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Chid'sh story of Waseca County, Minnes 

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Cornell University Library 
612W17 C53 



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Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

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From Its First Settlement in 1854 

to the Close of the Year 1904. 

A Record of Fifty Years. 



Copyright, 1905, 

'Let me speak to the yet unknowing world 
how these things came about." — Shakespeare. 

^ ..Oi;|,, , , 

I'M I VI fif-ri V 


/]. 7/^-^7^ 

From the Press of 


Whiting & Luers, 



"Why don't you write a history of Waseca county?" asked 
Rev. G. C. Tanner, one day in the year 1890. 

And as that question often came to me in leisure moments, for 
several weeks, I iinally concluded to invest a dime in cheap paper, 
and note down, in odd hours, such facts concerning the early set- 
tlement of this country as I could recall and as might be of interest 
to its residents, present and future ; and, in connection therewith, 
to gather together all the historic facts that I might be able to 
obtain both from persons and from official sources. 

In this undertaking I have made no attempt at rhetorical dis- 
play and effect, but in the plainest language possible, have de- 
scribed the events which make up the history of the county. It 
may not be possible for one who has been intimately connected 
with the public and political life of the county to be entirely im- 
partial an unbiased, as its historian, but I have spared no effort 
to be fair and accurate as regards persons, parties, interests, and 
localities. I have found many difficulties in this undertaking, 
for individual tastes and interests differ so widely that what 
might be of great interest to one would have no attractions for 
another. I therefore determined, at the commencement, to 
"spread out a whole bill of fare" and allow my readers to select 
for themselves. No doubt there are many facts and incidents of 
note omitted in this work, although I have made every possible 
effort to include everything of public interest. The fact is, dear 
' ' Old Settler, ' ' you who are left out of the record have not always 
responded to the invitation to furnish facts within your own 


recollection for this •work, and you should remember this in your 

I cannot close this preface without expressing my sincere 
thanks to those who have so materially aided me in this work by 
furnishing facts and data within their own knowledge. 

One object of this work, to be frank about it, was to get enough 
money out of it to pay the printer^,, and paper dealers, and another 
object, of much greater importance, was to furnish to every person 
in the county a faithful record of township and county events 
from the earliest settlement by white men. How well I have 
succeeded I must leave others to judge. I can only hope that 
this record may be received by the public with the same liberal 
and charitable spirit in which it has been written. 


CHAPTER I, 1854-5. 


No longer ago than 1854, the present comity of Waseca was a 
portion of that extensive region of country known as Blue Earth 
county. Not a single white man then had a habitation within 
its borders. The solitude of nature was broken only occasionally 
by some hunter and trapper, and by wandering bands of Sioux 
Indians. The buffalo, the elk, and the deer had, for ages, roamed 
its wild prairies and woodlands; fishes had basked undisturbed 
in its lakes and rippling streams; the muskrat, the otter, and the 
mink had gamboled upon the ice in winter with no white man to 
molest them. Ducks, geese, and other aquatic fowls, in countless 
numbers, covered the lakes and streams in summer, and chattered 
and squawked and frolicked in all their native glory and happi- 
ness. The prairie wolf howled upon each little hillock, and, 
coward-like, was always ready to attack and destroy the weak and 
defenseless. Pocket gophers went on with their interminable 
underground operations, all unconscious of the inroads soon to 
be made upon their dominions by the husbandman. Grouse and 
prairie chickens cackled, crowed, and strutted in all their pride. 
Blizzards and cyclones swept unheeded across its vast domains. 

The autumnal prairie fires, in all their terrible grandeur and 
weird beauty, lighted the heavens by night and clouded the sun 
by day. Age after age had added alluvial richness to the soil and 
prepared it to be one of the most productive fields of the world 
for the abode of the husbandman and for the uses of civilized 

The enquiring and philosophical mind, at times, finds food for 


reflection in the fact that an overruling Providence sent the 
Pilgrim Fathers first to the rock-bound coast of New England 
to clear the forests and to settle that country, but reserved the 
rich and productive prairie-lands of the West, ready prepared 
for the plow and the mower for descendants and followers. 
It is a pleasure to record the early settlement of a county which, 
for fifty consecutive years, has never suffered a total failure of 
crops or even a half failure, and where general thrift and pros- 
perity, for all that time, have attended and rewarded the hand of 
industry and the spirit of frugality : 

"Where the ghiduing sunlight iirstlcd. 

Where all Nature's beauty slept 
Unrevealed to cultured vision, 

Where the savage wail'd and wept, 
When his son or sire had given 

To the Spirit World his breath. 
Find we here a famous region, 

(Sunny side of 'Minne's' face) 
With lovely lakes and richest soil, 

Stately in its quiet grace,— 
A healthy home for sons of toil." 

CHAPTER II, 1854-5. 


So far as practicable, the historical events in this volume are 
recorded in the order in which they came to pass, instead of being 
grouped under certain headings or classifications This may re- 
quire a little more space, but the author thinks it will afford an 
easier comprehension of the various facts presented. 

and Mr. Sutlief's three oldest children, Delancy, Rhoda and 
Delaney, were the first white settlers in this county. Taking 
with them quite a drove of cattle and sheep, they started from 
the town of Herman, Dodge county, Wisconsin, in the month of 
June, 1854, with ox teams and covered wagons, to seek a new home 
in the land of "Laughing Waters." They passed over the ]\Iis- 
sissippi at La Crosse, traveled across the country in a westerly 
direction, struck the Minnesota river at Traverse, now St. Peter, 
and settled on a claim some five or six miles west of that place. 

To give an idea of the vicissitudes of such a journey at that 
time, the following from the pen of Hon. G. W. Green, well known 
to all the early settlers of this region, will be valuable and inter- 
esting. He wrote : 

"In the summer of 1854 I left Beaver Dam, Wis., in company with 
Messrs. Hollingsworth, Bradley and Boomer for the purpose of seeing 
some portion of Southern Minnesota with an idea of settling there. 
Arriving at La Crosse, we purchased material for camping and ferried, 


across the Mississippi river. One log house, nearly finished, greeted us 
on the west side of the river opposite La Crosse. That was all there 
was then of La Crescent. The next house, twenty-four miles distant, 
was occupied hy a Thompsonlan physician, by name Bently, who had 
concluded to mix -daim-taking and rudimentary farming with his pro- 
fession. Some miles further on, whei* now is St. Charles, was one more 
log house kfept as a tavern by one Springer. 'There was a newly made 
wagon track extending about ten miles further on, where a young man 
and his wife, by the name of Potter, had taken a claim and were building 
a small house. One story of it was finished and the chamber floor laid 
of loose boards, but without any roof. They invited us to stay with 
them over night. We did so. During the night it rained hard, and we 
got thoroughly soaked. After breakfast the next morning we started 
on without any track and no guide but our pocket compass. 

"About noon of this day we came up with Mr. A. G. Sutllef, who was 
moving with his family from Dodge county, Wisconsin, to a point near 
Traverse des Sioux (a missionary post near where St. Peter now is), so 
named because it was at this place that the Sioux Indians forded the 
river. Mr. Sutllef was a noted pioneer of Wisconsin, but he knew 
little more than we did as to the most feasible route to his destination. 
Mr. Holllngsworth was Sutllef's father-in-law, and we very willingly 
accepted their kind invitation to keep them company to their new 
home. Mr. Sutlief had with him a large herd of cattle and sheep. We 
crossed the Ashland prairie near the head of the Straight and Zumbro 
rivers, and near the Oak Glen lakes. Within one mile of Straight river, 
we camped for dinner. 


"After dinner Mr. Sutlief wanted me to go with him and look for a 
suitable place to cross the river. We went to the river, and, finding no 
desirable crossing, concluded to cross further up, near what seemed, by 
the appearance of the timber, to be a very considerable bend in the 
river, apparently some five or six miles away. It was. agreed that 
Sutlief should go back and guide the teams, while I should cross the 
river and travel up to the proposed crossing. 

"Without thinking much about the company, I went slowly on until 
I came to the place where Dr. Kenyon afterwards lived. I could see or 
hear nothing of Sutlief or the company, not even a cow-bell, several of 
which I knew were In use on the cattle and sheep. I tried as well as I 
could to find their whereabouts. Although but a short distance below 
the proposed crossing, I could not find any trace of them before It was 
dark. As fate would have it, I had neither coat nor blanket, jack-knife 
nor matches, ax nor hatchet. 

"Tired out and hungry, I laid myself under a tree to rest, and was 
very soon asleep. With no breakfast, I renewed my search for the com- 
pany, going on up the. river to a point where a Mr. Bennett afterwards 
settled, but found no signs. I then concluded to follow down the river 


as long as my strength should last, unless I found something more 
desirable. Before proceeding, however, I pulled off a hoot and, with a 
pin, wrote upon a smooth part of the boot-leg my name, thus: 'G. W. 
Green, Beaver Dam, Wis.,' not knowing but that some one would find 
my bones and hoots, and thereby my friends might hear from me. I 
had a little matter of $700 in my pockets, which, in case I should be lost, 
this act might be the means of my family getting. I had no other way 
of writing." After this preparation for the worst that might befall me, 
I started down the river, traveling slowly until nearly sun-down, when 
I found the trail where the company had crossed the river, not over 
half a mile above where I had left Sutlief. With new courage and zeal 
I started on this trail. I followed it a short distance without any trouble, 
but, darkness coming on, the trail became invisible and I lost It. In 
hunting for it I stumbled and fell, and my weariness and exhaustion 
were such that I did not feel disposed to rise. I unconsciously fell asleep. 

"When I awoke the sun was high up and shining brightly. Reinvigor- 
ated by my sound and restful sleep, I soon found the trail, and, following 
it slowly a short time, I observed two men approaching me. They 
were of our company. Looking up towards the timber, about three 
miles from where they had crossed the river, I saw the wagons and the 
remainder of the company. They had camped there early in the after- 
noon of the day I was lost, expecting I would see and come to them. 
When night came and I did not appear, they built a large fire and kept 
it going all night, hoping thereby to attract my attention. The next 
day they spent on horseback looking for me without avail. 

"When I arrived in camp, they represented to me that my eyes were 
staring, and my lips and tongue swollen. Mrs. Sutlief prepared me 
something to eat, but I had no appetite and could eat nothing of it, 
instead thereof calling for a cup of sour milk which I drank with relish. 
I took but very little nourishment except sour milk the rest of that 
day. My appetite slowly returning, the next day I ate sparingly, but it 
was some three or four days before I could partake of an ordinary meal. 

"From that place we proceeded to Beaver lake, just east of New Rich- 
land, crossing its outlet where the road now runs. Here we saw an 
Indian and tried to get some idea from him what course to take to reach 
the Minnesota river, but failed to secure any correct information. 
Crossing some of the rivulets that unite to form the Le Sueur river 
and following along down that stream, we forded it near where the 
village of St. Mary was afterwards built. We wandered on, we knew 
not whither, until we struck Minnesota lake. Here we stayed two days 
and looked for signs. At last, about three miles west of the lake, we 
found a freshly-made Indian trail going southwest. We concluded that 
the Indians had gone on a hunting expedition and that they had congre- 
gated at the Minnesota river, starting en masse from there. JSTot know- 
ing anything better to do, we took this trail back ^nd struck Mankato 
July 4th, 1854. 

"Mankato then consisted of one family, who kept a log boarding house. 


and one man, who presided over a saloon made of small poles. No other 
evidence of civilization (?) met our gaze. From this point we proceeded 
to Sutlief's claim which he made about six miles west of St. Peter, 
remaining with him one day. We then followed the trail down the Min- 
nesota river to St. Paul, which was at that time little more than an 
Indian trading post, not as large as St. Anthony then was, and Minneapolis 
had not yet been spoken of. Here we boarded a steamer for La Crosse, 
from which point we took our way homeward by our own conveyance. 

"At the time Of this trip, the prairies were covered with luxuriant 
grasses from three and a half to four feet high. Deer and elk roved at 
will, several large herds coming within our view. After leaving Potter's 
house, before mentioned, we saw no other house until our arrival in 

"I made no definite location on this trip, but concluded to return to 
the vicinity of Straight or Le Sueur river, with my family, and then 
make my location. G. W. GREEN." 

The following August Judge Green returned with his family 
and settled at Owatonna, as will more fully appear in these annals. 

'Mr. .Sutlief had been staying only a few days on his claim, near 
St. Peter, when he accepted an offer of $100 for his "right of 
possession." He then returned to ]Mankato, where he left his 
family and stock, and sought a new location "far from the haunts 
of busy men." After much traveling and a thorough inspection 
of a large extent of country, he selected a portion of sectii^i 32, 
town of Wilton, as his future home. The most of his family still 
reside there. He arrived at this claim with his family and st.ick 
early in August, and at once broke about two acres of in'airie. 
He then set about building a "shanty" for himself and family, 
and providing shelter for his cattle and sheep. It was a work of 
some magnitude to prepare for winter, but his energy and industry 
with the efficient aid of his worthy wife, ovei-came all obstacU's. 
and, in a few weeks, he was ready to return to Wisconsin with his 
wife and children to remain during the winter. But before start- 
ing for Wisconsin with his family, he planned to go to La Crosse 
to get a supply of provisions inv Luther Barrett, a hmitcr and 
trapper, who was to stay on the claim and feed and care foi- the 
sheep and cattle until Siitliefs return the following January. 

On his trip to La Crosse, he met .ludge (Ireen, on Ashland prai- 
rie, who, with his family, eleven men, seven ox teams and wagons. 
and eighty head of cattle, mostly cows and youuu' stock, left 
Beaver Dam, Wis., August 12th. Judge Green, havmo' more 


supplies than he could easily haul, Mr. Sutlief concluded to return 
■with him. Arriving at Straight river, where Owatonna is now 
located, they found that stream so swollen with recent copious 
rains that they could not cross it with their heavy loads. Here 
they found A. B. Cornell and family, the lirst settlers of Steele 
county, and here they pitched their tents and took counsel with 
each other. Judge Green in his reminiscences writes : 

"As we all desired to locate near together, it was decided to leave the 
women and children with a couple of men as guards and to watch the 
stock, while the rest of the company should go on to the Le Sueur river 
country. The next day we crossed Straight river with three wagons, 
four yoke of oxen and one cow. The men camped on the west side of 
the river that night, and I went back to the tent and stayed with my 
family. It rained a large portion of the night. In the morning we started, 
bearing southwest. It rained by spells and there was a well defined 
stream in every ravine. We went on to Beaver lake and struck our old 
trail made on the first trip. In crossing one of the head rivulets of Le 
Sueur river, then a roaring torrent, one of the men, with boots on as 
high as his knees, stood upon the back end-board of a wagon box, 
holding to the top of the wagon cover, and yet got wet; so this was called 

"We looked over the prairie and woodlands between Sutlief's claim and 
what was afterward Wilton. We liked the country and concluded to 
make claims there, which we did; but still it rained, rained! The men 
got wet and cold and finally homesick or sick of the country. They 
said the country would all overflow in a wet spell, and, should they 
settle there, no one else would venture so far from civilization for the 
next 100 years, and for the rest of their natural lives and those of their 
families they would be there without bridges or other improvements, 
except such as they should improvise am,ong themselves. So we went 
back to Straight river, reluctantly leaving Mr. S. and family alone on the 
Le Sueur. On the 20th of September I staked out my claim, at Owatonna, 
and my men went to work cutting hay. In two weeks our hay was cut 
and stacked, our log house laid up and covered with a "shake-roof," 
with no chinking, no floors, no doors, no windows. I could not persuade 
the men to stay another day. They said there would be no other person 
settling in there for the next fifty years, and that if I managed to live 
through the winter I would return to Wisconsin in the spring. So they 
started on their return trip, and there I was, left with an invalid wife 
and three small children, no stables for stock, no house suitable for cold 
weather, and apparently no help attainable. It seemed more than I 
could do to make things endurable through the winter, but the next day 
a wagon load of ten men arrived, and I got what help I needed form 
then on." 


Mr. Sutlief, having obtained from Judge Green a supply of 
flour for winter and having made other necessary arrangements, 
vi^as ready by the latter part of November to convey his wife 
and children to Wisconsin. They made their return trip in a 
covered ox-wagon. When they reached the Mississippi, opposite 
La Crosse, the first week in December, 1854, that stream was not 
yet frozen over, and they were compelled to wait until the ice 
King formed a bridge. On the fourth day after their arrival, 
although the ice was barely strong enough to bear up a man, ]\Ir. 
Sutlief, in his rash, dare-devil way, crossed the stream by casting 
the oxen, tying their feet together, and sliding them across on 
the slippery ice by hand. The wagon also was taken over by 
hand, and Mrs. Sutlief and the children passed over on foot 
The remainder of their journey was made without any incident 
worthy of note. 



Mr. Sutlief was thoroughly enamored with Minnesota, as it 
then was, and lost no opportunity to proclaim her beauty and her 
merits. He was under agreement with Mr. Barrett, whom he had 
left upon his claim, to return in January; and on the 9th of that 
month, 1855, he started back to Minnesota with three pair of 
oxen, a wagon and a sleigh, some household goods, provisions, etc., 
and a few swine. He was accompanied and assisted by the writer 
whom he had employed for a year to take charge of his Minne- 
sota farming operations. At Fox Lake, Wis., they were joined 
by S. P. Child, of Waupun, Wis., then a boy of nineteen years. 
He was to assist in driving the teams and the swine. He owned a 
few hogs which he drove with Sutlief 's herd. 

Nothing of striking importance occurred on the journey until 
their arrival at La Crosse. At this point, they crossed the river 
after dark on thin ice that had formed after the January thaw. 
The act of crossing was a dangerous one and a less venturesome 
man than Mr. Sutlief would at least have chosen daylight for 
the undertaking. After crossing the river in safety, they proceed- 
ed about two miles, and, at nine o'clock in the evening, stopped 
at a small house occupied by a Mr. Plummer and his wife. Here 


two days were spent while Jlr. Plummer was getting ready to join 
the company. It took nearly all of one day to haul the loaded 
vehicles to the top of the river bluff, and the party returned to 
the Plummer house for the night. 

All hands turned out eaily next morning, and the first rays 
of the rising sun found them on the trail going westward. The 
day turned to be cloudy and stormy, but the drive was short, and 
just before dark they stopped at a little frame house, near the 
road, about five miles southeast of tli(- present village of St. 
Charles. The next morning, an early start was made so as to 
reach Rochester— then known as Zumbro Falls— that night, if 
possible. The weather that day was pleasant, but the snow was 
drifted deep in many places, and this made traveling very dif- 
ficult. In some places it was necessary to either shovel out or 
unhitch the teams from the vehicles and drive them back and 
forth through the snow drifts, before attempting to pass through 
with the loads; and, although the teams were urged forward as 
rapidly as shouting and whipping Avould avail, it was eleven 
o'clock that night before the travelers reached a stopping place. 
The weather had turned very cold in the afternoon. ]\Ir. Sutlief 
frosted his cheeks, ears, nose, and feet, and ]\Iessrs. Plummer, 
Griffin and S. P. Child frosted their toes slightly. 

The log hotel at which they arrived was already filled with 
travelers. The beds were all full, and the floors were nearly 
covered with sleeping men. There was no sleeping room for these 
last arrivals, except in a log shanty lean-to, with its Dutch fire- 
place. This shanty afforded about the poorest protection from 
cold that could well be imagined, even by a western pioneer. The 
roof was made of oak shakes. The crevices between the loo-s 
were not yet plastered or daubed. The prairie blizzard whistled 
through the holes and crevices with a liberality altosether 
unpleasant that night. 

The next morning the wind blew a gale and the thermometer 
indicated 20 degrees below zero, rendering traveling across the 
prairie simply impossible. All parties were compelled to remain 
over during the day. There were some forty travelers thus de- 
tained, this place being on the stage road from Dubuque to St 

Many a good story and some not so good were told that dav 


and .lokes passed among- the hotel guests in a manner peculiar to 
the \\ est. One fellow, a liq^^or peddler, was quite chagrined 
at finding his liquor keg bottom end up and his whisky spread 
out in the snow. The erdwd insisted that he had been on a spree, 
and had left the keg in that condition himself; and, as no one 
pretended to know anything to the contrary, he was obliged 
to smother his pent-up wrath and make the best of the situation. 
His attempt at the retail business in the morning was, without 
doubt, the primaiy cause of his sad bereavement— at least some 
of the ladies intimated as much to his face. 

The Avind lulled dufiug the night, and the next morning Avas 
bright and pleasant, though still cold. Our first settlers tackled 
up early and stai'ted across the prairie for Mantorville. That 
village was then less than a year old and contained only three or 
four small cabins. It was the last settlement on the route of 
our "first settlers" until they should reach their destination on 
the Le Sueur. 

Think of the recklessness, not to say foolhardiness, of the trip. 
Imagine, if you will, good reader, five men and a woman with her 
babe about to start across a wind-howling prairie, in the midst of 
winter with the thermometer 10 degrees below zero, without any 
road, not even a track, and withoiit a tent, to spend three days 
and two nights, at the least, with no shelter save the starry heav- 
ens. The whole company might have perished in a blizzard! 
JSuch was the thoughtless untlertaking of those men on the morn- 
ing of the 31st of January, 1S55. 

After loading on what hay they could take along they left Slan- 
torville bearing south of west across the trackless prairie until 
they struclv the southern tier of sections in township 106. They 
then kept due west, guided by section po.sts, set the fall before 
by government surveyors. A little after noon they ran into one 
of those deep, narrow creeks which abound along the Zumbro 
river, and nearly lost one yoke of oxen. After considerable hard 
work and some delay, they rescued the "Nucky Steers," as the 
oxen wei-e called, and finally succeeded in crossing the stream 
with no serious damage. Without further mishap, they traveled 
until about sunset when they arrived at a small grove of bur oaks, 
near the source of one branch of the Zumbro river. Here they 
concluded to camp for the night. The oxen were soon unyoked 


and fed, a large campfire was built, supper was prepared and 
consumed, stories were told, and songs were sung. The weather 
was reasonably pleasant, with a slight wind from the west. 

About nine o'clock, they spread their hay beds upon the snow 
under the wagons, and laid themselves down for the night, 
covering up head and ears with quilts and blankets. All slept 
soundly until three o'clock the next morning when all hands were 
aroused by the cry of "fire!" coming from Mr. Sutlief, who 
had been warmed out. The wind had changed to the south in 
the night and, blowing briskly, had thrown the fire on 'Mr. 
Sutlief 's bed. It took some time to extinguish the flames in 
the bed-clothing: and when that had been accomplished and the 
travelers had about' recovered from the excitement caused b.v 
the fire, they discovered that the cattle had all left, taking the 
back track toward the settlement. The Child brothers started 
in pursuit with furious and at a frantic rate of foot- 
speed. The cattle were overtaken at the creek where the difficul- 
ty in crossing occurred the day before and were ordered back to 
camp in the forcible language peculiar to the ox-teamster of the 
AVest. The two men returned to camp half an hour before sun- 
rise, partook of a hearty breakfast with the rest of the company, 
and, just as the sun made its appearance, all hands started in a 
due westerly course. The day was intensely cold and much 
activity M'as required to keep warm. There was a hard crust on 
the snow, which impeded progress and cut the legs of the cattle 
to such an extent that blood was left in their tracks. Several 
deep snow drifts Avere encountered within the day. Thes.^ caused 
some delay and much labor. 

That night the emigrants encamped in a thicket of hazel brush 
and poplar trees, with some bur oaks intermingled. This was on 
the west side of Straight river and several miles south of Owa- 
tonna. It was an excellent place for a camp in winter, the brush 
and trees forming a thicket which was an admirable protection 
for both man and beast. The main difficultv of these pioneers 
was want of food for tlu> cattle. No hay was left for them ex 
cept what was in the beds, and only a .small allowance of -rain 
remamed. That night th.. cmpany took the precaution to secure 
the oxen with head ropes. 

The men clearing away the brush and snow, soon made a cheer\- 


campfire, and Mrs. Plummer prepared a warm supper, which 
was eaten with a relish. No one- complained of a lack of appetite. 
The members of the company were not so much given to song 
and stories and funny jokes as they had been on the previous 
evening. The romance of camping out in midwinter had lost to 
them, after their two days' experience, something of its imaginary 
charms. They piled high the campfire with fuel and retired early 
to their hay beds, which were spread upon the snow-covered 
ground. The wind came up from the northwest in the evening, 
and before morning the weather was intensely cold. Long before 
daylight, the next morning, they arose, fed the cattle what hay 
there was in the beds, and ate their own breakfast. As soon as 
there was light enough to enable them to keep their course, they 
renewed their journey. They crossed the LeSueur river, in the 
town of New Richland, with some difficulty, the banks of the 
stream being very steep. Soon after crossing the river, they 
reached the height of the prairie level. They could then see, 
and took it for their guide, a large bur-oak tree standing alone 
on section thirty-six, in Wilton about a mile from the Sutlief 
shanty. Never were weary mortals more pleased than were those 
first settlers when Mr. Sutlief announced that that tree was 
within a mile of his claim. 

They reached the Sutlief place at four o'clock p. m., rejoiced 
to find Mr. Barrett alive and well. To say that every member of 
the company was thankful for this safe resting place is a very 
mild way of expressing his feelings on that occasion. 

The condition and appearance of the country, at that time, 
however, were neither very pleasing nor inviting to the most of 
the pioneers, for they had come from a heavy timbered country. 
To the south and west, as far as the eye could reach, there 
was a vast expanse of bleak prairie, without either tree or shrub, 
swept by the howling blasts of winter and covered with snow, 
sleet and ice. The few trees along the river looked to them then 
to be short and scrubby; the weather was intensely cold; it was 
thirty-five miles to the nearest postoffice— Mankato ; they could 
get no newspapers and no letters, except at long intervals of time ; 
there were no houses, no barns, no fences, no roads, no bridges, 
no human beings to be seen in any direction. This shanty was then 


the only human habitation l)etw(M-ii what was afterwards known 
as the Winnebago agency and (Jwatonna— the oidy one within the 
present limits of AA'aseca county. 

The writer mentally resolved, within a week after his arrival, 
to return to Wisconsin as soon as his term of service should ex- 
pire. But when the month of June came, what a ehanuv ! The 
irees had put forth their fresh, green foliaue; the prairies were 
decked with the most gorgeous flowers ; feathered songsters held 
grand jubilee concerts in every gi-ove, and prairie chickens in 
endless numbers made early morn melodious with their merry 
love-making. Xo more enchanting picture of a grand, rich coun- 
try ever met the eye of man than that presented in the valley of 
the L.'Siieiii- during the summer of 185.5. 



CHAPTER IV, 1855. 


Shortly after their arrival at !Sutlief'& place, JMessrs. Barrett, 
Sutlief and y. P. Child started for Mankato with a portion of 
Sutlief 's cattle in order to get them kept there until spring, as 
the hay was running short. Mr. Sutlief returned within a few da.vs, 
leaving S. P. Child at Van Brunt's sawmill to get in logs for lum- 
ber. j\Ir. Barrett had a claim of his own near South Bend and 
remained there. Van Brunt's mill was on the LeSueur river, 
about five miles east of Mankato. Owing to some misunderstand- 
ing, S. P. Child, after remaining at the mill a few days, started 
to return to Sutlief's claim, intending to stop on the way, over 
night, at the shanty of Mansfield and Callens, who then resided 
about four miles south of what was soon after known as Winne- 
bago Ager.e^-. Mr. Child found no one about the home and the 
door was locked; he therefore concluded to push through to 
Sutlief's that day. This was a most unwise decision, for he had 
nearly twenty-five miles to travel before he would reach the 
Sutlief place. There was no road, and half the forenoon was 
already spent. He should have forced open the door and re- 
mained over night. But he was young, strong, and impetuous, 
and, thinking he could get through in good time, he started on. 
The snow was deep, especially in low places and in ravines, often 
taking him in waist deep. It was also covered with crust, strong 


enough to hold him up in some places, while in other places it 
would break through. During the middle of the day the weather 
was mild, and some of the snow that worked into his boots melted, 
making his socks and boots quite wet. Toward evening the 
weather became much colder and, despite all his efforts, his feet 
began to freeze soon after dark. There was no track he could 
follow, no land mark he could see, and he was enabled to keep his 
course only by a star which he selected as his guide. One can, 
perhaps, better imagine than describe the feelings and emotions 
of one so young thus toiling on with frozen feet, nerved by the 
hope of reaching shelter and by the prospect of perishing with 
cold and fatigue on an uninhabited prairie with only prairie 
wolves to gather at his deathbed. Hour after hour wore away, 
his feet to his ankles were frozen hard; drowsiness came over 
him ; the prairie' wolves howled in the distance ; yet no sign 
of the shanty could be discovered. Though much exhausted and 
discouraged, he struggled on. He had passed the shanty to the 
south. Death was certain if he went forward. 

Fortunately for him the inmates of the cabin were at work 
much later than usual that evening ; by mere chance he discov- 
ered the light, and to the great astonishment of all present came 
in about eleven o'clock more dead than alive. His boots and 
socks were frozen tight to his feet and ankles, and some time 
and much labor were required to remove them. 

The suffering he endured for many weeks can not be described. 
No medical aid could be obtained, and the flesh on his feet liter- 
ally rotted away, leaving the blackened bones of his toes ex- 
posed, ilany weeks of pain passed before he could step on his 
±eet and it was months before he could wnlk without the aid of 
crutches. Most of the discolored bones of his toes were taken 
off by his brother who used a razor in the work of amputation. 
In the latter part of the following April, he was conveyed to 
Mankato where surgical aid was obtained and the other injured 
bones were removed. B>- July following he had so far recovered 
the use of his feet that he took the position of government 
cook at the Winnebago Agency, among the Winnebago Indians, 
These Indians had been brought to their reservation during the 
month of June of that year— Gen. Fletcher being the auent at 
that time. 

CHAPTER V, 1855. 


About two weeks after the arrival of Mr. Sutlief and his com- 
pany, as detailed in chapter three, Mr. Christopher Scott and fam- 
ily, accompanied by a man called "Pat," came over from Straight 
i-iver, where they had been staying since the previous fall. They, 
too, i/^ere from Wisconsin, near Fox Lake. This family stayed, 
or "hung up," in the Sutlief cabin, which, on their arrival, was 
pretty we)] filled; at least, it contained twelve persons, although 
it was only 14xlC feet with no chamber room. But in those days 
the stranger was welcome so long as there was standing room in 
the abode of the pioneer. 

]Mr. Scott immediately made a claim about a mile north of Sut- 
lief 's. This claim is now owned by Jlr. John Carmody, Sr. Mr. 
Scott commenced building a cabin, which was constructed of 
logs notched together at the corners; the building was "shin- 
gled" with basswood troughs; the crevices between the logs and 
troughs were chinked with prairie grass, cut in February, and 
then daubed, or plastered, with mud ; the floor was the frozen 
ground, and the "banking" around the cabin was made of snow. 
There was no lumber in the country nearer than Mankato, and 
such a cabin was all that could be constructed with the materials 
at hand. Mrs. Scott having two or three small children, the bot- 
tom of a wagon box was brought in and laid upon the ground for 
them to play on, and for Mrs. Scott to use as a sort of sitting room. 
Near the close of February Mr. -Sutlief started for Dodge coun- 


ty, Wis., leaving Ms business in Minnesota in charge of J. E. Child. 
Mr. Scott, who was goin>i- to La Crosse for provisions, accompan- 
ied Mr. Sutlief. They went 1)\' way of Owatonna, having learned 
that several teams had been driven from Owatonna to La Crosse 
within the month of Feln-uary. Mr. Sutlief reached his destination 
in due time; and Mr. Scott, after a long and laborious struggle 
and much expense, returned with a small supply of flour and 

CHAPTER VI, 1855. 


The first week in Rlarch brought a thaw and a freshet. The 
snow entirely disappeared and the weather M-as warm and pleas- 
ant. So, on a very fine Sunday morning I concluded to take a tour 
oi' inspection around Silver Lake. In passing around the 
lake, when crossing its outlet on what is now the Pat Mad- 
den farm, I broke through the ice and was thoroughly 
ilj-enched in ice water. Very soon after this baiitism, the 
wind sprang up from the northwest and before I reached 
the cabin that afternoon, a severe snow storm was raging. In 
returning from school section 36, that m'eniiig, where I was 
obliged to go to feed the cattle, I faced the storm for half a mile, 
and my eyes were injured by the hail and sleet. I also contracted 
a severe cold that day, and the next morning my eyes were 
so inflamed that I could not open them nor bear the light. I was 
in a "Fletcherian fix" being all alone, with fifty cattle and sheep 
to feed and water, and I as blind as a bat. I tried to raise the only 
neighbors— those at Scott's claim a mile away— by loading and 
firing a rifle that was in the cabin; but this availed nothing. 

However, as good luck would have it, the storm ceased about 
noon, and Mr. Plummer from Scott's claim, came over on an 
errand. He fed and watered the stock, brought in some wood and 
promised to return next morning. I could see no better that day 
than on the previous day ; so, when Rlr. Plummer had cared for 


the cattle, he proposed that I should go with him to the Scott 
cabin where ilrs. Scott could poultice my eyes and care for 
them. The proposition was grati^fully accepted. 

"Sim" said that as soon as spring should arrive, he could fur- 
nish the eyes if "Pat" would the le^s, and they would "leg it" 
back to the scenes of their childhood, etc. 

After being kindly treated for a week, I so far recovered my 
sight that I was able to return to the Sutlief cabin and attend to 
my duties. The country was really having a second winter in 
Jlarch. The weather was cold, and ice had again formed on all 
the streams and ponds. A morning or two after I had returned 
to the Sutlief cabin, and while I was preparing my breakfast, 
I heard rapping at the door and said "come in." A stranger, 
looking haggard enough, Avalked in, and, grasping me by the hand, 
expressed his joy at finding a cabin and some one living in it. He 
snid that he and another man, during the warm spell of weather 
had left tlie northernmost settlement, on the Des ^loines river, 
in Iowa, with a horse and "jumper," bound for ]Mankato. Ou 
the third day of their journey they had met the heavy snowstorm 
which had swept over the Northwest, and partly lost their course, 
but struck the headwaters of the LeSueur on the east side, and, 
supposing it to be the Blue Earth river, had followed along down, 
expecting to find the Mankato settlement. 

For three days preceding their arrival here, they had been 
without anything to eat, except a few ears of corn that they had 
brought along for horsefeed. The horse had subsisted for s.'veral 
days on nothing save dead prairie grass, and the browse from the 
bushes in the small groves along their route. One of the men 
Vwis nearly blind from exi)osure to wind, sun, and storm, and both 
were very much reduced in strength for want of food and rest. 
The horse was nearly starved. They had come into the river 
bend opposite the Sutlief calun the evening before and had 
camped over night, almost discouraged and with little hope of 
ever reaching .Mankato or seeing their families again. Within 
the night they thought they could hear oeeasionally, the sound 
ol a cow hell, and at early dawn they surely heard the roosters 
eiow. Hope revived; and, as thiylight came on, the uuui who 
could yet see, following the sounds which they had heard, 
ci-ossed the river and found the shanty. They were ehullv wel- 


corned, and remained at the cabin several days before they and 
their horse were strong enough to pursue their journey to Man- 
kato. I never saw nor heard of them afterwards. 



The latter part of ilai-eh, after enduring- all sorts of hardships. 
Chris Scott returned from his trip to La Crosse for provisions, 
AYith him came two brothei's, (Jeorge Kobl)ins and Wni. Bobbins. 
young- and single men from Canada. They made claims on the 
east side of the river, opposite -^vhat was afterwards the vil- 
lage of Wilton, and where once was located a paper town called 
Walerlyiiii. Wm. Robbins, about this time, had a little experi- 
ence in being lost on the prairie. He was eiiiplo>-ed to drive a 
team and take S. P. Child to ^lankato for suri;ical treatment. 
That was in April. AVlien they ai-i'ived at the .Mansfield and 
Callens' cabin, they learned lliat the water was so high in the 
Le Siieur river that they could not cross it to go on to ilankato. 
So it was ari-anged that Child and the team should remain wdii 
Mansfield and Callens imtil the waters should subside, and then u-o 
to I\Iankato, and Robbins should at once return to the Sutlief 
settlement on foot and report the condition of afit'airs. Tie left 
there early in the luorniiig, having with him a rille and a small 
supply of anununition. It seems that he went carelessly nlonir, 
shooting at birds, until well along in the afternoon, when it (n>- 
curred to him that he ought lo be near home. He looked in i>ver\- 
direction, but coidd see no object that look,>(l like anything:- he 
had ever seen before. But he was on a wagon trail and Uiought 
that tliai would lead him home. He had th(niuhllessly expended 
all his anununition, and night found him upon the open prairie 


Avithout food, fuel, or even a blanket. He dared not move about 
much after dark for fear he would lose the wagon track. The 
next morning he was totally at a as to which direction to 
Ko. He finally followed the trail in a southerly direction, and 
a<i'ain he spent the, night upon the prairie, without food or fire. 
Fortunately on the third day he met some government land sur- 
veyors on their way to :\Iankato who, like good Samaritans, took 
pity on him, fed and warmed him, and carried him back to 
the .Alansfield and Callens" place. It seems that xAien he left that 
place he took an old wagon trail leading south, instead of taking 
the Sutlief track leading east. Three days afterwards, he returned 
to our settlement somewhat wiser than when he left. 

As soon as the watei's subsided so that the Le Sueur could be 
forded, S. P. Child proceeded to ]\Iankato, where his feet re- 
ceived the long-needed treatment. He then returned, to the set- 
tlement about two weeks after Robbins' return. 


A little matter occurred at this time that shows the reckless- 
ness of frontier life. ]Mr. Sutlief, while on his trip to ;\Iankato 
in February, had sold on credit, a pair of young oxen to a man 
named Wentworth, and had taken as security a chattel mortgage 
on the team. He left the chattel mortgage with nie and told me 
to keep an eye out for the cattle. When S. P. Child returned, 
he told me that Wentworth was sick of the country and would 
start for California as soon as the grass should grow. Wentworth 
lived about one and a half miles south of ^lansfield and Callens. 
I went out to that place on foot, a few days after my brother 's re- 
turn, and stayed with ^Mansfield and Callens over night. They 
confirmed the report that Wentworth was selling off his personal 
effects and making arrangements to leave as soon as possible, 
and that he was trying to sell the Sutlief oxen. So, the next morn- 
ing, I went to see him, supposing that he would pay for the 
oxen or, at least, give them up, as he had not paid anything on 
them. He very coolly told me that he should not pay for them nor 
give them up. Pie said the note was not due till a year from date 
and he should not pay it till then. He admitted that he should 
leave as soon as he could and take the cattle with him. I told 
him then that the cattle would have to be taken on the mort- 


gage, and tried to convince him that he had no right to hold the 
cattle, either in law or equity; but talk was of no avail. I 
then went to the yard, put the yoke on the oxen, and started 
to drive them out through the bars. Wentworth stood in the bar- 
way with a club and drove them back. I then tore down the 
yard fence on the other side and tried to drive them out there, 
but Went\vorth met them there and drove them back. For some 
time we drove the cattle back and forth; finally we came to a 
clinch. During the struggle, the oxen went out of the yard, 
and as soon as Wentworth could get loose and regain his feet 
he ran for the house ; I ran for the oxen and started them east as 
fast as possible. I had not gone more than eight rods before 
Wentworth came out with a shot gun and ordered me to stop or 
he Avould shoot. Well, matters were getting serious. I had no 
shooting iron. I didn't believe, however, that Wentworth would 
shoot at me, so I said "Shoot and be d— d." And sure enough 
Wentworth did shoot. I was badly seared, but I was satisfied that 
it I could get hold of Wentworth before the gun could be re- 
loaded, I could soon put an end to the shooting business; 
so I made a run for the angry man, who ran into bis shanty 
and barred the door before I reached it. Then I knew it was time 
for me to leave if I expected to leave at all, and I accordingly 
left as fast as my legs could carry me. Fortunately for me, 
the cattle had kept on in the track leading to the Sutlief settlement, 
and I soon overtook them and put them into a trot which was kept 
up for some distance. I saw Wentworth come out of his shanty 
with his gun and walk towards me a short distance, then turn 
back and disappear into his cabin. I kept a "weather eye" out 
for my contestant all that day, and for some days after my return, 
but T never again saw the man, who soon after left the Territory.' 



Martin Krassin and John G. Greening, next to Mr. Sutlief, 
Avere the oldest land lookers of the county. Martin was a native 
of Prussia, born in the year 1821, and came to America with his 
family in July, 1854, stopping temporarily with his brothers, near 
Princeton, Wisconsin. He left his young wife there in the fall of 
1854. and with Greening made an extensive tour of Minnesota, the 
greater part of the way on foot. They passed through this sec- 
tion, pushed on to the Minnesota river, thence down that stream 
and on to St. Paul, whence they proceeded to La Crosse by 
boat, and thence to Krassin 's family in Wisconsin. As soon as 
grass started the next spring, i\Ir. Krassin, in company with his 
father and mother, his wife and one child, his brother, John F. ; 
his brother-in-law Gottlieb Prechel, who was accompaned by wife 
;;,nd children; his voungest sister, Justina, now Mrs. J. E. Child; 
Fred Wobschall, Fred Proechel (Big Fred) ; and John G. Green- 
ing and family, made preparations to move to i\Iinnesota. The 
journey was a toilsome one, and they did not arrive until about 
the first of June, 1855. 

They intended at first to settle about where Steve Krassin has 
a farm near the southwest corner of St Jlary township, but they 
soon learned that the Winnebago Indians owned the western tier 
of sections in St. Mary, and they were obliged to seek other loca- 


tioiis. :\rartin, his father, Gottlich, Si-., and his brother, John F., 
iiifidc claims in sections 84 and 35. Fred Prechel, then a single 
man, made his claim in section 34, next to .Martin's. Fred Wob- 
schall, also a bachelor at that time, made his claim in section 
:i5, where he resided up to the time of his death. All of these 
were in St. ^lary township, (iottlieb Prechel and family first 
settled in the same township, on section 312, but the next year 
exchanged with Christian Krassin and settled mi section 27, in 
St. ]\Iary, where Mr. Prechel resided with his family until his 
death. John (i. (ireeiiins. who came with the Krassins. was the 
first blacksmith to settle in the county, and he decided to make 
bis home in the town of Otisco, on section 7. He constructed 
the first dugout in tlie county. Late that fall, his loj^- cabin took 
lire and was consumed. It was too late to build another, so he 
tiuji' out a house in a side-hill, covered it with hay and sdd. and 
livinl there during the winter very comfortably. 

Very soon after the arrival of .Alartin Krassin and his company, 
two brothers, Joseph Bird and Abram Bird, and their brother-in- 
law, John White, with their families, settled in the vicinity of 
M'liat has since been known as St. ilary. Abram Bird settle.l 
on .section 4, Wilton; Joseph Bird on Si-etion 32, St. :\Iary; and 
John Whiti', on section 33 of the latter town. The Bird brothers 
and their sister, .Mrs. White, were English by birth, while John 
White was a native of the Emerald Isle. The Birds were indus- 
trious and successful farmers. Aliram died in February, isiiit, 
leaving a widow and several children. .Joseph, about 187(1, sold 
his farm and removed to Oreudii. John White some years auo 
removed to Iosco, Avliere he died. simultaneously with the settlement of the IMessrs. Bird 
and White, came Bernard (iregory and his brother-indaw named 
Tower, with their families. The Tower family renuiined long 
enough to help .Mr. (;reg(ii-y build his log house on section 32. 
St. Mary, and then pushed on further west into what was then 
ealletl the Blue Earth valley. Mr. (iregory's family consisted of 
his wife, two daii.uliters, women gnnvn, and three stuis somewhat 
younger. Louise A. (iregory, the elder daughter, nmrried a Mr. 
Ballard. She died Au-ust If), 1S7S, aged forty-one year;., five 
months and twelve days. Martha, the younger, became the wife 
of Mr. Robert B. iMoore, of this county. She passed 'jiwav De- 


eemeber 5, 1875, aged thirty-seven years, six months and thirteen 
days. ]\Ir. Gregory died in this county July 12, 1880, aged eighty- 
one years, five months and thirteen days. His vi^ife, Amanda C, 
died February 28, 1883, aged sixty-seven years, eight months and 
fourteen days. Austin, the oldest son, died in 1888. Mr. and Mrs. 
Gregory were kind hearted, agreeable toward strangers, and, 
during their first year's residence, kindly entertained many a 
weary traveler. Peace to their ashes. 

The latter part of June, the same year, Andrew Scott and wife, 
parents of Chris. Scott, accompanied by their son, Charles D. 
Scott, with his wife, came on from Wisconsin. The old gentleman 
was a "character," having some peculiar ways. He first made a 
claim on section 24, in Wilton, which he sold to John Jenkins, 
and then made one on section 13, in the same town. After much 
suffering from blood poison, which commenced in his feet, the 
old gentleman died about 1863 in Wilton. C. D. Scott made his 
claim on the town line between Otiseo and Wilton, in sections 13 
and 18, where he lived for many years, but always in poor health. 
He finally lost nearly all his property. He died several years ago. 

CHAPTER IX, 1855. 


About the first day of July that first summer, just after sunrise, 
while near the cabin door and looking south across the prairie 
toward the headwaters of Big Boot creek, I saw what appeared 
to be, at first sight, a lone Indian coming towards me. Living 
alone, as I did that summer, I always watched the approach of 
strangers with some curiosity. I soon discovered that the man 
was not an Indian, but an unarmed white man. It was half an 
hour or more from the time the man was first seen to the time 
when he arrived at the cabin. In the meantime breakfast had 
been prepared for two. As the traveler stepped to the open 
door, he politely lifted his hat and said, in excellent German, 
' ' Guten morgen, ' ' and asked me if I could speak German ? Find- 
ing that he could make himself understood, he went on to say 
that he left Owatonna two days before, expecting to reach this 
settlement the first day. He lost the trail soon after leaving 
Owatonna, and wandered off in a southwesterly direction. As 
nearly as could be made out, he must have reached Beaver lake, 
where the first night overtook him. The next day, he traveled 
in a westerly direction, and night overtook him on the bank of 
Big Boot creek, on section 1'2, town of Byron. He had not par- 
taken of any food after leaving Owatonna. The mosquitoes and 
flies had bled him on his face and neck, which wore covered M'ith 
blotches, and he looked as though he had been sick. That morn- 
ing, about daylight, he had heard the cow and sheep bells, on 


the Sutlief ranch, and, as the morning sun lifted the curtain of 
night, he Avas overjoyed to see smolie issuing from the cabin 
stovepipe, and again to hear the sound of bells in the stock 
yards. He ate sparingly of bread and new milk for breakfast 
and then lay down to sleep. At noon he awoke, much refreshed, 
and during the afternoon helped about the work until evening, 
when I went with him to the house of Mr. Greening, three miles 
distant. He was Mr. Heinrich P. Bierman. He directly made a 
claim in sections 13, in Wilton, and 18, in Otisco, where he made 
his home the remainder of his life. He Avas a most excellent citi- 
zen. His death was accidental, being caused by a fall from a 
wagon, December 22, 1882. 

His widow at this writing resides in Waseca, and his children, 
five in number, are all residents of this state. Very soon after 
Mr. Bierman 's arrival, one of those odd characters ofttimes found 
in communities, made his appearance, and with him came his 
brother and brother's family. John Jenkins, the odd genius, 
was a bachelor from Herkimer county, "Old York State," as 
any one would learn on the very shortest acquaintance with him. 
David J. Jenkins, his brother, had a fine family. "Uncle John," 
it was given out, had some money, while David was blessed with 
wife and children, but no money to speak of. "Uncle John" 
bought a part of the Scott and Plummer claims, on sections 24 
and 13, in Wilton. David made no claim at first and lived with 
his family on John's claim, each having a cabin, although all ate 
at the same table. More will be said of these people further on, 
but here suffice it to say that, at the present writing, David J. 
Jenkins' family are living near Janesville, while "Uncle John" 
enlisted in the Fifth Minnesota Infantry and died at luka. Miss., 
August 21st, 1862. 

In July of the same year, Michael Anderson, a native of Nor- 
way, made a claim in sections 28 and 33 of Otisco. He was a 
first-class man, of native ability, and had the confidence of his 
countrymen to a marked degree. He accumulated a large farm 
property in that town, but wishing more land for his children, as 
they should attain manhood and womanhood, he removed to Nor- 
man county, in this state, some years ago, where he shortly after- 
ward died. 

Bergoff Oleson settled that fall on section 32, in the same town, 


where he resided until the time of his death. He was born in 
Norway, February 28, 1828, and came to America in ilay, 1851. 
He first settled in Dodge county, Wisconsin, where he married 
Julia Anderson, September 16, 1855. ilrs. Oleson was born in 
Norway March 14, 1837. They at once came to this country, 
thus showing what sensible young people they were. They have 
been the parents of twelve children, four of whom died in in- 

Early the same fall, Hugh and Robert ]\lcDougall, two brothers 
from Canada, natives of Scotland, settled on section 6, Otisco. 
Hugh, after remaining two years, secured his land and returned 
to Canada, where he still resides at this writing. Robert after- 
wards married and settled on his land, where he lived until his 
death, which occurred January 15, 1S87. (For particulars of his 
life, see Biographical. Sketches.) 

G. Goetzenberger and family settled on section 21, Otisco, in 
November of 1855, where they remained until their removal to 
"Waseca. Here j\Ir. Goetzenberger died some j^ears ago. His son 
Edward now resides in Minneapolis. 

Bernard Bundschu and family, now living on the Pacific coast, 
settled on section 8, Otisco, late in the fall. ilr. Bundschu died 
in the early part of 1894 in Oregon. 

CHAPTER X, 1855. 


I am under obligations to M. S. Green, Esq., deceased, for the 
following : 

The first permanent settlement in the town of Iosco was made 
in July, 1855, by Luke B. Osgood, accompanied by John H. Wheel- 
er, Daniel McDaniels, and Buel "Welsh. Mr. Osgood made his 
claim on section 20, and immediately commenced thereon the 
erection of a cabin, fourteen by sixteen feet in size, all hands 
participating in rolling up the logs and putting on a roof of 
shakes. His family moved into it, although at the time it had 
neither floor, door, nor window. It was late in the fall before 
these were added to the abode. Before the building of the cabin 
the family had camped out for three months and were glad to 
get even this humble protection from the weather. 

i\rrs. Osgood narrowly escaped death in a prairie fire, as else- 
where detailed in this volume, in the fall of 1855. 

The residents at this time of this locality, known as the Plum 
Valley settlement, lost nearly one-half of their cattle within the 
winter, owing to the poor quality of their hay. Many of the 
settlers did not arrive in time to make their hay before the 
first frosts. 

Mr. John Wheeler was also one of the first settlers and became 
a permanent citizen of Iosco where he lived on his farm until 
1886, when he removed to Nebraska. He sold out to Julius Mit- 
telstaedt. Buel Welsh went to Faribault where he remained until 
1857, working as a carpenter. After this he located in the vil- 


Ifige of Wilton, where he remained until the ancient "burg" 
became farm lands. He then removed to Alma City, where he 
spent the remainder of his days. Mr. Osgood and family, after 
living on their farm some twelve years, sold out to the ]\IessTS. 
Timlin, and moved back East, where 3Ir. Osgood died about 1883. 

ilr. McDaniels, after a few years spent here, removed to [Mis- 
souri, and there he was living at last accounts. Jake Conrad dis- 
appeared from the settlement in 1858, and his whereabouts have 
since been unknown to persons of this section. 

David Wood settled on section 2, Iosco, the same season, where 
he resided until his death in ilay, 1898. He was born in Scotland 
in 1820, and came to America in 1848. He landed at Quebec and 
spent the summer as a steamboat employe on Lake Ontario and 
the St. Lawrence river. He then made a trip to New Orleans, 
but soon returning North, engaged in railroading, first on the 
Cleveland & Pittsburg, and second on the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne 
& Chicago. He spent several years as sub-contractor and section 
foreman. Later he came to Minnesota and located as above stated. 
He was married in 1853 to Miss Susan Somerville, formerly of 
Virginia. They are, it is said, the parents of the first white child 
born in the township. David W., the child was named, and he 
still lives at the old home. 

J. W. Hosmer, Aaron Hanes and Joseph Madrew also came to 
Iosco in 1855. ilr. Hosmer moved to Janesville the next year 
and was prominently connected with the village until his death, 
as will fully appear later in these pages. Joseph iladrew did not 
remain long. He sold out and returned to Wisconsin. 

ilr. Hanes settled near Mr. Osgood's place, where he lived until 
1859, when he died, leaving a wife and four children, one daughter 
being married. His son James (Jim) served his country during 
the War of the Rebellion. After the war he took up his residence 
in Waterville, Le Sueur county, where he died July IS. 190-4. 
The other son, John, died when a young man, and the yoimger 
girl died about 1881. 


CHAPTER XI, 1855. 


Samuel F. Wyman, Michael Johnson, Jonathan Howell, and 
A. J. Bell took their claims in Blooming Grove early in the spring 
of 1855. They were all then single men. They built a little log 
hut on Bell's claim, and commenced batching. At the end of 
about two years IMessrs. Wyman and Bell tired of that kind of 
single blessedness and quit, leaving Johnson and Howell to go 
it alone. These two bachelors lived together as such about seven 
years more, when Mr. Johnson married and became a permanent 
resident. Mr. Howell remained single to the time of his death, 
which occurred in 1880. Bell afterwards became a resident of 
Faribault, and Mr. Wyman, who will be noticed more fully in 
biographical sketches, became a resident of Waseca. 

The same season, in the month of June, Christian Remund, 
with his family, made his claim on sections 8 and 9, where he has 
since made his home. He was born in Switzerland November 21st, 
1830, came to America in March, 1850, lived five years in Illinois, 
and there married, October 21st, 1851, Anna Bumgerdner, who 
was also a native of Switzerland. They arrived at their Minne- 
sota home June 28, 1855, and lived in their covered wagon until 
October of that fall. (See biographical sketch.) 

Wm. M. Gray and family settled on section 33, in this to^vn- 
ship, in June, 1855. jMr. Gray was born in Genesee county. New 
York in 1806. In 1836 he married Miss Lucina Fuller, who was 
also a native of the same state. They came to this place from 


Iowa and resided here the remainder of their lives. I\rr. Gray 
died in 1872, and ]Mr.s. Gray died a few years later. They were 
very estimable people and highly respected. 

J. M. Blivens and family settled on section 32, in this town- 
ship, in the summer of 1855, where they lived for several years, 
when they removed to ^lissouri. The settlement in the early days 
bore Jlr. Blivens' name. 

jMr. Curtis Hatch, a blind man, with quite a family, settled in 
section 15. He sold his claim here after a short time and moved 
into the western part of the county. He afterwards moved to 
Dakota and died in ^iloody county in 1884. ;\lrs. H. P. Chamber- 
lain is his daughter and came with her parents to Blooming Grove. 

Samuel and Luther Dickenson, of Vermont, settled in the town- 
ship this year. Luther returned to Vermont during the hard 
times of 1858, but Snmuel remained until 1860, when he sold his 
farm and removed to Le Sueur county. 

M. P. Ide, son of Col. J. C. Idc, with his young wife, was among 
the 1855 settlers of Blooming Grove, on section 14 or 15. He 
afterwards moved to Wilton, enlisted in Company F, Fifth :\lin- 
nesota regiment, infantry, served during the war, and afterwards 
lived near llorristown. 

Simeon Smith was another of the 1855 settlers. He located on 
sections 31 and 32, in the month of June, lie was an honest, 
industrious, well-to-do man, who lived to see the wilderness, 
A^'hich he found here, blossom as the rose. He died November 6, 
1872, aged 78 yeai's, hoiK.i-ed and remembered by nimierous friends 
and acquaintances. 

Alfred C. Smith, son of Simeon, with Ills young wife, accom- 
panied his father, anti made a claim on section 5, of Woodville, 
where he lived until his father's death, when he took charu-c of 
his father's estate. It might be well to remark in passinuOthat 
Sir. A. C. Smith lins the honor of lieing the father of the first 
white girl horn in the county. Her name is Lovica. She was 
born Odolier 15, 1855, and is now Mrs. H. X. C^irlton. Ole Knut- 
son, now of Een^■ille county, also setth>d in Blooming (irove 
in 1855. 

The first death among th,> old settlers of the township was that 
of ll,..,ry Howell, m native of England. He was returning from 
Fiiribault with liis brother .lonathan, an.l, when about half a mile 


east of Morristown, got out of the sleigh to walk and thus ^varm 
himself. His brother, unbekno^vn to him, stopped in Morristown, 
and he continued towards home on foot. Jonathan, after waiting 
awhile, supposing Henry had proceeded homeward, drove home, 
only to find that he had not arrived. The next day, after consid- 
erable search, his body was found near the Bassett farm, a mile 
south of Morristown, with life extinct. He no doubt became 
bewildered on the prairie, and, being rather thinly clad and the 
night a cold one, soon froze to death. He left surviving him three 


The records of this township for the first ten years of its ex- 
istence are missing; and the best that can be done is to give 
Avhat can be picked up here and there from other sources. It is 
among the early traditions that the first white settlers in Janes- 
ville were a man named John Douglas and another named Hughes. 
They did not become permanent settlers, but removed, shortly 
afti.Twards, further west. The next settlers were two dissolute 
characters, Alfred Holstein and John Davis. Davis claimed a 
portion of section 28, and Holstein a portion of section 27. Their 
principal business was trading with the Indians, and, by common 
reputation, they dealt mostly in whisky and tobacco— Davis, es- 
pecially, being a great drinker himself. Both of them were social, 
friendly, and kind hearted to all comers, but their ideas of moral- 
ity and decency were not of high grade. Davis finally went to one 
of the Carolinas. Holstein was sent to state prison by a United' 
States court for stealing horses from the Winnebago Indians. A 
man named John Rowley settled on section 9, the same summer 
and became a long-time resident. 

James, Thomas, John and Jerry Hogan, four brothers, came 
from tlie state of Kentucky in 1855, and settled in the timber on 
the west side of Lake Elysian. These were among the hardy 
pioneers that came here to make homes for themselves and their 
children, and they became permanent settlers. 

]Mr. Patrick Moonan made a settlement in this township the 
same year. "Mr. Moonan was born in County Louth, Ireland, 
jMarch 17, 1825; came to America in 18H and settled in Janes- 
ville. Mrs. Moonan 's maiden name was Mary A. Delaney and 
they were married in 1853. Mr. Moonan was in business at Janes- 


ville for several years. He came to Waseca in 1882, and built 
the Sheridan House, now called the Waverly hotel, where he car- 
ried on the business until 1887, when he sold out and removed 
to Minneapolis with his family. He afterwards returned to 
Waseca, where he died November 22d, 1899. John Moonan, Esq., 
the well-known attorney of Waseca, is his son. 

John McCue, who became a wealthy farmer of the county, and 
his brothers, James and Patrick, also came that summer. James 
remained a bachelor and died in 1885, on the McCue estate. 
Patrick removed to Parker's Prairie, in this state, while ^Mr. 
John ilcCue removed to iiissouri, where he became more wealthy 
than he was here. He finally went to California, where he died 
about 1893. 

George ilorrill, now a resident of Alton, settled in Janesville, 
in 1855. Mr. ]\Iorrill is a modest, quiet farmer, and has a good 

John Cunningham was one of those first-class men who settled 
in Janesville in 1855. He made his claim on section 29, where 
he resided until his death, August 30, 1870. He was one of the 
first to respond to the call for men to fight the Indians in 1862, 
and enlisted October 4th, with ten other men from this county, 
in Company B, First Minnesota ^Mounted Rangers, and served 
until the close of the Indian war. He married Mrs. ]\Iary Craw- 
ford, widow of AV. H. Crawford, one of the early settlers of this 
county. At the breaking out of the war ^iv. Crawford was 
murdered by Texas rebels for the awful crime of being a northern 


Jeremy Davis and family were among the 1855 settlers and 
made the first claim in the toAvn of Byron, settling on the north- 
west quarter of section 34, where they lived imtil the death of 
Mr. Davis, which occurred September 13, 1868. 

Daniel C. Davis, son of Jeremy, came with his father in 1855. 
Having just reached his majority, he also took a claim and became 
a permanent resident of the township. He took a homestead on 
sections 28 and 33 after the homestead law took effect. He was 
married July 18, 1861, to ]Miss Frances Pavvin, daughter of Islv. 
B. Parvin, who settled in the coiinty in 1860. 

(I have thus given the names, as far as 1 have been able to 


remember, or learn, of all those who settled in the county prior 
to the year 1856. That I have forgotten some names and inci- 
dents in fifty years is altogether possible and quite probable. 

There were, however, some experiences peculiar to that first 
year's settlement Avhich will never be forgotten by those who 
passed the winter of 1855-6 in this county. 

In writing this history, I shall endeavor to present the facts, 
as nearly as possible, in the order of their occurrence; and I 
knoAv nothing that can be more interesting to future generations 
of our children, or to the living, than a truthful record of the 
real dangers and hardships then encountered by the men and 
women that have made it possible for the present thousands 
of people in the county to live in the midst of plenty, and with 
all the advantages of advanced civilization about them. 

In my next chapter I shall give some sketches of life in Waseca 
county during the fall of 1855 and the winter of 1855-6.— The 





The general election in those days was held on the second Tues- 
day in October, I think; at anj^ rate the election that year fell 
on the 9th of October. There were two voting preciucts. The 
northern half of the county was called "Swavesey,'' and the 
southern half "Le Sueur River." There were two polling places 
— one at the house of J. M. Bliven in Blooming Grove, the other 
at the farm of Chris Scott, now owned liy ilr. Carmody, in AYilton. 

I was not present at the "Swavesey" precinct, but was present 
at the "Le Sueur" precinct election. AVlien the voters came to- 
gether at Scott's house, there was no ballot box, and one had to 
be improvised. Finally ]\Irs. Scott loaned them a cake box. A 
hole was cut in the cover so as to admit the ballots, and the elec- 
tion proceeded. The local candidates were as follows : 

County commissioners — Samuel B. Smith, V\'m. Allen and Melmer P. Ide. 
Register of deeds — Charles Ellison. 
Sheriff— Wm. F. Pettlt. 
Treasurer — David Sanborn. 
Surveyor — John W. Park. 
Clerk of court — F. Wilbur Fisk. 
District attorney — J. M. Bliven. 
Judge of probate — Frank B. Davis. 

Assessors — David Lindesmith, Charles Thompson and Luke B. Osgood. 
Justices of the peace — John Jenkins, of what is now Wilton, and Simeon 
Smith, of what is now Blooming Grove. 

Of the county offlcers, Mr. Ide and Mr. Bliven resided in Blooming 


Grove. All the other officers were residents of what is now Steele 
county, except Mr. Osgood, who lived in what Is now Iosco. 

It is proper to say here that what is now Waseca county was 
then a part of Steele county. 

The names of those who voted in the Le Sueur precinct, as I 
remember them, were as follows : 

Barney Gregory, Joseph Bird, Abraham Bird, John "White, 
^Martin Krassin, Fred Krassin, Gottlieb Krassin, Sr., Fred Prechel, 
Gottlieb Prechel, Fred "Wobschall, David J. Jenkins, John Jenkins, 
John G. Greening-, Andrew Scott, C. D. Scott, Chris. Scott, James 
E. Child, Wm. Robbins, George Bobbins and H. F. Bierman.— 
t^wenty voters in all. 

The names of those who resided in the "Swavesey" precinct, 
as near as I can make out from the records, were as follows : 

A. C. Smith, L. B. Osgood, Daniel McDaniels, John H. Wheeler, 
David Wood, Aaron Hanes, J. W. Hosmer, Michael Johnson, 
Jonathan Howell, A. J. Bell, S. F. Wyman, Chris. Remund, W. 
:\I. Gray, J. M. Bliven, Ole Knutson, Curtis Hatch. M. P. Ide, 
Simeon Smith, James, John, Thomas and Jerry Hogan, James and 
Patrick McCue, Patrick Moonan, George IMorrill, John Cunning- 
ham and John Rowley. 

It is not known to the writer how many of these voted, but 
there was a "right smart" vote considering the number of people. 
The ticket was really non-partisan— Messrs. Pettit and Ellison 
being non-committal democrats— and all the others abolitionists 
or republicans. Among the voters in the Le Sueur precinct, there 
were only two democrats, Andrew and C. D. Scott. 

The whole ticket was voted straight, as there was no opposition. 
So you see we started out harmoniously. It was, in fact, the only 
election the writer ever attended that was entirely harmonious 
and uaanimous. While the fires of sectional and partisan strife 
were raging in the eastern states, our then territory was com- 
paratively free from such excitement. 



"While a few of the earliest settlers in 1855 had raised enough 
vegetables for their winter supply of food, not one of them had 
produced a supply of wheat, and every family was compelled to 
haul flour and other supplies from distant points, the nearest 
Hour mill being over one hundred miles distant. Most of the flour 
was obtained from Auburn, Iowa, a small town on Turkey river. 

Among those who were Avise enough to prepare for winter 
before winter commenced were the Krassins. Having completed 
their home preparations for winter, they started with several 
teams and wagons for Iowa. Justina, afterwards IMrs. Child, 
accompanied her brothers as cook. They went by way of Owa- 
tonna and Austin, and thence southeast to Auburn, where they 
found an abundant supply of flour and other articles. They re- 
turned after an absence of three weeks heavily loaded with pro- 
visions. As they made the trip in October— the golden month of 
the year— when Minnesota is clothed in the beauteous garments 
of Indian summer, they enjoyed a pleasant and profitable journey. 
Their return furnished the settlement with valuable information 
as to the road to take to reach Auburn, the prices to be paid for 
flour, pork, groceries, etc. 

But most of the settlers had stables to build, cabins to finish 
up and other fall Avork to do, so that it was Avinter before they 
could get started on the trip to "Egypt for corn." 


A journey of one hundred or one thousand miles to-day, in 
railroad passenger coaches, is a very easy undertaking, but a 
journey of one hundred miles or more across a country where 
the streams are unbridged and the sloughs ungraded, where 
cabins are few and far between, through storms of rain or sleet 
or snow-blizzards, camping out on the bleak prairie at night, 
with nothing to charm either the ear or the eye save the howling 
blasts of winter or the more demoniac howling of prairie wolves 
as, coward-like, they reconnoiter your position and condition- 
such a journey may be somewhat romantic to read about, but 
it is not so very enchanting to those who have made a trial of it. 
The experiences of all those who made the journey that winter 
were very similar, no doubt, and the writer gives his own and 
those of the few others he has been able to get as samples. 
During the first days of December, 1855, having engaged two 
pair of oxen and a wagon of the brothers John and David J. 
Jenkins, I made preparations for a journey into Iowa. John Jen- 
kins furnished the money (about $150.00) ; I was to put in my 
labor and skill, get a load of provisions and groceries, bring them 
into the settlement and sell them ; each of us was to share equally 
in the profits, if any. 

I started from the settlement December 5th, and proceeded to 
Owatonna, where I remained two days to get the oxen shod. 
Uncle Jo. Wilson, the rough, kind-hearted blacksmith, of that 
place, did the job. On the 8th I took the wagon track leading 
to Austin. There were two or three cabins some five or six miles 
south of Owatonna, a quarter of a mile from the road, and, after 
passing them, there were no other habitations to be seen until 
the Vaughn settlement, near the place now called Lansing, was 
reached. Before reaching this settlement, night came on, and 
the darkness, if it could not be felt like that of Egypt in the days 
of Pharaoh, was near enough to it to prevent a prudent man from 
trying to travel in a strange country. Camping for the night 
was the next best thing and I put up in a thicket of red oaks. 

I built a rousing big fire, warmed up the baked pork and beans, 
toasted the frozen bread, thawed out the doughnuts, made a cup 
of tea, ate a hearty supper and smoked the pipe of peace with all 
the then visible world. I had oii the wagon about a quarter of 


a ton of hay (it was necessary in those days to carry along food 
for both man and beast), so that the cattle had plenty to eat and 
the driver had plenty to sleep on under the wagon. In such a 
place, on such a night, under such circumstances, even a young 
man naturally becomes philosophical and looks upon his own life 
as one of the greatest mysteries of a mysterious and, as yet, in- 
comprehensible iiniverse, the beginning and ending of which is 
called God, the Father of all. 

Solitary and alone with the patient oxen, I threw myself upon 
a pile of hay, wrapped in an Indian blanket, and must have gone 
to sleep early in the evening. In the night I awoke to find that 
a drizzling rain storm had set in from the northeast. I put some 
more wood on the fire and again went to sleep. About an hour 
before daylight, I was aroused by a prairie wolf concert that was 
being held in the immediate vicinity and probably for my benefit. 
Appreciating the compliment of the serenade, I stirred the embers 
of the camp-fire, put on more wood and soon had a cheerful blaze, 
notwithstanding the dampness. Those wolves, like some people, 
seemed to prefer darkness to light, for they left at once. 

As soon as it was light enough to see the road, travel was again 
resumed. As the day advanced, the storm increased, and, by three 
o'clock p. m., rain and sleet were falling fast. I passed through 
the village of Austin about noon that day, where I took dinner. 
Austin then boasted one store, one tavern, one blacksmith shop 
and several pioneer cabins. After leaving Austin it was found 
very difficult to keep the right track, owing to the numerous 
wood roads leading in various directions. Unhappily for me, I 
selected the wrong track, and, about four o'clock in the after- 
noon, found myself a mile off the road, but at a comfortable log 
house, where I stayed over night. About the time I reached here, 
the rain changed to snow. The next morning the ground was 
covered with three or four inches of snow, and more was still 

On the morning of the 10th, I was rather late in starting, as I 
had only twelve miles to make during the day. I had traveled 
a mile or so, when a large drove of elks crossed the road some 
twenty rods ahead of me, in single file. There must have been 
fifty or sixty of them. They were quite numerous that winter 
along the two Cedar rivers, but I never heard of any in this 


scclioti iil'liT thai wintcT. Twi'Ive miles brdiij^lit me to the wi-st- 
crn c(\'j;i: of a pfairie citihtcoi ijiilt'S across, and without a, resident 
[jerson iiiioi] it. ( )n tlie wesleni and soiitli western ed^'e of this 
exti-iisive praii-ie, tiiere was qiiile a setileinejit of Seaiidinavian 
Amecieans, who had hteated tliere in 1854-5. I stayed over night 
with a hospitable Xofwej^ian family. They were yoiini;!' people, 
with one child. The man (;ould sjieak only a few words of English, 
hut his comely wife could converse quite fluently in that lan- 
Knaj^e. The man, an.xious to learn English, made a school teacher 
of me dnrinj^- the ('venini^-, and refused pay the next morning for 
my enterlainment, except f(H' what corn 1 fed the cattle. 

Pearly on the 11th I st;tfted across that beautiful prairie which 
lies si)re;id out between the two (Jedars on tlie south line of our 
state. This was a, pjeasarit day, but the soft snow which had fal- 
len made ti-avelint^' slow and tiresome, and it was already dark 
when I ri'aelicd the Brink house, on the i^ast branch of the Cedar. 

< )i] th(! I2th the weathei- became' colder. I passed a tavern and 
store called I'df-iborje's, and traveled ovcf' a, prairie, some ten. 
oi- twelve miles across, whei-c there were no setthu-s. That night 
1 put up with a Iloosier family that had (•ome from Indiana the 
sutiimer before, llcri- wei'c several other travelers, among them 
a man living near the lirink house that had been lost on the prairie 
most of the ())'evioiis u\'^\ii and had frozen his face, feet, and 
hands (juite severely. During that ni^ht the weathi_-r moderated 
and more snow fell. 

JJeceinber 13th, about 10 o'clock in the rorenooii, I ai'rived at 
(Jreen's creek-, a stream then about thirty I'ecit wide, with water 
three feet deep, which had to be forded. The ice was 7iot strong 
enou'^h to hold up a team, but yet thick enough to require cutting 
in pieces bfd'ore th(; ('altle could be driven thi'ou<4li. After much 
labor in cutting ice and driving the oxen through the stream, 
cverythill^!■ [)assed ovei' safely. All .dorig the I'oad that day there 
Avei-e numerous pionei^i- cabins to be seen, and, in several places, 
then; were indications of several years of settlement. I spent that 
nijilit with a )-cgnlar Yankeo. He had lived in Iowa for ten 
years— tliree years on the farm where 1 passed the night. I 
was then only seven miles from Aubui'n. 

On \.)u: 14th I di'ovc into Auburn and bought my load, consisting 


of flour, pork, butler and groceries. I returned to the Yankee 's 
to stay over night and to buy some seed corn. 

The 15th was so stormy and cold that I delayed a daj-. On the 
16th I again started. Everything went well enough until after- 
noon, when the forward bolster of the wagon broke and I was 
compelled to put up with a farmer, unload the wagon and make a 
new bolster. Fortunately I struck the right house— the home of a 
carpenter. Although the father was not at home, he had some 
grovsm up boys from whom I obtained the use of tools to make 
the necessary repairs. It took all the next day to get ready for 
another start, and most of the day it snowed. 

On the 18th I started quite early. The weather was clear 
but cold, and the road hard to travel. I got as fair as the Brink 
house that day, and as the snow Mas about a foot deep, and hauling 
a wagon and breakinji' the roads were laborious, I accepted a 
fair offer for a portion of the load that night. 

It was rather late on the morning of the 19th of December, my 
twenty-second birthday, when I started from the Brink house 
to cross that eighteen miles of uninhabited prairie. In climbing 
the hill on the west side of the Cedar, the wagon slid out of 
the track and the off hind wheel caught in a small tree, which . 
had to be cut down. The oxen had become discouraged and I 
was unable to get them to haul the load to the top of the hill. 
I was in for a tug. I had to unload and carry ten hundred pounds 
of that flour about two rods to the top of the hill on my shoulders. 
It was noon by the time I had reached the top of the hill and 
had reloaded, and it was eighteen miles to the house of my 
Norwegian friends on the west side of the prairie. Not a track 
had been made since the last fall of snow, across the prairie, and 
it was a question whether to proceed that day or wait till morning. 
I finally concluded to proceed. The snow was drifted in many 
places and progress Avas decidedly slow. To add to the discom- 
fort of the situation, a storm of wind and fine, hard snoAv set in 
from the northwest about the middle of the afternoon; when 
darkness settled down on the prairie, I was only a little more 
than half way across it, with little prospect of proceeding much 
further that night. 

Very soon after sundown, I could not distinguish the road- 
the oxen refused to face the storm and turned^ south ; it soon 


became evident that driver and team must put up on the open 
prairie for that night. 

So the oxen vs^ere taken from the wagon tongue; one pair 
hitched to the wagon at the front end ; the other pair to the hind 
end; both on the leeward side. I was somewhat tired, having 
tugged the flour up the hill in the morning, and walked beside 
the cattle all day through the deep snow, and that, too, without 
dinner or supper, or even a drink of water. Of course, I could 
eat snow! The cattle had no hay, but there was some corn on 
the load and this I fed them, reserving and chewing and swallow- 
ing some of it myself. There was also some raw, fresh pork 
aboard, and I cut off a small piece with an ax and managed to 
eat a mouthful or two, after a fashion. 

The wind increased to a gale in the evening and the air was so 
filled with snow that no object could be seen fifty feet away. I 
drew off my boots— overshoes I had none— put on a dry pair of 
socks, and then put on my boots again. Having heard it said 
that a man might wind himself in a blanket and lie down in the 
snow and sleep without freezing, I concluded to try the experi- 
ment. Accordingly I put my body inside a blanket, and then 
wound myself with about thirty yards of new cotton cloth, and 
laid me down to slumber. Morpheus came not to my relief, but 
the Frost King pierced me at every pore of my body. I stuck 
to my position, however, until I was completely buried in snow, 
and yet the cold crept through and made such fierce attacks upon 
me that I was forced to dig out of the snow and protect myself 
in some other way as best I might. After gathering up the 
cotton cloth and putting it back in the wagon I took the ax 
which I carried along, cleared away the snow on a patch of 
ground, and went to pounding it with t'le ax the same as though 
I were chopping wood. In a short time I got comfortably warm 
by this exercise. I was very much fatigued by my exertions 
through the day, and began to feel the need of husbanding my 
strength for the morrow. I leaned againt one of the oxen, the 
animal heat of which helped to keep me warm. In this position 
I soon fell into a sleep, when my knees gave out. and I partly 
fell. That awoke me. I tried it again, and again I slept and 
fell. Then I began to feel chilly and again resorted to the ax for 
exercise. Then I leaned, against the patient old ox once more, 


slept again, and then took a round with the ax. These perform- 
ances I continued, with a little variation during one of the cold- 
est nights of that cold winter, and until the dark shadows of 
night passed into the gray light of a eloiidy, stormy morning. 

Upon examination in the morning, I found that I had strayed 
nearly eighty rods from the road. The oxen were soon hitched 
to the wagon, and the load was finally started with that peculiar 
screeching noise always made by wagon wheels in snow on a cold 
morning. About 10 o'clock in the forenoon, I arrived at the house 
of my Norwegian friends with whom I had stayed on my way 
down. They comprehended at a glance what had been my expe- 
rience and proceeded to prepare breakfast. In a short time the 
good woman placed before me warm biscuits, hot coffee, potatoes, 
meat, etc., and it seems to me yet that no other person in the 
world ever furnished a better meal. 

I spent the rest of the day there and enjoyed a night of very 
refreshing sleep. That afternoon, I learned from my hostess of 
a sad affair of the night before— the night that I camped upon 
the prairie. She said that two of their neighbors had visited 
Austin on the 19th, and in coming home that night one of them 
had perished with cold arid was found dead, while the other 
had been found with his hands and feet very badly frozen. The 
body of the dead man was found within forty rods of his ovm 
door, where a patient, loving wife, with three children, watched 
all night for his coming. The other, who was so badly frozen, 
was found about eighty rods from the dead man, iinable either 
to walk or to talk when first found. Empty whisky bottles were 
found upon them, and there was no doubt as to the real cause of 
the death of the one and the maiming of the other. No wonder 
Shakespeare said, speaking of intoxicating liquors, 
"Let us call thee Devil." 

On the night of the 20th, more snow fell. On the 21st, I reached 
Austin. The snow had become so deep that I could not well 
proceed further on wheels, and so I purchased an ox-sled at that 
place. The 22d was spent in taking the wagon apart, loading it 
and its contents upon the sleigh and driving as far as Mr. 
Vaughn's. That was an intensely cold, stormy night. The Frost 
Fiend was abroad in all his howling majesty, and nmny were the 
expressions of hope that no one was out on the prairiethat uight 


to face the merciless blasts that swept the country. The storm 
abated the nest morning about ten o'clock, and I made about 
seven miles on the 23d through the snow drifts, stopping with 
a kind hearted English family, the last residents on the road 
home between Vaughn's and Owatonna. 

The nest morning, I started before sunrise, the weather being 
clear and very cold. The roads had not been traveled since the 
snow storm and the going was heavy. Three times that day I 
had to shovel through drifts of snow and pry up the sled in 
order to get through. About two o'clock p. m. I met two teams 
of horses and three or four men going into Iowa for flour. After 
this, traveling was niuch easier for the oxen. In the afternoon 
the weather grew colder, and before night I began to think my 
feet would freeze in spite of my efforts to keep warm. I finally 
pulled off my frozen boots and traveled with nothing but socks 
on my feet. At first my feet got very warm, but finally the 
frost began to work through the socks and I thought I should 
surely freeze. Suddenly I came upon the remains of a campfire 
in a thicket of jack oaks, some ten or twelve miles south of Owa- 
tonna. I at once piled on some more wood and renewed the blaze. 
Here I fed the oxen some corn, overhauled my bundle of clothing 
and found some dry socks and a pair of new boots, which I put 
on; I also ate some doughnuts which my hostess of the night 
before had put into my overcoat pockets, and again started the 
weary oxen tOAvards Owatonna. Five miles south of Owatonna I 
struck a pretty fair road, several teams having passed over it 
since the snow storm. The night Avas bitterly cold and it was 
a difficult matter to keep from freezing. I finally arrived at 
Sanford's tavern in Owatonna, about two o'cl-ock Christmas 
morning. I remained in Owatonna over Christmas and sold a 
portion of my load at good prices. On the 26th I started for 
"Wilton. Here again the road was unbroken. The cattle were 
already Aveakened by their long journey, and, just as night came 
on, in pulling through a deep snow drift, the sled tongue Avas 
torn out. This made it necessary to leave the load there for the 
night. This accident happened a little north of what is knoAATi 
as the Vinton farm. There Avas no help for it; I was compelled 
to unhitch the teams and take my course homcAvard, guided only 
by the stars. I had along with me a large, white cat that I had 


bought in Iowa, and that I carried confined in a grain sack on 
the load. It would not do to leave him there for he might perish 
if anything should happen to prevent my return for a day or 
two ; so I took him out of the sack and called him to follow me. 
He did so in the most approved manner, keeping close to me all 
the way. I arrived at the John Jenkins' cabin about 11 o'clock 
that night, where I found Uncle John sitting by his fireplace 
eating parched corn. He arose in a half dazed way and wondered 
how I got there such a night as that without any road. He said 
he had about given up all hopes of my return and thought I must 
have frozen to death on the prairie. 

The next morning Uncle John accompanied me and we brought 
in the load safe and sound. 

Very feM' of the settlers that made trips to Iowa or Wisconsin 
that winter for supplies fared as well as I. :Many were badly 
frosted ; some lost their teams ; others were obliged to sell their 
loads on the road at a sacrifice; all suffered more or less severely. 

We realized enouiih out of our load to pay expenses. The ex- 
perience and fifty cents a day was all that I sot out of the en- 
terprise. But then, I was pretty well satisfied— thankful that I 
was again at my own bachelor fireside, hale and heartv. 

CHAPTER XIV, 1855-6. 


The first year's settlement did not pafss without a town-site 
boom in this county. Speculators were abroad then as now. In 
October, 1855, A. B. Cornell and John 11. Abbott, then of Owa- 
tonna, came to the settlement and prevailed upon D. J. and John 
Jenkins and the writer to join with them in platting a town site. 
Mr. Abbott was a surveyor and the parties proceeded to survey 
and plat the village of Wilton, the first-born city of the county. 
It soon became evident to John Jenkins and me that A. B. Cornell, 
the moving genius of the firm, intended to i^et persons to come on 
from various places and take possession of all the land in the 
vicinity, and that, too, without regard to the rights of others. 
D. J. Jenkins sided with Cornell and Abbott, and it was quite 
evident that they proposed to jump claims if they could not get 
what they wanted in any other way. John Jenkins and I with- 
drew shortly after the survey was made, and men from Owatonna 
took our places. 

D. J. Jenkins built, that fall, the first house on the new town 
plat, or, rather, adjoining it, and it was expected then that, like 
Jonah's gourd, it would grow to almost a city in a day. But, 
unfortunately, the prime movers of the enterprise so managed 
their affairs that the settlers of the surrounding country, even up 


to the boundary line of the village plat, refused to countenance 
the building of the new city. As evidence of the feeling that 
existed at the time, a few facts will be given, which, though not 
very creditable, perhaps, will show the extent to which men will 
sometimes proceed when thrown together promiscuously bej'ond 
the controlling influences of courts and law. In the latter part 
of January, 1856, the Owatonna proprietors of the ^Yilton plat 
hired some fellows to jump the claims of four settlers — Robert 
and Hugh ]\IcDougall and George and Bill Robbins— who had 
settled along the river, just east of the village plat. The claim 
jumpers commenced the erection of houses on these lands, and set 
up counter claims to them on the ground, as they said, that 
those young men had claimed more than 160 acres each, that 
because they were foreign born and had not declared their inten- 
tions of becoming citizens prior to their settlement. The former 
of these charges was false, the latter true. The men had not 
declared their intentions to become citizens simply because there 
was no court nearer than Mankato, and also because they expected 
to do so as soon as they could get to the land office at AYinona. 
As soon as it was noised about that claim-jumping had com- 
menced, an impromptu meeting of the boys was held and they 
concluded to visit the claim-jumpers and inform them that claim- 
jumping would not l)e tolerated at all in the settlement. The 
agents of the "city speculators" were at the time putting up 
a log house on the claim since known as the (3'Brien land. It 
adjoined the village plat, on the east, and lay immediately on 
the road leading to Owatonna. Nearly every man in the settle- 
ment was present at the meeting. They all proceeded to the 
place where the claim-jum])ers were at work, and informed them 
what had been decided upon. The claim-jumpers were actino- 
under the legal advice of Jlr. Cornell and conducted themselves 
accordingly. They evinced none of that blunt, out-spoken honesty 
so common to western pioneers, but observed a studied purpose 
to overreach the boys in legal points and yet preserve themselves 
from physical harm, 'iliey showed no fight, but quietly stepped 
aside when told to do so, by the original claimants. The latter 
then proceeded to tear down the building forthwith. Corneirs 
gang quietly witlulivw from the premises after M'itnessing the 
tearing down process. As soon as possible thereafter M-an-ants 


were sued out before an Owatonna justice (this was then a part 
of Steele county) for the arrest of five of the men; to-wit: John 
Jenkins, Hugh and Robert IMcDougall, and George and William 
Robbins— all but Jenkins having an interest in the claims jumped. 
The charge was that of maliciously tearing down a building. 
Nearly all the other settlers on the upper Le Sueur were sub- 
poenaed as witnesses. After a trial, Avhich lasted three or four 
days, three of the five were found guilty and the other two were 
discharged on motion of the prosecuting attorney. The whole 
trial was a good deal of a farce. If one of the party was guilty 
of a crime, all were guilty. We asked to be allowed to prove that 
the claim jumpers were committing willful and malicious trespass 
upon lands belonging to the arrested parties, and that only neces- 
sary force was used to expel the trespassers; the request was 
refused. Those found guilty appealed to the district court and 
were in due time discharged without costs on account of error 
in the proceedings before the justice. 

Immediateh^ after the justice trials, Cornell, through his satel- 
lites, commenced suit before the land officers at Winona, and the 
contesting parties and their witnesses were compelled to make 
several trips to Winona. After about a year of expensive litiga- 
tion, the matter was compromised and settled, the ISIcDougall 
brothers giving up one forty and taking another. 

During the troubles that grew out of that affair there was 
actual danger of bloodshed. Some of the men went armed. 
Cornell became so alai-med that he did not show himself in the 
settlement for a long time. In early spring (1856) several house 
bodies were erected on the Wilton town-site, but on the night 
of the 19th of April, 1856, they were all torn down, literally 
razed to the ground. I remember the date, for that was the 
night of my wedding day, and some of the boys remarked that 
"They couldn't lay that deviltry onto Pat." As to who did the 
evil deed, probably no one knows, or ever knew, except those en- 
gaged in it. This occurrence and the general hostility of all the 
surrounding settlers to the Wilton speculators, prevented any 
further growth during the summer following. 

CHAPTER XV, 1856. 


The last chapter necessarily carried this history into the year 
1856. There are other matters that took place that winter that 
belong to both years. It is intended to keep the history of each 
year by itself, as far as possible, but there are some matters that 
cannot be separated by months without destroying the thread of 
the narrative. Of such matters will this chapter relate. 

The first election in Steele county, of which the present Waseca 
county was then the larger part, territorially, was held October 
9th, 1855. The LeSueur precinct, as it was called, included the 
south half of this county and the township of St. Mary ; the poll- 
ing place was at the residence of Chris Scott, the farm now 
belonging to Mr. Carmody in Wilton. Twenty votes were cast. 
The north half of the county, then called Swavesey, also held an 
election at the same time, but I have been unable to learn how 
many votes were polled there at that time. Only one hundred 
seventeen votes were cast at that election in the territory com- 
prising the counties of Steele and Waseca. The following officers 
were elected: County commissioners, S. B. Smith, Wm. Allen 
and M. P. Ide (Mr. Ide lived then in what is now Blooming 
Grove) ; register of deeds, Chas. Ellison; sheriff, Wm. F. Pettit; 
treasurer, David Sanborn; surveyor, John W. Park; clerk of the 
court, F. W. Fisk; county attorney, John :\I. Bliven (then a resi- 


dent of what is now Blooming Grove) ; judge of probate, F. B. 
Davis; assessors, David Lindesmith, Chas. Thompson, and Luke 
B. Osgood (Mr. Osgood lived on the line between Janesville and 
Iosco) ; justices of the peace, Simeon Smith and Curtis Hatch, 
of the north part of the county, and John Jenkins, of the south 

Originally the territory of Minnesota was divided into nine 
counties. By act of the territorial legislature, Wabasha county 
originally occupied all that portion of Southeastern Minnesota 
east of a line running due south from a point on the Mississippi 
river, known as ^Medicine Bottle village at Pine Bend. Dakota 
county embraced all the territory west of Wabasha county and 
south of a line beginning at the mouth of Crow river and running 
up said river and the north branch thereof to its source, and 
thence west to the Missouri river. In 1852, Hennepin county was 
carved out of Dakota county, and, in 1853, Goodhue, Fillmore, 
Scott, LeSueur, Rice, Sibley, Blue Earth and Nicollet counties 
were carved out of Dakota and Wabasha counties. Rice county, 
by that act, included all of what is now Steele county and town- 
ships 105, 106, 107 and 108, range 22, of what is now Waseca coun- 
ty. Blue Earth coimty, by the same act, included the townships 
in ranges 23 and 24, of what is now the larger portion of Waseca 

By legislative act of February 23, 1854, the counties of Houston, 
Fillmore, Wabasha and Goodhue were changed, and the county 
of Winona was organized. By act of Feb. 20, 1855, the counties 
of Olmsted, Dodge, Mower, Freeborn, Faribault, and Steele were 
created and the boundary lines of the old counties changed. 
By that act, Steele county then contained ranges 20, 21, 22, 23 and 
24, and townships 105, 106, 107, 108— a territory twenty-four 
miles north and south and thirty miles east and west. The geo- 
graphical center of the county, as then bounded, was near the 
western line of the township of Meriden. 

The county seat of Steele county was not designated, nor the 
county fully organized by statute until Feb. 29, 1856, although 
county officers had been elected in the fall of 1855. 

In the month of December, 1855, 1 made a trip to Aubui-n, Iowa, 
for supplies. In January, 1856, shortly after my return, the set- 
tlers in the western part of what was then Steele county learned 


that Messrs. Cornell, Pettit, Abbott & Co., of Owatonna, were en- 
deavoring to get the territorial legislature, then in session, to 
divide Steele and Dodge counties so as to make three counties 
of the two— the same as we now have them. 

The county was then very sparsely settled. Probably there 
were not 1,000 families or voters in all the territory of the three 
counties. The people of Waseca county were nearly all young 
farmers, just commencing life, and poor in goods, waros, etc. 
They did not feel able to support a county government while 
there were so few to pay taxes. A meeting of the settlers was 
held and I was selected to visit the people in all parts of the then 
county to secure signatures to a remonstrance and forward the 
same to Hon. George A. ]\IeLeod, then of Siblej^ countj^ our rep- 
resentative in the house, th(2 Hon. Chas. B. Flandreau, then of 
St. Peter, our member in the council. 

We made duplicate remonstrances for the settlers along the 
LeSueur and had them signed at our meeting. The next day I 
started for Owatonna and the Straight river settlement. It was 
a pretty cold day as I learned when I reached Owatonna, the 
thermometer registering 22 degrees below zero, at 4 o'clock p. m. 
The next day was intensely cold— so cold that the ordinary ther- 
mometer failed in its efforts to keep a correct record and I re- 
mained in Owatonna all day. 

I soon learned that the people in Owatonna, with only two 
exceptions, were in favor of the division of the county. This I 
learned without divulging my mission, and the next day I started 
down Straight river, calling upon each settler as I proceeded and 
explaining oiir opposition to the division. Almost without ex- 
ception, each farmer signed the remonstrance. At Clinton Falls 
and Medford, I found active co-operation, and obtained the sig- 
natures of all I could see. In one day 's canvass I had good stronir 
lists which I forwarded to Siessrs. MeLeod and Flandreau, ac- 
companied by a private letter from myself and one from' Dr. 
Finch, of Clinton Falls, explaining to them the situation of affairs 
and the general condition of the people. 

I left with the postmaster at Bedford a copy of the remon- 
strance to be signed by those whom I had not seen and to be 
afterwards forwarded to Jlr. Flandreini. I then slruelc across 
the country on foot, withoiit road or track of any kind, in search 


of the Remund and Ide settlement, in what is now Blooming 
Grove. I had no guide except the government section posts, 
many of which were covered with snow drifts. It was 12 miles 
from Clinton Falls to Blooming Grove, then called the Bliven 

The trip was a good deal more of a job than I had anticipated. 
:Much of the way I encountered small groves and brush land 
where the snow was very deep and the crust not strong enough 
to bear my weight. After a hard day's work, I reached the 
house of a pioneer German, named Reineke, about 4 o'clock p. m. 
Like most of his nationality he did not fall in love with me at 
first sight, and to my salutation: "It is a wintry day," he re- 
plied: " Ich verstehen sie nicht. " This was one of the occasions 
in my experience where the few words of German I could speak 
served me well, for neither he nor any of his family could, at that 
time, converse in English. As soon as he found that I could speak 
some German he shook hands with me and became very friendly. 
He invited me to remain over night, a proposition that I was 
only too glad to accept. He entertained me a portion of the 
evening with stories of the Fatherland, and then drifted into 
the difficulties he experienced in not understanding English. 
He seemed much pleased when I offered to write out the names 
of familiar objects about the house and farm in English, opposite 
the German names. 

After a good night's rest and a hearty breakfast, having ob- 
tained his name to the remonstrance, I bade him "lebewohl" and 
proceeded to visit the settlers in Blooming Grove, i\Ir. Reineke 's 
farm being in what is now Deerfield, in Steele county. 

I proceeded eastward until I struck the settlement known as 
Swavesey. The first residence I found was that of il. P. Ide, on 
what afterwards became known as the Patrick Healy farm. 
:Mel, as he was called, turned out to be a Cornell man and could 
not'be persuaded to sign the remonstrance. I put in the whole 
day going from house to house, and secured the signatures of all 
the other^men in the settlement that I could find. It was a labo- 
rious job to travel about in the deep snow, and night found me 
at the hospitable cabin of Wm. M. Gray, on section 33, in what is 
now Blooming Grove. 

There was a greeting, a charm, a hospitality, a feelmg of irater- 


•nity among the pioneer settlers of Wisconsin and ]\Iinnesota— 
especially in the latter territory— entirely unknown at the present 
day. The stranger was always welcome to such accommodations 
and fare as the settlers possessed. All gathered around the 
same table and each served the other. Each told to the other 
his history, almost without reserve, and in one evening they 
generally knew more of each other and of each other 's affairs than 
men born and reared in the same to^vn know of each other these 
days. Not only did they become acquaintances but they took a 
friendly interest in each other's welfare. There was a sympathy 
among them which later additions to the population seem not 
to possess. 

I spent the night very comfortably and agreeably with ilr. 
Gray and his family, and the next morning called upon his 
neighbors, Messrs. Simeon Smith, Alfred C. Smith and E. K. Carl- 
ton, obtained their signatures to the remonstrance, and proceeded 
homewards, arriving at the McDougall cabin just as darkness 
covered the prairie and grove. 

My only compensation for the laborious tramp was the general 
satisfaction we all felt in the defeat, for the time being, of the 
proposition to divide the county. Alas! how little man knows 
of the future. 



Perhaps it is just as well to start the record of the new year, 
1856, with the story of the first wedding among white people in 
the county. It was appointed for New Year Eve. 

Mr. Ballard, of Mankato, and Miss Louise Gregory, whose fath- 
er resided near what has since been known as St. Mary, had made 
a contract, through love and affection, to be married on New 
Year's Eve. The friends had been invited from far and near. 
John Jenkins, Esq., the only justice of the peace in the precinct, 
was invited to perform the marriage ceremony. 

The 'squire, in order to go ship-shape, secured the services of 
Mr. Hugh McDougall, with his horse and new pung to take him to 
the place appointed for performing the important ceremony. 
About sundown, the 'squire and his companion left the Jenkins 
cabin and started for the residence of Mr. Gregory, some six or 
seven miles distant. The weather was intensely cold, the snow 
deep, and, in many places, badly drifted. 

The bride and bridegroom were not only ready, but anxious; 
the bridesmaid and groomsman patiently awaited the arrival of 
the 'squire ; the parents conned over the responsibilities of mai-- 
ried life; the evening wore away, and the 'squire came not. 
The younger members of the company peeped out through the 
frost-covered windows, the young men went out at the door and 
gazed in vain for the coming of the desired functionary of the 
law ; the night wore wearily on, and yet he came not. All night 


the company kept watch placing a lighted candle in the window— 
but where was the 'squire all this dark, cold night? Lost! 

Messrs. Jenkins and ^McDougall, after leaving the Jenkins cabin, 
got along very well until darkness set in. Then they_ lost their 
course and wandered about on the cold, bleak prairie during the 
whole night, vainly endeavoring to lincl ilr. Gregory's place. 
About four o'clock the next morning they returned to the cabin, 
whence they had started the evening before. The writer, who 
had fortunately stayed at home, served up a meal of hot buck- 
wheat cakes, fried pork, gravy and coffee to the chilled and unfor- 
tunate night wanderers. After breakfast they again started for 
the place appointed for the celebration of the marriage. When 
they reached ]\lr. Gregory's place, about 11 o'clock a. m., it 
was found that the young men of the company had sallied forth 
to search for the missing 'squire, and the ceremony must be de- 
ferred until their return. 

About dark, those who had been out to look for the 'squire re- 
turned on his trail, having followed it from his cabin. It was 
necessary to have supper before proceeding to tie the knot, and 
many were the jokes and laughs about the first marriage ceremony 
to be performed by our worthy bachelor justice of the peace. 
A considerable part of the pioneer settlers gathered in during the 
evening to witness the ceremony which had well nigh caused 
the freezing of Uncle John, as the 'squire was familiarly called. 

After all had partaken of a substantial supper, the tables had 
been cleared off, and the "slab chairs" had been properly ar- 
ranged, the 'squire stated that he was ready to proceed. The cer- 
emony was decidedly* short and to the purpose. It was even 
briefer than the shorter form in Booth's ^Manual. As near as 
memory serves me, it was as follows: "The parties will join 
hands. ]Mr. Ballard, do you take Miss Gregory tu be your wife ?" 
(Answer) "Yes, sir." ":Miss Gretiory, do you take ilr. Ballard 
as your husband?" (Answer— in a whisper) "Yes, sir." "All 
right," said Uncle John, "then you're man and wife." 

After this short, but characteristic ceremony, the company 
seemed to l)e relieved of much former constraint, and the night 
passed in song, "going to Rome," through the "cedar swamp," 
playing tlie "honest miller," etc.; for none of those living at a 


distance could go home that night, and there were too many pres- 
ent to think of finding beds in a farm house. 

"When morning came, the guests cheered the newly-married 
couple, bade them a fond adieu, and wended their several ways 
to bachelor homes. 



There Avas a perfect flood of immigrants into ilinnesota in 1856, 
and Waseca county received a fair share of new settlers. 

On the 1st day of January, 1856, Jack Turnacliff, Dr. Ambrose 
Kellogs', and William Young, from Iowa, arrived at the Sutlief 
plantation on Norwegian snow shoes. 

Mr. Young was a native of Scotland, and claimed one quarter 
of section 26 in Wilton. He was an original thinker, a man of 
more than ordinary intelligence, a persistent hater, a steadfast 
friend. He was a single man at that time, and divided his time 
for four or five years between Fillmore county and his farm in 
Wilton. He then married a lady in Fillmore county and after- 
wards removed to Iowa where, when last heard from, he dwelt 
with his family. 

Dr. Kellogg made a claim on section 35, in Wilton, which he 
sold in the spring. He prospected around for coal the next spring, 
but finally went back to Iowa where his brother Silas resided. 
At the last account of him, he was in Kansas. 

Jackson Turnaclifi: made his claim on section 7, town of Otisco, 
where he made his home until the time of his death. Jack was 
one of the young men who was known as being well-fixed— that 
is to say, his father could and did furnish him with a farm and 
an outfit. And Jack jn-oved himself worthy of it. 

A man named Wm. Wells, familiarly called Xucky Wells, came 
with his family in the spring and settled on section '2'i, in Wilton. 
His wifi', after remaining a year or so, ran off with a "handsomer 


man" than he. Wells kept batch for five or six years afterwards, 
when he sold his claim and returned to Wisconsin. 

B. F. Weed came up from Iowa, accompanied by Silas Kellogg, 
and settled on section 23, in Wilton, with his young wife, daughter 
of Hon. Will. Brisbane. At this writing, he is a resident of Mon- 

Hon. Jesse I. Stewart, from Indiana, took up his residence on 
section 7, in Otisco, in the summer of 1856, and became some- 
-what prominent as a politician. He served one term as county 
treasurer, being elected to that office in 1857, and to the legisla- 
ture in 1859. When last heard of by the writer he was in Oregon. 

]\Ir. Jacob Brubaker and family, from Pennsylvania, came to the 
Le Sueur settlement in the fall of 1856, and settled on section 28, 
AVilton. The family then consisted of himself and wife, the sons 
Abram and Geo. E., and two daughters, the elder now Mrs. Whit- 
man, of Iowa, the other ]\Irs. Tom Eldridge, now of Nebraska. 
The old gentleman died at Waseca. The older son, Abram, went, 
into the army from Pennsylvania and was never after heard, 
from. Geo. E. Bri^baker is still a resident of the county, 

^Michael O'Brien, in 1856, made a claim on section 12, Wilton, 
where he and his sister now reside. 

Among others who settled in the county in 1856, were Patrick 
Kenehan, Xoah Lincoln, H. P. Norton and C. F. Lincoln, of Wil- 
ton; Joseph ilanthe, Gottlieb Krassin, John Jordan, Anthony 
Gorman, Michael ilcGonagie, Sr., Geo. H. Reibling, and a lawyer, 
by name McCarthy, of St. ]\iary ; J. W. Hosmer, H. P. Chamber- 
lain, John F. Allen, Wm. Lee, John Minske, Fred Minske, August 
Minske, Gottlieb Kanne, Fred Kanne, August Kanne, Gottlieb 
Kanne, Wm. ^Mar/ahn, John Reed, David Hutchinson, Thos. 
Bishop, Thos. Gibson, Wm. Allen, John G. Ward, Silas Ward, 
John J. Fell, Richard Toner, H. W. Peck, Geo. Leonard, Daniel 
Tripp, Benj. W. Gifford. A. A. Cotton, M. S. Green, William Long, 
Seth W. Long, Geo. Long, A. Wilsey, Jim Chadwick, S. J. Willis, 
Henry Thwing, Nelson Thwing, Jacob Hagadorn and Peter Far- 
rell of Iosco ; Hon. Lewis McKune, Hon. J. L. Saufferer, E. R. 
Conner, Geo. Dean, John Walker, James Walker, Wm. Donaldson, 
Hon. Philo Woodruff, Patrick Healy, Cornelius Hand and his 
sons, Hon. J.N. Powers and his father, John Gibson, Daniel Riegle, 
Andrew Nelson, Patrick Murphy and sons, Jacob Oory, Henry, 


Josiali, Joshua Smith, Samuel Smith, ^Ym. H. Young, Joseph 
Churcliill, B. Sharp, Cyrus Ross, Andrew Oleson, Wm. J. ^Yheeler, 
Gottlieb Petrich, John Remund, Samuel Ri-niund, Rudolph Re- 
mund, Albert Remund, Keyes Swift, John Hackett and Guliek 
Knutsen, of Blooming Grove; H. A. Mosher, Asa Mosher, E. B. 
Stearns, Z. Holbrook, Hon. J. A. Canfield, Silas Grover and sons, 
Wm. Smith, ^Y. S. Baker, M. D. L. Flowers, Parselus Young, H. G. 
Mosher, Adam Bi&hman, Jacob Bishman, Ben G. Northrup, Ole Pe- 
terson, Charley Johnson, Omer H. Sutlief, F. L. Goetzenberger, 
"Wm. Schmidt and B. Bundshu, of Otiscn ; W. G. Allyn, Paul 
Wandrie, Charles Wandrie, J. W. Hosmer, AYm. Stanke, Martin 
Stanke, Michael Silkey, W. G. IMathews, Thomas McHugo, C. De 
Regan, \\-. H. Crawford, Alex Johnston, John Buckhout, "Uncle" 
Frank Johnson, Patrick Hackett, G. Grams, James Henning, Jas. 
Cooledge, David Cooledge, N. E. Strong, John Bradish, Esq., 
George Dreever and Richard Dreever, of Janesville; Obadiah 
Powell, Eri G. AYood, Loren C. Wood, Henry Watkins, E. K. Carl- 
ton, Jacob Myers, Wm. Dunn and Austin A'inton, of Woodville; 
Anthony Sampson, H. H. Sunde, K. 0. Rotegard, H. T. Handgrud, 
Ole K. Hagen, AY. Anderson, Chris Knudson, E. 0. Strenge, X. C. 
Koffstad, Martin Anderson, August IMiller, K. Christenson and 
Nels Christenson, of New Richland ; E. S. AYoodrufP, B. P. Haines, 
E. A. Clark and Air. Edgerton, of Alvian; Christie AIcGrath, AA^m. 
Bevans, David Bevans, Isaac Lyng and C. S. AA^eed, of Byron. 



It is perhaps Avell enough to say here that the plan of this worli 
is to give the names of all the very early settlers, for a few years, 
and then, each year, give the events that are deemed of public 
interest as thej' transpired. 

One of those outrages that sometimes stir the indignation of a 
whole community, whether large or small, occurred early in the 
summer of 1856. About the first of that loveliest of months in 
Minnesota, June, two brothers, calling themselves John and Will- 
iam Jaques, came wandering through the county, evidently bent 
on mischief. They said the.y came from Iowa, and pretended to 
be in search of government land — something at that time every- 
where present in northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota. Upon 
their first entrance into the county, they camped near A. G. 
Sutlief 's farm, in "Wilton. They were very inquisitive as to claims. 
They enquired who had pre-empted? Who claimed more land 
than the law allowed? Who had claims to sell? Who had lived 
up to the requirements of the law, and who had not ? 

They seemed anxioixs, too, to find out who had horses to sell, 
what kind of horses they were, what kind of men owned horses, 
etc. They lost no opportunity to ply their inquisitiveness as they 
passed along through the settlement. Going thus from house to 
house, they became acquainted more or less, with the affairs and 
condition of each settler, from Otisco and Byron to St. Mary. In 
St. Mary they found, what they supposed to be a fine opening 


for a display of their innate meanness. As before stated in this 
history, several of the Krassins and U\o of the Prechels had set- 
tled in St. ]\lary, the previous year. Gottlieb Prechel had taken 
a claim on section thirty -two, adjoining- the reservation then occu- 
pied by the Winnebago Indians. In the latter part of the winter 
of 1855-6, Prechel and the Krassins had proved up and entered 
their lands, but this was not generally known in the settlement. 
This Prechel land was about three-fourths of a mile down the 
river from the old townsite of St. ilary. During the summer 
of 1855, Prechel had built a comfortable log house, with a thatched 
roof, and broken about ten acres of prairie. At the time he 
had crops growing iipon the plowed land and wa.s engaged in 
fencing it. Owing to the proximity of Indians, and the timidity 
of his family and himself, he moved into the house with ilartin 
Krassin, after having entei-ed his land, ilartin's house was on 
section thirty-four, neai-ly three miles further up the river, ilad- 
ara Rumor had iuformed these roving Jaques that Prechel was not 
living on his land and that his claim could be .jumped. "Only 
a Di^tchman" claimed it; he could be easily driven off; there was 
a comfortable house ready made; there were breaking and fenc- 
ing already done ; there were fine timber, pure water, rich prai- 
rie; there was a glorious chance to take the product of other 
people's labor without paying for it, and why not improve their 
opportunity 1 These men Jaques thought this a fine opening and 
so moved on to the premises and took possession. Prechel soon 
became aware of the fact, and proceeded at once to see about 
the matter. Accompanied by his brother-in-law, ilartin Kras- 
sm, he took his team, proceeded to the farm, and commenced 
cutting and hauling fencing. The two Jaques heard the chopping, 
soon came out where they were at work, and, with much as- 
sumed authority, ordered them off the premises. Krassin and 
Prechel could neither speak nor understand much of the English 
language, but tried to make the Jaques understand that^the 
land belonged to Prechel and that he had paid the government for 
it. But the :\ressrs. Ja(|ues would not listen, and Avere peremptory 
in demanding that the Germans sliould leave the claim. Prechel 
was sonu'what timid, said but little, and desired to retreat; but 
Jlarliu Krassin, being of a dift'erent make and mind, maintained 
that he had a better right there than tlie Jaques and ordered them 


to leave. John Jaques at once commenced an assault upon Martin, 
and pounded him about the face and head in a most brutal man- 
ner. :Martin was badly bruised and, for the time, driven from the 
land. All the German settlers were aroused and justly indig- 
nant at this brutal outrage; they concluded to try what virtue 
there was in law. There was no lawyer at hand, but, after some 
study, an affidavit of the facts was made before John Jenkins, 
Esq., who issued a warrant that was placed in the hands of John 
G. Greening, then acting constable, for the apprehension of John 
Jaques. Constable Greening summoned a posse and proceeded 
to perform his official duty. 

They went to the premises and found Wm. Jaques, but John 
was not there. He had skipped out, no doubt thinking that 

"He who fights, then runs away, 

]May live to fight another day." 
The posse then went to a neighbor 's and got sight of him, but he 
(lid not purpose to be caught. He ran; the constable 
and posse pursued; they chased him into the LeSueur 
river, in water shallow, constable on one side, posse 
on the other; the constable ordered him to surrender; he 
refused ; the constable drew a pistol, and Jaques a club ; Jaques 
threw his club at the constable ; the constable shut his eyes and 
dodged; Jaques jumped past him, got into the woods and es- 
caped. After an unavailing search for John Jaques, the con- 
stable arrested Wm. Jaques and brought him before the court. 
Of course he was not the man and was discharged. They had 
some property with them and a suit was commenced against 
them for willful and malicious trespass upon the premises. A 
lawyer, named McCarthy, who had recently come to St. Mary, 
was employed to prosecute the cause. "Wm. Jaques was arrested 
and required to plead to the charge of trespass. Jaques entered 
a plea of not guilty and plead his own cause. The prosecution 
made out a clear cause and judgment was rendered against the 
defendant for treble damages. 

John Jaques spent considerable time skulking about the country 
to avoid arrest ; "William was being troubled with lawsTiits ; fin- 
ally the twain made up their minds that the people of "Waseca 
county did not desire their company any longer. In a short time, 
they packed their personal eii'ects upon their wagons and traveled 


westward. They settled on the Minnesota river in Brown county, 
Minnesota, and soon became the terror of that section 
of country. It was reported more than twenty years ago, that 
at one time, they were mobbed by the citizens of that section 
for horse-stealing, and one of them was forced to leave the county 
for a long time. John Jaques, many years ago, made an incursion 
into the town of Blooming Grove and stole a span of horses 
from Patrick J\IcCullough. A warrant was issued for his arrest, 
but he was never found. His brother, William, was arrested on 
the same charge and brought to Wilton, where he finally settled 
with McCuUough for the horses. 

What finally became of them is not known, but their exit from 
this county, after so brief a stay, was highly satisfactory to the 
whole settlement. 

Early in the spring of 1856, ilessrs. Waters and Chamberlain 
bought the claims made the year before by George and William 
Robbins, on the east side of the Le Sueur river over against 
Wilton. They put in a small country store, and made believe that 
they would start a village in opposition to Wilton, and even went 
so far as to name their place Waterlynn. They supplied the set- 
tlers with groceries and other goods during the summer, but for 
want of either money or enterprise, or both, they failed to ac- 
complish anything of importance. 

The village of Empire— a more extended notice of which is else- 
where given in this work— was started in the summer of 1856, 
and a number of its prominent citizens took an active part in the 
local polities of that year. 

St. Mary also received its name that summer, and preparations 
were made by Chamberlain, Bailey & Co. to start a city the next 
spring. These men had bought out Patrick McCarthy, the original 
claimant, who gave the locality its name. 



In 1856 the animosity growing out of claim jumping, which was 
instigated by Mr. Cornell and other Wilton town-site proprietors, 
and the evident intention of what was then known as the Cor- 
nell ring to divide Steele county and make two small counties, to- 
gether with other rivalries, brought into existence what was 
known as the Cornell and anti-Cornell parties. It was well un- 
derstood that Mr. Cornell and his adherents wanted to elect a 
legislative ticket favorable to the division of Dodge and Steele 
counties and the organization of three counties, giving to each 
of the three twelve townships, as at present, and making Man- 
torville, Owatonna and "Wilton county seats of their respective 

In order to forestall the opposition of the farming population, 
Mr. Cornell and friends called a people's convention in early au- 
tumn, at Owatonna, thereby giving the Cornell party a powerful 
local advantage. However, a large proportion of the then settlers 
of "Waseca county went to the convention to iind themselves out- 
voted by traveling immigrants who had been hired by the Cornell 
men, so some of them said, to camp in the vicinity for a few days 
and vote on that special occasion. To say that some of the old 
settlers were hot that day, expresses the condition of the public 
mind at that time in very feeble phrase. 

The fraud was so outrageous and so self-evident that it was Qot 
seriously denied, even by the Cornell men. The anti-Cornell men 


■withdrew in a body from the others and held a convention of 
their own, calling it a Republican convention, which it really was. 
Judge (Jeo. W. (ireen, Dr. Finch, Elder Towne and others, of 
Steele county, eloquently denounced the other convention for 
following the tactics of the ^Missouri border ruffians in Kansas. 
The Republicans nominated a county ticket of their own. and 
elected four delegates to attend the Republican legislative con- 
vention to be held at Traverse des yi()Tix,now St. Peter, to nominate 
"candidates for the territorial council and house. These di^l(\gates 
were Dr. "W. W. Finch and Judge ({eo. AV. Green, of what is now 
Steel(> county, and ilr. Simeon I. Ford and James E. Child, of 
what is now Waseca county. The Cornell party elected as dele- 
gates to the same legislative convention, H. ]M. Sheetz, A. B. Cor- 
nell,- and a man from Steele county, whose name is forgotten by 
the writer, and ]\1. S. Green, then of Empire, in "Waseca county. 
The legislative district then comprised all of that portion of 
^Minnesota west and south of Steele and Nicollet counties and irj- 
eluded these two counties. 

Each of these tM'o sets of delegates claimed to represent the 
Simon-pure Republican party of the county. Judge (Jreen, a 
vei-y able man, was principal spokesman on one side, and H. I\I. 
Sheetz, a brilliant young etlitor, on the other. Both were cool, 
■deliberate and able, and soon convinced the convention that our 
county possessed men of ability, at least, and that the contention 
was no trifling affair. The contest was referred to the committee 
on credentials, and two I'eports were made by the committee, one 
in favor of each. This brought the contest before the whole con- 
vention and the battle raged fiercely during the whole night. 
Finally, about daylight in the morning, it was agreed to nominate 
a candidate for councillor and two for representatives, leaving one 
candidate for representatiNc to be thereafter agreed upon by 
Steele county men. 

As soon as this understanding had been reached, both factions 
were admitted to participate in the convention. 

It was one of the hardest fought political battles in the history 
of our local politics, and the Coi'iieil faction was defeated. Both 
parties returned home with blood in their eyes, as the siiyinu' is, 
resolved to tight it out until the polls elosed and the ballots were 
counted on election nigjit. 


Immediately after the return of the delefj-ates from St. Peter 
I\Ir. Cornell was announeed as a candidate for the legislature, and 
those opposed to Cornell and a division of the county very soon 
afterwards nominated Rev. 0. A; Thomas, of Medford, Steele 
county, as the opposition candidate. Captain Lewis IMcKune, ilr. 
Chris. Remund and others, in the north part of what is now Wa- 
seca e(umty, and ^Messrs. Lincoln, Waters, Chamberlain, Ford, 
John Jenkins, and others, in the south part, toolj an active part in 
favor of Mr. Thomas. In what is now Steele county. Dr. Finch, 
Judge (Jreen, Elder Towne, and others were energetic in their 
efforts to defeat i\Ir. Cornell. Nearly the whole fight turned upon 
the candidates for the legislature and for registi>r of deeds. 

The canvass was very thorough throughout this section, every 
man having been talked with regarding the matter. It was the 
old story of private interests against the public welfare. ]Mr. Cor- 
nell represented the town-site si)eculators, who desired to make 
three counties out of two witli three county seats. On the other 
hand, the farming settlers, few in number, desired larger counties 
under the belief that a large county would have no more expense 
than a smaller one, and that the larger the numbr of taxpayers 
the less tax each would have to pay. The campaign was very 
exciting, considering how few in number were the voters at that 

Election day fell on the 14th of October, 1856, and a majority 
of twenty-five votes elected Tilr. Thomas and protested against a 
division of the county. The majority was not large, apparently, 
but it was, in reality, much larger than it appeared to be, for it 
was well known that a number of transient men cast illegal votes 
for i\Ir. Cornell at Owatonna. 

The people that opposed Mr. Cornell and his division scheme 
supposed they had won a ^'ictory, and that, for another year, at 
least, their interests would be safe in the hands of ]\Ir. Thomas 
whom they elected, but they afterwards found out to their 

sorrow — 

"How vain are all things here below. 
How false and yet how fair." 
No sooner was Mr. Cornell defeated at the polls than he took 
an entirely new tack and sailed in an unexpected direction. He 
sent his emissaries to those settlers in the Le Sueur (Wilton) 


settlement whom he had been trying for a year to plunder, and 
managed in one way and another, to compromise and settle with 
them on liberal terms to himself. He became so very kind (?) 
and good that he threw nearly all his old opponents off their 
guard. He succeeded in securing the co-operation of Col. J. C. 
Ide, then of Rice county, a very agreeable, obliging and quite an 
able man, who came to AYilton that fall and built a saw-mill, 
the first erected in the county. This mill was of great value to 
all the people of the settlement, and furnished lumber for much 
needed buildings and improvements. So successful were Mr. 
Cornell and his associates that they secured a division of the 
county by the legislature to which the people had elected a man, 
and a gospel minister at that, especially pledged to prevent just 
that very legislation. It was the worst case of political treason 
that ever came to my knowledge. No wonder the people lose con- 
fidence in human nature when even a clergyman will forget his 
solemn promises and turn traitor to his political friends and his 

The members of the legislature that winter, from this, the 
tenth, district, were P. P. Humphrey, in the coujicil, and Joseph 
R. Brown, Francis Baasen, and 0. A. Thomas, in the house. 

Just how the Rev. Thomas was handled never came to public 
light, but it Avas quite evident that the "comity seat combine" 
was too shrewd and too powerful for him to cope with. The 
legislation of those days, as at present, sometimes bore the sig- 
nificant and euphonious name of skul-duggery. 

The act organizing Waseca county became a law February 27, 
1857. At that time there was not a postoffice in Waseca county 
and the most rapid method of communication was by means of 
a saddle horse. The fact that Steele county had been divided 
and Waseca county organized did not become generally known 
in the latter county until two or three weeks after the legislative 
enactment. At first the people of Waseca county could not be- 
lieve the report, and wlien the belief was forced upon them, 
language failed to describe the feelings of those who had con- 
tributed to the election of Rev. Thomas in the belief that he would 
protect their interests. 

The principal fight in the campaign of IS.'Hi was on ^Ir. Cornell 
for representative, and on Chnrles Ellison for register of deeds. 


Both of them were defeated. The Steele county people have pre- 
served a relic of the conflict of that day. Cornell had, at Owa- 
tonna, the only newspaper printed in the county, and his op- 
ponents had no way of publishing their side of the case, except 
the pinmitive one of writing and posting in public places. So they 
wrote out a jingle of verses and posted it on the side of the log 
house where the election was held. One of the verses is preserved 
in "An Album of History and Biography," published in 1887, by 
the Chicago Union Publishing Company, and runs as follows: 
"Mr. Ellison, Esquire. 
You ought to look higher 
Than to think of registering deeds; 
The people up here 
Peel desperate queer 
To know jouv political creeds." 
IMr. Ellison, like many another office seeking politician, was all 
things to all men— hence the verse. 

Of the officers of Steele county appointed by the governor in 
1856, the following resided in what is now Waseca county : John 
:M. Bliven, district attorney ; Melmer P. Ide, county commissioner ; 
Luke B. Osgood, assessor ; John Jenkins, of the Le Sueur precinct 
(Wilton), Simeon Smith and Curtis Hatch, of Swavesey (Bloom- 
ing Grove), and J. A. Bassett and M. S. Green of Empire (Iosco), 
justices of the peace. 

CHAPTER XX, 1856. 


As stated in the last chapter, the Cornell, or nld "Wilton eom- 
jjany, with head(iuarters at OwatDima, had eompi'onnsed and made 
financial peace with the men wlmse claims they had jumped, 
ijniiiediately after election, in the fall of IS-'mj. About that time, 
Judue Lowell, late an emigrant from New England to Faribault, 
liecame interested in Wilton town property, and active operations 
were commenced in October to build up the town. As before 
stateil. Col. Ide came on, started a steam saw mill, and built a 
house for his family. H. P. Norton, the pioneer blacksmith, ar- 
rived in "Wilton in October, IS.'jG, and erected the fiist permanent 
blacksmith shop in the county. He was not only the first, but 
one of the best blacksmiths that ever swung a hammer in the 
comity. No man could pound a breaking plow lay and make 
it do better work than he. His old sliop, at this writing, still 
stands there, but the i-ing of the anvil is no longer heard liy the 

Thomas J. Kerr, then a young, unmarried man, came to Minne- 
sota in April, IS.IG, and worked all summer for Col. Robinson, 
^vh(> had taken a claim near Wilton. lie was a prominent actor 
in one of the stiri-iug incidents of that day. lie had staked out 
a claim, 1)ut had made no improvements upon it, neither had he 
filed (m it, when Col. John C. Ide came to Wilton and wanted 
that particular claim, lie olfered Mr. Kerr ^lOO.OO for his riulit, 
and the ofTei- was aeeepleil — Col. Lit- paying .+."). (Hi to bind the 


bargain. Col. Ide's family was still in Rice county, and thither 
Col. Ide went to settle up his matters and move his family. 
Scarcely was his back turned before along came our old and 
esteemed friends, E. B. Stearns and family, one Saturday after- 
noon, and camped very close to Ide 's claim. Tom had a suspicion 
that the newcomer proposed to take that claim, and he set himself 
to work to find out. So he strolled along out to the camp of 
Mr. Stearns, and while there learned that one of the Eobbins boys 
was getting IMr. Stearns on to that claim. 

The claim was entirely vacant. No improvements had been 
made and it had not been filed on. Just what to do Tom did not 
know, but he consulted Col. Robinson and together they concluded 
to get Uncle Fisk, who had settled on school section 36, in St. 
]Mary, to go over and take the claim. So they went over to Pisk's 
a little late Sunday night and laid the matter before him. For- 
timately they had no timepiece that night, and when good Mrs. 
Fisk remonstrated with them for trespassing upon the Lord's 
day, they assured her that it was after midnight, and therefore 
Monday. Uncle Fisk entered heartily into the arrangement, and 
the three went that night and rolled up a shanty of logs, chinked 
the cracks with hay, made a roof of hay, and when Mr. Stearns 
came to run the lines ^londay morning, he found Uucle Fisk in 
full possession, with a fixed and steadfast purpose to keep and 
preserve the same from all intruders. Mr. Stearns, being pre- 
eminently a man of peace, hitched his team to his wagon and 
went south, making a claim in Otisco. 

But now our friend Kerr found himself in more of a dilemma 
than when ilr. Stearns camped there. Uncle Fisk made up his 
mind that, instead of holding that claim for Col. Ide, he would 
hold it for himself, and that nothing short of $1,000.00 would 
induce him to surrender his rights to it. However, Fisk continued 
to live on his school section, and Mr. Kerr was not long in finding 
a man to jump the old man's claim. Mr. Tarrant Putnam hap- 
pened along just at that time and Mr. Kerr laid before him the 
burden on his mind. Putnam soon agreed to take the claim and 
pre-empt it, and then let Col. Ide have it in exchange for another 
claim nearby, which the colonel was to pre-empt. Putnam com- 
menced improvements at once by building a shanty and doing 
a small amount of breaking. As soon as Uncle Fisk heard of Put- 


nam's intrusion, he came over and ordered him off, but the latter 
was armed and equipped for claim holding, and the old gentleman 
never returned with his old shotgun, as he threatened to do. I\Ir. 
Putnam afterwards became prominent as register of deeds for 
several years, and is, at this writing, a resident of California, 
while Mr. T. J. Kerr and family reside in Waseca. 

A. J. "Woodbury and sons built the first hotel in "Wilton, the^ 
first in the county in fact,— during the winter of 1856-7. It stands* 
there at the present writing, a decaying monument of pioneer 

During the same winter Messrs. Paige and Baker opened a small 
stock of general merchandise. Thomas L. Paige was the first 
clerk of court in this county. He returned East in 1858, as did 
his partner, Nathan Duane Baker. 

McLaurin, who afterwards became somewhat romantically the 
husband of Miss Ottie Ide, opened a grocery and liquor store the 
same winter. 

Hon. P. C. Bailey and H. P. West, co-partners as Bailey & West, 
opened the first hardware store in the county, at Wilton earlv 
in 1857. 

All through the winter of 1856-7, which was tediously cold, 
stores, shops, residences, and barns were erected, so that in early 
spring Wilton was a thriving village. It soon became the county 
seat and was the leading village of the county until the building 
of the Winona & St. Peter railroad and the location of the present 
city of Waseca. It then died out as rapidly as it well could ; and 
to-day a stranger would never mistrust, upon visiting the spot, 
that it was, for a long time, a busy, thriving center of trade for 
a large extent of country. It died on account of a railroad too 
near and yet too far away. 

The next spring (1857) St. Mary began to expand. The plat 
was laid off in February by Chamberlain, Bailev & Co W H 
Chamberlain had settled there the season before and made ar- 
rangements for building and booming the toAvn. The followin<r 
statements are taken from an interview with Mr. G. R Buck- 
man of Waseca. 

Mr. Buckman came to Waseca county from Winona in January. 


3857. He arrived at Owatonna about noon, and fell in with 
George Tremper, who was coming to Wilton with a team. They 
left Owatonna about 2 o'clock p. m., and met a regular blizzard 
before they had proceeded five miles. They did not reach Wilton 
until 9 'clock in the evening, and Wilton then contained but one 
"stopping place," kept by Uncle Dave Jenkins. The next day 
]Mr. Buekman arrived at St. Mary, an embryo village just spring- 
ing into life. A JMr. Grossman kept a boarding house. He died 
the next April. This was the first death in the settlement. The 
village proprietors then residing there were W. H. Chamberlain 
and wife, H. B. IMorrison and wife, John Bailey and Harvey 
Bailey and wife. There were also the original settlers, John White, 
with his family, and a jMr. Clark and wife. There was also a 
character of local note, named McCarthy, who kept a saloon. He 
was his own customer nearly all the time, and frequently "painted 
the town red," sometimes exposing his person in the most obscene 
manner. He became so objectionable that a little pioneer justice 
seemed necessary for his instruction. About twenty-five men 
gathered at McCarthy's shanty, with James Plummer as leader, 
and after considerable search found two barrels of whisky stowed 
in a hole under the floor ; they emptied out the whisky. The next 
day, armed with a warrant. Sheriff Garland "surrounded" twen- 
ty-five of the citizens and marched them to Wilton. That was 
really the first whisky war in Waseca county. It was an amusing 
sight to see twenty-five sober, quiet, industrious, honorable Amer- 
ican citizens put into the criminal dock at the instigation of a 
bloated, blear-eyed, drunken, obscene vender of rot-gut whisky! 
Nevertheless they had violated the laws of their country— they 
had destroyed this man's property unlawfully, and they must 
take the consequences. However, the case was adjourned from 
time to time, and finally they were all discharged, through the 
legal efforts of Ike Price, then a resident of Wilton, and the boys 
got off by paying seventy-five cents each. Poor McCarthy after- 
wards, as a result of his drinking habits, froze his feet severely 
and was crippled for life. At last accounts he was an object of 
pitv and commiseration. 

The winter of 1857-8 was one of much social enjoyment in St. 
Mary. The citizens organized a large literary society, held some 
rousing debates, and read a paper each week entitled the "St. 


ilary Literary Union," edited by G. R. Buckman. B. ^L Morrill 
wrote the "machine poetry;" J. W. Johnson was the Wilton cor- 
respondent, John A. Wheeler and Mr. Ilale, both since deceased, 
were the principal contributors. The people from all the sur- 
rounding country came in to attend the meetings of the society, 
Its meetings were continued the next winter. 

W. H. Chamberlain built the first frame dwelling house in St. 
ilary. It may be interesting to know that the same house is now 
a part of Waseca. It stands on the corner of Lake avenue and 
Fifth street, and is still in a state of good preservation. 

The St. ilary town proprietors built a steam saw mill in the 
spring of 1857, which Avas of great benefit to the early settlers 
of the vicinity. Hon. Warren Smith deceased, Capt Geo. T. 
White, who afterwards lost his life in the War of the Rebellion, 
and many others settled in St. Mary in the spring of 1857, making 
it an active, busy village. St. ilary was a lively competitor for the 
cnunty seat in June, 1857, and reached its largest proportions 
that season. It remained a business center of considerable 
importance up to the time of the breaking out of the Rebellion 
in 1861. Its best blood then enlisted in the army, and its business 
men, one after another, deserted it. The saw mill, flouring mill, 
and shingle factory, while great blessings to the surroimding 
countiy, did not bring large dividends to their owners. When 
the war broke out they were soon deserted and removed to other 
places. The Catholic church, at St. .Mary, was one of the first 
church biiildings erected in the coimty. The church society there 
is no doubt one of the oldest in the county ; that in the Remund 
neighborhood, Blooming (h-ove, being its only rival in age. 



To the inhabitants of Waseea county in 1857, if not to the 
present generation, the public developments of the year were very 
exciting. The reader must remember that, up to the beginning 
of 1857, there was not even a post office in Waseca county, and 
that the most rapid means of communication was the saddle horse. 
The fact of the organization of the county by legislative enact- 
ment was not generally known until two or three weeks after the 
act had passed and become a law. The bill creating the county 
of Waseca was passed by the territorial legislature, in 1857, and 
was certified to by John W. Furber, speaker of the house ; John 
B. Brisbin, president of the senate, and signed and approved by 
Willis A. Gorman, governor, February 27, 1857. That act pro- 
vided that on the first Monday of June following, the legal voters 
of said county should hold an especial election in their (to be) 
established precincts, for the purpose of locating a county seat, 
and for the proper election of coimty officers. Until that time, 
and for the purposes of carrying into effect the provisions of the 
law and setting in motion the machinery of county government. 
Governor Gorman appointed the following temporary county 


commissioners to establish election precincts, appoint judges of 
election, and name such other officers as were provided for by law, 
viz: John C. Ide, John M. Bliven and Henry W. Peck. The 
governor also appointed Nathaniel Garland, sheriff, and Tarrant 
Putnam, register of deeds. These were the first officers of the 
county and they promptly qualified. They were to hold these 
positions until their successors should be elected and qualified. 
And thus was the county brought forth. The first meeting of 
the county commissioners was held at Wilton, on the 16th of 
ilarch, 1857. Col. John C. Ide was chosen chairman and the 
board proceeded to business, the register of deeds being ex-officio 
clerk of the board. 

The bond of the register of deeds and also of the sheriff were 
presented, approved and filed. A temporary seal, consisting of 
a round piece of yellow paper, with the name of the county 
printed thereon, was adopted. W. S. Baker of Otisco, who died 
in "Waseca several years ago, was appointed treasurer of the 
county, and entered upon the duties of his office. The labor of 
the office was not burdensome at that time, as there was not a 
cent in the treasury. At this meeting, the commissioners formed 
election precincts and appointed the necessary clerks and judges 
of election. 

The first precinct was called Swavesey and contained all of 
the town of Blooming Grove and the north half of the town of 
AYoodville. The election was to be held at the house of Ole Knut- 
sen, and Lewis McKune, Patrick Healy, and Ole Kuntsen were 
appointed judges to conduct the same. AY. H. Young and Lewis 
:\lcKune were appointed justices, and Clark AVood and S. P. 
AYyman, constables of that precinct. 

The next precinct was called Empire, and embraced what is 
now Iosco and Janesville and the north half of St. Alary. The 
election was to be held at the house of John H. AAHieeler, in Em- 
pire, and N. E. Strong, C. R. Aliller and James Ilanes M-ere ap- 
pointed to serve as judges of election. ::\L S. Green was appointed 
justice of tlie peace and Geoi'ge L. Leonard constable for the 
Empire precinct. 

The AVilton precinct was composed of the southern halves of St. 
Alary and AVoodville and the north two-thirds of both Oti.seo and 
AVilton. The election was to be held at the hotel of A. J. AVood- 


bury in AYilton, with Jesse I. Stewart, W. H. Chamberlain, and 
E. A. Rice as judges of election. Geo. W. Tremper was appointed 
constable for the Wilton precinct. 

The fourth precinct was called Otisco and consisted of Vivian, 
Byron, New Richland and the south one-third of the towns of 
Otisco and Wilton. The election was appointed to be held at 
the house of Silas Grover, near the southeast corner of the town- 
ship of AVilton, and E. B. Stearns, Calvin Chapman and Daniel 
Grover were chosen to act as judges. 

At the same meeting the following officers were appointed : for 
coroner, James Hanes; surveyor, H. W. Peck; assessors, N. N. 
Xorcutt, James E. Child, and E. B. Stearns. Mr. Peck resigned 
as county commissioner to accept the surveyorship and David 
Smith, of Empire, was appointed to fill the vacancy. 

A second meeting of the county commissioners was held April 
6th, 1857, at which John Bradish, Esq., of Empire, was appointed 
county attorney, and Henry Thwing, of Empire, and John G. 
Greening of (Otisco) Wilton precinct, constables. Ben. G. North- 
up and Silas Grover were chosen judges of election in Otisco, in 
place of Dan Grover and Calvin Chapman, who declined to serve. 

A third meeting of the county board was held on the 4th of 
May, 1857, at which a fifth precinct was carved, out of Empire and 
called Elysian. It embraced all the territory in the township of 
Janesville west of Lake Elysian. J. C. York, C. M. Barnard and 
Abram Jaqua were appointed judges of the election which was 
to be held at the house of E. H. Loomis in said precinct. J. M. 
Stoddard was appointed justice of the peace and Abram Jaqua 
constable for the new precinct. 

The commissioners at this meeting also made the following ap- 
pointments for the precinct of Swavesey: Asa Conner, justice 
of the peace, and S. P. Wyman, constable. 

These meetings and proceedings were held preparatory to 
the then great coming struggle .for the permanent location of 
the county seat. 

Wilton, St. Mary, Empire— these three— entered the political 
arena and each strove with all its strength for the ascendency, 
Although county officers were to be elected, the all-absorbing 
question was, "How do you stand on the county seat?" 

Had the fate of the nation depended upon the result of the 


election, there could not have been more intense feeling or excite- 
ment than was manifested in these embryo "cities." At first, 
the 8t. Mary men attempted to work the "boys of '55'" against 
AVilton on account of the claim- jumping troubles, but the "boys 
of '55 ' ' were not disposed to cut off their noses to spite some one 
else, and voted to suit themselves. The contest waxed hot and 
fierce. Strange faces in large niimbers mysteriously appeared 
a few days before election. ]Men from Faribault, Owatomia. and 
other parts of the Territory suddenly became permanent residents 
of the county. Empire, .St. ilary, and Wilton urew to large pro- 
portions some ten days before the election. Their streets with- 
out sidewalks literally swarmed with black coats, satin vests 
and plug hats. Promises on the part of town-site speculati>i-s 
were as plentiful as house tlies in the month of August. There 
was hurrying to and fro among the speculators in paper cities 
and coi'iier lots. Oray haii'od usurers and loafing young men 
played euchre on the prairie green, or lazily lounged upon the 
corners of imaginary business blocks in these would-be cities. 
Every artifice of the political party demagogue was resorted to 
by those interested in the several towns to secure population and 
win votes. 

It is said that man soAvetli, but (Jod giveth the increase. In 
this case there was a veiy sudden decrease in population imme- 
diately after the election. The Avhole number of votes cast was 
6G5. It might have l)een larger: but was not that a fair-si/.ed 
election for a farming county of only tAvo years' settlement? At 
any rate, in 18(i(), at the presidential election, when :\lr. Lhicoln 
was elected, the coinily only cast 5l25 votes — a falling off of over 
200 votes in a growing country in three and a half yearS. 

Swav(>sey cast 51 votes for AVilton, o3 for St. Alary, and 23 
for Empire. Elysian 20 l)allots— 2:! for Wilton, 4 for St. 
]\Iai\v and 2 for Empire. Empire cast 11 for Wilton, 49 tor St. 
Alary and 100 for Empire. AVilton cast 119 for St. Alary, 1S9 for 
AA^ilton, and one for Empire. The oldest settler has never yet 
found out who tliat oni^ lone Empire fellow was. He must have 
had the courage of Ethan Allen. (Atisco cast 58 vote's for Wilton 
and 2 For St. Mary. AVilton theref<.i-c rrceived 332 votes. St. 
Alary 207, and Empire 120, making Wilton thi> comity seat. 

This election, intensely exciting as it was, and pre'senting as it 


did the woi-st phases of our popular form of government, simply 
showed hoAv deeply rooted in the American mind was the essential 
and all-important doctrine that the majority must rule and the 
minority must acquiesce. Within three months after that heated 
contest, the opposing' forces met in party convention, and a 
stranfjer would not have mistrusted that the men of >St. ]\lary, 
of Empire and of Wilton had ever disagreed on any subject. 

At that special election E. B. Stearns of Otiseo, L. C. Wood of 
Swavesey (now Woodville), and David Smith of Empire (now 
Iosco), Avere elected county commissioners. They held their first 
session July 6th, ISfyT. As near as I have been able to learn, 
the following were the other newly-elected officers to hold until 
the next general election: J. W. Crawford of Elysian, register of 
deeds; Nathaniel Garland, of Wilton, sheriff; H. W. Peck, of 
Empire, county surveyor; W. S. Baker, of Otiseo, treasurer; and 
^\. S. Green, of Empire, county attorney. At this meeting of the 
commissioners, which was the fifth session, David Smith 
was elected chairman. The bonds of the officers- 
elect were filed and approved by the board. Road 
petitions were presented by Charles L. Lowell, Alonzo Heath, J. 
A. Canfield, and John S. ^McKune. The petitions wei'C signed by 
other citizens and were acted upon by the board. * * * 

Notwithstanding our Territorial condition, the great anti-slav- 
ei'y agitation of the day divided the people into distinct political 
parties. Every man was expected to stand to and vote his prin- 
ciples regardless of consequences. There was a conscientious 
courage in those days regarding public questions which amounted 
to heroism. And thus it was that, in the fall of 1857, local jeal- 
ousies were put to rest, and national politics divided the voters. 
Even at the very time of our county-seat election, the Republicans 
of the legislative district elected Hon. Amos Coggswell, of Steele 
county, Captain Lewis McKune, of this county, and B. Page 
Davis, of Nicollet county, members of the constitutional conven- 
tion that framed our present constitution, which was adopted 
October 13th, 1857. 

The contest for county officials that fall was based almost en- 
tirely upon national politics, for the voters of the county, at that 
time, were largely strangers to each other. Hon. Lewis JMcKune, 
for state senator, headed the local ticket and was elected. Of the 


county ticket, the Republicans elected E. B. .Stearns, L. C. Wood, 
and John Bailey, county commissioners ; N. Garland, sheriff ; A. E. 
Smith, surveyor; J. I. Stewart, treasurer; James E. Child, county 
attorney; Job A. Canfield, probate judge; and W. S. Baker, 
assessor. The Democrats elected E. A. Rice, register of deeds, 
and H. P. Norton, clerk of the court. The vote between the two 
parties' in this county, at that time, was nearly equal, and the 
personal popularity of the two successful Democrats carried 
them in. 



This first general election, October 13, 1857, was the occasion of 
the first, as well as of the most unprovoked, murder ever commit- 
ted in this county. Jacob Hagadorn and family and Peter Farrell 
and family lived neighbors to one another in the town of Iosco, 
near the village of Empire, where the fall election was held. 
So far as known, at least, these men were not only 
neighbors, but friendly toward each other. They both 
attended the election at Empire, and the testimony 
showed that Hagadorn did not drink much, but that Far- 
rell was crazy drunk. The testimony taken before the grand jury 
the next day or two after the murder showed that there were two 
rival hotels, or public houses, in the village, and that each kept 
a bar well stocked with whisky. Whisky was cheap in those good 
old days, 25 cents a gallon— too cheap to be drugged— and yet 
men got drunk in those days the same as they do nowadays, and 
stabbed each other to the heart without any other cause than that 
they were intoxicated. It was at the time charged that one of the 
hotel men had plied Farrell and one or two others with liquor, 
during the afternoon, with the intention of getting up a drunken 
affray in the evening in which the other hotel man was to have 
been killed by accident. Whether there was any foundation 
for that theory or not, the fact was that a quarrel took place, and 
during the row Farrell killed Hagadorn with a large knife. 

Hon. Charles E. Flandreau, then associate justice of the Terri- 
torial supreme court, was then holding the first term of the 
district court for this county, and the grand jury, then in session, 


found indictments against Peter Farrell, as principal, and John 
II. Wheeler and Richard Toner, as accessories. FarrcU was ar- 
rested and taken to Stillwater to be held for trial, but soon after 
made his escape and has never been brought to trial. It is said 
by some that he and his family are residents of Chicago, living 
under an assumed name. 

After the excitement was over and the facts and circum- 
stances were more coolly considered, it was generally admitted 
that there was no evidence upon which to convict Wheeler or 
Toner, and after some two years they were discharged. 

There can be no doubt that that sad and bloody tragedj' was 
the unpremeditated result of insane drunkenness on the part of 
Farrell and others that were equall.y drunk. 

Farrell, with great frankness, apparent sincerity, and unaffected 
sorrow declared that he had no cause for killing Hagadorn, that 
he never intended to injure him, and that he had not the faintest 
recollection of committing the crime with which he was charged 
and which he did actually commit in the presence of manj- eye- 

This murder was a sad lesson for Waseca county in more ways 
than one. It kept the district court in session several days, piled 
up large bills for witnesses, jurors, and officers at a time when 
our people were poor and out of money and when there was not 
a cent in the county treasury. These bills had to be met with 
borrowed money bearing interest at a rate of from sixty to sev- 
enty-two per cent per annum. It was a long time before the tax- 
payers had paid off the last of the expenses of that drunk. 


As hereinbefore intimated, the first term of the district eonrt for 
this county was held at Wilton, commencing October 12, 1857. On 
the day that court opened, Hon. Charles E. Flandreau, then a 
young lawyer of St. Peter, not long since deceased, presided. 
The grand jury was impaneled, sworn, and charged in the after- 
noon, and the court then ad.journed until Wednesday morning, 
the 14th, to give the jurors the privilege of voting on the 13th. 
When the court convened on the morning of the 14th, the sad 
news of the murder of Hagadorn at Empire on the 13th, had 
reached Wilton, and the grand jury at once commenced an in- 
vestigation of the matter which lasted several days. There was 
little or no other business to be transacted in court, and the 
judge adjourned from day to day until the grand jury finished its 
work. At this term of court, John Bradish, Esq., was duly ad- 
mitted to practice law in the courts of the Territory, he being 
the first resident lawyer of the county admitted to the bar. He 
is, at the present writing, a resident of Janesville, engaged in 
the real estate and insurance business. 


The financial crash of 1857 had paralyzed the whole country. 
The state banking system (another name for robbery) had col- 
lapsed everywhere throughout the land, and the only persons that 
were in luck were those who had gold or silver coin. Such persons 
were very few in number. Not only were the masses of the people 
destitute of money, but all departments of government were with- 
out funds to pay ordinary expenses. Waseca county was especial- 


ly unfortunate at that time. It had not only no money but no 
credit worth mentioning, as was shown by the records made at 
that time ; and yet it had on hand an expensive murder case grow- 
ing out of the liquor traffic. This case had to be carried forAvard 
at public expense. Hence we find the following entry in the 
records of the ninth meeting of the board of county commission- 
ers, which was held immediately after the adjournment of the 
first term of the district court : 

"At a special meeting, held October 20th, 1857, the board bor- 
rowed of Byron Claric the sum of $100 for which a joint note, 
signed by E. B. Stearns and L. C. AVood, was given, payable one 
year from date thereof, with interest at the rate of six per cent, 
per month." 

But that was only a drop in the bucket. The debts of the county 
already aggregated more than $1,200, and men were clamorous 
for their pay. When money was bringing from sixty to seventy- 
two per cent per annum, every man wanted his money to use ; 
and so another special meeting of the county board was held 
November 11th, 1857, to devise ways and means to meet the 
pressing demands of creditors. At this meeting George Snyder, 
living near our covmty line, in Freeborn county, condescended 
to loan $200 of his good, hard gold to the count}- upon a promis- 
sory note duly executed and signed by E. B. Stearns and L. C. 
Wood, who were county commissioners at the time. This note bore 
interest at the rate of Ave per cent per month— sixty per centum 
per annum— and was due and payable fifteen months after date. 
The record also shows the folloAving peculiar transaction: "The 
treasurer, being absent, the funds in the hands of the commis- 
sioners were appropriated by them to pay the most urgent bills 
against the county." The bills paid were as follows: L. C. Low- 
ell, $5; E. A. Rice, $51.85; N. Garland, $120.70; J. W. Craw- 
ford, $29. 

From the financial statement made at the close of the year 1S57. 
by Messrs. E. B. Stearns, L. C. Wood and John Bailey, county 
commissioners, we learn that the outstanding indebtedness of the 
county was $1,258.52, while the assets, if there were any, received 
no mention. 



The few that had opened farms so as to plant seeds in the spring 
of 1857 received bountiful crops in, return, with the exception of 
oats, which lodged, owing to heavj' growth of straw. Very little 
wheat was cultivated then, and most of that was of the "club" 
variety, which never succeeded well here. The year 1858 opened 
Avith a heavy cloud in the financial sky, and with a general feeling 
of depression everj'where. 

The new board of county commissioners, Messrs. B. B. Stearns, 
L. C. Wood, and John Bailey, met for the first timn January 4th, 
1858, and organized by the election of Mr. B. B. Stearns as chair- 
man. It was indeed fortunate for the county that at that critical 
period in our history we had three so honest and capable men 
at the head of affairs. No one was allowed to rob the public, for 
every bill presented to the board was closely scrutinized and inves- 

At the meeting of the county commissioners April 5, 1858, the 
first separate township organizations were instituted. What is 
now Janesville was then named Okaman and given two polling 
places ; one at the house of A. Tuttle, near the ilorth end of Lake 
Elysian, and the other near the south end of the lake, at the house 
of Caesar De Regan. Alex Johnston, W. N. Buekout, an.d C. H. 
Bishop, all since deceased, were appointed judges of election. 

Iosco then received its name as an organized township, and H. 


W. Peek, Geo. L. Leonard, and David Smith were appointed 
judges of th« election, wliich was to be held at the house of Daniel 

Township 108, range 22, was s^t off and named Blooming Grove, 
with James Isaac, Patrick Healy, and J. M. Bli^on as judges of 
the next election, which was appointed at the residence of Pat- 
rick Healy. 

AVoodville was the name given to township 107, range 22, and 
Eri G. "Wood, J. K. ]\Ieyers, and William ]\I. Green Avere chosen 
judges of the first election, whicli was to be held at the house of 
E. G. AYood. 

St. ilary was the name applied to township 107, range 23, the 
tavern of J. AY. Clark was designated as polling place, and B. AI. 
]\Iorrill, AYarren Smith, and II. AY. Chamberlain were named to 
serve as judges of election. 

Township 106, range 23, retained the name of AA'ilton, the elec- 
tion was appointed at the taveiii of A. J. AA'oodbury, and I. C. 
Pi'iee, L. Cuitis, and J. C. Ide were appointed as judges. 

Township 106, range 22, was designated as Otiseo, election at 
the house of ()wen Salisl)ury, and H. G. Alosher, S. S. Grigus, and 
( >wen Salisbury were chosen to serve as judges. 

Township 10.5, range 24, was named A'ivian, and that township, 
together with the west half of what is now Byron, was made an 
election precinct. The first election was appointed at the resi- 
dence of J. B. Hill, and that ucntleman, with S. L. Daggett and 
E. AYoodruff, constituted the board of election judges. 

At the next meeting of the county board, Alay 17th, on pre- 
sentation of a petition therefor, the name of township IttS, range 
21 was changed from Okaman to Janesville ; and now the name 
of that once busy and beautiful little hamlet of Okaman, at the 
head of Lake Elysian, remains only in history. 

The first state legislature after the adoption of our present 
constitution, substituted the supervisor system of county govern- 
ment for the connnissioner system, and the first meetino- of the 
new board was held at AYiltoii, Sejitember 14th, l.^.^iS. The mem- 
bers of the new board were E. B. Stearns, Col. AY. AY. Robinson 
X. E. Strong, C. AY. Johnstcm, J. AY. Davis, Philo AA^oodnift', 
Obadiah- Powell, and J. B. Hill. At this meeting E. B. Stearns 
was chosen to preside as chairman of the board for the ensuiu>T 


year, and E. A. Rice was chosen as clerk of the board. xVt this 
session, the matter of ways and means agitated the minds of the 
local statesmen of the county in no small degree. The last legis- 
lature having authorized the borrowing of money by the county, 
it was ordered after much deliberation, "that the county issue its 
bonds for $3,000, to be made payable March 1, 1862, and to draw 
interest at the rate of fifteen per cent per annum, payable an- 
nually." The bonds were to be issued in denominations of $50 
and $100, with a proviso that they should not be sold for less than 
ninety cents on the dollar. 

The bonds were to be printed and to be signed by the chairman 
of the board, and countersigned by the clerk of the board, with 
the seal of the county attached. W. W. Robinson, afterwards 
colonel, and E. A. Rice, afterwards major, were appointed a com- 
mittee to get the bonds printed and also to negotiate them. Af- 
terwards, at the same meeting, the amount of bonds was increased 
to $3,500. ]\Iessrs. Robinson and Rice were required to give a 
bond of .^;5,000 each for the proper performance of their duties 
in the negotiation of the bonds. 

At a meeting of the county board, December 20th, 1858, the 
order passed at the September meeting of the board, regarding 
the bonds, was so modified that they should be issued in five, ten, 
twenty, fifty, and one hundred dollar denominations— that two 
thousand dollars be issued in $50 and $100 denominations, and 
that the remainder of said amount, $1,500, be issued in equal 
amounts of five, ten, and twenty dollar denominations. These 
bonds were made payable in 1862, with interest at 15 per cent 
per annum, paj'able annually. 

At the meeting of the board of supervisors, November 1st, 1858, 
township number 105, range 22, was organized into a town and 
named Norway. The name was shortly after changed to New 
Richland. Township number 105, range 23, was at this meeting 
organized and named Byron. There is some difference among old 
settlers as to how this township came by its name. J. B. Hill, 
Esq., one of the first settlers in Vivian, and at the time of that 
meeting a member of the county board, claims that the town 
was named in honer of Byron F. Clark, then a resident of Wilton ; 
Avhile it is claimed by Roscoe Philbrook that the town was named 
for his brother Byron, who now lives in California. It is of no 


great importance at best, for even if it were named after Lord 
Byron or Lady Byron it would be just as poetical as it is now. 
It is getting to be a very beautiful township, and its name is 
ail right, even if Byron F. Clark did loan money at that time at 
six per cent a month — and to Waseca county at that. 

At the same meeting of the board there was considerable dis- 
cussion in regard to building a county jail. E. B. Stearns, W. 
W. Robinson, and Philo Woodruff were appointed to select a site 
for it and also to let the contract for its construction, provided 
the board could issue bonds to pay for the building. E. A. Eice, 
clerk of the board, was instructed to get the opinion of the attor- 
ney general as to whether the board could issue bonds to build 
a jail without first submitting the proposition to the people. It 
appears subsequently that there was no legal objection to issuing 
the bonds and building the jail, as will more fully appear here- 

Among the important official acts of this year were the following 
appropriations for bridges, namely: 

For the upper Wilton bridge, over the Le Sueur river, on the 
Owatonna road, .$400.00; for the construction of a bridge over 
the Le Sueur river, at the village of Otisco, $200.00 ; for materials 
and mechanical labor in constructing a bridge over the outlet to 
Lake Elysian, in the town of Janesville, on the ]\Iedford and ^Man- 
kato road, .$200.00; for the construction of three bridges in the 
town of Vivian, on the St. ]\Iary and Vivian road. $100.00; for 
the construction of a bridge over the inlet to Lake Elysian, town 
of Iosco, on the iledford and ]\Iankato road, $100.00. These ap- 
propriations were made upon condition that the toM-ns in which 
these bridges were to be built should see that the bridges were 
completed on or before January 1st, 1S.j9. At the same time one 
hundred dollars was appropriated toward the construction of a 
bridge over the Le Sueur river on the Wilton and St. ilary town 
line road, to be paid in county bonds. The county paid all its 
debts in bonds or orders in those days, for which the needy holder 
could get seventy-five cents on the dollar in store pay. 

The year 1858, in more ways than one, was the most disastrous 
that has ever been experienced since the settlement of the coun- 


ty. It will long be remembered by all who then inhabited this 
section. Nearly or quite one-half of the people of the county had 
settled upon the bottom lands along the Le Sueur river. Many 
of the farmers had no crops except upon these lands adjoining 
the river. During the early part of the season, the crops grew 
magnificently, and promised an abundant harvest; but in the 
latter part of July heavy and oft-repeated storms swept with 
fury over the whole country. During the first week in August, 
it seenu'd as though the windows of heaven were again opened as 
in the days of Noah. Storm succeeded storm until the whole 
country was inundated. The waters of the rivers and streams 
were increased to such an extent that all their banks were over- 
flowed. The bottom lands looked like great inland seas. Trees 
were washed out by the roots. Fences were torn down and carried 
away. Hay and oraiii stacks were raised bodily, torn in pieces by 
the raging, whirling floods and carried down stream. Wheat, oat, 
potato, corn and garden crops were destroyed in a day. 

"Whole families stood by in helpless astonishment, despair de- 
picted in every feature, and watched the relentless destruction of 
tlieir only means of subsistence for the coming year. It was in- 
deed a sad time with our people. Most of the settlers had spent 
their generally very limited means in purchasing their lands and 
improving them, and were entirely dependent upon their growing 
crops for a supply of food. All the crops on the bottom lands, 
nearly or quite one-half of the whole in the county, were almost 
a total loss, while those on the higher lands were also injured. 

Many settlers gave up in despair and, with what they had re- 
maining, pulled up and left the country for good. A general 
depression like a dark shadow rested upon the whole country, and 
the succeeding year was really a season of hard times. A whole 
chapter of incidents might be written of the losses sustained by 
that flood, and the only thing that could really be said in its 
favor was that it drovraed most of the striped, gray, and pocket 
gophers that it caught upon the bottom lands. For several years 
afterwards the bottom lands were free from these pests. 

This county has never since seen as much deprivation, according 
to the number of people, as that which our people suffered in con- 
sequence of the flood of 1858. Such experience as that tried the 


souls of both men and women, and those who lived here at that 
time seldom complaia very much of more recent hard times. 

The real suffering consequent upon the loss of the crops of 1858 
came in 1859, of which more anon. 

I have never been able to get a full list of the first grand and 
petit jurors for the fall term of court held in October, 1857, but 
the following were certainly present at that term, and drew pay, 
viz: W. W. Robinson, J. B. Jackson, James E. Child, Robert 
McFate, A. J. Woodbury, S. W. Long, H. G. :\Iosher, S. J. Willis, 
P. H. Thomas, John Bailey, Caleb Northup, James Chadwick, P. 
H. Young, Buel Welsh, Joseph Clayton, M. V. B. :\Iorse, E. G. 
Wood, John Forrest, H. P. Norton, Francis Green, John Jenkins, 
Philo Woodruff, Geo. H. Bishop, S. F. AVyman, E. K. Carlton, J. 
K. ilyers, Z. Holbrook, S. W. Franklin, Noah Lincoln, H. P. 
Chamberlain, and James Roberts. 

The first complete lists of jurors on record were made by the 
county board at the November session of ISoS. They were com- 
posed as follows : 

H. G. ilosher, Geo. W. Watkins, AY. AY. Robinson, J. B. Hill, 
W. il. Green, G. AY. Turner, J. K. ^Myers, B. F. Haynes, :Montra- 
ville Sias, L. C. AYood, L. S. Daggett, AA\ H. Young, T. R. Chapman, 
J. S. Rice, J. D. Andrews, 0. Powell, James E. Child, B. G. 
Northup, B. il. ilorrill, 8. AY. Franklin, J. AA\ Clark, AA'. H. Wy- 
man, X. P. Fitzgerald, John C. Ide, Geo. P. Johnson, G. AY. 
Ayers, S. L. Haines, John Bailey, C. X. Hale, Lewis McLelland, 
George T. AYhite (afterwards Capt. AA^hite), J. J. Stewart, David 
Smith, Lewis :McKiine, N. E. Strong, Elias Conner, H. D. Baldwin, 
John Bradish, Elias Goodrich, James Isaacs, William Rockwell, 
Patrick Healy, John S. :\IeKune, M. 8. Green, J. C. York, A. V. 
Osdale, George L. Leonard, AY N. Buokhout, L. B. Osgood John 
R. Wood. 

Isaac Hamlin, D. J. Jenkins, A. J. AVoodbury, David Whipple, 
Caleb Northup, A. Shaffer, E. S. AA'oodruff, Moses Camp, E. Q. 
AVood, Charles Graves, L. S. AA'ood, John Sias, John Forrest,' 
Geo. Clark, E. K. Carlton, A. S. Nelson, Jacob Corey, John West, 
Andrew Lynch, John Eldredge, Dow Locke, C. Morrill, Diiey 


McKinstcr, I'clci' Lijidsjiy, 0. Salisbury, C. 0. Norton, B. P. 
Clark, .James Hurric, .1. Iv. West, Robert Lanning, Stephen Bailey, 
Could (Jrovcr, F. A. GIovit, T. J. Kerr, 0. K. Woodward, Francis 
Libln'y, ThoiiiJis NoHliup, Alvin Wilson, S. S. Goodrich, John 
Pratt, Williiiin i'.yion, liichard Ayjircs, L. P. Stowell, R. H. 
Lowell, .J. A. Whecilcr, S. S. Grif,'^?s, William Putnam, Samuel 
Gleason, (I. P. Cooper, C. E. Williamson, Richard Dreever, Michael 
McKcniicy, Si^iir Johnson, J. M. Bliven, J. V. TIallook, JiTcmiah 
Sulliv:in, John ( !unnint,Mi;im, S. T. ln;iiic,s, James Babcock, John 
Mc(;ui', Thoiniis Ciiliijl, -lohn Wheclor, Ole Knutson, John Doug- 
las, Sill n Siiiilli, A. J. Walton, Danel Ric^Hc^s, James Chiidwick, 

Joseph Cliurehill, II. J. Allen, I. 0. McArthur, J. W. La Paul. 

It is svif,'u'esl,e(l that I lie jiiry lists of to-day are not very much 
better thun this list of 1858. 



The year 1859 opened gloomy enough for the people of Waseca 
county, as a rule. Of course there were exceptions. A few men 
were fortunate enough to have saved a good crop of corn in 
1858, and before the next spring good corn sold at $1 a bushel. A 
very few men had ;i little money, and those few gathered in cattle 
and horses at very low prices, or loaned their money at from 
forty to seventy-two per cent per annum. As is invariably the 
rule when financial disaster sweeps over the country, the rich 
became richer and the poor poorer. The losses of 1S5S made the 
winter of 1858-9 one of anxiety, and to many a winter of distress. 
Every family had to exercise the greatest economy. IMany farm- 
ers lived for weeks and months upon corn bread, milk, and but- 
ter. Some lived during the spring months on wild roots, fish, and 
wild fowls. All suffered more or less from deprivations of one 
kind or another. 

The haying season of 1858 had been so rainy that there was a 
scarcity of hay with many and durinj^- the early spring time some 
cattle died of starvation, while the entire lack of grain made 
both horses and horned cattle look like the lean kine in Joseph's 

Hon. William Brisbane, who settled in this county in the spring 
of 1859, though in comfortable circumstances himself, saw the 
hardships of the earlier settlers, and contributed the folloM'iug 
to the "Album" history of the county in 1887 : 


"Speaking of graham bread," said he, "I can assure you that twenty- 
eight years ago (1859) a loaf of graham bread or a corn dodger, with a 
very thin sprinkling of molasses, would have been thankfully received 
and no questions asked. Those were the days that tried men's stomachs 
as well as their souls, but we lived and hoped for better days, for we 
had faith in the natural resources of Waseca county. Thanks to those 
resources and the Industrious energies of the people, our expectations 
have been fully realized. As the good book says: 'The rain is over and 
gone, and the time of the singing of birds has come.' Yet I never saw 
nor knew of a tragedy acted but there was always some comical or 
ludicrous scenes interlarded with it. * * * The following is said to 
be a fact, although it smacks of the improbable: A family out in the 
'Big Woods' beyond Janesville were sorely pressed, for gaunt Famine 
was wagging his bony finger in their faces. Almost in despair they went 
into the woods and tried to find some roots, whereby they might satisfy 
the cravings of hunger. They were successful in unearthing the sought- 
for roots, but were afraid that they might be poisonous. Something 
must be done; they would try an experiment. As luck would have it, 
there was a crazy sort of fellow in the family; so they thought they 
would try it on him. If he should die it would be no great loss, and if 
he lived why couldn't they? You see they were excellent logicians. 
Well, the crazy fellow lived, but you can bet that he never fared so 
well again as he did on the day the life or death experiment was tried 
on him." 

Several persons died that spring from eating poisonous herbs 
and roots. Mr. S. A. Farrington furnishes the following state- 
ment : 

"A sad affliction befell Mr. Quiggle's family in the spring of 
1859. The children went out to gather cowslips. Two of the 
girls ate what they supposed to be that herb. Both were soon 
taken very sick. One of them, who ate more than the other, vom- 
ited and afterwards recovered. The other died in a short time in 
great agony. What they supposed to be cowslip, the doctors 
called vegetable dog button, a poisonous herb resembling the 
cowslip. The deceased, who was twelve years old, was buried 
in a homemade coffin, as there were no undertakers in this sec- 
tion of country at that time." 



The last meeting of the county board of supervisors elected in 
1858 was held at Wilton. E. B. Stearns and E. A. Rice were ap- 
pointed a committee to rent rooms for the use of the coimty officers 
for the ensuing year. 

The board of supervisors elected in the spring of 1859, met for 
the first time ^lay 24th. The following gentlemen constituted the 
board, viz: Philo Woodruff, of Blooming Grove; James Barrie, 
of St. Mary; Obadiah Powell, of Woodville; G. AY. Ayares, of 
Byron ; J. W. La Paul, of Janesville ; John Thompson, of New 
Richland; H. G. Jlosher, of Otisco; M. S. Gove, of Wilton; H. 
D. Baldwin, of Iosco ; Ichabod West, of Vivian. The Democrats 
being in the majority, elected Dr. M. S. Gove chairman for the 
ensuing year. He made an able and efficient officer. 

Messrs. H. G. Mosher, Philo Woodruff, and James Barrie were 
appointed a committee on accoiuits, to whom all bills were re- 
ferroil. The first al)atrment and refunding of taxes occurred at 
this meeting. William Cuddigan (Sir) licing unfortunate enough 
to have suffered from a double assessment, the state tax was 
ordered to lie refunded tn him in cash and the other tax in 
county orders. 

This session did a good deal of routine business, l)nt nothing of 
great importance was accomplished. 

The next, or annual, meeting of the board was held September 


13th, 1859, at "Wilton. The first business transacted was the pas- 
sage of an order instructing the proper officers to turn over to 
George C. Snyder, at ninety cents on the dollar, enough county 
bonds, bearing fifteen per cent interest, to pay the two notes held 
by said Snyder, including the interest thereon at five per cent 
per month from date of notes until payment in said bonds. The 
bill of Culver, Page & Hoyne, amounting to $487, for books and 
stationery, was also ordered paid in county bonds at ninety cents 
on the dollar, with interest thereon at fifteen per cent per annum. 

Here are examples of the utter nonsense put forth by money 
loaners that where there is no law regulating interest, it will be 
regulated by the security offered. Here was a case where the 
security was most ample, and yet the money loaners wanted to 
obtain our coiuity bonds at ninety cents on the dollar, — the bonds 
bearing fifteen per cent interest on their full face. 

At the meeting of the board October 27, 1859, Dr. M. S. Gove, 
H. G. IMosher, and J. W. La Paul were appointed a committee 
to purchase the store building of Thomas L. Paige for a court 
house. The building was bought— Mr. Paige receiving therefor 
tax-sale certificates to the face value of $700. This structure 
served the county as a court house until it was destroyed by fire 
April 3, 1869, a period of nearly ten years. For the $700 in tax 
certificates, the county saved rent for ten years and then received 
$600 insurance money for the ashes. That $700 was well invested. 

At the fall election of 1859, the Republicans elected their entire 
ticket. Capt. Geo. T. White and J. I. Stewart were elected to the 
lower house of the legislature; S. J. Willis was elected auditor; 
J. I. Stewart, treasurer; David L. Whipple, sheriff; J. A. Canfleld, 
judge of probate ; Hon. H. D. Baldwin, county attorney. J. 
T. Stewart having been elected to the legislature, J. S. Rice, then 
of New Richland, was appointed to and accepted the office of 
county treasurer, which he held for two years. 

One of the amusing incidents placed on record is the report 
of Dr. M. S. Gove, who was appointed to "examine the treasurer's 
account of orders redeemed." His report is recorded as follows: 

"To the Honorable Board of Supervisors, Waseca county: 
Your committee, appointed to examine the treasurer's account 
of oi-ders redeemed, having performed said duty, beg leave to 
report: Treasurer's register of orders redeemed, to- wit: $3,672.52. 


The orders redeemed amount to $3,672.80, leaving a default un- 
accounted for 18 cents. 

" (Signed) M. S. GOVE, Committee." 

Evidently the clerk of the board made a mistake in recording 
the report or else the good doctor made a default in his own 
figures amounting to ten cents. 

The writer has never been able to find any record showing that 
this default was ever made good by the defaulting treasurer. 

For some unexplained reason, no financial statement showing 
the exact financial standing of the county for the years 1858 and 
1859 appears in the records of the county for those years. It 
was about 1859 that people clamored for a change in the court 
house officials on account of supposed irregularities. But if there 
were any such irregularities in fact, they were never brought to 
light, and probably did not exist. 

The most important of all the affairs of 1S59 was the abundant 
harvest of that year. It was really our first great wheat year in 
this county— that being the first general introduction of the 
Scotch Fife wheat in this section. The average yield that year 
was about twenty bushels per acre, although several fields yielded 
as high as tliirty bushels per acre of the very best quality of 
wheat. A lart;e proportion of that crop weighed sixty-two pounds 
to the bushel. What was true of wheat was true of almost every 
other crop, although corn was considered a little below the aver- 
age. There were such magnificent crops of all kinds that every 
resident took hold of the work before him with renewed enertry. 

Of course prices were prostrated. Just as the gold syndicate 
and the trusts and combines, aided hy the liquor traflfie, in 1892, 
captured both parties and made cowards of the third, just as the 
giant monopolies of to-day sway legislatures, influence courts and 
corrupt the ballot box, even so had the deluded voters in IS.'iO been 
hugging the vile harlot of slavery until the political atmosphere 
was filled with poisonous gases of political corruption. The bank- 
ing system of the politicians of the slaveocratic pai1y was but an- 
other name for phmdering and robbing the laboring and produc- 
ing masses. The prolonged policy of upholding the great wroim' of 
human bondage had brought upon ns, as a nation, the inevitable 
punishment which necessarily follows such wickedness and folly. 
Strong mechanics were glad to get work then at from seventv-tive 


cents to a dollar a day. Any number of farm hands and common 
laborers could be hired for fifty cents a day. Many suffered for 
want of even the necessities of life. AVe have not since reached 
such universal hard times as then prevailed throughout the coun- 
try although we had fewer tramps then than now. 

That fall, for the first time, our farmers commenced hauling 
wheat to Hastings. There was no market here, and we were com- 
pelled to haul it either to Hastings or some other river town. It 
required a heavy, strong pair of oxen to take through to market 
forty bushels of wheat at a load, and make the trip from Wilton 
and return in six days. The price of wheat at Hastings averaged 
about sixty-two cents per bushel. Perhaps some of our young 
farmers can figure out the profits of raising wheat and spending 
six days on the road in marketing each load of forty bushels! 
Perhaps, too, some of the young wives of to-day can appreciate 
the situation of a young, married woman living on the prairie 
alone, for a week at a time, and being compelled to look after the 
farm chores, while roving Indians might call at any hour of the 
day or night ! How little do those who have never experienced 
the labors and vicissitudes of pioneer life know of real hardship ! 

But the grand crops of 1S59 had renewed our courage and in- 
spired our hopes for better times, and eveiy one commenced the 
year 1860 with the expectation and hope of a "happy new year." 



This was not only the most eventful year in the history of this 
nation, but one of tlie most eventful in the history of this state. 
To begin with the winter of 1859-60 was something new in the his- 
tory of Minnesota. The four preceding winters had been of the 
snow-bound pattern, lined with iee, decorated with Pembina frosts 
and fanned by Ttlanitoba blizzards. The four preceding winters 
had l)een so uniformly and intensely cold that no one expected 
anything milder than a 2 :-10 lireeze from jManitoba with the mer- 
cury all the way from zero to forty degrees below, in Minnesota. 

The people of the state were therefore somewhat surprised to 
have a winter with only one week of sleighing and the thermom- 
eter running from zero up to 30 and 40 degrees above. I remem- 
ber the Avinter very well, for I was interested with my brother, 
S. P. Child in furnishing five hiuidred cords of wood to the St. 
Mary Mill company. We were compelled to haul nearly all of it 
on wagons. 

There seemed to be a general feeling that hard times had 
reached the ))otf()m nnig of the financial ladder, and that peo- 
ple nuist commence to build anew upon the bed-n^ek of indvistry 


and economy. Most of the property of the country had been 
mortgaged at exorbitant rates of interest and sooner or later fell 
into the hands of the money loaners who were forced to sell it 
for what they could get on credit and at a much lower rate of 
interest. The money loaners had killed the geese that had laid 
the golden eggs, and they were compelled to await the growth of 
a new brood of goslings before they could again gather in their 

As stated in the preceding chapter, a change of county officials 
was made in the fall of 1859, and about the 1st of January, 1860, 
S. J. Willis became county auditor, J. S. Rice treasurer, and David 
L. Whipple, sheriff. On the 11th of January, 1860, the county 
board of supervisors commenced an important session, and among 
other matters, decided to build a county jail. As this was the first 
jail in the county, the proceedings of the board in relation there- 
to will be of interest. The following resolution was adopted by 
the board: 

"Resolved by the board of supervisors of the county of Wa- 
seca and State of Minnesota, that the sheriff of said county (D .L. 
Whipple), be and is hereby empowered, authorized and required 
to proceed immediately to erect a suitable building for the con- 
finement of criminals or other persons who may be committed 
or confined therein according to law, and that said building shall 
be erected immediately in the rear and adjoining to the county 
building now occupied by the register of deeds, to be built of 
timber, hewn at least on three sides, (and to be) sixteen by eight- 
een feet square, one story high, faced on the inside by sheet iron 
securely nailed to timber. That the (said) building shall be in all 
respects, not herein named, constructed under the immediate su- 
pervision and control of said sheriff, in such a manner as he shall 
think best, in order to accomplish the object sought by this res- 

"And it is hereby ordered that the sum of three hundred 
dollars be and is hereby appropriated in tax certificates of lands 
sold and bid off by said county for the taxes for the year 1858, 
and that said sheriff is hereby authorized to give a receipt for 
and receive an assignment of said tax certificates equal to one-half 
the amount herein appropriated when he shall obtain from the 
commissioners (to be) hereafter elected for the county of AVaseea 


a certificate that one-half of the above amount has been expend- 
ed by said sheriff in the construction of said building. He (the 
sheriff) is authorized to employ assistance or employ agents to 
perform the work herein named, in the same manner as he is by 
this resolution authorized to perform the same; said building to 
be built in an economical manner, and said sheriff shall not receive 
tax certificates to a greater amount than what the actual cost of 
said building amounts to." 

"And be it further ordered that the county commissioners here- 
after to be elected shall and are hereby appointed a building com- 
mittee to audit said sheriff's account and authorize the payment 
of the balance due said sheriff when said building shall have been 
finished. And said commissioners are authorized to accept said 
building when properly finished in behalf of the said county of 
Waseca, and make a full settlement with said sheriff for his ser- 
vices, said building not to cost a greater amount than hereinbefore 
named and as much less an amount as said sheriff can make the 
cost of the same. And said sheriff is hereby authorized to parti- 
tion off from the first story of the county building in the north 
end, and contiguous to the contemplated 'shutup," ten feet for 
his office. And it is further ordered that the sheriff', in acting as 
agent for the county in the erection of said .iail, shall keep a cor- 
rect account of all labor and mateidal expended, and shall be re- 
quired to make a certificate of all amounts expended as afore- 

At the same meeting, upon the request of B. S. Hall and George 
W. Johnson, known as Hall & Johnson, of Wilton, the said county 
board "being satisfied that they are of good moral character and 
of sufficient ability to keep a tavern and sell spirituous liiiuors," 
and upon receipt of $50 into the county treasury, issued a li- 
cense for the sale of spirituous and other intoxicating liquors to 
be drunk in the inn, or tavern, aforesaid. 

On the 26th of April following, Geo. H. AYoodbury, of the Wash- 
ington House in Wilton, was also licensed to sell intoxicating 
liquors for a fee of $50. These were the first legalized dram-shops 
in the county, although liquors had been sold the same as other 
merchandise ever since the first establishment of stores and groc- 
eries. At that time $50 was considered an enormouslv hiii'h 


tax to pay for the glorious privilege of making a brother man 

By act of the legislature, approved February 28th, 1860, the 
supervisor system of county government was abolished and sub- 
stantially the present county commissioner system vsras adopt- 
ed. Under the provisions of that act, W. T. Kittredge, Geo. H. 
Bishop, and John N. Powers v^rere chosen commissioners. 

Their first meeting vsras held April 26th, 1860, and a large 
amount of business was done in a very orderly and systematic 
manner, showing clearly the lawyer-like hand of Maj. Kittredge, 
who was made chairman of the board. Among other orders made 
and adopted is this one which will make the eyes of modern 
office-holders green with envy, so magnificent was the salary ! It 
reads as follows : 

"Ordered, That, in pursuance of the statute, the sum of $330 
is hereby fixed and declared to be the amount allowed to the coim- 
ty auditor as his salary for the eleven months beginning on the 
1st day of April, 1860. * * * and the said auditor is hereby 
authorized to draw from the county treasury at the end of each 
and every month the sum of thirty dollars in payment of the 
amount of his said salary due him for that month, depositing a 
receipt therefor." 

This was the salary of Mr. "Willis, the first county auditor of the 
county, for his first year. The second year it was raised to 
$466.66 to be drawn monthly. 

At the September session of the board in 1860, John N. Powers 
resigned as commissioner, and M. S. Green resigned as county at- 
torney. This was at the meeting of Sept. 5, and the two remaining 
members adjourned till Sept. 11th. At this meeting, as the record 
shows, D. L. Whipple and S. W. Franklin acted with the board, 
but just how or by what authority does not appear. That 
was the closing session for the year, and much business was trans- 
acted. Among other matters, Seth W. Long was licensed to sell 
intoxicating liquors at his hotel in Okaman. 

At the fall election there was an entire change in the county 
board, the commissioners elected being Isaac Hamlin, Patrick Hea- 
ly, and B. A. Lowell. The other officers elected that fall were 
as follows : Member of the lower house of the legislature, James 
E. Child; county auditor, S. J. Willis; county attorney, H. D. 


Baldwin ; court commissioner, W. T. Kittredge. The highest vote 
polled was 508, and the Republicans carried the county by a ma- 
jority of one himdred and sixty-one for Abraham Lincoln. The 
campaign was quite exciting; Mr. Child, Republican, and P. 
Brink Enos, Democrat, held several joint discussions. Both 
were then rather young men for that kind of business. 

The year of 1860, like that of 1859, yielded abundant crops, 
but there was no improvement in market prices, nor had we any 
better facilities for getting our grain to market. There was 
universal prostration in all kinds of business on account of the 
general failure of the "wild-cat" banks which had been organized 
for sy.stematic robbery under state laws. First, interest had 
ranged for a few years at from fifteen to seventy-two per cent per 
annum— we had no usury law at that time. Unscrupulous men 
would start banks based on worthless stocks or bonds, and then 
over-issue for the sake of gathering in the interest on the worth- 
less money loaned. 

Seeond, this, like every other robbery that is permitted by law, 
soon drew from the farmers and laboring people of the "West 
their hard earnings, reduced all producers to poverty, and re- 
acted upon even the money lenders of small means— many of them 
beiiii!' compelled to take the mortgaged property which they could 
not use and which would not sell for enough to pay back the mon- 
ey loaned upon it. How strange it is that moneyed men never 
learn from history, Avhieli is constantly repeating itself, that they 
cannot rob and impoverish the people, who create all wealth, 
without finally being ruined themselves by the general crash 
which necessarily follows an exoi'bitant rate of interest! But 
stranger yet is the mental condition of the masses that willingly 
make serfs of themselves and their families by becoming the 
slaves of money loaners, thus toiling their lives away for the en- 
richment of others ! 

The year closed with dismal forebodings for the future Al- 
reaay the black form of treason had raised its murderous 
hand at the South and there was so much of partv sympathy in 
the North that brave and hopeful indeed were the men that had 
no misgivings regarding the immediate future, ftlinnesota oc- 
cupied a critical position. Her people were almost totally with- 
out money, both as a state and as individuals. The Chippewa In 


dians occupied the northern portion of the state, the Sioux tribes 
held all the western border, while the Winnebago Indian reser- 
vation occupied the center of southern Minnesota, being located 
in Waseca and Blue Earth counties. It was foreseen by level- 
headed men that, in case of civil war, the people of this state 
would be in great danger of an Indian outbreak. The writer 
was ridiculed during the session of the legislature of 1861 for 
expressing the opinion that, in case the impending civil war could 
not be avoided, our people would be exposed to Indian outbreaks 
on the frontier. When outbreaks did come those who did the 
ridiculing were the first to hasten to a place of safety. 

At the November election in 1860, Abraham Lincobi received 
304 votes and Stephen A. Douglas 143. For member of congress, 
William Windom and Cyrus Aldrich, Republicans, received 337 
votes each; James George, Democrat, received 188 votes, and 
John M. Gilman, Democrat, 152 votes. The state then elected two 
congressmen at large. 

The legislative district of which Waseca county was a part 
comprised the counties of Freeborn, Steele and Waseca. Very 
little attention was paid to party politics in the choosing of legis- 
lators. Railroad interests and personal likes and dislikes entered 
largely into the choice of legislative candidates. 

The issue was known as Cornell and anti-Cornell. The candi- 
dates were : Dr. George Watson, of Freeborn county, for senator, 
and George W. Green, of Clinton Falls, Steele county, and James 
E. Child, of Waseca county, for representatives— these three were 
Republicans and anti-Cornell men; Henry Thornton, democrat, 
of Freeborn county, for senator, and Wm. F. Pettit, democrat, 
of Steele county, and A. E. Smith, republican of Waseca county, 
for representatives— these three were Cornell men. Watson and 
Child, republicans and Pettit democrat, were elected, each by a 
small majority. 

While the political contentions of the year had been earnest, 
even fierce, and the black clouds of treason were seen gathering 
in the Southland, the climatic conditions had been favorable 
during the year and our people had gathered bounteous crops. 
The winter of 1859-60 had been very mild, and the spring weather 
of 1860 was most delightful. Some farmers sowed wheat in 
the month of Febriiary, and he was a slow farmer, indeed, who 


was not through with seeding small grain on the 15th of March, 
that year. The weather was fine during the entire season and 
the harvest all that could be asked for. 

It was also a year of intense political activity and discussion 
throughout the nation. The Kansas-Nebraska struggle which for 
years had kept alive and increased sectional hatred regarding 
the institution of human slavery had culminated in the invasion 
of Virginia, at Harper 's Ferry, by John Brown and his followers, 
Oct. 17th, 1859. Brown, with seventeen white men and five ne- 
groes took possession of Harper's Ferry and captured about 
100,000 stand of arms in the arsenal. This place was guarded by 
only three watchmen, who were easily captured. This invasion 
was made with the avowed intention of freeing the negro slaves 
of the South. This fanatical and foolhardy enterprise resulted 
in a number of deaths, the capture, trial, and hanging of John 
Brown and some of his associates and most intense excitement 
and indignation throughout the slavcholding states. Brown was 
hanged on the 2d of December, 1859. While very few people in 
the North attempted to justify his treason, there were many that 
admired the courage of the brave old man, who fought, as he 
believed, for that most sacred of doctrines— the inalienable right 
of every human being to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happi- 

Brown had been driven from Kansas by the proslavery men, 
and a prize amounting to $3,250 had been offered for his arrest by 
the governor of Missouri and the president of the United States. 

The greatest political struggle of the ages followed in 1S60. 
Lincoln was nominated by the anti-slavery or republican sen- 
timent of the North, Breekenridge by the pro-slavery men of the 
South and Douglas by the conservative or commercial democracy 
of the nation. It w-as a battle of intellect\ial and political giants, 
and resulted in the election of Abraham Lincoln. 

The year 1860, so far as county matters were concerned, passed 
with no occurrence out of the ordinary, except, perhaps, the tak- 
ing of the United States census. This work was performed bv 
Cole 0. Norton, since deceased, a brother of Mr. H. P. Norton, of 
Waseca. According to his enumeration there were at that time 
1,370 males and 1,228 females. There were of men over 20 and 
under 40 years of age 211, and of females 196'; males over 40 and 


under 50, 118, females of the same ages, 73 ; males over 50 and 
under 60, 37 ; females of the same ages, 36 ; men over 60 and under 
70, 40 ; females of the same ages, 22 ; males over 70 and under 
80, 9 ; females of the same ages, 5. The total population of the 
county was only 2,598. 



The year 1861, the most momentous in the history of our nation, 
opened beneath the storm-clouds of treason which cast their som- 
ber and ominous shadows over all the land. From every point of 
view the southern rebellion was the most gigantic political crime 
of all the ages that had preceded it. The hope of liberty, of 
religious freedom, of manhood sovereignty, of the laboring and 
producing masses, not only of this country, but of all the world, 
depended upon the maintenance of the "Union of the States, one 
and inseparable." 

The Minnesota legislature of 1861 authorized an organization 
of the militia of the state, but the treasury was so destitute of 
available funds that the organization was nothing more than a 
make believe. The legislature closed its session the first week in 
March, and on the 12th of April, Ft. Sumter was fired upon by 
the rebel forces of the South. Then the first fierce blow was 
struck, and the states of the South, one after another, in rapid 
succession, formally seceded from the Union. The forts and arse- 
nals of the nation in the South, in contemplation of secession, had 
been turned over to southern sympathizers by Buchanan's admin- 
istration and were rapidly surrendered to the rebels. 


President Lincoln at once issued a call for seventy-five thou- 
sand volunteers to defend the life of the nation. Gov. Ramsey, who 
vras in Washington when Fort Sumter was fired upon, was the 
first governor to tender the president a regiment of volunteers. 
This he did on the morning of April 13, 1861. 

The governor immediately telegraphed Ignatius Donnelly, lieu- 
tenant governor, and on the 16th of April, Mr. Donnelly as gov- 
ernor ad interim, issued his call for one regiment of volunteer 
infantry of ten companies, to report at once to Adjutant General 
Sanborn at St. Paul. Within two weeks the regiment was full, 
and many that offered to enlist were turned away. 

Waseca county, considering its population, furnished its full 
quota. The following gallant young men enlisted with Capt. 
Lewis McKune, one of the early settlers in Blooming Grove, but 
then of Morristown, Rice county, viz.: Geo. R. Buckman, L. J. 
(Jim) Mosher, E. E. Verplank, John M. Churchill, Irvine W. 
Northrup, Michael Hausauer, Walter S. Reed, Luman S. Wood, 
Adam Areman, Omer H. Sutlief, Louis E. Hanneman, Martin Hea- 
ly, Neri Reed, C. C. Davis, George Kline, Philo Hall, John Mc- 
Kinster, Nathaniel Reed, Norman B. Barron, Amos Canfield, Jens 
T. Dahl. 

These men, without exception, served their country most faith- 
fully and heroically. 

The regiment was fully organized on April 29th and mustered 
into the service at Fort Snelling by Capt. A. D. Nelson, of the 
United States army. 

The men at once went into training and were drilled every 
day except Sundays. They remained at Fort Snelling until June 
22nd when they embarked on steamboats and started for Wash- 
ington, taking railroad cars at La Crosse and Prairie du Chien. 
They arrived in Washington June 27th and remained near that 
city until July 16th when the regiment was ordered to 
the front. The regiment bore a prominent part in the 
ill-fated Bull Run battle of July 21st, 1861, during which Capt. 
Lewis McKune was killed, and E. E. Verplank, George Kline, and 
Walter S. and Neri Reed, two brothers, were slightly wounded. 

The brave, unselfish, Capt, Lewis McKune was among the 
numerous immigrants to Minnesota in 1856. He was born in Meri- 
den, Susquehanna county, Pa., on the 22d of July, 1821. He was 


reared upon a farm and remained in his native state until his 
twenty-fifth year when he started West, settling in Illinois. At 
the breaking out of the California gold exeitimenet, in 1849, or 
very soon after, he went to that Eldorado of the West to seek 
his fortune. He was reasonably successful in his mining opera- 
tions, and returned to Illinois about 1855. He next purchased an 
emigrant outfit and came to Minnesota by the typical prairie 
schooner. He brought with him some very valuable horses, the 
breeding of which occupied considerable of his attention. He first 
settled in Blooming Grove and opened a large farm on section 

The writer's first acquaintance with him was during the politi- 
cal campaign of 1856. Both of them were very earnest, ardent re- 
publicans in those days— "Black Abolitionists." He was a born 
hero, ready to stand by, and fight for, what he believed to be right, 
regardless of personal ease, safety, or financial sacrifice. He Avas 
one of the many grand characters of the great army of American 
heroes and statesmen of that day. How grand it would be were 
this nation today as patriotic, as unselfish, as devoted to right- 
eousness as were the reimblican heroes of that day. Were it so, 
the greed and selflslmcss now concentrated in the hands of corpo- 
rations, syndicates and money combines, that plunder the masses, 
would find few defenders. 

He participated to quite an extent in the local campaign of 1856, 
and thus paved the \vay for his preferment in 1857. In the spring 
of 1857, the people of Steele and AVaseca coimties met in conven- 
tion at Owatonna and elected delegates to attend a district con- 
vention to be held at Mankato about the 1st of June, to nominate 
republican candidates to be elected as members of the constitu- 
tional convention. Hon. Amos Coggswell, an able lawyer, who 
had settled in Aurora township, Steele county, in 1856, was a can- 
didate and the choice of Steele county, while Waseca county had 
no aspirants. The writer was chosen as one of the delegates to 
the Mankato convention, and it was soon learned that a delegate 
would be awarded to Wasei'a county. Capt. IMcKune was nol at 
the convention, nor had he been consulted in regard to the matter- 
but upon the presentation of his name by the Avriter he was unani- 
mously nominated. Jlr. McKune had just opened a store in Mor- 
ristown, though living on his farm, and was unable to devote time 


to the canvass; but he accepted the nomination and was duly 
elected. Although not a public speaker, he was a man of sound 
jiidgment and made a valuable member of that very able conven- 

As a member of the constitutional convention he demonstrated, 
on more than one occasion, that his "Scotch blood was up" when- 
ever there was a fight on hand. As a result of the election of mem- 
bers to the convention, the political parties were so nearly evenly 
represented in numbers, that each sought to get party control of 
the organization. The republicans, fearing that the Kansas tricks 
of the pro-slavery men might' be repeated in j\Iinnesota, held 
several private caucuses to devise ways and means to prevent any 
advantage being taken of them. Upon Mr. ]\IeKune's suggestion 
the republican members, in a- body, quietly took possession of the 
hall where the convention was to meet, the night before the con- 
vention was to assemble and organize. They remained in the hall 
that night and until 12 o'clock noon, when they proceeded to or- 
ganize the convention in opposition to the democrat members 
who appeared at that time in a body and also pretended to organ- 
ize and then immediately adjourned, leaving the hall to the re- 

It will be remembered, l)y those familiar with the early history 
of the state, that our constitution was finally submitted by two 
conventions which l\v a committee of conference, agreed upon the 
constitution under which Minnesota was admitted as a state. It 
was during the session of the conference committee that a brutal 
assault was made upon Judge Thomas Wilson, then a republican 
member from Winona, by Gen. Willis A. Gorman, a democratic 
member from St. Paul. The assault caused great excitement at 
the time throughout the country. Gorman was a large, powerful 
man, while Wilson was not only a small man, but in poor health at 
the time. This so incensed Capt. ]\IcKune that he sought Gorman 
and gave him a severe tongue-lashing, giving him to understand 
that if he desired to whip some black republican, he (Mc) was 
ready to receive and return blows. Suffice it to say Gorman gave 
no blows. 

[Gen. Gorman afterwards became a strong Union man and was 
colonel of the First Minnesota at the time of Capt McKune's 


Upon ]\Ir. McKune's return from the constitutional convention, 
the people were so well satisfied with him that he was chosen our 
first state senator. The session commenced in December, 1857, 
and continued until the close of March, when it adjourned till 
the next August. This legislature became notorious for its adop- 
tion of the five-million, railroad bond-issue. A lobby of railroad 
bond-swindlers, accompanied by a large number of trained and 
genteel prostitutes and bribe givers, debauched a majority of the 
legislature and secured the passage of the five-million loan amend- 
ment. Senator McKune honestly fought the proposition from the 
start, but was in the minority, and the bill passed. He then took 
the stump against the adoption of the proposition by the people ; 
but, alas! the fools were in the majority; the people were de- 
ceived, and they adopted the swindle as their own, repudiating 
the noble man who fought bravely to protect them from being 
robbed and plundered. It was another striking illustration of 
the fact that the American public delights in being cheated and 
humbugged by a set of genteel appearing rascals that make their 
money by first deceiving and then plundering the people. 

After this legislative experience Mr. ilcKune abandoned party 
politics and devoted himself to his own business matters— his farm 
in Blooming Grove, and his sales of merchandise in [Morristown. 
At the close of his senatorial work, he removed his family to 'Slor- 
ristown where he resided in 1861. Notwithstanding his retirement 
from active local politics, he took great interest in the affairs of 
his country and was among the first to foresee that all compro- 
mises would fail, and that the strusgie would end, either in the 
total abolition of African slavery or the destruction of the I^nion. 

The writer will never forget the solemnity and earnestness of 
this man the last time he ever conversed with him. I had spent 
the winter of 1860-1, in St. Paul, as a member of the legrislature, 
and was on my return home. There were no railroads here then, 
and on the old stage-coach Morristown was the nearest point to 
my home, then on a farm in Wilton, dipt. ]MeKune"s kind invi- 
tation to become his guest over night was aecepted. He was even 
then preparing to arm for the defense of the Union. He went on 
to explain that war was inevitable. The rebel leaders. 
he said, had so long found moneyed and commercial 
men of the North a set of poltroons and doimhfiices 


that they were infatuated with the idea that all the Northern men 
were mercenary and cowardly, and would submit to dishonor and 
disunion rather than sacrifice their money and their lives to main- 
tain the government of their forefathers. 

We sat up late the night of that 9th day of March, 1861, as he 
told of the arrangements he had already made to enlist at the first 
call for vohmteers. He said he had a feeling, or premonition, that 
he should die in the struggle and had arranged matters according- 
ly. Upon retiring he called attention to his two boys and to two 
swoi'ds hanging upon the wall in their sleeping room. He said 
that he had been teaching the boys how to use them; and he 
expected that, should the struggle be a prolonged one, they would 
both be called to defend their country. It was wonderful how 
calmly he talked of coming events and possibilities. The next 
morning he accompanied me as far as Chris. Remund's farm, in 
Blooming Grove, on horseback. Upon separating he extended a 
most affectionate farewell, repeating his conviction that war was 
inevitable and that he expected to sacrifice his life for his country. 
Alas ! how true were his predictions. 

The people of all Minnesota watched the opening events of the 
great struggle with the greatest anxiety. Almost every neighbor- 
hood had furnished some brave man or boy for the conflict. The 
rebels, on account of the cowardice and imbecility of James Bu- 
chanan, had phmdered the nation of its money, arms, ammunition, 
forts and navy, and held the Union people by the throat. Delay 
followed delay, and the slaughter of the Union forces at Bull 
Run, on that fatal 21st day of July, 1861, cast a terrible gloom 
over the entire North, and especially over the people of Waseca 
county, when they learned of the death of Capt. Lewis McKune 
and the other brave men who fell on that occasion, almost at the 
first fire. When the sad news first reached Wilton there were 
few dry eyes among the men who heard it. All party and personal 
feeling disappeared for the time, and one universal sentiment of 
patriotism was aroused. 

Without disparagement of any other, it is safe to say that no 
grander sacrifice was ever made for country than that made by 
Capt. Lewis McKune. He sacrificed a good business, left a devoted 
and accomplished wife in poor health, and abandoned his children 
to all the uncertain vicissitudes of life, while giving his own body 


as a living sacrifice upon the altar of his country. It is true that 
his life was spent among the toilers of earth and as one of them. 
He was of the masses — an honest, conscientious, unselfish patriot. 
Contrast his life and death with some of the so-called great men 
of to-day, and, if there be justice beyond this life, Lewis McKune 
will occupy a front seat at the right hand among the noblest souls 
of this or any other nation. 

The proceedings of the county board, consisting of B. A. Lowell, 
Patrick Healy and Isaac Hamline, were of the routine order and 
nothing of general interest transpired. 

The election in the fall of 1861 was almost as exciting as the 
presidential election of the year before. The war excitement was 
intense. Should President Lincoln be sustained and the Union 
be preserved? Alexander Eamsey, governor, and Ignatius Don- 
nelly, lieutenant governor, were re-elected by larjie majorities. 
The following legislative and county oificers were elected: Sen- 
ator, Hon. A. B. AVebber, of Albert Lea ; representative, Hon. P. 
C. Bailey, of Wilton; treasui-er, Hon. Geo. T. White, of St. Mary; 
register of deeds, Tarrant Putnam, of Wilton ; sheriff, D. L. Whip- 
ple ; clerk of court, H. P. AVest; judge of probate and county 
attorney, Hon. H. D. Baldwin; surveyor, Geo. P. Johnson, all of 
AA'ilton; court commissioner. Job A. Canfield, of Otiseo ; coroner, 
Nathaniel AVood, of AVoodville; county commissioners. John S. G. 
Honor of Iosco, B. A. Lowell of Otisco, and J. B. Jackson, of 
South AA^ilton. 

While there was little doing of local importance, there was 
much of a general character to interest the people. This was the 
year of the great comet which suddenly appeared on the 30th day 
of June and created a great sensation. To the naked eye, the head 
of the comet appeared to be larger than a star of the first magni- 
tude. The astronomers "estimated" that on the lU day of July 
the breadth of the head of the nucleus was about ir)0,000 miles, 
and its train of light fifteen million miles in length. It was 
thought by one astronomer that the earth would pass through the 
tail of this comet, but it sped onward through trackless space, soon 
disappeared from view and was forgott(ni by the multitude. 

Independence Day was commemorated with more than usual sol- 


emnity that year. A large assembly of people gathered at Wilton, 
then the county seat, and celebrated the occasion by reading the 
Declaration of Independence, singing patriotic songs, and listening 
to short, patriotic speeches by leading citizens. 


The Union forces during the summer met with exasperating de- 
hiys and sonn; reverses. On the fifth of July, President Lincoln 
issued a call for 4(K),()()0 more men and .ij400,000,000 to carry on 
thi' war for the supjiression of the Rebellion. The Second Min- 
nesota regiment of infantry was complete as early as August 23. 
No men fi-oiii Waseca, county (>iilisted in this regiment. 

The Third regiment was mustered in at Ft. Snelling Nov. 15. 
Waseea. counl y furnished to this regiment, Hugh Donaldson, C. A. 
1^'asley, -latnes Broderiek, W. 11. II. Jackson, Hugh B. Withrow, 
K. M. Jones, G. W. I'easley, ('. W. Preston, David Lilly, S. F. 

Tile complelo ofK'ani/ation of the Fourth regiment followed and 
on the S\vd of December the rej^'inient was ready foi- service. 
Waseca, county was represented in this regiment by Maj. W. T. 
Kiiii'cdoc, ('a|)t. B. iM. Broujihton, (;a,|)t. S. T. Isaac, Capt. D. L. 
Welhnan, Aui;ustus Lintlcf, Warn Alexander, Orin Coats, James 
L. Connor, N. T. Foster, Silas Ilubbell, T. B. Jackson, Moses Nor- 
i-is, C. W. (juiKK'le, Jonas Whitcomb, John Teas, Charles Parvin, 
Myron Sln-ldon, Loi'cn C. Wood, Waldo Lyon, Aanm Bragg, 
Janu's S. Camp, Ei'aslus Fish, Jamies Ilanes, Jonathan Isaac, 
S. A. Norris, J. N. Powers, I). P. Stowell. 


The Fifth I'CLjinM'nt was the last to oi-^'anize under the Presi- 
dent's July call for 400,000 iiien. The regiment was mustered 
in DeeemlxT 19, 1S61, but was not complete in numbers until 
March 20, 18(12. This county was represented in the Fifth by 
the followint;' men : 

Ca])t. E. A. Rice, M. P Ide, Alex Wentworth, Wm. Blaisdell, 
G. P. Rice, John Barden, iloses Camp, Edward Guise, Wm. Hard- 
ing, Wm. IIooviM-, John Jenkins, S. I\l. Merrill, Lieut. G. W. John- 
son, (;. R. Loveland, J. W. Pierce, G. II. Bishop, E. M. Atwood, 
Patrick Burns, S. W. Franklin, W. H. Gray, E. R. Horton, Harvey 


Lawrence, John Murphy, E. H. Stiles, B. F. "Weed, P. Davis, Peter 
Olson, James B. Crook, David Skinner, H. H. Wallace, Wm. Doug- 
las, Chris. Sampson, Jonathan Hardy. Of these Wm. Douglas 
enlisted as a recruit Jan. 4, 1864. 

While farm products were abundant, prices thereof v/ere not 
remunerative. The local prices were as follows : 

Wheat, forty to forty-five cents per bushel; corn, 1 wenty cents; 
beans, forty; oats, eighteen; potatoes, twenty; lard, ten cents per 
pound ; eggs, five cents a dozen ; dressed pork, from $3.50 to $4.00 
per cwt. ; brown sugar, ten cents per pound ; coffee sugar, a shil- 
ling a pound ; plug tobacco, thirty to forty cents ; smoking tobac- 
co, fifteen cents; coffee, from twenty to twenty-five cents; s.yrup, 
and molasses, eighty cents per gallon; salt, per barrel, $4.75; 
tallow candles, eighteen cents per pound ; dried apples, ten cents ; 
calico, from seven to twelve and a half cents per yard; delaines, 
twenty to twenty -five cents ; sheeting, eight to twelve cents ; den- 
ims, twelve to twenty cents; Kentucky jeans, twenty -five to 
thirty-five cents ; cassimeres, from forty cents to two dollars ; cot- 
ton flannel, from twelve to eighteen cents; -wool flannel, from 
thirty -five to fifty cents per yard. 

In closing the history of the year, it is proper to refer to the 
first newspaper established in the county. While it is true that a 
paper, called "The Home Views," a six column folio, made its 
appearance in Wilton, then the county seat, :\Iarch 13, 1860, it 
was in fact an Owatonna publication, issued by IMr. A. B. Cornell, 
in the name of Mr. J. W. Crawford, of Wilton, as editor. Yet 
the first real newspaper printed, published and edited in the 
county was 


This paper made its appearance about the first of :\Iarch, 1861, 
and was owned, edited, printed and published by Alexander John- 
ston and Spencer J. Willis at the village of Wilton. It was con- 
ducted as a neutral in polities, Johnson being a democrat and Wil- 
lis a republican. It was a very good local paper largely devoted 
to the local interests of the town and county. They continued to 
publish the paper until the ensuing fall, when ^Ir. Johnston be- 
came sole proprietor and removed the plant to Faribault. From 
that town, Mr. Johnston continued the publication of the "Home 


Views" at Wilton, under the local management of Buel AVelch, 
Esq., until the fall of 1863, as a "Union Democratic" paper. Mr. 
Johnston sold his interest in the plant in 1863, and went to St. 
Paul where he became a reporter for the "Pioneer," which after- 
wards consolidated with the "Press," both papers Vjeeoming one 
and adopting the name of Pioneer Press. He remained in the em- 
ploy of the daily press in St. Paul until the time of his death, about 



The new officers of the county, viz.: S. J. AYillis, auditor; Geo. 
T. Whit(% treasurer; Tarrant Putnam, re.u'ister of deeds; D. L. 
"Whipple, sheriff; H. D. Baldwin, ,iudi;e of probate and county 
attorney; Geo. P. Johnson, surveyor; J. A. Canfield, court com- 
missioner; H. P., elerk of court; Nathaniel Wood, coroner; 
and John S. il. Honor, of loseo, B. A. Lowell, of Otiseo, and J. B. 
Jackson, of W^ilton, county commissioners, met at the court house 
in Wilton, Jan. 7th 18tiL', filed the necessary official bonds and 
dvdy qualified for their rcs[)eetive duties. 

The coiinty eonimissionc'i's were in session but a short time. ^Iv. 
Lowell was elected chairman for the ciisuinii' year. The board of 
county commissioners ;it that time, under the statute, fixed the 
salaries of a number of the county ofHeers. 

It was ordered that the salary of the county att(u-ney. H. D. 
Baldwin, be (ixed at $180 per annum; the salary of the county 
auditor, S. J. Willis (no clerk hire) l)e fixed at $4-2:) per anniuu— 
salaries payable monthly in equal installments. Quite a chanu'C 
from that day to this. 


It was also ordered that $275 be allowed to S. J. Willis & Co., 
proprietors of the "Home Views," for doing the county printing 
for the year 1862, "said printing to include all printing of tax 
notices and delinquent tax sales, except only assessors' tax rolls, 
payment for same to be made quarterly." 

The county board met again February 28, but nothing of gen- 
eral interest was transacted. The next meeting of the board was 
held June 26th upon call of the county auditor. At this meeting 
of the board, John G. Ward, of Iosco; J. A. Canfield, of 
Otisco, and H. D. Baldwin, of Wilton, were appointed 
by the board as land commissioners to appraise the school 
lands of the county. At this session of the board the saloon 
keepers put in some work on the license question, and, "on 
motion, B. A. Lowell was appointed to receive and accept pro- 
posals for liquor licenses, the amount to be paid for the same, 
where liquors were to be sold by the glass, pint or quart, not to be 
less than $10 for each license granted. ' ' 

The next meeting of the county board was held Sept. 2d. Be- 
sides the usual routine of allowing bills, etc,, the following gentle- 
men were appointed to serve as school examiners (superinten- 
dents) in their respective commissioner districts, to-wit: Philo 
Woodruff, of Blooming Grove ; H. G. Mosher, of Otisco ; and Rev. 
E. S. Smith, of Wilton. 

The summer of 1862 revealed the fact that we had in our midst 
a gang of horsethieves. In the month of June, Orrin Pease, who 
had just settled in the town of St. Mary, had a fine pair of horses 
stolen. After considerable search by Sheriff Whipple and others, 
the horses were found in the possession of men named Eno, Beatty 
and Anderson, a colored person. All three of these were convicted 
of the larceny, but, pending an appeal to the supreme court, broke 
jail at Wilton and made good their escape. The stealing of these 
horses, the escape of the thieves, and the expense attending their 
arrest and trial created a strong feeling of indignation on the 
part of our people against thieves in general, and against horse 
thieves in particular, and were the primary cause of the organi- 
zation of the Waseca County Horsethief Detective Society, which 
still exists and the history of which appears elsewhere in this 


The next meeting of the county board was held Oct. 4, 1862. 


No business of importance was transacted except that Mr. Willis, 
having engaged in the drug business, tendered his resignation as 
county auditor. This was not accepted, at the time, but at a 
special meeting called Nov. 22nd, the resignation of Mr. Willis 
was accepted, and Col. J. C. Ide was appointed in his place. 


On the first day of July President Lincoln called for six hundred 
thousand more men, volunteers, to more vigorously prosecute the 
war ; and on the 4tli of August a draft was ordered of three hun- 
dred thousand men to serve nine months. The draft order was 
never enforced in .Minnesota. But the stirring events of the war, 
the call of the president for volunteers, and the draft ordered 
created great activity in enlistments and militarj- organization 
throughout the whole state. 

Several public meetings were held at Wilton. They were largely 
attended, and much enthusiasm and real patriotism were mani- 
fest among all the penple. From August 12 to August IS, com- 
pany F of the Tentli .Minnesota infantry, Capt. George T. White's 
company, was laigely inereased by the following men from this 
county : 

('apt. George T. White, IT. A ilosher, John A. Wheeler, Robert 
Beith, Nels Bergosen, James Glendenning, Geo. Dreever, Knute 
Hansen, August Krieger, M. jM. ^Morgan, John Pickett, Benjamin 
Swan, Barney Vosberg, Wm. R. Brisbane, Isaac Lyng, C. W. Rob- 
erts, S. A. GoodM'in, Wm. Bliven, Samuel Gleason, A. D. Gregory, 
Thos. Bldredge, Christian Haltesaul, John King, Jacob Newkirk, 
Samuel Preston, S. P. Satterlee, Lieut. Isaac Hamlin, David Mc- 
Daniels, J. R. Whitman, G. E. Brubaker, Clias. Grover, J. A. Can- 
field, Fred Emery, G. W. Ives, L. A. Lafayette, Chas. Olebaueh, 
J. S. Rice, iMartin Spankley, (1. H. Woodbury, Hans Hansen, J. B. 
Hill, M. A. Francis, Richard Ayres, Edward Brossard, S. jM. Grov- 
er, Chas. Chadwiek, James Gallagher, H. A. Jones, G. W. Lee, 
Hans Oleson, IM. V. B. Storer, W. W. Taylor, P. J. D. Wood, Henry 
Yarigan, Robert Quiggle, Nathan Satterlee, Ole Johnson, A. H. 
Coddington, Francis Lincoln, IM. A. Rol)bins. 

On the 18th day of August, ]S(VJ, the people on the western 
frontier of the state wei-e startled !iy the Sioux Indian massacre 
of white people at both of the Sioux agencies and in their imme- 


diate neighborhoods. These massacres were followed each succeed- 
ing day for a week by the indiscriminate slaughter of men, women 
and children all along the frontier, from Glencoe and Hutchinson, 
on the north, to Spirit Lake, in Iowa, on the south. More than two 
thousand white settlers were murdered in cold blood, and some 
two hundred fifty women and children were carried away as 

The trouble commenced at Acton, ileeker county, on August 
17, 1862, when several settlers were murdered by a few roving 
Indians, said to have been partially intoxicated. Upon receipt of 
the news of the Acton murders by the Indians at the Upper 
Agency, on the 18th, the work of death was at once commenced. 

After the slaughter of the white people at both the Indian 
agencies, early on the morning of the 18th, a wounded settler 
with a team drove immediately to Fort Ridgely, thirteen miles be- 
low, and gave the alarm. Captain Marsh, with eighty-five men, oc- 
cupied the fort. With forty-five men he started for the Lower 
Agency, having with him a six mule team, hauling supplies and 
ammunition. Upon reaching the river at the agency his little com- 
pany was surprised and surrounded by Indians in great numbers, 
who opened a deadly fire. About half of his company were instant- 
ly killed, and then followed a desperate hand to hand fight, in 
which the white soldiers fought to the death. Only fifteen of the 
forty-five survived and returned to the fort— Captain Marsh him- 
self being drowned while crossing the river. 

Before leaving the fort on the 18th, Captain Marsh wisely sent 
a messenger to Lieutenant Tim J. Sheehan, who was on his way 
to Fort Ripley with fifty men, to return at once. 'This Sheehan 
did, arriving at Fort Ridgely on the 19th. Indian Agent Galbraith 
had raised a company of fifty men for the United States service 
and was on the way to Fort Snelling to be mustered in, having 
reached St. Peter on the evening of the 18th when news arrived of 
the massacre at the Upper and Lower Agencies. Taking the mus- 
kets of the militia company of St. Peter he immediately returned 
with his company to Fort Ridgely, where he arrived on 
the 19th. This increased the number of men at the fort to about 
one hundred fifty, under command of Lieutenant Sheehan. 

A desperate assault was made upon the fort by the Indians on 
the 20th, which continued from time to time until the 22d. The 


fort was heroically and successfully defended by Lieutenant Shee- 
han and his command. Only four men were killed and fifteen 
wounded in the fort during the siege. At the time of the attack 
on the fort it contained $7l!,000 in gold and silver, which had been 
sent out by the government to make Indian payments. 

Then followed the assault apon New Ulm and its defense on 
the 23d, where the Indians were severely repulsed after burning 
a part of the town. In one of the battles at New Ulm ten white 
men were killed and fifty wounded. 

The news of tlie massacre did not reach the settlers of Waseca 
county until the '2'M. about noon, when the staj^e came into Wilton 
from the west. A larjie number of enlisted men of Company F, 
Tenth reuinient, uiuler command of Captain White, had left Wil- 
ton that morning to join their regiment at Fort Saelling. 

What was to be done :' was the burning question of the hour. Few 
of our citizens hail anything better than nnizzleloading shot- 
guns, in the way of firearms, and voiy little ammunition of any 
kind. As usual on such occasions there was great diversity of 
opinion as to the best course to pursue. While others were 
deliberating upon and discussing the subject, S. P. Child, Buel 
Welch, Esi|., .John Creening, and the writer each obtained a 
horse, a shotgun, a small amount of amnuinition and started for 
JMankato about '2 o'clock in the afternoon. The roads were 
slippery and slow ]n-ogress was made, but we reached the Win- 
nebago Agency about 7 o'clock in the evening. We there found 
Hon. St. A. 1). Baleombe, the agent, and a number of white men 
residing at the agency, all of them more or less excited in fear of 
an uprising among the Winnebago Indians. They desired us to 
remain over night in order to help defend the place should there 
be an uprising of the Winnebagoes; but S. P. Child, who had 
spent over a year as a resident among these Indians, concluded 
from what he could see and hear that there was no danger from 
the Winnebagoes, so long as they should renuiin sober. Hence 
we concluded to push on to jMaid<ato. Shortly after we left the 
Agency, clouds came up from the west and about dark rain com- 
menced to fall. After we had crossed the LeSueur river and 
reached the IMankato woods, it became so dark that it was impos- 
sible to see the road. In order to keeii the road, I pulled off my 
boots and walked in the roail leading my horse, feeling my wav as 


brsl I could. A drizzling rain continued until we reached Man- 
kato, making the latter part of our journey a very slow and 
tedious one. We arrived at the town about 11 o'clock that 
ni^bt. AlthouKli Kiuii'ds had been placed at different points about 
the city, we proceeded to the M^nkato House without being 
discovered or ehalleijged by the city guards. The Mankato House 
was able to furnish lunch but no beds. Fred Kittredge then had 
chni'^e of tlie hotel and did the very best he could for our com- 
fort. Every hotel and house was crowded with people who had 
come in fi'om the country [jiinic-striekeri. About daylight the 
next mor-uing, news was received from the battle at New Ulm 
and of the re[)ulM(t of the Indians. At the same time there were 
many i-umors of a threatened outbreak by the Winnebagoes 
who, as was claimed, had made an alliance with the Sioux. The 
more level-h(;adcd gave little credence to these reports regard- 
ing the Winriebagos, but the musses actually believd that there 
was iiri'.at dauger of an immediate outbreak by them. It was 
argued by the people of Mankato that inasmuch as the troops 
from Fort .Siielling had reached St. Peter there was really no 
danger from the Sioux, while there was no protection whatever 
to the people of Blue Earth and Waseca counties from an 
outbi'eak by the Winnebagoes. After consultation, those of us 
who went from Wilton consented to return to the Winnebago 
Agency and watch for further developments. Upon our arrival 
there about noon, we found a number of men from Wilton, under 
the command of Colonel Ide, who had arrived a short time before. 
The excitement at the Agency was still intense owing to fear 
of an outbreak on the part of the Winnebagoes. After we had 
discussed the matter with Colonel Ide and others of the Wilton 
company, it was thought best for me to return to Waseca county 
to inform the people of the situation and to assure them that 
there was really no danger of further outrages by the Indians. I 
immediately returned to Waseca county and traveled the settle- 
ment from Janesville to New Richland, assuring the people that 
there was no real danger, and that it was for their interest to 
remain at their homes and save their crops; that the Indians 
had been repulsed at New Ulm and driven west, and that armed 
men were then guarding the whole frontier. 
While most of our people became satisfied with these assur- 


anees, still quite a number could not be reasoned with and they 
determined to leave their homes, crops, and cattle to go to de- 
struction. There Avas a general stampede from the southwestern 
porton of Waseca county and from the northern portion of Fari- 
bault county. The people of Wilton and St. Mary deemed it best 
to place a guard at the Wilton bridge to prevent the fleeing peo- 
ple from going further east. No doubt this drastic measure saved 
many families from losing nearly all they possessed and suf- 
fering in consequence, for many returned to their homes, saved 
their crops, and recovered their cattle. 

The following from the pen of the late Hon. Wm. Brisbane, of 
Wilton, who remained at the Agency a day and a night, will be of 
interest. It reads : 

"A report had come to the Agency that the Indians had burned Man- 
kato. The stage coach being some two hours late, gave color to the 
report. John Greening started on horseback for Mankato to make a 
reconnoissance and report as quickly as possible. John started off in 
gallant style, an excellent caricature of Don Quixote charging windmills. 
Shortly after, he came galloping back shouting: 'Mankato all right; 
no burn, and stage a comin'. ' A few of us promptly seized the stage 
when it drove up and demanded to be taken back to Wilton. This 
caused considerable flutter. One woman said she wouldn't give that 
— snapping her fingers — for her lite if the Waseca county men went 
away. Dyer, head farmer at the Agency, bareheaded and excited, came 
and told me that Balcombe wanted to see me. I told him to tell Balcombe 

to go to . Col. Ide said: 'You will be very sorry when you hear 

that we are all killed.' 'Yes,' said I, 'very.' * * * You may judge of 
our surprise when we came to Wilton to find Mrs. Balcombe and Mrs. 
Hubbell there waiting for the stage. I learned long afterward that they 
bad taken a team at the Agency early in the morning and traveled 
by what they called the timber road. A day or two after all the Wilton 
men returned home. 

"As there were no troops in this section, and our own homes were ex- 
posed to danger, a military company was formed at Wilton, called the 
'Home Guards.' James E. Child was elected captain and drilled us in 
the manual exercises. He was assisted by Col. Ide, when difficult mili- 
tary maneuvers were to be executed. I remember that Warren Smith 
was one of the lieutenants. I often thought that I would die of laughing 
when the Colonel was teaching us how to march through a narrow defile. 
We had to march sidewise, which gave us a limping kind of gait, so that 
a stranger would have thought that we had all been wounded in battle 
and crippled for life. We were dressed in blue-jean jackets and pants. 
I am sure that if such a military company were to appear on the streets 


of Waseca today they would be taken for foolish school-boys playing 
soldier for the fun of the thing." 

Aside from Capt. White's company which participated in the In- 
dian war, the following named men served a year in the First Min- 
nesota Mounted Rangers : S. P. Child, John Cunningham, GuUick 
Knutesen, Egle Olson, J. H. Blliston, W. M. Fay, Louis W. Kras- 
sin, John Murphy, Jordan Smith, L. F. Preston, A. J. "Williams. 
Jonas Whitcomb, Lieutenant T. F. West. They enlisted immedi- 
ately after the outbreak. 

During the winter of 1862-3, most of the enlisted men from 
Waseca county, in the Fifth and Tenth regiments, were stationed 
at Mankato and the Winnebago Agency, and had the satisfaction 
— if it were a satisfaction — of being present in their military ca- 
pacity at the hanging of the thirty-eight Sioux murderers, at 
Mankato, Dee. 26, 1862. 



It would be impracticable in a work of this kind to introduce 
any considerable report of the thrilling and terrible incidents that 
transpired during the Indian outbreak; but it seems appropri- 
ate to give some of the incidents in the experience of Mr. Wil- 
liam Everett, so long a useful and re-sjiected citizen of this county, 
■who was a suffering participant and an eye-witness of the massa- 
cre at Lake Shetek. The following account is taken from the Was- 
eca Herald of several years ago. 


Intimately connected with the early history of this state and the 
sad and tragic scenes of the 8ioux massacre of ISlvJ, is the name 
of our townsman Wm. Everett. He was born near Newton, Sus- 
sex county, New Jersey, in 1828, where he lived until about twen- 
ty-two years of age. In 1850 he settled at Haywarth, Iowa county, 
Wisconsin, on the Wisconsin river. He owned and operated a sa\\' 
mill, in connection with some logging camps on that river. At 
the age of twenty-four he married Miss Almira Hatch of that 
place. He removed with his family to Minnesota, in May, 18ri9, 
coming by way of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers on Capt. 
Davidson's packets. They stopped at South Bend, near Mankato, 
during the summei-, looked over the country, and in the followinc 



October located at the south end of Lake Shetek. At that time 
the lands were not yet surveyed— the survey taking place in 1861. 
Mrs. Everett's brother, Clias. Hatch, came in the spring of 1861. 

There were very few settlers at the lake— some three or four— 
when ]\Iessrs Everett and Wright made their claims. Hatch was 
a single man, Wright had a wife and two children and Mr. Ev- 
erett and wife had two children, one of them Lilly, now Mrs. 

The next season Everett and Wright opened farms, the 
former breaking thirty acres. He also made arrangements to build 
a saw mill and had the material all on the ground at the time of 
the Indian outbreak. 

New ITlm, sixty miles away, was their nearest village and trad- 
ing point. They were about one hundred miles from Mankato, the 
next nearest point. There were no settlers west of them nearer 
than Sioux Falls, and only three families there. 

The next year a few settlers came in, and in 1861 there was 
considerable immigration. Quite a number settled at the lake, 
and others settled north and west of them. Occasionally parties 
of Sioux Indians went through there on hunting expeditions. In 
the fall of 1861, a party of Sioux, numbering some twenty, old and 
young, who had been south hunting elk, camped at the lake on 
their return, and were caught by an early snow storm which de- 
tained them there till February. The Indians had very little to 
live on, and were fed by the settlers. In January, provisions 
began to fail, and Mr. Everett and two others started out with ox- 
teams for New Ulm. The snow being deep and crusted, they made 
only eight miles the first day. They pitched their tent, or tepee, 
on the prairie. During the night a high wind arose which blew 
down their tent and nearly buried them with drifting snow. They 
found it impossible to proceed in the morning and returned to 
the lake. They had raised considerable buckwheat, and this 
they ground in coffee mills, sifted and niade it into cakes. Thus 
they lived until February when there came a thaw. The Indians 
then left for their agencies, and Mr. Everett and two other men, 
with two sleighs, went to New Ulm for provisions and groceries 
for the settlement. On their return, while crossing Mound Creek, 
near where Burns station now is, the water, being high, carried 
off one sleigh box filled with supplies which they were unable 


to recover. They finally reached the settlement in safety with 
the other load. Had it not been for the Indians, the settlement 
would not have run short of provisions. Strange as it may seem 
some of these same Indians engaged in the massacre of the set- 
tlers there. 

In May, 1862, Messrs. Hurd and Jones, two of the settlers 
concluded to visit the Bix Sioux river and look over that section 
of country. Hurd told his wife that if they did not return by 
a certain time in June she might know that something unusual 
had happened to them. The time came, but Hurd and Jones came 
not. There was considerable anxiety on their account in the 
settlement, and Messrs. Everett, Wright, Duly, Smith, and East- 
lick took two horse teams and started to look for them. These 
men drove as far as Split Rock creek, now called Eock river, and 
camped for the night. The next morning it was decided to leave 
Duly with the teams in camp, while Everett and Wright should 
follow down the creek, and Smith and Eastliek should go in the 
opposite direction to search for the missing men, both parties 
agreeing to return to camp that night. Everett and Wright soon 
discovered a buffalo, shot and wounded him. They forgot all 
else in their desire to kill the buft'alo, and chased him until late 
in the afternoon. They then began to think of returning, but hav- 
ing given no heed to the directions they had traveled, and night 
coming on, they soon discovered that thej- were lost. They 
camped in a slough, covering themselves with grass cut with their 
knives, the better to protect themselves from the swarms of mos- 
quitoes and the chilly night air. They hoped to get their direc- 
tion by the sun next morning, but when morning came there was 
a heavy fog, and thick clouds shut out the sim, so that they were 
compelled to guess as to the proper course to travel. As usual, 
under such circumstances, they traveled in the wrong direction. 
Not having anything to eat they felt weary, but were encouraged 
by coming on to the trail leading from Sioux Falls to Shetek. 
Again they took the wrong dirrclion and traveled until they came 
in sight of the timber along the Sioux river. Then realizing that 
they were going wrong, tliey turned about and retraced their 
steps, reaching the Split Rock camp, near night, to find it de- 
serted. They found a pi.>ce of paper pinned to a post on which 


was written: "We suppose Everett and Wright have beim killed 
by Indians. We have gone home." 

As they had had nothing to eat since the day before, and were 
very much exhausted with traveling on foot, the outlook was 
discouraging. Just at night, however, they had the good fortune 
to shoot a duck, which they ate raw. They camped on the ground, 
in the shell cr of some large rocks, for the night. They were 
awakened just before midnight by the sound of voices. At first 
they supposed that Indians were coming upon them. They were 
gladly disappointed, however, to find that the voices proceeded 
from a squad of soldiers and the mail carrier. The soldiers had 
with them plenty of provisions. After a bountiful supper, all 
camped there during the remainder of the night. The next day 
they arrived at the lake just as the settlers were getting ready 
to send men to the Agency for soldiers to look them up. 

Ilurd and Jones were never heard from afterwards, but at the 
time of the iii;issaci-e, Mrs. Hiinl saw one of Ilurd 's horses, as she 
believed, ridden by one of the Indian savages. 

Prom that time to the time of the outbreak, nothing occurred 
at the settlement to arouse any suspicion of danger. That settle- 
ment was so isolated from others that they seldom heard from 
the larger towns. Evei'vthing was quiet and peaceful, and no one 
had a suspicion of the horribh; scenes of bloodshed that were soon 
to follow. 

About the 17th of August, 1862, "Pawn" and five or six other 
Indians, with squaws and children, came to the lake and camped 
not far from Mr. Everett's place. Nothing was thought of this, as 
roving bands often came that way, and especially as these were 
the Indians whom the settlers had fed the winter before, and who 
were supposed to be friendly. 

Notwithstanding the fact that here and there a slight suspicion 
existed that the Indians were preparing for war, yet, as a rule, 
few, if any, believed that there was any real danger. 

But on the 20th of August, 1862, the murderous assault com- 
menced all along the line. Men, women, and children, regardless 
of age or condition, were murdered, mangled, and outraged in the 
most cold-blooded and barbarous manner. 

The people of the little settlement, at Lake Shetek, were indus- 
triously pursuing their vocations on the fatal day, and were en- 


tirely unprepared for the murderous attack, which commenced 
near the head of the lake at daybreak. 

The first outrage was at the farm of I\Ir. Meyers. On account 
of Mrs. Meyers' sickness, Meyers arose at an early hour. As he 
went out of the house, he discovered the Indians, who had torn 
down his fence and were riding through his corn breaking it down 
and destroying it. He called to them saying he would whip them 
if they did not leave, and asked them if he had not always treated 
them well. They admitted that he had and finally rode away. 
They proceeded at once to the farm of J\Irs. Hurd, whose husband, 
with Mr. Jones, had disappeared in the spring. A German 
named Voight was working on the farm. When the Indians arrived, 
Mrs. Hurd was milking cows, and on seeing them hastened into 
the house. The Indians followed her, and, with pretended friend- 
ship, asked for some tobacco. Voight gave them some, and they 
commenced to smoke. Mrs. Hurd's babe awoke and began to 
cry, when Voight took it up and walked out into the yard. Just as 
he was turning to go into the house again, one of the Indians 
stepped to the door, raised his gun and shot him through the 
breast, killing him almost instantly. They then plundered the 
house of all its contents, and told ]\Irs. Hurd that if she made any 
noise they would kill her also, but if she remained quiet they 
would permit her "to return to her mother." They destroyed 
nearly everything about the house and then ordered her to leave, 
telling her which way to go, and informing her that if she should 
attempt to go to one of the neighbors or make an outcry to warn 
them they would kill her. Mrs. Hurd was compelled to leave by 
an unfrequented path with her two children, the elder about three 
years old and the younger less than a year old. 

We must noM' return to the loM-er, or south, end of the settle- 
ment. Early that morning, Mr. Everett's brother-in-law, Charles 
Hatch, started on horseback to go to Kurd's place to get a yoke 
of oxen to put into a breaking team. It was about six miles be- 
tween the two places. When Mr. Hatch reached Mr. Cook's 
place, he hitched his horse and went across a marsh, impassable 
for a horse, to save the time and trouble of going aroimd the 
marsh, or slough. When he reached the Kurd house, a horrid 
sight presented itself. Voight lay stark dead upon tl\e ground, 
covered with blood; everything about the ho\ise was broken and 


destroyed, and Mrs. Hurd was nowhere to be seen. The tracks 
at once disclosed the fact that Indians had been there. Looking 
to the east, he saw the Indians making around the marsh. He 
started at once to retrace his steps and warn the settlers; but 
the Indians arrived at Mr. Cook's place ahead of him. They 
found Mrs. Cook in the cornfield with her husband's gun, keeping 
birds from the corn, and Mr. Cook at the house. They divided, 
part going to the cornfield and part to the house. Those who 
went to the cornfield asked to see her gun. Not suspecting mur- 
der, she let them take it. As soon as they got possession of the 
gun, they told her that she might "go to her mother," for they 
were going to kill all the white men in the country. Those 
that went to the house asked for a drink of water. As there 
was none in the house, Cook took the pail to go to the spring. He 
had proceeded but a few steps when one of those cowardly vil- 
lains, without the least warning shot him in the back, killing him 
at once. Hatch was in sight of the house when Cook was shot. 
He saw his horse break loose and run off. Hatch managed to get 
prist the place unperceived, while the Indians were plundering 
Cook's home, and went from house to house as fast as he could 
travel warning the settlers. When he reached Mr. Eastlick's 
house he was nearly exhausted. Mrs. Eastlick, in her account of 
the massacre, says: "My husband and Mr. Rhodes had just sat 
down to breakfast, when my oldest boy, Merton, came to the door 
saying, 'Charlie Hatch is coming, as fast as he can run.' Hatch 
was a young man living with his brother-in-law, Mr. Everett. 
Thinking that perhaps some one was sick or hurt, I went to the 
door. As soon as he came near enough to me I saw that he was 
very pale and out of breath. 'Charley, what is the matter?' I 
asked. He shouted— 'the Indians are upon us.' 'It cannot be pos- 
sible,' said I. 'It is so,' said Charlie, 'they have already shot 
Voight.' He then related the other facts he had witnessed, and 
asked for a horse that he might ride quickly to the lower end 
of the lake to warn the rest of the settlers. Mr. Rhodes let him 
have one of his horses. He asked us for a bridle several times, 
but we were all so horror-stricken and mute with fear and ap- 
prehension that we stood for some time like dumb persons. At 
last I seemed to awake as from a horrible dream and began to 
realize the necessity of immediate and rapid flight. I sprang into 


the house and got the bridle for him, urging him to hurry away 
with all speed. He started off, and bade us follow as fast as we 
could to Mr. Smith 's house. ' ' 

Returning to Mrs. Cook, we learn that she remained concealed 
about the premises until the Indians, tired of plundering the 
house, departed. She then went to the house to find her husband 
murdered and all her household goods destroyed. Notwithstand- 
ing the bereavement and the dangers surrounding her, she bravely 
resolved to warn the other settlers of what had transpired. After 
traveling on foot through brush and timber, and wading in wa- 
ter along the shore of the lake, she reached the lower settlement 
the same day a little in advance of the murderous savages. Jlr. 
Hatch had lost no time in notifying every settler of what had 
taken place. Every house was soon deserted. Cattle, horses, 
household goods, and everything were left to be plundered bj- the 
merciless savages. The settlers all assembled at the house of ilr. 
AVright. They were thirty-four in number— men, women and 

"Old Pawn" and his band, who had camped there the ^Monday 
before, were at Wright's place and pretended great friendship for 
the whites. They even went so far as to help bring in IMrs. Ire- 
land and Mrs. Duly and their children, who had been left behind 
in the flight. The men at once prepared Wright's house as well as 
they could for defensive operations. They opened crevices here 
and there between the logs, as port holes for their guns ; and not 
having entire confidence in "Pawn" and his Indians, told them 
they could take their stand in the stable. The women were armed 
with axes, hatchets, and butcher-knives, and sent iip stairs with 
the children. These hasty preparations were not fully complet- 
ed when the murderous savages whooping and yelling like fiends, 
made their appearance at Mr. Smith's house, in full view of ilr. 
Wright's place, where the settlers were assembled. 

At first thought one would suppose that the whites would have 
remained at the house and defended themselves to the last ; but 
when it is known that the only supply of water was some distnuee 
from the house, that they had no provisions for more than a dav 
or two, and that they were surrounded by some two hundred 
Indians, we can easily understand that any chance of escape, how- 
ever slim or dangerous, would be eagerly accepted. 


The murderous Indians had assembled at Smith's house and 
plundered it. From there they sallied forth in squads, mounted 
on ponies, firing guns and yelling like demons. Occasionally they 
would shoot a cow or an ox, and then ride back to Smith's house. 
After spending some time in this way, they advanced toward 
AA^right's house. Mr. Everett noticed about this time one of 
Pawn's band skulking around to the Indians that were advancing. 
He held a short consultation and sneaked back again. Old Pawn 
who pretended to be friendly, said he would go and see them and 
find out what they wanted. He started o\it to meet them and 
had only proceeded a short distance when several of the war 
party came riding towards him on a gallop. He soon halted. As 
soon as they noticed this, they also stopped and called to him. He 
then went to them and talked for some time; after which he 
eame running back, as though excited, and said there were two 
hundred warriors coming, and if the whites would quietly go 
away the "braves" would not harm them; but, if not, they 
would burn the house and kill them all. 

By this time Mr. Everett' and many of the others were satisfied 
that Pawn and his band, notwithstanding their pretended friend- 
ship, were a part of the conspiracy to murder the settlers. 

The men had a hurried consultation, and the majority decided 
to leave the building and take their chances. Rhodes and Hatch 
were sent to Everett's place, half a mile away, to get a wagon for 
the conveyance of the women- and children, and to get some flour, 
quilts, etc. Without waiting for the return of the team, the whole 
company started across the prairie on foot. Rhodes and Hatch 
overtook them with the wagon by the time they had proceeded 
half a mile, and the women and children, except Mrs. Wright and 
Mrs. Eastlick, got into the wagon. JMrs. Wright bravely shoul- 
dered her husband's rifle, he being absent from the settlement at 
the time of the outbreak. They had proceeded a little over a 
mile when they discovered the Indians following them as fast as 
they could come, yelling like so many fiends. Old Pawn and his 
band, who had pretended to be friendly, had joined the others 
in the work of murder and plunder. All was terror and con- 
sternation among the settlers. They attempted to urge the hor:;.-. 
to a run, but the poor creatures Avei-e so loaded down that they 
could not uo faster than a walk. On came the savages riding at 


full speed. All the fugitives that could run got out of the wagon 
and hurried on as fast as possible ; but it was all to no purpose— 
the savages were soon upon them. The men marched at the head 
of the team, with their guns, in order to protect the women and 
children who were in advance. The men thought at first that 
perhaps all they wanted was the team, and for that reason sent 
the women and children ahead. As the Indians approached 
almost to within gunshot, they spread out in a long, single line, 
and came on yelling like demons. When at long range they fired 
a volley, bvit no one was hurt. Two of the men, Rhodes and Smith, 
deserted the company, coward-like, and ran for dear life, leaving 
the others to their fate. The two men escaped without a scratch. 
One went to Dutch Charley's and warned his family, and the 
other went to the Walnut Grove settlement. 

As soon as the Indians fired the first round, they rushed for the 
team. One of them seized the horses liy the bits and turned them 
around. At this juncture, some of the wliite men fired upon the 
Indians, and the one having hold of the team fell dead. 

It was now evident that there was to be a death conflict. The 
men directed the women and children to go to a slough near by 
and conceal themselves as well as they could in the tall grass, the 
men covering their retreat. All started for the slough amid a 
shower of shot from the Indian guns. 

^Mrs. Eastlick received a ball in one heel; ]\Ir. Ireland's young- 
est child was shot through one leg: Emma Duly received a 
wound in the arm, and Willie Duly received a shot in the shoulder. 
They soon reached the slough, and although the tall grass con- 
cealed them from view, it aft'orded little protection. There were 
about two hundred Indians, and only six white men left. Fiu* 
two hours the cowardly savages, keeping out of sight as much as 
possible, poured volley after volley into the slough. They would 
skulk behind the hills, crawl to the top, i-ise and fire, and then 
drop out of sight. It was dangerous for one of the white men to 
firehis gun, for immediately there would be a volley fired into the 
grass where he was. Oni' after another of the whites was wounded 
or killed. Mr. Eastlielv, after doing brave work, was killed. :Mrs. 
Enstlick received a scalp wound and another in the side. :\lrs. 
Everett received a sUol in her neck. :\lr. Evi>relt received a bul- 
let in the thigh which struck \\\c bone, followed around and 


lodged x;nder the knee. Charles Hatch was wounded in the hand 
and arm, and Bentley in the arm. There was little chance for 
further resistance by the settlers. The firing ceased. Three of 
the skulking Indians, one of them old Pawn, then came forward 
and called upon the women to come out of the slough. "Sir. Ev- 
erett answered them. Pawn, who knew the voice commanded him 
to come out of the slough. !Mr. Everett told him he could not, for 
he was wounded. Pawn said : ' ' You lie ; you can walk if you want 

Two of the Indians then fired into the i;i'ass where Everett 
was, one of the bullets striking his arm near the elbow and shat- 
tering the bone and a buckshot entering his foot. ^frs. Everett, 
forgetting all fear, bravely arose, and in the most piteous manner 
told them that her husband was dead; they had killed him. 

Pawn then told her that he Avould not hurt the rest of them, 
but that they must come out of the slough, for he wanted her 
and ]\lrs. "Wright for his squaws. ;Mrs. Wright could speak the 
SioiTX language, to some extent, and under the advice of ]\Ir. 
Everett, who was now helpless, the two women concluded to go 
out and confer with the Indians. AVhile this hurried conference 
was going on between ]Mrs. AVriglit and Mr. Everett. Uncle Tom- 
my Ireland, a short distance from them, arose out of the grass 
and begged of the Indians to spare the women and children. Two 
of the murderous Indians, only a few rods distant, fired upon him, 
and he fell to the ground with a groan, saying, "Oh God! I am 
killed!" He received seven buckshot, two of which passed 
through his left lung, one through his left arm and others lodged 
in various parts of his body. 

]\[rs. AVright and ]\[rs. Everett, having been advised by ]\Ir. Ev- 
erett that perhaps by going oiit to the Indians they might be 
able afterwards to make their escape, and that refusal would be 
certain death to all, ventured to go to the Indians. After a 
short talk Avith the villain, PaAvn, they returned and reported 
that he said he would spare all the women and children if they 
would come out of the slough. After a short consultation the 
women concluded to go forth with all the children. 

Ah the sad parting! 31rs. Eastlick's husband, was dead. 
3Irs. Ireland bent over the prostrate form of her husband, whom 
she would never see again, to receive, as she supposed, his dying 


words, and husbands and fathers felt deep anguish as -wives and 
children went forth to death or to a period of suffering worse 
than death. 

Many of the prisoner.s, as th(\v eaim.' forth, were wounded. 
Mrs. Smith, whose husband had Hed at the fii-st fire, was wound- 
ed in the hip. Next to the yuungi'st of ;\lrs. Ireland's children 
was shot tliroui;!! the bowels and died in a short time. 

Shortly after the surrender, the fiendish brutality and de\'il- 
ish cruelty of the Sioux were fully deiiKinstrated. jMrs. Eastlick's 
little five-year-old sdii while fdllowiim' his mother, who was being 
led away l)y an Indian, was attacked by a squaw, beaten over 
the head with a club, and finally ripped ii]]cn with a knife. 
Another of her children, Frank, was shot and murdered before 
her eyes. ^Irs. Duly 's hoy Willie was shot in her iiresenee. and 
left in a snft'ering, dyiue- condition on the prairie. Mrs. Ireland 
and ;\li-s. Smith Avere murdered in cold blood, and left near each 
other. And near by was the corpse of Mrs. Eastlick's third child, 

Shortly after the Indians left the slouu'h with their prisoners, 
one of the redskins shot Mrs. Everett's little boy, which so excit- 
ed hei- that she broke loose from her captor, and was running back 
to hei' boy, when sli(> was shot through the body and mortally 
woiuided, (lying during liie night. 

Mrs. Eastlick, in her account, says: "The Indians sent :\lrs. 
AV right back to the slough to gather np and brinu' out the guns. 
J found that I was quite lame and could hardly walk. * » * 
The sky soon liecaine overcast with heavy clouds, and a furious 
rain-storm, accompanied with thunder and lightning, Avas coming 
on. Soon the rain descended in torrents. The Imlians caught 
their ponies, antl mad(^ all preparations for starting away. We 
expected to be taken along as prisiuiei's, but we were disap- 
pointed; as it afterwards proved, some were taken while others 
were put to death, or left in a dying condition. Those of \is who 
afterwards escaped, M-crc, for a hmg lime, in such a plight that 
death sccukhI inevitably to stare us in the face." 

After giving an accimnt of the death of three of her children, 
she continues: "Old Pawn came along with Mrs. Wriuht and her 
children. He brought along a hoi-sc which belonged to Charley 
Hatch, and ordered her to put Iuh' children on it which she 


did. He then gave her the halter strap and sent her along, tell- 
ing me t(j uo aldiig with her. * * * j asked him what he in- 
tended to do with me, and if he meant to kill me? He replied 
in the nej^ative, then stopped, leaned on his gun, and told me to 
hnrry on. * * * I limped along' at a rapid pace, but looking 
back I saw old Pawn standing where I had left him, loading his 
gun, and I instantly feared that, in spite of all his protestations, 
he was going to shoot me. I had a small slough to cross, and 
when about half way through it, some one, probably Pawn, shot 
me again, making four bullets which I had received that day, in 
all. The ball struck me in the small of the back, entering at the 
left side of the spine, and coming out at the right side, just above 
my hip— also passing through my right arm, between the elbow 
and the wrist. I fell to the ground upon my face, and lay there 
for some minutes, * * * expecting the Indians would ride 
over me, as I had fallen in the trail. Finding that I could move 
I crawled about a rod from the trail, and lay down again on my 
face. In a few moments more I heard the step of an Indian, and 
held my breath, thinking he might pass me, supposing me dead. 
But I was sadly mistaken. He came close beside me, stood 
a moment, then commenced beating me on the head with the butt 
of a gun. He struck me many times so hard that my head bound- 
ed up from the sod, and then gave me three severe blows across 
the right shoulder. I did not lose all presence of mind, although 
the blows fell heavy and fast. * * * i -^^as so nearly smoth- 
ered with my face beaten into the grass, that I caught my breath 
several times. He probably supposed me to be dying, and threw 
down his gun. I thought he was preparing to scalp me. I expect- 
ed every moment to feel his hand in my hair and the keen edge 
of the scalping-knife cutting around my head. But for once I was 
happily disappointed, for he went away, thinking, no doubt I was 

I lay here some two or three hours, not daring to stir. * * * 
The rain had continued to fall all of this time ; my clothes were 
wet through, and I was very cold and chilly. About four o 'clock 
p. m., on trying to get up, I found that I was very weak, and that 
it required a great deal of painful effort to raise myself to a sit- 
ting posture. * * * I then found that the blood had run 
down from my head and coagulated among my fingers; hence 


I knew my head had bled quite freely, or the rain would have 
washed it away. * * * l was insensible to pain, but by turn- 
ing my head back and forth, I could plainly hear and feel the 
bones grate together. I thought my skull must be broken, and 
this afterwards proved to be true. ]\Iy hair was very thick and 
long, and this, I think, saved my life by breaking somewhat the 
force of the blows. Here I sat, wet and cold, not daring to move 
from the spot. I had heard the cry of a child at intervals, during 
the afternoon, and thought it Johnny. (Her son.) I thought 
Merton (an elder son) must have taken him to the wounded men, 
(in the slough) to stay with them. So I determined to try to go 
to them, thinking we could, perhaps, keep warm better, for the 
rain was still falling fast, and the night was setting in, cold and 
stormy. I rose up on my feet, and found that I could walk, but 
with great difficulty. I soon heard Willy Duly, whom I svipposed 
dead long before this, cry out '^Mother! mother!' but a few steps 
from me. * * » Having to pass close by him, as I left the 
slough, I stopped and thought I would speak to him ; but, on re- 
fleetiiiK that I could not possibly help the poor boy, I passed 
him without speaking. He never moved again from the spot 
where I last saAv hini; for when the soldiers went there to bury 
the dead, they found him in the same position, lying on his face, 
at the edtze of the slou^^li." 

"I was guided to the place where my children and neighbors 
were murdered, by the crying of a cliild, whom I supposed to be 
Johnny; but on reaching the spot where he lay, lie proved to be 
Mrs. Everett's youngest child. Hei- eldest child, Lilly, aged six 
years, was leaning over him, to shield him from the eold storm. 
I called her by name; she knew my voice instantly, and said: 
'Mrs. Eastlick, the Indians haven't killed us yet.' 'No Lilly,' said 
I, 'not quite, but there are very few of us left.' ^^aid she. ':Mrs. 
Eastlick, I wish you would take care of Charley.' I told her it 
was impossible, for my Johnny wiis somewhere on the prairie, 
and I feared he would die unless I could find him, and keep him 
warm. She then begged me to gi\-e her a drink of water, but it 
was out of my power to give her even that, or to assist her' in any 
way, and I told her so. She raised her eyes, and with a sad, 
thoughtful, hopeless hiok, asked, 'Is there any water in Heaven?' 
'Lilly,' I replied, 'when you get lo Heaven you will never more 


suffer from thirst or pain.' On hearing this, the poor, little, pa- 
tient sufferer, only six years old, laid herself down again by her 
baby brother and seemed reconciled to her fate." 

Mrs. Eastlick then continued her search for her missing child- 
ren far into the night. 

It appears that as soon as the women and children became 
prisoners they were taken by a portion of the Indians some two 
miles from the slough where the men were left, toward the Cot- 
tonwood river, where the Indians murdered a number of their 

The other party of Indians returned to Lake Shetek to plunder 
the houses and gather up the horses and cattle. Of the men left 
in the slough only one was left unwounded, Mr. Duly; and he 
left as soon as the Indians disappeared, making his way to Manka- 
to, leaving the others to care for themselves. Of those left, 
there were ^Messrs. Everett, Hatch, Bentley and Ireland, and 
two children of Mrs. Eastlick— Merton, about eleven years old, 
and her youngest child, Johnny, about fifteen months old. Mr. 
Ireland was so badly wounded that he did not expect to live, and 
begged of some of them to kill him outright and end his misery. 
Being shot through the lungs, he breathed with great difficulty, 
and bloody froth issued from his mouth at every respiration. 
]\Irs. Eastlick 's children were so young that there was little hope 
of their being able to go far, and the men left were wounded 
to such an extent that they could barely get away themselves. 

As soon as Messrs. Everett, Hatch, and Bentley became satis- 
fied that all the Indians had gone, they left the place as rap- 
idly as their wounds would permit, avoiding the course the In- 
dians had taken, and going ip the direction of "Dutch Charley's" 
—a German settler who lived east of them. They left the slough 
about the middle of the afternoon. Along toward night they saw 
a team and wagon across the prairie, going east, and, knowing 
that some settler must be making his escape, Mr. Everett told 
Bentley to go on and overtake the team. Bentley, who was only 
wounded in the arm, started in pursuit, but did not overtake the 
team till night set in. The team turned out to belong to Mr. 
Meyers, who, with his sick wife, was attempting to escape. They 
reached Dutch Charley 's house after dark, to find it vacated. The 
Meyers family and Bentley staid in the house over night. 


]\rr. Everett was so badly wounded, and so weak from loss of 
blood that it was with difficulty that he could travel at all; but 
Charley Hatch staid nobly by him and ur^ed him on with the 
hope of finding relief at the German's house. Late in the 
night, Hatch and Everett arrived at Dutch Charley's 
place, but, fearing that there might be Indians in the house, they 
lay down near the stable. Just at daylight, J\Ir. ]\Ieyers looked out 
of the door, and seeing, as he supposed, an Indian peering from 
behind the stable drew his gun to fire. At the same moment, 
Charley Hatch looking from behind the stable, thought ileyers 
was an Indian and aimed his gun at him. Both pulled trigger 
about the same time. Fortunately both guns missed fire. By 
this time Bentley saw Hatch and both parties recognized each 

As soon as possible after the mutual recognition of the parties, 
the oxen were j^oked and hitched to the wagon for a new start. 
Each one felt that his only safety was in getting as far east as 
ilankato or Xew Ulm as soon as possible. They well knew by 
what they had seen that the Indians would murder them at sight. 

They all got into the wagon and soon started, keeping a sharp 
lookout for Indians. The cattle were so exhausted from travel- 
ing the day before that they made slow progress. The travelers 
made about fifteen miles that day and camped on Little Creek. 
They had nothing to eat except a little flour, wet with cold water 
and dried in the sun, for they dared not build a fire, lest the smoke 
should attract the notice of the savages. 

By this time ^Mr. Everett's broken arm and wounded leg had 
become terribly swollen and veiw painful. The jolting of the 
lumber wagon over the prairie kept up a constant irritation and 
ca,used the most intense pain. ilrs. Meyers, too, was a great 
sufferer, being very sick, without suitable food or any medicine. 

We will leave these here at Little Creek, for the present and 
return to "Uncle Tommy Ireland." As before stated, he was 
left at the slough, where the attack was made, with two of the 
Eastlick children. Soon after jMr. Everett and the others left, 
Merton Eastlick told Mr. Ireland that he should take Johnny on 
his back and go to Dutch Charley's. I\Ir. Ireland tried to per- 
suade him not to go, but finding the boy determined on going, he 
told him he would go with him as far as he could. "Uncle Tom- 


my," as the settlers called ilr. Ireland, followed ^lerton who car- 
ried his baby brother, Johnny, on his back. After walking about 
half a mile, Mr. Ireland could go no further and lay down in the 
grass entirely exhausted. 

^lerton, still canying Johnny, pursued his course and soon 
found the trail leading to Dutch Charley 's. Notwithstanding the 
heavy rain storm he continued his course and reached Buffalo 
Lake, IMurray county, just before dark. The rain was still fall- 
ing, and the night was very dark. INIerton laid his little brother 
on the ground and bent over him to protect him from the rain. 
During the night the prairie wolves came howling around, but 
the brave boy shouted at them so lustily that they were frightened 
away. The next morning, at daylight, without food of any kind, 
he took his little brother and again started on his almost hopeless 
journey. After traveling until about 5 o'clock p. m., he over- 
took :Mrs. Hurd, with her two children, near Dutch Charley's 
house. They proceeded to the house to find it empty and desti- 
tute of provisions. They at last found an old cheese, full of skip- 
pers, but, having been without food for two days, they were glad 
to eat of it. After eating, they rested till about dark, and then 
went into the cornfield to remain over night, fearing that Indians 
might visit the house before morning. 

It will be remembered that the first man killed by the Indians, 
at Lake Shetek, was Mr. Voight, at Mrs. Kurd's house, and that 
they ordered her to leave with her children at once, telling her 
which way to go and threatening to kill her should she attempt 
to go to one of her neighbors. After traveling for some time with 
her children, she became bewildered and hardly knew which way 
to go. The elder child was only three years of age and the 
younger less than a year old. They were on the prairie when the 
storm came on, without food and no clothing except their every 
day garments. Mrs. Hurd spent the long dreary night watching 
over, and trying to protect her children from the storm and the 
mosquitoes. Next day, after wandering around and wading 
sloughs for some time, she struck the road leading to Dutch Char- 
ley's. By this time her older child was very sick and unable to 
walk further-vomiting frequently. The poor woman, weak, 
hungry, and exhausted, was now compelled to carry both chil- 
dren, or leave them to perish alone on the prairie. The true moth- 


er would never leave her children, under such circumstances, 
even to save her own life. She was so weak that she could carry 
only one at a time ; so she would carry one a short distance and 
leave it by the roadside, then return for the other— thus travel- 
ing three miles to make one. In this way she toiled along until 
she reached Dutch Charley's on the second night, in company 
with the Eastlick children as herein stated. 

We now return to Lilly Everett whom we last mentioned as 
being with her baby brother on the prairie, during the stormy 
night following the day of the massacre, near where the women 
and children were murdered, after being taken prisoners. It ap- 
pears that Lilly remained there until the return of the Indians 
from Lake Shetek, the next day, when they again took her 
prisoner. It is not known what was the fate of the poor babe— 
M'hether murdered, taken prisoner, or left to perish on the prai- 
rie. The Indians, it appears, on the day following the first day 
of the massaer(>, collected a drove of cattle and horses from the 
Settlement, and took them and their prisoners into a camp on 
the Big- Cottonwood. At this camp were ]\Irs. Wright and her two 
children, IMrs. Duly and two of her remaining children— a boy 
and a girl— two of ilr. Irelend's girls, Lilly Everett, and oth- 

Ci Y^ii -ft" ^ T? 

:\Irs. Eastlick, after leaving Lilly Everett, as before stated, 
eontimied her search for her children. She came upon the lifeless 
forms of ilrs. Ireland and :\Irs. Smith, who had been outraged 
and murdered. She took from the lifeless form of :Mrs. Smith a 
heavy apron which she used to protect herself from the storm. 
She found the young l)abe of Mrs. Ireland sleeping upon the bos- 
om of its dead mother. The fate of the babe has never been 
known, except perhaps to the murderous savages. By groping 
around in the darkness :\Irs. Eastlick found, not far distant, the 
corpse of her little boy Giles who had been shot by the Indians 
and killed almost instantly. Not very far from him her atten- 
tion was called to the hard breathing of some one, and, upon 
investigation, she found it to proceed from her son Fred, who 
had ])een shot and left there. He M'as unconscious and in a 
dying condition. Who can picture the sorrow of a mother, alone 
among the dead beside her dying child, Avith yet other children 
upon the prairie exposed to the murdercnis assaults of savages ! 


" ! that I had found him dead, ' ' exclaimed the poor mother, as 
she reluctantly left the dying to search for the living. The poor 
woman wandered over the prairie in the storm and darkness, 
thinking at times she heard the crying of her babe, and at inter- 
vals calling "]\Ierton," the name of her eldest boy. Thus the 
night wore on and the dawn appeared without bringing to her 
the children she sought. At daylight she was unable to know 
where she was, and could see nothing by which to guide her steps. 
Being afraid to travel by daylight, lest the Indians should dis- 
cover her, she hid in a patch of tall weeds. 

About ten o'clock she heard the report of several guns, and for 
many hours she could hear the cries and screams of children be- 
ing tortured. At last, about the middle of the afternoon, she 
heard the discharge of several guns in quick succession, and the 
wail of the children instantly ceased. It is supposed that the 
Indians, on their return from Lake Shetek, stopped at the scene 
of the massacre of the day before and tortured and murdered 
the living infants, taking with them, as prisoner, Lilly Everett. 

]Mrs. Eastlick had now passed two days without food or drink. 
She was wounded in four places. She then believed that all her 
children were dead. She felt that she had little to live for, and 
yet the hope of escaping death at thei hands of the savages nerv- 
ed her to renewed efforts. During the afternoon she had looked 
in every direction, and could barely see, in the dim distance, 
the outline of what appeared to be timber. She thought this must 
be near Buffalo Lake, Murray county, on the road to Dutch 
Charley's place. We continue the narrative in her own language . 

"As soon as it was dark I started on my weary journey toward the 
timber. I walked some hours and then laid me down to rest on the damp 
ground. I tried to scoop the dew from the grass in my hand to quench 
my thirst, but it was in vain that I tried it. I then took up the bottom 
of my skirt, and sucked the moisture from it, until I had partially quenched 
my burning thirst. I thought it the sweetest water I had ever drunk. I 
then curled myself upon the ground for a nap, trying to get myself warm 
by drawing the apron over my head and face, and breathing on my be- 
numbed hands. I shook from head to foot. I was chilled through, and 
my teeth chattered. Soon sleep and weariness overcame me, and I slept 
for some time. When I awoke, I felt quite refreshed, and started once 
more on my toilsome journey. But by this time, my feet had become 
very sore, the flesh being worn to the bone, on the top of my toes, by 
the sharp, coarse prairie grass. Indeed, it was quite a hardship for me to 


■walk at all. * * « i traveled on in the darkness through sloughs 
and high tangled grass, and finally came to a slough that was filled with 
water. Here I satisfied my burning thirst, but it was very difficult get- 
ting through the marsh, as the grass was as tall as my shoulders, and 
twisted and matted so that I had to part it before me to get along. The 
water was as much as two and a half feet deep. I got so fatigued in 
wading this wide slough that as soon as I set foot on dry land again, I 
lay down and rested a long time before starting again. 

It was now nearly twilight, and I could see timber at a short distance. 
I was so weak that I reeled as I walked ; but the sight of the woods revived 
my strength somewhat, and I dragged myself along, thinking that about 
five of the sixteen miles to Dutch Charley's were accomplished and vainly 
hoping that before night I might travel the remaining eleven miles. As 
I neared the timber I heard the crowing of fowls in several directions. 
It was now broad day and I discovered that this was not Buffalo Lake, 
but Lake Shetek! I cannot describe my grief and despair, at finding my- 
self back there after wandering two long nights, with feet bleeding and 
torn, and with nothing to eat for three nights and two days. My fear of 
Indians caused me to creep into the first bunch of weeds, where I covered 
my head and face with the apron to keep off mosquitoes. I began to feel 
sick, and a weak, faint feeling came over me at times. There was a house 
near by which I knew was that of my old neighbor, Thomas Ireland. Af- 
ter wavering for a lohg time between the fear of starvation and the fear 
of Indians, I chose to risk the danger of being discovered by them, 
knowing that to remain without food was certain death." 

(After giving a description of her difficulty in crossing a slough, 
M'ith hiu'h banks, she continues:) 

"By pulling myself up by the bushes, I at last reached the top, and found 
myself within a short distance of a corn field. I dragged myself to the 
field, and plucked the first ear I could reach. After many efforts I pulled 
off the husks, and ate two rows of the green corn. They made me very 
sick at the stomach; but after lying down for some time, I arose, feel- 
ing a great deal better and stronger, and soon reached the house. * * * 
I found nothing to eat, but took a cup to the spring, drank some water, 
and then crawled into a plum-thicket, where I remained until night." 

"When it was sufficiently dark, I went back to the house, where I 
caught and killed a chicken, tore off the skin, and, with my teeth, tore 
the flesh from the bones. This I rendered eatable by dipping it in some 
brine that was left in a pork barrel. I then wrapped the pieces in paper 
and put them in a tin pail that I found. This must be my provision for 
the next day, I also plucked three ears of corn and deposited them 
with the meat. * *. * I put on an old coat to keep me warm, and 
bound up my raw and painful feet, in old cloths, and started anew on my 

"I knew the road to be about two miles due east of this place. This 
night I kept the right direction by the north star, but did not travel far. 


for I could go but a short distance before I was obliged to lie down and 
rest. Just at daybreak, I reached the road, having made the distance of 
two miles in the whole night! This I thought was slow traveling, but I 
was quite encouraged, now that I had found the road and was sure of go- 
ing right. I lay down and slept until after sunrise; then, after eating 
some green corn, I started again. Often did fatigue force me to sit down 
to rest, and each time after resting, I could scarcely put my foot to the 
ground. My heel, which had been shot through was badly swollen and 
very sore, but I still pressed onward till I reached Buffalo Lake, at about 
11 o'clock a. m. Here I found that I must cross the outlet of the lake, 
on a pole. When I trusted my weight upon it, over the middle of the 
stream, it broke, and I fell into the water. After laborious and re- 
peated efforts I got out and passed on,- but I was soon obliged to stop 
and repair damages. I took off and wrung out some of my clothing and 
spread them in the sun to dry. I also laid the meat in the sun to dry, for 
it had become so slippery that I could not eat it. After this I lay 
down among the bushes that grew around the lake, and slept very soundly. 
I arose at length, put on my skirt, coat and apron, dressed my feet 
again, ate some corn and forced down some meat. Just as I finished 
my lonely meal, a flock of ducks flew off the lake and soon a crane fol- 
lowed them. This was proof that something had disturbed them, and 
fearing that Indians were upon my track and close at hand, I hid behind 
a tree, and watched the road in the direction I had just come. 

"Presently the head of a horse was seen to rise over the hill near by. 
Indians without doubt, thought I, and shrank down among the bushes, 
and watched to see a dozen or more savages file along before me!" 

"But, oh! what a change from fear to joy! It proved to be the mail- 
carrier from Sioux Falls to New Ulm. I crept out of the brush and ad- 
dressed him. He stopped his horse and staring at me in the utmost as- 
tonishment, asked, in the Indian tongue, if I were a squaw. I answered 
yes, not understanding him, and told him the Indians had killed all the 
white people at the lake. 'Why,' said he, 'you look too white to be a squaw.' 

" 'I am no squaw,' I replied, 'I am Mrs. Eastlick; you have seen me sev- 
eral times at Mrs. Everett's house; I am very badly wounded.' He 
then inquired as to the extent of my wounds, and I showed him my 
wounded arm and the place where my head was broken. He then helped 
me on to his sulky, and walked along, leading the horse. 

"About 4 p. m. we came in sight of Dutch Charley's when he drove 
the horse into a ravine away from the road, helped me to the ground, and 
told me to conceal myself in the grass. He said he would go to the 
house to see if there had been any Indians about. He returned presently, 
saying that there had been none there; that the family had deserted 
the premises ; but that there was an old man there that came from Lake 
Shetek. He helped me to mount the sulky again, and we were soon be- 
fore the door. As soon as I had got to the ground the man made his ap- 
pearance at the door, and, wonderful to tell, it was poor 'Uncle Tommy 
Ireland.' I hardly knew him, for he looked more like a corpse than a liv- 


ing being. His face was deatlily pale, his eyes deeply sunk, and his 
voice reduced to a whisper. I hurried to greet him, rejoiced to find, 
still living, my old friend and neighbor, who had witnessed the same 
heart-rending sights with myself. He clasped his arm around me and 
we both wept like children at the sight of each other. 

"He told me that Merton had left the scene of the massacre on the same 
day, carrying little Johnny, and he thought, perhaps they had reached 
the house before Dutch Charley's family had left and so gone along with 
them. I was filled with hope and joy to think that perhaps, two of my 
children were spared." 

As before stated, Mr. Ireland, after following- Mrs. Eastlick's 
sons half a mile from the scene of the first massacre, lay down en- 
tirely exhausted, expecting to die. He remained stretched upon 
the ground through all that rainy, stormy night, unable to turn 
over. All the next day and the next night he remained there with- 
out food or drink. The following morning, Friday, feeling a little 
better he made his way to Dutch ('barley's, where the mail-car- 
rier and ]\Irs. Eastlick found him on Saturday. So far he had 
been unable to get any food or drink. The mail-carrier furnished 
some water, and finally foiuid a cheese which he gave to the 
A'.'ounded man and woman. 

After feeding the horse and i-esting a short time, the mail-car- 
rier took Mrs. Eastlick on the sulky, put some turnips and cheese 
aboard, and started east again, Mr. Ireland accompanying them. 
At first, the wounded man made slow progress, but after awhile 
was able to walk as fast as the horse. After following the road 
about eight miles, they went about half a mile from it anil camped 
for the night, eating turnips and cheese for supper. The mail- 
carrier had a quilt and an oil cloth blanket, and, notwithstanding 
a heavy rainstorm, during the night, the travelers did not suffer 

At early dawn, Stuiday morning, they again took the road and 
traveled eastward. About noon they espied some persons a long 
distance ahead of them, and, suspecting they were Indians, the 
mail-carrier went cautiously ahead to reeonnoiter, his two com- 
panions slowly following. After a while he discovered that the ob- 
jects they had seen were a woman nnd two children. Upon over- 
taking them, he found them to be ilrs. Ilurd and her two children. 

i\Irs. Hurd and children, and IMerlon and Johnny Enstlick had 
left Dutch Cliarley's phice on Friday nuu-ning. .Merton and John- 


ny were only a short distance ahead of Mrs. Hurd, and the mail- 
carrier and ilrs. Eastlick, as may be well imagined, lost no time 
in overtaking them. Merton had then carried his little brother 
about fifty miles, with very little food or sleep. He looked like a 
skeleton, while the babe was so sick that he did not know his 
mother. His face was a complete scab where the mosquitoes and 
flies had bitten him. 

The little company soon arrived at a Mr. Brown's place, found 
it deserted, and the door of the house fastened. The mail-carrier 
crawled through a window into the house, where he found some 
bread on the table. He brought it out and distributed it among 
the weary, hungry refugees. After feeding his horse, he started 
for New Ulm alone, advising the others to remain about the prem- 
ises, and telling them he would send a team and men to bring them 
to New Ulm. 

The sufferers being afraid to stay about the house, went to the 
bank of the Cottonwood, some eighty rods from the house, and 
secreted themselves in a thicket till night. About sunset they 
returned to the house and crawled in through the window. Here 
they found bedding and clothing, some forty pounds of pork 
and a crock of lard. Mrs. Hurd gathered some potatoes and on- 
ions from the garden and cooked a meal, which was the first 
warm meal they had eaten since the Tuesday before. Here they 
remained in constant fear of Indians until Wednesday night, when 
the mail-carrier returned with sad news of the situation. 

He reported that all the settlers on the Cottonwood river were 
driven away or killed by the Indians; that he had gone in sight 
of New Ulm, on foot, leaving his horse hidden some miles be- 
hind ; that he could see the ruins of many bu.rnt houses there, and 
people, of some kind, walking about the streets, but could not de- 
termine whether they were Indians or whites; that, as he was 
traveling along on foot, he suddenly came upon six Indians, two 
of whom fired upon and pursued him ; that he fled and concealed 
himself in a slough till his pursuers were tired of hunting for him 
and gave up the search. 

All felt that there was no safety in the house, and they again 
repaired to the thicket— taking with them bedding and clothing. 
The kind mail carrier then shook hands with them all, bidding 
them good bye, saying that he would return to Sioux Falls and 


send soldiers to their rescue. When he reached Sioux Falls he 
found that the settlers had all been killed, and also all the soldier.^ 
but two, who managed to escape. After many hardships and 
dangers, he reached Port Clark in safety. 

^Ir. Ireland, tl^e women and children, after great siid'ering for 
two days and nights, from mosquitoes and flics, returned to the 
house, preferring tlie risk of diseovei'v by Indians to their suffer- 
ings in the thicket. 

We now return to the camp at Little Creek, where we left 
Mr. Everett and his eompanions. The next morning, they stai't- 
ed as early as possible. Jlrs. Aleyers was no better, and ^Mr. Ev- 
erett, if possible, sult'ered more than the day before. They drove 
as far as Ijeavenworth, that day. On every hand there M-as evi- 
dence of the murderous footsteps of the savages. The houses were 
all deserted and the fields laid waste. 

After lookiiie- at several houses they finally went to one a quar- 
ter of a mile from the road, just at diisk, and took ]iossession. 
They assist<>d ^Mrs. Meyers and the children to alight and had just 
dragged ^Ii-. Everett into the house, for by this time he was al- 
most totally helpless— when they heard loud talk not far off. Bent- 
ley and Hatch crept out through the cornfield, and saw three Indi- 
ans going past toward a house not far oft' where the whites first 
thought of slopping. Bentley and Hatch then came back, took 
]\lrs. ileyers and children, and hid in the brush some distance 
from the house. ]\\v. Everett eould not well be moved so far, so 
he crawled to a fence, and dragged himself through it and out 
into a buckwheat field. He had only just lain down in a hollow 
when the three Indians came to the house, looked around and 
finally sat down on the fence, not far from him, and in full 
view. They stayed around the house about thrce-quartei's of 
an hour, and finally departed without discovering any of the 
wliites. It M-as a very close call, however. 

All hands remained concealed during the night, :\rr. Everett 
staying in the buckwheat patch. In th(> morning thev started 
again, having nothing to eat (>xcept flour wet up with water 
and dried in the sun. They crossed the Cottonwood, and drove 
toward Mankato as rai.idly as p,>ssible. Dtu-ing the forenoon 
they conld heai- the bo(uning of eann(m at X(>w Tim. This M'as 
the day of the battle there. 


At n(Miii they st(ii)p(>,d in a ravine out of sight of the road. They 
were not very far south of New Ulm, but the firing in that direc- 
tion, and all tlie indications surrounding them, made them be- 
lieve that the Indians were in possession of all the country around 
New Ulm, at least. Mr. Meyers decided to leave them there and 
niak(» his way to New Ulm, if possible, hoping to bring a party 
to their relief. He told them that if he did not return or send 
relief, by the next day at noon, to drive on to ilankato. 

The situation was indeed critical. Bands of murderous Indians 
were prowling over the country in every direction. There was no 
safety anywhere. This little band of settlers was now entirely 
defenseless. The three men were all wounded, Mr. Everett so 
badly injured that he was almost entirely helpless. ]Mrs. Meyers 
was so very siek that there was little hope of her recovery. They 
had no food except a little raw corn and uncooked flour. They 
wei'e worn out with constant watching and anxiety. Tormented 
with an army of tlies by day luul myriads of mosquitoes by night, 
they found it almost impossible to sleep. A few gopher knolls on 
a distant hill-side looked like a band of Indians — every rustle of 
the tall grass brought a startled glance for the cause— every 
clump of wet'ds and each little grove might cover th(^ presence of 
a iiinrderous foe. The situation was enough to bring terror to 
the strongest heart in a robust man, and what must have been the 
feelings of persons half-starved, wounded, weak, and worn out 
with constant watching and excitement, as they were compelled 
to wait and watch for twenty-four hours, with no assurance of 
relief even then? 

After Mr. Meyers left for New Ulm, the hours wore slowly 
awaj', and at noon the next day he had not returned nor been 
heard from. There was no choice left, the wounded and sick 
must reach Mankato or perish on the prairie. 

The oxen wei'c put to the wagon; Mrs. jMeyers and Mr. Everett 
were lifted into it, and again they started eastward. They drove 
till night and camix'd near a deserted house. Messrs. Bentley and 
Hatch found some potatoes, which were eaten raw, as the refugees 
still feared to build a fire lest the Indians should discover them. 

At daylight the next morning, they again started east, driving 
as rapidly as possible. When within eight or ten miles of Crys- 
tal Lake, they discovered men in the distance, on horseback, 


whom they supposed to be Indians. The horsemen discovered 
them about the same time and came directly toward them. 

Bentley and Hatch at once drove to a slough of tall grass, near 
by, hid Mrs. ]\]eyers, her children, and j\Ir. Everett in different 
places ; drove the oxen and wagon some distance away ; and then 
secreted themselves in the tall grass. Their fear of Indians over- 
powered every other feeling. They had no doubt whatever that 
the horsemen were Indians, and that if the hidden ones were 
discovered they would be tortured and murdered. 

The horsemen came on rapidly and soon reached the place where 
the frightened, wounded and starved settlers were hiding. They 
searched the ground thoroughly and soon fovind one after another 
of the settlers until all were found except Charley Hatch. 

]\Ir. Everett was so sick and weak that he could scarcely speak, 
but he urged Capt. Dane— for he it was with a squad of soldiers— 
to keep up the search for Hatch. They searched long and called 
often but could not find him, and were finally compelled to 
go on to Lake ('rystal without him. 

Poor Charley Hatch heard them plainly enough, but he be- 
lieved them to be Indians and half-breeds who were calling 
him, seeking to nuirder hijn, so he refused to answer or to stir from 
his hiding place. He remained hidden in the grass all night. The 
next morning :\lr. Everett prevailed upon the soldiers to renew 
their search for Hatch. They returned to the slough, and, after 
much time spent in looking and calling, finally rode on to his 
hiding place. His .ioy at finding them friends instead of mur- 
derous savages quite overcame him. 

The wounded and nearly famished settlers from Shetek were at 
once removed to the hospital, at ilankato. If we are correctly in- 
formed, Mi's. ;\leyers died the day after her arrival at :Mankato. 
Meyers finally reached Slankato in safety. Bentley and Hatch 
soon recovered from their wounds and sutVering, but i\lr. Everett's 
life hung in the baliuice for a long time. His wounded leg, by 
constant irritation, was very badly swollen and inteiis,.lv pahiful. 
His shattered arm was in an equally bad condition. Nothing short 
of an iron constitution could have br.night him from death's door 
ba(']\ to lite and sti-eiigtli. 

He remained in tlie hos|,it;il at Mankat,. until Ihe following 
February, when \w had so far recovered that he could hobble 


around on crutches, with his arm in a slinK; and in that condi- 
tion he went to Arena, Iowa county, Wisconsin, where he remained 
for some time. 

We must now return to follow briefly the history of those made 
captives at the time of the massacre. These were Mrs. Wright, 
her little boy and girl ; Mrs. Duly and two children, Lilly Everett, 
two of Mr. Ireland's girls, and Mrs. Cook. The prisoners were 
first taken from the camp on Cottonwood river to Yellow Medi- 
cine, where they remained some time. At this place Mrs. Wright's 
son and other captives, including Mrs. Cook, were ransomed by 
Gen. Sibley. About that time Old Pawn took the other Shetek 
prisoners and started across the country for the Missouri river. 
The children, especially, were badly treated. An old hag of a 
squaw seemed to take particular delight in torturing them. On 
two or three occasions Lilly came near being killed by this old 
squaw, who pounded her with a club most brutally. The captives 
were finally taken into winter quarters, on the Missouri river, 
some four hundred miles above Ft. Randall. 

Their re]e;ise was somewhat remarkable. Early one morning, 
Mrs. Wright was down at the bank of the Missouri, getting a 
pail of water, when she discovered two white men in a boat, go- 
ing down the river. She hailed them and told them the story 
of her capture and of that of the others. She said there were two 
women and six children, and she implored them to rescue the 
caplives. They lu^sitated some time, but finally concluded that it 
would be impossible for them to do so. They told her, however, 
that they would make all haste to report the facts to the govern- 
ment officers. True to their word, they did so, and the result 
was published by the Ft. Dodge, Iowa, Times some years ago. 
We h>arn fi-oiii the report that an Indian chief, Ma-to To-pa (Four 
Beiir), who was friendly to the whites, was requested to go to the 
hostile camp and rescue the captives either by force or treaty. 
He called a council of his braves, and it was determined that 
they would make an effort to rescue the captives. He selected 
ten of his best braves, and with eight good horses started for the 
hostile camp. They took ther rifles, bows and arrows, as if going 
to war, starting in November, 1862, and traveling seven days- 
snow falling nearly every day. They at last reached the camp of 
the hostiles, near the mouth of Grand river. The next morning 


the hostile Indians invited them to a council. They tied their 
eight horses close to the tepee and went in. Both parties were 
armed. Four Bear was asked what urgent business had brought 
him and his braves so far from home at that time of year. 

He replied that he had heard that they had been on the war 
path and had taken some prisoners. He made quite a speech, and 
told them that he and his party had come for the captives and 
would not return without them. 

One of the hostiles said: "You are all Indians, and belon;.' to 
the same confederation that we do, and instead of being friendly 
to the accursed pale face you should unite with us and help slay 
them as long as there is a Sioux on the face of the earth." 

Four Bear replied that he and his braves were friendly to the 
whites, and always would be— that they would never lift a hand 
against the women and children of the whites, and that the hos- 
tiles must give up the captives. 

The council was a stormy one, lasting all day; but finally one 
of the liostilcs said they had the captives and they were worth 
money, and nothing less than $1,000 in ponies would get them. 
Near nif^lit tliey finally agreed that the hostiles should exchanue 
their eight prisoners for the eight horses and saddles. The ex- 
change was made that night, and then they smoked the pipe of 

The hostile band on their retreat from ^Minnesota, were so afraid 
of being overtaken by the whites that they took no time to hunt, 
and in conse(]ucnce the prisoners were nearly starved to death. 
The first square meal for some time was indulged in that night, 
and it consisted of venison and coffee. Four Bear was of the 
opinion that the \vomen and children relished his cooking that 

The prisoners were so destitute of clothing, that their rescuers 
were compelled to divide their wardrobe with them. The weather 
was intensely cold, but the homeward march began. The six 
children had to be carried every step of the wav, and the two 
women the greater part of it. Some of the Indians M^ould go 
ahead and kill game, and get the camp readv at night when thev 
arrived. In consequence of the great dejith of snow it was a slow 
laborious tramp. At Swan Lake they met some of their people 
and traded some ammunition and blankets for sugar and coffee 


for the captives, and in the morning they all contributed every- 
thing they could spare for the use of a big horse to get home with. 
They made a "travoy, " which is two long poles, one end of each 
fastened to the saddle, extending backward on each side of the 
horse with crosspieces lashed on. The six children were bun- 
dled on this vehicle and the party then made fine progress. They 
arrived at last at their camp, and the next day they took the 
captives across the river and turned them over to the officer 
in command, who gave Four Bear the following : 

Fort Pierre, D. T., Dec. 12, 1862. 

The bearer, Ma-to To-pa, Is one of the eleven Indians that recovered 
Mrs. Julia Wright, Mrs. Emma Duly and six children from the Ih-Sanu-Ta, 
near the Grand river, in November, 18C2. He desires to be kindly treated 
by all. (Signed) John Pattee, 

Major First Iowa Cavalry, Expedition in Search of Prisoners. 

In course of time, the captives were sent down the Missouri 
river, and across the country to Ft. Dodge, Iowa. 

Mr. Everett saw a report in the Chicago papers that the captives 
would soon be at Cedar Falls, Iowa, He left Arena, Wiscon- 
sin on crutches, his wounded arm still useless, to meet them at 
Cedar Falls. He was doomed to disappointment, for on his ar- 
rival there he learned they had not yet arrived, and that he 
must go to Ft. Dodge to meet them. He took the stage for that 
place, but on his arrival there could hear no news of them. There 
he was taken sick and confined to his bed for two weeks. In the 
mean time the captives arrived, and among them his daughter, 
Lilly. ]\Ir. Wright also met his wife and little daughter at that 

Mr. Everett, as soon as he was able to travel, returned again to 
Wisconsin Avith Lilly. He remained at Arena until 1867. He lost 
all his property at Lake Shetek, amounting to $5,000, and re- 
ceived from the government for his loss only $800. 

He was married to Miss Addison in the spring of 1866, and in 
the fall of 1867, came to Waseca and built the first store erected 
in Waseca. 

While this sxibstantially closes that portion of the Shetek mas- 
sacre relating to our townsman, there are other portions yet to 
be related in order to round out and make complete the history of 
that awful and tragic event. 


It will be remembered by our readers that the mail carrier, 
after his failure to reach New Ulm, returned to Brown's house 
where he had left Mrs. Hurd and her two children, ]\Irs. Eastlick 
and two children, and Uncle Tommy Ireland. After the mail-car- 
rier left, this party remained at Brown's house for nine days, liv- 
ing upon the vegetables growing on the farm. 

^Ir. Ireland gradually recovered from his wounds, while Mrs. 
Eastlick was as yet unable to walk. ]\Ir. Ireland proposed, at last, 
to make a trip to New Ulm and get assistance to remove the 
women and children. During their stay there two large dogs had 
come to them and remained there. 

On ilonday morning, the ninth day they had been there, ilr. 
Ireland, taking two cooked chickens as a supply of food, started 
for New Ulm, saying that he should try to reach New Ulm that 
night, and would send relief on Tnesday. ]\Irs. Eastlick says: 

"All the afternoon of Tuesday we looked long and eagerly for some one 
to come to our relief, until after dark, when I retired and slept some 
hours. About midnight we were awakened by the loud barking of the 
dogs. Mrs. Hurd arose and went to the window, but could see nothing. 
The dogs, however, barked more savagely than before, running out a 
short distance and then back to the door. This frightened us very much, 
as we thought it must be Indians, or the dogs would not act so. But, 
thought I, whether they are friends or enemies, I must arise and dress, 
though it may be the last time. So I began putting on my clothes, still 
asking Mrs. Hurd if she saw anything. When I was about dressed, she 
exclaimed, 'My God! Cook, is that you?' Then I realized that it was some 
one whom she knew. It proved to be a young man named Cook, 
who lived at Lake Shetek, and some time before the outbreak had 
gone to Crystal Lake, to work in harvest; and my neighbor, Mr. Wright, 
who was also gone at the time. They came into the house and greeted 
us with tears in their eyes, while Mrs. Hurd and I wept aloud for joy. 
They were accompanied by a squad of soldiers, who also came into the 
house. The soldiers stationed guards about the house, to prevent a sur- 
prise. We now learned that Uncle Tommy had succeeded in getting 
into New Ulm about noon, on Tuesday, and at once made known our con- 
dition to Capt. Dane, who ordered fourteen men under Lieut Roberts 
to prepare to start as soon as possible to our relief. It was almost sunset 
before they were ready to start, when, lo! Messrs. Wright and Cook 
came into town, and learning the facts, volunteered to attend them as 
gmdes. They reached our place at midnight, and, fearful that the sight 
of them all at once would frighten us, Wright and Cook came on alone to 
rouse us. The soldiers brought some tea and crackers, killed some 
chickens, gathered some vegetables, and prepared a good meal. At dav- 
hght they placed the feather bed, some quills and a buffalo robe in a 


light, two-horse wagon. I was then helped in with Mrs. Hurd and our 
children. * * * When about five miles on the road, Lieut. Roberts 
rode back and ordered the driver to turn out of the road, pointing a 
little distance ahead of us. I looked In the direction he pointed, and 
beheld the body of a gray-haired man, lying in the road. This was the 
body of Mr. Brown, who owned the house where we had stopped. We 
soon crossed a run where stood his wagon with the goods thrown out 
and scattered upon the ground. There were two feather beds, which the 
soldiers took along. Near the wagon was the body of Mrs. Brown,' with 
her head split open. As we started out in the morning, one of the sol- 
diers, Mr. Gilfillan, tarried behind, and got lost from the company. His 
remains were found next day, some six miles from New trim, shot 
through the breast and his head severed from his body." 

All along the route, the houses had been plundered, and several 
dead bodies were found. 

These refugees remained for some time in New Ulm and were 
kindly nursed and cared for. About the 5th of September, they 
went to Mankato under escort. As soon as Mrs. Eastlick was able 
to travel, she went to friends in Wisconsin. 

Mrs. Cook has given an account of her captivity, from which we 
condense the following : 

She was taken with some of the other prisoners from the slough 
back to the settlement at Lake Shetek, to Mr. Ireland's house, 
where a large number of Indians were camped for the night. 
They held a big war-dance that night, notwithstanding the storm. 
The Indian who claimed her told her to stay in the tepee or 
the other Indians would kill her. They kept up the pow-wow 
nearly all night, and, their chief having been killed during the day, 
they chose Old Pawn to succeed him. 

Next morning some of the Indians brought in Lilly Everett, so 
chilled and wet that she could hardly speak. Mrs. Cook and Mrs. 
Duly wrapped her in a shawl and seated her close by the fire. This 
so enraged the savages that they fired at them, one bullet passing 
through the skirt of Mrs. Duly's dress, and another piercing the 
shawl worn by Mrs. Cook, just below her shoulders. Fortunately 
neither one of them was hurt. 

While returning to the lake, Mrs. Cook was leading little Belle 
Duly, five years old, when the murderous old squaw that killed 
Fred Eastlick, came along, snatched the child away, whipped her 
over the face with a raw-hide, raised her as high as she could and 
threw her upon the ground with all her force; then she tied the 


child to a bush, stepped back a few paces, and threw knives at her, 
hitting her in various parts of the body until life was extinct, 
while the mother was forced to behold the sight with no power to 
shield her child. 

The Indians gathered together quite a drove of cattle, loaded 
several wagons with plunder, and compelled the women to drive 
the oxen that drew the wagons, and also the loose cattle. They 
went to the Cottonwood, and thence across the prairie to the Yel- 
low Medicine country. 

Mrs. Cook was with the savages seven weeks. For thtee or 
four weeks she had plenty to eat, but was finally sold to an old 
Indian who was very good to her sometimes, and at other times 
very cruel. One day he told her he was going to another band 
of Indians, at some distance, and some of the squaws told her that 
where they were going there was hardly anything to eat. He fin- 
ally started off, compelling her to go with him. She made no 
resistance, but, after going some five miles', she offered to carry 
his gun for him. He gave it to her. She soon managed to take 
the cap and throw it awa.y, then spit in the tube to make sure the 
gun Avould not go off. She then told him she should go no 
farther with him. He seized his gun from her hands and told her 
to go on or he would shoot her, at the same time raising the gun. 
She boldly told him to shoot, for she would not go with him, 
and bared her breast, as if to be instantly killed. He was amaze4, 
and dropped the butt of his gun in astonishment. He probably 
thought her the bravest squaw he ever saw. At least he concluded 
to return with her. 

That night she intended to escape with a captive squaw that had 
married a white man; but their plan was defeated by the sick- 
ness of the squaw's babe. The next morning the child was better 
and all the Indians left the camp except the one who claimed to 
own Mrs. Cook. This was an opportunity not to be lost. Mrs. 
Cook stole away to the river unperceived, and the squaw rode a 
pony in the same direction, pretending to be going to water him. 
She let him go at the river and started with ]\Irs. Cook. They 
traveled as rapidly as possible, crossed the IMinnesota river ten 
times that day in order to hide their trail if followed. They trav- 
eled, they thought, about thirty miles, when they came upon 
"Red Iron's" band of Indians whom they joined. After remain- 


ing three or four days with this band, they were surrendered, with 
a great many other captives, to Gen. Sibley's comniand by Red 

The year 1862 was a year of blood for America. We had not 
only the bloody Sioux Massacre, but many bloody battles oc- 
curred between the Union and the Rebel forces. 

And thus came to a close the darkest year in the history of the 
state of Minnesota. The frontier had been made desolate, and 
many familes had lost everything. But fortunately the crops 
had been of the very best, and there was food enough for all. The 
state generously extended aid to the people of the frontier and 
there was very little suffering. 



In some respects the year 1863 was the most notable in the 
history of our nation and of the world. New Year's day is second 
only to Christmas as a day of enjoyment throusihout the civilized 
world, even in ordinary times, but this New Year's day was one 
long to be remembered and held in reverence. 

"Ring happy bells across the snow, 
"Ring in the nobler modes of life, 
"Ring out the old, ring in the new." 

From the issuing of the Declaration of ludependeuee to this 
"happy New Year" of 1863, the life of the nation had been a 
paradox — as some said, a living lie. 

On this day the paradox was wiped out, for President Abraham 
Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proelamation forever freeing 
the black and yellow slaves in tlie rebel states from the chains 
of the most odious bondage that the civilized world had ever seen. 
This brave, generous, (Jod-like act— alroaily too long delayed, as 
many thought- set forever free over four millions of oppressed 
human beings. Not only will the intelligent American citizens 
of African blood, Ui the remotest generation, i-evere tlie name of 
Abraham Lincoln, but intelligent and Christian Auun-ican citizinis 
of Caucasian blood will link his name with the greatest of earth 


for havinji', as far as possible, emancipated the laborers of the 
Avhite race from the competition of chattel slavery. 

There was no change in the board of Waseca county commis- 
sioners. Among the proceedings of the board for the year, the 
following are noted. 

It Avas "ordered that the treasurer of the county be directed 
not to receive soldiers' orders for bounty (taxes) of such persons 
as were rejected for disability at Fort Snelling, and not now in 
the service of the United States." At the same meeting the 
county was divided by the commissioners into seven military 
districts as follows : 

First district. Blooming Grove; Second district, Iosco ; Third 
district, Janesville ; Fourth district, St. Mary ; Fifth district, Yv il- 
ton and Woodville; Sixth district, Otisco and New Richland; 
Seventh , district, Vivian and Byron. Alton and Freedom then 
belonged to the Winnebago Indians. 

At a subsequent meeting, June 15th, the board appointed 
officers for some of the districts. In the St. Mary district Enoch 
Plummer was appointed captain, John Byron, now deceased, first 
lieutenant, and Thomas J. Kerr, second lieutenant. W. H. Wyman 
was appointed captain in the Sixth district, but the record does 
not show that he had any lieutenant, either first or second. In 
the Second district, Wm. E. Allen was appointed captain, J. S. 
G. Honnor, first lieutenant, and John G. Ward, second lieutenant. 
There is no record of appointments in other districts, nor does 
it appear that any military or^ianizations were ever perfected 
iindei- the law. 

It seems that there was at that time a suspicion that jiistices of 
the peace did not pay over promptly all fines' collected by them, 
for in the proceedings of Jan. 29, 1863, the following entry ap- 
pears : 

"Ordered that all justices of the peace in the County of Waseca be 
directed to bring their dockets to the district attorney to be compared 
with the treasurer's books; and it is further ordered that all fines 
due the county be paid immediately." 

Whether the order received any attention does not appear of 
record, but it is preserved as one of the many orders made by 
county commissioners. Such orders were without the authority 
of law, but serve to show the condition of affairs at the time. 


There being at that time two newspapers purporting to be 
printed in the county, but really printed, one at Owatonna, the 
other at Faribault, it was "voted that the chairman be authorized 
to receive bids for the county printing and to contract for the 
same with the lowest bidder entitled to it." This was the first 
time our county printing was ever let to the lowest bidder. The 
printing was let to Col. J. C. Ide, editor of the Courier and also 
county auditor, for the sum of $130, not including the tax sale 
list of taxes. 

The tax levy for 1863 was as follows : State revenue, four and 
a half mills ; county expenses, three mills ; for liquidation of 
county bonds, four mills ; back indebtedness, three mills, one-half 
cash; school tax, two and one-half mills; — a total of seventeen 
mills on the dollar. This tax levy was made Oct. 6, 1863. At the 
same meeting the county auditor's salary was raised $-50, making 
his total salary $500 per year. And it cost more to live then 
than it does at this writing, 1904. 

The spring stocks of merchandise brought "war prices" in 
Waseca county. In consequence of the war, prices of goods, 
which had for some time been gradually advancing, reached 
pretty high figures as early as i\Iarcli. The first of April, common 
cotton sheeting was selling for fifty cents per yard; calico, at 
from thirty-five to forty; entton shirting, at from forty-five to 
sixty cents; coffee, at from forty to fifty cents per pound; the 
poorest, cheapest tea, at $1.50 per pound: common brown sugar- 
people do not eat such now-a-days,— from sixteen to twenty-five 
cents per pound. The prices of nearly all merchandise were in 

Very many of our people, the ma.iority, to say the least, made 
their table beverages, during the high prices, of barley, carrot, 
beet, corn, wheat, rye, or pea cott'ee, and pennyroyal or sage tea, 
and they drank these without much sugar. :Many people then 
learned for the first time, that hot water, with a little milk or 
ere;i]ii, at meal time, is more conducive to health than the best 
tea or coiTee. 

The weather was mild during the winter of lS6l!-3 and the 
spring months were very favoraitle to early seeding. The sowing 
of wheat was commeneetl as early as April 1st. and by the loth 
of May, spring crops were all planted. There was verv little 


rainfall all through the season, and the hay crop was compara- 
tively light; but the wheat, oat, and barley crops yielded well 
and were of excellent quality. 


A small band of Indians in the month of April, made a raid 
into the AVatonwan river settlement, killed five persons, stole 
several horses, and made their escape. 'Within the summer. Gen. 
Sibley, -with three thousand troops from Minnesota, and General 
Sully, with about an equal force from Iowa, advanced into the 
country then occupied by the Indians. The battle of Big Moimd 
was fought by the forces under Gen. Sibley, July 24th. At this 
battle, Rev. Dr. AYeiser was treacherously shot and killed by the 
Indians while they were pretending to want peace. One white 
man was killed by lightning during the battle. Lieut. Freeman, 
while hunting, was killed by the Indians the morning before the 
Indians had been discovered by the scouts. A large number of 
the red men were killed and wounded and some of them scalped 
by the hunters. On the 26th of July, at 


the Indians, mounted on ponies and led by Grey Eagle, made a 
dash for the hay cutters and mules, but were promptly met by 
the ^Mounted Rangers, who gave them battle. A number of the 
savages were killed in this engagement, among them their chief, 
Grey Eagle, who fought bravely but was soon killed. 

On July 3, 1863, Little Crow, the chief who had led in the 
massacre of 1862, v.-as shot and killed near Hutchinson by Nathan 
Lampson. Little Crow also shot Lampson, wounding him in the 
shoulder. The second shot from Lampson 's gun proved mortal. 
Little Crow's son, aged 16 years, was with his father at the time 
of his death, 'but made his escape. He was afterwards taken 
prisoner and finally sent to the reservation of his people on the 
ilissouri river, where he has since died. 

Little Crow died in disgrace, having been deposed by the war- 
riors of his nation shortly after the decisive battle of Wood Lake. 

June 18th, 100,000 rebels entered Pennsylvania, near Chambers- 
burg. On the 1st, 2d and 3d days of July occurred the great 
battle of Gettysburg, which was one of the greatest of the civil 


Avar, and really the turning point in the great struggle. It was 
in this great battle that the First Minnesota regiment conferred 
imperishable honor and fame upon our state. July 4th, Vicks- 
burg, iliss., surrendered to Grant with her 31,000 rebels, 220 
guns and 70,000 small arms. July 8th, Port Hudson surrendered 
to the Union army. July 13th, the New York rioting commended, 
—the negro orphan asylum was burned, negroes were hanged 
in the streets, and houses robbed and burned by rebel sympa- 
thizers. The rioting lasted several days and was finalh' suppress- 
ed by Union troops. The last battles of the year occurred at 
Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain, Xov. 23d, in which our 
Union soldiers were victorious. 


It was a close call for the Republicans in this coimty at the 
fall election of 1863. The draft, which had been ordered through- 
out the coimtry, had been very unpopular. The local Republicans 
that were appointed to conduct it— especially the writer, who 
was appointed to the very unpleasant position of deputy United 
States marshal— were accused of many wrongful acts: and al- 
though nearly all the accusations were false and unjust, as was 
afterwards admitted, they had their influence upon the voters. 
"Waseca county was then in the same legislative district with 
Freeborn and Steele coimties. The candidates for state senator 
were F. J. Stevens, Republican; Amos Coggswell, Democrat; and 
Jacob ]\Iail, independent. Stevens received 2S2 votes, Coggswell 
58, and :Mail 51. 

Representatives:— Philo AYoodruff, Republican, 262 votes; AYm. 
Brisbane, Democrat, 251. ilajority, 11. 

County treasurer:— P. C. Bailey, Rep., 2S6 ; Enoch Plummer, 
Dem., 234.— Jlajority, 52. 

Register of deeds :— Tarrant Putnam, Rep., 241; H. P. Xorton, 
Dem., 267.— :Ma,iority, 26. 

Sheriff :-D. L. Yliipple, Rep,, 26S; X, McGrath, Dem., 24.').- 
Majority, 22. 

Judge of Probate :— II. D. BaldAvin, Rep.. 251 ; P. Brink Enos, 
Dem., 258.- ]\tajority, 7. 

County Attorney ;-.James E. Child, Rep., 255; P. Brink Enos, 
Dem., 252,— ^Majority, 3. 


Coroner:— W. S. Baker, Rep., 274; Peter Eckert, Dem., 23S.— 
Majority, 36. 

Court Commissioner:— James E. Child, Rep., 217; John Brad- 
ish, Dem., 166; P. Brink Enos, Dem., 20.— Majority over both, 31. 

Surveyor:— H. G. Mosher, Dem., (no opposition) 509 

County Commissioner, one district :—"W. G. Kennedy, Rep., 76; 
"\Vm. Byron, Dem., 69.— Majority, 7. 


As before mentioned, there were two newspapers, "The Waseca 
Home Views" and "The "Waseca Courier," purporting to be 
edited and published in Wilton, but they were really side editions 
of other papers. The Courier was printed at Owatonna, Col. Ide, 
Republican, being the Wilton editor. The Home Views was 
printed at Faribault, Buel Welch, a Democrat, being editor. 

The people of Wilton said thej- wanted a really home paper ; so 
Hon. H. D. Baldwin, who held a chattel mortgage on the press 
and material of the Home Views plant, at Faribault, arranged to 
take the plant in satisfaction of the mortgage. He employed a 
man named James ^lowatt, an Englishman by birth, to conduct 
the mechanical department, and arranged with the writer to edit 
and take charge of the biisiness management of the paper. After 
some delay in getting the plant in working order, the first num- 
ber of the 


made its appearance. It was a six-column folio — Republican 
in politics. It is said that no paper ever flourished in a country 
to^Yn where the editor and the publisher are separate, neither 
having entire control. And so at the end of the year the writer 
purchased the plant and took entire control. It was three years 
before the plant paid expenses and four years before the pro- 
prietor received any income for his own services ; but, then, he en- 
joyed the excitement of the business and the struggle for success, 
and has never regretted the hard work that finally brought rea- 
sonable success. Under the chapter relating to "Journalism," a 
full account of newspaper enterprises in the county will be given 
"without hatred or affection." 



The last day of December, 1863, and the first two days of 1864 
brought one of the most severe storms that have ever visited the 
county since its first settlement in August, 1854. The wind bl?w 
a gale. The air was filled with the tempest-driven snow, and the 
cold was intense. The temperature went as low as 34 degrees, in 
Wilton, and at St. Louis, Mo., and in Kentucky and Ohio, the 
thermometer registered as low as 24 degrees. On the last day of 
December the air was so filled with fine particles of frost and 
snow and driven with such force by the wind that objects a dozen 
feet distant could not be seen. It was almost impossible to face 
the wind for any distance Fortunately the storm arose in the 
night, and no one in this section was seriously injured. 



The year 1864 opened with a terrible storm and most intense 
cold. The remainder of the winter was cold and at times stormy. 
Winter continued until the latter part of March, and very little 
seeding was done prior to the middle of April. The season as a 
whole was a dry one, but the state was blessed with abundant 
crops. The harvest weather was all that could be desired, and 
notwithstanding a scarcity of harvest hands, the crops were all 
saved in good shape. 


At the annual meeting of county commissioners, held Jan. 
5th, 1864, the board was organized by the election of J. B. 
Jackson, chairman. No business beyond the ordinary was trans- 
acted at this session, except that the county auditor's salary 
was raised from $450 per year to $500. Each commissioner dis- 
trict, at that time, had a school examiner appointed by the coun- 
ty board. The examiners appointed for 1864 were as follows: 
M. S. Green, of Iosco ; B. A. Lowell of Otisco ; and Eugene A. 
Smith, of Wilton. The last refused to serve and Rev. E. S. Smith 
was appointed in his place, Jan. 27th, 1864. During the legisla- 


tive session of 1864, the office of county superintendent of schools 
was created and made appointive by the county board; and on 
the 9th of March, 1864, Hex. E. S. Smith was appointed county 
superintendent of schools at the magnificent salary' of $100 per 
year. At this March session another $100 was added to the 
county auditor's salarj-, making it $600 a year. 


As a result of the Indian outbreak in 1862, the AVinnebago 
Indians were removed from their rcs(.'rvation in this state to a 
new reservation in Nebraska. In their reservation hin-e there 
were included the townships now known as Freedom and Alton, 
and the west tier of sections of the townships of Wilton and St. 
Mary— the larger portion of their reservation being in Blue 
Earth county adjoining. 

After the Indians were removed, the lands were sold to white 
men imder sealed bids, the minimum price per acre, as the writer 
remembers it, being $2.r)0. The lands were taken very rapidly, 
and many farms were settled upon and improved in 1864. 

At the meeting of the county board, ilarch 9, 1864, a petition 
was received to have the new territory organized as a township 
with township officers, etc. The county board passed an order 
organizing townships 106 and 107, range '2-i. which provided that 
"the first election should be held at the house of Stephen Robin- 
son, situated at the place (then) known as Peddler's (irove, on 
the same day (April 5) and hour, in this year 18(i4, Mdiieh the law 
provides for the town elections in organized towns; and that 
when so assembled for their town election, the electors shall 
elect a name by which both townships shall hereafter be knowm 
until such time as it shall be found that a sufficient number of 
inhabitants shall have settled in each or either to entitle them to 
a separate organization, and that when svich separate organiza- 
tion shall talce place, town Xo. 106 shall retain the name agreed 
upon at this, their first election." 

Thei'e was quite a struggle regarding the name, but "Freedom,' 
was finally adopted. According to the history issued by the 
Union Publi.shing Company in 1SS7, Air. F. D. Seaman had the 
casting vote, which s(4ect(Nl the name, he being one of the com- 
mittee of three to decide on a name. At a special meetinu' of the 


board in April, Ferdinand Turnacliff, of Wilton, and W. W. 
Cowles, of Janesville, were appointed appraisers of school lands 
for the county. 

At a later meeting, April 30, the county board ordered the 
county attorney to notify all persons who were selling spiritu- 
ous liquors to take out license or stop selling liquor. There was 
something of a temperance revival at the time, and the board in- 
creased the license fee from $25 to $50, except for hotels, which 
were permitted to deal in liquors by paying a license fee of $15. 
Fifty dollars was at that time considered a very high license 

In the month of August, this year, two of the county commis- 
sioners resigned. John S. G. Honnor, of Iosco, removed to Red- 
wood Falls, and J. B. Jackson emigrated to McLeod county, in 
this state. On the 15th of August, the appointing board, con- 
sisting of John C. Ide, county auditor, P. Brink Bnos, judge of 
probate, and H. P. Norton, register of deeds, met and appointed 
Fred W. Kittredge, then of Okaman, and Hon. "Warren Smith, 
of Wilton, to fill the vacancies. The new board met on the 22d 
of the same month and elected Mr. Smith chairman of the board. 

The financial condition of the county can be judged by the fol- 
lowing which was adopted by the board, Sept. 23d : 

"Be it ordered thar the county auditor tie authorized to settle with the 
parties holding tax certificates against lands illegally or irregularly is- 
sued, or on which taxes may have been paid and the same having 
been returned delinquent and sold, and to pay such parties in county 
orders .at ninety cents on the dollar." 

Early in the fall Judge Enos moved to Nebraska, and at the 
meeting of the county board, Dec. 2, it was "ordered that James 
E. Child be appointed judge of probate to fill the vacancy 
caused by the removal of P. Brink Enos, Esq." 


Notwithstanding the victories of the Union forces during the 
year 1863, the Confederates with great courage and energy main- 
tained their warlike attitude and aggressive movements. On 
the first day of February, the president ordered a draft of 
500,000 men, each locality being permitted to furnish its quota 
of men by enlistment. On the 15th of March came an added 
call for 200,000 more— 700,000 in all. Every town became a 


recruiting station. Town bounties for soldiers to fill town quotas 
ran high— from $100 to $500 in this county. All sections of the 
country were equally anxious to secure volunteers, and in some 
towns resort to the draft was unavoidable. Scarcely had the first 
two calls for troops been filled before another half million men 
were called out. This third call was issued July 18th, 1864. And 
near the close of the year, Dec. 19th, another draft was ordered 
for 300,000 men to fill the depleted ranks of the great Union ar- 
mies. As before noted, large bounties were oft'ered by the sev- 
eral townships and herculean efforts were put forth, especially 
after the fall election, to fill the ranks and crush the Kebellion, 
which everyone then realized would soon be accomplished. 


There was one condition of the public mind or existing preju- 
dice at the time that the writer could never fully understand. 
"Up to the very close of the Rebellion, many people at the North 
protested against the enlistment of negroes in the Union armies. 
While the rebels were using them to build fortifications and 
roads, to serve as cooks and servants, to raise crops to support 
the rebels in the field; and while the negro slave was the in- 
nocent cause of the rebellion, and his personal liberty and rights 
depended wholly upon the success of the Union armies, never- 
theless many people in the North raised their hands in holy hor- 
ror at the mere suggestion that the negro should do some of the 
fighting in defense of those rights. "We did not hesitate to use 
h(jrse.s, mules, or asses in our military operations; we were will- 
ing to sacrifice our best blood, the flower of our youth and the 
strength of our noblest manhood, in defense of the nation, but 
the negro slave of the worst rebels that ever attempted the assas- 
sination of Liberty and Equal Eights in the world was too sacred 
to be enlisted to fight for his own personal liberty and those 
equal rights of all men, which Jefferson taught and the Revolu- 
tionary Fathers proclaimed to all nations and all men as the 
foundation principles upon which was builded our magnificent 
edifice. It was a fool prejudice that cost the nation rivers of 
blood and millions of treasure. 

The presidential election was of absorbing interest. Union 


men of both parties believed that the life of the nation hung 
in the balance. Over a million patriots were upon the battle 
fields far from their homes. They had made great sacrifices. 
Would they be sustained by the men at home at the ballot box? 
Should the nation live or perish? The struggle was a memorable 
one and Abraham Lincoln and the "boys in blue" were sus- 
tained. Waseca county was carried by the Union forces by a 
good working majority. Hon. B. A. Lowell was elected state 
senator — the representatives of the district going to Freeborn 
and Steele counties. W. G. Kennedy, of St. Mary, was re-elected 
county commissioner, John S. McKune, of Blooming Grove, and 
Rev. C. S. Luce, of Wilton township, being the other two mem- 
bers — all Union men. Col. J. C. Ide was again elected county 

The eventful year closed with high hopes among the people 
of the North that 1865 would bring the end of the Slave-holders' 
Rebellion, and that before another Christmas the nation would 
be all free. 


For several weeks of the late summer and the fall months 
of 1864, there were frequent complaints that letters along the 
stage route between Mankato and Owatonna never reached their 
destination. Little was thought of the matter, however, until 
by mere accident a large number of letters, stolen from the 
mail sacks, were discovered at the Globe hotel at Wilton by Mr. 
Seth W. Long, who kept the stage house. As soon as he made 
the discovery, he informed James E. Child, who was then deputy 
United States provost marshal, of the county. Sheriff Whipple 
was also called in consultation and the letters were hastily exam- 
ined and listed. Mr. Child at once proceeded to the Winnebago 
agency and, calling upon the Indian agent and the postmaster, 
instituted a search about the hotel and the stage barn. Nearly 
two bushels of letters were found in the barn hidden in a par- 
tition boarded up on each side, the letters having been dropped 
in from time to time between the studding. Mr. Child then went 
on to Mankato and notified the postmaster there. 

The abstracted letters were listed and examined as to their 
dates and postmarks, and it soon became apparent to the exam- 


iners that the letters had all been stolen by one of the Burbank 
stage drivers. Every letter was evidently taken on alternating 
days by some one between Wilton and the Indian, or Winnebago, 
agency. Only two men drove stage between those points— a 
youngish man, called "Jimmie" Burns, and an older man known 
as "Pat". One or the other of these must have stolen the let- 

Taking the last letters stolen and tracing the record backward, 
it was quite evident that Jimmie or an accomplice was the guilty 
person; but to make sure that "no guilty man escape," the au- 
thorities arrested both the men. There was really no evidence 
against Pat. Yet the popularity of Jimmie Burns was such that 
for a time suspicion rested heavily upon the other mail carrier. 
At the examination, however, Pat was exonerated, and Jimmie 
was held for trial. 

As is often the case, a very worthy and influential j'oung lady 
was in love with the thief, and all her influence and the efforts 
of her friends M'ere put forth to prevent his conviction. Able 
attorneys were employed and everything that a devoted yoimg 
woman could say or do was done to save her thief-lover from 
conviction. She succeeded. Bvit the stage company having ex- 
amined into the matter, had no further use for Jimmy. 

Then it was that the rascal left for parts unknown and desert- 
ed the devoted girl that had saved him. Prom worry and disap- 
pointment or from some other cause, the young woman soon after 
fell ill and died— the victim of misplaced affection and con- 

In all, over three bushels of the stolen letters were foimd, many 
of them having contained small amounts of money. It was esti- 
mated that nearly .+200 had been stolen from the letters, ilany 
drafts and checks were found and returned to the owners. 

It was a sad case of miscarriage of justice, and shows that it is 
sometimes an easy matter to instill into the minds of a jury a 
"reasonable doubt" of the guilt of the guiltiest rascal on earth. 

Jimmie Burns was a complete exemplification of Shakespeare's 
saying — 

"That one nuiy smile and smile, and be a villain." 



The year 1865 will go down the ages as the most noted in our 
history. It witnessed the collapse of the Southern Rebellion, the 
surrender of the Confederate armies, and the restoration of peace 
throughout the nation. And our citizen soldiery might well have 
said with the poet : 

"Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths; 
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments; 
Our stern alarms changed to merry meetings; 
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures." 

Our county commissioners met in annual session Jan. 11th, and 
organized by the election of W. G. Kennedy chairman. On the 
12th it was "ordered that the license for retailing liquors in 
saloons or taverns, for the year 1865, in Waseca county, be $75 
for each; and that N. B. Strong & Co. shall pay $10 for a license 
to retail liquors for medicinal purposes or as druggists." The 
county auditor's salary was increased to $700 per year at this 

At the session of the board, March 31st, five dollars was appro- 
priated to be tendered to Buel Welsh, Esq., who had found and 
returned the shackles worn by the horsethief, Eno, while in jail. 
Eno had broken jail in 1863 and made his escape by the assist- 


ance of outside parties. The shackles were found by Mr. Welsh 
while hunting one day in Otisco. 

Here is a peculiar entry made by Auditor Ide. It is especially 
so as every member of the board, as well as himself, was a total 
abstinence man. It reads as follows: 

"October 13th, 1865. Board met pursuant to adjournment. The 
board being full, proceeded to transact the following business." 

The spring of 1865 was much later than usual. A very few 
sowed wheat the last week in I\Iarch. Then the weather turned 
cold, and it was the middle of April before the majority could 
seed. In fact, it was a cold, backward spring. 


The first week in April the whole country was made joyous by 
the glorious announcement that the Union armies had triumphed, 
and that peace wa.s at hand. No words at the command of the 
writer could give utterance to the unfeigned emotions of joy and 
hope and thankfulness which took possession of the loyal millions 
of the land. Even the Copperheads and the Secessionists were 
glad that brave men would no longer be called upon to sacrifice 
their lives in the camp and upon the battlefield. 


But alas! What a sudden transition from the most heartfelt 
j<iy to the deepest gloom! 

AVhile the loyal people everywhere were expressing the utmost 
joy— while they were willing to forgive and forget— there flashed 
to every hamlet in the land the appalling announcement— 

The civilized world stood aghast! In the very hour of the 
final triumph of Liberty over Oppression— of Law and Order 
over Anarchy— he, the chief actor, the ablest, the most revered 
and beloved, the purest, the Avisest, the best, had fallen by the 
hand of the dastardly, drunken assassin, J. Wilkes Booth. 

The murder of Lincoln by the rebel assassin was the crowning 
sacrifice of the war. It was the final culmination of that de- 
moniac spirit of Slavocracy which sought to destroy the nation 
by organizing murder everywhere— murder upon land, murder 
upon the lakes and rivers, piracy and murder upon the high seas, 
murder by burning our cities, murder and highway robbery by 


organized guerillas, murder by starving thirty thousand help- 
less prisoners in Southern pens. Let us hope that the world may 
never again be disgraced by the production of another spirit so 

Probably no man's death, in the history of the world, was ever 
so universally mourned by all classes of people as was that of 
Abraham Lincoln. 

"His faculties so meek hath been 

So clear in his great office, that his virtues 

Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against 

The deep damnation of his taking off — ." 


Notwithstanding the defeat of the Indians in 1862-3, the red- 
skins kept up a desultory war upon the western plains, and small 
bands of them occasionally ventured into sparsely settled neigh- 
borhoods for the purpose of murder and robbery. Their last raid 
into Minnesota was made this year. Judge Buck, in his "Indian 
Outbreaks," says: "On the second day of May, 1865, Andrew J. 
Jewett and wife, his father and mother, and a hired man named 
Charles Tj'ler, were murdered in the town of Rapidan (Blue 
Earth county) by Indians and a half-breed, named John Camp- 
bell, frequently called Jack Campbell. He was a brother of Bap- 
tiste Campbell, who was one of the thirty-eight hanged at Man- 
kato. Dee. 26, 1862. Jack was at one time in the Union army and 
did some good service while there. But after his brother Bap- 
tiste was hanged he swore vengeance, and stated that he would 
burn Mankato. He had a comrade in the army by the name of 
Marshall Fall, who he knew had sent money to Jewett, and hence 
he had two objects in view, one the robbery of Jewett, and the 
other the burning of Mankato. With him were several Indians. 
Dr Welcome, then of Garden City, hearing of the murder, visited 
the place and found Jewett and wife, father and mother and 
young Tyler dead, and young Jewett, who recovered, badly 


After the murder, Jack left the Indians, the latter gomg in 
another direction, and started for Mankato. He was caught on 
his way by an armed citizen named Dodge, who took him to 
Mankato, where he was put in jail. It was soon discovered that 


he had on Mr. Jewett's coat and pantaloons and a pair of shoes 
belonging to the Jewett family. The next morning Campbell was 
tried by a de facto court composed of a jury of twelve men, 
Lawyer Barney as judge, J. H. Willard prosecuting attorney, 
and 0. 0. Pitcher as defendant's attorney. He was found guilty 
and summarily hanged l)y the neck until dead. Before his death 
he confessed to the priest that he had robbed the Jewett family 
of $300, which he had put in his jail bed. This was found and 
returned to ^Marshall Fall, who had sent it to the Jewett family 
for safe keeping. The Indians, though hunted by soldiers and 
citizens, killed a soldier named James Jolly and a boy named 
Frank York, and made their way west, where they were finally 
killed by th(_> patrol scouts under the command of ]Major Robert 
H. R(jse. 

This was a great year for AVaseca county. The return of our 
soldier boys, the large number of immigrants that took homes in 
the county, the rapid filling up of the towns of Freedom and 
Alton, all triided to make times prosperous and business good. 


There was no change of county commissioners. The following 
county offic('i-s were elected : Hiram A. ilosher register of deeds. 
Capt. E. J\I. Brouuhton sheriff, Gen. R. Buckman treasurer, James 
E. Child judge of prolnite, H. D. Baldwin county attorney, and 
0. S. Canfield county survcynr. Broughton, Alosher and Buck- 
man were returned soldiers. 



The year 1866 was ushered in by the masses with the usual 
cheerful greetings, but the oft-repeated prediction that the world 
was about to come to an end was solemnly believed by the credu- 
lous, simply because some lop-sided Bible students pretended to 
have discovered in the prophecies that the world would be de- 
stroyed in 1866 ; while other predictions were based upon the 
supposed effects of the near approach of Biela's comet, supposed 
to be due in 1866. But the comet, though due, did not appear, 
and the world is still here doing business as usual. 


At the annual meeting of the board of county commissioners, 
Jan. 5th, H. D, Baldwin resigned the oiSce of county attorney, 
and his law partner, Major W. T. Kittredge was appointed in his 

At the March session of the board, the salary of Rev. E. S. 
Smith, county superintendent of schools, was increased from 
$100 per year to $125, — a trifle less than $11 per month. And yet 
the ' ' Elder ' ' put in much of his time and all of his ability. 

On the 27th of April, 1866, the county board made an order 
organizing the town of Alton, and appointed the first election to 
be held at the house of M. L. Devereaux, May 15, 1866, for the 


election of town officers. This was the last township organiza- 
tion in the county. 

At the September meeting of the board, James E. Child, en- 
tirely without solicitation on his part, was chosen county super- 
intendent of schools, for the year 1867, at a salary of $300. 


Col. John C. Ide, who had held the ofHce of county auditor 
since January, 1863, was one of the best known and most popular 
men in the county and was widely known in the state. He was 
born of New England parents in the state of New York. He was 
a carpenter and joiner by trade. He was a fine singer and an 
excellent teacher of vocal music. For many years he spent his 
winters teaching music and giving public concerts. He was an 
out-and-out temperance advocate, a strenuous Abolitionist, and 
consequently, in those days, an ardent republican. He first came 
West in 1855, and located on East Prairie, Rice county, ]\Iinn. 
He was a representative from Rice county in the legislative ses- 
sion of 1856. He came to Wilton, in this county, in the summer 
of 1856, and built the first sawmill erected in the county. This 
mill was of great benefit to all the early settlers of the vicinity. 
In the fall of 1857 he was the candidate on the republican ticket, 
with Governor Ramsey, for lieutenant governor; but democracy 
then held sway in Minnesota, and the whole state ticket was de- 
feated. Socially, morally, and religiously he was a worthy and 
valuable citizen, a kind neighbor, a true friend. Few men in 
this county have died leaving more friends and fewer enemies 
than he. He had suffered from heart disease for a number of 
years, and died quite suddenly about Oct. 25, 1866. 

On the 30th of October, 1866, the county commissioners held 
a special session and appointed Capt. C. C. Comee, then of Vivian, 
to succeed Col. Ide. 

At the meeting of the county board, Nov. 14, the salary of the 
county attorney was increased from $180 to $250 per annum. 


The winter of 18G5-6 was bitterly cold and stormy, and several 

persons in this county that were exposed were frosted more or 

less. About February 13, 1866, a great snow storm and blizzard 

prevailed over the whole Northwest, lasting some twentv-four 


hours. The wind blew a gale and the cold was intense. Several 
persons were frozen to death and others badly injured in the 
state. "Billy" Adams, who was driving stage from Wilton to 
Mankato, at the time, was caught out in the storm, between 
Wilton and Alma City, and remained out all night. He nearly 
perished of cold. Both hands, his feet, his nose, ears and face 
were badly frosted. Some of his fingers had to be amputated. 
He had no passengers and was alone with his four horses all that 
terrible night, suffering most intensely. 

Deep snow covered the ground during the winter, and the 
spring was late and cold. Seeding could not be done until late 
in April. The crops were comparatively poor, and the harvest 
discouraging. The month of August brought the most intense 
heat, accompanied by terrific storms of rain, thunder and light- 
ning. While the more strenuous, industrious, and lucky farmers 
saved most of their small grain, nevertheless there was consider- 
able loss in this line. To add to the losses already suffered, a 
heavy frost, followed by cold, prolonged rains, visited the state 
September 20. Corn, pumpkins, and squashes were badly in- 
jured. ]\Iany of the new settlers found hard times staring them 
in the face at the close of the season. Prices of everything ruled 
high for the ensuing year, and few there were who had much to 
sell. Winter set in early. 

"And now the -thickening sky, 

Like a dark ceiling stood; down came the snow impetuous." 

At the fall election the following officials were declared elect- 
ed : County commissioners, James Isaac, democrat, John S. 
McKune, and Eev. C. S. Luce; county auditor, Capt. 
C. C. Comee; county attorney, Maj. W. T. Kittredge; 
court commissioner, James E. Child; representative, Hon. 
Wm. Brisbane, who was elected over Hon. H. D. Baldwin, 
by five votes. A singular condition was developed by a canvass 
of the votes for commissioner in the district composed of Bloom- 
ing Grove, Iosco, St. Mary, and Woodville. The official canvass 
showed that Eri G. Wood received 75 votes, B. G. Wood 72 votes, 
Eri Wood 6 votes, and James Isaac 99 votes. The certificate of 
election was given to Isaac, although Mr. Wood received a fair 
miajority of 54 votes. The acceptance of Mr. Isaac, upon such a 


vote, was a surprise to many; but ]\Ir. Wood, who never sought 
office, refused to contest for the position, and ilr. Isaac served 
out the term. Mr. Isaac and Representative Brisbane were the 
only democrats elected in the county. 



The year 1867 marked a new era in the history of Waseca 
county. Old villages took a decline and new ones sprang into 
existence. The winter of 1866-7 was remarkable for a very 
heavy fall of snow. Real winter commenced early in November 
of 1866, and there was plenty of sleighing until the middle of 
April, 1867. 

The down-pour of rain that spring was unprecedented in the 
history of the state. All the bottom lands along the Le Sueur 
river were covered with water, and, at Wilton, the stage coach 
could not cross the stream for days at a time. The early part of 
the season was remarkable for high prices of grain and pro- 
visions, heavy rains and bottomless mud-holes. This year 
brought the first railroad to the county of Waseca and the depot 
was established in the town of Woodville where the freight depot 
of the C. & N.-W. railway now stands. It was also notable as the 
birthday year of the present city of Waseca. And it is worthy 
of note here that goods were shipped by boat from Owatonna, 
via Straight river. Crane creek and Clear lake, and landed near 
where the brewery now stands. It was a standing joke at Wilton 
that "Waseca was at the head of navigation." It was the wet- 
test year ever experienced since the first settlement in 185i. 


There was great scarcity of provisions, especially on the fron- 
tier, until after harvest. Wheat sold here as high as $2.25 per 
bushel. Oats and potatoes sold for $1 per bushel each. Flour 
sold for $7 per hundred pounds, and pork for 15 to 20 cents. 
Prices were still higher further west and southwest. Potatoes 
sold in Martin county for $2.50 per bushel, flour for $10 per cwt., 
and pork for twenty-five cents a pound. Such was the distress 
in some localities that the state was called upon to furnish seed 
grain and give other aid. 

Waseca county suffered less than counties to the south and 
southwest of it, on account of the building of the W. & St. P. 
railway, which furnished work to many of our people that were 
able to leave their farms for that purpose. 


The annual meeting of the county commissioners this year 
commenced New Year's day. On the 3rd day of January, 1867, 

the board— 

"Ordered that drug stores be charged seventy-five dollars for license 
to sell spirituous liquors during the ensuing year." 

This was an " astonisher. " It broke all precedent. But it was 
short lived, for on the morrow the "order" was unanimously 
rescinded — a conversion almost as sudden as that of St. Paul, and 
certainly not more commendable. 

Prior to this time there had been held but one term of the dis- 
trict court each year; but the time had come, so the board 
thought, when two terms instead of one should be held each 
year. So the commissioners petitioned Hon. N. I\I. Donaldson, 
then judge of the district court, to hold "an adjourned term of 
court as near the middle of the current year as possible." 

Under the then new law of the legislative session of 1867, 
county commissioners were required to meet on the second Tues- 
day of March, each year, and, among other duties devolving upon 
the board, they were to make and publish a financial statement 
of receipts and expenditures, fully itemized. This law had be- 
come necessary on account of corrupt practices that had scan- 
dalized several counties in the state. The county commissioners 
complied with this law and from their report the following sum- 
mary is taken : 
Total amount of orders and certificates Issued $4,845.98 


Orders redeemed 0,189.24 

County bonds redeemed 289.38 

Total $0,478.62 

Total receipts $8,745.38 

Balance In treasury $2,260.76 

Amount due on tax duplicate $3,908.86 

Estimated amount due on taxes of previous years $1,000.00 

Total estimated assets $7,775.62 

This was the first time in the history of the county that it had 
been able to show a balance on the credit side of the ledger. The 
publication of this report showed that the county was substan- 
tially out of debt, and everyone felt relieved after eleven years 
of extortionate interest and heavy discounts on county paper. 

At the meeting of the county commissioners, July 17, 1867, 
Wm. H. Young, of Woodville, was allowed $100 "for taking 
Bundt Anderson and returning him to jail." This Anderson 
was a thief that had escaped from the old wooden jail at Wilton. 

The county auditor's salary was increased one hundred dollars 
per year, to commence March 1, 1867. 

At the September meeting of the board, Mr. Jesse Poland was 
appointed to serve as county superintendent of public schools, 
and his salary was fixed at $250 a year— about $20.86 per month. 

At the October meeting of the board of county commissioners, 
Mr. Luce resigned, and ilr. Isaac was elected chairman of the 
board for the unexpired term. 


These two constitute a never-ending topic of conversation and 
speculation, and well they may. The climate, the soil, the farmer 
— they are the sources of all prosperity. Let these fail, then all 
business languishes, and misery takes the place of comfort. 

About the middle of July, 1867, the weather cleared and the 
harvest weather was as favorable as usual. From that time until 
the close of the year, with the exception of a light snowstorm in 
November, the weather was very favorable. Plowing and grad- 
ing upon the streets of Waseca were going on during the latter 
half of December. 

The most important local events of the year were the con- 
struction and completion of the W. & St. P. railway, now the C. 


& N.-W. railway, to Waseca, and the platting and rapid building 
of what is now the city of Waseca. 

Early in the year 1867, Mr. I. C. Trowbridge, who had proba- 
bly received inside information of the location of the railroad 
depot at this point, bought out iMr. J. K. Meyers, and arranged 
to lay out a town. The road was definitely located by Engineers 
W. G. Ward and J. H. Jenkins, early in the summer, and ]\Ir. 
Trowbridge had the original village surveyed and platted by 
Surveyor Jenkins, July 22, 1867. In August, as soon as the 
wheat was harvested and removed, the work of erecting build- 
ings commenced. ;Mr. Wm. Everett, deceased, was the first man 
to commence the erection of a business house on the new plat. It 
was soon completed and occupied on the first floor by Lord, Ad- 
dison & Co., dealers in general merchandise. The front part, up 
stairs, was used hy ]\Ir. Everett's family as a temporary resi- 
dence, while the rear end of the building, up stairs, was occupied 
by the printinji- office of James E. Child, who came over with the 
News outfit from Wilton, about the last of October. 

In August, also, a Wilton company, in the name of Geo. W. 
Watkins, surveyed and platted a portion of section 18. and 
named it Clear Lake City. The survey was made by H. G. 
Mosher, Esq. The place was started as a rival to Waseca, but 
in a few years it liecame a part of this city, and is now embraced 
in the Third ward. 

In September of the same year, :Mrs. Judith Trowbridge, H. P. 
Norton and Baldwin & Kittredge laid out what is known as the 
First Addition to AVaseca, the same being surveyed and platted 
by H. G. .Mosher. Mrs. Justina Child Avas the first to construct 
a building on the First Addition. 

From the time of the survey and platting of the town iintil 
long into the winter, the Avork of building went rapidly forward. 
The first week in December, 18(i7, the "AYaseea News," published 
by the writei-, ecmtained tlie fdllowiiiK: 

"We have ascertained, as far as possible, the number of new buildings 
which have been erected at this point since August. On the north side 
of the W. & St. P. railroad track, there are eighty-two buildings, and on 
the south side twenty — in all one hundred and two— all built in the short 
space of three months. Of those north of the big elevator, there are 
some twenty-five two stories high; one two-and-a-half stories; five one- 
and-a-half stories high, and the others are smaller buildings. 


"There are eleven mercantile establishments, eight liquor stores (God 
save the mark), four hotels, two livery stables, two cabinet and furni- 
ture shops and stores, two harness shops, several carpenter and black- 
smith shops, two meat markets, and a printing office. 

"Among the hotels we mention the Trowbridge House, 60x80 feet, two 
stories high, cost $4,000, which is kept by Mr. I. C. Trowbridge, original 
proprietor of the village. The Vincent Hotel (now known as the Priest 
Block) is GO feet on Wood street and 5.5 on Second street, two_ stories 
high and cost $3,500. It is just completed, well furnished and now open 
to the public. * * 

"Among the blacksmith shops we can commend that of R. B. Wood, on 
Lake avenue, near the Devannah & Reynolds livery stable (which then 
occupied the present court-house grounds). 

"The store of Lord, Addison & Co. is 22 feet front by 60 feet deep, two 
stories high, and cost about $1,400. The lower story is filled with No. 1 
goods of all kinds, while the second story is occupied by Mr. Everett's 
family in front, and our printing ofUce in the back end of the building. 

"Mills, Follett & Co., bankers, occupy Geo. L. Tarbell's building which 
is 22x45 feet, two stories high. Baldwin & Kittredge, bankers and real 
estate dealers, occupy a temporary building opposite Bailey's hardware 
store. Comee & Young have opened a furniture establishment, 16x20 
feet, with a shop in the rear. H. P. Norton's building, wherein he keeps 
the express office, and where Mr. Mollin is prepared to clothe the needy, 
is 18x30 feet, two stories high, and cost $1,200. 

"Opposite the Vincent House is the well-known hardware store of 
Bailey & Watkins. It is 22x64 feet, two stories high, and cost $1,800. 
The next building is owned by Williams & Washburn. It is 22x50 feet, 
two stories high, and is occupied below by H. S. Swift & Co., dealers in 
dry goods and clothing. (It is now occupied by Preston & Stucky, and 
belongs to Hon. M. H. Helms.) 

"The Joe Gatzman building, 20x40 feet, two stories high, is occupied 
below as a grocery and liquor establishment. The next is McVeigh's 
store 18x40 feet, two stories high. Then comes "Uncle Tom Pierce's 
establishment — an eating saloon and auction store — 16x40 feet, two 
stories high, with a dwelling in the rear 13x20 feet. Then comes the 
Strong & Wilsey drug store, 22x40 feet, two stories high, and well fin- 
ished. Here are drugs, medicines, toys, etc., and here Dr. Young makes 
his headquarters. Next comes a restaurant 18x54 feet, and then A. R. 
Foster's grain warehouse, 10x40 feet. Moreau & Dulmage have a build- 
ing near by, 20x40, two stories high. 

"Near the depot, are the well-known lumber yards of W. W. Johnson, 
Williams & Washburn, and the lumber, coal and salt establishment of 
Mr. Chas. Bckenbeck. On the corner of Second and Elm streets is the 
meat and produce market of A. E. Dearborn. His building is 20x40 feet, 
two stories high, with a store room back, 16x40 feet, one story. (Mc- 
Loughlin Bros, now occupy the site with their large brick store.) 


"Besides the 102 buildings mentioned to start with, there are others — 
the large railroad grain-elevator, the depot building, the brick water 
tank, the engine or round house, all built by the railroad company, and 
a warehouse built by Geo. L. Tarbell, Esq. 

"It is almost incredible that so much work could have been done in 
so short a time, and still there are many other structures in process of 
construction, and every man is at work early and late." 

In addition to this somewhat lengthy description of the then 
embryo city, the following appeared in the same paper: 

"High Wind. — A terrible wind storm is raging here to-day. Three 
building frames in Clear Lake City have been blown down. The News 
office is turned into a smokehouse ad interim — a stirring time this." 

It also contained accounts of the weddings of the following 
persons, viz : ilr. Wm. Harding and j\Irs. Eliza Reibling, Nov. 
20, 1867, in St. ilary ; ilr. F. H. Harding, son of Hiram Harding, 
and Miss ;\iary Green, daughter of IM. S. Green, Esq., of Iosco, 
Nov. 26, 1867 ; ]\rr. AVm. Davidson and Miss ilary E. Yars, in the 
town of Medo, Dee. 1, 1867. All three of these were solemnized 
by Rev. W. W. Satterlee. 

The same paper noted that S. W. Franklin, of New Richland, 
and ]\Iiss ]\lelissa B. Freelove, of ilanchester, Iowa, were married 
Nov. 19, 1867, by Rev. Norton. 

The first store of general merchandise opened within the pres- 
ent city limits was that of Mr. Wm. McVeigh, near where the 
brewery now stands. Tradition says he opened his store in the 
fall of 1866. During the early part of the season of 1867 he ship- 
ped his goods in boats by way of Straight river, Crane creek and 
the lakes to the boat landing on this side of Clear lake. How was 
that for high water? 


The election of local officers in 1867 resulted as follows : Repre- 
sentative, Geo. A. La Dow; clerk of court, S. J. Willis; sheriff, 
S. W. Long; judge of probate, H. D. Baldwin; county attorney, 
W. T. Kittredge; surveyor, C. E. Crane. Messrs. Long and La 
Dow were the only democrats elected. Mr. La Dow was elected 
by two votes only. 

The year 1867 will be remembered as the wettest in the history 
of the state. The crops were light, with the single exception of 
grass. The level lands could not be cultivated on account of the 
moisture, and even the high grounds did not produce an average 


crop. But what grain there was brought high prices, and the 
large immigration made money plentiful and furnished employ- 
ment for everyone. The price of wheat during the early winter 
months ranged from $1.60 to $2.25 per bushel, and corn brought 
from sixty cents to one dollar per bushel. The fall weather was 
very fine, and all in all the year closed hopefully and with favor- 
able prospects. 



The new year 1868 opened auspiciously. The weather was 
fine and the "Happy New Year" was generally observed. 

Wheat was quoted at $1.75 for No. 1, and $1.60 for No. 2 ; corn 
80 cents, potatoes 75 cents and oats 55 cents. 

January 7th the county commissioners, two of the three, met 
at Wilton, and James Isaac was elected chairman, R. P. Stevens 
being the other one present. ]\lr. John S. ^McKune the other 
member was absent during the session. The saloon license fee for 
the year was fixed at $50. Everything else was pretty high, but 
the privilege of making drunkards was cheap enough. No other 
business of importance was transacted. 

We copy the following personals from the "News" of the first 
week in January : 


"Mr. E. P. Latham, the genial station agent at this place was married 

at Norfolk, Conn., the 1st inst Messrs. Ward and Jenkins, with their 

fair partners, have returned from their wedding tour. They had a host 
or friends here glad to welcome them hack to the head of navigation." 


On the 15th of Jan., 1868, the Congregational church society 
of Waseca was organized. We copy the following from the local 
paper : 

"In response to the call of a number of Christian disciples, through their 
committee. Brothers Stevens, Hummiston and E. H. Wood, a council con- 
vened at the parlor of the Trowbridge hotel for the organization of a 
Congregational church. Churches from Faribault, Owatonna, Rochester 
and St. Paul were represented by clergy and lay delegates. R. Hall 
served as moderator and L. S. Greggs as scribe. The articles of faith 
were read, adopted and signed by the following persons: Frederick 
Stevens, Lyman Hummiston, Wm. H. Vinton, Gordon Henshaw, Mrs. Lucy 
P. Stevens, Mrs. Lydia H. Vinton, Mrs. Eliza Hummiston, Mrs. Anna M. 
Alden, Miss Julia Hummiston, Samuel Hawkes and wife, Wilfred Vinton 
Edward Bennett and wife, Ezra H. Wood and wife. Dr. H. J. Young and 
wife, Dana McGoun, Miss Matilda Bullis. On the 18th of January, 1868, 
officers were elected as follows: Rev. E. H. Alden, pastor; E. H. Wood 
and F. J. Stevens, deacons; Lyman Hummiston, clerk and treas- 
urer; and Ed Bennett, Stevens and Hummiston, trustees." 

Jan. 21st, 1868, there was quite a large meeting of citizens at 
Wilton to consider the question of removal of the county seat. Mr. 
John C. Hunter called the meeting to order by the nomination 
of Hon. Wm. Brisbane as chairman. The subject of the removal 
of the county seat was discussed by Messrs. Brisbane, J. A. Can- 
field, A. J. Woodbury, J. C. Hunter, Judge Baldwin and others, 
and, at the close, J. C. Hitnter, Dr. M. S. Gove, and Judge J. A. 
Canfield were appointed a committee to draft and circulate re- 
monstrances against any legislation that might be asked for to 
authorize the removal of the county seat. 


On the 25th of January, 1868, a large meeting of citizens was 
held, and it was unanimously decided that a formal application 
be made to the legislature for an act of incorporation. Maj. W. T. 
Kittredge and Messrs. Tarbell and Sam Williams were appointed 
to draft and forward to our representative a bill to incorporate 
the village. The act finally passed the legislature and was ap- 
proved March 2, 1868. 


For the purpose of the first election, I. C. Trowbridge, H. P. Nor- 
ton and P. H. Swift were named in the act to serve as judges and 
inspectors of election. 

The first election was held on Tuesday, May 5, 1868— the number 
of votes cast being 125. S. B. Williams, J. Shaw and W. G. Ward 
were the first trustees— Williams and Shaw being elected for two 
years and Ward for one year. P. H. Swift was elected the first 
justice. These officers were chosen without opposition, the vote 
being a light one. 

On Monday, Jan. 27, 1868, the Clear Lake House, with most of 
its contents, was entirely destroyed by fire. The building took 
fire from a stove pipe, either in the upper ceiling or roof, and, be- 
fore it was discovered, the flames had so far advanced that the 
building could not be saved with the means at hand. The build- 
ing belonged to C. A. Barr & Co., and was situated on the south 
side of the C. & N.-W. R'y. tracks. There was no insurance. 
Preparations were immediately made to rebuild — the citizens aid- 
ing Mr. Barr in the matter. This was the first fire of any magni- 
tude in what now constitutes the city of Waseca. 

At the annual March meeting of the county board, the school 
district organized of the territory included in the village of Wase- 
ca was made an independent district, and recognized as district 
number seventy-two. 

The territory then embraced within the village limits was 
described as "all the north one-half of sections 17 and 18, and 
the south one-half of sections 7 and 8, in the township of Wood- 

At the same meeting of the county board the financial statement 
was submitted by Auditor Comee, and the summary showed as 
follows, viz : 

Total amount received $7,854.17 

Amount of orders and certificates paid 6,987.7C 

Balance in treasury Feb. 29th 866.41 

Outstanding indebtedness 1,596.80 

Assets, taxes due and uncollected 8,366.58 

April 22nd, the board re-districted and divided the county into 
five commissioner districts. District No. 1 included Blooming 
Grove and Woodville; No. 2, Iosco and Janesville ; No. 3, Wilton 
and Otisco ; No. 4, St. Mary and Alton ; No. 5, Freedom, Vivian, 
Byron and New Richland. At the same meeting, ]\[r. Isaac re- 


signed as chairman of the board, and R. F. Stevens was elected 
his successor. It would appear that shortly afterwards— al- 
though the records are silent on the subject— when Mr. Isaac re- 
signed his position upon his removal from this county to Oregon, 
S. S. Phelps was appointed to fill the vacancy; for on the 23d 
of June, 1868, we find Mr. Phelps acting as one of the board. 

At a special meeting of the board held Dec. 18, 1868, the resig- 
nation of W. T. Kittredge, as county attorney, was accepted, and 
Lewis Brownell, Esq., was appointed to fill the vacancy. 

Going back from the commissioners ' proceedings and taking up 
matters in their order, we find that Mr. L. W. Wheeler, father of 
Whitney L. Wheeler, and one of the early settlers of St. Mary, 
died Feb. 2, 1868, at Wilton, after a short illness. He Avas well 
advanced in years, and highly respected. His descendants are 
residents of the county. 

The first Good Templar lodge organized in Waseca, had its be- 
ginning Feb. 2-i, 1868, and was instituted by Capt. John. The 
following were its first officers : Rev. W. W. Satterlee, W. C. T. ; 
Mrs. L. A. Hicks, W. V. T. ; A. E. Dearborn, W. S. ; Wm. McVeigh, 
W. F. S. ; John F. Murphy, W. M. ; Etta Taylor, D. M. ; Mary R. 
Douglass, I. G. ; Nathaniel W. Scott, 0. G. ; Mrs. Satterlee, R. H. 
S. ; Mrs. E. G. Wood, L. H. S. ; G. N. Taylor, Chap. ; E. G, Wood, P, 
W. C. T. This organization, so long as Mr. Satterlee remained 
here, exercised a beneficial influence upon the citizens of the 

From the Waseca News of Feb. 21, 1868, the following is 
taken : ' ' The steam boiler in ]\Ir. Austin 's saw mill, situated some 
five miles north of Alma City, exploded last Friday, doing much 
damage to the mill, and seriously wounding Oscar Hadley, the 
fireman. He received a severe cut on the head, had the fiesh of 
his face blown full of sand, his hands badly scalded, and was 
otherwise bruised and injured There being no insurance on the 
building, the loss falls heavily upon Mr. Austin, who will proba- 
bly not rebuild." 

Mr. Hadley afterwards recovered his general health, but his 
mind was permanently injured. 


On March 13, 1868, a report of the amount of business that 


had been done during the fall and winter, by merchants, was 
published, and the summary is here reproduced : 
Sales of — 

Dry goods and groceries $G6,000 

Drugs and medicines 2,176 

Seeders and drills 10,000 

Lumber 30,000 

Cattle and hogs, etc 3,750 

Hardware (estimated) 5,000 

Total sales $116,926 

Waseca was the market town for much of Freeborn county, all 
of Faribault county, and much of Blue Earth county. Over half 
a million bushels of wheat were marketed in Waseca the first 
winter of its existence. 


The first organization of the Grand Army of the Republic, in 
the county, Avas perfected ilarch 16, 1S6S. The first officers were 
as follows: ]\[aj. AV. T. Kittredge, post commander; P. H. Swift, 
senior vice; H. A. Lfosher, junior vice; Capt. A. H. Wellman, post 
cptartermasfer; Dr. II. J. Young, post sttrgeon. 

The first death noted in the new village was that of [Mr. Geo. L. 
Tarl.)cll, who died of consumption, IMarch 13, ISliS. He was a 
prominent business man and held in high esteem. 


In the month of [March, 1S6S, the first Episcopal society was 
organized here. Meiiibers of the Episcopal faith met at the resi- 
dence of Sirs. Teall, jMarcli 7, and proceeded to the organization 
of a society by adopting by-laws and electing officers. The officers 
elected were: Mrs. H. S. Teall, president; Mrs. Knappen. vice- 
president; Mrs. E. P. Latham, s(H'retary; Mrs. li. D. Baldwin, 
treasurer; ]Mr. and ]\Irs. II. J. Wadsworth, 'Mr. Teft't, [Miss Hall, 
IMrs. P. C. Bailey, and Mr. P. P. Smith, committee on entertain- 
ment. The receipts of the lii'st meeting amounted to Jf3.8."). 


On JMarcli '20, 1S(kS, A'oters who favored the nomination and 


election of Gen. Grant to the presidency, met and organized a 
Grant club. Its ofP.cei's were as follows: 

Judge H. D. Bakhvin. president; :\Iaj. Wm. C. Young, vice- 
president; Capt. P. H. Swift, secretary; A. E. Dearborn, treas- 
urer ; AVm. G. Ward, James E. Child, G. W. Comee, D. L. Whip- 
ple and Capt. P. H. Swift, executive committee. 


Inasmuch as the prices of grain— especially wheat— show the 
prosperity or advei-sity of the people of this section, the prices of 
A\-heat are given for the years 1867-8. December wheat, 1867, 
brought $1.52 for No. 1, and $1.42 for No. 2. January 17, 1868, 
No. 1 wheat in AVaseca, brought $1.70. The 15th of the next 
month No. 1 wheat was $1.65 per bushel. In March it brought 
$1.55. In Jlay wheat went to $1.85 per bushel; in June it fell 
to $1.65, and gradually fell during July and into August when 
the price reached $1.40. In Septemlier wheat tumbled to $1 and 
before the close of the year 1868 the price of wheat had fallen 
to 78 cents per bushel for No. 1. At the same time wheat was 
worth, in New York, $1.65 per bushel, showing that the railroad 
companies got more for transporting a bushel of grain to New 
York than the farmer received for producing it. Is it any won- 
der that farmers became dissatisfied with that state of affairs 
and soon after inaugurated what was known as the "Grange" 
movement ? 


ilareh 28, 1868, a large school-meeting — the first in Waseca — 
was held, and Hon. P. C. Bailey was elected director ; Hon. H. D. 
Baldwin, treasurer, and G. N. Taylor, Esq., clerk. No action was 
taken toward building a schoolhouse, although the subject was 
discussed to some extent. 

On the 25th of April, a special school meeting was held to take 
measures to purchase grounds and raise funds for the building 
of a schoolhouse. The meeting was largely attended and quite 
exciting, as there was strong opposition to the building of a 
schoolhouse at that time. The majority decided to erect a build- 
ing, and Eri G. Wood, H. P. Norton, and James E. Child were 
chosen a committee to examine, select and report upon a site 
for a schoolhouse ; D. L. Whipple, Sam B. Williams and J. Shaw 


were chosen a committee to make drafts and estimates for cost 
of building, both committees to report at an adjourned meeting. 
This was the beginning- of a long struggle which finally culminat- 
ed in the selection of the site where the present high school 
building now stands, and in the erection of a frame building, one 
part of which is now owned by the Trowbridge estate and the 
other by Hon. P. C. Bailey, both being situated on the corners of 
Wood and Sixth streets across from the High School building. 


Of course, at the outset of the life of Waseca, the county seat 
question was uppermost in the minds of the people. The imme- 
diate residents of Wilton and Waseca were more deeply interest- 
ed than others, but all felt an interest. As early as the first of 
the year 1868, discussions were frequent and sometimes ani- 
mated. As showing the condition of matters at that time, the 
following is quoted from the "News" of April 17, 186S: 

"We are informed that those who are opposed to the removal of the 
county seat to Waseca give as a reason that the people are not now 
able to build new county buildings. Upon this question of buildings 
there can be no issue, at present. The old jail at Wilton is now worth- 
less; and, in the opinion of most men, never was good for anything 
as a jail. The courthouse there, so-called, is a very shabby thing at 
best, and is entirely unfit and unsafe as a repository of the public rec- 
ords. Whether the county seat shall be removed or not, the county 
must, as soon as possible, erect new buildings. * * * 

"But all this talk about the value of the county buildings at Wilton 
will only call attention to the worthlessness of those buildings for 
county purposes and show the fallacy of the Wilton argument. It is 
quite evident to an unbiased mind that the business of the county 
must center at Waseca, and the majority of the voters of the county, 
we think, desire a removal of the county seat. We call attention to the 
matter thus early so that it may be thoroughly discussed and fairly 


A republican county convention was held at Wilton 'May 2 
1868, to elect delegates to the state convention to he held at St. 
Paul on the 13th of Uu- same month. At this county convention 
the county seat question was treated as follows: 

On motion of Maj. W. C. Young, of Wasi-ea, the following 
were adopted : 


••Whereas, The removal of the county seat, from Wilton to Waseca, 
has been agitated more or less, therefore, 

'•Resolved, That the republicans of this county disclaim all inten- 
tion of making that question a political or party issue this fall." 

The delegates elected to attend the state convention were Hon. 
AYarren Smith, Hon. W. G. Ward and Capt. C. C. Comee. 


Among other improvements, many shade trees were planted 
in the spring of 1868, and to this activity on the part of our 
early settlers, very much of the beauty and present comfort of 
our city may be attributed. While there are some matters of 
a sanitary character that might be much improved, the numer- 
oiis beautiful shade trees of the city are a credit to the town and 
are much admired by all people of good taste. 


The first business failure in Waseca, of much importance, was 
that of H. S. Swift & Co., who closed their store May 14. Their 
liabilities footed up to $5,000— assets $1,500. This was the skir- 
mish line of many failures to follow in many parts of the country— 
largely on account of the destruction of greenbacks and the 
issue of interest-bearing bonds in their stead, thus contracting 
the currency. 


On May 15, the "News" announced that "Bricks will soon be 
in fashion in this town. M. S. Green, Esq., and others have dis- 
covered excellent clay northeast of Loon lake, adjoining the 
village, and have commenced to open a brick yard." 

This discovery of clay was where ]\Ir. Messerknecht now has 
his brick yard. Esquire Green burned one kiln of brick, but 
for want of capital to develop it and from other causes aban- 
doned the business. 


Potato bugs were then new to the people of this country. 
Very few people had ever seen one prior to 1865. This year, 
(1868) the Mankato Record (now Review) remarked that "those 
striped bugs which, for the past three years have so seriously 
damaged the crop west of us, have already made their appear- 


ance in large numbers." Other papers noticed their appearance, 
and our paper remarlied that "we have not heard of any of these 
pests in this immediate vicinity, but doubt not tliey will soon visit 
this section." We remarked that they should be "attacked at 
first sight and exterminated if possible." As M'e soon after 
learned, this was more easily said tlian done. 


Quite a sensation was created, ]\Iay 22, 18()S, both at Wasi-ca 
and in AVilton, by the arrest of one "Prof. J. C. Lewis" who 
was quite generally known as a vei-y polite and aureeable siiiu'- 
ing master. He made his appearance in AVaseca early in the 
spring and appeared to be a very Christian-like and honorable 
man. He had nearly finished a term of singing sclmol in Wilton, 
and was soon to have cinnmeneed his labors in Waseca, when 
the arrest was made and the game was up. He was eharg(=:.l 
with having forged the name of AVni. E. Jones, of La Crosse. Wi^., 
to a receipt for $1,000.00 which he put in his own pocket. The 
money had been sent to him as agent of an insurance eompmy 
to pay off Air. Jones' claim for less of property insured. The 
forgery occurred the previous December, at which time he was 
ai'rested, but made his escape during his examination. He was 
ari'csted in Steele county l)y A. H. Hawes, general agent of the 
insui-ancc company, assisted l)y John Alartin, then sheriff of Wi- 
nona county, and Seth AV. Long, then slierift" of AVaseca county. 
He was one of those sleek rascals that wear the livery of heaven 
the more effectually to serve the devil, lie was afterwards con- 
victed and served time at AA'aupun prison, AVis. 


The first proceedings of the then AVaseca village board of trus- 
tees were published Alay 27, 18(i8. The following officers were 
appointed by the trustees; A. E. Dearborn, clerk; :\la,i. AV. T. 
Kittredge, treasurer; IL P. Xcn-ton. mar.shal; Charles Dunn, 
street coiiimissionei'; and P. Y. Ilotfstott, fire warden. 

Let it be remembered by future generations that H .P. Norton, 
who is still witli us, was the first city marshal to guard the lives 
and property of our citizens— and who could have done it bet- 
ter 1 

The ordinance passed was signed by "W C. AVard, prt'si- 


dent," and "A. E. Dearborn, clerk," and appeared in the Wa- 
seca News on the 27th day of :\ray, 1868, and was entitled: "Ah 
Ordinance Regulating Shows, Theatricals, and Other Exhibi- 
tions." This ordinance prohibited all sorts of shows not prop- 
erly licensed, and fixed the license fee as follows: For a circus 
.$25; for theatricals $5 each; for jugglers, sleight-of-hand per- 
formers, vocal or instrumental concerts, and all othei' shows or 
entertainments charging an admission fee, $5. * * * j^ix 
ordinances in all were published on the same date. 

Maj. Young and D. L. Whipple, then contractors and builders, 
built the Swede church in the Charles Johnson neighborhood, 
in Otisco, this season. It was a model church in a model farming 


Among the early workers in the moral vineyard of Waseca, 
vcas Kev. W. W, Satterlee. He was a thorough, fearless. Chris- 
tian worker, not only mentally but physically. He did not 
hesitate to "\'\-ork with his hands six days in the week and preach 
on the seventh. He was one of the ablest ministers of the gospel 
that ever preached in Waseca. During the winter of 1868, he 
was instrumental in the organization of a Good Templar lodge. 
He was untiring in all good work. Rev. G. C. Tanner, of the 
Episcopal church, was an earnest worker in the moral and reli- 
gious field. During the winter of 1867-8 and following, six dif- 
ferent denominations of Christians held regular services in Wa- 
seca, namely: Congregationalists, Rev. E. H. Alden, pastor; 
Presbyterians, Rev. J. G. Patterson, pastor; Methodist Episco- 
pal, Rev. W. W. Satterlee, pastor; German Isl. E. church, Rev. 
Uhl, pastor; Baptist church. Rev. S. T. Catlin, pastor; Episco- 
pal church, Rev. G. C. Tanner, pastor. These were the pioneer 
clergymen of the town and county. 

The last week in May and the first ten days of June, 1868, 
brought very heavy rains. The streets were then ungraded and 
without drainage, and were so many lines of almost bottomless 
mud. That M'as true not only of the village streets, but it was 
very nearly true of all the highways leading into the city. The 
poll tax, which was all that was available that season, amounted 


to four days' work or $6 for each man— the whole amounting to 
about $600.00. It was determined by the village board to ex- 
pend $200 on the roads leading north and northwest, $200 on the 
St. ]\Iaiy and Wilton roads, and $200 in the village. The town 
of Woodville, was liberal, and expended considerable money on 
the roads from the east. ;Mr. Trowbridge was especially liberal 
in helping- to grade Second street. Charles Dunn was street com- 
missioner that year, and put in a good deal of hard work, mak- 
ing the streets quite passable. Under date of June 17, we find 
this record: "Koad Commissioner Dunn has been doing good 
service on the roads during the past week. He has not only 
put the main street in good condition, but has made North street 
passable for the heaviest loads from the village to Clear Lake. 
"Wood street has been materially improved and other streets 
made passable." 


Although there was no formal celebration of the Fourth the 
first year of our village life, the records show that a large num- 
ber of people collected in the place from the surroimding eoim- 
try and held a sort of impromptu celebration. It appears that 
the great day was ushered in by the firing of a brass piece, 
brought over from Berlin, Steele county. Quite an excitement 
was created early in the day by two young Americans that cel- 
ebrated by engaging in a knock-down scrap in settlement of 
some old grudge. Then ^Marshal Norton put in a hot job and 
broke up that part of the celebration. Then came a horse race 
between 'Neil's sorrel, and Smith's brown— the bro^^Ti ap- 
pearing to be the better trotter. And next eame the most ex- 
citing of all— a foot race between Ceo. Dreever and "Dad" 
Sweet— the latter winning the race and the money by a close 
rub. Waseca then had a character known as "Uncle Tom." He 
was engaged that da>- in selling drinks of various kinds, and 
having an eye single to profits he hastily built a platform in front 
of his business place and secured two or three local speakers to 
make the eagle scream. Among the speakers that day we call to 
mind our departed friends, 'SI. S. Green, Es(|., and Hon. Wm. 
Brisbane. Then followed numerous wrestling matches, and the 
day closed with the firing of the brass piece and a fire-eracker 
fusilade which lasted long into the night. 



Th(' niniiint,' ;i1 lar^c ol' r;il1lc in "W;iscc:i vilhif^c was Uii' siib- 
ji-ct of i-;irly ;uicl irjiicli dchiilc jiinonj^' liu; piMipli; arid with our 
••il.v nitlKTH. (Jri Uir '2::!i| of .July, ]8G8, Uic trnslrcH piiHsod ;in or- 
ilinaiicc lliiil ciitllc, hiirscs, uiiilrs, or- whccp found running- :it 
l:ii-Hd williin 1li<> vill,-iHc hclwiTh the timo of one lioni' ;rn,cf siin- 
si't, ;ind liid'orc sunrises should he liikcn up ;ind irnpourKhtd ; ;iiid 
the poiindniiislcr-, iiiiicsliiil, siri'cl, coiriinissicjrK'r', and consljihh; 
wi-n- (■S|)cciidly enjoined lo enl'or'ee Lhc hi.w. This Wiis beiiei- 
ihiin no law, hnl, it was poor j)i'otee1,ion I'or ^ar-dens and lawns. 


The lir-sl, Wiisi'ea |iie,nie was a pienie, and rif) mistake. It e.aiiie 
off .July \i\, iHfJS. II, was a ^lor-ioiis harwest da,y, witli ;;()lden 
sunshine and a, ciml, r-elVeslMn;^' breeze^ i'l-oni the northwest. All 
nature was eril r'aneinfr in its siujshine and shadow as it smiled 
Ufion our lieauliFnl ('lear lake, with its suri-oundini^ timher-ed 
slopes and wooch'd hills. It was a i^atlier-injf of all tlie f'lr-st fami- 
lies of the lowir — which ineludeil almost (;very body— and the vil- 
lage was ainios), enlir'ely d<'sei'(i'(l tor- the time beinji-^ Sonii' of 
the pienie pai'ly wiMit ai'ound on the west side oi' the^ by e,a r- 
riati'e, as I'ar as Mr. Ooon's [rlace, and walki'd the j'emainder' of 
the way, while a, lar'ji(! number leathered at what was then kno\vn 
as the Kit ti'edffc! b(jat-laiidin;^ and took rowboats for' what was 
then ealled Ma[ile hill on the nor'th shore ol' (!lear lake. No oru' 
then lived ou the nor-tli shor-(; of th(i lake, the loeality bcin^' then 
elotlied with th(^ ina.jestie, IVtrest trees plardcd by Nature's own 
hand. The boat ride aei-oss the lak(^ oeeujried neai-ly t li ree-(|u:ir- 
ters of an hour, and ruradsheil the hij;hest enjoyment For all the 
eompauy. A few ste[)S up the slopi' br'ouf^ht US to the pienie 
^;r'(uirids. The larj^c, prirnilive maples and elms, with their [;r-eat, 
spr-i'adin^' tops l'orme(l a, jrerfeet, shade. T'he land sb)ped each 
way, so that tlii^ k''"'>'ii"'^' seleeteil were dry and in (in<^ e.onditioii. 
There was ver-y little urHJerbrush, while the lak(^ with its sur'- 
roundine-s furaiished a, iiietur'e of natur-al beauty uiisur-passed auy- 
wlier-e. Here, amid the rnonar-cdlS of t,he [irimeval I'on^st,, the |»io- 
neers walked and talked, swunfi', ^;atliered llowei's, eha.tlcd, draidc 
lemonade, played "Miss .lohiuiyeake" and other- i^ames, arul 
enjoyed a, royal ^'ood time ncnci-jdly, Kvery one beloii^^cil to 


the elite. ".Sets" and "pushes" and "classes" were then un- 
known, and pure, American equality and generosity were at the 
front. At the feast there were no regular toasts with impromptu 
responses written out in advance; but it was a jovial, joyful, 
happy occasion, where full justice m'rs done to the inner man. 
After lunch the tables were cleared and Judge Baldwin led off 
in a regular game of "pull-away," the ladies all joining in the 
game. Between 6 and 7 o'clock p. m. all hands embarked on 
board the row boats manned In- the jolliest crews that ever saih^d 
the lake, and, just as old Sol was disappearing beyond the west- 
ern hills, the happy company reached the village in condition 
to enjoj^ a nii;lit of refreshing rest. The local paper, in writing 
of the party said. "Such recreation is good for the health, pleas- 
ing to the senses, innocent in its nature, democratic in its ten- 
dencies, and calculated to make life worth the living. We trust 
that this excursion may prove an introduction to many more of 
the same sort. Nature has given AVaseea the amplest means of 
enjoyment, and it will be our own fault if we do not frequently 
use and enjoy them." 


The "News" of .Kugust 5, 1868, contained an obituary notice 
of the death of C. 0. Noi-ton, one of the pioneer blacksmiths of 
the county, who died of inflammation of the bladder at the age 
of 39 years. He was one of the most jovial and companionable 
men and his death was felt as a personal loss by a larue circle 
of acquaintances. He was buried with ^Masonic honors, and 
sleeps in the quiet graveyard known as the Wilton cemetery. 


The first fatal accident on the new railroad occurred August 
3, 1868. The train coming in from the east, some three miles 
before reaching the village, ran over a young boy, cutting off 
one of his legs near the ankle, and the other near the body. 
Some of the child's fingers were cut off and a piece of the scalp 
was missing. The boy belonged to the family of IMr. Fetterly, 
a brother-in-law of Mr. A. Wei-t, of Waseca. He was about four 
years old, and, while at play, fell asleep on the track. He was 
not discovered by the engineer until too late. The little fellow 
died within two hours after the accident. 



On the 31st of August, 1868, a great excitement was raised 
in "Waseca by an attempt or pretended attempt at suicide. 
About 10 o'clock a. m. of that day an old gentleman by the 
name of ilelntosh, living in an old hbuse near the present resi- 
dence of ex-]Mayor Moonan, attempted to shoot himself. The 
first intimation the public had of the matter was the loud re- 
port of a gun, followed by the screams of a woman. Many ran 
to the spot, and, upon arrival, found Mcintosh lying upon the 
ground, face downward, and Mrs. Mcintosh screaming wildly. 
It transpired that his son, in connection with another boy, named 
Douglass, had stolen some $40 from the grocery of Jo Gatzman, 
the Saturday evening before, and the old gentleman became very 
much excited upon hearing of it. Early that Monday morning- 
he drank very freely at the saloons; and, just before the shoot- 
ing, when the Douglass boy passed his house, he chased him with 
a fish spear and threw it at him. He threatened to kill himself 
—a matter not unusual with him, it was said, when he was ex- 
cited with liquor. After chasing the boy, he ran into the house, 
swearing that he would shoot himself. He seized his loaded gun 
and cocked it, but his wife interfered to prevent his designs. A 
scuffle ensued, during which the gun was discharged, making a 
ghastly wound in his left side, tearing the flesh from the lower 
ribs the size of a man's hand, and tearing away the end of one of 
the old lady's fingers. Drs. Young and Satterlee dressed the 
wounds, and the old man raved like a madman during the day. 
However, as soon as the whisky and beer worked off, he became 
quite meek, and, in due time, recovered from his self-inflicted 


Under this heading the Waseca News of August 26th, 1868, 
published the following : 

"Waseca village is one year old this month. It contains over one 
hundred business and residence buildings, and a population of seven 
hundred souls. Clear Lake City— adjoining on the south, and virtual- 
ly a part of the town— contains some twenty buildings. By actual count, 
both places contain one hundred twenty-nine buildings. Nearly all of 
these belong to the class denominated "good structures." Several other 
buildings are now being constructed and will be completed before win- 


ter. Where there was only a wheat field or native prairie, one year 
ago, we now have a live town of nearly one thousand wide-awake peo- 
ple and a business center tor a wide extent of country. Wheat is 
quoted at $1.25 here, which is certainly 15 cents lower than its actual 
value. In Milwaukee and Chicago it is quoted at $1.88. Forty-eight 
cents for freight and margin is quite enough; and No. 1 wheat should 
bring to-day $1.40. At present there is but one buyer in the market; 
next week there will be several, probably, when we hope to see wheat 
kept up to the market value at this point." 

But the people were disappointed. The next issue of the pa- 
per had the following: 

"Our market report shows that wheat No. 1 is selling for $1.15. That 
is the price to-day. What it will bring to-morrow or next day, no one 
here can give any information. The men who own the means of trans- 
portation in this state have concluded to shave the producers out of 
all that a bountiful harvest has given them. Three or four men con- 
trol the markets of the state. Into every town along the railroads they 
send buyers that are by them instructed, from day to day, as to the 
price to be paid. This is all legitimate enough; but the joke comes in 
when we learn that outside buyers are charged ten cents more on a 
bushel for transportation than they were charged last year, thereby en- 
abling the men that own the roads and boats to bid higher than any 
other person. Thus all opposition is driven out and the combine Is 
secured a monopoly of the grain markets." 


During the month of September, 1868, the contract for build- 
ing the Winona and St. Peter railroad, from "Waseca to Janes- 
ville, was let to Col. Degraff & Son, and work commenced upon 
the extension in October. The building of the road west gave 
great temporary prosperity to the business men of Waseca as 
well as to many other residents of the county. 


The amount of wheat received from farmers, at the railroad 
elevator, in Waseca, the first week in Si'pteniber. 18(3S. was 11,- 
0721/2 bushels; the amount shipped out was 10.560 bushels, and 
the price was ^1.2", per bushel. The total receipts of wheat at 
the railroad elevator, during the mouth of September, amounted 
to 5:i,32(i l)ushels— the receipts of the last week in that month 
were lS,5r)8 bushels. 


This yt'ar, ]8(i8, was one of the great wheat seasons for ]Min- 



nesota. Mr. H. W. S. Hinkley, Avho was then a noted thresher- 
man of the county, reported yields as follows: John Byron, of 
St. Mary, threshed 440 biishels of wheat from 13 acres-a yield 
of 34 bushels per acre. Wm. Byron, same town, threshed 917 
bushels from 34 acres— an average yield of 27 bushels per acre. 
Anthony Gorman, Esq., same neighborhood, got 578 bushels from 
24 acres— a jdeld of 24 bushels to the acre. Wm. Priebe, of the 
same town, got 40 bushels to the acre. The average yield 
throughout the county that year was a trifle over 20 bushels to 
the acre ; and those who were fortunate enough to market their 
wheat in September got from $1.00 to $1.30 per bushel. 

Then as now, people were married and given in marriage. 
The first marriages in "Waseca were reported as follows: 

^Married, by Rev. W. W. Satterlee, Dec. 9, 1867, at the Trow- 
bridge House, Waseca, Minn., W. G. Ward, Esq., to Miss Ella 

C. Trowbridge ; Also at the same time and place, J. H. Jenkins, 
Esq., to Miss Augusta M. Trowbridge. On the 26th of the same 
month, Hon. P. C. Bailey and Miss Lurinda C. Dodge were mar- 
ried by Rev. E. H. Alden, at the residence of Mr. D. L. Whipple. 

A Presbyterian church organization was effected in this place 
on the evening of September 8, 1868— the trustees being Maj. 
W. T. Kittredge, I. C. Trowbridge, Wm. Everett, S. H. Drum. 

D. L. Whipple, Mr. Murfin and Mr. Sutliff. Preparations were 
soon after made for the building of a church edifice which 
resulted in the erection of what is now known as the Baptist 
church— the first church erected in the place. The contract for 
building this church was let to Messrs. Whipple & Young- both 
since deceased — and work was commenced thereon early in No- 
vember. The building was completed and dedicated December 

Here is an item that appeared Nov. 25, 1868: "Venison is be- 
ginning to find its way into our market. Several deer have been 
shot in this section within the past few days. Some of our sports- 
men killed one in the timber bordering on Clear lake, a few days 
ago." No live wild deer have ever been seen in this section since. 

On the 10th of December, 1868, Mr. Samuel Leslie, now of 


Otisco, and ilr. Jones, both then of Waseca, commenced hauling 
wood across Clear lake. It was a bitterly cold day. They tried 
the ice in several places, and believing it was strong enough to 
hold a team and load, drove across and got one Inad of wood, 
returning safe and sound. Upon coming back with the second 
load, when near the center of the lake, one horse broke throuuli 
the ice. ilr. Jones unhitched from the slei.uh and succeeded in 
getting the horse out upon the ice. He then concluded to leave 
the load and take the team home, as the one horse was wet and 
very cold, and Mr. Jones himself was already quite wet. He 
therefore mounted one of the horses and started for shore. They 
had gone but a short distance, however, when both hurses went 
through the ice at once. ]Mr. Jones succeeded in getting out of 
the water on to the ice but was thoroughly wet. After an in- 
effectual effort to get the horses out, ^Mr. Leslie came to "Wasi-ea 
for help, ilr. Jones remaining with the horses to keep their heads 
above Avater. It was an intensely cold day and an hour 
passed before help arrived to get the horses out. By that time, 
]Mr. Jones' feet and hands were badly frosted. The horses were 
at last gotten out of the water on to the ice, but they were -so 
thoroughly benumbed and chilled that they would not stand upon 
their feet, and showed little signs of life. They were given i\p as 
lost and left upon the ice, the men returning to town. The next 
morning ;\Ir. Douglas found one of the horses alive and wandering 
around his dead mate, apparently loath to leave him. Had the 
weather not been so intensely cold, or if the liorst>s had been 
blanketed no doubt both could have been saved. It was a mys- 
tery to all why the horses broke throxigh the ice where they had 
three times before the same day passed safely over. It was a s:ul 
loss for ilr. Jones, who depended much on his team to earn his 
living, (^ur people, however, with their accustomed liberality and 
goodness of heart contributed somewhat to his relief. 


The new toAvii of Waseca was up with the times in many ways. 
Among the other enterprises, we recall the fact that a brass band 
was organized at Christmas time, and a concert and a festival 
were held to raise f\iiids to help the boys get started, Tlie receipts 
of the two evening entertainments, December ^2'^ and '2(i, amounted 


to over $100. The entertainments were -well received and highly 
enjoyed. S. H. Preston and his sisters, ]Mrs. Young and :Mrs. :\lc- 
Intosh, took leading parts in the entertainments, and ilr. Preston 
became leader of the band, sacrificing both time and money for 
which he has never received proper consideration. ^Messrs. Pjes- 
ton, Willsey and Bennett were elected as financial committee, 
and H. D. Baldwin as treasurer. 


The year 186S closed with what ought to have been one of the 
most prosperous epochs in the history of the nation. The crop 
yields had been much above the average. The returned soldiers, 
North and South, had added their productive labor to the great 
storehouses of national wealth. But, notwithstanding all these 
means of prosperity, hard times seemed to be settling down upon 
the nation. Wheat that readily commanded $1.25 per bushel in 
September, went down to 75 cents in October where the price 
substantially remained for many months. While the price of 
wheat in ^Milwaukee and Chicago was $1.88 per bushel, buyers at 
Waseca were paying only $1.25— a difference of sixty-three cents 
on a bushel. Allowing a margin of three cents a bushel for han- 
dling, there was sixty cents a bushel for railroad freight. 

The fall in the price of wheat held good also as to barley and 
other farm prodiicts. Very soon the business men of the country 
commenced to fail. The commercial failures which had numb.-r- 
ed but 485 in 1863, 520 in 1864, 530 in 1865, and 632 in 1866, sud- 
denly increased to 2,608 in 1868, and to 2,799 in 1869. In lS(i6, 
the average price of wheat, in New York was $2.19, while the 
price in 1869 had dropped to 94 cents. And what caused the dmp 
in the price of wheat? Let us reason ! 

Some said that the extortion of the transportation companies 
was the cause of the trouble, but the fact was that prices every- 
where and of everything in the United States came tumbling- 

The historian should present facts, and government reports show 
that in 1865, the amount of money in circulation, including 
greenbacks, was $1,180,197,147. In 1868, greenbacks had been 
called in and destroyed under the refunding acts of congress until 
the money in circulation had been reduced to $906,091,245— a 


total destruction of greenbacks amounting to $274,105,902. Very 
few people then knew the cause of the hard times in the midst of 
abundant harvests, but most men of sense and intelligence have 
since learned that the supply of money has more to do with prices 
than the supply of any other one article in the commerce of the 
country. Hence the business failures and the hard times of 
1868-9. The money kings were getting in their secret work. Is it 
any wonder that farmers rebelled and organized the Granger 
Movement ? 



The year 1869 was ushered in by a heavy rainstorm, followed 
by a week of cold, unpleasant weather. The remaining three 
weeks of January brought mild, warm weather. There was quite 
a fall of snow in February and March, and early in April the 
snow disappeared with a heavy rainfall, causing very high water. 
The spring was backward, and seeding did not commence until 
about the middle of April. 

About harvest time, the country was visited by heavy storms 
of rain and high winds, making the harvest a long, tedious, and ex- 
pensive one. Grain also suffered somewhat from blight and rust, 
but the yield was large, much larger than the prices, for on the 
15th of November, 1869, wheat, in Waseca, brought 57 cents for 
No. 1, and No. 2, which was the grade of this section, brought only 
52 cents. 


In accordance with the fashion at that time Waseca had a bank 
failure which proved to be a very great damage to the whole com- 
munity. It came to the surface January 29, 1869. Like a thunder 
clap on a clear, January morning, or a conflagration at midnight, 
or a mighty whirlwind on a cloudless summer day, or a sudden 


and murderous Indian outbreak on a defenseless, frontier town, 
so came the first bank failure in this county as the report flew 
from ear to ear that Baldwin & Kittredge had failed. The failure 
was a bad one. The assets amounted to only $32,000, while the 
liabilities footed up to .i;31,()00. One-half of the assets consisted 
of I'eal estate, considerable of it village lots, and did not sell for 
the estimated value when sales were made. It was a terrible 
blow to our young village, leaving many of our citizens in very 
bad shape financially. The failure took with it the bank at Blue 
Earth City, eoiulueted l)y S. P. Child under the firm name of 
Baldwin & Child. That failure, in turn, caused financial distress 
to many people in Faril)ault county, although every creditor 
there was finally paid in full, dollar for dollar, while here the 
assets did not pay over sixty cents on the dollar. The late 'Sir. 
Wm. Everett was appointed assignee, in the bankruptcy proceed- 
ings, and managed the estate to tlie satisfaction of all concerned. 


W. D. Falmer and A. -I. Clark started a paper at "Wilton, called 
the "Conrant," which continued some six months and then failed. 
Palmin- remained only two weeks. Mr. Clark having charge of the 
paper the remainder of the lime. Clai-k recently died, in Texas, 
wo think. His last newspaper enterprise (and he started many") 
was at Roseau, in this state. He was a very congenial, compan- 
ionable man, but whisky was his bane and kept him in the slough 
of [)overty and despondency. 


There was a very severe wind storm on Friday, March ."i. lSti9. 
Al. Long, then one of Burbank & Co.'s stage drivei-s, between here 
and ]\Iankato, had his stage upset and rolled over and over down 
a hill as though it were a paper kite. The horses were thrown down 
and badly tangled up, and one of them was badly injured. There 
was but one passenger aboard, and, fortunately, he was not in- 
jui'ed, although he asserted in language strong that the stage 
I'oacli i-oUed over twenty times. 


The death of William Bliven occ\n-i-etl on llie Sth of March. He 
was one of tlie l)oy setth'rs of Ibe countv. His marriau-c to the 


only dau-hter of W. H. Yonns, against the wishes of her parents, 
was somewhat romantic. IMr. Bliven enlisted at the miistering-in 
of the Tenth :Minnesota regiment and served with it until the 
close of the Rebellion as a brave and faithful soldier. While in 
the service, he eoiiti-acted that lingering and dreadful disease, 
consumption, which finally closed his earthly career. His was 
another name added to the long roll of those honored patriots 
who gave their lives that this nation might live as the home of 
free men. 


Waseca News, March 17, 18G9. 

"We give it up! We stand corrected! We have always stood by Min- 
nesota and Minnesota weather, but now we feel shocked. Our potatoes 
and other small supplies of vegetables are frozen in the month of 
March! Can we stand that? Thermometer down to 20 degrees; can we 
call that blessed? We can't see the propriety of hot weather in January 
and such monstrous weather in March. If anybody wants to emigrate, we 
say, 'let 'em go.' Our feelings have been exceedingly outraged. Wonder 
If the torrid zone is 'froze up?' Is there no way of getting up a change?" 


< »n the 17th of ilarch, '69, the city saw its first very destructive 
fire. The following is the description given at the time: "About 
one o'clock in the morning our citizens were startled from their 
slumbers by the fearful cry of fire ! fire ! ! fire ! ! ! which rang out 
with dreadful clearness on the still, morning air. Flames were 
seen issuing from the W. & St. P. R. R. station-house, which, being 
of wood, was, with nearly all its contents, soon a mass of smould- 
ering ruins. It is impossible to learn the exact origin of the fire, 
but it is supposed to have originated from the explosion of a 
kerosene lamp which was left burning on the table in the office. 
A large amount of freight was stored in the building— much of 
ii" belonging to merchants in I\Iankato and other towns to the 
west and southwest of us. The books and papers of the office 
were all destroyed. Some 2,000 bushels of wheat belonging to 
Troost & White, millers of Minnesota City, were consumed. The 
estimated loss was from $12,000.00 to $15,000.00." * * * 

The railroad company rebuilt at once, constructing what is 
now (1904) the C. & N.-W. freight depot. It was completed Hay 
10th following. 



On the 27th of March, 1869, there was a lively annual school 
meeting — the question being to build or not to build a schoolhouse. 
Those in favor of building elected the following officers : James E. 
Child, director; Eri 6. Wood, treasurer; G. N. Taylor, clerk. 
After a lengthy and stormy debate the meeting adjourned to 
April 10th. On the evening of the 10th, after a long and heated 
struggle, the majority of the voters of the village selected lots one 
and two of block three. First addition, as the site for the school- 
house. Bonds bearing 12 per cent interest were issued, and a 
resolution was formally adopted directing the officers of the 
district to let the contract for building the schoolhouse, to the 
lowest responsible bidder at any price not to exceed $2,000. The 
present High School building now stands upon the site then 
chosen. The building of the first schoolhouse was a struggle from 
start to finish, but the first building was completed October 1st, 
ISfilJ, and school opened on the 4th of the same month. 

The total expense of the public school that year, including 
rent, blackboard, stoves and pipe, lightning rod, fuel and in- 
cidentals, with two teachers. Prof. Carman and JNliss Lizzie Smith, 
amounted to only $775.80. 

It is proper to note in this connection that March 26th, 1870, at 
the annual meeting, Child and Wood were re-elected, and Dr. L. 
D. Mcintosh was chosen clerk. The opposition finall.y carried 
a motion to adjourn for one week, hoping thereby to defeat a 
motion to levy a tax for eight months of school. At the adjourned 
meeting, however, the motion carried and the school board was 
fully sustained. 


On the 3d day of April, 1869, as if to aid the rapid decline of the 
doomed village of Wilton, then the county seat, a disastrous fire 
occurred. The fire originated, it was thought, either from the 
stove pipe, wliieh led from the jail stove to the chimney, or was 
set fire by a prisoner, named Shea. The fire was not discovered 
until about eiglit o'clock, when it had reached the roof 
and spread far and wide on the inside, between the 
roof and eeilini;- over the adjoining court room. 
Heroic work was dimo to save the building, while men, M'omen 


and children, with much presence of mind, worked bravely in 
saving the books, papers, records and furniture of the county 
offices. The venerable old court house soon fell in, and Mr. Henry 
J. ]\Ieyer's building, which contained LaDow's Hall, J. H. Wight- 
man's stock of hardware, Powers & LaDow's library, and G. A. 
LaDow's household effects next fell a prey to the devouring 
flames. Hall's saloon next met its doom and in the space of an 
hour and a half the whole block was but a mass of smouldering 
ruins. Each building was insured for $200, which did not cover 
a tenth part of the loss. The people of Wilton cared for those 
made homeless and the county commissioners met April 12, to 
arrani;e for county offices — the county offices being temporarily 
located in the wagon shop of B. Bundsho. The prisoner Shea, 
who was serving time for robbing a drunken man in Waseca, Avas 
rescued without serious harm, although he was terribly scared. 


The first financial report of the village of Waseca was published 
April 21, 1869. This report showed no real or personal property 
taxes collected, but the total receipts amounted to $396, and were 
derived from the following sources, to wit : 

Jerome Madden, saloon license $50 00 

Thos. White, same 50 00 

T. E. Marshall, same 50 00 

Jos. Gatzman, same 50 00 

W. S. Libby, same 50 00 

G. Liek, same 50 00 

John Maloney, same 50 00 

W. S. Libby, billiard license 15 00 

T. E. Marshall, same • • 15 00 

A. Wert, dray license 5 00 

De Castro, show license 5 00 

Fines Collected ^ ^^ 

Total : ' ?396 00 

Then followed itemized expenses amounting to $391.69, leaving 
a balance on hand of $4.31. 

Saloon license fees and corporation expenses were light in 
those days compared with the present. 

In those days, (1863-9)) before the gold-buggers had gotten 


eiintrol of the Republican party, the supreme court, and the gov- 
ernment, there was an income tax— and a very just tax it was too, 
althoug'h there were some queer pranks about taxpayers then as 
HOW. Here is a little article which went forth from the sanctum 
of the "Waseca News, May 12, 1S69, viz: 

"Ward, Child— Child, Ward!" 

Child, J. E. income $1,547, tax $17 35 

"Ward, W. G., income $1,0G.5, tax 3 25 

"One a civil engineer for the Winona & St. Peter Railroad company: 
the other a scrub of an editor on a country newspaper! 

"What a tremendous loss there must have been in business circles for 
less than a thousand dollars a year! Heavy men laboring for less than 
a thousand dollars a year!! 

"Where is Hunter with his bonds and farms and merchandise? and 
Bailey and Watkins with their hardware? and Libby with his United 
States bonds and liquor profits? and Addison & Everett with their tre- 
mendous sales? and Wadsworth with his salary and lands? and the 
Smiths, and Johnsons, and McCues, and Castors, and doctors and law- 
yers, and hosts of other equally worthy gentlemen in this couiity? Are 
they dying in poverty and obscurity? What have they been doing the 
past year? Have they been gnawing at their original capital? 

"It is a glorious thing. Brother Ward, to have an income; but it is 
excruciating to look upon the poverty (?) of our friends around us! 
Only two persons, in Waseca county pay Income taxes — poor, degraded, 
'Black Republicans,' at that! 

"Brother Ward, let us call a meeting and get the Democrat Whang- 
doodle to deliver a speech of condolence." 

The man that has an income can and ought to pay his propor- 
tion of the taxes; the man that, on account of misfortune or 
otho-wise, in any year, has no income ought not to be called upon 
ti) pay taxes. The farmer that has a good crop can afford to pay 
taxes. The farmer whose crop is totally destroyed by a torimdo 
or drouth is not able to pay taxes and ought not to be called upon 
to pay any for that year. There is no other plan of luxation so 
fair and so equitable as taxation based upon income. 


Perhaps it will interest soiiii> of the people of to-day and of the 
future to read and learn something of the first prominent base- 
ball organization of Waseca county. It was ebristiMied the "Clear 
Lake Base Ball Club," and was organized Wednesday evening. 


May 5: the following officers were elected: B. S. Lewis, president; 
"\V. ^I. ilurfin, vice president ; W. 0. Xanscawen, secretary ; Lewis 
Brownell, treasurer; J. W. Johnson, P. P. Smith and :\[. H. Helms, 
directors. It was organized with a membership of 18— afterwards 
increased to 27. The next Saturday evening, at a regular meet- 
ing, the following were chosen as the first nine, viz : ]ilike ilurphy, 
captain; M. H. Helm, pitcher; Wm. Wood, catcher; I. AV. John- 
son, short stop; ]M. ilurphy, first base; B. S. Lewis, second base; 
Dan. Haines, third base ; AV. il. Alurfin, center field ; Charles Yin- 
cent, right field; Koger AVood, left field. The members met every 
evening, Sundays excepted, upon the grounds now occupied by 
the court house and jail, for practice. It was little more than an 
amateur club until it absorbed the "Blooming Gi'ove nine," and 
made Alartin Healy captain and pitcher. It finally became the 
champion club of the state and won the silver bat. The base ball 
excitement about that time became almost universal throughout 
the country, and even aged men would leave their business to 
broil in the hot sun while they watched the ups and downs of 
the game. But, like every other fad, it had its day; and our 
AYaseca people, after one year of excitement, loss of time and 
cash outlay, concluded to give the game over to less practical 
men and bnys. 


On the 11th of ilay, 1869, members of the Congregational 
chiirch met in what is now the Baptist church building of Waseca, 
and adopted articles of incorporation in accordance with the laws 
of the state. The following gentlemen were chosen trustees: 
Ezra AVood, A. E. Dearborn, Austin Yinton, J. 11. Stevens, L. 
Hummiston, Ed. Bennett and G. A. Rowland. Ezra AVood was 
elected president and A. E. Dearborn secretary. At this meeting 
there was considerable discussion regarding the erection of a 
church edifice at an early day, but nothing decisive was accom- 
plished until the following September. About the 22d of that 
month the committee had secured $1,700.00 for the purpose, and 
about October 1, D. L. Whipple and Alaj. Young commenced 
work on the construction of the edifice. The building was com- 
pleted the next spring, and constitutes the main part of the pres- 
ent church. 



There was a total eclipse of the sun on the seventh day of 
August, 1869, at 3.43 p. m. This eclipse of the sun was one of the 
most awe-inspiring sights ever beheld. Long prior to the ob- 
scuration, almost everyone had prepared his smoked glass and 
was watching intently for the phenomenon that astronomers had 
foretold years and years before. Exactly on time the moon was 
seen to intrude between the earth and the sun. Slowly and 
surely darkness covered the face of the sun, the obscuration 
growing more and more, and then was seen the approach of the 
moon's shadow in the air. The heavens were darkened. The 
stars and planets shone forth as in the night. The air grew 
sensibly cooler. Animals became strangely agitated. Birds seem- 
ed bewildered and fluttered in the treetops. A strange gloom 
covered the earth. Buildings, trees, animals, and all other ob- 
jects had a peculiar and unnatural appearance. The human face 
assumed a pallid, ghastly shade, and as the eclipse reached totality 
or near it, all grew silent and meditative ; and a feeling of pro- 
found awe, not to say dread, took possession of the beholder. 


The Republican county convention was held at Wilton, Sep- 
tember 2, 1869. At this convention Waseca secured the nomina- 
tion of Waj. W. C. Young, who was well known to favor the re- 
moval of the county seat to Waseca. The nominees were as 
follows: Maj. W. C. Young for representative; J. B. Hill, sheriff; 
J. A. Canfield, judge of probate; Lewis Brownell, county attorney; 
C. E. t'rane, surveyor; P. C. Bailey, court commissioner; Dr. ]M. 
S. Gove, Coroner. 

The Democrat county convention was held September 18.' 1869, 
and put in nomination the following candidates: Kelscy Curtis 
for representative; B. S. Lewis, county attorney; H. A. ]\Iosher, 
register of deeds; Philo Hall, treasurer; S. W. Long, sheriff; Dr. 
R. 0. Craig, coroner; John Bradish, judge of probate. The result 
of the election gave certificates to W. V Young, S. 'S\. Long, J. 
A. Canfleld, B. S. Lewis, C. E. Crane, P. C. Bailey, H. A. :\Iosher 
and Dr. M. S. Cove. Hence, as will be seen in the result, honors 
Wfiv divided between the parties even at that day, when party 
feeling ran high. 



One of those shocking accidents that sometimes occur, happen- 
ed September 24, 1869. Mv. John Miirphy, an early settler of 
Byron, accompanied by one of the Messrs. Linnihan of the same 
town, in returning home from Waseca in the evening, and while 
crossing a bridge over a runway on the Geo. T. Dunn farm in 
AYilton, met with a fatal accident. While crossing the pole bridge, 
the off horse slipped one hind foot through the bridge. The horse 
commenced to struggle, and Mv. Murphy, as was supposed, took 
the near horse by the bridle and tried to quiet the team. The off 
horse, however, struggled and plunged about until yiv. ]\Iurphy 
and both horses were thrown from the bridge, on the east side, 
the man falling tinderneath and both horses on top of him. It 
was so dark at the time that nothing could be seen any distance. 
Linnihan, who was in the wagon, called to Murphy but got no 
answer. He then got out of the wagon and felt aroimd until he 
discovered Murphy beneath the horses. Linnihan cut the har- 
ness from the horses and the off one got out. Murphy was fast 
under the other horse and under water, and Linnihan found it im- 
possible to extricate him. He then mounted the live horse and 
aroused the neighbors, who came with lanterns. They drew oiit 
the body of the horse in the creek under which they found the 
lifeless form of ]\Ir. Murphy. It was a very sad affair. 


Among the railroad incidents of that day, we recall the story 
of Conductor Denny Keeler, and Engineer Nichols. It was the 
first week in December, 1869, when going east, that they had a 
novel experience. Just after pulling out of Dover Center, they 
discovered a fine deer upon the track some distance ahead 
Crowding on steam they gave chase. The road at this place was 
fenced on both sides of the track, so there was little chance of 
escape for the frightened animal but to outrun the fiery horse be- 
hind him. The train gained steadily and rapidly upon the deer, 
and, when within gunshot, both Keeler and Nichols fired, both 
shots taking effect and disabling the deer, but not killing it. 
The train was stopped and Denny, with knife in hand, cut the 
deer's throat, and took the carcass aboard without even a pass 


or the payment of fare, and proudly landed it in Winona as in- 
disputable uvideiKM- of their prowess as hunters. 

It was not unusual in those days, when Waseca was the westi-rn 
terminus of the road, for the boys to stop a train l)etween Owa- 
tonna and Waseca long enough to bag a few chickens. 


The village of "East Janesville," ;is the present Janesville 
was then cal]('(l, was surv<'yi'(l and platted by S. H. ilott in 
August, 1st;!). The people of the "Old Village of Janesville," 
which was situated on the west side of the outlet at the south end 
of the beautiful Lake Elysian, had anticipated the building of the 
)-oad to that point and the new villa<:e was well under way before 
the first train reaehi^d that point. J. W. Sprauue, general manaaer 
of the W. & St. P. Ky. at that time, was proprietor of the new 
town and i'eai)ed a harvest of shekels. The first building was 
(■r(M/ti'd liy Judue Ijaldwiii. wh<i went from Waseca. It was built 
in Auuust, ".rim'" t'ummins hauling the first load of lumber for it. 
This building M'as openetl as a boarding house and hotel. It was 
afto-wards known as tlie "Joluisini House." IIuu. J. 0. Chandler 
came over from the old town and opened a stock of general mer- 
chandise, A. W. Jennison and Frank A. ]Miner from "Waseca alsn 
opened a stoi'e with a j^eneral assortment of gudds. Hon. D. J. 
Dodge, from Waseca, opened a hardware store under the firm 
name of D. J. Dodee & Co. J. D. Andi-ews, also from Wasecn, 
(ipeiiecl a drue' stoi'e in the new town. Hon. R. ( *. Craiy- came over 
from the old town and opened a doctor "s office. Other buildings 
followed in i-apid succession and when the fii-st train arrive!, 
Oct. 10th, LS(ilt, East Janesvilh' was a bnstling'litth> town. 

As soon as n^utdar trains made Janesville, the daily staees 
of Burbank & Co. (-eased to arrive at WasiH'a from the west, but 
made their head(|uarters at Janes\ille. For ten years the Bur- 
bank staec lines had been our sole dependence for mail facilities 
on the main thoi'oiighfares, and when these staees ceas(>d their 
daily visits it seejiied nuich like the death of an old friend in 
the comiinniity, 


]\li-s. E. Fisk, one of the very early si'ttlers of Wilton, and 
highly respeded, died June l2(t, ISlill. 


The first iMrs. Poter Lindsay, who had been ill of cancer of the 
breast for three years, had it removed about the first of February, 
lytiil. l)y Drs. Coe, Gove and Brubaker. She died not long- 

The "Xews" of ^Mareh 31, 18H0, contained a four column legal 
notice of application for right of way through Waseca county 
by the W. & St. 1>. R. R. Co. It had to be published six weeks 
and was what printers call a "fat take." 

The Fourth of July was duly celebrated this year on July 5th 
at Waseca. Rev. E. II. Alden was the orator of the day. Capt. :\r. 
H. Helms acted as marshal, Hon. Sam. B. Williams served as presi- 
dent, and Lewis Brownell read the Declaration of Independence. 
The base-ball ground was the center of attraction during the 
aftei-noon. There was a big dance at McCue 's hall in the even- 
ing and a display of fireworks was made liy the village. The day 
was very pleasant and passed off without an accident. 

September 17, lSii9, AVm. W. Casey, of Elysian, stole a pair 
of oxen from Ericlc Larsen, of Iosco, traded them to a Mr. Wilson 
residing on the Des ^loines river, for a horse, and then sold the 
horse to one Seott, of IMorristown. Casey was soon after arrested 
and later convicted of the crime. The oxen were recovered 
through the efforts of Hans Hanson. 

September 2:2, 1869, Henrjr AYillyard shot a pelican which was 
sailing over AVaseca. It measured eight feet from tip to tip of its 
wings It was sent to a taxidermist at Winona and mounted, and 
for a long time stood in one of the drug stores of Waseca. 

For the year ending September 1, there had been received and 
shipped from AVaseca -18(1,000 bushels of wheat— almost a half- 
million bushels. The receipts of June amounted to 13,381 bushels, 
and for July, to 32,189 bushels. During the year, there was a 
large trade in agricultural implements. The sales for the year 
ending Sept. 1 amounted to !f!86,93r). The wheat crop of that year, 
although mostly Xo. 2, amounted to 300,882 bushels, as returned 
by the assessors. The crop was fair but prices ruled low. 

In the fall of 1869, J\lr, John Bierwalter, since deceased, was 
made night watchman of Waseca — the first ever employed in the 

C. A. Wright came to Waseea from Winona in December of 


this yciir, Mild siicci'cdcd Ilciii-y Willyard as manaj^ci' (if tlic ;;i'ain 
ek-valor oL' the W. & S(. P. H. \i. Co. 

There was a, niccliiii;' ol' iii-oininent Catluilics at the Imuse 
of ^rhiiuias White, Oclolii'i' l!4, to di'vise ways aud means for 
ci-eeliiin' a eliiireli buildiiiji-. This was flie bpti'imiiii^' of efforts 
which culiuinafed in the ei-eetioii of tiie first Catholic clmrcli in 
Waseca. Tliis bnildiiif;' has since jiivcii way to tlu' pr<'sent inagni- 
fici'iit edifice, the ]ar'_;'est, and most costly in the comity. 


C. K. DAVIS l''OR (;(;VI0RNOH. 

Till' yc;ii' I87(J vv;is iiii exciting (iik; in'fii, ('(xinty. 'I'he 
v<i[\u\y sciil, i',(inl,(^si — a f)ank n>\i\)iTy-Ui<'. aii(;rii|)l,i!(l hin\'/u\<j: cil' 
"l)atc" Siiiilli anil l<''rank Walrrs, mispccl.cil of — 
llic lifsl, roiinl.y :i;j r-ic,ull,iiral I'air' licld in Uk; ('oinily, ;in<l Un; 
(ir;\]]'/ii iir;^anizal ions kepi, tin; pi;o[)li; of iln; county on I, lie (jni 


'I'lii' lcf.'islaiiir(' in 1870 convrncd .Ian. 4 and adjourned Miireli 4. 
'J'liit ei)nHl ij.ulion l.lien liniile.d tiie pay of ht^islMloi'S 1,o sixty diiym. 

At tli(' hej^inninii' ol' th(^ .s(\ssion of tlu' lej^iHliil.ui-e in 1K70, a, 
hill waH inti'odneed ))y Ma.j. YoutiK, our re[)re,wenta,t i ve, to Hidjmit 
tli(' (juestion (d' tln^ i-enioval (d' tin; county se;i,t I'roni Wilton to 
WiiHcea, 1,(1 a, vote of tin; people. 

At iin e;i,rly date in tin; ses.sion, lie also iiilj'oduced a bill anthor- 
izinff tli(^ villa^(^ (d' Waseca, to issue bonds in the ,snni of ^.l, 000. 00 
tor the er'cction ol' a, (^lurt lioiisi^ to he doiuited to tin; county of 
Waseca, in ease (he county seat should h(! removed troni Wilton 
to Waseca,. 

The qiifiHtion of the rernoviil ol' th(! C(Hinty seat wiis the (ill ab- 
sorbing Nuh.jei't of discussion during (lie y('ar. Ah early as Feb- 


ruary, in a discussion of the question, the "News" of "Waseca 

"It has become almost an axiom in this state that every village or city 
must bleed or die, and Waseca can not expect to escape entirely the lot 
of others. In order to obtain the county seat, it will be nec?ssary for 
this village to offer a bonus to the county. A bill has already passed 
the legislature authorizing the people to issue bonds for this object. 

"Harmony among ourselves is essential to strength, and passion should 
have no place in the considerations of matters pertaining to local in- 
terests. So far as we are able to learn, it is generally conceded that 
the county seat will be removed to this place, this fall, by a large ma- 

"It is much better for the farmers of this county to settle this ques- 
tion now, than to have it hanging in the balance of uncertainty for 
several years to come, with the certainty of its removal to this place 

On the 7th of ]\Iareh, 1S70, the board of trustees of the villa ue 
of "Waseca ordered a special election for the voters of the village 
to be held at Bennett's hall on the 19th day of ilareh to vote upon 
the proposition to issue the bonds of said village in the sum of 
^."i. 000. on. bearing interest at the rate of 1'2 per cent, for the pur- 
pose of erecting county buildings in said village for the use 
of the county of AVascea, as authorized by an act of the legisla- 
tiire approved February 24, 1S70. The resolutions to be voted 
upon n-ad as follows: 

"Resolved, that bonds of the village of Waseca, with interest coupons 
attached, be issued for the purpose named In the act, in the sum of 
$5,i>iio, bearing annual interest at the rate of 12 per cent, per annum. 

"That the denominations of said bonds, and the time or times when 
the same shall be payable, be such as the board of trustees may here- 
after direct, provided that no bond shall be issued running more than 
10 years from the date thereof: and the faith and credit of the village 
are pledged to the punctual payment of the interest and principal of 
said bonds." 

The resolutions -were unanimously adopted, and, early in the 
season, a l)rick court house was erected. 


During the early months of this year thi> question of the build- 
ing of the Western railroad, now known as the AI. i^ St. L. rail- 
)-oad, was very thoroughly discuss(>(l. At that time the writer in 
the Waseca News said: 

"To the people of this place this road is of the utmost importance, 


and anything that they can do to assist in its early completion will be 
cheerfully done. The city of ilinneapolis by a vote of its people has 
decided to issue bonds to aid in the construction of the road to the 
amount of $300,000.00. The business men of that city have also sub- 
scribed $100,000.00, making a total of $400,000.00 from Minneapolis. The 
whole stretch of country through which this road will pass is unsur- 
passed In richness and fertility of soil, and is as densely populated by 
thrifty farmers as any. portion of the state. By means of this road, 
Minneapolis, with her large flouring mills and manufacturing establish- 
ments, may command a larger trade than any other city in the state, 
and we are glad that the people of that city so view it. Take, for in- 
stance, the matter of pine lumber, the villages along this road can get 
lumber transported from Minneapolis to Owatonna, for $16.00 per car 
load, but from there to Waseca, a distance of 15 miles, we must pay 
$20.00 a car load, virtually driving the Minneapolis lumber from our 
market, and, for that matter, driving our lumber dealers out of business. 
Besides, the wheat market is far behind what it would be if this north 
and south railroad were built. 

"We again urge the people of this place to take united action to pro- 
mote the interests of Waseca." 

In connection with this railroad matter, the citizens of Waseca 
met at Bennett's hall, :\Iarch 11, 1870. H. P. Norton was called 
to the chair and Esquire Bennett was chosen secretary. Hon. S. 
B. WiUiams stated the object of the meeting, and made some 
remarks upon the great importance of the road to this locality. 
Short speeches were also made by Messrs. Latham, Brownell, 
Lewis, Bennett and others. Messrs. Williams, Everett, and Trow- 
bridge were appointed a committee to confer with the officers of 
the railroad company in regard to the location and building of 
the road. :Mr. Latham then offered the following resolution 
which was unanimously adopted : 

"Resolved, that we, the citizens of the village of Waseca, consider that 
this railway, running from Minneapolis to Albert Lea, through this 
village will be of great benefit to us, and we are willing to do every- 
thing in our power to further the interests of said road." 

The contract for building the court house was let to ]\Iarble & 
Dresser of Owatonna early in the spring, and the management of 
the business, at the election of :May 3rd, was somewhat in issue. 
Wm. Everett and S. B. Williams were elected trustees, who, with 
H. P. Norton, elected in 1869, constituted the board of trustees 
for the ensuing year. At the first meeting of the trustees, after 


election, it was "Resolved, that the bonds of the village, (to be) 
issued for the building of county buildings, be issued so as to be 
payable, one thousand dollars in three years, and one thousand 
dollars in each year thereafter until the whole $5,000 shall be- 
come payable, and that they be issued in denominations of not 
more than $1,000, nor less than $100 each." The same day the 
board issued "Bond No. 1" due three years after date, for $1,000, 
bearing interest at 12 per cent. Bond No. 2, for $500, due four 
years from date, and bond No. 3 for $500, due in five years, with 
coupons attached, were issued to Marble & Dresser, of Owa- 
tonna, who had entered into contract to construct the court 
house for $5,000. But before the bonds were delivered. Bond 
No. 1 was surrendered or rescinded and bonds numbered i and 
5, for $500 each, were issued in lieu thereof, ilay 10, 1870. At 
the same time, bonds numbered 6 and 7, for $500 each, were 
issued to the same persons. On July 1, the third installment of 
bonds was issued— the same being bonds numbered S and 9 for 
$500 each. On July 12, the court house being completed, the last 
two bonds were issued, the same being for $500 each, and due 
in seven years from the date thereof. 


ilr. ilorris was one of the early settlers of Alton township and 
an energetic, enterprising citizen, highly respected by all who 
knew him. He was drowned 'Mny 25, 1870. It was a time of high 
water and he attempted to swim his horse across the Le Sueur 
river, near IMr. ilarkham's place. But when the horse reached the 
north bank and attempted to ascend it, he fell back into the boil- 
ing flood, throwing Mr. ilorris into the stream, where he soon 
drowned. He was an upright man, and his loss was deeply felt. 
His widow, a highly I'espected lady, still resides on the farm at 
this writing, 1904. 


There was great excitement in the cmmty about the first of 
June, 1870, in regard to horse-stealing. Two hoi-se thieves from 
^Yinneshiek county, Iowa, had been traced through this county 
and "rounded up" at Waterville, where two of the horses were 
also found. Many of the people of the county suspected that 
"Date" Smith and Frank Waters were connected with the gang 


of horse thieves which operated in Iowa and Minnesota. It was 
of frequent occurrence pinor to that time for men with stolen 
horses to congregate in Waterville where for many years these 
two men resided. But at the time we speak of, "Date" Smith 
and family had resided in Waseca for about a year. At the time 
of the arrest of the two thieves from Iowa, near Waterville, both 
these men fell under suspicion, and a large number of farmers 
from the northern and western portions of the county got together 
in a body and visited Waseca with the avowed intention of hang- 
ing Smith and Waters to the nearest tree or telegraph pole. 
Whether the crowd really intended to hang them, or only to give 
them a scare, has never been determined to this day. But certain 
it is the crowd caught both men and took them out on the rail- 
road track, near the old round house, east of the depot, and had 
rope enough to hang half a dozen men. James E. Child was at 
the time justice of the peace and knew nothing of the mobbing 
until a lady friend of Mrs. Smith went to him with much anxiety 
and implored that he do what he could to save the men— especially 
Smith. Mr. Child did not find it an easy matter to get citizens 
to face the mob and release the prisoners ; but he finally secured 
the volunteer assistance of H. A. :\Iosher, M. H. Helms, Asa Mosh- 
er, C. A. Wright and Henry Willyard, and proceeded to the place 
where the crowd had assembled. Without saying a word, these 
men elbowed their way through the excited crowd until they 
reached the accused men who were entirely surrounded. Mr. 
Child, as justice of the peace, then ordered the crowd, in the 
name of the state of Minnesota, to fall back and allow the men 
to pass out. The crowd at once fell into a hubbub, some being 
in favor of law and order, and others demanding that the men 
should be hanged. One farmer of giant frame, flashing black 
eyes, and a fog-horn voice, said: "We ought to hang the whole 

d d outfit." 

The rescuers, without parleying or awaiting the action of the 
excited masses, at once pushed through the crowd with the 
trembling men to Second street, thence down Second street to 
what was then the Vincent hotel, where Smith and Waters 
were rushed upstairs, and guards placed at every door and stair- 
way. Mr. Child, as justice of the peace, warned the excited 


crowd that any man that should attempt to force an entrance 
or that should aid and assist in disturbing the peace, would be 
arrested and punished to the full extent of the law. He appealed 
to their love of law and good order and implored them to dis- 
perse and resort only to lawful means for the punishment of 
crime. Every man of the rescuers presented a bold front, and 
the excited crowd soon discovered that Smith and Waters would 
not be given up without a struggle in which some men M^ould 
get hurt. The cooler heads and more reasonable ones in the 
crowd soon prevailed upon their companions to disperse. It 
certainh^ was a time of much excitement, and had the men been 
armed with guns or revolvers, there might have been very seri- 
ous results. As it was, about a half-dozen determined men pre- 
vented what might have been a double murder. Smith and 
"Waters, although the latter indulged in some drunken bravado 
the next day when there was no danger, undoubtedly realized the 
seriousness of the situation. Smith sold his property here, and 
both he and Waters soon after left this portion of the state. This 
episode, too, served the purpose, no doubt, of frightening thieves 
from this section; for it was generally believed that there would 
be a hanging bee should any more horse thieves venture this 
way for some time to come. 


Waseca celebrated the Fourth of July, 1870, in a formal and 
enthusiastic manner. It was then considered the great day of 
days in this republic. It was seldom that a Fourth of July passed 
without appropriate public exercises during which the great, 
underlying principles of the equal and inalienable rights of all 
men to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were rehearsed 
and emphasized. This year, Hon. Gordon E. Cole, of Faribault, 
delivered a very able address. 


After the Baldwin-Kittredge bank failure of Jan. 29. 1869, Kin- 
yon Bros., of Owatonna, opened a liank in Waseca. On the '24t\\ 
of August, 1870, some burglars broke into the bank, lilew open the 
safe by means of gunpowder, and stole the sum of $:l()00 in cash, 
besides valuable papers. They left, as mementos of their visit! 


a linen coat, some whisky in a bottle obtained from a druggist, 
a piece of bologna sausage, and a variety of tools used in their 
burglarious operations. 

Sheriff Toher, of Steele county, with D. L. Whipple, who was 
sheriff of this county, orgMnized a detective force and soon found 
one of the burglars, tracking him to St. Peter, and back to 
Alankato, thence to Janesville, and back through Waseca, to Owa- 
tonna. The evidence upon the examination disclosed the follow- 
ing facts in connection with the arrest of John T. Howard, alias 
Thomas Gale, charged with the robbery of the bank : 

He first came to the Arnold House, at Owatonna, on Sunday 
evening, August 21, and remained over night. The next morning 
he left, and returned in the evening with a span of horses which 
he put into Hastings' livery stable. On the next Tuesday morn- 
ing, by depositing $200 with Mr. Hastings, he obtained a team and 
carriage and drove to Waseca, arriving here about 10 o'clock in 
the forenoon. He got a ten dollar bill changed at Kinyon's bank, 
reconnoitering the premises, and then drove on to Janesville, 
arriving at the Baldwin House about noon, where he took dinner. 
The same evening he arrived at ^lankato and put up at the 
Clifton House. He ordered his team to be ready the next morn- 
ing at four o'clock. In accordance with this order the team was 
i-i^-ady, but the acf'us(;d man was not there. After waiting half an 
hour, the team was again put into the stable and fed. About this 
time Howard came to the barn consideialily out of breath, with 
perspiration on his face, as though he had been exercising 
violently. He then remained until after the early breakfast, and 
finally started away at 5.30 alone. About 10 o'clock in the fore- 
noon of Wednesday he ajiain appeared in Janesville, in company 
with another man designated as the "gray -bearded man." The 
two drove to the ex[)ress office, and the latter took a valise into 
the office and expressed it to one Hubbard, of ()saf;e, Iowa. They 
then went to the Baldwin House and took dinner— the oijiy- 
bearded man paying the whole bill. They left Janesville about 
noon together, and were next seen and noticed by Mrs. Julius 
Ulrich and Mrs. Pat. Mc(.'arthy, of St. :\Iary, a few miles west of 
Waseca, with another stranger, there bein^ three in the car- 
riage when the women saw them. Dr. Brubaker saw them the 


same afternoon near W. II. Gray's farm, about a mile west from 
"Waseca. A short time after this, ]\Ir. Ed. Bennett saw the team, 
with Howard alone, pass his slaughter house, west of town, coming 
towards Waseca. Howard was next seen hy ]Mr. Terwilliger 
near Clear Lake, gong towards (;)watonna with the Hastings 
team, which was well known to many of our people. Soon after 
passing Mr. Terwilliger, he was seen to stop near the Woodville 
cemetery, and a man came up to the Iniggy. Howard was next 
seen at Owatonna that evening, where he delivered the team and 
put up at the Arnold House. He went to bed about 8 o'clock, 
remarking that he was very tired. 

That night the bank at Waseca was robbed ; and the next 
morning about 5 o'clock, he was seen on the sidewalk near the 
Arnold House. About one o 'clock in the afternoon he was arrest- 
ed on suspicion and searched by Sheriff Toher. who found upon 
his person about $230.00, in cash, some pistol cartridges and some 
other minor articles. In his satchel was found a book descriptive 
of banks and safes, a revolver, and a jieculiar cap. Shortly after 
this arrest, Toher went to Dubuque in pursuit of the valise which 
had been expi'essed from Janesville to Osage, Iowa. On opening 
it, he found a kit of burglar tools, a very sti-ong and peculiar 
brace, two bits or drills for boring steel or iron, a steel pimch, 
two steel wedges of peculiar shajie, some powder, a coil of fuse, a 
cap similar to the one found in Howard's satchel, and a peculiar 
instrument for fastening to and turning a door key from the out- 
side when the door is locked and the key left inside in the lock. 

Some of the paper wrapped around the bits in the valise cor- 
responded in quality and color with pieces of paper found in the 
bank in Waseca the next morning after the robbery. The two 
steel wedges found in the valise corresponded exactly with the 
two wedges left in the Kinyon bank by the burglars. Experts 
testified that they must all have been made by the same man 
about the same time, aiul, probably, from the same bar of 
steel. He was examined before a justice of the peace, and held 
to await the action of the grand ,iury. 

Afterwards two other men wei'c arrested, and Howard, to save 
himself iVom stale prison, turned state's evidence and sent an old 
man and one other to the penitentiary, his only punishment being 


about one year in the county jail awaiting trial. He was an 
accomplished scoundrel and liar, and ought to have been sent 
to prison for at least ten years. 


The year 1870 was one of the most exciting, in a political way, 
of any in the history of the county since 1857, when the county 
seat question was first voted upon. As heretofore stated, Waseca 
built a court house early in the season, at a cost of $5,000. The 
Wilton advocates, for some time, contended that the offer of the 
court house, by Waseca, was a fraud ; but this contention was 
not successful before the people, and the managers at Wilton 
themselves, at last, pretended to make an offer of $5,000 in- 
bonds for the building of a new court house, provided the people 
of the county should vote to retain the county seat at that place. 
But as there was no authority in law for the issue of such bonds, 
the people gave no heed to their offer. 

As the season advanced, the canvass for the removal of the 
county seat increased in interest and intensity. Waseca, as never 
since, stood solidly together, shoulder to shoulder, and worked 
most effectively. Every man in the county was "sounded" and 
for some time prior to election day, the work for tuat day was 
planned, and every man was alloted his position in the ranks of 
the workers. Two men were sent to every polling place in the 
county on election day, to work for Waseca, and especially to 
bring in, as soon as possible, on the night of election, the exact 
returns of the vote cast on that question. The writer well re- 
members the day. He, in company with Mr. John Grain, then a 
blacksmith of Waseca, was detailed to attend the polls in the 
town of Byron. Each man at Waseca voted early and started for 
the several stations assigned. A few days before election there 
had been several days of heavy rain storm which closed with a 
very light fall of snow and freezing weather. The day was co3d 
and the roads very rough. We could drive only on the walk, 
and much of the way a slow walk at that. The election that year, 
in Byron, was held in a small house, in the western part of the 
township, near the Christy McGrath place. The polls were held 
open until a late hour, and the canvassers seemed provokingly 
slow in counting the ballots ; but as soon as we had the figures we 


started for Waseca, arriving about 11 o'clock that night. Only 
one town more was then to be heard from (Vivian) and every 
man in Waseca then knew that the county seat contest had been 
decided in favor of Waseca. 

Those who had faced the storm and cold of the day and been 
jolted over thirty miles of rough, frozen road, were excused from 
further service, but there was a select company of "secret ser- 
vice men" that had been chosen to carry out the will of the 
people by an actual removal of the property and of the offices of 
the county from Wilton to Waseca before daylight the next morn- 
ing. And sure enough at daybreak, the sound of music by the 
cornet band, the huzzas of the people, and the shouting of boys 
announced the arrival of the register of deeds and his office 
furniture, the clerk of the district court and his office records, 
and the county treasurer with the furniture and books of his 
office. The county auditor and others came over during the 
morning, and before noon, the day after election, the county seat 
was fully established and the officers all doing business at the 
new court house. The Waseca News announced the arrival of 
the offices the next day after the election and said : 

"The thing 'is did." That big lawsuit over the removal of the county 
seat will he held at Waseca — when it comes off. Any one having business 
at the county seat will find the 'machine' in full blast at the court 
house. The struggle is over. The billing and cooing, the coaxing and 
hiring, the drinking and treating, the threatening and flattering, the 
work and excitement on both sides are at an end. The question is set- 
tled — forever settled. The matter has been thoroughly discussed and 
fairly understood, and the result is the untrammeled voice of the people. 
Politics is over, too, for this year, and now let us bury the hatchet, renew 
personal friendships, and devote our energies and strength to the build- 
ing up of our material interests and to the cultivation of fraternal feel- 
ings and good fellowship." 


The United States census was taken during the months of June 
and July this year. Tlie north half of the C(nuity was enumerated 
by James E. Child, and the south half liy S. J. Willis. The fol- 
lowing statement was published at that time. The increase in 
population was sliown by the following figures : 

June 1, 1855, number of people r-^ 

June 1, 18G0, number of people o gAi 


June 1, 18G5, number of people 4,78G 

June 1, 1870, number of people 7,857 

These figures show an annual increase from 1865 to 1870 of 
614. Comparing the wealth of the county, the result was equally 
satisfaetoi-y. The amount of wheat produced in 1864 was 61,050 
lin.shels; while the product of 1869 reached 393,811 bushels. In 
connection with this subject, we find that 28,000 bushels of wheat 
were marketed in "Waseca during the month of August, and 28,136 
bushels in the month of September, for which the farmers receiv- 
ed $41,947.00. 

The number of horses in the county increased from 825, in 1865, 
to 2,055 in 1870. Horned cattle increased from 4,565, in 1865, to 
6.263, in 1870. In 1865 there were 533 cultivated farms, and in 
1870. there were 1,028. The census value of all the property of 
the county was estimated at $2,205,284, in 1870. 


The first county fair was held in Waseca, at the new court 
house, October 6 and 7. Among the exhibitors that drew pr(-- 
miums, the following names appear : J. W. Hosmer, of Janesville, 
finest honey; Islrs. B. F. Weed and ilrs. R. R. Howard, then of 
AA'ilton, fine dairy butter; Daniel Pierce, then of Freedom, ap- 
ples and vegetables; Hon. Joseph ilinges, of Otisco, and Hon. 
Wm. Brisbane, of Wilton, best potatoes; R. R. Howard, of Wil- 
ton, fine Chester White swine . The display of horses was quite 
large while the number of cattle was small in comparison. The 
JMisses Gallagher, Riegel and Landers displayed much skill in 
horseback riding on the race course. In classes A and B, horses, 
Ole Everson, J. A. Wheeler, A. Dewing, W. H. Young, S. 8. 
Phelps, Wm. Byron, Jas. A. Root, W. L. Wheeler, H. Vincent, 
Henry Behne, Albert Remund and P. 0. Houg received pre- 
miums. In class C, cattle, ilartin Hackett, Patrick Healey, R. ]M. 
IVIiddaugh, S. H. Talbut, and C. W. Hensel were the premium 
takers. In class D, sheep, swine and fowls, the lucky ones were 
J. A. Claghorn, Peter Eckert, Patrick Healy, J. A. Root, J. G. 
Greening and R. R. Howard. In class E, there were twenty en- 
tries and those who won prizes were Daniel Semple, Daniel 
Pierce, E. Cr. Wood, and J. Erno. Class F, vegetables, ten en- 
tries, gave premiums to Patrick ]\IcDermott, Wm. Brisbane, 


Daniel Pierce, S. H. Talbut, J. W. Altenburg, and Jas. A. Root. 
In class G, B. F. Weed got the premium on sorghum syrup, and 
John Buckhout on flour. Among the other premium takers ap- 
pear the names of Valentine Butsch, G. A. Roland, A. Wert, jMrs. 
O. Powell, JMrs. M. S. Gove, Mrs. G. P. Johnson and 'Mva. 

Hon. Wm Brisbane delivered an excellent address. 

He dwelt upon the wholesome and honorable calling of the 
farmer, and eloquently urged the importance of a more liberal 
education for farmers' sons and daughters, and especially in 
regard to their own calling. He said the trouble was that too 
many persons were farming who knew little or nothing of the 
business. Farms were poorly cultivated — machinery was allow- 
ed to rust and rot— cattle died for want of proper food and care, 
and in many ways farmers lost money and time, more becaiTse 
they did not understand the business than for any other cause. 


It was during this year, 1870, that heavy railroad extortions 
had called forth a strong protest from the farmers of the coim- 
try as well as from every justice-loving citizen. The cost of 
shipping a bushel of wheat from Waseca to Chicago was then 
from 25 to 30 cents. Discriminations of the most outrageous 
character M-ere practiced throughout the West. The doctrine of 
government control was stoutly and strenuously denied by all 
the railroad corporations, their agents, attorneys and hireling 
editors, and especially by their dupes all over the country. On 
the other hand, intelligent and independent attorneys and 
editors, and intelligent and independent men of common sense in 
all callings claimed that the state, the government, had the right 
and the power to fix reasonable rates of transportation for pas- 
sengei's and commodities. This issue, for the time, overshadowed 
all others, notwithstanding the efforts of corporations, then as 
now, to prevent tlu' question from becoming a party issue. The 
daily papers of both parties, all over the country, were employ- 
ed 1o denounce the true friends of the masses as "demagogues," 
"iguorannises," "fanatics," "blatherskites," "socialists'" and 
"anarchists." The corporations even tried to enlist the efforts 
of priesthood to break up the grange organizations and, in some 


localities, succeeded to some extent. Nevertheless, the work 
of education and organization went forward rapidly in this 
section, and the Grange became a great, non-partisan, political 
power that finally gave the country what was known as the 
"Grange laws," and forced into the courts the question of the 
right and the power of the government to control the railroads. 
The supreme courts of the states and the nation decided in favor 
of the people, and it was learned, among men capable of learn- 
ing, that the "demagogues," "ignoramuses," "socialists," "an- 
archists ' ' and ' ' fanatics ' ' knew more about law and fundamental 
rights of man and property than all the corporations with their 
paid attorneys, their agents, their boodlers and their hireling 
editors. And yet there are mullet heads to-day that will tell us 
that to regulate the transportation rates on railroads so that 
every person and every locality shall enjoy just and equal rates 
would destroy the railroads and bring anarchy to the whole 
country. What fools we mortals are in this world! 

It was in this year that a Grange was organized in almost 
every neighborhood in the county. There was one in Waseca. 
But, as it does in all great and popular organizations, the spirit 
of rivalry and jealousy crept in. Men of small calibre, little 
intelligence, and narrow jealousy sowed the seeds of discord by. 
insisting that none but actual farmers— men who tilled the 
soil with their own hands— should be members. This narrow 
view of the organization drove from it much of the intelligence 
necessary to direct any movement successfully. This, together 
with the fact that I. Donnelly managed to disrupt it for his own 
personal ends, soon destroyed one of the best and most useful 
educational agencies ever introduced into our farming communi- 
ties. The organization still lingers in some places, but its power 
for good is broken. 

Hon. G. K. Davis was nominated and elected by Granger senti- 
ment; a law to control rates was enacted the first year of his 
administration; the next year the railroads secured control of 
the legislature and repealed the law. And the singular part of 
it all was that the very men who would be the most benefited 
by the government control of roads were the mullet-heads in the 
community to vote with the corporations. No wonder that Gush 
Davis, when the law was repealed, exclaimed— "I am sick of 


the people. They desert their best friends. I am done with 
them. As soon as I am through with this governor business I 
shall go back to my office and my law books. As Vanderbilt 
said, 'the people be damned,' for they don't appreciate honest, 
self-sacriflcins' men who work to save them from the slavery of 
modern feudalism." 

Party lines were loosely drawn at that time. ^Nlajor AVm. C. 
Young, Republican candidate for senator, received a majority 
of 402 over James Jones, his opponent ; Hon. Wm. Brisbane, 
Democratic candidate for representative, received 233 majority 
over ilr. S. C. Dow, his opponent, who was a very good citizen 
and a Republican; E. Cronkhite, Democratic candidate for 
auditor, was elected over Fred. Kittredge, Republican, by a 
majority of 324. The democrats elected Wni. Lee, of Iosco, 
and H. G. Mosher, of Otisco, county commissioners. The major- 
ity in favor of the removal of the county seat to AVaseca was 215. 


January 19, 1870, No. 1' wheat brought only 4S cents per 

The creditors of the defunct bank of Baldwin & Kittredge 
realized only 25 cents on the dollar, 

Alay 2, the house of ]Mr. Chas. San Galli was consumed by fire. 
It was fully insured. 

On June 2, 1870, under the auspices of the Farmers' club of 
Blooming Grove, the first monthly fair was held in Waseca. The 
fairs were held on the first Thursday of each month, a few 
times, but were finally discontinued. 

On July 29, 1870, the village board of AYaseea made a deed 
of the then new court house to the county of Waseca, to liecome 
absolute upon the removal of the seat of jiistice from Wilton to 

AVhitney L. Wheeler, about foi-ty-eiglit years of age and one 
of the very early settlers of the county, died November 4, 1870, 
after a somewhat s(>vere illness. He and his family settled first 
in St. iMary, afterwiirds moving into Wilton. He was a staunch, 
prominent republican, who was active in every campaign. He 
wa.s the owner of simie valualile horses and practiced as a veter- 


inary surgeon. At the time of his death he was treasurer and 
captain of riders of the Waseca County Horse-thief Detectives. 
The society at its next meeting passed resolutions to his mem- 
ory, commending him for his "zeal, efficiency, capability and 


The year 1870, on the whole, had been one of prosperous condi- 
tions for the county. The weather had been mild. There was a 
heavy snow storm on the 14th, 15th and 16th of March, the snow 
remaining until the last days of the month. Seeding commenc- 
ed about April 8. The last three days of Jime were excessively 
warm and closed with a cyclonic storm of not very heavy pro- 
portions. A similar storm of July 19, was much heavier and 
more severe, especially southwest of this county. In this county 
much of the grain was injured, and some light buildings were 
imroofed, but there was no wide-spread damage or fatalities. 

The season had been reasonably productive, and the fall 
Aveather was the finest in the history of the state, before or since. 
Our grand, salubrious, and charmingly beautiful Indian summer 
continued long into December, and gave the farming community 
ample time to clean up all the fall work. In the Waseca News 
of December 6, appeared the following : 

"Plowing and grading in DecemlDer! Was there ever before anything 
lilte the present weather in Minnesota? So warm, so mild, so pleasant! 
From our office window we notice several plows running on the farms 
adjoining this village. At this date, December 3, men are engaged 
in plowing and grading Lake Avenue, east from our office. Just think 
of it, away up here in Minnesota, men plowing with their coats off — ■ 
houses being built and plastered — house plants growing in the open 
air — all in the state of Minnesota, during the month of December. Is 
this the result of building the Pacific railroad, or of removing the 
county seat?" 

The first hard freezing of the ground was Dec. 18th, and the 
first heavy snow storm of the season was on Christmas day. The 
year closed with a "Merry Christmas," followed by a "Happy 
New Year." 

The county commissioners of 1870, Wm. Byron, Eobt. Earl, 0. 


Powell, John Buckhout, and R. F. .Stevens, held their last ses- 
sion at Wilton Sept. 10, and their first session in Waseca Nov. 
17, at the new court house. 



The SabhMth daj^, bright and still, with blue skies and a balmy 
atmosphere, iishered in the New year, 1871. It was one of the 
very few years in the history of civilization when the year began 
and ended on Sunday or the Sabbath day; for, whether properly 
or impropei'ly, both names are used interchangeably. 

Amidst the earthiness of life. 
Vexation, selfishness and strife; 
Sabbath! how sweet the holy calm, 
Comes o'er the soul like healing balm. 

We digress a little to remark that, aside from all religious views 
or creeds, Sunday should be observed as a day of rest; not, per- 
haps, for the sake of the Sabbath, but for the sake of man. For 
yenvH past, the nation has recognized the fact that laboring men 
engaged in public work and for great corporations have no Sab- 
bath — no day of rest that they can call their own. It is pretty 
well settled that the day of rest, prescribed by the law of Moses, 
was based upon the fact that such rest, as a rule, is essential to, 
and promotes health. The day ought to be kept quietly, rever- 
ently, studiously, and thoughtfully. Always remember that "the 
Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath." 

The year opened auspiciously so far as the weather bureau was 
concerned. The first heavy snow storm of the year came on 


the eleventh of January and continued two days. With the ex- 
ception of this rather severe storm, the winter was comparatively 
a mild one, and favorable to farm work and general business. 


At its annual session in January the Waseca County Agricul- 
tural society held an interesting meeting and elected the follow- 
ing officers: president, J. B. Smith; vice president, P. C. Bailey; 
treasurer, J. W. Johnson; secretary, B. S. Lewis; executive com- 
mittee, 0. Powell, Simon Smith, H. Vincent, James A. Claghorn 
and il. H. Helms. 


At the ]\Iarch meeting of the board, very little aside from rou- 
tine business was done. Seventy-five dollars was appropriated 
for the grading of the hill at ilcDougall Creek on the Wilton 
and Waseca road. The old court house lots in AVilton, belonging 
to the county, were deeded to the village of Wilton. The sum of 
$156 was appropriated to build a fence and a walk around the 
new court house gi'ounds. 

The annual I'eport made at this session showed the balance of 
cash on hand to have been $473,48, with uncollected- taxes 
amounting to $8,645.S7. 


In territorial days, 1857-8, when the times were hard and peo- 
ple were very much depressed, the territorial legislature, with- 
out any lawful authority, submitted a so-called constitutional 
amendment to the constitution that had been submitted and 
adopted the fall before but that was then held up liy congress. 
The so-called amendment was submitted to the people April 15th 
and adopted, but Minnesota was not admitted as a state imtil 
]May 11, 1858. As soon as the people realized what a flood of 
fraud and corruption and deception had deluged the young com- 
munity, they denounced and repudiated the M'hole thing. The 
legislature of 185!)-(30 submitted an amendment providing that 
no more bonds should be issued-.1i'2,50(»,000 having been already 
is.sued— and that no part of those issued should ever be paid 
without first submitting the ([ucstion of payment to the voters 
of the state. Thus matters stood until the winter of 1871, when 


the legislature was prevailed upon to provide for paying the 
bonds and submitting a proposition to the people authorizing 
the same. 

As showing that bribery and corruption are not confined alone 
to the present day, an extract from the Waseca News of April 5, 
1871, will be appropriate. On that date it said : 

"^Ye were aroused to a realizing sense of the iniquities of the scheme, 
last week, by a contemptible offer of the sum of $100, provided we would 
abandon our honest convictions regarding this bond measure and advo- 
cate its adoption by the people. And we were further awakened to 
a realizing sense of the danger of this proposition by the assurance, 
on the part of the tempter, that the proposition would surely carry, as 
nearly all the leading papers of the state had found it to their interest 
to advance the measure, either directly or indirectly. In a word, those 
interested in the scheme are prepared to spend a large amount of 
money to corrupt the people — or, rather, those who discuss public topics 
through the newspapers and on the stump. 

"As the bondholders have the temerity to send their agents about 
the country with offers of bribery to editors, publishers and lawyers, 
they certainly will not scruple to use all the appliances that brains and 
money can command to corrupt the governor, the commissioners, and 
the attorneys that are, under the proposed law, to present and pass 
upon their claims. 

"This offer of bribery is, of itself, sufficient evidence upon which to 
condemn the bill." 

After a hot fight the bill was defeated by a fair ma.jority. 


April 13th Loren G. Wood, and Allen Scott, son and nephew 
respectively of the late Eri 6. AYood, started on a duck hunt 
across Clear lake. They secured a boat belonging to a ilr. Green 
and crossed the lake. Shortly afterward, 'Mr. Green desiring to 
use the boat, went and got it, leaving the boys to return afoot. 
While on their way home, traveling single file over a narrow 
path, on the east shore of the lake, with Scott in the rear carry- 
ing a loaded gun, Scott stumbled and fell, bringing the muzzle 
of his gun to the front, on a line with Wood's right foot. While 
in this position the gun was accidentally discharged, and Loren 
received the whole charge of the gun in the hollow of his foot. 
I\Ir. Green, who was within hailing distance on the lake, hasten- 
ed to the scene of the accident, and assisted in conveying the 
wounded boy home. Some of the shot passed entirely through 


the foot, but Dr. Young, who dressed the wound, took from it 
some shot and a quantity of wadding. Loren never fully re- 
covered the use of his foot. 


The day was formally celebrated at Janesville, Hon. Amos 
Coggswell, of Owatonna, being the orator of the day. Waseca 
also had a celebration of all home talent. There was a baseball 
game between Waterville and Blooming Grove, and a boat race 
on Clear lake. 


The "Waseca News of July contained the following: 

"The pleasures and festivities of the Fourth of July were not ended 
when, over a large portion of southwestern Minnesota, the Storm God 
wheeled his chariots into line and devastated a large extent of country 
along the rich valley of the Minnesota river. The storm swept across 
a large region of country between Madelia and New Ulm, crossing into 
Nicollet county, sweeping in great fury down the Minnesota valley, 
and thence through Mankato, Le Ray and Jamestown. 

"Last Friday afternoon, July 7, 1871, while the people were talking and 
lamenting over the news of the destructive storm of July 4th, in adjoin- 
ing counties, dark clouds appeared in the southwest and the north- 
west and apparently joined In battle array some miles west of here. 
The storm came on rapidly, the wind blew a gale, some hail fell, but no 
serious damage resulted in this village. • North and west of this place, 
however, in the towns of Janesville, Iosco, and Blooming Grove, the 
destruction of crops was total over a large extent of country. Mr. Mc- 
Dermott, of Blooming Grove, informs us that the crops in his neighbor- 
hood are almost totally destroyed — that the trees, even, are stripped 
of their foliage. From Mr. J. E. Jones, of Iosco, we learn that the crops 
are wholly destroyed for several miles north of his place, his own 
with the rest. The house of Mr. Larsen, in the Riley neighborhood, 
was blown down, and the fences generally were prostrated." 

Thousands of acres in this county were laid waste, and the 
people were left in very distressing circumstances. The course 
of the storm was from west to east and laid waste a strip of 
country from two to four miles wide across the northern tier of 
townships. Many of the hailstones were as large as lien's eggs. 
and, in many places, the ground was covered with them. The 
destruction to crops in the state, that year, by wind and hail, 
was so far-reaching, that the legislature, at its next session, made 
provision to furnish a loan of seed grain to the sufl'ering farm- 


ers the next spring. Some of our farmers of the stricken town- 
ships were aided in that way. 

At Janesville, on the 7th, lightning struck the barn of Darling 
Welsh, setting it on fire and killing one of his horses. 


Hon. Warren Smith was appointed by Gov. Austin as state 
commissioner to ascertain and report in regard to damages by 
storm or prairie fire to settlers of this county during the season, 
and about Dec. 20th, he received $425.00 from the state to be 
distributed equally among seventeen of the most destitute fam- 
ilies. In addition to this amount, the citizens of Waseca had con- 
tributed $100, and the county commissioners had received $200 
in state funds, making in all $725.00, besides some clothing, 
which was distributed among the needy. 


The year 1871 was one of very destructive fires in several lo- 
calities in this country, the most noted being the great Chicago 
fire of October 8, 9 and 10. The fire originated in a cow-stable 
at 9.30 o'clock, Sunday evening. A strong west wind drove it 
rapidly through seventy-three miles of streets till it covered 
three and a half square miles of the doomed city, destroyed 200 
lives, 17,450 buildings, and property valued at $200,000,000— the 
number rendered homeless being 98,500 people. 

At the same time a devastating sheet of fire, ten miles wide, 
swept over the country bordering Green Bay, Wis., causing the 
death of one thousand people and destroying property to the 
value of $3,000,000. 

In the same month many lives were lost and much property 
destroyed by fire in Michigan. 

The first week in October, a, great prairie fire originated near 
Breckenridge, Minn., and was driven eastward by strong winds 
a distance of about one hundred and sixty miles. It left in its 
track a scene of desolation unparalleled in the history of the 
state. Buildings, fencing, grain and hay stacks, and cornfields, 
were swept away by this roaring, crackling, consuming monster 
of the prairie. Fortunately no lives were lost though a number 
of people had narrow escapes. 


October 4 and 5, a prairie fire swept the towns of Vivian, By- 
ron, and Wilton. In Byron, Wm. Smith's house, stable, reaper, 
wagon, and household goods were consumed. His two dogs 
were so frightened that they fled to the cellar where both were 
burned to death. Alex. Brisbane's stable, seeder, and much of 
his fencing were destroyed. One of the ^Messrs. ilcGrath had 
his one hundred-acre crop all destroyed, but saved his house. 
Mr. Quinn lost his house and some other property. Tiranville 
Barnes, John C. Hunter, and others lost considerable property. 
Almost every farmer in the line of the fire lost more or less 

The losers in Vivian were ilessrs. Poland, Banker, Kandall, 
Hadley, Merrill and Hanks. 

September and October were extremely dry months, and when 
once a fire was started it spread with great rapidity. 


The first library nssoeiation was organized by adopting ar- 
ticles of incorporation Dec. 1, 1S71. The incorporators were (t. 
P. Johnson, Kcv. B. C. Starr, James E. Child, Fred Kittredu.^ 
J. P. :\rurphy, B. S. Lewis, H. A. :Mosher, Rev. P. A. Riggin, 
A. E. Di'Mrborn, Edgar Cronkhite, Y,. P. Latham, Hiram Lan- 
pher, AVarren Smith, D. E. Priest and Edward Bennett. The as- 
sociation started out with one hundred volumes of standard 
works, and soon after added about fifty volumes more, mostly by 
donation. The originators of the oriianization were largely ac- 
tuated by altruistic motives, hoping therein' to benefit the com- 
munity at lai-ge. The library from the start was only partially 
successful. The demand for history, biography and standard 
literature was slight comj)ared with the demand for trashy stuff 
of a romantic chnraetcr. In a few years the stockholders dissolv- 
ed the corporation and divided the books among themselves. 


The local result of the election was a queer mixture— showing 
a preponderance of local and pei'sonal feeling superior to politi- 
cal considerations. AVhile the republicans carried the state tick- 
et by majorities ranging from two hundred to two hundred and 
sixty-three, many of the local candidates on the republican 


1,i''l;r't wi-i-i' "l<-ft, hy till; vvHysi'li-." 'I't/c local carididateH ri;(,-i-iv- 
'•'1 till- I'lillowi/ii.' votes: 


.J;iiiii'H J'i. (,'liili|, r<-[)iib]icau 856 

Will, I'ristjHrif:, (lcino':r;j,t •'>]4 

1 1 1: 1' RBSENTATI VE8. 

.lotiii Tliornjison, fpiildii'iin '^oO 

•loliii S. ,M'-Kiifi''. ri'iiuhjifjin 'i!^2 

Ki'Isey (,'ur1,i«, '|ifnoiT;it 7:i9 

I-;. I'. L;i1h;un, di-ino'TJit ')70 


J I. A. .MoshiT, ri'piihlic;ifi T'^O 

<^;i'0. Ilol'i-M, <|c;iiocrjif ''O^i 


Cii-o. R. liiickfiinn, r'l-ftiihlicjin 61*4 

Ji. O. Crjii-.', ili'inocr-Jit 6!)7 


jj. I J. Alelfilosli, ri-piililifjin 677 


!'' A. Xcwi'il, fi'iiiibliitiiri ''77 

I'.. S. Li-wi:^, (|i-iiioi:r';it, ... 724 

Jl.'lJf;!'; OK PitOJiATK. 

.). A, <';irifii'|r|, ri-|iiilili(;Hri 742 

^VtJl. JIuMe, <li')iior;rnt 64') 


S. .J. Willin, ri'piiblir'Hji 674 

./;is. Jl llHyiJi-ii, (|i-i(ioiT"it 6!»6 


M. I'. Uol.snii, ri-plil)lic.;in '>]1 

S. W, IjOtlW, 'IcfllOCDlt, 'S78 


( '. i'i. ('.nine, )-('(>ijblii-;ui 817 

l''or till' (ilTicc. ol' coiiiil.y 1 ri-ii.siiriT, Mr. liiickrnari it iiti-il a 
conti'.Kt tli;it, ri'siilt.i'd in Imk fjivor by ;i very Kriuill mnvi/\i\. 

Tlic old yfrir, with its ('rimeH find its follicH, it,s virtues und its 


happinesses, its successes and its disappointments, had passed 
into history and eternity. The terrible conflagrations that 
swept many places in the West, nearly destroying Chieauo and 
some other places, formed a heart-rending chapter in the his- 
tory of America. In Minnesota, many localities suffered from 
fire and storm, although the state at large enjoyed general pros- 
perity. The noble generosity of the American people, however, 
was displayed as never before. Throughout the length and 
breadth of the land, a noble impulse of generous charity furnish- 
ed the means to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and furnish 
homes for the homeless. The afflictions of the year stirred the 
noblest impulses of the American heart, and, for a time, at least, 
drove mean selfishness out of sight, and made us more charitable 
toward all mankind. 


Ozias Baker, one of the very early boy-settlers of the county, 
son of Wm. S. Baker, died of consumption, Feb. 10. 1871. aged 
twenty-seven years. He was one of the heroes of Company (t, 
First ^linnesota Regiment; he servetl three years therein and 
then enlisted and seiwed in the First ilinnesota Heavy Artillery 
until the close of the Rebellion. 

Mr. Asa (J. Stitlief, the first white man to make a home in Wa- 
seca county, after a linuering illness of some weeks, died Oct. 
13, 1871. At the time of his death lie was considered one of the 
wealthiest men in the county. A bio'^rnphieal sketch of him 
apjieai's elsewhere in this work. 

The price of wheat dui'iiin- tlie year 1871 ranued from 95 cents 
to .$1.15 per bushel. 

CHAPTER XL, 1872. 


The year 1872 opened on Monday with the usual happy greet- 
ings and family reunions. "Josh Billings" once commanded 
as follows : 

"Git out your brand new cutter, 
And git your gal's consent, 
Hitch up Dobbin or some other kritter, 
And let the animal went." 
The wheat market opened favorably the first of the year, the 
price ranging from $1 to $1.05. 


The county board for this year was made up as follows : 0. 
Powell of Woodville, H. G. Mosher of Otisco, Wm. Byron of St. 
Mary, Wm. Lee of Iosco, and S. K. Odell of Vivian. Mr Powell 
was reelected chairman. 

The board fixed the bond of the incoming county treasurer 
at $20,000. Saloon license was fixed at $100 per year, the ap- 
plicant to pay pro rata for the number of months the license 
should run. Dr. R. 0. Craig, of Janesville, resigned the office 
of county superintendent of schools, and the board appointed in 


his place Wr. H. G. Mosher, of Otiseo, to serve out the remain- 
der of the term. Dr. M. S. Gove was chosen by the board to be 
superintendent for the term commencing the first Tuesday in 
April. Nothing further of especial interest was done by the board 
at its January session. 


The legislature opened its session on Tuesday, Jan. 2, and 
closed IMarch 1. Waseca county was represented in the senate 
by James E. Child, and in the hoiise by John Thompson, of New 
Kichland, and Kelsey Curtis, of Alma City. The governor of the 
state was Horace Austin. By the way, he was one of the best 
governors the state has ever had. Hon. I. Donnelly once said of 

"I do not desire to employ the language of adulation, but I feel justi- 
fied in saying that he has proved himself a great man — great In the 
language Tennyson applied to the Duke of Wellington: 

"'Great in saving common sense;' great in honesty; great in fidelity; 
great in persistent devotion to the public welfare; great in that firm 
faculty of the mind which is able to look beyond the pressure of in- 
dividuals and combinations and all personal hopes and aspirations, and 
see in the far background only the great people who have placed their 
destinies in his hands. * * * xhis is an age of vast, almost 
universal corruption. Gray-headed men tell us, with sad faces, that 
they doubt the perpetuity of our free and noble institutions. It some- 
times looks as if one universal sea of corruption would swallow up all 
we hold dear in government. 

"When, therefore, in the midst of such a state of things, the people 
find one honest, truthful, earnest, incorruptible man, who, at his own 
political peril, does his whole duty, they should stand by him to the last 

And yet, within a few short years, the people forgot their 
friend, and corporate greed destroyed him politically and injur- 
ed him financially. 

The legislative session was a laborious one, although but little 
of general importance was accomplished. The lobby, as usual, 
was filled with the "picked, paid and skilled retainers" of the 
corporations who are "summoned by the iness(>ngers of elec- 
tricity and appear upon tlie wings of steam," and all proposed 
measures looking to the control of railroad rates and the pro- 
hibition of discrimination in such ratios were defeated. 

The saloon license question occupi(><l much attention for a 


time, and the liquor laws were made a little more stringent by 

One commendable act was that providing for the disposal of 
the 500,000 acres of internal improvement lands granted to the 
state by congress. It provided that the lands should be apprais- 
ed and sold the same as the school lands, with a proviso that the 
funds to be derived therefrom should not be expended by any 
act of the legislature until said act should be ratified by the 
voters of the state. 


The St. Paul Dispatch of February 29, near the close of the ses- 
sion, contained the following note: 

"As you enter tlie senate chamber, the first gentleman on the left 
is Mr. Child, of Waseca, the author of the temperance bill that did not 
pass. He is an ordinary sized man, somewhat pale, and has spoken on 
more subjects and oftener, probably, than any other member of the 
senate, unless it be Mr. Haven. He has a strong individuality, is a 
ready debater, fearless in presenting his views and, though somewhat 
eccentric, is a useful and valuable senator. His brief speech on the 
preservation of game for 'eastern sportsmen' was the finest specimen of 
irony delivered in the senate this session." 

Winona Republican, March 6, 1872: 

"Senator Child, father of the defeated temperance bill, was heard on 
almost every question. In many things he seemed to stand alone. He 
is a straightforward, upright man; despises the 'Heathen Chinee,' and 
all his tricks; speaks fluently and forcibly; has nothing to do with 
cliques or rings; votes an honest, loud 'no' whenever the case is not 
according to his convictions; knows nothing of the doctrine of ex- 
pediency. He would make a martyr for the truth. He was perhaps 
the hardest worker in the senate — always ready with amendments to 
hinder or check unwise legislation; he voted oftener than any other 

By act of this legislature, the 200,000 acres of land secured to 
the state by act of congress, through the efforts of Congressman 
Donnelly, to aid in making slack-water navigation on the Can- 
non River, was transferred to the Cannon River railroad to pro- 
mote its construction. The road is now owned and operated as a 
branch of the Great Western, and furnishes transportation for 
farmers along the northern portion of this county tributary to 
Morristown, Waterville and Elysian. 


On Sunday morning, ]\Iarch 10, Auditor Cronkhite discovered 
that the floor of the court room was on tire. He aroused the peo- 
ple and the fire was soon extinguished. The court room had been 
occupied the Saturday before and the fire originated from the 
stove. The damage amounted to about fifty dollars. 

This hotel, belonging to ]Mr. Thomas Barden, of Waseca, was 
discovered to be afire about 5.30 o 'clock a. m., April 12, and in a 
very short time the hotel and the barn belonging to it were 
entirely consumed. As at that time AYaseca had no water sup- 
ply and no fire company, it was almost a miracle that the dwell- 
ing house of ;^[r. G. \Y. AVatkins and the store and barn of Dr. 
Brubaker, near by, were saved from destruction, by the efforts 
of citizens. The wind was lilowing a heavy gale at the time 
and had it not been for the drenching rain of the previous even- 
ing, no doubt the fire would have destroyed a large amount of 
property. The burned property was insured for .ii2.'2un. 

This was the year of the noted Greeley campaign— one of the 
most unique in the history of the world. President (irant was 
a great military gcniiis, biit he was neither a great statesman 
nor a politician. He had ways of his own and a strong will, and 
during his first administration he oft'euded many of the ablest 
men in his party — more especially on aeeount of his appoint- 
ments to office, but also on account of his allowing the gold 
combine to influence the financial policy of the administration, 
thus bringing on a financial depression which caused suffering 
and wide-spread dissatisfaction. But the rugged old hero stood 
liy his friends, whether good or bad, and hence the organization 
known as "Liberal Eepublican"— although it was the most 
illiberal, politically, that was ever known in this country. The 
men who led the movement in this state were, most of them, able 
men— men of brains, some of them men of wealth. The more 
prominent were Judg(> Aaron Goodrich, Samuel Alayall, John X. 
Davidson and Theodore Hcilscher, of St. Paul; Judge Thomas 
Wilson of Winona Dr. W. W. Alayo of Rochester, lion. Wm. G. 
Ward of Waseca, Hon. C. D. Sherwood of Fillmore eountv, ex- 


I'liitod Stittos Sciuilor M. S. Wilkinson, iind J. ii. llnbbell, of 
^liinkalo. 'riu' iuition;il omiYontion o\' this n(M\' pai'ly \vas held 
at I'ini'innati, ^Iny 4, ISTl!, and lloviu'i- Oroolcy was noniinalod 
on Iho sixth l);\lli>t nnd on Iho third da>' of the ('(Hivontion. R. 
(iratz Rrown, of Missouri, was nominated I'oi' viee pr(>sident. 
l^oth had been vepnhlicans, and Mr. (!reeh\v had been a life-loiii;' 
opponent of (>very prineiple of the denioeralie party frcnn Van 
Rnren to Buehaiian. lie was an nltra, hii>li-tarilT .adxoeate, and 
one of the stannehest opiioiients of tlu> sla\i> olii^arehy. Ne\-er- 
theless, the so-ealled denioei-atie party ol' day nu't, at, Balti- 
more, duly Ihh, and endorsed the iionunation of both (freele>- and 

Tlie whole atVair was so politieall\- i^rotesipie and Indierons, 
net to say fareieal, that the I'artoonists and the people at larue 
outside the Liberal Ivepidilicans themselves, eii.joyed the eani- 
liaig'n more than any other politienl struggle in the history of the 

But not so with Mr. (!reeh-y. It scmU him to the mad house 
where he died Nov. L'ilth— twenty-four days al'ter his defeat. 

It is the opiuiou of the writer that it was not his del' at the 
polls Avhieh unhalaneeil his great uuud, but the treachery and 
uieanness of AVhitelaw KcMd. ^Ir. Greeley was so great a man 
tliat his defe.'it for the presidency was ol' small eonsequenee. 
Iiut he was the foiuuler, and for more than a gcMuu'ation, th<> 
editor of the ""Xew York Tribune. "" the greatest uiMvsp.-iper of 
its day iu the world. His paper Avas the politieal bible of huu- 
dreds of thousands of people. His name was a household word 
throughout the land. Mr. (ireeley had been for a life-tinu^ the 
king of .iournalisni, the great ad\'oeafe ami fearless defender of 
temperauee reform and demoeratie-repnbliean institiitions. He 
was an Anuu'ieau id' Anu^rie.ins, believing iu the Fatherhood of 
one (^od, aud tlu'" true Brotherhood of .VII ^iankind. AYhile 
sometimes mistaken in judgment, he was, nevertheless, one of 
the greatest and grandest men of this or of any other age or na- 
tion. He eould have survived his defeat with resignation, but 
the Xew Yoik Tribune was his idol, his heart aud soul, his ver\' 
life-blood, and when it eame to his knowledge that Whitelaw 
Keid had seetu'ed finaueial control of his paper, aiul eoidd ab- 


solutely exclude Mr. Greeley's editorials and was doing so, his 
great heart broke, his magnificent mind gave way, and he died 
a maniac. It was a foul, cruel, moral murder of a great and 
good man. Friend and foe alike mourned his pitiful death, bow- 
ed their heads in the most profound sorrow, and forgave and 
forgot what many thought the mistake of his life— his candidacy 
for the presidency in opposition to the great party of which he 
was one of the founders and builders. 

The gentlemen who first ijave the matter of thoroughbred cat- 
tle much attention in this county were Charles A. De Graff of 
Alton, near Janesville, and Hon. W. G. Ward, of Waseca, ^li-. 
"Ward's farm is situated just west of Waseea, a part of it in 
■\Voodville and a part in St. jMai'y. The De Graf? farm was wholly 
in Alton. Their farms were both opened as early as 1S70. In 
April, 1S72, ;\Ir. Ed. Bennett, of AVaseea, visited Racine, Wiscon- 
sin, in the interest of these gentlemen, as M'ell as himself, and 
brought back six grade Shorthorn cows for ilr. Ward, and ten 
grade cows and three calves for ^Iv. De Graff. For himself, he 
brought back a full-blood. Shorthorn bull, eleven months old, 
Aveight 1,000 lbs. At that time Jlr. De Graff had a thoroughbred 
Shorthorn bull, two and a half years old, and five thoroughbred 
Shorthorn and Alderney eows, in addition to those brought on by 
]\Ir. Bennett. ]Mr. AVai'd had a thoroughhi'ed Alderney bull and a 
tlioroughl)i'ed heifer of the same breed, l)esides the Shorthorns, 
These gentlemen did mneh in those days to help improve the cat- 
tle of this county. 

A good deal of excitement was raised in and about Alma City 
the last week in June on aeeount of a hanging alVray which came 
off at the farm of John Itotrer, situated nc:\r Bulls Run, in Free- 
dom. John Iloffer missed $L'() in money and accused one Kaston, 
known as the "Old Ditcher," of stealing it. Easton, an old 
man, about seventy years of age, stoutly denied the accusation. 
Hoffer and wife and two hired men, named Brooks and Singer, 
seized the old man and threalened to hang him. The evidence 
on the examination showed that they put a rope around his neck 
and hanged him to a tree for a few seconds, and then let him 


(Iijwii, \ii: still protoKtiiiji- his innocence. As soon an he could 
'^'■i Hway, ho (Jisappcurod entirely; very soon tlici'oafl.or it was 
(liscovcreil ihat ii nephew of lloffer had stolen the iijoney. An 
itiVfstij;atior] was instituted by the neighbors, but the old man, 
fdtlioni^li ti-a<'cd into Iowa, as two witnesses testified, was nevi-r 
fiMind. The Jloffers admitted that they tried to seare the old 
man, but did not intend to hang him. Mrs. lloffer, a youni<- and 
vij^oi'ons woman, also admitted thiit slut whipped liim with "a 
little wliip no bii^-^er than her finder." Many of the j^ood eitizeiis 
of the western [)ai-t of the county considered the aKsa,ult upon 
J'lasf.on and the i-esnlt of the examination an outrage upon justice 
and 11i(; public welfare. 


( )n "J'hursday evening, August (itii, a, vei-y heavy rain stoi'iri 
visitcMJ all Soutlicrn Miniu'sota. In the southern part of Wa- 
s(M'a. county, the wind blew a gale, (jlrain shocks were blown 
apai-t, and scattei'cd in cvei-y direction. F('nc(%s were blown down 
and a, nundier of buildings unroofed. Several substantial build- 
ings wer(^ moved from their foundations. The German Evangeli- 
cal I'liui-eli building, at, Wilton, was moved from its foundation, 
arid Sam I'l'cchel's blacksmith shop at the same place was un- 

Mr. Tlieodor-e I). M. Orcutt, then a farmer, of ti''rceilom, wrote of 
th(^ storm as follows. 

"II, commenced to rain aljout 9 o'cIocl< |). ni., with a strong wind from 
the north, when, suddenly, the wind shifted to the west and the storm 
ciiiiie with terrific violence. Houses, heretofore waterproof, afforded 
but lilllo iirolccllon to their occupants or contents. It took the strength 
of two inen to close a door or hold a window If unfastened. The roof 
and a portion of Mr. Helwick's house were carried away and badly 
torn to iii(^c(\s. The roof of Mr. Strauli's residence was taken off, and 
(he roof and iipiicr part of an unoccupied log house on the farm of 
Wm. B. in^uth wore carried about six rods and completely demolished. 
A chamlx^r window in the frame house occupied by Mr. Heath and his 
family was blown in and the house inside deluged with water, Mr. 
ll(v'U,h and family having taken refuge in the basement. The next 
morning was gloomy enough — cloudy, with a drizzling rain at Intervals, 
all the loriiiioon. Look in any direction you might, and fallen trees, un- 
roofed buildings, dilapidated hay stacks, great gaps in I'ences, battered 
and almost lea Hess cornfields, one or all would mar the landscuiie. But 
I lie worst feature was the total demolition of the grain shoclfs and the 


uncut grain. The latter was flattened to the earth, involving a great 
amount of extra labor in cutting and a loss of at least twenty per cent 
of the grain." 

Damage by the storm was extensive throughout the county, 
but the southern half of it suffered more than the northern por- 


The contest for local offices in this county attained fever heat. 
Hon. W. G. "Ward, "Liberal Republican," became the candidate 
of the democrats and railroad interests for state senator. On 
the ticket with him were Patrick Kenehan, of Wilton, and J. 0. 
Chandler, of Janesville, for representatives, and Edgar Cronk- 
hite for auditor. The republicans nominated A. AY. Jennison, of 
Janesville, for state senator, John Thompson, of New Richland, 
and J. L. Saufferer, of Blooming Grove, for representatives, and 
T. D. j\t. Orcutt, of Freedom, for auditor. The contest resulted in 
the election of AV. G. Ward by a vote of 802 for Ward to 77S for 
Jennison, and 835 for Cronkhite to 748 for Orcutt. 

Sauft'erer and John Thompson, republicans, were elected to the 


A number of deaths occurred this year. ilr. David L. AYhipple, 
an early settler and sheriff of the county from 1860 to 1866. died 
on the 4th of February of lung fever. He was well known 
throughout the county and highly respected by all conditions of 
men. His remains lie buried in the Wilton cemetery. His wife 
survived him, but he left no children. 

P. Brink Enos, a young lawyer of much native ability, but 
with ah unfortunate appetite for strong drink, was one of the 
early settlers in Wilton. He removed to North Platte in 1865, 
where he died of convulsions April 7tli. 

Augusta A. Fratzke, daughter of Mr. John Fratzke, of Free- 
dom, aged nine years, was instantly killed in her father's house 
on April 21st by the accidental discharge of a gim. Her head 
was blown off by the discharge and the walls of the room were 
literally covered with her brain and pieces of her skull. It ap- 
pears that on the day previous her father had been out himting 
and was unable to discharge one barrel of the gun. When he 


came home in the evening he put the gun into an open closet, be- 
hind a lounge. At the time of the accident, Augusta, a brother 
a little older and a girl named Bade, together with a cat and a dog, 
were at play, when suddenly the gun was thrown over against the 
lounge and discharged with the terrible result noted. 

Mr. B. F. lianes, one of the very early settlers of Vivian, an edu- 
cated, bachelor recluse, died the last week in June, of fever. 

Mr. E. J. Hurd, of Janesville, while at work in his sawmill 
June 28th, was caught by one of the belts and thrown against a 
post with such violence as to cause almost instant death. 


It was during the month of October, 1872, that certain persons 
in Rice county that owned mills along Straight river commenced 
ditching with the avowed intention of draining the lakes of 
Woodville into Crane Creek, hoping thus to supply water for 
their mills. This movement aroused a strong feeling of indig- 
nation and opposition in Waseca, and an injunction was issued 
to prevent the work. During the legislative session of the ensuing 
winter an act was passed prohibiting the draining of the lakes- 
more especially Clear lake. 


The first snowstorm in the fall was very severe. The Waseca 
News then remarked that the "oldest inhabitant" never before 
saw such a day, so early in the season. "Old Winter" howled and 
screamed and spit snow and made people uncomfortable gen< 
erally. About five inches of snow fell. The roads and railroads 
were blockaded, and business was almost suspended. 

Mr. Simeon Smith, of Blooming Grove, one of the settlers of 
1855, died on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the advanced age of sev- 
enty-eight years. 

Frank McKune, son of Capt. Lewis McKune, who was shot and 
killed at the first battle of Bull Run, died at the residence of 
his sister, in Lake City, Dec. 16, at the age of twenty years, of 
hemorrhage of the lungs. 

The prices of wheat during the months of November and De- 
cember ranged from 80 to 98 cents. Sales of wheat at the elevator 
in Waseca during the last six weeks of the year ranged from 4,500 


to 12,000 bushels. The crop was a good one throughout the 
county, although in some places there was considerable loss ou 
account of the August storm. 


This peculiar horse disease made its appearance in this section 
in the month of November and soon became epidemic. The ill- 
ness commenced with a half-suppressed cough, which soon be- 
came more violent. A fever set in with intense heat of the mouth 
and a discharge from the nose of offensive mucus, in large quan- 
tities. The horses attacked refused all food, would not lie down, 
and, in a few days, became very weak. Many died. The best 
veterinary surgeons described the disease as acute catarrh and 
influenza. The distemper, or disease, originated in eastern Can- 
ada where thousands of horses died. It next appeared in the 
p]astern States and thence came West. The large cities seemed 
to suffer the most. In some cities the horses would all be taken 
in one day, as it were, and all business would be brought to a 
standstill. That was before the introduction of electric cars, 
and when horse cars were being used in all large cities. During 
the latter part of December nearly all business was brought to 
a stand-still in this county by the "epizooty." During the week 
ending December 28, only 358 bushels and 40 pounds of wheat were 
marketed in "Waseca, while during the first week in that month 
11,580 1-2 bushels were received by the same elevator. Not very 
many horses died in this section, but nearly all were affected by 
the disease more or less. 

This December was one of the very coldest in the history of 
the county. In many places, the day before Christmas, the 
thermometers registered as low as "2'i and 30 degrees. Fortunately, 
during the coldest days, there was no wind and the atmosphere 
was dry and crisp. In Chicago the thermometer said 20 degrees 
below, and at Fort Scott, Kansas, IS degrees below. 



The New Year's Day of 1873 was very fine indeed. After the 
terribly cold week about Christmas time the simny, pleasant 
ushering in of the new year was very acceptable. The Waseca 
News of that day contained the following: 

"The old year, with its hardships, wrongs, crimes, wickedness; with its 
joys, pleasures, successes, advancement, and plenteous harvests, passed 
into historical eternity last night. To-day we commence anew. 

"Has the experience of the past given us brighter hopes of the future? 
Life is what we make it. Each can help to make it a heaven or a hell. 
Each Individual must advance. No one can stand still. One's progress 
is either for better or worse. To-day many will degrade their manhood 
and disgrace their families. Many a father will set a bad example be- 
fore his sons. On the other hand, many sons and daughters will com- 
mence the new year in a manly, womanly, and sensible way. They will 
not get drunk themselves nor give drunkenness to their friends. The 
'coming man and woman' will not drink wine nor any other intoxicating 

"How many of our readers will to-day resolve to inaugurate a new 
fashion, one which shall do away with the damning effects of the bar- 
barous, useless, and expensive custom of tippling? Let the wealthy and 
those high in office set an example worthy of imitation. Wishing our 



readers, one and all, a 'Happy New Year.' we close our 'forms' and say 


The county commission(_'rs this year met on the 7th of January 
and organized by electing Sir. 0. Powell chairman for the third 
time. Little business outside of the ordinary routine was trans- 

The county auditor was directed to procure field notes of sur- 
veys and meanders from the surveyor general. The auditor was 
also "authorized to record in the road calendar the plats, field 
notes, and road orders of all county and state roads in "Waseca 
eoimty legally laid out during the last five years, and to employ 
an assistant to do the work, if necessary.'' 


The 7th of Januai'y opened warm and pleasant. In the after- 
noon the wind cajiie strong from the northwest and before dark 
a blinding snow storm raged over the whole of ^ilinnesota. It 
continued through the night and during the followinti- two days 
and nights. The cold was rather severe and a number of people 
in the state lost their lives. Seventy persons were reported 
frozen to death in the entire state, and thirty-one badly injured 
by frost. The loss of live stock in the state Avas reported as fol- 
lows: horned cattle 2')0, horses 25, shee[) and hogs 10, mules 3. 
No doubt the loss of stock was larger than was i-eported. 

We copy the following from the Waseca News of Jan. 1."), 1S73: 

"A man named Avon Aleckson was chopping in the woods near Lake 
Watkins, in Woodville, Tuesday. When the storm came on he started 
for home, got lost, was out all night and all the next day, till near even- 
ing, before he found a house. His feet were so badly frozen that they 
are black, and it is feared they must be amputated. Otherwise he was 
not badly frozen. But the poor sufferer was so weakened by exposure 
that he died some three weeks later of hemorrhage of the lungs. 

"Mr. J. G. Greening, of Otisco, who came from Blue Earth City, last 
Friday, informs us that a Mrs, Suitz, living near Wisners Grove. Fari- 
bault county, was found dead after the storm, about half a mile from 
her house. It appears that her husband went to Delavan that morning, 
and that the woman let one of her children go to a neighbor's house. 
When the storm came on she went to her neighbor's place to get the 
child, leaving her other child in the house. The neighbor prevailed upon 
her to return, bring her other child and remain over night. The poor 


woman started for her home, lost her way in the blinding storm and 
perished. The child left at home — about three years of age — was found 
in bed alive." 

Mr. James Ivers, of Byron, lost fifteen sheep out of twenty- 
three. J\Ir. Bevans of the same town lost an ox. Mr. Mayne, of 
AVilton, also lost an ox. Several head of cattle perished on H. J. 
AVadsworth's farm in "Wilton. 

Mr. Rodney Hanks, then a resident of Vivian, was returning 
home from Janesville on the afternoon of the 7th, with a span 
of mules. He had great confidence in his mules, and believing 
that they would take him home in due time, gave them their 
o^vn way. They finally got tired of tramping snow and stopped 
short on the prairie, refusing to go further in such a storm. Mr. 
Hanks had on a small load of wood which he piled up on the 
windward side as a protection, and turned his wagon box bot- 
tom side up as a protection. Here he sheltered himself as best 
he could from the howling, pitiless storm until Friday morning, 
when he made his way home. Although considerably frosted 
he was not permanently injured. But the wonder is that the 
man and the mules did not all perish. 

No weather can suppress some newspaper men. The next 
week after this storm the following appeared : 

"When the cold wind blows, take care of your nose, that it doesn't get 
froze, and wrap up your toes in warm woolen hose.' The above, we sup- 
pose, was written in prose by some one who knows the effect of cold 
snows, and the further this goes, the longer it grows, each telling what 
he knows about writing in prose, when it snows and it blows, as it so 
often does." — Ex. 

To which the "Winona Republican added: 

"Ere the ditty we close we must tell of our Mose, who indignantly rose, 
and proceeded to expose the substance of our woes, where the Mississip' 
flows. He positively knows that the river is froze, without regard to 
zero's from its head to its toes." 

And the "Waseca News continued: 

" 'Pat' don't propose to favor those who read this prose with what he 
knows of wind and snows, and frosted toes, and tattered clothes, and 
all the woes that follow those who won't repose at home and doze when 
it snows and blows." 


One of the most terrible crimes known in the history of the 
county came to light on the 17th day of February, 1873. On that 


fatal Monday morning, Anton Ruf, residing in the eastern part of 
Woodville, deliberately murdered Mrs. Alexander Buser and her 
youngest child, evidently with Mrs. Buser 's connivance and con- 
sent. The evidence showed that he first cut the child's throat, 
then killed the woman and laid the lifeless form of the infant 
upon its mother's arm on the bed. Ruf then cut his own throat 
and lay down beside them, but, in his death agony, turned over 
and fell upon the floor face downward. A large butcher knife 
had evidently been sharpened for the occasion as such a knife 
was found near the bed. 

The history of this affair if fully written, would fill many 
pages and rival the awful stories of the romances of the last 
century. The facts are revolting enough and are given here as 
they were brought out at the time of the awful tragedy. 

Anton Ruf, a German by birth and a single man, several .vears 
before the tragedy, bought a piece of land in the eastern part 
of Woodville, and erected a house. IK- then wrote to an acquaint- 
ance in Wisconsin, ]Mr. Alexander Buser, a married man, and 
invited him to come with his family and live with him. ilr. Buser 
accepted the invitation, and came on from Wisconsin in April, 
1869, bringing Avith him his wife and three children. Islr. Buser 
bought a half interest in the farm and moved into the house 
with Ruf. For a time matters went along smoothly, but after a 
few months, Mr. Buser suspected that ilrs. Buser was at least 
dividing affections with Mr. Ruf. Quarreling ensued, and mat- 
ters went from bad to worse until in October 1871, Buser attempt- 
ed to expel Ruf from the house. A fight ensued in which Buser 
came out second best and was driven away entirely. Ruf and 
]\lrs. Buser remained on the premises, and, so far as known, lived 
agreeably together, the children remaining with them, until 
district court convened Feb. 11, 1873. At this term of court, 
information was placed l)efore the grand jury accusing the par- 
ties of criminal intimacy. The AYaseca News of February 19 and 
26 contained substantially the following acooimt of the bloody 
tragedy : 

"The history of the affair, as near as we can learn is as follows; Mr. 
Alexander Buser, lawful husband of the woman, moved into the house 
with Anton Ruf, a single man, in April, 1869. Mr. and Mrs. Buser had 
three children at that time, two boys and a girl; the eldest, n boy, being 


about thirteen years of age at the time of the murder. A fourth child 
was born to the woman about two years before the tragedy. In October, 
1871, as Mr. Buser claims, he was driven away by Ruf, and after this 
time the latter and Mrs. Buser lived together in undisputed possession 
of the premises, the children remaining with them. 

"On the morning of the fatal day, when the children started for 
school, the mother told them that she was going to Waseca. The chil- 
dren remained at school throughout the day, and when they returned 
home in the evening, found the door fastened. Supposing that their 
mother had not yet returned from Waseca, they went to the house of 
Mr. Michael Spillane, Sen., about a quarter of a mile away, and remained 
over night. The following morning, the elder boy and T. Tynen, another 
lad, went to the Ruf house, and, finding the door fastened, looked in at 
the window when they saw Ruf lying on the floor, covered with blood, 
dead. These boys, frightened at the awful sight, hurried back to Mr. 
Spillane's place and got Michael Spillane, Jr., to go over to the house 
with them. Messrs. Waldo and Whitman also visited the house but no 
one broke open the door or entered the house at the time. One of the 
Spillane boys then drove to Waseca and notified the coroner. Dr. Mc- 
intosh, who summoned a jury and proceeded to the house where they 
found the woman and her youngest child dead on the bed, with their 
throats cut square across, and Ruf dead, lying upon the floor with his 
throat also cut across almost from ear to ear. The bed and the room 
presented a horribly bloody appearance. 

"It appeared that the triple murder was committed with the utmost 
deliberation. Both Ruf and Mrs. Buser wrote letters which they left 
upon the table in the room. 

"These letters showed some sentimental affection between the two, 
and accused others of their troubles. Neither one seemed to realize the 
moral depravity of the two as exemplified in their lives. 

"The following are correct translations of the letters found In the 
house by Coroner Mcintosh: 

"Dear Mine: — Hear the last painful cry of your friend! By the time 
you receive this I shall be before the Heavenly Judge. He may judge 
me. I was hounded to death. I got one to ask Alexander (Buser) to 
save me. He did it not. I will not go to state prison. 

"I pray you to make it possible to get my poor, dear Mina to you. I 
beg you to do it. You know that I wept when she was born, and that 
I had a sad presentiment of something bad. O, my time is short. I suf- 
fer agonies for my children which are terrible. Judge not. You know 
that I love my children, that I would do so longer, but circumstances 
do not leave me in condition to do so. 

"Thine, Anna." 

The foregoing was folded and addressed to Salome Duerft, 
New Glarus, Green county, Wis. 


On another sheet of paper she wrote : 

"Farewell, poor children. Your father ought to have saved me, but he 
could not or would not do it. You, my dear, dear Mina, follow your 
mother as soon as you can. The world is a hard place. 

"My soul entreats you, even after death, not to curse your poor, un- 
fortunate mother. 

(Signed) "Anna." 

On the same page, in Ruf's handwriting was the following: 
"Dear Anna has fully determined to die rather than be dragged before 
a court, together with those horrible folks, and afterwards to be ridi- 
culed and despised." 

ilrs. Buser again wrote as follows, signing her maiden name : 

"No man should ascribe the cause of this deed to Ruf, but to 

and Alexander Buser. They wanted to hound Ruf to death. I follow him 
of my own free will that the world may see that our affection for each 
other was no misdemeanor (kein unfug.) All of you together shall not 
triumph. (Signed) "Anna Ritter." 

Then in her writing was added: 

"Here I write my last testimony." (then Ruf continues) "Alexander 

Buser and • — are the murderers of dear Anna. We are willing 

to die. I swore I would follow her. Only God, the Judge, or the Judg- 
ment day can make all things right. 

(Signed) "A. Ruf." 

The following on the inside of the door was evidently written by Ruf 
after having murdered the woman and child: 

"No one parts love save Death. I wanted to take Mina along too. A 
few words of sympathy would have saved the mother and her child from 
being murdered. I waited till 12 o'clock noon." 

To make the letters and writing m^re intelligible in some re- 
spects it is proper to state that Ruf and the woman had been in- 
formed that their past conduct was being investigated by the 
grand jury. This information no doubt alarmed them. On Sat- 
urday Ruf visited AVaseca and conferred with an attorney. It 
appears that his attorney made a written proposition to Buser, 
who was then in the neighborhood, asking him to consent to a 
divorce. Ruf and the woman probjibly expected that Buser, if 
willing to consent to a divorce, would write or call immediately 
and let them know his intention. i\.s they received no word from 
him, they no doubl believed that they would be arrested and 
sent to prison. 

The appearance of the victims at the coroner's inquest was 


most shocking and horrible. The child's head was nearly sever- 
ed from the body at one stroke of the knife. The woman re- 
ceived a severe gash across both shoulders and the throat— prob- 
ably from one powerful blow. It was evident that Ruf drew the 
knife twice across his own throat. 

]Mr. Buser soon after retux'ned to Wisconsin, taking the children 
with him. So far as known, Ruf had no relatives in this country. 


An article with the above heading appeared in the Waseca 
News of ]\Iarch 19, 1873, and read as follows : 

"Two fat hogs belonging to Wm. Bevans, of Byron, that were lost dur- 
ing the snow storm of Jan. 7th, last, were found alive and healthy on the 
14th inst., in a snow drift adjoining a straw stack. Sixty-eight days 
under a snow drift and yet alive is doing pretty well. Messrs. Garmody 
and Covell, of Wilton, who are responsible for this information, remark- 
ed that it was the 'cheapest way in the world to winter hogs.' " 


This organization, which had been at work for several years 
among the farmers of the country, especially in the West, or- 
ganized a county grange in Waseca, May 3, 1873. It was run on 
the narrow-gauge plan, but it nevertheless accomplished a great 
deal of good. The call for the meeting was signed "Wm. A. 
Erwin, secretary," by order of committee. 

The temporary organization was effected by the election of I. 
D. Beaman, of Blooming Grove, temporary chairman; and W. 
D. Armstrong, temporary secretary. After the election of a 
committee on credentials and one on permanent organization, a 
recess was taken till afternoon. 

At the afternoon session, the committee on credentials reported 
the following gentlemen entitled to seats: J. S. Abell, Joseph 
ilinges, Adam Bishman, A. L. Warner, and Sam Leslie, of Po- 
mona grange ; C. E. Graham, S. Hydorn, D. D. Green, P. Vander- 
warka, and C. Bates, of, County Line grange ; A. Keyes, S. C. 
L. JMoore, and S. C. Dow, of Alma City grange ; Hugh Wilson, R. 
F. Stevens, J. Tumacliff, Noah Lincoln, and Geo. H. Woodbury, 
of Wilton grange; Philo Woodruff, David Wood, M. Dewald, 
and J. R.Davidson, of Hazel Dale grange; I. D. Beaman, S. F. 
Wyman, Albert Remund, Patrick Haley, and Wm. Habein, of 


Blooming Grove grange ; W. H. Gray, D. Eiegle, James Bowe, F. 
Brossard, P. McDermott, and W. A. Erwin, of Toboso grange; 
H. W. S. Hinkley, Wm. Runnels, W. D. Armstrong, ^Sl. F. Connor, 
and Nicholas Fox, of Connor grange ; il. Haley, Patrick Murray, 
H. Haley, John McWaide, and James Jones, of Hibernia grange. 

Waseca grange No. 49 elected three delegates to the council, 
who presented their credentials. The committee to whom they 
were referred disagreed as to the propriety of admitting any 
Waseca men. The matter was referred to the council and by a 
majority vote it was decided that Waseca grange was not en- 
titled to representation in the coiuicil on the groimd that some 
of the members of that grange were not practical farmers. 

The following permanent officers were elected: I. D. Beaman, 
master; il. F. Connor, overseer; W. D. Armstrong, secretary; S. 
C. L. Moore, gate keeper; John S. Abell, lecturer; A. Keyes, 

A business committee of one from each grange was appointed, 
namely : Hugh Wilson, P. Woodruff, A. L. Warner, il. Haley, A. 
Keyes, P. McDermott, W. D. Armstrong, Patrick Haley, and S. 

This organization was kept i^p for about two years, when 
owing to dissension among the members, it gradually disappear- 


The weather was grand, and there was a general observance 
of the day in Waseca. Hon. il. D. L. Collester was the orator of 
the day and delivered a very fine address. 

The baseball game between the Blooming Grove Champions 
and the ]\Iankato ckib, was the absorbing entertainment of the 
day. Blooming Grove won by a score of 62 to 13. A few slight 
accidents were reported. Some one drove into 'Sir. Thos. Bar- 
den's buggy and overturned it, throwing ;Mrs. Barden out and 
bruising her somewhat, though not seriously. :\Ir. Thomas 
Lynch, of Wilton, had a runaway in which he and his wife 
were thrown out of the buggy without suffering serious harm. 


On August 29th, Mr. John Bowe, of Blooming Grove, was 


accidentally woimdod by the discharge of a shot gun in the 
hands of one of the Bowe boys, the hammer of the lock acciden- 
tally slipping from his hand. The wound though painful, was 
liot dangerous. 


The NorthKeld base-ball club challenged the Blooming (irove 
Champions to a match game of ball at the fair grounds, in North- 
field, on the ISth of September. The Northfield club held the 
silver bat of the state, and this was offered as the prize for the 
winning side. The Blooming Grove boys won the prize by a 
score of forty-six to nineteen. The Northfield boys suffered 
three whitewashes, Blooming Grove none. IMartin Haley was 
the captain and pitcher; Jas. Johnson, catcher; Wm. Johnson, 
first base; Pi-ank Haley, second base; C. D. Todd, third base; 
E. W. Jacklin, short stop; G. Donaldson, right fielder; F. Col- 
lins, center fielder; John Blowers, left fielder. Some years after, 
the club, having lost some of its best players, lost the prize in a 
game with the Winnebago City club. The last heard of the sil- 
ver bat it was in the hands of the college boys of Winnebago 


There was a snow storm on the night of Oct. 24 that continued 
through the night and into the forenoon of the 25th. Snow fell 
to the depth of about ten inches, and the drifts, in places remain- 
ed luitil spring. The strong wind accompanying the snow swept 
it from most of the plowed fields, so that considerable fall plow- 
ing was done after the storm; but fall work was very much in- 
terfered with on the farms. 


This was the year when the anti-monopoly sentiment was very 
strong throughout the nation. The order of the Patrons of 
Husbandry had established a "Grange" in almost every farm- 
ing community, and its teachings had aroused a very strong op- 
position to the extortions and unjust discriminations practiced 
by the transportation corporations. The high rates of interest 
charged throughout the West also caused much hardship and 


loss of property. The people were thoroughly aroused and, to a 
certain extent, joined hand in hand for self protection. The peo- 
ple of Waseca county were never more thoroughly aroused than 
during the campaign of 1873. Hon. C. K. Davis, republican, and 
Hon. Ara Barton, democrat, were the opposing candidates for 
governor. Mr. Davis carried the county by a majority of 166. 
The result of the votes for county representatives and officers 
was as follows: 

REPRESENTATIVES. Geo. McDermott, ind 24 

L. D. Smith, rep 967 

J. E. Child, rep 765 REGISTER OP DEEDS. 

Kelsey Curtis, dem 478 H. A. Mosher, rep 845 

David Wood, dem 599 Louis Krassin, dem 562 


Warren Smith, rep 986 G. H. Woodbury, rep 512 

M. Sheran, dem 381 C. Cunningham, dem 196 

S. W. Long, ind 696 


J. A. Canfleld, rep 774 CORONER. 

Neri Reed, dem 617 l. d. Mcintosh, rep 1402 


F. A. Newell, rep 502 r. ,^ /-, • j ,oo 

„ „ „ ' „„„ R. O. Craig, dem 193 

P. McGovern, dem 898 „ t> t, i j 

H. P. Packard, rep 112 

COURT COMMISSIONER. H. K. Stearns, rep 217 

J. B. Smith, rep 1403 Frank McLane, dem 69 

Quite an effort was made throughout the state by the cor- 
porations to defeat Hon. C. K. Davis, but he received a majority 
of about 5,000. The issue that absorbed public attention more 
than any other was that of railroad discrimination. The 
"Grangers" of Waseca county, at their county council, held 
July 12, 1873, "resolved that the charge of $20 by the W. & St. 
P. R. R. Co. (now C. & N.-W. Ry. Co.) for simply hauling a 
loaded car of lumber or lime from Owatonna to Waseca, a dis- 
tance of fifteen miles, when the regular eharoe for hauling the 
same car load from Winona to Waseca, a distance of one hun- 
dred and five miles, is only $20, is an unjust discrimination and 
an outrageous extortion that calls loudly for a stringent legal 
remedy. ' ' 

In Rice county complaint was made that a carload of lumber 
shipped from Minneapolis to Faribault cost the Faribault dealer 


$31.50 in freight, while the same carload of lumber shipped to 
Owatonna, fifteen miles further, over the same road, cost only 
$22 freight— a discrimination against Faribault of $9.50 on every 
carload. The same carload, shipped forty-eight miles further 
south to Austin, cost only $24 freight— discrimination of $7.50 
per carload. In the matter of through rates from the east, the 
same wrong was manifest. The railway rates on goods from 
Chicago to Faribault were, per 100 pounds, for first class goods, 
$1.10; second class, $1.00; third class, 75 cents; fourth class 55 
cents. The rates charged on the same classes, transported by 
the same road through Faribault to St. Paul, fifty-six miles fur- 
ther, were 80 cents for first class; 70 cents for second class, and 
35 cents for third class. 

In view of these unjust discriminations, practiced everywhere 
in the state, the people in every farming community demanded 
the enactment of a law prohibiting the charging of a greater 
freight rate for a short distance than was at the same time charged 
for a longer distance over the same road and in the same di- 

It was contended by the Grange men that, in view of these 
undisputed facts, the law ought to require the railroad corpora- 
tions to charge equal rates to' all men, and to carry freight a 
short distance over the same road at a fixed rate for a short 
haul which should not exceed the charge for a longer haul. 
They claimed that this demand was no more than fair and rea- 
sonable, and that no sane or reasonable person desired to injure 
the railroads nor require them to perform service at unfair or 
unreasonable rates. Notwithstanding this fair and just request, 
there was and is the very strongest opposition to any law which 
shall honestly and effectually carry out the principle of equal 
and reasonable rates. 


The year 1873 was considered by many as one of the worst, 
financially, ever experienced by the country up to that time. 
Waseca county suffered much less than many other localities, 
owing, doubtless, to its very productive soil and convenient mar- 
kets. The spring time brought disappointment to farmers on 
account of the cold, wet weather. There was considerable 


warm weather the first week in March, and most of the snow 
disappeared, but about the middle of that month there com- 
menced a series of rain and light snow storms with cold, freezing 
nights, which kept the fields in bad condition until the middle 
of April. Flat, wet lands could not well be seeded, and where 
seeded gave no crop. Some of the early sowed grain rotted. On 
the 17th of May a heavy rainstorm visited the country and con- 
tinued for several days off and on, making the roads of this 
county almost impassable and seriously delaying corn planting. 
Owing to the hard winter, the cold, wet spring or some other 
cause, many of the fruit trees, though putting forth their leaves 
in the spring, withered and died during the summer. Only 
those in the most favored locations and of the hardiest varieties 
survived the season. The summer season from the first of June 
until October, however, made up to a great extent for the dis- 
agreeable and discouraging spring. The crops were fairly good, 
especially the wheat and hay crops, and the favorable harvest 
weather enabled the husbandmen to save everything in good 

Notwithstanding these fairly good conditions, agriculturally, 
times were close. Judge Kiester, in his history of Faribault 
county, asserts that "money was extremely scarce and rates of 
interest very high. Everybody was more or less in debt, and 
everyone to whom money was due was urgent, persistent for 
his pay. The county newspapers were filled with notices of 
mortgage foreclosures and sales of land under execution. Dur- 
ing this and several subsequent years, many homes and farms 
passed away forever from the hard-working pioneers for a very 
small proportion of their real value. In the fall there came upon 
the nation a great money panic— a tremendous financial crash. 
The great failure of Jay Cook (ic Co., led off in this dance of fi- 
nancial dishonor and death. Banks were suspended, thousands of 
individuals of supposed great wealth, and great moneyed cor- 
porations of all kinds went down to ruin and bankruptcy. (Ireat 
manufactories and mines were closed down, and gre;\t public en- 
terprises were brought to a sudden close. The number of de- 
faulters in both public office and private station was legion. 
The army of the unemployed swelled to hundreds of thousands, 


and great privation and distress prevailed throughout the coun- 
try. This was the visible beginning of one of the greatest finan- 
cial disasters in the history of our country, and one vfhieh con- 
tinued its work of ruin and distress for several years." 

The causes of this wide-spread disaster, as claimed by one set 
of economists, were over-production, wild speculation, extrava- 
gant and wasteful living, contracting debts for what we did not 
need, borrowing money to build railroads where there was no- 
thing for them to do, and the building of villages and cities 
with no farming country to back them. 

Another set of economists urge upon our attention the fact 
that, notwithstanding our enormous national debt, then payable 
in greenbacks and silver dollars, congress, in the month of Feb- 
ruary, at the instigation, and through the corrupting influences 
of English and European capitalists, who were large holders of 
our bonds, bought for greenbacks and made payable in green- 
backs, silver or gold, passed an act, ostensibly relating only to 
the national mint and coinage, but which really and actually 
demonetized silver by destroying the silver dollar and providing 
that silver money should not be a legal tender for any greater 
sum than five dollars. The work of demonetization was accom- 
plished without the knowledge of the people at larRc, and a 
great majority of the members of congress afterwards declared 
that they did not know, when the law was passed, that it de- 
monetized silver. These economic writ(>i-s claim that the de- 
struction of our silver money doubled the debts of the debtor 
class, or poor people, while by the same act the bonds of the 
bondholder were doubled in value. In other words, that values 
of actual property and labor were, by the act, so depreciated 
that it would take, for instance, two hundred bushels of wheat 
tfi pay the debt which, when contracted, called for only one hun- 
dred bushels. 

Whatever the cause may have been, the depression was uni- 
versal and the suffering wide-spread, especially in the large 


There were several prominent deaths during the year. Robert 
Woodrow, one of the early settlers of Woodville, died February 


3, 1873, after an illness of several months. He left a wife and 
two children. 

Mrs. Michael Kinney, one of the pioneer women of Iosco, died 
February 8 and was buried February 10. Her funeral was very 
largely attended, the large Catholic church being entirely filled. 

There was a very heavy snow storm February 26, so heavy 
that the roads and railroads were badly blockaded for two or 
three days. 

John Toole, section foreman at Janesville, aged 64 years, was 
killed March 7, 1873, by being thrown from a hand-car by a 
freight train. 

Nettie, four-year-old daughter of Mr. Alex. Brisbane, then of 
Wilton, was so badly scalded by falling upon a kettle contain- 
ing boiled potatoes that she died March 9, after twenty-four 
hours of great suffering. 

Henry Adolphus Trowbridge, highly respected son of Hon. I. 
C. Trowbridge, of Waseca, died April '20, 1873. 

A daughter of Mr. and Mr. John Forest, then of Wilton, died 
April 22. 

Mrs. Wm. Orcutt, of Freedom, after a severe illness, died April 

On June 3, Wm. Bluhm, a lad about fifteen j^ears of age, son of 
Henry Bluhm, then of Merideii, accidentally shot himself while 
hunting in the woods. In drawing his gun over a log the gun 
was accidentally discharged, its contents striking him in the neck 
and throat. He died soon after. 

A young child, aged one year and eight months, of Mr. and 
Mrs. Isaac Ballard, of St. :Mary, fell into a pail of hot water on 
Saturday and was so badly scalded that it died on Sunday, July 5. 

Albert il. Smith, of Waseca, son of J. B. Smith, died July -i, at 
the age of twenty-seven years, of consumption. 
I A child of Mr. D. A. Erwiu, of St. Jlary, two years old, met 
with a sad accident Sept. 29, It upset a dish of hot starch, pre- 
pared for ironing purposes, and was severely burned upon its 
breast, abdomen and legs. It lingered until October S, wheu death 
came to its relief. 

Samuel, son of Anthony Sampson, of New Richland, a boy 
about nine years of age, fell from a wagon, Ov\. 10, 1873. and was 
so badly in.jured that lu' died within a few minutes after his fall. 


On the 17th of the same month, a son of John Byron, of St. Mary, 
about seventeen years of age, got caught on the tumbling rod of 
a threshing machine and was so badly injured that he died the 
following Monday, the 20th. Both of these families were among 
the very early settlers of the county. 

On the 15th of October, Mr. Henry J. Meyers, then of Freedom, 
had his left arm torn off in a threshing machine. His arm was 
amputated at the shoulder and although he was otherwise in- 
jured to some extent, he soon recovered. 

An elderly gentleman named Tosten Tostenson was found dead 
on the north shore of Clear Lake, Oct. 22. He was found with his 
face in the water and his body on the shore. It was thought that 
he knelt down on the shore to get a drink of water ; that he fell 
in with his face down, and had not suffteient strength to raise 
himself out of the water. 

The salary of the county superintendent of schools, for the 
first time in the history of the county, was made somewhat com- 
mensurate to the labor required of the oiScer. On the 21st of 
March the county board having theretofore appointed one of its 
members superintendent, raised the salary to $720 per annum. 

There was a heavy snow storm this year, April 9, when sis 
inches of snow fell. 

The tax list for the comity, this year, filled over ten columns 
of a seven-column paper, set in brevier type. The list was the 
smallest it had been for five years. The tax lists of the early 
days Avere the main support of local newspapers in each county. 

On May 8, this year, Hon. Wm. Brisbane started on his journey 
to visit the scenes of his childhood in his native Scotland. 

During the months of September and October, of this year, 
the Waseca railroad elevator received 86,898 bushels of wheat, of 
which 13,521 bushels graded No. 1—71,817 bushels graded No. 2, 
and 1,567 bushels went rejected. 

On the 27th of November, Mr. James Gearin, of Wilton, had the 
misfortune to lose his dwelling house and all its contents by fire. 
He carried only a small amount of insurance, but the members 
of the grange to which he belonged, known as Connor Grange, at 
once clubbed together and erected a new house for him. 



The year 1873 closed with a pleasant day, and the new year 
187-1 was introduced by the most beantifiil winter day ever seen 
in ilinnesota. The sky was cloudless. The sun shone in all its 
beauty during the whole day. There was almost a perfect calm, 
and the atmosphere was as warm and balmy as in spring time. 

The county conuuissioners assembled at the court house Jan- 
uary 6th, and organized by electing AYm. Byron, of St. ilary, 
chairman for the year.- 

License for the sale of liquors was fixed at one himdred dollars. 

The following road and bridge appropriations were made : .^150 
to aid in building a bridge across the Le Sueur River, where the 
Freeborn and Owatonna road crosses said stream; .i^riO to help 
ilnish the bridge and grading at JIcDougall creek where the Wa- 
seca and Wilton road crosses the same; $100 to be used in re- 
paring the road known as the Wilton and Faribault higliAvay at 
the Chesterson and Bowe hills; >|^11,") to repair the road and bridge 
near Alma City, across the Le Sueur I^iver, on the Janesville 

H. G. Mosher was re-appointed county superintendent of 
schools at a salary of $720. 



This body assembled Jan. 6, and adjourned March 6. "Waseca 
county was represented in the senate by W. G. Ward, and in the 
house by L. D. Smith and James E. Child. It was dubbed by the 
corporation men "the Grange legislature," not an inappropriate 
designation. No legislature of this state has ever contained a 
greater proportion of true, tried, honest, and capable men, than 
that of 1874. The battle between the true representatives of the 
people and those influenced by the corporations was carried from 
the polls, at the fall election, to the halls of legislation. The 
choice of speaker of the house turned upon the issue— "Shall the 
state control the railroads in the matter of rates for the transpor- 
tation of freight and passengers?" 

As in all issues of his kind, it was found that the railroad lobby- 
ists were the loudest "reformers." The corporations induced 
such men as the late Hon. I. Donnelly to urge the election of Hon. 
John X. Davidson, of St. Paul, a "Liberal Republican," as 
against Hon. A. R. Hall, who represented a farming community 
in Hennepin county, and who had been speaker in 1872 and 1873. 
In the hope of dividing the real anti-monopoly forces in the legis- 
lature, the corporations attempted to work up a contest for 
S|)eaker among them and finally defeat both by electii'g a speaker 
of their own. 

The "Minneapolis Sunday ilirror" was chosen especial cham- 
pion of this move, and after the defeat of the scheme, published 
the following screed : 

"Last summer 'Pat' (James E.) Child, editor of the Waseca News, 
made an herculean effort to become a member of the Grange at that 
place, and by virtue of the fact that he owned a farm in that vicinity, 
succeeded. As a consequence he was elected to the legislature, where 
he was expected to labor, first, last and all the time in the interests 
of the Anti-Monopolist party. But what was the result? The Grangers, 
on gathering together on the eve of the session, counted noses and con- 
cluded their force was strong enough to elect the speaker, and they set 
their pins accordingly. 'Pat' was confidently counted as one of them, and 
they relied upon him to take a prominent post. A caucus was called, 
and to the unqualified astonishment of the clan, 'Pat' was found in the 
ranks of their opponents. He was in favor of the election of Hall as 
against a reform candidate. Wonder-struck, several of the Grange party 
interviewed him. 'What's the matter, 'Pat?' ' said they. 'Well," he 


evasively replied, 'I find myself so mixed up that I must support Mr. 
Hall for speaker.' " 

Then this organ of plutocracy went on to insinuate that Mr. 
Child had been bribed to support Hall, and urged as proof the 
fact that Child was appointed ' ' chairman of the most responsible 
committee of the house — that on railroads." 

The paper containing this article was not one of general circula- 
tion in the state, but very many copies of it were mailed to people 
of Waseca count.y before Mr. Child knew anything of it, and 
when it was called to his attention he dismissed it as unworthy of 

But he soon after learned that innocent people had been im- 
posed upon by the story, and at the urgent request of friends, gave 
out the following statement : 

"It is not true that 'Pat' Child became a member of the Grange last 
summer, (1873) but it is true that he and a number of other persons 
started the first Grange in Waseca county. It was organized under a 
special charter, or dispensation, issued by Wm_ Saunders, Master of the 
National Grange, and duly certified to by O. W. Kelly, National Secretary 
and one of the organizers of the association, and Is dated May 14, 1870. 
Mr. Child Is still a member of the same Grange. Before the meeting of 
the legislature, Mr. Child had declined to be a candidate for speaker, and 
was one of the very first to advocate the election of Mr. A. R. Hall; and 
that too, without any communication with Mr. Hall whatever on the 
subject. When Mr. Child arrived at St. Paul, he found that the cor- 
porations, through their lobby, had induced many of the country mem- 
bers to urge him for the speakership, and soon after his arrival a so-call- 
ed committee waited upon him and urged him to become a candidate for 
speaker. Mr. Child promptly informed them that he did not desire 
the speakership, and that he had already decided to support Mr. Hall, 
believing him to be a man of ability and integrity and anxious to deal 
honorably and fairly with all the people and all the interests of the 
state. He also pointed out to the members that called upon him that 
the men back of the move were railroad lobbyists, as he believed, and 
that their object was to divide the anti-monopoly forces and then elect 
one of their own men— thus getting control of the machinery of the 
house. It is true that Mr. Child has been appointed chairman of the 
railroad committee. It is also true that one hundred, and six other gen- 
tlemen were appointed upon various committees by Speaker Hall, and 
the insinuation that there was bribery in the appointments made by the 
speaker, is characteristic of the lobbyists and corporation managers, 
who know of no higher incentive than a money or personal consideration.'' 
The author records this affair, not on account of its intrinsic 


importance, biit that people may see how easy it is to smirch 
the character of any man in public life and to make many be- 
lieve that honesty and integrity do not exist among men. And 
these corruptionists make these assaults upon honest men, not be- 
cause they object to corruption in office — but to drive honest men 
from public life so that they, the monopolists, may have an op- 
portunity to plimder the people undisturbed. 

Whether the "Mirror" published the assault upon ]\Ir. Child 
because its editor was misinformed and misled, or for a money 
consideration, the author does not know; but sixty days thereaf- 
ter, the same paper, for reasons known only to its editor, publish- 
ed the following, sending Mr. Child a marked copy : 

"James B. Child, (better known as 'Pat' Child) sits in the 'no corner;' 
he cares for nobody and nobody cares for him. No man can approach 
him, no man could corrupt him, no man could convince him; he knows 
how it is himself. — He is generally right, and stands well among the 
members, notwithstanding his eccentricities, and has made an excellent 
member. — If every legislature had a 'Pat' Child there would be less 
foolish legislation." 


The railroad battle opened in the senate the first week of the 
session, when Senator Coggswell, of Steele county, introduced "A 
bill for an Act to create a board of railroad comhiissioners and to 
provide rules for the management of all railroad 
corporations and railroads in the state of Minne- 
sota." The friends of the bill flid not feel sure of the 
senate, but had more confidence in the house; so a few of the 
trusty, hardworkers of the house, with the assistance of Senator 
Coggswell and of Gen. Edgerton, railroad commissioner, took the 
Coggswell bill, revised and amended it in some respects, and 
had it introduced in the house by Hon. C. S. Crandall, of Owa- 
tonna. The move was non-partisan so far as its friends could 
make it so— Senator Coggswell being a democrat. Representative 
Crandall a republican, and both from the same county of Steele. 

The bill, as introduced, was substantially a copy of the Illinois 
law enacted in 1871, and now (1904) in force in that state. It 
prohibited discriminations and made it the duty of the commis- 
sioners to fix all rates on all the roads. It gave the commis- 
sion entire control of the roads subject to the decision of the 


courts in certain cases. The bill was stubbornly fought at every 
stage of the proceedings both in the house and senate. The first 
test vote in the house resulted as follows : 

Ayes — Adley, Berry, Beals, Brown, L. Buell, Burlison, Child, Clark, 
Crandall, Daniels, Dickerson, Doesdall, Eppel, Gilmore, Gillick, Graling, 
Greer, Halvorson, Hanson, J. N. Hanson, A. R. Harrington, Healy, Hill, 
How, Hoyt, Hughes, Hyslop, James, Kenworthy, Lafond, Martin, J., Man- 
ning, Meyerding, Melrose, Metcalf, Morgan, Morse, Nelson, Norton, Olds, 
Ottun, Parmerlee, Passon, Pease, Pond, Pratt, Rice, Shellman, Sloan, 
Smith, L. D. Smith, Isaac, Stanton, Taylor, D., Taylor,. J., Tirrell, Trask, 
Truwe, Treadwell, Walker, West, Wells, White, Williston, Woodbury and 
Mr. Speaker. — C5. 

Nays — Adams, Auge, Babcock, Barns, Benz, Benson, Becker, Brown, 
L. M., Davidson, Delaney, Denny, Dilley, Drury, Eckdall, Fletcher, 
Groetsch, Hansing, Jordan, Lawrence, Langley, Lord, Loomis, Martin, J., 
McArthur, McCluskey, McDermid, Pettit, Rahilly and J. K. Smith.— 20. 

Those not voting were Messrs. Barron, Fiker, Foss, Fleming, Hechtman, 
Jones, Kletchka, Mason, McDonnell, Peck, Rieland and Swanstrom. 

This vote di'iiionstrated that the people had a working majority 
of twelve in the house, and yet so persistently was the bill opposed 
that it did not finally pass until next to the last day of the session 
for the passage of bills, when the senate learned that none of its 
bills would pass the house until the railroad bill should be aeted 
upon finally in the senate. On the final passage of the bill in the 
senate, only two votes were recorded against it — thiwe of I. Don- 
nelly, granger, and .Senator Drake, of St. Paul, president of the 
St. Paul, ^linneapolis & Omaha Railroad Company. This result 
was so comical that Senator Drake erossed over from his seat and 
shook hands with Senatiir Donnelly amidst the uproarious lauuh- 
ter of the Senate, ]Mr. Donnelly saying: "We elasp hands across 
the bloody chasm." 

This railroad legislation, although acquiesced in, apparently, 
aroused all the animosily of the corporations and of the favored 
shippers in the large cilies, and every prominent anti-monopolist 
in the legislatui'c of ly74 was retired at the next election. Enough 
men were colonized in e\cry county, by the railroads, ten days 
l}efore election, to defeat ob.iectionable men— the people, as a rule, 
being more partisan than sensible. Not only were the legislators 
retired, but Gov. Davis was driven out and kept out until he 
surrendered to the corpor.-itions ten years afterwards. 

From the ad.jonrinnent of the legislature of 1874 \uitil the en- 


suing election, no money or exertion was spared to secure the 
repeal of the law, and the repeal was accomplished in 1875. 


Another matter which was of great importance to the people 
at the time was the taxation of railroad lands. A large amount 
of land granted by government to the Winona & St. Peter Rail- 
road Company had been clandestinely sold to the Winona and St. 
Peter Railroad Land Company, and under the terms of the grant 
the lands had been liable to taxation for a number of years; but 
by shrewd management the company had escaped taxation. In 
the session of 1874, Senator Ward introduced a bill taxing the 
lands and it became a law. Under its provisions, Waseca county 
was entitled to some $10,000 in back taxes. And this, like the 
railroad law prohibiting discriminations, was repealed at the ses- 
sion of 1875, and the people were cheated out of their just dues 
by the legislative action of the railroad combine. The total taxes 
due upon the lands in the state amounted to $61,500.00. 


An extract from the Waseca News of that date will illustrate 
the methods resorted to during the campaign of 1874. This coun- 
ty was then republican by majorities ranging from 125 to 200. 

The News commenting upon the election returns said : 

"There never was a more barefaced and outrageous insult ever offered 
to the resident voters of any county than was perpetrated on last election 
day in this county. The week before election the superintendent of the 
Winona & St. Peter Railroad came to this place, and while here stated 
in substance that he should have votes enough here to defeat the re- 
publican candidate for state senator at any rate. 

"How well he kept his word, let the facts prove. The total vote last 
year, with a full state and county ticket, was 1,408. The highest Demo- 
cratic vote on any state officer (Dike) was 660. The highest Republican 
vote on any state officer was 787 — Republican majority 127. Now mark 
the vote this year! Republican candidate for senator 749; democratic 
candidate, 875 — the latter receiving 215 more votes than were cast the 
year before by the same party. 

"Then look at the vote of last year and this, outside of Waseca and 
Janesville. Last year the total vote of the county, outside of the two 
towns named, was 905, and this year only 952 — an increase of only 47 
votes. Now take the two towns containing the villages of Waseca and 
Janesville: the increased vote in Waseca is 108, and the increased vote 


at Janesville is 61, a total increase of 169 votes. But this is not all. In 
St. Mary there were railroad men enough to increase the vote in that 
town ten over that of last year; making a total increase in the three 
towns of 179 votes. 

"Is there anybody who pretends that the men who were sent to this 
county to carry the election are bona fide residents of the county? No, 
they were simply colonized here for ten days to carry the election 
for the railroad company and the saloonlsts, and the next day they dis- 
appeared like a fog on a June morning. * * * 

"We admit that the majority against us in Janesville and Waseca, 
where the railroad concentrated its votes, where its money could pur- 
chase the riff-raff, where its power could terrify the weak was 192. We 
admit that among the farmers, outside of Janesville and Waseca, where 
money could not bribe, where threats could not intimidate, and 
where principles are not for sale to the highest bidder, our majority was 
48. We admit these facts and admit them with the utmost satisfaction. 
The votes which we received were the free and untrammeled offering of 
freemen, without being bribed or intimidated. We sacrificed no princi- 
ples, we neither furnished nor guzzled whisky; nor did we cringe before 
the power, the money, nor the threats of the railroad kings. 

We admit that the political agents of the railroad, with the aid of 
their tools, and the saloons, defeated the whole county Republican ticket, 
with one exception. We admit that we were defeated because we would 
not endorse the salary-grab, and because we are unalterably opposed to 
railroad extortion and discriminations, and because we are in favor of 
protecting women, children, and society against the injuries resulting 
from the rum traflic. But defeat, under such circumstances, is not at 
all discouraging to one who would rather be right than to hold the 
highest office in the state. Others may cringe before the hands that 
smite them, if they choose, but we shall not. The principles which we 
have advocated we believe to be right and thus believing we shall con- 
tinue to act." 

Two weeks after the election, the same paper, under the title, 
"Railroad Misrepresentation," said: 

"It seems to be one of the strong points of those who are at work for 
the railroad interest to misrepresent those who believe that railroad 
corporations should not be above the laws of the country. One of our 
exchanges labors through a long article to show that the editor of this 
paper is an enemy of the railroads. Nothing could be further from 
the truth, as every sensible man must know who has been a reader of 
the paper. Railroads are essential and important aids to the develop- 
ment of the country, and any man who would intentionally destrov 
them would be an enemy to his country. This we have always main- 
tained, and any effort to destroy the just rights of railroad corporations 
would be opposed with all the zeal that we possess. 

But while we cheerfully accord to railroad corporations all their just 


rights, we are not blind to the fact that these corporations have far ex- 
ceeded their rights in the past, and heaped numerous abuses upon the 
people who have generously aided them. We have denounced and op- 
posed the abuses of railroad corporations, and shall continue to do so 
while those abuses exist. 

What are and have been the issues between the people and railroad 
corporations? The corporations claim the right to charge such rates as 
they please. For instance, a company in this State, prior to the passage 
of the law last winter, charged for carrying wheat fifty miles, twelve 
cents per bushel; and for carrying the same commodity, over the same 
road, a distance of one hundred miles, only eight cents per bushel. In 
one county where there are two villages, only a few miles apart, and 
where there is no railroad competition, one town was charged for ship- 
ping wheat twelve cents per bushel, and the other still farther on, only 
eight cents per bushel. In the matter of lumber, the same kind of dis- 
criminations were practiced all over the country. As between individ- 
uals these discriminations were carried on to a great extent. Governors, 
state officials, senators, representatives, judges, ministers, editors, mer- 
chants, and leading lawyers were carried over the roads at half fare, 
and often times free of charge; while Jack, the hod-carrier; Sam, 
the carpenter; Kate, the kitchen maid; Molly, the washerwoman; 
Jones, the farmer, and Bill, the blacksmith, were charged five cents a 
mile. A merchant inside the ring could get his goods shipped below 
cost and on time, while an outsider had to pay high rates and await 
the pleasure of the company as to tirfie. These and many other abuses 
that might be enumerated, we have sought, both ?,s an editor and a leg- 
islator, to correct; but that we ever sought to injure the railroads is a 
mistake, to designate it by no stronger word. 

But the railroad rings are not satisfied with the great power which 
they naturally possess, they must go further. They must control the leg- 
islation of the state and nation in their interest. Having learned, during 
the past two years, that the courts will not sustain their theory that 
the legislature has no control over their rates and charges, they now go 
to the polls to control the election of legislators. To do this they 
resort to the most arbitrary means. Their workmen must vote as they 
dictate or leave their employ. Every man along the lines of their roads, 
at all dependent upon them, is made to feel their power unless he sub- 
mits to their political dictation. The liquor-traffic, always corrupt and 
wicked, is their ready accomplice in influencing and controlling elections. 

During the past two years the people have made considerable progress 
towards checking the abuses which had become almost unbearable; but 
now the companies, having failed in the courts, propose to undo the 
work which has been accomplished; and, unless we are much mis- 
taken in the signs of the times, they will succeed for a time. But their 
victory will be short-lived. No such power as they claim should ever be 
tolerated in this country any great length of time. 

So far as we are concerned, we propose to continue to battle for the 


right, fully understanding the tremendous power of the companies and 
of their saloon allies to crush out all who oppose them. We shall do 
this, not as an enemy of railroads, but as an opponent of the abuses 
which the railroad magnates practice upon the masses of the people." 


Verily the people of Western Minnesota, in 1873-4, probably for 
the first time, realized the magnificent description given by the 
prophet Joel of the grasshopper invasions of his day v^hen he said : 

"The land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind 
them a desolate wilderness. Yea, and nothing shall escape them. 
Before their face the people shall be much pained ; all faces shall 
gather blackness. * * * They shall march, every one on his 
ways, and they shall not break their ranks. Neither shall one 
thrust another. * # * They shall run to and fro in the 
city; they shall run upon the wall; they shall climb up upon 
the houses ; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. ' ' 

They first made their appearance about June 1873. Vast swarms 
of the insects appeared suddenly in northwestern Iowa and short- 
ly afterwards in southwestern Minnesota. They came with the 
west and northwest winds by the millions. They settled upon 
all kinds of crops, and destroyed whole fields in a day. The peo- 
ple were taken entirely by surprise. They knew not Avhat to do. 
In fact they were utterly powerless before this vast and innum- 
erable insect army of invasion. Gardens were destroyed and 
whole farms were devastated. While the grasshoppers left the 
wild grasses, they devoured the tame grasses and all kinds of 
grain. This year (1873), while they did not destroy all the 
fields they deposited their eggs by the million and then disappear- 

Since the settlement of the state there have been five grass- 
hopper invasions— 1856, 1857, 1865, 187:?-t-5. The insects in 1873 
sowed the land from the Blue Earth River west full of eggs. 
Many people fondly hoped that the frosts of winter had destroyed 
the eggs and that we should see no more of them. How vain 
were all these hopes ! About the 9th and 10th of May. 1874, the 
weather being warm, the little pests began to hatch and come out 
of the ground. They were about the size of fleas, but they had 
the appetite of a full grown hog, and they forthwith commenced 


their work of devastation. They were ceaseless workers. Neither 
frosts, nor heat, nor wet weather, nor storms, nor tempests, seri- 
ously affected them. They ate almost everything in sight where 
they hatched out in 1874. Fortunately no eggs, to amount to 
anything, were deposited in Waseca county. But in Faribault 
and Blue Earth counties, adjoining, the destruction of crops was 
very great. The writer, in driving from Blue Earth to Jlankato, 
July 5, 1874, realized as never before, what is meant by the words, 
"the grasshopper shall be a burden," and that, as Joel said, 
"the land was as the garden of Eden before them, and behind 
them a desolate wilderness; nothing did escape them." 

Gardens were totally destroyed. Vast fields of splendid grow- 
ing grain were eaten to the roots— not a vestige left. 

Various methods of fighting the pests were resorted to with lit- 
tle effect. The most effective instrument or method of destruction 
was called the "hopperdozer". It consisted of a common piece 
of sheet iron, six or eight feet long, with small strips of board 
;iIong the two longer sides, to give it stiffness, and a string or 
wire to draw it, extending from the two front corners. The 
whole sheet was then covered with coal tar. By drawing this 
"hopperdozer" over the field or garden while the insects were 
wingless, they would hop on to the tar in great numbers where 
they would be held fast and soon die. Hopperdozers were used 
extensively during the last year of the invasion throughout the 
infested regions. Large quantities of tar were purchased at 
public expense by towns and coimties and almost every farmer 
had his hopperdozer. But it is generally believed that none of 
the appliances could avail against such an invasion as that was. 
The troublesome creatures disappeared as suddenly and myste- 
riously as they came. The exodus finally occurred on the 20th 
of July, 1877. The day was oppressively warm, the thermometer 
indicating 102 degrees in the shade with very little or no wind. 
About ten o'clock a. m. it was discovered that the air overhead 
was filled with flying grasshoppers. They were in swarms of mil- 
lions, flying high and going rapidly southeast. For more than an 
an hour they swarmed past while all over Southwestern Minnesota 
millions of the insects rose from the ground and joined the pass- 
ing hosts. Whither they went remains a mystery, but their de- 


piirture was a great and lasting relief for which all men were 
devoutly thankful. 

It was estimated at the time that the following acreage was 
ravaged by the insects, to-wit: 150,000 acres, or 2,500,000 bush- 
els, of wheat; 40,000 acres of oats, equal to 1,320,000 bushels; 
20,000 acres of corn, equal to 340,000 bushels, besides large 
quantities of rye, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, flax and other 

Great numbers of worthy people were impoverished by this 
grasshopper raid. Many farmers were left without bread or seed 
in the western portion of the state. Without state aid or aid 
from some source they must leave their farms and seek employ- 
ment elsewhere, leaving the land desolate. Fortunately the state 
authorities, under Governor Davis' able advice, came to the rescue 
and most of the people courageously remained upon their farms 
and won a victory for themselves and the state. 


Mr. Andrew Jackson, one of the early settlers of Woodville, 
died Feb. 5, from exposure. He left an estimable family to 
mourn his departure. 

Jerry Hogan, a single man, living alone, one of the early set- 
tlers of the county, was found dead in his cabin ilarch 11. Those 
Viho found him judged that he had been dead several days when 
the body was found, and that he died of disease. For some 
time prior to his death he had been considered partially insane. 
His team was found in the stable nearly starved. 

A sad and fatal accident caused the death of j\Ir. William 
Baker, of Freedom, IMarch 13. While in the flouring mill of 
Stokes & Kimball, at Janesville, his clothing caught on an up- 
right shaft and he Avas drawn on to it, breaking one arm in sev- 
eral places from the hand to the shoulder. While being whirled 
aroimd by the revolving shaft his legs came in contact with a 
post, one of them being entirely severed below the knee, and the 
other nearly torn oflf. The poor man lived some tliree hours af- 
ter this horrible mutilation of his body. 

A sad and fatal accident befell the family of Rev. L. D. Hocan- 
son, of Otisco, March 20, 1874, in the evening. Mr. :\Iose John- 
son and wife, his brother and brother's wife and two children 


and Rev. Hoeanson, wife, and child had been to attend a funeral 
in New Richland. In returning home they had to cross the Le- 
Siieur river at the Michael Anderson bridge. The water was so 
high as to run over the bank at the south end of the bridge, and 
when the team reached the bridge, one of the horses became 
frightened and threw itself off the bridge, dragging the other 
horse and the sleigh with it into the swollen stream. All except 
Mr. Mose Johnson and wife and Mrs. Hoeanson and her two-year- 
old child, got out without difficulty. Mr. Johnson and wife clung 
to the wagon box until they were rescued by a man living near 
by. ]\Irs. Hoeanson and child were drowned and their bodies 
were not recovered until the day following. Mr. Hoeanson was 
pastor of the Swedish Lutheran church, in Otisco, and the sad 
accident caused deep sorrow in the whole community. 

jMrs. Lynch, wife of Andrew Lynch, died of pneumonia, April 
17, 1874. Mr. and Mrs. Lynch were among the early settlers of 
the county, having settled in St. Mary in 1856. She reared a 
large family of children and was an estimable woman. 

Mrs. Hicks, sister of Mr. E. G. Wood, and one of the very early 
settlers of this county, a widow lady, died April 24, 1874, of a com- 
plication of diseases, while under treatment at Minneapolis. She 
was a native of Vermont and married a man named Scott, who 
died a few years after the marriage. She came to Minnesota in 
1858, a widow, with two children, a son and a daughter. She 
Avas married in 1859 to Rev. Mr. Hicks, who died soon afterwards. 

ilr. Isaac Bird, of Wilton, one of the early settlers, died July 
29, of kidney trouble, from which he had suffered for years. He 
was a native of England, coming to this country when a boy. 

Dr. M. S. Gove, the pioneer physician of the county, passed to 
the Great Beyond on the 1st day of December, 1874. His sudden 
and unexpected death was a great shock to the community. 
While he himself realized from the first that death was near, none 
of his friends could believe it. He died of blood poisoning con- 
tracted in the line of professional duty. He was born in the 
town of Strafford, Orange county, Vermont. He studied medi- 
cine and surgery in his native state, and, after graduating in 1849 
came West, settling in Indiana where he practiced until 1858, 
when he came to Minnesota and took up his residence in Wilton, 
then the county seat. He moved to Waseca about 1870. He was 


a public-spirited man and took great interest in all public mat- 
ters. He was a member of the county board during the super- 
visor system in 1859-60, and was at one time superintendent of 
schools under the township system. He took an active part in the 
organization of the Waseca County Anti-Horse-Thief society, and 
was its president many years. A large concourse of people fol- 
lowed his remains to the grave, the members of the Anti-Horse- 
Thief association, mounted on horse-back, paying their last re- 
spects to their presiding officer by joining in the funeral proces- 
sion. At the next meeting of the association it resolved: "That 
we will ever cherish his memory with feelings of consideration 
and respect as a man of scholarship and ability in his chosen pro- 
fession, a kind neighbor and good citizen." A year or two after 
his settlement in Wilton he married iliss Sarah Dodge, then a 
teacher in the public schools of the county and a very estimable 
young woman. 

Shortly after the death of Dr. Gove, a shocking death occur- 
red at the crossing of the Le Sueur river near the St. ]\Iary farm 
of Thomas J. Kerr. A man named Wm. Ackerman, of ]\Iedo, Blue 
Earth county, came to Waseca with two other men and four 
teams, on December 9 for lumber. In the afternoon they started 
home, and when near the crossing of the Le Sueur river, at 
Mr. Kerr's place, the lumber on one of the wagons got shoved 
forward against the team, and the men stopped to fix it. Acker- 
man's team, which was ahead of the others, started forward 
while he was aiding the others. He ran to his wagon and made 
an attempt to catch the lines, but missed them, and fell in front 
of one of the wheels which passed over his body. By this time 
all the teams were on the run, and the team next to Ackerman s 
also ran over him. He was taken to ilr. Kerr's residence, where 
he expired within a few minutes. He left a widow and four 

The death roll of the year closed with the name of Nathaniel 
Wood. Father Wood, as he was generally called, died at 
the residence of Mr. G. R. Buckman, his son-in-law, in Waseca, 
Dec. 23, 1874, aged seventy-eight years. He had suffered for 
several years from a cancer on his under lip, and for many 
months had been confined to his bed. His death was not, there- 
fore, unexpected. He was one of the earliest settlers of Wood- 


ville, and was universally respected for his Christian devotion 
and uprightness of character. His Christianity was not of that 
India-rubber character which is sometimes used for selfish pur- 
poses, but the real article, which entered into his everyday life— 
his business and his politics. 


The following figures show the result of the election in the 
county in 1874 : 


P. McGovern, dem 875 Edgar Cronkhite, dem 955 

J. E. Child, rep 720 H. J. Wadsworth, rep G98 



Wm. Burke, dem 93 

Jos. Minges, rep 968 Chris Melchior, rep 49 

H. P. Packard, rep 748 Wm. Byron, dem 70 

M. H. Lamb, dem 827 Geo. Hofeld, dem 104 

John Thompson, dem G66 C. H. Newell, rep 110 


Among the marriages of the year we record the following: 
I\lr. W. H. Taylor, one of the early boy-settlers of Blooming 
Grove, and IMiss Emma Barnes, one of the early girl-settlers of 
Wilton, were married March 5, 1874. They were very worthy, 
industrious, energetic and frugal young people. They now carry 
on a sheep ranch in Montana and are among the wealthy, well- 
to-do of that state. 

Mr. August Pream, of Alton, and Miss Augusta Hollander, of 
Wilton, were married June 10, 1874, and began married life in 
Alton where they have been engaged in successful farming. 

August 25, 1874, Mr. Rudolph Jacoby, then a recent arrival 
from Germany, a bright and well-informed young man, was 
joined in marriage with Miss Annie Schmidt, daughter of Mr. 
Edward Schmidt, one of the very early settlers of Otisco. She 
was the only child and inherits her father's fine estate. They 
own one of the finest farms in Otisco. 

On the 10th of January, 1874, the dwelling house of Anthony 
James, one of the early settlers of Woodville, together with near- 
ly its entire contents, was destroyed by fire. His eldest daugh- 
ter, while carrying a small child from the burning building, fell 


and broke one of her legs near the knee. The fire was caused by 
the accidental breaking of a kerosene lamp. 

On Nov. 30, 1874, the house of Gottlieb Prechel, of St. ilary, 
on his old farm, was destroyed by fire. The old house was not 
worth much, but unfortunately for ilr. Peter Hund, who occu- 
pied it, his household goods, with considerable grain, were all de- 

Under date of June 17, 1874, the Waseca News published the 

We are pained to learn that Wm. R. Brisbane, son of Hon. Wm. Bris- 
bane of Wilton, was dangerously injured last week. The cattle having 
broken into his field, he mounted a large horse and rode into the field 
to drive them out. While on the gallop, the horse ran against a cow 
with such force as to knock himself down, Mr. Brisbane falling under 
him. The horse, a very heavy one, made several attempts to rise, 
each time falling back upon the body of the unfortunate man. Mr. Bris- 
bane vomited for several hours afterwards, and suffered great pain, but 
finally got better." 

Mr. Brisbane has never fully recovered from the effects of 
the fall and the in.iiiries he then received. 

On the 17th of June, 1874, the county board passed a resolution 
appropriating $1,000 for the building of a vault to the coiirt 
house for the safe keeping of the records, books, and papers of 
tlie county, especially the records of the office of the register of 
deeds. It was to be 16x20 feet, one story high, and built of brick, 
with heavy iron doors. 0. Powell, S. K. Odell, and H. K. Stenrns 
constituted the building committee to oversee the work. 

The Waseca News of r)ctober 7, 1874, contained the following : 

"A sad accident happened on Thursday last, in the town of Otisco. 
John Peterson, commonly known as "Little" John Peterson, while at 
vork around a threshing machine was caught in the side gearing by 
the right arm near the elbow. His arm was drawn in up to his body 
and torn off, lacerating the flesh about his shoulder and side in a horri- 
ble manner." 

He slowly recovered and lived a number of years afterwards, 
dying a year ago of heart failure. 

The year 1874 was the last year of the second decade in the 
history of the county. Tho white population had increased from 
nothing to over eight thousand. A railroad had been built 
through the county-, wagon roads had been improved, sloughs 
and streams bridged, and the country cov.Mvd with improved 
farms owned by intelligent frremen. 


INGS—RAILROAD Bond propositions— grange warehouse 
—OLD settlers organize— deaths of the ybar^-man 


The first week of 1875 ushered in the "Minnesota Radical," 
edited and published by James E. Child. It succeeded the 
"Waseca Weekly News" which had been published by the same 
man since 1863. It published as its platform the following : 

We look upon the saloon traffic, in all its departments, as a crime against 
humanity, and a burning disgrace to our boasted civilization, as the one 
great cause of business failures, of crimes of every grade, and of the 
poverty and misery which go to make up so large a portion of the world's 
history. This traffic levies upon the tax-payers of the state seven-eighths 
of the expense of the state prison, over one-half the expense of the re- 
form school, and a large portion of the immense costs annually paid for 
criminal prosecutions. It habitually violates the laws of both God and 
man. It makes paupers and slaves of w^men and children. It murders 
our citizens, depraves the young, and destroys the weak. It corrupts 
voters and contaminates the ballot box. 

We believe that the producing, commercial, and industrial interests of 
the country should have the best and cheapest modes of transportation 
possible, and while capital invested in such means of transit, whether 
by railroad, or otherwise, should be permitted the right of reasonable 
and just compensation, all abuse in management, excessive rates of toll, 
and all unjust discriminations against localities, persons or interests, 
practiced by them, should be prohibited by law; and the people should' 


be protected from the improper and arbitrary use of the vast powers pos- 
sessed by railroad and other transportation companies; and that it is 
the duty of the state and nation, each in its legitimate sphere, to enact 
laws which will limit to just and reasonable rates all tolls, freights and 
charges of transportation companies, and protect the people from ex- 
tortion and imposition. 

Let us unite as one man in an honest effort to suppress the liquor 
traffic, to prevent extortions and unjust discriminations by corporations, 
to drive corruption and bribery from high and low places." 


The board of county commissioners met Jan. 5, 1875. The 
members present were Dr. R. 0. Craig, H. K. Stearns, Wm. 
Burke, Maj. Wm. C. Young, and C. H. Newell. Dr. Craig was 
elected chairman. M. D. L. Collester was appointed county at- 
torney in place of Mr. P. McGovern, who had resigned to accept 
the position of state senator. The board petitioned the legisla- 
ture to enact a law authorizing the commissioners of the county 
to issue county bonds not exceeding ten thousand dollars, for 
the purpose of erecting a county jail. 


On the 8th of January, there was a Minnesota blizzard, lasting 
all of one day. On the '2d and 3d days of February there was an- 
other fierce snow storm; and on the 10th and 23d of the same 
month severe storms again deluged the countrj^ with snow. The 
first week in March a very heavy snow storm from the northeast 
covered all the northern portion of North America. 

It was a hard winter in Minnesota, but light compared with 
the visitation in Canada. That country was covered with such 
moimtains of snow as to make travel impossible. Large districts 
there were isolated for months and trade was paralyzed. The 
appearance of spring weather was welcomed by all the people of 
the North. 

Mr. Kittredge was born in the State of Ohio, in 1841. He was 
the son of Dr. Kittredge of that state, and a half brother of 'Slaj. 
W. T. Kittredge, one of the early settlers of Wilton. Frod came 
to this county in 1861 and taught school in Wilton one term. 
Soon after he went to Mankato whore he took an active part in 
defense of the town during the Indian outbreak. Shortlv after 


the Indian outbreak he married Miss Elizabeth L. Baker, of Ohio, 
and they began wedded life on a farm near Okaman. His health 
failing, he moved with his family first to Wilton and then to Wa- 
seca where he engaged in the drug business in company with N. 
E. Strong. He was an honorable, upright, intelligent gentleman 
and highly esteemed. He was sick for nearly a year of heart 
disease, and died Jan. 4, 1875. He was an honored member of 
the ;\Iasonic fraternity, and his brethren were kind and atten- 
tive to him during his long illness. He left surviving him his 
widow and three daughters. His remains were taken to Ohio 
for burial. 


This banking association was formed the first of the year by 
twenty-four of the citizens of this county and eleven residents of 
Faribault. Eiee county. The officers of the association were the 
following: President, Geo. W. Newell; cashier, Frank A. New- 
ell; directors, P. C. Bailey, J. W. Johnson, R. M. Addison, S. S. 
Phelps, J. A. Claghorn, E. G. Wood, of Waseca; H. M. Matteson, 
AV. B. Brown, and L. Emmett, of Faribault, Eice county. 

On March 4, 1875, an exciting affair took place. The "Radi- 
cal ' ' made a record of it, as follows : 

Some time within the day, Charlie Blank, Lansing Blank and Curtis 
Sucker, commenced to fill up on rot-gut whisky, in accordance with the 
statute in such cases made and provided — at least, we suppose so. 
About five o'clock p. m. they went into Roeder's and took a horn or 
two of legal tangle-leg, and were about to leave, when Roeder demanded 
prompt payment. Lansing, who, it appears, had called for the licensed 
fluid, told Roeder that he would pay him on Saturday. Whereupon Roe- 
der clinched Charlie's hat off his head, and said he would keep it until 
his bill was paid. This aroused the animal on the part of all hands, and 
a general clinch ensued. The old lady of the mansion gave a screech 
and a scream, and, like a catamount or some other animal, gently placed 
her fingers in Charlie's curls. Curt and Lansing embraced old Roeder, 
opened the door and gently deposited him in the street. Curt then 
stepped to the door, reached in and brought forth the presiding female 
of the house and. Charlie who were fondly or otherwise clasped in each 
other's embrace. As they struck the sidewalk, the embracing business 
ceased. The old lady stood on end, placed her gentle hands upon her 
heaving bosom and screamed a scream of angry defiance that would 
have done credit to a female panther. By this time there was hurrying 


to and fro, and eager enquiries as to the cause of all the commotion. 
In the mean time the boys had walked up town, making loud talk. Pres- 
ently Marshal Willyard appeared upon the scene and arrested Curt, 
whom he placed in charge of Constable Stevenson. He then made for 
Charlie, who took a run for home. The marshal met a team which he 
pressed into his service, and soon ran down his man. Lansing was not 
found until morning, when he, too, was arrested. On Friday morning 
the three young men were brought before Justice Baker, on a charge of 
drunkenness. They all plead guilty, and were fined $10 each and costs — 
the latter amounting to $4.75." 

This affair was followed by a number of arrests. Roeder was 
arrested for sellini;' liquors, and Justice Baker requested the 
comity attorney to appear and prosecute the case. This the coun- 
ty attorney refused to do, claiming it was a village and not a 
county affair. 

]Mr. Brownell was then employed to prosecute the case, and 
Roeder was cdnvicted by a .iury — the case being a very plain one 
and the evidence clear and concltisive. The saloon attorney then 
went before an iynorant court commissioner, got out a writ of 
habeas corpus, and, upon the hearing, the court commissioner set 
aside the verdict and the judgment of the .justice and set the pris- 
oner free. That such a proceeding could take place among civ- 
ilized men shows the power of the liquor traffic at certain times 
and in certain places. But so indignant were the law-and-order 
people of the county that when the grand jury convened, the 
following ]\Iareh, indictments M-ere found against the following 
persons for the unlawful selling of intoxicants, viz : "\V. T. Cronk- 
right, of Alma City, John Deeth, II. AV. Zeller, Christian Hansen, 
Jule litige, Roger Hanberry, and David Carey, of AYaseca. The 
jury also presented an informal indictment or presentment 
against the county attorney for refusing to prosecitte Roeder for 
selling liquor before Justice Baker. The judge of the district 
court, upon his own motion, set aside the indictment against the 
county attorney on the ground of informality. 


During the winter of 187-1-5 spelling schools became very pop- 
ular in the county, and the contests were interesting and instruc- 
tive. The following record of one of the contests is from the 
"Minnesota Radical" of April 128, 1875: 

"The school was organized by the choice of Rev. Mr. Shedd, as presi- 


dent; Messrs. Latham and Brownell, as judges; Mrs. Latham and Mr. 
Jamison, as captains; and Major Young, as teacher. 

The winner oi: the sack ot salt, the foot prize, was Mr. G. Parks, who 
could not master "pigmies." Mrs. James Claghorn couldn't get along 
with "jockeys," and took the pepper box. "Noxious" was altogether too 
noxious for Mrs. Garland. Rev. Lorin was poor at "seizing," and Capt. 
Jamison went down on a "mattress." Mr. McCormick spelled "chimneys" 
with nies for the latter syllable. Esquire Bennett couldn't get along 
with a "prude," and Mr. S. T. Lewis experienced a slip of the tongue 
on "hen-hawk." "Cougar" took down Mr. S. O. Sherwin; Miss Abbie 
Kittredge could not manage a "canoe;" Mr. Spencer was no good on 
"rummage;" and the bird "albatross," was the wrong bird for J, P. Pres- 
ton. "Cochineal" brought the color to Mr. Dearborn's face, and Miss 
Hollister was disgusted with "cinnamon.'' S. N. Sherwin was taken from 
the field by a "hurricane;" J. L. Claghorn was caught "joking;" H. A. 
Mosher was slightly "embarrassed;" and Mrs. S. N. Sherwin couldn't 
reach the "eldorado" of her anticipations. 

At this point only three of the contestants remained upon the battle- 
field, viz: Mrs. Shedd, Mrs. Latham and Miss Annie Child. Mrs. Latham 
couldn't handle a "lariat" and Mrs. Shedd didn't know any more about 
"vaquero" than some others did. Miss Annie Child got caught in a 
"chaparral," but won the prize — Holland's Mistress of the Manse." 

It is a pity that the American people can not devise a system 
of orthography more in accord with common sense than the pres- 
ent barbarous one which occupies so much of the time of pupils 
to the detriment of other studies. 


This was a year of new church buildings. The Episcopalians, 
the German ilethodists and the German Evangelical association, 
each erected a new house of worship. The German Methodist edi- 
fice then erected is still standing and received a new roof in 
1904. The German Evangelical church then built gave way to 
a new and larger building erected in 190-1. The Episcopalian 
chapel still serves the people of that church and is in a good state 
of preservation. 


Preliminary to the building of the j\I. & St. L. railroad through 
this county, there was considerable strife between the people of 
the old village of "Wilton and the people of Waseca. About May 
10, 1875, a gentleman by the name of Barnum, representing the 
Minneapolis, St. Paul & Iowa railway company, came through 


the county and called a meeting before which he had an offer 
to lay. The meeting was held May 15, at the old court house, in 
AYaseca. At a preliminary meeting, a committee had been ap- 
pointed to report upon the matter. A local paper reported as 
follows : 

"On motion of Hon. W. G. Ward, James E. Child was called to the chair 
and H. A. Mosher was chosen secretary. A motion was made by Mr. 
Ward that "It is inexpedient for the town of Woodville to vote bonds 
to aid in the construction of a railroad or for any other purpose." 

At the suggestion of Mr. G. P. Johnson, by consent of the mover, the 
chairman decided to wait a. reasonable time before submitting the motion, 
lor the report of a committee previously appointed. 

Within a few minutes the committee entered, and S. B. Williams, Esq., 
proceeded to call the meeting to order, but was himself called to order 
at once by Mr. Ward, who took evident pleasure in informing him that 
the meeting was fully organized and ready for business. Friend Wil- 
liams took in the situation and commenced to give his views on the sub- 
ject of railroad bonuses. 

Mr. Ward, again interrupted, and said the gentleman was out of order 
as he was not talking to the motion. Without insisting upon a ruling, 
Mr. V.'illiams took a seat. 

Mr. Barnum, of Iowa, who was then called for, remarked that he had 
nothing to say until the pending motion was disposed of — then he had 
a proposition to make. 

ilr. Ward then stated that he had no desire to take any advantage of 
the friends of the bonus proposition, and would withdraw his motion 
and allow the meeting to proceed de novo, simply retaining the chairman 
and secretary. No objection being made, Mr. Barnum proceeded to 
state his position on railroad matters in general, and made quite a 
speech, saying that, on general principles, he was opposed to subsidies to 
railroads, except where it could not be helped, but that the present ques- 
tion of granting aid was one of the cases where it could not very well 
be helped. We could have the road if we wanted it and would pay for 
it; and it not, we need not have it. 

He then made the following proposition: 

"That the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Iowa R. R. company propose to the 
citizens of Waseca county to locate, grade, iron and operate their rail- 
way from the south line of said county to the village of Waseca, and to 
have the cars running thereon at the earliest practical moment, provided 
that said county raise for said company in town bonds, reliable sub- 
scriptions, or money, a sum equal to $25,000, and place the same in 
pledge tor said company, subject to their order, as follows; one-half 
when the cars are running to the town of Wilton, one-fourth when the 
cars are running to the village of Waseca, and one-fourth when the cars 
are running to the north line of said county — bonds to draw 7 per cent 


interest payable semi-annually; and that said county furnish right of 
way, free of cost to said company, of 50 feet on each side of the center 
line, as the same is or may be located, and depot grounds 300x2,000 
feet, in the village of Waseca." 

Mr. Ward then addressed the meeting in opposition to the proposition. 
He argued that Waseca was the natural point of junction for the proposed 
road and that it would come here. He stated that the bonus would 
make no difference with the company, and cited the case of Mankato 
and St. Peter. The Winona & St. Peter company had decided to build a 
branch into Mankato, and after that decision, the officers of the road 
went to the citizens of Mankato and obtained a bonus which they put 
into their own pockets; but bonus or no bonus the branch would have 
been built. At St. Peter after the plans and specifications for the bridge 
had been made and approved and after the contract for building the 
bridge had been let, operations were suspended for ten days, by the of- 
ficers of the road, in order to get a tonus out of St. Peter; when, as a 
matter of fact, the bridge would have been built bonus or no bonus. 

Mr. Barnum said in reply that nearly all the roads in the West were 
land-grant roads, while this one was not. He had come here in good faith, 
and should be pleased to co-operate with the people here, but as there 
seemed to be strong opposition, and as there was no motion before the 
meeting, he would withdraw the proposition, and leave the people here 
to take such action as they might deem for their best interests. 

S. B. Williams, Esq., addressed the meeting in favor of voting a bonus. 
He thought that under the circumstances it would be money well in- 

On motion of Hon. P. McGovern that a committee of ten be appointed 
to canvass the matter, the chair appointed as such committee, P. McGov- 
ern, W. G. Ward, Thos. Bendure. A. Vinton, B. S. Lewis, I. C. Trowbridge, 
W. C. Young, S. B. Williams, G. P. Johnson, and S. H. Poster. 

The meeting then adjourned to meet on Saturday, May 22 at 2 o'clock 
p. m. 

Excitement ran high during the week, so high indeed that tim- 
id souls did not attend the adjourned meeting. At the time of 
the ad.iourned meeting, the chair called the meeting to order, and 
the committee appointed at the previous meeting, through the 
chairman, Hon. P. McGovern. reported that they had no sugges- 
tions to make. 

ilr. Lewis then offered the following resolution, and moved 
its adoption: 

Resolved, by the citizens of Woodville township, Waseca county, that 
we will give to the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Iowa railroad company, or 
the railway company which shall first construct and build said line of 
road, to aid in the construction of said road, through said town, the 
sum of $25,000 in the bonds of said town, drawing seven per cent interest 


payable semi-annually, payable In thirty years from their date; said 
bonds to be delivered when said company shall have constructed its road 
to a junction with the W. & St. P. R. R. in the village of Waseca, and 
shall have the same in running operation. 

On motion of B. S. Lewis, the meeting decided to vote upon the 
resolution by ballot. The chair appointed as tellers to receive the 
votes Messrs. W. G. Ward, W. C. Young, and Lewis Brownell. 

AV G. Ward took the floor and made a speech in opposition to 
the resolution. He was replied to l)y Mr. Brownell, who favored 
its adoption. 

Fifteen minutes was agreed upon to allow parties to prepare 
ballots, the polls to remain open one-half hour. 

One hundred eighty-five votes were cast— 95 for, and 90 against 
the resolution; and the resolution was declared adopted. 

Although the contest was very spirited, it really decided noth- 
ing as it was only an informal expression of opinion; but it 
aroused a discussion which, in 1876, resulted in the bonding of 
the township in the sum of $80,000. 

The town of Wilton had on the 17th of Alay. 1875, voted to 
issue bonds to the amount of $25,000. 


The first Grange in Waseca county was organized Alay l-t, 1870, 
iinder a dispensation issued by William Saunders, ^Master of 
the National Grange, and certified to 1)y ( ). W. Kelly, the first 
national secretary of the order. As early as Alay 3, 1873, there 
were ten granges in the county ready to co-operate with one an- 
other for the benefit of all, and a county organization was effect- 
ed at that time. This organization was more for discussion and 
mutual instruction than for business, and it was finally deemed 
advisable to create a company, or corporation, for the purchasing 
and handling of grain. This was accomplished Ort. ID, 1874, at 
Waseca. The records of the town of Woodville for the year 1874, 
contain the articles of incorjioratioii of the (ii-ange association. 
The following were its numagers: 

"H. W. S. Hinkley, W. D. Armstrong, R, R. Howard, L. D. Smith, Hugh 
Wilson, J. J. Wilkins, Robert Earl, Samuel Hodgkins, and J. Penfield. 

The capital stock was fixed at $2,000, and each share was |25. The 
name of the organization was Waseca County Grange association, and its 
jirincipal place of business was at Waseca. Its business was to erect 
or lease a grain warehouse, and to operate the same; to receive, handle. 


buy, ship, store, and sell grain and farm products. It commenced opera- 
tions that fall, and, for a time, appeared to be doing a good tu=iness. 
The price of wheat was at once raised by the combine buyers, and the 
farmers of the county, outside the men that formed the organization 
and were fighting the Chicago wheat ring, reaped a rich harvest. But 
the association after a time learned with considerable loss of money 
that the man they had entrusted with the management of the warehouse 
was one of the many unfortunates that can not be trusted. Although a 
man of many good qualities, he possessed the fault of drinking liquor, 
and the wheat men soon managed, indirectly, to keep him under the 
influence of the dram shops. The final outcome was a loss of the en- 
tire capital invested by the stockholders, leaving the wheat combine 
with a stronger hold than before. The experimeni revealed the fact that 
farmers, as a rule, are not yet ready to stand by one another in a fight 
against organized monopoly." 


Xo attempt was made to create an old settlers' organization un- 
til November 10, 1875, when a number of the early settlers joined 
in the published call for a meeting to be held at the court room in 
AVaseca on the evening of Nov. 19, 1875. At that time twenty-five 
men came together and made a preliminary organization. The 
following officers were elected: James E. Child, president; H. 
A. ilosher, secretary; Geo. R. Buckman, treasurer; H. P. Norton, 
O. Powell, and George P. Johnson, executive committee. 

A constitution and by-laws were adopted and it was determined 
that a public meeting and a picnic supper should be held at Tur- 
ner Hall, Dec. 15, to which all persons who settled in the county 
prior to 1865 should be invited. Pursuant to this determination, 
the executive committee issued its call, and on the evening of 
that day two hundred persons assembled and participated in the 
festivities of the occasion. 

After adding a large number of new names to the member- 
.ship and calling the roll, some slight amendments were made 
to the by-laws. The entrance fee was 25 cents and the annual 

dues, 50 cents. The following was the published program: 

1. Music b'y the band. 

2. Calling of the roll, adding new names thereto, and the consideration 
of propositions tor the more nearly perfect organization of the associa- 

Z. Music by the band. 

4. Address by the president, giving a history of the first year's settle- 
ment of the county by white people. 


5. Music by the band. 

6. Refreshments. 

7. Volunteer addresses and historical sketches of frontier life. 


"We have met here to-night for a twofold purpose — that of pleasure and 
that of perpetuating the early history of the county. Ancient history 
is more or less shrouded in mystery; and in all the accounts of the 
origin of the older nations, cities, and empires, fiction is so interwoven 
with facts that it is difficult to separate truth from fable. Even the his- 
tory of one of the greatest nations and empires of the world commences 
with a statement more fictitious and romantic than truthful or sensible. 

It relates that a daughter of a certain king who had been appointed 
by that king priestess of Vesta, in which capacity she was to lead a 
life of single blessedness devoted exclusively to religious services, final- 
ly became the mother of twins — two bouncing boys. The king, fearing 
that these little fellows might some day dethrone him or his, ordered 
one of his servants to murder them. Pursuant to this order, the servant 
put the little fellows into a sap-trough and went down towards the river 
with a design to cast them in; but seeing that it was very rough and 
running with a strong current, he was too much of a coward to approach 
it. He therefore deposited the two boy babies near the bank of the 
river and hurried away. The flood increasing continually set the trough 
afloat and carried the children gently (of course they went gently, the 
historian says they did) down to a pleasant place where they were 
landed safe and sound. 

Under the guidance and influence of the goddess Rumina, who presid- 
ed over the nurseries of the ancients, and whose rites were celebrated 
without wine or whisky but only with libations of sweet milk, the infants, 
as the story goes, were suckled by a she-wolf and fed and taken cave of 
by a woodpecker. These animals were sacred to Mars; and the wood- 
pecker was always held in high honor and veneration by that nation of 
great warriors, orators, and statesmen. 

Such wonderful events, say the historians, contributed not a little to 
give credit to the mother's report that Mars, the god of war, was the 
father of the children. 

I shall not follow the history of these boys, real or fictitious, this even- 
ing. Suffice it to say, that they were the founders of one of the great- 
est empires of the earth. Rome and the Roman empire owe their name 
and origin to Romulus and Remus, and these were the ^win brothers 
whose early lives were so shrouded in darkness that the historian could 
only give this ridiculous legend of their early lives. 

The early history of Waseca county of course, will not be embellished 
with the story of any such fabulous or miraculous event; yet the record 
of lis early settlement and the experience of those who came here at an 
early day to make homes in the prairie wilderness will not be entirtiv 
destitute of interest nor wholly without a touch of the romantic. I shall 


this evening confine my remarks to the first settlement made within 
the limits ot the county. It was made during the summer of 1854." 
[Then followed an account of the settlement of Mr. Sutlief and family as 
detailed in chapter two of this history. — Author.] 

lion. Wm. Brisbane was called out and gave a graphic de- 
scription of the company that went from Wilton to the Winne- 
liati'o ao-ency, in 1<SB2, to protect the white settlers from a threat- 
ened massacre liy the Indians. Tie closed with an eloqiient plea 
in behalf of virtue, morality and Christianity. 

Hon. S. B. Williams, Mr. J. W. Wheeler, Hon. Joseph Minges, 
Hon. Job A. ('anfield and others were called upon and made 
appropriate remarks. There were over two hundred in attend- 
ance and the occasion was one of much en.joyment. 

The following vice presidents were chosen at this meeting: 
Wni. Lee, of Iosco; W. H. Harmon, of Vivian; Job A. Canfield, 
of ()tisco ; C.H. Newell, of Byron ; (jfeorge H.Woodbury, of Wilton ; 
J. R. Davidson, of Blooming Grove; W. D. Armstrong, of Free- 
dom; Hon. Wm. Brisbane, of Wilton; Samuel Remund, of Bloom- 
ing Grove; Thomas J. Kerr, of St. Mary. 

^fr. Wm. Lee, of Iosco, favored the audience with a descrip- 
tion in rhyme of his early experiences. 

The organization continued for some three years, when it was 
allowed to die out. The last record of the organization to be 
found by the author shows the following as its officers : Hon. 
AVarren Smith, president; Eri G. Wood, Austin Vinton, Job A. 
Canfield, Michael Anderson, J. D. Andrews, J. W. Tefft, J. H. 
Wheeler, William Lee, J. R. Davidson, Samuel Remund, Wm. 
Hover, W. II. Harmon, H. K. Stearns, B. E. Verplank, A. E. 
Crumb, C. II. Newell, G. H. Woodbury, Hon. William Brisbane, 
Thomas J. Kerr, John White, and W. D. Armstrong, vice presi- 
dents ; 11. A. Moshei', secretary ; H. G. Mosher, treasurer. Of the 
foregoing, only five are now living. 

DEATHS OP 1875. 

The following deaths are noted: Mr. Fred W. Kittredge died 
of heart disease Jan. 6. Mrs. Fetterly, a very aged woman, died 
in January. Mrs. A. L. Taylor, wife of Mr. G. N. Taylor, died 
quite unexpectedly Feb. 2. She had been ailing for three weeks, 
but was not considered dangerously ill until about an hour before 
her death. She was born in August, 1835; married Mr. Taylor 


in 1852 ; came with him to Rochester, Minn., in 1855, and to Wa- 
seca county in 1865. She was one of the pioneer Baptists of the 
city of Waseca. Mrs. H. J. Carlton, of the town of Wilton, one of 
the very early settlers of the county, died of apoplexy after an 
illness of only a few hours. She and her husband were among 
the oldest settlers of the state. She died Feb. 21, 1875. ^Mr. John 
L. Werdin, of Iosco, father of ilr. H. J. Werdin, of Alton, after 
several weeks' illness, died Jan. 24, 1875. He was among the 
early settlers and highly respected. 

ilrs. John Boucher who, at an early day, settled in Blooming 
Grove with her husband, died ilarch 9, 1875, leaving a large 
family to mourn her departure. 

iliss Minnie Farrington, daughter of Mr. S. A. Farrington, of 
Woodville, who was born in Otisco, Sept. 4, 1857, died December 
10, 1875, of measles. She was taken ill at ]\Iankato, where she 
was attending school, and, not knowing the nature of the dis- 
ease, started for home. Arriving at Waseca, she went to the 
residence of her aunt, JMrs. Blatchley, where she went into con- 
vulsions from which she never recovered. Her death cast a 
gloom over the whole community. 


There were marriages near the close of the year 1874, reported 
in January 1875. The following are noted; John F. Preston to 
Miss Etta M. Taylor, of Waseca, Dec. 30, 1874; Martin E. Par- 
melee, of Waseca, to Miss Ada C. Dearborn, of Lowell, Wis., Dec. 
28, 1874; G. W. Soule, of Blooming Grove, to Miss Nancy B. Can- 
field, of Otisco, Jan. 2, 1875; E. A. Erwin, to :Mrs. M. P. Wil- 
son, both of Wilton, Jan. 18, 1875; Aiken Myeue and Addie Har- 
mon, both of Vivian, Nov. 25, by Rev. A. Cressy; Walter Hunter, 
of Dakota county, and :\Iiss Phoebe Coulthart, of Waseca Nov. 
23, 1875. 


The intcfforence of railroad managers in the local politics of 
the county, in 1874, aroused a feeling of opposition in the county 
which took definite form in 1S75. Tin- agitation Inid continned 
since the election in 1874, and took form Sept. 15, 1875. when a 
numb(n' of prominent citi/.ens of both the old parties joined in a 


call for a county convention to be held Oct. 9, 1875. As soon as 
this call appeared, the republicans called a convention and the 
democrats followed. Excitement ran high and discussions re- 
sulted in some bitterness of feeling that has not been entirely 
effaced, even at this day, in the minds of the implacable. 

The delegates that attended the convention of the Eeform 
Party were the following: Edward Brossard, D. A. Erwin, Gus- 
tus Brossard, and W. A. Erwin, of St. Mary; W. H. Stokes, J. J. 
Headly, A. J. Hurlburt, Jerome Dane, A. R. Willsey, and C. B. 
Allen, of Janesville; Henry Gray, L. D. Mcintosh, A. Blatchley, 
J. B. Child, S. A. Farrington, Samuel Hawkes, B. H. Taylor, A. 
n. Wellman and Nathan Wood, of Woodville ; Thomas Barden, 
Peter Burns, John Kenehan, Hale Kinyon, and John Campbell, 
of Wilton ; I. D. Beaman and E. R. Conner, of Blooming Grove ; 
and ]M. L. Devereaux, of Alton. The following candidates were 
nominated : for representatives, Samuel Hawkes and Kelsey Cur- 
tis; for treasurer, Warren Smith; for sheriff, M. F. Connor; for 
register of deeds, E. G. Pierce ; for clerk of court, James Vander- 
niade ; for county attorney, Lewis Brownell ; for surveyor, C. E. 
Crane ; for coroner, Dr. L. D. Mcintosh ; countj^ commissioner, 
first district, H. Vincent. The following central committee was 
chosen : Capt. A. H. Wellman of Waseca, T. D. M. Orcutt of Free- 
dom, Capt. J. J. Headley of Janesville, Thomas Barden of Wilton, 
Dr. H. D. Cobb of Vivian, S. W. Franklin of New Richland, E. G. 
Pierce of Alton, Albert Remund of Blooming Grove, H. P. Cham- 
berlain of Iosco, L. E. Francis of Byron, and Samuel Leslie of 

The following platform, after considerable discussion, was 
unanimously adopted : 

"In severing our connection with the Republican and Democratic par- 
ties, we give the following as some of the reasons therefor: 

1st. That these parties, acting in unison, have repealed the only 
railroad law of the state, that of 1874, which has ever given protection 
to the people by requiring the companies to do business at reasonable 
and uniform rates, and in its place have substituted a law which per- 
mits the companies to resort to extortion and unjust discriminations, 
affording to the public no adequate remedy for the wrongs which the 
companies may see fit to perpetrate, thereby practically denying the 
right of the people to be protected from the grasping avarice of wealthy 

2d. That these parties, at the last session of the legislature, repealed 


that portion of the tax-law of the state which provided for the collec- 
tion of back taxes upon the lands of the Winona & St. Peter railway 
company, whereby Waseca county has lost about $8,000 and other coun- 
ties in proportion. 

3d. That the older parties, by their platforms and by their legislative 
acts, stand pledged to the liquor-dealers of the state to perpetuate one 
of the worst monopolies of modern times, viz: the exclusive right to 
make drunkards. For a paltry sum of money these parties authorize 
a few conscienceless men the legal right, by the use of alcoholic poison, 
to rob weak men, their helpless wives and children and to spread broad- 
cast crime and pauperism for the support of which the people are 
burdened with taxation. 

4th. Throughout the state, almost without exception, the old parties 
elect men to office that neglect or refuse to execute and enforce the laws 
that prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors on Sundays, to minors, stu- 
dents, or intemperate persons. 

5th. The old parties of this state, in nearly every locality, resort to 
corrupt practices to control caucuses, conventions and elections. Wealthy 
men and corporations join hand in hand with the liquor dealers, and 
money and whisky are freely used to influence the weak, the mercenary, 
and the corrupt. 

In view of these facts, we believe the time has fully come when every 
voter, who is opposed to these wrongs, should unite in the organization 
of a Reform party for their overthrow: therefore, 

Resolved, That we fully endorse the platform, and cordially support 
the nominees of the State Reform convention held at Minneapolis, June 
ICth, 1875. 

Resolved, That it is the duty of the legislature to pass a law for the 
control of railways, embodying the principles of the railroad law of 1874, 
with such modifications in detail as experience may have demonstrated 
tc be necessary. 

Resolved, That it is the duty of the state to protect its citizens from 
injury, and the people from unjust taxation, and that to accomplish these, 
the legislature ought to pass a law requiring dealers in intoxicating 
liquors to pay the damages resulting from the sale and use of such 

Resolved, That common fairness requires the legislature to extend the 
local option law, now applicable to municipal townships to all cities 
and villages, thereby giving to the voters of every locality the right to 
vote no license. 

Resolved, That it is the duly of the next legislature to provide by law 
for the levy and collection of all back taxes on the railroad lands of 
this state, not especially exempted by chartered law sustained by the 
decision of the supreme court. 

Resolved, That we are unalterably opposed (o the sale and use of 
alcoholic liquors as a beverage, and denounce, as unworthy of our suf- 
frages, any man who engages in the sale or use of such liquors; and we 


believe that the best way to discountenance intemperance in the com- 
munity is by a refusal of all good citizens to support intemperate and 
liquor-guzzling men for official positions or places of trust. 

Resolved, That, in our opinion, a more efficient law should be passed 
for the prevention of bribery and corruption at elections; and that any 
elector, offering or accepting a bribe, be disfranchised and disqualified 
for office for a term of years." 

The Republican convention, -which had been pushed in one day 
ahead of the Reform convention, nominated a mixed ticket — 
saloon and anti-saloon men. 

The Republican convention nominated the following ticket: 

For representatives, Robert Earl and GuUick Knutsen ; sheriff, 
J. D. Andrews ; treasurer, Warren Smith ; register of deeds, H. A. 
Mosher ; clerk of court, B. A. Lowell ; .judge of probate, J. A. Can- 
field ; county attorney, M. D. L. Collester ; surveyor, C. E. Crane ; 
coroner. Dr. IMcMahan; county commissioner first district, H. 

The Democratic convention was held on the 16th of October, 
1875, and the following candidates were named : 

For representatives, Kelsey Curtis and Wm. Brisbane; sheriff, 
Daniel Murphy; treasurer, Thomas White; register of deeds, 
George Hofeld; judge of probate, Caleb Halleck; clerk of court, 
James B. Hayden; county attorney, M.D.L. Collester (Republican 
nominee) ; surveyor, Frank Hoffstott ; coroner, Dr. McMahan ; 
county commissioner first district, Patrick Healy. 

The campaign, though short, was hissing hot. The following 
appeared in a local paper Oct. 27, 1875: 

"Last week the Whangdoodle vomited forth the following: 

"Oh! James B. Child, the venomous, blackhearted and utterly dishonest 
demagogue, it astonishes us, even us, who have studied your slimy, 
treacherous course for years, that you can have the cheek, the brassy 
impudence to stand up before this people to proclaim and practice your 
.vileness. Does your conscience never flatten you to the dust and rend 
you? does not the shadow of that dark time pass before you, when you 
will pray for the rocks and mountains to fall upon you and forever con- 
ceal you from the eyes of an avenging God? But, we feel thankful that 
some of the people are getting their eyes open to your political chicanery. 
You were plainly invited by the people last fall to take a back seat, 
and we are sure the day is not far distant when you will inhabit the by- 
ways and back streets of life, shunned by all true men, an outcast from, 
and a byword in society, as other blatherskites have done and been 
before you." 


To which the author replied : 

Poor "us!" It is to be hoped that he feels better since getting 
so much bile off his stomach. Why, bless your poor soul, when 
you came down to Waseca about a year ago on a drunk, you 
shimned us, and we expect that ' ' all true men ' ' of your habits of 
life, and your waj- of thinking, will shun us simply because their 
deeds are evil ; but that is really no reason why you should make 
a blackguard of yourself, and call us pet names. You are not of 
half as much importance as ,vou seem to think; for, ever since 
you wilfully, maliciously, and knowingly published the slanders 
of "One who knows" against Warren Smith, without cause or 
provocation, simply as the hireling dog of the railroad and whisky 
ring of Waseca county, and recommended the liar as a man 
"strictly reliable and eminently respectable," your falsehoods 
and blackguardism are estimated at what they are worth. 

We have long hoped that you might lay aside your selfish ani- 
mosity toward us, and that you might learn Avisdom in your ad- 
vancing years. In fact we could wish that you might be happier. 

Last fall you witnessed our political defeat, on the Republican 
ticket by the railroad and whisky ring, which you are kind 
enough to refer to occasionally, and you got the little post ofiSce 
as a reward for your political treachery and self-stultification. 
AYhy, with all this .success, ai'e you not happy and contented? 
Is it because that now, as of old, "the wicked flee when no man 
pursueth ? ' ' 

Your calling us a "venomous, blackhearted and utterly dis- 
honest demagogue," may be pleasing to the little ring of politi- 
cians b>- whom you are employed, but to the people at large it 
sounds very much like the hissing of a slimy serpent pierced 
with a sharp instrument. AYhy should a little truth concerning 
your real chai'acter make you out such vileness? Keep cool,, 
dear one, and be a little more truthful. Quit forever those base 
practices which have brought son-ow upon the gray hairs of 
.^our i)a rents, have pierced with grief the heart of her whom you 
swore to chei-ish, and have brought to_ shame M-hom you 
have begotten, 

"While the lamp holds out to bum. 
The vilest sinner may return," 

AVe know very well that it is not of your own free will and 


accord that you make these false and brutal assaults upon our 
character, but simply because you are the hired tool of a little 
gang of unprincipled and unscrupulous politicians. Now, why 
do you not break away from these men and paddle your own 
canoe? AVhy do you not purchase the material with which you 
print your paper, and become a free man once more? How 
much better you would feel then, and how much easier it would 
be for you to be a decent man. 

The county was thoroughly canvassed by local speakers and 
the Republicans brought in a number of,, prominent speakers 
from abroad in order to counteract the reform movement. The 
reform leaders were handicapped to some extent for the reason 
that the Republicans had nominated — with one exception — a most 
excellent ticket, and the Democats had nominated two of the 
reform candidates. However, the battle was fought to a finish 
with the following result : 

Governor, Reform vote 334, Republican 547, Democrat 546 ; rep- 
resentatives— Kelsey Curtis 820, Robert Earl 587, GuUick Knut- 
sen 562, William Brisbane 541, Samuel Hawkes 266; treasurer- 
Warren Smith 886, Thomas White 523 ; register of deeds— H. A. 
Mosher 821, Geo. Hofeld 453, E. G. Pierce 145 ; clerk of court— J. 
B. Hayden 646, B. A. Lowell 374, James Vandermade 302; sher- 
iff_S. W. Long (Ind.) 466, J. D. Andrews 429, Daniel Murphy 
399, il. F. Connor 127 ; judge of probate— J. A. Canfield 649, Ca- 
leb Halleck 626 ; county attorney— M. D. L. CoUester 712, Lewis 
Brownell 680; surveyor— C. E. Crane 937, Frank Hoffstott, 489; 
coroner— Dr. J. C. McMahon 1,098, Dr. L. D. Mcintosh 321 ; coun- 
ty commissioner— H. Vincent 281, Patrick Healy 214. The 
straight Reform or prohibition vote was 334, the number received 
by Prof. Humiston. 


In the contest of 1875 the following was quoted as from the 
pen of IMr. Wheelock, then editor of the St. Paul Press : 

"We consider tippling houses, saloons, or retail groggeries wliere rot- 
gut whisky; or whisky of any sort, is sold by the glass or dram as public 
nuisances, schools of intemperance, and fruitful sources of vice. We are 
inclined to believe that, upon grounds of public order and decency, the 
lawmaking authority has the right to prohibit the exposure and sale of 


spirituous liquors in this most seductive and dangerous of forms, and 
to abolish this nuisance and snare of tippling houses and groggeries. 

"If it be not criminal, it is, to say the least, infernally mean business, 
and a full grown man who cannot find a better avocation than to stand 
behind a bar and pander to a vicious custom of idle tippling, that soon 
grows by what it feeds on, into a scorching curse — is a nuisance to so- 
ciety, and the sooner his avocation is abolished the better. There is 
however, a case in which liquor selling is, upon every principle of 
ethics or of law, unquestionably a crime — and that is when the seller 
commits the twin crimes of fraud and slow murder upon his customer, 
by selling various forms of poison under the names of whisky, brandy, 


The winter of 1874-5 was more than usually stormy. On Jan- 
uary 8, there was a blizzard and on Feb. 2 and 3, and again on 
the 16th and the 23d days of the month occurred severe snow 
storms. On the 16th railroads and wagon roads were badly block- 
aded. The weather during harvest was especially bad for har- 
vest work. There were heavy rainstorms August 3, S, 14 and 31, 
and much of the grain \vas injured in both shock and stack. One 
of the local jiapers of September 8, said: 

"The recent rain storms in this section have been enormously destruc- 
tive. What was once the best wheat crop ever produced in this section 
is now so badly damaged that very little of it will go number one. Along 
the LeSueur river bottoms the crops are nearly all under water, and 
much damage has been done to crops and fences. It is simply impossible 
at present to estimate the amount of damage that has occurred. We 
learn that much of the wheat in stack is badly damaged." 

The weather cleared the first Aveek in September and the fall 
months were pleasant, enabling the farmers to do their fall work 
in good shape. 

Turner Hall, lw^^- AVard's opera house, was built in 1875, and 
dedicated the 2d and 3d of December. Dr. Schmidt of Jordan, 
if. D. L. Collester of "Waseca and Col. Pfaender of Xew Ulm, 
delivered addresses; Mrs. Wm. Alclntosh and :\Iiss Gerlicher pre- 
sented a flag, the latter making the pr<'sentation speech. The 
hall was built by subscription, but owing to poor management, 
it was not a financial success and finally became the property of 
the late Hon. W. G. Ward. " • 

At the October term of the district court, Prank Conway, of 
Blysian, having stolen horses from H. A. "Waggoner, was con- 
victed of horse-stealing and sentenced to five years imprison- 


ment in the Stillwater prison. Frank was a peculiar man. He 
was possessed of many good qualities. When sober he was a 
good neighbor, a kind husband, an affectionate father. He was 
a man of fair intelligence, and, for a number of years, was one 
of the county commissioners of LeSueur count}-. But he had a 
craving for liquor, and was, no doubt, afflicted with both dipso- 
mania and kleptomania. 

And now the year draws to a close. Old Boreas has come 
down from his frozen home in the unknown North. The birds 
have flown. The trees are stripped of their foliage. The grass 
and the flowers of the prairie are dead. The white mantle of the 
Snow King covers the land and the year has passed into eternity. 

"All ends are hid in God." 



Hail! All hail!! the great Centennial year 
Of the great Republic — A year of jubilee. 

The -iveatlier in ^Minnesota was magnificent. At twelve o'clock 
midnight, all over the land, the Centennial year was welcomed 
by the ringing of bells, the firing of guns, music of all kinds, 
especially of the brass band sort. In every village and hamlet 
there was great public rejoicing. 

To signalize the great event, preparations had been made ou an 
extensive scale during several preceding years for a AYorld's 
Exposition, at the historic city of Peinisylvania. The great fair 
opened on the 10th of iMay, and closed on the 10th of November. 
On the Fourth of July there was held, in that city, the most 
magnificent and extensive celebration ever held in the Union. 
The story of the Exposition is as entrancing as a splendid ro- 
mance, and it was in all respects a fitting imd worthy comraem- 
cration of the one himdredth anniversary of the adoption of the 
great Declaration of Independence. 

Should one ask, what meant the midnight ringinu' of bells. 


the shrill notes of the fife, the thunder of the big bass drums, the 
shrill notes of Young America, the sunrise salute of thundering 
cannon and the grand display of flags and bunting, the answer 
is, it is the great anniversary of the birth of the American na- 
tion — the most memorable event, save that of the birth of 
Christianitj% in all the history of mankind. 

In their influences upon the future destinies of mankind, the 
doctrines of the Declaration of Independence, enunciated by the 
Fathers, in 1776, stand forth in true statesmanship mountain- 
high beside the selfish doctrines of plutocrac.v and kingcraft. 

The Fourth of July, 1776, was the birthday of a great nation 
and of grand doctrines. The old doctrines of the divine right of 
kingcraft, bolstered up and defended by a hireling priestcraft, 
received a rude shock that day. 

The great truth that all men are created with equal rights — 
that by the great God of the universe, they are endowed with cer- 
tain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pur- 
suit of happiness— that to secure these rights, governments are 
established among men — that government derives all of its just 
powers from the consent of the governed — that whenever any 
government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of 
the governed, all the people, to alter or abolish it and institute 
such government as will secure these rights and the safety and 
happiness of all the people — this great truth should be imperish- 

No such doctrine, in its entirety, was ever before enimciated. 
Never before 1776 did men dare to make it and stand for it. 
]\len before had preached the doctrine of civil and religious lib- 
erty in isolated instances, and had suffered martyrdom; but this 
was the first great uprising for equal rights and privileges. And 
our young men and women should study these doctrines and get 
clear ideas of the nature and the character of this sublime event 
in the history of our country and in the history of the worlds 
for America is a great world power. 

The doctrine upon which this government is founded should 
cover the whole earth. Everywhere it should be established 
that all government should of right be by the people and for 
the people, and not the people for the government. This is the 
grand idea of our nation— liberty regulated by laws enacted by 


citizen sovereignty — equal rights and privileges for each guar- 
anteed by all. 

Let us hope that this nation of American freemen shall exist 
while time shall last, and that the hallowed principles of the Dec- 
laration of Independence may spread abroad throughout all the 
world and prove a blessing to all mankind. Let every American 
remember that it is "righteousness that exalteth a nation" and 
that "injustice will destroy any people." 
"Columbia! Columbia! to glory arise, 
The queen of the world, the child of the skies." 

THE WINTER OF 1875-6. 

As a rule, the winter of 1875-6 was pleasant in ;\Iinnesota. 
There was quite a severe snow storm Jan. 28, 1876, followed 
by pleasant weather until Februai-y 29, when there came a heavy 
fall of snow followed by cold weather until the last of ilarch. 
The snow did not melt away until the last days of ]March, when it 
went suddenl}-, causing floods and washouts in many parts of 
the country. April was a favorable month and seeding was 
done at the usual time. 


Saturday, Jan. 6, 1876, ilr. John Hoffer, residing near Alma 
City, met with a fatal accident near Capt. Dickerson's mill on the 
Agency road, not far from Maukato. He was returning home 
from ]\lankato with a load of lumlter and was driving a pair of 
spirited young horses. They became frightened by an attempt of 
other men and teams to pass them on the road and ran a short 
distance, Mr. Hoffer falling off, and the horses continuing on 
with the forward part of the wagon. They were finally caught 
without being much in.jured. Mr. Hoffer was fouud luieonscious 
and was cafried into Mr. Marble's house. He was apparently in 
a dying condition, with blood running from his mouth, nose and 
ears. Doctors were called, but the unfortunate nuui remained 
unconscious until his death about thirty-six hours after the 
accident. The physicians said that he had sustained a fracture 
of the skull at the base. It ^\'as claimed that the racing was the 
result of too much whisky. 



jMts. Wm. Roddl'?, one of the pioneer women of our county and 
mother of Hon. "VV. H. Roddle, late secretary of state of South 
Dakota, died Jan. 21, 1876, of congestion of the lungs. She was 
sick only a short time. She was the mother of Mrs. G. W. Wat- 
kins, Mrs. Buel Welch, Mrs. Stephen R. Child, Hon. Wra. H. and 
Benjamin Roddle, and Mrs. C. E. Root, who died some years ago. 
She was a good neighbor and an exemplary woman. 


:\Ir. Alvah Kinney, of Woodville, Feb. 20, 1876, met with a sad 
accident near Elysian. He was thrown from his wagon by a sud- 
den jolt, and in his fall -broke both bones of his right leg between 
the knee and the ankle. One of the bones protruded through the 
flesh when he was brought hom,e. 

The residence of B. S. Lewis, Esq., now occupied by Cashier 
J. B. Sullivan, was built during the Centennial year by Mr. Silas 
Barnard, since deceased. 

The Sons of Temperance, one of the oldest total abstinence 
societies in the United States, organized a division in Waseca, 
March 3, 1876. It is claimed that this is the oldest temperance 
society of this country, the first Division having been organized 
as early as Sept. 29, 1842, in the city of New York. That it has 
accomplished a grand work in the uplifting of humanity, is ad- 
mitted by all. Several Divisions were organized in this county 
by Dr. M. T. Anderson, a very earnest advocate of total absti- 


The following is from the Waseca Radical of March 15, 1876 : 
"The citizens of this place were surprised and shocked last Wednesday 
to hear of the death of Mrs. Sarah Long, wife of Sheriff Long, of this city, 
who died in Janesville, on Wednesday morning, March 8,"187G, of conges- 
tion of the lungs, after a few days of illness. The funeral services were 
held at the Episcopal chapel, in Waseca, last Friday; Rev. Mr. Young, of 
Mankato, officiating, and the remains were buried In the family lot at 
Wilton. She was fifty-four years of age last June. She came to Okaman 
with her husband in 1856, and had an extensive acquaintance in this 
county. Deceased was a member of the Episcopal church, and was 
held in high esteem by all her acquaintances. She leaves a large family 


to mourn her death. At the time of her sickness and death, she was 
visiting her daughter, Mrs. D. J. Dodge, of Janesville." 


The following account is from a Waseca paper of ^March 29, 

"A sad and lamentable affair occurred in the town of Janesville, last 
Friday evening, March 24. Mr. James Ash, an old resident of that 
town, highly respected, was married last Thursday. The married cou- 
ple went to St. Peter that evening where they s,-,ent the night. The 
next day they returned to his farm in Janesville. Just after the couple 
retired for the night, some of the boys and young men of the neighbor- 
hood opened the charivari by firing guns, drumining on tin pans, jingling 
bells, &c. He took down his shot gun and fired into the crowd. The 
shot struck a boy about fourteen or fifteen years of age, a son of Or- 
lando Fuller, some of the shot striking him in the breast and penetrating 
into the lungs, and others striking him in the abdomen." 

Fortunately the wounds did not prove to be mortal and the lad 
soon after recovered. The evils of the barbarous charivari were 
made prominent in this ease, as several protracted law suits grew 
out of the ait'air. 


Elder Smith, as he was familiarly called, was a pioneer eleruy- 
man of Wilton. Pie was a native of Rutland county, Vermont, 
and was born June 18, 1805. He was licensed to preach the 
gospel at the age of twenty-eight . lie married Eoxana Laws in 
1829. For twenty years he was pastor of the Baptist church at 
Elba, Genesee counly, N. Y. He then removed to Indiana where 
he spent nearly three years, thence to Illinois, where he preached 
until 185!), when he came west to Wilton as a home missionary. 
He was a very faithful and patient clergyman. He and his good 
wife participated in all the hardships and deprivations of frontier 
life with Christian cheerfulness. They had no children born to 
them, but had two adopted daughters. One of them, :Mary, be- 
came the wife of Dr. York, of Kansas, who was murdered by the 
notorious Bender family of Uiat state. .Mr. Smith died of par- 
alysis, April 7, 187(i, in his seventy-first year, and his remains 
lie buried in the, Wilton cemetery of which he took especial 
'■are for several .years prior to his death. 



One of the truly sad events in the history of "Waseca was the 
drowning of Burt H. Taylor, April 15, 1876. On that date, at the 
northwest shore of Loon Lake, within the city limits of Waseca, 
a son of Mr. Glidden, a lad ten or twelve years of age, took a 
small skiff and ventured out into an open space of water between 
two fields of ice. While he was paddling around, all unconscious 
of the dangers awaiting him, the wiad from the west drove down 
some floating ice, which closed in between the boat and the shore. 
The ice rapidly accumulated and the boy found it impossible to 
make his way out. He became frightened and hollooed for assist- 
ance. To add to his alarm the boat leaked some, and he had nothing 
but his cap with which to throw out the water. Mrs. Glidden soon 
discovered the perilous condition that her boy was in, and sup- 
posing the boat would be crushed by the ice and her son would 
be drowned, became very much alarmed and excited and cried 
piteously for help to rescue her boy. 

Young Taylor, with the generosity and courage for which he 
was noted, stripped off all but his underclothing, plunged into the 
ice-cold water of the lake and swam to the rescue of the boy. A 
number of persons intently watched him as, with strong arms 
and noble spirit, he reached the floating ice and commenced the 
perilous effort of breaking through it and gaining the boat. He 
successfully broke through the first barrier of ice, and it seemed 
for a time that he would really accomplish his object. He then 
struggled heroically through the ice and slush which was tossed 
madly about him by the fierce wind until within thirty feet of 
the boat. 

What a grand effort! Could he succeed? It seemed so, but no.' 
He was chilled to the vitals, or injured by the floating ice cakes, 
or taken with cramp ! He sank to a watery grave. 

The citizens were soon aroused, and the utmost excitement pre- 
vailed. Morris Landers, with his team and wagon, took Daniel 
Murphy, Will Blowers, and others and went around on the south 
side of the lake, taking with them a boat. As soon as they reach- 
ed the west side of the lake, where it was clear of ice, they launch- 
ed the boat and went to the rescue of the boy who was still fast 
in the ice. In the mean time, Emil Sandretzky and Dr. Mcintosh 


came around on the north side of the lake with another boat, and 
and made their way through the ice, both boats reaching the boy 
about the same time. The ice, driven by the strong wind, imme- 
diately closed in about the boats, and it required the united 
strength of all on board to break their way out of the ice-gorge 
against the wind. 

Having set the seared and chilled boy on shore, the boats then 
returned, with poles and grappling irons, to search for the body 
of young Taylor. The search was kept up until a late hour Sat- 
urday night, but owing to the high wind and the weeds and grass 
which cover the bottom of the lake in that vicinity, the body was 
not found. The search was continued all day Sunday, but with- 
out avail. There was more or less search for several days, but the 
body was not discovered until May 7, following, when ]\Ir. A. G. 
Bush, brother-in-law, of young Taylor, found the remains near 
the west shore of the lake, southwesterly from the place of the 
accident. ]\Ir. Taylor was a Master ]\lason and his remains were 
interred with Masonic honors. 


]Mrs. Charles Bckenbeck, one of the earliest settlers of "^"aseca, 
died on the 19th of April, 1876, at the age of forty-five years, of 
cancer of the bowels. She was a native of Germany, but had re- 
sided in America for many years. She was mother of ~Sh\ S. C. 
Eckenbeek, well known to all the early settlers and now in the 
milling business at Appleton, Minn. 

;\rr. Christian Krassin, of St. ilary, aged sixty years, died on 
the 23d day of April, 1876. He was born in Prussia and came to 
America about the year 185'J. He settled first in AVisoonsin, 
but came to this county in 1856 and opened a farm in St. IMary 
township. Some four years prior to his death, he was injured 
severely by a ferocious bull. After this accident he never saw a 
well day. He was a whole-souled, industrious and prosperous 
farmer, a quiet citizen, a kind husband and father, and a true 

:\lr. Robert :\Inrphy, of Alton, was accidentally killed at Janes- 
ville, by a runaway team of horses, ]\Iay '2i\ 1876. 

Airs. Christensen, wife of Nels Christensen, residinji' in the 
easlcrn ])ai't of New Kieliland township, met with a fatal acei- 


dent on Saturday, May 13, 1876. She had been. down to Le Sueur 
river washing some clothing, and while passing a colt, on her 
way to the house, was kicked by the brute in the stomach and 
abdomen so severely that, after lingering for several days in in- 
tense pain, she died on the 25th of the same month. She left a 
large family of children. 

July 11, 1876, ilrs. Jane Soule died at the residence of her son, 
William, in ilorristown. Mrs. Soule, a widow with eight chil- 
dren, came to Minnesota in 1855 and settled in ^Morristown near 
our county line. She was the mother of J\[r. George Soule, for 
a long time a resident of this county. She was one of God's nobie 
mothers in Israel. 

A sad and heart-rending death occurred at the home of 
George Murray, of Iosco, July 20, 1876. A daughter of Mr. Mur- 
ray, five or six years old, was bitten by a rattlesnake on one of 
her feet, Sunday evening, July 16, near the house of Richard 
Dreever. The snake was killed and had six or seven rattles. The 
child lingered until the 20th, suffering great pain, when death 
came to her relief. 

John Dunn, of Woodville, brother of J. M. Dunn and one of 
the early settlers, died July 21, 1876 of inflammation of the mem- 
branous lining of the skull near its base. His suffering was in- 
tense. He was about twenty-four years of age, and highly re- 

Hon. Henry Goodspeed died of consumption October 19, 1876. 
aged forty -five years. (See biographical department.) 


There was a double wedding July 3, 1876, at the residence of 
Mr. and ilrs. Noah Lincoln, of Wilton, the ceremony being per- 
formed by Judge Canfield. The high contracting parties were 
Mr. A. D. Scullin and ]\Iiss Elva Lincoln and ilr. I. F. ScuUin 
and Miss Louise Lincoln. Both gentlemen were then residents 
of Oakland, Freeborn county. 

ilr. S. C. Eekenbeck and ^liss H. E. Parmelee were married 
July 8, 1876, by Rev. Alfred Cressy. 

The last marriage of note of the year was that of Mr. Clarence 
T. Ward, since deceased, to ]\liss Annie E. Baldwin, then of Red- 
wood Falls, ;\Iinn. The bride was the well-known daughter of 


-Judge H. D. BaldAvin, one of the prominent and early settlers of 
the county ; the groom was the eldest son of Hon. W. (}. Ward, 
late of this city. Clarence died some years ago, but his widow 
still resides at Redwood Falls. 


The Waseca village election of 1876 occurred ]\Iay 2, and was 
one of the most exciting ever held in the place. A strife had 
arisen between Hon. W. G. Ward on one side and B. S. Lewis, 
Esq., on the other. Each had his friends and each had pluck, 
ilr. Lewis had control of a paper then published in Waseca, call- 
ed the "Leader." To offset the Leader's influence or supposed 
influence, Senator Ward empolyed the "ilinnesota Radical" to 
publish a large edition of extras which he sent to every voter 
in the village. The language used on both sides was more em- 
phatic than elegant, and out of that contest grew a strenuously 
conducted libel suit by Mr. Lewis against ]\lr. Ward. It result- 
ed in a judgment of one dollar damages and costs of suit. It 
Avas some yeai's before harmonious relations were re-established 
between the contending factions. 


For a number of years, the voters of Blooming Grove, at their 
annual town meeting voted to appropriate $25 a year for the 
killing of gophers. June 26, 1876, was gopher day, and >t;23.84 
was distributed among the "gopher boys" that day. Samuel 
Remund received the highest awai-d, $-1.75, and Charles Wolf the 
lowest, 30 cents. The boys produced satisfactory evidence of 
having killed 1,548 striped gophers and 171 pocket gophers. 


The fourth of July, 187(i, was celebrated in almost every vil- 
lage and hamlet in the United Slates, and many of the citizens 
of this coimty met at Waseca 1o observe the day. Rev. Loring 
ofl'ei'ed prayer, Mrs. Willsey read the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, Hon. i'etci' ]\lc(iovern delivered the oration, and Hon. 
AVin. Brisbane was county historian of the day. After referring 
to the general hi.story of the country, Mr. Brisbane spoke as fol- 
lows of the 



"On the second day of February, 1855, about 3 o'clock p. m., a weary, 
halfstarved party reached the recently erected shanty of Mr. Sutlief, 
about ten miles south of the now thriving young city of Waseca. Need 
I tell you how grateful they felt for the cheering warmth of that humble 
shanty? Hitherto, for several nights, they had spread their straw beds up- 
on the snow, and you could have followed their trail by the blood in the 
cattle tracks, for there was a hard crust on the snow at that time which 
cut the cattle's legs. 

How strangely inconsistent is the human mind! That night in the himi- 
ble shanty the hearts of the little party swelled with gratitude, and they 
thought they were happy. But, on the morrow, the country presented 
such a forlorn and desolute appearance that a sort of despondency began 
to creep over them. The country was covered with snow, and even the 
trees looked short and stunted. The weather was intensely cold. Nei- 
ther houses nor barns nor sheds nor fences could be seen anywhere. Like 
Robinson Crusoe, they were monarchs of all they surveyed. They re- 
ceived no letters to tell them of absent friends at home, nor newspapers 
to instruct or while away an hour, for the nearest postofflce was at 
Mankato. There was no neighbor to drop in and tender a word of com- 
fort, for their nearest neighbors were at Owatonna, twenty miles away. 
Such were the surroundings of the oldest settlers in Waseca county, 
twenty-one years ago last February. 

The scripture says that we ought not to take our flight in the winter 
or on the Sabbath day; yet the oldest settler of the county took his 
flight in the winter. Perhaps he was not well versed in scripture or else 
he disregarded its teachings. Be that as it may, he has learned wisdom 
from experience, and has now become a teacher of. men by publishing a 
paper of commanding influence in this village. And as everything con- 
nected with the history of that individual must be interesting, it may 
not be out of place to mention the difficulties he had to overcome even in 
getting married. In those early days when the oldest settler made up his 
mind to take unto himself a wife, he went to consult with the man 
who could make two into one, viz.. Esquire Jenkins, a man of rather ec- 
centric character. In talking the matter over grave doubts arose whether 
John Jenkins was really a bona fide justice or not. Here was a rather 
unlooked-for dilemma. To solve the problem, John started and actually 
did walk on foot all the way to St. Paul to get Governor Gorman to con- 
firm him as a legal justice of the peace, and thus empower him to bind 
in the holy bonds of matrimony the oldest settler of Waseca county." 

[The statement that there was doubt about Mr. Jenkins , being a qual- 
ified justice and that he walked to St. Paul is romance. — The Author.] 

"But now all is changed. Instead of traveling thirty-five miles on foot 
to reach a postofRce, we have plenty of them near at hand. Instead of 
being compelled to send East for a paper and wait four or five weeks af- 
ter its publication before receiving it, we have three published in the 


county, and the telegraph to inform us instantly of all matters of im- 
portance. Society here, too, will bear favorable comparison with that of 
any other part of the country. 

It is seventeen years last month since I came to Waseca county, and 
I have sometimes thought I was as great a fool to start in summer as 
the oldest settler was to start in winter. There was a track, to be sure, 
but nothing that could be called a road. Bridges, like angels' visits, 
were few and far between. I thought the clouds that floated over Min- 
nesota were rotten and couldn't hold water, for the rain fell in torrents. 
I was just a month to a day coming three hundred miles. 

In those days we had to go seventy miles to market — often wallowing 
through the mud, often through the snow — compelled at times to camp 
out when the thermometer ranged ten degrees below zero. I have often 
thought that it is a blessing that there is to be no resurrection of the 
brute creation, for if there were, all eternity would be spent in law- 
suits for assaults and batteries upon the poor, dumb animals that hauled 
our wheat to Hastings. Then we had little or no time for fall plowing. 
The year before the railroad was built to Waseca I was nine weeks on 
the road to market with two teams. And what did we get a bushel for 
our wheat at Hastings? From forty to fifty cents. If we hired the 
wheat hauled, we had to pay from twenty-five to thirty cents a bushel, 
which left us the magnificent sum of twenty to twenty-five cents at home. 
This is no wild and imaginary statement. I recollect selling to ilv. 
Hunter four hundred bushels of wheat at thirty cents a bushel, taking it 
all in "store pay." I have seen the time when a pound of pork would 
buy only a pound of salt, in Wilton, and when butter brought only six 
cents a pound, and — will you believe it — the wagons still screamed for 
grease. We couldn't afford to grease our wagons for it took much grease 
to bring a little money, and yet it is just as far to New York now as then. 
Still we grumble, although we get from three to four times as much now 
for wheat as we got then. It may be asked, "How do we get so much mor? 
for our wheat now than then?" The question is easily answered. The 
power of capital and the skill of the engineer and of the mechanic have 
annihilated distance and brought New York to our doors. In plain lan- 
guage, cheap transportation has doubled and trebled the value of our 
wheat. * " * 

I think I have alluded to the struggles and contests of rival villages 
and localities for the location of county seats. Waseca county has had 
her share of these contests. When the county was set off from Steele, 
some four or five places contended for the honor of having the county 
seat, but Wilton finally won the prize — at least every one thought so. 
But establishing county seats is something like nominating candidateci 
for the presidency. One or two prominent candidates feel quite sure that 
they will be nominated, but the various factions can not harmonize, and 
the consequence is some obscure individual steps 1o the front and wins 
the prize. It was just so with Wilton. She thought it was all "hunka- 
adora" with her, so far as I ho county seat was concerned: but one dav 


an engineer came along with his staff and said he wanted to locate a 
railroad through Waseca county. He did; and he left Wilton out in the 
cold. A station was established about five miles north of her, and then 
it began to be whispered that It would be better to have the county seat 
v/here the county market was. This generated a terrible local storm. 
The lightning flashed, the thunder rolled, and the elements jarred so 
that the Second Adventists declared the crack of doom had come. 

"When the firing ceased and the smoke of battle cleared away, they 
began to look around for the dead and wounded, but not a soul was to 
be found. While the Wiltonians slept, the garrison fled, carrying the 
archives and munitions of war with them. They threw up fortifications 
and entrenched themselves at a place called Waseca, and then swore 
by the 'Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress' that they had come 
to stay, and stay they will. Now there is not a man in the county but 
is proud of the county seat. And as this is the centennial birthday of 
our nation, we can not do better than to banish the recollection of past 
feelings of animosity from our hearts, should any still linger there. Let 
us throw the mantle of forgiveness over all men and stand erect before 
God and the world, thus proving our title to true manhood. Let us for- 
give those who have wronged us. It is not worth while to hate when so 
few years are given us in which to love. Let our affections and good in- 
tentions be strengthened, that our hearts may be lighter and our hands 
stronger for the life work before us." 


On August 14, 1876, Mr. Fred Schultz, residing in Freedom, 
had a span of voung horses stolen from his stable, and the stable, 
together with another horse and some grain, was consumed by fire. 
Several haystacks were also burned. A fellow named George 
Buck was caught with the stolen horses at Minnesota Lake the 
next day and arrested. He was afterwards sent to prison. 


On the 7th of September, in our Centennial year, the James 
and Younger gang of cutthroats, from Missouri, invaded North- 
field, IMinn. 

About 2.30 p. m. of that day, three armed men entered the bank 
in Northfield, where Heywood, cashier. Bunker, assistant cashier, 
and Wilcox, clerk, were present. They immediately jumped over 
the counter, through a space of about two feet left for the use of 
the teller, and cried out, "Hold up your hands! We are going 
to rob the bank." One of the robbers starting to go into the vault, 
Heywood followed him and partially closed the vault door. The 


robber pushed Heywood back, and one of the other robbers came 
to his assistance and struck Heywood on the head with his revol- 
ver. The two then dragged Heywood again towards the vault, 
cursing him and telling him to open the safe, the inner door only 
of which was closed. At this time they drew their 
knives, and one of them drawing his knife across the 
cashier's neck, making a scratch, again ordered him to open 
the safe. Just at this moment Bunker attracted their attention 
by starting for the back door. One of them immediately fired 
at him, striking him in the fleshy part of the shoulder. He 
however, did not stop, but ran out, giving the alarm. Failing 
to make the brave Heywood open the safe, and hearing firing out 
of doors tlie robbers started out. The last one .jumping over the 
counter, turned, and placing the muzzle of the revolver within a 
foot of He>w()od's head, shot him in the right temple, killing him 

About the time the three robbers entered the bank, six others, 
three of whom advanced from opposite ends of ^lain street , com- 
menced firing revolvers promiscuously right and left, and yelling 
furiously and i)i'ofanely ''(Jet out you s — of a b — !"' The first 
two shots they fired into Lee & Hitchcock's front windows, cut- 
ting smooth holes through the glass and tearing great holes in 
the shelving inside. !Most of the windows for five hundred feet 
on both sides of the street bore evidence of the reckless shooting. 
In a few moments quite a number of citizens opened fire on the 
robbers. A. R. Manning and Henry AVheeler shot two of the 
robbers dead and wounded one or two othei-s. The pe<iple were 
thoroughly frightened and the robbers soon left, taking with 
tliem their wounded. 

They passed through Dundas and thence into the timber west 
of Cannon River. 

The whole country was thoroughly aroused. Ai-ined men in 
this county and throughout Southern ^Minnesota guarded the 
highways and watched eveiw avenue of escape until most of the 
bandits were killed or captured Septeml)er 27th. The following 
account of the capture oi the Younger brothers is from the ^Inn- 
kato Review, which said : 

"Soon after arriving at Madelia we were fortunate In capturing Capt. 
W. W. Murphy, one of the gallant captors, who rendered valiant service 


in the memorable Hght. From him we learn that the first intelligence 
was brought to town by Oscar Suborn, a lad about seventeen years old, 
son of Ole Suborn, 'who lives in Linden township. Brown county. It 
seems that the four robbers came to his father's house, on Thursday 
morning, and asked for breakfast. They were told it was not ready, but 
if they would wait it would be furnished them. They said that they could 
not wait, and got some bread and butter, went off some distance from 
the house and sat down to eat it. They represented themselves as a 
hunting party, but the family suspected them as being the robbers, and 
after they left, the boy took a horse from the team his father was 
using to haul hay, and brought the information to Madelia, four and one- 
quarter miles distant. The location is in the vicinity of Armstrong lake. 
Sheriff Glispin was one of the first to receive the intelligence, and with- 
in five minutes he and several others were mounted and started. Others 
were directed to go in other directions to intercept them In their re- 
treat. The first sight Glispin's party had of them was at the right hand 
outlet of Hanska lake, six miles west of Madelia. Here Glispin called 
upon them to surrender, but they continued to retreat and shots were 

"A horse owned by a Norwegian in the pursuing party was wounded, 
and it is thought fatally. The robbers then waded a slough, Glispin and 
his party being mounted could not follow them, but had to go round — a 
distance of several miles. After crossing the slough the robbers made 
straight for the Watonwan river, which they struck and crossed, at the 
bend, six miles west of Madelia, and near the house of Andrew Anderson. 
Glispin and party crossed about a mile east and got in front of them. 
They saw the robbers, and drove them back into the brush of willows 
and plum trees lining the bank in that vicinity. By this time horsemen 
and teams from town and elsewhere began to arrive, and there were prob- 
ably fifty persons occupying the bluffs. Here the horsemen were dis- 
mounted, and recruits called for to charge the brush. Only seven per- 
sons responded: James Glispin, sheriff; Ben. Rice, son of the ex-sena- 
tor, of St. James; Capt. W. W. Murphy of Madelia; Geo. Bradford, Clias. 
Pomeroy, jr., T. L. Vought, of Flander's House; and Jas. Severson, clerk 
in Yates' store. Others were called for but they refused to respond, and 
the gallant little band of seven, charged the robbers, passing through 
the thick brush in a northerly direction until striking the river, when 
they deployed as skirmishers, their line being formed about five feet 
apart. Then moving westward, up the river, after going about fifteen 
rods, they ran upon the four men, secreted in thick willows. Glispin 
was on the extreme right of the line, advancing in an open path, and be- 
ing seen by the robbers, a shot was fired at him, which he dodged by 
falling on his knee, at the same time returning a well-directed shot from 
his carbine. Seeing Glispin fall. Murphy next at hand, supposed him to 
be shot and he opened fire with his revolver, the rest of the party follow- 
ing suit in rapid succession. Glispin kept up a rapid fire and Murphy 


having exhausted the six chambers of his revolver, Glispin handed his re- 
volver to Murphy, the party steadily advanced sending volley after volley 
at the robbers. All stood up manfully, not flinching, but each and every 
one doing his whole duty. In the hottest of the fray assistance was call- 
ed for from those in the rear, but no one responded. Then the order 
to charge was given. The man who seemed in advance of the robbers was 
hit, ran two rods in a cornering direction from the attacking party and 
fell mortally wounded. Cole Younger and his brother were seen to fall 
and were heard groaning, and the other brother, wounded at Northfield, 
stepped out of the brush, saying 'Don't fire any more, we are all shot to 
pieces.' The pursuers ordered him to hold up his hands, which he did, 
and fearing that it was a plan to decoy them, Glispin told his men to 
take aim at the man, and then commanded him to advance and deliver 
his pistol to Murphy, which he did. The firing ceased, and Glispin's men 
advancing, found one man dead, and Cole Younger and his brother 
lying together on the ground badly wounded." 

Two of the sang, supposed to l)e the James brothers, left the 
other murderers and escaped to Dakota on stolen horses. As 
often as their horses tired out they would turn the tired ones 
loose and steal others. The two were never captured. The cap- 
tured ones plead guilty, thereby under a peculiar statute, es- 
caping hanging. They were sent to state's prison for life. One 
of the brothers died in prison, a second committed suicide after 
being paroled, and Cole, the worst of the brothers, has been 
pardoned — to the everlasting disgrace of the state. 

The Pioneer Press of November 2:-l, 1876, paid these cutthroats 
the followini;' compliment: 

"The three Missouri bandits and cutthroats — Cole, Jim, and Bob Young- 
er — made their last appearance in St. Paul yesterday. At least it is hop- 
ed that we may never look upon their ugly mugs again. Sheriff Barton, 
of Rice county, assisted by his son and J. H. Passon and Thomas Lloyd, 
accompanied the convicted scoundrels to the state prison, where they 
have been sentenced to remain for life. * * * Three vulgar and 
brutal ruffians, every one of whom richly deserves a gibbet, have passed 
from their reception rooms at Faribault, — where they have been flattered 
and pampered for weeks, (by the foolish,) and where they have received 
their visitors with a benignity and patronage that was something royal 
in its style — to the penitentiary in Stillwater. Now let the warden of the 
prison see that they are kept there. The legislature of Minnesota has 
given these wretches their miserable lives— and it is hoped that an in- 
secure prison will not give them their liberty also." 

There were three tickets in the field and the campaign was a 


very earnest one. The Prohibitionists cast five hundred votes 
straight. The following officers were elected: 

P. C. Bailey, state senator ; Anthony Sampson and Fenton Keen- 
an, representatives; Edgar Cronkhite, auditor; C. G. Parke, 
court commissioner; H. K. Stearns and R. 0. Craig, county com- 


The year closed with an election in Woodville and Waseca 
in which the people decided by a vote of 266 to 51 to issue the 
bonds of the town in the sum of $30,000 to aid in the construction 
of the M. & St. L. railway, the bonds to be issued upon the com- 
pletion of the road. 




The strenuosity of the people of this eoiuity during the Cen- 
tennial year was followed in 1877 hy a calm. Tlie most exciting 
affair of the year was the counting in of President Hayes and 
Vice-president Wheeler. At one time anarchy Avas feared, and 
even at this time men of the highest intelligence and integrity 
are wont to speak of the affair between the North and the South 
at that time as keenly critical. The commission that the matter 
was referred to was composed of five judges of the supreme court, 
five senators and five representatives — eight Kepublieans and seven 
Democrats. To the regret of many, the eomniission divided on 
party lines. 


The house of ]\Ir. John Linnehan, of Byron, was destroyed bv 
fire Feb. 4, 1877. ]Mr. and ^Frs. Linnehan were visiting a brother 
in the neighborhood at the time. In the evening the boys built 
a fire and went out to do the chores. In a short time the house 
was discovered to be on fire. Everything was lost ext'ept one 
feather bed. In addition to the loss of household goods, fifty 
bushels of seed wheat and a harvester Avere consumed. There 
was an insurance of soiii(> .+2(10 on the house. 


On the 9th of the same month George Kline, one of the "boys" 
of the First ilinnesota, residing in St. Mary, lost his home by fire. 
He awoke about midnight and found his house all on fire. His 
children had a narrow escape from, being burned with the house. 
All the household goods, clothing, and everything else in the 
house were totally consumed. He carried insurance to the amount 
of $500. 

John Habein, of Blooming Grove, son of Wm. Habein, while 
blasting rock, April 2-1, 1877, met with a serious accident. He 
was charging a rock, and while driving in brick to confine the 
powder, it exploded, inflicting a deep woiind in the flesh between 
the thumb and first finger of the right hand, and a severe one 
on the cheek, just below the ej-e, carrying away the flesh from 
the outside corner of the eye nearly to the top of the nose, and 
blowing his face and hands full of powder and small pieces of 
brick. Fortunately his eyes were not injured. He soon recovered. 


]\lrs. Esther Bennett, mother of Ed. Bennett, Esq., of Waseca. 
died at Tivoli, Blue Earth county, on the 14th of May, 1877. De- 
ceased was the mother of sixteen children, fourteen of whom at- 
tained their majority — ten males and four females. The Bennett 
family located in Blue Earth county in 1S56, and maintained a 
prominent position in its early history. The deceased was a 
most estimable ladj-, highlj^ esteemed by a large acquaintance. 


The ^Minneapolis and St. Louis railroad was constructed 
through Waseca diiring the year 1877. Thomas White, of Wa- 
seca, had the contract for building four miles of the road on each 
side of Waseca. The road was completed to Albert Lea Nov. 7. 


Who first visited Waseca county in 1854, and who located hevi' 
with his family in 1855, died June 1, 1877. IMartin Krassin was 
the son of Gottlieb Krassin, Sr., and was born in Prussia in the 
year 1821. He came to America with his aged parents and young 
wife in July, 1854. He stopped for a month or two with rela- 
tives, near Princeton, Wis., and then made a trip of exploration 


through Minnesota in company with Mr. John Greening, as noted 
in the "First Settlement of St. Mary." 


j\Irs. Eleanor M. Helms, wife of Hon. il. H. Helms, passed to 
rest June 30, 1877. She was one of the daughters of Samuel 
Dodge, who settled near Wilton in 1857. Her age at the time 
of death was 25 years, nine months. She left surviving her hus- 
band and two daughters. 


This important line of road, for which the people of Woodville 
had voted $30,000, was completed in the fall of 1877, and on the 
11th day of December of that year, the managers of the road, in 
connection with the business men of Minneapolis, gave a free ride 
and a free banquet to five hundred invited guests along the line 
of the road. Addresses of welcome and responses were deliver- 
ed, each village and city being represented on the program. To 
the toast "Waseca," the response was reported by the ]\Iiuneapo- 
lis Ti'ibune as follows: 

"Sir. Child said : 

"Mr. President: Waseca rejoices at the completion of the connecting 
link of road which unites Lake Superior with the lower Mississippi. 
This is a happy day for Waseca county. Her humblest citizen may well 
feel proud of this grand festal occasion. Waseca county, with her streams 
of pure water, her numerous silvery lake-gems, scattered here and there 
in every township; her thriving villages, her school houses, her mills, 
her mercantile enterprises, her banks, her forests and groves of timber, 
her herds of cattle, her thirteen hundred farms, her granaries crowded 
with a million bushels of wheat ready for your mammoth mills, her twelve 
thousand happy and prosperous souls, reaches out her hand to-day across 
the intervening prairie and woodland, and warmly clasps that of Minne- 
apolis, who, with her palaces of brick and granite, with her merchant 
princes, with her inexhaustible water power, with her mills of world-wide 
reputation, with her men of indomitable pluck, with her warm hearted 
hospitality, has become noted throughout the nation — aye, throughout 
the civilized world. 

"Twenty-three years ago today, the oldest male inhabitant in Waseca 
county, now living within its borders, belonging to the 'red shirted brig- 
ade,' and was engaged in 'swamping' at a lumbering camp on the north 
branch of the Oconto, in northern Wisconsin. He was a wild, fanatical 
fellow. One evening by the camp-flre, after reading a friend's letter de- 
scriptive of Southern Minnesota, he made up his mind to pack his 
'turkey' and make a winter trip to the land of promise. 


"On the 6th of January, 1855, he and two other venturesome men, one 
of whom now sleeps in the Wilton cemetery, and the other of whom, poor 
fellow, is engaged as assistant postmaster in the United States senate, 
started for Minnesota with ox teams. On the 2d day of February, 1855, 
they arrived in what is now Waseca county, having camped two nights 
in the open air, on Minnesota snow hanks. One lone shanty was all there 
was of civilization to break the native solitude of the prairie and wood- 
land, from Straight river to the frontier town of Mankato. What a 
change in these twenty-four years! This occasion will not permit even 
a glance at the hardships, the privations, the struggles, the heroic labors 
of those who first broke the prairie sod and started civilization in a new 
country. But the people of Freeborn, Waseca, LeSueur, Rice, and Scott 
counties, who a few years ago were seen carting their wheat to Hastings, 
camping at night by the roadside, in fair weather and in storm, need not 
to be reminded of these scenes, for they have been written upon the tab- 
lets of memory by the hand of experience; and that experience prompts 
every heart to rejoice that to-day we may visit the metropolis of the 
state, in palatial railroad cars — going in the morning and returning to our 
own firesides in the evening. The day of slow coaches, foundered horses, 
and brave (sometimes tyrannical) stage drivers has passed, and in place 
thereof we have the iron horse with his train of rolling palaces — the 
grandest production of American capital, skill and ingenuity. Waseca 
joins with Albert Lea, Hartland, Richland, Waterville, Kilkenny, Mont- 
gomery, New Prague, and Jordan in accepting the hospitality of this city, 
on the 'Minneapolis plan,' and will contribute her full share toward the 
upbuilding of the dual city at the head of navigation, on the grandest 
river of North America. 

"But this is a digression. Waseca is the theme. Well, Waseca is noted 
for many things. She is noted for a variety of statesmen. She has more 
'honorables' to the square mile than any other county in the state. Some 
are as wisely silent as Gen. Grant, while others are as noisy — if not as 
wise — as 'Sunset' Cox or Wendell Phillips. She boasts of six hundred 
men who, with clear heads and untainted breath, at the last election, cast 
their ballots in favor of 'destroying the destroyer of millions' and freeing 
our land of a slavery more intolerable than that which drenched South- 
ern soil with the blood of our fathers and brothers. 

"She is noted for her rich and productive soil; for her industrious 
and well-to-do farmers; for her No. 1 wheat; for her pleasant and com- 
fortable homes; for her four newspaper ofllces; for her numerous 
churches and numerous saloons, almost equaling Minneapolis, and for 
her enterprising business men in every branch of trade. 

"In 1876 she produced from 47,877 acres 475,177 bushels of wheat. 
That was the lightest crop ever raised in the county. This year from fifty 
thousand acres, she has produced one million bushels of wheat. She 
boasts of over three thousand work horses, thirteen hundred beef and 
working cattle, four thousand milch cows, thirteen hundred farmers' 


families, sixty-nine thousand acres of plowed land, and numerous culti- 
vated groves containing 205,000 forest trees. 

"The sheep of Waseca county in 1876 produced 9,089 pounds of wool; 
the cows produced 283,250 pounds of butter, and 4,288 pounds of cheese; 
the bees, 136 hives, produced 1,629 pounds of honey; the apple trees 
in bearing, numbering 5,629, produced 2,325 bushels of apples. The total 
amount of hay saved was 27,384 tons. 

"It is a glorious, good county, a near relation to the garden of Eden, 
and, as its Indian name implies, is a 'land of plenty,' 'abundant in food' 
and contains as much solid mud to the square mile, on a rainy day, as 
any county in the state. 

"But on this occasion we may all look beyond the limits of our 
several localities and join in congratulating one another upon the nation- 
al importance of the completion of the thoroughfare that now unites 
the great 'unsalted seas' of the North with the never freezing waters of 
the Sunny South. And we do not and should not forget that the success 
ot this important enterprise is due to the energy and labors of President 
Washburn and his Minneapolis co-workers. To the ability and courage 
of such men the people of the state owe a large debt of gratitude. 
Without doubt all will join in expressing the hope that the fraternal 
relations now existing between the North and the South, the East and 
the West, may grow with our growth and strengthen with our advancing 
years, and that ere the close ot another decade the people will have cast 
aside all local prejudices, so that our great natural highway by way of 
New Orleans may be utilized to the fullest extent by the millions that 
are to possess the great valley of the Mississippi. 

"Waseca is proud to be represented here to-day by so many of her citi- 
zens, and rejoices in the fact that Minneapolis and St. Paul are now with- 
in a few hours ride of our happy hunting grounds. We cordially invite 
our friends of these cities to visit our goodly land that flows with the milk 
of human kindness and the honey of Christian charity — except about 
election time — and to learn how good and how p.leasaut it is to dwell 
in the land of plenty where every one sits by his own fireside and calls 
no man master." 



The winter of 1877-8 was one of the mildest in the history of the 
state. Frost came out of the ground in January so that plowing 
was done in some localities during that month. There was very 
little snow all winter and no sleighing. For several weeks the 
roads were dry and dusty. Some farmers sowed wheat in Feb- 
ruary. The ^Mississippi River from St. Paul to New Orleans 
was free from ice as early as March 8. 


Owing to the mild weather, no doubt, there was considerable 
doing in the way of lectures and social gatherings during the 
season. The month of January, in Waseca, brought a great tem- 
perance revival. Mrs. J. Ellen Foster, then a noted lecturer and 
attorney, of Iowa, delivered a series of powerful lectures, or ad- 
dresses, in Waseca. 


The local paper, speaking of Mrs. Foster's work, said: "ilrs. 
Foster has taken the town by storm. She has started a good 
work. The "Blue Ribbon" is a success. Mrs. Foster's lectures, 


delivered in this place since last Thursday, together with the 
terrible death of Mrs. Stevenson, whose body was found last 
Sunday morning, have created an emotional temperance senti- 
ment in this place which we hope may settle down to something 
sound, substantial and practical.' The death of Mrs. Stevenson 
was detailed in the local paper of Jon. 9, 1878, as follows: 


"It is with a sad heart that we record the fearful death of Mrs. S. J. 
Stevenson, wife of the late deputy sheriff of this county, who was found 
within thirty feet of the Catholic church of this village and only a few 
rods from her own home, last Sunday morning, frozen to death, with an 
empty bottle in which there had been whisky. There is no reason to 
doubt that she came to her death while in a drunken condition, as for 
years she had been more or less addicted to the use of liquor — was, in 
fact, a slave to its power. 

"She was found by Mr, Breen's son and James B. Hayden, clerk of the 
court. When first discovered the body was in a kneeling posture, the 
face, knees, and toes resting upon the ground and the body bent as 
though she had fallen while on her knees; thus her spirit passed beyond 
the vale. 

"She leaves four children — two daughters, who have reached woman- 
hood, and two little hoys. 

"When sober, she was one of the kindest and best of women, especial- 
ly in sickness, and with the exception of this fault was a respectable, 
kind-hearted woman. She was about fifty years of age." 

The death of Mrs. Stevenson brought forth the following lines 
from Miss Mary B. Dayton, then a young school teacher, after- 
wards Mrs. Shepard, now deceased. The lines were so sincere 
and true that the author offers no apology for reproducing the 
following extracts from the poem : 


"Gone to the earth, returned to dust! 
Gone to her maker, too, we trust. 
Her life is done, her work is o'er; 
Now she will rest forever more. 
She knew no happiness in life, 
But much she knew of toil and strife. 
She once was young and very fair — 
Alas! she knew not then the snare 
That would enfold her in its grasp, 
Till human power and help were past. 
She fell into the tempter's power; 


He met her in an evil hour; 

Stie sinned and fell, 'tis plain to all, 

She lost her pride, her hope, her all. 

She yielded to the demon rum, 

Not thinking of the harm to come, 

Until too late, his grasp she felt. 

Ah, Where's the heart that would not melt 

Before a scene so sad, yet true? 

Picture the agony she knew! 

Not ours the right to judge, but learn 

From sin and evil now to turn, 

Oh! man. Oh! youth, beware, beware. 

We're all beset by many a snare; 

When tempted oft to turn astray. 
Remember God, the living way. 
Think well before one glass you take. 
Before His holy law you break, 
Think of that creature once so pure. 
Think of the woe that came to her! 
Think of her lying stiff and cold. 
Think of her poor immortal soul! 
'Tis true she sinned, but who is he 
Who sinneth not? If such there be. 
His is the right to judge of one 
Who sitteth now before God's throne." 


jMrs. Amelia Wood, wife of Mr. Nathaniel "Wood, who settled 
in "Woodville in 1855, died Feb. 6, 1878, at the advanced age of 
seventy-six. She was a native of Vermont, and was the mother 
of :\Iessrs. Eri G., Loren C. and Luman Wood, and Mrs. J. K. 
Meyers, Mrs. Scott, Mrs. G. R. Buckman, and Mrs. R. M. Addison. 


For several years the county commissioners, under the wise 
counsel of Auditor Cronkhite, had been creating a fund for the 
building of a jail, and on the 20th of March, 1878, the contract 
for building the same was let to W. B. Craig & Co., their bid be- 
ing $9,333. Conrad, Bohn & Co. bid $9,445. The contract requir- 
ed the completion of the building on or before the first of the 
following October. 



The temperance people of the county were very active in 1878. 
At the March term of court, thirteen indictments were found by 
the grand jury against as many different persons in New Rich- 
land for selling liquor unlawfully. Nearly all of them plead 
guilty and were fined $50 and costs of prosecution. 


this year was celebrated by our people quite generally. Public 
meetings were held in Blooming Grove, Otisco, Janesville, New 
Richland, and Waseca. Rev. R. Forbes and James E. Child deliv- 
ered addresses in Blooming Grove; Hon. Wni. Brisbane delivered 
the oration at New Richland; Rev. Gilbert Shaw addressed the 
people of Otisco; there was a circus at Janesville; a picnic at Wa- 
seca; and a church celebration and dinner at St. ^Mary. 


As far back as 1878 it was not unheard of for attorneys, while 
under the influence of liquor, to try cases. 

The following actually occurred in Waseca— names alone being 
fictitious. The affair is given as reported at the time : 

"A laughable and at the same time a disgraceful scene occurred in 
Hon. B. Smyth's court, last Wednesday. The plaintiff was a man named 
Taylor, a lithe, supple, plucky chap; and the defendant, a Mr. Gove. 
Lawyer Cole appeared for plaintiff and Lawyer Jones for defendant. The 
plaintiff was put upon the stand and all went as usual until the cross- 
examination, when some sharp words ensued. Jones called the witness 

a d n gambler, whereupon the witness told Jones he was a d n 


"That was too much for Jones; he seized a chair and raised it, threat- 
ening to knock the witness' brains out. Taylor, not to be outdone in 
politeness, as quick as a flash also presented a chair. Cole rushed to a 
corner and called for a revolver, the jurors ducked their heads, one be- 
hind another expecting every moment the crash of arms, the justice com- 
menced gathering up his papers, men from the street rushed wildly to the 
scene of conflict, everything was in suspense until two seconds rushed in 
and prevented the flow of gore by parting the combatants. Lawyer Jones, 
being disarmed, paced up and down like a caged lion, asserting that he 
was a respectable citizen of Waseca, and that he would not take such 
an Insult from a tramp. Whereupon Taylor informed him that he (Tay- 
lor) was not a tramp, and moreover that Lawyer Jones was not even ■ 
a respectable citizen. And then the valorous Jones again approached 
Taylor with clenched flsts and flashing eyes threatening a terrible les- 


son In pugilism. Taylor again assumed a fighting posture, and no one 
can tell how much blood might have flowed had not Constables Roddle 
and Stevenson rushed between them. Disgusted at his failure to cross- 
examine the witness over the head with a chair, Jones left the court 
in contempt. After his departure the court held the scales of jus- 
tice in equal poise and finished the trial — peace and harmony prevailing," 


One of the saddest occurrences in the history of the eonnty 
transpired August 27, 1878. The following account was given at 
the time by John J. Toner, son of Richard Toner : 

"The inmates of the house were Mr. and Mrs. Toner, the parents, who 
slept below; John J. Toner, their son, a young man, and two hired men; 
two daughters, young women, and the girl, Annie McCann, all of whom 
slept in rooms upstairs. Mary Toner, the older daughter, first discov- 
ered the fire about fifteen minutes after one o'clock, Tuesday morning, 
in the southeast corner of the building, upstairs, next to the kitchen. 
She at once gave the alarm. John, as soon as awakened, went below 
and called to his parents, and then went out with one of the hired 
men, thinking to extinguish the Are. He soon found that the fire was 
beyond control and went back to the front door of the main building. 
His sister then told him that the McCann girl was still upstairs. He 
sent for a ladder whereby they might reach the chamber window. Just 
then one of the daughters said 'father is still in the house.' John then 
went to the open bed-room window and reached into the bed but could 
not find his father. He then called him. At this time the smoke and 
heat were stifling and he turned his head to get a fresh breath. When 
he turned again he found his father prostrate with his head in the 
window. By this time, the fire was over head and all around them. One 
of the men came to assist, but both were unable to succeed in removing 
the old gentleman and were driven back by the fire. The other man 
also made an attempt to reach the window, but was driven back by the 
fire. Nothing more could be done, and, Mr. Toner and the girl perished 
in the flames. Nearly everything in the house was consumed. Mr. 
Richard Toner was one of the oldest settlers of the county, having 
settled in Iosco in 1856. He was about 65 years of age. He leaves a 
large family and an extensive circle of friends to mourn his sad death. 
Of late years he has been a sober, exemplary citizen, and universally 
liked and respected on account of his generosity and neighborly de- 

"The origin of the fire is unknown. One of the men, desiring to use 
some warm water, as late as eleven o'clock the evening before was in the 
kitchen, but saw no fire. 

"It is a sad aitair, and casts a gloom over the whole community." 



The campaign of this year was one of intense feeling and ex- 
citement. There were four tickets in the field — Temperance, 
(Greenback, Democrat, Republican. The vote on state senator 
was as follows : >S. B. Williams, temperance, 729 ; P. C. Baile.v, re- 
publican, 464; Fenton Keenan, democrat, 443; AV. D. Armstrong, 
,L;reeul)ack, 274. John S. Abell, temperance, received 570 votes and 
was elected representative, while John Thompson, republican, was 
elected by a vote of 5.').3 over Ira D. Beaman, temperance, who re- 
ceived 505 votes. ]\[r. E. Cronkhite, candidate on both the tem- 
perance and democi'atie tickets, was re-elected by a vote of 745. 
The total vote of the county this year was 1,922. 


Scarcely had the new jail been completed when the four inmates 
came very near making their escape. They cut off one of the bars 
with a common, steel table-knife, unlocked the scuttle door lead- 
ing into the attic with an old ke.v, went into the attic and knocked 
a hole through the brick wall, on the north side, close to the cor- 
nice. Sheriff Keeley's attention was attracted by the noise, and 
he and Jailor Long proceeded to drive the culprits back into 
their cells. Evidentl.v the jail was not burglar proof. 


The marriage of Mr. Martin Haley and I\Iiss Ellen Collins, at 
"Waseca, by Father Christie, Feb. 25, 1878, was quite a society 
event. Mr. Haley had been captain of the champion baseball club 
of the state, and was son of Mr. Patrick Haley, one of the well- 
to-do and early settlers of Blooming Grove. Aliss Collins was a 
sister of Sheriff Collins, of Waseca. j\Ir. John Kahnke and Miss 
]\Iary Matz, of St. Mary, were married the next day— Feb. 26. 
]Mr. Kahnke is one of the yiuing old settlers of the county. All-. H. 
X. Carlton, one of the earlie'st boysettlers of Woodville, married 
Miss Lovica Smith, daiighter of A. C. Smith, October 1878. The 
bride was the first white child born in the town of Woodville. 

Mr. A. B. Crumb, of Byron, an early settler, died .Ian. 30, 1878, 
of lingering consumption, aged fifty years. He had resided in 
th(> county aboiit foui-t(>en years. 

.Mrs. Louise A. Ballard, the first woman married within the 


limits of Waseca county (then Bhie Earth county), died Augu-;t 
15, 1878, aged forty-one years, at Decoria, Blue Earth county. 
She left a family of ten children. She was the daughter of Mr. 
and Mrs. Bernard Gregory, now deceased, who settled in St. Mary 
in 1855. 

James Johnson, son of Isaac Johnson, both early settlers in 
this county, was accidentally shot near Mapleton, Nov. 10, 1878. It 
appears that he had been hunting, in company with his brother 
AVilliam and two others, and was returning home in a buggy. He 
had the butt end of his gun on the bottom of the buggy, and lean- 
ed forward to let one of the company have some tobacco. When 
he straightened back, the gun slipped, striking the hammer on 
the bottom of the buggy, and discharging the contents into his 
thigh, severing the femoral artery. He only lived a few seconds, 
and spoke but a few words. "Jim," as he was familiarly called, 
was one of the famous players of the ' ' Champion Base Ball Club 
of this county and had many warm friends. 

Mr. D. C. Freeland, one of the early settlers of Vivian and a 
man of high character, died of ulceration of the liver, Nov. 26, 
1878. He was son-in-law of Mr. Wm. Hoover. He left surviving 
him a widow and three sons. His widow is noAV Mrs. A. T. 
Wolcott, and his sons are prosperous residents of the Pacific 
coast at Portland, Oregon. 


The following appeared in the local paper June 26, 1878 : 
"We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, propose to start an inde- 
pendent fire company for the protection of all property in the corporate 
limits of the village of Waseca. We respectfully ask the assistance of 
all property holders: 

M. V. Hunt, M. O. Forbes, James Wert, C. M. Oster, F. M. Smith, Thos. 
Breen, J. M. Robertson, W. H. Roddle, C. McKenna, Jos. Smith, Edward 
Castor, B. F. Forbes, Wm. Blowers, F. B. Johnson, L. C. Clug, Gust Schill- 
knecht, C. M. Baker, Gust Thom, Ed. Fisk, Eugene Fisk, H. E. Strong, 
Henry Herbst, John F. White, E. W. Cummings, Walter Child, J. Niebels. 
The following officers were elected: foreman. Dr. M. V. Hunt; 1st assis - 
ant, E. W. Fisk; 2d assistant, John White; treasurer, Frank Forbes: 
secretary, C. M. Baker; executive committee. Dr. Hunt, W. H. Roddle, 
L. C. Klug." 



Ring out the old, ring in the new, 

Ring happy bells across the snow: 

The year is going, let him go: 

Ring out the false, ring in the true. 

Ring out the grief that saps the mind 

For those that here we see no more? 

Ring out the feud of rich and poor. 

Ring in redress to all mankind. 

Ring out the want, the care, the sin. 

The faithless coldness of the times; 

Ring in the common love of good. 

Ring out old shapes of foul disease, 

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold; 

Ring out the thousand wars of old. 

Ring in the thousand years of peace. 

Ring in the valiant man and free. 

The larger heart the kindlier hand, 

Ring out the darkness of the land. 

Ring in the Christ that is to be. — Tennyson. 

The financial depression which set in abont 1868, as a result 
of the i-etiring of greenbacks and the refimdint;- of the national 
bonds, had forced upon the people the utmost economv, and ecou- 


omy in livino; always brings prosperity. And thus it was that 
as a rule the people found themselves in the enjoyment of gen- 
eral prosperity in 1879. 


The board of county commissioners for 1879 consisted of Hon. 
li. 0. Craig, John Brady, Thomas K. Bowe, Wm. Burke, and H. K. 
Stearns— all Democrats except Mr. Stearns. Hon. R. 0. Craig 
was elected chairman. The jail having been built the year be- 
fore, and being nearly or quite all paid for, the board became 
fairly liberal in appropriating money for roads and bridges. At 
the January session $43.21 additional was appropriated for re- 
planking the bridge across Bull Run in Freedom. At the March 
session, appropriations were made as follows : $150 to build 
bridge across Le Sueur river in New Richland; $80 for build- 
ing road on line of sections 24 and 25, in New Richland, and 
$70 for building road through section 8 of same town ; $249.49 for 
a bridge across the Le Sueur river near Markham's town of Alton ; 
$53 for planking Alma City bridge ; $50 for grading hill on road 
between the towns of Iosco and Blooming Grove, near McWaide's; 
$50 for grading hills on Faribault road in Blooming Grove; 
$50 for repairing road near Alfred Smith's in Blooming Grove ; $25 
for making road across slough, on section 14, town of Iosco ; $40 
for improvement of road between W. Timlin's place and Iosco 
creek; $35 for building road near Martin Dewald's place in 
Iosco ; $200 for constructing road on line between sections 22 
and 27, 23 and 26, and 24 and 25, in town of St. Mary, and be- 
tween sections 19 and 20 in Woodville. The county surveyor 
was ordered to make plans and specifications for building a 
bridge across McDougall creek, in the town of Otisco. At the 
session of the board jMay 20, 1879 ,the following additional ap- 
propriations were made : $314 to J. J. Headley for building the 
McDougall creek bridge; $14.81 additional for replanking the 
Alma City bridge ; $200 for building road in the town of Byron 
on the line of the Vivian and New Richland county road; $25 
for road near John Keeley's farm in St. Mary; $75 for repair- 
ing Waseca and Morristown road near Rice Lake ; $300 to assist 
in building road across the outlet of Lake Elysian on town line 
between Janesville and Alton, provided $300 be first expended 


on said road by the towns of Alton and Janesville or by citizens 
thereof; $25 to aid the construction of a road on line between 
sections 23 and 25, in town of New Richland. 


Jlr. 0. F. Waggoner, who came to this state at a very early day 
with the Winnebago tribe of Indians, died of convulsions, Jan. 
6, 1879, at the age of about sixty years. He settled on the Winne- 
bago Indian reservation in 1855, and when the Winnebagoes 
moved west, he located near Alma City. His son, Mr. John 
Waggoner, at this writing, 1905, resides in Alton near Alma City. 

Mrs. Lucina Gray, widow of Wm. il. Gray, deceased, of Bloom- 
ing Grove, died March 25, 1879. She was one of the earliest 
settlers of the count.y, having come here in the early summer of 
1855. She was about seventy years of age and left a large 
family of children and grandchildren to mourn her departure. 

]\Ir. ilichael Bohen, one of the early settlers of St. Mary, died 
of hemorrhage of the lungs, August 16, 1879. He arose in the 
morning feeling as well as usual, went to the barn to do his 
chores and while there commenced coughing and spitting blood. 
Soon blood flowed in a stream from his mouth and he died in 
about ten minutes. He left a wife and five children. 

Rev. Gilbert Shaw, then postmaster at Wilton, died October 
25, 1879, of hemorrhage of the lungs. :Mr. Shaw was an ac- 
tive, earnest Christian minister. 


The veterans of the "Old First Minnesota Regiment of Volun- 
teers" held their twelfth annual reunion at Waseca, Jime IS. 
1879. It occurred on one of those beautiful .Minnesota days when 
it is just warm enough to be comfortable and just cool enough to 
be agreeable. The morning opened with the firing of artillery 
and a general display of flags on most of the buildings. A larce 
flag, with "Welcome, First ilinnesota," inscribed upon it, was 
suspended over the street between the :MeCue and Trowbridge 
blocks, and wi-eaths of oak leaves decorated with flags were 
stretched across the streets at various points. Turner Hall was 
decked with flags, flowers, and wreaths of green leaves, the whole 
presenting a pleasing and attractive scene. 

At 2:30 p. m. a procession was formed at the union depot. 


under the direction of Maj. Young, and marched in the following 
order : 

1. Waseca Hose Company. 

2. Band and Drum Corps. 

3. Mayor and City Council. 

4. Committee of Reception. 

5. Veterans of the First Minnesota Infantry. 

6. Artillery. 

7. Carriages and Citizens. 

The line of march was through the principal streets to Oak 
Grove, just northeast of Turner Hall. The veterans bore the 
tattered remnants of their old colors, followed by one piece of 
artillery captured by the First jMinnesota battery at Cheraw, 
South Carolina, and another gun presented by the United States 
minister to Belgium to the First Minnesota regiment for gallant- 
ry in the first Bull Run fight. 

Arriving at the grounds, the people were seated, and R. L. j\Ic- 
Cormick, Esq., president of the village board, delivered, in an 
eloquent manner, a well considered address of welcome to the 
First Minnesota, in which he tendered to the boys the hospitali- 
ties of the city. 

The following extracts from his welcome are worthy of perma- 
nent record : 

The War of the Rebellion is over. Its history is dally receiving ac- 
cessions. Its incidents are still fresh in our minds, and its battles are 
as familiar as the names of the cities of our own state. Upon this field, 
to which others can do much more complete and ample justice, I will 
not trespass further than to say that Bull Run, Ball's Bluff, Yorktown, 
West Point, Fair Oaks, Peach Orchard, Savage Station, Glendale, White 
Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Charlestown, Fredericksburg, Hay- 
market, Gettysburg, Bristow Station, and Mine Run, carry with them 
their story of the struggle and of the honorable part taken in it by the 
First Minnesota. Before our posterity we would compare Gettysburg 
with the equally decisive battle of Waterloo. Vicksburg with Salamis, 
Lookout Mountain with Thermopylae, and Sherman's famous march to 
the sea with the retreat of Xenophon's immortal ten thousand; and high 
in the annals of military achievements, side by side with the names of 
the most illustrious commanders of ancient or modern times, Caesar, Alex- 
ander, Napoleon, Frederick of Prussia, or a Wellington, we would point 
with pride after the immortal Washington, to the record of our Grant, 
our Sherman, and our Sheridan, who attained their proud eminence and 
fame by the unflinching courage of regiments like the First Minnesota, 
whose cheeks did not blanch and whose hearts did not quail when they 


met the shock of battle. When the Congress was set on fire hy the 
Merrimac, in the mouth of James Rivei of the 434 men of her command, 
only one-half responded to their names the next morning at Newport 
News. The dead were buried at that place and their remains lie among 
those of scores of Union soldiers. On a board in the form of a cross 
at the head of the grave of one of these latter, whose name and history 
were unknown, was placed the most touching, beautiful, and poetical epi- 
taph. "A soldier of the Union mustered out." Soldiers of the First 
Minnesota, your term of active service is completed. You have been 
honorably discharged, but at each year's annual reunion you find some of 
your number have been again and finally mustered out. This year, with oth- 
ers of the First, whose names are familiar to me, the gallant Sully has 
gone to join the brave who lost their lives when he led your regiment 
at Savage Station and Malvern Hill. On the roll of Company K, of 
your regiment, is the name of a cousin of mine, through whose corres- 
pondence I received my most vivid and practical ideas of army ex- 
perience in camps, on the march, and in the heat of battle. From him 
I learned the story of the two days' fight at Gettysburg; the thrilling nar- 
ration of the crisis in the second day's battle, when Hancock, pushed to 
extremity to gain five minutes time, ordered the First Minnesota alone 
and unaided to charge a whole division of the rebel army. To-day history 
points with pride and admiration to the unquestioning and unflinching 
courage of the four hundred men of the Minnesota First, marching to cer- 
tain death against and into the fire of 6,000 of the Rebel army. Against 
such overwhelming numbers that, as you met them in your invincible 
strength you could only hold their center, while to the right and left 
of you they swept around your flanks, enfilading your ranks with terri- 
ble death. To th« surprise and rage of your enemies, as well as the 
admiration of unborn generations, you held your advance until the sup- 
porting columns of Hancock's Corps wheeled into position and relieved 
and rescued you 

"Out of the jaws of death. 
Out of the mouth of hell, 
All that were left of you. 
Left of four hundred." 

The day was saved, and the few survivors of that terrible sacrifice were 
enrolled among the immortal heroes of the ages. * * * 

Homer was unknown and unhonored by the age he lived in; he was 
a stranger to the men he walked with and talked with as if 
his very nearness in outward presence diverted their gaze 
from his rare genius, but in after times he moved in 
upon the world like a great orb of light through the open 
portals of reflection and communion, and those who sat under the magic 
of his far-shining beams were the first to know and honor his title to 
the laurel wreath of fame. The scholar of to-day with a long reach of 
centuries coming in to fill the space between him and old Rome, knows 



Rome more minutely and more broadly than Rome knew herself; com- 
prehends more fully Roman law, Roman literature and Roman life, and 
understands more clearly the direction and scope of Roman influence. 
And when that day comes when honor will be fully done to whom honor 
is due, the soldiers of the First Minnesota will be found among the im- 
mortal throng of those to whose fame poets will vie in singing praises 
and to whose memory, affection and admiration will erect in the hearts 
of the citizens of this broad commonwealth monuments even more 
enduring than towering shafts of polished marble. Soldiers! welcome 
to Waseca." 

Hon. Alexander Ramsey, who was governor of ]\Iinnesota at 
the outbreak of the Rebellion in 1861, was present and gave a 
short history of the mustering in of the regiment and of its glori- 
ous record. 

The following answered to roll call : 

Stephen Lyons, Wayzata. 
E. J. Palmer, Jordan. 


W. Matthels, St. Paul. 
John Halstead, St. Paul. 

Myrun Shepard, Stillwater. James Cleary, Stillwater. 

A. A. Capron, Stillwater. Adam Marty, Stillwater. 

John P.Dunsmore, Stillwater. John Cooper, Bloomington. 

William Darich, Stillwater. Chas. Valentine, Minneapolis. 

C. A. Bromley, Stillwater. Ed. A. Stevens, Minneapolis. 

M. Sherman, St. Paul. 

A. A. Laflin, Maple Grove. 

Wm. Lochren, Minneapolis. 

M. Taylor, Dayton. 

J. B. Ellison, Minneapolis. 

W. H. Hoyt, St. Paul. 

S. G. Flanders, Faribault. 
Geo. F. Johnston, Janesville. 
John Rohrer, Morristown. 
Benj. Buck, Morristown. 
E. Phillips, Owatonna. 



Wm. Garvey, Kasson. 


E. B. Lowell, Minneapolis. 
G. S. Lewis, Lake Crystal. 



C. B. Jackson, Morristown. 
Geo. Thom, Brownton. 
.E. Hollister, Warsaw. 
B. B. Verplank, New Richland. 
I. DuEois, Owatonna. 


E. Z. Needham, Farmington. J. S. Bemis, Waterville. 

J. H. Johnston, Minneapolis. W. W. Brown, Killienny. 

G. R. Buckman, Waseca. L. J. Mosher, New Sliaron, la. 

Philo Hall, Waseca. E. D. Haskins, Faribault. 

C. M. Benson, Morrlstown. H. C. Whitney, Faribault. 

Samuel Reynolds, Waterville. George Magee, Faribault. 

Chas. Mansfield, Mankato. Chas. Shatts, Minneapolis. 

John C. Shaffer, Chicago, 111. 

Richard L. Gorman, St. Paul. Omer H. Sutlief, New Richland. 

A. E. Rider, Oak Centre. Theodore Golden, St. Paul. 

James Cannon, Mankato. Milo S. Whitcomb, Faribault. 

Geo. Klein, Janesville. 

M. McEntyre, Mankato. Gus Coy, Mankato. 

W. H. Churchill, Stockton. C. H. Andrus, Mankato. 

A. J. Underwood, Fergus Falls. J. T. Dahl, Waseca. 

Evans Goodrich, Mankato. 

Frank Dickinson, Redwood Falls J. W. Pride, Jr., Shingle Creek. 

The first day of the reunion was spent by the veterans, after 
listening to the address of welcome and to the congratulatory 
speech of ex-Governor Ramsey, in social chat and in getting' 
acquainted with the people of Waseca. In the evening there 
was a big campfire, attended by nearly all the people in "Was- 
eca. On the second day the great attraction was the address 
of Hon. William Lochren, at this writing one of the United States 
district judges of ]\Iinnesota. Juilgc Lochren 's address was 
really a condensed history of the regiment. The following ex- 
tract is a gem in the record made by the men of the "First."" 
After mentioning the other battles in which the regiment parti- 
cipated, he described the great battle of Gettysburg, and con- 
cluded as follows : 

"During the forenoon of the second day we were in reserve, except 
that three companies were detached tor the support of batteries. Still 
we were within the range of artillery and some of our men were wound- 
ed from shells. 


"After noon we were moved to the left to support a battery on the 
position from which Sickle's corps had advanced against the enemy. 
There on the crest of a slight ridge we could see about a half mile In 
our front the conflict between our forces under Sickles and the enemy 
who were giving away before him. Seldom had we such an opportunity 
of viewing a battle, in which we were not engaged, and great was the 
anxiety as to the result, as our men would at times seem to press the 
enemy, and at other times to yield to superior force. At length the 
vastly increased volume of musketry told plainly of stronger reinforcs- 
ments on the side of the enemy, and soon we saw with alarm that our 
men were overpowered and retiring; at first slowly, but soon in confu- 
sion and disorder and presently in full retreat, passing our position, 
while the bullets from the enemy begun to whistle past us as they ad- 
vanced steadily in well-formed lines of battle, apparently fifteen or twenty 
thousand strong, and had nearly reached the dry run at the foot of the 
ridge. Had they succeeded in getting to our position they would have 
turned the left flank of our army and been in its rear and must have 
forced the position, if supported by an attack in front, and won the 
battle. At that moment Gen. Hancock, our corps commander, galloped 
up to our little band which was about three hundred strong, and calling 
to Col. Colville, asked, "Colonel, will your men charge these lines?" A 
glance showed what was meant. 

"It was necessary that the regiment should be sacrificed to save the 
army, by delaying for a short time the advance of the enemy until the 
Sixth corps, in reserve, could be moved to the position. Every man 
saw the necessity and knew what was expected. It was apparently cer- 
tain death, but there was no faltering. The Old First had never failed 
to go where ordered, and never had retired without orders. As Napoleon's 
Old Guard at Waterloo threw itself in front of the whole allied army to 
save the emperor, every man was nerved at the instant, ana stepped off 
promptly, as the command "Forward" came from our gallant colonel. 
"Double-Quick" followed the next instant, and down that declivity rushed 
the handful of devoted men, the speed increasing with every stride, but 
the numbers melting away under the storm of lead such as men never 
faced before, which was poured into us from the enemy's whole force. 
Rapid as was our pace, it seemed as if none would reach the enemy, 
but the survivors struck them with the force of a projectile, just as they 
were beginning to cross the run. The suddenness and vigor of the charge 
and prompt use of the bayonet, caused a recoil, and soon cleared the 
run of ten times our numbers, and the first line of the enemy broke to 
the rear in confusion. Sheltering ourselves as well as we could in the 
run, we opened fire on the enemy in front, having to sustain not only 
the fire from the front, but from both flanks, as far as they could reach 
us. But the enemy's whole advance was checked. How long we held 
this position I could never estimate, but for a sufficient time to enable the 
reserve to occupy the position, and until we were commanded to fall 
back. But of the three hundred who made that charge, not more than 


seventy-five returned scathless; and when our dead and wounded were 
gathered, not a man was missing." 

Immediately after Judge Lochren's address, a public banquet 
was served, followed by toasts and short speeches. In response 
to the toast, "The Press," a well preserved copy of "The First 
Minnesota," printed and published by the boys while in the 
service, was presented by the speaker. This copy, the only one 
known to be in existence, was furnished by Neri Reed, of Iosco, 
in this county. This paper was published at Berrysville, Va., 
March 11, 1862, by the boys of the "First." It was edited and 
published by Ed. A. Stevens, Frank J. ilead, T. H. Presnell and 
two others whose names I do not call to mind. ilr. Stevens gave 
a short history of capturing the printing office and issuing two 
editions of a loyal paper on the "sacred soil" of old Virginia. 
Ex-Governor Ramsey secured the paper and deposited it in the 
archives of the State Ilistdrical Society. 


There was a terrific hail storm on the 12th of 'May, 1S79, 
which did much damage. The fruit trees and small fruit were 
i>ad]y in.jured. The window glass on the south side of nearly 
every building was broken more or less. Hail stones as large as 
ordinary hens' egj;s covered the ground in many places, while 
those of an ounce in weight were niunerous. J. F. ^lurphy meas- 
ured one chunk of ice, which M-as two inches in diameter. ^Many 
a window looked as if it had been riddled with bullets. The 
post office building, in pai'ticular, received considerable damatie. 
The sky-lights to Palmer's photograph gallery were almost en- 
tirely destroyed. 

The public liuikliiigs in.iui-ed were: The Baptist church. 21 
lights of glass; the school buildings, -17; court house, 13; English 
M. E. church, 54; Congregational church, l!); Turner hall. lo. 
There was seai'cejy a dwelling in the village not in.inred more 
or less. The grain wiis not far enough advanceil to he mate- 
I'ially in.inred. 

Another storm visited the county ^lay 27, 1S7!1 There wns 
a heav.v rainfall, accompanied l)y a strong wind. Weak fences 
were blown down, out-houses were u])set, shad(> trei's were in- 
jured, some shanties were nnroofed, lumber pile's suffered, and 
chinuiey extensions flew around with perfecl looseness. The 


marshes and streams filled with water and the whole surface of 
the country was pretty well wet down. 

Speaking of the storms of July 1 and 2, a local paper said: 
"Last week, Tuesday and Wednesday night, terrific rain storms vis- 
ited a large portion of the state. In some places west of us the wind 
and hail entirely destroyed the small grain, and did much damage to 
other crops. In some parts of Nicollet county, buildings were blown 
down, and some cattle injured. In Blue Earth county, near the Waseca 
county line, west of Freedom, considerable damage was done. Mr. Gun- 
zolus, of this county, had his granary blown down and his house partly 
unroofed. In Steele county, many buildings were torn in pieces, some 
persons Injured, and some cattle killed. At Vassa, Goodhue county, 
dwellings were torn in pieces, seven persons killed outright, and thirty 
others more or less injured. News comes from all portions of the state 
of local tornadoes doing more or less damage. In this county, with the 
exception of a small tract in Freedom, no serious damage was done to 
the crops. The rainfall was very heavy, probably as heavy as in other 
portions of the state, and there were local dashes of hail, but the wind, 
with the exception noted in Freedom, was not heavy." 


The Catholic society of Waseca held a picnic for the benefit 
of their church — the net receipts being $200. New Richland 
held a formal celebration, Hon. William Brisbane and Hon. Isl. 

D. L. CoUester being the orators of the day. Blooming Grove 
did herself proud, as usual. Rev. William Pagenhart and James 

E. Child being the speakers. The Brwin family and neighbors, 
in St. Mary, observed the day in a formal manner— the venera- 
ble P. A. Erwin, then eighty-two years of age, presiding. The 
ladies furnished a most appetizing dinner and all fared sump- 


On July 16, 1879, Mr. Finger Fingerson, of Blooming Grove, 
had a horse stolen, and on Thursday a man, giving his name as 
Frank Carr, stopped at Esquire Northrup's on the road between 
Waterville and Morristown, to borrow a saddle. ^Ir, Xorthrup 
being suspicious of him, questioned him pretty closely, and finally 
concluded that he had stolen a horse, and ordered his arrest 
by three or four men who were there. Mr. Carr took to his legs 
and ran toward Morristown; but Messrs. Brooks and Purring- 
ton, with a horse and buggy, soon overtook him. Then the thief 


stopped and drew ;i revolver on them. While Carr was standing 
tliere with drawn revolver, I\Ir. Benson, who had cut across the 
field on foot, came quietly up behind him, in the brush, and threw 
his arms around him; but the man, being quick and quite mus- 
cular, threw JNIr. Benson down. Before the thief could again run 
the two men in the buggy were upon him, he was taken back 
to ^Mr. Xorthrup's, and committed to the Rice county jail. In 
a short time after he was sent to Faribault, Sheriff Keeley, who 
had been pursuing him, arrived at ]\Ii'. Northrup's and identified 
the horse as the one stolen and returned it. On Sunday the 
thief Avas turned over to Mr. Keeley, brought to Waseca, and 
lodged in jail. He Avas afterwards convicted and sent to prison 
;it Stillwater. 


At this election there were three tickets in the field — Demo- 
cratic, Repi^blican and Prohibition. The following candidates 
were elected: C. i\U'Keiina, treasurer; Matthew Keeley, sheriff; 
Charles San Galli, register of deeds; M. D. L. Collester, county 
attorney; Orson L. Smith, surveyor; J. B. Hayden, clerk of 
court; H. C. Woodbury, judge of probate; Dr. ]\I. Y Hunt, 
superintendent of schools ; Dr. D. S. C^immings, coroner ; Philip 
Piii-ri'U and X. M. Nelson, countv commissioners. 



This mutual protection organization is one of the oldest in 
the state, having been organized in 1864. In every sparsely set- 
tled farming community, horse stealing is almost a profession. 
The summer of 1862 revealed the fact that we had in our midst 
a gang of horsethieves. In the month of June, Orrin Pease, who 
had just settled in the town of St. Mary, had a pair of fine horses 
stolen. After considerable search by Sheriff Whipple and others, 
the horses were found in the possession of three men named 
Erno, Beatty, and a colored person called Anderson, all three 
of whom were convicted of larceny, but, pending an appeal to 
the supreme court, broke jail at Wilton and made their escape. 
The stealing of these horses, the escape of the thieves, and the 
expense attending their arrest and trial, created a strong feel- 
ing of indignation on the part of our people against thieves in 
general and against horsethieves in particular, and was the pri- 
mary cause of the organization of the Waseca County Horse- 
thief Detective Society that still exists. The names of the Pio- 
neers who brought forth this organization are as follows: 
W. L. Wheeler, Eri G. Wood, Henry Watkins, 

Asa G. Sutlief, M. S. Gove, M. D., Myron Blackburn, 

Wm. Brisbane, Eugene A. Smith, J. K. Myers, 

Geo. E. Brubaker, W. H. Young, Sr., Q. A. Heath, 

Noah Lincoln, Joseph Bird, Wm. Roddle, 

B. A. Lowell, D. L. Whipple, James E. Child. 

The minutes of the first few meetings will be of interest. The 
first, or preliminary, meeting was held at Wilton, in the court 
room, February 16, 1864. The minutes read as follows : 


"Wilton, Feb. 16, 1864. 

"A meeting of citizens of Waseca county was held at the court house 
this date for the purpose of organizing an anti-horsethief association. 
William Brisbane was called to the chair and E. A. Smith elected secre- 
tary. Motion was made and carried that the chair appoint a committee 
of three to draft and present a constitution. The chair appointed as 
such committee D. L. Whipple, B. A. Lowell, and E. B. Stearns. The 
committee presented a constitution which, after slight amendments, was 
adopted and reads as found on pages 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this (record) book. 
On motion a temporary organization was effected by electing Dr. M. S. 
Gove president, Wm. Brisbane vice-president, and B. A. Smith secretary. 
The following named persons then each paid one dollar to the secretary 
and signed the constitution, thus becoming members of the association." 
(Then follow the names hereinbefore given, and the record continues:) 

"On motion, the society proceeded to ballot for four temporary riders, 
which resulted in the election of Henry Watkins, D. L. Whipple, W. L. 
Wheeler, and E. G. Wood. The riders-elect then chose D. L. Whipple 
captain. The following persons were elected viva voce as a vigilance 
committee, viz.: B. A. Lowell, .1. K. Myers, A. G. Sutlief, and Joseph 

"On motion, the meeting adjourned till Saturday at one o'clock, Feb. 
27, 1804. 

(Signed.) B. A. SMITH, Secretary." 

Evidently several men that did not have a dollar with them 
that day took an active part in organizing the soeii't.v. But they 
paid in their dollar at the next meeting. Portions of the consti- 
ution, as adopted, are given, as follows : 

"We, the citizens of Waseca county, to secure our property against 
thieves and marauders, do form ourselves into a company to be known 
as the 'Waseca County Horsethief Detectives,' and will be subject to 
the following rules and regulations: 

"Art. 1. Any resident of Waseca county, being recommended by five 
of his townsmen that are members of this society, may be admitted 
to membership by a vote of the company upon signing this constitution 
and paying into the treasury one dollar." (At the next meeting this was 
amended to read "two dollars.") 

"Art. 2. The officers of this association shall be a president, a vice- 
president, and a secretary, who shall be ex-offlcio treasurer. These 
officers shall be elected annually on the Tuesday following the third 
Monday in February, at Wilton." (This was afterwards changed to 

"Art. 0. There shall be twelve riders elected from among the mem- 
bers of this company, who shall be elected for the Uvm of one year, or 
until others are elected. * * * 

"Art. 7. One of the riders shall be elected captain. He shall be the 
leader of the riders and shall control and direct all their operations." 


There were twenty-one articles of the constitution as origin- 
ally adopted, and within the year three others were added, mak- 
ing twenty -four in all. 

At the adjourned meeting, held February 27, 1864, eleven more 
members joined. The temporary organization and officers were 
made permanent, and the following additional riders were 
elected: W. H. Yoimg, Sen., L. S. Wood, E. Plummer, J. K. 
]\Iyers, Jos. Bird, Peter Vandyke, Wm. Roddle, Sen., and Austin 

The meeting then adjourned until the third Saturday in 
March, 1864. At the March meeting John Anderson, L. F. Peter- 
son, Chas. Johnson, Edw. Schmitt, and 0. Powell joined the 

The first man of the association to die was the secretary, Mr. 
Eugene A. Smith, who died at Wilton, of typhoid pneumonia, 
Sept. 19, 1864. 

A meeting was held Nov. 27, 1864, for the election of a secre- 
tary in place of Mr; Smith, deceased. Dr. Gove presided, L. S. 
AVood served as secretary pro tem., and James E. Child was 
elected secretary to fill the vacancy. John G. Greening was elect- 
ed a member at this meeting. 

Evidently, from the records of the society up to the annual 
meeting in February, 1900, many persons had been elected, had 
paid their fees, and yet had neglected to sign the constitution. 
The membership was carried along in this loose condition until 
the annual meeting in February, 1900. At that meeting, upon 
motion of IMr. Adam Bishman, it was ordered that all the names 
of the members of the association, residing in the county and in 
good standing, be published in the Waseca County Herald as a 
part of the report of the meeting. In accordance with this mo- 
tion, the secretary, Mr. E. P. Latham, gave a list of the members 
of the Waseca County Horsethief Detective Society, in good 
standing and residing in said county, Feb. 17, 1900: 

Obadlah Powell, Thos. Johnson, Patrick Farrell, 

James E. Child, James Bowe, Geo. Matthews, 

G. E. Brubaker, Michael Gallagher, Hugh Healy, 

B. F. Weed, Wm. R. Brisbane, Christy McGrath, 
Jos. Manthey, M. H. Helms, N. J. Breen, 

C. C. Comee J. H. Wightman, John Curran, 
James M. Dunn, W. J. Fitzgibbon, B. P. Latham, 



Thos. Harden, 
W. D. Armstrong, 
Gil Peterson, 
J. S. Abell, 
Jacob Dane, 
Chas. Konrad, 
Wm. Lindsay, 
John Radloff, 
J. W. Cleland, 
Gottlieb Krassin, 
S. H. Drum, 
John Olson, 
John P. Whelan, 
Wm. Trahms, 
John Blowers, 
Siegfried Lawin, 
Michael O'Brien, 
Jos. T. Dunn, 
Henry Gehring, 
Sam Hodgkins, 
R. Miller, 
J. A. Tayior, 
Nicholas Weller, 
Wm. Buker, 
Geo. H. Wood, 
B. G. Sutliet, 
B. A. Everett, 
S. J. Krassin, 
Herman Gehlhoff, 
Archie Johnston, 
Louis Klessig, 
A. D. Goodman, 
Chas. Rudolph, 
Robt. Schwenke, 
Martin Collins, 
R. O. Swift, 
Wm. Bartel, 
Aug. Summick, 
O. H. Sutlief, 
J. J. Dinneen, 
Hiram Powell, 
John J. Diedrich, 
J. A. Tyrholm, 

L. W. Sterling, 
Iver Iverson, 
Dr. J. B. Lewis, 
Thos. Collins, 
W. F. Schank, 
Henry Reynolds, 
Knute Jameson, 
Thos. Fitzgerald, 
F. O. Peterson, 
John G. Arentsen, 
Adam Bishman, 
E. G. Wood, 
Bd. Schmidt, 
Wilfred Vinton, 
Wm. H. Gray, 
Ole Olson, 
Christy Hefferon, 
John Carmody, 
Wm. Byron, 
John Byron, 
Gottfried Gehring, 
Henry Meyers, 
Thos. Ratchford, 
John McWaide, 
Barney McAnany, 
Mike Smith, 
A. Lynch, 
T. J. Kerr, 
Wm. Mettzler, 
Fred Betner, 
R. P. Ward, 
S. Hawkes, 
John Bouchier, 
Phil Bishman, 
Sam Leslie, 
C. Fettle, 
E. Bauman, 
Ed. F. Hayden, 
I. Ballard, 
Chas. K. Wheeler, 
Gus Slaack, 
Wm. Coulthart, 
C. MctJuigan. 

W. H. Gillis, 
Guy Evans, 
James . Curran, 
David Zimmerman, 
Wm. A. Henderson, 
Henry Buker, 
John A. Krassin, 
Chas. Clements, 
H. L. Hoyt, 

A. Guyer, 

H. F. Lewer, 

H. A. Waggoner, 

G. H. Goodspeed, 

Tim McGuire, 

J. W. Aughenbaugh, 

B. J. Chapman, 
Alfred Wood, 
John Y. Brisbane, 
Frank Domey, 

B. M. Gallagher, 
F. A. Swartwood, 
H. Roberts, 
M. J. Swift, 
Jacob Echternach. 
Chris Hansen, 
H. F. Hass, 
Henry Schwenke, 
Michael Heffron, 
Julius Gehring, 
Walter Child, 
Andrew Liane, 
Carl A. Sampson, 
John Zimmerman, 
Malachl Madden, 
David Fell, 
P. C. Bailey, 
Henry Blaeser, 
Ole Brack, 
Robt. Collins, 
Nora Armstrons, 
Joseph McCarty. 

.Some of Ihi'se meiubers have siuce d'wd, and many new names 
liave been added. 

'Jliere is no doubt in the minds of the men of this association 


that the organization has been the means of putting almost an 
entire stop to horse-stealing in this county. 

During the forty-one years of the life of the organization only 
one horse has been stolen from any member of the organization 
and not recovered— and even in that case it was a question with 
some Avhether or not the horse was the property of one of the 
members. The thieves probably thought it was not. In that case 
the most strenuous efforts were made to find the property and the 
thief or thieves. 

"While the horse then stolen was never recovered, it is a well- 
known fact that at least two families then stopping in this vicin- 
ity foiind it convenient to move out of the county a short time 
afterwards on account of the close watch put upon all their 
movements. It is believed that the gang has not tried to operate 
in this county since. 



In 1880 Waseca was still a village, but rapidly approaching 
the stature of a city. The village election in 1880 fell on ]\Iay 4. 
Evidently the political touialiawlv had been buried and the com- 
batants had smoked the pipe of peace ; for at this election only 
239 ballots were cast, of which R. L. jMcCormick received 209 
votes, B. S. Lewis 204 and Wni. ]McIntosh Li2 — JMcCormick and 
Ijewis being declared duly elected. The new board met and or- 
ganized j\Iay 21, 1880. R. L. ]\lcl'oriiiick was elected president, 
j\I. D. L. Collester clerk, F. .V. Xewell treasurer, Wm. Blowers 
marshal, AVm. Coultliart street commissioner. The new board 
started out by instructing the marshal to notify all saloon keep- 
ers that the laws and ordinances regarding the traffic would be 
strictly enforced. The boanl went so far as to have the ordin- 
ance printed and posted in the saloons. The number of pei'sous 
to whom saloon licenses were issued this year was seventeen. 


On July 12, 1880, a very important move was made to secure 
the location of the C & N. W. Ky. roundhouse and shops at "Wa- 
seca. A petition signed by nearly one hundred of tlie prominent 
men of Waseca asked the village board to appropriate $1,000 to 



purchase twenty acres of land of W. G. Ward to be deeded to 
the railroad company for a round house and repair shops. There 
was considerable excitement at the time, and the trustees, the 
same evening, passed the following resolution : 

"Whereas, W. G. Ward has conveyed to the W. & St. P. (C. & N. "W.) 
R. R. Co. a strip of land 400 feet in width for the purpose of an engine 
house, etc., containing 24 and 50-100 acres of land, now, therefore, 

"Resolved, that there be paid to said W. G. Ward, from any funds in 
the village treasury the sum of $1,225.00 upon the executing and deliv- 
ering to the clerk of the village his personal bond to refund said amount 
to the village, less reasonable damage for the disturbing the surface, use 
and occupation of said land, in case said land shall revert to him by the 
conditions of said deed." 

Thus was accomplished, in a very short time, an important un- 
dertaking which did much to increase the population and the 
business of our young city. It was also in evidence that in really 
veiy important matters our citizens are a unit. The pay roll of 
the C. & N. W. in Waseca, amounts to at least $10,000 a month, 
on an average. The new, or present, round house was erected 
in 1880-1, and constitutes an important factor in the business 
prosperity of Waseca. 


The year 1880 will long be remembered by the people of Was- 
eca county on account of the very exciting congressional contest 
of that year, in which one of our citizens was a contestant. For 
years there had been a strong feeling against Congressman Bun- 
nell on account of his ' ' salary grab ' ' record, and his general sub- 
serviency to corporations and combines. The district was then 
composed of the counties of Winona, Houston, Mower, Fillmore, 
Olmstead, Steele, Freeborn, Waseca, Blue Earth, Watonwan, 
Rock, Pipestone, Murray, Nobles, Martin, Jackson, Faribault, 
Dodge, and Cottonwood. Dunnell had created a machine which 
was strong throughout the district. But there' were many able 
and determined men who thought it could be smashed. The plan 
was to bring out favorite sons from a number of counties and in 
that way get control of the convention as against the salary grab- 
ber. And thus it was that Freeborn county instructed for John 
A. Lovely, Fillmore for H. S. Barrett, Houston for James 
O'Brien, Faribault for J. B. Wakefield, Blue Earth for E. P. Free- 
man, Waseca for Hon. W. G. Ward. The convention was to con- 


sist of one hundred and twenty-five delegates and was to meet 
at Ward's Opera House, July 7, 1880. Every county was repre- 
sented and a number of counties had two sets of delegates. The 
tricks of the politician were visible throughout the district. 
Jackson and Mower counties both had double delegations. Free- 
Ijorn county, which was overwhelmingly for Judge Lovely, 
worked up a Dunuell delegation on cheek. It was admitted by 
non-partisan men of unbiased judgment that Bunnell was beaten 
on a fair vote by fifty-four to fifty-six delegates. Both factions 
held caucuses the night before the convention, and each faction 
declared it had a regular majority of the fairly elected delegates. 
Dimn ell's friends had the central committee, and when the hour 
arrived eveiy delegate was at his post. W. Holt, chairman of the 
district committee, mounted the platform and called the conven- 
tion to order. He arbitrarily announced that Freeborn, jMower, 
and Jackson counties, having contested delegations, would not be 
allowed to vote until the committee on credentials had been ap- 
pointed and reported. He also stated that the district commit- 
tee had instructed him to call Earl S. Youmans to the chair as 
temporary presiding officer. Holt had scarcely commenced to 
make this announcement before S. P. Child, of Blue Earth, was 
standing on the floor in front of him shouting, "^Ir. Chairman," 
at the top of his voice. "Sim," when in good condition, can be 
heard a mile away, under ordinary conditions. But Holt was 
wilfully both deaf and blind on this occasion, and went right 
along as though Child were not in existence. But Child was not 
to be silenced. When Holt refused to hear, he mounted a chair, 
nominated Hon. W. W. Braden temporary chairman, put the 
motion to vote, and above the yells of both factions declared Mr. 
Braden elected. Braden and Youmans both reached the plat- 
form at the same time. D. F. Morgan, of Albert Lea, anti-Diin- 
nell, was chosen secretary and E. C. Hiintington, of AVindoni, 
was declared elected secretary by the Dunnellites. It is said 
that the anti-Dunnell men had the greater lung power and the 
excitement was intense. The Bunnell men ranged on one side 
of the hall (it was then a hall) and the anti-Bunnell men on the 
other. Braden and Morgan of the anti-Bunnellites captured the 
only table and chairs, the other officers being compelled to stand. 
The excitement was at fever heat, but the coolness and good na- 


ture of both Youmans and Braden probably prevented a disgrace- 
ful physical encounter, which several times seemed likely to 
occur. The shaking of fists and loud denunciation finally satis- 
fied the more strenuous. 

The Bunnell faction had everything "cut and dried," and 
Bunnell was put in nomination by General Miller, of Worthing- 
ton, in a whooping speech. He received sixty-eight votes out of 
the seventy-one cast on informal ballot. The anti-Bunnell men 
at the same time were balloting. The candidates named were 
J. A. Lovely, H. S. Barrett, J. B. Wakefield, and W. G. Ward. It 
took six ballots for these delegates to agree upon a candidate. 
On the sixth and last ballot, Hon. W. G. Ward, of Waseca, re- 
ceived all the votes, seventy-five in number, and was declared 
the nominee amid cheers loud enough to awake the dead if the 
dead could hear. Bunnell's nomination was ratified on the street 
in front of the hotel, while a monster meeting at Ward's Opera 
House ratified the nomination of Mr. Ward. At first, everything 
looked favorable for the election of Senator Ward, but, soon after 
the nomination, the state and national central committees sided 
with Bunnell and the campaign closed disastrously for the Ward 
faction. Mr. Ward had been a prominent Greeley man, and the 
cry of "party" was effectually raised against him throughout 
the district. While he carried his own county by a plurality of 
882 and a majority over both his opponents of 415, he received 
only 7,656 votes in the whole district. He was everywhere 
slaughtered except at home by the party men. But the seed had 
been sown, and at the next congressional election it was Hon. 
Milo White and not Bunnell who was nominated and elected. 

It was in the campaign of 1880 that Mr. Ward became pro- 
prietor of the "Minnesota Radical," which he afterwards sold 
to C. B. Graham, then of Janesville. 


For president. Gen. Garfield received a majority over Gen. 
Hancock of 418. The following local candidates were elected: 
R. L. McCormiek, state senator; Christopher Wagner and B. J. 
Bodge, representatives; C. B. Crane, county auditor; F. A. New- 
ell, court commissioner; A. J. Jordan and W. B. Armstrong, 
county commissioners— all Republicans, except Jordan, 



The worst October storm known to the white people of ]\Iinne- 
sota commenced 0ct. 15, 1880. A heavy rain from the Northwest 
set in about two o'clock p. m. An hour afterward it changed to 
a blinding snow storm, known in this section as a blizzard. Ev- 
eryone was caught unprepared for such a storm, ilany cattle 
and especially sheep suffered severely in the western portion of 
the state. A farmer at Heron Lake, Jackson county, lost a 
large number of sheep in the lake. They were driven into it by 
the blinding storm of snoM' and wind and were drowned. An- 
other man had about fifty head of cattle on the prairie that night 
with nothing but a few haystacks to protect them from the fierce 
blasts and no fence to keep them from straying away. He and 
his faithful dog watched the herd all night, some of the leading 
cattle being fastened to posts, and yet three head of young stock 
got away during the night and were found in a big grass marsh 
the next day after the storm subsided. The storm continued 
until about ten o'clock on the 16th, when the sky cleared. ]Many 
of the railroads had to suspend operations on account of the 
snow blockade. Within a week, however, the snow disappeared 
and the weather remained mild until Nov. 8, when winter came 
in dead earnest. Cold weather, with frequent snow storms con- 
tinued throughout November and December. 


John Meagher, a man about twenty years old, had been at 
work for several months for Ed. Hayden, of Alton township. 
On the 26th of October, 1880, he came to Waseca with a load of 
wheat for his employer, and while here he got drunk. When he 
started home towards night, he was unable to sit up on his wagon, 
and lay down with his face downwards. He had no box on the 
wagon, only some boards laid on the bed part of a common hay 
rack. As he drove out on Elm street, two of his boon companions 
were with him. They were pretty noisy, and attempted to get 
the team to run. It seems that these tM-o companions left him 
before going very far, and Meagher proceeded on his way alone. 

Arriving at the residence of John Keeley, on section 7, of St. 
Mary, Mrs. Ann Hayden, aged about eighty years, mother of 
J. B. and Ed. Hayden, came out and got on to the rack to ride 


home with him, she having been visiting a sick girl at Mr. Kee- 
ley's. She stated that ^Meagher lay on his face and that he said 
he was sick, and that he would occasionally vomit. They had 
proceeded not more than a mile or so, when they came to a ravine 
over which a bridge was built. In attempting to cross the ravine, 
or gully, without crossing the bridge, the horses became entan- 
gled, and, turning aroimd too short, iipset the wagon. Meagher 
was pitched to the ground head foremost, his face striking in 
the mud. Mrs. Hayden stated that he made no groan or sign 
of distress, and the probability is that his neck was broken by 
the fall and that he died almost instantly. Mrs. Hayden was 
thrown to the ground, under the feet of the horses, and either 
by their trampling upon her or by the falling of the rack upon 
her, her left limb sustained a very serious compound fracture 
about midway between the knee and ankle, her right fore arm 
was broken, and she was otherwise more or less bruised. This 
occurred about seven o'clock in the evening, and the place was 
at a considerable distance from any house. There Mrs. Hayden 
lay, helpless and in extreme distress, for the space, probably, of 
nearly an hour, when John Keeley came along on his return from 
Janesville. Hearing her cries of distress, Mr. Keeley went to her 
aid. The team was cut loose from its entanglement, and the suf- 
fering woman conveyed to her son's, about a mile distant. Dr. 
Craig, of Janesville, and Dr. Cummings, of Waseca, were sum- 
moned, and attended to the wounds of the unfortunate woman 
as best they could. The coroner. Dr. Cummings, did not deem it 
necessary to hold an inquest on the body of the dead man, so 
he was laid out to await the orders of his relatives, who lived in 
Deerfield township, Steele county. Meagher was not known to 
be a man of drinking habits prior to this time. The unfortunate 
lady lingered until Oct. 30, when she died of her injuries. 


On Tuesday morning, Dec. 21, 1880, Mr. H. F. Biermann started 
for Waseca with a load of wheat. When he reached the top of 
the long hill north of Michael Sinske's, he stopped and locked 
his wheel, and at the foot of the hill stopped again to unlock it. 
It is supposed that while he was working at it, his feet slipped 
and he fell partly under the wagon, and that before he regained 


his footing the horses started and drew one wheel of the heavily 
loaded wagon directly across his breast, crushing him in a ter- 
rible manner. The unfortunate man was found soon after by 
Mr. McDougall and Michael Sinske, who took him home. A doe- 
tor was immediately sent for, who did all in his power to alle- 
viate his sufferings, but all efforts were of no avail, and he lingered 
until Wednesday when death came to his relief. Mr. Biermann was 
one of the 1855 settlers of this county, as elsewhere detailed in 
this volume. 


A large number of wolves killed in this county on which boun- 
ty had been paid during the years 1876-80 is as follows: For 
the year ending Nov. 15, 1877, eleven; 1878, thirty-six; 1879, 
thirty-three; 1880, thirty; total, 130. The county bounty, $2.00 
each, and the state bounty, $3.00, making $5.00 bounty on each 
scalp, gave an aggregate sum of $650 paid for exterminating 
the wolves in Waseca countv during the time mentioned. 

CHAPTER L, 1881. 


With the opening of the year 1881, the county fathers met, 
Jan. 4, the following being present : Thos. Bowe, A. J. Jordan, 
Philip Purcell, N. M. Nelson, and W. D. Armstrong. Philip Pur- 
cell was elected chairman. Only routine business was trans- 
acted, except that a new desk was ordered for the judge of pro- 

While the winter of 1880-1 was by no comparison the coldest 
ever known to Minnesota, it was by all odds the stormiest, the 
longest and the most disagreeable. The Southern Minnesota rail- 
road was blockaded from Winnebago City west from the middle 
of January until the first week in April. On the 5th and 6th 
of April, that year, in Jackson county, the snow was three feet 
deep — on the level— and a heavy span of horses could be driven 
over it, the crust of the snow being so hard as to bear the weight 
of the team. About the 7th of April the weather became warm 
and the snow rapidly disappeared. 


The following appeared in the Waseca Herald, Jan. 14, 1881 : 


"Engineer H. A. Read came home Wednesday night, having been on 
duty up on the west end of the road. He relates some of the charms of 
railroading in winter. Having recently been to Winona and procured 
a new engine for the Western division, Mr. Read was commissioned 
to break it in. Last Sunday, with the thermometer down to 35, and 
roads more or less blockaded, he was making his way to Watertown, 
having a freight train and a caboose of passengers. The water tanks 
along the road had either gone dry or frozen up, and Mr. Read's supply 
of water was rapidly being exhausted. When within half a mile of Good- 
win, his train became stalled in a snow bank. He succeeded in getting 
his engine through and pulling on to the station. Here the citizens 
turned out and, with buckets and tubs, brought water to fill up his tank. 
He then went on to Watertown, some twenty miles, and remained until 
-Monday, when he came back, and, with help, the train was extricated 
from the drift, where it had remained all night. Fortunately two of 
the cars were loaded with wood, which had enabled the passengers to 
keep themselves warm. On Tuesday night, as Mr. Read was coming 
down the road between Lamberton and Walnut Grove with two engines 
on the train, and in front of them a train with a snow plow, the head 
train becaipe stalled. Before Read's train was signalled, it ran into the 
caboose, raised it up, and tipped it fairly on to the head engine. An 
engineer and fireman jumped off and were considerably hurt. It takes 
a host of nerve and pluck to follow railroading on the Western prairies." 

A New Richland correspondent on Feb. 18. wrote : 
"Railroading this winter is not one of the pleasant occupations. Six 
engines and crews, including the southward bound passenger train, were 
snow bound at Hartland six days, and as this place Is but a small village, 
its facilities for accommodating so many were insuflflcient, and a good 
deal of suffering ensued. The passenger train fortunately had but eight 
passengers aboard. It was stalled in a drift one mile north of the sta- 
tion, and was detained there and at the station seven days. One lady 
and her daughter were on their way to Boston, and were in quite ill 
health. As the passengers were compelled to stay in the car. It was 
exceedingly tiresome and unpleasant for them." 

The body of J. K. Mayne, who died in AYilton. Feb. 11, 1881, 
was buried temporarily in a snow drift near his home, the snow 
l)eing so deep that it was impos.sible to pain access to the ceme- 


'J'his gentleman settled in Freedom with his family in 1865. 
lie (lied ]\Iarch 22, 1881, ai^ed about sixty years. He had been an 
invalid some tAvo years as the result of a sun-slroke. Alderman 
Callahan, of Waseca, is his son. 



On ^Mareh 26, 1881, AVaseca received, at the hands of the legis- 
lature, a new charter. Under its provisions the city was divided 
into five wards. The first election under the new charter was 
held May 3, 1881. The first city contest was a battle royal. The can- 
didates were Hon. Warren Smith, and Hon. M. D. L. CoUester. The 
total vote for mayor numbered 373. Mr. Smith received 219 
votes, and Mv. CoUester 164. In the First ward, H. H. Sudduth 
was elected over C. A. "Wright by a vote of 45 to 34. In the 
second ward, Dennis ]\[cLoughlin received 110 votes, and Dr. M. 
Y. Hunt 40. In the Third ward, James B. Hayden was elected 
without opposition by a vote of 32. The Fourth ward elected 
Theodore Brown by a vote of 33, to 15, cast for E. W. Piske. The 
Fifth ward cast 30 ballots for Thomas Coleman, and 26 for John 
Gutfleisch. H. G. ilosher was unanimously elected assessor, and 
lion. John Carmody and Hon. B. A. Lowell were elected justices 
of the peace without much opposition. Samuel Stevenson was 
elected constable by a vote of 234 to 115 for G. H. Zeller. The 
first city council met at the office of the clerk of court in the old 
court house. May 10, 1881, and was called to order by Mayor- 
elect Smith. Aldermen present, Theodore Brown, James B. Hay- 
den, H. H. Sudduth, D. McLoughlin, and Thos. Coleman. James 
B. Hayden was elected president of the council, and the mayor 
made the following appointments which were confirmed, namely: 
Jerome E. iladden city recorder, Frank A. Newell treasurer, C. 
E. Leslie city attorney, and Lucius Keyes marshal. 

One of the bills allowed by the council this year was accom- 
jjanied by the following entry: 

"D. Welch, for standing around with his hands in his pockets and 
looking on while the men were excavating cistern at the court house 
corner, $19.00." 


The year 1881 was noted not only for its winter storms and 
blizzards, but also for its summer tornadoes. On the 11th of 
June a destructive tornado started near Blue Earth, in Faribault 
county, traveled northeasterly and passed near Minnesota Lake. 
Its pathway was strewn with the wrecks of houses, barns, grain, 
stock, etc. The farm house of Mr. Chaffey was entirely blown 
away, killing both himself and wife, an aged couple. The fine 
large barn of T. J. Probert was blown down, seriously injuring 


his daughter, who was in the barn at the time; also killing one 
horse, blowing his machinery all to pieces, besides scattering 
about 500 bushels of grain. The county bridge at Grady's, on 
the. Maple river, was blown entirely away, and the house of John 
Grady was also blown away. The lady that was living in the 
house felt it moving, and opened the door to jump. She landed in 
the cellar all right. The house of Geo. Earrings was unroofed; 
house of Robert Jones blown away with its contents, his wife 
being badly injured; barn of E. Curtis blown down; house of 
D. Matterson blown from foundation and three of his family 
injured; house of August Zabel blown entirely away, together 
with its contents, and he and one son were injured. ]Much other 
damage resulted in the vicinity. 

Another terrible storm struck New Ulm July 15, at 4 :48 p. m., 
and in twelve minutes had destroyed property to the value of 
$300,000, killed four persons in New Ulm and fifteen in the ad- 
joining townships, and wounded eighteen severely. The tornado 
was terrible. Houses were taken up bodily, carried considerable 
distances and then crushed as they were dropped to earth. Three 
churches were completely destroyed, as were numerous business 

August 30, a severe storm visited Waseca county, although it 
did not amount to a tornado. The Janesville Argus noted that, 
"The rain was a deluge and the wind a cyclone. Very little dam- 
age was done in Janesville, but east of the village sad havoc was 
made with the grain stacks and cornfields. We first hear of trou- 
ble at A. P. Wilson 's place, northeast of the village, where twenty 
grain stacks were leveled. Mr. Wilson says the fall of water was 
tremendous, it standing in his yard from six to ten inches in 
depth, and over his plowed field a boat might have sailed without 
fear of grounding. ]\Ir. jMcHugo had a setting of stacks blown 
down; Mr. Lilly, southeast of the village, seven stacks, some of 
them entirely blown away; Pat Lilly, eight stacks; jMrs. Mo- 
Donough, twelve ; Sam Lambert, six ; Keeley boys, fifteen ; D. 
Glynn, ten; C. Plynn, four; M. Lang, seven; Pat Foley, four; C. 
Guyer, several. Fences were leveled generally in the track of 
the storm." 

The Waseca Herald noted that Isaac Ballard had a cow killed 
by lightning. At M. Spillane's place, near Meriden, the storm 


came with such force as to burst in the windows and doors. The 
blinds to the windows were as completely broken as though a 
man had taken a hammer and smashed them to pieces. One im- 
mense mass of hail fell, many of the pieces of ice being fully 
as large as a man's fist. Mr. Spillane had forty acres of corn driven 
into the ground. A dozen or so of pigs and hogs and many tur- 
keys were killed. The storm throughout the country was severe. 


The most disastrous fire that has ever visited Waseca occurred 
on the night of Oct. 20, 1881. The Herald of that date con- 
tained the following account : 

"A midnight fire broke out in the Dr. Brubaker building, corner of 
Second and Oak streets, and before it was subdued a dozen buildings 
were burned to the ground, a half dozen families rendered homeless, 
and thousands of dollars worth of goods and household property de- 
voured by the flames or badly injured. 

Roger Hanbury was working around some cars near the W. & St. Peter 
freight depot, and discovering the fire, gave the alarm, which was im- 
mediately taken up by two locomotives. In a few minutes many hun- 
dred men were on the ground with such means of fighting fire as 
could be obtained, but they consisted only of pails, axes, ladders, and 
the long cable with hooks for tearing down buildings. The first efforts 
were to tear down the small building owned by J. Halvorsen and used 
for a shoe and harness shop. This had hardly been accomplished be- 
fore the Kraft hotel caught fire, when it became evident that the entire 
row of buildings must go. Efforts were then devoted mostly to remov- 
ing the contents of the several buildings to safe distances. 

The buildings burned were the two-story structure belonging to Dr. 
Brubaker, occupied below by Adolph Schildknecht's drug store, and one 
room above by Dr. Cleary for an office; the shoe and harness shop of J. 
Halvorsen; the large two-story hotel occupied by Mrs. Kraft; the saloon 
building owned by Wm. Herbst, and occupied by Miller & Weishar; A. 
Wert's two-story restaurant and dwelling, including his bakery, etc.; 
Karstedt's harness shop; the capacious furniture store and manufactur- 
ing rooms of Comee Bros.; Preston's jewelry store; the shoe shop occu- 
pied by Anton Anderson, and owned by H. A. Karstedt; the store 
occupied by D. McLoughlin, and owned by John Anderson, of Otisco; 
Craven's machine buildings, and other minor adjoining buildings and 
store rooms. The losses were estimated at $25,000. At the time of this 
fire the city had no fire company nor any means of fire protection." 

The trial of Christian Henniger, for the killing of Christian 


Schiefner on the 3J of June, 1880, near New Richland, was held 
at the fall term of the district court, and Henniger was found 
guilty of manslaughter in the second degree. The men involved 
in this tragedy were two farmers residing about two miles west 
of the village of New Richland. For a number of years they 
had been at enmity with each other, and had several times re- 
sorted to the law to settle their difficulties. Their last trouble, 
which resulted so seriously, was with regard to a small strip 
of land that each claimed. Henniger was breaking up the dis- 
puted land, and Schiefner determined to prevent him from doing 
so. On the day in question, Henniger secreted himself in a wagon 
and was driven to the scene of the tragedy, where his son and 
hired man went to work plowing. Schiefner soon came out and 
forbade their breaking up the land. Henniger immediately came 
from his hiding place in the wagon, and after some words, got 
his gun and shot Schiefner dead, the charge passing through both 
lungs. Judge Buckham sentenced Henniger to the penitentiary 
for five years. It was generally thought that the ends of justice 
were partially thwarted. 

At the same term of court one Pettengill was convicted of 
stealing a horse from Mrs. Reed, of Iosco. He was sentenced to 
three years and six months in the penitentiary, as was also John 
Duff, for stealing Pheiffer's horses. 


It was during this year, 1881, that the C. & X.-W. Railway Co. 
expended about $100,000 in the construction of the round house, 
machine shops, coal houses, etc., in Waseca. The round house 
is built of brick and contains twenty stalls for engines. The 
building is circular, and occupies two-thirds of an entire circle. 
The outside wall is 520 feet in lenjith, and the inside wall 210 
feet in length, the width is 66 feet ; the area of the floor is 36.100 
square feet; the walls are 20 feet high. From one end of the 
main building is partitioned off six stalls, to be used for the 
general overhauling and repair of, cars and engines. The turn- 
table is in the center of the cii-cle formed by the round house, 
and from it engines can be run into any stall. The machine and 
repair shop is 52x100 feet in size with eighteen-foot walls. In 


,one end is situated the immense boiler which is used to generate 
steam to heat the entire structure, operate the steam pump, etc. ; 
in the other end are the forges and other arrangements for re- 
pairing cars and engines. In this building are found, also, the 
offices and a large fire and frost proof vault for storing oil. There 
are five forges in the blacksmith shop. The boiler is constructed 
of locomotive steel, and is 6 feet in diameter and 21 feet long. 
The chimney, with which the boiler pipe connects, is 7 feet 
square at its base, and towers to a height of 52 feet. A ladder, 
constructed of iron rods, extends from the bottom to the top, oh 
the inside. 

The water tank is one of the very largest that is built, and 
holds 2,500 barrels. It is 22 feet from the groiind to the bottom 
of the tank, and the tank is 18 feet in height, by 30 feet in 
diameter. The entire space below the tank is boarded up, batten- 
ed, and painted. The pipes that connect with the tank are 
thoroughly protected from the action of the frost, at all places. 

The coal shed, separate and apart from the other buildings, is 
460 feet long, 26 feet wide, and 14 feet high, and will hold 2,500 
tons of coal. It is built entirely of wood, and is a mammoth 
building. Derricks are provided at two places, from which coal 
may be supplied. At one end of the coal house is a sand house 
16x60 feet in size. In the construction of the buildings there 
were u,sed 500 cords of stone, 550,000 brick, 150 cars of sand, 
1,600 sacks of cement, 800,000 feet of lumber and six carloads 
of lime. The plant is a large one and contributes much to the 
permanent prosperity of the city of Waseca. 


The county officers elected Nov. 8, were as follows: treasurer, 
C. McKenna, democrat; superintendent of schools. Dr. D. S. 
Cummings, democrat ; register of deeds, Charles San Galli, demo- 
crat; sheriff, Hugh Wilson, republican; county attorney, W. R. 
Kinder, republican; judge of probate, S. D. Crump, republican; 
county surveyor, Orson L. Smith ; coroner. Dr. R. 0. Craig ; coun- 
ty commissioners, I. C. Trowbridge, of Waseca, and Geo. W. 
Soule of Blooming Grove. 




The very disastrous fire of October 20 and 21, of this year, em- 
phasized the necessity for organizing fire companies, and the 
year 1881 was appropriately closed by the organizing of an en- 
gine company and a hose company. 


Jesse Reese, 
John Lortis, 
Peter Coles, 
E. Morrison, 
H. V. Davis, 
Sumner Wood, 
Charles Piatt, 
C, Ebbinghausen, 
John Roland, 
Allan Goodspeed, 
S. Swenson, 

John Maloney, 
Walter Child, 
Samuel Strohmeier, 
C. Christopherson, 
Ellsworth Goodspeed, 
E. B. Collester, 
Geo. W. Smith, 
J. M. Robertson, 
J. W. Aughenbaugh, 
Thomas Breen, 
Wm. Schlicht, 

M. D. L. Collester, 
Fred Clayton, 
Gus. Staack, 

C. M. Oster, 

D. McLoughlin, 
Wenzel Kruezer, 
A. J. Lohren, 

J. A. Lilly, 
Wm. Miller, 
John F. Murphy. 


John Locke, 
Ernest Ramsdale 
Ed. Forbes, 
Ed. Cummings, 
Ed. Castor, 

Ed. Goetzenberger, 
B. L. Flske, 
A. Schildknecht, 
E. W. Fiske, 
J. E. Madden. 

H. E. Strong, 
D. S. Cummings, 
C. D. Ward, 
Jake Niebles, 
M. O. Forbes. 

The year 1881 closed vi'ith very pleasant weather. The fall 
months had been delightful with "December as pleasant as 

CHAPTER LI, 1882. 


The county commissioners for this year were Ira C. Trow- 
bridge, Geo. "W. Soule, Philip Purcell, N. M. Nelson, A. J. Jor- 
dan, and W. D. Armstrong, with C. E. Crane as county auditor. 
Philip Purcell was again elected chairman. Nothing special oc- 
curred except the awarding of the county printing without hav- 
ing given notice to the publishers in the county asking for bids. 
This action was a violation of law. 


Hon. Wm. Brisbane and wife, of Wilton, celebrated their 
golden wedding Jan. 20, 1882. Their children, grand children, 
and great grand children then numbered seventy-three, and 
nearly all of them were present. There were also present some two 
himdred other persons, who participated in the celebration of 
the anniversary. One very noticeable— and to Mr. and Mrs. 
Brisbane a very interesting feature— was the presence of Mr. and 
j\Irs. John Gillis, of Wisconsin, who were married on the same 
day and at the same place that they were. Mr. Gillis came with 
his aged companion on purpose to celebrate their Golden Wed- 
ding with their friends of "Auld Lang Syne." He brought with 
him a picture of the humble, thatched cottage in Scotland where 
they commenced their married life. It is seldom that two couples. 


who married on the same day in the same place, and afterwards 
emiorated to a foreign shore, are permitted to celebrate their 
golden wedding together. 


A paragraph in a local paper, dated April 14, 1882, read as 
follows: "Died, at her home in Wilton, on the afternoon of the 
6th inst., at 4 o'clock, Mrs. Boyer, in the one hundred and fourth 
year of her age. She had been confined to her bed all winter, 
but did not appear worse than usual until a few hours before 
her death. The funeral services on Saturday afternoon were 
conducted by Rev. Thos. Hartley of Otisco. " She cared far 
very kindly by her son, James, who went west soon after her 


Mr. Ichabod West, one of the early settlers of Vivian, aged 83 
years, on the 8th day of August, committed suicide by hanging 
himself to a bed post in his room. Mr. West had been living 
with his son's family and had been growing blind for some time. 
This greatly annoyed him, and caused him to express fears that 
he would become entirely helpless. This seemed to him an un- 
bearable calamity. On Tuesday forenoon he went to his room. 
Soon after, his daughter-in-law had occasion to go in there when 
she found him suspended to the bed post by means of a handker- 
chief. He had evidently passed the handkerchief around the bed 
post and then around his neck and deliberately strangled him- 
self to death. 


During the summer of 1882 several substantial buildings were 
erected in Waseca. Among them were two large hotels— the 
Grant House and the Waverly,— the Anderson block— now known 
as McLoughlin Bros.' Store,— the brick building at the soutlieast 
corner of Second and Wood streets, and other smaller buildings. 


At a very early hour Sunday morning, Sept. 2. 1882, at the 
residence of her daughter, ]\Irs. H. P. Norton, of Waseca, jMrs. 
Nancy Kimball quietly passed from earth. Mrs. Kimball was 


the daughter of a soldiei' of the War of the Revolution, Gen. 
Eliphalet Gay, of New London, N. H. At this place Mrs. Kim- 
ball was born on the 25th of June, 1795. She was married to 
Jonathan Kimball in the year 1820, and continued to reside in 
New London till 1839. The family then emigrated to McHenry 
county, Illinois, and settled in what afterwards became Wood- 
stock, the county seat. After nine years of pioneer life her hus- 
band died, and she lived a widow thirty-four years. Till about 
ten years ago, she retained her property in Woodstock, and made 
that place her home. She afterwards resided with her daughters, 
spending most of her time in Waseca with Mrs. Norton. 


The election, which was held Nov. 7, 1882, gave the following 
local results: state senator, Dr. R. 0. Craig; representative, John 
C. White, of Waseca; county auditor, C. E. Crane; coroner. Dr. 
H. J. Young; county commissioners, Philip Purcell, and N. M. 
Nelson. Messrs. Crane, H. J. Young and N. M. Nelson were re- 
publicans — the others democrats. 


On the whole, the year 1882 was a quiet one for Waseca county. 
The weather, as a rule, had been mild, and the crops better than 
average. The people generally had been prosperous, and the 
holidays found them happy and contented. 

CAPTER LII, 1883. 


The county commissioners opened their session this year Jan. 
2. ]\Ir. Purcell was again elected chairman. As usual in those 
days, there was an unseemly squabble for the county printing, 
and more or less favoritism was shown. The repoi-t says : 

"Bids for the county printing were considered. The Argus bid only 
for the proceedings of the county commissioners at 25 cents per folio. 
The Radical put in a bid for the delinquent tax list at 2% cents per de- 
scription, the proceedings free, and suggested that the financial state- 
ment be published in all three papers, and each paid 25 cents per folio. 
The Herald proposed to print the delinquent tax list for $40, the finan- 
cial statement for $25, the proceedings of commissioners, including the 
proceedings of the board of equalization, for $35, and all other notices 
at 10 cents per folio. In disposing of the county printing, the bid of the 
Argus was accepted, also that of the Radical with the exception of the 
financial statement which was awarded without stating the price. The 
proceedings of the board of equalization were awarded to the Herald at 
25 cents per folio." 


This lady, who was one of the very early settlers of St. Mary, 
died Feb. 28, 1883, at the age of seventy-eight years. She had 
been feeble for a long time and died of old age. 



Salem M. Rose, senior editor and publisher of the Waseca 
County Herald, departed this life at 4.30 o'clock Tuesday morn- 
ing, March 13th, aged fifty-one years, and three months. Mr. 
Rose was one of the pioneers of Minnesota, removing to this 
state about 1860 from New York. He settled in Dodge county, 
where he afterwards married Abbie F. Bunker, and for the 
years that intervened previous to his removal to Waseca, he was 
successful in obtaining the reward of an industrious, honest and 
well ordered life. He was one of the early editors of Waseca and 
highly respected. 


Matthias Maloney, brother of the late John Maloney, of Wa- 
seca, and of Thomas Maloney, of Iosco, was found dead by the 
side of the railroad track. He was one of the early settlers of 
the county and lived with his four children a short distance 
east of New Richland, where he owned a farm. Friday night, 
March 16, he started for Waseca, having in his possession about 
$45 in money and several valuable papers. At New Richland 
he took a freight train, arriving at Waseca about the hour of 1 
a. m. Very shortly thereafter his dead body was found lying on 
the railroad track a short distance south of the M. & St. L. de- 
pot. He was terribly mangled and cut, which indicated that a 
number of cars had passed over him. Coroner Young was im- 
mediately summoned, but he did not deem it necessary to hold 
an inquest, as the manner of Mr. Maloney 's death was entirely 
plain. Whether he was crawling under a car and the train start- 
ed meanwhile, or whether he was standing on the track and first 
run over by the engine, can only be conjectured. One thing, 
however, seemed a little curious. When his body was found, 
which was immediately after his death, there was no money or 
papers about his person. No satisfactory explanation of the 
mystery ever came to light. He left surviving him three girls 
and a son, the last having then attained to manhood. 


During the legislative session of 1883, the city of Waseca asked 
for and secured an act of the legislature authorizing the city 


to issue bonds in any sum not exceeding $6,000.00 for the purpose 
of constructing highways — more especially a driveway or road 
around Clear Lake and to the grounds known as ]\Iaplewood 
Park. Immediately upon the passage of this act, ilayor CoUes- 
ter called a special meeting of the city council. Upon petition 
of numerous citizens, the council adopted the following resolu- 
tion : 

"RESOLVED: That the common council of said city of Waseca here- 
by order a special election to be held by the legal voters of said city on 
the 19th day of March, 1883, at the court house, in said city, commenc- 
ing at 9 o'clock a. m., and closing at 5 o'clock p. m., for the purpose of 
voting on the question of issuing such bonds as provided by law; and 
that a copy of this resolution be published in the Herald and the Radical 
of said city." 

The records further show that, at a special meeting of the 
common council, held March 29, pursuant to the call of the 
mayor, it was moved and carried "that the recorder be directed 
to purchase eiiihteen blank printed bonds in denominations of 
$500.00 each, said bonds to run ten years with interest coupons 
attached, beaiing a rate of interest of six per cent per annum, 
interest payalile semi-annually, and said bonds to be issued June 
1, 1888.'' There ■\^'as much discussion before the matter of bonds 
and streets and driveways in and about Waseca was settled. On 
]\lay :10, folliiwing, the council ordered the issuance of two bonds, 
of $500 each, the money to be derived therefrom to be expended 
in the construction of the driveway around Clear Lake. On 
June 5, the council awarded the job of grubliing and clearing 
the road bed around Clear Lake to James Tripp for $16."i.00. The 
contract for hauling and putting upon the streets one thousand 
loads of gravel, from the farm of Mike Tomoski, was let to jMr. 
Patrick Kelly, he being the lowest bidder. At the council 
meeting of June 15, Alderman Robertson introduced a resolution 
to immediately issue four more city bonds, numbers 3, 4, 5 and 
6, of $500.00 each, for the construction of drives around Clear 
and Loon Lakes. Alderman Wood moved to amend by making 
the total amount of the bonds $4,000.00, one-half the amount, 
$2,000.00, to be used in making stone gutters along Second street. 
The amendment was lost by a tie vote— Wood and Broughton 
voting aye, and Madden and Robertson nay. The vote being 
taken on the original motion it was lost by the same vote. June 


20, ]\layor Trowbridge called a special meeting of the council 
to take action in regard to the construction of stone gutters ov 
Second street, and also the construction of the driveway around 
Clear Lake. 

This meeting resulted in the adoption of a resolution to issue 
city bonds to the amount of $3,000— $1,500 of which was to be 
expended in the construction of stone gutters on Second street, 
and the rest in the construction of the driveway around Clear 
Lake. At the council meeting held Nov. 20, of the same year, the 
mayor and the recorder were directed to issue two more road 
bonds, each of $500.00. It appears from the records that only 
$5,000 of the authorized $6,000 in bonds, was issued that year. 
This was a year of many improvements in and about the city. 
The Clear Lake road was graded in excellent shape as was the 
Loon Lake drive. The stone gutters on each side of Second 
street were put in this season. This last was one of the most 
useful public improvements ever made by the city up to that 


A small steamboat, called the "Commodore," was successfully 
launched on Clear Lake, June 16, 1883. The boat was formerly 
in use on Lake Minnetonka, Minn., and was purchased by Ira 
C. Trowbridge and A. P. Jamison for $1,200. It served as a 
pleasure boat for a number of years, especially during the Chau- 
tauqua sessions at IMaplewood Park. It was finally sold to 
parties in the western portion of the state, much to the regret 
of many in this locality. 


Great preparations had been made for a public celebration 
of the Fourth, at Waseca, but a drizzling rain, which set in at 
5 o'clock a. m. and continued till between 9 and 10 o'clock, 
sadly demoralized the arrangements that had been made. As 
soon as the rain ceased, however, the people gathered at Court 
House Square, where Rev. R. Forbes delivered one of his charac- 
teristic addresses. 


During the month of July, this year, steps were taken to 


organize this association. The temporary officers were Rev. C. 
N. Stowers, of Faribault, president; Rev. H. C. Jennings, secre- 
tary; and Mr. A. P. Jamison, treasurer. Nearly all the leading 
citizens of Waseca took stock and became interested in what 
was popularly known as "The Waseca Cautauqua Assembly" at 
IMaplewood Park. It was one of the finest resorts in the state 
and was maintained for fifteen years consecutively— the last 
assembly being held in July, 1898. Financially, the enterprise 
was never a success; but morally, socially, and intellectually 
it was worth more than it cost. It is much to be regretted that 
the people at large did not contribute more liberally to its main- 


This was the year of tornadoes in Southern Minnesota, and 
Waseca had a foretaste of what was a terrible disaster at Roch- 
ester, jMinn., about a month later. 

The worst storm that ever visited this section occurred July 
13, 1883. About 10 o'clock a. m., dense, black clouds rolled Tip 
from the southwest and overcast the- sky. Lightning flashes 
followed each other in quick succession and heavy peals of thun- 
der shook every building and made the earth tremble. Rain 
soon commenced to fall, and then, for a few moments, there 
was a death-like calm, when, all at once, the wind came from 
the northwest with all the force of a hurricane, and the rain 
came in blinding sheets, accompanied by hail. So dense was 
the falling rain and so fierce the wind that one could not discern 
objects across the street. This terrible storm lasted about an 
hour, during which time the strongest mind shuddered with fear 
at what might happen. 

Although much damage was done to property, no person was 
killed or seriously injured. Trowbridge's brick building, now 
occupied by Mr. Gallien, was imroofed, the tin roofing being 
carried some distance. The top of the south wall was torn down 
and the rain drenched the interior of the building. His loss 
was estimated at $1,000. The furniture factory, since destroyed 
by fire, was entirely unroofed and the body of the building bad- 
ly wrecked. Willyard's planing mill and machine shop was 
badly torn to pieces— almost a complete wreck. Father Christie's 


barn at the Catholic parsonage was moved from its foundation. 
The wind totally wrecked the warehouse on the west end of 
the W. & St. P. elevator, and moved a number of barrels of ce- 
ment and salt several rods, but left them standing uninjured. 
The large wheel of Roland's windmill and portions of the tower 
were carried away. The top of the front wall of the Simon 
Smith brick store was blown down. The "Priest hotel" lost 
its chimneys and the barn was totally wrecked. The plateglass 
front windows of the building now owned and occupied by Mc- 
Loughlin Bros, were broken by flying debris. One corner of 
the old courthouse was unroofed and portions of the wall blown 
down. One freight car was blown from the transfer track and 
upset, while many of the cars were unceremoniously moved 
about the yards. The German M. E. church was racked out of 
position and considerably injured. The old "City Roller Mill" 
of Everett & Aughenbaugh received the full force of the storm 
as it swept unimpeded across Loon Lake. The roof was torn 
off and the entire building very much twisted out of shape. Their 
machinery was badly disarranged and somewhat damaged. 
Their warehouse was partly unroofed and five hundred sacks 
of flour were exposed to the rain. The Grant house had a por- 
tion of its roof torn off and some damage was done to inside 

The passenger train that left Waseca, going east, just before 
the storm, was blown from the track, about three miles this side 
of Owatonna, and several passengers were more or less injured. 
Among the passengers were Rev. H. C. Jennings, Misses Fanny 
and Etta Forbes, and Max Forbes, all residents of Waseca at 
that time. Miss Etta Forbes had an arm broken by the fall, and 
all were badly shaken up. After reaching Owatonna, Mr. Jen- 
nings procured a team and carriage and returned to Waseca 
with the Misses Forbes. 

There was one amusing incident during the storm which served 
to relieve the sadness that was so universal in the community 
just after the storm subsided. There lived in the city at that 
time a ponderous gentleman by the name of Kelley, a wood saw- 
yer by occupation. He was undoubtedly the largest man in the 
county. "Brother" Kelley lived alone in a small house just 
east of the W. & St. P. elevator. At the time of the storm he was 


at his house, and being the heaviest man in the county, he wn- 
doubtedly felt that he would be able to hold his own house down 
under all circumstances. But alas ! the Storm King was no re- 
specter of weights and measures, and, in a jiffy, his house was 
torn in pieces and scattered to all the winds of heaven. Kelley 
seized hold of the stove as an anchor, but he was soon torn from 
that and carried bodily with portions of his domicile into a pond 
of water near by with part of the roof of his house upon him. 
As soon as he struck the ground and recovered from his surprise, 
he threw off the piece of roof and waded ashore, where he sat 
down upon the ground and meditated upon the weakness of hu- 
man habitations until the storm subsided. Aside from a bad 
bruise on his head he was not much injured, except in his 
wounded dignity, for he was a very dignified man. 

The German Lutheran church, in Iosco, was moved from its 
foundation and racked to some extent. S. S. Phelps' large barn, 
in St. ilary, was all torn to pieces, and his granary moved from 
its foundation. In the same town the new residence of James 
and John Keeley was blown down. A cow belonging to "Wm. 
Oestereich was killed by lightning. E. Brossard's barn was im- 
roofed. Julius Papke lost his granary, corn cribs, sheds, and 
other property. 

In Blooming Grove, Malachi Madden had a large new barn de- 
molished. Two of his small boys were in the barn at the time 
and were carried quite a distance, but safely landed in a slough. 
His crops were badly damaged. Roger Garaghty, living near 
Madden 's, had his log house, his barn and sheds entirely blown 
down, and his crops badly injured. The storm was fearful at 
Ole Sonsteby's place. He went into his cellar as the storm 
struck, and immediately his house, built of logs, was taken up 
and carried away. Large oak trees near his house were broken 
off and some torn out by the roots. 

In Woodville, Mike Spillane's granary was blown down and 
his crops badly injured. Charles Ileusel had thirty-five tons of 
hay destroyed, his crops and buildings badly injured, and a 
quantity of growing timber ruined. 

At Mci'iden the German Evangelical church was badly 
wrecked. A very lartic bai'n on the farm of IT. Palas was torn 


down. At the station, a blacksmith shop was torn down, and the 
tloni'ing mill was nnroofed and otherwise seriously damaged. 

The damage throughout the towns named was very extensive, 
and few there M'ere who did not suffer some loss. 


A. Bierman, democrat, for governor, carried the county by a 
majority of 203. For other state officers, the republican majority 
was about 165. The democrats elected Charles ilcKenna treas- 
urer, M. B. Keeley clerk of court, P. McGovern county attorney, 
and Dr. D. S. Cummings superintendent of schools, fliram A. 
Mosher, independent, was elected register of deeds. The repub- 
licans elected S. D. Crump judge of probate, B. A. Lowell court 
commissioner, Orson L. Smith surveyor, and Dr. H. J. Young 
coroner. The democrats also elected two county commissioners 
— J\I. F. Connor and A. J. Jordan. 


The Vermonters held a meeting at the Grant house in Decem- 
ber, 1883, and Mr. P. A. Brwin, of St. Mary, was present, al- 
thoiigh eighty-eight years of age. 


The first Masonic lodge organized in the county was located 
in Wilton, and was instituted Jan. 8, 1858. . After the removal 
of the county seat from that place to Waseca, Wilton gradually 
faded away, and on Dec. 20, 1883, the lodge was removed to 
Alma City. At the time of its location at Alma City it contained 
a membership of twenty-five. Its membership was soon after 
much increased. 



The county "Fathers" met Jan. 1, 1884; those present being 
IS. il. Nelson, A. J. Jordan, Philip Purcell, G. W. Soule, Ira C. 
Trowbridge, and J\l. F. Connor. The board organized by elect- 
ing Philip Purcell chairman. The county printing was divided 
aiuong the papers of the county and peace reigned supreme. Only 
the ordinary routine business of the county was transacted. 


Shortly after 4 o'clock on Feb. 24, 1884. the residence of 
Charles Eckenbeek, corner of Wood and Fourth streets, Waseca, 
was discovered to be on fire. The fire started between the ceil- 
ing and roof of the rear part, as near as could be determined, 
and was first discovered by the hired girl, who rushed out in 
her night clothes, barefooted, giving the alarm of fire. George 
Eckenbeek was sleeping up stairs. His father, who was still 
very feeble from a long illness, Avas also up stairs. George took 
his father in his arms and carried him below. By this time the 
house was rapidly filling with smoke, and it was with much diffi- 
culty that he partly dressed his father and carried him out. Miss 
Effie Winters was staying over night with ]\Iiss Louise Ecken- 
beek, and as George stepped to the porch with his father in his 
arms. Miss Winters also passed out, and all fell, but received 


no injury. Carrying Mr. Eeltenbeck to a place of safety, George 
went back to look for his sister, whom he supposed to be in the 
burning building, but she had previously escaped. While in the 
house this time George was severely burned on his head. The 
entire building was now on fire and in a very short time burned 
to the ground. Mr. Eckenbeck suffered the loss of a large num- 
ber of valuable papers, notes, etc.; Louise, many valuable paint- 
ings of her own handiwork, besides all her clothes. Sylvester 
and his father also lost their clothing. George saved a portion 
of his clothes, his gold watch, which was afterwards found in 
the street, and $50 in money that was in a bureau. He lost $300 
worth of books. The value of the property destroyed was about 
$4,000, most of it covered by insurance. 


Job A. Canfield, who settled in the town of Otisco in 1856, 
was a lifelong pioneer. He was born in the state of Ohio, his 
parents having been pioneers in that state. . About the year 
1845, when a yoimg man, he settled with his young wife in 
Dodge county, Wisconsin, near Waupun. His wife was a daugh- 
ter of Obadiah Mosher, also a Wisconsin and Minnesota pioneer. 
Mr. Canfield was the first judge of probate in this county, hold- 
ing the position from 1857 to 1860, and again from Jan. 1, 1870, 
to Jan. 1, 1878. August 12, 1862, at the age of thirty-eight years, 
he enlisted in Company F, Tenth Minnesota Infantry, and served 
until May 18, 1865. He died of apoplexy Jan. 28, 1884, and 
was buried with Masonic and Grand Army honors. 


The following account of the sad death of Mr. Phelps is from 
the pencil of Mr. G. W. Morse, editor of the Waseca Herald, at 
the time of Mr. Phelps' death: 

"Mr. Phelps was In town on business and started for home a few 
minutes before 6 o'clock, driving a span of horses attached to a pair 
of sleds with wagon box on same. At the time a very fierce blizzard 
was raging from the northwest, the snow coming in blinding clouds, 
and the temperature being very cold. About one mile west of here the 
road that he must travel is crossed by the Winona & St. Peter railroad. 
Each side of the railroad track, at the crossing, for perhaps four rods 
were banks of snow from three to six feet high, the same having been 
thrown from the track to keep it clear. The snow came in such gusts 


and the wind roared so loudly that no one could see or hear an ap- 
proaching train for but a short distance. Mr. Phelps drove his team 
down the embankment on to the track, but found the bank on the op- 
posite side too steep and high for his team to climb, and so turned up 
the track, thinking, no doubt, to get through the fence and so back 
onto the road. He had passed not more than fifty feet up the track 
before a freight train of two cars and a caboose came dashing along 
from the west at a speed necessary to pass through drifts that were 
liable to be found. H. A. Read was the engineer, and did not nor could 
not see the approaching team until within sixty feet of them. He saw 
the driver rise up and, as he thinks, make an attempt to jump, but such 
an effort was quite useless, as no person could have got out and up 
the steep bank of snow in time to escape. Mr. Read reversed his en- 
gine immediately and did everything possible to stop, but all in vain, un- 
til he had gone at least thirty rods. Getting off from his engine and 
looking for the results of the accident, the mangled body of Mr. Phelps 
was found under the second car, where his clothes had been caught 
by projecting bolts and he dragged the distance. The top of his head 
had been taken off, both feet cut off, and he had received many other 
cuts and bruises, so that he was quite beyond recognition. Both horses 
were killed instantly and thrown from the track after being dragged, 
one of them five or six rods and the other a little farther. The sleds 
were carried on the pilot until the train stopped. Removing the body 
from under the car, Mr. Read detached his engine and came down to 
the depot. Getting Coroner Young and others, he went back and brought 
the remains of the unfortunate man to the depot, where they remained 
until morning, when they were placed in a casket and removed to the 


T'ndoubteclly the most elaborate celebration of the national 
holiday ever held in this county occurred this year. ]Maplewood 
Park was then in its youthful «lory and all Waseca joined to 
make the occasion memorable. The day was very fine and the 
program was fully carried out. Vice-President Colfax was at 
his best and delivered a fine addi'ess. 

The oration ended, the next thin^- in order was dinner, and 
auain the park was one vast picnic. The G. A. K. boys pooled 
their provisions and I'li.joyed an army picnic, and many were 
the jokes and pleasantries that jiasscd around. The drum corps 
Avith two fifei's, supplied an abundance of martial music. At 
2:30 the concei-t besan in the pavilion, under dii-ection of Prof. 
Pfiyiiioiid. The attendance Avas very fair, considerina; the fact 
that, as a general rule, out door sports are preferred on the 


Fourth of Ju]y. A thunder shower chorus was added to the 
eoneert program, which somewhat disturbed the same. The rain 
ett'e<;tuaHy ended further doings at the park and those who were 
not encamped there made their way to town, where the two 
bands were already engaged in making the air resonant with 
music. About 6 o'clock another and heavier shower came, still 
further dampening the ardor of the celebrators. The sky soon 
cleared and the cool evening was aeceptal)le to the m(>rry dancers 
of the G. A. R. ball at the opera house and the concert-goers at 
AA'ard's Hall. Both were largely patronized and generally pro- 
nounced successful. There was a brilliant display of fireworks 
in the evening both at the park and in the cit.v. 


On July li. an attempt was made by the three prisoners then 
in jail to make their escape. About 9 o'clock in the evening, 
the deputy sheriff, IT. H. Evenson, went to lock the cell doors 
of the prisoners; the door of Martin Wallace's cell was open, 
and as Wallace had gone to bed, :i\Ir. Evenson very kindly 
stepped inside of the corridor to shut it. As he did so Wallace 
made for him and dealt him a heavy blow in the face. At the 
same time the other prisoners rushed from their cells and passed 
out the first door. Wallace and one of the others passed into 
the office and endeavored to get out the outside door, but it was 
locked. They were about to jump through the window when 
Mr. Evenson fired his revolver at Wallace, the ball entering his 
shoulder. This called a halt, and the prisoners all hurried back 
into their cells and were securel.v locked in. It was found nec- 
essary to call in the county physician to dress the wound of 


;\[r. J. G-. Cooley, who was among the early Wilton settlers, 
while hauling wheat to Waseca, Nov. 24, 1884, lost his life in 
the following manner: About noon, as he' was driving up the 
hill on the Wilton road about a mile south of Waseca, the wagon, 
by some means, suddenly went into a deep rut, and Mr. Cooley 
was thrown from the load to the ground, a sack of wheat falling 
on him. As he fell, his body lay in such a position that the hind 
wheel of the wagon passed over his neck, killing him instantly. 


The team passed on a short distance and stopped. His son, 
Josiah, a boy about sixteen years old, was some thirty rods be- 
hind his father, with another load of wheat. He saw his father 
fall and hastened to the spot as soon as possible, finding his 
father dead. Mr. August Schulz and others soon came up, when 
the body was placed upon a wagon and taken to Waseca, and 
thence to the family home in "Wilton. 


Grover Cleveland was elected president in 1884 for the first 
time. Waseca county gave James G. Blaine 1,189 votes, Grover 
Cleveland 867, and John P. St. John 97. The local candidates 
elected were as follows: M. D. L. Collester, representative: S. 
Swenson, aiiditor; Austin Vinton and ^l. Craven, county com- 



Soon after the "Happy New Year" greetings, Jan. 5, 1885, 
a gloom was cast over the community by the death of J. M. Rob- 
ertson, a prominent citizen of Waseca. He was born in Liberty, 
Sullivan county, N. Y., May 23, 1852. Two years later his par- 
ents moved to Illinois, and thence to Winona in 1856. He grew 
to manhood in Winona county and came to Waseca about 1879, 
engaging in the hardware business with Bailey & Watkins. He 
left a wife and two small children. His wife was the accom- 
plished daughter of Hon. Burr Deuel, of Quincy, Olmstead coun- 
ty, Minnesota. Mr. Robertson died of pneumonia. It is said 
that while returning from Chicago, about three weeks prior 
to his death, he took a severe cold. The night was cold, and 
on the train was a poor woman and child who suffered from 
lack of warm wraps. To relieve them Mr. Robertson let them 
have his overcoat. The result was he received a cold that 
brought on the fatal result. For this self-sacrificing act his 
memory should be preserved. 


The county commissioners this year were N. M. Nelson, Aus- 
tin Vinton, M. Craven, Philip Purcell, M. P. Connor, and A. J. 
Jordan. Mr. Purcell was again elected chairman. The county 
printing this year was divided and let to the several papers 


designated at legal rates. A movement was made at this meet- 
ing for the building of a bridge across the Le Sueur river at 
the John Carmody farm, in Wilton; and at the ;\Iareli meeting, 
$300 Vf&s appropriated for that purpose. 


The Vifinter of 1884-5, while not as prolonged as some winters, 
furnished some very cold weather, especially during the month 
of January. 


The 87th anniversary of the birthday of ^Mrs. Xane.v !Mosher 
A^-as celebrated on the 29th of January by a surprise party for 
that lady at the residence of her daughter, ]^Irs. W. S. Baker, 
of Waseca. There were present twenty-five persons who were 
the children, the grandehildren, and the great grandchildren of 
the venerable lady. The occasion was one of decided enjoyment. 
Mrs. Mosher was born in Vermont in 1797. She was mother of 
Hiram A., Asa, and "Jim" Mosher, pioneers in this county. 


It was at the legislative session of 1885 that the office of munic- 
ipal judge was created by special act for the city of Waseca — 
the offices of justices of the peace for said city being abolished 
by the same act. The new court had jurisdiction throughout 
the county the same as a justice of the peace, with this addition : 
in all civil actions where the amount in controversy did not ex- 
ceed $300. Otherwise its jurisdiction was substantially the same. 
John Carmody, Esq., was the first judse elected under the new 
law, and was one of the best who has ever held the position. 


The drainage of large tracts of land situated in Steele and this 
county was undertaken and partly aeeomplisbed in 1885. The 
following report is here reproduced. 

Messrs. S. B. Williams, T. H. Griffin, and W. C. Young, appointed by 
the governor to examine the work and audit the accounts for widening 
and deepening Crane creek, have submitted their report to State Auditor 
Braden, in which they say: 

"The channel in many places has been straightened, widened, and 
deepened. A uniform width of eighteen feet has been preserved for 


the channel along the whole excavation, and In some places the excava- 
tion has been five feet in depth. In the opinion of this committee the 
worlf already done would be more than doubled in value it the work 
could be continued to the source of the creek at Watkins lake, and 
some straightening of the channel below the mouth of the creek. 

The cost of such improvements to complete the work in a permanent 
manner, would not exceed, in our opinion, the present outlay of $1,500, 
additional, as the whole engineering is now complete and nothing but 
excavation is required. This would reclaim thousands of acres of land, 
a considerable part of which, as this committee is informed, belongs 
to the state, and is now nearly valueless because of the overflow for 
want of a free, open channel. 

"In auditing accounts the committee found all bills reasonable and 
just except those for surveying, which were considerably above the 
legal rate of $4.00 per day allowed county surveyors. The committee 
reduced them thereto, bringing the whole outlay within the appropria- 
tion. Therefore we recommend that there be allowed as follows: For 
surveying, $399; for sundries such as tools, hardware, lumber used, etc., 
$120.10; for pay roll of laborers on excavation, $748.85; for services 
of the commissioners of Steele and Waseca counties and mileage, $202.65; 
for paying the commissioners on behalf of the state, $30.00; total, $1,500. 
In conclusion the committee wish to say that the work of excavating 
the channel has been done very much below the lowest bid received 
by the county commissioners for the said work." 


The Catholic church people of the St. ]Mary parish met with a 
heavy loss Dec. 19, 1885. The new Catholic church, which was 
erected at a cost of $15,000, was entirely destroyed by fire. Serv- 
ices were held in the morning and in the afternoon the building 
was consumed. Very few things were saved. The statue of 
St. Joseph, presented to the church some two months prior by 
Peter Burns and Christie HefiEeron, at a cost of $125, and the 
statue of the Blessed Virgin were removed without any material 
damage. The chalices were also saved. The church members 
were under lasting obligations to Thomas Garaghty and James 
Byron for their heroic services in rescuing the altar furniture. 
Mr. Garaghty at one time became so bewildered in the smoke 
that he probably would have perished had it not been for the 
assistance of James Byron in going to his rescue. The buildina: 
was 44x86 feet, and 26 feet high. It was insured for $7,000. The 
burned edifice was replaced with a new one early the next year. 



The building improvements of the city of Waseca for the year 
1885 footed up to $69,600. 

CAPTER LV, 1886. 


The annual meeting of the county commissioners this year 
commenced Jan. 5. Philip Purcell was again chosen to preside. 
The members of the board were N. M. Nelson, Philip Purcell, 
M. F. Connor, Austin Vinton, and Milton Craven. The county 
physicians for this year were Dr. H. J. Young for the First dis- 
trict, Dr. M. J. Taylor for the Second, Dr. John Nutting for the 
Third, and Dr. W. A. Lang for the Fourth. The county printing 
was disposed of as follows: The contract for publishing the 
delinquent tax list was awarded to the "Herald;" the contract 
for publishing the proceedings of the county board went to the 
Janesville "Argus," and the contract for publishing the finan- 
cial statement and the proceedings of the board of equalization 
was given to the "Radical." 


On the 29th and 30th of January, 1886, the "Waseca County 
"Herald" outfit, was moved into the upper story of the brick 
building now owned by Hon. C. A. Smith, and adjoining the A. 


Grapp furniture building, where it remained until September 
21, 1900, when it was removed to its present commodious rooms. 

A $6,000 BLAZE. 

On Feb. 11, 1886, about 2:30 o'clock a. m. fire was discovered 
in Tom. Moonan's wooden building, next to the brick store of 
S. C. Eckenbeck & Co., in the rear or kitchen part. That part 
of the building was all ablaze when discovered, and Mr. and Mrs. 
Southworth, who occiipied the building, barely escaped with 
their every-day clothing. The fire alarm was given and the 
members of the fire company and many citizens promptly re- 
sponded. By the time the firemen got out their engine and put 
on a stream of water, the Moonan building was nearly consumed, 
and Jos. Gatzman's wooden building was well under way. The 
flames soon reached Ward's building, known as Brubaker &' 
Smith's meat market. By the most courageous efforts the fire 
was confined to the latter building, and although Helms' build- 
ing, occupied by Sproat, several times caught fire, it was as often 
extinguished. The loss on buildings was $3,500, and on goods 
about $2,500. Brick buildings were promptly built the next 
spring to replace the burned ones. 


At the March session of the board of county commissioners 
the following appropriations were made : 

"Ordered, that $200 be appropriated for repairs on roads and bridges 
in the first commissioner district, to be expended under the supervision 
of Austin Vinton; that $200 be appropriated for repairs on roads and 
bridges in the second commissioner district, to be expended under the 
supervision of Philip Purcell; that $200 be appropriated for repairs on 
roads and bridges in the third commissioner district, to be expended 
under the supervision of N. M. Nelson; that $200 be appropriated for 
repairs on roads and bridges in the fourth commissioner district to be 
expended under the supervision of A. J. Jordan; that $200 be appro- 
priated for repairs on roads and bridges in the fifth commissioner dis- 
trict, to be expended under the supervision of M. F. Connor." 


On the 14th day of April, 1886, Sauk Rapids and St. Cloud 
were visited by a tornado which killed fifty persons and wounded 
more than one hundred others. At St. Cloud, in the track of 
the storm, stood the Manitoba freight house and cars filled with 


freight. Down on them the whirlwind pounced, lifted them from 
the tracks and cast them in shapeless masses. Iron rails were 
torn from the ties and twisted like wires. Telegraph poles were 
torn up and wires twisted into masses. The freight house was 
totally wrecked and over $3,000 worth of freight was whirled 
through the air and thrown into heaps and scattered over an 
area of a quarter of a mile. Fifteen freight cars were demol- 
ished. The cries and shrieks of the wounded rent the air, and 
the ground was strewn with the bodies of the dead. 

The Sauk Rapids disaster was described by an ej^e witness as 
follows : 

"The tornado struck this city at 4 o'clock, and in six minutes the 
town was in ruins. Not a business' house was left standing on the main 
street, and many residences were demolished. The wind came from 
the southwest and swept everything before It for a width of about four 
blocks. The stormcloud was as black as night, with a bright clear sky 
on either side. The courthouse was made a heap of ruins. The union 
school house, two churches, the postoffice, flour mill, and large machine 
shop were all converted into kindling wood. The Northern Pacific depot 
was blown away, and a large number of freight cars overturned. At 
the present time twenty-two dead bodies have been recovered from the 
ruins and a large number of persons are injured. 

"A wedding party of thirty persons were in a building about four 
miles from Rice station when the storm came, and twenty-two of the 
party were killed and the others all injured. The dead were strewn 
about for a distance of fully six hundred feet, presenting a ghastly 
spectacle. The situation is a sad one, the living being not only deprived 
of their friends, but of all their earthly possessions at the same time. 
The total loss of property is not less than $300,000, without a dollar 
of tornado insurance." 

Upon receipt of a report of the terrible affair in Waseca, a 
public meeting was called at the courthouse. Hugh Wilson 
was chosen chairman, and James E. Child secretary. A resolu- 
tion offered by Mr. Lewis Brownell, asking the common council 
of the city to appropriate $300 to aid the sufferers, was unani- 
mously adopted. At the suggestion of Judge Crump, seconded 
by Hon. W. G. Ward, the chair appointed a committee of three— 
Judge Crump, Senator Ward, and James E. Child— to solicit 
funds to aid the sufferers. The amount donated by the city was 
$300, and the amount paid in by private persons was $346.75. 
All of this was forwarded to the governor of the state to be used 
for the relief of the sufferers. In addition to this amount, the 


German Evangelical churches of the county contributed as fol- 
lows: The Waseca church $28; the Meriden church $22.10; Wil- 
ton church $11.40, and the Iosco church $42.25. 


At the May meeting of the board of county commissioners, it 
was ordered : 

That $200 be appropriated for work on road on sections 20 and 29 
in town of Alton, between the house of P. Morrissey and Buffalo Lake, 
and that A. J. Jordan and M. F. Connor be appointed a committee to ex- 
pend said appropriation, and report at the next meeting of the board; 
that $400 be appropriated for the construction of the Lamb bridge; that 
$150 be appropriated for repair of roads and bridges in the sixth com- 
missioner district, to be expended under the supervision of M. Craven; 
that $100 be appropriated for the construction of the Stewart creek 
bridge, on section 7, Otisco. 

At the July meeting it was ordered: 

That $75 be appropriated to pay the remainder due for building the 
Stewart creek bridge, and that $195 be appropriated to pay for replank- 
ing the Cobb river bridge. 

August 20, it Wtts ordered: 

That $150 be appropriated for repairs on roads and bridges in the first 
commissioner district to be expended under the supervision of Austin 
Vinton; that $200 be appropriated for repairs on roads and bridges In 
the second commissioner district, to be expended under the supervision 
of Philip Purcell; that $150 be appropriated for repairs on roads and 
liridges in the third commissioner district, to be expended under the 
supervision of N. M. Nelson; that $150 be appropriated for repairs of 
roads and bridges in the fourth commissioner district, to be expended 
under the supervision of A. J. Jordan; that $150 be appropriated for re- 
pairs of roads and bridges in the fifth commissioner district, to be ex- 
pended under the supervision of M. P. Connor. 


On the night of June 3, 1886, a man named Ed. I\lenck, a 
tailor, and a stranger, who refused to siive his name, broke into 
the hardware store of P. C. Bailey, between 11 and 12 o'l'loek. 
Ed. Goetzenberger and Francis Breen had gone to bed a short 
time before, in the office, adjoining the store. They heard the 
report of the glass breaking, and Ed. got up and looked out, 
but saw nothing. As there were many people on the streets 
;ind some in the saloons, he tliought little of it. Presently they 
heard more noise, this time in the store. Tlun- arose cautiously, 


put on their pantaloons, lighted a lamp, Ed. taking his revolver 
and Francis the lamp, and suddenly opened the door between 
the office and the store, where they discovered two burglars. 
The thieves beat a hasty retreat, notwithstanding Ed. 's invita- 
tion to them to halt, and as they said something about shooting, 
Ed. went into practice while young Breen bravely held the light. 
Ed. emptied his revolver at them as they retreated by crawling" 
through a window, and then he shoiited for the police. There 
was a general search instituted, and the men were soon found 
and arrested by Marshal Keeley. Both of them had their hands 
cut considerably by the glass in the window, and the stranger 
received a bullet wound, the ball striking him in the back, fol- 
lowing a rib, and lodging in front. Dr. Hunt took out the bullet 
and dressed their wounds. Some of the citizens chipped in 
and presented Ed. Goetzenberger and Francis Breen each a gold 
watch and chain as evidence of their appreciation of the courage 
displayed by the joung men on the occasion. Both offenders 
were convicted of burglary at the fall term of court and sent to 


The people of Xew Eichland were thrown into a state of great 
excitement on the evening of July 6, 1886, by the murder of 
Miss Anna il. Discher and the suicide of her murderer. The 
following report was published at the time: 

Henry Young was a German whose relatives reside in Wisconsin. He 
had been around here for several years, was always considered a steady 
young man, not of vicious habits, tolerably well to do, and owned an 
interest in a thresher, which he ran in season. The other victim, Anna 
M. Discher, was the daughter of W. P. Discher, justice of the peace, and a 
well-to-do farmer. In the afternoon Young was around town and seemed 
to be drinking heavily. Then he went out to the Discher farm. Mrs. 
Discher and daughter were sitting on the porch sewing. He walked up 
to the girl and after a few words drew his revolver and shot her twice, 
the bullets taking effect in or near the heart. She died in a few min- 
utes in her mother's arms. Thrusting the revolver into his mouth, he 
fired and killed himself instantly. It is rumored that he had wanted 
her for some time to marry him, which she declined to do. This is 
undoubtedly correct, as it seems to be reasonably well founded." 


This organization became very strong this year throughout 


the state. On the 15th of May, 1886, there was a meeting of 
.Alliance men at Waseca, George W. Sprague, president of the 
state alliance, being here to address them. ]Mr. W. D. Arm- 
strong announced that there were now five alliances in the coun- 
ty, and that they might organize a county alliance, if those pres- 
ent thought it advisable ; but before doing so he should like to 
hear from the state officers that were present. He introduced 
George W. Sprague, president of the state organization, who ad- 
dressed the meeting; at considerable length. After the address, 
on motion of M. F. Connor, the five alliances represented pro- 
ceeded to the formal organization of a county alliance. The 
president and the secretary of each alliance signed an application 
to the state alliance for a charter. Jlessrs. W. D. Armstrong, 
II. A. Wagoner, Patrick Kenehan, and Thomas Barden were 
chosen to act as a committee to draft by-laws for the count.v 
alliance, to report to an adjourned meeting to be held ^May 29. 
At the adjourned meeting, constitution and by-laws were adopt- 
fd and the following officers elected: President, L. C. Remund, 
of Blooming Grove; vice-president, I\l. F, Connor, of Wilton: 
secretary, W. D. Armstrong, of Woodville ; treasurer, Jas. E. 
Jones, of Iosco. 

The regular meetings of the county alliance were to be held 
on the first Saturday of January, April, July and September. 
The meeting of May 29 adjourned to meet again June 26, 1886. 
At this last meeting there were present delegates from eight 


There were several notable meetings in Waseca during the 
summer months. On the 15th of June the Southwestern Editorial 
convention of Minnesota was held in Waseca. The editors were 
entertained at Hotel Maplewood at noon and in the evening a 
banquet was tendered them at the Grant House. 

The W. C. T. U. societies of the county held a county conven- 
tion in Waseca, June 17, 1886. The convention was held in the 
English M. E. church, ]\Irs. D. J. Bickford presiding. 

The old settlers of Freedom and Alton, met on the 10th day 
of June, in the cultivated grove on the beautiful farm of Prof. 
F. D. Seaman. The day was an ideal one for such a picnic and 


there were three hundred and tifty persons present. The feast 
was all that could be desired, and then followed toasts and re- 
sponses. A synopsis of the response by Judge Crump, then of 
Waseca, is here given: 

He said he was the first one, as usual, to make a fool of himself, 
and he proposed to do it well. He deemed it a compliment to be call- 
ed upon to address them, although it would be unfortunate both for 
them and himself. "I can remember," said he, "when I became an old 
settler here. It was in 1865. I also remember the first old settler 
I met here, who is now in Wisconsin. He was neither naked or clad, and had 
twenty-five cents in his pocket — now he has nothing. I can appreciate 
and you can appreciate those who have come here and why they have 
come. You know that we came here to eat — especially Graham and my- 
self — and we have enjoyed ourselves, especially Graham. He knows 
when he has a good thing. We have all enjoyed ourselves on this occasion. 

"I can remember when we had myriads of mosquitoes here as big 
as sheep and kept hogs on them. We have driven them out, but alas! 
the book agents and the lightning rod men have taken their places. 

"I can remember, too, that the rattlesnake infested this region. He, 
too, has disappeared before the old settler, and the local editor rattles 
at the passer-by. 

"The Indian, too, I am told, once roamed over these prairies with 
tomahawk and scalping knife; but he is gone, and the politicians and 
office seekers now scour the country in search of spoils. 

"I now come to the defense of my friend, Jim Cummins. He has been 
lied about. Somebody has said he is no old settler. I know he is. He 
has told me so. He broke the prairie sod here in 1858, and camped 
here with another Indian at that time, and I want it entered in the 

"The old settlers set good tables; they are good eaters and long 

"I started to say something serious but I have failed — I generally do. 

"As the pioneers grow older, as the wrinkles in their faces grow long- 
er and more numerous, as the hair gets whiter, as the numbers grow 
less, from year to year, these reunions will be more valued, and your 
children will thank you for having subdued this wilderness and built 
these pleasant homes. 

"We honor and ought to honor the soldier who defended the country 
in the hour of peril, but I think the men and women who braved the 
hardships and dangers of frontier life are entitled to some credit for 
their courage and fortitude, and ought to be congratulated for coming 

"I don't think I'll talk any more. There are editors here who are 
full of talk; the only trouble is they will lie so." 

The sessions at Maplewood Park, this year, were well attended. 


Among the noted speakers was Gen. Howard, who delivered his 
famous lecture on the battle of Gettysburg. 


John Ballard, of Iosco, on the afternoon of July 13, 1886, 
started out with a hay rake, just after supper, to rake hay. There 
was no breeching to the harness, and the rake ran on the heels 
of the horse, causing him to run. The horse became unmanage- 
able, ran into a grove, and Mr. Ballard was thrown against a 
tree with such force as to break several of his ribs loose from the 
backbone. He was a great sufferer until August 31, Avhen he 
passed into rest. He was about fifty years of age, and settled 
in this county in 1858. He married about 1861 and left surviving 
him his wife and ten children ; the eldest twenty-four years of 
age and the youngest three. He owned a farm of one hundred 
and tAventy acres, and a ten-acre timber lot, besides considerable 
personal property. He was a Union soldier in the War of the 
Eebellion and was a member of McKune Post G. A. R., which 
attended his funeral, paying the last sad honors to their departed 


Died, Mr. Silas Buckman, in his seventy-eighth year, at 3 
o'clock, a. m., Nov. 9, 1886, of diarrhoea and congestion of the 
bladder. He had been failing since the latter part of August. 
He was a native of New Hampshire, removed to Crown Point, 
New York, when a boy, and resided there until 1S67, when he 
settled on a farm in "Woodville township. His wife died some 
years before. Since that time he had lived with his son, G. E. 

Died, George Smith, elder son of Hon. AVarren Smith, Nov. 
10, 1886, at 2 o'clock a. m., of congestion, in his twenty-third 
year. George had suffered for a year or more from diabetes 
and was much reduced in flesh and strength. He attended the 
Saturday evening entertainment at the opera house, and took 
a severe cold, which caused congestion and death. He graduated 
the spring before with distinction at Dartmouth college, and 
had chosen civil engineering as his profession. 



A sad and fatal accident occurred at the Phelps' crossint;', 
about a mile and a quarter west of Waseca on the "Winona & St. 
Peter railroad, December 24, 1886, about 7 o'clock in the even- 
ing. JNIr. Philip Brown and wife, of St. Mary, came in to meet 
]\Iiss Ilonora Burke, daughter of ilichael Burke and sister of 
]N[rs. Brown. Miss Burke was coming from Minneapolis to spend 
Christmas with her parents and friends. According to jMr. 
Brown's evidence before the coroner's jury they left the de- 
pot about 7 o'clock. Miss Burke sat on the righthand side of 
the sleigh, Isabella McCabe, a girl some twelve years of age, 
next to her, Mrs. Brown on the left side, all on the same seat, 
with Brown sitting on his wife's lap. He was driving along 
on a fast trot and did not see or hear the freight train coming 
from the west until within thirty or forty feet of the track. His 
wife then said: "There comes the train." He tried to stop 
the team, one horse and one mule, and had them nearly stopped 
within perhaps five feet of the track, when the horse gave a 
plunge and dragged the mule with him over the track. At the 
same instant the engine struck the sleigh and threw them all 
out. He and his wife fell near together, the ilcCabe girl a little 
way from them, near the fence, and Miss Burke still further 
from them, partly under the wire fence. He got up immediate- 
ly and went to his wife who was hurt some, then to the McCabe 
girl who seemed to be stunned,— he thought she was dead. He 
next went to where Miss Burke was and drew her from under 
the fence. He could not see that she was alive, so he put his 
ear to her mouth and found that she did not breathe. Dr. Young, 
who examined Miss Burke, said that she died of concussion 
of the brain, caused by being thrown against a fence post, and 
that death was probably instantaneous. 


For the first time in years, the democrats carried the county 
for state candidates by pluralities ranging from 137 to 504— 
the latter number being for "Doc." Ames, of Minneapolis— 
his total vote in the county having been 1,442. The following 
local candidates were elected : senator, W. G. Ward ; representa- 
tive, M. W. Ryan; treasurer, Chas. McKenna; auditor, S. Swen- 


son; register of deeds, A. F. Kruger; clerk of court, il. B. 
Keeley; sheriff, A. C. Krassin; judge of probate, Wm. C. Young; 
county attorney, P. McGovern; superintendent of schools, J. B. 
Dye ; court commissioner, G. R. Buckman ; coroner, M. V. Hunt ; 
surveyor, O. L. Smith; county commissioners, Austin Vinton, 
Philip Purcell, J. 0. Sunde, James Conway, Charles Deyling, 
Oliver Peterson. 


The following announcement appeared in the Waseca Herald of 
Nov. 19, 1886: 

"The beautiful Indian summer of this month came to a sudden close 
on Tuesday. Snow commenced to fall in the morning, with the wind 
northeast, and continued to fall through the day. Tuesday night the 
wind veered to the north and blew a continuous gale for twenty-four 
hours, the snow falling continuously and drifting into great heaps. 
The roads were blockaded in every direction, and railway trains were 
suspended on both roads. The passenger from Minneapolis got stuck 
in a snow drift between Waterville and Waseca, and no mail arrived 
during the day. It was the heaviest snow storm for years in the month 
of November, but, fortunately, the weather was not very cold. Thurs- 
day morning the wind was in the northwest, the snow still falling and 
drifting. The outlook for winter travel was discouraging." 

On December 3, the same paper said : 

"The deep snow that now covers this part of mother earth is becom- 
ing a barrier to trade — a serious obstacle to business." 


The people of Waseca in 1886 expended eiglity-eight thousand, 
four hundred eighty-five dollars in constructing new bitildings 
and making improvements. The largest and most important 
building erected this year was the Catholic Seminary, bttilt on 
lots adjoining the Catholic church, in Waseca, liy the Sisters 
of the Holy Child Jesus. Their headquarters in this country are 
Philadelphia. The central building is 30x60 feet, and eaeli wing, 
east and west, is 40x66 feet, all twd stories high. Only the we^t 
wing and its basement were completed this year and enst $10,- 
000. The basement of the part completed this season is 11 feet 
high and divided as follows : A play room in the south end ll-lxlO 
feet, next a furnace room 12x20, a cellar 10x12, and a wood 
room 8x12. In the center is a well of water, then a kitchen 13xir\ 
and a laundry 13x15, separated by the stairwav hall. At the 



north end of the building are two dining rooms, one on each 
side of the hall, 13x15 feet. The first story over the basement 
is 16 feet high, and divided as follows: Entrance hall 7x30; the 
first room on the right, 14x16, is the parlor; opposite this is the 
reception room, the same size; the next room on the right, as 
you enter the hall, is the music room, 14x16; and opposite that 
is the chapel, 14x16 feet; then comes a hall the whole width 
of the building seven feet across, and next, two school rooms, 
separated by folding doors, each room 20x30 feet. The second 
or upper story is 15 feet high, and contains two school rooms, 
each 20x16 feet; three sleeping rooms, 14x16, one sleeping room, 
9x16 feet; a bath room and water closet, 8x9 feet, and two 
small closets. This is one of the important educational institii- 
tions of the state and has done much for the people of Waseca 
and surrounding country. 

The following is a list of structures costing $1,000 and over : 
Catholic Seminary $10,000 00 W. E. Scott, new house. . 1,700 00 

Pugh & Goodman, new 

brick store 8,000 00 

Everett & Aughenbaugh, 

engine boiler house and 

machinery 7,500 00 

Joseph Gatzman, new 

brick store 3,600 00 

W. G. Ward, new brick 

store 3,500 00 

Thos. Moonan, new brick 

store 3,500 00 

Pat. Solon, new house 

and barn 3,500 00 

Chicago & Northwestern 

Railway, round house 

improvements 3,000 00 

P. McElroy, new residence 2,500 00 
Van Dusen & Co., im- 
provements to elevator 2,000 00 
W. D. Abbott, new house 1,800 00 
H. Britten, new house 

and improvements .... 1,600 00 

Adolph Schmidt, new 
house 1,500 00 

H. Hoyt, new house . . . 1,500 00 

R. M. Mi(}daugh, new 
house 1,500 00 

B. Hassing, house and 

barn 1,200 00 

Hans. Borelson, new 
house 1,200 00 

School House, improve- 
ments 1,100 00 

Waseca Iron Works, ma- 
chinery and improve- 
ments 1,000 00 

Waseca Furniture Com- 
pany, new machinery 
and improvements . . . 1,000 00 

W. G. Ward, improve- 
ments on buildings and 
house 1,000 00 

Thos. Flynn, new house. 1,000 00 



New Tear's day was ushered in clear and fair on the north 
end of an iceberg, the thermometer registering thirty-four de- 
grees below zero, at day-break. In the afternoon, some twenty- 
six gentlemen made the customary New Year calls. Messrs. 
E. A. Everett, B. U. Dye, W. A. Swift and Cieo. F. Tallon com- 
posed one party and were drawn about town hy Connelly's 
matched team of white ponies, hitched to a fur-covered sleigh— 
])ampas grass plumes adorning the horses' heads. Messrs. H. W. 
Bird, Jos. Truax, and Arthur Jamison went together, riding 
about town on an inverted crockery crate, drawn by Charlie 
Clement's hybrid horses. W. J. Jennison, J. A. Stemen, F. V. 
Hubbard, H. H. Sudduth, A. D. Goodman and Ellsworth Good- 
speed composed another party. Drs. Cnmmings and Davidson, 
E. A. White and C. C. (iriffin constituted a lively quartette. G. 
W. Eckenbeck, J. D. Walworth, and N. S. Gordon drank together. 
Oysters, fruits, cake, and coffee were generously served and 
disposed of with much zest. 


The commissioners this year were Austin Vinton, Philip Pur- 
cell, Jonas O. Sunde, James Conway, Chas. Deyling and Oliver 
Peterson. The board organized b>- electing Mr. Purcell chair- 
anan. The question of county pr-in1iiig came up as usual, a por- 


tion of the board desiring to let the whole of the work to the 
lowest bidder, while the majority, led by the chairman, decided 
to let only four items, to wit : proceedings of board of county 
commissioners, proceedings of board of equalization, delinquent 
tax list and financial statement. The Radical offered to print 
these items for one cent, and received the contract. 

The county fathers were very liberal this year, making appro- 
priations for roads and bridges. At their January meeting one 
hundred dollars was appropriated for corduroying slough on 
town line road between section 6, Alton, and section 31, Janes- 
ville, to be expended under the supervision of Messrs. Purcell 
and Conway. Thirty-five dollars was appropriated for work on 
road between sections 17 and 18, Iosco, to be expended under 
the supervision of Mr. Purcell. 

At the IMarch meeting appropriations were made as follows : 
The sum of $200 was appropriated for the repair of roads and bridges 
in the first commissioner district, to be expended under supervision of 
J. O. Sunde. The sum of $220 was appropriated to be expended in the 
repair of roads and bridges, in the third commissioner district, under 
supervision of Philip Purcell. The sum of $250 was appropriated to be 
expended by Commissioner Peterson — $200 of the same to be expended 
outside the city of Waseca on roads, and not to exceed $50 inside the 
city limits. Three hundred and fifty dollars was appropriated tor 
roads and bridges to be expended under the supervision of James Con- 
way in the fourth district; and $225 to be expended in the fifth, district 
under the supervision of Mr. Deyling. 

The board received and accepted the report of the committee 
on the Krassin bridge, and appropriated $339 to pay for the 
work. The report of the committee on the Boot Creek bridge 
was made and accepted, and $53.50 appropriated to pay for 
the work. 

At the May meeting, money was appropriated as follows : 
The sum of $400 was appropriated to build a new bridge at St. Mary 
in place of the old one, and Messrs. Purcell, Conway and Deyling were 
appointed to superintend the construction thereof. The sum of $400 was 
appropriated to build a new bridge across the LeSueur river on section 
34, in Otisco, and Messrs. Peterson and Sunde were appointed to over- 
see the construction of it. $400 was appropriated to build two new 
bridges on the outlet of Lake Helena— one on section 36 in JanesvlUe, 
and one on section 19, in Iosco. The sum- of $120 was appropriated to 
build a bridge across the Little Cobb river, on section 33, town of Free- 
dom. $125 was appropriated to build a bridge across the LeSueur river. 


between sections 24 and 25, town of New Richland; and the sum of $100 
was appropriated to each commissioner district for the repair of roads 
and bridges. 

On July 25, 1887, the board appropriated $1,000 for building the Wil- 
ton bridge and making the approaches thereto; and an additional sum 
of $325 for completing the St. Mary bridge, purchasing the right of way 
for the same and grading the approaches thereto. 

At the August session of the board the sum of $250 was appropriated 
for completing the unfinished work on new bridges and caring for 
material of old bridges in the several commissioner districts. 

The worst conflagration -svliicli has ever visited Janesville vil- 
lai^e, occurred on the night of April 12, 1887. The fire was first 
discovered burstint^- from the roof of the barn of the Northwest- 
ern hotel, standing east of that building. It originated in the 
hayloft, and was discovered about eight o'clock. The horses 
in the barn were taken out without difficulty. The flames spread 
rapidly to the ad.joining buildings, and each new blaze gave 
impetus to the devouring element. To add to the sad situation 
the big mill had been shut doMii for some time for repairs, and 
no water could be obtained from that source, and all other water 
supplies were soon exhausted. Everything was diy and the 
flames soon spread to the Northwestern hotel, ]McCabe 's hotel, 
and Kleeman's saloon. By this time, the fire was beyond con- 
trol, spread rapidly each way, and soon crossed to the west side 
of the street. The Johnson house, barn and out-buildings, at 
the northern limit of the fire, were totally destroyed. ]\Ir. Church, 
the landlord, removed most of his furniture and goods. It was 
a hard blow to Janesville, but the plucky men of that energetic 
town soon rebuilt the waste places. 


The winter of 1886-7 gave more than the average fall of snow 
and cold weather. A local paper of Jan. 28 said : 

"The boys on the railroad are having a hard struggle with snow. 
The road between Sleepy Eye and Lake Benton makes costly work for 
the Northwestern during the winter season. JIuch of the time a snow 
plow has to be run ahead of passenger trains, from station to station, 
telegraphing back that it is safe for the latter to go on another stage. 
With four or five such outfits between Huron and St. Peter the expense 
is great, the work hard, and the delays vexatious. One or two winters 
of such expense would almost rebuild the line." 


The snow was deep all winter and remained upon the ground 
until the middle of March. The last snow storm of the season 
Aras recorded as follows : Let it be recorded that on the 22d 
day of April, A. D. 1887, a fierce snow storm from the regions 
oi the unsalted sea visited this section; that snow fell to the 
depth of two or three inches, that, on the morning of the 23d, 
iee had formed to the thickness of half an inch. The next day 
the snow disappeared." 


Robert ilcDougall passed from life into the sleep of death, on 
the evening of Jan. 15, 1887, in the sixty-sixth year of his life. 
Robert was born in the highlands of Scotland, in 1821. His 
parents left their native hills and settled in Canada, near Guelph, 
where the.v opened a farm in the then wilderness when he was 
a small boy. Robert spent the years of his minority at home, 
and encoimtered all the hardships and hard work incident to 
a new, timbered country. Sometime about 1854, Robert and his 
brother Hugh came to the "States." They stayed in Iowa for 
some time, then came to Waseca county, in the fall of 1855. 
Each made a claim where the McDougall farm now is, and com- 
menced keeping "batch." There were two other young men 
near them, from Canada, named Robbins— George and William. 
All of them had made claims in good faith, none of them know- 
ing that it was necessary to declare their intentions to become 
citizens, supposing that they could do that at the time of prov- 
ing up. During the winter of 1855-6, men from Owatonna, who 
had laid out and platted the village of Wilton, brought in several 
persons to .jump the claims of these men. This outrage aroused 
all the settlers in the neighborhood. A meeting was called and 
it was decided that the intruders must go. Robert was passion- 
ate and impetuous, Hugh was cool and determined. The claim- 
jumpers were ordered to leave at once, and so strong was the 
feeling that they discreetly stood aside while the "boys," as 
they were then called, left not one log upon another. The claim- 
jumpers then went to Owatonna and caused the arrest of every 
settler in the neighborhood except one or two, on a criminal 
warrant. Several of the settlers, including Robert, were found 
guilty of destroying property. The verdict was given by a 


packed jury; on appeal the judgments were set aside. Contests 
were also instituted in the land office, then at Winona, regarding 
the claims. Matters became so warm that the men from Owa- 
tonna dared not be seen on the LeSueur alone, and when the land 
cases came on at Winona, the "claim-jumpers" were so well con- 
vinced that their lives were not secure that they virtually with- 
drew their claims, with the understanding that they might peace- 
ably take other claims near by. Notwithstanding this patched- 
up truce, the feeling did not die out, and on the night of the 
19th of April, 1856, several house-bodies which had been put up 
on the village site were torn down and demolished. Wilton 
never recovered again until a year after, when the Owatonna 
proprietors, sold or pretended to sell their interests to other 
persons. The McDougall brothers, a year or so afterwards, proved 
up on their claims and perfected their titles. Not long after this, 
Hugh returned to the old homestead in Canada, where he now 
resides ; and Robert took his horses and wagon and started for 
the mining regions of the Western mountains. He spent one 
winter near the head waters of the Saskatchewan river; then 
crossed the mountains into Washington Territory, worked in 
different mines some time, and returned in 1860. After a short 
visit here, he returned to Canada, where he remained until he 
was married. Shortly after his marriage, in the year 1866, he 
settled on the farm where he' died. Had he lived imtil the follow- 
ing March he would have been sixty-six years of age. He left 
with his wife nine children— six girls and three boys. He o^vned 
two hundred acres of land and quite a stock of horses and cat- 
tle, at the time of his demise. Some eight or nine years prior 
to his death, he was badly injured by a horse, one of his arms 
being broken. A quack doctor pretended to reduce the frac- 
ture, but it was done so poorly that he suffered much from it. 
Mr. McDougall was an honest, conscientious man; and although 
high-tempered and sometimes very passionate, he was a kind- 
hearted man and a true friend. His remains were deposited in 
the quiet Wilton cemetery, where he sleeps the last long sleep. 

Died, at his home in Waseca, March 6, 1887, AVm. S. Baker, 
in the seventy-ninth year of his age. He was born in the state of 
Jlaine, April 28, 1808. He was a pioneer from early manhood, 
coming to the state of Ohio in early life. He was married to 


Clarissa B. Mosher, at Marion, Ohio, Dec. 30, 1841. He became 
a member of the M. E. church in 1842, by conversion, and re- 
mained such during the remainder of his life. He moved with 
his family to Dodge county, Wisconsin, as early as 1844, and 
was among the first settlers of that locality. After out-living 
the pioneer days of Wisconsin, the family came to this county in 
1856, and settled in Otisco. At an early day in this county, 
he took quite an active part in public affairs, being the first 
treasurer of Waseca county. 

Died, Oct. 10, 1887, Minnie Smith, elder daughter of flon. 
Warren Smith, of this city, aged 28 years, of lingering consump- 
tion. She had been an invalid for some time, and everything 
that wealth and affection could do had been done to prolong 
her life; but the disease was incurable, and she finally passed 
from life unto death. 

Capt. Kobert Earl, of Alton, one of the early settlers of Free- 
dom, dropped suddenly dead while butchering hogs, at his farm, 
on Monday, Oct. 17, 1887, of apoplexy. Deceased was born in 
Jamestown, Pa., Aug. 10, 1832, and was a little over fifty-five 
years of age. (See biographical sketches.) 

Died, Zabina Child, Nov. 5, 1887, at the residence of his son, 
S. P. Child, of Blue Earth City, Minn., of dropsy and inflamma- 
tion of his stomach. He was a contractor and builder by trade, 
and was a life-long pioneer. He was born in Windsor county 
Vt., November 22, 1808. At the age of twenty he went to St. 
Lawrence county. New York, working at his trade in the village 
of Canton and vicinity. He made his home with his father, 
Daniel Child, in De Kalb, St. Lawrence county, until his mar- 
riage to Orrilla Rice, of Jefferson county, N. Y., Feb. 14, 1833. 
In 1834 he removed to Ohio by horse team and wagon, with his 
young wife and one child, and settled near Medina, then a pio- 
neer settlement. He remained there until about 1837, when a 
failure of crops and the general hard times of that period 
induced him to return to his old home in the state of New York. 
There he settled on a small farm with his family, where he re- 
mained until 1843, when he again went to Ohio, remaining in 
Perry, Lake county, about a year. He then removed with his 
family to the territory of Wisconsin, stopping at Sheboygan a 
few weeks, and afterwards locating in Dodge county. Wis., near 


Waupun. He afterwards lived in Herman, Dodge county, and 
later settled in Outagamie county, near Appleton. Afterwards 
he spent some time with relatives in Pierce county, Wis., lived 
a while with his brother Simeon in Washington county, Iowa, 
and in later years resided in Blue Earth City, spending a por- 
tion of his time in Jackson county, Minn. He sleeps in the Blue 
Earth cemetery. 

Hon. il. D. L. Collester, then of ]\lankato, died of pleuro-pneu- 
monia, Dec. 17, 1887. He was buried from the Episcopal church 
of that city under the auspices of the I. 0. 0. F., of which he 
was a member. He caught cold while taking testimony in the 
boiler inspection matter at Litchfield, about Nov. 22, and was 
confined to his bed one day while there. He returned to Man- 
kato, Nov. 25, and on the Sunday following was taken sick with 
pleuro-pneumonia, of which, after a very painful illness of near- 
ly three weeks, he died. Mr. Collester was born in i\Iarlboro, N. 
H., Jan. 26, 1840. He graduated with high rank at iliddlebury 
college in Vei'iiiont in 1865. He then read law at Newport, N. 
PI., and came AVest and commenced the practice of law at Minne- 
apolis in 1867. Shortly afterward he accepted a professorship 
of Oreek and Latin languages in Shattuck school, at Faribault, 
and continued in this position until 1872, when he came to Wa- 
seca and again entered upon the practice of his profession. While 
at Waseca he was five years county attorney; one year mayor 
of Waseca, and one .year, 1885, respresented Waseca county in the 
state legislature, in which he was chairman of the judiciary com- 
mittee of the House. In the spring of 1885 he moved to ]\rankato, 
where he lived at the time of his death. He left surviving him, 
a wife and one child, a son. Mv. Collester, for many years a resi- 
dent of Waseca, had many warm friends. The writer certainly 
had opportunities equal to any to know the true character of 
the man. In his business affairs he was honorable, upright and 
prompt. In his intercourse with his fellowmen he was generous, 
and his gratitude for favors shown him had no end. Such a 
feeling as enmity or personal revenge was unknown to him. 
While his ambition led him at times to pander to the ignorant 
prejudices of class, he never failed to respect virtue and honest 
worth. Both on the i-ostrum and in the field of journalism we 
have met him in opposing argument, and yet his generous spirit 


never gave way to that vulvar enmity and personal animosity 
Avhich too often result from differences of opinion on public ques- 
tions. He was a ripe scholar and an able advocate. He believed 
in the universal brotherhood of man, and his charity for the 
frailties and faults of others command a like feeling of generos- 
i\v in his own behalf. 



The board of county commissioners met in annual session, 
Jan. 3, 1888. Philip Purcell was again chosen chairman — the 
members present being Jonas 0. Sunde, James Conway, Philip 
Purcell, Charles Deyling, and Oliver Peterson. The matter of 
county printing;' was again a sub.iect of contention. The follow- 
ing history of the affair is from the Waseca County Herald: 

"January 13, 1888. — On Tuesday evening of last week we were in- 
formed tliat a portion of the county printing would be let on Thursday 
afternoon and that sealed bids for the same would be received by the 
board. There was no written or printed notice — simply an oral one. 
Neither does it appear on record that the board would receive bids — it 
was only a slip-shod, informal invitation for bids, the board in no way 
agreeing to let the county printing at all — either to the highest or low- 
est bidder. 

"In response to the invitation, however, the Herald offered to do the 
publishing and advertising for the year as follows: Proceedings of 
the county board, 5 cents per folio; financial statement (three weeks) 
20 cents per folio; proceedings of the board of equalization 5 cents per 
folio. All miscellaneous notices of the county board and of all the officers 
of the county to be paid for by the county, at 10 cents per folio, first 
publication, and 5 cents per folio each subsequent publication. 


"C. E. Graham, the only other bidder, offered to do the work for the 
following: Publish all the proceedings of the county board during the 
year for 1 cent; financial statement (three weeks) 45 cents per folio; 
proceedings of board of equalization 5 cents per folio. He did not bid 
on any other county work — evidently having an understanding in some 
way that the treasurer's notice and all other notices would be given 
out, from time to time, at full legal rates, 75 cents a folio for one inser- 
tion and 35 cents for each subsequent publication. , 

"Upon the opening and reading of the bids, silence reigned for a mo- 
ment, and then the chairman brought out some bids for forfeited lands 
and nervously asked what should be done with them. After some talk, 
the land bids were finally laid over to the March meeting, and then Mr. 
Sunde suggested that the printing bids ought to be considered. The 
chairman thought they would have to estimate as to which would be 
the lower bid, and, in reply to a question, said the estimate could be 
made from the last year's work. The other members seemed to agree 
to that, and then took an adjournment to 7 o'clock in the evening. 

"At the evening session a representative of the Herald went before 
the board and stated that he had measured all the work of the last year 
and found that all the published proceedings of the county board, for 
the year, measured forty-eight thousand ems (192 folios) which at 5 
cents a folio, (Herald bid) would be $9.60. The financial statement of 
last year measured twenty-one thousand five hundred ems (86 folios) 
which, at 25 cents a folio— Graham's bid being that much higher than 
ours — would amount to $21.50. That would be $21.50 minus $9.60, leav- 
ing the Herald bid $11.90 less than Mr. Graham's bid for the same work. 

"The Herald man also asked the board, if any member of it had any 
doubts as to the measurement given, to employ an expert to measure 
the type. 

"And yet the majority of the board, without measuring the type or 
giving the matter the least investigation, as we are credibly informed, 
awarded the printing to the ring organ of the county. * * *" 

"In our last issue, we gave the substance of the proceedings of the 
board of county commissioners during their session last week, from 
Tuesday to Thursday afternoon, our time of closing the forms. Satur- 
day afternoon, a representative of the Herald called at the auditor's 
office for the purpose of obtaining from the public records the further 
proceedings of the board. Our readers may judge of his surprise and 
ours when informed that Mr. Purcell, chairman of the board, had taken 
possession of the records, and forbidden access to them, or their pub- 
lication, until after the adjourned meeting, which is to be held, as the 
auditor says, on Wednesday, the 25th inst. 

"When asked the reason of such a strange proceeding, the auditor 
said he could not give any. It seemed to be as much of a surprise to the 
auditor as to others, and when asked if he did not consider himself 


the lawful custodian of the county records, he said he did not know, but 
had supposed heretofore that he was. 

"As a matter of law, Mr. Purcell, as chairman of the board, or in any 
other capacity, has no more right or authority to talte possession of the 
county auditor's records and secrete them from the public than the 
editors of the Herald have. 

"The statute says: 'The county auditor shall, by virtue of his office, 
be clerk of the board of county commissioners of his county, and keep 
an accurate record of their official proceedings, and carefully preserve 
all the documents, books, records, maps and other papers required to be 
deposited or kept in his office.' Nowhere in the statute can be found 
any authority for the county board, as a body, or for any member of 
the board, even the chairman, to take possession of the county auditor's 
records, or any portion of them, and secrete them, or deprive the pub- 
lic of the right of access to them. 

"The proceedings of the county commissioners, as recorded by the 
auditor, constitute a portion of the public records, from day to day, and 
every citizen has the right — the legal right — of access to them in ac- 
cordance with the statutes. 

"We think the auditor erred in allowing Mr. Purcell to illegally take 
from his possession these records of the county and secrete them, al- 
though under the circumstances he may have a reasonable excuse. He 
says he was not certain that he had a right to refuse the chairman of 
the board. 

"Of course, being a county commissioner, and especially chairman, in 
the eyes of some people, make a 'mighty mucky-muck' of very poor 
timber sometimes. But suppose that the chairman of any county board 
in the state should become suddenly insane, or drunk, and in such con- 
dition should come into the auditor's office to carry off the county com- 
missioners' record book? Would the auditor be justified in allowing 
him to do so? 

"Can the people of Waseca county imagine what has caused the chair- 
man of the board to resort to this unlawful and, heretofore, unheard of 


The terrible wind and snow storm which, on Jan. 12, ISSS, 
swept the country from Manitoba to Te.xas seems to have been 
more destructive of life than any other in the history of the 
rountry. Nearly two hundred persons were reported frozen to 
deatli in Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Te.xas. Two deaths 
from freezing were reported in ^linnesota. The storm seems to 
have been much worse west of Minnesota than within her bor- 
ders. In this locality it was not neai-ly so bad as the s'l'^'it storut 
of !'■'), thoufjh it was bad enonsh. The harrowina; details of suf- 


fering and death would fill a whole paper. The thermometer in 
many places north and west of us registered sixty degrees be- 
low, while the government record in Minnesota says it was forty- 
seven degrees below. This storm set the old settlers to talking 
of old times. Asa Mosher, Frank A. Newell, Geo. Watkins, and 
others had gathered around "Bill" Johnson's comfortable gro- 
cery-store stove, and, among others, Mike Ryan, of Byron, one 
of the old settlers, dropped in. Said Newell : 

"This reminds me of the great storm of '73, Jan. 7. Egad! I shall 
never forget It. I was over at Morristown that morning. The fore- 
noon was mild. As the day wore on, the increasing moisture made us 
think that the back bone of winter was broken. About 3 o'clock p. m., 
Sam Stevenson and I started for Waseca. Dark clouds began to gather 
in the west, and about the time we reached Blooming Grove, the wind 
was blowing a gale, producing a change in the atmosphere that chilled 
the marrow in one's bones. The air was filled with blinding snow, so 
dense that you couldn't see the horse-whip in your hand. The sun 
seemed to withdraw its light, and the earth seemed to tremble be- 
neath the terrific fury of the continuous, howling blast. An impene- 
trable darkness soon settled upon the earth like a funeral pall, bring- 
ing with it intense cold, made doubly so by the driving, penetrating, 
piercing force of the wind. I felt as though I were tied down and a thou- 
sand imps were shoveling snow into my ears and mouth. Sam drove for all 
that was out, but when I got home I was nearer dead than alive. Egad! 
I wouldn't take another such chance as that of a winter funeral for 
all the wealth of a Vanderbilt." 

"Well," said Mike Ryan, standing with his overcoat on and his 
whip in hand, "I mind that storm, meself. I was in Waseca that day; 
and three others as was with me, and one o' them was 'Black Tom,' as 
we call 'im; an' we started nigh on to 3 o'clock, maybe, to git home. 
About the time we got to the LeSueur, the wind was a howlin' worse nor 
the prairie wolves, an' it wasn't long afore it was as black as a stack 
o' black cats. I drove a pretty good team o' them days, an' so I went 
ahead, but we hadn't got far on the prairie afore we was afther losin' 
the road. And, says I, one of us must be afther goin' ahead, so as not 
to lose the track. So one was afther goin' ahead, but divil the bit 
could we see of him, and so we told him to holler once in a while, 
which he did. Finally, when we came to a turn in the road, near a 
bridge over a slough, the man went straight on and we lost the track. 
Hole' on, says I, we're off the road. So we stopped, an' two staid with 
the horses, an' two of us looked for the road. I soon found the bridge 
an' shouted the others to come on. I got me horses over the bridge 
all right, but I soon got them down in a drift as high as their heads 
an' then I took them from the sleigh and said I would lead 'em. One 
of the men didn't come up, so we hollered and hollered, but we couldn't 


hear nothin'. He could hear us, but the wind howled so we couldn't 
hear him. So I went back to the bridge an' found him. His team had 
got off the bridge an' couldn't get up, an' he couldn't get the tugs loose. 
So I let loose the hames, an' we got the horses out, leavin' the sleigh. 
Then we went on afut, leadin' the horses. Once in a while it would 
lighten', an' once when it lightened, I seed tnat we were off the road. 
Then we stopped an' consulted what we would do. So two staid by the 
horses, and the other two of us went lookin' for the track; an' we were 
to holler once in a while so as not to lose each other; an' afther a time 
we found the road, an' then we knew we had got on to a cross road 
that led to Murphy's place. So then we went on again, an' afore long we 
were off the road again. We could hardly see at all — 
the snow an' ice covered our eyes two inches, more 
or less. But as I was afther sayin,' we had to hunt the road again; an' 
so we did as before, two spread out an' was to holler when they shud 
find the track. An' sure enough, the two fellers as found the track shout- 
ed an' we shouted, but divil the bit could they hear us. So we went 
toward them, and after a time we couldn't hear them again. How- 
sumever we struck the track, an' then we hollered, but divil the word 
could we hear, an' after listenin' awhile we thought to go on — so we 
went — an' would ye belave it now? afther goin' a mile or so we found 
we were going the wrong way, d'ye see? an' we had to get back over 
the same road again. Well, as I was afther sayin', we finally got to my 
house just as the wife and children were cryin' their eyes out; for 
them other two fellers had got in ahead of us. Faith, it was a terrible 
storum, sir. One of the men, the feller that got his team off the bridge, 
was nearly dead — in fact I think he never was as good a man again. 

"The stable door was all drifted over and we had to shovel a hole 
through the drift to get the horses in. I've been more nor thirty 
years in Minnesota, an' never seed such anither storum as that, an' God 
grant I niver may." 


The first state farmers' institute ever held in the county was 
opened on Jlonday, ]\Iarch 12, 1888, at ^Yard's Opera House in 
AVaseca. It was largely attended and highly satisfactory to all 
concerned. It was conducted by Superintendent Gregg and six 
or seven assistants. 


A whirlwind visited the northern portion of the town of Vivian 
on May 4, 1888, destroying a school house, a dwelling house, 
and a barn. ]Mr. Abraham Abrahamson, living in the track of 
the storm, started out to save his hay which was biMug blown 


away. He had gone but a few steps when the storm struck him, 
carried him some rods and then placed him very gently on the 
ground. He was picked up later for dead, but in a few hours 
he recovered consciousness. It was found that his hip and 
shoulder were dislocated, together with other injuries. His 
friends tried to get a physician but the high water had swept 
away the bridges and they could not obtain medical aid till 
Friday night. The tornado gathered immediately after a shower 
of rain and seemed to come from all directions. It went sweep- 
ing across the prairie at a fearful rate. The machine house of 
Mr. "Wm. Born was carried some rods away, and his machinery, 
plows, and wagon were badly in.jured. About the same time 
the newly built horse-barn of ]\Ir. H. Long, 28x16 feet, was blown 
away, some parts of it being carried a mile distant. The lucky 
part of it all was that his horses got loose at the the same time and 
went out unin.jured. Smaller damages were done to much other 
property. A door came flying through the air from the north- 
west, high up in the air, and landed in Mr. Ryan's field. People 
were alarmed and took refuge in cellars and groves, Avatehing 
the flying timbers until the storm passed over. 


The following road and bridge appropriations were made by 
the county commissioners within the year. At the ilay meeting- 
two hundred and fifty dollars was appropriated to each com- 
missioner district, to be expended under the personal supervision 
of the commissioner of each district, on roads and bridges. At 
the same meeting it was ordered that $120 be appropriated for 
bridges in the town of Vivian to be expended under the super- 
vision of ]Mr. Deyling. Also, that $100 be appropriated for 
bridges in the town of Janesville, to be expended under super- 
vision of j\Ir. Conway. Seventy-five dollars was appropriated 
to repair Boot creek bridge tetween sections 13 and 14, town 
of Byron, to be expended under the supervision of Mr. Sunde." 
Messrs. Purcell and Conway were appointed a committee to 
build a bridge and grade across the outlet of Lake Elysian, be- 
tween section 4, in Alton, and section 33, in Janesville, and $400 
was appropriated therefor to be expended under their super- 


The following appropriations were made by the board July 23 : 
For Markham bridge, $434.00; for new bridge and repairing old, on 
section 24, New Richland, $220.00; repairing and grading St. Mary bridge, 
$94.00; rebuilding bridge on sections 16 and 21, St. Mary, $70.00; repair- 
ing bridge on Little Cobb, Freedom, $101.00; repairing Lamb bridge, 
$19.00; building Iver's bridge, Boot creek, $185.00; building B. Weed 
bridge, Otisco and Wilton, $251.00; building McDougall bridge, $207.00; 
repairing Wilton bridge, $62.75; repairing Krassin bridge, $32.25; build- 
ing bridge on Cobbee, Freedom, $75.00; repairing Carmody bridge, Wil- 
ton, $76.72. 


The first this year to cross the river Styx was ]Mr. Serenus 
Parrington, one of the early settlers of Otisco. He was born in 
!Maine, September 30, 1799, and died at jMinneapolis, January 
31, 1888. He settled in Otisco in 1857, where he lived thirteen 
years. He then moved with his wife to Owatonna, where they 
lived till December, when they went to ^Minneapolis to live 
with his son Frank. Mr. Parrington was in comparatively good 
health, and said grace at the supper table the night of his 
death, which occurred at 1 o'clock a. m. He left a widow, eighty- 
eight years of age, six children, sixty grandchildren and great- 
giandchildren. He had been married about sixty-five years, 
and had been a member of the Baptist church for a much longer 

Wednesday evening, March 14, at 10:05 o'clock, ]\Iichael An- 
derson, an old pioneer of Waseca county, died at his home in 
Norman county, Minn. He had been sick about two years prior 
to his death, of progressive muscular atrophy. For a year and 
a half he had been obliged to stay in bed and most of that time 
he suffered terribly. He was born November 29, 1828, in Nor- 
way, whence he emigrated in April, 1845, to Rock River, Dodge 
county, Wis. Within a year after arrival here, his father and 
grandfather both died, and the struggle with penury was a 
severe forming of the young boy's character. At the age of 
twenty-one years he was married to Elizabeth A. Stromme, 
who survives him. They had nine children, all boys, four of 
whom are living. In 1856 i\Ir. Anderson left Wisconsin with his 
wife, two sons, and his aged mother to seek a home farther 
west. He settled in Otisco early in the summer. It was two year.s 
liefore he raised a wheat crop of any account. His earlv thresh- 


ing was done by driving the oxen over the grain and cleaning 
il by dropping it from an elevated platform when the wind 
blew briskly. 

Alexander Johnston, who died at St. Paul, May 9, was one of 
the very early settlers of the ancient village of Okaman, now ex- 
tinct. He came as a young lawyer and opened an office in that 
"\illage in 1856. He was bom in the year 1833, in Orange 
county, N. Y., and came to Minnesota with his father-in-law, 
jMr. John X. Buckhout, who built the Okaman flouring mills. 
Later, about 1859, j\Ir. Johnston took up his residence in "Wilton, 
and, in 1861, drifted into the newspaper business. March 1, 
1S61, he and Mr. S. J. Willis issued the first copy of the Home 
Views, printed and published at Wilton. In less than a year 
after buying Mr. Willis' interest he removed the plant to Fari- 
bault and continued publishing the Home Views and the North- 
ern Statesman until about October 1863, when he disposed of the 
plant. From Faribault he removed to St. Paul and went to 
work in the office of the old Pioneer. In 1866 he started a 
Democratic paper at Hastings, calling it the Union. In 1868 
he went to St. Paul again and worked as a reporter on the 
Pioneer. He was also at divers times connected with the Press, 
the Pioneer Press, the Dispatch, and the Globe. He was a man 
of much ability, and had it not been for the demon of intemper- 
ance, would have been useful to society. He was by nature gen- 
erous and honorable, and many of the old settlers felt a pang 
of sorrow when they heard of his premature death at the age of 

The sudden death of Mrs. Janet Scott Brisbane, the estimable 
wife of Hon. Wm. Brisbane, of Wilton, startled the whole 
community. She expired, almost without a struggle, June 14, 
1888. Mrs. Brisbane was born in the parish .of Minto, Scotland, 
September 10, 1810, being in her seventy-eighth year at the time 
of her death. She married Mr. Brisbane January 2, 1832, and 
in 1839 came with him and their children to America, and set- 
tled in the state of New York. Ten years later they removed 
to Fond du Lac county, near Waupun, Wis., where they resided 
ten years. In 1859 they again moved, this time to Wilton, their 
home at the time of her death. She was the mother of twelve 
children, eleven of whom survived her. She was truly a helpmeet. 


Much of the success of her husband and family, financially and 
otherwise, was due to her unselfish devotion and untiring indus- 
try. She was unusually well informed for a person so burdened 
with care, and her business shrewdness was of a high order. 
She was kind, gentle, and affectionate, a good neighbor and a 
staunch defender of what she believed to be right. Few persons 
were ever held in higher esteem than was she by all her neigh- 

Hon. J. S. G. Honner, county treasurer of Redwood coiuity, died 
at his home in North Redwood, after an illness of two weeks, 
June 21, 1888. Mr. Ilonner was born in the state of New York 
in 1831. His parents removed to Canada where he lived until 
fifteen years of age and then went to ^Michigan. In 1856 he came 
to Minnesota, and settled in Iosco, this county. He was elected 
county commissioner in this county in lSti2 and served two years. 
He removed to Redwood county in 1864, and was one of the 
first settlers there. He was one of the first commissioners of 
that county, was the first register of deeds and for a niimber of 
years was assessor of the town of Honner which was named 
ill his honor. He was elected to the legislature in 1866, again 
in 1870 and in 1872 was a member of the state senate. He held 
the office of county treasurer at the time of his death. lie was 
married in AVaseca county in ISfiS, to Antoinette (ireen, who sur- 
vives him. They had six children, thi'ee of whom survived him. 

Arden D. IMonroe, son of H. C. Monroe, of AYaseca, aged 
twenty-four years, seven months and ten days, was killed by a 
runaway team, near Elmore, Alinn., Tliiirsday evening, the 19th 
of July, 1888. The deceased, wlio was married to Aliss Alix, of 
Waseca, December 1, 1887, and lived near Algona, Iowa, had been 
in the county with his wife visiting fen- a few days. He had 
also purchased some cattle to lake back with him. They stopped 
with his brother in A^ivian a day or two and then continued 
their .-journey, he driving the cattle, and his wife the team. The 
horses were young, and as they were di'ivini>- along near the 
railroad track, about two and a half miles from Elmore, in the 
evening, a train came along. A'oung Alonroe ludd the horses, by 
the head until the train ' passed, and then went ahead to look 
after the cattle, telling his wif(> to follow with the team at her 
leisure. He had gone ahead some dislance wlien she started 


the team. One of them commenced to kick and plunge, and got 
one leg over the tongue, when both commenced to run. Mr. 
^Monroe came back to stop them and was instantly run over. 
The horses ran but a short distance when the tongue fell down 
and ran into the ground, throwing Mrs. Monroe out of the wagon. 
She went back to her husband and found him senseless. Some 
hay-makers near by came to her assistance and Mr. Monroe was 
taken to Elmore, where he died the next day. There was a de- 
pression of the skull, near the temple, as though a horse had 
stepped on his head, and his jaw bone was broken. His father 
was notified by telegram and went immediately to Elmore, re- 
turning with the body to Janesville on Saturday. The remains 
were buried in the Alma City cemetery. 

]\Ir. and Mrs. A. J. Woodbury, among the very early settlers at 
"Wilton, died at Jamestown, N. D., Sept. 3 and 4, 1888, of typhoid 
pneumonia. Mrs. Woodbury died on ]\Ionday, at 1:30 p. m., and 
i\rr. Woodbury at G :30 Tuesday morning. According to the best 
information of the writer Mr. Woodbury was born in 1808, in 
l\[assachusetts, and was therefore about eighty years of age. 
The telegram announced that Mrs. Woodbury was about ninety. 
They settled in Wilton in 1856, and built and kept what was 
known as the Washington House, where they continued to re- 
side until 1882, when they went to Dakota. 

The death of Mr. Jackson Turnacliff was announced in the Wa- 
seca County Herald of Nov. 30, 1888, as follows : 

"Ever and anon, as the years glide along, the hurrying throng of life's 
duties comes to a sudden halt, and we stand beside the yawning grave, 
that great leveler of mankind, where the proudest and strongest are 
but dust, where the weakest and poorest enjoy equal privileges in God's 
great laboratory of nature. This week we are called upon to record 
the death of Mr. Jackson Turnacliff, of Wilton, who died Tuesday night 
or Wednesday morning of cancer of the bowels. Mr. Turnacliff had 
long been a sufferer from some internal disease which had baffled the 
skill of our best physicians. In order to determine the disease, Drs. 
Young and Cummings made a post mortem examination on Wednesday 
which clearly demonstrated that he died of cancer of the bowels. Jack- 
son Turnacliff was the son of Mr. Ferdinand Turnacliff, residing in Wil- 
ton. He was born in the state of New York, May 6, 1835, and while a 
child was taken by his parents to Ohio, where he remained until 
twenty years of age, when he went to Iowa, where he sojourned only a 
short time. In December, 1855, in company with a Scotchman, by the 


name of Wm. Young, and Dr. Ambrose Kellogg, he came from Jackson 
county, Iowa, on snowshoes to Minnesota, arriving at Sutlief's place about 
New Year's. He made a claim on section seven, town of Otisco, which 
he pre-empted. He afterwards bought land in section twelve, Wilton, 
adjoining it, where he has ever since resided. He married Miss Lucia 
B. Barber, of Ohio, in 1858. His wife and a family of eight children, sev- 
eral of whom are married, survive. him. He lived here through all the 
hard times of the early settlement of the country, but was in such cir- 
cumstances financially that he was not only able to live comfortably 
himself, but to lend a helping hand to some less fortunate. He was a 
good citizen and neighbor, an industrious and frugal man, and a kind 
and indulgent parent. The date of his death was Nov. 27, 1888. 

Mr. Dennis Sheahan, of St. Mary, was killed by accident Dec. 
2, 1888. A local paper gave the following account: 

Last Saturday evening, as Sheriff Krassin, Mr. John Madden, assistant 
road master, and Mr. D. Connell were going to supper, about six o'clock, 
at the crossing of the M. & St. L. road, on Elm street, they discovered 
a broken oil-can, a lap robe and other indications of an upset. Upon 
looking around they found the body of Mr. Dennis Sheahan, about 
two rods east of the railroad track, beside the street. He was stretched 
at full length on his back, in an unconscious condition. They carried 
him to the city engine house and summoned Drs. Cummings and Chris- 
tie. After an examination, Mr. Sheahan was carried to the livery stable 
office of Sheahan & Baldwin, where he remained until he ceased to 
breathe, about 5 o'clock Sunday morning. He remained unconscious 
up to the time of his death. As he was alone at the time of the acci- 
dent, it is not known just how it happened. His horses and buggy 
were found in the west part of the city not seriously injured. It is 
not known that any bones were broken, and only a. slight bruise was found 
on one elbow. It is supposed that death resulted from concussion of 
the brain. Mr. Sheahan was among the early settlers of St. Mary, hav- 
ing taken up his residence there in 1856. By his own industry and that 
of his family, he had accumulated a large property as a farmer. He 
was about sixty-two years of age, and left surviving him a worthy wife 
and ten children. 


Politically speaking, 1888 was an exciting year. For some 
time corruption had run wild in the county, and even the corrttp- 
tionists themselves fell out with one another. The head boodler 
was Charles McKenna who "could smile and smile and be a 
villain." Matters came to a head, Sept. 22, 1888, and the fol- 
lowing record of events is taken from one of the local papers 
published at the time : 



"The democratic convention was called to order by Hon. R. O. Craig, 
chairman of the committee, who read the call. On the instant of the 
closing word in the call John Moonan nominated Thos. Bohen for chair- 
man. Some one moved to amend by substituting the name of Martin 
Laudert, of New Richland. On a vote the amendment was declared lost; 
then Bohen was elected. He thanked the convention, and announced 
the election of a secretary in order. 

"On motion of John Moonan, James Timlin, of Iosco, was elected, with- 
out opposition. Mr. Moonan escorted him to the table. 

"A committee on credentials was appointed and as soon as its report 
was received and adopted, Mike Murphy moved to proceed to nom- 
inate by ballot a candidate for sheriff. As a result of the balloting, 
Krassin received 48 votes, Maloney 20, and Keeley 2. The chair de- 
clared Krassin nominated. The convention then proceeded to the nom- 
ination of representative which resulted in the choice of J. L. Hanson, 
of Otisco. Matters were getting warm, when Pat. Splllane moved to 
nominate county treasurer next. John Moonan moved to amend by 
substituting auditor for treasurer. The amendment was declared car- 
ried. The first ballot gave J. B. Madden 46 votes, and Daniel Murray, 
Jr., 21. The former was declared the nominee. 

"McKenna's friends began to get excited and several of them moved 
to nominate treasurer next; but McKenna's Nemesis, John Moonan, 
moved to amend by substituting superintendent for treasurer and the 
chair, amid much confusion, noise, and tobacco smoke, declared the 
amendment carried. Dr. Christie was nominated by acclamation, loud 
and long, for county superintendent. 

"Then pandemonium in a mild form (mild for this convention) reigned 
supreme for a few moments. 

"Dr. Craig moved the nomination of P. McGovern for county attorney 
by acclamation. The motion prevailed. 

"By this time there was 'blood on the moon,' and John Madden moved 
to proceed to ballot for county treasurer. 

"Hon. Wm. Brisbane nominated McKenna, and Darling Welch nom- 
inated Henry Chase. The ballot was taken, and the whole convention 
crowded around the tellers' table to watch the result. Pretty soon 
John Moonan gave a whoop, and declared there was a fraudulent vote 
cast by McDowell, who was not a delegate. The tellers announced the 
vote as follows: McKenna 37— Chase 37. 

"Quick as a flash some one moved that 'Henry Chase be declared the 
nominee of this convention.' The chair put the motion amidst the wildest 
confusion and declared it carried, while at least one-half of the dele- 
gates and many others were yelling in a way that would have excited 
the jealousy of a Modoc band of braves on a scalping expedition. 

"The decision of the chair added fuel to the fire, and the excited Mc- 
Kenna men rushed to the table, shook their fists in the face of the 


chairman and demanded a second ballot. The chair vainly pounded the 
table with a cane and shouted 'Order, gentlemen, order.' 

"Old men with gray hair, young men and middle-aged men, all joined 
in a pandemonium such as the old court house never saw before. 

"The sheriff finally mounted the table, armed with a cane, commanded 
the peace, and ordered every man outside the railing except the officers 
of the convention. He pleaded and commanded by turns until partial 
order was again restored. 

"Some one then mov'ed to take another ballot for treasurer. The chair 
decided the motion out of order. John Moonan moved the nomination 
of C. Deyling for register of deeds. Then the floodgates of Babel were 
again opened, and, amid the wildest yelling and hooting, the chair put 
the motion and declared it carried. 

"By this time it began to look as though there might be something 
more serious than chin music, and Hon. Wm. Brisbane, declaring that 
he never before saw in all his life such a disorderly crowd, moved to ad- 
journ. Thos. Bohen, the chairman still 'full of sand,' put the motion for 
adjournment and declared it carried, while the McKenna men were still 
shouting 'ballot!' 'ballot!' 'We'll have a fair ballot or bolt' 'Give us a 
ballot,' etc., etc. 

"By this time the platform inside the railing was crowded with excited 
and angry men, and the sheriff had to call in the whole police force of 
the city to get the surging crowd back outside the railing. At last 
partial order was restored, and Mike Murphy mounted the table, stating 
that the president of the convention had abandoned his position, and 
advising that the delegates present choose another chairman and proceed 
to fill out the ticket. That seemed to please those remaining (many having 
left the hall) and Hon. Wm. Brisbane was elected president. He ac- 
cepted the election, remarking that although the convention had adjourned 
on his motion, he hoped that there might be a fair ballot at last. 

"Mike Sheeran moved that they proceed to ballot for treasurer, that 
the name of each delegate be called, and that each vote in response 
to his name. This motion seemed to prevail. Then there was a hunt 
for a list of names, the secretary having left the hall. The list was finally 
secured. As a result of this ballot, McKenna received 39 votes and 
Chase 12. 

Without seeming to comprehend the ridiculousness of the proposition, 
Pat. Spillane moved to make McKenna's nomination unanimous, and the 
motion prevailed. Without acting upon the nomination of court com- 
missioner, county surveyor, or coroner, the convention came to a close 
by common consent." , 

After the convention there was much excitement on the streets 
and it was evident that the "war" would continue. The follow- 
ing appeared in the Herald of Oct. 5, 1889 : 

"Before the last Herald was published there were rumors upon the street 
that Mr. McKenna, county treasurer, had left the country and was a de- 


faulter in thousands of dollars. These rumors were stoutly denied by 
his friends, who claimed that he and his wife had gone to Faribault on 
a visit, and would return in a few days. The Herald, ever careful 
of publishing damaging statements about anyone without proof of facts, 
refrained from making public the rumors. 

"It has since come to light that, on Saturday evening, after the Demo- 
cratic convention, McKenna at once commenced arrangements to leave. 
He sold his interest in the store to his partner, Mr. Bell, arranged 
some other matters very privately, and, on Tuesday morning, engaged 
a livery rig and took his wife with him to Faribault, giving out that 
they would visit friends there a few days. That allayed suspicion, and 
if any were in the secret they kept it. Mrs. McKenna did not return 
until Friday evening, which gave the treasurer plenty of time to join 
the boodlers in Canada before anyone here was aware of the facts. 

"On Friday, the board of audit met to examine the accounts and funds 
of the treasurer. They found a defalcation, and a special meeting of the 
county board was called. The state examiner was notified, and came 
down on Monday. He made examinations, results of which appear of 
record as follows: 

"Board of county commissioners met in special session, October 1, 1888, 
at 2 o'clock p. m., for the purpose of examining into the condition of 
the county treasury — members were all present. 

"The board of audit, consisting of Philip Purcell, chairman of the 
county board, S. Swenson, county auditor, and M. B. Keeley, clerk of 
district court, reported that on the 28th day of September, 1888, they 
met for the purpose of examining the books and vouchers of said office. 
Their examination resulted as follows: 
July 14th, 1888, county funds on deposit in Bank of Waseca, as 

reported by the bank to board of audit $13,744 71 

Amount of deficiency in Bank of Waseca, Sept. 28th, 1888, or 

not accounted for $3,727 04 

Amount drawn on private checks 1,863 39 

Amount of private accounts on memorandum book. . . . 1,096 19 

$6,686 62 
Add together the sum unaccounted for, $3,727.04, the amount drawn on 
private checks, $1,863.39, and the amount credited to his private accounts, 
$1,096.62, and the total is $6,686.62, which is only $11.98 less than the de- 
falcation which is reported to be $6,694.64. We are informed that the 
Bank of Waseca explains that matter by saying that the bank officer 
July 14, made a mistake in giving the amount of the county money de- 
posited — the mistake being the amount of $3,727.40. 

"The commissioners adjourned to meet Oct. 2. At this time the board 
met with the members all present. 

"The board approved of the report. The public examiner being pres- 
ent, stated that he had sent a dispatch to Governor McGill, and the 
board adjourned until 1.30 p. m. 


"Upon the reassembling of the board, a dispatch was received from 
Governor McGill to the effect that Chas. McKenna had been removed 
from office. Thereupon the county commissioners proceeded to the 
election of a treasurer to fill the vacancy. 

"The ballot resulted in three for H. C. Chase and two for J. B. Hayden. 
Mr. Chase was declared elected treasurer ad interim. 

"The bond of Mr. Chase was fixed at $30,000. Mr. Chase appeared and 
filed his bond with R. O. Craig, J. O. Chandler, John Pinley, and W. W. 
Day as sureties. 

"In the -evening the board of commissioners met and instructed the 
county auditor to cause an action to be commenced against Chas. Mc- 
Kenna and his sureties, in district court, for the recovery of moneys 
belonging to said county." 

Mr. McKenna never returned or made good the defalcation, 
and his bondsmen had to make good the loss to the county. There 
was universal sympathy for his bondsmen, all of whom were farm- 
ers and hard working men that had made their property by hard 
work and close economy. The brutality of thus betraying the con- 
fidence of friends is worse ten times over than ordinary stealing'. 


The fall election was an exciting one and resulted in the 
election of the following officers: representative, Otto Hanson; 
county auditor, S. Swenson; register of deeds, A. F. Kruger; 
treasurer, Emil Dieudonne; probate .judge, Hon. AV C. Yoimg; 
sheriff, A. C. Krassin; county attorney, W. D. Abbott; school 
superintendent, J. B. Dye; court commissioner, (i. R. Buck- 
man; surveyor, Orson L. Smith; coroner, H. J. Young; county 
commissioners, J. 0. Sunde, Albert Remund, Hon. H. AI. Buck. 



With the opening of the year came death and sorrow as well 
as mirth and happiness, ilr. B. K. Carlton, of Woodville, well 
known to older residents, died Jan. 1, 1889. He was born in 
Otsego county, New York, Feb. 5, 1811 ; was married to ^liss 
Mary Curdiek, July 31, 1842, at Hornellsville, New York. Soon 
after he removed to Wisconsin and settled in Dodge county. In 
1854: he sold his farm there, and the following summer can'ie 
to ilinnesota and settled on Bast Prairie in Rice county. He 
soon sold out there and came to section five in Woodville in June, 
1856. He remained on this farm until the fall of 1877, when he 
sold it. Thereafter he resided in various places in the state, but 
finally returned in 1881, to this county. Mary, his wife, died July 
27, 1879. Mr. Carlton left a twin brother and three children to 
mourn his death. 

That old veteran, Mr. Prudin A. Brwin, of St. Mary, peacefully 
breathed his last on Wednesday morning, Jan. 2, 1889, about 
8 o'clock. ]Mr. Brwin was born in Pairhaven, Rutland county, 
Vermont, Oct. 16, 1797. In 1802 he was taken with his father's 
family to the wilderness of Franklin county, New York. He 
enlisted in the last war with Great Britain, in 1813, and served 
in the United States army until the close of the war. He con- 
tinued to reside in Franklin county until 1863, when he came to 


ilinnesota, and opened a farm in St. ilary. His wife died in 1867. 
Mr. Brwin was a most excellent citizen and a kind neighbor. 
His death was as peaceful and quiet as if he were Kt'ing to sleep. 
He will long be remembered by those who knew him for he was 
one of God's noblemen. 


The county commissioners met this year in annual session 
Jan. 1, the members being Messrs. Peterson, Sunde, Conway, Pur- 
cell, Deyling, and Buck. ilr. Peterson was elected chairman. 
The county printing was divided among three papers— the Her- 
ald got the tax list; the Radical, the financial statement; and the 
Argus, the proceedings of the board. Nothing more than the 
ordinary routine business transpired at the January session. 

At the ]March meeting nothing more than ordinary transpired. 
At the ilay nieetiiiji- the followinii' appropriations were made: 

One hundred and fifty dollars was appropriated to build a road on the 
town line between St. Mary and Woodville, to be expended under the 
supervision of Commissioners Remund and Peterson; $75.00 was ap- 
propriated to build a new bridge between sections 22 and 27, St. Mary, 
to be expended under the supervision of J. Conway; $100.00 was appro- 
priated to grade approaches to the Markham bridge, and to grade slough 
on section 5, Alton, to be expended under the supervision of Com- 
missioners Conway and Buck; $250.00 was appropriated for roads and 
bridges in the First district, to be expended under the supervision of 
J. O. Sunde; $250.00 was appropriated for roads and bridges in the Sec- 
ond district, to be expended on roads outside the city of Waseca, un- 
der the supervision of O. Peterson; $250.00 was appropriated for roads 
and bridges in the third district, to be expended under the supervision of 
A. Remund; $250.00 was appropriated for roads and bridges in the 
Fourth district, to be expended under the supervision of J. Conway; 
$250.00 was appropriated for roads and bridges in the Fifth district, 
to be expended under the supervision of H. M. Buck. 


The following appeared in a Waseca local paper. August 2, 

Frank Conway, of LeSueur county, many years ago convicted of steal- 
ing a pair of H. A. Wagoner's horses, was again arrested last week, and 
will be taken to Stillwater next Monday afternoon, by the sheriff of 
this county, to serve out the remainder of his term of Ave years— four 
years and nine months, we hear. After his conviction of this horse- 
stealing crime, he obtained bail, after being in Stillwater some three 


months, pending an appeal to the supreme court. His case was argued 
before the supreme court and that tribunal took six months in which to 
decide the matter. Frank says that when the case was argued he un- 
derstood that he was discharged. However that may be, he went to Illi- 
nois and also to Kansas, and when the supreme court decided against 
him his bail was forfeited. Shortly after going to Kansas, he was arrest- 
ed and put in jail, where he remained some nine months. Next he was 
arrested in Illinois, convicted of passing counterfeit money, and sentenc- 
ed to ten years in the penlthentiary of that state. Some months ago his 
term expired in Illinois, and he returned to his old stamping ground, near 
Elysian, where he was arrested and brought to Waseca. Conway is now 
sixty-two years of age, and begins to think the way of the transgressor 
is hard. Between twenty and thirty years ago, he was a very popular 
man in LeSueur county, and was county commissioner for several years. 
From his youth he was steeped in crime, but his jolly ways and honest 
speech, together with his native shrewdness, threw the community off 
his track, and only now and then a man suspected his true character. 
Like most men of his class^ he was somewhat of a gambler, and a hard 
drinker at times. It is claimed that he was, for many years, the leader 
of a gang of thieves and counterfeiters extending from Illinois to the 
extreme Northwest. Whether that be true or not, certain it is that some 
young men in the West took their first steps in dissipation and deviltry 
under the influence and leadership of Frank Conway. It is wonderful 
how vice will pull down and degrade a man. This man had native ability 
for almost any position in life. He was naturally kind-hearted and knew 
how to be honorable and upright, and yet he has followed a life which has 
brought his gray hairs in sorrow and remorse to the verge of the grave 
in a felon's cell. 


From the Herald: 

"For a number of years a remarkable family lived in the town of St. 
Mary, section 32, between the farm of Roger Garraghty on the east, and 
the old Christian Krassin farm on the west. The members of the house- 
hold were Samuel Kirste, and his two sisters. Rose and Justina Kirste. 
They were very oddly acting people. Although German born and sur- 
rounded by their own country people, they never associated or mingled 
with them. The land was held in the names of the women. Samuel was 
a miller, by trade, and for several years was employed in the Okanian 
mill. Rose Kirste died over two years ago, and Justina died on the 15th 
of March, 1887, leaving her property by will to Samuel. It appears that 
the eighty acres of land upon which they lived became the property of 
Samuel Kirste upon the death of his two sisters. 

Prior to the death of the two sisters and since, scarcely any one was 
ever admitted inside the miserable log cabin in which they lived. They 
seemed suspicious of every one, apparently afraid of being robbed. 

It is stated that when the sisters died, Samuel procured the coffins, per- 


formed the duties of undertaker himself, and buried them without any 
public ceremony whatever. 

Since their death he had lived entirely alone, accompanied only by 
three dogs that kept watch over the premises. For some weeks he 
had been in the habit of making occasional visits to his neighbor, John 
Sell, and exchanging newspapers with him. 

As Kirste had not been around for several days, Mr. Sell went to his 
cabin Sunday afternoon, April 14, and rapped on the door. The only re- 
sponse was a moan. He looked in at the window and saw Kirste, 
on the floor between the stove and bed, evidently in a dying condition. 
He became alarmed and went immediately for Mr. Menke, half a mile 
away. When Menke and Sell returned, they raised a window, reached 
inside, turned the door key and went in. A sorry sight met their view. 
The poor man, sadly emaciated, lay upon the floor, gasping for breath 
and unable to speak. They laid him upon the bed where he breathed 
his last within a few minutes. 

Soon after Kirste's death. Sell and Menke concluded to lock the house 
leaving everything as they found it, notify some of the other neighbors 
and get some one to go to Waseca to notify the coroner. They locked 
the house and went to Mr. Menke's farrn. Shortly afterward, Menke 
heard a terrible outcry among the dogs at the Kirste place and, thinking 
it singular, went back to see what the trouble was. '\\Tien he reached 
the house he found the window open and, upon looking in, saw Dan 
Naughton, about twenty-tour years of age, ransacking every- 
thing in the house. Menke unlocked the door and ask- 
ed Naughton what he was doing there? Dan, at first tried to 
escape, but Menke prevented him, and after some dispute about the mon- 
ey Naughton had taken, it was agreed that they should go together to 
the house of James Naughton, Dan's father, and there count the money. 
They did so, and Dan had $908.30. Menke noted down the kinds and 
amount of money as it was counted over. Soon after this, the same 
day, Menke, Sell, and others went to Kirste's place and made further 
search, finding another pocket book, or purse, containing over $240. 

Coroner Young, as soon as he received notice, went out to the 
place and examined the body and premises. Mr. Menke turned over 
the money he found and the keys of the house to the coroner. Dr. Young 
then proceeded to James Naughton's, and, as coroner, called for the 
money that young Naughton had carried there. The Naughton family 
seemed unwilling for some time to turn over the money, and only conclud- 
ed to do so after the coroner threatened to arrest one of them. 

Coroner Young brought the money to town, deposited It in a bank, and 
engaged A. Grapp, undertaker, to-pi'oceed to the farm and bury the body. 

Mr. Grapp said the cabin and the man presented a sickening and dis- 
gusting sight. The man was emaciated as though he had died of star- 
vation. He was covered with filth and his garments were stiff with dirt. 
Th€ floor was dirty and covered with boxes, palls, trunks and old truck 
of one kind and another. Mr. Grapp and his assistants washed and 


dressed the body, put it into a decent casket, depositing beside him his 
musket, sword and ammunition, and consigned the whole to mother 
earth in the St. Mary burying ground. 

So far as known none of the three had relatives in this country. Sam- 
uel Kirste, somewhat over a year before, had made his will wherein he 
devised all his property to two grandchildren, sons of his deceased son, 
supposed to be somewhere from ten to fourteen years of age, and re- 
siding in Germany. , 

Very little was known of the history of the deceased, but there were 
many Indications that he was well educated and had moved in refined 
society. The closing scenes of his life can only be accounted for upon 
the theory that his mind had become unbalanced." 

]\Iaj. Wm. C. Young, then judge of probate of this county, fell 
dead of heart disease on the sidewalk, near the corner of Elm and 
Second street in "Waseca on the 9th day of May, 1889. Maj. 
"i'oung and family came to Waseca county in 1866 and opened 
up a farm in Woodville. Soon after the founding of Waseca, 
he moved with his family to that city. He was born in Madison 
county, N. Y., August 10, 1826. He married, July 12, 1846, Miss 
Caroline Kingsley, a native of Chautauqua county, N. Y., and a 
sister of Bishop Kingsley of the M. E. church. In 1854, they came 
West, residing first in Fitehburg and afterwards in Madison, Wis. 
At the breaking out of the Rebellion, Mr. Young raised a com- 
pany and was chosen captain. It was designated Company E, 
Eighth Wisconsin infantry. In 1864, he was promoted to major 
of his regiment and served in that capacity until the close of the 
war. Soon after his settlement in this county he became promi- 
nent in politics. He was elected to the house of representatives 
of 1870, and to the senate of 1871. In 1876, he was appointed 
postmaster of Waseca and held the position until about 1885, 
when he was elected judge of probate. He was re-elected in 1888, 
having no opponent, and received 1,653 votes. He was the father 
of four children: William H., Eugene W., and Mabel A. living; 
and Luna E., deceased. His widow and Mrs. Mabel Bensel are 
residents of Waseca. 

]\Ir. Nathan Wood, although not an old settler, came to Wase- 
ca county with his family in 1871, an(i settled on a farm in Wood- 
ville. He was a native of Winehendon, Mass., but emigrated to 
Pennsylvania, where he carried on a farm until he came to this 
county. He enlisted as a private in Company A, 211 Pennsylva- 
nia volunteers, in September, 1864, and was honorably discharg- 


ed by general order of the war department June 2, 1865. He 
was mustered into McKune Post 6. A. R., May 17, 1884. He lost 
his health in the army and never fully recovered, although he was 
somewhat better after coming to Minnesota. The last time he 
was out, he attended Maj. Young's funeral. May 11. He soon af- 
ter had an attack of pneumonia which culminated in what 
is termed quick consumption. His death occurred June 16, 1889, 
in his sixty-seventh year. His end was peaceful and his mind un- 
clouded to the last. He left a widow and seven children, the 
youngest nine years of age, the eldest being Frank A. Wood, 
cashier at the C. & N.-W. depot. 

Mrs. Rose McDonough, daughter of Andrew Lynch, of St. 
ilary, and one of the earliest settlers in the county, died June 
22, 1889, of typhoid fever, aged thirty-two years and six months. 
She left a husband and five small children, the youngest about 
six weeks old. 

William Bevans was one of the very early settlers in Bja'on. 
Pie died at his residence July 11, 1889, very suddenly of heart dis- 
ease. He was a native of New York, enlisted in the Tenth IMinne- 
sota in 1862, and was discharged in 1864 for disability. He left 
a large family, having been married twice. His widow survived 
with two of her children. 

Waseca Herald, Sept. 13, 1889: Just as we were about to close our 
forms we learn that Sam Manthey, of this city, son of Joe Manthey, of 
St. Mary, was instantly liilled yesterday afternoon, Sept. 12, at the 11. & 
St. L. gravel pit, in the town of Otisco. He was at the time on top of 
a loaded car of gravel, leveling it off, when some other cars were let 
loose and came down against the car he was on with great force. The 
shock threw him off. He fell upon the track and two trucks passed over 
him, breaking his neck,and one arm, and otherwise bruising him. He 
died almost instantly. His remains were brought to the city by Mr. Her- 
man Rieck. He leaves a wife and three or four children in rather poor 
circumstances. He was born in this county and was about thirty-two 
years old. 

Nothing of importance occurred during the closing months of 
the year except the wann, rainy Aveather of the closing week, 
which gave the country a very muddy Christmas. 



The county commissioners met this year Jan. 7. Mr. Oliver 
Peterson was elected chairman, the other members being Messrs. 
Snnde, Buck, Conway, Purcell and Deyling. 

The county printing was divided among the three leading pa- 
pers of the county, at legal rates. The Herald took the tax list ; 
the Radical, the financial statement; and the Argus, the pro- 
ceedings of the board. 

Upon the petition of McKenna's bondsmen and many others 
asking the board to settle with said bondsmen at fifty cents on the 
dollar, — 

It was ordered that the county attorney be instructed * * * 
to receive the sum of $6,500 as payment in full and in settlement 
of all liability of the sureties in such case, including costs, inter- 
est, etc., provided said settlement be made on or before March 1, 
1890. Commissioner Sunde was authorized to expend $25 on 
slough in Richland township ; Commissioner Buck to expend $25 
on highway in Wilton township; and Commissioner Peterson, 
$100 on Johnson hill, Otisco. 

There was nothing of an exciting character in the summer ex- 
cept the Chautauqua Assembly at Maplewood Park, in July. This 
was well attended and very interesting. One of the noted speak- 
ers was Rev. Talmage, of New York. 



The Republican county convention this year was held Sept. 
20. The principal contest in the nominating convention was on 
senator ; Hon. Chris. Wagner won by a vote of 36 to 13 for Hon. 
I. C. Trowbridge. Hon. Otto Hanson was nominated for represen- 
tative by a vote of 34 to 16. The following were the other can- 
didates named : W. D. Abbott for county attorney ; Bmil Dieu- 
donne, for treasurer; S. Swenson, for auditor; A. F. Kruger, 
for register of deeds ; E. B. Collester, for judge of probate ; 0. L. 
Smith, for surveyor; Dr. H. J. Young, for coroner; and G. R. 
Buckman, for court commissioner. 

The Democratic county convention was held Oct. 4. The fol- 
lowing candidates were nominated : For senator, Dr. R. 0. Craig; 
representative, M. H. Helms; treasurer, A. C. Krassin; clerk of 
court, John M. Byron; register of deeds, John AYollschlaeger ; 
sheriff, Nic. Jacobs; county attorney, F. B. Andrews; auditor, 
Henry Jlurphy; school superintendent, J. S. Abell; probate 
.iud>;e, Jerome i\Iadden; and coroner, L. P. Leonard. Disgruntled 
republicans and railroad and saloon influences had much to do 
with polities that year, and in some respects the contest was a 
lively one. The following gentlemen were elected : Dr. R. 0. 
Craig, senator; 'M. H. Helms, representative; A. C. Krassin, 
treasurer; S. Swenson, auditor; John Wollsehlaeger, register 
of deeds ; F. B. Andrews, county attorney ; John ^NI. Byron, 
clerk of court; Henry Reynolds, sheriff; E. B. Collester, .jiidge 
of probate; J. S. Abell, superintendent of sehools; Orson L. 
Smith, county surveyor; Dr. L. P. Leonard, coroner; (4. R. 
Buckman, court commissioner ; Oliver Peterson and H. C. Chase, 
county commissioners. 


On the whole, the weather for the year 1890 was pleasant, and 
favorable to farming operations. The first installment of snow 
in the fall came Nov. 8. It snowed gently nearly all da.v, and 
covered the ground to the depth of about four inches. On Sunday 
many persons were out riding in cutters. The snow remained on 
the ground all the week, but the next week it disappeared and 
the weather remained mild the rest of the vear. 



The following notices are clipped from the Waseca County 
Herald of the dates noted : 

Jan. 2, 1890: We were surprised and pained to learn of the death of 
our esteemed friend Mr. John Collins, of Woodville. It occurred about 
6 o'clock p. m., on New Year day He had been ill of kidney complaint 
some four weeks, but had not been considered dangerously so to within a 
short time of his demise. Mr. Collins was one of our most industrious 
and successful farmers, having a well-improved farm of four hun'dred 
and forty acres. He came from Ireland to America when about five years 
ol: age. He has lived twenty-one years on the farm where he died. He 
has raised a family of five boys and four girls, who are prominent citi- 
zens of this vicinity. We are informed that he was seventy-four years 
of age last June. 

Jan. 17, 1890: Mr. Franz L. Goetzenberger, of this city, died at Min- 
neapolis last Tuesday, Jan. 14, of pneumonia, in the seventy-fifth year 
of his age. A few days ago he went to Minneapolis on a visit, and was 
taken with the prevailing influenza, which terminated as above stated. 
The body was brought to Waseca, on Wednesday, accompanied by his 
family. Mr. Goetzenberger was a native of Wurttemberg, and came to this 
country early in life. He lived first in New York, then came west and 
settled in Otisco somewhat over thirty years ago, on a farm. 

July 25, 1890: The not unexpected death of Hon. Wm. Brisbane, of 
Wilton, occurred Wednesday, July 23, 1890. He was born at Glas- 
gow, Scotland, Dec. 11, 1811, and was, consequently, aged seventy-eight 
years seven months and twelve days. He had been ill for many weeks, 
having had an attack of Influenza shortly after town meeting, last 
spring. For a week prior to his death he refused food, and at times 
his mind wandered. He suffered much during his illness. His funeral, 
which took place yesterday, was very largely attended, and his remains 
rest in the Wilton cemetery beside his patient and loved Janet. Mr. 
Brisbane came from Hawick, Scotland, to America, in 1839, and settled 
in Delaware county. New York, where, owing to his natural sympathy 
for the poor and the unfortunate, he took an active and prominent part 
in the anti-rent troubles of that period and suffered in consequence. 
Ten years afterwards he bought a farm in Alto, Fond du Lac county, Wis- 
consin, near Waupun, where he became prominent in political circles, 
and also accumulated quite a property for a farmer. 

In 1859 he came to Minnesota and purchased the farm where he ever 
afterwards resided. He was a careful manager and by the assistance of 
his very frugal and estimable wife and family he accumulated a hand- 
some farm property besides materially aiding his sons in various ways. 
In politics and religion he was, without acknowledging it, a liberal in 
thought and sentiment. He was a rough diamond — somewhat warped 
and illshaped by surrounding circumstances and early habits — but still 
a diamond of no mean value. His ambition was great. His mind never 


ceased to work upon the problems of life, and he loved to study and 
discuss the principles of the government of his adopted country. No 
American ever had a greater love for our American institutions than he. 
While some of his ideas were crude, owing to a want of early education- 
al advantages, he was nevertheless honest in entertaining them and fear- 
less in giving them expression. He was always public-spirited and pa- 
triotic. He was invariably honest and upright in his dealings. He was 
a good neighbor, and although a man of strong passions, he could easily 
forgive. He held many minor offices during his life, and twice repre- 
sented Waseca county in the State legislature — in 1867 and in 1871. He 
left a large number of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchil- 
dren to mourn his departure. He was a Master Mason and an active mem- 
ber of Wilton Lodge No. 24 while it remained at Wilton. He will be 
mourned as a brother by nearly all the early settlers of the coimty, and 
his memory will be treasured in many hearts long after his body shall 
have mouldered to dust. Old neighbor and friend, adieu! And may you 
forever progress and enjoy the spirit realms assigned to the departed. 

Oct. 31, 1890: Another old settler has gone to his long home. Sat- 
urday morning, Oct. 25th, at the home of G. H. Woodbury, near James- 
town, N. D., Mr. Asa Robbins, of Otisco, this county, died of typhoid pneu- 
monia, after an illness of one week. He was born in Montgomery county, 
New York, in 1811 and came to Waseca county in 1861, settling on a 
farm in Otisco. Mr. Robbins was one of the hardy, energetic, honest pio- 
neers of America. He came of New England stock and inherited and 
practiced the virtues of the New England people. His remains lie bur- 
ied in Woodville cemetery. 

Dec. 5, 1890: Mr. Ole. K. Kinn, of Blooming Grove, died Nov. 28, of old 
age, his funeral occurring Monday afternoon at the Norwegian Lutheran 
church, Rev. O. A. Mellby officiating. Mr. Kinn was born in Eidsvold, 
Norway, July 17, 1796, and settled in this county in 1857. He was buried 
in the Norwegian cemetery by the side of his wife, who died four years 
ago. He was in his ninety-fifth year, and up to within a short time of 
his death had enjoyed good health. He left surviving him several sons 
and a large number of grandchildren. 

CAPTER LX, 1891. 


The year opened with very fine weather— at least warm weather. 
The Waseca County Agricultural, Mechanical and Industrial So- 
ciety, at its annual meeting elected the following officers: Pres- 
ident, Joseph Dunn ; first vice president, Isaac Vickere ; second 
vice president, M. W. Ryan; secretary, John Moonan; treasurer, 
J. A. Krassin; board of directors: M. Sheeran, J. M. Dunn, A. 
Vinton, H. J. Young, S. Leslie, H. Wagoner, A Hawkes ; delegates 
to annual meeting of the State Agricultural Society: Joseph 
Dunn, H J. Young, and S. Leslie. George Remund was elected 
general superintendent of the fair grounds for 1891. At that time 
the society was in a very prosperous condition. 


These gentlemen, constituting an important branch of our local 
government, met on the sixth day of January this year. The 
board consisted of Oliver Peterson, of Waseca ; Jonas 0. Sunde, of 
New Richland; Henry C. Chase, of Janesville; H. M. Buck, of 
Wilton, and Albert Remund of Blooming Grove. At this session 
of the board, the following entry was made : 

"Bid of People's Bank to pay 2 per cent on monthly balances of county 
funds was accepted, and said bank was declared the depository for all 
public funds coming into the hands of the county treasurer, with bonds 


at $60,000, W. G. Ward, I. C. Trowbridge, D. E. Priest, Geo. Buckman, and 
Warren Smith, as sureties." 

This was the result after an agitation of four years carried on 
by the Waseca Herald demanding that the county funds be depos- 
ited as the law directs. Prior to that time, the election of county 
treasurer depended upon the wishes and desires of the banks of 
Waseca ; and bribery and corruption had marked each election. 

J. F. Murphy of the Herald, got off the following on county 
printing : 

"The county printing and publishing, for the -current year, has been 
let and all is quiet and serene, like a gently-flowing river. Graham and 
Murphy and Henry and Bronson came to an understanding and agreed 
to work for the county at the same rate they would charge private in- 
dividuals — the price fixed by law. Murphy publishes the tax list, Graham 
the financial statement and proceedings of board ot equalization, and 
Henry and Bronson the proceedings of the board of county commission- 
ers. Psalm cxxxiii." 

Very little Mas done during the year, aside from routine busi- 
ness. The count)- road and bridge appropriations were made at 
the meeting of June '22, 1891. The following is a summary : 

Ordered that $100 be appropriated for repairs on roads and bridges be- 
tween sections 17 and 20, 14 and 23, 13 and 24, and on section 15, all in 
the town of Byron; that $100 be appropriated for repairs on roads and 
bridges in the town of New Richland; that $75 be appropriated for re- 
pairs of roads and bridges in town of Iosco; that $100 be appropriated 
for repairs of roads and bridges in town of Janesville; that $50 be ap- 
propriated to the town of Wilton for replanking the Wilton bridge; that 
$100 be appropriated for repairs of roads and bridges in town of Bloom- 
ing Grove, between sections 4 and 9 and on section 23; that $100 be ap- 
propriated for repairs of roads and bridges between sections 6 and 7, 19 
and 20, 28 and 23 and 1 and 2, in town of Alton; that $45 be appropriated 
to the town of Otisco for repairs on road, sections 8 and 20, said town, and 
$25 for repairs on the Burgoff Olson bridge. 

The proposition to lay out and improve the road from Deer- 
field through Blooming Grove antl Woodville, to Waseca, was 
discussed, and preliminary sl(>ps were taken which culminated in 
the establishing of the road the next year. 


On Sunday afternoon, Felt. 1, ISOl, the city roller mill was 
wholly destroyed by fire. Alimtt 1 o'clock smoke was seen issuing 
from around the cornice at the top of the building. The alarm 
was sounded and the fire department soon had a stream of wa- 


ter on the burning building. For about an hour it was difficult 
to tell which would prove the victor— the fire fiend or the firemen, 
but when the flames burst out of the building all thought of sav- 
ing the mill was abandoned and every effort was made to save 
the flour and other movable property in and around the premises. 
The safe, office furniture and about four car loads of flour were 
saved. There Avere nearly 200 tons of coal, 150 barrels of flour 
and from 8,000 to 10,000 bushels of wheat destroyed, besides 
a large quantity of bran and shorts and several large bales of 
flour sacks. The firemen and citizens were untiring in their 
efforts to save the property and to prevent the fire from spread- 
ing. Had it not been feared that the fire would reach Breen & 
Sons' oat meal mill, the coal, large engine, and other valua- 
ble machinery might have been saved, but IMessrs. Aughenbaugh 
and Everett did not wish to take any chances and the hose was 
moved further south and brought to bear on the bran house ; 
the fire was stopped here before the building was consumed. The 
origin of the fire was a mystery. Messrs. Everett, Aughenbaugh 
& Co. estimated their loss as follows: On stock, $10,000; on 
building and machinery, $20,000 to $25,000. Loss over insurance : 
on stock $5,000; on building and machinery, $10,000 to $15,- 
000. 'Mr. Ward, who owned part of the building and some ma- 
chinery stored therein placed his loss at $10,000. * * * Before 
the embers were cold Everett, Aughenbaugh & Co., had plans pre- 
pared for a new structure more elaborate than the one burned. 
It was a severe loss to the proprietors, but with commendable 
courage, which admits of no failure, they soon replaced the mill 
and were ready to handle the fall crop of wheat. 


A number of the citizens of Waseca, early in the year desiring 
some changes in the Waseca city charter, met together and chose 
Dr. Cummings, John Moonan, and James B. Child a commit- 
tee to revise the old charter. After much labor the revision 
was made, and a new charter passed by the legislature aud ap- 
proved by the governor, April 6, 1891. 

The Waseca House, of Waseca, was burned to the ground on 


the morning of April 20, 1891, between 1 and 3 o'clock. The fire 
caught in the second story. In a few minutes after the alarm 
was given the firemen were on the ground with their apparatus. 
Water for the fire engine was obtained from the tank of the switch 
engine. The fire had gained such headway, however, that it could 
not be extinguished. ]\Iost of the furniture and goods on the 
lower floor were saved. The house was known to the old settlers 
of this city as the Waverly House and was completed and open- 
ed to the traveling public in December, 1867, by ]\Ir. E. B. John- 
son. It then stood in the southwest part of Clear Lake City, near 
ilr. San Galli's home. It was built by a townsite syndicate, and 
was of large proportions, the main part being 26x50 feet, with an 
addition 26x40 feet and a second addition 16x10 feet, all two 
story. Mr. Coleman valued the house and contents at $5,000, 
there was an insurance of $2,800 on building and contents. The 
hotel occupied the site where the water and light plant now 


At the spring ek-ction the people of Waseca elected aldermen 
that favored the enforcement of the liquor laws. They also elect- 
ed "Col." D. E. Priest mayor upon his pretensions that he would 
have the laws enforced, especially as to liquor-selling. As early 
as June 2, the council, by a majority vote passed ordinance Xo. 61. 
which required that each saloon should have and maintain a clean, 
clear glass-front, without screens or other means of obstructing 
a clear view of the whole of the inside of the saloon, in order 
that officers might the more easily know whether or not the laws 
were being violated. To the surprise of many, this ordinance 
created much feeling, and the following petition was extensively 
circulated and was signed by one hundred and tweutv-eight 
citizens. The petitioners set forth that : 

"The undersigned citizens of the city of Waseca, hereby petition your 
honorable body to amend ordinance No. 64, of the city, so that the 
same shall require keepers of saloons to remove blinds and other obstruc- 
tions to the public view, during the time only when they are required by 
law to keep said saloons closed. Respectfully representing that we re- 
gard the exposure of saloons and other drinking places to the public view 
during business hours, as unnecessary for the purpose of enforcing the 
laws, and that such exposure will be oiSensive to many people and espe- 
cially so to ladies who generally have no desire to see into or study the 


saloon business, and demoralizing to the young whose childish curiosl- • 
ty leads them into mischief and will surely induce them to gather and 
linger around the saloon doors and windows. That people who choose to 
patronize saloons should have the right to do so with the same privacy 
with which they attend to their other affairs. And that a business sanc- 
tioned by law and requiring so large a license fee as is exacted from 
saloon-keepers, and is under so many strict, legal restraints, should not be 
subjected to any unnecessary burdens." 

The circulation of this petition caused much excitement and a 
counter petition was put in circulation. It was signed by sixty- 
seven courageous men and read as follows : 

To the Honorable Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Wase- 
ca, Greeting: 

We, the undersigned, your petitioners, do most heartily congratulate 
you, upon the passage and approval of the Tate ordinance, regarding the 
regulation of the saloon traffic in this city; and more especially upon 
that section of said ordinance, which requires the removal of all screens, 
partitions or blinds from before the bars in said saloons. We believe the 
saloon business to be an unmitigated evil, so that while, under present 
laws it must be endured, yet that it should not be allowed to hide itself 
behind any sort of a defense, but should be compelled to stand out in all 
its hideousness, that the public may know, just what means are being 
used to entrap our young men, and to destroy the moral life of our com- 
munity; also that the officers of justice may be able to detect any viola- 
tion of law, and so bring to justice the offenders. We, your petition- 
ers, do therefore humbly pray that you will allow the present ordinance 
to remain as it is, nor allow any offender to escape the penalty provided 

The struggle was not confined entirely to laymen. Some of the 
clergy and many good women took an active part in the contest. 
On the Sunday while the contest was on some of the clergy preach- 
ed upon the subject. One of them taking for his text, "ilen 
loved darkness rather than light," (John 3:19) said in substance 
that ever since Adam and Eve hid behind the trees of the gar- 
den, men who have committed sin have sought for some kind of 
a screen for their sin. Men who do right are not ashamed. A prop- 
er business does not want screens, but publicity. A business that is 
right, honorable and manly, seeks the light. The liquor business 
seeks to hide itself ; it is ashamed of its conduct ; it caters to de- 
based and degraded appetites ; it panders to the lowest passions of 
men; it never benefits, but always injures; hence it sneaks be- 
hind blinds, curtains, stained glass, etc. Now our aldermen, wisely 
or otherwise, have passed an ordinance prohibiting blinds, cur- 


tains, stained glass, etc. This meets with opposition. Those 
opposed to the ordinance claim that women will stop before the 
saloons, and children, out of curiosity, will collect in front of the 
places, and the sights they might see and the sounds they might 
hear would tend to demoralize them. Then so much the more 
need of exposing siich a business to the light of day. A place that 
is not fit for a mother to look upon is not fit for a son to visit. 

At the meeting of June 16, when the foregoing communica- 
tions were presented to the council, there was an evident wavering 
among some of the aldermen. The petitions were referred to the 
committee on ordinances, and at the next meeting, June 19, the 
cpmmittee recommended a repeal of that ordinance and the pas- 
sage of another modifying the screen provision and increasing the 
license fee from $500 to $1,000. This raised a storm of denuncia- 
tion on the part of the saloon men and a combined refusal to 
tfike out licenses under the ordinance. The liquor interests were 
so strong and united that they induced sixty-three firms and bus- 
iness men to sign the following : 

"The undersigned, a committee of citizens of said city of Waseca, would 
respectfully represent to your honorable body, that we have become fully 
satisfied, that there is no possibility of any saloon license being taken out 
in this city, while the fee asked therefor remains any higher than the 
sum of five hundred dollars ($500), and we are well aware that on account 
of no saloon license being granted, we are injured very materially in 
our business, and all classes of business will suffer, as many of our best 
patrons go to other towns to do trading, for which reason we are prompted 
to, and do earnestly request you to reduce the saloon license fee to five 
hundred dollars, as the only remedy to restore our failing business." 

In addition to this legitimate appeal to the council for a return 
to the license fee of $500, threatening letters were sent to the 
mayor until he was alarmed for his personal safety. In order to 
let some of the aldermen and the mayor down easy, the council, 
upon the question of changing the license fee from $1,000 back 
to $500, cast a tie vote, and the mayor was called in to give the 
casting vote, which he gave in favor of the $500 fee. 
vote, which he gave in favor of the $500 fee. 

From July 1 to July 31 the saloons sat with closed doors— 
at least in front. 

A gentleman that was familiar with the facts as to the saloon 
men made the following statement: 

"About the first of June it became evident that fourteen men would 


make application for license to sell liquor in this city, (Waseca) and the 
council thinking that number altogether too many for a place of this 
size, concluded that by putting the license up a notch, fewer men would 
take out licenses. Some of the saloon men fell in with the scheme, but 
when it was decided who should be refused license then the trouble 
commenced. As a compromise measure the no-screen ordinance was 
passed, the two saloon keepers on the council voting for it. But this did 
not please the high-license saloonists and one of them objected and cir- 
culated a petition asking that the ordinance be amended so as to require 
the screens to be down during the time when the saloons are required 
by law to be closed. He carried his point, and the council put the li- 
cense up to $1,000. Then the saloon keepers combined and refused to take 
out licenses themselves or allow any one else to take one out, and en- 
tered into an agreement that the first saloon-keeper who should violate 
said agreement and take out license, should pay $100 to each of the 
others in the combination. And that was why no license was taken out 
at $1,000 and why the saloon men won at last." 


The death roll of this j^ear showed an increase over former 
years. The following are taken from the files of a local paper: 

Matthew P. Connor, of Wilton township, died IMarch 15, of 
consiimption, aged forty-five years. He had been in poor he^dth 
for several years. ]\Ir. Connor was born in Ireland, Dec. 2-1. 1846, 
came to Waseca county in 1857, with his parents, they settling in 
Wilton township. He married Alice Dolan in 1873 and was the 
father of eight children. He served a term as county commis- 
sioner and filled many local offices. He was a prominent member 
of the Farmers' Alliance and an upright man. 

;;\rrs. Silas Grover, one of the early settlers in this county, died 
]May 8, 1891, in Waseca. She was born in the state of Maine, Feb. 
26, 1805, and at the time of her death was in her eighty-seventh 
year. Moving to Livingston county. New York, she was married 
to Silas Grover in 1823. They afterward moved to Wisconsin 
where they lived a number of years and then came to this county, 
settling in Otisco in 1856. She was the. mother of fourteen chil- 
dren, seven of whom are now living. There are now living forty 
grandchildren and forty great-grandchildren— her descendants, 
living and dead, numbering nearly one hundred. Her late hus- 
band was a soldier in the war of 1812. Mrs. Grover had been ail- 
ing all winter, but an acute attack of influenza was the immediate 
cause of her death. 


August C. Krassin, then county treasurer, died August 9, 1891, 
and Benedict S. Lewis, Esq., died May 16, 1891. Sketches of their 
lives will be found in the biographical department. 

Hon. Caleb Hallack, of Janesville, died June 20, 1891. He had 
been American Express agent in Janesville for many years. He 
was judge of probate of this county from Jan. 1, 1878, to Jan. 1, 
1880. He was a very honorable, upright man and one of the lead- 
ers of temperance work in this county. He was about eighty years 
of age and had been ailing some time prior to his death. He was 
a Master Mason and buried with grand Jlasonic honors. 

James A. Root, of Wilton, died August 23, 1891— see biograph- 
ical sketch. 

Austin Vinton passed away quietly, Saturday, Oct. 24, 1891. He 
was conscious to the last and was surrounded by his children 
and other relatives. His death was caused by an attack of influen- 
za the winter before, and had been anticipated by his friends 
for some time. Mr. Vinton came to this state in the spring of 
1856 and settled on the farm where he resided at the time of his 
death. He was seventy -five years old. He was a firm friends, a 
kind neighbor, an da good citien, always alive to the best interests 
of his town and countj^ He filled many positions of trust in this 
county and was almost always in some town office. Probably no 
man has served his town more faithfully and acceptably. He was 
elected a county commissioner in 1886, and served one term with 
great credit. He sleeps in Woodville cemetery. His two sons 
reside in Owatonna. 

Simon Smith died Dec. 26, 1891. The Herald said : 

"It is our sad duty this weelt to announce tlie deatli of an honored 
and aged citizen. Last Saturday afternoon, Mr. Simon Smith and his 
grandson, Roy Brubalier, went out to the farm in Iosco, after a load of 
hay. Mr. Smith complaining of feeling tired, pitched on very little hay, 
the little boy doing most of the work. While both were engaged in 
fastening the binding pole, Mr. Smith fell forward and expired without 
a struggle. Heart disease was probably the direct cause of his death, 
and it is thought that the ride out in the country, and the Intense cold 
of that afternoon hastened it. He was carried into the house and John 
Kahnke hastened to town after a physician. Mr. Smith was born in Darm- 
stadt, Germany, May 13, 1817. He came to America in 1S32, at the age 
of 15, settling in Crawford county, Pennsylvania. He went to Milwaukee, 
Wis., in 1842, and was married in February of that year. In 1867 he 
came to Waseca, and after putting up the brick store building adjoining 


the Bank of Waseca, engaged in the mercantile business. He retired 
from business some years after, and since that time has led a quiet life, 
farming on a small scale, as his health would not permit much hard 
labor. The remains were interred in Woodville cemetery. The world 
was better for his having lived in it, and may the memory of his life 
be the means of causing many others to follow in his footsteps and 
become worthy and respected citizens." 



Immediately aflei- the holidaj^s, Jan. 5, a man by the name of 
Wm. Koebnik, i-csiding in the town of Jane-sville, near 
Ely.sian, about 2 o'clock in the morning, shot and 
killed a man named Fred AVebber. The evidence 
showed that Webber was a single man, living with 
Koebnik; that he came to the latter 's house in a drunken condi- 
tion ; that a quarrel ensued between the men, one accusing the 
other of making too much noise. They finally came to blows 
when Koebnik went to his granary, got his gun, returned to the 
house and, after more wrangling, shot AVebber and killed him. 
Koebnik was arrested and bound over to appear at tlie next 
term of court, but the grand jui'y failed to indict on the ground 
that he shot Webber in self-defense. 


Mr. Peterson was again elected chairman of the board— the 
members being the same as in the preceding year, viz: Alessrs. 
Chase, Buck, Remund, Siuulc, and TVterson. Twi) important mat- 
ters were settled at this meeting— the iMcKenna matter and the 
purcbas<' of fair grounds. 


In the matter of the fair grounds, it was resolved that the 
said board purchase fair grounds for the use of the Waseca 
i;ounty Agricultural, Mechanical and Industrial Society, pur- 
suant to the power granted said board so to do in chapter 468 
of the special laws of the state of ^Minnesota for the year 1891; 
and further that the chairman of said board appoint a committee 
consisting of three members of said board to procure prices 
and select location, and report the same to said board at the next 
meeting thereof. The chairman appointed as such committee 
^Messrs. Chase, Buck, and Remund. As the result of this action, 
the present fair grounds were purchased of Mr. I. C. Trowbridge. 

The last of the McKenna defalcation was disposed of at this 
session, by the adoption of the following : 

Whereas, a resolution was passed by this board, Aug. 24, 1891, agreeing 
to receive a certain sum of money in full settlement with Timothy 
Sullivan, Christie McGuigan, John Keeley, Peter Burns, and the estate 
of Dennis Sheehan, bondsmen in the McKenna bond case; and. 

Whereas, Oliver Peterson, chairman of this board was duly authorized 
to act for and in behalf of said board of commissioners in making set- 
tlement with said bondsmen; and. 

Whereas, said Oliver Peterson did make settlement in full with said 
bondsmen for and in consideration of the sum of $6,600, which sum was 
duly paid by the said bondsmen to B. Dieudonne, county treasurer, on 
the 1st day of December, 1891. Now, therefore, be it 

Resolved, That this board fully approve of the action of said Oliver 
Peterson and that the sum of $6,000 be accepted as payment in full 
to satisfy judgment entered against said bondsmen, and that the above 
named bondsmen be hereby released from further obligation. 

At this session the following sums were appropriated: $70 to 
New Richland to replank two bridges between sections 14 and 23 
and between sections 24 and 25 ; and it was ordered that the sum 
of $800 be allowed for ditching, draining and bridging on sec- 
tions 2 and 3, Woodville, and sections 25, 26, and 35, Blooming 
Grove, said amount having been appropriated by the state to 
be paid back to the county upon the proper certificates. 


A terrible cyclone swept across Southern Minnesota June 15, 
1892. With a roar equal to the din of twenty railway trains 
running over a score of iron bridges, a great cyclone swept over 
the Southern Minnesota counties of Jackson, Martin, Faribault, 
Freeborn, Blue Earth, Mower, and Fillmore Wednesday after- 


noon. The storm began about seven miles west of the village 
of Jackson, moved eastward over the villages of Sherburne and 
Wells in Martin county, passed lightly over Faribault county, 
caused great havoc in Freeborn and spent itself in the two coun- 
ties farther east. Mr. Z. M. Partridge gave us a list of casualties, 
in the neighborhood of Freeborn, the result of the great storm 
as follows: S. Keen, two children killed, two injured, and every- 
thing gone; Joy Tellet, two barns destroyed; Sam Lowry, barn 
and machinery, all but house destroyed; Mike Everson, two chil- 
dren killed, four hurt, house and all gone; J. A. Shequeen, every- 
thing destroyed, wife badly hurt, horses injured; Oliver Vert- 
by and E. McCauley, everything gone; Sam. Johnson, granary 
and barn destroyed, and house unroofed; Hans Omerson, house 
and machinery all gone and six of the family badly injured; John 
Heckes, wagon, buggy, and corn crib ; Polander, name unknown, 
his house lost; L. Drake, house and corn-crib destroyed; F. D. 
Drake, barn, granary and machine shed unroofed ; Paulson house, 
everything gone. Vivian, Byron, and New Richland suffered to 
some extent but without serious damage. 


For six years the people, especially the farmers, had been inter- 
ested in county fairs, and one had been held each fall. This year 
extra efforts were made by the officers, and the result was a very 
successful fair. It was held Sept. 29 and 30, and October 1, and 
was largely attended. There was received from the sale of 
tickets, $449.75 ; from the state, $210.52 ; from privileges, $79.00 ; 
from entrance money, $42.10; from subscriptions, $39; from 
Everett, Aughenbaugh & Co., special premium, $10 ; grand stand 
receipts, $22.50; membership fees, $6.00— total $858.87. The fair 
paid out $389.80 in premiums, and $475.30 in expenses. The re- 
ceipts were overdrawn $5.23, but the surplus of the year before, 
$19.6], still left the treasury with $14.38 on hand. That year, 
Joseph T. Dunn, now deceased, was president, and Hon. John 
Moonan, secretary, both of them very energetic men. We regret to 
say that from that time forward interest in the county fair 
has waned, and for the years 1903 and 1904 there has been no 
attempt to hold a fair. 



There were only two sets of local candidates this year, Repub- 
lican and Democratic, except for county treasurer. For this 
office the Republican candidate was Capt. Walter Child, the 
Democratic candidate, Joseph T. Dunn, the People's candidate, 
George T. Dunn, and the independent candidate, Bmil Dieu- 
donne. On treasurer, the contest resulted in 896 votes for 
Child, 843 for Joseph T. Dunn, 427 for Dieudonne and 253 for 
George T. Dunn. The other candidates elected were: A. J. 
Lohren, county auditor; Peter McGovern, county attorney; Hen- 
ry Reynolds, sheriff; John S. Abell, superintendent; John WoU- 
schlaeger, register of deeds; B. B. Collester, judge of probate; 
Dr. L. P. Leonard, coroner; O. L. Smith, surveyor; B. P. Latham, 
court commissioner; Henry F. Lewer, of Woodville, Henry AY. 
Bluhm, of Vivian, and Thomas Boucher, of Waseca, county com- 
missioners. Dr. R. 0. Craig was elected to the state senate, and 
H. M. Buck to the house of representatives. 


With each succeeding year, the death roll of the old settlers 
increases in length. The first to be called this j-ear was Patrick 
JIurphy, one of the very early settlers of Blooming Grove. He 
died of influenza at the residence of his son Thomas, in Minne- 
apolis, Jan. 10, after an illness of four days, aged eighty-three 
years. Mr. Murphy was born in Kilkenny, Ireland. He came to 
this county in 1856, where he lived many years, moving to Minne- 
apolis in November, 1891. He was the father of fifteen children, 
eleven of whom, with his wife, survived him. His remains were 
brought to Wasecii for burial and lie at rest in the Waseca 
Catholic cemetery. 

Mr. Alfred C. Smith, one of the 1855 settlers of Woodville, 
after an illness of nearly two years, died Jan. 28, 1892. His 
history is noted at length among the early settlers. 

The Herald: "One by one the early settlers of Minnesota pass 
away. Died, Feb. 4, 1892,^ at Northfield, Minn., Hans H. Sunde, 
aged sixty-six years and eight months. He was one of the eight 
families who first settled in New Richland in 1856. He came to 
America in 1854 and resided in New Richland up to 1883, when 
he removed to Northfield. His remains were brought to New 


Richland on the 5th inst., and were buried the 9th, in the church- 
yard of the Norwegian Lutheran society, which he was instru- 
mental in forming and of which he was a worthy member. ' ' 

Francis Wescott came to the township of Wilton, this county in 
September, 1865, where he resided eight years, when he moved to 
Yellow Medicine county. After living there seven years he 
moved to Lyon county, where he lived up to the time of his 
death, which occurred Feb. 29, 1892. He died of pneumonia, 
after a short illness. His wife and three children survived him. 
He was an honorable, upright man in every walk of life. 

Dr. L. D. ^Mcintosh, who came to Waseca in 1868, died at 
De Funiak, Florida, Feb. 28. 1892, of heart failure. He went 
there for the purpose of giving a two-weeks' course of instruc- 
tion at the Florida Chautauqua. He was a native of Bethel, 
Vt., and a graduate of the medical college at Castleton, in that 
state. He came West in 1860 to Sheboygan, Wis., where he mar- 
ried ;\[iss Rebecca Preston and resided until 1868. He was as- 
sistant surseon for a short time in the Forty-seventh Wisconsin 
Infantry in the Rebellion. He was a very ardent temperance 
man and prohibitionist during his residence in Waseca. He was 
a resident of Chicago at the time of his death. The doctor stood 
high in his profession. At the time of his death, he was holding 
a professorship in the Chicago dental college, also a professor- 
ship of Electro-Theropeutics in the Chicago Post-Graduate Clinic. 
He was at the head of the Emmert Proprietary Co., of Chicago, 
and was also appointed assistant superintendent of microscopy 
at the World's fair. 

Ernest Frederick William Wobschall was born the 6th day of 
January, 1822, in Colmar, Province of Posen, Governmental cir- 
cuit of Bromberg, Prussia. He came to America in 1858. After 
spending about two years in Indiana and Wisconsin, he arrived 
in Minnesota, and settled in St. Mary on the farm where he died, 
in June, 1855. He came in company with Fred. Proechel, (Big 
Fred.) Gottlieb Proechel, Martin, John F., and Gottlieb Krassin, 
Sr., and John G. Greening. He had a yoke of oxen and a home- 
made wagon, money enough to pre-empt one_hundred and sixty 
acres of land and improve it. In those early days he was a very 
industrious and frugal man, and soon became one of the wealthi- 
est farmers in the county. In those early daj^s, too, he was com- 


panionable and hospitable. The writer often made the trip to 
Hastings with him, camping by the roadside, and eating potato 
soup from the same kettle. Fred, probably had some faults— 
and who among us has not— but on the whole he was an old- 
fashioned German of honesty and solid worth. By his first mar- 
riage he had foi;r sons and one daughter, and by his second wife, 
seven sons and two daughters. His last sickness commenced 
in November, 1891, and terminated the 29th day of April, 1892, 
at 7 o'clock a. m. His death was caused by stomach trouble, 
known as gastritis. He left one brother, a widow, and fourteen 
children surviving him. 

On the 22nd day of ]May, 1892, John Emerson, after a long 
struggle, died of typhoid pneumonia, in the eighty-ninth year of 
his life. He was born in the state of Vermont, and lived in 
"Windsor coi^nty, that state, until 1866, when he came as far 
west as Wisconsin, where he remained until 1868, when he came 
to ^ilinnesota. He was married to Dr. Young's mother over forty 
years before. By his former wife he left surviving him a son 
and two daughters. The son is a resident of California. He was 
a model Yankee farmer, a strong, upright man, and a good citi- 
zen. If the world had no worse men than "Uncle John Emer- 
son," it would come very close to the ideal marked out by the 
gospel of peace. 

The death of Wm. Everett, of Waseca, occurred in California, 
June 21, 1892. He died of diabetes at the age of sixty-four. He 
was born July 6, 1828, in Sussex county. New Jersey. An ex- 
tended notice of his life appears in biographical sketches and in 
the account of the Indian massacre at Lake Shetek. 

There were two deaths by drowning, July 3, 1892, on section 
31, town of Freedom, in the north branch of the Little Cob— 
Edward Eugene Holmes, fourteen-year-old son of John Holmes, 
Jr., and James Holmes, aged thirty-two years, uncle to the boy. 
Edward and some other boys were in the stream bathing, the 
water at that place being ten or twelve feet deep. Edward, 
while swimming across the stream, sank- : out of sight. This 
frightened his Uncle James, who plunged into the stream to save 
the boy. Both sank to rise no more in this life. It was thought 
that both got into the eddy or whirl, near the old bridge, and 
were whirled around until drowned. The bodies were recovered 


Nome two hours Mftcrwards; the iM/mains lie buried in the St. 
]\rary cemetery. 

Died, Col. W. F. Drum, U. S. A., at Fort Yates, N. D., at 9 
o'clock p. m., July 4, of apoplexy. Col. Drum, brother of S. 
II. Drum, of Woodville, was about fifty-nine years of age, and 
was a man of sterling worth and full of patriotism. He was a 
graduate of West Point, served during the liebellion with emi- 
nent ability, and remained in the service until his death. He was 
one of the earliest s(>ttlers near JMeriden, Steele county. 

Hon. W. G. Ward, whose life and death are noticed at length 
elsewhere, died Sept. 121, 181)2, of di'opsy. 

One of the early settlers in St. IMary and Freedom, IMr. John 
Bunagle, of the latter town, died very suddenly of heart disease. 
Oct. 4, is:»2. He had l)een at work with his team in the field, 
plowing out potatoes, when he said to his wife and daughters, 
M-ho wei'e with him, that he felt bad. They suggested that he 
go to tlie house and take a rest. When they went to the house, 
about noon, he was found dead in the barn. Apparently he had 
died without a struggle. His first settlement in this county was 
at the old village of St. .Mary, where he opened a small country 
store. XL' finally closed out his store and devoted himself to 

After a long and painful sickness, ^Ir. Charles San Galli died 
Oct. 5, ]S!)2, of stomach trouble. ]\Ir. San Galli was seventy 
years of age, having been born in Prussia, July S), 1822. Upon 
attaining his ma.jority he engaged in the mercantile business, 
which he continued until 1840, when he came to America, set- 
tling in New York, where he remained about twelve >-ears. He 
married Miss Emily Sliepliei'd in 18r)ll, by whom be had fotir 
cbildi'en. His wife died in lS(i:t. After twelve years spent in 
New York, h(" returnecl to Piaissia for eight years, and tlien came 
back to America, residing in Albany, N. Y. lie came to this 
comity in 1869 and bought the Gruhlke farm, ad.ioining ^Vaseca 
on the south, wliei'e he resided with his family up to the time 
of his death. lie was elected to the office of register of deeds 
in tlie fall of 1879, liy the Democrats, and re-elected in 1881, 
sei'ving four years. In addition to bis other acc<nii]ilishments 
he was an excellent poi'trait painter. He left si;rviving liim two 
sons and two daughters of nnit,ure years. 



The county commissioners this year opened their session Jan. 
3. Henry C. Chase, of Janesville, was elected chairman, the 
other members being Jonas 0. Simde, of New Richland, Oliver 
Peterson, of Waseca; Henry F. Lower, of "Woodville, and Plenry 
AV. Bluhm, of Vivian. The county printing was divided amon<;- 
the several papers of the county as it had been the previous 

The records of this county, and presumably of every other 
county occasionally show some inconsistencies, and this meet- 
ing of the board revealed quite an assumption of power on the 
part of the board of commissioners. 

The board of audit of the county, on Jan. 2, — 

"Ordered that the Citizens State Bank of Waseca be designated as 
depository of such (county) funds, the sum not to exceed $10,000 at 
any one time, said bank to allow interest on monthly balances at the 
rate of 2% per cent, per annum, and to furnish a bond in the sum of 
$20,000 to be approved by the board of county commissioners of Waseca 

And it was further ordered: That the Peoples Bank of Waseca be 
designated as depository of the public funds of Waseca county except 
such amounts ($10,000) as are to be deposited in the Citizens State 
Bank, said Peoples Bank to allow interest on monthly balances at the 
rate of 2% per cent per annum, and to furnish a bond in the sum of 


$GO,000 to be approved by the board of county commissioners of Waseca 

The board of county commissioners accepted and approved 
the report of the board of audit, and also accepted and approved 
the bonds of both banks. So far everything seemed to be well 
understood and fair ; but on the last day of the session, the coun- 
t.y commissionei-s, after recitinf^- the order of the board of audit, 

Resolved, That the county treasurer, Walter Child, be and is hereby 
instructed to deposit forthwith in said banks, all the funds now in his 
hands, as such treasurer, and also all moneys which shall from time to 
time come into his hands for state, county, town, city, village, road, 
bridge, and all other purposes for a period of two years, in such amounts 
as designated by the board of audit, and 

Resolved, That said county treasurer be and is hereby further in- 
structed that whenever the amount of public funds In his hands shall 
be less than $20,000, he shall keep the amounts of deposits in, and the 
amounts of drafts on said Citizens State and Peoples Banks as nearly 
equal as practicable. 

How could the ti-easurer obey both instnictious? 

At the meeting of September V2, it was ordered that $30 be 
appropriated to the town of Blooming Grove, to be expended for 
grading hill on road between sections 29 and 30: that .$10(1 be 
appro|)riated to the town of Alton, to be expended on a bridge 
on section 18, across outlet to Lake El.\-sian; and that to the town 
of Freedom be appropriated ^2'25 for a bridge between sections 
13 and 1-t, of said town. 


The Citizens State Bank of "Waseca, since changed to the First 
National Bank of Waseca, was organized the hi-st week in Janu- 
ary, with a paid-up capital stock of ii^2r),00(). The stockholders 
and the amount of stock of each wei-e as follows: 

Names. Residence. No. Shares. 

Willis J. Jennison Minneapolis, Minn 10 

William E. Scott Waseca, Minn 10 

B. A. Everett Waseca, Minn 4 

.1. W. Aughenbaugh Waseca, Minn 5 

.James E. Child Waseca, Minn 10 

A. Z. Conrad Worcester, Mass td 

Alpha D. Cadwell Sioux Palls, S. D 148 

Chester H. Cadwell Waseca, Minn 20 

Reinhart Miller Waseca, Minn 1 

S. Swenson Waseca, Minn 2 








I. L. Hunt Waseca, 

P. N. Hunt Waseca, 

W. A. Henderson Waseca, 

The following were chosen directors: Willis J. Jennison, 
James E. Child, William E. Scott, A. Z. Conrad, Reinhart Miller, 
A. D. Cadwell, P. X. Hunt, W. A. Henderson, and E. A. Everett. 
Mr. A. D. Cadwell was its first president, and Dr. P. N. Hunt, 
its first cashier. 


Within the month of Pebruary, 1893, snow fell to quite a depth, 
and on Feb. 27, there was a heavy fall of snow. The Wa- 
seca Herald remarked : 

That was a grand display of "the beautiful" that came down in great 
swirls and gusts and chunks, last Monday. The storm commenced 
gently on Sunday and got fairly under way during Sunday 
night. It put in a good day's work on Monday, and 
that night the storm "did itself proud." Great drifts were piled up in 
every direction and in every conceivable shape. The streets were in 
picturesque condition, while some of the walks were four feet undar 
the hard-packed snow. The scientific (?) appliances of the city for 
cleaning the sidewalks and opening the streets, so that women and 
children could pass and repass, were all brought into requisition. The 
street force must have been buried out of sight, as none of its members 
were visible. Our city system of dealing with the "beautiful," when it 
comes in such magnificent chunks, is heroic and self-supporting. The 
schoolma'ams and other young ladies of this city, who have to travel 
our highways going to and from their labors, are about to hold a meet- 
ing, we hear, to pass a vote of thanks to the male rulers of this part of 
the universe for their efficient method of opening the highways of the 
city immediately after such a deluge of snow as visited us last Monday. 

Another snowstorm visited this section on April 20. A local 
paper made the following note : 

We have had and are having weather, this week, that beats the rec- 
ollection of the oldest settler. Tuesday morning, long before daylight, 
a rain set in from the southeast and continued until evening, when 
the wind veered to the northeast and a heavy snow storm set in. Yes- 
terday noon the snow was about fourteen inches deep and melting 
fast. At this writing, Thursday afternoon, the wind is in the north 
and snow still falling. The indications are for a clearing up. 

This was the year of agitation for a water and electric light 


plant in Waseca. As early as March 17, the following was pub- 
lished in the Herald : 

"The question of water and water works forces itself upon the 
people of this city from year to year. It must be admitted by intelli- 
gent and thoughtful men that the safety of property, the health of citi- 
zens, and the general welfare of the people of Waseca demand water 
works. The supply of water, in case of a large fire, is wholly inade- 
quate. In connection with a good water supply, or closely allied to it, 
is the lighting of the city. It is true that we have an electric light 
plant, but it is owned by a private company. Bach city can and ought 
to own its water supply, its electric light plant, its street cars, and other 
public conveniences. In every city where these public works are own- 
ed and operated by the city itself, the people are served better and at 
cheaper rates than in cities where they are the private property of cor- 
porations. The reason for this is obvious. Where the city owns and 
operates these public works there is little chance for bribery and cor- 
ruption; hut in cities where private corporations own and operate them 
it becomes necessary for the private corporations to also own, control, 
and operate a majority of the aldermen, mayor, city attorney, and other 
officers. Their interest is to fleece the people, and in order to do it, 
they must control the city government. If they desire to steal the city 
funds to improve their private property, they must first get control 
of the city officers — especially of the aldermen, the city attorney, and 
the mayor. Generally the mayor is placed at the head of the plundering 
gang. If the city were the owner of these public works, every tax- 
payer would be interested in making them self-sustaining and efficient. 
It would seem as though this Is a good time to take the subject into 
serious consideration. If the city is to engage in a system of improve- 
ments, as herein mentioned, then it behooves our citizens to select 
for the next mayor a man who, by education and disposition, is qualified 
to handle and direct such enterprises." 

This subject was investigated and discussed more or less for 
a long time, as the following report to the common council of 
Waseca will show. On May 11, 1893, there was held a meeting 
of the common council and of citizens, and a committee con- 
sisting of flavor Cummings, Hon. P. C. Bailey and Alderman 
Martin Hanson made report as follows : 

"We have visited the cities of Tracy and Albert Lea and carefully 
examined the water works in operation at both places. These points 
were selected as being nearly Identical with us as regards absence of 
natural elevations which can be used as locations for reservoirs in their 
source of water supply, as well as in other particulars. We desire in 
this connection to refer to the courtesies extended to us by officers 
and other citizens of both places. Every opportunity was offered us 
to inspect their plants, and such information as they have accumulated 


in the building and operating of the same was freely given us. The 
result has been the noting of numerous details which will prove use- 
ful in the event of our city, putting in such works. 

"The plants in operation in both cities are practically identical and con- 
sist, briefly, of a deep well with pumping station and ground reservoir 
in connection, an elevated tank, watermains and hydrants. The well 
at Tracy is six hundred feet deep; at Albert Lea, seven hundred. The 
quality of the water furnished by each is first class, practically inex- 
haustible, and suitable for domestic uses. The well at Albert Lea, be- 
ing artesian, flows directly into the ground reservoir, thereby saving 
the deep-well pumping which is required at Tracy. From the ground 
reservoir the water is pumped into the elevated tank which, at Tracy, 
is of wood; at Albert Lea, of steel. The bottoms of these tanks are 
elevated eighty-five feet from the ground level. They have proved to 
be frost proof and in fact no trouble has been had with either plant 
from freezing. These tanks furnish a constant pressure of forty pounds 
at the hydrants; an amount great enough to control all ordinary fires 
in two- or three- story buildings. To supplement this, the station is fitted 
with a large steam pump connected with the mains which will fur- 
nish any pressure the pipes will sustain. 

"We are satisfied that the plan above outlined is practical in every 
way and economical in operation, and that a similar system, in connec- 
tion with a plant for electric lighting, could be built and operated in 
the city so as to be self-supporting. 

"It is impossible to estimate exactly the cost of such a system in the 
absence of plans and specifications, but the following estimate is be- 
lieved to be approximately correct: Deep well, depending on depth, 
from sixteen hundred to two thousand dollars; pump station, house, 
boilers, pump, smoke stack, etc., seven thousand dollars; water plant 
complete, with about two miles of mains, twenty-eight thousand dollars. 
From eight to ten thousand dollars would be needed if we Include an 
electric light plant. 

(Signed.) D. S. CUMMINGS, 


On May 16, 1893, a petition for a special election to authorize 
the city council to increase the bonded indebtedness of the city 
$30,000 for water works and electric lighting was presented to 
the council, and formal resolutions were adopted that the bonds 
of the city be issued, bearing six per cent interest, due in twenty 
years— that a special election be held at the engine room, June 
6, 1893, and that the ballots shall contain the words: "In favor 
of water works and electric light bonds," or, "Against water 



works and electric light bonds." The result of the special elec- 
tion of June 6 was as follows : 

Whole number of votes cast 332 

In favor of the bonds 242 

Against 89 

Work on the plant was commenced soon after. On June 11, 
1893, the contract for putting in the well was let to J. T. Mc- 
Carthy—the same was to be an artesian well, ten inches at the 
ground surface and eight inches after striking the lime rock. 

The well was completed in 1894, and the water mains were laid 
the same year. The contractor was ]\Ir. E. T. Sykes, and the 
contract price $2-1,252.58. The electrical department, as near 
as can be ascertained, cost $5,605.73; the engineers' work 
$400.00; cost of well, $5,003.03-a total of $35,261.34. 


On the 14th of June a very severe storm pa.ssed over this 
section. The Waseca Herald said of it: "The destruction of 
property by lightning was very extensive, ilr. J. MeCraeken 
says James Cunningham, of Freedom, had ten head of cattle killed 
in the pasture, all in one bunch. Charles Root, of Byron, had 
two horses killed. H. J. Werdin, of Iosco, has also informed us 
that August Keiser, of his town, had six horned cattle and one 
horse killed in pasture, and that Pat Farley, of the same town, 
lost three head of cattle. AVe also learn that Julius Kakuschke. 
a tailor of this city, had a cow killed in one of the pastures 
south of town," 


The death roll in the county during the year was shorter than 
usual, although some prominent persons were called hence. The 
first of note was the demise of Hon. B. A. Lowell, who died in 
a North Dakota hospital ]May 12, 1893, of general paralysis. 
At that time his home was at (iardner, N. D. Deceased was one 
of the early settlers in this county, tirst engaging in mercantile 
business in Wilton, and afterwards living on a farm in Otisco. 
He was, at an early day and during the war of the Rebellion, 
an earnest and active Republican, and was elected state senator 
in the fall of 1864. He served dviring the sessions of 1865-6. 
very acceptably to our people. He came to AVaseca at an early 


clay in its history and for many years held the office of city jus- 
tice, lie also carried on a small vegetable farm in the western 
suburb of this city for years, and until his health failed. Some 
years prior to his death he went to live with relatives in North 

Mrs. Orrilla (Roice) Child died May 23 at 11:40 o'clock p. m., 
at the residence of her son, James E. Child, of Waseca, aged 
eighty-three years, two months and twenty-one days. She was 
born in Jefferson county, New York, March 2, 1810. Her father, 
Enoch Roice, was of Scotch blood, and served in the American 
army during the Revolutionary struggle. Her mother, Sarah 
Palmenter, was of English descent. Both parents came from the 
state of Connecticut to the state of New York soon after the 
Revolutionary war. Mrs. Child's grandfather was also a Revo- 
lutionary soldier. She married Zabina Child, Feb. 1-1, 1833, and 
resided with her husband in the town of De Kalb, St. Lawrence 
county. They emigrated to Ohio in 1834, making their home in 
Medina county. They afterwards went back to St. Lawrence 
county, then returned to Ohio and spent a year, and then came 
west as far as Wisconsin, where they resided until 1862. Mrs. 
Child then came to Waseca county where she made her home 
most of the time. The latter part of July, 1892, she went to 
Nebraska to visit her daughter. About the time of her journey 
she contracted a cold, and was quite sick while there. She re- 
turned to Waseca about the first of December, and gradually 
declined from that time until her death. Dropsy set in a short 
time before her death, and although she suffered much pain at 
times, her mind remained clear, and the close of life was a drop- 
ping to sleep without an apparent struggle. She reared, a family 
of seven children— five sons and two daughters— five of whom 
survived her. 

Dr. W. W. Satterlee, one of the noted and devoted clergymen 
of this state, died at Minneapolis, May 27, 1893. The follow- 
ing account appeared in the Waseca Herald at the time : 

"The deceased was born on May 11, 1837, at the then small village of 
La Porte, Ind., where he lived with his parents and secured a common 
school education. He studied medicine while very young, and practiced 
some years in Wisconsin, before coming to Minnesota, at the same time 
preaching the gospel as a local minister of the Wesleyan Methodist 
church. He came to Minnesota, we think, in 1863 ,or 1864. We first saw 


him as he was crossing the LeSueur river, at the Wilton ford, with ox 
teams and covered wagon. He soon after located at Elysian where 
he practiced medicine and preached the gospel until 1867, when he came 
to the embryo city of Waseca, as the regular pastor of the M. E. church. 
He was the first and one of the ablest and best Methodist ministers ever 
in charge of the church here. 

"To know a man thoroughly we must know him in the days of his 
poverty — at the time when he is struggling for the right against popular 
clamor. First, he was an uncompromising anti-slavery man when pro- 
slavery Democracy was in the ascendant. After the great struggle 
which destroyed slavery, he became an anti-saloon advocate. While un- 
compromising in his views, he was a man of unbounded charity for 
those who differed from him. Every impulse of the man was noble 
and self-sacrificing. 

"Some twenty years ago he went to Minneapolis and has served as 
pastor of several churches there. The Minneapolis Journal says: 

'Six years ago he accepted the chair of political economy and scien- 
tific temperance at Athens College in Tennessee, which position he held 
at the time of his death. While teaching in the South, he has been ac- 
customed to come to this city, where the larger portion of his children and 
family live, to spend his summer vacations, and for this reason he was 
at Minneapolis at the present time. Last Tuesday evening he took a 
slight cold at the lake, where he was staying, and owing to this he 
came back to the city to the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Pye. 

" 'The next morning he awoke with a severe pain in his left side, 
indicating pneumonia, and from that time he began sinking very fast 
until Saturday morning, when he breathed his last at about 10 o'clock. The 
early settlers of this section of the state join with Minneapolis friends 
in mourning the unexpected death of a noble and true man — a brother 
of suffering mankind the world over." 

Mr. Satterlee was a great worker. Starting in the world witt- 
out capital or a "pull," he became a power for good in the land. 
In early days, in Waseca, he found it necessary to resort to_ manual 
labor to support his family. This he clieerfully did until he 
finally had a church strong enough to afford him a living. lie 
early espoused the temperance cause and became its leader in this 
state. He was also the author of several books — one a reply to 
"Looking Backward," by Bellamy. His reply was well written 
and showed marked ability. He was the personification of true 
moral courage. Whatever his .judgment and conscience said was 
right he believed in, and no ofl^er of personal gain or desire of 
promotion could swerve him from it. He was one of those de- 
scribed by Holland : 


Men whom the lust of office does not kill; 

Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy. 

Men who possess opinions and a will; 

Men who have honor; men who will not lie; 

Men who can stand before a demagogue. 

And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking. 

Seth W. Long was one of the 1856 settlers of this county, hav- 
ing moved that year to Empire in the town of Iosco. He came to 
this county from Ohio, with his father, William Long, and his 
brother George, who were accompanied by M. S. Green, Algerine 
Willsey, James Chadwick, and others. After the decline of Em- 
pire he removed to Okaman and kept hotel for a number of 
years. He afterwards removed to Wilton during the war and 
carried on the Globe Hotel for a number of years. In 1867 he 
was elected to the office of sheriff of this county, and was re- 
elected in 1869, 1871, 1873, and 1875, serving in all ten years. 
During his last term of office his wife died. After the expira- 
tion of his term of office as sheriff he resided most of the time in 
the western portion of the county. For many years he had been 
in poor health and his death was not unexpected to his intimate 
friends. Seth W. Long was an honest, upright citizen and 
highly )-espectod by the people of this county. The immediate 
cause of his death was paralysis of the throat and tongue. He 
was stricken on Sunday, ]\Iay 29, and from that time to the time 
of his death, June 5, he was totally unable to swallow nourish- 
ment of any kind. Neither could he speak or converse orally. AVe 
are told that he died apparently without much pain or suffering. 
His remains lie buried in the Wilton cemetery beside those of his 
■wife and some other members of his family. 

Died, in Waterville, Tuesday morning, June 27, 1893, Mr. Wil- 
liam Marzahn, in his seventy-third year. The deceased was born 
near Berlin, Ciei-many, Dec. 9, 1820. He was united in marriage 
to Jliss Caroline Kanne, who survived him. In 1855 Mr. I\Iarzahn, 
wife and four children started for America, three of the chil- 
dren and a brotlier dying on shipboard of cholera— August Mar- 
zahn, of Waterville, being the surviving child. Mr. Marzahn 
moved to a farm in Iosco in 1856, and by strict attention to busi- 
ness and hard work accunuilated a fine property. His son Robert 
occupies the old homestead and is a prosperous farmer. 

The Waseca Herald of Sept. 8, contained the following : 


"A horrible death is reported from Blooming Grove. Dr. Leonard, and 
City Constable George H. Goodspeed, on Tuesday last, were called to the 
farm of Lars Selland to investigate the death of that gentleman. The 
facts as we gather them are as follows: Mr. Selland arose last Tuesday 
morning, Sept. 5, 1893, and went out about seven o'clock. Nothing more 
was seen of him until about ten o'clock when his lifeless body was 
found about four feet outside the pasture fence. His hat and a pitch- 
fork were found a few feet inside the fence. His body and limbs were 
bruised and discolored, in almost every part, and his ribs and breast 
bone were broken in many places. The body was found by an old 
gentleman named Ole Egelson, who lives on the farm. There was blood 
on the ground inside the fence and on the fence, and the conclusion is 
that he was killed by a two-year-old bull that was in the pasture, and 
then thrown over the fence by the animal. The bull hung constantly 
about the place pawing and bellowing. It was a very sad affair." 

Hon. I. C. Trowbridge, who laid out the original plat of what 
is now the city of Waseca, died rather suddenly of heart failure, 
October 3, 1893. Among other biographical sketches appears a 
sleet eh of his life. 

Mrs. Clarissa (^losher) Baker, widow of W. S. Baker, of Wa- 
seca, died on Frida.v, Oct. 20, 1893, of pneumonia. She was 
born Feb. IS, 1819, in Marion count.v, Ohio, where she resided 
until 1845. She was married Dec. 30, 1841, and came West as 
far as Dodge coitnty. Wis., in 1845, with her husband, where they 
resided until 1856, when they came to AVaseca county and settled 
in Otisco. They afterwards lived for a time in the west part of 
this county, and finally moved to Waseca when the town was 
first platted. She was the mother of seven children: Ozias, Sam- 
uel, Charles, Scott, Cassius, Lucinda and Carrie. Ozias, Samuel, 
and Charles, served in the Union ranks during the Rebellion, Ozias 
dying soon after his return. Lucinda married Chauncey Gibbs 
and died before the death of ]^Irs. Baker. Five children survived 

The following notice is taken from the Waseca Herald : 

The Gilmore City Globe, of Iowa, brings the sad news of the death of 
one of the early and most honorable settlers of this county, Mr. Jesse B. 
.Jackson. Mr. Jackson came to Wilton, in this county, in 1857, and was 
county commissioner for a number of years. He was born in Jeffsr- 
son county, N. Y., March 24, 1823. He went to Lorain county. Ohio, in 
1847, and in October of the same year was married to Harriet N. Dudley. 
They were the parents of seven children, four daughters and three sons, 
five of whom are now living. In 18G8 they removed to Hardin county 
Iowa, and in 1S71 moved to Pocahontas county where he has since resided. 


with the exception of two winters spent in California. The nervous dis- 
ease from which he suffered for many years was contracted partly from 
a fall from a barn on which he was at work. His collar hone was broken 
and he never entirely recovered from the shock. He passed peacefully 
away on the 29th of November, 1893, and his remains were buried on the 
30th, Thanksgiving Day. 


The sixteenth annual convention of the state dairymen's asso- 
ciation M-as held at Waseca, Minn., December 12, 13, and 14, 1893. 
The officers present were Hon. John L. Gibbs, of Geneva, presi- 
dent; Hon. A. P. Foster, of Plainview, vice-president; and Prof. 
T. L. Haeeker, of St. Anthony Park, secretary. The following notes 
are condensed from the report published at the time in a local 
paper : 

Tuesday was a bitterly cold day, but Father Benson, of Anoka, 
Secretary Haeeker, of St. Anthony Park, Treasurer Short of 
Faribault, and others were here early in the morning. Messrs. 
Snmue] Leslie, G. H. Wood, Samuel Hawkes, and other local 
dairymen M'ere on hand to assist, and in the afternoon and even- 
ing many came in from abroad, among them President Gibbs, of 
Geneva, Freeborn county, and Prof. 0. C. Gregg and his corps 
of institute lecturers. The meeting on Tuesday evening was held 
under ver,y unfavorable circumstances. The weather was cold 
enough in the open air, but the temperature inside Ward's opera 
house was away below the comfort mark, and many were forced 
to leave on account of the severe cold. But cold as it was the 
dairymen carried out their program. Rev. E. C. Clemans made 
a uniciue prayer for good butter, honest butter, sixteen ounces to 
the pound, and at such prices that God's poor might get a taste 
now and then. 

President John L. Gibbs presided. He introduced Hon. John 
iloonan who delivered the address of welcome in a very pleasing 
manner, ilr. G. L. Smith, of Minneapolis, a very fluent and enter- 
taining speaker made response. The secretary and the treasurer 
then made their written reports. James E. Child, of Waseca, and 
Plon. O. C. Gregg, president of the Farmers' state institute work- 
ers, were called upon and made short addresses the first evening. 
The association was in session three days and much good work 


was done. The next week this paper reviewed the meeting as 
follows : 

"The holding of the Dairymen's annual meeting in this city, last 
week, was a matter of great local Importance as well as of general 
interest. It is a fact, which can not be too often urged, that dairying aiid 
the raising of hogs and cattle, together with the growing of grain, are 
of the utmost importance to all the farmers of Minnesota, north as 
well as south. All these should go together wherever circumstances 
make it possible, and the discussions and papers at the Dairymen's 
meeting threw much light on the subject. Take for instance, the 
statement that a separator creamery, with 800 cows, a small number for 
each township, had a clear income of $40,000. That is $50, on the av- 
erage, for each cow, and each farmer took back with him seventy-five 
per cent of the whole milk in sweet, skimmed milk, beside his proportion 
of butter milk with which to feed calves and hogs. This amount was 
realized from the "average cow," while the farmer had only to milk the 
cows, strain the milk and cart it to the factory — the churning, salting, 
packing, and marketing being done by the co-operative factory. 

"Under this system, the poor man, with only two or three cows, can 
realize as much per cow as his wealthiest brother; while, under the 
home system of making butter, the farmer, with two or three cows, 
could not compete at all with his richer brother having a large herd 
of cows and all the necessary appliances for butter-making. 

"Our German and Scandinavian Americans, to the east of us, along 
the Steele county border and in Steele and Freeborn counties, have 
caught on to the fact that even the 'average cow' will give a return 
of from $45 to $60 a year under this co-operative plan. Why should 
not every farmer in Waseca county do as well? 

"There is another consideration in this co-operative creamery plan: 
it does away with the cutthroat practice of speculation which is a 
necessity where the manufacturer, (creamery man), must take his 
chances on the market. By co-operation, both the manufacturer of the 
butter and the producer of the milk get just what their joint product is 
worth in the market; while, under any other plan, the manufacturer and 
dealer must keep down the price to the farmer in order to cover possi- 
ble losses and make money." 


The annual meeting of this society Avas held at the court room, 
on Tuesday, Dec. 23, 1893. Reports of the secretary and the treas- 
urer were read, showing at length the financial condition of the 
society. The total receipts during the year amounted to $877.02 ; 
and the expenses, including premiums, to $836.59, leaving a bal- 
ance on hand of $20.43. There was outstanding an order for $230 
borrowed money, which was made necessary to pay premiums. 


the weather having prevented the holding of the last fair on two 
of the appointed days. 

The following resolution was unanimously adopted: 
Resolved, That the commissioners of the county of Waseca be, and 
they are, hereby requested to purchase our present fair grounds for 
the purpose of holding an annual county fair, under and by virtue of 
the power vested in such commissioners so to do by an act of the legis- 
lature of the state of Minnesota, passed in 1891. 



The year 1894 opened clear, bright, and. cold. The county board 
a.ssembled on Jan. 5. Mr. Chase was re-elected chairman — the oth- 
er members present being JMessrs. Sunde, Peter.son, Lewer, and 
Bluhm. Llessrs. John IMoonan, 8. Leslie, JM. Sheeran, and 0. Pow- 
ell, of the Waseca County Agricultural Society, presented the 
resolution of the society asking for the of fair groiinds, 
and also addressed the board urging the purchase of the land. 

The committee of the board appointed to cdofer -^vith the own- 
ers of the fair grounds reported that the land could be purchased 
at $100 per acre for twenty-five acres. The report was accepted 
and the committee discharged. 

]\Ir. Peterson then offered the following resolutions which 
were adopted : 

Resolved, That the county comniissioners of the county of Waseca, 
Minnesota, purchase twenty-five acres ot land lying just east ot Second 
street, and north of Clear Lake road, in the southwest quarter ot sec- 
tion 8, township 107, range 22, in the city of Waseca, the same being 
lands heretofore used by the Waseca County Agricultural, Jlechanical, 
and Industrial society for county fair grounds, and other lands in the 
vicinity thereof as and for use as a county fair ground. 

Resolved, That the title of said lands shall be vested in and remain 

in said Waseca county, but that the said Waseca County Agricultural 

* * society shall have the exclusive use thereof for an annual 

rental of $25 per year, to be paid into the county treasury of said county, 

on or before the first day of January ot each and every year. 


Resolved, That the board of county commissioners of Waseca county 
shall not be called upon or required to make any improvements or re- 
pairs on the premises as long as the same remain in the possession 
of the society aforesaid. 

The roll was called and all voted in favor of the adoption of 
the resolutions except I\lr. Jonas 0. Sunde. 

The author deems it unfortunate that the people of this county, 
and especially the farmers, have allowed the fair grounds to 
lapse into disusage during the past few years, i\Iay we not hope ' 
that very soon again the people will take up the subject and re- 
juvenate the agricultural society of the county. 

On ]\Iay 26, 1S94, $100 was voted the town of Iosco for a hricTsie 
between sections 17 and 18 : $20for repair of bridge sections 18 and 
19 ; $85 town of Alton for repair of Alma City bridge ; also $100 
town of Janesville for bridge sections 27 and 34. 

At the ]\ray 22 meeting the following appropriations were 
made from the county road and bridge fund : 

"To town of Nevi' Richland, $200 to aid in building a new bridge on the 
river, between sections 24 and 25, and $50 for road grading on sections 
23 and 26; to town of Byron, $90 for a bridge over a creek on sections 
5 and 8, and $10 for road grading on sections 4 and 9 ; to town of Otisco, 
$50 to aid in rebuilding the Walstrom bridge on section 33. $2.5 for re- 
pairs on the Holz bridge on section 7, and $25 for repairing the Hanson 
bridge on section 35; to town of Freedom, $125 to aid in rebuilding bridge 
on Bull Run at section 18; to town of Woodville, $25 for grading road 
on section 19, $50 for grading road on sections 17 and 2S, $20 for grad- 
ing road on sections 5 and C, and $30 for grading road between section 6 
of Woodville and section 1 of St. Mary; to town of Iosco, $75 to aid in 
grading road on sections 8, 10, 11, and 26. 

At the July meeting the following appropriations were order- 

~To town of Alton, $50 for repairing Alma City bridge and $15 for grad- 
ing road between sections 26 and 35 of said town; to town of Wilton, $125 
for replanking the Wilton bridge, $25 for repairing St. Mary bridge, on 
section 4 of said town, and $25 as aid in building bridge on section 35, of 
said town; to town of Blooming Grove, $75 for grading road between 
sections 2 and 11, and $50 for grading road between sections 8 and 17 
of said town; to town of Otisco, $215 as aid in building the Holbrook 
bridge, on section 31, of said town; to town of Freedom, $25 as aid in 
building bridge across Bull Run, on section 18, of said town; to town of 
St. Mary, $35 for grading road between sections 24 and 25, $40 for grad- 
ing road between sections 1 and 2, $25 for grading road between sections 
12 and 13, and $20 for grading road between sections 20 and 29, of 
said town. 


At the September 7th meeting the following appropriations 
were made from the road and bridge fund : 

To town of Wilton, |20 additional for replanking the Wilton bridge; 
Blooming Grove, $50 for a bridge on section 25, of said town; Woodville, 
$20 for grading road on sections 18 and 19, of said town; Janesville, $50 
for grading road on section 20, of said town; New Richland, $200 for a 
bridge on LeSueur river, section 10, of said town. 


J. L. Claghorn, who for many years had been a prominent 
citizen of AVaseca in church, society and local politics, failed in 
business about the first of February, 1894. On the 14th of that 
month he was arrested on a charge of embezzling $450 belonging 
to the Hartford Fire Insurance company. This came as a thunder- 
clap of surprise to the citizens of the county. He had been 
trusted l),v almost everybody. Farmers, widows, school teachers, 
servants, money loaners in the East— all had entrusted him with 
their funds to handle and loan as he saw fit. As soon as he was 
arrested, it was discovered that the funds were all missing. For 
years he had been spending more than his income, and for a long 
time he had been "robbing Peter to pay Paul"— borrowing from 
one friend to pay another. He had stood high in the Congrega- 
tional church, was prominent as an Odd Fellow and a Alason, 
and had served a number of years as alderman of the "Puritan 
ward" of Waseca. He and his wife had both been great tem- 
perance workers and were prominent in every good work. That 
a man can thus serve Good and Evil at one and the same time 
is one of the mysteries of this mysterious universe. At the ]\rareh 
term of the district court he was indicted for the crime of em- 
bezzlement—larceny—finally pleaded guilty and was sentenced 
to one year at hard labor in the Stillwater penitentiary. He 
served his time and as soon as released moved to the state of 
Washington. His life emphasized the doctrine— "lYust no man 
in business matters without security in some form." 


In the latter part of the winter of 1893-4, the business men of 
Waseca organized a "Board of Trade." Articles of incorpora- 
tion were adopted May 11, 1894, and duly published and filed. 
The oi'ganization ran well for a few months, but V(>ry soon men 
would come in very late, others not at all, and at the end of the 


first year the association was laid aside as rotten timber. It 
died of too much apathy or laziness. 


The Herald of August 3 contained the following : 
"Dynamite! The most fiendish outrage ever perpetrated in Waseca 
tooli place on the evening o( July 30, 1894, about 10:25 o'clock. The Grant 
House 'bus had just made the 9:50 M. & St. L. train and been returned 
to the barn. The horses stood on the west side of the barn, and the 
'bus on the east. A dynamite bomb was evidently placed in the bottom 
of the 'bus with a fuse attached which reached to the door. Within 
fifteen minutes after the team had been put into the barn there came 
an explosion which tore the 'bus into fragments and made the barn look 
as though a cyclone had struck it. The south end and the southeast 
corner were torn all in pieces, the north door was thrown out into the 
street, the upper floor was badly demolished, and the roof badly broken. 
Strange to say, the horses were not badly injured. Evidently they 
were knocked down by the concussion, for when found they had chang- 
ed sides, one evidently having fallen over the other. The destruction 
was sudden and complete. So far as is publicly known, at least, there is 
no clue to the perpetrator." 

No clue was ever found, and the perpe