
ica, namely: Henry Humiston, R. F. Hum- 
iston, Isaac N. Sater, C. Z. Sutton, G. An- 
derson, Otis Bigelowj W. S. Stockdale, Dr. 
A. P. Miller and Stephen Miller, in and for 
the said village of Worthington, they and 
their successors in office to hold in trust 
the property of said church in said village 
of Worthington under the corporate name 
and style of trustees of the First Methodist 
Episcopal church in Worthington, Minnesota. 
Witness my hand and seal the name and 
year above written. 

B. H. CREVER. [Seal.] 

Presiding Elder Wright met with the 
Worthington Methodists and completed 
the work of organization. There were 
about thirty charter members, among 
whom were the following: Mr. and Mrs. 
Otis Bigelow, Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Sater, 

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Air. and Mrs. Elias Spaulding, Mr. and 
Mrs. W. Chase, Mr. and Mrs. C. Z. Sut- 
ton, Erastus Church and Henry Humis- 
ton. Kev. JB. H. Crever served as pastor 
two years. Miller hall was rented during 
the lirst year's life of the church. Then, 
in 1874, the property was purchased, the 
Duilding dedicated, and services were held 
there regularly until the building was 
destroyed by lire in 1878. The loss of 
their place of worship was an almost 
insurmountable blow. The Presbyterians 
came to their aid and tendered the use 
of their church building. The offer 
was accepted, and the Methodists worship- 
ped there a few months — until January 
1, 1879. From that time until July 
1880, the Nobles county court house was 
utilized as a house of worship. Bennett 
hall (now the Masonic building) was leas- 
ed at that time, and thereafter, until 
a home of their own was completed in 
the fall of 1882, the Methodists occu- 
pied that building. The congregation 
was poor, and the struggles during the 
early days to continue the church organ- 
ization were severe. 4 

The first Methodist church building, 
located at the corner of Fourth avenue, 
and Ninth street, was begun in the fall 
of 1881, under the pastorate of Rev. 
W. T. Hobart, a missionary to China. 
The labor was largely donated, and the 
pastor personally took a hand in the 
work, he doing the lathing. The work 
of building was slowly and steadily kept 
up until the fall of 1882. Under the pas- 
torate of Rev. B. F. Kephart the church 
was dedicated. The cost of the building 
was about $2,000 ; of that amount $1,600 

4,1 A few words on the character of the 
founders of this church may be appropriately 
added. Of the early struggles of the church 
none can have but a faint conception of its 
many hardships except those who participated 
in them. But be it said of the early members 
that, in their periods of depression, and in 
many and various difficulties they, like the 
Puritan fathers, never lost sight of their one 
purpose, to serve their God and their Master. 

had been paid or pledged and the re- 
maining $400 was raised on the day of 
dedication. The building was not en- 
tirely finished • until 1885, when Rev. 
Wm. Copp, who was then in charge, 
pushed it to completion. 

While the early day struggles of the 
church were severe, better times were 
ahead, and its recent history is one of 
prosperity. The membersship grew ana 
its wealth increased. The old church 
building, which had seemed so fine in 
the early days, was no longer large 
enough. It was during the pastorate of 
Rev. Carl A. Anderson that the erection 
of a new church building was first con- 
sidered. When Rev. Thos. Hambly was 
appointed to the charge in 1901 interest 
in the proposed building was revived. 
Generous subscriptions were received 
during the winter and spring, and in 
the summer of 1902, work was begun 
on the foundation of the new structure. 
The corner of Eleventh street and Fourth 
avenue was selected as the site, and the 
residence of Otis Biglow, which occu- 
pied the site, was removed. Work pro- 
gressed rapidly, and on May 3, 1903, the 
beautiful modern structure was dedicated. 
It valuation is placed at $20,000, and 
it is one of the best church buildings 
in Minnesota. The auditorium arrange- 
ment, with the spacious gallery, makes it 
most convenient and desirable in pro- 
viding for large assemblages. Concerning 
the more recent history of the church, 
a member has prepared the following: 

In the middle of his third year as pastor 
Rev. Thos. Hambly was, at his own request, 
transferred to the North Ohio conference by 
Bishop Fowler, who at the same time ap- 

They were firm set in the principle of hon- 
esty and the practice of virtue. They were 
sober, industrious and frugal; resolute, zealous 
and steadfast. In the school of adversity they 
gained the discipline of patience. They were 
the children of adversity but are becoming 
the fathers of renown. Their work is done. 
Secred be the trust committed to our care." — 
D. B. Kumler, in History of M. E. Church. 

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pointed Rev. G. A. Cahoon to the pastorate 
of the Worthington " church (February, 1904). 
But one Sunday intervened between the clos- 
ing of Mr. Hambly's pastorate and the as- . 
suming of the pastoral relations by Mr. Ca- 
hoon, who came here after a pastorate of 
•nearly six years at Goodhue, Minn., and who 
at the time of the preparation of this work 
is on his fifth year as pastor of the Worth- 
ington church. 

During this latter pastorate the church has 
been strengthened both numerically and 
spiritually. The pastor was one of the lead- 
ers in arranging for and carrying through the 
famous tabernacle meetings, conducted by 
Evangelist Wm. A. Sunday, and which con- 
tinued for nearly five weeks, beginning Dec. 
7. 1906. The Methodist church, in common 
with several other churches, was greatly 
strengthened by this series of meetings. The 
membership was stirred to greater activity, 
while about one hundred fifty persons united 
with the church, either on probation or by 
letter, as a result of the meeting. The larger 
number of the probationers later came into 
full membership, and among them are many 
of the substantial and active members of the 
church. The following description of the 
services held in the church Sunday morning, 
Jan. 13, 1907, and which apeared in the 
Worthington Advance of Jan. 17, 1907, is a 
matter of historic value, and will be of in- 
terest to many: 

"The Methodist church was filled with an 
interested and happy company of people last 
Sunday morning. The large chorus choir led the 
singing of some of the old hymns and the 
audience took hold with enthusiasm. A male 
quartette sang a selection, and Dr. F. B. 
Cowgill preached an able sermon. The pastor 
Rev. G. A. Cahoon, spoke briefly concerning 
some characteristics of Methodism and the 
conditions of membership, and extended an in- 
vitation to those who desired to do so to 
come forward and unite with the church. 

'Tellers were stationed at the end of the 
side aisle, down which the company came, and 
after the name of each had been recorded 
they were received by the pastor and presid- 
ing elder. A committee representing the var- 
ious activities of the church were at the 
altar to welcome the new members, who re- 
mained standing. Afterwards all those who 
had signed cards at the tabernacle meetings, 
and who desired publicly to renew their vows, 
were invited to stand, and many arose. The 
pastor extended a cordial welcome on behalf 
of the church, and Dr. Cowgill, the presiding 
elder, expressed his gratification at the results 
of the service and added words of wise 
counsel. The tellers were asked to report 
their lists, and it was found that ninety- 
six persons had identified themselves with the 
ihureb it this one service. It was certainly 
a great day for the Methodist church in 
Worthington ." 

*8tx months— June to December. 

Following is the list of pastors, with 
the dates of their service, who have 
filled the pulpit of the Methodist church 
of Worthington: 

B. H. Crever, 1873-1875. 
J. W. Lewis, 1875. 5 

J. C. Ogle, 1875-1878. 

C. H. Dixon, 1878-1879. 
Charles Sheldon, 1879-1880. 
T. H. Kinsman, 1880-1881. 
W. T. Hobart, 1881-1882, 
Geo. Merritt, 1882." 

B. F. Kephart, 1882-1884. 
Wm. Copp, 1884-1885. 

E. R. Lathrop, 1885-1888. 
H. J. Harrington, 1888-1890. 
Wm. Brown, 1890-1892. 
W. J. Robinson, 1892-1895. 
W. A. Putnam, 1895-1896. 
J. M. Bull, 1896-1899. 

C. A. Anderson, 1899-1901. 
Thos. Hambly, 1901-1904. 
a. A. Cahoon, 1904 to date. 

The church has never been so pros- 
perous as at the present time, and all 
its members feel that the church has 
entered upon a career of marked pros- 
perity and splendid usefulness. E. W. 
Goff is chairman of the board of trus- 
tees, A. T. Latta is secretary, Wm. 
Schroeder is recording steward and A. J. 
Goff is church treasurer. Several aux- 
iliary societies are maintained. 


So early as February 3, 1873, while 
the religious community was undecided 
as to the course to pursue in regard to 
churches, thirty residents petitioned thfc 
Presbytery for authority to organize a 
Presbyterian church at Worthington. The 
Mankato Presbytery took favorable ac- 

•W. T. Hobart served nine months of this 
church year and Geo. Merritt three months. 

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tion on the petition early in May, and 
on the 25th of that month — just a few 
days after the birth of the Congregational 
and Methodist churches — the Westmins- 
ter Presbyterian church of Worthington 
was duly organized. The organization 
was perfected by a committee appointed 
by the Mankato church authorities. The 
committee consisted of Rev. Jacob* B. 
Little, Rev. Edward Savage, Rev. P. C. 
Lyon and Rev. E. J. Hamilton. The fol- 
lowing were admitted as members at the 
time of organization : Allen Chaney, Miss 
Julia Chaney, Andrew Buchan, Mrs. Del- 
ia A. Buchan, J. S. Shuck, Mrs. Anna 
Shuck, Cornelius Stout, Joseph Tarbert, 
Mrs. Nancy Tarbert, Dr. Josephus Craft, 
Mrs. Clara Craft, M. H. Stevens, Mrs. 
Lydia A. Stevens, Mrs. Charlotte E. Good- 
npw, Richard Newman, Mrs. Sarah 
Newman, Daniel Rohrer, Mrs. Henrietta 
A. Lyon, Mrs. Otti N. McLaurin. 7 

Allen Chaney, Andrew Buchan and J. 
S. Shuck were elected ruling elders, 8 and 
Mr. Chaney was chosen clerk of the 
session. A board trustees was chosen 
as the following certificate shows: 9 

This is to certify that the members of the 
congregation of the Westminster Presby- 
terian church of Worthington did meet on 
the 21st day of June, A. D. 1873, at the of- 
fice of J. S. Shuck, in said town of Worth- 
ington, for the purpose of electing a board 
of trustees for said church pursuant to no- 
tice which had previously been given for at 
least two successive Sabbaths at the place 
where said congregation steadily met for the 
public worship where said congregation had 
assembled. J. S. Shuck and M. H. Stevens, 
members of said congregation, were nomi- 
nated and elected to preside at said meeting, 
to receive the votes and determine the quali- 
fications of voters. The following named 
persons were then duly elected as a board of 
trustees: Daniel Rohrer, H. D. Bookstaver, 

7 "According to previous announcement, a 
Presbyterian church was organized last Sab- 
bath. Notwithstanding the unfavorable con- 
ditions of the weather and of the roads, 
twenty members were included in the or- 
ganization. It is expected that there will be 
a considerable accession to the number at 
an early day." — Western Advance, June 1, 

M. H. Stevens, J. Craft and J. A. Town, 
they and their successors in office to be 
forever known by the name of the board of 
trustees of the Westminster Presbyterian 
church of Worthington. 

Given under our hands and seals this 21st 
day of June, A. D. 1873. 

Delivered in the presence of E. T. Dilla- 

J. S. SHUCK [Seal.] 

M. H. STEVENS. [Seal.] 

The congregation worshipped in the 
southwest room of the lower floor of 
Miller hall for over a year and a half. 
In the summer of 1874 preparations were 
made for the erection of a church edi- 
fice, and early in September work on 
the building was begun, the plans being 
furnished by L. W. Chase. The building 
cost about $2,000, was occupied for the 
first time Jan. 2, 1875, and served as the 
home of the church until March, 1900. 
Although completed and occupied early 
in 1875, it was not dedicated until De- 
cember 31, 1876, at which time all 
indebtedness had been paid. 

Following is a list of the pastors who 
have filled the Presbyterian pulpit since 
the organization of the church with the 
date of their service: 

W. P. Jackson, July, 1873. 

C. Otis Fletcher, Jan., 1874, to May 
6, 1877. 

Hiram F. White, July 8, 1877, to 

D. K. Millard, Aug., 1878, to 1880. 
J. C. Kobinson, 1880 to June 1, 


William H. Hartzell, Sept. 1, 1885, 
to 1889. 

Robert McCune, 1889 to 1890. 

H. P. Cory, Feb., 1892, to July, 1893. 

•Other ruling elders who have served the 
church since Its organization have been Dr. 
Josephus Craft, Geo. J. Day, Geo. D. Day- 
ton. E. F. Buchan, John Ramage, Henry M. 
Palm, W. W. Loveless, Dr. W. H. Gaugh, 
Geo. D. Palm. J. W. Read, G. V. Pettlt, _C. 
DeBoer and William Chaney. 

•Filed June 23. 1873, In the miscellaneous 
record In the office of the register of deeds. 

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Wilson Aull, May, 1894, to 1896. 

F. C. Bailey, July, 1896, to 1898. 

Wilson Aull, Aug., 1898, to June 1, 

E. W. Lanham, Sept. 1, 1904, to Oct. 
1, 1907. 

Grant B. Wilder, Dec. 1, 1907, to date. 

It was during the pastorate of Rev. 
Wilson Aull that the handsome church 
edifice now in use was erected. It was 
occupied for the first time March 18, 
1900, and was dedicated March 25. The 
cost of the building was $16,537. A pipe 
organ was installed at a cost of $1,118, 
and other improvements have brought 
the total value up to about $20,000. Tt 
is one of the finest church buildings in 
southwestern Minnesota. The present 
membership of the Presbyterian church 
is over 300. 

The following have served as superin- 
tendents of the Sunday school from the 
date of its organization to the present 
time: Dr. J. Craft, J. C. Eobinson, 
Geo. D. Dayton, E. F. Buchan, 
H. M. Palm, W. W. Loveless, Geo. 
D. Palm, William Chaney, Dr. Henry 


Among the early day settlers of Nobles 
county were quite a number of Scandi- 
navians, who settled mostly in Indian 
Lake and Bigelow townships. Nearly 

M **L Peter Thompson; the secretary ap- 
pointed at a meeting held by the members 
of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran church 
of Worthington, Nobles county, Minnesota, on 
the fourth day of May, A. D. 1876, as here- 
inafter mentioned, do hereby certify that the 
persons constituting and belonging to the 
Swedish Evangelical Lutheran church of 
Worthington, Nobles county, Minn., did on 
the fourth day of May. 1876, assemble at the 
house of Charles Rue, in the village of Worth- 
ington, Nobles county, Minn., for the purpose 
of incorporating, . . that due notice of 

the time and place of said election was given 
to the persons entitled to vote thereat; that 
thirty-nine (39) duly qualified persons assem- 
bled at said place of meeting on said fourth 

all were members of the Swedish Evangel- 
ical Lutheran church, and it was but 
natural that the members, gathered to- 
gether in the new country, as Nobles 
county then was, should desire to band 
themselves for the purpose of worship. 
So early as 1872 an informal organiza- 
tion was effected, and for several years 
services were held, more or less fre- 
quently, at different points in Worthing- 
ton and in Bigelow township. There was 
no regular pastor, but the congregation 
met in regular worship, and occasionally 
a minister of their denomination would 
be present with them to assist. 

Thus matters continued until the 
spring of 1876. On the fourth day of 
May, of that year, the church was for- 
mally organized by the following pharter 
members: C. J. Paulson, Ptter Thomp- 
son, Oliver Thompson, C. W. Beck, Chas. 
Larson, C. A. Sundberg, Nels John- 
son, Sander Nelson, Casper Nelson, Swen 
Johnson, August Falk, C. A. Tellander, 
Nels Erickson, Erick Mahlberg, liars 
Elofson, Peter Wickstrom, Peter Larson, 
Lars Erickson, Peter Nystrom, Sr., 
Peter Nystrom, Jr., Frank Sundberg and 
Nels Ellingson. On the date of this 
organization it was decided to incorpor- 
ate, but this was not done until eighteen 
years later. 10 The church was without a 
pastor for several years after its organ- 
ization and also without a church build- 
ing. Meetings were regularly held, how- 
ever, the pulpit being supplied part of 

day of May, A. D. 1876, duly organized and 
appointed Rev. L. A. Hoeanzon chairman and 
said Peter Thompson secretary and then and 
there determined to incorporate for religious 
purposes . and then and there duly 

elected Peter Thompson, C. A. Beck and 
Peter Wickstrom trustees of said corporation, 
and then and there determined that sRid trus- 
tees and their successors in office shall forever 
be known as the Swedish Evangelical Luth- 
eran church of Worthington, Nobles county, 

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set 
my hand and seal this 12th day of January, 
A. D. 1894. Peter Thompson. Secretary." — 
Articles of Incorporation, filed Jan. 12, 1894. 

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the time by students and other ministers 
under the general church body. Various 
places in the village served the pur- 
pose of a church building. 

There was great activity among the 
members in 1883, and during that sum- 
mer a church edifice was erected, the 
first services being held therein in June. 
The work on the building was all done 
by the members, or donated. The outlay 
was for materials alone, which cost about 
$1,200. The pastor, Rev. A. H. Ran- 
dall, was a carpenter, and he did a large 
share of the work. 

Before the church was built, however, 
the congregation had been able to support 
a regular pastor, and in 1880 Rev. J. 
H. Randall was installed. The pastors 
who have supplied the pulpit have been: 
J. H. Randall, 1880-1882; A. H. Ran- 
dall, 1882-1884; S. C. Franzen, 1884- 
1890; Svante Anderson, 1890-1895; E. 
M. Erickson, 1895-1905; C. O. Swan, 
1906 to date. 

On Nov. 28, 1889, a parsonage was 
purchased, which served as a home for 
the pastor until 1907. It was then 
sold, and during the same year a new 
one was erected at a co3t of $4,000. On 
January 1, 1907, the membership of the 
church was 212. 


This church was organized in the 
fall of 1881, and came into existence 
largely through the efforts of Rev. D. 
Gunn. The church building, still used 
as the place of worship by the congre- 
gation, was erected that fall, and was 
opened for worship early in 1882. 

There is a pleasant little piece of his- 
tory connected with the organization of 
the church. For two years years prior 
to its establishment a party of southern- 

ers spent their summers at Worthing- 
ton. Among these were Mr. and Mrs. 
John Forsee and their mother and Miss 
Minturn, members of the Episcopal 
church at St. Joseph, Mo. These friends 
took the first steps toward the organiza- 
tion of a church of their denomination 
in Worthington. They raised $25.50, 
which they placed in the hands of Rev. 

There were only a few Episcopalians 
in the village, and there was little 
sympathy with the efforts to start another 
church. Mr. Gunn, who took the most 
active part in the plans to perfect an 
organization, was at one time so discour- 
aged that, after consulting with the bish- 
op, he withdrew his regular appointments 
and was about to retire. Then interest 
was revived. Mr. Gunn stated that he 
would erect the church if the members 
of the society, which had then been or- 
ganized, would build the foundation. 

W. A. Peterson took him at his word, 
and after a determined effort, did raise 
the amount necessary, assisted by Miss 
M. Madison and Miss Maggie Chadwick 
as a committee of collection. The lum- 
ber for the building was purchased with 
three checks, one of $100, Edward Fer- 
guson and sister, New York ; one of 
$100, Chas H. Contoit, of New York; 
and one of $14, Geo. W. Cass, ex-presi- 
dent of the Northern Pacific Railway 
company. The hardware, etc. was bought 
with the check of Henry B. Renwick, 
New York. 


A meeting of Catholics was held in 
Worthington in August, 1885, when it 
was decided to organize a society and 
erect a church edifice. The building was 
completed in the summer of 1886 at a 

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cost of about $1,500. The first service 
was held August 1, and was conducted by 
Rdv. Father Ogulin, of Heron Lake. 
The church was incorporated March 31, 
• 1902, by Bishop Joseph B. Cotter and 
Vicar General James Coyne, of the Wi- 
nona diocese, Father Joseph Sand, and 
Andrew Collins and Michael Eeiter. 


The Evangelical Association is an or- 
ganization which was founded by Ger- 
mans in the year 1800. Its principal char- 
acteristic is its missionary activity. The 
Worthington church dates its existence 
from the year 1889. The year before 
that Rev. L. S. Stapf, who ministered 
to a congregation of Germans south of 
Luverne, came to Worthington in search 
of new preaching appointments. His ac- 
tivities resulted in the organization of a 
local society, which was organized in 
1899 with the following charter members: 
H. Apel, Heinrich Apel, Sr., Gertrude 
Apel, Margreta Apel, Louis Apel, Hen- 
ry Apel, Jr., William Apel, Katherina 
Apel, Philip Anton, Lizzie Anton, J. H. 
Shuck, Anna Shuck, J. Dohlheim, Louise 
Dohlheim, Emilia Apel, Albert Dohlheim 
Fred Dohlheim, Ida Dohlheim, W. F. Mos?, 
Mary Moss, George Hacker, ThedaHacker, 
Maggie Hacker, Albert Wild, Anna M. 
Wild, Geo. Doeden, Gratia Doeden, An- 
drew Doeden, Tena Doeden, George 
Doeden, Jr., Fred Doeden, Maggie Doe- 
den, C. Hilke, Blondena Snyder, Mary 
Weis, John Apel, Frederick Kasdorf, 
Johanna Kasdorf, Louise Kasdorf. 

The church was incorporated June 10, 
1891, under the name of Emanuel Society 
Church of the Evangelical Association of 
North America. The trustees at the 
time were Philip Anton, W, F, Moss 

and Heinrich Apel. Immediately there- 
after construction was commenced on 
the church building at the corner of 
Fourth avenue and Fourteenth street. 
The church was finished that fall, making 
the seventh church building then in the 
village. The cost was $1,650. It was dedi- 
cated Dec. 6, 1891. Prior to the build- 
ing of the church services were held 
in the hall over the Farmers' Store, on 
Main street. In 1902 a commodious 
manse was erected beside the church at 
a cost of $1,827.88. 

Since its organization the following pas- 
tors have filled the pulpit of the Worth- 
ington church: L. S. Stapf, 1899; 
S. B. Goetz, 1889-1892; F. H. Draeger, 
1892-1895 ; C. W. Wolthausen, 1895-1899 ; 
F. C. Schmidt, 1899-1902 ; J. H. Muel- 
hausen, 1902-1906; G. G. Schmidt, 1906 
to date. 

The present membership of the Evan- 
gelical Association's church of Worthing- 
ton is 103. The German language is 
being supplanted by the English, and over 
half the services are now conducted in 
the language of the land. From Worth- 
ington the society reached out and did 
effective work in Wilmont, Fulda, Wild- 
er and Ewington township. In the last 
named place, known as SpafTords, the 
Methodist church was purchased and a 
mission established, which is being sup- 
plied from the Worthington church still. 
The departments of the church are Sun- 
day school, young people's alliance, mis- 
sionary society and ladies' aid society. 


About the first of January, 1893, "Rev. 
A. D. Trumbull, of "Nebraska, came to 
Worthington. There he found a number 
of "Baptists who reauested him to preach 
and try to organize a Baptist church in 

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Worthington. He agreed, and an ap- 
pointment was made for January 15 in 
the old Grand Army hall. After the 
service the members of the Baptist faith 
were requested to remain for consultation, 
which resulted in organizing a confer- 
ence, preparatory to the organization of 
a Baptist church. Twenty-one persons 
signified their desire to become mem- 
bers of the new church. 

The formal organization was made 
Feb. 26, 1893, under the direction of 
Rev. A. D. Trumbull, with the follow- 
ing charter members: R. R. Smith, Julia 
A. Smith, L. M. Brooks, Sarah 
A. Brooks, William E. Stoute- 
myer, Emmogene Stoutemyer, An- 
drew C. Hedberg, Mary Hedberg, John 
R. Moberly, Mary J. Moberly, Gust 
Swanberg, Hannah Swanberg, Belle Chaf- 
fer, Eric P. Johnson, R. H. Barnard, 
Milton S. Smith, John Staubus, Mrs. 
John Staubus, R. W. Moberly, Annie 
Moberly, Mrs. Morrison. 11 The deacons 
elected were R. R. Smith, A. C. Hedberg 
and W. E. Stoutemyer. A. C. Hedberg 
was chosen treasurer and M. S. Smith 

A council of recognition met at Worth- 
ington June 30, 1893, by invitation of 
the twenty-om? members of the new or- 
ganization, who asked that they be recog- 
nized as a regular Baptist church. The 
churches named below were represented 
bv the following: Luverne, Rev. C. W. 
Lisk and C. C. Drew; Pipestone, Rev. 
C T. Hallowell: Windom, Rev. J. M. 
Thurston and Rev. W. S. Black; St. 
James. Rev. E. M. Jones and J. C. 
Rutherford: Mankato, Rev. T. Bersr- 
strom and W. F. Jenson; superintendent 
of missions. Rev. T. R. Peters, D. D. 
There were added to the council Rev. J. 
Hollstrom and Hans Nystrom, of the 

"AH became members by letter except tlje 
last three named, 

Worthington Swedish Lutheran church; 
Rev. J. Schultz, of Sibley ; and Rev. 
C. W. Pratt, of Sheldon. Favorable ac- 
tion was taken by the council, and the 
First Baptist church of Worthington was • 
recognized by the general body. 

The church was incorporated July 27, 
1895, the trustees at the time being Gust 
Swanberg, J. H. Maxwell and W. E. 
Stoutemyer. Early in 1899 steps were 
taken to build a church edifice, services 
having been held for several years in the 
old Grand Army hall. A handsome and 
comfortable little church was erected 
that summer at the corner of Fourth 
avenue and Fourteenth street, the total 
cost of which was $2,925.53. It was 
dedicated Nov. 12, 1899. 

The following pastors have filled the 
pulpit since the date of organization : W. 
C. Pratt, 1894; W. J. McCullom, Feb., 
1895, to June, 189C; J. W. Forsythe, 
Nov., 1896, to Dec, 1896; A. V. Dahl, 
April, 1897, to July, 1898 ; C. F. Bronson, . 
Jan., 1899, to Oct., 1901 ; C. K. Bidwell, 
1902 to Sept., 1904; C. F. Bronson, 
Nov., 1904, to Dec., 1905 ; I. H. Darnell, 
July, 1906, to date. 


The Swedish Mission church was or- 
ganized March 12, 1895, with the 
following charter members: N. J. Sandin, 
Anna Sandin, Nels Flink, Katterine 
Flink, C. F. Sahlbom, Martha Caro- 
line Sahlbom, John Wester, Anna West- 
er and Ole J. Englund. A church 
building was erected at the corner of 
Ninth street and Sixth avenue in 1899. 
It was dedicated July 9, and the total 
cost was $2,000. 

The following pastors have served the 
charge: 0. B, Stendin, six months in 

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1895; G. F. Palmer, 1896-1897; Carl 
Olson, two months in 1898; Rev. Sandin, 
six months in 1899; Aug. Berggren, six 
months in 1900; J. E. Ekstrom, 1901- 
1903; O. K. Moberg, 1904-1906; C. M. 
Johnson, Feb. 1, 1907, to date. A par- 
sonage was built in 1901 at a cost of 
$1,500. The present membership is 58. 


The Christian church of Worthington 
was organized in the summer of 1900 
by Evangelist 6. F. Devol, with nine- 
teen charter members. Services are held 
regularly in A. O. U. W. hall. G. M. 
Walker has been pastor of the church 
since its organization. The present mem- 
bership is 58. 


Worthington is fairly well represented 
in secret and fraternal societies. There 
are organizations of the Grand Army of 
the Republic, Women's Relief Corps, An- 
cient Free and Accepted Masons, Royal 
Arch Masons, Eastern Star, Ancient Or- 
der of United Workmen, Degree of 
Honor, Knights of Pythias, Modern 
Woodmen of America, Royal Neighbors, 
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, 
Knights of the Maccabees of the World 
and Brotherhood of American Yeomen. 
All of these have lodges and are in 
flourishing condition. Many other se- 
cret organizations have had existence 
at one time or another, but in giving 
the lodge history of Worthington I shall 
confine myself to those now having or- 


It was only a few years after the close 
of the civil war when Nobles county wa§ 

settled, and a large percentage of the 
early settlers were soldiers of that great 
struggle who had come west to build 
themselves homes in the new country. 
Under the provisions of the homestead 
laws at the time the National colony was 
bringing the settlers here, ex-soldiers 
were permitted to secure homesteads of 
160 acres within the limits of the rail- 
road grant, while others were permitted 
to take only 80 acres. This vantage 
resulted in bringing many veterans of 
the war to Worthington and surrounding 
country, and it was but natural that 
the first lodge established in Worthington 
should be one of the Grand Army of 
the Republic. 

On the evening of June 29, 1872, 
about thirty-five or forty ex-soldiers of 
the Union army met at a building which 
was to become a carpenter shop, located 
where the Congregational church now 
stands, for the purpose of organizing a 
post of the G. A. R. Captain Henry A. 
Castle, of St. Paul, commander of the 
department of Minnesota, was present 
and fully explained the objects of the or- 
ganization. He then mustered in those as- 
sembled, and Stoddard Post No. 34 came 
into existence. It was named in honor 
of a man by the name of Stoddard, who 
had died in Worthington the previous 
winter, the first ex-soldier to be buried 
in Nobles county. The first officers 
chosen were as follows: William B. 
Akins, commander; J. S. Shuck, senior 
vice commander; T. C. Bell, junior vice 
commander; M. B. Soule, adjutant; C. 
C. Goodnow, quartermaster; R. D. Bar- 
ber, surgeon; A. B. Willey, officer of 
the day; J. C. Goodnow, officer of the 

During the summer of 1872 weekly 
meetings were held and a lively inter- 
est was manifested. When winter came 

Digitized by 




the post was handicapped in the matter 
of a suitable building in which to meet, 
and as a consequence the post became 
somewhat demoralized. Owing to the 
fact that many of the members were 
scattered over the prairie, the meetings 
were thinly attended, and much of the 
interest died out. But a determined few 
decided to keep the organization going 
and met as often as possible. At the 
first meeting in 1873 the following of- 
ficers were elected: B. D. Barber, com- 
mander; T. C. Bell, senior vice com- 
mander; G. W. Rhone, junior vice com- 
mander; M. B. Soule, adjutant; A. J. 
Manley, quartermaster; R. D. Barber, 
surgeon; B. S. Langdon, chaplain; J. 
C. Goodnow, officer of the day; J. S. 
Stone, officer of the guard; Daniel 
Stone, sergeant major; B. R. Prince, 
quartermaster sergeant. These officers 
were succeeded, as the result o'f an elec- 
tion at the last meeting held in J873, by 
the following: J. A. Town, command- 
er; T. C. Bell, senior vice commander; 
M. H. Stevens, junior vice commander; 
M. B. Soule, adjutant; A. J. Manley, 
auartermaster ; R. D. Barber, surgeon; 
J. W. Smith, chaplain; B. P. Hayden- 
burk, officer of the day; L. B. Bennett, 
officer of the guard. 

During 1873 the post had a member- 
ship of 125, and was the largest in the 
state of Minnesota at that time. Then 
came the grasshopper days and the re- 
sultant disasters. So many of the mem- 
bers moved away that the post was fin- 
ally disbanded. Not until 1883 were 
steps taken to bring about a reorganiza- 
tion. On July 14 of that year the re- 
organization was perfected. The post, 
with the same name and number as the 
old one, was mustered in bv Samuel 
Bloomer, of Stillwater, adjutant general 

of the department. The officers chosen 
at that time were: L. M. Lange, com- 
mander; R. R. Miller, senior vice com- 
mander; Mons Grinager, junior vice 
commander; R. B. Plotts, adjutant; R. 
D. Barber, surgeon; C. P. Shepard, of- 
ficer of the day; A. S. Husselton, chap- 
lain; N. V. McDowell, officer of the 
guard; H. C. Shepard, sergeant major; 
C. T. Pope, quartermaster sergeant. The 
charter members were R. R. Miller, C. 
P. Shepard, R. D. Barber, C. B. Lang- 
don, G. W. Brant, J. H. Maxwell, E. B. 
Paul, L. B. Bennett, L. M. Lange, Rob- 
ert Firth, J. P. Humiston, W. P. Thay- 
er, B. F. Johnson, R. B. Plotts, Geo. W. 
Crane, J. H. Johnson, I. J. Coons, Noah 
V. McDowell, H. C. Shepard, A. S. 
Husselton, Mons Grinager, Geo. M. Rose, 
Peter Banks, S. P. Pepple, Wm. Mc- 
Lean, C. C. Whitney, W. W. Herron, 
Jonathan Gordon, C. T. Pope, A. W. 
Allen, H. Hurlbert, J. J. Bingham, Wm. 
Madison, J. J. Bunn, Fred Bloom, A. 
J. Torrance, J. B. Green, M. S. Twitch- 
ell, Douglas Cramer, E. S. Mills, J. T. 
Lyon and Joseph Kane. 12 

"Tnder the first organization the head- 
quarters of the post had been at Miller 
hall, that famous building that sheltered 
so many of the early day organizations. 
When the new post came into existence 
in 1883 the lodge rooms were moved to 
Masonic hall. Later the hall over the 
store building now occupied by Chaney 
& Mackay was secured, and for many 
years it was known as Grand Army hall. 
In more recent years the headquarters 
have been in the Baker block. Since its 
reorganization in 1883 Stoddard Post 
No. 34 has been an active body, and 
is today one of the most respected or- 
ders in the city. 

"The eierht last named were mustered in but were designated as charter members. 
July 28, fourteen days after the organization. 

Digitized by 





The Grand Army post at Worthing- 
ton at one time had the distinction of 
being the largest post in the state, and 
its auxiliary, the Women's Relief Corps, 
also has a distinctive honor; it was the 
first corps established in the state of 
Minnesota. The corps was organized in 
December, 1883. The first officers were : 
Mrs. J. A. Town, president; Mrs. Cyn- 
thia McDowell, senior vice president; 
Mrs. Susan Wells, junior vice president; 
Miss Mary E. Madison, secretary; Mrs. 
Mary Bennett, treasurer; Mrs. Kephart, 
chaplain; Mrs. Eloise Brant, conductor; 
Miss Mary McDowell, guard. 

The charter was issued by the national 
officers on March 8, 1884, and the fol- 
lowing names appear on the charter: 
Eloise Brant, Mary McDowell, Susan 
Wells, May Thayer, Ida Limbert, Sarah 
McDowell, Sophia Torrance, Kate Hus- 
selton, Phoebe Millington, Kate R. 
Town, Lora Free, Kate Miller, Mary 
Mills, Anna Lange, Cynthia McDowell, 
Mary Bunn, Adaline Bingham, Sarah 
Humiston, Martha DeWolf, Susan Y. 
Bennett, Miss Mary Bunn, Margaret 
Chamberlain, Hattie Smith, Harriet 
Smith, Kate L. Plotts, Hattie Barber/ 8 

& A. M. 

a subordinate lodge in Worthington, as 
the following certificate, filed in the of- 
fice of the clerk of court of Nobles coun- 
ty on September 27, 1872, shows: 

Certificate. We hereby certify that a sub- 
ordinate lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted 
Masons has been authorized by "Grand 
Lodge" of Minnesota. 

That we, the undersigned, have been con- 
stituted said lodge by disposition of said 
grand lodge to wit: Moses B. Odell, master; 
Martin B. Soule, senior warden; and Lach- 
lan F. McLaurin, junior warden. That the 
name of said lodge is Fraternity Lodge U. 
D., and that it is located in the county of 
Nobles, state of Minnesota. That the place 
of meeting of said lodge is in the town of 
Worthington, in said Nobles county. 

Dated the 27th day of September, A. D. 

MOSES B. ODELL, Master. 

MARTIN B. SOULE, Senior Warden. 

LACHLAN F. M'LAURIN, Junior Warden. 

The charter members of this pioneer 
lodge were Albert C. Robinson, L. Y. 
McLaurin, H. C. Rice, J. Craft, C. C. 
Goodnow, B. F. Thurber, S. Ed. Chand- 
ler, I. P. Durfee, A. C. Ecker, Wm. M. 
Bear, John H. Johnson, Wellington 
Sherwood, M. B. Odell, Addison P. 
Lyon, A. J. Manley, Daniel Shell, H. 
D. Humiston and C. P. Stough. On 
October 5 a meeting was held, when the 
following officers were elected: B. P. 
Thurber, treasurer; A. C. Robinson, sec- 
retary; C. C. Goodnow, S. D.; S. E. 
Chandler, J. D.; Daniel Shell, S. S.; H. 
C. Rice, J. S.; Wm. Bear, chaplain; C. 
P. Stough, tyler. 

Worthington's second order was a 
Masonic organization, Fraternity Lodge 
No. 101, A. F. & A. M. The initial 
steps toward the organization of a Ma- 
sonic order were taken late in August, 
1872. 14 One month later the grand lodge 
of Minnesota authorized the creation of 

R. A. M. 

This lodge of Royal Arch Masons was 
organized Feb. 3, 1874, with the follow- 
ing charter members: A. C. Robinson, 
M. B. Soule, I. P. Durfee, H. Webb, 

"Eloise Brant and Harriet Smith are the M "A meeting of the members of Free Ma- 

only charter members whose names are still sons was held at Soule's law office last week, 
on the membership Ust. and necessary steps taken to organize a lodge 

at this place." — Western Advance, Aug. 31, 


Digitized by 




W. B. Cook, I. N. Sater, W. Smith, A. 
P. Lyon and W. H. Wilson. The order 
was incorporated March 27, 1882. The 
lodge is in a very prosperous condition, 
and owns the two brick buildings at the 
' corner of Tenth street and Second av- 
enue, valued at about $15,000. 

E. S. 

The Masonic, auxiliary, Order Eastern 
Star, was organized Dec. 19, 1891, with 
the following thirty-eight charter mem- 
bers: Mrs. Hannah Parker, Miss Win- 
nifred Shell, Miss Esther Torrance, Mrs. 
Josie L. Lewis, Mrs. Mary F. McCart- 
ney, Mrs. Mary S. Fellows, Mrs. Nellie 

D. Smith, Miss Irene A. Webb, Mrs. 
Louise Crane, Mrs. Mary E. Bennett, 
Mrs. Ellen Torrance, Mrs. Caroline A. 
Forbes, Mrs. S. E. Shell, Mrs. Maria L. 
Dean, Mrs. Mary R. Mitchell, Mrs. Mary 

E. Pannell, Mrs. Sarah C. Johnson, Mrs. 
Ida M. Darling, Mrs. Etta P. Webb, 
Mrs. Hattie H. Bigelow, Mrs. Viola E. 
Rosenberg, Mrs. Adelia H. Covey, Mrs. 
Emma F. Kenyon, Mrs. Carrie J. John- 
son, Messrs. Wilbur S. Webb, Henry K. 
Torrance, Azom Forbes, Lorenzo L. Mc- 
Cartney, Abe Jj. Johnson, Edwin C. 

, Pannell, Frank Lewis, Lucian B. Ben- 
nett, Daniel Shell, H. C. Shepard, Ai 
P. Darling, Benjamin F. Johnson, Chas. 
W. Smith, Howard L. Durfee. 

The first officers of the lodge were: 
Mrs. Mary Mitchell, worthy matron; Dr. 
W. S. Webb, worthy patron; Mrs. Dan- 
iel Shell, associate matron; Mrs. Etta P. 
Webb, secretary; Mrs. Otis Bigelow, 
treasurer; Mrs. Hannah Parker, conduc- 
tress; Mrs. E. C. Pannell, associate con- 

0. U. W. 

Among the strong organizations of 
Worthington is the Ancient Order Unit- 
ed Worlanen, which has had an existence 
for twenty-eight years. It was organized 
oh May "21, 1880, with the following of- 
ficers and charter members: Azom 
Forbes, past master; R. R. Miller, mas- 
ter workman ;. Geo. W. Wilson, foreman; 
W. A. Peterson, overseer; R. B. Plotts, 
recorder; Frank Lewis, financier; H. H. 
Anderson, receiver; Joseph Lowe, guide; 
C. T. Shattuc, inside watchman; A. S. 
Husselto'n, outside watchman; J. S. Mc- 
Manus, Alex Moir and J. Craft, trus- 
tees; W. B. Lyon, T. H. Parsons, Wm. 
Culbertson, A. P. Miller, John McMil- 
lan, Peter Banks, Julius Moll, C. W. 
Hanna, A. E. Tuttle, J. H. Johnson, J. 
L. Sheeley, 0. G. Grundsten, B. N. Car- 
rier, A. L. Clark, S. McLean and C. F. 
Humiston. The lodge was incorporated 
March 29, 1894, and is now the owner 
of the brick building at the corner of 
Tenth street and Fourth avenue. 


The Degree of Honor lodge, auxiliary 
to the Workmen, received its charter 
Nov. 20, 1894. Following are the offi- 
cers named in the charter: Mrs. Remus 
Moberly, P. C. of H.; Mrs. May Whit- 
ney, L. of H. ; Miss Launa Free, re- 
corder; Mrs. Lillian Curtiss, receiver; 
Mrs. Edith Covey, I. W.; Mrs. Cynthia 
S. Bullis, C. of H.; Mrs. Susan R. Lowe, 
C. of C. ; Mrs. Ellen S. Leonard, finan- 
cier; Mrs. Luella Darby, S. TJ. ; Mr. E. 
F. Whitney, 0. W. 

Digitized by 





The Knights of Pythias lodge was in- 
stituted May 1, 1890, with the following 
officers and charter members: James 
Manning, P. C; W. S. Webb, C. C; E. 
E. Warren, V. C; Robert McCune, P.; 
H. C. Crawford, M. A.; Grant Morris- 
on, K. R. S.; A. L. Johnson, M. F.; H. 
C. Shepard, M. E. ; J. Hammerberg, 1. 
G.; C. J. Samuelson, 0. G.; Chas. E. 
Savill, Henry E. Torrance, John T. 
Fisher, E. Ray Humiston, Geo. W. Wil- 
son, James W. Crandall, Erick K. Ram- 
sey, Jerome S. McManus. The lodge 
was incorporated April 16, 1891. 

M. W. A. 

The Modern Woodmen have one of the 
strongest fraternal organizations in 
Worth ington. Worthington Camp No. 
2294 was organized May 29, 1894, with 
the following charter members: E. F. 
Buchan, W. H. Buchan, Olof S. Degn, 
M. E. Fish, M. Hammond, Theodore 
Hin ricks, J. P. Loveless, F. H. Lyon, 
Emil Luche, Fred Mitchell, George D. 
Palm, Ingreman Peterson, John Sulli- 
van, P. W. Thoreau, E. F. Wood, I. L. 
Wass and William E. Deyoe. 

The Royal Neighbors, auxiliary to the 
Modern Woodman, maintain a strong 

I. 0. 0. F. 

So early as 1878 an effort was made 
to organize an Odd Fellows lodge in 
Worthington, 15 but it was unsuccessful, 
and it was not until Aug. 18, 1894, that 

a charter was granted by the grand 
lodge. The order was instituted Aug- 
ust 29 with the following charter mem- 
bers: E. W. Goff, E. M. Lumm, J.- B. 
Green, Barton Goodrich, G. C. Fellows, 
Joseph Lowe, John J. Lynch, Albert 
Bryan and P. B. Curtiss. For a time a 
Rebekah lodge, auxiliary to the Odd 
Fellows, had an existence, but it has been 

0. T. M. 

The applicants for a charter for a 
subordinate lodge of the Knights of the 
Maccabees of the World held their first 
meeting at G. A. R. hall Oct. 29, 1901, 
and a short time thereafter the charter 
was granted. The first officers and char* 
ter applicants were as follows: J. J. 
Parsons, P. C; H. V. Millar, C; Thob. 
Hutton, X,. C; John S. Tolverson, F. 
K. and R. K. ; Guy 0. Bigelow, chap- 
lain; Henry J. Blume, sergeant; F. E. 
Walker, physician; Chas. Durling, mata; 
Peter Heinl, M. of G.; 0. B. Cong- 
don, S. M. of G.; John R. Baker, sen- 
tinel; Robert Reed, picket; M. S. Smith, 
H. V. Millar and F. C. Stitser, trustees; 
Carl Arneson, Albert Durling, John 
Feldman, Fred E. Hubbard, Eric Leei, 
Geo. Lewis, Chris Ileef, Frank Prouty, 
Frank E. Scott, Oren R. Bartlett, F. 
B. McNair, Lawrence Potter, Geo. 
Smith, Jeff G. Scott. 

22, B. A. Y. 

The charter for this lodge of Brother- 
hood of American Yeomen was granted 
May 22, 1905, with the following mem- 

"•"The Odd Fellows of Worthington are re- preliminary steps toward organizing: a lodge at 
quested to meet at the office of A. Forbes on this place." — Worthington Advance, Nov. 28, 
Saturday evening, November 30, to take the 1878. 

Digitized by 




bers: E. C. Pannell, Mary E. Pannell, 
Eugene Stanton, Etta P. Stanton, J. D. 
Matteson, Belle Matteson, Flora Wood, 
Alma Peterson, Mary Loveless, Cather- 
ine T. Glasgow, Walter S. Aagaard, 
Louisa W. Aagaard, Ulysses F. Hansber- 
ger, Clara L. Hansberger, Will E. Oli- 
ver, Emma S. Oliver, L. L. McCartney, 
E. L. Nance, Katie McCartney, Emma 
May Nance, E. H. Dieckhoff, Wm. H. 
Guise, Frances B. Dieckhoff, E. E. Day- 
ton, Cora A. Dayton, Hanah L. Guise, 
E. W. Cutler, A. F. Collins, Mary J. 
Collins, Eulalia Garretson, Caroline A. 
McCune, Mattie M. Hastings, Mary E. 
Baker, Sophia M. Sterling, Edith E. 
Schanck, Oscar H. Nebel, Leo. F. Nebel, 
David Bergstresser, Christine E. Berg- 
stresser, Lottie M. Frink, W. H. Har- 
rington, Jonas A. Wickman, Fredricka 

Wickman, Chas. 0. Barkelew, Catherine 
V. Barkelew, Wm. H. Barkelew, John 
B. Walters, Maurice I. Maxwell, Nelle 
May Maxwell, F. E. Walker, Joseph S. 
Firth, Byron W T . Potter, Chas. J. Paine, 
Charlotte B. Potter, Maggie E. Paine, 
Mark C. Sharp, Clara F. Sharp, Geo. F. 
Hastings, Amelia M. Hastings, Freder- 
ick L. Covley, A. W. Little, Ella A. 
Little, Frank H. Lyon, Effie I. Lyon, 
Clinton L. Mann, Wm. D. Boddy, F. C. 
Brace, W. W. Loveless, Grant Morrison, 
Chas. V. Bryan, Svante J. Kail, Adolph 
Amondson, Arthur Borst, Fred Wall, 
Edgar E. Lanphear, Orin Carncross, 
Josephus E. Norris, Jacob Gleim, Eliza- 
beth Gleim, Harvey Hawley, T. C. Ager. 
A. M. Gregerson, Emma Gregerson, John 
T. Milton, Clark H. Pannell. 

Digitized by 


'I'M* > 


Digitized by 








Digitized by 




Ranking second in size and importance 
and fourth in age among Nobles county 
towns, is Adrian. The village is sit- 
uated in the western part of the county, 
m Olney and Westside townships, on 
Kanaranzi creek, and on the branch line 
of the Omaha railroad which extends 
from Worthington to Mitchell, South 
Dakota. It is eighteen miles west from 
Worthington and fifteen east from Lu- 
verne. The population of Adrian, ac- 
cording to the state census of 1905, was 

The town is compactly built and pre- 
sents an attractive appearance. It has 
broad streets, lined with substantial busi- 
ness houses and handsome residences. 
No more beautiful site for a town could 
be found. It is on land that has a 
gentle slope toward the Kanaranzi, which 
flows along the northern border, afford- 
ing excellent drainage. All the improve- 
ments to be found in Minnesota towns 
of its size are here. It has an excellent 
water works system, electric light plant, 
public and parochial, schools and 

For several years after the rapid set- 
tlement of eastern Nobles county (fol- 
lowing the building of the Sioux City 

& St. Paul railroad) Worthington was 
the only town in the county, if we ex- 
cept the railroad stations of Bigelow 
and Hersey (Brewster), in which only 
small progress had been made. From 
1872 to 1876 a number of settlers had 
taken claims and builded homes in the 
western part of the county, but, being 
far from railroads and markets, the 
population was small, and, of course, no 
attempt had been made to found a town. 

Conditions were materially changed in 
the spring of 1876, when it was defi- 
nitely determined that the Sioux City & 
St. Paul Railroad company would build 
a branch line westward from Worthing- 
ton. New settlers located in the west- 
ern townships of Nobles county, and 
when the railroad was built and the site 
of a new town to be called Adrian was 
selected, the indications were that the 
new town would prosper from the start. 

About the first of April a preliminary 
survey for the new road was begun and 
in May grading was commenced. The 
railroad officials early selected the sites 
for stations on the proposed road, 1 and 
the townsite of Adrian was surveyed be- 
tween the 23rd and 29th of May, 1876, 
bv 0. D. Brown for the St. Paul & Da- 

1,f We learn that there are to be two stations have already gone out to lay out a town on 

°n the branch between here and Luverne. One the Kanaranzi, part of which will fall on th« 

yDl be in Dewald near the farm of Mr. Bed- claim of Mr. Campbell." — Worthington Ad* 

ford, and the other at the Kanaranzi. Parties vance, May 26, 1876. 


Digitized by 




kota Railroad company (later the Worth- 
ington & Sioux Falls Railroad com- 
pany). 2 The original townsite consisted 
of sixteen blocks, evenly divided by Main 
street, which is the Olney-Westside boun- 
dary line. That part of the plat which 
was on the southeast quarter of section 
13, Westside township, was railroad land; 
that on the southwest quarter of section 
18, Olney township, was on land home- 
steaded by Albert Campbell, later bought 
by the railroad company. Although the 
survey had been made in May, the dedi- 
cation of the plat was not made until 
August 28, and the instrument was not 
filed until October 4. Horace Thomp- 
son, as trustee for himself and others, 
made the dedication. 8 

The site was named Adrian in honor 

a A correspondent to the St. Paul Pioneer 
Press, writing in July, 1878, told a pretty 
story of the selection of the site. The only 
fault to be found with the story is that it 
cannot be true, for the selection had been 
made and the plat surveyed two months be- 
fore the time assigned. The correspondent 

"Two years ago, in the last days of July, 
the tracklayers on the Worthington & Sioux 
Falls railroad reached the • banks of the Kan- 
aranzi. It was midway between Worthing- 
ton and Luverne. The site was 'beautiful for 
situation.' The country surrounding it was 
rich and inviting. From the summit of the 
bluffs that bordered the river the eye turned 
north, south, east and west, over hill, 
prairie and stream — a vision of beauty. 
'What a grand site for a new town,' was the 
exclamation of the leader. And it was then 
and there decided that a town should be on 
the spot." 

'Additions to Adrian have been platted as 

First — Surveyed by Leonidas L. Palmer, 
civil engineer, for Worthington & Sioux Falls 
Railroad company; dedicated July 6, 1881; filed 
July 27, 1881. 

South Side — Surveyed by M. S. Smith be- 
tween September 3 and October 9, 1891, for 
M. Sullivan, F. R. Robinson, E. H. Mylius, 
John Ireland, A. M. Becker and A. Libaire; 
dedicated Oct. 9, 1891; filed Dec. 8, 1891. 

Campbell's East Side — Surveyed by M. S. 
Smith in September, 1891, in compliance with 
an order of the county auditor; dedicated by 
Albert Campbell, Frank E. Hoskins, Fred 
Steinkoenlng, Joslah Hoskins. Edward Gray, 
Casper Becker and Thomas Tangleson Nov. 4, 
1891; filed Dec. 8, 1891. 

Schneider's — Surveyed by M. S. Smith be- 
tween Nov. 9 and 18, 1891, for Albert Camp- 
bell, Anna Maria Schneider and John Alley; 
dedicated Dec. 12, 1891; filed Jan. 2, 1892. 

Faragher's — Surveyed by M. S. Smith in 
November, 1891, for John E. Faragher; dedi- 
cated Nov. 25, 1891; filed Jan. 2, 1892. 

of Adrian Iselin, who was the mother 
of Adrian C. Iselin, one of the directors 
of the Sioux City & St Paul Railroad 
company. Mr. Iselin had requested the 
officers of the road to name some new 
town along the line in honor of his 
mother, and the request was complied 
with when the station on the Kanaranzi 
was established. It seems strange that 
there should be any question raised as to 
the origin of the name of a place of 
such recent birth as the village of Ad- 
rian, but such is the case. The origin 
of the name is as stated, but it is only 
natural that the mistake should be 
made of giving the honor to the direc- 
tor of the road, which has heretofore 
been done. 4 In some quarters the belief 
has become current that the village was 

Lot 1 (ne% of nw%, section 19, T. 102, R. 42) 
— Surveyed by M. S. Smith for John E. Far- 
agher and William R. Faragher; dedicated 
Dec. 31, 1891; filed Jan. 2, 1892. 

Porter & Mohl's — Surveyed by W. N. David- 
son June 2, 3 and 4, 1891, for F. J. Porter; 
dedicated June 13, 1891; filed April 14,. 1892. 

Jones* — Surveyed by W. N. Davidson Aug. 
17, 1891, for James R. Jones and John R. 
Jones; dedicated Feb. 14, 1892; filed Dec. 11, 

Blocks 2 and 3, Original Plat Campbell's 
East Side Addition— Surveyed by M. S. Smith 
April 12 and 13, 1895, for George F. Hallas. 
administrator of the estate of Albert Camp- 
bell; dedicated May 1, 1895; filed May 27, 1895. 

Blocks 4. 5, 6 and 7, Campbell's East Side 
Addition— Surveyed by M. S. Smith Nov. 14, 
15 and 16, 1895, for George F. Hallas. adminis- 
trator of the estate of Albert Campbell; dedi- 
cated Dec. 6, 1895; filed Dec. 7, 1895. 

Spartz's — Surveyed by M. S. Smith Nov. 8, 
1899. for Jacob Sparts; dedicated Dec. 23, 1899; 
filed Dec. 26, 1899. 

Block A— Surveyed by M. S. Smith March 
19, 1903, for Joseph Cowin; dedicated April 6, 
1903; filed April 6, 1903. 

4 A history of the origin of place names 
connected with the Northwestern railroad, re- 
cently issued in book form, says: "This town 
[Adrian] was started in 1876 and was named 
for Adrian C. Iselin, of New York city, who 
was a large holder of the earliest issued stock 
and bonds of a railroad that passes through 
this vicinity." 

E. F. Drake, who was the president of the 
Worthington & Sioux Falls road, wrote at 
the time of the founding: "Adrian is named 
fcr Adrian Iselin, of New Tork, one of our 

The Worthington Advance of June 8, 1876. 
said: "The village is named Adrian, the 
name being that of a heavy European stock- 

Digitized by 





Digitized by 


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Digitized by 




named in honor of St. Adrian. 5 Al- 
though I have made diligent search, I 
have been unable to find any authentic 
data that would lead to that conclusion. 

Adrian was not founded immediately 
after the selection of the site. The track 
laying crew reached the point about the 
middle of August, and during that fall 
the town came into existence. J. Smith, 
who had been engaged in the mercantile 
business at Heron Lake, and George H. 
Carr, who had been clerking for him, 
were the first on the ground. They 
brought lumber and erected the first 
building on the site. 6 Before the store 
was opened Mr. Carr bought his part- 
ner's interests and became the first busi- 
ness man of Adrian. Besides conducting 
his • store he bought and shipped grain, 
erecting a warehouse later in the season. 

A number of other business men were 
soon on the ground, and before the end 
of the year, the village boasted of four 
or five business enterprises. A • hotel 
building, 30x40 feet, two stories ' high, 
was erected by the railroad company, 
and Thomas H. Childs, formerly post- 
master of the Hebbard postoffice and 
proprietor of the "Half-Way House/' 
moved down and became landlord of the 
Adrian hotel. William Wigham came up 
from *his home in Little Rock township, 
erected a small building in which he 
opened a store, and built a warehouse 
and engaged in the grain business. 

A depot building (the east end of 

•"Adrian was named on the suggestion of 
Rev. Father Knauf, the first Catholic priest 
of that charge, in honor of St. Adrian. Cer- 
tain ones wish to give the honor to Adrian 
Iselin, of New York, but facts disprove their 
claims.'*— Ellsworth News, 1907. 

•The front part of the building on Main 
street now occupied as a restaurant by Ed. 

7 Adrian*s postmasters, with the dates of 
service, are: George H. Carr, 1876-1882; El- 
ton Clapp. 1882-1885; M. Sullivan, 1885-1889; 
S. J. McKenzie, 1889-1894; John E. King, 
1894-1899; S. J. McKenzie, 1899-1906; Joseph 
Cowin, 1906 to date. 

the present depot) was erected, and 
George H. Otis was installed as agent, 
being replaced soon after by Thomas G. 
Newell. About the first of October the 
Hebbard postoffice, which had been lo- 
cated a short distance east of the new 
town, was moved to Adrian. George H. 
Carr became the postmaster and kept the 
office in his store. 7 Other buildings 
erected in the little town before the close 
of the year were a small shanty put up 
for a place of residence by H. N. Hol- 
brook, and a small house which was 
moved over from near the site of Rush- 
more by Mr. Carr. The few business 
houses had a prosperous trade, and the 
predictions that Adrian was to become a 
good business point were coming true. 8 
The country roundabout was sparsely set- 
tled, but the new town drew trade from 
a vast ^area, extending south into what 
is nowsjaiown as the Ellsworth country, 
and Jiopiili- c tb the county line, guarantee- 
ing the permanency of the village. 

Dtfring the winter of 1876-77 the 
town's first school was established, being 
conducted by Mrs. McCall in a room in 
the hotel, and the first church service 
was held in February. Times were 
lively during 1877, and many new busi- 
ness enterprises were established. In 
January J. C. Ludlow erected a build- 
ing and opened a blacksmith, machine 
and repair shop, and a few months later 
erected a dwelling house. A. J. Rice, 
who had been clerking in a drug store 

•"Adrian starts off -very well and is destined 
to excel the other stations between Worth- 
ington and Luverne . . . The Kanaranzi 
valley is destined to be one of the richest 
portions of the county, and Adrian will be a 
busy place."— Correspondent in Worthington 
Advance, Nov. 9, 1876. 

•"We had preaching services in our village 
last Sabbath for the first time. Mr. Bunce, of 
Luverne, was the minister. Quite a large 
company were present. The meeting was held 
in the office of the hotel." — Correspondent to 
Worthington Advance, Feb. IB, 1877. 

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at Worthington, located in the west end 
village and opened a drug store. Hans 
Dahl started in the shoe repairing busi- 
ness. Benjamin Midboe erected a busi- 
ness house on Main street, which he leas- 
ed to H. J. Ludlow. The latter opened 
a hardware store in it, which was under 
the management of John F. Humiston. 
A. 0. Conde moved down from Hersey 
village, and, forming a partnership with 
Captain William Wigham, engaged in 
the produce and commission business 
Henry Davis, the pioneer merchant of 
Worthington, put up a building in the 
latter part of the summer and engaged 
in the general merchandise business. His 
store was managed by Ulveling Bros., 
who later bought the store. That the 
new town was in a prosperous way is 
evidenced by this activity in starting new 
enterprises and by the fact that 100,000 
bushels of grain were shipped from the 
station during the year 1877. 

The activity continued during the next 
year. Fourteen buildings were erected 
during the winter of 1877-78, and in 
May a correspondent wrote of the con- 
ditions in the new town: 

Business is lively now, and our streets are 
full of teams nearly every day. Our merchants 
are nearly all selling agricultural implements 
and are turning out a great many machines. 
One firm has sold over one hundred breaking 
plows. . . There are two church or- 

ganizations and one lawyer, but no doctor 
and only one resident minister. 

In June a visitor to the town re- 
ported the following business houses in 
operation: General stores by William 
Wigham, A. M. Becker, Henry Davis (in 
charge of Mr. Ulveling), and George H. 
Carr; hotel by T. H. Childs, boarding 
house (Colony House) by James Nay- 
Ion, livery barn by Ed. Cooper, furni- 
ture stores by F. Wegen and Benja- 
min Midboe, lumber yards by Small & 
Carr and James Cowin, hardware store 

by John Humiston, feed mill by Bar- 
ber Bros., bakery, restaurant and meat 
store by L. S. Roberts. 

The rush of settlers to the western 
part of the county in 1878, due largely 
to the operations of the colony com- 
pany, made prosperous times in the town, 
and several new business enterprises were 
started that summer. Among others 
were a machine .and implement house 
and elevator owned by Peter Thompson 
and managed by A. M. Crosby, and an- 
other general store started by Bue & 
Langseth. The building improvements 
for the year amounted to $19,300. 

For several years after 1878 there 
was not much progress made in Adrian 
in a business way. In the town were 
all the kinds of business enterprises 
necessary to take care of the trade of 
the surrounding country, and only a few 
• new business houses were established in 
the following few years. The federal 
census of 1880 showed a population of 

In the fall of 1881 the residents of 
the town asked for incorporation, peti- 
tioning the legislature, then in special 
session, to grant them a charter. The 
legislature took favorable action, and on 
November 17, 1881, the bill granting in- 
corporation was approved by the gov- 
ernor. The act, in part, is as follows: 

An act to incorporate the village of 

Be it enacted by the legislature of the 
state of Minnesota: 

Section 1. That the following described 
territory in the county of Nobles and state 
of Minnesota, to-wit: the west half of sec- 
tion 18 and the northwest quarter of section 
19, all in township 102, range 42, and the 
east half of section 13 and the northeast 
quarter of section 24, township 102, range 43, 
be, and the same is hereby, set apart, consti- 
tuted, incorporated as the village of Adrian, 
under and subject to the provisions of chap- 
ter 130 of the general laws of 1875, and the 
inhabitants of said territory shall form and 
constitute a municipal corporation at com- 
mon law together with the power granted 

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and conferred by said chapter 139 of the 
general laws of 1875 and all acts amenda- 
tory thereof and the further power herein 

Sec. 3." That L. C. demons, E. Coleman 
and John F. Humiston are hereby designated 
as the persons who shall give notice of and 
for a meeting of the legal voters of said 
territory to organize said village and elect 
officers pursuant to the laws of 1875 afore- 

Sec. 4. The territory comprised within 
prescribed limits of said village shall be, 
and the same is hereby constituted, an inde- 
pendent voting precinct for all election pur- 

Sec. 5. This act shall take effect and be 
in force from and after its passage. 

Approved November 17, 1881. 

The first village election was held on 
Saturday, Nov. 26, 1881, when the fol- 
lowing citizens were elected to serve as 
Adrian's first officers: President of the 
council, T. G. Newell; trustees, John 
Blesius, James Naylon and John Tim- 
mons; recorder, Isaac Small; treasurer, 
John Krast; justice, U. W. Weston; con- 
stable, H. P. Flanagan. They served 
until their successors were chosen on 
January 2, 1883. 

Following is a list of those who have 
filled elective offices in the city govern- 
ment up to the present time: 

1883— President, T. G. Newell; trustees, A. 
G. Lindgren, Peter Ulveling, J. T. Hosmer; 
recorder. Thomas Johnson; treasurer, A. M. 

1884 — President, M. Sullivan; trustees, A. 
J. Rice, John Timmons, Thomas G. Newell; 
recorder, Thomas Johnson; treasurer, A. M. 
Becker; justice, George F. Hallas; constable, 
E. Coleman. 

1885 — President, M. Sullivan; trustees, A. 
M. Becker, A. G. Lindgren, L. S. Roberts;" 
recorder, Levi Rue; treasurer, F. J. Porter; 
justice, A. Campbell. 

1886 — President, Fred R. Robinson; trus- 
tees. Albert Campbell, Joseph Roll, O. S. 
Meliek; recorder, Thomas G. Newell; treas- 
urer, F. J. Porter; justices, L. C. Clemons, 
George Hallas; constable, George Slade. 

1887 — President, James R. Jones; trustees, 
R. C. Thompson, E. Cooper, Daniel Ryan; re- 

"Section 2 granted Ave special powers to 
the village council. 

"Resigned. Albert Campbell appointed March 
12, 1885. 

t3 Reslgned and waa succeeded by o. W. 

corder, C. E. Chamberlain; treasurer, Joseph 

1888 — President, F. J. Porter; trustees, A. 
M. Becker, S. J. McKenzie, James Cowin; 
recorder, Daniel Ryan; treasurer, Joseph Roll; 
justices, John Kendlen, 11 George Hallas; con- 
stables, John Reifenberger, George Slade. 

1889 — President, John Blesius; trustees, 
John R. Jones, F. R. Robinson, Levi Rue; 
recorder, A. M. Feathers; treasurer, Joseph 
Roll; justice, 0. W. Freeman; constable, Wil- 
liam Man*. 

1890 — President, M. Sullivan; trustees, R. 
C. Thompson, John Faragher, A. M. Becker; 
recorder, C. A. Sands; treasurer, John Bles- 
ius; justice, George Hallas; constable, J. G. 

1891 — President, S. J. McKenzie; trustees, 
W. R. Faragher, George Tinnes, Richard 
Sell; recorder, George S. Bell; treasurer, John 
Blesius; justice, (). W. Freeman; constable, 
A. G. Mitchell. 

1892— President, D. J. Forbes; trustees, J. 
E. Faragher, A. Campbell, B. E. Smith; re- 
corder, G. E. Tinnes; treasurer, John Bles- 
ius; justice, George F. Hallas; constable, Wil- 
liam Marr. 

1893 — President, John Blesius; trustees, 
John E. Faragher, James Boardman, George 
Ellsworth; recorder, C. A. Sands; treasurer, 
J. C. Becker; justice, Levi Rue; constable, J. 
N. Rupner. 

1894 1 *— President, 0. S. Meliek; trustees, 
James Boardman, John E. Faragher, G. S. 
Ellsworth; recorder, C. A. Sands; treasurer, 
J. C. Becker; justice, James F. Cox; con- 
stable, William Marr; street commissioner, 
John McChord. 

1895— President, 0. S. Meliek; trustees, M. 
S. Boyle, J. E. Faragher, James Boardman; 
recorder, C. A. Sands; treasurer, J. C. Becker; 
justice, George F. Hallas; constable, J. G. 
Murphv; street commissioner, John McChord. 

1896— President, J. T. McKnight; trustees, 
J. F. Timmons, A. Libaire, William Faragher; 
recorder, C. A. Sands; treasurer, George Ells- 
worth; justice, A. J. Rice; constable, Wil- 
liam Marr; street commissioner, S. Ostram. 

1897— President, W. R. Faragher; trustees, 
George Eppers, A. Libaire, Thomas Dealtry; 
recorder, Charles Slade; treasurer, Joseph 
Roll; justices, 0. W. Freeman, George F. 
Hallas; constable, J. G. Murphy; street com- 
missioner, James Mitchell. 

1898— President, W. R. Faragher; trustees, 
George Eppers, A. Libaire, Fred Mohl; re- 
corder, C. A. Sands; treasurer, Charles Li- 
baire; constable, William Marr; street com- 
missioner, James Mitchell. 

1899 — President, W. R. Faragher; trustees, 
Fred Mohl, N. P. Hanson, W. J. Bauer; re- 
Freeman, who was elected at a special elec- 

"At this election a vote was taken on the 
license question. For license received 166 
votes; against license, 21. 

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corder, C. A. Sands; treasurer, Charles U- 
baire; assessor, William Wigham; justices, 
George F. Hallas, 0. W. Freeman; constable, 
J. G. Murphy; street commissioner, J. J. 

1900— President, Fred Mohl; trustees, W. 
R. Mansel, W. J. Bauer, W. E. Timmons; 
recorder, C. A. Sands; treasurer, H. E. Swan- 
man; assessor, William Wigham; justice, E. 
Good enough; constable, William Marr: street 
commissioner. John McChord. 

1901— President, Fred Mohl; trustees, W. 
R. Mansel, W. E. Timmons, Daniel Fritz; re- 
corder, C. A. Sands; treasurer, H. A. Swan- 
man: assessor, William Wigham; justice, O. 
W. Freeman; constable, J. G. Murphy; street 
commissioner, F. W. Ellsworth. 

1902 — President, O. W. Freeman; trustees, 
John E. Faragher, W. E. Timmons, Daniel 
Fritz; recorder, C. E. Libaire; treasurer, J. 
C. Becker; assessor, William Wigham; jus- 
tice, John G. Gergen; constable, William 
Marr; street commissioner, F. W. Ellsworth. 

1903 — President, O. W. Freeman; trustees, 
J. E. Faragher, J. G. Murphy, William Hitch- 
ens; recorder, G. L. Ellsworth; treasurer, J. 
A. Kennedy; assessor, William Wigham; jus- 
tice, E. Goodenough; street commissioner, F. 
W. Ellsworth. 

1904 — President, L. W. Marston; trustees, 
W. R. Mansel, R. H. Doe, Frank Ulveling; 
recorder, Daniel Fritz; treasurer, John Col- 
vin; assessor, William Wigham; justices, F. 
Goodenough, F. J. Kilpatrick; constable, Wil- 
liam Marr; street commissioner, Peter Pass. 

1905 — President, L. W. Marston; trustee, 
W. R. Mansel, R. H. Doe, W. E. Timmons; 
recorder, John McChord; treasurer, John Col 
vin; assessor, William Wigham; justices, F. 
J. Kilpatrick, O. W. Freeman; constable 
James Mitchell. 

1906— President, Fred Mohl; trustees, John 
Reifenberger, Daniel Fritz, Frank Ulveling; 
recorder, John McChord; treasurer, John Col- 
vin; assessor, William Wigham; justices, 
James F. Cox, M. E. Carrigan; constable, 
William Man*. 

1907 — President, C. A. Sands; trustee?, 
John Reifenberger, A. J. Schaeffer, M. F. 
Carrigan ; recorder, John McChord ; treasurer, 
John Colvin; assessor, William Wigham; jus- 
tices, James F. Cox, F. J. Kilpatrick; con- 
stables, L. G. Chisum, James Mitchell. 

1908 — President, C. A. Sands; trustees 
John Reifenberger. M. E. Carrigan, A. J 
Schaeffer; recorder, John McChord; treas 
urer, John Colvin; assessor, William Wig- 

During the early eighties Adrian took 
big strides forward. The grasshopper 
scourge was a thing of the past; the 

Catholic colony company had been in- 
strumental in bringing hundreds of new 
settlers to the lands of western Nobles 
county; crops were good and the country 
was prosperous. All these things as- 
sisted in the building of a good town at 
Adrian, which, until the founding of 
Ellsworth in 1884, continued to draw 
trade from its original large territory — 
a territory rapidly filling with settlers. 

The years 1883 and 1884 were espec- 
ially prosperous ones for the west end 
village. During the eighteen months be- 
fore January, 1885, the building im- 
provements in the village amounted to 
the snug sum of $52,530, of which $30,- 
000 had been expended in 1884. The 
town became a shipping point of im- 
portance, 14 and business in all lines was 
good. New enterprises were started, and 
the population increased, reaching a to- 
tal of 533 in 1885, a gain of 340 in five 

By the building of the Burlington 
railroad (now the Bock Island) through 
the southwestern corner of the county in 
1884 and the founding of Ellsworth Til- 
lage, Adrian lost a part of its large ter- 
ritory, but this loss wa» offset by the 
rapid development ot its remaining ter- 
ritory, and during the latter part of 
the eighties Adrian continued to be the 
liveliest town in Nobles county. In 1890 
the federal census showed a population 
of 671. 

Adrian has been remarkably free from 
fires during its entire history. Its most 
disastrous conflagration occurred on May 
23, 1889, when the Adrian flouring mill 
and a few nearby buildings were burned, 
causing a loss of about $18,000. The 
fire is supposed to have originated from 

""During: the year 1884 we forwarded 16,- These charges accrued on our own road — no 

317.140 pounds of freight, on which the 'advanced charges' being included therein/' — 

charges were $28,579.80; and received 9,846,982 Adrian Guardian, January, 1885. 
pounds, on which the charges were $20,051.88. 

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a spark from an engine. The Adrian 
Guardian of May 24 said of the loss: 

The miU property cost Gilbert & Nelson 
$10,000 less than six months ago. New 
machinery had been put in during the last 
spring to the value of $3,800. The proprie- 
tors had three thousand bushels of wheat in 
store, with a new barn which went up in 
smoke with the rest, will swell the loss to 
$18,000. Cinders were carried all over town, 
and the residences of John Blesius, George 
Slade, M. L. DeWolf and Peter Pass were 
several times on fire (they were over a 
block away) and only hard work saved them. 
Had the wind been stronger all of Park Hill 
must have been devastated by the fire fiend. 

Prosperous times continued up to the 
time of the panic of 1893. Most of 
the business houses had been built of 
wood before 1891. That year witnessed 
a building boom, in which, among others, 
were constructed three handsome brick 
business blocks — the A. M. Becker store 
building, at a cost of about $9,000; the 
Adrian State Bank building, and the 
Slade Hotel building. The panic of 
1893 resulted in only a temporary set- 
back, and during the late nineties Ad- 
rian again came upon prosperous times. 
The population in 1895 was 1,072, a 
gain of 401 in five years. This was in- 
creased in 1900 to 1,258. 

When the Burlington railroad (now 
the Rock Island) extended northwest- 
ward from Worthington in 1900 it in- 
vaded Adrian's northern territory, and 
the founding of the towns along that 
line of road resulted in a cutting off of 
a large and profitable trade. The town's 
trade territory was now reduced to its 
immediate surrounding farming country, 
which is the case with every other "Nobles 
county town. A result of this loss of 
trade was that Adrian did not continue 
to advance as it had during its entire 
previous history. The census of 1905 

**This population was divided as follows: 
Native born, 434; Minnesota born, 567; for- 
eign born. 183. The foreign born population 
was divided as to countries of birth as fol* 

gave a population of 1,184, 15 a loss of 
74 in five years. 

The personal property assessment for 
the village as left by the board of re- 
view for 1907 was $99,545. The in- 
crease jn real estate values by reason of 
improvements was $1,385. This was the 
increase in assessed valuation only, the 
full value of improvements having been 
in the neighborhood of .$5,000. A list 
of the business houses, made by the No- 
bles County Democrat in June, 1907, 
showed that there were 87 firms or per- 
sons engaged in professional and me- 
chanical work in Adrian. 

The year 1908 witnessed a more pros- 
perous condition of affairs in Adrian 
than had been the case for several years. 
A number of new business houses were 
established and all lines of business were 
in a prosperous way. 


It was during the winter of 1876-77, 
when only a few families called Adrian 
their home, that the first school was 
started in the little village. It was held 
in the attic of the hotel building and 
Mrs. McCall was the teacher. Thomas 
H. Childs and William Wigham were in- 
strumental in bringing about the estab- 
lishment of the school, those gentlemen 
hiring the teacher and paying her salary, 
out of their own pockets. Eleven child- 
ren attended this first scohol in Adrian — 
three from the family of Mr. Wigham, 
three from that of Mr. Childs, and five 
from the family of F. NT. Holbrook. 
The following spring more families came 
to the town, and the matter of securing 
a school became a live issue. On April 

lows: Germany, 74; Sweden, 8; Norway, 41; 
Canada, 7; Ireland, 22; Denmark. 3; England, 
18; Scotland, 2; Austria, 2; other countries, 6. 

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24 a public meeting was held by those 
interested, at which it was decided to 
erect a building and have a school dur- 
ing the summer. Money was raised by 
subscription, and a frame building, 12x 
14 feet, was erected, in which Mrs. Mc- 
Call conducted the school until the dis- 
trict was formed the next year. 

When the district was formed in 1878 
it included territory extending from the 
county's western boundary line to the 
site of the present village of Bushmore. 
The district was bonded in the sum of 
$2,000, and a two story frame building 
was erected. The first officers of the 
district were Benjamin Midboe, director; 
William Wigham, clerk; and Thomas H. 
Childs, treasurer. In this structure the 
Adrian schools were conducted until the 
brick building was erected in 1895, when 
it was sold to Rev. John Schwartz for 

On July 31, 1893, a special election 
was held, at which it was voted to issue 
bonds for the construction of a new 
school house. Because of the panic and 
prevailing hard times the matter of con- 
structing the building was not at once 
taken up. The next year bonds to the 
amount of $21,000 were issued, and on 
June 1, 1894, the contract for the erec- 
tion of the building was let to Perry 
Wysong, of Mankato, on a bid of $18,- 
815. The handsome structure was com- 
pleted and occupied for the first time on 
February 26, 1895. Adrian maintains 
an excellent high school and good graded 

Besides the public schools are two 
parochial schools, one maintained by the 
Catholic church, the other by the Nor- 
wegian Lutheran church. 


Adrian's city hall was erected in 1888. 
It is a handsome building of brick and 
stone and cost $15,000. The upper story 
is used for an opera house and has a 
seating capacity of 400. The lower floor 
is taken up by the city offices, the fife 
department and the jail. 

The water works and electric lighting 
systems, owned by the city, were in- 
stalled in 1894. The water system has 
both direct and gravity pressure. In 
the power house is installed a Dean com- 
pound duplex pump of 750,000 gallons 
capacity. The water supply is inexhaus- 
tible, the water being of excellent qual- 
ity secured from a deep well. A reser- 
voir, 24x40x20 feet, with a capacity of 
4,500 barrels, has been* built near the 
station, > The bottom of the reservoir is 
on a level with the base of the pump. 
The gravity pressure is forty pounds, 
and the fire pressure is one hundred to 
one hundred twenty-five pounds. An 
elevated tank of 1,000 barrels capacity 
is situated on the hill west of town and 
is one hundred feet above the grade of 
the main business street. There are 
4,200 feet of four inch mains, 5,000 feet 
of six inch mains, and 1,500 feet of 
eight inch mains, and there are twenty 
double fire hydrants. The electric light- 
ing plant is combined with that of the 
water works. The cost of the systems 
was $26,457. 

A fire department was organized in 
1895, and the village has first-class fire 
protection. The department has a mem- 
bership of 31 and is supplied with all 
the necessary fire fighting apparatus. 

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In Adrian are three banking institu- 
tions, the National Bank of Adrian, the 
Adrian State Bank, and the First Na- 
tional Bank. 

The first financial institution of the 
town was the Bank of Adrian, established 
by James R. and John R. Jones in 1880. 
These gentlemen conducted the Bank of 
Adrian as a private institution until 
February, 1908, when it was reorganized 
as the National Bank <?f Adrian. The 
capital stock is $25,000, and bonds in 
the sum of $6,500 secure the circula- 
tion. The officers and directors are as 
follows: James R. Jones, president; J. 
C. Becker, vice president ; John R. Jones, 
cashier; E. J. Jones, Lelia A. Jones, 
Mary A. Jones, Samuel Jones. 

The second banking institution in the 
village was also a private bank. In July, 
1884, Mylius Bros. & Co. issued a cir- 
cular stating that they had opened a 
real estate and loan agency, being the 
agents for Close Bros. & Co. For sev-. 
eral years they engaged in the general 
banking business under the firm name 
of Mylius Bros. & Co., Bankers. In Oc- 
tober, 1889, application was made for 
organization as a state bank, and in 1890 
the Adrian State Bank took the place of 
Mylius Bros. & Co., Bankers. The capi- 
tal stock was $25,000, owned largely by 
Mylius Bros. The first officers and di- 
rectors, chosen at the first election, Oc- 
tober 7, 1889, were George C. Eyland, 
Jr., president; E. H. Mylius, vice presi- 
dent; H. G. Mansel, cashier; A. M. 
Becker, A. Schaeffer, A. G. Lindgren, 
P. E. Brown. In 1906 the capital stock 
was increased to $40,000. Edwin C. 
Brickson is the present cashier. 

The third banking institution estab- 
lished in Adrian was th€ Adrian Ex- 

change Bank, a private bank, which 
opened its doors on May 26, 1890. Its 
capital stock was $35,000 and the first 
officers and directors were P. J. Por- 
ter, president; James Cowin, vice presi- 
dent; O. S. Melick, cashier; Emil Graf, 
George Slade. Besides those who held 
office; Fred Mohl and O. W. Freeman 
were stockholders. Temporary quarters 
were established in a frame building, 
but the home of the bank was made in 
the Slade building when it was erected 
in 1891. The Adrian Exchange Bank 
was reorganized as the First National 
Bank of Adrian on November 1, 1905, 
with a capital stock of $35,000. The 
first officers and directors were A. G. 
Lindgren, president; W. R. Faragher, 
vice president; Charles W. Kilpatrick, 
cashier; John E. Faragher, Phil Landes. 
The officers and directors at the present 
time are C. A. . Sands, president ; W. R. 
Faragher. vice president; Charles W. 
Kilpatrick, cashier; Phil Landes, Fred 

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Four church societies are maintained 
in Adrian — the Roman Catholic. Metho- 
dist Episcopal, Norwegian Lutheran and 

St. Adrian's Catholic church has the 
Inrsrest membership and was the first 
established. It was founded in 1877 
with a small membership, and for manv 
voars was under the pastorate of Father 
C. J. Knauf. A frame building was 
erected in 1878 at a cost of about $700. 
which was furnished bv Bishop Ireland, 
and this served as the house of worship 
until 1889. The societv was incorpor- 
ated Julv 24. 1882, the incorporators 
b^inf* Thomas L. Grace, bishop: Auerus- 
tin Ravaux, vicar general; Christian J. 

Digitized by 




Knauf, pastor; Michael Sullivan and 
Michael Becker. 

In the fall of 1887 a more commod- 
ious church edifice was commenced, and 
the building was dedicated by Bishop 
Ireland in July, 1889. It was a brick 
veneered structure, and had a tower 
which extended far above any othev 
building in the town. It had a seating 
capacity of 500 and the cost was about 
$15,000. The building was entirely de- 
stroyed by fire on December 24, 1899. 
Plans were at once made for a new 
house of worship, and in 1901 was com- 
pleted the present magnificent edifice, 
which cost over $30,000. It is one of 
the most attractive as well as costly 
structures of its kind in the state, and 
has a seating capacity of over 800. 

In connection with the church is the 
parochial school, taught by the sisters 
of St. Francis, of Rochester, Minn. The 
Catholic Order of Foresters and St. Jos- 
eph's society are societies maintained in 
connection with the church. 

The Methodist Episcopal church was 
organized in 1884, when the present 
church building was erected. The church 
society also has a parsonage, the value of 
the church buildings being about $3,000. 

The Norwegian Lutheran church was 
dedicated June 16, 1900. 

The Peoples Church of Adrian was in- 
corporated November 29, 1898, with the 
following board of trustees: A. M. 
Feathers, D. J. Tinnes, Mrs. Clara B. 
Swanman, Mrs. Lucy A. Porter, C. C. 
May. The incorporators, in addition to 
those named as trustees, were Anna M. 
Childs, Ottihe Hallas, Eva C. Tinnes, 
Lavina Libaire, G. E. Tinnes, Patience 
Tinnes, Eliza T. Wilkes, Laura Lind- 
gren, May G. Campbell, Byola A. Ran- 
dall, Kate Kilpatrick, Mamie Good- 
enough, Charles Kilpatrick. 

For a number of years the Baptists 
maintained a church organization at Ad- 
rian. The First Baptist church of Ad- 
rian was incorporated May 31, 1889, 
with the following officers. C. H. Max- 
on, supplying pastor; Roger Jones, deac- 
on; Lottie Swanman, clerk; George Ells- 
worth, A. S. Meacham, John R. Jones, 
trustees. A church building was dedi- 
cated December 5, 1889, when Rev. Mr. 
Moore was installed as pastor. The or- 
ganization was maintained for several 


Adrian is a strong lodge town, and a 
great many secret and fraternal organi- 
zations maintain lodges. 

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In point of size Ellsworth is Nobles 
county's third town. As a business 
point it also takes high rank, for, be- 
yond question, it draws its trade from 
the best farming country of Nobles coun- 
ty. It is located in Grand Prairie town- 
ship and is in the extreme southwestern 
corner of the county, the townsite being 
only one mile from the Iowa state line 
and one and one-half miles from the 
Koek county line. It is on the Rock Is- 
land railroad, of which road it is a di- 
vision point, and is the terminus of a 
branch line of the same railroad which 
runs to Rock Rapids. The population 
of Ellsworth was 537 in 1905, when the 
last census was taken. 

There is no town in Nobles county 
which has a finer site. It is laid out on 
a piece of high level ground, and there 
is not a foot of wet or low land on the 
whole plat. The founders of the town 
could not have chosen a finer location 
had they the making of it themselves. 

While the history of Ellsworth village 
does not begin until the fall of 1884, 
we must go back of that date several 
years to get a correct understanding of 
the causes that led to the building of 
such a prosperous to^n at this point. 
During the early period of Nobles coun- 
ty's colonization, settlement was con- 
fined largely to the eastern part of the 
county, but a few, attracted by the ex- 

cellent land in the southwestern corner, 
pushed out there and builded homes. A 
few of these came as early as 1871, and 
during the next few years quite a num- 
ber followed and established themselves 
in Grand Prairie township. 

Among the number who came in the 
early days was "Uncle" Stillwell, who 
took aa his claim the land upon which 
the village of Ellsworth was afterwards 
built. He erected a dwelling at a point 
one-half mile east of the present busi- 
ness part of the town, and to supply the 
wants of the few settlers who were his 
neighbors, Mr. Stillwell established a 
small store and for a number of years 
conducted it from his farm home, oper- 
ating a pedler's wagon in connection. 
Although the country was very thinly 
settled at the time and the greater part 
of it was wild prairie land, Mr. Still- 
well had confidence in its future and de- 
clared on several occasions that a town 
would some day be located on his place 
or very near it, basing his judgment on 
the quality of the land round about. 
The prediction, came true, but the man 
who made the prognostication was not 
there to reap the benefits. He had 
packed up his goods some two years be- 
fore and moved away. 

Ellsworth came into existence as the 
direct result of the building of the Bur- 
lington railroad (now the Rock Island) 


Digitized by 




through that part of the country in the 
late summer of 1884. The site was se- 
lected by the agents of the Cedar Hap- 
ids, Towa Palls & Northwestern Land & 
Town Lot company during the first days 
of September, 1 and the survey of the 
townsite was made by Surveyor P. D. 
Kandall for the company immediately. 
The dedication of the plat was made by 
S. L. Dows, president, and James B. 
Close, secretary, of the town lot com- 
pany, on September 29, and the instru- 
ment was filed in the office of the re- 
gister of deeds on October 4. 2 The new 
town was named in honor of Eugene 
Ellsworth, one of the stockholders of 
the Burlington road. 8 

Even before the' survey of the plat waa 
completed the success of the proposed 
new town was assured. From all parts 
of the country came requests for lots so 
soon as they should be placed on the 
market, and many came personally to 
be in on the ground floor. C. H. Dav- 
idson, of Rock Rapids, was named agent 
for the sale of town lots and opened an 
office of the site. 4 The state of affairs 
as they existed just before the start of 
the town was related in the Sibley Trib- 
une of September 11: 

Besides bavins? so fine a site, the 
town will be, and is now, surrounded by the 
finest farming country ever the sun shone 
on, and even now the farm houses, sur- 

"*The new town on the B. C. R. & N. In 
Grand Prairie township, we learn, has at last 
been located. It Is on the southeast quarter 
of section 29. and is named Ellsworth." — 
Worthington Advance, September 11, 1884. 

•Additions have been platted as follows: 

Mvra — Surveyed by H. G. Doolittle for Will 
G. Jones; dedicated Oct. 13, 1884; filed Oct. 
16 1884. 

Butler's— Surveyed by J. P. GHman for 
John Butler and Zepherein Audet; dedicated 
May 30. 1885; filed July 11. 1886. 

Western Land Company's Rcsubdivision of 
Lots In Block 7— Dedicated by the Western 
L?rd Co., by Ephriam McMurtrle. attorney In 
fact. June 18, 1890; filed June 21, 1890. 

South — Surveyed by M. S. Smith for John 
F. Flynn; dedicated Dec. 24, 1901; filed Dec. 
28. 1901, 

rounded by great stacks of grain, can be 
counted by the hundreds, and as the town 
grows the country will develop and make it 
one of the finest shipping and trading points 
in southern Minnesota. 

Already the ground for an 1800 foot side- 
track has been surveyed, and work will 
have been begun on the same ere this reaches 
our readers. 

One of the company's No. 1 depots, like 
the one at Sibley, will be put there, and 
the prospects are that it will make a good 
town — one that will keep up with the growth 
of the country at least. 

Three elevator lots have already been spok- 
en for, and the fourth is liable to be taken 
in a few days. A dozen or more of the 
business lots (price from $250 down to $400) 
have been spoken for, and one or two more 
buildings will spring up there before an- 
other issue of the Tribune. 

From the towns of Worthington, Ad- 
rian, Sibley, Spirit Lake, Rock Rapids, 
Luverne and other nearby points came a 
number of people to engage in business, 
some of them bringing lumber with 
which to construct their buildings. By 
September 18 twenty-three lots had been 
sold, and the work of building the town 
had commenced. H. E. Torrance, of 
Worthington, was the first on the ground 
with lumber for his store building, and 
John Butler, of Rock Rapids, was the 
second. The first structure begun, how- 
ever, was the saloon building of Lat- 
tenbergcr & Stevens. 5 Almost simultan- 
eously a dozen or more buildings were 
started during the latter part of Sep- 
tember, and before the close of the year 
a flourishing little city had taken its 

""Eugene Ellsworth . . . was a large 
holder of real estate, and his home was at 
Cedar Falls, Iowa. He owned a large number 
of lots Tin Ellsworth] and manifested a lively 
interest in the town during his lifetime. Ells- 
worth college, one of the leading educational 
institutions of Cedar Falls, bears his name 
and Is a splendid monument to his liberality." 
— Ellsworth News, 1907. 

♦Mike Fahy was on the site for two or three 
weeks before the lots were placed on sale, 
waiting for a chance to get a desirable loca- 
tion. His vigilance was rewarded, for he be- 
came the purchaser of the first lot, upon 
which he erected a saloon building. 

84 'Work on the first building— Sam Stevens 
and Phil Lattenbersrer's saloon— began Wed- 
nesday [September 17] and by the time this 
reaches our readers will be up and enclosed." 
i-$ibley Tribune, Sept, 18, 1884. 

Digitized by 




•place on the prairie — a city of about 
150 inhabitants. So- great was the rush 
that it was with difficulty enough car- 
penters were secured to do the work. 

When the railroad had been completed 
to the site of the proposed town a box 
car had been set off, and until the depot 
was erected a little later served in that 
capacity. A. J. Yorker served as the 
company's first agent at Ellsworth. 
Henry E. Torrance was the first to open 
a place of business. He erected a build- 
ing on Main street (on the site of the 
present First National Bank building) 
and opened a general store, which was 
in charge of John P. Peterson as man- 
ager and Art Tabler as clerk. He also 
engaged in the grain business, erecting a 
warehouse. D. L. Biley, of Spirit Lake, 
was early on the site with twenty car 
loads of lumber. He put up an office 
and became the first dealer in lumber 
and fuel. E. F. Newell, of Spirit Lake, 
opened the first hardware store, whicft 
was in charge of his brother, Thomas 
Newell. F. A. Fink, of Rock Rapids, 
opened the second hardware store a little 

A harness shop was opened by Mike 
Harrigan, of Spirit Lake, and a shot? 
shop by Bernard Ball, of Mankato. Four 
saloons were in operation by November, 
owned by Lattenberger & Stevens, of 
Sibley ^ Thomas Fahy, of Adrian; Brazil 
Bros., of Faribault; and Mike Fahy, of 
Iowa. John Butler, of Rock Rapids, 
and Ezra Rice, of Luverne, erected ware- 

•Mr. Garmer served about one year. He was 
succeeded by Ferdinand Esser, who served 
until January 1, 1889. At that time James 
Walker received the appointment, and he has 
held the office ever since. The Ellsworth post- 
office succeeded that of Grand Prairie, which 
was established about 1874, when a star mail 
route was opened between Blgelow and Ash 
Creek. Grand Prairie postoffice was first lo- 
cated on section 10, where a man named 
Ayers conducted the office and a little store. 
Other postmasters of the office were John 
Butcher, George Barnes, Ole Lund and Oscar 

houses and engaged in the grain busi- 
ness. A. J. Rice, of Adrian, opened a 
drug store during the month of Novem- 
ber, and Grant & Hannan engaged in 
the implement business. A correspon- 
dent wrote to the Sibley Tribune in 
November, telling some items of inter- 
est of the town's early history: 

Ellsworth has so far been the boss place 
to sell flax. . . There have been fifty 

car loads shipped up to date, and the aver- 
age is about three car loads a day. The 
depot is not yet completed but will be soon. 

The business lots here are nearly all sold, 
the prices running from $150 to $250. Resi- 
dence lots are held at from $50 to $100. 
There are several residence lots sold. There 
are a good many buildings in contemplation, 
most of which will be commenced in the 
spring. . . . Ellsworth can boast of only 
one lady resident at present, Mrs. Hattie 
Stevens, formerly of Sibley, but she ap- 
pears to be quite happy in her new home. 

During the winter of 1884-85 the 
Ellsworth postoffice was established with 
B. F. Garmer as postmaster, 6 and a few 
new business enterprises were started. 
William Peck opened a hotel, Chris 
Blocklinger started a livery barn, and 
John Butler opened the second general 
store, carrying general merchandise, 
hardware, groceries, drugs, etc. 

Times were lively in the spring of 
1885, and there were several new business 
ventures. 7 G. H. Eastwood founded the 
Ellsworth News in April. H. J. Borget 
put up a building and opened the first 
furniture store in town. J. J. Lenz & 
Co. (J. J. and Peter Lenz) started an- 
other general store. J. G. Senenf elder 
established Ellsworth's second hotel, and 

T "Our neighbor, Ellsworth, Is doing: a rush- 
ing: business in the way of building:. A large 
store room, a printing: office and hotel are 
under way, besides a number of buildings 
which went up earlier in the season. . . . 
Everything Is astir and full of life." — Rock 
Rapids Reporter, April, 1885. 

"A Worthington gentleman who has Just 
returned from Ellsworth Informs us that he 
saw six new buildings going up and thinks 
there are from fifteen to twenty business 
houses In the place already." — Worthington 
Advance, April 30, 1885. 

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a number of residences were erected that 
year, the first being that of George Wig- 
gens. The Lyon County Reporter, in 
July, 1885, told of the business houses 
in the new town at that time: 

There are now four general stores, four 
saloons, two hotels, blacksmith shop, butcher 
shop, three grain warehouses, livery stable, 
three farm implement establishments, har- 
ness shop, drug store, furniture store, lum- 
ber and coal yard, newspaper. They have 
now raised $5,000 for the erection of a 
Catholic church. 

Founded as it was in the center of one 
of the finest farming sections of the 
Northwest, Ellsworth was from the start 
a prosperous village. Were it not for 
the fact that it was surrounded by such 
a rich farming country, there certainly 
would have been a retrogression follow- 
ing the boom with which it came into 
existence. Few towns having such a 
lively start and established with no 
other prospects than the trade of a lim- 
ited agricultural community have escap- 
ed a period of dull times soon after the 
founding. While the active building op- 
erations and the establishment of new 
business enterprises were not continued 
to any great extent for some time after 
1885, the town enjoyed prosperous times. 

An item of greatest moment to Ells- 
worth was the selection of the town as 
a division point of the Burlington road 
in the early fall of 1886. The company 
built a five-stall round house, put in a 
turn-table, enlarged the depot, and made 
other improvements. A branch road was 
built the same year from Ellsworth to 
Rock Rapids. These operations of the 
railroad company made the town quite 
lively that fall. 

On the eighth day of November, 188b, 
a census of the village was taken — the 
first step in a movement to bring about 
incorporation. The territory which it 
was proposed to incorporate consisted of 
1,440 acres and was found to have a 
population of 312 persons. On the same 
day the census was taken a petition was 
circulated and generally signed, 8 pray- 
ing the board of county commissioners 
for incorporation and asking that that 
body "appoint a time and place when 
and where the electors actually residing 
upon said lands may vote for or against 
such incorporation." 

At a special meeting of the county 
board held at Worthington on Decem- 
ber 10, 1886, the necessary steps were 
taken to bring about the incorporation 
under the general laws of 1885. ^ Jan- 
uary 13, 1887, was the date set for hold- 
ing the election and the store of John- 
son & Peterson was the place designated 
as the polling place. C. C. Peterson, 
Michael Hollaren and James Condon 
were named inspectors, under whose su- 
pervision the election should be held. 

The election was held on January 13, 
as provided, and "for incorporation" 
carried. In February another election 
was held, when eighty-four votes were 
cast and the following village officers 
were chosen: President of the council, 
James Maher; trustees, H. J. Borget, K. 
H. Knight and James Condon; recor- 
der, C. M. Crandall; treasurer, O. H. 
Eastwood; justices, Ferd Esser and J. 
W. Abbott; constable, Edward Ryan. 

Those who have been elected to office 
in Ellsworth since the first election are 
as follows: 

•The signers of the petition were C. O. H. Eastwood, J. M. Bryan, M. C. Nelson, C 

Dailey, C. C. Peterson, T. J. Anthony, C. M. M. Crandall, B. F. Garmer, Thomas Johnson! 

Pardoe, A. F. Arneson, J. P. Peterson, Ed- G. Bollinger, j. peter Unzen, P. E. Fogarty, 

ward Ryan, A. Stubbs, G. A. Elton, John But- J. D. Griffin. M. Fahy. J. G. Senenfelder. 

ler, P. H. Lattenberger, James Maher. K. H. James Abbott, Fred A. Fink, E. W. Knight. 

Knight, John H. Brabender, John O'Connor, Michael Hollaren, W. G. Thayer and W. S. 

M. J. Bryan, Ferd Esser, S. B. Campbell, G. Webb. 

Digitized by 





Digitized by 


Digitized by 




1888— President, J. P. Peterson; trustees, 
F. M. Ryan, M. J. Bryan, H. J. Borget; re- 
corder, C. M. CrandalL* 

1889— President, F. M. Ryan; trustees, M. 
Harrigan, G. H. Eastwood, Bernard Ball; re- 
corder, Thomas Johnson; treasurer, M. C. 
Nelson; justice, J. W. Abbott. 

1890— President, F. M. Ryan; trustees, M. 
Harrigan, M. C. Nelson, Henry Roll; record- 
er, I). F. Cramer; treasurer, J. P. Peterson; 
justice, W. H. Peck. 

1891— President, F. W. Bassett; trustees, 
B. H. Basing, Henry Roll, Nick Lenz; re- 
corder, D. F. Cramer; treasurer, J. P. Peter- 
son .*• 

1892 — President, James Maher; trustees, 
Henry Whalen, Bernard Ball, T. M. Williams; 
recorder, D. F. Cramer; treasurer, Nick 
Lenz; assessor, M. Hollaren; justice, G. W. 

1893 — President, James Burke; trustees, F. 
J. Schouweiler, Bernard Ball, Henry Whalen; 
recorder, D. F. Cramer;" treasurer, Nick 
Lenz; justice, M. Hollaren; constable, M. J. 

1894 — President, J. C. Morrison; trustees, 
D. F. Cramer, Henry Whalen, P. Barry; re- 
corder, G. H. Eastwood; treasurer, Nick 
Lenz; justice, Edward Fogarty; constable, 
H. J. Bryan. 

1895 — President, James Montgomery; trus- 
tees, D. F. Cramer, Henry Whalen, James 
Condon; recorder, G. H. Eastwood; treasurer, 
Nick Lenz; justice, Edward Ryan; constable, 
James Maher. 

1896 — President, J. F. McNulty; trustees, 
J. P. Reihsen, P. F. Carroll, Edward Fo- 
garty; recorder, G. H. Eastwood; treasurer, 
Nick Lenz; justice, M. Hollaren; constable, 
Bernard Fischenich. 

1897 — President, A. E. Harrington; trus- 
tees, J. P. Reihsen, Edward Fogarty, P. F. 
Carroll; recorder, W. M. Finley; treasurer, 
Nick Lenz; justices, Edward Ryan, G. W. 
Smith; constables, William Jenkins, D. F. 

1898 — President. M. J. Murphy; trustees, 
J. P. Reihsen, William Bofenkamp, John 
Crowley; recorder, William Finley; treasurer, 
Nick Lenz; justice, Lawrence Esser; con- 
stable, William Jenkins. 

1899— President, F. W. Stanton; trustees, 
W. M. Finley, P. B. Scholtes, James McDow- 
ell; recorder, John F. Flynn; treasurer, M. 
B. Burke; assessor, D. F. Cramer; justice, 
Edward Ryan; constable, William Jenkins. 

1900 — President, M. J. Murphy; trustees, 
Edward Fogarty, P. B. Scholtes, James Mc- 
Dowell; recorder, D. F. Cramer; treasurer, M. 
B. Burke; assessor, Lawrence Esser; justice, 
L. W. Abbott; constable, T. A. Towsley. 

1901 — President, J. P. Reihsen; trustees, 
Edward Fogarty, L. B. Carvell, P. B. Schol- 
tes; recorder, D. F. Cramer; treasurer, M. B. 
Burke; assessor, Lawrence Esser; justice, S. 
H. Loveland; constable, William Jenkins. 

1902 — President, J. P. Reihsen; trustees, 
William Bofenkamp, Edward Fogarty, L. B. 
Carvell; recorder, Charles Crowley; treasurer, 
M. B. Burke; assessor, B. H. Basing, Jr.; 
justice, M. Hollaren; constable, James Maher. 

1903-— President, William Bofenkamp; trus- 
tees, Edward Fogarty, Will Newell, P. B. 
Scholtes; recorder, C. C. Crowley; treasurer, 
M. B. Burke; assessor, B. H. Basing, Jr.; 
justices, G. W. Smith, Bernard Ball; con- 
stable, M. Finnerty. 

1904 — President, William Bofenkamp; trus- 
tees, Edward Fogarty, P. B. Scholtes, W. Z. 
Newell; recorder, Charles C. Crowley; treas- 
urer, M. B. Burke; assessor, B. H. Basing, 
Jr.; justice, Lawrence Esser; constable, Pat 

1903 — President, William Bofenkamp; trus- 
tees, W. Z. Newell, F. M. Sadler, P. B. 
Scholtes; recorder, Charles C. Crowley; 
treasurer, M. B. Burke; assessor, B. H. 
Basing, Jr.; justices, G. W. Smith, A. A. 
Burns; constable, M. Finnerty. 

1900— President, William Bofenkamp; trus- 
tees, W. Z. Newell, F. M. Sadler, P. B. 
Scholtes; recorder, Charles C. Crowley; 
treasurer, AJ. B. Burke; assessor, B. H. Bas- 
ing*, Jr.*; constable, P. Hefferan. 

1907 — President, William Bofenkamp; trus- 
tes, P. B. Scholtes, F. M. Sadler, E. F. Mur- 
phy; recorder, E. L. Tschirgi; treasurer, M. 
B.- Burke; assessor, Nick Lenz; justice, G. 
W. Smith; constable, Theodore Beckers. 

1908 — President, P. B. Scholtes; trustees, 
F. M. Sadler, F. W. Stanton, John Crowley; 
recorder, E. L. Tschirgi; treasurer, M. B. 
Burke; assessor, Nick Lenz; justice, Vkker- 
man; constable, W. J. Reddy. 

There is very little of historic inter- 
est to record for the late eighties. Dur- 
ing those years Ellsworth settled down 
to a normal basis. The feverish excite- 
ment attending its founding and early 
day activities was a thing of the past. 
During those years the town made but 
little advance in the building line or in 
adding industries, but it grew into a 
substantial and sound municipality with 
a surety of permanence established. The 
census of 1890 — the first federal census 

•James Walker was appointed recorder Oct. moval of Mr. Peterson from the village. 
5, 1888, to fill a vacancy. 

U G. H. Eastwood was appointed recorder 

"Nick Lenz was appointed treasurer Sept. March 27, 1893, to fill a vacancy. 
7, 1891, to fill the vacancy caused by the re- 

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after Ellsworth's founding — gave the vil- 
lage a population of 258. 

On the evening of August 13, 1891, 
at half past five o'clock, Ellsworth was 
visited by a cyclone of considerable force, 
which did a great deal of property dam- 
age, but which resulted in no loss of 
life. The story of the storm was told 
in the Ellsworth News of August 14: 

The greatest damage was to the 
large 80,000 bushel elevator, which was twist- 
ed nearly half around, smashing in the lower 
story, and coming down with a crash. The 
building was eighty feet high, and the lower 
story was twenty feet. The roof was stove 
in and the building racked, so it will prob- 
ably have to be torn down. 

The Lutheran church building, which was 
recently purchased by the Congregational so- 
ciety, was nearly wiped out, and what few 
splinters are left are piled up against Henry 
Roll's house, nearly a block away. D. F. 
Cramer's house, which stood within ten feet 
of where the church stood, was badly dam- 
aged, the wing being twisted entirely out of 
shape and will have to be torn down. The 
damage to this property will probably reach 

The depot roof for about sixteen feet on 
the west end was blown off and scattered 
over the country in pieces the right size for 
kindling wood. A piece of timber from the 
elevator was driven through the roof of 
George Bolinger's building and into the roof 
of Borget's furniture store, a block away. 
The front of Roll's blacksmith shop was 
taken out, and in falling it struck James 
Faragher, who had just stepped out of the 
shop, knocking him down, and but for a 
number of plows standing in front, which 
held up the boards, he would have been ser- 
iously, if not fatally, injured. 

The stables of Messrs. Theodore Bofen- 
kamp, Cory, Smith and Unzen, all having 
horses in them, were blown down, leaving the 
horses without a scratch. T. M. Williams 
had a new top buggy smashed to pieces. 
The Marshalltown Buggy company had a 
number of buggies back of the News office 
which were considerably damaged. Burke 
Bros.' barn was racked out of plumb, but it 
did not go down. Thomas Kinney had the 
frame up for a granary, which was scattered 
to the four winds. John Hollaren's granary 
and barn were considerably damaged. Ed- 
ward Egan's separator on James Burke's 
farm was turned over and damaged. A box 
car on the long track was overturned, and 
a tramp was seen to crawl out of it unin- 
jured. Some grain in the stack and in the 
shock belonging to T. J. Fagan and Mrs. 

CNeil was scattered by the wind and badly 
damaged. A dozen or more chimneys took 
a tumble, and several small buildings were 
blown down, some of them being carried 
nearly a block. No one was hurt, and all 
are thankful that no lives were lost. 

Ellsworth was visited by a fire on 
the night of June 24, 1892, which re- 
sulted in a loss of about $5,000. The 
conflagration started ill Joseph Fische- 
nich's livery barn, which was destroyed, 
together with twelve head of horses 
therein. Henry KolFs blacksmith shop 
and the office of the Ellsworth Newt* 
and the residence of G. H. Eastwood 
were also burned. The fire had gained 
such headway when discovered that noth- 
ing could be done toward saving any of 
the buildings mentioned, and the at- 
tention of the citizens was turned to 
saving the buildings across the street and 
the contents of the doomed structures. 
The losses were: Henry Roll, $1,500, 
with no insurance; Joseph Fischenich, 
$1,000, insured for $500; G. H. East- 
wood, $2,500, insured for $500. 

A city hall and opera house building 
was erected by the city during 1894 
and 1895 at a cost of several thousand 
dollars. The initial step to this public 
improvement was taken at a mass meet- 
ing- on March 25, 1893, at which it 
was decided to ask the city council to 
call an election for the purpose of vot- 
ing on the question of issuing $6,000 
bonds for the same. On April 15 the 
electors decided to issue the bonds by a 
vote of 44 to 24, but because of the 
panic, which soon held the country in 
its grip, it was necessary to postpone th* 
improvements. A year later, on June 
G, 1894, the question was again decided 
favorably by a vote of 51 to 10, and the 
building was completed the following 
year. Bonds to the amount of $5,000 
were issued. 

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During the first half of the nineties 
there was a slow but substantial advance 
in the town of Ellsworth, and the popu- 
lation increased from 258 in 1890 to 
352 in 1895. The last half of the dec- 
ade also showed marked progress, the 
census of 1900 giving the town a popu- 
lation of 454. 

The year 1899 was particularly one of 
progress, and about $40,000 were spent 
that year in improvements. Among the 
items of expenditure were $14,000 for 
the public school building, $3,000 for 
cement walks, $6,000 for buildings by 
Porter & Aldred, lumber dealers, and 
$3,200 for a residence by William 

This record was eclipsed two years 
later, when over $60,000 were expended 
in building improvements. The princi- 
pal improvements that year were as fol- 
lows: Eoemer Bros., brewery, $20,000; 
First National Bank building, $8,500; 
Henry Eoll, residence, $7,000; M. B. 
Burke, residence, $4,500; W. Z. Newell, 
residence, $3,000; J. H. McBobert, two 
residences, $2,500; Methodist church, 
$2,500; Citizens Bank building, $3,000. 
A telephone system was installed during 
the year, and there were a number of 
new business enterprises started. The 
first few years of the twentieth century 
were prosperous ones for the little town. 

On Sunday morning, January 31, 
1904, the fire fiend again attacked the 
town, this time destroying the city hall 
and opera house. At about eleven o'clock 
the north side of the opera house block 
was discovered to be in flames. By that 
time the fire had gained such headway 
that the fire department could not get 
the fire engine and hook and ladder 
trucks from the burning building, in 
which they were located. Without the 

engine the town was at the mercy of the 
fire fiend, and had the wind been high 
or blowing from the south nothing could 
have saved the town. As it was, the 
people had the hardest kind of work 
saving the adjoining property. Bucket 
brigades were formed and valiant work 
was done. The loss of the building, to- 
gether with the fire fighting apparatus, 
amounted to $10,000, covered by $4,000 
insurance. The losses to other property 
amounted to only a few nundred dol- 

Immediately after the fire steps were 
taken to rebuild the city hall and also 
to establish a system of water works. 
It was decided to bring the matter be- 
fore the voters at the annual election in 
March, 1904, and at that time the vote 
was almost unanimous to issue $7,500 
bonds for a water works system, and to 
rebuild the city hall. The same year 
a combined city hall and opera hou*. 
was erected, and for its size Ellsworth 
has the finest public building in the 
state. An excellent system of water 
works was also installed. 

Another improvement of importance 
in the village was made during the year 
1908. On May 4 of that year the city 
council granted* a twenty-five year fran- 
chise to P. M. Sadler for an electric 
lighting plant, to be installed within 
ninety days. Mr. Sadler completed the 
plant during the summer, and Ellsworth 
is now lighted by electricity. 

Of the 537 inhabitants of Ellsworth 
(census of 1905) 236 are native born, 
242 Minnesota born, and 59 foreign 
born. The countries of birth of the 
foreign born are as follows: Germany, 
24; Sweden, 1; Norway, 6; Canada, 4; 
Ireland, 13; Denmark, 1; England, 6; 
Bohemia, 1; Scotland, 2; Wales, 1. 

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During the month of May, 1893, the 
first steps toward the organization of a 
volunteer fire department in Ellsworth 
were taken, and on June 1 the depart- 
ment was formally organized with the 
following officers: C. M. Crandall, 
chief; C. Loveland, secretary; M. J. 
Murphy, treasurer; Al Cramer, George 
Senenfelder and Howard Cramer, exec- 
utive committee. F. L. Godfrey was 
foreman of the hose company and W. M. 
Finley was assistant; P. F. Carroll was 
foreman of the hook and ladder com- 
pany; Henry Roll was foreman of the 
engine company. For a number of years 
the department was an active organiza- 
tion. It was a member of the Columbian 
Inter State Fireman's association, and 
won signal honors in the tournaments of 
the association. 

On April 29, 1901, the Ellsworth de- 
partment was reorganized. It now has 
a membership of 17 and is supplied with 
all the necessary fire fighting apparatus, 
including 2,500 feet of hose, a cart car- 
rying 1,000 feet of hose, a hook and 
ladder truck and a hand chemical. The 
officers and members of the department 
are: F. M. Sadler, chief; Theodore 
Becker, assistant chief; Charles Flynn, 
secretary; W. F. Marten, treasurer; Jo- 
seph Albrecht, E. H. Burfiend, N. H. 
Cory, John Crowley, E. E. Lovrien, E. 
F. Murphy, J. C. Reddy, W. J. Reddy, 
John McCarren, J. F. Raabe, L. D. 
Shaw, E. L. Tschirgi. 


Ellsworth has two financial institu- 
tions, the German State Bank and the 
First National Bank. 

The former was founded as the Citi- 

zens Bank, a private institution, in 1893, 
and was owned by E. A. Brown and A. 
E. Huntington, of Luverne. On July 
25, 1904, the bank was reorganized as 
the German State Bank, with a capital 
of $15,000 and an authorized capital of 
$50,000. The officers are E. A. Brown, 
president; Poppe Hickman, vice presi- 
dent; F. W. Stanton, cashier; W. F. 
Marten, assistant cashier. The directors 
are E. A. Brown, Paul Untiedt, Henry 
Nelson, Poppe Hickman, J. A. Meyer, 
J. M. McRoberts, T. Hefferan, Jr. 

The First National Bank opened its 
doors September 17, 1900, with the fol- 
lowing officers and directors: James 
Porter, president; J. F. Flynn, vice 
president; W. Z. Newell, cashier; P. F. 
Levins, P. B. Scholtes, C. A. Bird, T. 
M. Williams, Joseph Klinkhammer. The 
present officers are James Porter, presi- 
dent; T. M. Williams, vice president; C. 
A. Bird, cashier; E. L. Tschirgi, assis- 
tant cashier. 


The Catholic, Congregational, Metho- 
dist and German Presbyterian societies 
have church organizations in Ellsworth. 

The oldest of these is St. Mary's 
Catholic church, and that church has the 
largest membership. Many of the set- 
tlers of Grand Prairie township had 
come to the county as members of the 
Catholic Colony company, and the Catho- 
lic religion had a large following in the 
new town. In July, 1885, within less 
than a year after the founding, $5,000 
were raised to build at Catholic church, 
and on November 7 the church of St. 
Mary was organized and incorporated. 
The incorporators were John Ireland, 
bishop of the diocese of St. Paul; Au- 
gustin Ravoux, vicar general of the same 

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diocese; C. J. Knauf, pastor; and John 
Butler and Ferdinand Esser, lay mem- 
bers. There were forty members of the 
church at the time of founding, and 
Father Knauf was the first pastor. The 
church was erected at a cost of about 
§5,000, and to this an addition was 
built in 1903^ at a cost of $3,000. Pas- 
tors who have had charge of the church 
since its organization have been Fathers 
Knauf, Dowling, O'Kiefe, Ferron, Dyer, 
Engelbrecht, McDonough, Hartleill and 

An excellent parochial school is main- 
tained in connection with the church of 
St. Mary. This institution was estab- 
lished in 1900, and during 1906 and 
1907 a building, costing $18,000, was 
erected. The corner stone was laid Oc- 
tober 23, 1900, and the building was 
occupied early in the following year. 

The Congregational church was or- 
ganized and incorporated August 13, 
1890, with the following officers: Eev. 
G. Wadsworth, pastor; Mrs. M. C. 
Knight, clerk; F. B. Bassett, treasurer; 
M. Birkett and F. Bassett, deacons; J. 
M. Bryan, J. Walker and D. F. Cramer, 
trustees. The charter members were 
George Wadsworth, Mrs. Mary C. 
Knight, Mrs. Medora Bassett, E. W. 
Knight, B. Jones, F. W. Bassett, Mary 
Walker, Mrs. Mary Peck, Mary M. Jones, 
Josephine Ennor, L. Z. Anderson and 
Anna Anderson. 

During the first year services were 
held in a small church building belong- 
ing to the Lutheran church society. The 
church building was bought by the Con- 
gregationalists in the summer of 1891, 
and in August of the same year it was 
entirely destroyed by a cyclone. The 
loss was a severe blow to the church so- 
ciety, the members of which had made 
sacrifices to get a convenient place for 

worship. After the disaster the church 
members raised money and erected a new 
house of worship, which was dedicated 
free of debt February 7, 1892. Its value 
is about $1,500. The following named 
pastors have filled the pulpit of the 
Congregational church since its organi- 
zation in 1890 : Revs. Wadsworth, Hous- 
ton, McAllister, Conrad, Upton, Anslin- 
ger, McClane, Downs, Wilson and Gall. 
The organization of the Methodist 
church society of Ellsworth was effected 
October 17, 1899. .The first board of 
trustees and organizers were Fred E. 
Clark, J. J. Ryan, Joseph Midboe, John 
H. Skillicorn, A. P. Pratt, Kornell Sut- 
ter and F. W. Stanton. The church 
edifice was erected in 1901 at a cost of 
$2,250 and was dedicated November 10, 
of that year. The society is now practi- 
cally out of debt and has a membership 
of about twenty. A Sunday school, with 
a membership of sixty and an average 
attendance of forty-eight for the year, 
is maintained in connection. Following 
is a list of the pastors who have filled 
the pulpit with the dates of their ser- 
vice: C. S. Rouse, Oct. 1, 1899, to 
Oct. 1, 1901; J. J. Ramsey, to Oc- 
tober 1, 1901; J. A. Saunders, to Octo- 
ber 1, 1904; W. H. Putnam, to Octo- 
ber 1, 1905; Stanley H. Addison, to 
October 1, 1906; William Follensbee, to 
October 1, 1907; Jesse Kinderine, to 
October 1, 1908. 


There are in Ellsworth the following 
lodges: Jewell Lodge No. 49, Knights 
of Pythias; Ellsworth Lodge No. 182, 
Ancient Order of United Workmen; 
Ellsworth Lodge No. 108, Degree of 
Honor; St. Mary's Court No. 1043, 
Catholic Order of Foresters; Ellsworth 

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Camp- No. 2280, Modern Woodmen of H.; Mary E. Hollaren, C. H.; Eva 

America ; Martha Washington Camp, Unzen, L. H. ; Belle Babcock, R. ; Bridgie 

Royal Neighbors of America. Condon, financier; Annie M. Reihsen, 

Jewell Lodge No. 49, K. P., was in- receiver; Cora Murphy, usher; Margaret 
stituted Nov. 9, 1888, with the follow- Whalen, I. W.; A. Thompson, 0. W. 
ing charter members: D. F. Cramer, The lodge of Catholic Order of For- 
W. S. Webb, C. M. Crandall, J. P. esters was organized November 20, 1899, 
Peterson, J. A. Elton, C. 0. Piatt, C. with thirty charter members and the fol- 
C. Peterson, M. J. Bryan, 0. L. Beck, lowing officers: J. P. Reihsen, chief 
James Paul, B. F. Garmer, M. Pender- ranger; William Bofenkamp, financial 
grast, C. J. Kern, Henry Knoch; E. W. secretary; P. B. Scholtes, recording sec- 
Knight, George' Slade, W. S. Wygant, retary; James Burke, treasurer; P. F. 
Thomas Johnson, W. S. Jones, G. F. Levins, past chief ranger; Nick Lenz, 
Hawley, A. Hubbs. The lodge was in- vice chief ranger; B. H. Basing, Jr., 
corporated April 29, 1890. The char- inside sentinel; Matt Pint, Jr., outside 
ter was surrendered in 1893, but the sentinel; William Condon, M. B. Burke, 
lodge was reorganized March 15, 189t>. John N. Lenz, trustees; Dr. Carter, 

Ellsworth Lodge No. 182, A. 0. U. medical examiner. 

W., was organized May 3, 1894, with The lodge of Royal Neighbors was 

the following first officers: F. J. Ash, organized early in 1900 and had a char- 

P. M. W.; F. M. Ryan, M. W.; J. F; ter membership of twenty. The first of- 

McNulty, foreman; M. Hollaren, over- fleers were Mrs. P. F. Levins, oracle; 

seer; M. J. Murphy, recorder; W. S. Mes. C. A. Pratt, vice oracle; Emily 

lngraham, financier; J. Condon, re- Johnson, recorder; Mrs. L. V. Carvell, 

ceiver; P. F. O'Malley, guide; P. F. past oracle; Mrs. Julia Mohr, receiver; 

Carroll, inside watch; S. M. Butcher, Miss Ethel Pratt, chancellor; Minnie 

outside watch. Nelson, inside sentinel; Mina Gilbert- 

The Degree of Honor lodge was in- son, outside sentinel ; Mrs. J. P. Reihsen, 
stituted February 4, 1898, with the fol- marshal; P. F. Levins, Marie Gilbert- 
lowing officers: Clara J. Rutan, P. C. son, Mrs. Colwell, managers. 

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Although Wilmont is one of the 
youngest of Nobles county towns, having 
been founded late in 1899, so rapid has 
been its growth that it now takes rank 
as the fourth town in size, the townb 
of Worthington, Adrian and Ellsworth 
, only having greater population. Accord- 
ing to the last census — that of 1905 — 
there were 279 people living within the 
corporate limits. 

The Wilmont townsite is located on 
section 36 of Willmont township and 
section 1 of Larkin township, and is oi* 
the Lake Park-Hardwick branch of the 
Rock Island railroad. It is fifteen miles 
northwest from Worthington. The vil- 
lage is spread out over considerable ter- 
ritory. Most of the business houses are 
located on Main street, a thoroughfare 
nearly a mile long. While there are a 
few brick structures, most of the busi- 
ness buildings are of wood. The town 
draws its trade from part of four town- 
ships — Willmont, Larkin, Summit Lake 
and Bloom — a rich and populous ter- 
ritory. The founding of the town was 

"This week parties purchased of R. Pritch- 
ard the southwest quarter of section 36, 
Willmont township, for the Burlington road, 
where a townsite will be located. This will 
be about three and one-half miles from St. 
Kllian."— Worthington Advance, Sept. 8, 1899. 

'Additions to the original townsite have 
teen platted as follows: 

Bremer's — Surveyed Jan. 20, 1900. for Henry 
B. Bremer; dedicated Feb. 12, 1900; filed Feb. 
28, 1900. 

a proceeding very acceptable to the farm- 
ing community of the vicinity. Befort- 
the railroad was constructed and the 
towns along its line were founded the 
people of northwestern Nobles county 
were a long distance from market. Wil- 
mont, coming into existence in the cen- 
ter of this territory, was assured a per- 
manent and prosperous trade. 

It was during the summer of 1899 
that the survey for the Burlington rail- 
road was made and during the fall of 
the same year that the construction of 
its line northwest from Worthington 
was commenced. During the first days 
of September Thomas H. Brown, the 
Burlington right-of-way man, selected 
the site where a few months later was 
founded the town of Wilmont. 1 This 
was three months or more before the 
road was constructed to that point, and 
there were no active preparations made 
for the building of the town for some 
time. The townsite was surveyed by*M. 
S. Smith during the month of Decem- 
ber for Thomas H. Brown; the plat was 
dedicated January 22, 1900, and the 
instrument was filed the same day. 2 Mr. 

Second — Surveyed for N. J. Lorge; dedicated 
Jan. 30, 1901; filed Feb. 2. 1901. 

Keller's — Surveyed for Gustav A. Keller; 
dedicated July 10, 1901; filed July 31. 1901. 

First Railway — Surveyed for Thomas H. 
Brown In October. 1899; dedicated April 27, 
1901; filed Aug. 20, 1901. 

Block 2 of Bremer's Addition — Surveyed for 
Barney Bremer; dedicated July 27, 1903; filed 
July 30, 1903. 


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Brown selected the name Wilmont for 
the townsite, naming it after the town- 
ship. He desired that there should be 
a distinction between the two, however, 
and spelled the name of the townsite 
with only one L. 8 

The railroad was completed to the 
site December 16, 1899, and, although 
it was in the middle of winter, the 
building of the town was- commenced at 
once, and there was a rush of people to 
the site — people who came with the in- 
tention of at once engaging in business. 
The first arrivals found the site marked 
by a straw pile, surrounded by a stubble 
field, but they were men who had 
"studied the map" and recognized the 
advantageous commercial position of the 
proposed new town, and were not dis- 
couraged by appearances, realizing that 
a prosperous village was sure to pesujt; 

From the day the first train, pulled 
in all was activity. The first train took 
out a load of grain, which had bei&i 
bought for H. N. Douglas, of Worthing- 
ton. A number of fanners had their 
loads of grain on hand, backed up ready 
to load into the first car, and W. J. Cor- 
bett, buying for Mr. Douglas, was there 
with his check book. He was the first 
resident of Wilmont. The railroad com- 
pany at once commenced the erection of 
a depot and stock yards and dug a well. 
A. L. Phileo was installed as agent and 
became the second resident of the town. 
Several elevator sites had been selected 

•For the derivation of the name Willmont 
see chapter 6. 

4 "When the town was first started there 
were a great many prophesies made by dif- 
ferent people. Some made the remark that 
the townsite would be for sale before two 
years for a sheep pasture; others asserted 
that within Ave years Wilmont would be the 
second town in Nobles county. But they 
were both exaggerations." — Wilmont Initia- 
tor, Dec. 14, 1900. 

•"There were certainly some enthusiastic 
scenes in the town in those days. In one in- 
stance, of which we were an eye witness, 

and preparations were begun for the 
erection of the buildings. Before the 
close of December lumber was on hand 
and the erection of a few business houses 
had begun. 4 

January was a busy month. A cor- 
respondent writing from the new town 
about the 25th of that month said that 
Wilmont boasted of fifteen business 
houses and one dwelling — an excellent 
showing for a town of less than six 
weeks of age. 6 Among the very first 
business men to establish themselves in 
the town were C. W. Becker, who came 
in December and started the town's first 
lumber yard; Humiston & Footh, who 
engaged in the machine and implement 
business; 6 N". J. Lorge, who engaged in 
the hardware business; TJ. G. Cumming 
& Co.> who also started a hardware 
store; W. H. Spong, who opened a res- 
taurant January 18; Charles Emrich 
'afid son, who engaged in the black- 
smithing business; Montgomery, Root fr 
Co., who opened a lumber yard and en- 
gaged in the grain and implement busi- 
ness; C. F. Yaeger & Co., who opened a 
harness shop; T. Q. Connelly, who con- 
ducted the first meat market; Charles 
and William Barkelew, who engaged in 
the livery and draying business; W. J. 
Corbett, grain buyer; W. P. Devereaux 
& Co., who built an elevator and en- 
gaged in the grain business; the Daven- 
port Elevator Co., who put up an ele- 
vator in February; George Baker, who 

a man jumped off the train at noon, and, 
running: to a lumberman, shouted . In a loud 
voice what he wanted In the lumber line, 
and then shouted for help (carpenter help), 
and, loading: a sill on his shoulder, proceeded 
to the lot he had purchased, followed by half 
a dozen carpenters. At nightfall the build- 
ing" was up. It was men of such get-up-and- 
dust that founded Wilmont."— Wilmont Initia- 
tor, Dec. 14, 1900. 

•The business was managed by Henry 
Footh. who made his first sale January 9. 
Mr. Footh erected the first residence in Wil- 

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was one of the first contractors to lo- In the latter part of April, 1900, a 
cate in the town; C. W. Mead, who op- census of the village was taken, when it 
ened a real estate office; and several was found there were 196 people re- 
others. 7 The postoffice was established siding within the limits of a territory 
in February, Mr. C. W. Becker receiv- which it was proposed to incorporate 
ing his commission as postmaster on the into the municipality of Wilmont. 8 A 
13th. He has conducted the office ever petition was presented to the board of 
since. county commissioners, asking that body 

All those who engaged in business to grant municipal government to the 

enjoyed a prosperous trade from the new town, 9 and on April 23 the county 

start. A correspondent to the Worth- board took favorable action. It made 

ington Advance of March 2 wrote: provision for holding a special election 

Despite the youthful appearance of our on May 29 at the harness shop of C. 

town, we are doing a business many an j\ Yaeger & Co. to vote on the question 

older town might be proud of. Forty-five " .. , , n nr -m-««^ 

car loads of the* various commodities pro- of incorporation and named C. W. Mead, 

duced in southern Minnesota represented the jj G. Cumminc and William Finley 

outgoing business for the short month of " . , , - ,, ^i^«4.:^« 

Februar>, besides much incoming business. inspectors to have charge of the election. 

Forty votes were cast for incorpora- 

The building operations and the estab- ^ mA Qne wag regigtered again8t 

lishment of new business enterprises . t at ^ elect;on rf Mfly 29 Another 

continued through the spring months ^^ wflg heM June ^ when the 

and into summer. In March Scholtes & firgt officerg of ^ vffll|ge were ^^^ 

Poort opened a general merchandise The , of ^ ^^ were Char i e8 

store; L. C. Long & Son founded the Bm g L j^ and M chwchill, 

Wilmont Initiator; and D. A. Nye open- and ^^.^ votes were cast . Fo i- 

ed a barber shop. In April Mr. Eos- fe ^ ^ ^^ of thig and 8ubse . 

enthalL of Pipestone, established another e]ection8 heW jn ^ ^ n&ge . 

general store, and Stuntebeck Bros, op- 

j xi. x y a x i a 1900— President, C. W. Davis; trustees, N. 

ened the towns first saloon. Among j j^t^, u. O. Cumming, A. Shelquist; re- 

the other new enterprises that spring corder, C. W. Mead; treasurer, James Mont- 

,, _. , >T ,. r . _ . , . f • gomerv; justice, C. F. Yaeger, E. Latourell; 

were the First National Bank, which be- ^stables, Charles Barkelew, John Reilly. 

gan business about Mav 1 with Edwin 1901— President, Jesse Bean; trustees, W. 

t, . t , * , . . , J. Corbett, A. Shelquist, James Montgom- 

tfnckson m charge; a drug Store, which ery . recorder, C. W. Mead; treasurer, R. F. 

was opened by R. F. Pepple in June; Pepple; justice, C. W. Mead; constable, Clem 

and a restaurant by Mr. Morgan. Sev- 1902— President, James Montgomery; trus- 

eral residences were erected, and before tees, Jesse Bean, A. Shelquist, W. J. Corbett; 

,, . recorder, S. L. Long; 10 treasurer, Thomas 

the summer was past four large eleva- Hayes; assessor, William Tilman; justice, 

tors had been constructed. James Currie; constable, H. Hentrich. 

The first lady to locate in the village was M foty J- S. Edelstein William Emrtch, 

Mrs. Henry Footh; the second was Mrs. A. g™ T }? a EmrI £ h ' ' oh " S* illy w 3ol 2? ^kw 

L. Fhileo; the third. Mrs. N. J. Lorge; the S; niI s P° n «; " u *£ ff ReI " y ' J 7 ' aSoJS tISS 

fourth -Mv» s T Tnnir William J. Corbett, M. N. Schares, Jerry 

rourth, Mrs. B. L. Long. Dirkg A R Prlest Henry christianson, 

•Included all of section 36 and the east half John Burke, Robert Walsh. J. J. Weitzel, A. 

of section 35, Willmont township, and the shelquist. Gus Grant. George J. Backer, 

north half of section 1 and the northeast Joseph B. Mackay. Theodore Henner. Charles 

quarter of section 2, Larkin township. Alvord, George Geisel, J. P. Spartz, John 

•The petition was signed by Henry W. Lebens, Peter Spartz. 

Footh. Sidney Long. C. W. Becker. W. M. .„,«., 

Finley, Charles W. Mead, E. Latourell. Chris- M S. L Long and Edwin Brickson each re- 

tian F. Yaeger, U. G. Cumming, N. J. Lorge, ceived 33 votes in the election. The choice 

Ed. G. Werner, C. W. Davis, G. V. Scholtes, was then made by drawing lots. 

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1903 — President, C. W. Mead; u trustees, 
W. H. Sievert, Otto Vogl, H. F. Balgeman; 
recorder, Edwin Brickson; treasurer, Thomas 

1904 — President, Otto Vogl; trustees, James 
Montgomery, Peter Spartz, A. Sbelquist; re- 
corder, A. B. Williams; treasurer, U. G. 
Cumming; assessor, W. 0. Tilman; justices, 
G. W. Baker, J. P. Roerig; constables, John 
Lebens, Charles Emrich. 

1905 — President, O. H. Tilman; trustees, 
Thomas Hayes, Peter Spartz, A. Shelquist; 
recorder, Edwin Brickson; treasurer, U. G. 
Cumming; assessor, W. 0. Tilman; con- 
stable, John Lebens. 

1906 — President, 0. H. Tilman; trustees, 
Thomas Hayes, A. Shelquist, Peter Spartz; 
recorder, J. J. Weitzel; treasurer, U. G. 
Cumming; assessor, W. 0. Tilman; justice, 
G. W. Baker; constable, John Lebens. 

1907 — President, O. H. Tilman; trustees, 
Peter Spartz, A. Shelquist, Thomas Hayes; 
recorder, J. J. Weitzel; treasurer, U. G. Cum- 
ming; assessor, W. 0. Tilman; justice, R. 
W. Ager; constable, L. W. Sowles. 

1908— President, W. H. Sievert; trustees, 
H. W. Larson, Thomas Hayes, A. B. Wil- 
liams; recorder, J. J. Weitzel; treasurer, U. 
G. Cumming; assessor. W. 0. Tilman; jus- 
tice, G. W. Baker; constable, Emory Reese.- • 

In December, 1900, just one year after 
the first building had been erected on 
the townsite, we find a village of about 
two hundred people, in which were be- 
ing conducted the following business en- 
terprises: 12 One bank, two general 
stores, one clothing store, one grocery 
store, two lumber yards, two hardware 
stores, two machine houses, two harness 
shops, one millinery store, one livery 
stable, two dray lines, four elevators, 
one drug store, one meat market, three 
saloons, one blacksmith shop, one res- 
taurant, one real estate office, one print- 
ing office, one barber shop, one jewelry 
store, one paint shop and about a dozen 
men engaged in the carpenter business. 

There have been no backward steps in 
Wilmontfs history. Since the year of 
its founding there has been no great ac- 
tivity in building operations or in the 
establishment of new business enterprises, 

"Resigned May 7, 1903, 
by James Montgomery. 

and was succeeded 

but the town has developed into one of 
the substantial villages of Nobles county. 
Of the 279 people living in Wilmont at 
the time the 1905 census was taken, 129 
were native born, 98 were Minnesota 
born, and 52 foreign born. Of the for- 
eign born the countries of birth were: 
Germany, 23; Sweden, 13; Norway, 2; 
Canada, 11; Ireland, 2; England, 1. 


When Wilmont was founded it was 
included in one of the country school 
districts, the school house of which was 
too far away to be available. So a build- 
ing in town was rented, and in Septem- 
ber, 1900, the first school was begun. 

A n£tr district was organized in July, 
19Q1, an3 ~oii - the twentieth of that 
month the" first school meeting was held, 
^t ^hich,. Q. W. Becker, H. W. Pooth 
- afid'O* »Boori were chosen officers. By 
a vote of forty to nothing the electors of 
the new district decided to issue bonds 
in the sum of $2,600 for the purpose 
of erecting a school house. A two story 
building was completed in the fall, and 
on January 6, 1902, was occupied for 
the first time. R. B. Moberly was the 
first principal. The school now em- 
ploys two teachers and has an atten- 
dance of seventy-five students. 


In 1903 a volunteer fire department 
was organized with C. W. Becker as 
chief. The town had no water works 
at the time, and the apparatus con- 
sisted of a chemical engine only. The 
organization was continued up to the 
summer of 1907. Then, water works 

"Wilmont Initiator, Dec. 14, 1900. 

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having been installed, the company was 
reorganized and new fire fighting ap- 
paratus purchased. H. W. Larson, is 
chief of the department, which consists 
of nineteen members. 


For the first six years of the town's 
existence it was without adequate fire 
protection and had been badly in need 
of a system of water works. On two 
prior occasions the electors had voted in 
favor of establishing a system, but for 
various reasons it had not been done. 
On June 26, 1906, by a vote of 38 to 1, 
it was decided to issue bonds to the 
amount of $7,000 for the purpose. The 
bonds were sold, and on March 9, 1907, 
the contract for building a water works 
plant and installing a system was let 
bv the village council to W. D. Lovell on 
a bid of $6,70U. The work wao com- 
pleted and accepted August 3, 1907. 


Wilmont has three church organiza- 
tions, all of which have church edifices. 
These, in the order of their organiza- 
tion, are Presbyterian, German Lutheran 
snd Catholic. Prior to the construc- 
tion of the first church building relig- 
ious services were held in the depot. The 
Presbyterian church was dedicated, free 
of debt, on October 28, 1900. The 
Catholic church — Church of Our Lady 
of Good Counsel — was incorporated Aug- 
ust 27, 1903, by Bishop J. B. Cotter, 
Vicar General James Coyne, Pastor Jos- 
eph Zahner, Nicholas Lorge and Au- 
gust Sieve. 


A number of fraternal organizations 
bave lodges in Wilmont. Wilmont Lodge 
No - 256, J, O. 0. F., was instituted 

March 3, 1903, with the following 
charter members: A. B. Williams, Otto 
Vogl, U. G. Cumming, W. 0. Tilman, 
William Wulf, H. S. Johnson, A. S. 


Eight miles northeast of Worthington, 
on the main line of the Chicago, St. 
Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha railroad, is 
the town of Brewster, a compact little 
city of 273 people, according to the 
latest enumeration. It is located on sec- 
tion 25, of Hersey township, and is only 
one-half mile from the Jackson county 
line. Of the smaller towns of Nobles 
county Brewster is the most substan- 
tially built. Many of the business houses 
are conducted in handsome brick struc- 
tures, and the main street of the vil- 
lage would be a credit to many a town 
of greater population. Surrounding the 
town on all sides is a level stretch of 
very fertile farming country, from which 
Brewster draws its trade. 

It is as the village of Hersey that we 
must consider the early day history of 
Brewster, and Hersey was one of the 
very first towns founded in Nobles coun- 
ty. When the old Sioux City & St. 
Paul railroad was being constructed 
through this part of the country in the 
summer and fall of 1871 the officials of 
the road selected three sites along the 
sixteen or eighteen miles of its track in 
Nobles county for stations. These were 
named Hersey, on the extreme eastern 
boundary of the county; Worthington, 
on lake Okabena; and Bigelow, on the 
right side of the Minnesota-Iowa boun- 
dary line. Hersey was named in honor 
of General S. F. Hersey, of Bangor, 

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Maine, who was a director of the Sioux 
City & St. Paul road. 18 

While the railroad company had made 
arrangements with Miller, Humiston & 
Co., the colony people, to build the prin- 
cipal town of the vicinity on lake Oka- 
bena, it was decided that the country 
would develop sufficiently to warrant the 
establishment of a small town at Her- 
sey station, also. In the month of Oc- 
tober, 1871, about the time the road was 
completed to that point, a side track 
was laid and a depot (the one now in 
service) and an agent's cottage were 
erected on the site of the future town 
of Brewster. As the road was not in 
operation during the winter of 1871-72 
no agent was stationed there until the 
following spring and no further steps 
were taken to found the town of Hersey. 

Anticipating the arrival of the hun- 
dreds of colonists of 1872, the railroad 
company, early in the spring, had the 
survey of the townsite made. It was 
surveyed by Alex. L. Beach and was de- 
dicated by E. F. Drake, president of the 
Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad com- 
pany, on April 22, 1872; the instrument 
was filed in the office of the register 
of deeds June 10, 1872. 14 W. R. Ben- 
nett came early in the spring to take 
charge of the station for the railroad 
company, 15 and before the summer was 
over quite a little town had sprung up 
on the prairie. 

"General Hersey died in Bangor early In 

"Additions have been platted as follows: 

Berreau's Subdivision of Blocks 10 and 11 
— Surveyed by Edward Berreau for Otto and 
Rudolph Berreau; dedicated Dec. 30, 1892; 
filed Sept. 9, 1893. 

Berreau's — Surveyed July 17, 1899, for Otto 
And Rudolph Berreau; dedicated Aug. 25, 
1899; filed Sept. 6, 1899. 

Beaton's— Surveyed May 28 and 29, 1900, 
for R. J. Beaton; dedicated June 28, 1900; 
filed July 14, 1900. 

Auditor's Subdivision of Blocks 1, 2. 8 and 
9 — Surveyed by order of the county auditor 
for Otto Berreau, G. W. Patterson and others; 
filed Sept. 20. 1902. 

Tracts A to I in SW%, Section 25, T, 103, 

The first building erected on the site, 
after the depot and agent's cottage, was 
a .store building put up early in the 
spring by J. T. Smith, of Heron Lake. 
A. J. Timlin had charge of the store, 
which had an existence of many years. 
A. O. Conde moved to the new town 
about the same time and established a 
lumber yard, also engaging in the grain 
business. Martin Heiser opened the sec- 
ond general store in the spring, carrying 
a stock of hardware and farm machinery 
in connection. 58 A hotel was opened 
July 4, 1872, by a man named Hum- 
phrey, 17 and John Iverson started a 
blacksmith shop the same year. During 
the year the Hersey postoffice was es- 
tablished with A. J. Timlin as postmas- 
ter. He held the office for a time and 
then turned it over to Martin Heiser. 
Before the establishment of the office 
the mail had been left regularly at the 
depot and had been distributed by W. 
K. Bennett, the agent. This was the ex- 
tent of the improvements during the 
year of its birth, but the prospects seem- 
ed favorable for a rapid growth. Said 
a writer in the Western Advance of Aug- 
ust 31, 1872: "Hersey is besoming 
quite a village or trading point, 'and 
undoubtedly has a fine future. The eye 
never looked upon a lovelier reach of 
level country than lies around Hersey 
and nearly every acre is as rich as a 

R. 39— Surveyed March 1. 1905, for John S. 
McCarvel and Frank L». Hagerman: dedicated 
March 11. 1305; filed March 19, 1905. 

"Mr. Bennett served until the spring of 
1873, when he moved to Worthington and took 
charge of the station there. He was succeeded 
at Hersey by Frank Weston, and he by a 
man named Kennedy. 

"The Heiser store was the predecessor of 
the present day Geyerman department store. 
Peter Geyerman purchased the store from Mr. 
Heiser in November, 1881. 

"George Perry took the management of the 
hotel in the fall of 1872. He was succeeded 
in the management by Mrs. Watson, and she 
in 1876 by Dr, Louis Gotthelf. 

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Alas for the prospects of any town of 
southwestern Minnesota of that day! 
Came the terrible grasshopper days, and 
Hersey, in common with all the neigh- 
boring villages, had its prospects blight- 
ed. For seven years, beginning with 
1873, there was no advancement in the 
country, but a retrogression. Settlers 
ceased coming, and many that had come 
departed. The trade territory surround- 
ing Hersey was especially hard hit by 
the grasshoppers, and the new town suf- 
fered as a result. For several years 
those who had established themselves in 
business in Hersey remained, anxiously 
awaiting better times, but there was ab- 
solutely no improvement of any kind 
until many years later. 

The name of the railroad station was 
changed from Hersey to Brewster in 
August, 1880. This was brought about 
as the result of the taking over of the 
old Sioux City & St. Paul road by the 
Omaha road. There was a station 
named Hersey on the line of the latter 
road in Wisconsin, and to avoid con- 
fusion the railroad changed the name of 
the Nobles county station. There is a 
conflict of authority as to the origin of 
the new name. E. F. Drake, who was 
the president of the Sioux City & St. 
Paul road, said: "... In con- 
sequence the village in Nobles county 
was changed to Brewster, after a direc- 
tor of the Omaha road." A booklet 
giving the origin of the names of places 
on the Northwestern system, recently is- 
sued by that corporation, gives another 
version. It says: "The present name 
was given it in honor of Brewster, a 
town in Barnstable county, Massachu- 

tt The petitioners were F. R. Geverman, F. 
G. Myers, Ed.. Manuel. George Nelson, P. T. 
Geyerman. Ed. Berreau. Ed. Geyerman, Leon 
Morris, J. E. Geissel. John J. Grav. Otto 
Knuth, Peter Geyerman. Sr., John Wahl. W. 
H. Shlvely, John D. Weaver, B. T. McChes- 
ney, John Silver, T. J. McCaU, Frank Duba, 

setts, which was named in honor of 
Elder William Brewster, one of the 
first settlers in the Plymouth colony." 
For a number of years the railroad sta- 
tion was known as Brewster, while the 
postoffice and village retained the name 
of Hersey. This unsatisfactory state of 
affairs was remedied in March, 1886, 
when the postoffice name was changed to 
correspond with the name of the station. 

Even after the grasshopper days the 
little village did not advance. We find 
that in 1885 the business town consisted 
of only one general store, a hotel, depot 
and school house. No permanent ad- 
vance was made until the latter half of 
the nineties. Up to that time Brewster 
was simply a little trading point, mak- 
ing no pretense of taking a prominent 
place among the municipalities of No- 
bles county. With the rapid develop- 
ment of Nobles county farm lands, be- 
ginning in the middle nineties, came 
prosperous times for Brewster. Then 
the country round about received the 
settlement and development that had 
been expected over twenty years before, 
and Brewster built rapidly into a town 
of importance. Many new enterprises 
were established and all prospered. 

In the fall of 1898 it was found that 
the village had a population of 180, and 
it was decided to begin municipal gov- 
ernment. A petition was presented to 
the Nobles county board of commission- 
ers, asking for- incorporation. 18 On this 
the county law making body took favor- 
able action and named December 14, 
1898, as the date for holding an elec- 
tion, when the voters might decide 
whether or not the village should be in- 

David V. Lees. John Meier, W. J. Adkins, 
Ross Nelson, R. J. Beaton, P. Nielson, J. L.. 
McConkey, John Meyer, Otto Berreau, Ole J. 
Berg, Charles Hogan, William Nielson, Pat 
McOall, F. L. Hagerman, Joseph Ebert. A. W. 
Ebert, J. P. Hein, Mike McCall and E. C. 

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corporated. Peter Geyerman, Joseph 
Ebert and Otto Berreau were named 
judges of election. Of the twenty-eight 
votes cast on the question only one was 
against taking action that would bring 
about municipal government. The arti- 
cles of incorporation were filed with the 
register of deeds on December 19, 1898, 
and on January 9, 1899, the first meet- 
ing of the village council was held at 
H. J. Beaton's hotel. Following is a 
list of Brewster's citizens who have held 
elective offices since incorporation: 

1899 — President. Leon Morris: trustees, F. 
L. Hagerman. Otto Berreau, R. J. Beaton; re- 
corder, B. T. McChesnev; treasurer, F. R. 
Oeverman; justices. Peter Oeverman. James 
McConkev; constable, T. M. McOall; assessor, 
J. T*. McConkev. 

1900— President. Charles Wacmer; trustees. 
F. L. Hagerman. J. L. McConkev. John Sil- 
ver: recorder, D. V. Lees; treasurer, John 
Wahl: iustices, F. L. Kellv. Albert Severson; 
constables, Frank Duba, John Weaver. 

1001— President, ft. J. Beaton; trustees, F. 
L. Hagerman. J. L. McConkev. John Silver; 
recorder, T>. V. Lees; treasurer. Leon Morris; 
justices. Otto Knuth. C. F. Boettcher; con- 
stables, L. H. Schultz, J. P. Hein; assessor, 

A. W. Weinandt. 

1902 — President. S. M. Stewart: trustees, 
D. H. McKellar, N". Weinandt. B. T. McChes- 
nev; recorder, John Kabenan; treasurer, 
George Voak; justices, Charles Wagner, 
James Ebert; constables, John Sorenson, John 

1903— President, D. H. McKellar; trustees, 

B. T. McChesnev. A. P. Jacobs. O. F. Hnger- 
man: recorder, John W. Kabenan; treasurer, 
A. W. Ebert; justices. John Wev. T. T. 
Strand; constables. Dennis Silver, John Hein; 
assessor, A. W. Weinandt. 

1904— President. D. H. McKellar: trustees, 
John Silver. John Meier. Leon Morris; re- 
corder, C. ft. West: treasurer, T. T. Strand; 
justice. E. Y. Wilson; constable, Ernest 
Phillies; assessor, Michael McOall. 

1905 — President. C. R. West; trustees, 
Frank Wells. B. T. McChesney, Leon Morris: 
recorder, Otto Knuth: treasurer. T. T. 
Strand; justices, J. S. Randolph. John Wev; 
constables. Charles Harthun, D. V. Lees; 
assessor, Michael McCall. 

1906 — President, D. V. Lees; trustees, John 
Meier, Frank Duba, F. L. Hagerman; re- 
corder, Otto Knuth: treasurer, G. W. Voak; 
justice, A. W. Ebert; constables, Charles 

»At the election of 1907 the -question of li- 
censing saloons was decjdetf in the affirmative 
by a vote of 46 to 22, 

Harthun, T. J. McCall; assessor, Michael 

1907 — President, D. V. Lees; trustees, F. 
L. Hagerman, Frank Duba, John Meier; re- 
corder, Otto Knuth; treasurer, G. W. Voak; 
justices. J. S. Randolph, B. T. McChesney; 
constables, Ed. Olson, F. R. Geyerman; as- 
sessor, Michael McCall." 

1908 — President, D. V. Lees; trustees, John 
Meier, F. L. Hagerman, Nick Kaufman; re- 
corder, Otto Knuth; treasurer, G. W. Voak; 
justice, John Wey; constables, Ed. Olson, 
John Meier, Jr.; assessor, Ed. Tjosaem. 

Since incorporation Brewster has had 
a steady growth. The census of 1900 
gave the town a population of 234, and 
this was increased in 1905 to 273. Of 
this latter 96 were native born, 134 were 
Minnesota born, and 43 were foreign 
born. Of the foreign born population 
Germany furnished 19; Sweden, 1; Nor- 
way, 1 ; Canada, 1 ; Ireland, 1 ; Den- 
mark, 7; England, 1; Scotland, 4; Aus- 
tria, 7; other countries, 1. 


For many years Brewster has wrestled 
with the question whether or not to es- 
tablish a system of water works. Many 
times has the question been fought at 
the polls and each time has the proposi- 
tion been defeated. Sometimes a ma- 
jority of the voters has decided in favor 
of bonding for water works, but the 
necessary five-eighths majority was lack- 
ing. On May 11, 1902, the vote was 36 
for to 50 against bonding for $5,000; 
March 8, 1904, it was 39 for to 30 
against; April 28, 1904, it was 43 to 
31 in favor of bonding for $7,000 for 
water works and electric lights; May 13, 
1904, the proposition to bond for $7,000 
for water works alone was carried, 45 
to 31 ; April 17, 1905, $7,000 bonds for 
water works and a drainage system were 
defeated by 34 to 39; July 17, 1905, 

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the proposition to bond for $7,500 for 
the same improvements was carried by 
37 to 27; May 25, 1906, $9,000 bonds— 
$6,000 for water works and $3,000 for 
a drainage system — were defeated by a 
vote of 29 to 31. 

A drainage system was finally com- 
pleted in the spring of 1907. Bonds to 
the amount of $3,000 for the improve- 
ment were voted — 12 to 14 — at a spec- 
ial election held June 25, 1906. 

One of the village improvements in 
which the people take great pride is the 
public park, located in the heart of the 
city. The town's sidewalks are nearly 
all of cement, over a mile of that kind 
of pavement having been put in during 
the past year. 


For the size of the town Brewster 
has one of the best public schools in 
Minnesota. In the school are eleven 
grades, taught by five teachers. This 
gives a complete high school course with 
the exception of the last year's studies. 


Brewster has five church organizations, 
all of them having edifices of their own. 
They are Methodist, Presbyterian, Nor- 

wegian Lutheran, German Lutheran .and 

The German Lutheran church was in- 
corporated July 15, 183G, and the first 
trustees were Charles Mortensen, Charles 
Leistico and Albert Leistico. 

The Presbyterian church was incor- 
porated September 9, 1893, with the fol T 
lowing board of trustees: D. McNabb, 
Boscoe Williams, John Moffatt. Bev. 
Sulzer was the first pastof. 


Only one fraternal order, the Modern 
Woodmen of America, maintains an or- 
ganization at the present time. 

In the early days many of the first 
settlers of Hersey and the country sur- 
rounding were veterans of the civil war, 
and one of the first organizations there 
was a strong Grand Army post, which, 
however, went out of existence before 
many years had passed. Sibley post No. 
19 was organized February 15, 1875, 
with twenty-three charter members and 
the following officers: Post commander, 
Otto Berreau; senior vice commander, 
G. B. Perry; quartermaster, Martin 
Heiser; officer of the day, J. W. Mil- 
ler; officer of the guard, D. Haffy; ad- 
jutant, C. A. Barrows; chaplain, O. 
Chapman; sergeant major, F. Fitzger- 
ald; quartermaster sergeant, Mr. Ebert. 

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Nobles county's sixth town is Round 
Lake, an incorporated municipality of 
245 people, according to the last census. 
It is on the Rock Island railroad, ten 
miles southeast of Worthington, and is 
in the southeastern corner of the coun- 
ty. More definitely described, the plat- 
ted town is on section 24, Indian Lake 
township, one-half mile from the Jack- 
son county line and two and one-half 
miles from the Iowa line. The trade 
territory of the village includes a part 
of Indian Lake township, extends a 
short distance into Iowa, and includes 
the southwestern corner of Jackson coun- 
ty. It is the last named territory from 
which Round Lake draws its greatest 
trade. One may travel many miles 
eastward from the Nobles county town 
before one comes upon another trading 
point, and the business of this large 
farming country is all done at Round 
Lake. As a business point Round Lake 
takes high rank. It is a town that has 
a prosperous look. It is compactly and 
substantially built, many of the business 
firms occupying handsome brick blocks. 
In a business way it is represented by 

14 The Burlington folks, we learn, have de- 
cided to call the station In Indian Lake town- 
ship Round Lake. Although in Indian Lake 
township it Is near the county line and near 
Round lake. They will put a handsome depot 

all lines usually found in a town of its 

Prior to the year 1882 Round Lake as 
the name of a Nobles county village was 
non-existent. Many years before that 
date, however, the name had been ap- 
plied to the lake just over the line in 
Jackson county, about two miles from 
the village, and also to a Jackson county 
postoffice. The Round Lake postoffice 
was established in an early day on the 
south bank of the lake, but later had 
been moved to the north side, where J. 
N. Dodge was postmaster at the time 
the history of the Nobles county Round 
Lake begins. 

Before the building of the Burling- 
ton railroad (now the Rock Island) into 
Worthington in the fall of 1882 the 
site of the present day village of Round 
Lake was unoccupied. Early that fall 
the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Falls & North- 
western Land & Town Lot company, a 
corporation connected with the Burling- 
ton railroad, selected the site for a sta- 
tion in Indian Lake township. 1 The 
name first chosen was Indian Lake, after 
the township, but before the plat was 
made the name was changed to Round 
Lake. This change was brought about 

there, and a smart village wiU spring up 
which will be quite a center of trade from 
three counties."— Worthington Advance, Oct. 
5, 1882. 


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through the influence of 0. H. Roche, 
the Chicago board of trade operator, 
who owned a ranch of nearly 2,000 acres 
on Round lake in Jackson county. He 
donated twenty acres of land to the 
town lot company with the understand- 
ing that the station should be called 
Round Lake, and this was done, although 
there was general dissatisfaction with 
the change. 

In December, 1882, an eighty acre 
tract on section 24 was surveyed and the 
plat was filed in the office of the regis- 
ter of deeds. The tract was divided 
into one hundred lots. In making out 
the papers the platted townsite was not 
properly described, and the defect caused 
the company to replat the land in 1889. 
Under the original platting not a lot 
was sold, although two were given away 
— one to M. J. Barber and one to John 

Two buildings were erected at the 
Round Lake station during the fall of 
1882, both put up by the railroad com- 
pany. The first was a section house, 
which was occupied immediately by a 
man named Holland, who became the 
section foreman and Round Lake's first 
resident. The depot (substantially the 
depot building of today) was erected im- 
mediately after the completion of the 
section house, but it was a year later 
when a station agent was sent to take 
charge of the office. 

The efforts of the town lot company 
to found a town at the new station were 
not crowned with success, although the 
point seemed to offer advantages. 2 Until 

*"Round Lake, the new station on the Bur- 
lington road, in Indian Lake township, is the 
best point* we know of in this section for a 
general store. Here is an excellent opening 
for a country merchant who can put in a 
good stock." — Worthington Advance, Feb. 8, 

•Fred A. Tripp, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. A. 
Tripp, was the first child born in Round Lake 
village. He was born in the spring of 1884. 

the fifteenth day of October, 1883, Sec- 
tion Foreman Holland and his crew 
were the only residents. Then E. A. 
Tripp came with his family to the sta- 
tion, moved into the living rooms over 
the depot, and became the station agent, 
a position he held eight and one-half 
years. 8 

Although no town had yet made its 
appearance at the station, in March, 
1884, a postoffice named Indian Lake, 
was established for the convenience of 
the nearby farmers. Mr. Tripp was 
the postmaster and handled the mail in 
the depot. 4 When the Round Lake of- 
fice, kept by J. N. Dodge in Jackson 
county, was discontinued a few years 
later the name of the Indian Lake of- 
fice was changed to correspond with the 
station name. 

In the fall of 1884 the railroad com- 
pany erected a warehouse, which was 
leased to H. E. Torrance, of Worthing- 
ton, who bought and shipped grain. The 
business was managed by E. A. Tripp 
and M. J. Barber. The same fall Mr. 
Tripp put up a coal shed and added to 
his many occupations by becoming a 
coal dealer. 5 In April, 1885, M. J. Bar- 
ber came up from Marshall county, Iowa, 
erected a store building and opened a 
general store, engaging also in the lum- 
ber business. He became postmaster and 
had the office in the store. In May, 
1886, N. H. Elliott joined the little 
community at Eound Lake and erected 
the first residence there, which was lo- 
cated just north of the depot. In the 
fall of the same year John Atol erected 

♦Round Lake's postmasters have been E. A. 

Tripp, M. J. Barber, Ellas Blakesley, M. J. 

Barber. E. A. Tripp, J. L. Hogan, A. F. 
Diehn, Elmer D. Tripp and J. L. Seeley. 

5 There was no great demand for fuel, and 
Mr. Tripp sold only one car load the first sea- 
son, and all of that was not disposed of until 
In the spring. 

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a little building on a lot which had 
been given him by the town lot company 
and started a blacksmith shop, which he 
conducted about one year. 

The growth of Round Lake was slow, 
and in March, 1887, a correspondent 
claimed a population of 34 for the vil- 
lage. Only a few others located in the 
village during the late eighties. N. H. 
Elliott put up a barn and engaged in 
the livery business. Blackman & Mather 
opened a hardware store and erected the 
second residence in the village. K. W. 
Busby engaged in the blacksmithing 
business. Late in the year 1889 the Pet- 
erson Mercantile company erected a 
building and opened a general store, 
which was managed by C. L. Peterson. 

During the closing days of 1889 the 
Cedar Eapids, Iowa Falls & Northwest- 
ern Land & Town Lot company replat- 
ted the town. The survey was made by 
L. L. Palmer, the dedication was made 
by James B. Close, president of the town 
lot company, December 7, 1889, and the 
instrument was filed December 23 of the 
same year. 

Very little progress was made during 
the first half of the nineties. Round 
Lake during these years continued to 
hold its place on the map as a country 
hamlet, but no pretention had yet been 
made to take its place as one of the 
progressive towns of the county. A few 
business houses were maintained and 
supplied the wants of the farmers of the 
surrounding country. 

•The following additions have been platted: 
Tripp's— Surveyed June 28, 1892, for E. A. 
Tripp; dedicated July 30, 1892; filed Aug: 1, 

Tripp's Second — Surveyed for E. A. Tripp; 
dedicated June 16. 1897; filed April 21, 1898. 

Cravens' — Surveyed December 6, 7 and 8, 
1898, for J. W. Cravens; dedicated Feb. 1, 
1899; filed Feb. 3. 1899. 

Boardman's — Surveyed for E. A. Tripp, 
John Davis, Richard Davis, Nels O. Langseth. 
Charles Nienaber; dedicated Oct. 21, 1901; 
filed Dec. 28, 1901. 

'The petitioners were H. C. Moeller, C. J. 

With the progressive days of the late 
nineties and the boom in Nobles county 
land values, came a change in the stand- 
ing of Round Lake. It developed from 
a sleepy hamlet into a bustling little 
town. New enterprises were established, 
including a newspaper, founded in the 
summer of 1898, and the Bank of Round 
Lake, founded that fall. In August, 
1898, the population was found to be 

With the progress already made and 
with bright prospects for future ad- 
vancement the citizens of Round Lake, 
in August, 1898, decided to incorporate 
the town. On the tenth day of August 
a mass meeting was held, when this de- 
cision was reached. A petition was cir- 
culated and generally signed by the resi- 
dents 7 asking the county commissioners 
to take action in the matter. This was 
done at a meeting of the board Octo- 
ber 4, and on October 11 the first village 
election was held. Out of a total of 
twenty-five votes, only one was recorded 
against incorporation. 8 On October 29 
another election was held, when the vil- 
lage's first officers were chosen, and the 
council met for the first time on Novem- 
ber 14. Until 1901 the village was at- 
tached to Indian Lake township for elec- 
tion and assessment purposes. That year, 
by a vote of 31 to 1, the precincts were 

Following have been the results of 
the annual elections since the village was 
incorporated : 

Reilly, James L. Hogan, Christ Schmidt, James 
Bixby, James Walker, David Bixby, Fritz 
Toel, O. L. Bixby, E. D. Tripp, Ed. Edwards, 
E. J. Denkmann Martin Gregerson, Charles 
H. Hayes, H. R. Tripp, Charles Nienaber, A. 
Hayes, L. P. Gontjes. A. Freeman, John Ire- 
land. Herb Horton, Samuel Edwards, J. W. 
Rosenberg, John Marz, Samuel Mutton, A. F. 
Diehn. J. C. Thomsen, O. E. Dahl. J. L. 
Seeley, Frank B. Mitchell. F. H. Wells, Fred 
Fiero, Jacob Gregerson, C. E. Horton, C. E. 
Morgan. Frank Horton, Q. Barnes. 

•The inspectors of this first election were C. 
J. Reilly, J. L. Hogan and H. C. Moeller. 

Digitized by 




1898 — President, A. F. Diehn; trustees, C. 
Schmidt, C. J. Reilly, D. Bixby; recorder, J. 
C. Thomsen; treasurer, J. L. Mangelson; jus- 
tices, H. R. Tripp, A. Hayes; constable, F. 
H. Wells, James Walker. 

1899 — President, A. F. Diehn; trustees, C. 
Schmidt, C. J. Reilly, D. Bixby; recorder, J. 
G. Thomsen; treasurer, J. L. Mangelson; jus- 
tices, John Ireland, J. L. Flint; constables, 
F. Horton, Ed. Edwards. 

1900 — President, Charles Nienaber; trustees, 
H. C. Moeller, Ed. Denkmann, G. Schmidt; 
recorder, J. C. Thomsen; treasurer, J. L. 
Mangelson; justice, J. L. Flint; constable, 
Jacob Gregerson.* 

1901 — President, Charles Nienaber; trus- 
tees, H. C. Moeller, Ed. Denkmann, John 
Marz; recorder, J. C. Thomsen; treasurer, J. 
L. Mangelson; justices, John Ireland, H. C. 
Carter; constable, Ed. Edwards. 

1902 — President, Charles Nienaber; trus- 
tees, H. C. Moeller, John Marz, S. W. Har- 
rington; recorder, J. C. Thomsen; treasurer, 
J. L. Mangelson; justice, J. W. Johnson; 
constable, E. H. Wellhausen; assessor, H. R. 

1963— President, Charles Nienaber; trus- 
tees, S. W. Harrington, E. D. Tripp, H. D. 

C. Katt; recorder, J. C. Thomsen; treasurer, 
J. L. Mangelson; justices, W. E. Thielvoldt, 
II. E. Harrington; constables, Steve Freeman, 

D. Sutherland; assessor, H. R. Tripp. 

1904— President, H. C. Moeller; trustees, 
John Marz, Charles Antritter, J. L. Man- 
gelson; recorder, J. C. Thomsen; treasurer, 
Charles Nienaber; justice, J. L. Flint; con- 
stable, E. H. Wellhausen; assessor, H. R. 

1906 — President, J. J. Crowley; trustees, 
Charles Antritter, H. C. Moeller, E. D. 
Tripp; recorder, J. L. Flint; treasurer, Charles 
Nienaber; justices, W. E. Thielvoldt, F. E. 
Scott; constables, D. Sutherland, J. Mercer; 
assessor, F. A. Tripp. 

1906 — President, Ben Schwarting; trustees, 
J. L. Mangelson, E. H. Wellhausen, F. L. 
Hegardt; recorder, J. L. Flint; treasurer, 
Charles Nienaber; justices, J. L. Seeley, E. 
H. Richardson; constable, O. L. Bixby; as- 
sessor, H. R. Tripp. 

1907— President, B. C. Denkmann; trus- 
tees, E. H. Wellhausen, W. H. Thomsen, 
Theodore Bahls; recorder, Charles Antritter; 
treasurer, Charles Nienaber; justices, J. L. 
Seeley, Oscar Anderson; constable, O. L. 
Bixby; assessor, W. E. Thielvoldt. 10 

1908 — President, B. C. Denkmann; trus- 
tees, F. L. Hegardt, W. H. Thomsen, J. L. 
Mangelson; recorder, Charles Antritter; treas- 
urer, Charles Nienaber; justice, J. L. Seeley; 
constable, J. F. Murphy; assessor, W. E. 

After becoming an incorporated munic- 
ipality Bound Lake continued to ad- 
vance. The year 1899 was a particu- 
larly active one and there was quite a 
building boom. Several business blocks 
were constructed and many residences 
were built. A temporary set-back was 
occasioned in the fall of the year by a 
severe epidemic of smallpox. There were 
about a dozen cases in the village, and 
four or five deaths resulted. The town 
was placed under quarantine and during 
the period of the epidemic business was 

By the time the federal census was 
taken in 1900 the village had a popula- 
tion of 226. Since that date there has 
been no great increase in numbers, the 
census of 1905 giving the town a popu- 
lation of 245. Of this number 107 were 
native born, 93 were born in Minnesota, 
and 45 were of foreign birth. The 
countries of birth of the foreign born 
population were: Germany, 25; Sweden, 
8; Norway, 6; Canada, 2; Denmark, 4. 
While there has been no decided in- 
crease in population during the last 
seven or eight years the town has made 
rapid strides forward and ranks among 
the most progressive towns of the county. 

On May 2, 1905, Round Lake was 
struck by a cyclone. Several buildings 
were completely destroyed and others 
were damaged to a greater or less extent 
The property damage was about $4,000. 
Mrs. Marz was injured in the storm. 


Before 1887 the village of Bound 
Lake was without a school. On May 16 
of that year school district No. 77 was 
organized, and in the fall a building 

. # At this election 36 votes were cast for *For license received 36 votes at this elec- 

license and 14 votes against license. tion to 18 against license. 

Digitized by 




was erected. Miss Lillian Tripp was 
the first teacher. The district used the 
old building until the fall of 1898, when 
the present two-story structure was erect- 
ed at a cost of $2,000. 


The Presbyterian church is the only 
one in Sound Lake. The first religious 
services were held in the village in 1885, 
when Rev. Lonsbury, a Methodist minis- 
ter, conducted meetings in the depot 
waiting room on two separate occasions. 
Soon after Bev. E. B. Lathrop, then 
pastor of the Methodist church of 
Worthington, conducted services a few 
times. In 1886 Bev. 1). C. Holmes and 
Fred Graves came, and, at the request 
of E. A. Tripp, organized the Bound 
Lake Union Sunday school, which had 
an existence of several years. 

The Presbyterian church was organ- 
ized some years later and Bev. E. M. 
Lumm became the first regular pastor. 
For a time services were held in the 
school house, but later the church edi- 
fice was erected. The church was in- 
corporated in March, 1895, with the fol- 
lowing trustees: William M. Mosher, 
E. A. Tripp and John Ireland. 


Seventh in size and fifth in age of 
Nobles county towns is Bushmore, a 
village of 228 population located on 
section 19, Dewald township. It is on 
the Worthington-Sioux Falls branch of 
the Omaha railroad and is twelve miles 
west from Worthington and six miles 
east from Adrian. The geographical lo- 
cation of Bushmore is such that it has 
a large territory from which to draw 

trade, including the greater portions of 
Dewald, Olney, Bansom and Little Bock 
townships and small parts of Larkin 
and Summit Lake townships. 

Bushmore is noted as one of the best 
business points in Nobles county, and it 
has been during its entire history. With 
the exception of two large brick blocks 
the town is built entirely of wood. It 
has broad streets, which are lined with 
large shade trees — the result of the fore- 
sight of the founders of the town. The 
pavements of the business streets are 
nearly all of cement. Nearly all lines 
of business are carried on in Bushmore. 
There are two banks, four elevators, 
two lumber yards, two implement houses, 
three general stores, two hardware stores, 
hotel, meat market, newspaper, two mil- 
linery stores, two blacksmith shops, liv- 
ery barn, harness shop and a creamery. 
During its entire history of thirty years 
there has never been a saloon conducted 
in the village, and the sentiment is al- 
most unanimous against the granting of 

We must go back to the spring of the 
year 1876 for the beginning of Bush- 
more's history, although it was two years 
after that date when the town wab 
founded. In previous chapters has been 
told the story of the building of the 
Worthington & Sioux Falls railroad and 
the selection of two sites in Nobles 
county for stations on the new road. 
The first mention, in print, we have of 
the Bushmore location was on May 25, 
1876, at the time the survey for the new 
road was being made. On that date the 
Worthington Advance said: "One [sta- 
tion] will be in Dewald, near the farm 
of Mr. Bedford." Two weeks later 
(June 8) the same publication said: 
"There will be a sidetrack and flag sta- 
tion in Dewald, about the middle of 

Digitized by 




section 19, near the Churchill place." 
When the road was completed the loca- 
tion was marked on the railroad map as 
a station, although no side track had 
been laid and no improvements what- 
ever made. The site was labeled Miller 
Station, the name being given in honor 
of Ex-governor Stephen Miller, who 
was at the time land agent for the Sioux 
City & St. Paul Railroad company, and 
who a little later became a resident of 
Nobles county. 

Miller Station, with no inhabitants 
and consisting of nothing more tangi- 
ble than a name, was quiescent two 
years. Then an event of great impor- 
tance to central Nobles county occurred, 
which resulted in the building of a town 
at Miller Station. In the spring of 
1878 George I. Seney, a New York 
capitalist, secured control of extensive 
railroad lands in the central part of the 
county and at once began the work of 
colonizing the lands, bringing out many 
settlers from New York city and other 
eastern points. In all colonization 
schemes it is necessary to have a base 
from which to operate, and to supply 
this want Mr. Seney decided to build a 
town at Miller Station, the site of which 
he had bought. 

In the latter part of May S. M. Rush- 
more and a party of New York gentle- 
men arrived on the site for the purpose 
of founding the town and paving the 

""On Monday evening last [May 27] Messrs. 
S. M. Rushmore and George Rushmore with 
their families arrived in Worthington and 
took train Wednesday morning for Miller, the 
new station on the branch in Dewald town- 
ship. The Messrs. Rushmore were accompani- 
ed by Messrs. Paul Schmidt and Charles Grif- 
fin, with their families, and by three other 
gentlemen, Messrs. William Anthes, Charles 
Sears and Randall. All of these parties are 
from the vicinity of New York city, except 
Mr. Randall, who is from St. Louis. They 
have secured the townsite at Miller Station, 
expect to take lands in the vicinity, and will 
at once build a large store, 23x40, and begin 
business. They are mostly Methodists and 
say they expect to build a neat church there 
this season. Mr. Rushmore showed us sev- 

way for the future colonization opera- 
tions of Mr. Seney. 11 Building opera- 
tions were begun during the first days of 
June, and there was a great activity all 
summer. The first building put under 
way was a two-story frame store build- 
ing, 22x48 feet, for S. M. Rushmore & 
Co. A week later the railroad company 
began the construction of a depot. But 
before either of these buildings was com- 
pleted a dwelling house (the one now oc- 
cupied by C. J. Fox) was finished for 
Mr. Bushmore. The store was completed 
early in August and a large stock of 
goods was put in. Bushmore & Co. also 
erected an elevator and engaged in the 
grain business, operating a feed mill in 
connection. Charles Griffin opened a 
meat market ; Frank Peck, a hardware 
store; and Mr. Ware, a blacksmith shop. 12 
About the middle of August the railroad 
station was opened and A. F. Horst was 
installed as agent. About this time the 
name of the station was changed from 
Miller Station to Rushmore, the name 
being chosen in honor of the pioneer 
merchant. The postoffice was estab- 
lished about the middle of August and 
was named Bushmore. 18 In the lattei 
part of July a Sunday school was or- 

The townsite plat was surveyed July 
20, 22 and 23, 1878, by D. J. Mac- 
pherson for George I. Seney; the dedi- 
cation was made August 20, and the 

eral plans for the church, which they ex- 
pect to build under the auspices of the 
Church Extension society. The railroad win 
build a small depot during the present 
season, and henceforth Miller will be known 
as one of the thriving villages of the county.*' 
— Worthington Advance, May 30, 1878. 

"John Thompson was the contractor who 
put up most of the first buildings. He was as- 
sisted by C. J. Fox, who was one of the first 
settlers of Olney township, his homestead 
being only a short distance west of the vil- 

"The change in name was made because of 
the fact that there was a Miller postoffice 
in Minnesota. 

Digitized by 




plat was filed August 26. 14 A number 
of lots were disposed of during the year, 
upon which were erected the buildings 
before mentioned. 

The building of the little village of 
Bushmore was continued during 1879. 
In March E. L. Wemple, who had been 
appointed agent for the sale of town 
lots, completed a hotel building and 
opened a hotel which he conducted for 
more than a quarter century. A church 
building was erected, a school house was 
built, and a number of new business en- 
terprises were established. A business 
directory of the little town, made in the 
fall of 1879, shows the following: 

S. M. Rushmore & Co., general store, feed 
mill, elevator 
E. L. Wemple, Rushmore hotel 
W. A. Turner, hardware 

A. F. Horst, station agent, lumber dealer, 
school teacher 

Frank Peck, tinware 

W. M. Lockwood, grocery and notion store 

Thaddeus Scherzinger, jeweler 

B. H. Wetzel, blacksmith 
Jonas Bedford, blacksmith" 

The federal census of 1880 gave the 
.Dew village a population of 99. An in- 
dustry of vast benefit was added to the 
town early in 1881, when Bedford & 
Co. started a flouring mill. 

During the first few years of its life 
Rushmore had made rapid progress and 
had grown into a village amply able to 

"Additions to the original townsite have 
been platted as follows: 

First — Surveyed in July, 1878, for George I. 
Seney; dedicated Nov. 5, 1879; filed April 10, 

Wood & Bryden's— Surveyed for Wheeler 
Dowd and Wood & Bryden; dedicated June 
1, 1893; filed June 2, 1893. 

Bedford's — Surveyed Nov. 5, 1894, for S. B. 
Bedford; dedicated Dec. 21, 1894; filed Jan. 
3. 1895. 

""About a year ago we visited Rushmore 
and found a railroad station, a feed mill and 
elevator building and a store partly built and 
getting in a stock of goods. Now we find 
a brisk little town with a general merchan- 
dise store, a grocery store, a tin shop, a lum- 
ber yard, a Jeweler, two blacksmith shops, 
a neat school house, just completed at a 
cost of about $1,500, and the neatest little 
hotel building in Minnesota." — Worthlngton 
Advance, Sept. 11, 1879. 

take care of the trade of the surround- 
ing country-. Thereafter for many years 
there was only a slight growth in size 
and business enterprises. During the 
eighties and early nineties the town con- 
tinued to advance slowly with the de- 
velopment of the surrounding country, 
occasionally adding to its business life 
by the establishment of some new en- 
terprise. After the hard times period 
following the panic of 1893 came more 
prosperous times in Nobles county, and 
Rushmore again took rapid strides for- 
ward. During the closing year of the 
last century the population had reached 
204. lfl 

It was at this time that the citizens 
decided on incorporation. A petition 
was presented to the county board in 
March, 1900, 17 and, favorable action 
having been taken by that body, an elec- 
tion was held March 27, when, by a vote 
of 32 to 9, the electors decided to have 
village government. 18 The first officers 
were chosen at an election April 14, 
and the village government began im- 
mediately after that event. At a spec- 
ial election held May 1, 1900, the new 
municipality, by a vote of 22 to 0, de- 
cided that it should become a separate 
election and assessment precinct, thereby 
separating it from Dewald township. 

"Census taken March 7, 1900. 

"Signed by G. L. Gray, J. G. Bronk. George 
Smith, J. Burr Ludlow, August Olson, A. W. 
Thompson, H. C. Constable. C. J. Fox, A. 
R. Beilke. E. S. Wemple, E. L. Wemple, H. 
C. Hanson, E. S. Whipkey, Olof Hanson, 
A. W. Ferrin. E. G. Edwards, W. H. Chris- 
tianson. C. E. Boddy, F. A. Carrell. John G. 
Mitchell, J. A. Dahlberg, E. P. Hermann, G. 
V. Pettit. J. B. Duel, J. Stoven, A. N. 
Peterson, Frank McCoy, B. Fagerness. Jacob 
Stalb, William Warring, W. A. Putnam, W. A. 
Still. N. Feather, A. L. Daugherty, J. D. 
Pettit, W. J. Daugherty, George Weidman and 
S. Fagerness. 

"The inspectors of this first election were 
A. W. Ferrin, J. G. Mitchell and E. S. Wem- 

Digitized by 




The results of the elections for village 
officers have been: 

1900— President, S. B. Bedford; trustees, 
A. W. Ferrin, William Warring, F. A. Oar- 
rell; recorder, W. S. Still; treasurer, J. G. 
Bronk; assessor, J. G. Mitchell; justices, E. 
G. Edwards, E. S. Wemple; constables, J. 
Staib, J. B. Ludlow. 

1901 — President, S. B. Bedford; trustees, 
S. T. Wood, A. W. Ferrin, William War- 
ring; recorder, C. E. Boddy; treasurer, J. 
G. Bronk; assessor, J. G. Mitchell 

1902— President, S. B. Bedford; trustees, 
William Warring, S. T. Wood, J. D. Pettit; 
recorder, C. E. Boddy; treasurer, J. G. 
Bronk; assessor, J. B. Ludlow; justices, E. 
S. Wemple, E. G. Edwards; constables, H. 
C. Constable, Henry Thompson. 

1903— President, S. B. Bedford; trustees, 
A. W. Ferrin, William Warring, S. T. Wood; 
recorder, C. E. Boddy; treasurer, J. B. Lud- 
low; assessor, J. G. Mitchell; justice, A. A. 
Rankin; constables, Alfred Reese, E. G. Ed- 

1904— President, S. T. Wood; trustees, H. 
C. Constable, S. B. Bedford, F. A. Carrell; 
recorder, Thomas Prideaux; treasurer, J. B. 
Ludlow; assessor, W. C. Thom; justice, E. 
G. Edwards; constable, E. H. Bassett. 

1905— President, S. T. Wood; trustees, H. 
C. Constable, S. B. Bedford, F. A. Carrell; 
recorder, Thomas Prideaux; treasurer, J. B. 
Ludlow; justice, E. S. Wemple; constables, 
Jacob Stoven, Melvin Hovey. 

1906— President, S. B. Bedford; trustees, 
H. C. Constable, S. T. Wood, J. H. Bryden; 
recorder, A. J. Ehrisman; treasurer, J. B. 
Ludlow; assessor, W. C. Thom; constable, 
Melvin Hovey. 

1907 — President, J. B. Ludlow; trustees, W. 
C. Thom, H. C. Constable, W. H. Christian- 
son; recorder, A. J. Ehrisman; treasurer, 
F. R. Bryden; assessor, S. Fagerness; justice, 

E. S. Wemple; constables, H. A. Nelson, A. 
T. L. Thompson. 

1908 — President, J. B. Ludlow; trustees, 
W. H. Christianson, H. C. Constable, W. C. 
Thom; recorder, A. J. Ehrisman; treasurer, 

F. R. Bryden; assessor, S. Fagerness. 

The present decade has been one of 
progress. From the little hamlet of 
early days it has grown into a prosper- 
ous village of considerable importance. 
The year 1903 was particularly prosper- 
perous. Two handsome brick blocks — 
buildings that would be a credit to any 
town of Nobles county — were construct- 
ed, and several other structures were 
erected the same year. 

The population when the census of 

1905 was taken was 228. Of this num- 
ber 107 were foreign born, 93 were Min- 
nesota born, and 32 were of foreign 
birth. Of the last Germany furnished 
9; Sweden, 6; Norway, 7; Canada, 4; 
Ireland, 1; Denmark, 4; Wales, 1. 


Outside of the large towns Rushmore 
has the finest school building in Nobles 
county, and its schools are on a par 
with the building. Ten grades are main- 
tained, conducted by a corps of able 
teachers. There is a large enrollment, 
many children from the surrounding 
country being students of the Rushmore 

One of the first institutions established 
in Rushmore was a public school. The 
town was settled by men of culture, and 
one of their first considerations was a 
school. There were no unoccupied build- 
ings in the town in 1878, and the first 
school was held in the waiting room of 
the depot. A. F. Horst, who was the 
station agent and lumber dealer, added* 
to his duties by becoming the first teach- 
er. The depot as a school room was 
soon abandoned, and its place was taken 
by a little dwelling house. A district 
having been organized, the first school 
house of the town was completed in the 
fall of 1879 at a cost of $1,500. 

That building served for many years 
and was then purchased by a church or- 
ganization. The demands of a growing 
population resulted in the construction 
of the present handsome school edifice, 
in which the people of Rushmore take 
great pride. 


Rushmore is noted for its churches. 
Four organizations are maintained— 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 





A .1 


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;-K/ k 



L«i s»x *N« 


'N l 

(J, S 

:ai *.^*t. 

Digitized by 




Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran Pres- 
byterian and German Lutheran. All 
have church edifices. 

Yearly all the first settlers of Rush- 
more were Methodists, and steps were 
early taken to bring about the estab- 
lishment of a religious society in the 
new town. For a time services were 
held in different buildings in the little 
village, but in the fall of 1879 a church 
edifice was erected. Rev. W. E. Means 
was chosen the first pastor, and the 
Methodist church of Rushmore has had 
an existence since that time. Those who 
were particularly active in founding the 
first church were S. M. Rushmore, A. F. 
Horst, E. L. Wemple and A. G. Seney. 
George I. Seney donated the lot at the 
head of Main street and furnished the 
material for the building; the congrega- 
tion donated the % work and erected the 


The next Nobles county town we are 
to consider is Bigelow. With a popu- 
lation of 194 (census of 1905) it takes 
rank as the eighth town in size. It is 
located on the extreme southern boun- 
dary line of the county, and the state 
of Iowa adjoins the corporate limits. 
The townsite is on section 31, Bigelow 
township. It is a station on the main 
line of the Omaha railroad, ten miles 
southwest from Worthington. From 
portions of Ransom and Bigelow town- 
ships in Nobles county, and from quite 
a large territory in northern Osceola 
county, Iowa, comes the trade which sup- 
ports the town. Bigelow is a prosperous 

19 One of the new arrivals at the little com- 
munity in Ransom township, whose knowledge 
of the new country was limited to the infor- 
mation furnished by his railroad map, declared 
his intention of going to Bigelow and passing 

looking village and is a good trading 
point. Nearly all lines of business are 

Bigelow was the third Nobles county 
town to come into existence. Although 
the location had been selected, the name 
bestowed, and it had been granted a 
place on the railroad map so early as 
the sites of Hersey and Worthington (in 
1871), it was behind its sister towns 
in receiving inhabitants. The railroad 
had been constructed only so far as 
Worthington during 1871, and it was 
not until the next spring that the rails 
were laid to the site of Bigelow. A 
little later came evidence of the begin- 
ning of a town. 

During the spring and summer of 
1872, when the colonists were flocking 
to Nobles county by the hundreds, many 
settled upon the government and rail- 
road lands in Ransom and Bigelow town- 
ships, in close proximity to the future 
village. Bigelow then looked as large 
on the map as any other place, and 
some of those who came expected to 
find a town there, their knowledge hav- 
ing been gained solely from a study of 
the map. But until late in the summer 
of the year the site was occupied only 
by a tent, which furnished shelter to a 
construction crew. 19 

The first building on the site was 
erected in 1872 and was the depot build- 
ing. S. 0. Morse, who now lives at 
Slayton and who has taken quite a 
prominent part in state politics, was in- 
stalled as the first agent. His duties as 
station agent were not great, and in the 
late summer he, in partnership with a 
man named Frothingham, opened a lit- 
tle grocery store in the depot, establish- 

the night at a hotel. He was within sight 
of the tent that marked the location, and 
when a neighbor pointed out the "town" he 
was greatly surprised and decided to seek 
accommodations elsewhere. 

Digitized by 




ing Bigelow^s first business house. Mr. 
Frothingham did not remain long, but 
Mr. Morse continued in the business 
several years. Later he also engaged in 
the flour and feed business in the new 
town. So far as I have been able to 
ascertain this was the only enterprise 
started in Bigelow in 1872. 20 

In 1873 the townsite was platted. T. 
P. Gere surveyed the land for the Sioux 
City & St. Paul Railroad company, the 
dedication was made by Elias F. Drake, 
president of the company, September 24, 
1873, and the plat was filed in the of- 
fice of the register of deeds August 25. 
The townsite was named in honor of 
Charles H. Bigelow, who at the present 
time is the president of the St. Paul 
Fire and Marine Insurance company, of 
St. Paul. Two new stores were started 
in Bigelow the year the site was plat- 
ted. In April S. D. Tinnes moved to 
the new station and opened a general 
merchandise store, and the same season 
John DeBoos and John Colvin started 
a hardware store. The partnership ex- 
isted only a short time, and after the 
dissolution Mr. DeBoos continued the 

James Cowin came to the village in 
the summer of 1874, and, in partner- 
ship with S. D. Tinnes, erected a ware- 
house, 20x40 feet, and engaged in the 
grain business. He also opened a lum- 
ber yard and sold fuel. A school house 
— the neatest in the county as the time 
— was erected in the summer, and there 
was an attendance of twenty-four stu- 
dents that fall. An historical atlas of 
Minnesota, published in 1874, had this 
to say of Bigelow: 

This is another railroad station, lying near 
the state line, ten miles southwest of Worth- 
ington. It is growing rapidly, and has an 

enterprising class of business men, among 
whom are hardware, lumber and grain mer- 
chants, grocers, etc. Bigelow »is the center 
of a fertile region of beautiful rolling prai- 
rie, and will always have a lively business. 

There were a few new enterprises 
started during the latter part of the 
grasshopper period. E. S. Mills, who 
had located in the vicinity of the sta- 
tion in 1872, started a cheese factory. 
In March, 1876, James R. Jones moved 
to Bigelow and engaged in the mercan- 
tile business in the store building which 
had previously been occupied by S. D. 
Tinnes. A. V. Randall came the same 
year from Philadelphia and started a 
blacksmith shop. Times were anything 
but good during the perilous days of 
the late seventies and no advance was 
made during that period. The federal 
census of 1880 gave the village a popu- 
lation of only 28. 

During the next decade very little oc- 
curred that is worthy of being Tecorded. 
In 1885 a population of between 60 and 
70 persons was claimed, and we find that 
the business town then consisted of two 
general stores, blacksmith shop, ware- 
house, elevator and possibly one or 
two other small business enterprises. 
This was the condition up to 1892. 
On January 25, of that year, Charles 
L. Davidson, of Hull, Iowa, purchased 
the Bigelow townsite and began to boqm 
the town. Arrangements were made to . 
open a bank, found a newspaper and 
start a hotel. For several years there- 
after times were lively and Bigelow de- 
veloped into quite a village. 

A population of about 150 was claimed 
in 1894, and that year was one of ad- 
vancement, despite the hard times. Ten 
new buildings were erected during the 
twelve-month. Again the next year did 

»"Bigrelow begins to make a show of busi- fine trade and a prosperous future,"— Western 
ness houses, and like Hersey is destined to a Advance, Aug. 81, 1872. 

Digitized by 




Bigelow forge to the front, making many 
improvements. A new school house, 
church, hotel, store building and several 
residences were added, and preparations 
were made for further additions the next 

The growth of Bigelow during the late 
nineties is shown by the census taken 
November 16, 1899, when 224 people 
were listed. Then it was the citizens 
believed the time had come for incor- 
poration, and at an election held Feb- 
ruary 13, 1900, by a vote of 37 to 6, 
it was decided to assume the responsi- 
bility of municipal government. 21 The 
election to choose the village's first offi- 
cers was held March 14, 1900, and the 
machinery of the village government was 
started immediately after. 

Those who have held elective office 
under the village government and the 
years of their election are as follows: 

1900— President, W. C. Wyatt; trustees, 

B. I. Tripp, H. J. Ruprecht, J. A. Fialka; 
recorder, William Waterman; treasurer, P. 

C. Pratt; justices, R. H. Wicks, C. M. Davis; 
constables, John Brink, L. A. White. 

1901— President, R. H. Wicks; trustees, J. 
A. Fialka, C. F. Modisett, C. A. Bacon; re- 
corder, William Waterman; treasurer, P. C. 
Pratt; justice, Charles Wilson; constable, 
F. N. Wood. 

1902— President, W. C. Wyatt; trustees, S. 
Wesby, K. J. Ruprecht, D. T. Cain; recorder, 
J. A. Fialka; treasurer, P. C. Pratt; justices, 
P. L. Wvatt, E. H. Brown. 

1903— President, J. A. Fialka; trustees, G. 
W. Foote, S. Wesby, C. F. Modisett; record- 
er, E. F. Clower; treasurer, J. E. Salstrom; 
justice, E. F. Clower. 

' 1904— President, J. A. Fialka; trustees, G. 
W. Foote, S. Wesby, C. F. Modisett; recorder, 
E. F. Clower; treasurer, J. E. Salstrom; jus- 
tice, E. F. Clower. 

1905 — President, J. A. Fialka; trustees, J. 
P. Mitters, E. H. Brown, S. Wesby; recorder, 
E. P. Clower; treasurer, J. E. Salstrom. 

1906— President, J. A. Fialka; trustees, 
George Foote, S. Wesby, Owen Hand; record- 

"Those who signed the petititon asking: for 
Incorporation were W. C. Wyatt, R. H. Wicks, 
P C. Pratt, H. J. Ruprecht, B. I. Tripp. C. 
V- Modisett, C. W. Hall, J. H. Cass. William 
Waterman, A. J. Strommer, Frank N. Wood, 
Herman J. Lester, John Steenback, P. L. 
Wyatt, J. K. Shaw. Ed. Pederson, J. A. 


er, E. F. Clower; treasurer, J. E. Salstrom. 

1907 — President, J. E. Salstrom; trustees, 
Charles E. Yates, Nels M. Sorem, W. C. 
Wyatt; recorder, C. F. Modisett; treasurer, 
A. E. Yeske. 

1908 — President, J. E. Salstrom; trustees, 
H. J. Ruprecht, Charles E. Yates, Nels M. 
Sorem; recorder, C. F. Modisett; treasurer, 
A. E. Yeske; assessor, Dick Reynolds; jus- 
tice, Pat Condon; constable, F. L. Lane. 

The first census after the incorpor- 
ation of Bigelow was taken in 1905, 
when there were 194 people living in the 
town. Sixty of these were born in 
Minnesota, 106 in other parts of the 
United States, md 28 were born in for- 
eign climes. Of the foreign born six 
came from Germany, two from Sweden, 
ten from Norway, two from Canada, 
. three from Ireland, four from England, 
and one from Wales. 

Bigelow's first church was the Metho- 
dist, organized early in January, 1874. 
The following certificate of organization, 
filed in the office of the register of deeds 
January 9^1874, tells of the event: 

This is to certify that G. R. Hollenback, 
Horace Clemens, W. M. Bear, John DeBoos 
and S. O. Morse and their successors in of- 
fice were constituted a board of trustees to 
be known under the title and name of the 
Bigelow Methodist Church, located at Bige- 
low, county of Nobles, and state of Min- 
nesota, in accordance with the several stat- 
utes of said state (Sec. 36) on religious 
societies and in compliance with the disci- 
pline of said church, paragraphs 500 to 504, 
edition of 1872. Done at quarterly con- 
ference held in the town of Bigelow, in said 
county and state, January 4, 1874. 

HARVEY WEBB, Presiding Elder, 
v WILLIAM M. BEAR, Secretary. 

Bigelow Camp No. 4431, M. W. A., 
was instituted December 23, 1896, with 
the following charter members: Iver 
Anderson, David C. Bear, John E. 
Shore, Edgar H. Brown, Charles C. 
Erwin, Charles Johnson, Lewis John- 

Flalka, A. P. Anderson, Monroe Beard, E. 
B. Forsyth, V. B. Smead, David C. Bear, John 
Brink, W. Schroeder. J. H. Harrington, C. M. 
Davis, Edward E. Blakey, F. E. Walker, Wil- 
liam Yahn, F. H. Millard, C. T. Millard, E. 
B. Michael, W. W. Hunger and B. F. Cong- 

Digitized by 



son, Fred S. Krempien, F. H. W. Krug- H. Scott, Martin J. Scott, A. J. Strom- 

er, Henry W. Shore, Arthur G. W. Lin- mer, Michael Sorem, Robert H. Wicks, 

ley, Osval E. Madison, John Pfefferle, Willis C. Wyatt. The lodge was incor- 

Martin J. Scott, John R. Scott, Jr., A. porated June 30, 1902. 

Digitized by 





Many of the towns of Nobles county 
have their location just within the coun- 
ty's boundary lines, and as a result the 
territory from which they draw trade is 
extended on all four sides beyond the 
county's confines. But in no case did 
any town come nearer getting outside 
the county than did Dundee, which is in 
the extreme northeastern corner, the 
boundary lines of Murray and Jackson 
counties defining the town's corporate 
limits on two sides. Dundee, located on 
section one, Graham Lakes township, is 
a station on the Pipestone branch of the 
Omaha railroad and is eight miles north- 
west from Heron Lake. From its old 
time rival, Kinbrae, which is on the 
Milwaukee road, it is only a mile and a 
half. The town had a population of 
182 in 1905. All lines of business us- 
ually represented in villages of the size 
are to be found, including a bank, de- 
partment store, hardware store, hotel, 
lumber yard, elevators, meat market, 
blacksmith shop, livery barn, saloons, 
barber shop, etc. 

*To the original plat have been added the 
following additions: 

School— Surveyed for F. D. Lindquist and 
H. A. Scherlle; dedicated September 5. 1898. • 

Lindqulst's Subdivision — Surveyed for F. D. 
Undquist, B. N. Bodelson and H. A. Scherlle; 
dedicated June 14, 1898; filed June 20, 1898. 

It was during the summer of 1879 
that the land upon which Dundee was 
afterwards built was selected as a site 
for a town. The Sioux City & St. Paul 
Railroad company was then building 
what was at the time known as the 
Heron Lake & Black Hills railroad, and 
its first station out from the eastern 
terminus was located on that part of 
the road which ran through the north- 
eastern corner of Nobles county. War- 
ren was the name first applied to the 
station, given in honor of the immortal 
Joseph Warren, who fell at the battle of 
Bunker Hill. Early in August the rail- 
road company began the erection of a 
depot, and on the thirteenth of that 
month surveyors laid out the town. 

While the town was surveyed in 1879 
the earliest plat of record in the office 
of the register of deeds is dated 1891. 
It was surveyed by B. W. Woolstencroft 
for P. D. Lindquist and H. A. Scherlie, 
was dedicated July 31, 1891, and filed 
August 3. 1 

Great rivalry existed between the Sioux 
City & St. Paul and the Southern Min- 
nesota railroads at the time of the build- 

Johnson's Subdivision — Surveyed September 
21. 1898. for John Johnson; dedicated Oct. 22, 
1898; filed Oct. 25. 1898. 

Park— Surveyed Oct. 23 and 24, 1899, for 
II. A. Scherlle; dedicated Sept. 12, 1900; filed 
Dec. 31, 1904. 


Digitized by 




ing of their respective lines, as has been 
related in a previous chapter, and each 
corporation determined to build the bet- 
ter town in northeastern Nobles county, 
the Southern Minnesota founding Airlie 
(Kinbrae) and the Sioux City & St. Paul 
the station of Warren. 2 The depot at 
the latter place was completed about 
the first of September, and the company 
at once began the erection of a cottage, 
which was completed a little later. 8 G. 
Foils moved to the station and became 
the first agent. A postoffice was estab- 
lished about the first of November, of 
which Mr. Foils became the postmaster. 
The office was named Dundee, after the 
city in Scotland, and thereafter the place 
was known by that name. Preparations 
were made for the establishment of a 
few lines of business. The station agent 
became a lumber dealer, and a store 
building was erected, which was ex- 
pected soon to be occupied. 

In the spring of 1880 F. D. Lindquist 
and H. A. Scherlie opened a store. Only 
a few other business houses were es- 
tablished in the little town in the early 
days, and its growth for many years was 
very slow. Until the arrival of the pros- 
perous times of the middle nineties Dun- 
dee was only a little trading point, rep- 
resented by a very few lines of business. 
fThsn came the revival of business all 
i over, the country and the appreciation of 
Nobles county land values, and Dundee, 

f. ,*,i I, . }■' ! 

""Warren will no doubt be a rival of Air- 
He, as they are but one and one- third miles 
from each other, but with the advantage of 
scenery, ' etc.,. Aiiilie* (will certainly outstrip 
her In the race. Hope they will both pros- 
ner."— B. *W. Wools ten«roft * in Worthington 
Advance, Aug. 21, , 1879. , 
) < , . , , • , i i i I ( ' , i 

■"The railroad company has just completed 
a better depot and cottage at this point than 
there Is on the wain line between St. Paul 
tnd' Sioux Ctty"— Correspondent to WOrthing- 
ton Advance, Nov. 6, 1879. 

,' ' *The petitioners were F. ,' t>. Lindquist, J. 
H. Johnson, John B. Moore, George B» Miller, 

in common with all the towns of Nobles 
county, took a new lease of life. 

By the first of the year 1898 the town 
had made such progress that incorpora- 
tion was deemed advisable. A census 
taken December 23, 1897, gave the vil- 
lage a population of 187. The citizens 
of Dundee then petitioned for the in- 
corporation of 1,244 acres of land,* and 
on January 4, 1898, the board of county 
commissioners granted the petition and 
named February 15 as the date for hold- 
ing a special election to vote on the 
question. W. A. Fields, G. B. Miller 
and P. H. Bandall were named inspec- 
tors. By a vote of 35 to 2 the electors 
decided to incorporate, and on March 8 
another special election, presided over 
by C. W. Aldrich and P. H. Randall as 
judges and C. P. Swanson as clerk, was 
held, when the first village officers were 
chosen. The council met for the first 
time March 11, 1898. 

The results of the several village elec- 
tions since incorporation are as follows: 

1898 — President. F. D. Lindquist; trustees, 
A. R. Schmidt, R. F. Layttfe, E. F. Fricke; 
recorder, C. P. Swanson; treasurer, B. N. 
Bodelson; justices, J. H. Johnson, G. B. Mil- 
ler; constables, P. H. Randall, E. H. Sam- 

1899 — President, F. D. Lindquist; trustees, 
E. F. Fricke, A. R. Schmidt, Sigman Rupp; 
recorder, C. P. Swanson; treasurer, B. N. 
Bodelson; justice, P. B. Herman; constable, 

E. J. Sangreen. 

1900— President, G. B. Miller; trustees, E. 
S. Humble, A. R. Schmidt, R. O. Morrison; 
recorder, P. B. Herman; treasurer, B. N. 

Charles Trumbull, W. S. Miller, O.* E. Ran- 
dall, J. D. Brawand, W. P. Jones, C. W. 
Aldrich, E. N. Scherlie. B. N. Bodelson, J. 

F. Burrls, H. V. Gallagher, W. H. Lindquist, 
W. W. Kane, F. A. Ross. A. R. Schmidt 
Henry D. Johns, S. Rupp, Swan Erickson, E. 
H. Sammons, W. G. Clark, R. F. Laythe, 
Gottlieb Wahl, O. A. Nesset, W. R. Fields, 
M. J. Estey. C. L. Bork, C. 8. Fuller, J. 
Wahl, C. P. Swanson, R. H. Sammons. A. 
Berglund, H. C. Moshka, E. S. Humble, Ellas 
Swenson, A. P. Smithburg, L. D. Randajl, P. 
H. Randall. C. A. Gallagher, C. M. Thomas, 
J. W. Schield, Fred W. Lelstlco and Oscar 

Digitized by 




Bodelson; assessor, W. J. Drake; justice, 
G. B. Miller; constable, W. P. Jones. 

1901— President, G. B. Miller; trustees, J. 
H. Johnson, Theodore Hawkins, J. H. Kane; 
recorder, P. B. Herman; treasurer, F. D. 
Lindquist; assessor, W. J. Drake; justice, P. 

B. herman; constable, H. A. Crosby. 
1902— President, V. I. Miller; trustees, R. 

0. Morrison, Theodore Hawkins, A. R. 
Schmidt; recorder, Charles Hamstreet; treas- 
urer, J. H. Johnson; assessor, W. P. Jones; 
justices, Charles Hamstreet, O. E. Randall; 
constable, W. P. Jones. 

1903— President, B. N. Bodelson; trustees, 
F. A. Pasco, A. R. Schmidt, S. H. Brown; 
recorder, E. S. Humble; treasurer, J. H. 
Johnson; assessor, Andrew Reuse; justices, 

C. M. At wood, James McDonald; constables, 
\\. P. Jones, H. A. Crosby. 

1904— President, B. N. Bodelson; trustees, 
A R. Schmidt, Haken Johnson, Martin 
Leutchman; recorder, C. M. Atwood; treas- 
urer, J. H. Johnson; assessor, Andrew Reuse; 
justice, N. A. Dexter; constables, Andrew 
Keuse, W. N. Johnson. 

1905— President, William Guthier; trustees, 
Theodore Hawkins, H. A. Crosby, F. J. 
Knott; recorder, C. M. Atwood; treasurer, 
J. H. Johnson; justice, E. H. Sammons; 
constable, Andrew Reuse. 

1906— President, F. D. Lindquist; trustees, 
A R. Schmidt, O. H. Johnson, S. H. Nelson; 
recorder, C. M. Atwood; treasurer, J. H. 
Johnson; justice, Elmer Johnson; constable, 
0. H. Johnson/ 

1907— President, F. D. Lindquist; trustees, 
S. H. Nelson, A. R. Schmidt, Ole Johnson; 
recorder, C. M. Atwood; treasurer, J. H. 
Johnson; justice, Elmer Johnson; constable, 
0. H. Johnson. 

1908— President, F. D. Lindquist; trustees, 
A R. Schmidt, Ole Johnson, George Torkel- 
Bon; recorder, C. M. Atwood; treasurer, J. 
H. Johnson; assessor, T. B. Maguire; jus- 
tices, C. S. Jones, M. A. Arens; constable, A. 

There were prosperous years following 
the beginning of municipal life, and in 
1900 the federal census showed a popu- 
lation of 217, giving Dundee sixth place 
among Nobles county towns. Then fol- 
lowed the period when many of the pre- 
cincts showed a decrease in population, 
and in 1905 the census figure was 182. 
One hundred four of these were born in 
Minnesota, 36 in other parts of the 
United States, and 42 in foreign coun- 
tries. Of the foreign born Germany fur- 
nished 8; Sweden, 18; Norway, 3; Ire- 
land, 1; Denmark, 2; England, 2; Scot- 

land, 2; Austria, 4; other countries, 2. 

Dundee maintains one of the best 
schools to be found in the smaller vil- 
lages of the county, presided over by 
Prof. C. S. Jones. The town supports 
several church organizations, all of which 
are in a prosperous condition. 


Of Nobles county's eleven incorporated 
villages Lismore is the youngest. It is 
a town of 181 inhabitants, located on the 
Hock Island railroad and on section one, 
of Lismore township. Portions of Leota, 
Willmont, Larkin and Lismore townships 
comprise its trade territory, which, in 
my judgment, is the finest and most 
prosperous part of Nobles county, ex- 
cepting that surrounding the village of 
Ellsworth. The village itself is pros- 
perous and enjoys an excellent trade. It 
is built mostly of wood, but the build- 
ings are all permanent and substantial 

Lismore was founded as a direct re- 
sult of the building of the Burlington 
railroad, now operated as the Rock Is- 
land, through northwestern Nobles coun- 
ty, and came into existence during the 
summer of 1900. The road had been 
constructed a part of the distance it now 
covers during the fall and winter of 
1899 and the towns of Reading and Wil- 
mont, on the same railroad, had been 
founded. The work of laying the track 
was again taken up in the spring of 
1900, and the road reached the site of 
the present town of Lismore at three 
o'clock on Saturday afternoon, June 9. 
Immediately thereafter was commenced 
the building of the town. 

The story of the selection of the site 
of Lismore is an interesting one. To 
Emil Graf and Charles Rieckoff, more 

Digitized by 




than any others, belong the credit for 
the existence of the town. When Thomas 
Brown, the Burlington right-of-way man, 
was in the vicinity purchasing lands for 
the road's right-of-way and locating his 
townsites he stopped one night at the 
farm home of Emil Graf, situated some 
two or three miles northeast of the fu- 
ture town of Lismore. The settlers of 
the vicinity, who for so many years had 
been such a long ways from market, 
were anxious to have a town builded 
nearby. So they inquired from Mr. 
Brown the company's intentions relative 
to the location of townsites on the new 
road. That official stated that his in- 
structions were to locate only one town 
between Wilmont and the junction of 
the road. Such a decision meant that 
the proposed town would be built some 
three miles further west. 

But the surveyors, who were then in 
the field, were having trouble running 
their lines and getting the grade they 
wanted. By making a detour to the 
south it was found that a good grade 
could be secured, although the mileage 
would be increased. This course was 
finally selected, and the lengthening of 
the road made possible the location of 
two townsites. Mr. Brown decided that 
one site could be selected in the vicin- 
ity, and Messrs. Graf and Rieckoff sug- 
gested the southwest quarter of section 
1, Lismore township, as a site. Mr. 
Brown agreed to locate the town there 
if the land could be bought for $30 per 
acre, and he, accompanied by the two 

8, 'The new town on the Burlington north of 
Adrian has at last been definitely located on 
the southwest quarter of section 1, Lismore 
township. This week T. H. Brown, the agent 
of the company\ closed the deal for this 
land, and has located the depot. The site for 
the new town will be surveyed at once." — 
Nobles County Democrat, March 30, 1900. 

•Five additions have been platted since the 
original site was surveyed, as follows: 
First — Surveyed for Thomas H. Brown; ded- 

gentlemen who were interesting them- 
selves in the matter, went to see Clar- 
ence Swanman, the owner. That gentle- 
man promptly demanded $35 per acre 
for the quarter. The Burlington agent 
refused to Consider the purchase at that 
price, and negotiations ceased. 

Messrs. Graf and Rieckoff were de- 
termined to have the new town in the 
vicinity, and to raise money for the ex- 
tra $800 demanded they scoured the 
country for subscriptions to a fund. 
They were successful in raising the 
money, and under an agreement with 
Mr. Brown turned the cash over to that 
gentleman when the Lismore depot was 
completed. The property had been 
bought by Mr. Brown in the latter part 
of March. 5 The question of a name for 
the village then arose. Several names 
were suggested, among others that of 
Graf, in honor of the pioneer settler 
of the vicinity. Mr. Graf would not con- 
sent to be thus honored, and the name 
Lismore was finally chosen by Mr. 
Brown, named after the township. The 
township had been named after a town 
in Ireland. 

County Surveyor Milton S. Smith 
surveyed the townsite April 23, 24 and 

25, 1900; the dedication was made July 
23; the papers were filed in the office 
of the register of deeds July 25. 6 After 
the coming of the railroad in June it 
was not long before the building of the 
town was under way, and in July the 
first business houses were opened. 

The St. Croix Lumber company was 

icated July 23, 1901; filed July 29, 1901. 

Graves'— Surveyed for Thomas H. Brown; 
dedicated June 7, 1902; filed June 14. 1902. 

Graves' Second — Surveyed for Thomas H. 
Brown; dedicated Nov. 22, 1902; filed Nov. 

26, 1902. 

Thompson's— Surveyed for Albert A. Thomp- 
son; dedicated May 27, 1903; filed May 27, 

Graves' South Side — Surveyed for Mark 
Graves; dedicated April 16, 1902; filed April 
16, 1906. 

Digitized by 




Digitized by 



Digitized by 




the first on the Bite. Lumber had been 
hauled from Wilmont and piled on the 
ground. A sign on the same gave forth 
the information that it was a lumber 
yard. This enterprise was immediately 
followed by others, and before the close 
of the year quite a little town had taken 
its place on the prairie. James Beacom 
erected the first building in the town — 
now the Leader office — and opened a 
saloon. The second building completed 
was the 0. B. Bratager store building, 
and that gentleman opened his store on 
July 6. James Montgomery built a 
small elevator and a little dwelling. 
William Finley was installed as manager 
of the elevator and occupied the house. 
Mr. Montgomery also engaged in the 
lumber business. James S. Ramage 
opened a lumber yard and hardware 
store, which were under the management 
of Arch Priest. The Bank of Lismore 
opened its doors on September 1, its 
temporary home being in a lumber yard. 
Three months later the bank was in- 
corporated as the State Bank of Lis- 
more. Other business enterprises estab- 
lished in 1900 were a livery barn by 
Anton Halverson, a butcher shop and 
restaurant by Joseph Stadter, and a 
blacksmith shop by Andrew Peters. 

A number of residences were also 
erected during the year, and all the 
buildings of the new town were of a 
permanent character. The Lismore post- 
office was established September 22 with 
0. B. Bratager as postmaster, and that 
gentleman has since had charge of the 

Those who petitioned for Incorporation were 
C. N. Sawyer, Emil Graf, George A. Eychaner, 
Oscar C. Olson, H. J. Schneider, Henry Hol- 
ton, William Finley, O. B. Bratager, S. A. 
Crosley, F. G. McVener, H. J. Kundel, F. J. 
PorkenWock, Ludwlg Johnson, John G. Van 
Rossum, Dirk D. Roelofs, John D. Roelofs, 
Charles Wynia, A. C. Graf, Jacob Hendel, Mck 
Wester, Fred Zen, George Pope, John Duel, 

During 1901 there was a resumption 

of building operations in Lismore, and 

the town received many additions to its 

business life. A school house, churches 

and several fine residences were built 

during the year. On December 6, 1901, 

the Lismore Leader said: 

Lismore, for a place only a little over one 
year old, has made good and substantial 
growth. . . . Lismore has one bank, two 
general merchants, one furniture store, two 
saloons, two pool rooms, two lumber yards, 
three elevators, four coal dealers, one hotel, 
one hardware store, two machinery firms, 
one blacksmith shop, one livery stable, one 
dray line and one newspaper. 

A census taken April 10, 1902, show- 
ed the new village to have a population 
of 186. After 1901 the growth of Lis- 
more was slow. That year it reached a 
size proportionate to the trade of the 
surrounding country. While there has 
not been increase in population, each 
year has witnessed improvement in Lis- 
more, and there is yearly increase in 
the amount of business done. 

Lismore was incorporated in the spring 
of 1902. 7 Emil Graf. Jacob Hendel 
and Henry Rust were the inspectors of 
the first election, which was held May 
27. Of "the thirty-seven votes cast at 
that time, twenty-three were in favor of 
incorporation and fourteen were opposed. 
The town's first officers were chosen 
June 17, and that same evening the 
council met and set in motion the ma- 
chinery of municipal government. 

Following is a list of those who have 
been elected to office during Lismore's 
political history: 8 

1902— President, Emil Graf; trustees, O. 
B. Bratager, Frank Hennekes, John Roelofs; 

M. Johnson, Theodore Walentlng, C. J. 
Harming, H. C. Frerlch, Gerhart Klrkeby, A. 
T. Halverson, Philip Hendel, Will Wallace, F. 
Hennekes, Hans Erickson and Albert Halver- 

•Nearly all the elections have been hotly 
contested affairs, and the vote between the 
two tickets has often been close. 

Digitized by 




recorder, C. N. Sawyer; treasurer, F. J. 
Forkenbrock; justices, R. W. Frank, Wil- 
liam Finley; constables, Fred McVenes, John 

1903— President, Emil Graf; trustees, O. 
B. Bratager, Fred McVenes, M. Plemp; re- 
corder, C. N. Sawyer; treasurer, F. J. Fork- 
enbrock; assessor, F. VV. Vaughan; justice, 
A. Peters; constable, W. Duwenhoegger; 
street commissioner, John Duel. 

1904— President, Emil Graf; trustees, M. 
Plemp, William Tentler, A. N. Disch; record-, 
er, R. W. Frank; treasurer, F. J. Forken- 
brock; assessor, William Finley; justices, 
William Finley, C. E. Hargrow; constables, 
W. Duwenhoegger, D. Roelofs. 

1905— President, Emil Graf; trustees, Wil- 
liam Tentler, J. A. Greig, M. Plemp; recorder, 
W. V. Olin; treasurer, John Roelofs; as- 
sessor, William Higgins; justices, C. A. Man- 
ning, Fred McVenes; constables, George Greig, 
PVed McVenes. 

1906— President, William Tentler; 9 trustees 
A. J. Greig, John Glovka, M. Plemp; record- 
er, W. H. Hronek; treasurer, John Roelofs; 
assessor, William Higgins; justices, L. A. 
Dickman, O. B. Bratager; constables, Joe 
Budde, Henry Glovka. 

1907 — President, William Tentler; trustees, 
Al. Greig, J. J. Bach, L. A. Dickman; re- 
corder, Emil Graf; treasurer, John Roelofs; 
assessor, William Higgins; justices, J. E. 
West, Adolph Miller; constables, Nic Bach, 
William Higgins. 

1908 — President, William Tentler; trustees, 
J. J. Bach, L. A. Dickman, Al. Greig; re- 
corder, Nic Barron; treasurer, M. Plemp; 
assessor, William Higgins; justice, George 
Cutler; constable, Jacob Hofer. 

Lismore's population, according to the 
1905 census, was 181, of which 83 were 
native born, 71 Minnesota born, and 27 
foreign born. Of the last named the 
countries of birth were Germany, 14; 
Norway, 7; Ireland, 1; England, 1; 
other countries, 4. The town has a 
good school and a number of church 


Although one of the oldest, Kinbrae 
is the smallest of Nobles county's in- 
corporated villages. One hundred eleven 
people had their homes there when the 

last census was taken. It is located on 
section 11, Graham Lakes township, on 
the Milwaukee railroad, and is only a 
mile and a half from Dundee, its rival 
town on the Pipestone branch of the 
Omaha road. The business town con- 
sists of a few stores, elevators and shops, 
which draw their trade from the im- 
mediate country surrounding. 

Time was when Kinbrae was a larger 
and much more prosperous village than 
it now is. For years it held its own 
with the rival town of Dundee, and for 
a time was the better village of the two. 
All lines of business flourished and a 
big trade was catered to. But Dundee 
won out in the race for supremacy in 
northeastern Nobles county. While there 
has been a retrogression since the boom 
days of the nineties, Kinbrae still holds 
its place as a little trading point, and 
time may bring back its former prosper- 
ous days. The jealous rivalry of two 
railroad corporations was responsible for 
the founding of two towns so close to- 
gether, and the towns have been the suf- 
ferers ever since. 

When the line of the Southern Min- 
nesota railroad (now the Milwaukee) 
was definitely located in the spring of 
1879, speculation was rife as to the lo- 
cation of the towns that would be built 
on it. A correspondent writing to the 
Worthington Advance of May 8, 1879, 
gives us the first information of the se- 
lection of the site on Clear lake for one 
of the towns. "Our Graham Lakes cor- 
respondent/' says the Advance of that 
date, "gives further information concern- 
ing the road. The line passes about 
one-half mile north of East Graham 
lake and one-fourth mile north of Cres- 
well. The contract for grading to Clear 

•There were three candidates for president Bratager were tied, and the former was 
of the council. William Tentler and O. B. chosen by lot. 

Digitized by 




lake has been let, and the contract to 
Seven-Mile lake will be let in a few 
days. We learn that the company design 
building up quite a town at Clear lake, 
and another at the south end of Heron 

Nothing further is learned of the pro- 
posed town on Clear Take from the pub- 
lic prints until late in the summer. 
Then it is learned that a Scotch com- 
pany has been formed for the purpose 
of founding the town, which is to be 
called Airlie. A company which has 
purchased a tract of land in the vicin- 
ity, it is announced, will make many 
improvements and start the town with a 
heavy expenditure of money. B. W. 
Woolstencroft, who resided there at the 
time, wrote of the current events early 
in September as follows: 

Our town [Graham Lakes] has the ad- 
vantage of two railroads now and two 
railroad towns, viz: Airlie and Warren. 

"Airlie" (named for the Right Honorable, 
the earl of Airlie, K. T., president of the 
Dundee Land and Improvement company, N. 
B., owner of the Clear lake townsite, in- 
closing with its annexed farm 400 acres of 
land) is situated on the southwest bank of 
Clear lake, one of the most beautiful sheets 
of water in Minnesota. Mr. Easton in- 
formed us that the company intended to 
bnild a $10,000 steam elevator, a three story 
hotel, and that $15,000 was placed at his 
disposal for the above purpose, together 
with the improvements of streets, planting 
trees, etc. Plowing for tree planting has al- 
ready begun. 

On Friday the 29th a number of gentlemen 
and their ladies came up on the train to 
view the place and were decidedly pleased 
with the situation. Among those present 
we will mention John Cusson, of Glenallen, 
Virginia; Prof. S. W. Johnson, wife and 
daughter, Yale colege, Hartford, Connecti- 
cut; H. M. Blaisdell and wife, P. Walarton 
and wife, J. M. Farrar, of Fairmont; J. C. 

w '*Alrlie. This flourishing, rapidly growing: 
«>wn on the Southern Minnesota railroad, sit- 
uated tm section 11, Graham Lakes, only one 
ana one-half miles from Dundee, Is to that 
Pace what Minneapolis is to St. Paul. The 
•J?" 16 . 1 " 0119 and substantial improvements that 
r* 4 , c °urse of construction here are at- 
tracting the attention of business men all 
S«f P * t J? e c °untry. Its location is one of un- 
gual beauty, being- on the high rolling banks 
\L*w. rmI ng' Clear lake." — Correspondent 
worthlngton Advance, Nov. 6, 1879. 

Easton and wife, L. F. Easton, of Lanes- 

The Dundee Improvement company 
was the name of the corporation which 
contemplated doing so much to start 
the town of Airlie. During September 
and October the company started a num- 
ber of improvements, and a few private 
enterprises were launched. The large 
steam elevator, with a capacity of 15,000 
bushels, was completed in November. 
Before the close of the year a hotel 
building had been erected by the com- 
pany and a two story store building, 
22x50 feet, had been put up by the same 
people. John Paul, of LaCrosse, Wis., 
opened a lumber yard, which was under 
the management of Ole Dahl, and E. 
B. Hollister opened a drug store. 10 

While Airlie had been the name first 
selected for the site, when the townsite 
was surveyed during the month of De- 
cember, 1879, it was as DeForest, and 
that became also the name of the rail- 
road station. W. G. Keller surveyed the 
DeForest townsite for John Paton, John 
B. Dumont, William Lowson and Wil- 
liam Mackenzie. The site was dedicated 
April 6, 1880, 11 and the instrument was 
filed May 31. 12 

A petition for the establishment of a 
postoffice had been sent in to the au- 
thorities at an early date, with the re- 
quest that it be named Airlie, and when 
the postoffice was granted early in 1880 
with Nat Smith as postmaster, that was 
its name. The name was changed to 
DeForest to correspond with the name 
of the townsite and station, in the lat- 

M The acknowledgment of the dedication 
was made by Messrs. Paton and Dumont be- 
fore J. C. French, a notary public of New 
York. Messrs. Lowson and Mackenzie made 
acknowledgment before Matthew McDougall, 
consul of the United States at Dundee, Scot- 

"South addition to DeForest townsite was 
surveyed by B. W. ' Woolstencroft for John 
Paton, William Lowson and William Macken- 
zie; was dedicated July 31, 1888; and was 
filed August 20, 1888. 

Digitized by 




ter part of January, 1882. While there 
had been a few enterprises started in 
the little town of Airlie, or DeForest, 
during 1879 and early in 1880, there 
had been no rush to the new town, and 
the federal census of 1880 (June 1) 
showed a population of only 19. A de- 
pot was put up in the fall of that year 
and a young man named Isal was in- 
stalled as agent. 

So we find that during the first few 
years of its existence DeForest was a 
very small hamlet. What town there 
was came near being wiped out by a 
fire on April 20, 1883, at which time the 
large elevator, together with its contents, 
was destroyed. Only by the greatest ef- 
fort on the part of the citizens was the 
depot saved. In August, 1883, the name 
of the DeForest station was changed to 
Kinbrae. For a time thereafter the 
postoffice and townsite were known un- 
der the old name, but later these were 
changed; 18 

The Scotch company that founded 
Kinbrae soon ceased its labors in the 
little town, and the townsite passed into 
the hands of Hanson & Graeger, of Chi- 
cago. During the eighties not much 
progress was made in Kinbrae, although 
a few business enterprises were started 
during that decade. When the Kinbrae 
Herald was issued for the first time on 
September 20, 1894, its editor claimed 
a population of 150 for the town. There 

M4 'There are a half dozen letters at the 
Worthington postoffice written from as many 
different places, addressed to Klmbrea and 
Klmbar, Nobles county. Charles Pardoe In- 
forms us that there Is no such postoffice in 
the United States. How these letters could 
come from so many widely separated points, 
some from men and some from women, and 
all be addressed to Kimbrea or Klmbar, this 
county, is one of the mysteries. 'Suthin's 
goin' to happen.* " — Worthington Advance, Aug. 
16, 1883. 

"We last week noticed the fact that there 
were a number of letters at the Worthington 
postoffice addressed to Klmbrae, Nobles coun- 
ty, and that there was no such postoffice in 
the county. We have since had the mystery 
explained. The Milwaukee railroad company 
has changed the name of DeForest station to 

were then the following industries: Two 
general stores, one hardware store, one 
lumber yard, one blacksmith shop, one 
stock buyer, two grain elevators, one 
hotel, a postoffice, depot, newspaper, mil- 
linery store, Presbyterian church and a 

In 1895 W. N. Bickley and W. E. 
Fletcher purchased the townsite and 
made preparations to boom the town, 
and Kinbrae advanced with rapid strides. 
These gentlemen employed M. S. Smith 
to resurvey the townsite in May, 1896. 
The site was dedicated Dec. 23, 1896, 
and the plat was filed Jan. 4, 1897. 14 
Building improvements during 1896 
amounted to $1&,000. Among the new 
enterprises started were a bank, cream- 
ery, elevator, stores, and a Methodist 
church. A census taken December 7, 
1895, gave the town a population of 178, 
and during the following year Kinbrae 
attained the height of its prosperity. 

A petition asking the board of county 
commissioners to provide for the incor- 
poration of the village of DeForest as 
platted and recorded in the office of the 
register of deeds, containing 640 acres, 
was presented; also a request that the 
name of the corporation should be Kin- 
brae was made. 18 The board took the 
required action early in the year and 
named February 17, 1896, as the date 
for holding an election to decide the 
question. The election was held at Jack- 

Kinbrea, but the name of the town and post- 
office remains the same." — Worthington Ad- 
vance, Aug. 23, 1883. 

14 A corrected plat was surveyed by Mr. 
Smith for the village of Kinbrae and was 
dedicated in 1903. 

"The petitioners were A. E. Holraberg, Ole 
Anderson, Nels Holm, N. W. Nelson, Ole 
Luft, Charles Hamstreet, Burgess Jones, Jo- 
seph Hendy, K. C. Jackson, Fred L. Day, E. 
JefTreys, T. H. Cole, Jan Janda, L. T. Dow, 
T. E. Joubert, Solomon Johnson, F. Segar, 
T. E. Cole, H. Poston. J. A. Salomonson, P. 
J. Fredrickson, S. Heldin, Albert Suess, Olof 
Nilson, E. L. Cochran, T. J. Larkin, F. F. 
Winkler, C. M. Thomas, F. F. Richards, E. 
H. Albright, H. Erie, James Hause, L. F % 
Miller, E. J. Clark and Joseph Stone. 

Digitized by 




son's hall and was presided over by T. E. 
Cole, Charles Hamstreet and Nels Holm. 
Thirty-five votes were cast, of which 28 
were favorable to incorporation and 7 
were opposed. 

Tie election to select the first village 
officers was held at the office of the 
Kinbrae Herald March 10, 1896. Charles 
Hamstreet and Jj. F. Miller were the 
judges and J. A. Salomonson was the 
clerk of election. Thirty-seven votes were 
cast. Following was the result of that 
and each subsequent election held in the 
village : 

1896— President, L. F. Miller; trustees, T. 
E. Joubert, K. C. Jackson, Joseph Hendy; 
recorder, A. E. Holmberg; treasurer, T. E. 
Cole; justices, J. A. Salomonson, E. L. 
Cochran; constables, 0. A. Anderson, T. J. 

1897— President, L. F. Miller; trustees, K. 
C. Jackson, S. H. McMaster, W. N. Bickley; 
recorder, J. A. Salomonson; treasurer, T. E. 
Cole; constables, J. J. Nimerfroh, Charles 

1898 — President, S. W. Lay the; trustees, 
K. C. Jackson, E. M. Trenkley, T. E. Jou- 
bert; recorder, Charles Hamstreet; treasurer, 
T. E. Cole; justices, J. A. Salomonson, F. P. 
Wilson; constables, F. D. Richards, J. J. 

1899— President, E. M. Trenkley; trustees, 
W. N. Bickley, F. T. Winkler, C. A. Swan- 
son; recorder, Charles Hamstreet; treasurer, 
S. W. Laythe; justices, E. J. Clark, J. A. 
Salomonson; constables, F. D. Richards, Er- 
nest Jones." 

1900 — President, Burgess Jones; trustees, 
K. C. Jackson, L. F. Miller, W. N Bickley; 
recorder, J. H. Clemons; treasurer, S. W. 
Laythe; justices, J. H. Clemons, Solomon 
Johnson; constables, Nicholas Paulus, F. D. 

1901— President, S. H. McMaster; trus- 
tees, T. E. Joubert, F. E. Ridgeway, Solo- 
mon Johnson; recorder, H. W. Pinney; treas- 
urer, W. H. Sanders; justices, H. Brigger, 
George Golden; constable, Vince Nimerfroh. 

1902— President, L. F. Miller; trustees, F. 
E. Ridgeway, Charles Muck, August Johnson; 
recorder, J. E. Bailey; treasurer, W. H. 
Sanders; justices, J. E. Bailey, Joseph" Stone; 
constables, Vince Nimerfroh, George Golden. 

1903— President, L. F. Miller; trustees, F. 
E. Ridgeway, August Johnson, C. E. Fletcher; 
recorder, J. E. Bailey; treasurer, W. H. San- 
ders; justices, V. M. Lord, C. S. Muck; 
constables, F. D. Richards, 0. J. Swanson. 

"At the election of 1899 for license received 
29 votes and against license 8 votes. 

1904 — President, L. F. Miller; trustees, M. 
McGlin, M. F. Smith, F. E. Ridgeway; re- 
corder, S. H. McMaster; treasurer, W. H. 
Sanders; justices, J. H. Swan, Reo Morse; 
constable, George Golden. 

1905 — President, L. F. Miller; trustees, M. 
McGlin, M. F. Smith, F. E. Ridgeway; re- 
corder, S. H. McMaster; treasurer, W. H. 
Sanders; assessor, J. S. Cocks; justices, Jo- 
seph Stone, J. J. Nimerfroh; constables, J. J. 
Nimerfroh, F. D. Richards. 

1906— President, F. E. Ridgeway; trustees, 
Charles Hunt, John Coffitt, George Golden; 
recorder, S. H. McMaster; treasurer, M. F. 
Smith; assessor, Burgess Jones; justices, I. 
S. Swan, Frank Segar; constable, Wilson. 

1907— President. S. H. McMaster; trustees, 
John H. Coffitt, F. E. Ridgeway, Anton Nel- 
son; recorder, J. S. Cocks; treasurer, M. F. 
Smith; assessor, J. H. Brigger; justices, Frank 
Segar, M. Wood; constables, C. A. Swanson, 
John Nimerfroh. 

1908— President, S. H. McMaster; trustees, 
Charles Hunt, F. E. Ridgeway, Louis Schrieb- 
er; recorder, M. E. Gillson; treasurer, G. C. 
Winchell; assessor, H. I. Brigger; justice, E. 
W. Blettner; constables, C. A. Swanson, 
John Nimerfroh. 

For a short time only after incorpora- 
tion did Kinbrae advance. The federal 
census of 1900 gave the village a popula- 
tion of 137, which was a loss of 47 since 
1896. Another loss was shown in 1905, 
when the returns gave a population of 
111. This was divided into the following 
classes: Native born, 43; Minnesota 
born, 56; born in Germany, 3; Sweden, 
7 ; Norway, 1 ; other countries, 1. 

A school and two churches are main- 
tained in Kinbrae. The Presbyterian 
church, the older organization, was 
founded January 10, 1890, with thir- 
teen charter members. J. H. Denton 
and N. H. Smith were the ruling elders. 


The largest and most important of the 
unincorporated villages of Nobles county 
is Reading, located on the diagonal 
wagon road and the Rock Island rail- 
road, ten miles northwest from Worth- 

Digitized by 




ington. It is on the southwest quarter 
of section 24, Summit Lake township, 
and is nearer the geographical center 
of Nobles county than any other town- 
site, its distance from the central ppint 
being three miles in a direct line. At 
Heading is found a community of about 
a hundred people and the following bus- 
iness houses: Bank, general stores, hard- 
ware store, three elevators, two lumber 
yards, livery stable and blacksmith shop. 

Early in the year 1872, when Nobles 
county was receiving its first big immi- 
gration, the southwest quarter of section 
24, Summit Lake township, upon which 
the village of Beading is now located, 
was filed upon as a homestead claim by 
Jeremiah Pettus. A contest for the pos- 
session of the land was started by Joseph 
E. Read, who filed for his son, H. H. 
Bead, and in 1873 the papers were se- 
cured. Two years later the filing was 
changed to a preemption. H. H. Bead 
moved upon the land to reside perman- 
ently in 1876, and- has made that his 
home ever since. 

The site of the present town was farm- 
ed by Mr. Bead until the Burlington road 
was built through in 1899. That year, 
after the route had been selected, 
Thomas H. Brown, the Burlington right- 
of-way man, bought for townsite pur- 
poses 2714 acres of the southwest quar- 
ter of 24 from Mr. Read'; five acres in 
23 from the same gentleman; and 20 
acres from George D. Dayton in 23. 
The site was selected in October, 1899. 
It was announced that it was not the 
intention of the townsite company to 
build much of a town at the first station, 

"••A location for another town has been se- 
lected for a station on the Burlington exten- 
sion, near H. H. Read's in Summit Lake 
township, twelve acres of ground being pur- 
chased for this purpose. It is claimed that 
it is not the intention or expected that much 
of a town will be built here, but just a 
stopping place for trains for the accommo- 
dation of passengers. . . . The company 
wiU not refuse to permit the erection of an 

but that the principal towns would be 
built further out. 17 

The track was laid to the site of the 
town early in December and the station 
was named Reading, in honor of H. H. 
Read, the pioneer settler. 18 The first 
train out took with it A. J. Keller, of 
Emmetsburg, Iowa, who became the sta- 
tion agent. A tool house was taken to 
the site on a flat car, and until a depot 
was constructed, served in that capacity. 
Notwithstanding the determination to 
limit the business houses of the new 
town, there were very soon quite a num- 
ber on the site. So soon as the track 
was built that far, although the survey 
of the townsite had not been made, a 
number of locations were secured for 
business enterprises. H. N. Douglas and 
the D. Rothchild Grain company select- 
ed sites for elevators by tossing a co'n 
for choice of location. James S. Ram- 
age was given a location for a coal and 
lumber yard and had stock on cars at 
Worthington ready to be taken out at 
the first opportunity. 

Although it was in the middle of win- 
ter, quite a number erected buildings, 
and before the opening of spring engag- 
ed in business. Stock yards and a depot 
were erected at once. H. N. Douglas 
and the Rothchild Grain company bought 
grain during the winter, loading di- 
rect from the wagons into the cars. 
Woodworth & Jones erected the first 
business house and engaged in the hard- 
ware business. A. N. Cheney erected a 
building and opened a general store in 
February. H. N". Douglas put up his 
elevator during the winter and erected a 

elevator, and this being the case, there will 
probably be a store and a post office and a 
paper. . It is reported the new town 

will be named Diagonal and will be located 
on the southwest quarter of section 24, Sum- 
mit Lake." — Worthington Advance, Oct. 20, 

^Readville. Readburg, Diagonal and other 
names had been proposed. 

Digitized by 




six room house, which was occupied by 
his grain buyer, Alex Thompson, and 
family — the first family to locate in the 
new town. James S. Ramage erected a 
lumber shed and a house. A. B. French, 
of Cedar Rapids, started a blacksmith 
shop and opened a restaurant in the sec- 
ond story of the Cheney store building. 

Building operations were continued 
during the early spring of 1900. A. R. 
Beilke moved a small house over from 
Rushmore in February, and a little later 
erected a building and opened the second 
general store. The Rothchild elevator was 
erected that spring. The postoffice was 
established in March with A. N. Cheney 
in charge. 10 In May the Summit Lake 
Presbyterian church, which had been or- 
ganized October 4, 1893, was moved in 
from the country, and the school build- 
ing was brought to the village that fall. 

The townsite was surveyed by M. S. 
Smith in June, 1900, for Thomas H. 
Brown. The dedication was made June 
16 and the instrument was filed June 21. 
In the fall of 1901 First addition was 
platted by Mr. Brown. 

Several new business enterprises have 
been established in Reading since the 
founding of the town, and, although it 
has not yet grown to a size that would 
warrant its incorporation, it is a pros- 
perous little community. 


One of the best known corporations of 
Reading is the Farmers' Mutual Tele- 
phone company, incorporated January 
2, 1905, with an authorized capital of 
$25,000 and with $9,000 paid in. The 
line is 150 miles in length and includes 
on its line the towns of Reading, Rush- 
more, Wilmont and Fulda. The officers 

•Reading's postmasters have been A. N. 
Cheney, appointed March, 1900; W. H. Elken- 

are Frank Baker, president; J. B. Lud- 
low, vice president; R. J. Jones, secre- 
tary; W. F. Moss, treasurer. The com- 
pany has three hundred subscribers. 


The State Bank of Reading was open- 
ed August 2, 1902, with a capital stock 
of $10,000 and the following officers 
and directors: Robert J. Jones, presi- 
dent; Ned Jones, vice president; A. N. 
Cheney, cashier; N. B. Cheney, Edwin 


On the northwest quarter of section 
27, Willmont township, three and one- 
half miles northwest of Wilmont village, 
is the little inland village of St. Kilian. 
In the town is one general store, con- 
ducted on the co-operative plan, a Catho- 
lic church and school and a number of 
residences. For the size of the place St. 
Kilian is one of the strongest church 
towns of the country. The church 
building is an exceptionally fine one and 
the organization has a large membership. 
Almost the entire population of St. Kil- 
ian is made up of retired or active Ger- 
man farmers and their families. 

Willmont township was settled almost 
entirely by German Catholic farmers. In 
the early days these settlers were far 
from the church of their profession, but 
in the late eighties their numbers had 
grown until it was believed that a church 
could be supported. About forty mem- 
bers of the faith formed an organization 
and authorized Father C. J. Knauf, of 
Adrian, to buy a forty acre tract of 
land (the northwest quarter of the north- 
berry, February, 1903; R. J. Jones, February, 
1904; A. R. Beilke, February 25, 1907. 

Digitized by 




west quarter of section 27) for church 
purposes. Late in the year 1887 steps 
were taken to raise money for the erec- 
tion of a church thereon. 20 Succeeding 
in this, they erected a building of which 
the dimensions were 32x48 feet. Father 
Knauf supplied the pulpit about two 
years, and was succeeded by Father 

About two years after this church was 
built, John Mock opened a general store 
on the site and a little later quite a vil- 
lage sprang up there. A postoffice was 
established with Mr. Mock in charge, 
Andrew Pacholl opened a blacksmith 
shop, John Meyer started a second gen- 
eral store, Hub Pass engaged in the sa- 
loon business, and later Joseph Budde 
opened the second saloon. The town of 
St. Kilian, named after the church, be- 
came a flourishing little inland trading 
point, and predictions of future greatness 
were freely made. It seemed certain that 
some day there would be a good sized 
town in northwestern Nobles county, and 
St. Kilian believed that it was to be the 

When it became known that the Bur- 
lington railroad was to extend and sur- 
veyors appeared in the vicinity in 1899, 
certain it was that St. Kilian's day had 
arrived. But the building of the road 
proved the death of St. Kilian's pros- 
pects for future greatness. The town 
was passed by, and the railroad people 
founded, nearby, the town of Wilmont. 
After that there was general decline. 
Some of the business houses were moved 
to the railroad town; others were closed; 
and today the only business enterprise 
left in the village is a store. The post- 
office was maintained until March, 1907. 
Then it was discontinued, and since that 

*"We learn that there is a movement on 
foot to build a Catholic church in Willmont, 
on section 27, where the congregation holds 
forty acres. Father Knauf, of Adrian, was 

date the people of the village have re- 
ceived their mail by rural route from 

The St. Kilian townsite was surveyed 
by M. S. Smith for Father C. J. Knauf 
October 5 to 7, 1891. The plat was 
dedicated October 27 and was filed De- 
cember 10, of the same year. 

Some ten years after the building of 
the church the edifice was burned. The 
congregation then erected the school 
building, and for one year church ser- 
vices were held therein. The present 
handsome and substantial church build- 
ing was then erected. The Church of 
St. Kilian was incorporated February 27, 
1896, by Joseph B. Cotter, bishop of the 
diocese of Winona; Peter Pernin, vicar 
general of the same diocese; A. Hechen- 
berger, pastor; and Charles Fritz and 
Balthaser Heck, lay members. 


In the extreme northwestern corner of 
Nobles county, in the center of a pros- 
perous settlement of Hollanders, is the 
little inland village of Leota, with a pop- 
ulation of about 100 people. The plat- 
ted town is on sections 5 and 8, of 
Leota township. The village consists 
of two churches, a general store, postof- 
fice, harness shop, blacksmith shop and 
a number of residences. 

It was during the year 1891 that 
Leota was founded. The first building 
on the site was the Dutch Reformed 
church, erected by the vanguard of Dutch 
settlers. In the fall of 1891 John 
and Nick DeBoer and James TenCate 
erected a second building and establish- 
ed a store, which they have ever since 

here on Sunday last and took a number of 
subscriptions for the new church. About half 
the amount has been subscribed." — Worthing- 
ton Advance, Dec. 16, 1887. 

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The Original Home of Martin Kallemeyn, Who was the First Hollander to Locate 

in Leota Township and Who Was Active in the Colonization of 

that Township. The Building was 1 4x24 Feet. 

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* * - . A 

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conducted. 21 The postoffice was estab- 
lished in the fall of 1893, with James 
TenCate as postmaster. With the excep- 
tion of one year ( 1907-19*08) when the 
office was discontinued he has ever since 
served in that capacity. 

Herman Hulstof started a blacksmith 
shop im 1892. The Christian Reformed 
church was erected in 1898. The same 
year Jake Kooiman opened an imple- 
ment house, which he conducted three 
years. The business was then purchased 
by Mr.. DeGraff, who managed it until 
his death in 1905. A harness shop was 
started by John Wassen in February, 

The Leota townsite was surveyed by 
M. S. Smith for James TenCate. It 
was dedicated January 1, 1902. 


Org, the last Nobles county village we 
are to consider, is unique in many ways. 
It is the smallest community in the 
county that could be designated a vil- 
lage; it is said to occupy the highest 
point of land in Minnesota; it has had 
more names bestowed upon it than any 
other Nobles county community; and 
no one knows why it was burdened with 
the one it now owns. Org is located 
on the northwest quarter of section 4, 
Bigelow township, three and one-half 
miles southwest from Worthington, and 
at the junction point of the Sioux Falls 

a The old store building burned down May 1, 
1898, but was immediately rebuilt. 

""This place was originally called Iselin and 
was named for Adrian C. Iselin, a banker of 
New York city, who owned much land in the 
vicinity." — Origin of Place Names, Northwest- 
ern Railroad. 

"Also sometimes referred to locally as "The 

•**Tn short. Mr. Call and his neighbors 
around the summit expect before long to have 
a station, with telegraph office and all other 
facilities, at the junction, to be followed by 

branch with the main line of the Omaha 

When the Worthington & Sioux Falls 
railroad was built in 1876 it left the 
main line at the top of the grade where 
Org is now located. It seems to have 
been the intention of the railroad offi- 
cials to name this point Iselin, 22 but 
when the running of trains was begun 
it was designated as Sioux Falls Junc- 
tion. 28 A section house was put up 
there, and for ten years was the only 
thing on the site. 

Not until 1886 was an effort made 
to make any improvement there. In the 
spring of that year N. A. Call, a farmer 
and hay shipper, decided to locate there 
and make it a point of shipment for his 
hay. 24 The railroad company put in a 
Y that spring, and in the fall erected a 
depot. H. Sinclair was installed as 
operator and agent in November but was 
succeeded the following month by W. 
H. Vorhees. Mr. Call put up a large 
warehouse, and for several years was a 
large patron of the road. But after 
these improvements had been made Sioux 
Falls Junction remained quiescent for 
thirteen years. The only change during 
these years was in the name, which be- 
came Org in 1890. 25 

In 1899 another attempt to boom the 
Junction was made, this time with bet- 
ter success. In July Caroline A. Forbes 
had the townsite platted, and that fall 
some improvements were made. An ele- 
vator was erected and James S. Ramage 

a postoffice and a thriving village In due time. 
The summit has long been thought of as a 
point for a station and village, and its reali- 
zation has been considered only a matter of 
time. It seems now about to . be realized." — 
Worthington Advance, May 20, 1886. 

^"In 1890 the name was changed to Org by 
W. A. Scott, the then general manager of the 
railroad. No one now living knows why he 
so named the place, where he got the name 
or what it means, if it means anything. A 
legend connects it with 'org' (dorg), bad 
slang for the word dog." — Origin of Place 
Names, Northwestern Railroad. 

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and the Tuthill Lumber company each 
put up buildings and engaged in the 
lumber and coal business. Charles King 
started a general store and became post- 
master of an office established soon 
after he began business. Since that event 
there has been no improvement in this 
smallest of Nobles county's villages. 

For reasons best known to itself the 
Omaha railroad has erected a sign board, 
upon which is the word "Trent," a few 
feet beyond the junction point, on the 
branch side. Trent has been duly in- 

corporated in the timetables and is a sta- 
tion. The most interesting thing about 
it is the origin of the name. Here is 
what the Northwestern railroad in its 
"Origin of the Place Names" says of 

There is a dispute as to the origin of 
the name that was selected for this place. 
One faction asserts that it was named for 
Trent in the Italian Tyrol of Austria-Hun- 
gary, where was held the famous Council of 
Ghent in 1545-63 and that fixed many re- 
ligious tenets. The other faction claims that 
the name was taken from the river Trent in 

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During its newspaper history of thirty- 
six years Nobles county has, at one time 
and another, been the home of over 
thirty newspapers. Most of these have 
been weekly publications, one was a 
monthly, and several were dailies, run in 
connection with the weekly editions, rang- 
ing in life from a few issues to five 
years. Of these thirty-odd publications 
started, nine weekly papers are in exist- 
ence at the date of the publication of this 
volume, as follows: Advance- Herald 
(Worthington), Chas. Hamstreet, pub- 
lisher; Worthington Globe, by Petei 
Thompson; Nobles County Democrat 
(Adrian), by A. J. Schaeffer; Ellsworth 
News, by E. E. Lovrien; Eushmore En- 
terprise, by M. A. Mattison; Eound 
Lake Graphic, by J. L. Flint; Brewster 
Tribune, by Jesse Hamstreet; Wilmont 
Tribune, by M. R. Berkhimer; Lismore 
Leader, by Leader Publishing company. 

Going back of the date of the sound of 
the first click of the type in Nobles 
county, we must consider the Colony 
Journal, published at Toledo, Ohio, to 
make the history of the press complete. 
This was a publication issued by Dr. A. 
P. Miller, of the National colony, which 
was started for the purpose of advertis- 
ing the Nobles county lands owned by 

^'The Colony Journal . . has done more 

to spread abroad a knowledge of the advan- 
tages of Minnesota as a home for the emi- 
grants and the capitalist than any Immigra- 
tion document issued at the expense of the 
state."— Western Advance, Aug. 31, 1872. 

the colony. It did excellent service in 
bringing settlers to the county, and 
many of the pioneers gained their first 
knowledge of Nobles county from that 
journal. 1 

Nobles county's first newspaper was 
the Western Advance, the name of 
which was later changed to Worthing- 
ton Advance. In the summer of 1872 
the National Colony company, of which 
Dr. A. P. Miller and Prof. It. F. Humis- 
ton were the principal owners, purchased 
a printing outfit and issued a prospectus*, 
stating that the new paper would begin 
an existence in June. The material 
was ordered in time to fulfil the 
promises of the prospectus, but owing to 
many delays it was impossible to get 
out a paper before the last day of Aug- 
ust. The name of the publication was 
selected by Rev. B. H. Crever, who at 
the outset was to have been connected 
with the editorial management M. H. 
Stevens was finally selected to manage 
the paper for its owners, with the priv- 
ilege of buying the plant if his manage- 
ment proved satisfactory to Miller, Hum- 
iston & Co. 

On the 31st day of August, 1872, the 
first issue was taken from the press. 2 
It was an eight column folio and the 

2 The first copv that was taken from the 
press was given to Mrs. R. F. Humiston, the 
second to Dr. Geo. O. Moore. 



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two outside pages were "patent." The 
subscription price was $2.00 per year. 
The editorial utterances were strongly 
republican. Ulysses S. Grant for presi- 
dent, Henry Wilson for vice president, 
and M. H. Dunnell for congressman, re- 
ceived many favorable notices in the Ad- 
vance during the campaign that followed 
the establishment of the paper. I quote 
at length from the salutatory: 

We commence the publication of the West- 
ern Advance, believing that there is a suf- 
ficient demand for a paper of such character 
as we intend to make it, to insure its suc- 

Politically, the Advance will support re- 
publican principles and such measures as we 
believe to be for the best interests of our 
country. Locally, while we shall be consis- 
tently republican, we shall countenance no 
use of the party's strength for personal mo- 
tives, but regard the good of the entire 
community as conducing to our own best 

We have not assumed the editorial man- 
agement of the paper without fully appre- 
ciating the local differences, at the present 
time the subject of much discussion, but we 
shall steer clear of the personal phase the 
subject has assumed, deeming our duty to 
the public to be to advocate the carrying 
out of principles, but not to occupy our space 
in spreading abroad the details of every 
personal matter that may grow out of their 

We shall in a manner consistent with our 
ideas of public policy freely and earnestly 
advocate the principles of temperance, be- 
lieving, as we do, that intemperance is un- 
dermining rapidly not onlv the social in- 
stitutions of our country, but is destroying 
by its demoralizing power the strength of 
our democratic form of government. 

But our main efforts will be devoted to 
making a home newspaper, such as it will 
be the duty of every citizen of whatever 
opinion on local differences to support. In- 
stitutions to aid in building up the country 
cannot be maintained without . * to 

*The only copy of the first Issue of the 
Advance known to be in existence !s consid- 
erably worn, and the few words omitted from 
the above paragraph cannot be made out. 

4 "The Advance, with its present issue, drops 
the word 'Western' and substitutes instead the 
name of the town, ' Worthington.' ' This will 
be more convenient for exchanges In copying, 
and will tell at a glance where the paper is 
published, besides serving a better purpose in 
advertising the place." — Worthlngton Advance, 
Sept. 12, 1874. 

be in perfect harmony, it must be acknowl- 
edged that a newspaper with no policy, and 
drifted about by every local breeze, to 
endeaver to please all and displease none, 
would be but a sorry concern. In such we 
can have no part or interest. 

During the first year of its existence 
the Advance enjoyed prosperous times. 
Settlers were pouring into the country at 
a rapid rate, the little village of Worth- 
ington was growing by leaps and bounds, 
and all lines of business flourished. Then 
came the disastrous grasshopper days, 
and the newspaper business suffered se- 
verely. Mr. Stevens presided over the 
destinies of the Advance, until March, 
1874, when he withdrew. The colony 
company then installed Mr. A. P. Miller 
as manager. A few months after that 
gentleman took charge the name of the 
publication was changed from Western 
Advance to Worth ingt on Advance/ and 
about the first of the year 1875 he be- 
came the owner of the paper, having pur- 
chased it from Miller, Humiston & Co. 5 

Mr. Miller, who is now in the news- 
paper business at Los Angeles, Cal., was 
undoubtedly one of the best newspa- 
per men that ever conducted a Nobles 
county journal, and he was financially 
successful. He belonged to the old school 
of journalism, and no subject was dis- 
cussed in an impersonal manner. He 
had a large vocabulary, a good command 
of the language, wrote his editorials with 
vitriol, and neither asked nor gave quar- 
ter in a word war. Whether he was 
berating his subscribers for not paving 
their subscription dues, denouncing his 

54 'The question as to the ownership of the 
Advance Is raised so frequently that some 
statement of the facts and of the position of 
the paper seems to be demanded. The Worth- 
lngton Advance, with all the material, good 
will, book accounts, etc., is the property of 
the undersigned. The purchase was made last 
summer and the necessary papers have been 
duly executed. Miller. Humiston & Co., the 
former owners, have no interest in the paper 
whatever and no more voice in its manage- 
ment than any other citizen or citizens. Let 
this statement once for all settle the ques- 
tion of ownership . . ." — A. P. MlUer in 
Advance, Jan. 15, 1875, 

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contemporaries as incendiaries, thugs and 
blackmailers, laying bare the personal 
history of political aspirants, or writing 
poetry, his articles were always interest- 
ing and were always read. He succeeded 
in making an enemy of nearly every man 
in the community during his reign over 
the Advance. Repeated efforts were made 
to start successful opposition papers and 
cause Irs retirement, but all such efforts 
were fruitless, and he conducted the Ad- 
raiice nearly fifteen years. He advocat- 
ed spiritualism, and for years he filled 
his paper with the teachings of that be- 
lief and berated those who did not agree 
with him. He once described his be- 
liefs as follows: 

"We are a free thinker and an agnos- 
tic. But we are also a Christian, a 
spiritualist, a communist, a socialist, and, 
if you please, an anarchist. They are all 
right in part. To sum it up in one 
word, we are an eclectic." 6 

The Advance continued to be republi- 
can in politics under Mr. Miller's man- 
agement, as it has ever since been. Dur- 
ing the grasshopper days the paper was 
reduced to a seven column folio, but 
on April 4, 1878, the old form of eight 
columns was resumed. 

The Advance was purchased Nov. 15, 
1888, by the late Rev. Robert McCune, 
who at one time previously had been edi- 
tor of the Toledo Blade, and he con- 
ducted the paper nearly five years. In 
September, 1893, Carl S. Eastwood, who 
had previously been proprietor of, and 
who is at the present time conducting, 
the Heron Lake News, came to Worth' 
ington and purchased the Advance. He 
at once put in a large power press, added 
new type and material and made other 
improvements in the paper. He enlarged 
it to a six column quarto, and during 
part of the time printed it all at home. 

•Advance, March 22, 1888. 

He attempted the publication of a daily 
Advance, which had an existence from 
Nov. 3, 1894, to Jan. 1, 1895, but the 
venture was not a financial success. 

Mr. Eastwood sold his interests March 
5, 1896, to H. Hawley. The latter made 
many improvements in the equipment of 
the office, adding a Simplex type setting 
machine, a paper folder, and a lot of 
other new material. During the first 
few years he was in charge the Advance 
was an eight column quarto ; in the spring 
of 1901 it was made a six column quarto, 
all printed at home, but on Dec. 25, 
1903, the "patent" features were re- 
sumed. Mr. Hawley demonstrated that 
a daily paper could live in Worthington 
by publishing one over five years. The 
first issue of the Daily Advance was pub- 
lished in September, 1899, and was a 
three column folio. It was later en- 
larged to a four column paper, and in 
1902 to a six column. Mr. Hawley de- 
nied that the venture was a profitable 
one, and the daily was discontinued Nov. 
19, 1904. 0. S. Hawley was in charge 
of the Advance from Jan. 1, 1905, when 
IT. Hawley took the office of register of 
deeds, to which he had been elected the 
preceding fall, till August 26, 1905, 
when the plant was sold. 

Thos. Dovery, formerly of Barron, 
Wis., became the publisher on the last 
named date, and presided over its des- 
tinies untU July, 1908. Then the Worth- 
ington Advance went out of existence 
and was succeeded by the Advance- 
Herald. Mr. Charles Hamstreet, who for 
many years had been conducting newspa- 
pers in different towns of the county, 
and who had a short time before become 
the owner of the Worthington Herald, 
bought the subscription list and good will 
of the Advance, consolidated the two 
under the name of Advance-Herald, and 

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is now conducting the paper. He has 
made many additions and improvements 
and is publishing the best local paper in 
southwestern Minnesota. It is a six 
column quarto and is all published at 
home. Mr. Dovery removed the Advance 
plant to Idaho, where he is now engaged 
in publishing a paper. 

Nobles county's second newspaper was 
a campaign publication, a two column 
folio, known as the Claim Shanty Vin- 
dicator, which had an existence from Oct. 
7 to Nov. 4, 1874. It was published at 
Worth ington by the central committee 
of the democratic and liberal republican 
parties, and the Bennett Bros, were the 
editors. The little plant upon which it 
was printed was owned by W. K. Bennett. 
The salutatory is so unique that I re- 
produce part of it here: 

Believing that something should be speed- 
ily done to counteract the baneful effects 
produced by the republican press upon the 
people, it has been deemed advisable to 
commence the publication of a paper, that 
therpby some of the evils might be reme- 
died, and that truth might find its way into 
more remote localities. 

To that end the Vindicator will be pub- 
lished every week, and at so trifling a sum 
that all may have an opportunity to under- 
stand what is the best course to pursue at 
the approaching election. It will faithfully 
defend what its name implies, the interests 
of the settlers and particularly those who 
have pioneered their way into the wilds of 
the country to build themselves homes, and 
thereby put something away against the 
evening of life. In so doing such language 
will be used that can easily be understood. 
No attempt will be made at eloquence, but 
the political situation will be discussed in a 
fair, impartial and intelligible manner. . 

So long as the present political party is 
in power, wrenching from the people their 
hard earned money, office holders can well 
afford to buy up republican editors and send 
their papers broadcast throughout the coun- 
try, deceiving the people and diverting their 
attention to some imaginary evil in some 
distant part of the country, while their 
substance is being purloined, to again play 
their "confidence games" and retain their hold 
upon the offices. 

A. P. Miller, the "bought up editor" 

referred to, facetiously announced the 

birth of its rival: 

"The staff we understand to be as fol- 
lows: Owner of material and presses, 
W. R. Bennett ; principal stockholders, L. 
B. Bennett, L. F. Bennett and W. S. 
Stockdale; editor in chief, L. F. Ben- 
nett ; associate editors, L. B. Bennett, W. 
R. Bennett, \V. S. Stockdale, Warren 
Smith and others; city editors, L. F. 
Bennett, L. B. Bennett, W. R. Bennett, 
W. S. Stockdale and others ; foreman, B. 
Bennett; business managers, L. B. Ben- 
nett, L. F. Bennett, W. S. Stockdale; 
subscribers, L. F. Bennett, L. B. Ben- 
nett, W. R. Bennett, W. S. Stockdale, 
Major Thurber, Thomas Crever, D. 
Stone, 0. Bigelow." 

After the suspension of the Vindicator 
the little plant was purchased by two 
Worthington boys, Will S. Langdon and 
Clayborne Rohrer, who launched the Lit- 
erary Triumph. Th ; s was in the same 
form and style as its predecessor, except 
that it was devoted to the interests of 
young people instead of the democratic 
party. The first number was issued Nov. 
21, 1874, and it was the intention to 
make the Triumph a weekly publication, 
but for -some reason publication was not 
very regular. In all eight numbers were 
printed, the last one being on March 20, 

1875. Will W. Loveless, still a resident 
of Worthington, was reporter for the 
Triumph for a time. After the suspen- 
sion the plant was purchased by the Ad- 

The next publication to begin life in 
Nobles county was the Worthington Jour- 
nal — a paper destined to play quite an 
important part in the county's early his- 
tory during its life of a little less than 
six years. There was more or less dis- 
satisfaction with the policy of the Ad- 
vance as conducted by A. P. Miller in 

1876, and promises of support were given 
to anyone who would start a new paper 
in Worthington. Mr. Miller declared 

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that there was no possible need for a 
second paper and that it was to be start- 
ed for spite work. 7 Nevertheless the 
paper came into existence on April 29, 
1876, with good support. The Journal 
was under the management of Major 
T. C. Bell, who was its editor, and 
Thomas M. Gruelle, a former employe of 
the Advance, who had charge of the me- 
chanical department. At the end of the 
first year Major Bell sold his interests 
to his partner, and Mr. Gruelle conduct- 
ed the paper alone for a year and a half. 
In May, 1878, he enlarged the Journal 
to an eight column quarto, four pages of 
which were printed in the office of pub- 

In the fire of August G, 1878, which 
destroyed Miller hall, the Journal plant 
was destroyed, all that was saved being 
a job press and the books and accounts. 
The loss to the newspaper was estimated 
at from $3,000 to $4,000, and was cover- 
ed with $2,500 insurance. A new plant 
was immediately installed, and publica- 
tion was resumed. A. S. Lindsay pur- 
chased the Journal in October, 1878, and 
was its proprietor until January, 1880. 
For a short time in the fall of 1879 
Paul Blount had charge of the paper dur- 
ing the absence of Mr. Lindsay, who was 
on a concert tour. About the first of 
January, 1880, Mr. Lindsay sold the 
plant and went to Pana, 111., to take 
charge of the Argus. The purchaser of 
the Journal was Bev. J. C. Ogle, who 
was at the time superintendent of 
schools of Nobles county. In October, 
1881, J. C. Ogle went to Winnebago 
City, Minn., to accept a call to fill one of 
the pulpits there, and the management 
was turned over to his son, George A. 

Its publication was continued until 
February, 1882, when a mortgage on the 
plant, which was held by Peter Thomp- 
son, was foreclosed, and the Worthington 
Journal became a thing of the past. The 
plant remained in Worthington, however, 
and a little over a year later it was used 
in publishing the Worthington Record, 
the history of which will be told later. 
Below is given Mr. Miller's account of 
the demise of the Journal. It is re- 
produced, not in the belief that it prop- 
erly tells the story of the Journal, but 
rather to illustrate Mr. Miller's style of 
dealing with a contemporary: 

Died— On Thursday, Jan. 26, 1882, of finan- 
cial exhaustion, congenital scrofula and 
general moral, social and business leprosy, 
the Worthington Journal, aged five years, 
eight months and twenty-eight days. And 
of such is the kingdom of heaven. 

Funeral services from the house. Sermon 
by one of its fathers, the Rev. J. C. Ogle, 
from the text— "It sprung up like a sparrow- 
grass, hopped about like a hoppergrass, and 
died like a ja — donkey." 

Epitaph: "Here lies the Worthington Jour- 
nal, a mishappen newspaper Caliban. It was 
conceived in ringisra, born in a blaze of 
rowdyism, and nurtured in spite and fraud." 

It never paid its taxes; it burned a $7,000 
building to get an insurance of $1,800 on 
its accursed life; and it led a career of 
fraud, dishonesty and strife. With a few 
upright and decent men for backers, it was 
nevertheless a rendezvous and mouthpiece 
of about all the sneaks, frauds, dead-beats, 
scandal jockeys, hypocrites and white trash 
of the community. It died as it lived, phy- 
sically a Caliban, politically a Guiteau, and 
morally and socially a Ruloff. 

Although Adrian had been founded in 
1876 it was several years later before a 
newspaper made its appearance there. A 
little advertising sheet, called the Adrian 
Advertiser, was published for a short 
time in the spring of 1879, beginning 
early in March, by Geo. H. Carr, one 
of the merchants there. But no legitimate 
newspaper was issued there until May, 
1883, when the Guardian was started. In 

™A half dozen office seekers and a half demanding a 
dozen men animated by personal feeling are 30, 1876. 
about all the men In Nobles county who are 

new paper." — Advance, March 

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the fall of 1882 W. M. Patrick, editor 
of the Mendota (111.) Index, decided to 
come to Adrian and establish a paper 
to be called the Adrian Press, and went 
so far as to issue a prospectus to that 
effect. He expected to start before win- 
ter, but did not, and in the spring word 
was received that he had abandoned the 
project and was about to engage in the 
business in Lyndon, 111. 

The people of Adrian were determined 
to have a paper and opened communica- 
tion with S. S. Ilaislett, who had been 
publishing the Heron Lake Guardian 
since 1880, with a view to having him 
locate in the Nobles county town. Mr. 
Haislett decided to make the change and 
moved the plant, issuing the first num- 
ber of the Adrian Guardian on Saturday, 
, May 19, 1883. The motto of the Guard- 
ian, conspicuously displayed for so 
many years was: "While the Guardian 
will the people's rights maintain, we pub- 
lish it for bread and butter, not for 
fame." During the many years he was 
at the helm of the Guardian, Mr. Hais- 
lett issued a creditable publication, and 
received liberal support from the people 
of Adrian. He retained the active man- 
agement until late in August, 1896, 
when he leased the plant to his son, Orrie 
M. Haislett, and C. 0. Spaulding. Later 
he again took charge for a short time, 
but on April 28, 1899, his sons, Orrie 
M. and S. S., Jr., took the management, 
and the founder retired from newspaper 
work. In December, 1899, the firm of 
0. M. & S. S. Haislett, Jr., was dis- 
solved, the junior member of the firm 
assuming entire charge. 

D. J. and Chas. T. Tinnes leased the 
plant a little later, and for a time con- 
ducted it under the firm name of Tin- 
nes Bros. In April, 1902, D. J. 

•This is the same A. E. Caldwell who in 
more recent years had charge of the Worth- 
ington Globe. 

Tinnes purchased the Guardian and con- 
ducted it over three years. Publication 
was suspended early in November, 1905, 
owing to lack of support, and Nobles 
county's second oldest paper went out of 
existence, after a life of over 22 years. 
During its early history it was a paying 
institution, and it assisted materially in 
making Adrian the prosperous town it 
has always been. The Guardian was re- 
publican in politics. 

After the suspension of the Worthing- 
ton Journal in January, 1882, the plant, 
which was the property of Peter Thomp- 
son, remained idle until the summer of 
the following year. Then two Sioux 
Falls printers, A. E. Caldwell 8 and R. J. 
W. Bloom, were induced to come to 
Worthington and resuscitate the. Journal. 
Parties in Worthington had given the 
partners considerable encouragement, and 
on Thursday, June 7, 1883, they got out 
the first number of their paper, which 
they named Worthington Record, hav- 
ing leased the plant from Mr. Thomp- 
son. A little over a month later Mr. 
Caldwell gave up his interest in the pa- 
per and returned to Sioux Falls. 

Mr. Bloom presided over the destinies 
of the Record until March 10, 1884, 
when he relinquished his interest in the 
paper and turned the property back to 
Mr. Thompson. The owner then sold 
to Geo. W. Penn, formerly of New Cas- 
tle, Pa., who took charge of the paper 
in April. The new editor changed the 
politics of the Record from republican 
to democratic, and it was at the time the 
only democratic paper south and west 
of Mankato in the state of Minnesota. 
Mr. Penn remained in charge only until 
Nov. 26, 1884, but during this time he 
demonstrated the fact that he was an 
able and forcible writer and a good news- 

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paper man. On the last named date F. 
M. McCormaek, formerly of Sheldon, 
Iowa, leased the plant from Mr. Penn, 
made it a republican paper, and publish- 
ed it until Jan. 29, 1885. Mr. McCor- 
mack issued a good paper, but the neces- 
sary support was lacking, and he did not 
make a financial success of the venture. 
Mr. Penn returned to look after his 
interests, found the affairs of the Record 
in a bad way financially, and on Feb. 21,, 
1885, the plant was sold at sheriff's sale, 
bemg bid in by Daniel Shell, who held 
a note against Mr. Penn for $325. The 
plant was then purchased by C. S. East- 
wood, who was the publisher of the Lake- 
field Citizen, and removed to Ellsworth, 
where it was used in publishing the Ells- 
worth News, which was established by G. 
H. Eastwood. 

The next Nobles county paper to be 
considered in the chronological order of 
founding was a monthly publication, the 
Minnesota Home, from which later 
sprang the Worthington Globe. The pub- 
lication came into existence as the result 
of a desire on the part of the real estate 
dealers of southwestern Minnesota to ad- 
vertise the country's resources. Originally 
it was proposed to raise $2,100 in the 
seven southwestern counties to be spent 
in printed matter to advertise the Blue 
Grass region. Peter Thompson and Geo. 
J. Day of Worthington, who were then 
partners in the banking and real estate 
business, conceived the idea of a publish- 
ing company for the purpose of issuing 
a regular monthly paper, to be the or- 
gan of the real estate men. 

The plan of the Worthington bankers 
was adopted, and on May 31, 1884, 
articles of incorporation for the Minne- 
sota Home Publishing company were 
filed, with the following incorporators: 
Joseph Flanders, of Madelia; E. J. 
Graves, of Heron Lake; Peter Thompson, 

of Worthington; Neil Currie, of Currie; 
and Geo. A. Iselin, of Mountain Lake. 
The principal place of business was to be 
Worthington, the capital stock was to 
be $10,000, and the corporation was to 
commence June 1, 1884. . 

The first number of the Minnesota 
Home was issued in October, and the pa- 
per was published until the spring of 
188G. Geo. J. Day was the editor. Five 
thousand copies were issued each month 
for free distribution. A Campbell print- 
ing press (the one now employed in the 
Globe office) was installed and other 
expensive machinery was purchased. A 
building was erected on Third avenue 
as the home of the new publication, and 
the building is still used as a printing 
office. In the spring of 1886 publication 
of the Home was discontinued, and its 
place was taken by the Worthington 
Globe, mention of which will be made 

The village of Ellsworth was only 
about six months old when its first news- 
paper came into existence — the paper 
which has ever since been published 
there. When the Worthington Record 
suspended in March, 1885, the plant was 
purchased and moved to the new town in 
Grand Prairie township, and there, early 
in April, the first number of the Ells- 
worth News was printed. It was a seven 
column folio, republican in politics, and 
G. H. Eastwood was the owner and pub- 
lisher. The News celebrated its second 
birthday by reducing the form to a five 
column folio and taking in Frank East- 
wood as a partner. Soon thereafter G. H. 
Eastwood became sole owner again. The 
paper was enlarged to an eight column 
folio, which form it retained many years. 

On June 23, 1892, the office of the 
Ellsworth News, together with the resi- 
dence of Mr. Eastwood, was almost en- 
tirely destroyed by fire, causing a total 

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loss of about $2,500, covered by only 
$500 insurance. Several hundred dollars 
were raised by the people of Ellsworth 
to assist Mr. Eastwood in replacing his 
plant, which was done after the paper 
had missed two issues. On Aug. 24, 1894, 
the paper was enlarged to a five column 
quarto, with four pages printed at home. 
After fourteen years satisfactory service 
as editor and proprietor of the News, Mr. 
Eastwood in December, 1898, sold to P. 
F. Levins, formerly of Clare, Iowa. 

Mr. Levins made the News a demo- 
cratic paper. On March 1, 1901, he en- 
larged it to a six column quarto, installed 
a new press, and otherwise added to the 
equipment and value of the paper. He 
retained possession about five years, and 
during that time built up a fine business. 
E. E. Lovrien, formerly of New Hamp- 
ton, Iowa, took possession of the News 
on August 1, 1905, having purchased it 
two months before, and has since directed 
its course. October 4, 1906, he made 
it an all home print paper, and it is now 
one of the three Nobles county papers 
which is printed entirely in the office of 
publication. Mr. Lovrien conducts the 
News as a democratic paper. 

Those who were opposed to the policy 
of the Worthington Advance under the 
management of A. P. Miller were ever 
on the alert to secure an opposition pa- 
per. When the Minnesota Home was 
launched there was a rumor that another 
local paper was to be published from that 
office, 9 but the paper did not materialize. 
In the spring of 1886 the rumor was 
again revived. It was said that induce- 
ments had been offered to the proprietor 
of a job office in Sioux City to come to 

•**We hear talk of another paper to be is- 
sued from the Minnesota Home office, but we 
doubt whether Worthington parties have any 
more money to waste in that way." — Advance, 
March 26, 1885. 

,0 "The Globe job printing office, opened by 
E. Hitchcock & Son, has been packed up and 

Worthington and launch a second paper. 
This rumor was verified, 10 and on March 
23, 1886, the first number of the Worth- 
ington Globe was taken from the press. 
The Sioux City job printing office had 
been combined with the Minnesota Home 
plant. The Globe was started as a re- 
publican paper by Edward Hitchcock 
& Son. It was an eight column folio, 
with two "patent" pages. 

The history of the Globe is a romantic 
one. Since its founding in 1886 it has 
had no less than seventeen editors, and 
it has advocated the policy of every politi- 
cal party that has had an existence dur- 
ing that time. Prom its office was is- 
sued the first daily paper ever published 
in the county, one being issued by Mr. 
Hitchcock during the holiday season of 
1886— Dec. 17 to 25. The founding of 
the Globe was not a financial success to 
the Hitchcocks, and they departed late in 

1887. The Globe Publishing company, 
of which Peter Thompson and Geo. J. 
Day were the members, became the owner 
after Mr. . Hitchcock departed. In April, 

1888, when the dissolution of partner- 
ship between Messrs. Thompson and Day 
took place, the former became the pro- 
prietor, and he has had an interest in 
the plant ever since. 

When the founder of the Globe left 
Worthington in the closing days of 1887 
Rev. E. R. Lathrop, pastor of the Metho- 
dist church, was made managing editor, 
and he conducted it until Nov. 22, 1888. 
Then Frank G. Martin, who had been 
foreman of the office, assumed charge 
and was at the head of the paper until 
Nov. 19, 1891. On the date last named 
I. J. Williams and Ernest Perry bought 

will be shipped tomorrow to Worthington, 
Minn., where extra inducements have been of- 
fered the proprietors to publish a paper. To 
the material shipped from this city will be 
added a large assortment of new type, and 
the paper will appear about the twentieth of 
March. It will be called the Globe." — Sioux 
City Journal, Feb. 28, 1886. 

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This • Picture* Was Taken About 1882 From a Window of thef.Old Hexagonal School. 

Building, Worthington. It Shows a Portion of the Town to the South 

of that Building. 


The Pride of Its Builder, A. P. Miller, Who Stands in Front of the Building. From a 

Photograph Taken Immediately After its Construction in 1882. To the 

Rear is Shown the Site of Several Present Day Handsome 

Brick Structures. 

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the plant, and for a time published the 
paper under the firm name of Perry & 
Williams. Mr. Williams was the editor 
and Mr. Perry the business manager. 
They changed the form of the paper Dec. 
24, 1891, to a six column quarto, with 
four pages printed at home. The firm 
was dissolved May 20, 1892, and Mr. 
Perry became sole publisher. 

The ownership had returned to Peter 
Thompson, and on Sept. 1, 1893, Ernest 
Perry and E. K. Smith took the Globe 
on a lease. The first of the following 
year Mr. Smith became sole manager and 
conducted the paper until July 1, 1895, 
as a republican paper. John S. Blair 
took a lease of the plant when Mr. Smith 
retired and conducted it as a democratic 
paper until February, 1899. He issued 
a creditable journal and rendered his 
party excellent service. The Christmas 
edition of the Globe, published by Mr. 
Blair in 1895, was the largest paper ever 
issued in Nobles county, both as to num- 
ber of pages and the amount of advertis- 
ing carried. A lease was taken in Febru- 
ary, 1899, by Dan Devaney and Harry 
Allen, who were the publishers until 
May 19, 1899, when the latter became 
sole publisher. He was succeeded Oct. 
1, 1899, by Deacon Donham, who hailed 
from St. Peter. Mr. Donham ran the 
Globe as a democratic organ until May, 
1900. Then John Watts, of Blue Earth 
City, took the management and ran the 
paper two months. 

A. E. Caldwell, of Sioux Falls, who 
for a short time had been part owner of 
the Worthington Record in 1883, leased 
the Globe in July, 1900, and announced 
that he would run a straight democratic 
paper. He did until June 27, 1902, 
when he announced that thereafter it 
would be independent in politics. Mr. 
Caldwell was a good newspaper man and 
made the Globe a creditable publ'eation. 

He retired from the management August 
21, 1903. For a short time thereafter 
Mr. Thompson was the publisher and O. 
B. Congdon, who had been employed on 
the paper for the preceding three years, 
was made editor and manager. I. A. 
Koshon • conducted the paper under a 
lease from May, 1904, to Oct. 12, 1905. 
A. E. Smaller was the next editor, he tak- 
ing it under a lease from Mr. Thompson 
when Mr. Koshon retired. He attempted 
the publication of a daily Globe, which 
had an existence from Dec. 11, 1905, 
of about one month. He retired Oct. 
14, 190G, when the plant was purchased 
from Mr. Thompson by J. L. Berkhimer. 
A daily was issued, for a short time in 
December, 11)0(5, by the new management. 
Mr. Berkhimer departed in the fall of 
1907 for other green pastures, and the 
ownership of the paper levertid to Mr. 
Thompson. That gentleman is now the 
publisher, and Frank Duster is the editor 
and manager. 

For a period of five years, from the 
time of the establishment of the Globe 
in 1880* until the starting of Adrian's 
second paper in 1891, newspaper found- 
ing was at a standstill in Nobles county, 
if we except the Independent, a cam- 
paign paper started in September, 1888, 
in the interests of some of the independ- 
ent candidates of that year. The sheet 
was printed in the office of the Worth- 
ington Globe and was fathered by E. S. 
Mills, independent candidate for county 

The farmers alliance was quite a 
strong organization in Nobles county 
in the early nineties, and inducements 
were offered \V. 0. Lester to start an or- 
gan of that party at Adrian in opposi- 
tion to the (iuardian. About the middle 
of April, 1891, he issued the first num- 
ber of the Adrian Citizen, a seven column 
folio. It was enlarged early in the fol- 

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lowing year to a quarto, but carried six 
pages of "patent" matter. Mr. Lester 
continued the publication, with indiffer- 
ent success, for two years, and then 
publication was suspended. 11 

Over a year before the Adrian Citizen 
suspended a third paper had made its 
appearance in the west end metropolis, 
making the sixth in the county. This was 
the Nobles County Democrat, which was 
started in February, 1892, by John E. 
King, formerly of the Rock Rapids Re- 
view. As its name implies, it was demo- 
cratic in politics, and it was the only 
democratic paper in the county at the 
time. It was a six column quarto, was 
printed from new material, and present- 
ed a very neat appearance. Mr. King 
published the paper nearly ten years, and 
during that time issued one of the best 
papers ever published in the county. 
He made a financial success of the ven- 
ture, which is not always the case with 
country newspapers. For a short time 
soon after the establishment F. H. Mill- 
ard was associated with him in the pub- 
lication. From Dec. 1, 1894, to July 1, 
1895, John S. Blair had an interest in 
the paper. 

A. J. Schaeffer became the owner and 
editor of the Democrat on August 30, 
1901, and he has since presided over its 
destinies. He has maintained the high 
standard set by the former owner, and 
today issues one of the best country 
newspapers in the state. It is a six 
column quarto, and all eight pages are 
published at home. 

Prior to 1892 there had not been a 
newspaper established in the county out- 
side of the three leading towns — Worth- 
ington, Adrian and Ellsworth. The first 

""With this issue the Citizen completes its 
second year, and also completes its labors. 
The move is not new to our minds; in fact 
we have contemplated taking this step ever 
since the alliance people failed to fulfil their 
agreements at the beginning. But circum- 

of the 'smaller towns to support a paper 
was Bigelow. In February, 1892, there 
came into existence the State Line Sen- 
tinel, bearing a Bigelow date line. It 
was founded by John A. Flower, and 
was printed in the office of the Sibley 
Gazette. B. I. Tripp was the local edi- 
tor. The Sentinel was published for a 
short time only. 

Three papers were established in the 
county in 1892. The third of these was 
the Nobles County Independent, which 
first saw the light of day April 19. The 
independent was a seven column quarto, 
with six "patent" pages, was democratic 
'n politics, and was edited by Leon Carr. 
It had a troubled existence of less than 
a year, and then Mr. Carr discontinued 
the paper and removed the plant from 
Worth ington. 

Another paper which had a short ex- 
istence in the county seat town was the 
Minnesota Allahanda, a paper printed in 
the Swedish language and catering to the 
whole state. Geo. Bylander was the 
founder of this publication, which came 
into being during the hard times period 
in the fall of 1893. It was independent 
in politics. Although it gained a circu- 
lation of 300 or 600, it did not fill a 
long felt want, and about the first of 
April, 1894, the last number was printed. 
Its suspension is said to have been has- 
tened because of the inability of the 
publisher to rescue his ready prints 
from the express office. 

Kushmore's first newspaper experience 
was in 1894, when the Rushmore Gazette 
was founded by Fred H. Millard. The 
first number was issued Feb. 9, 1894, 
and was a six column folio, two pages of 
which contained local news. The paper 

stances have never seemed to warrant closing 
until the present. We have never considered 
an alliance or peoples party paper at Adrian 
as a paying Institution unless it could have 
the active support of its friends, and this has 
never been given." — Adrian Citizen, April, 1893. 

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was printed in the office of the Kobles 
County Democrat, at Adrian. Mr. Mill- 
ard ran the paper some months and then 
turned the management over to Emmett 
Cafrell. Publication was discontinued 
early in 1895. 

On September 20, 1894, the Kinbrae 
Herald was established by T. E. Cole and 
Chas. Hamstreet, under the firm name 
of Cole & Hamstreet. The plant upon 
which it was printed was brought from 
Caliope, Iowa. The Herald was a lit- 
tle four column quarto and was printed 
on a job press. Mr. Hamstreet was edi- 
tor and manager and had entire charge 
of the paper, which was republican in 
politics. After running it three years un- 
der the firm name of Cole & Hamstreet, 
the junior member purchased his part- 
ner's interest and became the sole pub- 
lisher. In 1897 the paper was enlarged 
to a seven column folio, which form was 
maintained until its suspension. In 
November, 1899, Mr. Hamstreet leased 
the plant to the Misses Fuller and Lind- 
sey, who ran it till the following Febru- 
ary. Thereafter there were several dif- 
ferent people in charge, who conducted 
it for short periods under lease from the 
owner. Mr. Hamstreet obtained posses- 
sion in September, 1901, and ran it un- 
til February, 1903, when he suspended 
publication and removed the plant to 

One day after the birth of the Kin- 
brae Herald there came into existence at 
Worthington the Worthington Herald, 
founded by T. G. Nicholson. It was a 
six column quarto, four pages "patent," 
which form it always retained, and was 
democratic. Mr. Nicholson was a spicy 
writer, and the Herald at once leaped 
into favor. On Nov. 1, 1895, E. K. 
Smith, formerly editor of the Globe, 
bought a half interest in the Herald, 
and the publishers became Nicholson & 

Smith. The former was business man- 
ager and the latter editor, and the poli- 
tics became independent republican. Mr. 
Smith purchased his partner's interest 
on July 17, 1896, and thereafter ran 
the Herald as a straight republican pa- 
per. For nine years he published the 
Herald and made it one of the leading 
county papers from a business and polit- 
ical standpoint. After his election to 
the office of county treasurer in the fall 
of 1904, he sold the plant to Nicholas 
Wienandt, formerly of the Brewster 
Tribune, who continued it as a republi- 
can paper. Nov. 1, 1905, Harvey G. 
Beckley bought a half interest and was 
interested in its publication until Octo- 
ber 1, 1906, when Mr. Weinandt again 
became sole publisher. The latter made 
a financial failure of the venture, and on 
June 1, 1908, Charles Hamstreet, for- 
merly owner of the Rushmore Enter- 
prise, bought the plant. He conducted 
the Herald a little over a month and 
then consolidated it with the Advance, 
as stated earlier in this chapter. 

Very soon after the suspension of the 
Rushmore Gazette a newspaper man by 
the name of Brandon brought in a plant 
from Fulda, erected a building, and com- 
menced the publication of the Rushmore 
Times, the first number being issued 
during the closing days of April, 1895. 
Mr. Brandon did not make his home 
in Rushmore, but had a local manager 
named Ralph Tiedens. After a life of 
about three months the paper was sus- 
pended and the plant removed. 

The next Nobles county newspaper to 
come into existence was the Minnesota 
Signal, which was established at Bige- 
low in February, 1896, by C. M. Davis. 
That gentleman was the publisher until 
December, 1900, when E. F. Clower, 
formerly of Ireton, Iowa, purchased the 
plant. He published the Signal until 

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July, 1907, when he disposed of the 
plant, and Bigelow was without a news- 
paper for the first time in over eleven 

Round Lake's first newspaper was 
launched in April, 1897. This was the 
Hound Lake Wave and was founded by 
Shepard & Acheson. Harry Acheson 
secured full control soon after, but the 
paper was compelled to suspend be- 
cause of lack of support. It was pub- 
lished a few months only. 

For the third time in its history 
Rushmore had a newspaper in the fall 
of 1897. It was the Rushmore Magnet, 
and was published by A. B. Vines, who 
brought the plant from Beaver Creek, 
where for some time he had published 
the Beaver Creek Magnet. This third 
Rushmore paper was discontinued in 
July, 1898, and the plant was moved to 
an Iowa' town, where Mr. 'Vines is still 
publishing a Magnet. 

The only Nobles county newspaper 
which is now being conducted by the 
man who founded it is the Round Lake 
Graphic, which was issued for the first 
time July 7, 1898, by J. L. Flint. At 
the time of founding, it was a six col- 
umn folio, but in 1900 was made a 
quarto, with two pages printed at home, 
and that has been its form since. The 
Graphic is an independent republican 
paper. That Mr. Flint has given satis- 
faction to the people of Round Lake is 
attested by his long newspaper residence 

For several years the village of Dun- 
dee had a newspaper. This was the 
Dundee Advocate, started in 1898 by 
G. B. Miller, who put in a new plant 
and issued the paper as a seven column 
folio. He sold to B. F. Drake, and in 
September, 1901, the paper became the 
property of Chas. Hamstreet. Mr. Ham- 
street was the publisher until April, 

1905, when he discontinued publication 
and moved the plant to Rushmore and 
added it to the equipment of the Enter- 

The fourth attempt at publishing a 
paper in Rushmore proved successful, 
and during the last nine years the little 
village has had a regularly issued news- 
paper.- The Rushmore Enterprise was 
started March 24, 1899, by W. H. Chris- 
tensen and Dr. F. A. Carrell. They had 
no plant from which to print the paper, 
and the work was done in Sioux Falls. 
It was a seven column folio, two pages 
being "patent/' The people of Rush- 
more have always loyally supported their 
newspapers, and as the Enterprise was 
issued for many years more from loy- 
alty to the town than because of any 
profit, the Enterprise has always been a 
good paper. Christensen & Carrell ran 
it a short time and then turned the 
management over to E. S. Wemple, who 
was its manager until November, 1901. 
Under his administration the mechanical 
work was done, first in the office of the 
Nobles County Democrat, and later in 
the office of the Worth ington Advance. 

On November 7, 1903, the Enterprise 
Publishing Co. was formed for the pur- 
pose of continuing the paper. Among 
those who comprised the company and 
who agreed to assist in the work of pre- 
paring "copy" were Burr Ludlow, S. B. 
Bedford, W. H, Christensen, Dr. F. A. 
Carrell and others. Burr Ludlow took 
the active management and did the bulk 
of the work. Under this management 
the Enterprise was printed in the office 
of the Advance and was a seven column 
folio. In the summer of 1903 Chas. 
Hamstreet, who had been in the newspa- 
per business at Kinbrae and Dundee 
for many years, came to Rushmore with 
a plant, bought the subscription list and 
good will of the paper, and continued its 

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publication. He got out his first number 
June 4. He conducted it as a .republi- 
can paper, and at first it retained the 
old form of seven columns. On the first 
of October following he changed the 
form to a five column quarto, and print- 
ed four pages at home. Early in 190G 
he discarded the "patent" features and 
printed all at home. August 1, 1907, 
the form was again changed to a six 
column quarto, with four pages printed 
at home. A new press was added,, and 
the office was otherwise greatly improv- 
ed. Mr. Hamstreet built up an excellent 
business and had one of the best paving 
newspaper offices of the county. Having 
bought the Worthington Herald, he leas- 
ed the Enterprise, on June 4, 1908, to 
M. A. Mattison, and a few weeks later 
that gentleman bought the paper. 

Brewster has been the home of a 
newspaper since the summer of 1899. 
In June of that year Allen Flint, of Sib- 
ley, took a plant to the Nobles county 
town and launched the Brewster Beacon. 
He ran the paper only a short time when 
the plant . was bought by E. L. Kelly, 
who changed the name to the Brewster 
Tribune and ran it until the summer of 
1900. On July 17 of that year Nich- 
olas Weinandt, later of the Worthington 
Herald, purchased the paper. He ran 
it until December, 1902, when J. S. 
Randolph became the publisher". Mr. 
Randolph changed the form of the sheet 
from a six column quarto with two pages 
of home matter to a five column quarto 
w ; th four page*! at home. He in- 
stalled a Prouty press and a new job- 
ber, and added lots of other material. 
Mr. Randolph sold the paper October 5, 
1908, to Jesse Hamstreet, who is now 
its editor. The Tribune is independent 
republican in politics. 

Among the first business enterprises 
of the new town of Wilmont was the 

Wilmont Initiator, which at the time of 
its founding was the thirteenth paper in 
Nobles county. It was started March 2, 
1900, by L. C. Long & Son, who brought 
the plant from Magnolia, where it had 
been in use many years in the publica- 
t : on of the Magnolia Initiator. While 
L. C. I>ong was interested in the new 
paper financially, the management of it 
was vested in Sidney L. Long, the son, 
who conducted it until January, 1903. 
At the start it was an eight column 
folio; in January, 1902, it was made a 
six column quarto; in June of the same 
year a cylinder press was added, and the 
paper was made a five column quarto. 

Mr. Long presided over the destinies 
of the paper until January, 1903, when 
W. H. S : evert purchased the plant and 
installed F. H. Densmore as editor. Mr. 
Densmore ran it for the owner till June, 
then leased the plant and conducted it 
' for himself until March 1, 1904. F. B. 
Duster then had charge of the paper for 
Mr. Sievert until Nov. 1, 1904. He was 
succeeded by Chas. Sundberg, who ran 
it only until Jan. 1, 1905. The Initia- 
tor was then purchased by J. D. Lass- 
well, who fan it ten months, and then 
announced that he had sold the subscrip- 
tion list and that the paper would sus- 
pend. It did not, however, and Mr. 
Sievert regained control by foreclosing 
a mortgage against the plant. That gen- 
tleman then edited the paper until Dec. 
8, 1905. Mead & Geisel then took- pos- 
session on a. lease and conducted the pa- 
per until May 4, 190G. F. H. Densmore 
returned and took the lease from Mead 
& Geisel, operating the paper from May 
4, 19()u\ till Aug. 17, of the same year. 

On the last named date the plant was 
purchased by J. L. and M. R. Berk- 
himer, who changed the name to Wil- 
mont Tribune, and were its publishers 
until October, 190G. J. L. Berkhimer 

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then moved to Worthington to take con- 
trol of the Globe, and since then M. R. 
Berkhimer has been the publisher. 

A second paper wa6 started in Ells- 
worth by Ham Clay in June, 1901. This 
was the Ellsworth Herald. It was 
brought into existence at the instance of 
several Ellsworth people who were not in 
accord with the views of Mr. Levins, of 
the News. The field was not large 
enough to support two papers, and the 
weaker one went to the wall. The last 
issue of the Herald was published in 
October, 1903, and the subscription list 
was sold to the Adrian Guardian. 

For a few months in 1901 a second 
paper, known as the Kinbrae Chinook, 
was conducted at Kinbrae. It failed, 
was revived in October by Guy N. Phil- 
lips, of Sioux Falls, but had only a short 

The Lismore Leader was founded Nov. 
29, 1901. C. N. Sawyer was the pro^ 
prietor, and he made the Leader inde- 
pendent in politics, a policy it has ever 

since retained. It was started as a five 
column quarto, with four pages of home 
news and four pages of "patent" matter. 
It was run in that form till Feb. 13, 
1903, when it was enlarged to a six col- 
umn quarto. Mr. Sawyer sold the plant 
June 17, 1904, to W. Y. Olin, who con- 
ducted it until Nov. 3, 1905. Then E. 
J. Conrad leased the plant and was the 
publisher of the Leader till April 6, 
1906, reducing it to a five column paper. 
C. N. Sawyer & Co. then became the 
publishers, Mrs. C. L. Wynia being the 
local manager until Feb. 8, 1907. 
Charles Orsamus Sawyer, son of the 
founder, then took charge of the Leader, 
enlarged it to a six column paper, and 
ran it until Sept. 6, 1907. It was then 
decided by the owners to suspend pub- 
lication and remove the plant, but sev- 
eral of the business men of Lismore, de- 
sirous of having the paper continued, 
formed the Leader Publishing Co., pur- 
chased the plant, and have since edited 
the paper. 

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Xoblcs county is situated in the south- a rich dark colored loam, almost en- 
ern tier of Minnesota counties and close tirely free from sand and gravel, except 
to the western boundary line of the in Grand Prairie township, and wonder- 
state, only one county intervening be- fully uniform throughout the county, 
tween it and the South Dakota line. •On The depth of the soil is from two to 
the north is Murray county ; on the east eight feet, and this is underlaid with a 
Jackson; on the south are the counties subsoil of porous clay, mixed slightly 
of Osceola and Lyon, Iowa; and on the with gravel. No soil is better calculated 
west is Rock county. Nobles county has to withstand drouth or excessive rainfall, 
twenty townshjps and its dimensions are and it is very friable and easily subdued. 
24 by 30 miles. Its exact area is There are no rock outcrops. The ex- 
<27.bT> square miles, or 4G5,?04.16 acres, ception to this general description of the 
Of this area 454,877.12 acres are land; soil is the gravelly plain of Grand Prai- 
10,827.04 acres are water. rie township, in the southwest corner, 

A glance at the map of Minnesota and which, geologists tell us, was formed by 
at the political division in the southwest abundant waters flowing from the mo- 
corner designated as Nobles county will raine at the time of the earlier ice sheet, 
furnish the information above given, spreading the coarser materials of the 
But there will be found nothing to diss- drift over the lower lands. The ad- 
tinguish Nobles from the other divisions jo ; ning area of till rises from forty to 
in the vicinity, except that it may be seventy-five feet above this plain. The 
noticed that it is covered with a network gravelly deposit is now covered by a 
of railroads, indicating that it has su- fertile soil. 

perior transportation facilities, and that Geologist N. H. Wihchell has written 

there are also many lakes and water of the formation of the soil of Nobles 

courses, indicating possibilities for drain- and Murray counties as follows: 1 

age. The lithographed piece of paper The western morainic belt, constituting 

does not convey much idea of the coun- the crest of the principal Coteau des Prai- 

*-._ * t . ,. ., , ries, rises, in the highest part, in Buffalo 

try. A personal inspection IS required to ri dge, in Murray county, to 1,950 feet above 

learn what it is and what it mav become. tne sea ^ and it sustains an altitude of 1,800 

on^ i , - xt _ ' , , to 1,900 feet through most of Cameron and 

1 ho greater part of the county s sur- chanarambie townships. Further south, 

face is undulating or rolling prairie. through Nobles county, it has an average 

"" maximum altitude of about 1,700 feet. The 

lowest land in Murray county is in the 

TVio a^;i ;„ ~.*A „ t j 'cl i 'j. maximum altitude of about 1,700 feet. The 

ine soil is made up of a drift deposit, 

nosological and Natural History Survey of 
Minnesota, 1901. 


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northeast part of Holly, 1,250 to 1,300 feet 
above the sea, the extremes in this county 
being separated, therefore, about 700 feet. 
The lowest land in Nobles county is at the 
point where Jack creek crosses its eastern 
boundary, about 1,420 feet above the sea, 
and three hundred feet below the crests 
of the morainic belt. 

The eroded valleys are from 50 to 75 feet 
deep, and generally a half to three-quarters 
of a mile wide. 

The terminal moraines which cross these 
counties denote the farthest limit of the 
ice of the last glacial epoch, there having 
been a period of rest, and perhaps of re- 
advance, at the place where the eastern, or 
later, moraine lies. The drift which lies 
farther west and southwest, occupying Ne- 
braska, Kansas and Missouri, was the pro- 
duct of the earlier glacial epoch. It can be 
inferred that the till to the east of the 
Coteau des Prairies was of later date than 
that to the west from the fact that nearly 
all drainage courses flowing westward take 
their rise along the eastern margin of the 
coteau and maintain deep channels through 
the coteau; while not one that flows east- 
ward rises in the western margin of the 
coteau. This gave the westward flowing 
streams an earlier date than the eastward. 
The latter could not begin until after the 
withdrawal of the ice, which probably built 
all the country toward the east and rose 
several hundred feet above the coteau. 
While the ice continued and brought for- 
ward its morainic materials, the water that 
resulted from its dissolution was drained 
off southwesterly, and the valleys then form* 
ed have existed until the present. 

While the county's surface is quite 
uniformly undulating, about one-sixth is 
more prominently roll'ng. The land that 
may be so classed forms a ridge extend- 
ing across the county northwest by south- 
east, and includes a small part of Will- 
mont township, nearly one-half of Lar- 

*The elevations above sea level of the vil- 
lages of the county, as taken by the various 
railroads, are as follows: Worthington, 1.593 
feet; Adrian, 1.555; Wllmont, 1,7.35; Brewster, 
1,490; Round Lake, 1,559; Rushmore, 1.682; 
'Bigelow, 1,636; Dundee, 1,450; Klnbrae, 1,471; 
Reading. 1.722. 

The altitudes (approximately) of points In 
the several townships, as published In the 
Geological and Natural History Survey of 
Minnesota by Warren Vpham. are as follows: 
Graham Lakes, 1.450. 1.500; Seward, 1.550, 
Willmont. 1.700; Leota. 1.500. 1.500, 1.600; Lis- 
more. 1,500, 1,550. 1,650; Larkin, 1.600, 1.650; 
Summit Lake, 1,650. 1,700; Elk, 1,550, 1,600, 
1.650; Hersey. 1,500; Lorain, 1,500. 1,550; 
Worthlngton. 1.650; Dewald, 1.650; Westside. 
1.500. 1.550 1.600; Grand Prairie 1,450. 1.500; 
Little Rock, 1.500. 1,550. 1.600; Ransom, 1,500, 
1,550. 1.600; Bigelow, 1,600 1.650; Indian Lake. 

kin, over one-half of Summit Lake, over 
one-half of Dewald, nearly one-half of 
Worthington, nearly all of Bigelow and 
about one-third of Indian Lake. The 
ridge is from one hundred to three hun- 
dred feet higher than the rest of the 
country and forms the watershed be- 
tween the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. 
The highest point of elevation on this 
ridge is something over 1,700 feet; the 
lowest elevation in the county is about 
1,420 feet, in Graham Lakes township. 2 
Over ten thousand acres of Nobles 
county's surface is water, and there are 
forty to fifty lakes and ponds, great and 
small. Many of these are beautiful bod- 
ies of water. In Graham Lakes town- 
ship, where the first settlement was 
made, are the beautiful East and West 
Graham lakes and Clear lake. At 
Worthington is lake Okabena, one of 
the finest bodies of water in southern 
Minnesota. In the early days another 
body of water, East Okabena lake, was 
here also, separated from the west lake 
by a narrow strip of land. Okabena is a 
Dakota Indian word, meaning "divided 
waters/' 3 The largest body of water in 
the county is lake Ocheyda, located in 
Bigelow, Indian Lake and Lorain town- 
ships. The name is a Sioux word mean- 
ing Boy lake. In Indian Lake township 
is found the pretty little lake with the 
same name as the township. On ih 

•"Editor Advance: A correspondent express- 
ed a wish through your paper to learn the 
meaning of Okabena. the name of the two 
lakes at Worthington. Okabena is a Dakotah 
word and means literally, 'divided waters.' 

" Lo! on a narrow neck I stand 

Twixt two unbounded seas/ 

"The above is from an old resident of the 
state who is well posted in Indian names and 
knows whereof he speaks. The impression 
has always prevailed here that 'Okabena* had 
about the same meaning as Chicago, or that 
Okabena lake meant Skunk lake. We agree 
with our correspondent who says in a pri- 
vate note: 'We ought to get rid of the 
abominable meaning Skunk lake, especially as 
it* has no foundation whatever.' " — Worthing- 
ton Advance, Aug. 18, 1881. 

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v , T ,.,. s .-) --* v*. J 

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banks some of the first settlers built 
their homes. Summit lake is a small 
body of water in the township of the 
same name. 

Nobles county is well watered. The 
Kanaranzi and Champepadan creeks and 
Little Rock river form the main water 
courses for the western portion, flowing 
in a southwesterly direction and empty- 
ing into the Big Rock river, ultimately 
finding their way to the Missouri. The 
principal streams of the eastern portion 
of the county are Ocheyedan creek, which 
empties into the Little Sioux; and Jack, 
Elk and Okabena creeks, which are trib- 
utaries of the Des Moines river. 

The Champepadan, rising in the south- 
western corner of Murray county, flows 
southwest through Leota township and 
leaves the county from the western part 
of Lismore township. 

The Kanaranzi has its source in Will- 
mont township at an elevation of 1,670 
feet. It flows southwest through Larkin, 
Olney and Westside townships and leaves 
the county from the northwest corner of 
Grand Prairie. At a distance of about 
eighteen miles from its source "as the 
crow flies," it has an elevation of 1,427 
feet, giving it a fall in that distance of 
243 feet. It runs swiftly and has a 
good volume of water. Its water is clear 
and the bed of the stream is gravelly. 

The Little Rock rises in Summit lake, 
1,700 feet in elevation. Its course is 
southwest by south, and it flows through 
the townships of Summit Lake, Dewald, 
Ransom and Little Rock. At a distance 
of seventeen miles in a bee line from the 
outlet of the lake its elevation is 1,451 
feet, showing a fall of 249 feet. It is a 
rapid stream, has a gravelly bed and the 
volume of water is constant throughout 
the year. 

Ocheyedan creek rises in Ocheyda lake, 
flows south and leaves the county from 

the southern part of Bigelow township. 

Okabena creek rises in Worthington 
township, near the village, and flows east 
through Worthington and Lorain town- 

Elk creek has its source in the town- 
ship of the same name and flows out 
through Hersey township. 

The main fork of Jack creek rises in 
the southwest corner of Bloom township 
and flows east, draining Bloom, Seward 
and Graham Lakes townships. The other 
fork rises in Murray county and flows 
southwest through Seward township and 
unites with the main fork on the line 
between Seward and Graham Lakes 

Nobles is an agricultural county. Ac- 
cording to the latest statistics obtain- 
able there are 1,751 farms of an aver- 
age size of 260 acres. The principal 
products are corn, barley, oats, wheat, 
rye, flax, hay, livestock, dairy products, 
poultry, fruit and vegetables. The aver- 
age yield per acre of the cereal crops, 
according to the last statistics, is as 
follows: Wheat, 11.68 bushels; oats, 
31.58; corn, 29.16; barley, 28.16; rye, 
10.78; flax, 10.67. The hay crop aver- 
ages 1.63 tons per acre; potatoes, 105.84 
bushels; miscellaneous vegetables have an 
average value of $47.16 per acre. It is 
universally conceded that intelligent cul- 
tivation would result in a large increase 
of this average. 

In the early days the settlers con- 
fined their energies almost exclusively to 
grain farming. Now diversified farming 
is the rule. Every farmer raises stock 
and many engage in dairying on a large 
scale. The live stock of the county in 
1907, with the average value per head 
according to the assessor's figures, was 
as follows: Horses, 12,395, value $53.86; 
cattle, 41,386, value $17.73; sheep, 27,- 
565, value, $2.60; swine, 36,804, value 

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$4.40. In dairying, Nobles county is 
rapidly coming to the front. In 1906 
there were six creameries in the county, 
the output of which was 627,373 pounds 
of butter. Since that date several new 
creameries have been started and the 
output has been greatly increased. 

While agriculture is the principal pur- 
suit, manufacturing occupies an import- 
ant place among the county's industries. 
There are fifty manufacturing industries, 
representing an invested capital of $138,- 

With financial institutions, schools and 
churches the county is well represented. 
There are seventeen banks, the deposits 
of which are approximately a million 
and a half dollars. There are one hun- 
dred rural schools, eighteen graded 
schools and several high schools. Forty- 
eight churches represent the following 
denominations : Methodist, Presbyter- 
ian, German Presbyterian, Catholic, Ger- 
man Lutheran, German Evangelical, 
Swedish Lutheran, Swedish Mission, 
Swedish Baptist, Norwegian Lutheran, 
Congregational, Episcopal, Unitarian, 
Baptist, Brethren, Bethel Reformed and 
Christian Reformed. 

With transportation facilities Nobles 
county is well supplied. Of the twenty 
townships only four do not have rail- 
roads passing through them. There is 
not a farm in Nobles county that is more 
than ten miles from market. 

The main line of the Chicago, St. 
Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha passes 
through the eastern part of the county, 
on which are the villages of Brewster, 
Worth ington, Org and Bigelow. A 
branch of this road extends west from 
Worthington, on which are the villages 
of Rushmore and Adrian. Another 
branch of the same road passes through 
the extreme northeastern part of the 
county and on this line is the village of 

Dundee. Extending diagonally across 
the county from southeast to northwest 
is the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, 
on which are Round Lake, Worthington, 
Reading, Wilmont and Lismore. A 
branch of this system also passes through 
the southwestern corner of the county, 
on which is Ellsworth. From that vil- 
lage the Rock Island has also a branch 
extending southward. The Chicago, Mil- 
waukee & St. Paul touches the county, 
passing through the northeastern corner. 
On its line is the village of Kinbrae. 

Rural and long distance telephone 
lines form a complete network over the 
county and every community is reached. 
There are about twenty rural free de- 
livery mail routes, and there are few 
farms to which mail is not delivered 

The total assessed valuation of the 
county, according to the figures for 1907, 
is $8,669,142, of which $1,540,648 is 
personal property. 

Land can be purchased at from $30 
to $100 per acre, according to improve- 
ments and proximity to markets, and 
considering the richness of the soil, the 
excellent markets and the numerous edu- 
cational and social advantages offered, it 
is not easy to understand why any home- 
seekers pass through this country to the 
bleak prairies of the Dakotas or Canada. 
Nobles county land, at the price at which 
it can now be obtained, is cheaper, all 
things considered, than the Dakota or 
Canada land at the present prices, for 
the settlers there will be compelled to 
expend more than the difference in price 
to bring those countries up to the con- 
dition of this. 

The farmer in the older states east 
and south can dispose of an eighty acre 
farm, and with the proceeds purchase a 
quarter section in Nobles county, and in 
making the change he will lose none of 

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the advantages and conveniences enjoyed. 
There will be no frontier hardships to 
endure, no years of lonely toil in a 
sparsely settled country, nothing lack- 
ing in the way of social pleasures or 
the advantages of schools and churches. 

Another advantage in Nobles county 
that must not be lost sight of is its 
proximity to the great primary market. 
It is within easy reach of the great 
Minneapolis, St. Paul, Sioux City, Oma- 
ha and Chicago markets. Their near- 
ness and the low freight rates in effect 
insure high prices for farm products 
sold there and low prices for commodi- 
ties purchased there. 

Nobles county holds most alluring 
prospects for farmers who are in search 

of rich and productive lands close to 
markets, where they may establish homes 
amid schools and churches and congen- 
ial surroundings. There are some tracts 
of land yet to be put under cultivation* 
and there are large farms that may be 
subdivided, while other farms that are 
now in the hands of renters might be 
improved by resident owners. 

The county is capable of supporting 
more than three times as many farmers 
as it now has. The local creameries 
want more cream, the merchants want 
more eggs and poultry, the elevators 
want more grain, the stock buyers want 
more cattle and hogs, and all around is 
a demand for the products of Nobles 
county that will never be filled. 

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Those who lived in Nobles county 
during the years of its early settlement 
will never forget the alarm caused by 
the approach of a prairie fire. Many 
of the present generation are sceptical 
of the dangers to life and property 
from this source. Others can but marvel 
at the conditions that made a prairie 
fire dangerous or even possible. But 
conditions in the early days differed 
greatly from those of the present day. 
Then there were vast stretches of sparse- 
ly settled and unbroken prairie, covered 
with a dense growth of rank grass, which 
in the low places often grew to a great 
height. In the fall the grass died and 
formed a thick covering of highly inflam- 
mable material, which "burned like a 
prairie fire" when it became ignited. 

When a heavy wind accompanied one 
of these conflagrations the effect was 
thrilling. The flames would race over 
the prairie with the speed of the wind, 
leaping, bounding, rushing on its fiery 
way. By day the air would be filled 
with smoke and cinders and the atmos- 
phere would become hazy; at night the 
heavens would be illumined by the blaze, 
and the bright lines of the raging fires 
could be seen, often miles in length. 
After the passing the prairie would be 
left a blackened waste. 

The few scattered settlers were in the 
greatest danger when one of these tires 
approached. Many settlers lost the** 
whole belongings, and but few escaped 
without loss from this source. "Eire- 
breaks," made by plowing furrows around 
the buildings or hay stacks, sometimes 
served as a check to the flames, but 
with a strong head wind the flames 
often jumped hundreds of feet, and in 
such ease the breaks were of no use. 
The favorite method of fighting fire was 
by "back-firing." When one of the ter- 
rors of the prairie was seen approach- 
ing with the wind, a fire would be set 
near the property to be saved. This, 
small at first, could be controlled and 
whipped out on the leeward side, leaving 
the flames to slowly eat their way 
windward to meet the oncoming lurid 
destroyer. Sometimes a space of suffi- 
cient width would thus be burned over 
in time to prevent the destruction. In 
case of a big conflagration fire fighting 
companies would be organized to go 
out and contend with the flames, using 
dampened sacks, quilts, or whatever was 
handy, to whip out the blaze. 

Prairie fires continued a menace to 
the people of Nobles county many years 
or until the county had been settled and 
subdued. Seldom did a fall pass in the 
early days without one or more disas- 
trous conflagrations in some part of 


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the county. The story of one of these 
iires will be given as an illustration. 

On Saturday afternoon, October 16, 
1875, a dense smoke extending north- 
ward for several miles was seen rising 
above the prairie to the west of Wortn- 
ington, then practically the only vil- 
lage of the county. It was evident that 
an extensive prairie tire was raging at 
some point miles away. As night came 
on the bright lines of the fire became 
visible, and by ten o'clock the fires had 
approached so near the town as to be 
thought dangerous. Several squads of 
men went out from Worthington and 
fought the fire at points where the prairie 
in the immediate vicinity of town was 
exposed. The fire approached to within 
one mile of the village from the west. 
* The fire had started on the west 
side of the Kanaranzi. It jumped the 
creek and burned the whole country 
from that point to Worthington, burning 
over the greater portions of Olney, 
Dewald, Summit Lake and Worthington 
townships. The damage to property was 
about $5,000. The greatest loss was 
sustained by Mr. Thorn, who had about 
200 bushels of wheat in the stack 
burned. A number of persons lost hay, 
ranging in quantity from one to twenty 
tons each. 

In the early days the starting of a 
prairie fire, whether intentionally or 
otherwise, was a crime, and steps were 
at once taken to apprehend the guilty 
party. The origin of the fire was soon 
learned. Spencer Maxwell stated that 
he had come in from the west during 
the day and that he had seen the 
beginning of the fire. He had seen a 
teamster start a fire for the purpose of 
cooking his dinner at a point just be- 
yond the Kanaranzi, that the fire got 
beyond his control and soon covered acres 
of ground. A stiff breeze was blowing 

from the west and the flames 
with great rapidity. 

John Alley, who did more than any 
other man in the community to im- 
press upon the public the importance 
of preventing prairie fires, insisted that 
the party should be promptly arrested 
Sheriff Bullis, accompanied by Spencer 
Maxwell, was soon on his way westward 
to seek the teamster. The officer wenl 
as far as Valley Springs, Dakota, where 
he learned that the man wanted wa> 
on the road south of the main traveled 
Sioux Falls road. He hastened in the 
direction indicated and arrested the man 
in Martin township, Eock county. 

A Norwegian by the name of Nels Nel- 
son proved to be the man. He was tak- 
en to Worthington on the eighteenth and 
there arraigned before Justice of the 
Peace Bennett. * Nelson pleaded guilty and 
was fined $60 and costs, bringing the 
total up to $90. Imprisonment in the 
Blue Earth county jail for ninety days 
was the alternative of paying the fine. 
Nelson's story of the start of the fire 
was as follows: He was engaged in team- 
ing for a Sioux Falls party ; and on 
Saturday was returning to that town 
from Worthington. After crossing the 
Kanaranzi he drove aside from the 
main road into a by-road and started 
a fire to cook a meal. He whittled 
some pine shavings and lighted them, 
when a gust of wind scattered them 
among the prairie grass, and in a mo- 
ment the fire was beyond his control. 

The story and the evidence of others 
went to show that the fire was the result 
of carelessness merely, and that the case 
was an unfortunate one. Nelson claim- 
ed that there was enough money due him 
in Sioux Falls to pay his fine and the 
costs, and the court did not impose sen- 
tence at once. He was permitted to go to 
work in Worthington with the under- 

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standing that he was to pay the fine as 
soon as the money could be collected. He 
was pardoned by the governor in Novem- 
ber, upon the recommendation of a 
number of the citizens of the county. 
Mr. Maxwell received $100 offered by the 
eouuty for information leading to the 
conviction of the guilty party. 


The history of Nobles county would 
be incomplete without a word about 
Caroline Harrison, "the wild girl," who 
came to the Graham Lakes country with 
the early settlers and there lived the rude 
life of the trappers for a few years. Many 
stories of her doings — most of them of 
imaginative origin — have been told, to 
the effect that she was in reality a 
wild girl, that she lived alone in the 
timber on the lake, and that on one 
occasion she drove a party of surveyors 
out of the country at the point of a 

Miss Harrison was the eldest daughter 
of Benjamin Harrison, one of the com- 
missioners appointed by Governor Hor- 
ace Austin to organize Nobles county. 
Her mother died when she was quite 
young and Caroline became the com- 
panion of her father. Hunting and trap- 
ping, living on the frontier and denied 
the society of her own sex, she was at 
home in the company of the frontiers- 
men. She could play the violin, shoot, 
trap, chew tobacco and occasionally 
swear. While she was short in stature 
she weighed perhaps 180 pounds, and, 
notwithstanding her weight, could walk 
thirty or thirty-five miles in a day, lift 
a twenty-five pound sack -of shot from 
one shoulder to the other, swim a mile 
or more without apparent fatigue, and 

was in fact an athlete of no mean pro- 

Her rough manners were the result 
of her association, as was demonstrated 
when she began her association with the 
neighbor women. She then began to 
check her rude habits, and before she 
left the county she had given up all 
except the violin. She afterward fell 
heir to a small sum of money and had 
the good sense to use it in obtaining an 


All the old-timers are familiar with 
the efforts put forth to make Worthing- 
ton a temperance town, which efforts 
were successful for several years during 
the early history of the town. However, 
numerous efforts were made by several 
different parties to sell liquor, which ef- 
forts generally resulted disastrously. We 
have the story of the first saloon — if it 
may be so termed — which opened in 
Worth in gton from one who was a resi- 
dent of the village at the time. From 
the facts regarding this first attempt we 
may form the opinion that this initial 
"drunk shop" did very little harm. 

One of the enterprising business men, 
in the fall of 1871, shipped in a five 
gallon jug of whiskey. Then came the 
blockade, and no more could be procured 
until late the next spring, but this did 
not prevent the storekeeper from doing 
a thriving business in his side line. 
There were two residents of Worthing- 
ton who were regular patrons of this five 
gallon jug, who were wont to toss a 
coin several times a day to decide who 
should "buy." 

Knowing that it was impossible that 
any more should have been shipped in 
and that the supply at the start was 

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limited as stated, these two gentlemen, 
along in the spring, began to make cal- 
culations and found to their great sur- 
prise that they must have consumed at 
least forty gallons of the liquor. This 
was a stunner and hard to reconcile with 
the facts. It began to dawn upon these 
gentlemen that perhaps the liquor had 
been adulterated, and they called upon 
a friend to investigate the matter. The 
friend was one who did not drink, and 
his judgment was asked for that reason. 
They figured that, as they had been ac- 
customed to drinking the liquor, their 
taste might have become perverted, and 
that the non-drinking friend would be a 
better judge of the liquid than they 
who had become so accustomed to it. 

So they asked him to sample the li- 
quor and ascertain if he could find any 
trace of whiskey in it. This the friend 
consented to do. First he smelled the 
cork, and then, tasted the contents of the 
bottle. After several trials he gave it 
as his opinion that the cork had a per- 
ceptible odor of whiskey, but that he 
could detect no trace in the bottle. And 
so it proved to be. When a quart of 
whiskey had been sold a quart of rain- 
water had taken its place, and so grad- 
ual had been the change that the tastes 
of the customers had been educated up 
to drinking rainwater. 

This is a true story. 


In 1896 some Worth ington gentlemen 
found in lake Okabena an old-fashioned 
single-barreled shot gun of the style in 
use years ago. The barrel of the gun 
was deeply encrusted with rust, and the 
stock, which was of black walnut, was 
badly eaten and washed thin by inces- 

sant contact with the waves of more than 
a quarter of a century. How the old 
gun came to be there was of course an 
unsolved mystery, but the Worthington 
Herald editor had a dream and printed 
it. Here is the story he wove about the 
old gun: 

"Away back in the early sixties, so the 
story runs, a party of Sioux Indians be- 
longing to the band of the ferocious and 
blood thirsty Inkpadutah, who conducted 
the massacre at Spirit Lake, were en- 
camped at Stony Point [on West Oka- 
bena lake] laying in a supply of fish. 
This was but a few days after the Spirit 
Lake butchery, and United States cav- 
alry was scouring the country in search 
of the terrible chief and his band. 

"While the Indians were quietly fish- 
ing a detachment of soldiers suddenly 
appeared behind them, deployed in a 
semi-circle, so that escape to the north, 
south and east was impossible. In this 
predicament the Indians plunged into 
the lake, which was very deep in those 
days, and by swimming under water all 
but one managed to elude the bullets 
of their pursuers and escape in safety 
to the other side. They took their weap- 
ons with them. The one mentioned, 
when about two hundred yards from the 
shore, raised himself from the water to 
yell defiance at the troops on the bank. 
It was his last yell on earth. A sharp 
crack from a musket, a short struggle 
in the water, and the Sioux brave sunk 
to a watery grave. Finding it useless to 
continue the pursuit, the soldiers took 
the back trail to the eastward." 


One of the -best known public thor- 
oughfares of southwestern Minnesota is 
the diagonal wagon road which extends 

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The above is a picture of a pine box, five inches wide, six inches long, and two inches 
deep, covered with a shingle, which for many years was the only piece of furniture that 
adorned the postoffice at Hebbard and later at Adrian. In it were kept the stamps and 
small change of the Hebbard office, and when the postoffice was moved to the new 
town of Adrian the primitive postoffice box was taken along. Many west end residents 
will recognize this reminder of pioneer days. The box is now in the possession of A. J. 
Rice, having been presented to him by Thomas H. Childs in 1891. The latter succeeded 
Sam Hebbard as postmaster of Hebbard office and became Adrian's first postmaster. 

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{"then* wyork 

A ST OK, L* **X -**• 

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from Worthington due northwest, diag- 
onally across the sections, for a distance 
of about fourteen miles, ending a mile 
and a half east of Wilniont. To realize 
the importance of this road in the early 
days it must be remembered that up to 
recent years the whole of northwestern 
Xobles county — a rich and productive 
territory — was without a railroad and 
far from market. Until the Worthing- 
ton & Sioux Falls railroad was built and 
Adrian and Kushmore were founded the 
trade of this whole northwest country 
came to Worthington, and after that 
event much of it went to the county seat 
town. The building of the diagonal road 
shortened the route to market several 
miles and proved of great benefit to the 
farmers and the business men of Worth- 

To B. W. Lyon belongs, primarily, the 
credit for the making of the road. It 
was he who conceived the ideaj #^d he' 
who drew up the petitions and- circulate 
ed them. The county commissioners Jx>ok 
favorable action and formally estafeiishr. 
ed the road as county road No. 9. Sur- 
veyor B. W. Woolstencroft laid out the 
road, in which he was assisted by Mr. 
Lyon. The latter was the first to drive 
a team (an ox team) over the proposed 
road, which he did without making a 
single detour from a straight line. The 
railroad company donated the land of 
its sections over which the road passed 
and took a friendly interest in the pro- 
ceedings. Efforts to make the diagonal 
road a thing of beauty as well as useful 
were made. The railroad company of- 
fered free of charge willow shoots to line 
the road if the farmers and others would 
plant them. Along only a short distance 
of the road were the trees planted. 

The diagonal road was kept in repair 
and became the most traveled thorough-- 
fare of the county. After the building 

of the Burlington road, however, and 
markets had been established at several 
points in northwestern Nobles county, 
the old road lost much of its usefulness. 
Then the northwestern end had little ex- 
cept '"through" travel on it, and it was 
kept in repair under protest. In 1902 
a petition was presented to the county 
board, signed by many farmers along the 
road who considered the land of more 
value for farming than for road pur- 
poses, asking that it be abandoned. Ke- 
nionstrancefc poured in protesting against 
any such action, as much from senti- 
ment, possibly, as from any other cause. 
The action of the board is related by 
the commissioners' journal of November 
20, 1902: 

"On motion the petition was rejected 
on account of the overwhelming remon- 
strances. The petition was not reason- 
able on its face." ' 


The year of the arrival of the Na- 
tional colonists to Nobles county was 
one of interest in many respects, and 
not the least item of interest were the 
mirages which occurred. The autumn 
of that year, from the middle of Sep- 
tember to the middle of October, was 
a genuine Indian Summer. The nights 
were crisp and frosty, but the days 
were soft and crystal clear, and the 
hum of the thresher could be heard 
for miles. 

On some mornings the looming mir- 
age cast a glamour over the prairies 
and changed them into an enchanted 
land. People at first doubted their 
senses and feared for their reason when 
they saw the country for fifty miles 
in all directions raised into view, lakes, 

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groves, villages, not ordinarily visible, 
appearing like apparitions invoked by 
some enchanter's wand. 

The most wonderful phenomenon of 
this nature occurred October 1, 1872. 
The mirage lasted until nearly an hour 
after sunrise and was witnessed by many 
people. Upon those who saw it, it 
had almost a weird effect and threw a 
sort of poetic glamour over the whole 
region which lasted a long time after 
the vision was gone. So clear was the 
atmosphere and so distinct were remote 
objects that the houses in the village 
of Hersey, not ordinarily visible from 
Worthington, were revealed almost to 
their foundations. The timber on Gra- 
ham lakes appeared like a grove half 
way between Worthington and the hori- 
zon, and as far north as the eye could 
reach there were dim outlines of more 
timber, probably on lake Shetek, be- 
tween thirty and forty miles distant. 
The line of timber along T)es Moines 
river could be traced from Jackson to 
Windom. Groups of houses stood out 
on the prairie in every direction, look- 
ing like smull villages. It certainly 
was a fairy land upon which the early 
.,et tiers gazed in wonder. 


Things of small importance in them- 
selves are sometimes treasured in the 
memory because of association. So it 
happens that the coming of a circus — 
the first in the county — is remembered 
by many of the early settlers. Tt was 
in the summer of 1873 that Barmim 
& Bailey's circus exhibited in the little 
town of Worthington and thereby added 
to the early history of the village. 

That place was selected for an exhi- 
bition point for a two-fold reason — 
first, because the long "jumps" between 
show towns on the western frontier 
made necessary a stop at some smaller 
town, and second, because of the fact 
that the lake at Worthington offered a 
splendid wallow for the animals of the 
menagerie. It was a big day for Worth- 
ington, and the little village was filled 
to overflowing. From Dakota, Iowa, 
and southern Minnesota points people 
by the hundreds came to see the cir- 
cus, many making a two and three 
days' trip. 


In several places in this volume, 
mention has been made of a party of 
Scandinavian railroad laborers who in 
1871 took claims near the Bigelow-In- 
dian Lake township line and became 
early and permanent settlers. • Those men 
became identified with the part of the 
county in which they located, and near- 
ly all of them are residents of the 
county today. 

Four members of the party, Hans Xy- 
strom, Erick Mahlberg, C. J. Wiekstrom 
and Peter Wiekstrom, have the honor 
of having bought the first stove in No- 
bles county. In the fall of 1871 these 
gentlemen went to Worthington and in 
partnership invested thirty dollars in 
a cook stove, buying from H. W. Kim- 
ball, who had just opened his hardware 
store, the first one in the county. Dur- 
ing the first winter all members of the 
party made their homes at the house 
of E. Nordquist, in Indian Lake town- 
ship, and there the stove was initiated 
to the rigors of a Minnesota winter 

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In the spring of 1872 each of the 
settlers moved onto his own claim, and 
the stove was purchased by Hans Ny- 
strom. In his pioneer home it saw 
service many years, and into its fire- 
box were shifted many thousand twists 
of hay — the fuel in general use in early 
days. The old stove was on duty at 
the Xystrom home until three years ago, 
and then, its days of usefulness having 
passed, it passed into the hands of a 
junk dealer. 


Many stoiies — some of amusing na- 
ture now, but of a serious nature at the 
time — have been told of cany day life 
in .\ooles county. During tne terribie 
grasshopper scourge the settlers suf- 
icred unrecorded trials. The stories of 
such alone would till a volume of this 

Indicative of the times, it has been 
related that a prominent and, later, 
successful farmer of Summit Lake town- 
sxiip was one winters day hauling a load 
of hay to Worthington, with the pro- 
ceeds from the sale of which he ex- 
pected to buy provisions. The weather 
was unpleasant and the snow was deep. 
Over miserable roads he was having 
anything but a pleasant time and suc- 
cessful trip, and on seven occasions the 
load tipped over. On one such he wao 
assisted in getting the load to rights 
by D. W. Chute, another Summit Lake 
farmer. The unfortunate owner of the 
hay was disgusted and exclaimed: 

"If we were not out of flour I would 
set fire to the d load." 

licaiis. il in a j be aaia, in ydzsusiiL, Lial 
l.c Loaiiij nub not got over it to uiis 

uUj, UUl 111 lilc CUlij UU)& 1l toliS so 
uiiviiiiAiiOti&ij i*_puu*i*jctn mat cue cum- 
ing oi a uc*uOciauc \o».e nas au e\Cxit. 

^it tne election ol j.6ii } out oi a 
totai voie ox to, mere was only one 
uemoeratic bailot. Horace Austin, re- 
publican, lor governor ic«.eiveu »~ \oie&, 
ana \\ lutnrop loung, uemocrat, re- 
eened one vote, and so on down the 
state ticket, for lieutenant governor, sec- 
retary oi staie, treasurer, attorney gen- 
eral and associate justices ot me su- 
preme court. 'J. he lone democrat was 
Michael Maguire, of Graham Lakes 
township, who then, and ever since has, 
"voted it straight." He is the father 
of the democratic party of .Nobles 

Far from the centers of political strife, 
the little community on Graham lakes 
took no great interest in anything but 
local politics, but a few of the leaders 
took it upon themselves to do a little elec- 
tioneering for the state ticket. Mr. Ma- 
guire at that time had no hide-bound 
party affiliation, but it was surmised he 
had leanings toward democracy. A few 
of the influential men of the community 
argued long and persistently with Mr. 
Maguire on the infallibility of the re- 
publican party and the shortcomings 
of the opposition. 

"They hounded me almost to death, v 
said Mr. Maguire when asked about the 
incident, "talking their politics, and 1 
finally made up my mind to vote the 
democratic ticket to spite them. They 
made a democrat of me for good/' 



Almost without exception the first The following account of an inci- 
settlers of Nobles county were repub- dent connected with the early days in 

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Graham Lakes township was written by 
Juuge B. W. Woolstencroft in 1877, 
eight years after the event described: 

"When we first came to Nobles county 
our nearest market was Jackson, thirty 
miles distant, and the nearest flouring 
mill was at Garden City, eighty miles 
away. We were often on the road in 
severe weather and had many a narrow- 
escape from the blinding snow or high 
water in the streams. 

"Early in the spring of 1869 John 
Freeman and E. J. Clark started to 
Jackson for provisions. They had a 
team of horses belonging to Stephen 
Muck. On arriving at Heron lake out- 
let they found the stream terribly swollen 
with the recent thaw, but, nothing 
daunted, John took a 'fresh chew of 
tobacco to float on' and drove in. When 
half way across the stream the wagon 
turned over, precipitating them into the 
water. Clark, though an indifferent 
swimmer, got ashore, but Freeman was 
drowned. His body w r as found some 
days afterward about sixty rods down 
the stream, where he had caught hold 

of a willow, which must have been sever- 
al feet under water at the time he was 

"Thus perished one of Nobles coun- 
tVs first settlers. He was a comparative 
stranger to us all, having been with 
us but a few months, yet he had made 
friends of all by his joyous, joking, 
happy way. He was a native of Ver- 
mont, was an orphan, and had a sis- 
ter somewhere in the states, but we 
never knew where, and in all proba- 
bility she does not know of her broth- 
er's tragic end. Mr. Muck's horses 
were drowned, and. it was a sad loss to 
liiia indeed. Clark gave the fur they 
were taking to Jackson to a man by 
tl e name of Stone, to deliver to the 
buyer. Other parties sent fur and mon- 
ey until the whole amounted to about 
$250. It proved too big a "temptation 
to the fellow and we have never seen 
him, fur, or money since. This was the 
most disasterous trip to Jackson we 
know of and was a terrible shock io 
the settlers." 

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Biographical History 

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Head of the National Colony Company, Founder of Worthington, 

and a Most Conspicuous Figure in the Early History 

of Nobles County. 

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(1822-1889), guiding spirit of the National 
Colony company and founder of Worthington, 
was responsible, more than any other man, 
for the rapid settlement of Nobles county in 
the early days, and during the years he 
made hi9 home in the county was by far 
its most prominent resident. In the histor- 
ical part of this volume is to be found 
much of his life's history, which otherwise 
would have its place in this biography. 

Prof. Humiston was born* at Great Bar- 
rington, Berkshire county, Mass., July 3, 1822, 
and from that place the family moved, in 
May, 1833, to Hudson, Portage county, Ohio. 
Our subject was educated in the Western 
Reserve college and took up teaching as 
his life's work. While yet quite young he 
took high rank among the educators of Ohio. 
For several years he was superintendent of 
the schools of Cuyahoga Falls, an important 
manufacturing center of northern Ohio. From 
there he went to Cleveland, purchased build - 
irgs on "University Heights," then a sparse- 
ly settled suburb of Cleveland, and es- 
tablished a classical school called the Cleve- 
land Institute. He there introduced a new 
feature which has since been copied in many 
of the colleges of the country, namely, a 
military training for the students. Prof. 
Humiston's school was successful and popu- 
lar. He was not only a wise manager, a 
good diciplinarian and popular educator, but 
also a public spirited and enterprising citi- 
zen. Around this school there grew up an 
educated and refined community. 

Selling his school property in 1867, Prof. 
Humiston started the next year on a tour 
of Europe, Asia and Africa, in which coun- 
tries he spent two years. Returning home 
and being possessed of a handsome com- 
petency and made sanguine and hopeful 
by his previous successes, Prof. Humiston con- 
ceived the idea of founding a colony some- 
where in the great west which should, so 
far as he could make it, be a center of edu- 
cational and moral influence. After visiting 
various localities, he selected Nobles county, 
Minn., as the place for making realities out 
of his mental projects. It was in 1871 
that he formed the National Colony company, 
secured control of a large tract of railroad 
lands in Nobles and adjoining counties, found- 
ed the village of Worthington, and began 
his life in the new country. 

Amid the extraordinary trials of the grass- 
hopper period he was among the most un- 
daunted, hopeful and helpful. So far as 
the colony was successful, it was due to hig 
generous, wise and vigorous endeavors. The 
misfortunes of the colony were such that 
no human skill could forsee or prevent. For 
all the good he did, and for the larger good 
he meant to do for it, Nobles county 
owes him a meed of hearty praise and an en- 
during monument to fitly perpetuate his 
memory. He lost practically all his fortune 
in financing the colony company, and de- 
parted the county in the late seventies. 

After leaving Nobles county Prof. Hum- 
iston returned to the east and devoted his 
time to educational matters and to perfect- 
ing several patents. He died in April, 1880. 


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STEPHEN MILLER (1816-1887). Among 
the distinguished men who have made No- 
bles county their home at one time or another 
since its settlement none was more highly 
honored than Stephen Miller, Minnesota's 
war governor, who made his home at Worth- 
ington from 1878 until his death in 1881. 

Governor Miller was* born in Cumberland 
(now Perry) county, Pennsylvania, in 1816. 
He acquired a common school education and 
served an apprenticeship to the milling busi- 
ness, after which he engaged in mercantile 
pursuits, and for many years conducted a 
forwarding and commission house in Harris- 
burg, Pennsylvania. In 1839 he was united 
in marriage to Miss Margaret Funk, of 
Dauphin county, Pa., and to them were 
born three sons and one daughter, the lat- 
ter dying in infancy. The sons were Wes- 
ley F v who was killed at the battle of Get- 
tysburg; Stephen C. and Robert D. 

In 1849 Mr. Miller was elected prothonotary 
of Dauphin county in his native state and 
held the office until 1855, when he resigned 
to accept the position of flour inspector of 
the city of Philadelphia, to which he was 
appointed by Governor James Pollock. Dur- 
ing a part of the period of his incumbency 
of this office and before — including the excit- 
ing state canvass of 1854 — he edited and pub- 
lished the Pennsylvania Telegraph, a leading 
organ of the whig party. 

At the expiration of his term as flour 
inspector, in the spring of 1858, Mr. Miller 
came to Minnesota and located at St. Cloud, 
where he established a grocery and commis- 
sion business, which he conducted until the 
commencement of the civil war, in April, 
1861. During these years he took quite a 
prominent part in Minnesota politics. He was 
a delegate to the republican national conven- 
tion at Chicago in 1860 and headed the 
electoral ticket in the fall of that year, 
when he and his associates were successful 
by nearly 10,000 majority. During that 
campaign he and C. C. AndrewB, then a 
Douglas candidate for elector, later a brig- 
adier general, held some fifty joint discus- 
sions in the principal cities and towns of 
the state. 

In March, 1861, Mr. Miller was commis- 
sioned receiver of the land office at St. 
Cloud, and in May of the same year was 

offered the position of captain in the Unit- 
ed States army, both of which appointments 
he declined. At the commencement of the 
civil war he and his son, Wesley F. Miller, 
enrolled themselves as private soldiers in 
the First Minnesota regiment. On April 
29, 1861, he was mustered into the service 
as lieutenant colonel of the First Minnesota. 
He was commissioned colonel of the Seventh 
regiment of Minnesota volunteers Sept. 26, 
1862, and was made brigadier general of vol- 
unteers by the president Oct. 26, 1863. He 
took part in many of the important battles 
of the civil war and played an important 
part in the Sioux war, serving under Gen- 
eral Sibley. He was in charge of the forces 
at Mankato on Dec. 26, 1862, which exe- 
cuted the thirty-eight Indians. 

Brigadier General Miller was elected gov- 
ernor of Minnesota on the republican ticket 
in November, 1863, and on Jan. 12, of the 
following year, resigned his command to ac- 
cept the office. He served until Jan. 8, 1866, 
being in the executive chair during the clos- 
ing days of the civil war. In many ways 
he showed his patriotic impulses and his 
zeal for the salvation of the country. 

After the expiration of his term as 
governor, Preside/it Grant, like President Lin- 
coln, tendered him positions in the civil 
service, but he declined them all. FroBf 
June, 1871, to September, 1878, Governor Mil- 
ler resided at Windom, being employed as 
field agent of the St. Paul & Sioux (Sty 
Railroad company. He served one term 
in the Minnesota house of representatives 
(1873), having been elected to represent six 
counties in southwestern Minnesota. He was 
presidential elector at large in 1876 and 
was the messenger to bear the electoral 
vote to Washington. 

Governor Miller, while still in the em- 
ploy of the railroad company, came to 
Worth ington to reside in September, 1878, 
and made his home there until his death, 
which occurred on Thursday night, Aug. 1A 
1881. His remains are buried in the Worth* 
ington cemetery. 

DANIEL SHELL. No man in Nobles comi- 
ty has played a more important part in the 
political and business life of the county 

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than has Daniel Shell, of Worthington. 
Coming to the county and village in the 
closing days of 1871, just a£ter the village 
came into existence, Mr. Shell, then a young 
man, at once became identified with the 
interests of his village and county, and has 
ever since been an important factor in the 
development of the community. 

Daniel Shell was born in St. Lawrence 
county, N. Y., Nov. 26, 1843, the son of 
David and Lavina (Kentner) Shell, natives 
of Canada and New York state, respec- 
tively. The Shells are of German ancestry, 
but settled in the United States at a very 
early day, and for several generations were 
residents of the Empire state. Daniel SheP, 
the paternal grandfather was a native of 
New York and an influential and pros- 
perous farmer. David Shell, the father of our 
subject, while a native of Canada, was raised 
in New York. The mother of Mr. Shell, of 
this sketch, was a daughter of Conrad Kent- 
ner, who was of German descent and a des- 
cendant of one of the pioneer families of 
St. Lawrence county. 

Mr. Shell was the fourth son and sixth 
child of a family of eleven children. His 
early boyhood was spent in attending the 
public schools of St. Lawrence county. Whew 
he was eleven years of age the family 
moved to Sauk county, Wis., and located 
on a farm, and there the subject of this 
biography grew to manhood. His educational 
advantages were such as the district schools 
of the locality afforded, although later he 
became a student in a high school. 

On reaching his majority Mr. Shell started 
out in life on his own account. In the 
winter of 1865 he formed a partnership witb 
two brothers, Conrad and Levi, and engaged 
in the lumber business in Wisconsin under 
the firm name of Shell Bros. He went into 
the pine woods and engaged in logging 
and milling, the firm having purchased eighty 
acres of heavily timbered land. A retail 
yard was established at Salem, Wis., which 
the brothers operated until 1871, when Dan- 
iel Shell came to the new town of Worth- 

It was during the month of December that 
Mr. Shell came to Worthington. He was a 
member of the firm of Henry Young & Co., 
which established a lumber yard in the 
little village, and came to assist in the 
management of the yard. After the busi- 

ness had been conducted in Worthington a 
few months, it was moved to Sibley, Iowa, 
at which point Levi Shell became the man- 
ager. Before the change in location was 
made, Daniel Shell had (in March, 1872) 
erected a building on Main street and opened 
a livery stable, of which he was the proprie- 
tor for many years. In 1873 he received the 
contract for carrying the mail 'from Worth- 
ington to Sioux Falls, S. D., and con- 
ducted the mail route five years. He oper- 
ated a stage line in connection, which he 
built up into a large and profitable busi' 
ness. He leased the Worthington hotel 
building in 1874, bought it a short time 
afterward, and was the landlord for thir- 
teen years. 

Mr. Shell embarked in the real estate, 
loan and insurance business in 1876 and 
has had an office in Worthington ever sine*. 
In June, 1895, he formed a partnership 
with M. P. Mann, and from that date to 
Jan. 10, 1908, the business was conducted 
under the firm name of Shell & Mann. Since 
the last named date he has conducted the 
business alone. In the early days he in- 
vested his money in Nobles county lands, 
and is today one of the largest landowners 
of the county. Besides the lines of business 
mentioned Mr. Shell has been identified with 
many other enterprises of a local nature. He 
was one of the organizers of the Minnesota 
Loan & Investment company and of the 
Beaver Creek Bank, of Rock county. When 
the Worthington National Bank was or- 
ganized early in the year 1908, he was made 
vice president and director of the new in- 

In politics Mr. Shell is a pronounced re- 
publican, and has taken a very active part 
in local, state and national politics. At the 
first village election, in 1873, he was elect- 
ed village assessor and served one term. He 
was elected member of the village council 
in 1874, 1875 and 1876, and served as presi- 
dent of the council in 1879-80-81-S5-86-89-90- 
91-93-94. From 1890 to 1904 he was a member 
of the Worthington school board. He was 
elected county commissioner in the fall of 
1881, was reelected in 1884, and served until 
the beginning of the year 1887. During 
these years he was chairman of the board. 
Mr. Shell was chosen a delegate to the re- 
publican national convention which was held 
at Minneapolis in 1892, and was a member 

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of the committee that notified Benjamin 
Harrison of his nomination. In the fall of 
1892 he was elected to the lower house of 
the Minnesota legislature from the district 
comprising the counties of Nobles, Murray, 
Rock and Pipestone, and was reelected in 
1894 and again in 1896. In 1898 he was 
elected to the senate from the newly formed 
district comprising the counties of Noble* and 
Murray, and served eight years in that 
body, receiving the nomination and election 
again in 1902. In the early nineties, when 
it was decided to build a new state capitol, 
Mr. Shell was appointed mem