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V - " " ^ * ^ 

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Author of The HIslory of Nobles County, 

Northern History Publishing Conripanv 

Jackson. Minnesota 






R ^•^^ L 




• •••* • - •• 

• ••• •• • 

. • • •• •••• 

• • .; ••• • 

• •• 



t, * • • - W J 

J*. J ■* ■' «« •• • 

O THL memory of the twenty men. 

^«j * ^ '• • 

women and children who met death at --- **''•- -\- 

the hands of the Indians in Jackson county in ' -."./-''- ."* " - - ^ 
the massacres of 1 857 and 1 862, this volume is 
respectfully dedicated. 



• ••• 



• • 


• • 


• • • 


• • 



• • 


• i 


OF ALL the counties of Southwestern Minnesota Jackson has the most 
interesting history. Settled as it was years before inhabitants came to 
other portions of Southwestern Minnesota, its early history is more re- 
plete with stirring events than that of its neighbors. On its soil was enacted 
the first Indian outbreak in Minnesota, in which a number of hardy pioneers 
who had pushed out onto the frontier met death. Later, during the Sioux war, 
the soil of the county was again crimsoned with the blood of those who were 
endeavoring to found homes on the frontier. Such wa.s flie price paid by tliose 
who came to live in Jackson county a half century ago. 

With this volume is presented the first Jackson county history, the material 
for its compilation having been obtained almost wholly from original sources. 
Friendly coadjutors have assisted materially in its preparation. From Mrs. 
Sharp's "History of the Spirit Lake Massacre," "Minnesota in Three Cen- 
turies," recently published, and the writings of Honorable Warren Upham, sec- 
retary of the Minnesota Historical Society, the author has made liberal quo- 
tations, and other authorities have been consulted. To the editorial fraternity 
of Jackson county the author is under obligations. The files of their publica- 
tions have been of inestimable value in furnishing authentic data. Especially 
valuable were those of that pioneer journal, the Jackson Eepublic, of which 
liberal use has been made, and without which much of historical importance 
must have remained unrecorded. Due acknowledgment is made to county offi- 
cials, 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 Captain Jareb Palmer, 
without whose help the account of the county's very early settlement and of the 
Springfield massacre would have been woefully incomplete; Mr. Ole Anderson, 
to whom must be given the credit for much of the information relating to the 
early Norwegian settlement and the Belmont massacre; Mr. T. J. Knox and 
Mr. John S. Woolstencroft, who assisted the author in many wa\'s and who, 
with Captain Palmer, served as the committee to review and revise the work be- 
fore it was put to press. In the work of gathering the data the author has 
been ablv assisted bv Mr. P. D. Moore. 

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 stor}' 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, this history of Jackson county is put forth. 

Jackson, Minnesota, January, 1910. ARTHUR P. ROSE. 



ABORIGINAL DAY K- 1834 -1855. 

Pre-Hist.oi ic Timos — The Earth in the Making- -Goological Periods— Ejirly Inhabitants — 
The Mound Builders — The Indians — Origin of the Sioux— Their Tribal Divisions — 
Southern Minnesota Indianc^ — The Sissctons — Tnkpaduta's Band — Treaties with the 
Sioux — Early Explorers and Their Maps — LeSueur — Carver — Albert Lea's Expedi- 
tion—Joseph N. Kit'ollet Explores Jackson County — And Maps It — Tehan-Shetcha 
Lake — Captain Allen Passes Through County — His Description — Big Game — Sur- 
veyors Run Boundary Line- Reno's Military Road Survey — Real Estate Si>eculation 
— Immigration to Minnesota 25 



The First Settlers — Wood Brothers-^ Found Springfield— And Open Store— Their Claims 
— First Building in the County— The Webster City Party — Settle at Springfield — 
Experience With Half Breed —Indian Champs at Springfield — Gaboo and Umpashota 
— Permanent Settlers of 1856 — Location of Cabins — Preparations for Winter — 
Short of Provisions — The Severe Winter — Mail Route Established — Mail Carrier 
Perishes — Trip to Slocum's — William Wood's Grit — Robert Smith and John Hen- 
derson Lost in Storm — Badly Frozen — Surgical Operations — ^"Doetor" Strong the 
Hero — Birth of First White Child — Visits from Indians — Sleepy Eye — Inkpaduta — 
Sioux Not Feared — Are Entertained 37 



Causes of Massacre — Formation of Outlaw Band — Murder of Tahsahghee — Inkpaduta 
Implicated — ^Description of Inkpaduta — Chiefs Black Eagle and Sidominadota — 
History of the Band — Show Hostility to the Whites — Forts Des Moines and 
Ridgely — Henry Lott Murders Indians — Scare at Clear Lake— The Outlaws in 
1856 — Trouble at Smithland — Indians Become Surly — Abuse Settlers at Cherokee — 
On the Little Sioux — At Peterson — Outrages Committed — Iowa Authorities Notified 
— Major Williams' Expedition — Indians Reach Okoboji Lakes— And Commit Whole- 
sale Murder — Four Women Captives Taken — Mrs. Sharp's Account — The Awful 
Carnage — Indians Retreat to Heron Lake ^ 47 



l-irst Intimation of Trouble — Black Buffalo Warns George Wood— Warning Unheeded — 
Morris Markham Discovers Spirit Lake Massacre— Notifies the Springfield Set- 
tlement — Proposed Trip to the Lakes Abandoned— Woods Do Not Believe Story — 


Couriers Sent to Fort Ridgely — Cabins Barricaded — Two Strange Indians Arrive — 
And Tell Umpashota of Spirit Lake Murders— Ump.<ishota Advises Against Burial 
Party Going to Lakes — Eleven Able Bodied Men in Settlement — Attack on Spring- 
field — Names of the Warriors — Murder of William Wood— His Conduct Criticised — 
George Wood Killed — Attack on Thomas Cabin — lledskins Repuls-^d — Jareb Palmer's 
Story of the Fight — Willie Thomas Killed — Stewart Family Killed — At the Wheeler 
Cabin — Total Losses — Part Played by the Springfield Indians 67 



The Indians Depart — Settlers Panic Stricken — Consultation at Thomas Cabin — Decided 
to Flee to Fort Dodge — A Terrible Journey — A Night in the Snow — Indian Alarms 
— Flight from Wheeler Cabin — Deserted by "Doctor" Strong— Cripples and Baby 
Abandoned to Their Fate — Self Preservation Only Thought — Refugees United — 
Shiegley's Search for His Baby— At the Granger Cabin — Journey Continued — A 
Sugar Diet — Refugees Meet Volunteers — Safe at I^st — Soldiers Arrive from Fort 
Ridgely — Hardships of the Trip — Pursuit of the Indians — Pursuit Abandoned — In 
the Indian Camp — The Alarm — Burial of the Dead — Captain Bee — Soldiers Re- 
main — Subsequent History of the Indians — Death of Inkpaduta 69 



Early Day Conditions- Jackson County as French Territory — Sold to Spain — Resold 
to France- -Bought by United States — A Part of Louisiana Territory — Missouri 
— Michigan — Wisconsin — Iowa — No Man's Land — Minnesota Territory Formed — Jack- 
son County a Part of Dakota County — Blue Earth- -Brown- The County Created — 
The Act — The Name — Hon. Henry Jackson — Settlers of 1857 — Towns of Jackson 
and Odessa — Mail Route — Indian Alarms — A Petition — Settlers of 1858— Death of 
James Townsend — James Middleson Killed — State Roads — Townsite Boomers — 
Town of Belmont Founded — Incorporated — Its History — Boundaries Surveyed— 
County Organized — Indians Create Alarm 81 



Travels of Anders Olson Slaabaken — ^He Brings a Norwegian Colony— Settlers of 
18G0— Where They Located- Home Guard Formed— Captain West -Census of 1800 
— Names of Inhabitants — Number of Families — Property Owned — Age and Birth- 
place—Arrivals of 1801— The Slaabaken J^amily— The Civil War— Nearly All the 
Voters Enlist — Their Names — First Religious Services — Sawmill Begun — First 
Fourth of July Celebration — Assessment of 1801 — The Property Owners — Their 
Taxes -Assessment of 1802— Conditions in 1802— Isolation of the Settlers — Trad- 
ing Points— Ignorance as to Indian Mode of Warfare 93 



Tiie Sioux War- Its Magnitude— Rumors of Trouble Reach Belmont— The German from 
New Ulm — Decision to Build Stockades — Too Late — Fifty Sissetons Raid Jackson 
Co'inty— And Attack the Norwegians — Murders at Fohre Home — Refuge in the 
Cellar — Adventures of the Fohre Bov — Ole Fohre Killed — Mrs. Jornevik a Heroine — 


Her Death — Killing of Mikkel Slaabaken — Terrible Experience of Anders Slaa- 
baken — ^Knud Mid»tad and Wife Murdered — Massacre of the Langeland Family — 
The Fight in Christiania — Indians Repulsed — Thirteen Whites Killed — List of 
Killed and Wounded — EiTors in Former Accounts — Alarm at Meeting House — Stam- 
pede — Simon Olson's Heroic Deed — Refugees at Thomas Home — On to Estherville — 
Relief Expedition — Burial of the Dead — The Monument — Jackon County Deserted — 
Alarms on the Frontier 101 



Slaabakens Return to Belmont — Adventure in Prairie Fire — Two Deaths — White Raid- 
ers — Indian Alarms- -County Again Deserted — Events of 1863 — Permanent Settlers 
Come in 1864— Their Adventures— First Birth— Flight— The Return— Wild Hogs- 
Military Matters — Former Settlers Petition — Soldiers Come — Fort Bailey — Other 
Posts — Confidence Partially Restored — Census of 1865 — ^Names of Inhabitants — 
Immigration — Indians Attack Trappers — The Scare — County Reorganized — First 
Election — Townships Created — Petersburg — Des Moines — Belmont — Minneota — Early 
Homesteaders— School Districts— Taxes— Those Assessed — Crop Statistics — The 
Land Grant— Its Effect— Jackson Founded— Severe Winter— Starvation Period — 
Fish and Milk Diet — Measures for Relief — Difficulties of Travel — Prices for Staples 
—First Church— School Statistics— Taxes of 1867— First Jurors— Products of 1867... Ill 



Trapping Days — Statistics for 1868 — Assessed Values— Products — Wisconsin Organized 
— Middletown Begins Government — Blizzards — Ole Sime and Archie Lee Perish — 
Immigration in 1870 — Census — Heron Lake, Round Lake and Delafield Organize — 
Early Day Homesteaders — Trouble Over Name — School Conditions — ^Assessment 1870 
— Products — District Court Established — Court House Bonds Defeated — Railroad 
Rumors — Lively Times in 1871 — Pioneer Experiences — Organization of Christiania, 
Enterprise and Weimer — First Railroad Comes — Heron Lake Village Founded — 
Boimtiful Crops — Hunter, Kimball, Alba and LaCrosse Townships Begin Govern- 
ment — Victims of Blizzards in 1872 — Voters Prevent Diminution of County's Terri- 
tory — ^Plans for Court House — Bonds Carry — Contributions — Building Erected 127 



Calamitous Days—Ewington Township Organized— Record Breaking Blizzard — Experi- 
ence of Anders R. Kilen — First Grasshopper Invasion — The Damage — Many Desti- 
tute Settlers — Relief Measures — The Committees — ^Legislature Appropriates — Funds 
Received— Tlie Distribution— Free Seed Wheat— West Heron Lake, Rost and Sioux 
Valley Organize— Total Crop Destruction in 1874— Settlers Desert County— Grass- 
hopper "Stories" — The Losses— Terrible Times— Rigid Economy— Governor Davis' 
Appeal— Distribution of Cash and Food- Army Rations — Why Not Desert County? 
—Free Seed Again— Acreage Sown in 1875— Blizzard — Population— By Precincts — 
Third Invasion — Southern Townships Escape — Damage by Rain — Grasshopper Con- 
vention—Railroad Rumors— Bonds Voted— Partial Crop in 1876— Discouraging 
Prospects— Another Convention— Free Seed— Day of Fasting and Prayer— Slight 
Damage in 1877— Year of Jubilee— Crop Statistics— Enci of the Scourge 141 




New* Era Begins — Reiitwpd Land Grand—Southern Minnesota Railroad Extends — Rush 
of Immigrants— More Railroad Building — Lakefield Founded — Railroad War— The 
La«»t Grasshoppers — Census of 1880 — October Blizzard — A Severe Winter — Railways 
Blockaded — Short of Provisions- -Great Depth of Snow- -The Floods — Damage Re- 
sulting — Death in Storm — Boom of 1884 — Railroad Lands on the Market — Pros- 
I>erou8 Days — The L & M. N.--Crop Statistics— Census of 1885 — First County Seat 
Contest — "Brutus" Writes — The Initial Meeting— Petition Circulated — Commission- 
ers Reject Petition — Blizzard of 1888 — Big Gain in Population — Demand for Lands - 
Abortive Plan to Divide (-o\int> — Cyclone — Panic of 1803- -Second County Scat 
Fight — The New Law — The Opening Gun — The Petition- Question Submitted — 
Lakefield Builds Court House — Jackson Wins — Vote by Precincts .^ . . . 157 


CURRENT EVENTS— 1895-1010. 

Census of 1895 — .Jackson Southern Railwav -Disastrous Wind Storm — Two Deaths 
— Prosperous Era — Population — Tliird County Seat Contest -Mud-Slinging Cam- 
paign — Lakefield Offers C'ourt House — Jackson Wins — Vote by Precincts — Election 
Contested — Judge (^uinn's Decision- Appeal to Supreme Court— Jail Building- In- 
junction Proceedings -Contract T^t— Building Completed — Disastrous Year 1903- - 
Heavy Rains -Death IXaling Tornado— The Killed — The Deluge— County Sub- 
merged — New Court House Agitation- -Bonds Defeated — Mandamus Proceedings 
— Census of 1905 — By Precincts- Length of Residence — Nationality — More. Court 
House Legislation — Another County Seat Contest- -Bitter Fight — ^Bribery and Cor- 
ruption Charged — Canvassing for Signatures — Withdrawals — Revocations— Exciting 
Meeting of Commissioners— Petition Defeated — Tlie New Petition— Court House Lit- 
igation — Governor Johnson Takes a Hand — Contract Let — I^ast County Seat Con- 
test Ended — Court House Bonds Carry — Building Completed — Dedicated — Bounteous 
Years 171 


POLITICAL -1858-1882. 

County Organizeil— Commissioners Named — First Election — Thirty-two Voters in 1860 

- All for Lincoln — County Officers Elected- -Organization Discontinued — Legislative 
Officers- Reorganization— Difficulties Encountered — First Election — Those Elected - 
Legislature Legalizes Action — (Government PJegun — First Convention — Elections of 
1860, 1867 and 1868— Contests in 1869— All Voters are Republicans— Democrats 
Organize — Elections of 1870 and 1871 — Grant Carries County — The Independents — 
(Jet Few Offices in 1873— Republican in 1874— No Nominations in 1875 — Hayes' Big 
Majority — Elections of 1877, 1878 and 1879 — Five (Commissioners for County — Gar- 
field Carries County— Seven Democratic Votes in 1881— Electiou of 1882 187 


POLITICAI^— 1883-1010. 

Democrats Organize — Election of 1S83— Blaine Carries County- Big Vote in 1886 Ex- 
citing Contests — Harrison Has Majority in 1888— Three County Tickets— Revolution 
in 1890- -The Alliance Party — Dominates Politics — Birth of Peoples Party — Fusion 

- Honor? Divided in 1892— Harrison's Small Plurality —Bitter Campaign of 1894 — 


Free Silver Issue— Election of 1 890 -Republicans Win in 1898— I^rge Vote of 1900 
— McKinley Carries County — Primary Election Law — The First Primary — General 
Election of J 902— Death of Peoples Party- Election of 1904— Roosevelt's Popularity 
— Working of the Primary — Party Lines Ignored in 1900 — Effect of County Seat 
Contest — Johnson for Governor — The 1908 Election — Taft the Choice— Summary 199 


JACKSON 185G-1809, 

LcK'ution — Elevation -Natural 15eauty — First Wiiitcs Arrive Springfield Founded Re- 
named Jackson — liecomes County Seat Alexander Wood— Land Patents First 
l>eetl- Early Day Cabins-^Saw Mill Jackson Platted- Ashley & Bailey— The 
Name — Additions — The First Building — WTiite's Store George Chamberlin's Adver- 
tising — Postoffice Established- Its History —Buildings of 1807 — Kimball and Clark 
—Historic Building- The Town in 1807- Arrivals of 1808 Joseph Thomas* Town- 
site — Rivalry Between East and West Sides Replatting— legislative Action 
The Town in 1809— The l^nd Office- Its History Big Trade. Territory Kimball's 
Business — An Early Directory- Stage Lines 213 


JACKSON— 1870-1910. 

Prosperous Village Develops Improvements in 1870 Trade Territory Abridged- In 
1872 — The Grasshopper Days— Railroad Comes — Its Effect Life Awakening Agency 
— New Enterprises- Attempt to Incorporate — Results in Failure — Improvements in 
1879— Census of 1880- Incorporation First Election Village Officers. 1881-1909— 
The License Issue — First Council Meeting Early Financial Statement On a Nor- 
mal Basis — Statistics — Directory of 1884- Population in 188.3 -A Division Point - 
Depot Gloved— Water Works System— Prof>i>erity -Panic of 1893 — Census of 189.3 — 
A Prosperous Era, 1899-1902- Electric Lights "Tlie Wet Years' Again Pros- 
|>erous 22o 



The Schools — First Teachers and Pupils The School House First Financial Statement 
-Second Building- An Independent District The New School House The Churches 
— Methodist- -Presbyterian— Nor^^cgiJ^n Lutheran Catholic - -German Lutheran- 
Episcopal — The Lodges -Masonic (irand Army Relief Corps NVorkmen-Odd Fel- 
lows — Motlern Woodmen— Foresters Knights of Pythias The Banks Brown Na- 
tional — First National — Jackson Njitional — Fire Department Early Day Depart- 
ment—Agricultural Society 2.35 


LAKEFIELD- 1879-1910. 

lt« Central lx>cation- Trade Territorv The Site Jackson Center Henrv Knudson 
Foumls Town-its Demise- A. R. Kilen Founds Uikefield— Platting Additions- 
Original Titles— "Bethania"- First Building Eariy Business Houses -The Postoffice 
—Postmasters— Early Day Events Directory of 1883 Of 1884 -Depot Burns Im- 
provements- -Population in 1887 Petition for Incorporation -First Voters Incor- 
porated—License Question— Village Officers, 1887-1909 Current Events Fires— 


The Schools — First Teachers — School Officers — The Churches — Swedish Lutheran — 
Presbyterian — Methodist — German Evangelical — Norwegian Lutheran — Baptist — 
Catholic — The Lodges — Odd Fellows — Rebekas — Workmen — Modem Woodmen — 
Royal Neighbors — Maccabees — Masons — Eastern Star — The Banks — Jackson County 
State— First National 245 


HERON LAKE— 1871-1910. 

Location— Site Selected — Platted — Additions — First Inhabitants — Smith & Carroll — Find 
Raw Prairie — Business Houses of 1871 — The Postoffice — Postmasters — Progress in 
1872 — New Enterprises — Fifty Inhabitants — Big Trade Territory— Merchants Pros- 
per — Directory of 1873— Grasshoppers Take Profits — Better Times — Raiload Build- 
ing — Improvements in 1870 — Census of 1880— The Tow Mill — Incorporation — Li- 
cense Question — Officers, 1882-1909 — Prosperous Decade — Big Business in 1882— 
Subsequent History — Fires — The Schools — The Independent District — School Houses 
— The Churches — Methodist — Catholic — Salem Lutheran — Norwegian Lutheran — The 
Lodges — The Banks — Farmers State Bank — First National Bank 257 



Alpha — Wisconsin Station — Irwin — First Business Houses — Renamed Alpha — Platted 
— Additions — Boom Days— Incorporation — Officers 1899-1909 — Population — Wilder — 
Station Established — The Name — Activity in 1886 — College Founded — Town Starts 
— First Business Men — Delay in Deeds — ^Platted — Current Events — Incorporation — 
Petitioners — Population — Farmers State Bank — Okabena — Its Enterprises — The 
Station — Postoffice — First Store — Platted — Miloma — Prairie Junction — Wrong Pre- 
diction — Derivation of Name — Petersburg — Its History — Bergen — Des Moines City 
— Belmont — Round Lake — Eldora — Orr — ^Williamsburg— Brownsburg—Namsos — Som- 
erset — Sioux Valley — Loon Lake — Trebon — Arlington — Karlin— Gold Leaf— Elm — 
Spofford 269 



IxK>ation — Boundaries — Area- -Surface — Township Elevations — Altitude of Villages — 
Geologic Formation — Warren Upham's Description — The Soil — Scientific Analysis — 
Climate — Timber — The Drainage Systems — Des Moines River — Elm Creek — Jack 
Creek — Okabena Creek — Little Sioux River — The Lakes — Their Size and Location — 
Products — Manufactories — Transportation Facilities — Taxable Valuations — By Pre- 
cincts — Townships Compared — Land Values — Advantage Over Dakotas and Canada 
— Markets — Agricultural Conditions — Wanted, More Population 279 



Nine Papers Founded — Five Now Published — Founding the Jackson Republic — First 
Subscribers— The Salutatory— George C. Chamber lin— Burt Day Buys Paper— A. B. 
Allen— Later Publishers— Heron Lake Guardian — Minnesota Citizen— Later Lake- 
field Standard — Its Publishers — Heron Lake Wave — Name Changed to News — Jack- 
son County Pilot — Its History — Jackson County Times — John Woolstencroft — Lake- 
field Herald — Jackson County Argus— Jackson Tribune 289 




Inkpaduta's Indians— Their Customs and Beliefs— The Delicious Pole Cat— Miss Gard- 
ner's Experience — Trip to Slocum's — Incident of 1857 — The Prairie Fires — Terrors 
of the Prairie — Loss of Life — The Editor Arrives — George Chamberlin's Advent — 
Adventures in a Blizzard — As Remembered by a Child — Night in a Snow Bank — A 
Wedding Journey — Traveling Under Difficulties — Wild and Woolly Days — Muskrats 
as Legal Tender — ^W. C. Logue's Story— In the Olden Days— Ole Anderson's Orange . 
— He is Handed a Lemon — Good Bye, Hoppergrass — Song of Triumph Upon the De- 
parture of the Grasshoppers 295 


REMINISCENT (Continued). 

Muskrats, Politics and Religion — An Interrupted Service — ^An Early Marriage — An 
Industrious Officer — Troubles of a Justice — Wholesale Marrying — Early Justice 
Courts — A Wife as Jailor — "A Clodhopper" — A Youthful Correspondent — A Political 
Deal — John Davies and the Crane — Early Day Mail Facilities — Indian Scares — Sand 
Hill Cranes Pose as Indians — The Scare of 1876 — A Joke on Kimball — Why He 
Cared for the Stock — Near Capture of the Youngers — Tom Mather Tells of It — 
Rafting the Des Moines— Snow Boats — In Grasshopper Days — Governor Pillsbury 
Visits the County — Swearing Off — And On— Race for a Farm — Tlie Wrong Dose — 
Game in Early Days — Signs of the Times 313 


Monuiiu'iit to IiuliaiLs' Victims. . .Frontispiece 

.Tosepli Nicolas Nicollet 25 

I)cs MoiiKjs Kivcr Scenes 37 

The Des Moines at Jackson 47 

Map of Sprinj^field Settlement CI 

"Lone Tree" 78 

Some Old Timers 87 

A Pioneer Home 98 

Map of Norwegian Settlement 105 

Old Fort Belmont 113 

( ountry Scenes 123 

Log Buildings of J. J. Egge 134 

Map of Jackson County, 1874 141 

A Sod Shanty ". 141 

The Andrew Monson Cabin 146 

Pioneers of Hopper Days 146 

Fac Simile Letter, (iovcrnor Pillshury. . . .152 
"The Rivals"- Old Court House— Lakefield 

City Hall ' ^169 

Cyclone of 1903 178 

Jack.son County Court House 187 

Jackson in 1882 213 

Jackson Scenes 225 

Jackson*s Churches 238 

^lain Street, Lakefield 245 

South Main Street, Lakefield 245 

Lakefield High School 248 

Making a County Ditch 248 

Lakefield's Churclies 252 

Main Street, Heron Lake 257 

Heron Lake, Winter of 1908-09 257 

Heron Lake School House 260 

Destruction of Heron Lake's Old School 

House 260 

Heron Lake's Churches 264 

Wilder Scenes 272 

Scene on Heron Lake 279 

Some Country Churches 304 

Captain Jareb Palmer 333 

Welch Ashley 342 

Thomas J. Knox 354 

Henry Knudson and Family 365 

George R. Moore 376 

Alexander Fiddes 386 

Anders R. Kilen 394 

John W^ Cowing 404 

Paul H. Berge 413 

Henry O. Anderson 424 

B. P.' St. John 432 

James C. Caldwell 440 

Dr. Tver S. Benson 448 

Charles M. Gage 456 

George Bchrenfeld 464 

Dr. Anton J. Moe 471 

John S. Woolstencroft .478 

J. M. Putman 486 

Jackson County Officers 497 

Menzo L. Ashley 505 

Benjamin W. Ashley 605 

H. Henry Hughes 505 

Raymond Barto.sch 505 

John T. Smith 513 

Charles Winzer 513 

Frederick A. Cooley 513 

Carl S. Eastwood.' 513 

A. A. Fosness 520 

Louis F. Lammers 520 

Julius F. Liepold 520 

Bruno Poppitz 520 

Harry M. Burnham 628 

John L. King , 528 

Robert C. Muir 528 

Frank G. Albertus 528 

F. E. Malchow 535 

William G. Malchow 535 

Samuel L. Rank 535 

Louis Kiesel 535 

Arthur P. Rose 542 

Alton B. Cheadle 542 

Dr. Herbert L. Arzt 542 

Home of Martin A. Foss 548 

Home of Henry W. Voehl 556 

Home of John Baumann 563 

Home of Fritz Schuldt 563 

Family of Filing Elness 569 

Southwestern Minnesota Hospital 569 

Home of T. J. Knox 678 

Home of P. H. Berge 578 



Aas, Ole 414 

Ackerman, I^conard 535 

Adams, William 560 

Ahrens, Fred S. C 438 

Ahrens, Henry W 607 

Albert, John A 585 

Albertson, Albert 467 

Albertus, Frank G 642 

AUlrich, Bert 684 

Alexander, Frederick W 683 

Allen, Ethan W 616 

Allen, William - 574 

Allers, Edward F 434 

Allers, Fred 410 

Allers, John H 566 

Ambrose, Alfred 566 

Ambrose, John 502 

Amundson, Ole 505 

Anderson, Adolph 470 

Anderson, Cliarles 419 

Anderson, fUistav A 469 

Anderson, Hans 465 

Anderson, Henry O 424 

Anderson, John A 504 

Anderson, John M 474 

Anderson, Ole 337 

Anderson, Peter 528 

Appel, Frank J 412 

Amdt, Martin 538 

Arnold, Anthony A 405 

Arnold, Herman J 467 

Arntson, Olof 568 

Arp, J. B 436 

Arzt, Dr. H<>rbert L 542 

Ashlev, Benjamin W 351 

Ashley, Jesse F 382 

Ashlev, Leonard F 35ft 

Ashley, Louis W 460 

Ashley, Mark D 370 

Ashlev, Menzo L 345 

Ashley, Otis M 509 

Ashley, Welch 342 

Auten, William F 564 

Avery, Virgil W .".427 

Bailev, Frank E 349 

Bailey, Major Hiram S 339 

Baker, William H 527 

Baldwin, John 375 

Bargfrede, John Difdrich 584 

Bamett, John 453 

Bartosch, Baymond 475 

Bauchle, Adam 429 

Bauer, Christ 450 


Bauman, Matthias 580 

Baumann, John 503 

Behrenfeld, George 464 

Behrens, John C 554 

Benson, Andrew 544 

Benson, Dr. Iver S 448 

Benson, Gust 457 

Benson, John W 353 

Berge, Paul H 413 

Berkness, Syvert H 384 . 

Berreau, Frederick H 433 

Besser, John 383 

Beste, Henry 560 

Bezdicek, Vincent 511 

Bjornstad, Elias T 425 

Boehl, Edward A 411 

Bond, Harry L 547 

lk)rsgard, John 431 

Borsgard, Peter 403 

Brakke, John P 359 

Britsch, Louis J 407 

Hrodin, Carl 435 

Brown, Frank H 573 

Brown, John K 364 

Brown, Oliver ' W 454 

Buchmann, William C 529 

Burnham, Harry M 453 

Burreson, Peter 497 

Burrill, Dr. C. L 528 

Bushnell. Sherrill 413 

Butler, Vernon E 441 

Cabot, John L 417 

Caldwell, James C 440 

Callison, W. L 461 

(^apelle, Walter .583 

Carlcstrom, William .388 

Carlson, Andrew 470 

Carr, William E .576 

Cass, Stephen G ,5.54 

Chamberlin, George C ,340 

Chalupnik, John A ,555 

Chalupnik, Joseplj J ,577 

Cheadle, Alton B 484 

Christiansen, George ,566 

Christie, Gustave ,T .550 

CliriHtolTers, Seibert 562 

Cedarberg. Elins 456 

Conner, Thomas J 575 

Cook, Alfred H. .569 

Coolev, Frederick A 513 

Cordes, Anton 512 

Cowing, John W 404 

Crawford, David 414 




Crawley, John S 685 

Culbertson, H. S 462 

Cunningham, George B 546 

Dahl, Chris 472 

Dahl, Samuel 448 

Dalziel, James M 414 

Day, Frank E 511 

Dieson, Obert Elmer 430 

Dilley, Peter 459 

Dostal, Leo J 468 

Drews, William F 539 

Dunker, John 480 

Dunlop, William C 468 

Dunn, Marshal B 360 

Eastwood, Carl S 424 

Edel, Joseph 571 

Edel, Thomas 582 

Edlin, John C 521 

Egge, John J., Jr 502 

Egge, John P 511 

E&e, Tollef J 499 

Eggestein, William 442 

Ellofson, John E 551 

Elness, Aleck F. . . .^ 569 

Elness, Edward . . .' 520 

Elness, 0. E 530 

Elverum, Peter P 390 

Engel, John 415 

Engen, Ole 487 

Erpestad, Michael H 398 

Esser, Ferdinand 578 

Faber, Frederick B 532 

Fader, Edson 364 

Fest, Mathias 529 

Fiala, Frank 425 

Fiddes, Alexander 386 

Fiddes, Alexander T 458 

l^latgard, 0. T 509 

Forman, John R 569 

Fosness, A. A 401 

Foss, L. A 380 

Foss, Martin A 548 

Foss, Oscar 446 

Frandnip, Henry 514 

Frantsen, Carl 383 

Frederickson, Bendick 467 

Frederickson, Fred 553 

Frederickson, John 368 

Frederickson, Samuel 430 

Freemire, William E ....393 

Freer, Newton 550 

Freer, Peter E 496 

Freer, Walter S 402 

Freking, August 431 

Fritscher, Joseph E 506 

Frodermann, Herman 4,54 

Frost, Moses L 380 

Frost, Nathaniel 336 

Fuglesteen, Theodore 556 

Gage, Charles M 456 

Gage, Ernest A 406 

Gage, John G 466 

Gage, Theodore E 458 


Geissel, Cliarles 572 

Gerlach, A. Frank 406 

Gerlach, Michael J 397 

Gilbert, Albert H 397 

Gilbert, Gilbert H 371 

Gilbert, Hogan 338 

Gillespie, H. B .' 455 

Gillie, Hans 372 

Gogolinski, Joe 551 

Gohr, Albert 484 

Golitko, Joseph F 525 

Goodwin, Thomas 340 

Grady, John G 438 

Grave, Barney 583 

Graves, Joseph H 541 

(ireenwood, Clarence W 398 

Grein, John 530 

Grinager, Thomas H 449 

Gruhlke, Albert A 383 

Gruhlke, Robert A 363 

Gruhlke, William H 363 

Grunst, John 542 

Guritz, Herman 548 

Guritz, John 579 

Haberman, Ferdinand K 382 

Haberman, John B 353 

Hafer, Peter 477 

Hagerson, John 442 

Hamlon, William 453 

Hansen, Peter (Jackson) 437 

Hansen, Peter (Wisconsin) 485 

Hanson, Jonas 505 

Hanson, Nels 469 

Hanson, Otto 371 

Hanson, Peter T 500 

Harm, John 444 

Harstad, Ole Severson ^. .373 

Harstad, S. 393 

Ilartmau, Fred W. G 653 

Hartneck, Max 558 

Hasbargen, Charles^ 568 

Hasbargen, Daniel R 659 

Hassing, Frank J 524 

Hassing, Henry 564 

Hayostek, Joseph 536 

Hecht, August 473 

Hecht, Charles 561 

Heidlebaugh, S. E 519 

Helvig, Lars 574 

Homming, Chris L 570 

Hewett, Edward F 464 

Hofland, John L 540 

Hofland, John 510 

Hofstad, Martin B 538 

Hokanson, F. G 428 

Holden, Peter P 344 

Holm, Jess A 535 

Holsten, Martin 396 

Holston, Nels 489 

Hoovel, Henry J 503 

Hovelsrud, John 553 

Hughes, H. Henry 409 

Humphrey, Charles M 472 

Hunt, William 559 

Hunter, James W 344 

Husby, Gunder A 379 




Husby, Mark 460 

Hussong, Conrad 577 

Iverson, Ole 476 

Jaekman, Charles F .463 

Jaekman, Merton F 618 

Jackson, Henry Walter 472 

Jackson, Jacob C 392 

Jacobsen, Peter 576 

Jacobsen, Peter C 667 

Jacbbson, John 492 

James, Dr. Meredith J : 565 

Jarmuth, Henry 427 

Jarmutb, William H 476 

Jensen, Christ 469 

Jensen, Christen 615 

Jensen, Jens 572 

Jepson, Peter 652 

Jobnson. Abraham 369 

Johnson', A. E 398 

Johnson, Albert J 665 

Johnson, Ben H 344 

Johnson, H. 482 

Johnson, J. C 356 

Johnson, James C 580 

Johnson, Jens J 493 

Johnson, Louis L 530 

Johnson, >iels A 485 

Johnson, WilUam 429 

Juvland, Gjermund T 501 

Kablc, Henry .585 

Kable, Thomas 546 

Katus, John 452 

Kellam, Dr. Charles R. J , 378 

Kephart, Bert 570 

Kidney, Fred W 530 

Kielblock, August 540 

Kiesel, Louis 466 

Kilen, Anders R 394 

Kilen, Erick 361 

Kimball, Wilbur S 341 

King, John L 528 

King, William V 339 

King, Willie P 400 

Klein, Peter 573 

Klindt, Ferdinand 628 

Knox, John Cowing 431 

Knox, Thomas J 354 

Knudson, Henry 365 

Knuth, Claus 541 

Knutson, Albert S 399 

Koehn, Ferdinand 459 

Koep, Herman H 549 

Koep, P. F 517 

Kopeste, Frank 582 

Koster, John P 473 

Krai, John V 481 

Krumwiede, Louis 643 

Kuhlman, Martin 508 

Kuhnau, Gerhard 545 

Kuhnau, Rudolph 517 

Kulseth, Thomas 533 

Kummeth, L 412 

Lammers, Louis F 395 


I^rson, August , 573 

Larson, John 582 

Larson, John S 408 

Larson, Ole L 408 

Larson, Oscar A 503 

Lee, Brownell H 348 

Lee, Francis 460 

Lee, Henry H 375 

Lee, Martin H 500 

Lev, Albert A 451 

Lev, Frank M 559 

Lewis, Edward J 669 

Libra, Leonard A '. 459 

Liepold, John G 531 

Liepold, Julius F 374 

Lindberg, Christian E 476 

Livengood, Rollen W 536 

Loken, Andrew 431 

Ludvigsen, Christ 518 

Ludvigsen, Eric 519 

Lueneburg, John C 399 

Lueneburg, Robert H 381 

Luft, Conrad W 665 

Madden, Maurice 578 

Madden, Thomas 501 

Madsen, Peter 407 

Magyar, John 561 

Makovika, Joseph V 483 

Malchow, Charles 347 

Malchow, F. E 535 

Malchow, William G 499 

Mansfield, John A 497 

Marey, Osro C 578 

Matousek, Father Rudolph 568 

Matteson, Benjamin 450 

Matuska, Frank A 544 

Mayer, Charles 432 

McGlin, John 470 

McGlin, Michael 512 

McKellar, Peter D 443 

McMartin, John 466 

McNab, Duncan 352 

McQuillin, William A 637 

Melville, Andrew H 552 

Meyer, Charles H 449 

Meyer, Fretl H 681 

Milbrath, Edward 532 

Milbrath, Ferdinand 491 

Miller, Charles 444 

Miller, Henry M 440 

Miller, John W. 391 

Miller, Michael 377 

Miller, Mike J 523 

Mittelstadt, Robert 363 

Moe, Dr. Anton J 471 

Moe, S. J 373 

Molden, Paul 531 

Molkenthin, Gustav H 515 

Montee, M. P 580 

Moore, George R 376 

Morrison, George E 526 

Moses, James B 388 

Motl, Frank 418 

Muir, Robert C 404 

Muir, William T 394 





Muzikar, Frank A .* 415 Prokes, Joseph N 486 

Muzikar, Joseph T 486 Piilver, D. W 388 

Myrvold, Lars 526 Putman, J. M 486 

Navara, John A 539 

Nejedly, Karl 481 

Nelson, George E 387 

Nelson, Hugbert J 482 

Nelson, J. P 549 

Nelson, Ole 374 

Nelson, Peter 434 

Ncstrud, Adolph J 439 

Nestrud, Jjohn 371 

Nielsen, Matliias 438 

Niemann, Carl 525 

Nordberg, Ole M 575 

Nourse, Joseph H 365 

ODonnell, John G 457 

Olsen, Lemek . , 470 

Olsen, Tarje K 490 

Olsen, Thomas 409 

Olson, Andrew C 343 

Olson, Edward E 506 

Olson, John M 387 

Olson, Ole J 495 

Olson, Ole R 565 

Olson, Peter A 351 

Olson, Peter T 514 

Olson, Simon 338 

Olson, Tollef 544 

Oppenid, Anders 367 

Paddock, George B 420 

Page, Edward G 482 

Palmer, Captain Jareb 333 

Palmer, James E 337 

Patterson, Jesse A 367 

Paulson, Ilenry 572 

Panlson, Paul II 416 

Pearson, Ernest E 549 

Pederson, Anton 400 

Perry, Charles E 478 

IVter, William 494 

Peters, Erail 554 

IVters, Herman H 436 

Pet4'rsen, Lauritz P 445 

IVterson, Albert 546 

Peterson, Andrew 492 

Peterson, Charlie 533 

Peterson. John 513 

IMetsch, Guido E 543 

Pigman, Walter L 463 

Plagman, Ferdinand 538 

Pohlman. August 508 

Pohlman. Carl W 422 

l*ohlman, Henrv F 534 

Pohlman, Herman 451 

Pohlman, William 561 

Pope, 1' mnk L 547 

Poppitz, IJruno 428 

Portniann, Dr. William C 474 

Post. Harm 423 

Prestott, Jesse P 370 

Pribyl, Frank J 507 

Pribyl, Joseph J 479 

Qualey, John 637 

Quail, Martin 581 

Quinby, Jens 504 

Raasch, John F 427 

Rank, Samuel L 450 

Readle, Barbara 447 

Uee, John H..... 385 

Reed, Isaac G. . .*. 487 

Reeves, John L 503 

Rehnelt, Stephen 516 

Reimers, Fred .453 

Rice, E 522 

Ridgeway, William F 369 

Rieken, Clau8 E 472 

Riley, Captain Daniel L 423 

Roberts, Dr. Oscar E 548 

Robertson, R. S 422 

Robson, Henry W 415 

Roe, Anders 342 

Rossow, Carl F 389 

Rossow, Henry 439 

Rost, Charles W 495 

Rost, James R 493 

Rue, Haleck K 372 

Rue, Hiram C 397 

Russell, Perry L 516 

Russell, Thomas J 488 

SaatholT, Henry 483 

Saathoff, Siebend H 537 

St. John, Andre M 457 

St. John, Benona P 432 

Salin, John A 5a3 

Sander, F. H 541 

Sandon, (Charles H 341 

Sawyer, Fred D 405 

Sawyer, (ieoige H 391 

Sawyer, John M 540 

Scheppmann, August 522 

Sehlapkohl, Charles 662 

Schmidt, Henry 526 

Sclmapp. John D 558 

Schneider, William G 435 

Schoelleriiuin, Frederick W 555 

Schoewe, Rudolph 502 

Schroeder, A. M 403 

Schroeder, Theotlore 475 

Schroeder, William J. C 548 

Schroeder, William M. F 612 

S<huldt, Fritz 563 

Schultz, Henry 455 

Schumacher, Edward 480 

Schumacher, Theodore E 391 

Scijumacher, William 381 

Schwager, Jurgen 402 

Seleen, Fred J 385 

Serum, Andrew 361 

Sether, Hans C 346 

Severson, Charlie 547 

Shay. James D 545 

Shearer, Samuel W 667 




Shudabl, Herman 576 

Shumacher, Ernst 476 

Sievert, Frank 545 

Skalicky, Emil J 463 

Skalsky, Frank 671 

Skinrud, Hans 380 

Smalley, Isiah L 671 

Smith, Edwin 507 

Smith, George H 443 

Smith. John 440 

Smith. John J 490 

Smith, John T 350 

Smith, Morton W 517 

Spafford, John A 497 

Sparks. Arthur J 447 

Stahl, Hans 546 

Stall, Hans M 399 

Stall, Henry A 392 

Stall. Martin 426 

SUII. Thomas H 605 

Steffen, Henry '. .478 

Steiner, John L 631 

Stenzel, Clement 504 

Stenzel, Frank J 389 

Steward, Leroy D 567 

Stofferahn, Frank 581 

Stone, Henry P 411 

Streator, Edwin 579 

Strom, Herman L 446 

Strong, Albert H 356 

Struck, Henry 675 

Stude, Christ 460 

Stude, Henry 463 

Stude. Lewis 465 

Stuermer, Reinhold 570 

Stumpf , Lorenz 451 

Sullivan, Alex 523 

Sullivan, Jerry 488 

Swenson, Andrew H 418 

Swenson, Carl J 557 

Swenson, John 401 

Swenson, Olof 435 


Tallnian, Augustus 532 

Tank. Herman N 427 

Teig, Carl 558 

Teig. Edward 585 

Teig. O. M 579 

Teigen. Anton 393 

Teigen, Lars 357 

TerHaar, Henry 442 

Thielvoldt, Henry 384 

Thomas, James B 335 

Thomas, Joseph 336 

Thomas, Joseph E 378 

Thomson, John B 462 

Thoreson, Ole 560 

Thoreson, Tilbert 539 

Tollefson, Ben J 410 

Tollefson, Hans 352 

Topder. Marius 477 

Tord-en. .John 565 

Tord^en, Peter 419 


Tordsen, William . . : 480 

Tramm. Albert F 576 

Trondson, Trond 362 

Tropin, Emil 522 

Trosin, Frederick W 557 

Tusa, John 572 

Uden, Henry W 600 

I'kosick, Joi^eph 443 

Uptagrafft, John « 445 

Vacek, Joseph 625 

Vacura, Edward F 434 

Vacura, James 430 

Vagt, Otto 574 

Valgamore, Henry T 527 

Vanduzeo, Bradford F 524 

Vavricbck, Anton 582 

Voehl, Adam 444 

Voehl. Henry W 550 

Vogt, Pi ter J 361 

Von Behren, Henry 614 

Wade, Robert H 358 

Wadswortli. Isaac 562 

Wagner, Michael 474 

Wagnild, Ole J 421 

Wallace, John 1 416 

Ward, Albert W 437 

Washburn. Charles H 510 

Watland, Alfred 520 

W^azlahowsky, Frank 489 

Wesner, Reinhold C 684 

Weis, Nick W 578 

Wendelsdorf, John C 539 

Weppler. Raiser 584 

Werner. Autfust 447 

Whisney, Mike 634 

Wiebener, Claus 494 

Wiese, (iustav 520 

Wieer, O. E 485 

Wilev. Albert 401 

WiUford, Pert 533 

Winzcr. diaries 348 

Withers, Charles W 501 

Witirers. Ceorge 390 

Wold. Dr. W. W 467 

Wolff, Charles F 452 

Wood. Clark A 355 

Wood, (ieorge H 509 

Wood, Jonah H 377 

Wood. W^illiam 335 

Woolatencroft, John S 478 

Worshek. Wesley 479 

Wrede, William 652 

Yarns, Grorge B 426 

Veadicke, Herman J 422 

Youngren. Carl 567 

Zenor, Leland L 521 

Zinser, Leonard F 550 


Jackson County 





The First White Man to Set Foot on the Soil of Jackao 


ABORIGINAL DAYS— 1834-1855. 

IT WAS only a few hundred years ago 
that Christopher Columbus discover- 
ed America. That was a modem 
event in the history of the world — and 
Jackson county— according to the meas- 
urements of time employed by the archae- 
ologists and geologists. We can, in ima- 
gery, go back to that time and let our 
fancy tell us what the Jackson county of 
that day was like. Its topography was 
practically the same as we find it today. 
There were the same broad, rolling prai- 
rios, stretching as fjir as the eye might 
reach, presenting in summer a perfect 
paradise of verdure, with its vjiriegated 
hues of flowers and vegetation ; in winter 
a drearv and snow-mantled desert. The 
rivers and creeks flowed in the same 
courses as now; the lakes occupied the 
same banks. 

But to get at the beginning of the his- 
tory of Jackson county we must consider 
events that antedate the discovery of 
America by periods of time measured in 
eons — events which the most vivid imagi- 
nation cannot conceive, events which were 
never witnessed by mortal eye. We are 
informed that ages before man was made 
our earth was a mass of molten, seething 
fire; that in time this huge ball of fire 
cooled and the earth's crust was formed. 
This transformation occurred, so geolo- 

gists estimate, 100,000,000 or more years 
ago during the Archean or Beginning era, 
which extended over a period of time 
roughly estimated at 50,000,000 or more 
years. The early part of this period is 
termed Azoic, from the absence of any evi- 
dence that the earth or the sea had either 
plant or animal life. Following this came 
tlie Paleozoic time, covering a period of 
something like 36,000,000 years, an era 
cliaracterized by ancient types of life, un- 
known today. 

The next period of time is known as the 
Mesozoic time, covering the comparatively 
short period of 9,000,000 years. Our 
county was land area, during the greater 
part of this time. The floras and faunas 
of this age were gradually changing from 
tlieir primitive and ancient character of 
the Paleozoic time, but had not yet at- 
tained the comparatively modem forms of 
the succeeding era. In late Mesozoic 
days the greater part of Minnesota was 
again depressed beneath the sea, as it had 
been in ages past. 

The Cenozoic time, some 3,000,000 
}ears in length, followed, during which 
tliat part of the earth's surface now 
known as ^linnesota was lifted from the 
sea, and it has ever since remained above 
tlie water. During thj«« time there came 
into existence the present types of life, 




replacing those of the early periods. Man 
was created, dispersed over the earth, and 
developed into the several colors and 

Most wonderful and most recent of the 
wonders occurring in the making of our 
earth was the Ice age, which began some 
75,000 or 100,000 years ago and ceased 
only from 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Prior 
to the beginning of this time the earth 
had been uniformly warm or temperate, 
but about the time mentioned the north- 
ern half of North America and northern 
Slurope became enveloped with thick 
sheets of snow and ice, probably caused 
by the uplifting of the land (the surface 
was then from 2,000 to 3,000 feet higher 
than now) into extensive plateaus, which 
received snowfall throughout the year. 
The lower latitudes retained the temper- 
ate climate, thus permitting the plant and 
animal life to survive until the melting of 
the ice sheets again permitted the occu- 
pancy of the northern latitudes. Under 
the weight of the vast glaciers the land 
sank to its present level, the surface was 
ground down and evened off and made 
practically as we find it today. With the 
sinking of the land came the rapid melt- 
ing of the glaciers, though with numerous 
pauses and probably slight readvances. 

During these millions of years many 
interesting things happened in Jackson 
county. From a part of the seething, 
molten mass that composed the earth dur- 
ing the millions of years about which even 
the geologist dare not venture a guess it 
became a part of the earth's surface in the 
process of cooling. Thereafter it was suc- 
cessivelv covered with the waters of the 
sea, was raised from the depths to a high 
altitude, and was crushed back by the 
weight of the vast ice sheets. During 
these various periods its topographical fea- 
tures were formed, many changes resulting 
before nature had them fashioned to her 

liking. Bidges and hills were formed by 
the action of the ice ; depressions were left 
in which are now lakes; the water from 
the melting ice sought avenues of escape 
and formed the rivers and creeks; soils, 
rocks and minerals were spread over the 
surface; plant and animal life came into 

When Jackson county was first inhabi- 
ted by the human species is unknown. 
Archaeologists caunot even hazard a guess 
when the American continent was first 
inhabited. There has been discovered 
evidence that man lived upon North Am- 
erican soil during the decline and closing 
scenes of the Ice age,^ some 6,000 to 10,- 
000 years ago, and probably had done so 
for a nnu-h longer period. Concerning the 
original peopling of North America, 
Warren Upham, A. M., D. Sc, in Minne- 
sota in Three Centuries, says : 

The original peopling of America appears to 
liHve taken place far longer ago by migration 
Irom northeastern A.*ia during the early 
Quaternary of Ozarkian epoch of general up- 
lift of northern regions which immediately 
piH?ceded the Ice age, and wh\ch continued 
through the early and probably the greater 
part of that age. Then land undoubtedly ex- 
tended across the present area of Bering sea. 

During Ozarkian time and the long early 
part of the Glacial period, wandering tribes, 
migrating for better food supplies or to es- 
cape from enemies, could have crossed on land 
from Asia to Alaska, and could advance south 
to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, occupying 
all the ground (excepting the ice covered 
area) that is now, or was in pre-Columbian 
times, the home of the American race. It is 
not improbable, too, that another line of very 
ancient migration, in the same early Pleisto- 
cene or Quaternary time, passed from western 
Europe by the Faroe islands, Iceland, and 
Greenland, to our continent. 

When civilized man first came to the 

new world he found it peopled with a 

savage race which he called Indians. They 

had no knowledge of their own ancestry 

nor of any peoples who may have preceded 

them. Whether or not tliis race supplanted 

one of a higher civilization is a (|iiestion up- 

'Traccs of man's presence during: this period 
haVe been found in a fiood plain of the Mlssis- 
sipj>l river at Little Falls. Minnesota, and In 
ctlier parts of the United States. 



on which archaeologists disagree.^ The only 
sources of information available concern- 
ing the early inhabitants are the imple- 
ments of warfare and domestic use they 
made, found in burial places and elsewhere 
in the land. The Mississippi valley is pro- 
lific in mounds — the burial places of these* 
ancient peoples — many haying been found 
and excavated in Minnesota, Scattered 
through the Des Moines valley and around 
the lakes of the vicinity have been found 
many of these interesting works of pre- 
historic davs. 

At least one such mound in Jackson 
oountv has been excavated. In 1871 a solid 
^tone ball, about two inches in diame- 
ter, made round by primitive tools, was 
plowed out of the ground on the farm of 
Mr. Hans Chesterson, a short distance 
west of Jackson. A mound in the vi- 
cinity was excavated by Jackson people 
two vears later. The mound was semicir- 
cular and several feet high, the outer line 
of the embankment being broken in sev- 
eral places. In one of the larger mounds 
a part of a man's leg bone was found. The 
excavation was not pursued extensively 
and nothing else of interest was un- 

Wliile we have little knowledge of the 
very early peoples who inhabited our state, 
from the middle of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, when white men first came to the 
northwest, we can trace the history quite 

The two principal tribes that inhabited 

^"It was formerly thought by many archaeolo- 
^8ts. twenty-flve to fifty years ago, that the 
mounds of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys 
were built by a prehistoric people, distinct from 
the Indians and further advanced in agricul- 
ture and the arts of civilization. To that an- 
cient people the name of Mound Builders was 
given, and if was supposed that they were 
driven southward into Mexico by incursions of 
the Indian tribes that were found in our coun- 
try at the first coming of white men. This 
view, however, has been generally given up. 
The researches of Powell and other specialists, 
including Wlnchell and Brower in Minnesota, 
have well referred the building of the mounds 
to the ancestors of the present Indians." — 
Warren Upham in Minnesota in Three Centur- 

'Jackson Republic, August 30, 1873. 

Minnesota from the time of our firat 
knowledge of tlie country, until they were 
supplanted by white men, and whose 
hunting grounds long included all this 
area, until ceded by treaties, were the 
Ojibways, ranging tlirough the northern 
forest region, and the Sioux or Dakotas, 
who originally inhabited the southern and 
western prairie portions of the state. 
Bands from four other tribes of Indian 
peoples have temporarily lived in the state, 
these being the Ilurons, Ottawas, Winne- 
bagos and Crees. 

The Sioux tribe, which chiefly concerns 
us, came originally from the Atlantic 
coast, in Virginia and the Carolinas. Sev- 
eral centuries before the discovery of Am- 
erica they migrated from that eastern 
country, by way of the Ohio river, and 
eventually located on the prairies west of 
the Mississippi river. The name of this 
nation is a contraction of Nadouessis or 
Nadouesioux, which is the name used for 
the tribe by the very early explorers, and 
which was given to these people by the 
Ojibways and other Algonquins. The or- 
iginal name is a term of hatred, meaning 
snakes or enemies. Naturally the Sioux 
disliked this name, and they called them- 
selves, collectively, Dakotas, which means 
confederates or allies. 

When knowledge was first gained of the 
Sioux or Dakota Indians there wer^ three 
great tribal divisions, namely, the Isantis, 
residing about the he.idwaters of the Mis- 
sissippi; the Yanktons, who occupied the 
TQ^ion north of the Minnesota river; and 
the Titonwans, who had their hunting 
grounds west of the Yanktons. 

Wlien white men began making homes 
in tliis frontier country they gained more 
definite knowledge of the natives than had 
been secured by the infrequent explorers. 
We, being chiefly interested in that branch 
of the Sioux nation which partially inhab- 
ited and wholly claimed the southern 



part of the state, are fortunate that defi- 
nite and reliable information of these 
bands was secured and has been preserved. 
General H. H. Sibley, who was an authori- 
ty on Indian affairs because of his inti- 
mate relations with the natives in his ca- 
pacity as head trader for one of the big 
fur companies, has described the Indian 
bands of this section a? he found them in 

The M^daywakantons, or People of the 
Leaf, comprised seven bands who could 
bring into the field about six hundred 
warriors. 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^rairie, 
where the citv of Winona now stands; 
at Eed Wing and Kaposia, on the Mis- 
sissippi river; on the lower Minnesota, 
below Shakopee, where there were three 
bands; and on lake Calhoun, near Minne- 
apolis. The Wahpakootas, or People of 
the Shot Leaf, were in villages on Cannon 
lake, a short distance from the present 
city of Faribault, and a few other points, 
and they numbered about one hundred 
fifty warriors. The lower Wahpatons 
were located at Little Bapids, Sand Prai- 
rie and on the banks of the Minnesota not 
far from Belle Plaine. The lower Sis- 
setons occupied the regions around Tra- 
verse des Sioux (near St. Peter), Swan 
lake and the Cottonwood river, their pos- 
sessions extending to the Coteani des Prai- 
ries of extreme southwestern Minnesota. It 
was this branch of the Sioux which claim- 
ed jurisdiction over and title to the pres- 
ent day Jackson county, although they 
did not have their permanent homes here. 
The upper Wahpaton tribe had its villages 
on the shores of the Lac qui Parle. The 
upper Sissetons were on Big Stone lake 
and Lake Traverse. 

These tribes also claimed a generous 
part of northern Iowa and portions of 

South Dakota. It was never entirely dear 
by what right the Sioux claimed this part 
of Iowa or even the extreme southwestern 
j)art of Minnesota. They had never made 
l)ermanent location thereon, and, indeed, 
the only occasions when they had visited 
these districts were at the times of their 
excursions against the Sacs and Foxes of 
the upper Des Moines, or when they were 
in search of buffalo in that region or about 
lake Shetek.* Their muniments of title 
were vague and imperfect. After having 
been driven from the country east of the 
Mississippi by the Chippewas, they had 
crossed to the west bank and driven a band 
of Iowa Indians from the country about 
Fort Snelling and established themselves 
along tlie Mississippi and Minnesota riv- 

In addition to the tribes of the Sioux 
nation mentioned above as inhabiting and 
claiming southern Minnesota was another 
small, outlawed band of Sisseton Sioux 
ancestry, under the leadership of Inkpa- 
duta, with whom we shall become well ac- 
quainted before this history closes. Ink- 
paduta and his band occasionally visited 
southwestern Minnesota, his favorite 
Jiaunts during these visits being the Des 
Moines river country and the country 
about the Okoboji lakes. They were out- 
laws from the Sioux, were not partici- 
pants in any treaty, and had no rights of 
possession to land in any part of the 
country more than a pack of wandering, 
ravenous wolves might have to the same 
land. The band had no permanent abid- 
ing place or home, but roamed over north- 
we.-stern Iowa and southwestern lilinnesota 
from the present location of Des Moines, 
Iowa, to that of Eedwood Falls, Minne- 

At the time of the earliest settlement of 
Iowa and Minnesota this band was under 
the leadership of Sidominadota, a SisFe- 

'•Warren Upham In Minnesota In Three Cen- 



ton Sioux. Sidominadota was known far 
and wide for his audacity, bravery and dis- 
regard of the restraints of the white 
man's law and the rights of the Indians. 
This reputation caused the discontented 
and lawless element of the other bands to 
flock to his standard, until at one 
time the band numbered three hundred. 
But when treaties were made with the 
United States and annuities were to be 
granted most of those who had forsaken 
the other bands returned to them, so as 
to be sure of their annuities, so that at 
the time of the settlement of north-western 
Iowa and southwestern Minnesota the 
band of outlaws did not exceed fifty war- 

The whole of the state of Minnesota 
west of the Mississippi river was in undis- 
puted possession of the aborigines until 
1851. The fine, fertile expanse of coun- 
try of southern Minnesota was ground 
upon which the white man dare not lo- 
cate. But the tide of immigration to the 
west set in and settlers were clamoring 
for admission to the rich lands west of 
the Mississippi. In time the legal bar- 
rier was removed. 

In the spring of 1851 President Fill- 
more, at the solicitation of residents of 
Minnesota territory, directed that a treaty 
with the Sioux be made and named as 
commissioners to conduct the negotiations 
Governor Alexander Ramsey, ex-officio 
Indian commissioner for Minnesota, and 
Luke Lea, the national commissioner of 
Indian affairs. These commissioners com- 
pleted a treaty with the Sisseton and Wali- 
paton bands — the upper bands, as they 
were usually called — at Traverse des 
Sioux (near the present site of St. Peter) 
during the latter part of July, 1851. Im- 
mediately afterward the commissioners pro- 
ceeded to Mendota (near St. Paul), where 
they were successful in making a treaty 

•Jareb Palmer In Lakefleld Standard, Febru- 
ary 8, 1896. 

witli the Wahpakoota and MMaywakanton 

The treaties were ratified, with import- 
ant amendments, by congress in 1852. 
The amended articles were signed by the 
Indians in September, 1852, and in Feb- 
ruary of the next year President Fillmore 
proclaimed the treaties in force. By this 
important proceeding the future Jackson 
county passed from the ownership of the 
Sioux to the United States government, 
and the former owners took up their 
residence on the north side of the Minne- 
sota river. 

The territory ceded by the Indians was 

declared to be : 

All their lands in the state of Iowa and also 
all their lands in the territory of Minnesota 
lying east of the following line, to- wit: Be- 
ginning at the junction of the Buffalo river 
with the Red River of the North [about 
twelve miles north of Moorhead, in Cl&j 
county] ; thence along the western bank of 
said Red River of the North to the mouth of 
the Sioux Wood river; thence along the west- 
ern bank of said Sioux Wood river to Lake 
Traverse; thence along the western shore of 
said lake to the southern extremity thereof; 
thence in a direct line to the juncture of 
Kampeska lake with the Tehan-ka-sna-du-ta, 
or Sioux River; thence along the western 
bank of said river to its point of intersection 
with the northern line of the state of Iowa; 
including all islands in said rivers and lakes. 

The territory purchased from the four 
Sioux hands was estimated to comprise 
about 33,750,000 acres, according to Mr. 
Thomas Iluglies' computation, of which 
more than nineteen millions acres were 
in Minnesota, nearly three million acres 
in Iowa, and more than one million, seven 
hundred fiftv thousand acres in what is 
now South Dakota. The ceded lands in 
Iowa were north of Bock river, and also 
included the country around Estherville, 
Emmetsburg and Algona, extending east- 
ward by the town of Osage almost to Cres- 
co, tlio county seat of Howard county. 
The aggregate price paid was about twelve 
and one-half cents per acre. 

Wliite men first penetrated the north- 
west country to the present state of MIn- 



nesota in the middle of the seventeenth 
century (1655-56). In 1683 the first map 
on which physical features of Minnesota 
are pictured was published in connection 
with Hennepin^s writings. This map is 
very vague and demonstrates that very 
little was known of the northwest country. 
Five years later, in 1688, J. B. Franque- 
lin, a Canadian French geographer, draft- 
ed for King Louis XVI. of France a 
more detailed map of North America, 
making use of information gathered by 
Joliet and Marquette, LaSalle, Hennepin, 
DuLuth and others. Some of the princi- 
pal streams and lakes are marked and 
more or less accurately located, among 
others the B. des Moingene (Des Moines). 
There is no evidence to show that any of 
these had visited the upper Des Moines 
river country, and the data for the greater 
part of the map were doubtless secured 
from the Indians. 

A few French explorers, named above, 
had penetrated to several points within 
the present boundaries of our state, but 
none of them had explored the southwest- 
ern portion. In 1700 LeSueur ascended 
the Minnesota river and furnished data 
for a more or less authentic map of south- 
western Minnesota, so far as the larger 
and more important physical features are 
concerned. This mop was made by Wil- 
liam DeUisle, royal geographer of France, 
in 1703. For the first time the Minnesota 
river appeared upon a map, being labeled 
R. St. Pierre of Mini-Sota. The Des 
Moines also has a place on the map, being 
marked Des Moines or le Moingona R., 
and its source was definitely located. 
There is nothing in the writings of Le 
Sueur,, however, to lead to the belief that 
he had visited the Des Moines river coun- 
try, his explorations having been confined 
to the country along the Minnesota. 
Another map, made by Buache in 1754, 
was compiled from data furnished Sieur 

de la Verendrye by an Indian. The river 
which flows through Jackson county was 
thereon marked Moingona. 

After LeSueur had penetrated to the 
southwestern part of the state in 1700 that 
portion of the country was not again 
visited by white men until QQ years later, 
so far as we know. In November, 1766, 
Jonathan Carver ascended the Minnesota 
river and spent the winter among the 
Sioux in the vicinity of the present city 
of New Ulm. He remained with the In- 
dians until April, 17G7, and learned their 
language. It is possible, but not probable, 
that Carver during this time may have 
visited the country which is now included 
within the boundaries of Jackson county, 
for he hunted with the Indians over some 
of the great plains of southwestern Min- 
nesota which, '^according to their account 
[the Indians], are unbounded and prob- 
ably terminate on the coast of the Pacific 

From the very earliest days wandering 
and adventurous white traders, bartering 
weapons and trinkets of civilized manu- 
facture for the prized beaver furs of the 
Indian hunters, had penetrated to the 
wilds of the northwest, closely following 
the explorers. So early as 1700-01 when 
TjeSueur was on the Minnesota river a 
number of these adventurers were report- 
ed as having been encountered. It seems 
highly probable that some of these reck- 
less frontiersmen had penetrated to the 
upper De? Moines region before the coun- 
try was known to the world through the 
published reports of the explorers of this 
region. But these men were trappers and 
traders, not historians, and left no records 
of their doings. What wonderful tales of 
adventure could be recorded of the early 
history of Jackson county if the lives of 
these men could be learned! 

When Joseph Nicollet visited the up- 
per Des Moines in the late thirties he 



mentioned having found evidence, or hav- 
ing been informed by the Indians, that 
the fur traders of an earlier dav, after 
having wintered on the upper Des Moines, 
had departed from a point within the lim- 
its of the present Jackson county with 
their furs. It was their custom to leave 
the Des Moines near the northern line 
of Jackson county and strike the headwa- 
ters of the Watonwan, follow down that 
s-lream, the Blue Earth and tlie Minneso- 
ta to the Mississippi.'^ When the first per- 
manent settlers came to Jackson county 
in 185G there was verv little evidence of 
the operxitions of these former day trap- 
pers and traders.^ 

While a number of explorers had visited 
other parts of Minnesota, and a few set- 
tlements had been established, during the 
early part of the nineteenth century, none 
of them penetrated to the southwest cor- 
ner. In 1835 a government expedition, 
commanded by Lieutenant Albert Miller 
I^a, of the regular army, traversed the 
area of what is now the state of Iowa 
and advanced into the south edge of Min- 
nesota, although he did not visit Jackson 
county. With him were three companies 
of infantrv, five four-mule teams, and sev- 
eral pack horses. Lieutenant Lea trav- 
eled northward along the divide between 
the tributaries of the Des Moines and Mis- 
sissippi rivers, passed the site of the Min- 
nesota city which now bears his name, and 
continued to lake Peppin. From there 
he started on the return trip, going in a 
southwesterly direction across the head- 
waters of the Cedar and Blue Earth riVers 
to the Des Moines "river, which he came 
to south of the Jackson count v line. Lieu- 
tenant Lea proceeded down the river in a 
canoe to ascertain if it were practicable 

•Report Minnesota Geoloerlcal Survey, 1884, 
'The Jackson RepubUc of March 19, 1870. 
stated that when the first settlers came there 
was evidence to be found of an old French 
trading post, located about six miles up the 
river from Jackson, but I have been unable to 
find other sources of information to confirm * 
this statement. 

to bring supplies up that stream for a 
fort. He sounded, meandered and plat- 
ted the river, and after his return to win- 
ter quarters published a book and map, 
giving the history of the journey. His 
trip led to the improvements that were 
afterward made in the Des Moines river 
by the government. 

It was not until the late thirties that 
our immediate vicinity became known and 
was mapped. Catlin, Schoolcraft, Feath- 
erstonhaugh, Allen, Keating and Long 
were early explorers to the wilds of Min- 
nesota, but they confined themselves to 
the ready routes of travel, passing through 
the country in a single season. But in 
1836 appeared one who crossed the upper 
Mississippi country in all directions, 
spending several years, winters included, 
in preparing data for his map, which was 
published after his death in 1843. This 
was Joseph Nicolas Nicollet,^ who was the 
first white man, of record, to set foot on 
the soil of Jackson county.® The princi- 
pal aid of Mr. Nicollet in his explorations 
in Minnesota was Lieutenant John C. 
Fremont, later the nominee of the repub- 
lican party for president of the United 

Nicollet gave names to many lakes, 
streams and other physical features or 
adopted those which were current, and the 
map shows the scope of his explorations. 
The countrv' of which Jackson county 
forms a part was labeled "Sisseton Coun- 
try/' he finding that branch of the Sioux 
in possession. He specially mentions a 
visit to the red pipestone quarries, which 
he made in July, 1838. He found that 
the region west of the Mississippi had 

*Do not confound with Jean Nicollet, an 
American pioneer from France, who visited the 
country nearly two hundred years earlier. 

'It is possible that Kicollet did not In person 
visit Jackson county, but certainly some of his 
party did. Owing: to his premature death much 
of a historical nature concerning this region 
WPS lo««t. He had notes for a work of several 
volumes, relating principally to what is now 
Minnesota, and he had only fairly started the 
work when he died. 



several plateaus, or elevated 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 Orand Bois (wooded heights). 
Nicollet described the Coteau des Prairies 
as a vast plain, elevated 1916 feet above 
the level of the ocean and 890 feet above 
Big Stone lake, lying between latitudes 43 
and 46 degrees, extending from north- 
west to southeast for a distance of two 
hundred miles, its width varying from fif- 
teen to forty miles. On the map he marks 
it as extending from a point a short dis- 
tance northwest of lake Traverse in a 
southeasterly direction into Iowa, and in- 
cluding the western part of the present 
Jackson county. The explorer described 
it as a beautiful country, from whose 
summit grand views were afforded, said 
that at the eastern border particularly, 
the prospect was magnificent beyond de- 
scrfption, extending over the immense 
green turf that forms the basin of the 
Red River of the North, the forest clad 
summit of the Hauteurs des Terres that 
surround the sources of the Mississippi, 
the gigantic valley of the upper Minne- 
sota, and the depressions in which are 
lakes Traverse and Big Stone. 

That Nicollet or some of his party visi- 
ted Jackson county is evidenced by the 
*fact that several natural features of the 
county with which we are familiar were 
given names and quite accurately located. 
That he did not visit all parts of the 
countv is also evident from his failure to 
find Heron lake, that big body of wa- 
ter in the northwest part. His map locates 
quite accurately the ^foingona (Des 
Moines) river and locates the source of 
that stream.* He gives prominence to a 
lake which he calls Tchan-Shetcha, or 
Dry Wood lake (undoubtedly Fish lake), 

which is just to the east of the Des Moines 

Mr. Nicollet calls attentioli to the hy- 
drographical relation of the Des Moines 
river with the Blue Earth, the Minnesota 
and the Mississippi. He stated that the 
Blue Earth, by means of its tributary, 
the Watonwan, had one of its sources in 
lake Tchan-Shetcha and that the land sep- 
arating this lake from the Des Moines was 
not more than a mile or a mile and a half 
in width.^^ Thus, he stated, a short ca- 
nal would bring the Des Moines into com- 
munication with the Minnesota. He learn- 
ed that this interesting fact had former- 
ly been taken advantage of by the fur 
traders, who, after wintering on the head- 
waters of the Des Moines, found it con- 
venient to bring their peltries by water 
communication through the Watonwan 
vallev and the Blue Earth to the Minne- 
sota and thence to the mouth of that 
river. On the map the space between the 
river and the lake is marked "portage." 

On this remarkable map of 1843 Spir- 
it lake is shown with its present name. 
One or two of the lakes in Minneota town- 
ship are shown but are not named. Other 
lakes in the vicinity which are shown and 
named are Okebene '(Okabena), Ocheye- 
dan, Talcot and Shetek. Nicollet's work 
was of inestimable value to Minnesota, by 
reason of the thoroughness of his explora- 
tion and the reasonable accuracy of his 
map, which became the official map of 
the country. 

Tlie next record we have of white men 
visiting Jackson county was in 1844, when 
Captain J. Allen passed through it, up the 
Des Moines river. Upon approaching the 
region of the line separating Iowa from 
Minnesota Captain Allen speaks of becom- 

"The location of this lake as given by Mr. 
Nicollet is latitude 43 degrrees, 45 minutes, and 
longitude 95 deuces. 12 minutes, which is the 
location of Heron lake according: to the sur- 
veys. However, he could, by no possibility, 
have meant Heron lake. 

"Fish lake is about one and three-quarters 
miles from the Des Moines. 



ing penned among numerous lakes and of 
being compelled to cross a narrow strait 
by swimming two hundred yards. This 
place was probably a narrow spot in Swan 
lake, in Emmet county, Iowa. From there 
he sent a party to examine the country 
to the east, and they proceeded to Iowa 
lake, on the'boundan' line, and explored 
its outlet toward the east and into the 
east chain of lakes in Martin county. They 
reached the conclusion that the water of 
these lakes was tributary to the Blue 

Allen and his part}' continued north 
tlirough Jackson county, camping at Eagle 
lake and at Independence lake. When 
he reached what is now Christiania town- 
ship, near Windom, he described the coun- 
try as a "wonderfully broken surface, i*is- 
ing and falling in high knobs and deep ra- 
vines, with numerous little lakes in the 
deep valleys, some of them clear and pret- 
ty and others grassy .'' A party visited the 
Blue Mounds and found an artificial 
mound of stone on the highest peak. 

At lake Talcott Captain Allen left his 
men in camp for a rest while he himself 
visited lake Shetek, which he named lake 
of the Oaks. By observation of the sxm 
with a small sextant he located this lake 
in latitude 43 degrees, 57 minutes, 32 sec- 
onds, but as a matter of fact it is some- 
what above latitude 44 degrees. He de- 
scribed the lake as being remarkable for 
a singular arrangement of the peninsulas 
running into it from all sides and for a 
heavy growth of timber that covered these 
peninsulas and the borders of the lake. 
AUen pronounced lake of the Oaks to 
be the highest source of the Des Moines 
worth noticing as such, though he also 
mentions an inlet coming in from the 
north, *^ut of no size or character.'* 

From lake Shetek the expedition con- 
tinueil northward thirty-seven miles, 
crossing the Cottonwood and Redwood 

rivers, and then proceeded eastward to the 
St. Peter's (Minnesota) river. From the 
mouth of the Redwood the southern shore 
of the St. Peter's was explored for a dis- 
tance of several miles each way. Return- 
ing to lake Shetek^ the expedition set out 
for the west, reached the Big Sioux river 
and proceeded down that stream to its 

Concerning the big game found on the 
upper Des Moines and other parts of the 
country visited. Captain Allen wrote: 

From Lizard creek of the Des Moines to the 
source of the Des Moines, and tHence east to 
the St. Peter's, is a range for elk and common 
deer, but principally elk. We saw a great 
manv of the elk: thev were sometimes seen , 
in droves of hundreds, but were always dif- 
ficult to approach and very difficult to over- 
take in chase, except with a Heet horse and 
over good ground. No dependence could be 
placed upon this game in this country for the 
subsistence of troops marching through it. 

Twenty-five miles west of the source of the 
Des Moines we struck the range of the buf- 
falo and continued in it to the Big Sioux 
river and down that river about eighty-six 
miles. Below that we could not see any re- 
cent signs of them. We found antelope in 
the same range with the buffale, but no elk 
and very seldom a common deer. While 
among the buffalo we killed as many as we 
wanted and without trouble. 

This completes the record of early ex- 
ploration of our county, and we find that 
when Minnesota territorv was created in 
1849 the southwestern portion of the ter- 
ritory was a \'ferital)le terra incognita. 
The land was still in undisputed owner- 
ship of the Sioux bands, and white men 
had no rights whatever in the country. 
Return I. Holcombe, in Minnesota in 
Three Centuries, tells of the conditions in 
southern Minnesota at the time the terri- 
tory was formed: 

Westward of the Mississippi river the coun- 
try was unexplored and virgin. There were 
wide expanses of wild and trackless prairie, 
never traversed by a white man, which are 
row the highly developed counties of south- 
ern and southwestern Minnesota, with their 
fine and flourishing cities and towns and the 
otVer institutions that make for a state's 
eminence and greatness. Catlin had passed 
from Little Rock to the pipestone quarry; 
Nicollet and his surveying party had gone 



over the same route and hail traveled along 
tlie Minnesota. Siblev and Fremont had clias- 
ed elk over the prairies in what are now 
Steele, Dodge, Freeborn and Mower counties; 
the Missouri cattle drovers had led tlieir herds 
to Fort Snelling and up to the Ked river reg- 
ions, but in all, not fifty white men had pass- 
ed over the tract of territory now comprising 
southern and southwestern Minnesota when 
the territory was organized in 1849. 

The treaty with the Sioux Indians, 
made in 1851, ratified in 18r)2, and pro- 
claimed early in 1853, threw open to set- 
tlement the whole of eouthem Minnesota, 
and soon thereafter settlements bepan to 
make their appearance in the eastern por- 
tion, although it was some years later 
when white settlers penetrated to the fu- 
ture Jackson countv. 

The line between the state of Iowa and 
the territory of ^linnesota was surveyed 
in 1852. Tlie engineers began at the 
southwest corner of Minnesota about the 
first of August and ran their line east- 
ward, reaching the southwest corner of 
Jackson county on August 8.'^ They 
located the line along the southern boun- 
dary of Jackson county, and proceeded on 
their way eastward. 

In 1853 Captain J. L. Keno executed 
a survey for a military wagon road from 
the mouth of the Big Sioux river, at Sioux 
City, to Mendota, at the mouth of the 
Minnesota, but the map of his survey was 
not published. He crossed the Des Moines 
river in Iowa and after traveling ten miles 
farther entered Minnesota and ])(>ssibly 
touched Jackson county. He crossed 
branches of the Watonwan and Blue Earth 
rivers and laid out his road along the 
wast bank of the Blue Earth to its un- 
ion with the Minnesota, thence to Manka- 
to and on to Mendota. 

The vears 1854, 1855 and 185G, were 
remarkable ones in Minnesota territory 
bv reason of the immense tide of immi- 
gration pouring in and the consequent 
activity and legitimate and "wild cat" real 

"Surveyors' Field Notes. 

estate operations. So early as 1852 the 
real estate speculative era had commenced 
in St. Paul and the older settlements 
along the eastern border of the territory. 
Illustrative of the times in St. Paul at 
that early date is tiie following, which was 
written by a correspondent of the Pitts- 
burgh Token who was in St. Paul in the 

fall of 1852: 

My etirs at every turn are saluted with 
everlasting din. Land! Land! Money! Spec- 
ulation! Saw mills! Town lots! etc., etc. 
I turn away sick and disgusted; land at 
breakfast, land at dinner, land at supper, and 
until eleven o'clock, land; then land in bed 
until their vocal organs are exhausted, then 
they dream and groan out land, land! Every- 
thing is artificial, floating, the excitement of 
trade, speculation and expectation is now 
running high, and will perhaps for a year or 
so, but it must have a reaction. 

During 1853 and 1854 there were large 
accessions of population to the eastern 
part of the territory ; roads were construc- 
ted ; farms were opened in the wilderness ; 
villages sprang into existence in many 
pai-ts of the frontier. During these years 
the settlements did not extend to the west- 
ern and southwestern parts of the ter- 
ritory, but during the next few years the 
human flow poured in and spread out in- . 
to nearly all parts of Minnesota. The 
fever of real estate speculation, which had 
been only feebly developed before, now at- 
tacked all clashes. Enormous and rapid 
profits were made hy speculators who had 
the fora^ight and courage to venture. 
Thousands of acres of Minnesota lands 
which had been secured from the govern- 
ment in 1854 for $1.25 per acre sold the 
following year for $5.00. 

Not only to Minnesota, but to all parts 
of the upper Mississippi valley, came the 
grand rush of homeseekers, who spread 
out over the rich lands of Iowa, Minneso- 
ta, Kansas and Nebraska. These hordes 
of immigrants did not take all the lands 
as they went along but were constantly 
pushing out onto the frontier. The reason 
of this is easily understood. Nearly all 



who were coining out to the northwest 
country were from the eastern and central 
states, where timber was abundant, and 
they were loth to settle on the prairie very 
far from timber and water. In fact, so 
discriminating were they that few were 
willing to settle where they could not 
have timber and prairie land adjoining! 
In consequence the settlements in the 
new countrv were confined to narrow belts 
along the streams and around the lakes, 
where groves of timber were usually found. 
So soon as the desirable claims were taken 
in one locality some adventurous immi- 
grant would strike out across the track- 
less prairie in search of a place where he 

could have first choice of claims. He 
would soon be followed by others and a 
new settlement would be founded. By 
reason of this the settlements were oftai 
thirty or forty miles apart, while the dif- 
ferent inhabited portions of the same 
stream were often ten or fifteen miles 
apart. In this way settlers were constant- 
ly pushing out onto the extreme frontier 
in search of suitable places to build homes 
for themselves and their families, many 
times not waiting for the Indians to leave, 
but moving among them. 

Under conditions such as these Jackson 
county received its first settlers. 





HUNDREDS of immigrants had 
come to the upper Mississippi 
valley during the first half of 
the fifties, suitable places of residence had 
been found to the east and south of the 
present Jackson county but none had pen- 
erated to the sightly locations on the up- 
per Des Moines. Jackson county was with- 
out a permanent settler until the summer 
of 1856.^ That year, from July to De- 
cember, some forty people, including wom- 
en and children, came to the Des Moines 
river country of Jackson county. They 
erected about a dozen log cabins along the 
river, extending from a point a few miles 
south of the present village of Jackson to 
a point seven or eight miles north of the 
village (most of the cabins being in the 
timber in the vicinity of Jackson) and set- 
tled as permanent residents. 

*Mr. D. S. Oapper, In an Interview In tl)e 
Jackson Republic of August 30. 1873. claimed to 
have been the first white settler to locate in 
Jackson county, stating that he had come from 
the Boone river country, in Iowa, squatted on 
a claim Just east of the Des Moines river near 
the Biichael Miller farm on section 30, Wiscon- 
sin township, resided there three years, and 
left in December, 1856. He said that he broke 
up ground and raised crops and that when the 
settlers of 1856 came he assisted them in build- 
ing their cabins. He recounted many a tussle 
he had had with the Indians who infested the 
country and stated that buffalo and elk were 
here in abundance. The reason I have not in- 
corporated this data in the text is because there 
is good cause to doubt its authenticity. If Mr. 
Crapper resided in Jackson county when he is 
made to say he did, the fact was unknown to 
the settlers who located in the vicinity in 1856. 
He may have been in Jackson county In an 
early day but that he ever resided here is 
doubtful. He was known as a resident of the 
Boone river country. 

The credit of becoming the first white 
settlers of Jackson county is generally 
(and rightfully) given to three brothers, 
William, George and Charles Wood, who 
came during the month of July, 1856,* 
and located on land which now comprises 
the principal business and residence sec- 
tion of the village of Jackson. William 
Wood seems to have been the leading spir- 
it of the brothers.^ Early in the fifties 
he had left his Indiana home and gone to 
the new village of Mankato, where he 
joined Robert Wardlow, a dealer in gener- 
al merchandise. Much of the trade of 
these days was with the Indians and Wil- 
liam Wood had ample opportunity to be- 
come acquainted with the aborigines, fre- 
quently making trips to the interior coun- 

On one such occasion, in 1854, Mr. 
Wood, in the discharge of his duties as 
Indian trader, and also while cruising and 
looking about for a location in which to 
make a future home for himself and his 
mother's large family, came upon the 
sightly location of the present village of 
Jackson. Early in 1856 he returned to 
his mother's home in Bidgeville, Randolph 

5"I think Mr. [William] Wood was the first 
to take a claim in what is now Jackson county, 
for some time during the winter [of 1856-57] 
he told me that he had selected his claim some 
time in July." — Jareb Palmer in Lakefleld Stand- 
ard, December 7, 1895. 

'See biogrraphlcal section for sketches of the 
lives of the Woods. 




county, Indiana, and proposed that George 
Wood, who was then the head of the fam- 
ily, and Charles Wo6d, who was a boy of 
fifteen or sixten years of age, should go 
with him to the new and promising coun- 
try which he had discovered and there 
prepare a home for themselves and their 
aged mother and her family. The sug- 
gestion was approved by the other mem- 
bers of the family, and in July the three 
brothers arrived on the banks of the Des 
Moines river to make their homes.* 

Believing that the site was one favor- 
able for trading with the Indians who 
roamed over the country and with white 
settlers who would in time be sure to spy 
out and locate in this beautiful spot, the 
brothers decided to establish a trading 
post. In accordance with the custom of the 
times in Minnesota, it was also deemed 

an individual farm claim under the pre- 
emption law (there was no homestead law 
at the time) of 160 acres, and in partner- 
ship a half section for a townsite. The 
townsite included the whole of the second 
bench — the residence portion of the pres- 
ent village — and the farm claims included 
the business portion of the present Jack- 
son village and extended across the river.*^ 
The Woods naoned their proposed town 
Springfield because of the fact that there 
was a spring on it near where they built 
their cabin. The townsite was not platted 
by surveyors, but was simply held in an- 
ticipation of the time when settlers should 
come in sufficient numbers to warrant the 
building of a town. A large, one-room log 
building was erected at a point near the 
river in the northwest part of the present 
day village upon what is now the Frost 

the proper thing to lay out a town. Wil- .property. In this first building erected 

liam and George Wood each took land 
claims. As the land had not yet been 
surveyed it is impossible to tell exactly 
the boundaries of their claims, and it is 
doubtful if the brothers themselves had 
more than an indefinite idea of where 
their land was. A man by the name of 
Baker, who came through the coimtry 
about the time the brothers were locating 
their claims, said that he was a surveyor, 
aild having a compass he ran a line north 
from the state line between the townships 
of Middletown and Petersburg and be- 
tween Des Moines and Wisconsin, and 
from this line were located all the early 
day claims. In after years it was learned 
that this line was not within eighty rods 
of its proper location.- The bulk of the 
Wood brothers' land was on the west side 
of the river and included portions of sec- 
tions 24, 23, 26 and 25, Des Moines 
township. The two brothers entered upon 
a full section of government land, each 

<Mr. E. B. Wood, a brother of the Woods 
mentioned, is my authority for these state- 

in Jackson county the three brothers lived 
and conducted their store, carrying a 
stock of goods of such kind and character 
as was most salable to the settlers, who 
came soon afterward, and the Indians.* 

Almost immediately after the Wood 
brothers had located at Springfield (but 
not because of that fact) quite a number 
of settlers — all American born — came to 
the vicinity. Some selected claims and 
erected log cabins, intending to become 
permanent settlers. Others, in the spec- 
ulative spirit of the times, selected claims 
and returned to their homes, intending 
to dispose of them later and thus realize 
on their visit to the frontier. It is im- 
possible to give the dates of arrival of 
those who came during the summer and 
fall of 1856, extending over a period of 
time from July to December, but much 

■Jareb Palmer in Lakefield Standard, Decem- 
ber 7, 1895. 

•"They kept a very good assortment of goods 
for a pioneer store, but a large part of It was 
Intended for the Indian trade, as the Indians 
fished, trapped and hunted all over the adja- 
cent country and of course had much fur and 
hides to sell at figures allowing the trader fabu- 
lous profits." — Jareb Palmer. 



of a historical nature concerning these pio- 
neers has been preserved, which makes 
the history of the early settlement of 
Jackson county interesting. The greater 
part of the settlers of this year came from 
Webster City, Iowa, and the vicinity, and 
the causes that led to their settling here, 
together with the story of their settle- 
ment and incidents of the early days, will 
now be recorded." 

In the spring of 1856 a party of ex- 
plorers and homeseekers left the vicinity 
of Webster City in search of a desirable 
place to make a new settlement, most of 
the best claims in their vicinity having 
been taken. They proceeded northward and 
discovered Spirit and Okoboji lakes. On 
the banks of those lakes they staked 
claims and then returned for their fam- 
ilies and other adventurous homeseekers 
whom they thought would accompany 
them on their return and assist in set- 
tling up the beautiful country they had 

Accompanied by others, as had been 
anticipated, these men returned, only to 
find that a party of men from Red Wing, 
Minnesota, had come during their ab- 
sence and "jumped^' their claims. As 
the Red Wing party were armed and de- 
clared their intentions of fighting for 
the claims if necessary, the Webster City 
|>eople concluded to look elsewhere for 
homes. They had not long to search or 
far to go. They proceeded north and east 
and came upon the beautiful country of 
magnificent groves and rich prairie along 
the Des Moines river in Jackson county. 
Those who had families and some who did 
not staked claims and erected log cabins, 
the logs being cut from the woods along 
the river. Among the party were spec- 
ulators, who did not intend to permanent- 
ly locate but who picked out the best 
claims they could get and waited for some 

^Con^ piled largely from the writings of Jareb 

one to come along and buy their rights. 
Usually, if they had a good claim, the;^ 
did not have long to wait, for claim hunt- 
ers were plentiful. Before winter set in 
several of the claims had changed hands. 

Some of those who had come to the 
Springfield settlement, as it was called in 
honor of the Woods' townsite, returned to 
Webster City in the fall, sold their claims, 
and induced a few others to locate in. the 
new settlement. 

Among the fir?t and most prominent of 
the settlers of 1856 was James B. Thom- 
as,® who came from Webster City with 
his family, consisting of a wife and six 
children, in August. Of all the settlers 
Mr. Thomas made the best preparation for 
winter. His claim was on the east side of 
the river, probably on the southeast quar- 
ter of section 25, Des Moines township, 
where he built a comfortable two-room log 
cabin with a fireplace in each room. He 
had a number of cattle and put up suffic- 
ient hay to keep them through the win- 

John Dodson and Joseph Chiffin, bach- 
elors, were trappers who wftre also holding 
land claims. They lived in a little cabin 
on Dodson's claim, a couple of miles 
northwest of W^oods' store, probably on 
section 22. These men were partners and 
kept a few goods for the Indian trade. 
Chiffin's claim was on the east side of the 
river, northeast of the present day railroad 
bridge and on section 11. He built a 
cabin there, in which, during the first part 
of the winter, lived Robert Smith, an Eng- 
lishman, and his wife and John Hender- 
son, a Virginian, about whom the reader 
will learn more later in this chapter. Dur- 
ing the latter part of the winter they lived 
in the Wheeler cabin farther down the 
river. They took adjoining claims on the 
west side, above Woods' store, but did not 

"See biographical section for a sketch of the 
life of James B. Thomas. 



J. B. Skinner and wife located on the 
west side of the river, in the timber only 
a few rods from the river bank, proba- 
bly on section 3. There Mr. Skinner 
erected a log cabin in which he and his 
wife resided during* the early part of the 
winter, later moving down the river and 
moving into the Wheeler cabin. Farther 
up the river than Mr. Skinner, on the 
east side and probably on section 34, Bel- 
mont township, was the home of William 
Nelson, with whom lived his wife and one 
child. This family also spent the latter 
part of the winter in the Wheeler cabin, 
in the more thickly settled part of the 

William Church and family early came 
to the settlement from Webster City, and 
he erected a cabin on the east side of the 
river, a few rods south of where the ele- 
vators along the Milwaukee road now 
stand. In this cabin lived Mr. and Mrs. 
Church, their one child, Mrs. Church's 
sister. Miss Drusilia Swanger, and a young 
German, Henry Trets by name, who was 
employed by Mr. Church. Late in the fall 
Mr. Church went to Webster City to lay 
in supplies for the winter, but on account 
of the heavy snow he was unable to return 
and .was absent all winter. 

Another one of the early settlers was 
Joshua Stewart, who with his family, con- 
bisting of a wife and three children, re- 
sided in a cabin about one-half mile 
north of the Thomas home, and there he 
had his land claim. Adam P. Shiegley, a 
trapper of French descent, came to the 
claim and lived in a cabin in a large 
grove in a ravine a short distance east and 
south of the Thomas cabin. He showed 
his French proclivities by being quite 
friendly with the Indians. He was a wid- 
ower and brought to the settlement with 
him his boy of about two years of age. 
The child spent the greater part of the 
winter with the family of William Church 

and later was cared for by Mrs. Skinner. 

Among the other settlers who came to 
the Springfield settlement in 1856 were 
E. B. N. Strong (sometimes referred to 
as Dr. Strong) and family, who had a 
claim and lived in a cabin in a large 
grove on the west side of the river on what 
is now the southeast quarter of section 
36, Des Moines township. Here lived Mr. 
and Mrs. Strong, their one child, two or 
three years old, (during the winter a sec- 
ond child was born to them) and Miss 
Eliza Gardner, who had accompanied the 
family from the Okoboji settlement.® 

Two other settlers of some prominence 
in the community were David Carver an^ 
John Bradshaw, who were among the first 
to come from Webster City and build in 
the frontier settlement. Both these gen- 
tlemen erected cabins on the east side 
of the river, on section 19, Wisconsin 
township, north and east of Mr. Stewart's 
cabin, Mr. Carver's being the farther 
north. Messrs. Carver and Stewart com- 
menced building a dam across the Des 
Moines river (near the point where Major 
II. S. Bailey afterwards started a brick 
yard) but it was not completed. These 
gentlemen expected to sell the improve- 
ments to parties of means when they were 
completed. Both Carver and Bradshaw 
spent part of the winter in Webster City, 
but returned on foot early in the spring. 
During their absence their cabins were 

•"On one occasion, while on a trip to Fort 
Dodge, father fell In with a Dr. Strong: and 
prevailed upon him to visit the lakes with a view 
to settlement; but after stopping with us a few 
days he decided to locate at Springrfield. His 
family consisted of himself, wife and one child 
(two years old). His wife being In delicate 
health, and he necessarily being away much 
of the time from home, she persuaded my sis- 
ter. Eliza, to whom she became attached, to 
accompany them. This was In the month of 
October, and owing to a heavy fall of snow on 
the first of December, followed by others In 
quick succession, until the snow on the level 
was four or Ave feet and In the drifts sometimes 
fifteen or twenty, traveling was Impossible. 
Eliza was thus unable to return and so escaped 
the fate of the rest of the family." — Abble 
Gardner- Sharp In History of the Spirit Lake 



On November 27 Messrs. Jareb Pal- 
mer, Nathaniel Frost and Bartholomew 
McCarthy drove into the Springfield set- 
tlement from Webster City and became 
identified with the early history of the 
place, they being the last to arrive during 
the year 1856. As Mr. Palmer has writ- 
ten so entertainingly of this trip and of 
the events upon his arrival, I here give 
his account as it was published in the 
Jackson Republic of September 19, 1884: 

I was then residing at Webster City but 
was not a member of the parties that left 
there in the spring and summer of 1856, 
though I was acquainted with some members 
of each party, but cannot pretend to give a 
complete list of their names. Late in the 
fall some of them Returned to Webster City, 
and among them was Joseph Elliott, a young 
man who had taken a claim in Jackson coun- 
ty, theli known as the Springfield settlement. 
As he wanted to sell his claim Nathaniel Frost 
and myself bought it and began making pre- 
parations for the long and lonesome journey 
to Springfield. Bartholomew McCiirthy had 
also bought a claim of J. Griffith. 

We all three set out at the same time and 
journeyed together until the 27th day of No- 
vember, 1850, we arrived at the house of 
James B. Thomas. . . The next day we 

set about hunting up our claims. Mr. Frost's 
and mine was found to be the grove next 
south of the large grove, being, I think, on 
section 1, Middletown. 

Mr. McCarthy found his up the river, being 
the grove where Ole E. Olson,, of Belmont, 
now lives. But he found that a half-breed 
Indian by the name of Gaboo had built a 
shanty on it and was keeping an Indian trad- 
ing post there. He also claimed the grove. 
Mr. Frost accompanied Mr. McCarthy when 
he went to take possession of his claim. Ga- 
boo was unwilling to give up the claim, but 
ht invited Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Frost to 
remain over night with him, which invitation 
they gladly accepted. ' 

Gaboo had a number of Indians camped out 
near his shanty, and in the evening they set 
up a great hubub of shouts and cries and 
lamentations and curses and imprecations. The 
two lonely white men began almost to feel 
their hair rise, and inquired of the half- 
breed what it all meant. They were informed 
that the Indians were mad because the white 
men were trying to get his claim away from 
him and that they were talking of killing 
them before morning. Whether the whites 
were really alarmed or not I cannot say, but 
McCarthy finally compromised with Gaboo and 
entered into an agreement with him to pay 
him a certain amount of money on his remov- 
ing from his claim, which he agreed to do in 

the spring. After the claim dispute was thus 
satisfactorily settled the Indians quieted down 
and the white men were glad to seek their 
repose. Whether their dreams were « disturbed 
by visions of tomahawks and scalping knives 
I have never learned. In the monliBg the 
half-breed told Mr. Frost of a claim up the 
river that had quite a good grove of timber 
on it; and so Frost and M%)arthy hitched 
up their team and drove up to view it. Mr. 
Frost liked it and concluded to take it, giving 
up to me his half of the claim we had bought. 
His grove is the one near John Monson's, On 
section 6, Belmont township. 

Of these three arrivals Mr. McCarthy 
returned to his home in Webster City ear- 
ly in December, with the intention of com- 
mg back in the spring and taking pos- 
session of his claim. Mr. Palmer built a 
small cabin on his claim on section 1, 
Middletown, but made his home with Mr. 
Strong, working part of the winter for 
James B. Thomas and for the Wood broth- 
ers. Mr. Frost, who finally selected his 
claim up the river, did not build or live 
thereon during the winter but worked in 
the settlement further down the river. 

In addition to these white settlers there 
were in the settlement two Indian camps. 
One of these, already mentioned in Mr. 
Palmer's account, was located on the east 
side of the river on what is now section 
22, Belmont. This camp consisted of 
three or four families gathered about the 
trading house of Joseph Coursalle, or Ga- 
boo,^® as he was generally called, a well 
known half-breed Sioux who had come to 
the country from Traverse des Sioux. An- 
other camp of four families was located 
on the west side of the river a short dis- 
tance above Woods' store and directly east 
from Dodson's cabin. This camp was 
presided over by Smoky Moccasin, or Um- 
pashota," his Indian name, a medicine 
man with the authority of a sub-chief. The 
Indians of both these camps were ' an- 
nuity Sissetons and off-shoots from Sleepy 

*oReturn I. Holcombe, In Minnesota In Three 
Centuries, states that the name Gaboo, Is a 
corruption of Godbout. 

"Hamp-pah-Shota is the spelliner given by 
Mr. Holoombe. 




Eye's band, whose headquarters were then 
at Swan lake. 

Besides the white settlers who had be- 
come permanent residents of the Spring- 
field cx)mmunitj and spent the winter in the 
new country, quite a number of others 
had been here during the summer and 
fall. Some of these came with the inten- 
tion of becoming permanent settlers, 
erected cabins, arid then returned to their 
former homes to spend the winter. Others 
came for the purpose of staking claims 
to be disposed of later and had no inten- 
tion of living in the country. 

William T. Wheeler, a lawyer from 
Jasper county, Iowa, was one who was 
in the settlement during the summer of 
1856. He came and selected a claim with 
the intention of laying out a townsite and 
built his claim cabin a little south and 
west of the present location of the Mil- 
waukee depot. This claim and cabin were 
afterwards purchased by Joseph Thomas. 
Mr. Wheeler remained only long enough 
to erect his cabin. As has been stated, the 
Wheeler cabin was occupied during the 
latter part of the winter by several of 
the settlers from up the river. 

Others who came but did not remain 
were Bartholomew McCarthy, already 
mentioned; Joseph Elliott, who sold his 
claim to Jareb Palmer and Nathaniel 
Frost; J. Griffith," whose claim Mr. Mc- 
Carthy had bought; William Searles, who 
came from Iowa with his brother in-law 
William Nelson; and possibly a few others. 

A recapitulation shows us tliat there 
were the following named forty-two peo- 
ple residing in Jackson county during the 
fall and winter of 1856 :'« 

''Griffith was a professional claim trader and 
was quite an advertising medium for the 
Springfield settlement. 

"It will be remembered that of these Wil- 
liam Church was absent nearly all winter; 
Eliza Gardner was not a permanent resident, 
but was a visitor with the Strong family; David 
Carver and John Bradshaw were absent the 
gteater part of the winter. 

William Wood. 

George Wood. 

Charles Wood. 

James B. Thomas, wife and six child- 

John Dodson. 

Joseph Chiflfin. 

Robert Smith and wife. 

John Henderson. 

J. B. Skinner and wife. 

William Nelson, wife and one child. 

William Church, wife and one child. 

Drusilla Swanger. 

Henry Trets. 

Joshua Stewart, wife and three child- 

Adam P. Shiegley and one child. 

E. B. N. Strong, wife and two child- 

Eliza Gardner. 

Jareb Palmer. 

Nathaniel Frost. 

David Carver. 

John Bradshaw. 

The settlement consisted of thirteen cab- 
ins, of which four or five were unoccupied 
the greater part of the time. All the cab- 
ins were built of logs, cut from the near- 
by timber, and were covered with "shakes," 
lumber being used only for doors. Some 
of the cabins had floors made of punch- 
eons, while others had earth floors. Most 
of them had at least one small window. 
All of the settlers were poor so far as 
this world's goods are concerned. The 
Wood brothers and James B. Thomas were 
the most fortunate in the possession of 
property and were domiciled in the best 
cabins of the settlement. 

All had come to the settlement too late 
in the season to raise a crop or even to 
plant gardens, and only one or two had 
so much as plowed a furrow of ground. 
A few, but not all, had put up enough 
hay for the few head of stock they brought 
with them. In consequence of these con- 



ditions all kinds of provisions had to be 
hauled in from the nearest settlements^ 
which were long distances away. These 
were mostly brought in from Webster 
City, Iowa, and from Mankato, Minnesota, 
where the mail for the settlers was also 
secured. In the early part of the winter 
flour sold for $8.00 to $10.00 per hun- 
dred weight, later went to $15.00 and in 
the spring was not to be had at any price. 
Potatoes were $3.00 per bushel, beef 15 
to 20 cents per pound and other staples 
in proportion. The last team arrived 
from the outer world on November 27, 
and from that time until the last of 
March the people of the Springfield set- 
tlement were isolated. 

The winter of 1856-57 was one of the 
most severe that was ever experienced in 
the northwest country and will always be 
remembered by those who were at the 
time living on the frontier, by reason of 
its bitter coldness, deep snows and violent 
storms. On the first day of December 
began a terrific blizzard which continued 
with unabated fury for three days and 
three nights. It left the level ground cov- 
ered with two feet of snow and all the 
hollows and ravines extending into the 
prairie were drifted full, in places to a 
depth of from twenty to thirty feet. The 
storms followed each other in quick suc- 
cession all winter and into the spring. The 
snow accumulated on the sides of the 
bluffs along the river until it would break 
off and fall in an avalanche to the bot- 
tom. It was absolutely impossible to get 
about with a team except on the ice on 
the river bed. The settlers ^ere illy pre- 
pared for any winter, much less such a 
one as this, and there was much suffering 
during the long dreary season. 

It was during, and as a result of, this 
severe winter that the first death occurred 
in Jackson county. During the summer 
of 1856 a military mail route had been 

established between Mankato and Sioux 
City. This was a connecting link of a 
route extending from Fort Bidgely, in 
Minnesota, to Fort Eandall, in Dakota, 
and traversed a practically uninhabited 
country. The contract for carrying the 
mails over this part of the route was let 
to Marsh and Babcock, of Mankato, to 
whom were given, in addition to a money 
consideration, a half section of land every 
twenty miles along the route, upon which 
they were to build and maintain stations 
for the convenience of the carrier. There 
were no postoffices along the route. In the 
fall the contractors mapped out the route, 
selected their lands and buUt small cabins 
thereon, in which were stored hay for the 
carrier^s pony and small supplies of pro- 
visions for the carrier. One of these sta- 
tions was built on the river on section 17, 
Belmont township ; another was on Round 
lake, in the southwestern corner of Jack- 
son county. No one lived in these cabins 
and the carrier had to secure his fuel, 
make his fire and prepare his meals after 
having traveled, perhaps, thirty or forty 
miles through the winter storms. A man 
by the name of Hoxie Rathban was em- 
ployed as carrier, making the trip on a 
pony twice a month. 

Mr. Eathban met his death at the sta- 
tion in Belmont township on December 
26, 1856, after having been exposed to the 
terrible storms since early December. He 
had been gone so long on the trip that the 
contractors feared there miist be some- 
thing wrong, so they sent two men to look 
for the missing carrier. The story of the 
finding of this unfortunate man is told in 
the language of Mr. Jareb Palmer: 

Arriving at th^ mail station on the Des 
Moines river in this county on the 26th of 
December, they found the mail carrier there, 
but in a dying condition, being badly frozen, 
starving and unable to speak or move. He 
died a few minutes after he was found. He 
had evidently been there some time, but had 
not been able to build a fire, probably being 
loo badly frozen when he reached the cabin 



.to have sufficient 'Use of his hands to do so. 
He had lost his pony, probably in some snow 
drift, but had the mail sack all right, and in 
4t was a letter postmarked at Sioux City on 
the 6th day of December. From this circum- 
stance it was evident that he had been out 
itwenty days before he was found. His suf- 
ferings during those dreary days must have 
been terrible indeed, without the company, 
assistaoce or solaee • of a single human being. 
He had a wife and family in Mankato who 
were left to mourn his terrible death. 

The men who found Kathban had come 
tfanmgh with a horse and jumper. They re- 
mained in the cabin over night and next 
morning commenced to retrace their lonesome 

'and: perilous journey, taking the frozen corpse 
with 'them. As it happened, William Wood 
and 'Nathaniel Frost had started to Mankato 

-the same day with ox teams to bring in sup- 
plies. The two parties met near Elm creek, 
about twelve miles northeast of Springfield. 
They 'caa)»ed together for the night, and be- 
fore morning another terrible storm set in and 
they had to lay over all of the next day and 
night ^without a fire, the storm putting it 
out, but on the morning of the second day 
the storm had abated sufficiently for them to 

'make their "way back to Woods* store, and 

*not till then did any of the settlers know of 
the death of the mail carrier. 

The party laid over at Woods* store imtil 
'the 31flt djy of December, when they once 
more commeBced their toilsome journey across 
the prairie and through the deeply drifted 
snow, taking the corpse with them. They 
•were four days in reaching Mr. Slocum's, on 
the Watonwan, twenty-five miles this side of 
'Mankato, his being the first house on the 
route. 'The weather was intensely cold and 
the party suffered severely, some of them 
freezing their hands and feet. Mr. Frost was 
among the number that suffered from frost 
bites. Mr. Wood reached Mankato and pro- 
cured his supplies, but was unable to haul 
them through the deep snow, even with ox 
teams. So he left Mr. Frost to care for the 
teams and returned alone and on foot to 

^William Wood, who was a man of ex- 
traordinary grit and endurance, made two 
trips alone across the prairie to Manka- 
to dnring this winter, in addition to the 
one mentioned. While on one of these 
journeys he was overtaken by a storm at 
'Cedar lake which put out his fire and 
drifted him under, covering him with 
snow to a depth of two feet. In that con- 
dition he lay two days and two nights. 
The experience was very painful as he 
was unable to turn over, but was compel- 

led to remain in one position until the 
storm abated. Then with great difficulty 
he dragged his benumbed and stiffened 
limbs from under the snow, made a fire, 
dried his clothes and blankets, prepared 
and ate a frugal meal, and hastened on his 
journey. It is such incidents as these that 
show what these pioneers of Jackson coun- 
ty endured. 

Another incident of the winter illus- 
trates the terrible conditions of the set- 
tlers about Springfield and brought forth 
an act of heroism by a self-styled doctor, 
who performed several successful amputa- 
tions with improvised instruments. 

About the first of February Bobert 
Smith and John Henderson, who, it will 
be remembered, were living in the Chiffin 
cabin some distance up the river from the 
principal settlement, ran short of hay, 
and rather than see tlieir stock perish for 
want of food, decided to drive them to a 
settlement on the Watonwan river near 
^fankato. Preparing themselves as well 
as they could, they started out on foot one 
bright sunny morning, carrying the 
necessary provisions and a few blankets, 
driving the cattle ahead of them. Their 
progress was slow and they did not make 
more than ten miles when night came up- 
on them. The cattle were somewhat weak 
and were unable to wallow through the 
deeps drifts, so Smith and Henderson 
often had to go ahead and break a path 
for them. 

At night the men made camp on the 
bleak prairie and were without shelter and 
fire. To their dismay there came up one 
of those ever dreaded blizzards — the ter- 
ror of the prairie. So violent had the 
storm become by daybreak that they aban- 
doned their cattle, nearly all of which per- 
ished, and sought to save themselves. They 
endeavored to find their way back to the 
settlement, but owing to the blinding snow 
they could not tell in which way to pro* 



ceed. They became completely lost and 
wandered about the prairie all that day 
and all the following night. They at- 
tempted to secure shelter by digging into 
the drifts of snow with their hands. Re- 
alizing that their only hope lay in trav- 
eling until the fury of the storm abated, 
they kept on, "going by guess^' most of 
.the time. 

On the morning of the third day from 
the time they had left home the weather 
cleared and the unfortunate Smith and 
Henderson were able to discern the tim- 
ber on the Des Moines river. This gave 
them new hope and they struggled on until, 
about two o'clock in the afternoon, they 
arrived at the Wheeler cabin, badly froz- 
en and completely worn out. Fortunately 
Mr. J. B. Skinner, whose home was up 
the river, had just moved down to the 
Wheeler cabin and was on hand to ren- 
der what assistance he could to the poor 
men. Everything was done that kindheart- 
ed neighbors could do. It was found that 
one of Mr. Smith's feet was badly frozen, 
as well as both of Mr. Henderson's, whose 
hands were also badly frozen. 

There was no regular physician in the 
settlement and it was out of the question 
to attempt to send for one. Both Mr. 
Skinner and Mr. Strong bore the title of 
"doctor,'' though neither had practiced 
the profession. The latter cared for the 
unfortunate men as best he could for 
about three weeks, when it became appar- 
ent that if the men's lives were to be saved 
amputation of the limbs must be made 
at once. Mr. Strong had only a rudi- 
mentary knowledge of surgery, but he did 
not hesitate to take the only course which 
offered a possibility of saving life. Con- 
cerning the operation Mr. Jareb Palmer 
has written: 

Dr. Strong had a large medical work and 
a few common drugs but no surgical instru- 
ments. However, he seemed equal to the oc- 
casion and never seemed to doubt his ability 

to perform the necessary operations and set 
about preparing the instruments. He was a 
wagonmaker by trade and had a chest of 
tools, and out of these he manufactured some 
instruments which he thought would answer 
the purpose. The back was taken off a car- 
penter's bucksaw, knives and nippers were 
made, thread prepared for tying arteries, etc. 
He talked freely of the ways and wherefores 
of the different steps in the operation. 

Finally, everything being in readiness, on 
the night before he was to undertake the 
operations, he administered to each patient a 
large dose of laudunum, as he said, to deaden 
the nerves and alleviate the pain. Everything 
being in readiness, we repaired to the house 
where the patients were staying and proceed- 
ed to undertake the unpleasant, painful and 
dangerous operations. The doctor had called 
to his assistance Mr. Stewart and Mr. Nelson. 
1 also assisted by holding the tomiquet. It 
was about the most impleasant experience of 
my life. However, what must be done had 
to be done. With our assistance the doctor 
amputated Mr. Smith's leg below the knee, 
also one of Mr. Henderson's, but concluded 
the latter could not endure another without 
a season of rest, so he postponed the further 
operations till the next day, at which time 
Henderson's other foot was amputated. Hen- 
derson's hands were so badly frozen that he 
lost about one-half his fingers. We hardly ex- 
pected he could survive the double operation, 
but he did, owing probably to youth and a 
strong constitution. From the time of the 
operation both men seemed to get along as 
well as could be expected and they ultimately 
recovered, Henderson becoming a minister of 
the gospel and Smith a baker in a hotel at 
Fort Dodge, Iowa. 

It was here in the month of February, 
1857, on the banks of the Des Moines and 
in the midst of these primeval solitudes 
and such unpropitious surroundings that 
the first white cliild was born in Jackson 
county. The cliild was Grace Strong and 
was boni to Dr. and Mrs. E. B. N. 

Of the residents of the Springfield set- 
tlement only William Wood and Adam 
Shiegley had any extensive knowledge of 
the Indians and their ways; the others 
were ignorant of Indian customs. None 
of the settlers had the least fear of the 
Indians camped near the whites or of 
those small bands which occasionally pas- 

"Grace Strong became a temperance worker 
of national prominence and was the author of 
"The Worst Foe." a novel of more than ordi- 
nary merit. She died at Atlanta, Georgia, In 



Bed through.^^ One such band passing 
through during the winter was led by that 
noted chief Sleepy Eye, who with a few 
warriors of his band took dinner at the 
home of Dr. Strong. None of these par- 
ties had ponies with them as the snow was 
too deep for them to travel. Whenever 
these roving bands stopped at the settle- 
ment the whites invited the red visitors to 
share their shelter and food and invaria- 
bly treated them with kindness. Nor did 
the Indians appear in worse than their 
normal mood. 

Inkpadyta and his outlaw band passed 
through the settlement on their way south 
during the fall and camped on the river 
bottom near the site of the lower bridge 
in Jackson. The members of the band 
visited from house to house and were 
everywhere received kindly by the settlers, 

""The few settlers trusted the friendship of 
the Sioux implicitly, as they [the Sioux] at 
that time boasted that they had never shed 
white man's blood. During: the whole winter I 
never heard a single expression of fear or doubt 
of their friendship." — Jareb Palmer. 

who shared with them their scanty fare, 
which had previously been transported 
over many weary miles of trackless prai- 
rie. The chief and his warriors were ac- 
quainted with the Wood brothers and dur- 
ing their stay they bought some goods 
at the store, promising to make payment 
in the spring. 

The story of the Springfield settlement 
has been brought up to the month of 
March, 1857, at which time the little 
community was still snowbound, but hop- 
ing and expecting that spring would soon 
appear so that the work of farming and 
improving their claims might begin. Let 
us now interrupt the story of events at 
Springfield long enough to consider events 
that were taking place in other parts of 
the country — events which were to prove 
of terrible importance to our little band 
of frontiersmen, but of which they were at 
the time ignorant. 






TO PROPERLY understand the 
conditions that preceded, and the 
causes that led up to, the outbreak 
of Inkpaduta's little outlaw band of Sioux 
Indians, culminating in the massacres at 
the Okoboji lakes and at the Springfield 
settlement in March, 1857, it is necessary 
to go back to a very early day for some 
of our information. While the Indians 
who participated in the massacres were 
Sioux, they were members of an outlaw 
band of that nation, and the outrages of 
1857 cannot properly be charged to the 
Sioux nation. 

Except for a brief time during the 
war of 1812 the Sioux of Minnesota had 
been faithful in their friendship toward 
the whites from the time of the treaty 
made with Lieutenant Pike in 1805. This 
was true with only a few individual excep- 
tions,^ which can not be charged to the 
nation as a whole or to anv individual 
tribe. Although all of the recognized 
Sioux tribes were on friendly terms with 
the whites until the great outbreak of 
1862, in the thii-ties there separated from 
the other tribes a lawless band which were 
enemies to all other Indians and in time 
came to be troublesome to the whites. This 

*The Sisseton Sioux murdered two drovers 
near Big: Stone lake in 1846; the same tribe 
killed Elijah S. Terry near Pembina in 1852; a 
drunken Indian killed a Mrs. Keener near 
Shakopee In 1852. ' 

was the beginning of the band which con- 
ducted the horrible butcheries at Okoboji 
lakes and at Springfield. The story of the 
origin of this band and its early history is 

During the thirties the greater part of 
the Wahpakoota branch of the Sioux lived 
in the Cannon river country, and its head 
chief was Tah-sah-ghee, or His Cane. Un- 
der him was a sub-chief named Black 
Eagle, who frequently had a small village 
in the Blue Earth countr}\ Black Eagle's 
band was composed largely of desperate 
characters who frequently made incursions 
against the Sacs and Foxes in Iowa. The 
latter retaliated by raiding not only Black 
Eagle's village on the Blue EJarth, but al- 
so the main body of the Wahpakootas un- 
der Tah-sah-ghee in the Cannon .river 

About 1839 Tah-sali-ghee was murdered 
by some members of his own band. It 
was commonly believed that the murder 
was done by Inkpaduta f at any rate that 
warrior was an accomplice. The killing 
of their chief caused great consternation 
and indignation among the Wahpakootas, 
and Inkpaduta and his accomplices were 
forced to flee. They went to the Blue 

^Inkpaduta. also spelled Inkpadoota, has been 
variously translated to mean Scarlet End, Red 
End and Scarlet Point. He was born on the 
Cannon river about 1800. Mrs. Abbie Gardner- 




Earth country, where Black Eagle and 
his little band were then located, and took 
temporary refuge there. The murderers 
were soon chased out, however, by the 
Cannon river Wahpakootas, who vowed 
vengeance. The coming of Inkpaduta and 
his fellow murderers broke up the band 
of Black Eagle and that chief with some 
of his warriors fled with Inkpaduta to the 
northern Iowa countrv. 

The band was now outlawed and all In- 
dian tribes were its enemies. Blagk Eagle 
became chief and led his band to many 
adventures and over a large territory, they 
seldom comingling with other tribes. 
Prom time to time additions were made to 
the band by the arrival of some desperate 
character from one of the several Sioux 
tribes, who fled his own country by reason 
of some crime committed, and souglit ref- 
uge with the outlaw.s. Among those who 
so joined the band at an early date was 
Si-dom-i-na-do-ta,^ or All Over Bed, who 
fled from Sleepy Eye's band of Sisseton 
Sioux. Black Eagle was murdered after 
he had been chief only a short time and 
was succeeded by Si-dom-i-na-do-ta, the 
second in command being Inkpaduta. 

When the outlaw crew began its career 
it is said to have consisted of only five 
lodges. The band gradually gained 
strength by the acquisition of disorderly 
and turbulent characters until at one 
time it is said to have numbered above 

Sharp, who was taken prisoner by him, says 
In her History of the Spirit Lake Massacre: 

"As I remember Inkpaduta, he was probably 
fifty or sixty years of age, about six feet In 
height, and strongly built He was deeply pit- 
ted by smallpox, giving him a revolting ap- 
pearance and distlnRTuIshing him from the rest 
of the band. His family consisted of himself 
and squaw, four sons and one daughter. His 
natural enmity to the white man. his desparate- 
ly bold and revengeful disposition, his hatred 
of his enemies, even of his own race, his match- 
less success on the war path, won for him 
honor from his own people, distinguished him 
as a hero, and made him a leader of his race. 
By the whites — especially those who have es- 
caped the scenes of his brutal carnage, to 
wear, within, the garb of deepest mourning, 
from the severing of social, parental and filial 
ties — Inkpaduta will ever be remembered as a 
savage monster in human shape, fitted only for 
the darkest corner of Hades." 

'Also spelled Sinomminee Doota. 

five hundred and to Jiave had eighty lodg- 
es. They were almost constantly at war 
with neighboring bands, notably with the 
Pottawattomies, the Sax and the Poxes, 
and had several bloody battles with these 
tribes.* This constant warfare greatly re- 
duced the renegade band, and when white 
settlers began to gather in their territory 
they had not the power of former years. 
Later wars with the Winnebagoes reduced 
their fighting force still more. 

Of all the Sioux bands this was the 
only one that made trouble for early day 
white settlers, and they were uniformly 
hostile to all with whom they came in 
contact, fear of punishment being the 
only restraint upon their lawlessness.* The 
first instance of its hostility to the whites 
was in d846, when the band broke up, 
plundered and drove away a party of gov- 
ernment surveyors. Two years later an at- 
tack was made on another party of sur- 
veyors under Mr. Marsh, who was run- 
ning a correction line across the state of 

^Fulton's Red Men of Iowa tells of some of 
these battles: 

"Befoi^ the removal of the Pottawattomies 
and the Sax and Fox Indians this band had 
several bloody battles with these tribes. The 
most noted of which, and that which proved 
most disastrous to the Sioux, took place near 
the headwaters of Raccoon river. The Sioux 
had waylaid and massacred "a party of Dela- 
wares who were on their way to visit their 
friends, the Sacs and Foxes, who were then 
holding a great dance and festival near the 
site of the present city of Des Moines. Only 
one Delaware escaped. He hastened to the 
camp of his friends. An avenging party led by 
that noted chief, Pash-epa-ha, tben eighty 
years old. was soon on the war path. After a 
Journey of a hundred miles they overtook the 
Sioux and slew. It is said, three hundred of 
them with a loss of only eight of their own 

"The band also had several battles with the 
Pottawattomies. One of these took place at 
Twin lakes, about fifty miles west of Fort 
Dodge, and another on the Sooth LI«ard. In 
what Is now Webster county. The last battle 
between Indian tribes known to have taken 
place on Iowa soil was fought in 18S2 between 
a part of this band and a band of Musquakles. 
The "battle field is not far from th« present 
town of Algona. There the Sioux were again 

*" . . . a small band of savages, rene- 
gades and outlaws from the Sioux, owing neith- 
er alleglence nor obedience to any chief or 
band, or other authority, white or red. They 
were Ishmaelites whose hands were against all 
other men, and who were particularly hated by 
their own kindred and nation." — ^Minnesota In 
Three Centuries. 



The surveyors of this party had just 
crossed to the west side of the Des Moines 
a' little below the present site of Fort 
Dodge when they were met by Si-dom-i- 
na-do-ta and a portion of his lawless band. 
The Indians forbade the surveyors to pro- 
ceed and ordered them back to the east 
side of the river, declaring that the land 
on the west side belonged to them. After 
making this declaration the Indians left 
while the whites continued with the work. 
They had gone but a short distance when 
the red men returned and broke the in- 
struments and wagons and robbed the sur- 
veyors of their horses and provisions. 
Marsh and his men then made the best of 
their way home. 

After this the few settlers along the 
Des Moines river were made the victims of 
repeated robberies and outrages. Such 
conduct on the' part of Si-dom-i-na-do-ta 
led the government to establish the post 
at Fort Dodge, which was done in 1850. 
For a time peace resulted along the Des 
Moines, but farther west, on the Raccoon 
and Boyer rivers, the savages continued 
their old game. In October, 1852, they 
attacked and robbed a family on Boyer 
river and took a young man and young 
woman prisoners. A detachment of troops 
from Fort Dodge overtook a portion of the 
perpetrators of this outrage and made 
prisoners of Inkpaduta and Umpashota, 
whom they held as hostages until the cap- 
tives and stolen property were returned. 
At another time two or three white pris- 
oners were taken by the renegades, but 
were forced by the troops to release them. 

In July, 1853, Fort Dodge was aban- 
doned as a military post, the troops going 
north and establishing Fort Ridgely in 
what is now the extreme northwest comer 
of Nicollet county, Minnesota, on the 
Minnesota river above New TJlm. Si-dom- 
i-na-do-ta and his band were not slow to 
take advantage of the absence of the sol- 

diers and they became very troublesome 
to the settlers along the Des Moines, both 
above and below Fort Dodge. Retribution 
overtook the red handed leader of this 
gang of outlaws in 1854. An excellent 
account of his taking off and the tragic 
events which preceded it has bepn given 

by Mr. Jareb Palmer:* 

There were also wicked and dissolute white 
men who lived oflf the appetites and baser 
passions of the savages. Among these was a 
man by the name of Henry Lott, who in the 
fall of 1846 was living and conducting a small 
trading station on the Des Moines river a 
short distance below the mouth of Boone 
river, about twenty-five miles south of where 
Fort Dodge now is, and I suppose his principal 
stock in trade was "firewatei^* or whiskey. 

Late in the fall of this year a party of 
Winnebagoes came to his . place with a span 
of Indian ponies which they wanted to sell, 
and they finally made a trade with Lott, who 
got the ponies, presumably, for what is usual- 
ly termed a song. Lott's family at this time 
consisted of his wife, a stepson, about eigh- 
teen years old, an own son, thirteen years old, 
and probably two or three small children. Af- 
ter the Winnebagoes had gone Lott took the 
span of ponies and started for Fort Des 
Moines to get supplies for his family and for 
trade with the Indians. A few days after he 
went a party of Sioux under Si-dom-i-na-do-ta 
came there and demanded the ponies, saying 
the Winnebagoes had stolen them, and when 
told that the ponies were not there they re- 
fused to believe it and ordered the oldest boy 
to go out and get them. The boy left and 
immediatel}' started down the river in the 
hope of meeting his stepfather. After wait- 
ing an hour or two and the boy not return- 
ing, the Indians ordered the younger boy to 
go and get the ponies, and he, like his brother, 
started down the river to meet his father. 

By this time it was nearly night, and dark- 
ness soon setting in and a blinding snow 
storm coming on, the boy became confused 
and perished by freezing to death. The older 
boy succeeded in reaching his father and they 
scon reached home and found the younger boy 
gone. They, in company with some neigh- 
bors, immediately started a search and soon 
found the lifeless body stark and cold in 
death. Lott seems to have taken the loss of 
his son very deeply to heart, and although 
there is no evidence of his seeking immediate 
revenge, he seems to have brooded over it and 
awaited a favorable opportunity to do so. 

In the meantime fin 1853] the soldiers had 
been removed from Fort Dodge to Fort Ridge- 
ly, and Lott himself^ soon after that event, 
moved from the mouth of Boone river to 
near the mouth of Lott's creek, on the oast 

•Complied from Fulton's Red Men of Iowa and 
from personal interviews. 



branch of the Des Moines river (in Humboldt 
county, Iowa), where he was living in the 
winter and early spring of 1854. His wife 
had died previous to the time and the small 
children were given in charge of his old neigh- 
bors, only his stepson, now a young man, ac- 
companying him to his new home. He was 
still intent on trading with the Indians, tak- 
ing with him a small stock of goods and two 
or three barrels of whiskey. Upon his arrival 
he learned that there was a family of In- 
dians encamped a few miles above him on 
the river and conceived the idea of murdering 
the whole family in revenge for the Indians 
having unintentionally caused the death of 
his son. 

So, taking his stepson, he proceeded to the 
Indian camp, which was occupied by 8i-dom-i- 
iia-do-ta and Avife, mother and six children. 
On reaching the camp he told Si-dom-i-na-do- 
ta that there was a drove of elk feeding only 
a short distance away. The unsuspecting 
Indian took his rifle, mounted a pony, and fol- 
lowed the white men up on to a prairie, where, 
sure enough, there was seen a herd of elk 
not far away. The Indian rode gladly a Way, 
anticipating a rare treat in killing a fine 
elk and thus replenishing his larder. He had 
gone but a few rods when both men raised 
their guns and fired, killing the Indian instant- 
ly. They then returned to the camp and 
proceeded to murder the whole family, as 
they supposed, with the exception of one 
girl, Fome seven or eight years old, who slip- 
ped out under the walls of the tepee and 
made her escape. She hid in the bushes not 
far away until Lott and his son had com- 
pleted their bloody work and left; then she 
returned to the tepee and found her relatives 
all murdered. However, in looking them over, 
she discovered signs of life in her oldest 
brother, and, bringing some water, she threw 
it in his face and brought him to. He had 
been knocked in the head with an ax or 
hatchet, but was not seriously injured. The 
boy and girl remained two or three days at 
the tepee in the hope that some of their 
friends would come and find them, but none 
coming, they struck out for a family of white 
people whom they knew lived on the west 
fork of the Des Moines, some fifteen miles 
distant. They reached this place in safety 
and told their terrible story. It was not long 
until the Indians became aware of the mur- 
ders and they demanded that the whites de- 
liver Lott and his son over to them, to be 
dealt with according to the Indian idea of ret- 

The settlers for thirty miles or more around 
engaged in a hunt for Lott and his son, but 
they were unable to find them, for Lott well 
knew what would be his fate if he fell into 
the hands of the enraged red men. So, im- 
mediately after committing his atrocious deed, 
he hitched up his team and started for Fort 
Des Moines. There he joined a party of Mor- 
mons who were about to start across the 
plains for Salt Lake, and as he had several 

days start before the murders became known 
he had no difficulty in making his escape. 

I afterward learned from reliable authority 
that Lott finally reached Oregon, at that time 
a very sparsely settled territory, inhabited by 
several tribes of Indians who waged almost 
incessant warfare against the white settlers. 
There he joined a band of Indians and fought 
the whites with his red brethren. After one 
of the many fights the whites had with the 
Indians, in the spring of 1857, in which the lat- 
ter were defeated, there was found left among 
the dead the body of Lott, it being recognized 
by a young man who had known him while 
he lived on the Des Moines. The manner of 
his taking off seemed to be the execution of 
a not unrighteous judgment. 

After the raurrler of Si-dora-i-na-do-ta 
in 1854 Inkpadiita became the recognized 
leader of the outlaw Sioux^ and continued 
operations in southwestern Minnesota and 
northwestern Iowa, and was very annoy- 
ing to the settlers on the frontier. 

In July, 1854, there was a big scare 
among the settlers of the whole of northern 

TThere Is a conflict of authority in regrard to 
these outlaws and especially in regard to their 
leaders, Si-dom-i-na-do-ta and Inkpaduta. Iowa 
authorities convey the impression that there was 
at all times only one band, of which Sl-dom-i- 
na-do-ta was the leader, with Inkpaduta as 
second in command, and that the latter as- 
sumed the chieftanship upon the death of the 
former. Minnesota authorities state that after 
the removal of the Sacs and Foxes from Iowa 
In 1846 there were two bands, one operating In 
Iowa under Si-dom-i-na-do-ta. while a few 
others remained on the upper Des Moines un- 
der the leadership of Inkpaduta. Mr. Holcombe. 
In Minnesota in Three Centuries, very clearly 
explains the relationship between the two no- 
torious outlaw leaders, and calls attention to 
errors made by Iowa historians: 

"Now, certain misinformed people have been 
led to believe that the Spirit Lake and Spring- 
field murders were perpetrated by the Indians 
In retaliation for the murder of SIntomminee 
Doota rSi-dom-i-na-do-ta] and his family by 
Henry Lott and his son. It Is asserted by some 
Iowa historians (Major Williams, before men- 
tioned, seems to have started the story) that 
SIntomminee Doota and Inkpaduta were broth- 
ers, and that the latter when he slew the peo- 
ple at Spirit lake and cut off their heads, dash- 
ed out the brains of the little ones against 
trees and houses and ravished the women and 
PTlrls of the Iowa settlement, was merely tak- 
ing vengeance for the loss of his brother. 

"The truth Is. Inkpaduta was a Wahpakoota 
Sioux, his family were all members of that band, 
from southeastern Minnesota, while All Over 
Red [Si-dom-i-na-do-ta] was a Sisseton, from 
the upper Minnesota. It is doubtful whether 
Inkpaduta ever heard the particulars of All 
Over Red's murder: it Is certain that he woul<3 
not have been concerned if he had. With him 
it was every man for himself, he never had a 
sentiment so noble and dignified as that of 
revenge, and would not turn on his heel to re- 
taliate for the slaughter of his nearest friend. 
Of all the base characters among his fellow out- 
laws, his nature seems to have been the vilest, 
and his heart the bHckest. He murdered his 
own people — even those of his own band. He 
killed one of his companions to have his wife 
In safety." 



Iowa, the trouble originating at Clear 
lake, where a party of three or four Win- 
nebagoes met a young Sioux alone and kil- 
led him. The murderers sought protection 
at the homes of two white settlers at 
Clear lake, Messrs. Hewitt and Dickerson, 
who had settled there in 1851. These set- 
tlers were friendly to the Winnebagoes 
and assisted in getting them to a place 
of safety. The Sioux under Inkpa- 
duta were in an ugly mood over the occur- 
rence, searched the house of one of the 
white settlers, and tlireatened vengeance. 
The whites became alarmed and gathered 
at the home of Mr. Dickerson. It was 
decided to form a company and drive the 
Sioux from the neighborhood. According- 
ly twenty-five whites^ under the leader- 
ship of a man by tlie name of Long, pro- 
ceeded to the Sioux camp and demanded 
that the Sioux leave the vicinity at once, 
which the Indians reluctantly agreed to 
do and did. 

After having been so summarily driven 
from the Clear lake country, Inkpaduta 
and his band returned to his old hunting 
grounds on the upper Des Moines and 
about the lakes in Dickinson county, Iowa. 
They continued to annoy the few set- 
tlers along the Des Moines and its tribu- 
taries during the summer of 1855. During 
the year 1856 they were comparatively 
peaceful, and no fear seems to have been 
felt by the whites of the older settled por- 
tions of the country or by those who push- 
ed farther out on the frontier — among 
them th<>se who came to the Springfield 

Now, having told of the origin and hav- 
ing given a brief history of l;his outlaw 
band from the time of its organization, 
let us take a look at it as it was when the 
settlement at Springfield was founded in 
1856 and then consider some events that 
led to the terrible massacres in the spring 
of 1857. In 1855 Inkpaduta and his war- 

riors appeared at the Sioux agency and re- 
ceived annuities for eleven persons, al- 
though they were not identified with any 
regular band or a party to any treaty. They 
appeared again in 1856 and demanded a 
share of the money to be paid to the Wah- 
pakoota tribe. This time they were re- 
fused and made a great deal of trouble, 
but were forced to return to their haunts 
on the Bix Sioux river.® At the time of 
the massacre the band consisted of about 
a dozen warriors and their women and 

After having spent the summer of 1856 
in the Big Sioux country, Inkpaduta and 
his band set out on a trip to their old 
hunting grounds and, as has been previ- 
ously stated, appeared at the Spriijgfield 
settlement in the fall. From their camp 
at Springfield they proceeded to the lakes 
in Dickinson county, where they fished 
and hunted and visited the homes of the 
whites settlers, as they had done at 
Springfield, partaking of the whites^ 
hospitality and thus gaining accurate 
knowledge of the number in each house, 
and making themselves familiar with the 
conditions and suri'oundings. From this 
settlement they proceeded to the Little 
Sioux river, camping a few days at each 
of the large groves. 

The Indians spent several days in the 
vicinity of the home of the Wilcox broth- 
ers, bachelors, who lived on the Little 
Sioux, and then went down the river to 
what was known as the Bell and Weaver 
cabin, situated near the present location 
of Sioux Eapids, and occupied by Mr. 
Weaver and his wife and his brother-in- 
law, Mr. Bell. From that point they con- 
tinued down the river, stopping at each 
settlement a few days to hunt and trap 
and enjoy the hospitalities of the whites. 
They passed the settlements at Peterson 
and Cherokee and the few settlers between 

*Paper read by Judge Charles E. Flandreau 
before the Minnesota Historical Society. 



them until they finally reached the town 
of Sraithland, which was located on the 
bank of the Little Sioux, just above where 
it merges from the bluffs and flows out 
into the wide Missouri bottom. Smithland 
was then a little town of about a dozen 
buildings. It was an oldor settlement 
than those the Indians had before visited 
and the whites there knew, or at least had 
heard, something of the doings of this 
band in former years, so they did not ex- 
tend hospitality, as had been done by the 
newer settlements. 

Inkpaduta and his outlaws camped 
near the own and connnenceil be^rging 
and stealing food for themselves and their 
ponies, much to the annoyance of the peo- 
ple of Smithland. Fort the first time on 
the trip the Indians were not received 
kindly and for the first time they became 
insolent. A number of incidents occurred 
which aroused the wrath of the whites 
and caused the Indians to become more 
sullen and disagreeable.® Relations be- 
tween the white and red men had reached 
this stage when the settlers decided to 
order the Indians to leave. 

Four or five determined men armed 
themselves and proceeded to within a few 
rods of the Indian camp, when to their 
surprise they found Inkpaduta and his 
warriors armed and prepared to fight. 
They ordered the settlers not to approach 
and when the order was not heeded the 
Indians fired their guns over the heads of 
the whites, who then returned to town. 
The subject of the actions of the Indians 
was discussed and the settlers concluded 

•One morning Mr. Smith, the founder of the 
town, caught an Indian stealing corn from his 
crib and gave the redskin a sound cuffing. The 
Indians alleged that at another time while they 
were In pursuit of elk they had some difficulty 
with the settlers, claiming that the whites in- 
terrupted the chase. It is said that an Indian 
was bitten by a dog belonging to one of the 
settlers, that the Indian killed the dog. and 
that the owner of the dog then gave the Indian 
a severe beating and took his gun from him. 
Another time, it Is said, the settlers drove off 
a party of squaws who were stealing hay and 

that they did not care to feed so many 
Indians when it was difficult to get 
enough food for their own families, and 
that notice should be given that they must 
leave. - Accordingly all the men gathered 
together and went to the Indian camp and 
disarmed the band, telling them they 
must leave the next morning, and that 
they might call for their guns then. The 
Indians did not call for their weapons, 
but left without them. 

The Indians, who claimed that they 
were on their way to visit their friends, 
the Omahas, who at that time lived just 
across the Missouri river, now changed 
their plans entirely and returned over the 
route by which they had come. Their 
fracas with the people of Smithland had 
put them in an ugly temper and they at 
once began depredations upon the exposed 
and scattered settlements, although they 
did not shed human blood until they were 
on trie extreme frontier. 

At the first house they came to after 
leaving Smithland, the occupants being 
ignorant of the troubles at the latter place, 
the Indians seized the guns of the inmates. 
They then rasacked the cabin, taking all 
the monev thev could find and what trink- 
ets pleased their fancy. Inkpaduta and 
his warriors and squaws continued in a 
northeasterly direction toward Cherokee, 
helping themselves to provisions and in 
some places killing cattle to supply them- 
selves with meat. As the settlers along 
this route were from ten to twenty miles 
apart, and as the snow was of enormous 
depth, preventing travel, one settler did 
not know what was happening to his 
neighbor, so each in turn fell easy prey 
to the vagabonds and none offered resis- 

Some fifty miles above Smithland was 
a little settlement of about a dozen houses, 
founded by a colony of adventurous men 
from Massachusetts and named Cherokee. 



The people of this village had^ in some 
manner, learned of the outrages commit- 
ted below and had hidden their guns^ 
provisions and such valuables as the In- 
dians would be likely to take.^*^ This ac- 
tion caused the Indians to become very 
angry and they threatened to take the 
lives of the settlers unless the hidden 
property was produced. Only by a nar- 
row margin was a massacre averted. The 
whites were generally firm and the In- 
dians got but little from the settlement. 
They had the satisfaction, however, of 


killing most of the stock before leaving. 
At one cabin in Cherokee three bachel- 
ors who lived there did not hide their 
guns, nor did they propose to give them 
up. Tins action resulted in threats to 
shoot by both parties and bloodshed was 
narrowly averted. When the whites re- 
fused to give up their weapons the Indians 
cocked their guns and pointed them at the 
men, sticking the muzzle almost in their 
faces. The whites acted instantly and 
brought their weapons to bear upon the 
reds in the same way. For a time it looked 
as though some one would surely get hurt, 
but neither party fired and finally the In- 
dians lowered their weapons. Before they 
left they succeeded in getting hold of one 
of the men, dragged him froii the cabin, 
wrenched his gim away from him, and beat 
and kicked him severely, breaking several 
of his ribs. His companions finally got 
him inside the cabin and fastened the 
door. This so enraged the Indians that 
they fired several shots through the door, 
but none of the occupants was hit. The 
whites did not return the fire. 

**"At this place the whites had heard some- 
thiner of the trouble before the arrival of Ink- 
paduta and his band, and, I presume, had they 
gathered together In one of the log houses, 
they might easily have defended themselves 
against this small band, but they were in the 
midst of an Indian country, and should they 
fire upon and kill any of the redskins, it was 
supposed that it would precipitate the whole 
Sioux nation upon themselves and other de- 
fenseless settlers. I might here remark that 
the same idea and feeling prevailed among 
nearly all the people on the frontier at that 
time." — Jareb Palmer. 

As the savages proceeded up the Little 
Sioux they became still bolder and more 
insolent, stealing all the horses from the 
settlers, destroying all the property that 
was too bulky for them to take with 
them, and in several instances ravishing 
white women. Prom Cherokee they pro- 
ceeded to Peterson, in Clay county, where 
the story of their outrages having preced- 
ed them, the settlers had secreted their 
weapons, provisions and valuables. But 
by bullying and abusing the settlers the 
Indians compelled many to produce their 
liidden stores, of which the outlaws took 
what they wanted. At this place they took 
two girls, aged seventeen and twelve years, 
to their camp. The younger they released 
the next day, but the older girl they kept 
in their camp more than a week. When 
they were ready to leave the young lady 
was permitted to return to her home. 

Prom Peterson the red devils proceeded 
to the cabin of Bell and Weaver. Here 
they committed all kinds of deviltry, some 
so revolting as to be unfit to print. Among 
other things, the Indians amused them- 
selves by compelling Mr. Bell to stand 
against the wall while they threw their 
long knives and stuck them in the wall 
around his head. After the redskins had 
left, Mr. Bell and Mr. and Mrs. Weaver 
started out on foot across the trackless 
and snow-covered prairie in seeming fu- 
tile attempt to reach Port Dodge, fifty 
miles away. After enduring the most in- 
tense suffering from fatigue, hunger and 
exposure, the fugitives reached Port 
Dodge and were the first to bring intelli- 
gence of the dangerous situation on the 

Major William Williams, of Fort Dodge, 
had been authorized by the Iowa legislature 
to take measures for the protection of the 
frontier should he deem it to be in dan- 
ger. Therefore he at once organized a 
company of fifty men and was soon on his 



way to the settlements on the Little Sioux. 
Upon his arrival he found that the In- 
dians had gone. After learning the par- 
ticulars of the atrocities committed, Ma- 
jor Williams, instead of following the In- 
dians, as it would seem it was his duty 
to do, gave what relief he could to the 
people who had suffered at the handg of 
the Indians and then returned home." 

From the Bell and Weaver cabin Ink- 
paduta and his Indians went to the Wil- 
cox cabin, where they continued their dep- 
redations, but fortunately there were no 
women there. They took three horses be- 
longing to the Wilcox brothers and then 
proceeded eastward to the Okoboji lakes 

Such was the gang of desperadoes ap- 
proaching the exposed settlements and the 
unsuspecting settlers on the extreme fron- 
tier at Okoboji lakes and at Springfield. 
No warning had they that Inkpaduta and 
his ruffian band, who had been peaceably 
inclined on their visit in the fall, was re- 
turning in a far different mood, bent on 

The Indians arrived in the vicinity of 
Okoboji lakes on the evening of March 
7^^ and went into camp near the cabin of 
Mr. Mattock, where Arnold's Park is now. 
The band consisted of fifteen warriors, 

"It Is barely possible tlrat Major Williams did 
not know that there were white settlers In the 
direction in which the Indians had grone. Mr. 
Jareb Palmer has written of this possibility 
as follows: 

"On reaching: the Little Sioux he [Major Wil- 
liams] found that the Indians had left, they 
havingr gone in the direction of Spirit lake. The 
settlement at Spirit lake was of so recent date 
that I presume the major was Igrnorant of Its 
existence and It is possible that he had never 
even heard of Spirit lake itself, as it was only 
Just beginning to be talked about." 

"This is undoubtedly the date of their ar- 
rival and is the one given by Mrs. Sharp. Judge 
Flandreau says they must have arrived on the 
6th or 7th. R. A. Smith, in his history of 
Dickinson county, gives an earlier date and 
.says: "A letter found upon the ground writ- 
ten by Dr. Harriot, dated March 5 (two days 
before the massncre). referred to the fact that 
the Indians were camped there, that they were 
on friendly terms with them and that they had 
done some trading with them. Other matters 
were referred to in the letter which showed 
that they had no suspicions of danger." It is 
very probable that the Indians who arrived be- 
fore the 7th were members of some other band, 
or, possibly, scouts from the renegade band. 

including Inkpaduta, with the squaws^ 
papooses and the ufsual complement of 
ponies, dogs and other appurtenances of 
an Indian camp. On the morning of the 
8th began the awful massacre. No white 
person knows the particulars of the be- 
ginning of the butchery, for at the Mat- 
tock home, where it began, all were killed. 
The killing of the settlers continued for 
several days, at the end of which time 
every white person in the Spirit lake coun- 
try, with the exception of four women 
captives, was murdered, while none of the 
Indians, so far as is known, was harmed. 

It is not my intention to go into the 
details of this butchery at Okoboji lakes, 
commonly called the Spirit lake mas- 
sacre,^^ but to simply give a few facts 
concerning it, that the reader may gain 
an idea of the temper of the Indians when 
they attacked Springfield. In fact, the 
only approach to an authentic account of 
the massacre is that given by Mrs. Abbie 
Gardner-Sharp, and her story is confined 
principally to the events at her father's 

When the Indians appeared in the set- 
tlement on the morning of March 8 they 
continued the insolent, overbearing man- 
ner they had employed on the Little 
Sioux, those of the whites who came in 
contact with them noticing that they dis- 
played their sullenness and insolence to 
an unusual degree. Some of the settlers 
became alarmed, but others professed to 
believe that the Indians were simply in 
one of their peevish moods, and scouted 
the idea of any serious trouble. At break- 
fast time an Indian came to the home of 
Rowland Gardner, one of the prominent 
settlers of the place, and was given his 
breakfast. He was followed by others 

"Out of about forty people killed In this mas- 
sacre only one was killed on Spirit lake; the 
others had their homes on the Okoboji lakes. 
At the time the whole lake country of Dickin- 
son county was known as the Spirit lake coun- 
try; hence the commonly applied name of the 



until the whole fighting force, including 
Inkpaduta and his fourteen warriors, with 
their squaws and papooses, were in the 
house, and all were fed. Suddenly they 
became sullen, demanding ammunition 
and numerous other things, and not hav- 
ing all their requests granted, attempted 
to shoot one of the inmates. They prowl- 
ed around the place until noon and then 
went away, taking Mr. Gardner^s cattle 
with them and shooting them on the way 
back to camp. 

The Indians returned to this home in 
the afternoon, took Miss Abbie Gardner, 
then fourteen years of age, prisoner, and 
murdered the rest of the family. Miss 
Gardner (now Mrs. Sharp) has graphi- 
cally described the murder of her faniily 
in her History of the Spirit Lake Mas- 
sacre, from which I quote: 

About three o'clock we heard the report of 
guns, in rapid succession, from the house of 
Mr. Mattock. We were, then, no longer in 
doubt as to the awful reality that was hang- 
ing over us. Two long hours we passed in 
this fearful anxiety and suspense, waiting 
and watching, with conflicting hopes and fears, 
for Mr. Luce and Mr. Clark [who had gone 
to warn some of the neighbors] to return. At 
length, just as the sun was sinking behind 
the western horizon, shedding its brilliant rays 
over the snowy landscape, father, whose anx- 
iety would no longer allow him to remain 
within doors, went out to reconnoiter. He, 
however, hastily returned, saying: *'Nine In- 
dians are coming, now only a short distance 
from the house, and we are all doomed to 
die.'* His first thought was to barricade the 
door and fight till the last, saying: "While 
they are killing all of us, I will kill a few 
of them with the two loaded guns still left 
in the house." But to this mother protested, 
having not yet lost all faith in the savage 
monsters, and still hoping they would appre- 
ciate our kindness and spare our lives she 
said: **If we have to die, let us die innocent 
of shedding blood." 

Alas, for the faith placed in these inhuman 
monsters! They entered the house ajid de- 
manded more flour; and, as father turned to 
get them what remained of our scanty store, 
they shot him through the heart; he fell upon 
his right side and died without a struggle. 
When first the Indian raised his gun to fire, 
mother or Mrs. Luce seized the gun and drew 
it down; but the other Indians instantly turn- 
ed upoB them, seized them by the arms, and 
beat them over the head with the butts of 

their guns; then dragged them out of doors 
and killed them in the most cruel and shock- 
ing manner. 

They then began an indiscriminate destruc- 
tion of everything in the house; breaking 
open trunks and taking out clothing, cutting 
open feather beds, and scattering the feathers 
everywhere. When the Indians entered the 
house, and during these awful scenes, I was 
seated in a chair, holding my sister's baby in 
my arms; her little boy on one side, and my 
little brother on the other, clinging to me in 
terror. They next seized the children, tearing 
them from me one by one, while they reached 
their little arms to me, crying piteously for 
protection that I was powerless to give. Heed- 
Jess of their cries, they dragged them out of 
doors and beat them to death with sticks of 

All this time I was both speechless and 
tearless; but now, left alone, I begged them 
to kill me. It seemed as though I could not 
wait for them to finish their work of death. 
One of them approached, and roughly seizing 
me by the arm said something I could not 
understand, but I well knew, from their ac- 
tions, that I was to be a captive. All the 
terrible tortures and indignities I had ever 
read or heard of being inflicted upon their 
captives now arose in horrid vividness before 

After ransacking the house and taking 
whatever they thought might be serviceable, 
such as provisions, bedding, arms and am- 
munition, and after the terrible scalping knife 
bad done its terrible work, I was dragged 
from the never-to-be-forgotten scene. No Ian- ' 
guage can ever suggest, much less adequately 
portray, my feelings aa I passed that door. 

With a naturally sensitive nature, tenderly 
and affectionately reared, shuddering at the 
very thought of cruelty, you can, my dear 
reader, imagine, but only imagine, the agony 
I endured when so suddenly plunged into 
scenes from which no element of the terrible 
or revolting seemed wanting. Behind me I 
left my heroic father, murdered in a cowardly 
manner in the very act of extreme hospital- 
ity; shot down at my feet, and I had not the 
privilege of impressing one farewell kiss upon 
his lips, yet warm with life and affection. Just 
outside the door lay the three children — so 
dear to me — bruised, mangled and bleeding; 
while their moans and groans pierced my 
ears and called in vain for one loving caress 
which I was prevented from giving them. A 
little farther on lay my Christ-like mother, 
who till the very last had pleaded the cause 
of her brutish murderers, literally weltering 
in her own blood. Still farther on, at the 
southwest corner of the house, in a similar 
condition, lay my eldest sister, Mrs. Luce, 
who had been so intimately associated with 
me from earliest recollections. Amid these 
scenes of unutterable horror I took my fare- 
well look upon father, mother, sister and 
brother and my sister's little ones. 

Filled with loathing for these wretches 



whose hands were still wet with the blocd of 
those dearest to me, and at one of whose belts 
still hung the dripping scalp of my mother, 
with even the much coveted boon of death 
denied me, we plunged into the gloom of the 
forest and the coming night; but neither the 
gloom of the forest, nor the blackness of the 
night, nor both combined, could begin to sym- 
bolize the darknessi of my terror-stricken 

Another place of butchery was at the 
home of Mr. Mattock, where an abortive 
attempt at defense had been made. Ap- 
parently the whites had been in the house, 
and the Indians, to drive them out, had 
fired the cabin — the only instance in 
which a cabin was burned. A few weap- 
ons were found near the bodies of some 
of the slain men, leading to the belief 
that a fight had been made. Mrs. Sharp 
describes the scenes at this point as she 
remepabers them: 

A tramp of about one mile brought me to 
the camp of my captors, which was the home 
of Mr. Mattock. Here the sights and sounds 
that met the eye and ear were truly appall- 
ing. The forest was lighted by the camp fires 
and also by the burning of the cabins, and 
the air was rent with the unearthly war- 
whoop of the savages and the shrieks and 
groans of two helpless victims confined in the 
burning cabin, sulfering all the agonies of a 
fiery ^^ath. Scattered upon the ground were 
a number of bodies, among which I recognized 
that of Dr. Harriot, rifle still in hand; as 
well as the bodies of Mr. Mattock, Mr. Sny- 
der and others, with rifles near them, some 
broken. All gave evidence that an attempt 
at resistance had been made, but too late. 

A few others were murdered during the 
day, making a total of twenty lives taken 
on that 8th day of March. In the lan- 
guage of Mrs. Sharp: 

All this must be celebrated by the war- 
dance — that hideous revelry that seems to 
have been borrowed from the lowest depths of 
Tartarus. Near the ghastly corpses and over 
the blood-stained snow, with blackened faces 
and flerce uncouth gestures, and with wild 
screams and yells, they circled round and 
round, keeping time to the dullest, dreariest 
sound of drum and rattle, until complete ex- 
haustion compelled them to desist. 

On the 9th the demons completed their 
work of carnage in the immediate vicin- 
ity by the murder of the four remaining 
families and the taking of two more wom- 

en prisoners, Mrs. Lydia Noble and Mrs. 
Elizabeth Thatcher. At one home they 
seized the children by the feet, dragging 
tliem from their mother^s arms, and dash- 
ed their brains out against an oak tree. 
On the 10th they broke camp and crossed 
West Okoboji lake on the ice, traveled to 
the west a distance of three miles, and 
went into camp. The savages broke camp 
again on the 11th and moved northwest- 
erly to the Marble grove on the west side 
of Spirit lake. They were ignorant of 
tlie fact that there were any more whites 
in the vicinity and did not find it out 
until the 13th, when they murdered Mr. 
Marble and took his wife, Mrs. Margaret 
Marble, prisoner. This was the last butch- 
cry in the vicinty and the event was cele- 
brated by a war dance. 

From this camp on Spirit lake, on the 
13tli, Inkpaduta and his" bloodthirsty war- 
riors, with the booty and captives, set out 
in a northerly direction and entered Jack- 
son county. They traveled in a leisurely 
manner, camping in the groves along the 
streams and by the little lakes, never stop- 
ping more than one night in a place, feast- 
ing upon the provisions taken from their 
victims. During this journey they were 
planning the attack on the Springfield 
settlement and, according to Mrs. Sharp, 
were negotiating with the Indians of TJm- 
pashota's and Gaboo's camps for assis- 
tance in the work. On the 26th of March 
camp was pitched on the bank of Heron 
lake, some fifteen miles from the Spring- 
field settlement. 

Let us, for the time being, leave this 
red-handed band of murderers at their 
camp on Peron lake, making preparation 
for future crimes, and again take up our 
story of the Springfield settlers as we left 
them, anxiously waiting for the opening 
of spring. 




THE massacre at Okoboji lakes had 
occurred without warning; the 
settlers there had no inkling that 
the redskins were on the warpath. At 
Springfield ample warning had been given. 

During the winter the Indians of the 
Springfield settlement seem to have 
known, or at least expected, that there- 
was soon to be trouble between Inkpadu- 
ta's band and the wihtes. Some time dur- 
ing the winter Adam P. Shiegley, the 
trapper who made his home near the other 
whites of the settlement, had asked the 
daughter of Umpashota to marry him, but 
she declined his offer, saying that there 
was going to be war between the whites 
and Indians and that if she were to mar- 
ry him the Indians would kill both of 
them. Mr. Shiegley did not mention the 
fact until after the massacre, and the in- 
formation would probably have been con- 
sidered of little importance if he had. 

The first intimation that the people of 
Springfield had that there was a possi- 
bility of trouble came from a member of 
Inkpaduta's band. It was one day early 
in March, only a few days before the Spir- 
it lake massacre, that Black Buffalo, one 
of the outlaw Indians with whom the 
Wood brothers were acquainted, came to 
the store at Springfield when George 
Wood and Jareb Palmer were there. In- 

stead of going up the river to the Indian 
camp, as most wandering Indians were in 
the habit of doing. Black Buffalo remain- 
ed at the store and spent the night there. 
He came from the direction of Spirit lake 
and said the band wa.s camped near there. 
The Indian bought a few cheap trinkets 
and a half bushel of potatoes, borrowed a 
sack to put them in, and promised to re- 
turn the sack full of feathers to pay for 
his purchases. Before leaving, Black 
Buffalo told Mr. Wood that war had been 
declared against the whites and Mr. Wood 
told Mr. Palmer after the Indian had de- 

Black Buffalo was undoubtedly a spy, 
come to investigate conditions in the lit- 
tle «rtt]emcnt, but whv he told Mr. Wood 
of the intentions of the Indians is hard to 
understand, imless he personally was 
friendly to the storekeeper and desired to 
give him an opportunity to escape. At 
any rate the warning was not heeded. Mr. 
Wood seemed to place no confidence in 
the statement and treated the incident 
lightly. Mr. Palmer, in after years, wrote : 
"I must confess that for myself I regard- 
ed it merely as an Indian lie, or as we 
would call it, a canard, and I do not think 
that I ever thought of it again until sub- 
sequent events brought it vividly to my 




On March 9 (the Spirit lake massacre 
had comraenced the day l>efore) three In- 
dians with their squaws and three or four 
papooses, came to tlie settlement from the 
direction of Spirit lake, all appearing to 
be very excited, to be in great haste and 
much fatigued. They came first to Dod- 
son's cabin and a little later, after having 
been fed, they wont to Umpashota's camp. 
A little girl, seven or eight years of age, 
was completely worn out and fell down 
exhausted outside Mr. Dodson's cabin. 
She was unable to rise until a squaw gave 
her several energetic kicks, when she 
managed to get up and go into the cabin. 
These Indians probably came from Spirit 
lake after the massacre had started, either 
because they did not want to take part in 
it or for some other reason. They said 
nothing of the doings at Okoboji lakes to 
the whites, altliough they doubtless told 
their red brothers at IJmpashota's. 

So far as I am able to learn, these were 
the only suggestions the people of Spring- 
field had that conditions were not normal 
— and these could not properly be constru- 
ed as warnings, except in the light of 
later events — until March 11. In this 
day of railroads, telephone and telegraph, 
with a home on every quarter section of 
land, such an event as the Spirit lake 
massacre would be known in the utter- 
most parts of the world within a few 
hours. Then the butchery of over forty 
people less than twenty miles distant was 
unknown in the Springfield settlement 
until three davs afterward, and it was 
only by chance that they learned of it 

On the eleventh of ^lareh* there ap- 
peared in the Springfield i^ottlement Mor- 
ris Markham, (ieorge (i ranger and a trap- 
per, whose name is unknown, bearing the 
awful intelligence that the entire Spirit 

'Mr. Holcombe. in Minnesota in Three Cen- 
turies, says that Mr. Markham did not arrive 
in the settlement until the seventeenth, but in 
this he is mistaken. 

lake settlement had been wiped out by 
the Indians, that not one was left to tell 
of the awful carnage.- Now, strange as it 
may seem, this news did not create any 
great consternation or alarm at first, and 
by some it was not even believed in its 
details. Those living on the frontier in 
the early days were accustomed to fre- 
quent startling rumors of uprisings which 
had no foundation in fact, and all tales 
of Indian atrocities were received with al- 
lowance for future corrections. 

The Wood brothers, particularly, did 
not place full confidence in the report, 
and as they were best acquainted with the 
Indians, their judgnu.nt was given due 
consideration.^ George Wood expressed 
the opinion that, although most people 
laid the Spirit lake murders to the In- 
dians, he thought it likely the whites had 
got in a quarrel over the claims and some 

^The Spirit lake massacre was first discovered 
by Morris Markham on the evening of March 
9 and he bore the tidings to the Springfield 
settlement. On March 15 the work of the In- 
dians was discovered by O. C. Howe, R. U. 
Wheelock and B. F. Parmenter, who carried 
the news to Fort Dodge. 

Morris Markham was a trapper, who, late In 
the fall of 1856. had settled in the Spirit lake 
country. Soon after his arrival his two yoke 
of oxen strayed and he was not able to get any 
track of them until early in March. He then 
learned that they were in the vicinity of Mud 
lake. In Emmet county, and went after them. 
He found his oxen, made provision for their 
care by two bachelors who lived In the vicinity, 
and then returned to his home. There he found 
the dead bodies of the settlers, whom he cor- 
rectly believed to have been murdered by the 
Indians, and his belief was soon verified, for 
he ran into the Indian camp. Fortunately he 
succeeded in retracing his steps without at- 
tracting the attention of the savages, who were 
then in their tepees, and made his escape. He 
visited .several cabins, in all of which he found 
dead bodies. Not feeling like spending the 
night in any of the cabins. Markham took a 
piece of board with which to build a fire and 
spent the night in a nearby ravine. He did 
not lie down during the night, but passed the 
weary hours standing upon his already frozen 
and still freezing feet. 

In the morning Mr. Markham returned to a 
trappers* camp where he had been looking for 
his cattle and there spent the next night. On 
the morning of the lUh he and two trappers 
went to the cabin of George Gran^jer, who lived 
about six miles north of the present site of 
Esther vl He. The same day Mr. Markham, Mr. 
Granger and one of the trappers went up the 
river to the Springfield settlement. It Is awful 
to think what might have happened had not 
this warning been given. 

'" Besides William had known and 

traded with the renegade Sioux, Inkpaduta, 
whose band was then reported to be commlt- 
tiiig crimes against the whites. ... In ad- 



of them had been killed.* There seemed 
to be some plausibility for this in that it 
was generally known at Springfield that 
there had been considerable quarreling 
about claims at the lakes. 

But the majority of the settlers believ- 
ed the storv of Mr. Markham and that 
the murders at the lakes was the work of 
the Indians. The necessity of doing some- 
thing for their own safety and of render- 
ing aid to any who might be left in the 
Spirit lake settlement became apparent 
and the whole settlement was aroused. All 
of the able bodied men except George 
Wood/ who remained to care for the store 
and to look after the women and children, 
gathered at the Granger cabin, down the 
river, on the morning of the 14th, intend- 
ing to go to the Spirit lake settlement to 
the assistance of any who might be alive 
and to bury the dead. At Granger's the 
party was reinforced by the two trappers 
already referred to and a man by the name 
ox Hashman, making the party fourteen 
in number. They crossed the river on the 
way to the lakes, and then abandoned the 
project and returned to Springfield. They 
had talked the matter over and decided it 
would not be prudent to make the trip, as 
it was impossible to know how many In- 
dians they might encounter. They deem- 
ed it best to return and make arrange- 

dition to this WiUiam had treated Inkpaduta. 
as weU as the other Indians, with uniform 
kindness, and, indeed, familiarity; such as in- 
dul^ring them in tobacco and joining them In 
their amusements occasionally. William, from 
his remarkable physical proportions, with dark 
features and eyes and hair as black as that of 
the Indians themselves, and with his courage 
and facility in speaking their language, and be- 
ing well schooled in all their ways, was well 
calculated to inspire them with an admiration 
for him. They familiarly called him Pa-sa-pa, 
which in English means Blackhead; and fre- 
quently called to him at his cabin to come down 
the river, a distance of perhaps over one hun- 
dred yards, to talk and visit them when the 
river was too high for fording, as they would 
be passing upon their trail upon the opposite 
bank of the river." — Extract from letter writ- 
ten by Mr. E. B. Wood, brother of William and 
George Wood. 

*Jareb Palmer. 

^here were absent from the settlement Wil- 
liam Wood. Nathaniel Frost and Jareb Palmer, 
who were on a trip to the Mankato country. 

ments for the safety of themselves and 
their families. 

After returning to their homes from 
the trip to Granger's the settlers of 
Springfield held a consultation. The ad- 
visableness of removing from the settle- 
ment was discussed, but it was decided it 
would be impossible to move the families 
on account of the difficulty in traveling 
because of the great depth of snow. Then 
it was decided to draw up a petition, stat- 
ing the conditions, and send it by courier 
to Fort Eidgely, asking that soldiers be 
sent at once for the protection of the set- 
tlement. The petition was prepared, sign- 
ed by the settlers, and was carried to its 
destination by Joseph Chiffin and Henry 
Trets. They started on their perilous 
journey on the 16th or ITth,** being ac- 
companied as far as the Watonwan by 
Charles Wood.^ 

As the days passed the settlers at 
Springfield became more apprehensive, 
and the suspense became awful. After 
the departure of Chiffin and Trets the 
settlers began to make preparations for 
defense, that they might be prepared if 
an attack should be made before the sol- 
diers arrived. It was decided that if the 
troops did not come the women and child- 
r/3n should be removed to a place of safety 
so soon as the snow should melt sufficient 
to permit travel. Most of the people gath- 
ered in the cabin of James B. Thomas and 
the Wheeler cabin, while the Woods re- 

•ThesG couriers arrived at Fort Ridgely, after 
traveling one hundred miles, on the 18th, after 
incredible hardships, and almost blind from ex- 
haustion and the effects of the snow, and re- 
ported the conditions on the frontier. Judge 
Flandreau has written: 

"At any rate the people of Springfield sent 
two young men to my agency with the news. 
They brought with them a statement of the 
facts as related by Mr. Markham, signed by 
some persons with whom I am acquainted. They 
came on foot and arrived at the agency on the 
18th of March. The snow was very deep and 
beginning to thaw, which made the traveling 
extremely difficult. When these young men 
arrived they were so badly affected with snow 
blindness they could hardly see at all and were 
completely wearied out." 

'Charles Wood came back to the settlement 
with the soldiers, but soon after returned to his 
old home in Indiana. 



mained at their store and Mr. Shiegley 
continued to occupy his cabin. The Thom- 
as house, which was the largest in the 
settlement and where were gathered the 
greater number, was put in a fair state of 

An incident which occurred on the 19th 
and information secured the next day left 
no doubts in the minds of the people of 
Springfield that Inkpaduta's band was on 
the warpath — if any liad existed before — 
and added to the belief that an attak was 
intended. On the afternoon of the 19th 
there came to Woods' store ((leorge Wood, 
Nathaniel Frost and Jarcb Palmer were 
there at the time) two of Inkpaduta's In- 
dians, big, ferocious lookiug bucks. They 
were fully armed and acted strangely, 
carrying their knives in tlieir hands all 
the time they were in tiie store. They 
appeared sullen and not inclined to talk. 
They purchased a keg of powder, a sack 
of shot and a few Indian trinkets. For 
these goods and to settle an old account 
the Indians paid Mr. Wood $S2 in gold 
coin, which had undoubtedly been taken 
from their victims "at the lakes. These 
Indians may have come to spy out the 
situation at Springfield or they may have 
come witli the intention of murderincr 
George Wood.^ 

While the Indians were still at the store 
Umpashota came in and commenced talk- 
ing to, or rather haranguing, the strange 
Indians. He was greatlv excited and ex- 
hibited considerable emotion, seeming so 
absorbed in what lie was saying that he 
paid little attention to the white men 
present, who could not understand what 
lie was saying. The local Indian had just 
come from the Thomas cabin, where he 
had been told the soldiers were on their 

•"These Indians had very Ukely come to kiU 
George Wood, as he had been staying alone 
since the departure of his brother. Charles, but 
as they did not find him alone, they concluded 
to make some purchases for the purpose of 
disarming suspicion, and wait for a more aus- 
picious occasion to commit their nefarious 
crimes." — Jareb Palmer. 

way to the settlement. One can imagine 
that Umpashota was telling this to the 
other Indians and giving them some good 
advice. Upon the arrival of William 
Wood, who understood the Sioux lan- 
guage, the three Indians left, going in 
the direction of Umpashota's camp. That 
same evening Umpashota and his In- 
dians moved from their old camp, just 
above the store, farther up the river to 
Gaboo's camp. This move may have been 
made through fear that the whites might 
do as the Indians were in the habit of 
doing — wreak vengeance upon the first 
of the race they came uj>on. 

On the 20th, the day after the strange 
Indians had been at the store, Wilfiani 
Wood went up the river to the camp of 
(laboo and Umpa.s]iota. The latter ad- 
mitted that the two Indians with whom 
he talked the day before had been engaged 
in the massacre of ihe people at Spirit 
lake, but said that those Indians claimed it 
had been a fair fight, starting over a dis- 
pute in regard to some hay which the red- 
skins had taken without leave. The sav- 
ages boasted, so Umpashota said, that 
they had killed over thirty people and 
taken four women prisoners without the 
loss of a single wairior. The local^ In- 
dian did not say what were the intentions 
of the savages as to the future — whether 
they were to continue their bloodthirsty 
work or whether their thiist for blood 
had been satisfied. 

Xot knowing whether or not the Indians 
had attacked the Marbles, wlio were known 
to have Iwated'on the west bank of Spirit 
lake, and desirous of giving warning to 
them if still alive, Mr. Morris Markham 
and ^Ir. tlareb Palmer set out from the 
Springfield settlement on the 21st to in- 
vestigate. The gentlemen reached the 
Marble cabin and found evidence that 
th.o Indians had been there ahead of them, 
but did not find the dead bodv of Mr. 



*«T0*, L£H«X AMC 

o5 '£i¥4irr 

JSi-^tR o 


Map Showing Location of Cabins at the Time of the Springfield 

Massacre. The east half of Des Moines and the south 

east quarter of Belmont Townships are Shown. 



Marble, which the Indians had buried in 
the snow. Moccasin tracks, apparently 
only a few hours old, were found near the 
cabin and the hieroglyphics picturing the 
massacre at the Okoboji lakes were found 
blazed on a tree. The gentlemen return- 
ed the same day and reported their dis- 
covery. Mr. Palmer made a trip to the 
Granger cabin on the 23rd, expecting to 
find the inmates murdered, but there he 
found Mr. Granger and tlie Hashmans 
safe and prepared for attack. The find- 
ing of these people alive raised the droop- 
ing spirits of the Springfield settlers and 
led to the hope that the hostilcs had left 
tlie vicinitv and that thcv iniglk vet bo 

The fighting force of the community 
was reduced on the 24th by the departure 
of Xathaniel Frost and William Nelson, 
who went to SlocumV, on the Watonwan, 
to try to bring in the load of provisions 
which William Wood had been obliged to 
leave on the prairie near there. 

At a conference of the settlers it was 
decided to organize a party to go to the 
lakes and burv the dead, as it seemed to 
them almost inhuman to leave the bodies 
uncared for and exposed to the ravages of 
wolves and other wild beasts. TJjnpa- 
shota volunteered, through William Wood, 
to become one of a party to perform this 
duty." It was decided to make the trip 
on Thursday, Murch 26, but on the even- 
ing before the start was to have been 
made the expedition was abandoned, large- 
ly on the advice of Umpashota. That In- 
dian, who seems to have played an im- 
portant part in the affairs of the little 
communitv at this critical time because 
of his influence over William Wood, had 
been down to the store on the 25th and 

•"The Woods seemed to have Implicit confi- 
dence in him [Umpashota] and thought it would 
be a grood thing to have him gro along, but most 
of the rest of us had less confidence in him and 
prepared to make the trip without his presence 
— but they did not make this fact known to the 
Woods." — Jareb Palmer. 

gave notice to Mr. Wood that he would 
not accompany the whites to the lakes 
and advised against going. He stated that 
he thought Inkpaduta's band was still in 
the vicinity of the lakes, engaged in 
drying beef from the many head of cat- 
tle- they had slaughtered, and that it would 
l)e unsafe to make the trip. Concerning 
this advice Mr. Jareb Palmer has writ- 
ten : "Why Umpashota told this story is 
not quite clear, unless he wanted us to' 
remain that we might all be massacred, . 
for he surelv knew that the band was at 
that time at Heron lake, not more than 
eight or ten miles from Gaboo's camp, 
where Umpashota was staying." The 
Woods refused to accompany the other 
settlers after receiving this advice and 
the trip was abandoned. 

When the morning of Thursday, March 
26, dawned it had been just fifteen days 
since word of the massacre at the lakes 
had been brought to the settlement. They 
had been fifteen days of suspense to most 
of the settlers, but so long a time had now 
elapsed that hope was expressed that tho 
Indians had left the countrv and tliat an 
attack was not to ])c made. The vigilance 
that had been employed at first was re- 
laxed to a certain extent; soldiers were 
expected to arrive from Fort Kidgely at 
any time; a more optimistic view of the 
situation was being taken. 

On the fateful dav there were eleven 
able bodied men in the settlement, divid- 
ed as follows: William Wood and George 
Wood at the store; Adam Shiegley at his 
own cabin ; Josluia Stewart at his own 
cabin ;"^ James B. Thomas, Jareb Palmer, 
David Carver, Jolui Bradshaw" and Mor- 

^•The Stewarts had at the first alarm gone 
to the Thomas cabin, but owing to fear, the 
excitement and confusion consequent on so 
many being huddled together In one small house. 
Mrs. Stewart had become mentally deranged, 
and she and her hustjand and children had re- 
turned to their own cabin, where they were on 
the day of the massacre. 

"Messrs. Carver and Bradshaw had returned 
from Webster City a little while before the 



ris Markham at the Thomas cabin; Dr. 
E. B. N. Strong^2 ^^^i j g Skinner at 

the Wheeler cabin. ^^ All the women and 
children of the settlement, except the 
Stewart family, were at the Thomas and 
Wheeler cabins. The only house in the 
settlement which had been put in condi- 
tion to withstand attack was that of Mr. 

That immediate attack was not antici- 
pated is evidenced by the fact that on 
the morning of the 26th all the men at 
the Thomas cabin took their axes, went 
to the woods nearby and cut enough fire-, 
wood ^'to last through the war/' as one of 
their number expressed it. Their guns had 
been left at the cabin, and had the attack 
been made during that time there can be 
no doubt that the twenty people who were 
temporarily living at the Thomas cabin 
would all have been massacred. It was 
during this morning that Dr. Strong 
went to the Wheeler cabin to make a 
settlement with Messrs. Smith and Hen- 
derson for the surgical operations. 

To return to the Indians camped at 
Heron lake. On the morning of the 26th 
the warriors painted themselves in their 
most fierce and hideous fashion. They 
took special pains to communicate to the 
women captives, by signs and in their 
jargon, that they were about to attack 
the Springfield settlement. With rifles 
in their hands and with scalping knives 
in their belts they set out on their mur- 
derous mission. So far as Abbie Gardner, 
one of the captives, can remember, the 
names of the warriors comprising the 
band at this time were^* Inkpaduta, or 

"Dr. Strong's famJly was at the Thomas cab- 
In; he happened to be at the Wheeler cabin at 
the time of the massacre. 

"Of the other men who were residents of the 
settlement at the time. Robert Smith and John 
Henderson were in a cripnled condition at the 
Wheeler cabin; Charles Wood had gone to the 
Watonwan; Joseph Chiffin and Henry Trets 
had gone to Fort Rldgely to notify the soldiers; 
William Nelson and Nathaniel Frost had gone 
to Slocum's; William Church had been absent 
all' winter. 

"As published in Mrs. Sharp's History of the 
Spirit Lake Massacre. 

Scarlet Point; Mak-pe-a-ho-man, or Roar- 
ing Cloud ; Mak-pi-op-e-ta, or Fire Cloud 
(twin to Roaring Cloud) ; Taw-a-che-ha- 
wa-kan, or His Mysterious Father; Ba- 
ha-ta, or Old Man; Ke-cho-mon, or Put- 
ting-on-as-he-walks ; Ka-ha-dat, or Ratling 
(son of Inkpaduta) ; Fe-to-a-ton-ka, or 
Big Face; Ta-te-li-da-shink-sha-man-i, or 
One - who -makes -a -crooked - wind -as-he- 
walks ; Ta-chan-che-ga-ho-ta, or His Great 
(Jun; Hu-san, or One Leg. 

Inkpaduta and his warriors came down 
to the Springfield settlement by way of 
Gaboo's camp and halted, a little after 
noon, on the east side of the river oppo- 
site Woods' store. Just what took place 
there will never be definitely known, ex- 
cept that both William and George Wood 
were murdered, as no whites except these 
two were witnesses. But various clews 
give us an idea of the circumstances. Ap- 
parently, William Wood had not even yet 
.lost confidence in the bloodthirsty demons, 
for when they appeared upon the trail 
across the river he started to go to them — 
perhaps in answer to a hail — as was his 
custom. While on the river bank he was 
shot from behind at close range with 
buckshot. Whether he had crossed the 
river and talked with the Indians and was 
shot as he returned or whether he was 
shot by Indians concealed in the grass on 
the west side, is not known. So close had 
been his murderer that burnt powder 
stains were afterward found upon his 
clothing. Aft^r the shooting the body 
was cut open with a tomahawk or a knife 
from between the shoulders, down the 
back, to between the hips.^* 

George W^ood, from his position in the 
store, had seen his brother shot down and 
had started to run to warn the other set- 
tlers and to seek protection for himself. 

"The conduct and actions of the Wood broth- 
ers, particularly William Wood, during: the days 
of suspense before the massacre have at times 
been unfavorably commented upon. The Woods 
did not Join the other settlers in their efforts 
to fortify one or two of the cabins, but re- 



He succeeded in getting across the river 
on the ice, but, exhausted from running 
several hundred yards through the deep 
dHfts, he sought a place of concealment 
and crawled under a brush pile at a point 
a few rods from tlie river bank and some 
twentv or thirtv rods above the location 
of the present upper bridge in the village 
of Jackson. This point was near the In- 
dian trail, upon which the Indians were 
running in pursuit, but because of a bend 
in the trail, surrounded bv trees, brush 
and weeds, he was temporarily out of 
sight of his pursuers. The unfortunate 
man was soon found in the brush pile 
and shot. So c^ose was the muzzle of the 
gun that the whole top of his head was 
blown off and powder stains were left on 
his cap.^® 

matned at the store, where aU their earthly 
possessions were. BeUeving, as they certainly 
did. that the massacre of the whites at Okoboji 
lakes was the result of a quarre^ and that the 
murders would not be continued, they saw no 
reason why they should desert the store. Of 
course, we can now see their mistake; their 
confidence in the red men led to their death. 

One or two of the settlers who did not lik? 
the Woods pretended to believe that they were 
over friendly with the Indians, that they be- 
lieved that even If the other settlers were at- 
tacked, their friendship would save them. Ma- 
jor Williams, of the Iowa volunteers goes so 
far as to intimate treachery, saying that the 
Indians were informed of the contemplated 
arrival of the soldiers by Wood and Gaboo. I 
can find no evidence that would indicate treach- 
ery on the part of the Woods and believe thit 
they were sincere in their actions. 

Mr. E. B. Wood, who often talked with his 
brother, Charles Wood, after the massacre ani 
who made every effort to ascertain the facts, 
wrote to Mr. Jareb Palmer under date of No- 
vember 23, 1897. as follows: 

**I do not and never did believe that George 
or William ever gave information to the In- 
dians of the coming of the soldiers. I believe 
that my brothers watched and expected each 
hour of the later hours of their lives for the 
soldiers to come, that they aimed to let the 
Indians believe that they trusted them implic- 
itly, thinking tWs safest. Now. my friend 
n.nd comrade, for forty years myself and my 
family have had our hearts pained not only 
by the thought of their deaths and the dam- 
nable manner of their taking off, but mainly 
by this story of the possible treachery of my 
brothers in telling these Indians of the coming 
of the soldiers so as to receive benefits and 
safety for themselves to the possible damage of 
the other settlers. My brothers were nol»le 
hearted fellows and t do not think them capable 
of this and I do not think there is a particla 
of truth in it. That Gaboo, the half-breed, may 
have told them is possible." 

"Another version of the killing of George 
Wood is to the effect that after he was shot the 
Indians piled brush on his body in an effort to 
burn It. but the best evidence points to his 
taking off as I have described it. 

After the killing of the Wood brothers 
the Indians replenished their stock of am- 
munition from the store and then pro- 
ceeded to attack the other inhabited cab- 
ins of the settlement. At the Thomas 
cabin, where were gathered the greatest 
number of settlers, a determined fight 
was put up bv the white men (with the 
]>ossible exception of the ^Fattock cabin 
at Okoboji lake, the only place in either 
settlement where the Indians met with 
resistence) and they succeeded in standing 
off the redskins. Thig was due to the prep- 
arations that had been made and to the 
fighting qualities of the men and women 

After the middav meal at the Thomas 
cabin all who were temporarily living 
there were sitting in the north room talk- 
ing, while two of Mr. Thomas' children, 
aged seven and ten years, were playing 
in the yard. About half past two o'clock 
Willie, the younger of the boys playing 
outside, came running into the house with 
the announcement that an Indian was 
coming down the road from the Wlieel- 
er cabin, which was to the north. As the* 
people of the cabin were hourly expect- 
ing the return of Joseph Cbiffin and Hen- 
ry Trets from Fort Ridgely, some one 
of the party exclaimed, "I'll bet it's Hen- 
ry," meaning Henry Trets. From their 
location in the north room, tlie door of 
which faced the timber, the people could 
not see anyone coming from the direction 

"The Thomas house stood on the edge of 
the timber, being surrounded on three sides by 
woods full of logs, brush and stumps of trees; 
on the other side was prairie. Within six or 
eifi'ht rods of the cabin were a log stable, an 
old fashioned hny rack for feeding stock and 
a cattle yard made of logs and poles. A log 
partition divided the cabin into two rooms, 
connected by a door: at opposite ends of each 
room was a fireplace. The south room had a 
door and a window, both facing the prairie, 
while the north room had a door and a window, 
facing the timber, and a window looking upon 
the prairie. The window on the timber side 
had been secured by nailing two thicknesses 
of oak stakes across it. leaving a space about 
four Inches wide to serve as a port hole; on 
the prairie side the windows had been covered 
with shutters that could be taken out and put 
In as occasion required. The doors were fasten- 
ed with pins stuck In holes in the logs. 



indicated without going out doors. So 
there was a rush for the door. Miss 
Swanger, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Palmer and 
Mr. Carver went outside, where the two 
boys still were. Miss Swanger was the 
first one out and when she got to a point 
where she could see the person approach- 
ing she cried joyfully, "Yes, it's Henry." 
But when Mr. Carver got out where he 
had a good view he replied, "Xo, it's an 

No sooner were the words out of his 
mouth than a tremendous volley, fired 
at short range from rifles and shotguns, 
was poured into the little company in 
front of the house ; the Indians had crawl- 
ed up and hidden themselves behind trees, 
outbuildings and other places of conceal- 
ment. Little Willie Thomas was killed 
instantlv. James Thomas received a mus- 
ket ball in his left arm just below the el- 
bow, which broke both bones and made 
necessary the amputation of the member. 
David Carver was wounded by a buckshot, 
which passed through the fleshy part of 
his arm above the elbow and penetrated 
his lung. Miss Swanger was wounded by 
a rifle ball, which passed through the 
upper part of her shoulder, inflicting a 
painful but not dangerous wound. Of 
those outside, Mr. Palmer and the older 
Thomas boy were the only ones unharm- 
ed ; it is a winder that all were not killed, 
and can be accounted for only by the 
poor markmanship of the Indians. 

All succeeded in getting into the cab- 
in, those who had received wounds being 
unaware of the fact until thev were in- 
side. Although the surprise had been 
complete there was no confusion. Each 
seemed to know instinctivelv what^was to 
be done and commenced doing it. Had 
the Indians followed their first volley with 
a rush they would probably have succeeded 
in massacreing the whole houseful with 
little, if any, loss to themselves. The 

doors and windows were closed and bar- 
red, while Mr. Markham and Mr. Brad- 
shaw, who had remained in the house, 
seized their rifles and commenced firing 
at the Indians, whose guns could be seen 
protruding through the hay rack. The 
battle was on. 

I shall let Mr. Jareb Palmer, one of 
the defenders of the cabin and the his- 
torian of the massacre, tell of the inter- 
esting events that took place in the Thom- 
as cabin during the next hour : 

At first I busied myself in barricading the 
south room, and, as the shutters for the win- 
dow in this room had unfortunately been left 
on the outside, we had to improvise something 
in its place. For this we used a table and 
some chairs. Having attended to this, I seized 
a gun, of which, fortunately, we had plenty, 
and looked around for a place to get a shot 
at the redskins, but found no chance, as they 
seemed to be all on the southwest side of the 
house, and there was no porthole in either 
the south end of the house or the west side 
of the south room, I seized an ax which was 
in the room and knocked out a piece of chink- 
ing from between the logs on each side of 
the fireplace in the south end of the house. I 
watched the hole on the west side of the fire- 
place -and the Thomas boy the east side. It 
was not until I had completed these prepara- 
tions for defense that I learned the full ex- 
tent of our loss, and my heart fairly bled for 
Mrs. Thomas. 

\Vlien we rushed into the house at the In- 
dians' first fire we did not notice that the 
Thomas boy was killed, and when he was 
missed and we ascertained that his boJy lay 
in front of the door, the lamentations of his 
mother were truly heartrending. Her husband 
was seriously wounded and bleeding profusely, 
her boy killed outside, and she was not able 
to have even the poor consolation of having 
his body brought into the house, for it would 
have been certain death for anyone to ven- 
ture out to get it. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Car- 
ver were soon obliged to lie down, but Miss 
Swanger continued to render all the assistance 
in her power and never once laid down dur- 
ing the time we were in the house. 

As it happened, we had plenty of guns and 
ammunition and kept busy .blazing away at 
nny thing we could see that looked like a face 
or a hand, a gun or a piece of blanket, and I 
assure you we burned a lot of powder and 
made a big noise whether we hurt anybody 
or not. The Indians continued to fire volley 
after volley at the house, some of the balls 
coming through the door, we protecting our- 
selves by taking up a portion of the puncheon 
floor and standing it against the door. At 
only one time did I have a fair view of any 



of the savages, and that was doubtless after 
they had concluded to abandon the attack. 
Then I saw three at one time with their backs 
toward the house and going as fast as their 
legs would carry them, and I was able to get 
only one shot at them before they were out 
of sight. As my duties kept me busy in the 
south room I didn't know much about what 
was going on in the north room except as 
I could hear the crack of the guns in the 
hands of Bradshaw and Markham. 

However, I passed into that room two or 
three times during the fight, once, I remem- 
ber, to make a porthole in the end of the 
house, and once to get a supply of ammuni- 
tion, as the guns and ammunition were all 
kept in that room. Once when I was in there 
I saw, Mrs. Church fire through the .east win- 
dow at what she said was an Indian, and she 
said she aaw him fall." This was no doubt 
the one first seen by the boysf as he was in 
nearly the same place as that one when seen. 

I suppose I ought to tell you that after 
the excitement caused by the surprise had 
.*-omewhat abated, some of the ladies be- 
thought themselves of the arm that is all- 
powerful to save and engaged themselves in 
earnest supplication to Him for help; and as 
, there seemed nothing better for them to do, I 
think we were all glad to see them thus en- 
gaged, for I am sure none of us had much hope 
of ever leaving the house alive, as we were 
but three able bodied men, contending, as we 
supposed, against the whole Sioux nation, and 
with but faint hopes of any human help be- 
ing able to reach us. 

After a while — probably an hour after the 
attack was begun — the fire of the enemy be- 
gan to slacken, and then we saw sticks and 
clubs flying in the air toward the three head 
of colts which were kept there. In this way 
the Indians succeeded in driving them up the 
road and out of sight of us people in the 
house. They accomplished this without ex- 
posing themselves to our view. We had no 
thought at the time why they had done this, 
unless merely to see the horses run; but, as 
it afterward proved, they were about to aban- 
don the attack and took this way to get the 
horses out of our sight that they might 
catch them and take them away. 

I presume the Indians left soon after, al- 
though we had no thought they were going 
to abandon the attack, and when the fire 
abated we supposed they were lying in wait 
for some of us to expose ourselves that they 
might shoot us down. Notwithstanding the 
fife had abated, we did not abate our vigi- 
lance, but continued to watch through the 
portholes for lurking 5*avagc8, expecting mo- 
mentarily a renewal of the attack with larger 
force and in some unexpected manner. But 
the fire finally stopped entirely. The Indians 
had slunk away as secretly and silently as 
they had come; but we had no idea they had 
gene until just before nightfall, when we saw 


"It was afterwards learned that none of the 
Indians was wounded. 

someone coming from toward the Wheeler 

We at first supposed it to be an Indian 
and were holding ourselves in readiness to 
fire as soon as he came within gunshot, but 
before he came near enough to fire we discover- 
ed it was a boy dressed in white man's clothes. 
We still thought it might be another trick to 
draw us out .of the house, so we remained in- 
side and hallooed at him through a porthole. 
He answered us and upon inquiring who he 
was, he told us he was Johnnie Stewart. We 
called to him, oi>encd the door and took 
him in. He was frigiitened nearly out of his 
wits, and well he might be. 

During the time that the attack on the 
Thomas cabin was being made other 
members of the outlaws were meeting 
with better success in another part of the 
settlement. An Indian came to the home 
of Mr. Stewart, wlio seems to have been 
ignorant of the attack on the settlement, 
and was bargaining for the purchase of 
a small hog, displaying a number of gold 
coins to be given in payment. Mr. Stew- 
art was shot down and killed bv other 
Indians who were Ivinff in wait for him. 
His wife, who had been sitting in a chair 
in the house, holding the l)aby, rushed to 
the door witli tlie baby in her arms and 
with a three year old child clinging to 
her skirts. On reaching the door she was 
r-hot down and the ])aby and little girl 
were knocked in the head with tomahawk?. 
While the mother and two little children 
were being murdered, little Johnnie Stew- 
art, seven or eight years of age, slipped 
out of the house and eluded the Indians, 
hiding behind a log, three or four rods 
from the cabin, where he remained until 
the Indians had completed their atrocious 
work and departed. Then he came out 
of his hiding place, viewed the dead bod- 
ies of his parents and little sisters, and 
made his wav to the Wheeler cabin. In- 
side he heard voices, and, supposing the 
cabin was full of Indians, the little boy 
left and went to the Thomas cabin, as 
has been stated. 

The Wheeler cabin, which was occu- 
pied at the time of the massacre by Dr. 



E. B. N. Strong, J. B. Skinner, Robert 
Smith, John Henderson, Mrs. Skinner, 
Mrs. William Xelson and baby, Mrs. Rob- 
ert Smith and l^Ir. Shieglev's two vear old 
boy, had not been put in a state of de- 
fense, but it was fortunately located, be- 
ing on the edge of the prairie. There 
were no shutters for the solitary window 
of the cabin, which, however, fortunately, 
faced the prairie, nor had any portholes 
been made. The Indians appeared at the 
cabin, fired several fihots through the 
door, but did not make any determined 
attack. The bullets passed through the 
thin boards of the door and into the wall 
opposite, one of them barely missing Mr. 
Henderson. An ox was kilic.l near the 
cabin and the T-cst of the stock was driven 
off. Neither Dr. Strong nor \[r. Skin- 
ner, the onlv able bodied men there, fired 
a shot from the cabin. It i< said the in- 
mates attempted to protect themselves by 
ringing bells and beating on tin pans, 
which seems to have answered tlie pur- 
pose, for no one was injured. 

The cabin of Adam Shiegley was not 
attacked and that gentleman knew noth- 
ing of the attack until later in the day, 
when he went to the Thomas cabin. He 
was much surprised to learn of the fight- 


The bloody work was completed and 
the Indians returned to their camp near 

"Although Mr. Shiegley did not learn of the 
fight until after it was over, he was inclined to 
give evidence in regard to it, as well as every 
e\ent of which he had heard, and he often 
made himself the hero of startling situations. 
In 1895 he is report'^td to have said to a rei>orter 
for the Mankato Morning News: 

"... When the Indians attacked the 
[Thomas] house they must have crossed the 
river not a hundred yards from where I was. 
But I couldn't see them because there was a 
bend in the river l>etween us. The first thing 
I knew was when I heard them yelling and the 
shooting. Then I ran up the bank, which was 
thickly wooded, and lay down flat on m>' face 
in the snow. There were at)Out twenty of the 
Indians yelling and dancing and firing into 
the house. They didn't care about the people 
in there, though. What they wanted was the 
four horses in the stable and they just fired 
to keep the folks inside. Well, I saw 

them off and out of the way and then I went 
up to the house." 

Heron lake. Owing to the knowledge that 
the Indians were on the warpath and the 
determined fight put up by the men and 
women of the Thomas cabin, the results 
were not nearlv so disastrous as thev had 
been at the lakes. For the first time in 
the Indians' mad career since leaving 
Smithland thev encountered men who 
were not afraid to fight for their lives, 
and the attempt to wipe out the settle- 
ment failed. At that, onlv at the Thomas 
cabin was any resistence made, and but 
for the opposition they encountered there, 
there can be no doubt the Indians would 
have persevered until every white in the 
settlement was killed. But, baffled in 
their attempt to 'massacre those in the 
Thomas house, ignorant of the damage 
their first vollev had done and of the 
weakness of the fighting force left, anx- 
ious to take part in the looting of Woods' 
store, perhaps fearing the early arrival of 
the soldiers, they gave up the attack. 

The losses in the Springfield settlement 
were : 

K 1 L.L.R n 

WiUiam Wood 
George Wood 
Joshua Stewart 
Mrs. Joshua Stewart 
Two Stewart Children 
WUUe Thomas 

W O IT N D K n 

James B. Thomas 
David Carver 
Drusilla Swan^er 



It is impossible to say just how many 
Indians were engaged in the massacre — 
probably not more than the fifteen of 
Inkpaduta's band.-^ It is not probable 
that Umpashota and his Indians took part 
in the actual killing, but there can be no 
question that that nominally friendly In- 
dian assisted Inkpaduta in his designs 
and preparations. Nothing more was 
seen of Umpashota or any of his Indians ; 
they had gone to more congenial climes. 
Concerning the part this crafty Indian 
may have taken in affairs, Mr. Jareb, 
Palmer has written: 

*»Major William Williams, the leader of the 
Iowa volunteers, among several other mistakes 
in matters of fact and conjecture In his official 
report, says of the number of Indians taking 
part in the Spirit lake and Springfield mas- 

"As near as I could ascertain, the Indian 
force was from 150 to 200 warriors. Judging 
from their encampments, etc. The number of 
Indians must be fifteen or twenty killed and 
wounded. From the number seen to fall killed, 
and judging from the bloody clothes and clots 
of blood in their encampments, the struggle 
at the lakes must have been very severe, partic- 
ularly the one at the hause o( Ksquire Mat- 
tock. ... I am satisfied that the greater 
number of these Indians were from the Mis- 
souri, as they were strangers to the settlers 
where they appeared, and a portion of them 
were half-breeds." 

Major Williams seems to have prepared his 
report with very little data to work from. 

"It has been reported that the Indians 
who had camped near the settlement dur- 
ing the winter were engaged in the at- 
tack and massacre at Springfield. Wheth- 
er this is a fact or not I am unable to 
say. Some of those in the Thomas house 
with me say they saw and recognized Um- 
pashota, but I did not see any Indian that 
I could recognize as one I had ever seen 
before. When Captain Bee arrived Um- 
pashota and his band were gone and he 
found some of the goods that we^e taken 
from Woods' store in the possession of 
Gaboo^s Indians, but they claimed to have 
bought them of Inkpaduta's Indians, and 
this might have been the case, as Mrs. 
Sharp says when the Indians returned 
from the attac^k, they brought eleven 
horses and ponies with them, and I know 
they only got three from the whites at 
Springfield, so that it may be that Ink- 
paduta's band had traded goods for pon- 
ies. I have never since seen anv of the 
Indians with whom I became acquainted 
during that winter" 



THE Indians had done their hel- 
lish work and returned to camp 
near Heron lake. The settlers 
did not know that they had gone, how- 
ever, believing them to be still in the 
neighborhood, awaiting a favorable op- 
[)ortiinity to complete the work of butch- 
ery. All the living persons in the Spring- 
field settlement were now gathered at the 
Wheeler and Thomas cabins. The people 
at each house believed that all the others 
had been killed and that they themselves 
were the only living whites in the settle- 
ment; each party considered the case al- 
most hopeless. The story of their flight 
and the hardships Ihey endured has sel- 
dom been equaled in frontier history. 

When little Johnnie Stewart arrived 
at the Thomas cabin the garrison there 
were led to believe that the savages had 
left the immediate vicinity. When a lit- 
tle later Adam Shiegley was seen going 
across the prairie from his cabin toward 
the Wheeler cabin and, in response to a 
hail, came to Mr. Tliomas' place unharm- 
ed, the belief was verified. From the 
Stewart bo^-^s account of the killing of 
hu? family and his report that the Wheeler 
cabin was full of Indians, and from the 
announcement of Mr. Shiegley that he 
had heard firing in the direction of 

Woods' store, this little band of defenders 
now thought that they were the only ones 
spared. Although they assumed that the 
Indians had gone for the time being, they 
had no doubt thev wore still in the set- 
tlement, ready to renew the attack as 
soon as sufficiently reinforced or when a 
favorable opportunity offered. 

So the vigilance maintained during the 
attack was not lessened. The men and 
women in the cabin continued to watch 
through the portholes for lurking sav- 
ages. From what they knew of the char- 
acter of the enemy they had reason to 
suspect that the silence was only a scheme 
to draw the defenders out. The women 
of the party prepared something to eat 
and passed it to those who were on watch 
at the portholes, and these ate their sup- 
per out of their hands. When darkness 
came on they feared to keep a fire or light 
in the house. 

The situation of the beleaguered people 
and the possibility for deliverance were 
discussed. Some thought best to remain 
at the cabin in the hope that the soldiers 
from Fort Ridgely would soon appear, be- 
lieving that it would be better to remain 
behind the sheltering logs of the cabin 
than to risk an encounter with the red- 
skins in the open. Others (and they were 




in the majority) favored flight. Those 
who most strongly favored departing ar- 
gued that there was no certainty that re- 
lief would ever come; it was not known 
whether tlie couriers had succeeded in 
reaching Fort Ridgely, and if they had 
there was no assurance that their story 
would be believed or any help sent; they 
feared the Indians would creep up during 
the night and fire the cabin. To realize 
the utter demoralization tlie people must 
have been in to attempt flight, let us look 
at conditions and try to understand what 
such a decision meant. 

The nearest settlement that could pro- 
vide safety was Mankato, seventy-five 
miles away. The point next nearest that 
seemed to offer a refuge was Fort Dodge, 
Iowa, nearly a hundred miles away. The 
snow was so deep and traveling so diffi- 
cult that it seemed impossible that a 
team could make anv headwav. Of the 
twenty or more people who comprised the 
party contemplating flight, only four were 
able-bodied men; the rest were women, 
children, babies and wounded men. Be- 
lieving, as they did, that the Indians were 
still in the vicinitv and determined to 
wipe them out, not knowing how many 
savages they might have to encounter, 
handicapped with so many incapacitated, 
knowing that the route was well nigh im- 
passible, it is hard to conceive by what 
process of reasoning these people decided 
to leave. But that is what was done. As 
many of the settlers had originally come 
from the vicinity of Fort Dodge, that 
was the point of refuge selected. 

As the Indians had not killed the cat- 
tle at the Thomas place, and as the snow 
had settled somewhat during the preced- 
ing few days, it was decided to try travel- 
ing by team, although few thought there 
was much hope of getting through. John 
Bradshaw and Frank M. Thomas, the 
elder son of James B. Thomas, were the 

first to venture from the cabin. They 
went out to the barn, so lately occupied 
by the savages, hitched the oxen to a sled 
and drove up to the east door, which was 
the one facing the prairie.* The women, 
children and wounded men were hastilv 
loaded into the sled, the dead bodv of 
Willie Thomas being left where it had 
fallen, and at nine o'clock in the evening 
the refugees set out on the perilous jour- 
ney. No baggage, no clothing except what 
was worn, no provisions were taken. The 
only thought was to get away from the 
scene of the disasters of the day. 

Great hasta was made at the start to 
get out onto the prairie away from the 
timber, the fear being great that the sav- 
ages would return and shoot them down 
before they could get out of gunshot from 
the timber's edge. Although the day had 
been fair and pleasant, there came up a 
thick fog about dark, which made it im- 
possible to see more than a few feet away. 
Over most of the course it was necessarv 
for the men to beat a path before the oxen 
could make any headwav. 

After having traveled in this manner 
for a couple of hours the fugitives became 
completely bewildered and knew not in 
which direction they were going. It was 
then decided to stop and wait for day- 
light. They found a knoll which was 
bare of snow, and there they unhitched 
the oxen and passed the rest of the night. 
There was no rest for this poor, cold, 

*ThIs is given on the authority of Mr. Palmer. 
Mrs. Sharp gives the credit of performing this 
service to Morris Markham and says: 

"Naturally no one wished to be the first to 
venture outside the door, where little Willie's 
body lay cold in death, the sad reminder of the 
consequence of a former venture. But some 
one must be the first. So. with true heroic 
courage characteristic of the man, Mr. Mark- 
liam volunteered to go to the stable, where the 
murderous Sioux had so lately been and where 
they perhaps were secreted, and hitch the oxen 
to the sled and bring them to the door, while 
the others made hasty preparations for flight. 
So. alone in the darkness, he sallied forth, over 
the blood-stained snow, carrying his gun to 
fire as a signal should be find the enemy there, 
groped his way through the stable, silently 
brought out the patient oxen, put on the yoke, 
hitched them to the sled and drove up to the 



sleepless and panic-stricken band of fugi- 
tives that night. When morning dawn- 
ed thev Jound themselves to be about 
tliree miles. from their starting point and 
not much out of their proper course. The 
fog had disappeared and no trouble was 
now encountered in keeping a true course. 
They could see the different groves along 
the river, including the one at Granger^s, 
where thev wished to strike first. 

The snow proved to be so deep that the 
oxen could scarcely pull the heavy load 
of those unable to walk and about noon 
the cattle became so exhausted that they 
could not proceed farther. It was then 
proposed that Mr. Palmer should go on 
to Granger's for help w^hile the rest of the 
party camped with the team. Mr. Palm- 
er reached the Granger cabin in safety, 
stated the conditions to Mr. Granger and 
Mr. Hashman, and those gentlemen start- 
ed back with their oxen to the assistance 
of the Springfield refugees. 

The three men had not proceeded far 
on the back track when they saw some 
persons on the prairie approaching from 
the direction of Springfield. They were 
too far away to make out whether they 
were Indians or whites, but the men pro- 
ceeded on their way. After a while they 
noticed that one was nearer than the rest 
of the party and that he was running for 
dear life, going in the direction of the 
Granger grove. Believing him to be an 
Indian and fearing that if he reached the 
Granger cabin he would massacre the 
women, who were left w^ithout male pro- 
tection, ^fr. Palmer and Mr. Hashman 
staited out on a run to head him off. 
Mr. Palmer outran Mr. Hashman aiid 
succeeded in getting between the fleeing 
man and the grove. When he got within 
hailing distance the runner, who prov- 
ed to be Dr. Strong, hallooed to Mr. 
Palmer, giving the friendly salutation of 
the Sioux language. The doctor had mis- 

taken Mr. Palmer for an Indian and so 
had accosted him in, perhaps, the only 
Sioux word he knew. When he had first 
come in sight of the men he had taken 
them for Indians, and had pulled off his 
boots and thrown iliem away that he 
might run the faster. 

Dr. Strong joined the other men of 
the party, who now anxiously awaited 
the coming of the people they saw in the 
distance. These proved to be the fugi- 
tives who had been left with the team. 
After Mr Palmer had departed they saw 
a party of people pursuing them, whom 
they, of course, took to be Indians. Life 
is a precious thing to most people and 
the sight of approaching Indians — as they 
supposed — caused them to make an al- 
most superhuman effort to escape. Aban- 
doning the oxen and sled, all set out on 
foot in a mad plunge through the drifts 
toward Granger's. Messrs. Carver and 
Thomas, the most severely wounded, 
found themselves able to walk; the men 
and women carried the children. 

The fugitives were again united, their 
force having been added to by Dr. Strong, 
Mr. Granger and Mr. Hashman. But 
they did not consider themselves safe by 
any means. There now came into view 
the party of five or six persons who had 
so alarmed those left at the sled, but they 
were too far away to tell whether they 
were friends or foes. So the refugees 
held themselves in readiness for action 
should they prove to be Indians. Fear 
lends fleetness to the limbs and in a short 
time the party came up. They proved to 
be Mr. and Mrs. Skinner, Mrs. Smith and 
Mrs. Nelson with her vear and a half old 


babe — a part of those who had been at 
the Wheeler cabin. 

Tjct us interrupt the story of the flight 
long enough to tell what had happened at 
the Wheeler cabin. The night after the 
massacre had been spent in apprehension 



and terror; in the morning the situation 
was not relieved. Dr. Strong, one of the 
two able-bodied men in the cabin, who 
had proved himself a hero in caring for 
the frozen men a month before, now prov- 
ed himself a veritable coward. During 
the forenoon of the dav after the attack 
he began to worr}^ about his family, who 
had been at the Thomas cabin, and. tried 
to get someone to go down to try to as- 
certain their fate. Finally he declared 
he could stand the suspense no longer and 
that he intended to learn the fate af his 
family. He left the house with the avow- 
ed intention of going to the Tliomas cab- 
in, but no sooner was lie out of the house 
than his valor departed and he struck out 
across the prairie, running for dear life, 
without a thought, apparently, for the 
safety of his family or anyone else except 

The desertion of Dr. Strong left the 
people of the Wheeler cabin in a deplor- 
able condition. There was now left only 
J. B. Skinner to care for and protect two 
crippled men, three women and two small 
children. He was not equal to the oc- 
casion. There can be no question that 
the action of Mr. Skinner and the women 
there on that 27th day of March was cow- 
ardly. Perhaps their actions should be 
treated with lenity and a less harsh term 
than coward applied, for no one knows 
exactlv what he or she would do in a 
like circumstance; the fear of death in 
most of us is stronger than any other hu- 
man emotion. The occasion called for 
heroic action, but there was no response. 

Whether the desertion of Dr. Strong 
increased the fears of the remaining in- 
mates by reason of lessening their num- 
ber and making tHem more easy victims 
of the savages, or whether his ability to 
get away from the timber unharmed de- 
termined them also to make the attempt 
is not known, but it was decided to make 

a swift run for safety in an eflfort to get 
to the Iowa settlements. As the Indians 
had killed all the cattle on the place it 
was necessary to go afoot. Poor John 
Henderson, who was in bed with both feet 
oft from recent amputation, was aban- 
doned to whatever fate might overtake 
him, even without preparation being made 
for his food. Mrs. Nelson said she could 
carry her child and did so. One of the 
party also carried the Shiegley child for 
some distance. Robert Smith, who only 
a short time before had one leg ampu- 
tated, decided to accompany the others 
and stumped along on his one leg for a 
few hundred yards of the distance to Fort 
Dodge. His wound soon began to bleed 
and he was unable to go farther. 

When Mr. Smith was obliged to give 
up, the party grew tired of carrying the 
Shiegley child and the two — a man in 
such condition that he ought to have been 
in bed, and a two year old child — were 
abandoned to their fate on the snow- 
covered prairie.- ' The reader may in im- 
agination realize the feelings that surged 
through the breast of this .poor victim left 
to his fate by one who was supposed to 
be bound to him by ties stronger than the 
fear of death — the wife who, to save her 
own life, must abandon her husband to 
what appeared almost certain death. Mr. 
Smith and the little boy crawled to the 
Thomas xjabin in the hope of finding some 
one to care for them, but in this, of 
course, they were disappointed. They re- 
mained in the cabin until found by the 
soldiers from Fort Ridgely.^ After the 
abandonment the party, now consisting 
of Mr. and Mrs. Skinner, Mrs. Nelson 
and child and Mrs. Smith, proceeded on 

*Mr. Holcombe. In Minnesota in Three Cen- 
turies, says: "Smith's wife wished to remain 
with her husband, but he bade her save herself, 
saying that she could do nothing that would 
bo of so much service to him as to hurry for- 
ward to the Iowa settlements and send him re- 

*The Shiegley child was adopted into the 
family of Major William Williams. 



theiy way and joined the other refugees, 
as has been related. 

The newcomers told of tlieir adventures 
and of the abandonment of Mr. Smith 
and the Shiegley child on the prairie. Up- 
on learning the particulars, Mr. Shiegley 
at once declared his intention to go back 
to take care of his boy, the love of his 
child overshadowing the fear of his own 
danger. The rest of the party tried to 
dissuade him, but to no avail, and after 
having been wished a hearty Godspeed, 
lie set out for the north at about the mid- 
dle of the afternoon. So well satisfied 
were the fugitives that the Indians were 
still at Springfield that they expressed 
the belief thfit they would never again 
see Mr. Shiegley alive. 

It is to be regretted that no reliance 
can be placed in the statements • of this 
man, for he might have left recorded 
much ot historical value instead of the 
improbably stories he did leave. He re- 
turned to the settlement and visited the 
Wheeler cabin, but did not find his boy 
or Mr. Smith, and came back to join the 
refugees. He spent the night with Mr. 
Henderson in the Wheeler cabin, and be- 
fore he left the next day cut a piece of 
meat from one of the oxen slain by the 
redskins and carried the meat in to the 
wounded man that he might not starve. 
He stated that he visited the Thomas cab- 
in in his search for the missing boy, but 
if he had he surely would have found 

After Mr. Shiegley left, the fugitives 
proceeded to the home of Mr. Granger 
to seek much needed rest after the terri- 
ble suflfering incident to the trip. Food 
was supplied and then the thirty people 

*Mr. Shiegley also told of having: met an In- 
dian in the settlement. He said that after hav- 
ing a talk with the Indian both agreed to turn 
their backs and walk away without turning 
around to look at one another. Mr. Shiegley 
said he broke the agreement by wheeling sud- 
denly and shooting the Indian in the head, re- 
marking that the aborigine "Jumped like a rab- 
bit with his head cut off." 

endeavored to get a nighf s sleep in the 
one small room the cabin boasted. Some 
were able to lie down, while others were 
obliged to secure their rest in whatever 
position the conditions afforded. The 
next day, the 28th, Mr. Markham and Mr. 
Palmer went back and brought in the 
oxen, which were found quietly feeding 
on the dead grass within a few rods of 
the sled. 

The Springfield refugees remained at 
the Granger cabin that day and the next 
night, getting a much needed rest and 
awaiting tKe return of Mr. Shiegley. On 
Sunday morning, March 29, they set Qut 
again on the way to Fort Dodge. The 
snow had by this time melted sufficiently 
to leave many bare spots, so the sled was 
left and two yoke of oxen were hitched 
to Mr. Granger's lumber wagon. The 
wounded, women and small children were 
loaded into the wagon, and all, including 
George Granger and the Hashman family, 
set out on the supposable long journey, 
most of the party going afoot. With 
fatigue and suffering they traveled all 
day. The wounds of those shot by the 
Indians had not been dressed, and, in- 
flammation having set in, every motion 
of the wagon caused excruciating pain. 
Of this day's trip Mr. Palmer has writ- 

The snow had settled so much that we did 
not have much difficulty on account of the 
drifts, but all the small ravines and sags 
were filled with slush two or three feet deep, 
which had to be waded by those who walked. 
Some two or three of the women and all of 
the men were compelled to walk, as the oxen 
were not able to haul all of the women even. 
It was heartrending to see the poor women 
plunge in and wade the cold slush, sometimes 
nearly to their waists; but when it is life or 
death we can make heroic efforts to save the 

Only twelve or fifteen miles were made 

that day. Camp was made on a slight 

elevation of ground on the bank of a 

small lake near Mud lakes, in Emmet 

county, Iowa. There were a half dozen 



small, scrubby oak trees which were cut 
down for firewood, the branches being 
used for beds. The ground was covered 
with water from the melting snow and the 
accommodations were anything but com- 
fortable. A fairly restful night was pass- 
ed, however, and on the morning of the 
30th the journey was resumed. That day 
was a repetition of the preceding one so 
far as discomforts were concerned. In 
addition, the party now began to feel the 
pangs of hunger, for they had had noth- 
ing to eat since leaving the Granger cabin, 
excepting a handful or two of sugar; all 
tKe vituals had been consumed while stay- 
ing at the cabin. 

About three o'clock in the afternoon 
the refugees sighted a party in the dis- 
tance in the direction in which they were 
going, and again did the terror-stricken 
people believe that they were to be at- 
tacked by Indians. The guns were ex- 
amined and preparations made for a fight. 
Six men of the party went ahead to in- 
vestigate, leaving one man with the team. 
To their great joy they found the party 
to be the advance guard of an expedition 
recruited by the people of Fort Dodge and 
vicinity to come to the relief of the fron- 
tier settlers.^ The point of meeting was 
near the north line of Palo Alta county, 

*The Sprln^eld refugees were, of course, Ig- 
norant of the coming of this expedition; they 
did not even know that news of the trouble on 
the frontier had been carried to the Iowa set- 
tlements. On the 14th of March, when the 
Springfield settlers had gathered at Granger's 
tc go to the lakes, a Mr. Hashman,. father of 
the young man mentioned* in the text, became 
alarmed and set out on foot for Fort Dodge. 
There he told the story of the Spirit lake mas- 
sacre as it had been related by Morris Mark- 
ham, but he being a stranger and having his 
Information second hand, very little credit was 
given to the story by the people of Fort Dodge. 
The news of the massacre was confirmed in 
that Iowa town on the 22nd, when O. C Howe, 
R. U. Wheelock and B. F. Parmenter came in 
and reported what they had found at the lakes 
on the 15th. The people were still skeptical, 
but after these men had sworn to their state- 
ments they bestlred themselves. 

The direful news created intense filling. 
Three companies of volunteers were quickly re- 
cruited in Fort Dodge, Webster City and Hom- 
er, and on the 25th, under command of Major 
William Williams, they set out for the frontier. 
They proceeded up the Des Moines river, and 
after terrible hardships came upon the Spring- 
field refugees on the afternoon of the 30th. 

Iowa. The advance guard was under the 
command of William Church, a Spring- 
field settler and the husband of one of 
the refugees. The joy of the hungry, 
weary, bleeding fugitives on meeting the 
volunteers was indescribable. Not until 
then, from the time of attack, had they 
for a moment felt safe from their foes. 
They knew that had they been attacked on 
the route they would have fallen an easy 

The main body of volunteers, consist- 
ing of about 115 men, soon came up. The 
refugees accompanied them to their camp, 
four or five miles away, and for the first 
time since early in the morning of the 
day before had something to eat. Dr. 
BisseU, the surgeon with the volunteers, 
dressed the wounds of Mr. Thomas, Mr. 
Carver and Miss Swanger. As the injur- 
ies liad been received four days before and 
had gone that length of time without sur- 
gical attention, the wounds were in bad 
condition and were terribly inflamed. All 
remained in the camp of the soldiers that 
night. The next morning Major Wil- 
liams made the necessary arrangements 
for the care of the wounded and the wom- 
en and children. Accompanied by Messrs. 
Granger, Hashman, Strong and Skinner, 
they went to the **Irish colony,^^ a few 
miles below, and in course of time arriv- 
ed safely in Fort Dodge and other Iowa 

Of the refugees, Messrs. Bradshaw, 
Markham, Shiegley and Palmer did not 
go to the Iowa towns, but joined tlie vol- 
unteers." Thev became meml)ers of a 
scouting party and scouted over quite a 

"The fallacy of some of Major Williams' con- 
clusions is illustrated in the following from his 
rri>ort of the expedition: 

"About eighty miles up we met those who 
had escaped the massacre at Springrfleld. . 

They were about exhausted and the Indians 
on their trail pursuing them. Had not our 
scouts discovered them and reported, there can 
be no doubt they would have been murdered 
that night." 

'J. Griffith and William Church were also 
former Springfield residents who had joined 
the volunteers at the time of recruiting. 




large tract of territory. Although they 
found fresh Indian signs, they were un- 
able to run across any of the savages. 
The main body of the volunteers pro- 
ceeded north to the jQ ranger cabin. There 
they learned that United States soldiers 
had arrived at Springfield, and they de- 
cided to return home, and after detailing 
a party to bury the dead at the lakes, they 
departed. Some of the former Spring- 
field settlers who had joined the volun- 
teers went up to the camp of the regulars 
and assisted in straightening . up affairs 
in that disordered settlement. 

Jjet us now consider the part played 
by the United States soldiers from Fort 
Ridgely, whose coming had been so anx- 
iously awaited by the people of Spring- 
field, and whose earlier arrival would have 
saved seven lives and prevented the hard- 
ships endured by the refugees. 

When Joseph Chiffin and Henry Trets 
arrived at the lower agency with the peti- 
tion on the 18th of March, Agent Charles 
E. Flandreau was fully satisfied of the 
truth of the report that murders had been 
committed* and took prompt action. He 
at once drove to Fort Ridgely, fourteen 
miles distant, and conferred with Col- 
onel E. B. Alexander, of ihe Tenth in- 
fantr}% then commanding the post, which 
contained five or six companies of that 
regiment. With commendable prompt- 
ness Colonel Alexander ordered D com- 
pany, commanded by Captain Bernard 
E. Bee, with Lieutenant Alexander Mur- 
ry second in command, to be ready to 
start for the scenes of the trouble at once 
for the purposes of protecting the set- 
tlers and to punish the Indians. 

Captain Bee received his orders at nine 
o'clock on the morning of March 19, and 
within three and one-half hours he was 
on his way with forty-eight men, trans- 
ported in sleighs drawn by mules. It was 

"Speech of Charles E. Flandreau at unveiling 
of Spirit Lake monument in 1S95. 

found impossible to march the troops in 
a direct line to the scene of the outbreak 
on account of the difficulty in traveling 
through the deep snow with the army 
wagon and mules. The route traversed 
was down the Minnesota by way of New 
Ulm to Mankato, and thence up the Blue 
Earth and Watonwan to Isaac Slocum^s 
cabin, a few miles southwest of the pres- 
ent town of Madelia. It was hoped to 
find a trail from that place to the exposed 
settlements, but for the last forty or fifty 
miles of the journey it was necessary for 
the soldiers to break a road for the mulets. 

Agent Flandreau and his interpreter, 
Philander Prescott, accompanied the 
troops as far as Slocum^s; then, believing 
it useless to proceed farther, they turned 
back. At Little Rock a half-breed guide 
named Joseph La Framboise, who was well 
acquainted with the country, was secured, 
but it was almost impossible for him to 
follow a road or trail covered with four 
feet of snow. 

So great were the difficulties of travel 
that Agent Flandreau advised Captain 
Bee to turn back, also, stating that he 
would justify such action before his com- 
manding officer. Captain Bee was a 
plucky officer, however, and replied: "My 
orders are to go to Spirit lake and to do 
what I can; it is not for me to interpret 
orders, except to obey them. I shall go 
on until it become physically impossible 
to proceed farther."® So the plucky cap- 
tain continued on his way. At Slocum's 
the command was joined by Nathaniel 
Frost, William Nelson and Charles Wood. 

The little command waded through 
snow drifts up to their waists, often cut- 
ting through them with spade and shovel; 
extricated mules and sleighs from sloughs 
and drifts; dragged sleighs up steep hills 
and over bare spots; marched in close 
rank through the deep snow to break a 

•Charles E. Flandreau in The Inkpaduta Mas- 
sacre of 1857. 



road for the teams; were up from early 
morning until late at night; camped, ate 
and slept in the snow. It was after such 
a trip as this, on the evening of March 
28, nine days from the time he had start- 
ed from Fort Eidgely and two days after 
the butchery at Springfield, that Cap- 
tain Bee at the head of his command ar- 
rived at the trading post of Gaboo and 
the little Indian village there. 

Gaboo and his Indians professed friend- 
ship for the whites,^*^ and the half-breed 
was employed as guide. ^^ He gave the 
information that Inkpaduta and his In- 
dians had cleaned out the Springfield set- 
tlement and had retired to their camp on 
Heron lake. Learning this, Captain Bee 
decided to pursue the Indians at once, 
although his men were nearly exhausted 
from the long and wearisome journey. 
With the sounding of retreat on the even- 
ing of the arrival Captain Bee called for 
twenty volunteers to start early the next 
morning for the Indian camp, and the 
whole company promptly stepped for- 

So, early on the morning of Sunday, 
March 29, the whole force of soldiers, ac- 
companied by the two half-breed guides, 
set out for Heron lake. The teamsters 
accompanied the soldiers, leading the 
thirteen mules of the company for use in 
case the Indians attempted flight. Guided 
by Gaboo, they went straight across the 
country to the site of the recent Indian 
camp, which they surrounded. Said Cap- 
tain Bee in his report: "The camp was 
there with all its traces of plunder and 
rapine — ^books, scissors, articles of female 

"It has been allegred that the soldiers found 
goods at Gaboo's camp that had come from the 
settlers at Springfield. Of the charge that 
Gaboo's Indian wife was seen wearing a shawl 
belonging to Mrs. Church. Captain Bee said it 
"only existed in the imagination of one or two 
settlers." He stated that all the Indian squaws 
were robed in Indian blankets. 

**'*We procured two halt-breod guides, Joe 
Coursalle, better known as Joe Gaboo, and Joe 
LaFramboise, both of whom I knew well and 
felt no hesitancy in trusting on such a mission." 
— Charles E. Flandreau at Spirit Lake monument 
unveiling in 1895. 

apparel, furs and traps/^ The marks of 
seven tepees were found. Although this 
camp had been deserted at three o^clock 
that same morning (the soldiers reached 
the place in the afternoon) the half- 
breed guides were of the opinion that the 
camp was two days old. 

From this circumstance some have 
formed the opinion that Gaboo did not 
want the soldiers to continue the pursuit 
of the Indians and that he deceived the 
officer in command. Captain Bee did 
not think. so at any rate, for in a com- 
munication to the Pioneer and Democrat 
of St. Paul of May 14, 1857, he said: 
"Gaboo was in front of my men, his dou- 
ble-barreled gun in his hand; his whole 
demeanor convinced me that he had come 
out to fight ; his life, he told me, had .been 
threatened bv the Indians.^^ 

The guides pointed out another grove 
four miles to the northwest, where they 
said the Indians might be. Lieutenant 
Murry took ten men and Gaboo and 
searched the grove, but found no Indians. 
Upon receiving this report from the lieu- 
tenant, Captain Bee, believing that the 
Indians were two days' march away and 
knowing that his men were in no condi- 
tion to make, a long campaign, decided 
that under the circumstances he would 
give up the pursuit. This he did and 
the command returned to the Des Moines 
river.* ^ 

Now, a«5 a matter of fact, the soldiers 
were within a very short distance of the 
Indians on this trip and created great 
alarm among the savages. To get a thor- 
ough understanding of the events that 
succeeded the massacre, let us keep the 
company of the Indians for a while. 

The looting of Woods' store was a 
great event with the savages and the war- 
riors returned in triumph to the camp 

"Major William Williams, of the Iowa volun- 
teers, with his usual careless handling of the 
truth, said of this campaign of the regular 



near Heron lake, loaded down with plun- 
der. Mrs. Sharp says the Indians re- 
turned after an absence of two days. 
Camp was then moved from a small lake, 
believed to be Boot lake, to the creek near 
the south end of Heron lake.^' The In- 
dians brought with thera as a result of 
the raid twelve horses, heavily loaded with 
dr}' good^, groceries, powder, lead, bed 
quilts, wearing apparel, provisions, etc. 
The white captives were informed that 
the Indians had been repulsed, but were 
given no particulars of the- iight, except 
the statement that only one white woman 
had been killed. 

The return of the savages to camp is 
interestingly told by Mrs. Marble, one of 
the captives:^* 

Perhaps you remember that while wq were 

"On Friday, in the afternoon, the troops from 
Fort Rid^rely arrived, all well mounted on 
mules. Those troops lay at Springfield all day 
Saturday and assisted in burying: the dead. 
Their officers counseled with the half-breed, 
Gaboo, who was the only one unharmed, and 
Itnown to be acting: with, and identifted with, 
the Indians, and whose squaw (he is married 
to a squaw) was at the time wearing: the shawl 
of Mrs. Church, with other articles taken from 
the citizens. Said officers lay over from Fri- 
day evening till Sunday morning: without pur- 
suing or making any effort to overtake the In- 
dians, who, they must have known, had taken 
off four white women as prisoners. 

"On Sunday morning he, the commanding of- 
ficer, set out on their trail, and followed them 
half the day, finding their campflres, overtaking 
three or four straggling squaws, let them go, 
and finding all sorts of goods thrown and 
strewn along their trail to lighten their load 
and expedite their flight. When he could not 
have been over half a day's march from them 
he stopped and returned the same evening 
(Sunday) to Springfield. When he ordered the 
men to return, they expressed a wish to fol- 
low on. and said the^ would put up with half 
rations if he would allow it. His reply was 
that he had no orders to follow them. 

"On Monday he set out for Spirit lake to 
bury the dead. etc. He went to the first house, 
that of Mr. Marble, found one dead body, bur- 
ied it and returned to Springfield. 

"It is certain such troops, or rather, such 
officers will afford no protection to our troubled 
frontier settlers. Think of his conduct! His 
men, all well mounted, turning back when he 
was not a half day's march off them; they 
loaded down with plunder and horses and mules, 
and carrying off with them four respectable 
women as prisoners." 

"Heretofore it has been generally believed 
that the Indian camp was on Heron lake when 
the attack on Springfield was made, but the 
camp at that time was doubtless on what is 
now known as Boot lake. The camp was mov- 
ed to Heron lake immediately after the return 
from Spring:field. Early settlers of Jackson 
<^ounty reported finding large quantities of 
boots and other goods from the Woods store on 
the bank of this lake; hence the name. 

camped at a little lake the Indiana went to 
Springfield and massacred the people and 
robbed the place. I do not know the name of 
the lake, but I remember it was surrounded 
with large oak trees, in which there were a 
number of eagles* nests. I do not know 
whether you recollect their arrival in camp 
that evening or not, but I remember it well, 
and so long as reason retains her throne I 
shall never forget it. It was just about sun- 
down, and I had stepped out of the tent, when 
through the opening of the oaks my eyes 
caught the sight of a long line of dusky ob- 
jects coming across the prairie. A second 
glance and I recognized the Indians of our 
camp. They came single file to the number 
of some twelve or thirteen. Each one led a 
horse, which with their drag-poles, on which 
they carry their loads, made a long line of 
men and horses. The horses were loaded 
with all kinds of goods and plunder. It was 
evident a dry goods store had been robbed. 
For, if you remember, each Indian wore a 
full suit of new, dark clothes, and with the 
r.ew dark cape drawn closely down over their 
brows they presented a singular and really 
gloomy appearance. Many of them even wore 
new gloves. They brought blankets, grocer- 
ies of all kinds, and whole bolts of prints. 
I with my own hands made up dozens of 
garments of the calico; dresses for their pa- 
pooses and shirts for the. men, as well as 
dresses for the squaws. They had also, many 
of them, a young animal strapped to their 
horses. I soon perceived that they were 
young calves. You doubtless remember they 
feasted about this time on veal eookeil with 
che hair and hide on. 

Mrs. Sharp also tells of the events in 

camp after the arrival of the warriors 

from Springfield : 

Among this plunder were several bolts of 
calico and red llannel. Of these, especially 
the flannel, they were exceedingly proud, dec- 
orating themselves with it in fantastic fash- 
ion. Red leggings, red shirts, red blankets, 
and red in every conceivable way, was the 
style there as long as it lasted. Could any- 
thing have amused me in those sad days, it 
would have been to see their grotesque at- 
tempts to wear the habiliments of the whites; 
especially the attempts of the squaws to 
wear the tight-fittinjsr garments of the white 
women. They would put in one arm, and 
then reach back to try to get in the other; 
but, even if they succeeded in getting both 
arms into the sleeves at the same time, they 
were too broad shouldered and brawny to 
get the waist into position or .fasten it; so 
after struggling awhile they would give it up 
in disgust. They were altogether too much 
the shape of a barrel to wear the dress of 
white women. So they cut oiT and threw 

"Letter from Mrs. M. A. Silbaugh (formerly 
Mrs. Marble) to Mrs. Sharp, dated February 
25. 1885, and published in Mrs. Sharp's History 
of the Spirit Lake Massacre. 



away the waists and made the skirts into 
loose-fitting sacks after the squaw fashion. 
All this amused them greatly; they would 
laugh and chatter like a lot of monkeys. 

In the mi(kt of the celebration of the 
sacking of Woods' store and the murders 
at Springfield came an alarm that the 
soldiers were coming. The wildest ex- 
citement prevailed. The squaws at once 
extinguished the fires by pouring on wa- 
ter, that the smoke might not be seen and 
that the ash heaps would not have a fresh 
appearance if the soldiers came upon them. 
Tl:c tents were torn down, the goods has- 
tily packed, and all proceeded down the 
creek upon which they were camped. 

While the description of the camp as 
remembered by Abbie Gardner, the cap- 
tive, is rather indefinite, it is believed to 
have been on the little creek which flows 
into the extreme south end of Heron 
lake, just northwest of the present village 
of Lakefield. She says the camp was on 
low ground and by a small stream of wa- 
ter, and that there was a high rolling 
prairie close by, and this corresponds with 
the high land upon which Lakefield is 
built. Some rods from the camp, so Miss 
Gardner said, was a large tree, to which 
an Indian crept. From the branches of 
this tree the warrior watched the move- 
ments of the soldiers and reported to his 
comrades. This would seem to further 
establish the location, for it is highly 
probable that the tree mentioned is the 
famous "Lone Tree," still standing a 
short distance from Lakefield and visible 
for many miles. 

When the alarm was given the savages 
prepared themselves for attack. First 
they discharged their guns into the earth 
to empty them of the loads of fine shot, 
firing into the earth deadening the sound ; 
then they reloaded with bullets. The sav- 
ages hastened down the creek, "skulking 
like partridges among the willows," as 
the cnptive-historian expresses it. One 
warrior was detailed to gtaud guard over 

the four women prisoners, with instruc- 
tions to kill them if an attack was made 
by the soldiers. I quote again from Mrs. 
Sharp's Irjtory: 

"The excitement manifested by the In- 
dians for a little while was intense. . 
. After an hour and a half of this ex- 
citing suspense, in which the squaws were 
skulking in the willows, the sentry watch- 
ing from the tree-top, the warriors lurk- 
ing among the openings of the willows 
on the banks of the stream, and we cow- 
ering beneath the muzzles of the loaded 
rifles — a sudden change came to us. The 
soldiers, it seems, just here decided to 
turn back." 

Such was the situation of the Indians 
that the soldiers, had they followed the 
trail, would not have discovered the pres- 
ence of the enemy until in their midst — 
and then they would have discovered it 
with a volley. The captives would sure- 
ly have been murdered. But events did 
not so shape themselves. The half-breed 
guides were either deceived themselves or 
they deceived the officers, and the sol- 
diers turned back. After the turning back 
of the troops, the Indians did not hesi- 
tate a moment, but set* out in all haste 
for the west. 

On the return from the pursuit of the 
Indians, Captain Bee and his command 
went down the river to Springfield, and 
on Monday, March 30, the dead bodies of 
the victims were buried. It was found 
that all the goods had been carried away 
from the store. William Wood was bur- 
ied near where he was found, on the west 
bank of the river, just above the old ford, 
the exact spot being now unknown. The 
soldiers failed to find the body of George 
Wood, which was concealed in the brush 
pile, but it was subsequently found and 
buried near the spot where he was killed. 
The Stewart family and Willie Thomas 
were buried near the Stewart cabin. In 

Historic Landmark Near Lakefleld. 





his report Captain Bee said : "It was one 
of the saddest moments of my life when 
I saw the Stewart family dead by their 
cold hearthstone, but then and there my 
conscience told me that they had met 
their fate by no fault of mine/' At the 
Wheeler cabin, Mr. Henderson was found 
alive, not having been molested by the 
Indians. Mr. Smith and the Shiegley boy 
were found at the Thomas cabin. 

While Captain Bee and his forces were 
still at Heron lake he detailed lieutenant 
Murry and eight men to go to Spirit lake 
to bury the dead. The party went to 
the Marble grove, buried the body of Mr. 
Marble, and then returned to Springfield. 
The rapid melting of the snow and the 
consequent rapid rise of the streams made 
progress difficult and he did not go to the 
Okoboji lakes. The dead there were af- 
terward buried bv the Iowa volunteers, 
on April 3. 

AMiile in Springfield Captain Bee ex- 
pressed much feeling over the massacre 
of the settlers. He said he was sorrv Ma- 
jor Williams had not continued liis march 
over the state line and taken summary 
vengeance on the Indians of Gaboo's 
camp, who professed such great friendship 
for the whites, remarking that tlie major 
was not tied up with orders as he was.'*^ 
The commander of the regular soldiers 
expressed the hope that the fugitive fam- 
ilies would return, and went fo far as to 
send a messenger after them with the 
information that the Indians were out of 
the country and that a guard of soldiers 
would be left at Springfield for their 
protection; that all might now return in 

Captain Bee detailed Lieutenant Murry 

"Jareb Palmer. 

""On the strenjfth of these assurances some 
returned and reported that if the gruard was to 
be permanent aU would return. I could give 
them no information on that head, but stated 
that I would take the responsibility of leaving 
an officer, two non-commissioned officers and 
twenty -six privates, but that further action 
must come from my military superiors." — Re- 
port of Captain Bernard B. Bee. 

and .-eventeen men to remain in the set- 
tlement for the protection of any who 
wished to remain and those who might 
come in. Mr. Jareb Palmer, who was in 
the camp when the order was read, says:. 
'*I remember that the order stated that 
there should not be any unnecessary bu- 
gling, and I heard him afterward remark 
while in conversation with the lieutenant 
that the less bugling they had the better, 
all of which went to show that he didn't 
think the danger was over.'' The next 
morning after the detail was announced 
Captain Bee and the main part of his 
command departed for Fort Ridgely, 
where he arrived April 8.^^ 

Lieutenant Murry^^ and his seventeen 
men pitched their camp just south of the 
Wheeler cabin and not far from the Car- 
ver cabin. This force remained at Spring- 
field until about April 20. Then it was 
relieved by Lieutenant John McNab with 
a force of twenty men, who remained un- 
til fall. 

The subsequent history of Inkpaduta 
and his band can be told in a few words. 
Although all the damage had been done 
l)v a dozen or. fifteen warriors of the out- 
law band, it was feared the whole Sioux 
nation was up in arms. There was great 

"Captain Bernard E. Bee was a South Caro- 
linian and was about forty years of age in 
1857. He was a West Point graduate and a 
brave and determined officer. Soon after the 
expedition to Springfield his regiment went 
west to help suppress the Mormon uprising and 
he was In the west until the begrinning of the 
civil war. When South Carolina seceded from 
the union Cautain Bee resigned from the army 
and was made a brigadier general in the con- 
federate army. He was killed In the first bat- 
tle of Bull Run while endeavoring to hold his 
brigade in line. But before he was killed he did 
much to turn the tide of battle and bring about 
a confederate victory. 

During the hottest part of the battle, while 
his men and those of several other commands 
were fleeing in disorder, noting how firmly 
stood the brigade of General Thomas J. Jack- 
.son. General Bee shouted to his men: "For 
God's sake.- stand, men; stand like Jackson's 
brigade on vour right; there they stand like a 
stone wall." General Beauregard and other 
officers, overhearing the remark, remembered it. 
rnd from this came the famous soubriquet of 
"Stonewall Jackson." 

"Lieutenant Murry was a Pennsylvanlan by 
birth. He had attended West Point, but failed 
to graduate, and was appointed to the army 
from civil life. He remained true to the north- 
ern cause. 



alarm all over southern Minnesota, al- 
though there was not a hostile Indian in 
the vicinity. 

Immediately after the soldiers under 
Captain Bee had given up the pursuit, 
the Indians made all haste to get out of 
the country. They traveled westward in- 
to Dakota, taking the women captives 
with them. Of the four unfortunate wom- 
en, Mrs. Thatcher and Mrs. Noble were 
cruelly murdered, Mrs. Marble and Miss 
Gardner were ransomed after considerable 

Inkpaduta and his band of murderers 
were never properly punished, owing to a 
combination of circumstances. The chief 
himself became totally blind within a 

few years and did not participate in more 
butcheries. He and two surviving sons 
fled with Sitting Bull to Canada, finally 
locating at the Canadian red pipestone 
quarry, in southwestern Manitoba, Here 
in 1894 Dr. Charles Eastman, a well- 
known Indian authority, found the de- 
scendants of Inkpaduta, who gave him 
much interesting iniformation. The 
bloody-minded old savage himself had 
died miserably some years before.^* Two 
of Inkpaduta's sons, Roaring Cloud and 
Fire Cloud, were killed during the sum- 
mer of 1857. Two other members of the 
band were killed by Little Crow's In- 
dians. Probably the rest took part in the 
great Sioux outbreak of 1862. 

'•Minnesota In Three Centuries. 



IT SEEMS strange that in less than 
two months after the terrible Inkpa- 
duta massacre — at a time when only 
a handful of men were braving the dan- 
gers of the Indian country by remaining 
in what was then known as the Spring- 
field settlement — the legislature of the 
territory of Minnesota should see fit to 
create the political division known as 
Jackson county and make provision for 
its organization. But such is the case, 
and Jackson countv was for the first time 
entitled to a place on the map of Minne- 
sota on May 23, 1857, when Governor 
Samuel Medary attached his signature to 
the bill creating it. 

Conditions in Minnesota territory at 
the time were unique. Thousands of peo- 
ple were pouring in and building them- 
selves homes in the frontier sections. Elab- 
orate schemes for big ventures were 
planned ; 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 immediate fu- 
ture. Paper roads covered the territory 
from one end of the territory to the other, 
and southwestern Minnesota was no ex- 
ception to the rule. The territorial leg- 
islature caught the fever and granted bo- 

nuses to- various contemplated railroads. 
The townsite boomers carried their 
schemes to the legislature and largely for 
their benefit the Minnesota law making 
body indiscriminately created counties in 
all parts of the territory- — in many of 
which there was not at the time a single 
resident. And Jackson county came into 
existence under these conditions. 

Investigation shows us that in addi- 
tion to the Indian title, which was quiet- 
ed by treaty in the early fifties, the land 
now comprising Jackson county has been 
in the possession of three different civiliz- 
ed nations and has formed a part of six 
different territories of the United States 
and of three different counties of Minne- 

Our county formed a small part of the 
new world possessions claimed by France 
by right of discovery and exploration. In 
17G3, humbled by wars in Europe and 
America, France was forced to relinquish 
her province known as I^uisiana, and all 
her possessions west of the Mississippi 
liver were ceded to Spain in that year. 
Amid the exigencies of European wars 
Spain, in the year 1800, ceded Louisiana 
back to France, which was then ruled by 
Napoleon Bonaparte. On April 30, 1803, 
negotiations were completed for the pur- 
chase of Louisiana by the United States 




for the sum of $15,000,000. On that 
(late the future Jackson county became a 
part of the United States. 

Soon after the United States secured 
possession — in 1805 — that part of the 
mammoth territory of Louisiana which 
had been called Upper Louisiana was or- 
ganized into Missouri territory, and had 
our county then had settlers they would 
have been under the government of Mis- 
souri. Missouri was admitted as a state 
in 1820, and for several years thereafter 
the country beyond its northern boun- 
dary, comprising what is now Iowa and 
all of Minnesota west of the Mississippi 
river, was without organized government. 
But in 1834 congress attached this great 
expanse of territory to Michigan terri- 
tory. Two years later Wisconsin terri- 
tory was formed, comprising all of Michi- 
gan west of I/ake Michigan and for the 
next two years we were a part of that ter- 

Congress did a lot of enacting and 
boundary changing before Jackson coun- 
ty got where is belonged. We became a 
part of Iowa territory when it was creat- 
ed in 1838, because we were included in 
"all that part of the [then] present ter- 
ritorv of Wisconsin which lies west of the 
Mississippi river and west of a line drawn 
due north from the headwaters or sources 
of the Mississippi to the territorial line." 
Jackson county was a part of Iowa ter- 
ritorv until Iowa became a state in 1846. 
During this time settlers began to locate 
in portions of what later became Minne- 
sota, and they were put under the juris- 
diction of Clayton county, lowa.^ 'Be- 
fore this the Minnesota country had been 
practically a "no man's land." The only 
laws enforced were the rules of the fur 
companies and the law of the sword ad- 
ministered bv the commandant at Fort 

'Henry H. Sibley, who lived at Mendota. was 
a justice of the peace of that county. The 
county seat was 260 miles distant, and his Jur- 
isdiction extended over a region of country 
"as large as the empire of France." 

Snelling. By the admission of Iowa as 
a state in 1846 our county again became 
actually a "no man's land;" we were a 
part of no territory or state. That con- 
dition existed until Minnesota territory 
was created in 1849.- 

When the first legislature convened af- 
ter the organization of the territor}' in 
1849 it divided Minnesota into nine coun- 
ties, named as follows: Benton, Dakota, 
Itasca, Cass, Pembina, Ramsey, Washing- 
ton, Chisago and Wabasha. The whole of 
southern Minnesota was included in Wa- 
basha and Dakota, and of these two, Da- 
kota had the bulk of the territorv. Wa- 


basha included that part of the territory 
"lying east of a line running due south 
from a point on the Mississippi river 
known as Medicine Bcttle village, at Pine 
Bend [near St. Paul], to the Iowa lino." 
Dakota county (created October 27, 1849) 
was "all that part of said territory west 
of the Mississippi and lying west of the 
county of Wabasha and south of a line 
beginning at the mouth of Crow river, 
and up said river and the north branch 
thereof to its source, and thence due west 
to the Missouri river."'* 

It may be of interest to know that only an 
unfavorable act of congress prevented Jackson 
county from being divided — part to go to Iowa 
and part to the future Minnesota. In 1844 a 
constitutional convention prepared a constitu- 
tion for the state of Iowa which provided for 
boundaries in part as follows: From a point 
where the Sioux or Calumet river enters the 
Missouri, in a straight line to a point where 
the Watonwan enters St. Peter's (Minnesota) 
river (which it does not. but rather the Blue 
Earth), and thence down the St. Peter's to the 
Mississippi and down that river. This line de- 
fining the northwest boundary would extend, 
on a present day map, from Sioux City. Iowa, 
to Mankato. Minnesota, and would pass through 
Jackson county. Had congress ratified this 
constitution, which it did not. the present Jack- 
son county would have been partly in Iowa 
and partly in Minnesota. 

^Minnesota territor>' then extended to the 
Missouri river. In this mammoth county of 
Dakota there were the following present day 
counties (or parts of counties) in Minnesota, 
in addition to many in what is now the state of 
South Dakota: Rock, N'obles, Jackson. Martin, 
Faribault. Freeborn. Steele. Waseca, Blue 
Elarth. Watonwan. Cottonwood, Murray. Pipe- 
stone. Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, Brown, Nicollet, 
Lesueur, Rice, Dakota (part), Scott. Sibley, 
Renville. Yellow Medicine, Lac qui Parle, Chip- 
pewa. Kandiyohi (except small corner). Meeker 
(part). McLeod. Carver. Hennepin, Wright 
(part), Stearns (small part). Pope (part). Swift, 
Stevens (part), Big Stone and Traverse (part). 



Although Dakota county was larger 
than many of the eastern states its popu- 
lation was almost nothing, and it was de- 
clared ^'organized only for the purpose 
of the appointment of justices of the 
peace, constables and such other judicial 
and ministerial officers as may be speci- 
ally provided for." 

The future Jackson county remained a- 
part of Dakota county until March 5, 
1853, when there was a readjustment of 
Dakota and Wabasha county boundaries, 
and Blue Earth countv came into exist- 
enee. The boundaries of the latter were 
described as follows: ^^o much territor}* 
lying south of the Minnesota river as re- 
mains of Wabasha and Dakota counties 
undivided by this act." As the boundaries 
of the two older counties as defined bv the 
act were very indefinite, it is impossible 
to state exactly what the dimensions of 
Blue Earth county were. It is known, 
however, that it included all of south- 
western Minnesota. 

For two years the unknown Jackson 
county country remained a part of Blue 
Earth countv, and then came another 
change. By an act approved February 
20, 1855, the count}^ of Blue Earth was 
reduced to its present boundaries, Fari- 
bault countv was created with the bound- 
aries it now has, except that it extended 
one township farther west than now; and 
the new county of Brown came into ex- 
istence. It was described as follows: 
*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 coun- 
ty as herein established, shall be known 
as the county of Brown." All of the ter- 
ritory 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 Jackson remained a part of this un- 

til two years later, when it became a polit- 
ical division of itself.* 

Jackson county was only one of nine 
counties in southwestern j\Iinnesota crea- 
ted by the act of May 23, 1857.° Section 

two of the act described the boundaries: 

That so much of the territory of Minne- 
sota as lies within the following boundaries 
be, and the same is hereby, established as the 
county of Jackson: Beginning at the south- 
east corner of township 101 north, of range 
34 west; thence due north to the northeast 
comer of township 104 north, of range 34 
west; thence due west to the northwest cor- 
ner of township 104 north, of range 38 west; 
thence due south to the southwest corner of 
township 101 north, of range 38 west; thence 
due east to the place of beginning. 

Of the nine counties created only Mar- 
tin, Jackson^ Nobles and Big Sioux were 
declared to be organized counties and *'in- 
VQsted with all the immimities to which 
organized counties are entitled by law." 
These four counties were attached to the 
third judicial district for judicial pur- 
poses and to the tenth council district 
for legislative purposes. Provision was 
made for the early organization of Jack- 
son county. Besidents of the county were 
to be named by the governor as commis- 
sioners to perfect the organization.® These 
commissioners were to meet during the 

*Brown county was not orsranized at once, 
but by an act of the legislature on February 11, 
1856, It was permitted to organize. New Ulm 
was named as the county seat. 

"Minnesota territory at this time extended 
west to the Big Sioux river. The other coun- 
ties created by the act were Martin, Nobles, 
Murray, Pipestone, Big Sioux, Cottonwood, 
Rock and Midway. The three first named were 
given the boundaries they now have. The 
boundaries of Pipestone county were described 
as including the present Rock county and the 
eastern portion of the present Minnehaha coun- 
ty, South Dakota. The boundaries of Rock 
county were described as including the present 
Pipestone county and a small part of the east- 
ern portion of the present Moody county, South 
Dakota. This transposition of the names Rock 
and Pipestone in the description of their- boun- 
daries in the original act of 1857 may have been 
due to a lack of knowledge of the physical fea- 
tures of this part of the country, or it may 
have been due to a clerical error. The mis- 
take was corrected .later. Big Sioux county 
took in part of the present Minnehaha county 
and extended from the Big Sioux river east- 
ward to Pipestone (Rock) county. Cottonwood 
county had the same boundaries as now, except 
that it did not then have three townships in 
the northwest corner which it now has. Mid- 
way county included that part of the present 
Moody county which lies between the Big 
Sioux river and the western boundary of the 
original Rock (Pipestone) county. 



first week in July, 1857, at the county seat 
and set in motion the machinery of the 
government. The county seat was tem- 
porarily located at Jackson/ tlie townsite 
of Springfield liaving been renamed Jack- 
son a short time before, as will be told lat- 
er. Provision for the permanent location 
was made in section twelve, which reads 
as follows: 

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 general 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, coimty. 

Jackson countv was named in honor of 

Hon. Henry Jackson, the first merchant of 

St. Paul, according to the best authori- 

tieg.® The onlv dissension from this con- 

sensus of opinion is by Hon. William P. 

Murray, of St. Paul, who was a member 

of the legislature that established the 

county. Mr. Murray thinks the countv 

was named in honor of President Andrew 

Jackson, but as he is not positive of this 

it is reasonably certain the honor belongs 

to Henry Jackson.® 

It is perhaps needless to say that Jack- 
son county was not organized in July, 
1857, as the act provided. It is doubtful 
if there were enough men in the county 
at the time, excepting the soldiers, to fill 
the necessary county offices. But within 
a short time permanent settlers again 
came to the county and the organization 

•Section eleven of the act reads: "The gov- 
ernor shall appoint three persons for each of 
the respective organized counties, being resi- 
dents and legal voters thereof, commissioners 
for each of said counties, with full power and 
authority to do and perform all acts and duties 
devolving upon the board of county commis- 
sioners of any organized county in this terri- 
tory, 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." 

'Section 12: *• . and the county seat 

of Jackson county shall be temporarily estab- 
lished at the town of Jackson in said county." 

'See article by R. I. Holcombe In Pioneer 
Press almanac for 1896; Warren XTpham's Min- 
nesota County names: Minnesota in Three Cen- 
turies. . I ' I 

was duly perfected, as will be told in due 
chronological order. 

The presence of Lieutenant Murry and 
his seventeen soldiers at Springfield was 
the only thing that kept Jackson county 
from beconring entirely depopulated after 
the massacre. As it was, only a few spent 
the summer of 1857 in the countv. Of 
ihe several families who were in the 
Springfield settlement at the time of the 

•"On the night of June 9. 1842, there landed 
from a steamboat at St. Paul's a man named 
Henry Jackson, whose advent proved to be 
epochal In the career and history of the place. 
He was a Virginian and was bom in 1811. He 
had served as orderly sergeant in the 'Patriot 
Army' of Sam Houston that achieved the in- 
dependence of Texas. In May, 1838, at Buffalo, 
New York, he married Angeline Blvins, a model 
wife for an enterprising and intelligent charac- 
ter, such as he was. Soon after his marriage 
ho moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, and thence 
to Galena, niinois. where he engaged In busi- 
ness, but was unsuccessful. He had learned 
of the situation at St. Paul's and determined 
to establish himself there and with the rem- 
nant of his Galena stock to open a store for 
the sale of Indian and frontier goods. It was 
a dark rainy night when he landed, he did not 
know a single person or a single foot of the 
territory in the place, and it required much 
search and effort to find a shelter for himself 
and wife until the morning. Quarters were 
Anally found at the house of James R. CHewett, 
although his father-in-law's family, the Perrys. 
were at the time members of the household. 
Here Mr. and Mrs. Jackson remained for some 
days and then Jack.son rented of Pierre Par- 
rant — 'Old Pig's Eve' — a cabin on the levee, 
which was his residence for some weeks. He 
soon purchased of Benjamin Gervals about two 
acres now lying in the block bounded by Jack- 
son and Robert on the east and west and 
Third and Bench streets on the south and 
north. The tract was then a high bluff bank, 
and on a point overlooking the river. Mr. 
Jackson built a/ cabin of tamarack poles and 
oDoned a stock of goods especially selected for 
the local demand. In the summer of 1843 he 
enlarged and sold a half Interest In his busi- 
ness to William Hartshorn, and in September 
of that year the Arm took into their employ as 
clerk and French interpreter Auguste Louis 
I.arpenteur, a native of Baltimore, but of a 
prominent old French family and who Is (1908> 
yet an honored and honoring citizen of St. Paul. 

"Henrv Jackson became very prominent and 
.serviceable in the early affairs of St. Paul. His 
store was a creditable establishment, was In- 
dependent of the fur company and popular 
among the settlers and the Indians. In 1848, 
while the Minnesota country east of the Mis- 
sissippi belonged to Wisconsin territory, he was 
appointed by Governor Henry Dodge a justice 
of the peace for St. Croix county. In 1846 he 
was anpointed the first postmaster at St. PauVn. 
In 1847 and 1848 he was a member of the WIs- 
f^onsln legislature, renre.senting the county of 
St. Croix. He was al.««o a member of the first 
t*>rrltorlal legislature nf Minnesota and of the 
first town council of St. Paul. In April. 1862, 
he moved to Mankato. becoming one of the 
first four settlers of the place, where he died 
Julv 31. 1857. Jackson street in St. Paul and 
.Tnck.son county are named for him and also 
Jnckson street in Mankato. His widow married 
John S. Hinckley, a pioneer of Mankato. and 
died in that city January 1, 1894."— Minnesota 
in Three Centuries. 



massacre, only that of Dr. Strong ever re- 
turned to live, and Dr. Strong and family 
did not remain many years. The memory 
of the awful events was too clear in their 
minds to tempt back those families who had 
made settlement along the Des Moines riv- 
er in the summer and fall of 1856. A few 
of the unmarried men of the settlement, 
however, remained during the summer. 
Among them were Nathaniel Frost, John 
Dodeon, Joseph Chiffin, Henry Trets and 
Adam Shiegley. 

A few others came in during the sum- 
mer of 1857 and took claims or bought 
from those who had departed. Alexander 
Wood, a brother of the murdered store- 
keepers, came to look after the .claims. He 
fell in with a company of townsite sharks, 
who were operating extensively all over 
Minnesota at the time, and an agreement 
was made by the terms of which Mr. Wood 
was to come and hold down his brothers^ 
claims and thev were to secure a half in- 
terest in the holdings by reason of im- 
provements which they promised to make. 
Elaborate plans were made for building 
a town on the townsite selected by Wil- 
liam and George Wood, which was to be 
called Jackson, instead of Springfield. A 
sawmill and grist mill were to be built, 
and work on these improvements was com- 
menced. The townsite company did not 
fulfil its part of the agreement by making 
the stipulated improvements, possibly be- 
cause of the panic of that year, and mis- 
understandings resulted which were after- 
wards settled in the courts to the benefit 
of Mr. Wood. . Mr. Wood did not wish to 
stay on the claim during the winter, so he 
entered the land as a farm claim, instead 
of a townsite claim, and spent the winter 

Another abortive attempt to found a 
town in 1857 was made by Joseph Chiffin, 
John Dodson and James Whitchurch. 
Their "town'' «iyas located on Mr. Chiffin's 

claim on section eleven, Des Moines town- 
ship, and was named Odessa. About this 
time there was a war between Eussia and 
Turkey, and the name of the Russian city 
Odessa was much in the public prints. 
That furnished the name, and the name 
was all there was to Odessa. No improve- 
ments whatever were made, and Odessa 
as a Jackson county place name will be 
handed down simply as an interesting re- 
lic of the wildcat townsite days in Minne- 
sota's early history. The Norwegian set- 
tlers of 1860 report finding Odessa "a 
village of sticks, but without any build- 
ings/' The proprietors of the townsite 
were trappers; they spent the winter of 
1857-58 in the Skinner cabin. 

Thomas Johnson came to the county in 
1857, took a claim near Jackson, and 
some time later became a permanent resi- 
dent. Charles Mead came with Mr. John- 
son and became a resident of the county. 
Ned Lower took a claim on section 6, Bel- 
mont, in the summer but did not remain 
during the winter. Charles Kern, com- 
monly called "Dutch Charlie" (he was 
a Bavarian), was another arrival of the 
year 1857, and he spent the following win- 
ter in the settlement "holding down" the 
claim of Alexander Wood. Mr. Kern 
was a man of considerable ability — a news- 
paper correspondent and a physician as 
well as a trapper. He resided in the coun- 
ty several years.. As indicated, only a 
few of these remained in the settlement 
during the winter; Jackson county was 
nearly depopulated during the winter of 

The mail route between Mankato and 
Sioux City, which had been discontinued 
after the death of the carrier, Hoxie 
Eathban, and which had not been resumed 
in the spring on account of the massacre, 
was opened during the summer of 1857. 
Marsh & Babcock sublet the contract to 
David Pease, who lived on the Watonwan, 



and that gentleman carried the mail over 
the old route until about November 1. At 
that time the route was changed to go by 
way of the Spirit lake settlement, and 
two carriers were employed, a Mr. Johnson 
for the northern end and Mr. Jareb Pal- 
mer for the southern end. They carried 
the mail until April, 1858, when Mr. 
Pease again resumed the duties of carrier. 

The departure of the soldiers in the fall 
of 1857 and the removal of most of the 
white settlers for the winter left those who 
remained in some apprehension of Indian 
attack. Although none of Inkpaduta's 
band came back, there were occasionally 
seen other Indians who created some 
alarm. In Buena Vista county, Iowa, 
about the last of December, 1857, a party 
of eleven white men attempteil to drive a 
band of Indians from the countrv. 
The Indians led the whites into an 
ambuscade and wounded one of the 
attackers, and the whites then with- 
drew and gave up the chase. A few In- 
dians appeared at the Spirit lake settle- 
ment during the winter and caused much 
uneasiness among the few families who 
were wintering there. A petition was 
drawn np, signed by every adult in the 
Spirit lake settlement, and carried to Des 
Moines by Jareb Palmer. The petition 
asked the Iowa legislature to send a force 
of volunteers for their protection.^^ 

Governor Ijowc authorized the raising 
of a company of volunteers to go to the 
frontier, and Mr. Jareb Palmer recrui- 
ted a company of thirty men, which was 
mustered in at Webster City and named 
Frontier Guard. H. B. Martin, of Web- 
ster City, was captain, and William L. 
Church, the former Springfield settler, 
was first lieutenant. The Frontier Guard 
arrived in the exposed settlements on 
March 1 and was divided into three squads 
— one at Spirit lake, one on the Des 
Moines, seven miles above Estherville, and 

one on the Little Sioux, in Clay county. 

The guard remained on the frontier un- 
til the last of June, and then, as there 
appeared to be no Indians near the settle- 
ments, the soldiers returned to their 
homes. The countr}' had been thoroughly 
searched, but no Indians found. On one 
occasion, at Skunk lake, in Sioux Valley 
township of Jackson count}', there was 
found the dead body of an Indian laid 
upon the nearly horizontal branch of a 
large but somewhat scrubby oak tree. From 
the profusion of ornaments found on his 
person he was supposed to have been a 
chief or warrior distinguished among his 

Owing to the presence of these Iowa 

""Spirit Lake, January 9, 1858. To the Hon- 
orable, the General Assembly- of the State of 
Iowa. The undersigned citizens, residing- In 
the vicinity of Spirit lake, would respectfully 
present for the consideration of your honorable 
body the condition of the people on the fron- 
tier In the northwest part of the state. We 
are exposed to the attack of Indians under cir- 
cumstances affording little hope of relief. The 
settlements are sparse and widely scattered, 
with but little or no communication with each 
other. A hostile incursion has already been 
made and depredations committed In the vicin- 
ity where the outrages were committed last 
winter, and with a result to encourage renewed 
attempts. At any hour this may be repeated 
at points utterly unprotected and but poorly 
supplied with means of defense. Some of the 
surrounding settlements have already been 
abandoned for the winter, and all are much 
weakened In numbers by persons who have left. 
Many of the settlers remaining cannot leave 
without abandoning their all and cannot collect 
in sufficient numbers to withstand attack, and 
depending — ^as nearly all the remaining settlers 
do — upon their own exertions for sustenance, 
must either endure great suffering or remain 
exposed to danger. If we apply to the general 
government, relief, if obtained, would be too 
late. Help for us, to be efficient, must be 
prompt. A small body of soldiers placed near 
the Little Sioux river, in the vicinity of the 
state line, would afford protection to all the 
settlements on the Little Sioux, about Spirit 
lake, and on the west fork of the Des Moines 
river and their vicinity. We would respectfully 
pray that a law be passed authorizing the rais- 
ing of one hundred volunteer troops for the 
term of three months, to be stationed in the 
north part of the state. Your petitioners also 
pray for such other means of protection as cir- 
cumstances demand." 

The petition was signed by Orlando C. Howe, 
William P. Graylord. Jareb Palmer, William I>. 
Carsley, Joseph Miller, H. H. Packard, Dan 
Colwell, T. S. Rtff, C. L. Richardson, Rosalve 
Kingman. W. B. Brown, Charles F. Hill, Jos- 
eph M. Post. William I^mont, Lawrence Pos- 
leer, Levi Daugherty, George Rogers, E. B3. 
I ongfellow. James 1j. Pt'ters. E. Thurston. 
Thomas Miner. James D. Hawkins, George S. 
Post. R. TT. Wheelock. William Donaldson, Rod- 
erick A. Smith, George t>etrick, Agnes I. King- 
man, Melissa A. Peters, Mrs. M. W, Howe, 
Elizabeth Thurston, Mrs. K. Massey. 

I ' . • 'i ', 

k : 

A ( 



guards there was quite a large immigra- 
tion to the Spirit lake country, to Jackson 
county, and to other nearby settlements 
in the spring of 1858. The appearance 
of small bands of Indians about the first 
of September again created apprehension, 
and the guard returned to the frontier 
about the middle of November and re- 
mained all winter. 

During the spring and summer of 1858 
many who had been in the county the 
year before returned to make permanent 
settlement and several new settlers arrived. 
Among the more prominent of the settlers 
of this year was Joseph Thomas, who be- 
came one of the best known men of Jack- 
son county." It was during the month 
of March that Mr. Thomas, accompanied 
by his son, Lansing, then a youth of nine- 
teen years, James Palmer, his son-in-law, 
and P. P. Holland, drove into Jackson 
county by ox team from Newton, Iowa. 
Mr. Thomas had bought the Wheeler cliaim 
and cabin from a man named Kellogg, 
and made his home there until his death. 
He returned to Newton for provisions and 
household goods, but came back at once. 
Lewis Thomas arrived at the new home 
in July. The rest of the family came 
the next spring. James Palmer took as 
a claim the southwest quarter of section 
19, Wisconsin township, and continued a 
resident of the countv until his death. 

Nathaniel Frost came back early in the 
spring to become a permanent settler. 
George Bradbury came from Newton, 
Iowa, and took as his claim the north half 
of the south half of section 30, Wisconsin 
township, upon which he lived until his 
death that fall. James Townsend also 
came from Newton with his family and 
located on the southeast quarter of section 
25, Des Moines township, making his 
home in the James B. Thomas cabin. Dur- 
ing the winter of 1858-59 he went to Man- 

"See biographical section. 

kato with two yoke of oxen for provisions. 
On his way back, while near Elm creek, 
his wagon became stuck in a slough so 
that the oxen could not pull it out. Mr. 
Townsend unhitched the oxen, turned 
them loose, and camped in the slough for 
the night. In the morning he started 
out to look for his oxen, but a storm came 
up and he lost his way. When nearly ex- 
hausted from wandering about on the 
prairie, he came upon an empty cabin 
near the west chain of lakes, in Martin 
county, and sought shelter there. He was 
too badly frozen to make a fire and perished 
in the cabin. His body was foimd ten 
days later by trappers. In the spring of 
1859 Mrs. Townsend and the children re- 
turned to their old home in Newton. 

James Meddleson was another unfortu- 
nate man who canje to the settlement early 
in 1858, only to meet a violent death. Soon 
after his arrival he started down the river 
in a canoe to take a few traps to John 
Dodson and Charles Kern, who were trap- 
ping in Emmet county, Iowa, and never 
returned. He had been murdered and his 
head severed entirely from the body. From 
this circumstance it was thought that he 
had been murdered bv Indians. 

Benjamin Hill, with his family of a 
wife and three children, came from Man- 
kato early in the spring, took a claim 
on the river in Belmont township, and re- 
mained several years. Charles Kern was 
also in the county in 1858 and remained 
for several years. John McEwen took a 
claim on section 30, Des Moines township, 
remained only a few months, and then 
sold to a Mr. Miller, of Newton, Iowa. 
The latter remained only a short time. 
Adam Shiegley, one of the trappers who 
liad come before the massacre, was in the 
county again in 1858, and was an inter- 
mittent resident for several years. Frank 
Wagner also came to the settlement from 
Webster City and remained a few years. 



Messrs. Dodson, Chiflin and Whitchurch, 
of "Odessa/^ continued to hold their land 
claims and engage in trapping during the 
year. James Haughton and wife came 
(luring the summer and located on section 
36, Des Moines township, but remained 
only about one year. Bartholomew Mc- 
Carthy, who had been to the Springfield 
settlement before the massacre, returned 
in the spring of 1858 and became a per- 
manent resident. 

Israel F. Eddy, who had previously 
selected a claim near where the Milwaukee 
depot in Jackson is now, came with his 
family in April, 1858, and became a per- 
manent resident. Charles Clark came from 
Newton, Iowa, and took a claim in Bel- 
mont township. Morris Lester came from 
Mankato in the spring and took a claim on 
the west side of the river in the southern 
part of the county, but remained only a 
short time. Elisha Hill took a claim in 
Belmont, but departed from the county 
in the fall. Dr. E. B. N. Strong and 
his familv continued to reside in the 
county during 1858 and for some time 
afterward. Joseph Muck and his large 
family located near the present site of 
Jackson, where he lived until 1862.*^ Al- 
exander Wood returned to look after his 

Probably a few other people came dur- 
ing the year 1858 to take claims and be- 
come permanent settlers, but as there is 
now none of the settlers of 1858 living 
in the county the record for the year 
must remain incomplete. 

The townsite schemers of Minnesota 
appeared before the legislature early in 
1858 and succeeded in inducing that body 
to provide for the establishment of over 
ninety state roads in different parts of 

"In 1862 Mr. Muck and his family moved to 
Spirit Lake. There his wife died and his son, 
Stephen, became blind. The same year he en- 
listed In the Sioux City cavalrv and served In 
the army until 1864. In 1867 Mr. Muck located 
In the Graham lakes country. Nobles county, 
and became the first resident of that county. 

the new state, most of them leading to 
towns which existed only in the minds of 
the promoters. The provision for the 
establishment of these roads was incor- 
porated in one bill, approved by Charles 
L. Chase, acting governor, on March 19, 
1858. Mr. Wood and his associates in 
the scheme for the building of a town at 
Jackson were not forgotten. Section 86 
of the act reads as follows: 

.That E. E. Smith, J. S. Fisher and Alexander 
Wood are hereby appointed commissioners to 
survey, locate and establish the following state 
roads, viz: I'rom Blue Earth City, via Fair- 
mont, county seat of Martin county, to Jackson, 
county seat of Jackson county; also a road 
from Mankato, via Arcadia, in Brown county, 
to Jackson, in Jackson county; also a road 
from Fairmont in a southerly direction to the 
state line of Iowa 

It was during the year 1858 that a 
company of promoters from Owatonna, 
Minnesota, founded the town of Belmont 
on the south half of the southeast quar- 
ter of section 34, Belmont township, and 
the northeast quarter of section 3, Des 
Moines township, on a flat on the east side 
of the river. To such an extent had real 
estate speculation, especially townsite spec- 
ulation, progressed at this time that some 
wit of the time suggested a petition be 
sent to congress asking that a law be pas- 
sed providing for the reservation of some 
of the government domain for agricul- 
tural entry. To illustrate the condition 
that permitted the founding of Belmont 
and other towns on the frontier and their 
more or less successful exploitation, I 
quote from a Minnesota state history: 

The real estate speculation reached its crisis 
in the early part of 1857; everybody seemed 
inoculated with the mania, from the capitalist 
to the humble laborer. Townsites and addi- 
tions to towns were laid out by the score. 
Many were purely imaginary, never having 
been surveyed, and lots in these paper cities 
were sold by the hundreds in the east at 
exorbitant prices. Agriculture was neglect- 
ed, farmers, mechanics and laborers forsook 
their occupations to become operators in real 
estate. The number of real estate dealers 
was innumerable, but many of them were 
shysters, having no offices but the sidewalk, 
their stock in trade being a roll of townsite 



maps and a package of blank deeds. These 
operators, by sharp maneuvering, would manip- 
ulate unsuspecting strangers and fleece them 
of their nieans by selling them lots in moon- 
shine towns for several hundred dollars each 
that were not actually worth as many cents. 
Such operations were repeated again and 
again until St. Paul and Minnesota had a 
name abroad that was anything but enviable. 

In such times and under such condi- 
tions the town of Belmont was founded. 
While Springfield and Jackson and Odes- 
sa had made no material progress, Bel- 
mont did, boasting a number of buildings 
and one or two business enterprises — 
probably to the greater loss of lot pur- 
chasers. Charles Mead and D. P. Corn- 
ell seem to have been the leading spirits 
of the enterprise, although a number of 
others were interested with them. 

The Belmont townsite boomers went 
farther with their schemes than most of 
the speculators of the day, and secured 
the incorporation of their town by the leg- 
islature, the act being signed by Governor 
Henry H. Sibley July 27, 1858. The first 

two sections of the bill read as follows : 

An act to incorporate the town of Bel- 

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

Section 1. That so much land as is con- 
tained in the town of Belmont, according to 
the survey and plat of said town, as made by 

C. C. Mead, for the proprietors of Belmont, 
and situated in the county of Jackson, and 
state of Minnesota, shall be a town corporate 
by the name of Belmont. 

Sec. 2. That for the good order and im- 
provement of said town, Joshua Dyen" is 
hereby appointed president, S. B. Westcott, 

D. P. Cornell, George A. Bardwell and Fred- 
erick Noble be and are hereby appointed trus- 
tees, Charles G. Berry, secretary, E. W. North- 
rup, attorney, and S. A. Farrington, treasur- 
er, and George E. Leary, marshal. The presi- 
dent, trustees and secretary shall constitute 
the council of said town. 

Some of the officers of the town — per- 
haps all of them — located in the new town. 
At least two of them became permanent 
settlers of the county, for we find the 
names of Joshua Dyer and Frederick No- 
ble listed as residents of Jackson county 
when the federal cen&u? of 1860 was taken. 

"Joshua Dyer. 

Section three of the charter provided 
that the officers named in the act should 
enter upon their duties on the first Wed- 
nesday in January, 1859, and made provis- 
ion for the holding the first town elec- 
tion at the next general state or county 
election. The fourth section stated the 
duties and defined the corporate powers 
of the officers. Among other items: 

The oflficers of said town shall have a right 
of action against all trespasses on the prop- 
erty of said town; and any person trespass- 
ing upon any lands within the limits of said 
town, or occupying said lands without a con- 
veyance from the proprietors of said town, or 
their trustees, agents or assignees, shall for- 
feit all improvements he may make on such 
lands, and shall be liable to pay damages to 
twice the amount of actual injustice done to 
said lands. 

Other sections of the charter provided 
for keeping a record of the proceedings of 
the council, for filling vacancies, defined 
the powers of the council, provided for 
authority to assess and collect taxes for 
municipal purposes, and for the delivery 
of records to successors in office. The 
charter does not definitely locate the town, 
and, as the county had not yet been sur- 
veyed, neither the legislature nor the town- 
site proprietors knew the exact location 
as it would appear on a present day map. 
The land was still government property, 
but provision was made for securing title 
under the townsite act of 1844. Section 

eleven of the incorporating act reads: 

It shall be the duty of the said council of 
said town to apply for a preemption of the 
land within the limits of said town, not ex- 
ceeding three hundred and twenty acres, un- 
der the provisions of an act of congress, en- 
titled an act for the relief of citizens of 
towns upon lands of the United States, un- 
der certain circumstances, approved May 23, 
1844; and as soon as the title to said land 
shall be obtained as aforesaid, to ascertain 
the persons entitled to the various lots and 
blocks within said town, who may have a 
valid right to the same, either by original 
claim, or by transfer by the person having 
made such original claim, and to deed under 
hand of the president and secretary, and to 
seal with the seal of said corporation, to such 
persons so entitled, the lots or blocks to 
which such person may be entitled; provided 
that no street or alley, or other public ground 



shall be so deeded; and provided also, that 
every person or persons to whom such lots or 
blocks shall be deeded as aforesaid, shall first 
pay to the treasurer or secretary of said town, 
for such lots or blocks the cost of entry, and 
incidental expenses of the same\ 

The proprietors of the village of Bel- 
mont were successful in inducing quite a 
number of people to locate on their land 
and actually spent considerable money in 
an effort to build a town. The people who 
located in Belmont were trappers, traders 
and farmers. A number of patches of 
prairie land were broken up in the vi- 
cinity and sown to crops ; surveyors' stakes 
covered o^er a quarter section of the finest 
farming land. 

That the promoters were sincere in their 
intentions to build a little city on the 
frontier is evidenced by the number of 
enterprises put under way. Among the 
first improvements was the building of a 
dam across the river at what later became 
the Holsten Olson place. It is said that 
this dam was built during the winter on 
top of the ice. In the spring, instead of 
sinking and forming the dam, as the 
builders expected, the materials were 
swept away. A dam was then built across 
the river lower down, but the promoters 
decided to install a steam mill, and, at 
great expense the machinery for the coun- 
ty's first sawmill was brought overland 
with ox teams from St. Paul. The 
mill was set up on the east side of the riv- 
er, very close to the center of section three 
and just west of the residence which was 
the home of the late Judge Simon Olson 
for so many years.^* 

It was, of course, proposed to make Bel- 
mont the county seat of Jackson county, 
and to this end a two story log court house, 
about 18x26 feet, with roof of shakes, was 
built on the southeast quarter of the 
northeast quarter of section throe.*" Near 

"This mill was standing: when the settlers of 
1861 arrived. Later it was removed to Spencer, 
Iowa, and later still to Emmet's Grove. 

"At this late day some of the logs that form- 
ed the court house bulldingr are to be found In 
the vicinity. 

the court house was a store building, and 
just over the line in Belmont township 
was a hotel. It is believed that a brick 
yard was located on the northwest quarter 
of the soutlieast quarter of section 3, for 
there was found a large quantity of burned 
brick. Besides the saw mill, court house, 
brick yard, store and hotel, there were a 
number of log houses on the townsite. All 
the buildings were of log, nearly all of 
which had floors of sawed lumber. There 
is evidence to show that the inhabitants of 
the town moved out of their houses dur- 
ing the winter and took refuge from the 
cold weather in caves dug close to the riv- 
er in the timber. A number of these caves 
were found which had the appearance of 
having been occupied by the Belmont vil- 
las^ors, so settlers of a few vears later re- 

When the enumerator took the census 
of 1860 he reported finding six unoccupied 
buildings in the town of Belmont. The 
Norwegian settlers who came in 1860 
found most of the buildings standing. 
There were also one or two of the promot- 
ers present who exerted every effort to 
sell the new comers lots. But as they 
had all out-doors to select from the Nor- 
Mcgians did not invest in Belmont town 
lots, and were accordingly coolly received 
by the townsite agents. 

Like its rival, Jackson, Belmont was 
able to secure the passage of an act by the 
legislature providing for the establishment 
of state roads to the town. On August 
5, 1858, a bill was approved providing for, 
among others, the establishment of three 
roads to Belmont with commissioners to 
oversee the work, as follows : 

Blue Earth City to Belmont ; D. P. Cor- 
nell, C. G. Berry and 0. N. Gardner, com- 

South Bend, in Blue Earth countv, to 
Belmont ; J. T. Williams, S. B. Westcott 
and F. W. Northrup, commissioners. 



Vernon, in Blue Earth county, to Bel- 
mont; James Cornell, Frederick 6. Noble 
and D. P. Cornell, commissioners. 

The payment for tliis work was to bo 
made by the several orgaixized counties 
through which the roads would run. 

Despite the efforts of the promoters, 
Belmont was doomed, and within a few 
years not a sign of the village was to be 
seen; it had passed into history.'® 

The boimdaries of Jackson county were 
surveyed in September, 1858, but town- 
ship and section lines were not run until 
later. The mail route during the lat- 
ter part of this year was under the man- 
agement of Orrin Nason and a Mr. Be- 
dow, of Mankato, under the firm name of 
Nafion and Bedow, and those gentlemen 
carried the mail between Mankato and 
Sioux City from that time until 1862, 
when the service was abandoned. The 
route was across Jackson county by way 
of the little settlement of Jackson. 

During the year 1858 Jackson county 
was organized under the act of the legis- 
lature of May 23, 1857. John B. Fish, 
Alexander Wood and a gentleman by the 
name of Britton were chosen commission- 
ers by the citizens to perfect the organi- 
zation, but owing to some informality 
the governor, who had the appointing pow- 
er, did not recognize these commissioners, 
but appointed others." The commission- 
ers appointed other residents to fill the 
various countv offices and the macliinerv 
of county government was set in motion. 
These appointees served until their suc- 
cessors, elected in the fall of 1858, quali- 

This county organization was maintain- 
ed until August, 1862, when it was dis- 
continued because of the Sioux outbreak 

••"... Belmont for a time promised to 
oustrip its competitors, Odessa and Jackson, 
down the river, but Its metropolitan march was 
brief, and better wheat cannot be grown than 
John and Andrew Olson now raise on these 
same lots and avenues of the old townslte of 
Belmont." — Jackson Republic. March 19, 1870. 

"Jackson Republic, March 19, 1870. 

and the consequent depopulation of the 
county. It is greatly to be regretted that 
so little is known of the county govern- 
ment under this first organization* With 
a very few exceptions, all records have 
been lost, only a few miscellaneous rec- 
ords having been preserved — just enough 
to make certain that the government was 
maintained during these years. 

There was another Indian scare during 
the winter of 1858-59. Scouts of the 
Frontier Guard, which was stationed at 
the Spirit lake settlement all winter, 
found a few Indians near the head ot 
Spirit lake, and a detachment of troops 
was sent out to capture them. The sol- 
diers found two warriors and a half-breed 
with their families camped in a grove on 
the east shore of Little Spirit lake, in 
Minneota township, Jackson county, and 
took them with their camp equipage to the 
soldiers' camp. The Indians made no re- 
sistence and professed friendship for the 
whites and intense hatred for Inkpaduta 
and his Indians. 

A few of the settlers at Spirit lake be- 
lieved tliey recognized in these Indians 
former followers of the noted outlaw, and 
the captives were kept under guard. Gov- 
ernor Lowe of Iowa ordered the Indians 
to' be taken to Des Moines for trial for 
the Spirit lake murders. In charge of a 
non-commissioned officer and two j)rivates 
the Indians were started on their way to 
trial. When Palo Alta county was reach- 
e<l both Indians made their escape and 
were never seen afterward. Although 
the captives had now gotten away, their 
arrest had a salutary effect upon the Sioux 
of the vicinity. Straggling bands of In- 
dians were occasionally seen in the coun- 
try after that, but they never pitched 
their camps in the vicinity. The Iowa 
guards returned home in May, 1859, and 
were disbanded. 

The year 1859 was not an eventful one 



in the history of Jackson county. Among 
the new settlers of the year was a party 
who came during the summer, consisting 
of D. Mortimer West, wife and sons — 
Stiles M., M. F., and H. F., — ^James R. 
West, a brother of D. Mortimer West, Ed- 
ward Davies and Henry Pease. All ex- 
cept the two younger West boys took land 
claims, Mr. Davies in northern Des Moines 

township, the others south of the present 
site of Jackson. A few other settlers came 
and took claims, but others moved away, 
and at the close of the year there were 
probably not one hundred men, women 
and children in the county. The settle- 
ments were confined solely to the. country 
along the Des Moines river. 



FACTS supplying the context of pre- 
ceding chapters lead to the con- 
clusion that fear of the treacher- 
ous red man was responsible for the slow 
settlement of Jackson county. Had it 
not been for the uprising of Inkpaduta's 
little band of renegade Indians in 1857, 
there can be no question that by the 'be- 
ginning of the year 1860 Jackson county 
would have boasted considerable popula- 
tion. As it was, only a fetv were found 
willing to brave the dangers incident to 
building homes in the Indian country. 
But by degrees the fear of Indian attack 
was lessened, and during the first three 
years of the decade beginning with 1860 
quite a number pushed out onto the fron- 
tier to become permanent settlers of Jack- 
son county and other favqred sections of 
southwestern Minnesota. 

Prior to 1860 nearly all the settlers of 
the county were American bom and came 
from Iowa and the older settled portions 
of Minnesota. The larger part of the 
settlers of the early sixties were Norwe- 
gians, who came in small colonies and set- 
tled along the Des Moines river in what 
are now Des Moines and Belmont town- 
ships. The first of these came in 1860, 
upon the representations of Anders Olson 
Slaabaken, who was generally known as 
Anders Olson or Anders Belmont. 

Alone and on foot, with his pack on 
his back, Anders Olson Slaabaken, who 
was a sort of leader of the Norwegian 
immigrants who had come from the old 
country and settled in Wisconsin, set out 
from Rock county, Wisconsin, in 1858 to 
explore the great western country and lo- 
cate a suitable place for himself and 
friends to build homes. He traveled 
through parts of Minnesota, Nebraska and 
Dakota, and then returned to his friends 
and advised them to move farther west. 
It has been stated that Mr. Slaabaken, in 
his travels in 1858, visited the Belmont 
country and was charmed with the loca- 
tion, but the best evidence is to the effect 
that he did not visit Jackson county. But 
he did return home and pilot his friends 
to the Jackson county country. 

In the spring of 1860 a party of ten or 
a dozen of these Norwegian families start- 
ed out in covered wagons drawn by oxen 
from their Wisconsin homes. They went 
first to Winneshiek county, Iowa, and 
then pushed on westward to Jackson coun- 
ty, where they arrived during the sum- 
mer. The names of the men of this col- 
ony and the locations they selected for 
their homes were as follows : 

Anders Olson Slaabaken,* 6W14 34, 
Belmont (east of river). 




Burre Olson and family,- sw^4 11> 
Des Moines, 

Knute Midstad and wife, neY^ 28, Bel- 
mont (west of river). 

Ole 0. Fohre and family, nwi4 ^^^ 

Lars Fumes, nwi/4 16, Belmont. 

Taral Ramlo and family, section 15,^ 

Lars Askelson and family, swi4 21, 

Lars Bradvold and family, se^/i 3, Des 

Ole Peterson and family^ sw^^ 2, Des 

Hans H. IJen and family, swi/4 15, Des 

Englebret Olson Slaabaken and family,* 
8ei4 22, Belmont. 

When these families came they had 
their pick of the lands in that part of 
the countv in which thev located. Most 
of the white settlors at the time lived 
farther down the river, in the vicinity of 
the present village of Jackson, only a 
few townsite boomers and trappers having 
located so far up the river. Indians were 
occasionally seen in the vicinity, but they 

'Anders Olson Slaabaken became one of the 
most hfgrhly respected citizens of the settle- 
ment. He devoted his time and energry largely 
to lookingr after the Interests of the people 
whom he had advised to build homes In the 
frontier country and others who came later. 
He assisted his people In locating: desirable 
claims, grave many favors, and was always 
satisfied with a "thank you" for his pay. Mr. 
Slaabaken was a singrle man when he came to 
Jackson county, but he later married the widow 
of MIkkel Olson Slaabaken. His eldest son. 
Peter dson Slaabaken. now resides upon the 
old Belmont homestead. Three children of Mr. 
and Mrs. Mikkel Olson Slaabaken. Olava. Chris- 
tiana and Karlna, are now married and resi- 
dents of Jackson county. 

*One of the sons of Burre Olson Is Rersvend 
fWIllIam) Burreson. who resides upon the old 
homestead. Of all the Norwegians who came 
to the county In 1860. only William Burreson 
and wife and Mrs. Burreson's sister. Mrs. 
Gillie, are Uvlngr. 

*In 1861 Mr. Ramlo took as his claim the 
southwest auarter of section 34, Belmont, on 
the west side of the river, and removed to that 

*Two of Englebret Olson Slaabaken's daugh- 
ters are still residents of Jackson county. They 
are Mrs. William Burreson. of Des Moines," and 
Mrs. Olof GUlIe, of Belmont. 

gave the new arrivals no trouble. The 
new-comers builded their log cabins in 
the woods along the river, prepared their 
lands for cultivation, and became a val- 
ued addition to the population of Jackson 
county. Another settler of 1860 who be- 
came quite promineni in the county was 
Rev. Peter Baker, who came in the fall 
and began preaching to the scattered set- 
tlers, taking a claim in Petersburg town- 

In the fall of 1860 the settlers, feeling 
that they were in*=:ecure from the ravages 
of the Sioux Indians, organized a com- 
pany of home guards, of which* nearly 
all the men became members. David M. 
West was chosen captain, the Ftate fur- 
nished arms, and the guards drilled every 

The federal census of 1860, taken bv 
Assistant United States Marshal Elius 
D. Bruner on July 13 and 14,^* showed 
the county to have a population of 181 
people.*^ The enumerator visited 60 houses 
in the countv. He found 52 families 
and eight unoccupied dwellings, most of 
the vacant houses being in the village of 
Belmont. Tlie only township in the coun- 
tv at the time was named Jackson, and 
all the residents lived therein. Of the 
total population only two persons had 
title to real estate. These were Samuel 
Brown, who placed a value of $700 on his 
real property, and Tliomas Johnson, who 
valued his at $150. 

Following are the names of the inhabi- 
tants of 1860, their ages, occupations, 
birthplaces and the value of their per- 
sonal property:^ 

•Only those were listed who were residents on 
June 1; consequently the names of only a few 
of the arrivals of 1860 appear. 

•Other southwestern Minnesota counties in 
1860 had populations as follows: Blue Earth, 
4.803; Faribault. 1.335; Watonwan, 0; Martin, 
151; Cottonwood, 12; Murray, 29; Nobles, 35; 
Pipestone, .23; Rock. 0. 

'This list was obtained from the director of 
the census at Washingrton through the kindness 
of Hon. W. S. Hammond. 


'Samnel Brown 

Amelia Brown 

Joseph Keater 

Eliza Kester 

John Keeter 

•Truman Wolbridge. 
'Frederick Noble.... 

*Joahua Dyer 

•Israel Eddy 

Adilia Eddy 

William Eddy. 

Francis Eddy 

Perry Eddy 

•Benjamin Hill 

Hannah Hill 

William Hill 

Mary Hill 

Franklin Hill 

Andrew Hill 

Haiy Davy.. 

Buchanan Davy 

•Charles Kem 

•Samuel Bartel 

•John Byers 

Vallina Byers 

•Allen Day 

Sarah Day 

William Day 

Franklin Day 

LeRoy Day. 

•Senior Kingsbury.. 

Maria Kingsbury.... 
•Henry Thomson 

Mary Thomson 

•Charles Head 

*James Whitchurch. 

•John McBee 

•John Dodson 

•Joseph Chiffin 

'George Hoffman.... 

Eliza Hoffman 

Matilda Hoffman.... 

Eliza Hoffman 

•Thomaa Johnson.... 

Amy Johnson 

•Nauianiel Frost 

'Adam Shiegley 

Nancy Shiegley 

•Frank Waggaman 
•Jarvis Harton 

Polly Harton 

•Joseph Muck 

Sally Muck 

William Muck 

Mary Muck 

Stephen Muck 

Martha Muck 

Elizabeth Muck 

Sarah "Muck 

Simmon Muck 

Richard Muck 

Arminta Mnck 

'Joseph Thomas 

Jane Thomas 






New York 






Canada . 






New York 

*H»ds ot (smlllss. 



























LansinflT Thomas 














New Jersey 


New Jersey 






New Jersey 


New York 



New York 















New York 





New Jersey 














Elizabeth Thomas 

John Thomas 

Roxanna Thomas 

Joseph Thomas 

Mary Thomas 

^Lolan Stevens 

Louisa Stevens 

Jennie Stevens 

John Stevens 

Carrie Stevens 

Louis Stevens 

^Bartholomew McCarthy.. 
Jane McCarthy 

*James Palmer 

Arminda Palmer 

George Palmer 

♦David West 

Eidward Davies 

William Daffield 

Stiles West 

Henry West 

•Ezra Strong ., 

Mary Strons: 

James Strong 

Grace Strong 

Auther Strong 

•Harrison Andrews 

Anna Andrews 

Eliza Andrews 

Daniel Andrews 

♦Ira Camfield 

Levi Camfield 

Elizabeth Camfield 

Mary Camfield 

Eliza Camfield 

Nancy Camfield 

Eugenia Camfield 

George Camfield 

^Rosanna Fuller 

Elizabeth Fuller 

Ezra Fuller 

Emeline Fuller 

George Fuller 

Daniel Fuller 

•David Rogers 

•George Hogan 

Ann Hogan 

Charles Hoean 

•George McMath 

Nancy McMath 

Minnie McMath 

Nettie McMath 

•Knute Olson 

Betsy Olson 

•Thomas Hanson 

Mary Hanson 

Hans Hanson 

•Burre Olson 

Julia Olson 

John Olson 

Ole Olson 

William Olson 

•Hans Johnson 

*^ead8 Qf families* 




Julia Johnson 

John Johnson 

Burre Johnson 

^Benjamin Johnson.. . 

Jane Johnson 

John Johnson..^ , 

John 0. Johnson 

•Die Peterson 

Betsy Peterson 

Die reterson 

*John Swenson 

Caroline Swenson.... 

Mary Swenson 

•John Trunson 

Alvina Trunson 

Betsy Trunson 

*John Larson 

Ann Larson 

*01e Larson 

Caroline Larson 

Die Larson 

Ole Larson 

Martha Larson 

John Larson 

* Andre w Anderson. . . . 

Maria Anderson 

Ole Anderson 

John Anderson 

Elizabeth Anderson. 

Marie Anderson 

Andrew Anderson.. 

Ann Anderson 

*John Jiohnson 

Mary Johnson , 

Henry Johnson 

Betsy Johnson 

*Peter Pomerson 

Ann Pomerson 

Peter Pomerson 

Ole Pomerson 

Callie Pomerson 

William Pomerson.. 
*James Westerwelt.. 

Ann Westerwelt 

Henry Westerwelt... 
•George Pompeii 

Christina Pompeii 

Maria Pompeii. 

Jane Pompeii 

Even Pompeii 

•William Evans 

Ann Evans 

Thomas Evans 





























Occupation Property 




























• < 









< < 






New York 



*Head8 of families. 

In 1861 the Norwegian colony was 
joined by others of the same nationality. 
The first to arrive were Anders 0. Kirke- 
voldsmoen* and family, who located on 

■Anders O. Kirkevoldsmoen died while In the 
army, and his widow later became the wife of 
Bn^lebret Olson Slaabaken. Biany of his de- 
acendants are now residents of Jackson county. 

the northwest quarter of section 3, Des 
Moines township; Anders Monson and 
family, who took a claim on the southeast 
quarter of section 13, Des Moines, just 

One son, Ole Anderson, resides in Jackson; 
another son, Anders Olson Slaabaken, is dead. 
Bertha, who became the wife of Simon Olson 
Slaabaken. and Christiana, who married Ole E. 



west of the Milwaukee depot at Jackson; 
and K. Torreson and family, who settled 
on the northwest quarter of section 14, 
Des Moines. Several more of the name 
of Slaabaken, commonly known bv the 
name of Olson, came in 1861. These in- 
eluded John Olson Slaabaken,® Mikkel Ol- 
son Slaabaken and Tollef Olson Slaabak- 
en with their families and Simon'** and 
Peder, single men. Part of these drove 
through from Jefferson Prairie, Wiscon- 
sin, with ox teams, the voyage taking 
two months' time. The others drove 
through from Fillmore county, Minne- 
sota. Mikkel settled on the northeast 
quarter of section 28, Belmont, on the 
west side of the river; Peder took as his 
claim the northwest quarter of section 23, 
Des Moines; the others took claims in 
Belmont, the exact location of their first 
claims being unknown. Others who came 
during 1861 were Ole Estenson and Ole 
Torgeson and their families, who located, 
on sections G, Belmont, and 31, Chris- 
tiania;" Lars Olson and family, who set- 
tled on the northeast quarter of section 
30, Christiania — the most northern settler 

Olson Slaabaken. oldest son of Englebret Olson 
Slaabaken. are dead. The only living daughter 
of Anders O. Klrkevoldsmoen Is Bertha, who 
now lives with her husband. Melian Johnson, 
in Belnwnt. Her first marriage was to Ole E. 
Olson. Jr.. son of Englebret Olson Slaabaken. 
and her second marriage to Anders Olson Slaa- 
baken. also a son of Englebret Olson Slaabaken. 
both of whom died. 

•The widow of John Olson Slaabaken still 
lives In Belmont township, and many of his 
descendants are now residents of Jackson coun- 
ty. His daughter, Anna, married Ole Brown, 
who built the mill at Brownsburg. and now 
lives in Tennessee. Another daughter. Lena, 
is the wife of P. H. Berge, of Jackson. Ole J. 
and Peter live upon the old homestead In Bel- 
mont. Two daughters. Petria and Engebera. 
are married and live in Wisconsin. 

"After coming to the county Simon Olson 
Slaabaken married Bertha, the daughter of 
Anders O. Klrkevoldsmoen. The living children 
of these parents are .Christina (Mrs. George 
Omberson), of Murray county; Maria (Mrs. H. 
H. Berge). of Minneapolis; Helen, of Jackson; 
Emma (Mrs. Martin Olson), of Jackson; Obert. 
of Jackson. During his life Simon Olson Slaa- 
baken held several different county offices and 
was a prominent man In the early days of 
Jackson county history. 

"The claim of one of these men was the 
northeast quarter of section 6, Belmont; the 
other was the southeast quarter of section 31; 
(!^ristiania. both on the east side of the river. 
Their cabins were close together, but It Is un- 
known which had the Belmont property and 
which the Christiania. 

at that time; Hans Kgostolson (Chester- 
son) and family, who built a cabin on the 
south we5t quarter of section 15, Des 
Moine.«; Lars G. Jornevik and family, 
who settled in Belmont; Lars Halverson 
and family, who took as a claim the south- 
east quarter of section 25, Des Moines — 
the southernmost of the Norwegian set-* 
tiers; Holsten Olson and family, who 
settled on the northwest quarter of section 
;]4, Belmont; Knud Langeland and fam- 
ily, who took uj) their residence on the 
southeast quarter of section 16, Belmont J ^ 
A few American born settlers also came 
to Jackson county in 18G1 and located at 
different points along the river. 

The breaking out of the civil war in 
18G1 vitally affected the people in this 
frontier settlement and gave Jackson 
county a reputation for patriotism equal- 
ed bv few communities. Xearlv all the 
able bodied men in the county enlisted 
and fought with the union forces during 
(he war. Captain D. M. West, of the 
home guards, enlisted twenty-two of his 
company in the ITnited States army in 
September. As cmly thirty-three votes were 
cast in the county at the fall elec- 
tion, it will be seen that this with- 
drawal left the people of the frontier set- 
tlement in ])oor circumstances to with- 
stand an Indian attack, as ihev were 
called upon to do the next year. The com- 
pany, partly enrolled from Jackson coun- 
ty and commanded by 1). M. West, served 
for a time as the second company of 
Minnesota cavalrv, but later became com- 
pany I of the Fifth Iowa cavalry. Of 
the twentv-two enrolled from Jackson 
county following are the names of nine- 
teen of the number :^^ D. M. West, cap- 
tain; Ole Burreson, p]dward Davies, Hans 

"Among the Korwegian settlers of 1861 no 
one of the hends of families is living in Jack- 
son county, although many of their children 

"The list is furnished me by Stiles M. West, 
now of Faribault, Minnesota. 



;■- r i 



Johnson, Ole Larson, Bartholomew Mc- 
Carthy, Andrew Monpon, Andrew Olson, 
Andrew Olson (Kirkevoldsmoen), Tollef 
Olson, Peter Olson, Sinion Olson, Ole E. 
Olson, William H. Pease, Henry R. Tro- 
bridge, James R. West, Stiles M. West. 
M. F. West and H. F. West. 

Rev. Peter Baker held protracted re- 
ligious services in the log house of Jo- 
seph Thomas during the winter of 1860- 
Gl, and afterwards organized a Methodist 
class. During the summer of 1861 ]ie 
organized a Sunday school in the Wood 
brothers' store building. For many years 
this good man attended to the religious 
wants of the people of Jackson county 
and became a highly respected and in- 
fluential man in the community. This 
he did largely without pay. In after years 
he stated- that during the first two years 
of his service his only recompense was 
the kitting of a pair of socks! 

There are very few items of interest 
to record for the year 1861. Except the 
enlisting of so great a proportion of the 
able bodied men, nothing occurred to in- 
terrupt the even tenor of the lives of the 
frontier settlers. The new arrivals of 
the year selected their claims, built log 
cabins and engaged in agricultural pur- 
suits on a small scale. At what was known 
as Evans' ford, on the southwest quarter 
of section 14, Des Moines township, the 
erection of a sawmill was commenced, but 
it was never finished.^* 

An interesting historical document is 
the assessment list of Danby township, 
which included the whole settled portion 
of the county, for the year 1861. The 
total tax levied was $161.68 and was di- 
vided as follows: 

"At this point, in 1862, was held the first 
fourth of July celebration in the county. The 
work of constructing the mill was In progrress 
at the time, and many of the settlers were 
assisting with the work. On the open ground, 
on the east side of the river, a few of the 
neighbors gathered in honor of the nation's 
birthday. A flag pole was erected and the 
American colors were • flown. 

State taxes ^ $26.13 

Interest on public debt 16.66 

School tax 26.13 

County tax 31.29 

Township tax 31.29 

Other special tax 31.29 

Total $161.68 

The names of those who were assessed, 
the value of the property owned and the 
amount of the individual taxes were as 
follows : 


D. P. Cornell 

S. T. Johnson 

E. D. Shore 

Alex Wood 

S. D. Brown 

B. McCarthy 

A. L. Crane 

Ira Camfield 

Gelden Carter 

Marcellus Clough .. 

Joshua Dyer 

Louis Eskerson 

Ole Eskerson 

Lewis Estenson 

Nathaniel Frost.... 
Lewis Halverson .. 
Knud Halverson.. .. 
Thomas Holston.. .. 

Add Halverson 

Hans Johnson 

Lewis Jameson 

John Knudson 

L. H. Landaker 

Lewis Lewison 

Joseph Muck 

Andrew Monson.... 

Jacob Nelson 

Knud Nelson 

Burre Olson 

Englebret Olson.... 

Simon Olson 

Ole Olson 

F. Andrew Olson .. 

John Olson 

Tollef Olson 

Jared Palmer 

Ole Peterson 

William H. Pease.. 

D. S. Perkins 

John Swenson 

Joseph Thomas 

H. L. Thomas 

Christian Torreson. 

Ole Torreson 

H. R. Trowbridge.. 

John Trunson... 

D. M. West 

S. M. West 

Ole Anderson 

L F. Eddy 






$ 685 

$ 10.64 




































































































$ 161.68 




Tax paying seems to have been out of along the Des Moines river. Crops of w-zeat, 

fashion in that early day, for we find corn and vegetables were planted, the rich 

among the records a settlement sheet dated virgin soil, warm sun and copious rains 

February 28, 1862, signed by Ole Peter- hastened the growth of vegetation, and 

son as county treasurer and Joseph the prospects for a bounteous harvest were 

Thomas as county auditor, in which it is favorable. The people were happy and 

stated that out of the total tax of $161.68 contented in their new found homes. Had 

levied only $47.08 had been paid, while a census of the county been taken that 

$114.60 was delinquent.^' The treasurer's year there would have been found between 

fees of $2.35 were deducted from the tax- 200 and 300 people. The residents had 

es collected, leaving the magnificient to- little communication with the outside 

tal of $44.73 as the amount of taxes r6- world. There was no postoflfice, no tele- 

ceived by Jackson county for the year graph line, no stage lines. The nearest 

1861 ! settlements were at Estherville and Spirit 

The assessment for the year 1862 was liake, Iowa, and the nearest point from 
made by James E. Palmer. He found 57 which most of the supplies could be pro- 
people in the county possessed of personal cured was Mankato. 
property, and the total amount of the tax- Along the river from the present site 
able property was found to be $12,792 — of Jackson down were American bom 
a small gain over that of the year be- families. Along the river above the site 
fore. In the county of Jackson there of Jackson, in Des Moines, Belmont and 
were at the time (so the assessor re- Christiania townships, the settlers were all 
ported) three watches, manufacturing in- Norwegians, arrived only a few years be- 
dustries to the value of $40, no pianos, fore from their native land, understand- 
twelve head of horses, no mules, 29 sheep, ing and speaking very little English. They 
134 hogs, 320 cattle, 43 wagons, and had few dealings with the outside world 
moneys and credits to the value of $1,351. and very little intercourse with their Am- 
Following are eight of the names appear- erican born neighbors down the river; 
ing on the list and the assessed value of their interests were centered in their 
their property: homes. Although these Xor^Vegian settlers 
Edward Daviea $64.40 had located on the exposed frontier, al- 

L^wU^nLlvew^^^^ 106 30 "^^^^ "^ *^^' ^^^^^^ ^^ *^^^ ^"^^^° country, 

Eiiglebret Olson 7?! 50 they knew nothing of the Indian customs 

Simon Olson 109.00 or Indian warfare. Thev were unaccus- 

James E. Palmer 62.00 

Jared Palmer 331 .30 tomed to the use of firearms and many of 

Joseph Thomas 349.50 (hem had probably never fired a gun in 

The year 1862 opened auspiciously. A their lives; many of the able bodied men 

few more settlers came and located claims were absent, fighting their adopted coun- 

"Those who had paid their taxes In full be- *0' ^ battles. 

fore this settlement were S. T. Johnson, Bar- e^ mnpli fnr fliP pniiHifinn nf ihn no/\- 

tholomew McCarthy. Marcellus CTough. Lewis ^^ mucn lOr ine COnoitlon 01 tne peo- 

Estenson, Nathaniel Frost, Lewis Halverson, r»lp of Tflpl'^nn nmirifv in 1ftfi9 Vipfnro +>io 

Thomas Holston. Add Halverson. Knud Nelson. P^^ ^^ JaCKSOn COUni} in lOb^, DCIOre Xtie 

Ole Olson. F. Andrew Olson, D. S. Perkins, outbreak of thp tprrihlp SioiiY war 

John Trunson and L F. Eddy. uuturtaK oi me lerriDie oioux war. 



IT IS not my intention to tell of the 
Sioux war of 1862, except so far as 
Jackson ^.county enters into the his- 
tory. But it may be of interest to learn 
the magnitude of this famous Indian war. 
The outbreak was the most remarkable and 
noteworthy incident of the kind in Amer- 
ican history. More white people perished 
in that savage slaughter than in all the 
other massacres ever perpetrated on the 
North American continent. Add the 
number of white victims of the Indian 
wars of New England during the colon- 
ial period to the list of those who perish- 
ed in the Wyoming and Cherry valleys, 
and to the pioneers who were killed in 
the early wliite occupation of the middle 
west and the south, and the aggregate 
falls far short of the numl)er of the peo- 
ple of Minnesota who were slain by the 
Sioux in less than one week in that mem- 
orable month of August, 1862.^ About 
eight hundred people were killed within 
a few days, before any effective resist- 
ance could be brought against the red 
demons. Only two Indians were killed 
outside the battles and legitimate skir- 
mishes. One of these was at a point below 
Jackson, near Spirit Lake, where three 
settlers were attacked by a superior force 
but won the fight by their bravery and 

^Minnesota in Three Centuries. 

drove off the savages. They killed an In- 
dian named Big Head and wounded three 
others. The testimony of the Indians was 
that they found the Minnesota settlers 
"as easy to kill as sheep." 

The attack on the Norwegian settle- 
ment of Jackson county occurred on Sun- 
day, August 24, 1862, and for the second 
time in its history the soil of Jackson 
county was crimsoned with the blood of 
its citizens as the result of Indian at- 
tack; for the second time the county was 
abandoned by white men. Thirteen whites 
were murdered, a few others were wound- 
ed, and many narrowly escaped with their 

So early as June reports reached the 
Belmont settlers that there was likely to 
be trouble with the Indians. On only 
one occasion, however, did the Indians 
who sometimes visited the settlement show 
any signs of hostility; the exception was 
the wanton killing of an ox belonging to 
Ole Larson, of Christiania township. 
Finally the rumors of an outbreak were 
confirmed. A German fleeing from New 
TJlm brought news of the attack on that 
village, which had occurred only a few 
days before. He could not impart the de- 
tails of the tragedy on account of his in- 
ability to speak English, but the settlers 
could understand enough to know that 




New Ulm had had trouble with the In- 

The Behnont settlers seem to have been 
undecided what course to pursue. Nights 
they gathered at the dilTerent cabins that 
seemed to offer better protection or where 
the firearms and ammunition were kept; 
their fears were not so great during the 
day time, and generally they returned to 
their homes in the morning to attend to 
the farm work. A decision was finally 
reached tliat stockades should be built, 
and Monday, August 25, was the date set 
for the settlers to get together and select 
the sites. On the dav before this was to 
have been done the attack was made and 
there had been enacted the drama of bru- 
tal and beastly bloodshed which depopu- 
lated the county. 

It was a few days after the attack on 
the Lower Agency and four days after 
the massacre at Lake Shetek, in Murray 
county, that about fifty of White Lodge's 
band of Sisseton Sioux proceeded down 
the Des Moines river, apparently to repeat 
the performance of Inkpaduta of five 
years before.^ They proceeded as far south 
as Englebret Olson Slaabaken's home on 
the southeast quarter of section 22, Bel- 
mont township, without making their pres- 
ence known.^ Then instead of proceed- 
ing down the river, they began the at- 

^The route of the Indians into Jackson county 
is not known definitely, but It is supposed they 
came by way of Fish lake, Lower's lake and 
Independence lake. Had they followed the river 
bank, it Is almost certain they would have been 
discovered before reaching the point where the 
attack was beerun. 

•So far as is known. Lars Olson was the 
only man in the settlement who saw the In- 
dians In a body; consequently he was the only 
competent authority as to the number partici- 
pating. He estimated the number at fifty. Mr. 
Olson, who was an old man livingr on section 
30. Christlania, had been down into Belmont 
township on Sunday, and while returning, when 
a little north of the Ole Fohre home, he came 
upon the party of savages in the woods, before 
the attack was begun. He was not seen by 
the Indians, nor were the Indians recognized as 
such by him. He supposed they were soldiers, 
come to the defense of the settlers, and was 
accordingly thankful for their arrival. Mr. 
Olson continued his journey home, and neither 
he nor his wife saw the Indians afterward, al- 
though the red men must have passed close 
to his house. 

tack and retraced their steps up the river. 
The attack was begun at ten o'clock in 
the forenoon. 

The attacking savages divided into small 
parties, and, going swiftly from cabin to 
cabin, they took the inmates by surprise 
and encountered no resistance except in 
one instance. The men, women and child- 
ren were sTiot down without warning and 
without an effort to save their lives ex- 
cept in flight. 

At the Ole Fohre home, on the north- 
west quarter of section 22, Belmont, sev- 
eral families had gathered, namely, Jo- 
hannes Axe and wife, Lars G. Jornevik 
and wife, Mrs. Carrie Fohre, the wife of 
Ole Fohre, and her twelve year old son, 
Ole Olson Fohre, and eight small children 
belonging to the several families. Here 
the massacre was begun at ten o'clock in 
the forenoon. When the Indians were seen 
approaching, Mrs. Fohre, Mrs. Jornevik 
and Mrs. Axe with the eight small child- 
ren went into the cellar, the trap door 
was closed, and twelve year old Ole Olson 
Fohre piled clothing, boxes and trunks 
over it. The othei-s remained upstairs. 
They barricaded the doors, but being with* 
out arms, their efforts to guard the cabin 
were futile. 

The Indians approached the cabin from 
the east and burst in the east door. All 
who were in the cabin, except the boy, 
were instantly killed, and no one knows 
the particulars of their taking off. Jo- 
hannes Axe was evidently pounded to 
death, as no bullet wounds were found on 
his bodv. Lars Fumes and Lars G. Jorne- 
vik"* were shot. 

<Lars G. Jornevik was a man with a violent 
temper and in some particulars lacking in 
Judgment. When he was advised, some days 
previous, that it wns probable the Indians 
would come and to prepare himself. Mr. Jorne- 
vik flew into a violent rage, stating that he 
was ready for the Indians any time they wanted 
to come. He filled his pockets with stones and 
considered himself amply protected. VThen his 
dead- body was found, his pockets were filled 
with the missiles which he had not opportunity 
to use. 



When the east door was broken down 
and the Indians entered the cabin, Ole 
Olson Fohre, the boy, who was standing 
guard at the west door, bolted out that 
door and ran down a trail that led to a 
spring. Hearing the door slam, the boy 
looked over his shoulder while running 
and saw an Indian taking aim at him. 
With presence of mind he made a quick 
jump to the left into the brush. He dodg- 
ed just in time to save his life, for the bul- 
let struck him, tearing away the tip of his 
right elbow. Ole hid in the brush, and the 
savage who had fired followed and search- 
ed for him. When the Indian was only 
about three feet from the boy's hiding 
place, he gave up the search and returned 
to his companions at the cabin — the In- 
dian's love of "firewater" saved a life. One 
of the first acts of the savages was to search 
the wagons, which had been brought from 
Mankato the day before, loaded with pro- 
visions, and just as the Indian was about 
to discover the boy in the brush, the 
others at the cabin found a jug of whisky 
in one of the wagons and raised such a 
shout of joy that the one after the boy 
gave up the hunt and hastily rejoined 
the others. Safe from immediate pursuit, 
Ole ran through the timber down the riv- 
er to find a place of refuge and to notify 
the other settlers of their danger. 

About the time these events were tak- 
ing place at the Pohre home, Ole Fohre, 
the owner of the cabin, was found by the 
Indians in the timber, between his house 
and the river, and killed. The place of 
this murder was on section 21. 

The anxiety of the fugitives in the cel- 
lar while the murders were being commit- 
ted over their heads cannot be described; 
so still were they they scarcely breathed. 
Their fears were made worse by the cry- 
ing of the two year old babe of Mrs. Lars 
C. Jomevik. That lady, with heroism 
seldom equaled in the annals of Indian 

warfare, knowing tl)at the painted de- 
mons surrounded the house, deliberately 
came out of the cellar to accept her fate. 
To the other ladies she said: "I under- 
stand my time has come; I must go up 
a^ain. Your children are smaller than 
mine and they keep quiet; if I stay here 
the Indians will find us." She came up 
from the cellar with the child and was 
killed, her body being horribly mutilated. 
Fortunately the Indians were busy with 
their whiskv and did not learn from 
whence Mrs. Jornevik had come. 

The child was unharmed, but soon it 
began to cry. The door of the cabin had 
been left open, and the baby was fright- 
ened at the hogs, which came into the cab- 
in. One of the ladies came up, found 
the child in its mother's blood, and took 
it back into the cellar and cared for it. 


Then it was learned for the first time that 
the savages had left the vicinity. For the 
time being let us leave the two women and 
the children in the cellar, debating the 
course of action to pursue, while we con- 
sider events that were taking place in 
others parts of the settlement. 

Close to the Fohre home, Mikkel Olson 
Slaabaken was killed and his nephew, An- 
ders Olson Slaabaken, the thirteen year 
old son of Englebret Olson Slaabaken, 
was seriously wounded and left for dead. 
The Englebret Olson Slaabaken home was 
half a mile south of the Fohre home, and 
also on section 22. About the time the 
attack was begun, Mikkel and his nephew 
started from that place for the home of 
Ole Fohre. They he^rd the firing but 
thought nothing of it, as they supposed 
the neighbors were shooting blackbirds. 
They soon ^became aware of the serious- 
ness of their condition. The Indians were 
stationed along the trails in the tim- 
ber, and the unfortunate white men 
were soon discovered. The savages fired 
and the white men set out on a run 



through the timber. Mikkel was hit at the 
first fire and exclaimed: "I am wounded 
and cannot run any farther.^' Immediate- 
ly he was hit again and killed instantly. 

A bullet from the first volley passed 
through the hat brim of the boy, and a 
moment later another one inflicted a 
slight scalp wound, plowing a furrow 
through his hair. Anders was not stun- 
ned or badly hurt, but he was so scared 
that he fell and lay with his face to thp 
ground. The savages came up and one 
of them plunged a knife into his left 
side and, as the victim described the event 
in after years, "twisted it around before 
he pulled it out." The Indians left him 
for dead and Anders lost consciousness. 
When he came to his senses he crawled 
to his father's home. There was no one 


there; the Indians had visited the place 
and taken everything in the line of pro- 
visions. The wounded boy made his way 
to the log stable and hid in a manger, 
where he remained three days with noth- 
ing to eat except two raw eggs. When the 
cows came home at night he tried to milk 
them, but they would not allow him to 
approach them on account of the blood on 
his clothes. From the time of the attack 
on Sunday until Wednesday Anders re- 
mained in the manger; then he was found 
by a rescuing party and taken to Esther- 
ville, where he slowly recovered from his 

From the Fohre house the Indians went 
to the home of Englebret Olson Slaabaken, 
a half mile south, but all the whites there, 
except the two mentioned, had gone to 
church. Here, after ransacking the prem- 
ises, the Indians gave up the idea of go- 
ing farther south, and began their trip to 
the north. Had it not been for the faet 

*Anders Olson Slaabaken later returned to 
Jackson county, and after his father's death 
became the owner of the Belmont farm. He 
became a respected resident of the county and 
died on the old homestead on September 26, 

that many of the settlers were away from 
home, gathered at the Ramlo house and 
other places in religious worship, there is 
every reason to believe that the massacre 
would have been much more terrible than 
it was. When the murdering savages 
came to the house of Englebret Olson Slaa- 
baken and the houses of others who were 
at the meeting and found th§m unoccu- 
pied, they feared the settlement was 
aroused and that the people had gathered 
at some place to put up a fight. As an 
Indian detests a fair fight more than 
anything else, they decided not to go far- 
ther south, but to begin their bloody woric 
and make their escape before it became 
necessary to fight. 

On their trip north (probably), at a 
point a few rods west of the Ole Fohre 
home, the Indians came upon Knud Mid- 
stad and his wife Breta and murdered 
them. These unfortunate people lived on 
the west side of the river, and were on 
their way to Ole Fohre^s when they were 
ambushed on the trail. 

To return to the women and children in 
the cellar of the Ole Fohre cabin. When 
it was learned that the Indians had left 
the immediate vicinit}^ Mrs. Fohre and 
Mrs. Axe decided to seek another place of 
concealment. Accordingly they came 
forth with the children and hid in a corn- 
field. The savages, returning from their 
visit to the Slaabaken home below, again 
came to the place of the original attack, 
and when they found that refugees had 
been hidden in the cellar at the time of 
the first attack but had now escaped, they 
were very angry and spent considerable 
time searching for them. After the mur- 
derers had gone the second time the wom- 
en started out with the children for the 
south and spent Sunday night in a black- 
smith shop on the Englebret Olson Slaa- 
baken farm. The next morning, not hav- 
ing had anything to eat since the attack. 


T r^-' " 


r_-i -- 







Map Showing Cabins of J^orwegian Settlers at the Time of the 

Belmont Massacre and the Route of the Indians. Des 

Moines, Belmont and part of Christiania 

Townships Shown. 



they started out again for the south in an 
endeavor to find a place of safety. They 
had proceeded ta a point southwest of the 
present site of Jackson when they met 
Knud I^ngeland returning from Spirit 
I^ke, and were piloted to a place of 

After the second visit to the house of 
Ole Pohre, the Indians (at least a part 
of them) crossed the river to the west 
side, but did not encounter any whites and 
returned.* Then the band proceeded up 
the river to the home of Knud Langeland, 
who resided with his familv on the south- 
east quarter of section 16. There no warn- 
ing had been received, and five human 
lives were taken. Mr. Langeland was 
down by the river rounding up his cat- 
tle at the time of the attack and so escap- 
ed. At the house his wife, Anna Lange- 
land, and four children, Anna, Aagaata, 
Nicolai John and Knud Langeland, were 
murdered. Martha Langeland escaped the 
fate • of the rest of the family by hiding 
in a com field. Two of these children 
who were killed were hid in the corn field 
at the time of the attack, but when they 
saw the Indians attack their mother they 
rushed out to her assistance and were mur- 
dered. Mr. Langeland went to the house 
after the Indians departed and viewed the 
terrible work of the monsters. He thought' 
lie witnessed signs of life in two of his 
children. Gathering them in his arms, he 
carried them all the way to Spirit Lake. 
One of the children died soon after his ar- 
rival ; the other recovered.^ 

•It must not be understood that the move- 
ments of the Indians are srlven from definite 
knowledsre or that the chronological order of 
eventa Is strictly observed. It is known to 
what homes the savages came, but the exact 
time at which, they appeared and the definite 
course they took are unknown. For instance, 
the only evidence we have that the Indians 
crossed to the west side of the river Is the fact 
that one of their guns was found at a point 
opposite the Fohre home, twenty rods from the 
river. As It is known that none of the homes 
on that side was visited, we conclude that the 
red men soon after returned to the east side. 

TTie name of the child who recovered is un- 
knorwn. and may have been included with those 


Prom the Langeland home the Sioux 
proceeded on their way up the river to the 
homes of Ole Estenson and Ole Torgenson, 
where they arrived in the evening about 
dark. These men were the only ones in the 
settlement to make any effort to save their 
lives except in flight; they had the old 
Berserker blood in them and put up a 
good fight. Messrs. Estenson and Tor- 
genson barricaded one of their houses sit- 
uated on the southeast quarter of section 
31, Christiania township, and made other 
preparations to defend their families. 
They had guns and ammunition and the 
knowledge and disposition to use them. 
When the Indians appeared, they called 
to the white men to come to them. In- 
stead, the white men ordered their fam- 
ilies to lie down and returned the fire of 
the enemy so successfully that they fought 
off every attack. Volley after volley was 
poured into the house, and the bullets 
penetrated the walls and roof, knocking 
down several articles that were on shelves.* 
The white men loaded their army mus- 
kets with slugs, and, as it had become 
dark, they fired only at the flashes of the 
Indians' guns. No one within the cabin 
was hit, and the attackers finally de- 
parted. The defenders did not know 
whether or not they hit any of the rav- 
ages, and had no evidence that they did.' 

mentioned as having been killed. If that is a 
fact, only twelve met death in the Belmont 
massacre. Mr. Ole Anderson, who has fur- 
nished me much of the data concerning: the 
massacre, places the number killed at thir- 
teen, but is uncertain in regrard to the Langre- 
land children. 

•An amusing: feature of this attack was the 
rage of one of the Norwegian women. A cook- 
ing utensil was knocked from Its place on the 
shelf, and the lady of the house became so 
angry she Jumped up vowing vengeance on 
the redskins. Had she not been restrained it Is 
possible she would have rushed out and put the 
savages to flight. 

•This statement is made on the authority of 
Ole Anderson, who Interviewed Messrs. Esten- 
son and Torgenson a short time after the mas- 
sacre. The author of Minnesota In Three Cen- 
turies, recently published, was Incorrectly in- 
formed in regard to the result of this flght, for 
he said the defenders believed that they had 
wounded several of the savages and knew that 
they had killed one, because his carcass lay 
fifty yards from the cabin for anyone to see. 



After their repulse the Indians went 
down the river and made camp Sunday 
night on the southeast quarter of section 
8, Belmont township.'^ The next day 
they proceeded up the river on the east 
side without renewing hostilities. The 
Des Moines river was crossed, and Mon- 
day night camp was made on the south- 
west quarter of section 24, Delafield town- 
ship. Thence the Indians continued their 
journey to the north and out of Jackson 

The Belmont massacre was over. Thir- 
teen innocent people had been murdered 
in cold blood. Several of the bodies were 
mutilated, but no scalps were taken. 
None of the cabins and no property was 
burned. The savages carried away much 
property, and some of this was abandoned 
or destroyed on the march out of the 
country; otherwise there was no destruc- 
tion of property. 

A recapitulation gives us the following 
as the losses in the Belmont massacre :" 

"The statement has been made that the at- 
tack on the Chrlatlanla home was not made 
until Monday, after the Indians had left this 
camp, but the best evidence is to the effect 
that the attack was made Sunday evening. 

"For some reason no authentic account of 
the Belmont massacre has heretofore been 
written, and there is a wonderful lack of gen- 
eral knowledge of the details of the terrible af- 
fair. There are differences of authority even as 
to the date of the massacre in Jackson county. 
The inaccuracies of the printed accounts of the 
affair are shown In the following extract from 
Norwegian Settlers History, published In the 
Norwegian language in 1908 by J. M. Holland, 
A. M.. of Bphrlam, Wisconsin: 

"On Sunday morning. August 24, 1862, be- 
fore any preacher ever found his way to this 
wilderness, the new settlers, after having an 
abundant harvest, felt thankful and happy to 
God and gathered to a prayer meeting in Mrs. 
Holsten Olson's house. She had a sweet voice 
and had just finished a hymn when the door 
flew open and a half-grown boy, the son of 
Ole Forde, entered, dripping with sweat and 
blood. 'Hurry up! Hurry upl' he screamed, 
gasping for breath, 'the Indians are coming!* 
They were so astonished and frightened that 
they rushed to the door to escape, but were 
too late. The Indians had surrounded the cabin. 
Then followed a hopeless fight with bare fists 
against the Indians' bright tomahawks and 
bullets. The women's praying for mercy was 
mixed with the Indians' yeUs of exultation over 


Johannas Axe 

Lan Pomes 

Lan G. Jomevik 

Mrs. Lars C. Jomevik 

Ole Fohre 

Mikkel Olson Slaabaken 

Knud Midstad 

Breta Midstad 

Mrs. Anna Langeland 

Anna Langeland (diild) 

Aagaata Lang^and 

Nicolai JiAm Langeland 

Knud Langeland 

Ole Olson Fohre 

Anders E. Olson Slaabaken 

Langeland (girl) 

Fortunately some of the settlers were 
gathered in religious worship at the house 
of Taral Ramlo, on the southwest quarter 
of section 34, on the west side of the 
river, and so escaped the awful carnage, 
as the Indians did not go farther south 
than section 22.^^ Holsten Olson was 
presiding over the meeting. The congre- 
gation was just beginning a hymn when 
Ole Olson Fohre, the boy who had been 
wounded but who had escaped from the 
savages, arrived with the startling intel- 
ligence that the Indians were murdering 
the settlers on the east side of the river.^^ 

their victory. The women were compelled to 
stand while the Indians took the children by 
their heels and crushed theh* skulls afi^ainst the 

"This meeting: had been called at the instance 
of Holsten Olson and was for the purpose of 
attempting a consolidation of the two religrious 
factions in the Norwegrlan settlement. Holsten 
Olson was the leader of one faction and Burre 
Olson of the other. Burre Olson did not at- 
tend, but he and a few of his friends held 
another meeting: at his house on the southwest 
quarter of section 11, Des Moines township, at 
the same time. 

"Ole Anderson, now a resident of Jackson, 
was a playmate of the Fohre boy and was the 
first to see him as he came running to give the 
alarm. He met him some distance from the 



The bloody condition of the boy added 
to the alarm his words conveyed, and all 
was confusion. The people were panic 
stricken and huddled in groups around 
the log building. Excepting one gun, 
they were without arms or ammunition. 

Like the pioneers of the Springfield set- 
tlement had done five years before, the 
panic stricken people decided on flight to 
the Iowa settlements. Some of the peo- 
ple had come to the meeting with ox 
teams. These were quickly hitched up, 
the elderly people, the little children and 
the wounded boy were loaded into the 
wagon boxes and hay racks, and the start 
for the south was begun. The main party 
was preceded by Ole E. Olson Slaabaken, 
son of Englebret Olson Slaabaken, and 
Sigur Chesterson, son of Hans Chester- 
son (Kgostolson), who ran ahead and noti- 
fied the settlers on both sides of the river, 
thus performing a daring and (if the 
Indians had come) valuable service. The 
boys spent Sunday night at the home of 
Henry Olson, on the state line, and Mon- 
day carried the news of the massacre to 

When the party had proceeded only a 
short distance on the way south, at some 
point on section 3, Des Moines, they saw 
someone in the distance to the north, 
and their fears were redoubled. Holsten 
Olson, the only grown man in the party, 
deserted the others at this point and 
started off across the prairie alone.^* 
Simon Olson, who in later years was Jack- 
son county's judge of probate, went from 
Mr. Ramlo's house to that of Holsten Ol- 
son, three-quarters of a mile north, secur- 
ed what guns and ammunition were there, 
and then hastened south, going down the 

meetingr house and ran with him to warn those 
erathered at the house. When they grot within 
hailing' distance It was Ole Anderson's lusty 
voice that gave the alarm. 

"A little son of Holsten Olson followed his 
father and overtook him. Mr. Olsoa and the 
boy went first to his house and then struck off 
across the prairie and in time reached Mankato. 

east side of the river. When he had pro- 
ceeded on his way nearly a mile he dis- 
covered that he had forgotten the percus- 
ion caps. Although haunted by the 
fears of danger from lurking savages, he 
bravely retraced his steps, secured the 
caps, and again hastened on his way. 

When Holsten Olson left those who 
were going down the west side of the river, 
that party consisted of three or four wom- 
en and many children, and it was a badly 
frightened, terror stricken little band of 
refugees that sought safety in flight that 
Sunday afternoon. They continued their 
journey to a point where the business cen- 
ter of Jackson is now located ; then forded 
the river and arrived at the house of 
Joseph Thomas. Before the party went 
up to the Thomas home, Mrs. Kirkevolds- 
moen sent her two children, Ole (Ander- 
son) and his little sister, to reconnoiter 
while the rest remained hidden in a ra- 
vine. The children silently climbed the 
hill through the woods and when they 
came in sight of the premises were over- 
joyed to see Simon Olson, who had arrived 
a little before, on top of one of the build- 
ings on the watch for Indians. The chil- 
dren returned to the others and all pro- 
ceeded to the house. 

Other settlers of Belmont who had es- 
caped the tomahawk and rifle of the In- 
dians made their way south on the east side 
of the river in little groups. On the way 
througli Des Moines township other 
settlers, till then ignorant of the danger 
that threatened, joined the fleeing groups, 
all in.stinctively going to the Thomas 
home. Most of these parties had arrived 
bv four o'clock. A few of the settlers 
farthest up the river did not get out of 
the country until the next day, and, as has 
been told, the women and children who 
had been at the Fohre home spent Sun- 
day night at the Englebret Olson Slaabak- 



en farm, and then started out on foot 
for Spirit Lake. 

When the fleeing refugees reached the 
Thomas place that gentleman advised 
them to stop there, offering to turn his 
house into a fort and to help build a stock- 
ade. He believed they had enough arms 
and ammunition to hold tlie place until 
soldiers who were stationed at Esther- 
ville could be summoned. Mrs. Thomas 
dressed the wounds of the injured boy 
and distributed food to the hungry and 
frightened people. After supper had been 
eaten tlie Norwegians decided to continue 
the journey south. As Mr. Thomas could 
not hope to defend his place alone if the 
Indians came he decided to accompany 
the others. Accordingly they helped him 
hitch up his oxen to a wagon, a few 
goods were loaded in, and the whole party 
set out down the river a little before dark, 
traveling together. Darkness came upon 
them when they were in Petersburg town- 
ship, and a rain came up. Camp was 
made near the state line and a restless 
night was passed in the rain. The next 
morning they proceeded on their way to 
Estherville and met a rescuing party near 
that town. None of the refugees got as 
far as Estherville on Sunday. 

News of the hostility of the Indians 
and the massacre in Belmont township 
was carried to Spirit Lake, and on Mon- 
day, August 25, a detachment of mounted 
men proceeded to the Indian scourged 
country.^** After reaching the Des Moines 
river this party was joined by another which 
had started from Estherville on the same 
mission,^** and all proceeded to the scene 
of the massacre, which was reached cither 
Monday evening or Tuesday. 

The sight that met the eyes of this re- 

"Among: the party from Spirit Lalce were R. 

A. Smith. Daniel Bennett, John Phippln. Judgre 

Congleton, John Gilbert. L. F. Ring, O. C. 
Howe and several others. 

"Lansing Thomas. James Palmer. Simon Ol- 
son and John Olson accompanied this party. 

-jlief expedition beggars description. Ly- 
' ing here and there on the prairie and in 
the woods, just as they had fallen, were 
the bodies of the victims. The dead were 
buried where they were found," and tlie 
twelve or fifteen men, women and chil- 
dren who had been unable to get away 
were cared for. These were found hiding 
in various places, almost too frightened to 
recognize their friends. The grief and 
distress of the survivors was heart rend- 
ing. Of one family only one helpless 
child, too young to fully realize its con- 
dition, was left; of another, only the fath- 
er, who had escaped by being in some 
distant field, had returned to find his 
dear ones lying about, murdered and hor- 
ribly mutilated; of one or two families 
not one was left to tell of the awful deeds. 

The relief party scouted the country for 
Indians, but found none. They spent a 
few days hunting for and assisting the 
frightened survivors out of the country. 
Some of the stock was rounded up and 
driven to the owners at Estherville and 
Spirit Lake. When it was learned that 
the savages had left the vicinity a few 
of the settlers came back for their live 
stock and goods, but they made haste to 
again get out of the country, leaviiig every- 
thing that was not easily moved. Many 
of these stopped at the home of Rev. Peter 
Baker, in Petersburg township, on 
their way to the Iowa towns. Phina Bak- 
er, in a letter written January 19, 1899, 

Many of these were very liungry, 
especially those whom the soldiers found hid- 
ing in the woods. A party of nine who were 

"In November, 1899, the bodies of the vic- 
tims were disinterred by Ole Anderson and reln- 
terred in the city park in Jackson. Through 
the efforts of Mr. Anderson and other residents 
of Jackson county and of Representative John 
Baldwin and Senator H. E. Hanson the Min- 
nesota legrislature of 1909 appropriated $2,000, 
available July 31. 1909, for the erection of a 
monument in the village of Jackson to the 
memorj' of those killed in this massacre and 
those in the massacre of 1857. Ole Anderson, 
T. J. Knox and Henry Anderson were named a 
commission to superintend the erection. The 
monument was erected in the fall of 1909. 



in the cellar when the Indians came and look- 
ed down, but who were so still that they 
were not found and escaped, came to our 
house; some that were in hiding fled from 
the soldiers, thinking they were Indians. For 
the first two days I think mother's table was 
never cleared, for as soon as one lot left an- 
other took its place. Field corn was just 
large enough to cook, and the big wash boiler 
was kept full and boiling all the time. 

For a short time the county was en- 
tirely deserted; not a human being had 
Iiis habitation within the boundaries of 
Jackson county. The county government 
was suspended, the officers fled, and most 
of the records were lost. Jackson county 
was put back to where it had been before 
1856. Most of the Norwegian families 
went to Winneshiek county, Iowa, and 
Houston county, Minnesota; the other 
settlers made temporary homes at Spirit 
Lake and in other nearby settlements. 
Xews of the great Sioux war, which was 
being carried on in all parts of Minnesota, 
came to the settlements on the frontier 
and ihe greatest alarm prevailed. Con- 
cerning conditions in the Spirit Lake set- 
tlement, Mr. H. L. Bennett in 1885 

wrote : 

This intelligence created the most intense 
excitement. The settlements in the county 
[Dickinson] at this time were Spirit Lake*, 
Tuscuhim, Okoboji and two or three families 

on the Little Sioux^ southwest of Milford. 
Messengers were soon sent to all these points, 
and the settlers, greatly alarmed, hastily 
gathered their most needful and valuable arti- 
cles and hastened to Spirit Lake, where prep- 
arations were already being made for defense 
against the Indians. The court house win- 
dows were bricked up, leaving portholes to 
shoot through. All guns and ammunition 
were gathered up and everything was done 
to make the defense as complete as possible 
considering our numbers and the limited 
means at our disposal. A company was or- 
ganized for defense, composed of every man 
capable of bearing arms. Officers were chosen, 
and everything was done in as military a 
manner as possible. Pickets were kept out 
at all times at various distant points to pre- 
vent a surprise. 

The people of this county remain- 
ed at the court house most of the time for 
about three weeks. The loss to settlers in 
various ways by this mode of living was very 
great. A good deal of stock was left to run 
at large, and as a consequence nearly all the 
crops were destroyed, causing considerable 
suffering. In doing chores, looking after stock, 
etc., two or more young men would make the 
tour of the various neighborhoods, being care- 
ful to be well mounted and armed and to 
keep a good lookout to prevent surprise from 
any Indians who might be lurking about. 

One or two families attempted to leave the 
county during these trying times, but were 
detained, as it was determined that all should 
stay and help make a defense till help came 
from some direction. About this time the 
feoMiers . . . arrived from Sioux City, 
and a blessed relief it was to the settlers, who 
now returned to their homes. Quite a number 
of families left about this time, and but few 
came in. 



THUS struggled the pioneers of 
Jackson county. They not only 
had to endure the ordinary hard- 
ships and privations of frontier life, they 
had to experience the horrors of Indian 
wars. Many met death at the hands of 
the bloodthirsty savages, homes were pil- 
laged and laid waste, all were compelled 
to flee for their lives. For the second time 
in its historA* Jackson county was depopu- 
lated. The few years succeeding the Bel- 
mont massacre constitute a reconstruction 
era. In it the county was again reclaimed 
from the savages; the white man became 
the undisputed possessor. 

Despite the terrors of living in a country 
exposed to Indian attack, there were sev- 
eral of the former settlers who would not 
give up their homes in the new country. 
Joseph Thomas, who had moved with his 
family to Spirit Lake, came back to take 
care of his crop, but returned to Spirit 
Lake so soon as that was done. A num- 
ber of the Slaabaken or Olson familv did 
not accompany the other Norwegians to 
Winneshiek county, Iowa, but remained 
at Estherville until the latter part of Oc- 
tober. Then Englebret, John, Simon and 
Holsten Olson Slaabaken, accompanied 
bv their families and the widow of the 
murdered Mikkel OIfou Slaabaken, set 
out to take possession of their deserted 

homes in Belmont, traveling in a little 
caravan of ox teams. Their return was 
brought about largely for the purpose of 
taking care of the cattle, which were re- 
ported to be roaming about without food. 
Most of the cattle had been driven off by 
the Indians, but the stock got away and 
returned to Belmont. 

Disaster overtook the little company 
when it had reached a point a little south 
of where the Milwaukee depot in Jackson 
now stands — on land now owned bv Matt 
Tollefson. When that point was reached 
it was decided to make preparations for 
the night's camp, and, because of fear of 
possible lurking savages, the camp was to 
have been pitched on the prairie, instead 
of in the woods. The teams were left on 
the trail in charge of the women while the 
men went to get water. While they were 
gone a terrific prairie fire swept down 
from the northwest at race horse speed 
and enveloped the little caravan. The 
oxen whirled and overturned the wagons, 
and before the men could reach the dan- 
ger point the women were in a perilous 
condition, all of the wagons being on fire. 

When the oxen whirled. Miss Olava Ol- 
son (now a resident of Jackson), the 
twelve year old daughter of the murdered 
Mikkel Olson Slaabaken, was thrown from 
one of the wagons into the flames. The 




girl was badly burned about the knees and 
hands^ but a heavy soldier overcoat saved 
her life. Mrs. Englebret Olson Slaabaken 
with her baby jumped from one of the 
wagons and "became separated from the 
rest of the party. Holsten Olson Slaa- 
baken was burned so badly that the flesh 
fell off his hands and face, and he bore 
the marks of his injuries until his death. 
Miss Lena Olson, now the wife of P. H. 
Berge, of Jackson, was in the fire, but 
was uninjured. 

With the wagons on fire a retreat was 
made to the Thomas home, where, foiiu- 
nately, the family was living for the time 
being. Seeing the danger the unfortunate 
people were in, Mrs. Thomas ran with 
water and extinguished the flames on the 
first wagon to approach, which was that 
driven by Simon Olson Slaabaken. Mr. 
Thomas and his son started back to as- 
sist the others. They upset the wagon of 
John Olson Slaabaken and extinguished 
the flames, thus saving the running gear; 
the rest of the wagon was destroyed. Has- 
tening still farther back to where it was 
kno\^Ti that Mrs. Englebret Slaabaken had 
jumped from the wagon, Mr. Thomas 
found her dead body. On her breast, still 
living, was the baby. The infant lived 
until midnight and then passed away — 
one more victim to the dangers of frontier 
life. The dead were buried in the Michael 
Miller cemeterv.^ 

The Thomas homestead was thrown 
open to the sufferers, and there the 
mournful band tarried two weeks. Mrs. 
Thomas nursed the injured back to life, 
and then all pushed on to their former 
homes. They found nearly everything 
except the cabins destroyed and all the 
loose property removed. White men from 
other settlements had completed the rav- 
ages begun by the Indians. Wagon load 

*The account of this disaster Is written large^ 
Iv from an article written by the late Judge 
Simon Ol9on In May, 1890- 

after wagon load had been hauled from the 
deserted cabins. Clothing, cooking uten- 
sils, machinery, grain and everything that 
could be moved had been taken. A thresh- 
ing machine had been brought up to Bel- 
mont from Spirit Lake and much of the 
small grain had been threshed and hauled 
awav. The Slaabakens made what im- 
provements they could and spent the win- 
ter of 1862-63 there. Possibly some trap- 
per pitched his tent temporarily along the 
river or on the bank of some lake; other- 
wise these were the only ones to brave the 
dangers of the county. 

Again in the spring of 1863 came In- 
dian alarms; a trapper was killed and 
ajioither wounded by the hostile Sioux 
some sixteen miles up the river. The 
Slaabakens again deserted their homes 
and took refuge at Spirit Lake, where 
they lived under the protection of the sol- 
diers until the spring of 1864. Joseph 
Thomas returned again in the spring of 
1863, but remained only a short time. 
Jared Palmer^ came at the same time, 
took a claim a little south of the Thomas 
home, but left temporarily the same year. 
Ihiring the summer of 1863 they were 
the only settlers in the vicinity. In the 
fall of that year came Ira Camfield with 
his mother and a few orphan children. 
He took a claim a couple of miles south 
of Jackson, in Middletown township, and 
spent the winter of 1863-64 there, being 
the only residents of Jackson county that 

Before military protection was given 
Jackson county a small party of Nor- 
wegian settlers returned to reside perma- 
nently in their former homes. They came 
early in June, 1864, and were the first to 

Two men with similar names took part In 
the early history makinf? of Jackson county. 
Jareb Palmer was one of the Springrfleld set- 
tlers, fought at the Sprlngrfleld massacre, and 
now lives at Lakefleld. Jared Palmer came as 
described In the text and was one of the first 
county officers. 

•Major H. S. Bailey in Republic, March 10, 

THE NEW YO^-'"! 


^9T0n, LENOX ANt 

'i. 2 




make |}ermanent settlement after the 
maiisaere. The party drove through from 
Houston county, Minnesota, and was com- 
posed of the following people: Anders 0. 
Slaabaken (single), who had just been 
discharged from the army; Simon Olson 
Slaabaken and wife;* Mrs. Anders 0. 
Kirkevoldsmoen and her three small chil- 
dren, Ole (Anderson), Christina and Ber- 
tha. Without having knowledge that steps 
were being taken to protect Jackson coun- 
ty, they decided to push on to their for- 
mer homes in the frontier regions. The 
first night in Jackson county they camped 
at a point a little south of the present 
site of Jackson. There they met a small 
])arty of men, including some of the Slaa- 
baken family, who were on their way 
from Spirit Lake to Mankato for provis- 
ions, and were informed that Lars Hal- 
verson and family intended to move im- 
mediately onto their claim, near their 
camping place. 

The little party from Houston county 
continued the journey the next morning 
and arrived at tlie claim of Simon Olson 
Slaabaken, who had earlier in the spring 
bought of Taral Kamlo that gentleman^s 
claim to the southwest quarter of section 
34, Belmont. A lesson had been learned, 
and now all carried guns and were pre- 
pared to make defense against the In- 
dians. On the second night after their 
arrival a child was bom to Mr. and Mrs. 
Simon Olson Slaabaken — the first child 
bom in the county after the massacre.*^ 
At the time of this event came an Indian 
scare. All night long the dogs barked, 
and the people were in constant fear of 
attack bv Indians. The men of the party 

*Slmon Olson 
Spirit Lake in 
Spring Grove, 
where some of 
^ne. and there 
of Mrs. Anders 

Slaabaken had departed from 

the fall of 1863 and gone to 

Houston county, Minnesota. 

the Norwegian refugees had 

married Bertha, the daughter 

O. Kirkevoldsmoen. 

This child was named Christina and is now 
Mrs. George Omberson. of Murray county. 

stood guard all night, but they failed to 
discover any Indians. 

Two days after the birtli of the child, 
their fears continuing to increase, the 
alarmed people could stand the suspense 
no longer^ and all set out for the settle- 
ments. They proceeded down the river 
to I^ars Halverson's place, where they 
found that gentleman and his family. 
After a few days spent there, the whole 
party went to Spirit I>ake. A little later, 
accompanied by several others of the 
Slaabaken familv, the return to Belmont 
was made. 

Bravely they determined to liold their 
claims and made such preparation for de- 
fense against attack as best they could. A 
fort, the main building of which was 18x 
26 feet, surrounded by a stockade, was 
erected on the southwest quarter of section 
34, Belmont. The stockade was built of 
logs and covered with sods, through which 
holes were left to serve as portholes. For 
two summers all the settlers of the com- 
munity lived within its protecting walls, 
spending only such time outside as was 
necessary to work the farms; during the 
winter months the settlers generally lived 
in their own cabins. At no time during 
this period were they entirely free from 
fear of attack. 

Except for the cabins, most of which 
were vet stand imr, thft-e settlers of 1864 
found the country in practically a wild 
state, and were obliged to begin again at 
the beginning to improve their claims. 
When the sudden departure had been 
made in 1862 most of the hogs of the 
settlement had been left. The people re- 
turning found these roaming the woods 
in a wild state. For several years the 
hunting of wild swine furnished sport for 
the settlers, and many of the former do- 
mestic animals were killed. 

It will be seen that the Belmont mas- 
sacre resulted in the practical abandon- 



ment of Jackson county for nearly two 
years, only a few having the hardihood to 
attempt resettlement, and they only in- 
termittently. But events were so shaping 
themselves that protection was to be af- 
forded and the county again made safe for 

During the year 1863 United States 
soldiers continued operations against the 
Sioux Indians, driving them beyond the 
Missouri river. In the fall of that year 
most of the Minnesota regiments were 
sent south to fight the battles of the civil 
war, but the Sixth regiment of Minne- 
sota volunteers remained in the state to 
hold the land that had been freed from 
savages. To protect the immediate vicin- 
ity Major (then Captain) H. S. Bailey's 
company of that regiment was stationed 
at Fairmont and at Elm creek, in Martin 
county. They were supplied with horses 
and were instructed to scout and patrol 
as much country as they could cover. In 
the month of March, 1864, some of the 
scouts came so far west as the Des Moines 
river, and upon their return reported that 
they had found a6 nice a country as they 
ever saw. Major Bailey accompanied an- 
other party to Jackson county the same 
month and was so well pleased with the 
location that Ije selected a claim just south 
of the present village of Jackson proper, 
filed his claim in the land office, and de- 
cided to make his home there as soon as 
he should leave the army. Sergeant John 
Hutchinson and possibly other soldiers se- 
lected claims at the same time. 

Many of the former residents of Jack- 
son county were anxious to return and 
were ready to do so if military protection 
were given. In the month of April, 1864, 
Joseph Thomas took a petition, signed by 
several of the former residents, to Fair- 
mont and presented it to Major Bailey. 
They asked that a force of soldiers be 
stationed at some point in Jackson coun- 

ty. Major Bailey endorsed the petition 
and forwarded it to his commanding offi- 
cer. General H. H. Sibley. The general 
referred the matter back to the company 
commander with instructions to send part 
of his company to Jackson count}' and 
establisli a post if he thought it advisable. 
Major Bailey accordingly sent a force of 
twelve men, commanded by a sergeant, to 
the present location of Jackson. The sol- 
diers took possession of a vacant house, 
which was used for quarters, and chris- 
tened it Fort Bailev. The soldiers re- 
mained at Fort Bailey only a few weeks. 
Then orders were received for the com- 
pany to proceed to Fort Snelling to join 
the regiment, preparatory to going south. 
Fort Bailev was abandoned and never 
heard of afterward.® 

Upon his arrival at Fort Snelling Ma- 
jor Bailey had a conference with General 
Sibley in regard to the Jackson county 
country, and as a result the company 
which relieved Major Bailey was ordered 
to take its station on the Des Moines riv- 
er. Lieutenant H. J. Phillips was the 
commanding officer of this company. He 
erected a log stockade with a building at 
either end at a point on the hill on the 
east side of the river about eighty rods 
southeast of Joseph Thomas' house. This 
stockade was occupied by the soldiers until 
September, 1865. 

About the same time, or a little later 
than, the troops were stationed on the Des 
Moines, two small bodies of United States 
troops were stationed in other parts of 
Jackson county. Part of a. company of 
the Second Minnesota cavalry took post 
on the we^t shore of Little Spirit lake, 
one-quarter mile north of the state line. 
Thev came late in the fall of 1864 or 


early in the spring of 1865 and remained 
about a year. The post was established 
on a little peninsula and was nearly sur- 

"From the writings of Major H. S. Bailey. 



rounded by water. The headquarters were 
in a large log house which was erected for 
the purpose. 

The other post was established in 1865 
on the east shore of Heron lake, on sec- 
tion 13, West Heron Lake township. The 
fort building was 22x24 feet and was 
built of large logs. It contained one door 
and two small windows. There were also 
five smaller buildings, built of logs and 
all located some forty rods from the lake 
shore. The fort was occupied by a few 
soldiers imtil danger from the Indians 
was past.' 

The presence of these troops resulted in 
the return of a few of the former resi- 
dents late in 1864. A number of the 
Norwegian families came back and re- 
claimed their lands in Belmont, a few 
others reclaimed their homes along the 
river farther south, and a few new settlers 
came in and took claims. 

A new era in the history of Jackson 
county began in 1865. The Indians had 
been driven from the country; the civil 
war was brought to a close and thousands 
of soldiers had been discharged from the 
service and sent forth to engage in peace- 
ful occupations. It is a noticeable trait 
of discharged soldiers that they are not 
content to accept the quiet lives they en- 
joyed before their army service, but in- 
variably push out into new countries. All 
parts of the great northwest were rapidly 
settled, and to Jackson county came many 
of the discharged soldiers looking for new 

A census of the county, showing the 
number of inhabitants on the first day of 
June, 1865, discloses the fact that there 
were 234 residents,' divided among 47 

^When Abraham Johnson took the site of the 
post as a homestead claim about 1870 the build- 
ings were still standing. He tore down the 
fort building" and used the logs in the erection 
of a stable, which was put up on the lake shore. 

KXher counties in southwestern Minnesota 
had population as follows: Blue Earth. 9.201; 
Faribault. 4.735; Watonwan, 248; Martin. 1.430; 

families. Of these 123 were males and 
111 females. The census was taken by 

Joseph Thomas.* Following are the names 
of the inhabitants as listed by him:^° 

Josr^ph Thomas, 
Jane Thomas, 
H. L. Thomas, 
E. G. Thomas, 
E. J. Thomas, 
Joseph Thomas, Jr., 
M. A. Thomas, 
William Webster, 
John McConnie, 
Aaron Hollenback, 
Frances Hollenback, 
John R. Hollenback, 
James Hollenback, 
Ransom Woodard, 
. Ursula Woodard, 
Emily Woodard, 
p:ilcn Woodard, 
May Woodard, 
. Bennett Woodard, 
Charles Belknap, 
Lydia Belknap, 
Minnesota Belknap, 
Sarah Bland, 
Henry Haley, 
Harriett Haley, 
Alexander Haley, 
William C. Haley, 
Martha E. Haley, 
George R. Haley, 
E. A. Haley, 
O. O. Haley, 
Henry K. Evans, 
Elmira Evans, 
George Evans, 

Rock, 23. In Cottonwood. Murray. Nobles and 
Pipestone there were no inhabitants. 

•"County auditor's office. Fairmont. August 
4. 1865. 

"I. Albert L. Ward, auditor of the county of 
Martin, state of Minnesota, do hereby certify 
that Joseph Thomas, the within named assist- 
ant assessor, was by me appointed as such on 
the 24th day of June. 1865. for the county of 
Jackson, the same being: attached to the coun- 
ty of Martin for Judicial purposes. And I do 
further certify that the within Is a true and 
correct duplicate of census rolls as returned by 
the said Joseph Thomas to me. and that he Is 
entitled to three cents for each person en- 
rolled. Total, 233x3 cts.. $6.99. 

"Witness my hand and seal of office. 


'•The list is obtained from the office of the 
secretary of state. On it many of the names 
are improperly spelled; In some cases to such 
an extent is the spelling incorrect that the 
name is hardly recognizable. Through the kind- 
ness of Mr. Ole Anderson and other residents 
of 1866, I have changed the orthography of 
such and give the list as revised. In addition 
to the names contained jn the census return, I 
am Informed that there were living in Jackson 
county at the time of the enumeration Mr. and 
Mrs. Nels I^rson and their familv of nine child- 
ren, named as follows: Ole. Lewis, Levipa. 
Marie. Bertha, Isabel. John. Lena and Caroline. 
It is said also that Thora Halverson, wife of 
Lars Halverson, should be on the list. 



Laura Evans, 
May Evans, 
Emily Evans, 
Benjamin Dayton, 
Alinia Dayton, 
Laurue Dayton, 
Edmund W. Dayton, 
Spencer Dayton, 
William Dayton, 
Samuel Hall, 
Louisa Hall, 
Enoin Hall, 
Lueretia Hall, 
James E. Palmer, 
Arminda Palmer, 
George Palmer, 
Leonidas Palmer, 
Andrew Monson, 
Betret Monson, 
John Monson (Anderson), 
Mons Monson, 
Dorethy Monson, 
Mary Monson, 
Anna Monson, 
Christena Monson, 
Berret Monson, 
Frederick Lyman, 
Martha E. Lyman, 

Naomia Lyman, 

Lewis Lyman, 

Israel F. Eddy, 

Roily D. Eddy, 

William D. Eddy, 

Francis Eddy, 

Perry E. Eddy, 

Emma M. Eddy, 

Clark Baldwin, 

Martha Baldwin, 

Solomon Dickenson, 

May J. Dickenson, 

Catherine Peters, 

Sanford Peters, 

Stephen Dickenson, 

David Dickenson, 

Sarah Dickenson, 

Electa Dickenson, 

Harris Dickenson, 

Lydia Dickenson, 

John Dickenson, 

James S. Peters, 

Stenrench Wood, 

Anna Wood, 

William S. Wood, 

Marquis Loucks, 

David Bright, 

May A. Bright, 

Jumer Bright, 

Martha Bright, 

Nancy Bright, 

Noah Bright, 

Victoria Bright, 

Frederick Bright, 

Charles Brown, 

Minnie Brown, 

George Brown, 

May William, 

Oliver Lee (Brynildson), 

Martha Lee, 
Brownell Lee, 
Henry Lee, 
Martin Lee, 
John Lee, 

Peter P. Haver berg, 
Marion Haverberg, 
Engebor Haverberg, 
Marguerite Marren, 
Andrew Olson, 
Engebret Olson, 
Kristi Olson, 
Ole E. Olson, 
Andrew E. Olson, 
Anne Olson, 
Kristri Helgeson, 
Simon Olson, 
Betsev Olson, 
Anna C. Olson, 
Oliver Stall, 
Helen Stall, 
John Olson, 
Anna Olson, 
Kristi Olson, 
Anna Olson, 
Lena Olson, 
Ole Olson, 
Pethria Olson, 
Peter Olson, 
Lars Halverson, 
Sarah Halverson, 
Halvor Halverson, 
Anna Halverson, 
Lars Halverson, Jr., 
John Halverson, 
Kair Halverson, 
Arthur Halverson, 
Ann Olson, 
Christina Olson, 
Bertha Olson, 
Ole Olson (Anderson), 
Peternilla Olson, 
Olive Olson, 
Kistrie Olson, 
Karena Olson, 
Isabella Olson, 
Ole Olson, 
Kistri Olson, 
Mille Olson, 
Nube Olson, 
Ann Olson, 
Orin Belknap, 
Naomia Belknap, 
Henry Lyman, 
Isaac Belknap, 
June Belknap, 
Elijah Belknap, 
John J. Belknap, 
Edmund Belknap, 
Isaac Belknap, 
Elizabeth M. Canfield, 
John Canfield, 
Lewis A. Canfield, 
Nancy Canfield, 
Ugenia Tailor, 
George Tailor, 
Baldwin Kirkpatrick, 
Minebab Kirkpatrick, 



Thomas Kirkpatrick, 
Amanda Kirkpatrick, 
Adaline Kirkpatrick, 
Milo Kirkpatrick, 
Jute Kirkpatrick, 
James Palmer, 
Nancy M. Palmer, 
Josepii Palmer, 
George Palmer, 
Eliza Palmer, 
William Palmer, 
Miles J. Metcalf, 
Fanny M. Metcalf, 
Emery U. Metcalf, 
Harriet K. Metcalf, 
Arnold S. Metcalf, 
Charles H. Metcalf, 
Joseph Price, 
Sarah Price, 
AJmea Price, 
Peter Baker, 
Marion C. Baker, 
Lon J. Baker, 
Sofronia N. Baker, 
Harriet E. Baker, 
May J. Baker, 
Eliza A. Baker, 
Daniel Baker, 
Eliza Baker, 
Cheeny M. Cormick, 
Lafayette Cormick, 
Emma Cormick, 
Ervin Helberon, 
Hogan Gilbert, 
Engebrct Olson, 
Carney Olson, 
Ole Olson, 
Landen Olson, 
Holsten Olson, 
Ingebri Olson, 
Ole n. Olson, 
Enor H. Olson, 
Nels H. Olson, 
Tina H. Olson, 
Cornelius H. Olson, 
Martinns H. Olson, 
Julia H. Olson, 
Betsey H. Olson, 
Nelson O. Huron, 
Len Olson, 
Ole Nelson, 
Lor Nelson, 
John Nelson, 
Levena Nelson, 
May Nelson, 
Betsey Nelson. 
J. Mabel la Nelson, 
Lena Nelson, 
Cornelia Nelson, 
Nicholas Olson, 
John N. Olson, 
f^muel N. Olson, 
J^nah Olson, 
Betsey C. Olson, 
May A. Olson. 

Many more came during the summer 
and fall, and the choice lands along the 

Des Moines river were all staked. A few 
families took claims this year on the banks 
of Loon lake and the other lakes in that 
vicinity, being the first to locate any dis- 
tance from the river. Quite an addition 
to the county's population this year were 
Major H. S. Bailey and family and twen- 
ty men of his company.^^ The newcom- 
ers favored the lands upon which there 
was timber, as had the earlier settlers, 
and the greatest population was along 
that part of the river which sustained the 
most timber. Consequently the most 
thickly settled portion of the county was 
in the vicinity of the present village of 
Jackson. At that point, in 1865, William 
Webster began the erection of a sawmill, 
which, however, was not finished until the 
next year." 

Despite the large increase in population 
and the presence of the soldiers, appre- 
hension of Indian attack was again mani- 
fest in the spring of 1865. Indians ap- 
peared in the north part of the county 
and attacked two trappers in their shanty. 

"The company had left Fairmont in June, 
1864, with 101 vigorous and healthy men. It 
went south and was stationed at Helena. Ar- 
kansas. Within six weelcs the health of nearly 
everyone was ruined by malaria, and eighteen 
men later died from Its effects. Of the eigh- 
teen, seven were among those who located In 
Jackson county. 

^^Qeorge C. Chamberlin. writing in 1888, gave 
the following history of this pioneer sawmill: 

"In these historical sketches we must not for- 
get Jackson's flrst enterprise. I allude to the 
old sawmill that so long did duty at the east- 
ern end of the mill dam. 

••It was in 1864 or 1865 that a man by the 
name of Webster commenced its construction, 
but so many obstacles Intervened that he soon 
sold out to Mr. Welch Ashley, who in 1866 put 
it in condition for duty. He and B. W. Ashley 
operated It for two or three years, and here 
from morning until night would farmers await 
their turn for a few rough boards and dimen- 
sion lumber, which r**adlly rold for $25 per 
thousand. Here the neighbors became ac- 
quainted, discussed with newcomers as they 
appeared upon the scene, and talked of the 
prospective town, the crops and the country. 

"Mr. Ashley sold the mill to Pnllemon Fnrr. 
a brother of O. S. Farr, and Mr. Farr sold to 
an eccentric old bachelor named David Card- 
well, who afterwards was found dead upon 
the prairie near L.e Mars. Iowa, and it is sup- 
posed committed suicide. When railways near- 
ed the vicinity the occupation of the old mill 
was gone, and the site was purchased by Hunt- 
er & Strong for a flouring mill, and the ancient 
structure, I presume, was converted Into stove 



The alarm was given by a boy named Kirk- 
patriek, who had been trapping in north- 
em Belmont township with a man named 
Haskiufi) of Estherville. Haskins was 
shot through the hip, but managed to 
crawl into hiding in the brush above 
Brownsburg. The boy made his escape 
and notified the soldiers down the river. 
A scouting party found Haskins and 
brought him in, but no Indians could be 
found. The soldiers notified the settlers 
and assisted them to the stockade, where 
most of them remained for a few days. 
Then, being satisfied that the Indians had 
left, all departed for their homes. A per- 
sonal incident of the alarm has been told 
by Mrs. Clark Baldwin (now Mrs. A. B. 
Allen) : 

The spring [of 1865] also brought an uneasi- 
ness about the Indians, &.» this was on the ex- 
treme frontier. We had the soldiers stationed 
here, to be sure, but the stockades were far 
apart and there were so few settlers that we 
were but a handful in comparison with the 
hordes that might come upon us. And at one 
time we thought they were upon us. I think 
it was in May. About three o'clock one morn- 
ing we heard a rap at the door and on in- 
quiring found it to be a squad of soldiers 
who had been sent out to warn and take into 
the stockade all the settlers for protection 
from the Indians, and it was supposed there 
were many in the vicinity. . When 

the warning came to us we were not long in 
responding. One of the soldiers afterward 
said he had always heard it took a woman 
so long to dress, but he knew of one that 
wasn't long about it. After that knock on 
the door it wasn't three minutes before I was 
ready and on the horse behind a soldier, ready 
to march to the stockade, where it was 
tliought best we stay for a few days, which I 

The population of Jackson county had 
reached such a point in the fall of 1865, 
with such excellent prospects of a con- 
tinuation of immigration the following 
year, that it was decided to bring about 
the reorganization of the county govern- 
ment. The legislature had, early in the 
year, attached the county to Martin coun- 
ty for judicial purposes,^^ but there was 

"All Judicial officers of Martin county were 
granted full Jurisdiction over Jackson county, 
the same as if it were a part of that county. 

necessity for other branches of govern- 
ment than the judicial. 

At the request of some of the residents. 
Governor Stephen Miller named Israel 
F. Eddy, Charles Belknap and Jared 
Palmer commissioners to call and preside 
over an election for the purpose of choos- 
ing county officers. The election was held 
at the home of Jared Palmer on Novem- 
ber 7, thirty-six ballots were cast, and a 
set of county officials was chosen.^* Ow- 
ing to difficulties in having the returns 
canvassed and election certificates issued, 
it was not until January 27, 1866, that 
the machinery of county government was 
set in motion. On that date the first 
meeting of the board of county commis- 
sioners was held at the home of Major H. 
S. Bailey. 

The second meeting of the board was 
held on March 13, when the county was 
divided into commissioner districts and 
the three most thickly settled townships 
were authorized to begin township gov- 
ernment. These townships were Peters- 
burg, Jackson (Des Moines) and Bel- 
mont. The first township meeting was 
held April 2, 1866. 

Petersburg township was named in 
honor of Rev. Peter Baker, the pioneer 
minister of the gospel and a settler of 
1860. To it were attached, for township 
and election purposes, the other four, 
sparsely settled townships of the southern 
tier. Among the early residents of Pet- 
ersburg township who secured land pat- 
ents from the government, with the year 
in which the patents were issued, and the 
number of the section upon which the 
settler had his claim, were the follow- 


The act was approved by the governor February 
16. 1865. 

"For the names of the first officers and other 
items concerning the organization the reader is 
referred to the political chapters of this volume. 

"The year the patent was issued precedes the 
name; the section number follows the name 
and Is in parenthesis. 



1866, laaae Belkuap (6); 1868, M. W. 
Thompson (6-7), Charles W. Belknap (18); 
1869, Menzo L. Ashley (18); 1870, Ira Cam- 
field (6-7), Sanrael Hall (7), Miles J. Metcalf 
(27), JoMph Price (27), Peter S. Baker (27- 
28), Daniel Baker (28) ; 1871, Ole Johnson (2), 
Ephriam Eby (14), John C. Hoovel (33), Ho- 
gan GUbert (34); 1872, Stephen E. Ford (6), 
John Logue (8), Eric Sevatson (34), Even 
Herbrandson (34); 1873, Albert D. King (4), 
Edward F. Mather (4), J. N. Thompson (6), 
James W. Dunn (6), Jisse A. Patterson (7), 
Andrei' J. Patterson (8), John L. Ashley (12), 
Cliancy \V. Cornish (20), John Hanney (24), 
George D. Stone (34); 1874, Solomon Mid- 
daugh (20), George L. Fortner (28), Edward 
(iruhlke (30), Bottol Olson (32), Bjorn Bjorn- 
son (32); 1875, Samuel Clayton (12), Lyman 
W. Seely (22); 1876, Edward Bolter (14), Nel- 
son Graves (20), Hebrand Bjomson (22), 
James N. Newton (24), Eugene Logue (26)j 
Martin Logue (26), August Gruhlke (30) ; 1877, 
Jared Haskin (24), James H. Baker (28); 1878, 
Assor Olson (20); 1880, Sever Knudson (26). 

Jackson township (renamed Des Moines 
by act of the board of county commis- 
sioners May 16, 186G) had the other town- 
ships of the tier attached to it at the time 
of organization, as well as the tier north 
of it. It lost the northern tier early in 
1867 by the organization of Belmont 
township, Wisconsin in 1869, and the 
townships to the west in 1872. Follow- 
ing are the early settlers of Des Moines 
who received titles from the government 

and the years the patents were issued: 

1860, Daniel P. Cornell (2-3), Alexander 
Wood (24); 1862, Joseph Arthur (14-22-23), 
Israel F. Eddy (24); 1863, James E. Palmer 
(24-25); 1864, Stephen F. Johnson (13-23-24); 
1865, Hans Johnson (15-22), Joseph Muck (15- 
22), Joseph Thomas (24), Stiles M. West 
(25), D. M. West (25); 1866, Arthur L. Crane 
(23), Bartholmew McCarthy (24), Isaac 
Wheeler (27), Wilson C. Garratt (34); 1867, 
Ann Olson (3), Edward Davies (10-11), Nathan 
J. Woodin (10), Ole Larson (12), Henrv Haley 
(22), Henry K. Evens (34); 1868, Simon Olson 
(3-4), Ole Burreson (10-11-14-15), Heirs of 
John Olson (11). Palmer Hill (14), Abram 
Kalder (20), Lewis L. Miner (22), Nathaniel 
Front (23-24); 1869, John Olson (3), Mary D. 
Ashley (26); 1870, Clark Baldwin (13), Otis 
S. Farr (26), Jeremiah Prescott (30), Benja- 
min W. AshUy (34), James S. Williams (35); 
1871, Oliver Stall (2). William Burreson (11- 
14). Sylvester Kin^sley (19), Thaddeus Ruck- 
er (20), Alouzo Blake (21), Ahimaaz E. Wood 
(23-26), l^rs Halverson (25), Philip Yates (28- 
29); 1872, Halver B. Lee (2), Darby Whelan 
(4), George W. Woodin (10), Andrew Monson 
(13), William A. Stewart (18), Henry A. Wil- 

liams (20), Hiram S. Bailey (23-24-25), Ben- 
jftflUB D. Dayton (26), Cbaries H. B. GreuM 

(29), Matthew Smith (29); 1873, Milton Ma- 
son (4), Martin L. Bromaghim (12), AlpheusC. 
Marshall (12), Welch Ashley (12), Hans Ches- 
terson (15), Stanton F. Stone (18), Hiram H. 
Stone (18), Emmet Miner (20-21), Joseph E. 
Fields (26-27), Horace L. Trumbull (27), Levi 
Bennett, Jr. (28), Henry Blakey (28), Edward 
J. Orr (29), Jesse E. Prescott (30), Orson Cook 
(30), Michael Smith (30), William R. Maddock 
(33), Edward Davies (34); 1874, Hans Stall 
(2). Hans Hanson (2), Erick Christianson (2), 
Edward Blakey (27-28); 1875, Harvey Page 
(4), Patrick Dailey (14), James Kerr (28); 
1876, Alfred H. Cady (4), Hiram Samson (10), 
Michael Riley (20) ; 1877, George P. Lee (35) ; 
1878, John H. Willing (18); 1879, Jacob Bas- 
tedo (18). 

Belmont township was created by the 
board of county commissioners March 13, 
1866, at the same time as Jackson and 
Petersburg, but the organization was not 
perfected until January 5, 1867. At the 
time of organization the other townships 
of the tier were attached to it, and on 
April 10, 1869, all of the townships of the 
northern tier were given it for township 
purposes. The name was given in honor 
of the old Belmont townsite. Almost 
without exception the early settlers were 
Norwegians. The following were granted 
land patents in Belmont in the years 
named : 

I860, Edward S. Love (6); 1868, Heirs of 
Lars Larson (8-17), James Murry (32); 1869, 
Simon Olson (33-34), John Olson (34); 1871, 
S. Amundson (22), Nicholas Olson (28), Hoi- 
sten Olson (34); 1872, Ole Johnson (8), Milo 
Larson (28), Anders Olson (34); 1873, Ole An- 
derson (4), Thomas Larson (4), John Hanson 
(4), Paul Hanson (4), Knud Johnson (6), Nube 
Olson (8), Peter Amundson (8), Lars I. Brata- 
ger (20), Englebret Olson (21-22-27), Peter 
Larson (22), Peter Johnson (22), Thron Thom- 
son (26), Peter P. Haverberg (34); 1874, Heirs 
of Joseph Thompson (14), Samuel Nelson (14), 
Andrew Johnson (20), Anders R. Kilen (20), 
Tver Thompson (24), Christian Olson Lilleberg 
(28), Ole O. Sandager (30), Even Larson Kjels- 
ven (32), Hans Stall (34); 1875, Nils Larson 
(2), Ole Peterson (12), Anders L. Kjelsven 
(20), Erick Rasmusson (20), Johan Fransen 
(20), Ole Olson (24), Beret Olson (26); 1876, 
John Johnson Scrove (2), Glaus Hanson (2), 
Lars Larson (2), Kriste Olson (22); 1877, En- 
glebret L. Thomson (12), Segar H. Chester 
(18); 1878, Marie Halverson (20), Ole E. Olson, 
Sr. (22); 1880, Ole S. Sogge (10), Andreas 
Johnson (18), John H. Johnson (24); 1881, 
Thore O. Fladgard (14), Bereth Olson (22); 



1883, Ole H. Lee (24), Paul H. Paulson (30); 
1885, G. Tollefson (18); 1886, Thron L. Thron- 
son (26). 

Miiineota township was quite early 
settled on account of the numerous lakes 
within its borders. The residents peti- 
tioned for township government, and on 
October 15, 186(3, the commissioners 
granted the request. By the same act 
there were attached to it the west half of 
the present Middletown township and 
all of the present townships of Sioux Val- 
ley and Round Ivake. Minneota is a Sioux 
word meaning "much water,'^ and was so 
named because of its group of lakes. An 
early settler by the name of Chandler 
suggested the name. Titles to land in 
Minneota were issued to the following 
early settlers in the years indicated : 

1869, Martin D. Mctealf (25); 1870, George 
Ellet (14), James S. Peters (24-25); 1871, 
Ebenezer B. Millard (10), Samuel W. Burgess 
(14-23), Osman Burgess ^23), John Richardson 
(23-26), Timothy C. Johnson (24), Samuel 
Brown (34-35), Abner B. Stimson (35); 1872, 
Gideon K. Tifl'any (8), Isador A. Moreaux (10), 
Francis Ingraham (34) ; 1873, Walter A. Davis 
(12), Isaac Greenwood (24), Herman P. Wilber 
(26), Lucius Bordwell (26); 1874, Samuel Dav- 
is (12), Henry Shapley (22), William C. Bates 
(22); 1875, Henrv S. Graves (4), Nathaniel B. 
Fletcher (4), H.*P. Ballard (14); 1877, John 
Lucas (22), Hiram H. Simonds (26), Ole Wil- 
son (28), John Amo (34); 1878, John F. Baker 
(6), Hans C. Overson (28), John (Jiiailan (28), 
Abram Gilfillan (28), Ole Olson (32); 1879, 
John E. Bunker (20), Jacob Larson (30), I^rs 
Christenson (32); 1881, Lodawick Fader (2), 
Lyman Wilcox (30) ; 1884, Charles L. Stoddard 
(18); 1885, George Baker (18). 

There was a large immigration in ISGC), 
and Jackson county received new settlers 


from all parts of the east. Xearly all of 
thc«e were poor people who came for the- 
purpose of bettering their condition in 
the new country, where they mi^rht be- 
come land owners. Conditions were as 
unlike those of the present time as night 
is from day. There were no wagon roads, 
and traveling was a difficult and often 
dangerous undertaking. The newcom- 
ers found only three or four schools in 
the whole county and no churches, al- 

though traveling ministers of the gospel 
occasionally preached at private houses. 
Frame buildings were scarce. In the tim- 
bered districts log houses were built; in 
the prairie sections sod houses or duo-- 
outs^^ furnished the homes. Ox teams, or 
perhaps an ox and a cow, attached to a 
lumber wagon provided the means of con- 
veyance. The scythe corresponded to our 
mower and the cradle and rake to our 
binder. There were no railroads, no tele- 
graph and telephone lines, and only one 
postoffice in the county. The people were 
not blessed with the advantages they now 
enjoy; their energies were exerted in the 
strife for existence; their ambition was to 
become the owner of a piece of land. John 
Davies, a pioneer settler, in after years re- 
called early day conditions and said : 

How well do I remember seeing them clothed 
in dilapidated garments and out at their toes, 
driving their ox teams hitched to rickety buck- 
board vehicles to town and elsewhere, and 
whenever I see their old roads which meander- 
ed over these undulating plains (over which 
they mogged along, often with lumps in their 
throats, but large hopes in their hearts) being 
obliterated by the plow I can hardly refrain 
from tears. 

The records of the county government 
for the year ISGtl furnish us many in- 
tcresting items of the conditions and 
times. We learn from these that the first 
school district was created on March 13, 
1806, and included part of Des Moines 
township east of the river and several .sec- 
tions in Wisconsin township." 

'•"To the pioneers of those days that word 
[dugout] would explain itself, but to the read- 
ers of this worthy paper, who live in elegant 
city homes and have never seen or been famil- 
iar with frontier life, perhaps a word of ex- 
planation will be necessary as to how these 
were built. First a cellar was dugr with steps 
leading therefrom; then logs were laid about 
the tops of this and a roof placed on the top 
of those; gable ends and a door were made; a 
square was dug into the side of the waHs and 
a dr>' goods box inserted for a cupboard; an- 
other made an excellent clothes press. No 
need of a fire escape In a house like this! The 
roof itself was of dirt."— Thomas Goodwin in 
Republic, March 1. 1895. 

"The first twelve school districts were or- 
ganized on the dates given and with boundar- 
ies as follows: 

No, 1— March 13. 1866. Commencing at the 
northeast corner of section 17. Wisconsin; 
thence running west on that section line to 



The total taxable property in 1866 was 
less than $36^000, and was assessed in the 
names of 73 owners. The tax levied 
amounted to $718.59. The names of those 
assessed and the amount of each one's tax, 
as equalized by the county board, were as 
follows : 


Peter Baker $6.82 

W. C. Garratt 3.45 

Samuel Hall 3.82 

Even Herbrandson 6. 60 

Samuel Brown 1 .6^ 

Solomon Dickenson 2 . 83 

Hogan Gilbert 2 .39 

Levi Camfield 1 .06 

John Hoovel 7 . 10 

James S. Peters 6.06 

M. J. Metcalf 

Martin Metcalf 

Erwin Hall 2.66 

Ira Camfield 3.21 

Charles W. Belknap 1 .77 

Joseph Price 62 

L. H.. Lyman 7 . 97 


the Des Moines river; thence running in a 
southerly direction, following the river, to the 
section line of 25 and 36; thence east to the 
southeast comer of section 29; thence north to 
the place of beginning. 

No. 2— September 4, 1866. All that territory 
in Des Moines township which lies west of the 
Des Moines river. 

No. 3 — September 4, 1866. Commencing at 
the northeast corner of section 32, Wisconsin; 
thence running south to the southeast corner 
of section 17, Petersburg; thence west to the 
southwest comer of section 14, Middletown; 
thence north to the township line between Des 
Moines and Middletown; thence east on the 
township line to the Des Moines river; thence 
following the river in a northerly direction to 
the section line of sections 25 and 36, Des 
Moines: thence east to the place of beginning. 

No. 4 — November 7, 1866. The south half of 
Petersburg township. 

No. 5 — March 17, 1867. The townships of 
Belmont, Enterprise, Heron Lake, West Heron 
Lake and Alba. 

No. 6— May 25. 1867. Sections 22, 23. 24, 25, 
26, 27, 34. 35 and 36, Minneota township. 

No. 7— September 20, 1867. Sections 15. 16, 
21 and 22. Des Moines township. 

No. 8— September 25, 1867. Sections 17, 18, 
19 and 20. Des Moines township. 

No. 9 — December 21, 1867. The east half of 
sections 20. 29 and 32 and all of sections 21. 28 
and 33 and the west half of sections 22, 27 and 
34, in Wisconsin township, and the north half 
of section 4 and the northwest quarter of sec- 
tion 3 and the northeast quarter of section 5. 
In Petersburg township. 

No. 10 — December 24, 1867. Sections 1. 2, 3, 
4, 9. 10. 11 and 12. Des Moines township. 

No. 11 — January 7. 1868. Sections 28. 29. 30, 
31. 32 and 33. Des Moines township. 

No. 12— March 10, 1868. The west half of 
Minneota township. 

"It will be remembered that Petersburg and 
Des Moines were the only townships In which 
the township organization had been perfected 
in the summer of 1866, the other territory be- 


H. S. Bailey $32.66 

A. E. Wood 27.10 

Nathaniel Frost 14.40 

Asa Southwell 16.00 

H. R. Trowbridge 17.60 

H. K. Evans 4.62 

A. Miner 60.48 

E. S. Love 20.80 

D. P. Cornell 16.00 

Clark Baldwin 20.68 

Welch Ashley 110.80 

I. F. Eddy 38.46 

M. Clough 29.72 

F. R. Lyman 4.71 

Joseph Thomas 43.88 

B. H. Johnson 16.60 

James E. Palmer 16.24 

D. M. West 16.80 

Jared Palmer 3.06 

P. P. Haverberg 1 .96 

I. Wheeler 2.00 

Lewis Lyman .90 

R. N. Woodward 86 

Hans Stall 2.96 

Simon Olson 4 . 40 

Edward Orr 4.30 

H. L. Thomas 14.38 

Holsten Olson 6.80 

John Young 4.22 

H. H. Stone 4.22 

Knute Johnson .96 

Nicholas Olson 17.86 

B. W. Ashley 2.56^ 

Orrin Belknap 7.30 

Lars Halverson 6 . 20 

Henry Haley 4.28 

Englebret Olson 17.86 

H. A. Williams 1.20 

Anders Monson 5 . 26 

Peter Johnson 2.20 

John Hanson . ' 4 . 14 

John Olson 3.32 

Oliver Stall 6.40 

John Johnson 2.48 

J. N. Thompson 8.20 

Andrew Olson .28 

Engjebret Olson 4.96 

Nels Larsraan 3 . 28 

Peter A. Aas 9.98 

Thomas Larson 3 . 50 

Nube Olson 3.28 

George Palmer 2 . 44 

B. Kirkpatrick 1.84 

Lars Rasman 3 . 64 

N. J. Woodin 80 

J. H. Lyman 3.00 

$661 . 73 

Total for county $718.59 

According to the icturn of products as 

Ing attached to them. The lists for these two 
townships include tho names of all the tax 
payers in the county, the southern tier of town- 
ships being listed under Petersburg and the 
rest of the county under Des Moines. 



prepared by Auditor Clark Baldwin from 
returns made by the township assessors, 
there were only 270 acres of land put 
into crop jn Jackson county in 1866. The 
abstract of the acres under cultivation 
and the yield by townships of the various 
crops is shown in the next column. 

An act of the national congress in 1866 
had a disastrous effect upon the far off 
county of Jackson — an act which resulted 
in retarding the settlement of the county 
to a great extent and for a great many 
years. By the act, approved July 4, 1866, 
entitled "an act making an additional 
grant of lands to the state of Minnesota, 
in alternate sections, to aid in the con- 
struction of railroads in said state," cer- 
tain lands were granted to the state of 
Minnesota for the purpose of aiding in 
the construction of the Southern Minne- 
sota railroad from its then western termi- 
nus, Houston, to the west line of the state. 
The Minnesota legislature on February 
25, 1867, accepted the trust created by 
this act of congress and granted the lands 
to the Southern Minnesota Railroad com- 
pany, binding the company to complete 
the road to the state's western boundary 
by February 25, 1877. As soon as the 
bill became a law, the railroad company 
put surveyors in the field and located a 
line. Then the company selected the odd 
numbered sections for a distance of ten 
miles on each side of the surveyed line, 
and the land was withdrawn from home- 
stead and preemption entry. About the 
same time another large grant was made 
to assist in building the Sioux City & St. 
Paul road, the two grants taking from 
the government nearly one-half the ter- 
ritorv of Jackson countv. The same year 
60,000 acres of internal improvement land 
was selected by the state. The lands in 
Jackson countv which were left for the 
homeseekers were therefore greatly re- 
duced. Had the granted lands been placed 
















































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upon the market at a reasonable price the 
results would not have been so disastrous. 
The railroad lands were not placed on the 
market imtil years afterward. 

By 1866 the settlement had reached 
such a point that its permanency was as- 
sured. Not again could a handful of In- 
dians cause the abandonment of Jackson 
county. The most thickly settled com- 
munity was along that part of the Des 
Moines river which flows through Pes 
Moines township, and here, in the latter 
part of the year, was founded the village 
of Jackson by Welch Ashley and Major 
H. S. Bailey. The sawmill began opera- 
tions, a store was started, stage lines be- 
gan operations, and a few of the conveni- 
ences of the outside world came to the 
heretofore isolated settlers. 

Time is required to put a new country 
on a self-sustaining basis, and the prod- 
uct returns for the year 1866 show that 
Jackson county had not yet reached that 
point. The bulk of the immigration had 
come in 1866 and the big majority had, 
of course, not raised a crop. Supplies 
were from necessity brought in from the 
outside — principally from Mankato and 
Garden City — and as there were no roads 
or bridges and the streams almost im- 
possible to cross in time of high water, 
much difficulty was encountered in pro- 
viding the necessary supplies. What is 
known as the "starvation period" in Jack- 
son county's history resulted. 

The snow was very deep and the weath- 
er severe during the winter of 1866-67, 
and the new settlers were illy prepared for 
it. Many had come late in the season, 
bringing but few supplies with them and 
with small means to purchase more. Dur- 
ing the fall and early winter most of the 
provisions that had been brought in were 
exhausted, and on account of the difficul- 
ties of travel it was almost impossible for 

even people who had the means to obtain 
the necessities of life. Starvation stared 
many in the face. The abundance of fish, 
which the lakes and streams supplied, 
saved many from actual starvation. For 
weeks some families lived on absolutely 
nothing but fish and milk. Major H. S. 
Bailey has written of the conditions that 
winter : 

I know of some families who became so 
weak they could scarcely move around. One 
woman was so weak before relief came to 
her that she could not even sit up, and one 
William McClelland, who lived on the state 
line near Spirit Lake, when going past, saw 
the condition of this woman, acted the part of 
the Good Samaritan, and took her to his own 
home and had her nursed and supplied with 
such food as her appetite craved, and thus 
saved her life. 

The state came to our rescue and furnished 
us some flour and provisions, but the condi- 
tions of the road were such that it was almost 
impossible to get supplies here, as they all 
had to be hauled from Mankato and Garden 
City^. However, we got something they called 
flour from lake Sh'jtek that was destined to 
starve Indians upon; but it got left there 
and our commissioners sent teams and got 
some of it. It was not much of a luxury, but 
it kept soul and tody together until we could 
get something else. 

George C. Chamberlin also told of per- 
sonal experiences during the starvation 
winter : 

What provisions were brought in were left 
at Mr. Thomas* on the east side of the river, 
and the settlers on the west side brought their 
little parcels in a boat. Every day, and 
nearly every hour of the day, I [who was liv- 
ing on the Jackson townsite] went over to help 
across parties in a small boat and often en- 
countered danger in the swiftly running wa- 

Around Loon lake was quite a settlement, and 
I shall never forget the disconsolate look of 
the lank and cadaverous man from there as he 
emerged from the boat, held up his sack and 
remarked, "Twenty -five pounds of flour, seven 
children — nine of us in the family — and I 
know not where the next mouthful is coming 
from." Bufl'alo fish without salt was a fre- 
quent meal during that starvation season. Al- 
though many came out "spring poor" that sea- 
son, there were no cases of actual starvation. 

When the snow went ofif in the spring, 
traveling was even worse than it had been 
in the winter. All the streams were swol- 
len and out of their banks, and the ground 



was 80 soft that even empty wagons mirecl. 
Realizing that something must be done to 
prevent starvation, the settlers held a 
meeting, raised money to purchase flour 
and other supplies, and sent teams and 
men to make an effort to get them into the 
county. Jesse P- Ashley, who was one of 
the men to undertake this difficult task, 
tells of the trip : 

Lant Thomas, Pete Kingsley and myself 
started for Garden City for flour April 20, 
1867. The snow being about four feet deep 
but melting rapidly, we went with wagons. 
When we got to the Blue Earth river, the ice 
had gone out on the west side, so we drove 
to the center and cut a channel through for 
our teams to cross, all getting wet to our 
waists. We reached Shelbyville about eight 
o'clock with our clothes frozen. Pete and I 
roomed together that night, and he piled into 
bed with his breeches on, giving me knowledge 
of how to dry clothing without a fire. He 
said he learned that in the pinery. We reach- 
ed Grarden City next day, and the next morn- 
ing loaded our wagons and started home. 
W^en we got back to the Blue Earth river it 
was nearly half a mile in width and full of 
floating ice. Here we camped with our teams 
and wagons three days, waiting for the ice to 
move and for the ferry boat, which was at 
Blue Earth City, to come down. While there 
we saw a man on the opposite side trying to 
cross in a row boat. When quite a way from 
shor^ his boat capsized near a tree. He was 
able to grasp a limb and saved himself by 
climbing the tree. This was in the afternoon, 
and he was there all night calling for help. 
The next morning another man was seen go- 
ing out to him. When he was near the tree 
the current became so swift that it upset his 
boat, too, and he climbed the same tree. By 
this time the first man had nearly perished 
from hunger and cold. When up the tree No. 
2 cut a whip and began whipping No. 1, which 
he continued until the other was aroused and 
warmed. They were rescued by two men go- 
ing up the stream in a boat with another 
boat tied behind. After securing their own 
boat to a tree, they let the other float down 
to the captives, holding it by lines. The lines 
were cut after the captives had got into the 
boat, and the men rowed themselves ashore. 
The ferry boat came down that evening and 
ferried us over, one team and wagon at a 
time, the work taking nearly all day. The re- 
maining part of the trip was rough, crossing 
creeks without bridges, taking thirteen days 
for the roimd trip. 

Then I went back for another load. By this 
time the ferryman had a rope across the river, 
so I had no trouble in crossing. I got through 
very well and my flour was put in grain sacks, 
the weight, varying from 125 to 130 pounds 

per sack, being marked on the sacks in red 
chalk. I had no trouble until I got near Ver- 
non. There the country was flat and the 
frost was coming out of the ground, so that I 
soon got stuck in a slough. I managed to get 
the team through the mud and water. I then 
unloaded my flour and carried it on my back 
to a dry place. I had this to do seven times 
before I reached Winnebago. I was a lad of 
seventeen and weighed ninety pounds. When 
I got to Winnebago City I found A. Miner 
there after a load of seed wheat; then I had 
company the rest of the way home. He had a 
balky team, so we could not double teams, 
and both had to unload and carry the loads 
through the sloughs. The flour cost $13 per 
hundred laid down in Jackson. 

Better times came, and a short time aft- 
er, the starvation period of 1866-67 was 
only a bitter memory. New settlers came 
in 1867 and selected claims, some ventur- 
ing onto the prairie lands away from the 
river and lakes. Many hardships were en- 
dured by the new settlers during the late 
sixties — hardships wliich are incident to 
the settlement of any new country. Owing 
to the long distance from railroads, staple 
articles as well as luxuries ruled high in 
price. Following were the prices paid for 
some staple articles during the years 1867- 
68-69, as recorded in the diary of an early 
day settler :^^ 

Four pounds brown sugar, $1.00. 

One pound tea, $2.50. 

One gallon kerosene, $1.20. 

Flour, per cwt., $11.00. 

One gallon syrup, $1.60. 

One paper corn starch, lOc. 

One pound raisins, 40c. 

One clothes line, 75c. 

One paper pins, 15c. 

One spool thread, 10c. 

One package envelopes, 26c. 

One pound salaratus, 20c. 

One pound nails, 12%c. 

One bar soap, 15c. 

One pound rice, 20c. 

Lamp chimney, 20c. 

One pound salt, 6c. 

Calico, per yard, 33c. 

Beef, per pound, 17c. 

January 5, 1867, the county's first 
cliurch was organized. It was officially 
named the Evangelical Lutheran Congre- 

"M. S. Barney in Jackson County Pilot, 1895. 



gation in Jackson and it was located in 
Belmont township. 

In October, 1867, the report of the 
county superintendent of schools shows us 
that there were eight organized districts 
in the county. The amount of money ap- 
portioned for school purposes was $156^49. 
Of this the permanent school fund provid- 
ed $102.81 and the county two mill tax 
gave $53.68. 

The tax levied in 1867 was $884.86, di- 
vided as follows : State, $247.98 ; county, 
$495.96 ; school, $99.21 ; township, $28.87 ; 
special school, $12.84. Of the total tax 
levied, $543.86 had been collected at the 
date of settlement on April 11, 1868. On 
January 8, 1868, the board of county com- 
missioners examined the accounts of Jack- 
son county and found in the county treas- 
ury the sum of $30.83. 

For the first time in its history Jackson 
county furnished jurors for the district 
court in 1867, the drawing being made 
April 1. Following are the names of the 
residents selected for this dutv : 

Grand— WiHiam V. King, Welch Ashley, H. 
S. Bailey, B. W. Aahley, H. A. Williams, Sim- 
on Olson, H. H. Haley, A. Miner, Joseph Thom- 
as, Edward Da vies, J. C. Hoovel, C. W. Cor- 
nish, Erwin Hall, George W. Woodin, A. C. 
Marshall, C. H. Heth. 

Petit — ^P. P. Haverherg, Holsten Olson, 
Martin Bromaghim, Marcellus Clough, J. C. 
Young, H. L. Thomas, L. E. Porter, Charles 
Tuttle, Ira Camfield, R. N. Woodward, A. E. 
Wood, H. R. Lyman, Nathaniel Hall, A. L. 
Blake, E. Henkley. J. J. Smith, Mitehel Bar- 
ney, Miles Metcalf, J. E. Palmer, Richard 
Band, R. D. Lanud, L. Rucker, J. N. Woodin, 
H. L. Evan«, C. W. Belknap, J. N. Thompson, 
J. E. Fields, James Williams, Emett Miner, 
Wesley Adamson, J. Chandler, George Palmer, 
Jared Palmer, Henry Ashley. 

The statistical return of products for 
1867 is an interesting document. It is 
learned that nearly four hundred acres of 
land were under cultivation that year. Fol- 
lowing is the complete return as certified 
to by Auditor George C. Chamberlin: 






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THAT agriculture was not the 
principal industry during the late 
sixties is attested by the poor show- 
ing disclosed in the returns of products. 
During the era of which we are writing 
flouring mills and markets were long dis- 
tances away. It was not profitable to raise 
crops for which there was no market, so 
each settler raised vegetables and grain for 
his own use only, and as a means of in- 
come turned his energies in another direc- 

The country- was literally alive with 
small fur-l)earing animals, including mus- 
rats, skunks, mink, foxes, martens and 
badgers, and the taking of their furs offer- 
ed profitable employment. So the farmer 
settlers became trappers. Inexperienced 
at first in the art of trapping, they had no 
easy task. They were often caught in the 
blizzards miles from home, sometimes be- 
ing on the prairie during a storm of sev- 
eral days' duration, where nothing but 
c-ourage and physical strength could save 
them. But in time all became expert trap- 
pers. Generally the market for fur was 
good, and the pelts passed as legal tender. 
Thousands of dollars worth would be tak- 
en during the season.* 

*On the 14th day of May, 1870. there were 
shipped from Jackson to Mankato 68.000 musk- 
rat and mink hides. The shipment was made 
by a man named Barkman, of Spirit Lake. 

The value of all taxable property in the 
county in 1868 was $57,293, divided 
among the four organized townships as 
follows: Belmont, $9,132; Des Moines, 
$34,408; Minneota, $7,876; Petersburg, 
$5,877. The taxes levied that year amount- 
ed to $1,781.21, divided among the differ- 
ent funds as follows: State, $279.88; 
school, $111.9(3; county, $577.91; town- 
ship, $194.21 ; special school, $617.25. 

A healthy increase is noted in the agri- 
cultural products for 1868, which were as 
shown on the following page.^ 

Jackson county made rapid strides for- 
ward in 1869. There was a large increase 
in population, many of the new settlers 
penetrating to theretofore unsettled por- 
tions of the county. It became known that 
the country would produce bountiful 
crops of wheat, and the prairies became 
dotted with the sod shanties and dugouts 
of the new settlers. The increase in the 
cultivated area was large, 2,549 acres be- 
ing listed as sown to crop. The organized 
townships had cultivated areas as follows: 
Belmont, 332; Des Moines, 1,200; Minne- 
ota, 121; Middletown, 342; Petersburg, 
244; Wisconsin, 355. The taxable proper- 
tv in 1869 was valued at over $73,000. 

The western part of township 102, 

-Although Middletown and Wisconsin town- 
ships had not yet been fully orgranised their re- 
ports are included in the return. 









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range 34, lying to the east of Des Moines 
township, received many of the settlers of 
the sixties, the majority of them coming 
from the state of Wisconsin. This town- 
ship had been attached to Jackson, or Des 
Moines, township at the time of the or- 
ganization of the county, but in the spring 
of 1869 its residents believed their popula- 
tion had reached a point where they could 
support a separate organization. They, 
therefore, petitioned the county board, 
and on April 10 were granted a separate 
organization under the name of Wisconsin 
township, the name being given in honor 
of the state from which so many of the 
settlers had come. Those who received 
land patents from the government in Wis- 
consin township in the early days were as 
follows : 

1862. Jared Palmer (10) ; 1865, Joseph Thom- 
as (19),* D. Mortimer West (30-31); 1866, 
Ahimaaz E. Wood (19-30), George Chueriston 
(19), Bartholomew McCarthy (19), Isaac Bel- 
knap (31); 1867, George F. Cornish (17), Chris- 
tian Englebretson (30); 1868> Richard Bond 
(20), Robert H. King (28), George H. King 
(29); 1870. Frederick R. Lvman (18). Edward 
C. Hinkley (22), Irving B/Porter (29), Henry 
S. Lyman (29), Orrin Belknap (30-31); 1871. 
Rollin K. Craigue (2), Stillman E. Trask (18), 
Ransom N. Woodard (18), Marcellus Clough 
(18^ Israel F. Eddy (20), Mitchell S. Barney 
(32); 1872, Ellen M. Porter (33); 1873, John 
A. Myers (6), Luciu>i E. Marshall (6), John 
C. Young (7), William S. Knowlton (8), John 
Isherwood (10), Andrew J. Borland (17), Rich- 
ard E. Bowden (20), Charles H. Heath (21), 
William S. Curtis (21). Freeman T. Beers (24), 
Emerson P. Beers (24). William King (28), 
Alexander Hall (31), John J. Smith (32), Knud 
M. Peterson (34); 1874, Hiram Simpson (6), 
Alex Galbraith (6), Amos N. Tompkins (26), 
Harrison L. Thomas (30). Charles H. Sandon 
(30), John K. Johnson (34); 1875, Francis J. 
Ridffwav (14). Allen S. Brooks (20); 1876, 
Robert L. HinclifTe (4). Mvron Cutting (6), 
Charles B. Tuttle (22), Elijah M. Lindsley 
(26), John W. Miller (30); 1877, David Hard- 
man (10), Isaac N. Hubbard (14), John M". 
Utter (21); 1878, Sam F. Russell (6), James 
Isherwood (10), Joseph C. Davis (12). 

Middletown township was also organiz- 
ed in 1869, the commissioners taking the 
necessary action on May 10. This polit- 
ical division had originally been attach- 
ed to Petersburg township, but when Min- 



neota was organized in the fall of 1866 
the west half had been bestowed upon 
that precinct while the east half remained 
under the jurisdiction of Petersburg. The 
commissioners named the township in ac- 
cordance with the expressed wish of the 
petitioners. The fact that the township 
was situated between the two older or- 
ganized townships suggested the name. 
The following were granted government 
patents to land in Middletown in the 
vears indicated : 

1866, Isaac Belknap (1); 1869, William B. 
Xorman (2), William H. Ashley (3), Simou 
Jenson (10), Salmon Dickinson (19*30), Mar- 
tin B. Metcalf (30); 1870, Ira Camfield (1), 
Orlando E. Bennett (8), John M. C. Patterson 
(12), William Miller (22), Walter Davies (26), 
John Brigham (34); 1871, Levi A. Camfield 
(1); 1872, Joseph B. Walling (4), Gilbert Ol- 
son (10), Nathaniel B. Hall (12), George A. 
Bush (19), Ermead Bordwell (20); 1873, Lewis 
Parker (1), Edward P. Skinner (2), George G. 
Ashley (2), Rufus D. Larned (4), Thomas 
Goodwin (6), Isaac S. Barrett (8), Marion C. 
Dunbar (12), John Chandler (20), Andrew Muir 
(22), Oliver J. Russell (24), Sylvenus Allen 
(30), Thomas T. Brooks (32), William Allen 
(32); 1874, William P. Lecocq (6), Robert 
Muir (22); 1875, William Henderson (4), 
James C. Henderson (4), Samuel Metcalf (28), 
Horace Chandler (30); 1876, Clark Lindsley 
(24), John Davies (26); 1877, Lydia Houghton 
(18), George Beimas (18), Joshua Kidney 
(28); 1880, Walter Withers (2), Robert W. 
Kidney (22). 

The winter of 1869-70 was an excep- 
tionally severe one an'd "lingered in the 
lap of spring/^ The scattered settlers 
suffered many hardships during the long 
winter. Two Jackson county residents 
met death in the storms, and others had 
narrow escapes. The severest blizzards 
occurred during the month of March. 
Tuesday and Wednesday, the 15th and 
inth of that month, were the stormiest 
davs of the season. The roads became 
blockaded and impassable, many of the 
houses were drifted ever with the snow, 
the winds howled and the snow blew over 
the bleak prairies. All who could re- 
mained in doors ; the merchants of Jackson 
closed their shops. This storm was fol- 

lowed on March 21 and 22 by another 
blizzard of frightful violence. 

One of the victims of the storm was Ole 
Sime. He had a claim in Enterprise 
township, and on Monday, March 14, 
started from the timber along the river, 
where he had spent the winter, for a load 
of hay on his claim. He secured the hay 
and returned with it to a point in Des 
Moines township near the home of Clark 
Marshall. There he was overcome by the 
storm and perished. The oxen were found 
dead about fortv rods from Mr. Sime's 
body. The body was found on the 17th by 
M. L. Bromaghim and Clark Marshall. 
Its condition gave evidence that the un- 
fortunate man had suffered terriblv be- 
fore succumbing to the storm. 

Another who lost his life that month 
was Archie Lee, who lived on Heron lake. 
He started from Jackson with a load of 
timber on his way home on the 11th in an 
intoxicated condition. He arrived within 
a few miles of his home, and then all 
trace of him was lost. The day was 
stormy, but not exceptionally so. He is 
supposed to have abandoned his load and 
tried to reach home with his team, but in 
the storm and darkness wandered from 
his course and was la«t. His horses were 
found a few days later, but his body was 
not found until the 25th. He had wan- 
dered way to the south, and his body was 
found lying on a snow drift twelve miles 
southwest of Jackson. 

Eighteen hundred seventy was a ban- 
ner year. During the spring months many 
who had come the previous year and filed 
on claims and then gone away for the 
winter came back to take possession of 
their land, make improvements and begin 
farming. Many new settlers came to 
make Jackson county their future homes. 
Prairie schooners began to arrive early in 
the spring and continued to bring in the 
new settlei's all summer. Tlie new arriv- 



als generally brought cattle, horses, sheep, 
hogs and farming implements with them, 
prepared to at once begin the cultivation 
of the soil. A fair crop of wheat and 
other grain was raised. The weather was 
ideal for crops in the spring, but in July 
a drought reduced what had promised to 
be an enormous yield. Com was an ex- 
cellent crop, and wheat was quite up to 
the average. 

The census of 1870 gave the county a 
population of 1,825, an increase of nearly 
800 per cent in five years.' 

Three new townships were organized 
during the year 1870 — Heron Lake, 
Round Lake and Delafield. Heron Lake 
township had received its first settlers in 
the spring of 1869,* but so great was the 
settlement on its fertile lands that the 
question of detachment from Belmont 
and its organization as a separate town- 
ship was taken up in the spring of 1870. 
The matter was postponed until later in 
the year, and on September 7 the county 
commissioners officiallv declared the 
township organized. To it were attached 
for township purpose^ the two townships 
lying to the west. The name was supplied 
by the immense body of water which pene- 
trates the township.^ The organization 
of the township was perfected September 
24, when the first town meeting was held 
at the home of D. P. Cleveland. Follow- 
ing were the first officers of Heron Lake 
township : F. Ebert, chairman ; Abram 
Johnson and D. F. Cleveland, supervis- 
ors; W. H. Ashley, clerk; William Wiley, 
treasurer; C. B. Rubert and Charles Mal- 
chow, justices of the peace; Newton F. 

"The population of other counties of south- 
western Minnesota in 1870 was as follows: 
Blue Earth. 17.302; Faribault. 9.940; Watonwan. 
2.426; Martin. 3.867; Cottonwood. 534; Murray. 
209; Nobles, 117; Pipestone. 0; Rock, 138. 

^The first settlers were Charles Malchow. Fred 
Ebert and Albert Hohenstein, who located on 
lake Flaherty. 

•On June 21. 1871, the township was enlarged 
by the addition of that portion of West Heroti 
Lake township which lies east of the lake, and 
it is the largest township In the county. 

West and John B. Johnson, constables. 
Following is the list of those who early 
received patents to land in Heron Lake 

township : 

1872, Dauiel V. Cleveland (30), David A. 
Cleveland (30); 1875, Michael Fisher (6), Al- 
bert Hohenstein (0), Fred Ebert (8), Ole N. 
Larson (24); 1876, William Doll (4), Fred 
Bretzmann (4), Carl Stetler (0), John A. 
Visconti (6), Carl Hohenstein (8), Charles 
Malchow (8), Anders Kirkeby (12), Christo- 
pher B. Rubert (32); 1877, William Rossow 
(4), John Hohenstein (6), John Lei f son (14), 
John Robson (18), John Olsen (24), Magnus 
Johnson (28), Hans Peterson (28), Gjorgen 
Helgeson (28), Edward E. Bergh (32); 1878, 
Carl Bretzmann (4), Joseph Mangold (18), Ole 
P. Johnson (24); 1880, Martin (). Sandager 
(2), Peder I. Brakke (2), John Hansen Nes- 
trud (20), Hans Hanson (20). Hans Christian- 
son (20), Leif Leifson (22), Olai Johnson (24), 
Mathias H. Hoveland (34); 1881, Peter An- 
derson (12), Thomas Johnson (30), Carrie 
Tronson (30), Rasmus Larson (32). Keils En- 
glebretson (34); 1882, Nils Jacobsen (14), 
Johanes H. Hoveland (34); 1883, Ingvold En- 
erson (10), Christian Lewis (10), Knudt Olson 
(12), Bernt H. Hovel (22), Lars Olson Aas 
(26) ; 1884, Edwin N. Golpin (34) ; 1885, Hans 
H. Knudson (22), Hans Gundersen (26), Trond 
O. Tronson (30); 1886, Ole Simenson (14), 
Hans Hudmunsen (26). 

Round LaJ^e township was another 
whose settlement was rapid and which 
early prepared itself for organization. J. 
N. Dodge was the first settler, locating 
on the north bank of Round Lake in the 
spring of 1869, when there was not an- 
other settler in the whole soutliwestem 
portion of the county. In the spring of 
the following year only three claims were 
taken in the town,^hip, but a few months 
later nearly every quarter was filed upon." 
The township was organized in October 
and named Round Lake, after the beauti- 
ful sheet of water within its boundaries. 
The following received patents to land 
from the government in Round Lake : 

1873, Henrv Hall (20); 1874, Charles Seek 
(8), William' A. Anderson (14). William H. 
Skinner (18): 1875, Elbridge G. I^rd (22), 
Herbert W. Kimball (31): 1876, Jacob N. 

***We understand that nearly all the vacant 
claims in rangre 38. town 101 — the southwest 
corner township in this county — have ?)eGn tak- 
en. The citizens are about petitioning for 
township orgranization and are also about bridg- 
ins" the Little Sioux." — Jackson Republic, Oc- 
tober 8, 1870. 



Dodge (8), Hiram Barrett (8); 1877, WUliam 
W. Bailey (4). Ole Halverson (12), Everett 
W Scoville (20), Judah Phillips (20), Lewis 
Henshaw (28), H. J. Phelps (30), William A. 
Mosher (30); 1878, Thomas L. Twiford (10), 
Osmund T. Handelan (26), Joseph C. Carter 
(32), Ezra W. Hopkins (34); 1879, Matthew 
Riley (2), Samuel Edwards (4); Daniel W. 
Lounsbury (32); 1880, Hugh Riley (2), George 
Morgan (6), Andrew L. Skoog (6), Endre 01- 
sen (12); 1881, Hans Hanson (24), Ole Aush- 
am (26); 1882, Thore Johnson (24); 1886, 
Joseph Clark (20), Knud Olson (28), Samuel 
Fenstermakcr (33); 1888, Eilert A. Louen 

When the county's first townships were 
organized, township 104, range 36, bad 
been attaclied to Belmont, and it was un- 
der Belmont's jurisdiction until October 
11, 1870, when the county commissioners 
organized it into a separate political divis- 
ion under the name of Pleasant Prairie. 
This name had soon to be changed be- 
cause it was learned that there was a 
township of the same name in Martin 
county, and law or custom forbade two 
townships in the state to bear the same 
name. Orwell was then decided upon as 
the name, but this had to be changed for 
the same reason. On January 4, 1871, 
the commissioners named the township 
Bergen, but soon it was learned that Mc- 
Leod county had a copywright on that as 
the name of a township, and the name 
Delafield was finally designated on March 
4, 1871. Fortunately, no previously or- 
ganized township in the slate had thought 
of that name, and the township was at 
last permanently named. Titles to land 
in Delafield township were granted to 
early day settlers as follows: 

1870, Henry S. Pomeroy (18); 1871, Aaron 
G. Chatfield (10), Sylvester Chandler (12), 
Anton Michelson (18); 1872, Edward Savage 
(4), Hans Olsen (8); 1873, Abram B. Frisbie 
(4), Charles Mickels (22), Christian Nelson 
(28); 1874, Willis W. Cotton (6), James W. 
Hayes (6), Charles Miller (22), Gertrude E. 
Orwelle (22), Christian Carlstrom (28), Ole 
Hanson (30), Hans Cliristianson (30); 1875, 
Isaac M. Moss (4), Orin Phelps (6), John 
Frederickson (8), Andrew Laird (12), John 
Olsen (20), Anders Larsen (24); 1876, John 
Baureson (2), Edward F. Fjelset (2), Olous 
Olson (2), James M. Moore (8), Svendt Vi- 

bery (10), Ebenezer B. Millard (10), Hans 
O. Elstad (24), Lars B. Sathe (24), Joseph 
Aupperle (26), Norbert Kromer (20), August 
Lorenz (32), Stefan Rehnelt (32), Ignatz F. 
Blumburg (32), John P. Brakke (32); 1877, 
Martin Hansen (12), Jens J. Johnson (12), 
Peter Christianson (12). Ole Nelson (12), 
Ound Johnson (18), Michael A. Foss (18), 
Gustaf Thornblom (20), Gabriel Olson (20), 
Lars Mattriassen (24), Erick Johnson (24), 
Knudt Saxwig (24), Annie E. Uekestad (24), 
Henry Riese (30), Wilhelm Schwartz (32), 
Ferdinand Hohenstein (32), Benjamin F. 
Semmans (32) ; 1878, Ingra Andres Dotter 
(10), Hans Johnson (12), Andrew Swenson 
(18), Andrew Anderson (18), Lars Anderson 
(20), John P. Esklund (20), Anders C. Quevli 
(22); 1879, Ernst W. Pietz (28), Jonathan W. 
Rost (34); 1880, Peder Olson (2), Ole Fred- 
erickson (8), Anders Olson (8), Hugh M. 
Clark (10), Ole J. Hofland (14), Andrew Lar- 
son (14), Andrew Johnson (14), Adonriram 
J. Frost (26), August Lindstrom (28), Ole 
Hansen Nestrud (30), Frederick Malchow 
(32); 1881, Daniel Gallagher (6); 1882, Hans 
Olson (8), Maria Hammerstad (28); 1883, 
John Svendson (10), Lars Johnson (14), 
Sackariah Swanson (26), Charles Mickelson 
(28); 1885, John J. Swesind (30); 1886, 
Lars Larson (14); 1888, Lars Throndson (14). 

The following items from the report of 
the county superintendent of schools for 
the year 1870 give an idea of 'the school 
conditions at that early date : 

Whole number of organized districts, 18. 

Number reporting, 14.' 

Whole number of persons between 5 and 
21 years, 455 (233 males, 222 females). 

Pupils enrolled in winter schools, 74. 

Average daily attendance winter schools, 

Number teachers winter schools, 2. 

Pupils enrolled in summer schools, 210 (101 
males, 109 females). 

Average daily attendant e summer schools, 

Number teachers summer schools, 10. 

Whole number school houses in county, 7 
(2 frame, 5 log). 

Value all school houses, $867. 

Money received from state funds, $440.38. 

Money received from tax, $964.03. 

Money paid for teachers' wages, $711.68. 

Money on hand, $44.99. 

The assessed valuation of the county, 
as left by the board of equalization, reach- 
ed a total, of $128,342 in 1870. This was 
divided among the p^ecinct^i^ and between 

'Heron Lake, Delafield and Round Lake town- 
ships had not been organized when the assess- 
ment was made. The assessTPent for the first 
two was included in that of Belmont and the 
Round Lake assessment was included in that 
of Minneota. 



the real and personal property as follows 








, 2,579 









Des Moines 








The products returns for 1870 give a 
total of 4,220 acres cultivated. This 
acreage was divided into precincts as fol- 
lows:® Belmont, 543; Christiania, 74; 
Des Moines, 1,705 ; Enterprise, 77 ; Heron 
Lake, 77; Minneota, 263; Middletown, 
395; Petersburg, 526; Round Lake, 3V2; 
Wisconsin, 557. 

By an act of the legislature, approved 
March 7, 1870, Jackson county was de- 
tached from Martin county, to which it 
had been attached for judicial purposes 
since 1865, and was separately organized 
for judicial purposes. Provision was made 
for holding court at Jackson, and the 
counties of Nobles and Rock were attach- 
ed to it for such purposes. These coun- 
ties were detached in 1873, when Nobles 
county was organized for judicial pur- 

From the time or reorganization early 
in 1866 until 1872, Jackson county did 
not have a court house. During these 
years the duties of the county officers were 
not manv, and what business it was nee- 
essary to transact was done in the homes 
of the various officials. The first agita- 
tion for the erection of a court house was 
made in 1870. Then the population had 
increased to such a size and the county 
business had reached a stage where many 
people believed the primitive ways of pio- 
neer days should be discarded, that Jack- 
son county was rich enough' to build a 

•Although Chrlstiania and Enterprise town- 
ships had not yet been organized In 1870 they 
are included in the report, which, apparently, 
was not tabulated until the year foUowinET. 

court house. Accordingly a bill was pre- 
sented to the legislature and became a 
law March 1, 1870, authorizing the com- 
inissioners of Jackson county to issue 
bonds in an amount not to exceed $10,000 
for the purpose of building a court house 
and jail. But there was a proviso to the 
act, to the eifect that the people of the 
countv bv their ballots must ratify the 
act before it became effective. The peo- 
ple of Jackson, the county seat, were nat- 
urally heartily in favor of the project, 
and Jackson people offered to donate free 
rent for all countv offices until October 
1, 1871, should the people ratify the act.* 
But in other parts of the county there 
was strong opposition to the measure, and 
at the election held in April the bonds 
were defeated. 

The county officers were still obliged to 
transact the county's business at their 
homes or in rented buildings. That they 
did not squander a great deal of the coun- 
ty's money for office rent is evidenced by 
the fact that on May 11, 1871, the board 
of county commissioners unanimously 
passed the following resolution: ''Re- 
solved that we shall allow no more than 
one dollar and iiftv cents to each countv 
officer entitled to rent for office rent per 

During^ its entire early history Jackson 
county anxiously awaited the coming of a 
railroad, and much of the settlement of 
the early days -came as. the result of the 
belief that a railroad would soon be built 
into such a promising territory. In 1870 
hope ran high. The Southern Minnesota, 
which was acquiring the lands under the 
generous grant of 1866 as fast as its line 
was extended, that year completed its road 
to Wells, and Jackson county people be- 

•"Partles stand ready to donate to the coun- 
ty FREE RENT for all county officers untU 
October 1, 1871, in case the voters ratify the 
law authorizingr the county commissioners to 
issue bonds for county buildings." — Jackson Re- 
public, April 2, 1870. 



lieved that the line would be extended 

But they did not pin their faith to a 
single road. During the summer rail- 
road enthusiasm was rife, owing to the 
proposed building of the Des Moines Val- 
ley railroad, which was to come from the 
south and continue up the Des Moines 
river, by way of the village of Jackson. 
Mass meetings were held and promises of 
financial support were made should the 
promoters decide to build. Prospects for 
the road coming seemed favorable, and 
everybody was happy. But, as is so often 
the case with proposed railroads into a 
new country, it did not come. 

While a railroad did not come in 1870, 
in the fall of the next year one was build- 
ed into and beyond the county. When it 
became definitely known that the road was 
to be constructed there was a rush of 
landseekers, who soon filed claims to all 
the government land in that part of the 
county through which the road was to 
run. In May, 1871, the immigration be- 
gan, and from then until fall prairie 
schooners were to be seen every day wend- 
incr their wav to the choice locations in 
the western part of the county. The new 
arrivals invariably brought live stock and 
farming implements with them, indicat- 
ing that they intended to become perma- 
nent settlers. The Jackson land office 
was overwhelmed with the work of at- 
tending to the filings. The center of at- 
traction was along the right of way of Ihe 
proposed railroad in the northwestern 
part of the county, but in all parts of the 
county where there was still government 
land open to entry the newcomers lo- 

••"On Thursday last [June 1], from nine 
o'clock in the morningr until noon, thirty immi- 
grant wasons passed througrh Jackson, havinsr 
with them 166 head of stock of different kinds. 
There has been a continual rush during the 
entire week, and probably it will continue 
during the month. The western part of Jack- 
son county is rijceivlng a good portion of this 
immigration." — Jackson Republic, June 3, 1871. 

While the Des Moines river country 
was by this time a comparatively old set- 
tled country, the western part of Jackson 
county was still frontier land. Because 
there was an enormous immigration in 
1871 and the whole order of things chang- 
ed, it must not be imagined that the coun- 
try was subdued in a day. Most of the 
settlers arrived too late to get a crop in 
the ground, and very little was raised the 
first season. Except that the prairies be- 
came dotted with the homes of the 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, geese, brant, curlew, pelicans and 
prairie chickens. Occasionally glimpses 
were caught of some of the big game that 
formerly roamed the prairies in vast num- 
bers. The summer was fine. The days 
and nights were frequently glorified by 
thunder storms of terrific and ineffable 
grandeur. The newcomers often sat till 
midnight watching the frolic of sheets 
lightning playing over miles of cloud 
banks, vividly suggesting the possible glor- 
ies of another world. Vegetation grew 
rank. The farmer 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 of virgin lands and building 
a community from the ground up, and 
many have been the probable and improb- 
able stories told of those days. Letters 
went back to the old homes in the east, 
telling how the residents of Jackson 
county planted corn with an ax and 
caught fish with a pitchfork, and how the 
pianos were set up in the shanty and the 
libraries stacked up under the beds. 

During the first part of the year, as 
the result of the immigration, three town- 
ships gained population sufficient to war- 



rant the residents asking for township 
organization. These were Christiania En- 
terprise and Weimer. 

Christiania township had been attached 
to Belmont township on April 10, 1869, 
and remained under its jurisdiction until 
March 4, 1871, when the count)- commis- 
sioners declared it an organized township, 
with the township to the east (Kimball) 
under its jurisdiction. The action was 
taken in accordance with a petition of the 
resident dated January 5J5, 1871." Near- 
ly all the residents were Norwegians, and 
they selected the name of the capital city 
of their native country as the name of 
their township. The government granted 
patents to land in Christiania to the fol- 
lowing persons in an early day : 

1869, Hinram M. Doubleday (22) ; 1872, Ole 
Johnson (18), Anne J. Rasmuson (32), Lars 
Rasmuson (32); 1873, Arne Anderson (4), 
Leonard Miller (14), Christopher J. Bejerkey 
(30); 1874, Ingborg Olson (30); 1875, Nils 
Larson (2-12), Karl Olsen (2-4), D. M. Shel- 
don (6), Halvor Halvorson (8), Ole Anton 
(8), Ole Krickson (18), John Olson (20), 
John Amunson (30); 1876, Bjorn Olson (4), 
Lars Anderson (10), Anders Tobinson (10), 
James W. Jacobs' (12), Ingeborg Christenson 
(12), Christen Svendson (12), John T. 
Mitchell (14), Gilbert S. Bell (14), George F. 
Davidson (14), Ezra B. Miller (22), Ole A. 
Wood (22), Frederick Haflason (26), Ole H. 
Lokken (32), Ole Eriokson (34); 1877, John 
P. Aasnas (22), Peter Gunderson (24), Sivert 
Olsen (24); 1878, Sumner W. Jacobs (14), 
John H. Homnes (22), Amt Olsen (24), An- 
drew Peterson (28), Peter Olsen (34); 1879, 
Luny Greenfield (6), James Greenfield (6), 
Thomas l^rson (8), Ole Siverson (26), Thomas 
Johnson (26); 1880, Caroline Johnson (2), Hal- 
vor Olson (2), Gilbert Hanson (2), Charles R. 
Ingalls (6), Gundmand Syverson (8), Simon 
McCall (10). Ryar Olsen 02), Lars Erickson 
(18-28), Henrika Olsdater (20), Hans Tollefson 
(20), Petter O. Pedersen (20), Sarah E. Far- 
ley (22), Svend O. Moe (28), Ole Jacobson (28), 
Amund Johnson (30), Engeborg Peterson (30), 
Thomas H. Chesterson (30); 1881, Elling N. 
EUness (20), John Frederickson (24), Ole Olson 
Solaas (30), Peter Anderson (34); 1883, John 
Franson (4), Betsy Swenson (8), Elling Olsen 
Myhra (10), Frederick Olson (18), Betsy T. 
Olsen (34); 1884, Mons Anderson (30); "1885, 

"The petitioners were Hans Knudson. Ole 
Erickson, Arne Anderson, Ole Anton, Halvor 
Halverson, Karl Olson. Bjaren Olsen. Halvor 
Olson, Jacob Olson, Gilbrand Hansen. G. Syver- 
son, Olo A. Wold, Halvor Christlanson and Lars 

Johan Lepp (2), Johan Tiessen (2), John A, 
Johnson (2), Kornelius Wiens (14). 

Enterprise, like all the northern town- 
ships, had been attached to Belmont in 
the early days. It was organized March 
4, 1871, in response to a petition of the 
residents dated February 12." The orig- 
inal petition asked that the township be 
named Loud Lake, but many objected to 
the name because there was no lake of 
that name or any other name in the town- 
ship. Messrs. Samuel D. Lockwood and 
Anders Roe suggested Enterprise, and aft- 
er some wrangling that name was decid- 
ed upon. The first township board con- 
sisted of Joseph Benjamin, Samuel D. 
Lockwood and J. J. Tagley, supervisors; 
Charles B. Lillie, clerk. Following were 
among the township's early settlers who 
took claims and received patents from the 
government : 

1872, John P. Ford (26) ; 1873, Lewis Eckel 
(2); 1874, Jacob Klein (2), George Benjamin 
(14), Halvor Thompson (20), Thomas Clipper- 
ton (22-26), Ole Johnson (32); 1875, Hiram 
L. Benjamin (10), Elijah Benjamin (10), 
Charles B. Lillie (12). Joseph E. Benjamin 
(22), George R. Moore (26), Levi Horn (26), 
Levi H. Cliandler (26), Peter Peterson (28), 
Anders Roe (30), Otto Thompson (30), Nils 
Nelson (32), Ole Olson (32), Ole Johnson (34); 
1876, Arnt Moen (6), Samuel D. Lockwood 
(10), Elizabeth Skrove (30), Cecelia Slim (30); 
Ole Olson Nesvold (32), John J. Birkland (34) ; 
1887, Herman Erickson (6), Olin Johnson (14), 
James Randall (22), Erick Paulsen (28), Thore 
Olsen Stetner (28); 1878, Nils Olson (6), 
Thomas Olson (6), Andrew Johnson (30), 
Johan A. Krogstad (30) ; 1879, John Engan 
(6), Guttorm Ingebrigtson (24), James Tavlor 
(26), Martha Taylor (26), Peter Gunderson 
(28); 1880, Bersvend Thoreson (18), John 
Simpson (22), Hans Rolf son (30), John C. 
Authen (32); 1881, Lars N. Hagen (4); 1882, 
Eli N. Hagen (4); 1883, Criness LaRue (8), E. 
L. Brownell (24); 1885, Gunerius Tollefson 
(18), Gunder Anderson (18), John Tagley 

Early in May residents of township 104, 
range 37, petitioned the board of county 

"The signers to the petition were S. D. Lock- 
wood. Samuel A. Lockwood, Eliza Benjamin, 
Joseph E. Benjamin. George Benjamin. Charles 
6. Lillie, Adolph Matter, Lewis E«ckel. Jacob 
Klein, Hiram Benjamin, Martin Thompson. 
H«lver Thompson. Thomas Olson. Torls Skrove. 
Otto Thomson, Erlok Paulsen. Peter Paulsen, J. 
J. Tagley, Stephen Banjamin, William Mon- 
tague and Richard Shanon. 


Log Cabin Erected by John Johnson Egge in 1868 and Still Occupied by Him and His 

Wife. It is the Oldest Building in Christiania Township. 


.^ i 

Also Erected by Mr. Egge in 1808. It is a Typical Building of Pioneer Days. 





commissioners for township organization 
under the name of Eden, and the board 
took the required action on May 11. The 
organization of Eden township was per- 
fected on ^lay 27, when the following 
were selected as the first precinct officers : 
Charles Winzer, chairman; William Peter 
and Peter Johnson, supervisors; L. 0. 
Beck, clerk; Andrew Peterson, assessor; 
Christian Knudson, treasurer; Henry 
Knudson and Nels Johnson, justices of 
the peace; Sibom England and Qtto 
Johnson, constables. It was soon learned 
that a township in Brown county boasted 
the name of Eden, and the citizens peti- 
tioned that the name be changed to Wei- 
mer, which was done bv the commission- 
ers October 20, 1871. Charles Winzer, 
the township's first settler, selected the 
name in honor of his home town in Ger- 
many — Saxe-Weimar. On the petition 
asking that this name be bestowed the 
spelling of the name was Weimar (which 
is correct), but through a mistake the of- 
ficial spelling of the name of the town- 
ship was Weimer. Following are the 
names of the earlv settlers of Weimer 
township who received patents to land 
and the dates the titles were secured : 

1873, Stener Bilstad (4), Henry Knudson 
(10), Anders Nilson (20); 1874, John Finney 
(4), Thomas Garvin (18), Theodore B. Caster- 
line (30); 1875, Jonathan Myers (2), Charles 
Krause (8), Brede Evenson (18), Ethermer V. 
Foster (28); 1876, Emma M. Passmore (2), 
John Heem (6), Jergen Schovlen (6), Chancy 
W. Ureenman (14), James A. McSchooler (18), 
Christopher Dobereiner (26), Johannes Ander- 
son Torp (30), William McDonald (32); 1877, 
James C. Vought (4), Christian Knudson (12); 
1878, Ranson A. Nichols ,(6), Sigar Larson 
(10), Ann J. Buckeye (18),' Jens A. Moe (22), 
Lemik Larson (30), John T. Smith (30), Lewis 
Tagland (30), George Cope (32); 1879, Johan 
Just (6), August Peter (14), Otto Hanson (20), 
Peter Johnson (20); 1880, Florian Nimerfroh 
(6), Louis Olson Beck (10), All^ert Nichols 
(10), Tollef O. Beck (10), Anders Peterson 
(22), John Olson (24), Johan Fielder (24), 
Charles Winzer (26); 1881, M A. Berg (4), 
Franz Jarmar (8), George Erbes (24), George 
H. Freemire (32); 1882, Monroe McLaird (2), 
Oie O. Selves (24); 1883, Martin Blixseth (4), 
Hoovel Iverson (8), Die O. Homme (18); 1885, 

Franz Nimmerenichter (8), Susanna Gjermun- 
son (12), Joseph B. Price (12), Adelia A. Pratt 
(14), Christian Borgerson (22), Mary O. Rog- 
nas (22), Zebina Judd (32); 1886, Josef War- 
schotka (8), Lewis C. Wood (32); 1888, George 
Albert Winzer (22). 

The survey for the line of the Sioux 
City & St. Paul railroad through Jackson 
county was made early in April, 1871, 
grading was commenced during the sum- 
mer and track laying was begun in Sep- 
tember and completed to Worthington in 
October. It had been the intention of the 
company to begin the operation of trains 
at once, but the heavy snows kept the line 
covered all winter, and it was not until 
April, 1872, that regular train service 
was established. The road was opened to 
Sioux City in the fall of 1872." As a 
result of the building of the county's first 
railroad the village of Heron Lake was 

^»This line of railroad— now the Chicago, St. 
Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha— Is one of the old- 
est in the state of Minnesota. Its construction 
was begun in 1865 by the Minnesota Valley 
Railroad company, which was organized under 
an act of the legislature approved March 4 
1864. Ten sections of land per mile of road was 
granted the company as a bonus. Its author- 
ized capital was 1500.000, of which 1473.000 was 
at once subscribed and paid in. The first board 
of directors and principal stockholders were H. 
H. Sibley, RusseU Blakeley, R. H. Hawthorne, 
George Culver, W. F. Davidson, E. F. Drake, H. 
M. Rice, J. L. Merriam, Horace Thompson, 
Franklin Steele, J. B. Thompson, J. C. Burbank, 
T. A. Harrison. John Farrington, W. D. Wash- 
bum and C. H. Bigelow. 

In 1865 the road was located and construc- 
tion commenced between Mendota and Shako- 
pee. That part of the road was opened for 
traffic November 16, 1865. In 1866 the line was 
completed to Belle Plalne, in 1869 to Lake 
Crystal, and In 1870 to St. James. 

At the time of the organization of the Min- 
nesota Valley Railroad company, and at the 
instance of Its Incorporators, there was or- 
ganized the Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad 
company, to build a railroad from Sioux City 
to the south line of Minnesota. On April 7, 
1869, the name of the Minnesota Valley Rail- 
road company was changed to St. Paul & Sioux 
City Railroad company, organized with a capi- 
tal stock of $2,400,000. In 1871 a contract was 
made between these two companies by the 
terms of which the Sioux City & St. Paul com- 
pany completed the line of road from St. James 
to LeMars, Iowa, where connection was made 
with the Iowa Falls & Sioux City railroad for 
Sioux City. For several years the line was 
operated by the two companies — from St. Paul 
to St. James by the St. Paul & Sioux City 
Railroad company, and from St. James to 
Sioux City by the Sioux City & St. Paul Rail- 
road company — both companies controlled by 
the same interests. May 25, 1880, a reorgani- 
zation was brought about and the line, to- 
gether with others, became known as the Chi- 
cago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha. In De- 
cember, 1882, the line became a part of the 
Northwestern system. 



founded in the fall of 1871 and the north- 
west part of the county was rapidly set- 
tled and developed. 

Efforts were made to have a branch line 
of the new road built into eastern Jackson 
county. On February 6, 1871, a mass 
meeting was held at Jackson to discuss 
the advisability of issuing bonds for the 
purpose of aiding in the construction of 
a branch line from Bingham Lake or some 
point in the vicinity to Jackson. Almost 
a solid affirmative vote was given. In 
May E. F. Drake, president of the Sioux 
City & St. Paul Railroad company, went 
to Jackson and submitted a definite prop- 
osition. He gave the choice of two lines 
— one from Bingham Lake, the other 
down the west side of the Des Moines riv- 
er — ^and stated that his company was 
ready to commence building such a line 
when a bonus of $80,000 was raised. The 
money was not raised and the road was 
not built.^* 

The year 1871 was a prosperous one, 
due to the immense immigration and the 
bountiful harvest. The wheat crop liad 
never been better, oats and barley were 
an extra crop, and com was far ahead of 
that of any previous year. With the com- 
ing of the railroad came markets for the 
grain, and all the claim holders turned 
their attention to farming. In the fall a 
few farmers were damaged to some extent 
by prairie fires. The state legislature ap- 
propriated money for the relief of the 
sufferers from hail and fire in the frontier 
counties, and in January, 1872, Jackson 
county officials received $100 of this 
money, which was divided among those 
who had sustained loss. According to the 
assessors' figures for 1871 there were 19,- 
057 acres of land subject to taxation. The 

""Drake offered to furnish us a road for 

180.000. but we didn't have quite that amount 

lying around loose, so we didn't get the road." 
— M. A. Strong, 1880. 

total assessed valuation of the county was 

From the report of the superintendent 
of schools it is learned that in 1871 there 
were nineteen organized districts, of which 
thirteen reported. There were 465 chil- 
dren of school age in the county, and there 
were enrolled in the summer schools 231 
pupils, while 156 were enrolled 'in the 
winter schools. Six teachers were em- 
ployed to conduct the winter schools and 
eleven the summer schools. In the coun- 
ty there were three frame school houses, 
one of stone and four of logs. The value 
of all the school buildings was $1,589. 

The unwise legislation which withdrew 
from homestead entry nearly one-half of 
Jackson countVs lands began to have its 
effect in 1872. The bulk of the govern- 
ment lands had been taken before, and 
now homeseekers passed through Jackson 
county on their way farther west, where- 
as many would have stopped could they 
have secured free lands. To Nobles coun- 
ty thousands came in 1872 as the result of 
the operations of the National Colony 
company, which had secured thousands of 
acres of the railroad lands and was sell- 
ing them at low prices. 

Despite the lack of immigration, rapid 
strides forward were made. Those who 
had come in 1871 broke out their land, 
erected buildings, and added to the pros- 
perity of the county. The number of acres 
of taxable land in 1872 was 44,014. The 
assessed valuation reached $202,845 — 
nearly twice the assessment of 1871. 

Four new towfaships were organized 
during the year, namely: Hunter, Kim- 
ball, Alba and LaCrosse. 

Hunter township, which since March 13, 
1866, had been attached to Des Moines 
township, was created February 13, 1872, 
and to it were attached for township pur- 
poses the present townships of Rost and 
Ewington. The precinct was named in 



honor of J. W. Hunter, a pioneer mer- 
chant of Jackson and county treasurer at 
the time the township was created. Among 
the early settlers of Hunter were the fol- 
lowing, who received patents to land in 
the years ntentioned : 

1870, M. Ware (28), John S.Ware (28); 1871, 
Daniel O. Reed (26), Ira G. Walden (30); 1872, 
Solon C. Thayer (32), Charles H. Stewart (26) ; 
1873, George A. Truax (4), Wilbur S. Kimball 
(18), Milton B. Parker (22), Robert H. Rucker 
(22), Margaret Topping (24), Edward Orr (24), 
Enoch S. Ware (26); 1874, Otis B. Rhodes 
(2-14), Andrew Simmons (10), Alexander 
Fiddes (18), Thaddeus Rucker (20), William 
Greer (34); 1875, James W. Forrest (4), Hart- 
son H. Brj'ant (8); 1876, John Gallagher, 'Jr., 
(6), Daniel Harrington (14), Francis Bran- 
nick (14), James E. McMillen (20); 1877, 
James H. Robinson (10), Levi A. Larned (12), 
S. D. Sumner (34); 1878, John Gallagher (6), 
Isaac G. Reed (30); 1879, Martin Pulver (2), 
Amos D. Palmer (30); 1880, ^Lansing W. 
Crowl (2), Alfred Bedient (8); 1881, William 
V. King (26); 1883, Louis J. Lecocq (12); 1886. 
Isaac S. Barrett (12), Helge K. Rue (30). 

The northeast corner township was 
created on the same day as was Hunter, 
it being detached from Belmont and made 
a separate political division under the 
n^me of Rosendahl. The organization was 
perfected in March. The name was chang- 
ed to Kimball bv action of the board of 
eountv commissioners on March 23, 1872, 
it being named in honor of W. S. Kim- 
ball, the pioneer hardware merchant of 
Jackson. Land patents were issued to 
Kimball settlers m an earlv dav as fol- 

1873, Charles Kressler (14); 1874, George R. 
Hall (4), John W. Garner (12), George Kellogg 
(26); 1875, Edgar Stacey (2), John S. Porter 
(4), John Middlebrook (6); 1876, Hiram S. 
Schlott (2); Joseph DeLong (2), Christian 
Sorgerson (6), William C. Nourse (10), George 
S. Kendall (12), Carl J. Erickson (14); 1877, 
Charles W. Phelps (2), Sarah J. Mitchell (6), 
James E. MitcheU (6), Ole Olson (8), Charles 
Kellogg (10), Carl C. Frovorp (14), Antoin 
Storkerson (14), C. A. Rakkestad (14), John 
Peterson (18), Peter Gunderson (18), Robert 
H. Wade (24), Christian Erickson (28), Nicolas 
S. Julin (28), Erick Erickson (28), Just H. 
Erickson (32); 1878, Joseph Hastings (8), Ole 
Johnson (18), John J. Slind (18), Elias S. 
Julin (32), Gustave Kossach (34); 1879, Carrie 
Peterson (18), Otto Erickson (32); 1880, John 
Peterson (8), Ole Bjornsen (20), Edward 

Schoewe (26); 1881, Carl Gustav Erickson 
(12); 1882, Peter Thompson (18), Ellef Ben- 
son (20). 

Township 103, range 38, was authoriz- 
ed to begin township government Septem- 
ber 3, 1872, the commissionei-s naming 
the township Baldwin. The name was 
changed to Alba a few days afterward, 
and the first town meeting was held Sat- 
urday, September 21, at the home of the 
first settler, Ole Thompson. Following 
were the names of the first officers : Sam- 
uel Umphrey, chairman; William Blais- 
dell and Ole Thompson, supervisors ; Tor- 
ge Omberson, treasurer; Dr. J. F. Force, 
assessor; George Umphrey and Dr. J. F. 
Force, justices of the peace; Ole Thomp- 
son and Lawrence Remlle, constables. The 
following were early day settlers of Alba 
township who received title to lands from 
the government: 

1872, William Blaisdell (30); 1873, Ole 
Knudson (2), James W. Nelson (4), Henry 
Humphrey (10), Cornelius Johnson (20), 
Amanda J. Merrian (30); 1874, John E. Lyons 
(2), George Kline (10), Ole E. Thompson (20), 
John A. Olsen (22) ; 1875, William X. Strong 
(4), James T. Clark (8), Ezekiel C. Bickford 
(12), Abram Freer (24), Olvin R. Gray (30), 
Bums Wiltse (32); 1876, James M. MoXair 
(4), James L. Howie (6), Jacob F. Force (8), 
Samuel Umphrey (18), John Wilson (22), 
Silas (}. Smith (28); 1877, Ole Olson Rognas 
(2), Edward Rogers (14), Henry Umphrey 
(18), Johannes D. Freer (24); 1878, Kjale Her- 
mansen (2), Joseph Readle (6), Lawrence 
Readle (8), Clark A. Wood (10), John Benson 
(14), Hallick Severson (20), Obed Omberson 
(•22), Newton Freer (24), Peter F. McNair 
(26), Armond R. Bechand (28), Julia Severson 
(32); 1879, Gudman Johnson (12), Hellick 
Anderson (18), Emma Anderson (20), Hans 
Charleston (24), Terge Armson (28); 1880, 
George Umphrey (18); 1881, Peter Vogt (8), 
John W. Benson (14), Obed Ormson (22), Anna 
M. Rindy (32); 1882, Joseph W. Lidick (10), 
Henry Schumacher (12), Donald Montgomery 
(32), Duncan McNab (32); 1883, Anna Frit- 
scher (6); 1884, Walter L. Freer (24); 1885, 
John Olson (14); 1887, Sever Severson (32): 
1888, Samuel Lord (2), Johann Fritscher (6), 
John Peterson (12), John Besser (14). 

La(h*osse township was also organized 
in September, 1872. In the early days 
a party of claim seekers, among whom was 
Benjamin J. Svennes, moved from La- 
Crosse. Wisconsin, to the northwest cor- 




ner township of Jackson county and be- 
came permanent settlers. When the town- 
ship was organized the name of the Wis- 
consin town from which many of the set- 
tlers had come was bestowed upon the new 
township. Following are the names of 
many of the early settlers of LaCrosse 
township and the dates they received land 
patents from the government, with the 
number of the sections upon which they 
had their claims: 

1871, Johan Maixner (20); 1873, James W. 
Mackinson (14), James Hopkins (28), Jacob 
Drill (30), John B. Allen (32); 1874, Jul Gil- 
bertson (20), Oliver Paup (32), Michael Frem- 
mer (34), Eber S. Osborn (34), Ben C. San- 
born (34); 1875, John O'Neil (10), Samuel B. 
Estes (22); 1876, John Johnson (8), Peter 
Peterson (10), John Halford (10), John Lin- 
hard (12), Christopher Kunsman (14), Chris- 
tian Anderson (18); 1877, Karine VVikstrom 
(10), Ferdinand Powlitschek (12); 1878, Don 
J. Handy (4), Daniel E. Fish (6), Jule J. Sven- 
nes (10), Ferdinand Ilaberman (12), Ben J. 
Svennes (24), Albert Gilbertson (26), Ole A. 
Fauskee (guardian) (26); 1879, Orman W. 
Fish (6), Nils Dahl (8), John Behrenfeld (30), 
Franz Pieschel (32); 1880, Edward J. Thew 
(6), Franz Heger (12), Johan Gehr (12), Joseph 
Servus (14), Johan Powlitschek (14), Frank 
Nimerfroh (28); 1881, Joseph Wenkler (2), 
John McCall (8), Franz Prosser (8), Anton 
Heger (12), Franz Haberman (12), Joseph 
Schreiber (20), John P. Peterson (26), Fer- 
dinand Haberman (30) ; 1882, Johan Heger 
(2), Franz Zellner (8), John Rostomily (10), 
Ferdinand Haberman (20), John Haberman 
(20), Henry A. Parker (32); 1883, Franz Lie- 
pold (2), Joseph Jann (4), Katarina Haberman 
(18), Ignatz Haberman (18), Godfred Haber- 
man (18), Johan Maixner (20), Ole G. Malaas 
(24), Ole Fodness (26), Peter Hohbaum (26), 
Benjamin Liepold (28), Joseph Haberman (28), 
Franz Pelzl (28), Josef Pelzl (34), Alois 
Fried (2), Johan Jones (6), Alois Sontag (8); 

1885, Ignaz Zellner (8), Johan Hedrich (18), 
Franz Winkler (22), Christine Nelson (24); 

1886, Johan Haberman (26), Johan Bartos (28), 
Edward Prosser (28), John F. Behrenfeld (30) ; . 
1888, Ferdinand Powlitschek (2), Mary Sulli- 
van (4), Frank Pelzl (10), Apolina Winkler 
(18), Victor G. Mott (22). 

The ever-dreaded winter storms claim- 
ed five victims earlv in 1872. In the 
southeastern part of Delafield township C. 
D. Carlestrom and hh son, Clarice, met 
death in a blizzard on January 12 while 
hauling wood. The body of Mr, Carle- 
strom was found three davs later. The 

boy's body was not found until the next 

On Tuesday, February 13, 1872, the 
county experienced the most severe bliz- 
zard since the terrible storm of March, 
1870. The storm raged from four o'clock 
on Monday afternoon until midnight 
Tuesday. On Monday the weather was 
warm and fine. In the afternoon a warm 
snow fell until four o'clock. Then the 
wind instantaneously whipped around to 
the northwest and came in freezing gusts, 
filling the air with blinding snow and 
making it impossible to see more than a 
few yards. The change was so sudden 
that many were overtaken and lost in the 
blinding storm. Three human lives were 
sacrificed to the furv of the storm, and 
many were the narrow escapes. 

One of the itnfortunate men was Mr. 
Garner, of Enterprise township, who was 
overtaken by the storm while on his way 
home from Cedar lake with a load of 
wood. He was unable to find his house, 
although he passed within a hundred rods^ 
of it. At that point he unloaded his wood 
and began traveling with the storm. His 
dead body was found on the Jackson-Win- 
nebago City stage road. Mr. Garner's 
team was found in the vicinity of Twin 
lakes, one of the animals frozen to death. 

Terrible suffering must have preceded 
the deaths of John Johnson Buckeve and 
Ole Rognaes, of Heron Lake. They were 
on the way home from their timber Jot 
when struck by the storm, within two 
miles of Heron Lake station. I^nyoking 
their oxen, the men started out on foot 
for the nearest house, traveling with the 
storm. The tracks of the unfortunate 
men found by a searching party Wednes- 
day disclosed the fact that they had 
passed liou?e after house, sometimes going 
within four rods of a house, but unable to 
Fee it through the wind-driven snow. The 
body of Mr. Rognaes was found near Boot 



lake, a distance of sixteen miles from the 
point where the men started. The ap- 
pearance of the snow showed that Mr. 
Bnckeye had carried his companion some 
distance after the latter had given up. Mr. 
Buckeye pushed on with the wind. After 
traveling a long distance, he became so 
badly frozen that he was unable to walk ; 
then he crawled foi* a considerable dis- 
tance farther. His body was found in a 
thicket near the Des Moines river at the 
foot of a hill, down which he had slid. 
Unable to rise, he perished there. This 
was at a point about four miles north- 
west of Jackson and twentv-four miles 
from the place where he began his wan- 
derings. The body was found on Friday. 

Several other people were known to 
have been caught in the storm. On Wed- 
nesday morning, which dawned bright and 
clear, searching .parties were sent out to 
look for them. The driver of the Win- 
nebago City stage was one of these, but 
he had been able to secure shelter for him- 
self and team. The storm resulted in 
many deaths in other parts of southwest- 
ern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa. 

The progress made in Jackson county 
(luring 18T2 is illustrated by the increase 
in school facilities and school attendance. 
According to the county superintendent's 
report for the year, there were twenty-six 
organized districts, of which twenty-one 
made report. There were 610 children of 
school age. Of these 82 were enrolled in 
winter schools and 223 in summer schools. 
Four teachers were employed during the 
winter and fourteen during the summer. 
There were six frame and five log school 
houses, the total value of which was 

A question of vital importance, relating 
to the diminution of the county's area, 
was decided at the general election in No- 
vember, 1872. The legislature, on Feb- 
ruary 29, passed a bill providing that the 

townships of La Crosse, Alba, Ewington 
and Bound Lake should be detached from 
Jackson county and given to Nobles coun- 
t}-. At the same time another bill was 
passed which provided that the four west- 
em townships of Nobles county should be 
given to Bock county." The proposition 
was to enlarge Bock county at the expense 
of Jackson county. The act was not to be 
put in force until both Jackson and No- 
bles county should ratify it by ballot. 
The election on the question was almost a 
farce. Nobles countv decided in favor of 
the proposition by a vote of 121 to 109, 
but Jackson county naturally voted no. 
Only thirty-six voters in Jackson county 
registered in favor of the surrender of 
territory, and all except one of these le- 
sided in Alba and Bound Lake townships 
— townships which were closer to Nobles 
county villages than they were to those 
of Jackson county. The result by town- 
ships was as follows: 






Des Moines 


Heron Lake 



La Crosse 




Round Lake 




^ c 
u ci 







.•>« CO 

^ bo 






Jackson county's fir^t court house was 
built in 1872. After the defeat of the 
court house bonds in 1870 the matter was 



allowed to rest two years. Then, on Feb- 
ruary 12, 1872, citizens of Jackson met 
at the office of Anderson & Tiffany to 
take steps to secure a county building. A 
petition was drawn up and forwarded to 
St. Paul asking the legislature to enact 
another law allowing the commissioners to 
issue bonds for this purpose. In an in- 
formal manner it was agreed that Jackson 
people should donate part of the necessary 
funds. In accordance with. the expressed 
wishes of the people who signed the peti- 
tion, an act was passed and approved Feb- 
ruary 27, 1872. It authorized the com- 
missioners to issue bonds not to exceed 
$6,000, but, again, the act to become op- 
erative must be ratified by the electors. 

A special election for this purpose was 
held March 12, when the act was approv- 
ed by a vote of 226 to 156. Owing to se- 
vere weather, a light vote was polled, and 
no elections were held in the townships 
of Weimer, LaCrosse and Rosendahl 
(Kimball). The north part of the county 
was almost solidly against the bonds, as 
the vote shows: 


















Des Moines 


Heron Lake 





Round Lake 





To assist in the erection of the build- 
ing the people of Jackson bound them- 
selves to the county by promissory note to 

pay the sum of $1,480, providing the 
court house should be erected during the 
year 1872." All of this amount wajs not 
paid into the county treasury, however, 
and suit was brought to collect some of 
the contributions. A statement of the 
standing of these accounts made Decem- 
ber 26, 1878, shows the standing at that 
late day: Amount paid, $865; partly 
paid and considered collectable, $160; in 
suit $85; uncoUectable, $370. 

The $6,000 bonds were quickly disposed 
of, and on June 10 the contract for the 
erection of the building was let to T. L. 
Twilford, of Spirit Lake, on a cash bid 
of $5,800." The building was rushed to 
completion and was accepted from the 
contractor December 28. Faulty construc- 
tion was alleged, and there was consider- 
able trouble over the matter before a final 
settlement was made. For thirty-four 
years this building erected in 1872 served 
as the county court house, and was dis- 
placed by the handsome edifice recently 

"Those who so bound themselves and the 
amount each a^eed to contribute were as fol- 
lows: Anderson & Tiffany, $100; W. Ashley, $150; 
W. e. KimbaH, $100; Chamberlin & Ashley (cash)» 
$50; ChamberUn & Ashley (block 25, Jackson), 
$400; M. A. Strong, $25; James W. Hunter. $50; 
J. W. Cowing. $60; Edw. P. Skinner, $50; I. A. 
Moreaux. $25; R. M. Woodward, $25; Simeon 
Avery, $25; Michael Miller, $10; A. E. Wood. 
$10; C. Baldwin (In work), $25; H. Miner, $25; 
W. C. Garratt, $25; H. M. Avery. $25; A. H. 
Strong, $25; John H. Grant. $25; H. S. Bailey, 
$150; B. H. Johnson. $25; S. M. Clark, $25; 
Alexander Fiddes, $25; J. E. Thomas. $25; S. E. 
Ford (In work), $5; Menno Eby, $5. 

"Other bids submitted were: W. S. Kimball, 
cash, $6,000, bonds, $6,500; H. S. Bailey, cash. 
$6,500, bonds, $7,000; Farmer & Hallett, cash. 

*' Among the judges who held court In this 
old building were Franklin H. Walte. Daniel 

A. Dickinson, afterwards for many years a Jus- 
tice of the supreme court; J. L. McDonald. 
Charles M. Start, the present chief justice ot 
Minnesota; M. J. Severance, A. D. Perkins. P. 
H. Brown, Lorin Cray and James H. Quinn. 
Among the eminent lawyers who practiced at 
its bar were T. J. Knox, who tried the first and 
last lawsuits In the building; John B. Sanborn. 
W. H. Sanborn. Young & Lightner, W. B. Doug- 
las, Savage & Purdy, J. W. Losey, H. H. Field. 
James A. Tawney. M. J, Severance. John Lind. 

B. F, Webber, John A. Lovely, Lorln Cray, An- 
drew C. Dunn and Daniel Rohrer. 

THE NEW York'! 


Reproduced from an Old Print. 

s These Many of Jackson County's Pioneers Had Th«ir Homes. 



NOW come the dark days of Jack- 
son county history — the grass- 
hopper days. For several years, 
beginning with 1873, grasshoppers, or 
Rocky Mountain locusts, swept down upon 
the country in countless millions, devour- 
ing the cultivated crops and bringing dis- 
aster to nearly every citizen. The people 
of Jackson county, in common with those 
of all southwestern Minnesota, suflEered 
as few pioneer settlers in iany countr}- ever 
suffered. Adversity followed adversity. 
The frowns of fortune overwhelmed those 
who had come with such high hopes in 
the preceding years and cast them into 
the slough of despond. The picture can- 
not be painted too dark. 

The country became bankrupt. Immi- 
gration ceased; migration began. All 
who could mortgaged their property and 
many left the county. Some got into 
such straighted circumstances that they 
were actually without the means to pay 
their railway fare out of the coimtry. It 
was impossible to make a living from the 
farm, and many sought work during the 
summer seasons in their old homes in the 
east; others attempted to earn a livelihood 
by trapping. In time land became value- 
less; it could not be sold or mortgaged.^ 

'Arthur W. Dunn, a former Jackson county 
boy. now the famous Washington correspond- 
ent, has added his testimony to the conditions. 

After the first or second year eastern capi- 
talists refused to consider loans in the 
grasshopper infested country. 

Before taking up the story of the first 
grasshopper invasion, let us consider a 
few other events that occurred during 
18)3, and look at the countr\' as it was 
before the devastation came. 

The population had increased to per- 
haps between 3,000 and 4,000 people, and 
every part of the county was settled. All 
except four townships were organized. A 
line of railroad was operated through the 
county, and many stage lines carried "mail 
and passengers to and from all the neigh- 
boring communities.^ Two villages, Jack- 
son and Heron Lake, were enjoying pros- 
perous times and a healthy growth as a 
result of the immigration and the develop- 
ment of their trade territories. The fer- 

He has written: "Many a time have I seen 
a farmer who came to Jackson full of hope, who 
had taken a homestead, acquired title and 
seemed ready to enjoy prosperity, sell as fine 
a hundred and sixty acres of Innd as the sun 
ever shown upon for a broken down team and 
wagon and enough money to get back beyond 
the hoppers." 

In August. 1873. seven stage lines were oper- 
nted from the village of Jackso-.-.. as follows: 
AVlndom (dally). B. W. Ashley, contractor; St. 
James (twice a week), William Barnes, con- 
tractor; Winnebago City (three times a week;, 
Tom George, contractor; Blue Earth CMty (three 
times a week), O. S. Farr, contractor; Esther- 
ville (weekly), Welch Ashley, contractor; Spen- 
cer (daily). L. E. Holcomb. contractor; Worth- 
ington (twice a week). William Greer, contrac- 
tor. All of these linas had been in operation 
a year or two before this date and some of 
them longer. 




tility and value of the farming lands had 
been proven by excellent crops. The pros- 
pects seemed good for Jackson county 
continuing its onward march to prosper- 


Ewington township was organized in 
the spring of the year. A petition was 
circulated in March> and on the 28th of 
that month the board of countv comrais- 
sioners passed a resolution declaring the 
township organized under the name of 
Ewington, in honor of the Ewing family, 
the township's first settlers.^ The first 
town meeting was held at the home of 
Nancy Ewing on April 15, when the 
township's first officers were chosen. They 
were as follows: G. B. Perr}', chairman; 
E. K. Dunn and Orsemus Famham, su- 
pervisors; T. C. Ewing, clerk and treas- 
urer; Frank Grim, assessor; W. F. Ew- 
ing, justice of the peace ; Thomas Fitzger- 
ald, constable. Early day land patents 
were granted to the following in Ewing- 
ton township: 

1872, Walter S. Bradford (14), Alson L. 
Bailev (24); 1873, Mathew Smyth (6), Charles 
W. Curtis (14), Eady J. Stiles (28); 1874, 
Franklin Grim (2), Rudolph Becker (12), 
James H. Weed (24). Cornelius Johnson (26); 
1875,' Robert G. Deathe (12); 1876, Orsemus 
Farnham (2), Geortre Perry (6); 1877, Thomas 
E. Fitzgerald (4), Thomas'C. Ewing (30), Wil- 
liam F. Ewing (32) ; 1878, James W. Mathews 
(10), Aage Christianson (18), John A. Spafford 
(26), Fred A. Barton (34); 1879, Christian 
Olsen (8), Hans Olsen (10). William N. Davies 
(22), Susan E. Barton (28); 1880, Soren Iver- 
son (10), Arthur N. Jordan (30), Peter Whip- 
key (34); 1881, John McCall (8); 1882. Hans 
Sorenson (8); 1883, Charles P. Randall (20), 
Andrew Gorrie (30), James Walker (32); 1884, 
James H. Ewing (22); 1886, Herman Pinz (4). 

With the possible exception of tlie win- 
ter of 1856-57, that of 1872-73, was the 
most severe in the history of Jackson 

""Along In March Fllmore Ewing came to our 
house In town with a petition to have the town- 
ship organized, naming it after the family, who 
were the first settlers — and the honor was not 
misplaced, for they were a very worthy family. 
Intelligent, neighborly, hospitable, and we have 
always been sorry they could not havp abld*»d 
where their early residence created so favorable 
an Impression and their unfortunate deoarture 
kindled so many regrets." — J. A. Spaftord m 
Jackson Republic, March 1, 1895. 

county. Concerning tliis memorable sea- 
son, Mr. T. J. Knox, of Jackson, has writ- 

The winter of 1872-73 will long be remember- 
ed as the longest and severest that this coun- 
try has ever experienced. It began on the 
12th day of November with a blizzard that 
continued for three days, during which time 
snow fell to a great depth, probably not less 
than two feet, but which was so blown about 
and drifted by the wind that in some places 
there were drifts of twenty feet or more. The 
newly constructed railway was hopelessly 
blockaded, and remained so until the following 
spring. From the time winter so set in there 
was little let up in the severity of the weather. 
One storm followed another, and when not 
storming the weather was cold and severe, 
while the deep snows, almost constantly 
di'ifting, made travel difficult and sometimes 
dangerous. . During that long winter 

the inhabitants of this part of the state were 
practically shut out from the world. At times 
there were no mails for three weeks at a 
stretch. Many people suffered for want of 
necessary food, clothing and fuel. The suffer- 
ings and horrors of tliat long and dreadful 
winter will never be effaced from the memories 
of those who experienced them. 

The ill-fated year 1873 began with the 
most violent winter storm in the history 
of the state from the time of its first set- 
tlement to the present date. For three 
days, beginning January 7, the blizzard 
raged, extending over the whole north- 
west. The temperature was about eigh- 
teen deg^rees below zero during the whole 
period of the storm. The air was filled 
with snow as fine as flour. Through every 
crevice, keyhole and nailhole the fine snow 
penetrated, puffing into the house like 
steam. Seventy human lives were lost in 
the storm in Minnesota, but by a miracu- 
lous turn of fate none of these was in 
Jackson countv. It was the onlv county 
in the vicinity that escaped without loss 
of life. 

The forenoon of Tuesday, January 7, 
was mild and pleasant: the sky was clear 
and there was no wind. It seemed as 
tliough a "January thaw'' was imminent. 
The pleasant weather had induced many 
farmers to start to town on business or to 
the neighboring farm houses with their 



families to visit. A little after noon a 
change was apparent. The sky lost its 
crystal clearness and became a trifle hazy. 
Toward two o'clock a white wall was seen 
bearing down from the northwest. The 
front of the storm was distinct and al- 
most as clearly defined 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; a full-fledged bliz- 
zaid had supplanted the bright sunshine 
in a few moments. The air was so com- 
pletely filled with flying snow that it was 
impossible to see objects a short distance 

The storm began with such fury that 
nearly all who were in the villages or at 
neighbors' homes abandoned the idea of 
reaching their own firesides and found 
shelter with friends or at the hotels. Even 
some who were caught away from home in 
the villages, only a few blocks away, did 
not attempt to brave the dangers of get- 
ting home. All Tuesday night, Wednes- 
day and Wednesday night the storm raged 
with unabated furv. Xot until Thurs- 
day was there any perceptible let-up, and 
not until Fridav was the storm over. Sev- 
-eral Jackson county residents were caught 
on the prairie in the storm, but there was 
not a single case of severe freezing. Some 
were obliged to spend two or three days 
in deserted claim shanties, but all were 
found alive after the storm. 

Anders R. Kilcn, of Belmont township, 
had a narrow escape. He was returning 
home from Heron Lake when the storm 
struck, and when about three miles from 
his house he took refuge in a board claim 
shanty. The furniture of the shanty con- 
sisted of a coffee pot partly filled with 
screenings, a plow, a hammer and a liitle 
hav. From Tuesdav afternoon until Fri- 
i^ay morning Mr. Kilen battled for his 
life in the lonely cabin. He tried to kin- 
dle a fire by striking sparks from the plow 

with the hammer, but the plow was too 
hard and he was unsuccessful, so he kept 
from freezing by physical exercise, spend- 
ing three days pacing back and forth with- 
in the narrow confines of the cabin. He 
utilized the hay to fill the cracks in the 
shanty and to make hay ropes, with which 
to bind his benumbed limbs. He ate the 
screenings and used snow for dessert. 
When the storm broke he found his way 
home, not much the worse for his experi- 

A large acreage of small grain and com 
was sown in the spring of 1873, and the 
grain grew luxuriantly during the spring 
months. Everybody was enthusiastic over 
the prospects — a state of mind which was 
soon to be turned to gloom. 

The first grasshopper invasion of Jack- 
son county was on Saturday, June 14, 
1873. People noticed something floating 
through the air from west to east, at a 
great height and apparently drifting with 
the wind. At first sight it was taken 
to be the fluff that comes from cot ton wood 
trees, but before long a few scattering ob- 
jects began coming to the earth from the 
floating clouds, and they were found to 
be grasshoppers — forerunners of a scourge 
that for several years devastated this part 
of the eountrv and resulted in the retar- 
dation of the county's progress for many 

The flight kept up for several days, and 
then the pests took their departure. A 
great many came down and feasted on the 
growing crops and deposited their eggs 
in the ground.* Great damage was done 
to the crops, but not so great as in later 
years, and a light harvest was gathered.^ 
The storv of the invasion was told bv the 

*Egjrs were deposited preferablv In soUd 
ground and to a depth of froTi one-half Inch to 
oie inch. The tail of the female grasshopper 
Is a hard. bonv. cone-shaned substance, and 
this was f»nsilv bored into the solid ground and 
the eggs deposited. 

*The damage to crops in Minnesota In 1873 
was ofTIcIally estimated at 13.034.000. 



Jackson Bepublic in its issue of June 21 : 

Our curiosity is satiated. We have always 
had a desire to see one of those "clouds" of 
grasshoppers, of which we have read from time 
to time. They have been here for a week in 
countless millions and yet Ve have failed to 
discern any diminution of strength of the 
sun's rays. To be sure there were plenty of 
them in the air, but were only visible in a 
small radius around the sun. As a matter of 
course, some of the timid settlers want to 
sell and get away, taking it for granted that 
their crops will all be eaten off and a famine 
ensue. Many fields of wheat and barley were 
mercilessly gobbled bv the hoppers, at least to 
judge from appearance, but careful examina- 
tion shows that the injury is comparatively 
slight. The pests have taken their departure 
and the fields are making rapid progress in 
gaining the growth the crops lost. 

A farmer residing in the northern pan 
of the county told of the ravages of the 
pests in his neighborhood and the at- 
tempts to protect the grain : 

The all engrossing subject in this vicinity 
at present is the grasshopper question. They 
made their appearance here last Saturday af- 
ternoon and immediately began their aggres- 
sive movements. Next day they ate five or six 
acres of my wheat. Their numbers rapidly in- 
creased, the air Feeming to be full of them. 
They resembled large flakes of snow in a 
snow storm, and they soon took possession of 
all the grain fields in the neighborhood. Break- 
ing teams had a general lioliday; men travel- 
ed their fields, not knowing what to do, so sud- 
den and unexpected was the general onslaught. 
A few with small fields and large families 
marshaled all their available forces, who, with 
long poles and switches, walked their fields a 
few rods apart and thus tried to chase off the 
invade^fs, but their numbers increased so fast 
that the ceaseless efforts proved of little avail. 
A few of the more despondent are offering 
their claims for sale at ruinous figures and 
starting in search of some region where grass- 
hoppers are unknown. But it is really en- 
couraging to see how cheerful and courageous 
the great majority are. The earlier sown oats, 
eo far as I have heard, are as yet compara- 
tively safe. 

Grasshoppers were seen in the air again 
on August 2, but they passed over witli- 
out stopping to feed. At harvest time it 
was found that those fields which had 
not been molested yielded abundantly. 
The hoppers seemed to prefer wheat, and 
the oats were not badly damaged. Com 
that had been well put in was ^ fine crop. 

On August 23 the Jackson Republic said 

of the harvest: 

Some men have no grain worth cutting, while 
their neighbors' fields lying alongside have a 
large yield, and on other farms some pieces 
or parts are poor and the rest good. As 
a general rule, those who have high rolling 
land on their farms have heavy crops, while 
some whose farms are wet were unable to get 
their seed put in well in the spring, and, being 
backward, was nice and tender for the hop- 
pers. Those who have lost their crops must 
not despair, but rather profit by the experi- 
ence and give more attention to stock raising. 

In addition to the grasshopper devasta- 
tion, tlic panic, which held the country 
in its grip in 1873, added to the hard 
times which followed. The loss of their 
crops left many* families in destitute cir- 
cumstances, and there was much suffer- 
ing. When winter came it was known 
that some measure for the relief of the 
destitute must be taken. During the clos- 
ing days of December mass meetings to 
discuss the situation were held at Heron 
Lake and at Jackson. 

The Herpn Lake meeting was held De- 
cember 2G. Dr. R. R. Foster was the 
chairman and John T. Smith secretary. 
A committee composed of J. W. Benson, 
Jolin T. Smith, J. P. Prescott, Jolm Weir 
and P. Johnson was named to make an 
investigation as to the needs of the citi- 
zens. Ex-Governor Stephen Miller ar- 
rived at Heron Lake the next dav and 
left some funds which he had obtained 
from the relief committee at St. Papl to 
relieve the immediate wants of the desti- 
tute. On the 29th the committee divided 
$61 — one-half the amount in the treasury 
— among ten residents who applied for 
aid. A Heron Lake citizen, writing on 
that date, said: ^Today there were ten 
persons here for aid. Some of them were 
in actual starving condition. They did 
not know where the bread to eat was com- 
ing from two days hence.'^ 

The mass meeting at Jackson was held 
December 29. ' T. J. Knox was chairman 



and Alexander Fiddes was secretai7. A em portions of the county, and Alexander 

central committee was appointed, com- Fiddes and J. W. Hunter who should 

posed of the following named gentlemen : make the distribution in the southern and 

W. S. Kimball, M. A. Strong, E. L. eastern portions. Each committee receiv- 

Brownell, G. B. Franklin and George C. ed $270. 

Chamberlin, of Jackson; J. T. Smith, of General H. H. Sibley, the head of the 

Heron Lake; H. J. Phelps, of Round state relief work, reported on July 9, 

Lake; Ole E. Olson, of Belmont. The 1874, that he had turned over to Jackson 

committee was instructed to correspond county committees the sum of $1,007 for 

with parties in St. Paul and elsewhere the relief of settlers up to that time. The 

with regard to obtaining relief for those dates, amounts and parties to whom he 

in want and to ascertain how much seed had sent the money were as follows :* 

wheat was needed for the next season. Dec. 24, 1873: Heron Lake committee, 

The committees at once entered upon* /' '^o* ^'^t^> 'f?''^**''>V i -.V ^^^^ 

^ Jan. 2, 1874: Heron l^ke committee, 

their duties. They canvassed the county J. T. Smith, secretary 160 

east and south of Heron Lake, where there ^^?- Jl^'^^^Iu* "^7" ^^^ committee, 

' J. T. Smith, secretary 100 

was the greatest suffering, and reported Jan. 27, 1874: Heron Lake committee, 

findinsr 86 persons in need of aid. The ^ ^- "• ^*£^» secretary pro tem . 100 

". . f Jan. 30, 1874, Heron Lake committee, G. 

authorities in St. Paul were notified and H. Carr, secretary pro tem 150 

asked to send supplies at once. The arti- ^PJ; 1^' l^*' "^'■''" ^^^ committee, J. 

. -. , 111. M Weir, treasurer 50 

cles asked for were mostly clothing for Apr. 10, 1874: Heron Lake committee, 

women and children. Three articles of , J- ^^^'''^ treasurer 100 

- _ ^ -I ,1 1 June 24, 1874: Heron Lake committee, 

food were found necessary' — flour, pork J. Weir, treasurer 50 

and beans. About the middle of January '^*"- ^^^ ^^74: Ole Tollefson, postmas- 

, ^ , . . - , . ter, Belmont 50 

the first consignment of supplies was re- Apr. 16, 1874: Major H. S. Bailey, Jack- 

ceived and distributed by the committee at s®" ' ^^ 

TT TiT»i-^xi T** . June 27, 1874: Major H. S. Bailev, Jack- 
Heron Lake. Part of the relief was m son so 

cash, the balance in clothing. On the 21st 

of Januar}' the Jackson committee receiv- ' 
ed 19 sacks of flour and three boxes of ^^^ ^eron Lake committee, composed 
clothing sent by the citizens of Stillwa- ^^ '^' ^^- Benson, chairman ; J. T. Smith, 
ier. The supplies were distributed the secretary; John Weir, treasurer; and J. 
next day. ' ^- I^rescott, reported the division of its 
Petitions were poured into the legisla- ^^^^^ ^^ ^^"^ amount as follows: Two 
ture from aU the stricken counties, ask- hundred dollars were spent for garden 
ing for appropriations. Realizing the grav- ^^^^^> ^^^^ ^^"^ ^^^^ "^^al ^^^ distribut- 
ity of the situation, the legislature, late ^^ *^ ^^^ different persons ; $G0G.89 was 
in January, appropriated $5,000 for re- distributed in cash. Major Bailey spent 
lief in the frontier counties, and in Feb- ^^^ ^'^^^ ^^^^ *^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ «"^ P^^^^- 
ruarv appropriated $25,000 to be expend- ^^ ^^'^ ^^ reported the distribution of 
ed for seed grain to be furnished to those *^^^^ »^*^^'^' *^ ^'^^ ^'**^"^ ^^ $111.07 and 
unable to procure seed. Of the cash ap- ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^"^ $38.93. 
propriation, $540 . was Jackson county's ^^ *^^^ '^^^^^ P^'*^ ^^ ^^^^h' 1^^-*' *'^^ 
share. John Weir and J. T. Smith were ^^^^ ^^^^^^ distribution was made. Jack- 
named as the parties who should conduct ^^^ county's share was 3,500 bushels, and 
the distribution in the northern and west- •Letter h. h. siWey. July 9, i874. 



there were so many applicants that the 
average to each person was only seven 
and one-half bushels, and many had to 
go without/ Part of the wheat was dis- 
tributed by the committee at Heron Lake 
and part by Major H. S. Bailey and Hans 
Knudson at Windom. 

During the harrowing times in the 
winter of 1873-74, when hundreds of 
Jackson county citizens were living on 
charity, the last three townships of the 
county began township government. 

During the fore part of the winter resi- 
dents of township 103, range 37, peti- 
tioned the county commissioners, asking 
that thev be detached from Heron Lake 
township and granted a government of 
their own. The petition was granted Jan- 
uary 7, 1874, and the new township was 
named West Heron Lake, its geographical 
location suggesting the name. In the lat- 
ter part of the same month the township 
was organized with the following (par- 
tial) list of officers: Robert Johnson, 
chairman; John Christie, clerk; Johannes 
Tollefson, treasurer; Evan Pederson, jus- 
tice of the peace; Nils Olson, constable. 

Owing to the fact that Heron lake 
divided the township into two parts, those 
living in the northeast corner — to the east 
of the lake — were not so closely associat- 
ed with the people of the rest of the town- 
ship as they were with those of Heron 
Lake township, and they petitioned, early 
in Febioiary, 1874, to be attached to the 
latter township. No action was taken at 
that time, but in April, 1875, another 
petition was presented to the county board, 
asking for the same legislation. On June 
21 the desired action was taken, and the 
northeast corner of West Heron Lake 

'"These are busy days In Heron Lake. The re- 
lief committee. Messrs. Benson. Weir and Smith, 
have received over 3,000 bushels of wheat to 
be distributed In Jackson county, and the peo- 
ple are coming in In great numbers after It. 
The amount each will receive will be quite 
small, there being so many applicants." — Heron 
Lake Correspondent, March 25, 1874. 

township was given to Heron Lake town- 

The following were early day residents 
of West Heron Lake township who secur- 
ed land from the government in that pre- 
cinct : 

1872, Charles Fischer (12), John Robson 
(•24); 1873, Robert Jolinson (22); 1874, Her- 
man Peter (2), George H. Carr (6), Romaine 
Sheire (6), Charles C.Langworthv (10),Winiam 
Wiley (12); 1876, William R Ashley (12), 
Thomas C. Dixon (22) ; 1876, Newton F. West 
(2), Claus Larson (8), Christopher B. Rubert 
(12-32), Andrew L. Jackson (18), David F. 
aeveland (34); 1877, Isaac Christy (4), Chris- 
ten Isakson (8); 1878, John Christy (18), 
Sever Severson (20), Johan L. Hauge (30), 
Severt A. L. Hauge (30) ; 1879, Henry B. John- 
son (6), Martin B. Johnson (6); 1880, Carl G, 
Peter (2), Ole 0. Seleen (8), Ole Hanson (18), 
Even Peterson (20), Andrew C. Serum (28); 
1884, George Schneidler (2). George Johnson 
(12-34); 1885, Nils Olson (4), Iver Haarelson 
(18); 1886, Tollef Michaelson (8). Halvor 
Hendrickson (24); 1888, Kari Tollefson (8). 

Rost township came into existence Feb- 
ruary 3, 1874. It was named in honor of 
Frederick Rost, who was one of the early 
day settlers of the precinct, locating there 
in 1869.® The names of some of the earlv 
homesteaders of Eost township, as shovm 
by the patents to land graiited, were as 
follows : 

1872, Charles Smith (22), Francis G. Ray- 
mond (24); 1876, Charles Rost (26), WiUiam 
Kromroy (34), Charles Boss (34); 1877, Wil- 
liam Rust (14), Herman Rost (22), Frederick 
Rost (26), Helmut Rust (28). Albert Rust (28), 
Henry Weyner (30); 1878, Julius Dreger (6K 
Frederick Schultz (12),* Ludwing Wevner (30). 
Wilhelm Radke (32) ; 1879, James B. Rabbitt 
(6), Franz Meister (20): 1880, Frederick Mit- 
tlestadt (18). Louise hudtke (20), Ix>uisa Mil- 
brath (32) ; 1881, Richard Sucker (2); 1883, 
August Webber (2); 1884, Ludwie Lueneburg 
(10), Wilhelmine Kno?pp (10); 1885, George 
Heiser (8): 1888. Ferdinand Milbrath (18); 
1889, Gustave A. Anderson. (4). 

Sioux Yallev was the last Jackson coun- 
ty township to begin township govern- 
ment. In accordance with the prayer of 
petitioners, the commissioners created the 

"The ofTldfal proceedings of the board of 
county commissioners show that the township 
was created ns "Rust." In fact, that was thn 
accepted spelling of the name for several yepra. 
Later, without any official procedure, the 
correct spelling was adapted. The name of the 
family was also often spelled "Rust." 

One of the Oldest Log Cabins in Jackson County. 

The Engraving is Reproduced from a Tintype Taken During Grasshopper Times. The 
Hen shown are (Back Row, Standing, from Leit to Right) Wallace Bailey, L. F. Ashley, 
MeMO L. Ashley, Than Hall, Jr., Joseph E. Thomas, Jr., John Tagley, A. D. King, L. P. 
Cook, Thad Rucker, M. S. Barney, 0. F. Alexander, B. W. Ashley; (Lower Row, Sitting), 
Qark Baldwin, C. H. Sandon, J. F. Ashley, A. 0. Wood (Between Rows), William V. King, 
J. J. Smith, Henry Blakey, Than Hall and Ira G. Walden. 






township February 27, 1874, naming it 
Sioux Vallev after the river which flows 
through it. The early day homesteaders 
who received title to their lands from the 
government were : 

1873, LeviM. Bridell (10), Washington Shaf- 
fer (12), John Spencer (26) ; 1874, Ichabod Dyer 
(10-12), Jareb Palmer (10); Kerney C. Lowell 
(32); 1875, Edwin E. Myrick (24), Abednego 
Davis (26) ; 1870, Levi H. Stratton (34) ; 1877, 
Reuben Tivey (14), Charles H. Greer (14), Nel- 
son Willcox (24), William Barnett (31); 1878, 
John Butterfield (2), Julius Dreger J 6), Charles 
E. Reiter (8), Ezra A. Hopkins (18), Carlos M. 
Hardy (20); 1879, Martin Reiter (8); 1880, 
(ieorge A. Johnson (32); 1881, Gustaf Ny'strom 
(31); 1883, Frank Benoit (2), George O. Bord- 
well (4), Cfirl Lidberg (28), Anna Moberg (31), 
Abraham McCulla (34) ; 1884, Francis M. Hor- 
ton (12); 1885, Detlef Hollmer (10), Helge 
Torson (30), Bengt Staaff (30); 1888, Eliza- 
beth L. Stone (4), Fred Mead (28). 

If there had been a belief that the grass- 
hopper scourge was to be only a temporary 
blight on the prospects of Jackson coun- 
ty, it was rudely dispelled. The visita- 
tion of 1873 was as nothing compared 
with what followed. The story of the 
years to follow is one of heartrending mis- 
ery. From Manitoba to Texas the grass- 
hoppers brought desolation and suffering 
in 1874, the visitation being general along 
the whole frontier. Especially destnic- 
tive were they in southwestern Minnesota 
and in Kansas and N'ebraska. 

In Jackson county the eggs which had 
been deposited by the visiting hordes in 
1873 began to hatch during the first days 
of May.® While the pests had been con- 
sidered numetous the year before, there 
were now more than ten times as man3\ 
The appetites of the youngsters were good, 
but no great damage was done until the 

•The process of hatching: was interestlngr. In 
each nest, a half inch or more below the sur- 
face of the ^ound, were from twenty to fifty 
egKs. When the sun warmed the ground suf- 
ficiently to hatch the egrfcs. the pithy covering 
of the nest popped off and a squirming mass of 
little yellow hoppers poured out. Each was en- 
cased in a sort of shell or skin, which It Im- 
mediately began to pull off. Then, after taking 
a moment's view of the world, each little hop- 
per hopped away In search of something to 
eat. At birth they were about a quarter of 
an Inch long and had no wings, but these de- 
veloped rapidly. 

last days of May. Said the Jackson Se- 
public on May 30: 

It was not until this week that the devasta- 
tion by this scourge commenced in earnest, but 
in the few daj's they have been harvesting the 
crops, they have put in full time and done 
clean work. Whole fieldvS in many places have 
been stripped of the gi'owing grain and in 
others large spots liave been scooped out. Not 
satisfied with eating the green leaves, they eat 
right down in the ground to the roots. 

It was at this stage of the proceedings 
that many people left the county. In 
many instances those who had not secured 
title to their farms deserted them, never 
more to return. Many who had title sold 
for what they could get or mortgaged 
their farms if they could locate an east- 
erner unsophisticated enough to loan 
money on such security. These, too, left 
the county. The greater number of the 
able bodied men who decided to stay 
sought work in the eastern part of the 
state to earn enough money to carry them 
and their families through the winter. The 
local paper on June 6 said : "Settlers 
are turning back to the older counties to 
get work to support their families, and 
the ruling question is, ^Are you going east 
to get work ?' " The general land office 
made a ruling that homesteaders in the 
grasshopper infested counties might de- 
sert their claims for certain lengths of 
time to earn a livelihood without taking 
the chance of losing the claim. 

During the latter part of June the dam- 
age was great, and in the parts of the 
countv most numerouslv infested little 
was left growing but the wild prairie 
grass. The wings of the young hoppers 
became fully developed on June 19, and 
three days later they began their flight 
out of the countrv. For several davs, from 
ten o'clock in the morning until three in 
the afternoon, the air was filled with the 
winged immigrants, all traveling in a 
northeasterly direction. It was hoped 
that they would go and leave the little 



that had escaped, but it was not to be. 

The Jackson Republic, which had always 

before spoken encouragement, on July 4 

gave up hope for any crop and said : 

AH gone! Not tbe grasshoppers, as was 
lioped, but the oats, corn and potatoes that 
had been left until this week. The changing 
winds have brought back all the grasshoppers, 
with myriads of reinforcements,^ and they have 
mowed down about everything before them. 
Now that all • hope for a crop is gone, the 
only prayer of the people is that they may be 
taken away before they commence depositing 
their eggs, which will no doubt be not long 

The destroying agents remained in 
Jackson county until the middle of July, 
and then all took tlieir departure. They 
did not deposit cgg^ in the county, al- 
though they did in many other parts of 
Minnesota. Before tlieir departure the 
county became literally alive with them. 
So thick was the air with the flying pests 
that at times the sun was partially ob- 
scured. They appeared to the people be- 
low like a vast cloud, sweeping sometimes 
in one direction, sometimes in another — 
always going with the wind. At even- 
ing, when they came down near the earthy 
the noise they made was hke a roaring 
wind. 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 track. Concerning the 
losses the Republic, in the latter part of 
July, said: 

The actual loss from the scourge in this 
year's crop will aggregate more than $200,000,'* 
while tlie loss arising from abandoned farms, 
removal of settlers with their personal prop- 
erty, and the stagnation given to farming pur- 

"Aceording: to the report of the commissioner 
of statistics, the loss of the several crops in 
twenty-eight counties of Minnesota in 1874 was 
as follows: Wheat. 2,646.802 bushels; oats, 
1.816,733 bushels; corn. 738,415 bushels; barley. 
58,962 bushels; potatoes, 221.454 bushels; flax 
seed. 52,833 bushels. 

suits for years to come can only be represent- 
ed by millions of dollars. Taking Jackson 
county in whole, wheat will probably not 
average two bushels per acre, or one-eighth of 
a crop; oats will not be much better, while 
barley is an entire failure; corn may be half 
a crop and potatoes about the same. 

This second successive crop failure was 
a terrible blow. A great many who had 
not been hard pressed by the conditions 
in 1873 were now reduced to the common 
level; their savings had been spent and 
they had no income. Those who were not 
compelled to live on charity were com- 
pelled to practice tlie most rigid economy. 
Hay furnished the fuel; potatoes, pump- 
kins and squashes — a few vegetables left 
by the hoppers — supplied the bulk of the 
food. Meat was not on the bill of fare ex- 
cept for tliose who could use a gun and bag 
the prairie chickens and ducks that were 
in great abundance. The people bore their 
trials more cheerfully than might have 
been expected and made preparations to 
try their luck asrain the next year. In 
plowing for their next year's crop, the 
farmers nearly ruined their horses, being 
without the necessary grain to feed them. 

As has been staled, money and supplies 
for relief were sent to Jackson county dur- 
ing the whole winter of 1873-74 and into 
the spring month.**. In addition to those 
items mentioned, on January 17, 1874; 
tlie county commissioners received from 
Governor Davis 190 sacks of flour and 
ten barrels of pork, which were distrib- 
uted at once. 

Realizing the gravity of the situation, 
in the midst of the devastation of 1874, 
Governor Cushman K. Davis issued a stir- 
ring appeal, stating the conditions and 
the need of large contributions to prevent 
many of the residents of the state from 
perishing. His appeal was addressed to 
the Grange organizations and waf as fol- 



state of Minnesota. Executive Department, had departed to work in the harvest fields 

St. Paul, July 1, 1874. • xi . ^ 4^ 4.u * * * a 

To the Granges: I am compelled to ask the l^^ the eastern part of the state returned 

cooperation of each grange of your powerful in August. The conditions in their homes 

organization in relieving the destitution of , , x j. i xi • j» -i- j t 

our feUow citizens in southwestern counties, led many to take their famihes and de- 

That region has been traversed by trustworthy part for more congenial surroundings, 

men, sent out bv me for that purpose, and ^-^ i i j • xi ^ n j 

they report unaimously a destitution which ^^^^ secured work during the fall and 

has no parallel in our history as a state. The winter and remained away from Jackson 

time for silence as to the condition of affairs . x-i xi. j. 

has passed by, and the time for prompt and ^^^^^y ^^^^^ ^^« ^^^^ spring, 

liberal action by • all who are willing to do as On the last day of September the COm- 

they would be done by has arrived. • j a^Oi\r\ t n ^i tt 

The counties of Mkrtin, Murray, Jackson, n^^ssioners received $300 from General H. 

Cottonwood, portions of Nobles and Waton- H. Sibley. This was invested in supplies, 

wan, and possibly to some extent in other com- ,„u^^u «.««.. ^:«+«;k„4.«;j «,«^«« +i,« «^«^,r 

muiUties, have b^en swept by grasshoppers of ^^^^^ "^^^^ distributed among the needy. 

all crops as completely as by Are. The same was done with $500 received on 

ThYrpi:.r„'tsrdTto:rs TrfJZrt'^. I>«^«™ber U. Eighteen barrels and twen- 

under mortgages given to tide over the priva- ty-nine sacks of flour were received Dc- 

^That'tl^these people that their fellow <'^"'^^' ^^' ^""^ ^^"^ eommissioners turned 

citizens, whom a kind I'rovidence has blessed that over to those in the most destitute 

with abundance, will sUnd by them in this, circumstances. Clothing and other relief 

their dire extremity. ° 

Contributions in money are most desirable, supplies were frequently received during 

Provisions and clothing scarce less so. Send 4.Up winfpr frnm nrivfitp tiftrfipQ minnliPfi 

contributions to General H. H. Sibley, St. Paul, ^"^ ^^^^^^ "*^"^ private parties supplies 

Minnesota. C. K. DAVIS, Governor, which meant much to suffering settlers. 

rpu« u ^ A t X • • The United States government, in a 

ine board of county commissioners „ . . ^ . ., .. ., 

x^^u r.u^^^ £ ^i. T * * 1 ' -iaisA small .way, assisted m the care of the 

took charge of the relief funds in 1874. , . / , <. ., 

A Air.4^:u 4.- ex. J • T 1 unfortunate people of the grasshopper dev- 

A distribution of cash was made in July. . , , .. , ., ,. , .i .. 

\i.^ in/«-iA J £ u J ^ «of. astated counties by the distribution of 

Also 19,G10 pounds of flour and 1,935 ,. , , ., . t- . 

^^,«^„ t ^ X- J 1 XI army rations and clothing. Lieutenant J. 

pounds of pork were apportioned by the ^ i^ , . ., . * ., «^ 

^^_^- „• ^^ , 4. ±u J ' F. Huston was m the county April 30 

commissioners to the needy in every pre- , ^, , ,. . . , ^ 

cinct in the county. The distribution """^ ^^^ ^' ^^''"- °"* provisions, boots 

averaged six pounds of flour and ten «"^^ "^*''"''"*' ^"^ ^^^ °"^* "^'"'^y- 

onnces of pork to each needy person, ^"^ ^"' '^«'^'''°° '^"''"^y ^^^^^^^ *^^'- 

which certainly could not have gone far ^^^'^^ ^' '^^ '*'*^^ ''^ *''^ '*«*« appropria- 

toward meeting the demand." Those two *'°°' ''^ °^ '^^'""^ ^""^ distributed by the 

board of county commissioners." The 

erL\'^owrsKSL'\s7Jnow^^^^ ""^llfur'^^ pS?i legislature granted an extension of time 

T>^^r.^ K ^ V^^o ^?J?: f^^ the pavment of taxes in some of the 

Petersburg 1,008 105 ^ *^ 

Middietown 816 85 countics, and, of coursc, Jackson was 

Minneota 648 67 

Hunter 660 68 among the number. Times not improv- 

Des Moines 2,800 187 . , . 

Wisconsin 900 94 lug, the extension was of little benefit. 

Belmont 1,202 128 ' -„ , i i j ^ ^ , - n 

Enterprise 978 100 r'cople WHO had uot mouev to buy food 

christiania' * I'.','.'.'.'.'.'.'.'/.'.'.'.'.','.'.'.'.] 1,374 143 and clothiug could uot pay taxes.' ^ 

Heron Lake 660 68 

Sioux Valley ... . . . . . ......] 426 42 "The total amount of state funds distributed 

Ilost ......!!!!!!!!.!!!!. 560 60 '^^ * result of the 1874 appropriation was $15.- 

West Heron Lake ... 714 74 751.56. divided amoner the devastated counties 

Weimer 1314 137 ^ follows: Pinewood, $200; Martin. $1,363.87; 

Lacrosse 732 76 Rock. $1,400; Cottonwood, $3,237.02; Watonwan, 

Alba 756 78 $1,808.83; Jackson, $2,817.82; Murray, $1,902.82; 

Kwingion ".'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'. '.'.'. 978 102 Nobles, $1,952.82; Brown, $300; Others, $768.38. 

Round Lake 960 100 "The act was passed March 1, 1875, and pro- 

vided for the extension of time of payment of 

Total 19,610 1,935 personal property taxes to November 1 in the 


The question naturally arises : Why did seed a large part of the prepared land.^* 
the people of Jackson county stay in a The seed grain furnished by the state was 
country in which the grasshoppers a Godsend. Said the Jackson Republic 
wrought such damage? It is doubtful if on May 15, 1875: "That the grasshopper 
many would have remained could they plague for the last two years in this vicin- 
liave looked ahead and foreseen what they ity has sapped the life blood out of the 
still had to go through, for this was not hard working farmers of the county is ad- 
the end of the scourge by any means. But mitted, we think, on all hands; that a 
the majority did stay with their claims, good portion of the people could not have 
rmd they weathered Ihe storms of adver- remained to cultivate their farms without 
sity. Hope was abundant that each year's aid from abroad is also generally con- 
visitation would be the last. The fertility ceded.'' 

of the soil liad been demonstrated, and it A severe blizzard visited Jackson county 
was known that once the country was free on March 15 and 16, 1875, and added an- 
from the pests, it would become one of the other victim to those who have perished 
richest spots in the west. The settlers by winter storms. The unfortunate man 
had invested all their accumulations of was Heinrich Tubbike, an insane man 
former years in improvements, and to who lived in Heron Lake township. He 
desert the country meant that they must had been pronounced insane by the pro- 
go as paupers. Many were literally too bate court, and his removal to the asylum 
poor to pay transportation charges out of had been delayed on account of the bliz- 
the country. zard. Mr. Tubbike escaped from the mem- 

Xotwithstanding the terrible experi- bers of his family on the 16th after a 

cnces of the two preceding years, the hard fight and wandered off on the prairie, 

farmers determined to put in a crop in He perished in the storm, and his body 

1875. The ground had. been prepared, was found the next day about three miles 

but the farmers were without seed grain from the house. 

and without the means to purchase it. That there had been a marvelous in- 

The legislature came to their rescue with crease in the population of Jackson county 

an appropriation of $75,000, the act pro- during the two or three years of the de- 

viding^for the distribution of seed grain cade before the grasshoppers came is 

to that amount, with certain provisions shown by the census returns of 1875. 

for its repayment. A state board of com- ,,„,. _k « * *. , ,c-.e 

" '^ "The number of acres sown to crop in 1875, 

missioners was appointed to conduct according^ to the figures obtained by the various 

^ ^ township assessors, was 21,710, divided among 

the distribution, and a local board was the townships as follows: 

' . . Alba 640 

named in each of the stricken counties Belmont i.ess 

. , . ,, 1 rrn 1 J- Christlania 1.721 

to assist m the work. The money market Deiafieid 3.214 

, . 1 , , ,| J , J. i_i X I^^s Moines 2,260 

was tight, and the state was not able to Enterprise 892 

procure the money to purchase more than Heroif Lake ' . .' .' ." .* .* .' .' .' .* .' . .' .' .' .' .* .' * .' .' .' .* .' .* .' ." .* ." .' .' 1.170 

$50,000 worth of grain. With the grain K^^bln •;:;;;;;;:;;;;:::;:;:::;:::::::;:;:; 70? 

received from the state and that which M^ddi^fown *; '.'.'.'/.'.■.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.*.*.;!'/.'!'. I!!". ^ ^"847 

was in the coimtry, there was enough to pe"e" sb^ifrg' ' *. *. ! .' ! ! ." ; 1 '. ! 1 '. '. ; ! '. ! '. ! ! ! ! 1 ! ! .' .* ! ! ! ! i ii8 

Round Lake 605 

counties of Martin, Jackson, Nobles. Rock, Rost 659 

Murray, Cottonwood. Watonwan, Renville. Lyon Sioux Valley 40S 

and parts of Blue Earth. Faribault and Brown. Weimer 1,368 

In order to secure the extension it was neces- VWst Heron Lake 759 

sary for the residents to give proof that they Wisconsin 758 

were unable to pay their taxes because of loss — — - 

of crop in 1874 from grasshoppers or hail. Total 21,710 


Id spite of the fact that there had been of this army passed over Jackson county, 

no immigration since 1873 and that a but as a general thing they kept high in 

great many had moved away, there were the air. Only a very few alighted— -not 

found to be 3,506 permanent residents in enough to do any damage. 

1875— a gain of nearly 100 per cent in The county was free of the pests until 

five years. The population of the various Saturday, July 10. Then they came in 

townships was as follows: great droves out of the northeast. They 

j^^ 142 were not full grown and were those which 

Belmont 287 hatched in the Minnesota river valley. 

^s^Mohl^s '.'.;'/.'.'.".'.*/.'.'.'.'.'."..'..'.".'.'.'.... 388 They attacked the growing grain with 

Enterprise 166 their old time voracity and brought de- 

Hrron^ke':;:*.!:;;'.;;!;:':;;.'.'.::;*^*.'. 125 spair to the hearts of the settlers.^* They 

Htmter 61 feasted on the screen fields Sunday and 

I^Ct^se ' ... 265 Monday, but their numbers were not 

Middletown 139 nearly so great as they had been the year 

P^r^^m- 167 b^^^re. Many farms swarmed with them, 

Rost 105 while upon others there was none at all. 

Round Lake 104 j^^^^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^^^^ g^jjg ^ ^^^^^ ^^^ 

Sioux \ aUey oU ^ 

Weiiner 287 grasshoppers were tlie thickest were not 

WUcon^^''" ^^^ 118 ^^^ir^b' destroyed. Monday the hoppers 

showed signs of a desire to migrate, but 

"^^^^^ ^'^^ unfavorable winds and tempting grain 

The free seed grain was sown in the were sufficient reasons for their lingering 
spring of 1875 ; it germinated and appear- another day. About eleven o'clock on the 
ed above the ground. Then came the forenoon of Tuesday they took up their 
days of anxiety. Would the grasshopper line of flight to the north ; the county was 
scourge again come with its ruin and des- again free of the pests, 
elation ? As the season advanced the peo- The settlers kept track of the move- 
pie with deep concern scanned the skies ments of the grasshoppers in different 
for the appearance of the pests. As eggs parts of the country as they would have 
had not been deposited in Jackson county those of an invading army of soldiers. So - 
the preceding seaspn, there were no young far, a large part of the crop was saved, 
hoppers, and the only apprehension was but they knew that only by chance could 
in regard to an invasion of "foreign" they escape total destruction. They felt 
hoppers. Blackbirds and gophers were as though the sword of Damocles was sus- 
quite numerous early in the season and pended over .them, ready to fall at any 
did a lot of damage to crops, especially moment. 

corn, but not a grasshopper put in an ap- The respite was not long. The hoppers 

pearance. appeared in the north part of the county 
Tidings of approaching invaders came 

--.J - rtoTj. j.jT_ ""Had an earthquake shaken up our people, 

on Monday, June 4o. It was reported by or a cyclone swept destruction over our com- 

., , , iu X munity, neither would have excited and dis- 

Wire that a vast army was on the way to couraged our citizens so much as it did to 

the northwest from Iowa, that a number If th'r'|rarn"'^id,'!'""i?feAwo tea'rJ^'orde^ 

of them were passing over Sioux City and r?a1^n"atr/?n1* "/n^^^n^ot^fo'^'sr tf t^frS 

fhflf fhpv PxtpTidpfl fl^ fflr north hr SHpU ^^^^ going was certainly enough to make strong 

tnai iney extenaea ao lar norm as c^nei- ^^„ surrender, it was a discouraging mo- 
don. A few stragglers on the right flank SSen/'-RfpSbHc. juViTfiSTr* """^ ^'^ business 



on Tuesday, July 22, about noon. In the 
Heron Lake country they lighted in the 
fields and commenced eating voraciously. 
The farmers, who were becoming well ac- 
quainted with their mode of warfare, 
took a defensive attitude and began ply- 
ing them with smoke, fire and brimstone.^* 
The hoppers slowly worked southward, 
and on Friday, July 23, had entered the 
second tier of townships. As they pro- 
ceeded they deposited their eggs. This 
invasion was confined almost entirelv to 
the north half of Jackson county, only a 
few getting into the southern townships, 
and those doing but little damage. 

The hoppers remained in the northern 
part of the county until early in August; 
then, they departed. Considerable damage 
was done in Christian ia township and in 
the country about Heron Lake. They also 
entered the townships of Enterprise, Bel- 
mont and Heron Lake. But these hop- 
pers were not so numerous as they had 
been formerly. It was a ragamuffin, Fal- 
staffin army compared with that of 1874. 
Their appetites appeared to be poor, and 
they were of a degenerate breed; bushels 
died after laying their eggs, and the ex- 
hausted remnant departed from the coun- 
ty. A big percentage of the crop was 
saved, and the farmers eagerly began the 
harvest. On August 7 the Republic sized 
up the situation as follows: 

Our farmers are now engaged in harvesting 

"There was really very little that the settlers 
could do to destroy or check the pests, al- 
thougrh many schemes were tried. Nothing 
availed agrainst the invading hordes, but in the 
case of the native hoppers the farmers waged 
a more or less successful war by the use of 
tar. "Hopperdozers," a sort of drag, made of 
sheet Iron and wood, would be covered with 
tar and dragged over the ground. The young 
hoppers would be caught in the tar and de- 
stroyed^ Another scheme was to prevent prai- 
rie fires during the summer and fall, conserv- 
ing the grass until after the hoppers had 
hatched In the spring. Then on a given day 
the county would be burned over and the pests 
destroyed. Ditches would be dug and the hop- 
pers driven into them and destroyed; scoop nets 
were used, but little headway could be made 
with them. In some of the counties bounties 
were paid for them. In seven such counties 
58,019 bushels were captured, upon which boun- 
ties aggregating $76,788.42 were paid; still no 
difference was noticed in the damage done. 

the finest crop ever grown in Jackson county. 
This township [Des Moines], and perhaps 
others, will undoubtedly the present season 
produce as much as wa^ ever before raised in 
one year in the entire county. True^ in sev- 
eral towns the hungry hoppers have injured 
the crops, but in the county at large there is 
a bountiful yield. We may be wrongly informed 
as to the amount left, but by frequent inquiries 
in regard to crops in the localities the worst 
devastated we find that portions of the crop 
are saved and in instances fields are not in- 
jured at all. But if there is an approach to a 
total loss in any township we liave yet to 
learn of it. Not only wheat and oats are im- 
mense, but corn, to use Donnelly's favorite 
word, is "enormous." 

The crop was well secured, all working 
with a will in gathering the yield. It was 
a new experience — the harvesting of a 
crop. But the anxieties of the season were 
not yet over. During the entire week be- 
ginning August 31 there was a continual 
downpour of rain, which did much dam- 
age to grain in shock and stack. That in 
the shock sprouted, and all was more or 
less damaged. Blight damaged some of 
the wheat, and instead of grading No. 1, 
it was second and third grade. 

The .conditions during the winter of 
1875-76 were so much better than they 
had been during the two preceding win- 
ters that very little relief was needed, and 
the county was able to supply its own seed 
for the next crop. 

In 1875 for the first time a united ef- 
fort was made to fight the grasshoppers. 
On August 24 a county grasshopper con- 
vention was held at Jackson to devise 
means of fighting the common enemy the 
next season. H. H. Stone was chairman 
of the convention and E. P. Skinner was 
secretary. A general committee was 
named, composed of the following named 
gentlemen: Alexander Fiddes, Edward 
Orr, Hans Knudson, Henry Knudson, H. 
J. Phelps, J. P. Prascott and E. B. Mil- 
lard. These gentlemen were delegated with 
power to have general supervision of the 
campaign and to appoint three persons in 
each township to work with them. The 





principal object to be attained was the 
preservation of the prairie grass until the 
following spring. 

The year 1876 opened auspiciously. 
Despite the forebodings of disaster from 
another grasshopper visitation, the people 
were in good spirits. This was caused 
largely by the prospects of the extension 
of the Southern Minnesota railroad into 
and through the county, from Winnebago 
City to Worthington. Surveyors appear- 
ed in the field during the closing days of 
1875 and ran a line to Jackson and from 
that point westward. It was generally un- 
derstood that the railroad company would 
ask a bonus, and on December 28, 1875, 
a mass meeting was held at Jackson and 
largely attended. It seemed to be the 
unanimous desire of those attending that 
the people should give a liberal bonus and 
furnish the right of way. 

Officials of the road went to Jackson 
February 27, 1876, and stated that if the 
ten townships of the southern half of 
the county would issue bonds to an amount 
equal to ten per cent of their assessed valu- 
ation to aid in the construction of the 
road, the line would be built to Jackson 
by December 31, 1876, and to Worthing- 
ton by September 1, 1877.*" The question 
of issuing the bonds was voted upon at 
the regular March township elections. 
Petersburg, Wisconsin, Middletown, Des 
Moines and Sioux Valley townships re- 
turned majorities in favor of the bonds; 
Hunter, Minneota, Eost and Round Lake 
voted against them ; in Ewington the vote 
was a tie. During April special elections 
were held in Minneoia, Hunter and Ew- 
ington, and each of the townships then 

*TTie bonds to have been issued by the Jack- 
son county townships would have amounted to 
about 137,000. the assessed valuation of the 
townships at that time being*: Petersburg. 
134.594; Wisconsin. $38,478; Des Moines. 1100.749: 
Middletown. $40,336; Minneota, $65,314; Hunter. 
$23,082; Rost, $5,712; Sioux Valley. $33,346; 
Round Lake. $9,949; Ewington. $8,687. The 
counties of Martin and Nobles were also asked 
to vote subsidies. 

gave a majority for the bonds. But the 
road was not built that year, and the 
bonds were not sold. During the summer 
the financial affairs of the railroad com- 
pany got in a bad way, and the promoters 
found themselves unable to proceed with 
the extension. 

In the northern part of Jackson county, 
where grasshopper eggs had been deposit- 
ed in 1875, very little grain was sown in 
1876, but in the southern townships, 
where no eggs had been deposited, the 
usual acreage was put in. Late in April 
the pests began to hatch, and the hatch- 
ing continued until in June. So soon as 
they attained sufficient size the young 
hoppers attacked the fields. The farmers 
drew up in battle array against them, and 
many of the pests were destroyed. The 
ravages were confined to the northern 
townships until July 5. Then a gentle 
wind from the north swept clouds of them 
to the other portions of the county, and 
every precinct reported damage. There 
was no further movement of the hoppers 
until July 13. On that date another 
breeze from the north gathered immense 
numbers of them and wafted them over 
the line into Iowa. On July 24 came the 
worst visitation of grasshoppers ever 
known in Jackson county. Vast clouds 
of them came down from the northwest 
and destroyed all small grain left and in- 
jured the corn. They remained two or 
three weeks and deposited their eggs. 

It was not until the fore part of August 
that the county was entirely free from the 
destroying agents. During this time they 
feasted continually and deposited their 


The prospects were discouraging. Many 
who had fought the scourge so long gave 
up and quit trying to raise crops. The 
Jackson Bepublic voiced the feelings of 
the people when it said on July 29: 

That the grasshopper question has assum* 




ed a more serious aspetit than ever before there 
is no denying. Four successive crops havo 
been destroyed in a good portion of southwest - 
em Minnesota and the fifth assured of destruc- 
tion. It is useless to recapitulate the trials 
our people have passed through, or tell how 
patiently they have waited with the vain hope 
that the pest would leave us forever; it is use- 
less to theorize or moralize on the past — it is 
the dark future with which we have to deal 
and most interests our stricken people. We 
know that our crops have been nearly all 
destroyed and that eggs are deposited in every 
direction sufficient to hatch grasshoppers an- 
other year to cover every inch of ground in the 
county, and that is all that need be said on 
that point. 

Many did not give up, however, but re- 
newed the fight. A mass convention was 
called to be held at Jackson August 23/* 
to *^ave a general interchange of ideas 
as to the best policy to pursue in our pres- 
ent unfortunate circumstances caused by 
the ravages of grasshoppers." The con- 
vention adopted the following resolutions : 

Resolved that the state and general gov- 
ernments be petitioned to make appropriations 
•to reimburse us for money expended to pre- 
vent prairie grass from burning and in catch- 
ing young hoppers in the spring. 

Resolved that the county commissioners be 
requested to make an appropriation not ex- 
ceeding $1,000 for the purpose of making a 
fire guard sufficient to preserve the grass in 
each town. 

Resolved further that a committee be ap- 
pointed to correspond with the governor and 
with parties in other counties to the end that 
a general organization be had for the purpose 
mentioned in the above resolutions. 

Resolved that we recommend a general con- 
vention for the grasshopper district be held at 
Worthington at ap early day, to be called by 
the governor of the state, who is hereby in- 
vited to be present. 

In accordance with the suggestion of 

the Jackson county convention, a grass- 

"The call was sigrned by A. D. Palmer, W. V. 
King-, J. J. Johnson, Henry Knudson. EMward 
Orr, Dr. E. L. Brownell, Ira G. Walden, Jareb 
Palmer, G. C. Chamberlin. J. W. Cowing, G. K. 
Tiflfany, Lucius Bordwell. W. Burreson, W. 
Ashley, Ehigene Logue, Thomas J. Knox. C. H. 
Sandun, M. A. Strong, James W. Hunter, John 
J. Smith. William A. Fields, James E. Palmer. 
H. A. Williams, Alexander Fiddes, Milton Mason 
and John Juqgbauer. The mass convention 
was called largely througli the efforts of Cap- 
tain Jareb Palmer. He and several others 
were In the office of the county auditor one 
day. discussing conditions, when he suggested 
holding a convention to discuss ways and means 
of overcoming the pests. A petition was drawn 
up by County Auditor William V. King and was 
circulated by Mr. Palmer. 

hopper convention, containing delegates 
from all the devastated counties of south- 
western Minnesota, met at Worthington 
September 20, 1876. Methods of fight- 
ing the common enemy were discussed and 
plans made for reducing the ravages. Be- 
lief from the United States government 
was asked. 

The legislature of 1877 appropriated 
money for the relief of the destitute and 
$75,000 for the purchase of seed grain. 
The law provided for the repayment of 
this money by those receiving the grain; 
in case it was not paid back the county 
was bound to make payment to the state. 
Applicants were obliged to furnish affi- 
davits as to their condition, and the coun- 
ty commissioners and county auditor acted 
as a board to determine thie worthiness of 
the applicants. Two hundred eleven ap- 
plications were granted in Jackson county 
and thirty rejected. From LaCrosse 
township came 31 applications — the 
largest number from any one township. 
There was none from Hunter. On March 
29, 1877, the county auditor received a 
check for $4,431 — Jackson county^s share 
of the appropriation — and this was dis- 
tributed in grain, giving $21 worth to 
each successful applicant. 

Every plan to rid the state of the lo- 
custs having failed, Governor John S. 
Pillsbury named a day for fasting and 
prayer, and by proclamation requested 
every citizen to observe Thursday, April 
26, as a day on which to hold religious 
meetings and ask for deliverance from 
the scourge. In Jackson the day was ap- 
propriately observed, the Republic report- 
ing the services as follows: 

Fast day (Thursday, April 26) was duly ob- 
served in town by a general recognition of the 
governor's proclamation. In the forenoon quite 
a large congregation assembled at the church, 
where the services were conducted by Rev. E. 

In the afternoon there was an in- 
teresting social meeting at the church, in 



which many of our leading Christian citizens 
participated, and which was attended by a large 
number who ought to be Christians. Certainly 
the governor's fast day was well observed in 
Jacloon by our business men not only, but by 
our citizens generally. Two large congregations 
were present, many of whom are seldom seen 
inside the church. 

The annual dread was felt again in the 
spring 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 possible develop- 
ment of the locusts. The cool rainy weath- 
er of the spring and early summer seem- 
ed 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 grasshopperi^ a slow and feeble 

The hoppers hatched during the month 
of May and began eating on a few fields, 
but not enough to do any great damage. 
The farmers early commenced fighting 
their enemy with kerosene oil and the tar 
'Tiopperdozers.^' But the most satisfac- 
tory destroying element proved to be a 
little red parasite, which attacked and 
destroyed the eggs in the fall and early 
spring and later the young hoppers, load- 
ing down their frail wings and carcasses 
until it was almost impossible for them 
to fly. Bushels of the pests died as soon 
as their wings were grown. 

Early in June the press reported little 
damage to small grain, but that the corn 
was suffering to some extent. Cool weath- 
er continued until the middle of June, 
having the effect of keeping the hoppers 
quiet and off the fields. Said the Bepublic 
on June 16: "Many people begin to 
take courage and actually are hopeful of 
a part of a crop.^* In the latter part of 
June the grasshoppers became more ac- 
tive and did some injury to small grain, 
they having confined themselves almost 
exclusively to corn and garden truck be- 

fore. But about the first of July they be- 
gan taking their departure, flying gener- 
ally to the northwest, and within a few 
days all had left the county. None but 
the Jackson county hatch had visited the 
county, and it became apparent that un- 
less there was a raid of "foreign'^ hoppers, 
the bulk of the crop was safe. And the 
invaders did not come. Swarms of them 
were occasionally seen flying high in the 
air afterward^ but they did not alight. 
The cheering situation was reported by 
the local press on July 21: 

Certainly the situation about us is cheer- 
ing. The grasshoppers have gone, and there is 
a feeling apparent that they have left us 
permanently. Crops are in the main good. We 
do not think there are a half dozen farmers in 
the county who have lost their crops during 
the season, though of course more than that 
number have been damaged more or less. But 
generally wheat, oats, barley, peas and pota- 
toes are looking well, but com is backward. 
. It is truly encouraging to have such 
cheering reports come in from the farmers and 
we gladly make note of their success. 

It was a year of jubilee. Every resi- 
dent seemed to be imbued with new life. 
Business men began increasing -their 
stocks of goods; farmers began getting 
their lands in readiness for the next yearns 
crop and putting up hay for the increased 
herds of stock that grasshopper times com- 

Yet conditions were not so rosy as one 
might imagine. The several years of dev- 
astation had discouraged the farmers of 
Jackson county to such an extent that 
each year saw less and less grain sown. 
The spring of 1877 witnessed the planting 
of a very limited acreage, and the com- 
paratively big yield per acre did not re- 
salt in the bountiful times that would 
have come had the farmers sown as in 
former years. 

Of the sixty-one counties Minnesota 
contained at that time, Jackson ranked 
thirteenth in the yield of wheat per acre. 
Sixteen hundred forty-one acres were 



sown ; 33,208 bushels, or 20.22 bushels per 
acre, were harvested. In the production 
of oats the county ranked fourth, being 
surpassed only by Goodhue, Polk and 
Steele counties. The total yield of oats 
was 66,005 bushels, or 43.33 bushels per 
acre. The corn crop amounted to 77,623 
bushels, or 19.63 bushels per acre. 

Because of the bettered condition, in 
the fall of 1877, a few land seekers — the 
first in five years — came to the county to 
spy out and purchase choice tracts of land. 
A seed grain appropriation was again 
made in 1878, and Jackson county people 
received 1,575 bushels.^® 

So far as Jackson county is concerned 
the terrible grasshopper scourge was prac- 
tically ended. In its whole history up to 
this time there had been only a few years 
when the county had been free from 

"•Nelgrhborlng counties received seed grain In 
bushels as follows: Cottonwood, 4,600; Waton- 
wan, 2,790; Martin, 2,300; Nobles, 3,443; Mur- 
ray, 800. 

sources of devastation. For years the 
savage red man laid a heavy hand on the 
county and retarded its settlement; for 
another period of years the grasshoppers 
performed a like service. Hundreds of 
good citizens had been forced to leave; 
other hundreds had been prevented from 

The condition of the county at the close 
of the year 1877 has been told by a gentle- 
man who made a trip over the Sioux City 
& St. Paul railroad in November. He said : 

The country 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 them. The 
owners have left them to grow up to weeds, 
not daring to risk the chances of harvesting 
their crops. Nothing so forcibly brings to the 
mind of the visitor the reality of the grasshop- 
per 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 prairies. 

The history of Jackson county's dark 

days are ended. Henceforth the story is 
one of advancement. 



ANEW era in the history of Jack- 
son county begins with the year 
18T8. Three events of that year 
mark the turning point to better times: 
the disappearance of the grasshoppers, the 
building of the county's second railroad, 
and the revival of immigration. 

It will be remembered that so early as 
1866 preparations had been made for ex- 
tending the Southern Minnesota railroad 
from Houston to the west line of the state. 
The United States government had 
^nted large areas of land to the state of 
Minnesota to aid in the construction of 
railroads, and the state had in turn given 
these lands to the Southern Minnesota 
Kailroad company, m consideration that 
it should extend its road to the west line 
of the state on or before February 25, 
1877. Owing to financial embarrassment 
and the terrible grasshopper scourge, the 
railroad company had not been able to 
eoniplete its line, although it had builded 
a considerable distance to the westward, 
and many of the lands were about to re- 
vert to the state as forfeiture for non- 
compliance with the terms of the grant. 
For many long years the people of south- 
em Jackson county had anxiously awaited 
the coming of this road, which meant so 
much to them.* 

^•'Every now and then surveyors of railroads" 
have come and grone, raUroad officials from dif- 

The road was built to Winnebago City, 
and late in 1877 it was announced that 
the company had sufficient funds and the 
inclination to extend the road 45 miles 
further, to Jackson, providing the lapsed 
land grant were renewed. Nearly every- 
body was in favor of renewing the grant, 
and on March 6, 1878, the Minnesota leg- 
islature, in a memorial to congress, asked 
for a four years' extension of the grant.^ 
The sentiment of the people of Jackson 
county is shown by the following resolu- 

ferent lines have come and made propositions 
to supply us a road, and they would go. Thus 
the long years have rolled away, and our little 
town and struggling community have survived 
without a road, our merchants have hauled in 
their goods on wheels, slow coaches have 
brought our mails and transported passengers 
and express packages." — George C. Chamberlin 
in Republic. November 30, 1878. 

2" . . . That if said grant is extended 
to this state for the purposes aforesaid, this 
state will be able to secure the speedy construc- 
tion of said entire line of railroad, and thereby 
meet the Just expectations of the settlers who 
have purchased said even numbered sections, 
and afford to the people of the counties of 
Martin. Jackson. Nobles. Murray and Pipestone 
the means of transportation from the large and 
increasing products of their industry. 

"Wherefore your memorialists respectfully 
urge upon congress an extension of said grant 
for four years to the state, and not to such de- 
faulting company or any other railroad com- 
pany, to the end that the speedy construction 
of said entire line of road may be assured; and 
we hereby urgently request our senators and 
representatives In congress under no circum- 
stances to permit any extension of said grant 
to be made which does not vest the same In 
the state of Minnesota, with full authority to 
convey the same to such company as It may 
see fit. subject to such conditions as it may 
desire to impose, consistent with the objects of 
the original grant."— Extract from Memorial to 
Congress, March 6, 1878. 




tion, which was adopted at a mass meet- 
ing held at Jackson January 26, 1878 : 

Resolved that it is the sense of this meet- 
ing that an act be passed continuing the 
Southern Minnesota Railroad land grant with 
said road or its auxiliary, the "Southern Min- 
nesota Extension company," and that our dele- 
gation in the legislature be requested to favor 
said act and urge its passage during the present 
session, provided that said road be built to the 
village of Jackson by the first of January, 1879. 

The legislature took the action which 
seemed to be desired by the people of 
southwestern Minnesota, and on March 6, 
1878, passed an act transferring and 
granting the lands to the Southern Min- 
nesota Railroad Extension company, on 
condition that the line of road be com- 
pleted to Fairmont before September 1, 
1878, to Jackson before the close of the 
year 1879, and to the west line of the state 
before the close of the year 1880. 
y^Confitruction was begun at once. The 
company still asked a bonus from Jackson 
county, and at a railroad meeting held at 
Jackson, called at the instance of J. C. 
Easton, president of the Southern Minne- 
sota, it was the sense of those present that 
the township of Des Moines should vote 
bonds to an amount of ten per cent of the 
a^isessed valuation, provided the road 
should be in operation and the Jackson 
depot built that season. The line was ex- 
tended to Jackson without the aid of 
bonds, however. The road was completed 
to Fairmont and train service established 
on July 1. The construction work pro- 
gressed rapidly, and on November 27, 
1878, the iron horse reached Jackson, 
thereby causing great rejoicing. Jackson 
was the terminus until the next year, 
when it was extended to the northwest. 

A country into which it is known a 
railroad is to be built is always a goal for 
immigrants. The belief that the grass- 
hopper scourge was a thing of the past 
also added to the inpouring of new set- 
tlors. E^rly in March th^ immigrants be- 

gan arriving, looking for land, and they 
continued to pour in during the whole 
spring and summer.' As a general thing 
the newcomers were a well-to-do class. 
They came, not to take homesteads, but 
to purchase land and make improvements. 
Owing to the removal of so many settlers 
during the grasshopper years, there was 
much land on the market at reasonable 
prices, and all were given opportunity to 
become permanent settlers. Thousands 
of acres of wheat and other grain were 
sown that spring. The old sod shanties 
were replaced by frame structures, and in 
other ways the advancement was marked. 
Not only in the southeastern part of 
the county was the revival noticed, but 
all parts of the county responded to the 
changed conditions. A gentleman writing 
from Heron Lake in April said: 

The amount of freight received at this depot 
is surprising. Car load after ear load continues 
to come, and there seems to be no end of it. 
Old settlers as well as new are coming and 
shipping in their household goods, and mer- 
cltants are receiving freight almost daily. Al- 
together it makes business lively around the 
depot every time the eastern freight comes in. 

Although grasshoppers in diminished 
numbers visited Nobles county and some 
other portions of southwestern Minnesota 
in 1878, Jackson county was free from 
them. But the county was not destined 
to harvest the mammoth crop to which 
it was entitled. Two weeks of excessive 
hot weather in the first half of July, fol- 
lowed by a week of excessive rains, injured 
the wheat crop so that the yield was not 
up to expectations. Some fields yielded 
an ordinary crop, but others fell as low 
as a half crop. 

More railroad building in 1879 added 
to the activities and prosperity of Jack- 
son counts'. From the first it had been 
the intention of the Southern Minnesota 

•**Still they come — new men hunting- new 
homes. We see new faces all around us until 
We be^in to feel as though we had got away 
from home. "—Republic, March 30, 1878. 



Bailroad company (now the Chicago, Mil- 
waukee & St. Paul) to extend the line due 
west from Jackson to the state line, pass- 
ing through the village of Worthington/ 
but early in the spring of 1879 the plans 
were changed and the line run to the 
northwest, diagonally across the county. 
The survey was made, the point of cross- 
ing the Sioux City road designated as the 
southwest quarter of section 35, LaCrosse 
township (Miloma), and on April 22 
work on the extension from Jackson was 
begun. Tracklaying was completed to 
the junction on August 1, and regular 
train service was begun to Fulda Novem- 
ber 3. As a result of the extension many 
new settlers located in the central and 
western parts of the county and the vil- 
lage of Lakefield was founded. 

The Sioux City & St. Paul Eailroad 
company resented the encroachment on 
what it considered its own territory by 
the extension of the Southern Minnesota 
to the northwest. In an effort to head off 
the Southern Minnesota, the Sioux City 
road, in May, made a hurried survey for 
a branch line from Heron Lake to Pipe- 
stone, paralleling- the survey of the 
other road. Then began a lively race 
in construction. Side bv side the con- 
struction crews of the two roads worked. 
At times violence was narrowly averted 
between the workmen, so bitter had be- 
come the strife between the two companies. 
It was admitted that it was a cut-throat 
policy to continue the building of the par- 
allel roads, but neither would give in. 

*"It is stiU a question of doubt where the 
Southern Minnesota railroad will cross the 
Sioux City road, and we understand the com- 
pany Itself is undecided upon this point. The 
officers are already discussing: tl^e question 
and investigratlng- the 'lay of the land.' We are 
quite certain it is the desire of the company to 
cross at Worthlngrton, and If engrineeringr ob- 
stacles do not intervene we are inclined to 
think that will be the point; then the road will 
strike a due northwest course for Pipestone 
county.*' — ^Republic. June 8, 1878. 

Late in May a conference was held in St. 
Paul between representatives of the Mil- 
waukee and Sioux City & St. Paul in- 
terests, when an attempt was made to 
come to an understanding and to recon- 
cile differences. The conference served 
only to make matters worse, and the work 
of construction on both roads was rushed 
to completion. Not only did they run 
their roads side by side; they laid out 
their towns almost within a stone^s throw 
of each other. 

During this activity in railroad build- 
ing the village of Heron Lake and its sur- 
rounding territory advanced with rapid 
strides. Being guaranteed ample rail- 
road facilities and good markets, people 
improved many farms which had there- 
tofore been unbroken. 

In the extreme northwest corner of the 
county grasshoppers did some little dam- 
age in 1879 but other parts were entirely 
free from the pe^ts. About the middle of 
July they departed, never to appear again ; 
grasshoppers had eaten their last Jackson 
county grain. While grasshoppers, hail 
and storms fortunately passed the county 
by, crops were only fair. In some locali- 
ties wheat was blighted; corn and oats 
were good. 

The federal census of ISSO gave Jack- 
son county a population of 4,80G,^ a gain 
of 1,300 in five years. Of the total popu- 
lation, 2,920 were native born, while 1,886 
were foreign born.* The population was 
divided by precincts as follows: 

^Population of other southwestern Minnesota 
counties: Blue Earth, 22.889; Faribault, 13.016; 
Watonwan. 5,104; Martin, 5,249; Cottonwood, 
5.533; Murray, 3,604; Nobles, 4,435; Pipestone, 
2,092; Rock, 3,669. 

•Of the native born the classification by 
principal states of birth was as follows: Min- 
nesota. 1.703; Wisconsin. 362; New York, 275; 
niinois, 94; Pennsylvania, 82; Ohio, 79. The 
countries which furnished the bulk of the for- 
eign population were as follows: Sweden and 
Norway. 1.084; Germany, 186; British America, 
89; England and Wales, 52; Ireland, 40; Scot- 
land. 21; France, 4. 


Alba 139 county in October. All day Saturday the 

Belmont 369 , ,. , j o j i-i. xi. 

Christiania 435 blizzard raged; Sunday the weather was 

Delafield 325 calmer, but cold and wintry. When the 

Enterprise^. 179 ^torm subsided great drifts of snow filled 

Ewington 88 the roads and other places, which did not 

H^oS^ke' village:::::;::;:;:;: ::::::: m <J'««pp«" «««i t^e fouowing May. ah 

Hunter 80 Jackson county railroads were blockaded, 

^Crosse ;::::::;:;::;::::::::;:::;::::: m a^'i the sioux city road did not get a 

Middletown 154 train through until Tuesday, the 19th. 

me «b,rrg ■ : : : : : : : : : : : : : : ; : : : 2I3 ^^"^^ ^"^ different parts of the county be- 

Rost 124 came lost and frozen. 

Round Lake 116 j^oT 8i month after the initial storm, 

Sioux Valley 89 

Weimer 296 nice weather prevailed ; then winter set 

West Heron Lake 96 i^ in earnest, and from that time until 

Wisconsin 167 . . 

Jackson 601 late m April, it was winter every minute 

of the time. Friday, November 19, a cold 

' snap set in, and on the night of the 20th 

Jackson county harvested an excellent the thermometer went to 19 degrees below 
crop in 1880, sufficient in many cases to zero. A blizzard struck the country De- 
clear up the debts contracted during grass- cember 3, which blockaded the Sioux City 
hopper days. More No. 1 wheat was har- railroad from the east until the 5th. An- 
vested in southern Minnesota that year other blizzard began Sunday noon, Decem- 
than had ever been the case before. The ber 26, and continued its boisterous ways 
days of adversity became but a memory; until Wednesday night. Cold weather 
the prospects were bright, indeed. accompanied the storm, the thermometer 

One of the dates from which time is during the three days ranging from 10 to 
reckoned in Jackson county is the win- 24 degrees below zero. The Sioux City 
ter of 1880-81 — the season of Siberian Milwaukee was closed until January 3. 
frigidity. There have been worse storms road was blockaded until the 30th; the 
than any that occurred that winter; for Three hundred men and a half dozen en- 
short periods of time there has been cold- gines were required to break the Milwau- 
er weather. But there never was a winter kee blockade. 

to compare with this one in duration, con- Thereafter the winter was an extreme- 
tinned severity, depth of snow and dam- ly severe one, the thermometer frequently 
age to property— possibly excepting those registering 30 to 33 degrees below the zero 
of 1856-57 and 1872-73. mark. Blizzard followed blizzard. The 

While the grass was yet green and the railroads were closed for weeks at a time, 

insect world active, winter set in. On the Fuel and food became nearly exhausted, 

afternoon of Friday, October 15, 1880, a People burned hay and grain and went 

heavy thunder storm began. During the without lights. In some places there was 

night a strong, chilling wind came down suffering for lack of food. Wagon roads 

from the north, turning the rain into a remained unbroken all winter, and the 

fine snow. A severe blizzard then took farmers obtained their supplies from the 

the place of the rain, and winter weather villages by means of hand sleds, 

continued three days. It was the first Following is the story of the winter, 

and only blizzard ever experienced in the told in brief chronological order, from the 



beginning of the year 1881 until the 
breakup in the spring: 

January 3. Milwaukee road opened. 

January 4. Bain. 

January 5. Terrific blizzard. Milwau- 


koe blockaded. 

January 18. Milwaukee road cleared.^ 

January 19. Snow stomi. Milwaukee 

January 21. Snort- storm. Sioux City 
road tied up till the 23rd. 

January 26. Blizzard. All trains 

January 29. Last train of the winter 
oyer the Milwaukee. 

February 1. Sioux City road tied up. 
Weather changeable — from one stormy 
day to one a little more stormy. 

February 3. Longest snow storm of 
season begins, coming from the southeast 
and lasting four days. Fifteen days* 
blockade on Sioux City road begins. Mil- 
waukee road buried from Wells to Dell 



'"Last Tuesday night [January 18], blockade 
No. 3 was effectually and expensively removed. 
Hundreds of men were employed in the work, 
thousands of dollars were spent, and almost 
the entire engrinery of the road was on the 
snowy field of battle against the blizzards. The 
prospects were again encouraging for a resump- 
tion of work along the line." — Republic, Janu- 
ar>- 22, 1881. 

•"^''ednesday night. [January 19] the trouble 
began again, and drifts upon drifts once more 
enveloped the railroad. The state of affairs is 
indeed discouraging. The company had re- 
solved to hasten forward the tons of delayed 
freight as rapidly as possible, and five heavily 
loaded freight trains put In an appearance at 
this point within one day after the blockade 
had been lifted. The earliest train left Jack- 
son for the west at about eight o'clock Wed- 
nesday evening, the 19th. but a drift about one 
mile west of the bridge prevented further prog- 
ress. Three trains followed in rapid succes- 
sion, but were unable to move the one ahead 
or back down to the station, and at this writ- 
ing. Friday night [January 21], are wedged in 
north of town, with a fair prospect of staying 
there for several days. Another freight and 
one passenger train are laid up at the Jackson 
depot and two passenger trains are at Fulda. 
Fortunately, through the Indefatigable en- 
ergy of the hardy knights of the throttle, all 
of these snow bound iron horses are yet alive 
and snorting." — Republic. January 22, 1881. 

•"The storm which commenced on Thursday 
of last week [February 3] and continued with 
scarcely an Intermission until last Monday came 
from the southeast — blinding in its fury, pow- 
erful in windy force, and awful in its aspect — 
but. thank heaven! lacking the one element 
which would have made it terribly and, perhaps. 

February 8. Lakefield short of pro- 

February 11. One of the worst bliz- 
zards of the season begins. Lasts two 

February 12. Mony farmers reported 
out of fueU<» 

February IG. First train from the 
east in fifteen days reaches Heron Lake. 

February 18. Blizzard. I^ast eastern 
train reaches Heron Lake. 

February 22. Snow storm. 

March 1. Mild weather for two days. 

March 4. Fierce blizzard all day.^^ 

March 5. Fair weather, lasting five 
days. Sioux City road opened except be- 
tween St. James and Windom.'^ 

March 11. Terrible blizzard, lasting 
two days, coming from the east. Heaviest 
snowfall of the season. All railroads 
blockaded worse than ever. 

to some of God's creatures, fatally complete. 
The storm was one of miraculous warmth, and 
throughout its dreary prevalence the thermome- 
ter did not register below 20 degrees above sero. 

"During those three days the fall of snow 
was the heaviest ever known In this section 
of the state. It swooped down in vast clouds 
which fairly darkened the air and blanketed 
the level of the earth to a depth of nearly two 
feet. Drifts almost mountainous in size sprang 
up like mushrooms over fences and groves, 
stables and stacks, rail and wagon roads, com- 
pletely suspending all travel across the prairies. 

"On Monday [Febru'iry 7] a sudden halt was 
called on the elements, and then followed four 
days of warm pleasant weather, beautifted with 
occasional glimpses of Old Sol's smiling face, 
and the universal proohesy was that there had 
come a permanent 'let-up.' " — Republic. Feb- 
ruary 12. 1881. 

^•"Scores of prairie farmers are known to be 
without fuel, and the present storm will drive 
them to dire extren'Ities to protect their fami- 
lies from the cold. It is a bad — a terriWe — state 
of affairs and is made worse by the fact that 
it is Impossible to «end help to the needv." — 
Republic. February 12, 1881. 

""As we go to press on Fridav FMarch 4] 
the elements are actively 'engaged in getting 
up the biggest blizzard of the year. The air 
Is thick with snow and the wind is blowing a 
perfect gale. Of such things as these are bliz- 
zards made, and so well developed is this one 
that at times it Is impossible to see across 
the streets of the village, so dense are the 
clouds of snow." — Republic. March 5. 1881. 

^^'The depth of snow was very great. It was 
estimated that the average depth in the cuts 
on the Milwaukee ilne between Jackson and 
Fulda was ten feet. During the winter the 
Minneapolis Tribune printed letters from Heron 
I^ake correspondents, telling of the wonderful 
depth of snow. One said it would be impos- 
sible to give an idea of the appearance of the 
prairie country except by imagining that the 
ocean, when lashed by a terrible tempest. 



March 19. Milwaukee opened east of 

March 30. Sioux City line clear east 
of Worthington and first train in six weeks 
(lacking two days) reaches Heron Lake. 

March 31. Storm. Three hundred 
shovelers attack drifts on the Milwaukee. 

April 1. . Milwaukee road open. 

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

April 7. Fuel and food staples meager 
at Heron Lake. Reports only one train 
in five weeks. 

April 8. Snow. All railroads again 

April 11. More snow. 

April 12. North wind drifts snow and 
completely fills railroads. 

April 13. Thermometer registers zero. 
. April 16. Train reaches Heron Lake 
from the east. 

April 17. Sioux City road opened 
whole length. First freight train in elev- 
en weeks delivers freight at Heron Lake. 
Milwaukee road opens and freight is re- 
ceived at Jackson and Lakefield.'^ 

For a few days there was fairly regu- 
lar traffic on the railroads. Then came 
the floods, caused by the melting snow, 
and traffic was again suspended. For ten 
days not a train ran over the Sioux City 
& St. Paul road and it was May 2 before 
regular train service m as established. Near- 
Iv 1,000 feet of the Milwaukee track was 
swept away by Okabena creek, but the Des 

could be suddenly congealed — waves, breakers 
and flying spray — and held white and icy. The 
same writer said that a grove of trees near hl8 
place (the trees being nearly 26 feet high) was 
completely covered by a great snow drift, which 
was so heavily crusted that his children coastea 
down the drift and had high frolics over the 
buried trees. Another correspondent told of 
houses along the Des Moines river being buried 
in snow so that the occupants had to cut holes 
in the roof for ingress and egress. 

""Freight is plenty now. Merchants have 
been out of nearly all kinds of supplies. At one 
time they were out of oil, candles, sugar, soap 
and many more useful articles. It has been 
almost impossible to get meat." — Lakefleld Cor- 
respondent, April 23, 1881. 

Moines river bridge stood the test, and 
train service was established after a few 

The Des Moines river suddenly became 
a raging torrent, leaped out of its hankfi, 
and inundated and destroyed valuable 
property. The river began to rise Sun- 
day, April 17, and continued to increase 
in volume until Saturday, April 23, when 
it was 24 feet above low water mark — 
the highest point in its history. It left 
its channel to sweep over meadows and 
fields, covering with a terrific current 
nearly one-half the valley, and in some 
places lapping the very foothills a quarter 
of a mile from its former bed. 

The greatest damage was done in the 
village of Jackson. The 100-foot iron 
span bridge that had been erected two 
years before at a cost of $2,000 was brok- 
en from its mooring on the night of the 
21st bv the immense cakes of ice that were 
battered against it. It was reduced to a 
mass of broken timbers and bent steel, 
but was rescued and anchored in the south 
part of town. A wild waste of raging 
water lapped the very dooryards in the 
eastern part of the village. Several houses 
had to be vacated, and many barns were en- 
tirely flooded. Colman's lumber yard was 
in many places covered with eight feet of 
water, and hard work was done to save the 
stock. Paul's lumber yard was also dam- 
aged with water to some extent. On Sat- 
urday and Sunday Jackson had the ap- 
pearance of a lumbering camp. Thirty or 
more men were engaged at the bayou haul- 
ing out lumber and piling it on shore. 

Bridges at Brownsburg, Okabena and 
in Sioux Valley were carried away by 
the raging waters. Skinner's mill was al- 
so harmed to some extent. Otherwise the 
damage caused by the floods was not great; 
there were a few losses in Jackson, be- 
sides those mentioned, of a few hundred 
dollars each. 



An average crop was raised in 1881, 
and the farmers were placed in better con- 
dition that they had been, perhaps, at any 
previous time in tlie county's history. 
Prices ranged good and there was a mar- 
ket for everything raised. 

The last built railroad to touch Jack- 
son county soil was the Burlington, Ce- 
dar Rapids & Northern (now the Chicago, 
Kock Island & Pacific), which was builded 
from Spirit Lake to Worthington during 
the summer of 1882, the road reaching 
Worthington October T. The road passes 
through the extreme southwestern corner 
of the county, only about four miles being 
in Jackson county. 

There was a healthy increase in popu- 
lation during 1832. There was no rush, 
such as characterized the early seventies, 
but each week during the spring and sum- 
mer months witnessed the arrival of a few 
settlers. A county immigration associa- 
tion was formed in the spring, which set 
forth the advantages of the county in 
printed matter and resulted in bringing a 
few new settlers. The 1882 crops was a 
good one, and all parts of the county en- 
joyed prosperous times. Thirty-six hun- 
dred sexenty-six acres were sown to wheat 
that year, from which were harvested 46,- 
361 bushels, an average of twelve and two- 
thirds bushels per acre. Sixty-five hun- 
dred seventy-four acres were planted to 

Another death in the winter storms — 
the first since the fatalities of 1872 — oc- 
curred in Wisconsin township January 19, 
1883. The victim was Henry Curtis, an 
aged man who made his home with Mrs. 
Miles Lindsley. He was proceeding home 
from John K. Johnson's place, three-quar- 
ters of a mile distant, when he evidently- 
became fatigued, and, lying down to rest, 
was overcome by the cold and perished. 

Scores of land buyers visited Jackson 
county in the fall of 1883, and invested 

and became permanent residents. Crops 
were good. Com was slightly injured by 
an early frost, but small grain and vege- 
tables yielded abundantly. According to 
the official returns, the cereal acreage for 
1883 was as follows : Wheat, 5,009 ; corn, 
5,043; oats, 6,977; barley, 1,452; flax, 

In the whole history of Jackson county, 
up to the late nineties, there never was 
such a year for advancement as 1884. It 
was a jubilee year. Several causes added 
to the effect. Principal among them was 
the rapid settlement caused by throwing 
on the market the railroad lands and other 
lands withdrawn from settlement in 1866. 
There can be no doubt this boom would 
have occurred years before and the coun- 
ty become thickly settled and divided into 
small farms had these lands been available. 
The lands were placed on the market at a 
reasonable price, considering their eligible 
location and the richness of the soil. The 
Jackson Eepublic of August 15, 1884, 
told of the changed conditions: 

Land is no longer a drug in the market but 
is rapidly rising in value and .is passing from 
the ownership of the state and of railroad com- 
panies into the hands of hundreds of settlers; 
farms are no longer deserted, but new estates 
are being opened in every townsliip; people are 
not leaving — they are locating in this county 
daily and by the score: big crops are the result 
of better farming by encouraged farmers; 
thousands of cattle and sheep graze on the 
prairies, and nearly every farmer yearly sells 
enough fat stock of some kind to give him 
plenty of cash; mortgages are being lifted from 
the farm and new houses and barns built there- 
on; creameries and hay presses are returning 
splendid profits to the farmers from sources 
which have hitherto yielded them little or noth- 
ing; beautiful groves surround their homes and 
diversify the surface of a once unbroken prairie. 

The rush for the newly opened I^nds 
of Jackson county began early in the 
spring, the buyers spreading out into every 
township. Go whore one miglit, one found 
farms, once deserted on account of misfor- 
tunes, showing fresh furrows, found smoke 
arising from chimneys of new houses, 


found landseekers spying out choice pieces Acre«. 

» , , „. _- ,, , , . , . , Internal Improvement lands sold 30,786 

of land. Sioux Valiey township, which school lands sold 9,268 

had been one of the least densely popula- Ji"*^ entries government lands. 4,085 

*^ ^ ^ St. Paul & Chicago Ry. lands deeded 80 

ted townships, was especially fortunate in Southern Minnesota Ry. lands deeded.. 2,681 

serurinff settlers- the townshin hepftme ^^' ^*"^ *' ^'^'"^ ^^^ ^^- ^^"^* deeded. .21.324 

securing semers, tne townsnip oecame ^-^^^ ^.^y ^ ^^ p^^^, ^^ j^^^^ deeded. . 104 

rapidly settled with progressive German Southern Minnesota Ry. contracted lands 1,680 

. .,. ,, ,.,,, * 11 1 1 T St. Paul & Chicago contracted lands 40 

families. Very little of the land passed 

into the hands of speculators ; nearly all Total 70,048 

buyers were farmers who at once took pos- The results of prosperous times were 

session and made improvements. As a seen in building improvements in all parts 

writer of the time expressed it : "The of the county and in the prompt payment 

growth of Jackson county this year is of debts. The farmers w^re at last finniy 

based upon the healthful pulsations of nat- on their feet, and the high road to wealth 

ural and genuine merit and appreciated re- ^vas lienceforth open. The recovery from 

.sources. It is a hearty bloom of vigorous ^^e grasshopper scourge was almost com- 

youth, not a feverish bloom of fickle spec- P'*^'*^- !» December, 1884, the Jackson 

ulation. It has come to stay." Republic said of the progress during the 

Adding to the prevailing prosperity twelve-month just closing: "The year 

was an enormous crop, which commanded ^^^^ '' ^y'""^' ^* '^ P^^^ ^^'^^^ '^^°^^^ 

1 . . Tx 1. 1 7 X J XI. X aDtl beloved by the people of Jackson 

a big price. It had been found that ex- ^ t^ i . i i x, 

, . 1 . # . 13 .in countv. It has brought them more peace, 

elusive wheat farming could not be de- ^ ., ^ , . ,» / 

, , , " , , . , prospentv and happiness than any cvcle 

pended upon, ana larmers had turned • ., * . • j » 

\ , , since the county was organized." 

their attention largely to the raising of x r i .o^. ., . . 

n , 1 T X / T^i .1 In ''uly, 1884, came the promise of an- 

flax, hav and livestock. Flax growing be- ,, .; ^ „., . ii t o ^r- 

...... ^ . other railroad. This was the Iowa & Mm- 

came one of the big industries, and it x xr xi u- u ^ x u -u 

'^ ' nesota Northern, which agreed to build a 

yielded a big profit in this year of jubilee. ^^,^^ ^^^^ ^^,,,^ ^^^-^^^ -^ ^^^^^^^^ j^^^ ^^ 
Hay also ruled high in price, and large the village of Jackson. Secretarv Hub- 
quantities were put u]). Hundreds of car bel, of the I. & M. X., stated on behalf of 
loads of flax, hay and livestock were ex- tlie corporation that Ihc road would be 
ported during the year.^* built provided the townships of Peters- 
The rush of landseekers continued dur- burg, Middletown, T)o^ IVEoines and Wis- 
ing the fall months, and the land agents consin would vote the company a bonus of 
were kept busy until winter piloting pros- fiyQ per cent of ihcir asi^essed valuation for 
pective buyers over the county.^' Over 1883, less the amount of their indebted- 
70,000 acres of land, equivalent to more ^^s. Tiiis would make the amount each 
than three full townships, were put on ^^<^"'^^ ^^^'^ ^^ furnish as follows: Peters- 
the tax rolls for the first time in 1884. ^"^^' $3,000; Middletown, $4,000; Des 
The 70,000 acres of added lands were di- koines, $9,200 ; Wisconsin, $4,000. Elec- 
vided as follows: tions were held and the bonds voted in 

three of the townships. In Des Moines 

"The acreage sown in 1884 was as follows: fUp hnnrk farripd 05 in t\ • in Middlpfown 

Wheat. 4.815: corn. 3.848; oats. 8,546; barley. l»e DOnciS carriCU, JO to .) , in iVllQCUeiOWn, 

2.351; flax. 7.241. 22 to 6 ; in Petersburg, 13 to 9 ; while thev 

crTiJrg?1?l^?s 2f SacS coSX ilnd.'Ind were defeated in Wisconsin, 26 to 35. For 

ISr'ou^i^hYs a\'ent'G.^?^.'A^U^^^^^^ ^" *^*" lack of capital or some other reason, the 



company failed to carry out its plans, and 
nothing more was heard of the road. 

The year 1885 was noted for its im- 
provements. Those who had purchased 
land in the fall of 1884 built their houses 
and began farming the next spring. A 
good crop was raised, adding to the finan- 
cial standing of Jackson county farmers. 
The crop statistics for the year were as 
follows : 











15 85 
38 40 
26 03 
12 72 








The population in 1885 was 6,110, a 
gain of 1,304 in five years. By precincts 
the population was as follows: 

Alba 136 

Belmont 419 

Christiania 485 

Delafield 401 

Des Moines 348 

Enterprise 163 

Ewington 61 

Heron Lake 440 

Heron Lake Village 280 

Hunter 216 

Jackson 608 

Kimball *. 295 

LaCrosse 374 

Middletown 281 

Minneota 138 

Petersburg 358 

Round Lake 153 

Rost 171 

Sioux Valley 208 

Weimer 278 

West Heron Lake 96 

Wisconsin 201 

Total 6,110 

Prosperous times continued during the 
first half of 1886. During the spring 
months many new settlers came and 
bought Jackson county farms, the western 
part of the county receiving the bulk of 

the immigration. The Minnesota Citizen 
(Lakefield) said on March 26, 1886: 

More settlers are coming in this spring than 
any two before. It seems that almost every 
freight train brings from two to three car loads 
of goods. And the new arrivals are the very 
best farmers. A goodly number of them are 
from Illinois, and they are bringing with them 
good teams, farming implements and consider- 
able money. Load after load of lumber is be- 
ing hauled from this place this spring, and the 
building boom is lively. 

The county received a set-back that 
fall — the first in a number of years. Ow- 
ing to a drought only about a half crop 
was raised. Not since the grasshopper 
days had the cry of hard times been so 
general. In addition to the crop failure, 
what was raised had to be offered on a low 
market. The cattle and hog market was 
also ruinously low. 

The first contest for the removal of 
the county seat from Jackson to Lakefield 
— the beginning of a twenty years contest 
for county seat honors — come in 1886. It 
was the forerunner of some of the most 
bitter contests ever waged for county seat 
removal in Minnesota, contests which en- 
gendered ill feeling between the people 
of the two towns interested and caused 
a division between the east and west ends 
of the county in many things. 

Prior to 1885 there had been no satis- 
factory county seat removal law on the 
Minnesota statute books. That year, on 
March 5, the legislature passed an act 
providing that when a majority of the 
freeholders who were legal voters and res- 
ident of a county should present to the 
county commissioners a petition asking 
for a change in the location of the county 
seat it became the duty of the county 
board to submit the question at the next 
general election. If a majority of all 
electors voting cast their ballots for re- 
moval, the county seat should be moved. 
If the question of removal was not decid- 
ed in the affirmative, the question could 
not be voted upon again for five years, and 



if the question should once be decided neg- 
atively it required a three-fifths vote to 
accomplish a removal at any subsequent 

Soon after the passage of this bill the 
people of Lakefield began to agitate the 
matter of removal to their town. During 
the early eighties the bulk of the immigra- 
tion had been to the western part of the 
county, and Lakefield, situated almost in 
the exact center of the county, had grown 


to be a vijlage of considerable importance. 
The first mention in the press of a pos- 
sible attempt being made to remove the 
county seat was made on July 31, 1885, 
when a writer signing himself "Brutus" 
published an article in the Minnesota Citi- 
zen (Lakefield), calling upon the people 
of the north and west parts of the county 
to bestir themselves in an attempt to se- 
cure the county seat for Lakefield under 
the provisions of the new law. Among 
other things, ^^rutus" said : 

Now, you that are interested in Lakefield 
want to go to Work and organize a society to 
put this thing through, make arrangements 
with your heavy landowners to secure the coun- 
ty from loss on buildings, have the fool- killer 
to operate on anyone who proposes an under- 
hand measure of any kind. Meet sophistry and 
cries of delay with sound reasoning and patient 
but determined explanation; in due time, when 
the question has been thoroughly discussed and 
understood, circulate your petitions and pre- 
sent them to the commissioners at their meet- 
ing next January, showing such a majority in 
favor of the change that the matter is prac- 
tically settled at once. 


From the very earliest days, until the 
eighties, Jackson had been the county's 
center of population and business life. 
On its townsite the first settlement had 
been made, and for years practically all 
the settled portions of Jackson county 
were in close proximity to that village. 
While in later years the bulk of the set- 
tlement had been made in other portions 
of the county, Jackson continued to hold 
the position of leading town in the county. 
Therefore, when removal agitation was 

begun the people of Jackson did not be- 
come much alarmed. The Republic treat- 
ed the matter in a spirit of levity and said 
(July 31, 1885) : 

The Lakefield Citizen, it is reported, will 
come out this week with a vigorous fight in its 
coliunns for the removal of the <?ounty seat, and 
about 1,000 copies will be circulated throughout 
the county. If this is true, the Citizen is cruel 
beyond expression of words. What are the 
sweltering Jacksonites down in this breathless 
valley going to do with a county seat fight on 
their hands and the thermometer 100 in the 
shade? Be merciful. Brother Seely. 

Formal action was not taken until the 
spring of 1886. On February 20 a meet- 
ing was held at Lakefield, at which it was 
decided to try for the honor. On. March 
9 the townships of Hunter and Heron 
Lake, in which the then unincorporated 
village of Lakefield was located, each voted 
to issue and donate $1,000 bonds to aid in 
the construction of a court house at Lake- 
field, the same proposition being lost in 
Rost township by a vote of 17 to 10. The 
Citizen of March 12 reported that the 
owner of the Lakefield townsite offered to 
donate $3,000 for the same purpose and 
that other citizens of the village would 
give $1,500. 

During the month qf May petitions 
were circulated, asking that the county 
commissioners submit the question of the 
removal of the county seat at the general 
election on November 2, 1886. The pe- 
tition received 604 signatures, and it was 
presented to the board of county commis- 
sioners Julv 27. Two davs later the com- 
missioners considered the petition. A pe- 
tition asking that the board do not take 
favorable action was presented, and John 
K. Brown, of Jackson, presented a writ- 
ten objection to having the petition filed 
with the county auditor — a necessary step 
if the question were to be submitted at the 
November election. The commissioners, 
by a vote of three to two, decided to de- 
liver the petition to the county auditor for 



publication. Those who voted in the aflEirm- 
ative were Christian Lewis, J. G. Fod- 
nes and A. E. Kilen ; those in the negative, 
J. W. Cowing and John Baldwin. The 
last two named explained their reasons 
for so voting as follows: That no proof 
had been produced to show that the peti- 
tion had been signed by a majority of the 
county's freeholders who were legal voters. 

The filing of the petition did not close 
the question, however, and the matter was 
again taken up in September. The Jack- 
son people decided to contest the petition 
before the board of county commissioners 
and prevent the question from coming to 
a vote, using the argument that many of 
the signers were men who were not free- 
holders, but men who held land under 
contract; that as a matter of fact the pe- 
tition did not contain the names of a ma- 
jority of the freeholders, as the law pro- 
vided. For three days of the week ending 
September 24 there was a lively discus- 
sion before the county board. Attorney T. 
J. Knox appeared for the Jackson people 
and analyzed the weak points of the pe- 
tition. Attorney Betzer appeared for Lake- 
field in defense of the petition.. The situ- 
ation was complicated by the resignation 
of Commissioner A. E. Kilen. H. C. 
Sether was appointed to the vacancy, and 
an adjournment taken to September 38. 

On the 28th the commissioners decided 
that the petition did not comply with the 
law, in that it was foimd that only 330 
freeholders who were legal voters had 
signed the petition, while 433 had not 
signed. On the final vote Commissioners 
Lewis and Fodnes voted to have the ques- 
tion submitted, while Commissioners Cow- 
ing, Baldwin and Sether voted not to 
submit it at the general election.^** 

'^The official proceedings of the board for 
September 28 are as follows: 

"4:30 p. m. Moved by Mr. Lewis and second- 
ed by Mr. Fodnes that the board now proceed 
to count the names of the legal voters and 
freeholders on the list for and against the re- 
moval of the county 'seat. • 

Not much of historical importance oc- 
curred in the county during the late eight- 
ies. The people were blessed with good 
crops, and prosperous times resulted. A 
few new settlers anived each year, new 
farms were put under cultivation, and 
the country otherwise improved. 

One event that should be recorded for 
this period was another — and the last — 
severe blizzard. In the history of the 
northwest there have been a few winter 
storms of such unnatural severity that 
they stand out as events of historical im- 
portance. The most severe of these awful 
storms was the blizzard of January 7, 8 
and 9, 1873, an account of which has been 
given. Eanking second was the terrible 
blizzard of January 12, 1888, when scores 
of people perished in Minnesota and the 
Dakotas. Fortunately, there wus no less 
of life in Jackson county, although sev- 
eral were caught in the storm. The Lake- 
field Standard of January 19, 1888, told 
of the blizzard : 

Thursday of last week [January 12] one of 
the worst snow storms known for years raged 
over the entire northwest. All day long there 
was a heavy snow-fall and a mild wind from 
the south. In the evening the wind suddenly 
changed to the northwest, and the temperature 
grew colder. The air seemed filled with all 
the snow banks of the country and it was not 
safe to venture out of doors, as objects could 

"The motion was lost. 

"8 p. m. All present. 

"Two petitions, containing the names and 
sigrnatures of 26 freeholders who had sigmed 
the petition for the removal of the county seat 
from Jackson to Lakefleld, were presented, 
withdrawing the names of said 26 freeholders 
from said petition for all purposes whatever. 
Said petitions, after t>einfir presented, were tak- 
en by the attorney representing: Lakefleld and 
subsequently lost. All parties admit that such 
petitions were so presented and contained the 
names of such number of freeholders withdraw- 
ing their names I'rom s.iid petition for the re- 
moval of said county seat. 

"The board then proceeded to count the 
names on the lists of freeholders and legal 
voters within the county for and against the 
petition to remove the county seat from Jack- 
son to Lakefleld and found that 330 legal vot- 
ers and freeholders had signed the petition for 
the removal and 433 who had not signed said 

"It was moved by Mr. Lewis and seconded 
by Mr. Fodnes that the question of the removal 
of the county seat fronv Jackson to Lakefleld be 
submitted to the ""oters of Jackson county at 
the next general election, November 2, 1886. 

"The motion was lost." 



not be distinguished twenty feet away. 

Jackson county, so far as heard 
from, escaped luckily, as no human lives have 
been reported lost. A number of farmers were 
overtaken on the prairie by the storm but es- 
caped alive. 

The county seat removal question was 
not again opened during the late eighties, 
but preparations were made to take up 
the fight again at some future time. The 
legislature on April 13, 1889, passed a law 
authorizing the townships of Heron Lake 
and Hunter to issue bonds, in sums not 
exceeding five per cent of the assessed 
valuation, for the purpose of raising funds 
to apply on the erection of a court house 
at the point the voters of the county might 
select as the location for the county seat.^" 
As the people of Heron Lake and Hunter 
townships had no intention of furnishing 
money to build a court house at Jackson 
— where the county seat remained — the 
bonds were not issued. 

The federal census of 1890 gave Jack- 
son county a population of 8,924. This 
was a gain of 2,814 in five years, the larg- 
est gain in numbers during any previous 
five year period. Prosperous times con- 
tinued during the first few years of the 
decade beginning with 1890. Good crops 
were raised, and many new settlers from 
the middle states came to Jackson coun- 
ty to purchase the comparatively cheap 
lands. Said the Jackson Republic of Au- 
gust 14, 1891 : 

A little inquiry among the real estate men 
develops the fact that the outlook for Jackson 
county was never brighter than at the present 
time. The bountiful crops have attracted the 
attention of eastern people, and the demand for 
wild land is unprecedented. The greater por- 
tion of this land is being sold to newcomers 
for actual settlement next spring and the bal- 
ance is taken by resident farmers who desire 
to increase the size of their farms —a sure in- 

"A proviso of the law was as follows: 
"Said board of supervisors shall not put such 
bonds upon the market, nor sell any part there- 
of, until the site of said court house Is legally 
established at the location designated in such 
petition. And if said court house site be not 
established at such place within two years after 
such bonds are voted such bonds shall become 
null and void and shall be cancelled by such 

dication of prosperity. . Register Bald- 

win says the number of transfers is increasing 
rapidly, while the number of mortgages filed 
shows a healthy decrease. 

There was a slight ripple in county 
seat removal matters during the winter 
of 1892-93. In Nobles county the village 
of Adrian was tr}'ing to wrest the county 
seat from Worthington, when someone de- 
veloped a plan to settle the matter in both 
Nobles and Jackson counties. The plan 
was to form three counties from the two, 
with Jackson, Worthington and Adrian 
as the county seats. That would have giv- 
en both Nobles county towns county seat 
honors, and, by taking part of western 
Jackson county for the new county, it 
would undoubtedly have given Jackson 
such an advantage that the question of 
removal to Lakefield would never have 
been brought up again. Nobles x?ounty 
people seriously discussed the question of 
taking such a proposition to. the legisla- 
ture of 1893, but Jackson county people 
never seriouslv cons^idered the matter, and 
the project "died a bornin'." 

An event of the year 1893 was a cy- 
clone which visited the county on the even- 
ing of Wednesday, July 5, and which re- 
sulted in the destruction of many thou- 
sand dollars' worth of property. The 
principal damage was in the villages of 
Heron Lake and Lakefield and in the 
townships of Heron Lake, West Heron 
T^ke and Hunter. Barns, outhouses, 
fences, chimneys and, in some instances, 
houses were demolished by the fury of the 

In the summer of 1893 came the mem- 
orable panic, followed by a few years of 
hard times. Business was for a time para- 
lyzed, several business houses failed, and 
a period of depression followed, which 
was not entirelv broken until the latter 
part of the nineties. But this period of 
hard times was not so keenly felt in Jack- 
son county as it was in many of the less 








favored portions of the country. The panic 
was preceded by a decade of flourishing 
times. Nearly all had prospered and were 
in a position to weather the financial crash 
and its resultant period of depression. 

The second contest for the removal of 
the countv seat to Lakefield came in the 
spring of 1894. The Minnesota county 
seat removal law at that time (as it does 
now) provided that the petition for re- 
moval must contain the signatures of at 
least sixty per cent of the number of elec- 
tors voting at the last preceding general 
election; that if the board of county 
commissioners found that the required 
number of signatures had been obtained 
they should call a special election to vote 
upon the question; that if fifty-five per 
cent of the voters at such special election 
should declare in favor of removal, the 
county seat should be changed. Ever 
since the contest of eight years before the 
people of Lakefield had been making prep- 
arations and laying their plans for renew- 
ing the conflict when the conditions were 
propititious. They believed the time had 
come in 1894. 

The opening gun was fired in February, 
when a number of prominent citizens of 
lakefield and vicinity issued a call for a 
mass meeting to decide upon the advisa- 
bility of reopening the conflict. The meet- 
ing was held at Lakelield February 24, at 
which time it was unanimously decided 
to proceed. The following were chosen 
an executive committee to have charge of 
the campaign : N. J. Scott, John Freder- 
ickson, H. J. Hollister, M. R. Cluss, C. 
Young, William Searles, George Sawyer, 
C. Gove, John Crawford and C. Trade- 
well. In a platform adopted it was stat- 
ed that the removal forces intended to 
conduct a clean and honorable campaign 
and on the merits of the issue. The of- 
ficial notice to circulate the petition was 
drawn up on February 24 and signed by 

John Crawford, N. J. Scott and W. A. 

The work of circulating the petition 
was begun on March 12, and on the' 27th 
the petition, containing the signatures of 
1,431 voters, was filed with the county au- 
ditor. The board of county commission- 
ers, composed of Henry Thielvoldt, J. W. 
Cowing, H. K. Eue, George Erbes and 
Thomas Chesterson, met in special ses- 
sion April 16 to determine the standing 
of the petition. No united effort was made 
by the people of Jackson to secure with- 
drawals from the petition or to fight the 
instrument at this meeting of the board, 
although W. B. Sketch, of Jackson, filed 
objections to each and every affidavit con- 
tained in the petition, maintaining that 
there was no evidence that the names on 
the petition c6nstituted sixty per cent of 
the legal voters at the last general election, 
or that the notices of publication had been 
legally published. On the seventeenth the 
board took favorable action and issued 
the necessary certificate, calling the elec- 
tion for May 15. 

So soon as the action was taken that 
made an election certain, the people of 
Lakefield opened the campaign with a 
clever piece of work — the building of a 
court house at Lakefield. A special meet- 
ing of the Lakefield village council was 
held on the evening of April 17, when it 
was decided to build at once a city hall 
of brick and stone, the free use of which 
should be given to Jackson county for 
court house purposes in the event of the 
removal of the county seat. Lots one and 
two, in block five, were purchased for a 
site. Architect Thayer, of Mankato, was 
telegraphed for, and he arrived on the 
evening of the 18th. Plans for a build- 
ing, 50x60 feet, 30 feet high, were drawn, 
and the contract, calling for the comple- 
tion of the building by May 10, was made 
with A. W. Schweppe & Company, of St. 




James. Construction was begun on the 
morning of the 19th, and it was rufihed to 
completion. After tlie work was started 
a special village election was held and 
bonds to the amount of $8,000 were vot- 
ed to pay for the building. This struc- 
ture, much praised, much maligned, play- 
ed an important part in the history of 
Jackson county. With the possible ex- 
ception of the old court house, it is the 
most thoroughly discussed building ever 
erected in the county. 

That the offer of this building for court 
house purposes should be known to be 
made in good faith, a quit claim deed to 
the lots upon which the building was be- 
ing erected was given to H. J. Hollister, 
G. G. Sawyer and N. J. Scott, and these 
gentlemen executed a bond and signed a 
lease to the board of county commission- 
ers, binding themselves to provide the 
Lakefield court house for county purposes 
for a term of ten years for a nominal ren- 
tal price of one dollar per year. The ma- 
jority of the board of county commission- 
ers agreed to accept the lease in case the 
county seat was moved. The offer of this 
building doubtless won many votes for 
Lakefield in the election. One of the prin- 
cipal arguments of Jackson had been that 
removal would necessarily cause the ex- 
penditure of considerable money to build 
a court house. 

The campaign which followed was an 
exciting one and very close. When the 
votes were counted on the evening of May 
15, it was found that Jackson was the 
victor by forty votes. The total vote was 
2,803, of which Lakefield received 1,502 
and Jackson 1,301. To have won. Lake- 
field must have received 1,542, or fifty- 
five per cent of the total vote. The vote 
by precincts was as follows: 




































Des Moines 



Heron Lake Townshin 








Round Lake 

Sioux Valley 


West Huron Lake 




Heron Lake Villacre 





CURRENT EVENTS— 1895-1910. 

THE progress of a community is re- 
flected to a considerable extent in 
its census returns.. That Jack- 
son county's progress had been steady is 
attested by the fact that from 18G0, when 
enumerators found inhabitants in Jack- 
son county for the first time, up to the 
present time, each five year census had 
shown a gain in population. The great- 
est increase during any of these five year 
periods occurred from 1890 to 1895. Ac- 
cording to the state census for the last 
mentioned year, the population of Jack- 
son countv was 12,324. This was an in- 
crease of 3,400 in fiv(} years. During the 
decade the county had more than doubled 
in population. Divided by precincts the 

population of 1895 was as follows: 

Alba 308 

Belmont 680 

Christiania «2« 

Delafield 279 

Des Moines 605 

Enterprise 463 

Ewington 395 

Heron Lake Township 608 

Heron Lake Village 646 

Hunter 452 

Jackson 1 ,356 

Kimball 501 

LaCrosse 510 

Lakefield 519 

Middletown 553 

Minneota 431 

Petersburg 659 

Rost 400 

Round Lake 457 

Sioux Valley 496 

Weimer 391 

West Heron Lake 258 

Wilder 252 

Wisconsin 476 

Total 12,324 

Considerable railroad history was made 
in Jackson county during 1895 and 1896, 
but no railroads were built. For many 
years the people of the county had tried 
to secure the building of a north and 
south road; they had approached every 
company in the country to the south — 
both those with lines of railroad and those 
without; they had offered inducements to 
company after company, but none was 
found who would build into the Milwau- 
kee territory. Finally, several capitalists 
of Jackson formed a company and obtain- 
ed a charter with tlie hope of some day 
being able to make arrangements to build 
a north and south road. The proposed 
road was named the Jackson Southern. 

In 1895 the promoters decided to un- 
dertake the work of building the first sec- 
tion, from Jackson south to some point on 
the Burlington. Several of the precincts 
in the southwest corner of the county, 
which would be most benefited, were ask- 
ed to issue bonds to aid the work, and on 
October 8 the following voted bonds: Des 
Moines, $8,000; Wisconsin, $8,000; Mid- 
dletown, $9,000; Jackson, $11,000. Bonds 
did not carry in Petersburg, which was 




asked to give $9,000. A meeting of the 
stockholders was held October 11, when 
preliminary arrangements for securing 
right-of-way and commencing grading 
were made. Another meeting was held 
at Jackson October 19, which was report- 
ed bv the Jackson County Pilot as fol- 
lows : 

On last Saturday, October 19, the board of 
directors of the Jackson Southern railroad held 
an important session in this city. Among those 
present were Messrs. J. K. Brown, E. E. Car- 
penter, Alexander Fiddes, P. H. Berge, J. W. 
Cowing, T. J. Knox, of Jackson; J. J. Bell, of 
Des Moines, Iowa; and Malcolm Johnson, of 
Galveston, Texas. 

Among other important business transacted, 
an assessment of ten per cent was made on the 
stockholders, which it is presumed will meet 
with a hearty response, as it is necessary to 
have funds to carry on the work. Arrange- 
ments were also perfected for building the road, 
work on which has already begun, and dirt 
will be flying along the line by next week. 

The company has made arrangements to 
push the work to completion at as early a date 
as possible, and if December shall be an open 
month, like last year, the iron horse will neigh 
upon the suburbs of Jackson before the dawn- 
ing of the new year. 

The road will not prove so great a blessing 
to Petersburg township as it would have done 
had the bond proposition carried in that town. 
It is the intention of the company to locate a 
station in Middletown and build up a little 
village there. This will certainly prove a boon 
to the farmers of Middletown and will amply 
repay them for the aid voted. 

Before the close of October a large part 
of the right-of-way had" been secured and 
surveyors had run the line. Early in No- 
vember the contract for grading five of 
the eight miles between Jackson and the 
state line was let, and by the middle of 
the month a large force of graders was at 
work. The winter was an open one, and 
the making of the roadbed was continued 
nearly all winter, and most of the heavy 
grading was completed. The company 
was handicapped for lack of funds, but 
early in ^larch, 1896, \ contract for the 
sale of $25,000 worth of the township 
bonds was made, and the work was con- 
tinued. In May the grading was com- 
pleted, and the next month tracklaying 

was begun. Then, suddenly, the work 
ceased; lack of paid-up capital was re- 
sponsible for the failure. 

On the evening of Friday, August 19, 
1898, the county was visited by a destruc- 
tive wind storm, which resulted in two 
deaths and destruction to property to the 
value of $100,000. The storm came from 
the north and did its first damage in the 
village of Wilder. There the roof of the 
main building of Breck college was blown 
ofl', the church and Woodman's hall were 
demolished, and D. L. Rilev's lumber 
shed was wriecked, as well as several other 
buildings damaged. 

The storm then lifted, going over Dela- 
field and Heron Lake townships, but 
dropped down again at Lakefield. There 
the Jackson County State Bank building 
was partially unroofed, the Norwegian 
Lutheran church was moved from its 
foundation and wrecked beyond repair, 
William Searles' brick store building was 
struck by lightning and damaged, Charles 
Kelson's house was completely demolished, 
many outhouses and barns were blown 
down. iVt Okabena a box car was blown 
from a sidetrack onto the main line and 
thence eastward on the main line of the 
Milwaukee eleven miles. The wind then 
seemed to change to the opposite direction, 
for the car was blown back the same dis- 
tance, without any damage whatever hav- 
ing been done it. 

From Lakefield the storm proceeded 
south through Hunter and ^linneota 
townships. Much damage was done along 
its course through those precincts, some 
farms being swept entirely clear of build- 
ings. In Minneota the tornado turned 
east, at right angles. Nearly every bit of 
property along the coui-se of the storm in 
Middletown was destroyed. In Petersburg 
the damage also was great, and in that 
township occurred the deaths. The vic- 
tims were Mr. and Mrs. Herman Eggen- 



stein, who were temporarily living in the 
upper part of their barn, their house be- 
ing under construction. The barn was 
completely blown to pieces, and Mr. and 
Mrs. Eggenstein were killed instantly. 
Xeighboring counties suffered some loss 
as a result of the storm, hut its main 
strength seems to have been expended in 
Jackson county. 

After the hard times period following 
the panic of 1893, Jackson county en- 
tered upon a prosperous era — the most 
prosperous in its whole history, before or 
since. During the years 1897 to 190'^, in- 
clusive, excellent crops were the rule, and 
hundreds of new settlers came to share 
in the bounteous times. Land values 
jumped several hundred per cent ; fann 
lands that had sold for $10 to $20 per 
acre advanced to $35 to $100 per acre. It 
was a time of unprecedented prosperity, 
and continued until the disastrous vear 

The census of 1900 showed the countv 
to have a population of 14,793, divided 
among the several precincts as follows: 

Alba 411 

Alpha 209 

Belmont 714 

Giristiania 560 

Delafteld 453 

Des Moines 688 

Enterprise 520 

Ewington 478 

Heron I^ke Township 589 

Heron liake Village 928 

Hunter 572 

Jaekson 1 ,756 

KimbaU 597 

I^CrosHe 517 

Lakefteld 862 

Middletown 570 

Minneota 506 

Petersburg 773 

Rost 491 

Round Lake 513 

Sioux Valley 593 

Weimer 419 

West Heron Lake 375 

Wilder 174 

Wisconsin 525 

Total 14,793 

The third struggle for the possession 

of the county seat of Jackson county 
came in 1900. The five years which the 
law provided should intervene between 
elections for the removal of countv seats 
had then passed, and the people of Lake- 
field and their friends in the western and 
northern parts of the county believed they 
stood an excellent show of securing the 
removal from Jacks<m, basing their be- 
lief on tlie fact that l>akefield was located 
in almost tlie exact center of the county, 
while Jackson was far from the g(K)graph- 
ical center and no longer could claim 
to be the center of population.^ 

Early in the spring some preliminary 
work was done in the way of finding out 
the sentiment of the people, and on Wed- 
nesday evening, April 4, the business men 
of Lakefield met and formallv started the 
contest. The next dav a committee com- 


posed of H. J. Hollister, ^I. H. Evans 
and E. T. Smith gave notice that the peti- 
tion for removal would be circulated on 
April 23. This was published officially 
April 7, and the contest was started. On 
April 10 the people of Jackson, represent- 
ed by T. J. Knox, Alexander Fiddes, 
Xiel/ Handevitt, J. C. Edlin, R. S. Rob- 
ertson, B. \V. Ashlev, G. G. Arentson, C. 
Tichacek and ^I. B. Hutchinson, gave no- 
tice that thev would contest the removal, 

ft "^ 

this notice being jniblished April 13. 

For a month the Lakefield workers can- 
vassed the county securing signatures to 
the petition and were very successful. On 
Tuesday, ^lay 22, the petition was filed 
with the countv auditor. It contained 
1,G48 names- — 321 more than the number 
required to bring the question to a vote.- 
Xotice was at once given of a special ses- 

*The center of population at the time was 
on the northwest quarter of section two. .Hunt- 
er township. The census of 1900 showed that 
there were 7.118 people In the north half of 
the county and 7,675 In the south half. In the 
two western tiers of townships the population 
was 4.725: In the two eastern tiers. 6.912; In 
the middle tier. 3.156. 

^The total vote In 1898 was 2,211. and sixty 
per cent of that was 1,327 — the number requir- 
ed by law. 



sion of the county board to be held June 
11, to take action in the matter of the 

When the commissioners met, W. B. 
Sketch, of Jackson, filed a written objec- 
tion to the consideration of the petition 
on the ground that the notice of intention 
to circulate petition was not in the form 
required by law. He filed further objec- 
tion on the ground that Commissioner 
Crawford was disqualified from sitting as 
a member of the board of county commis- 
sioners; also on the ground of bribery 
having been offered by the village of Lake- 
field; also that County Attorney E. T. 
Smith was disqualified from acting as 
legal advisor to the board on account of 
being directly interested in the removal 
of the county seat. The commissioners 
decided that they had jurisdiction, and, 
after having stricken three names from 
the petition, they held that the required 
number of signatures had been obtained 
and that it was in accordance with the 
law. The proper certificate was made and 
filed, and July 10 was named as the date 
for holding the election. 

The campaign which ensued was spirit- 
ed. Workers for both towns canvassed 
the county thoroughly. Ill feeling de- 
veloped between the two communities, and 
mud slinging was not barred; in many 
instances personal abuse was used in place 
of argument. Again the people of Lake- 
field offered their public building to the 
county for a rental price of one dollar 
per year, providing the people voted them 
the county seat. A bond in the sum of 
$30,000 guaranteeing this was executed 
Julv 3.» 

Jackson was again successful at the 
polls, winning by the narrow margin of 

•The makers of the bond were M. H. Evans, 
John Frederick son, William Searles, J. W. 
Daubney, H. J. HoUlster. Thomas Crawford, C. 
M. Gage. G. W. Curtlss. A. F. Hanf. Adolph 
Bettin, G. H. Wood, George Britsch. C. S. Beall, 
S. Searles, W. F. TImm, D. L. Riley, F. L. 
T^onard. H. A. Rhodes. A. A, Fosness and Wil- 
liam Kauder. 

twenty-seven votes. The total vote count- 
ed was 3,558,* of which Lakefield received 
1,930 and Jackson 1,628. To have won 
Lakefield must have received 1,957 votes 
— the 55 per cent of the total vote. Fol- 
lowing is the result by precincts : 






Des Moines 



Heron Lake Township ... 


Kimball . 





Round Lake 

Sioux Valley 


West Heron Lake 




Heron Lake Village 




















































A celebration in honor of the victory 
was held at Jackson on July 14, when 
the exercises were held in a downpour of 
rain. Fifteen hundred visitors were pres- 
ent to assist in the jollification. 

Tiie vote had been so close that the 
people of Lakefield decided to take the 
matter into the courts, and on August 10 
notice of a contest was served on the board 
of county commissioners. It was alleged 
on the part of Lakefield that the form of 
ballot used was misleading and did mis- 
lead voters, that voters were required to 
vote the Australian system when the law 
did not provide for so voting, that sey- 

*The total number of ballots cast was 3.579. 
but several were Improperly marked, so that 
only 3.658 were counted. If the per cent should 
be figured from the total number of ballots put 
in the ballot box. L»akefleld was short thirty* 
elg^ht VQtes of winning. 



eral electors were kept from voting be- 
cause of threats and intimidations, that in 
Middletown township voters were allowed 
to take ballots away from the polling 
place before voting, that in some precincts 
the judges counted fewer votes for Lake- 
field than had been cast for that town, 
that money was paid certain specified per- 
sons for voting against removal. A re- 
count was demanded, and the people of 
Lakefield asked the court to declare the 
election void if it was found that fraud 
liad been practiced. 

In their answer to the charges the peo- 
]ile of Jackson, hy M. B. Hutchinson, filed 
in x\ugu8t, denied all the charges and al- 
leged irregularity and fraud on the part 
of the people of Lakefield. 

The case came to trial in the district 
court before Judge James H. Quinn on 
November 27. Attorneys George W. Wil- 
son and H. G. Latourell appeared for 
Lakefield and Attomevs T. J. Knox and 
George W. Somerville for Jackson. A few 
witnesses were examined, and the case 
was submitted by briefs. 

In his decision dated January 30, 1901, 
Judge Quinn dismissed the proceedings 
and said: 

Upon the trial no evidence was offered in 
support of the allegations contained in the no- 
tice of contest or answer of the contestee as to 
fraud. bri)>ery or other misconduct upon the 
l>art of the electors or others interested in 
said election. But the contestant urges that 
the election in question is void, for the reason 
that the ballot used was not such a ballot as 
the law provides shall be used in case of a re- 
moval of a county seat; that the Australian 
system is not the law under which the vote for 
the change of a county seat should be con- 
ducted, and that there has never been a legal 
canvass of the votes polled at such election, 
and that therefore the election so held should 
be declared null and void by an order of this 
court, for the reasons above set forth. 

The contestant further insists that if the 
foregoing referred to order is refused, that sec- 
tion one of article eleven of the constitution is 
still in force, and that under it a bare majority 
vote is sufficient to change a county seat, not- 
withstanding the several amendments thereto, 
and that an order should be made for that 

reason changing the county seat from the vil- 
lage of Jackson to the village of Lakefield. 

The last contention on the par-t of the con- 
testant, I am satisfied, is not well taken, and 
that the legislature has power to pass an act 
fixing the number of votes required to remove 
a county seat. 

As to the proposition that such election 
should be declared void, it appears from the 
petition, as well as tlie evidence and admis- 
sions of the parties, that the election was duly 
called, and that it was held under and pui- 
suant to chapter one of the general statutes 
of this state; that the ballot used was such as 
is provided for in that chapter and that it 
clearly informed the elector for what he was 
voting, and I am unable to see how he could 
have been mislead or in any manner deceived 
by the use of such ballot, nor is the manner of 
the return by the judges of election to the 
county auditor questioned. 

The county commissioners canvassed tiie 
vote on the 13th day of July, three days after 
the holding of the election, presumably under 
the provisions of section 050 of the general 
statutes of 1894. 

Xo claim was made upon the trial that any 
fraud was perpetrated at any stage of the 
election or in canvassing the returns, and it 
clearly appears from the evidence had upon 
the trial tliat there was a total of 3,579 votes 
cast at «uch election, less than 55 per cent 
of which, viz: 1931, were cast in favor of the 
proposition to change the county seat. 

It is therefore found as a conclusion of law 
that the contestant is not entitled to the re- 
lief asked for, and that such proceeding should 
be dismissed. 

I^t judgment be entered accordingly. 

There was talk of appealing the case to 
the supreme court, but for several months 
no action was taken. Then exigencies 
arose, in conneetioo with the campaign 
against the erection of a jail building, 
which demanded an appeal, and in July, 
1901, Lakefield gave notice of appeal. 
The case was disposed of in the supreme 
court January 22, 1902, the decision be- 
ing favorable to Jackson. 

The construction of the county jail 
building at Jackson in 1901 and 1902 
was an event of importance because of its 
bearing on the county seat removal ques- 
tion and because of the fact that it paved 
the way, to a certain extent, for the future 
construction of a court house. That those 
who favored the removal of the county 
seat to Lakefield realized its importance 



is attested by the strenuous fight put up 
against its construction. Several injunc- 
tions were secured and a bitter fight con- 
tinued until the building actually passed 
into the hands of the countv. 

The people of Jackson, realizing that 
the construction of a jail building would 
have a favorable influence upon the next 
countv seat contest — which was sure to 
come — donated to the county a site for a 
jail building, with the proviso that title 
should revert to the village of Jackson in 
case the site should ever cease to be used 
for county jail purposes. The first of- 
ficial step toward erecting the building 
was taken early in July, 1901, when the 
county commissioners (Commissioners P. 
H. Berge, John M. Olson and Henry 
Thielvoldt voting yes, and Commissioners 
David Crawford and George Erbes voting 
ho) passed a ra^^olution that a jail be built 
according to plans furnished by Archi- 
tect Kinney. On the same day a contract 
was made with the Pauly Jail & Manu- 
facturing company, of St. Louis, for the 
erection of the building, to be completed 
March l', 1902, and to cost $17,450. 

This procedure brought the friends of 
Lakefield to immediate activity. It was 
then th^t the appeal of the county seat re- 
moval case was made to the supreme court. 
An injunction, prohibiting the county 
commissioners from building a jail, was 
asked from the district court,^ and Judge 
Qiiinn granted a temporary restraining 
order. The defendants moved to dissolve 
the writ of injunction, and on July 27 
Judge Quinn did so. 

After the court had removed the legal 
barrier, the county commissioners, in spec- 
ial session Julv 30 and e31, made ar- 
rangements to proceed with the work. It 
was decided to raise $10,000 by bonding, 

*The case was entitled A. M. St. John, plain- 
tiff, vs. P. D. McKellar. county auditor. David 
Crawford. P. H. Berge. Henry Thielvoldt, 
George Erbes and John M. Olson, county com- 
missioners, defendants. 

and to utilize cash in the treasury for the 
balance. The former contract was re- 
scinded and bids were called for, to be 
opened September 11. Again the Lake- 
field people appealed to the district court. 
Early in September they went before 
Judge Quinn and asked for aq injunction 
restraining the commissioners from spend- 
ing county money for a jail building and 
for other relief. This hearing was held 
at Fairmont Septeml)er 10 before Judge 
Kinffslev. His deci.sion was to the effect 
that the commissioners had perfect legal 
autliority to carry out their proposed 
plans; the injunction was refused. 

Bids for the constniction of the jail 
building were opened, and on September 
12 a new contract was made with the 
Pauly Jail & Manufacturing company at 
a price of $14,200. On January 7, 1902, 
the specifications were changed and $3,200 
was added to the contract price. The 
supreme couil decision of January 22, 
1902. on the matter of bonds furnished 
by the Lakefield people, effectually dis- 
posed of the claim that the injunction 
against the commissioners building a jail 
was still in force. For the time being all 
legal objection to proceeding with the jail 
building was removed. 

Having received nothing but unfavor- 
able decisions in their efforts to prevent 
the building of the jail, the Lakefield peo- 
ple next demanded an injunction prohib- 
iting the commi.ssioners from issuing the 
$10,000 bonds, and in this they were suc- 
cessful. The case was entitled William 
L). Hill vs. the county commissioners, and 
was brought before Judge Quinn in 
March, 1902. On the 28th of that month 
the judge made an order, holding, among 
other thing.-?, that the county seat was at 
Jackson, that the county commissioners 
were vested with authority to contract for 
the building of a jail to the extent of all 
money in the treasury available for that 



purpose, but that they must not enter into 
any contract that required the expendi- 
ture of more money tlian was so available. 
This, of c(turse, prevented the bond is- 
sue, but the majority of the county board 
found a wav out of the difficulty. On 
April 18, in special session, on the prop- 
osition of the Pauly Jail & Manufactur- 
inpf company, the commissioners abro- 
;^ated the contracts before made and en- 
tering into a new contract with the same 
company for the erection of the building 
(without the steel cells, etc.) at a price 
of $9,r)00. which amount was ayailable. 
The building was completed, accepted by 
the commissioners July 24, 1902, and a 
warrant drawn for the contract price. On 
September 23 the contract for the cell 
Vork was let to the same company for 
$7,800, that amount then being ayailable. 
The completed jail was accepted July 13, 
1903, and a full settlement "was made at 
that time. 

As has been stated previously, prosper- 
ous times continued in Jackson countv 
until the -year 1903. That was a year of 
disasters and marked the beginning of a 
short era of depression, due to partial 
crop failures because of excessive rainfall. 

The disasters of the year began May 
22. For several davs succeeding there 
were continual and awful rain, wind and 
electric storms that did great damage in 
all parts of the county, as well as in all 
southwestern Minnesota. Creeks and riv- 
ers overflowed and sloughs became vast 
lakes. Bridges were washed away, tele- 
phone and telegraph lines were destroyed, 
and the railroad lines were put out of 
commission. The damage to crops was 
great, and many buildings were wrecked 
bv the wind. 

The most disastrous wind storm, in the 
matter of loss of life and destruction to 
property, in the history of Jackson coun- 
ty occurred Tuesday evening, June 30, 

1903. The death dealing tornado trav- 
ersed portions of LaCrosse and Weimer 
townships and entered the northeast cor- 
ner of Delafield, killing seven people and 
destroying property to the value of $100,- 
000. The killed were: 

Mrs. Joseph Fritscher 
Miss Aurelia Fritscher 
Mrs. Fritscher's baby girl 
Joseph Mathias 
Daniel Gallagher 
Ellen Gallagher 
Nettie Gallagher 

The Jackson Countv Times of July 4, 
1903, tells of the storm as seen from 
Heron Lake: 

About seven o'clock Tuesday evening a dense 
black cloud was seen to form on the lower hori- 
zon northwest of town that was perfectly 
stationary, but almost immediately after its 
formation a white .^loud, which appeared to 
come from beyond the vision somewhere in the 
northeast, started towards it and was appar- 
ently enj^ulfed in the heavier mass. This pro- 
cess continued for about ten or fifteen minutes, 
when all at once the dense black mass appear- 
ed to leap upward, leaving a clear space of a 
bright red tint between it and the horizon. 
After this sudden move it again became sta- 
tionary for a few seconds, wlien it started 
again at a terrific speed directly towards Heron 
Lake, but in less time than it takes to describe 
it, in fact one might say tlie twinkling of an 
eye, it changed its course to almost direct 
northeast, when the work of destruction to life 
and property commenced. 

The tornado i^tnick the earth at the 
farm of Jcrv Sullivan, on the southeast 
quarter of section 15, T^Crosse township, 
three and one-half miles northeast of Her- 
on Lake. There the only damage was 
the destruotion of a windmill and a hen 
house. Jcrrv Sullivan and ^lartin Lar- 
son, who were in the harn at the time, 
stated that the air was as hot as a hlast 
from a furnace. Froiii the Sullivan farm 
the storm traveled northeast to John 
Beichner's place, where it demolished the 
barn, granary, engine house, three bug- 



gies and farm machinery and did consid- 
erable damage to the house. The family 
were in the house but escaped injury. The 
home of Chris Krieger, on the Powlit- 
check farm, was struck, but the damage 
there was not great. The hog house was 
torn to pieces and the barn moved off its 
foundation. The family sought shelter in 
an out-door cellar. 

The tornado had gained great force 
when it reached the farm home of John 
Mathias, and nothing but splinters of 
ruin were left of the barns, granaries and 
other outbuildings, while the large resi- 
dence was almost a total wreck, although 
it was left on the foundation. A num- 
ber of hogs were killed. With one ex- 
ception all the members of the family 
were in the house during the storm and 
escaped injury. Joseph Mathias, twenty 
years of age, was in the field when the 
storm came up and was killed when on 
his way to the house by being struck by 
flying timbers. The Hager school house, 
nearby, was entirely destroyed and its 
ruins scattered over a large area. At 
Henry Meyers' home all sought shelter in 
the cellar. The house w^as not injured, 
but all the other buildings were destroyed. 
Cottonwood trees, 12 to 15 inches in diam- 
eter, were twisted olf and hurled in all 

Three human live? were lost at Joseph 
Fritscher's home on the Louis Hager farm, 
where the storm next appeared. Here the 
house, barns and siieds were blown to 
pieces and all the machinery on the place 
piled in one heap, while many of the trees 


in the grove were iwisted off. The Fritscher 
family saw the storm approaching and 
were preparing to seek safety in the cel- 
lar, but the storm struck the house be- 
fore they got down. Mrs. Fritscher was 
killed instantly, her head being nearly 
severed from her body. Her little baby 
girl was also killed, its skull having been 

crushed. Aurelia Fritscher, another child, 
had her back broken and died soon after 
found. Mr. Fritscher's father,- who was in 
the barn at the time of the storm, had 
his jaw broken and was badly injured. 
The children of the family, excepting the 
two killed, were not badly hurt. Mr. 
Fritscher was rendered unconscious bv in- 
juries received, and when he came to his 
senses found himself lying in a grove. 

From the Fritscher home the storm 
crossed the township line into Weimer and 
struck Bernard Miranowski's home, blow- 
ing down the barn and corncribs and tear- 
ing some of the shingles off the house. 
Mr. Miranowvski received a slight ga^sh in 
the head and was the onlv one on the 
place injured. When he saw the storm 
approach he sought safety by lying flat on 
the ground in a driveway between the 
corncribs. At Mrs. Chepa's place the 
house and all the other buildings were en- 
tirely destroyed and some stock was kill- 
ed. Mrs.. Chepa and a daughter sought 
shelter in the grove, where they clung to 
a tree. Miss Chepa was struck by a fly- 
ing board, which tore off a piece of her 
scalp and a braid of hair. The braid was 
later- found a half mile awav. 

After leaving the Chepa place the storm 
broadened its course. It destroyed a barn 
and hog house at Frank Stenzel's anfl 
broke most of the windows out of the resi- 
dence. About a half mile from there, at 
Clement StenzeFfi, the barn was destroy- 
ed. At K. E. Streator's farm a new barn 
and granary were destroyed and several 
cattle kill(^d, some of them being carried 
to the Little Des ^foines river, a half mile 
away. The bridge over the Des Moines 
east of StreatorV was destroyed. 

About a mile east of the bridge the 
storm struck the home of Dr. Westerman 
and demolb^hed everything on the place 
excepting a threshing machine engine. 
This was an exceptionally fine farm home, 





and the losses amounted to over $20,000. 
Eight buildings were entirely demolished, 
much machinery and several vehicles were 


destroyed, several head of stock were kill- 
ed, and tlie fields were stripped as clean 
as tliough they had been plowed. The 
twelve people who were on the place es- 
caped injury by crouching in the cellar. 

The next place to feel the hand of the 
destrover was the home of Daniel Galla- 
gher, on tlie south bank of String lake, 
and here the three inhabitants on the 
place were killed. The house was blown 
into the lake and the other buildings torn 
to pieces, ^[r. Gallagher and his daugh- 
ter, Ellen, were blown into the lake and 
drowned. Nettie Gallagher, another 
daughter, was found on the bank of the 
lake, a mutilated corpse. Wilder, a mile 
south of the scene of this disaster, was 
unharmed. From the Gallagher place the 
storm continued eastward toward AVin- 
dom, but soon lost its force. 

While the whole season of 1903 was 
rainy, it was not until September that the 
deluge came. Beginning with Friday, 
September 11, and continuing several 
days, came an awful downpour of water, 
the greatest in the history of the county, 
and thousands of dollars worth of dam- 
age was done. The Des Moines river and 
the many creeks rose to great heights, 
carrying away bridges in all parts of the 
county. Heron lake was reported to be 
rising at the rate of eight inches an hour 
on Sunday, the 13th — something entirely 
without precedent. Two thousand feet of 
Milwaukee track were washed out between 
Okabena and Miloma, and the grade at 
the bridge at Okabena was washed down 
from three to eight feet. Whole sections 
of the county were under water, the north 
part of Alba township and the south part 
of LaCrosse township being a vast lake. 
Grain and hay stacks in many parts of 
the county were under water, and in 

places the water was so high the stacks 
floated away. Heavy winds accompanied 
the rains in some townships, and many 
wrecked buildings resulted. The losses 
from all causes were enormous and had 
a disastrous effect on the county's prosperity. 

The first official step toward the erec- 
tion of Jackson countv's new court house 
was taken July 23, 1903, when the board 
of county commissioners in special ses- 
sion resolved to raise the sum of $50,000 
for the purpose of erecting and furnish- 
ing the building and provided for hold- 
ing a special election to vote on the ques- 
tion of bonding for that amount. The 
division of the voters on the question was 
about the same as it had been on the 
county seat removal question. The west 
side of the county and the country tribu- 
tary to Lakefield voted almost solidly 
against the bonds, while the people fav- 
orable to Jackson retaining the county 
seat voted as solidly for the bonds. The 
bonding proposition was defeated by a 
vote of 1,551 to 1,316: By precincts the 
vote was as follows: 






Des Moines 

Enterprise . 

Ewin^ton. . .... 

Heron Lake Township 




Middletown ■ 



Rost.... . 

Round Lake 

Sioux Valley 


West Heron Lake 




Heron Lake Village. . . 



























































Althougli the bond proposition was de- 
feated, the majority of the county board, 
sustained by tlie sentiment of the people 
of Jackson and southeastern Jackson 
county, decided to* go on with prepara- 
tions for securing the county building. 
The people of Lakefield (who had not 
given up the idea of trying again for 
county seat hcmors, by any means) and of 
other j)ortions of the county naturally 
did everything in their power to block the 
moves made bv the countv board, and a 
livelv contest ensued. In Julv, 1903, the 
commissioners had voted a tax of $1G,000 
for court house purposes, but when Coun- 
tv Auditor P. D. AIcKellar extended the 


taxes on the tax books he did not include 
this court house tax. The commission- 
ers on January 5, 1904, took action to 
compel him to do so, asking a writ of 
mandamus from the district court. On 
March 3 Judge Quinn denied the motion 
for mandamus, liolding that it was prop- 
er that the countv auditor should not ex- 
tend the $U),000 upon the tax books. 

In consequence of this decision, the 
county was without court house funds, 
and the matter was of necessity dropped 
temporarily. In July, 1904, the commis- 
sioners passed a resolution declaring the 
old court house unsuitable and inadequate 
for the purposes for which it was used, 
and providing for the erection of a new 
building to cost not over $05,000 and for 
the procuring of plans and specifications 
for such a building.** Keeping within the 
amount provided by law, the conmiission- 
ers in 1904 levied a tax of $9,000 for 
court house purposes and the next year 
levied $14,000 for the same purpose, so 
that when the matter was brought up 

•Commissioners Henry G. Anderson. Henr>' 
George Erbes In the negative. This was the 
Thielvoldt and J. M. Olson voted in the affirm- 
ative. Commissioners David Crawford and 
vote always recorded in court house matters 
while this board was In office. 

a^ain earlv in 190G there was available 

During the period of stagnation cau?aed 
by the unfavorable crop conditions dur- 
ing the few years of the last decade, 
the census of 1905 — the last before the 
publication of this volume — was taken. 
The population was then 14,838, a gain 
of onlv 45 in five years — the onlv ^\^ vear 
period in the county's history when a 
substantial gain was not recorded.^ Of 
the totil population, 7,844 were males 
and (),994 females. By townships the di- 
vision was as follows: 

Alba 441 

Alpha 241 

Helmont 077 

Christiania 549 

Delafield '. 491 

Des Moines 605 

Enterprise 534 

Ewington 458 

Heron Lake Township 048 

Heron Lake Village 898 

Hunter . . ' 570 

Jackson 1 ,776 

Kimball 550 

LaCrosse 485 

T^kefiehl 916 

Middletown 550 

Minneota ^^1 

Petersburg 750 

Rost 5:^2 

Round Lake 554 

Sioux Valley 590 

Weimer 429 

West Heron Lake : . . . 3ft4 

Wilder- 121 

Wisconsin 526 

Total 14,838 

In the matter of length of resideneo in 
the state the eeiHus showed Jaekson coun- 
ty to be well represented with pioneers. 
There were 105 ])ersons who had resided 
in ^linnesota sinee before it was admit- 
ted as a state in 1858 — a period of over 
47 years. There were 1,849 who had been 
continuous residents of Minnesota for be- 

'The population of Jackson county in census 
years "^Ince the date of settlement has been as 
follows: 1860. 181: 1865. 234; 1870. 1.825; 1875. 
3.506; 1880. 4.806; 1885. 6.110; 1890, 8.924; 1895. 
12.324; 1900. 14.793; 1905. 14,838. 



tween 25 and 47 years, 8,415 for between 
five and 25 years, and 3,569 who came 
less than five years before. 

The phices of birth of the residents of 
Jackson county enumerated in the 1J>05 
census are shown in the following table: 
























O M 







Dps Moines 



Heron Lalce Vll. 




La Crosise 






Round Lake 

Sioux Valley 


West Heron Lake 








































































































































































































The building of the court house again 
became a live issue at the beginning of 
the vear 1906. The commissioners tlien 
had $23,000 in the court house fund and 
decided to begin the work. At the first 
meeting of the board that year — on Jan- 
iiarv 4 — it was resolved that a court house 
should be built at once which should cost, 
including furnishings, not over $100,000. 
The resolution was carried by the affirm- 
ative votes of Commissioners Anderson, 
Thielvoldt and Olson, Commissioners Mc- 
Xab^ and Crawford voting no. Arrange- 
ments were made to secure plans and 
specifications, and on February 2 the 
board accepted the plans of Buechner & 
Orth, who estimated the cost of the pro- 
posed building at not over $80,000, not 
including vault fixtures, electric light fix- 
tures or decorations. 

■Duncan McNab had succeeded George Erbes 
as commissioner. 

The action of the county board in de- 
claring for immediate construction of the 
building precipitated another county seat 
removal contest,** which proved to be one 
of the most bitter and hardest fought con- 
tests for count v seat honors ever wa<red 
in Minnesota. Over five years had elapsed 
since the question had been voted upon 
and there was no legal barrier to bring- 
ing another contest.^'' The people of the 
west end of the county had been success- 


ful in delaying the commencement of 
work on a new couH house until such 

•"This movement Is the logical result of the 
action of the majoritjr of the members of the 
board of county commissioners at their annual 
meeting a month ago, when they passed a 
resolution for the erection of a new court house 
at Jacltson to cost $100,000. It is very appar- 
ent that the taxpayers of the county do not 
approve the action of the board; and as we 
said three weelts ago, the only way to prevent 
them from carrying out their plans is to move 
the county seat to Lakefield."— Lakefield Stand- 
ard, February 1, 1906. 

"The Minnesota law governing county seat 
removals provides that five years must elapse 
after a vote has been taken on the question be- 
fore it can again be brought to a vote. 



time as they were free to try again for 
removal to Lakefield. 

Immediately after the commissioners 
resolved to proceed with the building, the 
contest was started. On January 23 the 
following notice was served on the county 
board : 

To the Board of County Commissioners of the 
County of Jackson, State of Minnesota: 

We, tlie undersigned, legal voters of the 
county of Jackson, state of Minnesota, pray 
that the county seat thereof be changed to the 
village of T^akcfield, in said Jackson county. 

To all whom it may concern: 

Notice is hereby given by the undersigned 
legal voters of Jackson county, Minnesota, that 
the foregoing petition will be circulated, begin- 
ning not earlier thaoi February 13, 1906, nor 
later than February 15, 1900, in said Jackson 
county, Minnesota, for signatures of the legal 
voters of said county for a change of the 
county seat thereof to the village of Lakefield, 
Jackson county, Minnesota. 

Dated at Lakefield, Minnesota, this 23rd day 
of January, 1906." 

The people of Jackson on February 1 
gave legal notice of their intention to con- 
test the removal of tlie countv seat,*^ and 
the bitter contest was on. In two of the 
former contests the question had been 
brought to a vote without much effort on 
the part of Jackson to pi^event it. In 
this conflict tactics were changed, Jack- 
son determining to fight the petition and 
prevent, if possible, the question from be- 
ing submitted to the voters, by securing 
withdrawals of signatures from the origi- 
nal petition and by attacking the validity 
of the petition.'^ Jackson's line of action 

"This notice was signed by L. F. Lammers, 
G. C. Buckeye. Jerry Sullivan. G. E. Morrison, 
John Besser, S. Dahl.. August Scheppman. J. C. 
Ruthenbeck. F. C. Ahrens, Ferdinand Milbrath. 
C. F. Rossow, G.- B. McMurtry, S. R. Dubetz, 
Fred W. Eder, John F'rederlckson. Joseph F. 
Golitko. Henry Hohensteln. Charles Winzer, 
William A. Bieter. E. J. Grimes. F. J. Stenzel. 

C. R. J. Kellam, J. F. Liepold and F. A. Cooley. 

"The notice was signed by W. C. Portmann. 
Henry Cook, H. G. Anderson, Louis Iverson, 
John L. Dann, W. D. Hunter, H. H. Berge, M. 

D. Ashley. O. M, Ashley. Dan McNamara, Jos- 
eph Smykal. Leon Davis, Harry Sandon, Charles 
L. Colby. John L. King, W. E. Manchester. P, 
C. Nelson, A. C. Serum. C. W. Withers, Ray- 
mond Bartosch, F. J. Hruby, J. S. Fiddes and 
A. H. Strong. 

^•t^nder the law, sixty per cent of the num- 
ber who voted at the last general election must 

in the early part of the contest was to 
prevent people favorable to Jackson from 
signing the Lakefield petition. "Refuse 
to sign the petition/' was the slogan. "If 
you refuse to sign, there will be no vote." 
An agreement, of no legal standing, how- 
ever, was drawn up and circulated for the 
signatures of those who would agree not to 
sign the Lakefield petition, and many so 
hound themselves.^* 

The workers for each town declared 
their intentions of conducting an honor- 
ahle campaign, but each seemed to think 
the other side was not going to. Early 
in the campaign — on Januar}' 30 — the 
l)eople of Lakefield offered a reward of 


three hundred dollars for evidence that 
would lead to the conviction of any par- 
ties for bribery or corrupt practice in the 
election, the offer being signed by many 
of the leading men of Lakefield. The 
people of Jackson countered by proposing 
tliat the people of each town deposit five 
hundred dollars in a Windom bank, to be 
paid on the order of the district judge 
after the conviction of anvone for briberv 
or corruption in connection with the eon- 
tost. There were no convictions. 

Again Tjakefield offered its city hall for 
•court house uses if tlie removal should be 
accomplished. This was done by resolu- 
tion of the village council February 3. 
The building was offered for a term of 
ten years at an annual rental of one dol- 

slgn the petition in order to bring the question 
to a vote. At the general election in 1904 there 
had been east 3,055 votes; therefore It was nec- 
essary for 1.821 legal voters to sign the peti- 
tion before the commissioners were authorised 
to call an election and submit the question. 

"The agreement was as follows: 

"In view of the fact that Jackson county has 
already had three contests for the removal of 
the county seat to Lakefield, and that such con- 
tests are a cause of heavy expense to the tax- 
payers of the county and stir up strife, en- 
gender bitter feelings and tend to demoralise 
the people, we, the undersigned, legal voters 
of Jackson county. Minnesota, hereby state 
that we are not In favor of another county seat 
contest, and for that reason we hereby prom- 
ise and agree with each other that we will not < 
sign a petition for the change of the county 
seat, notice of the intention to circulate which 
is now being published. 

"Dated January 29, 1906." 



lar, with privilege of renewal for another 
ten year period at the same price. Pri- 
vate parties also Agreed that "if the vaults 
in the above mentioned building are not 
sufficient to contain all the records of said 
Jackson county, we will build onto the 
above mentioned building additional 
vaults, fire-proof and water-proof, neces- 
sary for the use of the officers of Jack- 
son county, Minnesota, without any cost 
to Jackson countv/'^° This offer was char- 
acterized as bribery by the opposing work- 
ers, and authorities were cited to show 
that sueli an offer constituted bribery of 
the voters. 

The Lakefield workers covered all parts 
of the county in their campaign for sig- 
natures. The newspapers waged a mud- 
slinging campaign, full of personalities, 
and charged rank corruption and irregu- 
larity on the part of the opposing forces.'^ 
On Marcli 20 the Lakefield workers com- 
pleted their campaign and filed the peti- 
tion with the county auditor. It con- 

"The offer was sisrned by J. M. Putman, S. R. 
Dubetz, Thomas Crawford, C. B. Edwards, H. 
M. Clark, Fred W. Eder. R. Artman. G. R. Van 
Dike, A. Jackson, H. A. Rhodes, George Mil- 
bum, A. Bettln, E. Schumacher, A. J. Sparks, 
Gilbert Rue. M. McGlin, Hans J. Hauge. J. G. 
Hellen. August Blankenburg. Sr.. R. D. PMetz, 
J. W. Daubney, E. Erickson. Emil Zarling. Hen- 
ry Albers, Albert Armstrong, E. E. Collins, C. 
M. Gage, L. J. Britsch, George J. Brltsch. C.' 
M. Tradewell, Ross W. Daubney, Joseph Kolash, 
E. Lewis, James D'Arcy, J. A. Anderson, L. R. 
Anderson, John G. Gage, George Payne, Martin 
Dahl, Lars J. Johnson, William Lockner. Jos- 
eph J. Jones. William Frees, J. W. Crisman, 
Andrew J. Johnson, F. R. Hansen. Lo Fader, 
John Frederickson, Edward Kolander. A. L. 
Bachus. D. Crawford, J. A. Mansfield. H. L». 
Bond, B. Weppler. B. W. Payne, M. B. Hofstad, 
J. G. Christie, John G. Miller, J. C. Caldwell, 
H. P. Thompson, Joseph F. Golltko. A. A. Fos- 
ness. ^William Hecht, daus Wiese. August 
Lockner, G. B. McMurtry, Henry Comnick. Au- 
gust Blankenburg. Charles Blanltenburg, F. F. 
Riley, William Rost, A. M. St. John, O. Thore- 
son,' E. p. Maldaner, Ed. Arnold, J. A. Leven- 
Ick. S. Searles. John McGlin. E. A. Gage. George 
Winzenburg, George A. Wesner, Z. M. Turner. 
John Greln. D. L. Riley. A. S. Foslle. Herman 
Schultz. James Rost, F. B. White. H. P. Stone, 
C. A. Bell. Henry Tank and G. H. Wood. 

"Said the Jackson County Pilot on February 
22: "Well founded reports of men known not 
to be voters being urged and in many Instances 
induced to sign the petition for removal are 
common. In several instances men have de- 
liberately been made intoxicated and while In 
* that condition induced to sign. Bulldozing 
seems to be a favorite method and has become 
so common as to almost cease to excite com- 

tained the names of 2,0G0 persons — 239 
more than the sixty per cent required by 
law to bring the matter to a vote. April 
9 was the date set for the consideration of 
the petition by the county board. 

With the filing of the petition came the 
campaign of the Jackson workers to se- 
cure withdrawals from the petition.^^ 
They also went to all parts of the county 
in their efforts to secure enough with- 
drawals to beat the petition. Th^e work- 
ers were openly charged with bribery by 
the press favorable to Lakefield.^® 

When the board of county commission- 
ers met on April 9 to act on the petition 
intense excitement prevailed; the nerves 
of everyone were at high tension. George 
W. Somerville appeard before the board 
for the petitioners and T. J. Knox and 
H. H. Dunn for the contestants. The 

"The withdrawal is a legal document provid- 
ed for in the county seat removal law. It is 
acknowledged before a notary public, Justice of 
the peace or other public ofTIcial, and when pre- 
sented to the county board at the consideration 
of the original petition removes the name of 
the signer from the petition. After the with- 
drawal is presented it may be revoked by the 
proper, legal procedure. Following was the form 
used by Jackson In this contest: 

* 'Having heretofore signed the petition pray- 
ing that the county seat of Jackson county, 
Minnesota, be changed to the village of Lake- 
field In said county, the circulation of which 
petition was begun on or about February 13, 
1906, I desire to and do withdraw my name 
from said petition and request the county board 
of said county to strike my name therefrom, 

and I hereby authorize to appear 

for me before the county board of commission- 
ers of said county and in my name and stead 
and as my attorney but without expense to me, 
to withdraw and strike my name from said 
petition and to act in and about said matter as 
fully to all intents and purposes as I could do 
if personally present, hereby ratifying and con- 
firming all that my .«*aid attorney shall do or 
cause to be done by virtue hereof. 

"Witness my hand this day of 


"Witnessed by '* 

"Said the Lakefield Standard: "The Jackson 
workers are out through the country using the 
most dishonest tactics to. get the voters to 
withdraw their names from the petition. If you 
know of anyone who has been induced by Jack- 
son's dishonest tactics to sign a withdrawal, 
bring him to Lakefield AT ONCE, or let us 
know who It is, so he can. have a chance to 
sign a paper putting his name back on the 
petition. . . . Out in Round Lake township 
the Jackson canvassers have tried to make the 
signers of the Lakefield petition believe that it 
is against the law to pay more than five dol- 
lars for withdrawals. We have consulted the 
revised statutes, but can find no such provis- 



attorneys for the people of Jack- 
son oifered to prove fraud and bribery in 
obtaining signatures to the petition and 
revocations of withdrawals; the attorney 
for Lakefield offered to prove fraud and 
bribery in securing withdrawals. But 
thki evidence was not introduced, the 
board ruling that it had power only to 
consider those matters committed to its 
consideration by the statute and that it 
had not power to consider matters not so 
defined.'" For one v^eek tlie board was in 
session determining I he standing of the 
petition. Five hundred twelve names 
were stricken from the petition for va- 
rious reasons,-** leaving 1,548, or 273 less 
than the sixty per cent of voters as re- 
quired by law. The commissioners denied 
the prayer of the .petitioners; another 
eountv seat contest was ended. 

Xo sooner did it become evident that 
the petition would fail before the board 
of county commissioners than steps were 
taken to circulate a new petition and re- 
open the contest. Official notice to this 
effect was given April 18, it being an- 
nounced that the petition would be cir- 
culated beginning not earlier than May 7 
nor later than Mav 9.^^ AVhile this new 
petition was being circulated during the 
months of Mav and June the countv 
board was taking -^teps to let the con- 

'•Sectlon 398 revised code reads as follows: 
•'Duties of the county board at the time and 
place specified In the notice, proof of its service 
having been filed; the board shall meet to act 
on said petition and shall Inquire and deter- 
mine which, if any, of the signers thereof were 
not. at the time of signing the same, legal 
voters of said county, and which, if any, of the 
signatures thereto were not attached within 
sixty days preceding the filing thereof; and 
which, if any. have been withdrawn, all such 
signatures shall be stricken from the petition 
and deducted from the count, and a list there- 
of, certified by the board, shall be filed forth- 
with with the county auditor. . . ." 

=*These 512 names stricken off were tabulated 
as follows: 195 duplicate signatures. 228 with- 
drawals, 88 minors, non-residents and aliens, 1 

'•The notice was sigrned by John Nestrud. G. 
T. Juyeland. Herman Pohlman, N. A. Johnson, 
Jan Stinar, John Koch. John M. Hovelsrud, F. 
E. Murphy. B. M. Hovelsrud. Ole O. Sandager. 
Trond O. Trondson. B. P. Elverum, W. L. Frost. 
Wllhelm Hohensteln. August Hubner. Matt 
Gentry, Axel Sandberg and C. F. Rossow. 

tract for the new court house. On the 
9th of May a resolution was passed by 
tlie i)oard to advertise for bids for the 
erection of the building in accordance 
with the plans selected, the bids to be 
opened June* 11. On that date, there be- 
ing no satisfactory bids, the board read- 
vertised for bids, to be opened July 9. Be- 
fore the new bids were opened the courts 
again took a hand in the proceeding. 

On June 9 papers were served on the 
board of county commissioners, giving no- 
tice of injunction proceedings, brought in 
the name of John >iestrud, asking that 
they be forbidden to let the contract for 
the erection of a court house. The ease 
came to trial June 25 before Judges James 
H. Quinn and Ijorin Cray, sitting to- 
gether. In a decision dated June 29 and 
filed July 5 the injunction was dissolved, 
the court holding that the commissioners 
would not be exceeding their rights in 
proceeding with the building of a court 
house or any part of it, so long as they 
did not make the pecuniary liability of 
the county exceed $23,000, the amount 
then available for the purpose; that be- 
vond that amount thev could not contract 
until more funds were available. 

Court house building and county seat 
removal matters were complicated at this 
st.ige of the proceedings by the temporary 
susj)ension from office of Commissioner 
Henry G. Anderson. Charges were filed 
against ^Ir. Anderson before Governor 
John A. Johnson on Julv 5,— and the 

^'Jackson people contended that the flUng of 
the charges against Mr. Anderson was a de- 
liberate attempt on the part of Lakefleld to at- 
tain advantages which the court denied them. 
The Republic on July 13 said: 

"After the Lakefleld county seat removal 
schemers failed in their aimbltlon to induce the 
courts to interfere by injunction to prevent the 
building of a new court house, they proceeded 
to carry out a prearranged scheme to carry 
the matter before the governor and under the 
guise of filing charges against County Commis- 
sioner H. G. Anderson, and securing his tem- 
porary suspension from office until after the reg- 
ular July meeting of the county board and 
the meeting called for July 23 to consider and 
act upon the second removal petition, they at- 



same day the governor suspended Mr. An- 
derson, pending the determination of the 
eliarges in a final hearing August 1. On 
July 6 a delegation went from Jackson 
to St. Paul and interviewed the governor, 
with the result that the state executive 
revoked his order and reinstated Mr. An- 
derson. At the hearing of the Jackson 
county officer before Commissioner Pow- 
ers on July 13 the proceedings were dis- 
missed on the motion of George W. Som- 
erville, Lakefield^s attornev. 

The bids for the construction of the 
court house were opened July 9. Charles 
Skooglum, of St. Paul, was the successful 
bidder, his bid for the building complete 
being $91,082. Because of the injunction 
of the court not to contract for a greater 
sum than was available in cash for the 
purpose, the commissioners let the con- 
tract only for the foundation, up to and 
including the water table, the bid for this 
part of the building being $10,330.^^ July 
10 another levy for court house purposes 
of $13,000 was made. The work of tear- 
ing down the old court house was begun 
July 25, the county officers utilizing the 
Jackson city hall for offices. Excavation 
work for the new building was begun Sep- 
tember 4. 

Before the court house program had 
been carried this far, however, the last 
county seat contest had been brought to 
a close. The county seat removal people 
filed their petition July 3. It contained 
1,881 names — sixty more than the num- 
ber required by law. The date of consid- 
ering the petition was July 23. The Jack- 
son forces again canvassed the county for 
withdrawals and were successful in se- 

tempted and nearly succeeded in ending: the 
decision of the court and securlngr the same re- 
suUs that they attempted to secure in their 
injunction suit." 

"Owing to failure to post the proper notices, 
the letting: of the contract was found to be in- 
valid. Bids were again called for. and on Au- 
gust 18 a new contract was entered into with 
Charles Skooglum on a bid of $10,226 for the 

curing more than enough to defeat the 

At the meeting of tiie county board on 
July 23 to determine the sufficiency of the 
petition Attorneys J. A. ^lansfieid and 
Die Thoreson represented Lakefield and 
Attorney T. J. Knox represented Jackson. 
The work of striking names from the 
petition because of withdrawals was con- 
tinued until the 24th. Then it was an- 
nounced that 106 names had been taken 
off, leaving 1,775 on the petition — not 
enough to warrant bringing the question 
to a vote. Proceedings were discontinu- 
ed. The twenty years county seat war 
was at an end. 

There not being enough funds available 
to complete the court house building, on 
January 7, 1907, the county commission- 
ers decided to again put the question of 
issuing bonds to the people.-* The special 
election was held February 19, the ques- 
tion at issue being the issuance of $65,000 
worth of bonds. A majority of 129 in 
favor of the proposition was given, the 
precincts voting as follows: 






Des Moines 




Heron Lake Twp 


LaCrosse ... . 




Rest . . . 

Round Lake 

Sioux Valley 


West Heron Lake 




Heron Lake Vil. . . 



Total. . . . 

• ■ • • 




. • • . 




















































^A similar resolution was passed July 25, 




From that time all was smooth sailing. 
Contracts were let April 16, 1907, as fol- 
lows: Charles Skooglum, court house 
above basement, $74,438; Cuddy & Cav- 
anaugh, heating plant and plumbing, 
$7,317; Nemis & Nemis, electrical work, 
$740; Diebold Safe & Lock company, 
vault doors and shutters, $1,760. March 
3, 1908, a contract was let to Crown Elec- 
trical Manufacturing company for elec- 
tric light fixtures, on a bid of $1,475. 
This brought the contract price up to a 
little less than $100,000. When the build- 
ing was finally completed and furnished 
the total cost, excluding sidewalks, was 

The corner stone of the court house was 
laid with ceremonies July 9, 1907, United 
State Senator Moses E. Clapp and Hon. 
T. J. Knox being the principal speakers. 

1906, but on the same day the resolution was 

"Statement of cost made by Henry G. An- 
derson, chairman of the board of county com- 
missioners, at dedication, June 22, 1909. 

The building was finally completed early 
in 1909 and the dedicatory exercises were 
held June 22, 1909. The dedicatory ad- 
dress was delivered by Judge P. E. Brown 
and the other speakers were Judge James 
H. Quinn, T. J. Knox and Henry G. An- 

The events of the last few years of 
Jackson county's history can be told in a 
few words. For three or four years fol- 
lowing 1903 the comparative dull times 
continued. Then came better times. A 
bountiful crop was raised in 1907, good 
prices prevailed, and the financial flurry 
that fall caused no anxiety among the 
people of Jackson county. A good crop 
was raised in 1908, and in 1909 the mosi; 
bountiful harvest of a decade was gather- 
ed. The year 1910 opens with the people 
of Jackson county happy, contented and 
prosperous. They inhabit the best county 
the bright light of heaven ever shown 





JACKSON county's political history 
covers a period of time from 1858 to 
the present, excluding the years 1862 
to 1865. The county was organized in 
1858 and its organization continued until 
the Sioux massacre of 1862; then the 
county became deserted and, of course, 
the government was discontinued. The 
second organization was brought about in 
1865 and has continued without interrup- 
tion to the present. 

As has been stated before, very little is 
known of the first organization or of the 
government under that organization. With 
only a few exceptions, all its records have 
been destroyed, and there is no one now 
Uving who was intimate enough with the 
local political afifairs of that day to give 
us any reliable data; we must content 
ourselves with the meager records that 
have been saved. 

When the first settlers came and found- 
ed the Springfield settlement they were 
under the local government of Brown 
county, but there is no evidence to show 
that these pioneers had any county busi- 
ness to attend to, and it is doubtful if the 
county officials at New Ulm, the county 
seat, even knew of the existence of the lit- 
tle settlement on the extreme southern 
edge of their county. The act of the leg- 
islature of May 23, 1857, created Jackson 

county and removed it from the jurisdic- 
tion of Brown county. 

There were only a few residents of 
Jackson county at the time of its crea- 
tion, and no effort was made to bring 
about its organization until some time in 
1858. Then the people of tlie new coun- 
ty chose John B. Fish, Alexander Wood 
and a Mr. Britton to act as commissioners 
to perfect the organization under the act 
of 1857. But that act had provided that 
the governor should name the commis- 
sioners, and the state official did not rec- 
ognize the commissioners named, but ap- 
pointed others, and these, in turn, named 
the other county officers, and tlie political 
machinery of Jackson county was started. 
Who the first officers of the county were 
is unknown; in fact, the names of only a 
few of the officers under the first organi- 
zation are known. 

The first election was held in the fall 
of 1858, when a full set of county officers 
was chosen, who succeeded those holding 
office by appointment. Of these officers 
the name of only one is known — Charles 
W. Clark, the sheriff.^ By the time the 
presidential election of 1860 came, there 
were thirty-two electors in the county 

'Jackson county order No. 89. dated Septem- 
ber 9, 1862. a short time after the massacre, 
was for 128.50 and was drawn in favor of 
Charles W. Clark "for services as sheriff of 
said county for 1859." 




who voted (out of a total population of 
181) — and all were cast for Abraham Lin- 
coln for president.*- Tlie polling place was 
at the village of Belmont, which then 
served as the county seat. A full 
set of county officers was chosen at 
that time, including the following: 
H. JR. Trobridge, chairman of the 
board of county commissioners; Edward 
Davies, commissioner; Simon Olson, com- 
missioner; Stiles M. West, sheriff (al- 
though he was only nineteen years of 
age) ; C. 0. Whitney, clerk of the board; 
and James E. Palmer, assessor of Danby 
township. Tliose officers, according to a 
scrap of record preserved, were serving 
during the summer of 18G1. Tlie same 
record would indicate that the following 
were the election officers for the 1860 
election: D. M. West, H. R. Trobridge, 
James E. Palmer, B. McCarthy and C. 0. 
Whitney, judges; Edward Davies and C. 
0. Whitnev, clerk.s. Another election 
seems to have been held in 1861, for dur- 
ing the months of November and Decem- 
ber of that year bills were paid to Ole 
Burreson and Josepii Thomas for ser- 
vices as judges of election, and to S. T. 
Johnson as clerk of election. During 
1862 Joseph Thomas was county auditor 
and Ole Peterson was treasurer. 

When tlie massacre occurred in August, 
1862, the county officers fled with the 
other settlers, and tbeir records were eith- 
er lost or destroved. At the time of the 
attack the treasurer buried the county's 
money in tlie timber and fled without it. 
However, he returned at night and secured 
it. From that time until late in the fall 
of 1865 (when there were 234 people in 
Jackson county, according to the census 
of that vear) the residents of the countv 
were without local government. 

Before taking up the story of the sec- 

ond organization, let us consider the leg- 
islative history of Jackson county. 

Under the legislative apportionment of 
1860 the counties of Faribault, Martin, 
Jackson, Cottonwood, Nobles, Pipestone, 
Eock and a part of Brown were made to 
form the twentieth district, entitled to 
one senator and one member of the houhe. 
The district was so constituted until 1866 
and was represented by the following leg- 
islators : 

1861 — Senate, Guy K. Cleveland; house, A. 

1862— Senate, Guy K. Cleveland; house, B. 
O. Kempfer. 

1863— Senate. D. G. Shillock; house, J. B. 

1864— Senate, D. G. Shillock; house, J. A. 

1865 — Senate, D. G. Shillock; house, J. A. 

1866— Senate, D. G. Shillock; house, J. B. 

A slight change was made in district 
No. 20 in 1866, it being then made to com- 
prise the counties of* Faribault, Martin, 
Jackson, Cottonwood, Murray, Pipestone 
and Rock,^ and entitled to one senator 
and one representative. This apportion- 
ment was in force until 1871. Under it 
the district was represented as follows: 

1867 — Senate, J. B. Wakefield; house, A. 

1868— Senate, J. B. Wakefield; house, A. B. 
Col ton. 

1869— Senate, J. B. Wakefield; house, J. W. 

1870- Senate, J. A. Latimer; house, M. E. L. 

1871 — Senate, C. W. Thompson; house, A. L. 

In 1871 the counties of Martin, Jack- 
son, Nobles, Kock, Watonwan, Cotton- 
wood, Murray and Pipestone were formed 
into the thirty-eighth district and so re- 
mained until 1881. The district was giv- 
en one senator and three representatives 
and was served by the following gentle- 
men : 

1872 — Senate. William D. Rice; house, E. 
Berry, W. W. Murphy, George C. Charaberlin. 

-Simon Olson in Jackson Republic, August 21, 
1891. Stiles M. West. 

'Nobles oountv is not named in this appor- 
tionment, but it became a part of the district. 



1873— Senate, William D. Rice; house, J. W. 
Seager, E. Berry, Stephen Miller. 

1874 — Senate, E. P. Freeman; house, J. F. 
Daniels, Ole O. How, N. H. Manning. 

1875 — Senate, E. P. Freeman; house, Charles 
K. Crosby, E. Berry, Thomas Rutledge. 

1876 — Senate, I. P. Durfee; house, J. A. 
Everett, Lee Hensley, W. H. Mellen. 

1877 — ^Senate, 1. P. Durfee; house, H. N. 
Rice, Lee Hensley, C. H. Smith. 

1878 — Senate, C. H. Smith; house, Frank A. 
Day, L. H. Bishop, Alexander Fiddes. 

1879 — Senate, A. D. Perkins; house, M. E. 
L. Shanks, T. Lambert, P. J. Kniss. 

1881^Senate, A. D. Perkins; house, J. A. 
Armstrong, W. D. Rice, P. J. Kniss. 

The apportionment of 1881 created 
Jackson and Martin counties into the sixth 
district, entitled to one member of each 
]iouse. Thev remained in this district un- 
til 1899 and were represented as follows: 

1883— Senate, R. M. Ward; house, J. E. 

1885 — Senate, R. M. Ward; house, Alexan- 
der Fiddes. 

1887 — Senate, Frank A. Day; house, E. Se- 

1889 — Senate, Frank A. Day; house, E. Se- 

Jackson and Cottonwood counties were 
made to form the eighth district in 1889, 
and that district was represented as fol- 
low? : 

1891 — Senate, E. Seratson; house, Henry F. 

1893 — .Senate, E. Sevatson; house, John 

1895 — Senate, E. Sevatson; house, E. J. 

1897 — Senate, E. Sevatson; house, George M. 

The present fourteenth district, com- 
prising Jackson and Cottonwood counties, 
was formed in 1897, is entitled to one 
senator and two representatives, and has 
been represented by the following: 

1899 — Senate, E. J. Meilicke; house, D. L. 
Riley, John E. Johnson. 

1901 — Senate, E. J. Meilicke; house, D. L. 
Riley, W. A. Potter. 

1903 — Senate, W. A. Smith; house, A. M. 
Scliroeder, J. D. Schroeder. 

190^— Senate, W. A. Smith; house, L. O. 
Ti'igen, R. H. Jefferson. 

1907 — Senate, H. E. Hanson; houpe, Cliarles 
Winzer, R. H. Jefferson. 

1909 — Senate, H. E. Hanson; house, John 
Baldwin, D. A. Stuart. 

In the fall of 1865 the population of 
the unorganized county of Jackson had 
reached nearly three hundred people, and 
prospects for a large immigration the fol- 
lowing year were so good that steps were 
taken to bring about a reorganization un- 
der the original act of 1857. Another rea- 
son that led to the undertaking at that 
time was the desire of the voters to par- 
ticipate in the state and district elec- 
tions that fall. Upon the petition of the 
residents. Governor Stephen Miller ap- 
pointed Israel F. Eddy, Charles Belknap* 
and Jared Palmer commissioners, vested 
with authority to call an election for No- 
vember 7, 1865, for iiie purpose of choos- 
ing county officers and of voting for state 
and district officers. These commission- 
ers were not to act as a law-making body ; 
their duties were simply to call and pre- 
side over the first election. 

Events so shaped themselves that elec- 
tion day very nearly passed without an 
election being held. So isolated was this 
settlement in Jackson countv that it ac- 
tually did not know the date of the gen- 
eral election, and only for a fortunate cir- 
cumstance were the people of the new 
county ko])t from being disfranchised. Ma- 
jor II. S. Baily has written of this circum- 
stance : 

but instead of calling the election 
for the 7th, as the governor directed, they 
calh'd it for the 17th of November. I hap- 
pened to go down to Winnebago City in the 
lirst week in November and learned that out 
in civilization the election was to be held on 
Tuesdav, the 7th. T arrived home on Satur- 
day evening, the 4th. On Sunday I went to 
see Mr. Eddy and asked his authority for call- 
ing the election for the 17th, afid he replied 
that the governor directed it. He brought the 
governor's letter and was surprised to find 
that he had read it wrong. So on Monday he 
went through the settlement and notified the 
voters that there would be an election the 
next day. 

*Major H. S. Bailey, jn an article written in 
1888. stated that I. N. BcHtnip was the com- 
TTiIssioner; the records show that Charles Bel- 
knap served as judge of the election, indicating 
that he was the commissioner. 



Many difficulties beset these pioneers in 
their efforts to organize the county. The 
election was to be held at the home of 
Jared Palmer, who lived on a farm a^short 
distance south of the present village of 
Jackson. When it came time for the open- 
ing of the polls, Mr. Eddy, one of the com- 
missioners, was absent. In his place Ma- 
jor H. S. Bailey was chosen by the other 
commissioners to act as one of the judges; 
W. C. Garratt was selected clerk of the 
election board. In the whole of Jackson 
county there was not a man who had au- 
thority to administer an oath, and the 
judges were confronted with the serious 
question of how to qualify. Some time 
previous Major Bailey had held the office 
of justice of the peace in another county, 
and he took the responsibility of swear- 
ing in the other two judges and clerk of 
election, although he had no legal authori- 
ty to do so. One of the other judges then 
administered the oath to Major Bailey. 

No convention had been held, no can- 
vass made, and the election was a quiet 
affair. Thirtv-six votes were cast and the 
following officers elected: H. S. Bailey, 
Simon Olson and M. S. Clough, county 
commissioners; Clark Baldwin, auditor; 
William Webster, treasurer; W. C. Gar- 
ratt, register of deeds; Orin Belknap, 
judge of probate; I. F. Eddy, sheriff; 
James E. Palmer, surveyor; John McCor- 
mick, county attorney; Joseph Price, clerk 
of court ; Peter Baker, coroner. 

After the election the question of what 
to do witii the returns arose. No pro- 
vision had been made for canvassing the re- 
turns or issuing certificates to the success- 
ful candidates. There was no person in 
Jackson county authorized to do so, and, 
as the county had once been organized, it 
was now attached to no other county, the 
officers of which might perform this ser- 
vice. It was finallv decided to send the 
returns to Martin county, and Major 

Bailey was chosen to take them to the 
county officials at Fairmont. The auditor 
of Martin county, Galiten Brown, at first 
refused to accept them, but he was per- 
suaded to do so, and Jackson county's vote 
for state and district officers was counted. 
The auditor, however, refused to issue 
certificates of election for the new offi- 
cers of Jackson county, believing that 
such a course would be exceeding his Au- 

There was nothing to be done but wait, 
and the formal organization of the county 
was postponed until there had been leg- 
islative action. James B. Wakefield, who 
had been elected to the lower branch 
of the legislature, was informed of the 
situation, and he promptly introduced a 
bill to legalize the election of November 
7 and to authorize the auditor of Mar- 
tin county to issue the necessary certifi- 
cates. The bill was passed and became 
effective in January, ,1866, being among 
the first bills passed by the Minnesota 
law making body that, session. Upon re- 
ceiving notice of the passage of this bill 
Major Bailey made another trip to Fair- 
mont, took the oath of office as commis- 
sioner, and brought back with him the 
election certificates af the other officers. 

So, after many discouraging setbacks, 
eveiything was in readiness for the formal 
beginning of county government. The first 
meeting of the board of county commis- 
sioners was held at the home of Major 
H. S. Bailey, dated Des Moines, Minnesota, 
on January 27, 1866. Major Bailey pre- 
sided as chairman. The only business 
transacted at this initial meeting was the 
appointment of a few officers "to fill va- 
cancies of the officers not yet qualified.^' 
Nearly all the officers elected took the 
oath and entered upon their duties, but 
a few did not. William Webster, who had 
been elected treasurer, refused to have 
anything to do with so responsible an 



office, and P. B. Lyman was appointed 
to the position, holding the office two 
years nnder the appointment. Joseph Price 
did not qualify as clerk of court, and B. 
H. Johnson was appointed to the office. 
Peter Baker did not qualify as coroner, 
and Jared Palmer was named. 

There were but few duties for many of 
these first county officials, and some of 
them had absolutely no duties during their 
entire term. One blank book was pur- 
chased for county use, and that sufficed 
for all the records. The principal duties 
fell upon the county commissioners, Clark 
Baldwin, the auditor, who drew a salary 
of $50 for his services for 1866; I. F. 
Eddy, the sheriff; James E. Palmer, the 
surveyor, who took the oath of office Feb- 
ruary 12, 1866 ; W. C. Garratt, the regis- 
ter of deeds, who gave bond on February 
22, 1866; and the justices of the peace, 
H. S. Bailey, Martin D. Metcalf and Si- 
mon Olson, who took their oaths early in 

The second meeting of the board of 
county commissioners was held March 13, 
1866, at which time the county was divid- 
ed into three commissioner districts. The 
first district was composed of the south- 
em tier of townships; the second, the tier 
just north of it ; the third district com- 
prised the whole north half of the county. 
When the division was made it was found 
that all three of the commissioners were 
from the same district. They continued 
to serve, however, until the first of the 
year 1867. 

To choose new .commissioners and a 
few officers who were then elected in even 
numbered years, provision was made for 
holding an election on November 6, 1866. 
A county convention was held at Joseph 
Thomas* hotel on the hill in September, 
when a partial set of candidates was put 
in nomination. At the election Bev. 

Peter Baker,*^ of Petersburg, was chosen 
commissioner from the first distict;' B. 
H. Johnson, of Des Moines, from the sec- 
ond; and Simon Olson, of Belmont, from 
the third. Mr. Johnson became chair- 
man of the board and served during 1867 
and 1868; Mr. Olson served a two year 
term; Mr. Baker resigned after serving 
less than one year and John Bichardson, 
of Minneota, was appointed to fill the va- 
cancy. Mr. Johnson's election as commis- 
sioner caused a vacancy in the office of 
clerk of court, and Joseph Price, who had 
been elected in 1865 but had failed to 
qualify, was named for that office. H. S. 
Bailey was appointed '^examiner of teach- 
ers and visitor of schools" for the year 
1867, and thus becaine the first superin- 
tendent of schools for Jackson county, the 
office not being an elective one at that 

As the majority of county officers were 
chosen in odd-numbered years during the 
early days, the election of November 5, 
1867, was an important one, and many 

*"I well remember the first time I ever saw 
that grood man [Rev. Peter Baker]. Where, 
friends, do you think it was. Actually presid- 
ing at a political convention instead of a pray- 
er meeting*. It was up at the old log hotel in 
Jackson. I remember him as he sat by the 
table — had on his blue army overcoat with 
brass buttons, I presume all the coat he had 
in the world. There were but four organized 
towns in the county — Petersburg, Minneota, Des 
Moines and Belmont. Major Bailey was mak- 
ing the motions, the elder putting the questions, 
and they were conducting the convention by 
very fair parliamentary principles or rules. JThe 
delegates occupied the chairs and benches, and 
the rest of us stood up or sat on the floor. I 
remembetr I sat flat upon the floor, close to 
the muddled-up flreplac^e, when, imagine how 
suddenly puffed up I became — actually nomi- 
nated for county attorney of Jackson county. 
Three weeks a resident of the county, and knew 
just about as much of law as Allen of the Re- 
public knows of theology; and Jackson county 
at that time needed a county attorney about as 
much as a Methodist minister needs a safe." — 
George C. Chamberlln in speech delivered Sep- 
tember 5, 1889. 

•In after years Rev. Peter Baker told of this 
board (his memory failed him in regard to 
some of the facts): 

"As I was the flrst settler In the town of 
Petersburg. I well remember when the county 
was organized. Mr. Johnson, Mr. Wood and 
myself were the flrst commissioners. As Mr. 
Baldwin was auditor, we met at his house to 
transact business. How wise and dignifled we 
'county dads* looked. I must confess that I 
knew nearly as much about law as a horse 
does about grammar." 



new county officers were chosen. Those 
elected were: George C. Chamberlin, au- 
ditor; Joseph Thomas, treasurer; Joseph 
S. Ei\ton, register of deeds; William V. 
King, judge of probate; A. Miner, sheriff; 
Jania-^ E. Palmer, surveyor; W. S. Kim- 
ball, clerk of court. 

There were a few changes in adminis- 
tration during the next two years. George 
C. Chamberlin resigned the office of au- 
ditor October 9, 1869, and M. A. Strong 
was appointed to complete the short un- 
expired term.'^ Owing to the removal of 
Joseph S. Eaton ifrom the county, the of- 
fice of register of deeds became vacant, 
and John W. Cowing was appointed Sep- 
tember 22, 1808, to serve until the first 
of the next year. William V. King served 
by appointment as superintendent of 
schools during 1868, and Eev. E. Savage 
during 1869. 

At the election on November 3, 1868, 
an entire change was made in the board 
of countv commissioners. 0. J. Russell 
was elected from the first district; Nathan- 
iel Frost, who served as chairman in 1869 
and 1870, from the second ; and P. P. Hav- 
erberg from the third. W. C. Garratt, 
who had been the first register of deeds, 
was chosen for that office at this election, 
the election being held in an even num- 
bered vear on account of the removal of 
Joseph S. Eaton. 

Many new men took office at the begin- 
ning of the year 1870 as a result of the 
election of November 2, 1869. There were 
two tickets in the field at that election, 
and the result on some of the principal of- 
fices was close. Those elected were: M. 
A. Strong, auditor; J. W. Hunter, treas- 
urer; W. C. Garratt, register of deeds; 

TThere had been a contest between Mr. 
Chamberlin and WiUiam V. King for the office 
of county auditor, which was tried under the 
title. Chamberlin vs. Kin^. The commissioners 
declared the office vacant March 5, 1868. and 
appointed Mr. King, but a little later Mr. Cham- 
berlin was seated. On June 27, 1868. Mr. Kln^s 
bill of $74.50 "for disbursements in contesting 
title to auditor's office" was allowed. 

Anders Boe, sheriff; William V. King, 
judge of probate; James E. Palmer, sur- 
veyor; W. S. Kimball, clerk of court; P. 
P. Haverberg, commissioner third dis- 
trict. Of these officers, all served their 
terms of two years except Anders Roe. He 
resigned September 5, 1870, and A. E. 
Wood was appointed sheriff September 16, 
to serve until the first of the year. Of the 
appointive offices. Dr. C. P. Morrill was 
chosen superintendent of schools January 
4, 1870. lie served under the appoint- 
ment until May 11, 1871, when he re- 
signed; then William Y. King was ap- 
pointed and served nearly one year. J. W. 
Seager was named county attorney by the 
commissioners February 1, 1870, to serve 
the balance of the year. He resigned be- 
fore that time, however, and on Septem- 
ber 16, 1870, Emery Clark appointed 
and served under the appointment until 
he took the office at the beginning of the 
year 1871 as a result of the election of 
1870. There having been previously no 
court commissioner, G. K. Tiffanv was 
appointed in May, 1870. 

During the entire early political history 
of Jackson county there was only one po- 
litical organization maintained, and not 
until 1886 was there organized opposi- 
tion to it. Nearly all the first settlers were 
republicans, as were the first settlers of 
all the neighboring counties. At most of 
the early dav elections there were two 
tickets in the field, one nominated bv the 
regular republican organization, the other 
put up by bolters, the candidates being 
either nominated in dn independent con- 
vention or placed on the ticket by those 
interested. Many exciting contests for 
political honors occurred under this ar- 
rangement. The few democrats generally 
allied themselves with the independents 
and were occasional! v rewarded with a 
countv office. 

In 1870 the democrats formed an or- 



ganization and named candidates for a 
few county offices, but the organization 
was not made permanent. This was ac- 
complished on July 16, 1870, when a few 
of the minority met at Jackson. Milton 
Mason was chairman of the meeting and 
J. J. Porter was secretary. The follow- 
ing county central committee was named : 
R. N. Woodward, of Wisconsin; George 
D. Stone, of Petersburg; R. D. Lamed, of 
Middletown; H. M. Doubleday, of Bel- 
mont; I. A. Moreaux, of Minneota; J. 
A. Myers and William Norman, of Des 

At the 1870 election 393 votes were cast. 
The republicans were successful in carry- 
ing the county for congressional and leg- 
islative officers and elected their county 
ticket with one exception. The official 
vote : 

Congressman — M. H. Bunnell (rep.), 
329; Daniel Buck (dcm.), G4; 

Senator— G. W. Whallon (rep.), 208: 
C. W. Thompson (dcm.), 165. 

Representative — G. C. Chamberlin 
(rep.), 265; A. L. Patchin (dem.), 102. 

Sheriff— B. W. Ashley (rep.), 123; 
^fichael Miller (dem.), 76; E. Sevatson 
(ind.), 176. 

Clerk of Court— W. S. KimbalP (rep.), 
without opposition. 

Court Commissioner — 11. S. Bailey 
(rep.), 274; Milton Mason (dem.), 98. 

County Attorney — E. Clark® (rep.), 
without opposition. 

Coroner — A. E. Wood, without opposi- 

Commissioner First District — William 
C. Bates'® (rep.), 50; George D. Stone 
(dem.), 21. 

•Clerk of court is elected for four year term. 
Mr. KImbaU reslgrned In 1*74, and on October 7, 
of that year. Alexander Fiddes was appointed 
to comi^ete the short unexpired term. 

•County Attorney Clark was arrested at Jack- 
son February 17, 1871. and taken to Wisconsin 
to answer the charges of forgery and jail 
breakingr.' He was exonerated and returned to 
his duties early In March. He served until Oc- 
tober 4, 1871, when he resigned; his successor 
was elected the next month. 

There was a large increase in the vote 
in 1871, there being 531 votes polled. The 
dominant party carried the state and leg- 
islative tickets by overwhelming majori- 
ties. In county politics there were sev- 
eral close contests, although the organ- 
ized i)arty again elected all but one officer. 
Nearly all the independent candidates 
were republicans ; their name* were placed 
on the opposition ticket by their friends 
and thev were not nominated in convcn- 
tion. The result according to the official 
canvass : 

Governor — Horace Austin (rep.), 447; 
Winthrop Young (dem.), 48. 

Senator— William 1). Rice (rep.), 430; 
v. C. Sylvester (dem.), 94; O. Nason, 7. 

Representative — G. C. Chamberlin 
(rep.), 315; 0. Xason (dem.), 175. 

Auditor— M. A. Strong (rep.), 3G0; L. 
(). Beck (ind.), 162. 

Treasurer—,!. W. Hunter (rep.), 2G8; 
E. R Skinner (ind.), 243. 

Register of Deeds — W. C. Garratt 
(rep.), 300; J. A. Myers (ind.), 198. 

County Attorney— William Y. King, 
(rep.), 234; G. K.Tiffany (ind.), 283. 

Sheriff — Henry Knudson (rep.), 358; 
C. H. Sandon (ind.), IGO. 

Judge of Probate — William Y. King 
(rep.), 423; J. C. Hoovcl (ind.), 04. 

Surveyor— J. M. Tanner^^ (rep.), 397; 
James E. Palmer (ind.), 117. 

Commissioner Second District — W. A. 
Fields^= (rep.), 87; J. Y. Tompkins, 15. 

The political complexion of the coun- 
tv at the time is well shown in the result 
of the presidential election of 1872, when 
out of a total of 020, Horace Greeley re- 
ceived only 50 votes. For county offi- 
ces there was no oj)position to the re- 
publican ticket. Tbe vote: 

"Wa.s chairman in 1871-72-73. 

"Resigrned October, 1872, and successor elect- 
ed next month. 

"Was chairman during 1874. 



President— U. S. Grant (rep.), 564; 
Horace Greeley (dem.), 56. 

Congressman — M. H. Dunnell (rep.), 
566; M. S. Wilkinson (dem.), 53. 

Representative — Stephen Miller (rep.), 
283; H. Anderson, 284." 

County Attorney — G. K. Tiffany (rep.), 

Coroner — J. F. Force (rep.), 613. 

Surveyor — James E. Palmer (rep.), 

Commissioner Third District — Hans 
Knudson" (rep.), 308; W. Jacobs, 14. 

The opposition to the republican ma- 
chine had gained such strength by 1873 
that the organized party met with a par- 
tial defeat in the election of that year. 
The independents elected four of the prin- 
cipal county officers and the other can- 
didates gave a good account of them- 
selves at the voting. Five hundred sixty- 
five votes were polled, a slight falling 
off from the last election. Following is 
the vote each candidate received : 

(Jovernor — C. K. Davis (rep.)> 475; 
Ara Barton (dem.), 90. 

Senator — E. P. Freeman (rep.), 552. 

Representative — N. H. Manning (rep.), 
499; Warren Smith (dem.), 16. 

Auditor — M. A. Strong (rep.), 197; 
William V. King (ind.), 359. 

Treasurer — Henry Knudson (rep.) , 
381; Clark Baldwin (ind.), 171. 

Sheriff— C. H. Sandon (rep.), 231; A. 
. C. Serum (ind.), 329. 

Register of Deeds — Edward Orr (rep.), 
240; W. C. Garratt (ind.), 120; Hans 
Knudson (ind.), 205. 

Surveyor — E. P. Skinner (rep.), 274; 
James E. Palmer (ind.), 281. 

Judge of Probate — John Davies" 
(rep.), 559. 

"Mr. Miller was elected. 

"Was chairman during 1875. 

"Resigned January 7, 1874. In June. 1874. T. 
J. Knox was appointed by Governor Davis to 
complete the term. 

Court Commissioner — John Davies 
(rep.), 559. 

Commissioner First District — J. W. 
Dunn (rep.), 37; H. J. Phelps^' (ind.), 

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 
another falling off in the vote — 551 being 
the highest number cast for any one of-, 
fiee. Two independents were elected ; 
otherwise republicans were chosen for 
county office. In place of the democratic 
ticket, for congress and the legislature ap- 
peared the ticket of the anti-monopoly 
party, which made a fair showing against 
the republican forces. The vote : 

Congressman — M. H. Dunnell (rep.), 
379; F. H. Waite (a-m), 164. 

Judge Sixth District — D. A. Dickinson 
(rep.), 431; Daniel Buck (a-m), 120. 

Senator — E. P. Freeman, 149; Neill 
Currie, 112. 

Representative — Charles F. Crosby 
(rep.), 346; L. Aldrich (a-m), 166. 

County Attorney — T. J. Knox (rep.), 
239; William V. King (ind.), 308. 

Court Commissioner — W. W. Hamilton 
(rep.), 485. 

Probate Judge — Henry Knudson (rep.), 

Clerk of Court — Alexander Fiddes 
(rep.), 247; 0. A. Brown (ind.), 304. 

Coroner — J. F. Force (rep.), 530. 

Commissioner Second District — A. D. 
Palmer" (rep.), 82; William A. Fields 
(ind.), 48. 

Political conditions were unique in 
1875. For several years many republicans 
had refused to affiliate with the r^ular 
party organization and had been responsi- 

"Was chairman during 1876. 

"Was chairman from July 16, 1877, to Jan- 
uar>' 1, 1878. 



ble for the independent candidates that 
made the race each year; in 1875 the 
party organization refused to affiliate 
with itself. After the committee on cre- 
dentials of the republican county con- 
vention, which was held at Jackson in Sep- 
tember, had made its report, the conven- 
tion broke up in a row, without naming a 
candidate. The Jackson Republic, in its 

report of the convention, said: 

Upon that report commenced a disgraceful 
and disreputable wrangle as to the admission 
of a set of contesting delegates from several 
towns, and as to who is the guilty party or 
parties for this we for the present remain 
silent. Suflfice it to say that, after a long fight 
over the admission of delegates, the conven- 
tion adjourned sine die, and candidates are 
free to go in on their muscle as independents. 

From that time on it was each one for 
himself. Many announced themselves 
as candidates for the several offices, no one 
of whom had an organization back of him 
or the prestige that goes with a party 
nomination. Six hundred twenty-three 
votes were cast — the largest number ever 
voted in the county up to that time. The 
republicans had their old time majorities 
for state officers. ' Following is the vote . 

Governor — J. S. Pillsbury (rep.), 563; 
D. L. Buell (dem.), 52; R. F. Humiston 
(reform), 8. 

Senator— I. P. Durfee (rep.), 568; G. 
S. Thompson (reform), 54." 

Representative — W. H. Mellen (rep.), 
322; E. L. Brownell (reform), 290. 

Auditor— William V. King, 358 ; G. B. 
Franklin, 257. 

Treasurer — Henry Knudson, 436 ; Hans 
Knudson, 183. 

Register of Deeds — Edward Orr, 463; 
W. H. Ashley, 156; Ira G. Walden, 4. 

Sheriff— Jens J. Johnson, 293; Wil- 
liam Rost, 147; H. A. Williams, 36; I. 
A. Moreaux, 78; John Richardson, 62. 

"Mr. Durfee received a majority 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 the 
senate, and in January. 1876, was given the 
seat Yyy a unanimous vote. 

Surveyor — James E. Palmer, 609. 

Court Commissioner — Carl Hirdler, 
419 ; Charles Winzer, 188. 

Commissioner Third District — A. C. 
Serum,^» 278; A. Quivili, 90; Charles 
Winzer, 2. 

The presidential election of 1876 was 
a very quiet one in Jackson county, owing 
largely to the hard times caused by the 
grasshopper invasion. Only 591 votes 
were cast. The result in figures: 

President — Rutherford B. Hayes (rep.), 
522; Samuel Tilden (dem.), 69. 

Congressman — M. H. Bunnell (rep.), 
520; E. C. Stacy (dem.), 64. 

Representative — C. H. Smith (rep.), 
474; B. N Carrier (ind.), 97. 

County Attorney — W. W. Hamilton 
(rep.), 535. 

Judge of Probate — W. A. Fields (rep.), 
164; Anders Roe (ind.), 369; Hans Rolf- 
son (ind.), 12. 

Coroner — J. F. Force (rep.), 551. 

Court Commissioner — G. R. Moore 
(rep.), 498; A. H. Strong, 18. 

Commissioner First District — A. B. 
Stimson^** (rep.), 69; Jareb Palmer 
(ind.), 25. 

Five hundred forty-three votes were 
polled in 1877. A few independent can- 
didates made the race against the repub- 
lican nominees. An independent com- 
missioner and county treasurer were elect- 
ed, there being no republican nominee for 
the latter office. The official vote: 

Governor — John S. Pillsbury (rep.), 
512; William L. Banning (dem.), 31. 

Senator— C. H. Smith (rep.), 437; W. 
R. Bennett (dem.), 67. 

Representative — Alexander Fiddes 
(rep.), 497; C. T. Clifford (dem.), 6. 

Auditor — G. B. Franklin (rep.), 291; 
William V. King (ind.), 251. 

Treasurer — John Paulson (ind.), 314; 

"Was chairman from Januarv 1, 1877, to July 
le; 1877, and during the year 1878. 

"•Was chairman during 1879. 



Ole E. Olson (ind.), 187; Jareb Palmer 
(ind.), 36. 

Register of Deeds — Edward Orr (rep.), 

Sheriff — J. J. Johnson (rep.), 342; 
Charles Michelson (ind.), 147; P. H. 
Paulson (ind.), 18. 

Surveyor — James E. Palmer (rep.), 

Superintendent of Schools-^ — J. F. 
Force (rep.), 515. 

Commissioner Second District — H. S. 
Bailey (rep.), 33; M. S. Barney (ind.), 9; 
John Cowing (ind.), 34; C. P. EandalP^ 
(ind.), 49. 

Tn 1878 the republicans were again 
generally successful, electing the whole 
county ticket with one exception. Five 
hundred forty-.six votes were cast, and the 
vote in detail was as follows: 

Congressman — M. H. Dunnell (rep.), 
412; William Meighen (dem.), 55. 

Senator — A. D. Perkins (rep.), 533; 
William V. King (greenback), 10. 

Representative — P. J. Kniss (rep.), 
470; J. H. Brooks (greenback), 43; Wil- 
liam Y. King, 27. 

County Attorney — E. D. Briggs (rep.), 
318; W. W. Hamilton (ind.), 228. 

Clerk of Court — George R. Moore 
(rep.), 228; E. W. Davies (ind.), 245. 

Judge of Probate — Simon Olson (rep.), 

Coroner — L. L. Tidball (rep.), 536. 

Commissioner Third District — Chris- 
tian Lewis (rep.), 81; A. E. Kilen (ind.), 
IIG; Obed Omberson (ind.), 47; Ole Tol- 
lefson (ind.), 52; Charles Winzer (ind.), 

There were independent candidates for 

2*The office of superintendent of schools had 
now become an elective one. TTpon the reslgrna- 
tion of William V. Kingr as superintendent 
March 23. 1872, Dr. E. U BrowneU had been 
appointed and served until tlie first of the year 
1876. Then Dr. J. F. Force received the ap- 
pointment and served under the appointment 
until after this election of 1877. 

2»Was chairman during 1880. 

most of the county offices in 1879, and 
an interesting election was the result. 
There was a large increase in the vote, 802 
hallots being cast, although the highest 
number for ariv one office was 796. This 
was a larger vote than that cast by any 
other county of the thirty-eighth legisla- 
tive district. With the exception of the 
nominees for superintendent of schools 
and county commi.<sioner, the republican 
ticket was elected. The vote: 

Governor — J. S. Pillsbury (rep.), 723; 
Edmund Eice (dem.), 60; Scattering, 12. 

Auditor — William V. King (rep.), 528; 
E. R Skinner (ind.), 267. 

Treasurer — John Paulson (rep.), 795. 

Register of Deeds — Edward Orr (rep.), 
382; Obed Omberson (ind.), 317; Sam- 
uel LaEue (ind.), 97. 

Sheriflf— Charles Malchow (rep.), 487; 
Michael Miller (ind.), 306. 

Superintendent of Schools — J. F. Force 
(rep.), 315; T. J. Knox (ind.), 468. 
Surveyor — James E. Palmer (rep.). 


Court Commissioner — H. S. Bailev 


(rep.), 753. 

Commissioner First District — Peter 
Baker (lop.), 24; H. W. Chandler (ind.), 
37; ^lartin Logue (ind.), 36; Jareb 
Palmer (ind.), 22. 

Tlie law provided that when a county 
polled 800 votes it should have five coun- 
tv commissioners. As that number had 
been ca?t at the 1870 election, the board 
of ,countv commissioners, on Julv 23, 

ft ^ V ' 

1880, redistricted the county in accord- 
ance with that law, as follows: Xo. 1, 
Petersburg, Middletown, Minneota, Sioux 
Vallev and Round Lake; Xo. 2, Des 
Moines and Wisconsin; Xo. 3, Hunter, 
East, Ewington, Alba, West Heron I^ake 
and Heron Lake; Xo. 4, TiaCro^se, Weim- 
er and Delafield ; Xo. 5, Belmont, Cliris- 
tiania, Kimball and Enterprise. At the 



succeeding election an entire new set of 
commissioners was elected. 

There was another increase in the vote 
.in 1880, and 914 votes were counted for 
presidential electors. In national politics 
the county was found to be again strongly 
republican. In local politics the party 
did not fare so well. Of the five com- 
missioners elected, three were independ- 
ents, and an independent was also elect- 
ed judge of probate. The result: 

President — James A. Garfield (rep.), 
767; Winfield S. Hancock (dem.), 126; 
James B. Weaver (greenback), 11. 

Congressman — W. G. Ward (ind.), 
154; H. R. Wells (dem.), 125; M. H. 
Bunnell (rep.), 619. 

Representative — P. J. Kniss (rep.), 
270; M. A. Strong (peoples), 586." 

Judge of I*robate — W. W. Hamilton 
(rep.), 355; Simon Olson (ind.), 517. 

County Attornev — J. I). Bowditch^* 
(rep.), 845. 

Court Commissioner — Jareb Palmer 
(rep.), 857. 

Coroner— E. P. Gould (rep.), 875. 

Commissioner First District — H. W. 
Chandler (rep.), 60; ^fartin Logue 
(ind.), 66. 

Commissioner Second District — A. C. 
Whitman-' (rep.), 119; Joseph Thomas 
(ind.), 79. 

Commissioner Third District — William 
Rost (rep.), 56; Christian Lewis (ind.), 

Commissioner Fourth District — L. 0. 
Beck (rep.), 94; J. G. Todnes (ind.), 

Commissioner Fifth District — A. E. 
Kilen (rep.), 134; J. J. Tagley (ind.), 

The election of 1881 almost went by 

"Mr. Knl«s was elected. 

"Resigned November 1, 1881. L. W. Seely 
was appointed January 4, 1882, to complete the 

''Was chairman from 1881 to 1885, inclusive. 

default and was the quietest one ever held 
in the county. There'were only two in- 
dependent candidates against the nomi- 
nees of the republican convention, and 
only 489 votes were cast. Although state 
officers were voted for, in only one pre- 
cincH: (Ewington) was there a vote cast 
for the democratic nominee for governor. 
The vote follows : 

Governor — L. F. Hubbard (rep.), 467; 
K. W. Johnson (dem.), 7. 

Judge District Court^* — M. J. Sever- 
ance (rep.), 477. 

Auditor — William V. King (rep.), 482. 

Treasurer — John Paulson (rep.), 483. 

Sheriff — Charles Malchow (rep.), 478. 

Register of Deeds — A. C. Serum (rep.), 
303;. Samuel LaEue (ind.), 126. 

Superintendent of Schools — T. J. Knox 
(rep.), 470. 

Surveyor — James E. Palmer (rep.), 

Commissioner First District — Martin 
Logue (rep.), 53; H. W. Chandler (ind.), 

For tlie first time in history Jackson 
county gave a democratic nominee for con- 
gress a majority in 1882. There was no 
opposition to the republican county ticket. 
Six hundred fifty votes were cast, as fol- 

Congressman — J. B. Wakefield (rep.), 
238; J. A. I^timer (dem.), 392; Felix 

A. Borer (pro.), 19. 

Senator— R. M. Ward (rep.), 308; J. 

B. Dukes (ind.),. 340.27 
Representative — .lames E. Child (rep.), 


Clerk of Court — George R. Moore 
(rep.), 394 ; E. J. Orr (ind.), 249. 

"Judges were elected for six year terms, but 
the legislature of 1885 created a new district — 
the 13th — composed of the counties of Nobles, 
Rock, Pipestone, Murray. Cottonwood and Jack- 
son. In March, 1885, Governor Hubbard ap- 
pointed A. D. Perkins judge of the new dis- 
trict, and Judge Severance served only until 
that date. 

'^Mr. Ward was elected. 


County Attorney — L. W. Seely (rep.). Commissioner Second District — ^A. C. 

632. Whitman" (rep.), 1G3. 

Judge of Probate— Simon Olson (rep.). Commissioner Third District— Chris- 

641. tian Lewis (rep.), 109. 

Coroner — E. P. Gould (rep.), 650. 

Court Commissioner — C. L. Campbell »Re8igmecl October. 1886, and left the county. 

/ \ AQA ^' ^' Cowing was then appointed and served 

^rep.j, Dt)-±. as chairman during 1886 under the appointment. 



POLITICAIr— 1883-1910. 

ANOTHER abortive attempt was 
made to organize the democratic 
party of Jackson county in 1883. 
A call for a mass convention was issued 
by a few of the party leaders on October 
11/ and the convention was held in Jack- 
son Tuesday evening, October 23. D. M. 
DeVore was chairman of the meeting and 
F. L. Driggs was secretary. A county 
committee was named, but no candidates 
were placed in nomination. 

The election of 1883 was quite hotly 
contested for the few offices for which 
there were independent candidates. A 
pretty four cornered fight for the ofifice 
of sheriff developed among independent 
candidates. The republican convention 
had deadlocked over the nomination and 
had adjourned without selecting a nomi- 
nee for that important office. Seven hun- 
dred forty-four votes were cast. Under the 
new plan of holding elections only on 
even-numbered years, the officials elected 
in 1883 served three years. The vote: 

Governor — L. F. Hubbard (rep.), 560; 

*"The democrats of Jackson county are here- 
by called and requested to meet in mass con- 
vention at Owens' haU In Jackson, Minnesota, 
on Saturday, October 20, 1883, at one o'clock 
p. m., for the purpose of organizing for the 
coming campaign. Let every democrat who has 
the love of hi? country at heart rally and lend 
his voice to strengthen and upbuild his party 
m Jackson county. (Signed) F. L. Driggs, D. 
M. DeVore, R, K. Craigue, M. Miller, G. A. 

Adolph Bierman (dem.), 173; Charles E. 
Holt (pro.), 11. 

Auditor — William V. King (rep.), 713. 

Treasurer — John Paulson (rep.), 727. 

Sheriff— Charles Malchow (ind.), 332; 
C. A. Wood (ind.), 174; H. W. Peck 
(ind.), 141; F. B. Bailey (ind.), 78. 

Eegister of Deeds — ^A. C. Serum (rep.), 

Superintendent of Schools — ^T. J. Knox 
(rep.), 706. 

Surveyor — James E. Palmer (rep.), 

Court Commissioner — M. A. Strong 
(rep.), 724. 

Commissioner Fourth District — Jul 6. 
Fodnes (rep.), 106; John P. Brakke 
(ind.), 56; Charles Winzer (ind.), 25. 

Commissioner Fifth District — A. E. 
Kiien^ (rep.), 148. 

James G. Blaine carried Jackson coun- 
ty over Grover Cleveland for president by 
a large majority in 1884. There were 859 
votes cast, and with one exception, the re- 
publican ticket was elected. The vote as 
officially canvassed : 

President — James G. Blaine (rep.), 
652; Grover Cleveland (dem.), 146; Ben- 
jamin F. Butler (a-m.), 43; John P. St. 
John (pro.), 18. 

designed September ^, 1886, and H. C. 
Sether appointed In his place September 2S. 




Congressman— J. B. Wakefield (rep.), 
G81; J. J. Thornton (dem.), 1^8; Wil- 
liam Copp (pro.), 6. 

Ikpresentative — Alexander Jiddes 
(rep.), CGO; Eric Olson (ind.), 147. 

County Attorney— E. D. Briggs (rep.), 
322; D. M. DeVore (ind.), 514. 

Judge of Probate— Simon Olson (rep.), 


Coroner— E. P. Gould (rep.), 848. 
Commissioner First District— C. M. 

Hardy^ (rep.), 1^^. 

For the first time in the political his- 
tory of the county, in 1886 the democrats 
had reached a point where they beUeved 
they had sufficient strength to warrant 
entering the field of county politics and 
put up a ticket. Accordingly a conven- 
tion was convened at Lakefield October 2 
and organized. Then it was found that 
there were many present who did not care 
to participate in a democratic convention, 
labeled as such, but who were opposed to 
the republican organization and would 
take part in the deliberations of the con- 
vention if another name were given. So 
the following resolution was adopted: 

That, inasmuch as there are many inde- 
pendent voters present ^^^ many persons not 
^cntified with the democratic party, but who 
are united with us in our opposition to rings 
and ring rule, now be it resolved that we do 
not as^ a democratic convention, nominate 
anyone for county office, but that we invite 
an independent voters and all such as are m 
sympathv with the common people and against 
rC and bossism, to join with us ^ "on^nat^^ 
ing a proper ticket, laying aside all political 

After the passage of this resolution the 
democratic convention adjourned and im- 
mediately reconvened as the "peoples" 
convention. A full county ticket was 
placed in nomination, a permanent or- 
ganization made, and a determined can- 
vass made. The election was hotly con- 
tested and exciting. All the nominees of 
the new party polled fair votes and three 

mesigned and John Baldwin appointed March 
4, 1886. to complete the term. 

of them were elected. By far the largest 
vote ever polled was cast, 1,326 being tlie 
highest for any one office. The story in 

figures : 

Governor— A. K. McGill (rep.), 936; 
A. A. Ames (dem.), 352; J. E. Child 

(pro.), 36. 
Judge District Court— A. D. Perkins* 

(all parties), elected. 

Congressman — John Lind (rep.), 
1,065; A. H. BuUis- (dem.), 257; George 
J. Day (pro.), 1. 

Senator— Frank A. Day (rep.), 663; 
W. H. Gilbert (dem.), 631. 

Representative— Erick Sevatson (rep.), 
1,088; Elder Berry (dem.), 226. 

Auditor— William Y. King (rep.), 908 ; 
J. A. Spafford (peo.), 410. 

Treasurer— John Paulson* (rep.), 912; 
John Frederickson (p»eo.), 413. 

Sheriff— C. A. Wood (rep.), 795; Ole 
Anderson (peo.), 530. 

Register of Deeds—A. C. Serum (rep.), 
880; L. B. Lerud (peo.), 446. 

Judge of Probate— Simon Olson (rep.), 
415; Henry Knudson (peo.), 532; H. S. 
Bailey (ind.), 362. 

County Attorney— T. J. Knox (rep.), 
853; D. M. DeVore (peo.), 460. 

Surveyor— L. L. Palmer (rep.), elect- 
ed; John G. Miller (peo.) 

Coroner— E. P. Gould* (rep.), elected. 
Clerk of Court— A. H. Strong (rep.), 
769; John P. Brakke (peo.), 551. 

Court Commissioner— S. C. Rea (rep. 
and peo.), elected; R. D. Lamed (ind.) 

Superintendent of Schools— L. F. Lam- 
mers (rep.), 518; Flora J. Frost (peo.), 
433; W. B. Sketch (ind.), 194; Joseph 
J. Jones (ind.), 163; J. W. Dunn (ind.). 


^Resl^ed February. 1891. and P. E. Brown 
appointed by Governor Merriam to finish the 

*Reslgrned In November, 1888. 

•Removed from the county and W. C. Port- 
mann appo nted January 6. 1887. The »»"«[ 
Sto removed from the county, and on March 
21 1888. W. W. Heffelflnger received the ap- 



Commissioner First District — John 
Baldwin (peo.), elected. 

Commissioner Second District — J. W. 
Cowing^ (rep.), elected. 

Commissioner Third District — William 
Rost (rep.)> elected; A. D. Pabner (peo.) 

Commissioner Fourth District — J. J. 
Johnson (rep.) ; John Powlitschek® (peo.), 

Commissioner Fifth District — H. C. 
Sether (rep.), elected; Gustav Meilicke 

Fifteen hundred seventy-eight votes 
were cast in Jackson county for president 
in 1888. For national, state and district 
officers the democrats made the best show- 
ing in the county's history up to that time, 
Grover Cleveland receiving 475 votes for 
president. The republicans, democrats 
and prohibitionists each had tickets in the 
field of local politics, the prohibitionists 
having for the first time met in conven- 
tion at Lakefield September 2. The re- 
publicans were generally successful, al- 
though a few met defeat. The vote : 

President — Benjamin Harrison (rep.), 
1,017; Grover Cleveland (dem.), 475; 
Clinton B. Fisk (pro.), 86. 

Governor — William R. Merriam (rep.), 
932; Eugene M. Wilson (dem.), 519; 
Hugh Harrison (pro.), 120. 

Congressman — John Lind (rep.), 
1,025; Morton S. Wilkinson (dem.), 464; 
D. W. Edwards (pro.), 88. 

Representative — Erick Sevatson (rep.), 
1,029; C. W. Hall (dem.), 330; Babcock 
(pro.), 95. 

Auditor— William V. King (rep.), 924; 
J. A. Spafford (dem.-pro.), 662. 

Treasurer — Christian Lewis (rep.) , 
805; H. H. Berge (ind.), 655; Anders 
Boe (pro.), 100; H.J. Hoovel (dem.), 5. 

Register of Deeds — S. 0. Hagen (rep.), 

^Served as chairman from 1886 to 1894, in- 

•Died February 23, 1887. J. B. Jones appoint- 
ed to the vacancy April 6, 1887. 


680; John Baldwin (dem.), 761; E, J. 
Orr (pro.), 113. 

County Attorney — T. J. Knox (rep.), 
848; W. A. Funk (ind.), 717. 

Sheriff— C. A. Wood (rep.), 1,078; M. 
Miller (dem.), 487. 

Judge of Probate — Henry Knudson 
(rep.), 848; A. D. Pahner (dem.-pro.), 
360; Simon Olson (ind.), 358. 

Superintendent of Schools — L. F. I^am- 
mers. (rep.), 886; Flora J. Frost (dem.), 

Coroner— W. W. Heffelfinger® (rep.), 
883; W. C. Portmann (dem.), 603; Nath- 
aniel Frost (pro.), 80. 

Surveyor— L. L. Palmer (rep.), 1,431; 
J. G. Miller (pro.),* 94; G. A. Albertus 
(dem.), 24. 

Commissioner First District — Orrin 
Jones'^ (rep.), 159; Robert Gruhlke 
(dem.), 126. 

Commissioner Third District— William 
Bost (ind.), 47; Matt Tollefson (pro.), 
6; Bichard Suker (dem.), 49; H. K. 
Rue (ind.), 114; Olson, 30; Lufron 
(ind.), 73. 

Commissioner Fourth District — J. E. 
Jones (dem.-rep.), 137; Frank Wazlahow- 
sky (ind.), 84; Henry Hohenstein (ind.), 

Commissioner Fifth District — Hans 
Sether (rep.), 278 ; B. A. Brown (pro.), 6. 

There was a political revolution in 
1890, caused by the entrance into politics 
of the farmers' alliance. The result was 
the almost complete overthrow of the re- 
publican party, which had been in control 
since the organization of the county. The 
alliance candidate for governor carried 
the county; the alliance candidates for 
state senator and representative carried 
the county and were elected; the alliance 
candidate for congress lost the county by 

•Resigrned and W. C. Portmann appointed 
coroner April 30, 1889. 

^'Resigned and Walter Withers appointed 
July. 1891. 



only a small plurality. Of the county of- 
ficers only two or three were elected who 
had not been nominated or endorsed by 
the alliance party. The legislative situa- 
tion was complicated by a bad split in the 
republican convention. The delegates from 
Cottonwood county, which was then for 
the first time districted with Jackson 
county, refused to participate in the con- 
vention. The Jackson county delegates 
proceeded to place in nomination T. J. 
Knox for senator and Silas Blackman for 
representative. The Cottonwood county 
delegates met and nominated Erick Sevat- 
son for senator and H. F. Tucker for rep- 
resentative, and these were later endorsed 
by the alliance party. Fifteen hundred 
sixty-eight votes were polled. The result : 

Governor — William R. Merriam (rep.), 
434; Thomas J. Wilson (dem.), 504; Sid- 
ney M. Owen (all.), 595; J. P. Pinkham 
(pro.), 35. 

Congressman — John Lind (rep.), 781; 
James H. Baker (all.), 754; Ira Reynolds 
(pro.), 26. 

Senator — T. J. Knox (rep.), 594; 
Erick Sevatson (all.), 737; W. C. Port- 
mann (dem.), 219 ; J. I. Wallace (pro.), 7. 

Representative — Silas Blackman (rep.), 
563; Edward Savage (dem.), 314; H. P. 
Tucker (all.), 680. 

Auditor — A. C. Serum (rep.), 591; 
William V. King (all.), 937. 

Treasurer — Christian Lewis (rep.-dem.- 
all.), 1,567. 

Sheriff— C. A. Wood (rep.), 699; S. J. 
Moe (all.), 843; L. 0. Beck (pro.), 22. 

Register of Deeds — John Baldwin 
(dem.-rep.-all.), 1,565. 

Judge of Probate— C. H. Sandon 
(rep.), 739; J. G. Miller (dem.), 189; 
Ole 0. Engen (all.), 607. 

County Attorney — W. A. Funk (rep.- 
all.), 1,267. 

Surveyor — L. L. Palmer (rep.-dem.- . 
all.), 1,531. 

Coroner— C. R. J. Kellam, 696; W. C. 
Portmann, 826. 

Clerk of Court — A. H. Strong (rep.), 
803; H. J. HoUister (dem.-all.), 757. 

Court Commissioner — J. A. Goodrich 
(all.-dem.), 1,333; T. A. Alexander 
(rep.), 220. 

Superintendent of Schools — Eugene 
Rucker (rep.), '216; Flora J. Frost 
(dem.), 1,180. 

Commissioner Second District^ — J. W. 
Cowing (rep.), 127; J. W. Hunter 
(ind.), 97. 

An outgrowth of the alliance party was 
the peoples party, otherwise known as the 
populist party, which made its first ap- 
pearance in Jackson county politics in 
1892. Now only a memory, the peoples 
party was an important factor in the poli- 
tics of the county during the nineties. Its 
strength was such that during several 
campaigns, by forming alliance with, and 
endorsing nominees of, the democratic 
party, it was able to dominate county poli- 

The county was carried by the repub- 
licans in 1892 for president by the small- 
est plurality the nominee of that party 
ever received, before or since. The nomi- 
nees of that party for governor and con- 
gressman also carried the county by small 
pluralities. Fusion between the demo^ 
crats and peoples party was affected for 
representative, and the nominee of those 
parties carried the county and was elected. 

In county politics the democrats and 
peoples party also combined, their con- 
ventions being held on the same day. By 
mutual understanding the democrats 
named the nominees for register of deeds, 
superintendent of schools, judge of pro- 
bate, coroner and county commissioners 
from the first and fourth districts, while 
the peoples party selected the nominees 
for auditor, treasurer, county attorney, 
sheriff, surveyor and commissioners from 



the third and fifth districts. At the elec- 
tion the fusion forces elected auditor, sher- 
iff, register of deeds, surveyor, coroner and 
commissioners from the first, third and 
fifth districts. The republicans elected 
treasurer, judge of probate, county attor- 
ney and commissioner from the fourth 
district. The nominee for superintendent 
of schools was endorsed by all parties. 

The vote had now increased to 2,09G, 
a far greater number than had ever before 
been cast. The Australian ballot system 
was employed for the first time in this 
election. The vote in detail : 

President — ^Benjamin Harrison (rep.), 
900; Grover Cleveland (dem.), 852; 
James B. Weaver (pp.), 270; Silas Bid- 
well (pro.), 74. 

Governor — Knute Nelson (rep.), 839; 
Daniel W. Lawler (dem.), 680; Ignatius 
Donnelly (pp.)> '^^^l Dean (pro.), 54. 

Congressman — James T. McCleary 
(rep.), 883; W. S. Hammond (dem.), 
690; L. C. Long (pp.), 344. 

Judge District Court — P. E. Brown" 
(non-partisan), 1,239. 

Bepresentative — John Paulson (rep.), 
923; E. J. Meilicke (dem.-pp.), 1,017. 

Auditor — J. D. Wilson (rep.), 814; 
William V. King (dem.-pp.), 1,156. 

Treasurer — Christian Lewis ( rep. ) , 
1,116; Charles Malchow (dem.-pp.), 825. 

Sheriff— D. S. Stoddard (rep.), 652; 
Ole Anderson (dem.-pp.), 856; S. J. Moe 
(ind.), 431. 

Register of Deeds — J^reb Palmer 
(rep.), 644; John Baldwin (dem.-pp.), 

Judge of Probate — C. H. Sandon 
(rep.), 1,142; E. Babcock (dem.-pp.), 

County Attorney — W. A. Funk (rep.), 
982: W. B. Sketch (dem.-pp.), 975. 

^'In 1897 the le^slature changed the boundar- 
ies of the judicial districts, and Jackson coun- 
ty became a part of the 17th. James H. Quinn 
became judere of the 17th and presided over his 
first Jackson county court In April, 1897. 

Surveyor — A. C. Serum (rep.), 749; 
C. W. Gove (dem.-pp.), 810; L. L. Pal- 
mer (ind.), 377. 

Coroner — Scott Searles (rep.), 779; 
W. C. Portmann (dem.-pp.) 1,143. 

Superintendent of Schools — Flora J. 
Frost (rep.-dem.), 1,797. 

Commissioner First District — W. H. 
Austin (rep.), 124; Henry Thielvoldt 
(dem.-pp.), 224. 

Commissioner Third District — W. C. 
Bauer (rep.), 139; H. K. Bue (dem.-pp.), 

Commissioner Fourth District — George 
Erbes (rep.), 181; J. E. Jones (dem.- 
pp.), 141; G. T. Juvland (ind.), 58. 

Commissioner Fifth District — Thomas 
Chesterson (pp.)^ ^83. 

The election of 1894 was one of great 
excitement in local circles, and the cam- 
paign was one of the most bitter ever 
waged in the county. All three parties 
were in the field with tickets, the demo- 
crats and peoples party combining on only 
a few officers. In addition to the regular 
party nominees there were a number of 
independent candidates, who added their 
sliare to the bitterness of the strife. The 
republican county ticket was generally 
successful, although a few offices went to 
the other parties. The peoples party 
nominees for senator and representative 
carried the county and were elected. 
Twenty-four hundred nineteen was the 
highest number of votes cast for the nomi- 
nees of one office. The result: 

Governor — Knute Nelson (rep.), 1,242; 
George L. Becker (dem.), 428; Sidney M. 
Owen (pp.), 701; Hans S. Hilleboe 
(pro.), 43. 

Congressman — James T. McCleary 
(rep.), 1,195; James T. Baker (dem.), 
416 ;L. C. Jjong (pp.), 685; H. S. Kel- 
1am (pro.), 52. 

Senator— H. F. Tucker (rep.), 1,086; 
Erick Sevaston (pp.), 1,226. 



Representative — C. R. J. Kellam (rep.), 
997; E. J. Meilicke (pp.), 1,281. 

Auditor— V. E. Butler (rep.), 637; 
Joseph J. Jones (dem.), 403; J. A. Spaf- 
ford (pp.), 528; William V. King (ind.), 

Treasurer — John Paulson (rep.), 580; 
G. A. Albertus (dem.), 559; Matt Tollef- 
son (pp.)^ 358; Christian Lewis (ind.), 
560; Charles Malchow (ind.), 362. 

Register of Deeds — John P. Brakke 
(rep.), 555; John Baldwin (dem.), 1,103; 
C. W. Gove (pp.), 729. 

Sheriff— Clark A. Wood (rep.), 999; 
M. Miller (dem.), 489; Ole Anderson 
(pp.), 930. 

Clerk of Court — Eugene Rucker (rep.), 
],081; John M. Voda (pp.-dem.), 712; A. 
H. Strong (ind.), 494. 

Judge of Probate — C. H. Sandon 
(rep.), 1,521; Marvin Hollister (dem.), 
535; Isaac Durham (pp.)> 300. 

Surveyor — J. L. Hoist (rep.), 1,018; 
John G. Miller (dem.), 587; James Pal- 
mer (ind.), 748. 

Coroner — W. C. Portmann (dem.), 
1,693. I ' I 

County Attorney — W. A. Funk*^ (rep.), 
1,049; T. A. Alexander (dem.), 386; W. 
B. Sketch (pp.), 975. 

Superintendent of Schools — Lizzie A. 
Price (rep.), 1,350; Flora J. Frost (dem.- 
pp.), 1,543. 

Court Commissioner — J. A. Goodrich 
(rep.), 1,345; S. D. Sumner (dem.), 826. 

Commissioner Second District — Alex- 
ander Fiddes^'* (rep.), 426. 

In 1896 the free silver issue gained 
many adherents in Jackson county, and 
William Jennings Bryan, the democratic 
standard bearer, received a large vote, 
although William McKinley had a ma- 
jority. The democratic and peoples party 

"Left the county In November, 1895, and L. 
F. Lammers was appointed to the vacancy In 
January, 1896. 

"Was chairman from 1895 to 1898, Inclusive. 

nominee for governor came within two 
votes of carrying the county ; the congres- 
sional and legislative offices were also 
carried by the republicans. Twenty-eight 
hundred fifty-eight votes were cast. 

As in 1892, the democratic and peoples 
party combined on their county ticket. 
The nominees for representative and 
sheriff were named in joint convention; 
the other nominees were selected by sep- 
arate conventions, the democrats naming 
candidates for register of deeds, judge of 
probate, county attorney, coroner and com- 
missioners from the first and fourth dis- 
tricts, and the peoples party candidates 
for auditor, treasurer, superintendent of 
schools, surveyor, court commissioner and 
commissioners from the third and fifth 
districts. The fusion forces elected reg- 
ister of deeds, coroner, superintendent of 
schools and two of the four commission- 
ers ; the other offices were captured by the 
republicans. The vote as canvassed: 

President — William McKinley (rep.), 
1,558; William J. Bryan (dem.), 1,150; 
Levering (pro.), 29; Palmer (nat. dem.), 
21; Matchett (soc.-dem.), 0. 

Governor — David M. Clough (rep.), 
1,328; John Lind (dem.-pp.), 1,326; Wil- 
liam J. Dean (pro.), 26; A. A. Ames, 
(ind.), 5; William B. Hammond (soc. 
lab.), 4. 

Congressman — James T. McCleary 
(rep.), 1,555; Frank A. Day (dem.-pp.), 
1,216; Bichard Price (pro.), 38. 

Eepresentative — George M. Laing 
(rep.), 1,438; E. J. Meilicke (dem.-pp.), 

Auditor— V. E. Butler (rep.), 1,430; 
William V. King (dem.-pp.), 1,428. 

Treasurer — John Paulson (rep.), 1,477; 
H. K. Kue (dem.-pp.), 1,377. 

Register of Deeds — 6. T. Juvland 
(rep.), 1,344; John Baldwin (dem.-pp.), 



Sheriflf— C. A. Wood (rep.), 1,615 ;01e 
Anderson (dem.-pp.), 1,230. 

Judge of Probate — C. H. Sandon(rep.)5 
1,843; George C. Cooley (dem.-pp.), 970. 

Surveyor — J. L. Hofet (rep.), 1,514; F. 
E. Stanley (dem.-pp.), 1,299. 

Coroner — C. R. J. Kellam (rep.), 
i;228; W. C. Portmann (dem.-pp.), 1,524. 

County Attorney — E. T. Smith (rep.), 
1,623; F. B. Faber (dem.-pp.), 1,205. 

Superintendent of Schools — ^Lizzie A. 
Price (rep.), 1,663; Flora J. Frost (dem.- 
pp.), 1,664.^* 

Commissioner First District — T. J. 
Russell (rep.), 250; Henry Thievoldt 
(dem.), 256. 

Commissioner Third District — D. Craw- 
ford (rep.), 438; Alex Brown (pp.), 2*^2. 

Commissioner Fourth District — George 
Erbes (rep.), 455. 

Commissioner Fifth District — Thomas 
Clipperton (rep.), 214; Thomas Chester- 
son." (pp.), 268. 

The off-year 1898 showed a falling off 
in the total vote, the number being 2,145. 
The two free silver parties again combined 
their forces against the republican ticket, 
but they were not very successful at the 
polls. The fusionists carried the coimty 
for representative and elected the register 
of deeds; otherwise the republicans were 
successful. Following was the vote: 

Governor — William H. Eustis (rep.), 
1,502 ; John Lind (dem.-pp.), 964; George 
W. Higgins, (pro.), 35; William B. Ham- 

"MIss Price served notice of a contest for 
the office of superintendent of schools on No- 
vember 23, 1896. The case came to trial before 
Jud^e P. B. Brown of the district court on 
Monday. December 27, Attorney W. A. Fiink 
appearing for the contestant and Attorney T. J. 
Knox for the contestee. Over thirty witnesses 
were examined and many votes were thrown 
out as illegal- Twenty ballots that had been 
cast for Miss Price were thrown out and Ave 
or six that had been cast for Miss Frost met 
the same fate. After the case had reached 
this stage Miss Price asked that the contest 
be dismissed, which was done. 

*»In February, 1898, Charles Tichacek was 
chosen commissioner from the fifth district to 
succeed Mr. Chesterson. 

mond (soc.-lab.), 11; L. C. Long (middle 
of the road populist) , 8. 

Congressman — James T. McCleary 
(rep.), 1,188; D. H. Evans (dem.-pp.), 
803; T. P. Grout (pro.), 61. 

Judge District Court — James H. Quinn 
(rep.-ind.), 1,270; Andrew C. Dunn (ind. 
and non-partisan), 789. 

Senator — Alexander Fiddes (rep.), 970; 
E. J. Meilieke (dem.-pp.), 1,142. 

Representative — ^D. L. Riley (rep.), 
1,320; James Manning (dem.-pp.), 740. 

Auditor— V. E. Butler (rep.), 1,340; 
William V. King (dem.-pp.), 805. 

Treasurer — John Paulson (rep.), 1,099; 
H. K. Rue (dem.-pp.), 1,041. 

Sheriflf— M. B. Dunn (rep.), 1,422; 
John W. Muir (dem.-pp.), 703. 

Register of Deeds — S. N. Olson (rep.), 
1,017; John Baldwin (dem.-pp.), 1,115. 

Judge of Probate — C. H. Sandon 
(rep.), 1,360; V. B. Crane (dem.-pp.), 760. 

County Attorney — E. T. Smith (rep.), 
1,162; W. B. Sketch (ind.), 921. 

Coroner — F. J. Ledbrook (rep.), 1,045; 
W. C. Portmann (dem.-pp.), 1,018. 

Clerk of Court — Eugene Rucker^' 
(rep.), 1,360; J. F. Laumann (dem.-pp.), 

Superintendent of Schools — David 
Brown (rep.), 1,303; Flora J. Frost, 
(dem.-pp.), 1,181., 

Court Commissioner — J. A. Goodrich, 
(rep.-dem.-pp.), 1,733. 

Surveyor — J. L. Hoist (rep.), 1,723. 

Commissioner Second District — P. H. 
Berge" (rep.), 255; J. I. Wallace (dem.- 
pp.), 223. 

Commissioner Fifth District — J. M. Ol- 
son (rep.), 206; Charles Tichacek (dem.- 
pp.), 161. 

The high mark in total vote cast, in the 
entire history of the county, was reached 

^•Resigned and William D. Hunter appointed 
by Judge QuInn In June. 1902. 

''Was chairman from January, 1899, to July, 



in 1900, when 2,988 ballots were cast for 
the candidates for one office. The repub- 
licans carried the county against the fus- 
ionists for all state and district officers 
and elected the county ticket with the ex- 
ception of treasurer, register of deeds and 
one commissioner. The vote: 

President — William McKinley (rep.) , 
1,757; William J. Bryan (dem.-pp.), 993; 
John G. WoUey (pro.), 83; Eugene V. 
Debs (soc. dem.), 24; Malloney (soc. 
lab.), 7. 

Governor — S. R. VanSant (rep.), 
1,433; John Lind (dem.-pp.), 1,302; 
Bernt B. Haugen (pro.), 45; S. M. Fair- 
child (middle of the road), 6; Thomas H. 
Lucas (soc.-dem.), 39; Edward Kriz (soc. 
lab.), 4. 

Congressman — James T. McCleary 
(rep.), 1,799; M. E. Matthews (dem.- 
pp.), 1,059; S. D. Works (pro.), 72. 
- Representative — D. L. Riley (rep.) 
1,609; William V. King (dem.-pp.) 

Auditor— P. D. McKellar (rep.), 1,526 
Joseph J. Jones (dem.-pp.), 1,421. 

Treasurer — John Paulson (rep.), 1,475 
H. K. Rue (dem.-pp.), 1,513. 

Sheriff— M. B. Dunn (rep.), 1,911; S. 
J. Moe (dem.-pp.), 1,070. 

Register of Deeds — T. A. Dieson (rep.), 
1,358; John Baldwin (dem.-pp.), 1,608. 

Judge of Probate — C. H. Sandon (rep.), 

County Attorney — E. T. Smith (rep.), 
1,803; W. B. Sketch (ind.), 1,042. 

Surveyor — J. L. Hoist (rep.), 1,659; 
J. J. Babcock (dem.-pp.), 1,209. 

Coroner — F. J. Ledbrook^^ (rep.), 

Superintendent of Schools — Laura T. 
Olson (rep.), 1,404; Flora J. Frost 
(dem.-pp.), 1,386; David Brown (ind.), 

'•Rpmnved from county and office declared 
vncant July 10, 1901. W. C. Portmapn appoint- 
ed to complete the term. 

Commissioner First District — ^Dennis 
Stoddard (rep.), 240; Henry Thielvoldt 
(dem.-pp.), 289. 

Commissioner Third District — David 
Crawford (rep.), 445; Herman Tank 
(dem.-pp.), 291. 

Commissioner Fourth District — -'George 
Erbes'® (rep.), 309; Jerry Sullivan (dem.- 
pp.), 185. 

The primary election law went into ef- 
fect in 1902, and since that time party 
nominations have been made by direct 
vote of the people instead of the old style 
county conventions. This has resulted in 
revolutionizing county politics. Jackson 
county being normally strongly republi- 
can, the principal campaign is now made 
for the republican nomination. Under 
the law anvone can become a candidate 
by paying a small fee and filing his name, 
and there are often several candidates for 
one office. Generally there are only a 
few contests for county office at the gen- 
eral election. 

At the first primary election, held Sep- 
tember 16, 1902, the following were named 
on the republican ticket without opposi- 
tion: Congressman, James T. McCleary; 
representative, L. F. Lammers ; register of 
deeds, Ole B. Olson ; judge of probate, C. 
H. Sandon; commissioner second dis- 
trict, P. H. Berge ; commissioner fifth dis- 
trict, J. M. Olson. The result where 
there was more than one candidate was as 
follows : 

Senator— D. L. Riley, 722; W. A. 
Smith, 621.20 

Auditor— P. D. McKellar, 879; E. 0. 
Hanson, 459. 

Sheriff— M. B. Dunn, 711; C. M. 
Tradewell, 647 ; E. H. Austin, 38. 

Clerk of Court — William Crawford, 
722; R. H. Lueneburg, 519. 

"Resljrned April 18, 1904. T. J. Egge named 
to complete the term. 

»Mr. Smim carried the district. 



Superintendent of Schools — ^Laura T. 
Olson, 1,111 ; W. E. Bertels, 298. 

All the democratic nominees were chosen 
without opposition, as follows: Congress- 
man, Charles N. Andrews; representative, 
A. M. Schroeder; treasurer, H. K. Eue; 
register of deeds, John Baldwin; clerk 
of court, John M. Voda. 

At the general election 2,350 votes 
were polled. The republicans elected their 
ticket with the exception of representa- 
tive, treasurer and register of deeds, and 
carried the county for state and cougres- 
sional candidates by big majorities. The 
peoples party went out of existence, so far 
as county politics was concerned, with the 
election of 1900. The vote of the 1902. 
general election in detail: 

Governor — Samuel R. VanSant (rep.), 
1,493; Leonard A. Bosing (dem.), 690; 
Thomas J. Meighen (pp.), 26; Charles 
Scanlon (pro.), 70; Jay E. Nash, 4; 
Thomas Van Lear (soc. lab.), 9. 

Congressman — James T. McCleary 
(rep.), 1,536; Charles N. Andrews, 
(dem.), 737. 

Senator— W. A. Smith (rep.), 1,712. 

Representative — L. P. Lammers (rep.), 
899; A. M. Schroeder (dem.), 1,422. 

Auditor— P. D. McKellar (rep.), 1963. 

Treasurer — H. K. Rue (dem.), 1,859. 

Register of Deeds — Ole E. Olson (rep.), 
797; John Baldwin (dem.), 1,134; J. E. 
Foss (ind.), 382. 

Clerk of Court — William Crawford 
(rep.), 1,191; John M. *Voda (dem.), 

Judge of Probate — Charles H. Sandon 
(rep.), 1,834. 

County Attorney — E. T. Smith (rep.), 

Sheriff— M. B. Dunn (rep.), 1,839. 

Superintendent of Schools — Laura T. 
Olson (rep.), 1,792. 

Surveyor — J. J. Babcock (ind.), 1,621. 

Court Commissioner — J. A. Goodrich 
(ind.), 1,578. 
Coroner— D. P. Maitland (ind.), 1,623. 
Commisioner Second District — P. H. 

Berge^^ (i*6P-)^ ^4^- 

Commissioner Fifth District — J. M. 
Olson (rep.), 323. 

At the 1904 republican primary elec- 
tion the following were chosen without 
opposition: Judge district court, James 
H. Quinn; auditor, P. D. McKellar; 
countv attorney, E. T. Smith; commis- 
sioner second district, Henry G. Ander- 
son; commissioner third district, David 
Crawford. The result for those offices 
where there were more than one candi- 

Congressman — James T. McCleary, 
1,135 ; H. J. Miller, 747. 

Representative — L. F. Lammers, 432 

B. P. St. John, 629 ; L. 0. Teigen, 788. 
Register of Deeds— Ole E. Olson, 738 

0. J. Wagnild, 897. 
Judge of Probate— B. P. Elverum, 739 

C. H. Sandon, 1,085. 
Superintendent of Schools — E. B. Mc- 
Colm, 508 ; Laura T. Olson, 1,080 ; Eliza- 
beth Rouse, 879. 

Sheriff— M. B. Dunn, 1,050; Dan Mc- 
Namara, 218; C. M. Tradewell, 659. 

Coroner— H. L. Arzt, 728 ; D. P. Mait- 
land, 1,005. 

As in 1902, there was no opposition to 
those who filed for the democratic nomi- 
nations, and the following were chosen: 
Judge district court, Frederick A. Math- 
wig; congressman, George P. Jones; audi- 
tor, Joseph J. Jones; register of deeds, 
John Baldwin ; treasurer, H. K. Rue ; sur- 
veyor, J. J. Babcock; commissioner first 
district, Henrv Thielvoldt." 

"Resigned July, 1904, and Henry G. Anderson 
was appointed to serve until January 1, 1905. 
He was chosen chairman July 11, 1904. 

''The highest number cast for any one office 
on the democratic ticket Was 73. The small- 
ness of this vote is easily accounted for. There 
being no contests in their own party, the demo- 
crats assisted the republicans in the selection 



Two thousand Bine hundred forty-six 
votes were cast at the general election of 
1904. Theodore Roosevelt received a rec- 
ord-breaking majority for president, and 
the republicans carried the county for all 
state and district officers. Of the county 
offices only treasurer and one commis- 
sioner went to the democrats. The vote : 

President — Theodore Roosevelt (rep.), 
2,032; Alton B. Parker (dem.), 554.2' ' 

Governor — Robert C. Dunn (rep.), 
1,505; John A. Johnson (dem.), 1,190; 
Charles Dorsett (pro.), 43; J. E. Nash 
(pub. own.), 13; A. W. M. Anderson (soc. 
lab.), 13. 

Congressman — James T. McCleary 
(rep.), 1,871; George P. Jones (dem.), 

Judge District Court — James H. 
Quinn (rep.), 1,817; Frederick A. Math- 
wig, (dem.), 1,000. 

Representative — ^L. 0. Teigen (rep.), 
1,460; A. M. Schroeder (dem.), 1,413. 

Auditor — P. D. McKellar (rep.), 
1,638; Joseph J. Jones (dem.), 1,308. 

Treasurer— H. K. Rue (dem.), 2,330. 

Register of Deeds — 0. J. Wagnild 
(rep.), 1,728; John Baldwin (dem.), 

Sheriff— M. B. Dunn (rep.), 2,408. 

Judge of Probate — C. H. Sandon 
(rep.), 2,365. 

County Attorney — E. T. Smith (rep.), 

Surveyor — J. J. Babcock (dem.), 2,007. 

Coroner — D. P. Maitland (rep.), 2,181. 

Superintendent of Schools — Laura T. 
Olson (rep.), 2,257. 

of their nominees, and under the primary law 
they are legally entitled to do so. For In- 
stance: The law provides that a primary voter 
shall vote the ticket of that party, the major- 
ity 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 1902 (also voting for the 
republicans who had no opposition) and yet 
vote the republican ballot at the primary elec- 
tion of 1904. 

"Vote of other candidates not given. 

Commissioner First District'* — Henry 
Thielvoldt (dem.), 323; Charles Fried 
(ind.), 125. 

Commissioner Second District — Henry 
G. Andei-son" (rep.), 485. 

Commissioner Third District — David 
Crawford (rep.), 555. 

Commissioner Fourth District — Dun- 
can McNab (rep.), 180. 

The 190G republican primary resulted 
in selecting the following without oppo- 
sition: Treasurer, H, K. Eue; register 
of deeds, 0. J. Wagnild ; judge of probate, 
John Woolstencrof t ; county attorney, L. 
F. Lammers; coroner, D. P. Maitland; 
clerk of court, William Crawford; com- 
missioner second district, Henry 6. An- 
derson. Those selected with opposition 
were as follows: 

Congressman — James T. McCleary, 
835 ; Gilbert Guttersen, 799. 

Senator — L. 0. Teigen, 934; Henry E. 
Hanson, 494 ; C. W. Gillam, 213. 

Representative — Charles Winzer, 876 ; 
John E. Kilen, 531. 

Auditor— P. D. McKellar, 1,117; A. H. 
Strong, 502. 

Sheriff— G. W. Eveland, 453; Emory 
Olson, 282 ; Henry Beck, 352 ; J. J. Egge, 

Superintendent of Schools — J. A. 
Mansfield, 873 ; Gilbert Hovelsrud, 530. 

Commissioner Fifth District — A. C. Ol- 
son, 330 ; A. J. Lindberg, 182. 

The democrats chose the following with- 
out opposition:. Congressman, W. S. 
Hammond ; representative, A. P. Van- 
Dam; treasurer, Bruno Poppitz; sheriff, 

"♦The county commissioners on July 22, 1904, 
redlstrlcted the county Into commissioner dis- 
tricts as follows: No. 1, Sioux Valley, Min- 
neota. MIddletown, Petersburg:, Wisconsin and 
Alpha; No. 2, Des Moines, Hunter and Jackson; 
No. 3, Rost. West Heron Lake, Welmer, Heron 
Lake township, Lakefield and Wilder; No. 4. 
Round Lake, Ewlngton. Alba, LaCroase and 
Heron Lake village; No. 6. Delafield, Chrls- 
tianla, Kimball, Belmont and Enterprise. 

"Has served as chairman from July 11, 1904, 
to the present time. 



Henry TerHaar; clerk of court, A. M. 
Schroeder; surveyor, J. J. Babcock. 

The prohibitionists selected David A. 
Tucker for congressman, and Charles M. 
Forman for representative. 

So far as county politics were concern- 
ed, party lines were ignored at the elec- 
tion of 1906. The election closely follow- 
ed the bitter county seat contest, and the 
political affiliations of the candidates had 
little weight with the voters. But the ac- 
tions and sympathies of the various nomi- 
nees during the fight and their geographi- 
cal location had considerable weight; resi- 
dents of the north and west parts of the 
county voted almost solidly for men who 
had been in sympathy with Lakefield in 
its attempts to remove the county seat, 
while those of the east and south part of 
the county voted as solidly for men who 
had favored Jackson. Many political ob- 
ligations were paid at the election of 
1906 ; friends were rewarded, enemies were 

For the first and only time in the his- 
tory of Jackson county a democrat car- 
ried the county for governor, John A. 
Johnson receiving a plurality of 102 over 
A. L. Cole. The republicans carried the 
county for the other state and district of- 
fices. In the county election the republi- 
cans elected seven nominees, the democrats 
three, and two independent candidates 
were chosen. Twenty-seven hundred for- 
tv-seven votes were cast. The official vote 
was as follows : 

Governor — A. L. Cole (rep.), 1,253; 
John A. Johnson (dem.), 1,355. 

Congressman — James T. McCleary 
(rep.), 1,469; W. S. Hammond (dem.), 

Senator — Henry E. Hanson (rep.), 

Kepresentative — Charles Winzer (rep.), 
1,422; A. P. VanDam (dem.), 1,037; C. 
M. Forman (pro.), 191. 

Auditor— P. D. McKellar (rep.), 1,549; 
John Baldwin (ind.), 1,198. 

Treasurer — H. K. Bue (rep.), 1,452; 
Bruno Poppitz (dem.), 1,198. 

Register of Deeds — 0. J. Wagnild 
(rep.), 1,380; L. J. Dostal (dem.), 

Clerk of Court — William Crawford 
(rep.), 1,138; A. M. Schroeder (dem.), 

Sheriff — Henry TerHaar (dem.), 
1,403; M. B. Dunn (ind.), 1,310. 

Judge of Probate — John Woolstencroft 
(rep.), 1,311 ; C. H. Sandon (ind.), 1,375. 

County Attorney — L. F. Lammers 
(rep.), 1,377; E. T. Smith (ind.), 1,335. 

Superintendent of Schools — J. A. 
Mansfield (rep.), 1,117; J. B. Arp (ind.), 
1,830; Laura T. Olson (ind.), 773. 

Coroner — D. P. Maitland (rep.), 2,047. 

Surveyor — J. J. Babcock (dem.), 1,999. 

Commissioner Second District^ — ^Henry 
6. Anderson (rep.), 457. 

Commissioner Fifth District — ^Andrew 
C. Olson (rep.), 397. 

At the primary election of 1908 the fol- 
lowing republicans were nominated 
without opposition: Auditor, P. D. Mc- 
Kellar; sheriff, 0. C. Lee; superintendent 
of schools, J. B. Arp ; commissioner fourth 
district, Duncan McNab. Where there 
was more than one candidate for the same 
office the results were as follows : 

Congressman — Paul A. Ewert, 317; Gil- 
bert Guttersen, 582; James T. McCleary, 

Representative — A. A. Fosness, 966; 
Charles Winzer, 541. 

Treasurer — Henry Knudson, 486; H. 
K. Eue, 1,131. 

Register of Deeds — A. J. Nestrud, 
824; Peter J. Eeinen, 693. 

Judge of Probate — C. H. Sandon, 950; 
T. H. Stall, 597. 

County Attorney — L. F. Lammers, 622 ; 
J. A. Mansfield, 955. 



Coroner — H. L. Arzt, 713 ; Iver S. Ben- 
son, 635. 

Commissioner Third District — David 
Crawford, 258; WilUam Eost, 157. 

Again a few democrats filed for the 
nomination and were selected without op- 
position. They were: Congressman, W. 
S. Hammond; representative, John Bald- 
win; sheriff, Henry TerHaar; register of 
deeds, L. J. Dostal; surveyor, J. J. Bab- 
cock ; superintendent of schools, Mrs. Del- 
la Best; commissioner first district, Hen- 
ry Thielvoldt. 

At the last general election held in 
Jackson county before the publication of 
this history, that held in November, 1908, 
2,821 was the highest number of votes 
cast for any one office. The republicans 
carried the county for the national and 
state tickets and elected the auditor, treas- 
urer, judge of probate, county attorney, 
superintendent of schools, coroner and two 
commissioners; the democrats carried the 
county for congressman (the second time 
in the county's history) and elected the 
representative, register of deeds, sheriff, 
surveyor and one commissioner. The of- 
ficial vote of the general election of 1908 : 

President— William H. Taft (rep.), 
1.575; William J. Bryan (dem.), 1,013.2« 

Governor — Jacob F. Jacobson (rep.), 
1,364; John A. Johnson (dem.), 1,289. 

Congressman — James T. McCleary 
(rep.), 1,187; W. S. Hamnjond (dem.), 

Representative — A. A. Fosness (rep.), 
1,340; John Baldwin (dem.), 1,481. 

Auditor— P. D. McKellar (rep.), 2,433. 

Treasurer — H. K. Rue (rep.), 2,352. 

Register of Deeds — Albert J. Nestrud 
(rep.), 1,337; L. J. Dostal (dem.), 1,438. 

Sheriff— 0. C. Lee (rep.), 1,099; Hen- 
ry TerHaar (dem.), 1,709. 

Judge of Probate — C. H. Sandon 
(rep.), 1,863; Rafdahl (ind.), 810. 

*The vote Is given for only the two leading 

County Attoniey — J. A. Mansfield 
(rep.), 2,278. 

Surveyor — J. J. Babcock (dem.), 1,919. 

Superintendent of Schools — J. B. Arp 
(rep.), 1,885; Mrs. Delia Best (dem.), 

Coroner — H. L. Arzt (rep.), 2,077. 

Commissioner First District — Henry 
Thielvoldt (dem.), 384. 

Commissioner Third District — David 
Crawford (rep.), 474. 

Commissioner Fourth Distrct — Duncan 
McNab (rep.), 375. 

And now the political history of Jack- 
son county is brought to a close. It cov- 
ers a period from the time in 1858 when 
the first county official took the oath of 
office — when there was a mere handful of 
men in the countv who availed themselves 
of the privileges of voting — up to and in- 
cluding the last general election before the 
date of publication of this volume, at 
which time the total vote reached nearly 
3,000. A brief summary of the condi- 
tions during this time may not be out of 

The county has always been normally 
republican. In the early days it was con- 
sidered a disgrace, and almost a crime, 
to have other political affiliations. There 
Imve been county elections held when every 
vote was for the republican ticket. Al- 
though the party of Jefferson polled 1,150 
votes at one election, it has never carried 
the county for the national ticket; the 
nearest it came was in 1892, when the 
Cleveland electors were only 48 votes be- 
hind those of Harrison. 

During the entire early history of the 
county and up to 1886, the republican 
party was the only one maintaining an 
organization. But during this time there 
was a strong independent movement, kept 
alive by one faction of the republican par- 
ty and the few democrats, which opposed 
the republican organization and on sev- 



eral occasions gained control of county 

With the later settlement of the coun- 
ty came the organization of the demo- 
cratic party — in the middle eightiea — and 
since that time it has been a factor in 
(*ounty politics, although always as the 
luinority party. On one occasion it car- 
ried the county for its candidate for gov- 
ernor; at two elections it has returned 
majorities for its nominees for congress- 
man; on several occasions it has secured 
majorities for legislative candidates. 

During the free silver days of the nine- 
ties the peoples party came into existence, 
and for a few years was a power in coun- 
ty politics. When its power began to 
wane, fusion was accomplished with the 
democrats, and for some time longer the 
combined forces furnished strong opposi- 
tion to the dominant party. 

The prohibitionists have never been 

very strong in Jackson county. In one 
or two campaigns they placed nominees 
for county offices in the field, but they 
have not maintained a permanent organi- 
zation. The socialists and other minor 
parties have little or no strength in the 
county, and have never had organizations. 

While the county is normally republi- 
can, normal conditions are rarely normal 
(if such an expression may be used). 
There is a strong independent vote, not 
bound to any party, which sways the 
county from the dominant party frequent- 
Iv when it is believed better candidates 
appear upon another ticket. 

Jackson countv has been fortunate in 
its selection of county officers. During its 
political history of 51 years, there has not 
been a defaulting county officer, so far as 
I am able to learn. Nor has there been a 
removal because of criminal action or in- 





JACKSON— 1856-1869. 

JACKSON, the capital of Jackson 
county, is the oldest and largest town 
in tlie count V. It is located on the Des 
Moines river, and its elevation ahove sea 
level is 1,353 feet.^ It is on the Southern 
Minnesota division of the Chicago, Milwau- 
kee & St. Paul railroad, and is a division 
point of that road. Otherwise described, 
Jackson is in the southeastern part of 
Jackson county, the business center of the 
village being fifteen and one-half miles 
from the northern boundary, eight and 
one-half miles from the southern bound- 
ary, six and three-quarters miles from the 
eastern border, and twenty-three and one- 
quarter miles from the western boundary 
line of the county. 

The population of Jackson, according 
to the census of 1905, was 1,776, but there 
has been an increase since that, and a 
census today would show a population of 
about 2,000. Jackson is one of the progres- 
sive and prosperous towns of southwestern 
Minnesota. All lines of business that are 
to be found in the towns of the agricultur- 
al communities of the upper Mississippi 
valley' are represented. It is noted for 
its schools, churches and social organ- 
izations, and in this respect it is the peer 
of any town of its size in the state. 

'This is the elevation of the business part of 
town. The elevation of Depot hill is 1,446 feet, 
while the Des Moines river at Jackson is 1,288 
feet above sea level. 

The location of Jackson, considered in 
its natural state, is one of unusual beauty ; 
southwestern Minnesota has not a more 
lovely spot. Here the Des Moines river 
forms a semi-circle, and on the hills and 
benches on either side of that stream is 
builded the city. On the east side are 
hills and bluffs, covered with a heavy 
growth of natural timber ; on the west side 
are a succession of benches. On the lower 
bench is the business part of the city, 
while on the higher ground of the next 
rise is the residence portion. The bluffs 
and hills surrounding protect the little 
city from the wintry winds of the prairies. 

In the summer season, when the beau- 
tiful natural parks that surround the town 
are clothed in emerald foliage, even he 
who has not the esthetical nature is moved. 
The lover of landscapes, as he stands 
upon one of the tree-crested hill tops of 
the east side and gazes upon the little city 
of Jackson, nestling in the valley and 
perched upon the sunny hillsides, with 
the sparkling water of the Des Moines 
flowing below him, sees a picture of beau- 
ty and is led to exclaim, ^TVTiat a beauti- 
ful sight V' In its natural state and with 
the embellishments added by the hands of 
man, Jackson stands at the present time 
as one of the prettiest little cities of a state 
distinguished for its pretty towns. Especi- 




ally i? one charmed with its loveliness in 
the summer. Then the broad avenues and 
parks are clothed in brightest green. Trees 
are evervwhere. 

One can hardly realize that only a lit- 
tle over a half century ago this spot was 
an uncharted wilderness, practically un- 
known to white men ; yet such is the case. 
Time was when the dusky red man pitch- 
ed his tepee where now our churches are 
located; vast herds of bison inhabited the 
Des Moines river country and made their 
wallows where now our courts are held; 
timid deer browsed where now the pupil 
studies his natural history; elk in count- 
less numbers roamed the adjacent prai- 
ries and saw their antlers reflected in the 
clear waters of the Des Moines as they 
bent down to drink. 

When the first white man set foot on 
the soil of the present site of Jackson is 
unknown. Probablv he was some adven- 
turous trapper who had pushed out beyond 
his associates in an endeavor to locate new 
grounds in which to ply his trade. Possi- 
bly he was one of the early explorers of 
southwestern Minnesota. 

When the first permanent settler came 
to Jackson county he selected the spot up- 
on which Jackson now stands as a town- 
site, having practically the whole of south- 
western Minnesota to choose from. It was 
during the summer of 1856 that the Wood 
brothers — William, George and Charles — 
selected their claims, built a cabin, opened 
a store and christened the site of their pro- 
posed town Springfield. The store was 
built in the northwestern part of the pres- 
ent incorporated town, but their claims 
took in practically all of the present Jack- 
son west of the river and a part of that on 
the east side. The same year other pio- 
neers settled along the Des Moines river 
in Jackson county, but none of them lo- 
cated on the Wood brothers' claims. A few, 
however, took claims and built their cab- 

ias within the present corporate limits of 
the town, on the east side of the river. 
Among these were William Church, who 
located with his family just south of the 
present location of the elevators; Joshua 
Stewart, who with his family lived in the 
southeastern part of the present town; 
William T. Wheeler, who erected a cabin 
south of the Jackson depot and then de- 

It is not necessary to tell again of the 
tragedies that occurred on the Jackson 
townsite on that eventful 26th of March, 
1857 — of the murder of the Wood brothers 
and the sacking of their store, of the other 
murders in the vicinity, and of the flight 
from Springfield. On that day the soil 
of Jackson was drenched in human blood. 
Yerv soon after the massacre Alexander 
Wood, a brother of the murdered storekeep- 
ers, came to take possession of his broth- 
ers' claims. He formed a partnership with 
a company of townsite boomers, with the 
intention of building a town on the land. 
Elaborate plans were made for the new 
town, which was to be named Jackson. Mr. 
Wood was to hold the land claim, the 
other members of the company were to 
make certain stipulated improvements, 
and they were to acquire a half interest in 
the site. On the strength of these pro- 
posed improvements, Jackson — then only 
a name — was designated the county seat 
of Jackson county when it was created by 
act of the legislature on May 23, 1857. 
Despite the prestige this legislation gave, 
the townsite company did not fulfil its 
promises by making the improvements. 
Mr. Wood did not care to endure the hard- 
ships incident to a winter passed on the 
frontier, so he gave up the idea of becom- 
ing the founder of a town and filed on a 
quarter section only of his brothers' claims," 
not as a townsite claim but as a farm 
claim. ^ 

rrhis claim Included the north part of the 
present business and residence part of Jack- 



For several years thereafter immigra- 
tion to Jackson county was not great, and, 
although the belief was often expressed 
that a town would some day be built on 
the site, no attempt to found ff town was 
made until after the war. Mr. Wood con- 
tinued to hold his claim and made some 
improvements on it. It is said. that the 
first plowing on the townsite was done by 
Stephen Muck, who afterwards became 

blind. He was the ?on of Joseph Muck 
and was employed by Mr. Wood. 

During the late fifties and the sLxties all 
of the land now included in the corporate 
limits of the village was filed on, but ti- 
tle was not received from the government 
to the lafit tract until early in 1873. Fol- 
lowing are the names of those who re- 
ceived patents to the land, the date of the 
patents, the description and acreage of 
the claims: 





Stephen F. Johnson 

Nathaniel Frost 

Sept. 15, 1864 
June 1, 1868 
May 1, 1863 
Dec. 1, 1865 
Aug. 1, 1872 
April 20, 1862 
May 1. 1866 
Sept. 1, 1860 
Sept. 15, 1864 
April 2, 1866 
June 1, 1868 
Aug. 1, 1872 

March 4, 1865 
May 1. 1863 
Aug. 1, 1872 
Aug. 1, 1872 
Feb. 1, 1873 







nw 1^ of nw V4 24 

sw ii of nw 14 24 

se H of sw ^ 24 > 

n H of seH 24 

sw 14 of sw 14 24 

ne ^ 24 

s H of se H 24 

n ^ of sw ^ and e Vi of nw H 24 

ne 14 of ne V4 23 

nw 14 of se 14 23 

s H and nw 14 of ne 14 23 

8 ^"2 of se 14 23 

ne 14 of se !4 23 

s V^ of ne V4 and s ^of nw ^ 25 

n 1 2 of ne ^ and ne 5^ of nw ^ 25 

nw 14 of nw ^ 25 

e y2 of ne 14 26 

w H of ne ^ 26 

James E. Palmer 

Joseph Thomas 

Hiram S. Bailev 

Israel F. Eddy 

Bartholomew McCarthy 
Alexander Wood 

Stephen F. Johnson 

Artiiur L. Crane 

Nathaniel Frost.. ^ 

Hiram S. Bailey 

State of Minnesota « .... 
Stiles M. West 

James E. Palmer 

Hiram S. Bailev 

Benj. D. Dayton 

Wilson C. Garratt 

During the time these claims were being 
filed upon and before Jackson was. plat- 
ted a few cabins were erected. On the 
east side of the river stood the old fort 
which had been erected by the soldiers after 
the massacre of 1862; the Joseph Thom- 
as cabin, which had been erected by 
William T. Wheeler in 185G; and the cab- 
in of Israel F. Eddy on Depot hill. The 
first building erected on the west side, ex- 
cept Wood brothers' store and a cabin built 

son. described as the north half of the south- 
west quarter and the east half of the north- 
west quarter of section 24. Mr. Wood received 
his patent from the government September 1, 

*The oldest deed on record in Jackson county 
is dated May 28. 1864, when James E. Palmer 
and his wife, Aminda Palmer, conveyed this 
land to Jane R. Bailey for a consideration of 

*ThIs tract was conveyed by the state of 
Minnesota to the Southern Minnesota Railroad 
company as a part of the grant. 

near by in 1858 by Dr. E. B. N. Strong, 
was a house built by Major H. S. Bailey 
in 1865, on his claim just south of the 
town proper. 

After the civil war there was quite a 
large immigration to Jackson county, 
nearly all settling along the river. Among 
those who came to the immediate vicinity 
of Jackson was William Webster, who 
constructed a dam across the river and 
began the erection of a saw mill in 1865. 
Owing to lack of capital, he did not com- 
plete it that year, but in 1866 Welch Ash- 
ley took over the property and completed 
it. In this mill was sawed nearly all the 
lumber used in the construction of Jack- 
son's first buildings. 

Two arrivals at the site in 1865 who 
were to play an important part in the ear- 



ly history of Jackson were Major Hiram 
S. Bailey, who filed upon a claim now ly- 
ing within the corporate limits of the 
town, and Welch Ashley, who came from 
Pennsylvania looking for a location in the 
western country. They were impressed by 
the beauties of the site and decided that 
the prospective immigration to the vicin- 
ity would warrant the founding of a town. 
Accordingly they bought the Alexander 
Wood farm, platted it in the fall of 1866, 
and named their town Jackson.** 

The dedication, which was acknowl- 
edged December 1, 1866, and recorded a 
few days later, was made in the follow- 
ing language : 

The townsite of Jackson, in Jackson county, 
in the state of Minnesota, as it is laid out 
and platted by Messrs. W. Ashley and H. S. 
Bailey is described as follows, to- wit: Com- 
mencing at a point (35) thirty-five rods west 
of the center of section No. (24) twenty-four, 
in town No. (102) one hundred and two north 
of range No. (36) thirty-five west; thence 
running south (HO) one hundred and ten 
rods; thence west 75 rods; thence north (110) 
one hundred and ten rods; thence east (75) 
seventy -five rods to place of beginning, con- 
taining (51 9-16) fifty-one nine-sixteenths 
acres, all on land owned by W. Ashley and H. 
S. Bailey. The above described land is divid- 
ed into (35) thirty-five blocks of (8) eight 
lots each. Each lot is (3 by 5) three by five 
rods. The streets between the blocks are 
four rods \iide. There are also alleys between 
the lots running north and south of one rod 
in width. 


Jackson, Minn., December 1, 1866. 

I hereby certify that the within is a correct 
description of the townsite of Jackson, in 
Jackson county, and state of Minnesota, as it 
is surveyed and platted. 


Notary Public, Jackson County, Minnesota. 
Recorded December 10, 9 o'clock a. m., 1866. 

•The name of the county was probably re- 
sponsible for the name of the town. It will be 
remembered that so early as the spring of 1857 
Alexander Wood had named . the site Jackson 
and that the Minnesota legislature of that 
year had designated "Jackson" as the county 
seat of Jackson county, so that the name of 
the townsite Is, In fact, older than the county. 
Possibly the fact that a township near Welch 
Ashley's old home in Pennsylvania was so 
named had Its influence In the selection of the 
name by Messrs. Ashley and Bailey. 

The original plat consisted of thirty-five 
blocks. The streets running east and west 
were named Sheridan, Grant, Sherman, 
Ashley, White, Bailey and South. Those 
running north and south were named Elv- 
er, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and 
Sixth. A stone was set in the ground to 
mark the center of the southwest quarter 
of section 24, and this was at the inter- 
section of Fourth and White streets.* 

Some two or three months before the 
plat became of record the first building 
wa£ put up and the Jackson townsite 
boasted its first inhabitants. These were 
Thomas H. White and George C. Cham- 
berlin. They first came to the site one 
day in the month of August, 1866,^ in- 
vestigated the prospects of the new town. 

'Additions to Jackson have been platted as 

Bailey's — Surveyed by C. Chamberlin; dedi- 
cated by Hiram S. Bailey October 27, 1869. 

Dumont's Subdivision — Surveyed by James E. 
Palmer; dedicated by John B. Dumont Septem- 
ber 11. 1884. 

P. Brown's — Surveyed by L. L. Palmer; dedi- 
cated by P. Brown August 13, 1886. 

Ashley & Moore's Subdivision — ^Surveyed by 
L. L. Palmer; dedicated by Benjamin W. Ash- 
ley and George R. Moore October 8, 1892. 

Anderson & Ldndsley's — Surveyed by J. L. 
Hoist; dedicated by H. G. Anderson and F. W. 
Lindsley June 19, 1895. 

Krause's — Surveyed by J. L. Hoist; dedicated 
by William Krause June 21, 1896. 

Highland Park — Surveyed by J. L. Hoist; ded- 
icated by George W. Priest and Williajn C. 
Portmann September 30, 1896. 

Owens' — Surveyed by J. L. Hoist; dedicated 
by Even Owens October 17, 1899. 

Louis Kiesel's decond — Surveyed' by J. L. 
Hoist; dedicated by Louis Kiesel January 9, 

Ashley & Moore's Second — Siurveyed by 
George E. Sawyer; dedicated by B. W. Ashley 
and George R. Moore December 4, 1900. 

Central Park— Surveyed by J. L. Hoist; ded- 
icated by John Paulson July 8. 1901. 

Brown's Terrace — Surveyed by J. L. Hoist; 
dedicated by J. K. Brown June 16, 1902. 

V" . . . Previous to making Jackson my 
home I had resided for a short time at Blue 
Elarth City, and it was here I first met my 
friend Chamberlin in Minnesota, although I htfd 
known him for several years in the east. Dur- 
ing our first interview I told him of a recent 
trip to Jackson and of my determination to lo- 
cate there. I described the townsite as one of 
nature's wonders — the surroundings as all that 
could be desired — and expressed the opinion 
that Jackson, would at no distant day be a 
prosperous and growing town. I also m formed 
him that I had engaged Jim Pratt to take out 
a load of building material and that I wouM 
return in four or five days to erect a building 
and prepare for winter. It was soon arranged 
that he should accompany me to the promised 
land."— Thomas H. White in Jackson Republic 
March 9, 1888. 



and returned to their temporary homes at 

Blue Earth City the next day.* Mr. 

Chamberlin was absent two weeks and 

then came back to Jackson on September 

1. He tells of the new town as he found 

it on that date: 

I found that during my absence, by virtue 
of the surveyors' chain, Jackson had made a 
wonderful advancement toward metropolitan 
proportions. It now actually contained 150 or 
200 corner lots, several hundred lot stakes, 
street stake'b and alley stakes. 

Mr. White returned to his new home 
some time in September, bringing with 
him more stock for the store which he 
proposed to open. He also brought a wife, 
having been married since his previous 
visit to Jackson. Welch Ashley's saw mill 
having been put in operation by this time, 
^Ir. White at once began the erection of 
his store building, the first load of lumber 
having been hauled to the site by Menzo 
Ashley. For temporary quarters a shelter 
wa^ made by taking four joists and nailing 
rough boards around them six or seven 
feet high; two shelter tents provided the 
roof. When this was completed Mrs. White 
prepared supper, a table was made by 
placing a board on a tool chest and box, 
and Mr. and Mrs. White and Mr. Cham- 
berlin sat down to partake of the first re- 
past served in the village of Jackson. 

The store, which was erected at the cor- 
ner of Second and White streets, where 
Robertson's implement house now stands, 
was completed in October. It still stands, 
forming a part of the implement house. It 

•"We [C?hamberlin and White] arrived In 
Jackson the next afternoon [In August. 1866] 
and stopped at Thomas' old log hotel, the only 
stopping place of the kind in the country. The 
next morning we went down through the tim- 
ber, crossed the river to Jackson — ^yes, to Jack- 
son. All there was then of Jackson was tall 
prairie grass, but we pronounced the surround- 
ings and situation good and left. The next day 
we set out on our return to Blue EJarth. Some- 
where on the prairie after we started out we 
met a company of engineers on their way to 
survey a line for the Southern Minnesota rail- 
road. I was unsophisticated then and supposed 
that surveying a railroad meant a railroad In 
tiie near future, and right then and there decid- 
ed to cast my lot In the new town. . ." — 
George C. Chamberlin in a speech delivered 
September 6, 1889. 


is built entirely of native lumber and is 
about 18x20 feet in size, with a small up- 
stairs room. The store was opened as soon 
as the building was completed, and soon 
customers came with their muskrat, mink 
and other pelts to exchange for calico and 
groceries.® Mr. White conducted the store 
until February, 1868. Then J. W. Hunter 
bought the stock at sheriffs sale arid con- 
tinued the store. 

The White store was the only building 
erected in Jackson in 1866, and during the 
following winter Mr. and Mrs. White were 
the only residents on the town, Mr. Cham- 
berlin having spent the winter in St. Paul. 
Upon his return to Jackson he took charge 
of the store while the proprietor and his 
wife spent two months visiting in the east- 
ern part of the state. Mr. Chamberlin 
has written: *'Hence from the 22nd of 
March to the 22nd of May, 1867, I was 

•Concerning events of this time Mrs. W. L. 
White in 1895 wrote: 

"Twenty-eight years ago last September I 
left my old home in Faribault county for the 
wilds of the west — even as far out as Jackson 
county. We took but few household goods 
with us, expecting to have them come later 
with a small stock of goods for the store. It 
was our intention to board at Mr. Thomas* 
hotel until our store and dwelling combined 
could be built; but when we arrived we learned 
to our disappointment that the lumber was not 
all sawed yet. I have forgotten now what 
was the cause, but think it was either the 
great demand for lumber or they were waiting 
for the timber to grow. Anyway, our plan 
of getting plenty of help and rushing the build- 
ing right along had to be given up. After stay- 
ing at the hotel a few days, we decided to go 
to house-keeping in a tent pitched on the 
beautiful townsite of Jackson. 

"The weather favored us, being perfectly de- 
lightful during October. Not having been in 
the house-keeping business very extensively for 
some time previous, and necessarily having very 
few conveniences in so small quarters, I did 
not And it the all-absorbing pleasure It Is sup- 
posed to be — by the men. Of course, If I could 
have washed windows and doors and scrubbed 
floors, and so kept real busy all the time, I 
might have enjoyed tenting better tnan I did. 
Finally, after taking the boards as they dropped 
off the logs as the saw plowed through them, 
we got our building enclosed, the roof on, the 
loose boards down • for the floor, and moved 
Into the up-stairs of the first building in Jack- 
son. But in spite of our late fall, the whole 
structure was so very green that It was badly 
frost-bitten. I wonder quite frequently at the 
present time how we managed to exist in th/e 
building that winter, unfinished, as it was; but 
I remember how our sheet-iron stove used to 
blaze with heat, and I presume the parties who 
sold us the wood we burned realized that we 
were not at all economical in that line. 

"There was no necessity for night-watchmen 



the only inhabitant of Jackson. Certainly 
society circles were select during those 
two months, waiving all claims to respec- 
tability." During these earlv days of 
Jackson's history Mr. Chamberlin acted in 
the capacity of advertising agent, and quite 
a number of the town's early residents 
came as a result of hi.s representations. He 
opened up a correspondence with thirteen 
newspapers in different parts of the coun- 
try from Minnesota to the far east, telling 
of the vacant government lands to be se- 
cured and advantages in the new country, 
with a view to attracting new settlers. 

During the winter of 1866-67 the first 
bridge at Jackson, located where the low- 
er bridge is now, was built. It was built of 
oak piles and hewn lumber, furnished by 
Welch Ashley, and tlie work of building 
the structure was donated. The bridge 
was not long in commission, for the ice 
took it out in the spring of 1867.^® 

In those days. We bad quite a number of 
boxes of goods outside our tent (from which we 
sold to an occasional customer through the 
day), and they never were disturbed in any way. 
Jackson in those days was noted for 
one thing — scarcity of money — and as a conse- 
quence too much credit was asked to insure a 
successful business. While some asked credit 
with the assurance of millionaires, once in a 
while a man offered some security. I have in 
mind one case; a man with a large share of 
the alphabet for initials came Into our store 
one day and asked for a few things on time, 
Insisting on leaving as security a couple of 
plated wine goblets. They might have cost 
12.60 wholesale. After this, on one promise or 
another, he ran that little bill up to 125.00, and 
the goblets were all we ever had for it. As 
soon as he ran out of securities he left the 
county. And yet In many other cases men were 
not able to give any security. So, as some of 
the present residents well know, our venture 
In business was not a success. 

"In the spring of 1867 we went oft on a 
sort of a wild goose chase and left our Jolly 
friend Chamberlin to look after our interests 
during our absence; and he did it well, too, 
Judging from one Item I now remember we 
found on the book: 'To one darning needle, ten 
cents.' I do not recall other mistakes, if there 
were any, and being 'booked' could easily be 
corrected, and our few cash customers did not 
suffer to any great extent. Mr. Chamberlin 
used to tell the joke on himself, so probably 
remembers it. Having lived there three and 
one-half years, I became attached to the peo- 
ple and place and was loth to leave." 

'•The second bridge over the Des Moines riv- 
er at Jackson was put up during 1869 and 1870 
where the upper bridge is now. It was a bent 
bridge and the stringers were whipped out by 
hand. The county stood part of the expense 
of Its construction and residents of Jackson 
the rest. It was In commission about ten 

. In the spring of 1867 Thomas H. 
White was appointed postmaster of Jack- 
son, and at once entered upon his duties. 
Previous to this time the postoffice had 
been at the Thomas hotel on the east side 
of the river, and Joseph Thomas had* been 
the postmaster. During those times the 
office was supplied by weekly mail from 
Emmet (Estherville), the carriers being 
Major H. S. Bailey and his son, Frank 
Bailev. At the old hotel on the hill the 
settlers were wont to congregate every 
Thursdav to witness the arrival of the 
mail, which contained the St. Paul Week- 
ly Press, two weeks old, as the latest in- 
telligence from the outside world. What 
letters and papers were not handed out on 
the spot to the owners would be laid back 
(m a shelf to await the call of the owners. 
Mr. White has written of his appointment 
as postmaster: 

It was a lamentable fact that while we liv- 
ed in the city we had to go three-quarters of 
a milo into the country for our mail. A 
friend of Mr. Aiken Miner, from Fillmore 
county, had stopped at my place for an hour 
or so during the winter and bad comprehended 
our wants. On his return to Fillmore county 
he immediately took steps to have the writer 
appointed postmaster, and this was against 
my wishes at that time. However, the ap- 
pointment came, and in due time the office was 
moved to town." 

Jackson's second building was erected in 
the spring of 1867. It was built by Welch 
Ashley for his son-in-law. Palmer Hill, on 
the site of the present Jackson National 
Bank building on Second street. It was a 

years. A combined Iron and wood brid^ took 
Its place, and that was washed away durini; 
the high water of 1881. From its wreck an- 
other was constructed. The present upper 
bridge was put In ten or more years ago by 
the county and township. The present lower 
bridge was built by the county and villas 
about 1889. 

"Mr. White served as postmaster until 18€8. 
Then J. W. Hunter received the appointment 
and conducted the office at his store until 1870. 
On April 16 of that year Moses A. Strong be- 
came postmaster and served until October 4. 
1877. In May, 1871, the Jackson office was des- 
ignated a money order office, but It was not 
until July that this department began opera- 
tions. Alexander Fiddes succeeded Mr. Strong 
and served until March. 1886. That month 
John Fiddes became the Jackson postmaster. 
He served until his death, whloh occurred May 



two-story building, built of native lumber, 
and was occupied by Mr. Hill for a wagon 
shop for three or four years. The family 
Hved up-stairs. It was in this building 
that Jackson's first bank was started. It 
now stands on Third street and forms a 
part of one of the buildings of the R. S. 
Robertson lumber yard. 

The season of 1867 was wet and back- 
ward, and it was not until July or August 
that the little saw mill could furnish suf- 
ficient lumber for the few contemplated 
buildings of that year. Every board was- 
taken possession of almost as soon as' it 
left the saw. The cause of the activity in 
the building line was the arrival of two 
families in July, who came to engage in 
business and become permanent residents 
of the village. These were the families of 
W. S. Kimball and Samuel M. Clark, who 
increased the population of the Jackson 
townsite from three to eleven — a gain of 
over 200 per cent in one day. 

Owing to the scarcity of lumber, these 
new arrivals were obliged to take tem- 
porary quarters in an improvised board 
shanty located where the Ashley house 
now stands. George C. Chamberlin, who 
was about to erect a building, generous- 
ly surrendered lumber and carpenter priv- 
ileges, and tliose gentlemen began the con- 
struction of business houses. Mr. Kimball, 
who later became one of the best known 
business men of the village, erected a store 
building on the corner south of the Ashley 
house and opened a hardware store. His 
was a two-story building, and he and his 

24, 1887. D. M. DeVore served under appoint- 
ment by President Cleveland from Augrust. 
1887. to August 1, 1889. From that date until 
November, 1893. Alexander Piddes was again 
in chargre of the office. From that time until 
November 2, 1897, the office was under demo- 
cratic administration and V. B. Crane was the 
postmaster. Herman Strom then became the 
postoffice official and served until February 1, 
1902. He resigned and Alexander FIddes again 
received the appointment. Mr. FIddes has since 
conducted the office. He has served nearly 
twenty -three years as Jackson's postmaster. 

family resided upstairs.^^ Mr. Clark erect- 
ed a dwelling house on the site of the 
present Cowing block, and a blacksmith 
shop just to the east of his house. An- 
other building erected in Jackson in 1867 
was the office and dwelling house put up 
by Mr. Chamberlin. This stood at the 
corner of -Second and Ashley streets. When 
it was moved in 1889 to make room for 
the Berge block, Mr. Chamberlin gave 
the history of the building, as follows: 

Consequently this was number four in the 
order of ardiitectural enterprises during the 
starvation season of 1867. The half inch bass- 
wood boards used as siding were unloaded on 
the grass just south of Cowing's old store, and 
nearby stood a carpenter^s bench, where one 
side of those boards was smoothed by the 
acting carpenter. I suppose one hundred 
teams now pass to and fro within the time 
then occupied by that brevet carpenter in 
dressing one-half dozen boards, but he gave 
as a reason for the slow progress that the 
boards should be thoroughly seasoned before 

»^rs. Frances M. Kimball, wife of W. S. 
Kimball, In 1895 wrote of her arrival to Jack- 

"The little cottage In the village of Austin 
had been sold, the last goodbyes spoken, and 
we had started on our westward journey in 
the good, old-fashioned way, hoping to build 
our fortune by supplying the early settlers 
with the stock of hardware that had been pur- 
chased for the new town. On the outskirts of 
the city which had been our home for years, 
we were joined by the family of an honest 
blacksmith, familiarly known as Sam Clark. 
The season was an unusually rainy one, the 
newly laid out roads almost impassable and 
the streams unbridged. Only those who have 
traveled in like manner can realize the joy we 
felt as our train drew up before the log cabin 
of Uncle Joe Thomas, and, although almost 
twenty-eight years have elapsed since we 
reached the wooded bluffs on the Des Moines. 
I remember still the good warm meal that was 
set before us, and that bed! It may not have 
been down, but it seemed as such to us after 
those long nights of camping. 

"But where was Jackson? This was the 
question I asked my husband as we stood on 
the banks of the bridgeless river. Silently he 
pointed to the little sawmill at our feet and 
the small, unfinished dwelling in the valley. 
These were the only signs of habitation as far 
as the eye could see: not a roadway to tell of 
neighboring villages: only the redman's path, 
a too vivid reminder of the terrible massacre 
that had so recently swept our borders. Trees 
were felled, and soon the little mill had pro- 
vided us with boards enough for a small one- 
room shanty, which we shared In common with 
the blacksmith. September came, and the north 
half of the building now owned and occupied 
by Ole E. Olson was ready for occupancy, and 
the two families were moved to the second 
story. To be sure it was neither lathed nor 
plastered. There were no partitions, and the 
roof rose like the dome of a church over our 
heads, but we did not complain though the 
winter was long and severe, for such is the life 
of pioneers." 



It was the home of the writer for several 
years; county officers and county commission- 
ers here transacted their duties; different 
business gatherings were wont to convene 
within its walls; social chit-chats, town gos- 
siping, and local loafing generally seemed for 
a time to drift to that building as headquar- 

At one time Rev. Peter Baker held pro- 
tracted meetings there, and the tunes and 
psalms sung on that occasion were far mor^ 
sacred than those sung by the carpenter boys, 
who almost every evening during the autumn 
of 1868 assembled there for interchange of 
songs and stories. That was a busy season, 
and every room was occupied. The boys would 
not only remain during the evening, but 
brought in their blankets and covered the floor 
during the night. . 

Justice courts were frequently held in this 
building, and in this connection many curious 
coincidents have already been recorded. The 
first land trial after the United States land 
office was moved to Jackson in 1869 was 
held in this building and lasted until long 
into the night. As rather a strange circum- 
stance in this connection, the one before whom 
the trial was had, the two contestants and 
the half dozen or more witnesses have all left 
for distant parts. The two who acted as at- 
torneys, however, are still residents of Jack- 
son — one of whom can appear on your streets 
only with the aid of two crutches, while the 
other is infirm and blind. . 

In the autumn of 1869 another building 
formed an addition to this structure, where 
early in 1870 the Republic was born and flour- 
ished until 1874. . The old quarters 
were then used for a justice office and pea- 
nut stand — as a gentleman crossing the street 
read the sign, ** Justice and Peanuts for Sale!" 

In 1869 this building was the office of coun- 
ty auditor and register of deeds; in 1889 it 
serves the same purpose for court commission- 
er and county surveyor; and I suppose in 1909 
it will be occupied by whoever may be the 
scholastic and cultured persons filling the of- 
fices of superintendent of schools and county 
attorney, and the same oak shingles split and 
shaved by M. S. Clough in 1867 will protect 
them from rain and storm. 

Milton Mason has described Jackson as 

he found it in the fall of 1867 : 

In October, 1867, myself and family landed 
at Jackson, on the 20th. The first persons 
whom I met were Joseph Thomas, Jr., and R. 
D. Larnard. They assisted me down the steep 
embankment just below the mill. We crossed 
the river and made straight for Aiken Miner's. 
I found quite a change in the townsite. I 
found a general store, well stocked, W. S. 
Kimball's hardware store, Clark's blacksmith 
shop, and Joseph Thomas* hotel near by. I 
also found the following families living near 
by: Major II. S. Bailey, Welch Ashley, Clark 
Baldwin, R. N. Woodward, W. V. King, Darby 

Whalen, Ben Johnson, Benjamin Dayton, Wil- 
son Garratt, Simon Olson and S. S. Gregg. 

During these pioneer times every addi- 
tion to the town was cause for much com- 
ment and congratulation. The residents 
would gather around the carpenters as 
they would begin some little building, and 
that would be the principal resort until 
the building was completed. 

An important addition to the communi- 
ty in the spring of 1868 was John W. 
Cowing, who founded the town's second 
general store, erecting a building in the 
middle of the block between the present 
locations of the Kobertson implement 
house and the Albertus clothing store." 
Another arrival in 1868 was John A. 
Myers, who opened a 'store in a building 
situated where the First National Bank 
now stands. This building was one and 
one-half stories high and was erected dur- 
ing the summer by Welch Ashley. It was 
the first lath and plastered edifice erected 
in Jackson county, the lime and lath hav- 
ing been hauled by ox team from Mankato 
by Menzo L. Ashley. This old store build- 
ing still stands, to the east of the First 
Xational Bank. 

During the late sixties rivalry sprang 
up between the conmiunities of the east 
{ind west sides of the river. It was learned 
that the original plat as laid out by 
^lessrs. Ashley and Bailey waa defective 
for some cause or other, and in May, 1868, 

''"Thirty years ago last spring a slim young 
man drove over the brow of the hill In front 
of the Thomas place and took a look at the 
townsite of Jackson. He had been traveling 
in a covered wagon and camping by the road- 
side, looking for a location to commence life 
for himself. The sight was a pleasant one. 
and before descending the steep hill to the ford 
he had decided that this was the place he had 
been looking for. He had five hundred dollars 
in cash and some personal property. Securing 
a lot he unloaded his plunder, and, buying an 
ax, he started out to buy trees enough to build 
a store. Cutting and hauling the logs himself. 
he soon had enough lumber to put up a small 
building. 16x24 feet, on the lot now occupied 
by A. E. Olson's store. It was an Immense 
store building at that time, and John W. Cow- 
ing soon had a small stock of goods displayed, 
and his career as a merchant commenced."— 
Republic, October 14, 1898. 



Joseph Thomas platted a townsite on the 
east side of the river, which he also named 
Jaekson. Thereafter for a year or more 
there was some feeling between the two 
communities and ranch speculation as to 
which would finally become "the town." 
The plat of the east side Jackson was dedi- 
cated in the following language : 

r, Joseph Thomas, do hereby certify this 
May 26. 1868, that I have caused a survey and 
plat to be made of lands belonging to me and 
situated on the north half of the southeast 
quarter of section 24, town 102, range 35, to 
be called the town of Jackson. 


The plat was surveyed by James E. 
Palmer. It extended from the Des Moines 
river to the Wisconsin township line and 
consisted of eight blocks, in addition to 
a homestead reservation by Mr. Thomas 
and small unplatted areas in the names 
of P. Brown and C. Chamberlin. The east 
and west streets were named Front street 
and Oakland avenue ; those running north 
and sonth were Biver, First, Second, 
Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth. The plat 
was filed for record May 26, 1868. 

To rectify the errors of the original 
plat of the west side Jackson, Messrs. Ash- 
ley and Bailey had a new survey made on 
October 30, 1868, by J. A. Dean. It was 
practically the same as the old plat, but it 
complied with the law, and was filed in 
the office of the register of deeds Novem- 
ber 4, 1868. That there might be no ques- 
tion as to the validity of town property 
titles, the matter was taken before the 
state legislature, and on March 3, 1869, an 
act was approved which legalized all deeds 
and convevances made, bv the townsite 
proprietors under the old plat.*^ 

"•Section one of the act reads as follows: 
"That the plat of the town of Jackson. In the 
«unty of Jackson, as offered for record by 
Welch Ashley and Hiram S. Bailey and re- 
wjrded in the office of the register of deeds of 
iaid county on the first day of December, 1866, 
and as resurveyed and corrected by a plat made 
by John A. Dean on the 30th day of October, 
1W8, and filed for record In the office of the 
register of deeds of said county on the 4th d^y 

Moses A strong, who came to the vil- 
lage in January, 1869, has entertainingly 
described the town as he found it at that 

There was then strife between east and 
west Jackson, and it was mixed which would 
come out ahead. The east side had the hotel, 
and the west side the postoffice. In some re- 
spects it looked as if the west side had the 
advantage and a little blue for the east siders. 

After dinner we went **oyer the river;" they 
did not call it "over town** then. On the way 
I took in the towns. On the east side was — 
or, rather, had been — a store kept by one Rad- 
ford, then retired, played out, closed out, lock- 
ed out. He still lived in an old house near by, 
waiting for something to turn up. Charles 
Chamberlin, a big mugwump of the east side, 
had an unfinished house in the suburbs. One 
Arkle was a shoemaker and pegged away in a 
small house at the foot of the hill. Philander 
Brown owned a patch of land on each side and 
didn't care which way the cat jumped. Down 
at the river at the end of an old mill dam was 
an old saw mill, and tlie proprietors, Cardwell 
& Wiltsie, lived in an old house near by. This 
was about all there was to the east side [ex- 
cept Joseph Thomas' hotel]. 

We crossed the river on the ice, there being 
no bridges then. When there was no ice and 
the water was low they crossed at the ford 
below the pond; when it was high they didn't 
cross at all. 

Up on the west side, toward where the 
bridge is now located, was a house owned by 
B. W. Ashley. ' Next, the house of Palmer 
Hill; across the way, Sam Gark's residence 
and blacksmith shop; then a small store kept 
by J. A. Myers, a one-armed ex-soldier; across 
the street was the hardware store of W. S. 
Kimball. His family— wife, two young daugh- 
ters and wife's sister — lived over the store. 
Then came George Chamberlin's little oflfice 
and bedroom combined. It was occupied by 
Chamberlin and Garratt, as county auditor 
and register of deeds office, and when both 
were in there was no room for others. Mr. 

oi November. 1868. be, and the same Is hereby, 
legalized and established and declared to be 
of the same force and effect in the law as if 
the same was in strict conformity with the 
statutes upon the subject of the laying out of 
towns and the survey thereof, and of the mak- 
ing, certifying and recording of the plats 
thereof; and the said plats are hereby de- 
clared to be lawful and competent evidence of 
the contents thereof in all courts and places In 
the same manner and with the same force and 
effect as If the same had been In all respects 
certified, acknowledged and recorded In strict 
conformity with the statutes upon that subject 
In force at the time when said plats were re- 
spectively made. Provided, that whenever the 
said two plats differ from eaoh other in any 
respect, the said plat made by the said John 
A. Dean for the said Welch Ashlev and Hiram 
S. Bailey, town proprietors, shall be deemed 
paramount, and shall to that extent supersede 
the former plat." 

"Published In Jackson Republic April 26, 1889. 



Chamberlin was then in St. P&,ul, a clerk in 
the legislature. 

Across on the opposite corner was the store 
of Hunter Brothers — J. W. and David. The 
family, then consisting of J. W., David, Agnes 
and their mother, lived in an addition to the 
store. James W. Hunter was postmaster. 
Elder [Edward] Savage assisted David and 
had a room over the store. Dr. Foster had a 
little drug shop across the way and he and 
his wife lived in one end. A little farther 
along was the store of Cowing & White. They 
lived over the store. Then came the residence 
and photograph gallery of T. H. Wliite and 
wife. Across the way was the feed store and 
harness shop of Hale & Munger and wife. 
Down at the end of the street lived Alex Hall, 
who ran the Jackson & Blue Earth City stage. 
Down by the bayou was the 7x9 frame school 
house. Nearby lived Chris, a half-crazy Nor- 
wegian. This love-cracked old man lived alone 
and made furniture. 

A little out of town lived Major Bailey and 
family in a log house, and Wilson Oarratt and 
the Dayton families a little farther up the 
creek. Philander Brown and wife lived on the 
bench, and Nathaniel Frost and familv near 


This, if I remember correctly, was all there 
was to the west side. 

An event of the greatest importance oc- 
curred in the spring of 1869; then the 
United Statas land office was moved from 
Winnebago City to Jackson upon an order 
issued by Commissioner Wilson.'* That 
event brought happiness to the hearts of 
the people of the little community; they 
knew then that Jackson was to become 
a town. It also settled the matter of the 
supremacy of the two towns of Jackson, 
as the office was located in the west side 
village. A number of new residents were 

"This office had been opened at Brownsville, 
on the Mississippi river. In 1854. with Messrs. 
McKinna and Welch In charge. In 1856 It was 
moved to Chatfleld, and in 1861 to Winnebago 
City. When the last named change was made 
Mr. Holley was receiver and Mr. BulUs regis- 
ter. When the office was moved to Jackson 
In 1869 E. P. Freeman went In as register and 
J. B. Wakefield as receiver. After the colony 
Immigrants began to arrive and settle In the 
Worthlngton country, the bulk of the business 
was In the west end of the district, and In the 
spring of 1874 the government ordered the re- 
moval from Jackson to Worthlngrton. 

Soon after the removal Mr. Freeman retired 
as register. He was succeeded by Dr. Leonard, 
of Rochester, who held the office for a time. 
The latter's appointment was not confirmed, 
however, and Captain Mons Grlnager became 
register In Augrust. 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, 

added to the town in 1869. Among them 
were Moses A. Strong, who opened a drug 
store; Dr. C. P. Morrill, the town's first 
doctor; Alexander Fiddes and several 

During the year Jackson became the 
trading center of an immense territory. 
Settlers from twenty miles up the river 
and the same distance down came to Jack- 
son for their mail and to do their trad- 
ing; from the numerous lakes and streams 
to the west and northwest, around which 
homesteaders were locating, came the 
settlers from long distances; those on 
Heron and Graham lakes did all their 
trading in Jackson ; from beyond the west 
line, of the state they came. The few 
people living in the Sioux Falls conntry 
came to Jackson to mill, and it is said 
that Philo Hawa«, who then lived on the 
pre*5ent site of Luverne, once made the 
little trip to Jackson to have a sickle re- 
paired. Jackson became a great market 
for fur, which was practically the only 
medium of exchange in the country and 
brought good prices. 

W. S. Kimball was the leading business 
man of the town, and he carried on an 
enormous hardware trade. His goods were 
shipped to the end of the railroad, at 
Owatonna, Mankato or Winnebago City, 
in car-load lot<. From those points they 
were hauled to Jackson bv ox or horse 
teams, it taking a week or more to make 
the trip. The freighting teams would ar- 
rive at their destination, looking like a 

occupy Ingr the ofTIce until September 1, 1886. 
when August Peterson, of Albert Lea, took the 
office. He held It until after the removal from 
Worthlngton. C. P. Shepherd succeeded Cap- 
tain Grlnager as register In June, 1886, and 
held the position while the office was located 
In Worthlngton. The land office was closed 
February 28, 1889, there having been a con- 
solidation among the offices In Minnesota. Those 
at Benson, Worthlngton and Redwood Falls 
were -discontinued and the papers turned over 
to the office at Tracy. The Tracy office 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. Shepherd took 
office; thereafter It was democratic. 



circus procession: Moses A. Strong, in a 
speech made at a Masonic banquet in 

Jackson in January, 1884, told of Mr. 

Kimball's business: 

People wondered where lie sold so many 
goods, but to those who knew him it was no 
i^onder. A settler from Graham or Heron 
lake, or somewhere away up north or west, 
would hitch up a yoke of steers to an old 
wagon, pile in a lot of fur, and start for 
•Jackson. Where he came in sight of town over 
the hill Mr. Kimball would see him and com- 
mence striking up a trade, and the first thing 
you knew he would have the wagon loaded 
with hardware, a stove, plow, coffee mill, jack 
knives, etc., take all the money he had and 
notes for the balance. He would embrace his 
customer heartily, shake his hand warmly, ask 
him to come again, send his love to all the 
neighbors, and bid him adieu. 

When the first number of the Jackson 
Republic was issued on February 26, 1870, 
the following local business and profes- 
sional firms were represented by advertise- 
raents : 

M. A. Strong & Co., drug store. 

Hunter Brothers, general store. 

W. S. Kimball, hardware. 

H. S. Bailey, general store. 

J. W. Cowing & Co., general store. 

Chamberlin & Avery, Jackson Republic. 

J. W. Myers, general store. 

J. W. Seager, attorney. 

G. K. Tiffany, attorney. 

C. P. Morrill, doctor. 

John H. Grant, notary public. 

James E. Palmer, survevor. 

G. C. Chamberlin, notary public. 

Charles Frisbie, cabinet maker. 

Joseph Thomas, Jackson House. 

William C. Jackson, liverv stable. 

I. A. Moreaux, saloon. 

In addition to this list there were in the 
little village a feed store, two blacksmith 
shops, a second eating house, a shoe shop, 
a meat market, a saw mill, the United 
States land office, a school house and a 
church. Several mail and stage routes 
were, operated to the town, as follows: 
The through line from Blue Earth City 
to Yankton, the line from Winnebago City, 
another from Madelia, connecting with 
one from Sioux City and forming a 
through route from Mankato to the Union 
Pacific railroad. 


^-o j^^o 




JACKSON— 1870-1910. 

DURING the first six years of its 
history Jackson was the only 
town in Jackson county. Dur- 
ing this time it was also -without a rival 
in many neighboring counties. Thousands 
of settlers were pouring into the country 
and locating upon the government lands. 
Because of this extensive settlement, be- 
cause of the fact that it was the only town 
within many long miles in all directions, 
and because of the progressive spirit of 
the founders and first business men 
(nearly all of whom were American bom), 
Jackson developed into a place of impor- 
tance. During the years 1865 to 1869 
its growth had been slow, but beginning 
with 1870 it took a start, and its growth 
continued until the beginning of the ter- 
ribble grasshopper scourge. 

The vear 1870 was a livelv one in all 
lines of business. Several new business 
houses were started and many new build- 
ings wer(f erected. The improvements for 
the year footed up to $17,650, itemized as 
follows : 

J. A. Myers, store .$ 800 

Dr. C. P. Morrill, residence 750 

Miss T. M. Rice, residence 450 

Hunter Brothers, improvements 200 

E. P. Freeman, improvements 100 

W. S. Kimball, store 1,500 

J. W. Cowing & Co., improvements 200 

Ashley & Co., hotel 3,500 

Ashley & Co., stable 200 

H. S. Bailey, store 1,700 

I. A. Moreaux, improvements 360 

Methodist church, parsonage 700 

S. M. Clark, improvements 150 

Chamberlin & Avery, improvements. . . . 150 
Dr. R. R. Foster, hotel and improve- 
ments 2,200 

D. Card well, improvements on saw mill 1,500 

J. H. Grant, improvements 300 

Griggs & Chubb, steam mill 1,500 

St. Paul & Sioux City Ry. Co., oflfice.. 150 

I. G. Walden, improvements 50 

D. Kirkpatrick, residence 200 

Freeman & Wakefield, improvements . . 250 

Nathaniel Frost, improvements 100 

P. Brown, residence and stable 250 

Welch Ashley, improvements 50 

R. K. Craigue, residence 250 

Milton Mason, stable 100 

Total $17,660 

Business was better in 1871 than it 
had been the year before, and several new 
enterprises were put under way. We gain 
an idea of the size of the little town that 
year from the writing of a resident, who 
declared that in June the village con- 
tained a total of about fifty buildings, in- 
cluding residences, shops and public build- 

With the building of the St. Paul and 
Sioux Ciiv railroad in the fall of 1871 and 
the founding of the towns of Windom, 
Heron Lake and Worthington, the im- 
mense trade territory of Jackson was 
greatly reduced. This was offset, how- 
ever, by the rapid settlement and develop- 
ment of the immediate surrounding coun- 
try, and Jackson continued to advance 



during the year 1872. Real estate sales However, Jackson suffered less severely 
had never before been so lively. Forty or Ihan many of the neighboring towns. It 
fifty residence and business lots were sold was the center of an older settled country 
during the summer. The building im- than were jnost of the towns of southwest- 
pro vements for the year amounted to over em Minnesota, and many of the farmers 
$23,000, many of the structures erected liad lived in the country long enough to 
being superior to those of former years, make .«ome headway toward financial in- 
The improvements of 1872 were as fol- dependence. The other towns had been 
lows: founded as a result of the immigration of 
Jackson County, court house $ 6,400 1872, and not one crop had been harvested 

W s. Kimball, residence 5,000 ^^ ^^ devastation. Therefore Jack- 

J. W. Cowing, store and hall 3,000 

Simon Avery, residence 1,600 son withstood the awful calamity better 

I A Moreaux, billiard ball .... 1,500 ^Yiau those towns less fortunatelv situated. 

Dr. E, L. Brownell, residence and stable 850 

F. M. Smith, residence and granary 800 As the story of the grasshopper times has 

j' F * A^We' ^l-esid^Tc? ^^""^ 600 ^^^° *^'^ ^^ previous chapters, I shall not 

School Dist. No. 2, furniture!!!!!..!!! 450 enter into its details in this history of 

A. B. Tompkins, residence 400 Jackson 

J. H. (irant, improvements 350 

Alexander Fiddes, warehouse and sUble 325 Although the hard times had not dlS- 

H Anderson, improvements 300 appeared, in 1878 came a revival of busi- 

Clark Marshall, residence 300 ^'^ ' 

Simon Avery, barn 300 ness in Jackson. This was caused by the 

Other items .^ 966 building of the Southern xMinnesota rail- 
Total $23,440 road (now the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. 

So far the history of Jackson had been ^'«"')' '^^'"'^ '"^'^^^ ^' ^«"°*y ^* N°- 

. T^ V ^ xu J X vember 27. It was a time of rejoicing. 

one of progress. Each vear, from the date ^,, - ,, ^. ,. , • xi ^'L^ i 

. . ,. ,, , -, , -,,... , All fall times were lively in the little vii- 

01 founding, there had been additions to , ■ ^ i /? vl i , j .i_ x xi 

, . _ , . . lage, due to definite knowledge that the 

the population and to business enterprises. , mv • i * i.u • « 

' ^ ^ road was coming. The arrival of the iron 

Beginning with 1873 came a complete re- ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^ j^^,^^„ jj^p^bHc (No- 

versal of conditions. .From that time un- ^.g,^,^^^ g^^ jg^g) to exult as foUows: 

til 1878 there was not onlv a cessation , ... ^ . 

After twelve long years of waiting Jackson 

of progress, there was retrogression. This has a right to exult over the auspicious open- 
change wa-* brought about whollv bv the *»« <"{ »? excellent a line of road. Situat^ »" 
^ ^ . • - one of the grandest thoroughfares in the west, 

terrible conditions caused by the ravages surrounded by as fine a country as was ever 

- ,, V i 4. « 1 ^a:^^ inhabited by men, environed by its grand old 

of the grasshopj)ers. A town depending ^^^^^ j„ /^^^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^ succession of be- 

solelv upon an agricultural country for witching lakes, containing a population noted 
. * i • 1 ffx • XX i_ 1 • for industry, intelligence, thrift and responsi- 

its support IS left in pretty bad circum- ^^^y^^^ -^ j/ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ch oflf in rapid strides 

stances when the country has had a sue- to prosperity. In adversity, even, we have 

- I i X 1 £ -I J been reasonablv prosperous, and now, with the 

cession of nearly total crop failures, and i^^igiaest outlook, let everyone rejoice that 

Jackson was no exception to the rule. The his lines have fallen here and put forth re- 

X 1 A *u «4..«..«4.;«« «^;«+ newed efforts to make our town surpass in 

country was close to the starvation point, ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^ ^j^^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^^^ ^p ^ ,i^^,y^ 

and Jackson soon came to the same condi- moral, enterprising, cooperating, happy, benev- 
tion. Business men extended credit until «'^"^' P^^^^^"^ *"^ industrious community, 
they lost their own ; several failed and Owing to the topographical features of 
moved away. The depression continued the town's location, difficulty was encoun- 
several years, and Jackson received a set- tered in getting the road built into the 
back which it took vears to overcome, town, and the depot was located nearly 



a mile from the business center. It was 
later moved still farther away. The rail- 
road extended from Jackson in 1879. 

The coming of the road proved a great 
like-awakening agency. Before, the town 
had been scattered over a large area, with 
several vacant lots intervening between 
the business houses and residences. 
Many of these vacant places now be- 
came filled with new buildings. The sound 
of the saw and hammer was heard all day 
long; the streets were thronged with new 
arrivals. During the five months from 
September 1, 1878, to February 1, 1879, 
the following new buildings were erected : 
Sargent & Collins, store building; Lars 
Nelson, saloon building; Vandaworker & 
Seip, blacksmith shop; Brewster Bros., 
store building ; F. T. Brayton, livery barn ; 
C. L. Colman, lumber office, sheds and 
bam ; John Paul, lumber office and sheds ; 
A. N. Tompkins, John Paulson, F. A. 
Chittenden, George C. Chamberlin, E. 
Owens, Jesse Wood, W. J. Case, Mr. Moe, 
Welch Ashley ^nd H. White, residences; 
Thomas O'Neill, boarding house; M. H. 
Smith, harness shop; Dr. Tidball, office 
building; E. A. Hatph, ice house; railroad 
company, engine Louee; Bonner & Hyde 
and Cargil & Van, warehouses. 

During the same season the following 
new business enterprises were started in 
Jackson: M. H. Smith, harness shop; 
Vandaworker & Scip, blacksmith shop;' 
Clark & Hartuess, hardware store; Sar- 
gent & Collins, clothing storg ; Olson Bros., 
general store ; Ole Eognas, furniture store ; 
Brewster Brothers, grocery store; J. A. 
Ehodes, photograph gallery; Thomas 
O'Neill, boarding house; W. E. Powers & 
Co., saloon ; Ira Walden, butcher shop ; E. 
A. Hatch, saloon ; A. Haskins, barber shop ; 
A. N. & I. D. Converse, real estate and 
insurance office; W. N. Brayton, meat 
market; 0. A. Sathe, wheelwright's shop; 
F. T. Brayton, livery barn; John K. 

Brown, bank; C. L. Colman and John 
Paul, lumber yards; M. B. Odell, jewelry 
store; 0. L. Patch, paint shop; F. Quen- 
tin, F. M. Smith, F. A. Chittenden, R. 
Hanson, carpenter shops. 

So great had been the increase in popu- 
lation that at the beginning of the year 
1879 steps were taken to bring about the in- 
corporation of the village. On January 
6 a mass meeting was held at the court 
house to take the preliminary steps. The 
meeting was presided over by Major H. S. 
Bailey, and George C. Chamberlin was the 
secretary. When the question was discus- 
sed, it was found that there was consider- 
able opposition to taking the important 
step at that time. It appeared, however, 
that a majority was in favor of beginning 
municipal government. A committee, 
composed" to T. J. Knox, J. W. 
Cowing, Alexander Fiddes, P. Brown and 
Joseph Thomas, was selected to draft a 
charter. A charter was drawn up and re- 
ported to another meeting held January 

The matter was placed before the legis- 
lature, and on March 6, 1879, the Min- 
nesota law making body enacted into law 
a bill providing for the incorporation of 
Jackson, with the boundaries it now has. 
The act provided that before if should 
become operative it must be ratified by 
a vote of the people residing within the 
proposed limits of the village. For the 
purpose of calling and presiding over such 
election the act named J. W. Hunter, B. 
W. Ashley, M. A. Strong, Alexander Fid- 
des and J. W. Cowing as commissioners. 

There the matter was allowed to rest for 
two years, and the village of Jackson 
was governed by the board of county com- 
missioners and the Des Moines township 
board of supervisors until 1881. Why im- 
mediate action was not taken is lucidly 
explained by the Jackson Republic of 
March 20, 1880, as follows: 



Why such meeting was not called . . 

is all on account of the condition upon which 
our town bonds were voted for the Des Moines 
river bridge a-nd in consequence of a decision 
of the supreme court, holding that when towns 
[townships] had voted bonds and subsequent- 
ly a municipal incorporation was created with- 
in such town limits, the township outside of 
the incorporation was compelled to pay the 
full amount of the bonds so voted. Now, the 
village has no desire to shirk the obligation 
of its portion of the bonds voted and we make 
this public explanation. 

The building activity continued dur- 
ing 1879. From early spring until late in 
the fall carpenters were busily engaged 
in erecting the new structures. Unlike 
the cheap structures sometimes put up 
in mushroom towns following the coming 
of the railroad, many substantial edifices, 
costing several thousand dollars, were add- 
ed to the village. The improvements for 
the year amounted to $37,650, itemized 
as follows: 

John K. Brown, brick bank building... $ 4,000 
J. W. Cowing, house 3,650 

A. C. Whitman & Co., brick store build- 
ing 3,000 

Southern Minnesota Railway Co., depot 2,500 

Des Moines river bridge 2,200 

Collis & Lamont, addition to Ashlev 

house 1,500 

E. Owens, business block 1,400 

Mrs. M. B. Bowditch, house 1,000 

M. A. Strong, addition 1,000 

Olson Bros., store building 1,000 

Ole Rognas, store building 800 

M. H. Smith, harness shop 800 

T. J. Knox, house 725 

O. E. Olson, house 700 

C. A. Campbell, house 700 

H. S. Bailey, improvements at brick 

yard .* 700 

J. B. Lindsay, house 600 

Jesse Wood, house 600 

Thomas O'Neill, improvements on hotel 575 

Alexander Fiddes, postoffice building. . 550 

J. W. Hunter, improvements grist mill. 500 

O. A. Sathe, house 500 

B. W. Ashley, improvements and stable 500 

Bonner & Hyde, warehouse 500 

Cargill & Van, warehouse 500 

Fred Quentin, house 600 

O. Gunderson, house 400 

C. Seip, house 400 

Brewster Bros., improvements on store. 400 

Mrs. C. Baldwin, house 325 

E. A. Hatch, barn 300 

P. Brown, house 300 

Peter Evenson, house 250 

Rev. J. K. Alexander, parsonage 300 

W. S. Kimball, house 300 

I. D. Converse, house 276 

George C. Chamberlin, improvements.. 250 

J, F. Ashley, house 250 

F. T. Brayton, improvements 200 

Mrs. E. B. Wilson, restaurant 200 

George D. Stone, addition 200 

Ashley Bros., livery barn 200 

Charles Cutting, house 150 

A. N. Tompkins, improvements 150 

F. A. Chittenden, improvements 150 

Dr. E. P. Gould, addition 125 

Mrs. Rost, addition 126 

John Paulson, improvements 125 

Nathaniel Frost, barn 125 

Moore & Kummer, improvements 110 

Other items 1,190 

Total $37,650 

According to the federal census of 1880 
— the first in which the population of 
Jackson was enumerated separately from 
the township — the town was found to have 
a population of 501, making it rank 
fourth among the towns of southwestern 

The matter of incorporation again be- 
came a live issue during the winter of 
1880-81. A mass meeting was held on 
the last dav of the year 1880, of which 
M. A. Strong was chairman and J. W. 
Hunter secretary. There was more un- 
animity of opinion than there had been 
two years before, and it was the sense 
of the meeting that immediate steps should 
be taken to incorporate. George C. Cham- 
berlin, T. J. Knox and J. T. Bowditch 
were appointed a committee to draft a 
charter, and J. W. Hunter, J. W. Cowing, 
H. S. Bailey, W. S. Kimball, B. W. Ash- 
ley, Joseph Thomas and H. H. Hughes, a 
committee to decide on the boundaries. 

A charter was prepared, and, in order 
to obtain the yiews of the citizens an in- 
formal election was held at the postoffice 
on January 18, at which time 55 votes 
were registered in favor of incorporation 
under the charter, while ten voted against 
it. The charter was introduced as an act 
in the legislature. It passed both houses, 

^Population of other towns In the vicinity was 
as follows: WIndom. 443; Fairmont. 541; St. 
James. 434: Madella. 489: Heron Lake. 226; 
Worthlngton, 636; Luverne. 697; Pipestone, 222. 



and then, in some unaccountable man- 

aq; JO aoigo aq; uiojj pajBoddesip *jau 
seeretarv of state and was never seen 
again. It is possible that it was burned in 
the capitol fire, which occurred about that^ 

The disappearance of the bill put mat- 
tors back to where tliey had been before 
the legislature took action, but the people 
of Jackson were deltrmined to incorpor- 
ate as a municipality and took other meas- 
ures. Messrs. Hunter, Strong, Fiddes and 
Cowing, of the commissioners named in 
the act of 1879, posted notices for an elec- 
tion to be held April 12, 1881, to decide 
the question as to whether or not Jackson 
should bo incorporated under the provis- 
ions of the general law provided for in- 
corporating villages. There was no elec- 
tioneering either for or against the ques- 
tion, and of the 80 votes cast, G8 were in 
favor and 12 against incorporating. 

The first village election was held on 
April 19, when a set of village officers 
was chosen. Those who were chosen at 
this initial election and at each succeed- 
ing election were as follows : 

18S1' — President, J. W. Cowing; trustees, J. 
W. Hunter, Ole E. Olson, C. A. Campbell; re- 
corder, M. A. Strong; treasurer, John K. 
Brown; justice, H. S. Bailey; constable, Ira G. 

1882 — President, M. A. Strong; trustees, G. 
C. Chamberlin, Paul H. Berge, J. W. Hunter; 
recorder, C. L. Campbell; treasurer, John Paul- 
son; justice, M. A. Strong; constable, R. P. 

1883*— President, M. A. Strong; trustees, J. 

"Eighty votes were poUed at the flrst election. 
There were contests for only two offices: C. 
A. Campbell defeated M. A. Strong for trustee 
by a vote of 42 to 35: M. A. Strong defeated A. 
C. Whitman for recorder by a vote of 44 to 35. 

'Before the incorporation of the village the 
matter of licensing saloons had been In the 
hands of the county commissioners. Some 
years they had granted license for the opera- 
tion of saloons in Jackson; some years they 
had refused license. After incorporating, up to 
1883. the matter had been left in the hands of 
the village council, which had granted license 
during 1881 and 1882. In 1883 the question was 
submitted to the voters for the flrst time. 
Thereafter up to the present time, it has been 
voted on nearly every year. The following 
shows "the results of these elections, a vote not 
having been taken in the ye&TB not given, but 
license having been granted during those years: 

W. Cowing, Alexander Fiddes, John Paulson;* 
recorder, C. A. Campbell; treasurer, John K. 

1884 — President, Alexander Fiddes; trustees, 
A. C. Whitman, Ole Rognas, C. A. Campbell; 
recorder, E. P. Skinner; treasurer, John Fid- 
des; justices, H. W. Peck, J. A. Goodrich; con- 
stable, F. Quentin. 

1885— President, J. W. Hunter; trustees, H. 
H. Hughes, A. C. Whitman,* S. Swenson; re- 
corder, Ole Rognas; treasurer, John Fiddes; 
justice, H. S. Bailey. 

1886— President, Paul U. Berge; trustees, S. 
Swenson, F. Quentin, H. H. Hughes; recorder, 
Burt W. Day;' treasurer, J. W. Hunter; jus- 
tice, H. W. Peck; constable, M. L. Ashley. 

1887 — President, Alexander Fiddes; trustees, 
Ole E. Olson, J. W. Cowing, George C. Cham- 
berlin;' recorder, E. J. Orr; treasurer, J. W. 
Hunter; justice^ J. A. Goodrich; constable, R. 
J. Henderson. 

1888 — President, Alexander Fiddes; trustees, 
H. H. Berge, Jr., A. H. Strong, G. A. Albertus; 
recorder, F. Quentin; treasurer, J. W. Hunter; 
justice, H. W. Peck; constable, Henry Olson. 

1889 — President, Alexander Fiddes; trustees, 
W. A. Conrad, H. H. Berge, G. A. Albertus; re- 
corder, E. J. Orr; treasurer, J. W. Hunter; jus- 
tices, Joseph Bushnell, J. A. Goodrich; con- 
stables, R. J. Henderson, Rasmus Hanson. 

1890 — President, J. W. Cowing; trustees, H. 
G. Anderson, B. W. Ashley, George R. Moore; 
recorder, M. B. Hutchinson; treasurer, J. W. 
Hunter; assessor, W. R. Ellsworth; justice, A. 
C. Serum. 

1891 — President, Alexander Fiddes; trustees, 
H. G. Anderson, J. K. Brown, Henry Hoovel; 
recorder, M. B. Hutchinson; treasurer, J. W. 
Hunter; assessor, W. R. Ellsworth; justices, J. 
A. (ioodrich, V. B. Crane; constables, R. Han- 
son, I. S. Barrett. 

1892— I*resident, M. B. Hutchinson; trustees, 
A. E. Olson, H. H. Berge, W. R. Ellsworth; 
recorder, Henri k Strom; treasurer, J. K. 

1883— For. 46: 
1884— For. 65; 
1885— For. 59: 
1886— For, 86: 
1887— For, 62: 
1888— License 
1889— License 
1890— For, 73: 
1891— For, 81: 
1892— License 
1894— For, 164 
1896— For. 200 
1897— For, 132 
1899— For, 208 
1901— For, '242 
1902— For. 202 
1903— For. 243 
1909— For. 192 

against, 64. 

against. 67. 

against. 53. 

against. 48. 
against, 56. 
by 4 majority. 

by 5 majority. 

against. 110. 

against. 94. 
by big majority. 
: against. 64. 
: against, 115. 
: against. 103. 
: against, 87. 
: against. 63. 
: against, 104. 
: against. 94. 
: against, 171. 

^Resigned June 5, 1883. No successor selected. 

'Did not qualify. John Fiddes appointed 
June, 1883. 

•Removed from county. C. B. Tuttle appoint- 
ed December 15. 1885. 

Tlesigned January 10. 1887, and E. J. Orr 

•Resigned June 7, 1887. and O. A. Sathe ap- 



1893 — President, W. C. Portmann; trustees, 
H. G. Anderson, W. H. Jarvis, O. A. Sathe; 
recorder, Henrik Strom; treasurer, J. W. Hun- 
ter; assessor, C. H. Sandoh. 

1894 — President, H. G. Anderson; trustees, 
G. W. Priest, George Burnham, W. B. Sketch; 
recorder, Alexander Fiddes; treasurer, J. K. 
Brown; assessor, Neils Ludvigsen; justice, J. 
I. Wallace; constable, A. J. Patterson. 

1895— President, W. B. Sketch; trustees, Oli- 
ver Brown, H. H. Berge, Jr., F. W. Lindsley; 
recorder, Alexander Fiddes; treasurer, J. K. 
Brown ; assessor, A. H. Strong ; justices, James 
Burnham, J. A. Goodrich; constables, J. W. 
Muir, Ole Anderson. 

1896— President, W. B. Sketch; trustees, Oli- 
ver Brown, F. W. Lindsley, H. H. Berge, Jr.; 
recorder, Alexander Fiddes; treasurer, J. K. 
Brown; assessor, C. H. Sandon. 

1897 — President, John L. Dann; trustees, 
Frank Phillips, James Lowe, A. H. Strong; re- 
corder, F. B. Faber; treasurer, J. K. Brown; 
assessor, C. H. Sandon; justices, J. A. Good- 
rich, Mark D. Ashley; constables, J. W. Muir, 
Joseph Trca. 

1898 — President, John L. Dann; trustees, A. 
H. Strong, James Lowe, Charles Washburn; re- 
corder, F. B. Faber; treasurer, J. K. Brown. 

1899 — President, John L. Dann; trustees, G. 
H. Sawyer, F. F. Harlow, John Vpda; recorder, 
F. B. Faber; treasurer, J. K. Brown; assessor, 
William V. King; justices, J. A. Goodrich, 
Mark D. Ashley;* constables, Benjamin Harri- 
son, J. W. Muir. 

1900 — President, M. B. Hutchinson; trustees, 
F. F. Harlow, John Voda, T. H. Stall; record- 
er, Mark D. Ashley; treasurer, J. K. Brown; 
assessor, William V. King; constables, Joseph 
Trca, M. L. Frost. 

1901 — President, John M. Voda; trustees, F. 
F. Harlow,** H. H. Berge, Chris Ludvigsen; 
recorder, Mark D. Ashley; treasurer, J. K. 
Brown; assessor, William V. King; justices, J. 
A. Goodrich, C. J. Wethe; constable, Ben Mat- 

1902— President, W. B. Sketch; trustees, H. 
H. Berge, H. M. Burnham, F. H. Phillips;" 
recorder, W. H. Miller; treasurer, J. K. Brown; 
assessor, William V. King; constable, M. L. 

1903— President, E. E. Stubbs; trustees, M. 
L. Frost, H. M. Burnham, John Peterson, Jr.; 
recorder, W. H. Miller; treasurer, J. K. Brown; 
assessor, William V. King; justices, J. A. 
Goodrich, C. J. Wethe; constables, Ben Matte- 
son, V. W. Avery. 

1904 — President, H. M. Burnham; trustees, 
H. B. Gillespie, John Peterson, Jr., M. L. Frost; 
recorder, W. H. Miller; treasurer, J. K. Brown; 
assessor, William V. King; justice, W. P. King. 

'Resigned March 14. 1900. to accept office of 
recorder. C. J. Wethe appointed March 27, 

"Resigned, and on May 31. 1901. F. H. Phil- 
lips appointed. 

"Resigmed June 20, 1902, and Andrew Nelson 
appointed June 24, 1902. Mr. Nelson resigrned 
January 5, 1903, and John Peterson, Jr., was 

1905— President, C. L. Mickey; trustees, tt 
B. Gillespie, C. A. Auten," t'. B. Faber; re- 
corder, John Burnham; treasurer, J. K. Brown; 
assessor, R. A. Gruhlke; justice, Joseph Smy- 
kal; constable^ Ben Matteson. 

1906 — President, C. L. Mickey; trustees, H. 
B. Gillespie, F. B. Faber, A. S. King; recorder, 
John Burnham; treasurer, J. K. Brown; asses- 
sor, R. A. Gruhlke; justices, W. P. King, Jo- 
seph Smykal. 

1907 — President, E. T. Smith; trustees, John 
McMartin, Clarence Greenwood, George Kel- 
sey; recorder, John Burnham;" treasurer, W. 
D. Hunter; assessor, John Baldwin;" justice, 
Joseph Smykal; constables, M. B. Dunn, Frank 

1908 — President, H. M. Burnham; trustees, 
John McMartin, C. W. Greenwood, Frank Phil- 
lips; recorder, J. G. Robertson; treasurer, W. 
D. Hunter; justice, W. P. King; assessor, Wil- 
liam V. King. 

1909 — President, Chris Ludvigsen; trustees, 
John McMartin, C. W. GreenwcKKl, W. H. An- 
nis; recorder, J. G. Robertson; treasurer, W. D. 
Hunter; assessor, J. V. Beyer; justice, F. E. 
Bailey; constables, M. B. Dunn, O. C. Lee. 

The Jackson village government was 
begun at nine o'clock in the morning of 
Friday, April 22, 1881, when the council 
met for the first time. The first official 
act, after taking the oaths of office, was 
to appoint F. T. Brayton, street commis- 
sioner. A committee was appointed to 
notify the saloon keepers that they must 
cease selling intoxicating liquors until li- 
censed by the village council. At a sec- 
ond meeting of the council, held on the 
evening of the same day, ordinance No. 1, 
fixing liquor licenses at $200 per annum, 
was passed. 

The first village financial statement 
shows the receipts and expenditures from 
the date of organization, April 22, 1881, 
to December 30, 1881, and is as follows: 


Ferry fees $242.90 

Sale of boat 30.00 

Liquor license 243.25 

Peddler license 6.00 

Butcher license 20.00 

Dog license 30.00 

Auctioneer license -, . 2.00 


''Died in June, 1906. and on June 6 A. S. King 

^'Resigned and Gordon Robertson appointed 
September 3, 1907. 

i^Resiirned in April. 1907. and R. A. Gruhlke 




Books and blanks $ 3.51 

Ferryboat 50.00 

Ranning ferry boat 110.50 

Rebuilding bridge 250.00 

Saving old bridge 3 . 50 

Planks for bridges 47 . 00 

Lumber and nails for crossings 71.39 

Work on streets and crossings 44.50 

Attorney's fees 5.00 

Doctor 8 fees 6 . 00 

Recording 7 . 50 

Cash overpaid by Heuter 12.00 


There was not sucli great activity in 
building operations during 1881 as there 
had been for a few years preceding, and 
the town settled down to a normal basis. 
(iood time& came upon the country, and 
Jaebon developed into an excellent trad- 
ing point in consequence. An indication 
of the town's business is shown by a state- 
ment of the impoits and exports by rail. 
During the year 1881 there were imported 
^892,912 pounds of freight. This in- 
cluded 42 cars of coal and 169 cars of 
lumber. The exports reached a total of 
3.302,774 pounds, including 40 cars of 
wheat, 32 of oats, 8 of barley, 5 of flax, 
31 of hogs, 27 of cattle and 3 of butter. 
The following table shows the exports by 

Wheat 842,830 

Barlev 171,340 

Oats ' 672,040 

Oraas seed 2,800 

Flax seed 106,370 

Flour 11,350 

Eggs 13,260 

Butter 61,237 

Tallow 1,530 

Wool 10,045 

Hides 32,226 

Horses . 3,600 

Cattle 546,000 

Hogs 632,000 

Sheep 32,000 

Other items 119,844 

ToUl 3,302,774 

Over $17,000 worth of building im- 
provements were made in 1882, as follows: 

John K. Brown, five cottages $ 4,500 

J. Gould, millinery store 1,000 

S. Swenson, residence 1,000 

Ole Anderson, residence 1,000 

Jackson mlU, addition / 700 

Ely & Brooks, improvements on mill... 2,000 

Berge Bros., store 1,800 

G. W. Stone, residence 1,000 

R. M. Ward, residence 900 

Erick Olson, cottage 225 

R. J. Henderson, blacksmith shop 200 

F. W. Lindsley, barn 200 

W. F. Turner, barn 500 

School District, improvements 250 

R. P. Matteson, addition 200 

B. W. Ashley, improvements 450 

O'Connell & Joyce, saloon 500 

W. A. Pepper, residence 300 

O. A. Sathe, addition 150 

Levi Davis, improvements 60 

M. S. Clough, residence 400 

Total $17,535 

A business and professional director}- of 
Jackson, prepared in the spring of 1884, 
was as follows: 

J. W. Cowing. 
O. E. Olson. 
Berge Brothers. 
J. W. Hunter. 
H. W. Peck. 

A. C. Whitman. 
A. E. Olson. 
WiUiara Smith. 

A. C. Whitman. 
J. W. Cowing. 
Berge Brothers. 

Alexander Fiddes. 

E. P. Skinner. 

Swenson & Sathe. 
R. J. Henderson. 
John Jungbauer. 

Ashley House, William Lamont. 
American House, Jacob Hoesli. 

Column Lumber Company, H. H. Hughes, 

Paul Lumber Company, C. A. Campbell, 


F. W. Lindsley. 
Alexander Fiddes. 
E. P. Skinner. 

A. H. Strong. 

(xeorge R. Moore. 
Fredericksen & Company. 
W. T. Hansen. 
Horton, Gillerup & Horton. 
Willis Drummond. 

T. J. Knox. 
D. M. DeVore. 



John K. Brown, Bank of Jackson. 

E. P. Gould, physician. 
Brooks & Ealy, flouring mill. 
Fonthil Creamery Company, creamery. 
Miss £. H. Gould, millmery. 

Die Rognas, furniture. 
Swenson & Sathe, wagon factory. 
G. W. Arentson, shoe shop. 
George A. Stark, cooper shop. 
Levi Davis, tailor shop. 
I. G. Walden, meat market. 
G. A. Albertus, harness shop. 
H. White, dray line. 

F. L. Brayton, livery and bus line. 
I. Evenson, paint shop. 

Fred Quentin, carpenter. 
Burt W. Day, newspaper. 
Henry Hoesli, barber shop. 

During the middle and later eighties 
Jackson continued to grow slowly, and 
prosperous times were enjoyed. The im- 
provements for the year 1884 amounted to 
a little over $15,000. The population in 
1885 was 608. 

Early in 188i5 Jackson became a divis- 
ion point of the Chicago, Milwaukee & 
St. Paul railroad, and thereby added to 
its importance. This event was brought 
about largely through the efforts of Jack- 
son citizens, particularly, J. K. Brown, 
Alexander Fiddes, P. H. Berge, T. J. 
Knox and J. W. Cowing. Over $100,000 
worth of railroad buildings were erected, 
including an eight-stall round house. The 
securing of the division point was not 
accomplished without a concession on the 
part of the village. This was the permis- 
sion given the railway company to move 
the passenger and freight depots from thc- 
original location to a point farther from 
the business part of town. 

By the terms of an agreement made in 
1879, incorporated in a legislative act, the 
railroad company had agreed to forever 
maintain its depot on the spur track where 
it had been originally located, but when 
the proposition of establishing a division 
point at Jackson arose, the company de- 
manded the right to move the depot to 
the main line. A mass meeting of the citi- 

zens of Jackson decided to permit this, 
and on August 7, 1887, the village coun- 
cil passed an ordinance granting the de- 
mand of the railroad company, provided 
the town be made division headquarters 
and an eight-stall round house built and 
maintained. The next spring the Minne- 
sota legislature legalized the municipal act, 
and the depot was moved. 

Among the improvements of the early 
nineties was the water works system, 
which was put in during 1892. The year 
before the legislature had authorized the 
village to vote on the question of issuing 
bonds for the purpose, and at the election 
on November 3, 1891, by a vote of 81 to 
19, the electors authorized the council to 
issue $10,000 bonds. The bonds were sold 
in the fall of 1892 at a premium of $359, 
and the system was installed. 

Prosperous times came upon the village 
in 1892, and great strides forward were 
made. More building improvements were 
made that year than in the five years pre- 
ceding and were of a total value of $93,- 
475. A few of the principal items were 
as follows : Water works system, $12,000 ; 
Ashley house, $10,000; Harlow house, 
$9,000 ;- Boston block, $6,500; P. H. 
Berge, residence, $4,000 ; C. L. Colby, resi- 
dence, $3,500; G. B. Paddock, residence, 
$3,000; Catholic church, $3,000; C. A. 
Portmann, residence, $2,200; J. V. Ma- 
kovicka saloon building $2,100; Presby- 
terian parsonage, $1,600; William V. 
King, residence, $1,500; Sakolik & Co., 
store building, $1,500; P. P. Haverberg, 
residence, $1,400; Henry Hoovel, resi- 
dence, $1,200. 

In 1893 the improvements amounted to 
$71,200, and among the principal items 
were the State Bank of Jackson building 
at $15,000 and the J. W. Hunter brick 
block at $7,000. In the summer of 1893 
came the memorable panic and the result- 
ant hard times period, and the village 


wa^ at a standstill for a few years. Busi- sewerage begun. The improvements for 

ness was paralyzed ; the town was without the year amounted to $103,065.. Among 

life. The setback proved only temporary, those who contributed to this amount 

and within a few years, owing to the were: 

laising of magnificent crops and the big Jackson Village, light plant $15,000 

rise in real estate values, Jackson was & K„ ■::::::;:;::::::::::::::: 'a;^ 

again on the forward march. Hieleman Brewing Company 7,000 

The town had reached a population of ^l^TZtosci. ' v::::.::::::::::^ S 

1,356 when the census of 1895 was taken. Alexander Fiddes 6,000 

Despite the fact that complete recovery Le^^'tr/r:::::::. ■.:::::::::::::: S 

irofn the hard times period had not been Berge Brothers 3,000 

reached and that times were considered ^^^!^ ^i'ltf • •;, ^'^ 

Jackson Village, city sewer 2,000 

dull, the record of improvements for 1895 Ross Livengood 2,000 

was flattering. An estimate made by the ^^^' Hamlon 2,000 

Pilot placed the total at $81,230. This The first steps toward installing the 
included $31,000 for two new school electric lighting system were taken on 
buildings, $11,000 for the Jackson Queen March 16, 1899, when, at a special elec- 
mill, $7,400 for the Livengood & Co. mill tion, by a vote of 194 to 38, it was de- 
and $3,500 for city improvements. Busi- cided to issue $10,000 bonds for the pur- 
uess depression and commercial stagnation pose. The contract for the construction 
continued during 189G. The improvements of the plant was let September 8, 1899, 
for the year were valued at $35,800. By to the Northwestern Electric light com- 
1898 times had become much better. That pany of St. Paul, and to the Ideal En- 
year were erected the Anderson & Lindsley gine company of the same city. The plant 
block at a cost of $14,000 and the M. B. was completed within a few months, and 
Hutchinson block at a cost of $11,000. Jackson was lighted by electricity for the 
Other improvements brought the total to first time in January, 1900. 
$58,275. Building operations were not prosecu- 
The years 1899 to 1902, inclusive, con- ted so vigorously in 1900. The principal 
stituted a most prosperous era in Jackson, buildings put up that year were the M. 
as well as in the county and the whole J. Olsen block, $9,000; the H. 6. Ander- 
northwest country. Land values soared son block, $3,000 ; the Oliver Brown block, 
and hundreds of new settlers came to $2,000; and several fine residences. T^e 
Jackson county. The eflfect on Jackson population in 1900, according to the fed- 
was a healthy growth in all lines of busi- eral census, was 1,756. 
ness. New enterprises came into existence Nineteen hundred one was a good year 
and prosperity abounded. The first year in the building line, the expenditures 
of this era was the most prosperous one amounting to $84,400. Some of the prin- 
in the history of the village and almost cipal items were as follows : Presbyterian 
took the nature of a boom. Many brick church, $12,000; J. K. Brown, business 
blocks were erected and the main street block, $10,000; A. C. Serum, residence 
was in a state of confusion all summer as $5,500 ; W. E. Manchester, residence, $5,- 
a result of building operations. In addi- 000 ; Lindsley & Anderson, business block, 
tion to other enterprises, a municipal elec- $4,500 ; H. H. Berge, residence, $4,000 ; 
trie lighting system was installed, a tele- V. W. Avery, residence, $3,500; Episcopal 
phone system was put in, and a system of church, $3,000 ; F. B. Faber, residence, 




$3,000; John Muir, residence, $3,000; 
John Vacek, shop and residence, $2,000; 
Eoss Livengood, mill improvements, $2,- 
000; T. I. Thompson, residence, $2,000; 
Frank KoflEran, residence, $2,000. 

In 1902 the money expended in Jackson 
on new buildings was $95,600, some of the 
larger items being: Jackson county, jail, 
$17,750; Jackson flour mill, $15,000; H. 
M. Burnham & Co., brick block, $12,000 ; 
T. J. Knox, residence, $10,000; Jackson 
Telephone company, $6,000 ; H. B. Gilles- 
pie, residence, $3,400. 

The prosperous times which Jackson 
had been enjoying for a number of years 
terminated in 1903, and for a few years 

thereafter the advancement was slower. 
Due to an abnormal rainfall, there were 
a few years of partial crop failures, and 
but little progress was made. The census 
of 1905 gave a population of 1776, a gain 
of only twenty in five years. This was 
a better showing than most towns of 
southwestern Minnesota made during 
those five years, many showing a loss. 

Conditions returned to a normal basis 
in 1908, and in this year of our Lord 
1910 Jackson is again in prosperous cir- 
cumstances. Among the events of re- 
cent years is to be recorded the completion 
of the Jackson county court house in 1909 
at a cost of over $117,000. 




ONE of the first institutions to be 
provided after the founding of a 
town is the public school. In 
Jackson the school came two years before 
the town. The first school conducted with- 
in the limits of the village was taught by 
Miss Anna Thomas, daughter of Joseph 
Thomas, in 18(J4. The term was a short 
one, just long enough to secure the money 
of the state appropriation. The students 
who attended this initial school were Hal- 
vor Halverson, Lewis Halverson, Annie 
Halverson, John Halverson, Joseph Thom- 
as, Mary Thomas, Alice Tucker, Weda 
Woodard, Mary Woodard, Lucina Wood- 
ard and George Palmer. 

During 1865 and 1866 quite a number 
of families located in the vicinity, and in 
the latter year the village of Jackson was 
founded. Although the platted town was 
on the west side of the river, for some 
time the Jackson school was conducted in 
district No. 1, on the east side.^ Mrs. B. 
H. Johnson taught the school during the 
winter of 1866-67 at her home in the old 
stockade, south of the Thomas home. The 

"The county commissioners created district 
No. 1, includingr several sections In Wisconsin 
township and In that part of Des Moines east 
of the river, on March 13, 1866. No 2. including 
all of Des Moines west of the river, was created 
September 4, 1866. 

pupils attending were Ida Clough, Joe 
Clough, Joe Thomas, Johnnie Halverson, 
Leonard F. Afihley, Halvor Halverson, 
Lewis Halverson, George Palmer, Perry 
Eddy, Frank Bailey, Wallace Bailey, Rol- 
lin Johnson, John Charles Ashley, Lee 
Palmer, Mary Larned and Will Dayton. 
The next winter William V. King taught 
the school at his home on the east side 
of the river. 

In the fall of 1868 a school house was 
built on the west side of the river, near 
the bayou at the foot of Third street. It 
was built of native lumber and its di- 
mensions were 16x18 feet, with eight foot 
posts.^ Major H. S. Bailey provided the 
money to build it, and he was later reim- 
bursed by the school district. School was 
taught in the building during the winter 
of 1868-69 and the summer of 1869 by 
Miss Mandy Mario, who received a salary 
of $15 per month. The winter term was 
of three months duration, and there were 
enrolled thirty-four pupils — nineteen boys 
and fifteen girls; tlio average daily at- 
tendance was twenty-five. There was also 
three montlis school during the summer, 
and the total enrollment was twenty-eight 
— nineteen boys and nine girls — with an 

This building still stands in the village and 
is now used as a chicken house. 




average daily attendance of twenty.^ There 
were 113 children between the ages of 
^ve and twenty-one years in the district 
at the close of the school year in Septem- 
ber, 1869, according to the report of the 
clerk, W. S. Kimball.' The financial state- 
ment for the first year of the school's his- 
tory, made by W. S. Kimball, clerk, Sep- 
tember 30, 1869, is an interesting docu- 
ment. It is as follows: 

Amount on liand September 30, 

1868 $ 00.00 

Received from county treasurer 00.00 

Received fropi tax voted by dis- 
trict 191.42 

General sinking fund 54.42 

Amount received from other 
sources 8 . 05 

Total amount received $250.17 

'According to a list of property owners in 
the district made by the school clerk Septem- 
ber 15, 1869, there were flfty-two residents lia- 
ble to school district tax. They were as fol- 
lows: B. W. Ashley, Menzo Ashley, P. Brown, 
H. S. Bailey, C. Baldwin, Orin Belknap, A. J. 
Borland. Richard Bowden, S. M. Clark, J. W. 
Cowingr, G. C. Chamberlln, M. S. Clough. Ed- 
ward Davles, B. D. Dayton, Henry K. Evans, 
I. F. Eddy, Nathaniel Frost. S. E. Ford. R. R. 
Foster, W. C. Garratt, Palmer Hill. J. W. Hun- 
ter, Lars Halverson. B. H. Johnson, W. S. 
Kimball. Baldwin Kirkpatrlck, F. K. Lyman, 
Lewis Lyman, George P. Lee. H. Lyman, J. M. 
Miller, Michael Miller, J. A. Myer, Munger & 
Hale, Andrew Monson, J. E. Palmer, Jared 
Palmer, C. H. Bedford, Edward Savage, C. H. 
Sandon, Joseph Thomas, H. L. Thomas, A. B. 
Tompkins, H. T. Tnimble, Joseph E. Thomas, 
S. E. Trask. A. E. Wood, WlUard Wlltse, T. H. 
White, Isaac Wheeler, B. N. Woodard, J. C. 

*The names and ages of these were as fol- 
lows: Rolla Johnson 10, Joseph Thomas. Jr.. 
20, Alonzo Wllsey 9, Edwin Wilsey 11, Elmer 
Wilsey 6, Lewis Halverson 16, Halvor Halver- 
son 20, Alva Clough, George Palmer 11, Lee 
Palmer 8, Harry Fields 8. John Fields 5, Ben 
Woodard, I. H. Barnes 18, John Halverson 12, 
Arthur Halverson 5. William Smith 6, Perry E. 
Eddy 8. Joseph Palmer 17, Frank Bailey 15, 
Wallace Bailey 12. Nett Wood 6. Rollin Trum- 
bull 7, R. Trumbull 12, OrIn LIndsley 12, Leon- 
ard Ashley 16, William C. Trumbull 14, George 
Evans 17, John Davis 12, Oscar Alexander 7, 
J. B. Frost 5. F. W. LIndsley 18. Delanny LInds- 
ley 9, W. W. Topin 12. W. S. Dayton 17, S. F. 
Dayton 19. Louis Miner 20, Gus Wood 16. David 
Reed 16, Ellas Reed 12, Adelbert Reed 11, Glr- 
shlm Foster 19. D. K. Bard, Richard Bowden 
14, Daniel Bowden 10. Samuel Peter Bowden 8, 
Ira A. Walden 16, Mary Thomas 18, Ida Clough 
12, Maggie Baldwin 5, Mary Woodard. Doratha 
Monson 7. Mary Monson 11. Anna Monson 7, 
Christina Monson 5. Anna Halverson 18, Carrie 
Halverson 10. Lorlnda Fields 15. Marian Fields 
12, Kate Fields 10. Emma Lee 13. Hattle Lee 8. 
Flora Frost 7. M. E. Trumbull 15, Winifred 
Lindslev 8. Edith LIndsley 6. Mary LIndsley 5, 
Eva Eddv 7. Mary A. Miller 5, Agnes Dayton 
20, Ida Peterson 17, Laura Evans 10, May Evans 
8. Emma Evans 6. Frances Davis 10. Jane 
Davis 8. F. A. Lindsley 16, Laura LIndsley 14, 
A. B. LIndsley 12, Alice Lindsley, Ada Llnds- 

Paid for teacher's wages during 

year 60.00 

Paid for repairs on school house 

and premises 49^ 71 

Paid for fuel, etc 59.41 

Paid for all other purposes 42.50 

Total paid during year $212. 12 

Money on hand $ 41 . 75* 

For several years after the little build- 
ing (the seating capacity of which was 
about 25) had outgrown its usefuhiess it 
was used for school purposes. In the fall 
of 1869 Miss Theresa Eice was employed 
as teacher, and in 1870 A. H. Strong was 
employed to conduct the school. As is so 
often the case, efforts to provide ample 
school facilities met with discouragement. 
On December 4, 1870, the voters of the 
district decided to build a new school 
house at a cost of not over $4,000. On the 
2(3th of tlie same month another meeting 
was held, when a building committee was 
named to construct a school house at a 
cost of not more than $4,500 or less than 
$1,500. But for various reasons, the prin- 
cipal one being the opposition of some of 
the tax payers, the work was not prosecu- 
ted. As a result no school was held dur- 
ing the winter months, the old building 
being declared unfit for school purposes. 

Early in 1872 the question of build- 
ing a school house again became a live is- 
sue. The building committee named in 
1870 made preparations to begin construc- 
tion, but at a school meeting held in Feb- 
ruary the voters reconsidered the action 
taken and decided to postpone the work. 
The action was taken on account of strong 
opposition because of dread of increased 
taxes. When the court house was completr 
ed in December, 1872, arrangements were 

ley 5, Ella Topin 8. Ida Topin 6, Amelia Kd- 
logg 15. Hattie Benton 15, P. M. Kimball U. 
LizEie Kimball 5. Minnesota Freeman 5, Hat- 
tie Garratt 5. Hanna Cowing 19, Laienea A. 
Foster 18. Laura B. Hill 20. Sarah Bard IS, 
Anna S. Bard 14. Ruhmina Bard 8. Bard 10. 
Sarah A. Bowden 6. Jenta Lyman 19, Freeman 
Sweden 12, Emma Gilbert 6. 

*The ability of the clerk to add and subtract 
Is open to doubt. 



made to occupy one of the rooms in it, but 
dissensions arose, and the idea was aban- 
doned. Then the hall over J. W. Cowing^s 
store was rented and school was begun 
there December 30, 18T2. 

Again in tlie' spring of 1873 the dis- 
trict decided to build a frame house at a 
cost, including grounds and furniture, of 
not more than $4,000, but because of the 
stringency of the money market, funds 
could not be obtained, and the work was 
postponed. Favorable action was again tak- 
en February 5, 1874, when the school of- 
ficers were authorized to bond for $3,600 
for the purpose of providing Jackson with 
a suitable school house, and this time the 
work was accomplished. The contractor 
was J. 0. Grout, and he completed the 
building (now used as the city hall) late 
in November. Its cost was $3,600, and it 
is said to have been the finest school 
building in southwestern Minnesota, out- 
side of Mankato, at the time. 

By act of the legislature in 1881 school 
- district No. 2 was made an independent 
district, and it was organized May 10, 
1881.' The first board of education, chos- 
en on that date, consisted of J. W. Hun- 
ter, H. H. Hughes, J. W. Cowing, Alex- 
ander Fiddes, B. W. Ashley and A. H. 

For twenty-one years the building erec- 
ted in 1874 served as Jackson's school 
house. Then the population had so far 
outgrown the accommodations that a new 
building became necessary," and the hand- 
some brick structure now in use was erec- 
ted. The matter of a new school house 
was first officially discussed in June, 1893, 
but on account of the panic then in force 
it was decided to postpone building until 
the next year. In March, 1894, the vo- 
ters decided against bonding for $25,000 
for a new school house by a vote of 62 

*The district Included all of sections 13, 24, 
25. 26 and 35 and parts of sections 12, 14. 23, 
27. 34 and 86, aU in Des Moines township. 

to 91, but there was a change of senti- 
ment the next year, for at the regular 
school meeting in March, 1895, bonds to 
the amount of $25,000 were carried by 
a vote of 131 to 29. The structure was 
erected during the summer of 1895 by 
Decks & Company, contractors. The same 
season a ward school house was built on 
Depot hill, the cost of the two buildings 
being $28,500. 

A high school course was added to the 
common branches taught, and the Jack- 
son schools rank among the best in the 
state of Minnesota. 


Of the many church organizations in 
Jackson, the oldest is that of the Metho- 
dist Episcopal. So early as 1860 or 1861 
Rev. Peter Baker, that pioneer preacher 
of the gospel, organized a Methodist class 
from the scattered settlers residing in the 
vicinity of the present day village of Jack- 
son, and ever since the organization has 
been maintained. For years the class was 
without a regular pastor and without "a 
house of worship. For a time in the late 
sixties services were held only every third 
Sabbath, the pulpit being occupied by Rev. 
Richardson, of Okoboji. 

A quarterly conference was held at 
Jackson on May. 1, 1869, presided over 
by Norris Hobart, presiding elder, with 
T. H. White acting as secretary, at which 
time the following persons were named 
trustees of the First Methodist church 
of Jackson: Aiken Miner, H. S. Bailey, 
Welch Ashley, M. S. Clough, Stillman S. 
Barrett, Chancv W. Cornish and William 
C. Campbell. From that time a strong 
organization was maintained, and in the 
spring of 1870 the church had a member- 
ship of over one hundred. During its 
entire early history the Methodist church 
was without a house of worship, but after 



the Presbyterian church was erected in 
1869 the Methodists worshipped there. 

Not until 1880 was the Methodist 
church building erected. In the spring of 
that year the church members solicited 
money from the people of Jackson/ the 
building was erected during the summer, 
and the dedication exercises were held Oc- 
tober 3. The cost of the building was 

Jackson's second oldest church organ- 
ization and the first to erect a house of 
worship in the village is the First Presby- 
terian church, which was organized in 
1868. During the summer of that year 
the Presbyterian Synodical missionary, 
Rev. David C. Lyon, accompanied by Rev. 
Edward Savage, who had just been gradu- 
ated from college and who was looking 
for a location, came to the little village 
of Jackson. Here, in J. W. Cowing^s un- 
finished store building, on June 14, 1868, 
the first Presbyterian sermon was preach- 
ed." Rev. Savage made preparations for 

Vollowlngr Is the list of contributions received 
In March. 1880: Welch Ashley. $150; "Friend 
of- the Cause," B. W. Ashley and J. A. Russell. 
$100; Simeon Avery. 175; A. C. Whitman. F. M. 
Smith. E. Owens and H. H. Hughes, 150; Ed- 
ward Orr. J. W. Hunter, T. J. Knox. Alexander 
Flddes. H. M. Avery. S. F. Ersklne. P. F. Brown 
& Son and William V. King:. $25; H. A. Mor- 
gan. V. W. Smith. 120; G. C. Chamberlin. B. F. 
Chandler and B. P. Gould. |15; C. A. Campbell, 
W. J. Case. John Jungbauer. A. H. Strong. John 
Paulson. H. W. Chandler. G. R. Moore. Alfred 
Ashdown, O. I. Llndsley and M. L. Ashley, |10. 

•Rev. Edward Savage. In 1895, wrote as fol- 
lows of his coming to Jackson and the begin- 
ning of his service: 

"My coming to Jackson was. to use a Hlber- 
nlclsm. almost 'unbeknownst to mesllf.' Rev. 
D. C. Lyon, then Synodical missionary for the 
old school of the Presbyterian church, had vis 
Ited me at the theological seminary at Alle- 
gheny, Pennsylvania, and had talked Minne- 
sota to me. As he was an old friend of our 
family and called himself one of my father's 
boys, I naturally notified him when I was ready 
with my mustang pony and buggry for a field 
of labor. TTnder his directions I was to meet 
him at LaOrosae and strike west until we came 
to unoccupied ground. This was about January 
1. 1868. Mr. Lyon, having other work, rear- 
ranged to meet me later at Austin, which he 
did. and together we journeyed on In the 
course of the star of the empire, finding Pres- 
byterian or Congregational organizations until 
we passed Fairmont. Mr. Lyon renewed each 
dav Greelev's counsel. *Go west, voung man.* 
We reaohpd Jackson on June 11. 1868. and found 
J. W. Hunter In a modest store, with Thomas 
White residing up-stalrs. G. C. Chamberlin. 
as I remember, was the principal learal light. 
Mr. Lyon, In his happy way. sounded the char- 

the early organization of a church so- 
ciety, and on August 30, 1868, the First 
Presbyterian church of Jackson was for- 
mally organized. At the time there was 
not another church of the old school west 
or south of Waseca and none of the new 
school west of Blue Earth City. 

Eev. David C. Lyon, Eev. Sheldon Jack- 
son, then pastor of the Presbyterian 
church of Rochester, and Eev. Edward Sav- 
age conducted the organization services. 
John W. Cowing was ordained ruling el- 
der, and the following persons were re- 
ceived into membership : John W. Cowing, 
William Miller, Mrs. Mary Miller, M. A. 
Seymour, Mrs. Mary Seymour, Mrs. Sally 
M. Bailey, all by letter; Mrs. Frances M. 
Kimball, Miss Helen A. Dunn, Miss Eu- 
phrasia A. Cook and George H. Vinall.® 

The early services of the church were 
held in the little school house which stood 
near the bayou in the south part of town,^*^ 
but in 18G9 the congregation raised mon- 
ey and erected Jackson's first church 

acter of the place. . . . Mr. Hunter waa 
found to be a United Presbyterian. The hotel 
keeper. Mr. Hall, stated that Mr. Cowing, a 
youngr man who had started a store building: 
and was then away after groods. was a Pres- 
byterian. Major Bailey was a Free Will Bap- 
tist, but had a christian sympathy for a tired 
horse and loaned us a large bay mare to can- 
vass the country west of town. . . . 

"On Sabbath. June 14. our first service was 
held In Mr. Cowlng's unfinished store bulldlner, 
Mr. Cowlnijr not yet havlngr arrived. Mr. Lyon 
preached In the momlngr and the subscriber 
in the afternoon. After service Mr. Lyon stat- 
ed that the young: man he proposed leaving had 
nothing but himself and his mustang pony, and 
he hoped the people would stand by him In his 
work. The next morning he said to me: *Here. 
Ed. Is your place. It Is a clear field. The 
Methodist brother comes only once In three 
weeks. Occupv the vacant Sabbaths. Do your 
best, and the Lord be with you.' And leaving 
me ten dollars, he took the stage for Winne- 

•James W. Hunter and family were members 
of another Presbyterian church and had not 
recHvpd their letters of dismissal at the time, v 
A little while after the organization the fol- 
lowing were received Into membership: Mrs. 
Aenes Hunter. Miss Agnes Hunter (now Mrs. 
Alexander Flddes). David Hunter and James 
W. Hunter. 

""One more word for the Inspiring environ- 
ment that I neglected to mention. It was the 
pulolt. It was a boot case that Mr. Towing 
and I Cthe session of the Presbyterian church) 
gobbled from the front of Mr. Hunter's storts 
one Sundav morning on our wav to church, 
carried It between us to the school house, stood 
it on end and covered it with a copy of the 



! I 

t revert, LEJ'^:t /.ms | 

! I 

■i ■ 



building. In this building (now trans- 
formed into the D. W. Pulver residence) 
the members of the Presbyterian church 
worshipped until the present heautiful 
church took its place in 1902. The build- 
ing was put up largely through the un- 
tiring efforts of Bev. Savage, assisted by 
J. W. Cowing, J. \Y. Hunter and others.^^ 
The board of trustees at the time the 
church was built consisted of James W. 
Hunter, John W. Cowing, W. S. Kimball, 
George C. Chamberlin, Everett P. Free- 
man and John H. Grant. 

At the time the church was built all 
finished products, such as shingles, brick 
and other building material, had to be 
hauled from Mankato at an expense of 
$1.00 to $3.50 per hundred pounds. Na- 
tive lumber was used, and was cut in the 
woods along the Des Moines river. A single 
walnut log furnished the sills of the en- 
tire building — 40x24 feet. This log was cut 
just north of the R. S. Bobertson farm, 
about two miles from town, and it took 
Bev. Savage and Elder John W. Cowing 
two days to roll this log up the steep ra- 
vine. Five ox teams were required in per- 
forming this feat. The cost of the build- 
ing was $2,500, and it was dedicated Sep- 
tember 18, 1870. Ten years later im- 
provements to the value of $500 were 

The Presbyterian church society was 
incorporated February 12, 1877, at which 
time the following trustees were elected: 
James W. Hunter, Thomas J. Knox, M. 

Northwestern Presbyterian, a Chicago paper 
edited by Rev. Ebenezer Brsklne. Mr. Hunter 
came to church and got his return for lost 
property (Indeed It was quite valuable as a 
seat for the politicians of the day. outside the 
store) in the Improved sermons." — Rev. Edward 
Savage, 1895. 

""He [Rev. Savage] succeeded In securing 
funds for building the church. He gave notice 
one Sunday that he would preach no more for 
a time, but proposed to go to work and help 
build the church. . . . He 'rigged up* for 
work, got a yoke of oxen and an old wagon and 
went to hauling material for the building." — 
M. A. Strong. ApHl 18, 1888. 

A. Strong, Alexander Fiddes, George C. 
Chamberlin and A. H. Strong. 

Eev. Savage remained the pastor of the 
church for eleven years, with the excep- 
tion of one year while he was in Wisconsin. 
During that year, 1872-73, the church was 
served by Rev. Edward J. Hamilton, a 
professor of Hanover college, Indiana. In 
1879 Rev. Savage was succeeded by Rev. 
J. K. Alexander, who was pastor four 
years. In 1883 Rev. H. C. Cheadle be- 
came pastor and served the church eight 
years, until the close of the year 1891, 
when he resigned. During the next five 
years, from 1891 to 1896, the following 
three pastors served tl\p church in the or- 
der named : Rev. W. E. Morgan, Rev. W. 
Weatherstone and Rev. E. S. McClure. 
During Mr. Morgan's pastorate the manse 
was erected. In 1896 Rev. Russell B. Ab- 
bott, D. D., was called to the pastorate, 
and he remained until the summer of 
1900. During the five years pastorate of 
his successor. Rev. T. N". Weaver, the pres- 
ent beautiful brick church edifice was con- 
structed at a cost, including furnishings, 
of about $16,000. It was built in 1901 and 
was dedicated free of debt June 22, 1902. 
In the fall of 1905 Rev. Weaver resigned, 
and March 1, 1906, the present pastor. 
Rev. Walter M. Swann, began his minis- 
try in Jackson. 

At the present time the Presbyterian 
church of Jackson has an active member- 
ship of 138, and the Sunday school 180. 
The trustees are Fred D. Sawyer, presi- 
dent; H. L. Arzt, secretary; W. D. Hun- 
ter, treasurer; George R. Moore, A. H. 
Strong and J. E. Barrett. The elders are 
John W. Cowing, Joseph Bushnell, W. 
A. Pepper, J. B. Arp, clerk of session ; C. 
C. Baker and H. R. Laugen. 

The Norwegian Lutheran Evangelical 
church was organized May 5, 1880, and 
several years later a church edifice was 
erected at a cost of $2,500. 



The Norwegian Lutherans, early in 
1886, decided to erect a building in 
Jackson on a lot owned in the western 
part of town. Enough money was raised 
by subscription to warrant beginning work, 
which was done in the summer. The hard 
times prevailing that year prevented its 
furnishing, but the bare building was used 
as a house of worship so soon as it was 
completed — in November, 1886, for the 
first time. 

St. Wenceslaus Catholic church was 
built in 1893. So early as 1882 Catholic 
services were held in Jackson,. and in 1885 
tlie first efforts to raise money to put up 
a building were made. In April, 1889, it 
was announced, that a church would be 
built that year, but it was not. Again in 
May, 1891, a meeting was held at Jack- 
son, presided over by Fathers Legday, of* 
Winona, and Reichel, of Heron Lake, 
when it was decided to commence build- 
ing operations at once. A finance com- 
mittee, composed of Father Reichel, Frank 
Motl and Frank Skalisky, and a building 
committee, composed of William Huffman, 
Martin Klarner and Tom Vancura, were 
appointed. The foundation was laid that 
fall, but work on the superstructure was 
not begun until the spring of 1892. On 
June 15, of that year, a wind storm blew 
down the building, then in course of con- 
struction, entailing a loss of about $500. 
The Catholic church was finally complet- 
ed in the spring of 1893. The church 
edifice is valued at $2,400 and the parson- 
age at $1,500. 

The German Lutheran church was erec- 
ted in 1898. 

The Episcopal church was erected in 
1901 at a cost of $3,000. In 1898 the 
Ladies Guild of Christ church was or- 
ganized with ten members, with the object 
of purchasing a lot upon which to build 
so soon as a church should be organized. 
Bishop Whipple organized the mission and 

appointed the bishop's committee, com- 
posed of the following: R. F. Robertson, 
A. E. Serum, F. B. Faber, W. V. King 
and Eugene Rucker. 


The first secret order to be organized in 
Jackson was the Masonic. On February 
23, 1871, a number of Masons met and 
took the preliminary steps toward or- 
ganizing, selecting as the name of their 
lodge Des Moines Valley Lodge. Over 
twenty members were enrolled, and the 
following were chosen officers to serve 
\\hile the lodge was working under dis- 
pensation: E. P. Freeman, W. M. ; Alex- 
ander Fiddes, S. W. ; G. C. Chamberlin, 
J. W. ; ir. White, treasurer; J. W. Cowing, 
secretary; S. C. Thayer, S. D. ; Harvey 
Klock, J. D. ; Willian King, Thomas 
Humphrey, stewards; W. S. Kimball, ty- 
ler. The dispensation arrived in April, the 
lodge being named Good Faith Lodge No. 
90, and having thirteen members. 

The charter for Good Faith Lodge was 
granted in February, 1872, and on Febru- 
ary 15 the following officers were installed : 
E. P. Freeman, W. M. ; Alexander Fiddes, 
S. W. ; J. B. Wakefield, J. W. ; J. J. Por- 
ter, treasurer; J. W. Cowing, secretary; 
William King, S. D. ; Thomas Humph- 
reys, J. D. ; M. A. Strong, S. D.; C. B. 
Tuttle, J. S. ; W. S. Kimball, tyler. 

The Grand Army of the Republic also 
began its local organization in 1871. Au- 
gust 15 veterans of tlie civil war met and 
decided to petition the authorities for the 
establishment of a post in Jackson. The 
post, named Wadsworth Post No. 30, was 
mustered in by Major J. C. Hamilton, 
commander of the department of Minne- 
sota, Tuesday evening, September 5, 1871. 
There were thirty-two charter members, 
and the post was the largest ever before 
mustered in by Major Hamilton in the 
state. iFol lowing were the first officers 



and charter members: John A. Myers, 
commander ; H. S. Bailey, senior vice com- 
mander; W. A. Fields, junior vice com- 
mander; William King, adjutant; M. A. 
Strong, quartermaster; Dr. E. L. Brown- 
ell, surgeon; Charles Frisbie, chaplain; C. 
H. Sandon, sergeant; Heni7 Knudson, 
quartermaster sergeant; W. S. Kimball, 
officer- of the day; A. E. Wood, officer 
of the guard; 0. F. Alexander, A. S. 
Brooks, B. E. Bowden, G. C. Chambef- 
lin, S. M. Clark, S. E. Ford, A. 0. Hoov- 
da, Alex Hall, N. B. Hall, C. H. Heath, 
J. K. Johnson, A. D. King, M. Miller, H. 
Miller, I. A. Moreaux, J. J. Smith, I. G. 
Walden, Walter Withers, M. L. Ashley, J. 
J. Patterson, M. S. Barney. 

Wadsworth post flourished for a time and 
rapidly increased its membership. Then 
interest lagged in the organization and it 
become dormant. A reorganization was 
effected February 7, 1875, the lodge was 
active a short time, but the organization 
was disbanded in 1877. Commanders of 
Wadsworth post were John A. Myers, E. 
L. Brownell, M. A. Strong, H. S. Bailey 
and G. B. Franklin. 

Interest in G. A. R. matters was revived 
during the prosperous days of the early 
eighties, and during that period a local 
organization came into existence which 
has ever since been maintained. The in- 
itial meeting was held December 29, 1883, 
when it was decided to organize a lodge 
to be named John A. Myers post, in hon- 
or of the first commander of the earlier 
organization who had since died. John 
A. Myers Post No. 60 was mustered in 
January 23, 1884, by Commander L. M. 
Lange, of Worthington. Following were 
the first officers and charter members : H. 
S. Bailey, commander; G. C. Chamberlin, 
senior vice commander; C. H.. Sandon, 
junior vice commander ; M. A. Strong, ad- 
jutant; M. L. Ashley, quartermaster; E. 
J. Orr, chaplain; I. G. Walden, surgeon; 

Fred Quentin, officer of the day; 0. F. 
Alexander, officer of the guard; W. S. 
Kimball, sergeant major; H. W. Peck, 
quartermaster sergeant; W. V. King, Wil- 
liam Lamont, J. A. Goodrich, N. Hall, W. 
A. Fields, John Paulson, Levi Davis, I. 
S. Barrett.^^ During the twenty-six years 
the post has maintained an active organi- 
zation, the officers have been prompt in 
the discharge of their duties, and the post 
has frequently been mentioned by the de- 
partment officers and its officers com- 
mended. The post has a membership at 
present of about thirty-five. 

John A. Myers Corps Xo. 34, Woman's 
Belief Corps, was organized August 23, 
1887, with the following officers and char- 
ter members: Mrs. Lizzie M. Dunn, presi- 
dent; Mrs. A. Wilson, senior vice presi- 
dent; Mrs. A. Sandon, junior vice presi- 
dent; Mrs. E. A. Barney, secretary; Mrs. 
A. L. King, treasurer; Mi:s. Joseph Bush- 
nell, chaplain; Mrs. Anna Dunn, conduc- 
tor; Mrs. 0. Alexander, assistant conduc- 
tor; Mrs. Ann Miller, guard; Miss Lelia 
Nourse, assistant guard ; Mesdames E. H. 
Pepper, Anna L. Smith, Martha V. Allen, 
Ruth R. Orr, Helen A. Logue, Thomas 
Clipperton, Anna Thomas. 

Among the pioneer secret societies of 
Jackson is Jackson Lodge No. 49, Ancient 
Order United Workmen, which was organ- 
ized July 8, 187D, with the following first 
officers and charter members: Alexander 
Fiddes, past master workman; Robert 
Sergant, master workman; T. J. Knox, 
foreman; A. H. Strong, overseer; A. C. 
AVhitman, recorder; L. 0. Randall, finan- 
cier; P. H. Berge, receiver; E. P. Gould, 
guide ; G. K. Tiffany, inside watch ; Fred- 
erick Quinlin, outside watch; J. A. Rob- 
bothers who became members within a few 
months after the organization were M. L. 
BromaRhIm, W. A. Pepper, J. A. Wilson, G. 
Cole, Edward Gruhlke. J. A. Patterson, Jareb 
Palmer, S. Middaugh, Charles B. Rouse, M. 8. 
Seely, C. M. Hardy, Walter Withers, George 
Blewer. J. C. Davis. H. S. Schlott, WlUlam 
Ballard, J. 6. Moses, M. S. Barney and Alexan- 
der Spencer. 



inson, 0. F. Alexander, H. H. Hughes, F. 
M. Smith, Evan Owens, E. A. Hatch, M. 
H. Smith. 

The present membership of A. 0. U. 
W. lodge is sixty. Following are the offi- 
cers : J. H. Xourse, P. M. W. ; John Ran- 
dall, M. W. ; E. W. Bromaghim, F. ; R. W. 
Brown, 0.; John Qualev, recorder; Alex- 
ander Fiddes, financier; V. W. Avery, re- 
ceiver; Charles R. Gee, guide; Robert 
Bartosch, I. W. ; G. A. Husby, 0. W. 

Des Moines Valley Lodge No. 156, In- 
dependent Order Odd Fellows, was organ- 
ized May 20, 1889, with six charter mem- 
bers as follows : A. B. Allen, W. A. Funk, 
W. A. Conrad, A. J. Patterson, R. Van 
Orman and H. Andrewsen. The follow- 
ing were chosen as the first officers : A. B. 
Allen, noble grand; W. A. Conrad, vice 
grand; H. Andrewsen, secretary; R. Van 
Orman, treasurer. At the present time the 
lodge has a membership of forty-seven. 
It owns real estate and lodge property to 
the value of $3,500. 

Maple Grove Camp No. 1069, Modern 
Woodmen of America, was organized Feb- 
ruary 5, 1891, with seventeen charter 
members. Following were the first offi- 
cers : Y, B. Crane, consul ; H. H. Hughes, 
advisor ; John Muir, banker ; E. C. Wilson, 
clerk; William Trumbull, escort; A. 
Qruhlke, watchman; A. 0. Berg, sentry; 
Douglas Pulver, H. H. Hughes and T. 
T. Gronland, managers. 

Holy Trinity Court No. 694, Catholic 
Order Foresters, was granted a charter 
June 27, 1897, and it has ever since main- 
tained an organization. The first officers 
and charter members were as follows: J. 
M. Voda, C. R. ; Joseph Klemm, V. C. R.; 
Rev. P. P. Kloss, P. C. R. ; J. J. Pribyl, 
K. 8. ; Wen?el Motl, F. S. ; Martin Arndt, 
treasurer; John Magyar, Louis Kiesel, 
J. A. Timko, John Hassing, William Motl, 
Bernard C. Lilly, Frank Benda, Frank J. 
Bertels, Emil Calta, Henry J. Hassing, 

Frank Svoboda, Henry Wilhalm, Edward 
Wilhalm, J. V. Makovicka, John Steiner. 
The lodge has a present membership of 

Jackson Lodge No. 160, Knights of Py- 
thias, was instituted March 22, 1900, with 
the following first officers: V. E. Butler, 
i\ C; W. P. King, V. C; W. C. Hart- 
fon, P.; Charlas F. Albertus, M. W.; Bert 
Gillespie, K. R. S. ; Mark D. Ashley, M. 
F. ; Frank Phillips, M. A. ; William Bal- 
lar(}, I. G. ; Joe Trca, 0. G. 


In Jackson are three banking institu- 
tions, all organized under the national 
banking laws. These are the Brown Na- 
tional Bank, the First National Bank and 
the Jackson National Bank. 

The first financial institution to begin 
business in Jackson — and in Jackson 
county — was the Bank of Jackson, a pri- 
vate institution opened by John K. Brown, 
who had formerlv been connected with the 
Southern Minnesota Railroad company, 
late in January, 1879.** Mr. Brown was 
sole owner of the Bank of Jackson until 
March 1, 1892, when the owners became 
John K. Brown & Company, Cashier Hen- 
rik Strom having taken an interest. In 
1901 Herman L. Strom purchased the in- 
terests of Hcnrick Strom, the firm name 
remaining the same. In 1905 the institu- 
tion was reorganized under the name of 
Brown National Bank, with a capital stock 
of $40,000, and began business under the 
new title Julv 1. The officers at that 
time were John K. Brown, president; J. 
W. Cowing, vice president; H. L. Strom, 
cashier. The present officers of the Brown 

""The Bank of Jackson, Is now one of our 
proud institutions and Is by far the neatest 
and nobbiest establishment in town. It may 
be found in the bulldins: north of the Ashley 
house, where the good looking, courteous and 
gentlemanlv presidingr genius, Mr. John K. 
Brown, will be glad to accommodate patrons In 
his line and transact a strict banking business 
on strict business principles." — Jackson Repub- 
lic, February 1, 1879. 



National Bank are J. W. Cowing, preei- 
dent; T. J. Knox, vice president; H. L. 
Strom, cashier; J. J. Pribyl, assistant 

Jackson's second bank was a private 
bank opened by George E. Moore De- 
cember 1, 1887, under the title, G. R. 
Moore, Banker. J. K. Skarberg was the 
cashier. It was reorganized as the State 
Bank of Jackson with a capital stock of 
$25,000 April 1, 1890, beginning business 
under the new style May 15. The incorpor- 
ators were George R. Moore, P. H. Berge, 
J. W. Cowing, T. J. Knox, Alexander 
Fiddes, G. A. Albertus, A. H. Strong, F. 
W. Lindsley and M. B. Hutchinson. The 
State Bank of Jackson was reorganized as 
the First National Bank in June, 1901, 
with the following board of directors: 
George R. Moore, 0. B. Olson, T. J. Knox, 
Alexander Fiddes and P. H. Berge. The 
capital and surplus of the First National 
is $45,000. The present* officers are George 
R. Moore, president; P. H. Berge, vice 
president; A. B. Cheadle, cashier; 0. B. 
Olson, assistant cashier. 

The Jackson National Bank was organ- 
ized in 1903, beginning business January 
4, 1904, with the following officers and 
board of directors : H. G. Anderson, presi- 
dent ; W. C. Portmann, vice president ; A. 
W. Quinn, cashier; W. D. Hunter, assist- 
ant cashier; F. W. Lindsley, J. H. Quinn 
and H. H. Berge. The officers at present 
are H. G. Anderson, president; W. C. 
Portmann, vice president; W. D. Hunter, 
cashier; Asher 0. Nasby, assistant cash- 

Another financial institution of Jack- 
son is the Jackson Building and Loan As- 
sociation, which was organized in 1891, 
and which has been instrumental in the 
building of many of the beautiful homes 
of Jackson. 


Prior to 1883 Jackson was absolutely 
without prolectioQ from fire. Then the 
village council began to consider the mat- 
ter of affording protection. The Jackson 
Republic of Octol)cr 13, 1883, reported a 
meeting of the village council as follows: 

At the meeting of the village council last 
Tuesday [October 9| the subject of fire pro- 
tection in Jackson was discussed at length. 
Councilman Fiddes was requested to corre- 
spond with dealers as to the cost of buckets, 
hooks, ladders, etc., and W. S. Kimball was 
appointed fire warden with instructions to ex- 
amine chimneys and enforce the provisions of 
ordinance No. 8. Upon motion of Councilman 
Cowing it was proposed that the residents or 
owners of every block who would put in a 
well be supplied with a pump and hose by the 

From this legislation developed the 
Jackson fire department. In 1885 more 
advanced measures were taken. In April 
the contract was let for the digging of 
four wells on Second street, at the comers 
of Grant, Sherman, Ashle}* and White 
streets, and in May the council purchased 
of Baldwin Brothers, of Winona, a hand 
fire engine, 300 feet of common hose and 
25 feet of suction hose, the total cost of 
which was $627. To handle this equip- 
ment a fire company with 48 members 
was organized July 23. The first officers 
of this pioneer company were as follows: 
H. H. Hughes, fire warden; A. C. Serum, 
captain ; S. Swenson, chief engineer ; Gil- 
bert Seilstad, hose foreman; J. W. Jen- 
son, secretary. The company was given of- 
ficial recognition August 8, when the vil- 
lage council approved the officers. This 
organization was not long maintained. 
With few duties to perform, the members 
soon lost interest, and the company was 
finally disbanded. 

When the water works system was in- 
stalled in 1892 came the demand for an 
up-to-date fire department. The village 
authorities purchased new equipment, and 
on January 2, 1893, there was organized 



the present department. Following were 
the first officers and the charter members : 
H. G. Anderson, foreman; George Burn- 
ham, assistant foreman; 0. A. Sathe, sec- 
ond assistant foreman; S. J. Dunn, sec- 
retary; it. 0. Brown, treasurer; V. W. 
Avery, L. Lecocq, H. M. Burnham, Ed. 
Boehl, Albert Gruhlke, M. L. Ashley, Sam 
Woolworth, D. P. Maitland, Henry Hoesli, 
Clarence Ellsworth, Art Ellsworth, Frank 
Gerlach, John Qualey, Lewis Iverson and 
Nels Ludvigsen. Entire new equipment 
was bought in March, 1895, including 
hose cart, hook and ladder truck, hose and 


The agricultural society of Jackson is 
one of the oldest in southwestern Minne- 
sota. It was organized in 1869, when the 
first county fair was held. For years the 
society was maintained with meager finan- 
cial support, and the annual fairs were 
primitive affairs, held generally in some 
vacant building in the village. 

A reorganization was brought about in 
1897, and an effort was made to put the 
society on a sound financial footing. Life 
memberships were sold at fifteen dollars, 
and over one hundred people subscribed, 

but only a small number were paid for. 
The same year twenty-five acres of land 
were purchased from B. W. Ashley and 
George R. Moore, south of the depot, 
buildings were erected, and a race track 
was built, the total cost of which was 
about $2,500. The society went into debt 
for nearly all the improvements and the 
land, hoping to wipe out the indebtedness 
later by successful fairs. Weather condi- 
tions were unfavorable, and as a result no 
headway was made. The conditions had 
reached such a stage at the beginning of 
the year 1908 that bankruptcy threatened, 
and then it was the new society was 

The agricultural society was reorganized 
and incorporated in May, 1908, with a 
capital stock of $20,000 and with the fol- 
lowing officers and board of directors : W. 
W. Wold, president; Noah Kamey, vice 
president; H. B. Gillespie, secretary; H. 
L. Stock, treasurer; George Weise, Harry 
M. Burnham, C. P. Nissen, Hans Sether, 
H. J. Yeadicke and H. L. Strom. The 
societv is now on a sound financial basis, 
recently improvemenL*^ have been made at 
the grounds, and the fairs in recent years 
have been highly successful. 




main:street, lakefield 



LAKEFIELD— 1871>.1910. 

RANKING second in size, according 
to the last census, among Jackson 
county towns is Lakefield. The vil- 
lage is situated in Heron Lake and Hun- 
ter townships and is in almost the exact 
geographical center of the county, its busi- 
ness center being less than one mile from 
the central point. It is only a short dis- 
tance from the head of Heron lake, that 
great expanse of watnr which is noted the 
country over as a hunters' paradise. Lake- 
field is on the Soutliern Minnesota divi- 
sion of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul 
railroad, and is twelve miles west and 
north of Jackson. The population in 1905 
was 916, but the census of 1910 will un- 
doubtedlv show an increase. 

As regards trade territory^ Lakefield has 
a stragetic location, drawing its trade from 
an immense area of exceptionally prosper- 
ous country. To the north, northeast, south 
and southwest there are no towns for many 
miles, and to LakeiSeld comes the trade 
from long distances in those directions. 
The town is compactly built and presents 
an attractive appearance. It has broad 
streets, lined with substantial business 
houses and handsome residences. 

No more beautiful site for a town could 
be found. It is located on high, rolling 
ground, of a greater elevation than the 
surrounding country, exactly on the divide 

or watershed which separates the two great 
watercourses of the west — the Mississippi 
and the Missouri.^ There is plenty of room 
for the town to grow without taking in a 
foot of low or swampy ground. All the 
improvements to be found m Minnesota 
towns of its size are in Lakefield. It has 
an excellent waterworks system, electric 
light plant, good schools and churches. 

Of the three principal towns of Jackson 
countv, Lakefield was the last to come in- 
to existence. Jackson had been founded in 
1866, Heron Lake in 1871, as a result 
of the b.uilding of the Sioux City road; 
Lakefield did not take its place on the map 
until 1879, when the Southern Minnesota 
(later the Milwaukee) railroad extended 
to the northwest from Jackson. 

During the early seventies quite a num- 
ber of homesteaders had located upon the 
government lands surrounding the future 
town of Lakefield, but during the terrible 
grasshopper days no improvements were 
made, many people moved away, and the 
actual settlement of that part of the coun- 
ty may be said to have begun only in the 
late seventies. In 1878, when it was be- 

*' 'Nearly seventeen years ago [1867] we first 
traveled the road between Graham lakes and 
Jackson, and on the route, about one and one- 
half miles from lake Heron, was a piece of 
country elevated above that surrounding it and 
known as 'the first mound.' We little thought 
that it would be as it is today the site for a 
flourishing little village."— Judge B. W. Wool- 
stencroft in Pulda Republican, June. 1884. 




lieved the grasshoppers had left the coun- 
try for good and it was known that the 
railroad was to be pushed on to the west, 
come a change in conditions. New settlers 
poured in, bought lands in the theretofore 
thinly settled townships, made improve- 
ments and became permanent settlers. 
When, in the spring of 1879, the line for 
the extension west of Jackson was defi- 
nitely made, came more settlers, who lo- 
cated upon the choice lands along the right 
of-way. The work of grading the roadbed 
was begun April 22, the track was laid to 
the junction with the Sioux City road Au- 
gust 1, and regular train service was es- 
tablished November 3. But some months 
before the road was completed two towns 
had been founded near the head of Heron 

Henry Knudson, who owned the north- 
west quarter of section 32, Heron Lake 
township, which was crossed by the sur- 
veyed line of the new road, laid out a town 
on his land early in May, which he named 
Jackson Center.^ The plat of the town- 
site was drawn on paper, but the land 
was not surveyed. Mr. Knudson made prep- 
arations for building a little town at that 
point, expecting that the railway company 
would put in a side track and establish a 
station there. He erected a store building, 
in which he opened a general store, and 
built a residence, which were the only 
building improvements made on the site, 
and he and his family and Knud Thoreson 
and his family were the only inhabitants. 
Late in September the Jackson Center 
postoffiee was established with Mr. Knud- 
son in charge. The postoflEice was main- 
tained until the spring of 1&80; then the 
Lakefield office was established and Mr. 
Knudson resigned, the office being then 

»'*Henry Knudson has commenced plattlngr a 
town at the south end of Heron lake, near the 
Southern Minnesota railroad. It is located on 
the northwest quarter of section 32, Heron 
Lalce township. We learn he Is about to erect 
a hotel bulldlngr on the plat." — Jackson Repub- 
lic, Mdy 10, 1879. 

discontinued. In the spring of 1882, Mr. 
Knudson moved his store building to the 
new town of Lakefield, and the history 
of Jackson Center came to an end. 

Differences between Mr. Knudson and 
the Southern Minnesota railway officials 
were responsible for the failure of the com- 
pany to locate a station at Jackson Center 
and also the building of a town at Lake- 
field, a mile southwest of Mr. Knudson's 
site. J. C. Easton, of the railroad com- 
pany, was willing to locate a station at 
Jackson Center providing he could pur- 
chase Mr. Knudson's 210 acre farm for 
five dollars per acre. The owner refused 
to sell at that figure, but he offered to deed 
to Mr. Easton and the other officials ff half 
interest in forty or eighty acres for rail- 
road purposes free of charge, the balance 
of the farm to be divided into lots to be 
owned jointly by Mr. Knudson and the 
officials. These terms were refused, and 
negotiations were brought to a close early 
in the summer. 

A. E. Kilen, who was in the vicinity, 
learned of the rupture between Mr. Knud- 
son and the railroad officials and was not 
slow to take advantage of the conditions. 
He looked over the ground and decided 
that the west half of the southwest quarter 
of section 33, Heron Lake township, would 
make an excellent location for a townsite. 
Not knowing who was the owner of the 
sightly eighty acre tract, Mr. Kilen walked 
to the county seat, consulted the records, 
learned in whose name the land was as- 
sessed, and then walked to Windom, where 
he boarded a train for St. Paul. There he 
located the owner of the site, bought the 
property, and returned with the deed in 
his pocket. 

The prospective town founder made 
terms with the railroad officials, and in 
the latter part of July the company lo- 
cated a side track on the land,' Mr. Kilen 

•"The side track next west of Jackson , has 
been located on the west half of the southwest 



at once set about having the land sur- 
veyed, and in a short time a little village 
appeared on the prairie. 

The original townsite of Lakefield, locat- 
ed on the west half of the southwest quar- 
ter of section 33, was surveyed by James 
E. Palmer September 2, 1879, and the 
dedication was made by Anders R. Kilen 
September 5. It consisted of eight blocks 
only, the streets running north and south 
being named Bush, Main and Plum, and 
the east and west streets, Broadway, Sec- 
ond and Third.* The land upon which it 
was located was a part of the grant to the 
St. Paul & Sioux City Railway company.*^ 

Before the site was surveyed there was 
considerable activity at the new station 
and several had made arrangements to en- 
ter into business in the new town. The 
name lirst selected for the village was 

quarter of section 33 and the south half of the 
southeast quarter of section 32, In Heron Lake 
township. It is on land belonging to Anders 
R. Kilen, about a mile east of the head of 
Heron lake, and about twelve miles from Jack- 
son. A town is already being platted, and soon 
a good business point will spring up at that 
station." — Jackson Republic, July 26, 1879. 

^Additions to Lakefield have been platted as 

South Lakefield. November 28, 1882; surveyed 
by James E. Palmer. 

Griffin's, by Joshua H. Brady November 17, 
1885; surveyed by L. L. Palmer. 

Funk's, by Louis F. Menage August 10, 1892; 
surveyed by L. L. Palmer. 

Frederickson's Addition to South Lakefield, 
by John Frederlckson April 5, 1894; surveyed 
by C "W. Gove. 

HoUister's, by H. J. Holllster June 17, 1895; 
surveyed by J. L. Hoist. 

A. R. Kilen's, by A R. Kilen September 17, 
1898; surveyed by J. L. Hoist. 

Park, by W. A. Funk August 8, 1899; sur- 
veyed by J. L. Hoist. 

Mrs. Bergh's, by Mrs, A. M. Bergh May 13, 
1901; surveyed by J. L. Hoist. 

'^Titles to lands embraced within the present 
boundaries of Lakfefield were received from the 
government as follows: Rasmus Larson home- 
steaded the southeast quarter of the northeast 
quarter of section 32, Heron Lake township, and 
received his patent December 20. 1881. Chris- 
topher B. Rubert received his patent to the 
northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of 
the same section October 10. 1876. Edward E. 
Bergh received his patent to the southeast 
quarter of the southeast quarter of the same 
section March 1, 1877. The west half of section 
33 was railroad land, granted to the St. Paul & 
Sioux City company. The northwest quarter of 
section 4, Hunter township, was homesteaded 
by James W. Forrest, and he received title June 
20, 1875. The northeast quarter of the north- 
east quarter of section 5 was received by the 
St. Paul & Sioux City company from the com* 
missioners of the state land office March 31, 


Bethania," by which it was known for 
only about one week, however.* Then 
"Lakefield*' was substituted by the town 
proprietor, and that was the name used 
in making the dedication. So early as 
the latter part of July the Colman Lumber 
company and the Paul Lumber company 
selected sites for lumber yards, and sev- 
eral others made arrangements to build 
and engage in business. 

The first building erected was the of- 
fice of the Colman Lumber companj. 
which was put up in August. E. W. 
Davies was the first local manager. This 
first building was also used as the tele- 
graph office until the depot was erected. 
A few other buildings were started about 
the same time, and before the close of the 
year 1879 there were five or six business 
houses in operation. The Paul Lumber 
company had its sheds completed early in 
September, and both companies had lum- 
ber in stock to supply all the demands. 
Lewis Chesterson and Charles Chestersou 
opened a general store in September, which 
they conducted under the firm name of 
Chesterson Brothers. John Kilen put up 
a building and engaged in the hotel busi- 
ness. Bonner & Hyde built a warehouse 
and engaged in the grain business. The 
railroad company erected a depot. M. A. 
Foss erected a store building late in the 
fall, but did not open hifi general store 
until the next spring. This concludes the 
list of improvements for the year 1879, 
and Lakefield did not assume metropolitan 
proportions that year. John Davies, writ- 
ing from the little town October 21, 1879, 
said: "There are only two ladies in the 
town to absorb the smiles of abont twen- 
ty bachelors.*' 

The people of Lakefield petitioned for a 
postoffice in the fall of 1879, and an of- 

•*'A change has come over the dredms of 
Bethanians. It has been decided to call the 
new town out west Lakefield." — Jackson Re- 
public, August 16, 1879. 



fice was granted them the next spring. 
It was opened in April with M. A. Foss 
as postmastei'.^ A few new business en- 
terprises were started in 1880 : M. A. Foss 
opened his general store, Johnson & Ho- 
lienstein started the town's third general 
store, Cargill & Van built the second grain 
warehouse, Obed Omberson engaged in the 
general merchandise and hardware busi- 
ness, Barney Froelinger opened a saloon, 
a blacksmith shop was started, and R. B. 
Woodworth was installed as the depot 

The growth of Lakfield during the first 
three or four years was not great, but each 
year witnessed the opening of one or two 
new business houses, and the small growth 
was healthy. Conrad & Snure engaged in 
the general merchandise business in 1882, 
and Lanid, Morland & Company engaged 
in the hardware business the same year. 
Among the other improvements of the 
same year were the hay pressing and tow 
manufacturing establishments of M. A. 
Foss. In 1883 N. J. Scott started a 
hardware store, and the same year witness- 
ed the founding of the town's first newspa- 
per, the Minnesota Citizen by Carl S. 
Eastwood. There were several changes in 
the proprietorship of the several stores and 
shops, and we find the business houses on 

^Mr. Foss served as I>akefleld's postmaster 
until March. 1882, when he was succeeded by 
Henry Knudson, who moved down from Jack- 
son Center. Mr. Knudson sold out his business 
a short time later and reslgrned the office, be- 
1ns succeeded in July. 1882, by H. G. Conrad. 
The latter served until November, 1883, when 
E. Lewis received the appointment. There was 
quite a contest for the honor In 1884. which was 
won by Carl S. Eastwood, the editor of the 
Minnesota Citizen, he receiving the appointment 
In June. Mr. Eastwood sold his paper and re- 
moved from Lakefleld In the latter part of 
1885, and from that time until his successor 
was named in February, 1886, the office was in 
charere of Deputy L. W. Seely. John G. Miller 
succeeded Mr. Eastwood as postmaster and 
served until January 17. 1888. On that date S. 
J. Moe became Lakefleld's postmaster, serving 
until January. 1890. Then W. L. Funk was ap- 
pointed and held the office until 1893. H. J. 
Holllster served from that time until October. 
1897, under the democratic administration. John 
Crawford was appointed at the expiration of 
Mr. HoUlster's term and held the office until 
his death, which occurred by drowning In June, 
1904. Mrs. John Crawford was then appointed 
and has ever since conducted the office. 

November 30, 1883, as represented in the 
advertising columns of the first issue of 
the local paper, to be as follows : 

General stores — A. Hohenstein, E. Lewis, 
William Snure, O. Omberson. 

Hotel — J. D. Stone. 

Implement dealer — John Frederickson. 

Newspaper and real estate — Carl S. East- 

Livery— A. Hohenstein. 

Blacksmiths— R. P. Pietz, T. A, Sanders. 

Harness shop — W. H. Randall. 

Lawyer and real estate — L, Walter Seely. 

Hay press — Omberson Brothers. 

The general prosperity which blessed 
Jackson county in 1884 brought rapid ad- 
vancement to the little town of Lakefield. 
It was a season of solid and prosperous 
growth. A resident of Jackson who visi- 
ted the village in July wrote as follows: 
"A few hours spent by the writer in Lake- 
field this week convinced him that Jack- 
son's sister village is up to the times. 
New buildings are going up, a large acre- 
age of prairie turf is being reduced to a 
state of cultivation near by, and prosperity 
j)revails. Within the past year Lakefield 
has seen a newspaper, a creamery, a hard- 
ware store, a drug store and doctor 'spring 
up in her midst.' " 

Factors in the increased activity were 
the purchase of the townsite by James T. 
Griffin and the platting of South Lake- 
field by John Frederickson. These gentle- 
men placed lots on the market at reduced 
prices and induced men with capital to 
locate and invest in the new town. The 
Lakefield Citizen boasted that more new 
buildings were erected in Lakefield that 
year than in any other town in the county, 
and that the business interests and popu- 
lation more than doubled in the twelve 
months. Despite the showing made, an 
estimate of the town's population in 1884 
placed the figure at between seventy-five 
and one hundred. A business directory 
for 1884 listed the following business 
houses in operation: 





William Snure, general merchandise. 
E. Lewis, general merchandise. 
Obed Omberson, general merchandise. 
Albert Hohenstein, general merchandise. 
E. J. Viall, Viall hotel. 
J. D. Stone, Lakefield hotel. 
N. J. Scott, hardware store. 
J. M. Strickler, drug store. 
John Frederickson (Oolman Lumber Co.), 
lumber and machinery. 
C. M. Tradewell, agricultural implements. 
Charles Randall, harness shop. 
L. W. Seely, land agent. 
Carl S. Eastwood, newspaper. 
Robert Pietz, blacksmith shop. 
Thomas Sanders, blacksmith shop. 
Miss Tilda Hamerstad, millinery store. 
John Rirber, coal dealer. 
Omberson Brothers, hay dealers. 
O. A. Stanton, Lakefield nursery. 
W. W. Heffelfinger, physician. 
John G. Miller, contractor. 
8. Christenson, contractor. 
B. Johnson, contractor. 

Lakefield's first conflagration occurred 
February 12, 1884, when the depot with 
all its contents was burned to the ground. 

The progress in 1884 was only the be- 
ginning of the forward movement in 
Lakefield's history. During the later eigh- 
ties every year was one of increase. In 
1886 building improvements to the value 
of $19,160 were made, the items of this 
amount being as follows: 

F. E. Wesner, residence $ 800 

£. D. Briggs, improvements 1,100 

A. M. Johnson, warehouse 900 

Standard office 700 

C. L. Colman, addition 725 

Fred Nestrude, feed mill 425 

A. W. Ward, residence 366 

Julius Broeger, residence 400 

John Lueneburg, furniture store 1,100 

Rhoda Pollock, residence 450 

N. J. Scott, residence and barn 1,075 

Jackson County Bank 1,800 

E. J. Viall, bam 600 

Burgess Jones, residence and coal house 1,150 

Frank White, residence and barber shop 700 

T. A. Sanders, residence and barn 500 

William Britsch, residence 400 

Ludwig Lueneburg, residence 775 

C. M. Tradewell, office and machine 

shop 700 

J. H. Luse, hardware store 800 

E. D. Briggs, improvements 175 

H. P. Stone, addition 250 

Matt Schram, addition 100 

O. Omberson, addition 800 

Minor improvements 2,000 

Total $19,160 


A census of Lakefield, taken July 14, 
1887, showed a population of 260. It was 
then the residents petitioned the board 
of county commissioners for incorpora- 
tion.® The county board took favorable 
action on the petition July 25, 1887, when 
it provided for holding a special election 
September 1 to vote on the question of in- 
corporation. The election was held in 
the liakefield school house,® and "for in- 
corporation^' carried by a vote of 26 to 
2.*® The first election for the selection 
of village officers was held October 1, when 
forty-five votes were cast. The council 
elected at that time met and organized 
October 21, and the municipal government 
of Lakefield began on that day." Fol- 
lowing is a list of those who have been 
elected to municipal office in Lakefield 
from the date of incorporation to the pres- 
ent time." 

•The petitioners were L. J. Britsch, H. J. 
Holllster, M. E. Lawton, N. J. Scott, Burgess 
Jones, William Britsch, E. Lewis, W. W. Hef- 
felfinger, S. Chrlstianson, Carl Omberson, Gust 
Qoplln, D. Crawford, R. A. McUmber, C. O. 
Tradewell, F. B. White, William Snure, T. A. 
Sanders, H. P. Stone, Hans J. Hauge, S. J. Moe, 
J. N. Edwards, John Hale, James Keenan, R. 
H. Lueneburg, A. Hohenstein, A. Ellison, J. I. 
Anderson, A. Norgrant, J. H. Luse, C. H. 
Young, L. W. Crowl, E. J. Viall, Robert Pletz, 
R. S. Luse, John PYederlckson, F. B. Wesner, 
W. A. Funk, W. L. Funk, F. W. Weeks, T. 
Omberson, C. M. Tradewell. 

*John Frederickson, John Q. Miller and N. J. 
Scott were the inspectors of the election and 
F. W. Weeks was the clerk. 

*John Frederickson, John Q. Miller and N. J. 
Scott, H. J. Holllster, W. W. Heffelfinger, W. 
L. Funk, W. A. Funk, C. L. Bratager, Alfred 
Ellison, Andrew Norgrant, John Miller, R. H. 
Lueneburg, C. P. Carlson, M. E. Lawton, L. J. 
Britsch, R. A. McUmber, C. H. Young, Burgess 
Jones, John PYederlckson, F. W. Weeks, Wil- 
liam Snure. David Crawford, William Viall, R. 
S. Luse, E. J. Viall, T. A. Sanders, Frank 
White, August N. Goplln, S. J. Moe, Robert 

"Lakefield remained a part of Heron Lake 
and Hunter townships for assessment and elec- 
tion purposes until 1889. On April 22 of that 
year the legislature provided for its separation 
for all purposes. 

"At many of the annual village elections the 
license question has been submitted to the vot- 
ers. Following is the result In those years 
when the question was submitted, the question 
not having been voted upon in the years omit- 

1888 — For, 40; against. 19. 

1889 — For license by 9 majority. 

1890 — For, 51; against, 16. 

1892— For, 53; against, 20. 

1894— For, 71; against, 20. 

1895 — For. 67; against, 70. 

1898 — For license by 26 majority. 



1887— President, W. A. Funk;" trustees, N. 
J. Scott, William Snure, Burgess Jones;" re- 
corder, R. H. Lueneburg; treasurer, John Fred- 
erickson; justices, £. Lewis, W. L. Funk; con- 
stables, E. Erickson, John I. Anderson. 

1888 — President, L. W. Growl; trustees, F. 
E. Wesner, E. J. Viall, W. W. Heffelfinger; re- 
corder, R. H. Lueneburg; treasurer, M. £. 
Lawton; justices, E. Lewis, John G. Miller; 
constables, R. P. Pietz, E. D. Sanders. 

1889 — ^President, H. J. HoUister; trustees, 
John Frederickson, NeU Olson, S. J. Moe; re- 
corder, Frank White; treasurer, N. J. Scott; 
justices, E. Lewis, John G. Miller; constables, 
H. P. Stone, R. P. Pietz. 

1890 — ^President, John Frederickson; trus- 
tees, J. N. Cox, C. M. Trade well, Nels Olson; 
recorder, George Sawyer; treasurer, N. J. 
Scott; assessor, S. J. Moe; justices, John G. 
Miller, G. H. Spofford; constables, George Win- 
ter, H. P. Stone. 

1891 — President, John Frederickson; trus- 
tees, M. H. Evans, William Searles, Nels Ol- 
son; recorder, R. H. Lueneburg; treasurer, N. 
J. Scott; constables, George Winter, E. Erick- 

1892 — President, L. W. Growl; trustees, S. 

D. Sumner, G. W. Gove, Joe Winter; recorder, 
J. W. Galta;** treasurer, N. J. Scott; assessor, 

E. J. Viall; justices, N. B. Spiceard, G. G. Saw- 
yer; constable, R. P. Pietz. 

1893— President, L. W. Growl; trustees, W. 

F. Timm, A. A. Fosness, F. E. Wesner; re- 
corder, John Grawford; treasurer, John Fred- 
erickson; assessor, A. Park; constables, S. J. 
Moe, Ed Hanson. 

1894— President, N. J. Scott; trustees, W. F. 
Timm, A. Norgrant, F. B. White; recorder, 
John Grawford; treasurer, John Frederickson; 
assessor, D. Grawford; justices, John G. Miller, 
George Sawyer; constable, James Kula. 

1896 — President, N. J. Scott; trustees, Wil- 
liam Searles, Henry Winter, W. D. Hill; re- 
corder, F. E. Wesner; treasurer, John Freder- 
ickson; assessor, D> Grawford; constable, L. M. 

1896— President, N. J. Scott; trustees, Wil- 
liam Searles, W. C. Bauer, N. P. Heintz; re- 
corder, F. E. Wesner; treasurer, John Freder- 
ickson; assessor, D. Grawford; justices, John G. 
Miller, Jareb Palmer; constable, James Kula. 

1897 — President, M. H. Evans; trustees, S. 
D. Sumner, W. F. Timm, J. E. McGill; recor- 
der, Thomas Grawford; treasurer, John Fred- 
erickson; assessor, F. B. White; constable, L. 
M. White. 

1898 — President, David Crawford; trustees, 
A. D. Palmer, S. D. Sumner, E. Erickson; re- 
corder, J. M. Thompson; treasurer, John Fred- 

1897— For, 77; against, 49. 

1898— For, 99; against, 47. 

1899 — For, 106; against, 70. 

1901— For, 106; against, 79. 

1902— For, 120; against, 60. 

1903— For, 128; against, 48. 

"Resigned and M. E. Lawton appointed. 

"Did not qualify; L. W. Growl appointed. 

''Did not qualify; H. J. HoUister appointed. 

erickson; assessor, S. J. Moe; justices, William 
Grawford, Jareb Palmer; constables, A. L. 
Bachus, August Milbrath. 

1899 — President, David Crawford; trustees, 
N. J. Scott, John Frederickson, J. E. McGill; 
recorder, S. R. Dubetz; treasurer, William 
Searles; assessor, S. J. Moe; constable, Henry 

1900 — ^President, A. M. St. John; trustees, C. 
M. Gage, Emil Erickson, W. F. Timm; recor- 
der, G. W. Gurtiss; treasurer, William Searles; 
assessor, S. J. Moe; justices, M. HoUister, 
Jareb Palmer; constables, J. L. Rakerd, Mil- 
ton Morse. 

1901 — President, A. M. St. John; trustees, C. 
M. Trade well, A. A. Fosness, August Olson; 
recorder, Charles Norgrant; treasurer, William 
Searles; assessor, S. J. Moe. 

1902 — President, David Crawford; trustees, 
H. J. HoUister, A. A. Fosness, C. M. Gage; re- 
corder, Charles Norgrant; treasurer, F. L. 
Leonard; justices, M. HoUister, John G. Mil- 
ler; constables, J. L. Rakerd, George H. Win- 

1903 — President, David Crawford; trustees, 
C. M. Gage, A. A. Fosness, James Rost; re- 
corder, Charles Norgrant; treasurer, A. Bettin; 
assessor, S. J. Moe; constable, F. L. Grannis. 

1904 — President, H. J. HoUister; trustees, 
James Rost, S. R. Dubetz, G. B. McMurtrie; 
recorder, Charles Norgrant; treasurer, Adolph 
Bettin; assessor, S. J. Moe; justices, John G. 
Miller, Jareb Palmer; constable, Albert Rue. 

1906 — President, D. L. Riley; trustees, 
George Winzenburg, J. C. Caldwell, James 
Rost; recorder, Ed Arnold; treasurer, Adolph 
Bettin; assessor, S. J. Moe; justice, Henry 
Wood; constables, Ed Collins, H. G. Latourell. 

1906 — President, J. W. Daubney; trustees,^ 
George Wood, George Britsch, John Anderson; 
recoiSer, W. I. Alcott; treasurer, Adolph Bet- 
tin; assessor, S. J. Moe; justices, John G. Mil- 
ler, Jareb Palmer; constables, Ed Collins, 
George Milbum. 

1907 — ^President, A. M. St. John; trustees, 
M. McGlin, James Rost, H. L. Bond; recorder, 
W. I. Alcott; treasurer, Adolph Bettin; asses- 
sor, S. J. Moe; constables, Charles Blanken- 
burg, Henry Tank. 

1908 — President, M. McGlin; trustees, J. A. 
Anderson, J. J. Jones, John Grein; recorder, 
Ed Arnold; treasurer, Adolph Bettin; asses- 
sor, S. J. Moe; justices, John G. Miller, Jareb 
Palmer; constables, J. B. Wagner, G. R. Van- 

1909 — President, M. McGlin; trustees, John 
Grein, J. M. Putman, William Hecht; recor- 
der, Ole Thoreson; treasurer, Adolph Bettin; 
assessor, S. J. Moe; constables, Charles Blan- 
kenburg, H. A. Rost. 

Lakefield continued' its forward move- 
ment until the panic year 1893. During 
these years it advanced from the ^ttle 
hamlet of pioneer days to one of the im- 
portant towns of Jackson county. The 



year 1892 was one of exceptional progress. 
Many new buildings were erected and sev- 
eral new enterprises were put under way, 
principal among them being the flouring 
mill. The panic put a temporary stop 
to the progress of the town, and for a few 
years there was little advance. The popu- 
lation in 1895 was 519. 

Beginning with 1896 came improved 
conditions, and the town once more took 
up its forward march, entering upon the 
most prosperous era in its history. The 
building improvements in 1896 amounted 
to nearly $50,000, and the next year they 
exceeded that amount, the items of im- 
provement for 1897, being as follows: 

High school building !... $23,000 

Norwegian Lutheran church 1,800 

E. Schumacher, brick building 2,000 

St. John Brothers, elevator 3,000 

Leonard & Company, furniture store... 1,700 

Pietz & White, livery bam 1,200 

M. £. church, addition 800 

M. £. church, parsonage 1,500 

L. L. Stewart, residence 1,300 

C. M. Gage, residence 1,800 

D. L. Riley, residence 2,000 

Thomas Crawford, residence 1,200 

0. Orleski, residence 000 

H. J. Hollister, residence 600 

E. T. Smith, residence 1,200 

A. E. Skillingstad, residence 800 

John Milbrath, residence 700 

S. D. Sumner, residence 600 

Fred Bergman, residence 2,000 

Milton Morse, residence 1,200 

V. McColm, residence 500 

F. B. White, residence 1,300 

J. F. Montman, residence 1,400 

Mrs. S. H. Beall, residence 1,800 

Henry Wood, residence 1,200 

A. J. Johnson, residence 600 

W. F. Timm, residence 1,200 

L. N. Duchaine, office and residence 300 

August Olson, addition 200 

William Rost, addition 200 

George G. Johnson, machine shed 500 

C. L. Colman, addition 300 

l^kefield village 600 

Sidewalks 600 

Total $59,600 

Again in 1898 the residents of the vil- 
lage spent large sums in erecting new 
homes and business houses. In 1899 the 
total amount so expended was nearly $70,- 
000, divided as follows: 

Citizens State Bank, building $ 8,567 

L. J. Britsch, business block 4,800 

N. J. Scott, business block 4,800 

Frederickson & Gage, business block 3,500 

Baptist church 1,800 

John Grussing, residence 800 

P. E. Olson, residence 1,500 

U. A. Rhodes, meat market 800 

John Wefel, residence 1,400 

A. E. Norgrant, residence 1,200 

H. Schultz, residence 800 

A. E. Guertien, residence ; 1,300 

Eugene Bedient, residence 800 

Rev. D. Swanson, residence 1,200 

J. N. Bradley, residence 1,600 

Norwegian Lutheran church 2,500 

Ole Sandager, residence 1,800 

Henry Timm, residence 1,500 

J. K. Turner, residence 1,800 

Lakefield Village, electric light plant. . 10,500 

Joe Winter, residence 1,200 

W. F. Timm, residence 1,500 

D. Timm, residence 1,500 

J. Kalash, residence 1,200 

Henry Rost, residence 1,500 

Mrs. J. B. McClintock, residence 1,000 

Globe Milling Co., addition 500 

S. R. Dubetz, addition 400 

William Lochner, residence 1,600 

William Bertels, residence 600 

M. Sandager, bam 200 

A. Hagerson, addition 500 

Albert Rue, residence 1,000 

L. Lueneburg, addition 600 

Julia Johnson, residence 600 

C. L. Colman, addition 200 

George Britsch, improvements 300 

A. Hohenstein, improvements 400 

German Lutheran parsonage 1,600 

Total $69,267 

In May, 1899, by a vote of 96 to 44, the 
electors declared in favor of bonding for 
the installation of an electric lighting and 
water works plant. The electric lighting 
plant was installed, and the lights turned 
on for the first time in January, 1900. 
The water works system was added in 
1902. The population of Lakefield, ac- 
cording to the federal census of 1900, was 

At two o'clock on the morning of De- 
cember 1, 1900, a fire was started that 
did considerable damage and threatened 
the destruction of the town. The town 
had no fire department, and the flames 
were fought with bucket brigades. After 
heroic work the conflagration was sub- 
dued. The losses were as follows: 


Lakefield Mercantile Company (S. R. meet the demands, a special election was 

Dubetz, Manager), stock $14,000 , ,, i • x ^c^^^ . ^ ^t 

B. Schumacher, store building 4,000 "^1^ ^^rly m June, 1896, to vote on the 

E. Schumacher, saloon building and stock 1,000 question of issuing $20,000 bonds for the 
Jacob Kalf, saloon building and stock.. 350 .. . i -i -i- mt 

A. Hoass, tailor shop 600 erection of a new building. The vote was 

72 in favor of the bonds to 69 affainst, but 

Total loss $19,950 ., . , i. -i • j • •/ x 

as it required a two-thirds majority to 

Again on July 25, 1904, fire visited the carry the proposition it was lost. On June 

town, destroying the building occupied by 25, 1896, the question was again submit- 

Otto Brothers, general merchants, and ted, and this time it carried by a vote of 

an $18,000 stock of goods. 267 to 48. The contract for the erection 

THE SCHOOLS. ^^ *^^ ^^^ building was let August 15, 

T i.1- ^11 ^ ^oo- 1.-1 T 1 /» u 1896, to Fred Norlander, of St. Paul, at 
In the fall of 1881, while Lakefield was ' . . ^^^ n^^ mi / * 
,..,.- ' Ti-mj a contract pnce of $15,625. The work of 
vet m its infancy, Messrs. John Fredcr- . i^. i • a i ^r.^,^ 
: , . , T. 1, A T^ X 1 /^ construction was begun m April, 1897, 
ickson, Anders Roe, M. A. Foss, John G. ^ ^. , i t -, i . / ^ i.- 
,,.„ -, r^i A T 11 1 ^- and the new buildmff was dedicated !No- 
MiUer and Ole Anderson called a meeting , ^^ ^.^^ ^ a .^ ^,^^/^ 
. ^, ^ X , . X X :i iu vember 19, 1897. In August, 1900, a 
for the purpose of taking steps towards the , . , , , -, -. t 
. \. , , Tj-x-i iTi "igb school course was added, 
organization of a school district at Lake- 
field. Their efforts were successful, and the cht;rches. 
that same fall school district No. 38 wa^ Lakefield supports seven church organ- 
organized. Among the first members of nations, one to each 131 inhabitants. They 
the school board were M. A. Foss, John ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^-^ organization : 
Frederickson and John G. Miller. A one- Swedish Lutheran, Presbyterian, Metho- 
room school house, 24x36 feet, was erected ^^^^^ q^^^^ Lutheran, Norwegian Lu- 
and Lakefield^s first school was taught ^^eran, Norwegian Lutheran, Baptist and 
during the winter of 1881-82 by Miss War- Catholic. All have church edifices. During 
ner, only a few pupils being in atten- ^^^ ^^.g^ ^^^ y^^g ^f ^^^ existence Lakefield 
dance.^* The little one-room building ^^g ^j^^out a church building, although 
served as Lakefield's school building until religious services were frequently held in 
1890, when a two-story, four-room build- ^j^e school house. 

ing was put up, which was used until the mi, n j. i- • • x x # x 

1-1 1 . f X X • The first religious society to . perfect 

handsome brick structure now m use was ... . -r i /• n xi « 

, J an organization m Lakefield was the Swert- 

--,,'. ^ . , . - ish Lutheran, which was organized un- 

The district was reorganized as an m- , ., ,. .. .^ « /^ v, ^ 

T ,..,,, , , , ,. , ,, der the direction of Eev. S. C. Franzen, of 

dependent district at a school meeting held ,it .v- . xt i_ «« -.«o«, tx 

A 1 on iQQft u u u • ^ k Worthmgton, November 23, 1887. It was 

April 20, 1895, the change being made by , . , , ^ , . ,, ,. ^ , , 

x /n^ x ^ x^ tr « ^1 * 11 . decided to begin the erection of a church 
a vote of 67 to 6. On May 3 the following i-e ., x • i * -x - ^r 

,, ^ , , , , ^ , ° edifice the next sprint, but it was m May, 

were chosen as the first school board under ^^^^ ,. t ^ n ^Jf n l ^. il-ij 

. ^. -i^ T T^.i 1 . 1890, before Lakefield s first church build- 
the new organization: D. L. Riley, chair- i j. x :• 

^7^ % TTT 11 ^iT ^^S was dedicated, 

man; F. E. Wesner, clerk; William 

Searles, treasurer; A. A. Fosness, John ^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ September, 1890, a 

Frederickson, John G. Miller. ^^^^^^ ^«« ^^^^ ^^^ **^« P^T^^^^ ^* ^'^ 

The old building proving inadequate to ^"««^^g ^^^ organization of an English 

speaking church in Lakefield. 4 "^^^ 

"Other early day teachers of the Lakefleld u«i««. 4><h1^^,« u ,«.«« -r^,—*;] i.\^^ ^^^i^,^^^*. 

school were L. Walter Seeiy, Dora M. Child, being taken, it was found the Sentiment 

rn^d^rcS^' /u^ilI^'l^i'Sflfs?^^^^ ^miVo^L^ was almost unanimous in favor of e^ Pres- 

TnTllJ^'ciove^^'' ^^^' ^"^^ ^' ^**''^*"^'* byterian church. A request for the or- 



A«TO«, LEWOX *!•• 



ganization of a church of that faith was 
signed hy nineteen persons who declared 
their desire to unite with such a church. 
About thirty other people signed an agree- 
ment to aid a Presbyterian church with 
their moral and financial support and to 
identify themselves with a society connec- 
ted with the church. The state organiza- 
tion was conferred with, and on November 
7, 1890, the Presbyterian church was for- 
mally organized by Bev. R. N. Adams, 
assisted by Rev. H. C. Cheadle and R. F. 
Sulzer. The following members were ad- 
mitted by letter on the day of organization : 
Mrs. Sallie H. Beall, W. A. Funk, Mrs. 
Nettie L. Funk, Mrs. Hattie Evans, Emil 
Erickfion, Mrs. A. Erickson, Hart N. 
Douglas. W. A. Funk was ordained el- 
der. The first election of trustees was 
held November 11, 1890, the meeting be- 
ing presided over by M. H. Evans, with 
W. A. Funk as secretary. The board of 
trustees chosen at that time was composed 
of Emil Erickson, Hart N. Douglas and 
M. H. Evans. 

Funds were raised by subscription, and 
on January 21, 1S91, the following build- 
ing committee was appointed to superin- 
tend the erection of a church edifice: N. 
J. Scott, M. H. Evans and Emil Erick- 
son. Building operations were begun in 
June and the building was completed in 
October, the total cost, with furnishings, 
being $1,880. The dedication of the 
house of worship occurred February 28, 
1892, conducted by Rev. N. H. Bell, of 
Minneapolis, assisted by Rev. H. C. Chea- 
dle, of Blue Earth Citv. 

Following are the names of the pastors 
who have supplied the Presbyterian pulpit 
at Lakefield with the dates of their minis- 
try : H. C. Cheadle, November 7, 1890, to 
December, 1894; Hugh Alexander, 1894- 
95; M. B. Myers, 1895-96; J. F. Mont- 
man, 1896-98 ; 0. G. Dale, 1898-99 ; C. C. 

HoflPmeister, 1899-03; S. E. P. White, 
1903-05; J. S. P. Pinney, 1907-08. 

The next church organized in Lakefield 
was the Methodist Episcopal, which erec- 
ted a church building in 1892. The build- 
ing was dedicated May 28, 1893, the ser- 
vices being conducted by Presiding Elder 
Hare, of Mankato. The building was 
dedicated free of debt. 

The German Evangelical Lutheran so- 
ciety was organized during the nineties, 
and the church building was erected dur- 
ing the summer of 1896. It was dedicated 
September 27, 1896. 

Another religious organization that 
came into existence in the nineties was 
the Norwegian Lutheran church. For sev- 
eral years the members worshipped in the 
other church edifices, but in October, 1897, 
the contract was let for the erection of a 
building at a cost, excluding furnishings 
and heating plant, of $1,300. The build- 
ing was destroyed by a cyclone in August, 

1898, but it was rebuilt in 1899 at a cost 
of $2,500. 

The Baptist church society was organ- 
ized May 11, 1898, with the following 
charter members: Mr. and Mrs. Milton 
Meltchert, Mr. and Mrs. James Kilen, Mr. 
and Mrs. Henr}- Shaw, Mr. and Mrs. Wil- 
liam Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Palmer, 
Mrs. Frederickson, Mrs. Z. M. Turner, 
Rev. and Mrs. George MacDougall. In 
September, 1898, the call of recognition 
and ordination was issued, and in June, 

1899, the church was admitted to the 
Minnesota Valley association. For a year 
services were held in the council room of 
the city hall; then in March, 1899, it was 
decided to erect a house of worship. The 
building was erected that summer and was 
dedicated October 22. The cost of the 
building was $1,620.50. The following 
have served as pastors of the Baptist 
church of Lakefield : George MacDougall, 
1898-00; F. C. Peck, 1900-02; Charles 



Walsh, 1902-03; Rev. Pengally, 1903-04. 
Owing to the removal of so many of the 
members, church services are not now 
held, although the Sunday school is still 

The Catholic church was the last to 
organize in Lakefield. So early as August, 
1898, steps were taken to bring about the 
erection of a house of worship, Messrs. 
Hugh Gallagher, Albert Vancura and Jo- 
seph Cirhan being appointed a committee 
to solicit funds. Services were held in 
the city hall for several years, and in the 
spring of 1902 the church edifice, costing 
$2,500, was completed. It was dedicated by 
Right Rev. Bishop Joseph B. Cotter, of 
Winona, September 26, 1902. 


In the matter of secret societies Lake- 
field is well represented. The following 
societies maintain organizations : Odd Fel- 
lows, Rebekahs, Workmen, Modem Wood- 
men, Royal Neighbors, Maccabees, Modem 
Brotherhood, Masons and Eastem Star. 

Lakefield Lodge No. 178, Independent 
Order Odd Fellows, was organized Feb- 
ruary 19, 1891, with twenty members. A 
prosperous Rebekah lodge is also main- 
tained, it having been organized July 19, 
1905, with 20 members. 

Lincoln Lodge No. 164, Ancient Order 
United Workmen, was organized March 9, 
1893, b^ Deputy Grand Master Workman 
0. H. Mason with the following first of- 
ficers and charter members: W. A. Funk, 
P. W. M. ; N. J. Scott, M. W. ; John Fred- 
erickson, foreman ; A. A. Fosness, overseer ; 
C. W. Gove, recorder ; C. M. Tradewell, 
receiver; A. Park, financier; Joe Winter, 
ffuide ; N. B. Spiceard, I. W. ; E. E. Col- 
lins, 0. W. ; A. Bedient, S. M. Child, Sam 
Fader, C. M. Gage, W. A. Ludtke, H. K 
Rue, Scott Searles, Fred Winter, Calvin 
Young. The first tmstees were C. M. 
Gage, Fred Winter and H. K. Rue. 

Prairie Camp No. 1970, Modern Wood- 
men of America, was organized May 13, 
1893, with the following first officers and 
charter members: Mrs. F. J. Ledbrook. 
M. White, advisor; Henry Winter, bank- 
er; Thomas Crawford, clerk; C. H. 
Young, watchman; R. Willing, escort ;M. 
C. Bedient, sentry; Scott Searles, phy- 
sician; N. J. Scott, M. R. Cluss and C. 
M. Tradewell, managers; W. V. Bout- 
well, John Crawford, A. E. Holmberg, 
Erick Kilen, W. F. Ludtke, A. Phelps, H. 
A. Rhodes, William Searles, A. J. Solo- 
monson, G. G. Sawyer. The camp has a 
present membership of 106 with the fol- 
lowing officers: S. J. Moe, consul; Wil- 
liam Bertels, advisor; J. A. Mansfield, 
banker; A. Dahl, clerk; H. Sucker, es- 
cort; «T. B. McMurtrie, sentry; George 
Steiner, watchman ; William Taylor, Mike 
McGlin and C. M. Tradewell, managers. 

Prairie Lilly Camp No. 808, Royal 
Neighbors, was organized November 26, 
1897, with the following first officers and 
charter members: S. J. Moe, consul; L. 
oracle; Mrs. Calvin Young, vice oracle; 
Mrs. J. T. Johnson, recorder; Mrs. J. M. 
Thompson, receiver; Mrs. C. M. Trade- 
well, chancelor; Mrs. George Sawyer, 
marshal; Mrs. J. E. McGill, inner 
sentinel; Mrs. H. J. Hollister, outer sen- 
tinel; D. F. Ledbrook, /hysician; Mrs. 
Frank White, Mrs. Albert Nieman and 
J. E. McGill, managers ; J. T. Johnson, H. 
J. Hollister, George G. Sawyer, J. M. 
Thompson, C. M. Tradewell, William 
Searles, Thomas Crawford, Mrs. Thomas 
Crawford, Mrs. Fred White. Only three 
of the charter members are residents of 
Lakefield at the present writing. 

Lakefield Tent No. 44, Knights of the 
Maccabees, was organized August 15, 1901, 
bv State Commander I. N. Chellew. Fol- 
lowing were the first officers and charter 
members: Charles M. Tradewell, past 
commander; Robert H. Lueneburg, Sir 



Knight Commander; William Kerr, lieu- 
tenant; S. B. Dubetz, record keeper; James 
W. Daubney, finance keeper; Joseph Cir- 
han, chaplain ; Orma R. Nevitt, physician ; 
Edward S. Lader. sergeant; Charles E. 
Cooper, master at arms; Otto Weise, first 
master of guard; Fred H. Healey, second 
master of guard ; Henry W. Rost, sentinel ; 
F. E. Peflfer, picket; James W. Daubney, 

A. R. Dubetz and R. H. Lueneburg, trus- 
tees; P. W. Weise, Martin J. Frederick- 

The Masonic order was organized in 
1902, was conducted under dispensation 
one year, and received its charter March 
26, 1903. There were twenty-six char- 
ter members. Following were the first 
oflBcers: F. L. Leonard, W. M.; W. E. 
Hankey, S. W.; E. A. Gage, J. W.; D. 
L. Riley, treasurer; W. D. Hill, secretary; 
Ed. Arnold, S. D.; M. M. Moore, J. D.; 

B. W. Payne, S. S. ; Hoken Ramsborg, J. 
S.; A. A. Fosness, chaplain; S. D. Sum- 
mer, tyler. An eastern Star lodge is also 


Two banking institutions are conducted 
in Lakefield. They are the Jackson Coun- 
ty State Bank and the First National 
Bank. The town's banking history an- 
tedates the foimding of either of these in- 
stitutions, however, by several years. The 
Jackson County Bank, a private institu- 
tion, was the first to open its doors. It 
began business September 8, 1886, with 
the following officers: J. S. Van Winkle, 
president; T. F. Barbee, vice president; 
M. E. Lawton, cashier. Mr. Lawton was 
in charge of the bank and conducted it 
until April, 1889, when it went out of 
business. In August, 1889, the Bank of 
Lakefield was opened by Graves, McClin- 
tock & Company, with Wyatt H. Graves in 
charge. It did not have the confidence 
of the people, and its life was short. 

The first permanent banking institution 

organized was the Jackson County Bank 
(succeeded by the Jackson County State 
Bank), which opened its doors September 
2, 1890, with subscribed and pledged capi- 
tal of $50,000. The officers and board of 
directors consisted of the following named 
gentlemen: A. L. Ward, president; H. J. 
Hollister, vice president; M. H. Evans, 
cashier; E. Sevatson, N. J. Scott, John 
Frederickson, James Kilen. The incor- 
porators and stockholders were W. A. 
Funk^ David Crawford, C. M. Tradewell, 
N. J. Scott, H. J. Hollister, James Kilen, 
Calvin Young, James Kula, John Freder- 
ickson, A. R. Kilen, L. J. Britsch, E. 
Sevatson, A. L. Ward and M. H. Evans. 

The Jackson County Bank was conduc- 
ted as a private institution until May 8, 
1893, when it was reorganized as the 
Jackson County State Bank, with a paid 
up capital of $25,000. The officers and 
board of directors under the new organi- 
zation were A. L. Ward, president; N. J. 
Scott, vice president; M. H. Evans, cash- 
ier ; David Crawford, H. J. Hollister, Cal- 
vin Young and John Frederickson. There 
was a change in management in May, 
1895, when the following officers and di- 
rectors were chosen: N. J. Scott, presi- 
dent; Calvin Young, vice president; M. 
H. Evans, cashier; F. L. Leonard, 
assistant cashier; John Frederickson, 
David Crawford, D. L. Riley, William 
Searles. The handsome brick building, 
which is still the home of the bank, waa 
erected in 1896. 

In July, 1901, Messrs. J. M. Putman 
and H. L. Bond bought the majority 
stock of the bank from M. H. Evans and 
have since had the active management. 
The present officers are J. M. Putman, 
president; A. A. Fosness, vice president; 
H. L. Bond, cashier; J. G. Branch, as- 
sistant cashier. That the business of this 
financial institution is increasing is shown 
by the fact that in 1901 the deposits were 



$133,000, while according to the state- 
ment of February 5, 1909, they were 

The Citizens State Bank (succeeded 
by the First National Bank) was organ- 
ized May 20, 1899, with a paid up capital 
of $26,000 and with the following officers 
and directors: F. W. Thompson, presi- 
dent; J. W. Daubney, cashier; N. J. 
Scott, H. J. HoUistor, Scott Searles, B. 
Bear and C. J. Weiser. The Citizens 
State Bank was the name of the institu- 
tion until Jantfarv, 1903, when it was re- 

organized as the First National Bank of 
Lakefield. January 17, 1907, J. C. Cald- 
well was made president and P. W. Blan- 
kert cashier, the latter being succeeded 
by A. J. Nestrud a year later. Through 
the efforts of the president most of the 
stock passed into the hands of farmers re- 
siding in the vicinity of Lakefield, so that 
it is now practically a farmers' bank. 
From the date of Mr. CaldwelFs accept- 
ing the presidency, the deposits have in- 
creased from $180,000 to about $250,- 




HERON LAKE— 1871-1910. 

HERON Lake, an incorporated vil- 
lage of about 1,000 inhabitants 
(898, according to the 1905 cen- 
sus), is the second oldest town in the 
county. It is in the northwestern part 
of the county, in Weimer township, not 
far from the foot of the lake after which 
it is named. It is on the main line of 
the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & 
Omaha railroad and is the terminus of the 
Black Hills branch of that line. As a 
railroad point Heron Lake surpasses 
every other town in Jackson county. The 
village is surrounded by a very fertile 
farming country, and it has always been 
a prosperous municipality. 

While the country along the Des Moines 
river in Jackson county was settled in 
a very early day, the prairie country re- 
^ mained unsettled until long afterward. In 
fact, only a few had builded homes in 
that part of the county surrounding the 
future village of Heron Lake until a year 
or two before the town was founded. 
When, in 1870, there was great activity in 
railway circles and it was rumored that the 
8t. Paul & Sioux City road would extend 
its line through southwestern Minnesota, 
passing just to the north of Heron lake, 
some far sighted people began to locate 
homesteads in the prairie country about 
Heron lake. Said the Jackson Republic 

of April 2, 1870 : '^At Heron lake, in the 
northwest corner of the county, there is 
quite a settlement; the prospect of the 
early completion of the St. Paul & Sioux 
City railroad and the possibility that it 
will pass in this vicinity have called here 
a good number of settlers.'* 

The track of the Sioux City & St. Paul 
railroad was not laid through Jackson 
county until the fall of 1871, but in the 
spring of that year the route was selected 
and sites for stationt? chosen. It was ap- 
parently the first intention of the com- 
pany to locate the principal town on sec- 
tion 9, Alba township, which was to be 
called Sibley. The first mention the press 
makes of this site was on June 10. A little 
later the Heron Lake site was chosen and 
the intention of establishing the Sibley 
station was given up.* The Heron Lake 
site was selected late in June,* but nothing 
was done toward platting or building a 
town there until a short time before the 
tracklaying was completed in the fall. 

The roadbed was graded to the site in 

*"At Sibley, the new railway town on section 
9. township 103. rani^e 88. we learn a store has 
been built and flUed with a stock of sroods. Thus 
is the 'wilderness made to blossom as the 
rose.' •' — Jackson Republic, July 29, 1871. 

■"West of Heron lake, three miles, another 
station has been located, and from here it is 
expected will be accommodated the Graham 
Lakes community, and the lan^e settlements 
that are now. and destined to be, made west 
and northwest will make an important town 
here."— Jackson Republic, July 1, 1871. 





September, and surveyors appeared late in 
that month to survey the townsite, al- 
though the plat was not put on record 
until the next spring. The town was sur- 
veyed by Alex L. Beach and the dedica- 
tion was made by the Sioux City & St. 
Paul Railway company, by Elias F. Drake, 
its president. The dedication was made 
April 22, 1872, the original plat consist- 
ing of eleven blocks.* It was located on 
section 19, Weimer township, which was 
included in the land grant to the Sioux 
City & St. Paul Railroad company.* 

While the surveyors were yet dividing 
the land into blocks and lots and before 
the railroad was completed to the pros- 
pective town, in the month of October, 
the first inhabitants came. They were 
John T. Smith and C. H. Carroll, who 
had been conducting a store at Big Bend, 
in Cottonwood county, to which place it 
had been believed the railroad would 
build. The route having been changed 
and Heron Lake selected as a site 
for a town, Messrs. Smith and Car- 
roll abandoned their location at Big Bend 
and came to engage in business in the new 
town. They found the site raw prairie 
land, without a stick on it, and had to 
burn a strip of prairie grass to get a 
place to pile their lumber. Mr. Smith 
bought a lot on Main street — the first 
lot sold in the new town — ^but had to 

'Additions to Heron Lake have been platted 
as follows I 

First, by the S. C. & St. P. Ry. Co. Jyly 15, 
1880; surveyed by John O. Brunius. 

Smith's, by John T. Smith January 30, 1894; 
surveyed by L. L. Palmer. 

Drake's First, by Harry T. Drake, Alex M. 
Drake and William H. Llffhtner, as executors 
of the will of Elias F. Drake, November 7, 
1894; surveyed by Orrin Nason. 

Benson's, by John W. Benson August 31, 
1895; surveyed by J. L. Hoist. 

Wood's, by Clark A. Wood May 19, 1896; sur- 
veved by J. L. Hoist. 

Smith's Subdivision of Blocks 1. 10 and 11. 
First Addition, by John T. Smith May 4, 1897; 
surveyed by Orrln Nason. 

<The boundaries of Heron Lake now include 
the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter 
of section 30, as well as the whole of section 
19. That forty-acre tract was homesteaded by 
John T. Smith, who received his patent Decem- 
ber 30, 1878. 

wait for the surveyors to subdivide block 
seven before he could locate his lot, which 
was number fifteen. The partners haul- 
ed lumber from Mankato to start tlieir 
store building, but before it was finished 
the railroad was completed and lumber 
was shipped in. 

Almost simultaneously the three first 
buildings were put up. These were the 
general store of Smith & Carroll, the 
drug store of Dr. E. R. 'Foster, which 
was located on lot fifteen of block seven, 
and the depot, which occupied the present 
location of the Heron Lake depot. Only 
two other business houses were started be- 
fore the close of the year 1871. The lum- 
ber yard of Crocker Brothers & Lamor- 
eaux, with J. A. Town as manager, was 
opened for business early in November. 
A little office building was erected, but 
the lumber stock was piled in the open. 
The other enterprise was the Pioneer ho- 
tel, which was built by John Robson on 
the present site • of the Farmers State 
Bank building and which was opened for 
business late in the fall. The Heron 
Lake postoffice was established in Novem- 
ber. John T. Smith was the postmaster, 
and he conducted the office in his store." 

The village of Heron Lake had been 
founded too late in the fall to make much 
progress during 1871, and the four busi- 
ness houses before mentioned were the on- 
ly enterprises started in the year of found- 
ing. But in 1872, when train service was 
established on the new road and the sur- 
rounding country was rapidly settling 
with new arrivals, the little village was 
the scene of much activity. During the 
summer months nearly every train 

*John T. Smith served as postmaster from 
November, 1871, to May. 1877. He was suc- 
ceeded by Dr. J. P. Force, who served several 
years, George C. Cooley was the next post- 
master, holding the office until B. D. Briggs 
took charge September 1, 1885. Carl S. Bast- 
wood was appointed in Augrust, 1889, served 
several years, and was succeeded by B. Pop- 
pi tz. C. A. Wood became postmaster In March. 
1889. and served until Carl S. Eastwood was 
appointed on his present term. 



brought new comers to locate upon the 
fertile lands in the vicinity, and the town 
grew in proportion. A correspondent to 
one of the twin city papers, writing in 
September, said: "This village, which 
sprang into existence last fall, is rapidly 
growing and becoming the center of trade 
for a large tract of country. New build- 
ings are constantly being erected, arid the 
place bids fair to be a town of consider- 
able importance ere long.'* 

Knute Thompson opened a small hard- 
ware store — a branch for H. L. Parker, 
of St. James — in the spring of 1872, 
which was under the management of Mr. 
Thompson for a time and later of Mr. 
Graves. The stock was bought by Smith 
& Carroll in September. J. W. Benson 
& Company erected a commodious two- 
story building during the summer and 
opened a general merchandise store in 
September. Smith & Carroll built a four- 
teen foot addition to their store to meet 
the increasing demands of their trade and 
erected tlie town's first warehouse, which 
was ready to receive grain in September. 
Pixley & Stone opened a saloon where 
the First National Bank building now 
stands in August, Mr. Pixley becoming 
sole owner next month. Dr. Foster bought 
the Pioneer house and made improve- 
ments on it. Mr. Jones became the land- 
lord. Ralph Town became the manager 
of the Crocker Brothers & Lamoreaux lum- 
ber yards. George Hubbs opened the 
town's second lumber yard in November 
and erected a residence. J. B. Pixley 
opened a furniture store. H. J. Bosworth, 
the station agent, took the agency for 
agricultural implements and vehicles and 
put in a small stock. William Dahl built 
a residence and ran a boarding house. 
John Weir erected a building next to 
John T. Smith's store late iu the fall and 
engaged in the hardware business. So far 
as I am able to learn this completes the 

list of private improvements in the youth- 
ful town during 1872. During the year a 
mail route was established between Heron 
Lake and Currie, by way of the Graham 
Lakes country, which was in operation un- 
til 1879. The citizens dug a public well 
in the middle of Main street, which was 
considered quite an improvement at that 
early date. The first birth in the village 
occurred in 1872, when a child was born 
to Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Bosworth. Heron 
Lake had a population of about fifty peo- 
ple when it was one year of age. 

The number engaged in business and 
the population of the town during the 
first year of its history does not convey 
a truthful idea of its importance as a 
trading point. Its merchants drew trade 
from an immense territory. For long 
distances north and south Heron Lake was 
the only railroad town, and retail trade 
came there from countries now tributary 
to Slayton, Avoca and Fulda, from half 
way to Worthington, half way to Windom, 
half way to Jackson, and for a time from 
the Big Bend country. In addition to 
having the retail trade of this large ter- 
ritory. Heron Lake was the distributing 
point for a much larger territory, much 
of the goods sold to merchants of Jackson, 
Spirit Lake, Iowa, and other interior 
points coming by way of Heron Lake. 
During the first two years of the town's 
history its merchants did an immense bus- 
iness and prospered. 

Several new business houses were 
founded in 1873. N: Dahl opened a sa- 
loon in the hotel building. Mrs. Fremer 
opened a photograph gallery. John Jung- 
bauer started a blacksmith shop in July. 
Johnson & Dieson started the third gener- 
al store in August. A directory of the 
business houses in September, 1873, listed 
the following: 

John T. Smith, general store. 

J. W. Benson & Company, general store. 

Johnson & Dieson^ general store. 


John Weir, hardware. A Heron Lake correepondent, writing in 

R. R. Foster, drug and furniture store. ,, . ^o,wft ^j 

H. E. Town, lumber yard. November, 1879, said : 
Mr. Larson, lumber yard. 

J. P. Prescott, hotel. Twelve new buildings to represent nearly as 

J. F. Force, physician. many departments of business are now in pro- 

J. B. Pixley, saloon. ^®?* ^^ construction. Never in the history of 

Mr. Johnson, shoe shop. *'^'® place have its merchants experienced such 

business activity as the past summer and 

As did the other towns of southwestern P^sent fall. W^k in and week out since early 

sprmg have they been taxed to their utmost 

Minnesota during the terrible grasshop- to procure help and stock to supply the Im- 

per scourge. Heron Lake suffered severely. """^^ ^^"'^'"^ ^^ merchandise. 
During these years— 1873-1878— no prog- During the iast half of the year 1879 

ress was made; the town was at a stand- ^^^^^^^ ^^^>^^^ ^^^« ^P^^* ^^ building im- 

stiU and the merchants lost their profits P^^^^^^ents, as follows : 

of former years. In 1875 the population ^^^P'^*^ * p*'^®' ^^.*«' ^^"?|.°?- • • • : ^ 2'?^ 

•^ ^ ^ J. T. Smith, hay pressing establishment 8,500 

was estimated at nearly 100, and the fol- J. W. Benson & Co., hay pressing es- 

lowing lines of business were represented : g^ ^p;'&"a ^c' RyV Co: * depot; ' engine ^'^ 

Three general stores, one hardware store, house, etc 3,500 

, r.i T_ 11 V iH. S. Graves, hotel building 1,000 

two hotels, warehouse, photograph gal- j. p. Prescott, residence. . . l^OOO 

lery, shoe shop, furniture store, maehin- E- ^- Briggs, residence and office 1,000 

M. Hazelton, residence and shop 1,000 

ery depot, two lumber yards, one fuel Mikelson, residence and bam 800 

„^j. J B. J. Svennes, residence and shop 300 

^ ' Georsre Cope, residence 300 

The year 1879 marked the turning Catholic church 300 

point to better times. The disappear- 1^^;^-,^--— ^ 

ance of the grasshoppers and the build- L. C. Wood, improvements 250 

p , 1 . i» •! J • J.1- T. A. Dieson, store 165 

mg of two new lines of railroad in the oradinj? streets 100 

vicinity were the causes of the return of R- '^- Foster, improvements .76 

prosperity and advancement. The failure Total $24,740 

of the Soutliern Minnesota railroad to _ ^^^^ - ., . , , 

^, ^. ^., , , Tx XI In looO a census of the town showed a 

cross the Sioux City road at Heron Lake _ ,. - ^^« rw« • •,,. 

. , 1 ft , i XI 1^ IT- population of 163. The building improve- 
was a disappointment, but the building . , . .., .t 7, . 

. , -^^ , ,^.,, , , * ., o.. ments kept pace with the growth m pop- 
of the Black Hills branch of the Sioux ... _. _x -i • x i ..««/. 

/-.x P oi. XI 1 r XX X 1 X xt^ ulation. It was reported m July, 1880, 

City & St. Paul from Heron Lake to the . , . x_ . i m-.- , -i , 

,, ^ ,^ ^ . ., . ^. ., that twenty new buildings had been erec- 

uorthwest more than offset this. While .,. . ,%, •., . 

,, , , .1 ^. , ted smce spring opened. One of the most 

the roads were buildmg new settlers came . ^x 4.-tt ri^vi.-, 

, , , , , , important events m Heron Lake s history 

to locate upon lands along the new roads, ^,,^„^ ^^ tj,, ,,„ ^f iggj^ ^,,en Jolm 

and the eifect upon the town was good. t. Smith built the firet tow mill in the 

-It has been suggestod that should the South- ^*^*® ^^ Minnesota and established a busi- 

Tnd " Hrrsej!" '?Br?wsteT ^hrTwo'^'tSwSs "««« ^''^^^ ^"^ «^^«^ ""'^'^ ^ ^^^ ^^^^'^ 

sTwe^lr'Zf ab.e^'Jo ^sly^bu^" af J° He^o""; prosperity. The main building was 84x 

Lake, we think the idea absurd, and we are 100 feet, and it Was said to have been 

quite sure it will not affect the town in the ,, , , , .„ . ., 

least. It will cut off but a small amount of the largest toW mill lU the WOrld. 

the trade now tributary to this town, which will a i .1 i ., . . 

be more than supplied by the increase In set- Although their tOWn waS yet a mere 

tlement. The country surrounding is fertile, 1 i . xi. -x- ^ xr -r 1 

and we think this town will be sustained, and liamlet, the Citizens 01 Heron Lake, in 

whether the Southern Minnesota crosses here ,i_ • i-i ^orn 1 j xr i • 1 x # 

or not this town will hold Its own at least and the lal! Of 1881, asked the legislature for 

will undoubtedly increase in Importance." — „ ^1 ^ x^« xj xi. • • t 

Heron Lake Correspondent, April 19, 1879. ^ Charter granting them municipal gOV- 








emment. An act was approved Novem- 
ber 17, 1881, providing for the incorpo- 
ration of section 19, Weimer township,^ 
and naming T. A. Dieson, C. A. Wood 
and J. F. Force commissioners to conduct 
the preliminaries. The first village elec- 
tion was held January 3, 1882, and the 
first village council met and organized 
January 9. 

Following is a list of all who have been 
elected to village office from the date of 
incorporation to the present time:* 

1882 — President, E. J. Graves; trustees, G. 
H. Perry, John Weir, E. D. Briggs; recorder, 
S. S. Haislett; treasurer, L. F. I^mmers; jus- 
tice, J. E. Jones; constable, B. J. Svennes. 

1883— President, C. A. Wood; trustees, E. D. 
Briggs, Ole Seleen, J. W. Benson; recorder, 
Miles Hazelton; treasurer, L. F. Lammers. 

1884 — President, E. D. Briggs; trustees, B. 
J. Svennes, A. J. McSchooler, W. S. Freer; re- 
corder, T. A. Dieson; treasurer, L. F. Lam- 
mers; justices,* C. A. Wood, P. F. McNair; 
constable, R. E. Dickens. 

1885 — President, E. D. Briggs; trustees, E. 
J. Graves, A. J. McShooler, A. A. Lommerland; 
recorder, T. A. Dieson; treasurer, L. F. Lam- 
mers; constable, A. J. McShooler, Joseph 

1886— President, E. D. Briggs; trustees, E. 
J. Graves, T. A. Jones, A. A. Lommerland; re- 
corder, G. C. Cooley; treasurer, T. A. Dieson; 
justices, C. R. J. Kellam, J. E. Jones; con- 
stable, J. F. Knott. 

1887— President, T. A. Jones; trustees, J. D. 
Wilson, C. A. Wood," A. A. Lommerland; re- 

^At a special election held June. 27, 1899, 
the corporate limits were increased by the ad- 
dition of Smith's addition — the northeast quar- 
ter of the northeast quarter of section 30. The 
vote was ten in favor of annexation to six 

*The license question has often been voted 
upon at the annual village elections under the 
local option law. With the exception of the 
year 1883 license was granted during all the 
early history of the town. Since 1893 the vote 
has been as follows: 

1893 — For, 73; against, 55. 

1894 — ^License carried. 

1895 — License carried. 

1896— For, 91; against, 69. 

1897— For, 62; against, 73. 

1898— For, 64; against, 104. 

1899 — License carried by 36 majority. 

1900 — License carried by 6 majority. 

1901 — For, 135; against, 72. 

1902— For, 111; against, 73. 

1903 — Tie vote; license granted. 

1904— For, 116; against, 92. 

1906 — For, 96; against, 80. 

1906 — Fon 96; against, 108. 

1907 — For, 84; against, 78. 

1908— For, 123; against, 74. 

1909 — Not an issue. 

*At a special election in May, 1884, C. R. J. 
Kellam and J. E. Jones were elected Justices. 

corder, C. S. Eastwood; treasiurer, T. A. Die- 
son, assessor, J. E. Jones; constable, W. S. 

1888 — President, J. D. Wilson; trustees, 
Henry Knudson, H. J. Arnold; John Trimble; 
recorder, C. S. Eastwood; treasurer, T. A. Die- 
son; justices, C. R. J. Kellam, J. E. Jones; 
constables, W. S. Freer, Mike Larson. 

1889 — President, J. D. Wilson; trustees, 
Henry Knudson, H. J. Arnold, John Trimble; 
recorder, C. S. Eastwood; treasurer, T. A. Die- 
son; constable, W. S. Freer. 

1890— President, J. D. Wilson; trustees, T. 
A. Jones, Henry Knudson, H. J. Aronld; re- 
(torder, C. S. Eastwood; treasurer, T. A. Die- 
son; justices, John £. Jones, Joseph J. Jones; 
constable, D. N. Miller, W. S. Freer. 

1891 — President, H. J. Arnold; trustees, T. 

A. Jones, B. Poppitz, W. J. Jones; recorder, C. 
S. Eastwood; treasurer, T. A. Dieson; con- 
stable, D. N. Miller. 

1892 — President, Joseph J. Jones; trustees, 

B. Poppitz, W. J. Jones, T. A. Jones; recorder, 
Henry Knudson; treasurer, T. A. Dieson. 

1893 — President, Joseph J. Jones; trustees, 
T. A. Jones, B. Poppitz, John McGlin; recor- 
der, T. A. Alexander; treasurer, T. A. Dieson; 
justice, John McCarvel; constable, John Nor- 
ton, R. H. Kidney. 

1894 — President, John L. Gessel; trustees, B. 
P. St. John, J. F. Humiston, W. N. Williams; 
recorder, W. J. Jones;" treasurer, J. S. Kib- 
bey; justice, G. C. Cooley; constables, C. A. 
Wood, B. 0. Auberg. 

1895 — President, John McGlin; trustees, P. 
D. McKellar, B. P. St. John, W. N. Williams; 
recorder, F. A. Steuert; treasurer, C. H. Ca- 
bot; justice, John Woolstencroft. 

1896 — ^President, John McGlin; trustees, Jos- 
eph J. Jones, John McCarvel, B. B. Sontag; re- 
corder, F. A. Steuert; treasurer, C. H. Cabot; 
justice, C. R. J. Kellam; constables, W. E. 
Spaulding, E. 0. Auberg. 

1897 — ^President, D. Brown; trustees, J. F. 
Humiston, G. A. Fairfield, B. B. Sontag; re- 
corder, William J. Jones; treasurer, C. H. 
Cabot; justices, W. E. Spaulding; constable, 
Elmer Spaulding. 

1898— President, B. B. Sontag; trustees, B. 
P. St. John, W. N. Williams, John McGlin; re- 
corder, W. J. Jones; treasurer, C. H. Cabot; 
justices, G. A. Fairfield, W. H. Kessler; con- 
stables, Elmer Spaulding, Erick Auberg. 

1899 — President, John McGlin; trustees, B. 
P. St. John, B. B. Sontag, Frank Humiston; 
recorder, W. J. Jones; treasurer, Bruno Pop- 
pitz; justices, W. H. Kessler, John Woolsten- 
croft; constables, Elmer Spaulding, E. 0. Au- 

1900 — President, J. J. Jones; trustees, B. B. 
Sontag, B. P. St. John, E. J. Grimes; recorder, 
W. J. Jones; treasurer, B. Poppitz; assessor, 
W. L. Callison; justice, C. R. J. Kellam; con- 
stables, Mike Wood, Elmer Spaulding. 

1901 — President, B. P. St. John; trustees, B. 

^•Resigned April 17, 1887; T. E. Hill appointed 
April 19. 

**F. A. Steuert appointed recorder February 
19, 1896, W. J. Jones having left town. 



B. Son tag, C. H. Cabot, F. R. Hansen; recor- 
der, J. E. Foss; treasurer, B. Poppitz; justice, 
G. A. Fairfield. 

1902— President, B. P. St. John; trustees, B. 
B. Sontag, C. H. Cabot, William Bieter; re- 
corder, J. E. Foss; treasurer, C. A. Robson; 
assessor, W. L. Callison; justice, C. R. J. Kel- 
1am; constables, M. M. Wood, W. S. Freer. 

1903— President, C. H. Cabot; trustees, B. 
P. St. John, William Bieter, B. B. Sontag; re- 
corder, J. £. Foss; treasurer, C. A. Robson; 
assessor, Frank Humiston; justice, J. J. Jones; 
constables, Peter Mikkelson, E. F. Bartholo- 

1904 — President, V. E. Butler; trustees, J. 
J. Jones, E. J. Grimes, B. Poppitz; recorder, 
F. J. Humiston; treasurer, J. F. Liepold; as- 
sessor, Albert Dieson; justices, C. R. J. Kel- 
1am, C. S. Eastwood; constables, G. J. Alexan- 
der, W. S. Freer. 

1905 — President, L. F. Lammers; trustees, 
John L. Gessell, B. Poppitz, Joseph J. Jones; 
recorder, Frank Humiston; treasurer, J. F. 
Humiston; assessor, Chris Johnson; justice, C. 
R. J. Kellam; constable, J. E. Rider. 

1906 — President, L. F. Lammers; trustees, B. 
B. Sontag, T. A. Behrenfeld, S. H. Berkness; 
recorder, J. W. Young; treasurer, C. A. Rob- 
son; assessor, Chris Johnson; constables, W. 
S. Freer, Elmer Spaulding. 

1907 — President, L. F. lAmmers; trustees, C. 
H. Cabot, John Woolstencroft, B. B. Sontag; 
recorder, Fred Cooley; treasurer, Albert Rob- 
son; assessor, Chris Johnson; justice, C. R. J. 
Kellam; constables, W. H. Myers, Max Hart- 

1908 — President, J. F. Liepold; trustees, A. 
J. Moe, W. J. Ross, B. B. Sontag; recorder, F. 
A. Cooley; treasurer, Albert Robson; assessor, 
Chris Johnson; justice, John Woolstencroft; 
constables, G. J. Alexander, Ernest Rippon. 

1909 — President, J. F. Liepold; trustees, A. 
J. Moe, B. B. Sontag, Will Drews; recorder, F. 
A. Cooley; treasurer, Albert Robson; assessor, 
Chris Johnson; justice, C. R. J. Kellam; con- 
stables, F. Jarmer, Max Hartneck. 

The establishment of the tow mill and 
the prevailing prosperous times made the 
year 1882 a memorable one in Heron 
Lake's history. Said a writer who visited 
the town in March: "We were consider- 
ably surprised at the many evidences of 
thrift, enterprise and go-aheadativeness 
displayed in Heron Lake, and we doubt 
if any town of like size in southern Min- 
nesota can surpass or even equal the town 
in these respects. Many new buildings 
have made their appearaDce within the 
past year and evidences of thriving trade 
are plentiful." The building improve- 

ments completed during the year amount- 
ed to over $17,000 and were itemized as 
follows : 

J. W. Benson &, CJo., creamery (includ- 
ing fixtures) $ 5,000 

Jobn T. Smith, fourteen tenement 

houses 4,200 

T. A, Dieson, residence 1,500 

L. F. Lammers, residence .600 

L. F. Lammers, millinery store 300 

John Robinson, residence 600 

John Woolstencroft, billiard hall 850 

J. F. Force, store 1,600 

Mrs. Nelson, residence 300 

T. A. Dieson, tenement house 500 

J. F. Force, tenement house 600 

E. D. Briggs, addition 200 

Johnson i Dieson, store improvements. 300 
C. R. J. Kellam, drug store improve- 
ments 200 

J. T. Smith, improvements 200 

P. McNair, residence 500 

L. Readle, bam 100 

N. Edhamer, barn 100 

J. £. Jones, improvements 200 

Total $17,760 

But the amount expended in improve- 
ments gives little idea of the volume of 
business done. Three thousand tons of 
flax straw were marketed in the village, 
manufactured into tow, and shipped to 
the eastern markets, while four thousand 
ton.* of hay were baled and shipped. The 
vohimo of Imbiness done dii Hug the year 
(not including professional business) 
amounted to a quarter of a million dol- 
lars, divided among the several films as 
follows :^* 

John T. Smith, general merchandise, 

baled tow, hay, etc $100,000 

J. W. Benson & CJo., general merchan- 
dise, creamery, hay, etc 60,000 

Johnson & Dieson, general merchandise 20,000 
J. F. Force, drugs and general mer- 
chandise 15,000 

Hazelton & Freemire, general mer- 
chandise 6,000 

C. R. J. Kellam, drugs, notions, etc 2,500 

E. J. Graves & Co., lumber 18,000 

J. E. Jones, grain 2,000 

J. S. Titus, saddlery 2,000 

Wood & Freer, livery 1,000 

C. E. Marsh, Chapman hotel 6,000 

C. A. Wood, Pioneer hotel 8,600 

John Woolstencroft, billiard hall t . 5,000 

C. 0. Michelson, meat market 3,000 

L. Sitzer, meat market 2,500 

"As prepared by a Heron Lake resident In 


B. J. Svennes, shoe shop, boarding mill and a hay bam, coal sheds, stock 

T. A. Jones, blacksmith shop. ./,.../.. '900 J^^^ ^^^ ^^^ house burned, entailing a loss 
John Robson, blacksmith shop 900 of $75,000, of which only $20,000 was re- 
Total .$249^00 covered in insurance. The fire was a fierce 

one, and only the favorable direction of 
During the entire decade of the eighties ^he wind saved the town from destruction. 
Heron Lake prospered, as did the country gome of the buildings on the north side 
at .large. There was no feverish boom, ^f ^he track took fire from flying sparks, 
but the growth was steady and of a sub- ^ut the flames were extinguished before 
stantial character— keeping pace with the ^^^^ge resulted. The second disastrous 
progress of the surrounding country. In g^e occurred in October, 1904, when the 
1884 the following ;^ere engaged in busi- j^gses amounted to about $65,000. The 
ness in Heron Lake: John T. Smith, gen- gt. John elevator, the Benson elevator and 
eral merchandise and tow mill; J. W. the Western Implement company's store- 
Benson, general merchandise and cream- ^.^^^^ ^^re entirely destroyed with all 
ery; Johnson & Dieson, general merchan- their contents. Eighty tiiousand bushels 
dise; John Weir, hardware; Lammers & ^f g^ain and sixteen freight cars were also 
Wood, general merchandise; J. F. Force, burned, 
drug store; C. R. J. Kellam, drug store; 

E. J. Graves, lumber and real estate; C. the schools. 
E. Marsh, Chapman house ; W. S. Freer, During the first year of its history Her- 
Pioneer house; B. J. S venues. La Crosse on Lake had only a private school. On 
house; E. D. Briggs, attorney. December 17, 1872, a meeting of citizens 
In 1885 the population of Heron Lake was held at John Weirs store to take steps 
reached 280. That year there was some toward the organization of a district and 
advance, the building improvements the building of a public school house. Bev. 
amounting to $9,500. Comparative dull John Benson was chairman of the meeting 
times prevailed in 1886, but the next year and John Dalziel was secretary. As & 
the Heron Lake News reported the expen- result of this meeting the next session of 
diture of $48,000 in new buildings in the the legislature passed a bill authorizing 
village. The hard times period following the organization of an independent dis- 
the panic of 1893 temporarily checked the trict at Heron Lake — ^the first independ- 
growth of the town, but the recovery was ent district in Jackson county. The or- 
quick, and we find that in 1895 the pop- ganization of the district was perfected in 
ulation had increased to 646. During the March, 1873, when the following named 
next five years there was another increase, gentiemen were elected as the first board 
the census of 1900 giving the town a pop- of education : E. C. Sanders, George 
ulation of 928. There has been but little Hubbs, A. McSchooler, Ralph Town, John 
increase since that census, but in a busi- Weir and Zebulon Judd. 
ness way Heron Lake has prospered and A school election was held at Jonee' 
today ranks as one of the most progressive hotel April 12, 1873, at which time a ma- 
little cities of southern Minnesota. jority of the voters declared in favor of 
In the history of the town there have bonding the district in the sum of $2,000 
been two bad fires. The first of these to raise funds for the immediate construc- 
occurred Tuesday afternoon, November tion of a school house. The bonds were 
10, 1898, when the John T. Smith tow issued and a building erected, in which. 



however, the Baptist church society hafl an 

In the spring of 1886 the district de- 
cided to sell the old school house to the 
village and issue bonds to the amount of 
$3,000 for the purpose of erecting a suit- 
able building on the lots donated by E. 
F. Drake. At an election in June the bonds 
were voted, 67 to 52. A school building 
costing about $5,000 was put up during 
the summer of 1887. It was used as a 
public school house until 1896, when it 
was sold to the Catholic church society, 
and it is now utilized, with additions, as 
a parochial school building by that church. 
By a vote of 258 to 59, at a special 
election April 1, 1896, bonds to the 
amount of $20,000 were voted for a new 
school house. The contract for the erec- 
tion of the building was let May 19, 1896, 
to J. D. Carroll on a bid of $18,447, the 
corner stone was laid with ceremonies 
July 18, and it was dedicated in Novem- 
ber. This handsome brick structure, one 
of the finest public school buildings in 
southwestern Minnesota, was totally de- 
stroyed by fire December 31, 1901, to- 
gether with about $5,000 worth of equip- 
ment. It was insured for $18,300. There- 
after for several months school was con- 
ducted in the various churches, halls and 
store buildings. The school house was re- 
built during the summer of 1902 and 
was occupied for the first time late that 


Four church societies maintain active 
organizations in Heron Lake, namely: 
Methodist Episcopal, Catholic, Salem Lu- 
theran and Norwegian Lutheran. Several 
other church societies have been formed 

""The Baptist church Is aU enclosed and Is 
a fine buildlnir. It is to be used as a school 
house for three years, when It will become ex- 
clusively a church. All denominations will wor- 
ship In It for the present, thougrh It Is controll- 
ed by the Baptist society." — ^Heron Lake Cor- 
respondent, July 9. 1873. 

at different times in the town's history, 
but are now dormant. Very soon after the 
founding of the village the residents took 
steps to secure religious worship, and in 
the summer of 1872 some money was 
raised to help build a church, but it was 
the next year before a house of worship 
was erected. 

The oldest church organization is the 
Methodist Episcopal. Services were held 
as early as 1872, conducted by Rev. W. 
M. Bear, but it was not until June 9, 
1873, that an organization was perfected. 
On that date. Presiding Elder G. W. T. 
Wright appointed as trustees Rev. J. Ben- 
son, P. M. Jones, J. F. Force, G. H. 
Hubbs and John T. Smith, "thev to be a 
body corporate under the name and style 
the First Methodist Episcopal church of 
Heron Lake." Among the charter mem- 
bers were C. A. Wood, Lucinda Wood, J. 
T. Smith, Sarah J. Smith, J. F. Force, 
Sarah J. Force, J. Benson, Mrs. J. Ben- 
son, David W. Edwards, Martha Edwards, 
Sarah Gibbs, Elizabeth Parish, Mrs. 
Rupert, George Aldrich, V. G. Mott, 
Edward Rodgers, Martha M. Rodgers, Eli 
H. Bowman and Elroda Bowman. 

For several years the society worship- 
ped in the Baptist church building, which 
was the first erected in the town. Through 
the efforts of Rev. H. S. Eldred and oth- 
ers, $1,000 toward the erection of a churdi 
edifice had been raised in January, 1886. 
One-half of this was secured by sub- 
scription, the balance from the church ex- 
tension society. In June, 1887, the build- 
ing was completed, and the Methodists 
had a home of their own. A parsonage 
was erected in 1895. The old church 
building answered the purposes until 1902, 
when it was replaced by the present hand- 
some building, which cost $8,000. The cor- 
ner stone of the new structure was laid 
July 21, 1902, and the dedication services 
were held December 7, 1902, conducted 







by Bishop I. W. Joyce. The Methodist 
society has prospered and has a large 
membership. It maintains a Sunday school, 
Epworth Ijcague, Ladies' Aid Society and 
Womens' Foreign Missionary society. Rev. 
W. H. Irwin is the present pastor and the 
following constitute the board of trustees : 
J. W. Benson, J. D. Wilson, E. L. Ecker, 
C. A. Wood, C. K. Willard, B. B. Sontag, 
B. P. St. John, Milo Smith and Pascal 

Following is a list of the pastors who 
have supplied the pulpit of the Methodist 
Episcopal church of Heron Lake and the 
dates of their appointment: W. M. Bear, 
1872 ; W. H. Mock, 1873 ; D. Stone, 1874 ; 
W. M. Bear, 1876; H. J. Vanfossen, 
1877; W. L. Demorest, 18*: 8; J. C. Ogle, 
1879; F. Smith, 1880; W. M. Bear, 1881; 
L. Gleason, 1882; W. Wilkinson, 1883; 
H. S. Eldred, 1884 ; M. J. Godfrey, 1886 ; 
J. Haubridge, 1887; D. P. Olin, 1888 
(part); William Gibson, 1888; E. W. 
Haley, 1891; G. W. Burtch, 1893; L. A. 
Wilsey, 1894; J. F. Porter, 1896; J. 
W. Raveille, 1897; J. F. Van Camp, 
1900 ; D. C. McColm, 1903 ; C. W. Morse, 
1904; W. C. Sage, 1905; W. H. Irwin, 

The Baptist society was the second to 
perfect an organization. On July 21, 
1873, a meeting was held, presided over 
by R. E. Town, at which the organization 
was completed with the selection of E. C. 
Sanders, John Weir and R. E. Town as 
trustees. The society erected a church 
building the same year, which was used as 
a house of worship by all denominations, 
as the public school building, as a place 
for public entertainment, and by all so- 
cieties. The church society was main- 
tained for several years. 

The Scandinavian Lutherans had a 
church organization in Heron Lake in the 
early seventies, but it was later when the 
organizations were perfected. In 1886 


money was raised for the erection of a 
church building. For several years the 
Salem Lutheran and Norwegian Lutheran 
congregations, although maintaining sep- 
arate organizations, worshipped in the 
same church alternating Sundays. This 
continued until September 3, 1894, when 
the Norwegian Lutherans separated from 
the other church and selected Candidate 
0. C. Myhre as their pastor. Shortly aft- 
er its organization it was admitted as 
one of the congregations of the United 
church of America. A church edifice was 
erected in 1898. The church society now 
consists of about thirty families. Servi- 
ces are held every other Sabbath, con- 
ducted by Rev. H. H. Holte. Sunday 
school is held every Sunday with an at- 
tendance of about thirty-five. 

The Catholic church was organized in 
the early eighties, and the church building 
was erected in the fall of 1884. In con- 
nection with the church is maintained St. 
Cyril's parochial school, which was es- 
tablislxed in 1896 by Rev. Fr. Von den 
Berg. It is conducted by the Sisters of 
St. Francis, of Rochester, and is in a 
flourishing condition. 

The Episcopal church also maintained 
an organization in the eighties. 


The Grand Army post at Heron Lake, 
No. 148, was mustered in March 31, 1886, 
by the chief mustering officer. General 
^lark D. Flower. Following were the 
post's first officers : C. R. J. Kellam, com* 
mander; William McNair, senior vice 
commander; John Behrenfeld, junior vice 
commander; John Woolstencroft, quarter- 
master; C. M. Merly, adjutant; Rev. H. 
S. Eldred, chaplain; B. J. Svennes, offi- 
c-er of the guard; A. H. Freer, officer of 
the day; V. G. Moti, sergeant. 

A Womans Relief Corps .was organized 
April 2, 1887, of which Mrs. Eellam was 
president and Miss Beede secretary. 



Heron Lake Lodge No. 93, Ancient Or- 
der United Workmen, was organized Oc- 
tober 16, 1886, with twenty-eight charter 
members and the following first officers: 
J. D. Wilson, master workman; W. E. 
Daniels, overseer; H. A. Eobinson, fore- 
man; L. F. Lammers, recorder; T. A. 
Dieson, financier; J. W. Benson, re- 
ceiver; John Huber, guide; W. J. Jones, 
inside guard; Lawrence Readle, outside 
guard ; C. A. Wood, past master workman ; 

B. A. Swartout, J. T. Smith, C. D. Ure, 

Manzanita Camp No. 1256, Modern 
Woodmen of America, was instituted Feb- 
ruary 17, 1891, with twenty-six charter 
members and the following officers: A. 
H. Clark, V. C. ; L. F. Lammers, W. A. ; 
T. A. Dieson, E. B.; C. S. Eastwood, C; 
J. E. Foss, E. ; T. A. Alexander, watch- 
man; W. R. Kiessel, sentry; A. H. Clark, 
physician; T. E. Hills, L. B. Lerud, and 
J. Trimble, managers. 

Columbian Lodge No. 210, A. F. & A. 
]\r., began its organization under dispen- 
sation in 1893. On February 14, of that 
year, a petition was forwarded to the 
grandmaster asking for a dispensation. It 
was signed by thirteen persons, namely, L. 
F. Lammers, John L. Gessell, John F. 
Humiston, LeEoy Brown, C. E. J. Kellam, 
W. X. Williams, L. B. Lerud, S. A. Pease, 

C. M. Doughty, G. C. Cooley and David 
Brown. The petition was approved by 
the grandmaster April 24, and the dispen- 
sation was issued the next day. On July 
13, 1893, a special session was held for the 
purpose of organizing under dispensation. 
Deputy Grandmaster John Hutlass pre- 
siding. The following were chosen as the 
first officers: LeRoy Brown, W. M.; J. S. 
Kibbey, S. W. ; J.* F. Humiston, J. W. ; 
L. F. Lammers, secretary; L. B. Lerud, 
treasurer; C. E. J. Kellam, S. D. ; C. M. 
Doughty, J. D. ; G. C. Cooley, tyler ; J. L. 
Gessell,^ S. S.; W. N. Williams, J. S. 

The charter was granted and the lodge 
was instituted March 1, 1894. The fol- 
lowing have held the office of pastmaster : 
LeEoy Brown, John L. Gessell, John F. 
Humiston, J. H. Dudley and C. E. J. 

St. Cyril Court No. 970, Catholic Or- 
der Foresters, was organized April 20, 
1899, by William A. Bieter. Following 
were the first officers and charter mem- 
bers : William A. Bieter, C. E. ; John Mc- 
Glin, V. C. E.; F. W. Lynch, recording 
secretary ; Herman J. Eader, financial sec- 
retary; George G. Gehr, treasurer; John 
McCarvel, P. C. E. ; Frank Haas, Jerry 
Sullivan and Frank Liepold, trustees; Jo- 
seph Thomas, Nicholas Weinant, Joseph 
J. Birgel, William N. Klaur, Edward D. 
Flanagan, Joseph E. Fritscher, H. C. 
Berreau, John G. Liepold, N. J. Henkels, 
Eichard Burke, Alex Sullivan, Joseph H. 
Knott, Joseph F. Hartman, Adolph Eei- 
chel, F. E. Heger, N". J. P. Murphy, Ed- 
ward Wienicke. The order has a present 
membership of about fifty-five. 


Heron Lake has two banking institu- 
tions, the Farmers State Bank and the 
First National Bank. The former is the 
older, having been organized as a private 
bank by P. E. Hill in the fall of 1886— 
the first financial institution of the town. 
It continued to be conducted as a private 
bank until June 1, 1892, when it was n&- 
organized under the state banking laws 
as the bank of Heron Lake, with a capital 
stock of $25,000. T. A. Dieson was presi- 
dent and J. S. Kibbey vice president at 
the time of reorganization. January 1, 
1894, there was a change in management 
when J. ]Sr. McGregor became president, 
B. Poppitz, vice president, and E. J. 
Grimes, cashier. In 1896 B. Poppitz be- 
came president, and J. N. McGregor vice 
president. L. F. Lammers was made 



president June 1, 1898, and one year later 
B. Poppitz became vice president. The 
name of the institution was changed to 
State Bank of Heron Lake July 30, 1900, 
and on January 1, 1901, W. P. St. John 
became president and held the office until 
his death, October 21, 1905. John T. 
Smith was made vice president June 1, 
1901. After the death of Mr. St. John, 
W. A. Bieter became president and W. F. 
Drews was made assistant cashier. 

The State Bank of Heron Lake was 
reorganized in July, 1906, when the ma- 
jority stock, which had been held by Mr. 
St. John, was bought by the farmers of 
the surrounding country and the business 
men of Heron Lake and the name of the 
institution changed to the Farmers State 
Bank. The profits and surplus were paid 
over to the old stockholders, and the new 
owners took over the business of the bank, 
continuing it under the old charter. The 
oflicers remained the §ame except that 
John Mathias succeeded John T. Smith 
as vice president. January 1, 1907, offi- 
cers were chosen as follows : John Math- 
ias, president; 0. E. Dieson, vice presi- 
dent; W. A. Bieter, cashier; W. F. Drews, 

assistant cashier. One year later the fol- 
lowing officers were chosen: Jerry Sulli- 
van, president; N. J. Henkels, vice presi- 
dent; W. F. Drews, cashier; P. W. Moore, 
assistant cashier. From the date of reor- 
ganization into the Farmers State Bank 
the deposits have increased from $60,000 
to $150,000 and a surplus of $3,000 hac 
been accumulated. The bank was moved 
into its present commodious quarters in 
June, 1901, the cost of the building and 
furnishings being $12,000. 

The First National Bank was organ- 
ized as the Peoples State Bank in Sep- 
tember, 1892, with J. W. Benson as presi- 
dent. The organization into the *First 
National Bank was made June 9, 1900. 
The new institution started with a capital 
stock of $25,000, but this was later in- 
creased to $35,000. The capital and sur- 
plus at the present time are $45,000. The 
officers are: J. W. Benson, president; C. 
M. Doughty, vice president; W. H. Jar- 
muth, cashier; Paul Benson, assistant 
cashier. The bank building now occupied 
was erected in 1901 at a cost, including 
fixtures, of about $15,000. 




IX WISCONSIN township, on the east 
line of Jackson county, is the little 
village of Alpha, an incorporated 
town of about 250 inhabitants. It is on 
the Milwaukee railroad and is five and 
one-half miles east of Jackson. Several 
lines of business are carried on here, and 
its merchants enjoy a prosperous trade 
from a limited area of Jackson and Mar- 
tin counties. Alpha is the youngest of 
Jackson county towns. 

In 1892 a country postoffice named 
Earl was established near the point where 
the village of Alpha was afterwards built, 
but it was not until the closing days of 
1894 that it was announced a town would 
be founded in the vicinity. Then the 
Milwaukee road placed the name Wiscon- 
sin on its time card as the name of a new 
station on section thirteen, Wisconsin 
township. At the same time it was an- 
nounced that Messrs. Williamson and 
Paddock, the owners of the site, were 
about to survey a townsite and that prep- 
arations had been made to build an ele- 
vator and establish a lumber yard. Not 
much progress toward town building was 
made during the winter, but early in the 
spring of 1895 several buildings were put 
up, a few business houses were established 

and the town — known for a time as Wis- 
consin — came into existence. 

The name of the Earl postoffice was 
changed to Irwin, in honor of the super- 
intendent" of the Southern Minnesota di- 
vision of the Milwaukee road, in April, 
and for a few months the town was known 
by that name.^ During the spring and 
summer the following gentlemen engaged 
in business at Irwin: Charles Ran- 
dall, grain buyer and lumber dealer; 
Edward Schoewe, general store; Back- 
ness & Ellis, general store; M. 
A. Rhodes, general store; I. D'Mersse- 
man, elevator. In August the postoffice 
was reestablished and named Alpha, with 
P. 0. Rackness as postmaster, and late 
in the year a school house and church were 

The plat of the townsite, also named Al- 
pha, was put on record November 27, 
1895. It was surveyed by Arthur Gibson 
for George B. Paddock, who made the 
dedication. The original plat was on the 
north side of the railroad track and con- 
tained only eight blocks. The streets run- 
ning north and south were named Hunter, 


. . We visited the little town of Ir- 
win, six miles east, and found it small but 
busy. The city has six families at present. 
The town has no postoffice. One was estab- 
lished a short time ago. but the postmistress is 
at present teaching: school thirty miles west of 
town."— Jackson Republic, May 31. 1896. 




Knox, Main, Palmer and Beach; the east 
and west avenues were named Eailroad, 
Paddock and Williamson.* 

During the next three yeai's the growth 
of Alpha was not great, althougli a few 
new enterprises were started. But begin- 
ning in the fall of 1898 and continuing 
during the year 1899 the village enjoyed 
a boom, due to the prosperous times and 
bountiful crops, and advanced rapidly to 
the front. Many new buildings were erec- 
ted and many new business enterprises 
were started. An Alpha correspondent 
stated that the building improvements for 
the year 1899 amounted to over $35,000, 
itemized as follows: 

Christ Keaclier. store $ 2,800 

Alpha Bank building 3,000 

A. Groth, hardware store 2,500 

L. Cobb, hardware store 1,500 

W. L. Cobb, blacksmith shop 400 

W. L. Cobb, addition 800 

Bohlander & Boehl, addition 600 

L. H. Hageman, livery barn 1,000 

J. D. Young k, Co., improvements 200 

Frey & Klein, store 4,000 

C. C. Norgren, store 1,000 

S. M. Olson, butcher shop 300 

C. H. Whissemore, wagon shop 300 

L. Hageman, Sr., residence 800 

L. Hageman, Jr., residence 1,000 

Henry Behm, residence 1,000 

Charles Combes, residence 1,200 

Henry Oustafson, residence 800 

E. Erickson, residence 1,200 

I. D'Mersseman, residence 1,500 

William L. Hull, residence 1,200 

William Hinthorn, residence 1,100 

William E. Carr, residence 300 

Conrad Freeman, residence 600 

John Wachter, residence 600 

R. Rodeck, improvements 500 

A. D. Packard & Son. improvements. . . . 600 

A. D. Packard & Son, two stores 1,800 

P. O. Rackness, improvements 200 

Theodore Jasper, improvements 100 

Depot 2,000 

Frey & Klein, improvements 200 

Total $35,100 

So great was tlie growth of Alpha that 
the residents believed the time had come 
to incorporate. In April, 1899, a petition 

'Additions to Alpha have been platted as fol- 

I^ouis Klcsel's First, by L<ouis Klesel Septem- 
ber 26. 1896; surveyed by Orrln Nason. 

A. D. Packard's, by A. D. Packard & Son 
May 5, 1899; surveyed by J. L.. Hoist. 

Packard's, by A. D. Packard and G. D. Paclf- 
ord July 12, 1899; surveyed by J. L. Jlojst. 

was circulated asking the county commis- 
sioners to take the necessary steps to bring 
about the desired change in government. 
The petition was granted May 25, it was 
ordered that a special election to vote 
on the question of incorporation be held 
July 3, and P. 0. Kackness, J, S. Rhodes 
and Charle.^ P. Randall were named as the 
iubpcctors of the election. "For incor- 
poration" carried.^ and the first village 
officers were chosen at another election 
held Julv 25. 

Following is a list of all who have been 
elected to office during the time Alpha 
has been a municipal corporation: 

1899 — President, Charles Combes; trustees, 
William Carr, August Grotli, L. Hageman; re- 
corder, William Kruger; treasurer, E. A. 
Boehl; justices, P. M. Getty, J. S. Rhodes; 
constables, L. Cobb, Theodore Jasper. 

1900 — President, C. L. Combes; trustees. 
William Carr, Theodore Jasper, L. Hageman; 
recorder, E. C. Kruger; treasurer, E. A. Boehl; 
justice, L. Cobb; constable, C. H. Gustafson. 

1901 — President, F. .J. Hassing; trustees, 
Theodore Jasper, Henry Behm, L. Hageman; 
recorder, P. M. Getty; treasurer, E. A. Boehl; 
assessor, H. E. Bohlander; justices, Nels Nel- 
son, T. D'Mersseman; constables, R. Cormack, 
Oscar Rackness. 

1902 — President, I. D'Mersseman; trustees, L. 
Hageman, C. P. Hartwig, Henry Behm: recor- 
der, P. M. Getty; treasurer, H. E. Bohlander; 
assessor, George Becker; justices, W. H. Hass- 
ing. C. A. Portmann; constables, H. Leverson, 
Gnst Bork. 

1903 — President, I. D'Mersseman; trustees, 
F. J. Hassing. C. P. Hartwig, Theodore Jas- 
per; recorder, P. M. Getty; treasurer, H. E. 
Bohlander; assessor, A. A. Kruger; justices, 
C. M. Packard, L. Burton; constables, Gust 
Bork, C. H. Gustafson. 

1904 — Pre««ident, T. D'Mersseman; trustees, 
H. H. Hageman. Theodore Jasper, Otto Bor- 
chardt; recorder, P. M. Getty; treasurer, John 
Waswo; assessor, Charles Evers; justice, 
Christ Geddie; constables, A. K. Simms, Tom 

1905 — President, B. K. Ellis; trustees, J. J. 
McNamara, Theodore Jasper, Frank Matson; 
recorder, W. F. Auten; treasurer, John Was- 
wo: assessor, Charles Evers; justices, C. M. 
Packard, John Diers: constable. Gust Bork. 

1906— President, F. J. Hassing; trustees, 
Theodore Jasper, C. H. Gustafson, J. L. Ober- 
meyer; recorder, P. M. Getty; treasurer, John 
Waswo; assessor, Charles Evers; justices, Otto 

•By a vote of 50 to 11. In 1901. the vUlajre was 
separated from Wisconsin township for all pur- 



Rackness, J. S. Crawley; constables, A. K. 
Simms, John Steiner. • 

1907~President, F. J. Hassing; trustees, C. 
H. Gustaf son, Theodore Jasper, E. A. Boehl ; 
recorder, H. E. Bolilander; treasurer, John 
Waswo; assessor, Charles Evers; justice, Carl 
J. Swenson; constable, L. A. Dorr. 

1908— President, E. C. Klatt; trustees, E. A. 
Boehl, Gust Bork, E. H. Vickerman; recorder, 
II. £. Bohlander; treasurer, E. A. Boehl; as- 
sessor, Charles Evers; justice, Otto Rackness; 
constables, A. K. Simms, Carl J. Swenson. 

1909— President, F. J. Hassing; trustees, E. 
A. Boehl, John Steiner, C. Whismore; recorder, 
H. E. Bohlander; treasurer, J. S. Crawley; as- 
sessor, P. M. Getty; justice, J. J. Kukluk. 

The federal census of 1900 gave Alpha 
a population of 209; five years later the 
number of inhabitants had increased to 
241, Since its boom days Alpha's growth 
has been slow, but there have been a num- 
ber of additions. For several years a 
newspaper was supported, and a bank has 
been conducted there for several vears. 
This was founded as the Bank of Alpha, 
but in July, 1904, it was reorganized as 
the State Bank of Alpha, with a capital 
stock of $10,000 and with George Bi 
Moore as president and J. S. Crawley as 
cashier. Bonds to the amount of $4,000 
were voted in 1904 for the purpose of in- 
stalling a water works system. 


Wilder is an incorporated village on the 
main line of the Omaha railroad, seven 
miles northeast of Heron Lake. It is lo- 
cated on section seven, Delafield town- 
ship, near the north line of Jackson coun- 
ty. Here is a little town of perhaps two 
hundred inhabitants, in which are car- 
ried on several lines of business. It is 
situated on a slight elevation, sloping in 
all directions, and is surrounded by an 
excellent farming countr}-. 

The village of Wilder is about a quarter 
of a century old, but Wilder as a Jack- 
son county place name was bestowed in 
1871. During the month of June of that 

officials selected the site of the present vil- 
lage of Wilder as a station on the new 
line of road. The Jackson Kepublic of 
July 1, 1871, said of the selection of this 
point for a station : 

In the township of Delafield, in the north 
part of this county, a sidetrack has been grad- 
ed where it is no doubt intended to plat a 
town. No better farming country can be found 
in our whole state than in the same township 
of Delafield and the townships adjacent. The 
Heron lake community. Big Bend and even to 
lake Shetek, in Murray county, are naturally 
tributary to the station to be located here. 
Excellent roads in every direction tend to draw 
business to this point, and although the set- 
tlement in the vicinity is of comparative re- 
cent date, the farms already being opened and 
in contemplation will make this one of the 
most important shipping points on the line. 
. We predict here will grow up one of 
the best towns on the road. 

The sidetrack was laid during the 
month of September, but no depot was? 
put up, and the railroad officials made 
no effort to found a town at that point. 
For a short time the station was known 
as Timber Lake, but in November it was 
officially designated Wilder, in honor of 
A. H. Wilder, who was connected with the 
new railroad. For fourteen vears Wilder 
was nothing but a name, and retained that 
only by virtue of the railroad company's 
time card. 

The awakening came in 1885. Then it 
was announced that a farm college was to 
be built at Wilder by the Episcopal chumh 
and that a town was to be founded un- 
der the management of Close Brothers 
& Company. The effect of this announce- 
ment was to make Wilder a magic word; 
it was on everybody's lips.* The ac- 
tivity was brought about through the ef- 
forts of Rev. D. G. Gunn, of the Episco- 
pal church, who Iiad for several years had 
in mind the founding of a farm school. 
Earlv in 1885 Colonel John L. Merriam, 
A. II. Wilder and Mrs. Carrie Thompson 

^"Wilder Is the magic word we often hear 
now. It Is to be the shrine to which pilgrims 
to the northwest will wend their way and find 

year, while the grade for the Sioux City 

t St Paul railrnjiH wan hpincr mflfln fhp ^^^^ ^^^ plenty in Its happy precincts."— Heron 
*^ oi. ram rauroaa was Oemg maue, tnCLake correspondent, June 26. 1885. 



ojffered to donate two-thirds of their land 
holdings on section seven, Delafield, to the 
Episcopal church of Minnesota, on condi- 
tion that a college be built there. A cor- 
poration was formed with Bishop Whipple 
as president and Hev. Gunn as secretary, 
and the secretary at once set about rais- 
ing money to build the school. The exe- 
cution of the plans for the founding of the 
town of Wilder was placed in other hands. 
Concerning the selection of the site and 
the early history of the movement, the 
Windom Citizen in June, 1885, said: 

Rev. D. Griffin Gunn, who has within the 
past five years built and had direct charge of 
six churches in the Blue Grass region, has 
ever since his arrival among us been laboring 
for the establishment of a home and farm 
school for his boys. His first idea was to 
build the school on Cottonwood lake, adjoin- 
ing Windom, but upon priceing the land found 
that east of the lake to be *$10 per acre and 
that on the west $25. He soon afterward 
bought the Pomeroy tree claim, the southwest 
quarter of the northeast quarter of section 6, 
Delafield township, and took occasion to look 
over Wilder while waiting for a train. He was 
struck with the beauty of the northeast quar- 
ter of section 7, and upon inquiry found it 
to be held by Messrs. Merriam and Wilder and 
Mrs. Thompson, of St. Paul. The price was 
put at $9 per acre, but when it was known 
for what purpose it was intended they prompt- 
ly and generously offered not only this but all 
their interests in section 7 free. But Bishop 
Whipple did not feel justified in accepting at 
that time. 

After this nothing was done for about two 
years; then the matter was again brought be- 
fore the bishop, who approved it, but nothing 
was to be done before his return from Europe. 
Since his return the friends have been busy 
preparing for the work. 

The site for the school and farm contains 
353 acres on Timber lake, and the doners are 
well known here as extensive- land owners in 
Cottonwood and Jackson counties. The spot 
selected for the school building is on a beau- 
tiful rise of ground, w^hich overlooks the whole 
surrounding country, including the pictur- 
esque Timber lake. From the summit can also 
be seen the village of Heron Iiake, six miles 
distant, and on clear days Iiakefield, twelve 
miles distant. 

The school building when completed is to 
cost $15,000. . The main or upright 

part is to be completed before December 31, 
work to be commenced at once. The trustees 
are Bishop Whipple, Rev. E. S. Thomas, rector 
of St. Paul's church, St. Paul; Rev. James Dob- 
bins, rector of the Shattuck school, Faribault; 
Rer. D, G, Gunn^ S. M. Career, of th^ firm o^ 

Robinson «& Carey, St. Paul ; George H. Chris- 
tian, of the Minneapolis mills. 

Mr. Gunn will be resident supervisor and 
general superintendent of the school. Besides 
the school building there will follow — belong- 
ing to the Episcopal church — the associate 
mission school, Episcopal church and rectory. 

The movement is now ready. F. B. Close & 
Company will look after the business interests, 
wliile Mr. Gunn goes ahead with the school 
building. Mr. Gunn has been appointed by 
the trustees to select the school building and 
town site. The town will be platted and de- 
pot grounds located in a few days. 

We are authoritatively informed that the 
following business buildings, besides numerous 
residences, are only awaiting the platting: 
hotel, harness shop, bank, elevator, general 
store, shoe shop, hardware store and land of- 

The parties interested in the town besides 
the doners (who reserve one- third of the gift 
lots) are: Frank M. Bookwalter, of the Book- 
waiter Engine company, Springfield, Ohio; 
Fuller Trump, Springfield, Ohio; Senator A. 
M. Crosby, Adrian, Minnesota; F. B. Close & 
Company, Pipestone, and a host of others. 

Mr. Gunn attributes his success at Wilder 
mainly to the efforts of Messrs. J. J. Kendall 
and E. S. Thomas. 

The building of the school and of the 
town was begun in the summer of 1885, 
and times were lively."^ The foundation of 
the college was completed in the fall, and 
work on the superstructure was begun 
early in December. Before the close of 
the year the following had erected build- 
ings and engaged in business: Dufour & 
Findley, general merchandise; J. F. Cass, 
restaurant and boarding house; W. H. 
Bigelow & Company, lumber and wood; 
H. Moede, shoe shop; Cyrenius, black- 
smith shop; Klock & Day, feed store; 
Juveland, meat market. The postoffice 
was established late in the year. 

The growth of Wilder during 1885 and 
1886 was checked to some extent because 
of the inability to secure title to lots. 
Deeds to the site were not turned over to 

** 'Reports from Wilder say that It Is the 
liveliest burg In a hundred miles and that me- 
chanics can get steady employment until it 
freezes up; that the college building is being 
rushed with a large force of workmen; that 
J. J. Kendall's house and Bigelow & Company's 
store buildings begin to loom up in mammoth 
proportions; that more than forty new build- 
ings are already planned."— X^aKefleld Citi«en, 
July 81. 1886, 



AiTOH, Lt>»«X "** 



Bishop Whipple and the trustees until 
late in 188C, and prior to that time clear 
title could not be given to lot purchasers. 
The town was platted December 7, 1886, 
by John W. Merriam, it having been 
suneyed by Orrin Nason in the spring of 
that year, and was recorded in January, 
1887. The plat consisted of 72 blocks, di- 
vided into 638 lots. The platted town in- 
cluded the north half of the northeast 
quarter, the east half of the northeast 
auarter, the east half of the northwest 
quarter, lot one, the northeast quarter and 
lot two, of section 7, Delafield. 

A few new business enterprifies were 
added during 1886. In June it was re- 
ported that there were about a half dozen 
houses in the to)§n and that the popula- 
tion was about fifty. At the close of the 
year there were about thirty buildings, 
including the college, the depot, a gen- 
eral store, hardware store and a hotel. The 
Breck school was incorporated in Decem- 
ber, 1886, by the following persons : D. 6. 
Gunn, of Jackson county; E. S. Thomas, 
S. M. Carey, V. !M. Watkins and Harvey 
Officer, of Bamsey county; James Dob- 
bins, of Bice county; George H. Chris- 
tian of Hennepin county. The school 
opened and entered upon a prosperous 
career, but there was not much advance 
in the town for a decade after its found- 
ing. It simply held its own as a little 
trading point until the properous times 
of the late nineties caused it to develop 
into a bustling little village. 

On the last day of the year 1898 a cen- 
sus was taken which showed a population 
of 195 people. The taking of the census 
was the first step toward incorporation. 
On the same day a petition was prepared 
asking for the incorporation of all of 
section 7, except the south half of the 
southeast quarter — 560 acres — into the vil- 
lage of Wilder. The petition was pre- 

sented to the board of county commission- 
ers,® and that body took favorable action, 
naming March 28, 1899, as the date for 
voting on the question. The election 
was held at the office of D. L. Biley, and 
"for incorporation" carried. Soon after- 
ward municipal officers were elected and 
qualified, and local government began. 

There were 174 inhabitants in Wilder 
wlien the federal census of 1900 was 
taken, and in 1905 the population was 
121. The town is a good trading point, 
and while it has not attained great size, 
it is numbered among the prosperous com- 
munities of Jackson county. 

Wilder supports one bank, the Farmers 
State Bank. It was organized with a paid 
up capital of $10,000 October 1, 1900, 
with the following officers : M. H. Evans, 
president ;' E. P. Coleman, vice president ; 
F. H. Vail, cashier. The institution con- 
tinued under this management until 1902, 
when the controlling interest and major- 
ity stock was bought by Charles Mal- 
chow, F. E. Malchow and William G. 
Malchow. The officers then became Au- 
gust Wolf, president; Charles Malchow, 
vice president; William G. Malchow, 
cashier. The only change in management 
since then occurred in 1906, when Au- 
gust Wolf was succeeded as president by 
W. J. Clark. The directors of the FaiTU- 
ers State Bank of Wilder are Charles 
Malchow, John T. Powell, F. E. Mai; 
chow, Charles Winzer, Charles B. Cheadle, 
W. J. Clark and William G. Malchow. 


Okabena is an unincorporated little vil- 
lage located on the Milwaukee railroad 
and on section 7, West Heron Lake town- 
ship, four miles south of Heron Lake. 

•The petitioners were H. F. Tucker, F. G. 
Riley. W. G. Malchow. S. L. Rank. J. A. Thorn, 
W. L. Trowbridge. F. H. Vail. E. P. Colman, 
C. L. Moodln. J. J. lutz. John HaU, W. S. Price, 
F. D. Silliman. John McQulgg, W. B. Fry, 
Eara Winslow. I. G. Reed. O. A. Patter, A. 
Egeland, H. R. Trowbridge, 9eorge KoonU, F. 



Okabena makes no pretense of metropoli- 
tan greatness, but it is a prosperous little 
hamlet, boasting a dozen or more business 
enterprises. In the town are a bank, 
school, church, general store, hardware 
store, creamer}', lumber yard, hotel, livery 
barns, blacksmith shop, implement deal- 
ers, elevators, restaurant, billiard hall, etc. 
Okabena was founded as a station of 
the Southern Minnesota railroad in Sep- 
tember, 1879, and when the tracklayers 
reached that point they laid a sidetrack. 
The same fall a warehouse was built, and 
the next February a postoffice was estab- 
lished with K. C. Jackson as postmaster. 
Mr. Jackson opened a small store in No- 
vember, 1880, which he conducted until 
the summer of 1884. Okabena did not 
develop into a town until the nineties. 
The tpwnsite was surveyed in May, 1892,'' 
although the records show that the plat 
was not put on record until October 30, 
1897. It was surveyed by J. L. Hoist and 
platted by Henry J. Schumacher. The 
plat consisted of six blocks located on the 
north side of the railroad. East and west 
streets were named Jackson, Exchange 
and Market; those north and south were 
named Front, Minnesota, Grove and Oka- 
bena. With the prosperous times of the 
late nineties and of the present decade 
came the building of the town, which is 
recognized as an excellent trading point 
by those residing in the vicinity. 


Miloma is the railroad center of Jaek- 
son count V — and that's all. Here, three 
miles southwest of Heron Lake and the 

G. Betts, T. Goodwin, Bruce Bumgrardner, E. R. 
Henderson, Howard Winslow. G. Crotzer, 
Charles D. Glbb. E. B. WeHs, F. N. Fry, A. B. 
Phillips. J. F. Case, J. L. Hoist. William Crot- 
zer, H. C. Bliss, H. A. White, H. L. White and 
A. Iverson. 

'**A townsite is to be platted at Okabena this 
.spring:. No doubt we shall see a great city 
there some day. Such enterprise Is liable to 
bust the commercial business of Us neighbor. 
Prairie Junction." — Jackson County Pilot, April 
28. 1892. 

same distance northwest of Okabena, on 
section 35, LaCrosse township, the main 
line of the Omaha railroad and the South- 
ern Minnesota division of the Milwaukee 
road cross. A union depot is maintained ; 
the other enterprises consist of a post- 
office, a small store and eating house, com- 
bined, and a warehouse. 

In the early days, when railroads were 
building through the virgin country of 
southwestern Minnesota, the location of 
towns depended upon the routes the rail- 
roads took, and years before the Southern 
Minnesota was extended it was predicted 
that the principal town of southwestern 
Minnesota would be at the point of cross- 
ing of the Sioux City & St. Paul and the 
Southern Minnesota railroads — ^but the 
prediction did not como^true.® It was in 
April, 1879, that officials of the Southern 
Minnesota railroad gave out the informa- 
tion that their road would cross the Sioux 
City road on the south half of section 35, 
LaCrosse township. Tracklaying was 
completed to that point August 1 of the 
same year. 

The building of a metropolis at the 
junction did not eventuate; in fact for 
over a year absoUitely nothing was there/ 
and the place did not even boast a name, 
being referred to as "the Sioux City junc- 
tion" or "the junction." The monotony 
of the place was broken during the win- 
ter of 1880-81 by the erection of a joint 
depot, and in August, 1881, arrangements 
were made for transferring the mails at 

*The Worthington Advance of January 13, 
1876. said: "The Southern Minnesota Is Worth- 
Ington's opportunity. If the road comes here. 
Worthington become.s 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." 

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

»" . . . Then comes the 'Junction' with 
its— nothing." — Jackson Republic, November 1, 



that point. Then came an official name 
— Prairie Junction. In the spring of 
1885 James H. Drake, who owned forty 
acres of land at the junction, set out the 
grove of trees which is located just to the 
east of the depot. It was rumored at the 
time that a site was to be platted there 
and a town founded, but if anyone had 
such intentions he abandoned them. J. 
W. Barber became postmaster in 1886, 
and two years later Thomas Sweeney built 
the little store building near the depot 
and opened a restaurant. The depot at 
Prairie Junction was struck by lightning 
on the night of Sunday, May 21, 1893, 
and burned to the ground together with 
all the contents. Agent Cooper and fam- 
ily barely escaped with their lives. The 
depot was rebuilt. In recent years the 
name of the station and postoffice was 
changed from Prairie Junction to Miloma, 
the first syllables of the names Milwau- 
kee and Omaha being used to form the 


Petersburg is a little inland hamlet lo- 
cated near the center of Petersburg town- 
ship, boasting a creamery, a store, school 
house and a few residences. In the six- 
ties a postoffice named Petersburg was 
established on section 28, with Bev. Peter 
Baker as postmaster. Like most country 
postoffices it had an intermittant exist- 
ence, being discontinued and reestablished 
several times. Andrew Everson became 
postmaster in December, 1876, and at an- 
other reestablishment in July, 1888, 0. 
W. Edgecombe became postmaster. The 
office was discontinued for good in 1904, 
and beginning with October the patrons 
were sui5plied by niral free delivery. 

Some of the farmers of Petersburg 
township in 1897 organized the Peters- 
burg Dairy association, purchased a site, 
erected a creamery building and started a 

creamery under the management of Chris 
Sorenson. The next year B. A. Kittle- 
son erected a building and opened a store, 
which he conducted until the spring of 
1\)02, when he sold to the Nasby Mercan- 
tile company. The townsite was platted 
April 13, 1898, by William Schroeder. 


Bergen, named after a city in Norway, 
is a little hamlet located on sections 23 
and 26, Christiania township, where is a 
store, creamery and blacksmith shop. It 
was founded in 1895 and for several years 
maintained a postoffice. 


Before the days of rural mail delivery 
there were several country postoffices in 
Jackson county. At other places in the 
county abortive attempts have been made 
from time to time to found towns. Among 
the number were Springfield, Belmont and 
Odessa, the history of which have been 
given in preceding chapters. 

Des Moines City, located on the river 
in the north part of Des Moines town- 
ship, was another early day village. Here 
was located the only grist mill in the 
county and a sawmill. Griggs & Com- 
pany, the owner of the mills, platted a 
town in the spring of 1870, and for a 
time the village was a weak rival of 

Belmont was a country postoffice locat- 
ed in the township of the same name. It 
was first established in April, 1872, and 
Ole Tollefson was postmaster. The office 
was not on a stage line but was supplied 
by special carrier. In March, 1875, the 
office was discontinued, and the one at 
Brownsburg took its place. The Belmont 
office was reestablished in April, 1877, 
when Peter A. Sandvold was named post- 
master, but it was later discontinued. 
Again in February, 1883, a postoffice 
named Belmont was established at a point 



two miles north of Brown's mill, with 
Ole Kilen as postmaster. He was suc- 
ceeded by Robert Kiien. The postpffice 
was discontinued in December, 1886. The 
name is still preserved in the Belmont 
Creamery association, incorporated, which 
has its plant on section 27. The com- 
pany was organized in 1898 by farmers in 
Belmont, Enterprise and the northern 
part of Des Moines townships. Follow- 
ing are the officers and directors: A. J. 
Lindberg, president; John Elf son, vice 
president; L. 0. Teigen, secretary; John 
Lilleberg, treasurer; William Johnson, 
Lewis Anderson, J. K. Ofstad. 

The Round Lake postoffice, in the 
township of that name, was established 
in July, 1872, with W. A. Mosher as 
postmaster. The oflEice was supplied 
from Worth ingt