Skip to main content

Full text of "The history of Faribault County, Minnesota : from its first settlement to the close of the year 1879 : the story of the pioneers"

See other formats


( liai)..T.Jo\>('opyright No». 







From its First Settlement to the Close of the Year 1879. 


The Annals of the County. 

Historical Sketches of the Several ToAvnships. 


Historical Sketch of the Govei-nment of the County, 
and of the Several County Offices. 


BY ^_ 


Attorney at Law. 


"Let me speak to the 3'et unknowing world, ^ 

How these things came about." Shakespeare. 




A. KIESTER. , A^j 

' '.-- 

■^A/v, ' 


To the early settlers of Faribault County, Minnesota, who 
have conferred upon me many official positions of trust and 
honor, and favored me with their unwavering and earnest 
friendship, during many years, this book is inscribed by the 
writer as a slight token of his regard for them, and it is his 
earnest wish that they may be prosperous and happy, that 
their days may be long in the land, which their labors have 
done so much to build up, that their sons may be gifted and 
brave, and their daughters "as the polished corners of the 
temple," and that all, finally, may rise to a glorious immortality, 
in the great hereafter. 



This book is not a narrative of the lives and deeds of those 
■whom the world usually calls its heroes of great achievements, its 
Genuses, Statesmen, Warriors, Scholars and Princes of wealth. 

It is rather the unpretentious story of plain people, in the hum- 
ble walks of life, who have come to this fair portion of God's earth, 
from almost every land under the sun, to found homes for themselves 
and their children, and here fill the measure of their lives, and who, 
facing and conquering the hardships of frontier life, have in the 
course of years, taken up the lands, opened productive farms, insti- 
tuted civil government, erected numerous churches and school 
houses and factories, established newspapers, built railroads and 
telegraphs and thriving towns, and organized all useful associations, 
converting the wilderness into a rich and populous county, in which 
are found all the blessings of an enlightened. Christian civilization. 
And such deeds too are worthy of historic record. 

There are as many and as noble deeds of self-sacrifice, of unre- 
quited toil, of enduring fortitude, of triumph over difficulties, in 
short, of real heroism, in humble life, everywhere, which never 
reached the historian, or found a place on his pages, as any that 
have ever been recorded, "since Hesiod wrote, or Homer sang." 

The work was not written as a pecuniary speculation,'' but was 
undertaken many years ago, at the request of many of the early 
settlers of the county, and for the laudable purpose of preserving a 
correct account of the people, the times and events of the first set- 
tlement of the County. It was proper, too, that the record should 
be written by one of the old settlers. They have made and so shall 
one of their number write the history. 

The work was not done in haste, but the leisure hours of many 
years have been employed in collecting, arranging and digesting 
the materials, watching and noting the progress of events and in 
writing the record. 

The book embraces that portion of the history of the County — the 
first twenty-five years — which in the lapse of time was most liable to 
be lost or forgotten, yet which, in the course of years, becomes 
the most interesting. 

It may seem premature to even write, but more especially to pub- 
lish a history of so new a county as this, yet it is true that the first 
quarter of a century in the history of the County, now passed, seems 
in a great measure, to constitute a period, or epoch, complete in 
itself, covering as it does, the first settlement of the different parts 
of the County, and the origin of almost all its civil, religious, edu- 
cational and industrial institutions. 


It is, so to speak, the epoch of first things, now comiDleted. 

But, however little interest the book may now possess, the time 
will probably come as the years go by, and when the first settlers of 
the County shall have passed away, when its contents will acquire 
an interest and an importance, not now possibly comprehended or 
appreciated. In the future, questions will arise pertaining to the 
times and events covered by the history, which can be answered 
only by a reference to its pages. The book was written not for 
the present only, but also for the future, and it may contain some- 
thing which may be helpful to those who are to make the history of 
that great future. A writer of history has very truthfully said: 
"The important duty of preserving local history and recording the 
events that attend the origin of institutions and communities, is too 
often neglected until a period, when truth becomes blended with 
fable and the original materials, one by one, disappearing, leave the 
analysis of events involved in an impenetrable mist of conflicting 

Original and authentic sources of information have been referred 
to, in collecting the materials for the work, always preferring to 
rely on written or printed statements, rather than merely upon the 
uncertain memory of events long past. The official records of the 
County and of the several townships and villages, of religous and 
other societies, the files of local newspapers, standard histories of 
the State, official reports and the State archives have been carefully 
consulted. Where no record of events existed, reference was had 
to the actors, or eye-witnesses themselves, and no time, labor or 
expense has been spared to make every date and statement correct, 
yet in such a multitude of names and d^^tes, there are doubtless 
some errors, but if so, they are of minor importance. That which 
purports to be history is worthless as such, unless it be true. Do 
not hastily question the accuracy of the work. The events of the 
first year of this history were mainly obtained from Mr. M. Sailor, 
himself, the first settler of the County. 

Those of the second year were derived mainly from J. B. Wake- 
field, G. B. Kingsley, H. P. Constans, H. T. Stoddard, Andrew C. 
Dunn and others, who were the principal actors in the events of 
that time. Prom near the beginning of the third year, the writer 
himself, was personally present and noted events as they occurred. 
The writer had also a personal acquaintance with almost all the first 
settlers of the several townships and obtained the facts relating to 
their first settlement and other events, from them directly. 

The history was not written from any local standpoint, or out- 
look, and no local, or personal prejudices warp or color any of its 
statements, but it was written "With malice toward none, with 


charity for all" and for the whole County. Not wishing "To make 
or to mar any man's fortunes," the writer has on the one hand 
avoided the adulation of any one. and on the other, he has refrained 
from censuring the acts, or impugning the motives of individuals, 
or parties, even where the truth of history, in a few instances, 
seemed almost to demand severe criticism. There are some things, 
though true, and even of some importance, that had better sleep in 
oblivion. Let them rest. This book purporting to be a history and 
not a biographical repository, the brief personal and biographical 
notices given are of those only who were connected with the more 
important offices and events referred to in the history. No other 
rule of practical value could be adopted. Special notices, or bio- 
graphical sketches of many omitted in this volume, will be given in 
the next. 

The work is not a mere narrative of events and collection of 
biographies, but the writer has sought to weave into the record 
some observations, thoughts and suggestions, on various topics, con- 
nected with the history, which may be of value lo some, and it was 
the design and hope that the volume might contribute something to 
the information of at least some of its readers on certain special 
subjects and be worthy of perusal in the family circle around the 
hearthstone, in the quieter and better hours of life, and be left as a 
brief memorial by our old settlers, to their children, of 4heir lives 
and labors here. 

Many subjects referred to in this work might have been treated 
more elaborately, but a low. small voice continually whispered con- 
dense, condense. 

The work of writing the history was not little, nor without 
difiSculties, and few can appreciate them who have not attempted 
such work. The book makes no pretention to literary merit, ele- 
gance of style or completness of arrangement, and possesses but a 
local interest It is hoped that it may be received and treated in the 
same candid and kindly spirit in which it was written. 

The writer is under obligations to many friends for their kind- 
ness and courtesy in furnishing him with information required in 
writing the history, and who have, from time to time, inquireil of the 
progress being made, and now to each and all of them, he tenders his 
sincerest acknowledgments. But the writer desires especially, to 
express here, the acknowledgment of his many obligations to the 
Hon. S. P. Child, for his valuable assistance in the publication of 
of this work, and to say that whatever may be the merits, or de- 
merits of the book. Mr. Child is in no way responsible for any of its 


Blue Earth City. Minn.. August. 1696. 




L'EioUe du Xord. 

The district of country known as Minnesota, of which Faribault 
county is a part, lies betweem 43-30' and 49^ north latitude and 
extends in part fromf9-39' to 97^5' -svest longitude. It is baunied 
on the Xorth by the British Possessions, on the East by Lake Su- 
jjerior and the State of Wisconsin, on the South by the State of 
Iowa and on the West by Dakota Territory. 

Minnesota originjilly. however, extended westward to the Mis- 
souri river and was once -The land of the Dakotas," who were the 
aboriginal inhabitants, and here lived and loved and warred and died, 
through centuries, the number of which no one will ever know. 

Minnesota derives its name from the principal river within its 
boundaries — the Minnesota. The compound word Minnesota is 
composed of the Indian words Minne — meaning water and So-tah — 
meaning sky-tinted — the land of sky-tinted waters, because its 
numerous lakes and streams reflect, in their crystal depths, the 
clouds and blue of the over-arching skies. 

Minnesota contains S3, 53 1 square miles, equal to 5o.4o9,>40 
acres of land, an area greater than all Xew England, and almost 
equal to the combined areas of the gres: s:a:'?s of Pennsylvania 
and Ohio. 

The geographical posiiion of the Sraie :s favorab.e — :: :s 
the central portion of the Continent of Xorth America, lying mid- 
way between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on the east and west. 
and Hudson's Bay on the north and the Gulf of Mexico on the 

It is also in a large sense, the summit of the east half of the 
Continent — a high undulating plateau, table land or plain, having 
an average elevation of nearly one thousand feet above the level of 
the sea. and forms the water shed of the three great river systems 

8 lllSTOllY OF 

of a large part of North America — that of the Mississippi which 
flows southward to the Gulf of Mexico; that of the St Lawrence, 
which connected with the Northern lakes has an easterly direction 
to the Atlantic Ocean and that of the Red River of the North, which 
Hows northerly to Lalce Wiunepeg, which has its outlet in Hudson's 

A glance at the map of this grand territory — Minnesota — 
exhibits it lined all over by numerous streams of water, which 
furnish the most abundant water power, and six of which are. or 
were formerly, navigable, and the whole surface is dotted over with 
lakes, nearly ten thousand in number and ranging in size from 
fifty rods to thirty miles in diameter, and on its eastern bbrder lies 
the largest lake of the world — Superior. 

Few regions of the world possess more beautiful and romantic 
scenery than Minnesota, especially that along the Mississippi 

The state has been appropriately named ••The Star of the 
North " and "The Empire State of the New Noi-thwest." It may 
also be as properly called The Mother of Rivers, The Land of the 
Lakes or The Summit State. 

The soil of the State, speaking generally, is of great fertility. 
It is a dark, calcarious, sandy loam and abounds in mineral 
elements and the rich organic ingredients, resulting from the de- 
composition of the vegetable growth of untold ages and is from one 
to four feet in depth. It is a valleij soil. It has been determined by 
climatologists, that "the cultivated plants yield the greatest pro- 
ducts near the northermost limits at which they will grow." and this 
law finds abundant illustration in the amount and perfection of the 
products of Minnesota. 

The climate of Minnesota has often been unjustly disparaged. 
But a word will be said here in I'eference to this sublect, it being 
more fully treated elsewhere. It is suflicient to say here, that Min- 
nesota possesses a modified mountain climate, the seasons more 
or less distinctly marked, follow each other in regular suc- 
cession. The atmosphere is pure, dry and invigorating and the 
climate is adapted to the growth of all the grains and the leading 
fruits of the middle states in their pro))er season, and the general 
heathfulness of the entire state, as the statistics fully show, is not 
surpassed by any other country on ihe globe. This is enough. 

Though Minnesota is called a prairie state, yet about one third 
of its area is covered with native timber. Its pine forests in the 
northern part of the State are among the most extensive and valu- 
able in the northwest and furnish an immense lumber trade. The 
"Big Woods" tract, lying on both sides of the Minnesota river and 
about one hundred miles long and of an average width of forty miles. 


is the largest body of hardwood timber, of all varieties, between the 
Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Elsewhere timber is found in 
groves, bordering the streams and lakes, throughout the State. 

Among the other natural resources of the State mention may be 
made of her inexhaustible raw material of iron, copper, slate, gran- 
ite, clay, limestone, superior building stone, salt springs and glass 
sand. The statement is eminently truthful that Minnesota contains 
within itself, all the elemental requisites of a very rich and very 
independent state. 

It is claimed that Minnesota was discovered in the year 1680 by 
Louis Hennepin, a Francescan priest and his companions Picard du 
Gay and Michael Ako. In the spring of that year, coming from 
Canada by way of the lakes and the Illinois river, they ascended the 
Mississippi on an exploring expedition and were captured by the 
Indians and carried far north and in their travels discovered the 
Falls of St. Anthony, which Father Hennepin named. After wan- 
dering about with the Indians for three months they in June, on 
their return, met Sieur du Luth, a French explorer, and several 
soldiers under his command. In the fall they all returned to Canada. 
Two centuries later (1880). the second centennial of these events was 
celebrated in the splendid city of Minneapolis, with appropriate 
ceremonies and eloquent addresses. 

It has also been claimed that Sieur du Luth, rather than Father 
Hennepin and his companions, was the real discoverer of Minne- 
sota. But it is quite certain that long before any of these persons 
visited this country, two French fur traders, about 1654-9, visited 
Minnesota and spent some two years in this region. 

In 1689 Nicholas Perrot, a man of much influence with the Indian 
tribes, was made commandant of this region of country and under a 
commission from the governor of Canada, took formal possession of 
the country, in the name and on behalf of the King of France. Louis 
the XIV, Le Grand Monarque then held the imperial scepter of 

In 1700 M. Le Sueur, who had accompanied Perrot and had sub- 
sequently gone to France, returned with a company of miners and 
ascended the Minnesota river, as far as the mouth of the Blue 
Earth River, near which he built a fort and spent the winter. In 
1727 a company of soldiers were sent in from Canada, accompanied 
by a number of traders and missionaries. They built a fort on the 
west shore of Lake Pepin. 

The history of Minnesota from 1700, for more than half a cen- 
tury, is but a broken narrative of the adventures of explorers and 
traders, and of the toils and suffering of devoted missionaries in 
their efforts to plant the standard of the cross and proclaim to the sav- 
age nations the blessed gospel of Jesus the Christ. On the eighth 


day of September, 17G3, the French surrendered their posts in Can- 
ada and by the treaty of Versailles, in 1763, ceded the district of 
country embracing: Wisconsin and that part of Minnesota lying east 
of the Mississippi to England and west of it to Spain. 

In 17G(3 Jonathan Carver, exploring the northwest, entered the 
Mississippi by way of the Wisconsin river and proceeded as far north 
as the "curling waters" of St. Anthony's Palls. He also ascended 
the Minnesota River a considerable distance and spent several 
months with the Indians, e.xploring the country. He subsequently 
went to England and published an account of his adventures. 

By the treaty of peace at the close of the War of the Revolution 
(1783) England ceded her claims to all the territory south of the 
present British Possessions and east of the Mississippi, to the 
United States. This cession included all that part of Minnesota 
east of the Mississippi river. George the Third was then King of 
England and our Continental Congress, which had given the king 
so much trouble, represented the sovereignty of the United States 
of America. The constitution had not then been adopted, nor had the 
first president been elected. 

The Province of Louisiana, which included, with much other 
territory, that portion of Minnesota which lies west of the Missis- 
sippi obtained by Spain in 1763 from France, was retroceded by 
that power to France in 1800. During the Spanish supremacy, 
Charles the Third, a wise prince, and Charles the Fourth, an unwise 
one. sat upon the gorgeous throne of old Spain. 

The same territory was in the year 1803 sold by France to the 
United States, for fifteen millions of dollars and is known as the 
Louisiana pui-chase. During the above period of three years, the 
great Napoleon was the sovereign ruler of the larger portion of 
Minnesota and at the time of the purchase Thomas Jefferson was 
president of the United States. 

In 1805, General Z. M. Pike, an officer of the United States, 
explored this region and obtained from the Indians a grant of lands 
on which, in 1820, Fort Snelling was built. He proceeded as far 
north as Sandy and Leech lakes, where he found several forts oc- 
cupied by English fur traders. He also found the flag of old Eng- 
land bravel}' flying over these forts, which in the eye of our General 
was inimical to the sovereignty of the United States and he, there- 
fore, ordered these flags down and the Stars and Stripes set up, 
never to be lowered on this soil. 

It may here be observed that Minnesota has, in time been 
subject to Great Britain (in part). Spain. France and lastly to the 
dominion of the United States, four of the most enlightened and 
powerful nations that appear in the world's history. But more, 
the first occupants of the soil, the aboriginees, were among the 


most numerous, haughty and warlike of the Indian nations that 
held sway over the continent, at the advent of the white man. To 
all this we may add the words of Judge Plandreu, contained in a late 
address before the Historical Society : 

"Our state had rather a mixed origin. Its mothers were the 
Northwestern Territory and Louisiana. The first gave us what 
lies east of the Mississippi, and the last what we embrace west of 
that stream; and before we became Minnesota we were on the west 
side of the river, first Louisiana, then Missouri, then Michigan, 
then Wisconsin, then Iowa." 

On the east side of the Mississippi we were, first Northwest 
Territory, which belonged to Virginia and was ceded by that state 
to the United States; it was next Indiana, and next Wisconsin." 

During the war of 1812, the Indians in this region were gener- 
ally opposed to the United States, being incited to this enmity by the 
British fur traders of the Northwest, but after the peace of 1815, 
they submitted to the federal authority. • 

In the year 1812, Lord Selkirk, a Scotch nobleman, established 
a small colony, mainly of Scotchmen, near the British line on the 
Red River of the North, in British territory, known as the Selkirk 
Settlement. Some years later a number of Swiss immigrants set- 
tled in the Colony. The settlement was greatly persecuted by the 
employees of the Hudson Bay Pur Company, and met with many 
misfortunes by fire, flood, grasshoppers and failure of crops, when 
about 1827, a company of the Swiss left the Colony and located near 
the site of St. Paul, and became the pioneers of agriculture in 
Minnesota and its first white settlers, other than United States 
troops and Indian traders. 

The first Mill was erected in 1822, and in 1823 the first Steam- 
boat that ascended the Mississippi, arrived at Port Snelling, to the 
great astonishment of the natives, who thought it some horrible 
monster of the waters, having a voice like a demon, and on hearing 
which they scarnpered away and hid themselves 

In 1832 the first regular mail was brought to Port Saelling. 

By the treaty made in 1887. the Indians ceded all their 

lands east of the Mississippi to the United States. 

In 18'11 a Roman Catholic Chapel was built on the site of what is 
now the live and rapidly growing city of St. Paul, the Capital of the 
State, a city with a grand future. The Chapel was dedicated to St. 
Paul, and hence the name of the city, the site of which was pre- 
viously named "Pig's Eye." 

And now we have reached in our sketch the period of those 
important events, which in America are premonitory of the birth of 
a great State— the fading out of the era of savage occupancy and 
the rule of the strong and bloody hand and the dawn of the era in- 


augurating the supremacy of law- civil government and enlightened 

On the M day of March, 1H49. Con','ress passed a bill organizinfj 
the ■•Territory of Minnesota." the Territory extending as far west 
as the Missouri river. Hon. Alexander Ramsey, of Pennsylvania, 
was ajipointcd Governor by the President. Gen. Zach Taylor, and 
on the first day of .June of that year proclaimed the territorial gov- 
ernment organized with the following ofhcers: 
Secretary, C. K. SMITH. 
Chief Justice. AARON GOODRICH. 
Associates. D. COOPER and B. B. MEEKER. 
Marshall, .1. L. TAYLOR. 
U. S. Attorney, H. L. MOSS. 

The inhabitants of the Territory then numbered 4.680. 

On the i3d day of September, following, the First Territorial 
Legislative Assembly met at St. Paul, -and among much other im- 
portant business transacted, created nine counties which were named 
as follows: Itaska. Wabasha. Dakota. Cass, Chisago, Ramsey, Pem- 
bina, Benton and Washington. 

By treaty in 1651. the Dakotas ceded to the United States all 
their lands in the Territory west of the Mississippi to the Sioux river 
and Lake Traverse, except a small tract on the upper Minnesota, 
kept as a Reservation. 

Immigration now began to pour into the Territory in a mighty 
stream, compared with which the first settlement of other states was 
but insignificant. Lands were taken up, farms opened, great high- 
ways established, water powers improved, towns and cities grew up 
as by magic, apparent prosperity was seen on every side, specu- 
lation in wild lands and town lots ran wild, fortunes were being 
made in a day, so to speak, and everything was progressing for 
some years, at high tide, when suddenly the great commercial 
revulsion of 1857 came and the bubble of land speculation burst. 
Then dawned the real, permanent prosperity of Minnesota. 

A Convention to frame a Constitution for the now proposed 
State, met at St. Paul in July, 1857, and drafted a Constitution, 
•which was submitted to the people of the Territory at a general 
election held in October, following, and was adopted. 

On the 11th day of May, 185S, the new state was admitted into 
the Union with its present boundaries, and Minnesota took its place 
in the great Union of States, as the thirtj- second state. 

When the great Rebellion broke out in 1861, our State was the 
first to respond to the call for troops to put down the rebellion, and 
the State furnished during the war 24,263 soldiers. This was a 


larger number of soldiers in proportion to population than that 
furnished by any other state, and no state of the loyal North made 
a more brilliant record during the war than Minnesota. 

In August, 1862, there occurred on the western frontiers of the 
State, an appalling massacre of settlers, by the Dakota or Sioux 
Indians — the most atrocious butchery and destruction ever known 
in the history of Indian warfare. Huadreds of men, women and 
children were killed, thousands were driven from their homss and 
millions of dollars worth of property was lost, wasted and 

In 1863, the Sioux and Winnebago Indians were removed from 
the State by the general government, to localities on the Missouri 
river, and their old "reservations" here were subsequently thrown 
open to sale and settlement, and long since became the abode of 
large and prosperous agricultural communities. 

It is unnecessai-y to the purposes of this work to trace the his- 
tory further of this great State. It may be remarked, however, that 
from the beginning of the immigration and settlement of the State 
in 1851, the growth of the State in population and permanent im- 
provements, notwithstanding fioancial revulsions, the great rebel- 
lion, the Indian massacre and grasshopper invasions, for several 
years, has been exceedingly rapid and probably without a parallel, 
and attests to the vast natural advantages and x'esources of the State 
and the indomitable and progressive spirit of its people. 

Minnesotans are justly proud of their State and its wonderful 
development, and they look forward with confidence to a future, 
now not distant, when the State shall be one of the most populous 
and wealthy in the American Union. 

Here, said that far seeing statesman, Wm. H. Seward, in his 
great speech in St. Paul in 1860, "Here is the place — the cent- 
ral place, where the richest agricultural region of North America 
must pour out its tribute to the whole world." But he said more, 
hear the grand prophecy! "I now believe that the ultimate last 
seat of government on this great Continent, will be found some 
where within a circle or radius not vez'y far from the spot on which 
I now stand, at the head of navigation of the Mississippi river." 
Here is a splendid future foretold. Twenty years have passed 
away since the prophecy was uttered and the great statesman has 
been gathered to the fathers. In the meantime, what have we been 
doing? Let us take a brief retrospect. In this sketch we have 
been dealing with general facts, let figures now "be submitted to a 
candid world." They will show how broad, and deep, and strong the 
foundations of a gi'eat state have been laid, and how rapidly and 
amply the structure is being reared. 



But thirty years have passed since the territorial government 
was organized and we had then a population of 4, 6^0, and in 1890, 
by the national census, 780,806. In 1850 the area of tilled land was 
1,900 acres, in 1880. 4.503.716. And the plow lay not idly in the 
furrows those years. 

Here is the exhibit of certain staple agricultural productions, 
in bushels: 














The following is the statement of the live stock. 


Horse-s 225,403 

Cattle 557,914 

She.'p 203,791 

Hogs :il6,9l3 

The wholesale trade is estimated at Forty Million dollars an- 


The following statistics are taken from the United States Census 

of 1880: 

There are 124 different manufacturing industries and 3,493 establishments. 

Capital empU.yed $31,000,000 

Average number of hands employed 21,247 

-Vmount of wages paid during the year $8,613,094 

Value of products $76,065,198 

Ten dilTerenl dassesof manufactures produced each, over $1,000,000 In value. 

Truly Minnesota is destined to be a great manufacturing state. 

The rapid increase in the wealth of the State, may be inferred 
from the following exhibit of the assessed valuation of taxable 

I860. $36,753,408 

1865 45,184,063 

1 870 87, 133,673 

1H75 218,855,743 

1,S79 242,430.4.39 

In 1857. congress made a large grant of lands in aid of a most 
magnificent railroad system. The first mile of road was not com- 
pleted until 1862. but in 1880. 3,099 miles had been built, penetrating, 
as any map of the State will show, to all parts of the State and one 
line of which, the Northern Pacific, was designed to reach the 
Pacific Ocean, and has already reached its far western terminus. 


All the Christian denominations ai'e represented in Minnesota, 
and the clergy compare favorably with those of any country. Many 
of them are men of high culture and of great eloquence and 

No other state in the Union has such a magnificent provision 
for common schools and free education. Two sections of land in 
every township in the State, are set apart for this purpose, the 
proceeds of the sales of which are from time to time invested in 
interest paying bonds, the interest on which and on deferred pay- 
ments on sales being applied to the support of common schools. 
The public school fund already amounts to $3,500,000 and is con- 
stantly increasing from further sales of land. In 1879 there were 
3,284 school houses, 4,872 teachers and 160,867 scholars. The State 
has also a state university in successful operation, which has a 
permanent fund of §375,000, which will be increased by further sales 
of special grants of land. 

The State has also three state normal schools and these have 
also a grant of 225,000 acres of land. In addition to all this, there 
are some sixty denominational schools, some of which rank very high. 
As a part of the educational system of the State, and as indicating 
something of tho intelligence of the people, it should be stated that 
many excellent newspapers and jDeriodicals are published in the 
State, almost every county having one, or more. 

Among the other great public institutions, it must not be over- 
looked that the State has now two hospitals for the insane, an 
institution for the deaf, dumb and blind, a reform school and a state 
prison, all admirably conducted. 

In all this but a very general exhibit is presented of the marve- 
lous development and present condition of the State. It is a source 
of pride and hope and reviewing it the thought is suggested, what, 
at this rate of progress, with the vast possibilities evidently here, 
shall be the grand totals, which may be written, at the end of 
another quarter of a century? 

And now we close this sketch with the testimony of a non- 
resident, impartial and well informed-witness: 

"I will venture the general statement that no state in the Union 
has today the same pi'oportioa of people to its entire population, 
more thoroughly educated and refined; that no such proportion of 
fine churches, splendid schools and educational appliances of so 
complete a character and such general provision for everything, 
which pertains to healthy civilization and generous social culture 
elsewhere exists, as in Minnesota. The railway, the telegraph, the 
newspaper are everywhere. Everything is bright and fresh and 
new, and the gigantic and wonderful progress, which is here uni- 
versal is universally stamped with such elegance and beauty, as 
have only come with half centuries in older communities." 


The writer is indebted for much of the substance of the above 
sketch, to Neill's History of Minnesota. Minnesota as it is in 1870, 
Footprints of Time, American Cyclopedia, United States Statutes, 
Tit. Treaties, History of St. Paul and Ramsey County and several 
state and other publications. 

The foregoing statistics show the progress of the State up to 
the closing period of this history, 1879, soon after which time they 
were compiled. 

But many years have passed since that date, and it is, there- 
fore, proper to add now, a few additional facts and figures, exhibit- 
ing the advancement of the State, up to the present time— the year 
of publication of this work. 

Population of the state In 1895 1,574,619 

Assessed value of real estate , $353,157,461 

Assessed value of personal estate 104,012,823 

Total $857,170,284 


University of Minnesota, including Department of Agriculture 
and Experiment Station. 

Four State Normal Schools. 

Eighty eight State High Schools. ■• 

Over Six thousand District Schools. 

There are also many denominational Schools and Colleges in 
the state. 

Permanent SUte University Fund. . . . Sl.034.067. 

Permanent State School Fund 811,000,000. 

And these funds are constantly increasing. 

Institute for Defectives, embracing School for the Blind, School 
for the Deaf, School for the Feeble-minded. Faribault. 

Three Hospitals for the Insane, and a fourth one to be erected 

State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children. 

State Agricultural Society, possessing extensive grounds and 

State Reform School. Red Wing. 

State Historical Society, having a Library of over 50,000 vol- 
umes. St. Paul. 

State Soldiers Home. Minnehaha Falls. 

State Library of 2."), 000 volumes, which is in fact the great 
State Law Library. St. Paul. 

Stale Reformatory. St. Cloud. 


State Prison. Stillwater. 

There are now 7,000,000 acres of cultivated land in the State 
and 100,000 farms. 

Production of three great cereals. ( Taken from latest report 
of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.) 

Wheat 41,210,000 bushels. 

Corn 24,]92,000 " 

Oats 43,578,000 

By this report Minnesota is the greatest wheat growing state 
in the Union, except one. 


Horses, all ages 523,205. 

Cattle, including cows 945,490. 

Sheep 352,-347. 

Hogs 278,251. 

There are six thousand miles of Rail Roads in operation in the 

There are 146 State Banks and 79 National Banks, and numer- 
ous private Banks. 

There are also many State Boards, Societies and Commissions, 
which we cannot name here. 


Within the past decade it has been discovered that Minnesota 
possesses the greatest iron ore district in the world and to-day a 
great number of mines are open aud worked, from which a vast 
output is shipped to the large iron manufacturing centers. The 
business is yet but in its infancy. 


According to the national census of 1890, there were then em- 
ployed in the State 79,629 persons, working in the manufacturing 
establishments of the State, to whom there was paid, as wages, 

One of the great industries of the State is the manufacture of 
flour. The production of flour exceeds that of any other state in the 
Union, and in fact nearly equals the output of all the other states 

Ten million of barrels was the output for the year ending De- 
cember 31, 1894. 

The flour of this State is sent to all parts of the world. 

The manufacture of lumber has reached enormous proportions. 
The lumber cut, at Minneapolis alone, for 1894, amounted to 
491,256,793 feet, besides shingles and lath. 

The still existing vast forests of pine, give the assurance of the 
continuance of this industry for years to come. 


Numerous other manufacturing establishments exist throughout 
the State, such as paper makers, extensive brick yards, potteries, 
agricultural implement, sash and door and furniture factories, and 
others too uumorous to mention. 


The production of butter and cheese is already very great, an- 
nually, the former by the last report exceeded 40,000.000 pounds 
and the latter 2,000,000 pounds. Creameries are numerous through- 
out the State. 

The reader may now compare these latter figures with those 
given for 1879, and he will be surprised and gratified at the truly 
wonderful advancement of the State and may indeed, say that here 
"Progress swells on every breeze." 




It has been wisely said "The physical characteristics of a land 
should be known, to correctly understand the history of its people." 
It is indeed true that the skies that are over them, the scenes that 
are around them, the climate they live in, even the food they eat 
and the very air they breath, all exert a powerful influence on the 
lives, the character and the achievements of a people. 

Faribault county is situated on the southern boundary of the 
State, in the valley of the Blue Earth river, and in the center of the 
most southern tier of counties. It is bounded on the north by Blue 
Earth and Waseca counties, on the east by Freeborn county, on the 
south by Winnebago and Kossuth counties, in the State of Iowa and 
on the west by Martin county. 

That portion of the State, now comprised within the boundaries 
of this county, with much other territory, was by authority of the 
general government, surveyed and divided into townships and lesser 
subdivisions in the year 1854. 

The county is comprised of townships 10 L, lO'J, 103, 101 north, 
in Ranges 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 west, of the 5th principal Meridian, 
being twenty Congressional, or Land-survey townships, each six 
miles square, each township containing thirty-six square miles, each 
square mile being a section. Hence the county is thirty miles long, 
east and west, and twenty-four miles wide, north and south, and con- 
tains seven hundred and twenty- three square miles, or sections in- 
cluding fractions, and 463,184 acres of land, of which there is 
covered by water 9,151 acres. When the county was first formed, 
it embarced four more towns on the west, in Range 29,butthey were 
detached and added to Martin County, by act of the Legislature 
passed May 23d, 1857. 

The general surface of the county is not broken or hilly, but is 
slightly and desirably varied, or in other words, is gently undulat- 
ing, or "rolling,'" thus affording natural drainage and facilities for 
artificial drainage, if desired. There is but little waste, or unpro- 


ductivG lands. The surface of the county permits the making of 
good, dry roads, of easy grade and at little cost. 

And here some britf observations as to the geological forma- 
tion and history of the land, embraced within the limits of the 
county, are appropriate. 

Tlie county is covered heavily by drift, or diluvium, and there is 
no where any out crop of the bedrock, wilnin the county. 

But some of our readers may be pleased with some explanation 
of the term •'drift,' in this connection. 

The following quotations, relating to this subject, are taken 
from Wells' First Principles of Geology: 

••The theory of the drift, which has been originated by Lyell, 
Hitchcock and other authorities, and which is now accepted by 
most geologists, is substantially as follows: It is supposed that 
about the close of the tertiary epoch, a subsidence of land took 
place in the Northern Hemisphere, which was accompanied by a 
great reduction of temperature, and that as in consequence of this 
access of cold. Glaciers formed upon most of the northern mountains 
and as in Greenland, at the present day, extended to the sea 

"Large islands and bergs of floating ice, laden with detritus 
(clay, sand, gravel and rock-masses) were also moved southerly, 
from the Polar regions, by oceanic currents. 

••When the ice bergs and floes melted, their burdens of detritus, 
including fragments of rock, both large and small, which^had been 
frozen into them, as parts of glaciers or coast ice, would fall to the 
bottom of the ocean and in this way boulders, as well as finer ma- 
terials, would be scattered over extensive areas." P. P. 304, 30iJ. 

••Finally, it is supposed, a gradual elevation of the submerged 
lands took place and that during their re-emergence the materials 
which covered them, were still further modified by exposure to the 
disturbing and stratifying action of waves, ice, tides and currents." 
pg. 305 ••In America the drift extended from the Polar regions, as 
far south as about latitude, forty degrees." pg. 297. 

And now a further word in reference to boulders, or lost rocks, 
so many of which are scattered over the surface of our county. 
••The boulders which are everywhere characteristic of the drift for- 
mation, vary in size from a few pounds, to masses of hundreds, or 
even thousands of tons weight. They are generally more or less 
rounded in form, as if water worn, and are unlike the rocks in place, 
which underlie them." 

'•In short » * * the most superficial observer could hardly 
fail to arrive at the conclusion, that they are foreign lo the localities 
where they occur and must have been transported from a distance, 
by some powerful agency;" such as that above indicated. (Pg. 298. ) 


It is, perhaps, proper to say that other theories, explanatory of 
the drift phenouiena, have been proposed fi'om time to time. 

For what is further said here, in reference to this subject, the 
writer is indebted to that admirable work, "The Geological and 
Natural History Survey of Minnesota," volume I, chapter 14. 

"The whole of Faribault county lies within the basin of the 
Blue Earth River, which flows northerly; * * * while the east 
fork of this river, formed by Jones and Brush Creeks, in the south- 
east part of the county, flows west * * * and joins the main stream. 
The middle part of the north third of the county, is drained by the 
head streams of the Maple river, which is tributary to the Le Sueur 
and through that to the Blue Earth River. The northeastern town- 
ship is drained principally by the Big Cobb river, also reaching the 
Blue Earth through the Le Sueur river. The general slopes of the 
surface thus descend northward; fx-om the southeast part of the 
county westerly to Blue Earth City, and from its west boundary east- 
erly to the Blue Earth river." 

"The thickness of the drift upon this county, probably varies 
fi'om 75 to 200 feet, averaging 125, or jjerhaps 150 feet. It is com- 
posed mainly of till, which encloses occasional veins and beds of 
gravel and sand." 

"The streams have channelled from thirty to one hundred feet 
into the drift." 

"The bottom land, five to twenty feet above the streams, is 
mainly from a quarter to a half mile wide, bordered by steep blutfs^ 
that rise to the * * * expanse of till' * * * which covers the 
whole county, excepting two belts of morainic hills. One of these 
extends from (the town of ) Kiester, in the southeast corner of the 
county, northwestward, nearly to Delavan; and the other, which 
lies mostly in Iowa, includes the southern edge of Elmore and Pilot 

"The mean elevation of the county is 1,130 feet, very nearly 
above the sea. The highest points, the hills in section 3, Kiester, 
are about 1,400 feet above the sea, and its lowest land, in the val- 
leys of the Blue Earth and Maple rivers, slightly less than 1,000." 

In conclusion of this subject here, it is interesting to learn that 
in the Ice Age, the basin of the Blue Earth river covering almost all 
of this county and portions of adjoining counties, there existed a 
great glacial lake, dammed on the north by the barrier of the wan- 
ing ice sheet of the last glacial epoch, during a considerable time, 
in which this was retreating northward and northwestward from the 
south line of the State, and from its eastern moraine, until its re- 
cession uncovered the present avenue of drainage, to the northeast, 
by the Minnesota river. Until this avenue of outflow was opened, 
"the outlet of this glacial lake was in Kossuth CountJ^ Iowa, at the 

22 lllSToliV OF 

head of the most southern branch of the Blue Earth river, where 
Union Slough occupies a continuous channel from the head-waters 
of the Blue Earth to Buffalo creek and the east fork of the Des 
Moines." The depth of this lake in the north part of this county, 
ranged from tifty to one hundred and twenty five feet. 

But unnumbered centuries have rolled away since the tremen- 
dous "ice age." of which our knowledge at best, is but conjectural. 
Let us resume the description of the county, as it is known in our 
own time. 

The county is well watered throughout, the number and distri- 
bution of the streams and lakes being admirable, a*: will appear by 
a glance at the map of the county. The main streams are the Blue 
Earth, Maple and Cobb rivers, and Coon, Badger, Olter, South, 
Middle, Elm. Foster and Brush creeks, and many small, nameless 
rivulets. There are also the following lakes: Minnesota, Bass, 
Maple, Pilot Grove, Ozatonka, Walnut, Swan and two Rice lakes, 
besides a number of small lakelets not named. Minnesota lake is 
the largest body of water in the county. In digging wells water is 
usually found in abundance at fifteen to seventy feet depth. The 
well water is very pure, clear and cold, and is slightly impregnated 
with lime. The streams are indeed "living waters," pure and cold, 
and usually running with rapid current, over gravelly beds. The 
lakes are beautiful sheets of water, from twenty rods to three 
miles in diameter, and are famous for their crystal purity, reflecting 
in their depths the changing foliage of the groves upon their banks, 
and the blue and clouds of the summer skies. There is a strange 
fascination in the silent beauty of these placid mirror-like sheets of 
water with their frame-work of dark green timber borders. And 
when it is remembered that here the Indian, not long since, was 
often seen in his swift canoe skimming over the surface, and that 
about these lakes ho lived and loved, made war and followed the 
chase, immagination needs add but little, to invest the scenery with 
romantic interest. 

Timber is very well distriljuted throughout the county for a 
prairie country and is found in sutficient quantities to supply the 
demand for fuel and other purposes for many years. The facilities 
for procuring coal from the South and building lumber from the 
North, by rail, lessens constantly the demand for native limber. 

The timber is confined mainly to the borders of the lakes and 
streams and is of great practical advantage to the country besides 
adding to the beauty of the landscape in breaking up the monotony 
of "the billowy sea of land." 

It consists of basswood, burr-oak, black oak, black walnut, 
butternut, cherry, hickory, ash, red elm, water-elm, ironwood, box- 
elder, Cottonwood, poplar, hard and soft maple, hawthorn, dogwood, 


hackberry, willow and several other varieties. The predominant 
and most useful kinds are basswood, oak, walnut, maple, cotton- 
wood and elm. In addition to the above, the prairie farmers, 
throughout the county, have set out groves on their lands, of one to 
ten acres of i-apidly growing varieties of forest trees, which add 
greatly to the beauty of the country and what is more important, 
to their comfort and convenience, such groves affording agreeable 
shade in the heat of summer and protection from the storms of 
winter. The people of the villages too, have set out vast numbers 
of shade and ornamental trees, about their premises, along the lines 
of their streets and on the public squares. The prediction may well 
be made, that twenty years hence there will be more timber in the 
county than at its first settlement and that owing to the extent of 
the groves, and the long lines of trees along the highways, the winds 
will be tempered and the climate greatly modified, and that the 
whole county will present the pleasing appearance of a natural 

The soil of the county is a black loam, having a considerable 
mixtui-e of sand, rendering it warm and causing a very rapid growth 
of vegetation. It abounds in mineral elements and is rich in organic 
ingredients, originating from the decay of the vegetable growth of 
many centuries. It cannot be surpassed in fertility and ranges in 
depth from two to four feet. The sub-soil is clay. The day will 
never come, probably, when it can be said that the soil of this county 
is "worn out." Wheat, oats, barley, corn, and potatoes are the 
principal productions. Rye, buckwheat, beans, millet, sorghum, 
broom- corn, flax and tobacco are raised with success. Garden 
vegetables, in great variety and perfection and in vast quanties are 
annually produced. Clover, timothy, red top and other tame grasses 
are raised successfully, but up to the present time, have not been 
much needed, owing to the great abundance and nutritive quality 
of the native grasses, which have proved abundantly suflicient, for 
pasturage and hay. All the cereals, grasses and vegetables raised 
in the middle states can be raised here and under the higher and 
better cultivation, which a large population and ample means will 
effect, in the future, this county will become one of the most pro- 
ductive and wealthy agricultural districts in the world. The real 
extent of the producing power of this soil, under high and careful 
tillage, is yet practically unknown, but it will be seen at no distant 
day and with astonishment. 

The climate of this county is that, speaking generally, of the 
State, but modified somewhat by the fact that the county is situated 
in the extreme southern part of the State. It is true the winters 
are usually longer and colder than in the more southern latitudes of 
the temperate zone, and some winters are colder, longer and 


stormier than others, but it often occurs that there is a milder 
winter here than in northern New York or in the New England 
states. And the winters here have ever been as bright and cheerful 
and marlccd with as much business activity and social and domestic 
enjoyments, both indoors and out, as they have been in any country 
north of Mason and Dixon's line. It is also true that when great 
storms of wind, snow or rain occur in Minnesota, they also usually 
occur in states much further south or east, and are equally severe ; 
and while the mercury sinks very low sometimes, unquestionable 
records prove that the climate here is much more equable, and subject 
to less sudden changes, than that of many other countries, with which 
no fault is ever found. But whatever disadvantages, if any, there 
may bo in the winters being longer or colder than in more .southern 
latitudes, they are amply counterbalanced by many great advan- 
tages. This is pre eminently the land of health and of physical and 
mental activity. The atmosphere is pure, dry and bracing. There 
are no tainted winds ; no stagnant waters and sluggish streams ; no 
malaria, no fevers, agues or pulmonary diseases. The bright eye, 
the ruddy cheek, the swiftly coursing blood and vital energy, the 
abounding health, which characterize the gi'eat majority of the 
people of this country, tell a story worth far more than "The balmy 
breezes," the "soft and fragrant air," and the "Pulseless langour" 
of " the Sunny South." 

Considerable attention has been paid to the cultivation of tame 
fruits. At an early day it was thought by some, that the climate 
was too severe to raise any fruits here with success, but this like many 
another absurd notion has been abandoned. Nature itself indicates 
that many varieties of fruit may be cultivated here as well as else- 
where. Among the wild fruit growing in abundance are crab apples, 
grapes, plums, cherries, gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries. 
Tame fruits are now raised throughout the county. Among the 
varieties of apples most generally successful, besides numerous 
seedlings, are the Duchess of Oldenburg, Red Astrachan, Fameuse, 
Golden Russets, Fall Stripe, or Saxton, Haas, Tetofski, Wealthy, 
Sweet Pear apple and Tallmou Sweet. 

Several varieties of plums, pears and cherries, the Siberian 
crab, transcendent, hyslop and various seedlings, prove success- 
ful, and the small fruits such as currants, gooseberries, straw- 
berries, raspberries and grapes are raised in great abundance, and 
in wonderful perfection. 

The varieties of fish and game of this region are treated of fur- 
ther along in this book,, but a word must be said of the birds; yes 
the birds. Who would live in a country whore there are no birds? 
They are indeed a part of the great economy of nature for man's 
blessing. They have followed us up to this new land. From early 


spring, until late in the fall, the woods and groves are vocal with 
the notes of these airy choristers; and some remain with us during 
the winter. The robin, cat-bird, wren, blue-jay, martin, swallow, 
tom-tit, yellow birds, blue birds, sapsuckers, red birds, doves, hum- 
ming birds and the chickadee, come about our houses, build their 
nests, rear their broods and sing their summer songs. But we have 
many others not so friendly — the black bird, pigeon, woodpecker, 
the lark, king birds, owls, snow bunting, thrush, hawks, crows and 
the other varieties that are sought as game, and mentioned else- 
where. They are all welcome here, for they all have a useful pur- 
pose to fulfill. 

The natural scenery of this county is not such as is usually des- 
ignated as grand or striking, but it is picturesque and beautiful. 
The wide-spreading prairies dotted over with oak openings and 
green groves — the distant meandering lines of dark blue timber, 
bordering the streams — the silvery lakes glittering in the sun; 
deep, dark old forest glens and nooks; green hills and quiet vales, 
and the luxuriant and bright green foliage and vegetation, and the 
wealth of wild flowers, all through the spring and summer and 
the no less bright and manifold colored leaves of autumn, all 
viewed in the pure, bright atmosphere, must delight the eye of 
the most fastidious admirers of the beautiful in nature. Neither 
the poet nor the painter, here need hunger or thirst. 

And now, after this introductory chapter, in which it has been 
attempted to describe, briefly, the splendid territory— the arena— 
within whose boundaries the events to be recorded have occurred, 
we may enter upon the histoiy proper of the county. 







Anno Domini, 1855. 

" Spirit of Memory! 
Thou that hast garnered up the joys and tears, 
And all the human spoil of buried years, 

We bow to thee: 
O, lift the vail and bid the past appear." — Anon. 

The history of this county properly begins with the events of 
the year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty-five. 
It was in that year the county was named, its boundaries defined 
and its first settlement made by civilized men. But the pi-esent 
occupants of the soil were preceded by other races and it is a matter 
of profound interest to learn what is now known of them. 

At least two races of men, wholly different in origin, language, 
religion, habits and customs from each other and from our own 
race, have appeared here and each performed its part, in a great 
drama of national, or tribal and individual life, through unknown cen- 
turies and at last retired, the curtain, thick and dark, falling upon' 
scenes and hiding them forever. 

In the eloquent words of Senator Ramsey, it is truthfully said 
that, "Not a foot of ground that we tread but has been trodden by 
nations before us. Tribes of men have marched their armies over 
the sites of our towns and fields; fierce battles have been fought 
where churches now rear their spires; our plow-shares turn 
furrows amidst the graves of buried races and our children play 


where perhaps generations of children have played, centuries before 

When will the drama end and the curtain drop up(jn tlic lii^j^her 
and grander scenes being enacted hero by the present racer Never! 
exclaims the hopeful and confident. Yet, who in the light of all 
past human history, may answer thus 't But who were our prede- 
cessors here r What manner of men were they ? What of their 
deeds and destiny ? 


No mounds, or tumuli, have yet been discovered within the 
limits of this county to indicate that the mysterious and lost race of 
of the Mound Builders ever existed here, but several small copper 
implements and articles of pottery, such as is usually believed to be 
the remains of that forgotten race, have been found, and at some 
distance south of us, in the state of Iowa, and in several of the 
counties on the east, north and west of this, their undoubted works 
exist; from all of which it may be confidently inferred, that they 
knew and probably inhabited, this intervening territory. 

It may reasonably be expected that still more conclusive evi- 
dences will yet be discovered, in, or near, this county, that they 
once existed here. 

They were a prehistoric race and but little is now known of 
them. Almost all memorials of them have perished from the earth. 
Even their true name, as a race, or people, is lost and they are now 
known and named only from the gre&t and curious mounds, extend- 
ing through the Mississippi vallej' from the Great Lakes to the gulf, 
which were the works of their hands. 

From what remains of them — these mounds — their contents and 
other evidences, it may fairly be determined that this "Ancient 
population was numerous and widely spread, as shown from the 
number and magnitude of their works and the extensive range of 
their occurrence." That they were not nomadic, but lived in vil- 
lages and settlements, generally near great rivers and their tribu- 
taries. They were far in advance of the American Indian in their 
knowledge of arts and in civilization. They were agriculturists and 
wore clothing of woven cloth and had comfortable dwellings. They 
had a variety of articles of food, of which fish was the principal one. 
They were industrious, even very laborious, and possessed consid- 
erable mechanical and artistic skill. They had some knowledge of 
the arts of war and of the construction of fortifications. 

They manufactured beautiful vases and other articles of pot- 
tery, and they could model clay into a variety of objects, such as 
birds, quadrupeds and the human face. 


They used sun-dried bricks. They mined for copper and other 
precious ores. They had a definite standard of measurement and 
they had tools of copper, silver and stone. They had axes, chisels, 
knives, mauls, hammers, crucibles, spear-points, slates and cups, 
beads and bracelets, all well finished. 

Though they cultivated the soil, it appears that they had no 
horses, oxen or carts. 

They had a system of hieroglyphic, or picture-writing, but un- 
intelligible now, and knew something of practical surveying. They 
had commercial relations with some now unknown and distant 
nations. They made toys for their children and had some articles 
of fine workmanship, for the adornment of their persons and the 
embelishment of their homes and temples. They had a sense of the 
humorous, as appears from the caricatures and grotesque figures 
they sketched on vases and other articles. 

They had a peculiar art, that of building mounds of earth, some 
of which were of vast size and of considerable height; some were 
circular, others square and others were circular enclosures. Some 
of their mounds, made on the level ground, were in the shape of 
animals, birds, bows, arrows and human figures. Some represented 
elephants, or mammoths, the turtle and immense serjients, and some 
the hide of some animal stretched on the ground. In some locali- 
ties these mounds and figures occupied as much as twenty acres of 
ground. It is supposed that some of these curious shaped earth- 
works, were used as fortifications, others as burial places of the 
distinguished dead, and others as places of sacrifice and religious 

The mounds built by the Indians, are quite different from those 
of the Mound-builders. It is a curious fact that the skulls found in 
the mounds of the Mound-builders, are of a shape entirely different 
fi'om those that characterize the Indian, and the shin-bones resur- 
rected from the same place, singularly flat, a peculiarity not noticed 
in the bones of any other tribe or race of people. 

The Mound-builders had a system of religion — they were sun- 
worshippers and believed in immortality and had many sacred places 
and temples for i-eligious worship . And here our summary must 
end. They have passed away into the deep darkness and voiceless 
silence of the long past centuries. From whence they came, who 
they were and whether, as has been said, they "Migrated to remote 
lands under the combined attractions of a more fertile soil and more 
genial climate, or whether they disappeared beneath the victorious 
arms of an alien race, or were swept out of existence by some 
direful epidemic, or universal famine, are questions probably be- 
yond the power of human investigation to answer." It seems prob- 


able that they disappeared because, as the poet Bryant has graphi- 
cally said — 

"The rod man came, 
The roaming huntcr-trlbes, warlike and fierce, 
And the Mound-builders vanished from the earth." 

Some late investigators have, however, claimed with much as- 
surance, that the Mound- builders were not a race, or people, separ- 
ate, or distinct from the Indian, but were, in fact, the ancestors of 
the Indians, who have degenerated. If so, the degeneration must 
have been very great indeed. At all events, the differences in the 
character and civilization of the Mound-builders and those of the 
Indians, were so great that, practically, they may well be deemed 
different races of men. 

But the day may come, probably will, when the pyramids of 
Egypt, the ancient ruined cities of the East and America and these 
mounds shall give up their secrets. Yea, the deep, deep sea shall 
some day surrender up the story of the lost Atlantis, even the story 
of the lost Lemuria. 


The occupants of this region of country at the time of, and 
probably for many centuries prior, to the advent of the white man, 
were certain bands of the Indian nation, known as the Sioux or 
Dakotas. The Dakotas were among the most populous, Varlike 
and powerful of the many savage nations which have inhabited the 
w'estern continent. 

They occupied a vast territory, including nearlj' all of Minne- 
sota, the Dakotas and a region of country west of the Missouri to 
the Rocky Mountains, and northward to the British Possessions. 
This great nation was divided into many tribes, four of which occu- 
pied nearly all of the country now comprising the state of Minne- 
sota. These tribes were named the Medawakonton, Wapeton, Wap- 
ekuta and Sissoton Sioux, and each of them had its own hereditary 
chief. Each of these tribes was subdivided into bands, each band 
having also its chief, and all these various bands had their own sep- 
arate territory, or hunting grounds, but their claims of territory 
were often indefinite and conllicting. They are a confederate 
pation. It appears from a consultation of the best authorities on the 
subject, that the territory on the headwaters of the Blue Earth 
river and adjacent on the west, was anciently claimed by the Wapa- 
kutas. or Leaf-Shooters and the Sissetons. In the year 1700. when 
M. Le Sueur erected a rude fort, near the mouth of the Blue Earth 
river, referred to el-sewhere in this work, this country was in pos- 
session of bands of the "Sioux of the west," known as the Ayavols 
(lowas) and Otoctatas (Ottoes). But little is known of any of these 


people and there is much confusion, some contradiction and a great 
deal of uncertainty in the very meagre records of the aboriginal in - 
habitants. Of tlae origin of the American Indian, as little is known 
as that of the Mound builders. 

The Dakotas have ever been a barbarous and nomadic race. As 
to their physical characteristics, they are of a red copper color, 
variously shaded. The men are of middle stature, large boned and 
well made, eyes black, half closed and lodged in deep sockets; high 
cheek bones, nose more or less aquiline, mouth large, lips rather 
thick and the hair of the head black, straight and coarse. In many 
tribes they pluck out all the hair of the beard. The general expres- 
sion of the countenance is gloomy; stolid and severe. The women 
are usually short in stature and have broad, homely features and 
low foreheads, and while they sometimes have an expression of 
mildness and pleasantness, beauty is rare among them. They are 
the slaves and drudges of their race. Both the men and women are 
great lovers of ornaments, and are usually loaded with beads, rings, 
bangles and tinkling gewgaws. 

The Indian has a fair understanding, a quick apprehension, a 
retentive memory and very acute senses and assumes a peculiar air 
of profound indifference, in his general appearance and actions. 

President Sparkes, of Harvard, says : "With a strength of 
character and a reach of intellect unknown in any other race of 
absolute savages, the Indian united many traits, some of them hon- 
orable and some degrading to humanity, which made him formidable 
in his enmity, faithless in his friendship, and at all times a danger- 
ous neighbor; cruel, implacable, treacherous, yet not without a few 
of the better qualities of the heart and the head; a being of con- 
trasts, violent in his passions, hasty in his anger, fixed in his revenge, 
j'^et cool in counsel, seldom betraying his plighted honor, hospitable, 
sometimes generous. A few names have stood out among them, 
which, with the culture of civilization, might have been shining 
stars on the lists of recorded fame."' 

The Indians of this region are strangers to letters and wholly 
untutored. They know but little of the simplest arts and nothing 
of science, and leave behind them no records, monuments, or other 
memorials, excei^t traditions of bloody deeds and some of their 
names given to states, mountains, rivers and localities. They are 
polytheists and their religion is a strange medley of superstitious 
incantations and sorceries, but yet has some redeeming, though 
crude, central ideas. 

Speaking generally of their religion, the wild Indians believe 
in a good God, known as the Great Spirit, and a bad God, both 
equal in power. They have, also, some minor Gods. They think 
the good God wants no thanks or p;:ayers. but the bad one they hate 


and fear, bribe and entreat. They believe in tiie immortality of the 
soul, and that their final destiny is the "Happy Hunting Grounds." 
They also believe in the existence of spiritual beings that are neither 
good Dor bad. 

But these Indians are devoid of any moral sense, or sense of 
moral obligation, or accountability, as connected with their religion. 
They have no code of morals. Their ideas of right and wrong are 
very shadowy and there are many ditfering shades, in their relig- 
ious beliefs. 

Their clothing is made of dressed skins and, since their ac 
quaintanco with the white man, cheap cloth and woolen blankets, 
and their dwoUings are rude, temporary shelters, made of skins and 
bark, called wigwams, or teepos, and are moved from place to place. 

They live by the chase and on wild rice and fish, and they also 
plant a little corn and raise a few potatoes, but the j' are much more 
skillful in planting a knife in a foe"s back and in raising scalps. 
They are indolent and provide only for today. The men think 
labor degrading and hence the women do all the work. The war- 
path and the chase are the occupations of the men and when en- 
gaged in these, they are active, persevering and untiring. The 
phrase, ••poverty, hunger and dirt," describes their normal condi 
tion. The attempts to civilize and christianize these Indians have 
proved an almost wasted labor. Yet of late years some little suc- 
cess has crowned these beneficent ert'orts. * 

The Dakotas like most other Indian peoples, delight in deeds 
of cunning, treachery and blood, but there have been a few notable 
individual exceptions. It really seems that •'the only hope for the 
Indian is to educate him, make him a citizen with a citizens rights 
and responsibilities and absorb him into the body politic." Re- 
cognizing and treating with the Indian tribes within our jurisdic- 
tion, as separate nations from ours, they remaining subject to their 
own barbarous laws and customs, must always prove a failure, in 
all attempts to civilize them. Of those who inhabited this land in 
the long ago, there is dimly shadowed in old and wild traditions, 
recounted by the early trappers and voyageurs, visions of wild 
orgies and deeds of such darkness, indecency and cruelty, that the}' 
may not be written and of which ••it is more blessed to be ignoi'- 
ant." We may know, however, that here in our own county have 
been Inward the twang of the bow and the sharp crack of the rille 
and the wild war-hoop of this wily savage — that here they lived for 
centuries, hunting over our prairies and fishing in the lakes and rivers 
and that this soil has witnessed the advance and retreat and drank the 
blood of many contending foes, and 

'•ITL're too tliiit eloquence was heard 
Around ttie council. litiht, 
Which made the sturdy warrior bold 
And nerved hloi for the llnhl."' 


But wasted by incessant wars, starved by famines, swept by 
pestilences, poisoned and demoralized by drunkenness, eaten up by 
loathsome diseases— always the helpless pray of greedy jjlunders— 
decimated to mere remnants and these forced to retire, bearing the 
burdens of great wrongs suffered, as well as done by them and 
chanting their weird dirges, so suggestive of the dark and hopeless 
future of their race, they are "moving on," toward the setting sun 
and final extinction. 

Upon no subject-race, except that of the Negro, perhaps, have 
ever been imposed such shames and frauds and wrongs, since the 
world began, as have been heaped upon the American Indian, and 
on the other hand, no oppressed race has ever struck back with 
such fiendish and persistent malignity as his, and in this matter of 
our dealings with the Indians, if God be just and man be immortal, 
and if all wrongs done by individuals and nations, must be righted, 
certainly, there is an awful day of reckoning coming sometime and 
somewhere, for somebody. 

But we must proceed, another and a mightier race is advancing 
to occupy the vacant lands. 

"I hear the tread of pioneers 
Of nations yet to be; 
The first low wash of waves, where soon 
Shall roll a human sea." 


Let us look about us for a moment. Casting an eye over the 
national field, we find that in 1855, Franklin Pierce was President 
of the United States. The nation then had a population of about 
27,000,000 of i^eople. The Missouri Compromise of 1820, which had 
restricted slavery, within certain limits, had been repealed and the 
Compromise of 1850, which, with other provisions, imbodied the 
odious Fugitive Slave Law, had practically proved a failure in the 
North, and the contest in regard to slave, or free territory, a feature 
of the"Irrepresible Conflict," was the great absorbing national ques- 
tion of the times, and finally led to civil war in Kansas, which raged 
for nearly three yeai-s. Stephen A. Douglass was then promulgat- 
ing the doctrine of "Squatter Sovereignity." The old Whig party 
had become extinct and its former adherents in the North, uniting 
with all the parties and factions opposed to the extension of slavery 
into the territories, was rapidly forming the great Republican 
party preparatory to the presidential contest of the next year. 


Turning our attention to Minnesota, it will be observed that a 
great tide of immigration had for several years been setting toward 
this territory, most of the new-comers locating in the eastern and 


and central counties, and the territory was enjoying an era of great 
prosperity. Willis A. Gorman was then governor of the territory, 
and Henry M. Ivico was our dele<rate in Congress. 

Un the third day of January, 1855, the sixth territorial legis- 
lature assembled at St. Paul. An important part of the business of 
the session was that of carving out of the grand domain of the terri- 
tory, many new counties. 


On the twentieth day of February, a)i act was passed entitled 
"An Act to Define the Boundaries of Certain Counties." By section 
six of said act, it is enacted, "That so much territory as is embraced 
in the following boundaries, l>e and the same is hereby establi-shed 
as the county of Faribault: beginning at the southwest corner of 
township one hundred and one (101) north, range twenty-three (23) 
west, running thence west on the boundary line between the territory 
of Minnesota and the state of Iowa, thirty-six miles to the township 
line, between ranges twenty- nine (29) and thirty (80) west; thence 
north on said township line twenty-four miles to the township line, be- 
tween one hundred and four (104) and one hundred and five (105) 
north; thence east on said line thirty-six (36) miles to the township 
line between range twenty-three and twenty-four west; thence south 
on said township line twenty-four (24) miles to the place of be- 

An api)ortionment of the territory was made at the same session 
of the legislature, for legislative purposes. District number ten 
(10), was composed of the counties of Le Sueur, Steele, Faribault, 
Blue Earth, Brown, Nicollet, Sibley, Pierce and Renville, and was 
entitled to one councilman and three representatives. 


The couniy of Faribault was so named in honor of Jean Baptiste 
Faribault. Gen. Henry H. Sibley, a gentleman of distinguished char- 
acter and abilities, and as well acquainted with the early history t)f 
the State, its prominent men and public affairs, as any other person 
in the State, and a member of the legislature, at the above session, 
in a letter answering an inquiry on this subject, says: 

St. Paul, Minn., May 13, 1872. 
J. A. KlESTER, Esq., 

Dear Sir: 1 have your favor of the 9th inst., and id reply beg leave to 
state, that while I have no positive inforruatiun on that point, my strong im- 
pression is, that your county was named for Jean B. Faribault, lie having been 
one of the oldest of our pioneers, and reference to that fact being the basis 
upon which some of our counties were designated. You are right in the state- 
ment that the city of Faribault was named for his son, Alexander Faribault, 
who was the founder of the town and still resides there. 1 think you will not 
go wrong in assuming that Faribault County was named for the senior ot that 
name. Very truly yours, 




In reply to a letter subsequently addressed to J. F. Williams, 
Esq., the courteous and efficient Secretary of the Minnesota Histori- 
cal Society, the following answer was received: 

St. Paul., Dec. 26, 1872, 
J. A. KiESTER, Esq., 

My Dear Sir: I am still unable to ascertain anything definite, or satis- 
factory, relative to the naming of Faribault County. I have tallied with sev- 
eral who (I thought) ought to know, but strange to say, they cannot tell any 
more than we can. I have written to others with even less success. * * «■ 
What I can learn, however, leads me to conclude that Faribault County was 
named for Jean Baptiste Faribault. It would seem natural, reasoning on gen- 
eral principles, that it should have been named for him. He was one of the 
very earliest pioneers of Minnesota. * * * He was a man of fine education, 
good abilities, considerable means and great influence, both among whites and 
Indians, at an early day. If, as was done frequently, counties were named 
after pioneers and early explorers, he would be the one selected. I am per- 
fectly satisfied as much as if I knew it, that Faribault County was named for 
Jean Baptiste Faribault. 

I remain yours truly, 

And who was 

Jean Baptiste Faribault? 

We find the following brief notice of him in the Collections of 
the Minnesota Historical Society, vol. 1. "He was the son of Bar- 
tholomew Faribault, who was born in Paris, France, and who be- 
came an eminent jurist in that country, but emigrated in ITSi, to 
Canada, and held office there until the downfall of the French 
dominion in America. 

"His son, the subject of this sketch, was born in Canada. At the 
age of 17 he entered on mercantile pursuits, at Quebec, and re- 
mained until 1796, when he yielded to his adventurous and active 
disposition and entered the Indian trade, engaging in John Jacob 
Astor's "North- Western Fur Company," as an agent. He was sent 
to Mackinac first, and soon after came to the upper Mississippi 
river, and after a brief stay at a post near the mouth of Des Moines 
river, became a resident of wliat is now Minnesota. He carried on 
a trade with the Indians for about half a century, the last forty 
years on his own account. He married in 1814 a half-breed daugh- 
ter of Major Hanse, then superintendent of Indian ailairs. Mr. Far- 
ibault espoused the cause of the United States, during the war of 
1812, and lost many thousand dollars thereby, as well as narrowly 
escaping with his life on several occasions. He labored all his life 
to benefit the red man, teach him agriculture and the arts of indus- 
try, and how to protect his interests. He had an unbounded influ- 
ence over many of them; his advice was never disregarded. He was 
prominent at all the treaties and councils and rendered the United 
States many valuable services." 


lu an address delivered bj' Gen. Sibley in 1856, we find the 
following further facts, in relation to Mr. Faribault. "He removed 
to this country in 1708. His career in this region was marked with 
more of adverse fortune, than usually occurs, even in the perilous 
life of an Indian trader. Shortly after the close of the war with 
Groat Britau, he was robbed by the Winnobagoes. at Prairie du 
Chien, of a large stock of goods, for which he never received any 
remuneration. Some years subsequently he fixed his residence 
upon Pikes Island, near Fort St. Anthony (now Snelling) and had 
barely established himself in his vocation of trader, when he was 
forced, by the Mandate of the Commandant of the Fort, to abandon 
his buildings and betake himself with his movable ])roperty to the 
bottom land on the east side of the Mississippi, where he erected 
new tenements. The following spring, the water, which was un- 
usually high, carried otf his houses and live stock, he and his family 
escaping in boats, by means of which he was fortunately enabled 
to save his goods and furs from destruction. Still undiscouraged, 
he built a house at the point now known as Mendota, where he 
resided many years, except during the winter months, when he as- 
sumed charge of his trading post at Little Rapids, on the Minnesota 
river. He acquired a considerable fortune though having met with 
so many reverses." 

In person, Mr. Faribault was below the medium height, of 
prepossessing appearance and of much dignity and franlvhess. It 
is said of him that he was a gentleman of the old French school, of 
Parisian style and of great affability and urbanity of manners and 
that, notwithstanding his long residence among savages and at the 
out post of civilization, in the far northwest, he never lost his ac- 
complishments and character of a well bred gentleman. It appears 
from a letter received from his grandson, that Mr. Faribault, in 
very early days, in company with General John C. Fremont and 
General Sibley, visited this region of country, on an exploring and 
hunting expedition, and that they were near what is now the local- 
ity of Blue Earth City, for some days. He lived to a great age and 
spent the last years of his eventful life with his sons, at Fairbault, 
in Rice county, in this State. He died Aug. 20th, 1860, and was at 
the time of his death, the oldest white resident of what is now Min 
nesota. Our county is indeed worthily named and its people should, 
some day, erect an appropriate memorial, in honor of him whose 
name the county bears. 

A brief notice of Alexander Faribault, the oldest and most 
prominent of the sons of Jean Baptiste Faribault, may be of inter- 
est. In a letter from a friend, who, at the writer's request, visited 
Mr. Faribault, we find the following statements: "He was born at 
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, in 1806. He is one-half French blood. 



one-fourth Scotch and one-fourth Sioux Indian. He settled at Port 
Snelling in 1819, and removed to Faribault (Rice County) in 1853, 
where he still resides (December 12, 1871). He is the father of ten 
children, seven of whom are now living He possesses a good busi- 
ness education and speaks the English language very correctly. 
Since his removal to Faribault, he has adopted the manners and 
customs of the whites and is a good citizen, public spirited and gen- 
erous to a fault, and has ever taken an active and lively interest in 
the growth and prosperity of Faribault, which was named for him. 
Mr. Faribault is quite actively engaged in business, and owns one 
of the best flouring mills in Faribault, which was built by him some 
eight years ago at a cost of twenty-five thousand dollars. His wife 
is a full blood, of the Dakota, or Sioux tribe of Indians, and still 
retains the dress and customs of her tribe. Mr. Faribault was chief 
of the Wabasha band of Sioux, up to the time of his settlement in 

It appears that Mr. Faribault once visited this region of 
country. It is stated in the history of Rice county, Minnesota, that 
he, "in the spring of 1833, followed the Indians south, to their hunt- 
ing grounds, located in the present county of Faribault. (Should 
have added Martin.) The place had an Indian name signifying 
chained lakes." 

He was a member of the second territorial legislature, being 
one of the representatives of legislative district number seven. 

He died November 28, 1882. 

The following tribute to his memory was written by one who 
knew him well. 

"He was a man of the kindliest feelings, the most inflexible in- 
tegrity and an eveness of temper, which was seldom ruffled. A man 
more universally beloved and respected has never departed from 
among us." 

The county being now bounded and named, we shall proceed to 


Moses Sailorwas the first permanent settler of Faribault county. 
He was born in Monroe county, state of Ohio, in the year 1808, and 
was married at the age of twenty-four years. He has always been 
a farmer by occupation. Immediately after marrying he emigrated 
to Elkhart county, Indiana, which was then quite a new and sparce- 
ly settled country. Here he continued to reside for twenty-two 
years. His wife died in 1849, leaving him with nine children. In 
the fall of the year 1854, he emigrated, with his family, to Chicka- 
saw county, Iowa, where he took up quarters for the winter, in the 
village of Bradford. Finding that the country there had already 
been mainly taken up and, as he says, "Not being new enough to 


suit his pioneer tastes." and desirin;? to get lands for liis boys as 
well as a home for himself, he concluded to prospect further, as soon 
as the weather would permit in the spring. Having heard very 
favorable accounts of the territory of Minnesota, he. near the first 
of April, 1855, in company with Jamas Little and John Love, carry- 
ing their guns, provisions and blankets, started on foot from Brad- 
ford, on an exploring expedition into Minnesota. After a day's 
journey, neither roads nor settlements existed, but striking out 
boldly into the wilderness, they directed their course by the aid of 
a pocket compass and a map. for the head waters of the Blue Earth 
river, as that stream was somewhat indefinitely laid down on the 
maps of that time. The first point at which they struck the Blue 
Earth river, was on the east branch, about two miles east of the site 
of Blue Earth City. Here they stopped and built a fire on the eighth 
day of April, at about eleven (11) o'clock in the forenoon. Leav- 
ing Mr. Little here. Mr. Sailor and Mr. Love proceeded across the 
prairie for the west branch of the river, to examine the timber and 
lay of the country. They reached the west branch on section twen- 
ty, in town 102. range 27. as was indicated by the section stakes and 
quite near where Mr. Sailor subsequently took liis "claim." 

After prospecting for a few hours and being much pleased with 
the country, they returned to Mr. Little and then all proceeded to 
the junction of the two branches of the river, afterwards known as 
"the forks," near which they were so fortunate as to find a small, 
rough log cabin, on the north bank of the stream. It was very 
rudelj' built, quite low and not more than ten by twelve feet in size, 
and had evidently been built as a mere temporary shelter. 

This cabin had been erected by one Thomas Holmes, of 
Shakopee, a famous explorer and town-site locator, in the early 
days of the territory of Minnesota. He was in this region in 1854. 
and erected this cabin, with the intention of making a claim of the 
land adjoining, with a view of eventually laying out a town in the 
vicinity. This he never did, however, but went so far as to employ 
two men. whose names are now forgotten, to go upon the land and who 
occupied this cabin a short time. But Mr. Holmes not coming with 
provisions, as agreed, they returned to Shakopee and the project 
of laying off a town was given up by him. This cabin was the first 
advance made in the building of a human habitation, on the capacity 
and architectural style of an Indian tepee. It was the first house 
erected in the county. To return to our companj', it being now 
near night, they concluded to camp here. This country at the time, 
presented a very favorable aspect. The snow of which there 
seemed to have been but little during the winter, had all disap- 






'''^» vC 






^"•^ ' 


^ .is 



The First Settler. 


The ground was dry and the grass just starting. The streams 
were very low and easily forded. A bright, warm sun, cloudless 
skies and a mild and balmy atmosphere, welcomed our explorers to 
this new land. 

The next morning they started northward to Mankato, exploring 
the timber and adjacent prairies and camped in the evening near 
Jackson's lake, in Blue Earth county. The next day they reached 
Mankato, which they found to be a small village of some fifteen 
houses, large and small, and a frontier hotel, where they stopped. 
This town had been laid out some three years before. Here they 
learned that it was currently reported that the Winnebago Indians, 
who were soon to be removed from their location in the more north- 
ern part of the territory, were to be located upon a "Reservation" 
on the head-waters of the Blue Earth river, in Faribault county. 
Should this occur, our pioneers would, of course, have to abandon 
any intention of settling in this county. They then proceeded to 
prospect the country for a few days on the Blue Earth, Maple and 
Cobb rivers, in Blue Earth county, with which they were highly 
pleased. At this time there were but a few scattered settlers in 
Blue Earth county and but one small village — Mankato. At an 
election held in that county, in the fall of this year, but eighty-six 
votes were polled. There were but a few settlers in Freeborn 
county, and this county and all the territory west, and northwest 
was vacant. 

Being entirely satisfied with the country, our company returned 
by their former route, through this county to Bradford and deter- 
mined to remove into Blue Earth county, immediatly in the vicinity 
of Mankato. In pursuance of this conclusion, Mr. Sailor, on or 
about the 8th day of May, started from Bradford with his family 
of children consisting of five sons, Jacob, Able, Daniel, William 
and Manuel and three daughters, Esther, Amanda and Roxina, all of 
whom subsequently remained here as residents of the county. He 
was accompanied by one Solomon Myers and Archibald Morris and 
family. They travelled in covered wagons heavily loaded with house- 
hold goods and provisions, each wagon drawn by two yoke of oxen, 
the great motive power of new countries. They had decided to settle 
somewhere on the Maple river, in Blue Earth county, and the route 
they travelled lay by Clear lake, in Iowa, Walnut lake and Minne- 
sota lake, in this county. This country as before intimated was 
then a trackless wilderness, no roads, or bridges, no human habita- 
tions and the "trail" made by Mr. Sailor and his company, was the 
first wagon track made in the county, by any settler. They stopped 
on the Maple river, about ten miles from Mankato, where Mr. 
Sailor left the company in camp and proceeded to Mankato. Here 
he found that the Indians had selected their Reservation in Blue 


Earth county. He then concluded to return and settle on the head- 
waters of the Blue Earth, in this county, but Mr. Morris decided 
not to accompany him and remained in Blue Earth county a short 
time. Mr. Sailor accompanied by Mr. Myers travelled on his re- 
turn by the route he had taken when prospecting, there being no 
track, or road however, and on the twenty-fifth day of May, near 
noon, he had reached his jouney's end and stopped on the west half of 
the southwest quarter of section twenty, which with the south half 
of the southeast quarter of section nineteen, adjoining, all in town- 
ship one hundred and two, of range twenty seven, he determined 
to claim. 

On locating Mr. Sailor proceeded to break up about five acres 
of land, which he planted to corn and potatoes, camping in the 
meantime, in his wagon and a large tent, which he had brought 
with him. 

This sod corn produced plenty of "roasting ears,'' and fodder 
suflScient for one horse and a dozen hogs during the succeeding 
winter. The potatoes yielded abundantly and were of a superior 
quality. After getting in his crop, he proceeded to erect a log 
house. This building was eighteen by twbntyfour feet and one 
story high and was completed in about a week, except the roof, 
which was partly covei'ed by the tent cloth. And this was the 
second house in this county. 

Provisions now getting scarce, Mr. Sailor went about 120 miles 
into Iowa, for a supply. He was gone some twelve days and on 
his return he finished up his house, putting on a "shake" roof. 
This old house long since disappeared, but it was once the head- 
quarters of the county— the only hotel, or stopping place, in a vast 
region for sometime — the first resort of new comers — the scene of 
many a hospitable entertainment and of many a frontier dance and 
social gathering in the early days. The boys set to work to break 
up some ten acres more of land in the early summer and a small 
additional tract was broken in October, which Mr. Sailor says did 
not prove valuable, as the sod instead of rotting, dried in tough 
strips and pieces like old sheep skins and lay about for some three 
or four j^ears. He says he knows more about "breaking" now, 
than he did then. 

During the year many Indians, sometimes as many as two 
hundred, or three hundred, in a company, would call on Mr. Sailor, 
generally wanting tobacco, sugar, pork and sometimes "firewater," 
which latter article he never let them have. In fact the country 
was full of small bands of roving Indians, who were engaged in hunt- 
ing and fishing and sometimes on the war-path, but he says they 
were always peaceable and well disposed towards him. 


In those days he says game and fur-bearing animals were very 
plenty, especially wolves, foxes, mink, otter and elk, though but 
few deer. There were squirrels, rabbits, gophers, prairie chickens, 
geese, ducks, cranes, some few black bear, panthers, wild cats, 
wood chucks, musk rats and skunks, and the lakes and streams 
were stocked with fish. He further says that on his arrival he found 
no buffalo, but observed a stamping or herding ground near the 
state line, where a large number of buffalos had stopped during the 
preceding winter. During the year the health of himself and fam- 
ily was very good, and the weather until winter set in, unusually 

He has continued to reside on the land he first took up. His 
farm has been largely imjiroved and he has long since erected a 
comfortable frame house and large barn. Mr. Sailor is of medium 
stature, well built and has black hair and a long dark beard, now 
well sprinkled with gray; dark eyes and dark complexion, and in 
his prime was a man of great muscular power and endurance— hard 
working and courageous. He belongs to that race of hardy adven- 
turous pioneers, known only in the far west, who have the courage 
to abandon the advantages of old settled countries and go upon the 
extreme frontier, or plunge into the wilderness and amid want and 
hardships and privations, surrounded by many dangers, open up the 
ways of settlement and civilizatioD. 

He remarried some years ago (1869), and is passing his declin- 
ing years in ease and comfort, owing no man aaything, strictly 
honest in his dealings, hosjDitable and a Jackson democrat. In the 
early days of the county, he served the public well and faithfully 
for some years as County Commissioner. But he now takes no in- 
terest in politics, or public affairs, except to vote. He says he has 
no ambitions to gratify and hates turmoil and strife. May the even- 
ing of his days be cloudless, and his sun of life set in tranquility and 
peace, preluding a still brighter day that may break for him on the 
other shore. 

Since writing the above sketch, Mr. Sailor departed this life. 
He died February 14, 1896. 


A short time after Mr. Sailor had located, Austin R. Nichols and 
Harry G. Roberts, called upon him, having followed his wagon 
track from the north. 

In a letter to the writer Mr. Nichols says, his and Robert's act- 
tual residence (or settlement) dates June 8th, and that Mr. E. Crosby 
came in a few days after their settlement. 

These persons located in town 104, range 28, now Winnebago 
city township. 


Mr. Archibald Morris, having concluded to follow Mr. Sailor 
arrived about this time. In June also came Henry T. Stoddard and 
Newel Dewey, and selected claims. As they had only come to look 
out the land, they remained but a short time, but about the first of 
November following, Mr. Stoddard returned, accompanied by his 
wife and his father, Mr. Dewey and Henry R. Walker. They all 
settled in town 103, range -9, now Verona. 

A man by the name of White, with whom Mr. Sailor had become 
acquainted on the Cedar river, in Iowa, came to the county with his 
wife and son, about the first days of ,Iuue, and took a claim near 
W^alnutlake, in town 103, range 25. He erected a "shanty," broke 
up several acres of land and planted a few potatoes, but soon went 
back to Iowa. He returned in the fall and liarvestcd his crop — some 
fourteen bushels— and brought them to Mr. Sailor. At this time he 
discovered that he had taken his claim on a school section and could 
not hold it. He left the country again and never returned. 

Benjamin Gray and family and Aaron Mudge and family, be- 
came residents of the county this year. Orlow Webster. James L 
McCrery, J. G. Whitford, W. H. Furness and Rufus Nichols, visited 
the county and selected claims, and the next year brought in their 
families and remained. James .lohnson was among the settlers of 
this year. Alexander Johnson visited the county but did not remain. 
The next year he returned and became a permanent resident. 

In the latter part of August. Levi Billings. Sr., and AlWert Bill- 
ings, John Boon and his sons Nelson and William and Crawford W. 
Wilson passed through the county and called on Mr. Sailor. Mr. 
Wilson returned in the fall with his family, accompanied by Jacob 
Miller, and took a claim in town 101. range 27, now Elmore. 

Mr. Billings, Sr., and one Dickinson and Rufus Clark, all resi- 
dents of Iowa, had for a number of seasons i^revious to this, been in 
this county hunting buffalo calves and elk, which they shipped to 
Chicago, Illinois, and sold at large prices. Mr. Billings was 
thoroughly acquainted with the country and determined to locate a 
town near the "forks" of the Blue Earth river, either on the same 
ground, or in the vicinity of the present location of Blue Earth City. 
In pursuance of this design, in the autumn of this year, he sent in 
a number of teams loaded with jjrovisions and the irons and castings 
for a saw mill, which he designed to erect near the forks, on the east 
branch of the Blue Earth, the next spring. With these loads came 
Albert Billings, Levi Billings, Jr., William M. Scott and one Rouse. 
Several of these parties designed to remain here during the winter, 
but for some cause, after engaging Messrs. Gray and Mudge, to get 
out the mill timbers during the winter, which they did, they all 
returned to Iowa, all purposing to come again to the county in the 


Owing to various unfavorable circumstances, Mr. Billings' inten- 
tion of laying off a town and erecting a mill was never carried out, and 
the timbers, designed for the mill, were subsequently used for a 
bridge across the east branch of the Blue Earth river, near Blue 
Earth City, and was the first bridge across that stream. 

During this autumn, Henry Schuler, also, made a flying visit to 
the county, and was so well jjleased with the country that he returned 
the next spring. On his return, an accident occurred to him, which 
nearly cost him his life. He had selected a, claim across the Blue 
Earth river, west of Stoddard's, where he was stopping. The water 
being very high at the breaking up in the spring, he had constructed 
a rude raft of logs, on which he passed back and forth to his work 
on his claim. On one occasion, some time in March, when far out in 
the stream, his raft swamped and he went down, but fortunately 
caught hold of some limbs and tops of small trees. After a long 
struggle in the water, which was very cold, swimming, and wading 
to his neck, he reached the west bank, nearly exhausted. He rested 
a moment, but found he should freeze to death, very soon, as the 
wind was very cold. He could not re-cross the stream and there 
were no residents on the west side. He must keep moving, and as 
there was no other way of saving his life, he started northward, but 
was compelled to wade, or swim, a number of streams, until at length 
he reached a house, near Vernon, in Blue Earth county. He was so 
worn out and chilled, that he could not have gone a mile further. 
Here he recuperated somewhat and then went to Mankato. At 
Stoddard's, as Schuler did not return, it was concluded he had been 
drowned and Stoddard proceeded at once to Mankato also, where 
was the nearest blacksmith shop, to have some grappling hooks 
made to drag the river for Schuler's body. Stoddard had arrived 
at the shop and had just given his order, for the hooks, which were 
to be made at once, when suddenly Schuler stepped into the shop ! 
The hooks were not needed. 

The names above given include all those, so fa.r as the writer has 
been able to learn, after the most careful inquiry, who settled in the 
county, or visited it with the intention of locating here, in 1855. 

The list of actual settlers is very short. 

It is curious to observe, as we proceed with this history, how 
and when, the men who have taken a large part in the public affairs 
of the county and in its gi-owth and development, appeared here 
upon the scenes of their life work. And it is worthy of record, as a 
valuable historic fact, that this county has been fortunate, beyond 
most others, in the character of its inhabitants generally from the 
beginning. With but rare exceptions, they have ever been an intel- 
ligent, law-abiding and industrious people. Among them too, even 
from the earliest years, have been quite a number of men of more 


than ordinary ability and of very liberal education in the schools 
and professions. And these facts have had their legitimate results, 
apparent on every hand. 


Notliing more than a few garden vegetables and some sod corn 
were raised during the year and the improvements made, consisted 
only of a few log cabins and some acres of breaking. The winter 
set in about the fourteenth day of December. The snows fell deep 
and the cold became severe and the year closed in a hard winter. 

The monotony in the lives of the few lonely residents here during 
that winter, was broken occasionally by visits among themselves and 
the Indians favored them with a few calls, which, however, were 
never returned But very important events were near at hand, as 
will be seen in the next chapter. 



A. D. 1856. 

The year 1856 was an eventful and ever memorable one in the 
history of this county. The record of its events reads lilte a 

While during tlie winter of 1855-6, the few settlers here were 
living quietly awaiting the events of the future, and not knowing 
what was in store for them, far away from the borders of the 
county, plans were being laid by men who had never been within 
its limits, which were greatly to affect its future and control the 
lives and shape the destinies of many people. 

The first important matter of the year demanding our attention 
was the project of certain persons whom we shall name, the 


On a cold stormy night in the last days of January 1856, James 
B. Wakefield, Henry P. Constans, Spier Spencer and Samuel V. 
Hibler, with several others, whose names are not important to this 
history, were assembled in a small store by a warm stove, in the 
town of Shakopee, in Scott county, Minnesota. All were poor in 
purse, but in youth, health and courage, were rich and hopeful. 

This was a year ever memorable in Minnesota of inflated prices 
of land and of wild speculations. Immigrants had been coming 
into the territoiy in great numbers and for several years past great 
improvements had been made and fortunes acquired in a day, by 
speculators in lands, town-sites and corner lots. The pros- 
pects for the year just beginning were very flattering. The con- 
versation of this small company turned upon these interesting sub- 
jects and the project was proposed of striking out somewhere and 
founding a city. Others were doing this very thing and were 
rapidly acquiring wealth and why should they not do the same? 
The company was "impecunious" it was true, but what of that — 
"where there is a will there is a way." So it was then and there 
agreed to go forth into the wilderness and find a suitable place for 
a town-site, survey and plat it and settle down as permanent citi- 
zens and build a town. Speculation was not the sole motive of this 
project. A desire to secure permanent locations, the establishment 
of business and to contribute their mite, toward the building up 


and development of the country, as well as the battering of their fin- 
ancial condition, induced this determination. 

The first intention was to go into Freeborn countj', but on ex- 
amining the map of southern Minnesota, the valley of the Blue 
Earth river, fixed the attention of the company The buffalo and 
elk hunter, the trapper, the Indian and the explorer, had already 
told their stories, of the beauty and fertility of the Blue Earth 
valley. Thomas Holmes, heretofore mentioned, had talked in 
glowing language of the forks of the Blue Earth river, as an eligi- 
ble location for a town and so to the head-waters of the Blue Earth 
river, our company decided to go. 

The winter had been long and cold. It was now the beginning 
of February and the snow lay twenty inches deep on the level 
and great drifts were piled in every direction, but what are such 
difiicultes to western energy, bent on great projects? 

Our little company nothing daunted, hired one Huffman, with 
his team and sled, which might have been named the Argo, and 
gathered together a few provisions, consisting of flour, pork, 
beans, some culinary utensils and a ten gallon keg of a peculiar 
fluid extract of rye, which latter article had been recommended by 
solicitous friends, as a valuable medicine in cases of frost-bites, 
snake-bites, chills, or general prostration, and well armed with 
guns, pistols and plenty of ammunition, they started for the forks of 
the Blue Earth, across a trackless region, like the Argonauts in 
pursuit of the golden fleece, across unknown seas. 

The cold was intense and the roads, where there were any. were 
blockaded. South of Mankato no roads existed then and after a 
tedious journey, on the 6th day of February. 1856, our company 
near evening crossed the lands where Blue Earth City now stands, 
and proceeded about a mile further south, to the cabin of Moses 
Sailor, the first settler, whose hospitality they claimed for the 

Having travelled all day over trackless prairies, plunging 
through deep snow drifts, sometimes breaking the way for the 
team, our pioneers were well nigh exhausted and they enjoyed the 
hearty welcome, the warm fire, the corn bread and bacon of the first 
settler. Having fully explained their designs to Mr. Sailor, the 
next morning our pioneers, with Mr. Sailor in the lead, entered 
upon the lands where the future city was to be built and Mr. Sailor, 
knowing the ground well, pointed out to them in glowing language, 
the beauty and adaptability of the location for a town-site. But few 
words are necessary with men of business and it was forthwith 
decided, here on the north-half of section seventeen in township one 
hundred and two of range twenty-seven, to found the town. This 
decided they were shown the small log cabin spoken of in the pre- 


ceding chapter in which thsy stored their goods and took up their 
abode for the joresent. 

On the following day Wakefield and Spencer started out with 
the team, on their return to Shakopee, leaving Constans and Hibler 
to hold possession of the country. 

The weather, as before intimated, was cold and the snows deep, 
but in all countries "business is business" and delays are said to be 
dangerous. Certain matters of great importance required immedi- 
ate attention and hence the hurried return of Wakefield and Spen- 
cer. The Eden of Minnesota had been found, a town was to be 
built, a county organized, a county seat located. The territorial 
legislature was then in session at St. Paul, the capital, and thither 
Mr. Wakefield proceeded. 

Constans and Hibler were left alone and went to work to render 
themselves as comfortable as possible in their cabin. Their usual 
amusements were chopping wood and carrying it up the steep bank 
of the river, to their cabin, keeping fire and cooking their victuals. 
Frequently informal visits would be made to Mr. Sailor's, where 
they would get a warm meal, which visits would be kindly returned 
by Mr. Sailor in a day or two, and these courtesies were usually, 
according to the strict etiquette of the times, rendered mellow and 
agreeable, by "a little something to take."' All times have their 
follies and fashions and there are many things easily excusable, in 
the ways and manners of the pioneers of a new country. 

Thus the time passed until about the seventh day of March, 
vrhen Mr. Wakefield returned with a pocketful of official commissions 
and accompanied by another new settler, George B. Kingsley. Mr. 
Spencer did not return. During Mr. Wakefield's absence, he secured 
the passage of an act by the legislature, dated February 23rd, 1856, 
organizing the county of Faribault, of which the following is a 



(Passed February 23, 1S56.) 

Section 1.— Be it enacted by the legislative assembly of the territory 
of Mianesota: That the county of Faribault be, and the same is hereby 
declared to be,. an organized county, and invested with all the rights, privileges 
and immunities to which all organized counties in this territory are entitled 
by law. 

Sec. 2— That "Blue Earth City," situated between the forks of the Blue 
Earth river, as laid out and named by James B. Wakefield and others, be and 
the same is hereby declared to be the temporary county seat of said county and 

48 EIS'J'OllY OF 

the county commissioners to be appointed, as hereafter provided, shall have full 
power to locate the county building thereon. 

Sec. 3.— That the Governor shall appoint and commission three suitable 
persons, the same being ([ualitled voters of said county, to be a board of county 
commissioners for said county, with full power and authority to perform all 
acts and discharge all duties devolving upon the board of county commissioners 
of any organized county in this territory. And that he shall also appoint and 
commission one slierilf, a register of deeds, and two justices of the peace for 
said county, who shall liold their oiUces respectively until their successors shall 
have been duly elected and (lualitied. 

Skc. 4.— The said county of Faribault shall be attached to the county of 
Ulue Earth for Judicial purposes. 

Sec. 5.— That at the next general election, the inhabitants of said county 
shall determine by vote, where the county seat of said county shall be locat.'d 
and all male inliabltants of said county, over the age of twenty-one years, who 
have acquired an actual residence in said county, shall have the right to vote 
on the location of said county seat. 

Sisc. 6— This act shall talce effect from and after its passage. 


This county was first represented in the legislature, after it was 
named and its boundaries defined in 1855, by Charles E. Flandrau, 
of Traverse d' Sioux, a lawyer, in the council, and by Parsons K. 
Johnson, of Mankato, a tailor and Aurelius F. De La Vergne, of 
Le Sueur, a shoemaker, and Geo. A. McLeod, of Traverse d' Sioux, a 
merchant, in the house of representatives, they appearing as the 
representatives of the tenth district (of which this couifty was a 
part) in the seventh territorial legislature which assembled Jan- 
uary 2d, 1856. 


In pursuance of the act above mentioned, his excellency, W. A. 
Gorman, then territorial governor, appointed and commissioned 
the officers provided for in the act as follows: 

For County Commissioners — James B. Wakefield, Chairman; 
Henry T. Stoddard, Moses Sailor. 

For Register of Deeds — Samuel V. Hibler. 

For Sheriff — Henry P. Constans. 

For Justices of the Peace — George B. Kingsley and Newal 

The commissions of all these officers bear date Feb. 25th, 1856. 
They all (lualified, except Mr. Dewey, and entered upon the dis- 
charge of their official duties, which, it should be remarked, were 
not specially burdensome, nor were the emoluments great. The 
county was now organized, the county seat located and officers 
ready for business. 

It is true that at the time of the organization of the county, 
there were not probably more than fifteen voters in the county, nor 


was Blue Earth City in existence when the county seat was located 
there, nor was there any county business to be done, but these were 
small matters to men of large and liberal views and comprehensive 
purposes. All these things were to come and these energetic 
pioneers looking into the future went ahead in these little formal 
matters to prepare the way. 

It is a little remarkable, that no record now exists of any meet- 
ing of this board of county commissioners during the year 1856. 
It is well known, however, that the board took no action worthy 
of historic record. 

But to resume the narrative: our pioneers, now four of them, 
Wakefield, Constans, Hibler and Kingsley, all living in the small 
cabin, decided that their quarters were too small and uncomfortable 
and determined at once to build a larger house. This they proceeded 
to do and, after a week or two of hard work and the assistance of 
the Sailor boys the result was, "The Elkhorn," erected on the 
proposed town-site of Blue Earth City. It was the first house on 
the town site. The building was constructed of rough logs and was 
very roomy, being sixteen by twenty-two feet, one story high, large 
chimney, puncheon floor and one civilized window. As soon as com- 
pleted they removed into this commodious tenement and it became 
the general rendezvous, and head -quarters of the county for some 

Spring set in about the middle of March and the snow soon 
entirely disappeared, but it was still cold, and right about this time 
we reach in the history of these pioneers, one of those "times that 
try men's souls." Provisions had run very low and our Sailor friends 
had also exhausted their store. The weather continued cold — the 
ice in the streams was breaking up — the waters getting high and 
traveling was impossible. Day after day even weeks passed but no 
one came bringing provisions, nor could anyone go after a supply. 
Starvation stared the company in the face. They were at last 
reduced to buckwheat "slapjacks," the flour being stirred up with 
water, and as a rarity occasionally seasoned with ground cinnamon 
bark. This was the only article of food for some weeks, except 
that on several occasions some wild game — a squirel or a rabbit^ 
was shot by the nimrods of the party. 

And to add greatly to their miseries, their stock of tobacco 
became entirely exhausted — not a crumb left. Oh for one chew! 
just one smoke! was the repeated exclamation. Barks and roots 
were tried but gave no relief — pockets were worn out with the in- 
voluntary search for the weed and in the silent hours of the night 
weird dreams came to them of jolly "plugs" of pure "Cavendish," 
great smoking Meerschaums and Royal Havanas, dancing in the 
air. How strange that people will subject themselves to such 
habits I 

50 UIST()j;y OF 

During this trying time, however, an event occurred which 
threw the company into great excitement — a tine fat coon was dis- 
covered in a tree top, at a short distance! Here now was some- 
thing of real importance. It had of course to be taken by some 
means — "they were out of meat." It was one of those great emer- 
gencies, where presence of mind, steady nerves and skill alone 
triumph. So the mighty hunter Constans, by far the best marks- 
man in the party and a dead shot, was deputed to bring down the 
coon. He approached the game with that silence, stealth and 
cunning, known only to the skilled hunter. He took deadly aim 
with a rest, he tired — the coon did not stir. Quickly loading again 
with great care and circumspection, he shot again but strange to 
say there w^ere no signs of trouble in that tree top. The coon did 
not say as Crockets did "ril come down." And now, alas, it was 
found that the shot were all exhausted. What was to be done? 
Our nimrod wore a vest, on which were some round buttons, out 
came his knife and off came the buttons — this thing was growing 
serious — no more fooling Mr. Coon. The gun was reloaded heavily. 
Mr. Constans concentrating his powers, took another deadly aim — 
fired and down came the coon and down also came the hunter. The 
gun killed, or nearly so, at both ends. It had kicked him fair on 
the nose, knocking him over, and that useful organ, being quite 
prominent, was badly smashed and dilapidated. But they got the 
coon and had a fat time. 

Life in Fairbault county during the times of which we write 
was not specially attractive and began to hang heavily upon our 
pioneers. No amusements — but few neighbors, no mails, nothing 
to do, except the cooking of their meals and carrying in their wood 
and water. Their stories had all been told a dozen times, inven- 
tion even was exhausted, no reading matter but that which had been 
read and re-read until it had become disgustingly stale. A vocal 
band was organized and much time spent in singing. Quiet games 
of cards were played, with no other purpose than to kill time, or as 
was often the fact to determine definitely who should bring in the 
next bucket of water, or back in the next load of wood. The last 
days of the month arrived and with it the occurrence of a great and 
long hoped for event. 


Wm. M. Scott, Levi Billings Jr , Albert Billings and Zimri 
Butler, arrived from Iowa at this time, with a load of stores and 
provisions. Daniel L. Harrington. Levi Billings Sr., with Mrs. Bill- 
ings and Mrs. Scott, were several days behind, with another load of 
stores. This latter company, however, had got lost and wandered 
off to Walnut Lake, and not arriving as expected, a party consisting 


of J. M. Sailor, Constans, Scott, Albert Billings and Butler, went in 
search of them. They were found and brought in, except Mr. Bill- 
ings Sr. , after a number of days of terrible suffering from cold and 
hunger. Mr. Billings Si'., in feeble health and almost blind, when he 
found that they were lost, had hired an Indian whom they met, to 
bring him to the forks of the Blue Earth, to get assistance to bring 
in the others, but the Indian jiroved treacherous, or ignorant, and 
they wandered about some days and nights on the prairies, when at 
last he too arrived at Blue Earth City. A new order of things were 
now inaugurated. Mr. Billings and family took possession of the 
old cabin on the north bank of the river, until a new house could be 
built, while Mr. Scott and wife commenced housekeeping in the 
"Elkhorn," taking our four pioneers as boarders, the Elkhorn thus 
becoming the first boarding house in the city. 

We must here break the chain of this personal narrative, to re- 
late, in the order of time, a tragical event. 


"Blood has beea shed ere now i' the olden time, 
Ere humaa statute purged the general weal; 
Ay, and since too murders have been performed 
Too terrible for the ear." — Shakespeare. 

During the month of April. 1856, three young men came to Blue 
Earth City, remained a short time at the Elkhorn, and then pro- 
ceeded, by way of H. T. Stoddard's, in Verona, a settler of the pre- 
ceding year, where they remained several days, to the vicinity of 

Their names were J. C Ackley. a young merchant from Con- 
necticut, who had come west to Caledonia, in Houston county, in 
this state, and Frederick Fisher, who had been a clerk in a store at 
Caledonia for several years, and E. C. Young, a farmer and resi- 
dent of Houston county for some years. They were looking for land, 
desiring to take claims. Ackley took a claim somewhere on the 
Maple river and went to work. Fisher and Young concluded to look 
further, and, finally, returned to the house of Mr. Stoddard. 

After prospecting several days. Young took up a claim about a 
mile south of Stoddard's, and Fisher found a tract to suit him, about 
two-and a half miles northwest of Stoddard's, in town one hundred 
and four, of Range twenty-eight (now Winnebago City township). 
They boarded with Stoddard, and worked on their claims together, 
until Young accidentally sprained his right knee, very seriously, 
and was confined to the house for a week or more. During this 
time Fisher worked on his claim alone. 

On Friday, the day preceding the date of the death of Fisher, 
while Stoddard's family, including Young and Fisher, were at din- 

52 nisToii Y or 

ner. a number of Indians came to the house. The company com- 
prised a few Sioux, several Winnebagos and a half-breed of bad 
repute. It appears that these Indians, with quite a number of others, 
had a large camp near Fishers claim. 

While the Indians were staring in at the door and window, dur- 
ing the dinner, Fisher jokingly made a remark to one of the Indians, 
which greatly insulted him, but he did not, at the time, seem to 
specially resent the insult. Fisher went to work on his claim 
after dinner. About noon of the same day, three white men, named 
respectively Benson, Humphrey and Sinclair, also came to Stod- 
dard's, looking for land. They went away in the evening, going as 
they alleged to their boarding place, Tobias Miller's, just over the 
line in Blue Earth County, but returned the next Wednesday to 
Stoddard's, when Stoddard hired Benson and Humphrey, and Young 
hired Sinclair to work. During the afternoon the Indians returned 
to their camp. 

Fisher returned home in the evening as usual. The next morn- 
ing, Saturday, May 10th, Fisher, accompanied by one Brace, a 
boarder at Stoddard's and a claim holder, who was going in the same 
direction, some distance, started for his claim to split rails, taking 
his dinner, axe and wedges with him. Fisher did not return in the 
evening as usual, and after waiting until quite late, Stoddard and 
H. R. Walker on foot, and Young on horseback, went to Fisher's 
claim, in search of him, but found no traces of him. 

On Sunday morning, they with several others, went out again 
but found nothing of him, except the beetle and wedges. No rails 
had been split. It was then evident that Fisher had given up bis 
intention of splitting rails, or that something had happened to him 
on Saturday morning. It was suggested that he might have gone to 
Ackley's. for clean clothes, where he and Young had left their cloth- 
ing. But Fisher not returning on Monday, Young sent his hired 
man, Sinclair, to Ackley's place, to see if Fisher had been, or was 
then there. It appeared that he had not been at Ackley's and Ack 
ley returned with the messenger to Stoddard's, when another search 
was made for Fisher, but no further trace of him was found. 

The disappearance was unaccountable and foul play began to be 
suspected. The question arose, naturally, did he have any money 
with him "? It was known that he had a gold watch. Some persons 
alleged that he had considerable money, as much as three thousand 
dollars in gold. 

It was even said by some, that he had as much gold as would 
fill a shot bag. But others, who had the best opportunity of know- 
ing, said he did not have more than five dollars, if so much, and that 
Ackley had loaned him some money, at Austin, on their way coming 
west. Some days passed, but no tidings came of the missing man. 


The man Benson then took Fisher's claim, on condition, that if Fisher 
appeared, the claim would be given up to him. 

Ten days residence on the land was required by law, at that 
time, and certain improvements, before title could be perfected. 
Benson completed the improvements and Fisher still not being 
heard from, Benson, Ackley and Young proceeded to the United 
States Land Olifice, then located at Brownsville, Houston County, in 
this state, and "proved up" on their several claims. Young ad- 
vanced the means to pay the Government for Benson's claim. Ben- 
son, after proving up, sold the land to Young for fifty dollars ad- 
vance on the cost. 

Young remained in Houston county until the last of August, 
when he returned to Stoddard's' and he became a iiermanent resi- 
dent of the county. In the meantime, and about the 10th day of 
June, or perhaps a little later, Fisher's body was found in a small 
ravine, on his claim, by Patrick H. Allen. Fisher had been mur- 
dered. It was plainly evident how it had been done. He had 
been stabbed twice in the neck — once in the side and once behind — 
and was thrown into the ravine and covered with dirt and leaves, 
lightly, and several small willow withes, sharpened at the ends, 
were bent over him, in the form of a bow, the ends being stuck into 
the ground. 

Mr. Allen immediately reported the finding of the body, when a 
small burial party, consisting of Mr. Allen, A. D. Mason, H. H. 
Bigelow, J. Roberts, T. Maxson, N. Dewey, H. T. Stoddard, H. 
R. Walker, J. M. Stow, the Rev. J. G. Whitford, most of whom 
were new settlers in the vicinity, repaired to the locality of the 
body, and buried the I'emains near by. 

It may be stated as a singular fact, that the gold watch, which 
Fisher owned, was still on his person, but his boots and hat were 
gone. Col. Samuel McPhail, of Caledonia, was subsequently ap- 
pointed administrator of the estate of Fisher, and the watch which 
had been placed in Stoddard's care, was, by order of the adminis- 
trator, delivered to Young and was sent to Fisher's brother, resid- 
ing in Rochester, N. Y. 

Suspicion attached to several persons, as the perpetrators of 
this foul murder, but the most careful and impartial investigation 
but proved that the suspicions could not be correct, and were but 
the suggestions of mistake, or malice. Within four months after 
the homicide, a committee of citizens carefully investigated the 
affair, and some four years afterwards, the grand jury of the 
county formally inquired into the case, through all the obtainable 
witnesses to the facts known, but neither the committee nor the 
grand jury could learn anything as to the murderer, or any ac- 
cessory to, or instigator of the crime. 

54 HlSTOnr OF 

Many circumstances connected with this sad affair, indicated 
that an Indian did the deed, probably the one offended by Fisher. 
Nearly a score of years have parsed away, but notwithstanding the 
old adage that, "murder will out," yet no further light has ever 
been thrown upon the horrible crime and the perpetrator will prob- 
ably never be known, until the great books shall be opened in the 
last day. The details of this case, have been given, as they were 
learned from those who knew most about it. 

In the spring of lt^74, being some years after the above article 
was written, a statement appeared in the Mankato Review, which 
was copied into the Blue Earth City Post, that a rumor was cur- 
rent to the effect that a short time before that date, a man had died, 
in Colorado, who, just before his death, confessed that he and an- 
other person had committed the murder of Fisher, at the instiga- 
tion of a person whom he did not name. Several weeks after 
the above statement was made, the Review said that it had learned 
that the person who was alleged to have made the confession and 
died — Tobias Miller — was alive and well and that "the whole thing 
proves to be onlj-^ a sensational story." 

In justice to Mr. Miller, it must be said, that there were never 
any suspicions, in the early days, that he had anything whatever 
to do with the crime, and no evidence that he was implicated in it 
has ever appeared since that time. 

The incidents attending this great crime are given so fully 
here, because it was the first known homicide occurring in the county 
and has always been a great mystery and, lastly, because at least 
two lives, besides that of poor Fisher, have been wrecked by asper- 
sions growing out of the event. 

And now to resume the story of our pioneers: Good weather 
had fairly set in, in May. Our company began to prospect the 
country and make their arrangements for laying otT the town and 
building certain houses, or pre emption shanties, which were neces- 
sary under the pre emption laws, to hold the town-site lands. 


The want of communication with the outside world was severely 
felt and it was determined to have, among the first things, regular 
weekly mail service between Blue Earth City and Mankato. The 
government was applied to and Mr. Kingsley was appointed post 
master — the first one in the county — and an arrangement was made 
with one Simon Dow. who had first come into the county, to carry 
the mail weekly, for a stipulated sum per trip, to be paid out of the 
receipts of the offices on the route and such additional sum as the 
settlers might be induced from time to time to contribute. This 
plan continued in force until late the next year, when the govern- 


ment assumed the entire business of carrying the mails. The mail 
was carried on horseback most of the time and this means of com- 
munication proved a great convenience, as the first mail carrier was 
a man of a traflicing turn of mind and always returned from Man- 
kato loaded with coffee, tea, pork, cordials, tobacco and many other 
small articles of prime necessity. Passengers by this line "footed" 
it. but had the company of the mail carrier, who occasionally gave 
the passenger an opportunity to ride. The writer came into the 
county by this conveyance. 


Settlers now began to come into various parts of the county rapid- 
ly and locate. A number of claims were taken and cabins erected, and 
as the pleasant month of June arrived, the ground became settled 
and the great work of surveying the town-site was begun. 

Thomas Hood, of Shakopee, a first-class surveyor, was employed 
and a surveying corps was organized, consisting of Mr. Hood as 
chief, with Messrs, Kingsley, Constans, Hibler, and one Osgood, a 
new settler, as assistants, and Wakefield as a general advisory 
member. The surveying and staking out of the city required about a 
month's labor, and was completed in the first days of July. 


In the mean time and in the month of June, one Cornelius Gar- 
retson arrived with an assorted stock of merchandise, and proceeded 
to erect a hewed log house. This important building was erected 
on the southeast quarter of section seventeen (17), adjoining the 
town site; and was some twenty feet squai-e and one and one half 
stories high. It had, also, actually two floors, two windows, a 
counter and shelves. Here now was a house as was a house, and the 
style and finish were the subject of remarks throughout the whole 
settlement. Hei"e Mr. Garretson displayed his goods — an excellent 
assortment too — and this was the first store in the county. 


And now our pioneers had established their town and had built 
various houses — log cabins. They had a store and a boarding house — 
the Elkhorn — and a weekly mail, and each of them had secured a 
"claim"' to a quarter section of land and the prospects were glow- 
ing. But there was one thing lacking to give character to the 
place — there was no regular hotel. Immigrants were coming in, 
land hunters were traversing the country, visitors were calling to 
see what a country this was, but there was no hotel. A consulta- 
tion was had. The enterprise was important and expensive. 
Money was scarce and town lots were not selling yet. Who would 
undertake this great work ? Here our friend Constans, with the 

56 HiHTonv or 

indoiuilublc energy and active industry which have always charac- 
terized him, came to the rescue. "Boys," said he, "I'll build and 
keep the hotel," But it was remarked that ho was not married 
and to keep a hotel re<|uired the supervision of a landlady as well 
as that of a landlord. "I'll manage that matter, ' said ho blushing 
profusely at the suggestion, as his mind doubtless reverted to a dark 
eyed Swiss girl, modest and neat, "The girl he left behind him." 

In the month of August the hotel was built. The main building 
was twenty by forty feet, with a wing in the rear, sixteen by 
twenty-two feet, and the whole building was one and one half stories 
high. The house was built of hewn logs and about three thousand 
feet of hardwood boards were used in the flooring and for other 
purposes, at a cost of one hundred dollars per thousand feet. The 
building was completed in the fall and named the Metropolitan. 
New York had its St. Nicholas, Washington its National, St. Paul 
its International, why should not Blue Earth City have its Metropol- 
itan ? In the fall Mr. Constans was married and fitted up and opened 
the hotel for the reception of guests. 

This house — the first hotel in the county — disappeared several 
years ago, but it long stood as a land mark of the earlj' days. 
Within its walls were born all the children of Mr. Constans, now all 
grown to manhood's years. 

It was the first home in this new land of the writer, and of many 
others, and many were the days, in the long ago, spent by him be- 
neath its hospitable roof, when the winter winds were fierce and cold 
and in those darker times of Indian troubles, when the ruthless sav- 
age went prowling along the frontiers, murdering and burning, this 
rough old log house was the last and best refuge in all the land. 

And here we shall leave these pioneers to be named hereafter as 
other.o, only incidently as they may be connected with this history. 
The thought maj- be stated here that little does the citizen of 
today, surrounded Vjy all the comforts and blessings of civilized life, 
know of the hardships, dangers and privations of those early years, 
and little too of the fortitude and courage with which they were 
borne by the first settlers, ever hoi^eful and confident in the rose- 
colored future. 


We now proceed to relate a pleasant and memorable event — the 
preaching of the first sermon at Blue Earth City, and probably the 
first in the county. The morning of July 13, 1850. broke bright and 
clear over this new land. It was the Sabbath — the day of rest and 


"But the .so\ind of the church-going bell 
These valleys and rocks never heard — 
Never sighed at the sound of a knell, 
Or siuiled when a .Sabbath appeiired !" — Coioper. 

THE mi; lKOI'< iLITAN, 
The First Hotel. 


It was a day of peculiar loveliness. The wide, silent prairies 
were blooming with innumerable flowers, the neighboring forests 
and groves seemed more green than usual, and the summer air more 
balmy. Silence and peace rested like a blessing upon all nature, 
while the sun in a blue and cloudless sky, shone forth as the central 
glory and beneficence of the universe, the scenes reminding the be- 
holder of that far gone golden age, sung by the poets, when men led 
a quiet, pastoral life on the plains of the East — when peace and good 
will reigned supreme on the earth — when heaven and earth were 
nearer together and the Sons of Light came down to walk and hold 
converse with the sons of men. 

At such a time and amid such scenes, were the first religious 
services in Blue Earth City held. A small company, comprising a 
large majority of the settlers of the county, assembled about ten 
o'clock in the forenoon, in a shady grove on the plot of the young 
city. The preacher was the Rev. James G. Whitford, of the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church — a plain unlettered man — sporting no high 
sounding titles, but possessing a heart full of zeal for the salvation 
of men — one of those good self-sacrificing men, who, ignoring a life 
of ease — the allurements of wealth and fame, go forth into tlie by- 
ways and hedges, and into the wilderness and amid toils and priva- 
tions, preach the blessed gospel of the Redeemer and — 

"Spend their sweat and blood and tears 
To cultivate Emmanuel's land." 

With reverend and uncovered heads the services commenced, and all 
joined in the simple but pathetic hymn of praise announced by the 
preacher, and then all bowed low as the humble prayer of thanks 
and invocation went up to the great white throne. The text, a part 
of the 16th verse of the first chapter of Second Peter — "For we have 
not followed cunningly devised fables" — was read. And then the 
preacher, in simple and earnest language, told the story of the Cross 
and pointed out the way of salvation and showed how these were 
not fables, cunningly devised, but the most blessed and important 
truths, which had in the course of all the ages, been proclaimed to 
man. The sermon ended, they all again united in a hymn of praise, 
and kneeling once more, the preacher poured forth an impassioned 
prayer to the God of nature and revelation, for the blessing and 
final salvation of all this little company, and then the benediction was 
pronounced and the first public services were ended. 

The reader may have stood beneath the mighty dome of St. 
Peters — he may have heard ten thousand voices unite in the praises 
of the Most High in that grandest Cathedral of all the earth, made 
by human hands, and may there have witnessed the most awe inspir- 
ing ceremonies of religious worship known among men, but here 


was a grander Cathedral— nature's temple of the ever living God — a 
temple bounded only by the distant horizon and whose dome was the 
clear, blue summer skies — whose lloor was not made of the polished 
mosaics of art, but was the solid earth, clothed and garnished by 
nature. And here too, was a worship grand in its simplicity, af- 
fecting in its pathos und acceptable in its humility and sincerity. 


But regular religious services were not yet established in the 
county. That work was left for the Rev. J. W. Powell and Rev. R- 
A. Judd, of the Methodist Episcopal Church and a little later the 
Rev. J. E. Conrad, of the Presbyterian Church, who soon after 
preached regularly in the county, and were the pioneers of the min- 
istrj' in this county. 

Mr. Judd died many years ago, having given his life to his 
country during the great rebellion. The others are yet living. 
And they still, as the years go by, continue to call men to repen- 
tance and a preparation for the life to come, and will doubtless labor 
on in this highest and holiest of all callings, whatever may betide, 
until the great Master shall say to each of them, it is enough, "Well 
done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy 

"The p;Uh of the just is as the shining li^'ht, 
That shineth, more and more, until the perfect day." 


There was no harvest in this county in 1856. It is said that no 
wheat or oats were sown, or if any, so little that no account was 
taken of it. The principal crops raised during this year, were some 
seed corn and small patches of potatoes and a few garden vegetables. 
The great bulk of the provisions, flour, pork, beef, beans, corn meal 
ard other articles were imported, mainly from Iowa. 

And now next in the order of time, is the story of the foun- 
ders of 


In September, of this year, five energetic young men, then in 
St. Paul, moved by the spirit of the times and impelled much by the 
same motives which had actuated the founders of Blue Earth City, 
also conceived the idea of establishing a town somewhere in the 
great Territory of Minnesota. Their names were Andrew C. Dunn, 
Warren N. Dunham. Elijah H. Barritt, James Sherlock and Charles 
H. Parker. Having determined on this project, they at once pur- 
chased a team and outfit, and all except Mr. Parker, started out to 
find an eligible location. They laid their course for Lake Albert 
Lea, in Freeborn county, adjoining this county on the east, and ar- 


rived there about the first of October. But on reaching that point 
they found that tlie only suitable location for a town had already 
been taken up by George Ruble and others. They endeavored to 
get an interest in this location, but failed. The question then arose 
to what point should they now direct their course? Mr. Dunn re- 
membered having met, during the summer of this year, at Mankato, 
Grover C. Burt and Hiram L. Young, who were at the time living 
on the Blue Earth river, in this county, and who had given him very 
glowing descriptions of the Blue Earth Valley and strongly invited 
him to visit this region. So they started for the Blue Earth, where 
they safely arrived and made inquiry for Mr. Young, whom they 
found living in a tent on the lands of Capt. H. H. Bigelow, adjoin- 
ing what is now the site of Winnebago City. Mr. Young and one 
B. K. Burt were then "claiming" the two quarter sections on which 
the village of Winnebago City was afterwards located, but on learn- 
ing that our company were desirous of founding a city, they sur- 
rendered their claims and took others. Our company camped with 
Mr. Young about six weeks, while making the claim and locating 
the town. The town was located upon the south-east quarter of 
section thirty-four and the south-west quarter of section thirty-five 
in town one hundred and four of Range twenty-eight west. 

The final surveys were made in January, 1857, by Messrs. Well- 
man and Johnson, civil engineers, of St. Paul, and the plats were 
filed soon after, in the office of the register of deeds of the county. 
Mr. Young having the logs hewed for a small house (12x14) was 
induced by the company to erect the house on the town- site, which 
was done in November and was occupied by an agent of Mr. Parker, 
with a small stock of goods during the winter of 1856-7. This was 
the first house in the town and the first store in the city. 

A hotel building next demanded attention. One Dr. W. N. 
Towndrow, assisted by the town proprietors, undertook this im- 
portant work. This structure was twenty by thirty-six feet and one 
and one-half stories high. The boards for the floor and roof — green 
basswood and elm — were purchased at Mankato, at an expense of 
about seventy-five dollars per thousand feet. The building, however, 
was not finished until the next year, but served a good purpose 
as a fort, during the Indian excitement, in the spring of 1857. 
A steam saw mill was also purchased in Chicago, by the com- 
pany during the year, but did not arrive until the following spring. 
The further history of this young city will be found in the his- 
torical sketch of Winnebago City township. 

Here now was another village, between which and Blue ICarth 
City there sprang up in after years, contests and rivalries like "The 
Wars of the Roses," and lasted a long time. No blood was shed, 
indeed, but in political figuring, bitter denunciations, heated con- 

60 niSTOIlY OF 

tests and prodigious blustering, resembled somewhat, on a small 
scale, the old wars of the houses of York and Lancaster. But the 
old feuds have now happily- passed away. 


On the second Tuesday, the 14th day of October, the tirst elec- 
tion in the county for civil officers occurred. It was held at Blue 
Earth City, the county seat. The whole county was then one election 
district. The question also of the permanent location of the county 
seat was voted upon as required by law, and resulted in the unani- 
mou.s choice of Blue Earth City. The judges of election were Moses 
Sailor, J. B. Wakefield and H. T. Stoddard. The whole number of 
votes cast was eighty-two. It seems that no votes were cast for 
members of the legislative council and house of representatives, in 
this county at this election County officers only were elected as 
follows: — 

For County Commissioncr.s — Moses Sailor, Crawford W. Wilson 
and William M. Scott. 

For Register of Deeds — James B. Wakefield. 

For Surveyor — Orville Kimball. 

It cannot now be determined whether any other county officers 
were elected at this election, or not, as no record of the election can 
now bo found. This was the year of the eighteenth presidential 
election, but as Minnesota was then but a territory, no vote was cast 
here for presidential electors. 

The presidential candidates were James Buchanan, democrat, 
John C. Fremont, republican and Millard Filmore "know-nothing." 
Mr. Buchanan was elected, but had only what is called a plurality 
popular vote. This was the first great contest of the new republi- 
can party and the election was an exciting one. The main issue be- 
tween the republicans and democrats was that of the further ex- 
tension of slavery. The great plank in the platform of the know- 
nothing, or American party, was that none but native Americans 
should be put in office. The real contest, however. M'as between 
the two former parties and various causes rendered it a lively one. 
A great principal was involved, in which the troubles in Kansas 
heretofore referred to, intensified the interest. An event had also 
occurred in Washington of such significance as to add fuel to the 
fires. In May of this year, on the floor of the U. S. senate chamber. 
Charles Sumner, senator from the state of Massachusetts — a noble 
and honored statesman, one of the foremost men of the age and a 
great champion of human rights, while sitting at his desk, was, 
because of .some words spoken in debate, brutally assaulted and 
beaten over his bare head until he fell to the floor insensible, gashed, 
bleeding and powerless, by a detestable coward named Brooks — a 


representative from South Carolina. It was a most infamous deed 
and without a parallel anywhere in history. But to return to our 
local election. It was as above stated the first in the county and we are 
happy to say it was a model election. Those were the days here 
of x'epublican (or if you choose democratic) simplicity and purity 
of the ballot box. There were no parties, nor partizan politics in- 
volved at this election. It was not preceded by "packed" caucuses 
in the townships. There were no county conventions managed by 
party wire pullers, or political demagogues, dictating for whom 
the people should vote by setting up candidates. There wei"e no 
country school house meetings and no riding up and down the 
county, canvassing the electors and extolling the vast abilities and 
immaculate virtues of one set of candidates and the prodigious 
villainy and utter incompetency of the other set. Office hunters 
and office hunting were unknown and the candidates were the free 
choice of the electors. Tlie honors of office were unsought and 
were borne by the recipients with modesty and diffidence. Blessed 
days were those, but never to return again. Alas! alas! how the 
times have degenerated! But we must now turn from these sub- 
jects to deeds of violence and death nearer home and recount the 


Samuel V. Hibler, the register of deeds of the county and one 
of the original town propietors, was holding the southwest quarter 
of section seventeen in township one hunderd and two, range twenty- 
seven, adjoining the town- site of Blue Earth City, as a claim under 
the pre-emption laws. He had erected a small log cabin and made 
some other improvements on the land. Not probably living up to 
the strict letter of the law as to residence upon the land and the 
land then being deemed quite valuable, one Theophilus Bowen 
"jumped the claim," as it was called in those days and determined 
to contest Hibler's right and ordered trial at the local land office, 
than located at Chatfield, Minnnesota. In Hibler's absence Bowen 
had gone upon the land and taken possession of the building. The 
jumping of claims was in those days, very unpopular and was 
viewed as a gross infringement of private rights, which warranted 
extreme measures. Many persons in those early days lost their 
■lives in this teri'itory because of claim jumping. In many places 
on the frontiers law and order in the first settlement of the country 
is not well established, and but little respected and persons con- 
sidering themselves trespassed upon, often seek to right their 
wrongs "by the strong and bloody hand." 

Hibler returned and on the fifteenth day of October, taking sev- 
eral friends with him, proceeded to the house on his claim and ordered 
Bowen off of the premises. A young man named Alfonso Brooks, 

62 niSToHY OF 

was in the house at the time with Bowen. High words followed 
between Hibler and Bowen, and they got into a scuttle, when Brooks 
interfered and Hibler, who had a stout cane in his hand, struck 
Brooks over the head. Brooks stooped down to pick up a piece of 
brick from a small pile in the corner and as he arose, Hibler struck 
him asain on the head several times. Brooks fell and died in about 
an hour. His skull was broken. Mr. Brooks was buried in the 
graveyard at Blue Earth City, the Rev. J. G. Whitford preaching 
his funeral sermon. It was indeed a .=ad affair. A young man of 
good habits, intelligent, of inoffensive character and not one of the 
principal parties to the quarrel, stricken down in the prime of life. 

Bowen immediately went to Mankato, in Blue Earth countj', to 
which this county had been attached for judicial purposes, and made 
complaint against Hibler and some others, whom he considered im- 
plicated. The complaint was made before a justice of the peace, 
who forthwith issued a warrant for the arrest of Hibler and the 
others. They were arrested and taken before the justice for exam- 
ination. Thomas J. Galbraith. an able lawyer of Shakopee. and 
James Dow, an attorney i-esiding at Red Wing, were retained as coun- 
sel by Hibler and his friends, and Lewis Branson, of Mankato. who 
afterwards became judge of the sixth district, appeared as prose- 
cuting attorney. When the case was called, Mr. Galbraith moved 
the court to discharge the prisoners on the ground that the justice 
had no jurisdiction over the territory (in the county) ^here the 
offence had been committed, the statute of the time enacting that 
the jurisdiction of a justice of the peace should be "Co-extensive 
with the limits of his county and no other or greater." They were 
discharged. Mr. Hibler never returned to this county. He went 
to Shakopee where he remained a short time, and then returned to 
Pennsj'lvania, his native state. The others, being no more than 
mere spectators of the homicide, came home. Bowen subsequently 
pre-empted the land in dispute, the larger part of which, in after 
years, was laid out in additions to Blue Earth City. The current 
opinion of the time was, that the killing of Brooks was mainly an 
accident and that Hibler was not seriously to blame under the cir- 


The weather, during the summer and fall of this year, was very 
pleasant until the winter set in, on the twenty-second day of Novem- 
ber, coming down suddenly in the shape of a foot of snow, and 
became very severe. The winter of 1856 7 will long be remembered 
over the whole north, as one of the longest, coldest and stormiest 
ever known in the northwest. 



But the tragedies of the year are not all told. About the first of 
December, Daniel Schneider, a resident of the county, and a man 
named Porter, started for Twia Lakes in the state of Iowa, to bring 
in a load of provisions, which Porter had succeeded in getting that 
far, but being unable alone to get further with his load, he had come 
to the residence of Schneider to get assistance. It was very cold and 
the snows deep, but they safely reached Twin Lakes and got ready 
for starting, but were delayed one day as a great snow storm was 
raging. There was then no one living at Twin Lakes, and they had 
to camp out. 

While at this place there came there a man named Jones, and 
another man quite advanced in years, whose name is now forgot- 
ten, who were on their way to this county. They soon found tliat 
they could not move with their load, owing to the great additional 
depth of snow and the drifts, and the cold becoming very severe, 
they were compelled to leave everything and seek some human hab- 
itation or perish. They turned their oxen loose to shirk for them- 
selves and all started for the residence of one Adams, in the Big 
Brush, near Forest City, about fourteen miles distant over the open 
prairies. All were frozen to death on the way, except Jones, who, 
almost exhausted and with feet and hands badly frozen, reached the 
cabin of Adams. It appears that Schneider was the first to fail on 
that terrible journey, as he gave out and laid down to die about six 
miles from Twin Lakes. Porter kept along some miles further and 
wandered off the road in the direction of Coon Grove, where he sank 
down in the sleep of death. The old man whose name is unknown, 
next succumbed, not far from their destination. A party went out 
from Forest City in a few days after and brought in the body 
of Porter, but the others were not found at the time. It was said 
that Porter had about one thousand dollars in gold with him, but no 
money was found on his body. Schneider's remains were found the 
next April, by his father. He was lying on his back, his limbs 
quietly composed, as though he had gone to sleep. His face and 
hands had been eaten away by wolves. His pockets had been turned 
inside out and his wallet lay upon his breast, empty. Whether the 
remains of the old man were ev-er found and what became of the 
oxen and load of provisions, the writer has never been able to learn. 


Many permanent residents came into the county during the 
year, and great improvements were made, but there is now no 
means of knowing what the population of the county was at the 
close of the year. 


The first settlements were made during the year in the towns 
afterwards known as Minnesota Lake, Lura, Delavan, Walnut 
Lake, Poster, Emerald, .Jo Daviess and Seely, as will be seen by 
reference to the historical sketches of the several towns. The 
times were prosperous, the future promising and the people ac- 
tive and hopeful. 



A. D. 1857. 

"Whoop after whoop with rack the ear assailed, 
As if unearthly fiends had burst their bar." 

—Oertrude of Wyoming. 

The year 1857 begun in the midst of one the severest winters 
ever known in this country. The snows lay very deep on the level 
prairies and great drifts, lying in every direction, rendered traveling 
almost impossible. 

During the winter, there was nothing to break the monotony, 
even in the two so-called villages, except the arrival of the weekly 
mail, bringing letters and papers from the great world, from whicli 
the people here were as much isolated as if they were situated on a 
distant island of the ocean. Sometimes the mail carrier, venture- 
some as any man, owing to the deep snows and unbroken roads, 
failed to get through for days after his expected arrival, causing great 
disappointment and many surmises. 


The only event of public, or private importance, occuring during 
the winter, was the meeting of this board, and is the flrst meeting 
of which any record exists. The members of the board were Moses 
Sailor, C. W. Wilson and William M. Scott. They assembled on the 
fifth day of January and organized by electing Mr. Scott chairman 
for the year. James B. Wakefield was clerk. The board proceeded 
to divide the county into three districts for assessment purposes, 
but this act was simply a matter of high formality, as it was not in- 
tended to have an assessment, or levy any tax, and none was levied, 
until the next year. A few petitions for roads were examined. The 
only existing roads then were Indian trails. After a session of a few 
hours the board adjourned. 


The Eighth Territorial Legislature assembled at St. Paul, Jan- 
uary seventh and adjourned March seventh. An extra session was 
held in April and May. The tenth district, of which this county 


was a part, was represented at this session by P. P. Humphery in the 
council, and Joseph R. Brown, Francis Baasen and O. A. Thomas in the 
house. No one of them resided in this county. The legislation at 
this and the extra session following, relating directly to this county, 
consisted of the following acts: — 

An act to incorporate the town of Winnebago City, approved 
February I'Jth, section 2 enacted, "That for the good order and im- 
provement of said town, Andrew C. Dunn be and hereby is appointed 
president; E. H. Burrit, C. H. Parker, James Sherlock and W. N. 
Dunham be and hereby are appointed trustees." 

An act passed May 19th, incorporating Blue Earth City in these 
words: — "That so much land as is contained in the plat of Blue 
Earth City, in the county of Faribault, as the same is platted and 
recoi'ded, be and the same is hereby created a town corporate, by 
the name of Blue Earth City." This is probably the shortest, most 
indefinite and unsatisfactory incorporation act on record. 

An act detaching this county from Blue Earth county, to which 
it had been attached for judicial purposes in 1856. It was thought 
that this county had now become able to stand alone. But little 
business of a judicial character, originating in this county, had been 
transacted during the union. For many years however, after the 
separation, persons who were committed by the courts in this 
county, were sent to the common jail of Blue Earth county and this 
county footed the bills. An act placing this county in the third 
judicial district, passed May 23d. By this act the judge of the dis- 
trict court was authorized to hold terms of court in this county and 
also, in his discretion, to appoint a clerk of court for this county. 

Also an act passed May 23d establishing the county of Martin 
and defining its boundaries, by which one tier of four townships, 
on the west end of this county, being in range twenty nine, was de- 
tached from this county and included in the territory of Martin 
county. The people of this county were asleep, even snoring, or 
grossly negligent at this particular time, especially the proprietors 
of Blue Earth City. The interests of Blue Earth City at least, de- 
manded that the eastern tier of townships — range twenty-four, 
should have been taken off, if any, and the western tier, range 
twenty-nine, retained as that would have brought Blue Earth City. 
the county seat, very near the geographical center of the county, 
and save a world of trouble afterwards. The pi-oceeding was in 
fact a bit of sharp practice, quite current in those days and which 
bore the euphonious name of "Sculduggery." 

It was at this session of the legislature that the famous act was 
passed for the removal of the seat of government — the Capital — 
from St. Paul to St. Peter. But the bill very mysteriously disap- 
peared before it became a law and the whole project fell through 


to the great joy of St. Paul. The great questions of public inter- 
est, among the leading politicians and others, during the winter 
and spring, were the procuring of a state organization and grants 
of public lands from the general government to aid in the construc- 
tion of railroads. Accordingly the "Enabling Act," authorizing 
the people of the territory to form a constitution preparatory to the 
admission of Minnesota into the Union, was passed by congress, 
February 26th, and later in the session, a large grant of lauds was- 
made for railroads. These important events necessitated an extra 
session of the legislature which met on the 27th of April and ad- 
journed May 25th. 


Turning again to our county affairs, we quote briefly, as illus- 
trative of the local events of the times, the conditions of the coun- 
try and the progress of settlement, from the Journal of an old set- 
tler, who came into the county in the spring of this year: 

April 2d, 1857. Set out this morning early from Mankato for Blue Earth 
City, forty-five miles distant, on horseback, in company with Mr. Dow, the 
Blue Earth City mail carrier and a Mr. A. C. Dunn, a young lawyer and one of 
the town proprietors of Winnebago City. Made but twenty-two miles to-day 
and stopped for the night at a lonely log cabin iu the edge of the timber, the 
proprietor of which, is a Mr. Gregory. The roads are terrible. I was never so 
tired, besides having had nothing to eat all day, I was as hungry as a wolf 
when I got here. When I reached here, I thought I had never seen in my life 
a house look so friendly and hospitable as this old cabin. We soon had a warm 
supper of salt pork, beans, slapjacks and barley coffee and felt much revived. 
This seems a very sparsely settled and desolated region. But it is lime to 
retire, as we start early in the morning. 

April 3d. We got a good breakfast and started early this morning. Mr. 
Dunn remained at Gregory's, being ill. Dow and 1 liad but one horse and a 
very poor one at that. We rode and walked alternately, but both mainly 
walked. The roads were very bad, even worse than yesterday. We waded 
sloughs from one to three feet deep in soft snow and water. At other places 
the mud was from six to twelve inches deep. The wind blew quite hard and 
chilly all day. It was about ten o'clock when we crossed the north county line, 
of this county, to which fact Dow called my attention, as though it was a mat- 
ter of grave importance. I did not observe anything very remarkable. On the 
right in the timber, was a small log cabin, on the east a boundless prairie and 
right before us was another wretched slough to be crossed, which was full three 
feet deep of water, ice and snow. We pulled through it on foot and also pulled 
the horse through, as he was blind. 

About twelve o'clock we reached Winnebago City, but there is cio city 
there, to speak of. In fact there is no town at all, but there is a magnificent, 
roomy place to build a town. I should think they could build a town there the 
size of London and not be cramped much. I observed there only a log house of 
some size, one-and-one-half story high and apparently not finished, which Dow 
said was intended for a hotel, also one other small log building at which we 
stopped. It proved to be a store kept by one T, Foley. He has a few dry goods, 
some tobacco, soap, cod fish and a barrel of whisky. Foley is post master and 
he oyerhauled the mail and seemed entirely happy and insisted en trealing^ 


several times. The driver, 1 observed, took some, iifter which we moved on our 
way much refreshed by the short rest. Wo reached another cabin about one 
o'clock, where wecat a prodigious dinner of salt pork, beans, potatoes and some 
Kood bread. This settler's name is Stoddard, and he said that he was the first 
settler in that locality. After dinner we moved on for our destination and 
after a liard tramp of a couple of hours, reached the east branch of the Blue 
Earth river, which we crossed IhrouKh a foot of water on the ice and about four 
o'clock we entered on the sacred soil of the town site of Blue Earth City and 
stopped at this hotel, which is called the Metropolitan. And this is Blue 
Earth City! It strikes me that the reputation of western towns gener- 
ally, is much inflated. Tomorrow I shall look the place over. It Is quite plain 
now that I should have gone to St. Paul, as 1 llrst intended, instead of drift- 
ing so far out on the frontier. 

April 4th. After a liearty break last this morning of potatoes, beans, slap- 
jacks and tea (the pork has run out), I felt ([uite well and ready to prospect. I 
walked out and took a view of the Metropolitan, which is fjuite a large log 
building. It has a wing in the rear, which is used for a kitchen. The kitchen 
and a part of the main building only, appear to be finished. They say this is 
the largest building in tlie county and the only one entitled to the name of 
house. Nearly opposite the hotel is a one story log building, about fourteen by 
twenty feet, which is occupied by Messrs. Grout as a frontier storeand dwelling, 
being the only store in the county, except the one at Winnebago City. Pros- 
pecting further, I found that there are six other small, one story, log cabins 
scattered aliout within a circuit of about half a mile. The population of the 
place is about Iwi'nty-two, large and small, and this is abo\it all there is of this 
much talked of "city." After dinner had a talk with the landlord. lie says his 
name is Constans and that he is one of the town proprietors and that he came 
here over a year ago— says he came from France, via the Alantic^ocean, New 
Orleans, the Mississippi river, St. Paul, Shakopee and several other places, to 
this county. He speaks with a strong Franco-German accent. From our con- 
versation I learn that there are as yet, in the county, no newspapers, no courts, 
no schools, no churches, no doctors, no mechanics at work, no laid out roads, no 
bridges, and that there are but a few settlers and they are settled in the timber 
and about the lakes, and that the prairies are all vacant. It appears that there 
are not twi farms in the county of ten acres of plowed land ; that the people 
are all poor and that nobody is doing anything, and no one wanting to do any- 
thing, but, as the landlord says, all are contented and happy in the prospects of 
the future. Prospects, that is it, everything rests on prospects. Was intro- 
duced by Mr. Constans to one George B. Kingsley, a boarder at this hotel, Mr. 
Kingsley says he is a New Yorker — has ."ome interest in the town and a claim 
near by— says he is postmaster here, but the business does not warrant keeping 
an office and hence he carries the mail matter in his pocket, for convenience 
and safety— says that he is justice of the peace, the first and only one in 
the county, hut that he has never had any business in that line and don't want 
any. He seems quite frank and very hopeful of the future. Here two other 
men came in, one Wakefield, who is a very large man, and one Tennesen, ([uite 
a small man. The curious thought struck me, that if these two persons were 
equalized they would make two averaged sized men. I was introduced. I 
learned that Mr. Tennesen is a settlerholding a "claim." Mr. Wakefield is also 
one of the town proprietors— a lawyer by profession, and is the Register of 

The conversation continued in the county and the prospects of 
this town. All seemed to think this county one of the best in the territory, 


having a good soil, fair distribution of timber, good water and healtiiy. The 
village too is quite near the center of the county and is now the county seat. 
It was said also that the Keokulc, Fort Des Moines and Minnesota railroad, was 
now being built in Iowa, and will run from Fort Dodge to Mankato, this town, 
being on the direct line and the road will undoubtedly be built as far as this 
place, within two years at the furthest! They say the assurances are also very 
good that the United States land office, now located in the eastern part of the 
territory may soon be removed to this place, that is in a year or two probably. 
After some farther talk we all went over to Grout's store — was introduced to 
Lewis P. Grout. While there a Mr. Sailor came in and was introduced to him, 
as the first settler of this county. He gave me his hand and a hearty welcome 
to Faribault county. All present expressed the wish that I should decide to 
remain here. Soon after I returned to the hotel and went to tea and am now 
spending a quiet evening by the stove, jotting down the events of the day. 
While I can hardly believe that all the hopes of these people will be realized, 
yet I will say that I am much impressed with their courteous manners and 
affable conversation. I suppose I shall have to conclude to remain here, for a 
while at least. In the first place I am about out of money. In the second 
place the roads have become nearly impassable and in the third place, while 
everything here seems to be "prospects" the prospects certainly rest on the 
substratum of a good country. I shall leave the decision until to-morrow. 


The commissioQers met again on the 6th day of April. A new 
election district was established comprising all the territory of the 
county lying north of a line commencing at the northwest corner 
of section nineteen, township one hundi'ed and three, range twenty- 
nine and running thence east to the boundary of the county. This 
district was named Winnebago City Precinct and W. N. Towndrow, 
H. T. Stoddard and E. Crosby were appointed judges of election 
and H. H. Bigelow, constable. The remainder of the county con- 
stituted Blue Earth City Precinct, and Albin Johnson, Allen Shultis 
and Benj. Gray were appointed judges of election and S. B. Miller, 
constable. Prior to this division the whole county constituted one 
election district. The county was now also divided into three road 
districts and Philip Chesley, O. N. Gardner and Dewitt Paddock, 
were appointed road supervisors. The board appointed Jas. B. 
Wakefield, judge of probate, L. P. Grout, county treasui'er and H. 
P. Constans, sheriff. The petition of John Clabaugh and others, 
for the formation of a school district — the first one in the county — 
was presented and acted upon. The commissioners subsequently 
held meetings, as follows, on July 6th and 25th, Sept. 6th, Oct. 26th 
and Nov. 2d. The public interests required frequent meetings of 
the board. The action of the board at these several meetings of 
historical interest, is noted elsewhere. 



Early in the spring occasional rumors reached the few settlers 
scattered through the county, of coming Indian troubles and af- 
forded grounds for serious apprehensions. Immediatly on the 
north of the county, lay the Winnobago Indian reservation and not 
more than seventy-five miles distant, on the upper Minnesota, was 
the Sioux reservation. Peace had long existed between these tribes 
and the whites, but the Indians were restless and dissatisfied, espec- 
ially the Sioux. The people here were without any special protec- 
tion and the Indians roamed over the country unmolested, hunting 
and fishing. They disturbed no one and peace and quiet reigned 
Avithin the county, but troublous times were near at hand. That 
the reader may have a proper understanding of the events about to 
happen, it is necessary that a brief account should be given of 


This statement is taken from that valuable work, Neill's His- 
tory of Minnesota: 

In Ddrlhwestem Iowa, a few miles from the Minnesota bounrlary. there 
is a lake known as Spirit Lake. In the spring of 1856, persons from Ked Wing, 
Minnesota, had visited this place and determined to lay off a town. In the 
winter of IS.'JT there were six or seven Iok' cabins on the border of the lake. About 
fifteen or twenty miles north in Minnesota, there was also a small place called 
SprinKfleld. For several years Inkpaduta, a Wapckuta Dakota, liad lieen 
roving about with a few outlaws, being driven away from their own people by 
internal difficulties. These Indians were hunting in northwestern Iowa, when 
one was bitten by a white man's dog, which he killed. The whites then pro- 
ceeded to the Indian's camp and disarmed them, liut they soon supplied them- 
selves again. After this they arrived on Sunday, the 8th of March, at Sjiirit 
Lake. They p'oceeded to a cabin where only men dwelt, and asked fo' beef. 
Understanding, as they assert, that they had permission to kill one of the 
cattle they did so and commenced cutting it up, when one of the white men 
came out and knocked down one of the Dakotas. For this act the settler was 
shot and another one coming out of the cabin he was also killed. Surrounding 
the house, the Indians now fired the thatched roof and as the men ran out all 
were killed making the whole number eleven. About the sametime, the In- 
dians went to the house of a frontierman, by the name of Gardner and de- 
manded food and all the food in tlie house was given them. The son-in-law 
and another man left to go and .see if all was right in the neighboring cabin, 
hut they never came back. Toward night excited by the blood they, the In- 
dians, had been spilling through the day, they came back again to Mr. Gard- 
ners house and soon killed him, dispatching his wife, two daughters and grand 
children, carried off Abby, the surviving daughter. The next day they con- 
tinued their fiendish work and brought into camp Mrs. Thatcher and Mrs. 
Noble. » » » On Thursday, the 12th day of March, an In- 

dian who had been on friendly terms with Marble's family, called at his house 
and told them that the white people below them on the lake had been nippoed 
(killed) a day or two previously. • * » 

The next day (the 13th), quite early in the forenoon, four Indians came to 
Marble's house and were admitted. They proposed to swap rifles with Marble 


and the terms were soon agreed upon. After the swap the chief suggested that 
they should go out on the lake and shoot at a mark. Marble assented. After 
a few discharges they turned to come in the direction of the house, when the 
savages allowed Marble to go a few paces ahead and Immediately shot him 
down. Mrs. Marble saw her husband fall and ran to him. The Indians seized 
her and told her they would not kill her, but would take her with them. They 
carried her in triumph to the camp whither they had previously taken the 
three other white women. * * * Inkpaduta and party now proceeded to 
Springfield, where they slaughtered the whole settlement about the 27th of 
March. * * » 

The four captive women were forced by day to carry heavy burdens through 
deep snow and at nightfall they were .made to cut wood and set up the tent 
and after dark, to be subject to the Indignities that suggested themselves to 

Mrs. Thatcher and Mrs. Noble were soon after killed and Mrs. 
Marble and Miss Gardner were rescued, all having suffered cruel- 
ties too atrocious to name. 

The reports of these diabolical deeds spread consternation 
throughout the territory, but especially along the frontiers which 
were entirely unguarded. No one knew to what extent the massa- 
cre would be carried nor of how many of the Indians were engaged 
in it. 

How the news reached Blue Earth City and the consequent 
excitement and general results in this county, with many other 
interesting facts of this time, is best stated in the words of the 
Old Settler's Journal written at the time, from which we quoted 

April 13th. We were suddenly awakened last night about twelve o'clock 
by the arrival of C. W. Wilson and A. Morris, who had been to Mankato on 
business, who informed us in a hurried and frightened manner of terrible mur- 
ders by the Indians and that the Sioux were now coming upon us from the 
north and that the settlers along the river were being murdered and their cab- 
Ins burned. They had abandoned two loads of provisions on the way, which 
they had bought at Mankato, as they could not delay to bring them on. They 
urged us strongly to leave at once and then hastened on to inform the people 
southward on the river, to flee for their lives. The question arose for decision 
at once, what shall be done? There was here in the hotel, Mr. Kingsley, Mr. 
and Mrs. Constans and myself. Messrs Wakefield and Tenneson and the two 
Grouts were in their cabins near by. They came in, when a hurried consulta- 
tion was had. We were few in number and we had but few arms and but little 
ammunition. Would it not be best to go? On the other hand the night was 
dark, quite cold and the wind blowing very hard and there was but one way 
out, that is into Iowa and we should have to cross wide, unsettled prairies for 
forty miles to any known habitation, and we had no conveyance of any kind. 
Here, too, in the village were six or seven women, two of whom are ill. If we 
went they would have to be abandoned. We decided to stay, gather all into 
the hotel, fort up the best we could at once, and fight it out. Before daylight 
some thirty men with their families arrived from the neighboring settlement, 
but many others insisted on going on, and struck out over the prairies for Iowa. 
God help them! They must suffer much, yet they may be taking the wisest 
course. None knows what the result will be. We proceeded to fortify the 


house the best we fould with our lliiiitecl lueans, anil when daylight came, we 
found we liud surtU-lent arms and ammunition, witli what had been brought In, 
to stand a pretty lon^t siege. More people arrived during the day with addi- 
tional arms and ammunition. A terrible dread and suspense seems to rest upon 
all. A strong' guard will be placed out to-night. 

April 14th. Evening. lA sort of military organization was elTected 
this morning. J. li. (lillit. who says he was In the "Patriot war" in 
Canada, was elected captain, and S. R Miller, who saw service In Mi'.xico, was 
chosen lieutenant These are the only men jjresent who havi- had any military 
exp erience. A portion of the company was set to building a barricade at a dis- 
tance of about thirty feet from the house, and another party was directed to 
build a sort of rude bridge across the cast branch to facilitate the passage of 
the people from the north and east to the fort. Not expecting an attack during 
the day, the people were distributed among the various cabins for convenience, 
but all to return to the fort in the evening. A number of settlers came in 
to-day and there is much excitement and many rumors. Many from insullicient 
clottiing are suffering from cold. The children look half frozen. I was once on 
guard last night and guards will be stationed out to-night again. Each guard 
remains out one hour, which, considering the cold, is long enough. There are 
five on each watch stationed around the house at a distance of fifteen to twenty 
rods. The practical use of these guards I don't see, but our business Is to 

April 15th, 10 A. M. I was twice on guard last night and have slept but 
three hours since the beginning of the excitement. No one could sleep much 
here: thu very dead would almost wake up in the hubbuband turmoil of scream- 
ing children, crying women and incessant running to and fru. No further 
news has been received this morning, but it was concluded to send a messenger 
to Mankato, to learn the condition of affairs. Mr. Dow volunteerq4 to go and 
has gone, but it is thought quite risky. Two others went out in quest of several 
persons who went to their homes yesterday and were to return last evening, 
but did not. 

6 o'clock P. M. The party sent out after the missing men found tlieni and 
all have just returned together. They report that they saw no signs of Indians 
but early this morning they heard four or five gun shots in the distance in a 
locality which the settlers had all left and are now here at the fort, and it is 
thought the Indians are skulking about there. I am much rested having 
had a sleep of two hours this afternoon, though the bed was not a very good 
one — only a blanket spread on the floor in the corner of the room. Just had 
supper— salt pork, just brought in, fried, potatoes considerably frozen, boiled, 
corn bread and fat. Board five dollars per week and "accommodations the best 
the country alfords." 

April Ifith, 9 A. M. On guard once last night No further news this morn- 
ing. A s(iuad was just sent out for some kind of provisions. Slept but little 
last night. Noise, noise, confusion, all the time, night and day. Getting very 
tired of this and who is not. 

12 M. Three strangers— hangdog looking fellows— just arrived frotu below 
and say that the reports we have heard are greatly exaggerated and that there 
Is no real danger. They are going on south. There is something in the manner 
of these men that is not just right and it is believed that they are lying for 
some purpose. I think myself, however, they are not far from the truth as to 
the reports. 

3 P. M. William Granger, one of the founders of the Spirit Lake settle- 
ment and another gentleman of the same name, have just arrived from Spirit 
Lake, sixty miles west. They report that forty persons were slaughtered at 


Spirit Lake and Springfield, all the settlers there, but four women, who were 
taken prisoners. All the other women were outraged and killed. Messrs. 
Grangers say that the Indians are prowling all along the frontier, in small 
bands, and that we must keep the closest watch. These men reside in Rod 
Wing, and being interested in the Spirit Lake settlement, when they heard of 
the massacre went there at once. After a brief rest they proceeded on their 
way to Red Wing. This news being reliable, the people are much alarmed and 
it seems reasonably so. The officers say that there will be two guards on each 
beat placed out to-night. Why have there been no troops sent on to the frontier? 

April 17th, 9 A. M. Last night we had the windows strongly barricaded 
and guns loaded and placed around the walls, ready for instant use. I was on 
guard but once last night. I tried during the night to get some sleep on the 
floor by the stove, and some others tried the same experiment. It was chiefly 
a failure. There was an incessant howling of dogs all night, crying of childen 
up stairs, ceaseless jabbering and punching of the tires. Was there ever such 
a bedlam outside of a mad house ? But I cannot blame the people much: I am 
beginning to feel a little ugly myself. 

3 P.M. Dow has just returned from Mankato. He says many of the set- 
tlers are leaving the country. Some few have decided to stay and are forting 
up at various places along the river. Quite a number are forted up at Winne- 
bago City and at Stoddard's. He says that at Mankato and other places many 
say they believe there will be a general attack by the Indians all along the 
frontier and they are preparing for it. Two persons just arrived from Walnut 
Lake. They say that they saw a number of Winnebagoes near the lake, who 
were returning to their reservation and who informed them that the Sioux 
were coming in four days. Tomorrow will be the fourth day. 

7 P. M. This evening a few of those who had fled to Iowa returned having 
found secure places for their families there and they have come back to render 
what assistance they can and to look after their effects. They report a terrible 
time of suffering — frozen hands and feet, starvation and fright. 

Oapt. Gillit announces that the provisions are about out. I thought they 
were about out for some time past. Kingsley thinks "Hank" ought to give us 
some deduction on tlie price of board, as he and I are the only regular cash 
boarders and the others all get their frozen potatoes, barley coff -e and johnny 
cake for nothing. 

April 18th, 7 P. M. This was a cold stormy day. Scott to-day brought in a 
sack of white flour, some good potatoes and some other articles of food, which 
he has kept hid somewhere until to-day. Hank told us privately, that we 
should have a good dinner and we had. To-day the case of Adams vs. 
Ahrens was tried before Geo. B. Kingsley, justice of the peace. J. A. Kiester 
appeared for the plaintiff and one Haggin for the defendant. Judgment was 
rendered for the plaintiff. Wakefield, Amicus Curiae, assisted the court in 
settling points of law. It was a queer time and place for a law suit. Quite a 
large number of spectators were present and considerable interest was mani- 
fested in the matter. I am informed that this is the first law suit which has 
ever occurred in the county. If the savages desolate the country, it may also be 
the last for some years at least. 

April 19th, Sunday evening 6 P. M. I was on guard twice last night, but 
got some sleep near morning. The people here are wearied out and they rested 
quietly all day until evening, when now the excitement is as great as ever. 
Several persons who have to-day been out in the country, have returned and 
report having seen, about eight miles out, six Indians, who flred upon them, 
but fortunately they had not been hit. They made all haste to get in and be- 
lieve the red devils are coming. The people are gathering in and are much 


aliirmed. I must say it looks much as though the hour had come. Must these 
fair and fertile lands and new licinieslie nlven up to savage occupancy? 

April 20lh, A. M. No guards wore placed out last night, as it was thought 
too risky. I have thought all along that the guards were of little use in case 
of an attack. Soon after dark last evening, a meeting was called for consulta- 
tion and after an immense amount of jangling, it was concluded to send the 
women and childen away in the morning, under a strong guard, unless indeed 
we should he attacked (luring the night. Hut no Indians have appeared yet. 

12 M. Great division and dissatisfaction exists among the people. Some 
talk of risking the possible danger and leave the country. Others want to 
remain. What is best to be done is' the (|ueslion. We cannot forever remain 
here forted up. It will wliolly ruin three fourths of our people to remove. 
Many are very poor and have large families and all have spent their ready 
means in living during the winter and in getting ready to do something this 
spring and summer. Where shall they go to, and exposed as they shall be on 
the roads may they not be attacked and killed. It was concluded impracticable 
to send the women and children away, as talked last night. 

9 P. M. Tills aflernoDU about a dozen of the farmers cf)ncluded to return 
to their lands vvitli their families, take the risk of whatever danger there may 
be and go to work. They decided that this is the best of the only two practic- 
able ways, either all leave the country, or all remain and put in their crops and 
raise something to live on. But they returned to their homes very reluctantly 
and with many fears. They are not to lie blamed. There are many difficult 
questions connected with the situation just now, which noonecan solve. The 
Indians may, or may not be, very near us. Wehave no definite knowledge on any 
point upon which we can act. In an hour from now the demoniac war-hoop of 
the savages may be heard. There is nothing to prevent their coming. There 
are still some fifteen men here in the fort and we could show a pretty strong 
resistance to an attack, but how would it be with those who have gone to their 

April 2Ist, 6 P. M. All retired to rest last night at a late hour and put out 
no watch. All claim that they slept soundly and perhaps safely and to-day 
was spent lounging alifiut in the easiest places we could find. Oh the wearing 
suspense. If we could only learn something definite. 

April 22d, 10 A. M. Slept well last night. Quite a number of people leav- 
ing this morning and others are talking of going. There are many contrary 
opinions. Some say there are no assurances of any degree of safety here. The 
people are all scattered now, and we have no protection and the very silence 
and comparative quiet which now exists, may be like the calm before a storm. 
One man with a very large family of children, all small, begs with tears that 
the younger men will not go away. He says he cannot go— has no money, no 
conveyance and no place to go to. There are many others in equally poor cir- 
cumstances. These people cannot be deserted and most of those who talked 
of going, say they will stay. Is the government doing nothing? It has always 
been too slow in protecting the \^•estern frontiers. 

4 P. M. Just received news from the north of a reliable character that the 
Indians arc now not near us and that the United States troops are on the way 
to the west and northwest of us to be there stationed for the protection of the 
country. This is indeed good news Several persons start out into the country 
to carry the glad tidings to the people. Some of those who left this morning, 
having heard the good news on the way, returned this evening. The confidence 
of the people much restored and a (luiet joy tieams from every face. God bless the 
good old government, after all. Thus ends, for the present at least, this mean, 
fearful, bloodless, dirty, hungry, cold and wretched Indian excitement, the 
first in the history of the county and I hope the last. 


Alas ! how futile this hope. Had the writer of the Journal 
possessed the power of the seer, to know the future, he might have 
seen in his visions, the red specter of an infuriated demon, brand- 
ishing a tomahawk dripping in blood, prophetic of a coming day, 
not long delayed, of death and desolation. But it should not be 
thought that the people felt entirely secure — far from it. Nothing 
but stern necessity drove them to their homes and kept them there. 
Much the same dread and fearful apprehensions were upon all for 
many months, notwithstanding the troops were now in the country. 
The barking of a dog in the silent hours of the night, unusual noises 
borne upon the winds, the light of fires reflected in the midnight 
sky, unusual delay in the return of the absent, the reports of gun 
firing in the distance, unusual stillness, even the peculiar whistling 
of the wind around the log cabin, the calling of birds, or the dismal 
howl of the wolf, created uneasiness with the nervous, lonely settler 
on the frontier, and not without reason, for often in the traditions of 
the border, these things proved to be the omens of death, for the 
Indian is a silent, sudden, crafty and cruel foe, whose artifices and 
cunning few can match. Much the same experiences were had, 
during the Indian excitement at Winnebago City and one or two 
other places, as those detailed at Blue Earth City. 


During the sjiring of this year, a steam saw mill was erected at 
Winnebago City, being the first one in the county, and about the 
middle of June another was erected and put in operation at Blue 
Earth City. The starting of these mills was an important event in 
the business affairs and prosperity of the county. Prior to the 
erection of these mills building was almost impossible, as lumber 
could only be had at great expense. Only log houses had been built 
before, but now frame dwellings could be erected. Each of these 
mills could turn out lumber at the rate of about 2,500 to 3,000 feet 
per day. An average of about forty dollars per thousand feet was 
charged. The effects were soon apparent, especially in the villages. 
New houses were built, log houses repaired, fences put up, and these 
signs of improvement greatly encouraged the people. These mills 
were the first manufacturing establishments in the county. The 
proprietor of a saw mill in those days, was deemed a "great man" 
and a power in the land. But we have long since ceased to use 
native lumber. As railroads were built it became convenient to get 
pine. The old mills long ago disappeared and so also have the 
original mill proprietors. 



The spring of this year was late and cold. CJold weather and 
high winds continuing until about the middle of Maj'. It was the 
latest and coldest spring which has yet been known here. The 
ground did not become fit for seeding until near the last of May. 
A little seeding, however, was done on the higher grounds as early 
as April l'7th. Some remnants of the deep snow drifts of the winter, 
were seen as late as the fourth day of Julj*. on the north side of the 
river bluffs, in the timber, near [^Blue Earth City. Yet vegetation 
never obtained a ranker, or more rapid growth, than it did in that 
year, and the crops in Minnesota were very abundant for the area 
cultivated. As there was yet but little land under cultivation, the 
crops in this count j' were merely nominal. 


It may be of interest to some to know the prices current of staple 
articles at this time. Flour was $4.50 and corn meal 83.00 per hun 
dred; corn 81.00 and potatoes 75 cents per bushel; butter 30 cents, 
salt pork 25 cents, tea 81.00, sugar 18 cents, coffee 25 cents, chewing 
tobacco 8100, smoking tobacco 60 cents each per pound: sheeting 
18 cents per yard; whisky 80 cents and brandy 75 cents per pint and 
pint flasks 15 cents each. 

For prices current in the earlier years of the county, the writer 
is indebted to the account books of Mr. Isreal S. Mead, who was 
engaged in mercantile pursuits during a number of those j'ears. 


Under the Enabling Act above referred to. aCJonstitutional Con- 
vention to consist of one hundred and eight members (each Council 
district to elect two for each Councilman and Representative, to 
which it was entitled), was authorized to meet at the Capital on the 
second Monday of July, to frame a State Constitution and submit 
the same to the people of the Territor3\ The election for members 
was held on the first Monday of June. 

On the 13th day of July, the delegates met, but owing to a dis- 
agreement as to the hour of meeting, the Republican members met 
and organized one body and the Democratic members also organ- 
ized separately. Each of these bodies claiming to be the legal Con- 
stitutional Convention, proceeded with the work of forming an in- 
strument to be submitted to the people. After some daj's an under- 
standing was effected between them and by means of committes of 
conference the same Constitution was framed and adopted by both 
bodies. On being submitted to the people at the general election 
October 13th, it was ratified. 



The Constitutional Convention redistricted tlie Territory for 
Legislative purposes, by which action the counties of Faribault and 
Freeborn were constituted the Fourteenth Senatorial district and 
was entitled to one senator and thx-ee representatives. 


About the middle of July, the frontier settlements were again 
agitated and put in great fear by rumors afloat on the borders, that 
the Indians were preparing for another attack on the white settlers. 
Government had failed as yet to punish the Spirit Lake murderers 
and the Indians generally of the north-west had grown insolent and 
made many threats. On the 20th, a meeting was called of the peo- 
ple of Blue Earth City and vicinity, to eifect some sort of military 
organization. A company was formed, of which James Decker was 
elected captain, J. A. Kiester, first lieutenant and H. P. Constans, 
second lieutenant, and it was determined to build a large block 
house, for a fort. . The company roll and subscription list of work 
and money for the block house, are still in the hands of the writer. 
Arms and ammunition were to be procured from the Governor, but 
the arms never came and the fort was not built, and in a few days 
the excitement died out, to be renewed again about the 9th of Aug- 
ust. On that day several settlers who resided at Chain Lakes, ar- 
rived at Blue Earth City and reported that the Indians were about 
the Lakes and that one Indian and one white man — a Mr. Britt — had 
been shot and the people there wanted assistance. The people at 
the lakes had built a fort of logs and named it Port Britt. It was a 
building of six sides, each side being twenty feet long. It was one 
story high and had a battlement around the top six feet high, which 
projected over the lower story all around, some six feet. It had re- 
quired a great deal of labor and has quite a strong and commodious 
fortification. As requested, a small company on horseback went 
from Blue Earth City to the Port where they found most of the 
people gathered and much " alarmed. It appeared that Mr. 
Britt, who had been down in the timber several days previous, had 
been shot at by one of a company of Indians and slightly wounded, 
and he returned the fire and probably killed the Indian, as he was 
seen to fall when the others fled, and Mr. Britt hurried home. The 
company scoured the woods and the country about the lakes, but 
found no Indians and they returned home next day just as well satis- 
fied as though they had got into a fight and been scalped. These 
rumors and excitements occurred at intervals during the whole year 
and kept the people in a state of constant anxiety and dread. 

To be attacked and defeated by a civilized foe, is bad enough, 
but to be beaten by these Indian savages and suffer the horrible 


atrocities of maiming and torturing, which they usually inflict upon 
their victims, is quite another thing.and it is not a matter of surprise 
that when apparently well founded rumors that the savages were 
coming, reached the people of the frontier, scattered and unpro- 
tected, that the cheeks of strong men turned pal«^, and women grew 
wild with terror. And he is much of a braggart and more of a cow- 
ard, who would affect to sneer at or ridicule the alarm of the people 
under such circumstances. 


Probably the most extraordinary, violent and destructive finan- 
cial panic ever known in America occurred in this year. The times 
for some years preceding the panic were characterized by the 
great amount of debts of individuals and corporations and almost 
incredible extravagance and wild speculations. Cities, corpora- 
tions, banks and individuals, were drained of money to construct 
unproductive railroads, or to invest in western land speculations. 
The whole western country, especially the territories, was swarm- 
ing with land speculators, dealing in wild lands, paper cities and 
great schemes of improvement. Lands and lots were sold often at 
fabulous prices. Great railroad lines were projected, companies 
formed and stock sold. These operations with others of a similar 
character, made money scarce everywhere where it was properly 
needed and diverted thousands of men and millions of capital from 
legitimate and productive business. The inevitable result came, 
the great bubble suddenly collapsed. The Ohio Life and Trust 
Company, an immense moneyed institution, led off sometime in 
August in the failures. Then followed the banks, companies, cor- 
porations and individuals, all going down in bankruptcy and ruin. 
In the graphic words of a writer on the subject "all over the land, 
east, west, north, south, the dark days of fear, alarm and ruin 
settled down upon the people and panic raged like a pestilence." 
The excitement became terrible. Crowds of depositors and others 
interested, rushed upon the banks and other institutions demanding 
their dues, and mobs gathered in the streets of the cities. Thous 
ands of men accounted rich became beggars. Almost all the great 
industries ceased and tens of thousands of laboring men were turned 
out of employment. Bank paper became worthless and gold and 
silver exceedingly scarce. After raging some months the panic be- 
gan to subside and financial affairs to right themselves. But untold 
ruin had been wrought and the country did not recover from its 
effects, for years. Minnesota was of course in the maelstrom with 
the rest of the nation. In this county, then so sparcely settled and 
the money being mainly gold and silver, the great panic was not so 
suddenly and disastrously manifest, but it had its etfects in a year 


or two aftei", as will be presently seen. But the rumbling of the 
thunder in the distance was distinctly heard here. 


The Enabling Act authorized the taking of a census, or enum- 
eration of the inhabitants of the Territory for the purpose of deter- 
mining the number of members of Congress the proposed State 
would be entitled to on admission into the Union. 

Andrew C. Dunn was appointed deputy marshal, to take the 
census of this county The work was completed in September and 
the population of the county was at that time, as appears from the 
State files, six hundred and eighty-nine, though it was otherwise 
reported to be over seven hundred. 

It was merely an enumeration of the inhabitants. No other 
statistics were taken. The writer has made repeated but fruitless 
efforts to obtain a copy of this census. It would be of great inter- 
est as exhibiting the names of the residents of the county at that 


In this and the following year occurred one of the most won- 
derful and general religious revivals ever known in America. It 
has been well said that "It was in a word the American Pentacost, 
the great religious epoch of the national century, unequalled in ear- 
nestness, union and universality by any similar movement that 
had preceded it in the history of the western world." It was not 
confined to any particular class of people, or religious bodies. 
Even among religious denominations unaccustomed to what are 
termed "revival meetings," the movement exhibited itself very 
early in acts of co-operation with others, in earnest prayers and in 
great and daily labors for the promotion and success of the work. 
It surpassed in many of its aspects, the religious movement com- 
menced many years later (in 1875) under the auspices of Messrs. 
Moody and Sankey. 

This great religious awakening, nothwithstanding its wide extent 
and influence, did not reach this immediate region. 


We have now, in the course of events, reached the first polit- 
ical campaign known in the history of the county. 

Oq the 19th day of September the first political convention ever 
assembled in this county met at Blue Earth City. It was a repub- 
lican mass convention aud was called for the purpose of nominating 
candidates for legislative and county offices. Prior to this time no 
political questions hud beeu raised. 

80 histohy (IF 

It was claimed that the democrats were in the majority in the 
county, and it could not be disputed, as the party lines had never 
been drawn and the test made. 

Two republicans at Blue Earth City concluded to test the mat- 
ter and called this convention. It was well attended and harmo- 
nious. A declaration of principles was adopted, nominations made, 
a county central committee elected and the party organized, wiiicli 
organization continues to this day. 

By a previous arrangement between the leading republicans of 
the two counties, it was agreed not to hold a joint convention for the 
nomination of legislative candidates, but that Faribault county 
should nominate two candidates for representatives and Freeborn 
county should nominate the candidate for senator and one repre- 
sentative. The following nominations were made by this con- 
vention : 

For Representatives— J. B. Wakefield, of Blue Earth City ; W. 
N. Dunham, of Winnebago City. 

For County Treasurer— Albin Johnson. 

For County Surveyor— .T. A. Kiester. 

For Sheriff— Thos. R. Foley. 

For Judge of Probate— J. B. Wakefield. 

For Coroner— J. B. Gillit. 

For County Commissioners — M. Sailor and E. Crosby. 

No nomination was made for the office of Clerk of Coufl. 

The Rejjublican convention of Freeborn County, nominated Dr. 
George Watson for Senator and A. H. Bartlett for one of the Rep- 
resentatives, both of Freeborn County. 

The Democrats in a few days after, also placed candidates in 
the field for the several offices, as follows: 

For Senator — E. C. Stacy, of Freeborn county. 

For Representatives — A. P. Sweuford, of Freeborn county, 
Andrew C. Dunn, of Faribault county, Geo. B. Kingsley, of Fari- 
bault county. 

For Treasurer— C. W. Wilson. 

For Surveyor— H. L. Young. 

For Sheriif— Perry Lamphere. 

For Judge of Probate— H. P. Constans. 

For Clerk of Court — Jno. M. Jackson, jr. 

For County Commissioner — E. M. Ellis. 

One Leander Lee was an independent candidate for sheriff and 
O. G. Hill for treasurer. 


The election was held on the 13th clay of October, and resulted 
in this county as follows: 

For Senator— Geo. Watson 128 

E. C. Stacy 91 

For Eepresentativc— A. P. Swinford 77 

A. H. Bartlett 122 

W. N. Dunham 66 

A. C. Dunn 51 

J. B. Wakefield 169 

Geo. B. Kingsley 146 

For County Commissioner— M. Sailor 124 

E. Crosby 102 

E, M. Ellis 94 

For Treasurer— Albin Johnson 118 

C. W. Wilson 4 

O. G. Hill 39 

For Sheriff— Thos. E. Foley 62 

P. Lamphere 54 

L. Lee 46 

For Surveyor — J. A. Kiester 121 

H.L.Young 33 

For Coroner-J. B. Gillit 123 

No opposition. 

For Judge of Probate— H. P. Constans 87 

J. B. Wakefield 116 

For Clerk of Court— Jno. >I. Johnson, jr 46 

James L. McCrery, Allen Shultis and Geo. K. Moulton were 
elected Justices of the Peace. Theo. Bowen, G. S. Converse, Henry 
R. Walker and B. Madison were elected Constables and Geo. D. 
McArthur, D. J. Sparks and Ed. Sumner. Road Supervisors, and 
Albin Johnson, John Haggin and H. T. Stoddard, Assessors. 

The Republican Legislative candidates except one, had a ma- 
jority in the district. 

This election showed that the whole vote of the county was 
about two hundred and twenty in this year and that both the legis- 
lative district and the county were Republican in iiolitics. 

W. W. Phelps and James M. Cavanaugh were elected Repre- 
sentatives in Congress. 


On the 6th day of November two weddings occurred at Blue 
Earth City, which were doubtless the first in the county and as 
such are entitled to a place in this history. The parties were Fred. 
Mittlesdorf and Miss Dora Miller, and Henry Miller and Miss Mary 
Drager. The marriages were solemnized by James L. McCrery, 
Esq., Justice of the Peace. It is written "Therefore shall a man 
leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife and 
they shall be one flesh." 

82 HlSToliV OF 

"As Isaac ami Rebecca lived faithfully together, so these per- 
sons may surely perform and keep tlie vow and covenant betwixt 
them made, and may ever remain in perfect love and peace to- 

The following clover lines are from the pen of a good deacon, 
a good jurist and evidently a good poet: 

There is a problem to the schools unknown, 

Whereby two added fjives the produft one; 

Whereby the more their sorrows they divide, 

So luuch the more their joys arc multiplied. 

And love subtracted from the willing soul, 

Gains while it t'i^es, and thus augments the whole. 

Nor stop we here, for when these Iovitj marry. 

Soon off it happc'Hs that there's one to carry! 

Yea two, three, four, to till the house with joy, 

And down the stream of time to hear the name of— Roy. 

In an old paper printed a century ago, we find the following on 

Oh. matrimony, thou art like 

To Jeremiah's Hgs; 
The good is very good— the bad 
Too sour to )?ive the pigs. 

I never dreamed of such a fate, 
When I a— lass was courted— 
Wife, mother, nurse, seamstress, cook, housekeeper, chambermaid, 
laundress, dairy-woman, and scrub generally, dolpg the work 
of six. 
For the sakeof being supported! 


The first State Legislature, though the State had not yet been 
admitted to the Union, assembled at the Capital, December 2d, 1857, 
and continued in session until March 25th, 1858, when a recess was 
taken until June 2d, when it again met and continued in session 
until Aug. 12th, when it finally adjourned. The State had in the 
meantime been admitted. The transition from a Territorial to a 
State government and many great public interests, demanding 
attention, created the necessity for much legislation. The acts 
passed at the session having special reference to this county are 
named in the history of the next year. 

The representatives of this district, appearing at the opening 
of the '"long parliament," were Geo. Watson in the Senate and J. B. 
Wakefield. A. H. Bartlett and W. N. Dunham in the House. Andrew 
C. Dunn, of this county, was secretary of the senate. Mr. Geo B. 
Kingsley, however, claimed the seat occupied by Mr. Dunham and 
proceeded to contest the same. The facts in relation to the matter 
were as follows. By the ofiicial canvass of the votes cast for 


representatives, Mr. Dunham, it appeared, had four hundred 
and nineteen votes, and Mr. Kingsley four hundred and thirteen 
votes in the entire district and Mr. Dunham received the certificate 
of election. But it appeared from the testimony taken on the in- 
vestigation, that the entire vote of Bear Lake Precinct No. 5, in 
Freeborn county, in which Mr. Kingsley had received thirty-eight 
votes and Mr. Dunham seventeen votes, had been rejected by the 
canvassing board of Freeborn county, on the ground that nine 
illegal votes had been cast and 'other irregularities had occurred in 
the election. The legislature decided that the returns from this 
precinct were improperly rejected by the canvassing board, and 
now deducting the nine illegal votes from the thirty-eight received 
by Mr. Kingsley left him twenty-nine votes, which added to the 
four hundred and thirteen votes cast for him elsewhere in the dis- 
trict, and adding the seventeen votes for Mr. Dunham to the four 
hundred and nineteen votes received, by him elsewhere in the dis- 
trict, and the result was for Kingsley four hundred and forty-two, 
for Dunham four hundred thirty-six, leaving Kingsley a clear 
majority of six votes all of which appearing satisfactorily to the 
House, Kingsley was admitted to the seat. 

At this Session, Henry M. Rice and James Shields were elected 
United States Senators, the former for six and the latter for two (2) 


Notwithstanding the Indian excitement, the great financial re- 
vulsion and some other unfavorable circumstances, the immigration 
during the summer and fall was large and the population of this 
county was greatly increased and the building and other improve- 
ments were extensive and permanent. It was really the first year of 
substantial and encouraging progress. It was indeed a year among 
the most eventful in the history of the State and the county, but the 
events of the time are already fast growing dim in the memories of 
the people, while many of the principal actors in the events of both 
the State and the county are now sleeping in their graves. 

84 niSTORY OF 


A. D. 1858. 


The laws passed by the first State Legislature referred to in 
the preceding chapter, specially relating to this county, were the 
following : 

An act to locate a State road from Chatfield, Fillmore County, 
to Winnebago City in this countJ^ 

An act to locate a State road from Brownsville, Houston County, 
to Winnebago City. 

An act to establish a State road from Blue Earth City to Shell 
Rock City in Freeborn County. 

In those days, before the existence of railroads, state roads 
were deemed of groat importance, being usually established between 
important points and across two or more counties. The fact that a 
village was a crossing point, or the terminus of a number of state 
roads, was held to be a matter of great consequence, and the legis- 
lature was often asked to authorize the establishment of these high- 
ways. Some of these roads, attracting and directing the course of 
travel and traffic, in natural and convenient channels, served to 
ci'eate the necessity for, and prove the practicability of certain 
great lines of railway, subsequently built, of which they were the 
forerunners. State roads are seldom ever heard of now. 


The commissioners met at Blue Earth City on the 9th day of 
January. At this session the first lists of grand and petit jurors 
were selected. The lists consisted of fifty grand and seventy-two 
petit jurors. The task of selecting these numbers of suitable per- 
sons for jurymen, at that time, was rather a difficult one, and the 
lists embraced about all the talented, ablebodied and respectable 
settlers in the county, not in the legal and ministerial professions. 
None of these jurors were, however, called upon to serve, as no term 
of court was held this year. 

The board met again on the fifth day of April. More business 
was transacted at this session than at any preceding one, and it was 
much the most important session yet held. A new election precinct 


was formed and named Walnut Lake precinct, and E. M. Ellis, P. 
C. Seely and L. J. Whitney were appointed judges of election. 

An act having been passed by the legislature establishing in 
each county a board of road commissioners, to which everything 
pertaining to public roads should be referred, the county board 
appointed W. J. C. Robertson and J. L. McCrery road commission- 
ei-s and they, with the county surveyor, then J. A. Kiester, who 
was by law ex-officio a member of the board, constituted the board 
of road commissioners. A number of the principal county roads 
still existing, were established by this board. 

The county commissioners at this session, after a great deal of 
discussion and profound meditation, decided to have a general 
assessment made of all the taxable property of the county and levy 
a tax for public purposes. It had become impossible to conduct the 
affairs of the county longer, without paying the expenses. 

Accordingly for the purpose of making assessments, Winnebago 
City precinct No. one was assigned to H. T. Stoddard, assessor. 
Blue Earth City precinct No. two was assigned to Albin Johnson, 
assessor, and Walnut Lake precinct No. three was assigned to John 
Haggin, assessor. Mr. Stoddard appointed Grover C. Burt, deputy, 
who made the assessment of district No. one and Mr. Haggin ap- 
pointed Albert Tower, deputy, who made the assessment of district 
No. three and Mr. Johnson made the assessment of his district, No. 
two, personally, and these three gentlemen were the first assessors 
in this county. 

At this session also the first batch of bills against the county 
was audited and amounted in all to ipl74.40. There have been few, if 
any, sessions of the board since that day, at which the auditing of 
bills was not the chief business. The other action of the Board at 
this session is noted elsewhere. 


The spring was late and stormy and the rains were so incessant 
that the farmers could scarcely get in their crops, though some little 
wheat was sown early in April. Only the highest grounds could be 
cultivated and much seed rotted in the ground. This year will ever be 
memorable with the old settlers as the wettest in the history of the 
county. All low lands were overflowed. Creeks became rivers and 
the rivers widened out over the bottom lands into seemingly perma- 
nent lakes, but still it continued to rain. The roads became imj)as- 
sable and overflowed in every direction. Some prophesied another 
deluge. Everything was wet and dripping and on every hand were 
fathomless mud and seas of water. Occasionally for a day the sky 
would clear up and the blessed sun would shine, but it afforded no 
hope and it had become a truthful, as well as a standing remark, 
' 'Well it has cleared up for another shower." 


The following lines from the Dublin Mai! are quite appropriate 


Dirty days has Seplfiiibor, 

April, Jurif, and November, 
From January up tn May, 

The rain it rainelh every day. 
All the rest have thirty-one. 

Without one blessed (,'leani of sun. 
And if any of them had-two and-lliirly. 

They'd be as wet and twice as dirty. 

However, about the last of July it began to dry up and the re- 
mainder of the year was not so bad. 


To add to the discomfort of the times, great clouds of mosqui- 
toes tilled the air, as evening approached and annoyed the people 
beyond endurance. Sultry heat, constant rains, deep mud and 
swarms of mosquitoes, were the characteristics of the spring and 
summer. And the reader should know that the mosquitoes of the 
early years of this county were not the puny littje husks which a 
breath would demolish, such as we see occasionally now-a-days. 
They were large, bony fellows, with long nibs, ferocious songs, a 
diabolical aspect and blood thirsty instincts, and possessed of a 
courage that baffled the most heroic defence. Great smudges of 
chips, dry grass and green weeds, making a smoke stitjng enough 
to tan a hide, had to be built in the summer evenings to protect the 
devoted settlers from the attacks of these cannibals. 

"Of all the plagues hot summer brings, 
Whether they move on legs or wings, 
The little wretch that closest clings. 
The thing that most our patience wrings," 
Is the nasty little mosquito. 

The writer should probably apologize for an occasional frivo- 
lous remark or amusing incident in this work, yet while it is well to 
keep in mind the dignity and gravity of history, we may also re- 
member that 

"A little nonsense nfiw and then 
Is relished by the best of men." 

And, also, by a great many good women. 


The legislature having proposed an amendment to the Constitu- 
tion of the State authorizing the loan of the credit of the State, to 
the amount of tive million of dollars, to aid the land grant railroad 
companies, in the construction of their roads, the amendment was 
voted upon by the people on the 15th day of April. The amend- 
ment was adopted by a large majority. The vote of this county was 


favorable to the amendment but the returns of the vote cast here did 
not reach the State Canvassing Board and were not counted. There 
were many at the time who doubted the expediency of the measure. 
The debt was a very large one to be incurred by so young a State. 
People were not then as familiar with enormous public debts as 
they afterwards became during the war. Some doubted the good 
faith of the transaction and so expressed themselves. • But the hard 
times, the great importance of railroads to the development of the 
country and the hope that their construction would give labor and 
greatly increase the amount of money in circulation — in short malie 
good times, superceded every otlier consideration. The bonds of 
the State known as the "Minnesota State Railroad Bonds" were sub- 
sequently issued to the amount of two millioa two hundred and 
seventy-five thousand dollars, bearing interest, payable semi-an- 
nually, at the rate of seven per cent, per annum. Only a certain 
amount of grading was done to procure these bonds. The roads 
were not built and the whole project fell through. For more than 
twenty years the payment or even any adjustment looking to the 
payment of the principal or interest of these bonds was resisted by 
the people. An adjustment of the whole matter was reached finally 
in 1881. 


There was great rejoicing and some demonstrations made 
throughout the country, when it was anaounced that Congress had on 
the eleventh day of May, admitted Minnesota into the Union. The 
State Officei-s were sworn in on May 2-tth. The first State Officers 
were H. H. Sibley, Governor; Wm. Holcomb, Lieutenant Governor; 
Francis Baasen, Secretary of State; G. VV. Armstrong, Treasurer; 
W. F. Dunbar, Auditor and C. H. Berry, Attorney General. The 
leading strings and subordinate condition incident to the territorial 
organization were now dropped and Minnesota stood forth clothed in 
all the power and dignity of an equal state, with the motto emblaz- 
ened on her forehead' "L'Etoile du Nord" — the Star of the North. 


The following pronouncement is found in the confession of faith 
of one of the greatest of American religious bodies, and is, there- 
fore entitled to the highest respect: 

"Although the light of nature and the works of creation and providence do 
so far manifest the goodness, wisdom and power of God, as to leave man inexcus- 
able; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, 
which is necessary unto salvation; therefore,it pleased the Lord at sundry times 
and in divers manners to reveal Himself and declare that His will unto His 
church, and afterwards for the better preserving and propagation of the truth 
and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the cor- 
ruption of the flesh and the malice of .Satan and of the world, to commit the 


satuo wholly unto writing." • ♦ * "And the hcavenliness of the 

nialtiT, the ertlcacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the styli-, the consent of all 
the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all flory toGod), the full dis- 
covery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many otluT incompara- 
Me excellences and the entire perfection thereof are ar^juments whereby it doth 
abundantly evidence itself to be the word of God." 

Saith the Psalmist— "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; 
Iho testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple." 

Saith Paul the Apostle. — "All scripture Is given by inspiration of God, and 
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, foY correction, for instruction in righteous- 
ness." .Second Timothy, 3:16. 

On the 23d day of May of this j'ear, the Faribault County Bible 
Society was organized at Blue Earth City. As the records of the 
first six years of the society appear to have been lost, the names of 
the first officers cannot here be given. This society, it should be 
observed, was one of the first of the permanent institutions of the 
county. Until about the year 1866. the society was a branch of the 
Minnesota State Bible Society, but the State society becoming dis.sol- 
ved at that time, our society was transferred to and became an auxil- 
liary of the American Bible Society, one of the greatest and most 
beneficent institutions of modern times. There are other Bible soci- 
eties in America doing a great woi'k. but our society has no con- 
nection with them. 

The American Bible Society was instituted in May, 1816, in the 
city of New York. Brietly stated, the object of the societi^' is to pro- 
mote the circulation throughout the world, of the Holy Scriptures, 
without note or comment. The King James translation, known as 
the authorized version, is the text used. What the course of the 
society may be. as to the "revision" of our daj', will probably take a 
number of years to decide. The society is wholly unsectarian and 
people of almost all shades of religious belief, are interested in the 
society. Prom gifts and bequests and other sources, the society 
has become very rich, its property amounting to millions. There 
may be dangers lying in the path of this great institution. It may 
become too rich; the conduct of its affairs too expensive; indolence 
in its great work may come with age and wealth^ind its methods be- 
come inadequate and behind the wants of the age. Rings may usurp 
its management and dissensions rend it asunder. Where such great 
interests are involved, prudence, suggesting possible misfortunes 
may aid in avoiding them. But hoping and believing that this noble 
institution is in God's care and keeping, let us have no fears of the 

In each county, or district, where the society has an auxilliary, 
or branch, it has a number of depositories, where its various styles 
of publications are kept. They can be had very cheaply. A good 
copy of the Bible can be had for twenty-five cents and of the New 
Testament alone for five cents, and when the person who wants 


them is too poor to pay these prices, he can have them for nothing. 
Agents are also employed to canvass the county and visit every 
family and supply the destitute with the Scriptures. 

An auxilliary society was organized at Winnebago in July, 1866, 
and one was established at Wells in December, 1871. 

Our local society has kept up its organization from its first 
institution and has carried out the purposes of its establishment with 
commendable success. To have in our midst an auxilliary of so ben- 
eficent a society, established so early in our history, and doing its 
Avork faithfully, is an honor to the county which should be duly 

Among the ancient collects we find the following very appro- 
priate one. 

"Blessed Lord, who has caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our 
learning; grant that we may in such manner hear them, read, mark, learn and 
inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of Thy Holy Word, we may 
embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life."' 

The Bible is certainly the greatest, most unique and the most 
valuable book which has ever appeared on earth. It is prevaded 
and illumined by wisdom and knowledge which are above and beyond 

There are those who are apprehensive of the alleged growing 
infidelity of the age and the results of what is known as the 
"higher criticism'' of the Scriptures, now dawning upon the world, 
and which latter is undoubtedly destined to still "higher" altitudes. 
Centuries have swept over the world, filled with doubt, perversion 
and infidelity, during which God and the Scriptures have been at- 
tacked from every side. Yet there are more intelligent believers in 
God and His Word today than ever before in the world's history. 
God and his word will take care of themselves. 

There can be but little danger to them, from the wisdom of their 
assailants, or from any man, however learned, or intellectual, whose 
knowledge at best is so shallow and limited, that but for God's reve- 
lation found in the Scriptures, he cannot even tell from whence he 
came, or whither he is going, or for what possible purpose he has 
appeared in this world. There are no grounds for fear, dear reader. 


In the early part of June, a fleet of Indian canoes passed down 
the east branch of the Blue Earth river, from Walnut Lake, on their 
way to their reservation in Blue Earth county. The red skins passed 
Blue Earth City and also Winnebago City, without deigning to call. 
Owing to the state of feeling existing against the Indians, in conse- 
quence of the Spirit Lake massacre, they were somewhat guarded in 
their movements for a year or two after. They were at least as 


much afraid of Ihc Wlates as tVio Whiles were of them, and both 
sides acted a good deal in the spirit of the fellow, who, having got 
into a tight with the wrong man, said to the by standers, "Two of 
you hold the other fellow — one can hold me." 


It is pleasant to record the fact in this history, that the people 
of this county, though situated upon the borders of civilization, and 
a little short of many things that go to make up an old fashioned 
Fourth of July celebration, still possessed the spirit of i)atriotism 
unimpaired. On the third day of July, the Fourth being Sunday, 
occurred the first celebration of Independence Day in this county. 
The day was very fine, being an exception to the weather of that 
summer. The people in Blue Earth City, and vicinity, assembled 
about ten o'clock in the forenoon, at Young's Hall. W. W. Knapp 
read the Declaration and J. A. Kiester delivered an address, after 
which there was some patriotic singing. Then a splendid free din- 
ner was served in the hall and the program was closed for the day, 
but the festivities of the occasion were completed by two separate 
dances on Monday night, which lasted all night, and which, as re- 
lated by those present, for real enjoj-raent, free and easj' manners, 
good will and flow of spirits, have never been surpassed to this day. 

At Winnebago City also they had a celebration. It was held in 
a large rustic booth erected for the occasion. Guy K. Cleveland 
delivered the oration. A great dinner was prepared by the ladies — 
"a dinner that was in everybody's mouth for years afterwards." 
Here too a great ball closed the holiday proceedings. . 


Without intending to discuss this subject, or express any opin- 
ion upon it, being beyond the purview of this work, it is necessary 
that something be said in relation to it here, as connected with our 
history as a people. It may be remarked that dancing appears to 
be an amusement known among all peoples and to have been prac- 
ticed in all ages of the world. The grossest and most ignorant, as 
well as many of the most refined and intellectual people everywhere 
appear to find a pleasure in dancing. The truth of this statement, 
is evident from the fact, that the chief amusement of the American 
Indian and of the howling Cannibals of the South Sea Islands, con- 
sists in their dances, and so also, we find that in the palaces of the 
cultured capitals of Europe and America, this is with many the 
most fashionable and most fascinating entertainment. 

Dancing among the ancient Hebrews formed a part of their I'e- 
ligious ceremonies, and even in the Christian church, at an early 
period, "the dance was united with the hymn in Christian festivi- 


ties." But it must be remembered that these religious dances were 
very different in their character, their forms, postures and purposes 
from the dances for amusement of these days. The religious dances 
were modest, solemn, reverent, and having the intent of divine 
worship, while the modern, fashionable dance is but a social amuse- 
ment and without a religious sentiment or purpose, and too often 
borders on the indelicate, the voluptious and sensual, and too often 
brings into close, personal contact and association, the pure minded 
with the immoral, in such manner as would not be allowed for an 
instant anywhere but in a ball room. But the views of people differ 
on these subjects and we shall not discuss them here. 

Dancing is one of the chief social pastimes, or amusements, of 
most frontier or sparcely settled countries. In the early days of 
this county, that is, during the first five or six years, this was the 
principal amusement of the people. The excuse is found, if any 
is necessary, in the fact that there were no other social recreations 
or entertainments to be had. There was no established society. 
No libraries or reading rooms. No lectures and no concerts. No 
societies or other literary or social institutions to afford entertain- 
ment or instruction. During much of the time, even public religious 
services were infrequent. 

People will have social gatherings and they will have recrea- 
tions and entertainments of some kind. 

Hence it was that all assemblages of the people, for any except 
religious purposes, were signalized by a dance as the proper clos- 
ing exercises, if it did not constitute the principal business itself. 
The music in those days was made by one or more violinists and 
the dances were the cotillion, waltz, polka, schottish, French four 
and some few others now forgotten. 

In the villages of Blue Earth City and Winnebago City, during 
the winter evenings, there would be at least one dance a week, and 
often two or three, which would be frequently attended by some of 
the people of both places, interchanging courtesies and by the folks 
from the country. The middle aged as well as the young, the 
sober as well as the gay, would participate. They continued gen- 
erally not only to the "wee sma hours ayant the twal" but often all 
night "till broad day light in the morning." Many persons took 
part in these dances, with great ease and grace and exactness of 
time, who today would not be suspicioned of ever having seen a 
ball room. All seemed to enjoy themselves and everything was 
conducted with decency and politeness. There were no stately 
formalities. No uncomfortable restraints, no division into classes 
of upper ten and lower million. Fine dress, or calico gown, broad 
cloth coat, or "baggin" trousers created no distinctions, but all 
joined with hearty cheerfulness, for what was called "a good social 


time" the prevading sentiment, being well expressed in those 
spirited lines of Byron. 

"On with the dance, let joy Ik- um-nnllned; 
No sleep till luom when youth and pleasure meet 
To chase the ^'lowintr hours with tlying foetl"' 
But not the villages alone had their dances. Many a log cabin 
with its "puncheon'" floor in the country in those early days rang 
with the "sound of revelry by night" where from far and near would 
be gathered "fair women and brave men," in all sorts of toilets, 
who obeyed the injunction of that other eminent poet, Joshua B., 
in the following stanza: 

"Now Kalhcr round the kitchen Are, 
And pile the chunlvs on hier and higher; 
Get out the old llddle and partners choose, 
And shal<(' her down in your cow-hide shoes." 
It may be observed that generally, as people grow older and 
have the benefit of wider observation and more extended knowl- 
edge, the view.s they entertained of dancing in their youth, become 
greatly changed and they come to look upon this amusement as 
frivolous and as inimical to physical and moral health. 


On the 5th day of July the county boai'd met and as they had 
neglected at the January session to choose a chairman for the year, 
they now proceeded to that weighty business and C.,W. Wilson 
was raised to the dignity of chairman. At the next session of the 
board held August 25th, the rate of tax was fixed at one-fourth of 
one per cent, for county purposes, to which was added by law one- 
half of one per cent, for state purposes, making but three-fourths 
of one per cent, as the entire rate of the first tax levied in this 



The assessors returns were all made the latter part of August, 
and as this was the first assessment in the county, the following 
table of the valuations is of interest. 


Ileal Estate $71 ,453 

Personal Estate 27,774 $99,227 Tax 8744 54 


Real Estate $82,711 

Personal Estate 30,451 $113,162 Tax $849.52 


Real Estate $12,743 

Personal Estate 9,539^ 822,282 Tax $167.15 

$2."i4,671 $1,701.21 

The State realized from this assessment $1,174.14, and the 
county the sum of i?587.07. 



The harvest throughout the state was not abundant, and in this 
county was very little. No surplus was yet raised for export and 
the home prices of farm products were very low. The year was a 
discouraging one for the farmer and consequently for everyone else, 
for there is no permanent success in business of any kind in a merely 
agricultural community, unless the farmer is first prosperous. The 
tiller of the soil is the first and principal producer of wealth ; others 
are in the main but exchangers and consumers, and the farmers suc- 
cess or failure is the success or failure of the community. 


The early years of Faribault county were characterized by the 
want of money. This is doubtless true of most new countries, but 
it was peculiarly so of this county; New settlements are almost al- 
ways poor in money, because all the money brought in by immi- 
grants is at once invested in permanent, fixed property and improve- 
ments and some years must necessarily pass before such communi- 
ties produce any surplus, from which they can get any money. 
Capital is more needed and its benefits more apparent in the first 
settlement of a country than ever after, for the country being new 
produces nothing, yet everything in the way of improvement is an 
immediate necessity. Formerly many years were passed by the 
settlers of the new territories, in a state of semi-barbarism for the 
want of schools, churches, railroads, even common roads and brid- 
ges, the security of local governments, society and many other bles- 
sings of civilized life, because of the lack of capital. Of late years, 
however, in many instances in the settlement of the new countries, 
capital goes with the settler and in a comparatively few years, all 
the conveniences of an old settled country are enjoyed. To add to 
the natural causes of poverty here the great commercial revulsion of 
1857, reduced the prices of land everywhere, crippled commerce and 
all industries and immigrants who came into this county, about this 
time, came with less money of course, than they would otherwise 
have done. The greater part of the money in circulation from the 
first settlement of the county, until 1861, was gold and silver, but in 
small quantities. Bank paper was greatly depreciated. A bushel 
basket full of it might be worth something and might not — most 
probably not. 

Money became exceedingly scarce and in the year of which we 
write it was loaned at from thirty to sixty per cent, on mortgage 
security. There is no legitamate business that can pay such rates, 
and a whole community burdened with them, is not benefitted — can- 
not be in any view of the case. Neither the productive powers 
of the soil, nor the commercial advantages of any community in 


existence, can endure it long and prosper. The inevitable evil 
results always follow. The country is drained of its money to pay 
iutei'est to nonresidents, instead of being expended in permanent 
improvements. Lands taken in good faith as the homestead of the 
settler, finally passes into the hands of the money loaner and the 
borrower becomes bankrupt and must commence life anew. For 
many years this county has borne a heavy burden in this respect. 
Loans at such exorbitant rates of interest were made in this county 
as early as 1857, but in the year of which we now write, became 
more general and continued for many years thereafter. Thousands 
of acres of land were preempted in this county, the pre-emptors 
getting the means to do so at thirty and forty per cent, by secur- 
ing the debt on the lands, and other thousands of acres were mort- 
gaged for money at these high rates for other purposes, and much 
of such lands were subsequently sold in payment of the debts 
under mortgage foreclosure and were never redeemed by the mort- 
gagors. Owing to the productiveness of our soil, the healthfulness 
of the climate and the energy of the people, the evil effects of these 
things were not so great even here, as in some other sections of the 
country. The effects to some extent in this, as well as in some 
other features of the financial crash, had just reached us in this 
year and hard times began, but this year did not see the worst of 
it, as we shall see subsequently. 


Let us turn now for a moment from the affairs of earth, to the 
innumerable worlds in the vast expanse above us. Behold 1 how the 
heavens do "declare the glory of God." In September of this year 
Donati"s comet visited our heavens and excited the admiration and 
wonder and perhaps the fears of some of its beholders. This 
comet, though smaller than some others, exceeded almost all others 
in the brilliancy of its head. It passed its perihelion, or nearest 
point to the sun, approaching within 55,000,000 of miles on the 29th 
of September and was nearest the earth, within 52,000,000 of miles, 
on the 12th of October. Its train was estimated to be 51,000,000 of 
miles in length and its period over 2,000 years. 

These singular bodies, have for thousands of years, been looked 
upon with dread by the great mass of the inhabitants of the earth. 
They have been considered ominous of the wrath of heaven and the 
harbingers of wars, pestilence and famine, the downfall of monarchs 
and the destruction of empires. Nor were these opinions always 
confined to the unlearned. The eminent writer, Farrar, says that "It 
is conceded by manj' wise and candid observers, even by the great 
Niebuhr, the last man in the world'to be carried away by credulity, 
or superstition, that great catastrophies and unusual phenomena 


in nature, have as a matter of fact — however we may choose to in- 
terpret such a fact — synchronized in a remarkable manner, with 
great events in liuman history." But science has greatly divested 
these phenomena of their terrors. Yet what important ends comets 
are designed to accomplish in the economy of the universe, what 
regions they visit when they pass beyond our vision, "On the long 
travel of a thousand years," or what are their exact physical const- 
itution, are questions beyond the powers of human knowledge even 
now to answer. Oh Omnipotent Creator and Governor of all things! 
Are these the messengers of thy wrath, or thy mercy! 

The mention of this brilliant visitor, which filled the evening 
skies with splendor, recalls the eloquent words in reference to it, of 
that great scholar and statesman, Edward Everett. These are his 
admirable words : 

"Return, thou mysterious traveller, to the depths of the heavens, never 
again to be seen by the eyes of men now living! Thou hast run thy race v?ith 
glory: millions of eyes have gazed upon thee viilh wonder; but they shall never 
look upon thee again. Since thy last appearance in the lower skies, empires' 
languages, and races of men have passed away; the Macedonian, the Alexan- 
drian, the Augustan, the Parthian, the Byzantine, the Saracenic, the Ottoman 
dynasties sunk or sinking into the gulf of ages. Since thy last appearance, old 
continents have relapsed into ignorance, and new worlds have come out from 
behind the veil of waters, the Magian flres are quenched on the hiil-tops of 
Asia; the Chaldean seer is blind; the Egyptian hierogrammatist has lost his 
cunning; the oracles are dumb. Wisdom now dwells in furtherest Thule, or in 
newly-discovered worlds beyond the sea. Haply when wheeling up again from 
the celestial abysses, thou art once more seen by the dwellers on earth, the 
languages we speak shall also be forgotten, and science shall have fled to the 
uttermost corners of the earth. But even then His Hand, thao now marks out 
thy wondrous circuit, shall still guide thy course; and then as now Hesper will 

smile at thy approach and Arcturus and his sons rejoice at thy coming." 



On the 15th of September, the county board directed the issue 
of the flrst county orders. They amounted to 1171.40. 

County orders have fluctuated in value, greatly, in this county. 
For many years they were under par, sometimes getting as low as 
twenty-five cents on the dollar and were held at various prices, at 
various times, up to a dollar. For some years past they have been 
l^ar and will continue so, doubtless, but they have never been known 
to command a premium. 

It is exceedingly poor economy in the county authorities to per- 
mit such a condition of the county finances as will cause county 
orders or warrants to get below par. All services rendered for the 
county must very soon be paid at a price advanced just in propor- 
tion to the depreciation of county orders. 

Thus services worth one hundred dollars costs the county just 
two hundred dollars, if paid in orders worth fifty cents on the dollar, 


and such has been the actual fact in this county. And it is stated 
as a historical fact that this county and many others in the State 
have paid thousands of dollars in excess of what they should have 
paid had a correct policy been pursued. On the one hand all public 
expenses should be kept down to the minimnm and the people 
should exercise more vigilence than they do. in seeing that their 
servants make no unnecessary expenses and then on the other hand, 
as a part of a correct financial system, it should be required that an 
amply sufficient tax should be levied each year to meet at once all 
claims against the school district, the town and the county, on pre- 

Large sums of money would thus be saved, the taxes lessened 
and the public faith and credit preserved. 


The Republican County Convention for this year was held at 
Blue Earth City, and made the following nominations: 

For Representatives — Geo. D. McArthur, of Elmore; J. A. Lat- 
imer, of Winnebago City. 

For Register of Deeds — J. A. Kiester. 

For Judge of Probate — Guy K. Cleveland. 

The other republican candidate for Representative was A. B. 
Webber, of Freeborn County, nominated by the convention of that 
county. ,; 

Tlie Democratic candidates were: 

For Representatives — Jo. L. Weir, of Winnebago City; Jas. L. 
McCrery. of Blue Earth City. 

For Register of Deeds — Jno. M. Jackson Jr. 

For Judge of Probate — Andrew C. Dunn. 

The other democratic candidate for Representative was J. W. 
Heath, of Freeborn county. 

The chief "bone of contention" in this election was the office of 
Register of Deeds. It was commonly understood that no legislature 
would meet the ensuing winter and the contest for representatives 
was therefore, but slight, though some canvassing was done by the 

The election was held on the 12th day of October, and the fol- 
lowing was the vote cast in this county: 

For Representatives — A. B. Webber had 191 votes; Geo. D. Mc 
Arthur had 187; J. A. Latimer, 190; J. W. Heath had 101; J. L. 
Weir, 109; J. L. McCrery, 113. 

For Register of Deeds — J. A. Kiester had 215 votes and Jno. M, 
Jackson Jr. had 83. 

For Judge of Probate — Guy K. Cleveland had 175 votes and 
Andrew C. Dunn had 112. 


The whole republican ticket, both in the county and district 
was elected. 


By Act passed August 13th, the Legislature instituted a new- 
system of County Government and provided for township organiza- 
tion. In pursuance of this act, the Governor a^jpointed Andrew C. 
Dunn, Jas. S. Latimer and R. P. Jenness, commissioners to divide 
the county into towns and name them, jireparatory to organization. 
The commissioners met at Winnebago City on the 27th of Septem- 
ber, and performed their duties under the act. In October the town- 
ship organization went into effect. A fuller statement of this mat- 
ter is found in another part of this history. 


The commissioners met October 4, but did nothing of public in- 
terest, and on the 28th day of October they met again and for the 
last time, as they were superseded by a new authority instituted 
by the township organization act, known as the board of county su- 
pervisors. The commissioners at this last meeting approved an 
official bond and then adjourned sine die. Probably as this was the 
last meeting of the old board, they would have done something ap- 
propriate to the occasion had they known that they were making 
history. However, the clerk of the board appears to have appreci- 
ated the solemnity of the event and after the adjournment entered 
of record the following remarks:— "For about three years this board 
has managed the affairs of the county, and of those who constituted 
the board, it is but just to say, that they have ever given the best 
satisfaction, and always had the confidence of the people. May the 
power that succeeds them, ever regard the real interests of the 
county, and be dilligent in their labors to promote them." 

Although the times were hard, and the weather during a large 
part of the year very unfavorable, quite anumberof men of enterprise 
and of some capital became residents of the county this year and 
many substantial improvements wei-e made. In those days persons 
coming into the county, usually came first to the villages to make 
inquiries as to the most eligible lands to be had, and for some years 
residents of the villages spent much time, and that without fee or re- 
ward, in showing vacant lands to the newcomers. During the first 
two or three years immigrants were very exacting, and must have 
claims with at least eighty acres of timber and living water, with 
good pi-airie adjoining. Subsequently they were satisfied with from 
forty down to ten acres of timber, with liviag water and good 
prairie for the balance of the claim. Afterwards their demands 
were satisfied with simply good prairie and running water— then to 
be near the timber and streams, and finally they were glad to get 


claims far out on the prairies. It was long thought that the prai- 
ries, beyond four or five miles from the limber, would probably 
never be settled, or if so, at a very late day. Yet but a few years 
passed and the prairies were all dotted over with the cabins of set- 
tlers, and to-day many of the largest and best farms in the county 
are located far out on these very prairies. Lands in those days 
were taken under the pre-emption laws, the homestead laws not hav- 
ing yet been passed. They cost one dollar and twenty-five cents per 
acre. An actual residence upon the land for a certain length of 
time, the erection of a dwelling and some other improvements 
were required before the pre-emptor could "prove up' as it was 
called, or in other words pay up and get title to the land. Actual 
settlers usually complied with the letter and spirit of the law, but 
there was always a floating population that sought to preempt these 
lands by a veiy imperfect compliance with the pre-emption laws, and 
there were many very imperfect preemptions. Consciences were 
often very elastic. 

To make a colorable compliance with the law, various subter- 
fuges and pretences were resorted to, some of which were quite in- 
genious and amusing. In one instance some four quarter sections 
were pre-empted by four young men, who remained in the country 
but a few days and had for a house four rails, which they laid 
together in the form of a square and called it a house, which they 
moved from one quarter to another, sleeping within the enclosure one 
night on each quarter. A few grape vines stretched around a small 
tract, was called a fence. In another instance a small company of 
pre-empters erected a house 16 by 24, having two doors and four 
windows, which they moved from one to the other of their respec- 
tive claims for pre emption purposes. The house was 16 by 24 inches 
and 12 inches high. 

One made proof that he had a house on the land having a stone 
foundation and a board lloor and this was, in fact, a shanty built of 
poplar poles, each corner of which rested on a small stone and the 
floor was the earth, in which the pre-empter had bored a hole — it 
was a bored floor. Often the I'esidence on the land, re(iuired by law, 
was deemed complied with, in the mind of the pre-emptor, if he had 
spent a Sunday on the land hunting ducks. 

But little remains to add to the record of this j'ear. It may 
be noted as the most uneventful and in some respects, the most un- 
profitable in the history of the county, and the record is soon written. 



A. D. 1859. 

No session of the legislature was held in the winter of 1858-9, 
mainly owing to the protracted session of 1857-8, which rendered 
another following so soon, unnecessary. Representatives had been 
elected the preceding fall, as will be remembered, but their services 
were never required. There is, therefore, no legislation for this 
year to note here. 

The second State legislature assembled in December of this 
year. Some reference thereto, will be found in the history of 1860. 


It has been seen that the old board of county commissioners 
held their last meeting on the 28th of October, 1858, and were then 
superseded by the new boai'd of county supervisors. This latter 
board was composed of the chairmen of the several boards of town 
supervisors. Under this new arrangement the new board consisted 
of ten members. On the third day of January, the new board met 
at Blue Earth City, but six members appearing, however, as several 
of the town districts had failed to organize. A quorum being pres- 
ent, they proceeded to organize by electing James L. McCrery, 
chairman, and Arthur Bonwell, clerk. 

The session lasted three days and much business was transacted, 
among the most important of which was the division of the county 
into fifteen school districts. During the existence of this board, the 
business was transacted much in the manner usual in legislative 
bodies. There was a standing commiitee of three on school dis- 
tricts, a committee on roads and bridges, and a committee on claims. 
Special committees also were appointed occasionally, and questions 
were discussed in committee of the whole. The committees reported 
to the board, when final action was taken. 


The spring of this year, like its predecessor, was late and cold. 
The snows of the winter were deep and the spring thaws and rains 
caused high waters and almost impassable roads. But little grain 
was sown until quite late in April, all of which was quite discour- 

100 BTSTOnv (IF 

aging to the people. The great majority of tVie people, until after 
harvest, were wretchedly "hard up." The previous j'ear the crops 
were light, and the bread and feed during the winter, and the seed- 
ing of this year, had about used up the products of 1858. The fol- 
lowing extract from the journal of an old resident of Blue Earth 
City, gives a rather gloomy statement of the condition of the county 
in March, about the middle of which month il was written. "We 
have, as a community, arrived at a period more depressing finan- 
cially, and fuller of gloomy forebodings, than anj' other in the his- 
tory of this section of country. There is no money in the country. 
Provisions are very scarce and very high. 

There is no building, improvements or business of any kyid in 
progress. Many families are almost and some quite out of such 
articles of food as are necessary to support life. In the country, 
the farmers can do nothing yet of spring work. In the villages men 
stand idly about the streets, or sit in small companies about the 
shops and stores, listless and cheerless, and appear to be filled with 
apprehensions of a yet worse state of affairs to come. The times 
will doubtless be 'harder' before the new crops are harvested. But 
it is said 'The darkest hour is just before the break of day,' and it 
may be, that in three or four months, every department of business 
may be active, provisions plenty, and money to be had more easily 
than at present. 'It is never best to give up in despair.'" 


The first term of the District Court held in this county com- 
menced its session on the 4th day of April of this year. The officers 
of the court were, Hon. Lewis Branson, Judge; Geo. B. Kingsley, 
Clerk, and Geo. H. Goodnow, Sheriff. There were seven civil and 
two criminal cases on the calendar. The attendance on the court 
was largo, many coming out of curiosity, and the term was a very 
respectable one. A more full account of this term is given else- 
where. It is sufticientto say here, that the law was now established 
in the county, and its supremacy acknowledged. There was a tri- 
bunal in the county where wrongs could be righted and rights en- 
forced — the time when every man was "a law unto himself," had 
passed away and another step forward in the progress of the county 
haxi been taken. The Bill of Rights declares that "Every person is 
entitled to a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries or wrongs 
which he may receive in his person, propertj' or character; he 
ought to obtain justice freely and without purchase; completely and 
without denial; promptly and without delay; conformably to the 
laws." Constitution. 

The names on.the calendar of the attorneys appearing in the 
several cases were J. B. Wakefield, A. C. Dunn, Simeon Smith, W. 


W. Knapp, J. A. Kiester and Messrs. Wilkinson and Burt. The 
Grand Jury sworn and charged, being the first ever convened in this 
county, was composed of the following gentlemen: Dr. W. N. Town- 
drow, Foreman; E. Crosby, Wm. Phillips, T. Bally, J. S. Latimer, 
G. A. Weir, S. L. Rugg, Jas. Sherlock, B. Gray, A. Morris, A. J. 
Barber, E. B. Kendall, G. D. Mc Arthur, John Beidle, W. W. Sleep- 
ier, O. G. Hill, H. A. Paunce, W. Seely, Jas. Decker, S. A. Safford, 
H. L. Young, S. B. Hamilton and T. Bowen. 

No more respectable Grand Jury than this first one has ever 
assembled in this county. 

The first Petit Jury sworn was composed of the following 
named gentlemen: Aaron J. Rose, Aaron Mudge, Dr. R. P. Jenness, 
Dr. J. P. Humes, Martin Sailor, O. Webster, W. Ladd, James Prior. 
Jas. L. McCrery, J. Edwards, H. Chesley and J. Burk. And many 
very respectable petit juries have sat in this county since that day 
and pronounced their verdicts, but none more able, intelligent or 
conscientious than the first. They were "good and lawful men." 
The writer is sorry to have to record the fact that the first verdict 
rendered in this county was that short and terrible word "guilty." 
The term lasted five days and the business disposed of was con- 

Courts are usually conducted with much solemnity and dignity, 
but some very amusing incidents occur occasionally, and here is 

Our pronouns are apt to get mixed, as the following, which is reported from 
the Pacific slope. A policeman was being examined as a witness against an 
Irishman whom he had brought before the local court. After the officer had 
told his story, the judge inquired.— • 

"What did the man say when you arrested him?" 

"He said he was drunk.'' 

"I want his precise words, just as ho uttered them. He did not use the 
pronoun he, did he?" 

"Oh yes, he didi He said he was drunki He acknowledged the corni" 

"You don't understand me at all. J want the words as he uttered them. 
Did he say, '/was drunk?' " 

"Oh no, your Honor, he didn't say you was drunk. I wouldn't allow any 
man to charge that upon you in my presencel" 

"A fledgling lawyer, occupying a seat in court, here desired to air his powers, 
and said, "Pshawl you don't comprehend at all. His Honor means, did the 
prisoner say to you, '/ was drunk?' " 

"Waal, he might have said you was drunk, but I didn't hear him." 

"What the court desires," said another lawyer, "is to have you state the 
prisoner's own words, preserving the precise form of the pronoun he made use 
of in the reply. Was it in the first person 2; second person f/ioit or yow; or In 
the third person /le, s/ie or i(.' Now then, sir, did not the prisoner say, '/ was 
drunk?' " 

"No, he didn't say you was drunk, neither. D'yer supposes the poor fellow 
charged the whole court with being drunk?'' 



On llie 'Jth day of April of this year an important event 
occurred at Winnebago City. This was nothing less than the organ- 
ization of the Faribault County Agricultural Societi'. The minutes 
of the proceedings are given entire, as taken from the Secretary's 
book that they may be preserved for future use. This book was 
once lost for a period of about seven years, and was at last found 
among a lot of rubbish in the County Auditor's office. It is well to 
transcribe into this history, what is of interest in the book, as its 
next disappearance may be final. Besides the organization of the 
society and its subsequent proceedings are items of importance, in 
the history of the county. In the long future when the members of 
the society shall assemble around the banqueting board, spread in 
the spacious and decorated halls situated in the beautiful grounds of 
the society, to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the or- 
ganization, every scrap of the early history of the society will be 
prized as of a value we little comprehend now, and to the brave 
spirits of that distant time, none of the exercise of the occasion will 
possess more interest than the reading of the following minutes: 


WiNNKKAOo City, April 9, A. D. 1859. 

In accordance with previous notice the inhabitants of Faribault County 
assembled at Winnebago City to form a County Agricultural Society. 

On motion, G. H. Goodnow was called to the chair and D. H. Morse was 
chosen secretary. 

On motion a committee of three was appointed to draft a constitution. 
G. K. Cleveland,. H. II. Bigelow and A. B. Ralcom were appointed said com- 
mittee. The following orticers were then electi.'d by acclamation to act until 
the next meeting, when permanent ollicers shall be elected. 

J. A. Latimer was duly elected president. 

W. J. C. Robertson and Amos Preston, vice-presidents. 

G. K. Cleveland, correspijnding secretary. 

D. H. Morse, recording secretary. 

J. S. Latimer, auditor. 

A. B. Balcom, treasurer. 

On motion, the election of other officers was deferred until the next 
quarterly meeting. 

G. K. Cleveland, H. H. Bigelow and A. B. Balcom were appointed a com- 
mittee to report, at the next meeting, liy-laws for the society. 

On motion the secretary was instructed to notify Messrs. Latimer and 
Preston of their election, and to cause tlie proceedings of this meeting to be 
published in the Mankato '•Independent.'' 

G. K. Cleveland offered the following resolution which was adopted. 

"Whereas it is of the tlrst importance to the farmers of Faribault County 
to raise superior stock, and to obtain seeds and grain of the best (lualily (in 
order) to encourage immigration, and to make this beautiful county what less 
fertile states of the east already are--"a land llowing with milk and honey." 


"Therefore, Kestjived, That we will encourage the importatioQ of blooded 
stock and the introduction of choice seeds, grain and fruit trees, by buying of 
the farmer or merchant who will keep the same for sale. 

"2nd. That every member of this society should at once go to work to 
make or raise something rare to compete for a premium at our county fair 
next fall. 

"3rd. That county agricultural fairs stimulate enterprise and awaken 
emulation among farmers, and that as farmers, we are proud of our county, and 
proclaim it second to none in the State in the fertility and breadth and beauty 
of its farming lands, and that we cordially invite all who are seeking locations 
to make a home with us." 

On motion the society adjourned until the second Wednesday of June, 
A. D. 1859. 

D. H. Morse, Secretary.. 

After the minutes there appeared the following list of the first 
members of the society: 

Andrew C. Dunn, A. B. Balcom, W. W. Sleepier, J. S. Latimer, 
D. H. Morse, H. H. Bigelow, G. K. Cleveland, G. H. Goodnow, J. 
P. Humes, S. S. Wiltsey, Wm. Ladd, G.C.Burt, Jesse Dunham, 
Jas. Sherlock, Loyal Dudley, W. J. C. Robertson, J. A. Latimer, 
A. Preston, J. L. Weir, Geo. M. Patton. T. J. Maxson, W. W. Seely, 
R. P. Jenness, W. N. Towndrow, J. H. Welch, J. B. Chaple, L. W. 
Brown, A. D. Mason, A. D GrifBe. 

It may be observed that with one or two exceptions, all of the 
first members of the society were residents of the northern portion 
of the county. This was owing mainly to the fact of the meeting 
being called in that part of the county. Subsequently residents in 
all parts of the county became members, and took an active interest 
in the welfare of the society. 

On the 8th of June, according to adjournment, the society held 
a meeting at Winnebago City, for permanent organization. A con- 
stitution and by laws were then adopted, and permanent officers 
elected as follows: J. A. Latimer, president, and W. J. C. Robert- 
son and Amos Preston, vice-presidents; D. H. Morse, recording, and 
G. K. Cleveland, corresponding secretaries; J. L. Weir, auditor 
and R. P. Jenness, treasurer. 

The following board of councilmen,being one from each town dis- 
trict, was then chosen: Allen Shultis, Charles Marples, H. T. Stod- 
dard, Thomas Blair, H. M. Huntington, Albin Johnson, P. C. Seely, 
S. L. Rugg, J. L. McCrery and Lorenzo Merry. A long list of 
additional members was reported at this meeting, and the society 
was now fully organized under very favorable auspices. 

Agriculture and its kindred industries is and must ever of neces- 
sity continue to be the leading and most important pursuit of the 
people of this county. It is essentially an agricultural country. 
Our manufactures can never be very extensive, though they can be 
profitably extended beyond what they now are. But to compensate 


for the want of commercial and manufacturing facilities we have a 
most fertile soil, and plenty of it, and the future wealth of the 
county must come mainly from this source. The sooner, therefore, 
our people realize tiieso facts and direct tlieir energies to the fos- 
tering and development of our agricultural interests, the sooner 
will they be prosperous. And it is the duty of every resident of the 
county, whatever his occupation may be, to do what he can to 
encourage this industry. There are many ways of doing so, by 
word and deed. 

Among other things, our agricultural society should be patron- 
ized and the annual fairs of the society should be looked forward to 
and prepared for as a matter of the first importance. Every one, 
whatever his business, should take an interest in it, contribute 
something, if only his presence, and assist in making a success of 
every fair 

Other societies, farmers" clubs, stock associations and the like, 
designed to promote and protect this greatest of all interests should 
be favored. The establishment of convenient markets in the county, 
and facilities for the sale of all farm products, where some degree of 
fair dealing may be found, and where sharpers and jjlausable scoun- 
drels, who with impudent assurance and hands full of Chicago re- 
l^orts gamble with the fruits of tlie farmers' labors are not the 
chief figures, should have attention. The introduction of the best 
breeds of stock and the most successful varieties of seetl grain, ex- 
periments to test the character of our soils and the adaptation of 
various products to the soil and climate, the support of our agricul- 
tural schools, the circulation of newspapers, periodicals and books, 
devoted to agriculture and kindred subjects, should be encouraged. 

It is a well-known fact that the system of farming pursued in 
one country is not always successful in another, even of the same 
latitude. Every considerable district of country has its own pecu- 
liar system of farming, which experience has proved to be the best 
for that locality. In one district it may be stock raising, horses, 
cattle, hogs; in another, wool growing; in another, dairying; in 
others, mainly grain raising and in some localities, all of these. The 
fact has been illustrated here that people going into a new country 
are apt to take with them and put in practice, the system of hus- 
bandry, in the main, which they learned in the place from which 
they came, and failure often resulted. It was hard to get out of the 
old ways. The first question should be, what is the system of farm- 
ing best adapted to this soil and climate? It has already been 
proved in the experience of many here, that exclusive grain raising 
is not profitable. There are, in fact, few countries in which it is safe 
to be dependent on one class of products. And it has been well 
established here, as it has been generally elsewhere, that diversified 
farming industries are usually the most successful. 


A word should be said here in reference to that superficial and 
wholly erroneous idea entertained by certain classes, that agricul- 
ture is a simple and unimportant pursuit. A very silly practice has 
grown up among the newspapers, especially in the cities, of making 
derogatory, but supposed witty remarks about farming and in re- 
lation to farmers. The farmer is called "jiumplvin eater," "old tur- 
nip," "old hayseed." etc. , and caricatures are made of him repre- 
senting him in old fashioned clothes, outlandish hat, great cowhide 
boots, with his trowser legs, if not shown as too short, crowded into 
his boot tops, and having a great ox gad in his hands and his coun- 
tenance and general appearance those of a grotesque simpleton. 
Farmers, as a class, are no more amenable to such characterization 
than men of other occupations, and as there is neither wit nor wis- 
dom in the practice, it should be abandoned. Where the cultivation 
of the soil is looked upon with contempt, or as a calling beneath the 
attention of men of education and standing, it will soon drift into 
the hands of those who are without means and of small capacity, to 
the great public detriment. What are the facts'? 

The cultivation of the soil was man's original, first employment, 
and it is just as important and honorable now, as it was then. It is 
not only essential to the well-being of society in a rude state, but is 
equally necessary in every stage of progress and refinement. 

All other occupations— life and prosperity rest upon this as 
their basis, and it gives life and energy to all other pursuits and in- 
dustries. Without it they could not exist. The farmer is the pri- 
mary producer — tlie creator of the real wealth of the world. It is 
he that supplies the civilized world with its food, and it is he that 
stands at the doors of the world's graneries with the keys in his 

His calling employs more workers than any other business, and 
the real and most permanent wealth of every civilized country, is in 
its farms and farming interests. All the nations of antiquity, which 
were celebrated for their progress in agriculture, were the most 
free and independent. Such is the fact today. No nation can 
afford to be so independent of the rest of the world, as a successful 
agricultural people. 

Many of the illustrious men in all ages of tlie world have en- 
gaged in this calling, and have not deemed it derogatory to their 
dignity in the least. We may mention Gideon, the renowned 
champion and judge of Israel, who went from his threshing floor to 
preside in the assemblies of his people; Cincinnatus the great Ro- 
man, who left his plow to lead the armies to battle and victory, and 
then returned to his native fields. In later times this calling has 
been held in high esteem by the greatest and best. Washington, 
Jefferson, Madison. Monroe and Jaclison, among the Presidents, 


and other illustrious citizens of our country, engaged directly in 
this pursuit. Many of the respectable and cultured men of Europe 
and America — men eminent in the walks of science and literature- 
take a most active interest in the progress of agriculture, attend 
the meetings of farmers, the public fairs, and assist in the promo- 
tion of agricultural interests. 

It is an error, too, that education and culture are not necessary 
in this vocation. The truth is, that there is as much use for educa- 
tion, general intelligence and good judgment in this business, as in 
any other, and more of these qualifications are required in this, than 
in most merely mechanical occupations, and education and culture 
are as much entitled to honor, when brought to this pursuit, as to 
any other branch of human labor. There is indeed no more useful, 
or more honorable occupation known among men in any country 
than that of farming. 

It is indeed true, that the active, successful farmer, is the re- 
presentative of continuous hard labor year in and year out. Almost 
everything about farming both indoors and out, smacks strong of 
work and much of it, hard work, requiring close personal attention. 
The old lines express a general truth in the statement that 

"He that V)y the plow would thrive, 
lliniself must either hold or drive." 

And this vocation has its disappointments, trials, losses and 
perplexities, but so has every other business. No occu^pation, pro- 
fession or official station are without these labors, cares and haras- 
sing anxieties, and some of them have more of these, and coupled 
with greater temptations, dangers and risks than farming. 

We look upon this occupation not only as equal in dignity and 
imi^ortance with any other, but as having some peculiar advantages. 

The farmer has his i-ewards and successes, that often pay largely, 
and at all events, he rarely fails of a living at least. 

The man of no other business, is so free and independent in his 
personal action, and no employment is more healthful, or more con- 
ducive to a vigorous, manly and ingenious character. His labors too 
are greatly diversified and free fi-om the ceaseless treadmill grind 
of most vocations. He is too further removed from the corruptions 
and errors of society, the vices, the follies of the town than the men 
of other employments. He need not practice the petty frauds and 
cheats and shams too current in many other occupations, and in 
short there is no field of human employment in which a man can 
easier be "a good man and true, and strictly obey the moral law" and 
be a peaceable citizen "work diligently, live creditably and act hon- 
orably by all men." 


In closing these observations, we cannot do better than quote 
the following admirable words, talien from a great speech once de- 
livered by Senator Pendleton, of Ohio. 

"Farmer life! Freedom from the noise and turmoil and dust and smoke of 
the crowded city; freedom from the daily struggle and daily anxiety for bread; 
freedom from competition with the crowds which throng every avenue of com- 
mercial and mechanical industry; freedom from the close and daily contact with 
vice and crime which the temptations and opportunities and sufferings of a 
city life develop; freedom from the small rooms, the crowded tenement houses, 
the tainted atmosphere, the contagious diseases, the unnatural hours, the un- 
due excitement, the exhausting pleasures, the glittering splendor, the abject 
squallor, the artificial life of the city— and in their stead the pure air, the 
abundant food, the deep sleep, the refreshing dews, the cool breezes, the peace- 
ful order, the ample homes, the healthful habits, the cleanliness, the content- 
ment of the country and that great exaltation of spirit which springs from the 
contemplation of the beauties of nature and the processes of its active benefl- 
cense — the absence of the shrewd cunning and the acute sense which the com- 
petition of trade engenders, and the presence of that large-hearted greatness 
■with which our mother earth rewards those who call on her munificence for 
the returns of their labor.'' 

"In ancient times the sacred plow employed 
The kings and awful fathers of mankind, 
And some compared with whom your insect tribes 
Are but the beings of a summer day, 
Have held the scale of empire, ruled the storm 
Of mighty war; then with unwearied hand 
Disdaining little delicacies, seized 
The plow, and greatly independent lived."' 


The supervisors met on the second day of May. As a new 
board had been elected at the town meetings in April, the board 
was re-organized by the election of Geo. H. Goodnow, chairman, 
Mr. Bonwell continuing as clerk. They had a session of two days, 
but transacted no business of interest to us at this remote iDeriod. 
On the 30th of May, they re-convened, and among the business done 
was the appropriation of the sum of three hundred dollars for the 
erection of a jail. Here was another evidence of progress in the 
right direction, but the appropriation subsequently failed. 


There were no celebrations in this county on the 4th of July, 
1859. The spirit of patriotism had frozen up. The day was stormy, 
rain with some sleet and hail falling most of the day, and it was so 
cold that fires were necessary to comfort. Heat and dust are just 
as necessary elements of a fourth of July celebration as lemonade 
and fire crakers, and they could not be had on that day in this 



The immigration to this county during the spring and summer 
and the amount of subtstantial improvements, especially in the 
breaking up of new land, were considerable. The crops of the year 
were very fair and were harvested in good season. The interesting 
fact may be stated here that the State which in 1858 imported bread- 
stutTs, in this year, for the first time, exported considerable grain. 
But there was yet nothing for export in this county, and there was 
no market for anything. Money continued scarce and the scarcity 
to intensifj'. In fact the people were thrown back to the original 
system of traffic by barter, or -exchange of one jiroduct for another. 
The condition of the country was. however, much better after 
harvest, than before, as there was then plenty to eat and there was 
some grain to exchange for necessaries, but at prices which did not 
pay for the raising. The average price of wheat after harvest and 
during the remainder of the year was thirty to forty cents, corn 
twenty-five cents, and oats fifteen cents per bushel. 


The supervisors met in annual session, Sept. 13th, and contin- 
ued two days. A considerable amount of business was done, but 
nothing of general interest except certain action relative to the 
removal of «; 


The first action taken in relation to a change of the county 
seat was some movement made during the preceding session of 
the legislature, to secure the removal to Winnebago City, which, 
however, proved abortive. At this meeting of the county board, a 
petition was presented, asking the privilege of voting at the next 
election on the removal of the county seat, from Blue Earth City to 
Winnebago City. As the law then stood, it was the duty of the 
board, on the presentation of such a petition, if signed by a num- 
ber of legal voters of the county equal to one half the highest 
number of votes cast at the next preceding general election, to 
cause to be inserted in the notices for the next general election, an 
article requiring the voters to vote on the removal. 

The majority of the board being opposed to the removal, and to 
any action on the subject as premature, and for the further reason, 
as alleged, that the petition was not signed by a sufficient number 
of legal voters, it was after some hot discussion tabled. 

The friends of the removal then applied to the judge of the 
district court for a writ of mandamus, requiring the board to meet 
and take such action as the law required, or show cause, which writ 
was granted and duly served on all the members of the board. They 


all attended at Blue Earth City, on a certain day, but only such as 
favored the removal — not enough for a quorum — met at the usual 
place of meeting. If a quorum had at any one time gotten together, 
they could have directed the insertion of the necessary clause in 
the election notices, but the opposing members were careful to 
appear at the place of meeting one at a time, and pass out. Thus 
no quorum being present, no action was taken by the board, nor was 
cause ever shown why action was not taken. The friends of removal 
then procured a peremptory writ requiring the clerk of the board to 
insert the necessary clause in the election notices, which under the 
circumstances he peremptorily refused to do, claiming that the pro ■ 
ceeding was without authority of law, and here the whole matter 
fell to the ground. It is hardly worth the while at this late day to 
comment upon these matters. 


Although the times were hard and money scarce, the political 
interests of the county were not neglected. The fall elections were 
approaching and there were various legislative and county offices to 
be filled, and divers individuals were ready to fill them. 

A republican county convention met at Blue Earth City and 
made the following nominations for county offices : 

For Auditor — Arthur Bonwell. 

For Treasurer — Albin Johnson. 

For Sheriff — Geo. H. Goodnow. 

For Coroner — Wm. A. Way. 

For County Surveyor — S. A. Safford. 

And G. K. Cleveland and Allen Shultis were nominated for rep- 
resentatives, and in pursuance of the arrangement heretofore re- 
ferred to, the convention of Freeborn county nominated T. W. 
Purdiefor representative and Geo. Watson for senator, both of that 

The democracy nominated H. C Lacy for senator and Isaac 
Vanderwalker for representative, both of Freeborn county, and for 
the other representatives David H. Morse and Geo. B. Kingsley, of 
of this county. The county ticket was : 

For Sheriff— H. P. Constans. 

For Treasurer — Jas. L. McCrery. 

For County Surveyor — Geo. A. Weir. 

For Auditor — Wm. N. Towndrow. 

For Coroner — A. B. Balcom. 

110 HISTOllY or 

The election was held on the 11th day of October, and resulted 
as follows: 


For Senator— Geo. Watson 208 

H. C. Lacy 109 

For Uepresentatlves— G. K. Cleveland 175 

A. Shultis ]f)7 

T. W. I'urdii! 203 

I. Vanderwalker 108 

D. II. Morse 122 

G. B. KlnKsley 143 

For Sheriff— G. H. Goodnow 220 

II. P. Constans 97 

For Treasurer— A. John.son 195 

J. L. McCrery 113 

For Surveyor— S. A. Safford 223 

G. A. Weir 94 

For Auditor— A. honwell 178 

W. N. Townrtrow 145 . 

For Coroner— W. A. Way 188 

A. B. Balcom 83 

The republican candidates for senator and I'epresentatives, re- 
ceiving a majority also in Freeborn county were consequently elec- 
ted. State otRcers were elected this fall and the republican 
candidates, with Alex. Ramsey for governor, at the head, were, after 
a hard struggle, elected. 

Mr. Windom was the republican and C. Graham thp democratic 
candidate for congress. Windom was elected. 


The first fair of our newly organized agricultural society, was 
held at Winnebago City on the 5th day of October. The attendance 
was large and great interest was manifested in the occasion and the 
display of productions surpassed all expectation. This lair demon- 
strated the fact that this county, yet in its infancy, could produce as 
excellent grains, vegetables, stock, daii'y products and articles of 
domestic manufacture, as any county in the northwest. In short, 
the fair was a great success, and a great credit to the people of the 
county. The writer, a few days since, observed a large and gor- 
geous "poster" tacked up in a conspicuous place giving the world 
notice of the twenty-first annual fair of the Faribault County Agri- 
cultural Society. 


The fall of the year was a gloomy one, both in the weather and 
the conditions of business. Owing to the stringent times, low prices, 
two years of rather unfavorable weather, but little of that spirit of 
cheerfulness, activity and confidence in the future, so necessary to 
progress and success, were manifested. The weather seemed to be 
in harmony, too, with the other discouraging features of the times. 
It was dismal, the atmosphere was hazy, the smoke of prairie fires 


hung over the land for weeks, and the sun appeared red and dim. 
These weather conditions, though really nothing very unusual, had 
their depressing effect on the spirits of the people. 

The prices of various products, reported as current in the fall, 
were the following: — Flour .?4.50 and corn meal |2.00 per hundred; 
wheat 30 to 40 cents, oats 12^ cents, dull, potatoes 124- cents per 
bushel; butter 14 cents and tobacco 60 cents per pound; billiards 10 
cents per string. 


The great mass of the people of every locality are much influ- 
enced by events and circumstances external to the locality in which 
they live. The heart of every intelligent man beats much in sym- 
pathy with the great events occurring in the world, outside of his 
own locality, and he is much influenced in his life and conduct there- 
by, and for these reasons no true history,' of even small localities, 
can be written unless at least some brief reference is made to the 
great current outside events which are the subject of interest, 
thought and discussion, at the time, in the homes, in the work shop 
and places of public resort, among the people of whom the history 
is written. Hence it is that from time to time in the course of this 
work, attention is called to the great, leading and memorable events 
of the State and the Nation. 

Among the events occurring in the State, during the year, 
which attracted public attention, was the "Wright County war." A 
man named Wallace had been murdered in that county in 1858. One 
Jackson was tried for the offense in the spring of 1859, and acquitted. 
In April, a crowd of men hung Jackson. The governor offered a re- 
ward for the conviction of any of the lynchers. Soon after, one 
Moore was arrested as one of the parties, and taken to Wright county 
for trial, but was rescued by a mob. The military was ordered out, 
and eleven of the lynchers and rescuers were arrested and turned 
over to the civil authorities. "Glencoe" and "Owatonna" money 
made its appearance this year. It was considered among that class 
of "circulating medium," known by the euphoneous name of "shin- 

The arrest, trial and conviction'of Mrs. Bilanski, for the murder 
of her husband near St. Paul, created much interest throughout 
the State. She was executed in March of the next year. 

On the wider, national field, we discover a few notable events, 
of that year, worthy of mention. On the 14th of February, Oregon 
was admitted into the Union as the thirty- third State. 

The discovery of petroleum, during the summer, in Pennsyl- 
vania, created a great excitement. People from all parts of the 
Union flocked to the oil regions. Fabulous prices were paid for 
land, where it was supposed that oil existed. Sudden and great 
fortunes were made by many. The discovery of this oil, changed. 


throughout the whole countrj', the modes and materials of illumina- 
tion, and the quantity of the oil obtained, has continued sufficient 
for the supply of the whole country for this and many other pur- 
poses. This discovery has created a new and profitable industry, 
employing thousands of men and many millions of dollars capi- 
tal. In September of this year occurred the fatal duel, near San 
Francisco, between Hon. D. C. Broderick, United States senator 
from California, and Hon. D. S. Terry, chief justice of that state. 
Broderick was killed. The duel grew out of iiolitical animosities. 
The event shocked the better sense of the whole United States. The 
duel is a most barbarous and criminal method of settling quarrels, 
but many of our public men, during the first three-quarters of a 
century of the republic, engaged in them. Public opinion at the 
time sustained the practice. Said Henry Clay, that eminent patriot, 
statesman, jurist and orator, himself several times engaged in duels, 
"When public opinion is renovated and chastened by reason, religion 
and humanity, the practice of dueling will at once be discontinued." 
That day has come. Public opinion, for some years past, has been 
against the practice, and he who has killed his antagonist in a duel, 
is considered but little better than a murderer. Happily duels sel- 
dom now occur. 

It was in October of this year that John Brown made his raid 
on Harper's Ferry, Va. He seized the U. S. Arsenal at that place 
and captured the town. His object was to liberate the'slaves of the 
■south and destroy the system of American slavery. The capture of 
this place was the initial and strategic point in his scheme. He had 
but a few followers, probably not to exceed twenty-five active parti- 
cipants, in this overt act, but he had many .sympathizers in the north, 
and probably among the negro population of the south. His pro- 
ject utterly failed. Government troops soon dislodged him and he 
was taken prisoner, and with a number of his abettors tried, con- 
victed and executed. 

But there was far more in this event than appears in the sim))le 
statement of the occurrence. It tended to estrange still farther, the 
south from the north, and augmented the bitterness growing between 
the two sections, on the question of slavery, and for many years 
afterwards there was heard throughout the north the famous song 
in which occurs the lines: 

"John Brown's body lies mouklering in the grave, 
But his soul goes marching on." 

And here endeth ihe record of the fifth year. 

"Gonel Gone forever! Like the rushing wave, 
Another year— has burst upon the shore 
Of earthly being— and its last low tones. 
Wandering in broken accents on the air, 
Are dying to an echo. ' 



A. D. 1860. 

We now enter upon the history of the sixth year of the county. 
It was an important year, for among other things it was a year of 
reckoning — one in which the accounts were made up and the pro- 
gress which tlie county had made, was exhibited. Five of the most 
wretched years in the history of the county had been passed, 1855 
was the first of the settlement, during which but little had been 
done. In 1856 the population was sparce, and the couaty still a 
wilderness. In 1857 the Indian excitement and late spring were 
greatly detrimental. In 1858 the county was deluged by excessive 
rains and the crops were light. In 1859 the spring was again late, 
provisions scarce and high and the times hard. It was the period 
of first settlement and of the struggle to get a foothold and a sub- 
sistence — the stone age of the county. They were the years of 
semi- barbarism, of salt pork, corn bread and poor whisky, of rags 
and recklessness. 

But with the incoming of 1860, a better day in many respects 
notwithstanding the hard times, a new day with new duties dawned 
upon the county — a new decade and a new epoch in our history 

In distinguishing between the earlier and later years of the 
county, the years before 1860 may appropriately be named, the 
"early years" or "early days" of the county, and those who resided 
here then "the old settlers" or the early settlers of the county. 


The second State legislature assembled at the capital December 
7th, 1859, and adjourned Mai-ch 12th, 1860. The county was repre- 
sented in this session by Geo. Watson in the Senate and Guy K. 
Cleveland, Allen Shultis and T. W. Purdie in the House. No acts 
were passed relating exclusively to this county, but the State was 
re apportioned for legislative purposes, and this county was placed 
in a new district, numbered the twentieth. The district was com- 
posed of the counties of Faribault, Martin, Jackson. Cottonwood, 
Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock and all that part of Bi'own County 
lying east of range thirty-four— a tract of territory large enough 
for an empire. This county had the distinction of being considered 

114 HISTOftY OF 

the senior county of tlie district. The district was entitled to one 
senator and one representative. 

At this session, Morion S. Wilkinson was chosen United States 
Senator to succeed James Shields. 


This board met on the second day of January and had a session 
of four days. Much business was done, which is stated elsewhere 
in this history, but we note here that at the close of the session a 
very suspicious resolution was adopted, on motion of Supervisor 
Seely. The resolution was to the effect that Dr. W. N. Towndrow 
be appointed a committee "to inquire how much strychnine can be 
procured for one hundred dollars of county orders, and to report 
at the next meeting of the board." The resolution has a dark and 
mysterious aspect, as it does not state whether liquid "strychnine," 
as whisky was sometimes called, or the crystal, was intended, nor 
is there any intimation in the resolution, or on the record, as to 
the purpose for which the board was going into the wholesale 
poisoning business. But to save the board from unjust suspicion, 
the writer suggests the fact that in the earlier years of the county, 
among other calamities endui-ed by the settlers, was the great 
destruction of the crops by gophers, blackbirds and cranes, and 
which sometimes became so serious that the public authorities took 
the matter in hand, and purchased large quantities of poison, which 
was distributed among the farmers, with which to destroy the 

The board met again on the 5th day of March, and after a 
session of several days adjourned, sine die. This was the last meet- 
ing of the board of supervisors. A note on the record reads as 
follows: "During the session of the legislatui-e of 1859-60, a general 
law was passed providing for a board of county commissioners, to 
consist of five members in counties of over eight hundred voters, 
and of three members in counties containing a less number, and 
repealing the act providing for a board of supervisors. Under this 
act this county is entitled to three commissioners, and in pursuance 
of the provisions of said act, such commissioners were elected at 
large at the annual town meetings in April, of this year, to hold 
their offices until the next general election." The persons elected 
were Albin Johnson, Thomas Blair and J. H. Welch. 

The supervisor system was wisely abolished. It may serve a 
good purpose in wealthy and populous counties, but the system is 
too cumbersome and expensive in counties thinly settled. Ordi- 
narily three or five men, as under the commissioner system, can 
transact the business of a county as wisely and expeditiously and 
much more economically, than a board composed of from ten to 


twenty members. The only action taken at this last meeting of the 
supervisors, needing special mention, was that of granting two li- 
censes to saloonkeepers to sell intoxicating liquors, which were the 
first ever granted in the county. In such cases a certificate signed 
by the county auditor is usually made, certifying the fact that the 
person named is authorized to sell intoxicating liquors at retail, and 
is delivered to such person. 

It is often the fact that certificates and diplomas granted for 
various purposes, are appropriately embellished with legends, mot- 
toes, apt quotations from the poets, or the scriptures, and the custom 
is a proper one. It might be asked what suitable texts may be used 
to adorn and beautify a license certificate to sell intoxicating liquors. 
The following are suggested, which may be neatly printed around 
the borders — "Wine is a mocker: Strong drink is raging, and whoso- 
ever is deceived thereby is not wise." Prov. 20:1. "At the last it 
biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder." Prov. 23: 32. "No 
drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. 6: 10. 

"Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning that they may 
follow strong drink." Isa. 5: 11. 

And this might be printed in illuminated letters across the face 
of the certificate: 

"Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink; that puttest thy 
bottle to him and makest him drunken." Heb. 2: 15. 


The year was one long to be remembered by the old settlers for 
many things, but especially for its delightful weather. The pre- 
ceding years had been, as we have seen, very disagreeable, but 
seemingly to compensate for this, the spring of this year opened 
early and at once. The snows of the winter and the rains of the 
spring were light, and passed off without floods. The greater part 
of the grain was sown during the last days of February and first 
half of March, and the weather continued very fine, from the open- 
ing of spring until very late in the fall. The water, mud and mos- 
quitoes of the preceding years were forgotten, and it was declared 
that Minnesota possessed the finest climate in the world. Never 
was a spring time more enjoyed by the people. The season of 
spring is always welcome. The bright sun worshipped as a god in 
the olden day, again comes back from his low southern position, 
bringing his glorious light and warmth. 

I marvel not, O Sun, that unta thee 

In adoration men shoukl bow the knee, 
And pour the prayer of mingled awe and love 

For Hke a God thou art, and on thy way, 
Of glory sheddest, with benignant ray, 

Beauty and life, and joyance from above.— iSoirf/ici/. 

116 nrsroitv or 

The icy fetters of old winter are broken. New born life and 
energy and activity are awakened on every hand. The doors and 
windows of our dwellings are thrown wide open, and the dwellers 
come forth with gladness as from a prison, to enjoy the bright day 
and balmy air and out door f j-eedom. 

"Zi'phyrs greet us, skies grow brighter, 
Flaiihing 'neath the noontide ray: 
Fair eyes .sparkle, heads grow lighter, 

.Smiles with gladden play; 
Spring brings with her leaf and flower, 
Heart's fresh gladnes.s, mind's fresh power." 

The streams again glitter and ripple and dance in the sun- 
light. The fields grow green, the wild flowers blossom and the 
trees and forests, long dead and withered, clothe themselves in 
verdure. The hu.sbandman goes forth to his fields to sow the seed, 
confident in the perpetual promise of the harvest, the cattle seek 
the fresh, new pastures, and the birds return to gladden the heart 
with their songs. What a grand resurrection from death unto life! 
Symbol indeed, of that more glorious resurrection of the just to life 

These, as they change, Almighty Father, these 
Are but the varied God. The rolling year 
Is full of Thee. Forth in the pleasing Spring 
Thy beauty walks, Thy tenderness and love. , 
Wide flush the ttelds: the softening air is balm: 
Echo the mountains round: the forest smiles; 
And every sense, and every heart is joy. — Tkompson. 


In passing it may be well to state that the second term of the 
District Court commenced its session on the second day of April, Hon . 
L. Branson, presiding. A pretty lengthy calendar was disposed of, 
but none of the cases tried were of public importance. In the sum- 
mary of the events of a year, the sessions of our District Court, 
may, to a superficial observer, appear to be an unimportant item. 
But such is not the fact. Besides the important consideration that 
this court — the highest in the county — affords the means of the final 
adjustment of innumerable legal difficulties and the trial of offend- 
ers against the laws of the land, for which purposes it was estab- 
lished, it exercises a wholesome educational and restraining influ- 
ence upon the public. It is, too. the occasion of the assembling of 
many people from all parts of the county, either as parties having 
some interest in the causes to be tried, or as jurors or spectators. 
All become more or less instructed in the laws of the land and im- 
pressed with the jiower of the laws and the dignity and decorum of 
the courts of justice. 



No event of interest occurred until the 4th day of June, when 
the new board of county commissioners met and oi-ganized by the 
election of Thomas Blair, chairman. The board proceeded to 
divide the county into three commissioner districts as follows: 

District No. One. —Comprised the towns of Kiester, Seely, 
Campbell, Dobson, Pilot Grove, Jo Daviess, Blue Earth City, and 

No. Two. — Comprised the towns of Brush Creek, Foster, Cobb, 
Walnut Lake, Barber, Prescott, and Verona. 

No. Three. — Comprised the towns of Dunbar, Marples, Lura, 
Guthrie and Winnebago City. This division of the county was a 
matter of much interest at the time because of the rivalry then ex- 
isting between the north half and the south half of the county, led 
respectively by Winnebago City and Blue Earth City, the only 
villages in the county. As the commissioners were thereafter to 
be elected in the districts separately, and not at large, it was thought 
that this division would give one or the other faction a controlling 
interest on the board and in the county affairs. Winnebago City 
prevailed. The board met again on the 16th day of June and on 
the 4th day of September and November 17th, but did no business 
of historical interest, except such as is noted in other parts of this 


During the month of June a national census, the first of this 
county, was taken. Geo. B. Kingsley acted as assistant marshal, for 
taking the census of this county. The following abstracts of the re- 
turns are of interest: 

Number of male inhabitants 743 

Number of female inhabitants 589 

Whole number of inhabitants 1 ,332 

As compai'ed with the census of 1857, the increase of population 
was about one hundred per centum in three years. As to the nativ- 
ity of the population, one was born in Switzerland, one in Spain, 
one in District of Columbia, one in Holland, two in N. Carolina, two 
in Maryland, three in New Jersey, three in Nova Scotia, three in 
Missouri, three in Virginia, four in Hungary, four in Rhode Island, 
nine in France, ten in Kentucky, ten in Tennessee, twelve in Michi- 
gan, eighteen in Ireland, twenty in Connecticut, twenty- three in 
Scotland, twenty-five in New Hampshire, twenty-nine in England, 
thirty in Massachusetts, thirty-four in Prussia, thirty- five in Maine, 
thirty-seven in Norway, thirty-nine in the German States, foi-ty-two 
in Vermont, forty-eight in Iowa, forty-eight in Canada, fifty seven 
in Ohio, sixty-nine in Indiana, seventy-two in Illinois, seventy-five 

118 nisronv of 

in Pennsylvania, one hundred and eighteen in Wisconsin, one hun- 
dred and fifty-eight in Minnesota, and two hundred and eighty-seven 
in New York. From which it appears that 1,095 of the inhabitants 
of the count}' were born in the United States, of whom one hundred 
and fifty-eight only were native Minnesotians, the remainder, two 
hundred and forty-seven, were born in foreign countries. No citizen 
of African descent is reported. Turning to the report of certain 
property, it is found that the numbor of acres of improved laud was 

Cash valuo of farms $113,400 

Number of horses 159 

Milch cows 285 

Working oxen 198 

Other cattle 317 

Sheep 46 

Swine 579 

As to the occupations of the people of the county, the returns 
show that thei'e was one stage driver, one silversmith, one clerk, one 
millwright, one baker, one cooper, one gunsmith, one trapper, one 
butcher, two machinists, two tailors, two merchants, two hotel keep- 
ers, three shoemakers, three wagonmakers, six blacksmiths, seven 
school teachers, nineteen carpenters, two hundred and sixty farmers, 
besides farm laborers, two i^hysicians to look after the health of the 
people, five lawyers to see that justice was done and topreserve the 
peace and secure the temporal prosperity of the community, and one 
minister of the gospel to guard their spiritual interests. The dis- 
proportion which appears above, between the law and the gospel, 
was not so great as it seems, as there was but one law^'er at that 
time who pretended to practice. 

A census is defined to be "an official enumeration of persons 
and their property, generally with such facts as tend to show their 
moral, social, physical and industrial condition." The knowledge 
of the number of inhabitants, their condition in all respects and the 
resources of the country is very necessary to every government. 
The enumeration of the people was enjoined in the Pentateuch, and 
the most ancient record of the kind is that of Moses. There is a record 
of a Chinese census made in the year 2042 B. C.and of one in .Japan 
in the last century before Christ. The Greeks and Romans made such 
enumerations of the inhabitants, and in almost all civilized or semi- 
civilized countries it has been the custom for many centuries, at 
longer or shorter periods, to take a census. The Federal Constitu- 
tion requires the taking of a census every ten years. The first was 
made in 1790, and one has been made in every tenth year since. 
The number of any year ending with a cipher, is the year of the 
National census. The State also provides for a census everj' ten 
years, but the State census is usually taken in the year, the number 


of which ends with five. Thus we have a census of the State, either 
National or State, every five years. The National census of 1880, 
the tenth, was the most perfect, elaborate and reliable one ever made 
in any age or country. 


There was a Fourth of July celebration at Blue Earth City in 
due and ancient form. J. B. Wakefield, Esq. delivered the address. 
A large company was present and listened attentively as the orator 
eloquently told the old, old story, repeated every year from Wash- 
ington Territory to Florida, from Maine to California, of the great- 
ness and glory and eternal perpetuity of our country and its insti- 
tutions. Ah, how little we know of the future 1 This very anni- 
versary of the Fourth of July was the last one, for many years, 
celebrated in an undismembered country. The speaker of the fol- 
lowing year had a different story to tell — one of treason, disunion 
and blood, appalling to the patriotic heart! 


The times still continued hard, and money, as the phrase goes, 
was very "close," but, as someone remarked, was not so close that 
the joeople could get hold of much of it. 

Yet a very marked and agreeable change had come over the 
community — a more hopeful and healthful spirit, a new life, new 
energy and enterprise seemed to animate the people. Immigration 
was very considerable, some building was being done in the villages 
and through the country — quite a large amount of land was broken 
up and farms opened, schools were started in various districts, 
roads were laid out and worked and bridges built, regular religious 
services were instituted at a number of places, society was getting 
in better condition and the county into good running oi'der, and to 
crown all, the crops were abundant and harvested in good season. 


Among the great events of the year, which attracted public at- 
tention and were the subjects of discussion, there may be mentioned 
that terrible calamity, the falling of the great Pemberton Mills, at 
Lawrence, Mass., in wbichhundredsof operatives were crushed and 
burned to death. 

Then there was the arrival in May, at Washington, of the Grand 
embassy from Japan, bearing a treaty of peace and commerce with 
the United States. This was the first treaty ever made by this curi- 
ous and ancient people, with any outside, "barbarous" nation. The 
Embassy, and the reception accorded it by the general government, 
were very imposing and worthy, too, such great nations. 


The checkered career of Gen. Walker, the great filibuster, 
whose "expeditions" during a number of years, created considerable 
interest, came to an end in Sei)tomber of this year. He was shot 
in Honduras, a country which he designed to "take," but which, it 
appears took him. The visit of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, 
and his tour through the United States during the summer and fall, 
was also one of the memorable events of the year. 

I. o. G. T. 

As an evidence of the progress of the times it is well to record 
the fact that on the 8th day of September, of this year, there was 
organized at Blue Earth City a lodge of the Independent Order of 
Good Templars, consisting of sixteen charter members. This was 
the first temperance organization ever instituted in the county, and 
the necessity for it, at that time, has never been questioned from 
that day to this* It being the first society of the kind, the writer 
will he excused for mentioning the chief officers of the lodge. They 
were as follows : 

J. A. Kiester, Worthy Chief Templar. 

Mrs. C. M. Butler, Worthy Vice-Templar. 

Geo. B. Kingsley, Worthy Secretary. 

Wesley Hill, Assistant Secretary. 

E. C. Young, Financial Secretary. 

Mrs. J. A. Converse, Treasurer. '• 

J. A. Monahan, Marshal. 

Geo. S. Converse, Chaplain. 
This lodge prospered greatly and many were reclaimed from hab- 
its of intemperance, but after about a year of good works, owing to 
various causes, it ceased to exist. The order has often however, been 
re-established and done good work in various parts of the county, 
since that day. Frontier towns are often rough and immoral places 
and the villages in our county, in the earlier days, were no excep- 
tion, though they were not so bad as many other places. In western 
border towns, saloons are too often the chief places of resort, and 
drunkenness, with its inevitable concomitants, gambling, profanity 
and rowdyism pretty generally prevails, to the great injury of the 
locality. To even a casual observer it is very plain that were 
the intoxicating liquors removed from such places the greater 
proportion of these evils would disappear. They constitute, in 
great measure, the fuel which feeds these fires of hell. A town or 
city should not only be an aggregation of people and houses, and a 
center of trade and manufactures, but it should also be a center of 
intelligence and culture, with its schools and libraries, lecture halls 
and high-toned press, a center of religion, morality and good man 
ners and good order, with its churches and moral and benevolent 


societies and pure social and domestic life, and should exert a 
benign and elevating influence on all the surrounding and tributary 
country. It should not be a sinlf of iniquity where drunlienness, 
vulgarity, gambling, jDrofanity and other vices and crimes, with 
ignorance, filth and social degradation, are the predominent fea- 
tures, a place where easy facilities and temptations are found, on 
every hand, to allure the unwary to wrong doing, a quagmire, a 
hole in which not only many of its own people are sunk, but one 
exercising a baleful influence on all the surrounding country, a 
place which, when anyone visits on business or pleasure, an anxious 
family, or friends at home, fear for him because he may return 
demoralized, despoiled and drunken. That our villages, larger 
towns and cities, shall ever be such places as they should be, is 
doubtless but a Utopian dream, but all experience and observation 
prove, that the longest step which can be taken toward such an 
accomplishment, would be the extermination of the use of and traffic 
in intoxicating liquors, and blessed be the hand, the head, and the 
heart, that helps so good a cause. 

A powerful religious organization has incorporated in its 
fundamental law, the following declaration: 

"Temperance in its broader meaning is distinctly a Christian virtue, enjoined 
in the Holy Scriptures. It implies a suDordination of all tlie emotions, passions 
and appetites to the control of reason and conscience. Dietetically it means 
a wise use of suitable articles of food and drink, with entire abstainance from 
such as are i?nown to be hurtful. Both science and human experience argee 
withtheholy Scriptures, in condemning all alcoholic beverages as being neither 
useful nor safe. The business of manufacturing and vending such liquors is 
also against the principles of morality, political economy and the public 


Let us now see what we had this year in the way of crops and 
the value of property. The following statement was compiled by 
the county auditor from the asse'ssors returns: 

Wheat, acres 1,524 Bushels 27,087 

Eye, " 8 " 166 

Barley " 35 " 775 

Oats, " 536 " 20,104 

Buck\rtieat," 53 " 557 

Corn, " 1,141 " 41,293 

Potatoes. " 133 " 20,766 

Beans, " 12 " 202 

Sorghum, " 9 600 gallons 

Hay, (wild) 1,711 tons 

Assessed value of property in the county : 

Real $232,530.00 

Personal 30,565.00 

Total 263,095.00 


Prices average as follows during the year: In the spring flour 
was *3. 50 per hundred, butter 12A cents per pound, corn 50 cents 
and wheat ^\.00 per bushel. In the fall Uour $3.50 to §4.00 per 
hundred, pork 9 to 12 cents per pound, butter 12A cents per pound, 
corn 50 cents and oats 16 cents per bushel. 

The fair of the Agricultural Society was held again at Winne- 
bago City and proved a gratifying success. The farmers manifested 
a disposition to make these annual exhibitions pleasant and profita- 
able. The interest in the society was now well established and 
growing, and the society bid fair to serve a good purpose. 


As the fall came on, politics began to interest the people. It 
was the year of a great presidential election and was the first presi- 
dential election at which the people of this county were permitted 
to vote on this question. Great interest too was manifested in our 
local politics. Several State and quite a number of county and dis- 
trict officers were to be elected. The presidential candidates were 
Abraham Lincoln, Republican: Stephen A. Douglas, Northern De- 
mocrat; .John C. Breckenridge, Southern Democrat, and John Bell, 
Old Whig and Peace party. 

The Republican District Convention met at Madeli^, and nomi- 
nated for Senator Guy K. Cleveland, of this county, and A. Strecker, 
of another county, for Representative. 

The Republican County Convention met at Blue Earth and 

For Register of Deeds, J. A. Kiester. 

County Auditor, A. Bonwell. 

Surveyor, J. H. Welch. 

Judge of Probate, A. Preston. • 

County Attorney, J. B. Wakefield. 

County Commissioners, J. H. Dunham, J. B. Wakefield and 
Thomas Blair. No nominations were made for the offices of Clerk of 
Court and Court Commissioner. The Democratic candidates wei'e: 

For Senator, Andrew C. Dunn. 

Representative, Wm. B. Carroll. 

For Register of Deeds, L. W. Brown. 

County Auditor, Geo. K. Moultou. 

Surveyor, J. M. Wheeler. 

Judge of Probate, D. H. Morse. 

Clerk of Court, Geo. B. Kingsley. 

Court Commissioner, Andrew C. Dunn. 

No nomination was made by the Democrats for the office of 
County Attorney. 


The election was held on the 6th day of November, and the fol- 
lowing was the result: 

Lincoln electors, 270 votes. Douglas electors, 63 votes. 
For Senator, Guy K. Cleveland had 221 votes and Andrew C. 
Dunn 105. For Representative, A. Streeker had 246 votes and W. 
B. Carroll 87. For County Auditor, A. Bonwell had 270 votes and 
Geo. K. Moulton 64. For County Attorney, J. B. Wakefield (no op- 
position), had 328 votes. For Surveyor, J. H. Welch had 264 votes 
and J. M. Wheeler 69. For Judge of Probate, A. Preston had 268 
votes and D. H. Morse 65. For Register of Deeds, J. A. Kiester 
had 262 votes and L. W. Brown 74. For Clerk of Court, Geo. B. 
Kingsley (no opposition), had 126 votes. For Court Commissioner, 
Andrew C. Dunn had 91 votes and J. A. Kiester 102. For County 
Commissioners, J. H. Dunham, J. B. Wakefield and Thos. Blair were 
elected. The whole vote of the county was 336. 

The presidential contest of 1860 was a bitter and exciting one, 
and on its issues depended, in a great measure, very stupendous re- 
sults. The antagonism between the free States of the North and 
the slave States of the South, had been growing stronger and 
stronger, from year to year. The cry of "disunion, secession" had 
long been heard, but grew loud and portentious in this campaign. 
It meant something. The Shibboleths of the campaign in the North 
were, free homers, free labor, free speech, free press and squatter 
sovereignty. The Republican party was in the minority, as against 
all outside of its ranks, but owing to the divisions among the oppo- 
sition, Mr. Lincoln was elected president. When this fact became 
known, intense excitement prevailed throughout the South. Seces 
sion conventions were called in various southern States, southern 
members of the cabinet and a number of senators and representa- 
tives in congress, from southern States, resigned their seats, and 
several forts, custom houses and other property of the general gov- 
ernment, in the South, were seized under State authority. 

The year closed here, as throughout the whole nation, in gloom. 
Business became again depressed, another "money panic" prevailed, 
and currency became greatly depreciated, enterprise was paralyzed, 
and the people, full of forebodings, were watching and waiting. It 
was indeed evident that the di'eaded hour, long threatened, had come, 
and a dreadful time — the awful import of which none then fully 
realized — aye, even the day of the battle of the bullets — was indeed 
near at hand. 

"O, shame to men ! devil with devil damned 

Firm concord holds, men only disagree 

Of creatures national, ****** 

And live in hatred, enmity and strife 

Among themselves, and levy cruel vears, 

"Wasting the earth, each other to destroy." — Milton. 


If the reader will now recall to mind, the principal events of 
this year, the weather conditions, the scarcity of money, our sta- 
tistics of population, of live stock and farm products, the topics of 
local and public interest, discussed among the people, and will at 
the same time remember that there were then no railroads or tele- 
graphs and no newspapers in the county, that we had but two small 
villages then, that the settlements were confined to the timber, along 
the streams and about the lakes, and that the prairie lands were 
almost all unclaimed and vacant, he will have a very accurate mental 
picture of our county in 1860. 



A. D. 1861. 


"Dissolve the Union! No, forbear, 
The Sword of Democles is there; 
Cut but a hair and earth shall know 
A darker, deadlier tale of woe 
Than history's crimson page has told, 
Since Nero's car in blood was rolled." 

This year saw the beginning, but alas, notwithstanding all the 
hopes and pi'omises at the time, not the end, of the great rebellion. 
The dark clouds of civil war — a war more gigantic and terrible than 
any yet known among men, were fast gathering, when the year 
opened, and cast their somber and ominous shadows over the 
whole land. 

The mutterings of the gathering storm, now grown loud and 
fierce, were heard by the people of this county, as by all other loyal 
citizens of the land, with grief and indignation. But they, like the 
great majority of the people of the United States, both North and 
South, but little apprehended the tremendous carnival of blood and 
desolation, u^Don which the Nation was about to enter. 

Though this county lay far out, at the time, on the frontiers and 
away from the great centers of activity, wealth and influence, the 
patriotic spirit of the peoiDle,was soon awakened. Recruiting for the 
army began very early, and every encouragement was given by the 
county and its people to the cause of the Union, from the very be- 
ginning until the close of the war, and we are proud to record 
the fact here, that the patriotism, courage and fortitude of no peo- 
ple ever surpassed that of the residents of this county, during the 
troublous times of the great rebellion and the terrible Sioux massa- 
cre, all of which will become evident as we px'oceed with this his- 
tory. Of the causes which led to the great civil war and the events 
which characterized it, belonging more properly to the domain of 
national history, but little need be said in this work. 

It is sufticient to say here, briefly, in explanation, that from Co- 
lonial times, there had been gradually growing up in the Nation, 
between the North and the South, an apparent antagonism of inter- 
ests, political sentiments and social structure, which originated in 

126 HISTOltY OF 

and was fostered by the institution of slavery in the Southern States 
of the Union. Human slavery was an anomaly in a free government 
like ours. The system was not only a violation of the ))recepts of 
natural and revealed law. but was directly at variance with all the 
fundamental principles of our political institutions. The system of 
free government and equality of political privileges for all, and re- 
spected free labor in the North, could not peaceably exist by the side 
of the system of slavery, with its aristocracy of masters and de- 
graded slave labor and other inherent evils. 

Hence constant contention on the subject of slavery, its rights 
to protection and its right, under the constitution, to go into the 
free territories sprang up and constantly grew more and more 
bitter. The statesmen of the South soon conceived the idea that 
the union of the States was of little binding force or obligation, and 
they early taught the doctrine of absolute "State sovereignty" and 
the right of any State to secede from the Union when it chose. 
This pernicious doctrine of State rights was, in debate, overthrown 
by the statesmen of the North. Yet while the South was mainly 
united in its views and demands, the North was somewhat divided. 
In all the preliminary stages of the contest and during the rebel- 
lioQ the South had many sympathizers in the North. Numerous 
compromises on the subject were made but all was of no avail. 
Slavery was a sin against God, a crime against man and embodied 
within itself a host of intolerable evils, the result of the relation ex- 
isting between the absolute master and the absolute slave. It was 
repugnant to the progress and enlightenment and sense of justice 
and right of the age. It was well-named a "relic of barbarism" and 
was overliving its time in the world's history. Therefore com- 
promises, admitting its existence, settled nothing. No question is 
ever settled until it is settled right, and the only right settlement 
of the slavery question was its total abolition. All great evils, per- 
haps all evils are aggressive. Slavery was aggressive. It con- 
stantly demanded more and more. Southern leaders sought to make 
slavery national, while in fact it was never anything but a sectional 
institution. They became very arrogant, insolent and domineering 
everywhere, but especiallv in the national councils. The North 
could not agree to the extension of the evil, nor accede to the many 
other demands of the South. Southern statesmen determined to 
maintain their peculiar institution and its right to extension, its 
nationalization, and to dominate the politics and control the highest 
offices of the nation. If they could not do this in the Union, then 
they would dissolve the Union. They finally by falsohood.s, specious 
arguments, the spread of a false public sentiment and a great 
clamor, led the whole people of the South to believe that it was 
right and necessary for the slave States to secede. And this they 


attempted. They organized a new government in February for the 
seceded States, and named it "The Confederate States of America," 
and they proposed to maintain themselves by force of arms, and 
proceeded to organize their armies, and early in the year they seized 
the forts, arsenals and navy yards situated in their States. 

Such action was a violation of the constitution and laws of 
the nation, and the whole theory of the action was erroneous. 

Another cause which led to and precipitated such action, was 
the lust for power of evil, ambitious and reckless, men, who led 
in the movement. They thought to obtain wealth, power and posi- 
tion by this act of dissolving the old Union and the establishment 
of a new government of which they should have control — a govern- 
ment built upon the basis of the slavery of a large part of its people. 
The attempt was rebellion against the supremacy and lawful author- 
ity of the nation, and the act was treason. 

That the reader of the future, may, without consulting the more 
extensive authorities, have some idea of the views of the people of 
the Northern States, on the subjects of secession and disunion, the 
writer has thought proper to note here, vei'y briefly indeed, some of 
the propositions maintained by them, on these, the most solemn 
and portentious questions which have ever agitated the American 

The secession of the States of the South from the Union, was 
impolitic, impracticable and grossly unjust, to say nothing of the 
higher and constitutional objections. We may briefly refer to some 
of these considerations. 

1. It sought to dissever a united, homogeneous, free and pros- 
perous people — a people who, though originally constituted of sev- 
eral different nationalities and assimilating the people of the many 
nationalities, subsequently flowing to it, had created a new nation- 
ality — the American — having a national language, one religion, a 
common literature, education and traditions, the same social and do- 
mestic characteristics, habits and customs, a common inheritance of 
political rights and substantially common interests, except as some 
of these conditions were modified by the existence of chattel slavery 
in the States of the South. And the people of this new nationality 
is destined, if earth and time shall endure but a little longer, to be- 
come the greatest race in intellectual, intuitive and physical 
power, which has yet appeared in the world. 

2. Disunion would divide great religious organizations, moral 
and charitable associations, scientific societies, greatly impair many 
splendid educational institutions, and break up many social and 
family relations, creating bitter antagonisms among them all. 

3. Disunion sought to divide territory which nature seems to 
have designed to be one. Great rivers, the outlets to the sea, the 


highways of a vast commerce crossed many States, the free naviga- 
tion of which was an indisputable right and which should never be- 
come subject in whole, or in part, to control and tolls imposed by 
rival, perhaps hostile nations. And the natural and manufactured 
products of this great territory were necessary to the comfort and 
welfare of the whole, and to be free from any interstate duties and 
restrictions, such as would exist and would be necessary for local 
protection, if this territory should be divided into two or more sep- 
arate and independent nations. 

4. Disunion sought to sunder territory already long bound to- 
gether in commercial and pecuniary unity, by the iron bands of 
railroads, built through and interlaced over many States of the 
Union, thus disrupting and injuring them, without regard to the 
rights of the relative parts, or the public or private interests in- 

5. Disunion would ignore and make no provision for the vast 
interstate moneyed interests and corporation rights (in addition to 
those of railroads), and would render worthless and subject to re- 
pudiation, State and other public bonded indebtedness, involving 
hundreds of millions of dollars, in value, and the property rights of 
hundreds of thousands of innocent people. 

Brielly stated, the right, so called, of secession was based upon 
the assumption that the union of the States was but a league or con- 
federation of sovereign and independent States, or natioas, and that 
any one of such States could dissolve the Union, that is, secede there- 
from at will. This doctrine had long been taught by a few of the 
statesmen of the South, but it is certainly a delusion. The impolicy 
of disunion is referred to above and now a word may be added as to 
the historical and legal, or constitutional phases of this so-called 

There never was a time from the earliest colonial times to the 
day of the Declaration of Independence, when any colony was a sov- 
ereign and independent State, or nation, but while, for a time, the 
colonies were independent of each other, they were all the subjects 
of one nation — Great Britain. 

And the colonies were united, when framing and promulgating 
the Declaration of Independence and long prior thereto, and were 
known by the name of the "United Colonies," then named States. 
And it was the rei)resentatives of the united not the separate. States 
of America, in general congress assembled. Congress representing 
the people, being the sovereign power which proclaimed, not by the 
authority of the sepai-ate States, but "in the name and by the au- 
thority of the people of the colonies," or States, the Declaration of 
Independence; independence not of each colony of the others, but 


the independence of the united colonies, now States, of the mother 
country — Great Britian. 

It was not the independence of the separate States which was ac- 
knowledged by Great Britian by the treaty of 1783, or that which 
was recognized by the other States of the world, but it was the inde- 
pendence of the nation, the United (not the separate or sovereign) 
States of America. 

The Constitution of the United States was proposed by the sep- 
arate States through their representatives in congress, but received 
its adoption, sanction and authority, by the whole people, for the 
purpose of forming "a more perfect union" "and legislating" "for 
the general welfare." "The people of the United States" did this 
sovereign act, in conventions of the people, not separate and inde- 
pendent States, by their legislatures, claiming sovereign powers. 
And the Union is one and indivisible, except by the whole people 
themselves. For back of all States or other political subdivisions, 
back even of the organization known as the United States, is the peo- 
ple, one entire people, the source under God, of all authority and. 
power, the real sovereignty of the nation, and the Union is indis- 
soluble, except by the consent of the whole people. 

The vast subsequent acquisition of territory, the Louisiana pur- 
chase, Florida, etc., purchased from other nations and from the 
Indians, were not acquired by any one State, then existing, or sub- 
sequently organized, but by the Nation — the United States — from 
the common funds of the Nation, and belongs to the whole people, 
the Nation, and such territories are used and occupied by the people 
therein for the purposes of the Nation, under the constitution, and 
cannot be diverted to the use of a separate sovereignty, without the 
consent of the whole people. And if any State or States, or terri- 
tories of the United States became vacant, every part thereof, and 
everything therein would be immediately subject to the control and 
disposal of the people of the United States. 

The forts, arsenals, navy yards, custom houses, mints, coast 
defences, national hospitals and all other national property in the 
States or territories are the property of the Nation, and the State or 
territory wherein such property is situated, can acquire no prop- 
erty rights therein without the consent of the Nation. States in the 
Union are separate and independent only so far as indicated in and 
by the constitution of tlie United States. They are sovereign, sepa- 
rate from and independent of each other and of the United States, 
in relation to their local, domestic or municipal affairs, but are not 
sovereign in a national capacity, and cannot, in these respects, or 
in any respects, pass any law, or do any act, in conflict with the 
National Constitution and the laws of the United States, made in 
pursuance thereof. States have their rights, which should be care- 


fully maintained, under the constitution and federal laws, but among 
these rights the so called right of secession is not one, and no pro- 
vision has ever been anywhere made whereby a State may secede, or 
the Union be dissolved, for the Union was to be perpetual. 

The general government had done no wrong to the States of the 
South ; had not even interfered with their peculiar institution of 
slavery. Tliese facts were admitted by some of the southern lead- 
ers. As can easily be proved, the southern States had no excuse for 
their action, which an enlightened humanity or wise statesman- 
ship can ever approve. It was simply wild, willful and wicked. 

There is such a right as the right of revolution, but there is no 
such right as that of rebellion. Rebellion is resistance to the exer- 
cise of lawful authority (and success does not sanctify it) and rebel- 
lion, sustained by arms is treason, pure treason, and such was the 
action of the seceding States. 

Revolution is resistance to the exercise of unlawful, or usurped 
authority, authority exercised against protest and in defiance of con- 
stitutional and natural rights and legal limitations, and is a right 
inherent in all peoples, and such was the American revolution which 
secured the existence of this independent nation. And the real char- 
acter, the distinctions between rebellion and revolution should never 
be confounded. 

But we have not yet reached the highth of the argument 
against secession and disunion. Disunion was death to this the 
greatest, freest, happiest, most prosperous nation the world or time 
had ever seen. United we could stand against all the world, in all 
that will ever be of real value to man, as an individual, or of true 
gloi'y as a nation. Divided, we should be broken into two, but more 
probably, eventually into four, or six, different inimical nations, ly- 
ing contiguous, between which continual and innumerable jealousies 
and contentions would exist. 

For among these there would be one, or more, aristocracies 
built upon the slavery of the masses of the people, where labor 
would be degraded, where the public life, sentiments and action 
would be arrogant, and exist upon a low plain of civilization. Such 
unfavorable conditions existing all about us, would create harassing 
apprehensions necessitating strong military equipments maintained 
by oppressive taxation. There would be alliances and intrigues 
with foreign powers whose interests it would be to foster and im- 
bitter our contentions, until wars should result, constant changes 
occur, peace and prosperity desert us, and finally, perhaps, when 
broken and weakened by our misfortunes, our liberties would be 
swept away, and either anarchy or despotism would rule the land. 
Judging by the past of nations, through all history, such a destiny 
was to be apprehended. The establishment of the Confederacy, 


Tvould, indeed, endanger the peace and safety of the other States 
and nation, and this fact alone, was a sufficient warrant, by the laws 
of nations for the action of the general government, in putting down 
the rebellion. 

Wise indeed were the words of the immortal Washington, when 
in his farewell address he spoke of the value of the Union and the 
necessity for its preservation. 

He says: " It is the main pillar in the edifice of your real inde- 
pendence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace 
abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, of that very liberty which 
you so highly prize, and you should discountenance whatever may 
suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be dissolved." 

But even this was not all. The question of disunion and its 
probable results, expanded into still vaster proportions. 

In the slow passage of the centuries in the world's history, men 
had struggled with but an uncertain hope, yet slowly moving upward 
and onward from political oppression and despotic rule, until out 
of the storms and blood and sufferings of the American revolution, 
arose the great republic, in which was embodied and illustrated the 
best forms of self government, citizen sovereignty, civil and relig- 
ious liberty and material national prosperity, the world had yet 
known. And it was soon conceived at home, and realized everywhere 
abroad, that, bound up with the success, or failure, of disunion, were 
the fate of free government and popular institutions, and that the 
results wei"e not a matter of awful interest to this country alone, or 
to this generation alone, but to all mankind and to all the genera- 
tions to come. 

To say nothing of the motives and objects of the southern lead- 
ers, the rebellion itself was the most enormous political crime of all 
the ages. 

And no grander, or holier cause — the maintenance of the 
Union, with all that it implied, ever sanctioned a resort to arms, or 
warranted men in laying down their lives in its defense, than this. 
In the emergency, there was nothing left but to maintain the Union, 
the constitution and the laws, and this and this only, was the pri- 
mary object of the government and loyal people. The abolition of 
slavery, was but an incident of the war, yet one of the grandest 
achievements of any age or country. 

Such being the situation and such the necessity, the general 
government and the loyal people of the North, believing in the jus- 
tice of their cause, and invoking the favor of Almighty God, entered 
with an enthusiasm never before witnessed among the nations of 
the earth, upon the gigantic task of crushing the rebellion. And 
they crushed it. 

Let us now turn to home affairs. 


THE commissioner's COURT. 

The County Commissioners assembled on New Year's day and 
elected J. H. Dunham, chairman, when after a few hour's work, 
they adjourned, in view of the fact, it is to be presumed, that it was 
a holiday. They had sessions again on the 20th day of February, 
March 20th, June 24th and September 3d. The action of the board, 
during the whole year, was singularly devoid of historic interest. 


The third State Legislature assembled at the Capital, January 
8th, and held a session of sixty days. Only two acts were passed 
at this session of special interest to the people of this county. One 
of which was an act fixing the time of holding the term of the District 
Court, setting the same for "the first Wednesday after the first 
Tuesday of April in each year." The other and much more im- 
portant one, was an act relating to the county seat of this county, 
approved March first, which enacted "That the county seat of the 
county of Fairbault be and the same is hereby removed from the 
town of Blue Earth City, its present location, to the incorporated 
town of Winnebago City, in said county" and that "This act shall 
not take effect until the same has been adopted by the electors of 
said county." It is hardly necessary to say that this latter act 
created quite a commotion in the south half of the county, the 
results of which we shall see hereafter. Our members' of the legis- 
lature at this session, were Guy K. Clevelaad, in the Senate, and A. 
Strecker, in the House. 


About the first of February great expectations existed that the 
United States Land Office, then located at Chatfield, Fillmore 
county, would soon be removed further west, and that Blue Earth 
City would be the lucky point of location. In fact all arrangements 
had been definitely made, and nothing remained to do, but to wait 
the event, now supposed to be near at hand. But alas! 

The best laid schemes o' mice and men 

GanK off a-gloy, 
An' lea'e us nousfht but grief and pain, 

For promis'd joy.— jB«r?is. 

The project failed to the great disappointment of the people of 
Blue Earth City. Yet the county secured the office. In October of 
this year, it was removed to Winnebago City, and was opened for 
business about the 4th day of November. For a number of years 
previous, it was currently understood that the office should soon 
have to be brought further west, and both of the villages in this 
county made great exertions to secure it, with finally the above re- 

The First Editor. 


suit. It was in those days a boon worth contending for. It was a 
gi'eat accession to the business of the town where located, as per- 
sons taking up lands over a very large territory, attended at the office, 
to enter or prove up their lands, who expended more or less money, 
during their stay. It stimulated enterprise and improvement at 
home, and gave the town where located, a name and prestige, which 
attracted immigration and capital from abroad. 

It was an auspicious event for Winnebago City and a great con- 
venience and advantage to the people of the whole county. One of 
the citizens of the county, Mr. J. H. Welch, of Verona, was ap- 
pointed register and Mr. H. W. HoUey, who thereafter became a 
permanent resident of the county, was appointed receiver. 


The meeting of the Agricultural Society was held at Blue Earth 
City, April 3d. As an indication of the scarcity of money at the 
time, it may be stated that at this meeting a motion was made, that 
county orders be received and paid by the society, as money, but 
the motion was lost. At this time the officers of the society were J. 
A. Latimar, president; J. H. Welch, secretary and H. T. Stoddard, 
treasurer. The fair was appointed to be held at Blue Earth City on 
the 2d and 3d of October, but was adjourned to the 9th. It was a 
failure. Rain fell most of the day. There were but ninety-eight 


The District Court held its regular annual session April 3d. 
Hon. Lewis Branson presiding. The term lasted but one day. There 
was no business for the grand jury, and but one case for the petit 
jury. This speaks well for the people. 


One of the most important events which had yet occurred in the 
county, happened on the 6th day of April of this year. This was 
the appearance of the first newspaper published in the county. On 
that day the first number of the Blue Earth City Neivs was issued. 
It was a small, six column, four page sheet and bore the motto, 
"Devoted to the interests of the people of Faribault County." It was 
to be issued on Saturday of each week. The typographical and 
general appeax'ance of the paper was very good and gave general 
satisfaction. Isaac Botsford was the editor and proprietor as ap- 
pears from the first numbers of the paper, but Frank A. Blackmer 
was also interested in the paper and assisted in the publication. The 
■subscription price was one dollar and fifty cents per annum, jiaya- 
ble in advance. The editor states that he will receive in payment 
lor subscriptions anything that grows that he can use, or anything 
that is made except counterfeit money. The first number was well 


filled with advertisements of merchants, hotels, professional cards 
and notices. The subscription list was not a very long one. To en- 
courage the project quite a number of the leading men of Blue Earth 
City took as many as fifteen copies each and paid for them. The 
editors salutatory was very lengthy and probably the most compre- 
hensive and exhaustive one ever written. It set forth in fair and 
frank language the editor's understanding of his duties and the diffi- 
culties of publishing a newspaper in the "back counties." The 
salutatory was entitled"Our Bow." We make the following extracts: 

"A time honored custom compels us in this, the initial number of the lilue 
Earth City News, to give the pablic an inkling of our principles and purposes. 
It is natural and right that a community should know something of the charac- 
ter of a paper just springing into life in their midst. Wlien money is scarce as 
it is at the present time, every prudent man will look twice at his money before 
parting with it, and more especially will he do so if he knows nothing of the 
character or quality of the article he is purchasing and, therefore, it is but just 
to ourselves and the public from whom we expect to receive our support, that 
we should state distinctly at the outset what we Intend to uphold and what we 
intend to condemn." 

"We shall have but very little to do with politics." 

"But we do not propose to publish a neutral paper by any means, neither on 
this subject, nor any other. We shall feel at liberty to speak, write and pub- 
lish jyst what we please on all subjects." 

"Our sympathies are with the republican party. » * • « Con- 
sequently none will be surprised to learn that we intend to publish a republican 
paper." , 

"We are, of course, opposed to slavery infotoand can never give our sanction 
to the further spread of the accursed evil." 

"Our great aim shall be to publish a good country paper." 

"An experience in newspaper publishing of two years has taught us the les- 
son that no man without the fortune of a Rothschild, can afford to publish a 
paper in any other manner than by requiring pay in advance." 

Mr. Botsford did not fail in his aim of publishing "a good 
county paper." The News was always a clean, truthful and relia- 
ble sheet. Many larger and more pretentious papers have been 
published since, but there has never been, to this day, a better local 
paper published in this county than the Bine Earth City News. A 
copy of the first volume of the Neios is in the hands of the writer, 
and is the only one known to be now in existence in this county. It 
•was kindly presented to the writer by John A. Dean, Esq., on condi- 
tion that it should be bound and preserved, which has been done. 

The spring of this year was rather late. Heavy rains and high 
waters prevailed. Spring plowing, of which there was more in 
those days, in proportion to the acreage than there is now, com- 
menced about the 13th of April, and most of the seeding was done 
after the LlOth of the month. 



During the early years of the county a considei'able trade was 
carried on ia furs and peltries, which proved a great benefit to the 
people, in view of the low price of farm products and the great dis- 
tance of markets. Furs always brought cash, at some price, and 
were always ready sale. In the News we find a statement that dur- 
ing the winter and spring of 1860-61, "one merchant had purchased 
5,000 muskrats, 300 minks, 100 foxes, 40 coons, 14 otters, 11 wolves, 
5 badgers and 4 beavers at a cost of about ^1,200. Other merchants 
also dealt in furs to a considerable extent, and there were many 
traveling buyers in the county. The News further says that "com- 
petent judges assure us that not less than sSS.SOO has been paid 
to citizens of this county during the past winter for this one 

For some years quite a number of our citizens would engage 
every fall and winter in the business of trapping for furs. Usually 
two persons would go into partnership and fit out with numerous 
traps, several guns, ammunition, a small sheet iron stove, a few tin 
dishes, blankets for bedding, flour or meal, salt pork, tobacco, pipes 
and some other useful articles, and having sought out some suitable 
place on the prairies, on the margin of a slough, or on the borders 
of a lake, sometimes on the banks of a stream, or in the timber, 
they would erect a small shanty, eight or ten feet square and about 
six feet high, as their dwelling; these hovels were sometimes built 
of boards, but more frequently they were "dug-outs," that is, holes 
dug into the sides of a bank, and covered over with poles, grass 
and sods. Here some months would be spent in the interesting 
business of trapping, varied occasionally by a visit to the settle- 
ments for supplies. It was rather a hard, greasy and somewhat 
odoriferous life, but it had its attractions; it possessed a dash of 
romance and adventure, and usually paid well. The earnings 
averaged all the way from one hundred dollars to six hundred dol- 
lars a season, and the business covered a part of the year when little 
else could be done. 

Many a slough with its village of muskrat houses, in the years 
past, yielded a more valuable crop and a good deal more amusement 
than some of the grain fields. 


In the first years of the county large game such as elk, deer, 
bears, wolves, foxes, coon and the smaller kinds also, were quite 
plenty. The buffalo had ceased to roam over these prairies, but a 
short time previous to the first settlement one of their herding 
or stamping grounds was yet, at the time of the first settlement, to 
be seen near the head waters of the west branch of the Blue Earth 

136 mSTOItV OF 

River. One of the first settlers of the county, soon after his arri- 
val here, discovered a buffalo following up his cattle when they 
came home one evening — a lone fellow that had strayed from his 
native herd. 

The deer, elk and bear disappeared soon after the first settle- 
ment, but occasionally for some years after, they would be seen. 
Wolves and foxes, however, continued quite numerous down to the 
time of the close of this volume, and the former have been very de- 
structive to the sheep. A bounty of three dollars by the State, and 
three dollars by the county, was given for wolf scalps, in the later 
years, and many a man made good wages in catching them at odd 
times. One person received as much as fifty-six dollars for a day's 
work of this kind. Rabbits and feathered game have been plenty at 
all times, and hunting in the proper seasons is indulged in by many. 
We have always had sportsmen of considerable skill, who look upon 
hunting with gun and dog and the other accoutrements of the chase, 
as the best of recreations and who take a special pride in their 
achievements and boast of their deeds, as b.11 hunters have done, 
from Nimrod to this day. Not only our own sportsmen engage in 
hunting, but of late years persons from the large cities and even 
from distant States come into the county during August and Sep- 
tember, sometimes bringing their families with them, and spend a 
couple of months in hunting, especially during the "chicken season" 
and find a period of enjoyment and recuperation better than the 
limited. expensive and formal watering places where fashion, frivol- 
ity and display hold their revels. These visitors usually hire their 
board and lodging at some comfortable farm house for a few weeks 
of quiet country life amid the pure airs of heaven, and luxuriate in 
the fresh rural scenes and glories of nature, or sometimes they take 
up their abode in the villages and spend the long summer days on 
the wide prairies with dog and gun. Frequently a company is 
formed, who take with them several tents, cooking utensils, and 
some bedding with all the necessary hunting equipments, and camp 
out, on the borders of some lake or stream for two or three weeks, 
during the "chicken season." There are State laws regulating the 
taking of the various kinds of game, but while they are well known, 
they are, unfortunately, not closely observed. 

A year's round of hunting sports may be said to begin in the 
winter, with wolves, foxes, rabbits, etc. Then early in the spring 
come swarms of wild geese, ducks and brants about the streams and 
lakes, and cranes in great flocks in the fields everywhere. After a 
month or two, these take their leave, then through June and Julj' 
we have the plovers, snipe, curlews, woodcock and wild j^igeons. 
In August, begins the prairie chicken shooting, lasting over a 


Then in September and October again come the brants, ducks, 
geese and cranes, and quail, ruffled grouse or pheasants, and par- 
tridges. Where can a pleasanter or more heathful sport be found 
than in hunting over the fields and about the lakes and streams, in 
the hazy, balmy, Indian summer days ? As the winter closes in, 
soon after the first of November, and our cranes, ducks and geese 
leave again, the deer hunting iDractically begins. In the counties in 
Iowa, adjoining this on the south, numerous deer are taken every 
winter, and it is about the beginning of winter that our hunters fit 
out for these expeditions to the deer grounds, in the more northern 
and less settled portions of the State, where several months are 
spent profitably, as well as pleasantly. 

But we should not foi'get the dogs, which do much of the hard 
work of all this sport, and manifest such an intelligent appreciation 
of it too. The hunter and his dog are inseparable companions. The 
trained dogs used in this country are pointers and setters, not those 
which are facetiously said to point for a bone and then "set" behind 
the stove and gnaw it, but dogs which possess a faculty for hunting 
and are specially trained for the business. The setters are trained as 
retrievers and will readily enter the water and bring out the dead 
game. Pointers will also retrieve, but are not so well adapted to 
this work. The intelligence sometimes exhibited by these dogs, in 
the execution of this work, is astonishing, and this fact, with the 
great use they are in the field, accounts for the great prices often 
paid for them. They are usually valued at from ten dollars to 
twenty-five dollars, but often sell for fifty to seventy-five dollars, 
and there is one instance in which the price paid for an extra dog 
was the sum of five hundred dollars ! 

But the great hunting season of this section of country, is the 
chicken season, when the game sought is jDrairie chickens, grouse 
and smaller bii'ds. This season commences about the middle of 
August. The young chickens are then well grown and excellent 
eating. The hunters go out some times alone, but oftener in pairs, 
with their dogs. Frequently three or four men, with as many ladies, 
for they often take part in the sport, start out in an easy riding con- 
veyance, in the bright summer morning, supplied with guns and' 
ammunition, a couple of dogs and a well filled basket of provisions, 
for a day's hunt on the prairies. The excitement of the hunt is 
agreeable. The keen scent and intelligent working of the dogs, the 
starting of the covies, the skillful shooting of the game and the gath- 
ering up of the spoils of the chase, the counting and bragging and 
bluster, are all interesting. 

But there is something more — that which gives tone and zest to 
all this— the bright skies, the fragrance laden breezes, the far reach- 
ing undulating prairies, carpeted with green grasses and innumerable 


wild flowers of every hue, the landscape dotted over with verdant 
groves, where nestle the quiet farm houses, the exhilirating air, fill- 
ing the soul with the beauty, variety and enchantment of the scene, 
the hearty dinner in the edge of some shady grove, during a couple 
of hour's nooning, the joke and song, the hap and mishap, the re- 
turn to the field until nightfall, and then the brisk ride home, all 
unite to make up a day of pure enjoyment, long to be remembered. 

"Let others kneel at Pleasure's shrine, 
And lioast the raptures of a 'spree'; 
Hut, ah: a hunter's joy be mine,— 
A hunter's merry life for xae.''—Uolley. 


But say the Izaak Waltons, what about fishing? It is not every- 
one who cares to travel the prairies for game. Some of us like 
better the pleasure of practicing the angler's art. All of the 
streams and lakes, of which there are many in the county, are 
stocked with fish. The pike, pickerel, red horse, bass, sunfish, 
bullheads, perch, muskalonge, catfish, chubbs, suckers, and some 
other varieties, in all sizes, from twenty-five pounds weight to the 
tiny minnow, are found in our waters. The State fish commissioner 
has also placed in some of our lakes the salmon, white fish and 
some other varieties. 

Seining is not permitted by law, but the hook andlin^, the spear 
and trolling hook are. The spring fishing is best about the time 
when the high waters of the spring freshet begin to go down, the 
high waters having enabled the larger fish to come up the streams. 
It is then the fisherman with the hook and line, or spear, can get 
his string of fish in a very short time, and in this sport men and 
women, boys and girls, in small parties and large parties, with jolly 
laugh and joke, engage with great pleasure, ignoring all the old 
rules of fishing, about noise and telling fibs. 

Boat fishing either in the day time or at night with torches, is 
often embarked io and is an agreeable recreation. But it is not 
only in the spring and summer that fish are caught. They may be 
taken at all times, but certain seasons are better for this sport than 
others and the sport is more followed during these times. Probably 
the larger quantities of fish are taken in the winter. It has long 
been a custom with many to visit the lakes in the winter, when they 
are frozen over, when large quantities are caught, cleaned and 
salted down in barrels for the year's use. In such cases one method 
is to cut a hole in the ice, build a small house over it. so that it 
shall be dark inside, and then by various methods entice the fish to 
the hole, when they are taken with spear and hook. In the spring, 
also, when the ice on the waters begins to melt around the edges, 
the fish collect in great numbers about the outlets and inlets of the 
lakes and are easily taken in great quantities. 


In all this, is briefly indicated how many a pleasant day or ex- 
pedition of a week, is enjoyed and made profitable in fishing. But 
this does not suffice. The true angler does not want wagon loads 
of fish, he despises the spear, he hates noise and bustle. These 
things are too coarse for his placid philosophic mind. The true 
disciple of old Izaak Walton, pensive, kindly old Izaak, with his"pla- 
cid and benevolent countenance, joined to gentle and unaffected man- 
ners," loves the poetry of fishing best. Pull of quiet geneality and 
all the humanities, he is a lover of the pastoral life. He seeks the 
shady nooks along the still waters where he enjoys his quiet fancies, 
or serenely philosophises, while he watches his "sink and bobber," 
patiently waiting for a "bite." There is a fascination in the prac- 
tice of the piscatorial art, which cultured men of all professions ac- 
knowledge and love to enjoy. Yes, for the race of true anglers, 
which we are happy to say is not yet extinct, we have many a seclu- 
ded crystal stream and silvery lakelet, along whose quiet shady 
banks the angler may wander through the long summer day and 
fish and dream his fancies to his heart's content. And now, not to 
discourage, but to amuse, this article is closed with the following 
valuable table prepared by the Detroit Free Press, showing what 
chance a professional man has of catching anything, when he "goes 
a angling." 

Doctors 7 in 50 Merchants 13 in 50 

Lawyers 3 in 50 Professors 1 in 50 

Editors 10 in 50 Small boy with old 

Artists 2 in 50 straw hat and broken 

Architects 12 in 50 suspender 49 in 50 

Bookkeepers 8 in 50 

treason! treason! 

We have now reached in the order of time, the great event of 
1861, in fact one of the most stupendous events in the history of 
the nation — the beginning of the Great Rebellion. The long con- 
test of words, the threats, the excited passions now broke forth in 
an overt act of treason on the part of the southern people. 

On the 12th day of April, Fort Sumpter was attacked by the 
confederates and taken. The first blow was struck, and each side 
— the government and the rebels — both before hesitating to begin, 
now hastened preparations for the conflict. The States of the South 
one after another were seceding from the Union, and the rebels 
were continuing their work of taking possession of the forts, 
arsenals and navy yards in those States. The President issued a 
proclamation, calling for seventy-five thousand volunteers to de- 
fend the Capital. 


The Governor of the State, Hon. Alex. Ramsey, issued a proc- 
lamation to the people of the State to organize volunteer military 
companies, arm and drill, so as to be prepared for any emergency. 
Great excitement]existed throughout the State and the whole North. 
The gallant Minnesota First was soon organized and ready to go to 
the front. Everywhere throughout the State, war meetings were 
held and companies formed. Our county was not asleep or behind 
while these great events were taking place. 

On the evening of the 30th of April a large and enthusiastic 
meeting was held at Winnebago City. Eloquent and patriotic 
speeches were made by Geo. H. Goodnow, A. C. Dunn, G. K. Cleve- 
land and others. The Governor's proclamation was read and avolun- 
teer company organized. A number of resolutions were adopted 
with great enthusiasm the first and second of which read as 

"Resolved, That, the citizens of Faribault county are in favor of the Union, 
the Constitution and the enforcement of the laws. 

'^ Resolved, That in this hour of peril to our glorious government, wetender 
to Abraham Lincoln, President of these United States, "Our lives, fortunes 
and sacred honor," to aid him in punishing rebels and traitors for assaulting the 
flag of our fathers." 

Almost every man in the village and vicinity joined the com- 
pany, and we are sorry to say we have not the names that we may 
record them here in a Roll of Honor. « 

On the evening of May second a large war meeting of the citi- 
zens of Blue Earth City and vicinity was held. Great enthusiasm 
prevailed. A series of resolutions was adopted amid great cheering, 
condemning the rebellion in the strongest language. We quote 
several of them. 

Resolved. That we, citizens of Faribault county, without reference to those 
party names that have hitherto distinguished us and having unshaken faith in 
the power of right, are unalterably attached to the union of these States and 
the perpetuity of popular government. 

Resolved. That in order that we may render efficient aid to the govern- 
ment, should our services be required, we will immediately organize a company 
of our citizens and take such steps as may be necessary to perfect ourselves in 
military drill and discipline. 

Resolved. That live atmosphere of Faribaxdl County must not he breathed by 

Earnest speeches were made J. B. Wakefield, E. Raymond, J. 
A. Kiesler and Geo. B. Kingsley. A paper was presented for the 
signature of those who wished to enroll their names, as a volunteer 
company, and forty names were set down in less than as many min- 
utes. J. B. Gillit, a gray-haired veteran of sixty years led olf. then 
came E. Raymond. I. S. Mead, J. B. Wakefield, G. B. Kingsley, 
Isaac Botsford. S. T. McKnight, F. A. Squires. H. Tompkins, J. A. 
Kiester, H. P. Const'ans, G. S. Converse, G. S. Miles, H. G. Neal, 


W. C. Gillit, W. A. Melvin, A. Sortor. H. A. Paunce, W. M. Scott, 

A. Bonwell, A. Pratt, O. Saunders, F. L. Howland, E. C. Youug, A. 
McElroy, L. Billings, Jr., H. Mount, F. A. Blackmer, Martin Sailor, 
J. C. Pratt, A. Johnson, John Beidle, J. K. Pratt, E. C. Ingals, L. 

B. Woodruff, J. Johnson, P. Harris and S. Dow. Many other names 
were afterwards added, of which there is now no record. 

Many of those who enrolled their names in the various com- 
panies formed at the time, subsequently in more permanent organ- 
izations proved their patriotism and sincerity on many a hard fought 
field beneath the southern sun, and some of them to-day, having 
given their lives for their country, sleep the last great sleep, in sol- 
dier's graves. 

"The land is holy where they fought, 
And holy where they fell. 
For by their blood that land was bought. 
The land they loved so well.'" 


While the inhabitants of this small planet called the earth, 
were busy with their cares and labors and ambitions, their joys and 
sorrows, far away in the heavens in the wide fields of space, there 
suddenly appeared a great comet on the 30th day of June, and 
created a great sensation. To the naked eye the head of the comet 
appeared brighter than a star of the first magnitude. "It was 
estimated that on the second day of July the breadth of the head 
of the nucleous was about one hundred and fifty-six thousand miles, 
and its train of light fifteen millions of miles in length." It was 
thought by one astronomer, that the earth passed through the tail 
of this comet. But it sped onward upon its trackless way and soon 
disappeared to the dwellers of this planet. In accordance with the 
old notions — perhaps superstitions — many looked upon this comet 
as the harbinger of a dreadful war and other great calamities. 

"A pathless comet, 

The menace of the universe; 
Still rolling on with innate force, 
Without a sphere, without a course." 


The fourth of July was celebrated at Blue Earth City. The 
largest assembly of the people that had ever occurred in the county 
was seen at that time. The Sunday schools, the Good Templars 
and a large company of soldiers were in attendance in their separ- 
ate organizations. 

The exercises were held in the grove on the Court House 
Square, where a stand, seats and long tables were erected. The 
people assembled in the village and forming a procession marched 


to the grove to the strains of martial music. The Declaration was 
read by Geo. Patten, of Verona, and the address was delivered by 
J. A. Kiester, of Blue Earth City, after which a public, free and 
very bounteous dinner was placed upon the long tables and every- 
body partook heartily. 

Good order prevailed throughout the day and the company en- 
joyed the festivities of the occasion with much satisfaction. Many 
things tended to make this celebration one of more than ordinary 
interest. The rebellion had just broken out. The people were in- 
tensely aroused and indignant, and anxiously watching events. 
There was no other formal celebration in the county, and every jier- 
son in the county had been invited to attend. The prepai'ations 
were ample, and the day in the main favorable, and people were in 
attendance from all parts of the county. 


About the iith of July, President Lincoln issued a proclamation 
calling for 400,000 men and §400,000,000, to put down the Rebellion, 
and the call was responded to in a spirit and with an alacrity which 
made the hearts of loyal men swell with pride and the hope of early 
success. On the second day of August, Congress, then in extra 
session, authorized the raising of 500,000 men and §500,000,000. 


During the summer many local banks in the western States 
failed. Many of what were known as the free banks of Wisconsin, 
held up, among the last, but there was great uncertainty as to the 
value of their j^aper. All of it was at a greater or less discount and 
kept getting worse until worthless. Of course the psople. the hold- 
ers of this wretched stuff called "money," were the losers. It is 
still remembered that a citizen of this county who had some eight 
hundred dollars of this money, suddenly learned one daj' that the 
whole sura was not worth a copper. During these times there was 
one column of every newspaper which was read with great interest. 
It was the column which contained a list of banks of issue, with the 
ever changing value of their currency. The currency is the life- 
blood of the business of the nation, the soul of all enterprise, the 
incentive to labor, and the people should ever watch its character 
with the greatest scrutiny, for they are the ones who must suffer by 
depreciation or failui'e. If some financial genius shall arise, who 
shall give us banks of deposit of absolute security, and money which 
cannot fail, can never fluctuate in value, or even if liable to failure 
or fluctuation, the loss shall fall, not upon the innocent holders, but 
upon the authority issuing it, he will be entitled to be numbered 
among the world's benefactors. 



The harvest commenced about the 24Lh day of July, and the 
husbandman reaped an abundant reward for his toil, in the quantity 
and quality of the grain, but the prices were low, as appears from 
the statement following of the prices of farm products and other 
commodities current at the time: 

Produce.— Wheat, 35@40c; flour, $2.00: corn, 20c; beans, 40c; 
lard, 10c; oats, 18c; potatoes, 20c; eggs, 5c; pork, $3.50@4.00. 

Groceries. — Brown sugar, 10c; coffee sugar, 12^c; tobacco, 
plug, 30@50c; tobacco, pure leaf, 65c; tobacco, fine, 30@,50c; tobacco, 
smoking, 12^@15c; molasses, 80c; syrup, 80c; Rio coffee, 20c; Java 
coffee, 25c; salt, barrel, $4.75 ; salt, lb., 2c; tallow candles, 18ic; 
dried apples, 10c. 

Dry Goods. — Prints, 7@12^c; delains, 20@25c; sheetings, 8@ 
12^c; denims, 12620c; Kentucky Jeans, 25@,35c; cassimere, 40c@ 
$2.00; cotton flannel, 12*@18fc; wool flannel, 37*S:50c. 


The immigration to this county during this year much exceeded 
that of the last year and was very encouraging. Much imjarove- 
ment in the breaking up of new lands and building was made 
throughout the county. Toward the close of the year money became 
easier. Near the end of December a grist mill, the flrst one in the 
county, was put in operation by Geo. H. Goodnow, at Winnebago 
City. This mill was attached to a saw mill and was run by the 
engine of the saw mill. It was a great convenience and did a good 
business. Prior to the starting of this mill the people had to haul 
their grists from thirty to sixty miles to mill. Many a bushel of 
corn, in the early days of this county, was ground in coffee mills, 
small hand-mills and horse-power mills, and the savory remem- 
brance of the Johnny cakes made from the meal ground in this way 
remains with the old settlers to this day. 

the election and county seat contest. 

The Hon. Alex. Ramsey, republican, and Hon. E. O. Hamlin, 
democrat, were the candidates for Governor. 

The Republican County Convention was held at Blue Earth City 
on the 21st day of September, and made the following nominations: 
For Sheriff, P. C. Seely. For Treasurer, Wm. Dustin. For County 
Attorney, N. B. Hyatt. For Surveyor, Geo. Patten. For Coroner, 
L. C. Taylor. For Commissioners, E. M. Ellis, H. Dunham and 
Thomas Blair. 

The Republican District Convention met at Madelia, Sept. 28th. 
and nominated for Representative, B. O. Kempfer, of Watonwan 
county. The democratic party made no nominations for legislative 


or county officers, but a greater local issue was before the people 
than that of politics — the question of the removal of the county seat 
was to be decided. 

As the election drew near, the excitement and interest in the 
results f^reatly increased, but all other considerations were sunk for 
the time in the important question of the county seat. Blue Earth 
City could not possibly afford to lose it. Winnebago City would 
gain very much to get it. 

Canvassing and electioneering on this subject was the order of 
the day, and for two weeks before election day, little else was done in 
either of the villages. The county was canvassed from Dan to Ber- 
sheba by both parlies and every voter visited and enlightened upon 
the subject. Blue Earth City had a little the advantage in several 
things, but especially in having a newspaper, while Winnebago City 
had none. 

About the last of September there appeared on the first page 
of the Blue Earth Citij JNVir.s an outline map of the counlj', on 
which each township was represented and the exact location of each 
village — the two contestants, and a line drawn equi-distant at all 
points thereof from Winnebago City and Blue Earth City. This 
line proved the great and unanswerable argument it was held, in fa- 
vor of Blue Earth City, for by it, it was clearly demonstrated on the 
map and everyone could test its accuracy for himself, that about 
three- fourths of the territory of the county, was nearer Biue Earth 
City than to Winnebago City An elaborate article in the interests 
of Blue Earth City also appeared in the same number of the paper, 
setting forth, in the strongest possible light, the reasons against re- 
moval. Winnebago Citj' not to be outdone in spreading information 
on the subject, had a vast number of circulars printed at Mankato, 
answering the article in the Neivs and giving cogent reasons as was 
thought, why the county seat should be removed to Winnebago City, 
and sent them out by messengers into all parts of the countj'. Every 
influence, public and private, and every argument that interest and 
ingenuity could suggest, were used to secure the objects of the re- 
spective parties, but these arguments were too numerous and many 
of them entirely too elaborate and abtruse to be mentioned here, or 
even comprehended, if mentioned, by the people of this day. 

The day — the great day of election came at last. It was the 
ninth day of October. The polls throughout the county were opened 
early. To prevent fraud and illegal voting, Winnebago City had a 
delegation of at least one, generally two, at each of the voting places 
in the south half of the county, and Blue Earth City had a like dele- 
gation at all the voting places in the north half of the county. The 
vote polled was the largest which had yet been cast in the count}', 
and surprised everyone. But there was not over half a dozen illegal 


votes cast that day in the whole county, if so many. An incident 
occurred at the polls at Blub Earth City during the day which will 
bear repeating: A German of a burly and unkempt appearance 
came up to vote, when his vote was challenged by one of the Winne- 
bago City delegation on the grounds, that he had not been long 
enough a resident of the county to vote. He was asked the question 
how long he had been in the county, when after looking at the chal- 
lenger quietly a few minutes he said in a peculiarly sarcastic manner: 
"Ish been here so long ash ter raise von stack buckveets vot you 
steels ven you comes inter der country — vat you talks you tief ?" 

The official canvass exhibited the following results: 

For Governor — Alex. Ramsey, republican, had 433 votes and 
E. O. Hamlin, democrat, 61. 

For Representative— B. O. Kempfer, having no opposition in 
district, was elected, his vote in this county being 482. 

There was no opposition to any of the republican county candi- 
dates and they had the following number of votes: 

For Treasurer— Wm. Dustia 473 

For .Sheriff— P. C. Seely 463 

For Surveyor— Geo. Patten 480 

For Attorney— K. B. Hyatt. 476 

For Coroner— L. C. Taylor 477 

E. M. Ellis, J. H. Dunham and Thomas Blair were almost unan- 
imously elected commissioners. But the result on the question of 
the removal of the county seat was the matter of the most isrofound 
interest and overshadowed all others. The vote stood: 

For the removal 202 

Against the removal 324 

Blue Earth City won the battle, but it was no childs" play, as it 
"had a foeman worthy of its steel," a foeman though beaten, was 
not conquered, but still held his banners to the breeze and fought 
many a hai-d fight afterwards. 


Near the first of November, Mr. Botsford sold out his interest 
in the Blue Earth City Neivs to Messrs. Blackmer & Hyatt. Here is 
Mr. Botsford's "good bye:" 

" Yes, kind friends, good bye. Ere this number of the Blue Earth Oily 
News shall reach you, I will belong wholly and entirely to our venerable "Uncle 
Samuel.'' My sojourn in this county has been pleasant. I have received at 
least double the support I anticipated. Each and every citizen, old and young, 
male and female, have treated rue kindly. I have no fault to find whatever, with 
the people here, and I hope, trust and believe, that they all entertain the 
same feelings toward me. After a deliberate study of the matter, I have come 
to the conclusion that my country needs my services to aid in putting down 
the thousands of armed traitors with which these United States are infested, 


and 1 have accordinRly enlisted in the Blue Earth Cavalry Company 'for three 
years or during the war." 

Isaac Botsford was born in the State of New York in 1830. He 
obtained his education at Lowville (N. Y.) Academy and Whites- 
town (N. Y.) Seminary. He early learned the business of printer 
and publisher. He left his home in the east and came to Albert Lea, 
Freeborn County, Minn., in 1857. and removed to Blue Earth City, 
this county, early in the year 1861. where he remained until his en- 
listment in the military service of the United States, which occurred 
on the tirst day of November, 1861. He became a member of the 
Second Company Minn. Light Cavalry, afterwards known as Co. B. 
Bracketfs Battalion. He states above, that he enlisted for three 
years or during the war. It proved to be "during the war." He re- 
mained continuallj^ in the service until .Tune 1st, 1866, a period of 
four years and seven months. His service was in the South until 
January 1st. 18()4, fighting rebels, and thereafter, until the close of 
his- time, in the Northwest fighting Indians, his company being 
among the very last to be mustered out. 

In 1864, while still in the service, he came home on a short fur- 
iow and was married to Miss Maggie E. Colby, of Freeborn County, 
Minn., and after his final discharge from the service, he took up 
his residence in that county where he still resides. Mr. Bots- 
ford is a member of the Presbyterian Church and in politics a pro 
hibition republican. During his career as a printer anS publisher, 
he was connected with the Freeborn County Eagle, the Blue F.arth 
City Neivs, as we have seen above, and later with the Albert Lea 
Standard. In 1878 he quit business on account of ill health and lived 
a very quiet and retired life. He died at Albert Lea in 18'J2. 

Mr. Hyatt, who assumed chai-ge of the Keios as editor, at the 
date of purchase, in his salutatory, among other things, says: "We 
shall publish a republican paper, but we are not so strongly attached 
to party as to be blind to its faults, or those of its leaders." "We 
hold the primai-y object of a county paper to be the interests of the 
county — it is from the citizens thereof we expect our support and 
in turn we expect to devote our columns to the promotion of their 
best interests. Wherever our paper is read we intend that the beau- 
tiful prairies and fine streams, the abundance of timber and the fer- 
tility of the soil in the already far famed valley of the Blue Earth 
shall be known." 


As the great civil war, of which this was the first year, was the 
leading subject of interest and gave character to the times for the 
next four years in this section of countrj' as well as throughout the 
nation, and as many of the citizens of this county took an active part 
in the events of the time, both political and military, it is deemed 


expedient to give in this history, a brief resume of the leading events 
of the war each year. 

"As one who sleeps and hears across his dream, 
The cry of battles ended long ago." 

In January, as we have already seen, many forts and arsenals 
in the southern States wei'e seized by the rebels. Feburary^9th, Jeff 
Davis and A. H. Stephens were chosen the first, president, and the 
latter, vice-president of the Confederate States for one year. April 
12 14th, Fort Sumpter, S. C, was bombarded and taken. April 20th, 
U. S. Mint at Charlotte, N. C, .seized by the rebels. June 10th, bat- 
tle of Big Bethel, Va. June 18th, battle of Boonville, Mo. July 2d, 
battle near Martinsburg, Va. July 5th, battle at Carthage, Mo. 
July 12th. battle of Rich Mountain, Va. July 13th, battle of Car- 
nickford, Va. July 21st, first battle of Bull Run. Aug. 10th, battle 
of Wilson's Creek, Mo. Aug. 28th, capture of Forts Hatteras and 
Clark. Sept. 12th, battle of Cheat Mountain, Va. Oct. 3d, battle 
of Greenbrier, Va. Oct. 16th, battle of Pilot Knob, Mo. Oct. 21, 
battle of Balls Bluff. Nov. 7th, great naval battle at Hilton's Head, 
S. C. Nov. 8th, battle of Belmont, Mo. In addition to the above 
list there were almost innumerable smaller fights and skirmishes 
both on land and sea. 

The great matter of absorbing interest was the progress of the 
war. Recruiting and enlisting, organizing and drilling were the 
chief business of the times. The war had already developed into 
gigantic proportions. At the close of the year there were already 
two hundred and forty-six vessels, carrying two thousand guns, in 
the navy, and nearly seven hundred thousand men in the armies of 
the United States. 



A. D. 1862. 

"I by thee have watched, 
And heard the murmer tales of iron wars: 
And thou has talked of sallies and returns, of trenches, tents. 
Of palisados, frontiers, parapets. 
Of basilisks, of cannon, Culverine 
Of prisoners ransomed and of soldiers slain." 


The fourth State Legislature met .Tan. 7th and adjourmed March 
7th. The only acts passed specially relating to this county were first, 
"An act to provide for the location and construction of a State road 
from Blue Earth City, in Faribault county, to Mankato in Blue 
Earth county." 

Second. "An act to construct a State I'oad from a point on the 
road leading from Mankato to Mapleton in Blue Earth county, to 
Winnebago City, in Faribault county." «• 

Third, "An act to change the name of Dobson township in Pair- 
bault county, to that of Elmore." 

Fourth, "A memorial to the Congress of the United States for 
the establishment of a mail route from La Crescent to Winnebago 

The legislature assembled in extra session, September 9th, of 
this year, and had a session of twenty days, and enacted some laws 
of great importance, but none having any special reference to this 
county. We were represented in these several sessions, by Guy K. 
Cleveland in the Senate and B. O. Kempfer in the House. 


The commissioners met January 7th and had a session of two 
days. Thomas Blair was elected chairman. They had another 
meeting April 3d. but the business done was only of a i-outine charac- 
ter, and we shall hasten on to more interesting events. 


About the 8th of February, Mr. Blackmer, partner of Mr. Hyatt 
in the publication of the Neu-.t. retired, and Mr. A. Bonwell entered 
into partnership with Mr. Hyatt, the latter remaining the active 


Mr. Blackmer, following the lead of Mr. Botsford, his former 
confrere, enlisted ia the military service of the United States and 
not many months after did gallant service in the defense of Port 
Ridgley, against an attack by the Indians, on the breaking out of 
the Sioux war. During the fight he was wounded, being shot through 
the face, but survived. In April following, Mr. Bonwell leased his 
interest in the News to J. L. Cristie, who had previously been work- 
ing in the ofBce, and he and Mr. Hyatt became partners in the pub- 
lication of the paper. On the 19th day of July the name of the 
paper was changed to The South- West Minnesotian. During the In- 
dian disturbance, about one hundred pounds of the type were melted 
and run into bullets, as there was a scarcity of lead in that great 
emergency. It was designed that these tyjae, theretofore speaking 
to civilized people, through the columns of the paper, should now do 
' good service in speaking to savages from the muzzles of well-loaded 
guns. The paper ceased to be issued for a short time in August, but 
the publication was resumed and a few more numbers appeared, when 
in October it ceased finally — its course was run — editors and work- 
men having all gone, or proposing to go, into the military service. 

Mr. Cristie enlisted in a company of thirty-day men, organized 
in Fillmore county, of this State, and after his discharge therefrom 
he joined Companj^ H, Minnesota Mounted Rangers, and went with 
the Sibley expedition, to the Missouri river. 

Mr. Hyatt, in December of this year, also enlisted in the military 
service and became the captain of his company. Our first editors, 
not only taught, but practiced the duties of patriotism. 

No paper was published in this county after the discontinuance 
of the Minnesotian until the fall of the next year. 


During February and March, a memorable revival of religion 
occurred at Blue Earth City and in the town of Elmore. At Blue 
Earth City the meetings were conducted by the Rev. Mr. Vaughan, 
of the United Brethren Church, and in Elmore, by the Rev. Mr. 
Barnard, of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Toward the close of 
the meetings, the Rev. Mr. Conrad, of the Presbyterian Church, 
assisted, and other ministers of the gospel took part occasionally 
during the meetings. Very many at these several places determined 
to Ifead a new life and became members of the various religious de- 
nominations existing here at that time. 

This was the first general and important religious awakening 
which had yet occurred in the county. Large and valuable acces- 
sions were made to the several religious bodies, and their future 
permanence secured. It is gratifying to say that many, who at 
that time became church members, still, afttir the lapse of many 

150 HISTOJIY or 

years, continue to fight the good fight and have "kept the faith." 
And it is for those and those only who continue faithful until the 
course is finished, that there is laid up a crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give in that day. 


The district court this year had a session of only one day. The 
preceding year a session of but one daj' was held. The little busi- 
ness i-eciuired to be done by the courts in this county, during many 
of the first years, while it might not indicate that this county was a 
very favorable locality for lawyers, did indicate the non-litigious 
character of the people and that they were a quiet, orderly class of 
inhabitants, disposed to do justice toward each other, voluntarily, 
which was the fact and which was certainly a high recommendation 
to them. During manj- of the earlier years of the county, the law- 
yers as a rule, discouraged litigation, and often put themselves to 
considerable trouble, without fee or reward, to assist their neigh- 
bors in settling their disputes amicably if possible and this was very 
creditable to the lawyers. 

In the words of Shakespeare, frequently 

•'It pleases time and fortune to lie heavy 
Upon him ♦ ♦ ♦ who, in hot blood, 
Hath stepp'd into the law. which is past depth 
To those that, without heed, plunge into it." • 


An adjourned meeting of the agricultural society was held at 
Blue Earth City. April 3rd. at which J. A. Latimer was elected 
president. .1. H. Dunham recording secretary, and Geo. B. Kings- 
ley, treasurer, and various other oftices tilled. 

Twenty-one new members were added at this time and it would 
appear that they gave their notes for the membership fee of one 
dollar, for a resolution was adopted by the meeting, to the effect, 
that notes given for membership fees be paid on or before the first 
da\' of the annual fair. 

Another meeting was held at Blue Earth City. July 2d, at 
which time A. Bon well appears as treasurer. He reports on hand: 
cash, eleven dollars; notes of 1660. fourteen dollars, and notes of 
1862. eighteen dollars. 

The fourth annual fair was held at Winnebago City. October 
1st and 2d. The premium list was quite a long one. but the pre- 
miums awarded appear to have been mainly "diplomas." 



The 4th of July was celebrated at Blue Earth City with consid- 
erable interest. The Rev. Mr. Paine, of Garden City, delivered the 
oration. The day was commemorated at Winnebago City also, by a 
large social gathering in the evening. 

On the first day of July President Lincoln called for 600.000 
more volunteers for a more vigorous prosecution of the war. and on 
the 4th day of August a draft was ordered of 300.000 men to serve 
nine months. The events of the war. the call of the president, the 
draft ordered, created immense activity and enthusiasm in enlist- 
ments and military organization throughout the whole North. 

In consequence of the above call for troops and the draft, the 
board of county commissioners were called together in extra ses- 
sion, on the 12th of August, for the purpose of taking some action 
on behalf of the county to encourage enlistments in the military 
service. Many citizens had alifeady enlisted, and every encourage- 
ment was given by the people generally, but it was thought on this 
call for troops that the county, in its corporate capacity, should 
take some action in this respect. A commendable ambition existed 
among the people, that our county should furnish its quotas of men 
without their being drafted, and an earnest effort was made all 
along, to secure this honor. 

The board adopted the following among other resolutions : 
'•Now. therefore, be it resolved that there be and there is hereby 
appropriated by the County of Faribault, the sum of one thousand 
doUars. payable at the rate of twenty dollars as a bounty to each 
and every resident of said county who shall, after the date hereof 
enlist in the aforesaid military service of the United States, upon 
presentation to the board of satisfactory evidence of enlistment, 
together with proof of residence at the time of enlistment." It was 
then farther resolved, that in the event that the sum of one thousand 
dollars should be insufficient to cover aU enlistments, a further sum 
would be appropriated. This was the first action taken by the 
county, and in the light of subsequent events this little bounty looks 
very s.mall, but it was but the first small indication of greater things 
to be done in the future, noble, generous action in which, we are 
proud to record the fact, our county never failed or faltered. 

On the evening of the 13th of August, a greafwar meeting was 
held at Blue Earth City, which was attended by people from all 
parts of the county. Strong resolutions wei-e adopted in favor of 
the earnest prosecution of the war, eloquent speeches were made, 
and a committee was appointed to solicit donations of money, grain 
and provisions, to be distributed among the families of enlisted sol- 
diers. A similar meeting was held about the same time at Winne- 
bago City and everywhere in the county the spirit of the people was 


aroused to enthusiasm, and recruitinj; and mustering into the ser- 
vice was the business of the day. Those were the times when men 
and boys and little childi'en sang 

"We are coming father Abraham, 
Six riunrlred Thousand strong." 


We find the following amusing item in the Minneaotiau of Aug. 
2d. It was copied from the Mercury. 

"Another comet has made its appearance in our hemisphere and is liegin- 
ninj; to attract attention. At present it is near the pole star, but alas! it has 
no tail. Only think of a comet without a caudal appendagel It reduces the 
character of a comet in pulilic estimation full fifty per cent at once to be mi- 
nus that essential attachment, for surely there is no end. What is its object? 
Comets to be respectable must have all their usual and si>;niflcaut characteris- 
tics. We are not to be huinbut'ged with such halfway llnishing up of the cometic 
properties. We are not going to put up with any half a comet. We want a 
whole one or none. This one may ac(|uire a tail as it approaches the sun and 
thus give us an opportunity to relate a tale about it, but at present, it is a mis- 
erable, sneaking-looking celestial object, and we shall have little to say about 


The harvest commenced the first of August, and it was a suc- 
cessful one. The crops of wheat, oats and barley were excellent, 
and all rejoiced that the tiller of the soil had received for«his labors 
such an abundant reward. 


A largo harvest had now been mainly secured, immigrants had 
been pouring into the county, prices of farm produce had gone up, 
provisions were plenty, many improvements were being made and 
business had greatly i-evived, when suddenly, while the people were 
engaged in their pursuits and local military interests with their at- 
tention directed to the South, watching the progress of the war, 
there came to them from the North and West the dreadful tidings of 
the Sioux Indian outbreak on the Minnesota frontier — a massacre 
attended with such fiendish murders, outrages and cruelties as the 
faltering tongue told the story, as were never known before. The 
people were horrified, confounded. The stoutest hearts failed 

The terrible news reached this county on the 19th of August. 
The slaughter of the frontier settlers, began the daj- before, at the 
Upper and Lower Sioux Agencies, and at Acton on the 17th. We 
cannot here enter into an extended account of the massacre. A 
few extracts from the standard histories of this atrocious and ap- 
palling event, will suftice to show its extent and character and at- 
tendant incidents. We quote from the History of the Great Mas- 


saci-e by the Sioux Indians, written by Messrs. Bryant and Murch, 
and from several other reliable authorities. 

■'The massacre in Minnesota by the Annuity Sioux Indians in August, 1862, 
marks an epoch in the history of savage races. In their western march across 
the American continent, in the van of a higher civilization, the native red men 
have at different times given sad and fearful evidences of their enmity to the 
dominant white race, but from the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, on the rock- 
bound coast of New England in the winter of 1620, until their descendants had 
passed the center of the continent and reached the lovely prairies of Minne- 
sota, no exhibition of Indian character had so afflicted and appalled the soul 
of humanity, as the fearful and deliberate massacre perpetrated by them in 
August, 1862." 

"The scene of butchery and burning, extended all along the settled frontier 
of Minnesota from the north line of Iowa to the northern part of the State. 
It was the preconcerted and carefully arranged plan of the savages, to kill all the 
whites and desolate the whole state to the Mississippi river, and the plan was 
concocted in profound secrecy."' 

"The blow fell like a storm of thunderbolts from the clear bright heavens. 
Once begun the storm of fierce savage murder in its most horrid and frightful 
forms, rolled on until night came." 

'Down sank the sun, nor ceased the carnage then- 
Tumultuous horrors rent the midnight air.' 
And still rolled on from day to day, until the sad catalogue reached the fearful 
number of two thousand human victims, from the gray haired sire, to the help- 
less infant of a day, wlio lay mangled or dead on the ensanguined field." 

"All we have read of Indian warfare, in the early history of this country is 
tame in contrast with the atrocities of this massacre. Without warning, in 
cold blood, beginning with the murder of their best friends, the whole body of 
the Annuity Sioux commenced a deliberate scheme to exterminate every white 
person upon the land once occupied by them and by them long since sold to the 
United States. In carrying out the bloody scheme, they spared neither age nor 
sex, only reserving for the gratification of their brutal lusts, the few white 
women, whom the rifle, the tomahawk and the scalping knife spared. Nor did 
their fiendish barbarities cease with death, as the mutilated corpses of their 
victims disemboweled, cut limb from limb, or chopped in fragments testified." 
'All died— the wailing babe— the shrieking maid, 
And in the fiood of fire that scathed the glade 
The roofs went down. 
While on the billowy bosom of the air 
Eolled the dread notes of anguish and despair.' 
"Some idea may be formed of the mass of refugees moving before their sav- 
age pursuers. Thirty thousand panic stricken inhabitants at once deserted 
their homes in the midst of an indiscriminate slaughter of men, women and 
children. All this distracted multitude, on foot, on horseback, with teams of 
oxen and horses,from the wide area of eighteen counties, were .on the highways 
and byways, hiding now in sloughs and now in the grass of the open prairies, 
some famishing for water and some dying for want of food, some barefooted, 
some in torn garments and some entirely denuded of clothing, some, by reason 
of wounds, crawling on their hands and dragging their torn limbs after them, 
were all making their way over a country in which no white man could offer 
succor or administer consolation." 

"The unarmed men of the settlements offered no defense, and could offer 
none, but fled before the savage horde, each in his own way." 

154 niSTOltV OF 

"Over the entire border of the State and even near the populous towns on 
the rivers an eye looking' down from above could have feen this human ava- 
lanche of thousands of all at,'es and in all possible plights, the rear ranl<s 
niaiUK'd ami tileedln^' and faint from starvation and loss of blood, continually 
falling into the hands of iuluiman savajjes l<een and llerce on the trail of the 
white man."' 

"The imagination faint and aghast turns from the picture in dismay and 
horror "' 

It must bo romemembered also, that this portion (Faribault 
county) of the Minnesota frontier, was peculiarly situated and in ex- 
treme danger. All along and but a few miles distant from the north 
line of the county, lay the Winnebago Indian reservation, and west 
of the county, a day or two after the outbreak, the country was de- 
serted and open without hinderance to the advance of the Sioux. 

And it was rumored that a league had been formed between the 
Sioux and the Winnebagoes, that the latter should join theformer,if 
they should succeed in taking New Ulm. And there is but little doubt 
that had New Ulm fallen. Mankato and St. Peter would have shared 
the same fate, and that both the Winnebagoes and Chippewas would 
have joined the Sioux. 

On the receipt of the news in this county the most intense ex- 
citement was created. What hour the Indians might make a descent 
on the county was not known. The settlers west of the Blue Earth 
river began to pour into the villages and hundreds passed on without 
stopping, eastward, until the whole county west of th^ river was 
deserted. The inhabitants in their haste and terror gathered up a 
few things, very few too, and deserting their homes, crops and al- 
most everything, tied for their lives from all parts of the county, and 
in a very short time after the exodus had began, a majority of the 
people of the county had left. Some went into the eastern part of 
the State, some into Iowa. In fact a perfect panic prevailed over the 
whole country and extended across the Mississippi river into Wiscon- 
sin. Our county which numbered about 2, 500 population, was reduced 
before the exodus ceased, to about one hundred souls. At one time 
the whole population of the county comprised about forty persons at 
Blue Earth City, about the same number at Winnebago City and a 
very fcAv at other points. Those at Blue Earth City who had de- 
cided to remain went immediately to work to fortify the old log tav- 
ern — the Metropolitan— which had done good service in a like case 
some years before. It was fitted up by building a palisade of logs 
around the house at a distance of about two rods. The logs were 
set on end close together and about two feet in the ground and 
planked on the inside. Port holes were cut through and the whole 
fortification made as strong as possible with the limited means at 
hand. This work was soon done, as there were many willing hands 
and it was the means of inducing many settlers, especially ([uite a 


number from the town of Verona and some from Martin county to 
stop awhile and await events. At the next alarm, however, most of 
these moved on. 

Arms and ammunition were gotten together hastily.some of the 
type of the printing office, as we have seen above, furnished lead for 
bullets. After a few days a temporary company, under command 
of Capt. R. R. Poster, was formed, for defence, and to give character 
and force to the organization the members were solemnly sworn to 
stand true and defend the country to the last. This company drilled 
occasionally and posted out guards at night, but tlie organization 
was not a strong one and was, as we shall see, soon superceded. 
While out drilling one day, without arms, soon after the excitement 
began, the company being drawn up in such line as the military 
skill of the drill sergeant could produce, the command had just been 
given "eyes right" when one Jos. Landis. residing a few miles east 
of the village, drove up with a half load of grain on his wagon, at 
full speed, right in front of the company and in a very frightened 
manner announced that the Indians were coming over the prairie 
northeast of the village. His wife was on the wagon with him terror 
stricken and crying and confirmed his story. They asserted that 
they had seen the Indians advancing in long lines, on horse back, 
about two miles distance on the prairie. Tlaen came another terror- 
stricken woman, who resided a mile nprtheast of the village, leading 
her blind daughter by the hand and she also confirmed Mr. Landis' 

And now alas for military discipline and control! The company 
broke and fled for their guns, every one determining to fight on his 
own hook. And the people became panic stricken, wild, running to 
and fro, women crying, children screaming and the confusion was 
indescribable. Teams were hitched up in the greatest haste and the 
wagons filled, pell mell, with men, women and children, and in 
twenty minutes the x'oad to Albert Lea was lined with flying fugi- 
tives. Order could not be restored. Terror had dethroned reason. 
But all did not attempt to go. Some had presence of mind enough 
to know that if the report proved true, to scatter in this manner 
was but to exjiose themselves unprotected on the roads to almost 
certain death. Happily the alarm proved false. A long line of 
cattle, belonging to people who were leaving the country, going 
along on the high prairie, about three miles to the northeast, pre- 
sented the appearance to the excited imaginations of these people 
of a troop of advancing Indians. 

Quiet after a few hours was restored, and a considerable num- 
ber of those who had fled, after going a few miles, returned, but 
some went on their way. 

156 mSTonV OF 

Iq order to learn the slate of the country, there was about this 
time, August 23d, a small detachment of men sent west. Some going 
only as far as East Chain Lakes, in Martin county, but U. G. Davis 
and H. Chesley proceeded to Jackson, in Jackson county and finding 
that some of the settlers had just left, followed them in the direc- 
tion of Esiherville, Iowa, and overtook them. They were the last of 
the residents of that county, and had barely made their escape, with 
their lives. One of their company — a boy of ten years — had his el- 
bow cap shot off by the Indians. Some thirteen people had been 
killed in Jackson county by the savages. 

It was now determined to send the women and children who yet 
remained, to places of greater security in the eastern part of the 
State, and the greater part of them about Blue Earth City were started 
on the 26lh of August. It was indeed a sad time. Most of them 
wont without a cent of money. Few had as much as five dollars. 
They were going among strangers. When they should return, if 
ever, to their homes, or again see their husbands who remained 
to protect the country, their homes and their little accumulations 
of propert}', were questions which the future, which then looked 
gloomy enough, only could tell. In other parts of the county most 
of the women and children had previously left. In fact at this 
time almost all the residents on Coon Creek and the west branch 
of the Blue Earth and most of those west of the river had left, 
deserting everything. The region about Chain Lakes, in Martin 
county and the towns of Elmore, Pilot Grove. Jo Daviess and Ve- 
rona in this county, were wholly deserted, and the county east of the 
Blue Earth river was almost as nearly depopulated. Those who re- 
mained were along the line of the river, but mainly, at the villages 
of Blue Earth City and Winnebago City. 

"At Winnebago City on the 23d of August, a company was 
organized under command of Capt. H. W. HoUey, comprising fifty- 
nine members in all. Twenty of the members were mounted and 
were kept constantly on scouting duty west of the Blue Earth river, 
in the counties of Faribault. Martin and Watonwan. The other 
members of the company remained generally on picket duty in 
guarding the town and country in the immediate vicinity. The 
company made one expedition into Watonwan county, passing 
through Madelia and thence westwardly to the Little Cottonwood 
river. They also made, one expedition to Fir Lake on the border of 
Jackson county, and two expeditions to Chain Lakes in Martin 

The roster of the company was comprised of the following 

Officers: H. W. Holley, Captain; Jesse Dunham and John Al- 
len, Lieutenants; B. C. Hinkle. D. S. Law. George F. Cleveland and 


W. W. Seeley, Sergeants; B. E. Drake, P. Latimer, F. E. Shephard 
and D. Wier, Corporals. 

Privates: J. W. Anderson. P. F. Austin, L. Bartlett, W. H.' 
Budd. G. C. Burt, F. R. Bennett, F. W. Cady, F. Deudon, G. K. 
Cleveland, L. Christy, W. Clark, L. Dudley, F. J. Eddy, C B. Fobes, 
J. France, G. C. Goodnow, G. H. Goodnow, J. C. Goodnow, M. B. 
Haynes, T. Jenness, J. S. Latimer, A. Latimer, T. Lucas, A. D. Ma- 
son, B. M. Mason, J. McCauley, N. McCauley, A. Moore, D. H. 

Morse, G. K. Moulton, A. Norman, G. Nelson, Nelson, W. Ra- 

dou, E. Rhodes, F. E. Ross, J. Richardson, S. Richardson, G. C. 
Sherwin, H. C. Shoefelt, S. H. Shoefelt, E. Stevens, A. Taplin, J. 
Thayer, S. Waller, J. Washburn, J. C. Woodruff, J. H. Welch. 

During these exciting times, a question arose with the 
county officers, as to what should be done with the public records, 
then principally the auditor's and register's books, in the event of 
the certain advance of the Indians on thi.s locality. It was deter- 
mined that, instead of an attemjit to carry them out of the county, 
the best arrangement would be to bury them, and this was decided 
upon. It was concluded to provide a large, substantial box, bury 
it in the ground, on a certain hill side, and in this deposit the books 
and papers, and cover the box over with earth in such a way as to 
escape observation. The secret of the locality was to be confided 
only to a few certain individuals, largely interested in the safety of 
the books. But this act of prudence did not, as we shall see, be- 
come necessary. 

On the seventh of September, the Fillmore County Rangers, 
under command of Captain N. P. Colburn, arrived at Winnebago 
City, and by direction of Col. Flandrau, who had command of this 
portion of the State, established their headquarters at that point, 
after which the Winnebago City guards, under command of Captain 
Holley, believing their services no longer needed, disbanded. A 
strong stockade was erected at Winnebago City. 

Before the close of August, the erection of a large fort was 
commenced at Blue Earth City. This was a necessity, not only for 
better protection,but to restore confidence to the people many of those 
remaining, saying that they would leave unless this was done. The 
work was rapidly performed. The fort was eight rods square and 
built of sod and earth thrown up six feet high, and having a ditch 
all around three feet deep. On the top of the earthwork was a 
defence, three feet high, of two inch hardwood plank, spiked to up- 
right pieces, set strongly in the earthwork, both on the inside and 
outside. Port holes were cut through at short distances. At two 
corners of the fort were strong bastions, built of hewn logs, set close 
together on end, and having port holes from which the ditches, on 
two sides, could be raked. Houses were erected on the inside and a 


well duf,'. and all obstructions surrounding the fort, behind which 
an enemy could hide, were demolished. When this fort was com- 
pleted it was certainly a strong work, and it had the desired effect, 
with other things, in restoring some feeling of security and encour- 
aged quite a number to i-emain who would otherwise have left. 

And now, as a little episode, we must record the fact in the 
order of time, that amid all this turmoil, excitement and apprehended 
danger, politics were not neglected. 

On the :29th day of August, in pursuance of a previous call, the 
republican district convention met at Blue Earth City. It was but 
a small and thinly attended meeting, there being only a few dele- 
gates present from Blue Earth City and vicinity, and several from 
Winnebago City. D. G. Shillock, Esq., of Brown County, then dis- 
abled from a wound received in the defense of New Ulm against an 
attack by the Indians, was nominated for senator, and J. B. Wake- 
field, Esq., of Blue Earth City, was nominated for representative. 

But to resume the narrative. On or about the 30th of August a 
party of .some twenty men under command of H. J. Neal, proceeded 
one night to Center Chain lakes in Martin county to relieve a lone 
settler, who it was reported was besieged by Indians. The report 
proved untrue. 

At the close of August, the fort being nearly completed, and 
strong bodies of troops entering upon the frontier to the north and 
west of the county, and the confidence of the people in their secur- 
ity from attack, being now somewhat restored, it was thought expe- 
dient at a meeting held at Blue Earth City, to send a messenger in 
pursuit of the fugitives from this county, to try to induce them to 
return to their homes. .1. A. Kiester, of Blue Earth City, was dele- 
gated for this purpose, and being furnished with a "pass" from the 
.sheriff, which was then necessary, he soon started on his mission. He 
found the people scattered in many directions. Some were at Rice 
lake on their way out of the country. Others at Albert Lea, and 
along the road for eighteen miles east of that place. Some were at 
Geneva; others at Oak Glen and at Wasioja, Mantorville, Ovvatonna. 
Wilton and at intermediate points. Some were induced to I'eturu. 
others would hear to nothing, and either remained where they were, 
or pursued their way to Wisconsin or Iowa. 

Most of these refugees had a hard time of it, as they were com- 
pelled to subsist on the country through which thej" passed. Thej' 
had found many farms and houses deserted, and they helped them- 
selves to green corn, potatoes, chickens and other eatables, and 
stopped in the deserted houses at night. The people they met ap- 
preciated their condition and helped them all they could, and at the 
places where most of them concluded to stop to await events provi- 
ded kindly for them. 


Quite a large number of the fugitives, especially those from 
Blue Earth City and vicinity stopped at Wasioja, in Dodge county, 
where the good 'people provided a house for them and paid them 
every attention. The landlord of the place, Jacob Kelsey, a large- 
sized, generous, open-handed man, a man whose body had to be 
large to cover his great heart, supplied the wayfarers with many 
things for their comfort, and utterly refused to i-eceive pay when it 
was tendered him, saying that "what little he had was free at such 
times, even his whisky." In the meantime, under the call of the 
governor, a new cavalry company of forty-two members was formed 
at Blue Earth City. J. B. Wakefield was elected captain. 

"The company was organized on the 5th of Septembei-, and im- 
mediatly reported to Col. Plandrau and was by him ordered to re- 
main at Blue Earth City and to erect fortifications and adopt means 
for subsisting the men, during the term of service." 

The term of enlistment was thirty days and they were paid and 
furnished with arms and ammunition by the State. Martial law was 
declared and Henry J. Neal Avas appointed provost marshal. P. C. 
Seely, the sheriff of the county acted from the beginning of the ex- 
citement as chief of police in keeping order and enforcing regula- 
tions. The sheriff at that time, in view of the impending draft, was 
invested by law, with peculiar powers. No man was allowed to leave 
the county without a "pass" from him. Under the authority of the 
provost marshal, some thirty horses were "pressed" for the use of 
the company, forage supplied, considerable px'ovisions and other 
necessaries taken, during the thirty days, all of which was duly ap- 
praised and an account thereof kept. Saloons were closed by his 
authority and persons going out of the county with arms and am- 
munition, were stopped by the sheriff and required to deliver up their 
arms and ammunition, as they were needed here. 

"Under this organization daily communication was kept up by 
means of couriers, both with the colonel's headquarters at South 
Bend, and the Iowa forces located at Iowa Lake, near the southern 
boundary of the State." 

Guards were kept out during the day, eight and ten miles west 
of the Blue Earth river, and at night pickets were placed out around 
the village. Scouting parties of six to ten well-mounted men were 
sent to the west and northwest and it was their duty- to range the 
country and report any signs of Indians. 

Soon after the organization of the company another expedition 
of five or six well armed and well-mounted men, under Lieut. Davy 
scoured the country as far west as Estherville and Spirit Lake, in 
Iowa, at both of. which places they assisted the people, who yet 
remained there, in forming companies for home defense. In a few 
days this squad returned and reported the country, in Minnesota, 
through which they passed, deserted and silent. 

160 HISTOliY or 

The company at Blue Earth City, after doing good service in 
man}' ways, disbanded on the "ith day of October, tlie term of en- 
listment having expired. 


Officers— J B. Wakefield. Captain: P. B. Davy and O. G. Davis. 
Lieutenants: W. B. Silliman, H. P. Conslans. J. C. Howlaad and 
R. R. McCrary. Sergeants; A. Johnson, E. C Butler, C. S. Smith. 
H. Sellen. Corporals: E. M. Ellis. Quartermaster. 

Privates— L. Billings. W. Baldwin. D. E. Brunson. W. Dustin, 
I. Dane. H. Dane. K. R. Foster. R. W. Foster. W. C. Gillit. G. H. 
Rowland. W. Hill. A. C. Ingalls, H. Lutz. S. Leslie. S. Landis. S. T. 
McKnight, L S. Mead. R. Moore. W. C. Maynard. H. J. Neal. T. W. 
Newton. J. A. Rose. R. A. Ream. J. Richai'd, A. J. Rose. M. Sailor. 
.J. -M. Sailor. A. Sailor. J. Sailor. P. C. Seely.. 

"From the desposition now within the boundaries commanded 
by Colonel Fkindrau. they held the entire frontier from New Ulm 
down the Minnesota to South Bend and thence up the Blue Earth 
river to the Iowa line with two advanced posts on the Watonwan 
and at Lake Martin. No substantial change was made on this line 
during the period of active hostilities." In addition to these pre- 
cautions, scouting parties were patrolling the countrj' in all direc- 
tions and comparative security was again established. , Govern- 
ment troops, too. were soon on the frontier and advancing into the 
Indian country and the savages were driven far west, but of these 
military operations, we cannot write here, except to give the fol- 
lowing brief summary. As was stated above, the outbreak at the 
Sioux Agencies, began on the 18th of August. An attack was made 
by the savages on New Ulm. on the 19th. Oa the 20th they at- 
tacked and besieged Fort Ridgley and on the 25th they made a 
second attack on New Ulm. On the 30th they began the siege of 
Fort Abercrombie. The bloody affair at Birch Coolie, occurred on 
the 2d of September. On the 23d of September the battle of Wood 
Lake was fought and the savages defeated. Some of the Indains now 
began to ask terms of peace. About the 26th of September thej' sur- 
rendered many captives at Camp Release. Many Indians about this 
time surrendered themselves and others were brought in. while many 
others still hostile retreated to the west and north. Soon after a 
military commission was instituted which sat until about the 5th 
of November, before whom many of these wretches were tried for 
murder, rape and other crimes. Three hundred and twenty-one 
Indians and there allies, were found guilty, three hundred and 
three of whom were condemned to death, thirty-eight only however 
were finally executed, as will be seen hereafter. 


Most of the settlers of this county who had left, gradually re- 
turned to their homes, and business revived somewhat, and affairs 
settled down in their ordinary channels. But yet the people were 
timid, and the country full of rumors, and there were still prowling 
Indians on the frontier. 

Fortunately no attack was made on this county, no murders 
committed, and no property destroyed directly by the Indians, but 
the damage to the county, in consequence of the outbreak, was 
immense. A vast amount of property, because of neglect and 
abandonment, was lost and destroyed, immigration entii-ely stop- 
ped, improvements ended for the year, and years were required to 
regain the lost ground. 

We may conclude this reference to the great massacre by the 
remark that while no excuse is possible for this Indian outbreak 
and the diabolical outrages perpetrated by the savages, and while 
their atrocious deeds deserved immediate and certain death, very 
much on the same grounds that a ferocious wild beast should be 
exterminated, yet there were many who thought and some who said, 
that the coldblooded, calculating frauds, personal insults and the 
public and private wrongs constantly j^racticed upon this ignorant 
people for many years by some white men in the capacity of Indian 
agents, traders and their subordinates, would come as near an 
excuse as anything possibly could, and some even expressed the 
view that the excuse would have been sufficient if the retribution 
had fallen only upon those whose villanies. greed and lusts added a 
principal cause to others which already existed, for this uprising 
upon the jjart of the savages. 


The commissioners met on the second day of September, and 
after making several appointments immediately adjourned to the 
twenty- third, the record stating that "owing to the disturbed state 
of the country, occasioned by the the recent outbreak of the Sioux 
Indians and the general apprehensions of danger on the frontier, 
it was thought best to postpone the business before the board." On 
the twenty-third, they assembled again, and for the last time this 
year. They transacted a large amount of business, among which 
we find the issuing of the first bounty orders of twenty dollars each, 
to some thirty-six citizens who had just enlisted in Capt. Skaro's 
Company, of the Ninth Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers. 


Wm. Windom was the republican and Andrew G. Chatfield the 
democratic candidate for congi-ess in this, the First district, and we 
have alreadj' seen that the nominees for legislative honors were D. 
G. Shillock for the Senate and J. B. Wakefield for the House. 

162 HlSTOnV OF 

On the 23tl day of September, a Union Republican County Con- 
vention was held at Blue Earth City, when the following nomina- 
tions for county offices were made: 

For Auditor — A. Bonwell. 

Rejrister of Deeds — F. M. Pierce. 

County Surveyor — W. W. Seely. 

Judge of Probate — A. Preston. 

Coroner— David Pratt. 

Court Commissioner — Geo. D. McArthur. 

The Democratic party made no nominations for county offices. 
The election was held on the fourth day of November and the 
following was the result: For Senator. D. G. Shillockhad 260 votes, 
and for Representative. J. B. Wakefield 231. They had also a ma- 
jority throughout the legislative district, and were elected. 

For Auditor. A. Bonwell had 259 votes. For Register of Deeds, 
F. M. Pierce had 12-t votes and J. A. Kiester 136 votes. For Judge 
of Probate. A. Preston had 253, and for Surveyor. W. W. Seely had 
251 votes. George D. McArthur had 242 votes for Court Commis- 
sioner, and David Pratt 190, I. S. Mead 43, and S. Shroeder 13 
votes for Coroner, and E. M. Ellis was elected County Commissioner 
for district No. One. 


The year was one of very great activity in military and naval 
affairs in the United States. Many terriffic battles were fought, and 
the skirmishes and smaller conflicts were almost innumerable. The 
Union armies were attended with many victories, as well as with 
many strange and unaccountable reverses. The following is a par- 
tial summary of the principle battles and events of the year. 

January 2d, battle Port Royal Island, S. C. Jan. 8th. battle 
Silver Creek. Mo. Jan. lyth. battle Mill Springs, Ky. Feb 6th, 
Ft. Henry captured. Feb. 8th, great battle on Roanoke Island. Feb. 
16th, Ft. Donaldson taken. Feb. 19th, Jeff Davis and A. H. Stevens 
elected permanent president and vice-president of "'Confederate 
States." Feb. 23d, Nashville, Tenn.. occupied by Union forces. 
March 6-8th, battle of Pea Ridge, Ark. March 9th, great fight be- 
tween the iron clads Monitor and Merrimack. March 14th. battle 
of Newburn, N. C. March 23d, battle Winchester, Va. April 6-7th, 
battle Pittsburg landing. 11th, Ft. Pulaski taken. 16th. slav- 
ery abolished in District of Columbia bj' Congress. 25th, Com. 
Farragut captured New Orleans. May 5th, battle Williamsburg, 
Va. 24th. battle Bottoms Bridge. 25th, battle Winchester. Va. 
31st. battle Fair Oaks, Va. June 8th. battle Cross Keys. Va. ]4th, 
battle James Island, S. C. 19th, Congress prohibits slavery in the 
territories. 25th, battle Fair Oaks, Va. again. 26th, battle Mech- 


anicsville, Va. 28th, battle before Richmond. 30th, battles White 
Oak Swamp and Charles City Cross roads, Va. July 1st, battle 
Malvern Hill, Va. 18th, Southern raid into Indiana. Aug. 5th, bat- 
tle Baton Rouge. 9th, battle Cedar Mountain, Va. 28th, battle 
Centerville, Va. 29th. battle Groveton, Va. 30th, battle Richmond, 
Ky. 31st, battle Weldon, Va. Sept. 1st, three battles, Chantilla. 
Va. , Britton's Lane, Tenn . and Jackson, Tenn. 14th, battle South 
Mountain, Md. 16-17th, battle Antietam, Md. 20th, battle luka, Miss. 
22d, preliminary proclamation issued by President Lincoln in rela- 
tion to emancipation of slaves. Oct. 3d, battle Corinth, Miss. 8 9th, 
battle Perryville, Ky. loth, battle near Richmond, Ky. 19th, bat- 
tle near Gallatin, Tex. 22d, battle Maysville, Ark. Nov. 28th, bat- 
tle Cane Hill, Ark. Dec. 5th, battle Coffeeville, Miss. 7th, battle 
Prairie Grove, Ark. 13th, battle Fredericksburg, Va. 31st, battle 
Murfeesboro commenced. The several fights with the Indians, in 
our own State are mentioned elsewhere. 

The close of the year was signalized by the hanging on the 
twenty-sixth day of December, at Mankato, of thirty- eight (38) 
Indians and half breeds who had been engaged in the massacre 
of August, and had been tried by the commission and sentenced 
to death. 

Many of them were ]*eaders of the Indians in the massacre, and 
' all of them were proved guilty of crimes perpetrated during the 
outbreak too atrocious to name in a printed book or even speak of 
except in whispers. Their execution was approved by almost the 
universal judgment of the world. They were all hung upon the same 
immense scaffold at the same time. The drop was so arranged as 
to fall from iinder all of Jhem at the same instance. This was the 
most extensive execution of the kind known in history. 

Many of the citizens of this county were in attendance to see 
the infliction of this just puiiishment. 

The year was called the ''dark hour" of the rebellion. It was 
certainly the darkest and most memorable in the history of the 
State, characterized as it was by the slaughter of its citizens, in the 
most bloody massaci'e ever known. And it was a memorable year 
in the history of our county which had just recovered from years 
of discouragement, to be thrown back again to more years of ill- 
requited labor, and waiting for long deferred prosperity. 

"Peacel Shall the world outwearied ever see 
It« universal reign? * » * 
Will nations learn that love not enmity 
Is Heaven's first law?" 



A. D. 1863. 

O, such a day, 
So frought, so followed, and so fairly won, 
Came not, till now, to di^,'nify the times. 
Since Caesar's fortuuesl— S/taAcspedi-c. 

The winter of 1862-3 was very mild and pleasant. There was 
but little snow and but little very cold weather. It was, in fact, the 
most pleasant and genial winter yet known, since the settlement of 
the county, and somewhat more sickly than any preceding one. 
But it is not meant to assert by this statement, that there was no 
cold or stormj' weather whatever. The winter is sjioken of only 
generally and comparatively, the only manner, as a rule, in which 
we can speak of the weather conditions and seasons. 


In writing the history of a people, it is, of coui'&e, necessary 
that their manners and customs, their public, private and social ob- 
servances, their holidays and principal recreations, even the folk- 
lore of the country should be alluded to, in order to obtain a proper 
understanding of the times and the character of the people. These 
things have much to do with the makeup 'of life and have their in- 
fluence upon the people and times. Thej'^ are also matters of his- 
toric fact, which can no more be overlooked than any other import- 
ant fact and events of the times — they are a part of the history. 
Therefore it is, that frequent reference is made to the customs, the 
holiday observances and prevailing amusements, of the times of 
which we write. 


Hear the story of the bells. 
The New Year's bells! 
Hark how their music sways and swells 
From out the old lielfry, dark and hi^'h, 
Kow down through the valley, now up to the sky, 
Swinging and climbing, 
And ringing and chiming.— 3/r.s. Blim. 

The first day of .January, or New Years day, is a legal holiday 
in most of the States. The day has no special historical, and until 
lately, no political significance, like most other holidaj's. It is the 


day, however, that begins a new year, and we write a new date (and 
generally make a mistake about it too) and by common consent and 
immemorial usage, we observe the day as a holiday. 

During many centuries, there was no agreement among the vari- 
ous peoples of the earth, as to the day of the year, which should be 
the beginning of the new year. Among some of them the year com- 
menced about March 1st, with others about March 21st, March 22d, 
March 25th, April 1st, Easter day, June 22d, September 1st, Septem- 
ber 22d, December 22d, December 25th, and some at other dates, 
being governed mainly by the times of the vernal and autumnal 
equinoxes and the winter and summer solstices. In 1752, January 
1st, by act of the British Parliament, was established as the first day, 
or beginning of the year, and is now generally so considered among 
civilized nations. 

But for many centuries before the first day of January was 
established as the first day of the new year, it was celebrated re- 
ligiously as the octave of Christmas, and as the feast of the circum- 
cision of Christ. 

Although formerly differing as to the day on which the year 
should begin, it appears that all ancient and modern civilized peo- 
ples celebrate the event with certain special festivities. Among 
the Chinese the New Year's festival has, for centuries, been the 
greatest festival of the year. 

Of the social customs incident to this holiday it may be said that 
balls and parties are frequent, the closing up of business houses, 
the printer's devil's New Year's address, the gathering of neighbors 
to eat good dinners, and the giving and receiving New Year's gifts, 
which, by the way, is a very ancient custom, are common through- 
out the country. The custom of making social New Year's calls by 
the gentlemen, which seems to have originated in New York City 
in the times of the Dutch, now prevails in many parts of the coun- 
try, especially in the cities. In fact the New Year's day festivities 
are included in the period known as Christmas-tide, the holidays, 
and much the same observances which prevail on Christmas are had 
on New Year's day, the same jollity and geniality, and while on 
Christmas we hear the kindly greeting, "a merry Christmas," now 
on every hand we have the pleasant salutation, "a happy New 

Religious services on New Year's day are quite common, and a 
custom also obtains among some religious denomonations of hold- 
ing "watch meetings" during the preceding night, until after twelve 
o'clock, when the new year is ushered in. Prayers are offered to 
God for the blessings of the past, and his forgiveness implored for 
the sins, and follies, and shortcomings of the year gone, and His 
favor and guidance invoked for the year to come. 


Quite similar to that mentioned is the beautiful custom found in 
some localities of devout people gathering in the parish church, 
where solemn services and litanies are said aud as the hour ap- 
proaches twelve, the bell is solemnlj* tolled, announcing the dying 
year, and as the hands upon the dial pass the twelve the bell rings 
merrily, in. honor of the new year. 

"Ring happy bells across the snow, 
Rhig in the nolilcr niodi.'S of life, ' 
Ring out the old, ring in the new." 

And we should not forget here to name the fact that this day is 
also famous for new resolutions of amendment, reform, retrench- 
ment, and the like, which are usually broken before the first three 
months of the new year are out. But it is wise to make such reso- 
lutions and keep them. A noted author once wrote truly that "the 
person who arrives at a new year without any special stir of desire 
to be better, and to do better during its golden possibilities, is to be 
pitied. He has lost his enthusiasm, and the embers of his life's 
happiness are faded and wan." 

On the first day of January of this year — 1863 — President Lin- 
coln issued the great Proclamation of Emancipation of the slaves 
in the rebel states, and human chattel slavery was forever destroyed 
in this nation so far as law could then do it from that hour. 

This God-like act, in wisdom, power, justice antl mercj', set 
free forever four millions of human beings from the thraldom of 
the most odious slavery the world has ever seen, and this great 
deed will bear the name of Abraham Lincoln, as the Emancipator, 
to all future generations. 

The coloi-ed race in America can well, forever hereafter, cele- 
brate Nen' Year's Day as the greatest day — the fourth of July in 
the history of their race, and all our citizens may well observe it be- 
cause of this great act which delivered the land from this burden 
of national weakness and crime. 

New Year's Day has always been observed in this county, usu- 
ally according to the customs which prevailed in the New England 
and Middle States, but as a large proportion of the people are of 
foreign birth, the usuages and customs incident to this day, in the 
fatherland of these citizens, are also quite prevalent. 


On the sixth day of January the fifth Stale legislature assembled 
at the Capilol in St. Paul. The session, as usual, lasted sixty days. 

Our district was represented at this session by D. G. Siiillock, 
of Brown County, in the Senate, and Jas. B. "Wakefield, of this 
county, in the House. 


Our couuty was not needing much legislation at this time, as we 
find that the only acts having any exclusive reference to this county 
were "An act for the relief of school district No. 18," and "An Act 
fixing the time of holding courts in the various counties in the third, 
fifth and sixth judicial districts," which assigned the third Monday 
of May for the beginning of the term of our district court. 

Alexander Ramsey was elected United States Senator to suc- 
ceed Henry M. Rice. 


The commissioners met on the sixth day of Januajs^' and orgSna- 
ized, by electing J. H. Dunham, of Verona, chairman, for the year. 
The business done at this session is of no interest to the reader. 
They met again on the 23rd day of March, when in pursuance of the 
militia law, they proceeded to divide the county into six (6) militia 
districts, and the eleventh day of April was appointed as the day of 
election of company officers in each district. 

This was the first and last organization of the militia in this 
county, and it was but imperfectly done. A military spirit prevailed 
throughout the whole country, as may be naturally supposed, in 
view of the war, and it was thought best to encourage it and give 
an opportunity for local military organization and discipline, thus 
forming in this, as exists in many other countries, a body of 
reserves and hence the old militia system was reinstated. It 
was not a success. But few of the districts in this county or- 
ganized by the election of officers. The people, generally, did not 
have much faith in the system, and were much inclined to ridicule 
the whole thing, and after a few ragamuffin parades, with hoe 
handles, broom sticks, umbrellas and a few condemned guns for 
arms, the whole matter was abandoned as a farce, and as not likely 
to pi-oduce heroes, or even well-drilled soldiers. The State Militia 
is now named the National Guard. 


The spring of this year was very favorable to eai'ly seeding, 
and the weather was quite agreeable. Seeding commenced April 
1st. During the latter half of April and through May — a period of 
six to eight weeks,— there was no rain whatever in a large part of 
the county, yet the crops did not suffer materially, and both wheat 
and oats were more than average crops. 

In consequence of the war, dry goods and groceries, which had 
been for some time gradually advancing, reached in March of this 
year, a pretty high figure. Common cotton sheeting sold at fifty 
cents per yard. Calicoes from thirty-three to forty cents. Cotton 
shirting forty-five to sixty cents. Coffee forty to fifty cents per 


pound. Tea. the cheapest kind, about equal to dried prairie grass, 
one dollar and fifty cents per pound. Sugar sixteen to twenty five 
cents per pound. Almost everything bought in the stores averaged 
about equally high in price, and these high prices, with some fiuc- 
tuations, generally ascending Huctuations, continued several years. 

Our old settlers will remember, that those were the times of 
barley, chicory, carrot, wheat, rye and pea coffee, of pennyroyal 
and sage tea and no sugar in either. The people generally, with 
few exceptions indeed, in this section of country, used these arti- 
cles, for several years, during the war, as substitutes for the original 
articles. And it should be recorded too, that many a good housewife 
acquired great skill in the manufacture of these beverages, mak- 
ing them so nearly like the genuine, as to deceive "the very elect." 

But the people of the North were not quite so badly olT as their 
belligerent brethren in the South, and that was a great consolation. 
It appears about the 1st of April, the following prices were current 
at Richmond, Va.. within the rebel lines, butter §3.50 per lb., hams 
fl.45 per lb., candles 83.00 per lb., coffee §;4. 50 per lb., corn $7.50 
per bushel. So much for mere bread-stuffs and the like, but that 
article of prime necessity in that country — brandy, was ^24.00 per 
gallon ! 


In April, five or six persons were killed on the Watonwan river 
and several horses stolen by the Indians, creating considerable ex- 

During the summer Gen. Sibley, with about three thousand 
troops, made an expedition into the Indian country, driving the In- 
dians toward the upper Missouri. Gen. Sully, with an equal force, 
advanced into the region occupied by the Indians, by way of the Mis- 
souri river. A number of battles were fought, many Indians killed, 
and much of their property desti'oyed. These expeditions gave 
peace to the border settlements during this year. With the expedi- 
tion of Gen. Sibley, there were many soldiers who were residents of 
this county, in the regiment of Minn. Mounted Rangers. The com- 
pany of Capt. P. B. Davy, of Blue Earth City, composed largely of 
residents of this county, and the company of Capt. Austin, in which 
were quite a number of our citizens, were with the Sibley exjjedi- 
tion. There were also some others of our citizens in other com- 
panies. Among the events of the Indian campaign of this year, we 
note that, on the 3d day of July. Little Crow, the principal leader of 
the Indians in the great massacre, was killed. On the 24th of July 
the battle of Big Mound occurred, and on the 26th the battle of Dead 
Buffalo Lake. On the 2Sth of July the battle of Stoney Lake took 


In May of this year, James B. Wakefield, of this county, was 
appointed U. S. Provost Marshal of the district composed of this 
county and Martin, and held the office until August, 1864. The prin- 
cipal duties of the office were the enrollment and report of names of 
all persons liable to render military service, and the apprehension 
of deserters. 


The District Court commenced its annual session May 18th. The 
session lasted until Saturday evening following, being by far the 
longest term yet held in the county and although much business 
was done, there was none of special importance, or of public interest. 

Some attorney who reads the above item, may be hard up for an 
authority on some point and may thank the writer for the sugges- 
tion contained in the following anecdote taken from a newspaper. 

"Some years ago at the trial of a cause before a justice of the peace in one 
of the southern States, a decided novel legal authority was cited by one of the 
learned members of the bar, which wrought some slight confusion in the court- 

"The court will please observe," remarlced this acute counsel, with much de- 
liberation and in a most ponderous manner, "that in the case of Shylock vs. An- 
tonio, although judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff, yet circum- 
stances prevented the execution which had issued from being carried into effect, 
in spite of that fact." 

"To what case," inquired the justice, with a face overspread with perplex- 
ity, "did the court understand the gentleman to refer?" 

"Shylock vs. Antonio, 2d Shakespeare, page 235, Johnson's edition, "returned 
the counsel solemnly. "The court will there find the case reported in full." 



On the 28th day of May, the county board held a session, the 
business of which is noted elsewhere. On the 6th day of July, they 
again assembled and among other business, on reading a petition of 
certain soldiers who had enlisted in the Regiment of Minnesota Mount- 
ed Rangers for one year, the board directed that one-third of the 
county bounty paid to three year's men, (820.00) be allowed the peti- 
tioners, to-wit: the sumof §6.66s in county orders. The orders were 
then worth about fifty eight cents on the dollar. If three year's 
men were entitled to twenty dollars, there was no good reason why 
one year's men should not have one-third of that sum. The old 
soldiers still occasionally speak laughingly of this bounty. 


In a sketch of the county, published in 1868, we find the follow- 
ing statement in reference to this year: "1863. In this year immi- 
gration again flowed into the county, but still not to the ex- 
tent it would had there been no Indian troubles the preceding year. 

170 HISTORY (ti- 

lt is correctly estimated that the progress of settlement and im- 
provement was retarded at least two years, yet in this year some of 
the damage was repaired, confidence in the security of the county 
became restored, money became more plenty, the crops were a fair 
average and the prices good." 


The sixth day of August was set apart and designated by the 
President as a day of national thanksgiving to Almighty God, who 
holdeth in his hands the fate of nations, for the great victories 
which had lately attended the Union arms. 

Again in December, a day of public thanksgiving was appointed. 
Both of these occasions were generally observed in an appropriate 
manner in this county. 

"This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the 
hand that is stretched out upon all the nations." — Is. 14:2G. 


An important session of the Board of County Commissioners 
was held on the first day of September. District school examiners 
were appointed as follows: J. A. Kiester for first district, F. \V. 
Cady for second district and J. L. Weir for third district. 

But the most important part of their business related to the 
survey and appraisal of the school lands. Albin .Johnson and An- 
drew C. Dunn were appointed appraisers in behalf of the county, 
who were to act in this matter in conjunction with George D. Mc- 
Arthur appointed by the State, and in view of the survey of these 
lands, John A. Dean was appointed county surveyor. 

As a matter of historic interest a brief explanation of our school 
land system is proper here. 

The general government released to the State two sections of 
government lands in each township in the State, being sections six- 
teen and thirty-six, to be disposed of by the State to create a per- 
manent fund for the benefit of common schools. Under the school 
land system of the State, these lands, when timbered, in districts 
where timber is scarce, are surveyed by state authority, and sub- 
divided into two and a half, five and ten acre lots and blocks. The 
appraisers then fix a value per acre on each lot and block and also 
on each forty acre tract of prairie land. The lands are then of- 
fered for sale at public auction to the highest bidder at such times 
in each county as the commissioners of the State land office may fix, 
ample public notice having been first given. But no lands are sold 
below the appraised value. On timber lands where timber is valu- 
able, fifty to seventy-five per cent of the purchase money must be 
paid at the time of purchase, and the balance may run twenty years 


at seven per cent interest, payable annually. Prairie lands are sold 
on the same terms, except that but fifteen per cent, is required to 
be paid at the time of purchase. Only such proportion of the lands 
are sold as the commissioner may from time to time deem expe- 
dient. The original number of acres of school lands in this county 
alone was 25,196. 

From these sales the State has secured a magnificent school 
fund which is continually increasing, and which it is sincerely hoped 
may never be squandered. 


The fair of the Agricultural Society was held at Blue Earth City 
on the seventh and eighth days of October. Daniel Birdsall, Esq., 
delivered the annual address. 


On the 22nd day of October, a Frenchman named Crapau, was 
shot at Walnut Lake, in this county, by a neighbor named Merry. 
Crapau died instantly. The affair was caused by an old dispute 
about a land claim. Merry surrendered himself to the officers of the 
law, and on an examination before a Justice of the Peace, he was 
discharged, it appearing, as was alleged, that he was justified in 
the killing, because necessary to save his own life. But after all it 
was not a very neighborly, and certainly not a very merry act. 


On the 31st day of October appeared the first member of the 
"Whig of 76," issued at Winnebago City, by Carr Huntington, 
editor and proprietor. It was a small, six column, four page sheet, 
very neatly printed. This was the first paper published at Winne- 
bago City. The editor says in his opening editorial, "Among other 
duties we should like to be able to show to the people of other sec- 
tions the advantages which lie neglected in the beautiful prairies by 
which we are surrounded, fairer, richer, than the sun shines on 
elsewhere. Faribault as an agricultural county, is capable of mak- 
ing rich a hundred thousand inhabitants, and of exporting ten million 
bushels of wheat annually, to be raised on a surface of twenty towns, 
six miles square each. The people to that number ought to be 
here. As soon as they arrive, the acres will be given them for a 
perpetual inheritance." The paper was union republican in politics. 

It is claimed that the first newspaper published in America and 
which was printed on the first press in America, was a paper named 
the Freeman's Oath, published at Cambridge, Mass., in 1639. A 
paper was issued at Boston, Mass., Septmber 25th, 1690. It was de- 
signed to be a monthly, but it was immediately suppressed. But 
one copy of it now remains in existence. The News Letter, published 


in Boston in 1704, is sometimes, though erroneously, deemed the 
first American newspaper. It was eight by twelve inches in size. 
In the first half of the eighteenth century quite a number of news- 
papers were established, being located mainly in the large cities. 
Their price was high and circulation limited, and they wei-e but 
sorry sheets in comparison with the great papers of the present 

"There are eight newspapers in the United States which claim to be over 
one hundred years old. The names of the papers and the dates when they are 
said to liave been established, are as follows: Annapolis (Md.) Gazelle, 1745; 
Portsmouth (N. II.) Gazette, 1756: Newport (R. I.) Mercury, 1758; New London 
(Conn.) Gazette, 1753: Hartford (Conn.) Coxnoit, 1764; New Haven (Conn.) /'(Koki!, 
1767; Salem (Mass) Gazette, 1768; Worcester (Mass.) Spij, 1770." 

There are now — 1881, published in the United States, about nine 
hundred daily papers, and the triweekly, semi weekly and weekly 
papers aggregate eight thousand five hundred, with a circulation of 
fourteen millions and there are eight hundred monthlies with a cir- 
culation of four millions. The circulation of some of these papers 
is very great, running from thirty thousand, to two hundred thous- 
and copies. The circulation of ordinary country papers was all the 
way from one hundred and fifty copies into one and two thousand. 

The circulation of the New York Ledger, has at times exceeded 
four hundred thousand copies. Some years ago a weeklj; paper was 
started in New York named the "Advocate." which was reported to 
have reached a circulation of over six hundred thousand, the great- 
est ever known up to this time. It ceased for some reason to be is- 
sued after an existence of a couple of years. 

The first Minnesota newspaper, was the "Minnesota Register,"' 
and bears date St. Paul, April 27th, 1849, but it was printed at Cin- 
cinnati, Ohio. The first newspaper printed in Minnesota, was the 
'•Minnesota Pioneer," issued at St. Paul, April 28th, 1849, There now 
is scarcely a county in the State, in which there is not at least one 
paper published, and many have more. The average country papers 
of this State, are well gotten up, of good size and fairly edited, and 
hold a very respectable rank in the tone of their morality and intel- 
ligence, while we have several great newspapers in the State which 
may take rank with the best metropolitan journals and of which the 
people are, or should be, quite proud. 

We have already seen that the first paper published in this 
county, was the Blue Earth City Xews, the first number of which 
was dated April Gth, 1861. 

For several years there was but one paper in the county, but 
for the last few years there have been four, and at one time as many 
as seven papers published in the county. 


Many changes have occurred in the newspaper press of this 
county since the publication of the first paper, all of which are care- 
fully noted in the various years of this volume to the close of 1879. 
Our papers have in the main, always been equal to the best average 
of county newspapers. It is a fact worthy of record, that our county 
has supported a larger number of papers, in proportion to its popu- 
lation, than perhaps any other county in the State. The people of 
the county have always been a newspaper reading people. Many 
of them take all the papers published in the county, besides outside 
papers. All of the great leading journals are taken, and many of 
the leading monthlies and quarterlies, even the most costly of them, 
are patronized by the people. 

For many years, all of our local papers have been printed on 
the auxiliary plan, that is, one side of them, containing general 
news and other matter is printed at the large offices of some of the 
cities, and the other side containing the local news, editorials and 
advertisements, is printed at the office of issue. This method, now 
almost universally adopted throughout the country, has many ad- 
vantages. It enables the proprietor to publish a paper more easily 
and cheaply, and make a better paper, as the general news and se- 
lections are made by more skillful hands, as a rule, and from a greater 
range of exchanges, and this work being off the editor's hands, he 
has more time to devote to local matters. However, all the advan- 
tages are not with this system. 

And now speaking of newspapers generally, we find that as to 
form, style and size, they vary greatly. The great majority are four 
Ijages, the next in order are the eight page papers and there are 
some of sixteen pages and even some, properly called newspapers, 
of thirty- two pages, and some of the large sheets are ten columns 
in width. Our papers cover also a wide range in character and 
ability, from the Snakefang Gazette and the vile HeWs Messenger to 
the Public Ledger, (Penn.) and the great religious weeklies. The 
great majority of newspapers in this country are published in the 
English language, but there are papers published in many other 
languages, as the German, French, Spanish, Norwegian, etc. It is 
a great and beneficial feature, that a great number of the news- 
papers published are devoted to specialties, to science, art, occupa- 
tions, classes of society, associations, religious denominations, 
politics, commerce. Thus the man of science, every profession, the 
mechanic, the merchant, the agriculturist and others have each 
a pajier devoted to his particuliar interests and views, besides the 
journals, which treat of matters in general. 

One of the causes which contribute to the public influence of 
newspapers is a sort of anonymity, impersonality and know every- 
thing character, which attaches to them. This quality is something 

174 HISTOllY or 

separate from, or independent of. the personality of the editor. 
The expression, "the paper says so"' goes a great ways with many 
people. Yet the editor himself, may be a very ninny, or a chump, 
or worse, and even the editorials may be largely "scissored" from 
other papers. There are newspapers, the editorial columns of which 
are largely edited by the shears. 

The newspaper is a necessity. Let any one consider for a mo- 
ment the condition of things should all the papers, suddenly and at 
once, cease to be published. 

The newspaper is one of the great institutions of America, and 
the Americans are the greatest newspaper readers in the world, 
and the result is. they are the best informed people in the world, as 
to general topics and current events. 

The newspaper is one of the most powerful educators of the 
intelligence and conscience of the people, and exercises an influence 
on the every- day life, the deeds and destiny of the people of the 
gravest importance. While the school teacher instructs a few dozens, 
or hundreds, and the preacher reaches his congregation, the editor 
speaks to many hundreds, often many thousands. Napoleon said, 
"A journalist is a regent of sovereigns, a tutor of nations. For 
hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets." 

"Newspapers," said H. W. Beecher, "are the school mastei-s of 
the common people — a greater treasure to them than ^uncounted 
millions of gold." 

Wendell Phillips wrote. "What gunpowder did for wars, the 
pi'inting pi'ess has done for the mind; the statesman is no longer 
clad in the steel of special education, but every reading man is his 
judge." The famous Junius says. "Let it be impi'essed upon your 
minds, let it be instilled into your children, that the liberty of the 
pi-ess is the palladium of all the civil, political and religious rights." 
And it has long been a proverb that, "A free press is the stoutest 
bulwark of our liberties." 

The press is not only potent to instruct and lead to right action, 
but it is also powerful in deterring from and suppressing crime and 

The business of Journalism has become a learned and honorable, 
almost a peerless profession, and the responsibility to the public, of 
those from the highest to the lowest, who are engaged in it. is 
very great. The position of the editor of even a country paper, who 
realizes his duty and i-esponsibilities to himself and the community. 
and seeks to i>erform them, in a high minded and honorable manner, 
is a most honorable and important position and such an editor is 
usually respected as one of the first men of the locality. 

A good local newspaper, one which is conducted on correct prin- 
cipals, by an independent, a consciencious and able man. is an ines- 


timable benefit to any community. There is hardly any one thing, 
which can effect so much, in moulding and directing public opinion, 
advancing the material prosperity and raising the moral and intel- 
lectual condition of a locality as this. But on the other hand no 
greater calamity can happen to a locality, than that of having pub- 
lished in its midst a newspaperreflectingthe qualifications of a nar- 
row-minded, self -suflicient, or conceited individual, who supposes him- 
self to be "the all in all" of the community, or one who is so weak, 
or so depraved, or both, as from week to week to criticise, decry, or 
misrepresent every moral movement and public enterprise, which 
does not square with his notions, or of which he is not placed at 
the head; or a paper which is a perpetual dispenser of "taffy" and 
fulsome adulation for the purpose of keeping friends; or the friend 
of the vicious elements and the ready apologist of crimes and dis- 
order; or the mouth piece of defamation and blackmail and a manace 
to the good name or reputation of every person in the community, 
who will not bend the knee, or pay the price of immunity from ridi- 
cule or libel; or a paper that is purchasable and ready and anxious 
to sell its support for a price, to any man or cause; or one which is 
pleased to pander to the curiosity of the vulgar, or is the tool of 
small beer politicians and self-seekers, who, for a consideration, may 
write their own puffs. From all such, or any combination therof, 
good Lord deliver us. 

There are such papers and probably always will be. They are 
like a cancer on the public body, and unless soon cut out, corrupt 
and destroy the whole community. 

The way to have an able and high-toned press, is to demand 
such, and patronize only such, and the way to get rid of the other 
sort, is to stick the pajier in the fire, pay the editor what is due him, 
if anything, and stop your patronage. 

It is a grateful task to record the fact, that with but a few ex- 
ceptions, the publishers of newspapers in this county, whatever the 
private character or conduct of anyone may have been, seemed to 
realize their obligations to the community, and if not active in every 
good work, isromoting intelligence and morality, have done nothing 
to hinder their progress. 

Among the many varieties of newspapers, there is a class 
which no man should ever read himself, or permit in his family, if 
he has one. 

They are those illustrated journals, of the deeds of darkness 
current in the land, which relate in detail, the shames and crimes of 
greed and hate and lust, illustrating them with all their horrors and 
vulgar features. They not only familiarize the mind with crimes of 
every name, but teach their methods of procedure. Their influ- 
ence is pernicious. They are Satan's open letters to the people, as the 


dime novels are his text books. No man wlio regards the welfare 
of the young, or the purity of his family, will permit them in his 
house. No one would want the company of the criminals and prof- 
ligates themselves, why then the pictures and stories of their devilish 
deeds. We get enough of them for the information of the people in 
the ordinary newspapers. It is indeed true in a very great measure, 
that what we read shapes our lives. No man in this enlightened 
age, can afford to be without at least one good paper. No one can 
afford to raise his children without the current information, given 
by newspapers, and the paper should be read by every member of 
the family, old enough to read. A home is not much of a home 
without a good newspaper, and every family which respects itself, 
will have its paper. Every man should take his home paper to 
learn the local news, and he should take a leading city journal 
of his State, and he should have a paper devoted to his special busi- 
ness, and he should get one of his church papers, and then to 
complete the list, if he has a family of children, he should get a 
child's paper for the little folks. All these papers together and all 
of the best quality, need not cost to exceed six or eight dollars per 
annum. As a linancial question it is the best little investment 
a man can- make, to say nothing of the greater benefits derived 
in the waj' of general information, correct principle and improve- 
ment of manners. There is much that can be said on, this splen- 
did subject of newspapers, but we close these observations by the 
statement that, the work of publishing a newspaper is a business 
transaction. But few papers are published wholly as matters of 

Papers cannot live without support, and they ai'e generally good 
and useful, in proportion to the liberality of their support. A paper 
too, is generally a fair index of the enterprise and intelligence and 
moral sentiment of the community where iiublished. 

Every man should not only take at least his local paper and pay 
for it, but if he does any business that is respectable and worth do- 
ing, he should advertise and pay for that. If he wants patronage, 
people must know where he is, what he does or has to offer, and if 
he advertises, the paper tells these things to hundreds, perhaps 
thousands while he works, or eats or sleeps. It is a fact generally 
true, that the man who advertises is the man who does the business. 
It may be observed that the business of publishing a newspaper, ex- 
cept in the case of a few of the great city journals, is not a very 
money-making business. Many papers started in good faith, and 
capable of doing much good, fail every year. There is much truth 
couched in the following lines penned by a once famous Minnesota 



editor who had started many papers which failed to live. He 

sadly wrote: 

"Man's a vapor 
Full of woes, 
Starts a paper, 
Up he goes." 


The candidates for governor this fall were Stephen Miller, re- 
publican and H. R. Wells, democrat. 

The Republican District Convention was held at Blue Earth 
City October 22d, and nominated J. A. Latimer, of Winnebago City, 
for Representative. 

The Union Republican County Convention was also held at Blue 
Earth City and W. J. C. Robertson, of Verona, was nominated for 
sheriff; Wm. Dustin, of Blue Earth City, for treasurer; Andi-ew C. 
Dunn, of Winnebago City, for county attorney; D. Birdsall, of Pres- 
cott, for county surveyor; Amos Preston, of Elmora, for court com- 
missioner and Wm. A. Way, for coroner. 

The Democratic party made no nominations for legislative or 
county offices . 

The election occurred on the third day of November. The vote 
was exceedingly light and the Republican candidates were all 

The following was the official canvass of votes : 

Prescott • 


Elmore and Campbell 

Winnebago City 

Lura, Marples and Dunbar 

Brush Creek and Foster 

Barber, Walnut Lake and Cobb 
Blue Earth City and Emerald. . 

Seely and Keister 





































































































267 . 



Note — It appears that there was no election held in Pilot Grove 
and Jo Daviess. 

Allen Shultis and Wm. M. Scott were elected county commis- 

The prices of farm products late in December ruled as follows: 
Wheat, 60 to 95 cents per bushel; oats, 45 to 50 cents; barley, 75 
cents; corn, 50 cents; potatoes, 30 cents; onions, $1.50; beans, $1.50; 

178 HISTORY <>F 

butter. 15 cents; fresh pork. 4 J; fresh beef, 3A; eggs, 15 cents per 


Another call having been made on the 17th of October for three 
hundred thousand men and a draft having been ordered to take place 
on the 5th day of January. 18G4. the commissioners met in special 
session December 11th, to consider the situation. They appointed 
Andrew C. Dunn as the special agent of the county, to proceed to 
St. Paul to get the returns of recruits enlisted from this county in 
the United States service corrected, so as to give this county and each 
town thereof, the proper credit for all recruits furnished since the 
beginning of the war. Then to encourage enlistments, and thus pre- 
vent drafting as much as possible, the following resolution was 

"Resolved that the sum of fifty dollars as a bounty to each volunteer or re- 
cruit, in each township in this county, who shall, subseiiuent to the recent call 
for the three hundred thousand iiieD, and prior to .January ."nh, next, be mus- 
tered into the military service of the United States." 


One may easily realize the conditions here and the life and 
interests of the people during the spring, summer and fall of this 

Extremely drj' weather prevailed for months. TheVe was great 
heat in the summer and the dust was deep on all the roads and great 
clouds of dust filled the air when the winds blew or when teams or 
droves of stock passed along the highways or the public streets. 

The lakes and streams were nearly dry and the pastures nearly, 
or quite, dried out and dead. The subjects that engaged the atten- 
tion of every one. at home or abroad, in the fields, or in the work- 
shops, or in public assemblies, were the impending draft, the battles 
fought and the great victories won on land and sea. and the losses in 
killed or wounded. And there was great rejoicing over the successes, 
and great sori'owing as well, sometimes bitter indignation at the 
losses and failures. And there was much activity in recruiting, en- 
listing and mustering into the service throughout the country. And 
during all this time money was scarce and dry goods and groceries 
so high-priced that nothing was bought by the people that could be 
dispensed with. Old clothing was long worn, often made over, and 
the people tried to live as much within themselves as possible. They 
practiced the most rigid economy. During these times, too, the peo- 
ple were bearing a special burden of anxiety about those at the front, 
in the far south and on the Indian frontier in the northwest, and about 
the outcome of the war. There were then but two villages and but 
few post-offices, no railroads and no telegraphs in the county. The 


mails were carried by stages. The principal mails came from Man- 
kato. The post-offices in the villages especially, were thronged 
with people when the mails arrived, all eager for letters and papers. 
Women and children often came long distances on horseback or ou 
foot in haste to get their mails. How eagerly the papers were un- 
folded and the news of the great battles, and especially the list of 
the wounded and killed, were read to the groups of hearers. And 
the letters, how quickly they were torn open and their contents 
scanned, sometimes bringing good news, while others and not a few, 
told the sad stories of terrible wounds received, or the death of 
father, son, brother or friend, met bravely on the hard-fought field, 
and the moan of, deep anguish was heard from the heart of the 
stricken reader. And such sad scenes were not seldom. God for- 
bid that we shall ever see them again. Yet for all the unfavorable 
conditions under which the people suffered, the sentiment of all still 
was, "On to the front,'" "Down with the merciless savage, down with 
the accursed rebellion. " 


This year was one of great national events — of even greater ac- 
tivity than the preceding year in military affairs, on land and sea. 
Many great victories crowned the Union arms. 

We can mention but a few of the more important events of the 

The Emancipation Proclamation issued January 1st, has al- 
ready been referred to. January 17th the government issued 
f 100,000.000 in notes, to pay the army. March 3d. congress author- 
ized the borrowing of $900,000,000, on the credit of the government, 
and the issue of $50,000,000, in fractional currency. 

Daring the month of April no less than eighty-five battles, skir- 
mishes and attacks took place, on land and water. May 1st, battle 
of Port Gibson and battle of Chancellorsville begun. May 16th, battle 
of Baker's Creek, Miss. June 15th, the President called for 120.000 
militia to repel Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania. June 18th, 100.000 
Confederates entered Pennsylvania near Cliambersburg. The 
first days of July formed the crisis of the war. On the 1st, 
2d and 8d of July occurred the great battle of Gettysburg, Pa., 
which was one of the greatest of the civil war. July 4th, Vicks- 
burg, Miss., surrendered with 31,000 men, 220 guns and 70,000 
small arms. July 8th, Port Hudson sun'endered. July 13th, 
great riot in New York City, lasting several days, during which 
the colored orphan asylum was burned, negroes hung in the streets 
and houses robbed and burned by the rioters. The riot was quelled 
by government troops. Aug. 1st, two cavalry fights in Virginia. 
Aug. 20th. Lawrence, Kan., attacked and destroyed by the guerillas. 


Sept. 19 20Ui, battle of Chickamauga. Oct. 14th, battle Bristoe 
Station, Va. Oct. 31st, battle Shell Mound. Nov. 23d, great battles 
of Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain, lasting three days. 


The last day of this year was one of the most terrible ever known 
in this region. A great tempest of wind with intense cold prevailed 
on the last day of the year and for several days of the next year, 
over the whole country. Even in southern latitudes the cold was 
very severe. At St. Louis, Mo., and Louisville, Ky., the mercury 
sank to 24° below zero. In this county the wind blew a hurricane 
all day, the thermometer standing at 30" to 34° below zero. The air 
was tilled with fine particles of ice so thickly and was driven with 
such velocity that objects ten feet distant could not be seen, and it 
was almost impossible to face the wind. Night fell upon the earth, 
the storm unabated and thus closed the year 1863. 

"T'is donel Dread winter spreads his latest glooms, 
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquered year. 
» * * Horror wide extends 
His desolate domain."'— T/tonwon. 



A. D. 186i. 

The great storm and intense cold, with wliich the preceding 
year closed, continued during the first day of this year and for sev- 
eral days after, but were less severe than on the first day. We find 
the following notice of the storm in the Wliici of January 6th : 

"A storm of more than usual severity passed over this region last weelc. 
People who have been raised in this climate say they have never seen anything 
to equal the fierce blasts, wind, frost and snow combined. On Wednesday the 
wind blew fierce gales from the northwest, the air being filled with falling and 
drifting snow, increasing the terrors of the scene during the night. On Thurs- 
day and the night following, until about midnight, the storm had been rallying 
to its climax, and then gradually subsided, but on Friday morning the degree 
of cold was marked by the thermometer at 33° below zero. 

The soldiers of the expedition to Sioux City arrived in the neighborhood on 
the return in time to secure quarters at Fairmont and this place. They had 
suffered on their way out during a severe storm, and a young man named James 
Huntington, son of Col. Hallam Huntington, of this town, had a foot badly 
frozen, and was left at Sioux City. 

Twenty-three others of the party are said to have been disabled from the 
same cause. As yet we have no names. 

The weather of the past week surpasses the experience of the 'oldest in- 
habitant.' " 

It was estimated at the time that about three thousand dollars 
worth of stock, principally cattle and sheep, perished in this storm, 
in this county alone. Many people were more or less frozen and 
some were frozen to death in the counties west of this. The weather 
continued cold and rather stormy and wet, with some short excep- 
tions, in February and March, until the middle of April. Some 
wheat was sown about the twenty-fifth of March, but the greater 
part of it was sown during the third and fourth weeks of April, yet 
the weather even then was quite cold and blustery. It cleared up 
about the last day of the month, and became very warm and dry 
until the twenty-second day of May, when a terrific storm of wind, 
rain and hail prevailed over a large part of the county. During the 
remainder of the year, until late in December, when the winter 
began, the weather was very agreeable. This may be designated 
as another dry year. 


Among the events which confront us at the opening of the year 
was the meeting of the county board, which occurred January 5th 


Thomas Blair was elected chairman for the year. The board met 
again Januai-y 27th, February 10th, May 27ih and July 8th. But 
little was done at these meetings worthy of note, and that little is 
mentioned elsewhere in this work. Several meetings were held 
later in the year which will be noticed hereafter. 


The sixth legislature met January 5th and adjourned March 
4th. The legislature of the preceding year almost ignored this 
county, and that of 1804, did it quite, as no act whatever, was passed, 
having any particular relation to this county. Happy county! How- 
ever, there was some talk about this time, of an effort being made 
to change certain of the bouudarj' lines of the county, but it came 
to naught. D. G. Shillock, in the Senate and J. A. Latimer in the 
House, were our representatives in the legislature of 1864. An- 
drew C. Dunn, of this county, was chief clerk of the House of 


On the 1st day of February, the President ordered a draft of 
five hundred thousand men, and on the 15th of March he called for 
two hundred thousand more, which made the business of recruiting 
in this county, as elsewhere, quite lively, and almost monopolized the 
public attention. In the Whif) of March 23d, we find tlw following 
table showing the quotas of men required up to that time to be furn- 
ished by the several town districts in this county, and the number 
credited to each. It is of interest at this late day, but was of more 
interest at that time. 

Quota. Credits. 

Blue Earth City 42 6e 

Brush Creek 11 10 

Elmore 12 16 

Guthrie, (Dalavan) 15 17 

Marplt'ss, (Minnesota Lake) 14 6 

Pilot Grove VZ 13 

Prescott 12 24 

Seely 3 3 

Verona 2S 27 

WalnutLake 12 II 

Win neliagd Ci ty 37 53 

198 246 

It will be observed that while several town districts only wei'e 
slightly in arrears, yet the county, as a whole, was much ahead of 
the requisitions. 


St. Valentine's Day is one of the important days of the year with 
the young folks in many countries, and has always been remembered 


by them, and its curious custom of sending valentines observed to a 
greater or lesser extent every year in this county, and the day, 
therefore, demands, of course, a passing notice. 

St. Valentine was a Roman martyr, who was beheaded in the 
year 270, at Rome, in the reign of the Pagan Emperor Claudius I. 
He was a man of great ability, a christian, and famous for his love 
of his fellow-man, and his unbounded charity for all. 

Some writers say he was a bishop, others that he was but a pres- 
byter or priest. He was early canonized, and ever since, the four- 
teenth day of February has been known, in the church calendar, as 
St. Valentine's Day. But the peculiar customs incident to this day, 
had their origin long before St. Valentine lived, and can be traced 
back among the Romans to a period two thousand years ago. There 
existed among the Romans at that time, the pagan festival of the 
Lupercalia, which was held in February, and about the time when 
birds in that country were choosing their mates. It was the custom 
at the time of the festival and a ceremony in the worship of Juno, a 
heathen goddess, to place the names of young women in a box, when 
after being well shaken, they were drawn out at random by the young 
men, and the one whose name was drawn, was, as we should now say, 
the valentine of the drawer for one year. 

Later, during the times of the early church, the pastors finding 
this heathen custom so deeply rooted that it could not be eradicated, 
changed its form somewhat and connected it with the observances of 
St. Valentine's Day. Further changes followed in the course of 
years, until the sending of written or printed missives, called valen- 
tines, as we now have them, came in vogue, and has continued during 
a long course of years. The writer is indebted to various authori- 
ties for the historical facts above set forth. These missives were de- 
signed originally to be short messages of love, f rendship, tokens of 
regard, and are generally anonymous — the sender being unknown — 
and they are sent by the young women as well as by the young men. 
A poet writes: 

•'Girls should be modest they say; 
Still, on St. Valentine's Day 
I suppose a young maid may 

Offer a tiny bouquet 
And not wander far estray 
From perfection. 

"Only a leaf and a pink, 

Surely at that one may wink, 
I am still safe on the brink, 

Since I have not said, I think, 
That you are yourself the pink 
Of perfection." 


But at this day valentines are often sent and received by the 
older folks as well as by the young. 

Many years ago, in England, a custom connected with this day 
prevailed extensively, and for a long time, and which may be related 
here for the amusement of the young folks. According to this prac- 
tice each maiden was to regard as her valentine the first lad on whom 
her eyes rested on St. Valentine's Day. Hence on that day the boys 
were up early and dressed out in their very best clothes and went to 
call at the residence of the girl whom they wished to be their valen- 
tine, and many cunning devices were used by the young people to see 
or be seen by the right person first, the girls trying to avoid being 
seen by any other but the young man of her choice, and he using 
his best skill in trying to be seen by the young lady of his choice 
first, and by no one else until after this momentous question was 
determined, and a great deal of innocent sport was the result of all 
this maneuvering. 

The missives now called valentines are usually made of small 
sheets of paper, in various styles, sometimes in the form of cards, 
letters, pictures, boxes, and contain verses, printed or written, with 
portraits and pictures of vai'ious objects, usually flowers, caricatures 
and the like. Some are made up in silk or satin in various shapes. 
Very costly valentines are to be had in the cities, ranging in price 
from ten dollars to one hundred dollars. They are jnade in all 
grades, down to the penny daub. The shop windows in the smaller 
towns are usually full of the cheaper kinds for a week or two before 
St. Valentine's Day and attract a good deal of attention. Some are 
sentimental, some comic and occasionally some are even vulgar. 
Valentines are usually sent, dulj^ enveloped, postage prepaid, through 
the post-offices, and for a week or two before and after St. Valentine's 
Day, the post-offices are overloaded with this kind of matter, to be 
sent in every direction. 

And when these little missives are sent and i-eceived, and are 
of a proper character, much pleasure is enjoyed by those who take 
an interest in them. 

But sometimes this custom, like many others, is abused, and ill- 
conditioned, vulgar or malicious.people make use of it to injure the 
feelings of others, or bring them into ridicule. Comic valentines 
are perhaps more used at this day than any others, and create much 
sport when no malice is involved. 

Valentines are used sometimes to remind peojile of various 
things, and sometimes with not much propriety, yet occasionally with 
some benefit. For instance, an individual whom fortune has favored, 
may perhaps be disposed to "put on airs" and make himself very 
disagreeable to his neighbors, and someone who thinks he should 
be rebuked by being reminded of something, but does not wish to 


say to him that his father was a city collector— that is, a collector of 
soap grease— sends him an anonymous valentine containing, perhaps, 
some suitable verse and a highly colored portrait of an old man 
■with his greasy cart and barrels and scare crow of a horse. Spil- 
kins may know that old Soaker is an arrant drunkard, but don't 
wish to say so to his back, so he sends him a valentine representing 
a man with an enormous and very red nose and an empty whisky 
jug. Such valentines usually do much more harm than good and 
should not be indulged in. 

Used as an amusement, or for purposes of friendship or affec- 
tion, and within the bounds, always, of propriety, these customs of 
St. Valentine's Day may be made a source of benefit and of much 
innocent pleasure, and may certainly be commended. But on the 
other hand, any one should be severely censured, who should so far 
degrade himself as to be guilty of wounding the sensibilities of 
others, making sport of their misfortunes, or gratifying his malice 
at their expense 


About the ninth of March, J. L. Christie, formerly of the Minne- 
sotian, at Blue Earth City, purchased the Whic/ at Winnebago City. 
Mr. Christie, in his first issue, very wisely says, among other things, 
that '"A paper, properly conducted, can do much toward attracting 
immigration, and no pains will be spared to make the paper what it 
should be in this respect. The editorial department will be under 
the charge of H. W. HoUey." 

On the 29th of the same month, the first number of the Blue 
Earth City Advocate was issued at Blue Earth City, by Carr Hunt- 
ington, editor. It was a six column, four page sheet, and made a 
very creditable appearance — motto "Freedom (?) and Union now 
and forever." 

The editor says: ''The paper will stand square for the Union, and 
the men in every capacity who are engaged in the work of its preservation." 

In April, the name of the paper — the Whigot'lQ — at Winnebago 
City, was dropped, and the paper appeared under the very — proper 


The former editorial management continued. Of the new name 
the editor writes: "Located as we are in the very midst of free 
homesteads, which the government has given, or will give for the 
asking to the actual settler, it seems to us appropriate to identify 
our paper in name with these homesteads, as we intend it shall al- 
ways be identified with them in interest." Having now got our 
county papers — now two of them — squarely before the public and at 
work, as they remained for several years, we shall pass to other 

186 nisToiiY or 


In writing this sub heading immediately after the remarks on 
newspapers, tliere is no implied design of continuing our observa- 
tions on that subject, but to state that in the early part of the year 
an enterprise was inaugurated at Blue Earth City, looking to the 
erection of a grist mill at that place. At that time there was but 
one grist mill in the county, and that but a small one, located at 
Winnebago City, and the majority of those who desired milling 
done carried their grists twenty, thirty and even forty miles to mill. 
This was a great inconvenience and quite expensive, and the people 
of Blue Earth City concluded that no enterprise would be of more 
advantage to the village and the surrounding country than the 
building of a grist mill. 

After the expenditure of enough wind in talking over the mat- 
ter to run three ordinary wind mills, a number of meetings were 
held, and it was determined to erect a wind grist mill. On the sec- 
ond day of April a joint stock company was formed under the 
incorporation laws of the State. The officei's went manfully to work, 
and after the timbers were gotten out and some of the machinery 
purchased, the company sold out to private individuals who com- 
pleted and put the mill in oi^eration. It was not a great success, yet 
it proved quite a convenience and of considerable public advan- 
tage for some time. And this was the second grist 'mill in the 
county. The water power mills, of which we now have a goodly 
number, were next, and later "evolved," and these milling facilities 
were increased still later by the addition of first-class steam grist 


The agricultural society held a meeting at Winnebago City, 
March 26th. at which a new constitution and bylaws were adopted. 
It appears that another meeting — the regular quarterly meeting — was 
held at Blue Earth City April 4th, at which, also, a constitution and 
by laws were adopted, but whether the same as those adopted in 
March, does not appear — presumably they were. This meeting ad- 
journed to May 16th, at the county auditor's office, for the election 
of officers. The adjourned meeting was held, and J. A. Latimer was 
re-elected president, D. Birdsall, secretary and A. Bonwell, treas- 
urer, for the current year. Another meeting was held June 25th, 
when it was determined to hold the fair at Winnebago City on the 
14lh and 15th of September, but the time was subsequently changed 
to the 23d and 24th of September. 



As a matter of interest to the insurance fraternity, it may be 
recorded here, that in April of this year, the first i)ermananl insur- 
ance agency was established in this county — one which still continues 
after a lapse of sixteen years. The agency was established at Blue 
Earth City by the old ^Etna Insui-ance Company, of Hartford, Conn. 
J. A. Kiester was appointed agent. 

In the next month. May, the Madison Mutual Insurance Company, 
of Madison, Wisconsin, appointed an agent in the town of Verona 
— A. B. Balcom — but this agencj' did not continue a great while. 

At this time many different companies have agencies in this 
county, among which are found many of the oldest and strongest 
companies of America and Europe. 

The business of underwriting, in its higher departments, is a 
learned and honorable profession. Insurance is a science, having 
an important history and literature. Many of the periodical and 
weekly publications, devoted to this science, are of a high order. 
As a business, its transactions are second only to those of the great 
railroading interests of the country. The vocation of an insurance 
agent is an important and honorable one. It is upon the agents of 
the companies that the great business of insurance rests, and is de- 
pendent for success, and insurance agents, as a class of business 
men, are as honorable, correct in the transaction of their business, 
and as trustworthy as the members of any other profess ion or oc- 
cupation; yet, as in other departments of business, there are some 
who dishonor the profession, and the companies should be, in fact 
generally are, ever ready to weed out such employees when dis- 

oyer! oyer! oyer! 

The district court held a session of one day, at the usual time 
in May. This was the last term in this county at which the Hon. 
Lewis Branson presided, his term of office expiring January 1st 
following. He had presided at all our courts from the first organi- 
zation of the county to this time. A number of distinguished law- 
yers from abroad were present at this term, among whom was Hon. 
C. G. Ripley, afterwards chief justice of our supreme court. 


A lawyer, living on Walnut Hills, has a son about seven years old, and a 
daughter about three times that age. The boy has been around the court room 
a good deal, and the girl has a solid beau. The other evening the gentleman 
passed the house, and the young lady wanted to see him. 

"Johnny," said she to the kid: "won't you please call Mr. Mann." 

Johnny knew the state of affairs, and with a ready "of course," he flew to 
the front door and called out in the usual loud monotone of a crier: 

"John Henry Mann, John Henry Mann, John Henry Mann, come into 

Mr. Mann came in, and Johnny withdrew to a safe place. 

188 HISTORY (iF 


Immigration this year commenced in May and continued all 
summer, at high rate. A great deal of land was taken up, many 
farms opened and many buildings erected. Money became ([uite 
plenty and lands and grain brouglit good jjrices. This year was in 
fact, one of the great years of immigration and improvement in this 
county. In a new country few things are, so encouraging and bene- 
ficial as a large immigration. People and improvements are the 
chief requisites to make a country, and the Americans are the great- 
est country and state makers in the world. It is said that the Am- 
ericans are nomadic. This is true in a limited sense in the west, and 
while the old saying that "a rolling stone gathers no moss" is quite 
true, thousands of people are greatly benefited by a change of loca- 
tion, if they do not change too often. It was about this time that 
the homestead law. passed in 1862 by congress, began to have its 
effect, inducing a vast emigration for years to the new states and 
territories. Our county was not only the recipient of much immi- 
gration, but it was also the highway over which passed much of the 
immigration to the southwestern and northwestern counties of the 
State. The long lines of white covered wagons often called "prairie 
schooners" and droves of stock, passing through to the north and 
west, were for many years a common and an interesting sight, even 
though they did not stop with us. The day will come flrhen they 
shall be onlj* a thing of the past, and even now are less frequently 
seen than formerly. What western man can fail to feel an interest in 
the emigrant as he passes along in his covered wagon now his only 
home on earth? Generally there are tired looking teams, tired 
looking men and women, tired and hungry children, and the plod- 
ding stock following, all toiling along over the prairies, through 
forests, over the mountains, weary and dusty, but still patient, en- 
during, persevering until the Eldorado is at last reached. The 
heart involuntarily utters "God bless you stranger, may He pros- 
per your venture. It was thus most of our people came to this new 
land. It is thus great states are built. It is a venture with the emi- 
grant, it is always a venture, and we, the early settlers all well know 
what it implies. The old home far behind perhaps beyond the sea. 
forever deserted, old and dear social and Icindred ties and associa- 
tions of all the by-gone years forever broken, the toilsome journey, 
the land of strangers, the building of the new home, the establish- 
ment of business, the making of new friends and the beginning of a 
new life. The newcomer and the way-faring emigrant, is indeed 
entitled to the kindly greeting, the helping hand, if needed, and 
generous encouragement, of whatever name or nation, tongue, or 
kindred, he may be. 



About the last of May a fair and festival was held at Winnebago 
City by the Ladies' Soldiers Aid Society for the benefit of sick and 
disabled soldiers at the front. It was a grand success in every re- 
spect. The people were enthusiastic and everyone contributed lib- 
erally to the good cause. The amount realized from the fair and 
and festival, together with some additional sums afterwards con- 
tributed was the handsome donation of .^456.47. On the first day of 
June a like fair and festival was held at Blue Earth City by the 
Ladies' Soldiers Aid Society of that place. Notwithstanding the 
many enlistments, the large town and county bounties and other aid 
extended to the soldiers, the people were not weary. At Blue 
Earth City on this occasion a large concourse of citizens full of 
patriotism and liberality attended. They assembled at Young's 
Hall about 11 o'clock in the forenoon, where an address was deliv- 
ered by J. A. Kiester. 

After alluding to and briefly explaining the monarchal theories 
and systems of government, which had ruled the world through all 
the ages, and the results, and after explaining the new and better 
principles of civil government, asserted by the Declaration of Amer- 
ican Independence, the speaker said, among other things: — 

"But the American Revolution produced a change in the affairs of man — 
light broke in upon, and hope dawned for the down-trodden and oppressed 
millions of the earth. Those new and better and truer principles asserted by 
that revolution, recognizes man as a being of rights and of equal rights. And 
these better principles are becoming recognized. Mankind are progressing in 
knowledge everywhere, and in the knowledge of the true principles of political 
science. The shackles of the old despotic systems are slowly but surely loosen- 
ing — they must loosen as the mass of the people progress, or be burst assunder 
in bloody revolutions overturning all government and order. The despots of the 
old world already see, and to some extent admit this truth. The glorious car 
of human freedom is rolling forward. It is but a short time since the perjured 
villain and despot who rules France, in a call for a European Congress, stated 
that this progress of the people must be recognized. The English people are 
becoming more jealous of their civil liberties — Russia has freed her millions of 
serfs— Poland and Hungary are in revolution— and classic Italy, under the 
leadership of Victor Emanuel and that glorious patriot, Garibaldi, has risen 
from her divisions and degradations of ages to an honorable position among 
the nations with the glad shout of free and united Italy. Thus are those prin- 
ciples asserted by our revolution becoming recognized — thus is mankind pro- 
grossing in the pathway of true advancement and elevation, and may this 
progress in the true principles of government, hand in hand with that in 
science, art, literature and religion, move forward without let or hindrance, 
until every system of slavery, wrong and oppression with despots, and their 
systems, thrones, sceptres and minions shall be swept from the earth forever. 

And now let us revert to our own country and its great interests, its condi- 
tion and destiny. Eighty odd years have passed away since, through the Are 
and blood and storms of the revolution, our government was organized upon 
the principles asserted by that revolution— what is the result? Let us view it 

190 Hisronv of 

for one iinvturii I a> ilfxistcfi before thu breaking nut (if tin' robcilioti. This 
people, who, at thetiaii' of the Iieclaration of IniifpiTidence, consisted of thir- 
teen colonies and tlirei' million of inhal)itants. without commerce, without a 
name and witliout a place amun^r tlie nations— had K'rown to be a mijihty peo- 
ple, composed of thirty-four states, and luvrv than thirty million iohaiiitants. 
We had tal<en our ])lace asa llrst-class power of the earth. Our empire was 
almost a continent. We had a country possessing every variety of soil, every 
character of climate and all kinds of productions. We had thousands of miles 
of sea coast, the longest rivers, railroads and canals in the world, a commerce 
that spread its sails on every sea, and manufactories of every description. Our 
people were industrious, intelligent, enterprising and brave. Hut this is not 
all— in the higher blessings of free governmentthe universal dilTusion of l<nowl- 
edge, progress in the arts and sciences, the freedom of conscience, of opinion, of 
speech, and of the press— in all these we had no equal on earth. In short, we 
had the most free, most tolerant, and best government ever possessed by man. 
And now drawing aside the thick veil which hides the future destinies of 
our country, let us contemplate it an hundred years hence, in the spirit and 
faith of the patriot's hope. Behold: A nation of more than two hundred mil- 
lions of people, whose states indissolubly united embrace the area of a conti- 
nent, whose lands are in the highest state (jf cultivation and productiveness, 
whose manufactures supjily the world — whose commerce covers every sea, whose 
arts and sciences are carried to the highest perfection— the precepts of moral- 
ity and religion governing its people— having no entangling alliances with for- 
eign nations, but the just arbiter of their ditlerences— a nation whose schools 
are free, and the benefits of an enlarged physical and mental education and de- 
velopment, possessed by every citizen — where all classes, castes, and distinc- 
tions, except such as are based upon virtue and wisdom, are unknown in the 
social and political systems— where the widest freedom of speectf, of opinion 
of the press, of conscience and of personal action, consistent with the well-be- 
ing of society, are indisputable rights. 

What a nation of prosperity, power and glory is this! This nation at the 
breaking out of the rebellion was a subject of pride and congratulation, but how 
much more worthy of pride is that nation which we may hope to become in the 
future!- And to me that future is no Utopian dream- no unreasonable hope. 
But there is a condition necos.sary to the maintenance of our country as it is or 
was— a condition necessary to be fulfilled, in the consummation of the future we 
hope for. And what is this condition? I answer, </ic muintemtncc of the Union, 
the Constitution and the Siipranacy of the Laivs. This is the simple, fundamental 
condition. And if we fail in this, we may now hid adieu to our liberties, to our 
wealth, power, prosperity and future prospects as a nation. The blood of our 
fathers will have been shed in vain, and the last and only hope of the political 
elevation of man will have perished, and on the broken columns of our ruins, 
the future moralizer on the destiny of nations, may write the sad but then 
truthful commentary— 

"—Such is the moral of all earthly tales, 

'Tis but the sad rehersal of the past: 

First Freedom, then glory, and when that fails. 

Slavery, corruption and barbarism at last, 

And history with all its volumes vast. 

Has but this page." 

Alas my countrymen! the black tlag of treason, rebellion and disunion has 
been thrown to the breeze. Led on by traitors whose treason is as black as hell 
because of its ingratitude and want of excuse, the deluded people of the South, 


lifting their bloodstained hands to heaven, swear to dissolve the Union, over- 
turn the nation, defeat and destroy our just and equitable system of govern- 
ment and establish one upon the basis of slavery. Shall this be soy Shall the 
Union and the Constitution be maintained? Let us reason for a moment, then 
to the men who are defending them with their lives. 

The American Union should be a holy thing to us. "It was baptized some 
eighty years ago, in a river of sacred blood. For that Union thousands of brave 
men left their homes, their wives, all that man holds dear, to die amid ice and 
snow, the shock of battle, the dishonor of gibbets. No one can count the tears, 
the prayers, the lives that have sanctified this American Union, making it an 
eternal bond of brotherhood for innumerable millions, an altar forever sacred 
to the rights of man. And for eighty years and more the smile of God has 
beamed upon it." 

"And the man that for any pretence would lay a finger upon one of its 
pillars, not only blasphemes the memory of the dead, but invokes upon his 
memory the curse of all ages yet to come. I care not how plausable his argu- 
ment, how swelling his sounding periods, that man is a traitor to the soil that 
bore him, a traitor to the mother whose breast gave him nourishment, a traitor 
to humanity everywhere, and a traitor to the dead whose very graves abhor the 
pollution of his footsteps."' 

There is, my countrymen, no light in which you can view this qu(!Stion, no 
possible hypothesis upon which to base a probable condition consistent with 
the liberties, material and other prosperity of this people, if we should fail to 
crush this rebellion. There is nothing left but to maintain the Union, the 
Constitution and the Laws, whatever the time and treasure and life it may 
cost. And to accomplish it, is worth the lives of one generation of men, yours, 
my hearers, and mine among the number, and all the wealth of this continent, 
for it is not the cause of this country alone, nor of this generation, but of all 
mankind and of all the generations to come. 

And here thi.s question of slavery presents itself. But I will not try your 
patience by a long hfimily upon this subject. Let me tell you in a few words the 
character of this most accursed institution and the fate that awaits it as I read 
the signs of the times. I look upon chattel slavery as it existed in this country as 
the greatest social, moral and political evil upon the face of the earth. It is 
the essence of all and every system of despotism. It is antagonistic to the 
principles upon which our government was founded. It is "the sum of all 
villainies." It is without warrant in revealed law, and is condemned by the law 
of nature, and there is absolutely no argument in the whole range of human 
reason, that can excuse, much less sustain it. 

And this great curse, this gigantic crime against man and God, the evils 
of which we are now reaping in this rebellion against the Union, against our 
laws and liberties — this evil, which, with its authors and apologists, men will 
execrate through all ages, is about to be destroyed as a result of this war for 
the Union. The Proclamation of Emancipation will besustained. The shackles 
are breaking and the oppressed shall go free, and when this war shall be ended 
and the Union restored, there may not be a slave on our soil, and the glad shout 
the mighty anthem of freedom shall resound throughout the universe— Glory 
be to God. 

Understand me friends, standing upon the law of God and nature, I am 
the friend of human freedom, of liberty, civil and religious, for all men every- 
where. I care not of what nation or color they may be, and I verily believe as 
I stand here to-day, that as in the dark day ot the revolution, the finger of God 
was everywhere manifest, so in this war is He evolving the great problem of 
human freedom, and that the restoration of the Union and the annihilation of 
slavery as a result of the war, are the ends He will accomplish. 


Such, frionds, Is luy humble comprehension of the importance of this war 
for the Union— some of Its results and in the dim but certain future the glori- 
ous destinies of our country. And I have no fear for the result if we do our 
duty, and the only question now is, what is our duty as loyal citizensV It is 
very i)laiii, layinir aside all party prejudices and passions, creeds and mere per- 
sonal interests, we must stand by our povernniont with all our property, with 
the best exertions of our minds and bodies ei'en loi/o (?eaf/i. And hundreds of 
thousands of our noble countrymen have t^one forth determined to sustain the 
Rovernment. restore the I'nion and protect our liberties or perish in the at- 
tempt. God's best blessing be upon them. What a glorious cause like that for 
which our fathers toiled, the best for which man ever fought, or bled, or died. 

Hut we have not only the openly declared rebel and traitor to light — through- 
out the North there are many who sympathize with our enemies. There were 
such men in the days of the revoluti(»n, so in the war of 1812. They were called 
tories and traitors then— they are called copperheads now. And if 1 knew a 
more loathsome and repellant name, a name embodying all scorns and shames, 
1 would shout it in their ears until they would hide their deformed heads and 
principles from the light of day, and the gaze of all honest men. The traitor 
who opeuiy backs his treason with his life, may demand some respect for his 
courage and sincerity, but for the grovelling, sneaking, cowardly whelp of .Sa 
tan, who with his heart filled with the foulness of treason, his mouth with ly- 
ing words, seeks to liinder, distract and ruin the very government whose liber- 
ties, security and protection he enjoys, there are no words too bitter, no bate 
too strong this side of Hell. Admitting as we must, that there is some corrup- 
tion in the war, that there are many mistakes made, all of which is inevitable 
in any war, it is no reason whatever to give up the contest. But copperheads, 
with motives and feelings as evident as the designs of the devil upon the hu- 
man race, and with no view to temperate discussion and remedy at these evils, 
but to magnify and distort everything in the interestof their Southern friends, 
tell us the Constitution is violated every hour— that the President is a tyrant 
—that the government is wholly corrupt— that the country is ruined by debt— 
that Congress has no objects in its labors but base political and pecuniary end.s 
— that our generals are all Incompetent and mercenary— that this is a war 
against the rights of the South and should be given up— that it is an abolition 
war and a war for the benefit of speculators and rotten politicians, men who 
have no sympathy with our cause in Its failures, mistakes and misfortunes— 
not a word of praise in its victories and achievements, who tell us there is no 
patriotism in the men who are fighting its battles,— that their motives are all 
mercenary — GreatGodI Can this all be true"? Arc these men who have left their 
business, their wives and children, their peace and security and comfort, sacri- 
ficing every thing that men hold dear— are these men after all but mercenary 
wretches'? See them on the hundred battlellelds of this war, from the highest 
commander to the commonest soldier, toiling, suffering, bleeding, dying, facing 
the most appalling dangers, and as company, regiment and battalion are swept 
away by the murderous fire of the foe, still with the battle shout, cheer and 
song, fill up the thinned ranks, marching into the very jaws of death, deter- 
mined on victory. Is this mercenary'? Are these men thinking of bounties 
and thirteen dollars a month? See them lying strewn upon these hundred bat- 
tlefields, dead and silent, or in hospitals .sufTering from disease and ghastly 
wounds, still true to the holy cause- Is this mercenary? No, friends, this 
charge is a lie— a base born traitor's lie. There is patriotism in this war, estab- 
lished by the best proofs men have ever asked. The lives, the accursed machin- 
ations of these copperheads have cost, will be kept as a record of blood against 
them through all time, like the tories and traitors of the revolution and of the 
war of '12, they will be remembered but to be haled. 


"Living, sliall forfeit fair renown, 
And doubly dying, shall go down 
To the vile dust from where they sprung 
Unwept, unhonored and unsung." 

Now what should be our course towards these cowardly miscreants? I will 
tell you in a word. Have no association or sympathy with them— put no man 
in office of doubtful patriotism, and be not deceived by specious assertions or 
changes of opinion. Let the past consistency of every man's conduct prove his 
sincerity, and give no ear to their falsehoods— they will cry out against this, 
and the worst pinched will be the first to howl, but remember the mighty trust 
reposed in every patriot's hands, and as you value the .success of our cause and 
country, heed them not — be true to your trust. 

And now to return to the brave men who are fighting our battles, and our 
duty to them and to our country, and I am done. They are fast falling in the 
mighty struggle— by the hardships and dangers of disease, and wounds, and 
death. Thousands of them will return to us no more in this world — they have 
fallen with their faces to the foe. Thousands are languishing in hospitals from 
sickness and wounds — other thousands are still bravely facing the storms of 
battle amid want and toil and suffering. Oh! what is our duty I What can we 
do who are yet surrounded by peace and plenty and ease'? I will say it— let us 
bury all party, all prejudice creeds and differences, and stand, as the struggle 
may grow fiercer and darker, more closely together, and when our time comes, 
as soon it may, let us go forth manfully to fill the thinned ranks, and while 
we remain here let us not be idle. Let us show our brave countrymen that 
we sympathize with them — that we appreciate their services. Yes, there is a 
great and good work for us to do— what is it? Find your answer in the organ- 
ization of the Sanitary and Christian Commission and Soldiers' Aid Societies, 
all intended for the benefit of the men in the field. And now here to-day the 
opportunity is offered to give your aid, and let no man, or woman, or child, be 
found wanting. You know the righteousness of the cause in which they are 
suffering and dying— it is our country's, humanity's, my cause, your cause, the 
cause of posterity. Let us open our hands wide, and as every man has received 
from God, so in the name of God let him bestow. If your gift is small, so be it. 
It may be enough to send an agent of the Commission with a cup of cold water, 
a bandage, a little cordial, for the wounded and dying soldier. 

Fathers and Mothers! You have long enjoyed the blessings of our good 
government. Your son may be battling bravely to sustain it. Give of your 
abundance. It may moisten his parched lips, ease his broken body or stop 
the flow of his life blood. 

Young Men and Brothers! It is especially for us to sustain our brothers 
in the field, and the cause of our country. Give in your health and strength 
and your hopes of a manly life. 

Wives and Sisters! You who are ever ready in every good work. Eemem- 
ber your husbands and brothers in the ranks of war. Prove again to-day that 
you are worthy descendants of the Mothers of the Revolution. 

Little Children! Remember your fathers faraway, battling for your future 
welfare, and while your mothers teach you the first duties of patriotism, bring 
your little gifts. 

Let us all do our duty this day. The soldier will bless us, humanity will 
bless us, posterity and God will bless us. 

After the address and some patriotic music, a splendid dinner 
was served free to all, but for which many paid liberally. A sub- 
scription was passed around, and everybody gave largely beyond ex- 


pectation. Several town lots and many other things were put up 
for sale and sold and re sold at higli figures, the proceeds going into 
the soldier's fund. From these and other sources the grand sum 
contributed was .*452.3ft, which with twenty dollars contributed a 
day or so later made the sum of .*47l2. G'?, making in all the splendid 
aggregate of $924.85 for Faribault county and which, considering 
the population and means of the people, made this the Bnnnt r Coioitij 
of the atdte. The funds were sent to the Christian Commission. 
Everybody was proud of this patriotic affair at the time, and those 
who took an active part in it like to talk about it and are proud of it 
to this day. 


During the spring and summer there was again consideralbe talk 
in certain localities of another attempt to remove the county seat 
from Blue Earth City, but it failed to "crystalize" into action. 


The Fourth of July was not generally celebrated in this county, 
in this year, but a pic nic was held in the town of Verona on that 
day, which was largely attended, and proved a very pleasant affair, 
and, in fact, is still remembered by many. 

On the 18th of this month the President called for fiye hundred 
thousand more troops. The war was being prosecuted with terrible 
energy, as will be seen by reference to the summary of battles, etc. 
at the end of this chapter. Men were falling daily at the front, by 
the thousands, but the glorious shouts of victory over treason were 
resounding throughout the land. 


The harvest commenced this year as early as the middle of 
July. The weather was fine, and the crops were never better in this 
county than this year. Every kind of grain was good and abundant, 
and was safely harvested and secured. Wheat in Winona, in this 
State, in the early part of July, sold at §^2.05, the price, however, 
was much less than that here. But there are some people who 
are never satisfied. Uncle Josh — an old settler — has always been a 
grumbler. If it rains he grumbles; if it is dry he has great fore- 
bodings. "'Well. Uncle Josh, you have very fine crops this year." 
said a neighbor to him one day, to see what he would say. "Yes," 
said Uncle Josh, "that are so, very fine craps, but these heavy craps 
is mighty hard on the land, I tell yer." 



A special session of the commissioners was held August 13th. 
■when the following resolution was adopted: 

"Resolved, that the sura of one hundred dollars be, and the same is 
horeliy appropriated, as a bounty to each person who has enlisted, or may enlist 
in the military or naval service of the United States, and be credited to any 
township in Faribault county, under the present call of the president for 500,000 
men, to be paid upon satisfactory evidence of such enlistment and credit." 

At this same time the several town districts in the county were 
giving very liberal bounties, as will be seen by reference to the his- 
torical sketches of the several towns. The commissioners met 
again September 6th, and on the thirteenth day of October, but we 
find nothing in their action to be noted here. 


All along during the spring and early part of the summer, 
rumors of renewed Indian troubles in the west and southwest, 
were current, and a general Indian war, all along the border seemed 
imminent. The fears entertained were not without foundation, as 
the Indians did commence hostilities on the plains, in Nebraska, 
and at various points on the extreme western frontiers. Many 
whites were killed, and emigrant trains, on the plains, were attacked 
and destroyed, and in Minnesota a number of small hostile preda- 
tory bands of Indians were skulking and marauding on the frontier. 
About the 11th of August two murders were perpetrated by Indians 
near Vernon, in Blue Earth county, Mr. Eoot and Mr. Mack were 
killed, and a number of horses stolen. 

The government sent out strong foi'ces in every direction 
against the red skins. Gen. Sully again advanced with a strong 
force up the Missouri river. With this expedition was Brackett's 
battalion in one company of which— Cap t. J. A. Read's— were some 
twenty Faribault county men. An expedition under command of 
Col. Thomas, in which was Capt. Davy's company, composed largely 
of Fairbault county men, left Minnesota in May, and crossing the 
western part of the State and Dakota in a westerly direction joined 
the Sully expedition in July, on the Upper Missouri. 

The result of these rumors and murders here was another great 
excitement and much uneasiness. But the people did not leave 
their homes. No actual outbreak occurred in the State, but to quell 
the excitement and protect the country. Col. B. P. Smith, of Man- 
kato, was directed by the Governor of the State, to organize com- 
panies of "Mounted Minute Men," along the Blue Earth river. On 
the 25th of August a company of forty-two men, was organized and 
armed under command of Dr. R. R. Foster, lieutenant at Blue Earth 


BISTo/.y OF 

Here is the company roll: 

R. W. Foster. 
C. Getchell. 
G. Bartholomew. 
J. B. Landis. 
J. A. Rose. 
P. Mead, 
J. Blocher. 
M. McCrery. 
J. Dayton. 
Levi Chute. 
J. Behse. 
A. E. Champney. 
G. T. Foster. 

B. D. Gillett. 

F. A. Squires. 
A. Gray. 

J. B. Gillett. 
J. Marble. 
W. Silliman, 

C. Butler. 

C. Huntington. 
Henry Kamrar. 
A. Bonwell. 
Z. Carbell. 
E. .7. Earl. 

G. Franklin. 

G. B. Kingsley. 
M. E. Gano. 
P. C. Seely. 
S. Mead. 
G. D. Nash. 
I. S. Mead. 
C. W. Gillett. 
F. Morehouse. 
W. Sharp. 
Frank Read. 
Wm. Coon. 
E. Ellis. 
Edward Wakefield. 

At Winnebago City a similar company of thirtj' men was en- 
listed under command of James Grays, lieutenant. We have not 
succeeded in getting the names of the members of this company for 
incorporation in this history as we should have liked. The minute 
men received ?2..")0 per day, paid by the State. 

A line of strong military posts having been established through 
the counties west and north of this, between which constant com- 
munication was kept up by scouts, the companies of ^minute men 
were, about October 2d, disbanded. Many of these frontier posts 
were maintained through the next year, and until the spring of 
1866, and were vory neCessary as we shall see hereafter, to the pro- 
tection of the borders. 


The presidential election came on this year. Vast interests 
were involved, and at stake, but not so much in local as in national 
politics. Very early, statesmen, politicians and the rank and file 
of the two great parties were at work. 

Abraham Lincoln had been nominated by the republicans for 
reelection to the presidency. Gen. Geo. B. McLellan was the can- 
didate of the democracy. 

Wm. Windom was the republican and H. W. Lamberton the 
democratic candidate for Congress in this district. 

Horace Austin, of St. Peter, republican, and Daniel Buck, of 
Mankato, democrat, were the candidates for judge of the Sixth 
.Judicial District, of which this county was a jiart. 

The Republican Union County Convention met at Blue Earth 
City on the 24th day of August. It was largelj' attended, and har- 


monious in its action. The proceedings resulted in the following 

A. Bonwell, for Register of Deeds. 

F. W. Cady, for County Auditor. 

.Tno. K. Pratt, for Clerk of Court. 

Geo. Hart, for Judge of Probate and Court Commissioner. 

Thos. Blair, for County Commissioner 3rd District. 

The democracy met in mass convention at Blue Earth City, 
August 30th, and made the following nominations: 

For Senator, 20th district, George B. Kingsley. 

For Representative, R. B. Simmons. 

For Register of Deeds, James H. Huntington. 

For County Auditor, Thomas S. Fellows. 

For Clerk of Court, Chester M. Sly. 

For Judge of Probate and Court Commissioner, Jo. L. Wier. 

The republican union district convention met at New Ulm, in 
Brown county, on the 3d day of Sejatember, and unanimously nomi- 
nated D. G. Shillock, of Brown county, for senator, and J. A. Kies- 
ter, of this county, for representative. 

James L. Huntington was an independent candidate for Register 
of Deeds. 

The general election was held on the 8th day of November. 
A large vote was polled. The following table gives the result of 
the official canvass of the votes. 










•j|Bia SBtuoqx 



?1 MN 


•jpMTf ?;-j; = «a^;J=2:'^82:??2 |p 

•^JBH-O f]--:;2?^t5K???::22?°;; |g 


■-I MM 

-"»» » 

••1I3M 1 T 

•qjBH '0 

Si::'-::;2;?Vi'r??:'S'-'i-i;i=?; [s 



•A"IS -K "0 

?S-i:2;"g3?i'-::=*"S2a2 jS 

1 — r^ ic O ~ " :r ri CI -M Ti •" r- ;s — -^ 


— ©i« 


•SMOiKi s X 

o^t-OMgJirtr-'J-xrrQxos ^ 

•A"PU0 M -d 


•noiJ*ananH "I "f 

28''§S2'^SS'""*8?3S" Ig 

•noiSannnn 'h T 

O— MOW — 350-*COC10-ru-0 \ -a 

•liaMuoa "v 

•suoiurais -g 'H 

•J01S8IX -y T 

M i^ 00 -- O c-i r- cj — «D -rt.'; -f — — 1 — 


« 5 

•iC3Is8ni>i -g aSjoaQ 

C^ —I W— — O — 1-1— CO 

•51D0;nqs T a 

o r- i* — O 'M T '^^ — » -r '- CI *» — i c-i 

— 1 «> 

■Jiong laiuBQ 

-»"D3:0>-'^22''''''' — "''~*2— 1 " 

unsny 90BJOH 

— r o 



— ■Mr-cSTfMssj-rooioOcJi^^ | O 


•rr-ir: — — -rr^c-irti — ptrzocs— iM 
« — — ■^ ci >-" CI -r rt i-t — — ».'7 r: M 1 -r 

•ISBO sion^a jaquiiiji aioqA\ 

3C o M 1- L" :c r^ C5 s; <~ 3^ "* r' — re i as 
• ^nrc-rcit'-^-r-Tw — — w — r: lo 

— — 1 QC 

Names of 

c ta 

r. * 

■jr. • 




As the county returns show the results of election only as to 
county officers, it may be stated that Abraham Lincoln was re- 
elected president, Wm. Windom was re-elected member of congress, 
Mr. Austin was elected jadge of this district and D. G. Shillock was 
elected senator and J. A. Kiester, representative. 


Soon after the war commenced, gold and silver money began to 
grow scarcer and scarcer until they entirely disappeared from circu- 
lation. They fluctuated very greatly in value. Gold soon began to 
bring a premium. A dollar in gold was valued at from one dollar to 
as high as two and eighty- two one hundreths dollars in ' -greenbacks," 
depending on the condition mainly of public affairs and the circum- 
stances of the war. A rebel victory of importance sent gold up, a 
great union victory sent gold down. Speculation and some other 
causes also affected the value. Silver followed closely upon the 
heels of gold. During several of the last years of the war and for a 
number of years after, neither gold nor silver was seen. If some one 
happened to have a "quarter" or a "dime" and choose to exhibit it, a 
crowd would soon gather around to see the curious relic. During 
these times, the "circulating medium" was greenbacks, national bank 
notes of one dollar and upwards, fractional currency of five, ten, 
. twenty-five, fifty and seventy-five cents called "scrip." That was the 
"soft money" epoch, the "greenback age." "Hard money" began 
again to appear near the close of the seventies. First came nickel 
five-cent pieces, then ten centpi,eces, afterwards larger silver pieces 
(three of which made a dollar) and then silver dollars, and about 1880 
and 1881 both gold and silver money, the latter depreciated, became 
quite common, but greenbacks and national bank notes still formed 
a large part of the currency. 


The sixth annual fair was held at Winnebago City on the 23d 
and 24th days of September. It was a decided success. The weather 
was fair, the attendance large, and the show of stock, grain, vegeta- 
bles, fruits and articles of domestic manufacture excellent. 

On the 31st day of October the first sale of school lands was had 
in this county. The commissioner of the State land office, Hon. Chas. 
McIUrath, attended in person. The sale took place at Blue Earth 
City. Much interest was manifested in the sale, and people were 
in attendance from all parts of the county. There were 924 acres of 
land sold for the aggregate sum of 117,621.60, of which sum S14,904.91 
were paid in hand, and on the balance remaining unpaid, the interest 
was paid for one year in advance, according to the terms of sale, 
amounting to $109.45, thus adding in money to the school fund of the 


State the sum of *15.014.36. And this was the time when many of 
our citizens purchased their ••wood lots'" from which has come the 
fuel which has kept them warm and made the "pot boil" for many 
years since. 


On the 19th of December the president issued a call for 300,000 
more volunteers to finish the war. This was the fourth call during 
the year and the aggregate number called for during the year was 

The government and the loyal people of the North had become 
in terrible earnest Military operations, and matters incident 
thereto, absorbed every other consideration in all sections of the 
country. The rebels were putting forth almost superhuman and in- 
human efforts, while in the North the cry went forth from the moun- 
tain and plain, from the city and the farm house, "no compromise," 
"down with treason," "crush the rebellion, cost what it may, in 
men or money!" 

In military operations this year was particularly remarkable for 
the vast destruction of property in the South by the Union armies. 
This had become a necessity. Of the almost innumerable battles 
and important events of the year, but a few can be noted here. 
March 12th, Gen. U. S. Grant made commander of the U. S. armies; 
March 28th. battle of Cane River. La.; May 5th. the great battle or 
series of battles of the Wilderness began — one of the greatest exhi- 
bitions of military iirowess known to history; May 8-10, battle of 
Spottsylvania; May loth, battle of Raseca; .June 1st. battle of Cold 
Harbor; .June 19th, the rebel pirate Alabama was sunk by the 
Kearsage; July 1st, public debt, ^1,740,000.000; July 20-22d, great 
battles near Atlanta. Ga. ; July 30th, Chambersburg, Pa., burnt by 
rebels— loss !j^l, 000, 000; Aug. 5th, Admiral Farriguttakes Mobile.Ala.; 
Aug. 9th, Atlanta, Ga.. bombaitled by Gen. Sherman and fell Sept. 
2d. and was burned; Sept. 19th, about this time there was great fight- 
ing in the Shanandoah Valley, Va. ; October 19th. battle of Cedar 
Creek, Va.— this was a terrific fight; Nov. 14. Gen. Sherman left 
Atlanta on "the march to the sea"; Nov. 25th, an attempt was made 
to burn New York City by southern desperados, who set fire in 
their rooms in fifteen different hotels and other places, but the plot 
failed. At this time Gen. Grant, with the army of the Potomac, was 
operating about Richmond, Va. , the rebel capital; Dec. 15-16th. great 
battle of Nashville, Tenn. ; Dec. 21st. Gen. Sherman captured Savan- 
nah. Ga. Although when the year closed the rebellion was still 
raging, yet the back-bone of the Confederate power was broken. 
Any other power on earth, after the terrible defeats suffered by the 
rebels in 1863 and 1864. would have given up in despair, but the Con- 


federates were Americans. And now, as the year closed, hopes of 
final triumph over treason, and of peace soon to come, wei'e cheer- 
ing the loyal millions. The year was indeed a mighty one in the 
history of the nation. Glorious in its victories in the field and 
forum, and at the ballot box for the Union cause, and correspond- 
ingly terrible to the rebels and traitors of the South, and their sym- 
pathizers and allies everywhere. 



A. D. 1865. 

"Now arc our brows bound with victorious wreaths; 
Our bruised arms hunj; up for monuments; 
Our stern alarms cliani^'ed to merry meetings: 
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures. "" 

We now enter upon the record of another year of general reckon- 
ing in this historj'. We have reached, so to speak, another mile- 
stone in the journey, the eleventh year of the county. By comparing 
the very full statistics of this year, with those of former years, we 
shall see that the county has made great progress in the past, and 
bids very fair for the future. 


The seventh State Legislature assembled Januarj- 3d. and ad- 
journed March 3d. 

The members of the legislature for this district, were D. G. Shil- 
lock, of Brown county, senator; and J. A. Kiester, of this county, 

The onlj' legislation of this year, of special interest to the peo- 
ple of this county, was an act fixing the time of holding the annual 
term of the District Court, for the first Tuesday of June, in each 
year, and a Memorial to Congress introduced by Mr. Kiester pray- 
ing the establishment of a mail route from Blue Earth City, in this 
county, via. Fairmont and Jackson, to Yankton, the capital of Da- 
kota Territory, and an act granting swamp lands to aid the Minne- 
apolis and St. Cloud Railroad Company in the construction of their 
road. This company was authorized to build a branch road, (Act of 
1856), southward from Minneapolis to the Iowa state line, which would 
pass through either Martin or Faribault counties. This bill was fa- 
vored by both of our members, as it afforded some prospect of a rail- 
road in one or the other of said counties. At this session Daniel S. 
Norton was elected United States senator, to succeed Mr. Wilkinson. 
Andrew C. Dunn, of this countj- was again chief clerk of the House 
of Representatives. 

Considering the action of this and some other sessions of the 
legislature, the following statement is not much out of the way. 

''A young politician" writes: "Why does a State have a legislature?" My 
dear boy, It doesn't. The legislature has the State, every time. Has it by the 
throat by a large majority. Has it by the pocketbook. Has it on its back. You 
bet your slippers young man, the State never has the legislature,— iJiin/e»c." 


The honorable board of commissioners met January third. 
Allen Shultis, of Elmore, was chosen chairman for the year. Other 
meetings of the board were held March 28th, April 18th, May 26th, 
and June 27th. No business of historical interest was transacted at 
any of these meetings. So much for the commissioners during the 
first half of the year. It may be observed that the County Record 
about this time exhibits a number of long lists of bounty orders of 
fifty dollars and one hundred dollars issued to soldiers. 


A call for 300,000 additional troops having been made in De- 
cember, 1864, as we have seen, and a draft having been ordered to 
take place on the 8th day of March of this year, to fill up the ranks 
of the army, considerable excitement and activity in military affairs 
existed throughout the county, during January and February. The 
quota of each town had been assigned, and to prevent drafting, 
large town and county bounties wei-e offered, and recruiting agents 
were abroad everywhere, and men were being enlisted in large num- 
bers. It has often been said during the war, "well, the county can- 
not furnish another soldier," yet at every call, numbers were still 
found ready to enlist and march to the front and fill up tlie ranks of 
the country's defenders thinned by disease and rebel bullets. In 
order to reduce the quotas of the several towns to a just basis, by 
discharging such as were not, because of ill health, or other physi- 
cal infirmities, qualified for military service, many of our citizens, 
in February, went before the enrolling board at Mankato, to be ex- 
amined and exempted, if so entitled. The expenses of those who 
were exempted, of going before this board, were paid by the sev- 
eral towns. And this proceeding was an entirely proper, in fact a 
necessary one, to determine the just quota from each town, by 
striking out of the estimate of the population, or basis of deter- 
mining the number due from the several towns, those who were 
really not liable to draft. 

Owing to alleged corruption and other causes, all the exemp- 
tion certificates granted at this time, were subsequently cancelled, 
and so the whole proceeding went for naught. 

Spring dawned upon the laud about the middle of March, and 
farmers prepared for seeding, but the weather was quite unsettled. 
Some seeding was done the last week in March, but the greater part 
along the middle of April, and there was some very cold weather 
late in this month. In fact this spring, like many others, was one 
of frequent changes of cloud and sunshine, of alternating smiles and 


fire! fire! fire! 

On Sunday. March 26th, atabout eleven o'clock, a. m., the build- 
ing used for county oltices at Blue Earth City, was discovered to be 
on fire. The register of deeds, Mr. Bonwell. to whom the building 
belonged, had left the house but a few minutes before, having first 
carefully closed up the stove in which was but little fire, and locked 
the outside door of the otfice. The stovepipe passed through the 
chamber Moor and out through the roof, thei-e being no chimney. 
The stove pipe was somewhat old and much rusted, and it is quite 
probable that the soot in the pipe took fire, making the pipe very 
hot, thus setting fire to the adjoining wood work, or perhaps holes 
had been eaten through the pipe by rust, through which fire may 
have escaped. In the experience of insurance companies, such pipe 
arrangements have been found so dangerous, that companies have 
long refused to insure buildings where the pipes pass through the 

Albert Sortor first discovered the fire and gave the alarm. He 
ran to the building and bursting open the door, commenced car- 
rying out the books. C. Huntington, John Blocher and several 
others, were soon on the ground, and by their joint exertions, all 
the books and most of the valuable papers were saved, though some 
of the books were somewhat damaged. 

Quite a number of papers, however, on file in the auditor'% cases, 
and a large package of deeds and other instruments in the regis- 
ter's department, which had, fortunately all been recorded, but had 
been left in the office, were burned. It was a most fortuuate escape 
from destruction, as nothing of great value, in either the auditor's or 
register's office was lost. But Mr. Bonwell, besides the loss of the 
building, lost also considerable personal property in the building at 
the time, and consumed with it. 


About the third of April the whole country was electrified by the 
announcement of the glorious news that the Union arms had tri- 
umphed over the last strong-hold of the rebellion, and peace was at 
hand. After four years of bloody conflict, in comparison with 
which, most of the wars of the earth sink into insignificance, the 
national flag at last waved over the rebel Capital — the head and 
heart of the monster rebellion. On the 9th day of April, Lee sur- 
rendered to Grant, at Appomattox. The full import and signifi- 
cance of these great events cannot be described here. No pen can 
do justice to the occasion, and no words could give utterance to 
the emotions of joy and hope and thankfulness which swelled the 
hearts of the loyal millions of the land, but those of the old hymns — 


the grandest of the ages, the Gloria in Excelsis and the Te Deum 


"Glory be to God on high and on earth; 

Peace, good will toward men." 
"We praise thee, O God; we acknowledge 
Thee to be the Lord. 
All the earth doth worship Thee, the 
Father everlasting." 


And now following fast upon the joyful news of final victory 
and peace, and while the people were giving hearty expression to 
their feelings, there came the appalling tidings of the assassination 
of President Lincoln, on the 14th day of April, by J. Wilkes Bootli. 
The world was shocked, stood aghast, confounded at the atrocity 
of the deed. 

In the very hour of the final triumph of that cause — the pre- 
servation of the Union and the life and liberties of the nation, he, 
the chiefest actor, the most revered and beloved, the purest, the 
wisest and most merciful, had fallen by the hand of the dastardly 

Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, the friend of 
man, name blessed evermore with Washington, in the records of our 
race, was martyred, murdered. 

"Divinely gifted man, 

* * « 

The pillar of a peoples' hope 
The centre of a world's desire." 
Oh, perfidy I Oh, crime! when didst thou such an other deed as 


"This is the bloodiest shame, 
The wildest savag'ry, the vilest stroke 
That ever wall-eyed wrath, or stareing rage." 
conceived, or Hell's agents executed. 

The sacrifice of Lincoln was the crowning sacrifice of the war, 
the outgrowth, the final culmination of that demoniatic spirit of 
ti'eason, which, in the graphic words of another made "the parra- 
cidal effort to destroy the nation's life by murder; murder on the 
lakes, murder and piracy on the high seas; murder and arson in 
cities; murder by the introduction and spreading of loathsome and 
contageous diseases; murder and highway robbery by guerrillas; 
murder and starvation of over thirty thousand defenseless prison- 
ers. " It was indeed such a spirit and only this, that could breed 
such a moral monster as him who did this deed. 

And that far-seeing and wise statesman, that kindly man, that 
incorruptable and faithful executive bore. 

"—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 ." 

206 inSTOltV (IF 

Probably no events in the world's history ever carried a great 
people to such heijrhtsof rejoicing and such depths of grief, almost 
simultaneously as those we have just related. The citizens of this 
county always earnest and patriotic, keenly appreciated the signifi- 
cance of these mighty events, and gave utterance to their thoughts 
and emotions in words and earnestness of manner unmistakable. 


About the first of May the country was again thrown into a great 
state of excitement by the reports current, that the frontier settlers 
were in danger from prowling bands of Indians. War with the In- 
dians was still in progress on the plains and on the extreme western 
frontiers, which lasted until late in August of this year. But the 
jirincipal local cause of the excitement and apprehensions, was the 
murder by the Indians of the .Tewett family, near Garden City, in 
Blue Earth county, on the second day of May. The family consisted 
of six persons, five of whom they murder in cold blood and severely 
wounded one, a child. Horses were stolen at various points, and 
other depredations committed by these marauding red skins, but 
as these events did not occur in this county, we shall not enter into 
details; suffice it to say, that some of the murderers of the Jewett 
family wore killed by scouts from Port Wadsworth. and one of them, 
Campbell, a halC-breed, a diabolical wretch, and the leader of the 
.Jewett murderers, was taken, and was hung by order of Judge Lynch 
at Mankato. As a result of the excitement, the "mounted minute 
men" of the previous year, were again, by order of the State author- 
ities, called out. The company at Blue Earth City was reorganized 
under Lieut. Foster, and the one at Winnebago Citj- and others along 
the Blue Earth river and at other points on the frontier reorganized, 
but did not long remain in service, for very soon a line of military 
posts was establislied and kept up, from Alexander on the Red river 
of the North, to Spirit Lake on the Iowa boundary. 

About the time of these depredations, a novel idea was con- 
ceived by certain persons on the frontier for the protection of the 
border, and the hunting down of these skulking Indian marauders. 
The expedient adopted in many of the slave states for the recovery 
of runaway slaves by putting bloodhounds upon their track to 
hunt them down in the cane breakes, swamps and jungles of the 
south, recommended itself as a feasible method of pursuing these 
Indians in their devious ways. Several persons were sent to the 
southern states for the purpose of pi'ocuring hounds, and they re- 
turned with quite a number, which were parcelled out to several 
frontier counties, and were paid for by those counties. The hounds 
were to be kept at certain points, and be used when occasion re- 
quired. This county did not enter into the "bloodhound scheme" 


as it did not appear to be of any practical utility. The whole 
project finally proved useless. And now the writer is happy to 
say that the above is the last notice of the Indians it will be neces 
sary to take in the course of this history, for the above incident 
was the last one in the history of our relations to the red men, our 
predecessors on this soil. The Indian Reservations in Blue Earth 
county and on the Upper Minnesota, had now been broken up for 
several years and ere this year closed, the Indians were driven far 
from this immediate country, to return as hostiles, no more forever, 

"Of their mortal weal or woe, 
No trace is left to-day. 
For like the foam upon the wave 
They all have passed away." 


On the 23d and 24th days of May of this year, there occurred 
the grandest military review the world ever eaw. On those days— 
the victory won, the war ended — the victorious eastern and western 
armies of the republic made their triumphal entry into Washington, 
the capital of the nation. On those great days these battle-scarred 
legions of the Union, the heroes of many bloody conflicts with trea- 
son, travel worn, covered with sweat and dust, but proud and vic- 
torious, marched in review for the last time, and through the broad 
streets of the capital city of that nation which had been redeemed, 
protected and made one forever. No such pageant as this was ever 
seen before. History tells, indeed, of the grand triumphal displays 
accorded to Roman conquerors in the days of old, but they bear no 
comparison with this, they were but the rewards of conquests and 
robbery and the soldiery were in the main. 

" But ambition's tools, to cut a way, 

To her unlawful ends.'' 

But here, on those days, marched in the serried ranks, thousands 
and tens of thousands of the intelligent volunteer soldiers of the re- 
public, not with the spoils of conquest and arms befouled with 
rapine and plunder, but bearing the honors of freemen — of citizen 
heroes, who fought for constitutional liberty, for the maintenance 
of the Union, the supremacy of law, that the grandest, freest nation 
of all time — the last hope of the world might continue to live. And 
in those gallant companies and regiments and battalions there 
marched many of our own citizens, men of Faribault county, proud 
as the proudest, brave as the bravest, following their tattered battle 
flags, the relics of many a bloody day. 

And borrowing the imagery, though not the language of the 
poet, we may well express the thought that with the mighty hosts 

208 msTony of 

that inarchod along those broad aveuues on those proud days, there 
was another and a mightier host which kept step with the triumphal 
music, invisible indeed to mortal eyes, but indeed there, great hosts, 
proud and victorious too. led by the immortal Washington and the 
other heroes of the Revolution, and the martyre Lincoln, and num- 
bering in the vast throng the patriot dead of all the battlefields of 
the Ko))ublic and the heroes of every age and land who have suffered 
and died for human freedom, for civil and religious liberty. 

No, reader, no such another pageant has the world ever seen, or 
may ever see again. 


Immigration began to pour into the county the last of May, and 
continued throughout the season, much of it, however, going through 
this county to the counties of Martin and .Tackson, immediately west 
of this. The settlement of the near counties on the west was 
deemed by many, at that time, to be of almost as much importance 
to this county (at least the next best thing) as the settlement of the 
county itself, for the people must, in those counties, be for a time, 
and in many respects, tributary for supplies to this county. 


The first day of June was appointed by the national executive, 
as a day of prayer and humiliation, on account of the death' of Pres- 
ident Lincoln. It was observed in this county by appropriate ser- 
vices in the churches and other places of religious gatherings. 
"Remember not. Lord, our offenses, nor the offenses of our fore- 
fathers; neither take Thou vengeance of our sins; spare us good 
Lord, spare Thy people. From lightning and tempest, from plague, 
pestilence and famine; from battle and murder and from sudden 
death; from all sedition, privy conspiracy and rebellion. Good 
Lord, deliver us." 


The District Court held a session of one day on the first Tues- 
day, the fith day of .June. Hon. Horace Austin presided, and this 
was his first term in this county. 


A State census was taken in June, of this year, the work being 
done in each countj- by the assessors. Our statistics for the year are 
made up partly from the census tables, and partly from other olticial 
I'eports subsequentlj' made. 





Blue Earth City. 

Brush Creek 




Jo Daviess 



Pilot Grove 




Walnut Lake 

Winnebago City. 

Totals 4,735 2,517 


























































The returns show 1,257 horses; cattle, 5,587; sheep, 6,004; hogs, 
991 ; 760 wagons of all kinds, and 81 watches. 


The total value of all taxable personal property was set down 
at 1172,647.00; value of real estate, $650,094.00; total, $822,741.00. 


The number of acres under cultivation was 10,887 and the farm 
products of the year were wheat 109,672 bushels, oats 115,872 
bushels, corn 92,110 bushels, barley 7,331 bushels, potatoes 51,537 
bushels, beans 729 bushels, buckwheat 200 bushels, sorghum syrup 
12,387 gallons. 


The number of persons between five and twenty-one years of 
age, was 1,854, number of school districts 62, number of teachers 50, 
number of school-houses 22, which were valued at $4,925.00 in the 


The prices of grain, in the fall, average as follows per bushel: 
wheat 50 to 55 cents, oats 20 to 25 cents, corn 25 to 30 cents. All 
kinds of "store goods" still continued at high figures, but ''with a 
downward tendency." As a matter of curiosity in may be stated 
that a record kept in Raleigh, N. C, in the closing Confederate 
days of February, 1865, shows that apples were $8 per dozen, bacon 
18 per pound, beef |3 per pound, butter $10 per pound, corn $30 


per bushel, coffee !?40 per pound, eggs ^i per dozen, flour fSoOO per 
barrel, sugar '^1^^ per pound, sj'ruj) *25 per gallon, sheeting iftj per 
yard, salt $90 per bushel, calico *15 per yard, wood $95 per cord. 

About the 1st of April of this year, the Richmond Whig published 
at Richmond. Va., ([uoted flour in that cit^' at $900 to $1,000 per 
barrel, corn >=100 per bushel, and butter $20 per pound, in Confeder- 
ate money, however. 

The statistics presented here from time to time are made up from 
official reports, but it is time now to remind the reader, that our 
ordinary state statistics are not very reliable, or accurate. The 
assessed valuation of property, at least until very late 3'ears seldom 
exhibits the true value. Perhaps fifty per cent, could be added to 
the official estimates, and not exceed the real value. 

The reports of the amount of the different kinds of grain, etc., 
raised, and the numbers of the various kinds of stock, are almost, if 
not quite, equally faulty. All these statistics are imperfect, and are 
only valuable in a genei-al way. but thej^ are the best we have and 
we give them as we find them, for whatever they are worth. The 
statistics collected when the national census is taken, are usually 
more reliable than our ordinary state statisties. and help to "cor- 
rect up" and show quite nearly the actual facts and conditions, from 
time to time. The collection, collation, classification, adjustment and 
verification of statistics constitute a science of much "importance, 
and is one understood by but few. Our state commissioners of 
statistics doubtless do the best they can, with the means and 
methods they have at hand, but the primary collection of all the 
necessary data is in hands that but little comprehend the import- 
ance of the work, and have little incentive to do it well. 

THE patriot's DAY. 

On the Fourth of July a great celebration of the day was had 
at Blue Earth City. Very extensive preparations had been made 
and a large number of people attended and took part in the festivi- 
ties. The good old Declaration of Independence was read by Capt. 
P. B. Davy, and James B. Wakefield delivered the oration, and what 
with the address, the music, an abundant dinner, the great attend- 
ance, the fine day and the spirit of rejoicing over the close of the 
war, the celebration was a grand success. 

The day was also celebrated at Minnesota Lake. The largest con- 
course of people ever assembled in that portion of the county 
gathered there on this occasion. The Rev. A. W. Childs read the 
Declaration and J. A. Kiester, of Blue Earth City, delivered the ad- 
dress. Here also patriotic music and a bounteous dinner were a part 
of the programme. These were the only celebrations of the day in 


the county, the people having generally concluded to attend at one 
or the other of these places. 

It may be mentioned as an incident of the time and the patriotic 
spirit of our local press, that the Blue Earth City Advocate came out 
in colors, the outside being printed in red, the inside blue, the paper 
white in honor of the brave old flag, "red, white and blue," which 
now waves victorious over the whole land. 

And never to this time, at least, was there such a general and 
enthusiastic celebration on the Fourth of July, such a great out- 
pouring and rejoicing of the people as occurred this year through- 
the whole country. And it was very right and proper that it should 
be so, for at no time in the history of the country, since the achieve- 
ment of independence had there been so much to render the day il- 
lustrious and worthy of commemoration and rejoicings. The final 
triumph of the nation over treason and rebellion, the Union restored, 
the great war just ended, peace, white-winged and all glorious, once 
more hovering over the whole land, the great body of the citizen 
soldiers — the heroes of the war — returned again to their homes, all 
now added much to the previous significance of the day and its grand 
memories and associations. 


The great civil war having now closed, we give a brief summary 
of the closing vents which occurred during the year to this time, 
and also certaii other facts and figures relating to the war of inter- 
est and value. 

January 15th, Port Fisher was taken by the Union army. This 
was the last pv, t of the rebels. February 18th, the Union troops 
enter Charleston, S. C. March 4th, Pi-esident Lincoln inaugurated. 
March 16th, battle of Averysborough. March 19th, battle of Ben- 
tonville, N. C. April 2d, Gen. Lee evacuated Richmond and Peters- 
burg, Va., and retreated westward. Same day the battle of Selma, 
Ala. was fought — a Union victory. April 3d, Union troops took pos- 
session of Richmond, Va. April 9th, Lee surrended to Grant at Appo- 
mattox. April 10th, Mobile. Ala., evacuated by the rebels. April 
12th Union troops captured Salisbury, N. C. April 14th, President 
Lincoln assassinated. April 25th, Booth, the assassin, shot. April 
26th, Gen. Johnson surrendered to Gen. Sherman. May 4th, Gen. 
Taylor surrendered to Gen. Canby. July 7th, four of the villians 
engaged in the assassination plot were hung. No great battles were 
fought after the middle of April. The armies were disbanded, and a 
great majority of the troops returned to their homes during the 
next six months. 

21L' BlSTUllY o/' 

In the Adjutant General's report for the year, -we find the fol- 
lowing statement of quotas and credits of men for this county, under 
all calls during the war. 

Quota. Credits 
Blue Earth Cil.v 88 97 

Brush Creek ) ' 25 21 

Foster ( 

Elmore 27 28 

Guthrie 27 35 

Marples 46 18 

Pilot Grove 35 25 

Prescott 18 31 

Seely 5 4 

Verona 46 48 

Walnut Lake 31 19 

Winnebago City 48 74 

396 400 

There were eight others furnished by the county, not included 
in the above table, making our total credits 408. 

While a few of the town districts in the county were in arrears, 
yet the county as a whole, furnished twelve more men than was re- 
quired, and the number of soldiers furnished by this county, in pro- 
portion to population, was greater than that of any county in the 
State except perhaps two. 

It was reported about this time that there was one county in the 
State, which in this respect surpassed all others — the whole popu- 
lation, without exception, having enlisted — it appeared however, 
that there was but one resident in that county. 

The aggregate amount of bounties paid by this county and the 
several towns, and otherwise contributed to encourage enlistments, 
was the very large sum of seventy-five thousand dollars. 

The entire enlistments in the Union armies, during the war, 
were 2.688,523, but many of these were i-e-enlistments, and it is esti- 
mated that the entire number of individuals, forming the armies, 
was really but 1.500.000. 

Of these 56,000 were killed in battle, 35,000 died in hospitals of 
injuries received in battle and 184.000 died in hospitals of disease. 
Many died afterwards in other places, of disease, and thousands 
were ruined in health for life. The national government also em- 
ployed over 7,000 vessels on the waters, in the great contest. Of 
the Confederate forces, there was, during the war, an aggregate of 
600,000 men. but this is deemed a low estimate. The Confederate 
killed and wounded and sick, who died in hospitals, was about 
300,000. In a late work we read that "The entire amount expended 
by the national government, by states, counties and towns, and con- 
tributed in other ways, to the comfort or sustenance of the army, 
is computed at f!4, 000, 000, 000. The support of the southern army 


cannot be ascertained, but it is thought that those expenses and des. 
truction of property, inflicted about an equal loss on them. These 
losses in life and property are fearful, but they are the price of free- 
dom and nationality." And now, so far as this history is concerned, 
we are done with the great civil war, and we have only to add that 
it should be the earnest hope, the constant prayer of every heart, 
both north and south, that never again, in all our history as a nation, 
may another so great a calamity be inflicted upon us, and to this end 
let us forget the past, .cease recriminations, drop the hard names of 
rebel, traitor, copperhead and all other epithets, and all unite 
as brethren in strengthening the foundations, rearing the struc- 
tures, promoting the interests and enjoying the blessings of the 
strongest, the most enlightened, most progressive and best govern- 
ment ever known among men. 


With the close of the war came a new era in many respects. 
Money became plenty, real estate took an upward tendency, outside 
capital came into the State and county for investment. All branches 
of trade and business greatly revived and there was employment for 
all at fair wages, and the attention which the war and its affairs had 
absorbed was now turned to local interests and enterprises. 


On the first of August the song of the reaper began to be heard 
in the land. The harvest was quite favorable. The wheat and oat 
crops were very heavy, but other crops quite light. The i^rice of 
wheat in August was seventy cents. 


The potato-bug, a very destructive insect, made its appearance 
in this region near tlie middle of June, and did some damage, and in 
July several immense swarms of grassshoppers visited the upper 
Minnesota river and came as near to us as Garden City, some twelve 
miles north of this county, where they did much injui'y to crops. 
But little notice was taken of these incidents at the time and they were 
soon forgotten, but we shall have much more to say hereafter about 
these pests. We are now done with the Indians and the war of the 
rebellion, what other calamities now await us? It is often true that 
"Coming events 
Cast their shadows before." 


The commissioners met September 5th, and had a session of 
three days. It having appeared by the returns of the last preceding 
general election, that over eight hundred votes had been polled in 

214 UfSTOIlY OF 

the county, tlie county now beciime entitled under the law, to five 
instead of three county commissioners and the board at this meeting 
proceeded to divide the county into five commissioner, districts, as 
follows: The First district was comprised of the towns of Camp- 
bell, Elmore, Pilot Grove and Jo Daviess. The Second district, of 
Blue Earth City, Emerald and Prescott townships. The Third dis- 
trict of Kiester. Seely. Foster, Brush Creek, Walnut Lake and Cobb 
townships. The Fourth district of the towns of Winnebago City, 
Verona and Guthrie. The Fifth distinct was composed of the towns 
of Barber, Lura, Marples and Dunbar. The board also appointed 
school examiners, in conformity to the new commissioner districts, 
as follows: No. 1. J. A. Dean; No. 2, J. A. Kiester; No. 3, S. L. Rugg; 
No. 4, J. H. Welch; No. 5, Joseph Claggett. This was the last 
meeting of the board for this year, and the last board of on ly three 
commissioners, it subsequently being composed of five members. 


The officers of the Agricultural Society for this year were 
J. A. Latimer, president; C. M. Sly, secretary and D. Birdsall, 

The fair was held at Blue Earth City on the 21st and 22nd days 
of September. 

The fair while passably good, was not considered oiuch of a 
success. While the officers of the society and a very few others 
made considerable effort to keep up the society and make the fairs 
of interest and useful, it must be written that about this period in 
the history of the society, extending over several years, there was 
not that interest manifested in it and that unity of action on the part 
of the people, generally, which is so necessary to the support of 
such an institution. 


The political campaign of this year covered a considerable pe- 
riod of time, and it was quite a lively and in some respects a peculiar 
contest. Among the other interesting features of the campaign, a 
governor of the State and several other State officers were to be 

The republican candidate for Governor was Wm. R. Marshall 
and Henry M. Rice was the democratic candidate. 

On the 30th day of August, the Republican Countj' Convention 
met at Blue Earth City and made the following nominations. 

For Treasurer, Wm. Dustin. 

For Sheriff, W. J. C. Robertson. 

For County Attorney, J. B. Wakefield. 

For Surveyor. D. Birdsall. 

For ,Judge of Probate, A. Preston. 

For Coroner, D. H. McDowell. 



On the 16th day of September a mass convention was held at 
Blue Earth City, at the instance and in the interest of those wlio 
did not approve of all the nominations of the republican convention. 
This meeting nominated R. B. Johnson for treasurer and Hiram 
Raymond for sheriff. The other republican nominations were in- 
dorsed. This convention was rather slimly attended, there being 
persons present from only seven towns, and the prospects for the 
election of the new nominees were not at the time very flattering. 
But "great oaks from little acorns grow, etc." 

And sometimes "great aches from little toe-corns grow." 

But the situation was still not satisfactory to all, and so on the 
23rd day of September a mass convention was held at Winnebago 
City, where certain republicans and the democrats formed a coali- 
tion. This convention made the following nominations: 

For Sheriff, Charles Chaple. 

For Treasurer, R. B. Johnson. 

For County Attorney. J. L. Weir. 

For Surveyor, A. H. Pelsey. 

For Judge of Probate, A. Preston. 

For Coroner, D. H. McDowell. 

It will be observed that several of the regular republican nom- 
inees were re-nominated by this convention. The principal contest 
was for the offices of treasurer and sheriff. 

The Republican Legislative Convention met at Winnebago City, 
October 2nd and nominated J. B. Wakefield for representative. 
For the same office the democracy again placed in the field R. B. 
Simmons, of Martin County. 

The election was held on the seventh day of November, and the 
following table exhibits the result as officially declared : 

Brush Creek 


Blue Earth City. 




Jo Daviess, 




Pilot Grove 



Walnut Lake 

Winnebago City. 








475 111 





598 42 180 426 418 229 499 437 176 586 

Sur. Atty. Cor, 






For Governor, Wm. R. Marshall had a total vote in the county 
of 501; Henry M. Rice had 138. 

The following-named persons were elected county commission- 
ers without opposition: 

Allen Shultis, District No. One. 
Henry J. Neal, District No. Two. 
John R. Sisson, District No. Three. 
H. H. Oilman, District No. Four. 
J. Claggett, District No. Five. 

Marshall was elected Governor of the State by a large majority, 
and Wakefield was elected representative of the district. The re- 
turns, as given above, indicate who were elected as county officers. 
The I'esultof the election as to sheritf and treasurer, was surprising 
to most of the people, and quite as surprising to the candidates them- 
selves. This was the first regularly organized "bolt," or formal 
op))osition to the regular nominees backed by convention nomina- 
tions, which had occurred in the republican party, or in fact in the 
politics of the county. 

The two newspapers took a great interest, on opposite sides, to 
some extent, in the local campaign, besides some questions of dif- 
ference had arisen earlier in the j'ear between them, and an examin- 
ation of the old files proves the fact that a great deal of a very poor 
class of dirt was ••slung" back and forth by both, and both equally 
bad, reminding the reader of the story of the Dutchman who, on 
being aslced the ago of himself and wife said, •■mine wife is dirty (30) 
and I ish dirty two." 

No frost occurred in September of this year, and the autumn 
was an unusually mild and pleasant one, and continued until about 
the middle of December, when the winter set in, introducing its reign 
by a heavy snow storm. 



"Ye have kept the tlag and seal. 
Emblem «f the Nation's weal: 
Ye have stood like hardened steel 
In war's crimson way— the battle field— 
When shot and shell did ring the knell 
Of coniratles brave who 'round ye fell, 
Ye did leave your friends and home, 
And loved ones weeping', left alone 
To see the flag and country saved," 

And saved them. — 

There is presented in this history of the county many rolls of 
liouor of the early settlers of the county and lists of public officers 


and of the actors in many important events, but there is now pre- 
sented here the most honorable of all our rolls, that of the names 
of the men who enlisted from this county, in the militai-y service 
of the United States, during the Rebellion and the Indian war in 
the Northwest. 

This year practically closed the war, and it is now time to name 
the men of our county, who in the day of mighty conflicts with 
powerful foes, took an active part, as soldiers, in the great struggle 
for our homes, for the Union and for the maintenance of free gov- 
ernment on this continent. 

The list is not absolutely correct in every respect, but it is as 
nearly so as it is possible to make it, for there are errors in the 
public official records themselves, but many, if not all of which, are 
corrected here. 

The writer is greatly indebted in making up this I'oster, to 
Charles A. Rose, now of St. Paul, but a former resident of this 
county, and a soldier, enlisted from this county. 

Mr. Rose, as a public officer of the Stale for many years, has 
had access to all the official records in the capitol of the State and, 
owing to his long services in the army, is also possessed of a large 
personal knowledge of individuals and events connected with the 
war and there are few, if any persons, who are better qualified to 
prepare such a list than he. 

The writer is also indebted to James H. Mead, of Blue Earth 
City, another old soldier, for valuable assistance and suggestions 
in making up the roll. 

The companies and regiments given are those in which the 
first enlistments were made, but many, after the expiration of their 
term of service, re enlisted in the same or other companies and 
regiments. But of the re-enlistments, official positions or promo- 
tions, no record is here made, the principal object being to present 
and preserve here simply the names of those who enlisted in the 
service of the nation from our county. The re-enlistments numbered 
about twenty- eight per cent, of the original enlistments. 



Andrews, Alfred D Company D, 9th Regiment Infantry, tfiree years 

Brown, Aaron " B, Braclcet's Battalion, 

Botsford, Isaac *' B, " 

Butler, Zirary C " C, 5th Regiment Infantry, 

Blackmer, Franfc A, " C, utli " 

Converse, Geo. S " B, Braclcet's Battalion, 

Decker, A. L. M " F, 1st Regiment Infantry. 

Grout, Albert K " C, otli 

Harris, Peter E " C, ,5th 

Johnson, John " F, 5th " 



Leslie, Sam.. .Ir 

Conipanv H, 


Ueninient Infantry, 

thre*! years 

Mead, Jas. II 




McFall. Orlando 




Morris, Wiu. D 

... " F. 



Prall, Alliort 



Rose, Chas A 

. . . " C, 



Siiuires, Freeman A.... 



s Hattalion, 


Scliroeiler, Peter 

... " F, 


Regiment Infantry, 


Schrocder, Herbert 



(( •' 


Schrueder, Win 



1 ( > 1 


Thoiiipkins. Hiram — 



s Battalion 


Wheeler, Wm 




nient Infantry, 


Yuun^', E. C 

... •• F, 


i. It 


Andrr'ion Evan 


Mounted Rangers, 

(t It 

one year 

Anderson, .JelT 



Anderson, Geo 




' ' 

Mrown, John 





Bennett, Leon 


• 1 



Cusick, Wm 




Cook, Geo 


1 1 



Daw, Peter B 





Davis, Geo. R 

... " L, 




Ellis, Ezra M 

.... " L, 




Ellis, Henry 

... " L, 




Ewald, Henry C 




Frandall, John J 





Fo.\, Markham L, 




Frandall, Geo 

... " L, 




Frandall, Jos 





Franklin, Benj 

... " L, 



Grittin, Lucius 




Hdwland, Geo. H 

... " B, 




Hyatt, Norman H 

... '• L, 


1 1 

Johnson, Ole 




Johnson, Henry 

... " L, 



Jameson, James 


i ( 

Kamrar, Henrv 



1 1 


Krinke, Michael 





Larson, Henry E 

... " L, 




Leslie, Sam. Sr 








Manthie, Julius II — 

.... •' L, 





4 1 



Newton. Wm. J 

.... " B, 


^plmtn Christian 




Nelson, Ole 





Oleson, Harvey S 




Rose, Jacob A 

.... " B, 



Salor, Abel 




Smith, Cyrus 




Sailor, Martin 


• t 

Sailor, Jacob 




Silliman, Wayne B.... 



t t 


Weber, Henry C 






Waterbury, Sam B Company IT, Mounted Ranijers, one year 

Weger, John " H, 2ncl Regiment Cavalry, three years 

Williams, Wm " H, 2ncl 

CacUlv, Geo " H, 2nd 

Kennedy, Chas " H, 2nd 

Conklin, Wm.H " H, 2nd 

Bartholemew, R. R " H, 2nd " " " 

Bartholemew, Arthur " H, 2nd " " " 

Bakeman, Girard " H, 2nd •' •' " 

Coutier, Leon L " H, 2nd " " " 

Caddy, Geo. Jr • " H, 2nd " " " 

Dagner, Geo " H, 2nd 

Ellor.Joseph " H. 2nd 

Hunter, Otis M " H, 2nd " " " 

Kortt, Chas " H, 2nd 

Labatt, Geo " H, 2nd 

Mathews, Geo " H, 2nd 

Orr, Richard " H, 2nd 

Rude, Geo " H, 2nd 

Tallow, Stephen " H, 2nd 

Wheeler, Wm. G " H, 2nd " " Recruit " 

Wirt, George " B, Bracket's Battalion, " 

Gulickson, Evan " C, 11th Regiment Infantry, one year 

Dalziel, James " F, 1st ■' Artillery " 

Ellis, John E " F, 1st " " " 

Franklin, German " F, 1st " " " 

Getchell, Theo. W " F, 1st " " 

Gardner, O. N " F, 1st " '' " 

Getchell, Chas. O " F, 1st " 

Ingalls, Ed. C " F, 1st " " " 

Jones, Chauncy W " F, 1st " " " 

Katzung, Vallon " F, 1st " " " 

Moore, Robert " F, 1st " " " 

Mead.OrrinF " F, 1st " " " 

Ogilvie. James " F, 1st " " " 

Pugsley, Gardner O " F, 1st " " " 

Sauvain, Just " F, 1st " " " 

Truesdell, Hill " F, 1st " " " 

Billings, Levi " G, ist " Infantry, three years 

Dullard, Michael " G, 1st " •' " 

Elivess, Fran " G, 1st 

Ordway, Isaac F " G, 1st " " " 

Whitney, John " G, 1st " " " 

White, John J " G, 1st '• " 

Seely, Philander C " H, 1st " " 


Emerson, John Company L, Mounted Rangers, one year 

Fletcher, Chas " L, 

Peterson, Regnald " L, " " " 

Walter, Wm " L, " " " 

Seaton, LeonC " H, 2d Regiment Cavalry, three years 

Bartheaume, Rock " H, 2d " " " 

Ackerman, D. J " H, 2d " " " 



Cluii)au, liaiii Company H, 2d Regiment Caviilry, three years 

iM.U-y, Win " H, 2d 

.Idluisiin, Herman H " H, 2d " " " 

Martin. .Joseph " H, 2(1 

Dunliar, Chas. .S " H, 2d " " " 

Pine, John " H, '2d " " " 

Binsmore, Wiu " D, 1st " Artillery, one year 

Nelson, Elling " D, 1st " 

Nelson, Peter " V, 1st " " 

Shirk, Jaeol) E " F, 1st " " 

Livingston, Duncan '• G, 1st " " " 

Wood, Mason H " G, 1st " 

Wliitney, Lorin J " drafted 2d " Infantry, three years 

Hunt, Nathan " drafted 5th " " " 


Boon, Daniel Company D, 9th Regiment Infantry, three years 

Cunimings, W. P. F " F, 5th 

Chute, Levi " C, 5th 

Chute, Xach " C, 5th " " 

Dobson,Jas " F, 5th " " 

Edes, Ed " F, 5th " " 

Greer, Mark M " C, 5th 

ITowland, Fred L " B, Bracket's Battalion, " 

Hale, John E " C, 5th Regiment Infantry, 

Preston, Sheridan " F, 5th 

Schneider, Simon '• I, 2d " " " 

Schneider, Freeman " I, 2d " " " 

Way, E. M " ¥, 5th 

Dane, Hartwell " L, Mounted Rangers, one year 

Ingalls. A. C " L, 

Tankard, Robt ■ H, 2(1 Regiment Cavalry, three years 

Barker, Walter " H, 2d 

Little, Rol.t. W " II, 2d 

Cook, Chas. E " II, 2d " " '• 

Woolery, Reuben " C, 11th " Infantry, one year 

El)eiline, Edward " F, 1st " Artillery, 

Gano. Marian E " F, 1st " " 

Morehoure, Francis " F, 1st " " " 

Morehouse, Rich. T " F, 1st 

Strong, Moses A " F, 1st 

Winn.Wm. B " F. 1st 

Allen, Horace B " G, 1st " Infantry, three years 

Baldwin, Will " G, 1st 

Comstock, Wm. H •' G, 1st " " " 

Pugsley, Wyman " G, Isi 


Alvey, Wm. T Company H, 3d Regiment Infantry, three years 

Burke, John F " D, 9lh 

Beatty, J. R " H, 2d 

Gray, Donald " H, ,W " " " 

McKinney, John " D, 9th " " 

Marsh, Enoch " H, 2d " " 



Propper, Chas 

Company D, 

9th Regiment 


three years 

Terry, Geo. R 

" A, 





Johnson, Eleff 

" H, 


nted Rangers, 

one year 

Miller, Saml. B 

" H, 




three years 

Chestnut, John 

" H, 





Snell, Isaiah H 

" H, 




Bover, JohoH 

" K. 


Fessenden, Ed. D... 

" K, 





Fessenden, Chas. M. 

" K, 





McColley, Alonze.... 

■' K, 





Reichart, Henry 

" C, 


Regiment Infantry, 

one year 

Bemis, Lucius 

" D, 




• ( 

Johnson, Ellip 

" D, 




Donaldson, Cramers. 

" F, 





Fuller, Myron L 

" F, 





Falsett, John 

" F, 





Johnson, Bennett... 

" F, 





Henson, Ilalver 

" F, 





McGuigKan, John... 

" F, 





Mandigo, Danl. L. .. 

" F, 





Ryan, Joseph 

" F, 





Ayers, Moses 

" H, 





Gordon, Samuel 

" H, 





Nickerson, F. L 

" H, 





Thorp, Henry C 

" K, 





Sharo. Henrv 


Sycks, F. Lewis 





Brown, Henry 

Company H, 


Regiment Infantry, 

three years 

Beebe, R. W 

" F, 





Myrick, Tellef A. . . . 

" H, 





Taylor, Alfred L.... 

" F, 





Heisey, Wm 

" L, 



one year 

Taylor, E. H 

" H, 




Taylor, Phineas B... 

" F, 


Regiment Infantry, 

three years 

Fish, Sam. Jr 

" F, 





Graves, Geo.M 

" D, 




one year 

Bandt, Fred 





three years 

Miller, Christian 





( I 

Urban, Wilhelm.... 

5 th 


t ( 

Stephens, Fred 

darf ted 


Marples, Charles 






Smith, Geo. A 







Albee, Albert C 

Company P, 

9 th 



three years 

Blochner, John 

1 1 




Gardnier, Joseph 

" B, 

Bracket's Battalion, 


McCrery, R. R 

" B, 





McCrery, Jas. P.. .. 

" F, 


Regiment Infantry, 


Mount, Humphrey.. 

" D 




1 1 

Waite, Reuben 

" D 



Wallace, Horace 

" D 




Davis, Oriii G 

Ha/.elton, Diiniel 

Manthie, Krfcl. W 

More, Andrew R., Jr... 

Petit, Tlios. W 

Smith, Josiah 

Olds, John 

Cook, Aniasa 

Couthardt. Win 

Fettorly, Jas. S 

Foss, J . B 

Stoddard, Nathan 

Whitf, John D 

Cuniuiinps, Wiu 

Dean, John A 

Teeter, Reuben 

Hunter, Wiu., drafted.. 
Woolery, Robt.. " .. 

Brown, Jas. M Company 

Crandall, Leroy M " 

Eberline, Fred. E " 

Morehouse, James " 

Young, Lewis " 

Carver, Samuel " 

McDowell, David H 

Razey, Norman B " 

Spencer, F. L " 

Crandall, Minor M " 

Crippin, Sam. S " 

Miles, Geo. S 

McDowell, Jonathan " 

Straight, Merrit 

Straight, Oriville " 

Straight, Forester " 

Straight, Jas. M " 

McColley, Nathaniel " 

Anderson, Geo. R " 

Brelsford, Daniel S " 

Fuller, Albert L " 

Gibbs, Geo. E 

Razay, Silas " 

Brelsford, Isaac W 

Huntington, Loyal " 

Hodgnian, A. J " 

Rose, Chris " 

Woodruff, Wallace A 


Bontrager, John Company C, 11th Regiment, 

Wickwire, Michael S " C, 11th 

Kellogg, Judson " G, 1st " 

Otten, Mathew, drafted... " 2nd " 


")th Regiment In 



three years 



ited Rangers, 

one year 












2d Regiment 


three years 




fan try, 

one year 




























three years 







1 1 









n fan try 

three years 





















Mounted Rangers, 

one year 




• tt 










2d Regiment 


three years 








( . 














































1 1 





















one year 
















Infantry, one year. 
It 1 1 

" three years. 




Burgess, Harvey Company D, 9th Regiment Infantry, three years. 

Carlton, E 

Carlton, Wm. H 

DuCate, Moses M " 

Darlin, E. J " 

Dunham, John H " 

Forbes, Benj. F. jr " 

Franklin, Morrison " 

Geiser, Fred " 

Huntington, Henry M " 

Kent, Philo " 

Mayson, Wm. P " 

Nightengale, John A " 

Patton, George " 

Robertson, Jas. M " 

Towndro Wm. N " 

Walker, Henry R " 

Bursal!, Mitchell " Li, Mounted Rangers, one year. 

Cooper, Barney " 

Cooper, Sylvester " 

Pomeroy, Simeon " 

Stone, Lewis " 

Sancomb, Henry " 

Wakefield, Edward 

Harding, Hiram I '• H, 2nd Regiment Cavalry, three years. 

DuCate. Mitchell 

Foss, Melvin A " 

Nelson, Albert C " 

Nelson, Alex G " 

Shufelt. Sheldon " 

Whiteman, Joseph " 

Carlton, Nelson W " 

Carlton, Jas. S " 

Brayton, D. L '. " L', iltli ■' intantry, one year. 

Chapin, Morris P " 

Cooper, Joseph " 

Middaugh, John A " 

Maiers, Jas. A " 

Park, Frank L " 

Richardson, John L " 

Rice, Tobias L " 

Robertson, Chas. D " 

Dayton, John D " 

Netzel, John A •' 

Dibble, Jerome P " 

Champney, A. E " 

Cripps.Wm " F, 1st " Infantry, three years. 

Allen, David F " 

Filbel, Henry " 

Nash, Elbert " 

Wickwire, Philander " 

Stone, Lewis A " 

Yetter, Samuel " t\ ist '• Artillery, one year. 

B, Bracket's 


D, 9th 


ment. Infantry, 

D, 9th 


D, 9th 


D, 9th 


D, 9th 


D, 9th 


A, 1st 


D, 6th 


D, 9th 


D, 9th 


D, 9th 


D, 9th 


D. 9th 

( I 

D, 9th 


D, 9th 


L, Moun 

ted Rangers, 







H, 2nd Regiment Cavalry, 

H, 2n(l 



H, 2nd 



H, 2nd 



H, 2nd 



H, 2nd 



H, 2nd 



K, 2nd 



K, 2nd 



C, 11th 



C, 11th 



C, 11th 



C, 11th 



C, 11th 



C, nth 

I i 


C, 11th 

( i 


C, 11th 



C, 11th 



F, 1st 



F, 1st 



H, 1st 



H, 1st 



F, 1st 



G, 1st 



G, Ist 



G, 1st 



G, 1st 



H, 2nd 



F, 1st 



10 I 



DulTy, James Company I, 9lli Ut'gimcnt lofantry, three years. 

DulTy, John " I, 9th " " 

Sauer, Chris " L, Mounted Rangers, one year. 

Post, Aaron S " H, 2d Regiment, Cavalry, three years. 

Post, W. H " H, 2d 

lialmat, Jerome " H, 2d 

Mattin, James " H, 2d 

Merry, James E " H, 2d 

Uolph, Geo. W " II, 2d 

Trowbridge, David " H, 2d " 

Waterbury. Sam. B " II, 2d 

Ford, James E " C, 2d " 

Aschman, Jcjhn " C, 11th " Infantry, one year. 

Kaufman, Jacob " C, llth 

Melady, Richard " D, 1st " Artillery, 

McGrady.Chas " D, 1st 

Weston, Chas. B " D, 1st 

Terhurner, John H " D, 1st " 

Stewart, Wm. W drafted, 2d " Infantry, three years 

Trowbridge, Truman " 4th " " " 


Baker, George Company B, Bracket's Battalion, three years. 

Brown, Frank M " D, 9th Regiment Infantry, " 

Burk, C. F " D, 9th 

Badger, Jas.S " H, 4th 

Badger, Sam. M " H, 4th 

Cograve, John W " H, 2d 

Chapel, Chas. E " C, 5th 

Chapin, Henry " B, Bracket's Battalion, " 

Crosby, Reuben II " H, 2d Regiment Infantry, " 

Chapel, John B " D, 9th 

Clabaugh, James " D, 9th 

Chesrown, Ezra " K, 9th 

Ellis, Wm.H " D, 9th 

Fagin, Daniel " H, 2d 

Goodfellow, Levi C " D, 9th 

Huntington, Jas " D, 6th " " " 

Latimer, Wash. K " D, 9lh 

Miller. John iN " B, Bracket's Battalion, 

More, John. " B, 

Miller, Peter M " D, 9th Regiment Infantry, 

Madison, Bailey " D, 6th 

Sinclair, John " D, 9th 

Terhune, Daniel F " D, 9th 

Terhune, Maurice " H, 2d " " " 

Taylor, Lyman " C, 9th 

\annice, Robt. R " B, Bracket's Battalion, 

Christie, J. Lute " II, Mounted Rangers, one year 

Fossett, Isaac " L, " " 

Lucas, Thdmas " B, 

Moar, Andrew " B, 

Mason. Jas " L, 



Snell, Jacob Company B, Mounted Rangers, one year 

Washburn, Lewis " B, 

Warn, A " L, 

Hoover, Joseph " H, 2cl Regiment cavalry, three years 

Shufelt, Henry C ,.... " H, 2d 

Rohbins, Henry C " H, 2d 

Brown, Wm " H, 2d 

Clow,F.A " H, 2d 

Dunn, Geo. B " H, 2d 

Daby.Moses " H, 2d |' '' || 

Daby, Samuel " H, 2d 

Hockenhall, Joseph " H, 2d 

Kimball, Chas. H " H, 2d 

Lamphear, Mason H " H, 2d 

Robinson, John " H, 2d " " " 

Saunders, Geo. W " H, 2d 

Thurston, Wm. L " H, 2d 

Walter, Edwin " H, 2d " " " 

Webster, Sanford " H, 2d 

Latimer, Pleasant " D, 9th " Infantry, " 

Denton, Myron S " C, llth " " one year 

Goodnow, Julius C " C, llth 

Hardwig, W. H " C, llth 

Leise,Benj.F " C, llth " " " 

Mason, Jas. K " C, llth 

Miller, Wm.C " C, llth 

Hoffman, Leonard " F, 1st " Artillery, " 

Forsythe, Geo " G, 1st 

Carel, Patrick " H, 1st 

Dumpprope, David H " H, 1st " " " 

Kiefer, Scott " H, 1st " " " 

Snell, Jacob " L, 1st " " " 

Borden, Lysander " F, 1st " Infantry, three years 

Here the record of this tremendous year of triumphs, of great 
joys and profound sorrows, must close. 

And now but a decade of years has passed since the first settler, 
with his family, took up his residence here, not another white man 
within the borders of the county and surrounded only by the silent, 
virgin prairies, marked alone by Indian trails. But the fine soil, 
the distribution of the timber, the beautiful landscape and the salu- 
brious climate gave him good reason to hope that in the not distant 
future he should be surrounded by a prosperous and hapjay people. 
He was not disappointed. But ten years had passed and the county 
had a population of neax-ly five thousand people, two thriving villa- 
ges, mills and workshops, many good farms, schools and churches, 
society established, the laws administered and all the blessings of 
civilized life, existing under favorable auspices. 

226 HISrOIlY OF 


A. D. 1866. 

""Tis done: again the conquering Chief appears, 
In the dread vision of dissolving years; 
His vesture dipped in blood, His eyes of (lame. 
The word of God His everlastinj; name: 
Throned in mid-heaven, with clouds of glory spread. 
He sits judgment on the quick and dead."— Jfonfffomeri/. 

The j'ear 1866 was one of the j'ears, which by religious enthu- 
siasts and would-be jirophets. as well as by some careful investiga- 
tors, have from time to time been foretold, as the last of the earth's 
history, the year, which should close the great drama of time, and 
be the final consummation of all sublunary things. 

Some of these predictions were based upon the supposed effects of 
the near approach to, or collision with, the earth in its passage, of that 
anomalous body, known as Biela's Comet, due in 1866. But the 
comet, though due, did not appear during this year. There has 
been for many years some forebodings as to the influence of this 
comet upon the earth. 

We proceed to relate briefly what events transpired in this 
county during this year, and it is necessary, in the order of time, to 
refer first to the new board of 


The Board, now consisting of five members, met on the 2d 
day of January and organized for business, by electing Allen 
Shultis, of Elmore, chairman for the year. A session of three 
days was held, during which much important business was done. 
Prior to this time the supervison of the public schools of the county 
was in the hands of five persons, known as school examiners. But 
a system existed by law at the time, which provided for a single 
superintendent of schools for the whole county, and who should 
receive such salary as the Board might deem proper. This system 
of school supervision could be adopted by any of the counties of the 
State, whenever the commissioners thereof deemed it advisable. 
At this session of the Board, the system was adopted for this countj\ 
and A. H. Pelsey was appointed superintendent, at an annual salary 
of 1^175 00. The examiner system then ceased to exist. The com- 
missioners met again on March 19th. June 28th, and Sept. 4th, but 
their action of historic interest is referred to elsewhere. 



The eighth State Legislature met January 2d and adjourned 
March 2d. The district was represented in the legislature of 1866, by 
D. G. Shillock, of Brown county, in the Senate, and James B 
Wakefield, of Fairbault county, in the House. Mr. Wakefield was 
elected speaker of the House, being the first representative of the 
district who held that very important and honorable ofBce. An- 
drew C. Dunn, of this county, was again elected chief clerk of the 
House of Representatives. 

The legislature of this year re-districted the State for legisla- 
tive purposes. It was enacted that "The twentieth district shall 
be composed of the counties of Faribault, Martin, Jackson, Cotton- 
wood, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone and Rock, and shall be entitled to 
elect one senator and one representative."' 

The other acts of this session, relating to this county were: 

"An act authorizing the president of the town couacil of the town of Wln- 
nobaiio City to execute certain conveyances, and to amend an act entitled 'An 
act to incorporate the town of Winnebago City, approved Feb. 19, 1857.'" 

"An act to authorize the trustees of School District No. 7 in the county of 
Faribault to issue bonds for the purpose of building a school house in said 

"An act to legalize the action of the trustees of School District No. 14, in 
Faribault county, in issuing the bonds of said district to build a school house 

"An act to provide for the payment of certain taxes by the town of Emerald 
in Faribault county." 

"An act to provide for the location of a state road from Winnebago Agency 
in Blue Earth county to "Walnut Lake in Faribault county. 

"An act to locate and establish a state road from Wilton in Waseca county 
to Winnebago City in Faribault county." 

"An act to change the name of the town of Marples in Faribault county to 
that of Minnesota Lake." Approved Feb. 23, 1866. 


In January, the legislature being in session, a railroad project 
was inaugurated by certain of the members, in which this county 
was interested. The following notice of the matter taken from the 
St. Paul Pioneer indicates the object and scope of the project. 

"Articles of incorporation of a new railroad company were yesterday filed 
with the Secretary of State. The object as the name indicates, is to construct 
a railroad from the Mississippi river through the southern tier of counties of 
this State to the Missouri river. The route of the road is described through 
Houston, Fillmore, Mower, Freeborn, Faribault, Martin, Jackson, Nobles and 
Rock bounties, and the main line is designed to run through the flourishing 
young cities of La Crescent, Chatfleld, High Forest, Austin, Albert Lea, Blue 
Earth City, thence to Yankton on the Missouri, with a branch line from High 
Forest to Rochester. The capital of the company is to be $10,000,000." 

Among the incorporators were the names of J. B. Wakefield, 
Geo. D. McArthur and Wm. Dustin, residing in this county. 

228 IIISTonV OF 

The Southern Minnesota Railroad Company had already been 
organized, and designed building a road through the counties above- 
named and had already made a ])artial survey of a route. But this 
route ignoring many of the villages above named, gave much dis- 
satisfaction to the people of those places. It was at the time ex- 
pected that congress would soon make a grant of public lands to 
the State, to aid in the building of a road through the counties named 
above, and which grant was made on the 6th day of July following. 
This new company was therefore organized to compete with the 
S. M. R. R. Co. for the grant, if satisfactory terms could not be 
made with that company as to the points or localities through which 
the road should run. 

The new company was named the La Crescent, Rochester and 
Yankton Railroad Company. 

It is proper here to give a synopsis of the act of Congress mak- 
ing the grant of lands, as it was through this grant our county se 
cured its first railroad, and further, because out of these railroad 
matters grew, subse(iuently, a great deal of political strife, in this 
as well as in some other counties. 

The grant was made by Congress to the State of Minnesota "for 
the purpose of aiding in the construction of a railroad from Hous- 
ton in the county of Houston, through the counties of Fillmore. 
Mower, Freeborn and Faribault to the western boundary of the 
State" and gave "every alternate section designated by odd numbers 
to the amount of five altei'nate sections per mile on each side of said 
road." But in case it should appear that any of the lands granted 
as aforesaid, should have been already claimed by settlers or other- 
wise disposed of, then other lands nearest to the lands granted, 
designated by odd numbers and within twenty miles of the line of 
road, might be selected to supply the deficiency. The public lands 
remaining to the general government, within ten miles of the line 
of road were raised in price to §2.50 per acre. 

And it was further enacted, "that the land hereby granted shall 
be disposed of by said State for the purposes aforesaid only, and in 
manner following: Namely: When the Governer of said State shall 
certify to the Secretary of the Interior that any section of ten con- 
secutive miles of said road is completed * * then the 
Secretary of the Interior shall issue to the State patents for all the 
lands in alternate sections, designated by odd numbers, situated 
within twenty miles of the road so completed, and lying co-terminous 
to said completed section of ten miles, and not exceeding one hun- 
dred sections, for the benefit of the road having completed the ten 
consecutive miles as aforsaid." 

"Provided, however, ]that the coterminous principal hereby ap- 
plied, shall not extend to such lands as are taken by the said rail- 


road company to make up deficiencies. Provided that no land to 
make up deficiencies shall be taken at any point within ten miles of 
each side of the line of said road." 

The proceeding was the same for each ten miles of the road 
completed. The road was to be completed within ten years from the 
acceptance of the grant, or the lands not already patented reverted to 
the United States. 

This magnificent grant of lands was to be disposed of by the 
next succeeding legislature to such company and upon such terms 
and conditions as might be thought expedient. 

Out of these facts and circumstances arose the great "points" 
and "no points" contest in this and several other counties, which 
existed for several years and caused much turmoil, expense, bad 
blood and aspersion of character. It is interesting, even somewhat 
amusing at this distant day, to look back upon these events, which 
once so engaged the attention of our people, but are now almost for- 
gotten. The events of those times also illustrate through what 
great tribulations, grand and beneficent enterprises have often to 
pass before completion. 


The weather during the latter part of December, 1865, and Jan- 
uary of this year, was very cold and stormy, and several persons in 
this county who were exposed, were frozen to death — one at Pilot 
Grove.two reported at Rice Lake and two at Minnesota Lake. About 
the 13th of February a terrific snow storm prevailed over the whole 
country, lasting some twenty- four hours, and will long be sadly re- 
membered for its fury and intense cold. A number of persons were 
frozen to death and others badly injured during this storm in this, 
and in Martin county. 

Much snow covered the ground during the winter and the spring 
was late and cold. But little seeding was done until the latter part 
of April. The spring of this year is well described in the following 
ironical words, lately penned by some cynical individual, who evi- 
dently does not "take much stock" in the usual platitudes written in 
relation to spring. 

•'Gentle spring, wrapped in flannel and furs: wheezing, coughing, sneezing 
and running up a doctor's bill; airy, draughty, rheumatic spring, lotions, mix- 
tures, cough drops and chest protectors— Hail, gentle spring." 


February twenty-second of this year was the 134th anniversary 
of Washington's birthday, and it was observed with more than the 
usual formalities in the large cities, and expecially at the Federal 
capitol. The day is one of our national legal holidays. It has not. 

230 lllSTonV OF 

during the past years, been observed to anj- great extent in this 
county, nor is it generally observed to the extent it should be in the 
rural districts. In the larger cities it is, however, usually celebra- 
ted by extensive military parades, the closing up of business houses, 
the dismissal of the public schools for the day, the adjournment of 
public bodii\s and other appropriate ceremonies and demonstra- 

George Washington was born on the 22d day of February, 1732. 
and died December 14th, 1799. During the time intervening between 
these dates some of the most important political events in their par- 
ticular character and far-reaching influences upon the political des- 
tinies of mankind known to history, transpired on this continent, at 
the head of which, as chief actor, was Washington. 

But of all men living or dead it is the least necessary to write a 
eulogy on Washington, and the writer does not propose to attempt 
it, for the life, character and deeds of this man who was "first in war, 
first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," are known 
to all people of intelligence everywhere. Even little children can 
talk to us about Wasliington. Yet a few words may be written here 
as the authors humble tribute to this great man. His. indeed, is the 
most illustrious name in history, unapproashed and unapproachable. 
And the justice of his exalted position is such that this place is ac- 
corded to him by the universal judgment of mankind. 

As commander-in-chief of the patriot armies in the long war of 
independence he proved himself to be one of the greatest military 
commanders of any age or nation. He was not only successful, but 
he accomplished success in the face of the most persistent opposi- 
tion of the best drilled soldiers of the age, and these results he 
achieved, not with ample means, but with less means to accomplish a 
purjwse than those possessed by any commander of ancient or modern 
times. Then having won the independence of his country and a 
position in which he could have assumed and retained absolute 
power, he crowned his military career and honors by as sublime an 
act as is anywhere recorded — he voluntarily surrendered his position 
and authority to those who r/ave it. Then placed at the head, as chief 
magistrate of a new nation, surrounded by greai and difficult prob- 
lems and untried ways and methods on every hand, he proved him- 
self as em iiimt n stati'sma)! and patriot as any age can name. Confi- 
dence in Washington was that of all things which made ))ossible the 
organization of our government, and no man, in any age, stood for 
so much to his country and uHink-ind as he. His ability, sagacitj'. firm- 
ness, foresight and moderation, provided not only for the exigency 
of the time, but marked out and plainly designated the way of the 
future, and then, this great work done, he again roluutarily lnidd<urn 
all state authority and power and retired to private life. Other men 


have founded great empires and established governments, but Wash- 
ington surpassed all other founders of empire in that, while they 
based theirs upon monarchical principles, arbitrary rule and self- 
aggrandizement, and depended for the support of their governments 
upon military power, he founded his upon the highest known principle 
of civil government — that of self-government, the equality of all citizens, 
from the highest to the lowest, in political right, and dependent prima- 
rily, for its support and perpetuity, not on the power of arms, but 
on the virtue and intelligence of the people governed themselves. 

Of the many illustrious men who surrounded Washington and 
assisted in the grand work of founding a great nation, many were 
great orators; he was not an orator. Some were great lawyers; he 
was not a professional lawyer, and many of them possessed greater 
learning than he, but after all is said and admitted, he after all was 
the center of all, the chief, his the guiding hand, and his the final 
directing wisdom. He seems to have been always not only master 
of himself but the final master of every emergency, and he was the 
central figure and the most revered of every assembly in which he 
ever appeared. 

Ambition, fame, glory, power, riches, honors, make up the sum 
total of the motives of the vast majority of great men, but Washing- 
ton seems to have been above all these things. 

Neither any, nor all of these motives combined furnished the 
motive of his actions, and so spotless was his personal character, both 
in public and private life, and such the unassumed natural majesty of 
his presence and bearing, that agents of venality, intrigue, dishonor 
or disrespect, never thought of approaching him. He was a good 
man as well as great, a quality much lacked by most great men, if 
indeed true greatness can exist without goodness. Justice, truth, 
honor, unselfishness and a conscientious performance of duty, were 
his characteristics. His fame, too, differs fi-om that of most other 
eminent men in the fact that while their names and deeds are be- 
coming forgotten in the lapse of time, his but becomes better known 
and more honored. 

The great Napoleon once said, "the name of Washington will be 
remembered and honored among men long after mine has been lost 
in the vortex of revolutions. " 

Yet Washington was not a God, nor a Demi-God. It was his 
great glory that he was a man, a man of like passions and tempta- 
tions as other men, yet so wise, so pure, so unselfish, so great. 

Finally, if any man's personal character and deeds are worthy 
of respect, if any man's example is worthy of imitation, if any man's 
birthday is worthy of perpetual remembrance, then may all genera- 
tions revere the name, imitate the example and celebrate the birth- 
day of George Washington. 

232 HlSronV OF 


The Bhtc Karth City Advocate, on the third day of April, came 
out under the new and very appropriate heading. Minnesota South- 
west. Of the change the editor says: "We propose to do our 
share in aiding southwest Minnesota to strike a gait that shall build 
up her railroads and place her on a footing equal at least to the rest 
of mankind in the race of progress. It was with a design to call 
attention more particularly to this, the best portion of the State, 
that we have changed the title of the paper, and we hope its readers 
will be satisfied and pleased with the change." 


The district court held its annual term in June. The officers of 
the court were: 

Hon. Horace Austin. Judge presiding. 
John K. Pratt, Clerk. 
Charles Chaple, Sheriff. 
The term lasted four days, and much important business was 

As Blackstone long ago intimated, in that admirable poem, "The 
Lawyer's Farewell to his Muse," there is in court proceedings but 
little of poetry, and less of romance. And there is also but little 
of historic interest, usually. 

"The wrangling courts and stubborn law 

* » * » * * 

The tedious forms, the solemn prate, 
The pert dispute, the dull debate, 
The drowsy bench, the babbling hall." 

Rarely, in this county at least, have furnished any incidents 
worthy of historic record; and hence some few amusing and other in- 
cidents which have occurred in courts other than our own, and illus- 
trative of the proceedings of the courts and the practice of the law, 
for they are much the same everywhere, are incorporated here oc- 

A famous writer has embalmed in a book, and we may do the 
same, the Irish Court Criers. Call, who desired to break the tedious 
monotony of the form of opening court, by adding to the usual dull 
sing-song words, "Hear Ye, Hear Ye. Hear Ye, the court is now 
open," the following expressive command, "And all ye blaggards 
that are not lawyers lave the building." 


On the 19th day of June, a Homestead Convention was held in 
Prescott township, of which J. C. Woodruff was president, and James 
Beard, secretary. 


By the act of congress approved May 20th, 1862, and subse- 
quent acts amendatory thereof, known as the Homestead Laws, it 
was enacted that any person who is the head of a family, or who 
has arrived at the age of twenty one years and is a citi-zen of the 
United States, or who shall have filed his intention to become such, 
shall be entitled to enter one quarter section, or less, of any public 
lands, not appropriated, on the payment of ten dollars and one-half 
the fees of the local land office. No patent for the land entered was 
allowed to issue, until the expiration of five years, when proof had 
to be made of actual settlement and cultivation of the land, when 
the party was entitled to a patent, which vested in him, his heirs 
and assigns forever, a fee simple estate. The passage of this act 
gave a wonderful impetus to immigration. "Lands for the land- 
less," "Homes for the Homeless," became the popular cry of the 
times, and under this act many thousands of acres of land in this 
county were settled upon. Subsequently by order of the State Au- 
ditor dated June 16th, 1863, to the several County Auditors, these 
lands were entered on the assessment books, and were assessed and 
taxed as land to which the title had been perfected. This proceed- 
ing was sustained in several elaborate opinions by the Attorney 
General of the State. The homestead settlers, however, took an- 
other view of the matter, and claimed that these lands were not tax- 
able. Their opinion is set forth fully in a number of resolutions 
passed at the convention above referred to, several of which we 

"Resolved, That it never was the intention of congress that we should pay 
taxes on these lands until after the issuing of our patents, as can be fully 
maintained by the decision of the Secretary of the Interior, the Homestead 
Law and various other acts of government." 

"Resolved, That we respectfully refuse to support for office any man who 
has been, or is likely to be, instrumental in taxing our homestead claims as 
deeded property until we receive our patents." 

It is not within our province here to discuss the merits of the 
question raised, but to state events as they transpired. The home- 
stead settlers throughout the State held about the same views on 
this subject of taxation, but no specific action or organization was 
effected except in a few of the southwestern counties, of which this 
was the principal one. Another new issue had now entered into 
our local politics for the homestead men, as they avow in one of the 
foregoing resolutions, determined to and did carry the matter into 
politics. There proceedings shall be noted as we proceed. 


About the first of July there was a remarkable advance in the 
price of grain and provisions. Wheat went up to $1.70 per bushel; 
flour to '111. 00 per barrel; grocex'ies advanced 25 per cent. Th 


rise was caused mainly by the beginning of war in Europe between 
Prussia and Austria. 


The Fourth of July was approjjrlately celebrated at Blue Earth 
City. A. H. Pelsey read the Declaration and the Rev. Mr. Cooper, of 
the Presbyterian church at thai city, delivered the oration. 

The day was also celebrated in Prescott township by home- 
stead settlers and others. In fact, the meeting was called the 
"Homestead Celebration." By a resolution passed with great 
unanimity, those who favored homestead principles were designated 
formally the homestead party. The party was thus christened on 
the great day of Independence. It does not appear that the day 
was celebrated formally at any other places, but an unusual number 
of picnics were had throughout the county. 

And now another word in refex'ence to homestead matters, which 
at the time created much interest with a large class of our citizens. 
Another homestead convention was held on the 14th of July in the 
town of Barber, at which a number of resolutions declaratory of 
homestead principles were adopted. These township meetings and 
organizations were prepai-atory to a county organization which oc- 
curred subsequently. 

The reader will observe, that there were many picnics on this 
Fourth of July day. Many of us know what this means, in the way 
of recreation. For those who do not care for the more elaborate 
and formal celebrations of the day, the pic-nic party, made up of a 
number of neighbors, held in some convenient grove, and having 
some appropriate speaking, readings and especially singing, is a 
luxury indeed. And this is not only a good way of observing the 
Fourth of July, but is a pleasure which should be enjoyed at 
other times. No one of right constitution can fail to approve the 
frequent out doors pic-nic for the old folks as well as for the young 
folks, for the day school and the Sunday school. 

The ride, the scenery, the shady grove, the freedom from re- 
straint, the balmy air, the dinner, the invigorating exercise, are 
pleasures not soon forgotten. 

We all greatly overlook, or make too little of the many ways of 
social and individual enjoyment ready at hand and all about us. 
For many persons one of the best means of relief and recreation for 
the over-taxed brain and body of the toiler in life's busy work, is a 
quiet leisurely walk in the green fields and along country roads and 
by-ways, away from the great world, divesting the mind as much as 
possible of care and anxiety and the evei-y-day subjects of interest. In 
the contemplation of the beautiful natural scenery which surrounds 
us in the summer days, the broad, free open prairies, with their 


green, luxuriant grasses and wild flowers, the groves and forests, 
the silent river and the silvery babbling brooks, the cool, glimmer- 
ing lakes, the waving grain promising a golden harvest, the singing 
birds, the grazing herds and flocks, the free, pure breezes, the 
quiet, the i^eace and above all the glorious sunshine, we are lifted 
out of the dull, plodding, weary work of ordinary life, to a higher 
plain of existence. The exercise tills the lungs with new air, in- 
creases the action of the blood, stimulates the appetite, helps diges- 
tion and drives away nervousness. 

The mind and body are thus rejuvenated, the thoughts elevated, 
the heart and the life purified, and we have a foretaste of that 
golden age foretold by the seer and sung by the poet — the millennium 
— when war and strife shall be over, and pain and toil be forgotten 
and wrong and fraud and oppression forever ended, when the 
promise "on earth peace, good will toward men" shall be realized. 
Bless you I workman in the shop, the office, the mart, there is a 
better life, a better world, than that of toil and strife and bicker- 
ings and ambition and the lust for gold, and the cheatings and 
frauds and lies, and conventionalities and tyrannies of fashion, the 
jealousies and envyings and hates which so darken the life, wither 
the soul and curse the world. 

While we cannot ignore that which is necessary and proper on 
the practical side of life, yet every man, whatever his business, will 
be the better if he shuts up his shop, his office, his store, or at least 
retires from it occasionally, and goes out into the green fields and 
breathes the free, pure air, relaxes his mind and muscles and ban- 
ishes for a while corroding care. And if he has a wife and children 
he should take them with him Let the aged go out and renew their 
youth, and the young grow wise and strong, in communion with 
nature and its blessed works. 

"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, 
There is a rapture on the lonely shore. 
There is a society where none intrudes, 
By the deep sea, and music In its roar; 
I love not man the less, but nature more 
From these our interviews."— J5)-!/o?i. 


We must here turn aside for a moment from the relation of 
common-place local events, to state that in this year success 
crowned the oft- repeated but heretofore unsuccessful efforts to lay 
a telegraphic cable across the Atlantic ocean. The work was com- 
pleted in the month of July. Telegraphic communication was at 
last successfully established between the old world and the new. and 
the work was pronounced, and very justly so. one of the grandest 
achievements of science and human enterprise, a pei'manent and 


almost inestimable blessing to all nations, and crowning with im- 
mortal honor, the men whose genius, money, energy ami persever- 
ance, accomplished the great work. 


The harvest was interfered with somewhat, as the first week in 
August was charact«"rized by the most intense heat, accompanied 
with storms and terrific thunder and lightning. 

The crops were a failure in a great measure— except perhaps 
wheat in a few localities, and in consequence, business and improve- 
ments were much affected. The year was more than ordinarly wet, 
and the quite unusual circumstance occurred of high waters in August. 
But the year in these respects was not to be compared with the next. 
Several things, however, conspired to counterbalance the evils of 
the time, one of which was the large immigration and the other was 
the disbursement by the general government of immense sums of 
money in paying claims growing out of the war, as a result of which, 
the year in many localities, was deemed one of ease, financially. 

To add to the injury already suffered by the crops, a heavy and 
destructive frost followed by cold weather and cold rains occurred 
on the 20th of September by which the corn and vines were much 

There was much "saft cawn the yeai'." This will be remem- 
bered as one of the very few years in the history of our county in 
which the corn crop was nearly a failure. 


The reaping of the cereal and gathering of some other crops 
takes place in different periods throughout the world, because of 
the different latitudes and consequently different seasons. The fol- 
fowing statement sets forth the harvesting period in almost all 
countries of the woi-ld: 

January — Harvest is ended in most districts of Australia, and 
shipments have been made of the new crop; Chili, New Zealand, 
Argentine Republic. 

February — Upper Egypt, India. 

March — Egypt, India. 

April — Coast of Egypt, Syria, Cyprus, India, Persia. Asia Minor. 
Mexico. Cuba. 

May— Persia, Asia Minor, Algeria, Syria, Texas, Florida. Mo- 
I'occo, Mid-China, Japan, Central Asia. 

June— California, Oregon, Southern United States, Spain, Por- 
tugal, Italy, Hungary, Turkey. Roumenia, Danube, South Russia, 
South of France, Danubian Principalities, Greece, Sicily, Louisiana. 
Mississippi. Alabama. Cleorgia, North and South Carolina. Tennes- 
see, Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas, Arkansas.Utah, Colorado, Missouri. 


July — Southex'n, Eastern and Midland English counties, Oregon, 
Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, 
Ohio, New England, New York, Virginia, Upper Canada, France, 
Germany, Austria, Hungary. Switzerland. Italy, Russia, Poland. 

August — United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, 
Manitoba, British Columbia, Lower Canada. Hudson's Bay Terri- 
tory, Denmark, Poland. 

September — Scotland, England, hops and roots; America, maize; 
Athabasca, wheat, barley, corn; Sweden, North Russia, France, 
beet root, buckwheat. 

October — Scotland. America, maize crop; Prance, Germany, 

November — Australia (North), Peru, South Africa. 

December — Australia (Soutb), Chili, Argentine Republic. 


The Agricultural Society held a meeting at Winnebago City on 
the 14th day of September, at which time a list of premiums to be 
awarded at the annual fair, was made, and it was determined to hold 
the next fair at Winnebago City. The fair was held on the 2d and 
3d days of October. The weather proved to be favorable, and the 
attendance was larger than was expected. On the premiums award- 
ed, but sixty per cent only, was paid. Officers for the ensuing 
year were elected at this time, and they were L. W. Brown, presi- 
dent; J. H. Welch, secretary, and G. D. McArthur, treasurer. 


We now proceed to relate the political events of this year. 
Wm. Windom was again the republican candidate for congress, and 
R. A. Jones was the candidate of the democratic party for the same 
office. On the 2d day of October, the Republican District Convention 
♦was held at Fairmont, Martin county, for the nomination of candi- 
dates for senator and representative of this district. The conven- 
tion consisted of eight delegates apportioned as follows: Faribault 
county, five; Martin county, two, and Jackson county, one. The 
other counties in the district were not represented as they had but 
little or no resident population at that time. Allen Shultis, of Fari- 
bault county, was elected chairman of the convention, and A. C Dunn 
of the same county, secretary. These details are mentioned because 
this convention was the most remarkable in some respects ever held 
in the district, and constituted the initiation to the most stubborn, 
bitter and ]Dersonal political contest ever waged in this county until 
the year 1870, and was only surpassed by the contest of that year. 
In this convention the issue was "points" or "no iDoints." Blue 
Earth City having three Faribault county and one other delegate in 

238 HISTOltY OF 

the interest of points, and Winnebago City having two Faribault 
county delegates and two others, in the interest of no point«, the 
former interest wished to nominate candidates favorable to estab- 
lishing by law the points or localities through which the railroad 
receiving the grant of lands heretofore mentioned, should be built. 
and the latter interest desired to nominate candidates opposed to 
confining the railroad to any definite points. 

A. Bonwell. of Blue Earth City, was the "points" candidate for 
the nomination for senator, and A. C. Dunn, of Winnebago City, the 
"no points"' candidate. 

The vote was a tie, standing four to four on senator for a num- 
ber of ballots, when on motion the nomination of senator was 
dropped for a short time and the convention proceeded to nominate 
a candidate for representative. Mr. A. Andrews, of Martin county, 
a points man, was nominated, his opponent being H. S. Bailey, of 
Jackson county. The balloting was then resumed on senator, and 
after a number of ballots a motion was made to adjourn, but was 
voted down and the convention proceeded to ballot for senator, but 
always with the same result— a tie. Everything possible was said 
and done, and some things said were in hot blood, to bring about a 
favorable result for one party or the other, but to no consequence. 

"When Greek meets Greek, 
Then comes the tug of war." 

About 8 o'clock in the evening, after some forty-six ballots had 
been taken on the nomination of senator, an understanding was had 
with one of the delegates, who before had voted against adjourn- 
ment, and the motion to adjourn without making the nomination of a 
candidate for senator was made and carried. This was the only 
thing that could be done, as on this question of senator each party 
was immovable, and if possible in the nature of things, would have 
been voting there probably to this day without a result on that issue 
rather than give in an inch. After the convention Mr. Bonwell 
withdrew from the field and Jas. B. Wakefield, at the request of the 
people of Blue Earth City and others favorable to points, came out 
as an independent points candidate for the senate. Andrew C. 
Dunn was announced as the no points independent candidate for the 
senate and H. S. Bailey, above-named, as the no points candidate 
for representative. 

On the I3th of October, the Republican County Convention was 
held at Blue Earth City for the nomination of candidates for certain 
county offices. 

The following nominations were made: 

For Auditor— P. W. Cady. 

For Register of Deeds — P. Lent. 

For Surveyor — J. R. Sisson. 



For Court Commissioner — R. Waite. 

For Coroner — W. A. Way. 

For County Attorney — Andrew C. Dunn. 

On the 20th of October, pursuant to call, a Homestead Conven - 
tion assembled at Blue Earth City. Regular delegates were present 
from seven towns and the number of others in attendance, interested 
in the homestead cause, was large. The convention was harmonious 
and somewhat enthusiastic, and with great unanimity made the fol- 
lowing nominations: For Auditor. Rev. A. H. Brown; and for 
County Attorney, Jas. B. Wakefield. For the other county offices 
the nominations made by the Republican Convention were approved. 

As no formal nomination had yet been made for senator by any 
party, this convention proceeded to nominate Mr. Wakefield and Mr. 
Andrews the republican candidate for representative was endorsed 
on motion. The convention then appointed a county central com 
mittee and the homestead party entered the campaign ready for the 

The democratic party placed no candidates in the field. 

The election was held on the 6th day of November and the fol- 
lowing table exhibits the result as officially declared in this county. 

Wm. Windom was elected congressman, Wakefield and Andrews 
senator and representative in the District. A. R. Moore was 
elected county commissioner for District No. 1. and James Crays 
was elected to the same office in District No. 4. 







U. C. 























' 28 















































Pilot Grove 





Blue Earth City 



Jo Daviess 



















The election over, the victors of course, rejoiced- the beaten 
were disgusted and silent. "Points" won and although Mr. Brown, 
the homestead candidate for auditor was defeated, yet as Mr. Wake- 
field was the senatorial nominee of the homestead party and was 
elected, the other issue "no taxation of homesteads" also triumphed. 

The fight was made on the candidates for senator, representa- 
tive and auditor. "No homestead taxation" and "points" were 
united against "no points." As to the newspapers the Free Home- 
utead at Winnebago City favored "no points," and the Southtuest at 
Blue Earth City, sustained the homstead and "points" cause. 

The contest from the beginning, until the ballot box finally de- 
cided the issues, was very bitter and personal not only in this county, 
but throughout the legislative district. Both the county and the 
district were canvassed in their length and breadth, and every voter 
understood the issues. Party politics were entirely thrown aside, 
and democrat and republican, rallied shoulder to shoulder, on one 
side or the other of these local issues. 

Here is a story for politicians, taken from the Scientific Ameri 
can. "A man wanted to learn in what profession he would have his 
son engage. He put the boy in a room, with an apple, a Bible and a 
silver dollar. He left the room and decided that if upon his return 
he found the boy reading the Bible, he would make a minister of 
him. If he was eating the apple he should be a farmer, and if he 
had put the dollar in his pocket he should be a banker. When he 
returned he found the boy sitting on the Bible eating the apple, and 
had put the dollar in his pocket. What did he make of the boy? 
Well he made him a politician." 


The year 1866, like all preceding years, came to an end, having 
completed its full time. 

Notwithstanding the prophecies of "the end of the world," to 
occur this year, the earth regularly, as through countless years and 
centuries before, performed its diurnal revolutions, kept within its 
orbit and pursued its journey around the sun. The sun continued 
to shine, and the seasons to follow each other in their regular course 
and the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. "For the prophecy 
came not in the old time by the will of man, but holy men of God 
spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." 

Many years after writing the foregoing sketch of the year 1866. 
the writer deemed it proper to add the following section. During 
the last three-quarters of a century and at least for a period dating 
back as far as the time of the great Millerite excitement of 1843, 
there has been a widely-spread opinion existing, not only among 


persons given to alarms, wonders and sensationalism, but also 
among many thoughtful, intelligent and conservative investigators, 
that we are living in the "last tiioes," or as has been variously ex- 
pressed or understood, that some great crisis in the affairs of man- 
kind is near at hand — that we are near the close of the Christian 
dispensation — that the final judgment "the judgment of the great 
day" is imminent — that we are near "the end of the world." And 
the proi^hecies of the second advent of Christ being so frequently 
and explicitly declared in the Scriptures, it is not remarkable that 
there should be found one or more religious bodies making that im- 
portant truth and the near approach of the final judgment — the de- 
struction of all material things — the end of the world, as they believe, 
and the duties of Christians, growing out of these facts if such they 
be, primary points in their religion beliefs. 

And considering these prophecies and the stupendious charac- 
ter of the events they foretold, and those which they purport to 
foretell as yet to occur, it is not strange that many persons through 
the past centuries and in the present times have sought to interpret 
these prophecies and determine the time of the second advent or 
"the end of the world," whatever that may signify. 

The wonder is that if the prophecies relating to this matter, can 
be interpreted, the subject has not attracted universal attention, for 
it is certainly a subject of universal and overwhelming interest. 

But there are many — far too many, indeed, who are of the class 
described in 2d Peter iii: 3, 4, and will be to the end of time itself. 

242 BJSTOny <iF 


A. D. 1867. 

And now tho thickeniniLj sky, 
Like a dark ceilinj,' stood; down rushed the rain 

— Milton. 

This year was one remarkable for scarcity of provisions, high 
prices of grain, railroad excitements, heavy rains, deep mud and 
high waters. 

During the winter of 1866 and 1867 there was a very heavy fall 
of snow. The winter commenced early in 1866 and lasted until late 
in the spring of this year. There was good sleighing during the 
first half of April. 


During this year Andrew Johnson was president of the United 
States and William R. Marshall, governor of the State of Minnesota, 
Our United States senators were Alexander Ramsey and Daniel S. 
Norton, and our representative in congress was William Windom. 
James B. Wakefield, of this county, was our state senator, and A. 
Andrews, of Martin county, was our representative in the legisla- 
ture of the State. Horace Austin, of St. Peter, was the judge of 
this judicial district. 

And by reference to the history of our county government and 
of the several county offices — part third of this history — it appears 
that the boai'd of county commissioners was composed of the follow- 
ing named gentlemen: Henry J. Neal. chairman; J. R. Sisson. A. R. 
More, Sr., James Grays and J. Clagget. 

County Auditor— P. W. Cady. 

Treasurer — R. B. Johnson. 

Clerk of Court— John K. Pratt. 

Register — Frank Lent. 

County Attorney — J. H. Sprout. 

Judge of Probate — Amos Preston. 

Sheriff— C. E. Chaple. 

Superintendent of Schools — A. H. Polsey. 

Count Surveyor — J. R. Sisson. 

Coroner — W. A. Way. 



On the first day of January, New Year's Day, the commissioners 
met in annual session, preferring, apparently, to attend to the func- 
tions of their high office than spend the day in the usual holiday 
observances. The board organized by electing Henry J. Neal chair- 
man for the year, and proceeded to business. 

Another session of the board was held on the 20th day of March, 
at which time a proposition was discussed in reference to the build- 
ing of a county jail, of the proportions of sixteen feet by twenty-four 
feet and one story high. 


The State legislature assembled January 8th and adjourned 
March 8th. 

The acts passed at this session, of special interest to the people 
of this county, were the following: An act authorizing the Minne- 
sota Valley Railroad Company (now the St. Paul and Sioux City), to 
build a branch road from Mankato, or some point near thereto, to 
the south line of Faribault county, by the way of Blue Earth City. 

An act approved February 25th, accepting the grant of lands 
by congress of July 4th, 1866, and vesting the same, subject to 
the provisions of the act of congress, in the Southern Minnesota 
Railroad Company, and subject to the further condition, that the 
"Said company should construct its road from its then western 
terminus, to the village of Preston, in Fillmore county, and fi'om 
thence to the village of Austin, in Mower county, to the village of 
Albert Lea, in Freeborn county, to the village of Blue Earth City 
in Faribault county, to the village of Fairmont, in Martin county, 
to the village of Jackson, in Jackson county, and thence to the 
west line of the State." 

The company was required to formally accept the grant with 
the conditions, within thirty days from the passage of the act. 

The company resisted the fixing of the points through which 
the road should be built, by all the influences they could bring to 
bear, but they were unsuccessful. Our members of the legislature, 
of course, with others along the line of the road, labored success- 
fully to secure this provision of the act, as it was upon this "point" 
question mainly, they had been elected the preceding fall, as will be 
remembered. The company, however, accepted the act with the 
conditions, within the time limited. 

The securing of the "jjoints provision" in the land was deemed 
a great triumpth by the "points-men" throughout the whole south. 
ern tier of counties. But, alas! How uncertain are many supposed 
certainties in human affairs. How often people rely upon and re- 
joice over what after all proves but a delusion. 

244 HISTORY or 

To make a long story short, it is sufficient to say that the road 
was never built on the line defined by the act, but tde county se- 
cured the road, however, on a more northern route. 

As above stated, James B. Wakefield in the Senate and A. An- 
drews in the House, were the members for this district in the legisla- 
ture of 1867. 


The price of wheat early in February reached >>2. 14; oats. *1.00; 
potatoes, ^1.00 per bushel. Flour, $7.00 per hundred pounds and 
butter 25 cents jjer pound. These were high prices, but we were 
destined to see and pay still higher figures further along in the 


The snows of the winter began to go o£E about the middle of April, 
with heavy rains. In fact the spring was characterized all over 
the country by almost incessant and deluging rains, and was very 
late and cold. The streams became very high, and vast districts of 
country along the course of the great rivers were submerged, and 
much damage was done by the fioods. Bridges were swept awaj', all 
lowlands were overflowed, and the roads for a time were literally im- 
passable. During the sj^ring many cattle died of disease and short 
feed. Hay was very scarce, and the price went up to •i!7.00 per 
ton. High waters and rains accompanied by heavy storms con- 
tinued until the latter part of June. It was almost impossible to do 
the necessary seeding, and immigration and improvements were 
much retarded. To add to the general discomfort and distress, pro 
visions of all kinds, owing to the short crops of the previous year, 
became very scarce and high. Wheat, near harvest, sold at from 
$2.50 to §5.3.00 per bushel; oats, $1.00 per bushel; potatoes, §2 50 per 
bushel; ttour, $10.00 per hundred weight; pork, twenty-five cents 
per pound, and money was very scarce. 

Actual suffering existed in many localities in the county because 
of the want of the commonest articles of food. It was truthfully 
said that many of the poorer families in the country were compelled 
to subsist for weeks on a few coarse vegetables, such as rutabagas 
and turnips, and several instances were related in which several 
families subsisted upon rutabagas and coarse bran alone for weeks, 
and in some other instances on ground corn and potatoes. Relief to 
a limited extent was afforded in a number of the worst cases, but 
few were able to assist others. 

The state of distress at one time became so pressing that in cer- 
tain sections of the neighboring country the people, it was rumored, 
designed clubbing together and making a raid on the stores, gran- 
eries and mills in Blue Earth City, and take by force what they had 


not the means to bay. But it should not be thought that the resi- 
dents of the villages were insensible and selfish. The fact was that 
no one had anything to spare. Many in the villages were as desti- 
tute almost as those in the country, and all that could be done was 
done to assist the most needy. Aid, inthe way of food, clothing and 
seed grain was granted by the State, benevolent societies and indi- 
viduals, to the people of many of the frontier counties. 

During the high waters a boat came from East Chain Lakes, in 
Martin county, to Blue Earth City by way of Badger creek, and 
returned safely with several sacks of flour. This is the only known 
instance of the navigation of the Badger. Several boats also came 
from the same locality by way of Center creek and the Blue 
Earth river to Winnebago City, for supplies. 


We find the following announcements in the South West of June 
8th and 15th of this year: 

"Subscriptions are being received for building in this city a new 
steamer for the Cincinnati and New Orleans trade." 

"Nobody is prophesying a dry season this year. He may be a 
false prophet." 

"Navigation is now open by way of the Badger to Chain Lakes." 
"These statements are more valuable as showing the condition of 
the country than for their wit." 

As the rain ceased and the new crops of the year came into 
market the general distress was relieved, and matters assumed a 
more cheerful and encouraging aspect, but were still far from being 
entirely satisfactory. 


On or about the 20th day of February the Free Homestead, at 
Winnebago City, changed proprietors, J. L. Christie retiring and 
E. A. Hotchkiss becoming the proprietor and editor of the paper. 
Mr. Christie says, good naturedly, in his brief valedictory, among 
other things, "And now kind friends and patrons, wishing you all a 
prosjDerous future, we bid you all a kind adieu, hoping you have no 
ill-will toward us and assuring you that we have none toward you." 
On assuming charge of the paper Mr. Hotchkiss writes, "The polit- 
ical character of the Homestead will not be changed, but remain ever 
ready to advocate the right and condemn the wrong, as it is viewed 
through republican glasses." 

About this time a novel idea seems to have seized the editor of 
the South West. In the issue of March 2d, of that paper, there ap- 
pears on the first page some twenty-six revival hymns, and the tenth 
chapter of St. John's gospel in full. It was certainly a very curious 


newspaper page and attracted considerable attention. Did the 
editor suppose that this matter would be considered "news" to the 
benighted people of this region? 

While treating of newspapers it may be well to state that the 
first convention of newspaper editors ever held in Minnesota met 
during the month of February, of this year, at St. Paul, at which 
time the Minnesota Editorial Association was formed. A large 
number of delegates were present and the convention was in every 
way a perfect success. The Homestead says: 

"The citizens of St. Paul nobly responded to the efforts of the city press to 
make the guests welcnnie. The novcrndr (,'ave a receiitioo, the mayor took 
them in, the senate invited tlieiii wilhin the bar, the doors of the Opera house 
were opened, hotel proprietors presented rare bills of fare, and an artist offered 
to photot'raph the whole lot, free." 

ho! for MONTANA. 

In the early part of the year, considerable public interest was 
created in this county and elsewhere throughout the State, in con- 
sequence of the organization in this State, of what was known as 
"The Great Overland Expedition to Montana." by Capt. P. B. Davy, 
of this county. Montana was supposed to be rich in the precious, 
metals — a new California — and many desired to go to this new 
El Dorado. But the journey was a long one, and somewhatperilous 
and hence the organization of this expedition, which provided a 
comparatively cheap and safe way of reaching the land of gold. 
The expedition, when tinally made up, consisted of about seven 
hundred souls, and included some seventy families, about one- half 
of the whole number, however, were destined ultimately for the 
Willamette Valley, Oregon Territory. 

The company with its great train of one hundred and thirty 
wagons and other conveyances, left Minneapolis, Minn., on the long 
journey, near the middle of May. The expedition reached Port 
Abercrombie about the 1st of July, Port Stevenson about August 1st, 
and proceeded thence by way of Port Buford, near the mouth of 
the Yellow Stone river, to Port Benton, the head of navigation on 
the Missouri. Here the company divided, about one-half proceed- 
ing on the way to Oregon, the other portion pursuing the route to 
Helena, Montana, the objective point, which place was reached 
the middle of September. 

The expedition was conducted through without loss of life, or 
serious accident, and was in the main a success. In December fol- 
lowing Capt. Davy returned to this State and immediately began the 
organization of a large company for the exploration of the Black 
Hills of Dakota, to which some reference will be made hereafter. 



The June term of the district court was adjourned until the 
21st day of October, the Judge assigning as one reason for the ad- 
journment, "the backwardness of the season." A term of five days 
was held in October, and quite a number of causes were heard and 
disposed of by the court. 

They have a curious way of deciding law-suits in Siam. Both 
parties are put under cold water, and the one staying longest wins 
the suit. It is different here. In this country, both parties are got 
into hot water, and then kept there as long as possible. The re- 
sult is about the same. 


On the 26th day of June, the commissioners again met and 
among other business ti-ansacted, we find the granting of licenses to 
run ferry boats on the Blue Earth river. One ferry was established 
at Latimer's Ford, and one at Dunham's Ford As being of some in- 
terest and possibly useful in similar cases occurring hereafter, it is 
well to state the rate of tolls which was established at this time. 
Here is the schedule: 

One pair of horses or oxen and wagon Fifty cents. 

One horse and buggy Twenty-five cents. 

One horse and rider Twenty cents. 

One footman Ten cents. 

The chairman of the board was authorized to grant licenses and 
fix tolls thereafter. 

The board met again September 3d, but, either not caring for 
history, or having nothing of importance to do, they did nothing 
worthy of being rescued from oblivion. 


And now we have to record a singular fact. It does not appear 
that our nation's birthday was celebrated in this county in 1867. 
Indeed the editor of the South West announced in his paper that, "on 
account of the lateness of the season, the 4th of July has beea post- 


The harvest was light. The grain was not all cut even as late 
as the 28th of August, and then nearly all of it had yet to be stacked. 
Much of the wheat was blighted this year, especially that grown on 
corn ground. The corn crop was not a good one. 


It was in this year, 1867 that the new National game of baseball 
was introduced into this county, and for many years after was the 


great game of the young men and boys. Games of ball had existed 
long previous to this, but they were only simple affairs. This new 
game of ball was made up upon new and scientific principles and 
was conducted according to strict regulations. Base ball clubs, 
under the new system, were organized everywhere throughout the 
United States, and some of these clubs acquired a national reputa- 
tion because of their great skill and success. There were also 
National and State organizations. Clubs of professionals traveled 
great distances to meet others in match games, in which as much 
interest was felt by certain classes as in the great horse races and 
trotting matches. A notable game was played at Blue Earth City, 
in this county, on the 30th day of August, of this year, between the 
Blue Earth City club and the Frontier club of Mankato. The "Fron- 
tiers" did not win the game. They came up in great style, but the 
country "Jakes" were too much for them. Each club, according to 
the regulations, had its officers, and when playing match games 
usually were dressed in a close, neat fitting and picturesque uniform. 
The game required nine men on a side — the captain, who was the 
catcher; the pitcher, the short stop, first, second and third base, the 
right field, the center field and the left field. There was also an 
umpire who decided all disputes, and a scorer who kept the count. 
Changes are made occasionally in the regulations, but the above 
outline coustitutes the basis arrangement. 

Ball clubs have been formed in all the villages and in most of 
the townships of the county, and match games between the various 
clubs were quite frequent for some years, especially on great public 
days, as the Fourth of July, and afforded a great deal of amuse- 
ment. Cracked heads, disjointed fingers and bruised shins, were 
often among the haps and mishaps of hardly contested games. Very 
novel matches were gotten up sometimes, to the great amusement 
of the spectators, such for instance as a game between the "heavy 
nines," usually composed of the heaviest men of the locality, and 
the "small nines," made up of small boys. It is a remarkable 
fact, never yet satisfactorily accounted for on any well-established 
philosophical principles, that in these matches the boys always con- 
trived to win the game, and inflict more or less misery of various 
kinds on the other side. 

It may be further added that each ball club assumed a name by 
which it was known and addressed, as the White Stockings, the Red 
Stockings, the Blue Jackets, the Innocents, the Greentops, the Yell- 
hards and like apt titles. 

Of late years the interest in this once great game has much sub- 
sided, and in many sections of the country, especially in this county, 
the clubs have ceased to exist, but will doubtless be revived again. 



There is but little to write of the proceedings of the agricultural 
society for this year, and that little may all be expressed in this one 
paragraph. There was a meeting of the society held at Blue Earth 
City, July li7th, at which time a list of premiums was drawn up. 
Early in September, L. W. Brown, president, offered in behalf of the 
society, a premium of fifteen dollars to any ball club in the State 
which would win the prize in a game to be played on the last day of 
the annual fair. 

The fair was held at Blue Earth City on the 25th and 26th days 
of September. The weather was fine, but the fair was not a great 


Some of the subjects of public interest and discussion, during 
the year, were the following: 

In February: The passage, by congress, of the military gov- 
ernment bill, for the southern states. 

In March: The appointment of military governors, to various 
districts in the South; the purchase of Alaska from Russia. 

In May: The admission to bail of the arch-traitor, Jeff. Davis. 

In June: The shooting, in Mexico, of the invader, Maximilian. 

In September: The dedication of the national cemetery at 

In December: The organization of the Patrons of Husbandry, 
or Farmers' Grange, at Washington, D. C. ; the commencement of 
proceedings to impeach President Johnson. 


The election of a governor and several other State officers, 
added somewhat to the interest of the campaign this fall. 

The candidates for governor were Wm. R. Marshall, republican, 
and Chas. E. Flandrau, democrat. A proposed adjustment of the 
State railroad bonds and several amendments to the constitutonwere 
to be voted upon. 

The Republican County Convention was held at Blue Earth City, 
on the 25th day of September. The following nominations were 

For Treasurer — R. B. Johnson. 

For Sheriff— F. F. Harlow. 

For Judge of Probate — A. F. De La Vergne. 

For County Attorney — J. H. Sprout. 

For Coroner — A. J. Rose. 

For Court Commissioner — A. F. De La Vergne. 


The Republican Legislative District Convention was held at 
Fairmont, Martin county, on the 2d day of October, and nominated 
for re election, as representative, A. Andrews, of that county. 

Several days lator another legislative convention was held at 
Winnebago City, in the interest of the "No-pointers," and nominated 
A. B. Colton, of Martin county, for representative. 

The democracy, rallying from their lethargy, held a district 
and county convention at Blue Earth City, on the 12th day of 
October, and made the following nominations. 

R. B. Simmons, for Representative. 

Silas Richardson, for Sheriff. 

C. M. Sly, for Treasurer. 

G. B. Kingslej', for County Attorney. 

D. H. Morse, for Coroner. 

The only issue in this campaign besides that of general politics 
was that of "points" or "no jioints," and the main contest was, of 
course, upon the office of representative. 

The law had established the "points," and the railroad company 
had accepted the grant of lands with the "i^oints" fixed, it is true, but 
the company alleged that they could not and would not build the 
road through the points named, and that unless the "points" condition 
was removed the building of the road would be indefinitely delayed 
or entirely defeated. The "points" party held that the public con- 
venience and "the greatest good to the greatest number," required 
the road to be built through the points named, and that it could be 
as easily built on that line as on any other, hence the "no pointers" 
sought to elect a representative favorable to removing this restric- 
tion, the other party to retaining it. 

The election was held on the 5th day of November. The fol- 
lowing table exhibits the vote in this county: 

For Governor— W. R. Marshall 919 

Chas. E. Flandrau 301 

For Representative— A. Andrew."! 583 

A. B. ColtoD 502 

R. K Simmons 104 

For Judge of Probate— A. F. De La Vergne 955 

ForSherilT—F. F. Harlow 903 

S. Richardson 301 

For Treasurer— R. B. Johnson 941 

C. M.Sly 277 

For County Attorney— J. H. Sprout 887 

G. B. Kingsley 328 

For Court Commissioner— A. F. De La Vergne 952 

For Coroner— A. J. Rose 917 

D. 11. Morse 296 

H. J. Neal was elected county commissioner for district No. 2, 
and W. J. Robinson for district No. 3. 


The remainder of the legislative district gave Mr. Colton a ma- 
jority sufficient to elect him representative, and this was a triumph 
for the "no pointers." 


The reader will remember how odious Stamp Acts were held to 
be by the people of this country in our early history. 

In 1765 an attempt was made by Great Britain to levy a tax on 
the colonies in this manner. It will be remembered, also, how earn- 
estly Benjamin Franklin, then in London, labored to prevent the 
passage of the act, and how Samuel Adams, the ''Father of the Revo- 
lution," denounced this act; how the indignation of the people 
blazed out when they heard of the passage of the act. because of its 
gross injustice, and how the "Sons of Liberty, "in Boston demolished 
the building where the stamps were to be sold. A similar spirit at 
the time prevailed over the whole country. This obnoxious act was 
repealed the next year. 

But times and circumstances and hard necessities, alter cases. 
During the great rebellion — 1861-5 — stamp duties or taxes were laid 
by our general government on almost every form of legal instrument, 
and other papers of value, and on packages of a great variety of 
manufactured articles, some of which still continue to be imposed. 
The stamps were of various sizes, values and devices and resembled 
our postage stamps. License fees were also charged on various oc- 
cupations and pursuits. The object of all this was, of course, to aid 
in the raising of revenue to support the government and pay the 
enormous expenses of the war. There was but little opposition to 
this form of taxation, among the loyal people. Stamp duties on legal 
instruments, and license fees on occupations continued for a number 
of years after the war, and were in full force at this time, but were 
finally I'epealed, except on some manufactured articles as above 

We state here some of the more common stamp duties and li- 
cense fees required by law, as a matter of interest to the generation 
which has come upon the stage of action since the war: 

Agreement or contract, in writing, each sheet $ .05 

Bank check or draft 02 

Promissory note, per each SlOO or fraction 05 

Bond of indemnity, for each $1,000 or fraction 50 

Bond of executor, administrator or guardian, where the property exceeded 

$1,000 in value 1. 00 

Official bonds 1.00 

Deeds, conveying lands, consideration under $500, 50 cts. Consideration 

$1,000, $1.00 and each $500 additional or fraction thereof 50 

Life insurance policy for less than $1,000 25 

Exceeding $1,000 and not execeeding $5,000 50 

Fire Insurance policy, not exceeding $10.00 premium 10 


Not exceedinjrSoOOO 25 

Leases, rental $H00 per annum or less 50 

Mortgages of real or personal estate, same as deeds. 

Power of attorney to sell lands 1 .00 

Probate of will, value of estate over 81,000 and not exceeding $2,000. $1.00 

and every additional $1,000 or fraction thereof 50 

Receipt for money paid, over $20.00 02 

Trust deed, as security, same as a mortgage. 

License fees on occupations, etc. 

Lawyers, $10.00; physicians JIO. 00; claim agents, $10.00; insurance agents, 

$10.00, and many other occupations— like fees. 


On November 14th of this year, a remarkable meteoric shower 
was witnessed in the United States, of which Prof. Loomis. of New 
Haven, Conn., gives the following account: 

"A display of shooting-stars occurred this morning, and attained its great- 
est magniflcence about 4:30 o'clock. I counted 500 meteors alone in one hour, 
which would indicate about 2,000 per hour for the entire heavens, and that, too, 
in the presence of a full moon, which probably eclipsed two-thirds of the whole 
number. So far as the numbers are concerned, the exhibition was, therefore, 
more remarkalile than that seen in Europe last November, and was but little 
inferior to that seen in the United States in 1833." 
"What eye can pass Him over, 
Spreading aloft in the clear night? Him (God), flrst. 
Whoever scans the heavens is sure to trace." 

Nothing further remains to be said of the history of this year. 
It was one of the least eventful, least interesting and least profit- 
able, in the history of the county. The times during the whole year 
were, taking all things together, very discouraging to all classes of 
people, especially the farmers. Many were gloomy, lost their en- 
ergies and felt as though their labors and efforts were in vain. Such 
seasons of despondency and fear of difficulties ahead come to all 
sometimes, whatever their station in life may be. and is a very un- 
happy and unprofitable condition, from whatever cause discourage- 
ment may come. It is never best, in any of the proper ways of life, 
or business, to lose hope or abandon effort and it would be well if 
every one should know and oft repeat the following golden words 
of the poet, so apt. truthful, practical: 

"The wise and active conquer difflculties 
l>y dariwj to allempt them; Sloth and folly 
Shiver and shrink at sight of toil and hazard, 
And make the impossibility they fear.'' 



A. D. 1868 

In this historic panorama of the year, as it passes in I'eview 
before us, we at last behold, high up on the canvas, the emblazoned 
figures 1868. What of this almost forgotten year? How little any 
one remembers definitely of the events of any past year. Two or 
three personal incidents makes up the sum total. All other events 
are vague and uncertain and may belong to a year, two or three years 
before, or after. But for the historian's labor the events of the 
past, however important would soon, in the lapse of time, become 
mere traditions in which truth and fable are indistinguishable, and 
they constantly growing more uncertain, would at last pass forever 
from the memory of man. 

In recounting the events of this year, a proper regard for our 
local legislative body and the order of incidents as to time, requires 
the statement that our county commissioners assembled on the 7th 
day of January and had a session of four days. All the further ac- 
tions of the board at this session, which it is needful to record here, 
is that Henry J. Neal was reelected chairman, and it was decided 
to let the contract for building the county jail, a much-needed im- 
provement in the light of public economy. 

The board met again on the 10th and 11th days of February, 
but did nothing of importance, but reject a number of exorbitant bids 
for building the jail. Other meetings of the board were held March 
10th, June 12th and Sept. 1st, but the business done was of no 
special interest. 


Though somewhat out of the order of events, it may be noted 
here that on the 25th day of January, a convention of homestead 
men was held at Blue Earth City, of which John A. Dean was chair- 
man. In view of the demand of the "homesteaders," that further 
action be had by the legislature, then in session, in relation to tax- 
ation of homestead claims, the party at this convention was re- 
organized, a number of bylaws were adopted for the government of 
the society, and the name "The Free-Homestead Society of Faribault 
County," was adopted. This convention meant to accomplish some- 
thing for the relief of homestead men, as will be seen hereafter, they 


eventually succeeded. This convention much assisted in hastening 
certain legislation mentioned hereafter. 

Let us now look towards the Capitol of the State where the 
legislature was in session and see what was being done for the good 
of the ])eople by 


The State Legislature of this year which assembled January 7th 
and adjourned March Gth, jiassed several acts having a direct re- 
lation to this county. The titles of these acts were as follows: 

An act to provide for the payment of certain taxes by the town 
of Grant (Rome), in Faribault county. 

An act to locate, survey and establish a State road from Blue 
Earth City, in Faribault county, via Fairmont, in Martin county, to 
Jackson, in Jackson county This road was subsequently surveyed 
and established. 

An act to authorize the towns in Fillmore, Mower, Freeborn, 
Faribault, Martin and Jackson counties, to issue bonds to aid in the 
construction of any railroads running into, or through said counties. 
Under the provisions of this act, most of the towns in this county, 
at one time or another, voted to issue bonds, in various amounts, to 
aid in the construction of railroads in the county, as may be seen 
more fully by reference to the history of the several townships. 

An act to provide for the taxation of improvements on home- 
stead claims, made under the act of congress approved May 20th, 
1862, entitled "An act to secure homesteads to actual settlers on the 
public domain, and the interest of claimants in such claims." 

Bj' this law all improvements on homestead claims were re- 
quired to be assessed and taxed, but section 4 enacted that "no tax 
shall be assessed or levied on any lands, held or occupied by set- 
tlers under said act of congress, other than on improvements made 
on the same, and the interest of the claimant therein, so long as the 
fee of the same remains in the United States.."' 

This act was passed to satisfy the demands of the homestead 
settlers of the State who objected, as we have already seen, to the 
taxation of their homestead claims. 

In this connection it should be stated that on the first day of 
February, Mr Wakefield, senator from this district, introduced in the 
senate: "A bill for an act to compel the county auditors of the sev- 
eral counties of the State to strike from the several tax duplicates, 
certain taxes therein named." Section first enacted, that the county 
auditorsof the several counties of the State are hereby required to 
strike from the several tax duplicates for the year 1867, and the sev- 
eral delinquent tax lists for previous years, all taxes upon lands en- 
tered under the act of congress, entitled an act to secure homesteads 
to actual settlers, etc , approved May 20th, 1862, when such taxes 


have been levied upon such lands prior to the time the person or 
persons entering the same, were entitled to receive a patent or pat- 
ents therefor. Section second enacted, "such lands shall not be 
subject to taxation for any purpose prior to the time that the per- 
sons entering the same, may be entitled to patents therefor, from 
the United States." 

During the first days of February many petitions were circulated 
through the county and were numerously signed, praying the State 
legislatui'e to pass Mr. Wakefield's bill. The bill passed the Senate 
but failed in the House, and the act above referred to relating to the 
taxation of improvements on homesteads became the law of the State. 
That act at first sight, appeared in the main satisfactory but as con- 
strued for a time subsequently, proved a delusion as much as a re- 
lief measure. It was very much as though a stone had been given 
when bread had been asked. All improvements upon the home- 
stead ••and the Interest of the claimant therein, so long as the fee of 
the same remains in the United States," being assessed, taxed and 
held as personal property, the last cow of the homestead settler 
could be taken as in all other cases of personal property taxes for 
the payment of the tax. And the payment of the tax, too, being per- 
sonal, was imperative, and more immediate than if assessed as a land 
tax. But the act was the best and in fact all that could be obtained 
of the legislature at that time, and was construed differently from 
the intention of many of the makers of the law. It may also be stated 
here incidently, that an act was also passsed, approved March 4th, 
relieving the Southern Minnesota Railroad Company from building 
their road to two "points" "Preston" and "Austin," named in the 
bill granting them the lands, and although this action had no direct 
reference to this county, it was the first and most important step 
towards the removal of all the points. 

James B.Wakefield, of this county, in the Senate, and A. B. Col- 
ton, of Martin county, in the House, represented this district in the 
legislature of 1868. 


The spring of this year opened about the 20th of March, and 
seeding was done as early as the 23d of March. All the seeding 
was done early, and the weather continued quite favorable until the 
24th day of April, when quite a snow storm occurred. 

In view of the short crops of the two preceding years, a greater 
breadth of land was seeded this year than ever before, every availa- 
ble acre being put under cultivation. The farmers were encour- 
aged to hope for good prices, as wheat, in May, brought two dollars 
per bushel, and the fact was that prices during the whole year ruled 
very favorably to the farmers. 

256 HISTOltY OF 


On the 24th day of February the House of Representatives of 
the United States adopted articles of impeachment of Andrew John 
son. President of the United States, whicli event created great com- 
motion in political circles, and much interest throughout the countrj'. 
It is not proper here to discuss what, in that day, were known as 
"the reconstruction measures." the "my policy," of the President, 
nor the President's conduct, in the exercise of the functions of hi."* 
high office; they are simply alluded to here, as showing the subjects 
of public interest at the time, and in reference to the impeachment 
proceedings it is sufficient to say. that a trial before the Senate of 
the United States, sitting as a High Court of Impeachment was had. 
which terminated May 16th. The vote stood thirty five for im- 
peachment, and nineteen against. The law required a two-thirds 
vote to impeach, and the vote cast for impeachment lacked one of 
the requisite number. 

Another subject of much public interest at the time, was the 
overland expedition to the Black Hills of Dakota, projected by 
Capt. P. B. Davy, a resident of this county, and which created con- 
siderable excitement through Ihe county and State during the 
spring of this year. There was very good evidence that great 
mineral wealth existed in that wonderful tract of country, gold, 
silver, copper, iron, coal, besides immense forests of pine timber, 
and the object of the expedition was, as stated by the projector of the 
enterprise, "to open up that beautiful and fertile region to settle- 
ment and cultivation, and establish in her rich valleys a thriving 
and energetic people, who will bring to light the weight of her 
slumbering wealth and prospect her yet undeveloped and compara- 
tively unknown mines." 

Many agencies where established throughout the State for the 
purpose of affording information as to the objects of the enterprise, 
and facilities for joining the company. The expedition was gotten 
up on a large scale, and it was designed that the various detach- 
ments should leave the State about the 20th of May, and all gather 
at Yankton, D. T.. the place of general rendezvous, from whence 
the line of march would be taken up early in .June, for the Hills. 

But when the expedition was about organized, it was counter- 
manded by the general government, on the ground that the terri- 
tory of country known as the Black Hills had been reserved for 
the occupancy of the Indians, and all others were forbidden to tres- 
pass upon it. and consequently this whole project had to be aban- 

It is hardly necessary to observe at this day. that the subse- 
quent opening and settlement of that region, which occurred in 


latei' years, have abundantly proved the correctness of the previous 
conjectures and statements as to the great mineral wealth of the 

In connection with the Black Hills project, a pamphlet of 
twenty-eight pages was published at the South West office, in April 
of this year, under the supervision of Capt. Davy, containing an 
elaborate notice of the exi3edition and its objects, and containing, 
also, an article descriptive of Blue Earth City and Faribault county. 
Soon after harvest following, when the expedition had been aban- 
doned, another pamphlet of twenty-eight pages, more fully descrip- 
tive of the county, gotten up by Capt. Davy, with the assistance of 
several other residents of Blue Earth City, was published at the Soutli 
West printing office, for general distribution throughout the Eastern 
states and Canada. These publications constituted the first, and it 
may be said the last efforts, until late years, beyond a few newspaper 
articles, to afford information, to the world at lai-ge, of the character 
of this county, its natural advantages for settlement, and to induce 

Another topic of much interest at this time, with the people 
generally, was the building of the Southern Minnesota Railroad. 
Its progress was closely watched. When it should reach this county, 
if ever, was a matter of considerable discussion. At this time, and 
for several years, Waseca, in Waseca county, on the line of the 
Winona and St. Peter Railroad, was the great grain and lumber 
market of this region of country. An immense traffic was done over 
the roads leading from this county to that place. Long trains of 
from ten to thirty or more teams — farmers' wagons and the carry- 
alls of the regular teamsters, were almost daily passing back and 
forth, hauling out grain and bringing back lumber, merchandise, 
etc. A number of stopping places on the line became quite famous 
hostelries for a number of years — Barber's and Schoffman's at Min- 
nesota Lake; Hill's, Caster's, Larrabee's, the taverns at Wilton, are 
still remembered. Many an adventure, incident and joke of the road, 
occurring in those days, are still told by those who journeyed to 
and fro. 


On the 2d day of June, the District Court commenced its annual 
term, Hon. Horace Austin, presiding. The term was a very import- 
ant one and lasted nine days. A large calendar was disposed of, but 
none of the cases were of public interest. Some of the cases, how- 
ever, involved the decision of a number of very difficult legal 
points. Owing to "the smooth tongues of the lawyers and the thick 
heads of the jui-ors," several suitors were greatly surprised at the 


outcome of what they thought just causes, and were led to solilo- 
quise with Shakespeare: 

"In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt; ^ 

But, being season'd with a ^rracious voice, 
Obscures the show of evil?' 


Whatever may be thought or said of the moral aspects and in- 
fluences of the circus or menagerie, or both combined, it is a fact 
that at this day, these great travelling shows have become a great 
American institution and their annual visits, during the summer 
months, are as regular and as much expected by almost all classes 
of people in the cities and in the towns and villages of the country, 
as the Fourth of July, and they are generally woU patronized. 

The first of these great shows which appeared in this county 
was announced as "Orton Brothers Egyptian Caravan and Great 
South American Circus," and exhibited at Blue Earth City, on the 
18th day of June of this year. 

It proceeded thence to Winnebago City, where it entertained 
the people the next day. The attendance at both places was quite 

The blazeing show bills of this institution, posted up for weeks 
before and studied and canvassed in all their attractions by the boys, 
employed the gorgeous rhetoric usual in such cases, and read in 
about the following glowing words: 

The most gigantic and magnificent combination of equestrian 
and artistic talent, with the most interesting and prodigious collec- 
tion of wonderful animals ever seen on the face of the globe ! I 

A colossal canvas confederation ! ! 

A dazzling and illimitable collection of art, 

Animal and arenic splendors ! ! 

A whole world carnival of super-best, free sensations, a mighty 
miracle of golden glory 1 I 

Many an aged reader of this brief sketch will call to remem- 
brance what happiness the coming of a great show gave him in 
his boyhood's years — how he would lie awake most of the night, pre- 
ceding the day of the circus, full of imaginations, conjectures and 
anticipations — how early he would awake the morning of that gi-eat 
day, and, perhaps, with many others of his age, probably barefooted 
and without breakfast, as the writer himself did on more than one 
occasion during his hopeful youth, go out miles on the road to meet 
the coming show— how the elephants and camels were inspected, how 
the wagons were viewed and numbered, with what awe and envy 
the drivers were regarded, and everything noted, and how proudly 
he marched with the possession to town — then watching the putting 


up of the great tents, and the final culmination of it all, the great 
exhibition itself. Life as we all know in the country towns and vil- 
lages, brings but few such genuine, compact masses of real happi- 
ness to the stout, healthy and active boy, as the great tented show. 
Perhaps but few of the readers of this article ever heard the 
showman's battle cry: "Hey Rube!" "Hey Rube!" "Hey Rube!" 

It has been heard, occasionally, of late years, but not often, 
especially in the northern states. It is a cry of awful import, and 
'is never uttered, except in the last extremity, and then and always, 
it means, desperate fighting, blood and death. This is the rallying 
cry of the showmen when they are attacked by roughs and mobs, 
and there appears no other way than by fighting to protect them- 
selves and their property. 

In the showmans' literature it a^jpears that these desperate en- 
counters have occurred most frequently in the rough, border towns 
of the southern states, but they have been known, also, at various 
places in the North. It is, of course, the interest of showmen to 
avoid such collisions, and it is seldom, though sometimes, their fault 
that such fights arise. They are almost always made in self defense, 
and are often bloody contests. 

Such a fight occurred at Jacksonville. Texas, yeax-s ago, when 
twenty-three of the mob were killed and over fifty wounded — at a 
town in Arkansas where three were killed, many wounded on both 
sides, and a tent cut to pieces — at Somersett, Ky., where twenty 
were killed and many injured — ac Cartersville, Ga., three roughs 
were killed — at Plymouth, Ind., where many were wounded. These 
are but a few of the instances of this character which may be named. 
All of the old show companies have had some experiences of this 
kind — the elder Forepaugh, Robinsons, O'Brien, Dan Rice, Coup, 
Noyes, Barnum and others. 

Sitting as a spectator in the grand pavilions of the large com- 
bined circuses and menageries of these modern days, and contem- 
plating the scenes — the multitudes of interested people, the wonder- 
ful exhibitions presented by the trained knights of the sawdust 
arena, feats of strength, agility of trained muscles, the marvelous 
leaping, balancing, riding, the dangerous feats of the flying trapeze, 
all, apparently, setting the laws of nature at defiance, one is amazed 
at beholding what the trained human being and dumb animals are 
capable of. 

Yet, in some things, improvements might well be made — the 
clown's jokes are growing old. 

The camel stood quietly chewing and contemplating the scenes 
with lofty contempt, when he might have been heard to say, "The 
pyramids, the date palm, myself and the clown's jokes, are the only 

260 irrsTO/:)- of 

things remaining on earth that are really venerable and worthy of 
respect; all elso is modern and worthless." 

But, after all, many of the wonderful performances exhibited 
at these shows, and others far more startling, were performed in 
their day, by actors who have been dead for nearly two thousand 

Witnessing these scenes, the mind involuntarily wanders back 
to the days of ancient Greece and the Olympic games, the jumping, 
running, boxing, javalin throwing and chariot races, and to the 
days of the great Roman circuses at Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria 
and other great towns of the Empire, but especially to the Circus 
Maximus and the colosseum of old pagan Rome, the capital of the 

Here tens of thousands assembled on the great show days, to 
witness the scenes. Seated safely high up, but over or near the 
stone and iron dens of hundreds of ferocious wild beasts, the spec- 
tators viewed scenic exhibitions of unprecedented splendor in the 
vast arena before them; mighty contests of gladiators with each 
other, or with wild beasts, to the death; the frightful conflicts of 
great numbers of savage beasts turned into the arena; great feats 
of horsemanship, acrobatic performances and chariot races, arous- 
ing the enthusiasm of the multitudes to madness, and perhaps, last 
of all the exciting scenes of these great shows, came the infernal 
culminating act, before which the angels in heaven veiled their 
faces, the martyrdom of Christian men and women, who in those 
ages of terrible persecutions, would not deny their Lord, and were 
often driven naked, or rather clothed only in a halo of purity, inno- 
cence and devotion, or of sanctified manhood and womanhood, into 
the arena and there kneeling on the bloody sands awaited the death 
decreed for them. Death by what means, reader":* Do you hear 
the grating and rumbling of the huge iron doors opening not far 
away, and the howling, roaring, shrieking and bellowing of the half 
starved and ferocious wild beasts, as they bound into the arena and 
in savage eagerness and fury rush to the feast? Now hide your face 
and muffle your ears, for this scene is not to be witnessed by enlight- 
ened or Christian men, but only by devils and degraded pagan hu- 
manity. And when you recall these things do not forget to thank 
God that you live in an age when such scenes are impossible, an age 
whose beneficence has been achieved by the blood of the martyrs 
and the sufferings of the patriots of many centuries. 


This ever memorable day was celebrated at Blue Earth City. 
The day was fine and the attendance of the people commendable. 
Geo. B. Kingsley read the Declaration and Capt. P. B. Davy was the 
orator of the occasion. 


There was also a grand celebration of the day at Winnebago 
City. It was estimated that some 1,500 people were present. Here 
A. C. Dunn was the reader of the Declaration and Prof. E. P. Bart- 
lett delivered the oration, which was subsequently published in the 

At the grove of J. Chestnut, in the town of Guthrie, four Sun- 
day schools, and others numbering in all about four hundred peo- 
ple, assembled to do honor to the day, and here the Declaration was 
read by the Rev. Mr. Foss, and addresses were delivered by Jos. 
Claggett and J. Gleason. Altogether the demonstrations this year 
were a fitting recognition of the birthday of the best government 
the world has yet seen, as the orators of the day usually state, a 
government which has given the greatest amount of happiness and 
success to the masses of its people, which has given equal advan- 
tages to the rich and poor, exalted labor, made all proper stations 
in life honorable and the highest stations attainable to all. 

The following anecdote, an actual occurrence, may be appropri- 
ate right here. 

There is a lawyer, yet living, who some years ago was waited 
upon by a committee from a small village, for the purpose of engag- 
ing him to deliver a Fourth of July oration. When they asked him 
his price, he said he considered $25.00 cheap enough. 

"Mercy on me!" exclaimed the chairman, "but we caa't pay no 
such price as that! That must be for a regular Henry Clay oration." 

"Well, yes. 1 think it will compai'e favorably with anything 
Henry got off." 

"Oh! but we can't stand it — we must have a cheaper one." 

"How cheap?" 

"Not over §5.00. We'll give you §5.00, your dinner and all the 
lemonade you can drink for the cheapest oration in your head." 

"I'll do it!" replied the lawyer, and the money was paid him on 
the spot. 

He was on hand on the glorious day, and by andbye the pro- 
cession moved to the grove, the orator took the stand and was in- 
troduced, and without any fooling around he walked to the front 
and said: 

"Fellow countrymen: We whipped England twice and can do it 
again. We whipped Mexico once and can repeat that sport. We are 
a free people. This is the glorious Fourth. Give 'em hail Colum- 
bia, and go in for a good time. Thanks for your attention." 

He had given them a !?5.00 oration and every person in the crowd, 
except one, was perfectly satisfied. An old lady followed the orator 
around— she was a Boston woman — until she had cornered him, and 
then expressed her disgust by saying: 

262 Hisronv or 

"Seems ter me, that if j-er mont to please this 'ere crowd, you 
would'nt have chopped off that air speech without a single word 
about the 'tea party,' and Bunker Hill and the Pilgrims. You 
don't know nothing." 

These well attended gatherings of the people, from year to 
year, are not only an indication of some inherent patriotic impulses, 
but of something more— the love of a day of association, .social en- 
joyment and entertainment. It is certainly a mistaken view of life 
that happiness and success are to be found at the present, or some 
future day, in a hard, perpetual devotion to labor and pinching 
economy and miserly saving. Such a life is apt to grow narrow 
and dark. The individual becomes selfish, sordid, censurous, mor- 
bid and unjust. The trite old saying is true, that "All work and no 
play makes Jack a dull boy." 

While all should be industrious, energetic in their callings, and 
not wasteful, it appears to be the better view to take of life, that we 
should often unbend, relax from labor for a time and seek amuse- 
ment and recreation, even if it does cost something. 

Life at best, for the great majority of the race, is not long, and 
the time of its end is uncertain, and it is not best to wait until some 
future day when we shall gel rich or become too old to work, but 
take life's rational pleasures as we go along. 

Though there is somewhat of sorrow, many disappointments, 
tix'esome toil and causes of grief in most lives, it is better to be 
cheerful and make the best of what we cannot avoid, than to be al- 
ways sad and gloomy. It is better to look on the bright side of things, 
the hopeful side, even if we cannot always give much of a reason for 
it, than it is to be forever looking on the dark side. There is much 
on every hand to enjoy. The earth itself is beautiful, grand, won- 
derful, and the natural conditions of the seasons and of bountiful 
productions and climate and scenery, wherever civilized man can live, 
are generally beneficent. What is bad is commonly the result of 
man's abuse of what is good, and it is not the product of nature. And 
while it is true that there are some bad, selfish, discourteous people 
in the world, it is also true that there are many intelligent, frank, 
generous,hospitable,lovable people in every locality, with whom itis 
a pleasure and a benefit to associate. And this is another and a 
chief source of human happiness. 

Few communities or individuals are so poor or so driven to toil, 
or so subject to suffering of any kind, but what there are means and 
occasions for some recreation and social enjoyments. It would be well 
if, among other things, people generally should make it a rule to 
often attend the great assemblies of the people in their section of 
country, the public lectures, concerts, conventions, fairs, school 
exhibitions, neighborhood parties and picnics when requested and 


certainly the religious meetings of their locality, and occasionally 
visit distant friends, the neighboring villages and places of interest. 
These things break in upon the lives of most people like rays of sun- 
shine into a dark room. 

The body is rested, the mind broadened and enlightened and 
filled with new ideas and thoughts and hopes. Even in the sordid 
view of finances it may often prove a great benefit. There may be 
those who do not see the pertinence here of these common-place re- 
marks, but the prescription was written for the benefit of a gloomy, 
grunting, growling, jienurious class of people who can never see any- 
thing except through a smoked glass, and who are apt to get scared 
at the bugbear of a little expense. 


The most of the wheat was ready for ha>'vesting the third week 
in July, and was a very heavy crop. 

The following excerpt from the journal of an old resident, writ- 
ten at the time, covers many items of interest: 

"Harvest is now over and the yield has proved very abundant. All kinds 
of grain and vegetables are good and cannot be surpassed in any country, in 
either quality or quantity. Prices are satisfactory. Immigration and capital 
have poured into the county, and for permanent improvements the present 
year, thus far, surpasses all preceding years. It is estimated that as much 
ground has been broken this season as the whole amount under cultivation the 
preceding years. Money is yet somewhat 'close,' but abundant crops and good 
prices will soon loosen up the money market. Business of all kinds is looking 
lively, the people are energetic, cheerful and confident of the future." 

How different the aspects and prospects and the spirits of the 
people from what they were the preceding year. 

As pertinent to the subject in hand the following quotation is 
given from the report of the Commissioner of Statistics relative to 
the wheat crop of this year. It is a gently flowing bland document. 

The season began most auspiciously. The spring opened unusually early. 
A prompt sun quickened the torpid earth into a willing mood. Wooing show- 
ers kissed the waiting vegetation, and upland and meadow, forest and prairie, 
grew radiant with vernal beauty. Coaxed by the soft rain, smiling skies and 
alluring breath of an early spring, the wheat fields of Minnesota gambolled and 
rioted in tropical luxuriance. Everywhere in the broad expanse of our wheat 
domain, the hastening crop grew big with the promise of the greatest harvest 
ever known, except in the years 1860 and 1865. There was the same bountiful 
" setting " at the start, the same generous spreading and stately development 
of stalk, and the same amplitude of head and milky plumpness of berry, which 
ripened into the golden harvests of those years. 

But when in the critical period of development, just as the kernel was in 
the milk, a "heated term" commenced of wholly unparalleled intensity and dur- 
ation. For two weeks the fierce heat descended with unmitigated fury upon the 
gasping earth. The sun, as if obeying the command of a modern Joshua, 
seemed to stand still and pour a flood of white heat upon the tender heads of the 
unhardened grain. It is a marvel that it was not wholly blasted in the fiery 


ordeal. But there is an invaluable property in the soil or climate of Minne- 
sota, perhaps in both, which enahlos the jtrain to measurahly resist the ex- 
tremes, wluthor of heat or flood. To such cause, whatever it may be, we 
have more than once owed the exemption of our maturing' crops from utter 
destruction. The worst result, in this instance, was that of forcing a pre- 
mature ripening, by which the berry was shrivelled and defrauded of its normal 

The untimely advent of this heated period during the critical transition 
of the grain from the milk to the dough, was perhaps the sole preventive of 
as large an average yield as was ever known in this State. Our heaviest wheat 
crops were those of 1860 and 1865, when the average was somewhat over twenty- 
two bushels per acre. Before the crop of 1868 was gathered, I estimated the 
loss from the cause named as equal to about one-tlfth of the crop, leaving an 
average which I estimated at 17.75, which estimate is shown to have been 
very near correct, the official returns showing 17.9 bushels as the average per 


At the session of the legislature of this yeai-, an important act 
■was passed for the encouragement and assistance of the state and 
county agricultural societies. The act appropriated, annually, the 
the sum of two thousand dollars, to be equally divided among the 
county agricultural societies, which should comply with certain re- 
quirements, to be expended by them in such manner as they might 
deem best calculated to "promote and improve the condition of agri- 
culture, horticulture and the mechanical, manufacturing and house- 
hold arts and interests, in this State, either for the payment of 
pi'emiums at the annual exhibitions, or in the purchase and distri- 
bution of choice cuttings, seeds, plants or tubers, which having been 
tested, are found to be adapted to the soil and climate of this State, 
or in the pi'osecution of scientific investigation and experiments and 
in the collection and diffusion of information tending to develop the 
natural and agricultural resources of Minnesota." 

An adjourned meeting of the Agricultural Society was held at 
Winnebago City on the 11th day of July, at which time a premium 
list was made, judges appointed, and certain other arrangements 
made for the annual fair, which it was designed should be one of the 
best ever had in the county. It was determined to hold the fair at 
Winnebago City, on the 7th and 8th days of October. 

Among other intei'esting items, in the notices of the coming 
fair, the Homestead announced under the head. Agricultural Hop, 
that it was "proposed, as a finale to the fair, to have a jolly dance 
on the evening of the 8th." 

The fair proved very much a failure; the speaker engaged for 
the occasion failed to attend, and on the first day the ground was 
covered with snow and a cold nor'wester blew a regular gale. The 
following amusing account of the fair is taken from the Homestead 
of the 14th of October. 


"The fair last week had the elements for an enemy and could not be started 
until nine o'clock of the second day. Ministers said the weather was very un- 
propitious. Hotel proprietors thought it tough. Young ladies declared it to be 
a shame. Old ladies said there was no use in worrying; while strapping west- 
erners, of full growth swore it was a bad egg. * ♦ » Nevertheless there was 
a fair and three or four hundred people saw it. Two beets and a harness looked 
askance at each other down stairs, while out of doors, two fine wooled bucks 
occupied the rear of a lumber wagon. All took the premium. The department 
of Fine Arts, up stairs, made a better show. The walls were draped in clothes 
lines, festooned with bed quilts and pictures, while the body of the room was 
ornamented with a variety of useful and ornamental articles, including babies. 
Glancing our eye about, we noticed a smashed water-mellon hanging on the west 
wall, which on inspection proved to be only an imitation. In close proximity 
to it, was a good representation of a girl in pantalettes, in the act of drawing a 
broad-sword. A sick cookoo, in the top of a clock, tried to make a noise, but 
couldn't pitch the tune, without being bolstered up, and that act of kindness 
having been done, he did not know enough to go in and shut the door." 

"There being abundance of room, little stockings, big stockings, tatting and 
the shells of the ocean lay scattered around in the order of disorder, each possess- 
ing some charm to win a beholder." 

"The track was in bad condition, but the running and trotting came off 

But for the weather, this fair would have been a grand success. 


A State Teachers' Institute was held at Winnebago City, com- 
mencing Oct. 12th and lasting five days. This was the first State 
Institute for the instruction of teachers, held in this county, and 
proved a very useful as well as a very interesting affair. 

Thirty- two school teachers were present and took part in the 
exercises, while many other people interested in the work of educa- 
tion, attended the meetings and lectures. 

Hon. M. H. Bunnell, state superintendent. Prof. Sanford Niles 
and S. J. Abbott, county superintendent of schools in this county, 
were the instructors. 

About the same time notice was given of a Sunday School Teach- 
ers' Institute, to be held at Winnebago City, on the 26th, 27th and 28th 
days of October, under the charge of Rev. Geo. W. Prescott, State 
Sunday school agent. A very interesting programme of exercises 
was prepared and published, but for some now unknown cause this 
institute was either not held, or all record of the event is now 


A sale of school lands was held at Blue Earth City on the 23d 
day of October. At this sale the county purchased a tract of three 
hundred and twenty acres for a poor farm. This was making a very 
wise provison for the future. A time comes in the history of all en- 
lightened communities, when some provision must be made for the 

266 BfSTOItY OF 

aged and infirm poor, who have no means of support. In the mani- 
fold chances and changes of this mortal life — sickness, poverty, 
friendlessness, may come to even the richest and proudest of to-day, 
and the sad and lonely journey "over the hills to the poor house," 
may have to be made by some to whom such a contingency may be 
thought to be the remotest, or most impossible of all earthly events. 
The provision now usually made is the establishment of a hos- 
pital, or poor house, which is sustained by the public taxation. Of 
late years it has been found economical and beneficial, otherwise, to 
connect a farm with such poor house, from the products of which, 
in many places, the poor are comfortably maintained or nearly so. 
Besides many of the unfortunates who find the poor house their last 
resort, are able and willing to labor to some extent on a farm and 
thus contibute to their own support. The expense of purchasing 
lands at this time for the purpose, was much less than it would be 
in subsequent years when the county should become more populous. 
The tract purchased was near the center of the county, and com- 
prised the north half of section thirty six, in town one hundred 
and three (103) of range twenty-seven (27), being in the town of 


We now proceed to give a brief account of another furious and 
bitter political contest. The campaign was more than ordinarily 
exciting because, in addition to local issues, another presidential 
contest was in progress. 

Grant and Colfax were the republican candidates for president 
and vice-president, and Seymour and Blair the democratic candi- 
dates for the same high ofiices. 

Morton S. Wilkinson was the republican and Geo. W. Batchel- 
der the democratic candidate for member of congress, in this dis- 

Three important amendments to the State Constitution were 
also to be voted upon. 

The Republican County Convention assembled at Blue Earth 
City on the 3d day of October. 

The convention nominated: 

F. Lent, for Register of Deeds. 

W. W. White, for Auditor. 

H. J. Neal, for Clerk of Court. 

J. R. Sisson, for County Surveyor. 

On the 10th day of October the Republican Legislative District 
Convention met at Fairmont, Martin county, and nominated for 
senator, A. L. Ward, of Martin county, and James L. Crays, of this 
county, for representative. 


About the same time the democrats held a convention at Fair- 
mont also, for the nomination of legislative candidates. 

Dr. Hewitt, of Martin county, was nominated for senator, and 
Peter B. Davy, of this county, for representative. 

The "points" being still the issue in local politics, or rather 
made so, and the homestead question not having yet been satisfac- 
torily settled, and the nominations made at Fairmont being thought 
to be opposed to "]3oints" and the exemption of homesteads from tax- 
ation, an informal convention was held at Blue Earth City on the 
evening of the 17th of October, in the interest of the "points" and 
homestead men to consider the situation. Representatives were 
present from two counties — ^this and Jackson. 

The convention adopted a series of resolutions as a platform, 
the substance of which was that the railroad company having ac- 
cepted the grant of lands with the conditions, agreed to build their 
road through the points named and were in good faith bound to do 
so — that they wanted the "points" removed and designed not to build 
the road into this county or district, and that the nominations made 
at Fairmont were not binding upon the party, as they were fraudu- 
lently made. 

James B. Wakefield was nominated as a candidate for senator, 
and James W. Hunter, of Jackson county, for representative. A 
committee was appointed to draft and publish an "address" to the 
people of the district, setting forth, as was alleged, the real issues 
to be decided. The resolutions and address were published in the 
form of a circular and were distributed broadcast throughout the 

Shakesj)eare somewhere says: 

"Get thes glass eyes; 
And, like a scurvy politician, seem 
To see things thou dost not." 

What relevancy these lines may have had to the political affairs 
of the time, the writer of this history will not attempt to say, but 
they were heard repeated about that time. 

On the 31st of October, the democracy held a county convention 
at Winnebago City, and placed in the field, for county officers, the 
following candidates: 

For Auditor — Geo. Barnes. 

For Register of Deeds — D. H. Morse. 

For Clerk of Court— H. Hufcut. 

For Surveyor — Geo. A. Weir. 

Messrs. Hewett and Davy, democratic candidates for senator 
and representative, subsequently withdrew from the contest, and the 
lists of candidates being now settled, they all entered upon a fair 


field for a free fight, which was conducted without fear, favor or 
affection upon either side. 

Politics in local questions were thrown aside, the district was 
canvassed from end to end, meetings were held, and the people were 
visited at their firesides by the candidates or their friends. 

Of the newspapers in the district, the Soutli-West at Blue Earth 
City, favored Wakefield and Hunter. The Homestead, at Winnebago 
City.and the Adas at Fairmont, favored Ward and Grays. The elec- 
tion was held on the third day of November. The following table 
presents the result in this county. Of the votes cast 

The Grant and Colfax electors had I 421 

The Seymour and Blair electors 373 

For Member of Conj,'russ— M. S. Wilkinson 1,418 

Geo. W. BatChelder 373 

For Senator— J. B. Wakefield 1,001 

A. L. Ward 734 

For Representative— J. W. Hunter 1,002 

James Grays 743 

For County Auditor— W. W. White 1,568 

Geo. Barnes 165 

For Register of Deeds— F. Lent 1,599 

D. n. Morse 147 

For Clerk of Court -H. .1. Neal 1,159 

H. Ilufcut 590 

For Surveyor— J. R. Sisson 1,511 

Geo. A. Weir 189 

J. A. Latimer was elected county commissioner for district No. 
4, and Joseph Claggett for district No. 5. 

Messrs. Wakefield and Hunter had a majority of the votes cast 
in the entire district and were elected, and so "points" and "No 
Homestead Taxation" won again, but the contest was a hard one and 
the majority small. 

The winter closed in about the 15th day of November, when a 
very severe snow storm began and continued unabated for three 
days. And now the record of this year's events may be closed with 
the statement tlaat on the 19th of December, C. W. Thompson. 
General Manager of the Southern Minnesota Railroad Company, 
made a proposition to some fourteen of the townships of the county, 
to the effect that tlie company would build and complete its road to 
Winnebago City in this county, by the first day of January, 1871, if 
the towns named in the proposition would vote aid in the form of 
town bonds, payable in ten years with seven per cent annual inter- 
est to the amounts specified in the proposition, which was fifteen 
thousand dollars in all the towns but Winnebago City, of which 
twenty-five thousand was required. 

In conclusion it may be written that in the way of immigration 
and permanent improvements, crops, weather, the public health and 
general prosperity, the year was one of the best in our history. 



A. D. 1869. 

"Pr'y thee friend, 
Pour out thy pack of matter to mine ear, 
The good and bad together." 


In those days it was so ordered by the mighty rulers of the State 
that in each division thereof, known by the name of county, there 
should exist a body of five wise men who should have the supervis- 
ion of certain public affairs. And these men of experience in busi- 
ness matters, were chosen by districts composed of certain 
subdivisions named towns or townships, which small divisions were 
so made for the better government of the tribes and peoples thereof. 
Now it came to pass that on the fourth day of the first month of 
this year, these five prudent men met in council at the City of Blue 
Earth, the ancient capital of the county. 

Now their names were Andrew, surnamed More, a patriarch of 
the land of Pilot Grove, and one Henry, surnamed Neal, a man of 
much wordly wisdom from the section of country known as Blue 
Earth, and Jacob, better known by the name of Alec, surnamed Lat- 
imer, who came from the division known as "Winnebago City, and there 
was one named William, surnamed Robinson, whose people lived 
near the great water, called in the language of the English, Walnut 
lake, but in the language of the tribes which had been driven out, Ta- 
zu-ka, and there was the patriarch Joseph, surnamed Claggett, the 
man of ready tongue, who came from the regions known as Lura, 
to speak for the people thereof. And now it came to pass that as 
they were met together in council, the venerable man, Andrew, was 
chosen as chief for the year, and they then proceeded to consult to- 
gether in regard to certain public affairs, and they made certain or- 
ders and directions, which seemed unto them necessary for the public 
good. Now they had a scribe, one named William, surnamed White, 
a learned man who could write, and who was also of the tribes about 
Walnut lake, who made a record of all that these wise men did, in a 
great book which has come down even unto our day. But there was 
nothing done at this council which would be of interest to the people 
of this generation. Now, after they had conferred together for two 
days, they returned to their own people. And it came to pass that 


these wise men afterwards, in this year, in the third and sixth and 
ninth months thereof met in council again, and somewhat of that which 
they then did, is it not written in the book of the chronicles of the 


An important meeting of the Agricultural Society was held at 
Blue Earth City on the tifth day of January. At this meeting the 
annual election of officers occurred, and L. W. Brown was re-elected 
president; Geo. W. Buswell was chosen secretary and Alex. Lati- 
mert reasurer. A full board of vice presidents, that is one vice 
president in each township, was selected, and a committee of mem- 
bers was appointed to attend a meeting of the State Agricultural 
Society, to be held in February. New life and energy seems to have 
been, from some cause, infused into the sluggish blood of the soci- 
ety, about this time, and was certainly much needed. Another meet- 
ing was held at Blue Earth City, July 17th, at which time a committee 
of one for each town in the county was appointed to prepare a pre- 
mium list and appoint judges for the next fair, and this committee 
met on the 31st day of July and performed the duties assigned them. 
It was at this time also determined that the next fair should be held 
at Blue Earth City on the 16th and i7th days of September. 


It maybe recorded, as we proceed, that January, of this year 
was one of the mildest winter months ever known in this region. 


The matter of leading public interest in the county during Janu- 
ary, was the voting of "bonuses" by a number of towns, on the 
proposition of C. W. Thompson, referred to at the close of the pre- 
ceding year, to aid in the construction of the Southern Minnesota 
Railroad, the route of which had been surveyed into the county and 
through the towns of Cobb, Walnut Lake, Lura, Guthrie and Win- 
nebago City. Town meetings were held in these and some other 
towns, for the purpose of voting the bonds, called "bonuses," of 
the several towns, in various amounts, to aid in the building of the 
road. The proposition called forth a great deal of discussion. Many 
different views were entertained as to the necessity and expediency 
of the proceeding. The proposition failed in most of the towns, and 
in one of those voting favorably, Verona, the issue of the bonds was 
subsequently stopped by injunction, and another, Guthrie (Delavan) 
made haste to rescind the vote. 

About this time petitions were again in circulation through the 
county praying the legislature, then in session, to pass Mr. Wake- 
field's bill in relation to taxation of homesteads, and this time they 
were of some avail. 



The legislature assembled January 5th, and adjourned March 
5th. The only acts passed at this session of the legislature in which 
this county had any special interest were the following: 

"An act to amend an act to authorize the towns ot Fillmore, Mower, Free- 
born, Faribault, Martin and Jackson counties to issue bonds to aid in the con- 
struction of any railroads running into or through said counties." 

"An act to compel count}' auditors of the several counties of the State to 
strike from their several tax duplicates, certain taxes therein named." 

This was Mr. Wakefield's homestead tax bill of the previous 
year which had then failed. 

It was now passed and disposed of — the question of homestead 
taxation; the views of the homestead settlers had triumphed. 

Alexander Ramsey was at this session re- elected his own suc- 
cessor as United States senator. 

James B. Wakefield, as intimated above, in the Senate, and James 
W. Hunter, of Jackson County, in the House, wex-e our members of 
the legislature for this year. 


The adoption of an important amendment to the homestead ex- 
emption law of the State, during the session of the legislature of 
this year, may warrant a few remarks here in relation to this im- 
portant subject. 

The homestead exemption law to which reference is here made, 
has no relation to the question of homestead taxation in regard to 
which much has been said heretofore in this history. This is a 
different subject. 

The wisdom of the policy of exempting by law, a portion of 
land, together with the dwelling house thereon and appurtenances, 
either according to the quantity of land, or the value of the prem- 
ises, from foi-ced sale in payment of all ordinary debts or liabilities 
of the owner and his family, and the extension of such exemption 
to the widow and children of a deceased person, is coming to be 
recognized by most civilized nations. 

We need not hesitate in saying at once, that such exemption is 
a most benificent act, both for the individual and the State. And 
the courts of justice, in modern times, taking this view of the sub- 
ject, are extremely liberal in their construction of the law, in favor 
of the beneficiary, and in protection of the right. 

In estimating the extent and value of this exemption, it must be 
remembered that it is granted, not only for the benefit of the indi- 
vidual owner — a favor personal to him alone — who, often, indeed, 
may not, as a matter of justice, be entitled, because of his dishon- 


esty, to such protection, but it is designed for the protection, also, 
of the wife and children of the ownei* — a right of theirs as well — who 
might otherwise be deprived of a home, for no fault of theirs. To 
the procuring of such homestead, their care and labor may, and gen- 
erally does, largely contribute. 

The ownership of the home secures the family from many ills, 
however poor the family may be, in other respects, and saves the 
public charities fi-om many a burden they would otherwise have to 

The stale suggestion, hoard sometimes, where the credit system 
prevails, that everything a man has should be holden for his debts, 
is sufficiently answered by the statement, that as the law exists, and 
is well-known to evei'yone, credit need not be granted to the owner 
of only a homestead, any more than it need be to one who has 

The fault in such case, if any fault there be, is largely with the 
creditor, in his not exercising proper discretion. The suggestion 
is one prompted by that seltishness and averice, which reduces 
everything to a sordid "business basis," gain, profit, per cent., and 
is without any conception of a correct public policy, or the higher, 
wider and more humane views of the subject. 

The fact is that the home of a man, and his family, is somewhat 
different in a number of respects, from ordinary propertj', and is en- 
titled to special protection. 

By this law there is granted to every man and his family, one 
spot of earth with its sheltering tenements, which they may call 
their own. A man's dwelling here is "his castle," which no one may 
enter without his leave, except when he is armed with the strongest 
writs of the law. And this spot of earth he and his family may 
make as comfortable and as beautiful as they can afford — a spot 
which, whatever misfortunes, or mischances of life or business, may 
befall the owner, cannot be wrenched from him, and they be turned 
out homeless upon the world, except indeed, as the result of their 
own deliberate act of mortgaging the premises. Even in this sol- 
emn act of mortgaging the homestead, the law manifests a strong 
leaning towards its protection, and contains the wise provision that 
where the mortgagor is a married man. any mortgage given, except 
to secure the payment of the purchase money, shall be void, unless 
signed by the wife of the mortgagor. Thus are the strong, shelter- 
ing arms of the law thrown about this right. 

And no mortgage should ever be placed on the homestead, ex- 
cept, possible, for the purchase money. If stress of circumstances 
compel the mortgaging of property, certainly prudence says, with 
a loud voice, let the homestead be the last thing to be thus encum- 


It is unquestionable that having such homestead exemption for 
himself and family, the owner lias not only the advantage of a secure 
basis from which to work, to repair his fallen fortunes, if such be 
the fact, or on which to build up prosperity and success, but he 
retains that manly courage, that hopefulness, and has that encour- 
agement, all so necessary to success in the affairs and business of 
life. Secure here he goes forth bravely and manfully to fight the 
battles of life, to earn a subsistence and place in the world. This 
fact becomes evident when we consider the effects of a reverse con- 
dition. Divest a man and his family of tbeir all; turn them out 
empty-handed, upon the charities of the wox'ld, poor and homeless, 
and it is not hopefulness and renewed effort that are likely to result, 
but despair, even recklessness and utter destruction are more likely 
to follow, conditions upon which, in many instances, degredation 
and crime follow fast. It is such conditions that, all over the world, 
are breeding communism and anarchism. 

It may confidently be asserted that the possession of such ex- 
empt homestead has the tendency to make an independent, manly 
and interested citizen; independent, because he may live within him- 
self, in a great measure, and is not dependent for his very shelter 
from the weather upon some master; manly, because independent, 
at least to this extent, and interested in the welfare and prosperity 
of the land, because he owns a part of it, instead of being a mere 
sojourner, a mere tenant. There is a pardonable pride, a satisfac- 
tion, a spring of hopefulness in the heart of every man who owns 
his home. How much stronger, in any view, is a land of well pro- 
tected homesteads, than one of great land owners, and poor depen- 
dent tenants"? There are principles involved here, that reach evea 
to the liberties of a people. 

What is the "fatherland" or any other land worth to a man in 
which he can have no personal interest, no certain foothold, no po- 
litical rights worth fighting for? The Hebrew lawgiver realized the 
good policy of giving and securing to every head of a family a 
piece of ground with certain ownership thereof. 

The same policy was recognized among the jDeople of that wisest 
of the ancient nations, the Egyptians. To broaden a little more 
what has already been said, it may be added that ownership in the 
soil, especially if it is a protected homestead, is not only a question 
of public safety, but of good citizenship. Men who own property 
must support the laws and maintain good order, that their property 
may be protected and the enjoyment thereof made safe and agree- 
able, and this leads to interest in public affairs and promotes self- 
respect and patriotism. 

A man who has never known the hai"d struggle of the many 
for comfortable subsistence, and to provide for and protect a loved 

274 HISTOliY OF 

family, dependent alone upon his health and the labors of his nands, 
can appreciate the value of a protected homestead, and is incompe- 
tent to sit in judgment on the subject. 

While proi)erty exempt from sale on execution for debt, should, 
of course, be always limited to a reasonable amount, the people 
should see to it that there is such exemption and that it is well 


One of the greatest evils which oppress the nations of Europe 
to-day, arises from the fact that the ownership of the lands has 
passed into a few hands. Great landlords hold vast tracts of the 
country, while the people have no interests in the soil, and are sim- 
ply tenants. This same evil existed in many of the ancient nations 
and was one of the principal causes of their downfall. This condi- 
tion of affairs was especially intrenched in Europe through the 
operation of the old Feudal laws, but after their influence and oper- 
ation began to wane, other causes arose to continue or produce the 
same conditions. The privileged, or aristocratic and titled classes, 
who had the wealth and opportunities which they made for them- 
selves, began to acquire the lands, and continually added to their 
domains, until but few of the people — the masses of the citizens, 
who really constitute the nation, who are its strength, do its busi- 
ness, create its real wealth and fill its armies, have any interest in 
the soil they stand upon. 

The tendency is now in the same direction in this country. Men 
of great wealth and rich corporations have begun buying up vast 
tracts of the best farming lands and holding them for speculative 
purposes, or by some, for the purpose of creating great estates. 

Already more than one half of the farmers of the eastern and 
middle states are but tenants, and pay rent in money or share of 
crops for the use of the land they till. Many of them once owned 
the land. 

And what ad'ds to this menace to our institutions is the fact 
that foreigners, aliens, individually, and in the form of great com- 
panies, are becoming the owners of millions of acres of American 
soil. And it is possible that this absorption of our lands may go on 
until alien owners may control the destiny of a state or states, 
where they have secured such a foothold. And judging from the 
fact of the great quantities of wild lands still existing here, and the 
silent and insidious approach of this evil, it will go on, largely un- 
noticed, for j'ears hence. 

But a day will come, and it cannot be far distant, when the 
people of this country, state legislatures and congress will become 
aroused to the fact, that our vast domain of valuable public lands, 
has about passed away, and that some limit must be placed on cor- 


porate, and especially on alien, ownership of lands in this country , 
The lands of this nation should be held only by American citizens, 
who are actual settlers upon them, or directly interested in their 
cultivation and improvement. 

America for Americans, native born or naturalized, must be our 
watchwords. Shall we allow it to be the fact that an American 
citizen cannot enter upon, or use, or buy, except at extortionate 
prices, any part of certain vast tracts of American soil, because that 
soil is owned by an alien and non-resident? 

This country has no use for European landed estates, nor for 
any European landlord and tenantry systems. Why cannot the in- 
telligent people of this nation — a people's nation — protect them- 
selves from the well-known evils of which this is one, which have 
wrought the ruin of all the nations, whose wrecks blacken the high- 
ways of time through thirty centuries, or is there a predestined 
course, which all nations must run, from birth to final destruction ? 


Intimately connected with the subject of homestead exemption, 
is that of the home itself, in reference to which the expression of a 
few thoughts here seem appropriate: 

"Better than gold is a peaceful home, 
Where all the fireside charities come. 
The shrine of love and the heaven of life. 
Hallowed by mother, or sister or wife. 
However humble the home may be. 
Or tried with sorrow, by heaven's decree. 
The blessing's that never were bought or sold, 
And center there, are better than gold." 

— Whittier. 

It is said that the thi-ee sweetest words in the English language 
are "Mother, Home and Heaven." 

It is a true and beautiful thought. They are, indeed, a noble 
trinity, and they are intimately related, for with almost every home 
there is the mother, the most important and most loved one of the 
homefold, and we all hope that when done with time, heaven may be 
our final home. And it should not be forgotten how near we can 
make the home to heaven. It can, indeed, be made the doorway, at 
least, to that eternal home. 

The poet and the orator have ever vied with each other in describ- 
ing the home, its memories, associations and influences, and volumes 
have been filled with the subject. It may be stated here as a pass- 
ing remark, that our own — the saxon race — as a general rule, have 
the best homes, and realize what real home life is to a greater extent 
than any other race of people on earth. 



A man's home, the home of his childhood, or the home of his 
mature years, constitutes for him the center of the world from which 
all Hues radiate — the point where all lines converge. Home to all is 
the basic point — the jwint from which all start on the voyage of life 
and the chief object of interest in the return from all wanderings. 
Here are our dearest treasures and nearest and truest friends, and 
with it are entwined our purest hopes, most unselfish labors and 
tenderest affections. It is our place of refuge and rest. And it is 
true that by far the greater sum of human happiness on earth 
is to be found in the (luiet, contented and unambitious life of home. 

Such being the importance of home with every human creature, 
the corresponding importance of making the home what it should be. 
ought to be recognized by everyone. And how great and generous 
the law is in protecting and making the home secure, we have seen 
above and it should be an incentive to all in their labors to secure 
comfortable and happy homes. 

Every man in beginning life, if settled permanentlj', and, espec- 
ially if married or if expecting to marry, should secure a homestead 
— a home of his own. Such a determination would, to begin with, 
be a method by which many a young man could save his earnings. 

A man may have little influence or power in the great world 
around him. but here at least, in now his little empire, where he may 
exhibit his heart, his taste and his intelligence and be appreciated 
according to his real worth. 

Homes are of many grades, from those of ease, culture and 
beauty, to those of ragged poverty, squalor, ignorance and vice, 
but in every land there are more real homes among those who are 
classed as the poor, or people in ordinary circumstances, than among 
those whom the world calls rich. Fortunately riches are not neces- 
sary to make a home, but good sense, kindly hearts and generous 
sympathies are, and these may be among the possessions of the 
poor as well as of the rich. 

Safe and comfortable protection from the weather, health ful- 
ness and as much convenience of arrangement as can be afforded, 
are a primary consideration in every home, and when all cannot be 
reached at once, all know how much can be done even by the poor- 
est, in doing little by little, year by year, to reach the desired end. 

Shade trees, neatly kept walks, quiet little arbors, evergreens 
and trailing vines, flowers, shrubbery and a green lawn, even if 
small, and neatness and cleanliness in all the surroundings are 
things which all enjoy and which all can have with little labor or 
cost, however poor, while the more wealthy can have these things 
and others on a larger scale and in greater abundance, in propor- 
tion to their means. 


Then besides the articles of household use and eomfort, those 
of the adornipaent of the home must not be forgotten. Pictures and 
other articles of taste and beauty should be, and happily can be, had 
in every home, hoAvever humble, and these things are a perpetual 
pleasure, and are of utility as educators of the mind and tastes and 

When man fell from his high estate of purity, and the angels who 
once had companionship with him went back to heaven, they forgot 
to take back with them a few things, among which music was one, 
and in every home on earth there should some sort of music be 
known and often heard. Let it be vocal, if nothing more can be had, 
but both vocal and instrumental, of some kind, if possible; yes, let 
music be cultivated in evex-y home — it purifies the soul, rests the 
weary heart, elevates the thoughts, awakens our purest emotions 
and smooths the furrowed brow of care and toil. 

Here, too, should be good books, the best the world affords, for 
in this day the best are as cheap as the poorest, and at the head of 
all should stand the old family bible. By them we are brought into 
intimate relations with the greatest and best of our race. And we 
should have pure newspapers for instruction, and to give us the news 
of the great outside world; ^,nd here the companionship of parent 
and child must not be forgotten, for it is the purest source of pleas- 
ure, the strongest bond of influence over the heart and life of both. 
The club for the mac of family to join, is not the club on the street, 
or the one that meets in some secluded room, but is the home circle, 
the home club. Let the home be beautified and made attractive, if 
for no other reason, at least, for the good one of making the children 
happy, and when they go forth from it in after years to fight the 
battles of life, they may ever bear with them the hallowed influences 
and pleasant memories of childhood's years. The home and its in- 
fluences will thus hold them in its grasp, however far they may 
stray away. It will not be long in any case when they must go forth 
from the home, when the storms of life, its cares, responsibilities 
and disappointments, will sweep around them. Life's duties of labor, 
good citizenship, of high and honorable purposes, will rest upon 
them. Oh I fathers and mothers, make your children, while yet in 
the home, strong in integrity, patriotism, industry, honor, intelli- 
gence; strong iu true manhood and true womanhood. Certain erro- 
neous views seem to be entertained hy some people as to the home. 
It is not a place to go to only to eat and sleep and get shelter from 
the inclemency of the weather, but it is the abiding place. The 
home and not the public school is the primary place of education. 
The home and not the Sunday school, nor even the church, should 
be the primary school of religious instruction. The home and not 
the great world, or society, should be the primary school of man- 


ners and of social life. The home and not the caucus, or the con- 
vention. Of the public meeting, or the polling place, is. the i>roper 
primary school in which to learn the duties of good citizen- 
ship and the lessons of patriotism. Some one has wisely said that 
"the real strength of a nation is in the homes of its people." And 
surely that is the most prosperous country which has the greatest 
number of happy homes. Home teaching, more than ministers and 
schools, or politics, is deciding to-day what the men and women of 
the future, and the destinies of our country will be. And now it may 
be remarked that no home, however large the tenement, however 
beautiful the surroundings and tasteful its adornments may be, can 
ever be a true and happy home, unless constant courtesy, good man- 
ners, mutual aid and sympathy, ready forbearance with each other's 
faults and foibles, respect for and obedience to parents and purity of 
life are found in it. 

But there is still a step higher in the grade of the home and the 
life there lived. 

Every home should be a Christian home, where Christian love 
and peace and cheerfulness shall reign. There is no development 
of civilized life so high, and so happy, as that of an intelligent. 
Christian home. Here the family altar is erected, and the living and 
known God is recognized in daily praise and prayer, and those many 
graces abound which spring up in the hearts and live in the lives of 
the true followers of Christ. 

The influence of daily home worship, sensibly, not censoriously 
and exactingly conducted, is ever beneficent. "It makes men to be 
of one mind in a house." Though silent, it is irresistible and last- 
ing. It tends much toward allaying selfishness, quieting jealousies 
and irritability. It subdues the passions, it softens the heart, ele- 
vates the sentiments and produces union, harmony and kindly con- 
sideration. Where the home is ruled by God's word, angels might 
tarry there a day, or a night, and not be out of their element. In 
such homes they have been seen and known in the long ago. May 
they not visit such homes now, though unseen by mortal ej'es'? But 
this is not all that may be said. The children who are brought up 
around the family altar, seldom, ever wholly, forget or lose the bene- 
fit of their teachings there. Among the social forces, none is 
stronger than the Christian teachings of the home of childhood. 

A word more and these observations may be closed. The great- 
est special enemies of the home and the happiness which should be 
enjoyed there, are the rum seller, the infidel and the scandal mon- 
ger, all representatives of satan, and active about his business, and 
of all the works of satan, the desecration of the home is the vilest 
and furthest reaching. 


And now it may be stated that all these remarks are but pre- 
liminary to the statement of the fact, which the writer is proud to 
record here as an item of this history, that our county has hundreds 
of real homes within its borders, happy homes, homes of comfort, 
taste, culture and refinement, and as the years roll on they increase 
in number, ever thus attesting to the advancement and elevation of 
our people. 


The snows of the winter were carried off, early in April, with 
considerable rain, causing very high waters. The spring was quite 
unfavorable, and seeding was delayed until the middle of April and 
later in some localities. 

It was encouraging to the people of the county, under the gen- 
eral conditions of the weather and the money market, that immi- 
gration commenced in April, to a considerable extent, which is 
much earlier then usual. The immigration continued during the 
spring and summer, but going mainly into the counties west of this, 
and the tide which was then setting strongly to those new counties, 
was great indeed. Money about this time was scarce, and the times 
grew pretty "hard," for all of which there was abundant reason. 


In the month of April, James B. Wakefield, of this county, was 
appointed receiver, and E. P. Freeman, of Blue Earth county, regis- 
ter of the United States land office, at Winnebago City, in this 
county. On the twenty-first day of August, the office was removed 
from Winnebago City to Jackson, in Jackson county. A very earnest 
effort was made at the time, to secure the office at Blue Earth City, 
and it was thought, confidently, for a short time, that the effort would 
be successful. Some persons were so sanguine that Blue Earth 
City would succeed, that they had already selected the location of 
the office building. But Blue Earth City was again, as years befox-e, 
disappointed in its efforts. The public interests, it was said, required 
the location of the office further west, and westward with "the course 
of empire," the office took its way. 


Owing to the rapid progress of settlement and improvement on 
the Pacific coast, and the requirements of a large part of the world's 
commerce, the necessity of a great trans-continental line, or lines, 
of railway, from the east to the west, was long apparent, and much 
discussed. But little, beyond enthusiastic talk, was done, however, 
until 1859, when congress authorized the great scheme. It was a pro- 
ject of great national importance, and worthy of, and of necessity 
had to be, taken under national patronage. Of the details of the 

280 UISTOllY or 

act we cannot here treat, further than to say, the act comprised the 
building of three lines of roads, the Northern, the Southern and the 
Central. The Central or middle lino was the first to be completed. 
The construction of this, the greatest railroad in the world, in many 
respects, spanning the continent from the furtherest east to the 
Golden Gate, was the most stupendous work ever undertaken by 
man, in any age or country. 

The road was built from the western end eastwardly, by the 
Central Pacific Company, and from the eastern end westward ly, 
commencing at Omaha, Neb., by the Union Pacific Company. And 
it was on the tenth day of May, of this year, at Promontory Point, 
in the Territory of Utah, the two ends were united and- this grand 
work completed. 

It was to be expected that the completion of such a wonderful 
and valuable enterprise should be attended with great rejoicings 
throughout the whole country, and such was the fact. Spikes of 
pure gold and a hammer of pure silver were used in laying the last 
rail, and the blows of the sledge were telegraphed to all the great 
cities of the Nation, and then came the final telegram, "Tlie laf<t rail 
is laid ! The last spike driven .' The Pacific Railroad is completed .' ! 


And now let us look at home a little. We have also some rail- 
road interests and many other matters of which to speak right here. 
It was in this month of May and in this year that the first railroad 
depot was located in this county. The location was on section 9, in 
the town of Cobb, town 103, range 24. 

At this point it was designed by Col. C. W. Thompson, the pro- 
prietor, to lay off a town, which he soon proceeded to do, and the 
village of Wells loomed up on the prairies. A fuller account of the 
founding of Wells, will be found in the historical sketch of Clark 


On the twenty ninth day of May the first number of The Blue 
Earth City PoM. was issued at Blue Earth City. It was a seven column 
sheet and one of the neatest papers, typographically, in the State. 
The editors and publishers were Messrs. W. W. Williams and M. H. 
Stevens. The following brief extract from the salutatory indicates 
the views and purposes of the publishers. "The publication of The 
Blue Earth Citij Post has been commenced to supply, what seems to 
be, a demand here for a good reliable local and county paper. We 
shall attempt to supply this demand in a satisfactory manner, striv- 
ing, faithfully, to do our part and rely on the public to aid us by 
giving us such an amount of patronage as our enterprise deserves. 


"Politically the Post will be liberally republican. * * * 
We shall aim to make the Post a local, rather than a political, paper. 
The Post being published at the county seat, will contain a full 
record of current events, relating to county matters." * * * 

There were now three newspapers in the count3% the Post and 
South TFes^ at Blue Earth City, and r/ie i^^'ee i7o?HesfeafZ, at Winnebago 
City. On the twelfth day of June, the South West appeared as a 
nine column sheet, and with a new and very fine heading. It was 
now a very large paper, one of the largest in the northwest and 
the editor, still Mr. Huntington, proudly claimed it to be the best. 
In typography and otherwise, the paper was greatly improved over 
former years. 


The annual term of the District Court commenced June 1st. 
The term lasted eight days. This was the last term of court held 
by Judge Austin, in this county, he having been, as will be seen 
hereafter, elected Governor of the State. 


"I'll never serve on another jury as long as I live." Said one of the jurors, 
to a friend. 

"Yes it must be very tiresome," replied the friend. 

"It is, indeed, but that is not what I'm complaining about." 

"The loss of time is not repaid by the per diem and mileage." 

"I didn't mind the loss of time so much. It was not the loss of time that 
galled me." 

"What was it that exasperated you so much?" 

"Well when we were impaneled, some young sprouts of the law, looked 
us over, as if we were a pen of sheep. I heard a lawyer whisper to another, 
'well I guess we can handle that bunch of mullets,' the other replied, giggling, 
'I guess tliey have not formed any opinions by reading the newspapers, from 
appearances,' and a newspaper next day, describing the jury, referred to me, 
as being, apparently, a beef-headed young man, with ears that could be pinned 
together above my head. 'I'll plug that editor, when I see him, you bet-your- 
llfe.' — From an Arkansaw Paper. 


In the spring of this year Capt. P. B. Davy, whose name has 
been mentioned heretofore in connection with several important 
enterprises, with several other residents of this county, inaugurated, 
after considerable discussion, the organization of an Indian show or 

More fully stated, the plan proposed was to collect together a 
number of native Red men, from the tribes of the northwest, with 
their lodges, ponies, carts, dogs, implements of war and the chase, 
and travel through the country exhibiting under a large canvas, 
pavillion and tents the Indians and their manners and customs, their 

282 histohy of 

feasts, burials, dances, marriages, domestic economj'. family life, 
modes of warfare and other intcreslinj? features of Indian life. 

A larj^e company, consisting mainly of residents of this county, 
was formed. The necessary outfit of tents, teams, wagons and other 
requisites were procured. The Indians, with all their native accou- 
trements were obtained, and in short, the Great Indian E.xhibition 
was organized, and in June was announced in circulars and poster.s, 
of which the following were the head lines: 

Ho ! Ho 1 ! 

The most Instructive, Unique and Dignified 

Entertainment now travelling on the North American Continent. 

North-western Indian Exhibition. 

Consisting of One Hundred Native Indians, 
Including the Chiefs and Head Men of the Ancient Sisseton 
Tribe of Sioux, from the far-off plains of Dakota. 

The arrangements moved along very successfully, and on the 
twenty-third day of June, the first public exhibition was given at 
Blue Earth City. 

This first exhibition proved a great success, and demonstrated 
the fact, that under prudent management, sustained by sufiBcient 
capital until fairly started, and with favorable weather, the enter- 
prise would certainly prove a profitable one. 

But it must be added, that after a number of more or less suc- 
cessful exhibitions at various points in the State, the project had 
to be abandoned, and the company was broken up, mainly in conse 
quence of almost incessant rains and storms encountered by the ex- 
hibition and the excessively bad roads. 

It was reported currently in the newspapers of the time, that 
during this year, an unusual number of circus and other exhibition 
companies, principally from the same cause, became bankrupt. 

Captain Peter B. Davy was a native of Canada, where he was 
born October 7th, 1830. Ho obtained his education in the common 
schools and at the Normal Academy at Toronto, where he graduated. 
He commenced teaching school at the age of fifteen years, and con- 
tinued in that employment until he became eighteen years old. He 
was married in 1851 to Miss Calista M. Rose. They had two child- 
ren, one of whom died in infancj'. He came to the United States in 
1852, and located in Chicago, Illinois, where he remained until 1851, 
when he removed to Waterloo, Iowa, where he continued to reside 
until July, 1857, when he came to this county. On his arrival here 
he purchased the steam saw mill at Blue Earth City, in which he 
was interested about two years. For several years he engaged in 


the sale of various patents, selling territorial rights mainly, and in 
this business he visited various states. 

In October 1862, he enlisted in the military service of the United 
States, and was chosen first lieutenant of Company "K," First Minne- 
sota Cavalry, and the following year was promoted to the captaincy. 
While in the service he was with General Sibley in his expedition 
against the Indians. 

The regiment was mustered out in December, 1863, and he im- 
mediately re-enlisted in the Second Regiment of Minnesota Cavalry, 
and was commissioned captain of Company H. He served until 
April 28th, 186(), when the company was mustered out of the service. 
He i-e turned to Blue Earth City, and in 1867 he organized the Mon- 
tana expedition, as heretofore stated. 

Having conducted the expedition to Helena, Montana, he re- 
turned to Blue Earth City and organized the famous Black Hills 
expedition, also heretofore spoken of, but this failing, his next 
enterprise was the organization of the Indian exhibition above re- 
corded. After settling up his affairs in this venture he returned to 
Blue Earth City and led a retired life. He took much interest in lo- 
cal affairs and was at one time president of the city council of Blue 
Earth City, and held other offices. Captain Davy was a mason and 
was for five years master of Blue Earth City Lodge, No. 57, and 
was a member of Mt. Horeb Chapter, R. •. A.-. M. •. No. 21, and 
had attained the 32° A. •. A. •. Scottish Rite. He was afflicted for 
some years with a disease of the throat and lungs, and went to Den- 
ver, Col., in the autumn of 1888, but finding no relief, he concluded to 
return home, but died on the way, January 7th, 1889. His body was 
brought home, and was iaterred in the Blue Earth City cemetery. 

Captain Davy was twice married. His first wife dying, he mar- 
ried Mrs. Alzina M. Fockler, a widow lady, who survives him. • His 
religious connection was from his youth with the Protestant Epis- 
copal church, and in politics he usually acted with the democratic 
party, but he never was a partisan. His name frequently appears 
in this history. 


The fourth day of July of this year happened on Sunday, and 
was generally celebrated throughout the country on the third and 
fifth, thus affording, to enthusiastic young patriots the privilege, in 
some localities, of having two "fourths" in one year. 

In this county, however, there was but little demonstration. 
At Bear's Grove, in Lura, at Minnesota Lake and at Banks, in Pos- 
ter, the day was commemorated. 

At other places match games of base ball, a little horse racing, 
some dancing in the evening, and the general consumption of fire 

284 nisTonr of 

crackers were about all the indications that the spirit of patriotism 
still lived in this county. 

Hear what a man who likes the old time Fourth has to say: 

"Folks is ^,'t'ttin' kinder lazy, 'n tlicy celebrate the Fourth, 
.list ez if their blood wuz colder than the blizzards of the North. 
Winiern hate to hear a cannon, "n their narves is all upsot 
Ef a yoiinn 'un ut the woodshed with liis popj^un takes a shot, 
While the men have got so skittish that a cracker luakes 'em cuss, 

"N they want the celebration made without a bit o' fuss. 


Gimme back the celebrations when we split the air in two— 

Them wuz days when life wuz better with the world 'n me 'n you; 

Fer we jflorilled the country 'n the boomin' of the gun 

Wuz the sound of patriotism, 'n we had a heap ujore fun. 

While the lessons of the speeches made Ijefore the day wuz old 

Made us loveour flag 'n country, 'n her glories writ in gold."— 1''. W.Lee. 


"The sun's rim dips; the stars rush out! 
With one stride comes the d&Tk'."— Coleridge. 

Undoubtedly a total eclipse of the sun is the grandest, most 
awe-inspiring natural phenomenon mortal eyes have ever beheld. 
The total eclipse of the sun, which occurred on the seventh day 
of August, of this year, was an exceedingly important one, in a 
scientific point of view, and it is written that "never were more ex- 
tensive preparations made by governments, and men of science, to 
have thorough observations of a solar eclipse, than at this time." 

It is hardly necessary to say that in all ages eclipses have been 
regarded by the ignorant "as alarming deviations from the estab- 
lished laws of nature" and indicative of the near approach of some 
great public calamity. Even so late as this year, there was a 
prophet of evil ia an adjoining state who announced that "the 
eclipse was a judgment upon the world for its abominations, and 
that the path of its shadow over the earth would be marked by 
utter blight." 

Much interest was taken by the people of this section of country 
in this eclipse, as the obscuration would be almost total at Blue 
Earth City, and complete only nineteen miles south of that point. 

Several scientific men from St. Paul came to Blue Earth City, 
and on the seventh, accompanied by several citizens of that village, 
proceeded into Iowa, to a point on the wide open prairies, about 
nineteen miles directly south of that village. 

As the hour of the eclipse approached, manj'^ were ready with 
their smoked glasses. As the time drew nearer, and nearer, the 
query arose in many minds and the question was laughingly asked, 
will the calculations of these astronomers, made years and years ago, 
be verified? A few minutes will tell, let us watch. As the index on 


the dial reached forty- three minutes past three o'clock, p. m., lo, 
and behold, on time to the minute the eclipse commenced, the moon 
was seen to intrude upon the disc of the sun. Slowly, certainly, the 
darkness moved over the sun's face, the obscuration growing more 
and more, and then was seen the awful approach of the moon's 
shadow in the air. The heavens were darkened, stars and planets 
appeared, the air grew sensibly cooler. And now the crickets 
chirped, animals became strangely agitated, the birds bewildered, 
fluttered about the tree tops. A strange gloom overspread all 
nature, the trees, houses and other objects had a weird and un- 
natural appearance, and human faces assumed a pallid, ghastly look 
in the unnatural light, and when the eclipse had approached near 
totality all grew silent and grave, and a feeling of profound awe, 
even an indefinable dread took possession of the beholder, and the 
fearful thought came involuntarily to the mind, what if this eclipse 
should remain? At four o'clock and forty-eight minutes the ob- 
scurity began to pass off, and at five o'clock, forty-five minutes, p. m. 
the gloinous sun, more beneficent now than ever, shown forth again 
in his full splendor, and a feeling of great satisfaction came to all, 
however wise and fearless they pretended to be. Such was an inter- 
esting event but briefly and imperfectly described. And now as an 
interesting item we copy the following: 


A correspondent of the Boston Post says: "Few people trouble them- 
selves to think what the effect would be if the eclipse of Saturday were to last 
any length of time, and the sun were blotted from the heavens. Philosophy 
declares that not only would a horror of darkness cover the earth, but the mois- 
ture of the atmosphere would be precipitated in vast showers to the earth, and 
the temperature fall to a fearful point of cold, nothing less than 230 degrees 
below zero, Fahrenheit. The earth would be the seat of darkness, and more 
than arctic desolation. JJothing could survive such freezing cold a moment, 
more than one could breathe in scalding water. In three days after the cool- 
ing process began, nothing created would be alive but monsters that wallow in 
the deep ocean, and the eyeless reptiles that make their haunts in caves which 
penetrate far under ground." 

A late issue of the London Telegraph, says: 

"Apropos of the recent solar eclipse, a story worthy of Hacka^lnder has 
recently gone the round of the German papers. It appears that on the morn- 
ing of the event alluded to, Capt von S , of the Fusilliers, issued the follow- 
ing verbal order to his company, through his sergeant major, to be communi- 
cated to the men after forenoon parade: 'This afternoon a solar eclipse will 
take place. At 3 o'clock the whole company will parade in the barrack-yard. 
Fatigue jackets and caps. I shall explain the eclipse to the men. Should it 
rain they will assemble in the drill-shed.' The sergeant major, having set 
down his commanding otHcer's instructions in writing as he had understood 
them, formed the company into hollow square at the conclusion of the morning 
drill, and read his version of the order to them thus: 'This afternoon a solar 
eclipse will take place in the barrack-yard, by order of the captain, and will be 


atU'iided by the whole company, in fatigue jackets and caps. The captain will 
conduct the solar eclipse in person. Should it rain, the eclipse will take place 
ill the drill-shed.' ■' 


The following item appeared in the Homestead of September 1st. 
"A Prolific County — Faribault. She has four newspapers and less 
than four thousand inhabitants. The Prairie Bugle is the style of the 
latest, and it is democratic. It hails from Wells, but one half of it is 
printed in Mower county and the other half in Milwaukee. It is a 
clever looking, seven column sheet, and reflects credit on the pro- 
prietors, Messrs. Wood and Cook, who are at present propelling the 
Austin Democrat. Democracy has now an organ through which to 
make itself heard at home, and we heartily wish the proprietors 
abundant success." 


About harvest time the country was visited by heavy rains, ac- 
companied by high winds. The result was a long and expensive 
harvest and great waste of grain in the handling. The summer was 
wet, short, and with the exception of a very few hot days, was quite 
cool. The wheat suffered somewhat, also, from blight and rust in 
this county, yet after all these unfavorable facts, the crop was 
large. The crop of oats was abundant, and notwithstanding the un- 
favorable season, corn yielded very well. 

The following quotation, relative to the crops of this year gen- 
erally, is taken from the South West of August 28th. 

"A year of plenty is the cheering intelligence that comes to us 
from all points of the country. The wheat crop has yielded far 
above the average — cotton promises to furnish more bales than have 
been produced since the war. In the west, except in a portion of 
Illinois, the corn stands well and gives assurance of a large harvest 
— in the middle and northern states all kinds of grain have done 
well and potatoes, the farmers say, are "too plenty to pay." In this 
county, however, that pestilent, destructive, stinking little bug, the 
Colorado beetle,or potato-bug. which had greatly injured our potato 
crop for several years, did much damage this year again " 


The early part of September was characterized by heavy rains, 
and about the middle of the month the waters became very high 
and the roads almost impassable. The first heavy frost of the season 
occurred on the night of September 26th. 


The second State Teachers' Institute was held at Blue Earth 
City, commencing September 20th. The instructors were Hon. Mark 


H. Bunnell, state superintendent, Sanford Niles, county superin- 
tendent Olmstead county, and Prof. Carson, of Mankato. The in- 
stitute was an entire success, but owing to the impassable condition 
of the roads and streams, the attendance of teachers was not as full 
as it should have been. A great local interest was taken by the 
people of Blue Earth City in this institute, who by their hospitality 
and efforts to encourage all its meetings by their attendance and inter- 
est in the proceedings, and in furnishing good vocal and instru- 
mental music, at the evening meeting, did much toward rendering 
the institute a success. 


The time of holding the fair having been changed, in was held 
at Blue Earth City, on the 6th and 7th days of October. The exhibi- 
tion of grain, vegetables and fruits was very good, but other 
departments were very poor, and the attendance not large. 

But little interest was manifested in the matter, which was 
owing to the fact that the farmers, generally, were at the time very 
busy in doing fall work, already long deferred on account of long 
continued rains. 


The patriotic portion of the community, being those who were 
willing to accept office for the public good, concluded much earlier 
in the year than usual that the time had come to get the candidates 
in the field. Owing to various causes the "points" issue was now 
dead and the question of homestead taxation had been settled. But 
there was a governor and several state oflScers, a judge of the Dis- 
trict Court, for this judicial district, a senator and representative 
and a number of county officers to be elected, and several amend- 
ments of the constitution of the State to be adopted or rejected. 

In pursuance of a call the Republican County Convention was 
held at Blue Earth City on the twenty-eighth day of August, when 
the following nominations were made: 

For Treasurer — R. B. Johnson. 

For Sheriff— B. W. Barber. 

For County Attorney — J. H. Sprout. 

For Judge of Probate — J. A. Kiester. 

For Coroner — A. J. Rose. 

For Court Commissioner — J. A. Kiester. 
The convention was quite harmonious, and all the nominations 
were made by acclamation, except that of sheriff, over which there 
was some squabbling. 

Next came the Republican District Convention, which was held 
at Fairmont, Martin county, on the eighteenth day of September. 


Mr. Wakefield, elected senator the preceding year, having been 
appointed receiver at the local land office, as stated above, resigned 
the office of senator, which rendered the election of another person 
to that office necessary to fill out the unexpired term. 

J. A. Latimer, of Painbault county was nominated as the repub- 
lican candidate for senator, and M. E. L. Shanks, of Martin county, 
for repi'esentative. 

The democratic party held a convention at Fairmont also, on 
the twenty-fifth day of September, and nominated for senator Moses 
King, and for representative Phillii) Huber. 

On the seventh day of October the Democratic County Conven- 
tion was held at Blue Earth City, and made the following nomina- 
tions for county officers: 

For Treasurer — Thos. S. Fellows. 
For Sheriff— P. B. Fezler. 
For Judge of Probate — D. H. Morse. 
For County Attorney — Richard Field. 
For Court Commissioner^T. C. Smith. 
For Coroner — Loyal Dudley. 

Mr. Field, soon after the convention, withdrew, and was not a 

Owing to the fact that Hon. Horace Austin, judge of the sixth 
judicial district, to which this county belonged, was the republican 
candidate for governor and had resigned the office of judge, the elec- 
tion of a district judge became necessary. A judicial district con- 
vention was therefore held at Mankato, October 19th, when Andrew 
C Dunn, of this county, was nominated as the republican candidate 
for that important office. 

The democracy made no nomination, and the Hon. Franklin H. 
Waite, of Blue Earth county, became an independent candidate for 
the judgeship. 

Notwithstanding, there was now a straight republican and a 
straight democratic county ticket in the field, there was some dissatis- 
faction in certain quarters, and so, to remedy the mistakes of the two 
parties in their nominations, a "People's Mass Convention" was called 
to assemble at Walnut Lake, October 23d, but the place of meeting was 
subsequently changed to Winnebago City. A convention was held 
at the time specified, but was not numerously attended. The result 
of the proceedings was the nomination of Hon. Patrick Kelley, of 
this county, for senator, and A. L. Patchin, of Martin county, for rep- 
resentative, and P. C. Seely was nominated for the office of sheriff. 
The nominees on the republican ticket for the other county offices 
were endorsed by this convention. 

As has already been said. Hon. Horace Austin, of Nicollet 
county, was the republican candidate for governor, and Hon. Geo. L. 


Otis, of Ramsey county, was the democratic candidate for the same 
office. With this expose of the political field, we now proceed to 
announce the result of the battle. 

The decisive day, Nov. 2d, arrived, and when the shades of eve- 
ning closed the day, there were, in the ballot boxes, of this county, 
seven hundred and thirty-eight votes for Horace Austin, for gov- 
ernor, and for Geo. L. Otis, democratic candidate for governor, 
three hundred and seventy-five votes. For judge of the district 
court, Franklin H. Waite had seven hundred and seventy-six votes, 
and Andrew C Dunn had three hundred and thirty- three. 
For Senator: 

J. A. Latimer had of the votes 776 

Patrick Kelley 138 

Moses King 188 

For representative there were for: 

M. E. L. Shanks 482 

Phillip Huber 173 

A. L. Patchin 353 

For county offices the several candidates received the following 
number of votes: 

For county treasurer: 

R. B. Johnson had 934 

T. S. Fellows 207 

For sheriff: 

B. W. Barber had 524 

P. C. Seely 414 

P. B Fezler 189 

For county attorney: 

J. H. Sprout (no opposition) had 648 

For judge of probate: 

J. A. Kiester had 885 

D. H. Morse had 251 

For coroner: 

Loyal Dudley had 254 

A. J. Rose . 878 

For court commissioner: 

T. C. Smith had 253 

J. A. Kiester 814 

A. R. More was elected county commissioner for the first 

Austin was elected governor, Waite, district judge, and Latimer 
and Shanks were elected in tlie legislative district. 

The varieties of tickets used at this election were prodigious, 
and each candidate for a county or legislative office, wanted his 
name on each style of ticket. There was the "Regular Republican" 
ticket. "Regular Democratic," "Workingman," "Farmers," "Peo- 
ple's," "Split," "Bogus," and "Bummers," and other varieties too 
numerous to mention. 



Prices during the fall ranged as follows, wheat 70c, oats 35c, corn 
40c, potatoes 25c per bushel, flour *2.50 to ^3.00 per hundred. Wheat 
stood at an average of 60 to 70 cents most of the summer and fall, 
but at one time (in December) became as low as 53 cents, at Waseca, 
our railroad market at the time. 

And now the years record is completed, with the following 
quotation, from a popular and valuable work. 

"This year closes a most iruportant era in the history of the United States, 
and of the world. The account with the civil war was definitely closed, and the 
llnal seal set on the policy of reconstruction by the inauguration of Gen. Grant, 
president, and the continuance of the republican party in power by the people 
together with the re-adniission of most of the southern states and the possibi- 
lity of the reversal of the decision in regard to slavery done away by the adop- 
tion of the amendment to the constitution, giving the elective franchise to the 
colored population. Much emphasis was given to all these things by the pros- 
perity of the country and the rapid reduction of the debt, by the generally wise 
conduct of the southern people and the slowly increasing prosperity of that 
section. These results reacted in other countries to strengthen the tendency 
to freer and more popular governments, and seem, in some respects, to have in- 
troduced the era of republicanism." 



A. D. 1870. 

"Master, Master! news, old news, and such news as you never heard of." 

— Shakespeare. 

We have now reached another year of general accounting — a 
year of the national census. We have now grown to the stature of 
an important county in the State, and we step up upon a higher plain. 
Behind us is a period of fifteen years, with all their improvements, 
increase of population and accumulations. Among other things 
done during this time, many school houses were built, a number of 
church buildings erected, various societies formed, many public 
roads opened, and thousands of acres of land put under cultivation. 
And we now begin a-new decade, with considerable means to make 
great and valuable advances in the future. 


In commencing the history of this year, it is necessary to state 
that the county commissioners assembled on the fourth day of Jan- 
uary, and proceeded to organize by electing Andrew R. More, Sr. 

They held subsequent meetings commencing March 24th, June 
30th and September 6th, but a careful examination of the record 
discloses nothing of historical value, the business done being simply 
of the ordinary routine character. 

In writing the annals of a people, or locality, where events 
of public interest should be stated, in chronological order, there 
is the constant repetition each year of certain public official oc- 
currences, of the same general tenor, which causes a sameness in 
the history of the several years, and becomes monotonous, but 
which cannot readily be avoided. Yet it may be remarked that 
while some of such events may not be of much interest to many 
persons, there are always some — those whose names are mentioned, 
or other actors in the events, who are interested in reading them. 
Many x-eaders of books understand the brainless "art of skipping," 
and when the reader of these annals strikes a paragraph of no inter- 
est, it would be advisable to "skip along." It maybe observed, 
generally, and should be remembered, that while some events 
chronicled in history, may be of little interest to one reader, they 
may be of great interest to another. 



The twelfth State Legishiture assembled at the capitolJanuary 
4th and adjourned March 4tli. In the legislature of this year, 
our senator was J. A. Latimer, of this county, and our representative 
in the lower House was M. E. L. Shanks, of Martin county. The 
acts passed at this session having a special relation to this county, 
were the following: First. "An act to establish an additional term 
of the district court" in this county. 

Prior to this there was but one term of court held in the county 
annually, but the increasing business required an additional term. 
By this act the terms were set for the first Tuesday of January and 
the first Tuesday of .June in each year. 

Second. An act amendatory of the act of 1868, authorizing 
towns to vote aid to railroad companies. Third. An act confirm- 
ing the action and resolutions of the common council of Mankato 
* * * relative to the issue of bonds to the M. & N. W. 
R. R. Co., (now Minnesota Central) and the election held ratifying 
said resolution. 

To note here an important item in our rajlroad history and to 
understand the relevancy of the above act to this county, it is neces- 
sary to say, that the City of Mankato, in Blue Earth county, adjoin- 
ing this county on the north, had voted to issue to the railroad 
company above-named, 1^65.000 in bonds, for the purpose of aiding 
in the construction of a railroad from Mankato to Wells, in this 
county, and from a point on said route at, or near. Good Thunder's 
Ford to the Iowa state line, via Blue Earth City. The above act, as 
its title imports, was passed to confirm and legalize the proceedings. 
In connection with this same project, Mr. Drake, president of the 
St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad Company, had, in December of the 
preceding year, agreed to build the road from Good Thunder's Ford 
by way of Blue Earth City, to the Iowa state line, there to connect 
with a proposed road in Iowa, provided the several townships along 
the line of the road should vote a certain amount of aid in the shape 
of town bonds. One-half of the bonds voted by the City of Mankato 
was to apply on the Blue Earth City branch, as it was called. But 
the whole project, so far as this county was concerned, for some in- 
scrutable reason failed, and being a failure, it is not necessary to pur- 
sue the subject further here. 


On the fifth day of .January, of this year, our first railroad, the 
Southern Minnesota, was laid across the east line of the county, and 
on that day the first train of cars which ever entered upon the soil 
of this county steamed in with noise and smoke, and on the thir- 
teenth day of the same month the road was ccmpleted to Wells, and 


on that day the first train of cars whistled, thundered and puffed 
into that village, amid loud exclamations of rejoicing. And now 
Wells was to be, for a brief period, the railroad market and com- 
mercial metropolis of the county. 


In the early part of January, the Prairie Bugle, to which some 
reference was heretofore made, ended its career, and its "stirring 
notes" ceased to be heard resounding over the prairies. But its 
place was taken by a more permanent and valuable journal, the 
Wells Atlas, which appeared about the twentieth day of January. It 
was published at Wells, in this county, by C. A. Lounsberry, form- 
erly of the Martin County Atlas, and was a seven column sheet, and 
very creditable in matter, typography and general appearance. The 
paper was republican in politics. We have not a copy of the first 
issue at hand to give exact dates and the introductory remarks of 
the editor. 

There were now four newspapers published in the county, the 
Soicth West and Post at Blue Earth City, the Free Homestead at Winne- 
bago City and the Atlas at Wells, certainly enough, considering the 
population, to enlighten the people on all subjects of public interest. 


A terrific snow storm, attended with severe cold, occurred on 
the 14th, 15th and 16th days of March. The whole country was 
covered by immense banks and drifts of snow, in every direction. 
During this storm a Mrs. Bates and three small children were frozen 
to death in the town of Brush Creek, a more full account of which 
is given elsewhere. Others in this county and some in Martin and 
Jackson counties were badly frozen, and stock suffered severely. 

The spring opened and the ice in the streams began to break up 
and the waters to run, about the twenty-eighth day of March, and 
seeding commenced this year on the eighth of April. 


(From the Homestead.) 

Feb. 16th. Wheat is "firm" at Wells, at flfty-two cents for No. One. A few 
mornings ago the mercury indicated 30 dei^rees below zero, the lowest it has been 
this winter. Now we are enjoying almost Indian summer weather and pretty 
good sleighing. 

March. There is no doubt whatever that the most prosperous section of 
our country, at this time, is in the south. Money is plenty there and keeps 
moving more lively than elsewhere. 

16th. The mails are delayed on account of the snow, and no news of the 
week has yet been received. 

294 BISTOHY (>F 

—License or no license. This (luostion will ho voted on, In Winnebago City, 
at the next town nieetinj; 

—As you pass along through life, he kind and sympathizing; bestow snilles 
and gentle words upon your fellow pilgrims. Thus you will bring happiness to 
you heart and strew your path with fadeless (lowers. 

—During the terrible storm of wind and snow, last Tuesday, a large eagle, 
measuring seven feet from tip to tip of his wings, descended, for protection 
against the weather, on the farm of Mr. S. Crandall. 

— Religious.- A few weeks since there was but one professing Christian 
among the business men of the city. Now they number thirteen, and oversixty 
persons in all have been converted in the revival meetings here. 


On the first day of June of this year, "The Faribault County 
Sunday School Association and Institute," was formed at Winnebago 
City, by tlie adoption, at a public meeting called for the purpose, 
of a constitution and the election of officers. 

The object of the association is declared in the second article of 
the constitution to be, "For the awakening of a greater interest in 
the cause of Sunday schools, and a higher culture of teachers for 
the work." 

The board of officers consists of a president, two vice presidents, 
a secretary and treasurer. A committee is appointed at each meet- 
ing to prepare, in good season, a program of exercises, and make all 
necessary arrangements for the next meeting. 

The association is defined to be "a delegated body composed of 
five members from each school, which number shall include the pas- 
tor and superintendent of the respective schools." The minutes of 
this first meeting state that the convention was well attended and 
considerable interest was manifested throughout the session, which 
continued two days. 

The officers elected for the year were the Rev. J. D. Todd, pres- 
ident; D. B. Thurston and 0. A. Albee, vice-presidents, and C. J. 
Farley, secretary and treasurer. 

It appears that, for some reason, no meeting was held in 1871. 
The meeting held in 1872, is named the second annual meeting in 
the records of the association. The meetings were regularly held 
thereafter, annually, and constantly grew in interest and importance. 

At this first meeting, among other action taken, it was resolved 
to circulate in all the Sunday schools a temperance pledge and a 
pledge against profanity and the wse of tobacco. A peculiar and most 
valuable feature of the exercises at the several meetings, is the chil- 
dren's meeting, a time for which is set apart and to which all the 
children of the locality are invited and take part in certain exercises 
arranged for the occasion. 

The Minnesota State Sabbath School Association was organized 
in 1858, and holds an annual convention. The State, as well as the 


county societies, are entirely undenominational. Each county, or 
district society, is an auxilliary of the State society. 

Sunday schools were instituted at a very early day of the Chris- 
tian era, probably about the close of the second century. And all 
along down the centuries these schools h ave been known at various 
times, and in different countries, until the time of the institution of 
modern Sunday schools. It is said there was a Sunday school in 
Roxbury, Mass., in 1674, which was probably the first one in Amer- 
ica. But these schools were not such Sunday schools as we have 
now. They were not, as a rule, designed for religious instruction, 
but were intended to provide elementary instruction to the children 
of the poor who could not attend the day schools, or those who had 
no other time or opportunity of getting instruction. Modern Sun- 
day schools were originated by the Rev. Thomas Steck, of Glouces- 
ter, England, a clergyman of the Church of England, about the year 
1779 or 1780 and who, in the latter year, associated with himself, 
Robert Raikes, who reorganized the schools existing in his charge, 
and thei'eafter took the main care of the schools and the extension 
of the system, and has come to be recognized, and properly so, as 
the real founder of modern Sunday schools. It is not necessary 
here, or at this day, to give any description of the Sunday school 
system, or to present any arguments in its behalf, though there are 
those who question the methods used, and there are some who even 
doubt the value of the institution itself. 

Its adoption by all the religious denominations throughout 
Christendom, and its self-evident value as a means of moral and reli- 
gious instruction and discipline, is a sufficient answer to all objec- 
tions and are 

" Confirmations Strong 

As proofs of Holy Writ," 

Of the value of these schools. The Sunday school has been justly 
called, "the nursery of the church," and it is in them, at this day, 
that more than one-half of our young people, whether rich or poor, or 
whether the children of educated or illiterate parents, get most of 
their i-eligious knowledge and training — instruction which but for 
the Sunday school, many of them, owing to the neglect, or incom- 
petency of parents and others, would never get. 

It is, indeed, one of the most beneficdht institutions of modern 
times and is doing a great, a good work — one of incalculable value to 
the world. 

It is gratifying to know, also, as might have been reasonably 
supposed, that the Sunday school has met the approval and received 
the attention and labors, in almost every country, of men and women 
of the highest intellectual culture, of great moral worth and high 
position. And right here it may be said, for the profit of a certain 


class of persons, who think themselves a little above the business 
of a Sunday school teacher, or who, because of the shallow knowl- 
edge they possess of this institution, affect to ridicule it, that many 
of the greatest and best men of this nation have taken a direct and 
personal interest in Sunday school work. That in Eagland, the 
late Lord Hatherley was a Sunday school teacher for forty years and 
that two of the Lord Chancellors — Lord Cairns and Lord Selborne, 
were both very attentive and efficient Sunday school teachers. 


It appears, by reference to Neill's History of the State, that the 
first Sunday school in the State, and in fact, the first in the North- 
west, was instituted at Fort Snelling, in 1823. It was, however, but 
a temi^orary organization. 

The first permanent Sunday school in Minnesota was established 
at St. Paul, July 25th, 1847. "Seven scholars attended, and there 
was such a mixture of races among these that an interpreter was 
necessary, who could speak French, English and Sioux, before all 
could be made to understand the instructions given. The school in- 
creased to twenty-five scholars by the third Sunday * * « and 
finally became the Sabbath school of the First Baptist Church — so 
that said society claim to have the oldest Sunday school in Minne- 

The first permanent Sunday school in this county — one which 
has continued to this day — was instituted in 1858, in the town of 
Pilot Grove, by several members of the Presbyterian church. A 
Sunday school was, however, held prior to this one. in Winnebago 
City township, the exact date of which cannot now be found, but this 
school did not long continue. It may, therefore, be said that the 
Pilot Grove school is, at least, the oldest existing Sunday school in 
the county. 

The number of Sunday schools in the county, their membership, 
the progress made by them, and the condition of the Sunday school 
work in the county, will be noted from time to time, in the accounts 
given in this work, of the meetings of the Association. 

And now, in concluding this subject here, the writer desires to 
express the most earnest hope that the Association may be greatly 
prosperous, that every pastor, superintendent, or other oflicer, and 
every teacher, in our Sunday schools, may be enlightened and guided 
by the Holy Spirit, in their noble work— a work beneficial to the 
State, as well as to the advancement of religion — a work which shall 
tell, not only in time, but in eternity, and which is indeed, and in 
truth, work done for the Master, and which shall at some time, and 
somewhere, receive its proper reward. 



The June term of the District Court commenced its session on 
the seventh and continued nine days. This was the first term in this 
county at which one new judge, the Hon. Franklin H. Waits, pre- 
sided. No causes of special public interest were tried. 

What a dull item this is? Let us enliven it a little by relating 
a joke, not connected, indeed, with our court, but which was floating 
around in the newspapers of the time. A certain judge who was 
quite lenient and not noted for keeping very orderly courts, one day 
became quite impatient, owing to the noise and confusion, and sud- 
denly exclaimed, "Mr. Sheriff!" 

"What your honor," said the sheriff. 

"Try and keep a little order in the court room," said the judge, 
"here we have already committed four prisoners without hearing a 
word of the evidence." 


The last three weeks of June were excessively warm, being the 
hottest term yet known in this county. During most of this time 
the thermometer ranged from 90" to 98° in the shade. The earth 
became parched, as there had been no rain for a considerable period, 
and the crops suffered severely, 


Exit — The Free Homestead, on the eighth day of June, after a 
career of six years of considerable prominence and influence. Mr. 
Ed. A. Hotchkiss, retiring editor, favors his readers with probably 
the briefest valedictory on record. "To-day we are Ed. To mor- 
row we shall be Ex." — and bows himself off the editorial stage. 

Entre — A. E. Foss, June 23d, making a very graceful obeisance 
to the public and presenting The Winnebago City Press. 


Some reader might think the history of this year incomplete, 
should the statement be omitted that the fourth of July was cele- 
brated at Blue Earth City with appropriate ceremonies and patriotic 
ardor. The great charter was read by Prof. E. P. Bartlett, and an 
eloquent oration was delivered by Rev. C. A. Stine, of Mankato. 
The day was very pleasant and many people were in attendance. 
The newspapers seemed to intimate that two or three individuals, 
on this occasion, permitted their patriotism to degenerate into pat- 
riot-ism which was disgraceful, both to themselves and the day. It 
does not appear that the day was celebrated in a formal manner at 
any other place. 



A memorable storm, the most severe of the summer, really a 
tempest of wind, rain and hail, occurred on the nineteenth day of 
July, coming up from the southwest. This tornado did much dam- 
age in the county, especially in the villages. Wells and Minnesota 
Lake suffered the most. At the former place several houses were 
blown over, others badly shaken. Roofs were blown off from many 
houses, and barns thi-own down, sign boards, fences and outhouses 
were, everywhere, damaged to a considerable extent. 


The harvest of this year, which began in the last week of July, 
was not abundant. Wheat was light, averaging about ten bushels 
per acre. Barley and oats gave us about two-thirds the usual yield. 
The weather during harvest was exceedingly warm and sultry. 
The following remarks are quoted from the report of the commis- 
sioner of statistics, relative to the crops of 1870 : 

The ditTerence between good and Vjad farniinn was never, perhaps, more 
signally illustrated than by the results of agriculture in Minnesota, in 1870. 
With an auspicious season— when from seed lime until harvest the tempera- 
ture is favorable, the rains timely, and the approving heavens conjure the 
earth of her abundance, the blundurs and follii'S of the worst husbandry are 
corrected, and all alike rejoice in general abundance, but when the elements are 
perverse, and the struggling grain is beset with vicissitudes, the tost of the true 
farmer is assured. Such was the season of 1870. Its commencement was early 
and auspicious, and until the drought and heat began in June, the crops were 
everywhere alike promising. Then a difference in the fields began to manifest 
itself, which became more and more palpable as the season advanced. Those 
which had been deeply ploughed early the previous fall, withstood the dire 
beat and prolonged drought, and maintained their luxuriant vigor to the end, 
while the shallow fields, hastily ploughed in the spring, grew rapidly worse, 
and seemed literally to dry up and disappear. 


During the course of this history allusion has been made sev- 
eral times to the action of the county authorities in reference to the 
building of a jail. It may now be stated that during the month of 
August, of this year, that useful institution was erected. It was a 
one-story frame building, sixteen feet by thirty feet in size. The 
north half of the building was fitted up for the purposes of a jail, 
and contained two sheet-iron cells. The south half was finished up 
as a residence for the turnkey. 


A brief space occurring here in our manuscript, it may be 
filled by the statement that during this year a great war was waged 
between France and Prussia. It was prosecuted upon a very large 


scale and with tremendous vigor, and was short and decisive. The 
Emperor, Napoleon III, of France, was defeated and taken prisoner 
by the Germans; his government was set aside by the people of 
France, who founded a republic. 

On the seventh day of September the French Republic was rec- 
ognized by the United States government. 

On the twenty eighth of January, of the next year, the city of 
Paris capitulated to the Germans, which ended the war, terms of 
peace being soon arranged, and on the first day of March following, 
the Germans made a triumphal entry into Paris. Many of our citi- 
zens were natives, respectively, of these two great nations, and of 
course took a deep interest in the progress and results of the war. 


During the summer an enterprise was broached and somewhat 
discussed, of dividing the counties of Faribault, Freeborn and Mar- 
tin, in such a manner as to make the village of Wells a central location 
for the county seat of a new county to be formed by the divisions 
proposed. The project was designed so as to leave Blue Earth 
City the county seat of what remained of the old county. The scheme, 
however, was not viewed favorably by any one except a few persons 
-in Wells, where it originated. It was "a fond thing vainly inven- 
ted," and was soon dropped as entirely imjpracticable. There was, 
also, considerable talk during the year in certain localities, in refer- 
ence to the removal of the county seat, which culminated in certain 
action which we shall notice hereafter. 


A few words must here be said in relation to the Agricultural 

At the annual January meeting L. W. Brown, of Prescott, was 
elected president and A. A. Huntington, of Winnebago City, secre- 
tary. Yet it appears that notice was given of a meeting to be held 
at Winnebago City, June 4th, for the election of officers. Of the pur- 
port of this it is not now profitable to inquire. 

The fair was held at Winnebago City on the 22d and 23d days of 
September. There was considerable jealousy existing at the time 
between the several villages relating to the society, and much gen- 
eral dissatisfaction as to the affairs of the society, all of which 
tended to interfere with its success, and as a result the fair of this 
fall was not encouraging. 

In connection with the subject in hand, it should be recorded as 
a matter of history that there existed at the time of which we write, 
and for a number of subsequent years, a growing inclination among 
the farmers throughout the country generally, and to some extent in 


this county, to leave the farm and crowd into the towns and cities. 
under the supposition that life was easier and better there than 
on the farm. 

The extent to which this disposition has pervailed and now pre- 
vails, is much greater in some localities than in others. The old 
fashioned quiet contentment with farm life, seems, with many, to 
have passed away for some reason. There are doubtless a number 
of causes which are operating to bring about such a result, in var- 
ious localities, but without attempting to enumerq,te, or speculate, 
as to the causes, or prescribe a remedy, we shall quote here a very 
appropriate article somewhat humorous as well as practical, from 
that curious paper, Perk's Sun, (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). 

THE farmer's mistake. 

"An exchange speaks of the departure of an old settler to Dakota, where 
he will take up a quarter section of land and start again in life at the age 
of 70. The man had a nice farm near a splendid town, where he had lived and 
brought up a family. He got tired of farming, sold the farm for 80,000, moved 
to town and went into the livery V)usiness, and in three years went through 
everything except a team and lumber wagon, and now he has packed and gone 
to Dakota, with a heart lieavier than his pocket-ljo(jk, and he will die out there. 
The number of farmers who decide to go to town to live, every year, and go into 
business, is appalling. Every town has them, and nine out of ten become 
poor. They get an idea that town business men are the happiest people on 
earth and have an easy time, and they get to brooding over their hard life, and 
they think any body can run a store, a grocery, or livery stable, and they sell 
out the farm and go into the grocery business because it seems so easy to weigh 
out sugar and tea. They can always tlnd a grocery man who will sell the re- 
mains of his sick stock of groceries for ready cash, and when the farmer first 
sees his name over the door of a grocery he feels as though he was made, and he 
puts his thumbs in the armholes of his vest. The farmer's girls and boys rea- 
lizing that they are merchant's sons and daughters, instead of farmer's, have 
to keep up with the procession. There have to be things bought as merchants 
that would never he thought of as farmers The farmers furniture is not good 
enough, the democratic wagon gives place to a carriage, the old mares gives 
place to high steppers, and the girls dress better and do not work. The family 
lives out of the grocery, the boys play base ball and the girls go to big parties. 
The farmer is a good fellow and trusts many other good fellows who can't pay, 
and in some cases he gets to drinking. Bills begin to come in, and he can't 
collect enough to pay rent. Friends that would help him out with money are 
mighty scarce, and he will have to give a chatlle mortgage on the stock. The 
stock runs down until there is nothing but a red tin can of mustard with a bull's 
head on it, some canned peaches and cove oysters on the shelves, a few boxes 
of wooden clothes-pins, six wagonloada of barrels with a little sugar in the 
bottom, a couple of dozen washboards, a l)ox of codfish of the vintage of 1860, 
which smells like a gUie factory, a show-case full of three cent wooden pocket 
comlis and blueing, hair pins and shaving soap, some empty cigar boxes, that 
the boys have smoked the cigars out of, and a few such things that do not 
bring enough at an auction to pay for printing the auction bills. Then the 
farmer breaks up and goes west, leaving a lot of bills in the hands of the law- 
yer for collection, who manages to collect enough to pay his commission, and 


the family, once so happy on the farm, and as independent, becomes demor- 
alized, the girls marry chambermaids in livery stables rather than go west, the 
boys go to driving haclf or worlcing on a threshing machine, or tending bar, 
and refuse to go west; and the old folks go to Dalcota alone and wish they were 
dead, and will be quick enough. This is the history of thousands of farmers 
who get tired of the old farm. If they would but realize that they were better 
fixed than nine-tenths of the merchants in town, and they can not become 
successful merchants any more than merchants can become successful farmers, 
they would be learning something that would be valuable to them. 


The potato has become a very important article of diet, with 
many nations. It is easy of iiroduction, always healthful, conven- 
ient and desirable. No other vegetable can fill its place. A well- 
set table seems to lack something if potatoes, in some form, are not 
present. The old and the young alike are fond of them. Who ever 
saw a boy who did not like fried potatoes and gravy. While it is an 
important item of food with the rich, it is almost indispensable with 
the poor. Its scarcity is a great calamity. All nationalities are the 
friends of the potato. The American is proud of it as a native pro- 
duction. The Frenchman must have his Pomme de Terre, the Irish- 
man his 'praties," the German his kartofle. This valuable vegetable, 
of the finest quality, is usually produced in great abundance in this 
county, and at one time Minnesota was famous for its fine potatoes, 
large quantities of which were exported. 

Some allusion has been heretofore made, in the course of this 
history, to the ravages of the potato-bug in this county for a num- 
ber of years. Nothing, not even the rot, has ever been so destruc- 
tive to the potato crop, and so much to be dreaded as the pota- 

The native habitat or home of this insect, more properly named 
the Colorado potato-beetle, has been found to be in the canyons and 
high table-lands of the Rocky Mountains. It began its eastward 
march from Colorado about 1859 or 1860, and in about fifteen years, 
spread over the whole potato-growing sections of the United States 
and Canada, being the most numerous and destructive in the north- 
ern portions of the country. They reached the Atlantic States in 
1874, and the seaboard in 1875, and finally passed over to Europe, 
where they did great injury and created much alarm. Among the 
first of the European countries to be attacked, was Ireland, in which 
country, more than in all others, the potato is useful and esteemed. 
And about that time some newspaper itemizer, forgetting the 
seriousness of this matter, wrote that "The potato bug has always 
been bad enough, goodness knows, but think of his coming back to us 
with a brogue and a shillalah!" Many methods were used to destroy 
these insects and protect the potatoes, but the most effectual proved 


to be the use of paris-green. either in the dry powder, sprinkled 
upon the vines when the dew was on, or in the form of a liquid, that 
is, the green mixed with water and sprinkled over the vines. But 
no method appeared to be entirely successful in destroying them. 
In this year (1870) also, these vermin were very destructive in this 
county, but it was the last year of their reign here. Another bug — 
a mightier bug than the potato bug, in the capacity of its stomach 
and appetite, if that were possible — a bug that had a long bill, or 
nib, and that cared nothing for potatoes appeared, looking about 
for potato-bugs, and the pests of years disappeared silently and 
quickly, not standing upon the order of their going, and every lover 
of that healthy esculent said heartily with the Irishman, "Bad luck 
go wid ye, ye bastes." 


On the 10th and 11th days of October, a new town site was sur- 
veyed and another village founded in this county. It was located on 
section 36, in town 104, of range 27, on the line of the Southern 
Minnesota Railroad, and was named "Delavan." This was the fifth 
village in the county, according to number and age. A fuller 
reference to this village will be found elsewhere in this work. 


All the former projects and efforts to secure a north and south 
railroad through the county having failed, a new proposition to 
build a road was now submitted to the people of Blue Earth City 
and the adjoining towns, by the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Min- 
nesota Railroad Company. The substance of this proposition was 
that, if the several towns interested should vote to the company 
$85,000 in town bonds, running twenty years and bearing seven per 
cent interest, donate to the company forty acres of land adjoining 
the village of Blue Earth City, and secure the right of way from the 
Iowa state line from the point where the road should cross the line 
to Blue Earth City, the company would extend their road to that 
village, completing it to that point by the first day of December, 
1872. The proposition was made in good faith, no doubt, and was 
so accepted. The bonds were voted, mainly in October, the amount 
required being so nearly secured that it was satisfactory, the vote 
in the several towns was formally accepted by the company, the 
forty acres of land was contracted for and the right of way mainly 

A preliminary survey of the route was completed to Blue Earth 
City on the twenty-sixth day of November, and was found practic- 


able and easy of construction, and now, to dispose of this project, 
it is sufficient to say, the road was not built into this county. 

"I never had a piece of bread. 
Well butter'd, nice and wide, 
But fell upon the sanded floor, 
And on the butter'd side." 


The time has now arrived to give some account of the most 
bitter, exciting and, we may well add, the most disgraceful polit- 
ical contest ever known in the annals of this county. 

And first it is necessary to show when and how the candidates 
were placed in the field. 

On the tenth day of September, the democracy held a conven- 
tion at Blue Earth City and made the following nominations: 

For Senator — Moses King. 

For Representative — Harlow Seeger. 

For County Auditor — George Barnes. 

For Register of Deeds — C. L. Chase. 

Mr. Chase did not, however, remain a candidate. 

The republicans held a convention on the eighth day of October 
at Blue Earth City. The convention was very fully attended and 
was characterized by much strife. 

W. W. White was nominated for county auditor and J. R. Sis- 
son for county surveyor. 

Thirteen formal ballots were taken for register of deeds, there 
being three candidates for the nomination, but as neither candidate 
could secure a majority of the whole vote, no nomination was made. 
Ten delegates, over whom there was a hot contest, where chosen to 
represent this county in the Legislative District Convention. 

These delegates were understood to be favorable to the nomi- 
nation of Geo. W. Whallon, of Blue Earth City, for senator, and 
Geo. C. Chamberlin, of Jackson, for representative. 

On the eleventh day of October, another county convention, 
called the "People's Convention" assembled at Winnebago City. 
This convention formally nominated W. W. White for auditor, J. R. 
Sisson for surveyor, and Frank Lent for register of deeds. At this 
convention also, ten delegates were elected to represent this county 
in the Legislative District Convention. These latter delegates were 
understood to be favorable to the nomination of C. W. Thompson, of 
Wells, for senator, and A. L. Patchia, of Martin county, for repre- 
sentative. The legislative district was, at the time, composed of the 
counties of Faribault, Martin, Jackson, Nobles, Cottonwood, Mur- 
ray, Pipestone and Rock. 


The district convention for the nomination of candidates for 
senator and representative, assembled at Fairmont, Martin county, 
on the twelfth day of October. 

Two sets of minutes of the proceedings of this convention, each 
signed by a chairman and secretary, were published as official. 

It appears by the one report, that H. J. Neal, one of the dele- 
gates chosen by the regular county convention of this county, called 
the meeting to order, and was thereupon elected chairman, and J. 
W. Cowing, of Jackson, secretary, and then Geo. W. Whallon was 
nominated as the candidate for senator, and Geo. C. Chamberlin. for 
representative, after which the convention adjourned. 

By the other report it appears, that A. Fancher. of Martin 
county, was chosen chairman and A. E. Foss, of this county, secre- 
tary, whereupon C. W. Thompson was nominated as the candidate 
for senator, and A. L. Patchin for representative. Several resolu- 
tions were then adopted, after which the convention adjourned. 

The fact was that each party was determined to nominate its 
candidates, at all events, and that both conducted their proceedings 
at the same time and place, the Thompson party continuing their 
proceedings for a short time after the Whallon party had adjourned. 

We shall not attempt to determine the legality of either set of 
nominations, as the legality, or regularity of the proceedings, does 
not appear to have been a matter of much consequence to either set 
of delegates. 

About this time, Geo. A. Weir was announced as an indepen- 
dent candidate for county surveyor, and Fred P. Brown, as an inde- 
pendent candidate for register of deeds. 

A congressman was also to be elected this fall, and the candi- 
dates were, Mark H. Bunnell, of Steele county, republican, andC. F. 
Buck, of Winona county, democrat. 

The campaign was exceedingly earnest, bitter and personal. 
The contest was upon the offices of senator and representative in 
the district, and the office of register of deeds in this county. The 
entire district was closely canvassed, many meetings were held and 
many a country school house rang with turgid eloquence. At some 
of these meetings, the champions of both sides met, when words, 
hot and high, were heard for hours. 

The real issues of this campaign, so far as the district was con- 
cerned, were not men and politics, but were, first, the rivalrj' of 
interests of the several localities, or villages in this county; sec- 
ondly, the division of the 500,000 acres of State "internal improve- 
ment lands," among the railroad companies of the State, which it 
was designed to attempt at the next session of the legislature, of 
which Mr. Thompson desired to get a portion in aid of the roads in 
which he was interested, while Mr. Whallon and his friends were look- 


ing after like intei*ests in behalf of their localities, and thirdly, but 
not least, so far as concerned Blue Earth City, the county seat ques- 
tion, in this county, was believed to be deeply involved in this elec- 
tion and, of course, awakened all the energies of Blue Earth City, 
and several other localities. Besides all these considerations a 
United States senator was to be elected at the next session of the 
legislature. The Winnebago Oity Press and Wells Atlas ta,voTed Messrs. 
Thompson and Patchin. The Blue Earth City Post sustained Messrs. 
Whallon and Chamberlin, and the South-West spoke favorable of 
both republican tickets, but did not take a decided stand for either. 
The election was held on the eighth day of November, and the 
following was the result in this county, as appears from the official 


For Congress— M. H. Dunnell, 1606; C. F. Buck, 607. 

State Senator— G. W. Whallon, 1246; Moses King, 40; C. W. 
Thompson, 917. 

Representative — G. C. Chamberlin, 1168; H. Seeger, 146; A. L. 
Patchin, 899. 

Auditor— W. W. White, 1669; Geo. Barnes, 532. 

Register— F. Lent, 1099; F. P. Brown, 1039. 

Surveyor— G. A. Weir, 1489; H. Sisson, 717. 

Henry J. Neal was elected county commissioner for District No. 
2, and L. C. Seaton for District No. 3, and Mark H. Dunnell was 
elected representative in congress of this, the first congressional 

But the matter of chief interest was not yet decided. The votes 
for senator and representative in the entire legislative district, com- 
posed of the counties above named, were yet to be canvassed. As 
this county was the senior county in the district, the votes of the 
other counties were required by law to be returned to the auditor of 
this county to be canvassed, by a board designated by law, and was 
composed as follows: 

W. W. White, Auditor of Faribault county. 

C. Chamberlin, Auditor of Cottonwood county. 
M. A. Strong, Auditor of Jackson county. 

J. A. Armstrong, Auditor of Martin county. 

J. A. Kiester, Judge of Probate, Faribault county. 

D. F. Goodrich, Justice of the Peace, Faribault county. 

The canvassing board met on the third day of December, at 
Blue Earth City. 

Never before, or since, for that matter, was such an intense in- 
terest manifested in the canvass of any vote in the county. Gross 
frauds were charged to have been practiced by both parties, and the 
vote was known to be very close. 


There was a jri'eat attendance of citizens at the oflBce of the 
county auditor. Mr. Thompson, with his attorneys. Messrs. Losey, 
of La Crosse, Wis., and Dunn, of this county, with many friends, 
were present. Mr. Whalion and his friends were also in attendance. 
After much discussion, the raising of many objections and the read- 
ing of considerable law applicable to the subject in hand, the board 
duly considered the matter, and finally certified to the following 

For senator, Geo. W. Whalion had 1684 votes, and C. W. Thomp- 
son had 1609 votes, and Moses King had 87 votes. For representa- 
tive, Geo. C. Chamberlin had 1640 votes, A. L. Patchin 1565, and 
H. Seeger had 192. Whallon's majority over Thompson was 75, 
Chamberlin's over Patchin was 75. 

But Messrs. Thompson and Patchin were not satisfied, and very 
soon notices were served upon Messrs. Whalion and Chamberlin, by 
Thompson and Patchin, that the election of the former would be con- 
tested, and that testimony would be taken on the matter of the senator- 
ship at Winnebago City, on the twenty-first day of December, before C. 
A. Louusberry and S. J. Abbott, justices of the peace, and in the case 
of therepresentativeship, before the same officers, at the same place, 
on the twenty-third day of the same month. 

M. J. Severance and C. K. Davis were employed as counsel by 
Whalion And Chamberlin, and Messrs. Losey, of La Crosse, Wis., J. 
M. Gilman, of St. Paul, and A. C. Dunn, of this county, were re- 
tained as counsel by Thompson and Patchin. 

The following is a brief summary of the points made by Thomp- 
son and Patchin, and the counterpoints. 

1st. That the ballot box used at the election, on the eighth 
day of November, at Blue Earth City, was stuffed with illegal and 
fraudulent votes, to the number of two hundred, and that all of said 
illegal votes contained the names of G. W. Whalion for senator, and 
G. C. Chamberlin for representative. 

2d. That a fraudulent poll list was used, containing two hun- 
dred names of persons not residing in the election district. 

3d. That not more than three hundred legal voters reside in 
Blue Earth City precinct, and to conceal the fraudulent voting, the 
poll lists were fraudulently taken from the offices of the county 
auditor and town clerk. 

It was also charged that thirty illegal votes were cast in the 
town of Emerald. 

The substance of the counterpoints was that many illegal votes 
were cast at Wells and in several other election districts for Messrs 
Thompson and Patchin, and that Mr. Thompson was not a resident 
of the State, and consequently ineligible to the office of senator. 


Soon after meeting and organization, the court adjourned to 
Blue Earth City, when, after a session of eight days, during which 
many witnesses were examined, and their testimony reduced to writ- 
ing, the court finally adjourned. 

In the investigation of these matters, a very great difiSculty soon 
presented itself. The poll lists of Blue Earth City election district 
could not be found. The papers pertaining to the town clerk's office 
were, for convenience, kept in a "candle box," and one copy of the 
poll list should have been found in it, but the box was searched very 
closely, yet the list was not found, and the clerk could give no infor- 
mation as to what had become of it. 

The duplicate list, required by law, to be filed in the office of the 
county auditor, was so filed, but that list, also, mysteriously disap- 
peared and could nowhere be found, it having been taken from the 
office without the auditor's knowledge. 

Thei'efore, not knowing the names on the poll lists, it was impos- 
sible to prove directly that the persons whose names were on the 
list, and had voted, were not legal voters. It was, therefore, sought 
to be shown, by the testimony of the witnesses, the number of legal 
votes in the town, and that the vote cast was greatly in excess of 
what it should be. 

But one illegal vote was proved directly, as cast for Whallon and 
Chamberlain, and that was confessed, the voter lacking only a few 
days of the four months' residence in the State, required by law. 
Five illegal votes were shown to have been cast at Wells, which 
were doubtless cast for Thompson and Patchin. 

Mr. Thompson himself was placed on the witness stand, as to 
the question of his residence. The general tenor of his testimony 
was quite unfavorable as to his eligibility as a candidate. 

Although but few votes cast at this election were proven to be 
illegal, yet it must be admitted that there were illegal votes cast at 
Blue Earth City and at several other places for Whallon and Cham- 
berlain, and that the poll books of Blue Earth City election district 
mysteriously and criminally disappeared. It must also be as readily 
admitted that there were illegal votes cast at Wells and at several 
other places for Thompson and Patchin. 

But just how many such votes were cast for either candidate, in 
what manner the frauds were perpetrated and upon whom the odium 
of such outrages upon the purity of the ballot box should be cast, 
will probably never be known. The final result of all this turmoil, 
excitement and expense, is recorded in the history of the next year. 
It is gratifying to state that this was the first known instance of 
election frauds perpetrated in this county; that but comparatively 
few persons had any part in them, and that when the excitement of 
the time passed away, the great majority of the people denounced 
such action severely. 

308 insTonv of 

In a free fjoverninent like that under which we live, where the 
source of all power and authority is the people and the ballot box, 
the means by which they indicate their wishes, frauds by which the 
expressed wishes of the majority are nullified, or defeated, consti- 
tute a crime of great magnitude, and should meet with universal exe- 
cration and certain and condign punishment. 

Our election laws throughout the whole country, to this date at 
least, seem to have been made on the assumption that all electors 
were honest and patriotic, and the great majority were, and are so, 
but it must be admitted that there were, and now are, a great many 
rascals abroad in the world, especially in the cities, and it would 
seem, occasionally in the country districts also, who would take 
advantage of the simple and loosely constructed laws to practice the 
greatest frauds upon the people. And the vast importance to the 
continued existence of our free institutions, of great reforms in our 
election laws, began, at about this period, to be realized by the peo- 
ple, and they began to inquire what regulations could be framed by 
which fair and honest elections might be secured. Election laws 
must be framed upon the assumption that there are a great many 
ingenious scoundrels living, everywhere, who are ready to corrupt 
the voter, invade and vitiate the ballot box itself, and pervert the 
will of the people if there is any possible chance of doing so. 

While treating of the subject of elections, the writer may be 
excused for offering a few further suggestions on the subject of 
voting and its importance. 

The theory of our government is that the people rule; that here 
exists self-government, citizen sovereignty. But every citizen can- 
not be invested with office and have a scepter placed in his hands. 
The method, therefoi'e. by which the people rule themselves, politi- 
cally, is mainly by the exercise of the elective franchise, or the right 
to vote. In the exercise of this right they choose representatives 
to frame constitutions and enact laws, and others to determine, in 
cases of dispute, what, in any particular case, the law is, and others 
to execute the laws. 

By this means the people also indicate, in a great measure, 
what they desire the policy of the government, state or national, 
shall be. in various matters of public interest. Certain public poli- 
cies, or political principles acted upon bj' the government, may 
result in great progress, prosperity and happiness, and the elevation 
of the standards of good citizenship, among the people, while cer- 
tain other political views and theories, if carried into practical 
ai)plication, may paralyze progress and all industries, create large 
indebtedness, disorder the currency, cause bankruptcies among 
business men. reduce labor to idleness and beggary, and even seri- 
ouslj- degrade the moral tone and the patriotic impulses of the 


people of the nation. Every ^governmental act affects every citizen 
to some extent. But wrong policies, erroneous action in public 
affairs are dangerous, not only as regards the nation, but also, of 
course, to the state, the county, the township and school dis- 
trict; and the voter is not only interested in the principles to be 
pursued, or the action to be taken, but also in the men who are to fill 
the offices. Men must be selected who are competent and honest. 
There are some men in almost every community who are, because of 
incompetency, or lack of moral principle, unfit to be placed in any 
public office, and just such men are sometimes candidates for office, 
and this class of candidates usually rely much on the gullibility of 
the people. As a rule, the man Who has proved himself a failure, 
or a rascal, in his private life, is very likely to prove such in office, 
whatever his promises may be. Sooner or later his real character 
will appear, to the public detriment. The voter must pass upon 
these questions also, and should inform himself as to the real char- 
acter of candidates. It is undoubtedly true, that the right to vote, the 
duty of voting are, by many, greatly uader estimated. There are 
many voters who do not think it of much importance to vote, and 
frequently neglect to do so. Voters have been heard to excuse 
themselves from attending an election by the remark, "Well, one 
vote will not make any difference," yet in the history of our govern- 
ment, national and state, one single vote has on a number of occa- 
sions, determined great policies, changed anticipated results, or 
decided who should hold office. Several instances may be named: 

The lack of one more vote saved President Johnson from im- 

A majority of one vote in the Electoral Commission practically 
made Mr. Hayes President of the United States. 

A majority of one vote once elected a governor of the State of 

A famous United States Senator was reelected by a majority of 
one vote, and that one vote was given by a member of the legisla- 
ture who had himself been elected by a majority of one vote. 

Coming to our own State, Senator C. K. Davis was re elected by 
the legislature by a majority of one vote, on joint ballot. 

There are also some voters who are so ignorant, or corrupt, or 
both, as to sell their votes, while in some sections of the country 
certain classes of voters are sent to the polls to exercise this right 
as an employer, or a ward boss, or some one else may dictate, and 
in some other localities, numbers of electors are not permitted to 
vote at all. 

It is well to think occasionally of the real character and import- 
ance of the right to vote. It is one of the highest, most dignified, 
most honorable and most necessary of the rights of a free citizen. 


This political right, more than any other, makes the distinction be- 
tween a monarchial, or despotic, and a free government. 

And it is literally true that millions of men, through the ages 
past, have perished in the struggle for those civil liberties, of which 
the right to say how they should be governed was one of the great- 
est. There may here be added to what has already been said of the 
value and importance of the elective, the following further 

In the first place, it is well known, but not always fully recog- 
nized, that the right to vote is greatly limited as to the number who 
are invested with the right, or, in other words, that but few of the 
great mass of the people, who are interested in the atfairs of the 
town, county, state or nation, are permitted to vote. Only about 
one-sixth of the population, of any voting district, practically do the 
voting, and often a less number, for there are always some who are 
entitled to vote who fail lo do so. Thus, if the nation has a popula- 
tion of 60.000.000. about 10,000,000 of voters, practically, determine 
who shall be president and vice president, and the general policy of 
the government. 

If our State has a population of 1,500,000, then only about 
250,000 vote on the questions of who shall be our State officers and 
decide other State affairs, which may be submitted to the people. 
If our county has 18.000 inhabitants, then about 3,000 votes .settle the 
question of who shall till our county offices and decide other impor- 
tant interests. 

Now these facts imply thatevery voter exercises the right to vote, 
not only in his own behalf, individually, but he votes, also, in behalf 
of five or six other persons, equally interested with himself. The 
right to vote thus* becomes a great trust, to be exercised for, not 
only the voter's own good, but for the welfare of many others, who 
cannot vote. 

But this is not all the responsibility which rests upon the voter. 
He decides, by his vote, the principles and policies that shall obtain, 
not only for the present, but, perhaps, for the future, for many 
years, thus making that country (state or locality) and its conditions 
of success, or failure, in which his children, probably, or his kin- 
di'ed, are to live and labor, long after he may be dead. The des- 
tinies of this great state, and the greater nation, of which we have 
the honor to be citizens, rests in the hands of the voters. 

And the school district, the township, the county, the state and 
the nation have the right to demand of every one invested with this 
great franchise, that he exercise the right; they are entitled to his 
judgment in the affairs of the public, and to be intelligently and con- 
scientiously expressed by his vote. To vote is the duty of every 
elector, as well as his right, and he who feels that he has voted ac- 


cording to the noble sentiment "For God and home and native land," 
has done well. And the man who would permit his vote to be dic- 
tated by another, or who would sell his vote, is unfit to be a free 
citizen, and should be disfranchised. And the man who would seek 
to corrupt a voter, or to deceive him, or by fraud, attempt to annul, 
or pervert the expressed will of the people, deserves not only dis- 
franchisement, but imprisonment. 


A murder was committed at Wells, on the 4th day of November. 
This was the fourth homicide in the county. The facts in the case, 
briefly stated, are about as follows. A number of Swedes and Nor- 
wegians under the influence of intoxicating liquors got into a street 
brawl when one Nels Hast stabbed or cut one Ole Olsen in the neck. 
Olsen died in a few minutes. Hast was immediately arrested and 
was finally tried at the June term, of 1871. 

"The Great King of Kings 
Hatii in the table of Ilis law Commanded, 
That thou shalt do no Murder."— S/iafcespcare. 


On the ninth day of December, the first number of The Wells 
Real Esiaie Advertiser appeared. It was published at Wells, in this 
county, by Messrs. Chase and Hall. Wells could now boast of two 
newspapers. The Advertiser was a four page, seven column sheet. 
We copy the salutatory. 

"We present you, readers, with the Wells Advertiser. It means business. It 
is a permanent institution in Faribault county, fixed to stay. At present we 
shall publish it monthly, more frequently when it will pay to do so. Our aim 
shall be to benefit the entire community, not forgetting ourselves. We shall 
do a good deal of blowing, and being free-born, half white, andwhnlly independ- 
ent, expect to say a good many things that will make others blow. Our motto 
is "Advertise." We have got some things to sell and propose to let It be 
known, hence our name. In politics we are going for the best man and the 
county seat. If any body wants a row. let them punch us, if a farm, or village 
lot, come and see us." 

This is pith and point, but not much pathos. It may be added, 
that after the publication of two or three numbers of this paper, 
it "blew" itself out. 


In this year the ninth national census was taken. The work 
was done in this county, during the months of June and July. 

S. P. Childs, of Blue Earth City, was the assistant United States 
Marshall, appointed for the south half of the county, and A. A. 
Huntington, of Winnebago City, for the north half, to do the work 
of taking the census. 



As this is another year of general reckoning and posting up of 
accounts, in the history of our county, a record is here made of all 
the valuable statistics of the year. The quotations from the census, 
the agricultural productions, the assessed value of property in the 
several towns, and the other items of interest given, make up a very 
complete exhibit. But it must be again stated, that the value of 
some of these statistical collections is not great. It is found that 
those compiled from the census differ considerably from those taken 
from the State reports. We cannot here attempt to explain the 
causes of these discrepancies. The statistics are given here as they 
are found recorded in the books of authority on the subject. 


Number of male inhabitants in the county .'),274 

Number of females 4,672 

Total number of inhabitants y,94G 

As to the nativity of the inhabitants, there were born in the 
United States, 7,453; in Norway, 821; in Germany, G80; Canada, 431; 
Ireland, 195; England, 150; Scotland. 74; Prance, 44; Denmark, 32; 
Sweden, 20; Wales, 17: Holland, 8; Switzerland, 3; other countries, 
18. By the census of 18G0, the county ranked as No. 29 in popula- 
tion, but by the census of this year as No. 19. 

The population per square mile was, in 1870, 13.81. 


Horses, 2,996; mules, 110; milch cows, 3,298; working oxen 
1,401; other cattle, 3,447; sheep, 4,037; hogs, 3,311. 


Acres. Bushels. 

Wheat 32,678 343,546 

Oats 11,470 .•!2:J,I74 

Corn ,"),497 l,JI,3;i3 

Barley 1,618 29,868 

Rye 16 106 

Buckwheat 170 1,985 

Potatoes 314 11,635 

Beans 117 1,417 

Tame hay 237 306 tons. 

Wild hay 17,243 23,208 tons. 

Sorghum 48 2,947 gals, syrup. 

Wool ; 10,778 lbs. 

Butter 188,490 lbs. 

Cheese 11,320 lbs. . 

Honey 2.025 lbs. 



The following table exhibits the total assessed value of all the 
Real and Personal Estate in each township in the county for the 
year 1870: » 


Seely & Kiester $65,050 

Rome 21,059 

Elmore 64,677 

Pilot Grove 26,266 

Foster 58,910 

Brush Creek 35,711 

Emerald 77,816 

Blue Earth Ci ty 223,444 

Jo. Daviess 69,829 

Clark 130,564 

Walnut Lake 46,435 

Barber 61,979 

Prescott 83,230 

Verona 103,966 

Dunbar 56,713 

Minnesota Lake 63,910 

Lura 62,8.36 

Guthrie 83,479 

Winnebago City 160,822 


The number of farms in the county, in 1870, was 1,474. The 
number of dwelling houses, 1,911. There were 199 births and 88 
deaths during the year. As this was the first year in which returns 
of births and deaths were required by law to be made, and the 
matter was not well understood, the returns made were quite im- 

There were five grist mills in the county, one a steam mill, two 
propelled by water, and two by wind power. 

There were in this year eighty-two marriages, and in five years, 
including 1870, six divorces, there being three in this year. 


The following statistics and remarks are taken from Mr. Rich- 
ards' first reports, as superintendent of schools: 

No. of school districts 90 

No. of school houses 79 

No. of scholars 3,529 

Eighty-one per cent of these attended school during the year. 
The graded schools at Blue Earth City and at Winnebago City, are 
doing good work. The county is well represented at the State Nor- 
mal School at Mankato. The deportment of pupils is generally 


good. Twelve public examinations of teachers were held in the 
county. One hundred and five certiticates were issued to teachers. 
There was paid to teachers during the year, ^15,123.00. Nine new 
school houses were built, costing ^3,590,00. These facts and figures 
clearly show that the people of Faribault county are wide awake in 
school affairs. 


The fall weather of this year was remarkably pleasant, and long 
continued, affording ample time for all fall work. 
But winter approaches 

'"Winds are swelling 
Round our dwelling. 
All day telling 
Us their woe. 
And at vesper 
Frosts grow crisper 
As they whisper 
Of the snow." 

The first snow fell about the twenty-third of November, but 
plowing was done as late at the sixth day of December, and navigation 
remained open on the Mississippi very late, a steamboat excursion 
coming off at St. Paul on the twenty seventh of December. 


The following statement is clipped from a newspaper, and forms 
a neat conclusion to the history of this year: 

"Saturday, December 31st, 1870, was the lastday,otthelast week, of the last 
month, of the last year, of the last decade, ending with 1870. When will such 
a coincidence again occur?" 

" The winter winds are wearily sighing, 

Toll the church boll, sad and slow. 

And tread softly and speak low; 

For the old year lies — a dying."— Tennvson- 



A. D. 1871. 

The morning of the first day of January, 1871, broke over this 
land, bright and still. Blue skies and a balmy atmosphere ushered 
in the new j'-ear — it was the Sabbath day. 

"Amidst the eartnioess of life, 
Vexation, vanity and strife; 
Sabbath! how sweet thy holy calm, 
Comes o'er the soul like healing balm." 

This year not only began, but ended on Sunday. In reference 
to the Sabbath, or Sunday, for whetlier properly, or improperly, 
both names are now generally given to the day linown as the Chris- 
tian Sunday and are so here used, there are several propositions 
. which may here be discussed. 

It is well known that the Jews and certain Christian denomina- 
tions, hold that Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is the true 
Sabbath day and the day which all people are, by the fourth com- 
mandment of the decalogue, required to keep as the Sabbath day. 
But, on the other hand, the great majority of Christian peoj)le keep 
Sunday, or the first day of the week, as the Sabbath day, and some 
legislative enactments, relating to the observance of Sunday, are 
to be found in the laws of most civilized nations. 

The propositions referred to above, are the following: 

Whether under the Christian dispensation, Sunday — the first 
day of the week — kept in commemoration of the Christ's resurrec- 
tion and the descent of the Holy Gliost, on the day of Pentacost, 
and kept by the apostles themselves and other followers of Christ, 
in the assembling themselves together and "the breaking of bread," 
preaching and the reading of the scriptures — a practice continued in 
the church in all ages, since their day, was, by competent authority, 
substituted lor the Jewish Sabbath, under the old dispensation, 
which, on the coming of the Christ, is said to have passed away. 
And here did the Christ, wlio declares that "He is Lord, also of the 
Sabbath," who in the three years of his ministry and, also, during 
the forty days between His resurrection and ascension, spake "of 
the things pertaining to the kingdom of God," instruct his apostles 
concerning the Sabbath, or Sunday. 


Whether Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, who was a disciple of St. 
John, and was ordained by the Apostles then. living, spoke wisely 
and with authority, when he instructed some of his disciples, who 
wished to keep both Saturday and Sunday, that they should not 
keep the Sabbath of the Jews (the Saturday), but lead a life con- 
formable to the Lord's daj-. 

Wlielher the observance of one day in seven, as the Sabbath, be 
it the first or last day, or any other day of the week, is a compli- 
ance with the spirit of the law. 

Whether the sixth day — Sunday — before the Passover of the 
Jews (Saturday), was the day on which God rested from the work 
of Creation, and the original Sabbath, and whether, when the 
Israelites left Egypt, the day was put back one day to our Satur- 
day, and so remained for fifteen hundred years, until the Christ 
arose from the dead on Sunday the original seventh day of the 
week, and that Sunday and the original Sabbath are now the 
same day. 

Whether in the lapse of time, a discrepancy of one day has oc- 
curred, in consequence of which the present first day of the week — 
Sunday — is in fact the identical original seventh day of the week. 

Whether, from the time when the command was given to keep 
the Sabbath day holy, the weeks, day by day, have been exactly 
regular in their succession, and that counting, day by day, from the 
beginning, our present Saturday, or Sunday, or any other day of 
the week, will prove exactly correct in the order of time. And 
here, what effect on Sunday did the Act of the Parliament of Great 
Britian, in 1752, have, when it was enacted that the third day of the 
month of Sei)tember of that year should be called the (14th) four- 

Whether or not the Edict of the Emperor Constantine issued A. 
D. 321, commanding that all work should cease in the cities "on the 
venerable Sunday," was the first official recognition of Sunday. 
Sunday was, originally, and long before the Christian era, the old 
pagan Roman day of the Sun — a day in the pagan worship dedicated 
to the sun. 

Whether in this land, where "no religious test shall be required 
as a qualification to office," "where no law shall be made respecting 
an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercises 
thereof," where all are guaranteed the liberty of "worshipping 
God according to the dictates of their own consciences." and where 
"no control of, or interference with the rights of conscience is per- 
mitted," any state, as such, has any constitutional, or other right 
to enact laws, pi'oviding for the observance of any day as the Sab- 
bath or as Sunday, and enforcing the same by penalties. Has a 
majority the right to determine this question? 


But may not the State, considering the value of the Sunday, in 
its secular aspects only, enforce by law, its observance as a day of 
rest from toil? 

The answers to these questions may be left to theologians, 
chronologists and statesmen. 

But there are a few plain, brief remarks regarding the observ - 
ance of the Sabbath day, which may not be inappropriate here. 

That this day should be observed by all, in a proper manner, is 
clearly declared in the fourth Commandment. None of the Com- 
mandments are more positive, more full or more in detail than this. 
By this command, we are in six days to labor and do all we have to 
do, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord, to be kept holy. 
The seventh day — the Sabbath — is not ours, it is the Lord's. We 
have no right to pervert it, or use it for our ordinary purposes. We 
can only use it for purposes designated by Him to whom the day 
belongs. All this seems to admit of no argument. 

This day is evidently intended to be kept as a day of rest and luor- 
ship, in which all the ordinary labors of life are suspended, and works 
of charity and necessity, only, are permissable. The word "Sabbath," 
means rest. God rested on this day from the work of creation, and 
he commanded the day to be kept holy. It is not a day of frivolity, 
■ dissipation, or amusement, and it is certainly to be kept quietly, 
restfully and reverently, and as the Jews were commanded to have 
a holy convocation on the seventh day — the Sabbath, and Christ, as 
was his custom, went into the Synagogue on the Sabbath day and 
"stood up for to I'ead," and as the apostles and disciples assem- 
bled for public worship, subsequently on the Lord's day, as they 
did also on the seventh day, or Sabbath — the day is intended as a 
day of public assembling together for the worship of God. 

That the day should, in all things, be kept with the strictness 
of the ancient Jews, or the rigidity of our Puritan forefathers, would 
be unreasonable and certainly not the intention. The Christ said 
that "the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath," 
that is, it was made for man's benefit and, therefore, it is lawful to 
do good, as doing works of necessity, mercy, charity, piety, on that 
day. In the Church calendar, Sunday is a festival, not a fast. On 
the other hand, what is known as the Continental Sabbath, or Sun- 
day, that is, the Sunday as it is kept generally in Continental 
Europe — a day devoted to recreation, amusements, excursions, 
gaming, theatrical performances and general dissipation, is simply 
a perversion of the day. The public welfare and the cause of relig- 
ion would be much better promoted, even by the old puritanical Sab- 
bath, than by the Continental observance of the day. Sunday must 
not be secularized. 

318 UISOritY OF 

There are some things in the conditions of society, which mili- 
tate greatly against the proper observance of the Sabbath. Among 
these, there may be named tho fact that persons who labor hard in 
factories, workshops, mines and otherwise all tho work days of the 
week, and many hours of the day, which prevails much in Europe, 
and is coming to be the fact in this country, are almost compelled to 
ignore the Sabbath day. When Saturday night comes they are ex- 
hausted. The laborer has had no time during the week to attend to 
his private or personal business affairs, or for self-improvement, 
instruction, amusement or rest, or enjoyment of family life, and 
when Sunday dawns he feels that he must devote the day to some of 
these requirements. But suppose that even Sunday should be abol- 
ished, as has been proposed in certain localities, what would be the 
life of the daily toiler. Of all men, the workingman should be the 
friend of tho Sabbath day. An eight hour day for the laborer and 
a Saturday half holiday, will be among those improved conditions 
of labor which will some day be recognized everywhere. Human 
experience, in all ages, has taught much of the value of the proper 
observance of tho Sabbath. 

The keeping of one day in seven, as a day of rest from ordi- 
nary labors, is necessary to the well-being of man, and of all working 
animals. They can accomplish more labor and under better condi- 
tions, because of this rest. 

Its hygienic effects are greatly beneficial to man, mentally and- 
physically, not only because of the rest and recuperation but, also, 
because, according to the customs of all Christian lands, it is a day 
of personal cleaning up and change of raiment, and the mind is 
diverted from the ordinary tread mill round of mental and physical 
labors, to something new and different for the time being. In this 
age of nervous diseases, insanity and suicides, caused by over- work, 
hurry and worry, the Sunday rest is especially valuable. 

The famous Dr. Parre declared that the keeping of the Sun- 
day is necessary to the public health, and many other eminent phy- 
sicians indorse this testimony, and so do statisticians and sensible 
observers in general. 

It is morally and religiously beneficial, because the mind and 
attention are, or ought to be, called from sordid, temporal, worldly 
affairs to a higher plane, to instructions in religious duty and obli- 
gations, and to spiritual and eternal interests. Sunday is the great 
conservator of the morals and religion of the world. 

Blackstone, the great commentator on the laws of England, 
says that "'A corruption of morals usually follows a profanation 
of the Sabbath." Justice McLean, formerly of the Supreme Court 
of the United States, declared that "where there is no Christian 
Sabbath, there is no Christian morality." 


The proper keeping of the Sabbath is necessary to the well 
being of the State. Justice McLean, above-named, also said, that 
without the Christian morality which is conserved by the Christian 
Sabbath, "free institutions cannot long be sustained." Our Ameri- 
can liberties are largely connected with the weekly day of rest. 

Adam Smith, the eminent writer on political economy, declares 
that "The Sabbath, as a political institution, is of inestimable value, 
independently of its claim to divine authority." 

Macaulay, the English historian, writes that "If Sunday had 
not been observed as a day of rest, during the last three centuries, 
we should have been, at this moment, a poorer and less civilized 

But it is not only where the Christian religion prevails, that the 
value of keeping one day in seven, as a day of rest and worship, is 
recognized, but the Jewish and great pagan religions bear testi- 
mony to the same facts. 

Sunday, the first day of the week, is claimed as the proper day 
of rest by Christians, generally, Monday by the Greeks, Tuesday 
by the Persians, Wednesday by the Assyrians, Thursday by the 
Egyptians, Friday by the Mohammedan Turks, and Saturday, by 
the Jews and several Christian denominations. 

Finally, to sum up the subject, considering the authoritative 
command of the Great Greater, in regard to the observance of the 
Sabbath, its value to man's mental and physical well-being, its im- 
portance in the conservation of morality and religion, its value to 
the State and to the progress of civilization, the disregard and 
desecration of the Sabbath approaches very near the turpitude of 
a crime. And the writer regrets to record the fact that very 
generally, throughout the world, the profanation and desecration 
of the Sabbath is one of the evils of this age which seem to be 
rapidly increasing and over-shadowing the nations, our own among 
the number. But the writer adds here, with great pleasure, that 
locally (in Faribault county) the people generally, with a few ex- 
ceptions, have ever been a Sabbath observing, church going peoi^le. 
People who have the good of their race and nation at heart, can do 
no wisey act than to encourage, at all times, the proper observance 
of the Sabbath day. 


A writer says, that morbus sabbaticus, or Sunday sickness, is a 
disease peculiar to church members. The attack comes on sud- 
denly every Sunday — it never occurs on any other day. No symp- 
toms are felt on Saturday night. The patient sleeps well, eats well, 
but just about church time, the attack comes on, and continues until 
services in the morning are over. Then the patient feels easy and 

320 niSTonv of 

eats a hearty dinner. In the afternoon the patient can take a walk, 
talk politics and read the Sunday paper. This sickness never inter- 
feres with the sleep, or appetite— it usually attacks only the head 
of the family, but no physician is ever called. Yet the disease is 
serious and becoming so prevalent, that it is sweeping thousands 
every year prematurely to the devil. 


The first January term of the district court in this county, com- 
menced its session Januai-y 3d. Hon. Franklin H. Waite, judge. 
There were eleven criminal and eighteen civil cases on the calendar. 
The term lasted six days, and much important business was trans- 

The June term of this court commenced its session on the sixth, 
and at this term there were on the calendar nine criminal and 
thirty-one civil cases. The first trial yet had in this county for the 
awful crime of murder, occurred at this term of court — that of Nels 
Hast, a more full account of which is given elsewhere. This term, 
though a short one — lasting only four days — was for a number of 
reasons, one of the most interesting and important ever held in the 
county. Hast was convicted of murder in the second degree, and was 
sentenced to imprisonment for life, at hard labor, in the state prison. 

This was the first life sentence passed in this county, and of the 
four homicides which had occurred, this was the first instance in 
which the perpetrator was punished. 


A passing reference must now be made to the meeting of the 
"grave and reverend seniors," the county commissioners. They 
assembled on the third day of January; Arthur Bonwell was elected 
chairman for the year, after which the board proceeded to the 
transaction of its usual business. 

They met again on the fifteenth day of March, on the twenty- 
sixth day of June, and on the fifth day of September, but a careful 
inspection of the records of these several meetings, furnishes noth- 
ing of special note. Yet the business done at these several meet- 
ings, as always, was important, as being necessary to the well being 
of the county. 

The fact is that the great mass of the business, the real work 
of the world, public and private, of the town, county, state and 
nation, of all societies, corporations and individual pursuits, is of 
the ordinary routine character, having little of special interest, and 
nothing of the noise and glitter of what are called great actions.yet 
necessary, absolutely necessary, to the very existence, the stability, 
success and progress of all our institutions, political, religious, 


social, financial and educational, and, therefore, of the gravest im- 
portance. The world's real work, intellectual, moral and physical, 
is done by its quiet, busy, daily toilers, and is of incalculably more 
importance to the well-being of society, than all those brilliant 
actions, so called great deeds and noisy demonstrations of which 
alone the world seems to take any account. 

THE farmers' society. 

At the winter meeting of the Agricultural Society, held in the 
early part of January, S. Pfeffer, of Blue Earth City, was elected 
president; A. D. Hall, of Wells, secretary, and L. W. Brown, of 
Prescott, treasurer. A meeting of the society was held at Blue 
Earth City, July 14th, which adjourned to meet at Wells on the 
twenty-sixth day of August. The object of this meeting was the 
revision of the constitution and by-laws, the preparation of premium 
lists and to determine the place of holding the next fair. 

The fair was held at Wells on the 4tli, 5th and 6th days of Octo- 
ber. The exhibition was not great, but the attendance was good, 
and financially the fair was a success to the society. 


The first snow storm of the winter commenced on the eleventh 
day of January, and continued two days. With this exception the 
winter was a very mild one. No great depth of snow fell, and we 
were not visited by any of those terrific "north westers," known by 
the euphoneous name of "blizzard," that occasionally give us some 
idea of the intense cold, and furious storms of the polar regions. 

The old weather saw, 

"As the days begin to lengthen 
The cold begins to strengthen." 

did not hold very good this winter. 

In January, of this year, there was considerable rejoicing through- 
out the country, in consequence of the fact that all the southern 
States were represented in con gress for the first time since Decem- 
ber, 1860. "Reconstruction" was completed. 


We now invite our readers to the halls of legislation at the 
State capital, to see what w as there done of interest to the people of 
this county. 

The thirteenth State Legislature assembled January 8th and 
adjourned March 3d. 

It will be recollected that in December, of the preceding year, 

notices were served upon G. W. Whallon, senator elect of this (the 

£Oth) district, and upon Geo. C. Chamberlin, representative elect. 


that their election wduld be contested, and that testimony was taken 
in reference to the matter. On the assembling of the legislature, 
both Messrs. Whallon and Chamberlin took their seats in their re- 
spective houses. 

Without going into all the details incident to these contests in 
the legislature, it will sufiice to say that on the twenty-fifth day of 
January the contested election case of Whallon and Thompson came 
up for final action in the Senate on the following resolution: 

"Rcaolvcd, That in the contested case of Thompson against Whallon, now 

1st. Clark \V. Thompson received a majority of the legal votes for senator 
in the Twentieth Senatorial District, and that, therefore, George W. Whallon is 
not entitled to a seat in this Senate. 

2d. That Clark W. Thompson be admitted to his seat as senator from the 
Twentieth Senatorial District." 

On motion Senators Farmer (absent) and Whallon (interested), 
were excused. 

The question being upon the above resolution, a division of the 
question was called for, and upon the first clause of the resolution, 
the roll being called, there were thirteen yeas and seven nays. So 
that clause of the resolution was adopted. 

The question being now upon the second proposition, the roll 
being called, there were ten yeas, and ten nays. So the second 
clause of the resolution was lost. On a motion to reconsider the 
vote last taken, there were ten yeas, and ten nays. So the motion to 
reconsider was lost. 

As the matter stands thus far. Mr. Whallon is out of his seat and 
the seat is vacant. But on the thirty- first day of January, Mr. Far- 
mer, who had been absent on the former vote, appeared in his place 
in the Senate, and requested permission to record his vote upon the 
motion to reconsider the vote upon the second proposition. He was 
allowed so to do, and cast his vote in the affirmative. The proposi- 
tion to admit Mr. Thompson being then before the senate, the yeas 
and nays being ordered, there were fourteen yeas, and five nays, 
when Mr. Thompson came forward and was sworn in. On Tuesday, 
February 7th, the matter of the contested seat of Geo. C. Chamber- 
lin coming up in the House for final action, and the question being 
on the resolution to oust Mr. Chamberlin and give the seat to Mr. 
Patchin. the vote stood yeas, twenty-eight, nays, twelve. So Mr. 
Chamberlin was ousted, and Mr. Patchin admitted to the seat as 
representative of this district. 

On the twenty first day of February "A bill for an act to remove 
the county seat of Faribault county from Blue Earth City to Wells," 
previously introduced by Mr. Thompson, was passed in the senate 
by a vote of thirteen yeas to four nays. 


The passage of this act naturally created great excitement in 
Blue Earth City and vicinity, and it was determined by the residents 
of that village to defeat the passage of the bill in the House if possi- 
ble. It was reported that the people of Wells had previously secured 
the names of five hundred and ten inhabitants of the county, to a 
petition to the legislature favoring the removal of the county seat. 
The people of Blue Earth City then proceeded to canvass the county 
with remonstrances against the removal and the passage of the act 
pending, and secured the names of fifteen hundred and forty legal 
voters, the lists being all sworn to by the persons who procured the 
singers. These remonstrances, in the aggregate, contained the names 
of over two-thirds of the legal voters of the county. They were for- 
warded to St. Paul and laid before the House. The result was that 
on Monday, February 27th, the House committee on towns and coun- 
ties, reported adversely on the bill for the removal of the county 
seat from Blue Earth City to Wells. The report of the committee 
was adopted by the House, by a considerble majority, and a motion to 
reconsider, under a suspension of the rules, was lost by a vote of 
twenty-five to fifteen, and the fate of the bill was sealed. And now, 
as was very natural, there was great rejoicing at Blue Earth City, and 
a corresponding depression of spirits at Wells. 

The further action of the legislature of this year, of special re- 
lation to this county, was the passage of an act apportioning the 
State into legislative districts, in which it is enacted that "the sixth 
district shall be composed of the county of Faribault, and shall be 
entitled to elect one senator and two representatives." 

Also "An act to incorporate the village of Wells." Also "An 
act to authorize the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Minnesota, Rail- 
way Company to extend their line of railroad into Minnesota, and 
which provided that said railway shall cross the State line dividing 
Iowa from Minnesota in Faribault county. 

Wm. Wiadom, of Winona, was elected United States Senator, 
for six years, and 0. P. Stearns to fill out the term of Mr. Norton, 

From what has been stated above, it will be observed that this 
county was represented in the legislature of 1871, by G. W. Whal- 
lon, and C. W. Thompson, in the senate, and G. C. Chamberlin and 
A. L. Patchin, in the House, being a little more representation than 
this county ever had before, or since that memorable session. 

As a passing remark, it may be stated that but little, if any- 
thing of value, was gained by either party to the great contest of 
1870-71. The bill for the removal of the county seat did not become 
a law, and the internal improvement lands were not divided, as the 
bill was vetoed, nor was any other act passed of any special advan- 
tage to either party. 


(From the Pott.) 

—March.— A Missouri paper olTers this for the requiem of a departed con- 
temporary. It lias had many local illustrations. 
"Leaf by leaf the roses fall; 
Dime by dime the purse runs dry, 
One by one beyond recall 
Mushroom papers droop and die." 

— Advices from Paris give details of the inauguration of another revolu- 
tion. A mob has seized the city, three prominent generals have been shot, the 
streets barricaded, and the government and the American diplomatic corps have 
left the city. 

— The tide of imiuigration to Minnesota has already set in and "prairie 
schooners'' are already to Ije seen. It is the opinion of well informed persons, 
that immigration to Minnesota will be very heavy this year. 

—St. Patrick's day was pretty generally observed throughout the State. 
— A conductor on the S. M. Railroad says that as he was collecting tickets 
the other day, he came to a very tall, pleasant looking gentleman, who seemed 
very anxious to reach his journey's end— when the conductor reached for his 
ticket, the tall gentleman took him by the hand, felt his pulse and asked 
to see his tongue. That doctor does not live far from here. 

—April 1st — The beautiful spring weather of the past week, has induced 
farmers to commence sowing grain. 

— May 20th — We claim to beat the State on corn, having a patch of sweet 
corn which is ten inches high at this date. 

— There are several different kinds of shirks— the religious shirk, the political 
shirk, the physical shirk; Init of all shirks, the meanest, the most contemptible 
is the public shirk. By the public shirk we mean the man of property who is 
beneOted by the pushing of every public enterprise, and yet who persistently 
refuses to put his shoulder to the wheel to assist. 

— It may be said with truthfulness that the salvation of this State depends 
upon the coming harvest. Never at any previous time, since the State was 
settled, have the people been so generally deep in debt. They owe the merchant, 
the machine man and the liaiiks. The amount of money loaned on mortgages 
is enormous. This money is loaned at a high rate of interest, ranging from two 
to three per cent a month. * * » 

—The duty of the hour is to economize, economize, ECONOMIZE. 
— June 10th — Strawberries in market. 

— The Delevan and Blue Earth City stage line is doing a good business 
these days. 

— Pieplant will soon disappear from the market. 

—We have been informed that the crops never looked better than they 
now do. 

— Jug butter can be bought in its utmost perfection at reduced prices. 
Some of these items are a little curious, but they represent some 
of the events and conditions of the times. 



Seeding commenced the latter part of March, and was mainly 
completed early in April. Corn- planting commenced about the 
tenth day of May, and a much greater breadth of land was cultivated 
to corn this year than was usual. 


The numerous notices in the newspapers of the current year, of 
the very general observance of St. Patrick's Day by a large class of 
out citizens, suggest the propriety of a few words on the subject here. 

"How beauteous are the feet of those who bear 
Mercy to man, glad tidiags to despair."— C H. Johnson. 

St. Patrick — a bishop— was the grea tmissionary and apostle of 
Christianity to the Irish people, and is revered as the Patron 
Saint of old Ireland. He was born A. D. 372 or 873, and died March 
17th, A. D. 493 or 495. There appears, however, to be some doubt 
as to the accuracy of these dates. He began his labors as mission- 
ary to Ireland, about A D. 432. He was an apostle of great zeal 
and ability, of high character, fearless and of untiring energy, and 
has the credit of having converted almost the whole of Ireland to 
Christianity. It appears that he worthily bore the commission of 
the Great Master, recorded in the Scriptures. 

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, (the Disciples) saying, All power is 
given unto me in heaven and in earth." 

"Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." 

"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: 
and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." 

—3Mhew II, S: 18-19-20. 
And this is the highest, the holiest commission ever issued to 
man. And the grandest men of all the ages are these brave, self- 
sacrificing and devoted missionaries who bear this Gospel of Jesus 
Christ to the heathen, raising up the idol-worshipper from his dark- 
ness and degradation into the blessed light of the Son of Righteous- 
ness, placing his feet in the path of civilization and progress, and 
pointing out to him the way to eternal salvation. 

The Roman Catholic Church keeps St. Patrick's festival on 
March 17th, the day of his death. 

The day is usually commemorated by religious services in the 
Roman Catholic churches, and by processions through some of the 
principal streets of the cities, and by other appropriate demonstra- 
tions. The day has generally been observed in this county in some 
manner, usually simply by religious services. St. Patrick's Day is 
not, however, a legal holiday in this State, and it seems to be com • 
memorated only by the Roman Catholics, yet it might very appro- 
priately be observed by all Christian people, and especially is it 


fitting that Irishmen, throughout the world, should revere and pay 
honor to this great man's memory. 

The proper color of decoration on this day, is green, and the 
prevailing custom is to display upon the person a small badge, 
representing the leaves of the shamrock, as a recognition of the day. 

"Oh the Shamrock, the ^;reon immortal Shamrock 1 
Chosen leaf, 
Of hard and chief, 
Old Erin's native Shamrock '."—Moore. 


April was signalized this year by the fact that the State Teach- 
ers' In.stitute was held at Blue Earth City, commencing April 17th. 
Some eighty (80) teachers were present and were much interested, 
as well as much benefited by the meeting. The institute was under 
the direction of and conducted by Prof. Wilson, State Superintend- 
ent, Supt. Niles and Dr. Aiken, all noted educators. A number of 
very instructive lectures were delivered by these gentlemen on 
educational subjects. 


The Fourth of July was celebrated at Winnebago City and 
Delavan this year, but not at Blue Earth City. The celebration at 
Winnebago City was a great success. It was estimated that over 
two thousand people were present. 

We present the following account of the celebration taken from 
the local newspaper, and also a number of extracts from the address 
of Hon. G. K. Cleveland, because of the references contained 
therein to many matters of interest in the earlier days of the county, 
and also as a tribute to the memory of one nowdeceased, who was 
once a citizen of the county, and was honored with some of its most 
important offices. 

"After passing through the principal streets the procession halted at the 
bower.when the exercises were opened by music by the band; this was followed by 
prayer by Rev. J. D. Todd, and singing by the Glee Club. Dr. D. Noteman then 
read the Declaration of Independence in an impressive manner, and was lustily 
cheered at the close of the same. The au'lience was then treated to music by 
both tlie brass band and Glee Club. After which Hon. J. A. Latimer, president 
of the day, introduced Major G. K. Cleveland, of Mankato, who delivered an 
oration of which we can only give an imperfect idea by the following extracts. 
We regret that our space forbids giving Major Cleveland's address in full, but 
as we cannot, we select those portions having a local application, judging that 
these will be of most interest to our readers— at least those who are considered 
'old settlers.' The address was as follows: 

Mr. President, Ooddess of Liberty, and M(tid.s of Honor: 

Fellow Citizens: Friends of to-day, and friends of other days! Judging 
from what I see before me and around me, this is 'July,' and 'Thompson has 


got home.' I read in youf paper that lively times were anticipated in some 
young city of your county 'when Thompson came home in July.' 

My friends, of Winnebago City, of Blue Earth City, of Fairmont, of Shelby, 
of Sterling, of Mapleton, Wells, and all of Faribault county. This opportunity 
of celebrating with you the glorious Fourth, is to me an occasion of unalloyed 
pleasure. This spot was my home from 1857 to 1862. I shall never forget, and 
will you, who took part in celebrating the Fourth of July. 1858, ever forget 
the joy and rejoicing of that day. Yonder, on the site of the old school-house, 
stood the green booth. Beneath it groaned the loaded tables which the Win- 
nebago ladies of that day had spread with royal, no, with Republican bounty. 
1 use the word in a national, not a partisan sense. The ladies in question were 
famous for an intimateacquaintance with the mysteries of both substantial and 
pastry cooking. I venture they have not lost their skill. That was the first 
celebration of the Fourth in this city. The Fourth of July is like quails and 
prairie chickens— a bud of civilization. It follows the settlements. The 
Declaration of Independence was read; patriotic songs were sung; the day, the 
President, the old flag, the ladies present, and the girls we had left behind 
us, all were toasted. That was a memorable celebration. We who met there 
thus, for the first time, claimed half the State of the Union for birthplace and 

We came from the Maine woods; from the shadow of Plymouth Rock; from 
the hills and valleys of the Empire State; from wood-crowned Pennsylvania; 
from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. Yankees, Knickerbockers, 
Leatherheads, Buckeyes, Wolverines. Hawkeyes, Hoosiers, and Suckers— a 
hodge-podge, a hasty pudding, to be soon simmered-down into Gophers. This 
is no inglorious ending. Gophers are the real ancient mound-builders of the 
Mississippi Valley, and by a happy transmigration of souls, have returned to 
their ancient seats, to found a race more mighty and enduring than the first. 
We came with the same patriotic associations, the same revolutionary reading, 
the same manly pride in American greatness, the same mother love for the old 
flag, the same rock-bottomed confidence in American destiny, the same amaz- 
ing faith in the scream of the national eagle to scare the world. Hither we came 
seeking homes, happiness, fortune. We found here a virgin soil— a flowery 
wilderness— a spot of uninhabited earth fresh from the hand of God. Its soil 
of marvelous fertility had never been cursed by wheel of bloody conqueror, by 
foot of cruel oppressor, or sweat of slave. You received it unstained from the 
hands of the Almighty world-builder, overlaid with the cream of a thousand 
centuries, and consecrated on that Independence Day to order, liberty, and law; 
to the equal rights of all men, of all climes, who should here set foot; to ad- 
vancement, education, and to that religion whose corner-stone is the Father- 
hood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. 

But are they all here who took part in that celebration? Let them an- 
swer to roll-call: Ladd, Welch, Jenn^ss, Goodnow, Moulton, Foley, Towndrow, 
Wheeler, Tommy George, Dunham, Spickerman, Seely, Dunn, Sherlock, Kim- 
ball, Humes, Grove Burt, Capt. Bigelow, Madison— where are you. all— and a 
hundred others, Hi. Young included? More than half are gone — scattered by the 
toss and whirl of time. Enough remain to enjoy with me a moment's retros- 
pect. The first social party I attended in this State was in Burnett's log hotel 
over there— do you recollect it?— in the winter of "ST-'S, when a solitary fiddle 
discoursed ravishing music, while the feet of forty dancers tore their soles on 
rough spots where the landlord's adze had smoothed down — or, rather, in a 
well-m(!ant effort, had roughed up— the warped edges of the floor-boards. 
Young ladies, like quails and prairie chickens, follow the settlement— in time. 
At that time there were no young ladies in these youthful "diggins." Butyoung 


luarricd ladies were numerous. These came from over the river, from Verona, 
from Bass Lake, from Shelby. They hroiight their tiahies— and a little pantry 
made clean for a clothes-room, was piled from bottom to top shelf with sleeping 
babies, from three weeks old and upward. It was a sight to behold. It always 
did seem to me that the soil and climate of the upper Blue Earth valley was 
remarkably congenial to the growth of babies— God hless their pug noses! The 
supper that night was sumptuous, and the social, innocent pleasure, temper- 
ately and most heartily enjoyed. The first sermon I ever heard in Minnesota 
was at tlie hospitable home of Capt. Bigelow and his most amiable and estim- 
able lady, when Elder Jacob Conrad preached. I pronounce his name with 
pleasure, and am proud to be numbered among his friends. Noble, faithful, 
cheerful of spirit, he lived among the sometime rough and wayward settlers of 
the frontier the religion he commended to others. He planted the Banner of 
the Cross where too many only thought of planting potatoes and corn. His 
illustrations of truth and duty often had the spice of an odd and humorous 
originality whi'jh often provoked a smile, but which did not fail of their mark. 
Noble, Christian man! Long may he live to enjoy life and do good . The first 
grave I ever stood above in Minnesota, was yonder in the woodland— the un- 
timely grave of murdered Fisher. I do not recall a single natural death during 
the first three years of my residence here, so gracious and so healthful was the 
time. By your favor I was first honored with an office— that of Probate Judge. 
In the political contests of those early days local 'honors" were 'easy'— for 
Republicans— they were overwhelmingly in the majority. Twice was I honored 
by your suffrages with a seat in the Legislature. But it was not votes alone 
that elected me. [Here the speaker paid a tribute to the memory of the 'stiff- 
necked, crop-eared Indian pony' which had carried him through his electioneer- 
ing expeditions. He then referred to the late civil war, paying a glowing tri- 
bute to those brave men who left the comforts of home to assist their country 
In her great peril; painted in vivid colors the fearful scenes of carnage in the 
field, and the broken-hearted wives and mothers left at home; referred to the 
present disseniiions in the South, and considered the rule of unprincipled rene- 
gades from the North to be one of the prime causes then-of; spoke of the 'new 
departure' doctrine inaugurated by Vallandigham, and favored the throwing 
aside of old issues by both political parties, and on nuestions of national im- 
portance all work together His closing remarks were eloquent, patriotic, and 
highly entertaining to the vast audience in attendance]. 

Mr. Cleveland was loudly cheered on taking his seat. The brass band and 
glee club then favored the audience with some charming music, which was 
followed by the benediction, delivered liy Rev. Mr. Ross." 


Again, as in every year, the glorious summer is with us. 

How beautiful are the azure skies and the golden sun, which 
rises early and looks for many hours, and until late in the evening, 
upon the daily scenes, as if loth to be absent long, and leaving, long 
after he lias gone down, the summer twilight; and who ha.s not 
listened with pleasure to the late summer evening concert of the 
cicada and other musical insects, when all other sounds are hushed? 
And now the trees, the groves and the great forests are clothed in 
their fullest foliage of dark green, and how numerously they are 
occupied by the birds, of every variety of plumage, which here make 
their homes, and charm the world with their music. How pleasant 


is the cool shade, under the great leafy branches of the mighty oaks 
and maples and elms and other forest trees. 

"All who love the haunts of nature, 
Love the sunshine of the meadow; 
Love the shadow of the forest; 
Love the wind among the branches." 

The fruit trees bear on every bough a burden of growing fruit, 
which gives the assurance of the coming rich reward, for all the 
labor expended in their care. And in this favored season, the earth 
is carpeted with rich grasses and blooming flowers, and we see on 
every hand, wide and cultivated fields, bearing their wealth of grow- 
ing crops, — the rustling corn, the green, waving seas of other grains, 
or which are, perhaps, already growing golden, and ready for the 
abundant harvest. Nor can we overlook the grazing herds of cattle, 
the flocks of sheep and droves of horses, all well-fed and contented 
in the green pastures, for from these grain fields and droves and 
flocks and herds, come our living, and the wealth of the world. 
And to-day every breeze bears to us the fragrant odors of the wide 
spreading landscape. The softly falling dews of the night and the 
refreshing showers of this season, are full of blessings for man. 

This, too, is the season of the school and college commencement 
. exercises and long school vacation, the "outing" time of the city 
business man, the season of pic-nics and outdoor festivals, of cele- 
brations and the assembling of great literary and benevolent asso- 
ciations. And now is out- door life in the country full of useful 
labor, and all kinds of business activity. Now, too, the pleasure 
seekers are in the field and forest, on the land and on the waters, in 
quest of rest and recuperation. 

Yes, the summer is life in its perfection, for every living thing. 

"Then comes Thy glory in the summer months, 
With light and heat refulgent. Then Thy sun 
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year." 

Heaven itself is but an eternal summer. It is the summer that 
gives us the goodly fruits of the earth, without which, all things 
having life would perish. But the promise made in the world's 
morning is, that "while the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, 
and cold and heat and summer and winter, and day and night, shall 


Harvest commenced about the twenty-fourth of July. Hands 
were plenty at two dollars per day, and the weather was good. 

Crops of all kinds were good this year, except wheat, which was 
generally light, many pieces not producing more than from five to 
eight bushels per acre. The average yield over the county did not. 


probably, exceed tea bushels per aero. The corn crop was the larg- 
est ever yet raised in the county. This was Minnesota's great corn 
year. If an Illinois farmer had been visiting this county, during 
the summer and fall of this year and had seen the tall thrifty stalks, 
the large and perfectly rippened oars, he might well inquire why this 
county was not adapted to raising "Cawn." He would not only have 
seen corn, but might have truthfully said with the poet 

"On cither hand 
The jellow pumpkins Ho, 
Sprinkled about the over-burdened land, 
Suggestive of delicious pie. 
Whose charms, a home-bred, hungry soul. 
Cannot withstand." 


On the second day of September the last number of the South 
West appeared. The editor, in his good bye. after stating that he 
had sold out. says: "We shall now have an opportunity of a 'play 
spell' that is not in the least disagreeable to contemplate, after 
having conducted a newspaper for twenty-seven years." 

On the sixteenth day of September the Blue Earth City Mail ap- 
peared at Blue Earth City, published by M. H. Stevens, formerly 
of the Post. It was a large, eight column weekly, "neatly printed 
and ably edited," as the usual phrase goes. Mr. Stevens had bought 
out the South West, referred to above. 


With the incoming of September, another exciting political con- 
test commenced. 

It will be remembered that by the new apportionment hereto- 
fore mentioned, that this county now constituted one senatorial and 
representative district, being entitled to one senator and two repre- 
sentatives in the State legislature. 

This being the year of the gubernatorial election, the candidates 
of the loading parties were Hon. Horace Austin, republican, and Hon. 
Winthi'op Young, democrat. 

The democi'acy held a County Convention at Blue Earth City 
on the ninth day of September, and made the following nominations: 
For Senator — Geo. B. Kingsley. 
For Representatives — John McNeil, C. G. Slagle. 
For Treasurer — Geo. Barnes. 
For County Attorney — Richard Field. 
For Sheriff— A. B. Davis. 
For Judge of Probate — A. Hanson. 
For Coroner — J. M. Drake. 


On the fifteenth day of September, the republicans met in 
county convention, at Blue Earth City. 

The following nominations were made: 

For Treasurer — R. B. Johnson. 

For Sheriff— J. E. Wheeler. 

For County Attorney — J. H. Sprout. 

For Coroner — A. J. Rose. 

For Judge of Probate — J. A. Keister. 

An attempt was made to nominate a candidate for senator, G. 
W. Whallon and B. H. Hutchins being before the convention. 

A great deal of "noise and confusion" now prevailed in the con- 
vention, and in the hurry and excitement the vote was declared a 
tie, whereupon a motion was made and put and was supposed to 
have been carried to adjourn, without nominating senator and repre- 
sentatives, and the convention broke up in a general jumble. It 
was, however, claimed by Mr. Whallon and his friends, that the 
name of one delegate friendly to him had not been called, nor his 
vote counted, which if it had been done, would have given him one 
majority, and of course the nomination. 

The result, however, was that it was generally considered that 
no nominations had been made by the convention for legislative 
offices, and the field was open to all. 

A great deal of figuring, intriguing, "log-rolling" and combina- 
tions began at once among the local politicians — a great running 
hither and thither, a consultation of factions and individuals and 
interests. Dissatisfaction was expressed with the nominations of 
both parties, and as a result, about the close of September, certain 
independent candidates for legislative honors were announced. E. 
H. Hutchins and Geo. W. Whallon were announced as candidates for 
the senate. S. P. Child, Andrew Hanson, Henry M. Huntington 
and C. A. Lounsberry as candidates for I'epresentatives. 

A "People's Mass Convention" was called to meet at Wisner's 
Grove on the tenth day of October, for the purpose of making nom- 
inations. This convention, as announced, was not to be a party aifair — 
it was not to be controlled in any way by politicians — they were to be 
cast aside together with all kinds of "rings" and "cliques," and 
honest men were to be nominated. 

It was alleged that some of the candidates already nominated 
by one party or the other, and several of the independents wanted 
the indorsement of this convention. Others again, who had noth- 
ing to make or lose, were glad to see a "rumpus." The convention 
met on the day appointed. It was not largely attended, considering 
the efforts to get up an excitement. 

The convention nominated J. A. Latimer, for senator; J. C. 
Woodruff and C. A. Lounsberry for representatives, Nathaniel 


McColley for treasurer, Richard Field for county attorney, J. E. 
Wheeler for sheriff, J. M. Drake for coroner and W. J. Robinson for 
probate judge. 

Of these nominees, we may remark, that soon after the conven- 
tion, Messrs. Latimer and Woodruff withdrew, Mr. McColley de- 
clined the nomination, and Mr. Robinson did not accept nor run as a 
candidate, and all the others were defeated, as appears by the oflScial 

The canvass was a very spirited one, and although there were no 
public meetings and speeches, every elector in the county was well 
informed of the claims of the several candidates. The contest was 
mainly on persons and localities, politics being greatly ignored. 
The principal contest was for the offices of senator, representatives 
and sheriff. The candidates for the senate made prodigious efforts 
and left nothing undone, while a number of the candidates for repre- 
sentatives pursued the business of electioneering, from the rising 
of the sun, each morning, to the going down thereof, and extended 
over considerably into the sombre shades of night. But all such 
contests must end at last and some result be obtained. 

The election was held on the seventh day of November, and the 
close and bitter contest resulted as follows: 

Austin 1,565 Slaple 263 

Young 428 Johnson 1,625 

Whallon 669 Barnes 354 

Hutchins 689 Wheeler 939 

Kingsley 613 Davis 1,035 

Child 967 Sprout 1,278 

Huntington 754 Field 715 

Loiinsberry 726 Kicster 1,580 

McNeil 589 Hanson 612 

Hanson 324 

For county commissioners the following named gentlemen were 
elected: Henry Sellen, in District No. 2; W. W. Potter, in District 
No. 4, and David Catlin, in District No. 5. 

It may be said of this election, that all the candidates for sen- 
ator and I'epresentatives were more or less dissappointed at the re- 
sult — some in being beaten, others in being elected, some in the 
majorities being either so large, or so small, and the result of no 
election ever held in this county produced such incense grief and 
indignation in the hearts of some of the defeated, as this, yet the 
election was fairly held, the canvass honorably conducted in the 
main, and no frauds were ever alleged. 

Defeat is among those unpleasant things in politics, as to which 
every candidate for office must take his chances. And the defeated 
cannot always see why they failed. 


"How many men have died believing 
The world was blind to their achieving, 
And has ungratefully ignored 
The gods designed to be adored! 
Who has not heard the woeful wail 
Of unappreciated whale, 
Who thinks, if chance had let him blow, 
The world would not ignore him so."— Holley. 


On the third day of June a heavy hail storm passed over a por- 
tion of the county, doing much damage. 

The first heavy frost of the season occurred on the night of tlie 
nineteenth day of September. This item may not be of much inter- 
est to some people, yet there are those who are much benefitted in 
linowing just such unpretentious facts, and especially in knowing, 
for instance, when the first frosts have occurred during a number of 
years. It is from the knowledge of such apparently unimportant 
events that the work of farmers, in all countries, is much regulated. 

The weather, during the spring and summer of this year, was 
generally pleasant. There were but few storms, and not much rain. 
The year was one of those known as a dry year, and was dry 
especially in the fall. Winter set in early in November, quite cold, 
and continued so right along, the twenty -ninth of November being 
the coldest day of the winter. On that day the murcury run down 
to 31° below zero. 


This year will ever be prominent in the annals of time as the 
year of fire. The fire fiend went forth in his robes of flame, on the 
wings of the winds, and great cities, thriving villages and vast 
districts of country were laid in ashes. 

On the 9th and 10th days of October the great city of Chicago 
was mainly burned up. Many lives were lost. Two hundred mil- 
lions of dollars worth of property was destroyed. Ninety eight 
thousand people were rendered homeless and pennyless. The in- 
surance losses paid amounted to?18,000,000, but hundreds of insur- 
ance companies, many of them among the strongest in the world, 
were made bankrupt. It was the most extensive, destructive and 
appalling fire known to history, the burning of Rome, in the reign 
of the monster, Nero, not excepted. 

"Blackened and bleeding, panting, prone 
On the charred fragments of her shattered throne. 
Lies she who stood, but yesterday, alone." 

—Bret Harte. 

Soon afterwards a large part of Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, 
and a part of Michigan, were burned over, destroying many villages, 
vast forests of timber, and other property, and throughout the 
whole country fires were more numerous and destructive than usual. 



And now we may close the record of this year by the statement 
that, in November, the Grand Duke Alexis, of Russia, arrived in 
America, and travelled through the country for several months, at- 
tracting considerable of the public attention. And here is a peg on 
which some pertinent remarks may be hung. While it is evidently 
proper that the representatives of foreign governments, the kings, 
the scions of royalty and others of the aristocracy of monarchial 
nations, should be received and treated, on visiting our shores, with 
proper respect, attention and hospitality, it is well to be careful not 
to stultify our republicanism and self-respect and sink our dignity 
into obsequiousness and flunkyism. The prying curiosity, the fawn- 
ing and toadyism which characterized the conduct of many of our 
citizens, e.specially those known as "society'" people among the up- 
per tendom of our cities, on the visit of this young man, noted for 
nothing he ever did. or thought, or said, was disgusting to all think- 
ing people, and must have surprised the Russian himself. Such 
sycophancy is not only inconsistent with self-respect, but also with 
our character as Americans, and with the spirit of American institu- 
tions. We pride ourselves as a nation, on our free government. We 
acknowledge no nobility but that of personal worth. A man is no 
better for his ancestors, or his relatives, even if they were, or are, 
kings, unless they were noble, because of their intelligence and vir- 
itues, and he is like them, and he is none the worse if they were igno- 
ble, unless he shares their unworthiness. 

They from abroad or at home, who are entitled to our homage and 
to special public honors are the Lafayettes and Kossuths, men who 
have said something, done something, represented something in the 
world's progress in civil and religious liberty — or men who ai-e the 
great leaders in science, literature, invention, the kings of thought, 
the reformers, the educators, the men who represent the brain and 
the work and the industries of the world. Such are the men who are 
entitled to our highest regard and attention, and to whom we can 
afford to doff our hats. 

Here is a little story with much in it: Maria Antoinette, Queen 
of France, wishing to send to Washington a royal gift, as a token of 
her appreciation of his great merits, consulted Lafayette as to the 
form of presentation. She recited the formularies of adulatory terms 
usual in addressing kings and other monarchs. Lafayette mildly 
objected to the employment of such terms, as unsuitable in this case, 
saying "They, Madame, were only kings, Washington is the great 
leader of a free nation." Let Americans ever maintain their self- 
respect as American citizens and the rcpresentatves of American 
ideas, even in the presence of the proudest monarch on earth. 



A. D.1872. 


The first notable event of the year was the meeting of the board 
of county commissioners, on the second day of January. A. R. 
More, Sr., of Pilot Grove, was elected chairman for the year. The 
further action of the board at this meeting, of historical interest, is 
recorded elsewhere. The board met again on the eighteenth of 
March, and, among other business, considered a project in relation 
to the erection, at an early day, of a county building for a court 
room and county offices, and on the twenty-eighth of the same 
month, they again met for the purpose of examining jDlans and spec- 
ifications for such building. Finally, at a meeting held on the 
twenty-fifth day of June, they determined to erect a county building, 
to cost about 14,000, provided that Blue Earth City township should 
contribute about S2,300 to the enterprise. The township subse- 
quently accepted the proposition. The beautiful grounds— the court 
house square — on which the county buildings are erected, were re- 
served for the purpose by the original town-site proprietors of Blue 
Earth City, and were donated to the county, free of any charge. 


On the third day of January, the agricultural society held 
its annual meeting, at which, Sabastian Pfeffer, of Blue Earth City, 
was chosen president, C. S. Dunbar, of Foster, treasurer, and R. W. 
Richards, of Blue Earth City, secretary. At this time the society 
was again somewhat agitated about securing a permanent location 
and grounds, but there were some difficulties in the way of deciding 
the question, as each of the villages, in the county, desired to secure 
it, and the members of the society being scattered all over the 
county, were much divided in their views. 

The secretary was authorized to get two hundred copies of the 
constitution and by-laws printed, for the use of the society, and pro- 
cure suitable books for the several officers, and also to transcribe all 
the records of the society into a proper record book. 

On the twentieth of April a meeting was held at Blue Earth 
City for the purpose of considering the question of the permanent 
location of the society, and the procuring of grounds. At this meet- 


ing a committee of six was appointed to receive propositions. Blue 
Earth City, Winnebago City and Wells were the competitors. 

Another meeting was held, at Blue Earth City, June 2Gth, when 
the proposition of that village to locate the society and fair grounds 
permanently at that place, in consideration of the gift, to the society, 
of twenty-five acres of land, near the village, for grounds, was ac- 
cepted. But the matter was not yet fully and permanently settled, 
owing to various causes, not necessary to mention here. 


At the January term of the district court for this year, but little 
business of importance was transacted, there being no cases attract- 
ing public attention. There were thirty-nine civil and but two crim- 
inal cases on the calendar. Hon. P. H. Waite, presided. 

At a meeting of the bar of the county, held during this term of 
court, the attorneys of the county adopted a uniform fee bill. It did 
not prove of much service, and this was the first united action taken 
by the bar of this county on any matter. 

Among the queer cases which sometimes occur in courts of 
justice, the following is told as a veritable one. It could hardly have 
happened in any but an "Arkansaw" court. 


A gentleman was arranged before an Arkansas Justice on a charge of 
obtaining money under false pretenses. He had entered a store, pretending to 
be a customer, but proved to be a thief. 

"Your name is Jim Liiimore?" said the justice. 

"Yes, sir." 

"And you are charged with a crime that merits a long term in the peni- 

'•Yes, sir." 

'•And you are guilty of the crime?" 


"And you aslc for no mercy?" 

"No, sir." 

"You have had a great deal of trouble within the last two years?" 

"Yes, sir, I have." 

"You have often wished that you were dead?" 

"I have, please your honor." 

"You wanted to steal money enough to talce you away from Arkansas?" 

"You are riglit, judge." 

"If a man had stepped up and shot you just as you entered the store you 
would have said, 'thank you sir'?" 

"Yes, sir, I would. But, judge, how did you ttnd out so much about me?" 

"Some time ago," said the judge, with a solemn air, "I was divorced from 
my wife. Shortly afterwards you married her. The result is conclusive. I 
discharge you. Here, take this $50 bill. You have suffered enough." 



As a member of the legal profession — though a very humble 
one indeed— the writer may be excused for some remarks here on 
the subject, which heads this brief article. It is a subject in which 
every one is more or less interested. 

Lawyers, as such, and the legal profession in general, are the 
subjects of a good deal of abuse, suspicion, invidious witicisms and 
sometimes of denunciation. A great deal of this is not merited, 
except by a few individuals. 

The profession and lawyers generally, are suspicioned and ma- 
ligned because of the inefficiency — say incompetency, or the bad 
character of a small proportion of those who belong to the profes- 
sion. The truth is that the members of the profession, generally, 
are entitled to respect and confidence. However, it is difficult to find 
a class of men or profession, who care less about abuse, or are better 
able to stand it, than lawyers. They are not very sensitive. 

The legal profession is one of the most noble in its great scope 
and in its intellectual requirements, and one of the most necessary to 
the welfare of society of any of the secular occupations. 

Its importance, in all countries, whether monarchial, or republi- 
can, or whether its members have been backed by wealth, or titles, 
or high places, or not, has been admitted. 

The legal profession, in itself, is a great republic as "The Re- 
public of Letters," in which real talent, large attainments, practical 
capacity, constitute the only gauge of rank. Lawyers in all ccun- 
rties and all times, or those who answer to that title, have always 
ranked in importance with the best classes of citizens. 

No civilized country can do without lawyers. Where laws exist, 
there must be those who know what the laws are, and who can give 
counsel as to what they are, and who can assist people in the main- 
tenance of their rights uader the laws. The knowledge of lawyers 
is also of the highest importance in the making of the laws them- 
selves. A large per centum of the members of all constitutional 
conventions, of National and State legislatures, and also of the 
highest official government incumbencies, are lawyers, and the judi- 
cial departments of all governments is their exclusive domain. 

But it is generally the fact that it is only when a man gets into 
serious personal difficulties, that he begins to appreciate the value 
of the services of an able and honorable lawyer. Lawyers hold in 
their hands much of the happiness and success of the community 
and state, for these are in a great measure dependent on the proper 
administration of wise laws. 

And considering the nature of their profession, lawyers are 
necessarily intrusted with much important business, and great con- 

338 ni STORY OF 

fidences — secrets of the most important character, relating to fami- 
lies, people's personal, private and business affairs, by all classes 
of persons, and it may be allirmed that, considering the power they 
possess in this respect, to extort money, or take other advantages, 
the legal profession is a remarkably honorable and faithful one. 
The great majority of lawyers are true to their clients, under all 
circumstances. It may be added here, notwithstanding the adverse 
suggestions heard sometimes, that a man may be a lawyer and yet 
be a man of the highest honor and integrity. He may be a Chris- 
tian man in the true sense of that name. There have always been, 
and now are many lawyers who are Christian men. 

De Tocqueville says that lawyers are attached to public order 
beyond every other consideration, and further, that he "cannot be- 
lieve a republic could subsist at the present time, if the inQuenco of 
lawyers in public business did not increase in proportion to the 
power of the people." 

The profession of the lawyer is one which, for its successful 
conduct and broadest usefulness and honor requires the largest 
ability, the best training and widest extent of learning. There is no 
branch of human knowledge, which may not be of use to a lawyer. 
This may be true largely of most professions, or vocations, but it is 
peculiarly and emphatically so of this. 

That prince of American lawyers, David Dudley Field, says that 
"Above all others, this science (that of the law) so vast, so compre- 
hensive and varied in its details, needs to be served with all the aids 
whicli institutions, professors and libraries can furnish." While a 
much lower grade of qualifications than is here indicated, may cer- 
tainly serve to equip a lawyer for ordinary practice, yet the sup- 
position that a year, or two j'ears, desultory reading in a law ofSce. 
or even a course of study for one or two years in a law school, and 
the passing of a superficial .examination for admission to the bar, 
will make a lawyer competent to take into his hands the important 
business or other interests of men, and meet successfully opposing 
counsel, is one of the great absurdities of the age. But there are 
many lawyers at the bar, at this day, who have been "gotten up" in 
this way. The idea that it is well to admit applicants to the bar 
whatever their qualification, and depend upon subsequent practice 
and study for efficiency, now appears to be passing out. 

The work of a lawyer in full practice is very laborious and 
exacting. Constant thought, close attention, investigation of prin- 
ciples and authorities, study of every phase of his cases, and the 
evidence connected therewith, are his daily task, and to a large 
extent, nightly also. 

The lawyers' work is quite different in many respects from that 
of other professions or occupations, in the fact that any opinion he 


gives, or every move he makes, is tlie subject of inspectioa and 
perliaps opposition. He therefore must always be well grounded 
and always ready. The doctor may doctor and the preacher may 
preach, for years, making perhaps many mistakes, and no fault 
may be found with them, but the lawyer must face inquiry and oppo- 
sition at once and constantly in his business, and his errors or 
weaknesses are taken advantage of by his o^jponent. 

A great deal more is expected of lawyers in America, than per- 
haps in any other country. In most countries lawyers devote their 
time to only one title, or branch of the law, or practice only in cer- 
tain kinds of courts, as the Law Courts, the Chancery Courts, the 
Criminal Courts, the Admiralty Courts. 

In England, for example, the profession is divided into attor- 
neys, solicitors, common law lawyers, proctors, counsellors, and 
perhaps some other designations, but in America a lawyer is ex- 
pected to be proficient in all the titles and departments of the law, 
and to practice in any or all of the courts. 

When Judah P. Benjamin, after the fall of the confederacy, 
went to England to engage in the practice of the law, he was asked 
by an English lawyer, in what division, or department of the law 
and courts he intended to jDractice, and greatly surprised the in- 
quirer, when he answered, in any of the courts where his services 
should be desired, and he did, and that with great success. In the 
larger cities of this country tliereare, however, lawyers who devote 
their time to practice in some particular courts, or branch of the 
law. Daniel Webster once said of eminent American lawyers, that 
"they work hard, live well, and die poor." 

And now another phase of the subject. It must be admitted 
that the profession has in some localities, perhajjs in many to some 
extent, fallen into considerable disrepute, as above intimated. 

This is not because of the real character of the legal profession 
itself, but because of the incompetent and dishonest jjersons who 
have gotten into it, and their evil practices, as has already been sug- 
gested. But a further word needs to be said. It is charged against 
the profession, that what was once known as legal ethics and honor, 
are lai'gely unknown at this day. 

It is said that legal ethics taught that it was dishonorable for a 
lawyer to take contingent feep— that a lawyer who had heard a case 
in the capacity of a court, and rendei-ed a decision therein, should 
not, on appeal to a higher court, act as the attorney of either party 
—that a lawyer should not hear a case, as a Judge, in which he had 
at any time been an attorney, even if no objection is made, or even 
if consent of parties is given — that an attorney engaged in a case, 
should not counsel or conspire with the attorney of the other 
side — that a Judge should not give counsel to either party.or instruct 


or hear one party, or his attorney, as to the merits of a case in 
the absence of the party and his attorney on the other side — that 
an attorney who has given an opinion or is employed on one side of 
a case, should not hear, or be employed on the other side at any 
time — that no attorney should be guilty of barratrj'. maintenance, 
or champerty, whether the law permits either of them, or not. 

Yet it is claimed that these things are done, quite commonly. 
It is also alleged, that it is a violation of legal ethics and honor for 
a lawyer, in the employment of a corporation, company, or individ- 
ual, to permit himself to be elected to a state legislature, or con- 
gress, for the purpose of promoting, or protecting the interests of 
his employer, thus ignoring his oath and dishonoring his office of a 
legislator, and instead of representing the people— his constituents, 
represents a client for pay, so far,at least, as his client's interests are 
involved, and whatever the interests of his constituents may be. 
And this, it is alleged in many places, is getting to be quite common 
in both our state and national legislatures. And it is doubtless true, 
that in congress and in many state legislatures, attorneys of great 
corporations and moneyed interests appear as members. 

It is said also, that there is a class of lawyers who dishonor the 
profession by living on, what may be termed, legal garbage, carrion 
— those who take doubtful personal injury suits, on speculation, or 
contingent fees — those who rummage the records of courts and 
titles, for the purpose of taking advantage of people's errors or 
oversights, to rob them of their property, or to extort money from 
them — those who institute suits without merit, for the purpose of 
getting fees, or making something by compromise — those who insti- 
tute, or threaten to institute suits for the purpose of levying black- 
mail — those wlio hang about saloons and jiolice courts and police 
officers, for the of getting business, and finally, those who 
can be hired to do any kind of dirty work which no honorable man 
would do for himself. 

Undoubtedly there are such lawyers, and they are generally 
known in the profession, and at large, as pettifoggers, shysters, 
scalpers, razorbacks and sharks, and often end their career in the 
perpetration of crimes. These fellows are usually practitioners of 
very large pretentions, and they constitute the class of lawyers who 
bring odium upon the profession. A community where many of 
them, or any of them, in fact, are to be found, is to be pitied. What 
produces them? Want of capacity sufficient to warrant success in 
honorable practice or want of moral principle, profligate or evil 
lives, by which they forfeit the coutideuce of the public, are usually 
the causes. The lawyer who has reached the sage conclusion that 
it is better for his business, as a lawyer, to have the reputation of 
being a shrewd knave, rather than that of being an honorable man, 


has traveled a long ways on the road to failure and the devil. Many- 
young men are placed in the professions who are not, by their nat- 
ural talents or tastes fitted for them, or for the one they enter. 

The question of a young man's adaptability, his natural capacity 
and taste for an occupation, is a serious one and should be well con- 
sidered before he enters upon it. It is a bad thing to spoil a good 
farmer, mechanic or merchant, to make a poor lawyer, doctor or 
preacher. There are thousands of men in the legal profession who 
have no natural adaptation for it, and sooner or later fail as lawyers 
and drift into clerkships and small agency business, all very well 
in themselves, and useful, but they are not — the practice of the 
law, technically speaking. 

The great remedy for the evils above referred to, is the exer- 
cise of more care in entering young men on the study of the 
law. the requirement of a much higher standard of qualifica- 
tions, that is, more thorough and extended learning, better instruc- 
tion as to the morals and dignity and honor of the profession, and 
the requirement of passing, satisfactorily, a more rigid examina- 
tion before admission to the bar. 

Our great law schools, the American Bar Association, and the 
various State Bar Associations, are doing much toward elevating 
the standards of the legal jjrofession. 

The relevancy of the preceding remarks on the subject of the 
legal profession, to our history, will become more apparent when 
we reach the closing year of this history, in which will be found 
some observations relating to the Bar of this county. 


The fourteenth State Legislature assembled January 2d, and 
adjourned March 1st. 

The legislation of this year, relating to this county, was: 

1st. An act to incorporate the village of Blue Earth City. 

2d. An act to authorize townships, cities and incorporated vil- 
lages, in Faribault county to vote a five per cent tax to aid in the 
construction of railroads. 

3d. An act amending an act entitled an act to authorize the 
Minnesota Valley Railroad Company to construct a branch line from 
Mankato, or some point near thereto, to the south line of Faribault 

4th. An act to authorize the Southern Minnesota Railroad Com- 
pany to construct and operate a branch from some suitable point, on 
its main line, in Faribault county, by way of Blue Earth City, to the 
Iowa State line. 

5th. An act to authorize the Winona and St. Peter Railroad 
Company, its successors or assigns, to construct a branch road from 


Waseca, in Waseca county, via Blue Earth City, in Faribault county, 
to the I0W&, State line, and for other purposes. 

6th. An act, approved March 1st, to change the name of the 
town of Guthrie, in Faribault county, to Delavan. 

7th. A memorial to congress for a mail route from Blue Earth 
City to Banks, in Faribault county. 

8th. An act dividing the State into three congressional districts, 
by which this county was placed in the first district. 

The following acts were somewhat remotely related to this 

9th. An act to authorize the Minneapolis and St. Louis Rail- 
way Company to build branch lines from Minneapolis, and other 
points, to the south line of the State. 

10th. An act to enable the cities, towns and villages in the 
counties of Siblej% Nicollet and Blue Earth to aid in the construc- 
tion of a railroad from Carver, in Carver county, by way of Hender- 
son, St. Peter and Mankato, to the State line of Iowa. 

11th. An act to change the names of certain persons residing 
in Faribault county. 

12th. An act appropriating sixteen hundred dollars, to re-im- 
burse Floyd Smith, of Faribault county, for expenses and damages 
arising from an arrest, upon the requisition of the governor of Wis- 
consin. A joint resolution was also adopted, asking the State of 
Wisconsin to indemnify the State of Minnesota for moneys appro- 
priated for the above purpose. 

The facts of this case, briefly stated, are as follows: On the 
fifth day of January, 1871, a requisition was issued by the governor 
of Wisconsin, upon the governor of Minnesota, for the arrest and 
extradition of Floyd Smith, of this county, upon the charge of steal- 
ing a horse from one Clemens, of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, in De- 
cember. 1869. Smith was arrested and conveyed to Wisconsin for 
trial, and was indicted, tried and convicted of the alleged offense, 
by reason of false or mistaken evidence produced against him by 
the prosecution, and was sentenced to the Wisconsin State Prison 
for two years, and was taken there and confined as a common felon 
for several weeks, when an application was made to the governor of 
Wisconsin, for the pardon of said Smith, who ordered an investiga- 
tion into the merits of the case. The investigation resulted in prov- 
ing conclusively, and beyond all doubt, that Smith was innocent of 
the offense charged, or of any oifense, or color of criminality in the 
premises, and was immediately and unconditionally pardoned. 

The arrest, trial and other proceedings in the matter, resulted 
in a loss to Smith, of about three thousand dollars, and left him with 
no property, and involved in debt to the extent of several hundred 
dollars, and with the support of a large family to provide for. 


A great state or nation, can do no nobler act, or attest its dig- 
nity and nobility, in no better manner, than in the defease of its 
humblest citizen from injustice, or the abuse of his rights and liber- 
ties, by the authority, mistakenly exercised, or otherwise, of any 
other state or nation. And this act was not only creditable to the 
State, but was alike honorable to the many private citizens who 
assisted in the work of righting the wrongs of their neighbor. 

The members of the legislature for this county for this year 
were E. H. Hutchins in the Senate, and S. P. Child and Henry M. 
Huntington in the House. Thomas George, of this county, was ser- 
geant-at-arms of the House. 

The State of Wisconsin, did, subsequently re-imburse the State 
of Minnesota, for all its expenditures in this case. 


The Winnebago City Advertiser appeared February 29th, taking 
the place of the Press. 

The editor, E. A. Hotchkiss, Esq., says: "We own the Advertiser 
office — do not owe one cent on it. * * * jf ^q^ wish to 

subscribe, please enclose one dollar to the editor. If you have no 
dollar, send us the names of four subscribers with four dollars and 
you will receive a free copy. If you do not like the paper and do 
not want it, at any rate, return a single copy to this office." * * * 

"It is one thing to be born great, another thing to have great- 
ness thrust upon you, and three times as much, to be obliged to 
shoulder a printing office against your will." 

Several months afterwards, Mr. A. A. Huntington purchased 
the Advertiser office, and the paper came out, under the former name 
of the Winnebago City Press, Mr. Huntington being editor and pro- 


A great snow storm occurred on Monday night, February 12th, 
and continued through Tuesday and Tuesday night. The wind blew 
a hurricane, the air was filled with snow, and the cold was intense. 
Quite a number of people and some stock were frozen to death in 
counties west and northwest of this. 

The spring was very late. Some little wheat was sown the last 
days of March and the first days of April. A great storm of wind and 
snow prevailed over the country on the 14th and 15th days of April. 
Then came frequent heavy rains, owing to all of which the greater 
part of the wheat was not sown until the last week in April and first 
week of May, and much of the oats was sown after the fifteenth of 
May, and but little corn was planted until after the seventeenth of 
May. Low grounds were very mirey. About the middle of May, the 

344 IllSrOnV OF 

roads were almost impassable and the streams were very high. As a 
consequence, farmers wore much discouraged and fears were enter- 
tained of a wet summer. 


Prices in the spring averaged as follows: Wheat, $1.00; oats, 
25 cents; potatoes, 25 cents per bushel, and Hour $3.50 per hundred. 
In May wheat went up to $1.33 at Delavan. Money, during the 
spring and summer, was very scarce, and although wheat brought 
a fair price, there was but little surplus for sale, until after harvest. 
Notwitlistanding the hard times, however, the people did not bor- 
row so much money, at high rates of interest, as in former years, 
which was certainly a good symptom. Indeed, there were already 
premonitions of financial troubles near at hand. 

(Prom Post, Blue Eiirlh City.) 

— February 24th. A. Ilolliday of this place, has coiumeoced the erection of a 
(water power) grist mill on the Blue Earth river. 

—The iDs'ruiuenls have be^-n orderufi for a brass band (costing $212.00.) 
(This was the tlrst band at Blue Earth City.) 

—An e.xtensive revival of religion is in progress at Rice Lake (Foster town- 
ship) in this county, almost the whole community taking part. 

—March 3d. The first goese passed north on Monday and the weather-wise 
are, therefore, predicting an early spring. 

— There is more merit in the proposition to build a railroad from Waseca to 
Blue Earth City, than many would suppose, without some examination. 

—March 9th. Col. Thompion's cheese factory at Wells, will commence oper- 
ations on April lOth. (This was the first cheese factory in the county, and one of 
the best in llie United States.) 

—March 16lh. The Republicans at Wells have formed a thorough organi- 
zation for the promulgation of correct political principles. 

— A local clergyman, in presenting a subscription paper to an "outsider" 
the other day, remarked that it was a matter of economy to belong to some 
church, for, said he. "You outsiders are like apple trees along the road, every- 
body takes a 'bang' at you." 


"Well may the cavern depths of earth 
Be shaken, and her mountains nod; 
Well may the sheeted dead come forth 
To gaze upon a suffering God." — Whittier. 

Good-Friday is a legal holiday in many of the states. It has 
always been observed by a portion of our citizens, but not so gen- 
erally as it should be. 

The day is a fast-day in the church calendar, and is kept in com- 
memoration of that awful event, the crucifiction of Jesus, the Christ. 


The day has been observed from the very earliest ages of the Chris- 
tian Church. 

Because of the great good, even our salvation which we derive 
from the death of Jesus, our Saviour, the day is called Good Friday. 

Salvation! Oh most glorious hope! A hope, a faith indeed, 
which, if blotted out to-day, would fill the world with despair! 

The crucifiction took place on the day before the Jewish Pass- 
over, and the Passover comes, annually, on the Jewish Sabbath 
(Saturday), after the full moon, which falls on, or next after, the 
twenty-first day of March. 

It is said by historians, that the death, by crucifiction, was oneof 
the great punishments inflicted by Roman law in that age, and was 
lingering and exceedingly painful, and was only infliated upon 
slaves and the greatest criminals. It was ever deemed a death of 
great shame and dishonor. 

After a trial, which was a most gross travesty upon all sense of 
justice and right, Mark says (Chap. XV), "Christ was mocked, 
scoui'ged, smitten, spit upon and crowned with thorns." He was 
numbered with the transgressors. He was sentenced at six o'clock 
in the morning. 

"I saw Him 
la the J udgment Hall, before the haughty 
Pilate; He— the God — Man — arraigned before 
The changing justice of a human bar!"— Z. C. 

Here is a copy of what is alleged to be the sentence of death, 
against our Saviour. Something which but few people of this age 
have ever seen, and this is the most remarkable judicial sentence 
which has ever been pronounced in the world. It is word for word 
as follows: 

"Sentence pronounced by Pontius Pilate, Intendent of the Lower Province 
"of Galilee, that Jesus of Nazareth, shall suffer death by the Cross. 

"In the Seventh year of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius, and un the 24th 
"day of the month of March, in the most holy city of Jerusalem, during the 
"Pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas. 

"Pontius Pilate, Intendent of the Province of Lower Galilee, sitting in 
"judgment on the presidential seat of the Praitors, sentences Jesus of Nazareth 
"to death on the Cross, between two robbers. 

"As the numerous and notorious testimonials of the people prove: — 

"]. Jesus is a misleader. 

"2. He has excited the people to sedition. 

"3. He is an enemy of the law. 

"4. He called himself the Son of God. 

"5. He calls himself, falsely, the King of Israel. 

"6. He went into the temple, followed by a multitude carrying palms in 
"their hands. 

"Jesus to be taken out of Jerusalem, through the gates of Tournes." 


"The witnesses who have signed t" the execuliun of Jesus are: 

"1. Daniel llobani, Pharisee. 

"2. John Zorababel. 

";!. Raphael Robani. 

"4. Capet. (See note below.) 

He was led to Mount Calvary, where He was crucified at the 
third hour, (nine o'clock a. m.), and Matthew says. He died about 
the ninth hour, (three o'clock p. m. ). He was taken down from the 
cross and entombed at six o'clock in the evening. 

"At Calvary, I saw Ilim crucified; 
The bleeding side— the wounded head— 
The pierced hands and feet— that did atone, 
For human sin— the Holy Lamb of God, 
That took away the sins of the whole world! 
Ah! then I saw in Him, the Promised Hope 
Of Israel, of whom the prophets wrote— 
He who should save His people from their sins! 
Then the shut doors of my stout heart gave way, 
And I believed and trusted as a child!"— Z. C. 

Such was the cruel death of Him who "died for the ungodly" 
and in "His own self bear our sins in His own body on the tree;" He, 
who. in that hour of inconceivable agony and death, could pray in 
behalf of His murderers, —"Father, forgive them, they know not 
what they do." 

It is written that fi'om the sixth hour (noon), to the ninth (three 
o'clock, p. m. ), the hour of Christ's death — there was darkness over 
the whole land, and that at the moment of His death the earth 
quaked, the rocks were rent, and the vail of the Jewish temple was 
rent in twain from top to bottom. 

"It is finished," He exclaimed. "The work He came to do in the 
flesh. His humiliation and suffering; the life He came to live, mani- 
festing the power and love of the Father; the fulfillment of all the 
types and prophecies concerning Him; the death He came to die, and 
the redemption He came to accomplish, so far as His Messianic 
office as the Son of Man was concerned, were finished." 

No other death has ever been recorded in the annals of time of 
such awful incidents and profound import as this, and now even 
after the lapse of nearly nineteen hundred years, wherever the story 
of the cross is read or told, it strikes and thrills the deepest chords 
of the human heart and understanding. 

That the anniversary of this great and solemn day should be 
remembered and be observed by all Christian people, everywhere, 
by the most solemn religious services and by refraining from busi- 
ness, is evidently proper, and as a matter of fact it may happily be 
stated that the observance of the day is becoming more and )nore 
general, with the passing years, especially in the cities. 


Note— The seLtence above quoted is engraved on a plate of brass in the 
Hebrew language, and on its sides are the following words: "A similar plate 
has been sent to each tribe." It was discovered in the year 1280, in the city of 
Aquilla, in the Kingdom of Naples, by a search made for Roman antiquities, 
and it remained there until it was found by the Commission of Arts in the 
French army in Italy. Up to the time of the campaign in Southern Italy it was 
preserved in the sacristy of the Carthusians, near Naples, where it was kept in 
a box of ebony. Since then the relic has been kept in the chapel of Caert. The 
Carthusians obtained the privilege, by their petitions, that the plate might be 
kept by them, which was an acknowledgment of the sacrifice they made for the 
French army. The French translation was made literally by the members of the 
Commission of Arts. Denon had a facsimile of the plate engraved, which was 
bought by Lord Howard, on the sale of his cabinet, for 2,890 francs. There seems 
to be no historical doubt as to the authenticity of this plate. The reasons of 
the sentence correspond exactly with those of the Gospel. 


Easter being a day of particular and general observance, an- 
nually, by a large portion of the people of this county, as it is 
throughout Christendom, and occurring so soon after Good Friday, 
a legal holiday, may be referred to briefly here. 

The English word Easter is probably derived from the Saxon 
word "Osten," which means "rising." The word Easter occurs once 
in the authorized version of the New Testament, Acts, 12th chapter 
and 4th verse, where it is used for the word Passover, but in the 
new version, the word Passover is used at this place. 

As to the time of celebrating Easter, much dispute existed in 
the early church, but the matter was finally settled by the great 
council of Nice, held in the year 325. As then determined, it comes 
on the first Sunday after the full moon, which happens upon or next 
after March 21st, and if the full moon happened on a Sunday, Easter 
day is the Sunday after. It cannot fall earlier than March 22d, nor 
later than April 25th. 

Easter is a feast day in the church calendar, and is usually 
accounted one of the leading events of the Christian year, the great- 
est in fact — and it has from the earliest ages of the church been 
designated as "the Queen of Festivals." 

"O day of days! Shall hearts set free 
No 'minstrel rapture' find for thee? 
Thou art the Sun of other days, 
They shine by giving back thy rays." — Keble. 

This great feast is kept in remembrance of our Lord's resurrec- 
tion from the dead, and has been observed in the church from the 
days of the Apostles down through all the Christian centuries, to 
our own time. 

Easter is the Christian Passover, and may be considered the 
continuance under the new dispensation, of the ancient Jewish 

348 HISTOnr OF 

feast. And its observance seems to be of universal obligation, as it 
is written, "Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us; therefore let 
us keep the feast." 1 Cor. v: 7 8. 

"In the lipht of the Lord's resurrection, 
His peoph' should contiuerors he; 
In the haltlc" willi evil triumphant 

From the terror of di^ath ever free. 
We shall sleep in the dust and the darkness, 

We shall waken and sint; to Ilis name 
Who will liring us to life everlasting. 
By the path, that a victor. He came." 

— Sayigster. 

Easter may now bo called a universal festival, and in its con- 
tinuous celebration from the days of the Apostles, bears unimpeach- 
able testimony to the great fact of the resurrection, which is the 
great fact of the gospel on which all depends for, saith Paul, "If 
Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is 
also vain." 1 Cor. xv: 14. And accordingly, we find that no fact of 
sacred or profane history, is better attested, few so well, as that of 
the resurrection from the dead, of Jesus, the Christ. 

On Sunday, or Lord's day, the first day of the week, is also a 
perpetual and weeklj' commemoration of the fact of the resurrec- 
tion, for it was on that day our Lord rose from the dead, and that 
event has given us the Lord's day, or the Christian Sunday, but 
Easter Sunday, the greatest Sunday of the year, is the annual and 
special commemoration of the resurrection. 

Of the manner of observing this day, in this country, and in fact 
as it has generally been observed through all the past centuries in 
most Christian lands, it may be brielly said that the principal fea- 
tures are the holding of very animated and joyful religious services 
of specially appropriate character, in the churches, and that the 
churches are usually made very attractive by floral decorations and 
the display of numei'ous mottoes and legends, posted in conspicuous 
places about the walls and arches and elsewhere, consisting of ap- 
propriate texts, as "He is risen," "The Lord is risen indeed," 
"Now is Christ risen from the dead," "The Lord is King for ever 
and ever." 

"Bring flowers to the shrine where we kneel in prayer, 
They are nature's offering, their place is there! 
They speak of hope to the fainting heart. 
With a voice of promise they come and part; 
They sleep in dust through the wintry hours. 
They break forth In glory— bring flowers, bright flowers." 

In all the varied works of nature there is no more beautiful 
symbol of the resurrection from the dead than the flowers, as they 
silently spring into life after the long, cold winter, which like death 
had wrapped them in a snowy shroud. 


It is also a special Sunday school festival, greatly enjoyed by the 
children. Of the many curious customs and traditions connected with 
the Easter festival, and of the literature of Easter, but little can be 
said here. 

Among the old superstitions connected vfith the day is that 
which requires one to procure and wear for the first time on that 
day, some new article of clothing, if only a pair of gloves, and it is 
quite a current practice, in many localities, even now, to appear on 
that day in some new article of dress. 

But the greatest distinctive peculiarity in the observance of the 
day is the distribution among the children of Easter eggs, which are 
beautifully colored and ornamented with many appropriate devices. 
Tlie egg has from very ancient times been used as a symbol of the 
resurrection. For, though the egg is apparently lifeless, it contains 
the germ of life, and there comes forth from it, under the proper 
conditions, a being of life and activity, thus symbolizing the resur- 
rection of the dead unto life. The distribution also among the chil- 
dren and others of beautifully designed and ornamented Easter 
cai'ds has become a general practice at this day. 

Finally, Christian people should not, amid the Easter joys, for- 
get the Easter lesson: 

"If ye then be risen with Christ, soelc those things which are above, where 
Christ sitteth at the right hand of God."— CoL III: 1. 

As the first Easter was the event of Christ's resurrection, so the 
last Easter the world shall know, will be in the morning of the gen- 
eral resurrection, in the last day. 

"When all that are in their grave shall hear His voice, and shall come 

"Blessed are they who shall come forth unto the resurrection of life." 

John V: SS-20. 

From Blue Earth City .Vai(. 

—January.— Delevan is growing very rapidly. Already there are four dry 
goods stores, one hardware and one furniture store there, besides two hotels, a 
billiard hall and lumber yard. 

—February.— It may seem strange, but nevertheless true, that whisky, regu- 
larly applied to a thrifty farmer's stomach, will remove the boards from his fences, 
let cattle into his crops, kill his fruit trees, mortgage his farm, sow his fields 
with thistles, take the paint from his buildings, break the glass out of the win- 
dows and fill them with old rags, take thegloss from his clothes and the polish 
from his manners. It will bring sorrow and disgrace to his family, and lead 
him to a drunkard's grave. 

— March.- An entire winter's experience in coal burning, has convinced sev- 
eral of our citizens that it is more economical for heating purposes, than wood. 

(But little, if any, coal had been used in this county jjrior to this). 


— May.— The public, very generally— and with much cause— complain of our 
late spring. But we are not alone; our exchanges from all jiarts of the country 
are complaining of the cold. 

—There are two pensioners in this county of the war of 1812. 

—A clergyman said the other day, that modern young ladies are not the 
daughters of Sheni and Ham, hut the daughters uf Hem and Sham. 


On the twenty- fifth day of May, the last number of the Blue 
Earth City Mail appeared. Its career was but a short one. The edi- 
tor says, in this last number, "With this number of the J/a(7its pub- 
lication is discontinued. This change has been made necessary by 
our business interests. The purpose for which the paper was estab- 
lished, has been accomplished." 

The first number of The Delavan Bee appeared on the eighth day 
of June, published at Delavan, in this county, by Carr Huntington, 
formerly of Blue Earth City, editor and proprietor. We quote from 
the editor's introductory remarks: "In starting a newspaper, it is 
usual to devote a column to salutatory promises, as to the course it 
will pursue. In our case, being well-known — perhaps too well-known 
— to all the people of this county, having been among them engaged 
in this business about nine years — promises are unnecessary. In 
conducting newspapers heretofore, it is usually admitted that in every 
emergency, we have taken the side of the people and endeavored to 
protect their interests against the machinations of corrupt cliques 
and the designing of every character and quality. This course on 
our part has sometimes led along a rough path. In starting a paper 
in this thriving young village, we have been materially aided by 
the liberality of its citizens, and, of course, it will be our duty to 
labor faithfully for the advancement of its best interests, always 
remembering that its welfare is closely connected with the pro- 
gress and prosperity of the whole county." 


The second annual session of the Faribault County Sunday 
School Association, was held at Blue Earth Cltj- on the 28th and 
29th days of May. "A large number of delegates were in attend- 
ance. The exercises throughout were conducted with animation, 
and were of great interest to all present." 

Rev. J. Door, of Winnebago City, was elected president; Rev- 
erends W. Ross and H. C. Cheadle, vice presidents; P. R. Woodard, 
of Wells, secretary, and C. B. Miner, of Verona, treasurer. 



(From Advertiitr, Winaebago City.) 

March 28th.— Seven artesian wells are in operation in the town of Lura, and 
one in Verona. 

April 18th.— It is a significant fact, that not a man in this vicinity wishes 
to rent land. They all have a farm of their own. 

May 2d.— We note with pleasure that Faribault county is not represented at 
St. Paul in the seed wheat grab. 

—Total expenses of the county for the year ending February 28th, 1872, 
were $9,198.14. 

—Mr. Bullis recently imported to this county a cow and a bull, at a cost of 
six hundred dollars. They are of the Durham breed, full blood. 

May 9th.— Base ball has broken out in our community, though it is thought 
that it will nut rage as hard as in previous seasons. 

May 30th.— Said Mr. Cantwell to his clergyman, who had a great disrelish 
for hypocracy, "How can I help to reform the world?" "By beginning with 
yourself," was the conclusive reply. 


The June term of the District Court, while much business was 
done, was not characteriaed by any trials of special interest. 

The calendar contained three criminal and thirty-nine civil suits. 

Hon. P. H. Waite, presiding; H. J. Neal, clerk and A. B. Davis, 


A correspondent at Fredonia, N. Y., writes: "Being in attendance at the 
Circuit Court in Albany in the year 1870, I happened to hear a trial of a breach 
of promise case. The plaintiff was a young lady of rather delicate nerves, and 
although, through the aid of her counsel, Hon. Lyman Tremain, her case was 
looking well, yet when she came to be cross-examined by the opposite attorney, 
Hon. Henry Smith, she quailed before his searching examination, and finally 
fell down in a swoon. The sympathies of everyone were aroused, and Mr. Smith 
saw that he must do something. The young lady's face was of a purple-red dur- 
ing her swoon, and so, when the next witness was called (a middle-aged lady), 
Mr. Smith said: 

"Witness, you saw the plaintiff faint a short time ago?" 

"Yes, sir," said the witness. 

"Well, people turn pale when they faint, do they not?" 

The witness hesitated a moment, then said, "No, not always." 

"Did you ever hear of a case of fainting where the party did not turn pate?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Did you ever see such a case?" 

"Yes, sir." 


"About a year ago." 

"Where was it?" 

"In this city." 

" Who was it?" 

" ^Twas a nigger. 

The plaintiff won the case. 

352 B I STORY Ob 

The anniversary of our national independence was celebrated 
at Blue Earth City on the Fourth of July. The day was pleasant, 
and the number of people present was variously estimated at twen- 
ty five hundred to three thousand. Hon. Ara Barton, of Rice county, 
delivered the oration. The Declaration was read by the Rev. Mr. 
Cheadle, of Blue Earth City. 

A celebration was held at Wells, also, and the attendance there 
was estimated at two thousand people. Hon. M. H. Bunnell deliv 
livered the oration. 

At each place the celebration was a success and gave general 
satisfaction. The spirit of '7G still survived! 

On the sixth day of July, a terrific hail storm visited this county, 
which, by many, will long be remembered. It .seems to have started 
near Shclbyville, in Blue Earth county, passing thence southward, 
through the towns of Winnebago City, Delavan, Prescott, east side 
of Blue Earth City, west side of Emerald and thence into a small 
portion of Rome and Elmore, where the hail ceased. Its track was 
from one to three miles wide, and in many instances the entire crops 
of the farmers were destroyed. Several farmers lost as much as one 
hundred acres of grain. 

On the ninth of July a cattle fair was held at Wisner's Grove, 
in Barber township. It was only a partial success, but was a move 
in the right direction. 


The harvest of 1872 began about the twenty-third of July and 
the weather was very favorable. The oats crop was very light, 
many fields not being cut. Barley was generally light. Corn was 
fair considering the late spring. Fife wheat, a variety long sown in 
this county, proved a failure with a very few exceptions. Some 
other varieties of wheat did well, and especially the Red Osaka, a 
new variety of Russian wheat. In fact, had it not been for this lattei- 
wheat, we could truthfully say, that the wheat crop of 1872 was a 


On the twenty-sixth day of July the commissioners met to appoint 
two school land appraisers. Messrs. S. L. Rugg and A. R. More. 
Sr., were appointed. The board assembled again in September, 
which was the last meeting of the year, but did no business we care 
to note. 

Wheat which had been quite low commenced to rise about har 
vest, and from the 17th to the 20th of August, reached one dollar 
and five cents per bushel at Delavan, owing to a great wheat 
"corner" organized at Chicago. The "corner" was broken about 


the 20lh, and wheat fell imtnediatly to eighty five cents and lower. 
Some farmers were lucky enough to get in their new crop before 
the fall. It is well that the farmers, once in a while, get a benefit 
from the grain gamblers and monopolists who usually have all the 

On the twenty second day of August, a railroad survey was 
completed to Blue Earth City, starting at Lake Crystal and passing 
through the towns of Winnebago City, Verona and Blue Earth City 
and running thence to the Iowa State line. Less survey and more 
railroad would have suited the people better. The efforts to get a 
railroad at Blue Earth City kept this subject in a state of agitation 
for many years. 

During the spring and summer a vast immigration passed 
through this county to the counties west of this, Martin, Jackson, 
Nobles and Rock. The immigration to this county was very fair, but 
the public lands having mainly been taken long before, the great 
body of the immigrants passed on to newer localities. 

The first heavy frost of the season occurred on the night of 
September 18th, but luckily did not materially injure the grass, for 
strange as it may seem, but little hay had been secured, owing to 
the wet weather and other causes, j^rior to the frost. Happily, it 
is not often the fact, that haying is done in this county in the latter 
half of September. ■ 

At the sale of school lands this fall, about eighteen hundred 
acres were sold, at prices ranging from $5.00 to $13.00 per acre. 


The Agricultural Society held its fair this year at Delavan, on 
the 3d and 4th days of October. 

This was one of the best fairs ever held in the county. The 
weather was very favorable and the attendance large. There was 
some two hundred entries of stock and other things, and 8157.00 were 
awarded in premiums. Yet, after all is said, the fair was not what 
it should have been, in so populous a county as this. 


A State Institute was held at Winnebago City, commencing on 
Monday, October 21st, which was attended by eighty- seven teachers. 
The institute was conducted by instructors, thoroughly prepared for 
the work, and furnished with such professional books and literature 
as was of great value to those engaged in teaching. The value of 
these institutes in presenting new methods of teaching, discussing 
and impi'oving the existing methods, introducing new subjects of in- 
struction, offering to the young teacher the experience of the old 
one, harmonizing the system of instruction throughout the county. 

354 HISTOliY OF 

and the awakening of a higher zeal and ambition in the minds and 
hearts of teachers, and in giving them a more just view of the im- 
portance of their calling, can hai-dly be overestimated. 


This being the year of a presidential election, the hosts began 
to muster early for the conflict, throughout the whole country. 

On the fifteenth day of June, a mass convention was held at Blue 
Earth City of those who were opposed to the reelection of Gen. 
Grant to the presidency. This party was made up of and known as 
democrats and liberal republicans, and constituted the opposition to 
the republican party in the main. 

Gen. U. S. Grant was the republican, and Horace Greeley, of New 
York, the opposition candidate for the presidency. Chas. O'Connor, 
of New York, was the presidential candidate of a part of the demo- 
cratic party. The candidates for congress were Mark H. Dunnell, 
republican, and Morton S. Wilkinson, independent republican. 

There were also several State ofBcei's to be elected, and four 
amendments to the State constitution to be voted upon. 

On the nineteenth day of October the Republican County Con- 
vention was held at Blue Earth City. 

S. C. Leland, Esq., of Wells, was called to the chair, and Hon. 
A. A. Huntington, of Winnebago City, was chosen secretary. 

The attendance was full, and the convention harmonious. The 
following nominations were made: 

For Representatives — S. P. Child and M. A. Hawks. 

For Clerk of Court— H. .T. Neal. 

For Register of Deeds — F. P. Brown. 

For Auditor— W. W. White. 

For Survej''or — E. S. Levitt. 

The liberal republicans and democrats held their county conven- 
tion at Blue Earth City, on the twenty-second day of October. This 
convention was also harmonious in its action. D. H.Morse, of Verona, 
was chosen chairman, and D. P. Wasgatt, of Winnebago City, secre- 
tary. The convention then proceeded to make the following nomi- 

J. H. Welch and T. S. Fellows, for Representatives. 

S. Pfeffer, for Register of Deeds. 

Geo. Schiod. for Auditor. 

Geo. A. Weir, for Surveyor. 

No nomination for the oflSce of Clerk of Court was made by this 

Aaron J. Rose and Wesley Hill were announced as independent 
candidates for the office of Clerk of Court. 


F. Lent ran as an independent candidate for the office of Regis 
ter of Deeds. 

The only real local subjects of contest, in this election, were the 
offices of Register of Deeds and Clerk of Court, and the contest for 
these offices was earnest and persistent. 

The election was held on the fifth day of November. Gen. 
Grant was re-elected President, by an overwhelming majority. Mr. 
Dunnell was re-elected to Congress, and the Republican candidates 
for State officers were elected. 

The following table exhibits the votes cast for the several can- 
didates named. 

President— Grant, 1,626; Greeley, 508. 

Congress — Wilkinson, 503; Dunnell, 1,596. 

Representatives — Childs, 1,647; Hawks, 1,146; Welch, 769; Pel- 
lows. 662. 

Auditor -White, 1,814; Sheid, 245. 

Register— Brown, 920; Pfeffer, 682; Lent, 539. 

Clerk of Court— Neal, 1,103; Hill, 803; Rose, 187. 

Surveyor — Leavitt, 1,423; Weir, 561. 

Court Commissioner — Kiester, 18; Rose, 11. 

County Commissioner — J. A. Dean, elected. 


There were two events occurring in November of this year, of 
such grave importance, that a word must be said here in reference 
to them. 

On the ninth day of the month, just one year and one month 
after the great Chicago calamity, a large part of the city of Boston, 
Mass , was destroyed by fire. The loss was $75,000,000 in buildings 
and merchandise. And this great fire was not among the wooden 
structures of the city, but it was the brick, stone, iron and granite 
buildings, the finest and costliest, that went down as though they 
had been tinder. This fire was only surpassed on this continent, in 
extent, by that of Chicago, and was one of the great calamities of 
the age. 

On the twenty-ninth of the month Horace Greeley, candidate 
at the recent election for the presidency, died. But Horace Greeley 
was so great a man that the fact of his having been a candidate, 
even for the presidency, was of small consequence. He was the 
founder, and for more than a generation, the editor of the New York 
Tribune, the greatest newspaper in its day in the world, and the 
political bible of hundreds of thousands of our people, and his name 
was a household name in tens of thousands of families from their 
youth to mature age. He was the king of journalism; the great 
representative and defender of republican institutions, as he was 

356 UISTOltY OF 

one of their greatest outgrowlhs-he was the greatest citizen of the 
nation, an Amei'ican of Americans, and one of the greatest and 
grandest men of any age or nation. In his death, friend and foe 
alike, forgave and forgot what many thought the great mistake of 
his life, his candidacy for the presidency in opposition to the great 
political party of which he was the father, and bowed their heads 
in profoundest sorrow. 


In November and December, a peculiar horse disease prevailed 
in this section of the country. The sickness commenced with a 
labored, half-suppressed cough, which rapidly increased in violence 
and was accompanied by a fever, intense heat of the mouth, whether 
dry or moist, and a running of very offensive mucus from the nos 
trils, as in distemper. The horses attacked refused all food, but evi- 
denced no disposition to lie down. In a few days the horse became 
very weak, and unless relief was afforded soon, and the greatest care 
taken of him, he died suddenly. By the best veterinary surgeons 
the disease was deemed an acute catarrh and influenza, and prevailed 
at the time as an epidemic. 

The disease originated in Canada where thousands of horses 
perished. It spread from thence into the eastern states and thence 
westward. It seemed to be most fatal in the cities, where in a day 
all the horses would be attacked and rendered unfit for labor, caus- 
ing a stoppage of business and great delay and damage. Canal 
boats, street cars, express wagons, omnibuses, mail carriages and 
the thousand and one means of transportation and conveyance in 
which horses are the motive power, ceased to run for a time. In 
some instances oxen wei-e substituted for the invalid horses. The 
mail was carried by ox team to and from Delavan and Blue Earth 
City on one day when no well horses could be had. 

Never before did people Icai-n and so fully realize the inestima 
ble value to man of that noblest of all the brute creation, the horse, 
and what a grand helper he is in the business and pleasure of the 
world. And if the lesson thus taught should procure for this valued 
servant kinder and more intelligent treatment, protection from over 
work, fair feed and attendance, care in sickness and comfortable 
stabling when his work is done, the lesson may not have cost too 
much. It is a sad fact that many a man exhibits greater brute in- 
stincts and conduct than the poor horse which has the misfortune to 
be in his charge. 

The disease was contagious and was supposed to have been 
caused by some peculiar condition of the atmosphere, and was prob- 
ably spread abroad by the atmosphere, as well as by infection. It 
was not so fatal in Minnesota as in the states further east, and in 


this county but few horses died, though the disease lingered among 
some of them for a long time. As to the treatment of the disease, 
experience proved that the best course was to give but little medi- 
cine. Perfect rest and keeping the horse warm and dry, and other- 
wise carefully nursing him, feeding no hay, oats, corn or barley, but 
only warm bran mash, with a little oat or rye straw, was the best 
treatment. Small doses of bromide of potassium, given two or 
three times a day in a bran mash for the first two or three days 
while the inflammation lasted, and putting tar on the trough or man- 
ger, and on the horses nose, proved the best medicine when any 
was deemed necessary. 

As to the name of this epidemic, it was first called the Canadian 
Horse disease, and various names descriptive of the disease were 
framed in Latin or Greek, among which were "Hippoparenarhoea" 
and "Hipporhenophlegmatoblennonalastalagmatus," which is credi- 
ted to the N. Y. World, but not pi'oving convenient in every-day con- 
versation did not become popular. Then came Epizootic and Epi- 
zooty and Epizoot, and finally finished up with simple "Zoot." 

When the disease first appeared, it was supposed to be a new 
disease, as it was not mentioned in the books, but an old book- worm 
discovered that it had prevailed in Greece, about four hundred 
years before the Christian era, an'd this extended account of the 
disease and its treatment, is given here, so that if it again appears, 
say four hundred years after us, they who may see this account 
may know that we have had it. 


The first storm heralding the approach of winter, occurred on 
November 13th, and closed up the plowing for the year. 

The week preceding Christmas was intensely cold and quite 
stormy. In exposed jjositions on the prairies it was reported that 
the thermometer ran down to 37° below zero, at other places less 
exposed to 25° and 30° below. A great scarcity of fuel existed at 
the time of this cold spell, especially in the villages, and some per- 
sons on the prairies were compelled to use corn for fuel. In many 
places on the prairies of the west, corn has been substituted for 
wood and coal as fuel, with much success. 

The winter of 1872-3 was very severe, especially in the month 
of December, as above intimated, not only in Minnesota, but through- 
out the country. In fact, when very cold weather prevails in Min- 
nesota, generally, it is usually pretty cold in many other localities, 
as will appear from the following reports from widely separated 
parts of the country. 



MPiuphis, Tcnn., Doc. 24.— To-day was the coldest ever known here in 25 
years, the mercury ran^'in^' from 5 to 10 above zero during the day. Navigation 
is entirely suspended. 

Pittsburg, Dec. 24.— The weather continues cold; the mercury going below 
zero at 4 o'clock. 

Cincinnati, Dec. 24. — The temperature is sinking rapidly since dark, the 
therniomoter going 2 below at 8 o'clock. 

St. Louis, Dec. 24. — Last night was the coldest of the season, the mercury 
falling to 8 degrees below zero by the signal service thermometer, and to 12and 
1.0 by ordinary instruincnls, according to location. To-uigbt, however, the 
temperature is much milder. 

Chicago. Dec. 24.— The weather has moderated again. Thermometers which 
were 20 below this morning are up to zero to-night. Accounts from all parts 
state that the weather for the past 24 hours was as cold as ever known. 

Fort Scott, Kan., Dec. 24. — Last night was the coldest known in this sec- 
tion. Mercury 18 degrees below zero at 7 a. m. 

Bath, Me., Dec. 24.— The weather for the past few days has been bitter cold. 


The project of building a court house, for the use of the county 
officers and for court purposes, heretofore referred to, after much 
planning and discussion, resulted in the erection, on Court House 
Square, in Blue Earth City, of a brick building, thirty -seven by 
forty-five feet in size and two stories high. The first story is divided 
into five rooms, for county offices, the second story is fitted up for 
a court room. A commodious fire-proof vault is attached on the 
rear of the building, and the whole structure is well built and well 
finished. The cost was about five thousand dollars, the larger part 
of which expense was paid by the county, and the remainder by the 
township of Blue Earth City. No public debt was incurred in the 
enterprise. The building was completed late in the fall, and several 
county ofiicers moved into their respective rooms, in the holiday 
season, between Christmas and New Year's day. 

This structure is not large, nor imposing, but is substantial, a 
credit to the county, and will serve the purposes of the county for 
many years. Few counties have been so well, and at the same time, 
so economically provided for, in this respect, as ours. 




A. D. 1873. 

" All pitying heaven. 

Severe in mercy, chastening in its love, 
Oft-times in dark and awful visitation, 
Doth interpose, and leads the wanderer back 
To the straight path." — Baillie. 

The first day of January was very mild and pleasant. The new 
year was ushered in under very favorable weather auspices, but if 
this fact was taken as predictive of a pleasant winter, a favorable 
spring or a prosperous year, the horoscope was not well read. 

The seventh day of January, 1873, was an eventful one in this 

"Your plea is good, but still I say, Beware; 
Laws are explained by men; so have a care."— Pope. 

And first, on this day the district court commenced its winter 
term, Hon. P. H. Waite, judge. There were forty civil and four 
criminal cases on the calendar. There was a very large attendance 
of attorneys and of the people of the county, at this term. It was the 
first term of court held in the new court house. It was also the only 
term of this court, held in the county, during the year. The June 
term, owing to the sickness of the judge, was not held. A special 
session was called for July 15th, but this term, also, at the request of 
the ^oard of county commissioners, was dispensed with. 

The second event of the day was the assembling of the county 
commissioners. W. W. Potter, of Verona, was chosen chairman 
for the year. Of the business transacted by the board at this and 
subsequent meetings, it is not necessary to note anything here. 
Their subsequent meetings were held on the fourth day of March, 
June 10th and September 6th. 

Another event of the seventh was the meeting of the Agricul- 
tural Society, at Blue Earth City. J. A. Latimer was elected presi- 
dent, Charles Stockman, treasurer, and A. H. Bullis, secretary. It 
is necessary to say that there was no other business transacted at 
this meeting, worthy of record here, but while we are penning these 
lines, we observe in a newspaper lying before us, the following 
golden words : 

"In the wide world there are no more important things than farmers' boys. 
They are not so important for what they are, as for what they will be. At 


present they are, too often, of little consequence. But farmers' boys always 
will be the material out of which the noblest men are made. They have health 
and strcnRtb: they have bone and muscle; they have heart and will; they have 
nerve and patience; they have amtiition and endurance; and these are the ma- 
terials that malce men. Not buckrams and broadcloth, and patent leather and 
beaver fur, and kid gloves and watch seals, are the materials of which men are 
made. It takes better stuff to make a man. It is not fat and flesh, and swag- 
ger and self-conceit; nor yet smartness, nor flippancy, nor foppery, nor fastness. 
These make fools, not men: not men such as the world wants, nor such as it 
will honor and bless. Not artistically curled hair, nor a cane, nor a pipe, nor a 
cigar, nor a (luid of tobacco, nor an oath, nor a glass of beer or brandy, nor a 
dog or gun, nor a pack of cards, nor a novel, nor a v\ilgar book of love and 
murder, nor a tale of adventures, that makes a man, or has anything to do with 
making a man. Farmers' boys ought to keep clear of all these idle, foolish 
things. They should be employed with nobler objects. They have yet to be 
men of the clear grit— honest, intelligent, industrious men."— Herald of Health. 


On the same day, the seventh, there happened one of the most 
destructive storms ever known in the northwest. We quote the fol- 
lowing well written and truthful account of this storm, taken from 
the Blue Earth Citij Post. 

It is not often that wo are called upon to record a more severe storm than 
that which occurred during the past week, commencing on Tuesday afternoon. 
The day opened warm and bright, presenting a marked contrast with the 
severe cold weather which had preceded it. All the forenoon it grew warmer, 
and people congratulated themselves that the severe cold spell had come to an 
end for the present. The town was full of people, and everybody was astir. In 
the afternoon alxiut two o'clock, entirely without warning, the wind veered 
around into the northwestand in a moment raged furiously, ttllingthe air with 
fine snow, and rendering objects invisible at a few rods distance. All the after- 
noon it continued to increase in severity, and night closed in with a "nor'- 
wester" in full force. During the night the war of the elements continued. 
The wind rose and fell in fitful gusts, seeming to gather strength with each 
subsidence, and threatening great damage. The fine snow was driven through 
every nook and cranny, and settled upon resting places in fantastic shapes. 
Many passed a sleepless night, expecting every moment that their houses would 
be overturned, take Are, or that .some other calamity would occur. It was a 
weird scene, well calculated to strike terror to stout hearts. 

Morning came, but brought no cessation of the storm, and daylight broke 
upon a scene of desolation and discomfort. People who wore in town the day 
before were compelled to remain all night, and together with those attendant 
upon the court and the meeting of the board of county commissioners, filled 
the hotels to overflowing, and drew upon the hospitalities of our citizens. Busi- 
ness was suspended, no session of the court was hold, and all congregated 
around the fires speculating upon the probable loss of life, and comparing the 
storm with preceding ones. All day long old Boreas revelled and howled in 
his strength, piling snow drifts to great heights, only to remove them the next 
moment to some other locality. The feelings of hilarity and good cheer, usually 
ruanifested upon such occasions were entirely wanting, and instead thereof was 
a sense of anxiety for those who might be exposed to the mercy of the storm. 
Those separated from their families were anxious for the safety of the dear 


ones at home, while no doubt those at home were equally anxious for those 
who were away from home. 

The storm still raged when Wednesday night came, continuins through the 
night and on Thursday, though with less severity. On that day a few ven- 
tured to their homes. The court resumed business, and a feeling of relief be- 
gan to manifest itself. By Friday morning the storm had almost ceased, and 
during the day it stopped entirely; Saturday opened beautifully, and was a 
pleasant day. 

So far we have heard of no loss of life or serious damages, although there 
were some narrow escapes. Two little girls of Mr. Everson, living in Pilot 
Grove township who were absent at a neighbor's when the storm commenced, 
started for home, and nearly perished on the way. A school in the town of 
Elmore was compelled to remain in the school house for two days and a night, 
and doubtless other schools had the same experience. 

Many families were upon short allowances for fuel and perhaps for food, 
but as the weather was not remarkably cold, they managed to weather it 

Taken all in all, this storm will pass into history as one of the severest 
storms that has ever occurred in this region. 

— Since the above was written we learn that a German woman living near 
Wisner's Grove, in this county, was frozen to death. It is, also, rumored that 
a school teacher was frozen to death in Martin county. 

Several weeks elapsed before any definite information could be 
obtained of the loss of life, and the extent of the damage done by 
the storm, and many startling rumors were afloat. Great exaggera- 
tions are usual on such occasions. Estimates heard on the streets, 
and found in newspapers, based upon reports, were made, by which 
it was claimed, that as many as one thousand people had lost their 
lives, but this was finally reduced to five hundred and less. The 
matter, when subsequently investigated, proved not so bad after 
all, though still a sad reckoning, as appears by the following 


"Gov. Austin made an official report to the legislature in regard to the 
effects of the great storm of January last, resulting in the death of seventy 
persons, and the injury of thirty-one more. The tabular statement by counties 
is as follows: 

Lost their Seriously 
County. lives. Injured. 

Blue Earth 1 1 

Brown 3 1 

Chippewa 3 

Clay 2 

Cottonwood 1 

Dakota 1 

Dodge 1 

Douglas 1 ] 

Faribault 1 

Freeborn 2 

Grant 3 

Kandiyohi 9 4 

Lac Qui Parle 1 

Lyon . 4 3 

Martin 2 

Meeker 2 1 


„ . Lost tlieir Seriously 

O0""<y- lives. Injured. 

Mower 1 

M u rray o 

Nicollet 2 

Nobles . 3 1 

Otter Tail 8 ;{ 

Pope 1 2 

Retiville 1 

Koek 1 

Sibley 4 i 

Steele 1 

Stevens 3 i 

Swift 2 

Waseca 1 i 

Watonwan 8 ."? 

Yellow Medicine 1 2 

Total 70 ;n 

The loss of live stock from exposure appears to be about as follows: 

Head of horned cattle 250 

Horses 25 

Mules 3 

Sheep and hogs 10 

It is probable, however, that the entire loss of stock, could it be known, 
would exceed these figures." 


Our legislature assembled January 7th and adjourned March 7th. 

Our members were E. H. Hutchins. iu the Senate, and S. P. 
Child and M. A. Hawks, in the House of Representatives. Bailey- 
Madison, of this county, was sergeant-at-arms of the House. 

But little of the legislation of IH73, had any direct i-eference to 
this county. There were only the following acts: "An Act to 
amend an act entitled an act to incorporate the village of Blue 
Earth City." "An Act to incorporate the village of Winnebago City." 
"An Act to authorize the county commissioners of Faribault 
county to change the boundaries of independent school district of 
Blue Earth City." 


The spring of this year opened about the first of March and the 
snow, of which there was considerable, w^t off pretty rapidly and 
without much rain. Some little wheat was sown as early as the 
twelfth day of March, but, owing to occasional rains, the fall of slight 
snows and freezing, the ground was kept in bad condition, and as 
late as the twenty-second day of April, not one-third of the wheat 
was sown, and some that had been sown quite early, rotted. Low 
grounds could not be seeded to much extent and where seeded, pro- 
duced nothing. It was remarked that probably one fourth of the 
wheat was sown after the first of May, and nearly all the oats. 



And here is another red-letter day, established by custom, May- 
day. The first day of May, has, through many centuries and in 
almost all countries, been distinguished by some sort of civil, social, 
or religious observances, festive and floral. It has become, in mod- 
ern times, in most countries, a children's and youth's gala day, and 
it is for them, that this brief notice of the day is written. 

May day parties, or festivals, the May pole, entwined with its 
garlands and wreaths of leaves and flowers, around which the young 
folks form a revolving circle, singing and dancing, and the flower- 
crowned May Queen, the garnishing of the churches, dwellings and 
gateways with flowers and boughs, on the first day of May, are 
usages which have been known fi'om a remote age. 

"So you must wake aad call me early, call me early, mother dear; 
Tomorrow '11 be the happiest time of all the glad new year; 
Tomorrow '11 be of all the year, the maddest, merriest day, 
For I'm to be the Queen O' the May, mother, I'm to be the Queen O' the 
May. '■ — Tennyson. 

The lighting of fires on the hill tops on this day, was a custom of 
the ancient Druids and the Scandinavian people. In that far gone 
time, it was not only a children's day, but the aged, the most ven- 
erable, the kingly and priestly, were leading actors in the day's fes- 
tivities. While many of the old usages incident to this day, have 
long since become obsolete, there are still some existing — as May 
day parties, the floral decoration of the dwellings and some others, 
of a social character, which may well be continued. The amusing 
custom which obtains among the children and youths, of hanging May 
baskets, is one worthy of commendation. This custom was intro- 
duced, in certain portions of this country, at an early day, and is 
quite an old one in many places. 

Some baskets of various shapes are made of paj)er, of divers 
colors, tastefully ornamented, and filled with flowers, and containing 
some little written message of love or friendship, and the name of 
the recipient, are hung, secretly, just after dark, in the evening of 
May day, by the donor, on the door latch, or other convenient place, 
at the residence of the recipient, who is warned of the presentation 
by a sudden knocking on the door. But it is an essential part of the 
proceeding, that the basket be hung secretly and the giver be not 
caught at it. A great deal of fun is enjoyed in the seeking to avoid 
detection by the donor, and in the watchful effort of the receiver, to 
see who hangs the basket, and many little artifices are used on both 
sides, making great sport for the young folks. And this, with some 
other May day usages, are observed to some extent in this county 
every year. 


There arc many of these pleasant social customs, very dear to 
the hearts of children and young people, which should be encouraged 
by parents and others, as they add greatly to the enjoyment and 
the pleasant memories of childhood's years — memories often the 
purest and best we can ever know in this mortal life. 


Immigration commenced early in May, and the roads running 
westward were lined with the white covered wagons of the hundreds 
seeking new homes on the fertile prairies of south western Minne- 
sota. But little of the immigration stopped here, though lands in 
this county were very cheap. 

Heavy rains set in about the seventeenth of May, and the waters 
became very high. A great deal of "mighty east wind" prevailed 
during May. 

But little corn was planted in 1873, and much of that planted 
was not gotten into the ground until after the twenty-sixth of May. 

Owing to some unaccountable cause, possibly the hard winter 
of 1872-3, or the peculiar character of the spring, a blight came over 
the fruit and some other much hardier trees, during the summer. 
Many fruit trees leaved out and bloomed in the spring as usual, but 
soon the blossoms fell off, the trees lost their thrift, then the leaves 
fell and finally the tree died. Some trees which had been set for 
years and had grown to good size, died. The blight seemed to 
extend to some indiginous trees as well. However, this blight fortu- 
nately prevailed only in certain localities, while in others it was not 

Although the spring of the year was unpleasant, the summer 
made amends for it. There were no hail storms of importance — no 
great storms of wind or rain, but little sultry, or very hot weather, 
and general good health prevailed throughout the county. In fact 
the summer was more evenly tempered than usual, and taken alto- 
gether, was one of the most agreeable within the recollection of the 

THE F. C. S. S. A. 

The third annual meeting of the Sunday School Association 
was held at Wells, on the twenty-ninth and thirtieth days of May. 
The attendance was good and the interest manifested commendable. 
A committee reported thirty-one Sabbath schools in the county. 
The following resolution was adopted: 

"■Resolved, That the salvation of the soul and the development of the Chris- 
tian character, are of the first importance, and as the popular habits of intem- 
perance and profanity, and the use of tobacco, are hiuderances thereto, we 
earnestly warn and carefully guard the youth against them." 


C. B. Miner, of Verona, was elected president; O. A. Albee, of 
Winnebago City and Chas. H. Dearborn, of Blue Earth City, vice 
presidents; Chas. H. Patten, of Winnebago City, secretai-y, and 
Thomas Blair, of Delavan, treasurer, for the ensuing year. 


If any curious person should ever take it into his head to look 
up the history of the struggle of the people of this county to secure 
the building of railroads, how long and persistently they labored, 
and what sacrifices they made, to secure the building of the great 
lines of road, the benefits of which now all enjoy, here is an item 
which he should want to see. In the early part of the year, the 
project was again revived of building a road from Mankato to Wells, 
heretofore spoken of, and in connection therewith, E. P. Drake, 
president of the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad Company, again 
proposed to construct a branch line from that point, at or near Good 
Thunder Ford, on the line of the above mentioned road, via Winne- 
bago City and Blue Earth City, to the Iowa State line. The condition, 
was the voting of aid in town bonds by the several townships along 
the line of road, to the aggregate amount of $150,000; $50,000 of 
which was to be provided by towns in Blue Earth county, and 
|!100,000 by the towns in Faribault county. The bonds were voted 
during the spring and summer. The company was to have until 
December 1st, 1874, to complete the roads, and this, for the time 
being, was the great topic of interest. Meetings were held in most 
of the towns along the Blue Earth line, at which Mr. Drake appeared 
personally, and stated his views and intentions. Circulars setting 
forth the project and the advantages of the road, were printed in 
the English and Norwegian languages, and widely distributed. 
About the first of the following September, both companies had 
made their arrangements to build, and work had actually commenced 
on the Mankato and Wells line, but all was soon abandoned, and the 
building of the roads fell through for this year, owing to financial 

"Hope is a curtail dog in some affairs." — Shakespeare. 


One of the greatest calamities which ever befell this region of 
country, was the grasshopper plague, which commenced in this year 
and extended through a period of four, and in some localities, five 
years. A few introductory remarks only, will be made relative to 
the subject in the history of this year, but it will be more fully 
treated hereafter. 

During the month of June, vast swarms of these insects appeared 
suddenly in northwestern Iowa, and in a few days after, in south- 


western Minnesota. Their ravages were very serious. The peo- 
ple were taken by surprise, they could not comprehend this terrible 
destruction of the ir crops, they knew not what to do and were 
utterly powerless. The pests eat up the gardens and stripped the 
grain fields in many localities.entircly destroying the crops. In some 
instances, within the area attacked, the injury done was but par- 
tial to the grain fields, but their capacity to do irreparable and wide- 
spread damage was plainly evident. It was on the last day of June 
that they made their appearance at Blue Earth City, and along the 
line of the Blue Earth river. Tliey had, however, been in the south- 
western towns of the county for some days previous. They came 
in innumerable hosts, as it is written of the locusts of Egypt. 

On looking toward the sun, they could be seen, though flying 
quite high, passing northward in countless myriads. Those that lit 
down along the Blue Earth river, appeared to be but small parties 
or detachments, dropped out of the main army. After remaining in 
some localities a few days, in others some weeks, eating up the vege 
tation and depositing their eggs, they would suddenly disappejir. 
Their ravages were much more serious this year, in the counties 
lying west of this, than here, resulting in much loss and destruction. 

If it is permissable in so grave a matter as this, should we be 
asked what became of much of our grain crops for a number of 
years, we may reply, as did the Kansas school boy, in the following 
brief catechism : 

Kansas teacher— "Where does all of our grain products go to?"' Buy— "It 
goes into the hopper." "Hopper? ^Yhat hopper?" "Grasshopperl" Triumphantly 
shouted the lad. 


The birthday of the nation was celebrated at a number of places 
in the county. At Blue Earth City, Rev. J. W. Powell delivered the 
oration and .1. A. Kiester read the Declaration. At Winnebago City 
Gen. Kellogg, of La Crosse, addressed the people, and Andrew C. 
Dunn was the reader of the Declaration. 

On these days of rejoicing in our civil and religious liberties, it 
is well to remember the innumerable and intolerable evils, which, 
through many centuries, resulted from the union of church and slate 
and the exercise of ecclesiastical power over the civil authority. 
The record is among the blackest and bloodiest of the human race. 
In our favored land, these two great powers are separate. One can- 
not exercise authority over, or interfere with the other. And here 
is what a great religious body, great in numbers and influence, both 
in Europe and America, wisely embraces among its fundamental 
teachings on this subject: 

"Some have iiiipropiTly mingled together, civil and ecclesiastical power. 
From this heterogeQeouscominixturo,e.\leDsive wars, rebellions and insurrections 


have been produced." * * * "Inasmuch * as the power of the 
church * * * confers eternal gifts * * * it cannot by 
any means Interfere with civil polity and government. For the latter relates 
to matters entirely different from the gospel, and protects with its power, not 
the souls of men, but their bodies and possessions against external violence by 
the sword and bodily penalties. Therefore, the two governments, the civil 
and ecclesiastical ought not to be mingled and confounded. For the eccle- 
siastical power has its command to preach the gospel and to administer the 
sacraments, and it ought not to interfere with a foreign office, it ought not to 
dethrone or make Kings, It ought not to abolish or disturb civil laws and 
obedience to government. It ought not to make and appoint laws for the civil 
power concerning political matters." 


The harvest of the earlier varieties of wheat, commenced in the 
last week in July. The harvest weather of the year, was all it could 
be desired. No heavy rains, or winds, interfered with the work. 
Owing to the fact that most of our farmers had several varieties of 
wheat, some of which were earlier than others, the work was more 
distributed than usual, and much less hired help was required. In 
fact the grain of this year was gotten up much more cheaply than 
in former years. The wheat crop of the year was not a good 
one. In the east half of the county, the crop was fair, but in the 
west half not more than half a crop, many farmers not getting 
over five or six bushels per acre. The grasshoppers did much 
injury in certain localities, and even on fields where it was thought 
they had done but little, if any harm, the damage proved to be a 
considerable percentage, when the grain came from the spout of 
the threshing machine. The Red Osaka, in some localities, was 
struck with rust. Oats averaged from thirty to forty bushels per 
acre, there being more fields of the former than of the latter amount. 
The corn crop was only nominal, but little having been planted, 
yet there were some good fields which yielded well, one especially 
of ninety acres in the northwestern part of the county. It brought 
from fifty to seventy five cents per bushel in the fall. Barley in the 
southwestern portion of the county was eaten up by the grasshop- 
pers and in other parts of the county was not a great crop. During 
the succeeding winter barley brought over one dollar per bushel. 
Potatoes did not yield well, generally, and there was a consequent 
scarcity and high prices, ranging from sixty to seventy- five cents 
per bushel in November, and running as high as from eighty cents 
to one dollar in the winter. 

This was not a prosperous year for our farmers, and while the 
aggregate productions of the year show well, as reported by the 
commissioner of statistics, the results may be accredited, partially, 
to increased acreage of lands tilled, and partially to imperfect and 
overestimated returns, and partially to the fact that these statistics 
are not very reliable in any event. 



The most important public movement of this year, was the 
or£?anization in this county, of many subordinate granges of the 
Order of Patrons of Husbandry — a secret order, instituted to further 
and protect the interests of farmers, as a class. The institution 
spread over all the states and territories of the Union, and in less 
than three years could boast of some twenty-throe thousand gran- 
ges and a million and a half of members. No great popular move- 
ment of the people, at any time in history, equalled this. 

After some four or five years, the order, owing to various causes, 
which it is not necessary to specify here, began to decline, and at 
the end of eight or ten years ceased to exist in many sections of 
the country; but in various localities in many of the states it is still 
flourishing, and as it was not the fact that the order fell into decay 
because some such organization was not greatly needed — for it was 
required and will ahvaj's be needed, and it was one of the noblest, 
most beneficent of institutions, the prediction may be ventured, that 
the day will come when it will be revived and re-organized over the 
whole land, but perhaps, in some slightly different form. 


Here are some important events which occurred during this 
year, on the world's great stage of action, outside of our county, and 
which formed topics of interest and discussion everywhere. 

January 9th. The Emperor Napoleon IH, died. 

March 3d. The "Salary Grab" act passed by Congress. 

March 19th. San Salvador, Central America, destroyed by an 
earthquake — property lost, 820,000.000. Lives lost, 500. 

April 1st. Steamer Atlantic wrecked, 535 lives lost. 

July 4th. Great storm, destructive to crops, in Ohio, Indiana, 
Wisconsin and Missouri. 

August 24th. Terrible storm on the coast of British America 
and coast of Mexico. 100 vessels destroyed in and near the Gulf of 
St. Lawrence, and 176 sailing vessels and 12 steamers lost in the 
Gulf of Mexico. 

December 14th. Louis Agassiz died. 


About the middle of September the town-site of "Easton" was 
surveyed and building commenced. This new village — the sixth 
in the county according to age, was located upon section thirty-six 
(36), in the town of Lura, on the line of the Southern Minnesota 
railroad. The early history of this village, will be given further 
along in this work. 



The first severe frost of the autumn happened on the nights of 

the 17th and 18th of September, and the nights thereafter became 

quite cold. ' A comforter or two had to be added to the bed clothing. 

These frosts killed the grass and other vegetation; silenced, 

finally, for this year the song of the mosquito, and hinted to us. that 

the harvest was passed, the summer ended and winter approaching. 

"Summer is over and the leaves are falling, 

Gold, flre-enameled in the glowing sun; 

The fresh, green sod, in dead, dry leaves is hidden; 

They rustle very sadly in the breeze; 
Some breathing from the past comes, all unbidden. 

And in my heart stir withered memories." — Anon. 


This paper, which had suspended in January of this year, was 
again re-issued, appearing September 17th. It was a six column 
sheet and neatly printed, and in the curious phi-aseology of the times, 
was described as made up of "liomespun outsides" and "patent in- 
ternals." R. Calvert appeared as editor and manager. 



The fifteenth annual fair of the Agricultural Society was held 
at Winnebago City, on the second and third days of October. The 
first day the weather was so bad that nothing was done. The second 
day was not much better. The exhibition was rather poor and the 
attendance not great. The ofiBcers of the society had made a very 
commendable effort to have a good fair, but the unfavorable weather 
was something no effort or prudence of theirs could overcome. 


About the sixth day of the month, great jirairie fires started up 
in the southern towns of the county and raged fearfully for some 
days. Great quantities of grain and hay in the stack were burned 
up. Several farmers lost all their grain and hay. A large number 
of stables, and several dwellings were burned. Many fruit trees 
were injured, or totally killed, and a number of fine groves of forest 
trees were destroyed. The fires broke out in a number of localities 
and ran over wide area.s. The principal damage was done in the 
towns of Pilot Grove, Elmore, Rome, Seely, Poster, Delavan and 
Verona, and many of the residents of those towns will sadly re- 
member the event. 

It can hardly be doubted that many of our prairies would long 
since have been covered with a growth of timber, had it not been 

370 HJSTOltV OF 

for the annual prairie fires, which have heretofore swept over them 
from time immemorial. Timber seeds seem to be in the ground 
everj'whero, and many spots of ground, free from fires for a few 
years, are soon covered by groves of young popples, oaks, and other 
wood growths. Doubtless the protection against fire, furnished by 
our streams, has given us our timber, and the very tortuous and 
winding course of our creeks and rivers, adding length to the 
streams, and furnishing innumerable protected promontories, nooks 
and corners, has greatly added to the quantity of the timber. 

These prairie fires are usually the result of accident, or care- 
lessness, but sometimes of design. Much of the damage which has 
resulted from them is, also, the result of negligence and careless- 
ness in not taking timely precautions against them. The laws for 
many years have provided severe penalties against the negligent, 
or malicious setting fire to the prairies, by which damage is done, 
and these laws have been frequently enforced in this county. The 
firing of the prairies in former times was often the work of the 
Indians, who had some, to us, unknown purpose in it. 

There are few grander sights than that of a prairie fire at night, 
on the boundless prairies of the west, and, as seen above, thej' are 
often fearfully destructive, as well as grand, but it is a sight which, 
owing to the rapid settlement of the county, will soon be a thing 
of the past, and one with which we can well dispense. 


Let us now turn to a brief account of the political contest of 
this year. On several of the ofiices the fight was an exciting one. 
A governor of the State and several other state officers were to be 
elected, and several proposed amendments to the constitution of the 
State were submitted to the people, for approval or rejection, all of 
which added to the interest of the election. 

On the fourth day of October, a county council of the Patrons 
of Husbandry was held at Blue Earth City, at which the following 
nominations were made for legislative and county offices: 

For Representatives — Allen Shultis and T. G. Pond. 

For Countj'^ Treasurer — James Grays. 

For County Attorney — S. J. Abbott. 

For Sheriff — Charles Stockman. 

For Probate Judge — John Wilmert. 

No nomination for the office of state senator was made, but a 
committee consisting of one from each Grange in the county was 
cho.sen, who were to assemble at Blue Earth City on the eleventh of 
Octobei", the time of meeting of the Republican County Convention, 
and ratify the nomination for senator, if satisfactory, if not, to make 
a nomination. 


The Republican Couuty Convention was held at Blue Earth City 
October 11th. Every town in the county was fully represented and 
great interest was felt in the result. For months preceding the 
convention, two candidates for the office of state senator and their 
respective friends, had labored with might and main to secure the 
convention, and consequently the nomination. There were several 
candidates already in the field for the several offices of treasurer, 
county attorney and sheriff. But the greatest interest centered in 
the offices of senator and treasurer. 

The convention organized by choosing Allen Shultis, of 
Elmore, chairman, and A. A. Williams, of Verona, secretary. The 
usual committees were then appointed. The committee on creden- 
tials reported two delegations from the town of Emerald, one in favor 
of G. W. Whallon for senator, and the other for S. P. Child, when 
on the question being submitted to the convention on receiving 
one-half of each delegation, it was, after much heated discussion, so 
determined. Mr. Child, who was a member of the convention, 
and all his friends in the convention at once withdrew. The re- 
mainder of the convention, composed of several more than one-half 
of those elected, then proceeded, hurriedly and amid much confu- 
sion, to make the nominations, which were as follows: 

G. W. Whallon, for Senator. 

L. C. Harrington and J. P. West, for Representatives, 

J. A. Kiester, for Judge of Probate. 

E. A. Hotchkiss, for Treasurer. 

J. P. Burk, for Sheriff. 

S. J. Abbott, for County Attorney. 

A. J. Rose, for Coroner. 

After the convention adjourned, the committee of the county 
council, above mentioned, assembled, and after admitting several 
more members to the committee, proceeded to vote on the nomi- 
nation for senator; J. A. Latimer and G. W. Whallon being the can- 
didates. The vote was a tie and no nomination was made. Allen 
Shultis withdrew as a candidate for representative, and C. S. Dun- 
bar, of Poster, was substituted. 

Next came the Democratic and Liberal Republican convention, 
which was held at Blue Earth City on the seventeenth day of Oc- 

D. P. Wasgatt, of Winnebago City, was elected chairman, and 
Geo. Scheid, of Barber, secretary. The following were the nomi- 
nations made: 

For Senator — H. P. Constans. 

For Representatives— T. G. Pond, (indorsed) and Thomas Blair. 

For Judge of Probate — J. A. Kiester, (indorsed). 

For Treasurer — James Grays, (indorsed). 

372 HlSTOItY OF 

For Sheriff— A. B. Davis. 
For Couuty Attorney — F. E. Watson. 
For Coroner — A. J. Rose, (indorsed). 

Much dissatisfaction was expressed with the political situation 
on all sides, and with the action of the conventions. 

In a few days after the conventions, R. B. Johnson was an- 
nounced as an independent candidate for treasurer; J. H. Sprout, 
for county attorney, and S. P. Child, for sepator. Electioneering 
"ran high" and a number of the candidates put forth their best 
efforts. Mr. Wilmert withdrew as a candidate for judge of probate, 
not wanting the office. 

The election was held on the fourth day of November, and the 
day was clear and mild. For a week or more before election, the 
canvassing and electioneering was done on runners, and the roads 
were, by some of the candidates, pretty well worn. After all was 
said and done, the polls closed, the vote counted, and the following 
was the result. The people had spoken. 
For Governor: 

Davis 1,291 

Barton 587 

For Senator: 

Chilfl 815 

Whallfin 751 

Cnnstans .■i2.3 

For Representatives: 

West 895 

Harrington 599 

Pond 917 

Blair 822 

Dunbar 510 

For Treasurer: 

Johnson 1,226 

Grays •■155 

Ilotchkiss 299 

For Sheriff: 

Stockman 701 

Davis 803 

Burk 389 

For Probate Judge: 

Kiester 1,860 

P^or County Attorney: 

Sprout 1 ,01 2 

Abbott 779 

For Coroner: 

Rose 1,8,56 

Robert Andrews, Count.v Commissioner. 



The first snow of the season fell on the night of the twenty- 
fourth and the forenoon of the twenty-fifth of October. There was 
probably a depth of four inches. This snow storm had a very dis- 
couraging effect upon the people. The spring had been late, the 
grasshoppers had done much damage in certain localities, the crops 
were light, and the prices low, people were much in debt, and but 
little plowing had yet been done, and now, the question was asked 
by many anxious people, "can it be true that winter has already 
come upon us?" However, it did not prove so bad as was appre- 
hended, and considerable plowing and other fall work was done 
after this snow. 

The record of this unhappy year may be closed with a few gen- 
eral remarks, illustrative of the condition of the times. 

There have been but few years in the history of the county, or 
of the nation, that were "harder," as the expression is, or more dis- 
couraging generally, during the summer and autumn. 

Locally, we suffered from short crops and low prices of wheat, 
the staple and money crop of the county. All through September, 
October and November, the price of wheat was very low. Money 
was extremely scax'ce 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, and the county newspapers were 
filled with notices of mortgage foreclosures and sales of land under 
execution. During this and several subsequent years, many homes 
and farms passed away forever from the owners, for a very small 
proportion of their real value. And in this sad summary of local 
afflictions we must not forget what has been said as to the damages 
done by grasshoppers and prairie fires in certain portions of the 

In the fall there came upon the nation a great money panic— a 
financial crash. The great failure of the banking house of Jay Cook 
& Company, of Philadelphia, Pa., led off in this dance of financial 
dishonor and death. Many banks suspended; thousands of indi- 
viduals of supposed great wealth, great moneyed corporations of all 
kinds, went down in bankruptcy. Manufactories and mines ceased 
to be operated. Great public enterprises were brought to a sudden 
close. The building of railroads ceased. The number of defaulters 
in public office, was legion. The army of the unemployed swelled 
from hundreds to thousands, and hundreds of thousands, and great 
distress prevailed throughout the country, while suspicion and dis- 
trust existed everywhere. 

This year saw the beginning of one of the greatest financial re- 
vulsions in the history of the nation, and one which continued its 

374 nrSTOIlY OF 

work of ruin and distress for a number of years, as will be seen 
hereafter. This was the era when the usurer, the land shark, the 
scalping attorney and tlie collecting officers nourished in all the land. 

And what were the general causes which led to all these tre- 
mendous evil results? History says that the success of the first 
Pacific railroad led to tho building of a second — the Northern Paci- 
fic — and also to the building of thousands of miles of other railroads, 
in the west, which were really not needed, and that multitudes of 
people, the rich and the poor, put their capital and savings into these 
projects for speculative purposes. They jiroved delusive. Other 
financial schemes had also started up which absorbed millions of 
dollars, which failed to make any return. Other causes were ex- 
travagant living and building, everywhere, the accumulation of 
great individual and corporate indebtedness, and wild speculation in 
all kinds of properly that proved worthless. It is claimed, also, by 
a class of writers on finance and the currency that there was still an- 
other and leading cause of the public calamities of this and many 
subsequent years. 

In February, of this year, through, it was said, the corrupting 
influences exercised by English capitalists, an act was passed by 
congress, in relation to the mint and coinage, which prohibited the 
coinage of the former kind of silver dollars, and which, in effect, it 
was alleged, degraded and demonetized silver. By this act silver 
ceased to be a legal tender except in sums not exceeding five dollars 
in any single transaction. 

A great outcry ai'ose at the time, which was repeated at times, 
for many years afterwards, that by this act the debtor class had 

been greatly wronged, and the creditor greatly benefited. 

"Money, the life blood of the nation, 

Corrupts and stagnates in the veins. 

Unless a proper circulation 

Its motion and its heat maintains."— Sl(•^/^ 

Prom all this it may be correctly inferred, that there is but 
little in improvement and general progress in this county, in 1873, 
of which to boast. 

It was everywhere throughout the whole country very appar- 
ent that reform and retrenchment, better systems of farming, 
stricter business principles, economy, and a general settling up and 
starting anew, were imperatively demanded. 



A. D. 1874. 

Never perhaps in the history of the northwest; was the new 
year ushered in by a more beautiful day, than the first day of Jan- 
uary. 1874. It much exceeded, in this respect, the first day of 
January, 1873. The skies were cloudless, the sun shown all day 
long with peculiar radiance, the winds were hushed, and the atmos- 
phere was soft, balmy and spring like. Fires died out, doors were 
thrown wide open, and the old and the young came forth to enjoy 
the open air and genial skies. 

Let us now see what occurred in this county, worthy of note, 
during this year. 

The winter of 1873-4 was quite a mild one, there being no 
severe storms and no great depth of snow. On the nights of the 
twenty-first and twenty-second of February, however, a quantity of 
snow fell, which on Monday, was blown into drifts, causing a sus- 
pension of business for the day, and also on the sixth and seventh of 
March, the snow fall was considerable. 


The commissioners assembled January 6th. W. W. Potter, of 
Verona, was elected chairman for the year. Another session of 
the board was held, commencing March 4th. At this latter session 
a contract was entered into with E. Raymond & Son, residing near 
Blue Earth City, to keep the county poor. 

The county not having yet erected the necessary buildings on 
the poor farm, the poor who were supported by the county were 
lodged at various places. This system was expensive and led to the 
l^ractice of more or less fraud on the public. According to the 
agreement entered into at this time, Messrs. Raymond & Son con 
tracted to board and lodge and take the general care of the poor for 
two dollars each, per week, the county to furnish clothing and med- 
ical attendance. At this time some sixteen persons were being 
supported by the county. 

When the arrangements had all been made, notice was given to 
these persons to repair to Mr. Raymond's, where comfortable quar- 
ters had been prepared for them. But lo! only three obeyed the 
order! The others refused, on the ground that they were not going 

37G IJfSTO/.'Y or 

to the poor house! not they, they could do better than that— they 
had not become so poor as that yet! Not quitel So long as many 
of them could live comfortably among friends and relatives, and the 
county pay their expenses, it was all right, but this thing of going 
to the poor house, they could not stand. And we are compelled to 
honor the spirit they manifested in keeping out of the poor house, 
so long as possible, still they seemed to make a great distinction 
where there was not much difference. The county, at all events, 
was by this action relieved of their support. 

The board held three other sessions during the year, namely, 
on .Tune 23rd, September 15th and October 8th, but no business was 
transacted at either session worthy of special mention. 


The district court held its regular general term, commencing on 
the sixth day of January'. Hon. P. H. Waite, presiding. There 
were twelve criminal and fiftj'one civil cases stated on the calendar, 
one of the largest ever had in the county. 

The following instance is not the only one in which jurors have 
been greatly puzzled . 

"Gen. R. W. .Judson tells a good story. It was of a case in the United 
States district court at Albany many years ajfo. A patent right suit was on 
before Judge Nelson. William H. Seward was counsel on one side. In sum- 
ming up he occupied a whole day. Peter Cagger came in while he was talking, 
and after listening an hour turned to a learned lawyer and inquired: 'What 
the deuce is Seward talking about?' The counsel on the other side made a long 
speech, and the judge chargi'd. After the jury had been out about two hours 
they camo into the court, and the foreman said: "Your honor, the jury w<iuld 
like to ask a (|uestion?' Judge: 'You can proceed.' Foreman; 'Well, your 
honor, we would like to know what this suit is about?' " 


The annual meeting of the Agricultural Society, for the election 
of officers, was held at Blue Earth City on the sixth day of January. 
F. A. Squires, was chosen president; P. W. Temple, secretary; Chas. 
Stockman, treasurer. 

This was one of the most spirited contests for the offices yet 
known in the history of the society. It was made a question of 
localities, between Winnebago City and Blue Earth City. 

Another meeting was held May 16th at Blue Earth City, at 
which the question of locating the fair grounds and headquarters of 
the society again came up, but the meeting was adjourned, without 
definite action on the question, to the second day of June. At the 
latter meeting, the following proposition on behalf of the citizens of 
Blue Earth City was submitted: 

"That in consideration of, and on condition that the Faribault County Ag- 
ricultural Society shall hold the annual fair of said society at Blue Earth City, 


the citizens of Blue Earth City hereby agree to furnish suitable fair grounds, 
buildings, track, stalls and pens, free of charge, to the society for the purpose 
of holding such fairs for the period of ten years from date hereof. 

•'Provided, that for the period of ten years from this date, all moneys or 
property now, or hereafter, belonging to said society, after paying the necessary 
expenses thereof, shall be applied to making improvements and repairs on said 
fair grounds and buildings." 

This was the only proposition presented, and was accepted by 
the society, by the unanimous vote of those present. 

A tract of twenty-five acres of ground, situated a half mile north 
of Blue Earth City, was hired for ten years, an excellent race track 
was prepared, a capacious building erected on the grounds, and 
other conveniences provided, mainly through the contributions of 
the people of Blue Earth City, and subsequently the grounds were 
mainly enclosed with a high fence. 

The annual fair was held on the first, second and third days of 
Octobei-. The weather was fine, the attendance large, there being 
fully twelve hundred people present on the second day, and the dis- 
play of stock, farm products and articles of domestic manufacture, 
the best that had been seen for a number of years. But the location 
of the fair gi'ounds did not give satisfaction in several localities, and 
considerable fault was found for some years, with this action of the 


The legislation of this year, relating in any special manner to 
this county, was: 

1st. A memorial to Congress to establish a post route from 
Banks, in Faribault county, Minn., by way of Coon Grove and Ben- 
son's Grove, to Forest City, in the State of Iowa. 

2d. To incorporate the village of Winnebago City. 

3d. To authorize the village council of Wells, to issue bonds 
for certain purposes. 

4th. To authorize the supervisors of the town of Clark, to issue 

5th. To appropriate money to build a bridge across Brush 

6th. To incorporate the village of Easton. 

7th. To authorize the Judge of Probate, of Faribault county, to 
commit William Rose (non compis mentis), to the hospital for 

Our representatives in the legislature for the year, were S. P. 
Child, in the Senate, and T. G. Pond and J. P. West, in the House. 

Bailey Madison, of this county, was again sergeant-atarms in 
the House, Charles A. Rose, fireman for the Senate, and Master E. 
J. Vial, senate messenger. 



On the sixteenth clay of February, the Winnebago City Pre's 
changed proprietors. Mr. J. L Christie became the proprietor and 
editor. The retiring owner, Mr. Huntington, says: "We have sold 
the Press office to Mr. J. L. Christie, for the reason that we are 
not a printer and thei'e is no particular profit in the investment. 
We will confess that we rather like the business." 

Mr. Christie introduces himself in the following words: "After 
an absence of seven years, we again find ourselves seated in the edi- 
torial chair and making our best bow to our many old friends and 
patrons of Faribault county, through the columns of the Press." 


The spring opened about the thirteenth of March. The wind 
changed on that day into the south, and on the next day we had the 
first rain of the season. It was remarked that the crows arrived 
about this date in great, in fact, in unusual numbers, and the wild 
geese and ducks, doubtless, were anxiously expected. 

As seeding time approached, serious apprehensions were enter- 
tained by many in the west half of the county, that the grasshopper 
eggs, innumerable quantities of which had been deposited in the 
ground the preceding year, would hatch, and produce that pest in 
such vast numbers as to again eat up the crops. The eggs were 
mainly deposited in the west tier of towns, and the west half of 
the next tier east, in this county. The subject was one of serious 
consideration, indeed very perplexing, and many a head turned 
restlessly upon its pillow at night, with evil forebodings. No one 
could give any reliable information, or advice, as to what was 
best to-be done. Opinions were various and the reasons for them 
curious. No one had had any experience, and printed information 
was not at hand. The majority of the people, therefore, concluded 
to risk their seed, and did so. 

There was but little wheat sown prior to the first day of April. 
The weather during Mai-ch was pleasant. Nearly all the snow went 
off and the roads became quite dry, but the frost came out of the 
ground so slowly as to delay the seeding. Indeed the spring was 
remarkable in the fact that in the earlier part of it, there was no 
rain, and the days were clear and bright, but the nights were quite 
cold. The wells, generally, "dried up." and many of thom had to 
be sunk deeper. The crops were never, probably, put in more suc- 
cessfully than in this year, though sometimes earlier. 



In March the first religious newspaper published in this county 
appeared. It was named the Church Messenger, and its motto was 
"Evangelic truth and apostolic order." The prospectus says "this 
paper will be published monthly, at Wells, Minnesota, under the 
auspices of the church of the Nativity (Episcopal). The terms of 
subscription are twenty-five cents per annum, payable in advance." 
This paper was a two column eight page quarto, neatly printed and 
full of original and well selected matter relating to religious sub- 
jects. It was a sort of little gem, in the newspaper line. Rev. S. S. 
Burleson was the editor and proprietor. The paper did not long 
survive, however. 

On the twentieth day of March, the Blue Earth Valley "Blooded 
Stock" Association was organized at Winnebago City, of which H. 
W. Holley was elected president, H. M. Huntington, secretary, P. 
W. Temple, treasurer, and F. F. Harlow, corresponding secretary. 
The object of this association was to introduce into Southwestern 
Minnesota the best blooded cattle which could anywhere be ob- 
tained. A number of the members residing in this county, secured 
quite a number of very fine animals of the best breeds. 

The object of the association was certainlj' very commendable, 
and one of the first importance to the people of the county. 

The incident is mentioned here, as indicating the progress of 
certain material interests of the county. 

On the twenty- fourth day of March, a great Teachers" Training 
School commenced at Wells, and continued in session until April 
17th. This was the most important school of the kind yet held in 
this section of country. There were ninety-one ^lersons in attend- 
ance from this county, four from Blue Earth county, and forty- six 
from Freeborn county. 

The instructors were. State Superintendent Wilson, Prof. H. J. 
Buckham, principal of the Normal school at Buffalo, N. Y.,J. P. 
Bird, James N. Lee, Sam'l Rutledge, and County Superintendent 
Richards, of this county. The school was claimed to be a great 
success, and it was certainly an important event in the history of 
the educational interests of the county. 


On the second day of May, with the issue of that date, Mr. W. 
W. Williams retired from the editorial chair of the Bine Earth City 
Post, with these brief words: "With this issue of the Post its control 
passes into the hands of C. H. Slocum, Esq., late of the St. Charles 
Herald, who becomes its proprietor by purchase. The undersigned 
would be ungrateful indeed, were he to allow this opportunity 
to pass without returning to the people of Blue Earth City his 

380 JIISToiiV OF 

warmest thanks, for their uuvaryiug kindness to him, and their 
generous support of the Post, from the date of its first issue (May, 
JbtJ'J) down to the present time, and that they may prosper in all 
good things, will always be one of his fondest hopes.— W. W. Wil- 

On assuming the management of the Post, Mr. Slocum says in 
the issue of May 9th: "'The present manager of the Post is suffi- 
ciently well known in this county, and throughout the State, to 
render unnecessary a formal introduction. * * * It (the Post) will 
continue to be republican in principle, reserving the right to criti- 
cise fully all acts that ai'e essentially wrong, and will not tie itself 
to the fortunes of any local faction, or clique. Further than this, 
let each issue speak for itself." 


One of the great holidays of Norway, observed by the Nor- 
wegian people, not only in their native land, but also in this, the 
adopted country of many thousands of them, is the seventeenth day 
of May. This is Norway's independence day as the Fourth of July is 
ours. This great holiday is, therefore. one of interest to a large por- 
tion of our people, and it has been celebrated in this county a 
number of times. What does it mean, and how is the anniversary 

By the peace of Kiel. January 14th, 1814, made by certain of the 
great powers of Europe. Norway, in the general parcelling out, was 
given to Sweden, whose reigning monarch was then Charles XIIl, 
a very able ruler. But this arrangement was wholly arbitrary. 
The Norwegian people had not been consulted about it, nor given 
their consent to it. 

The act was highly otfensive to Ihem, as it would be to any 
people, that possessed any national spirit, or self-respect. It 
touched their national and patriotic feelings, which are exceedingly 
strong, very deeply, and they indignantly repudiated it. . Action 
was at once taken by the great leaders of the people. 

Christian, Crown Prince of Denmark, who had been governor 
of Norway, called together a national council, which met in May at 
Eidsvold. and he accepted the crown of Norway, with a written con- 
siiiution, made on the spot, and which was adopted May 17lh, 1814. 
This constitution declared Norway independent. and established a lim- 
ited monarchy, in which the powers of government and the ancient 
rights of the people w'oro well guarded. Christian, however, could 
not Laaintain himself, as the Swedish king was sustained by all the 
powers of Europe. 

Finally, terms were made for a better regulated union of the 
two countries, and the constitution above referred to. with slight 


changes, Avas accepted by the Swedish king, November 4th, 1814. 
This constitution declares, and it was required to be acknowledged 
that Norway is "free, independent, indivisable and inalienable." 
Norway preserves her own flag, her currency, her accounts, her 
bank and her official language. 

And while the king of Sweden is king of Norway, yet Norway 
has its own governing body called the Storthing, which is the legis- 
lature, or parliament of the nation, and the king of Sweden cannot be 
king of Noi'way, until he has been crowned at the ancient city of 
Trondhjam, in Norway, as King of Norway. 

No one, at least, no American, can but admire the indomitable 
resolution and courage with which the Norwegian people main- 
tained tlieir nationality and the rights of the people, in the face of 
the untoward conditions and vast combinations against them. 

There is mucli in this histoiy and tlieir declaration of na- 
tional rights and their maintenance, which reminds us of the era of 
our own independence and our establishment as a nation, and which 
awakens the old "Spirit of 76," in our own hearts and prompts us 
to take part in these celebrations, with our drums and flags and 
thundering cannon and general rejoicing, and wlien they raise their 
voices in singing enthusiastically the inspiring national song of old 
Norway "Ja vi elsker dette Landet," the echoes answer back "Hail 
Columbia! happy land." 

And there is move propriety in this, tlian may at first sight ap- 
pear. It is altogether probable, if not certain, tliat we originally 
derived our notions of personal liberty of action, of opinion and of 
speech, and our principles of civil and religious liberty, from the 
old nations of Norseland, rather than from what may be termed the 
deductions of political philosophy, or the examples and constitu- 
tions of the ancient civilized nations of the south of Europe. Be- 
sides the day is not far distant when Norway itself will be an inde- 
pendent republic like our own. At all events, the American is con- 
stitutionally inclined, and exercises the right to hurrah for any people 
who have made a stand for liberty and nationality. 

Such, briefly stated, is the great event in the history of Nor- 
way, usually celebrated by our Norwegian citizens, and certainly 
v/ith great propriety. 

As to the manner of the observance of the day, it is sufficient to 
say, that it is very much in the same style in whicli we celebrate 
the Fourth of July. The programme of exercises usually embraces, 
in their order, music, a speech of welcome by the president of the 
day, national songs and a formal oration, the subject matter of 
which relates to the event celebrated. In these proceedings, this, 
the country of adoption, is never forgotten. The flags of both 
countries are displayed. Our Declaration of Independence, as Avell 

382 IIlSToay OF 

as thai of Norway, is usually read, and an address relating to the 
United States is generally included in the programme. 

So far as the writer has been able to learn, on diligent investi- 
gation, the first observance of the day in this county, occurred 
in 1873. 

While it may be said that, no well founded objection can be 
made to the custom of our Norwegian citizens in celebrating Nor- 
wegian Independence Day, for it is, after all, but a recognition an4 
honoring of what are, essentially, American political principles, 
yet there has been considerable said and written, of late years, 
questioning the wisdom, from an American standpoint, of our for- 
eign born citizens, of any nationality, keeping up their political 
views, customs and usages of their native countries, thus perpet- 
uating, here, where all should be one and American, the spirit, the 
national characteristics and methods of separate and distinct nation- 
alities, and thus weakening their loyalty to American ways and 
institutions, and causing divisions and contentions and rivalries in 
social life, educational methods and political ideas and ambitions. 

And it must be admitted that in many localities, the matter of 
nationality and religion have been carried to extremes, in relation 
to education and politics, especially. 

But that they will have any very long continued ill effects, 
considering the fact that the children of our naturalized citizens, 
born under American skies, and whatever else may be done, largely 
educated in their advance to maturity, under American institutions, 
and amidst American associations and influences, may well be doubted. 
It is no discredit to any man that he was born under foreign 
skies, for he could not control the matter, and all Americans, or 
their ancestors, (except Indians), but a few generations back, were 
born in foreign climes. 

But it is believed to be a correct proposition, that our people 
born in alien lands, whatever kindly memories they may choose to 
cherish of the old home, life and friendly associations of their 
native land, should, when they become American citizens, make all 
reasonable efforts and haste to become fully assimilated with our 
people and Americanized. Our political institutions, language, 
sciences, literature, our religious toleration, customs, ambitions, 
aspirations, genius and spirit, must be theirs also now. 

The old governments and conditions which they left, and which 
•were failures, in all that governments should be instituted to secure 
— the welfare of their people — or at least failures in so far. at 
least, as they were concerned who left them— are no more the home 
and country of the naturalized citizen here. 

On becoming citizens here, they, on oath, renounce all allegi- 
ance to the old government, and swore allegiance to this govern- 


ment, under which they and their children are to live henceforth. 
So far as nationality is concerned, the old citizenship and nation- 
ality have, in fact, ceased, and all of whatever nativity, are here to 
be one — all Americans now, in fact, in spirit, in life and labor, hav- 
ing one country, one hope, one destiny, not only for themselves, but, 
perhaps for their children forever. 

Oh! you men who have left the old rotting, dying, hopeless des- 
potisms of the old world, where you were, at best, but political 
serfs, and have come to free, progressive, enlightened America, 
with its grand privileges and possibilities for you and your descend- 
ants, you know that this is a land in which you are free men. where 
you have been freely granted political rights and privileges, un- 
known in the old world, and where you can have hope in the future, 
a future which you can help to make — a land which you can love, 
support, and defend, as the patriot defends, supports, and loves his 
country. And this your adopted country is entitled to, demands 
and expects of you and your children, and of all citizens, whether 
foreign, or native born. And the splendid pages of our national 
history, which record the loyalty, the heroic devotion to the Union, 
the patriotic services and self-sacrifice of tens of thousands of our 
foreign-born citizens, during the late war, makes the assurances for 
, the future doubly sure. 

But there are a few words that should be added here. There 
is a class of foreign immigrants which America has no room for. 
We want none of the criminals and paupers of any of the nations of 
the old world. Nor are the ignorant, turbulent, lower class of Bo- 
hemians, Huns, Russians, Poles, Italians, Roumanians, Greeks, 
Turks, desirable. They are too difficult of assimilation with Amer- 
ican ideas, and political principles. But the better classes of these 
people — the law abiding, the industrious, will always find a welcome 
in America. 


The fourth annual meeting of the County Sunday School Asso- 
ciation was held at Winnebago City on the 28th and 29th of May. 
The meeting was well attended, and of more than ordinary interest. 
It was resolved at this meeting that the association recommend the 
use of the international series of lesson leaves, in the schools. 
Among the resolutions adopted, it was resolved that the church ought 
to be held to a strict accountability for the growth and maintenance 
of the Sunday school, and it should exercise a fostering care and 
general supervision of the school both in its temporalities and 

Owing to negligence on the part of Sunday school officers, but 
eighteen schools in the county were reported. 

384 mSTonv OF 

Tilt; officers elected for the ensuing year were: C. H. Dearborn, 
president; E. S. Levitt, vice-president; C. H. Patten, secretary; 
Thos. Blair, treasurer. 


The June general term of the district court commenced its ses- 
sion on the first Tuesday in .Tune. 

Hon. F. H. Waito, judge; H. J. Neal, clerk; J.H. Sprout, county 
attorney; A. B. Davis, sheriff.