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Full text of "History of Rice and Steele counties, Minnesota"

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HISTORY OF 



RICE AND 
STEELE COUNTIES 

MINNESOTA 



COMPILED BY 

FRANKLYN CURTISS -WEDGE 

ASSISTED BY 

Stephen Jewett, Esq.; George C. Tanner, 1). D.; James Dobbin, D. D.; A. 

C. Rogers, M. D.; A. E. Haven, Esq.; M. M. Shields, Esq.; A. W. 
McKinstry, Esq.; Hon. James Hunter; Prof. Harry E. Whitney; Hon. 

D. F. Kelley; Hon. J. C. Couper; Prof. Horace Goodhue; Hon. W. A. 
Sperry; B. E. Darby, Esq.; E. E. Bigelow, M. D.; Hon. F. A. Dunham; 
W. G. Clarkson, Esq.; Hon. John C. Brainerd; C. C. Campbell, Esq.; 
Virgil J. Temple, Esq.; Frank M. Kaisersott, Esq.; J. J. Rachac, Esq.; 
Dr. E. K. Clements; Frederick A. Davis, M. D.; Prof. J. H. Lewis; Prof. 
Philip J. Kuntz; H. F. Luers, Esq.; L. L. Bennett, M. D.; Hon. J. M. 
Diment; William Kaiser, Esq.; J. H Adair, M D; Hon. J. E. Morley, and 

many others. 



// 



Illustrated 



VOL. II 



CHICAGO 
H. C. COOPER, J R., & CO. 
19 10 



675«.m 



CHAPTER XI 

IMPORTANT EVENTS 

Deaths, Accidents, Crimes, Fires, and Thousands of Interesting 
Events Transpiring Between January, 1888, and June, 1910 — 
Compiled from Newspaper Files. 

The history of the settlement, growth and progress of Steele 
county is treated in detail in the various chapters in this history. 
In this chapter, it has been the aim of the editors to record, in 
chronological order, events transpiring from January, 1888, to 
June, 1910, as recorded in the files of the newspapers. But brief- 
est mention is given here to each event, and much, especially 
relating to matters which received attention elsewhere, has been 
omitted. Nevertheless the reader will find here much of interest, 
together with thousands of items which may have escaped the 
memory of the people of the county and which are here recorded. 

1888. January 2, the Church Hotel, owned by Mrs. Abbey C. 
Albro, at Owatonna, was burned to the ground, the loss being 
$5,000. January 16, the Farmers' Institute for Steele county 
opened at Chambers' Hall, Owatonna. February 7, 1888, the city 
council of Owatonna voted ?3,000 to be given toward building 
a college in connection wath Pillsbury Academy, with the pro- 
vision that the fund was not to be used unless a $30,000 college 
building should be completed within two years. February 12, 
Jacob Olenejeck, night watchman at the Owatonna Packing 
House, was murdered during the night, by persons unknown, 
being foimd dead the ne.xt morning. February 21, the Owatonna 
city council voted to submit to the people at the election to be 
■ held March 13 the question of issuing $40,000 l)onds for water- 
w''or!«s./, M-'airch 13, the people of Owatonna decided upon the issue 
of; bqn'4s, by a majority of eight. Fraud was alleged, however, 
atid Ifhii. caused the bonds to be unsalable. June 5, the Southern 
M^rittdsota G. A. R. encampment was held at Owatonna. July 4 
was-cetebrated with appro])riatc ceremonies at Blooming Prairie 
and Medford. September 18 to 21, the General Conference Asso- 
ciation of Minnesota held its annual meeting at Owatonna. Octo- 
ber 7, Louis Bion, who was a native of Bavaria, Germany, died 
at Owatonna. November 16, C. W. Hadley, of Owatonna, in- 
vented an autcjmatic grain measure which proved a great suc- 
cess. December 7, Roy Garfield Hellway and Frank Dana Mid- 
802 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 803 

daugh, each eight years of age, were drowned in Straight river 
at Owatonna, while skating. December 9, the Steele County 
Bible Society held its annual meeting at the Methodist Church. 

1889. February 15, at midnight, the Nickerson House at 
Owtonna caught fire and burned to the ground in spite of the 
gallant efforts of the fire department. The loss was about $3,000. 
This hotel had been known as the Tremont House, and belonged 
to W. Nickerson, of Dodge Center. The "F"ree Press" of Febru- 
ary 15 contained the information that Dr. E. M. Morehouse was 
building in Owatonna the finest brick hotel in southern Minne- 
sota, outside of the Twin Cities. February 26, a big fire occurred 
in Blooming Prairie village, destroying an entire business block. 
Fire started in the postofilice building soon after 11 o'clock in the 
evening. Nothing was saved in M. Guthrie's store, which con- 
tained the postoffice. The store of G. Jensen & Co. speedily took 
fire and burned. E. Morton's store and the hardware store of T. 
Feeney were the ne.xt to catch fire, and they, in turn, set fire to 
the building occupied by Camp's harness shop and Charles 
Treat's barber shop. The total loss was $25,500. March 18, the 
Steele County Poultry Association was formed. April 10, Dex- 
ter Smith died at Owatonna. He was born in Cayuga county, 
New York, in 1822. April 16, A. M. Stoughton died at Owa- 
tonna, at the age of seventy-four years. He was born in Wethers- 
field, Vt., in 1814, came to Minnesota in 18.56, was deacon in the 
Congregational Church at Owatonna ; was deputy auditor of 
Steele county for many years, and was serving as city treasurer 
of Owatonna at the lime of his death. April 27 , William Panzer, 
of Owatonna, was struck and killed by a train on the Chicago & 
Northwestern Railway tracks. May 10, Frank Chadwick, son 
of Judge Chadwick, received an appointment to the Naval Acad- 
emy at Annapolis. June 8, the Agricultural and Industrial Asso- 
ciation of Steele County was formed. July 4 was appropriately 
celebrated at Owatonna. August 30, J. \V. Morford died at 
Owatonna. He was born in Oneida county. New York, in 1830, 
and came to Owatonna in 1856. September 17-19, a big county 
fair was held at Owatonna. Governor Merriam and Hon. George 
H. Pillsbury wese present. October 29, Mrs. L. L. Inman, a 
prominent member of the W. R. C, died at Owatonna. October 
30, a Tradesmen's Carnival was held at Germania Hall, Owa- 
tonna. December 3, a new ordinance was passed, granting a fran- 
chise to the Owatonna Heat and Power Company to put in an 
electric plant before June 1, at Owatonna. December 8, Andrew 
Jackson Pettie died at Blooming Prairie at the age of sixty-three 
years. He was born in Worcester, Otsego county, N. Y., and 
lived in Blooming Prairie twenty-eight years, owning a farm 
there before the village was started. December 21, 1889, Chris- 



804 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

topher Betts, of Owatonna, shot and killed his wife and then 
committed suicide. 

1890. January 6, John Hammel died at Owatonna, at the age 
of sixty-six years. January 7, the county commissioners can- 
celed $41,000 of bonds which had been issued to aid the Duhith, 
Red Wing & -Southern Railwa}- Company. January 15, John 
Bixby died at Aurora township. He was born in Moretown, 
Washington county, \'t., and came to Aurora in 1856, with his 
wife and family. February 12, Mrs. jMary Pcavey died at Clinton 
Falls. She was born in Canada in 1815, and in 1864 she came 
with her husband to Clinton Falls. February 18, the city coun- 
cil of Owatonna purchased an artesian well from F. P. Rust, for 
$700, to be used in the waterworks system. March 21, Dr. G. A. 
Rossback died at Owatonna. He was born in Germany, near 
the borders of France, in 1818, served as surgeon in the Union 
army, and then came to Owatonna. April 2, the Steele County 
Sunday School Association held its first meeting of the year, at 
Blooming Prairie. April 8, bids were received by the Owatonna 
city council for waterworks contract. It was let to Harrison & 
Hawley for ,$28,763. April 10. the annual meeting of the Steele 
County Humane Society was held at Owatonna. .April 15, the 
city council of Owatonna voted bonds to the amount of $30,000, 
for the waterworks system, the bonds to run for twenty years 
at 5 per cent interest. May 3, the Bion Ijrewery at Owatonna 
was burned, entailing a loss of about $5,000. May 7, an Owa- 
tonna Baseball Association was formed. May 26, the Owatonna 
Driving Association was formed for the purpose of racing, breed- 
ing and training fast horses. May 20, the waterworks bonds of 
Owatonna were sold to S. A. Keene & Co., of Chicago, for $30,110. 
June 3, the Owatonna city council purchased E. P. Ring's lots 
for a standpipe location. June 6, the following census enumer- 
ators of Steele county were named: Summit, Jeff Clark; Berlin, 
H. A. Finch; Aurora, J. Bucklin; Somerset, J. H. Healey; 
Lemond, W. W. Day ; Havana, O. M. Jones ; township of Owa- 
tonna, Sanford Kinney ; city of Owatonna. P. Bliss ; Meriden, 
J. R. Petrich; Merton, L. H. Lane; Medford, G. H. Butler; 
Clinton Falls, Ed. Adams; Deerfield, P. P. Moe; Blooming 
Prairie, A. Colquhoun. June, 25, three children, one son and 
two daughters of John Ivnjawa, were drowned in the Straight 
river, at Medford. July 4, a big celebration was held at Owa- 
tonna. July 8, John and William Donaldson, sons of Edward 
Donaldson, were drowned in the Straight river at Owatonna. 
July 11, the Pierce Brothers began building the Owatonna elec- 
tric light plant. July 15, the county commissioners levied $13,500 
for a court house, cost not to exceed $40,000. August 4, a severe 
wind and hail storm visited River Point. Hundreds of acres of 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 805 

^rain were destroj^ed. Windows facing the west were all de- 
stroyed, hailstones falling as big as teacups. September 16, the 
Steele county fair was held at Owatonna. December 3, the 
county commissioners awarded a contract to F. D. Allen as archi- 
tect for the new court house, his compensation not to exceed 
$1,200. December 9, the second annual exhibition of the Steele 
County Poultry Association proved a great success. 

1891. January 9, Charles Brady died at Deerfield. He was 
born in County Meath, Ireland, in 1800, and came to Deerfield 
with his wife in 1856. February 13, John C. Olson died at Owa- 
tonna, at the age of forty-one years. March 8, Mr. and Mrs. 
Cotter, who came to Steele county in 1864, celebrated their six- 
tieth wedding anniversary at Havana. April 10, a Knights of 
Pythias lodge was inaugurated at Medford, with twenty-five 
members. April 13, the State Teachers' Institute for Steele 
county met at Germania Hall, Owatonna. May 16, Mayor E. M. 
Morehouse, of Owatonna, was seriously injured by falling down 
a stairway leading from his bedroom to a basement. He fell 
about 12:30 a. m. and was not found until 9:15 a. m., lying uncon- 
scious until discovered by his son Martin. May 18, Isaac Watts 
Burch died at Owatonna, at the age of fifty-two years. He had 
been clerk of the County Court for twelve years, city recorder 
for a longer period, and a deacon in the Congregational Church. 
May 23, Dr. E. M. Morehouse died at his home in Owatonna 
from the results of a fall. He was the first physician in Steele 
county. June 20, the old settlers of Steele county met in Owa- 
tonna, at Central Park. July 4, the old settlers of Steele county 
held a picnic and barbecue at Owatonna. June 25, the corner- 
stone of St. Joseph's Catholic Church of Owatonna was laid by 
the Right Rev. J. B. Cotter, Bishop of Winona. July 6, Rev. 
J. C. Ogle, pastor of the Methodist Church at Owatonna, and edi- 
tor of a scholarly history of Steele county, died the day after 
being stricken in the pulpit by paralysis. He was born in Canton, 
Stark county. Ohio, in 1830, and came to Owatonna in 1886. 
July 4, Gottlieb Kreisel died at Deerfield, at the age of sixty 
j'ears. He came to Meriden in 1866 and moved to Deerfield in 
1874. July 13, the county commissioners levied the sum of $9,000 
on taxable property for court-house purposes. July 6, W. A. 
Dynes was elected mayor of Owatonna, to succeed Dr. E. M. 
Morehouse, deceased. August 15, Walter Stcbbins died at Owa- 
tonna. He came to Steele county in 1858, and moved from his 
farm to Owatonna in 1886. He was deacon in the Baptist Church. 
September 3-5. the Steele county fair was a great success. Sep- 
tember 7, the county commissioners authorized the chairman and 
county auditor to issue court-house bonds to the sum of $30,000. 
October 28, these bonds were sold to the Farmers and Mechanics' 



806 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Savings Bank, Minneapolis, at par value. November 23, George 
W. Kinyon, a farmer of Owatonna township, was shot in the face 
by his hired man, Charles Trowe, who then shot himself. Neither 
wound was fatal. Trowe was arrested. December 1, the Hast- 
ings & Diment flour mill at Owatonna was burned to the ground, 
entailing a loss of $30,000; no insurance. Seventeen men were 
thrown out of employment. December 2, E. T. Erickson died at 
Havana. He was born in Norway in 1854, and came to Havana 
in 1864. He served as town clerk and postmaster at Havana. 
December 6, the annual meeting of the Steele County Bible Soci- 
ety was held at the Congregational Church in Owatonna. Decem- 
ber 18, the third annual show of the Steele County Poultry Asso- 
ciation was held at Owatonna. December 30, Prof. A. C. Gut- 
terson died at Owatonna, at the age of sixty years. He came to 
Owatonna in 1866, exerted a wide influence on the musical life 
of the community, and served seventeen years as cashier of the 
Farmers' National Bank. December 24, Mrs. A. W. Adams died 
at Clinton Falls. .She was born in Goshen, Mass., in 1833, was 
married in 1854, and came to Clinton Falls the same year. 

1892. February 2, the city council of Owatonna voted that 
the sewers on Cedar, Main and Broadway be built during the 
ensuing season. February 20, Sarah A. Stowers, wife of S. H. 
Stowers, died at Owatonna, aged forty-eight years. March 25, 
new flouring mill of Hastings, Diment & Co., at Owatonna, was 
reported as completed and running, with a capacity of 250 barrels 
a day. March 23, the Owatonna city council accepted the bid of 
the Clefton Brothers to put in sewers on Cedar, Broadway and 
Main, at a cost of $8,592.90. March 28, the State Teachers' Insti- 
tute for Steele county was held. June 3, the announcement was 
made that George A. Pillsbury would give a music hall to Pills- 
bury Academy, cost to be about $18,000. June 15. a destructive 
wind and electrical storm passed over the towns of Berlin, Sum- 
mit and Blooming Prairie. The Norwegian Church in Berlin 
was blown to pieces and the school house on the corner of Hig- 
bie's farm was picked up and carried a quarter of a mile. July 4, 
a big celebration was held at Owatonna, under the auspices of the 
firemen. July 11, the county commissioners met and levied $23,- 
000 tax on Steele county property for the ensuing year. August 
31, the station of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway 
burned at Blooming Prairie, entailing a loss of about $1,500. 
September 8, Mrs. C. S. Crandall died at Owatonna, at the age of 
sixty years, having lived in Owatonna about thirty-five years. Oc- 
tober 7, Mrs. Chas. H. Church died at Owatonna. She was born 
in Plymouth county, Massachusetts, and came to Owatonna with 
her husband in 1867. September 10, Merritt Webb died at Owa- 
tonna. He was born in Jefferson county. New York, in 1828, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 80r 

and came to Steele county in 1864. September 22-24, the annual 
Steele county fair was held at Owatonna. November 1, John C. 
Burke, county auditor, died at Owatonna, at the age of thirty-two 
years. November 18, Judge Amos Coggswell died at Owatonna. 
He was born in 1825, and came to Steele count}' in 1856. He 
was a member of the constitutional convention of 1857, speaker 
of the state legislature in 1860, state senator from 1872 to 1873, 
and probate judge for one year. November 21, a big Democratic 
celebration was held in Owatonna, in honor of the election of 
Grover Cleveland as President of the United States. November 
23, William Ellis died at Havana. He was born on the water, 
son of Captain and Sarah Ellis, and came to Steele county in 

1856. December 26, fire destroyed the Music Hall at Pillsbury 
Academy. The building was in the progress of construction, and 
the loss of $10,000 fell on the contractor. 

1893. January 11, J. L. Harrington, M. D., died at Owatonna. 
He was born in Jamaica, Vt., in 1840, and came to Owatonna in 
1881. February 1, the residence of Hon. W. R. Kinyon at Owa- 
tonna was burned to the ground. Most of the furniture was 
saved. February 3, the first church ever erected in the town of 
Summit was nearing completion. It was of the Danish Lutheran 
denomination. February 18, Mrs. Marenda Grandprey, wife of 
Joseph Grandprey, died at Meriden. She was born in Alleghany 
county, New Hampshire, in 1823. and came to Steele county in 

1857. March 1, Mrs. J. Q. Ellis died at Owatonna. She was 
born in Oxford county, Maine, in 1831, and came to Steele county 
in 1868. March 27-31, the State Teachers' Institute for Steele 
county met at Owatonna. April 13, John Cottier died. He was 
born on the Isle of Man in 1826, and came to Owatonna in 1865. 
May 2, 1893, the city council of Owatonna authorized an exten- 
sion of South Oak street for 120 rods, to intersect the Zelinski 
road. May 9, Mrs. Catherine Campbell Donaldson died at Owa- 
tonna. She was born in Argyle, Washington county, N. Y., in 
1829, and came to Owatonna with her family in 1862. She was 
the wife of John Donaldson. June 12, 1893, William J. Thomp- 
son died at Owatonna. He was born in Ireland in 1813, came to 
Somerset township in 1870 and to Owatonna in 1888. June 17, 
the Berlin and Summit Creamery carried off highest honors for 
dairy products at the World's Fair, Chicago. June 20, the Owa- 
tonna city council authorized the park committee to purchase a 
suitable fountain for Central Park, at a cost not to exceed $300. 
June 23, Richard Evans died at Owatonna, at the age of seventy- 
six years. July 4, the old settlers of Steele county held their 
annual picnic at Mineral Springs Park at Owatonna. July 12, 
E. Y. Hunewill died at Owatonna. He was born in Caritunk, 
Me., in 1822, and came to Owatonna in 1856. September 18, the 



808 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Columbia Hotel, on West Broadway, was opened by Clay & 
Bowen. September 14, 16, the Steele county fair at Owatonna 
proved a great success. October 11, Seth Chase died at Owa- 
tonna, at the age of ninety-two years. He came to Steele county 
in 1865 and at the time of his death he was the oldest man in 
the county. October 4, the Seventh Day Adventists held a big 
camp meeting at Owatonna. November 4, a fire in Aurora de- 
stroyed the store of W. F. Linse. The postofifice, which was 
located in the store, was also destroyed. The total loss was 
•$3,000. December 1, the county commissioners appointed H. B. 
Chambers as overseer of the poor farm. December 8, Henry F. 
Hahn died. He was born in Hanover, Germany, and came to 
Lemond in 1857. December 19, Emily Stanley Tryon, wife of 
C. Tryon. died at Owatonna, at the age of sixty-two years. De- 
cember 27 . William Clark McGowan died at Owatonna. He was 
born at Alburgh, Vt., December 25, 1815, and came to Owatonna 
in 1869. 

1894. January 10, George H. Herrick died at Owatonna. He 
was born in Chautauqua county, New York, April 28, 1841, and 
came to Minnesota as a youth, settling near Le Sueur. He served 
in the Civil War, came to Owatonna in 1888, purchased an inter- 
est in the drug store of William Gausewitz, and later became sole 
owner. He was prominent in the Baptist Church, and was one 
of the trustees of Pillsbury Academy. January 13, Henry Schultz 
died at Owatonna. He was born in Germany, came to Steele 
county in 1861, and to Owatonna in 1882. January 13, John 
Mesche died at Rice Lake, at the age of fifty-two. January 15, 
Mrs. Thomas Welch died at her home in Summit. She was born 
in Ireland and had lived in Steele county twenty-eight years, 
attaining an age of eighty years. January 20, Aaron Backus 
died at Owatonna. He was born in Putnam, N. Y., and came to 
Owatonna in 1875. February 1, Luther Lane, one of the first 
settlers of Medford, died at the age of eighty-five. February 1, 
J. E. Buxton, for twenty-nine years a resident of Owatonna, died 
at Deland, Fla. He was born in New York, August 5, 1823, and 
came to Owatonna in 1865. His business was that of farm ma- 
chinery. March 16, W. F. Linse, postmaster and storekeeper at 
Aurora Station, died. He was born in Germany, March 21. 
James Morton, for thirty-two years a Steele county blacksmith, 
died at Owatonna. March 27, Joseph Ingraham. father of Prof. 
J. L. Ingraham, died in Owatonna, at the age of seventy-eight 
years. April 2, Lorenzo Green, the pioneer, died at Owatonna. 
He was born in New York state and came to Steele county in 
1856. April 14. A. J. Truesdell, editor of the Owatonna "Jour- 
nal," died, at the age of thirty years. April 2Z, a Democratic club 
was organized in Owatonna. April 28, the Medford Co-operative 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 809 

Creamery Association was organized. June 18, Mrs. Abigail 
Heath, who came to Minnesota in 1856, died at Medford, at the 
age of seventy-six. June 18, the annual encampment of the 
Cannon Valley G. A. R. was held at Ovvatonna. June 20, the 
roundhouse of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway at 
Ovvatonna was entirely destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of 
$1,000. June 26, Peter iMcCrady, for many years a justice of 
the peace, died at Aurora, at the age of eighty-eight years. June 
27, the seventh annual convention of the W. C. T. U., district 
No. 2, was lield at the Ovvatonna Methodist Church. July 4. 
another big celebration was held at Ovvatonna. June 24, Mary, 
the wife of Charles Green, died at Ovvatonna. She was born in 
Nobles county, Indiana, in 1852, and came to Ovvatonna in 1884. 
July 29, Gordan G. Head died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. 
R. G. Nelson, in Ovvatonna, at the age of seventy-two years. He 
was born in Vermont in 1822 and came to Ovvatonna in 1884. 
August 2, the citizens of Owatonna agreed to bo3'cott the North- 
western Railway unless a safe crossing was put in at North Oak- 
street. August 5, Louis K. Johnson died. He was born in 
Norway and came to Havana township in 1856. August 15, Mrs. 
G. W. Chesley died at Ovvatonna, at the age of sixty-two years. 
August 16, the Owatonna city council reached an agreement with 
the Northwestern Railway in regard to the North Oak street 
crossing. The railway agreed to put in a bridge, and the city 
agreed to attend to the street grading. August 21, Esther L. 
Holmes, a prominent member of the Baptist Church, died at 
Owatonna. She was born in New York state and came to Ovva- 
tonna in 1875. August 23, Mary A. Gilman died at Medford, 
at the age of seventy-six years. September 2, Mrs. Anton Schuldt 
died at Meriden, at the age of sixty-four. She was born in Ger- 
many and came to Meriden township in 1856. September 6, the 
city council of Owatonna appropriated $500 for the benefit of 
the sufferers from the Hinckley fire. September 6-8, the Steele 
county fair was held at Ovvatonna. September 16, the barn and 
outbuildings of Michael Ebeling, at Meriden township, were 
destroyed by fire. September 23, Philo Sawyer died in Berlin 
township, at the age of sixty-four. October 9. Mrs. George K. 
Peck died. She was born in 1846 and married in 1863. Novem- 
ber 2, Judge Lorenzo Hazen died at Owatonna. He was born in 
New York state. He came to Medford at an early date and to 
Owatonna in 1877. He was judge of probate and prominent in 
politics. November 24, Fred Kruckelberg died at Aurora, at the 
age of sixty-three. He was born in Germany and settled in 
Aurora in 1856. November 28, Ludwig Milbradt died at Owa- 
tonna. He came to Steele county in 1866. and to Owatonna in 
1886. December 8, Mrs. E. H. S. Dartt died at Owatonna. She 



810 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

was born in England, August 25, 1843, came to America while 
an infant, and married E. H. S. Dartt November 24, 1876. De- 
cember 11-13, the seventh annual convention of the Minnesota 
State Dairymen's Association was held at Ovvatonna. December 
17, the Ovvatonna board of education was authorized to issue 
bonds to the amount of S8,000 to build a four-room school house 
in the Second ward. 

1895. January 11, the Home Rule House burned to the 
ground at Owatonna, in the early morning, the loss being over 
$15,000. The ground dimensions covered five blocks. February 
16, Henry M. Steele died at Merton. He was born in England 
in 1828, and came to Steele county in 1858, becoming a prominent 
citizen. February 23, Mrs. James Cotter died at Havana. She 
was born in Lebanon, N. Y., in 1818, and came to Steele county 
in 1865. March 9, two barns belonging to O. L. Knapp, at Clin- 
ton Falls, were burned, entailing a loss of $1,500. March 20, the 
Southern Minnesota B. Y. P. U. held a big rall}^ at the Owatonna 
Baptist Church. March 22, the Riverside roller mills burned in 
the early morning, entailing a loss of $14,000. April 2-5, the Steele 
County Teachers' Institute was held at Owatonna. April 9, Mrs. 
Phoebe Burch died at Owatonna. She was born in Cooperstown, 
N. Y., in 1810, and came to Owatonna in 1874. April 14, Mrs. 
Mary A. Selleck, wife of Alson Selleck, died at Owatonna. She 
was born in New York state, and came to Owatonna in 1855. 
May 31, a meeting of the citizens of Owatonna was held to con- 
sider the question of a public library. An offer of $10,000 for 
this purpose was received from Mrs. E. Y. Hunewill. June 17, 
the annual session of the Eighth District Lodge, I. O. G. T., was 
held in Berlin. July 4, another big celebration was held under 
the auspices of the Owatonna firemen. July 19, C. H. Church, 
one of the first settlers of Steele county, and a resident of Owa- 
tonna, died in South Dakota, at the age of sixtj-seven years. 
August 19, fire destroyed the Winona lumber yard and L. D. 
Holden's cooper shop at Owatonna, the loss being about $6,000. 
August 29-31, the Steele county fair at Ovvatonna met with much 
success. October 11, a horseless vehicle invention by D. J. 
Ames and Frank La Bare was made public. October 24, John 
Shea died at Ovvatonna. He was born in Joliet, 111., in 1839, and 
came to Berlin township in 1856. He was mayor of Owatonna 
and served with the First Minnesota Mounted Rangers during 
the Indian war. October 31, a session of the State Board of 
Charities and Corrections was held at the State school in Owa- 
tonna. October 23-30, a religious revival was experienced in 
Owatonna. December 10, John W'idrick died in Havana. He 
was born in New York state in 1828, came to Steele county in 
1861, and served in the Civil War. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 811 

1896. James Cotter died at Havana, at the age of eighty-six. 
He was born in New York state in 1810, and was among the 
early pioneers of Steele county. January 10, Mrs. Mary Kenyon, 
an early settler, died at Owatonna. February 4, Hon. Harvey 
Hull Johnson died at Owatonna. His biography appears else- 
where. February 5, Philo Bliss died at Owatonna. He was born 
in New York state, and came to Owatonna in 1858. He engaged 
in the book and stationery business, and was a prominent member 
of the Baptist Church. March 7, fire destroyed Fisher's laundry 
and other buildings, the loss being about $5,000. March 18, 
David D. Howe died at Owatonna. He came to Owatonna in 
1873, and was a prominent member of the I. O. O. F. May 8, 
the Farmers' Elevator Company at Owatonna was organized. 
June 6, the annual banquet of the G. A. R. veterans of Company 
G, First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, was held at Owatonna. 
July 2, the corner-stone of the C. S. P. S. Hall, on North Cedar 
street, was laid with appropriate ceremonies at Owatonna. July 
4, the celebration at Owatonna was under the auspices of the 
Elk Bicycle Association. August 13, the Berlin and Summit 
Creamery was burned to the ground, entailing a loss of about 
$5,000. September 16-18, the Steele county fair was held at Owa- 
tonna under the auspices of the Steele County Agricultural Soci- 
ety. October 7, the Clinton Falls mill was destroyed by fire, 
entailing a loss of over $9,000. November 13, Mrs. H. H. Rose- 
brock died at Owatonna. She was born in Germany, married 
H. H. Rosebrock in 1864, and came to Owatonna the following 
year. December 15, the city council passed a resolution author- 
izing the establishment of a public library under the terms of the 
bequest of Elizabeth C. Hunewill. 

1897. January 4, Sanford Kinney died at Owatonna. He was 
born in Vermont in 1836 and came to Steele county in 1862. 
February 14, the fifth annual convention of the National Butter- 
makers' Association was held at Owatonna, with exhibits from 
every state in the Union. March 26, Joseph Kiesel, who came 
to Owatonna in 1858, died at his home in that city. He was 
born in Germany in 1825. May 2, fire broke out in the general 
merchandise store of Twiford, Niles & Co., of Owatonna, entail- 
ing a loss of about $6,000. May 14, David Lindersmith died at 
Clinton Falls, at the age of seventy-nine years. He came to 
Steele county in 1855, and one year later was elected sheriff. 
March 31, Emily A., wife of Edgar Cady, died at Merton. She 
was born in New York state in 1819, and came to Steele county 
in 1859. July 4, the Steele County Agricultural Association had 
charge of the celebration at Owatonna. August 7, Harvey Jones 
died at Owatonna. at the age of fifty-eight years. He was born 
in Pennsylvania. August 11, fire occurred in the store of Evans 



812 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

& Ogden at Owatonna, entailing a loss of about $13,000. August 
26-28, the annual fair of the Steele County Agricultural Society 
was held at Owatonna. September 6, Joseph M. Clark was mur- 
dered by Lee Hough. Clark was found in his covered wagon 
with his head chopped open by an axe, and died at evening. 
Hough, one of his companions was missing, together with $105 
and a watch owned by the murdered man. September 17, the 
city council of Owatonna empowered the finance committee to 
purchase the Graham corner for the site of a library, at a cost 
of $3,000. October 4, Cyrus Tryon died at Owatonna, at the age 
of sixty-six years. He was born in Cumberland, Me., and came 
to Owatonna in 1882. October 7, Frank Pirkle died in Deerfield 
township. He was born in Germany in 1825 and came to Steele 
county in 1864. October 9, Lee Hough, murderer of Joseph M. 
Clark, was arrested at Guthrie, Ky., and brought back to Owa- 
tonna, where he confessed his crime. October 28, the eleventh 
annual state convention of the Minnesota Y. P. S. C. E. was held 
at Owatonna. November 7, the Danish Lutheran Evangelical 
Church, on Rose street, Owatonna, was dedicated by Rev. G. B. 
Christiansen, president of the United Danish Evangelical Church 
of America. November 28, the Deerfield German Lutheran 
Church was dedicated, Rev. F. \V. Klein, of Owatonna, conduct- 
ing the ceremony. December 7, the district court, in session at 
Owatonna, sentenced Lee Hough to life imprisonment for the 
murder of Joseph Clark. 

1898. January 29, Nathaniel Winship, the pioneer hotel- 
keeper, died at Owatonna, at the age of seventy-five years. He 
was born in Vermont in 1822, and came to Steele county in 1855. 
February 1, the city council of Owatonna adopted a resolution 
authorizing the issue of $10,000 bonds for the public library, the 
question to be submitted to the voters, in March. March 2, the 
library board met at Owatonna and adopted rules and by-laws. 
April 25, a big mass meeting was held to discuss the Spanish- 
American War. Fifty-two volunteers entered the National Re- 
serves. May 7, Dewey's victory was appropriately celebrated. 
June 24, the plat of Dartt's addition was accepted by the Owa- 
tonna city council. July 2, Otis Lord died at Owatonna, at the 
age of seventy-six years. He was born in Vermont and came 
to Owatonna in 1866. July 4, a big celebration was held at Owa- 
tonna, and the news of Sampson's victory aroused much enthu- 
siasm. July 30, the Washington Tool Company was organized 
at Owatonna, with a capital stock of $20,00. August 4, death 
removed one of the county's most prominent citizens, when 
J. B. Soper passed away, at the age of eighty-five years. He w-as 
born in Vermont, November 26, 1813, and married Louisa Arnold 
In 1836. He came to Steele county in 1862 and settled on a farm 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 813 

in Clinton Falls, coming to Owatonna in 1867. He was a suc- 
cessful wheat buyer, and amassed a considerable fortune. Sep- 
tember 1-3, the tenth annual fair of the Steele County Agricul- 
tural Society was held at Owatonna. September 6, the city 
council of Owatonna voted to put in the Rose street bridge. 
November 25, Capt. C. H. Stearns, of Owatonna, was elected 
major of the Third Battalion of the Fourth Regiment, Minne- 
sota National Guard. December 17, Mrs. Almira S. Blood died 
at Owatonna. She was born in New Hampshire in 1819 and in 
1851 married Dr. Solomon Blood, who served as a surgeon in 
the Civil War. They came to Owatonna after the war and the 
doctor continued in practice until his death, in 1883. December 
26, George L. Chambers died at Havana. He was born in Bel- 
fast, Ireland, in 1824, and settled in Steele county in 1860. 

1899. January 3, H. H. Rosebrock died at Owatonna. He 
was born in Germany in 1835, came to Owatonna in 1865, and 
served two terms in the legislature. January 11, Airs. Margaret 
Stafford Harsha died at Owatonna. She was born in Argyle, 
N. Y., in 1835, a daughter of Judge N. M. Donaldson. She came 
to Owatonna in 1856. January 16-17, the State Farmers' Insti- 
tute was held at the Owatonna court house, with a large attend- 
ance from all over the county. February 2, Hugh Mooney died 
at Owatonna. He was born in Ireland, came to Steele county in 
1856, settled in Alerton, and then came to Owatonna in 1893. 
February 6, the library board met at Owatonna and awarded 
the contract for a building to tiammel Brothers & Anderson, 
for $18,157. February 15 the Twiss block on Broadway, Owa- 
tonna, was partially destroyed by fire, the total loss being about 
$5,000. April 12, Anton Schmanski died at Meriden. He was 
born in Poland in 1818, and came to Steele county in 1875. 
May 7, Hon. Hector M. Hastings died at Owatonna. He was 
born in 1835, came to Steele county in 1863, just after serving 
in the Indian war of 1862. He was the owner and founder of the 
Hastings Milling Company. He also served as state senator. 
May 11, Mrs. William Thompson died at Owatonna. She was 
born in Pennsylvania in 1810 and came to Steele county in 1856. 
May 12, the Owatonna city council decided to submit to the 
voters the question of issuing $10,000 additional bonds for the 
library. May 16, Mrs. Mary Parsons died at Medford. She was 
born in England in 1825 and came to Steele county in 1856. July 
4, the Steele County Agricultural Association had charge of a 
big celebration at Owatonna. July 18, the Owatonna city coun- 
cil awarded a contract for the Rose street bridge over the Straight 
river to the Gillette-Herzog Manufacturing Company, of Minne- 
apolis. July 21, a committee of citizens started an agitation 
toward establishing a city hospital in Owatonna. September 16, 



814 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Mrs. Abbie Riclimond Holt died at Owatonna. She was born in 
New York in 1826 and came to Owatonna in 1867. September 
18-20, the Steele county fair was held at Owatonna. October 2, 
Hon. Elihu Miles Burnham, of Blooming Prairie, died, at the 
age of seventy-seven years. He was born in New York state in 
1822, and came to Steele county in 1894. October 21, St. John's 
German Lutheran Church was dedicated at Owatonna, in the 
presence of over a thousand people. November 8-9, the sixth 
annual convention of the Minnesota State Buttermakers' Asso- 
ciation was held at Owatonna. December 29, E. Scannel died at 
Owatonna. He was born in New York state in 1831 and came to 
Owatonna in 1858. December 30, some old wooden buildings on 
Bridge street in Owatonna were burned, entailing a loss of 
about $3,000. 

1900. January 5, the city council granted a franchise to the 
Light, Heat and Power Company of Owatonna to erect poles 
and wires and also to build a gas plant in the city. January 18, 
J. A. Opplinger died at Owatonna. He was born in Switzerland 
in 1834, came to Owatonna in 1861, and served as alderman and 
mayor of the city. February 20, the city council of Owatonna 
decided to submit to the voters the question of issuing $10,000 
bonds for the city hospital. February 22, the new public library 
was opened at Owatonna. The address was delivered by C. K. 
Bennett, in the absence of James VV. Ford, the president of the 
board. April 20, the first hospital board organized at Owatonna 
and elected S. R. Nelson chairman and George W. Peachy secre- 
tary. May 9, the Owatonna hospital board purchased the Op- 
plinger residence and two acres for a hospital, at a cost of $6,500. 
May 10, the residence of Mrs. Elizabeth Eichholzen burned at 
Owatonna. June 19-21, the annual meeting of the Minnesota 
State Pharmaceutical Association was held at Owatonna. June 
15, the Owatonna city council sold the city hospital bonds to 
the First National bank of Owatonna for $10,300. June 8, the 
barn of E. Randall at Summit was burned with twenty tons 
of hay. July 13, the Burlington. Cedar Rapids & Northern Rail- 
road came through Steele county from Albert Lea to Owatonna. 
July 15, the barn of J. F. Lonergan was burned at Berlin. July 
15, John N. Travis died at Owatonna. He was born in New 
London, Conn., in 1826, and came to Minnesota in 1865. Septem- 
ber 12-14, the annual county fair was held at Owatonna. Sep- 
tember 26, the Forty-sixth annual session of the Minnesota con- 
ference of the Methodist Episcopal church was held in the 
Methodist church at Owatonna, Bishop John M. Walden, of Cin- 
cinnati, presiding. October 2, William Jennings Bryan spoke at 
Owatonna on his campaign tour. 

1901. January 5, the Owatonna City hospital was opened 



HISTORY OF RICE A\D STEELE COUNTIES 815 

for patients. February 4. the W'asliington Tool Company, of 
Owatonna, was reorganized, and the capital stock increased to 
$50,000. February 29, Mrs. AdaHne Whcelock, wife of Hon. 
L. L. Wheelock, died at Owatonna. She was born February 
24, 1845, near Pleasant Hill, Indiana, and was married July 24, 
1871. She was formerly an Owatonna school teacher. April 
12, the Owatonna city council let a contract to \V. J. Wood to 
build an addition to the high school building. The council also 
voted $625.00 for the purchase of the site of the West Side school 
house. Ai)ril 17, Connor's store at the corner of Cedar and Vine 
streets, Owatonna, was destroyed by fire entailing a loss of 
$55,000. Neighboring buildings were also damaged. May 20, 
the Clinton Falls Nursery Company was incorporated with a 
capital stock of $50,000. June 25, Mrs. Mary Virtue, wife of 
John Virtue, died in Clinton Falls township. She was born in 
Ireland in 1836, and came to Steele county in 1859. She was 
the mother of Leonard J. Virtue. July 4, the celebration under 
the auspices of the Elk Bicycle Association at Owatonna was 
saddened by an accident in which S. L. Manhart had his right 
hand blown off. July 8, Ellendale was recognized as a village 
by the county commissioners and the first election authorized. 
July 16, the city council of Owatonna accepted a bequest from 
Hon. H. H. Rosebrock, of $5,000 for the establishment of the 
city kindergarten. August 31, the thirteenth annual fair under 
the auspices of the Steele county Agricultural Association was 
held at Owatonna. October 12-15, the Women's Foreign Mis- 
sionary Society of Minnesota and the two Dakotas held its an- 
nual convention at the Methodist church at Owatonna. October 
15-17, the annual convention of the State Federation of Women's 
Clubs was held at Owatonna. December 8, Hon. Samuel Bar- 
low Williams died at Owatonna. He was born in South Hamp- 
ton, Mass., June 26, 1822, and came to Steele county in the six- 
ties. He lived for a time in Mower county, but returned to 
Steele county in the early eighties and lived on a farm in the 
northern part of Owatonna township up to within a short time 
of his death. He was a grain and lumber dealer and served 
in the legislature in 1879. December 17, the Sacred Heart 
Catholic church at Owatonna burned to the ground. December 
30, Mathilda E. (Robinson), wife of William Gamble, died at 
Owatonna. She was born in Canada in 1839, and settled on a 
farm in Lcmond township in 1866. 

1902. January 3, the old II. R. Moore building, occupied by 
the dry goods store of Charles L. Gray, was almost destroyed 
by fire. Stock damaged to the amount of $26,000 and adjoining 
property, as well as the offices in the ujjper floor were injured. 
The total loss was about $30,000. January 2~ , the residence of 



81G HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Henry Koch, at Owatonna, was burned, tlie loss being about 
$2,000. February 12, Judge Buckham handed down a decision 
unfavorable to the city in the case of the City of Owatonna vs. 
Rosebrock in the Rosebrock $5,000 Kindergarten bequest case. 
April 10, the C. W. Hadley building, occupied by J. A. Soper, 
electrical and plumbing supplies, was damaged by fire entailing 
a loss of $8,000. May 17, the Norwegian Independence day was 
celebrated with appropriate ceremonies at Ellendale. June 11, 
the Owatonna Woodmen entertained the Woodmen of the state. 
Governor Van Sant and Senator P. McGovern made speeches. 
June 17, Ellendale voted $5,000 school bonds. June 18, the State 
Universalists held a big celebration at Owatonna. July 5, a big 
wind storm did considerable damage to the property in Steele 
county. July 14, the Methodist church at Ellendale was dedi- 
cated with appropriate ceremonies. July 15, another wind storm 
visited the county. July 22. Ellendale voted $6,000 bonds for 
water works. July 25, a rainstorm did considerable damage 
throughout the county. August 18, Ellendale people held a 
big Harvest festival celebration. August 30, a Northwestern 
passenger train was blown from the tracks by a cyclone, four 
miles west of Owatonna. Several passengers were killed and 
many injured. October 5, Charles Adsit died at Owatonna. He 
was born in Oneida county. New York, April 29, 1833, and came 
to Aurora township in 1856, being one of the first party to arrive 
there. In the fall of 1895 he retired and came to Owatonna. 
October 12-17, the Baptist state convention was held at Owa- 
tonna. October 17, Charles Schoen, a wagonmaker, died at 
Owatonna, at the age of 74 years. He was born in Prussia, 
and came to Owatonna in 1862. October 20, Mrs. Elizabeth M. 
Schaefer died in Owatonna at the age of 79 years. She was 
born in Germany and lived in Owatonna about twenty years. 
October 25, Mrs. Nathaniel Winship, formerly Emily P. Moul- 
ton, died at Owatonna. She was born in Cabot, Vermont, in 
1833, and was married in 1851. She and her husband came to 
Owatonna in 1855 and opened the first hotel. Her husband 
died in 1898. 

1903. January 23, the city of Owatonna won its suit against 
Carl J. H. Rosebrock and secured the $5,000 left by his father, 
H. H. Rosebrock, for kindergarten purposes. January 31, E. H. 
S. Dartt died at Owatonna. He was born in Vermont in 1824 
and came to Owatonna in 1869. He was prominent as a horti- 
culturist and originated several varieties of apples. February 
17, the county commissioners met and awarded the jail contract 
to Hammel Brothers & Anderson, the bid being $3,238. Harry 
Herman Krier, of Owatonna, was murdered by Henry and 
Charles Nelson and William Sutton and robbed of $76, while on 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 817 

his way to tlie home of Jacob Glaeser to pay his rent. May 15, 
it was reported that dogs had killed eight deer in the state school 
park since January 1. May 20, the St. Hyacinth Catholic church, 
of Owatonna, was dedicated by Bishop Joseph B. Potter, of 
Winona. May 21, the Sacred Heart Catholic church was dedi- 
cated at Owatonna b}- Bishop Joseph B. Potter, of Winona. 
June 3-6, a big street fair and carnival was held at Owatonna 
under the auspices of the Owatonna Fire department. June 24, 
Charles and Henry Nelson, murderers of H. Krier, were sen- 
tenced to be hanged. William Sutton was sentenced to life 
imprisonment. July 1, Nancy R. Twiford, wife of Dr. W. H. 
Twiford, died at Owatonna. She was born in Ohio in 1825 
and came to Steele county in 1865. July 20, Orlando Linder- 
smith died at Clinton Falls. He was born in Ohio in 1843 and 
came to Steele coimty in 1855. July 6-August 1, the Summer 
Training school for teachers was held at Owatonna with great 
success. August 4, the farmers organized the Steele Center 
Rural Telephone Company to conduct a telephone line through 
the townships of Owatonna, Somerset and Summit. October 
15-17, the Eleventh Annual meeting of the Minnesota State 
Library Association was held in Owatonna. October 30, City 
Attorney C. J. O'Brien died at Owatonna. He was born near 
Faribault, Minn., and came to Owatonna in 1899. Thomas Stock- 
well died at Owatonna. He was born in England, in 1830, and 
came to Steele county in 1877. 

1904. Willis E. Dunbar, a former member of the state legis- 
lature, died at Owatonna at the age of 67 years. January 16, 
Connor's New Store Company, which conducted at Owatonna 
the largest retail store in the county, was adjudged bankrupt. 
January 25, the main building of the State public school at 
Owatonna was gutted by fire, the loss being about $75,000. 
That the damage was not greater was due to the heroic work 
of the firemen. February 2, the city council of Owatonna decided 
to submit to the voters the question of issuing $15,000 bonds for 
water works. February 5-6, the Minnesota State Farmers' Insti- 
tute was held at Owatonna. Feljruary 8, Cyrennus B. Pettie 
died at Blooming Prairie. He was born in New York state in 
1834 and came to Steele county in 1856. February 25, the store 
of E. C. Duncan at Havana was burned to the ground entailing 
a loss of about $6,000. February 23, the Steele County Butter- 
makers' Association met at Owatonna with about 300 in attend- 
ance. April 7, County Commissioner M. II. Coggins died at 
Aurora. He was born in Wisconsin in 1861 and came to Steele 
county in 1869. April 19, the city council of Owatonna voted 
to pave Cedar street from Broadway to Rose. May 3, the Owa- 
tonna Canning factory was started for the purpose of canning 



818 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

sweetcorn. June 7, the city council of Owatonna voted to open 
up a new roadway to the mineral springs along Maple creek. 
July 4, a big celebration was held at Owatonna with over 20,000 
persons in attendance. August 8, Hon. Mark H. Bunnell died 
at Owatonna. He was born in Maine in 1823, and came to 
Owatonna in 1867, serving with distinction in the state legis- 
lature and in congress. August 31, Thomas R. Symcs, of Bloom- 
ing Prairie committed suicide by hanging. September 21, John 
Kasper, of Somerset, committed suicide by shooting himself 
in the head with a shot gun. He was born in Havana in 1867. 
December 9. the state board of health notified the city council 
of Owatonna that the city must put septic sewer tanks in the 
west side sewer or risk a condemnation of the sewer there. 

1905. January 24, Judge Buckham appointed a charter com- 
mission for the city of Owatonna as follows : — Carl K. Bennett, 
Thomas E. Cashman, Charles S. Crandall. James M. Diment, 
Louis B. Fenner, John L. Gibbs, William Gausewitz, Patrick 
J. Kiernan. Harlan E. Leach, William F. Sawyer, Wesley A. 
Sperry, Herman Schmidt, Albert L. Sperry, John Smith 
and Lewis L. W'heelock. March 10-11, the Seventh annual con- 
vention of the South central Minnesota Teachers' Association 
met at Owatonna. March 14, the Steele County Farmers' Insti- 
tute was held at EUendale. April 11, the board of education 
of the city of Owatonna was authorized by a special election 
of school district No. 1, of Owatonna, to issue $8,000 bonds to 
build a modern school house in the fourth ward. April 25-27, 
the Forty-seventh annual convention of the Minnesota Sunday 
School Association was held in Owatonna. May 12, Sheriff 
F. C. Chambers shot and killed Ivan Tomas, a robber, who 
was seeking to escape arrest. The coroner's jury exonerated the 
sheriff. June 19, Mrs. Charles Pegg died at Owatonna. She 
was born in Meriden township in 1856 and was married in 1876. 
July 3, the Steele county training school for teachers opened for 
a four weeks' course. July 6, the city council of Owatonna 
decided to submit to the voters on September 19, the cjuestion 
of issuing $15,000 bonds for a new city hall. July 9, Silas An- 
derson died at Owatonna. He was born in New York state 
in 1832 and came to Owatonna in 1864. July 20, Hon. B. S. 
Cook committed suicide by shooting himself through the head 
with a rifle. At one time he was mayor of Owatonna. August 
12, Wilda Johnson, of Havana, was bound over to appear in 
the district court on the charge of poisoning J. L. Johnson's well 
with paris green. September 12, August Voelker, of Owatonna, 
died. He was born in Germany in 1841 and came to Steele 
county in 1884. September 20, the barn of Ray Lindersmith 
was destroyed by fire at Clinton Falls, entailing a loss of $4,000. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 819 

September 26, at a special election the voters of Owatonna 
authorized the city council to issue $15,000 bonds for a new city 
and fire hall. The vote stood 323 in favor and 208 ap^ainst. 
October 12, the county commissioners decided to issue bonds to 
the amount of $3,500 for the purpose of constructing judicial 
ditch No. 2. November 12, the new Universalist church was 
dedicated at Owatonna, free from debt. The sermon was deliv- 
ered by Dr. Fisher, of Galesburg, 111. November 19, the store 
of Parrott & Smith Inirned to the ground at Owatonna, entailing 
a loss of about $41,500. The loss to the hardware company was 
$35,000, to Dr. Theo. Hatch, $1,500; to Dr. C. H. Stearns, $2,500, 
and to Yerke & Sweeney. $1,500. Wilda Johnson, of Havana, 
was acquitted of poisoning the well of J. L. Johnson. December 
20, Elling Largeson, died at Berlin township. He was born 
in Norway in 1824 and came to Steele county in 1876. 

1906. A big meeting was held in the court house at Owa- 
tonna to consider the adoption of a new city charter. January 
30, a special election held in the city of Owatonna to consider 
the new city charter resulted in its rejection by a vote of 200 
for the charter and 581 against. February 23, the district court 
decided in the case of James Peachey vs. the city of Owatonna, 
that the election held to vote on the $15,000 bond issue for the 
new city and fire hall was defective and illegal. March 28, the 
Owatonna Metropolitan opera house caught fire, but was saved 
by the fire department. The damage was covered by $11,000 
insurance. April 4, Governor John A. Johnson visited the state 
public school, and expressed his satisfaction with the institution. 
April 11, Patrick Brennan died at Owatonna. He was born at 
Waterford, Ireland, in 1835 and came to Owatonna in 1866. 
June 18, at a special meeting of the hospital board, the contract 
for a new addition to the hospital was awarded to the Hammel 
Brothers & Anderson, the bid being $7,545. June 19-21, the 
forty-first annual convention of the Minnesota Universalists was 
held at Owatonna. July 9-14, a big mid-summer carnival was 
held at Owatonna. July 17, the city council awarded the contract 
for building the new city hall to Hammel Brothers & Anderson, 
bonds to the amount of $15,000 having been authorized at the 
election in March. The bid was $19,643. July 24, fire destroyed 
a barn owned by \V. S. Reynolds at Owatonna. Two other 
barns and the Winship hotel were damaged. July 29, Mrs. 
Maria Gross, the first centenarian in Steele county reached her 
hundredth birthday at her home in Owatonna. August 14, the 
city council of Owatonna granted a new gas franchise to the 
Owatonna Gas, Electric and Heating Company, to run for 
twenty years. August 21, Captain L. G. Nelson died at Owa- 
tonna. He was born in Norway, was captain during the Civil 



820 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

war and came to Steele county in 1893. August 26, Henry M. 
LaBare died at Owatonna at the age of 71 years. He was one 
of the older settlers of the city. September 8, the corner stone 
was laid for the new city and fire hall at Owatonna, Judge 
Littleton being the chief orator. Chief Twiford read a history 
of the department. September 13-15, a big street fair was held 
at Owatonna, with some excellent agricultural exhibits. Sep- 
tember 25, Governor Johnson spoke in Owatonna at a big Demo- 
cratic political meeting. September 28, a big street fair was 
held at Ellendale. with about 4,000 in attendance. November 6, 
the new Firemen's hall was opened at Owatonna with a big ball. 
December 3. Judge B. F. Hood, of the municipal court, died at 
Owatonna. December 22, John Schweiso died in Summit town- 
ship. He was born in Germany in 1818, and came to Steele 
county as a young man. December 28, the county commissioners 
set ofi" a new school district known as district No. 90 in Berlin 
township. December 30, Emma Chambers died at Havana. She 
was born in 1842, in New York state, and came to Havana town- 
ship in 1857. Death was the result of an accident in falling 
down stairs. 

1907. January 18. William H. Burdict died at Owatonna. 
He was born near Burlington, Vt., in 1834, and came to Ov/a- 
tonna in 1864. He was a carpenter and erected many of the 
older buildings in the city, including the old high school which 
was destroyed by fire, the First Methodist church, the pumping 
station and the old Hastings' mill. January 22-24, the State 
Dairymen's Association met at Owatonna. February 3, the store 
of Blume Brothers, general merchants, was burned to the ground 
at Bixby, entailing a loss of about $5,000. February 7-10, the 
State Y. M. C. A. convention was held at the First Baptist 
church, Owatonna. March 9. J. D. Gordon died at Owatonna. 
He was born in New York state in 1823, came to Steele county 
in 1857 and settled on a farm near Beaver Lake. He came to 
Owatonna in 1880. March 14, the Blooming Prairie Farmers' 
elevator was destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of $7,000. April 
4, a big public meeting held at Owatonna favored the granting 
of a franchise to the Dan Patch Air line. A committee was ap- 
pointed by Mayor Green to secure a right-of-way. April 26, the 
franchise ofl^ered the Dan Patch Air line was accepted by the 
company. Jime 1, Hon Lewis L. Wheelock, of the law firm of 
Wheelock & Sperry, died at Owatonna. His biography appears 
elsewhere. June 5, Samuel W. Farmer died at Owatonna. He 
was born in Redfield, N. Y., October 7, 1837, and came to Owa- 
tonna in 1857. He was a prominent member of the Methodist 
Church. June 26, the State Dairymen's Assocation held a picnic 
at Beaver Lake. July 4, a big county celebration was held at 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 821 

Blooming Prairie. July 31, the Public Service Operating Com- 
pany finished its gas plant and started supplying patrons. Sep- 
tember 12-14, the Steele County Agricultural Society held its 
annual street fair at Owatonna. October 5, the Firmen's hall 
was opened and dedicated with a concert, ball and banquet. 
October 12, a festival was tendered the Junior Civic League by 
the Owatonna Civic League. December 24, O. M. Jones died 
in Havana township. He came to Steele county in 1857. Dec- 
ember 27, Judge Buckham rendered a decision favoring the con- 
struction of the Crane creek ditch. 

1908. Judge Jacob Newsalt died at Owatonna. He was born 
in Germany in 1838 and came to Owatonna in 1878. He served 
the city as municipal judge. January 24-29, the first show of the 
Owatonna North Star Poultry Association was held at Owa- 
tonna. February 8, Mrs. Amanda J. Munson Clefton died at 
Owatonna. She was born in Manchester, April 1, 1831, and was 
married in 1847 at Mukwonago, Wis. For the last fifteen years 
of her life she lived with her son, Claude J. February 20, Hon. 
S. T. Littleton died at Owatonna. His biography appears alse- 
where. February 26, the county commissioners appropriated 
$225 for the purpose of purchasing a piece of ordnance under 
the auspices of the G. A. R. for the court house grounds. March 
31, Judge Buckham made a final order establishing the Crane 
creek ditch. The April term of the Supreme court reversed this 
decision. June 20, a wind, rain and hail storm did much damage 
in Ellendale and vicinity. June 21, Michael J. Toher died at 
Owatonna. He was born in Ireland in 1829 and came to Owa- 
tonna in 1866. He was a prominent railroad man, and ranked 
high in the Democratic party, serving as a member of the state 
committee at one time. He served as a member of the Owatonna 
city council and the Owatonna hospital board. During Cleve- 
land's second administration he was postmaster at Owatonna. 
From 1868 to 1876 he was sheriff of Steele county. July 5 to 11, 
a street carnival was held at Owatonna under the auspices of 
the fire department. July H, the National Farmers' bank moved 
into its new quarters, at Owatonna. August 6, the annual meet- 
ing of the Southern ^Minnesota Medical Association was held at 
Owatonna. September 7, the Owatonna Eagles held a labor picnic 
at Diment's park, Owatonna. September 8, the barn and outbuild- 
ings with a considerable amount of hay and grain of S. Szmanski. 
in Deerfield, were burned to the ground, entailing a loss of .$4,000. 
September 10-12, a street fair was held at Owatonna, under the 
auspices of the Steele county Agricultural Association. Septem- 
ber 26, William H. Taft passed through Steele county and spoke 
a few words at Owatonna from the rear platform of his car. 
October 22, August H. C. Hanson, of Owatonna, was given a 



822 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Carnegie Bronze medal and $2,000 for heroism in saving Bertie 
Borden and Hazel Sliaw from drowning in Straight river. Dec- 
ember 11, William H. Kelley died at Owatonna. His biography 
appears elsewhere. 

1909. January 11. Ludwig C. ^\'elk died at Owatonna. He 
was horn in Germany in 1824 and came to Steele county in 1867. 
January 22-23, the Southern Minnesota Horticultural Society 
held its si.xteenth annual meeting in Owatonna. January 26, 
Judge Buckham of the district court decided that the Creamery 
Package Company of Owatonna had violated the anti-trust laws 
of Minnesota. The company was therefore prohibited from doing 
business in the state of Minnesota. February 4, Frank Steele 
died in Berlin. He was born in Bunker Hill, Penn.. in 1853 and 
was brought to Steele county by his parents when a small child. 
February 5, Judge Buckham rendered his decision in favor of 
the Crane creek ditch known as judicial ditch Xo. 1. March 17, 
Mrs. Zeda Marie Janssen died at the age of 84 years. She was 
born in Germany and came to Steele county in 1868. She took 
up her residence in Owatonna in 1885. March 20, Adolph Knob- 
black, Sr., committed suicide by hanging. He was born in 
Germany in 1831 and came to Steele county in 1861. March 28, 
Mr. and Mrs. Xels Xelson died in Havana. They came to Steele 
county in 1864. May 7, the Supreme court sustained Judge 
Buckham's decision ordering the construction of the Crane creek 
ditch. May 13, James A. Cotter died in Owatonna. He was 
born in Walworth cotnity. Wis., in 1849, and came to Steele 
county in 1864. June 31, the third annual meeting and picnic 
of the Minnesota State Dairymen's Association was held at 
Beaver Lake in Berlin township. July 5, the Eagles were in 
charge of a celebration in Owatonna. August 12, the store of 
Frank J. Kubicek, of Summit, was struck by lightning and 
burned, causing a loss of $2,000. August 13, Owatonna suffered 
from a severe storm. Bridges and many culverts were washed 
out. The house of Rev. Klein was struck by lightning. Sep- 
tember 16-18, the Steele county fair was largely attended at 
Owatonna. September 29, a big street fair was held at Ellen- 
dale. October 8, the house of J. E. Cady was burned at Medford, 
loss about $2,500. December 28, James Peachy died at Owa- 
tonna. He was born in England in 1823. 

1910. This year the city council of Owatonna was largely 
occupied with tlie matter of the lighting franchise. This is 
treated elsewhere. January 5, George Coward died at Owa- 
tonna. He w^as born in England in 1840, and after living in 
various places in America came to Owatonna and engaged in 
the coal and wood business. March 14, Edward P. Morton died 
at Owatonna. He was born in Maine in 1845, served in the Civil 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 823 

war and came to Owatonna in 1870, engaging as a contractor 
and house builder. April 26, Mrs. Clara Amelia, wife of S. J. 
Zaml)oni, died at Owatonna. She was born in Merton town- 
ship in 1881 and engaged as a school teacher until her marriage 
in 1904. She was a prominent society and church worker. April 
23, Andrew J. Thamert died in Owatonna at the age of 80 years. 
He was born in Prussia in 1829 and came to Steele county in 
1876, locating in Owatonna in 1900. May 24, Judge Hosea F. 
Luce died at Owatonna. He came to Owatonna in 1877 and 
served a number of terms as municipal judge. May 30, was cele- 
brated at Owatonna with appropriate services in charge of the 
G. A. R. June 20, Owatonna was designated as one of the cities 
to have a $58,000 post-ofifice building, in a bill passed by con- 
gress. June 31, the Farmers' elevator was burned to the ground 
entailing a loss of about $20,000. 



CHAPTER XII. 

DAIRY INTERESTS. 

Early Attempts at Cheese Making. — Individual Ownership of 
Gathered Cream Plants. — Introduction of the Co-operative 
Creamery Plan. — Individual Ownership Vanishes. — Number 
of Creameries Multiply. — Importance of the Industry. — Vol- 
ume of Output. — Conclusions. — By. Hon. John R. Morley. 

In giving a brief history of the creamery industry of Steele 
county it is necessary to go back to the early history of the 
county and thereby get a knowledge of the various attempts 
at factory manufacturing of dairy products. Everything goes 
to show that while the early attempts at factory manufacturing 
were fairly satisfactory nothing seemed to be on a permanent 
basis until the farmers built and operated their own creameries 
on the co-operative plan. 

In 1869 a cheese factory was built at Owatonna by a gentle- 
man from New York, who furnished the farmers, when desired, 
with money to purchase cows provided they delivered the milk 
to his factory ; charging them 12 per cent on the money, and 
giving them time to get the proceeds from the sale of cheese, 
many farmers who had not the means to purchase cows took 
advantage of this opportunity to stock up with milch cows, and 
some went quite extensively into the cheese-making business. 
This was probably the first cheese factory built in Minnesota, 
and the first attempt at commercial dairying. It proved a good 
thing for the county as it demonstrated the fact that dairying 
could be profitably conducted in our state. Prior to this time 
it had been thought that wheat raising was the only branch 
of farming that could be profitably conducted in Minnesota. The 
results were very satisfactory and a good grade of cheese was 
made in paying quantities, notwithstanding the fact that wild 
grass was entirely relied upon both for pasture and hay. The 
factory was well patronized from long distances, and the results 
were quite satisfactory to the farmer from a financial standpoint. 
Heretofore the only outlet for the milk of the herd was the linnie 
making of dairy butter which was sold to the nearby grocer in 
exchange for groceries for family use. This factory was run 
successfully until some time during the later seventies when it 
was abandoned. 

824 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 825 

A cheese factory was built by Orlando Johnson at Medford 
in 1872. This was run profitably both to Mr. Johnson and the 
farmers in that vicinity until the year 1890, when the farmers 
conceived the idea of organizing a co-operative creamery and 
manufacturing their own product, following the example of 
other localities in the county farther south. Mr. Johnson at this 
time retired from the business, but not until he had planted the 
seeds of good dairying in that locality. This creamery is now 
running and has always been profitable. 

Further attempts at cheese making were made at Owatonna 
in 1882 when Dr. L. L. Bennett, president of the Farmers' Na- 
tional bank, built a cheese factory at Owatonna. There was also 
built and put in operation in the spring of 1883 a gathered cream 
plant at Owatonna, which sent out wagons through the territory 
to obtain cream of the farmers, buying the cream by the inch. 
An inch of cream in a can of the desired size was supposed to 
equal a pound of butter fat. The cheese factory built by Mr. 
Bennett was subsequently sold to the Potter Lucas Company 
and run for a time as a combination butter and skim milk cheese 
plant. Potter Lucas Company installed a centrifugal cream 
separator and made both creamery butter and cheese. This 
plant was run on this plan until the winter of 1893. It had then 
become unprofitable on account of territory being restricted 
by the building of co-operative creameries in different directions 
from Owatonna. 

In 1891 Pratt Creamery Association was organized and a 
creamery built at Pratt station. In 1892 the Golden Rule Cream- 
ery was built five miles west of Owatonna and in 1893 the Clinton 
Falls creamery was built at Clinton I'alls five miles north of 
Owatonna. 

In P'ebruary of 1893 the farmers in the vicinity organized a 
co-operative association called the Farmers' Gilt Edge Creamery 
Association, and purchased the Potter Lucas plant, and com- 
menced operations immediately on the co-operative plan. The 
first officers of this association were, president, E. P. Norton; 
secretary, Wm. T. Glasgow; treasurer, C. P. Sahler. It became 
necessary at this time for the gathered cream plant then owned 
by Mr. McKinstry, of Winnebago City, to discontinue business 
as the milk all went to the farmers' creamery. The run was 
very small and many predicted the enterprise would be a failure. 
But to the contrary, the Gilt Edge creamery is now the second 
largest creamery in the county, exceded only by the creamery at 
Blooming Prairie in amount of business, paying to the farmers 
upwards of $6,000 per month for butter fat for the months of 
May and June, 1910. C. P. Sahler is the present president and 
manager, J. R. Morley, secretary, and R. A. Pratt, treasurer. 



826 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

A fourth cheese factor}- was built on section 19, town of Mer- 
ton, in 1890. Various attempts had been made to organize the 
farmers in this town and build a co-operative cheese factory prior 
to this time, but the attempts had been unsuccessful. In this 
year Messrs. J. Virtue, W. H. Wilson, D. E. Virtue and X. O. 
Partridge built the cheese factory, giving the patrons the privi- 
lege of buying it at any time. July 7, the building was completed 
and they commenced to make cheese. During that year 272,880 
pounds of milk was received. In January, 1893, they changed 
it to a creamery, and during that year made 1,363 tubs of butter. 
In March, 1894, the farmers organized and bought the creamery 
and commenced operation on the co-operative plan. This was 
the last of individual ownership of creameries in Steele county. 
In the year 1909 it received 3,083,874 pounds of milk and made 
130,000 pounds of butter. The first board of directors were X. 
O. Partridge, president ; E. J. McGrath. vice president ; F. C. 
Carlton, secretary ; Alfred ^\'ilson, terasurer. The Mertoii 
creamery is now making very fine butter and is one of the best 
in the state for quality. 

So far we have given the history of the proprietary plants, 
and the way they were gradually absorbed by the farmers. 
And all due credit should be given these early pionceis in the 
dairy business, the last one disappearing when the farmers 
bought the IMerton creamery. But the history of co-operation 
in the county begins in the southern part. 

No proprietary plants were ever built there, but a co-operative 
creamery was built at Coolyville on the town line between Ber- 
lin and Summit townships in 1890 and was called the Berlin 
and Summit Creamery. This is now known as the Ellendale 
Creamery. The following year, 1891, the Pratt Creamery was 
built. Subsequently the old building was replaced by two new 
brick structures of the most modern type, Creamery A located 
at Pratt station and Creamer)' B five miles east. Following the 
building of these two creameries came others in the southern 
part of the county. The Berlin Creamery built near the Berlin 
post ofiice. H. A. Finch was the first manager. The Lemond 
Creamery, built in Lemond township, Lemming Hansen, was the 
first secretary and manager. Somerset has two creameries at 
River Point and Steele Centre. Oak Glen Creamery at Bixby has 
a fine brick creamery. In the centre of Blooming Prairie town- 
ship is the Union Creamery, organized on the co-operative plan. 
Nels Nelson was the first manager. Blooming Prairie village 
has the creamery doing the largest business in the count}'. E. 
Morton is the president. Summit Creamery is in the town of 
Summit, Mr. Kubicek, manager. Midway Creamery at Hope 
station, J. B. Pike, manager. Southwest of Owatonna, five miles. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 827 

is the Crown Creamery. This completes the list in the south 
part of the county. 

West of Owatonna on the C. & X. W. Ry. is Mcriclen Creamery 
at Meriden station. H. J. Rosenan has been butter maker since 
the creamery started and has been one of Minnesota's best 
butter makers. In the northwest part of the county, in Deer- 
field township, is the Deerfield Creamery. A brick creamery has 
recently been Ijuilt. 

Havana Creamery, live miles east of Owatonna, was organized 
in 1893. _U)hn Morton was the first manager, the farmers buying 
the old plant of L. A. Disbrow. This was subsequently de- 
stroyed by fire and immediately rebuilt. The Moland Creamery 
was built in the extreme northeast part of the county and in the 
town of Merton. H. Ruen is the present manager. 

The county is now thoroughly organized so that every farmer 
in Steele county has easy access to a co-operative creamery. 
And while there is no parent organization which covers the 
whole sj'Stem, the creameries of Steele county are working in har- 
mony and all practically working on the whole milk plan and 
making a uniformly good quality of butter. 

The work along co-operative lines in Steele county, when we 
take into consideration the past attempts at factory manufac- 
turing by individuals, have proven the means of building up the 
dairy industry, until Steele county ranks as one of the first 
in the state both as regards quantity and quality of her product. 
She has twenty-three prosperous co-operative creameries, the 
output of which in 1909 was upwards of 3,000,000 pounds of 
butter and sold for $716,000. No other one source of income 
is so great as that from the sale of butter. Credit must be given 
to the farmers for the building up of the co-operative creameries. 
The results in every case have been due to the individual and 
collective efforts of the farmers, and in no case has outside 
business men or men of other pursuits invested any money in 
the capital stock of these creameries. 

The co-operative creamery as well as the dairy industry have 
come to stay. The original first plants are being replaced with 
modern, fire-proof buildings. Nothing has added so much to 
the permanent prosperity of Steele county as the building of 
the co-operative creameries. With the advent of dairying came 
diversified farming and uniformly better crops. And no one 
thing has contributed so much to bring about these results 
as co-operation among the farmers. 

J. R. Morley. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

EDUCATIONAL HISTORY. 

State System Inaugurated. — First School House Erected in 
Steele County. — Other Schoolhouses Soon Built. — Word 
Picture of Pioneer School. — First County Superintendent 
Appointed. — List of His Successors. — Owatonna Schools. — 
Early Meetings of the Board. — Grammar School Established. 
— High School Course. — Modern Modifications and Addi- 
tions. — Present Buildings, System and Officers. — List of 
City Superintendents. — Contributed by Professor Philip J. 
Kuntz. 

In treating the subject of education, or of the public schools 
of Owatonna, but little more than half a century of time is in- 
volved. While nothing pertaining to the long ago will be 
really necessary, still, in order to lay a good foundation for our 
work, it will seem best to consider a wider field than even 
Steele county. 

At the formation of the union, and later, when the federal 
government was established, there was no definite line of action 
as to public education, although at the same time that the Con- 
stitution was adopted the last session of the Continental Con- 
gress was being held in the city of New York, and the Ordinance 
of 1787 was passed, regulating the aflfairs pertaining to the North- 
west territories, including a portion of Minnesota, that portion 
hnng east of the Alississippi river. In this Ordinance much 
attention was given to tiie question of education, and of pro- 
viding a means for public education, by giving one section in 
each congressional township for educational purposes. Later, 
when the purchase of Louisiana was effected, and Minnesota 
sought admission into the union, still further provision was 
made for education by giving two sections in each congressional 
township for such purposes. This gave impetus to the natural 
tendency toward educational matters, and we find that one of the 
first efforts in the new settlements was to prepare to educate 
the children. The church and the school building, when not one 
and the same, were practically always found side by side. The 
' hardy pioneers of the Great Northwest — of which Minnesota 
was a part — did not wait even for a territorial government, 
but set to work at once to establish schools. The first one in 

828 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 829 

Minnesota, for the education of white children, was organized 
by Dr. Williamson, at the present site of the city of St. Paul. 
We are told that investigation demonstrated that there were 
about thirty-six children in the settlement, who might attend 
a school. A log house, 10x12 feet, covered with hark, and 
chinked with mud, previously used as a blacksmith shop, was 
secured and converted into a school house, and taught by Miss 
Bishop. Here, then, while the United States troops were gaining 
such signal success in the war with Mexico, was begun the 
system of education which has become one of the best in this 
great nation. In this same little school house in November, 
1849, was held a meeting for the purpose of establishing a system 
of public education, based upon the congressional act of March, 
1849, establishing Minnesota territory. Alexander Ramsey, of 
Pennsylvania, was appointed governor, and proceeded at once 
to assume the duties of his office. In his first message to the 
territorial legislature, in the fall of 1849, he emphasized the need 
of wise measures looking to the establishment of a system of 
public education in these words: "The subject of education, 
which has ever been esteemed of first importance in all new 
American communities, deserves, and I doubt not, will receive 
your earliest and most devoted care. From the pressure of other, 
and more immediate wants, it is not to be expected that your 
school system should be very ample, yet it is desirable that what- 
ver is done should be of a character that will readily adapt 
itself to the growth and increase of the country, and not in 
future years require a violent change of system." 

In response to this appeal for legislation in school matters 
we find that a committee on education was appointed, and a 
very able report was made by the chairman, Hon. Martin Mc- 
Leod. This report was formulated into an act relating to public 
schools in Minnesota, which act was passed on the last day of 
the session, November 1, 1849. It organized the territory into 
districts, of which the township was the unit, and provided that 
if a township had within its limits five families it should be 
considered as one district, but if it contained ten families it 
should be divided into two districts. Tax levy was provided, 
and a system of management arranged. The first superintendent 
of common schools for the territory was Rev. E. D. Neill, who 
served till 1853. His salary was one hundred dollars a year. 

About 1853 we find the first authentic record of people com- 
ing into what was afterward called Steele county, and the first 
settlements were made near Medford and on the present site 
of Owatonna. Not until 1855 did there seem to be a sufficient 
number of children to begin educational work, and then the 
present Steele county, and a portion of what is now Waseca 



830 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

count}', constituted one township, according to the meaning of 
the territorial plan. During the summer of 1855 a few of the 
settlers got together and built a kind of shed, and covered with 
boughs, on the present Albertus site on North Oak street, which 
was the first schoolhouse, and which school was taught by 
Helen Holbrook. Two of the student children in attendance 
upon this school were the mother and aunt of Grace Farmer, 
at present a teacher in the Lincoln school, Owatonna. The 
next year a log house was built, and served as a school house, 
church and general meeting place for public business. This 
building was erected near the present Lincoln school Iniilding. 
Here we find the cliildren of the hardy pioneers attending school 
and receiving their first, and in many cases, their only educational 
training. At about the same time that these events were tran- 
spiring in Owatonna other settlements in Steele county were 
establishing schools. In the same year, namely, in 1856, Medford 
built a school house, and there began a kind of rivalry between 
the two places, with the odds for some time seemingly in favor 
of Medford. Clinton Falls and Havana followed in rapid suc- 
cession, and it soon became necessary to plan a county system 
of education. Permit me here to present a picture of a winter 
day, say in 1858 or 9, at school. (This is a reproduction, so 
far as I can remember, of the school as given me by a dear 
departed friend, A. W. Jones.) A log school house, with an old 
Franklin stove set in a box of brick in the center of the room, 
door at one end, and two windows on each side, chinking of mud 
between the logs, the master's desk in one corner of the room, 
home-made desks for about fifteen to twentj' children around 
the outside of the room, the dinner baskets on the floor in a 
corner most distant from the stove, wraps hanging about the 
room, and a rousing wood fire in the stove. At 9 o'clock the 
master calls school by rapping on the window sash and giving 
expression to the then commonly used expression, "Books." Then 
the work of the day begins. 

The organization of the school system of the county, accord- 
ing to the territorial plan, was to have as its head a county 
superintendent of schools, and in the election of 1856 we find 
that Ezra Abbott was elected to that office. The number of 
school districts in the county then was thirteen and the number 
of teachers was fifteen. Following is the list of county super- 
intendents, beginning with 1864, the period between 1862 and 
1864 being under a different plan. (The legislature changed the 
system in 1862, dividing the county into three districts, in each 
of which the county commissioners were to appoint a super- 
intendent.) The following persons were appointed: R. G. Lin- 
coln, first district: Harvey Chapin, second district: Dv^-ight Gor- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 831 

den, third district. In 1864, the law being changed back to 
county supervision, the county commissioners appointed A. A. 
Harwood county superintendent and fixed his salary at $200 a 
year. 

Mr. Harwood was succeeded by Hon. A. C. Hickman. F. J. 
Stevens succeeded him in 1868, and Mr. Stevens was succeeded 
by O. A. Tiffany. The terms of service are not given for the 
reason that no record was available. Rev. G. C. Tanner was the 
next county superintendent and held the office until 1887, when 
he resigned. J. D. Brown was appointed to fill the vacancy and 
held office till 1890, when E. G. Adams was elected, and held 
office for four years. In 1894 C. L. Whitman was elected, and 
served but one term. In 1896 Frank Carleton was elected, and 
served one term, when W. V. Kasper was elected and served two 
terms. In 1902 A. E. Kenyon was elected and in 1904 C. L. 
Davis was elected, serving two terms. In 1908 Steele county 
for the first time in its history elected a lady to the office of 
county superintendent, in the person of Grace G. Randall, who 
occupies the position at the present writing. 

OWATONNA SCHOOLS. 

About 1860 or 1862 the settlement of Owatonna had suffi- 
ciently increased to call for a larger building, and a frame school 
house, with two rooms, was built by Elder Towne, which 
building was used until removed in 1902, and is now changed 
into a dwelling house on East School street. As teachers for 
this school Katherine Adair, sister of the present (1910) high 
school principal, Esther E. Adair, was one of the teachers. A 
picture of these two teachers, and their children is at present 
in possession of Esther E. Adair. 

In 1865 a special charter was granted to the city of Owa- 
tonna, making the territory of the city of Owatonna in the 
county of Steele, to constitute one school district, and under the 
control and direction of a board of education. As members of 
this board of education the following persons were elected, as 
per record, now in the possession of the board of education : 
A. Towne, term three years, second ward ; S. Hotchkiss, term 
three years, first ward; D. W. Burch, term one year, third ward; 
D. S. Harsha, term one year, at large; C. L. Tappan, term two 
years, at large. 

April 10th, 1865, the meeting for organization "met according 
to law, in the principal school house of said city, and organized 
by electing Rev. A. Towne, president, and Rev. C. L. Ta])pan 
clerk, by ballot." 

These minutes, and the minutes from that day to this. 



832 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

are complete and continuous, and well kept. At this first meet- 
ing it was decided to have three terms of school during the 
year, of three months each, and that they employ two female 
teachers for the first (summer) term. 

"Adjourned for 5 minutes, by order of the president, to read 
the local news, at the expiration of which time business was 
resumed." 

It was also voted that school commence the first Monday in 
May, 1865. April 20, 1865, another meeting was held, and Mary 
E. P. Smith was elected at $7 a week, and Mary E. Blair, at $6 
a week. May 25, 1865, another meeting was held and this 
record is found : 

"In view of the crowded state of our schools, it was voted 
to open another department, viz. : grammar department, and 
Messrs. Towne and Harsha were appointed a committee to pro- 
cure a suitable room for the same and report next Monday 
evening." At the appointed meeting the committee reported that 
they were unable to procure a room. At this meeting they 
"voted to hire the Baptist church, if it can be obtained, for the 
grammar school." June 1st. 1865, a meeting was held, and the 
following appears : "Voted to hire C. T. Andrews to teach the 
grammar department in the Baptist church, 7 weeks, beginning 
next Monday, and to pay him $60 for the same. Messrs. Burch 
and Tappan were appointed a committee to hire Mr. Andrews 
and grade the schools. Mr. Burch was appointed to procure 
pail, dipper and broom." 

The fall of 1865 the schools began the first Monday after 
Thanksgiving, and later it was found that a fourth teacher was 
necessary, and the same was provided to begin in January, 1866. 

At a meeting of the board held January 8, 1866, I find the first 
record of rules and regulations to govern the schools, which are 
as follows: 1st, The schools shall be divided into three depart- 
ments, styled the primary, intermediate and grammar depart- 
ments, and the studies pursued in each shall be uniform. 2nd, 
Every pupil in the intermediate and grammar departments of 
the school shall be required to read and spell at least once each 
day. 3d, There shall be no profane or indecent language used 
by any pupil in attendance at the schools. 4tli, There shall be 
no rude or boisterous play in the school rooms and no marring 
or defacing of either school room or furniture. 5th, Every 
pupil in the grammar and intermediate departments who shall 
be tardy or absent shall be required by the teacher to bring 
a written excuse from parent or guardian, and no pupil shall 
be dismissed during school hours without a written request 
from parent or guardian. Provided further, that whenever such 
excuses and request shall number five, the teacher shall report 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 833 

said pupil to the board, and refuse to admit him to school until 
he present a written statement from some member of the board 
entitling him to admission. 6th, Composition and declamation 
shall be maintained in the grammar department, and declamation 
in the intermediate department every week. 7th, Any pupil wil- 
full)^ violating, or refusing to comply with any of these rules, 
shall, upon due proof being given, be expelled or not, at the 
option of the board, during the remainder of the term in which 
such offense is committed." 

It is quite noticeable that much time, during these earlier 
years, was spent by the board in employing teachers, as they 
were almost entirely employed for a term of three months, when 
they were either reemployed or others employed to take their 
places. 

May 5, 1866, a district meeting was held for the purpose of 
voting $2,500 worth of bonds "for the purpose of purchasing 
sites and building two school rooms in the district." The bonds 
were voted. And from half the issue the minutes show the 
purchase of the Baptist church. September 14, 1867, an ad- 
journed meeting of the qualified voters of the district was held, 
which meeting was addressed by Mark H. Bunnell, state super- 
intendent of public instruction. At this meeting it was voted 
to bond the city of Owatonna, school district number one, to the 
amount of $20,000, for the purpose of purchasing a site for, and 
the erection of, a central school building. The bonds were voted 
to be issued at 10 per cent, but later I find another meeting 
called for the purpose of authorizing the payment of 12 per cent, 
as no money could be procured at 10 per cent. The change was 
voted, but a change in amount was also made, to $15,000. Feb- 
ruary 17, 1868, at a meeting of the qualified voters, the site 
for a central school building was selected, which was the present 
site of the high school building, and on March 2, 1868, the board 
resolved to build a central school building on the site previously 
selected. The building was to be of red brick, and three stories 
high, with nine foot basement. Plans and specifications were 
prepared by I. I. Fuller, for $100. Contract for building was 
given to I. W. Dresser and D. Marble, April 27, 1868, for 
$14,419. 

August 27, 1868, the board, at a regular meeting, elected 
Wm. L. Butts principal of the schools at a salary of $1200 a year. 
Up to this time C. T. Andrews seems to have been the principal. 
In the reelection of Prof. Butts for the fourth year, June 3, 1871, 
he was elected principal and superintendent. This is the first 
time the title of superintendent is aj^plied. Prof. Butts was at 
head of the schools until 1873, when he was succeeded by C. W. 
Hall, of Mankato, who occupied the position for two years, 



834 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

when C. \V. Clinton was elected, and served for three years. 
On the official record I find the following interesting item : "The 
night of January 7, 1873, and the day following are recorded 
as having experienced the most severe and destructive storms 
that have been known in the history of Minnesota. At about 
3 o'clock in the afternoon the wind changed from the south to 
the northwest and continued increasing in power until it became 
one of the greatest electrical storms ever known in the North- 
west. So much so that messages were readily sent after the 
batteries had been disconnected from the wires. The loss of life 
along our northern and western frontier has been terrific ; over 
200 persons are known to have perished during the storm. 
Comparatively few lives have been lost in the southern and east- 
ern portions of the state. The air became so filled with drifting 
snow that it was impossible to distinguish objects at more than 
ten or twelve rods distance, and often not more than four rods. 
Mercury going no lower than 18 degrees below zero." 

At a meeting of the board September 5, 1876, Prof. Clinton 
presented the following high school course of study, which was 
the first on record, and, as the record shows, was adopted, after 
some discussion : 

"High school course of study, 1876. — First year, first term: 
Arithmetic, practical and mental; reading; physical geography: 
United States history: grammar; spelling: language lessons; 
drawing (optional) ; penmanship. First year second term : Arith- 
metic, practical and mental; reading; United States history; 
algebra, to factoring; grammar; language lessons ; physiology; 
drawing (optional); spelling; penmanship. First year, third 
term : Arithmetic, practical and mental ; language lessons ; draw- 
ing (optional ) ; algebra, reviewed ; spelling; penmanship: read- 
ing; United States history, completed ; grammar. Second year, 
first term: Algebra, continued; word analysis: penmanship; 
school composition; United States constitution; drawing (op- 
tional); natural philosophy ; spelling; general history. Second 
year, second term : Algebra, completed ; word analysis ; penman- 
ship ; school composition; United States constitution; drawing 
(optional); natural philosophy ; spelling; general history. Sec- 
ond year, third term : Algebra, reviewed ; word analysis ; pen- 
manship ; natural philosophy, completed ; United States consti- 
tution, completed; drawing (optional); school composition: 
spelling ; general history. Third year, first term : Geometry ; 
English literature; chemistry; rhetorical exercises; political 
economy ; analysis of English language. Third year, second 
term: Geometry; geology; chemistry, completed; rhetorical 
exercises; analysis of English language; English literature. 
Third year, third term: Geometry, completed; elements of bot- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 835 

any; elementary astronomy ; rhetorical exercises ; English liter- 
ature; analysis of English language." 

August 29, 1879, Prof. J. C. Bryant was elected superintend- 
ent, Prof. Clinton having resigned. Before the opening of school 
for this fall, the above course of study was slightly modified, 
principally by the addition of Latin in the second and third year.s. 
The rules and regulations were also changed, rather brought 
down to date, and were in much the form and sentiment as at 
present in force. The course of study was changed at dififerent 
times, making it stronger with each change, and also making it 
harmonize with the work in other high schools and enabling the 
graduates from this high school to enter colleges and universities 
upon their credentials and without examinations. Not until after 
1890 was the course extended to a full four-year high school 
course, with four years of Latin offered, and two years of Ger- 
man offered. Changes have been a necessity in later years in 
order to add to the work the special lines, and give our young 
people an opportunity to secure the varied lines offered to young 
people in other communities and cities. Thus in 1901 music and 
drawing were added as a regular line, in charge of a special 
teacher. In 1907 manual training and mechanical drawing were 
added, and are in charge of a special teacher. During this same 
year the kindergarten was opened as a part of the public-school 
system of the city, in charge of a teacher and one assistant. This 
addition to the public-school system was made possible by reason 
of a perpetual endowment in the sum of $5,000, left for that pur- 
pose by Hon. H. H. Rosebrock, a public-spirited and philan- 
thropic citizen for many years. In 1909 the line of work was 
further extended by the addition of home economics, in charge 
of a special teacher. One further addition, that of agriculture, is 
being planned, and it is expected to put into operation a special 
course in agriculture, in charge of a trained person in that line of 
work. 

The first class to graduate from the high school was in the 
spring of 1877, and consisted of seven young people, four boys 
and three girls, two of whom are at present citizens of Owatonna, 
viz.: Alice L. Hold (Mrs. George R. Kinyon) and Charles L. 
Pound. Since that time, with the exception of 1878 and 1881, 
graduation exercises have been held, and classes have increased 
in size until the present class numbers forty-nine. The manage- 
ment of the school has been f|nite uniform and successful, the 
ruling principle being to maintain a high standard, and give the 
young people of Owatonna the benefit of the best that can be 
provided. Tenure of superintendents and teachers has been 
based upon the principle that successful individuals should be 
retained as long as possible. Fewer changes in supcrintendencies 



836 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

have been made than in most places. Mr. Bryant left in 1882 
and was succeeded by Hon. George B. Aiton for many years, 
and at present state high school inspector, who remained but 
two years. A. W. Rankin was elected in 1884, and remained 
until 1889. Mr. Rankin is at present professor in the College of 
Education at the state university. G. F. Kenasten was here from 
1889 to 1892; B. T. Hathaway, from 1892 to 1893; L. il. Ford, 
from 1893 to 1899, since which time the writer has occupied the 
position. 

At the present time there are, including the Kindergarten 
building, which is famous for having been Steele county's first 
court house, five buildings : The high school building, erected in 
1883, to take the place of the one erected in 1868, and burned to 
the ground in 1882; the McKinley building, erected in 1895 and 
1899, corner of Rose and Grove streets; the Lincoln building, 
erected in 1885 and in 1902, on the original school site ; the Jef- 
ferson building, on the west side, corner of Bridge and State 
streets, erected in 1904, and the Kindergarten building, above 
mentioned. The entire number of teachers employed, including 
the superintendent, is thirty-five. The board of education con- 
sists of one member from each ward (five) and two at large, mak- 
ing it consist of seven members. The levy for school purposes 
is $20,000. To this is to be added the state appropriation, 
amoimting to over $4,000, and the state high school aid, which 
now is $1,750 annually. 

The enrollment has reached 1,275, of which number 260 are 
enrolled in the high school. The class of 1910 consisted of 
eighteen young men and thirty-one young ladies — forty-nine in 
all — the largest class so far graduated from the schools. The 
board of education at present consists of: George Parrott, presi- 
dent; W. C. Zamboni, secretary; W. W. Kinyon, treasurer; 
R. H. G. Netz, Guy B. Bennett, M. R. Cashman, Anton Seykora, 
Jr.; P. J. Kuntz, superintendent, ex-ofificio member. 



CHAPTER XIV 

MILITARY HISTORY 

Steele County in the War for the Preservation of the Union — 
First War Meeting Held — Company Marches to Faribault 
and Is Mustered in at St. Paul — Enlistments and Bounties — 
Military Districts — War Record of Those First Enlisting — 
Names of the Soldiers from this County — Grand Army Or- 
ganizations — Old No. 5 Post — McPherson Post — James A. 
Goodwin Post and Corps — By E. E. Bigelow, M. D. 

The county of Steele, which was organized in 1855, and in 
1860 had a population of but 2,863, was only six years old, and 
the state scarcely three years old, when the pioneers were called 
to the defense of their flag and nation, then threatened through 
the secession of the Southern states from the Federal union, and 
the dogs of war were let loose by what had, during the winter 
months of 1860-61, developed into a confederacy of the Southern 
states, and an open rebellion to the government at Washington, 
which was ushered in by a direct attack by armed forces upon 
Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. At this time Alexander Ramsey, 
governor of Minnesota, chanced to be in Washington, and imme- 
diately sought Secretary Cameron, and in writing tendered 1,000 
soldiers from Minnesota in defense of the government, which 
offer was presented to the president and by him accepted. The 
governor telegraphed the same to the adjutant general of the 
state, with orders to make a call for troops. On receipt of the 
news of the call at Owatonna, although Steele county was but 
sparsely settled, its citizens loyally responded, and immediate 
steps were taken for the enlistment of volunteer soldiers for the 
ninety-day service. 

At a war meeting called at the old Morford Hall, the room 
was packed by a crowd of enthusiastic men and women. Among 
the patriotic speakers was Lewis McKune, of Waseca, who had 
come over to Owatonna for the occasion, and who added greatly 
to the enthusiasm of the meeting through an eloquent arraign- 
ment of the rebellious states. At the close of his address he 
stepped forward and headed the enlistment roll, which was in 
quick succession signed by Samuel Dwight Morford, Anton 
Schimek, Andrew Collyer, Merritt B. Patten, Alvin Phelps, Ed- 
ward Phillips, 0.scar Gross, Henry Borchert, George W. Crooker, 

837 



838 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Fredelin Bool, Merritt B. Case, \\'illiam N. Card, U. M. Curtis. 
Frank Dickenson, Charles E. Davison, James L. Dubois, Jerome 
Farensworth, George J. Hopkins, Anthony Jones, Francis F. 
Livingston, Irvin W. Northrup, Martin Patterson, Walter S. 
Reed, George P. Sawyer, James T. Sawyer, John E. Strothman, 
George Thorn and Theodore Williams, making an honor roll of 
twenty-six able-bodied men. These men marched, under the 
strain of martial music furnished by David Lindersmith as fifer 
and Elder Thomson as drummer, to Faribault, where they were 
joined by other contingents from Faribault, Waseca, Dundas 
and Northfield, and organized into a full company, with Lewis 
McKune, captain; Nathan S. Alessick, first lieutenant, and Will- 
iam E. Smith, second lieutenant. The company went immedi- 
ately to camp at St. Paul, and was mustered into the service of 
the United States as Company G, First Minnesota Volunteer 
Infantry, April 29, 1861. just seventeen days after Fort Sumter 
was fired upon and fourteen days after the president made his 
first call for 75,000 ninety-day men, the First Minnesota having 
the honor to be the first regiment mustered into service on that 
call. Before leaving the state a request was received from the 
president that a re-enlistment of the regiment be made for a 
period of three years or during the war. which was vmanimously 
responded to by the regiment, and it went to the front as such. 
not having to be remustered into service at the expiration of 
the ninety days. Considering that this regiment of men either 
came from the farm or from one or another branch or trade or 
profession, and that all contingencies had to be provided for, 
there probably was not another regiment during the war's con- 
tinuance so quickly organized and taken to the scene of military 
activity as this one. During the continuance of the war Steele 
county made a record for promptness in furnishing her quota of 
soldiers at every call from the president which she can justly feel 
proud of. Considering that the population of the county at the 
breaking out of the rebellion numbered only 2,863, all told, and 
that 412 of her able-bodied young patriots volunteered and gath- 
ered at rendezvous, leaving their all at home, either in the care of 
wife or aged parents, freely jeopardizing their lives upon the altar 
of their country, all old as well as new comers into the county 
should look back to those early days of the county's efforts with 
great satisfaction. As the census figures would show, 75 per 
cent of the able-bodied men of the population of the county went 
out to defend Old Glory and what she represents. 

During those "times that tried men's souls." the "copperhead" 
element in Steele county was not sufficient to become very 
noticeable, except in a very few instances, when the ofifender 
was given twenty-four hours to move out of the county or to be 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 839 

moved from eartlil_v strife altogether — a warning he learned to 
heed. 

In its official capacity, too, considering the stringency of 
money matters in those early days of Western pioneering, Steele 
county was magnanimous in the provisions made for supplying 
bounties to her volunteer soldiers, and in addition to which nearly 
every township in the county provided a special bounty as a 
sort of emergency relief work. On August 4, 1862, President 
Lincoln made his fourth call for additional troops. Reliance for 
providing bounties in Steele county had to a great extent been 
placed upon private subscriptions, which had become inefficient, 
and there had been no provision on the previous tax assessment 
roll for war purposes. Consequently, on August 12, 1862, Alex- 
ander Chambers, then chairman of the board of county commis- 
sioners, convened the board in special session. Of the three 
members of the board. Mr. Chambers and Benjamin F. iVIelvin 
were present, Hiram Fredenburgh not being able to come from 
Summit. At this meeting of the board, the sum of $50 was 
appropriated for each volunteer who should enlist in answer to 
the call and be mustered into service, and it was ordered that 
the bounties should be paid in installments of 10 per cent of the 
whole amount to the married men at the end of each month 
thereafter until the whole amount had been paid ; single men 
to receive one-half of the full amount at the end of six months 
and the balance at the end of the first year of service. At a sub- 
sequent meeting of the board, held on September 12, 1862, the 
full membership being present, a change in the manner of the 
payment of the bounties was made, in which it was ordered 
that the 10 per cent payments upon the bounties appropriated 
should be made at the end of each month, and the county treas- 
urer was instructed to call upon all persons who had subscribed 
to the bounty fund and solicit their subscriptions, that the 
monthly payments could be met when due. On January 9. 1863. 
at a regular meeting of the full board of county commissioners, 
the county treasurer informed the board that there was no 
money in the treasury with which to meet the monthly install- 
ments then due volunteers. The board instructed the county 
auditor that upon the presentation of an order upon the treasurer 
by any volunteer, there should be issued to him the amount of 
the installment due him, in county scrip, bearing 10 per cent 
interest. 

On April 8, 1863, at a special meeting of the county board, 
called for that purpose, the county was divided into districts 
for the election of officers for military purposes; each district 
to have one captain and one first and one second lieutenant, the 
districts being arranged as follows: The First district was to 



840 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

include Aurora and Dover (now Havana), and the meeting and 
election was to be held at the residence of A. B. Clark; the Sec- 
ond district was to include Somerset and Summit, the election 
to be held at the school house near Mr. Bills' house ; the Third 
district was to include Berlin and Lemond, election to be held 
at the residence of J. \V. Crosby ; the Fourth district was Owa- 
tonna, election to be held at the school house; the Fifth district 
was Merton, election to be held at town meeting place; the Sixth 
district was to include Clinton Falls and Aledford, election to 
be held at residence of David Sanborn; the Seventh district 
was to include Meriden and Deerfield, election to be held at the 
school house near John O. Waumumetts' residence. 

December 19, 1863, at a meeting of the board, a resolution 
was passed stating that the majority of the taxpayers of the 
county wished the bount}- to be raised to $100 for volunteers. 
In accordance therewith, B. F. Melvin was instructed to ascer- 
tain where, and on what terms, the county could secure a loan 
that would be sufficient to meet the claims of the volunteers. In 
January, 1864. he reported to the board that Dr. McCutcheon, 
of Faribault, would take $3,000 of the bonds at par value, but 
stated that he was informed by the doctor's attorney that the 
commissioners had no legal right to issue such bonds. 

It being found that the bonds were illegal, and not negotiable, 
the legislature, then in session, was asked to authorize the issue 
of $6,000 in bonds, out of which each volunteer who should enlist 
and be accredited to Steele county should receive $100, as soon 
as the money could be secured. On February 12, 1864, the legis- 
lature passed an act authorizing Steele county to issue the $6,000 
in county bonds, to draw 12 per cent interest, one-half to be paid 
at the expiration of two years, and the balance in three years. 
Alexander Chambers was appointed to negotiate the loan, and 
it was provided that the volunteers should be paid their bounties 
in the order in which they enlisted, until all should have been 
paid, or all of the amount of the money secured had been paid 
out; the instructions being that veterans who should re-enlist 
would not receive any portion of the bounty thus provided for 
the new enlistments. 

Of the soldiers who went to the front with the First Minne- 
sota Volunteer Infantry, Captain McKune was killed in battle 
at Bull Run, July 21, 1861. Samuel Dwight Morford was 
wounded at tlie battle of Gettysburg, and was in the hospital sick 
when the regiment was mustered out. Anton Schimek and An- 
drew Collyer were both killed at Bull Run. Merritt B. Patten 
was killed at Bull Run. Alvin Phelps was discharged for dis- 
ability. Edward Phillips was promoted to a corporal and mus- 
tered out with his regiment. Oscar Gross met a severe bullet 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 841 

wound through tlie elbow joint in his right arm at Bull Run and 
was discharged, permanently disabled. Henry Borchart was 
transferred to the United States Cavalry, October 25, 1862. 
George W. Crooker was wounded at Bull Run, and discharged 
for disability. Fredelin Bool remained the full term of enlist- 
ment and was mustered out in Alay, 1864. Merritt B. Case was 
wounded at Bull Run and discharged, to be promoted major of 
a colored regiment. William Card died at Fair Oaks on June 2, 
1862. M. M. Curtis was discharged for disability January 26, 
1862. Charles E. Davison was wounded at Bull Run and died 
November 6, 1862, at New York. James L. Dubois was wounded 
at Bull Run and discharged July 6, 1863, for disability. Frank 
Dickinson, corporal, was promoted to company sergeant and 
mustered out with the regiment. George J. liopkins was 
wounded at Gettysburg; further than this, the rolls do not 
record what did become of him or that he was ever mustered 
out of service. Anthony Jones was wounded at both Bull Run 
and Gettysburg, and finally discharged for disability. Francis 
F. Livingstone held the position of division wagon master during 
the term of his enlistment, and was mustered out in May, 1864. 
Martin Patterson was discharged for disability January 7, 1863. 
George P. Sawyer was killed at Gettysburg. James T. Sawyer 
was severely wounded at Antietam and not accounted for. John 
E. Strothman, corporal and musician, was killed at Gettysburg. 
George Thom was mustered out at expiration of enlistment, May, 
1864. Theodore Williams died September 24, 1862. Walter S. 
Reed was wounded at Bull Run and Gettysburg and transferred 
to the First Battery. Irvin W. Northrup, sergeant, died July 
14, 1862, of disease. 

Did time and space j^crmit, the writer would be glad to give 
the full roster of service performed by the individual volunteer 
soldiers from Steele county, but it has been deemed sufficient to 
give here the record of those on the honor roll from the county — 
that is, those who went out with the first company. 

It is well to mention here a rather interesting incident con- 
nected with the wound received by Oscar Gross and the writer. 
After passing through the operation for relief of the wound, and 
his allotted time under the surgeon's care in the army hospital, 
Mr. Gross was discharged from the service, and through a fail- 
ure to discover a part of the bullet that had become imbedded 
in the joint of the elbow, he had carried the same during a period 
of twenty-six years, with two open discharging outlets, one on 
either side of the joint, which caused the destruction of the use- 
fulness of the joint and the withering of the whole arm, making 
it comparatively useless, besides a constant source of pain and 
anxiety to him, needing during this whole period to be dressed 



84:2 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

and cared for, till January, 1887. My attention was called to 
the shattered arm, and upon investigating the diseased joint, 
located the portion of bullet, and removed it, after which he was 
relieved from his suffering and became a more useful man. Had 
the army surgeon attended to his duty, this man would have 
escaped many years of suffering, and have had the use of his 
right arm. 

The following is a list of the soldiers who answered their 
country's call and enlisted from Steele county, as taken from the 
records in the adjutant general's office: 

Aurora — Levi Annis, Jacob Berg, J. S. Bixljy, George H. 
Curtis. Henry Lopping, William Green, Felix Myers, Patrick 
Morin, Dennis Morin. George A. Fling, William J. Snider, R. C. 
McDaniels, Nils P. Thimson, John L. Roberts, William J. John- 
son, Samuel Howe, Chris. Dickenson, Samuel B. Olmstead, 
David Pettie, C. B. Pettie, G. C. Pettic, Albert T. Cook, James 
L. Roberts. Clark Weed, Halleck Siverson, Alonzo Richards, 
Arthur H. Danchey. 

Berlin — Levi Chase, Dudlet Chase, Timothy Chase, William 
Hanson, Eli F. Pitcher. Isaac Reese, Francis Grow, Eugene W. 
Roberts, William Wilson. 

Dover (now Havana) — Frank Chambers, Manley M. Curtis, 
James L. Dubois, George W. Emery, Anthony Jones, Anthony 
W. Jones, Isaac W. Jones, Martin Patterson, J. E. Strotham, 
Oscar Tiltany, John W. Warfield, John Willis, Joseph R. Web- 
ster, W. H. Buns, Gilbert W. Elliot, John McCaslin, Richard S. 
Bailey, Henry Bloomer, Henry F. Minthorn, Allen Hart, John 
Anderson, Charles Hudson, Charles Jones, S. F. Giles. 

Clinton P'alls — Osias B. Baker, William Barnhard, James 
Barnhard, John H. Bortley, R. W. Cressey, Thomas Curtis, 
George W. Green, Andrew M. Hunt, Sanford E. Hays, William 
E. Morrison, Thurman E. McXitt, Henry Parsons, B. C. Sanljorn, 
D. W. Williamson. Joseph Richie, Sanford H. Mclntire, Samuel 
Morrison, Martin Warner. 

Deerfield — Demster L. Winchell, Patrick Condon, Benjamin 
Gypson, William Hodgson, Samuel Lilly, Henry N. Morse, 
William Rosenthal, William Star, Charles H. Williams, Henry 
G. Carter, William W. Arnold, Cyrus M. Huston, Newton 
Parker, Joseph Fleury. 

Lemond — Samuel B. Beach, Aaron S. Bragg, Joseph Tatro, 
John Tatro, Thomas Fluston, Nelson Johnson, Nevvcomb Kin- 
ney, Stillman Kinney, Daniel Tasker, Samuel Gould, Henry W. 
Bragg, Edward Davis, James Gibson, Ingbert Sorenson. 

Medford — John L. Barney, Clavin G. Bliss, Warren P. Bis- 
sell, John L. Davis, Thomas E. Davis, Richard M. Drake, Adoni- 
ram Eastman, Albert B. Francis, Francis W. Fowler, Loren 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 843 

Fowler, Samuel M. Freeman, Samuel M. Guile, Augustus Has- 
kill, Isaac P. Heath, John A. Heath, Charles Jeffery, George 
Kendig, John H. King, James S. Stodard, Nelson McClure, Will- 
iam W. W'ilkins, August. A. Lincoln, Ambrose Moore, William 
McCrory, Albert McKinney, F. L. Melvin, M. D. L. Miller, Elias 
G. Pike, Charles Pomeroy, William Pasco, Eugene P. Ring, 
Jotham Shaw, M. L. Strong, George B. Sawyer, H. N. Thurston, 
John W. Wcntworth, W. W. W'heeler, W. W. Wilkins, Lewis 
M. Howard, Moses Hoit, James H. DeReenier. 

Meriden — Henry Bradley, William Bradley. Charles Fitz- 
simmons. Lewis F"itzsimmons, L. J. Green, William S. Tuthill, 
Byron J. Williams, Asa Mosher, Samuel W. Baker, Thomas 
Cooney, Henry Ritchie, James R. McNitt, John A. Teed, James 
W. Kern, Cornelius F. Ross, Francis H. Carr, William McCabe, 
James Bradley, Anthony J. Jordon, John D. Tuthill, Charles 
S. House, Philo Hawes, John L. Anderson, William H. Kidney, 
V. V. Middaugh, William A. Harris. Lewis Jacob, Adelbert 
Smith. 

Merton — James H. Adams, James J. Barnes, Norman Mosher, 
Willard E. Marlin, Alvin Burns, Charles B. Baker, Joseph Car- 
penter, Samuel J. Curtis, Patrick Conden. Thomas Carpenter, 
A. R. Eastman, Levi Flake, Michael W. Henry, Miles Henry, 
Frederick J. Irvin, Henry B. Jones, Oliver T. Jones. Frank L. 
Kendall, John Lane, Michael McAndrews, Wilmot H. Pinnick, 
Robert Thom, Patrick McAndrews, Sewel P. Norton, George 
Naylor, James Naylor. Andrew W. Reed. Franklin Thompson, 
Emmons P. Taylor, Theodore Williams, George H. Willey, Mel- 
vin H. Welch, Lawrence W. MoUey, Warren Barnard, Daniel 
Dodge, Jr., Smith Casler. John W. Curtis, Henry L. Curtis, Ter- 
rence O'Toole, Thomas J. Conlin. 

Owatonna — R. C. Ambler, E. M. Arnold, Fredolin Bool, John 
D. Burr, P. D. Barnett, Michael Barney, Hugh Burns, L. F. 
Babcock, Murdock P. Burr, M. B. Case. George W. Crooker, 
Andrew H. Colyer, D. L. Coverdale, J. T. Carter. J. W. Craw- 
ford, O. S. Crandall, Simon Case, Dexter Carlton, F. A. Conwell, 
Oliver Lindcrsmith, Ebcnczer La Gro, S. D. Morford, C. F. 
Moessner, George M. Mills, Joel G. Morford, Orlando S. Moore, 
T. C. S. Minthorne, W. W. Ernest, Jeremiah Elliot, E. D. Fill- 
more, Harvey Fletcher. J. N. H. Flinn. Norman T. Foster, Wal- 
ter Gordon. James A. Goodwin. John Grear, James F. Hall, 
J. R. Hooker. J. A. Madley, Jacob W. Hess, Asa S. Haynes, Will- 
iam Ilartz, Charles F. Hammond. Thomas Kelley. E. M. Ker- 
rott, Frank Livingstone. Richard A. Pasco, William Presley. 
W. H. Russell. Andrew J. Rideout, James T. Sawyer, Austin E. 
Schimek, W. H. Sherman, Smith II. Stowers, Richard Miles, 
John Morris. E. W. Northrop, Jacob Nichols, John B. Norman, 



8-14 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

G. W. Odell, E. P. Phillips, Alvin Phelps, AI. B. Patten, Adison 
Phelps, Fred. Parsons, Horace H. Phillips, Zeus S. Yearley, 
Thomas Thompson, Henry D. Brigham, Samuel S. Epla, C. E. 
Howard, Samuel Bettig, Jr., George \V. Crooker, John D. Coon, 
Hiram Harsh, Ebon Hullett, Hiram Robinson, George W. The- 
nig, Allen S. Vail, Joseph Young, John F. Lipsey, John M. Rock. 
]\Iethia Sweatt, Jacob W. Walrod, John C. Wickham, John 
Young, Edwin P. Buck, Thedoriorus J. Andrews, William B. 
Scott, George Thorn. Daniel G. Towie, H. R. Thompson, James 
Syhomas, Julius A. Town, Willard Wheaton, Alanson B. Wood, 
Nathaniel Winchell, William Webster, William B. Winchell, 
Marcus Ware, William Bradley, O. Lindersmith, Jacob Peebles, 
Benjamin Siars, Daniel L. Tasker, Oscar Tiffany, Ezra A. Tyler, 
Erin II. Ameigh, George W. Brooks, William H. Clark, Charles 
Giles. Charles A. Jones, John Jepson, William B. Lyons, D. P. 
Marshall, George N. Hopkins, Russell Chase, Solomon Mid- 
daugh, James M. Sherpy, George Chambers, Nathaniel Ramsey, 
John Wilcox, Joseph Euny, Franklin K. Hicock, Michael McPelt, 
Daniel R. Morrison, Wesley W. Pitch, John Wildrich, Melvin 
B. Slocum, Isaac Reecc, Joseph E. E. Peggs, Charles W. Gard- 
ner, Steven Lafayett. 

Summit — Jeremiah Fredenburg. John I<'arrell, James Smith, 
George Winchell, Benjamin S. Wheeler, Harvey Benedict, Jr., 
Hanson B. Davis, Alvin Fredenburg, Archibard Colanhour, Fre- 
born L. Austin, Roswell F. Heath, David V. Smith, William T. 
Scram, Isaac S. Barrett, Mortimer R. Ellis, Daniel A. Loomis, 
Adolphus C. Work, John Warner. 

Somerset — Henry Borchert, Ferdinand Borchcrt, William N. 
Card, Charles C. Curtis, Oscar Gross, Arza B. Thompson, Will- 
iam N. Breidenstein, Thomas G. James, John Lunn, Joseph 
Buckner, Albert Bailey, Charles Ellison, Gilbert Gross, Thomas 
E. Kinyon, William W. Hanson, George Mitchell, David L. 
Mainard, Frank Sekora, James S. King, James B. Smith, Philo 
Sawyer, Charles A. Steele, Ole Onficleson, Byrum Powers, 
Henry A. Pitcher, Stephen Carvey, Hermon Johnson, Charles 
R. Knowlton, Lafayette Howe, Silas Anderson, Theodore Wal- 
cott. 

GRAND ARMY ORGANIZATIONS. 

On the evening of November 30, 1867, several honorably dis- 
charged soldiers of the Civil War of the L^nited States, having 
received a dispensation from the department headquarters of 
the Minnesota Grand Armj' of the Republic to establish a post 
of that order, it was organized by Comrades O. M. Knight, 
(Col.) H. J. Lewis, E. H. Allen, E. P. Phillips, A. S. Chase, 
T. H. Kellcv, Dr. Solomon Blood, T. W. Hanks, M. P. Maine, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 845 

J. II. Daniels (Major) M. A. Dailcy, A. F. Lewis, Eli I. William- 
son and C. Chamberlain. The following officers were elected : 
Col. H. J. Lewis, post commander; E. W. Allen, S. V. P. C. ; 
E. P. Phillips, J. V. P. C; A. S. Chase, P. Adjt.; P. H. Kelley, 
Q. M. ; Dr. S. Blood, P. Surg. The organization was named 
Post No. 5, Department of Minnesota, Grand Army of the Re- 
public, and held its meetings first in the Good Templars' Hall, 
then for a while, by invitation, in the Winona and St. Peter 
railroad depot, and finally, during the last months of its exist- 
ence, in the old Dresser Hall. From the date of its organization 
up to September 24, 1869, sixty additional comrades had been 
added to its ranks, making a total membership of seventy-three. 

In August, 1869, orders were received from headquarters to 
reorganize the post under the new system that had been inaug- 
urated at the grand encampment of the G. A. R., at Cincinnati, 
Ohio, on May 24, 1869. In compliance with this, the then com- 
mander of the local post. R. C. Olin, and his quartermaster, 
M. E. Billings, having been mustered at headquarters, mustered 
the officers of the old organization into the new one, and at sub- 
sequent meetings mustered Comrades R. E. Bailey, (Dr.) S. 
Blood, T. H. Ferrel, Andrew Fisher, F. S. Furman, H. J. Lewis, 
E. S. Paddock, A. B. Webber, W. S. Wilson, Ethan W. Allen, 
Julius F. Young, John T. Carter, John Middagh and E. H. 
Kennedy. Notice was served upon the comrades that they would 
be allowed only till the last meeting in September to be remus- 
tered and to retain membership in the order. The post drafted 
a new set of by-laws, named the organization McPherson Post, 
No. 5, G. A. R., rented a hall from the Y. M. C. A., over the 
Harsha drug store, now the Deviny Building, and held its last 
meeting on September 24, 1869, as per adjutant's last reports on 
file. No doubt the reason for this abrupt ending of the reorgan- 
ized post was that the members of the original organization 
could not at the time be induced to be remustered. 

James A. Goodwin Post, No. 81, G. A. R. The first meeting 
which was held for the purpose of organizing the post was at 
the Knights of Honor Hall over the old D. O. Searl hardware 
store on Cedar street, with L. L. Wheelock in tlie chair. Mr. 
Wheelock announced the presence of the vice <loi:)artnicnt com- 
mander, R. A. Becker, with Comrades Zigbaum, Leibold and 
Waffle, of St. Paul, to assist him in tlie organization, and pro- 
ceeded to muster in the following as charter members: E. A. 
Tyler, W. A. Dynes, C. W. Hadley, John Helwig, Oscar Gross, 
J. W. Burch, Frank L. Mclvin, L. L. Inrnan, John Ryan. L. L. 
Wheelock. J. C. Barncard, S. N. Lund, Dr. W. H. Twiford, W. 
W. Day, George E. Sloan, Dr. E. E. Bigelow, David Curtis, Dr. 
J. L. Harrington, Oscar Murphy, R. H. Reynolds, Aaron Heming- 



846 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

way, E. P. Norton, F. M. Bautcr, Eli 1. Williamson, C. M. Will- 
iamson, William Gamble, C. W. Wilkinson, J. D. Backus, J. E. 
Teed, D. W. Williamson, D. O. Searl, H. J. Robinson, Jerry Fre- 
denburg, Horace Smith, J. D. Holden and Orlando Lindersmith. 
An election of officers resulted in choosing L. L. Wheelock, 
P. C; E. A. Tyler, S. V. P. C; D. O. Searl, J. V. P. C; H. J. 
Helwig, adjutant ; \V. A. Dynes, O. M. ; J. L. Harrington, P. S. ; 
Rev. J. Newton Brown, chaplain; J. Z. Barncard, O. D. ; E. P. 
Norton, O. B.; C. B. Wilkinson, S. M. ; J. D. Holden, Q. M. S. 

Among the many names presented to be considered from 
which to select a name for the post was that of James A. Good- 
win, in memoriam of the late James A. Goodwin, a pioneer busi- 
ness man of Owatonna, who was enlisted as a sergeant of Com- 
pany E, Fourth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, in the fall of 
1861, and was immediately taken with his regiment into active 
service, was promoted to the second lieutenancy of the company, 
and at the battle of luka. Miss., on September 19, 1862, lost one 
of his legs, and died in the hospital at St. Louis, Mo. This name 
was selected, and James A. Goodwin Post, No. 81, gained very 
rapidly in numbers. In August the hall became too small for 
quarters, so that the hall over the postofifice building was secured 
and fitted up by dividing it into two parts, making accommoda- 
tions also for the James A. Goodwin Relief Corps, No. 31. This 
hall was occupied by the two organizations in August, 1887, the 
post at that time numbering 136 members. After occupying 
these quarters for ten years, the post and relief corps moved to 
the more roomy and commodious quarters in the Knights of 
Pythias Hall, where they still hold their meetings. Although at 
one time numbering 235 members, the membership has dwindled 
by transfers, removals, deaths and other means till at the present 
time there are only ninety members remaining, sixty-one com- 
rades having died since the organization of the post. 

The purposes for which the Grand Army of the Republic was 
organized are to inculcate and preserve fraternal feelings and 
interests in one another's welfare; to strengthen tliat bond 
which so strongly bound soldiers together in field and camp 
duties ; to perpetuate the history and memory of those who have 
passed beyond; to render needed assistance to unfortunate com- 
rades during their declining years, and to help and protect and 
assist in alleviating the hardships of the widows and children 
of those who fell while in the service. Another great aim of the 
G. A. R. is to teach patriotic thought and principles to the j-oung 
and rising generations by encouraging a lasting love for the flag 
of our country as the great integral part of government influ- 
ence; to always love, reverence and be ready to defend it. 
Among the results to-day, a flagstaff, provided with Old Glory, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 847 

is attached to every school house in our country, and pupils are 
taught to reverence it. Politically, the G. A. R. is non-partisan, 
no politics being allowed at the meetings. 

The present officers of the local post are : T. H. Kelley, P. C. ; 
Dr. E. E. Bigelow, S. V. P. C. ; A. A. Farrensworth, J. V. P. C; 
Dr. J. Palmer Johnson, adjutant; Wilford Vinton, Q. S. ; Julius 
F. Young, surgeon ; Joseph Cobb, chaplain ; R. P. Pike, O. D. ; 
Aaron S. Bragg, O. G. ; Andrew Read, sergeant major; A. M. 
Kinyon, quartermaster sergeant. The post holds its meetings 
at the Knights of Pythias Hall, on the first and third Fridays of 
each month, at 8 o'clock in the evening. 

James A. Goodwin Woman's Relief Corps, No. 31, was organ- 
ized May 11, 1887. The first officers were: Mrs. Maria Kinyon, 
president ; Mrs. Ilattie Barncard, senior vice-president ; Mrs. 
Sarah Sterns, junior vice-president; Mrs. James Dennis, chap- 
lain ; Miss Helen McGowan, secretary ; Mrs. Rosalia Young, 
treasurer; Mrs. Dora Helwig, conductor; Mrs. Mary Gross, 
assistant conductor, and Mrs. Nellie Berg, guard. Besides the 
officers chosen, the following charter members were mustered 
by the department deputy president : the Mesdames Mary Stark- 
weather, Sophia Sheldon, Mary Burlingame, Elsie Kelley, Lizzie 
Cruckshank, Phoebe Burch, Anna Austin, Frank G. Odell, Sarah 
Norton, Emma Hough, Ella Williamson, Sabra Jones, Maria 
Kinyon, Annetta Farmer, Addie Wheelock, Katherine Harring- 
ton, Cora E. Banter and Ellen E. BufTum. The Woman's Relief 
Corps has always since its inception held its meetings in a room 
adjoining the G. A. R. hall and is an indispensable help in carry- 
ing out the plans for the annual Memorial Day observance. The 
ladies also figure prominently in the social functions, which are 
solely conducted by them, making their good cheer constantly 
felt and appreciated by the veteran soldiers of the post. The 
Woman's Relief Corps membership is not confined exclusively 
to the Grand Army of the Republic women, but is open to all 
those desiring to aid in the work of the corps. The present offi- 
cers are: President, Mrs. Mary Gross; senior vice-president, 
Mrs. Bell Thompson; junior vice-president, Mrs. Lizzie Cop- 
dell; secretary, Mrs. Elizabeth Lamp; treasurer, Mrs. Ettie Nel- 
son; chaplain. Mrs. Maria Kinyon; conductor, Mrs. Addie Van- 
wagoner; guard, Mrs. Sarah Wammett ; assistant conductor, 
Minnie Purfurst ; assistant guard, Mrs. Rosa Schmuck ; color 
bearers, first. Miss Ellen Young; second, Mrs. Margaret Boll; 
third, Ellen Campbell ; press correspondent, .MVs. Charlotte 
Kinny; patriotic instructor, Mrs. Nellie Berg; musician, Mrs. 
Rosalia Young. The corps has a large membership, and holds 
its meetings at Knights of Pythias Hall, on the first and third 
Friday evenings of each month. 



CHAPTER XV 

COUNTY BUILDINGS 

Property Owned by the County — Lot Purchased for Court 
House — Cost and Description — Steele County Jail — Old 
Building Erected in the Seventies — Modern Structure Com- 
pleted in 1903 — County Alms House — Buildings and Farm. 

Steele county has three county institutions — the court house 
and the jail at Owatonna and the county farm. The court house 
and the jail are substantially and economically built, and are 
p-leasing to the eye at the same time that they serve their pur- 
pose of utility. The alms house, where the deserving poor are 
cared for, is also conducted along modern lines, and in a credita- 
ble manner. 

STEELE COUNTY COURT HOUSE 

The Steele county court house affords a splendid illustration 
of the enterprising and progressive spirit of the citizens of this 
county. No other county in the state can boast of a similar 
building that more nearly fills the needs of the community. 

From and even before the time of the purchase of the site 
from Marvin A. Daley, September 30, 1881, it was felt by all 
the leading citizens that the county should have a building for 
its ofificial business worthy of its sound financial standing. Noth- 
ing was done, however, until July 15, 1890, when the county com- 
missioners made a levy of $13,500 for the express purpose of 
building a court house. On December 2, 1890, plans were sub- 
mitted by various architects, those of T. D. Allen, of Minneapo- 
lis, being accepted. Bids were received for the erection of the 
court house, in accordance with the specifications, from fifteen 
different firms, that of Leek & McLeod, of Minneapolis, for 
$39,391, receiving the acceptance of the board, February 13, 
1891. Work was commenced the following spring. The con- 
tract for the installing of a heating system, all the structure to 
be heated by a hot-water radiating system, with the exception 
of the court room, which was to be heated by a hot-air furnace, 
was let to Middlemist & Earle, the consideration being $3,350. 
Clefton Brothers, of Owatonna, were awarded the plumbing con- 
tract— $985— the same day, March 24, 1891. 

848 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 849 

The last session of the legislature had authorized the com- 
missioners of Steele county to issue $30,000 in bonds for the 
purpose of erecting a court house, and 5 per cent bonds to that 
amount were duly issued and sold at par to the Farmers and 
Mechanics' Savings Bank of Minneapolis, October 31, 1891. This 
$30,000 was the total amount of the indebtedness incurred. 

March 14, 1892, the court house was officially accepted by 
the commissioners, the building being found satisfactory in every 
way and in accordance with the contracts after a thorough 
examination. 

The general style of the structure is Romanesque, being built 
of brick, faced with Austin faced brick and trimmed with Lake 
Superior brown stone. The rich brown color of the stone arches, 
caps, sills, cornices and trimmings contrast pleasingly with the 
deep red of the pressed brick, the latter being laid in red mortar. 
The entrances at each end of the building are in the form of 
Romanesque arches, flanked and supported by polished granite 
columns. Over the main door, at the north end, there is a 
niche supporting a group of three figures representing Mercy, 
Law and Justice. The main tower, located at the northwest 
corner of the building, is a beautiful piece of architecture, embel- 
lished with circular minarets and gables. It is provided with 
one of the finest tower clocks in the state, being furnished by the 
Howard Clock Company, of Chicago, at a cost of $1,090. At the 
northeast corner is a circular tower, which rises just above the 
main roof, and is surmounted by a flagstafT. There is also 
another tower, square in form, situated at the southwest corner, 
in which are entrances. This tower rises one story above the 
main building. The roofs are covered with slate and all cornices 
are of metal. The large semi-circular windows on the east and 
west ends of the court room are of leaded glass in colors, with 
the state coat of arms worked in. 

The interior of the building is admirably adapted for the 
various uses to which it is put, and is fitted and furnished in 
the most modern style throughout. The first floor is given to 
the offices of the diflferent county officers, all being provided with 
a fireproof vault and steel shuttered windows. The second story 
contains one of the model court rooms of the state, also judge's 
chambers, jury rooms, consultation room and waiting rooms. 
The total cost of the building was $53,500, exclusive of the 
$5,000 expended for the site. 

The beautifully kept grounds, set with cannons, flower beds 
and trees, add much to the dignified and stately appearance of 
the structure. 

The county is deeply indebted to its loyal and faithful com- 
missioners, during the year 1891, who made this court house 



850 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

possible, and tlirougli their careful supervision saved the com- 
munity thousands of dollars. Especial credit is due Herman 
Schmidt, chairman. He was ably assisted by the other commis- 
sioners, Theodore Chambers, Frank Carlton, Robert Crickmore 
and Fred Ahrens. 

STEELE COUNTY JAIL 

The building of the first Steele county jail dates back to the 
early sixties, when the county was yet in its pioneer days. With 
numerous changes and additions at the times progressed, this 
structure gave good service for many years, until about 1900, 
when the question of the building of a modern and up-to-date 
bastile began to be discussed, the old jail having met with the 
disapproval of the state authorities. 

November 25, 1902, the first steps were taken, the county 
commissioners issuing 5ilO,000 in bonds for the erection of a 
new jail, shortly afterwards selling them at par to the local 
banks. A month or two later a contract was signed with the 
Pauly Jail Building & Manufacturing Company of St. Louis for 
the plans and furnishings of a strictly modern jail, not to exceed 
$15,000 in cost. The plans were submitted, and February 17, 
1903, the contract for the removal of the old building and the 
erection of the new structure was awarded to Hammel Brothers 
& Anderson, the consideration being $3,238. Work was started 
the following spring, and the jail building itself concluded during 
the late summer of the same year, though the installation of the 
steel cells and other equipment by the Pauly company was not 
completed until some time later. 

The total cost of this structure for the promotion of the 
peace and welfare of Steele county was something over $15,000, 
every dollar being expended to the best possible advantage. 
Four double cells and three single, all representing the latest 
ideas in that class of construction, provide ample facilities for 
the accommodation of the opponents of law and order. 

The commissioners of 1903, I''. C Schuman, chairman ; M. H. 
Coggins, N. O. Partridge, John Smith and C. H. Wilker, ren- 
dered invaluable service in protecting the interests of the tax- 
payers, and securing the erection of a model jail. 

STEELE COUNTY POOR FARM 

The history of the county poor farm begins October 16, 18f^0, 
when the commissioners purchased the property of D. C. TifTany. 
It consists of 120 acres of good land, located five miles east of 
Owatonna, and a half mile north of Havana station. The build- 
ings are well suited for their respective purposes, the houses 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 851 

being capable of accommodating twelve or thirteen inmates com- 
fortably, and the barn and outbuildings of ample size and well 
constructed. During the last fifteen years several additions and 
some remodeling has been done. In 1905 an apple orchard of 
150 trees was set out, which is promising abundant returns. 

L. L. Inman was the first overseer who held office for any 
length of time until 1888, when Horace Chambers assumed 
charge and remained up to January 1, 1895. He was succeeded 
by Joseph Fisher, who was very successful during all his ten 
years of management. Anton Stancel was the next overseer, 
serving three years, and turning over the office to his successor, 
Samuel Pichner, January 1, 1908. Mr. Pichner is the present 
incumbent. Commissioner F. G. Schuman, as head of the poor- 
farm committee since 1898, has done much in the way of looking 
after the best interests of the county and the inmates. At pres- 
ent the farm has eight inmates. 



CHAPTER XVI 

OWATONNA AS A HAMLET 

First Settlement — Pettit and Cornell — First House Built— Influx 
of Population — Bridge Constructed — Hotel and Stores 
Opened — Activities of the Early Days — Business Houses of 
1867 and 1887— First Events. 

The first settlement on the present site of the city of Owa- 
tonna was made by William F. Pettit and A. B. Cornell, in the 
summer of 1854. About the middle of Ma}' of that year William 
F. Pettit, George F. Pettit, A. B. Cornell and F. Wilbur Fisk 
left Sparta, Wis., for a visit to the tar-famed prairies of Minne- 
sota. George F. Pettit had been at Faribault some time pre- 
vious, and made such a glowing report of the country that 
those who had families took them along, determined to make 
their homes on the sunset side of the Mississippi. Seven wagon- 
loads of people, furniture, supplies, etc., set out, and were four 
weeks in reaching Faribault — a long journey, attended with toil, 
discomfort and fatigue, and one that none but strong, brave 
hearts would undertake and successfully accomplish. George 
F. Pettit settled at Faribault, F. W. Fisk on East Prairie, and 
William F. Pettit and A. B. Cornell located on the present site 
of the city of Owatonna. Mr. Cornell made his claim on the east 
side of the river and Mr. Pettit on the west. Cornell built a 
somewhat primitive dwelling, which was constructed of poles 
covered with prairie grass, but it was sufficient to protect them 
from the storm and the scorching rays of the sun, and they were 
all content to wait patiently till a more commodious house could 
be erected. This was the first residence and the first building 
erected within what is now the city limits. Mr. Cornell soon 
commenced putting up a log house, just north of where the 
bridge now stands, and had the logs raised ready to put up on 
the roof, when he sold his claim to Mr. Pettit, who had, in the 
meantime, disposed of his owm on the west side of the river to 
a Mr. Crehore. Some time in August, Mr. Pettit had contracted 
with Mr. Cornell to build a house for him, similar to the one 
he was building for himself, but when he purchased Cornell's 
claim the contract was annulled and another made that he could 
finish the one already commenced. We give the contract in full, 
as it is probably the first ever made in the county. It is as 
follows : 

852 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 853 

"It is hereby agreed by and between \V. F. F'ettit and A. B. 
Cornell, that A. B. Cornell shall, previous to the twentieth day 
of October next, build for said Pettit a log- dwelling house on 
the foundation said Pettit has already commenced; said house 
to be 22 feet long and 18 feet wide; puncheon floor below, two 
doors and five windows, shingled roof, logs hewn inside up to 
beams and mudded on the outside; also a cellar 14x18 feet, dug 
so as to be 6 feet from bottom to sleepers ; said house to be one 
and a half stories high and put up similar to said Cornell's, and 
the said Pettit is to furnish all nails, glass, sash, putty and lum- 
ber for doors and the upper floor so as not to delay said job and 
to pay for said building $75. \V. F. Pettit. A. B. Cornell. 
August 3, 1854." 

These movements gave a material start to the growth of the 
embryo city. The first track made across the prairies is the 
pioneer of civilization, and forerunner generally of a crowd of 
immigration, and this was no exception to the general rule. 
Others followed the lead of Messrs. Pettit and Cornell, and 
several houses were built that fall (1854). Hon. G. W. Green, 
of Beaver Dam, Wis., commenced the erection of a house which 
was raised on October 2, all the settlers in the vicinity assisting. 
Interesting articles, written by both Judge Green and A. B. 
Cornell, and giving a detailed account of the experiences of each, 
will be found in this work. In the winter following (1854-55) 
J. W. Park and S. B. Smith erected a log cabin near where the 
Milwaukee Railroad tracks are now located. 

These were dreary, lonesome days to the settlers; far from 
friends, marts and posts of trade, with no one save themselves 
to commune with, their lives must indeed have been "hermit- 
like." Sometimes, too, a little fear of what the Indians might 
(To crept into their minds to disturb their tranquillity, yet the 
Indians were at peace with the whites, and at that time con- 
sidered them their best friends. But at times circumstances 
would occur to arouse the suspicions of the people to a high 
pitch. The following instance of this was related to a historian : 
The first year of the settlement (1854) all the provisions and 
supplies of all kinds were brought from St. Paul, and at one 
time Mr. Cornell went with his team to that town to bring a 
load of provisions, etc., and was absent about a week, leaving 
Mrs. Cornell with only her children and a boy to keep her com- 
pany. During his absence a party of Indians, a hundred or more, 
encamped for a time near Mr. Cornell's shanty. Yet they were 
very respectful and civil to the white lady, and did not venture 
into her house. One evening they gathered material and lighted 
huge bonfires a little back of the shanty, and commenced an 
Indian dance with all its wild accompaniments of songs and 



8bi HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

shouts, making the night hideous -with their antics and howl- 
ings. Just at tliis time Mr. Cornell, with his load, reached the 
hill about two miles north of the town, and, as he gained the 
summit, he saw the flames of the fires, and the dusky redskins 
dancing in the lurid glare of light. liis wife and children! Had 
they become victims of the savage thirst for l^lood? The thought 
came crashing through his lirain with the rapidity of lightning. 
He did not stop long to gaze, but, unhitching his team, he 
stripped the harness from the fleetest horse, and, mounting him, 
rode at the top of his speed, resolved to know the worst and 
save his loved ones or perish with them. Reaching the ford, 
his eyes were made glad at seeing his wife on the opposite bank, 
awaiting his return, who assured him that all were well and glad 
to see him return as safe as they were. Thankful that he was 
the only one victimized, Mr. Cornell returned and got his load 
of provisions. 

When spring opened, in 1855, the settlement continued rap- 
idly. During the spring and early summer the following named 
all came, many accompanied by their families: Addison Phelps, 
Nelson Morehouse, B. L. Arnold, Joel Wilson, Dexter Carlton, 
Parker Carlton, Alson Selleck, N. Winship, John Wilcox, two 
Schimeks, David Lindersmith, Leonard and Simeon Case, Bazi! 
Meek, Obed Gaines, Miner Prisby, Adolphus Town, Philo San- 
ford, Charles Ellison, John H. and Ezra Abbott, C. G. Haynes. 
John Moon and Mr. Ward. Possibly there were a few others. 
All of these parties settled within a radius of a mile or two of 
the present center of the city. Many at once erected cabins, 
while others selected claims and returned for their families. The 
only sign of business here was at the residence of A. B. Cornell, 
where the traveling public was fed and lodged. Early in May 
of this year (1855) Smith & Park began keeping a few groceries 
and provisions at their cabin near the present railwaj' depots. 
About the first of July, N. Winship commenced hauling logs for 
his hotel. They moved into it on August 4, and it was opened 
for the accommodation of the traveling public. This was the 
first hotel erected here, and, in fact, was the first building upon 
what was then the village plat. In later years, however, the plat 
has extended so as to take in the site of Cornell's first cabin. In 
September, 1855, John Sweat put up a little cabin and opened a 
blacksmith shop near where Deeg's wagon shop now (1887) 
stands. Later he sold to Joel Wilson, and left. In October, 
1855, J. W. Park and S. B. Smith erected a log house just north 
of the Winship House, on Oak street, and filled it with a stock 
of goods which proved of great convenience to the pioneers. 
Quite a number of young men came this year, who only remained 
a short time. 



HISTORY OF RICE AxND STEELE COUNTIES 855 

In the summer of 1855 Mr. Pettit sold liis claim to John H. 
Abbott, and soon afterward bought an undivided half of Mr. 
Cornell's claim, lying immediately south of the one just sold. 
All hands at once went to work to build up a first-class town. 
Roads and bridges, for the purpose of communication with other 
sections of the country, were the first things to be attended to, 
and with willing hearts and stout hands they went to work and 
opened up the roads, bridges the sluices and water courses, and 
soon had the satisfaction of knowing that at least an important 
thoroughfare was opened through their town. Mr. Cornell, with 
true Western energy and perseverance, built a bridge across the 
Straight river, and travel was seemingly nearly constant. Not 
infrequently were there from twenty to thirty or forty emigrant 
teams in the streets at the same time. Business flourished. 
Every settler whose house was large enough to accommodate 
more than his own family had all the spare room occupied with 
strangers and those seeking homes. Cornell, also, made several 
extended trips in advertising this locality. A village was platted, 
streets and lots marked out and speculation in city property was 
very active. In the autumn of 1855 the county was organized 
and Owatonna was made the county seat. A postofifice was 
opened this fall ; mail routes were established, and stages were 
shortly afterward put on. In September, Mr. Cornell and John 
H. Abbott laid out the town site, comprising about 120 acres, 
about sixty acres on each of their claims. In November they 
went to Winona and pre-empted the land, and on December 26, 
1855, filed the town plats in the ofifice of Charles Ellison, register 
of deeds. A very respectable log school house was also built this 
fall, though the first school had already been taught. The old 
log school house performed a somewhat important part in the 
early history of the place. Schools were held in it during all 
school terms ; each of the denominations used it in turn as a 
house of worship. All the political meetings and elections were 
held there; singing schools, lyceums and prayer meetings occu- 
pied the evenings, so that it was kept in almost constant use 
until it was removed and torn down. The town pro])rietors 
donated about forty lots to those who would erect substantial 
and useful buildings. During this summer (1855), Mr. Pettit 
built the first frame house in the countr}-, on the hill in the 
eastern part of the city. He was obliged to haul part of the jiine 
lumber from Red Wing, with which to complete the house, 
which cost $107 per thousand, and the roof boards, jM-ocured at 
Faribault, cost $60 per thousand. Such wore the advantages 
under w-hich the ])ioneers had to labor. 

With 1856 came renewed activity in a business way as well 
as in emiiiTation, and the little settlement on Straight river 



856 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

increased rapidly. The winter had been a severe one, but had 
not depressed the spirits of the colonists. In April of this year, 
Messrs. Pettit, Abbott and Cornell bought of Park & Smith 500 
acres of land lying on the north side of the town, for $8,000. 
This was afterward known as the "Five Hundred Acre Tract." 
Early this year B. L. Arnold put up the Eureka House, the first 
frame hotel erected in the county. Philo Sanford during the 
same summer and fall put up what was then called the American 
House — now (1887) the Central. Elder Town, who had bought 
out Smith & Park, erected a small building on Bridge street, 
and moved his goods into it. Nathaniel Winship built an addi- 
tion to his hotel. John Dingman came and put up a building 
near where Rosebrock's furniture store is now (1887) located, 
and J. W. Morford, who arrived at about the same time, opened 
a stock of goods in it. A hardware stock was established by a 
couple of young men, who after a few weeks, sold to E. Y. Hun- 
newill. Business took long strides forward. In July of this 
year J. W. Morford and John Odell opened a store on Bridge 
street, and somewhat later in the season Dr. Harsha and Judge 
Donaldson a drug and general provision store. Potwin & Stough- 
ton — A. N. Stoughton and George Potwin — opened business on 
Main street. J. B. Crooker came this year and a few years later 
opened a general store. Among those who came were M. A. 
Dailey, J. M. Sheetz, Willard Wheaton, Harvey Beardsley, 
Joseph Webster, James Moore, George Oulton, Rev. H. Chapin, 
D. Potwin, the Odells and others. 

During this year (1856) Town &: Burch (Loren Town and J. 
W. Burch) were engaged in the general merchandise trade. In 
the following year Mr. Burch sold his interest to A. Town, who 
afterward secured the whole business, and finally closed out the 
stock. 

In the spring of the same year (1856) Ezra Abbott. J. W. 
Park and S. B. Smith brought a steam saw mill from Walcott, 
where it had been in operation for a year or so, and this was set 
up just north of the bridge on the east side of tlie river. Build- 
ing operations were greatly accelerated. The common lumber 
for most of the new buildings was manufactured by it. This 
mill was in operation here for about three years, Mr. Abbott in 
the meantime having purchased his partner's interests, and it 
was then sold and removed to Faribault. 

In the fall of 1856 Nelson Morehouse erected a building and 
put a saw mill into operation on the water power on the west 
side of the river. He operated this for a number of years, and 
it was finally remodeled into a flouring mill. A live western 
newspaper was established in 1856, that did much toward mak- 
ing known to the outside world Steele county's advantages 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 857 

During the same summer Melbourne Burr opened a cabinet shop. 

In 1857 the growth was not so rapid as it had been the pre- 
ceding year; considerable railway agitation was had, although 
not more than had been the case in 1856. During this year 
(1857) G. W. True and Mr. Potwin brought a saw mill here 
from Mount Vernon, Ohio, a bonus being raised to secure it. 
The mill came in the name of True, although Pettit and Abbott 
were interested in it. It was set up just west of the Winship 
House. Machinery for a grist mill was also brought here, 
although this was never set up. The saw mill was run for sev- 
eral years, and it was finally removed to Morristown. 

In 1857, the first millinery store was started by Mrs. Lam- 
bert, in a building where the Brooks bakery is now (1887) 
located. Mrs. Magoon also started a millinery establishment 
at an early day. 

N. Squires established a meat market this year. William 
Wadsworth started a jewelry store on Main street, where the 
jail is now (1887) located. The Sherwood Brothers opened a 
saloon. Mr. Coburn started a general store, trusted the railway 
contractors, and it soon ended in bankruptcy. 

In 1858 and 1859 the financial depression which had com- 
menced with 1857 was severely felt here. Business development 
was at a standstill. Money was very close; paper money was 
almost worthless, and every one demanded gold or silver. The 
bank issue, based upon railway securities, also hurt tliis country 
sadly, and it is a truthful saying that a hatful of $100 bills of 
such currency would scarcely buy a meal of victuals. 

J. B. Crooker established a general store in 1859 and among 
other business interests which in early days clustered here 
should be mentioned : The tailor shop started by Dresser & 
Goodwin, in a building nearly opposite Hunnewill's hardware 
store; the general store started at an early day by Bascom Bros., 
in a building where Greeley's pump factory is now (1887) 
located. 

The same state of affairs, financially, continued through 1860 
and 1861, while in the latter year the breaking out of the war 
made matters still worse. A great many of the able-bodied 
young and middle-aged men left during '61 and went into the 
service. 

In 1862 business began to pick up a little. The Indian mas- 
sacre drove many from the homes west of here, and Owatonna, 
being upon a main thoroughfare, and the first fcasifjle stopping 
point, again became a scene of activity. The soldiers going 
through, and fleeing settlers, besides tlie fact that the soldiers 
in the army began to receive their pay at about this time, made 



858 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

money matters easier, and its effect was soon felt in tlie channels 
of business. 

From 1863 to 1867 the city grew rapidly, and many substan- 
tial improvements were made. Two lines of railway reached 
the city in 1866. as is detailed elsewhere in this volume, and this 
added new life to the growth, although, to a great extent, the 
impetus to business development given by railway connections 
had been anticipated, and the growth caused by it really began 
in the summer of 1865. From that time until 1867-68, many 
fine business buildings were erected, among them being Dresser's 
block, Kinyon's building, Kelly block, Abbott block, Wadworth's 
building, Crooker's residence ; Crooker, Kelly, Bixby and Dr. 
Morehouse erected the row of bricks on the south side of Bridge 
street: Dr. Ilarsha, the First National Bank building; Odell & 
Pott's building, Wadworth put up a brick building, Hunnewill a 
hardware store, and Soule erected the north sixty feet of the 
II. R. Moore & Co. block. The Arnold and Park hotels, Howe's 
foimdry and machine shops and other buildings erected and 
enterprises inaugurated. 

The business boom of these years was almost without paral- 
lel in the history of Minnesota. The population of the city 
more than doubled, increasing from a village of 600 or 700 to a 
city of 2,000 during the yeafs 1866 and 1867. Since that time 
the growth has been more gradual, but of a permanent and bene- 
ficial character. 

BUSINESS MEN IN 1868 

As a matter worthy of preservation, we here present a full 
business directory of Owatonna in 1868: Attorneys — Amos 
Coggswell, A. A. Harwood, Searles & Hickman, Delos Higbee, 
Kinyon & Wheelock, M. A. Dailey, J. J. Aiken, X. M. Donald- 
son (judge). Agricultural Implements — Lowth, Howe & Co., 
Allen & Dearborn, Fisk & Medal, G. \V. Payne, J. E. Buxton, 
Wm. Scruby. Boots and Shoes — Chase Bros., Lord Bros. & Co., 
Cooper Bros., Morford, Willsey & Co., G. F. Albertus, J. Loner- 
gan, Frank Yaneck, J. E. Griggs. Books and Stationery — C. E. 
Seaton. Bankers — Easton & Kinyon, S. Mills, Jr., & Co. Bar- 
bers — Jerry Pope, J. A. Pierce, Louis Teabean. Bakeries — Mrs. 
J. G. Cochran, George Chapman, M. J. White. Blacksmiths — 
F. H. Cooper, M. S. Ouiggle, P. Schuster, C. Hanson, Hiram 

Cartwright, Sherman, King- Brewery — Mace & Co. 

Clothing — J. G. Denerline, Friend & Newsalt, G. F. Albertus, 
Soule Bros., Armstrong & Cottrell, J. E. Griggs, Marble & Co., 
Lord Bros. & Co., Cooper Bros. Cooper Shop — Peter Hanson. 
Dry Goods — Lord Bros. & Co., Cooper Bros., Arnston & ConnelU 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 85!) 

Morford, Willsey & Co.. Armstrong & Cottrell, Sicbold & Horts- 
man, Soule Bros., L. Andrews, G. F. Albertus, Jo. Wilson. Den- 
tists— G. J. Cole, Miss Kellogg. Drugs— Harsha & Donaldson, 
L. Bixby, Bennett & Hubbard. Eating Houses — Railroad Eat- 
ing House, C. F. McNamara, Mitchell Bros., Hiram Cartwright, 
Mrs. Cochrane, W. C. Bosworth, George Chapman, M. Lent. 
Earthenware Factory — C. C. Cornell. Express Offices — Merch- 
ant's Union and American. F\irniture — J. F. Hanna, H. & J. 
Hickox, Chas. Schoen. Flour and Feed Stores — Farmer Brothers, 
Kelly & Tyler, Marble & Co., J. P. Requa, T. J. Clark, Arnston 
& Connelly, Newton & Gross. I'-oundry and Machine Shops — 
Lowth, Howe & Co. Groceries— Kelly & Tyler, S. S. Russell, 
Soule Brothers, G. F. Albertus, Joos & Boll, L. Andrews, Sie- 
bold & Hortsman, Morford, Willsey & Co., Armstrong & Cott- 
rell, Arnston & Connelly. Cooper Bros., T. J. Clark, William 
Cleator, J. Chambers, H. Cartwright. Hardware — Cottrell & 
Hunkins, J. E. Buxton, Thomas & White, E. Y. Hunnewill. 
Harness Shops— O. M. Hammond. O. A. Albee, A. Burch. Ho- 
tels — Winship House, Barker's Exchange, National Hotel, Am- 
erican House, Arnold House, Scandinavian Hotel, Steele Center 
House, Tilden House, Owatonna House. Hoopskirt Factory — 
W. Holt. Jewelry— Ezra Abbott, J. F. Young, J. Hough. Lum- 
ber Dealers— Crooker Bros. & Lambareaux, S. B. Washburn, 
Backus Bros., Sterling & Searles, Dean & Co. Livery Stables 
— Twiss & Christie, C. W. Hastings. Millinery— Mrs. L. H. 
Kelly, Mrs. Magoon, Mrs. White. Mrs. W. Holt, Mrs. M. J. 
Myrick. Meat Markets— J. A. Oppliger & Co.. Kowietz & Rie- 
don, Truax & Savage. Physicians and Surgeons — E .M. More- 
house, L. H. Kelly, Dr. Blood. L. L. Bennett, D. Bodle, D. S. 
Harsha, J. G. Gilchrist and W. A. Ware. Photographers— G. W. 
Chesley, Mrs. J. P. Briggs, A. F. Simons. Painters— Hall, Beors 
& Co. Planing Mill— Lamonte Gilbert. Real Estate Dealers— 
W. H. Kelley. B. ]'". Melvin, John H. Abbott, Ezra Abbott, 
Searles & Hickman, Kinyon & Wheelock. Tailors— John Cot- 
tier, J. G. A. Denerline, Christopher Fahriess, D. B. Marble & 
Co. Telegraph Offices— A. H. Lee, operator at C, M. & St. P. 
depot; G. H. Merrill, at W. St. P. depot. Wagon Shops— P. 
Schuster, Sherman &. Brown, Brown, King. 

BUSINESS HOUSES OF 1887. 

The general business of Owatonna. in tlie various lines of 
trade, was represented by the following-named gentlemen and 
firms: General Merchandise — G. F. Albertus, J. Oppliger & 
Co., A. Ka.sper, Soukup Bros., Nelson & Jefts, J. C. Jahreiss, 
Petrich & Speckeen, M, Leary, T. H. Kelly & Co. and \V. Holt. 



860 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Exclusive Dry Goods — H. R. Moore, Jr., & Co. and J- L- Saxton. 
Groceries — Twiford & Sperry, E. Downie & Co., A. Mudeking, 
\Vm. Davidson, E. W. Piper, E. W. Clarke, Stowers & Jefferson, 

E. F. Requa. Clothing — John Shea, H. Katz & Co. and J. Schu- 
lein. Hardware — E. Y. Hunnewill, Thon Bros.. Crandall & Nel- 
son, Parrott & Smith, A. Knobloch and N. C. Larson. Drugs — 

F. M. Bauter, Wm. Gauswitz & Co., C. Peterson and Luers & 
Luers. Boots and Shoes— William Mork, Nichols & Hall, Weber 
& Son and J. A. Butsch. Jewelry— Henry Birkett, Julius F. 
Young and C. F. Warner. Lumber — Laird, Norton 8z Co. 
(George Clark, manager), J. Z. Barncard & Co. and Wisconsin 
Lumber Co. (Mclndoe Alexander, manager). Saloons — Emil 
Theimer. J. Gleaser, Chas. Kenmoth, Joseph Hoffman, T. Fed- 
der, Bion & Hoffman, W. Watovva, Joseph Kubat, M. R3'an, 
Mrs. Bartsch, Anton Belina and Thompson & Wightman. Flour 
& Feed — J. W. Gillett. Nearly all of the grocery stores also 
handle flour and feed. Marble Works — Webb & Henningway, 
Byrne & McDonald and A. Meyer. Agricultural Implements— 
Buxton & Jones, McLaughlin & Larson, R. H. Chapin, M. S. 
Quiggle, Crandall & Nelson, Virtue & Co. and Hotchkiss & Co. 
Pump Factory — Orrin Greeley. Diamond Feedmill Manufac- 
turers — McLauglin, Sheldon &: Co. Blacksmith Shops — Brown 
& McRostie. Homer Wardwell, C. Zannetti, Ben. Meixner, R. 
Deininger, H. Cartwright, C. Hanson, M. S. Quiggle and C. F. 
Smith. W'agon Shops — C. Schoen, Ben Meizner, John Deeg, R. 
Deininger and H. Cartright. Livery — Fred Rosskopf and R. H. 
Chapin. Confectionery — Chas. Chenoweth, W. Dennis. Bakeries 
— C. Chenoweth and Mr. Brooks. Harness Shops — H. F. Luce & 
Son, O. Butsch, Meyer Brothers, C. Bowers and O. M. Ham- 
mond. Shoemakers — J. Lee, O. Searle, J. R. McLeod and J. 
Bartosch. Merchant Tailors — John Cottier, N. W. Hanson and 
D. Banks. Barbers — Jerry Pope, Parker Brothers, Boggs & 
Essex, N. G. Frisco and Andrew Sanderline. Books and Sta- 
tionery — A. M. Kinyon. Several drugs stores also handle a light 
stock of this line of goods. Grain — Pratt & Co., Soper & Son, 
J. S. Austin. Photographers — G. W. Chesley and IT. Muller. 
Dentists — Doctors Medd, Searle and Stearns. Real Estate — 
B. S. Cook. Meat Markets — Owatonna Packing Company, 
Charles Meschke, Gus Schwanke, Boice & Forsyth and John 
Stranski & Co. 

FIRST EVENTS. 

The first white child born in what is now Owatonna was 
George K., a son of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Green, which occurred 
on April 6, 1855. Dr. W. W. Finch attended and went from 
Judge Green's house to that of A. W. Adams in Clinton Falls 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 861 

township, where Frank, a son of A. W. Adams, was horn. The 
first death at Owatonna occurred in August or Septemher, 1855, 
and was a child of Miner Prishy. The remains were buried in 
the woods north of town. The first marriage of residents took 
place at Faribault in the summer of 1855, the contracting parties 
being John Wilcox and Clara Brooks, the ceremony being per- 
formed by Elder Town. The event was heartily celebrated by 
the pioneers, especially the young people. The first building 
erected upon the original town plat was the Winship house, 
built in July, 1855. The first building put up within what now 
constitutes the incorporate limits was A. B. Cornell's log cabin. 
The first store was opened by S. B. Smith and J. W. Park in the 
spring of 1855. The first blacksmith shop was started by John 
Sweat. The first frame building was W. F. Pettit's residence. 
The first brick building was erected by William Wadsworth in 
1863. It was built for a store, but is now used as an engine 
house. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

MODERN OWATONNA. 

"Beautiful Owatonna". — The City of Beautiful Homes. — Ideal 
Situation. — Public Facilities. — Educational Institutions. — 
Parks and Trees. — Sidewalks. — Business Advantages. — 
Public Buildings. — Contributed by Hon. F. A. Dunham. 

Beautiful Owatonna ! Built on verdant hills, 

Stretching o'er the landscape, the vale and valley fills. 

The river, parks and woodlands enhance her beauty rare. 
With civic pride we call her the fairest of the fair. 

Beautiful Owatonna! With the quaint old Indian name, 
Fairest of Minnesota's cities with ever widening fame. 

Beautiful Owatonna, witli her schools and charming homes; 
Once seen, she's ne'er forgotten, however far one roams. 

Beautiful Owatonna! Here rear the stately walls 

Where gather youth and maidens to learn in classic halls. 

From village, city, prairie, they come to seek and find 

Equipment for life's service. Go forth to bless mankind. 

Beautiful Owatonna! Home for the homeless child; 

Brought from the teeming cities, brought from the prairie 
wild. 
Here Minnesota gathers her wards from far and near 

In Beautiful Owatonna, the orphaned ones to rear. 

Beautiful Owatonna! Her sons are widely known 

In halls of state and nation, their worth and wisdom shown. 

Forth at their country's bidding in times of direst need 

They passed through death and carnage, that the suffering 
might be freed. 

Beautiful Owatonna! Hence, sons and daughters go, 

On missions of peace and mercy their Master's love to show. 

Forth to haste the coming of the millennium to be 
To distant western Mesa, to lands beyond the sea. 

Beautiful Owatonna ! In mill and shop are made 

Her products eager sought for, in all the marts of trade. 

862 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 863 

The name of Owatonna is known the world around, 

It speaks for lightened labor where toiling ones are found. 

Beautiful Owatonna ! Her name unsullied be, 
Synonym for virtue, for culture broad and free. 

Beautiful Owatonna! Her citizens' joy and pride; 

Their lives extend her glory, her fame spread far and wide. 

Owatonna has long been known as "the city of beautiful 
homes," and although the name is very true and appropriate 
it fails to convey a proper and complete idea of the beauty, ex- 
cellence, prosperity and life of the city. "The city of happy 
homes and prosperity" would be much more appropriate. The 
site for the city was selected by men of excellent judgment 
and foresight as is apparent to the most casual observer. The 
business part of the city and all connections with railroad de- 
pots is on level ground, with a gravel sub-soil, surrounded on 
all sides by low-lying hills, just rolling enough to give the resi- 
dence district a beautiful appearance and good drainage, without 
any blufifs or steep grades to inconvenience vehicles or pedes- 
trians. The name of the city is of Indian (Sioux) origin and 
signifies "straight." The proper pronunciation being "Woo- 
tonna." 

The electric lighting plant, gas plant and central heating 
plant are owned by a private corporation, which furnishes elec- 
tric light and gas to the greater part of the city and the hot 
water central heating plant furnishes heat to most of the business 
houses and a great many dwellings, without the inconvenience 
and filth attendant on private heating plants. 

As the population of the city is mixed it naturally follows 
that there are a great number of religious organizations in the 
city and a great number of fine church edifices and dwellings. 
I will mention the different denominations without regard to 
the number of members or the excellence of church edifices or 
dwellings. First Baptist; Catholic (three parishes) Bohemian, 
Polish, Irish and German ; First Congregational ; St. Paul's Epis- 
copal; Lutheran (three parishes), St. John's German Lutheran, 
St. John's Evangelical and Danish Lutheran; First Methodist- 
Episcopal ; German Methodist-Episcopal ; Seventh Day Advent- 
ist; First Presbyterian and First Universalist. 

The educational system of the city is unexcelled and as each 
institution will be treated in detail elsewhere in this history a 
brief mention will suffice for the present. Pillsbury Academy is 
a denominational school of Baptist persuasion, for both sexes 
and has a main school building and auditorium, two dormitories, 
a gymnasium and armory, and a music hall. It is a high class 



864 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

preparatory school and is widely and favorably known through- 
out the Northwest. The Owatonna public school system is one 
of the very best in the state and is well equipped with all modern 
appliances and departments. Besides the high school building 
there are three ward school buildings and all are fine modern 
brick and stone structures. The Academy of the Sacred Heart 
is a Catholic school for girls and is the usual high grade school 
of that class and in connection therewith is a parochial school for 
children. Canfield Business College, as the name indicates, is a 
school of business and is one of the best in the state. The 
State School for Indigent Children, with its fine buildings and 
beautiful grounds, is justly one of the show places of the city. 
It has a capacity of two hundred and fifty inmates and poor 
children are sent here from all parts of the state to enjoy the 
care and protection provided for them by the state of Min- 
nesota. 

Owatonna is the principal city and county seat of Steele 
county, one of the very best dairy and diversified farming dis- 
tricts in the United States, and as a result of the prosperous con- 
ditions existing very generally throughout this region, the city 
is prosperous. Not with the transient prosperity of a boom, 
but with steady, normal and healthy business conditions, that 
will prevail as long as Mother Earth continues to produce, and 
that is one of the reasons, among a number, that causes this 
city to be an absolutely safe place to make an investment. 

Great quantities of sand and gravel are available for street 
use, and, as a result of the continued and systematic use of 
such material, the fifty miles of streets within the corporate 
limits are uniformly in good repair. On all of the residential 
streets are to be found great numbers of beautiful trees, of 
every known variety, thus making of the city, especially in the 
summer time, a veritable forest and giving the whole residence 
district the appearance of a beautiful park. In this parklike 
region are a great number of elegant modern homes, few of 
which are imposing or ornate, few are old or dilapidated, thus 
producing a uniformity and symmetry in the dwellings that is 
very pleasing, and would lead a person to believe that all of the 
buildings had been designed by some competent architect. The 
general condition and appearance of the homes denotes very 
accurately the financial condition of the citizens generally, there 
being few very rich and few very poor people in this city. 

For several years the city has required the use of stone, brick 
or cement in the construction of sidewalks, and as a result, the 
thirty miles of sidewalk in this city is fully 95 per cent of such 
material and in connection therewith there are miles and miles 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES SG5 

of well-kept boulevards with neat stone or cement curbing and 
cement or cobble stone gutters. 

Owatonna is peculiarly well situated from a business stand- 
point, being located in a prosperous region and having excellent 
railroad facilities. It is located at the junction of three great 
railway sytsems, viz. : Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific ; Chicago, 
Milwaukee & St. Paul and the Chicago & Northwestern lines, 
sixty-seven miles south of St. Paul, and with forty trains daily 
has direct, ready and convenient connection with all points north, 
east, south or west. On account of the location, railroad facili- 
ties and good homes, a great many traveling salesmen make this 
city their home. Straight river runs through the city and is a 
beautiful little stream. It is not large enough to be of any 
material advantage for power purposes but furnishes ample 
drainage facilities. 

In the population of 6,500 to 7,000 people may be found a 
wonderful mi.xture of races with no one nationality predominat- 
ing, thus causing a natural rivalry of races that makes for the 
success of any community. 

The business part of the city resembles somewhat the form 
or shape of a hand ax. Broadway and Bridge streets, each of one 
solid block, being the blade, and Cedar street, of four blocks, 
being the handle, with Central Park as the eye of the ax, 
as it is the eye of beauty of the city. In the retail business sec- 
tion are one hundred and four retail business houses, of which 
ninety-eight are of stone, brick or cement, and of which four- 
teen are double store buildings. In addition there are twenty- 
two retail business places which are usually found in frame 
buildings in an)- small city, being the lumber yards, blacksmith 
shops, coal and wood yards, etc. 

Practically all of the retail business buildings are modern 
and in good repair and many are deserving of special mention. 
The National Farmers' Bank building is one of the very best 
in the Northwest. The Kelly building; the Parrott & Smith 
building; the Owatonna Hotel; the Auditorium building and the 
Crandall building are all fine three-story brick and stone build- 
ings of more than ordinary excellence. 

The city is provided with all modern conveniences usual to 
a city with a much greater population. The water system is the 
property of the city and has proven to be a paying investment. 
The profit therefrom being about two thousand five hundred dol- 
lars annually, besides furnishing all the water for city use without 
charge or tax. thus making a total saving of about eight thousand 
dollars annually to the city. With fifteen miles of water mains 
and twelve miles of sewer mains the greater portion of the city 
is supplied with water and sewer service. 



866 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

Owatonna is justly proud of its parks, and Central Park, 
located in the center of the city, adjacent to the business dis- 
trict, is the subject of favorable comment from all who see it and 
is indeed "a thing of beauty." Mineral Springs Park, located 
within a mile of the city, was beautiful in nature, but owing to 
the care and attention it has received it is now a beauty spot 
far surpassing most public parks. 

The public buildings of the city are an expression of the 
general desire of our citizens to have the best things obtain- 
able for home or public use. The Steele county court house is a 
fine three-story brick and stone building surrounded by a beauti- 
ful lawn and many fine shade trees. The Steele county jail and 
sheriff's residence is a modern brick structure containing all 
modern conveniences. The city hall, fire station and firemen's 
hall is an elegant three-story brick and stone building equipped 
with modern fire fighting apparatus, convenient city offices and 
the third floor, devoted to the use of the Firemen's Relief Asso- 
ciation, finished and furnished by such association, is the most 
beautiful and well appointed hall in the state. The Owatonna 
public library, an elegant brick building, surrounded by a wide 
lawn, is a handsome structure, the city hospital has an ideal 
situation and surroundings, while the churches are all notable 
examples of ecclesiastical architecture, the Universalist church 
being especially notable for its pleasing design. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

OWATONNA COMMERCIAL MEN. 

Coming of the Railroads. — Race for Supremacy. — Owatonna Be- 
comes a Pioneer Distributing Point. — Traveling Men Begin 
to Settle Here. — Reasons for Their Choice. — Social and 
Municipal Advantages. — Owatonna Council, No. 85, United 
Commercial Travelers. — First Officers. — Prominent Mem- 
bers. — Contributed by W. B. Clarkson. — Owatonna Hotels. 
— Old Winship House. — Pioneer Hotel. — Central House. — 
American House. — Old Owatonna House. — Norsk Hotel. — 
Scandinavian House. — German Hotel. — Arnold House. — 
Tremont House. — City Hotel. — Peachey House. — Robinson 
House. — Merchants' Hotel. — Commercial Hotel. — Church's 
Hotel. — Kaplan House. — Owatonna House. — Smaller Hos- 
telries. 

The month of August, 1866, saw the beginning of a new 
era for the village of Owatonna, that being the year when the 
Winona & St. Peter, and the Minneapolis & Cedar Valley rail- 
road construction crews were pushed to their limit of speed in 
a race for the crossing at Owatonna. Tradition has it that the 
first named crew hauled materials and laid a long stretch of 
track in the blackness of a dark night without the aid of artificial 
lights. So quietly was the work performed tliat the opposing 
crew knew nothing about the o])eratioiis until the morning light 
of the following day revealed their rivals in possession of the 
coveted ground, and it is stated that for several days the oppos- 
ing camps maintained a continual warfare until the matter was 
finally settled by the principals getting together in an agree- 
ment. This incident is related to mark the beginning of Owa- 
tonna as a popular headquarters for commercial travelers. From 
this point they pushed out across the vast wilderness to the west 
and northwest, taking orders for goods and supplies at the vari- 
ous settlements and trading posts, and these goods were shipped 
from the trade centers of the east by rail to Owatonna where 
they were transported to destination by wagon and team. 

In the spring of 1867 the Winona 6L- St. Peter railroad was 
completed to St. Peter, and later the Minneapolis & Cedar Val- 
ley was absorbed by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul system 
and completed southward, but Owatonna continued to hold its 

867 



868 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

position as a popular headquarters for the pioneer travelers of 
that day, primaril}' because of its fortunate position at the junc- 
tion of these railroads. It soon became apparent, however, that 
for other and more weighty reasons the travelers selected this 
city as a permanent headquarters, and Owatonna has continued 
to increase in importance as a traveling men's home. 

The traveler is in a large measure a roving free lance as re- 
gards his home, and this is more from business necessity than 
from choice. When a change of territory requires him to select 
a new place of abode for his family, where they may be in reach 
of his business operations, he proceeds to consider the relative 
attractions of the various towns in his route. If he is to make 
weekly tri])s in covering his territory, the matter of adequate 
railroad facilities is perhaps of first importance in his thoughts, 
in order that his outgoing and homecoming may be as easy as 
possible. But even in this case, and especially when longer trips 
are made, the vital matter of accessibility sinks into secondary 
importance when considered in connection with the all important 
question of public health and morals, which is irrevocably bound 
up in the matter of a healthful location, added to the important 
question of a wise and farsighted civic government, good schools, 
and church, and a clean social atmosphere. These are of vital 
importance in the upbuilding and future contentment of any 
citizenship. 

Fully 90 per cent of the commercial travelers of today are 
heads of families, and with these it may be truthfully stated that 
among no class of men are these questions held to be of greater 
importance. Owatonna is extremely fortunate above many other 
places in its possession of all of these attractions to a marked 
degree, thus it is easy to find the reasons why it is attractive to 
the traveling fraternity as a home or headquarters town. Situ- 
ated as it is, on high rolling ground, gently sloping each way 
from a valley through which Straight river wends its course to 
the northward, the site on which the city is built is ideal, and the 
wisdom of its founders has been well demonstrated by the lapse 
of time. On a stretch of table-land to the east of the river 
stands today the business section of Owatonna, with the main 
residence district occuping ground to the east and south, which 
gradually rises until it reaches an elevation which averages about 
fifty feet above the level of the business district, and seventy- 
five feet above the river bed. Across the river immediately west 
of the business section of the city is a level stretch of land a 
few feet above high water mark, occupied by the depot and 
yards of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad, and just 
west of the depot is a rise of perhaps forty feet sloping upward 
to the west until it reaches State avenue where the ground 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 869 

stretches away in gentle waves of rolling green. Here is found 
another beautiful residence district where many fine homes are 
located, bounded on the north by the splendid grounds of the 
state public school, and on the west by magnificent lands occu- 
pied by the Clinton Falls Nursery Company, one of the largest 
business enterprises of its kind in the world. 

From the foregoing description one can see that a perfect 
sewerage system may be built and maintained at a minimum 
cost, and this has been an accomplished fact for many years. 
The surface soil of the city is a fine mixture of clay, sand and 
gravel, in just the right proportion to form a solid surface for 
the streets, (which are all of good width,) and each heavy rain 
that comes washes the streets clean, thus insuring perfect clean- 
liness, that is unknown where deep mud abounds after the rains. 
Beautiful shade trees line the avenues everywhere, and the city 
water supply comes entirely from deep wells which have been 
sunk to a depth of about seventy-five feet to a rock foundation, 
giving forth an abundant supply of pure soft water, sufficient at 
all times to maintain a population many times the present size 
of Owatonna. Located just outside the corporate limits is the 
Springs park where the famous Owatonna vichy water bubbles 
out of the ground in an inexhaustible supply which is bottled 
and shipped in large quantities. 

When it is stated that the sewerage tax of Owatonna is one 
mill, from which a fund is raised to maintain the system, be- 
sides providing a sinking fund with which to replace or add to 
the sj^stem as needed, and the further fact that the present extent 
of the system is twelve miles, and that the city charter limits the 
levy for all municipal purposes to twelve mills, (and this has 
been found to be fully ample to cover the needs of the city,) it 
may be seen that this place will appeal to the average traveler 
as an ideal spot in which to make his home. These, in fact, are 
some of the reasons why Owatonna has always been popular 
with the travelers, and the continued increase of this class of 
its population is the best evidence of its superior advantages. 

One of the first travelers to cover this territory is the present 
postmaster of Owatonna, James M. Diment, who first came to 
this country thirty-eight years ago, and continued in this voca- 
tion for many years, until he became associated with others in 
the Owatonna Flouring mills, when he discontinued his road 
work and permanently identified himself with the future destiny 
of Owatonna, in the development of which he has been one of 
the leading factors. That Mr. Diment ably filled his place as 
a public-spirited citizen is well attested by his present popularity 
and the esteem in which he is held by his fellow citizens. Mr. 
Diment states that thirty years ago Owatonna boasted of hav- 



870 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

ing from 125 to 150 traveling men among its citizenship, many of 
whom have since become prominent elsewhere, but where one 
has moved away, two have taken his place, until at this time 
there are approximately 250 to 300 men who make this city 
their home and whose vocation leads them out on the highways 
of commerce. 

This chapter would not be complete without mentioning the 
existence in Owatonna of Owatonna Council No. 85, United Com- 
mercial Travelers of America, which is a branch of the strongest 
fraternal traveling men's order in existence. This order was 
founded at Columbus, Ohio, in 1888, and its rapid growth is 
evidenced by its present membership of over 60,000, with grand 
councils maintained in nearly every state in the union and the 
provinces of Canada. The present membership of Owatonna 
Council No. 85 is one hundred and fifty-five, and when it is un- 
derstood that the constitution of the order limits its membership 
to commercial travelers, city salesmen and merchandise brokers 
selling articles of merchandise at wholesale, and e.xcludes all that 
large class of men who are engaged in selling insurance in its 
various forms, buyers, canvassers, peddlers and many other 
traveling vocations too numerous to mention here, it can be 
seen that the membership of this order can only represent about 
50 per cent of the total population who follow the vocation of 
traveling in all its forms. 

At the present time there are about five hundred local coun- 
cils of the Order of United Commercial Travelers of America 
scattered about throughout this mighty nation and the Dominion 
of Canada, at all of the principal trade centers and many of 
the smaller towns where travelers are making a home or head- 
quarters in any considerable numbers, and Owatonna has the 
distinction of being the city in which the largest local council 
membership in proportion to the total population of the city, is 
maintained, in comparison with all other towns in which councils 
are located, and this is in addition to the fact that it was the 
sixth council instituted in the Northwest, being preceded only 
a few months by the councils of Duluth, St. Paul, Minneapolis, 
Grand Forks, Fargo and Winona. 

The Grand Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas was insti- 
tuted September 24, 1894, and Owatonna Council No. 85 the 
next year on December 28. This will indicate the relative im- 
portance of Owatonna in this regard and it is worthy of note 
that this relation is still maintained. 

The charter list of Owatonna council contains thirteen well 
known names of prominent salesmen, one of whom still makes 
his home here. The charter list reveals the names of R. O. Phil- 
pot, who was in the employ of a Chicago concern ; J. E. Shipman, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 871 

who traveled for C. Gotzam & Co., of St. I'aul ; G. E. Hunkins, 
in the employ of Dunham & Eastman ; F. M. Crum, who for 
many years has been the representative of Selz, Schwab & Co., 
of Chicago, one of the largest shoe manufacturers in the world ; 
M. Forde, in the employ of C. Gotzam & Co., of St. Paul ; R. E. 
Looker, with J. S. Smith & Co., of Chicago ; S. F. McClane, with 
the Owatonna Nursery Company; C. M. McLean, with the Peco.s 
Valley Water Elevator Co., of El Reno, Oklahoma ; F. II. Ellis, 
traveling for the Milwaukee Harvester Co. ; A. J. Katz, with 
Ginterman Bros., of St. Paul; C. M. Irvin, with McKibbin & Co., 
St. Paul ; E. M. Smith, with Page Fence Co., of Adrian, Mich., 
and A. A. Snell, with the McCormick Harvester Company, of 
Chicago. 

The first officers selected to manage the affairs of the council 
were the following, J. E. Shipman, senior counselor ; R. O. Phil- 
pot, past counselor; A. A. Snell, junior counselor; C. M. Irvin, 
secretary and treasurer; F. M. Crum, page, and A. J. Katz, 
sentinel. That the foundations of this local council were laid 
broad and deep, and its early finances handled wisely is evi- 
denced by its present position and influence, and to these, the 
founders, a large measure of credit is due, and also to the many 
men upon whom the later burden was laid. The present officers 
of the council are as follows, Senior counselor, William Gause- 
witz; junior counselor, N. S. Jacobs; past counselor, O. A. Ku- 
bat; secretary-treasurer, A. L. Smith; conductor, Cline A. 
Tincher; chaplain, G. J. Anderson; page, Jud. A. Morgan; sen- 
tinel, A. J. Koob ; executive committee, H. K. Tompkins, M. J. 
Parcher, C. F. Hanson and P. J. Willctts. 

The membership roll reveals the names of many men who 
are among the most prominent in the state, in business, social 
and political affairs. Among whom ma}^ be singled out for 
prominent mention is Anton Schaefer, who has always been an 
indefatigable worker in the U. C. T. organization, for many years 
the very efficient secretary and treasurer of Owatonna Council 
No. 85, being relieved from that office after the last election by 
his own urgent request. Mr. Schaefer is active in the aflfairs 
of the grand council and holds the important position of chair- 
man of the grand executive committee which he is filling with 
great honor and wisdom. 

Mr. Schaefer in politics is a consistent Democrat, and was 
placed on the state ticket of his party nearly six years ago as 
the candidate for railroad and warehouse commissioner. Later 
he was appointed as the state public examiner by Governor John- 
son, which position he is filling at the present with great credit 
to himself and satisfaction to all the people of the state, as he 



872 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

is universally regarded as one of the most efficient and conscien- 
tious public officials in the state. 

The second name to be mentioned is that of Thomas E. Cash- 
man, a past senior counselor of Owatonna council and a man 
who at all times ma}' be depended on to advance the welfare 
of the order to the best of his ability; an alert, active business 
man, at the head of the Clinton Falls Nursery Company, as be- 
fore stated, one of the largest concerns of its kind in existence, 
always a busy man, he still is finding time to work for his fellow 
man in whatever way his efforts may seem to best produce 
results, the present state senator from Steele county who has 
given such universal satisfaction to his constituents that his 
return is predicted by an increased majority; just appointed 
president of the State Horticultural Society which greatly en- 
larges his sphere of usefulness to society; an ex-mayor of his 
home city with a record for enforcing civic righteousness that is 
one of the high marks in the history of Owatonna — this is 
Thomas E. Cashman as seen by his neighbors. 

William Gausewitz, the present energetic and efficient senior 
counselor of Owatonna Council No. 85, is the third man worthy 
of special mention in this class, a man who stands high in the 
business circles of Owatonna, an ex-state senator who filled that 
office with great credit and left a clean record as a public servant, 
ready at all times to do his part, and more, in the service of his 
fellow man. These are notable examples of the personnel of 
Owatonna council and stamps it as one of the organizations 
that must be reckoned with in the future of the city. 

W. B. Clarkson. 

Note — The important part that Mr. Clarkson, himself, has 
taken as a citizen and as a commercial traveler, is related else- 
where in his biography. — Editor. 

OWATONNA HOTELS. 

Not only has Owatonna, since the early days, been the home 
of many commercial men, as related by W. B. Clarkson, in the 
above article, but it has also been the stopping place of hordes 
of travelers, both commercial and social, since the first settle- 
ment. It has therefore been deemed wise to note here, the 
history of the various hostelries of the city, past and present. 
It might be mentioned in this connection that the Owatonna 
House, which is one of the finest hotels in this part of the state, 
is regarded as home by many commercial travelers who do not 
maintain residences in the city of Owatonna. 

Pioneer Hotel. The first hotel in Owatonna was the Winship 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 873 

House, which was opened by N. P. Winship in 1855, on the site 
which the building still occupies. The structure then was a log 
cabin, twenty-two by sixteen feet in size, and from the travel that 
passed thruuj^ii here, this little hostelry became one of the best 
known landmarks of southern Minnesota in early times. In 
1857, an addition, twelve by twenty-two feet in size, was erected. 
N. P. Winship remained in management til 1894, when his son, 
Ernest T., became the owner of the property, a Mr. Slonaker 
conducting the place, as agent, for the next three years. Mrs. 
Susana Deutschman (widow) then purchased the property, and 
later rented it to John Vollerson, subsequently assuming man- 
agement herself. Mr. Healing was the next renter of the prem- 
ises, being followed a few months later by Otto Stahmer, and 
then Mrs. Deutschmann conducted the establishment for a 
period, thereafter letting the place to Hubert Rockwood for 
several years, subsequently taking charge in person for a short 
while. Otto Stahmer, the present owner, was the next occupant, 
coming in in 1905 and purchasing the property the following 
year. In 1907, he gave the hotel its present name, and has since 
added many modern improvements and remodeled the building 
throughout. 

Central House. Late in 1855 a hotel was opened in A. B. 
Cornell's log cabin, by Philo Sanford. It was located on the 
bank of the river, near where G. F. Albertus' residence now 
stands. In 1857, Mr. Sanford erected what was then known as 
the American House, and later as the Central House, which 
stands just west of the Morehouse block, on Broadway. After 
a year or two A. Town purchased the property, and it has 
since changed hands a number of times. M. A. McAndrews 
became proprietor of the place in the late eighties, and it was 
later sold to James E. Mooney, who discontinued its use as a 
hotel after a short experience in that line of business. 

Owatonna House (former.) The one time Owatonna House 
was built and opened during the war by George Leick. Several 
years later, it was purchased by Mr. Engel, and at the time of 
his death he was succeeded by his son, William Engel, who car- 
ried on the business for a number of years, and then disposed 
of the property to Harry Conklin, ending its history as a hotel. 

Norsk Hotel. The Scandinavian House, now known as the 
Norsk Hotel, was built in 1866 by John M. Joos. For a number 
of years it was rented, and finally came into the possession of 
Ole Elton, who conducted the place for a good many years, ably 
assisted by his wife. Mrs. Elton has had entire charge for the 
last twenty years or more. 

German Hotel. In 1866, John Bartsch erected and opened 
the German Hotel near the depot. He ran it until the time of his 



874 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

death, whicli occurred in November, 1881, and his widow con- 
ducted the business for some time afterward, subsequently sell- 
ing out to John Roach, who continued the hotel until about 1900, 
when the building was almost totally destroyed by fire. Shortly 
afterwards, the Washington Tool Company purchased the site 
and erected the factory they still occupy. 

The Arnold House was erected in 1866 by B. L. Arnold. 
Mr. Arnold sold to Charles Hastings, who conducted it until 
1882, when the property was purchased by C. Tryon. Under 
his management the hotel acquired a large and well deserved 
custom. After his death, about 1890, his widow conducted the 
business for a year or two, and then married G. Bronson, who 
was very successful in the management of the hotel, and built 
up an extensive patronage. In July. 1901, a fire wiped out over 
half the building, and it has never been entirely rebuilt. After an 
interval of a few months, Mr. Bronson opened again, but shortly 
afterwards let the establishment to a Mrs. Smith, who remained 
as a proprietor three or four months, Mr. Bronson then taking 
charge for a short period, and subsequently selling to Charles 
Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler operated the hotel for a little less than 
a year, and then disposed of the property to D. W. Douglas, 
who a year later, in 1905, sold to Charles Green, Jane E. Green, 
Mr. Green's sister, becoming proprietor and remaining as such 
till the early part of 1910, when the property passed into the 
hands of the Minnesota Park Association, of Minneapolis, the 
present owners. The premises were immediatel_v rented to Mrs. 
John Parcher, the present proprietor. 

The Tremont House was built in 1867 by Mr. Cory. He 
sold to John Parcher, and later it passed into the hands of J. 
Oppliger, who used it as a dwelling house for a time. In 1876, 
W. Nickerson purchased the property and operated it as a hotel 
under the name of the Nickerson House, being succeeded by his 
son Charles, who was in turn succeeded by William Snyder. 
About 1890, the building was almost totally wrecked by a terri- 
fic windstorm, and further damaged by lightning. Shortly after- 
wards the site was purchased by the Catholic church and the 
present St. Joseph's cathedral erected. 

City Hotel. In 1868, O. H. \\'ensell and Oliver Nelson erected 
and opened a house which they christened the City Hotel. A 
year later it was purchased by E. B. Crooker, and in 1870 he 
sold to Appleton Hale, who conducted the business for the next 
five years, and then disposed of the property to James and 
George Peachey, the place becoming known as the Peachey 
House. In 1880, George Peachey bought out his brother's 
interest and remained as sole proprietor till 1890, when G. J. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 875 

Kaplan acquired the property, and after a year or two discon- 
tinued its use as a hotel. 

The Robinson House, tiien known as the American House, 
was built in 1875 by James Connell. After changing hands 
several times the property came into the possession of L. Robin- 
son about 1880, who conducted the hotel, together with his 
wife, until his death in 1897. Since that time his wife, Mary 
B. Robinson, has carried on the business very successfully. 
In 1901, a disastrous fire destroyed over half of the building, but 
Mrs. Robinson immediately rebuilt, enlarging the old structure 
and adding modern improvements throughout, hot water heat, 
electric lights and other conveniences. 

Merchants' Hotel. In 1880, Dr. E. M. Morehouse erected a 
three-story brick building, which was opened as the Commercial 
Hotel in 1884, by Elmer E. Cane. Two years later, W. D. 
Snyder became proprietor, remaining as such until about 1891, 
when he was succeeded by O. E. Edson, who changed the name 
of the place to the Merchants' Hotel, and conducted the business 
for a little over a year. In 1892, the use of the property as a hotel 
ceased, though five years later a portion of the upper story 
was fitted and has since been used as an addition to the present 
Owatonna House. 

Church's Hotel, at present known as the Winona Hotel, 
was built and opened by John Church in 1885. Shortly after- 
wards, F. D. Albro became proprietor, and in 1890 G. J. Kaplan 
entered into possession, and the place became known as the 
Kaplan House. Shortly afterwards he rented the property to 
John Church, the former owner, and after passing through the 
hands of several renters — all the time being conducted as a hotel 
— the premises were sold to Frank W. Steinbauer, who gave the 
place the name it now bears. April 15, 1909, Jacob Weiler pur- 
chased the property, which he still owns. Fred Austin is the 
present occupant, but conducts the establishment as a rooming- 
house only. 

Owatonna House. In the summer of 1887, Dr. E. M. More- 
house began the erection of a magnificent four-story brick block, 
now widely known as the home of the Owatonna House, one of 
the most popular hotels in this section of the state among 
travelers who appreciate the hosjMtality of the highest type of a 
modern hotel. The house was thoroughly furnished and fitted in 
the most up-to-date and palatial manner during the year 1893, 
being opened with appropriate ceremonies and splendor January 
1, 1894. by J. \V. Gill, who conducted the business very success- 
fully until 1898, when he was succeeded by Frank E. Grove. 
He was followed a year later by the Foster Brothers, who 
remained until 1900, when the hotel came under its present 



876 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

management of Morehouse Brothers and J. W. Adsit, T N. 
Morehouse acting as proprietor up to 1905. Since that time J. 
W. Adsit has been in charge, and has continued the progressive 
methods of his predecessors, firmly establishing himself in the 
hearts of the traveling public. New improvements have been 
added from year to year, and the equipment is always main- 
tained in the highest state of efficiency. The new dining room, 
added in 1908, ranks with the best in the Northwest in appoint- 
ments and general arrangement. As evidence of the favor with 
which this hotel has met, it may be noted that scarcely three 
years after its beginning, its increasing patronage compelled 
the opening of a part of the old Merchants' Hotel as an addition. 

Depue and Wood. In 1895, David Depue and A. E. Wood 
opened a hotel on West Broadway, almost directly across from 
the Owatonna House. They continued in business as joint 
proprietors — their establishment being simply known as the 
"Depue and Wood Place" — until 1904. when Mr. Wood retired 
from the firm. A year later Mr. Depue removed from the prem- 
ises, ending their use for hotel purposes. 

The Farmers' Hotel was erected and opened by Peter An- 
derson about 1895. He sold in 1903, to N. P. Christensen, which 
ended the use of the property as a hotel. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

OWATONNA OFFICERS. 

Incorporated as a City. — Minutes of First Council Meeting. — 
Changes in City Charter. — City Limits. — Officers of the City. 
— City and School Bond Issues. 

Owatonna's transition from a hamlet to a full-fledged city was 
made February 23, 1865, when the state legislature passed a bill 
giving it a charter. George B. Hall, W. R. Kinyon, A. M. Kinyon, 
Judge N. M. Donaldson, Dr. David Harsha and J. W. Morford 
were chief among the leading citizens who were instrumental in 
bringing tliis about. Section one of article one, reading as follows, 
best describes the territory included in the incorporate limits: 
"That all that district of county situate in the county of Steele 
and state of Minnesota, known and described as sections three, 
four, nine, ten, fifteen and sixteen, and the west one-half of sec- 
tions number two, eleven and fourteen, and the east one-half of 
sections number five, eight and seventeen, in township one 
hundred and seven north, range number twenty west, shall be 
a city by the name of Owatonna." During the next twenty years 
various amendments were added from time to time, those of 
1868, providing more specifically as to the election of the city 
officers and their terms, and entrusted the appointment of a city 
surveyor and attorney to the council. The year 1875 saw the 
next changes, the entire charter appearing to have been re-codi- 
fied, but nothing seems to have been materially changed. An 
amendment of March 7, 1878, re-divided the city, making four 
wards of it in place of three, and a year later the boundaries 
of the wards were placed as they were up to the time of the 
adoption of the present charter. The special laws of '79 gives it 
as follows : "The said city is hereby divided into four wards, 
as follows : By a straight line running from the north to the 
south limits of said city, drawn through the center of Cedar 
street, intersected by a straight line ruiuiing from the east to the 
west limits of said city, drawn through the center of Bridge 
street, and said wards shall be numbered and designated as fol- 
lows: The southeast division siiall be lumibered the first ward. 
The northeast division shall be numbered the second ward. The 
northwest division shall be numbered the third ward. The south- 
west division shall be numbered the fourth ward." February 10 

877 



878 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

and 13, 1885, amendments were passed by the state legislature, 
amending the charter of the city of Owatonna by giving the 
school board the power to submit estimate of money needed 
for coming year for school purposes, and to have this amount 
levied. A municipal court was established in Owatonna March 
7. 1889. taking the place of the court presided over by tlie city 
justice. The same year the council was authorized to assess 
part of the expense of laying water and sewerage property against 
abutting property. No other charges of any consequence have 
since been made, the present charter adopted at the March elec- 
tion of 1909 remedying all evils thought to be in the old. 

The first steps were taken toward the securing of a new 
charter in 1906, when application was made to the district court 
for the appointment of a charter commission to draw up a 
charter for submission to the people under the home-rule law 
of 1896. Carl K. Bennett, Thomas E. Cashman, Charles S. Cran- 
dall, William Gausewitz, Patrick J. Kiernan. Harlan E. Leach, 
Willis F. Sawyer, Wesley A. Sperry, Lewis L. \\'heelock. John 
Smith, John Lynard, Albert L. Sperry, Rasmus G. Nelson, Louis 
F. Hammel and Benjamin E. Darby were appointed as such 
commission, and immediately proceeded to draw up a charter 
which was submitted to the voters at a special election held 
January 30, 1906, but failed to secure the necessary four-sevenths 
vote. Another charter was then drafted which met with the 
approval of the people at the regular March election of 1909. 
This charter is still in force and has seemed to meet the needs 
of the city. Another ward was added, making five, only one 
alderman is elected from each ward in place of two under the 
old charter, but two are elected at large for a term of four years. 
The aldermen from the wards are elected for two years as 
previously. No constables or justices of the peace are provided 
for. All other officers are elected for two years, excepting the 
municipal judge who has a four-3'ear term. The city attorney, 
assessor, engineer, and weighmaster are now appointed by the 
council. The engineer attends to the duties of the old street 
commissioner and city surveyor, and is a member of a Board of 
Public W'orks, created by the charter and consisting of the 
mayor, clerk and engineer, which supervises all expenditures 
of money and has charge and control of the water and sewer 
systems and other public utilities. Under the present charter 
the power to grant an exclusive franchise is not given the coun- 
cil ; no land owner can get land taken out of the corporate limits 
by petition to the district court, and no person can bring an 
action for damages against the city for injuries caused by a 
defective sidewalk unless they have given the council notice of 
the condition of the sidewalk at least five days previous to the 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 879 

accident. Another important provision in the present charter 
gives the council the right to regulate the rates of corporations 
dealing in public utilities. 

Section three of chapter one of the charter best gives the ter- 
ritory included in the respective wards. "The city shall be div- 
ided into five (5) wards, as follows: The first ward shall in- 
clude all that portion of the city lying east of the center line 
of Cedar street and south of the center line of Main street and 
south of the center line of what is known as the Rice Lake 
road east of the point where said Rice Lake road intersects said 
Main street. 

"The second ward shall include all that portion of the city 
lying east of the center line of Cedar street, north of the center 
line of Main street and the center line of the Rice Lake road east 
of the point where the said Rice Lake road intersects said Main 
street, and south of the center line of Rose street. 

"The third ward shall include all that portion of the city 
lying west of the center line of Cedar street and north of the 
center line of Bridge street. 

"The fourth ward shall include all that portion of the city 
lying west of the center line of Cedar street and south of the 
center line of Bridge street. 

"The fifth ward shall include all that portion of the city ly- 
ing east of the center line of Cedar street and north of the center 
line of Rose street." 



The first meeting of the Owatonna city council of which 
there is any official record occurred April 10, 1865. The minutes 
are as follows: "Meeting of council, April 10, 1865. Council 
called to order by mayor. Present: George B. Hall, mayor; W. 
H. Willsey, W. R. Kinyon, J. B. Crooker, J. A. Oppliger, John 
Donaldson and William Scruby, aldermen ; and A. M. Kinyon, 
recorder. Moved and seconded that we proceed to canvass the 
votes of the election held April 4, A. D. 1865. Carried. Pro- 
ceeded to canvass votes. The following named men were de- 
clared elected to the offices hereafter named, to-wit : mayor, 
George B. Hall ; city justice, A. N. Stoughton ; city recorder, 
A. M. Kinyon; assessor, James W. Dryser; school director at 
large, D. S. Harsha and C. L. Tappan ; alderman first ward, \V. 
H. Willsey for two years, W. R. Kinyon for one year; alderman 
second ward, J. A. Oppliger for two years, J. B. Crooker for 
one year; alderman third ward, William Scruby for two years, 
John Donaldson for one year; school director first ward. Seth 
Hotchkiss; school director second ward, A. Town; school direc- 
tor third ward, D. W. Burch ; justice of the peace first ward. A. 
Chambers; justice of the peace second ward, G. P. Reyner; 



880 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

justice of the peace, third ward, Philo Bliss ; constable, first ward, 
James Cornwell ; constable, second ward, William Curtis; con- 
stable third ward, J. B. Hooker. 

'"Proceeded to appoint officers as per charter, to-wit: J. B. 
Hooker, city treasurer; J. B. Searles, city attorney; F. Bixby, 
city surveyor; W. Wheaton, city marshal. 

"Moved and seconded that the recorder be instructed to 
procure a suitable book to keep city records in and stationery 
for the use of the common council. Carried. 

"Moved and seconded that the compensation of the city 
attorney for the ensuing year shall be twenty-five dollars. Car- 
ried. 

"Moved and seconded that the recorder be allowed sevent}-- 
five dollars per annum for his services. Carried. 

"Moved and seconded that the city treasurer be required 
to give bonds in the sum of $1,000.00. Carried. 

"Moved and seconded that we adjourn to seven p. m., April 
17, 1865. Carried. 

"George B. Hall, Mayor. 
"A. M. Kinyon, Recorder." 

The officers of Owatonna have been as follows: 
1865-66. Mayor, G. B. Hall; recorder, A. M. Kinyon; asses- 
sor, J. W. Dresser; treasurer, J. B. Hooker; city marshal, W. 
Wheaton; city justice, A. X. Stoughton ; city attorney, J. B. 
Searles; city surveyor, L. Bi.xby ; official paper, "Plaindealer." 
First ward : Aldermen, W. H. Willsey, W. R. Kinyon ; justice, A. 
Chambers; street commissioner, S. N. Sargent; constable, James 
Connell. Second ward: Aldermen, J. A. Oppliger, J. B. Crooker; 
justice, I. P. Requa; street commissioner, A. Odell ; constable, 
Wm. Curtis. Third ward : Aldermen, W. Scruby, J. Donaldson ; 
justice, Philo Bliss; street commissioner, M. H. Franklin; con- 
stable, J. B. Hooker. Board of education : At large, D. S. Har- 
sha, C. L. Tappan; first ward, Seth Hotchkiss ; second ward. A. 
Town; third ward, D. W. Burch. 

1866-67. Mayor, A. N. Stoughton; recorders, A. M. Kinyon, 
C. S. Crandall ; assessor, J. Chambers ; treasurer, G. B. Hall ; 
street commissioner, S. N. Sargeant; city marshal, W. Wheaton; 
city justice, C. C. Cornell; city attorney, J. B. Searles; city sur- 
veyor, L. Bixby; official paper, "Plaindealer." First ward: 
Aldermen, W. H. Willsey, W. R. Kinyon; constable, James 
Connell; justice, A. Chambers. Second ward: Aldermen, J. 
Newsalt, H. C. Eldred ; justice, I. P. Requa; constable, William 
Curtis. Third ward: Aldermen, William Scruby, H. J. Lewis, 
J. A. Oppliger; justice, Philo Bliss; constables, C. G. Smith, 
H. A. Tiffany. Board of education: At large, D. S. Harsha, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 881 

C. L. Tappan; First ward, Setli Hotchkiss; Second ward, A. 
Town; Third ward, D. W. Burch. 

1867-68. Mayor, S. R. Washburn ; recorder, Isaac W. Burch ; 
assessor, L. E. Rawson ; treasurer, G. B. Hall; street commis- 
sioners, H. J. Lewis, C. L. Gardner; city marshal, M. J. Toher; 
city justice, H. H. Johnson; city attorney, J. B. Searles; city 
surveyor, J. H. Abbott ; official pa])er, "Journal." First ward : 
Aldermen, W. R. Kinyon, Clarke Chambers, W. H. Willscy; 
constable, Levi Frank; justice, Addison Phelps. Second ward: 
Aldermen, H. C. Eldred, N. Winship, J. Donaldson; constable, 
none; justice, H. A- Beers. Third ward: Aldermen, J. A. Op- 
pliger, J. Donaldson, J. S. Fuller; constable, I. W. Hanks; jus- 
tice, M. F. Lowth. Board of education: At large, D. S. Harsha, 
S. S. Russell; First ward, S. Hotchkiss, I. J. Fuller; Second 
ward, A. Town; Third ward, D. W. Burch. 

1868-69. Mayor, J. W. Morford ; recorder, Isaac W. Burch ; 
assessor, E. Scannel ; treasurer, S. Hotchkiss ; street commis- 
sioner. A. Phelps; city marshal, I. W. Hanks; city justice, H. H. 
Johnson; city attorney, H. B. Searles; city surveyor, J. H. 
Abbott; official paper, "Journal." First ward: Aldermen, C. 
Chambers, J. A. Armstrong, Chas. Dennijes; constables, none; 
justice. Win. Dean. Second ward: Aldermen, N. Winship, D. 
B. Marble; constable, J. B. Hooker; justice, H. A. Beers. Third 
ward: Aldermen, T. J. Howe, K. D. Chase; justice. Wm. David- 
son ; constable, I. W. Hanks. Board of education : At large, 
S. S. Russell, S. B. Washburne; First ward, I. J. Fuller; Second 
ward. P. S. Smith. John Odell ; Third ward, Wm. Davidson. 

1869-70. Mayor, A. N. Stoughton ; recorder, Isaac W. Burch ; 
assessor, E. Scannel ; treasurer, J. Chambers ; street commis- 
sioner, M. J. Toher; city marshal, I, W. Hanks; city justice, 
H. A. Beers; city attorney, J. B. Searles; city surveyor, J. H. 
Abbott ; official paper, "Journal." First ward : Aldermen, J. A. 
Armstrong, Lewis Lord; constable, James Connell ; justice, T. 
G. Patch. Second ward: Aldermen, D. B. Marble, L. E. Raw- 
son; justice, L. B. Town; constable, H. A. Tiffany. Third 
ward: Aldermen, K. D. Chase, T. J. Howe, H. Backus; con- 
stable, I. W. Hanks; justice, Philo Bliss. Board of education: 
At large, G. B. Hall, M. F. Lowth; JMrst ward, B. F. Melvin ; 
Second ward. John Odell, D. S. Harsha; Third ward, D. W. 
Burch. 

1870-71. Mayor, 11. II. Johnson: recorder, Isaac Burch; as- 
sessor, Seth Hotchkiss; treasurer, J. Chambers; street com- 
missioner, L. Gilbert; city marshal, I. W. Hanks; city justice, 
H. A. Beers; city attorney, J. B. Searles; city surveyor, J. H. 
Abbott; official paper, "Journal." First ward: Aldermen, J. A. 
Armstrong, R. C. Olin, Lewis Lord; constable, James Cornell; 



882 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

jiistice, T. G. Patch. Second ward: Aldermen, D. B. Marble, 
L. E. Rawson ; constable, E. R. Fenno; justice, Samuel Col- 
lins. Third ward: Aldermen, T. J. Howe, H. Backus; justice, 
Philo Bliss ; constable, I. W. Hanks. Board of education : At 
large, G. B. Hall. G. C. Tanner; First ward, Charles S. Cran- 
dall ; Second ward, D. S. Harsha ; Third ward, D. \V. Burch. 

1871-72. Mayor, R. C. Olin; recorder, Isaac W. Burch; as- 
sessor, Seth Hotchkiss ; treasurer, J. Chambers ; street commis- 
sioner, James Cotter; city marshal, I. \\'. Hanks; city justice, 
H. H. Johnson; city attorney, Lewis L. Wheelock; city sur- 
vej'or. J. H. Abbott; official paper, "Journal." First ward: 
Aldermen, R. C. Olin, T. AV. Irving, \V. H. Sherman; constable, 
James Connell ; justice, T. G. Patch. Second ward: Aldermen, 
D. B. Marble, E. A. Tyler; justice, M. L. Blair; constable, R. 
G. Chittenden. Third ward : Aldermen, H. Backus, J. E. Bux- 
ton ; justice, J. S. Austin; constable, O. G. Evenson. Board of 
education : At large, G. C. Tanner, Lewis L. Wheelock ; First 
ward, Charles S. Crandall ; Second ward, E. H. S. Dartt ; Third 
ward, D. W. Burch. 

1872-73. Mayors, W. H. Kelly, J. A. Oppliger; recorder, 
Isaac W. Burch; assessor, Seth Hotchkiss; treasurer, Joseph 
Chambers; street commissioner, S. J. Loomis; city marshal, D. 
Whipple; city justice, H. H. Johnson; city attorney, J. M. Bur- 
lingame ; city surveyor, B. S. Wheeler; official paper, "Journal." 
First ward: Aldermen, T. W. Irving, W. FI. Sherman, W. H. 
Willsey ; justice, T. G. Patch ; constable. James Connell. Second 
ward: Aldermen, E. A. Tyler, A. C. Dodge; justice, C. C. Cor- 
nell; constable, D. Whipple. Third ward: Aldermen, H. 
Backus, J. E. Buxton; justice J. S. Austin; constable, A. E. 
Simons. Board of education : At large, Lewis L. \\'heelock, G. 
C. Tanner ; First ward, Chas. S. Crandall ; Second ward, E. H. 
S. Dartt; Third ward, D. W. Burch. 

1873-74. Mayor. T. J. Flowe ; recorder, Isaac \\'. Burch ; as- 
sessor, D. W. Burch ; treasurer, Joseph Chambers ; street com- 
missioner. S. J. Loomis; city marshal, E. L. Paddock; city jus- 
tice, T. G. Patch; city attorney, J. M. Eurlingame; city sur- 
veyor, B. S. Wheeler; official paper, "Journal."' First ward: 
Aldermen, T. W. Irving, Seth Hotchkiss; justice, H. H. John- 
son; constable, Theo. Dean. Second Ward: Aldermen, A. C. 
Dodge, Titus Case; justice, C. C. Cornell; constable, E. R. 
Fenno. Third ward: Aldermen, H. Backus, J. E. Buxton; jus- 
tice, Wm. Davidson ; constable, H. A. Tiffany. Board of educa- 
tion : At large, G. C. Tanner, John A. Spelman ; First ward, A. 
N. Stoughton ; Second w^ard, E. H. S. Dartt ; Third ward, D. W. 
Burch. 

1874-75. Mayor, T. J. Howe; recorder, Isaac W. Burch; as- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 883 

sessor, Seth Hotchkiss ; treasurer, Joseph Chambers ; street 
commissioner, P. Brennan; city marshal, S. H. Stowers; city- 
justices, T. G. Patch, N. M. Donaldson; city attorney, J. M. 
Burlingame ; city surveyor, J. H. Abbott ; official paper, "Jour- 
nal." First ward: Aldermen, Seth Hotchkiss, Clarke Cham- 
bers; justice, H. H. Johnson; constable, P. R. Pike. Second 
ward: Aldermen, Titus Case, N. M. Donaldson; justice, Isaac 
Howe; constable, G. F. Doolittle. Third ward: Aldermen, J. 
E. Buxton, Geo. Wilson ; justice, Wm. Davidson ; constable, H. 
A. Tiffany. Board of education: At large, G. C. Tanner, John 
A. Spelman; First ward, A. N. Stoughton; Second ward, E. H. 
S. Dartt ; Third ward, H. W. Pratt. 

1875-76. Alayor, T. J. Howe; recorder, Isaac W. Burch; 
assessor, Seth Hotchkiss; treasurer, J. Chambers; street com- 
missioner, P. Brennan; city marshal, S. H. Stowers; city jus- 
tice, N. M. Donaldson; city attorney, J. M. Burlingame; city 
surveyor, J. H. Abbott; official paper, '•Journal." First ward: 
Aldermen, Clarke Chambers, A. Knobloch ; justice, H. H. John- 
son ; constable, S. H. Stowers. Second ward : Aldermen, N. M. 
Donaldson, E. Donaldson; justices, Isaac Howe, H. A. Beers; 
constable, Wm. Furman. Third ward : Aldermen, J. E. Buxton, 
Geo. Willson; justice, Wm. Davidson; constable, H. A. Tiffany. 
Board of education: At large, G. C. Tanner, J. C. Ellis; First 
ward, A. N. Stoughton; Second ward, E. H. S. Dartt; Third 
ward, H. W. Pratt. 

1876-77. Mayor. X. M. Donaldson; recorder, Isaac W. 
Burch; assessor, L. E. Rawson; treasurer, J. Chambers; street 
commissioner, P. Brennan; city marshal, J. B. Putney; city 
justice, N. M. Donaldson; city attorney, J. M. Burlingame; city 
surveyor, J. H. Abbott; official paper, "People's Press." First 
ward: Aldermen, A. Knobloch, J. R. Fox; justice, H. H. John- 
son; constable, George Van Dusen. Second ward: Aldermen, 
E. Donaldson, J. C. Ellis; justice, H. A. Beers; constable, Wm. 
Furman. Third ward : Aldermen. E. Easton, Jas. Thompson ; 
justice, Wm. Davidson ; constable, H. A. Tiffany. Board of 
education: At large, H. W. Pratt, J. C. Ellis; First ward, W. A. 
Dynes, R. H. Chapin; Second ward, E. H. S. Dartt; Third ward, 
C. G. Earley. 

1877-78. Mayor, M. A. Fredenburg; recorder, Isaac W. 
Burch ; assessor, E. Easton ; treasurer, Joseph Chambers ; street 
commissioner, P. Brennan; city marshal, S. H. Stowers; city 
justice, N. M. Donaldson; city attorney, J. M. Burlingame; 
city surveyor, J. II. Abbott; official paper, "Review." First 
ward: Aldermen, J. R. Fox, A. Knobloch; justice, H. F. Luce; 
constable, none. Second ward: Aldermen, E. Donaldson, J. C. 
Ellis; justice, II. A. Beers; constable, E. M. Arnold. Third 



884 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

ward: Aldermen, James Thompson, C, H. Randall; justice, E. 

C. Culver; constable, H. A. Tifiany. Board of education: At 
large, J. S. W'oodard, Lewis Lord; First ward, G. C. Tanner; 
Second ward. W. A. Dynes ; Third ward. T. J. Howe. 

1879-80. Mayor, J. C. Ellis : recorder, I. W. Burch ; asses- 
sor. E. Easton ; treasurer, Joseph Chambers : street commis- 
sioner, J. C. Ault; city marshal. D. \\'hipple; city justice, C. C. 
Cornell: city attornc}-, J. M. Burlingame; city surveyor, J. H. 
Abbott: fjfficial paper, "Owatonna Journal." First ward: 
Aldermen, Lorin Andrews, A. C. Gutterson : justice, H. F. 
Luce; constable, \V. C. Hadley. Second ward: Aldermen, J. 
E. Buxton, G. W. Rockwood : justice, A. B. Barrett; constable, 

D. \V. Williamson. Third ward : Aldermen, J. C. Backus, G. F. 
Albertus; justice, R. B. Newhall ; constable, Geo. W. Peachey. 
Fourth ward: Aldermen, H. Schmidt. E. M. Morehouse; jus- 
tice, none; constable, S. II. Stowers. Board of education: At 
large, J. C. Ellis. James Cotter, J. E. Truesdell; First ward. L. 
L. Wheelock : Second ward, W. A. Dynes; Third ward, T. J. 
Howe; Fourth ward, Chas. Dennijes. 

1880-81. Mayor, J. C. Ellis; recorder, Charles Dawson; as- 
sessor, E. Easton ; treasurer, Joseph Chambers ; street commis- 
sioner. J. C. Ault; city marshal, D. Whipple; city justice. C. 
C. Cornell; city attorney. L. L. Wheelock; city surveyor, J. H. 
Abbott; official paper, "Owatonna Journal." First ward: Alder- 
men, Lorin Andrews, A. C. Gutterson; justice, H. F. Luce; con- 
stable, W. C. Hadley. Second ward : Aldermen, J. E. Buxton, 
Henry Birkett; justice, A. B. Barrett; constable, H. A. Tififany. 
Third ward: Aldermen, G. F. Albertus. E. M. Morehouse; jus- 
tice, R. B. Newhall; constable, Geo. W. Peachey. Fourth ward: 
Aldermen, Herman Schmidt, John Hammell ; justice, H. A. 
Beers ; constable, A. Flafemann. Board of education : At large, 
James Cotter. A. C. Hickman; First ward. L. L. Wheelock; 
Second ward, W. A. Dynes; Third ward, T. J. Howe; Fourth 
ward, Chas. Dennijes. 

1881-82. Maj'or, B. S. Cook; recorder, Charles Dawson; 
treasurer, R. B. Newhall ; street commissioner, J. C. Ault ; city 
marshal. I. U. Jones; city justice, H. A. Beers; city attorney, 
H. E. Johnson ; city surveyor, J. H. Abbott ; official paper, 
"People's Press." First ward: Aldermen, A. C. Gutterson, J. 

E. Truesdell; justice, FI. F. Luce; constable, W. C. Hadley. 
Second ward: Aldermen, Henry Birkett, E. Scannel ; justice, 
A. B. Barrett ; constable, H. A. Tiffany. Third ward : Alder- 
men, G. F. Arbertus, E. M. Morehouse; justice, R. B. Newhall; 
constable, J. C. Johnson. Fourth ward: Aldermen, John Ham- 
mel, H. Schmidt: justice, FI. A. Beers; constable, O. Tiffany. 
Board of education: At large, A. C. Hickman, James Cotter; 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 885 

First ward, L. L. W'licclock; Second ward, W. A. Dynes; Third 
ward, A. Simpson; P'ourth ward, Chas. Dennijes. 

1882-83. Mayor, B. S. Cook; recorder, C. E. Luce; assessor, 
E. Easton ; treasurer, H. H. Luers ; street commissioners, J. C. 
Ault; city marshal, I. U. Jones; cit}' justice, H. A. Beers; city 
attorney, H. E. Johnson; city surveyor, J. H. Abbott; official 
paper, "Steele County Herald." First ward : Aldermen, J. E. 
Truesdell, John Chambers; justice, H. F. Luce; constable, W. 
C. Hadley. Second ward: Aldermen, E. Scannel, S. S. Green; 
justice, M. A. Fredenburg; constable, H. A. Tiffany. Third 
ward: .•\Idermen, E. M. Morehouse, G. F. Albertus ; justice, 
none; constable, Ignatius Kremer. Fourth ward: Aldermen, 
Peter Ganser, Herman Schmidt; justice, H. A. Beers; constable, 
O. Tiffany. Board of education : At large, James Cotter, A. C. 
Hickman ; First ward, L. L. Wheelock ; Second ward, W. A. 
Dynes; Third ward, A. Simpson; Fourth ward, E. Y. Hunnewill. 

1883-84. Mayor, H. Birkett ; recorder, C. E. Luce ; assessor, 
E. Easton ; treasurer, C. J. Kinyon ; street commissioner, J. C. 
Ault; city marshal, John Thorson; city justice, M. A. Freden- 
burg ; city attorney, E. W. Richter ; city surveyor. J. H. Abbott ; 
official paper, "Owatonna Journal." First ward: Aldermen, John 
Chambers, J. E. Truesdell; justice, H. F. Luce; constable, R. H. 
Johnson. Second ward: Aldermen, S. S. Green, J. C. Ellis, H. 
H. Luers; justice, M. A. Fredenburg; constable, W. H. Shoe- 
maker. Third ward: Aldermen, G. F. Albertus, Frank Stimson, 
J. D. Holden; justice, J. D. Holden; constable, Ignatius Kre- 
mer. Fourth ward: Aldermen, Peter Ganser, Herman Schmidt; 
justice, H. A. Beers; constable, O. Tiffany. Board of education: 
At large, A. C. Hickman, James Cotter; First ward, L. L. Wheel- 
ock; Second ward, W. A. Dynes; Third ward, A. Simpson; 
Fourth ward, E. Y. Hunnewill. 

1884-85. Mayor, John Shea ; recorder, C. E. Luce ; assessor, 
E. Easton ; treasurer, C. J. Kinyon ; street commissioner, J. C. 
Ault; city marshal, R. White; city justice, M. A. Fredenburg; 
city attorney, E. W. Richter; city surveyor, J. H. Abbott; offi- 
cial paper, "People's Press." First ward: Aldermen, J. E. Trues- 
dell, M. J. Toher; justice, H. F. Luce; constable, R. H. Johnson. 
Second ward: Aldermen, S. S. Green, J. Z. Barncard ; justice, 
O. Abernethy; constable, A\'. IT. Shoemaker. Third ward: 
Aldermen, E. M. Morehouse, J. Glaeser; justice, O. M. Ham- 
mond ; constable, Ignatius Kremer. Fourth ward : Aldermen, 
Peter Ganser, Herman Schmidt; justice, H. A. Beers; constable, 
O. Tiffany. Board of education : At large. J. A. Cotter, T. J. 
Howe ; First ward, W. A. Sperry ; Second ward, W. A. Dynes ; 
Third ward, Lewis Lord; Fourth ward, E. Y. Hunnewill. 

1885-86. Mayor, C. N. McLaughlin; recorder, C. E. Luce; 



886 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

assessor, E. Easton : treasurer, C. J. Kinyon; street commis- 
sioner, J. C. Aiilt; city marshal, R. White; city justice, A. N. 
Stoughton; city attorney, E. \\\ Richter; city surveyor, A. M. 
Mitchell; official paper, "People's Press." First ward: Alder- 
men, M. J. Toiler, N. C. Larson; justice, H. F. Luce; constable, 
R. H. Johnson. Second ward : Aldermen, S. S. Green, J. Z. 
Barncard; justice, M. A. Fredenburg; constable, H. R. Thomp- 
son. Third ward: Aldermen, E. M. Morehouse. E. W. Piper; 
justice, William Davidson; constable, Ignatius Kremer. Fourth 
ward: Aldermen, Peter Ganser, Charles Schoen ; justice, C. C. 
Cornell ; constable, Herman Lee. Board of education : At large, 
George E. Peck, T. J. Howe ; First ward, W. A. Sperry ; Second 
ward, W. A. Dynes ; Third ward, Lewis Lord ; Fourth ward, 
E. Y. Hunnewill. 

1886-87. Mayor, R. H. Kelly; recorder, C. E. Luce; asses- 
sor, E. Easton ; treasurer, G. D. Holden ; street commissioner, 
J. C. Ault; city marshal, R. H. Johnson; city justice, A. N. 
Stoughton; city attorney, J. M. Burlingame ; city surveyor, A. 
M. Mitchell; official paper, "Journal and Herald." First ward: 
Aldermen, N. C. Larson, C. \V. Hadley ; justice. H. F. Luce; 
constable, R. H. Johnson. .Second ward : Aldermen, Henry 
Birkett, James Brown; justice, M. A. Fredenburg; constable. 
H. R. Thompson. Third ward : Aldermen, E. W. Piper, Dr. E. 
M. Morehouse; justice, William Davidson; constable, Ignatius 
Kremer. Fourth ward: Aldermen, Peter Ganser, Charles Schoen; 
justice, A. Moncriefif; constable, George Putney. Board of edu- 
cation: At large, T. J. Howe, G. E. Peck; First ward, W. A. 
Sperry; Second ward, W. A. Dynes; Third ward. L. Lord; 
Fourth ward, E. Y. Hunnewill. 

1887-88. Mayor, M. B. Pratt; recorder, C. E. Luce; asses- 
sor, J. S. Austin ; treasurer, A. N. Stoughton ; street commis- 
sioner, John Ouinn ; city marshal, R. H. Johnson; city justice, 
J. Newsalt ; city attorney. Amos Coggswell ; city surveyor, A. 
M.Mitchell; official paper, "People's Press." First ward : Alder- 
men, C. W. Hadley, N. C. Larson; justice, H. F. Luce; consta- 
ble, R. H. Johnson. Second ward: Aldermen, Henry Birkett, 
James Brown; justice, M. A. Fredenburg;* constable, H. A. 
Tififany. Third ward: Aldermen, Dr. E. M. Morehouse, G. F. 
Albertus; justice, J. H. Soukup ; constable. John Ganser. Fourth 
ward: Aldermen, Peter Ganser, Joseph Hoffman; justice, A. 
Moncrieff; constable, H. Lee. Board of education: At large, 
T. J. Howe, J. Schmidt ; First ward, W. A. Sperry ; Second 
ward, W. A. Dynes; Third ward, H. Cartright; Fourth ward, 
E. Y. Hunnewill. 



*Mr. Fredenburg died shortly after bis re-election to tbis office. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 887 

1888-89. Mayor, A. C. Gutterson; recorder, C. E. Luce; 
treasurer, A. N. Stoughton ; street commissioner, J. C. Ault ; 
assessor, J. S. Austin ; marshal, R. H. Johnson ; city justice, J. 
Newsalt. attorney, L. L. Wheelock ; official paper, "Journal and 
Herald"; surveyor, A. AI. Mitchell. First ward: Aldermen, 
C. W. Hadley, N. C. Larson; justice, H. F. Luce; constable, 
\V. D. Snyder. Second ward : Aldermen, James Brown, C. J. 
Kinyon; justice, M. B. Chadwick; constable, H. A. Tiffany. 
Third ward: Aldermen, E. M. Morehouse, G. F. Albertus; jus- 
tice, J. II. Soukup; constable, J. P. Ganser. Fourth ward: 
Aldermen, Joseph Hoffman, C. F. Backus; justice, C. Schoen; 
constable, Fred Mueller. Board of education : At large, Lewis 
Lord, H. Schmidt; First ward, W. A. Spcrry; Second ward, W. 
A. Dynes; Third ward, H. Cartwright; Fourth ward, E. Y. 
Hunnewill. 

1889-90. Mayor, E. M. Morehouse; recorder, C. E. Luce; 
treasurer, A. N. Stoughton ; street commissioner, J. C. Ault ; 
assessor, D. P. Farmer; marshal, Chas. Green; municipal judge, 
M. B. Chadwick; attorney, J. A. Sawyer; surveyor, A. M. 
Mitchell; official paper, "Journal." First ward: Aldermen, N. 
C. Larson, C. W. Hadley; justice, H. E. Luce; constable, L. K. 
Bullman. Second ward : Aldermen, James Brown, C. J. Kinyon ; 
justice, O. Abernethy ; constable, John Thorson. Third ward : 
Aldermen, C. Tryon, G. L. Forsyth (appointed to take place of 
newly elected Mayor Morehouse); justice, J. H. Soukup; con- 
stable, J. P. Ganser. Fourth ward : Aldermen, Joseph Hoffman, 

C. F. Backus; justice, A. Moncrieff; constable, H. B. Schoen. 
Board of education: At large, C. E. Sheldon. Lewis Lord; First 
ward, W. A. Sperry; Second ward, W. A. Dynes; Third ward, 
H. Cartwright; Fourth ward, E. Y. Hunnewill. 

1890-91. Mayor, E. M. Morehouse; recorder, S. M. Bryan; 
treasurer, E. Easton ; street commissioner, J. C. Ault ; assessor, 

D. P. Farmer; marshal, Chas. Green; municipal judge, M. B. 
Chadwick; attorney, L. L. Wheelock; surveyor, A. M. Mitchell; 
official paper, "Journal." First ward : Aldermen, D. W. Sperry, 
N. C. Larson ; justice, H. F. Luce ; constable, Jay Till. Second 
ward: Aldermen, C. J. Kinyon, James Brown; justice, O. Aber- 
nethy; constable, W. H. Shoemaker. Third ward: Aldermen, 
H. Kasper, C. Tryon; justice, J. H. Soukup; constable. Cord 
King. Fourth ward : Aldermen, II. Knoblock, Joseph Hoft"man ; 
justice, A. Moncrieff; constable, J. Misgen. Board of education: 
At large, Lewis Lord, C. E. Sheldon ; First ward, W. A. Sperry ; 
Second ward, W. A. Dynes; Third ward, G. D. Holden; Fourth 
ward, E. Y. Hunnewill. 

1891-92. Mayor, E. M. Morehouse, \V. A. Dynes (elected at 
special election, July 7, 1891, for the balance of term of Mayor 



888 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Morehouse, late deceased); recorder, S. M. Bryan; treasurer, 
B. F. Welch; street commissioner, M. L. Deviny ; assessor, D. 
P. Farmer; marshal, Chas. Green; municipal judge, M. B. Chad- 
wick ; attorney. C. J. O'Brien ; surveyor, A. M. Mitchell ; official 
paper, "People's Press." First ward: Aldermen, John Smith, 
D. W. Sperry; justice, H. F. Luce; constable, William Thom- 
son. Second ward : Aldermen, William Gausewitz, C. J. Kin- 
yon ; justice, M. B. Chadwick (appointed to serve in place of S. 
Anderson, who was elected, but refused to serve) ; constable, 
W. H. Shoemaker. Third ward: Aldermen, C. Tryon, H. Ras- 
per; justice, J. H. Soukup; constable, C. Van Arnum. Fourth 
ward: Aldermen, Joseph Hoffman, H. Knoblock ; justice, A. 
Moncriefif; constable, M. A. McAndrews. Board of education: 
At large, C. E. Sheldon, Lewis Lord ; First ward, W. A. Sperry ; 
Second ward, W. A. Dynes; Third ward, G. B. Holden; Fourth 
ward, E. Y. Hunnewill. 

1892-93. Mayor, W. A. Dynes; recorder, S. M. Byrne; treas- 
urer, S. H. Stowers; street commissioner, M. L. Deviny; asses- 
sor, D. P. Farmer; marshal, Chas. Green; municipal judge, M. 

B. Chadwick; attorney, E. W. Richter ; surveyor, A. M. Mitch- 
ell; official paper, "Journal." First ward: Aldermen, O. S. 
Boice, John Smith; justice, H. F. Luce. Second ward: .\lder- 
men, N. J. Schafer, William Gausewitz; justice, M. B. Chad- 
wick; constable, W. H. Shoemaker. Third ward: Aldermen, 

C. P. Sahler, C. Tryon; justice, J. H. Soukup. Fourth ward: 
Aldermen, L. F. Hammel, Joseph Hoffman; justice, none elected. 
Board of education: At large, S. Peterson, L. L. Bennett (to fill 
out one year of unexpired term of C. E. Sheldon) ; First ward, 
W. A. Sperry ; Second ward, S. W. Curliss ; Third ward, G. D. 
Holden ; Fourth ward, E. Y. Hunnewill. 

1893-94. Mayor, E. M. Twiford ; recorder, S. M. Byrne; 
treasurer, Albert Kaspcr ; street commissioner, Ovid Wood; 
assessor, D. P. Farmer; marshal, Chas. Green; municipal judge, 
C. J. O'Brien; attorney, W. F. Sawyer; surveyor, A. M. Mitch- 
ell; official paper, "People's Press." First ward: Aldermen, 
Carl K. Bennett, O. S. Boice; justice, H. F. Luce. Second ward: 
Aldermen, L. Virtue, N. J. Schafer; constable, W. H. Shoemaker. 
Third ward : Aldermen, Dr. F. M. Smersh, C. P. Sahler. Fourth 
ward: Aldermen, Joseph Hoflfman, L. F. Hammel; justice, A. 
Moncrieff. Board of education : At large, L. L. Bennett, E. M. 
Morehouse, Jr. (to fill one year, unexpired term of Soren Peter- 
son) ; First ward, W. A. Sperry; Second ward, S. W. Curtiss ; 
Third ward, O. B. McClintock; Fourth ward, E. Y. Hunnewill. 

1894-95. Mayor, E. M. Twiford; recorder, E. C. Zamboni ; 
treasurer, M. J. Odell ; street commissioner, M. L. Deviny ; as- 
sessor, D. P. Farmer; marshal, Chas. Green; municipal judge, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 889 

C. J. O'Brien; attorney, W. F. Sawyer; surveyor, A. M. Mitch- 
ell; official paper, "People's Press." First ward: Aldermen, 
O. S. Boice, Carl K. Bennett. Second ward: Aldermen, S. S. 
Green, F. G. Schuman (to fill unexpired term of L. Virtue) ; 
constable, W. H. Shoemaker. Third ward : Aldermen, C. M. 
Rasmusson, Dr. F. M. Smersh. Fourth ward: Aldermen, L. F. 
Hammel, Joseph Hoffman; justice. Board of education: At 
large, W. A. Dynes, L. L. Bennett; First ward, W. A. Sperry ; 
Second ward, D. J. Trisko; Third ward, O. B. McCIintock; 
Fourth ward, II. Schmidt. 

1895-96. Mayor, N. J. Schafer ; recorder, E. C. Zamboni ; 
treasurer, J. A. Cotter; street commissioner, O. Wood; assessor, 

D. P. Farmer; marshal, Chas. Green; municipal judge, H. F. 
Luce; attorney, W. F. Sawyer; surveyor, A. M. Mitchell; offi- 
cial paper, "Journal." First ward: Aldermen, C. K. Bennett, 
O. S. Boice; justice of the peace. H. F. Luce. Second ward: 
Aldermen, J. C. Ault, S. S. Green; constable, W. H. Shoemaker. 
Third ward : Aldermen, Lewis Lord, C. M. Rasmusson ; Fourth 
ward: Aldermen, Joseph Hoffman, L. F. Hammel. Board of 
education: At large, L. L. Bennett, W. A. Dynes; First ward, 
W. A. Sperry; Second ward, D. J. Trisko; Third ward, O. B. 
McCIintock ; Fourth ward, H. Schmidt. 

1896-97. Mayor, Peter Ganser; recorder, E. C. Zamboni; 
treasurer, Lars Peterson ; street commissioner, O. Wood ; asses- 
sor, D. P. Farmer; marshal, F. K. Stewart; municipal judge, 
H. F. Luce; attorney, W. F. Sawyer; surveyor, A. M. Mitchell; 
official paper, "Journal." First ward: Aldermen, S. R. Nelson, 
C. K. Bennett; justice, H. F. Luce. Second ward: Aldermen, 
S. S. Green, J. C. Ault; constable, William Bycraft. Third ward : 
Aldermen, J. O. Eastman, Lewis Lord; justice, Frank Ganser. 
Fourth ward: Aldermen, L. F. Hammel, Joseph Hoffman; jus- 
tice, C. I. Buxton. Board of education: At large, G. A. Merrill, 
L. L. Bennett ; First ward, W. A. Sperry ; Second ward, D. J. 
Trisko ; Third ward, Geo. W. Peachey ; Fourth ward, William 
Gausewitz (to fill one year unexpired term of H. Schmidt). 

1897-98. Mayor, A. B. Stewart; recorder, J. W. Rowland; 
treasurer, J. A. Cotter; street commissioner, Ovid Wood; asses- 
sor, D. P. Farmer; marshal, Hugh Warren; municipal judge, 
H. F. Luce ; attorney, C. J. O'Brien ; surveyor, A. M. Mitchell ; 
official paper, "People's Press." First ward : Aldermen, Carl K. 
Bennett, S. R. Nelson; justice, H. F. Luce; constable, G. W. 
Doolittle. Second ward: Aldermen, P. Brennen, S. S. Green; 
constable, William Rycraft. Third ward: Aldermen, E. M. 
Morehouse, J. O. Eastman; justice, Frank Ganser. Fourth ward: 
Aldermen, John Thon, L. F. Hammel; justice, C. I. Buxton. 
Board of education : At large, N. J. Schafer, G. A. Merrill ; First 



890 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

ward, Georo;e Parrolt ; Second ward, D. J. Trisko; Third ward, 
George W. Peachcy ; Fourth w^ard, William Gausewitz. 

1898-99. Mayor, Leonard Virtue; recorder, J. W. Rowland; 
treasurer, J. A. Cotter; street commissioner, Ovid Wood; asses- 
sor, D. P. Farmer; marshal, Hugh Warren; municipal judge, 
H. F. Luce; attorney, C. J. O'Brien; surveyor, A. M. Mitchell; 
superintendent of waterworks, j\L B. Pratt; official paper, "Peo- 
ple's Press." First ward: Aldermen, O. H. Odell, Carl K. Ben- 
nett; justice, H. F. Luce; constable, William O'Grosky. Sec- 
ond ward: Aldermen, C. K. Anderson, P. Brennan; justice, A. 
S. Bragg; constable. J. F. Finley. Third ward: Aldermen, J. 
O. Eastman, F. D. dinger (to fill last year of E. M. Morehouse's 
term) ; constable, Cord King. Fourth ward : Aldermen, L. F. 
Hammel, John Thon ; justice, L. B. Fenner; constable, W. M. 
Dynes. Board of education : At large, John N. Niles, N. J. 
Schafer; First ward. George Parrott; Second ward, Frank La 
Bare; Third ward, George W. Peachey ; Fourth ward, William 
Gausewitz. 

1899-1900. Mayor, Leonard Virtue; recorder, J. W. Row- 
land ; treasurer, Charles H. Stearns ; street commissioner, Frank 
L. Anderson; assessor, D. P. Farmer; marshal, Hugh Warren; 
municipal judge, H. F. Luce; attorney, W. F. Sawyer; sur- 
veyor, H. S. Dartt ; superintendent waterworks, J. N. Niles; 
ofiScial paper, "Journal." First ward: Aldermen, F. E. Church, 
O. H. Odell: justice, H. F. Luce. Second ward: Aldermen, 
S. S. Green, C. K. Anderson; justice, Steve Hance ; constable, 
C. C. Chadwick. Third ward : Aldermen, F. D. Clingcr, J. O. 
Eastman; constable, Cord King. Fourth ward: Aldermen, John 
Thon, L. F. Hammel; justice, L. B. Fenner. Board of educa- 
tion : At large, James W. Connor, John N. Niles ; first ward, 
George Parrott ; second ward, Frank La Bare ; third ward, 
George W. Peachey ; fourth ward, William Gausewitz. 

1900-01. Mayor. Leonard Virtue; recorder, P. J. Svvanson : 
treasurer, J. A. Cotter; street commissioner, F. L. Anderson; 
assessor, James E. Malone ; marshal, C. J. Boley; municipal 
judge, H. F. Luce ; attorney, C. J. O'Brien ; superintendent of 
waterworks. M. B. Pratt; official paper, "People's Press." First 
ward: Aldermen, R. H. Bach, F. E. Church; justice, H. F. 
Luce ; constable, C. Grabarkwietz. Second ward : Aldermen, C. 
K. Anderson, S. S. Green; justice, Aaron Bragg; constable, 
William Rycraft. Third ward : Aldermen, A. J. Lippert, F. D. 
dinger; constable. Cord King. Fourth ward: Aldermen, C. 
Butsch, John Thon; justice, L. B. Fenner; constable, J. Misgen, 
Sr. Board of education : At large, B. E. Darby, James W. Con- 
nor; First ward, George Parrott; Second ward, Frank La Bare; 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 891 

Third ward, George W. Peachey ; Fourth ward, R. H. Johnson. 

1901-02. Mayor, R. H. Johnson; recorder, L. B. Warren; 
treasurer, C. H. Stearns; street commissioner, Frank Connell; 
assessor, James E. Malone; marshal, A. Mallinger; municipal 
judge, H. F. Luce; attorney, C. J. O'Brien; surveyor, H. S. 
Dartt; superintendent of waterworks, M. B. Pratt; official 
paper, "People's Press." First ward : Aldermen, F. E. Church, 
R. H. Bacli ; justice, H. F. Luce; constable, C. Grabarkwictz. 
Second ward: Aldermen, S. S. Green, C. K. Anderson; justice, 
Aaron Bragg; constable, F. Finley. Third ward: Aldermen, F. 
M. Smersh, A. J. Lippert ; constal:)le. Cord King. Fourth ward: 
Aldermen, L. B. Fenner, C. Butsch; justice, L. B. Fenner; con- 
stable, W. S. Boice. Board of education : At large, James W. 
Connor, B. E. Darby; First ward, George Parrott; Second ward, 
Frank La Bare; Third ward, George W. Peachey; Fourth ward, 
R. H. Johnson. 

1902-93. Mayor, R. H. Bach; recorder, Lyman Warren; 
treasurer, C. H. Stearns ; street commissioner, Frank Connell ; 
assessor, James E. Malone; marshal, A. Mallinger; municipal 
judge, H. F. Luce ; attorney, C. J. O'Brien ; surveyor, Harvey 
S. Dartt; superintendent of waterworks, M. B. Pratt; official 
paper, "People's Press." First ward : Aldermen, R. G. Nelson, 
F. E. Church; justice, H. F. Luce. Second ward: Aldermen, 
C. K. Anderson, S. S. Green; justice, W. E. Dunbar; constable, 
Frank Finley. Third ward: Aldermen, A. G. Lippert, F. M. 
Smersh ; constable. Cord King. Fourth ward : Aldermen, J. C. 
Jahreiss, L. B. Fenner. Board of education: At large, Ellen M. 
Eustis, James W. Connor ; First ward, George Parrott ; Second 
ward, Frank La Bare ; Third ward, George Peachey ; Fourth 
ward, T. E. Cashman (to fill out last year of R. H. Johnson's 
term). 

1903-04. Mayor, Thomas E. Cashman ; recorder, Lyman B. 
Warren; treasurer, Robert Deinninger; street commissioner, 
Andrew Erdman ; assessor, James E. Malone; marshal, Henry 
Abernethy ; municipal judge, B. F. Hood; attorney, C. J. 
O'Brien ; surveyor, A. M. Mitchell ; superintendent of water- 
works, M. B. Pratt; official paper, "People's Press." First ward: 
Aldermen, F. E. Church, R. G. Nelson; justice, H. F. Luce. 
Second ward: Aldermen, John Kendall, C. K. Anderson; jus- 
tice, W. E. Dunbar; constable, M. A. McAndrews. Third ward: 
Aldermen, A. G. Kranz, A. G. Lippert ; constable. Cord King. 
Fourth ward: Aldermen, L. B. Fenner, J. C. Jahreiss. Board 
of education : At large, A. G. Pinkham, Ellen M. Eustis ; First 
ward, George Parrott; Second ward, Frank La Bare; Third 
ward, George Peachey; Fourth ward, William C. Zamboni. 



892 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

1904-05. Mayor, Thomas E. Cashman ; recorder, Charles 
Servatius; treasurer, Robert M. Deinninger; street commis- 
sioner, Andrew Erdman ; assessor, Henry Sanders; marshal, 
Henry Abernethy; municipal judge, B. F. Hood; attorney, W. 
F. Sawyer; surveyor, A. M. Mitchell; superintendent of water- 
works, Harry D. Tompkins; official paper, "Chronicle." First 
ward: Aldermen, R. G. Nelson, F. E. Church; justice, H. F. 
Luce. Second ward: Aldermen. John Kendall, Harvey S. Dartt; 
justice, W. Dunbar. Third ward: Aldermen, T. M. Morehouse, 
A. G. Kranz ; constable, Cord King. Fourth ward : Aldermen, 
J. C. Jahreiss, L. B. Fenner; constable, Steve Stepanek. Board 
of education: At large, Ellen M. Eustis, A. G. Pinkham; First 
ward, George Parrott ; Second ward, Ward Kinyon ; Third ward, 
George Peachey ; Fourth ward, William C. Zamboni. 

1905-06. Mayor, Charles Green ; recorder, C. J. Servatius ; 
treasurer, Frank Finley ; street commissioner, Andrew Erdman ; 
assessor, Henry Sanders ; marshal, Chas. Misgen ; municipal 
judge, J. Newsalt; attorney, W. F. Sawyer; surveyor, A. M. 
Mitchell ; superintendent of waterworks, S. S. Green ; official 
paper, "Journal." First ward: Aldermen, J. H. Robson, R. G. 
Nelson; justice, H. F. Luce. Second ward: Aldermen, N. P. 
Jefiferson, Harvey S. Dartt; constable, Frank Stewart. Third 
ward: Aldermen, A. G. Kranz, T. M. Morehouse; constable, E. 
Liddington. Fourth ward : Aldermen, L. B. Fenner, J. C. Jahr- 
eiss ; constable, Jacob Orlowski. Board of education : At large, 
Guy B. Bennett, Ellen M. Eustis; First ward, George Parrott; 
Second ward. Ward Kinyon; Third ward, Edward Lansing; 
Fourth ward, William C. Zamboni. 

1906-07. Mayor, Harvey S. Dartt; recorder, C. J. Servatius; 
treasurer, Frank Finley; street commissioner, William Kottke ; 
assessor, J. M. Schafer; marshal, Chas. Misgen; municipal 
judge, J. Newsalt; attorney, W. F. Sawyer; surveyor, A. M. 
Mitchell ; superintendent of waterworks ; S. S. Green ; weigh- 
master, Wilford Vinton ; official paper, "Journal-Chronicle." 
First ward: Aldermen, R. G. Nelson, J. II. Robson; justice, II. 
F. Luce. Second ward: Aldermen, O. E. Williamson, N. P. Jef- 
ferson. Third ward- Aldermen, F. J. Wencl, A. G. Kranz ; con- 
stable. Cord King. Fourth ward: Aldermen, F. M. HofTman, 
L. B. Fenner ; constable, Joseph Belina. Board of education : 
At large, R. II. G. Netz, Guy B. Bennett : First ward. George 
Parrott; Second ward. Ward Kinyon: Third ward, Edward 
Lansing; Fourth ward. William C. Zamboni. 

1907-08. Mayor, Charles Green; recorder, C. J. Servatius; 
treasurer, Michael Leary ; street commissioner, William Kottke; 
assessor, James Malone ; marshal, Chas. Misgen; municipal 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 893 

judge, Jacob Newsalt; attorney, W. F. Sawyer; surveyor, A. 
M. Mitchell; superintendent of waterworks, Karl P. Theimer; 
weighmaster, Wilford Vinton ; official paper, "People's Press." 
First ward: Aldermen, Guy J. Clefton, R. G. Nelson; justice, 
H. F. Luce. Second ward. Aldermen, N. P. Jefferson, O. E. 
Williamson; justice, Oscar G. Ccdardahl ; constable, J. F. Fitz- 
gerald. Third ward : Aldermen, William Hart, F. J. Wencl ; 
constable. Cord King. Fourth ward : Aldermen, L. B. Fenncr, 
F. M. Hoffman. Board of education : At large, Guy Bennett, 
R. H. G. Netz; First ward, George Parrott; Second ward, Ward 
W. Kinyon ; Third ward, Edward Lansing: Fourth ward, Will- 
iam C. Zamboni. 

1908-09. Mayor, C. I. Reigard ; recorder, Chas. Servatius; 
treasurer, M. Leary ; street commissioner, Edward Austin ; as- 
sessor, Jas. E. Malone; marshal, Chas. Misgen ; municipal 
judge, F. A. Dunham; attorney, W. F. Sawyer; surveyor, A. M. 
Mitchell; superintendent of waterworks, H. S. Dartt; weigh- 
master, Wilfred Vinton ; official paper, "Weekly Journal- 
Chronicle." First ward : Aldermen, R. G. Nelson, Guy J. Clef- 
ton ; justice, H. F. Luce; constable, A. C. Sanders. Second 
ward: Aldermen, O. E. Williamson, N. P. Jefferson; justice, 
Oscar G. Cedardahl ; constable, F. J. Finley. Third ward: 
Aldermen, F. J. \\'encl, W'illiam Hart; constable, Cord King. 
Fourth ward: Aldermen: F. M. Hoffman, L. B. Fenner. Board 
of education: At large, R. H. G. Netz, Guy Bennett; First 
ward, George Parrott; Second ward, Ward W. Kinyon; Third 
ward. E. W. Lansing; Fourth ward, William C. Zamboni. 

1909-10. Mayor, L. F. Hanimel ; recorder, Chas. J. Serva- 
tius; treasurer, M. Lear}- ; street commissioner, E. J. Austin; 
assessor, Jas. E. Malone; marshal, A. Mallinger; municipal 
judge, F. A. Dunham; attorney, W. F. Sawyer; engineer, Ed- 
ward .Austin; assistant engineer, A. M. Mitchell; weighmaster, 
Frank Finley; official paper, "People's Press." First ward: 
Aldermen, Guy J. Clefton, R. G. Nelson; justice, Karl P. Thei- 
mer. Second ward: Aldermen, L. C. Brown, O. E. Williamson; 
constable, M. A. McAndrews. Third ward: Aldermen, William 
Hart, F. J. Wencl ; constable. Cord King. Fourth ward : Alder- 
men, L. B. Fenner, James Orlowski (for one year to fill out 
unexpired term of F. M. Hoffman) ; constable, H. Conklin. 
Board of education: At large, G. B. Bennett, R. H. G. Netz; 
First ward, George Parrott; Second ward. Ward W. Kinyon; 
Third ward: E. W. Lansing; Fourth ward, William C. Zamboni. 

1910-11. Mayor, L. F. Hammcl ; city clerk, C. J. Servatius; 
treasurer, M. Leary; municipal judge, F. A. Dunham; chief of 
police, Adolph Mallinger ; attornej', H. E. Leach ; assessor, 



894 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

James E. Malone ; weighmaster, Jacob Ciecimerowski ; engi- 
neer, Harvey S. Dartt; official paper, "People's Press." alder- 
man at large for four years, L. C. Brown ; alderman at large for 
two years, R. G. Nelson. First ward : Alderman, Guy J. Clefton. 
Second ward: Alderman, O. E. Williamson. Third ward: Alder- 
man, William Hart. Fourth ward: Alderman, L. B. Fenner. 
Fifth ward : Alderman, Anton Seykora. Board of education : 
At large, R. H. G. Netz ; First ward, George Parrott ; Second 
ward. Ward Kinyon ; Third ward, E. \V. Lansing; Fourth 
ward, William C. Zamboni ; Fifth ward, Anton Seykora. 



CHAPTER XX 

OWATONNA IMPROVEMENTS 

Parks — Central Park — Dartt's Park — Mineral Springs Park — 
Second Ward Park — Cemeteries — City Waterworks — Sewer 
System — City and Firemen's Hall — Owatonna Library — 
City Hospital— Lighting and Heating System — Theater. 

Owatonna has been particularly fortunate in her public im- 
provements. The lighting- and heating, sewer and waterworks 
systems contribute to the comforts of every-day life, while the 
parks add not only to the beauty of the city but also promote 
the health of the citizens. The cemeteries are beautifully located 
and convey that impression of secluded peace with which we are 
wont to associate the last resting place of the dead. The City 
and P'iremen's Hall is one of which the city may well be proud, 
and the library has had an important part in the development of 
the higher life of the community. The hospital has alleviated 
much pain and sufifering, and has justified its establishment. The 
theater, while not owned by the city, may nevertheless be men- 
tioned among the public improvements. 

OWATONNA PARKS 

Owatonna is justly proud of its parks, which are unexcelled 
by any in this part of the state. A city's beauty is largely meas- 
ured by its parks, and Owatonna's rank as a beautiful city is 
ably maintained by this fact. Much credit is due to the men 
who have been instrumental in the development and manage- 
ment of the parks. For many years the duties of caring for the 
city's playgrounds had been left to the common council, a park 
committee appointed by the mayor having immediate charge. 
This system remained in vogue until November 5, 1907, when 
an ordinance was passed vesting the management of the parks 
in a committee of nine citizens, to be appointed for a term of 
three years by the mayor, subject to the approval of the council. 
The present members are as follows: C. A. Tincher, A. N. 
Wright. C. P. Sahler, J. F. Fitzgerald, C. J. Clefton, C. H. Rose- 
brock, C. K. Bennett, M. J. Brown and T. E. Cashman. 

Central Park. When the city of Owatonna, then but a rude 
village, was platted, in 1855, the space now occupied by Central 

895 



896 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Park was forever reserved as a public square, and as such it 
was used until the early seventies, answering the purposes of a 
hay market, ball ground and a general get-together ])lace. About 
1873, however, it was felt that the needs of the community would 
be better served by a park, and after much laboring by Clarke 
Chambers, Dr. Harsha. and other public-spirited citizens, the 
council came to see it in that light, and arranged to have plans 
for a suitable park drawn by John Abbott. In spite of consider- 
able delay and some opposition, the grounds were laid out and 
fenced, trees planted, and a fountain and a band stand con- 
structed. The park has been especially valuable as a place for 
the Saturday night band concerts, and under its shady trees the 
dust and glare of the surrounding streets are forgotten. Numer- 
ous improvements have been added from year to year, and 
during 1909 hundreds of dollars were spent in raising the level 
of the park and in laying the cement walks which encircle and 
bisect the park. A new fountain was also added, which helps to 
make this beauty spot the more charming. 

Dartt's Park. This park was enjoyed as a ];)leasure ground 
by the citizens of Owatonna through the generosity of E. 11. S. 
Dartt, one of its most unselfish and public-spirited men of affairs. 
Mr. Dartt became the owner of this property, located in the 
northeastern part of the city, during 1896, and at once took 
steps to make it an ideal resort for the weary and city-surfeited. 
Maple creek, which wound through the park, was dammed in 
judiciously selected spots, greatly increasing the depth of the 
water and making a wide lagoon. Bathing houses were erected, 
arched bridges spanned the creek, a baseball diamond was laid 
out, and a grand stand and band stand built. Without cost or 
admission of any kind, these premises were thrown open to the 
public. A boat house was later erected, and a gasoline launch 
and barge added much to the pleasures of the resort. Mr. Dartt 
experienced much difficulty in building dams capable of with- 
standing the ravages of the spring freshets, and spent thousands 
of dollars in keeping up the park. It is believed that he would 
have been glad to donate the park to the city, under certain con- 
ditions as to its maintenance, but nothing was done. After his 
death, in 1903, the property rapidly went to pieces through 
freshets and lack of attention, and its once well deserved name 
of "Dartt's Paradise" became rather a misfit. In 1907, after 
fruitless attempts to sell it to the city, the property was sold to 
J. M. Diment, and is now known as Diment's Park, but has 
never been restored to its former splendor. 

Mineral Springs Park. As far remote as the early seventies 
the remarkable curative properties of Owatonna's celebrated 
springs, situated a mile and a half northeast of the city, began 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 897 

to be recognized. Simon Case, the owner of the land, succeeded 
in getting many of the prominent citizens of Ovvatonna inter- 
ested, and about 1875 the Ovvatonna Mineral Springs Company 
was organized, with N. M. Donaldson president, M. L. Strong 
secretar}', and Edward Donaldson treasurer. "General" H. A. 
Beers also did much for the early development of the springs, 
the spring from which the celebrated Owatonna vichy water is 
taken being named after him. The company procured the serv- 
ices of an expert chemist, Professor Enno Sanders, who analyzed 
the waters and pronounced them very similar to those of the 
famed vichy springs in the Ardennes of France. A circular was 
published giving the analysis and expatiating on the marvelous 
health-giving qualities of the waters, and it was hoped that a 
health resort would be started. Finally the city council was 
persuaded to buy the property for a public park, which was 
consummated July 3, 1877. February 6, 1883, an adjoining tract 
was purchased from Jacob Oppliger, the transaction being vir- 
tually an exchange of land between Oppliger and the city. 
During 1901, a two-acre piece was added, bringing the park up 
to its present area of twenty-four acres. For diversity and charm 
of scenery, it stands unsurpassed, being surrounded with wooded 
hill and fragrant with the natural flowers for which this part of 
the state is noted, making one of nature's most restful and lovely 
garden spots. Little could be done to enhance its God-given 
beauty. A large pavilion which has been recently remodeled 
adds to the comforts of picnickers and visitors, as do numerous 
tables and benches. The springs are too numerous to mention. 
Several of them are arranged to flow into cement drinking foun- 
tains. The present Owatonna Mineral Springs Company, con- 
trolled by Dr. Warren S. Briggs, who received an exclusive 
twenty-five-year franchise for the sale of water from the springs 
in 1903, has done much in the way of advertising the springs 
and also the city of Owatonna, its water having a rapidly grow- 
ing sale throughout the Northwest. It is supplied to the dining 
cars on many of the railroad lines, and thus its fame has spread 
all over the United States. 

No description of the springs would be complete without 
mention of the "Big Rock," a relic of the glacial period, and 
one of the largest boulders in this section of the state. Many 
improvements have been added to the springs within the last 
few years, new dam, bridges and fountains having been installed. 
The opening of a new and shorter road to the park, in 1906, a 
beautiful driveway, makes the journey worth the while in 
itself. 

Second Ward Park. During the late nineties the little park, 
just south of the Mineral Springs avenue railroad bridge, was 



898 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

opened. It was never officially christened, but is known as the 
"Second Ward Park." While verj' small in point of area, it 
serves to break the nionoton}^ and has helped Owatonna to earn 
its name of the "Beautiful City." 

OWATONNA WATERWORKS. 

The first steps were taken for the establishment of a suit- 
able system of city waterworks, Februar}' 7, 1888, when a peti- 
tion was presented for the erection of such a plant and accom- 
panying mains. This request of the citizens was favorably 
received, the council deciding to have the question of issuing 
$40,000 bonds for waterworks purposes submitted at the next 
March election. After canvassing the returns it was found 
that the bonds carried bj' a majority of but eight, and numerous 
rumors as to voting frauds made the bonds unsalable. Owing 
to the expense incident to determining the matter in the courts, 
nothing was done until about a year later, when the council 
took steps to obtain authority from the state legislature in 
order to change Owatonna's charter so as to allow for the 
assessing of part of the cost of sewerage and watermains against 
the abutting property. April 2, 1889, a committee composed 
of C. Tryon, C. W. Hadley and C. J. Kinyon, aldermen, was 
appointed to look up facts and data regarding a system of city 
waterworks. At a special election held June 18, 1889, the citi- 
zens authorized the bonding of the city to the extent of $30,000 
for a waterworks system. 

Work was immediately started, the present site for the 
engine house purchased, and the contract for the drilling of the 
well let to F. P. Rust. W. W. Curtis, an engineer, was chosen 
to draw up the plans and specifications, and April 9, 1890, the 
contract for the erection and fitting up of the plant was given 
to Harrison & Hawley, of St. Paul, consideration $28,889.60. 
Less than a year later the plant was in running order, and water 
was being supplied to all sections of the cit}' — wherever there 
was sufficient demand for it — as fast as the mains and piping 
could be laid. Every year has witnessed an extension of the 
water service, and the city now has over fourteen miles of 
mains and nearly a thousand consumers of city water. The 
total cost of the plant and mains has been in the neighborhood 
of $90,000. About 1895, the west side was piped. During the 
past year — 1910-1911 — the water mains have been greatly ex- 
tended, several thousand feet of piping having been laid. 

Artesian wells supply the water, which is of unexcelled 
purity. The original well which supplied the city alone until 
1898, is between three and four hundred feet deep. About 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 899 

1898, three other wells were added, varying in depth from 
eighty-three to eight3--ninc feet. Water from these is pumped 
into a large reservoir and thence into the mains, but the water 
from the original well is pumped direct. A stand-pipe, located 
in the southeastern portion of the city, over a hundred feet in 
height. kce])s the pressure strong and uniform. 

All that goes to make up a first-class plant of its kind is 
included in the city's pumping station. Two engines with boil- 
ers, sixty feet by sixteen, developing over eighty horsepower 
apiece, furnish adequate power for all conditions ever met with. 
The pumps are of the most modern make, one being a Smith- 
Vail and the other a Smedley, together having a pumping capa- 
city of 700 gallons per minute. 

Isaac Sorsoleil was the first engineer proving himself an 
efficient and faithful employee during his eleven years of service. 
He was succeeded b}' the present engineer, E. J. Crawford, in 
August, 1901, Mr. Crawford having previously worked several 
years as an assistant. His careful and judicious management 
has always met with the approval of the city fathers. Frank 
Orlowski is now assistant engineer. 

Much is due to the men who have had charge of the business 
end of Owatonna's waterworks system. Up till 1898, the water- 
works committee of the city council appointed a man from 
year to year to keep the books, collect rents, etc. S. M. Byrne 
served in that capacitj^ for several years, being succeeded by 
S. S. Green. In 1898. M. B. Pratt was elected superintendent 
of waterworks b}' the council, and held the office with few inter- 
ruptions for five or six years. The other superintendents who 
have filled this office for varying periods of time are, J. N. 
Niles, Harry D. Tompkins, S. S. Green, Karl P. Theimer and 
Harvey S. Dartt. Since the adoption of the new charter, in 
1909, the duties of this office have been borne jointly by the 
city clerk and engineer, C. J. Servatius and Harvey S. Dartt. 

ELECTRIC LIGHTS, GAS AND HEATING. 

The progressive citizens of Owatonna began to realize about 
1889 that an electric plant would mean much for the growth 
and development of the city. Steps were taken to induce a 
company to come in, but the population of the city was hardly 
sufficient to make a paying proposition assured. Henry Birkett, 
George R. Kinyon and other prominent men of affairs succeeded 
in getting a franchise from the council, March 16, 1889, for the 
establishment of an electric plant, the papers being in Mr. 
Birkett's name, and the idea being to offer the franchise gratis 
to any company that would use it. This was never done, how- 



675^3 't'^ 



900 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

ever, and June 13, 1897, it was officially revoked by the city 
council, it having been null and void for years on account of 
non-usage. During 1890, a franchise was granted by the city 
council to an outside corporation, lieaded and managed by two 
brothers of the name of Pierce, and electric lighting and other 
conveniences speedily became a reality for Owatonna. The first 
electric street lamps was installed, and the court house and 
other public, as well as private buildings wired. This company 
continued until aljout 1900, with various changes in the man- 
agement, tht quality of service also fluctuating. 

The Owatonna Electric Company, controlled by a ]\Ir. Da- 
zell, entered the field in 1900, purchasing the franchise rights 
and equipment of the preceding company, and securing a twenty- 
five year francliise direct from the council, allowing the esta- 
blishment of a gas and hot water heating plant in addition. 
Mr. Dazell did not have the necessary financial backing, and 
so a year later he sold to the present owner of the Public 
Service Operating Company, A. J. Stahl, of LaPorte, Indiana. 
C. L. Powell was installed as manager, the heating and electric 
light service was greatly extended, and the company has ever 
since done a thriving business. Dozens of different resident 
managers have held sway, prominent among them E. G. Porter, 
L. L. Herrick, W. H. Wilfred and Harry G. Wagner. Charles 
L. Yergin is the present incumbent. A gas franchise was 
granted the company, in 1906, and the others renewed for a 
period of twenty years. Owing to the fact that the Public 
Service company has had a monopoly for many years, it is 
alleged by many citizens that they have been until recently 
excessive as to rates. In order to remedy this state of affairs, 
the question of bonding the citj- for a $50,000 municipal electric 
light plant was submitted to the voters at the last March elec- 
tion and approved by an overwhelming majority. With this 
whip in their hands, the council with the aid of an expert elec- 
trician, J. Millar, undertook to force the company to come to 
reasonable terms, surrender their franchises and take others 
under the new charter. It seemed very probable that this 
arrangement would be made, until A. L. Ober, of Chatfield, 
Minnesota, entered the field, asking for an electric and gas 
franchise. After careful consideration of Mr. Ober's terms, 
they were accepted, and a twenty-five year franchise has been 
recently signed by him and the city, and it is expected that Mr. 
Ober will deposit the bonds necessary within the near future. 
A ten-year street-lighting franchise, providing for a large in- 
crease in the number of lights, has also been given him. The 
Public Service Operating Company has expressed its willing- 
ness to surrender its franchises and take others under the new 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 901 

charter in order to help preserve its treasured monopoly, but 
has been refused. The company is in a very prosperous condi- 
tion, however, and as it has many years of life under its old 
franchise, it will doubtless continue to do business. They have 
recently laid several thousand feet of gas mains through the 
west side, making a total of over eight miles of gas lines, and 
now have about four hundred consumers of gas, from five to 
six hundred of electricity, and over a hundred of hot water heat. 
The service has been greatly improved of late, and liberal 
inducements are being oflfered to new customers. They have 
about a mile and a quarter of hot water piping. Their equip- 
ment is entirely up-to-date, consisting of generators and other 
electrical machinery — mostly of Allis-Chalmers make — of the 
best types. The engine develops in the neighborhood of five 
hundred horsepower. Carbureted water gas is furnished. 

Numerous companies have, at various times, seriously con- 
sidered establishing plants in Owatonna, but have failed to 
materialize. John I. Wilson, D. E. Virtue, C. L. Pound, orga- 
nized as the Light, Heat and Power Company of the city of 
Owatonna, created quite a ripple in 1900, and procured a fran- 
chise for an electric, steam and hot water heating plant, January 
5, 1900, which they never took advantage of. It lapsed through 
their failure to use it, and was officially revoked by the council 
June 7, 1904. 

OWATONNA SEWERS. 

Shortly after the installation of the waterworks system in 
1891, the city began arranging for a suitable sewerage system. 
There were practically no sewerage lines in Owatonna at this 
time, that of Pillsbury academy — partly built at the city's ex- 
pense, in 1889, and emptying into Maple Creek, being the only 
one of importance. Charles F. Lowetli, a civil engineer of St. 
Paul, was awarded the contract for the plans which contem- 
plated the laying of several thou.sand feet of piping. Cedar being 
the first street to be supplied. The bid of Clefton Brothers, 
$8,506.97, on this work was officially accepted, March 23, 1892, 
and construction immediately commenced. The city now has 
eleven and three-quarter miles of city sewers, put in at a cost 
of $48,696. No year has passed without the laying of new 
lines. During 1904, the west side got its first sewerage service, 
twelve hundred feet being laid at an expense of about twelve 
hundred dollars. This sewer empties into Straight river, as do 
all the lines in the other portions of the city, excepting the Pills- 
bury academy sewer, and a few hundred feet of line in that 
neighborhood, which drain into Maple Creek. The sewer system 



902 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

has been greatly extended this last year — 1910 — and at present 
rapid progress is being made. 

CEMETERIES. 

Forest Hill Cemetery. The first Owatonna cemetery was 
established near the present depot of the Chicago, Milwaukee 
& St. Paul and Northwestern railroad lines, and remained there 
until the coming of the railroads in 1866. The property was then 
taken for right-of-way, and the city purchased a suitable site, 
located west of the river and north of city, and immediately 
began the removal of the bodies. These grounds were used for 
cemetery purposes until 1872, during which year the city became 
the owner of the present site of the Forest Hill cemetery, 
arrangements being made with the recently organized Forest 
Hill Cemeter}' Association whereby the city became the owners 
of the property, but left its control and management with the 
association. The association consists of all citizens owning lots 
in the cemetery, and a board of directors is elected yearly who 
render detailed reports to the city at regular intervals and 
attend to the maintenance of the grounds. Seth Hotchkiss and 
L. Bixby were respectively president and secretary of the first 
board, and signed the deed conveying the property to the city. 
The members of the present board are as follows : Dr. A. C. 
Searl, president; H. Schmidt, secretary; George R. Kinyon, 
treasurer; A. L. Sperry, Harvey S. Dartt, and Guy B. Bennett. 
H. Schmidt ranks first in length of service, having been a mem- 
ber since 1880, and secretary since 1888. 

G. W. Shaw was the first actuary, and after several years 
was succeeded by S. N. Scrgant who held the office up to 1891. 
T. J. Rions was then chosen, and remained in charge until the 
first of July, 1908, when F. W. Adams, the present actuary, 
assumed office. 

Forest Hill cemetery is located on Mineral Springs avenue, 
a fifteen-minute walk from the heart of the city. It contains 
thirty acres of land, and is one of the most naturally beautiful 
spots in the state, being well elevated above the surrounding 
country and thickly covered with native trees which have been 
judiciously thinned. Model driveways wind in and out through 
the grounds, and the well-kept grass and flowers add to the 
charming eflfect, a general air of quiet and peace prevailing, 
making a fitting resting place for those gone before. Besides 
the city vault, installed about 1890, there are eight private vaults, 
many of them of rich and costly design. In 1892, the actuary's 
house was built, situated just east of the grounds. The ceme- 
tery is thoroughly up-to-date in all its appointments. A fifteen 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 903 

hundred foot, covered drainage ditch is being put in at present, 
and a new road leading to the cemetery will be added after 
its completion. 

Sacred Heart Cemetery. Fortj-two years ago, the present 
Sacred Heart cemeter}' was inaugurated, five acres of land, 
situated about a mile and a half south of Owatonna, being 
purchased from I""rank Kubista. Five more have been added 
during the past year, and the installation of a vault in the near 
future seems certain. The property is in the name of the 
Right Reverend Bishop lleffren, of Winona, but Father Pivo 
of the Sacred Heart church, together with an executive com- 
mittee, consisting of John Lynard, Thomas Cashman, Charles 
Ringhofer and Andrew Parolik, have the management. The 
well-kept grounds and graves enhance the natural beauty of 
the place. 

German Lutheran. The Owatonna congregation came into 
ownership of its present cemetery consisting of three and a 
half acres, located directly north of the Forest Hill cemetery. 
May 1, 1901, the property being purchased from the Forest Hill 
Cemetery Association at a cost of $750. Much of this amount 
had been previously raised by the sale of lots. A fence and 
other improvements have entailed an expenditure of over $100. 
The cemetery is under the direction of a board of managers, 
consisting of Fred W. Tuerk, president ; William Hammond, 
secretary; John Martin, treasurer; Carl Kaspri, Charles Finger, 
Louis Wilker and Louis Wobbrock. 

CITY AND FIREMEN'S HALL. 

In the sjM-ing of 1905, the Owatonna fire department began 
agitating, with characteristic vigor and energy, the question 
of a suitable city and firemen's hall to take the place of the 
antiquated structure then in use. The firemen early showed 
a willingness to do more than their part, offering a contribution 
amounting to $4,500, provided the city agreed to erect a building 
to cost not less than $16,000. This donation consisted of the 
site, which the firemen had purchased for $3,500, and $1,000 in 
cash. They also agreed to loan to the city for two years the 
money necessary to provide up-to-date fire equipment. 

The proposition met with favor with the city fathers, and 
they granted a petition, drawn up and circulated by the firemen, 
asking for the submission to the people at a special election of 
the question of issuing $15,000 bonds for the building. The 
special election was held September 19, 1905, and the bonds 
voted, but a month later the legalit}' of the bonds was challenged 
in the courts by a tax-payer, and they were declared illegal on 



904 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

account of the loose manner in wliich action was taken in 
ordering the special election. 

Thus it became necessary for the work of circulating a peti- 
tion, and again securing a satisfactory vote on the matter, to 
be done all over again. In the meantime, the firemen were 
offered $4,500 for the site, $1,000 more than they had paid for it, 
but the ofTer was refused. Nevertheless it practically added 
$1,000 to the amount the firemen were contributing toward the 
building. 

The election of March, 1906, finally decided the bond ques- 
tion, their issue being authorized by a majority of 112. Great 
care was taken to have the proceedings correct, so that no 
further trouble was experienced. 

July 17, bids were received for the construction of the 
building, that of Hammel Brothers and Anderson, $19,643, being 
accepted, and work was immediately begun. 

The cornerstone was laid with impressive ceremonies under 
the auspices of the iVIasonic order, September 8, 1906, and Chief 
E. j\l. Twiford of the fire department formally presented the 
city the deed to the lots and $1,000 in cash. 

As the building neared completion, it became evident that 
it was to cost more than at first planned, and again the firemen 
showed true public spirit. Under the agreement the city was 
to finish the entire building, giving the firemen a perpetual 
lease of the third floor. Now the firemen agreed to the third 
floor's remaining unfinished, or in other words undertook to 
finish it themselves, which they subsequently did at an expense 
of about $2,000, thus making their total contribution to the hall 
over $6,000. 

The opening of this magnificent City and Firemen's hall, 
October 5, 1907, will be long treasured in the minds of the 
citizens of this city. Every business, profession and trade, 
every degree of affluence, every class of society, was repre- 
sented, and all mingled happily together in the festivities of the 
occasion, which formally introduced Owatonna's new civic home 
and the headquarters of one of its leading official organizations 
to the public. A fine promenade concert, a grand ball and a 
sumptuous banquet, each sufficient for an event by itself, and all 
combined making the occasion an event of the first magnitude 
in the history of Owatonna. The music for the concert was 
furnished by members of the Owatonna military band, who 
generously donated their services for the occasion. 

The structure itself is representative of the highest type of 
buildings of this character, and is one of which any cit}' might 
well be proud. The first floor is devoted to engine and stable 
room. The second contains the municipal court, council cham- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 905 

ber, firemen's sleeping room, and three offices. The third Hoor 
inchides the large dance hall, cloak rooms, and a large retiring 
room in front. 

It is of interest to know that the oak used in the interior 
woodwork was cut from trees grown in Steele county. The 
exterior of the building is composed of a high grade of white 
brick, with sandstone arching the doors. 

Too much credit cannot be given to Fire-chief E. M. Twi- 
ford, who, more than any other man awoke the citizens to a 
realization of their need of this building. Every fireman, in fact, 
was an active worker and promoter. The city is also especially 
indebted to Messrs. Robson, HofYman. Williamson and Clefton, 
members of the building committee of the common council 
during 1906 and 1907, who gave freely and generously of their 
time. 

CITY HOSPITAL. 

The Owatonna City Hospital is located on Cedar street, sur- 
rounded bj' a beautiful lawn, the building consisting of the orig- 
inal brick veneered residence of J. A. Oppliger, with an addition 
erected by the city and an addition erected by W. H. Kelly at 
a cost of $10,000. Various additions and improvements have 
also been made by Mrs. Elizabeth Batzle, in memory of her 
husband. Up to 1909 the hospital board was an advisory one, 
but since the change in the city charter the hospital board is 
independent, and is allowed a certain sum each year for the 
maintenance of the institution. The present board consists of 
one member from each ward of the city and one elected at large. 
The members of the board are : President, M. S. Alexander ; 
secretary, A. H. Smith ; W. H. Vinton. John Deviny, Frank 
LaBarre and O. K. Kubat. The hospital has about thirty rooms, 
most of which were furnished by various individuals and organi- 
zations of the city. 

The Owatonna City Hospital is the outgrowth of a sentiment 
which assumed tangible form during the summer of 1899. At 
that time the need of an institution of this kind was discussed 
among the physicians of the city in an informal way, and the 
conclusion unanimously reached that the time was ripe for 
putting in operation the plans which then seemed proper and 
feasible. Subscriptions to the amount of $1,200 were obtained, 
and in March, 1900, the city voted $10,000 for the purchase of 
a suitable location and the erection of the necessary buildings 
for a hospital. At the same time a board of nine was appointed 
by the council as follows: S. R. Nelson (chairman), G. W. 
Peachey (secretary), M. J. Toher, M. S. Alexander, A. G. Leick, 



906 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

G. J. Kaplan, John Deviny, John Adsit and William Gausewitz. 
The board organized at once and elected an advisory board of 
five physicians, consisting of Drs. Adair, Hatch. Smersh, Schulze 
and Eustis. After duly considering various sites, the property 
of the late J. A. Oppliger on South Cedar street was purchased 
for $6,500. An addition was at once erected at a cost of $1,500. 
The Kelly addition was built in 1906. 

OWATONNA PUBLIC LIBRARY. 

The history of the Owatonna Free Public Library properly 
begins at the time of the death of Mrs. Elizabeth C. Hunewill, 
which occurred on February 4, 1896. Mrs. Hunewill bequeathed 
to the city of Owatonna the specific sum of $10,000 and the 
further sum of two-fifths of her residuary estate, to be used for 
library purposes under the following terms and conditions : Five 
thousand dollars to be used to pay the last bills on a building to 
cost not less than $10,000 exclusive of the lot ; and the remain- 
ing $5,000 together with the residuary legacy to be kept 
forever intact as an endowment fund, and the interest therefrom 
only to be used'for the purchase of books for the library. More- 
over, the entire becjuest was based upon the further condition 
that the city of Owatonna establish a public library under the 
laws of the state of Minnesota and provide for its perpetual 
maintenance and purchase books for the same at a cost of not 
less than $5,000. It soon became evident by reason of the 
successful and economical administration of the estate of Mrs. 
Hunewill, that the residuary legacy would amount to at least 
$11,500. Therefore, encouraged by the assurance of a splendid 
legacy of $24,500 the city council unanimously voted to estab- 
lish the public library under the state law, and pursuant thereto 
chose a library board of nine directors. The library board as 
thus constituted held its first meeting January 8, 1897. 

September 18, 1897, the city council purchased, for the sum 
of $3,000, the excellent site upon which the library building 
now stands and deeded the same to the board of directors. On 
January 25, 1898, the library board requested the city council to 
put to a vote at the fallowing March election, the proposition to 
issue $10,000 library bonds. This proposition was voted by a 
large majority. The provisions of the state library law allowed 
a tax, not to exceed one mill, in cities of the size of Owatonna, 
to be levied for the support of the library and accordingly, in 
the fall of 1897, a tax of $1,000 (two-thirds of a mill) was 
levied by the council. Therefore, the board were enabled to 
enter upon the task of building and equipping the library. The 
board then spent much time in studying the buildings and equip- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 907 

ments of other libraries. It soon became apparent that the best 
results could be secured by having a committee visit several 
model libraries in the East where the library movement has 
reached its most widespread development. The board, therefore, 
chose two of its members as such committee, who, in August, 
1898, made a journey to Boston and vicinity, covering a distance 
of over 3,500 miles, occupying over two weeks' time, and for 
which journey the board allowed each member of the committee 
$75.00 for expenses. 

September 7, 1898, this committee made a written report to 
the board. The report was unanimously adopted and the board 
set to work to obtain a building which should, as far as pos- 
sible, embrace the ideas as set forth in the report. During the 
fall of 1898 the plans of the present building were perfected. It 
then became evident that a suitable building which should in all 
respects meet the requirements of a model library, and at the 
same time be suitable to the size of the city of Owatonna, could 
not be built for much less than $20,000. At this point a large 
number of our public spirited citizens gave a written guarantee 
to the board in the sum of $5,000, making it possible to let 
the contract at once. And in accordance with this guarantee 
the citizens again voted in in March, 1899, by a large majority, 
to issue $5,000 additional library bonds. Having thus provided 
for the construction of the library building, it was necessary to 
give attention to the purchase of $5,000 worth of books in accord- 
ance with the Hunewill bequest. 

Miss A. L. Sargent of the Medford, Mass., public library, 
was engaged to prepare a buyer's catalogue of 5,000 best books 
for the library. Later Miss Sargent was employed regularly as 
agent for the purchase of books and also to catalogue and to 
prepare the books for library use. This work occupied several 
months and was performed to the great satisfaction of the board. 

The furnishing and maintaining of the children's rooms, which 
could not otherwise have been available until a later time, on 
account of lack of funds, was undertaken and successfully com- 
pleted by the ladies, members of the Nineteenth Century Club, 
and of the Cosmopolitan Club, both of Owatonna. 

In brief, the library, as it stood on the opening day, ground, 
building, equipment and books, represented an investment of 
practically $32,000, and $27,000 of this sum had come from the 
public funds and $5,000 had come from the Hunewill fund. In 
return for this expenditure of money, there is an endowment 
fund of about $16,500, which yields an annual income of about 
$900 to be used for the purchase of books. 

The library was opened on February 22, 1900, and has had a 
large and increasing patronage since that date. 



908 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

The liberality of the citizens of Owatonna in voting bonds 
for the library and the subsequent good will and loyaltv of the 
city council in providing for deficiencies in the funds of the 
library board, should be praised. And mention should be made 
especially of the tireless efforts and vigilant watchfulness of a 
few persons, intensely interested in the library movement for 
Owatonna, who shamed opposition and who bore the burden of 
such a difficult undertaking. 

The present librarian is Elizabeth H. Plumb, and the present 
members of the board: R. G. Nelson (chairman), A. L. Sperry 
(secretary), John Adsit, Benjamin F. Darby, C. K. Bennett, 
H. K. Tompkins, Dr. J. H. Adair, Rev. P. J. Kiernan and Robert 
Johnson. 

The library maintains branches at Havana, Bixby and Ellen- 
dale. 

OPERA HOUSE. 

The Metropolitan Opera House is one of the quasi-public 
buildings of the city, of which the citizens may well be proud. 
It was opened November 4, 1897, by Otis Skinner, and Novem- 
ber 1, 1904, passed into the possession of W. F. Gage, of La 
Crosse and Albert Lea, the consideration being $15,000 in cash 
and the agreement that the building should be maintained as a 
theater so long as it should stand. C. J. Servatius is the present 
local manager. 

On September 8, 1896, a public meeting was held in the 
court house to consider the question of building an opera house. 
M. B. Chadvvick was elected chairman and S. S. Green, secre- 
tary. At this meeting a proposition was made by a number of 
gentlemen. This proposition said that if the citizens would 
contribute $5,000 they would agree to secure the lot on Main 
and South Cedar 66x132 feet, and erect thereon a substantial 
three-story building of pressed brick, modern in all respects, to 
cost not less than $20,000 exclusive of site. The building was to 
have a seating capacity of 1,000 persons. The gentlemen making 
this proposition were B. S. Cook, W. R. Kinyon, Geo. R. Kin- 
yon, C. S. Crandall, S. R. Nelson, T. H. Kefly, J. M. Schafer, 
P. Ganser, J. Glaeser, H. M. Hastings, C. M. Lorence, J. A. Op- 
pliger, M. S. Alexander, W. H. Kelly, Hammel Bros., H. R. 
Moore, L. L. Wheelock. W. A. Sperry, Jos. Hoffman, Wm. 
Gauswitz, N. J. Schafer, Herman Schmidt, C. Butsch, Nor- 
man Evans, L. G. Nelson, L. L. Bennett and Carl K. Ben- 
nett. A Committee was appointed to canvass the meet- 
ing to see what might be secured at that time, and later 
the following ward committees were appointed for the same 
purpose : First ward, Dr. A. B. Stewart, J. Newsalt, Jas. W. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 909 

Connor; second ward, A. G. Leick, E. W. Richter, S. F. McClane; 
third ward, Lewis Lord, G. W. Peachey, A. J. Ogden ; fourth 
ward, J. H. Robson, W. E. McClintock, Charles Fuermann. 

On September 22, these committees reported that $3,600 had 
been raised, and two other committees were appointed to assist 
in the work. These were: J. M. Dimcnt, P. Ganser, Jos. Hoff- 
man, J. Z. Barncard and J. A. Oppliger. The other committee 
was made up of E. C. Zaml)oni, C. J. Clefton, Cliarles Albertus 
and E. K. Whiting. 

On September 29 they reported that tlie $3,000 liad been 
raised. Messrs. J. W. Connor, J. H. Robson, A. G. Leick, J. M. 
Diment, Lewis Lord and S. S. Green were appointed to collect 
this money and deposit it in the bank. 

On December 2, 1896, a meeting of interested parties was 
held and the articles of incorporation were adopted. The in- 
corporators were M. S. Alexander, H. M. Hastings, W. A. 
Sperry, C. S. Crandall, Geo. R. Kinyon, O. Lindesmith, Wm. 
Gausewitz, Peter Ganser, N. C. Nelson, Soren R. Nelson, S. G. 
Nelson, Herman Schmidt, L. L. Wheelock, Joseph Hoffman, 
J. M. Diment, Louis F. Hammel, John L. Hammel, Norman 
Evans, W. H. Kelly, N. J. Schafer, J. M. Schafer, W. R. Kinyon, 
J. A. Oppliger and Jacob Glaeser. The capital stock of the com- 
pany was placed at $20,000 and the company was given power 
to contract debts to the amount of $10,000. The first officers 
of the company were : M. S. Alexander, president ; J. M. Diment, 
vice president ; L. G. Nelson, secretary ; Herman Schmidt, treas- 
urer. Board of directors, M. S. Alexander, H. M. Hastings, J. M. 
Diment, W. A. Sperry, T. H. Kelly, C. S. Crandall, Geo. R. 
Kinyon, O. Lindesmith, Wm. Gausewitz, Peter Ganser and N. C. 
Larson. Architect Snyder Lovell, of Chicago, was engaged to 
make the plans and specifications, and later L. F. Hammel was 
engaged as superintendent of construction. When they met to 
open the bids it was found that but one bid had been made, and 
it was for the sum of $23,000 to complete the building ready for 
ocupancy. It was decided to erect the building by days' work 
under Mr. Hammel's superintendency and thus the building was 
completed and gotten ready for the opening night. 

STATE PUBLIC SCHOOL. 

One of the attractive features of the landscape in Owatonna 
is the beautiful state public school, with its sightly lawn, hand- 
some buildings and well-tilled farm. The site adjoins the city 
on the west, and originally consisted of 160 acres of good farm 
land, the gift of the city of Owatonna, to which has been added 
eighty acres purchased by the state in 1897. The school is con- 



910 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

ducted on the cottage plan, and the present buildings, thirteen 
in number, comprise an administration building, six cottages, a 
school house, hospital, superintendent's residence, a farm house, 
laundry and heating plant, and two barns, all irregularly and 
attractively placed on an undulating plat overlooking the beauti- 
ful Straight river valley and the city of Owatonna. The cost of 
the property, including land, buildings and improvements has 
been about $266,000. 

The school was established by act of the legislature in 1885, 
largely due to the efforts of the Hon. C. S. Crandall, of Owatonna, 
and was opened for the reception of children, in December, 1886. 
The commission, which selected the site and erected the first 
building, was composed of Governor L. F. Hubbard, C. S. Cran- 
dall, of Owatonna; Anthony Kelley, of Minneapolis; William 
Morin, of Albert Lea; John Byers, of Hastings, and B. B. Her- 
bert, of Red Wing. The present superintendent is G. A. Merrill, 
and the resident officers are appointed by the board of directors 
without term. The board of control, which consists of Damon S. 
Cummings, of Waseca; C. R. Boostrom, of Austin, and Louis F. 
Hammel, of Owatonna, is appointed by the governor, one mem- 
ber every six years. 

The school is for dependent and neglected children. They 
are admitted in the first instance upon orders from the courts; 
and most of them from the probate court through proceedings 
begun by the county commissioners, but some from the municipal 
and district courts, in which the parents or guardians are prose- 
cuted for ill treating their children, and found to be improper 
guardians of them. Both boys and girls, otherwise eligible, are 
admitted at any age under fifteen, and are retained until they 
are fitted to be placed in homes and satisfactory homes are 
found. The statuatory steps necessary to be taken are simple 
and divested of every feature resembling a criminal proceeding. 
Homelessness, dependence or ill treatment are the grounds upon 
which admittance may be obtained. All children committed 
become wards of the state, but may be returned to their parents 
by the voluntary action of the board of control. In the school 
the children are classified in families of from twenty to thirty 
each, each family occupying a cottage under the care of a matron 
and an assistant. A splendid herd of healthy cow affords good 
milk in abundance, and the farm yields vegetables in extensive 
variety, also fruits, including apples, plums, raspberries, straw- 
berries and currents. The farm is a source of profit and a valua- 
ble means of education, classes of boys working and receiving 
instructions in the garden, greenhouse, orchard and on the farm. 
A graded school is conducted in a fine well furnished eight-room 
building, on the premises a little distance from the cottage 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 911 

dwellers. The library of about a thousand well selected books in 
this building is a valuable aid to the school work. 

The pupils are graded according to their educational status, 
as in the public schools. Six teachers are employed, and the 
several classes under their charge are instructed in sloyd, domes- 
tic science, kindergarten, vocal music and the subjects in the 
primary, intermediate, and grammar grades. These classes in- 
clude all of the children in the school above four years of age, 
the kindergarten, including those from four to six. 

When the children are placed out, a trial period of three 
months is given, during which the foster parents may return 
them at will. The indenture contract, which is signed when the 
child leaves the school, is so conditioned as to insure the child 
a speedy release from an unhappy or ill chosen home. It requires 
the foster parents to receive him as a member of the family, to 
send him to school, to see that he attends church, to care for 
him in sickness and to have him taught some useful occupation. 
At the end of the indenture period, when the child is eighteen 
years old, he is to receive a small sum of money, usually $75. 
But the duty of the state does not end when the children are 
placed in homes. Adequate supervision for them is necessary 
to secure the fulfilment of the indenture contracts. For this 
purpose state agents are employed, and it is the duty of such 
agents to visit the children in homes and see that they receive 
kind treatment and such advantages as they need. The agents 
are also charged with the duty of personally investigating appli- 
cations from families desiring to receive children. 



CHAPTER XXI 

OWATONNA ORGANIZATIONS 

Masonic Orders — Pythian Societies — Odd Fellows' Lodges — 
Fraternal Insurance Lodges — Catholic Orders — Women's 
Clubs— Contributed by E. E. Bigelow, M. D.— Clubs and 
Organizations. 

Owatonna is one of the fraternal centers of southern Minne- 
sota, and all the leading orders are represented here. In the fol- 
lowing article, Dr. E. E. Bigelow has gathered statistics which 
will prove of great value to all who arc interested in the societies 
mentioned therein. 

MASONIC ORDERS 

Star in the East Lodge, No. 33, A. F. and A. M. On Decem- 
ber 16, A. D. 1859. A. O. "41. a dispensation was granted to open 
and operate a lodge of Free and Accepted Masons at Owatonna, 
which was done, the first meeting being presided over by the 
right worshipful grand junior warden of Faribault Lodge, No. 9, 
with John Kelso as secretary. The lodge was named Star in the 
East, No. 33. On January 23, 1860, the first stated commimica- 
tion under the dispensation was held, and elected J. C. Whipple, 
W. M. ; E. M. Morehouse, S. W. : Joel Wilson, j. W.; Nelson 
Morehouse, treasurer ; John Kelso, secretary ; Thomas Thomp- 
son, .S. D.. and David Lindersmith, J. D. The organization was 
formed by men who had first been made master Masons either 
at the Faribault or Wilton lodge. While the lodge was working 
under dispensation, it does not appear that any set of officers 
were elected, either J. C. Whipple, S. C. Williamson, J. W. Mor- 
ford, W. R. Kinyon, W. H. Wilsey or E. M. Morehouse acting 
as W. M. On October 24, A. D. 1860, A. O. 741, a charter was 
granted, naming as ofificers : S. C. Williamson, W^ M. ; E. M. 
Morehouse, S. W., and Joel Wilson, J. W^ 

The following have been elected to the different offices since 
its final organization, the first named under each year being 
the worshipful master, the second the senior warden, and the 
third the junior warden. October 29, 1860, W. R. Kinyon. E. M. 
Morehouse, W. H. Wilsey, to continue through the year of 
186L 1863— J. W. Morford, Joel Wilson, W. H. Wilsey. 1865— 
J. W. Morford, W. R. Kinyon, W. H. Wilsey. 1866— J. W. 

912 



HISTORY OF RICE "AND STEELE COUNTIES 913 

Morford, W. II. Kelley, II. C. Eldred. 1867— J. W. Morford, 
H. J. Lewis, A. B. Webber. 1868— J. W. Morford, H. J. Lewis, 
E. Scannell. 1869— H. J. Lewis, J. A. Robey, L. S. Padgham. 
1870— J. W. Morford, J. A. Robey, L. S. Padgham. 1871— J. W. 
Morford, A. C. Hickman, Hiram Backus. 1872 — A. C. Hickman, 
H. Backus, L. L. Wheelock. 1873— J. W. Morford, J. D. Holden, 
D. Whipple. 1874— J. D. Holden, A. C. Hickman," H. H. Rose- 
brock. 1875— J. D. Holden, A. C. Dodge, A. C. Gutterson. 1876 
—A. C. Dodge, M. B. Chadwick, N. C. Larson. 1877— A. C. 
Dodge, M. B. Chadwick, J. M. Burlingame. 1879— J. M. Bur- 
lingame, C. H. Randall, George D. Holden. 1880— L. L. Wheel- 
ock, H. H. Rosebrock, H. Birkett. 1881— J. D. Holden, I. U. 
Jones, N. C. Larson. 1882— J. D. Holden. M. B. Chadwick, H. S. 
Hill. 1883— M. B. Chadwick, H. S. Hill, I. H. DeWolf. 1884— 
M. B. Chadwick, H. S. Hill, J. Z. Barncard. 1885— H. Birkett, 
N. C. Larsen, C. W. Burdick. 1886— N. J. Schafer, C. W. Bur- 
dick, D. Moody. 1887— N. J. Schafer, C. W. Burdick, D. Downie. 
1888— H. Birkett, David Downie, Geo. D. Holden. 1889— H. 
Birkett, David Downie, George D. Holden. 1890— Geo. D. 
Holden, C. W. Burdick, L. Anderson. 1891— N. J. Schafer, C. 
W. Burdick, James Morton. 1892— C. W. Burdick, Geo. Kin- 
yon, H. H. Herick. 1893— Geo. D. Holden, Geo. R. Kinyon, 
H. H. Herick. 1894— M. B. Chadwick, P. J. Rolf, William Mork. 
1895— P. J. Rolf, N. C. Larson, N. J. Schafer. 1896— P. J. Rolf, 
William Mork, C. H. Rosebrock. 1897— P. J. Rolf, Hans Ander- 
son, C. H. Rosebrock. 1898— Hans Anderson, C. J. Balch, J. F. 
Rogers. 1899— Hans Anderson, C. J. Balch. J. F. Rogers. 1900 
—Hans Anderson, C. J. Balch, J. F. Rogers. 1901— C. J. Balch, 
J. F. Rogers, A. E. Sebelin. 1902— J. F. Rogers, P. J. Kuntz, 
W. J. Lieb. 1903— C. J. Balch, W. J. Leib, A. G. Pinkham. 1904 
—P. J. Kuntz, W. J. Leib, A. G. Pinkham. 1905— P. J. Kuntz, 
A. J. Pinkham. W. H. Vinton. 1906— A. J. Pinkham, W. H. 
Vinton, A. R. Stewart. 1907— W. H. Vinton, A. B. Stewart, 
M. J. Brown. 1908— A. B. Stewart, M. J. Brown, H. C. Hower. 
1909— M. J. Brown, II. C. Howe, E. A. Brown. 1910— M. J. 
Brown, H. C. Howe, E. A. Brown. 

Star in the East Lodge, A. F. & A. M., was organized in a 
small room over an old wooden building situated on the lot now 
occupied by the new Firemen's Hall. The hall was approached 
from an outside stairway, at the top of which was situated a 
boarded-up vestibule which served as the ante and preparation 
room. This vestibule, so the Hon. W. R. Kinyon, the first wor- 
shipful master under the charter, informs us, was not the warm- 
est preparation room in the world, especially when the ther- 
mometer stood at 30 below zero, as often happened at the time 
of reception of candidates. .\t the completion of the Morford 



914 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Hall, over a wooden building where the Rosebrock Block now 
stands, the lodge became possessed of more comfortable quar- 
ters, where it remained imtil May 13, 1874, when it moved into 
the third-storv hall in the Dresser Block, since owned by the 
National Farmers' Bank. This was an elaborate hall, with ante- 
room reception rooms, dining-room, kitchen and closets, all 
handily arranged and fitted with first-class furniture and para- 
phernalia of all kinds needed for comfort and convenience. 
Judge M. B. Chadwick had the honor of being made the first 
member in the new quarters. In 1873 the lodge was incorporated. 

In the spring of 1903 it became evident, for the reason that 
the National Farmers' Bank had determined soon to remove the 
old building for the purpose of erecting the new one now occu- 
pied by them, that the lodge must look for new quarters again. 
William H. Kelley, then in the process of erecting the present 
Kelley Block, kindly consented to provide for the hall now occu- 
pied by the lodge, chapter and commandery, and which was dedi- 
cated and opened for use on January 14, A. D. 1903, A. O. 785. 
The most worshipful grand master, A. D. Countryman, who had 
consented to the same, was present, accompanied by his grand 
senior warden, Thomas Montgomery, with L. L. Wheelock as 
grand junior warden, \V. J. Naylor as grand treasurer, T. J. 
Howe as grand secretary, and John Wesley Carter as grand 
chaplain. Grant Bronson as grand pursuivant, and others, mem- 
bers of the local lodge, opened a special grand lodge in the recep- 
tion room adjoining the new hall, and with Henry Birkett, Will- 
iam Mork, Norman Evans and N. C. Larson as bearers of the 
lodge, and Rev. George C. Tanner as bearer of the book of con- 
stitutions, conducted by Re\'. A. C. Pinkham as grand marshal, 
proceeded into the hall and dedicated it to Masonry in due and 
ample form. The new hall is amply provided with reception 
rooms, anterooms, closets for paraphernalia and regalia, dining- 
room and kitchen, together with electric lights and all other 
modern improvements for the comfort and convenience of the 
lodge members, who at this time number 122 in good standing, 
among whom are the best and most influential business men of 
the city and county. The regular communications of the lodge 
are held on the second and fourth W'ednesday evenings of each 
month. 

Cedar Chapter, No. 123, Order of the Eastern Star. This 
chapter was instituted at Masonic Hall on November 3, 1897. 
The first officers were: Rev. A. J. Pinkham, worthy patron, and 
Mrs. Nellie .'\. Balch, worthy matron, who, together with the 
following, were charter members: Mrs. Cornelia Mork, Mrs. 
Lula Hendrix, Mrs. Jessie Hall, Mrs. Augusta Fuerman, Mrs. 
A. F. Bennett, Mrs. Virginia Ames, Mrs. Louise Schafer, Mrs. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 915 

Albertta Rolf, Mrs. Matilda S. Lieb, and Anna Mork, Lilly 
Mork, Una E. Ames, Addie P. Balch, N. Maud Ames, G. W. 
Shaw, William Mork, C. J. Balcli. David J. Ames, Geo. S. Hall, 
N. J. Scliafer and W. J. Licb. The present officers are : John 
N. Nelson, worthy patron, and Mrs. Minnie Thompson, worthy 
matron. There are sixty-seven members, and meetings are held 
at 7:30, at Masonic Hall, on the first and third ^Vednesday even- 
ings of each month. The Eastern Star was instituted for the 
purpose of extending the social and instructive benefits of the 
Masonic fraternity to the wives and daughters and sisters of 
Masons in good standing in the order, and it at once became a 
very popular and influential organization, its influence being 
felt all over the country. Its members arc always cordially 
received in sister lodges wherever met. 

Owatonna Chapter, No. 15, R. A. M. On September 28, 
A. D. 1866, A. O. 748. a dispensation was granted to W. R. Kin- 
yon, M. F. Louth, L. H. Kelley, T. G. Patch, J. \V. Morford, 
H. J. Lewis, J. F. White, N. Hubbard and R. M. Dunberry, by 
C. W. Nash, grand high priest of Royal Masons of Minnesota, 
who appointed M. F. Louth most excellent high priest; W. R. 
Kinyon, most excellent king, and L. H. Kelley, most excellent 
scribe. These companions, with others, held their first convoca- 
tion at the Masonic Hall on October 15, A. D. 1866, and eflfected 
a full organization, the M. E. H. P. appointing J. W. Morford, 
C. II.; H. J. Lewis, P. S.; E. R. Lathrop, R. A. C; J. F. White, 
treasurer; T. G. Patch, secretary; Chas. Case, G. M. 3d Veil; 
N. Hubbard, G. M. 2d Veil ; E. M. Hawley, G. M. 1st Veil, and 
R. M. Dunberry, sentry. A code of by-laws, prepared by W. R. 
Kinj-on, J. W. Moreford and T. G. Patch, was presented and 
adopted. The first regular convocation was held on the evening 
of November 2, 1866, A. O. 748, all of the above appointed offi- 
cers retaining the same positions, with the exception that E. R. 
Lathrop was appointed C. H. and J. W. Morford was appointed 
R. A. C. On October 22, 1867, A. O. 748, the organization 
received its charter and elected the following officer.?, who were 
duly installed at the next regular convocation, held on Friday, 
December 20, 1867: W. R. Kinyon, M. E. H. P.; M. F. Louth, 
E. K.; L. H. Kelley, E. S.; J. W. Morford, C. H.; H. J. Lewis, 
P. S.; A. M. Kinyon, R. A. C. ; W. F. Pettit, treasurer, and 
A. B. Webber, secretary. 

Since the regular organization of the chapter the following 
officers have been elected to and been installed into the elective 
offices : In 1868, the same as above were re-elected. 1869 — The 
above officers were re-elected. 1870 — A. B. Webber, M. E. H. P. ; 
W. H. Wilsey, E. K. ; S. B. Washburn, E. S. ; W. T. Kittridge, 
C. H.; IT. J. Lewis, P. S. ; J. W. Morford, R. A. C; W. R. 



91G HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUXTIES 

Kinyon, treasurer: T. J. Patch, secretary. 1871 — \\'. R. Kin}on, 
M. E. H. P.: W. Jl. Wilsey, E. K.; S. B. Washburn, E.' S. ; 
J. W. Morford. C. II.: H. J. Lewis, P. S. ; H. Backus, R. A. C. ; 
E. M. Morehouse, treasurer; T. G. Patch, secretary. 1872 — 
W. R. Kinyon, U. E. H. P.; W. H. Wilsey, E. K. : L. S. Padg- 
ham, E. S. ; J. W. Morford, C. H.; H. Backus, P. S. ; T. W. 
Irving. R. A. C. ; T. J. Howe, treasurer: T. G. Patch, secretary. 
1873— L. L. Wheelock, M. E. H. P.: J. W. Morford, E. S . : 
W. H. Wilsey, E. K. ; A. C. Dodge, C. H. ; T. W. Irving, R. A. 
C. ; E. M. Morehouse, treasurer: T. G. Patch, secretary. 1874 
— W. R. Kinyon, M. E. H. P.: W. H. Wilsey, E. K. ; A. C. 
Hickman, E. S. ; A. C. Dodge, C. H.; H. Backus, P. S. : T. W. 
Irving, R. A. C. : L. L. Bennett, treasurer; T. G. Patch, secre- 
tary. 1875— W. R. Kinyon, M. E. H. P. : L. L. Wheelock, E. K.; 
L. L. Bennett, E. S. ; J. W. Morford, C. H.; A. C. Dodge, P. S. ; 
S. H. Stowers. R. .\. C. : H. H. Rosebrock, treasurer ; M. L. 
Strong, secretary. 1876— J. W. Morford, M. E. H. P.; M. F. 
Louth, E. K.: J. A. Oppliger, E. S. : S. H. Stowers, C. H.; 
A. C. Dodge, P. S. : T. W. Irving. R. A. C. ; H. H. Rosebrock. 
treasurer; M. L. Strong, secretary. 1877 — J. D. Holden, M. E. 
H. P.; J. M. Burlingame, E. K. : N. C. Larson, E. S. ; S. H. 
Stowers. C. II.: J. R. Fox, P. S. ; H. H. Rosebrock, R. A. C: 
W. H. Wilsey, treasurer; M. L. Strong, secretary. 1878 — J. M. 
Burlingame, M. E. H. P.; H. H. Roseljrock, E. K. ; A. Graham, 
E. S.; L. L. Bennett, C. H.; J. D. Holden, P. S. ; H. Birkett, 
R. A. C.; W. H. Wilsey, treasurer; M. L. Strong, secretary. 
1879— J. W. Morford, M.' E. H. P.; N. C. Larson, E. K. ; J. M. 
Burlingame, E. S. ; H. Birkett, C. H.; J. D. Holden, P. S. ; 
H. H. Rosebrock, R. A. C. ; W. R. Kinyon, treasurer. 
M. L. Strong, secretary. 1880— W. R. Kinyon. M. E. H. P.; 
L. L. Wheelock. E. K.; L. L. Bennett. E. S. ; H. H. Rosebrock, 
C. H.; J. D. Holden, P. S. ; J. W. Morford. R. A. C. ; G. F. AL 
bertus, treasurer; E. Downie, secretary. 1881 — H. Birkett. 
M. E. PI. P.; J. D. Holden. E. K. ; G. F. Albertus. E. S. ; H. H. 
Rosebrock. C. H.; L. L. Bennett. P. S. ; N. C. Larson, R. A. C.; 
VV. R. Kinyon, treasurer; T. J. Howe, secretary. 1882 — L. L. 
Bennett, M. E. H. P. ; T. J. Howe, E. K. ; G. F. Albertus, E. S.; 
H. H. Rosebrock, C. PL; J. D. Holden, P. S. ; J. W. Mor- 
ford, R. A. C.; W. R. Kinyon, treasurer; H. H. Luers, secretary. 
1883— J. D. Holden, M. E. H. P. ; T. J. Howe, E. K. ; H. H. Rose- 
brock, E. S. ; J. Z. Barncard, C. PI. ; H. Birkett, P. S. ; J. W. Mor- 
ford, R. A. C. ; W. R. Kinyon, treasurer ; H. H. Luers, secre- 
tary. 1884— J. D. Plolden, M. E. H. P. ; PL H. Rosebrock, E. K. ; 
H. S. Hill, E. S.; J. Z. Barncard, C. H. ; H. Birkett, P. S. ; N. C. 
Larson, R. A. C.; W. R. Kinyon, treasurer; H. H. Luers, secre- 
tary. 1885— L. L. Bennett, M. E. H. P. ; J. Z. Barncard, E. K. ; 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 917 

T. J. Howe, E. S.; N. C. Larson, C. H.; J. D. Holdcn, P. S.; 
H. Birkett, R. A. C. ; \V. R. Kinyon, treasurer; H. H. Luers, 
secretary 1886— J. Z. Barncard, M. E. H. P.; N. J. Schaefer, 
E. K. ; N. C. Larson, E. S. ; D. S. Coverdale, C. H.; H. H. Rose- 
brock, P. S. ; E. E. Bigelow, R. A. C. ; L. L. Bennett, treasurer, 
H. H. Luers, secretary. 1887— N. J. Schaefer, M. E. H. P.; T. J. 
Howe, E. K. ; H. H. Rosebrock, E. S. ; E. E. Bigelow, C. H. ; 
C. W. Burdick, P. S.; H. H. Luers, R. A. C; G. F. Albertus, 
treasurer; J. W. Connor, secretary. 1888 — N. J. Schaefer, M. 
E. H. P. ; T. J. Howe, E. K. ; H. H. Rosebrock, E. S. ; E. E. 
Bigelow, C. H.; J. M. Diment, P. S.; F. F. Grant, R. A. C; 
J. W. Connor, secretary. 1889— E. E. Bigelow, M. E. H. P.; H. 
H. Rosebrock, E. K.; J. W. Connor, E. S.; H. Birkett, C. H. ; 
J. M. Diment, P. S.; E. Downie, R. A. C; W. H. Wilsey, secre- 
tary. 1890— H. H. Rosebrock, M. E. H. P.; T. J. Howe, E. K. ; 
N. J. Schaefer, E. S. ; C. W. Burdick, C. H. ; J. M. Diment, P. S. ; 
G. R. Kinyon, R. A. C; W. H. Wilsey, secretary. 1891— T. J. 
Howe, M. E. H. P.; N. J. Schaefer, E. K.; C. W. Burdick, E. S. ; 
George R. Kinyon, C. H.; J. M. Diment, P. S. ; C. H. Rosebrock, 
R. A. C; W. H. Wilsey, secretary. 1892— T. J. Howe, M. E. 
H. P. ; C. W. Burdick, E. K. ; Geo. R. Kinyon, E. S. ; C H. Rose- 
brock, C. H.; J. M. Diment, P. S. ; J. Palmer Johnson, R. A. C. ; 
W. H. Wilsey, secretary. 1893— T. J. Howe, M. E. H. P. ; Geo. 
R. Kinyon, E. K. ; C. H. Rosebrock, E. S. ; J. Palmer Johnson, 
C. H. ; J. M. Diment, P. S. ; William Mork, R. A. C. ; W. PI. 
Wilsey, secretary. 1894— T. J. Howe, M. E. H. P.; N. J. Schae- 
fer, E. K. ; C. H. Rosebrock, E. S. ; J. Palmer Johnson, C. H. ; 
J. M. Diment, P. S. ; William Mork, R. A. C; VV. II. Wilsey, 
secretary. 1895— L. L. Bennett, M. E. H. P.; N. J. Schaefer, 
E. K.; C. H. Rosebrock, E. S. ; J. Palmer Johnson, C. H.; J. M. 
Diment, P. S. ; William Mork, R. A. C. ; W. H. Wilsey, secre- 
tary. 1897— T. J. Howe, M. E. H. P.; N. J. Schaefer, E. K. ; 
Robert Crickmore, E. S. ; W. H. Vinton, C. H.; Hans Ander- 
son, P. S.; C. J. Balch, R. A. C; Geo. Clark, secretary. 1898— 
N. J. Schaefer, M. E. H. P. ; Robert Crickmore. E. K. ; William 
Mork, E. S. ; J. P. Johnson, C. H.; Hans Anderson, P. S. ; C. J 
Balch, R. A. C; G. E. Hall, secretary. 1900— N. J. Schaefer 
M. E. H. P.; Robert Crickmore, E. K.; C. J. Balch, E. S.; E. E 
Bigelow, C. H. ; Hans Anderson, P. S. ; J. F. Rogers, R. A. C. 
W. J. Lieb, secretary. 1901— Hans Anderson, M. E. H. P. 
C. J. Balch, E. K.; J. F. Rogers, E. S.; E. E. Bigelow, C. H. 
J. M. Diment, P. S.; William Mork, R. A. C; W. J Lieb 
secretary 1902— Hans Anderson, M. E. H. P.; C. J. Balch, E 
K.; J. F. Rogers, E. S.; T. J. Howe, C. PI. ; E. E. Bigelow, P. S 
William Mork, R. A. C; W. J. Lieb, secretary. 1903— Hans 
Anderson, M. E. H. P. ; C. J. Balch, E. K. ; J. F. Rogers, E. S. ; 



918 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

C. W. Burdick, C. H. ; E. E. Bigelow, P. S. ; W. H. Vinton, R. A. 
C. ; W. J. Lieb, secretary. 190-1 — Robert Crickmore, l[. E. H. 
P.; C. J. Balch, E. K. ; William Mork, E. S.; C. W. Burdick, 
C. H.; E. E. Bigelow, P. S.; H. C. Howe, secretary. 1905— 
Robert Crickmore, M. E. H. P.; C. J. Balch, E. K.; William 
Mork, E. S.: E. E. Bigelow, C. H.; P. H. Evans, P. S. ; Geo. R. 
Kinyon, R. A. C. : 1'. J. Swanson. secretary. 1906 — Robert 
Crickmore, M. E. H. P.; C. J. Balch, E. K.'; William Mork, 
E. S. ; A. B. Stewart, C. H. ; P. J. Evans, P. S. ; Geo. R. Kinyon, 
R. A. C. ; P. J. Swanson, secretary. 1907 — Robert Crickmore, 
M. E. H. P.:"c. J. Balch, E. K. : William Mork. E. S.; A. B. 
Stewart, C. H.; P. J. Evans, P. S. ; Geo. R. Kinyon, R. A. 
C. ; P. J. Swanson, secretary. 1908 — Robert Crickmore, M. E. 
H. P.; H. C. Howe, E. K.; WilHam Mork, E. S.; A. B. 
Stewart, C. H.; P. J. Evans, P. S.; Geo. R. Kinyon, R. A. C; 
Harvey S. Dartt. secretary. 1909 — Robert Crickmore, M. E. 
H. P. ; A. B. Stewart, E. K.'; W. H. Vinton, E. S. ; C. A. Tincher, 
C. H. ; P. J. Evans, P. S. ; Geo. R. Kinyon, R. A. C. : Harvey S. 
Dartt, secretary. 1910— P. H. Evans, M. E. H. P. ; A. B. Stew- 
art, E. K.; H. C. Howe, E. S. : C. A. Tincher, C. H. ; J. M. 
Diment, P. S. : P. H. Xayler, R. A. C. ; Harvey S. Dartt, secre- 
tar}-. 

There are at this time sixty members of the chapter in good 
standing, and the chapter is rapidly increasing in its membership 
from the brightest j^oung men of the city and vicinity. Chapter 
holds its convocations on the first and second Fridav evenings 
of each month. 

Cyrene Commandery, No. 9, K. T. A dispensation was 
granted by H. L. Carver, of St. Paul, the then grand commander 
of the jurisdiction of Minnesota, authorizing the organization of 
Cyrene Commandery No. 9, at Owatonna, on February 17, 1874. 
The first conclave was held in the Masonic Hall, as known at 
the time, in the third story of the Dresser block, afterwards 
owned by the Farmers' National Bank, and the following officers 
were elected : C. H. Hathaway, E. C. ; J. W. Morford, G. ; S. H. 
Stowers, C. G. ; H. R. Moore, S. W. ; T. W. Irving. J. W. ; Hiram 
Backus, prelate ; H. J. Lewis, treasurer ; T. G. Patch, recorder ; 
H. H. Rosebrock. warder. This list of officers also comprise 
the whole list of the charter members of the commandery, 
which grew rapidly from the start until in August, 1875, A. O. 
757 its membershij:) had increased to sixty-two knights in good 
standing, twenty members of whom resided at Waseca and 
vicinity, the balance of membership being principally from Steele 
county. The commandery from its inception became the lead- 
ing social fountain-head for the best class of the citizens of 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 919 

Owatonna. Conclaves are regularly held on the evenings of 
the second and fourth Mondays in Masonic Hall. 

On January 14, A. D. 1903, A. O. 784, the new Masonic Hall 
in the third story of the Kelley block was dedicated and with the 
Masonic lodge and chapter jointly moved its quarters to the 
same. Through the generous courtesy of one of its oldest mem- 
bers, W. H. Kelley, now deceased, the commandery was pre- 
sented with a five-year lease of the new asylum. As a small 
remuneration for this liberality the commandery voted a life 
honorary membership to Mr. Kelley. Tn the elegantly arranged 
asylum the commandery is provided with a fine equipment of 
furniture, paraphernalia and regalia. Cyrene Commandery No. 
9 has furnished two right eminent grand commanders of the 
Minnesota Grand Commandery : Henry Birkett, who was elected 
R. E. G. C. at the annual conclave of the grand commandery at 
Owatonna in June, 1886, and R. L. McCormick, who also held 
the office of R. E. G. C. one year. In the early years of the 
commandery it became quite noted for its excursions in a body 
accompanied by their ladies and a cornet band to the annual 
conclaves of the grand commandery when held in different 
parts of the state, and twenty-five sir knights and their ladies 
accompanied by the Owatonna cornet band made a pilgrimage 
to Chicago as part of the escort of the grand commandery of 
Minnesota in August, 1880, to attend the nineteenth conclave 
of the Knights Templar of the United States. On these occa- 
sions the Owatonna men were well mentioned as to their ap- 
pearance in ranks and proficiency as a drill corps. Although 
the membership has heretofore been somewhat depleted through 
the removal of many knights to other communities and not a 
few beyond the Great River of Time, today the commandery 
is rapidly filling up with our young and most influential business 
men of this jurisdiction. The stated conclaves of the com- 
mandery are held on the second and fourth Monday of each 
month, at 7:30 in the evening from October 1 to April 1, and at 
8:00 in the evening from April 1 to October 1. 

All applicants for the orders of Knighthood must be members 
of the Masonic lodge and chapter, in good standing. A loss of 
membership in either of the Blue lodge or chapter causes an im- 
mediate loss of membership in the commandery. 

The following officers have been elected to fill the various 
offices from year to year since its organization. 1874 — C. H. 
Hathaway, E. C. ; J. W. Morford, G. ; Smith Stowers, C. G. ; 
L. L. Wheelock, P.; A. C. Dodge, S. W.: T. W. Irving, J. W. : 
E. M. Morehouse, treasurer; T. G. Patch, recorder; H. H. 
Roscbrock, W. ; J. A. Oppliger, St. B. ; W. H. Wilsey, Sw. B. ; 
L. S. Padgham, 1st G. ; T. J. Howe, 2d G. ; Hiram Backus, 3d 



920 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

C; G. F. Albertus. sentinel. Installed April 12, 1875— C. H. 
Hathaway, E. C. ; J. W. Morford, G. ; S. H. Stowers, C. G.; 
L. L. Wheelock, P. ; A. C. Dodge, S. W. ; T. W. Irving, J. W. ; 
E. M. Morehouse, treasurer; M. L. Strong, recorder. Installed 
April 24, 1876— C. H. Hathaway, E. C. : J. W. Morford, G.; 
M. L. Strong, C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock, P.; f. \^■. Irving, S. W.; 
H. H. Rosebrock. J. W. ; G. F. Albertus, treasurer; S. H. 
Stowers, recorder; J. \Y. Hall, sentinel. Installed March 26, 
1877— W. R. Kinyon, E. C. ; T. W. Irving, G. ; M. L. Strong, 

C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock, P. ; J. W. Morford, S. VJ. ; Henry Birkett, 
J. W.; G. F. Albertus, treasurer; S. H. Stowers, recorder; J. W. 
Hall, sentinel. April 8, 1878— W. R. Kinyon, E. C. ; R. L. 
McCormack, G.; M. L. Strong, C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock, P.; H. 
Birkett, S. W. ; T. W. Irving, J. W. ; G. F. Albertus, treasurer; 
S. H. Stowers, recorder. April 14, 1879 — R. L. McCormack, 

E. C; T. W. Irving, G. ; M. L. Strong, C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock, 
P. ; W. H. Wilsey, S. W. ; J. W. Morford, J. W. ; G F. Albertus, 
treasurer; S. H. Stowers, recorder. March 30, 1880 — R. L. 
McCormack, E. C. ; H. Birkett, G. ; T. W. Irving, C. G. ; L. L. 
Wheelock, P.; G. R. Buckman, S. W. ; W. H. Wdsey, J. W. ; G. 

F. Albertus, treasurer ; W. H. Maes, recorder. April 25, 1881 — 
Henry Birkett, E. C. ; A. C. Hickman, G. ; T. W. Irving, C. G. ; 
L. L. Wheelock, P.; H. E. Strong, S. W. ; W. C. Thayer, J. W.; 

G. F. Albertus, treasurer ; W. H. Maes, recorder. April 8, 1882— 
H. Birkett, E. C. ; L. L. Wheelock, G.; G. R. Buckman, C. G. ; 
A. C. Hickman, P.; W. C. Thayer, S. W. ; W. H. Maes, J. W.; 
G. F. Albertus, treasurer ; J. W. Morford, recorder. March 24, 
1883— L. L. Wheelock, E. C. ; A. C. Hickman, G. ; G. R. Buck- 
man, C. G.; G. C. Tanner, P.; W. C. Thayer, S. W. ; W. H. 
Maes, J. W. ; G. F. Albertus. treasurer; W. H. Donaldson, 
recorder. March 24, 1884— L. L. Wheelock, E. C. ; G. R. Buck- 
man, G. ; L. L. Bennet, C. G. ; G. C. Tanner, P. ; J. D. Holden 
S. W.; N. C. Larson, J. W^ ; G. F. Albertus, treasurer; T. J 
Howe, recorder. March 23, 1885— J. M. Diment, E. C. ; D. S 
Cummings, G. ; F. F. Grant, C. G. ; G. C. Tanner, P. ; J. D 
Holden, S. W. ; N. C. Larson, J. W. ; G. F. Albertus, treasurer 
L. L. Bennett, recorder. April 12, 1886— J. M. Diment, E. C. 

D. S. Cummings, G. ; F. F. Grant, C. G. ; G. C. Tanner, P.; N 
C. Larson, S. W. ; N. J. Schafer, J. W. ; W. H. Wilsey, treasurer 
L. L. Bennett, recorder. March 28, 1887— F. F. Grant, E. C. 
G. R. Buckman, G. ; N. C. Larson, C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock, P. 
N. J. Schafer, S. W. ; J. E. Truesdell, J. W. ; H. H. Rosebrock, 
treasurer; T. J. Howe, recorder. March 26, 1888— G. R. Buck- 
man, E. C; H. H. Rosebrock, G. ; E. G. Wood, C. G. ; L. L. 
Wheelock, P. ; E. E. Bigelow, S. W. ; J. W. Aughenbaugh, J. W. ; 
L. L. Bennett, treasurer; T. J. Howe, recorder. April 8, 1889 — 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 921 

G. R. Buckman, E. C. ; H. H. Rosebrock, G. ; E. G. Wood, C. G.; 
L. L. Wheelock, P.; E. E. Bigelow, S. W. ; J. W. Aughcnbaugh, 
J. W. ; L. L. Bennett, treasurer; T. J. Howe, recorder. March 24, 
1890— H. H. Rosebrock, E. C; J. \V. Aughcnbaugh, G.; N. J. 
Schafer, C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock. P. ; M. M. Davidson, S. W.. ; J. 
W. Connor, J. \V.; L. L. Bennett, treasurer; Smith II. Stowers, 
recorder. March 23, 1891— H. H. Rosebrock, E. C; W. J. 
Aughenbaugh, G. ; N. J. Schafer, C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock, P. ; 
Geo. R. Kinyon, S. W. ; J. W. Connor, J. W. ; L. L. Bennett, 
treasurer; S. H. Stowers, recorder. April 11, 1892 — Geo. R. 
Kinyon, E. C. ; N. J. Schafer. G. ; J. M. Diment, C. G. ; L. L. 
Wheelock, P.; J. W. Connor, S. W. ; N. C. Larson, J. W. ; 
L. L. Bennett, treasurer; J. Palmer Johnson, recorder. 
March 12, 1894— E. E. Bigelow, E. C. ; J. W. Connor, G. ; Wil- 
liam Mork, C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock, P. ; N. Evans, S. W. ; H. K. 
Tompkins, J. W.; L. L. Bennett, treasurer; J. P. Johnson, 
recorder. April 8, 1895— J. W. Connor, E. C; William Mork. 
G. ; Norman Evans, C. G. ; H. K. Tompkins, S. W. ; N. J. 
Schafer, J. W. ; L. L. Wheelock, P. ; L. L. Bennett, treasurer ; 
J. P. Johnson, recorder. March 11, 1896— J. W. Connor, E. C. ; 
William Mork, G. ; N. Evans, C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock, P. ; H. K. 
Tompkins, S. W. ; N. J. Schafer, J. W. ; J. P. Johnson, recorder ; 
L. L. Bennett, treasurer. May 10. 1897— William Mork. E. C. ; 
N. Evans, G. ; H. K. Tompkins, C. G. ; E. E. Bigelow, P. ; C. J. 
Balch, S. W.; Hans Anderson. J. W. ; L. L. Bennett. T. ; J. P. 
Johnson, R. May 9, 1898— William Mork, E. C. ; N. Evans, G. ; 
N. J. Schafer, C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock. P.; C. J. Balch, S. W. ; 
Hans Anderson, J. W. ; L. L. Bennet, T. ; J. P. Johnson, R. 
May 8. 1899— Alfred G. Pinkham. E. C. ; N. J." Schafer, G. ; C. J. 
Balch. C. G.; L. L. Wheelock. P.: H. Anderson, S. W. ; S. V. R. 
Hendrix, J. W. ; L. L. I'.ennett, T. ; J. P. Johnson, R. May 14, 
1890— A. G. Pinkham, E. C; N. J. Schafer, G. ; C. J. Balch, C. 
G. ; L. L. Wheelock, P.; H. Anderson, S. W. ; N. C. Larson, 
J. W. ; L. L. Bennet treasurer ; J. P. Johnson, recorder. March 
11, 1901— N. J. Schafer, E. C; C. J. Balch, G. ; J. W. Connor, 
C. G.; H. Anderson, S. W. ; N. C. Larson. J. W. ; L. L. Whee- 
lock, P.; L. L. Bennett, treasurer; J. P. Johnson, recorder. 
March 17, 1902— T. J. Howe, E. C. ; C. J. Balch, G. ; J. W. Con- 
nor, C. G.; H. Anderson, S. W. ; N. C. Larson, J. W. ; L. L. 
Wheelock, P. ; L. L. Bennett, treasurer, J. P. Johnson, recorder. 
March 9, 1903— T. J. Howe, E. C; C. J. Balch, G.; J. W. Connor, 
C. G.; L. L. Wheelock, P.; H. Anderson, S. W.; N. C. Larson, 
J. W. ; L. L. Bennett, treasurer; W. H. Vinton, recorder. March 
14, 1904— J. M. Diment, E. C. ; C. J. Balch, G. ; G. R. Kinyon, 
C. G.; L. L. Wheelock, P.; C. H. Rosebrock, S. W.; N. C. Lar- 
son, J. W. ; P. H. Evans, treasurer; W. H. Vinton, recorder. 



022 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

March 13, 1905— J. M. Dimcnt, E. C. ; C. J. Balch, G.; G. R. 
Kinyon, C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock, P.; C. H. Rosebrock, S. W. ; 
N. C. Larson, J. W.; P. H. Evans, treasurer; W. H. Vinton, 
recorder. March 11. 1906— J. M. Diment, E. C; J. C. Balch, G.; 
C. R. Kinyon, C. G.; L. L. Wheelock, P.; C. H. Rosebrock, 
S. W.; N. C. Larson, J- ^^'. : P- H. Evans, treasurer; W. H. 
Vinton, recorder. March 11, 1907 — N. C. Larson, E. C. ; C. H. 
Rosebrock, G. : H. C. Howe, C. G. ; L. L. Wheelock, P.; A. B. 
Stewart. S. W. ; J. M. Diment, J. W. ; G. R. Kinyon, treasurer; 
W. J. Vinton, recorder. March 9, 1908— C. H. Rosebrock, E. C. ; 
H. C. Howe, G. : A. B. Stewart, C. G. ; W. H. Vinton, P. ; G. R. 
Kinyon, S. W.; J. M. Diment, J. W. : P. H. Evans, treasurer; 
G. L. Lieb, recorder. March 8, 1909— A. B. Stewart, E. C. ; 
H. C. Howe, G.; P. H. Evans, C. G.; W. H. Vinton, P.; W. C. 
Zamboni, S. W. ; C. A. Tincher, J. W. ; G. R. Kinyon, treasurer; 
G. L. Lieb, recorder. Upon the resignation of G. L. Lieb, April 
26, 1909, E. E. Bigelow was appointed to fill the vacancy of 
recorder for the remainder of tlie year. The late J. W. Hall 
held the office of sentinel from 1875 up to 1878. The late G. W. 
Shaw held the office of sentinel from 1879 up to 1908. Sir 
Knight Shaw was always a thorough and painstaking official. 

ODD FELLOW LODGES. 

Star of the West Lodge, No. 14, I. O. O. F. Jacob Newsalt, 
then a member of Prairie Lodge No. 7, Winona, Minnesota, 
accompanied by E. K. Smith and R. C. Ambler, on August 
9, 1864, went to Rochester, Minnesota, where his companions 
were initiated by Rochester Lodge No. 13, receiving all the 
degrees appertaining to the subordinate lodge of Odd Fellows. 
The Rochester lodge courteously remitted the initiation fees, 
the same being used to procure a charter which was granted on 
December 28, 1864, and Star of the West Lodge No. 14, I. O. O. 
F., was duly instituted by M. W. G. M., C. D. Strong, assisted 
by P. G. M. M., O. J. Noble, the charter members being Jacob 
Newsalt, Dr. W. H." Twiford, E. K. Smith, P. J. Smith, Eben. 
Durham and William Hamburg. 

The officers elected and installed were J. Newsalt, N. G. ; 
E. K. Smith, V. G. ; W. H. Twiford, secretary; William Ham- 
burg, treasurer. During the first term of six months three mem- 
bers, including Hon. A. C. Hickman, were admitted by card 
and twelve by initiation. The officers chosen for the second 
term commencing July 1, 1865, were E. K. Smith, N. G. ; L. 
Bixby, V. G. ; A. C. Hickman. secretar_\- ; D. B. Marble, treasurer ; 
J. Newsalt, D. D. G. M. 

In June, 1907, the lodge was consolidated with the Coetha 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 923 

lodge, No. 38, which was organized in 1873. Soon after the 
organization of Star of the West lodge it built the upper story 
of the Oppliger building and occupied it as its home till in 1907, 
when the lodge sold its interest to the National Farmers' Bank 
that, with the rest of the old block, it might be torn down to be 
replaced by the present bank building, and removed its quarters 
to the present new home in the Parrot & Smith building which 
is supplied with all of the up-to-date modern improvements to 
be had from any source. According to the last term report the 
lodge has $3,192.62 in loans and bank certificates, $1,546.85 in 
lodge furniture and $465 invested in paraphernalia, making a 
total valuation of its personal efifects $5,204.47, besides cash in 
the treasury for its incidental expenses. The present officers 
are L. A. Disbro, N. G., and E. A. Haines, V. G. 

Coetha Lodge No. 38, I. O. O. F. This lodge was organized 
at Ovvatonna April 25, 1873, by Grand Master E. K. Smith, of 
Ovvatonna, assisted by a vice grand master. The first officers 
of the lodge were Jacob Newsalt, N. G. ; Lewie Bion, V. G. ; 
R. Joos, P. S.; G. Siebolt, R. S.; A. Butsch, treasurer. The 
lodge, for some time, held its meetings in Star of the West Hall 
over the Dresser building, then moving into the Adam Butsch 
hall where it remained until 1879. when it moved into the More- 
house hall on Broawday. In 1887 the lodge had fifty-two mem- 
bers and was well provided with funds and lodge paraphernalia. 
The lodge removed to the hall in the Thon laundry building 
in 1902, where it remained until June, 1907, when it consolidated 
with the Star of the West lodge, thus creating a strong lodge 
out of two weak ones, forty-seven members coming from the 
Coetha lodge and seventy-five from the Star of the West lodge, 
to make a total of 126 members. About this time the con- 
solidated lodges secured the whole third story of the Parrot & 
Smith block which had been purposely fitted up with ample 
hall room, reception rooms, dining rooms, kitchen and closets. 

Central Encampment No. 4, I. O. O. F. A dispensation 
having been granted, on March 31, 1869, C. C. Comee, D. B. 
Marble, Luther Bixby, E. K. Smith, J. W. Daniels, A. S. My- 
gatt, William Reynolds, William Pepper, with C. A. Strong 
and others from Rochester Lodge, No. 13, met at Star of the 
West Hall and all being third degree Odd Fellows, as required, 
were organized by C. A. Strong, D. D. G. S., and C. C. Comee, 
G. M., as Encampment No. 4. Third degree members E. B. 
Crooker, J. W. Dresser, C. W. Hastings, John Middough, H. 
M. Brown, C. S. Crandall and A. C. Hickman were added at 
the two following meetings of the encampment. The first offi- 
cers were C. C. Comee, C. P.; D. B. Marble, II. P.; E. K. Smith, 
S. W.; J. W. Daniels, J. W.; A. S. Mygatt, secretary. Among 



924 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

the prominent members, now officials of the encampment, are 
S. A. Kubat, H. P. ; O. L. Turner, S. W. ; F. A. Rosenthal, J. W. ; 
J. N. Niles, scribe; Robert Dininger, treasurer; George H. 
Peterson, sentinel. The encampment meets on the first and 
third Thursdays of each month, at Star of the West Hall where 
they have all of the necessary high-class regalia and parapher- 
nalia. This order of Odd Fellowship is one step higher than the 
subordinate lodge, only third degree Odd Fellows being eligible 
to membership in the encampment. The encampment now num- 
bers thirty-three members. 

Canton No. 12, I. O. O. F. This, the highest order of Odd 
Fellowship, was instituted at Owatonna, March 31, 1890, by 
Lieutenant Commander John C. Underwood and Adjutant Gen- 
eral G. T. Frost, of the department of Minnesota, with the fol- 
lowing charter members: J. H. Helwig, Jacob Newsalt, S. N. 
Lund, George H. Peterson, Emil Theimer, A. A. Bri.son, Robert 
Dinninger, J. H. Shaw, Wm. Wicklow, F. C. Webb, O. S. More- 
house, James Brown, George Parrott, John Reich, O. B Mc- 
Clintock, F. Fibgard, E. M. Twiford. C. Weise, W'. A. Dynes 
and Geo. Peachey. The members of the Canton are of necessity 
members of the encampment, so hold meetings at the same dates 
of the encampment ; the encampment holding its meetings in the 
earlier portion of the evening. There are eighteen members of 
the Canton at the present time and is now presided over by 
S. A. Kubat, captain of the Canton, who is an enthusiastic 
Odd Fellow and a great lover of Odd Fellowship. Among the 
veteran Odd Fellows are found George H. Peterson, present 
clerk of the canton ; Robert Dinninger, accountant ; E. L. Haines, 
ensign; Emil Thiemer and H. H. Helwig, privates, the ranks 
having been depleted by death of the larger share of the charter 
members, others having either dropped out of the ranks or 
moved out of the jurisdiction, their places having been filled by 
others. 

Alma Rebecca Lodge No. 27, I. O. O. F. This lodge was 
instituted November 29, 1887, with the following charter mem- 
bers: Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Newsalt, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Shaw, 
Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Peterson, Rev. and Mrs. J. C. Ogle, Mr. 
and Mrs. Emil Thiemer, Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Webb, Mr. and 
Mrs. H. F. Luce, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Reynolds, Mr. and Mrs. 
G. W. Peachey, Mrs. Sarah McDonald, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. 
Helwig and Mr. and Mrs. John Cottier. The present officers 
for the term commencing January 1, 1910, are Mrs. Emily Hos- 
f^eld, N. G.; Mrs. Gertie Mitchell, V. G. ; Mrs. Elizabeth P. Pe- 
terson secretary, and Mrs. Mary Davis, treasurer. There are 
fifty-three sisters and twenty brothers in good standing in the 
lodge. During the first term of the Star of the West lodge a 



HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 925 

Rebecca lodge was formed in which all scarlet degree members 
and their wives were entitled to membership, but for some 
reason the lodge was abandoned until the above lodge was 
formed. 

Owatonna Rebecca Lodge No. 180, I. O. O. F. This lodge 
was instituted May 21, 1900, by ]\lrs. Alice A. Kelsey, president 
of assembly, and Mrs. Eunice Melville, secretary of assembly, 
with the following charter members : E. A. Luce, Anna Twi- 
ford, W. J. Woods, Mary Woods, Harriet Howe, Fanny Denny, 
C. J. Burdick, Robena Burdick, John Klima, Jennie Klima, John 
Reash, Nellie Reash, S. N. Lund, G. W. Shaw, Chas. J. Shaw, 
Mat I'ion, Rachel Bion, Maggie Cherry, Maggie Woods, Lutheria 
Disbrow, Emily Smersh, F. M. Smcrsh, Anna Kubat, Nancy 
Wilson, Galena Mudeking, E. S. Simpson and Joana Sampson. 

The first officers were Maggie Woods, N. G. ; Fanny Denny, 
V. G. ; Harriet Howe, recorder and financial secretary; Jennie 
Klema, treasurer ; Joana Sampson, warden ; Robena Burdick, 
conductor; Elizabeth Luce, chaplain; John Klima, O. G. ; Mag- 
gie Cherry, I. G. ; Mary Woods, R. S. N. G. ; Galena Mudeking, 
L. S. N. G.; Lutheria Disbrow, R. S. V. G.; Rachel Bion, 
L. S. V. G. 

The present officers are Lutheria Disbrow, N. G. ; Mattie 
Turner, V. G. ; Grace V. Luce, recorder and financial secretary ; 
Ellen Niles, treasurer; Ellen Wright, warden; Anna Kinny, 
conductor; Cora D. Pettie, chaplain; O. L. Turner, O. G. ; 
Sarah Hayes, I. G. ; Jennie Klima, R. S. N. G. ; Fannie Barker, 
L. S. N. G.; Maud Norton. R. S. V. G. ; Sarah Morrell, L. S. 
V. T. There are now seventy members in the order. 

These organizations were instituted and are maintained on 
account of their special beneficial and social features which 
they embrace and form a large adjunct to the Star of the West 
lodge in whose hall they hold their meetings, the Alma No. 27 
on second and fourth Friday evenings at 7:30 o'clock, and the 
Owatonna No. 180 on second and fourth Monday evenings at 
7:30 o'clock. 

PYTHIAN ORDERS. 

Owatonna Lodge No. 50, Knights of Pythias. This lodge 
was instituted in Castle Hall at Owatonna on November 14, 
1888, by the officiating grand officers, F. D. McDonald, P. G. C. ; 
C. H. Tasker, G. C. ; Paul Higgins, C. V. C. pro tem. ; Fred E. 
Whcaton, G. P. pro tem.; Grier M. Orr, G. K. R. S. ; C. Talbert, 
G. M. A.; A. C. Gidfrey, G. I. G. pro tem.; W. A. Cunningham. 
G. O. G. The lodge received its charter September II, 1889. 

The charter members were John E. Shipman, Charles E. 
ClifTord, John H. Adair, Sidney B. North, Frank C. Webb, John 



926 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

H. Luers, Edward Downie, Geo. R. Forsyth, James A. Harris, 
Wm. J. Webber, Geo. W. Shaw, Albert J- Katz, James W. Con- 
nor, John Cottier, Wm. F. Barker, Wm. A. Bailey, Alfred C. 
Webber, Harris E. Keefe, Elisha Freeman, Russell O. Philpot, 
John D. Rowlan, Andrew Downie, Charles T. Palmer and Le- 
grand S. Wright. 

The first efficers elected were John E. Shipman, P. C. ; 
Charles E. Clift'ord, \'. C. ; John H. Adair, C. C. ; Sidney B. 
North, V. C; Frank C. Webb, P.; John L. Luers, K. R. S.; 
Edward Dow-nie, M. F. ; Geo. E. Forsyth, M. E. ; James A. 
Harries, il. A. 

The present officers are O. E. \\'illiamson, P. C. ; Louis W"a- 
tawa, V. C; A. G. Scholl, prelate; H. Kahn, M. of W.; C. J. 
Gough, K. R. S.; G. J. Schafer, M. F. ; H. D. Tompkins, M. of 
E.; Hugo Theimer, M. A.; H. S. Dartt, I. G. ; E. A. Brown, O. 
G. The trustees are G. F. CardoiT, A. Butsch and G. W. Doo- 
little. The present membership is 119. 

The Pythian Knighthood had its conception in the exempli- 
fication of the life test of true friendship existing between Da- 
mon and Pythias. Friendship or mutual confidence, being the 
strongest bond of union between man and man. and only exist- 
ing where honor has an abiding place, is adopted as a founda- 
tion principle. And the ideal Knight of olden times was the 
personification of all the higher and nobler attributes of man's 
nature, the candidate for knighthood had to prove himself 
worthy of acceptance by those who valued friendship, bravery, 
honor, justice and loyalty. The order of the Knights of Pythias 
— founded on Friendship, Charity and Benevolence, which it 
proclaims as its cardinal principles — strives to gather into one 
mighty fraternity worthy men who appreciate the true meaning 
of friendship ; who are cautious in word and act ; who love 
truth ; who are brave in defending right ; whose honor is untar- 
nished ; whose sense of justice will prevent, to the best of their 
ability, a personal act or word injurious to the worthy, whose 
loyalty to principle, to family, to friends, to their country, and 
to the constituted authority under which they enjoy citizenship 
is undoubted, and who, at all times, are prepared to do unto 
others as they would that others should do unto them. 

Owatonna Lodge, No. 50, has since its institution been com- 
posed of the younger business and professional men of the city 
and representative men from the surrounding country and its 
course has always been marked by social and benevolent enter- 
prises. This order has alwaj's exerted a strong influence among 
its members for the "elevation and betterment of mankind." The 
social activities of this lodge have been largely increased and 
strengthened by the institution of its sister society, the Rath- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 927 

bone Sisters, now known as the Pythian Sisters, who have a 
flourishing temple in the rooms and castle hall of this lodge. 
Owatonna Lodge, No. 50, has a reserve fund of about $800 and 
is in a flourishing and active condition, and has always been 
very aggressive since its institution in Owatonna. 

Hope Temple, No. 32, Pythian Sisters. This temple was 
instituted by Olive J. Gilmore, grand chief, and Nellie A. Mc- 
Call, grand senior warden, with a chapter membership of twenty- 
four ladies and nine knights. The first officers were Gertrude 
Carthoright, past chief; Mary McClintock, M. E. C. ; Francis 
Kendall, Ex. S. ; Gertie Mitchell, Ex. J.; Sarah Adsit, manager; 
Jennie Adsit, M. of R. & C. ; Agnes Doolittle, M. of F. ; Mary 
Cedardahl, protector; Eva Rowlan, guard; Nellie Graham, Effie 
Adsit and Augusta Bell, trustees. Meetings arc held in the 
Knights of Pythias Hall, on the first and third Tuesday evenings, 
at 7:30. The present officers are: Edith Deitz, S. P. C; Lorinda 
Morehouse, M. E. C. ; Ella Dartt, Ex. S. ; Alfraetta Rolf, Ex. J. ; 
Bertha Vanorum, manager; Pearl Hagan, M. of R. & C. ; Suzie 
Zamboni, M. of F. ; Eva Smith, protector; Guesena Schafer, 
guard. 

FRATERNAL INSURANCE 

The Ancient Order of United Workmen. This order was 
founded at Meadville, Pa., on October 28, 1868, by John Jordon 
Upchurch. It is a fraternal society, having an insurance feature, 
and was the first organization of the kind in America. It has 
during its operation paid to the widows and orphans of de- 
ceased members $170,000,000, $9,000,000 of which was distrib- 
uted in Minnesota, $40,000 of that being placed in the city of 
Owatonna. Its present membership in Owatonna is 120, and in 
the state, 32,000. One of our citizens, Hon. James M. Diment, 
held the office of grand master of the state during the three 
years of 1899, 1900 and 1901. This being the oldest organization 
of the kind in the country having the insurance feature, and hav- 
ing witnessed the failure of a large number of fraternal societies 
of its kind, it would seem that its marvelous success as com- 
pared with the failures of others is owing fully to the manner 
of management and integrity of those intrusted to the manage- 
ment of the general financial afi'airs of the different organiza- 
tions, and speaks well for such an organization when under 
proper management. 

Owatonna Aerie, No. 1791, F. O. E. This lodge was insti- 
tuted June 9, 1908, and now has a membership of 171 in good 
standing. The first officers were : Gus. A. Cedardahl, P. W. P. ; 
Charles Green, W. P. ; E. H. Lippert, W. W. P. ; C. A. Sweeny, 
W. C; C. A. Hoflfman, F. S.; J. W. Rowland, T. ; F. Hoffman. 



928 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

F. F. C. ; F. Jorgenson, J. G. ; John H. Martin, O. G. ; Dr. Amos, 
Ole Williamson, L. C. Brown and F. M. Smersh, trustees. The 
present officers are: Gus A. Cedardahl. S. P. W. P.; E. H. Lip- 
pert, P. W. P. ; Leroy Holmes, W. P. ; William Peller, W. W. 
P. ; James Sulivan, W. C. ; R. W. Sander, F. S. ; John Watawa, 
T. ; F. Bassett, W. C. ; John H. Martin, J. G.; Geo. Staley, 
O. G. ; W. Amos, J. Jorgenson, L. C. Brown and F. M. Smersh, 
trustees. 

The Fraternal Order of Eagles teaches a philosophy which is 
as eternal as is divine truth, and wherever its doctrine has been 
promulgated it has found a responsive echo in the hearts of 
men. It represents the true Democracy of Fraternalism. Its 
creed is simple, and in it there are no patricians nor plebeians. 
Each Eagle, wherever located, is the equal of every other. There 
is embraced within the circle of its fraternity humanity in all its 
phases, and no man in whose soul there is yet remaining one 
spark of manhood is denied its benign influence. The Eagles 
recognize that in every man there is some good, and seek to 
develop that good until it shall bear good fruit in the betterment 
and uplifting of mankind in general. 

Classes, so destructive to ancient nations, are not recognized. 
Ancient precedents concerning man's superior over man are 
swept away before the flood tide of equal rights and opportuni- 
ties afiforded to all. Vocation, business, profession, calling, 
social, religious or political standing do not enter or weigh con- 
cerning a man's standing as an Eagle, and no aristocracy is rec- 
ognized save that of enthusiasm in the noble and mighty cause. 

Owatonna Council, No. 1646, Royal Arcanum, was organized 
August 28, 1895, with twenty-seven members. The Royal Ar- 
canum is a fraternal association aiming to give life insurance at 
a cost as near that of "normal mortality as safety and perma- 
nency will permit." According to its reports, it stands among all 
fraternal societies to-day fourth in membership, third in amount 
of insurance in force, third in assets, second in yearly income, sec- 
ond in receipts since organization, second in disbursements to 
widows and orphans. Since its organization, June 23, 1877, it 
has distributed to beneficiaries $129,000,000. to some 65,000 fami- 
lies. The present officers of the local council are as follows: 
Regent, J. H. Dinsmore; vice regent. Weaker S. Dynes; orator, 
E. A. Brown; past regent, R. H. G. Netz; secretary, J. G. 
Briggs; collector, J. \\'. Rowland; treasurer. C. I. Buxton; 
chaplain, C. L. Pound ; guide. F. L. La Bare ; warden, G. A. 
Merrill; sentry, W. A. Sperry : trustee, W. E. McClintock. 

Boynton Tent, No. 49, Knights of Maccabees. This tent 
was organized at Owatonna in 1897, with twelve members. It 
is a fraternal society, carrying insurance for the benefit of its 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 929 

members. The order distributed over the states has $9,000,000 
in its benefit fund, which guarantees all certificates. The aver- 
age paid out per day in benefits is about $10,000. The officers of 
the local order are: William liurghs, commander; J. L. Ingra- 
ham, record keeper; F. J. Rions, finance keeper. 

C. S. P. S., Lodge No. 67, Bohemian Slavonik Benevolent 
Society of Minnesota, was instituted at Owatonna b_v the author- 
ity of the grand lodge of Minnesota on January 15, 1881, and 
works under the auspices of the supreme lodge, which was insti- 
tuted at St. Louis, Mo., in 1854. Its object is to encourage 
friendship, benevolence and charity. July 16, 1885, the local 
lodge was incorporated, with Joseph H. H. Soukup, president ; 
Frank Kovar, secretary. In 1887 the society numbered thirty- 
one members, viz. : Joseph Kubat, Joseph Kaplan, Joseph H. 
Soukup, John Dusek, A. L. Simon, Frank Ilorak, John Pichner, 
Joseph Waverin, John Svir, Anton Pirkl, L. L. Marek, Anton 
Belina, Anton Kapser, Joseph Tamshe, K. C. Tamshe, John 
Slavik, Frank Ripka, V. Mares, Joseph Krejci, Feli.x Svekla, V. 
Pichner, V. Kovar, F. Simon, Frank Kovar, V. Suchnaek, V. 
Jirousek, Albert Kasper, John R. Soukup, V. Martinek, Joseph 
Martinek. The present officers are : A. R. Stransky, president ; 
G. J. Kaplan, vice-president; Anton Stancel, secretary; Joseph 
Stancel, treasurer; escort, John Wavrin; watchman, Frank 
Kovar; trustees, John Pechner, Sr., Wencl Kovar, Joseph Fisher. 
The society has erected a fine block of elegant proportions 
on North Cedar street, known as the C. S. P. S. Auditorium, 
where the lodge has an elegant hall for its own use, and a com- 
modious auditorium gallery in the upper stories, which is used 
for theatrical purposes and public entertainments. The enter- 
prise exhibited by the society in the erection of this building 
loudly speaks in its praise. 

The Modern Woodmen of America. The local lodge of this 
order was organized by D. 11. Consul and G. F. Mills at Owa- 
tonna in August, 1887, and received its charter from the grand 
lodge at Fulton, 111., August 31, 1887. The charter members 
were: O. E. Edson, V. C. ; J. W. Rowland, clerk; D. B. Shaw 
and E. Smith, sentries; W. E. Morehouse, W. adviser; W. T. 
Thompson, escort; E. M. Morehouse, E. B. and Phy. ; Henry 
Dipping and D. R. Grunkle, watchmen. The board of managers 
were: For one year, O. E. Edson; for two years, E. Smith, and 
for three years, H. Dipping. 

Meetings are held on the first and third Fridays of each 
month. 

From a beginning with twelve members the lodge has had 
a steady growth till at this date, at the age of twenty-three years, 
it numbers 328 members in good standing, and has nine social 



930 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

members. The present officers are: James W'encel. V. C. : J. \V. 
Rowland, E. B. ; Thomas Darington, W. A.; M. J. Parcher, 
clerk; G. B. Stacey, escort; P. Danigcr, watchman; D. AI. 
Mitchell, sentry ; H. Daxell, assistant clerk ; examining sur- 
geons, A. B. Stewart and J. W. Andrist. The purpose of the 
Modern Woodmen of America is not only of a fraternal and 
charitable nature, for the benefit of its more unfortunate mem 
bers in times of distress, as a local organization, but it also 
insures its members, in good standing, against a loss to their 
families by certain standards of insurance, and is considered one 
of the most substantial fraternal orders in the country. 

Victory Camp, No. 1040, Royal Neighbors of America. This 
is the ladies' adjunct to the Modern Woodmen of America, and 
its fraternal and insurance features are of the same character. 
It was organized June 8, 1898, with the following officers : Mrs. 
Maggie ^\'oods, oracle ; Mrs. Ella Wright, vice oracle ; Mrs. 
Louise Thon. recorder; Mable Snyder, receiver; Mrs. Maria 
Snyder, chancelor; Mrs. Alary Marquart. inner sentinel, and 
A. B. Stewart, physician. 

The present officers are : Mrs. Louise K. Thon, oracle ; Mrs. 
Martha Thon. vice oracle: Mrs. Anna Davidson, recorder: 
Mrs. Mary Marquart, receiver ; Mrs. A. M. Belina, chancelor ; 
Mrs. Rose Anderson, inner sentinel; Mrs. Dora Dezell, outer 
sentinel, and A. B. Stewart, and tiuel G. Morehouse, physicians. 
There is a membership of ninety, out of which there are forty- 
nine fraternal, and forty-one who are benefit members through 
the insurance feature. 

Grand Lodge of the Ancient Order of Aztecs. This was first 
instituted at Minneapolis, August 24, 1891, and May 15, 1899, 
was transferred to the city of Owatonna for its permanent home. 
It elected and installed the following grand officers: M. F. 
Smersh, grand commander ; A. J. Kubat, grand vice commander ; 
J. Newsalt, secretary; Robert Denniger, treasurer; Lars Peter- 
son and C. E. Srsen, trustees. The principal present officers 
are: F. M. Smersh, grand commander; S. A. Kubat, grand vice 
commander : F. A. Alexander, grand solicitor ; F. M. Smersh, 
grand medical examiner. 

Tenoch Council, No, 16, Ancient Order of Aztecs. This 
council was organized May 29, 1893. The present membership 
is 140 and is both a fraternal and charitable institution having 
an insurance feature which is proving very advantageous in 
times of sickness of its members and to the widows and orphans 
of deceased members. The present officers are: R. F. Ander- 
son, commander ; O. K. Marquart, vice commander ; L. J. Wa- 
lachka, secretary; S. A. Kubat, collector; Robert Dinniger, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 931 

treasurer; Cy Harding, orator; Chas. Cobb, chaplain; August 
Monthee, guide ; Art Weise, warden ; C. I. Sustak, sentry. 

CATHOLIC ORDERS 

Owatonna Council, No. 945, Knights of Columbus. This 
council was instituted at Owatonna, December 11, 1904, with 
J. F. Fitzgerald, grand knight; John Lynard, deputy grand 
knight ; L. J. Mosher, secretary ; J. S. Brick, financial secretary ; 
and B. J. Meixner, treasurer. The council started out with a 
fine lot of Owatonna's best business men as its charter members, 
and has since added to its membership till at the present time 
it has enrolled in good standing 115 members, which speaks well 
for the popularity of the organization, the object of which is 
not only fraternal in character, but through its insurance fea- 
ture to render mutual assistance in times of need to the families 
of members. It is an incorporated council and capable of pur- 
chasing or disposing of realty or personal property. The pres- 
ent officers are : John Lynard, grand knight ; J. S. Brick, deputy 
grand knight; B. J. Mei.xner, treasurer; T. J. Stransky, secre- 
tary, and W. H. Liebe, financial secretary. The trustees are 
J. F. Fitzgerald, George C. Tower and W. H. Hart. 

Catholic Order of Foresters. The local lodge of this order 
was organized at Owatonna, May 7, 1897. It is a fraternal 
order having the usual insurance feature. As is the case of 
Knights of Columbus, none but Catholics are admitted to mem- 
bership, the fraternity being dedicated to the benefit of its large 
and growing membership and their families, its relief proving 
to be a great advantage to the families of departed members of 
the order through the immediate aid received just at a time when 
most needed. The present membership of the local lodge is 121 
and the present officers are : George Tohr, C. R. ; Martin Kubia- 
towicz, V. C. R.; C. F. RinghoflFer, P. C. R. ; F. J. Wencel, 
recorder; John Hogan, financial secretary; Edward W. Springer, 
treasurer; N. J. Bateshek, S. C. ; C. M. Lerach, I. C. ; John O. 
Shaney, I. S. ; Jos. C. Ripka, N. S. ; John Lynard, H. C. R., 
and F. A. Dunham, speaker. Trustees, William Burzinski, F. 
Schlcman, S. Kubiatwicz. 

Division No. 1, Steele County, Ancient Order of Hibernians. 
This order was organized at Owatonna, February 26, 1891, with 
the following charter members : George C. Tower. J. E. McLane, 
Edward J. McGrath, William Ilickey, John Deviny, Chas. A. 
Lonergan. James E. Quinn and C. J. Obrine, formerly a member 
of the Montgomery division. The first officers were : C. J. 
Obrine, president ; Edward McGrath, vice president ; Mike Mc- 
Grath, treasurer, and J. E. Malone, recording secretary. There 



932 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

are now forty-six members in full and regular membership. It 
is a fraternal order having the insurance feature. The pres- 
ent officers are : W. H. Liebe, president : Ed. F. Laughlin, vice 
president : John Hogan, treasurer, and J. E. Malone, recording, 
financial and insurance secretary. 

WOMEN'S CLUBS 

The Ladies' Pioneer Outing Club. This club was organized 
in October, 1893, by the following ladies: Mrs. Norman Evans, 
Mrs. W. S. Boice, Mrs. E. E. Bigelow, Mrs. J. N. Niles, Mrs. 
T. H. Kelley, Mrs. Frank Murray, Mrs. H. K. Tompkins. Mrs. 
A. E. Southworth, Mrs. Frank Ellis. The club was formerly 
limited to nine members, but more recently its membership has 
been increased. A full or unanimous vote of the members is 
required before a candidate recommended by a member can 
become a member of the club. In this manner the club is 
replenished after the death or the removal of one of its members 
from the city. It was named the Pioneer Outing Club, because 
it was the first club of the kind instituted at Owatonna for the 
purpose of visiting nature's beauty spots, through excursions 
into the country and to pleasure resorts, for the purpose of recre- 
ation and nature study during the milder months of the year. 
During the cold and inclement weather, social meetings are held, 
alternating at the different homes of the members. The club 
is devoted mostly to social amusement and healthful recreation ; 
the only thing of a literary nature connected with it is its 
monthly program. Unlike the more recently organized women's 
literary clubs, this regular monthly program is carried out in 
a manner so that the responses are made extemporaneously, the 
individuals replying not having had an opportunity to make a 
study of the parts to be assumed. The opening ceremonies are 
preceded bv the club's repeating in concert the adopted creed of 
the club, viz. : "We believe in woman as God's best creation — 
nothing nobler can be found ; that none of us are angels, yet 
many saints still tread earth's round; that all labor is honorable, 
in kitchen, shop or field ; that recreation is commendable, to 
nature's wooing we should yield ; that hearts never grow old, 
that golden hair is honorable as silver and silver glorious as 
gold. We believe wherever duty calls that call is ours ; that 
all about us bloom life's flowers for us to gather and with others 
share. We believe in honest sentiment and dare admit our 
humanest afifection for all created things, from the worm beneath 
oiu- feet to the bird above that sings in divinest melody ; and 
finally, we do believe that when for us kind nature drops the 
curtain, with a tear, and our last outing shall be, with ebbing 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 933 

tide, out o'er the sea of eternity — then that new life will be 
enlarged, enriched and glorified by sacred memories of this 
circle here." The present members are Mrs. Norman Evans, 
Mrs. W. S. Boice, Mrs. E. E. Bigelow, Mrs. T. H. Kelley, Mrs. 
H. K. Tompkins, Mrs. J. N. Niles, Mrs. George Holden, Mrs. 
William Kelley, Mrs. Fred. Church, Mrs. M. B. Price, Mrs. W. 
F. St. Clair, Mrs. C. E. Cole, Mrs. John Adsit, and Mrs. E. K. 
Whiting. 

The Cosmopolitan Literary Club is the oldest literary club 
in the city of Owatunna, having been organized in the fall of 
1895, before the woman's club movement had become popular, 
and before it was at all certain that a regularly organized literary 
club would prove a success. This club was the outgrowth of a 
Chautauqua circle which had existed several years. Mrs. Norman 
Evans, of Owatonna, has the honor and credit of originating 
the club in its present form. The membership of the club is 
limited to thirty, and at no time during its life of fourteen years 
has it had less than that number, nor has its interest in advanced 
work failed in the least to keep abreast with the times. This 
club enjoys the unique distinction of having one member who 
has, during the club's existence, missed but one meeting, and 
that absence was caused by illness. 

The average attendance during this time has been twenty- 
two, which shows the deep interest of its members in the work 
constantly in hand. 

Possibly this devotion may in part be due to the fact that 
instead of the members being wholly interested in personal im- 
provement, they are, both as an individual club and as a part of 
the State Federation of Woman's Clubs, engaged in promoting 
many movements for the betterment of social conditions and the 
advancement of every worthy human interest. 

The Cosmopolitan club joined the state federation in 1896, 
holding to the old adage that "in union there is strength," and 
that by such union a more extensive influence could be brought 
to bear for the advancement of educational movements along the 
line of household economics, health and hygiene, child labor, pure 
food laws, forestry, art, music, library work and all that occupies 
the attention of the state and national organizations of woman's 
clubs. 

During the early years of the club's existence the history, 
literature and art of the different countries composed the line of 
study, three years having been given to the study of America. 
The past five years have been devoted to the consideration of 
"Present Day Problems." Through the discussion of these topics 
an interest has been awakened, not only in this club, but also 
in other federated clubs in this city, impelling them through the 



934 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

close relationship they bear toward one another to combine for 
the general improvement and advancement of the home com- 
munity, among which may be mentioned the furnishing of the 
children's room in the public library, a liberal contribution to 
the kindergarten department of the city schools, and furnishing 
lectures, concerts, etc., for the especial benefit of the young 
people of the town. 

The first officers of the club were: President, Mrs. Norman 
Evans; first vice president, Mrs. C. S. Crandall ; second vice 
president, Mrs. L. L. Bennett ; recording secretary, Mrs. P. L. 
Howe; corresponding secretary, Mrs. R. G. Nelson. 

The present officers are: President, Mrs. A. H. Muedeking; 
first vice president, Mrs. L. G. Nelson ; second vice president, 
Mrs. J. G. Briggs ; recording secretary, Mrs. Geo. Parrott ; corre- 
sponding secretary, Mrs. Soren Nilson; federation secretary, Mrs. 
Norman Evans ; treasurer, Mrs. L. L. Bennett. 

The Cosmopolitan club has been honorably represented by 
one of its members in an official capacity, both in the state and 
district organizations, and of one as delegate and alternate at 
various meetings of the national organization. Another member 
was a very worthy and efficient member of the school board for 
several years. 

The Nineteenth Century Club. Through the influence of 
Mrs. N. J. Eddy, an invitation was extended to all who would 
be likely to be interested in such a club to meet at the home of 
Mrs. A. J. Katz, April 5, 1898, at which time the club was insti- 
tuted, received its name, and the following officers elected: 
President, Mrs. J. H. Candler; vice president, Mrs. Nichols; 
recording secretary, Mrs. R. H. Bach; corresponding secretary, 
Mrs. Chas. Travis ; treasurer, Mrs. Chas. Allen. This club 
became a member of the Federated Clubs, September 27, 1898, 
since which time its members have been actively interested in 
both local and state work, and honored by the state and district 
organizations; Mrs. Chas. B. Allen has been district secretary for 
several years, and in conjunction with other federated clubs this 
club has liberally rendered financial as well as personal encour- 
agement to the city library and the children's room connected 
therewith. Much of the success of this club is due to the able sup- 
port it has received through its leading members, who have deter- 
mined to keep it abreast of the times for the uplifting of woman- 
kind, while at the same time attending to the constant develop- 
mental improvement of its local membership through the studies 
of home economics, American and European history, travel and 
literary pursuits; not forgetting or neglecting to introduce social 
features in connection with the regular programs. The member- 
ship is limited to twenty-six, which is kept full by election as 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 935 

soon as a vacancy occurs, so that tlic club has always had its 
maximum in size. The present officers are: Mrs. E. J. Eddy, 
president ; Mrs. E. J. Owen, vice president ; Mrs. Guy Clefton, 
recording secretary ; Mrs. J. F. Rogers, corresponding secretary ; 
Mrs. Chas. Travis, federated secretary: and Mrs. Edwin Naylor. 
treasurer. 

The F. F. Club. This club was organized in June, 1900. 
Though not a federated club, its object is similar to those which 
are, and the members pursue regular courses of study along the 
lines of literary and economic subjects. Its mottos are, "A little 
learning is a dangerous thing," and "Drink deep or touch not the 
Pierian spring." The club color is garnet and its flower is the 
white carnation. The present officers are: Mrs. O. D. Selleck, 
president; Mrs. S. Bell, vice president; Mrs. T. Rions, secretary 
and treasurer. 

The Ideal Club. This club was organized in 1900, and feder- 
ated in 1902. Its purposes are similar to the clubs previously 
mentioned. The membership is limited to twenty, which is con- 
stantly kept at full complement, the members being deeply inter- 
ested in the pursuit of the study of the various topics brought 
before them for consideration and the advancement of a prac- 
tical knowledge of history, literature, and domestic and political 
economics. The first officers of the club were: Mrs. H. K. 
Tompkins, president ; Mrs. S. S. Thompson, secretary ; Mrs. 
John Smith, treasurer. The present officers of the club are: 
President, Mrs. Walter Dynes ; corresponding secretary, Mrs. 
W. F. Chambers ; recording secretary, Mrs. E. J. Thompson ; 
federated secretary. Mrs. J. B. Christgau ; treasurer, Mrs. L. R. 
Van Ornam. 

The Delta Sigma Club. This is another club that is exerting 
itself to improve the standing of woman through the study of 
the history of all nations and the contemplation of the world's 
literary and economic pursuits. This club was organized under 
the leadership of Mrs. George Schultzc, September, 1901, and 
became a member of the federated clubs in February, 1902. The 
present officers are: Miss Cahill, president; Mrs. Michael Cash- 
man, leader; recording secretary, Cynthia Meixner; correspond- 
ing secretary and federation secretary, Mrs. Mike Cashman 
Membership is limited to fifteen, and at all times reaches that 
number. 

The Emanon Club. This club was organized September, 
1903, and federated during the same year. Its membership is 
limited to twenty. Though this is the youngest of the local 
federated clubs, it is by no means the less active in carrying 
along its portion of the good works laid out by both the local 
federation and State Federation of Women's Clubs, and is cast- 



936 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

ing its lot with tlie general movement of women's clubs for 
advancement of the sphere of American womanhood. The first 
officers were: Mrs. G. H. Hoffman, president; Mrs. Ellen Mid- 
daugh, vice president ; Mrs. W. F. St. Clair, recording secre- 
tary ; Mrs. John Kendall, corresponding and federation secre- 
tary; Mrs. James Andrews, treasurer. The present officers are : 
Mrs. Eunice Turner, president; Mrs. C. W. Adsit, vice presi- 
dent ; Mrs. Emil Zamboni, corresponding secretary and federa- 
tion secretar\- ; Miss Harriet Howe, recording secretary; Mrs. 
\V. B. Adsit. treasurer. 

The Twentieth Century Club. This club was promulgated 
and instituted b}' that noble and venerated pioneer lady, Mrs. 
Emily Winship, who during her life was at all times interested 
in the consideration and study of topics that might advance 
thought along the lines of literary culture and social and domes- 
tic economics, thus making her idealistic sentiments a quite 
noteworthy feature in the attraction her associates felt toward 
her. Later, when the women's club work movement was inaug- 
urated in Owatonna. Mrs. Winship was with the progressive 
movement in spirit, but owing to advanced age and debility 
caused by prolonged illness, she was unable to more than give 
a hearty endorsement to the project. 

The Twentieth Century Club had its first inception when 
Mrs. Winship, though confined to her home, invited a few of 
her neighbors to meet with her periodically, and thus informally 
pass a pleasant hour reading together. This little reading circle 
soon became so popular that new faces began to augment the 
number at the hospitable fireside, to such an extent that in Sep- 
tember, 1900, it was decided to form the company into a literary 
organization and call it "The Twentieth Century Club," Mrs. 
Winship being made its first president. The club was limited 
to twenty members and was to hold its meetings every two 
weeks. Through the passing away of the founder of the club, 
the members have felt the loss of her guiding influence and have 
greatly missed her ever cheerful personality at their meetings. 
Although the club is not federated, the members have kept their 
deep interest in local work, their study pursuits being along lines 
similar to those of the other literary clubs of the city. The pres- 
ent officers are : Mary E. Dunham, president ; Mrs. J. F. Young, 
vice president ; Mrs. W. H. Montgomery, secretary. 

OTHER CLUBS 

Iroquois Club. Although organized less than two years, the 
Iroquois Club is the foremost young men's organization of Owa- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 937 

tonna, and lias attractive and well furnished rooms in the second 
story of the First National Bank Building. The club was organ- 
ized in April, 1909, with a membership of thirty-five. A limit 
of forty was placed upon the membership, and this has since 
been steadily maintained. In addition to this, a number of 
names are enrolled upon the non-resident list. In the club 
rooms ten of the latest periodicals and magazines are always 
kept, and in the music room a piano and other musical instru- 
ments serve to provide a splendid equipment for those musically 
inclined. The officers of the club are: Floyd Bell, president; 
Eliott Shea, vice president ; S. C. Goff, Jr., secretary ; Homer 
Rugg, treasurer. In addition to this, a board of governors is com- 
posed of the following: James Cashman, Lewis Winship, Robert 
Nelson, Arthur Lippert and Hugo Theimer. The club is purely 
social and has become a leading social body in many respects. 
Many of the high class dances are given under its auspices and 
the club at stated intervals holds "get-together" banquets, which 
serve to bring the members into closer and more fraternal rela- 
tionship with one another. 

The Owatonna Commercial Club, which was organized in 
April, 1905, is the successor of several civic organizations of 
earlier days. The club, which has recently absorbed the Iroquois 
Club, occupies comfortable quarters on Cedar street, over Mork's 
store, having moved to the present rooms from the Opera House 
block in 1908. The first officers of the club were: President, 
Herbert Vinton; vice president, John Brick; secretary, H. A. 
Lawson ; treasurer, Harry Luce ; directors, F. A. Dunham, 
George Schafer, O. E. Williamson, Dr. G. G. Morehouse, Alfred 
Schmidt, Charles J. Servatius and E. A. Brown. The present 
officers are: President, C. A. Tincher; vice president, S. C. GofT; 
secretary, C. J. Servatius ; treasurer, A. II. Schmidt ; directors, 
E. A. Brown, Roy Parrott, Louis Watowa, William Darby and 
R. H. Gericke. 

The Owatonna Business Men's Club has for its object the 
upbuilding of the commercial interests of the city. It was or- 
ganized in February, 1910, and holds monthly banquets at which 
various topics of public interest are discussed. The officers are : 
President, M. S. Alexander; vice president, W. F. St. Clair; 
treasurer, P. H. Evans; secretary, F. A. Dunham; trustees, M. B. 
Price, M. R. Cashman, J. F. Fitzgerald, J. C. Jahrciss and G. G. 
Morehouse. 

Steele County Agricultural Street Fair Association. This 
association, which was originally fostered by the Owatonna 
Commercial Club, was organized May 19, 1906, with the follow- 
ing officers : President, Robert Crickmore ; first vice president, 



938 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

J. R. Morley; second vice president, J. H. Laughlin; treasurer, 
H. H. Luce; secretary, F. A. Dunham; trustees, W. F. St. Clair, 
F. H. Joesting, G. F. Cardoff and George E. Darby. The asso- 
ciation has held a fair each year in Owatonna, with the usual 
attractions and exhibits, having done much to promote the agri- 
cultural and business interests of the county. The present offi- 
cers are: President, J. R. Morley; first vice president, J. H. 
Laughlin; second vice president, C. P. Sahler; treasurer, M. J. 
Brown ; secretary, F. A. Dunham ; trustees, M. R. Cashman, W. 
F. St. Clair, W. H. Kilty, F. H. Joesting and G. A. Cedardahl. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

PILLSBURY ACADEMY. 

Location and Importance — Its Existence as the Minnesota 
Academy — Gifts of George A. Pillsbury — Buildings — Ob- 
ject — Societies — Officers — Biographies. 

Pillsbury Academy ranks well with the preparatory schools 
of this part of the country, and furnishes an important feature 
of Owatonna life. The site of the academy is in the southeastern 
part of the city, on a gentle elevation, commanding a fine view 
of the city and surrounding country. The grounds, well shaded 
with noble trees, include ten acres, the natural beauty of which 
is enhanced by smooth shaven lawns and graceful curving walks 
and driveways. A finely graded campus of several acres ad- 
jacent to the buildings furnishes opportunity for out-of-door 
sports. 

Pillsbury Academy was founded by the Minnesota Baptist 
State Convention, and opened its doors for the reception of stu- 
dents in September, 1877, under the name of Minnesota Acad- 
emy. In 1885, George A. Pillsbury began to take a vital interest 
in the institution and made to it the first of a series of liberal 
gifts. In recognition of Mr. Pillsbury 's generosity and as a 
token of esteem to him the name of the institution was changed 
to Pillsbur)- Academy by a unanimous vote of the Baptist State 
Convention in October, 1886. From 1885 to 1892 Mr. Pillsbury 
gave to the school, one after another, Pillsbury hall, the Academy 
building, Music hall, the Drill hall and the Central heating plant. 
Besides clearing the school of its debts on account of current 
expenses several times, Mr. Pillsbury bequeathed to it a generous 
fund by the terms of his will. This fund can be used as an 
endowment only. These facts indicate that it is eminently proper 
that the institution should bear the name of its chief benefactor. 
In 1900 Wm. II. Kelly, of Owatonna, by a generous ofifer, started 
the movement for a boys' dormitory. Other liberal friends 
throughout the state aided the movement, and in 1904 the new 
building was completed and ready for occupancy. By unanimous 
vote of the Baptist State Convention in October, 1905, this 
building was named Kelly hall, in honor of Mr. Kelly. The 
heating plant has recently been enlarged, and a Corliss engine 
and dynamo installed. At the present time, Pillsbury Academy 

939 



diO HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

has seven finely equipped buildings, which so far as the purpose 
for which they are designed is concerned, will bear comparison 
with buildings of any similar institution in the Northwest. 

The object of the school is to furnish the very best of second- 
ary education under academic conditions, and to meet fully the 
demands of young people who have a clear educational purpose 
in going away to school. Scholastically the school aims to 
maintain a maximum preparatory course of study which will 
fit its graduates to enter the freshman class of any American col- 
lege or scientific school, and to afiford facilities for the study of 
music, art and elocution under teachers of the best training and 
experience. The scholastic object is not allowed to overshadow 
a purpose to develop sound moral character as a basis for future 
usefulness. That these objects may be realized, only such 
teachers are employed as have had the most generous training 
and will exert a positive Christian influence and so are them- 
selves an expression of the high educational and moral ideas they 
seek to inculcate. 

The buildings of Pillsbury Academy, seven in number, are, 
with one exception, comparatively new. They are commodious, 
in good condition, well equipped for their special purposes, and 
no expense has been spared to make them perfect from a 
sanitary standpoint. 

The Academy building was erected in 1889, and is the gift of 
the late Hon. George A. Pillsbury, whose name the academy 
bears. It is one hundred and twenty-two feet long, and three 
stories high above the basement, wnth a tower one hundred and 
forty-four feet high. It contains recitation rooms, reference 
library and reading-room, offices, laboratories, manual training 
shop, study-room, chapel, and a spacious auditorium, seating 
about five hundred people. 

Pillsbury hall, the girls' dormitory, also a gift of Mr. Pills- 
bury, was built in 1886. It is one hundred and twenty-eight feet 
long, and has three stories above the basement. It is heated by 
hot water and lighted by electricity, and contains parlors, con- 
veniently arranged suites of rooms, lavatories, assembly room, 
and dining hall. 

The Music hall is a two-story brick structure, forty by eighty 
feet. It was likewise built by Mr. Pillsbury in 1892. The archi- 
tecture is Grecian, and the classic beauty of the facade, with its 
four massive Ionic columns, adds much to the beauty of the 
campus. The building contains a fire-proof library room, and 
ample accommodations for the music departments, teaching 
rooms, practice rooms, and hall for private recitals. 

Kelly hall, the boys' dormitory, has been occupied but six 
years. It is a brick structure, one hundred and sixty feet long. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 941 

forty feet wide, and has three stories and dormer above the 
basement. It is equipped with all modern conveniences and im- 
provements, having, in addition to the living rooms, a large recep- 
tion room, a commodious hospital, and a large locker-room, with 
shower and tub baths adjacent. All rooms are supplied with 
steam heat and electric light. It affords accommodations for 
eighty boys, besides suites of rooms for four teachers. 

The combined gymnasium and drill hall has a clear floor space 
of one hundred and ten by sixty-five feet. It has just been re- 
fitted at considerable expense and supplied with light and heat 
from the central plant. It affords the best of facilities for indoor 
recreation, such as basket ball, baseball and roller skating. 

A central heating and lighting plant furnishes heat and 
electric light to all the buildings. The plant has recently been 
enlarged, the entire system changed to the vacuum system, an 
extra boiler added, and a fire engine and dynamo installed. 

The old Academy building, erected in 1876, is used as a drill 
hall and recreation building for the girls. 

The students maintain active branches of Young Men's and 
Young Women's Christian Associations. These organizations 
aid greatly in preserving a high moral and religious standard 
in the school life and furnish a rallying point for those who 
wish to do active Christian work. Two active literary societies, 
the Corvus Club and the Philomathian Society, are maintained 
by the boys of the academy. These give the best of opportunity 
for practice in debating, essay writing and parliamentary usage. 
The girls maintain the Qui Vive Literary Society. These organi- 
zations hold meetings bi-weekly on Friday evenings. A monthly 
paper, the "Alphian," is published by the students of the acad- 
emy and offers opportunity for any member of the school to 
bring into print such compositions as are thought worthy of 
publication. The school paper is under the supervision of the 
instructor in English. A school orchestra, under the direction 
of a member of the faculty, affords opportunity for regular prac- 
tice in the use of a large number of musical instruments. The 
orchestra is frequently called upon to furnish music at school 
entertainments. The Athletic Association includes all of the 
students and teachers of the academy. Through its officers and 
board of control it takes charge of all the athletic interests of 
the school. 

The board of trustees of the school consists of the following 
gentlemen : Edward M. Van Duzee, president ; B. B. Townsend, 
secretary ; Hon. W. R. Kinyon, treasurer. Term expires in 
1910: L. S. Gillette, Minneapolis; E. M. Van Duzee, St. Paul; 
G. M. Palmer, Mankato ; S. S. Green, Owatonna ; D. D. Smith. 
St. Paul; C. W. Sawyer, Minneapolis. Term expires in 1911: 



942 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Rev. L. A. Crandall, D. D., Minneapolis ; W. C. Roberts, M. D., 
Owatonna; Hon. W. R. Kinyon, Owatonna; A. F. Gale, Minne- 
apolis; B. B. Townsend, Minneapolis; E. J. Longyear, Minne- 
apolis. Term expires in 1912: Uriah Roraback, Minneapolis; 
Frank C. Nickels, Minneapolis; S. C. Briggs, West Concord; 
L. C. Woodman, Owatonna; Chas. Jefts, Owatonna; Frank K. 
Pratt, Minneapolis. 

The principal of the school is Milo B. Price, Ph. D., of whose 
scholastic attainments the school catalogue gives the following 
resume : A. B., Denison University, 1892. Post-graduate work. 
University of Chicago, 1892-1893. Student of history and 
philology, University of Leipzig. 1893-1896. Ph. D., Leipzig, 
1896. Instructor, modern languages, St. Mark's School, South- 
boro, Mass., 1896-1897. Instructor, modern languages. The Wor- 
cester Academy, Worcester, Mass., 1897-1898. Master in his- 
tory, Worcester Academy, 1898-1901. Master in history, Wil- 
liam Penn Charter School, Philadelphia, Pa.. 1901-1904. Prin- 
cipal, Pillsbury Academy, 1904. 

Joshua L. Ingraham, A. M., has been a most important factor 
in the life of the school. He has been connected with the follow- 
ing institutions of learning: A. B. Colby College, 1880. A. M., 
Colby, 1883. Instructor in mathematics, The Worcester Acad- 
emy, Worcester, Mass., 1880-1882. Principal, Pillsbury Acad- 
emy, 1883-1889. Instructor in mathematics, Pillsbury Academy, 
1889-1895. Special study. University of Chicago, summer, 1896. 
Instructor in Greek and Latin, Pillsbury Academy, 1895. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

ELLENDALE VILLAGE 

Location and Advantages — Origin — Business and Government — 
Fire Department — Cornet Band — Churches — Fraternal So- 
cieties — Creamery — Elevators — Schools — Beaver Lake. — By 
C. C. Campbell. 

Ellendale is .situated in the southern part of Steele county 
on the Rock Island Railway, about midway between Owatonna, 
the county seat, and Albert Lea, in Freeborn county, being six- 
teen miles from the former and fifteen and one-half from the 
latter. The village is steadily growing in size and at present 
contains a population of about 400. The surrounding country 
is one of the most beautiful and productive agricultural regions 
in the world. It is gently rolling in contour and was originally 
covered with a dense growth of timber, principally oak. Most of 
this has long since been cleared away, leaving an occasional 
grove or small forest which dot the lanscape in every direction. 
These, as seen from the eminence on which Ellendale is located, 
together with the varicolored fields of grain and an occasional 
glimpse of the gables and windmill spires of prosperous farm- 
steads, in the summer season form a scene of beauty to delight 
the eye of the artist and a picture of wealth and plenty which 
immediately arrests and holds the attention of the practical man 
of affairs. Ellendale is located on high ground, giving excellent 
opportunity for drainage. It has a very complete system of 
waterworks and an adequate system of sewerage will be an im- 
provement of the near future. The water supply is obtained 
from deep wells which penetrate bedrock and furnish an abun- 
dant and pure supply, free from all danger of contamination. 

The village boasts of a handsome and commodious brick 
school building erected during the summer of 1910 at a cost of 
of $12,000. It maintains four church organizations. Among the 
business houses are three general stores, one clothing and shoe 
store, drug store, furniture store and undertaking establishment, 
novelty store, bank, two hotels, restaurant, two barber shops, 
harness shop, millinery store, meat market, two lumber yards, 
three livery stables, two blacksmith and machine shops, two 
grain elevators and a creamery, the latter one of the largest in 

943 



944 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

the state. A weekly paper, The Ellendale Eagle, is published. 

A meeting of the officials of the B., C. R. & N. Ry. Co., which 
was pushing its way north with Minneapolis as the objective 
point, was held at Cedar Rapids, la., in August, 1900, to consider 
the location of stations on the thirty-two miles of line between 
Albert Lea and Owatonna, Minn. The problem presented many 
features for difference of opinion. Present at this meeting were 
C. J. Ives, president; Robert Williams, vice president and gen- 
eral manager; H. F. White, chief engineer; T. H. Simmons, 
general freight agent ; Thos. H. Brown, right-of-way and town- 
site agent, and a few subordinate ofificers. 

Some favored two and some favored three towns as being 
necessary to properly take care of the business on this thirty-two 
miles of road. President Ives said, "Let us have one good town 
with territory sufficient to build up a commercial center where 
farmers may not only sell their products, but find stores with 
large, up-to-date stocks of goods ; then the farmer will take pride 
in his town and the benefit will become mutual." The meeting 
adjourned without definite orders, but directed the townsite 
agent. Mr. Brown, to use his judgment in locations on the line. 
On August 13, 1900, Mr. Brown met Hon. Geo. E. Sloan and 
Mr. O. H. Opsahl, who resided near the proposed location. The 
honest, frank and able manner in which Mr. Sloan presented 
the advantages of the location quite convinced him, so Ellendale 
was located and platted and, as intended, has become an im- 
portant marketing and distributing center. 

The name was given in memory of Mrs. C. J. Ives, who died 
a few years previous to this time. She was the laboring man's 
friend. She seemed to know every section man and every brake- 
man on the road and her many acts of tender, thoughtful kind- 
ness endeared her to the hundreds of employes. Her maiden 
name was Ellen Dale, so this beautiful, prosperous village will 
perpetuate the memory of that good woman. 

Through Mr. Brown the railroad townsite company pur- 
chased a quarter section of land of the estate of Elling Ellingson. 
The townsite was laid out as quickly as possible, and R. J. 
Dobell, a resident of Iowa, was employed to take charge as local 
agent and also to organize a bank composed of local investors 
and a number of Cedar Rapids capitalists, some of whom were 
officers of the railway and townsite companies. Mr. Dobell com- 
menced operations with characteristic energy and by fall had 
the bank organized and doing business. A small building 16x18 
in size was purchased in the country and moved to the rear of 
the bank lot. Here the bank commenced business and here also 
the books of the townsite company were first opened. In the 
meantime the present building was being erected on the front 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 945 

end of ihc lot and as soon as completed the cramped quarters in 
the little building were gladly exchanged for the more commo- 
dious ones which it afforded. 

The new bank building was not only the first substantial 
building in the town ; it was the center of activity thereafter, 
the alma mater of the community. Within its walls many 
business enterprises were nourished from weakness to self- 
reliant strength. When there was a dearth of buildings in the 
new town, its doors were open and there was always room for 
one more beneath its roof. Thus it housed many homeless ven- 
tures until more suitable quarters could be found and on occasion 
even served as a sleeping apartment for those who otherwise 
would have been doomed to a night out. 

In the spring of 1901, before the frost was out of the ground, 
building operations commenced in earnest. About the first struc- 
tures to be erected were Frank Randall's livery barn, Thomas 
& Crow's hardware store, now owned by Jensen & Miller, and 
A. M. Lerberg's general store. Other buildings followed in quick 
succession and by fall what the year before was only a stubble 
field, had been transformed into the business street of a good 
sized village. Since then the growth of the village has been 
slow, but continuous, each year seeing some new business enter- 
prise added and new dwelling erected. 

The present business houses are : E. M. Thompson, furniture 
and undertaking; W. B. Wardwell, druggist; Ober Mercantile 
Co., general merchandise; Jensen & Miller, hardware dealers and 
machinists; C. M. Nelson, novelty store; Security State Bank; 
A. M. Lerberg, general merchandise; E. H. Stout, hotel; Western 
Elevator Co., dealers in grain and coal, Jas. E. Lageson, mana- 
ger; Laird Norton Yards, lumber and coal, Lars Hetland, mana- 
ger; Farmers' Elevator Co., grain and feed, Geo. Stearns, mana- 
ger; Ellendale Lumber Co., lumber and coal, Andrew Gregerson, 
manager; Rasmus Laursen, blacksmith; C. A. Odell, hotel; 
O'AIalley & Carroll, saloon ; Ellendale Mercantile Co., general 
merchandise, John Lageson, Albert Lageson, A. A. Berg, props. ; 
Stearns & Lageson, hardware ; Martin Anderson, meat market ; 
N. C. Nelson, saloon; Henry Ellingson. barber shop; Ellingson 
Bros., clothing and shoes; Emma Ellingson & Co., restaurant; 
Lena D. Nelson, milliner; E. H. Gulbrandson, hardware; Mc- 
Farland & Finch, livery barn; Ellis & Lundahl, blacksmiths; 
W. G. Bragg, livery; Jas. Larson, livery; Ellingson Bros., har- 
ness shop. 

J. W. Andrist was the first physician, locating in Ellendale 
in 1901 with the first influx of settlers. In a few years he built 
up a large practice which he sold in October, 1908, to Dr. E. Q. 
Ertel, who has since covered the field. There is no mean tribute 



946 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

to the sanitary conditions in tlie village as well as the climate 
of this part of Minnesota in tlie fact that this large territory 
has been covered in a satisfactory manner by one physician dur- 
ing the nine years intervening between the establishment of 
Ellendale and the writing of this sketch. Since leaving here Dr. 
.'\ndrist has established a practice at Owatonna. 

The postoffice was moved from Cooleyville, a small cross- 
roads village, which has been built up around the then Berlin & 
Summit, now Ellendale creamer}-. This hamlet was about a 
half mile east of Ellendale and with the establishment of the new 
town its business houses removed to the more attractive loca- 
tion. H. A. Midje was the postmaster, having his offce in the 
general store of Midje & Lageson, of which he was the senior 
member. This firm erected a fine brick structure in Ellendale 
and transferred their business there, and in May, 1901, the 
government authorized the removal of the postoffice, and it was 
re-established at Ellendale. The office was a registration office 
while located in Cooleyville, but it was not until October, 1901, 
some time after its removal to Ellendale, that it was designated 
as a money order office and the first money order was written 
October 12, 1901. j\Ir. Midje occupied the office of postmaster 
until the summer of 1909, when he resigned and C. C. Campbell, 
the present incumbent, received the appointment, assuming the 
duties of his office August 8. 

The village of Ellendale was incorporated in 1901, by author- 
ity of an election held on August 13, at which forty-five votes 
were cast, forty-two being in favor of incorporation and three 
in the negative. The first election of village officers was held 
August 17 following, which resulted in the election of D. J. Sul- 
livan, mayor; J. F. Hake, Frank Kycek, John Ellingson, council- 
men; E. M. Thompson, recorder; R. J. Dobell, treasurer; J. C. 
Hemingway and B. S. Ellis, justices of the peace; F. R. Randall, 
constable ; W. A. Gahagan, street commissioner. 

On October 25 several farmers whose lands had been in- 
cluded in the corporate limits of the village started suit to annul 
the corporation, hoping in the case that re-incorporation should 
be necessary, to have their lands set out. The plaintiffs were 
Nels Thom])son, Henry Norby, Morris Patterson, Edward John- 
son, Nels Ohnstad and Elsie Brynestad. The case dragged along 
until the summer of 1903, when an understanding was arrived at 
and it was dropped. Since the incorporation of the village the 
office of mayor has been filled as follows : D. J. Sullivan, 1901- 
1902; R. J. Dobell, 1903; H. L. Dolge, 1904; C. C. Campbell. 1905- 
1906; D.J. Sullivan, 1907; J. W. Andrist, 1908; E. E. Ellingson, 
1909-1910. The present officers are E. E. Ellingson, mayor; A. P. 
Hanson, E. Q. Ertel, Theo. Jensen, councilmen ; C. R. Torger- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 947 

son, recorder; B. S. Ellis, treasurer; G. B. Stearns, justice of the 
peace; M. A. JNIcFarland, Wm. Bragg, constables; Chris Wal- 
bom, street commissioner. 

During the various administrations many improvements have 
been accomplished. Notable among these is the building of a 
system of good roads and streets, the establishment of a system 
of waterworks and the laying of cement walks, curbing and gut- 
ters. Miles of new roads have been built, involving the expendi- 
ture of thousands of dollars for grading and gravel. In the 
middle of May, 1903, the council made a contract with the 
National Construction Co., of South Bend, Ind., to install a sys- 
tem of waterworks, contingent on the successful issue of an 
election to be held on July 31 to authorize the bonding of the 
village for the payment of the same. The proposition carried 
in favor of bonding, by a large majority, the bonds were 
floated and the waterworks were in operation by the time cold 
weather set in. The system is very complete and satisfactory 
both as to fire protection and domestic use. Fire hydrants have 
been placed on all the principal corners and there is hardly a 
building in the village not within reach of at least one line of 
hose. The system is what is known as pneumatic, the storage 
tank being on the ground under cover of the pumping station 
and the water is forced through the mains by air pressure. It 
is entire!}' adequate for every need and economical in operation. 

FIRE DEPARTMENT. 

The Ellendale Fire Department was organized at a meeting 
held May 13, 1904, the first officers being L. F. Barnes, chairman; 
E. J. Quinn, chief; F. R. Randall, assistant chief; E. H. Stout, 
warden ; Th. Christensen. secretary. The department is equipped 
with hose cart, hook and ladder and other necessary parapher- 
nalia. Regular meetings arc held and tiie efi'ciency of the com- 
pany has several times been practically demonstrated. The 
present officers are: F. H. Stout, chairman; F. M. Thompson, 
chief: Albert Lageson, assistant chief; C. R. Langdon, warden; 
Frick Ellingson, secretary and treasurer. 

ELLENDALE CORNET BAND. 

The I'.lk'ndale Cornet Band was organized during the early 
days of the town and has continued with a number of changes 
of membership and organization to the present time. During the 
whole period it has been under the leadership of Mr. A. S. Lar- 
sen, an experienced cornet player and efficient instructor, to 
whose patient and painstaking work the success of the organiza- 
tion may be attributed. The present officers are A. S. Larson, 



948 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

leader; C. C. Campbell, manager; C. AI. Nelson, secretary; C. R. 
Torgerson, treasurer. 

CHURCHES. 

Norwegian Lutheran. — The Berlin Norwegian Evangelical 
Lutheran congregation was organized in 1869. Some ten or 
twelve families having settled here a few years previously, 
joined the organization. The first officers cannot be stated, but 
a constitution was adopted and the Rev. E. Wulfsberg, of 
Freeborn, was called as pastor, accepted the call and held his 
introductory service March 9, 1870. Rev. Wulfsberg served the 
congregation until March 5, 1873, when the present pastor, O. A. 
Mellby, was installed, and has ever since served as such. A 
piece of land was soon bought for a cemetery and thereon a 
church building was erected in 1877, but on account of the poor 
circumstances of the members of the society, stood unfinished 
until 1886, when it was completed and dedicated by Rev. L. M. 
Biorn, of Zumbrota, June 30. By the cyclone of June 15, 1892, 
this church was entirely swept away and scattered over the sur- 
rounding prairie. It was a hard blow to the little congregation, 
but not despairing, at a meeting held July II the same year, it 
was unanimously resolved to commence the erection of a larger 
and better house of worship and immediately went to work, 
raised the necessary funds and let the contract for such a struc- 
ture to Mr. Tolsrud, of Lake Mills, Iowa. The work was com- 
pleted to the general satisfaction of the congregation, and the 
new church was solemnly dedicated by Rev. L. M. Biorn, July 
15, 1893, with the assistance of several other pastors. Including 
a fine bell and pipe organ the building cost about $5,000. Besides 
this, by the efifort of some influential members, a large vacated 
school house has been recently bought and placed on a fine lot 
in the village of Ellendale to be used for parochial and Sunday 
school and other religious meetings, at a cost of some $600. The 
congregation, very small at the beginning, has had a steady 
growth, until at present it has about 300 members. The present 
officers are : L. J. Brynestad, secretary ; A. Muri, trustee and 
treasurer ; N. Norby, Gilbert Thorson, trustees. The congrega- 
tion has a flourishing women's society working for missionary 
and charitable purposes, and a young people's society with re- 
ligious and literary program. The congregation is a member 
of The United Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of 
America. 

Methodist Episcopal. — The first steps toward building a 
Methodist chiuxh at Ellendale were taken at Geneva, Minn., at 
a quarterly conference held at that place by Rev. Peter Clare, 
presiding elder, and Rev. W. I. Moore, pastor, June 18, 1901. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 949 

At this conference R. J. Dobell, Dr. J. W. Andrist, E. O. Jones 
and F. G. Sloan were appointed a committee to look up the pros- 
pects for a building at Ellendale. This committee met at Dr. 
Andrist's office in Ellendale, June 19, and in addition there were 
present I. W. Ferguson, Ira C. Sawyer, Rev. Peter Clare, P. E. 
and Rev. W. I. Moore, who were all actively interested in the 
project. It was decided to build a church to cost $1,200 in case 
$800 in pledges could be secured. A board of trustees was 
organized as follows : F. G. Sloan, chairman ; J. W. Andrist, 
secretary; R. J. Dobell, treasurer; E. O. Jones, Ira C. Sawyer. 
A soliciting committee was started out, and, having met with a 
satisfactory degree of success, plans were procured and the 
contract let for a building which exceeded the first estimates 
by several hundred dollars, the ultimate price being about $2,000. 
This building was finished in July, 1902, and dedicated on the 
thirteenth of that month by the Rev. John M. Driver, assisted 
by Elder Clare and Pastor Moore. Rev. Moore served as pastor 
of the church until October, 1902, when he was succeeded by 
Rev. Frank Seeds. After seven months' service Rev. Seeds re- 
signed and his place was filled by Rev. S. W. Kemerer, who 
occupied the pulpit until October, 1904. The conference then 
sent Rev. G. W. Koser to the charge, which he held for two 
years, being followed by Rev. J. J. Lutz in October, 1906. After 
three years Rev. Lutz was assigned to another charge, but was 
taken ill at Geneva just after having packed his household goods 
and expired. The church is now in charge of Rev. I. W. Holman, 
who succeeded to the pastorate in the fall of 1909. In connection 
with the church is a strong and active Ladies' Aid Society which 
is the fountain head of its social life and the main factor in 
lending financial support. The society has virtually furnished 
the church, kept it in repair and contributes largely to the 
salary of the pastor. 

Baptist. — The Baptist Society was organized in 1860, but was 
without a house of worship until 1895, when a substantial build- 
ing was erected in Berlin township about two miles north of the 
present site of Ellendale. In the summer of 1901 this edifice 
was removed to Ellendale, Rev. C. V. Smith being the first 
pastor to occupy the pulpit after the re-location of the building. 
About two years later Rev. Smith resigned and was succeeded 
by Rev. N.. E. Chapman, who served about one year and was 
then obliged to give up the pastorate on account of ill health. 
He was followed by Rev. Pettengill, who only occupied the pul- 
pit four times when he was taken ill with pneumonia and died. 
Since that time the church has been without a regular pastor, 
the pulpit being supplied occasionally by ministers from sur- 
rounding towns. The society is free from debt, the church 



1)50 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

building is kept in good repair, and it is expected that regular 
services will be resumed at some time in the near future. An 
auxiliary, the Baptist Ladies' Aid Society, is an active organiza- 
tion which is doing much to hold the society together and pre- 
pare it for future usefulness. The officers of the church are : 
F. D. Sheldon, clerk; L. D. Lundahl, treasurer; P. J. Johnson, 
J. C. Nelson, C. M. Nelson, N. C. Nelson, trustees; L. D. Lun- 
dahl, P. J. Johnson, deacons. 

Danish Lutheran. — Rev. M. O. Block, pastor of the Danish 
Lutheran Church of Summit township, has his residence in Ellen- 
dale and holds services at stated intervals in the M. E. Church. 
The society has no regular organization in the village, but the 
nucleus thus formed will undoubtedly develop in the course of 
time into a strong and well organized church. 

FRATERNAL SOCIETIES. 

Modern Woodman. — EUcndale Camp, No. 9,666, was organ- 
ized in May, 1901, being the first institution of the kind in the 
village. At the lirst meeting E. M. Thompson was elected, V. C. ; 
W. A. Gahagan, W. A.: R. J. Dobell. banker: Geo. W. Delany, 
clerk ; D. J. Sullivan, e.scort ; R. M. Curtis, watchman ; C. A. Bing- 
ham, sentry; J. W. Andrist, physician; F. Kycek, J. F. Misgen, 
W. J. Erdman, managers. The lodge has always enjoyed a 
large membership, and has been very active in social life. The 
officers at present are: Theo. Jensen, V. C. ; B. S. Ellis, W. A.; 
W. A. Gahagan, banker; E. M. Thompson, clerk; L. D. Lun- 
dahl, escort; M. A. McFarland, escort; Jas. C. Nelson, sentry; 
E. O. Ertel, physician; C. R. Langdon, E. G. Johnson, C. C. 
Campbell, managers. 

Royal Neighbors. — Fraternity Camp, No. 3,614, Royal Neigh- 
bors of America, was organized in January, 1904. The first 
officers were: Oracle, Mrs. Susie Davis; vice oracle, Mrs. Anna 
Thorndike ; past oracle, Mrs. Lora Campbell; chancellor. Miss 
Mabel Sawyer; recorder, Mrs. Florence Ellis; receiver, Mrs. 
Maggie Lundahl; marshal. Miss Matie Gray; assistant marshal, 
Mrs, Minnie Robbins ; inside sentinel, Mrs. Myrtle Christensen ; 
outside sentinel. Miss Lena Bingham ; managers, Gilbert Chris- 
tensen, Mrs. Hannah Nelson, A. S. Robbins. After many vicis- 
situdes the camp has grown to be one of the strongest civic 
organizations in the village and a large factor in its social activi- 
ties. It is now officered as follows: Oracle, Mrs. Mina Thomp- 
son; vice oracle, Mrs. Fannie Stearns; past oracle, Mrs. Caroline 
Jensen ; chancellor, Mrs. Lulu Randall ; recorder, Mrs. Lora 
Campbell ; receiver, Mrs. Maggie Lundahl ; marshal, Miss Laura 
Caspcrsen ; inside sentinel, Mrs. Margarite Langdon; outside 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 951 

sentinel, Mrs. Olive Gahagan ; managers, Mrs. Sena Hansen, 
E. M. Thompson, Mrs. Mary Rczab. 

Yeomen. — The Brotherhood of American Yeomen organized a 
Iiomestcad on Maj' 2i, 1902, with the following officers : Fore- 
man, A. N. Rhodes ; master of ceremonies, M. J. Dunnigan ; 
correspondent. J. N. Vcsterhy ; master of accounts, J. B. Nolan; 
overseer, Ole Opsahl. The present officers are: Foreman, M. J. 
Dunnigan ; overseer, John Wangen ; master of ceremonies, Jas. 
H. Burnes ; correspondent. \V. E. Calloway ; Lady Rowena, Mrs. 
Nellie Burnes; Lady Rehekah, Mrs. Lulu Randall. 

Danish Brotherhood. — D. B. S. Lodge, No. 237, came into 
existence on March 23, 1906, with twenty-one charter members, 
and at the first meeting the following officers were elected : 
President H. J. Peterson; vice president, C. P. Larson; secre- 
tary, R. Laursen ; treasurer. Theo. Jensen ; trustees, C. F. Jen- 
son, L. Johnson. The lodge has paid $1,000 in insurance and 
$53 in aid on different occasions. The following are the officers 
at the present time : President, H. J. Peterson ; vice president, 
N. Johnson ; secretar}', Rasmus Laursen ; treasurer, C. Chris- 
tensen ; trustees, V. E. Jensen, M. Spurr. 

THE ELLENDALE CREAMERY. 

The Berlin and Summit — now Eilendale — Creamery Associa- 
tion was organized January- 10, 1891. Previous to this time a 
number of meetings were held to try to organize, but without 
much success until Mr. Dana P. Sawyer undertook to get the 
farmers to sign an agreement to pledge a certain number of cows 
and become responsible for $3,000 to enable the association to 
procure funds. The first officers elected were : D. P. Sawyer, 
president; Jas. Torgerson, vice president; F. G. Sloan, secretary; 
A. C. Tennis, treasurer; U. C. Jansen, N. O. Thompson, A. F. 
Davis, directors. These seven directors, on their own notes, 
borrowed the money necessary to build and cc|uip the creamery. 
There was much opposition to the project at the time and 
many shook their heads and solemnly pronounced it a failure 
before there was a stick of timber on the ground or a spike 
driven. Two years and four months from the time of organiza- 
tion the association was free of debt, and the critics were no- 
where to be found. June 2, 1894, the association was reorganized 
into a stock company, the stock being issued in shares of ten 
dollars each and allotted to each member in proportion to the 
amount each had paid into a sinking fund which had been 
created l)y deducting 5 cents per hundred from each patron's 
milk. The first building was erected by H. P. Clemmenscn of 
lumber hauled from Owatonna. The dimensions of the main 



953 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

building were 24x68 with a coal house 14x18. This creamery 
was burned August 13, 1896, it was replaced at once with the 
present structure, a brick building, 92x28^ erected by W. A. 
Morin, of Albert Lea. The creamery began operations April 
1, 1891. \V. C. Lawson was the first buttermaker, and for about 
nineteen months milk was paid for by the hundred weight, each 
patron receiving the same price regardless of test. In Novem- 
ber, 1892, the creamery began to test for butterfat and pay for 
milk on that basis. The total cash receipts for the first month 
were only $1,649.84. As an illustration of the growth of this 
institution the following comparison should be noted : For 
June, 1891, 430,653 pounds of milk were received of a total cash 
value of $2,887.88. Patrons were paid 55 cents per hundred for 
milk and charged 16 cents per pound for butter. For June, 
1910, milk and cream reduced to milk, received amounted to 
688.299, of a cash value of $8,170.61. The average price paid 
per hundred of milk was $1.12 and patrons were charged ZSyi 
cents per pound for butter. From April 1, 1891, to July 1, 1910, 
the creamery has taken in 85,104,622 pounds of milk. From 
July 1, 1900, to July 1, 1910, it has received 1,590,395 pounds of 
cream. Reducing the cream to milk, the institution has received 
since the day it opened up to July 1. 1910, 96,237,387 pounds 
of milk, from which 4,294,040 pounds of butter were made. The 
amount received for this butter was $935,522.27, of which 
$849,846.57 was paid to patrons, the balance being absorbed by 
running expenses. The present buttermaker is L. C. Jensen, 
who has held this position since April 1, 1898. Two of the 
directors elected at the time of organization are still in office, 
U. C. Jansen, president, who was elected first as a director, and 
F. G. Sloan, secretary, who has held the same position ever 
since organization. The other officers at present are : Martin 
Lageson, vice president ; G. E. Sloan, treasurer ; John Ellingson, 
Lars Caspersen, Nels Jorgensen, directors. The name was 
changed from the Berlin and Summit Creamery Association to 
the Ellendale Creamery Association at a meeting held at the 
Ellendale opera house January 2, 1906. 

ELEVATORS. 

Among the first buildings to be erected in Ellendale were two 
grain elevators, each of about 30,000 bu. capacity. One was 
erected by the Sheffield-King Elevator Co., of Minneapolis, and 
the other by the Western Elevator Co., of Winona. Gilbert 
Christenson was installed as agent for the Western Elevator Co. 
and occupied the position for a number of years, when he re- 
signed to go into business for himself at Castle Rock, Colo. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 953 

Several buyers have held the position since then and the ele- 
vator was closed a part of the time. It is now under the man- 
agement of Jas. E. Lageson, an old resident of this section who 
recently took up his home in the village. The Sheffield-King 
Co.'s house was managed by H. L. Dolge until its sale to the 
Farmers' Milling & Elevator Co., September 16, 1904. For some 
time the farmers of the neighborhood had been dissatisfied with 
the old line houses and the agitation for the organization of a 
local company to engage in the grain and feed business became 
so persistent that it finally culminated in a meeting being called 
August 22, 1903, to determine whether or not the sentiment was 
sufficiently strong to warrant such a project. U. C. Jansen was 
elected chairman and R. J. Dobell secretary of the meeting, which 
was well attended by farmers and business men. It was decided 
to go ahead with the enterprise and $6,000 was the figure esti- 
mated necessary to carry it through. To prevent the shares of 
stock from eventually concentrating in a few hands it was voted 
to prohibit the issuance of more than twenty of the $10 shares 
to any single individual. Geo. Sloan, John Peterson and U. C. 
Jansen were named as a committee to investigate cost of build- 
ing and equipment and the following were named as a committee 
to solicit stockholders : D. J. Sullivan, Chas. Lonergan, Martin 
Lageson, Halvor Thompson, F. G. Sloan, I. W. Ferguson, U. C. 
Jansen, A. E. Lageson, Nels Jorgenson, H. P. Clemmensen. 
The soliciting having progressed satisfactorily, a meeting was 
held September 26, at which it was decided to incorporate, and 
G. E. Sloan, And. Lageson, R. J. Dobell, Chas. Lonergan and 
John Peterson were appointed a committee to draw up articles 
of incorporation. At this meeting the following directors were 
elected: U. C. Jansen, G. E. Sloan, Svend Svcndsen, Frank 
Bunnell, And. Lageson, Maurice Lonergan, F. G. Sloan. The 
first of October following, a meeting of stockholders adopted 
articles of incorporation and fixed the capital stock at $10,000, 
of which $6,000 was to be paid up. The matter of a suitable 
site and building being brought up, a portion favored making an 
effort to purchase one of the old line companies' plants, while 
others wished to ignore them entirely and proceed with plans 
for a new house. Not being able to arrive at an agreement it 
was decided to let the directors be governed by their own judg- 
ment. October 6 the directors held a conference with W. B. 
Parsons, president of the Western Elevator Co., relative to buy- 
ing the property of his company, but were unable to agree on a 
figure. November 19 a site was applied for on the Rock Island 
Ry. immediately south of the Sheffield-King elevator. January 
13, 1904, the regular annual meeting was held and the board of 
directors elected at the September meeting of the previous year 



954 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

were retained in office. A payment of 50 cents on each share of 
stock was called for to pay for incorporation expenses. The 
directors reported that they had not yet secured a site from the 
railway company, but had made some progress. They were 
instructed by the meeting to get the site as quickly as possible, 
and proceed with the building as soon as spring opened up. The 
amount of stock subscribed being short of the required amount 
by nearly $1,000, the following committee was appointed to make 
further solicitation: R. H. Reynolds, L. J. Brynestad, N. C. 
Newgard. August 27 a special meeting was called to decide 
whether to build or to purchase one of the existing properties, 
the Sheffield company having made advances which were thought 
favorable to a purchase. The directors were instructed to pur- 
chase the Sheffield property if offered at a reasonable figure. 
September 16, 1904, a price of $4,650 was agreed upon for the 
Sheffield elevator, which included a roller feed mill, and the 
property was transferred to the Farmers' Milling & Elevator 
Co., of Ellendale, which has operated the business since that 
time. H. L. Dolge was retained as manager, but on November 
14 he resigned and was succeeded by Chas. O. Roe, of Kenyon. 
In September, 1905, after nearly a year of successful manage- 
ment, Mr. Roe resigned and his place was filled b}' Geo. Stearns, 
of New Richland, who has managed the business in a highly 
satisfactor}' manner up to the present time. During the whole 
period C. R. Torgerson has been the assistant and he has become 
an expert at the business and an invaluable employe. The 
company has been very successful. Besides establishing a mar- 
ket which is second to none in this section, it has been able to 
pay its stockholders 10 per cent on their investment each year 
and has accumulated a surplus of $6,200. That the excellent 
management w^hich it has enjoyed is not unappreciated is evi- 
denced by the fact that practically the same board of directors 
control its affairs as at the beginning. They are : G. E. Sloan, 
president; A. E. Lageson, vice president; F. G. Sloan, secretary; 
U. C. Jansen, treasurer; D. F. Harty, B. O. Flesche, H. P. Clem- 
mensen, directors. 

SCHOOLS. 

Ellendale is in school district No. 67. At the time the village 
was platted the school house was located at Cooleyville and 
Levi Sanders was the teacher. With the establishment of the 
new town greater facilities were needed and a building erected 
by Andrew Gregerson for a carpenter shop at the corner of 
Second street and Fourth avenue was rented and the primary 
grades established therein, with Miss Anna Dunham as teacher. 
The higher grades were taught at Cooleyville by Mr. Sanders. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 955 

These rather doubtful accominodalious were made to suffice the 
first year. June 16, 1902, a meeting was called for the purpose 
of designating a site for a building and to auihorize the issuance 
of bonds to purchase it and erect a building. A majority of the 
voters of the district not being present, this business could not 
be transacted and the meeting was adjourned until the follow- 
ing evening. The required number being present at that time 
the trustees were instructed by a two-thirds vote to purchase 
a block of land on the east side of the railway tracks and author- 
ized to negotiate bonds to the amount of $5,000 to pay for the 
site and the erection of a suitable building. There was a strong 
controversy as to the location of the site and much dissatisfac- 
tion as to the choice. Many claimed that tliey did not under- 
stand the question when it was put and had voted for the location 
when they had intended to vote against it. On July 26, 1902, the 
directors invited bids for the new school building. When the 
bids were opened it was found that not enough money had been 
voted to erect the building contemplated and another meeting 
was called for Saturday, August 2, to authorize an additianai 
issue of bonds to the amount of $1,000. The proposition failed 
to carry and the directors, not believing it possible to build 
economically with the amount authorized, concluded to bridge 
the necessities of the situation with a makeshift and postpone 
building operations until a more favorable time. With this 
plan decided upon, a block of land was purchased east of the 
railway tracks in September and the old school building, which 
had seen many years service at Cooleyville, was moved upon 
it. Along side of it a one-story frame building was erected at a 
cost of $1,000. These two buildings were made to answer the 
purpose for eight years, when their lack of capacity and un- 
sanitary condition became so notorious that there was a strong 
probability of the district losing its share of state aid on that 
account. Spurred on by this state of aflfairs as well as by the 
desire for a better school, the directors caused a clause to be 
inserted in the notice for the annual meeting to be held July 17, 
1909, stating that a vote would be taken at that time on the 
proposition of voting bonds in the sum of $8,500 for the erection 
of a new school building. This brought to the front the old con- 
tention relative to the site and those favoring a change to the 
west side determined to oppose the whole project in hopes of 
holding it up until they could secure the change of location. 
For this reason the majority in favor of bonding was very small, 
the vote being 45 "for" to 42 "against." The opponents of 
bonds, still continuing their activities, found a technical error 
in the holding of the first election and succeeded in having it 
voided and a special election called for Saturday, August 14, at 



956 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

which tliey hoped for a decisive vote in the negative. Con- 
trary to expectations the vote v^^as still stronger in the affirma- 
tice, being 83 to 60. The matter was then allowed to rest until 
the middle of March, after the contract for the new school build- 
ing had been let, when another effort was made to change the 
site bj^ the petition of ten freeholders for a special meeting to 
be held April 12, 1910. The proposition to be voted on was 
the exchange of the site on the east side for one on the west 
side, the district to be relieved of all cost by the interested parties 
who had deposited $1,000 in the Security State Bank as a guar- 
antee. This proposition hardly received a vote on its merits. 
There was some question as to whether or not the acceptance of 
the offer would invalidate the contract with the builders and 
result, if in nothing more serious, in the delaying of building 
operations for another year, and therefore it was rejected by a 
vote of 55 to 79. 

Some of the material was already on the ground and aftei' 
the meeting was held building operations were prosecuted with 
vigor by the contractors, Hammel & Anderson, of Owatonna, 
and the school house was ready for occupancy in the fall. "When 
completed the building represented an expenditure of $12,000. 
It contains four large rooms and is modern in every respect. It 
is heated by steam, is supplied with city water and a complete 
system of plumbing has been installed, including toilet rooms 
and sanitary drinking fountains. The basement contains two 
good sized playrooms for boys and girls, and the whole building 
represents the highest development, the latest thought, in school 
architecture. The school directors are: A. M. Lerberg, F. G. 
Sloan and U. C. Jansen. 

BEAVER LAKE. 

Three miles from Ellendale is Beaver Lake, one of nature's 
beauty spots and a resort rapidly growing in favor with the 
public as an ideal place for the summer outing. The lake is 
something over a mile in length and about three-quarters of a mile 
wide. It is noted for the clearness of its waters and their great 
depth, the sounding line running out in places nearly 100 feet. 
Its shores are heavily timbered with large oak trees and afford 
the most delightful picnic grounds imaginable, while its waters 
abound with black bass, pickerel, crappies and sunfish, offering 
a pleasure ground which attracts enthusiastic fishermen from all 
quarters. Ellendale is the railway station for this summer 
resort. 



CHAPTER XIV 

OWATONNA CHURCHES 

Baptist — Congregational — Episcopal — Universalist — Cath- 
olic — Methodist — German Methodist — Danish Lutheran 
— German Lutheran — Seventh Day Adventist. 

The city of Owatonna has fourteen churches : The First 
Baptist Church, organized in 1857; the First Congregational 
Church, organized in 1857; the St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 
organized in 1860; the First Universalist Church, organized in 
1867; the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, organized in 1867; St. 
Joseph's Catholic Church, organized in 1891 ; St. Hyacinth 
Polisli Catholic Church, organized in 1903; the First Presby- 
terian Cluirch, organized in 1859; the First Methodist Episcopal 
Church, organized in 1856; the German Methodist Episcopal 
Church, organized in 1875 ; the Danish Lutheran Church, organ- 
ized in 1885 ; the First St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 
organized in 1876; the St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 
organized in 1876, and the Seventh Day Adventist Church, or- 
ganized in 1886. 

First Baptist Church of Owatonna. — The Baptist Church of 
Owatonna was organized June 27, 1857, with the following mem- 
bers, who were admitted upon letters from other churches to 
which they had previously belonged : Adolphus Town, Ann 
Town, Albert D. Low, N. O. Low, J. M. Finch. R. J. Tousley 
and Wm. H. Woods. Some time in the fall L. P.. Town, Daniel 
Burch and S. W. Breese were also admitted by letter. The 
first Baptist meeting held in Owatonna, or Steele county, was 
on a Sabbath about the last of April, 1856, at the residence of 
A. B. Cornell, about fifteen persons being present, and Rev. A. 
Town preached the sermon. Meetings were held in the little 
log schoolhouse. In the autumn of 1857 Elder Knapp, one of 
the noted evangelists of that period, came to visit a daughter 
then residing here, and being invited, willingl}' consented to go 
into the little log schoolhouse, and there preached some of his 
wonderful sermons, with such power that many believed and 
were added to the church. In the winter of 1858 the pastors of 
the difTerent churches (Elder Town at that time being the pastor 
of the Baptist Church) decided to unite in union meetings, and 
a large number were converted. The services were held in the 

9S7 



958 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

onl}' public building in those early times — the little log school- 
house, 16x26 feet in size ; but many were the earnest hearts 
that gathered there from day to day and week to week. On 
September 11, 1858. the churches of Ashland, Wasioja and Fari- 
bault met with the Owatonna church, and organized the Min- 
nesota Central Baptist Association, which reported at that time 
120 members. In 1859 Elder Town resigned the pastorate, and 
Elder Edgar Cady, of Lake City, was chosen to supply the place. 
He was followed in 1860 by Rev. A. D. Low, who acted as 
pastor imtil February, 1861, when, in consequence of a differ- 
ence of opinion among the members, a vote was taken in one 
of the church meetings to disband the organization, and a por- 
tion of the members left and effected another church organi- 
zation. Those who remained chose Elder Town as their pastor, 
and regular meetings were held imtil October. 1863. In the 
meantime in 1858 preliminary steps had been taken toward 
building a church, and during this church difficult}' it had been 
left untouched. Early in the sixties, however, while Elder 
Town was pastor of the First Church, the building was com- 
pleted, and on October 13, 1863, was dedicated; the dedicatory 
sermon being preached by Rev. D. S. Dean, of Illinois. Mr. 
Dean accepted a call to the pastorate of the church, and re- 
mained until April, 1865, when by mutual agreement the two 
churches united. 

On January 31, 1863. through the differences of opinion which 
had arisen, the present Baptist Church of Owatonna was organ- 
ized with fifteen members, nearly all who had taken their let- 
ters from the old organization placing them here, and this 
organization was recognized as the "Baptist Church of Owa- 
tonna" by the council of the Minnesota Central Baptist Asso- 
ciation held at W'asioja, February 3, 1863. The society met 
once in two weeks for worship, being supplied by Rev. J. F. 
Wilcox. October 1. 1863. this church was first represented at 
the State convention, the delegates being G. W. Shaw and E. K. 
Smith. On April 8, 1865, the two Baptist churches were con- 
solidated with a united membership of sixty-four, and they 
took the name of "The First Baptist Church of Owatonna." 
For a time the pulpit was supplied alternately by Revs. J. F. 
Wilcox and D. S. Dean. The former, however, continued as 
regular pastor of the church until June. 1866, when his labors 
closed, and he was succeeded by Rev. A. L. Cole. After the 
union of the two bodies, the building which had been erected 
under Elder Town's direction had been purchased by the church 
and used as a place of worship. In the autumn of 1866 it was 
sold to the school district for $1,250, the use of it for one year 
being reserved. In the fall a new church building was erected, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 959 

size 32x58 feet, with tower, in which was liiing a 1,000-pound 
bell. It was dedicated on December 22, 1867, Rev. Parker, from 
Austin, preaching the dedicatory sermon. The cost of the build- 
ing was $4,152.64, which had all been provided for, leaving 
the church free from debt. The following winter will long be 
remembered as a time of religious revival. There were forty- 
three baptisms, and many more united with the church by con- 
version and letter. Rev. Cole resigned in April, 1869, and Rev. 
E H. Cressey succeeded him, remaining thirteen months. On 
February 1, 1871, Rev. H. H. Beach came from Winona, and 
after serving a year and a half he also resigned. Rev. E. P. 
Dye succeeded him as pastor and remained until June 28, 1874. 
Among the events recorded about this time is found the follow- 
ing interesting item : "June, 1873— A deed was presented to 
the trustees by Sister Reiggs (now deceased), on behalf of the 
ladies of the church, of a lot for a parsonage. On motion a 
vote of thanks was extended to Mother Hunkins for her untiring 
zeal and her effort in helping to pay for the lot." In 1878 the 
lot was sold, and the proceeds used toward paying for the pres- 
ent parsonage, bought at that time. The ladies have cheerfully 
helped to bear the burden. A sewing society established about 
this time is still faithfully attended, the proceeds from which 
have been no little help financially. Rev. W. W. Whitcomb 
accepted a call to the pastorate September 20, 1874, and re- 
mained for three years. The Minnesota Academy, now the 
Pillsbury Academy, was located here during his pastorate, and 
he was untiring in his efforts to attain that end. Rev. C. H. 
DeWolfe succeeded him in February, 1878, and after a service 
of nearly five years was, on account of ill health, compelled to 
resign, October 25, 1882. The church remained without a pas- 
tor until April 26, 1883, when Rev. J. H. Thompson accepted a 
call to the place, remaining about fifteen months. After his 
resignation they were again without a pastor until the autumn 
of 1884, when Rev. W. A. Spinney accepted a call from this 
church. During the summer of 1885 material improvements 
were made on the church properties in the way of papering and 
painting, and a vestry, 16x26 feet in size, was added, so that 
the church was spacious, and being well furnished abundantly 
filled the purpose for which it was built. 

On August 4, 1889, Rev. Stanley A. McKay, D. D., began his 
ministry, during which the present brick edifice was erected at 
a cost of $17,000. At the time of the dedication, February 9, 
1893, the indebtedness was provided for. The beautiful organ 
was a gift to the church from Mrs. Margaret S. Pillsbury. On 
May 10. 1895. Rev. Elijah B. Jones, D. D., began his services in 
Owatonna and for seven years was a potent influence in the 



960 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

life of the church, academy and tlie city. Rev*. Edwin S. Stucker 
became pastor of the church on March 1, 1903. Mr. Stucker lield 
several evangelistic meetings throughout the state during his 
ministry. In 1906, Deacon L. C. Woodman presented to the 
church a neat parsonage on East Vine street. 

Rev. John G. Briggs, A. M., B. D., entered upon his ministry 
February 24, 1907, which charge he holds at the present time. 
In 1908 Deacon Woodman supplemented his liberal gift by 
building a barn on the rear of the parsonage lot. The church 
renovated the parsonage in the summer of 1907 at an expense 
of $600. During the summer of 1910, the ladies of the church 
provided for the redecorating of the auditorium of the church 
and for the cork linoleum carpeting of the gallery of the audi- 
torium and of the parlors at a cost of $800. Since 1865, there 
has been a continued progress from year to year. Revival sea- 
sons have been frequent. The church has stood for a fervent 
evangelical sjjirit. In 1877 the institution now known as Pills- 
bury Academy was opened in Owatonna, the faculty and stu- 
dents of which have had a vital part in the effciency and spir- 
itual development of the church. The church is thoroughly or- 
ganized, and is doing progressive work in most of the depart- 
ments. The Sunday school has four departments — the kinder- 
garten, primary, intermediate and senior school, with graduating 
exercises in the primar}^ and intermediate departments each 
fall. The Ladies' Aid Society hold meetings once a month and 
assist in the social life of the church. The Mission Circle and 
Young Women's Missionary societies have programs once a 
month. The Baptist Brotherhood have programs from time to 
time. The B. Y. P. U. Society holds its meetings every Sunday 
evening. The present officers of the church are as follows : 
J. C. Briggs, pastor; J. L. Ingraham, church clerk; deacons, L. C. 
Woodman, W. E. Martin, M. P. Price, J. Holland, J. L. Ingra- 
ham, E. J. Owen, A. Seidel ; deaconesses. Mrs. M. B. Price, 
Mrs. J. L. Ingraham, Mrs. W. E. Martin, Mrs. A. M. Kinyon, 
Mrs. N. P. Peterson. Board of trustees : Dr. W. C. Roberts, 
chairman; Milo B. Price, secretary board: W. E. Kimball, L. F. 
Loomis, N. P. Peterson. 

First Congregational Church. Years ago a small company 
left their homes in Ohio and traveled by team to Minnesota. 
As we reached the top of the hill, just east of the present city of 
Owatonna, and gazed upon the beautiful landscape, we could 
not as now count many church spires. LIpon inquiry we found 
there were no church organizations in the village, although the 
Methodist was organized the same month, and they and the 
Baptists were holding services on alternate Sundays in the old 
log schoolhouse. The first service in Steele county was held 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 961 

in Owatonna in 1855. From Mrs. Avery Adams I received the 
account of this service. "Our first pastor, Rev. O. A. Thomas, 
had, a few weeks previous, arrived in this vicinity in his emi- 
grant wagon drawn by oxen, and taken a claim in Clinton Falls 
and was preparing the logs for his cabin. On a lovely Sabbath 
morning in June, he, with his estimable wife, called at our cabin 
door and invited us to accompany them up Straight river three 
miles, where there was a little settlement, in order to hold Sab- 
bath service. We readily assented, and found a hearty welcome 
from Mrs. A. B. Cornell, and a room full of people, seated vari- 
ously on boxes, benches, etc., and soon there sounded for the 
first time over these beautiful prairies the voice of public prayer 
and praise. After the exercises were concluded the rude seats 
were removed, the tables spread, and the hospitable lady pre- 
pared dinner for us." 

From that time, services were held by the different denomi- 
nations in the old schoolhouse, until the fall of 1857, when 
a few who were wont to worship together called a meeting at 
the home of A. N. Stoughton, to discuss the advisability of or- 
ganizing a church. After some discussion the meeting adjourned 
to meet in the old schoolhouse on Mill street (where our first 
ward building now stands), on Thursday, October 22, 1857, at 
2 p. m., at which time the organization was completed. The 
churches of Faribault and Clinton Falls were invited to assist. 
Faribault did not respond. The Clinton Falls church was rep- 
resented by its pastor, Rev. Ozra A. Thomas, who preached the 
sermon. Rev. John C. Strong, from Bradford, Iowa, who was 
in the village for a few days, assisted in the public services of 
formation and recognition. Twelve persons entered into cove- 
nant as members of the First Congregational Church of Owa- 
tonna, viz: A. N. Stoughton, Mary A. Stoughton, his wife; Wait 
Stoughton, Melburn C. Burr, George W. Danford, Lydia H. 
Hall, George Hall, Emeline Hall, Charles A. Strong, Jessie B. 
Gailad, Emery C. Walden and Naomi L. Stoughton (Towne). 

As the schoolhouse was occupied by other denominations, 
it was not always available for the services of this church, so 
during the winter we joined from time to time with the other 
denominations in union services which resulted in many addi- 
tions to the churches. At our first communion, March 6, 1858, 
Rev. I. A. Thomas preached the sermon and seven united with 
us, viz: Richard Miles, Mrs. Adaline Miles, Emily A. Raymond 
(Chambers), Hannah L. Hall, Mrs. Elizabeth Sibley, Emily 
Strong (Donaldson), Minerva Strong (Bodle). At this time we 
had but one deacon, A. N. Stoughton, who was elected to that 
office February 25, 1858, which office he still held at the time 
of his death. At the same time Charles A. Strong was elected 



962 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

clerk. Being unable to find a suitable room in which to hold 
ou.r meetings, in the spring Deacon Stougliton employed ]\Ir. 
Miles to build a wing on the east side of his home (which house 
still stands on East School street, between Elm and Grove) for 
this purpose. The church worshiped until the fall of 1859 in 
this room, and not our church alone but other denominations, 
the Methodists, Episcopalians, etc. 

In April, 1858, Rev. O. A. Thomas began his labors among 
us as pastor of the church at a salary of $200 or $250 a year. 
Continuing to reside on his farm in Clinton Falls, he preached 
on alternate Sundays to the Clinton Falls and Owatonna 
churches, going once a month both to Somerset and Meriden. 
In May, 1858, our first trustees, three in number, were elected — 
Dea. A. N. Stoughton, Wait Stoughton and Richard Miles. 
The summer following was a trying one to the pioneers of 
Steele county. The financial panic of 1857 was still felt by the 
people of the vicinity. A severe hailstorm, coming just before 
the harvest, destroyed all the grain, and many farmers lived on 
cornmeal, some on boiled oats, and one family lived for weeks 
on boiled pigweed. Barley and peas served for coff'ce, and a 
mild weed which grew on the prairie as tea. 

It was in the autumn after such a summer that the Ladies' 
Mite Society was organized with Mrs. A. N. Stoughton as presi- 
dent, Emih' Strong (Donaldson) secretary, and Mrs. Elizabeth 
Ware, treasurer. In July, 1858, we welcomed Deacon Thom 
and family. He was chosen deacon in 1860 and was never per- 
mitted to return to the ranks. We worshiped two years in 
Deacon Stoughton's house, and in the summer of 1860 in Mor- 
ford's hall (the upper part of the building on Bridge street, 
where Mr. Rosebrock's store now is) a series of meetings was 
held in which the evangelist. Rev. Morgan, assisted, which 
greatly strengthened the church. As soon as the new school- 
house was finished, in 1862, it became the meeting place of this 
as well as of other denominations. Deacon Stoughton. having 
purchased a small organ, carried it each Sabbath morning on 
his wheelbarrow to the church. His niece, Mrs. Hughes, often 
speaks of how she used to carry a lamp and steady the organ 
when going home at night. Before this, "Ye old time choir," 
consisting of Wait Stoughton. John Hale Abbott, Elder David- 
son, Mrs. Bliss, Mrs. Abbott, Emily Strong (Donaldson), and 
Naomi L. Stoughton (Towne), had taken the pitch from the 
tuning fork which \\'ait never forgot to carry. 

In the fall of 1863 we bade farewell to Rev. Thomas, who 
had been with us through those first trying years, and the 
church was without a pastor the following winter. 

December 10, 1863, occurred the death of Isaac Styles \Vads- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 963 

worth, Mrs. A. N. Stoughton's son, who left a legacy of $1,000 
for the church. A part of this was used to buy the lot on which 
the house stands, the remainder being the first money received 
towards the erection of the building. 

The next spring (1864) Charles L. Tappan accepted a call 
to the pastorate, which he filled for two years at a salary of 
$400 to $450. During his ministry he preached at Somerset, 
where a number of the church members resided. In November, 
1866, these eight members were dismissed from the mother 
church to form an organization of their own. 

In the spring of 1865 our Sunday school was organized. Pre- 
vious to this a union school had been held with Deacon Stough- 
ton as superintendent. Dr. L. H. Kelly was elected superin- 
tendent and Raymond A. Stoughton secretary, treasurer and 
organist ; teachers. Deacon Thom, Deacon Stoughton, Mr. 
Adams, Mrs. Ware, Mrs. Sargent and Mrs. N. L. Towne. In 
August, 1866, Rev. Leverett S. Griggs became pastor of our 
church at a salary of $800. 

In the spring of 1867 work was commenced on our new 
church (a part of our present structure). The building was 
36x60 feet, with a tower 12x12, and an extension in the rear 7x8 
feet for a pulpit, and an orchestra in the west end for the choir. 
Although not finished we moved into our building in the fall. 
It was grouted upon the sides and sheeted and furnished with 
movable seats. Work continued during the winter, the shavings 
being swept up every Saturday evening. In October, 1867, five 
more of our members, thinking it their duty to help organize a 
church in Waseca, asked for letters from our church, which 
were granted to Frederick J. Stevens, Lucy P. Stevens, Mrs. 
Lydia II. Vinton, W. H. Vinton and Gordon Henshaw. In the 
autumn of 1868 the church was plastered. The Methodists 
kindly invited us to worship with them, which we did for a 
few weeks. In June, 1869. Rev. Leverett S. Griggs was com- 
pelled, on account of ill-health, to resign. On July 3, 1869, 
Merton made a great demand u])on the church and thirteen 
were dismissed. Among the number were Philo J. Sheldon 
and wife, Mrs. Abby Tulth and her son Fenrick D. and daughter 
Alice. August 22, 1869, Rev. Chester Craigan, a recent gradu- 
ate of Chicago Theological Seminar}-, began his work with us 
at a salary of $1,000. He was ordained the following year on 
February 17. During the session of the general conference, on 
Sunday, Octol)er 17, our church was dedicated. In the spring, 
1871, Rev. Charles C. Craigan resigned, and in the fall of the 
same year Rev. Newton H. Bell took up the work, remaining 
with us until 1873, when he went as a missionary to Turkey. 

C. W. Hall, a young man who was professor of our high 



964 HISTORY OF RICE Ax\D STEELE COUNTIES 

school, and is now at the State University, read sermons through 
the winter and until the coming of Rev. Orson C. Dickerson, 
July, 1874. He remained with us until October, 1876. The 
following year, Dr. D. M. B. Thom left us to go to Turkey as 
a missionary. In November, 1876, Rev. Darius A. Morehouse 
came to us, remaining with us five years, until June 1. 1881. 

In 1876 the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society was or- 
ganized with eleven members. Mrs. Morehouse was chosen 
president, Mrs. Spellman, secretary and treasurer. The follow- 
ing year the Home Society was organized and the money was 
divided between the two societies, and in 1880 we voted that 
each alternate monthlj' meeting should be a home meeting. In 
September, 1881, Rev. J. Newton Brown began his labors among 
us. During his pastorate a Young People's Society was organ- 
ized, which held its prayer meetings each Sunday evening just 
before the service. A little later the Christian Endeavor Society 
was organized. 

In 1881, Rev. J. Newton Brown was called. April 28, 1889, 
he tendered his resignation, but this was not accepted. Later, 
November 24, 1889, he again tendered his resignation, which 
was this time accepted. May 1, 1890. came Rev. James A. 
Chamberlain, who remained a little over six years. During his 
stay, parlors were built on the church and other improvements 
made. January 21, 1897, Joseph H. Chandler took up his work 
here. After three years he was followed by Rev. J. Sidney 
Gould, who in turn was succeeded in 1904 by Rev. James Par- 
sons. May 1, 1906, Rev. Everett Lesher took charge of the 
pulpit, and he was succeeded about a year and a half ago by 
the present pastor, the Rev. Alfred E. Gregory. — Compiled from 
article by Mrs. Naomi L. Towne. 

St. Paul's Episcopal Church. The first service of this church 
in Owatonna was held by the Rev. J. Lloyd Breck, of Faribault, 
June 22, 1858. In the fall of 1859 Bishop Kemper and Mr. Wil- 
coxson left Hastings September 29. They reached Faribault at 
night, where the bishop preached. The next day's journey 
brought the travelers to the rural district of Somerset, in Steele 
county. Their route lay up the valley of Straight river, past a 
few scattered houses known as the village of Owatonna. They 
found hospitability at the house of a farmer, Elijah H. Sibley, 
and held a service, the first Episcopal Church service in Steele 
county. In the afternoon they preached at Bancroft. October 
3 found them in Medford, where the good people gladly listened 
to the preaching of the word, and two children of Mr. Colgan 
were baptized. A year later there were three communicants. 
After the associated mission was formed at Faribault, Owatonna 
became one of the regular missions and was cared for by the 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 965 

Revs. Moses, Breck and Sanford in turn, or by a student from 
the Seabury Divinity School. In the summer of 1859 the Rev. 
Solan W. Manney became one of the clergy of the mission and 
visited Owatonna, holding services every other Sunday. Others 
who officiated were the Rev. George C. Tanner and Rev. S. S. 
Bruleson, who were also members of the mission, the former 
a teacher, the latter a student pursuing his studies and in dea- 
con's order. The Rev. Mr. Bruleson was in charge of the serv- 
ices for a time, until he moved to Northfield in 1864. At the 
time Mr. Breck visited Owatonna, so far as known, there was 
but one Episcopal family, Mr. and Mrs. David Potwin, both of 
whom were communicants. There were a few people kindly 
disposed towards the Episcopal Church, but not members. 
Among them were M. A. Daily and family, who kindly gave 
Mr. Breck the use of his office, on the corner of Cedar and Main, 
for his service; also Mrs. E. Y. Hunniwell, who came to Owa- 
tonna in 1857. Though not a communicant, her house became 
the home of the missionary. Mr. and Mrs. Sylvanus Yearly 
were confirmed by Bishop Whipple, December 21, 1860. Mrs. 
Hunniwell and Mrs. Bessie Pearce Hanna were confirmed at 
Bishop Whipple's second visit about November 14, 1862. 

On August 19, I860, St. Paul's parish was duly organized 
by the Rev. Solon W. Manney. M. A. Daily was elected clerk 
of the meeting; David Potwin, senior warden; John Clozier, 
junior warden; N. M. Donaldson, S. M. Yearly, John Odell, 
W. A. Ware, M. D., William H. Kelly, M. A. Daily, vestrymen. 
The parish was admitted into the union with the convention of 
the Diocese in June, 1861. At the time of the first service in 
1858 the population of the village was about 300. Services were 
held for a time in the wing of Deacon Stoughton's house. All 
bodies of Christians held services here, each using the room 
in turn, the people all attending the several services. After 
some time a frame schoolhouse was built near the present Bap- 
tist Church, and this was the common place of religious serv- 
ices. Then a hall known as Morford's Hall, on Bridge street, 
was used until the Presbyterian Church was built just west of 
the Arnold house, which was loaned to this congregation for 
a service on alternate Sundays. 

About November 1, 1864, the Rev. J. H. Babcock moved to 
Owatonna, took charge of the parish, adding Wilton to his care. 

From April 1, 1867, to November, 1886, Rev. George C. Tan- 
ner (Faribault) was in charge of the church in Steele county. 
In May, 1867, he removed to Owatonna, the first service being 
held on Palm Sunday. During the summer of 1867 a small 
chapel was erected, with seating for about 125, at a cost of about 
$1,500, of which half was given by the people of Owatonna and 



966 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

the rest b}- the Ijishop and friends abroad. The building was 
used for the first lime for divine services in July, though it had 
neither windows, doors or pews, and consecrated as a chapel and 
parish schoolhouse, November 15. The building was used for 
church services until August 17, 1884. Soon a house was built 
on Grove and Rice streets, partly with funds given by friends 
in the parish and outside and in part with the private means 
of the rector. Though known as the rectory, the title was never 
in the parish, and when the new church was built, in 1884, the 
amount which the church had contributed, $900, was returned 
to the parish and used towards the building fund. Dr. Tanner 
always held the property of the rectory in his own name. 

Dr. Tanner held services regularly part of the time at Wells, 
in Blue Earth, Winnebago City, Havana and Lemond. He per- 
formed occasional services at Austin. At times he was the only 
Episcopal clergyman in the region south of Faribault. For a 
few years the church received accessions and the parish pros- 
pered. In 1876 some business changes occurred, which caused 
removals that were a serious loss; this was followed by emigra- 
tions to newer parts of the state, so that in following years it 
was a severe struggle to maintain the church. Dr. Tanner was 
also superintendent of schools for fifteen years, from 1872 to 
1887, until he resigned care of the parish. In this position he 
was able to perform many ministrations, which he could not 
have done. During a visit to Blooming Prairie a wish was ex- 
pressed for the services of the church. A service was held in 
the schoolhouse then standing on the site of the present church. 
Other services followed, resulting in the building of a church. 
Services were also held in schoolhouses within five or ten miles 
of Owatonna and in the towns of Aurora, Somerset, Lemond, 
Meriden and Dodge City. Dr. Tanner held services in Manter- 
ville, Kasson, also at times in Wilton, Waseca, Janesville. Dur- 
ing the year he made a monthly visit to Albert Lea and assisted 
in raising money for a church there. In the fall of 1883 the 
foundation for a new church was laid, and the building was com- 
pleted in the following year. The first service ever held in the 
new church was the funeral of John Locke. October 18, 1884. 
The first service on Sunda}' was by Dr. Tanner, October 26. 
The church was consecrated by Bishop Whipple, August 17, 
1885; the cost, including the furnishings, was about $5,000. The 
last service of Dr. Tanner as rector was held November 21, 
1886. The following week he entered upon his duties as chap- 
lain at Bethany College, Kansas. 

During the winter of 1886-1887 services were kept up by 
clergymen from Faribault. After five months. Rev. R. E. Med- 
calf entered upon his duties ]\Iay 11, 1887. He was also in 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 907 

charge of services in Waseca. From 1887 to June 1 he held 
regular services there, and was highly esteemed in both places. 
At Ovvatonna his work prospered, and his resignation on Janu- 
ary 20, 1889, was sincerely regretted by all. Mr. Medcalf was 
followed by Rev. Andrew Harper, who was in charge from July, 
1889, until February 2, 1890, when services were supplied from 
Faribault. In July, 1891, Rev. P. B. Peabody entered upon his 
work in Ovvatonna, in charge until 1894. Dr. Tanner minis- 
tered to the people until July, when Rev. Theodore Payne 
Thurston was appointed to minister to the people. He resigned 
to take duty at Winona, 1897. He was succeeded by Rev. A. G. 
Pinkham, who was in charge until November, 1906, when Rev. 
Elmer N. Schmuck assumed charge. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hunniwell came to Owalonna in 1857. The 
church was much indebted to them for the support of services. 
Mr. Hunniwell died in 1893, leaving all his wealth to his wife. 
She died February 4, 1896. She was a charter member of the 
Episcopal Church, a regular and devoted attendant and gave 
generously. Being of a liberal and public spirit, she bequeathed 
a large part of the estate to public institutions, $20,000 to the 
public library of Owatonna ; $32,000 to Breck school at Wilder ; 
$10,000 to St. Mary's Hall at Faribault, to provide scholarships 
for the daughters of missionaries; to St. Paul's Church in Owa- 
tonna, $3,000 for a rectory and $10,000 for an endowment. — By 
George C. Tanner, D. D. 

The First Universalist Society of Owatonna. The original 
organization of the First Universalist Society of Owatonna was 
efTected on April 20. 1867, by a few persons who believed in 
that faith and who were ably counciled and assisted by the Rev. 
J. H. Tuttle, who was then in charge of the Church of the Re- 
deemer, of Minneapolis, and who remained the guiding spirit of 
that church for many years thereafter, and who was a great 
spiritual help to the then struggling society here in Owatonna. 
The first trustees and ofificers were chosen at a meeting held on 
May 19, 1867, and resulted in the election of S. B. Washburn, 
H. J. Lewis and L. L. Bennett as trustees; A. C. Gutterson 
treasurer, and Charles C. Cornell clerk, and during the early 
part of that year held their meetings in the old one-story wood 
schoolhouse in the first ward, very near the present location of 
the present first ward school building; soon after, however, re- 
moving to the old schoolhouse located in the second ward, where 
they remained for several years, but finally locating in the room 
known as Dressers' hall, now used in connection with the gen- 
eral merchandise business of Nelson Hartvig Company. 

At this time the constitution and by-laws of the society were 
adopted and such religious services as the societj' was able to 



968 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

give were continued until in the following year Rev. S. Wake- 
field was chosen and installed as the first regular pastor. Mr. 
Wakefield remained with the society until 1870. The society 
was then for several years without any regular pastor. In 
January of 1875 a re-organization of the society was made. The 
old constitution and by-laws, with some few minor changes, 
were again adopted, and in the following year Edwin W. Pierce 
was called as pastor. Later the Rev. H. B. Butler was a very 
acceptable pastor of the society for quite a number of years. 
In 1888 the Rev. J. L. Andrew was the pastor. Later, and until 
1891 the Rev. W. S. Pechin had charge of the society. Follow- 
ing the Rev. Pechin, Rev. J. F. Hammond was the society's 
pastor, and in that year was erected the church parlors in the 
form of a large addition to the church building, which had been 
built several years previous, making a very useful and conveni- 
ent room for church gatherings, Sunday school, and various 
other purposes. About this time Rev. George Crum was in 
charge of the society and remained its efficient pastor until 
1901. Following the Rev. George Crum, Rev. John W. Carter 
was duly installed as pastor of the society, and for five years 
he proved to be a most efficient leader. During the time of his 
pastorate the old church, with most of its furnishings, was de- 
stroyed by fire, but under his inspiration and the very libera) 
donations of the members of the society, a new church building 
was erected on the same lots upon which the old church stood, 
and is now one of the fine church buildings of which Owatonna 
has reason to be proud. The church grounds comprise a plat 
132 feet square, located on the corner of Elm and Main streets, 
and is estimated to be worth, with building, fully $20,000. Fol- 
lowing the Rev. John W. Carter, Rev. Harry L. Canfield was 
duly installed as pastor, and so remained until the latter part 
of 1908, when the Rev. George F. Hughes took charge of the 
society and is still its acceptable pastor. 

The history and the life of the First Universalist Society, 
like all the other Christian churches established in those early 
days, was one of continual struggle for life and establishment, 
and it required the pioneer spirit of those days to persevere to 
accomplishment the founding of the different religious organiza- 
tions. Many of the charter members of the LTniversalist Society 
have passed on to the realization of the home beyond. In fact, 
so far as it is known to the writer, there are but two living, viz, 
Dr. and Mrs. L. L. Bennett. But there is now existing a good 
membership of younger people, upon whose shoulders the burden 
rests, and under whose care we have every prospect and faith 
of the permanency of the society and church, and especially so 
for the reason that all strife and bickerings between the different 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 969 

Christian organizations of this beautiful city have passed away, 
and all fraternize to the fullest extent consistent with their 
especial church rules. In fact, the Universalist Church is under 
many obligations to all the other religious societies of Owatonna, 
and as a whole membership, wish a God speed for the success 
of all the other Christian societies. — By L. L. Bennett, M. D. 

St. Joseph's Catholic Church was organized in 1891 by the 
Rev. P. !■". Kiernan, who still remains as pastor. The church 
and parsonage are on Elm and Fremont streets, and the con- 
gregation is in a prosperous condition. Father Kiernan has 
been in Owatonna longer than any other pastor now living here, 
and has taken an active part in the civic and literary as well as 
s])iritual and moral advancement nf the city. 

St. Hyacinth Polish Catholic Church was organized in 1903, 
and at once erected a suitable house of worship. The present 
pastor is the Rev. J- Smicch, and the church is in a prosperous 
condition. 

First Presbyterian Church. The first services of this de- 
nomination were held at Owatonna in the winter of 1855-56, 
by Rev. Harvey Chapin, who located here in February, 1856, 
dividing his labors, however, between this and several other 
villages, and organizing churches at Dodge City, East Prairie- 
ville and Ashland. On September 13, 1857, he organized the 
Presbyterian Church, with the following as the first members : 
Mrs. Judge Donaldson, Mrs. Jane Chapin, Mrs. Jane McCaslin, 
Mrs. Elizabeth Asliton and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Adair. They 
were joined by William Davidson and wife and a few others 
within a year afterward. For several years Mr. Chapin preached 
in the old log schoolhouse, until 1863, when, principally through 
his own influences and indefatigable labors, a church was com- 
menced, he and William Davidson hauling the logs for timbers, 
and in 1864 it was completed. In this small but neat church 
Mr. Chapin continued to preach until the spring of 1865, when 
he removed to Tipton, Mo. In that place his ministerial labors 
were brought to a sudden and mournful close. His house caught 
fire, and, in an effort, as was supposed, to save important papers, 
he perished in the flames. Mr. Chapin was succeeded in Owa- 
tonna by Rev. H. W. Nelson. In the fall of 1865, Rev. I. Faries, 
who had come to Minnesota in search of health, became a tem- 
porary supply, but in May, 1867, his failing health deprived the 
church of ministrations which had been eminently useful. On 
July 22, 1867, Rev. R. J. Cunningham accepted an invitation 
from the church and continued his labors here for one year, 
when he accepted a call to Rushford. Since that time the fol- 
lowing have served as pastors of this church in the order named : 
Reverends W. S. Wilson, J. J. Ward, James McCauley, O. 



970 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Thatcher, William Pelan. James McGowan, Robert A. Ander- 
son, H. Cullen, W. K. Weaver, George P. McGill and J. S. 
McCormack. 

Services were first held in the old log schoolhouse, and then 
for one season in Morford's hall. After this a frame school- 
liouse, which stood where the first ward school building is now 
located, was used until 1864. when the church edifice was com- 
pleted. It was a frame ]:)uilding. just west of the Arnold house. 
This building served as a house of worship until 1877, when 
the present church was built at a cost of $3,000. The old build- 
ing was sold to J. G. A. Dennerline, and was used for some time 
by the German Reform denomination. The church was organ- 
ized legall}', with corporate powers, in 1859, the certificate of 
organization being filed I\Iay 28, 1859. The trustees elected at 
that time were D. S. Harsha, \\'. F. Drum, Robert Adair, W^ F. 
Pettit and William Davidson. 

During the first few years after this church was organized 
a Union Sunday school was maintained by all the denomina- 
tions, alternating in furnishing the superintendent and officers. 
At an early day. however, the Presbyterian Sunday school was 
organized, which is still in thriving condition. 

The present officers of the session are : Edward Donaldson 
(chairman), Sewell Hodgman (clerk), Alexander Ferrier, C. J. 
Hansel and Robert Thom. The trustees are : Dr. J. H. Adair 
(president), A. G. Scholl (secretary), George R. Kenyon (treas- 
urer), Walter Amos and Frank Leggo. Edward Donaldson is 
superintendent of the Sunday school ; Miss Esther Adair, as- 
sistant superintendent ; Louis Hammel, Jr., secretary ; Lyman 
Olson, treasurer; and Mrs. J. H. Adair, superintendent of the 
primary department. The church has the usual societies and 
organizations. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Owatonna was organ- 
ized in October, 1856, with five charter members, viz: W^illiam 
B. Norman, Sarah Jane Norman, Amelia Oliver, James Soper 
and Emily Soper. So far as I have been able to learn, none of 
these are now living. James and Emily Soper are not the James 
and Emily Soper that were living here at the time of the build- 
ing of the present church, and who bought for their use during 
their lifetime one of the pews in the church at the time it was 
built. This later family came into the church in 1865. The 
Methodist was the first church organized in this city, and was 
followed by the Baptist, in June. 1857; the Presbyterian, in 
September, 1857; the Congregational, in October, 1857, and the 
Episcopal, in 1860. The church held its first meeting in the old 
log schoolhouse, situated on the grounds of the present first 
ward schoolhouse, where thev alternated with the other denomi- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 971 

nations in holding services. From there they moved to the 
Baptist Church, later to Morford's hall, and from there to the 
Drescr hall, where they remained till the fall of 1857, when 
they moved into their own first church, subsequently known as 
"the little brown church," which was built on the ground now 
occupied by the parlor of the present church. As one of the 
then members writes me, "After eleven years of homeless wan- 
dering, as we moved into 'the little brown church' we felt in- 
deed that we had reached the promised land." That church cost 
$2,000, and was built and completed, ready for occupancy, in 
sixty days, and continued to be the home of the church for just 
the time they had been wandering in the wilderness — eleven 
years — when the present church edifice was built, in 1878, at a 
cost of about $8,000. The building committee of the present 
edifice was George E. Peck, John Q. Ellis, A. C. Hickman, S. W. 
Farmer, D. O. Searle and S. N. Lund. The builder was W. H. 
Burdick, who commenced work on August 24, 1878, and com- 
pleted it November 30 of the same year, and it was dedicated 
on the following day by Chaplain (afterwards Bishop) McCabe. 
The builder and the building committee, with the exception of 
A. C. Hickman, who is now one of the professors in the law 
department of the State University, have been called to the 
hereafter. The first sermon preached in the new church by the 
pastor, Rev. M. S. Kaufifman, was from the text, "The glory of 
this latter house shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord 
of Hosts, and in this place will I give peace." In 1883 the 
church was seriously damaged by a cyclone, the building being- 
moved on its foundation about six inches and the plastering 
inside largely torn off, so that it had to be entirely re-plastered 
and put back on its foundation. In 1902, the church was re- 
modeled by diminishing the size of the audience room and add- 
ing two Sunday school class rooms, and enlarging and improving 
the gallery. 

The first parsonage was buili the same year that "the little 
brown church" was built, and was occupied by Rev. E. R. La- 
throp, who was the past spring elected mayor of the city of 
Hastings. There seems to be some uncertainty as to where the 
first parsonage was built, whether on what is now known as the 
John Donaldson property, adjoining the residence of the writer, 
or immediately across School street, but at any rate the John 
Donaldson property became the parsonage at a later date, and 
in 1877 was traded for the present parsonage lot, adjoining the 
church, where the present parsonage was built in 1892. In 
1908 a large, beautiful pipe organ was added to the attrac- 
tions of the church. The church is now one of the largest and 



972 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

most commodious and best adapted for church services of any 
in the city. 

So much for the temporalities of the church. What of the 
men and women who have reared and maintained these temples 
of worship? In the nearly fifty-four years of the church's his- 
tory, it has had twenty-five pastors, including the present occu- 
pant, ten of whom have entered into the promised land. Rev. 
J. C. Ogle, who was stricken with death while preaching in the 
church, held the longest pastorate, nearly five years. The names 
of the pastors and the order of their appointments are as fol- 
lows: Solomon Wetzel, 1856; Aaron Matson, 1857; J. M. Rogers, 
1859; Robert Hoover. 1860; F. A. Conwell, 1861 ; Ira H. Richard- 
son, 1862; Thomas McClary, 1864; E. R. Lathrop, 1866; S. T. 
Sterrett, 1867; C. Hoovis, 1869; R. Washburn, 1869; J. W. Mar- 
tin, 1871; A. B. Bishop, 1873; H. G. Bilbie, 1875; M. S. Kaufif- 
man, 1877; John Whistler, 1880; J. H. Dewart, 1882; G. H. Hare, 
1885; J. C. Ogle, 1886; R. N. Avison, 1891; Samuel Ellery, 1895; 
W. X. Jamieson, 1898; E. H. Goodell, 1902; W\ R. Keesey, 1903; 
M. G. Schuman, 1907; D. M. Johnson, 1910. Of those living, 
Ira H. Richardson is now out of the ministry and living at 
Ortonville, Minn.; E. R. Lathrop, now mayor of the city of 
Hastings ; J. W. Martin, chaplain of the Bethel boat in St. Paul ; 
A. B. Bishop, practicing medicine in California; H. G. Bilbie, 
residing at Owatonna, Minn. ; M. S. Kauffman, who was the 
pastor during the building of the present church, is now at Fall 
River, Mass.; John Whistler's home is in Denver, Colo., just 
where he is preaching I am unable to state ; R. N. Avison is 
now pastor of the Hamline Church ; J. H. Ellery is located at 
Newport, Minn.; W'. X. Jamieson, First M. E. Church of Man- 
kato; E. H. Goodell, Red Wing, Minn.; W^ R. Keesey, North- 
field, Minn. ; and M. G. Shuman, Redwood Falls, Minn. 

But few of the laity are still living who were here when 
the first church was built. Among them, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. 
Doolittle, Miss Jane Doolittle, Mrs. Eliza Warner, Mrs. Mary 
Baldwin, Mrs. Mary Burdick, Mrs. Mary Laird (Mrs. Laird 
died since writing this article), so far as I know, only remain. 
In 1865 the church had a membership of ninety-nine. At one 
time it got up to 270. It now has 193 members. The high tide 
of prosperity in the church, both financially and religiously, 
seemed to have been reached at the time of the building of the 
present church, when more than $14,000 was subscribed during 
the two years, and 143 taken into the church on probation. 

The Sabbath school was organized in 1865, with A. C. Hick- 
man as the first superintendent, and a membership of 101. Since 
then the membership has varied somewhat, but upon the whole 
has gradually increased. The superintendents of the Sunday 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 973 

school have been, in the order named : A. C. Hickman, J. S. 
Woodard, W. A. Sperry, A. W. Rankin, C. B. Wilkinson, A. J. 
McCornack, Frank LaBare, E. J. Gleason and James Manuel, 
the present incumbent. — By W. A. Sperry. 

The German Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 
1875, with the following members, including their families: Au- 
gust Mollenhauer, C. F. Mattwoig, August Mierke, August 
Soehler, Carl Settc, William Mundt, Mr. Keller, William Mogler, 
John Ellison, Gustave Buche and W. Wocker. At that time 
this circuit included Deerfield, Blooming Grove, Owatonna, 
Somerset, Meriden and Aurora. 

In the fall of 1875, Deerfield and Blooming Grove were taken 
from the circuit, leaving the other appointments, which have 
been supplied with the following pastors : Rev. H. Schnitker 
was the first preacher in charge, but Rev. Jacob Keller served 
the newly arranged circuit; F. W. Buchholz came in 1878; E. A. 
Borchardt, in 1879; H. E. Young, in 1880; F. Hogrefe, in 1882; 
H. F. Lange, 1884; C. A. Borchart, 1886; George Hoerger, 1888; 
J. C. Pfeifer, 1890; E. P. Christ, 1895; C. L. Lehnert, 1898; J. G. 
Lehnert, 1898; F. J. Weigano, 1900; H. F. Krienke, 1901; H. J. 
Hoffert, 1904; J. F. Steiner, 1906; H. Clement, 1907. In 1910 
the Owatonna and the Rochester charges were united, and F. C. 
Schultz placed in charge. 

When the church was first organized in Owatonna, services 
were held in a schoolhouse. At that time a Sunday school was 
organized which is still maintained. In 1877 a neat building 
was erected at the corner of North Elm and Pearl streets, which 
has served as a place of worship ever since. This charge con- 
sists at present of two appointments, Owatonna and Aurora. 

The Danish-Norwegian Lutheran Church, in Owatonna, was 
started about 1868, with meetings in private houses and in the 
building now occupied by the Seventh Day Adventists. The 
Rev. N. Olsen was at that time the pastor in charge. The 
church was regularly organized October 22, 1885, and the church 
edifice was erected and dedicated in 1897. The pastors have 
been the Revs. S. Strand, G. B. Christiansen, N. S. Nielsen, J. P. 
Naarup, N. P. Lang, M. T. Jensen and A. N. Lund, the present 
capable pastor. The first trustees of the church were William 
Mork, Laust Andersen and Simon Williamscn. The first clerk 
was L. C. Larsen. N. P. Jefifersen and Nils Jacobson were also 
prominent in the early days. Tlie president of the church is 
Iver Anderson ; the clerk, Laurence Christiansen ; the treasurer, 
Anton Jacobsen ; the trustees, Christ Stophcnsen, Peter Ander- 
sen and Eric Jensen. 

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, .\bout 1870 the 
services of this denomination were held in private houses, and 



974 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

an organization was effected. Rev. Emniil came here occasion- 
ally from Meriden and preached. The first regular pastor was 
Rev. F. Hauser, who came here in 1876, and remained about 
one year. Rev. .\. 11. Wetzel succeeded him, and during his 
pastorate in 1878 a neat church edifice was erected. F. Johl 
served a short time, after which Rev. G. P. A. Schaaf, from 
Aurora, filled the pulpit until 1880. Rev. Carl Mende was the 
next pastor, and remained until 1883. when Rev. Schaaf again 
occupied the pulpit for a short time. At this time came a split 
in the church, the congregation withdrawing from the Synod 
of Missouri and joining that of Iowa and Minnesota. Those 
who remained faithful to the old synod formed another church. 
Rev. F. Klein preached his first sermon here on March 1, 1884, 
remaining until the fall of 1909, when he was succeeded by Rev. 
Conrad Winters. A beautiful new church building was erected 
in 1899. 

First St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church. In the early 
eighties, when the Missourian and Anti-Missourian controversy 
was rife, a part of the congregation of the St. John's Lutheran 
Church decided to withdraw from the Missouri Synod and join 
that of Iowa and Minnesota. As this body was in the majority, 
the whole church withdrew and made the synodical change, 
while the ones who remained faithful to the Missouri Synod 
continued their organization, and, being without a house of 
worship, met in the members' houses. They were served for a 
while by G. P. A. Schaaf and John Schulenberg, from other 
congregations, imtil 1896, when the latter became the resident 
pastor. In 1897 a fine church edifice and parsonage were built. 
Later a school addition was erected. In 1903 the present pastor. 
Rev. E. H. A. Paul, took charge. He also has charge of the 
congregations in Deerfield and Richland townships. Albert 
Bartsch is the secretary of the church and A. G. Kranz the 
treasurer. The trustees are Albert Bartsch, Herbert Paul and 
Carl Lisher. The deacons are A. G. Kranz, Louis Bartsch and 
G. Dulitz. The trustees of the school are F. H. Joesting and 
Robert Bartsch. 

Church of the Sacred Heart. It is claimed that the first 
Catholics in Steele county were Thomas and John Bergan, 
Michael Barney, Joseph Kiesel, James McLaughlin and James 
Lonergan. Rev. Father Keller was the first priest to hold serv- 
ices in the county with any degree of regularity. At that time 
he lived at Faribault, and had charge of the mission south of 
that point to the state line. At first services were held in pri- 
vate houses, then in Dresser's & Butsch's halls until a church 
edifice was erected. In 1867 a church committee was organized 
to take steps for the erection of a building. It was composed 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 975 

of M. J. Toiler, president and treasurer; James Lonergan, Joseph 
Kaplan and Charles Schoen, of Owatonna, and William Leary, 
of Merton. The building was ready for occupancy on Christ- 
mas day, 1868. Three or four years later a parsonage was 
erected upon the same lot, which cost $1,200. December 17, 1901, 
the old church was burned to the ground. It was at once rebuilt 
and was dedicated May 21, 1903. The present pastor is the Rev. 
John Pivo. 

School of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sales. In connection 
with the history of the Catholic Church should be mentioned 
the educational institution which is located just north of their 
church edifice. This school was established at Owatonna in 
1876, and the same year a three-story brick building, with a 
stone basement, was erected at a cost of $8,500, upon a lot 
which was donated to the order by the Church of the Sacred 
Heart. The general management of the school is vested in the 
Order of Sisters, the general headquarters of which are at 
Joliet, 111. ; but they have also state headquarters at Rochester. 
The building is divided into school rooms, furnished with first- 
class school apparatus. The course of study here embraces all 
the ordinary branches, with the addition of music, drawing, 
painting, needlework and languages. To these, if desired, re- 
ligious instruction is added. No teachers are placed here except 
those educated by the order and in their institutions, and they 
are especially fitted for and educated in the branches which they 
teach. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

STEELE COUNTY VILLAGES. 

Bixby — Clinton Falls — Medford — Settlements and Hamlets — 
Anderson — Deerfield — Steele Center — Riverpoint — Merton — 
Berlin — Lemond — Meriden — Havana — Pratt — Sago — Hope 
Station — Former Villages — Elmwood — Dodge City — Ad- 
amsville — Somerset Village — Somerset Postoffice — Elmira 
Village — Aurora Postoffice — Oak Glen — Aurora Station — 
Postoffices — Railroads. 

Aside from Owatonna, Blooming Prairie, Bixby and Ellendale, 
Steele county has several important trading points, among which 
Medford and Clinton Falls, settled in the early days, and the more 
recently settled Bixby take an important place. 

BIXBY. 

After the burning of Aurora Station, J. S. Bixby, commonly 
known as "Jake" Bixby, succeeded in having the railroad au- 
thorities select his land as a more advantageous location for a 
station. The station was accordingly opened in a box car, on 
a siding built on Mr. Bixby 's farm. Gradually the place assumed 
importance, and it is now an extensive trading point for the 
farmers within a radius of many miles. Several fires have vis- 
ited the place, but these have not dampened the ardor of the 
people. The village now consists of the general stores of Sam 
Ray and Anton J. Haberman, a railroad station, a postoffice, the 
blacksmith shop of Frank Styndl, the Oak Glen creamery, the 
Laird-Norton yards, of which George J. Johnson is manager, the 
B. B. Sheffield elevator, now owned by McLaughlin & O'Hal- 
loran, a boarding house kept by Mr. and Mrs. Martin Nelsen, a 
public hall ; and, a short distance away, the Danish Lutheran 
Church, of which the Rev. M. O. Block is the pastor. 

The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church, of Blooming 
Prairie township, is located a short distance from the village of 
Bixby. It was organized in 1883, the first trustees being Hans 
Jensen, Nils Thimsen and Peter Petersen. The first pastor was 
the Rev. S. Strand, who was also the first president of the con- 
gregation. Soren Petersen was the first secretary and N. P. 
Nelsen, the first treasurer. For some years meetings were held 

976 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 977 

in the schoolhouse near Soren Petersen's place. The church was 
commenced in 1887, and finished and dedicated August 1 of 
the same year. The Rev. M. O. Block is the present pastor, the 
secretary is R. P. Nelsen ; the treasurer, P. Petersen ; and the 
trustees, Nels Larsen, S. Muller and George Johnson. Carl 
Rasmussen is deacon and James A. Rasmussen the Sunday school 
superintendent. The Sunday school is held regularly after each 
service. A young people's society will be organized this fall. 
A Ladies' Aid Society was organized in July, 1906, with the 
following officers: President, Mrs. Martin Nelsen; secretary, 
Mrs. Nels Nelsen ; treasurer, Mrs. N. P. Nelsen. This society 
affords opportunity for social intercourse and has proven a 
strong factor in improving the church and keeping the building 
in repair, as well as in contributing generously toward the cur- 
rent expenses of the church. The present officers are: Presi- 
dent, Mrs. Nels Nelsen ; secretary, Mrs. Dick Nelsen ; treasurer, 
Mrs. Christiana Johnson. — By Mrs. Martin Nelsen. 

CLINTON FALLS. 

The village of Clinton Falls was laid out in the fall of 1855 
by Dr. W. W. Finch. In the village plat a block was platted as 
a cemetery, free to everyone. It was not laid out in lots until 
after Dr. Finch left. In 1882 the Oak Hill Cemetery Association 
was formed and Dr. Finch deeded the block to them and it was 
then platted into lots. This was the first cemetery in the county. 
The first burial in it was of the remains of Daniel Morrison, 
who died in March, 1855. A postoffice was established here in 
the fall of 1856, with James Finch as postmaster. The first and 
only hotel ever established here was started by C. M. William- 
son and T. Burns, in the summer of 1857. It was run by them 
for some time and was known as the Clinton House. The first 
religious society organized here was the Medford and Clinton 
Congregational Society, which was organized by Rev. O. A. 
Thomas. 

The first store at Clinton Falls was started by Cyi^us Will- 
iamson in 1857, with a small stock of groceries and notions. In 
1861, Judge Green went to Milwaukee and secured what was 
then considered a large stock of goods, which was hauled to this 
place by teams from La Crosse, that being the nearest railway 
point. Later the store was owned by Dr. Finch. In 1856, Dr. 
Finch commenced building a dam across Straight river, for the 
purpose of securing sufficient water power to operate mill ma- 
chinery, but one-half interest was to belong to the Williamson 
Brothers, who were to build a grist mill, and Dr. Finch a saw- 
mill, the grist miU to be completed within a year. When the 



978 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

sawmill was put into operation, James Finch had a leg broken 
by a log rolling upon him. The Messrs. Williamson failing to 
get their grist mill completed early enough, Dr. Finch sent to 
Chicago and procured a set of small burrs, or what was called 
a "portable mill," and put it in operation in his sawmill. This 
was the first grist mill in this county. It w^as truly a Godsend 
to the settlers, who had frequently been under the necessity of 
resorting to their coffee mills to manufacture their meal for 
bread. Wheat thus ground was very appropriately called meal, 
as it could not be reduced fine enough to be called flour. Set- 
tlers used to come here from a distance of forty or fift)' miles. 
Williamson Brothers pushed their work on their grist mill, and 
in 1857 Hon. G. W. Green purchased an interest, and later the 
whole mill, and it was pushed forward to completion under the 
superintendence of Moses Hutchinson, the onl}- practical mill- 
wright this section of the country then aiTorded. D. R. Mor- 
rison was established as miller. Judge Green became sole pro- 
prietor and continued to operate the mill for many years. 

A division of the Sons of Temperance was organized here 
in the summer of 1876, a charter being granted on the 27th of 
December, 1876. The charter members were Frank W. Sher- 
man, Ella Boynton, Annie McCartney, Matie Brown, Matie 
Green, Nellie Knapp, Susan Larson, R. A. Shadick, M. Shadick, 
C. C. Finch, F. H. Church, F. R. Green, W. H. Boynton and 
Thomas Griffin. The organization was enthusiastically main- 
tained for some time. After a time, however, the interest flagged 
and it was finally abandoned. 

The village at present consists of a church, a store, a cream- 
ery and a mill, as well as several residences. A new dam has 
recently been built across the river and the village is enjoying 
a settled prosperity. C. M. Finch is the postmaster. 

MEDFORD. 

The village of Medford is located on sections 8 and 0, in a 
beautiful valley through which flows the Straight river. The 
village was laid out in 1856, on land which had been entered as 
government land by Smith Johnson in 1853. The site was sur- 
veyed and platted by Rev. O. A. Thomas, for the proprietor, 
Smith Johnson, Sr. At a meeting of the settlers to consult upon 
a name wherewith to christen the town. Air. Colling said that 
he had a son who was born on board the ship Medford and was 
named Medford in honor of the ship, and proposed that the town 
should be named Medford in honor of the boy, which proposi- 
tion was unanimously adopted. The postofiice at Medford was 
established in the fall of 1855, with Smith Johnson, Sr., as the 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 979 

first postmaster. This was the first postoffice established in 
what is now Steele county. The office was then kept at Mr. 
Johnson's residence, and he retained the position until the time 
of his death in 1860. Succeeding him in the early days, came 
the following postmasters : Edwin Drake, Albert McKinney, 
D. C. Hunkins, E. T. Howard, Orlando Johnson, L. S. Fowler, 
John Bailey and S. M. Freeman. The first frame house erected 
in Medford village was commenced by Mr. Kinyon, and com- 
pleted in 1856 by Smith Johnson. It was run as a hotel until 
about 1867, by A. Stebbins. In 1856 the Abbott Brothers put 
up a steam sawmill and set it in operation, and it furnished most 
of the lumber for this section of the country. The mill was 
removed after running a year or two. The same year Messrs. 
Melvin, Rideout & Hall erected a fine steam sawmill a short 
distance below the village site. It continued in active opera- 
tion until about 1860, when it was burned to the ground and has 
never been rebuilt. 

The first store in the village was started in the summer of 
18.S6 by Albert McKinney. He continued it until July, 1857, 
when it was rented by W. P. Francis & Co., who put in what 
was considered a heavy stock of goods in those days. They 
ran the store for a year or two and then exchanged it for real 
estate. 

In the fall of 1858, Messrs. Sulley & Francis established a 
paper here, called the "Medford Valley Argus," removing the 
material from Owatonna. The publication of the paper was dis- 
continued within a year. Mention of this is made in the general 
chapters of this work. 

In the fall of 1867 an extensive grist mill was erected here 
by E. T. Howard. It was a valuable acquisition to this part of 
the county. It had a capacity of 150 barrels a day. Mr. Howard 
ran it for several years, and was succeeded by White & Baynon, 
and then Raynon & Mace. In September, 1880, the mill was 
destroyed by fire and the owners did not rebuild. 

In the spring of 1872, Howard & Johnson erected a cheese 
factory, which was the forerunner of the present Farmers' Co- 
operative Creamery. 

In July, 1866, the firet train of cars was run through the 
village, on what has since become the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. 
Paul Railway. In 1901 the Cedar Rapids, Burlington & North- 
ern, now the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, came through. 

The Methodist Church in the village was erected in 1875. 
The Congregational Church was erected in 1863-4. 

On December 20, 1883, a destructive fire occurred in Med- 
ford village, destroying five stores and a doctor's office. The 
losses were reported to the country papers as follows : Captain 



980 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Heath, building and pool table, loss $1,000; G. H. Butler, stock, 
loss $550, insurance $400; A. B. Bryant, drug store, loss $800, 
insurance $600; J. F. Curtis, drug store, loss $1,500, insurance 
$1,000; O. Lee, meat market, barber shop, doctor's office, store 
and hall, loss $2,800, insurance $1,350; John Baily's loss was 
about $1,000 on store. 

A Congregational society was organized at a meeting held 
at Clinton Falls, on September 13, 1856. Rev. O. A. Thomas 
was chosen moderator and secretary. The following named 
were present: Nathan and Phoebe Williamson. Minerva Finch. 
Helen M. Finch, Avery Adams, Emma T. Adams, David San- 
born, Joseph Sawyer, Anna C. Sawyer and Zachariah Scribner. 
At a meeting held in Clinton Falls on April 10, 1857, S. C. Will- 
iamson and Zachariah Scribner were appointed as a committee 
to hire a minister, and instructed to engage Rev. O. A. Thomas 
to preach at Medford and Clinton Falls, as the organization 
embraced both points. This plan was carried out and Nathan 
Williamson, of Clinton, and Joseph Sawyer, of Medford, were 
selected as deacons. In 1864 a church was erected at Medford, 
which was dedicated February 18, 1864. 

Medford is now a prosperous trading point, and has two rail- 
road stations, a postoffice, a fine creamery, several churches, and 
the usual stores, shops and the like. Recently the village has 
seen a revival of activit}^ and in the past two or three years its 
business has increased considerably. 

SETTLEMENTS AND HAMLETS. 

Anderson, also known as Lysne, the name of the postoffice, 
is well located on land originally owned by Thomas M. Ander- 
son. It is seven miles southeast of Owatonna, on the C. & N. 
W. Railway, and is a hustling little settlement and trading point. 

Deerfield is a discontinued postoffice twelve miles northwest 
of Owatonna and six miles west of Medford, which is its nearest 
shipping point. 

Steele Center. A discontinued postoffice six miles south of 
Owatonna, the county seat, on the C. & N. W. ; C, M. & St. P., 
and C, R. I. & P. railways. 

Riverpoint. A discontinued postoffice ten miles south of 
Owatonna, the county seat. 

Merton. A discontinued postoffice on the C. & N. W. ; C, 
M. & St. P., and C, R. I. & P. railways. 

Berlin. A discontinued postofifce nineteen miles southwest 
of Owatonna, the county seat. Mail by rural free delivery from 
Ellendale. 

Lemond. A discontinued postoffice thirteen miles southwest 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 981 

of Owatonna, the county seat. Mail by rural free delivery from 
Ellendalc. 

Meriden. A village on the C. & N. VV. Railway, nine miles 
west of Owatonna, the county seat, and six miles east of Waseca, 
the banking point. Has a German Evangelical Church. Ex- 
press, American. Telephone, Northwestern. 

Havana. A postoffice on the C. & N. W. Railway, five miles 
southeast of Owatonna, the county seat and banking point. Ex- 
press, American. Telephone, Northwestern. 

Pratt. A postoffice on the C, M. & St. P. Railway, five 
miles east of Owatonna, the county seat and banking point. 
Express, Wells-Fargo & Co. The village is named from Horace 
Pratt. 

Saco. A station on the C, R. I. & P. Railway, six miles 
southwest of Owatonna, the banking point and usual postoffice. 

Hope Station, six miles north of Ellendale and ten miles 
south of Owatonna, on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, was 
established at the request of the farmers of this vicinity in 1906. 
The farmers appeared before the railroad and warehouse com- 
mission, August 8, 1905, and at that hearing the railroad agreed 
to establish the station at the location desired. It was opened 
the following spring. There is now a creamery, an elevator and 
a general store at this point. 

FORMER VILLAGES. 

EUwood village was platted in 1854, in the southwest quar- 
ter of the northwest quarter of section 24, Clinton Falls town- 
ship, by F. Wilber Fisk. 

Dodge City was started in the northwest corner of Merton 
township, in 1856 by a Mr. Coburn who opened a small store 
there. The country was so sparsely settled that the store did 
not pay, and Mr. Coburn sold out to O. T. Jones, who after a 
while sold out the stock and closed the store. 

Adamsville was the name originally given to the now dis- 
continued postoffice of Berlin. The postofiice was established 
in 1856 with Hiram Pitcher as postmaster. Mr. Pitcher car- 
ried the mail from Owatonna, many times going on foot and in 
the winter using snow shoes. The name was changed to Berlin 
in 1857. 

Somerset Village. — A village called Somerset was platted on 
section 20 in Somerset township, in 1856, by John and William 
Catlin and Carles Ellison. They divided a forty-acre tract into 
streets, lots and blocks. A store building was erected, but 
was never occupied as a store, and finally, after considerable 



982 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

effort on the part of those interested, the project was aban- 
doned and the site reverted to farm property. 

Somerset postofifice was the name originally given to what 
afterward became River Point in Somerset township. A post- 
office was established here in 1857, with Dr. Thomas Kenyon 
as postmaster. Other early postmasters were Charles Ellison, 
Mr. Bill, Dr. W. H. Twiford, Lewis Robinson, W. R. Catlin 
and D. M. Smith. The name was changed sometime in the 
late seventies, so far as can be ascertained. 

Elmira Village. — In 1857 a village named Elmira was laid 
out on section 18 in Somerset near the township line by Thomas 
Twiford, who platted about eighty acres of land. A company 
was formed through which a dam was thrown across Straight 
river and a sawmill was erected. A frame hotel was erected, 
which in those days was considered a credit to the county. Mr. 
Twiford also established a store. An earnest and determined 
effort was made to start a town here, and considerable stress 
was laid upon the prospects of the embryo city as to county 
seat honors. Five or six thousand dollars was expended in 
placing the village on a good foundation; but as it failed to get 
the railroad, the proprietor gave up hope and finally vacated 
the plat. 

Aurora postoffice was established in the southeast part of 
Aurora township at the residence of Charles Adsit in September, 
1856. It was moved to Oak Glen station, (in what is now sec- 
tion 1, Blooming Prairie township) then back to Adsit's place 
and was finally located at Aurora station. 

Oak Glen station was an old stage coach station on the mail 
line from Owatonna to Lansing. The mail contractor in the 
summer of 1856, erected a half-way station here and J. B. Per- 
ham divided the site into blocks, lots, alleys and streets. The 
postofifice, afterward located at Aurora station, was located in 
this settlement for a short time. 

Aurora Station was an important point in Aurora township 
in the early days of the C. M. & St. P. Ry., and bade fair to 
become a large settlement. But it was wiped out by fire, and 
the present site of Bixby, selected as a more suitable location 
for the village between Owatonna and Blooming Prairie. 

POSTOFFICES. 

There are at present in Steele county, ten postoffices with 
postmasters as follows: Havana, Frank R. Herzberg; Pratt, 
Matilda S. Lieb; Bixby, Peter C. Johnson; Blooming Prairie, 
Theodore P. Fagre ; Clinton Falls, Cyrus M. Finch; Lysne (An- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 983 

derson), Louis W. Thumpson ; Owatonna, James M. Diment; 
Meriden, Samuel E. Grandprey; Medford, W. A. Bailey. 

RAILROADS. 

The cities and \illages of Steele county, while depending to 
a large extent on the farmers for their trade, have nevertheless 
been made possible in a great degree by the railroads, though 
a few are off the route of the steam lines, and many were 
founded long before railroads in this county were deemed a 
possibility. The county is now crossed by three railroads, the 
Chicago & Northwestern, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul 
and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. 

Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul. — The Minneapolis & Cedar 
\'alley Railroad Company was incorporated March 1, 1856, with 
an authorized capital stock of $3,000,000 to construct a railroad 
from Minneapolis to a point of juncture with the Root River 
Valley & Southern Minnesota Railroad in Dakota county, from 
one to six miles from Mendota, and thence in a southerly direc- 
tion to Faribault, thence through the valley of the Straight 
river to the southern boundary line of the territory. The com- 
pany was also to have the right to build at any time, a line from 
the Mendota junction to St. Paul, also a like road to Hastings. 

The summer previous, 1855, had witnessed a heavy increase 
in the population of Steele county. Railroad agitation had 
already begun in earnest, all wdio were interested here took an 
active part in working the matter up. Railroads, it seemed 
absolutely necessary to have and strenuous eiiforts were made 
to put the scheme in operation. Persons went to St. Paul to 
attend the sessions of the seventh territorial legislature and 
the charter above mentioned was granted, and the Minneapolis 
& Cedar Valley railroad was incorporated. Among the incor- 
porators were : Franklin Steele, Isaac Atwater, D. M. Hanson, 
James F. Bradley, Ezra Abbott, R. P. Russell, A. M. Fridley, 
II. II. Sibley, John W. North, James Shields, Alexander F'ari- 
bault, John C. Ide, Charles Jewett, F. W. Fisk, Benjamin L. 
Arnold, William F. Pettit, John H. Abbott, A. B. Cornell, A. 
Town, A. B. Vaugn, H. O. Billings, Orlando Wilder and others. 
Four men, Henry H. Sibley, of Mendota; Franklin Steele, of 
Minneapolis; James Shields, of Faribault; William F. Pettit, of 
Owatonna, and A. B. Vaugn, of Austin, were commissioned to 
open books and receive subscriptions. The commissioners suc- 
ceeded in securing stock subscriptions to the amount of $200,000. 
Owatonna, Faribault and Northfield were the most active in rais- 
ing this amount of stock. The first meeting of the stockholders 
was held in Mendota in February, 1857, at which time the fol- 



08i HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

lowing named directors were elected : Ezra Abbott, of St. 
Anthony; Franklin Steele, of Ft. Snelling; H. H. Sibley, of Men- 
dota ; J. W. North, of Northfield ; James Shields, of Faribault ; 
William F. Pettit, of Owatonna, and A. B. Vaugn, of Austin; 
Ezra Abbott, treasurer; Franklin Steele, secretary, and J. H. 
Abbott, chief engineer. In June, Mr. Abbott and L. Kellett com- 
menced surveying the route and by the close of September, the 
location was made and the estimates for the construction com- 
pleted. 

May 22, 1857, at a special session of the territorial legislature 
called by Governor Gorman by reason of the Congressional land 
grant, this road was one of four which received a grant of 
alternate sections designated by odd numbers, six miles in 
width, on each side of the roads and their branches. The com- 
panies were to pay 3 per cent of their gross earnings in lieu of 
all taxes and assessments, and the lands granted by Congress 
were to be exempt from all taxation until sold or conveyed by 
the companies. The corporations were generally given ten 
years to construct their respective roads. April 15, 1858, the 
legislature passed what was afterward known as the five mil- 
lion dollar loan, by which state bonds to that amount were to 
be issued for the benefit of the roads. Governor Sibley refused 
to issue these bonds, but afterward yielded to the Superior court. 
The amount issued to the Minneapolis & Cedar Valley road 
was $600,000. But for various reasons the railroads were unable 
tsQ dispose of these bonds to advantage, and therefore did not 
pay the interest, and work on the railroads was suspended. The 
controversy was finally ended by the state legislature in 1860, 
when it was voted that the state should enforce its liens" and 
become owner of all franchise lands and the roadbeds of the 
defunct companies. The Minnesota Central Railroad company 
was incorporated in 1862 to follow the same route of construc- 
tion originally laid out for the Minneapolis & Cedar Valley rail- 
road. In 1865 Faribault was reached, and in August, 1866, trains 
were running through Steele county. In the meantime a line 
was in course of construction in Iowa, and the lines united at 
Rose Creek, near Austin, thus making this railroad the first 
to connect St. Paul with the east. In 1874 the Chicago, Mil- 
waukee & St. Paul adopted its present title, having in the 
meantime absorbed the Minnesota Central and many other 
lines. 

Chicago & Northwestern. — The Transit Railroad Company 
was chartered March 3, 1855, with a capital of $5,000,000 and 
the route designed for it by the act of May 22, 1857 was from 
Winona via St. Peter to a feasible point on the Bix Sioux river, 
south of the forty-fifth parallel of north latitude, also from 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTreS 985 

its terminus to any point on the Missouri river south of the 
same parallel of latitude. This act was passed at a special ses- 
sion called by Governor Gorman, by reason of the magnificent 
grant of land made by Congress that same year. The Transit 
company was one of the four railroads, which, by this act o£ the 
special territorial legislature of May 22, 1857, received alternate 
sections, designated by odd numbers, six miles in width on each 
side of the roads and their branches. 

This road received $500,000 in bonds under the five million 
dollar loan, but was unable to dispose of them to advantage, 
or to pay the interest, and forfeited its property to the state in 
1860. The Winona & St. Peter Railroad Company, which was 
an outgrowth of the Transit line, was organized March 10, 1862, 
and completed its line from Winona to Rochester in 1864. Two 
\-ears later in August it reached Owatonna. In 1867 the Chicago 
& Northwestern Railway Company became interested in this 
line and under date of June 7, 1900, acquired it by purchase. 

The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. — The Burlington, Cedar 
Rapids & Northern Railway Company reached Owatonna from 
Albert Lea, June 13, 1900. It later pushed its way north and 
was in operation through Faribault to the Twin Cities in Jan- 
uary, 1902. June 15, 1903, the line was acquired by the Chicago, 
Rock Island & Pacific. 

Red Wing, Duluth & Southern.— In 1887, the city of Owaton- 
na voted bonds to the amount of $40,000 to assist in the construc- 
tion of a line which was to run from Albert Lea, through Owa- 
tonna, thence to Red Wing, and northward. This line was 
never constructed, and the bonds were never issued. 

The Dan Patch Air Line, designed eventually to become a 
part of a system connecting the Twin Cities with Chicago by 
electric line, has been surveyed through Steele county and many 
of the people of the county have subscribed to its stock. 

OWATONNA FIRE DEPARTMENT 

The fire department of Owatonna was organized in 1875 by 
the election of AI. R. Strong, chief, and I. W. Burch, secretary. 
Charles II. Randall was the second chief, serving from 1877 
to 1879, at which latter date C. W. Hadley was appointed, serving 
until 1884. The membership fee of this company was $1 to join 
the fire department, and all members were to run to the fires 
without pay. They were also to take charge of their own fire 
apparatus, which consisted of two eighty-gallon chemical four- 
wheel wagons, weighing about two tons each, which the city 
had purchased of the Champion Fire Extinguisher Company, of 
Louisville, Ky., paying $2,800 on board the boat at Louisville, 



J)86 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Ky. Upon tlie arrival of these fire extinguishers, they made a 
test on a burning building situated on South Elm street. In 
making the run, a man was killed, the victim being a stranger 
who, while helping to draw the apparatus, tripped and fell in 
such a way that a wheel passed over him. This apparatus was 
used to good advantage, and saved thousands of dollars' worth of 
property until the present waterworks were constructed in 1890. 

The fire department was disbanded in 1884. by a resolution of 
the city council. S. S. Green was then instructed to organize 
a fire department, which was to be composed of not more than 
forty members, and for compensation they were to receive 
twenty-five cents for each meeting, and $1 for each member who 
worked at a fire, the member so working to report at the fire 
house after the fire fighting was done. 

At the reorganization in 1884, S. S. Green became the chief. 
In 1886 he was followed by C. E. Luce. In 1887, E. M. Twiford 
was appointed and has served continuousl}' with the exception of 
the years 1899 and 1900 when Ovid Wood took his place, Mr. 
Twiford being mayor of the city those two }'ears. The presi- 
dents have been as follows: 1884. H. Luers ; 1886, E. M. Twi- 
ford; 1887. S. S. Green; 1890, C. E. Luce; 1892, William Gause- 
witz; 1893, L. B. Fanner; 1895, William Gausewitz; 1898, L. B. 
Fenner; 1904, L. F. Hammel, who is still serving. The secre- 
taries have been : 1884, C. E. Luce ; 1886, Benjamin E. Darby ; 
1890, Walter Amos ; 1894, E. A. Brown ; 1896, J. P. Thon ; 1898, 
Charles J. Servatius, who is still serving. 

The present officers are : President, L. F. Hammel ; secretary, 
Charles J. Servatius ; treasurer, John Thon ; chief, E. M. Twi- 
ford; assistant, F. G. Schuman; foreman hose cart No. 1, R. H. 
Jahreiss ; foreman of hose cart No. 2, William Essler ; foreman 
of the hook and ladder company, John Thon. 

There are at present twenty-five members of the fire depart- 
ment, one of whom is employed continuously and six of whom 
sleep in the fire house at the City Hall. There is also a branch 
fire house on Rose street, between Oak and Cedar. The appa- 
ratus consists of a combination hose and chemical wagon, two 
hose carts, a hook and ladder, and other equipment. The chem- 
ical wagon has a capacity of fifty-two gallons and has about 
200 pounds pressure. There are 16 fire boxes in the city and 
125 hydrants, the water having a pressure of about 72 pounds, 
gravity, in the business districts. The hose equipment consists 
of about 2,800 feet. 

The Owatonna Fire Department Relief Association was or- 
ganized April 5, 1895, and has been a must im])ortant factor in 
the civic growth of the city. Starting with $11 in its treasury, 
it has contributed over $11,000 to the city, has cared for its sick 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES DSY 

and disabled members, and now lias o\cr $2,500 in its treasury. 
The story of its part in the building of the City Hall is told else- 
where. The third floor, which was completed by the association, 
is a tribute to its generosit)' and artistic sense, the murial decora- 
tions alone costing nearly $2,500, and the electrical fittings over 
$500. The present officers of the association are: President, 
L. F. Hammel; vice president, Henry Sanders; secretary, Charles 
J. Servatius ; treasurer, John Thon ; trustees, F. G. Schuman, 
Andrew Erdman. E. II. Lipert and J. C. Jahreiss. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

POSTAL HISTORY 

Early Stage and Mail Routes in Steele County — Owatonna Post- 
office — Postmasters — Locations — Rural Routes — Free Deliv- 
ery — New Building — Present Force — Receipts. — Compiled 
With the Assistance of J. M. Diment. 

During the winter of 1854-55 Congress, for the purpose of 
aiding in the establishment of western mail routes, granted for 
that purpose one section of land for every twenty miles of route 
operated, under certain conditions. Of course, the stage com- 
panies at once prepared to take advantage of this, and stations 
were established on these sections, twenty miles apart. The first 
stage run through Owatonna was from St. Paul south. This was 
late in 1855. Owatonna was the terminus for a time. A post- 
office had been established at Medford, but the mail sacks were 
not opened at Owatonna until later. 

In the winter of 1855-1856, or late in the fall of 1855, as is 
claimed by some of the old settlers, stages commenced running 
west from Winona carrying mail on west to St. Peter. The first 
mail bag that went to the latter place contained one letter of 
greeting from the postmaster at Winona to the one at St. Peter. 
Stages were not reall}' put on for passenger travel until 1856, 
and after that they were run regularly. The manager was a man 
named Lord, who lived in Winona and who, as a rule, drove 
the stage himself. The route extended from Winona west, 
through Owatonna and other points to Travers des Sioux or St. 
Peter. The first stage arrived here from the east during the last 
week in September, 1855. 

A station was located on section 6, near the northwest corner 
of Owatonna township. Stages were run weekly to St. Peter 
and return to Winona. 

In 1856 M. O. Walker, succeeding Lord, became proprietor 
of the stage line, and this name became a familiar one in almost 
every settlement in the Northwest. This stage line continued 
in operation until the railroad reached Owatonna in 1866, and 
then moved westward, followed closely by the lines of railway. 
Walker at one period, in 1857-1858, became badly involved in 
debt. He owned many different lines of stages, and, as the 
financial crash, which came at about this time, checked travel, 

988 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 98D 

many of these lines did not pay expenses. Often the agents or 
drivers were unable to pay bills for repairs and keeping con- 
tracted along the route, and it seems several of this character 
were run up in Owatonna. Finally papers were got out and placed 
in the hands of the sheriff, who was instructed to attach Walker's 
horses as they drove through, and this procedure was repeated 
many times, the sheriff often having from ten to fifteen of 
Walker's horses in his charge. Yet it was sometimes a difficult 
matter to attach the teams. The stages carried United States 
mail, and so long as a mail-sack remained in the wagon, the 
sheriff dare not attach the team for fear of violating the United 
States statutes in detaining the mails or obstructing the route. 
Ordinarily the sheriff would stand behind the corner of the house, 
and as soon as the sack was carried into the postoffice he would 
walk out and claim the team. The carriers got so they would 
watch for this and would get a sack on just as soon as one was 
taken off. Walker would invariably pay his bills after a short 
delay, and then matters would move on smoothly until the next 
creditor would swear out an attachment. In 1859 Nichols & 
Wheeler became proprietors of the stage line. They continued 
it for about four years, when it was purchased by Burbank & 
Co., who operated it until the railroad came in 1877. A north 
and south stage line was also put in operation at an early date. 
With the beginning of 1856 stages arrived regularly on this line, 
which was then operated by Brackett & Co. Williamson & Cot- 
ter succeeded them and operated the line until tlie railroad was 
built through. Philo Finch, of Clinton Falls, was one of the 
drivers on this route for Williamson & Cotter. They also had a 
station every twenty miles, located on the lands which they 
claimed under the grant. They located a town called Oak Glen 
in Steele county, on section 1, in what is now Blooming Prairie 
township, and laid plans for the erection of a city. This line 
continued in active operation until the railway was put through 
in 1866-1867. The proposed city never succeeded in getting a 
fair start, and when the railroad reached this locality the village 
of Blooming Prairie was laid out on section 25, in the same 
township, and Oak Glcn became a thing of the past. 

In 1856 a mail route was estaablished from Owatonna to 
Geneva, and E. C. Stacy was the first to operate it. Nathaniel 
Winship next got the contract and continued to run it for four 
years. The mail was carried sometimes with a buggy, again on 
horseback and frequently on foot. Hugh Murray is remembered 
as having footed it across the country with the mail on his back. 
As early as 1857 a mail route was established from Red Wing 
to Blue Earth City, and Philo Ilawes became the carrier. Part 
of the time he was in company with a partner under the firm 



990 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

name of Cotter & Hawes. This was continued until about the 
time the railroads were completed to this point. 

The following item appears in the issue of the Owatonna 
plaindealer, September 22. 1864: 

"Burbank & Co. have decided to put on the road between 
this place and Rochester, next Monday, two daily lines of stages 
each way. owing to the great increase of travel. Last Monday 
afternoon there were twenty-seven persons desiring passage 
east. Nineteen got on one coach and the rest hired a livery, but 
this is not an unusual occurrence. The company have the best 
of accommodations on the road for the convenience of the trav- 
eling public." 

The Owatonna Postoffice was established in 1855, witli S. B. 
Smith as postmaster. Up to that time the name of the town had 
been spelled "Owatonia," but at this time the "i" was changed to 
an "n," and the orthography became the same as it is to-day. 
M. A. Dail}' was the second postmaster, and he was succeeded in 
turn by John N. Kelley, about 1858; William Wadsworth about 
1862, and Twiford E.' Hughes about 1866. April 7, 1870. E. 
Easton took possession of the office and remained until January 
8, 1876, when he was succeeded by Charles S. Crandall. Mr. 
Crandall held the office until April 10, 1884, when he was relieved 
by Lewis L. \\'heelock, who was postmaster for some time. 

In 1888 Amos Cogswell was appointed, and he was followed 
in 1892 by C. E. Luce. M. J. Toher was appointed in 1896 and 
the present postmaster, J. M. Diment, was appointed in 1900. Be- 
fore Mr. Crandall's administration the postoffice was located on 
the north side of Bridge street, on practically the site of the 
southern half of the present quarters. Mr. Crandall removed it 
to his store, on the present site of 108 West Broadway. When a 
syndicate, composed of L. L. Wheelock, E. M. Morehouse, G. F. 
Albertus, W. R. Kinyon and H. H. Rosebrock, erected the present 
building, extending from Bridge street to West Broadway, the 
office was moved to its present quarters. 

Congress has passed an act providing for the erection of a 
$58,000 postoffice building, on the corner south of the beautiful 
building of the National Farmers' Bank. The appropriation will 
doubtless be passed at the next session. 

This office was made a money-order office in August, 1866. 
The first three money orders were purchased by Twiford E. 
Hughes, Alverson & Graham and Dr. A. S. Mygatt. 

The city free delivery service was established July 16, 1900. 
The carriers were: Andrew J. Parolik, Harry H. Luce and 
Charles G. Boyer. Arthur H. Lawson was sub carrier. The 
service was extended and an additional route assigned for serv- 
ice, March 2, 1903, with H. W. Vinton was the new carrier. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 991 

The present carrier force consists of Amos B. Colquhoun, Ber- 
ton A. Deviny, John A. Diehl, and William J. McDonald. Mil- 
ton A. Rions is the substitute. 

The rural free deliver)- came into existence in Steele county, 
February 1, 1902, with the establishment of routes 1, 2, 3 and 4 
out of Owatonna. Routes 5 and 6 were established February 2, 
1903. Route 7 was established July 15, 1904; route 8, June 1, 
1905 ; routes 9 and 10, November 16, 1906. On this date, Novem- 
ber 16, 1906. there was an entire reorganization of the other 
eight routes out of Owatonna, and what is known as a com- 
plete county rural free delivery service fully established. The 
carriers at the present time are as follows: No. 1, T. J. Rions; 
No. 2, H. H. Holmes; No. 3, Fred W. Kinyon; No. 4, William 
Baldwin; No. 5, William Stransky; No. 6, George W. McCrady; 
No. 7, F. W. Schultz ; No. 8, H. A. McCrady ; No. 9, Elias Elia- 
son; No. 10, Walter W. Reed. 

The Owatonna postoffice force is at present organized as fol- 
lows: Postmaster, J. M. Diment; assistant postmaster, J. W. 
Andrews; mailing clerk, George C. Toher; money order clerk, 
Edward W. Springer; general delivery clerk, Charles F. Rypka; 
stamping clerk. Jay S. Whitman ; substitute clerk, Harry C. 
McCrady. 

The fiscal year at the Owatonna postofifice extends from 
July 1 to June 30. Since 1887 the annual postage receipts have 
been as follows : 1887, $5,793.89 ; 1888, $6,1 18.38 ; 1889, $6,214.28 
1890, $6,936.53; 1891, $7,105.64; 1892, $7,318.63; 1893, $8,348.19 
1894, $8,604.49; 1895, $9,368.07; 1896, $9,686.96; 1897, $10,693.01 
1898, $11,166.78; 1899, $11,229.77 1900, $13,175.51; 1901 
$12,334.15; 1902, $13,742.45; 1903, $14,484.41; 1904, $15,086.08 
1905, $16,719.04; 1906, $15,908.91; 1907, $17,645.76; 1908, 
$19,622.29; 1909, $21,271.45, thus bringing up the report to 
July 1, 1910. 

Other postoffices are mentioned in connection with their re- 
spective localities. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

BLOOMING PRAIRIE VILLAGE. 

Modern Blooming Prairie — Its Beauties, Situation and Advan- 
tages — Coming of the Railroad — Early beginnings — Mu- 
nicipal Improvements — Park, Waterworks, Sewer — Fraterni- 
ties — Churches — Leading Stores — Elevators, Mill and Cream- 
ery — Schools — Grain Industry — Edited by John C. Brainerd. 

Blooming Prairie village ranks next to Owatonna in size 
and importance in the county, its population numbering about 
one thousand souls. Its progress since its founding in 1867 has 
been steady, and its situation gives foundation to the belief 
that the growth will be more rapid. It receives trade from 
four counties, and is not in too close proximity to either Owa- 
tonna or Austin. It has a well laid out appearance, a park 
which is developing new beauties with the passing years, a 
fine system of waterworks, a short sewer, good schools, and sev- 
eral excellent churches. Its business men are progressive and 
prosperous, and have taken an interest in the welfare of the 
village. Good stores, a newspaper, two good banks and a fine 
hotel all add to the advantages and comfort of life in this locality. 

Blooming Prairie has a population of about 1,000 people. 
It contains five churches, a graded and high school, two banks, 
one creamery, three grain elevators, one newspaper, a water- 
works system, a telephone company, a private sewer system, elec- 
tric lights, a railroad station, express and telegraph service, a mill, 
a fovmdry and factory, a live stock yard, two lumber yards, 
cement sidewalks, a fine park, four blacksmith shops, four physi- 
cians, one dentist, one livery, one feed stable, one draying 
establishment one undertaker, one real estate office, five general 
stores, three lodge rooms, one opera hall, a tow mill, a feed mill, 
two meat markets, a hotel, three restaurants, two millinery 
rooms, three painting and paper hanging establishments, two 
hardware stores, a furniture store and two drug stores, three 
agricultural, implement and vehicle dealers, a men's tailor, four 
saloons, a cigar factory and a photograph gallery. 

Following is a brief business directory of Blooming Prairie. 
Physicians, B. Melliy, E. H. Cooley, H. G. Wood, J. W. Warren. 
General stores. Alliance Cash Co., Blooming Prairie Mercantile 
Co. (also a men's furnishing store), P. H. Dock, A. A. Hrubetz, 

992 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 993 

Joseph Ruzek. Hardware and agricullural implements, Ed. 
Morton, Bell & Herron. Furniture and agricultural implements, 
L. S. Ulland ; druggists, Olson & Fjelstad, E. \V. Cooley. Feed 
mill, Susan Johnson. Cigar maker, Thos. M. Bruzek. Black- 
smiths, T. S. Morton & Son, Walter Rasmussen, Christ Lund, 
J. A. Schisler. Tow mill (branch), Union Fibre Co., of Winona. 
Men's tailor, Christ Mortenson. Newspaper, Blooming Prairie 
Times. Meat markets, R. H. Johnson, B. Betlach. Hotel, the 
West. Photograph gallery, Fairbanks Bros. Restaurants, W. C. 
Peterson, L. E. Zweiner. Thomas Keefe. Milliners, Blooming 
Prairie Mercantile Co., the Campbell sisters. Painting and 
paper hanging, Blooming Prairie Paint Co., John R. Harty and 
L. Erickson. Other are mentioned in detail in the general his- 
tory of the village. 

The incorporate limits of Blooming Prairie includes sections 
24, 25 and 36 and half of sections 23, 26 and 35 in township 105, 
range 19. About 40 acres was included in the original plat. Part 
of that tract has been abandoned, a part replatted, and several 
additions have been made. 

The first buildings erected on the present site of Blooming 
Prairie village were the shacks for the men employed in con- 
structing the C. M. & St. P. Ry. About this time C. C. Hartley 
moved a blacksmith shop from the country to the present site of 
the village, and a shack was also built probably as a lumber 
office. The first frame house erected was the railroad station. 
The second was the residence of C. C. Hartley, long known as 
the Western house, and Christ Vollhardt built a place that was 
used as a residence, place of refreshment and hotel, being known 
as Union hotel. 

Christ Vollhart has lived in Blooming Prairie during practi- 
cally its entire existence. He came here early in 1867, on a 
construction train, and erected hotel. At that time there was 
here the railroad station, the boarding house or hotel of C. C. 
Hartle)' as well as the blacksmith shop of C. C. Hartley. The 
first birth in the village was probably that of his son, Henry Voll- 
hardt, in 1868, and the first death was doubtless that of his 
daughter, Louise, who died in August, 1868, at the age of 
four years. 

Among the prominent citizens of Blooming Prairie village 
and vicinity, whose names should be preserved for future gen- 
erations are the following: A. B. Clark, C. W. Gardner, L. 
Ellington, R. I. Fuller, E. B. Sproud, J. N. Dunton, Octave Gar- 
riepy, Frank C. Brown, George A. Peterson, John A. McConnell, 
J. C. Brainerd, Joseph A. McConnclI, John G. Lennon, C. C. 
Hartley, Thomas Feeney, O. A. Veblin, Norman Evans, G. Jen- 
sen, Aseph Mayo, M. M. Guthrie, Ole Ecker, L. E. Hatch, Thco. 



994 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

L. Hatch, J. Palmer Johnson, C. H. Williams, A. Olson. C. D. 
C'liddings, E. Morton, T. S. Morton, George H. Johnson, E. H. 
Wheeler, Christ Vollhardt, Aaron Pettie, A. J. Pettie, C. B. Pet- 
tie, Harrison Pettie. D. T. Pettie, I. C. Pettie. Dr. Saulsbury, 
Thomas Bray, J. A. Beatty, C. E. Hancock, A. Colquhoun, 
George M. Topliff, Jos. C. Carey, Peter Haley, Joseph Branning, 
Ira Foster, H. A. Gleeson, Alec Hughes. Charles D. Giddings, 
George W. Porter, Jacob Ryder, Charles E. Johnson, Thomas B. 
Ingersoll, A. G. Ingersoll, J. C. Rae, Charles Rae, Michael Gleen, 
Edward Burke, C. H. Scott, Christ Calusen. William Cashman 
and H. N. Thurston. 

The village of Blooming Prairie is situated in the southeast 
corner of the township of the same name, its limits adjoining 
the counties of Dodge, Mower and Freeborn. It occupies the 
most elevated portion of Steele county and the highest plain 
in southern Minnesota, the elevation being about 1,300 feet above 
the sea level. A short distance east of the village is the source 
of the Cedar and Zumbro rivers, and the Straight and Turtle 
rivers rise nearby to the west. The village was very appro- 
priately named, as its site is on one of the most beautiful prairies 
in the west which was originally clothed with a profusion of wild 
flowers changing in their kind and color from the white and blue 
of early spring to gold and purple of the autumn day. 

The rails of the Minnesota Central Railway, now a portion of 
the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, were laid through here in 
the summer of 1867, and a station and a postoffice opened both 
named Blooming Prairies. The first station agent was J. C. Note- 
man and the first postmaster, Chas. W. Gardner. About this 
time the lots and streets were surveyed and staked. The tract 
being a portion of the original land grant to the railway company 
and was purchased by Selah Chamberlain, of Cleveland, and 
George E. Skinner, of Faribault, who shortly afterward formally 
recorded the plat. 

The tributary country is one of the most fertile in southern 
Minnesota, and as it was fast settling up the town speedily be- 
came an important trading point and was soon one of the large 
primary grain markets. The first stock of merchandise was 
placed on sale by A. C. Hawley, generally known as Captain 
Hawley, in a small tent near the present depot building with L. 
Ellington employed as clerk. It is reported a heavy storm 
occurred soon after the grand opening and many unprescribed 
mixtures of tobacco, fish, starch, coffee, etc., were made. The 
remaining merchandise was removed to a small warehouse on 
the railway grounds south of the depot, one part of which was 
used for handling grain, the postofifice was also kept in this build- 
ing. Mr. Gardner purchased the stock of merchandise a few 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 995 

months afterwards and removed it and the postoffice to a build- 
ing which he erected in 1868, on block 7, opposite the depot, and 
which is a portion of the building still standing there. 

In the spring of 1868 one of the first store buildings was put 
up by E. B. Sprant, on block 7, and in which he conducted a mer- 
cantile business for some two years when he sold out to J. N. 
Dunlon & Son. In 1867 the first hotel was opened by Chris 
V'ollhardt and operated as such for some years and called the 
Union Hotel. The first blacksmith shop was opened for busi- 
ness by C. C. Hartley on lot 12, block 13, in 1867. Mr. Hartley 
also erected a hotel in the same year in block 13, which was long 
known as the Western house. In 1870 Chas. W. Gardner sold 
his mercantile business to Mr. Octave Garriepy, of Minneapolis, 
and Mr. Ellington, who was in the employ of Mr. Gardner, was 
appointed postmaster. Mr. Garriepy continued in the mercantile 
business until the year, 1876, when he returned to Canada, his 
native home, where he now resides. 

In 1870 E. H. Wheeler purchased a building on block 6, and 
opened a blacksmith shop, employing T. S. Morton; the next 
year Mr. Morton succeeded to the business and removed his shop 
the following year to lot 1, block 8. The building has been re- 
paired and additions made, but the old building still stands and 
Mr. Morton still works at the old place where he has for these 
many years conducted a successful business. For some time his 
son, Byron H.. has been associated with him in the blacksmith 
and machine business. 

In 1871 Lewis Ellington and F. C. Brown opened a small 
stock in block 14, on Fourth and the postoffice. Mr. Ellington, 
postmaster, was removed to this building. Mr. Brown retired 
from the business after a few months and Mr. Ellington united 
his business with that of Geo. A. Peterson, who had previously 
operated a store in .Xustin, but sent his stock here in 1872, doing 
business under the name of G. A. Peterson & Co., and under 
this firm name the business was conducted. Mr. Ellington retired 
in a few months and Air. Peterson became sole proprietor and 
continued in business for .some time when he sold to J. A. 
McConnell. 

Municipal Improvements. — The \illage of Blooming Prairie 
was politically a portion of the township and the physical im- 
provements were few for some years ; the streets were ungraded ; 
the soil was beautifully black, the road and bridge fund very 
small and the street in wet seasons almost impassible. A few 
boards were laid down for sidewalks in some favored spots and 
removed from place to place as occasion seem to require. The 
walks on Main street were very individual in character, some 
were on a level with the street and some from one to three 



996 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

feet higher, each Ijiisiness place had a walk for its own accom- 
modation, a few connecting steps and some connecting planks 
made walking much safer in the streets, especially in the dark. 

During the legislative session of 1873 and 1874 the act incor- 
porating the village was passed. At the first charter election 
in March, T. S. Morton was chosen president of the council ; 
trustees, G. A. Peterson, H. A. Gleason and Octave Garriepy; 
recorder, J, C. Brainerd ; justice of the peace. Peter Haley; con- 
stable, J. C, Rea ; W, Bowman, assessor. Village improvements 
were now the order of the day, the grade of the streets was 
established, sidewalks brought to grade, hitching posts taken 
out of Main street, all with many a protest, A parcel of land, 
centrally located, was purchased and a voting place and a lock-up 
were erected, on this site now stands the two-story brick building 
fitted for a voting place, jail and storage for fire apparatus. 

The village plot was originally bare of trees. Considerable 
interest was soon displayed by all in planting trees on the 
streets and lots, which are now so beautifully and abundantly 
shaded. 

In August. 1889. a fire broke out in the hay mow of the large 
barn on tlie Skinner farm, adjoining the village; the villagers 
were very active in their efforts to subdue and control the fire, 
and Mr. Skinner, as evidence of his appreciation of their good 
work, presented the village with a block of ground for park pur- 
poses. This was promptly planted with trees, mostly maple, 
elm, bass and birch. They have made a rapid growth and are 
the foundation of a beautiful park. 

The present ofificers of the village are as follows : President, 
James Bergin ; trustees, E. W, Cooley, A. O. Bensen, G. F. Hyde ; 
recorder, A. A. Peterson; treasurer, T. C. Cashman ; justice, M. 
Guthrie; marshal, John Driscoll ; board of health, B, Melby, A, 
Fairbanks and John Driscoll ; school board. A, Solberg, Alex, 
Fjelstad, E. A. Gilmore, C. W. Ricketts, A, E, Johnson, 

Blooming Prairie Village Hall.— This neat edifice was erected 
during the administration of M. Guthrie as president of the vil- 
lage. The lower floor is devoted to the fire apparatus and the 
jail, while the upper floor contains the village auditorium and 
the coimcil chambers. The fire apparatus, housed in the lower 
part of the building, consists of two hose carts, a hook and ladder 
truck, a chemical apparatus and a hand pinnp. The fire de- 
partment consists of twenty-four members and was organized 
June 29, 190.=;, A, O. Bensen is the chief. 

Schools. — The first school building was located on lot 7, 
block 4, a site donated by Mr, Skinner to the district. A few 
years later the location being desired by a church site an ex- 
change was made with Mr. Skinner for a much larger portion of 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 997 

land, and the school house sold to him. This building was 
removed to lot 7, block 13. where it is now occupied. On the 
new site a substantial brick veneered school building of four 
rooms was erected in 1876, this is still occupied and in good 
condition. In 1899 the village school district erected a beautiful 
eight-room brick building on a site north of the old grounds. 
This building is well equipped with library and laboratory. The 
school grounds complete comprise a fine tract of ten lots adjoin- 
ing the park. The first teacher in the old school building was 
J. K. Bucklin. Professor Fate was the first principal in the 
four-room building, and L. II. Isaacs, now superintendent of 
schools, in South St. Paul, was the first principal in the new high 
school building. 

Postoffice. — The Blooming Prairie postofiicc, of which Theo. 
P. Fagre has been postmaster for four years, does an annual busi- 
ness of nearly $4,000, maintains five rural routes and gives the 
village and surrounding country most excellent service. The 
postmaster is assisted by Miss Florence Keefe, and S. S. Siverson 
has also been sworn in as clerk. The rural carriers are H. L. 
Wheeler, Ira J. Smith. Carl G. Jolson, Christ. E. Weger and 
John Gorvin. The ofifice was established in 1868 with C. W. 
Gardner as postmaster. He was succeeded by L. Ellington, who 
served until July, 1876, when A. Mayo was appointed and served 
until 1886, when M. Guthrie took ofifice. He served two terms 
and was followed by John G. Lennon. Then came Mr. Lennon's 
bondsmen, and in 1898 W. L. Buckson assumed ofifice. He was 
succeeded in 1906 by the present postmaster. 

Sewer. — An embryo sewer, with about ten connections, has 
been laid in Blooming Prairie by Albert A. Peterson. The out- 
let is in a marsh below the village where a private sewer owned 
by the West hotel property, had its outlet. This system will 
doubtless, in time, result in a municipal sewer. 

Blooming Prairie Cemetery. — The cemetery, which adjoins 
the St. Columbanus cemetery and lies about half a mile south 
of the platted portion of the village, was early set aside for ceme- 
tery purposes by George E. Skinner. April 4, 1892, a num- 
ber of citizens decided to form an association, and contributed 
a sufficient amount to purchase from Mr. Skinner for $125 such 
lots as were not already occupied, in the portion not reserved 
for the Catholic people. The organizers, and contributors were 
T. S. Morton, Ele Ille, A. Palmer Smith, G. H. Johnson, H. 
Noble, T. R. Symes, C. E. Hancock, R. I. Fuller, E. H. Wheeler, 
J. C. Brainerd and C. B. Pettie. The present officers of the asso- 
ciation are : President and actuary, T. S. Morton ; secretary and 
treasurer, J. C. Brainerd. There is also a board of directors. 



998 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 
GRAIN INDUSTRY. 

Grain raising was for several years the principal industry of 
the farmers of this vicinity, and buying and handling of grain 
was a large trade interest. The first buyers were A. C. Hawley, 
Ennis Bros., M. Johnson and C. W. Gardner, who handled grain 
in the warehouses erected near the depot. 

Messrs. Bassett, Huntting & Co., of McGregor, la., soon built 
a warehouse, J. C. Noteman, Chris Vollhardt, L. Ellington and 
J. C. Rea buying grain for them at different times, this firm was 
the first to erect an elevator here which they did in 1875. 

W. H. Valleau bought grain here in a warehouse north of 
the depot for a couple of years, Geo. Valleau and A. H. Wiggin 
were employed by him. Late in 1875 Mr. Chas. Whitton, who 
was a grain buyer for some five previous years, built an elevator 
at the foot of Fourth street ; this elevator was sold to G. W. Por- 
ter in the spring of 1877 and burned the same fall. On its site 
H. W. Pratt & Co. built at once ; this was operated for some 
years by Mr. Porter and afterwards by M. H. Hitchcock; after 
some transfer it was sold in 1895 to the Farmers' Elevator Co., 
who lost it by fire and built a new elevator which they still 
own and operate. F. J. Quinn, now of Colorado, was in 
charge of the Farmers' Elevator for a time and was succeeded by 
J. R. Edmond, who is their present buyer. 

In 1875 M. M. Guthrie, formerly of Dubuque, la., was placed 
in charge of their elevator by Bassett Huntting & Co. The fol- 
lowing year he acquired an interest in the building and the 
business. During most of the succeeding years Mr. Guthrie has 
purchased grain at this point, and at present is owner of one of 
the elevators. 

The grain receipts were the largest in 1875, 1876, 1877, when 
they were nearly half a million bushels annually. 

Farmers' Elevator Co. — This company was incorporated in 
1905, by the election of the following officers : President, Thomas 
Herron; vice president, C. E. Symes; secretary, G. A. Peterson; 
treasurer, H. A. Peterson: directors, O. G. Anderson, Soren Mil- 
ler and John G. Johnson. The company purchased the old Pratt 
elevator, and placed F. J. Quinn in charge. In March, 1907, 
the building was destroyed by fire. The business was continued 
in a rented warehouse, and a new elevator was at once erected. 
For several years past, James Edmonds has been the buyer. 
The firm is capitalized at $5,000 with about 180 shareholders. 
The business amounts to over 100,000 bushels annually. The 
present officers are the same as above, with John Jurgenson, 
Peter Hanson and O. G. Anderson as directors. 

Lumber Yards. — The sawed lumber for the buildings erected 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 999 

in the village prior to the building of the railway was hauled 
by team mostly from Owatonna. When the railway was com- 
pleted Minneapolis and other river points became the natural 
wholesale supply market for the territory. A Mr. Searles, of 
Owatonna, ])ut in a small stock of lumber in 1867 and erected 
one of the first buildings, which was used as an office and dwell- 
ing, and situated on lot 1, block 13. Mr. Aaron Pettie & Son 
soon succeeded in the business, which they continued until 1872. 
In 1871 J. C. Rrainerd established a lumber business and in 
the following year Chas. Whitton became a partner. For sev- 
eral years the firm of Brainerd & Whitton controlled the lumber 
and coal trade and were succeeded in 1878 by Brainerd & Gard- 
ner. In 1882 Mr. Gardner retired from the firm and J. C. Brain- 
erd conducted the business until 1902, when he sold to the North- 
west Lumber Co. A. Solberg opened a yard here in 1892, 
and in 1893, O. A. Veblin having acquired an interest, the 
firm became Solberg & Veblin and continued under that style 
until 1900, when Mr. Veblin retired, his interest having been pur- 
chased by Geo. A. Peterson, P. A. Peterson and Thos. A. Helvig. 
The firm name was changed to Solberg & Co., and in 1893 
the}' incorporated under the style of A. Solberg Lumber Co. 
Mr. Veblin in 1900 opened a new yard, which was also taken 
over by the Northwest Lumber Co. in 1902. Later this 
corporation sold all their lumber and coal interests in this place 
to the Laird-Norton Yards and Hayes-Lucas Lumber Co., both 
Winona firms. At the present time the latter firm and A. Solberg 
Lumber Co. arc the only firms doing a lumber business at the 
station. 

Blooming Prairie Separator Creamery Co. — Dairying has been 
one of the principal industries in this vicinity for several years. 
Both wild and tame grasses arc luxuriant in growth ; the water 
is plenty, easily obtainable and good. The climate fine and all 
conditions are of the best to promote the healthy condition of 
neat cattle. In the early years of the country butter was made 
at the country homes, under conditions which made the product 
a variable one and the price in general was very low. With 
the introduction of factory system of manufacture and especially 
since the advent of the milk separator there have been many radi- 
cal changes and great improvement in methods. 

In 1885 the first move was made here for the establishment of 
a butter factory, a parcel of land was procured in the village by 
a few representative dairymen and business men and a contract 
was made with P. O'Reily, of Rawler, la., to erect a building. 
The gathered cream custom was then in vogue. 

For a few years several changes were made and some of the 
eflforts were partially unsuccessful, but generally moving toward 



1000 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

success. Mr. O'Reily was succeeded by a local corporation, the 
Minnesota Creamery Co. and Potter Lucas Co. followed. 
The principal and permanent change came when in 1892 a co- 
operative creamer}' company was formed under the style of the 
Blooming Prairie Separator Creamery Association. The first 
officers were: E. Morton, president; N. N. Hagna, treasurer; 
G. A. Peterson, secretar}'; directors, C. B. Peterson. P. A. Peter- 
son, Ben Benson, C. E. Symes and Ole A. Anderson. In 1897 the 
present commodious brick building was erected and the business 
has increased from year to year until the patrons number several 
hundred and the product manufactured $90,000 annually. The 
present officers are E. Morton, president; Ben Benson, treasurer; 
John Jurgenson. secretary; N. N. Hagna, Wm. Ferrington, H. 
Noble, Alvin Ille, Ole Embrickson and P. P. Haugen directors. 

L. G. Campbell Milling Co. — The first flouring mill in Bloom- 
ing Prairie was erected in 1875, by Messrs. H. Hegele & Co., 
but was burned the following year, having in the meantime 
handled 175,000 bushels of wheat, most of which was flour. The 
present flour mill was erected 1892 by A. S. and L. G. Camp- 
bell, who at that time were proprietors of a mill at Austin. In 
1895, L. G. Campbell became sole owner and enlarged the plant. 
In 1904, electrical apparatus was installed, which furnishes lights 
for the village streets, business houses and residences. 

The Steele County Telephone Co. operates in Blooming 
Prairie, Ellcndale, Geneva, Xewry, Lansing, Bixby and Union, 
having 360 instruments in use. It was started in the fall of 
1900, and the service was first put in operation August 1, 1901. 
At that time the officers were: President, O. P. Rask ; vice 
president, A. A. Peterson; secretary and treasurer, S. A. Rask. 
The present officers are: President, A. A. Peterson; secretary 
and treasurer, S. A. Rask. These two gentlemen and their wives 
constituted the board of directors. 

HOTELS. 

West Hotel. — This popular hostelry was the result of the de- 
sire of Halvor J. Hanson to open a first-class hotel in this village. 
G. A. Peterson owned a desirable location, and a company was 
accordingly formed, consisting of O. A. Veblen, H. A. Peterson, 
G. A. Peterson and H. J. Hanson. The building, a three-story 
brick structure, was completed and opened in the spring of 1899 
with H. J. Hanson as manager. After some years, Mr. Veblen 
sold his interest to J. C. Brainerd. Later the property was dis- 
posed of to the Sylvester Brothers of St. Paul. Three years ago 
the place was rented by S. H. Keeling, the present proprietor. 
The Sylvester Brothers disposed of the property to C. S. Nelson, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1001 

of Minneapolis, who sold it to E. W. Bunker, of Spooner, Wis., 
the present owner. 

Union Hotel. — This was the first hotel in Blooming Prairie, 
and was erected by Christ Vollhardt in 1867. The building 
was afterward sold to Andrew Pettie, and was occupied as a 
residence and by George Camp's harness shop, when it was 
destroyed by fire in February, 1889. Among the managers of 
the hotel were the Messrs. Vollhardt, Dunton, Hartley and A. 
Pettie. 

Western House. — This building was erected before the Union 
Hotel by C. C. Hartley, but did not open its doors as a hotel 
until a short time after the opening of the Union Hotel. The 
Messrs. Hartley, Dutcher, Vollhardt, Carey and Guthrie were 
among the proprietors. The building was destroyed by fire, 
January 10, 1886. 

Ferrington Hotel. This hotel was built by A. E. Ferrington 
in 1882. He sold out to J. A. McConnell. Among the landlords 
were J. Laird, A. J. Pettie, Mrs. O'Toole, Daniel Keefe and J. C. 
Cummings. George H. Johnson owned and managed the place 
for some years and was conducting a successful business when 
he sold out to the West Hotel Company. The building is still 
standing, but is not used for hotel purposes. 

FRATERNITIES. 

Prairie Lodge, No. 123, A. F. & A. M., of Blooming Prairie, 
was organized May 7, when Brother Daniels, of Faribault, read 
the dispensation of the worshipful worthy grand master, to a 
few Master Masons assembled. The following officers were 
named: J. Palmer Johnson, M. W. ; Thomas S. Morton, S. W.; 
C. Whittcn, J. W.; J. C. Rea, secretary. May 25, these officers 
were elected with the following additions : C. D. Giddings, S. D. ; 
C. E. Hancock, J. D. ; C. H. Williams, treasurer. The first 
candidates elected were: Lewis Ellington, E. Morton and J. C. 
Brainerd, the latter being the first to receive the third degree. 
Feb. 15, 1876, Brother Daniels, of Faribault, again opened the 
lodge, and brought the charter, which is dated January 13, 1876, 
and signed by James C. Braden, of St. Paul, M. W. G. M. The 
following officers were elected : Charles Whitten, W. M. ; T. S. 
Morton, S. W. ; Peter Haley, J. W.; C. E. Hancock, treasurer; 
E. Morton, secretary; J. C. Brainerd, S. D. ; J. C. Rea, J. D.; 
C. H. Williams, S. S. ; A. Colquhoun. tyler. The worshipful 
masters of the lodge have been: J. Palmer Johnson, 1877-1880; 
T. S. Morton, 1881-1885; Geo. H. Johnson, 1886; J. C. Brainerd. 
1887; George A. Reynolds, 1888; J. Palmer Johnson, 1889; J. C. 
Brainerd, 1890-1893; C. W. Treat, 1894; Geo. H. Johnson, 1895; 



1002 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Thomas S. Morton, 1896-1900; George H. Johnson, 1901; George 
E. Johnson, 1902-1903 ; Ed. Morton, 1904-1910. The present offi- 
cers are : E. Morton, W. M. ; B. Melby, S. W. ; George E. Mor- 
ton, J. W. ; J. C. Brainerd, treasurer; A. E. Johnson, secretary; 

A. A. Peterson, S. D. ; Fred Jurgenson, J. D. ; John Jurgenson, 
S. S. ; Henry Peterson. J. S. : R. H. Johnson, tyler. 

Oak Glen, No. 177, Order of the Eastern Star, was granted 
its charter May 12, 1904, with Melissa Brainerd, W. M.; O. P. 
Rask, W. P., and Mabel Morton, A. M. as officers. The charter 
members were Mrs. Melissa Brainerd, O. P. Rask, Mrs. Mabel 
Morton, Albert A. Peterson, Samuel A. Rask, Mrs. Harriet O. 
Rask, Mrs. Oline Rask, Laura M. Brainerd. Mrs. Jessie F. John- 
son, Mrs. Bertina Olson, Mrs. Francis Mary Thomas, Edwin 
Morton, Mrs. Edna Sauer, Mrs. Ragna H. Peterson, Richard H. 
Johnson, Mrs. Caroline Johnson, Rena Claire Brainerd, Anton 
Olson, George E. Johnson, I\Irs. Arie Marie Johnson, Mrs, 
Wealthy A. Johnson and John C. Brainerd. The present officers 
are : Mrs. Frances Thomas, W. M. ; Sam A. Rask. W. P. ; Mrs. 
Carrie Johnson, A. M. ; Mrs. Melissa Brainerd, secretary; Fred 
Jurgenson, treasurer; Mrs. Rena Johnson, C. ; Mrs. Marie John- 
son, A. C. ; Miss Minnie Johnson, Adah ; Mrs. Edna Carman, 
Ruth ; Mrs. Harriet Rask. Esther ; Mrs. Mabel Morton, Martha ; 
Mrs. Bertina Olson, Electa; Miss Rose Johnson, warder; R. H. 
Johnson, sentry; Edwin Morton, chaplain; Miss Maude Jurgen- 
son, organist. 

Haakon Lodge, No. 83, Sonner of Norge (Sons of Norway), 
was organized October 16, 1908. The charter members were : 

B. Melby, Alex. H. Fjelstad, Hans Roge, A. A. Peterson, A. Sol- 
berg, J. O. Johnson, O. K. Odegard, A. Olson, Benjamin A. John- 
son, T. O. Rye, Chris Gorvin, Ole O. Hjelmen, Carl O. Bye, H. T. 
Holstenson, P. K. Dock, B. B. Johnson, Edward Hanson, A. O. 
Benson, J. M. Christinnson, E. C. Rask, E. O. Haberstad, S. A. 
Rask, Theo. P. Fagre, E. E. Simes, Fred Jurgenson and S. S. 
Severson. 

Cedar Camp, No. 1729, M. W. A., was organized August 1, 
1892. The first members were : Harris F. Ackerman, Ole O. 
Bye, Carl O. Bye, Andrew S. Anderson, Louis F. Bakke, Martin 
Strate, Charles Louis Larson, E. W. Cooley; William Ferring- 
ton, Carl Nelson, Peter Prahm, Nathan H. Garrison, Nels John- 
son, Jens Jorgenson, Hans Rasmussen, John Sorenson, Robert 
Whitelaw, Arnt Solberg, Peter V. Rasmussen, John F. Beatty, 
Louis Larson. The present officers are: P. C, A. Solberg; C, 
J. C. Petersen ; V. C, Joseph Schisler ; E. B., Albert A. Peterson ; 
S., Sam A. Rask ; E., Fred Jurgensen ; I. G., Lawrence Zweiner ; 
O. G., Christ Lund ; trustees, A. Solberg, T. E. Cashman and 
John Jurgenson. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1003 

Freia Lodge, 98, Danish Brotherhood of America, received its 
charier September IS. 1896. The first officers were: P. P., Hans 
P. Munck; P., Soren Petersen; V. P., Peter V. Rasmiissen; S., 
Peter Prahm ; treasurer, F. M. Madsen; G., A. P. Olsen; I. G., 
Christ Sorensen; O. G., Christian Fredericksen; T. R., Jens C. 
Petersen. The present officers are : P. P., C. M. Mortensen ; P., 
Fred Johnson; V. P., C. Lund; S., Hans Jensen; treasurer, 
Christ Rasmussen; G., Jes. Brown; I. G.. Walter Jensen; O. G., 
Lawrence Jensen; T. R., Peter Bramsen. 

Murray Court, No. 826, W. C. O. P., was organized October 
21, 1904. The first officers were: C. R., Mrs. Mary Herron; 
J. C. R., Mrs. Tillie Pirkle; F. S., Miss Elizabeth Fitzgerald; 
R. S., Miss Hannah Keefe ; treasurer, Mrs. Maria Bell ; trustees, 
Mrs. Bridget Leehy; Mrs. Sarah Meehan and Mrs. Rose Benish. 
The present officers are: C. R., Mrs. Sara Meehan; V. C. R., Mrs. 
Etta Cashman; F. S., Mrs. Mary Coggins; R. S., Mrs. Frances 
O'Connor; treasurer, Mrs. Kate Feehan ; trustees, Mrs. Ellen 
Cummings; Mrs. Ellen Keenan and Mrs. Hannah Goodnature. 

Daughters of Erin, Division No. 2, Ladies Auxiliary, A. O. H. 
was organized November 16, 1902. The first officers were : 
President, Mrs. G. S. Brainerd ; vice president, Mrs. D. T. Holly- 
wood ; recording secretary, Miss Elizabeth Coggins ; insurance 
secretary, Miss Kathryne Hanlon ; financial secretary, Mrs. T. C. 
Cashman ; treasurer, Miss Margaret Farrell. The present officers 
are : President, Mrs. William Trotman ; vice president, Mrs. 
John Driscoll ; recording secretary, Mrs. T. C. Cashman ; insur- 
ance secretary, Miss Kathryne Hanlon ; financial secretary, Mrs. 
T. J. Hanlon ; treasurer. Miss Maggie Farrell. 

Blooming Prairie Court, No. 688, Catholic Order of Foresters, 
was granted a charter June 13, 1897. The charter bears the 
names of Daniel J. Sullivan, Thomas C. Cashman, John M. 
Feehan, Eugene B. Keenan, Edmond C. Fitzgerald, William 
Fceney and Daniel T. Hollywood. 

CHURCHES. 

St. Columbanus Roman Catholic Church, of Blooming Prairie. 
Doubtless several of the early Catholic priests passed through 
what is now the village of Blooming Prairie in the early days. 
Father Ravoux is known to have traversed this prairie, but the 
first mass of which we have any real knowledge was that said 
by Father Prendcgast in a construction shack somewhere near 
the site of the present village in the early part of 1867. The 
mass was said for the spiritual edification of the construction 
crews engaged in laying the tracks of the C. M. & St. P. Ry., but 
many devout Catholics from the surrounding farms were in at- 



1004 HISTORY OF RICE A\D STEELE COUNTIES 

tendance. Mrs. Thomas O'Connor, now living in Blooming 
Prairie, was present at this service. Father Prendegast was at 
that time located in La Crosse, but made frequent trips to this 
vicinity. Other services were doubtless held here in the earliest 
days of the village b}- Father William Hurley, then stationed 
at Austin. Father Paul Genis, then stationed at Austin, and 
Father Patrick McDermott, who passed through here on his way 
from St. Mary's to Austin. Father Joseph Keller, of Faribault, 
also held services here at an early day. Father Thomas Pribyl, 
of Owatonna, had charge of the parish about five years and 
Father Walter Rawley, of Owatonna, for a similar period. The 
early regular services of the church were held in a building in 
block 8, later occupied by Thomas Feeny as a hardware store 
and still later destroyed by fire. In 1868 a small church was 
erected. The present edifice in block 8 was erected in 1877 and 
dedicated the same year. Since then a sacristy has been added 
and other improvements made. A comfortable parish house 
was purchased in August, 1883. To this parish, on October 1, 
1882, came Father David L. Murray, of Rhode Island, who was 
the first resident priest. Father Murray has remained here 
since that date, and abh' fulfills the ideal of a parish priest. For 
thirty years he has labored in this and the surrounding country, 
and his devotion has endeared him to the people of all denom- 
inations and creeds. 

Among the pioneers of this church who may be mentioned 
are James Barry, Thomas O'Connor, John Hanlon, Daniel Mc- 
Callister, Patrick Murphy, James Duggan, Frank Zwiener, 
Thomas Barry, Patrick Fallon, Thomas Feeney, Octave Garriepy, 
jNIichael Fallon. Edward Burke, Richard McCallister, Peter 
Gosha, Peter Steinlitzer, Thomas Feehan, Milo Flannigan, Denis 
Moran, James Birgen, Thomas Birgen, M. M. Guthrie and others. 

St. Columbanus Cemetery. This cemetery adjoins the 
Blooming Prairie cemetery, and was a part of the original tract 
set aside in the early days for cemetery purposes. The ground 
was consecrated in 1893 by Bishop Joseph B. Cotter, of Winona. 

The Episcopal Church was organized here early in the sev- 
enties by Rev. G. C. Tanner, of Owatonna. Shortly afterward 
the society erected the church edifice at a cost of about $1,400. 
In 1896 the edifice was sold to the Presbyterian denomination. 

The Presbyterian Church. Services of the Presbyterian faith 
were held at various times in the days of the early settlement of 
Blooming Prairie. The church was organized December 2, 1896, 
and the congregation purchased the church edifice, which had 
been erected by the Episcopalians. The first pastor was T. N. 
Weaver, and he has been followed by J. M. Swander, Irwin G. 
Smith and Egerton S. Carey. The first elders of the church 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1005 

were James Campbell, L. G. Campbell, Ed. Morton and George 
L. Taylor. 

Blooming Prairie Congregation of the United Norwegian 
Lutheran Church, of America, had its beginning with services 
held by Rev. C. L. Clausen, who organized a society. He was 
succeeded by Rev. P. G. Ostby, of Austin, who remained until 
1878. Mr. Clausen then came back, and took up his abode here, 
but failing health necessitated his securing an assistant. This 
assistant, Rev. S. Strand, became pastor in July, 1885, and re- 
mained until the fall of 1894. Rev. N. Iverson then came and 
remained until 1898 when he was succeeded by Rev. Osmond 
Johnson, the present pastor. A church was erected at an early 
day, but was sold to the Methodist people in 1876 when the 
present edifice was erected. A sacristy has since been added, and 
the interior renovated and improved from time to time. The 
pleasant parsonage was purchased three years ago. The con- 
gregation assumed its present synodical relation in 1890. Con- 
nected with this church is a flourishing Sunday school, a young 
people's society and two ladies' societies. Among the pioneers of 
the church may be mentioned Guttorm Hillson, Ingvald Peter- 
son, G. A. Peterson, Even E. Lofthus, Ole Embrickson, Lars 
Bekkdal, Sven Olson and others. 

The First Baptist Church, of Blooming Prairie, had its begin- 
ning May 16, 1868. when a few Baptists met at the school house 
near Oak Glen, and organized, with O. A. Williams in the pulpit 
and Dr. J. M. Finch, of Clinton Falls, clerk pro tern. Sarah 
McGuire, Fannie Pettie and Kate Farrington were received by 
letter; A. E. Ferrington, James Carey and Mary Carey on pro- 
fession of faith ; and Lydia McDaniels, Julia Thimson, Clarize L. 
Smith and Cornelius Smith as candidates for baptism. A. E. 
Ferrington was elected deacon. The last entry of this organi- 
zation is made in the records in February, 1878. In 1886 Rev. 
C. D. Belden began holding services in the Methodist Church, in 
Blooming Prairie village, and on Sunday, September 24, 1893, 
the First Baptist Church was organized, at the Episcopal Church, 
to which the congregation had moved. The first board of 
trustees of the church consisted of N. H. Garrison, C. B. Pettie, 
Fred P. Thimsen, T. S. Morton and F. G. Brown. In 1896, M. B. 
Critchct became pastor. One year later came Rev. A. B. Mur- 
phy, who was ordained in Blooming Prairie and also served the 
church at Ellendalc. In 1898 a parsonage was built. Rev. Mur- 
phy left in 1899, and the pulpit was occupied three years by stu- 
dents. January 31, the mortgage on the parsonage was burned 
and on the same date it was voted to erect a church edifice. 
In 1902, Rev. B. L. Bcrgstrom came and served as pastor one 
year and nine months, and then the pulpit was occupied by stu- 



1006 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

dent supplies until the Rev. E. A. Gilmour, the present pastor, 
came in December, 1905. The church has a Sunday school, a 
Ladies' Aid Society and a Ladies' Mission Circle. Mrs. F. P. 
Thimsen is clerk ; T. S. Morton, treasurer, and F. P. Thimsen, 
T. S. Morton, Stillman Noble, Hannibal Noble and C. E. Han- 
cock, trustees. Mrs. B. H. Morton is in charge of the Sunday 
school. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church, of Blooming Prairie, was 
organized shortly after the settlement of the village. A church 
was purchased from the X^orwegian Lutlierans and dedicated in 
1876. The church is still standing, but is not now in use. Among 
the early pastors were Rev. Reuben Washburn, Rev. C. J. Hayes, 
Rev. E. S. Bowdish, Rev. Putnam, Rev. Reynolds and others. 

COMMERCIAL INTERESTS. 

Blooming Prairie Mercantile Co. Tliomas Feeney, an early 
settler of Blooming Prairie township, engaged in the mercantile 
trade in 1871 in a building on lot 1, block 13. Mr. Feeney was 
interested in business here for many years in general mer- 
chandise and afterward in the hardware trade. His stock of mer- 
chandise was sold to Geo. Jenson and O. A. Veblin, who, after 
a remove or two, purchased the building and the business on 
lot 1, block 13, from M. O. Wilson. About this time Norman 
Evans became a partner in the firm, Mr. Jenson soon retired and 
the firm became Veblin & Evans ; the latter a few years later 
removed to Sioux Falls. This business was finally incorporated 
under the style of Veblin Mercantile Co., which conducted a 
successful business until 1907, when it was sold to T. J. Johnson 
& Co., who a few months afterwards were succeeded by the 
Blooming Prairie Mercantile Co. This company is now incor- 
porated, J. C. Brainerd being president, J. J. Bruzek, vice presi- 
dent; Fred Jurgenson, secretary; T. J. Cashman, treasurer, and 
G. S. Brainerd, manager. This company divided their stock and 
are now doing a business in general merchandise at the old stand 
and a clothing and shoe house in block 13. 

Alliance Cash Company. Early in 1890, the firm of Gage, 
Holland & Hayden, of Albert Lea, opened a branch store in 
Blooming Prairie. A block was erected the same year and 
opened in September. The following year the firm was incor- 
porated as the Alliance Cash Company, the officers being: 
President, D. J. O'Leary; vice president, F. P. Thimsen; secre- 
tary, F. J. Schisler; treasurer, T. C. Cashman. The firm is now 
owned entirely by local people, the ofificers being: President, 
T. C. Cashman ; vice president, Martin Nelson ; secretary and 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1007 

treasurer, F. P. Thimsen. The store handles a line of general 
merchandise and is doing a large and increasing trade. 

Furniture. The first furniture store in the village was 
opened by P. Haley, in 1873. Mr. Haley had formerly lived on 
a farm about two miles west of the village. The store was 
situated in block 8, nearly opposite the old Western house. For 
about two years the business was conducted by Mr. Haley, 
after which he sold out to William Marshall. John G. Lennon 
next succeeded to the business and sold out to A. B. Johnston. 
The next owners of the business were M. Olson, Ole Norval and 
Swen Embrickson. L. S. Ulland purchased the stock in 1887, 
and is still in the business. He soon added to this line that of 
farm implements, vehicles, etc. He has been quite successful 
and has a large volume of business. 

J. C. Guthrie, M. J. Lee and H. O. Houg were each in the 
furniture business for a short time. 

Hardware. In 1873. Curtis & Dunton opened a small hard- 
ware store with a small stock in one room of a double store 
erected by J. N. Dunton & Sons. After a few months' experi- 
ence, this company sold its stock to David Giddings, of St. 
Charles, Minn., who disposed of the goods to Edward Morton 
in the same year. Mr. Morton has been one of the leading 
business men of the village, and is still actively engaged in the 
hardware and agricultural implement trade. He is also the 
proprietor of a fine farm adjoining the village, and owns con- 
siderable other land in the vicinity. 

The Blooming Prairie Iron Works does considerable busi- 
ness in manufacturing seed cleaners, pump jacks and other 
articles, and is engaged in general repairing. The company was 
organized by the Srsoen Brothers, April 12, 1897, and started 
operations at once. In 1909 the business was sold to Frank H. 
Skalicky and John J. Pribyl. 

Physicians. The first physician to locate at Blooming 
Prairie village was Dr. Saulsbury, who came here from Owa- 
tonna in 1887 and remained about two years. Among others 
who are not now practicing here, but who were in former days 
may be mentioned the names of Drs. Theodore L. Hatch, W. S. 
Wood, J. Palmer Johnson, B. J. Hawkins, Emma Washburn, A. 
A. Finch. A. H. Johnson and Drs. Goudy, Hadley, Eberhardt, 
Caldwell and Watson. The present physicians in the village 
are Drs. Harry G. Wood, Benedik Mclby. E. H. Cooley and 
J. W. Warren.' 



CHAPTER XXVm. 

^ NEWSPAPERS. 

Watchman and Register — Medford Valley Argus — Owatonna 
Journal — News Letter — Owatonna Representative — Owa- 
tonna Register — Owatonna Democrat — Vidette — Owatonna 
Register — Owatonna Plaindealer — ^Journal and Herald — 
Owatonna Chronicle — Journal-Chronicle — People's Press — 
Our Pastime — Morning Star — Daily Herald — Owatonna 
Tribune — Ellendale Eagle — Blooming Prairie Times — Com- 
piled and Edited by Benjamin E. Darby. 

Steele county is the home of six newspapers, all of which 
are well edited and well printed, having a satisfactory circula- 
tion and exerting an intiuence for good on the community. In 
former days still others have flourished, some having been dis- 
continued by removal, some by consolidation and some by lack 
of patronage. It will be noticed that there are several repeti- 
tions of names, several favorite cognomens being frequently 
revived. 

WATCHMAN AND REGISTER. 

The hrst paper started in the county was under the above 
title. It was established at Owatonna, in July, 1856, by J. H. 
Abbott and A. B. Cornell, who purchased press, type and fix- 
tures of Maj. W. A. Hotchkiss, at that time editor and pub- 
lisher of the "Northwestern Democrat," at St. Anthony. Mr. 
Cornell acted as editor and business manager for a time, when 
the services of H. M. Sheetz, an experienced newspaper man, 
were secured as editor. Some time in 1857 the word "Watch- 
man" was dropped from the name, and the "Owatonna Register" 
was published until some time in the winter of 1857-8, with 
Abbott & Cornell and W. F. Pettit as proprietors, and H. M. 
Sheetz as editor, and then it was discontinued. It had been a 
useful means of advertising the locality, and did its full share 
in molding the public mind. 

MEDFORD VALLEY ARGUS. 

This was the second local journal to lay claim to public favor 
in Steele county. It was published at Medford, dating its first 
appearance about the middle of August, 1858, and was under 

1008 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1009 

the control of Messrs. Francis & Sulley. It was printed with 
the same material which had been used in the publication of 
the "Register," the material having been purchased of the com- 
pany by William I". Petlit, and Ijy him sold to Air. Bartholomew, 
of Medford. Messrs. Francis & Sulley leased it of Mr. Bartholo- 
mew. Mr. Sulley soon sold his interest to J. R. Lucas, and the 
publication was continued for a short time, when the enterprise 
was abandoned and the material was rented to H. M. Sheetz, 
who moved it back to Owatonna. 

OWATONNA JOURNAL. 

This paper was started by H. M. Sheetz wiiii the material 
which he had secured at Medford, and made its appearance 
shortly after the demise of the "Argus." It was a seven-column 
sheet, neatly printed and ably edited, and was received with 
marked favor by its patrons. It was Republican in politics and 
the earnest and devoted advocate of all reforms. In October, 
1859, Mr. Sheetz died, and the "Journal" was carried on by his 
widow for some time thereafter. Hon. William F. Pettit, at 
that time state senator from Steele county, had started a project 
to allow Mrs. Sheetz, who was a woman of considerable literary 
ability, to retain the office as a mark of esteem from the public, 
whom her husband had so faithfully served, and has already 
received $150 from his fellow members of the senate to aid in 
carrying out this benevolent project. But upon returning home 
he found that the office had been sold to A. B. Cornell, which 
at once put a stop to the publication of the "Journal." 

NEWS LETTER. 

Shortly after the sus])ension of the "Journal," the "News 
Letter" was established by A. B. Cornell. He kept up the enter- 
prise until 1862, when he took a sutler's position in the army, 
and Mrs. Cornell continued the publication of a small sheet 
some three or four columns in width until 1863, when Dr. Kelly, 
editor of the "Plaindealer," which in the meantime had been 
started, purchased the job office and the good will of the "News 
Letter," and its publication was discontinued. 

OWATONNA REPRESENTATIVE. 

In the summer of 1860 Messrs. William F. Pettit and John 
H. Abbott, assisted J. W. Crawford in the purchase of an office 
in Mantorville, Dodge county, and the publication of the "Owa- 
tonna Representative" was commenced. It was an eight-column 
sheet, and was very ably conducted and well printed, reflecting 



lUlO HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

much credit upon the enterprise of the citizens who sustained it, 
as well as those who conducted it. It was continued for about 
eighteen months, when Mr. Crawford entered the army, and 
Messrs. Pettit and Abbott sold the material to James E. Child, 
of Wilton, A\'aseca county. 

OWATONNA REGISTER. 

This paper was started by A. B. Cornell soon after his return 
from the army. It was published in an independent, neutral 
manner, consequentl}' meeting with poor success, yet it con- 
tinued to drag out an existence for some little time, when it suc- 
cumbed from want of proper sustenance, and publication was 
discontintied. 

OWATONNA DEMOCRAT. 

This was a newspaper aspirant for public favor, starting with 
Capt. J. D. Wood as editor and proprietor. It was received with 
considerable enthusiasm by the Democracy, as it was a purely 
Democratic paper ; yet it did not receive sufficient support to 
meet the necessary expenditures, and after trying the experi- 
ment for about a year it was discontinued. 

VIDETTE. 

In the spring of 1867, J. A. Spellman started a paper called 
the "Vidette." It was a seven-column folio, and independent 
Republican in politics. It was continued only for a short time, 
when it was merged with the "Journal," Mr. Spellman becoming 
one of the proprietors of that paper. 

OWATONNA REGISTER. 

In 1867 another Democratic paper was started, which was 
called the "Owatonna Register," under the control of C. F. 
George. He continued its publication at a pecuniary loss for 
about one year, when the office was removed to Faribault. 

OWATONNA PLAINDEALER. 

In April, 1863, Dr. L. H. Kelly commenced the ])nblication of 
a paper called the "Owatonna Plaindealer." The town was then 
growing rapidly; the business kept increasing until the "Plain- 
dealer" became one of the best paying offices in this part of the 
state. It was started as a seven-column paper, but in the spring 
of 1866 was enlarged to an eight-column folio. In the fall of 
the same year the office was purchased by Tappan, Higbee & 
Hathaway. The new firm shortly afterward commenced the 
publication of the "Republican Journal," and in a few weeks the 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COimTIES 1011 

firm became Higbee, Spellman & Bickham, and the name of the 
paper became the "Owatonna Journal." 

THE OWATONNA JOURNAL. 

The files of the "'Owatonna Journal" commenced with the 
issue of January 13, 1876; at least it is impossible to find any 
copies of prior issues. At that time the paper was running as 
an eight-column folio. The proprietors at that time were Cran- 
dall & Bickham— C. S. Crandail, W. H. Bickham— and Thursday 
was the day of issue. It was very neatly gotten up and well 
filled with local and general news, as well as having a good run 
of local advertising. During the same winter Mr. Crandail, one 
of the firm, was appointed postmaster, and that partially severed 
his former intimate connection with the management of the 
"Journal." The issue of October 19, 1876, was the last bearing 
the names of Crandail &• Bickham as editors. With the issue on 
October 26, 1876, the name of F. T. Drebert appears at the head 
of the columns as editor and proprietor. 

At the time Mr. Drebert came, the office was kept in what 
was known as the Dresser building. It remained there until it 
was moved to the Temple block. One incident in the history of 
the "Journal" was its connection with the failure of L. Bixby's 
"Review." Mr. Bixby had rented the material of the office to A. 
H. Lewis, and in 1879 he made arrangements with Mr. Drebert 
to turn over the subscription in the manner of a consolidation 
of the two, the publication of the "Review" to cease, and, accord- 
ing to the arrangement, while he did not become a partner in 
the publication, he was to get a percentage on the job work and 
advertising. By consent of Mr. Drebert he moved a lot of paper 
and stock into the "Journal" rooms for storage purposes. As 
soon as Mr. Bixby learned of this he got out a writ of replevin 
and secured possession of the material, making Mr. Drebert a 
co-defendant. \Micn the suit was settled Mr. Bi.xby started a 
paper called the "Review," having copied the subscription list. 
This paper was afterward removed to Minneapolis and became 
the "Temperance Review." February 12, 1886, the "Journal" 
was consolidated with the "Herald," which had been established 
by the Soper Brothers, and the name of the paper became the 
"Journal and Herald." 

JOURNAL AND HERALD. 

Under this arrangement the firm name became Drebert & 
Soper Brolhens— F. T. Drebert, J. A. and W. B. Soper. W. B. 
Soper retired from the firm in October, 1886, leaving the man- 
agement in the hands of F. T. Drebert and J. A. Soper. 



1012 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

The "Owatonna Journal" continued under the ownership of 
F. T. Drebert and the Soper Brothers until April 27, 1888, when 
the Sopers sold their half-interest to W. A. Dynes. This change 
was followed a little over a year later by the retirement of Mr. 
Drebert. on June 7, 1889, Mr. Dynes buying his interest and 
becoming sole proprietor. Mr. Drebert's retirement was gen- 
erally regretted, as he was an able and honest editor and highly 
respected. He went from Owatonna to Chatfield, where he 
bought the "Chatfield Democrat," which he conducted until his 
death. On February 14, 1890, W. A. Dynes sold a half-interest 
in the "Journal" to I. W. Burch, an old resident of Owatonna, 
who assumed the editorial end. It is interesting to note that 
even at this early date the "Journal" advocated a reduction in 
the tariff. Messrs. Dynes and Burch retired from the business 
February 16, 1891, selling to A. J. Truesdell, the eldest son of 
J. E. Truesdell. I\Ir. Truesdell considerably built up the paper, 
being not onl)- well equipped for business and editorial manage- 
ment, but also a most energetic man. In fact, it is generally 
believed that his extreme devotion to the end of making a suc- 
cess of his venture wrecked his health. He died April 14, 1894, 
mourned by the entire community as he was held in the highest 
regard. 

On May 1 following, J. Frank Dean, who had been in charge 
of the mechanical department of the paper, purchased the "Jour- 
nal," and from that time on for nearly ten years the "Journal" 
had a varied career. For several years Mr. Dean, who was a 
very capable business man and especially a clever solicitor, 
vastly built up the business. But the establishment of the "Owa- 
tonna Chronicle" in 1897, by E. K. Whiting and H. F. Luers, 
opened a new epoch in the county's newspaper history, really 
the most interesting period of that history, and the competition 
thus created gradually sapped tlie "Journal's" prestige and pros- 
perity. The history of the "Chronicle" will be later referred to. 

Following the establishment of the "Chronicle" and the defec- 
tion of its founders, Messrs. Whiting and Luers, from the "Jour- 
nal" staff, John Lawson, former editor of the "Northfield Inde- 
pendent," was brought to Owatonna to edit the "Journal." His 
was a pungent pen. and frequently vitriolic, and the passages-at- 
arms which the advent of such a writer invariably causes be- 
tween newspapers made spicy reading for Steele county people, 
until the publishers at last learned, as is always the case, that 
the people soon tire of such arguments and the game is not worth 
the candle. Mr. Lawson remained with the "Journal" until May 
14, 1903. meantime assisting in starting the "Owatonna Evening 
Journal," the launching of which was one of the incidents of 
the period of lively competition between the "Journal" and 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1013 

"Chronicle." During this time both the "Journal" and the 
"Chronicle" also tried the experiment of changing from weeklies 
to semi-weeklies. This lasted for almost three years, when, find- 
ing the experiment iinprofitahle, both papers dropped the semi- 
weekly publication by mutual consent. Mr. Lawson was suc- 
ceeded as editor of the "Daily and Weekly Journar' by John M. 
Cotton, another importation, who occupied the position for two 
years. 

Meantime, in September, 1903, Mr. Dean, needing new cap- 
ital, interested Dr. E. E. Bigelow in the proposition and sold him 
a half-interest in the concern. The ownership was vested in an 
incorporated company called the Journal Publishing Company, 
of which E. E. Bigelow was president and treasurer and J. Frank 
Dean, secretary and manager. But the association of Messrs. 
Dean and Bigelow was not a success, and the difficulties between 
them finally culminated in Dr. Bigelow's application for a re- 
ceiver for the company. The district court examined the case 
and granted the application in January, 1905, and placed Harvey 
S. Dartt in charge of the concern as receiver. The receivership 
ended in September, 1905, when Dr. Bigelow bid in the business 
at receiver's sale and became sole owner. Meantime Harry A. 
Lawson, son of John Lawson, had been placed in editorial charge 
and conducted the daily and weekly "Journal" as editor until 
March 6, 1906, when Dr. Bigelow sold the concern to C. K. Ben- 
nett, who was acting as purchasing agent for Messrs. Whiting 
& Luers, the proprietors of the "Chronicle." The consolidation 
of the two papers followed as a matter of course, and will be 
treated of in connection with the history of the "Owatonna 
Chronicle." 

The "Journal," at the time W. A. Dynes bought out F. T. 
Drebert, was located in the second story of the Lorence block, 
on Cedar street. This offiice it occupied until a year or so after 
the establishment of the "Chronicle," in 1897. The office was 
then removed to the first floor corner office and the front base- 
ment of the Metropolitan opera house. Here a very handsome 
business office was fitted up, but in general the location was 
never ideal, either from a business standpoint or for printing 
purposes. The "Journal" occupied this location until its con- 
solidation with the "Chronicle" in 1906. 

OWATONNA CHRONICLE. 

The advent of the "Owatonna Chronicle" into the newspaper 
field, as before stated, marked an epoch in the newspaper his- 
tory of the county. The founders, E. K. Whiting and H. F. 
Luers, who had previously been connected with the "Journal's" 



1014 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUXTIES 

business and news departments, were young men with progres- 
sive ideas and were well equipped for the task of founding and 
conducting a first class modern newspaper. 

They obtained a footing in the field by first purchasing the 
"Farmers' Gazette," a paper which had been established in 1896. 
in preparation for the free silver campaign, first as a semi-weekly, 
and a little later changed to a weekly. Up to this time the "Ga- 
zette" had been a nondescript aflfair, with limited equipment and 
little patronage, and had been leading a precarious existence 
despite the efiforts of its publisher, M. D. Toof. The object of 
Messrs. Whiting & Luers in purchasing the "Gazette" was to 
clear the field and get the advantage of its footing as an estab- 
lished paper. The new owners continued the publication of the 
"Gazette" only until they could buy and install a complete new 
newspaper and job printing plant of capacity equal to the pro- 
duction of such a paper as they proposed to publish. So soon 
as this was accomplished and the new plant was ready for busi- 
ness on the east half of the second floor of the Morehouse Opera 
block, the "Owatonna Chronicle" appeared, on September 2, 1897, 
and the "Gazette" passed into oblivion, both as to name and 
character. 

The "Chronicle" met with favor from the start. Its pub- 
lishers announced it as a Republican paper, but their policy has 
alwaj's been one of independence of the dictation of politicians. 
The first big hit made by the "Chronicle" was almost at the very 
start, when it secured what still stands as the biggest "scoop" 
in the newspaper history of the county — the announcement of 
the confession of Leigh Hough, who had murdered Joe Clark a 
week or ten daj's before, and was subsequently captured in the 
south and brought back to Owatonna. The "Chronicle" alone 
learned that Hough was about to confess, and was alone repre- 
sented when the confession was made. The force of printers was 
hastily and quietly assembled and worked all night, and the first 
anyone else, including the publishers of other papers, knew of 
the confession was when the improvised newsboys were crying 
the "Chronicle" extras on the streets, the first extra edition ever 
issued in tlie county. 

The ginger shown in this enterprise was characteristic of the 
policy which built up the Chronicle in less than a decade into 
the newspaper of largest circulation in the county. The "Chron- 
icle" "set the pace" (and it was often an expensive one), being 
in the forefront in adopting new ideas in the manner of pre- 
senting news and improving the attractiveness of the paper. It 
was a pace which made the newspapers puljlished a few years 
before look like backwoods aflfairs. 

The natural result of this stimulating and expensive contest 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1015 

for public favor was the elimination of one paper, as in a field 
such as presented in Owatonna there is room for no more than 
three such expensive newspapers as have been published in Owa- 
tonna since the establishment of the "Chronicle." It fell to the 
"Journal" to be eliminated, by the process of consolidation al- 
ready mentioned in the "Journal's" history. 

JOURNAL-CHRONICLE. 

The consolidation effected, the name of the "Evening Journal" 
was changed to the "Daily Journal-Chronicle," and the combined 
weeklies were given the name of the "Owatonna Journal-Chron- 
icle." The ownership was vested in a stock company, called the 
Journal-Chronicle Company, in which E. K. Whiting and H. F. 
Luers were the principal stockholders, C. K. Bennett taking a 
small block of stock and acting on the directorate. Later E. A. 
Brown, foreman of the mechanical department, was sold a small 
block of stock, and Mrs. C. S. Crandall purchased C. K. Bennett's 
stock. 

Under the consolidation arrangement, the quality of Steele 
county newspapers, already recognized all over the state as above 
par, made another advance, and the "Daily Journal-Chronicle," 
the weekly "Owatonna Journal-Chronicle" and the "People's 
Press" are recognized as brilliant planets in Minnesota's firma- 
ment of live country newspapers. 

The quarters of neither the "Journal" or the "Chronicle" were 
sufficient to accommodate so large and busy a concern as the 
consolidation created, and immediate arrangements were made 
with the National Farmers' Bank for quarters in its famous new 
bank building, then just about to be built. The east end ground 
floor and two upstairs offices in the handsome new building were 
reserved for the "Journal-Chronicle," and built especially for its 
use. The result was the handsomest, most conveniently ar- 
ranged and completely equipped newspaper and printing office in 
the state, outside the twin cities. Further mention of this fine 
printing and publishing office will be given in another portion 
of this history. 

The president of the Journal-Chronicle Company is H. F. 
Luers, who is also editor of the "Daily and Weekly Journal- 
Chronicle." He was born and raised and has always lived in 
Owatonna, and therefore has that intimate knowledge of the city 
and count}-, their history and their people, which is so valuable 
and desirable in a man occupying the position of editor in a com- 
munity. He first entered newspaper work as a reporter on the 
"Journal." in 1896, remaining in that position until he joined 
with E. K. \\'hiting in founding the "Chronicle," in 1897. 



lOlG HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

E. K. Whiting is secretary and business manager of the 
Journal-Chronicle Company, and is a man who has won respect 
for character and ability as a business and newspaper man since 
his coming to Owatonna, in June, 1894, to accept a position on 
the "Journal." He had previously had considerable experience 
in the management of a printing office in St. Cloud and in the 
printing business in the twin cities, and after coming to Owa- 
tonna was entrusted with a large share of the business manage- 
ment of the "Journal." Consequently he was well equipped for 
the large task of building up a new newspaper from the business 
end, and as a testimonial to the success of his efforts stands the 
"Journal-Chronicle" of today. 

Any history of Steele county newspapers would be incom- 
plete without mention of E. A. Brown, foreman of the "Journal- 
Chronicle," and a stockholder in the Journal-Chronicle Company, 
for Mr. Brown has been in the printing business in Owatonna 
continuously for a longer time than any other man not the owner 
of a newspaper. He came to Owatonna in 1885, and since that 
time has served as foreman, first on the "People's Press," later 
on the "Journal," then on the "Chronicle," and finally on the 
"Journal-Chronicle." He is an expert in his line, and so regarded 
by the other members of the Journal-Chronicle Company, and 
the printers' fraternity generall}'. 

PEOPLE'S PRESS. 

The first issue of this paper made its appearance on Wednes- 
day, September 2. 1874, as an eight-column folio. It was estab- 
lished by B. E. Darby and N. E. Lemen, under the firm name of 
Darby & Lemen. 

Although the name of Mr. Lemen appears as one of the pro- 
prietors of the "Press," he was not an active partner, and on 
September 16, 1874, his name was dropped from the head of the 
columns, and that of B. E. Darby appeared as sole editor and 
proprietor. Mr. Lemen had been running a paper at Kasson, 
Dodge county, and when the "People's Press" was established 
he sold Mr. Darby the material with which the "Press" office 
was then furnished and agreed to get out the first issue. In 
this, however, he failed, as Mr. Darby arrived before that time, 
and the first number of the "Press" made its appearance through 
his exertions. Mr. Lemen never moved to Owatonna. 

Mr. Darby continued the publication of the paper alone until 
January 6, 1874, when L. C. Martin became associated with him 
as partner, under the firm name of Darby & Martin. Mr. Martin 
came here from Prairie du Chien, Wis., and worked as a printer 
for Mr. Darby during his first year's residence here. In March, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1017 

1876, the day of publication was changed from Wednesday to 
Saturday. On March 9, 1878, Mr. Darby bought out his part- 
ner's interest, and the firm of Darby & Martin was dissolved, 
Mr. Darby again assuming full ownership. 

October 4, 1878, the day of publication was again changed, 
this time to Friday. On October 26, 1878, the "Press" was en- 
larged and the form changed to a six-column quarto. When the 
paper was started the office occupied rooms in the Bixby build- 
ing, on Bridge street. A year later it was moved to H. R. 
Moor's brick block, which was then occupied by Searles' hard- 
ware store. In April, 1880, the "Press" office was removed to 
Lord's block on the east side of Cedar street. 

On June 26, 1885, the "People's Press" absorbed a paper 
which had been published for some time previous at Blooming 
Prairie, under the name of the "Tribune." Under the arrange- 
ment made, the "Press" filled out the "Tribune's" subscription 
and advertising contracts, and started a Blooming Prairie de- 
partment. 

The "People's Press" has always steadfastly held to the 
Democratic faith in political matters, yet it is a local paper in 
every sense. The paper has never missed an issue since its first 
number. All official matters have always been published, whether 
the "Press" was the official paper of the county or not; yet it 
has been the official paper several years in its history. The 
"Press" wields a powerful influence, and is recognized as one 
of the ablest and most active exponents of Democratic ideas in 
the state. 

The "People's Press" was the first newspaper in Steele county 
and in this part of the state to cover the county by sending out 
each week a representative to the small adjoining towns on the 
trains and securing the news of interest of each town without 
the help of any local correspondent. This visiting of every little 
town in the county put the "People's Press" in close touch with 
the news and people of the entire county, and resulted in a very 
large and increasing circulation. 

March 13, 1903, Benjamin E. Darby associated with himself 
his son, George F. Darby, who became the editor of the "People's 
Press," and his son, Harry B. Darby, who became the foreman 
of the newspaper and job printing office, Benjamin E. Darby 
remaining the publisher of the "People's Press" and sole pro- 
prietor of the newspaper and job printing business. These sons 
had been brought up in the business, and while attending school 
as boys learned the trade in the office evenings and Saturdays, 
and when they graduated from school were fairly good practical 
printers. 

George P. Darby was a graduate of Owatonna High School 



1018 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

in Latin Scientific Course in 1894, and Harry B. Darby gradu- 
ated from Pillsbury Academy in 1898 in the Latin Scientific 
Course. George F. Darby is a great reader of newspapers, 
magazines and good books, and a good news gatherer and an 
interesting writer. 

Harry B. Darby has given his entire attention to the mechan- 
ical department of the newspaper and to job printing, and is a 
capable and successful foreman and a very capable business man. 

April 4, 1908, Benjamin E. Darby purchased of W. L. Buck- 
sen a No. 5 Mergenthaler linotype typesetting machine, which 
Mr. Bucksen had purchased the year previous, and which is a 
fine, modern, up-to-date machine. 

William H. Darby, third son of Benjamin E. Darby, was 
given charge of this business as manager, and the name, Buck- 
sen Typesetting Company, was continued. 

In 1908, William H. Darby graduated from the Owatonna 
High School in the English Scientific Course. He understands 
liow to run the Linotype machine and knows how to keep it in 
running order. The Bucksen Typesetting Company does all the 
typesetting for the "People's Press" newspaper and job office; 
also the newspaper composition for several other newspapers, 
and such brief and book work as comes in from the printing 
trade. 

The "People's Press" has been regularly issued as a ten-page 
newspaper, pasted together at the back, since January 11, 1901. 
Previous to that date it had been an eight-page, six-column 
quarto for many years. Each issue of the "People's Press" now 
contains editorial correspondence from Ellendale, Hope, Bloom- 
ing Prairie, Bixby, Pratt. Meriden, Havana and Anderson, Steele 
county ; from Geneva, Freeborn county, and from Claremont, 
Dodge county. It contains all the local news of any importance 
which takes place in any part of Steele county, and all the most 
important news of Ellington, Claremont, Ripley and W'estfield, 
Dodge count}'. 

OUR PASTIME. 

A weekly paper bearing this title was established at Owa- 
tonna, in 1875, by the Soper Brothers, J. A. and W. B. Soper. It 
was a four-column folio, neatly printed and well edited, the sub- 
scription price being 50 cents per year. The paper was con- 
tinued, being in the meantime enlarged to double the size under 
which it was started, for about one j-ear, when the name was 
changed to the "Weekly Review," and under this name it flour- 
ished for something like another year. During the time A. H. 
Lewis became associated with the Soper Brothers, and the firm 
name became Soper Brothers & Lewis. This arrangement only 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1019 

continued for about six months, when the "Review" was sold 
to Luther Bixby. Lewis' connection with the paper assumed a 
variety of characters, in turn being that of a partner, a lessor, 
editor on salary, and finally terminated. After this, for a time, 
Mr. Bixby employed S. C. Harris as editor and eventually the 
paper was moved to Minneapolis and became the "Temperance 
Review." 

MORNING STAR. 

This was the name of a small daily started at Owatonna, in 
January, 1876, by Hanson & Howe, two energetic young men. 
It was only continued for a very short time. 

DAILY HERALD. 

This paper was started by the Sopor brothers in 1879, with 
S. C. Harris as editor. It was a small paper, a four-column 
folio, and was issued daily for about three or four months, when 
it was changed to a weekly, and became the "Steele County 
Herald." The paper was enlarged to a four-column quarto. 
The first issue of this paper bore the date of April 6, 1880. 
About a year later it was enlarged to a five-column quarto. 
Soper brothers continued the publication of the "Herald" until 
February 12, 1886, when it was consolidated with F. T. Drebert's 
paper, the "Journal," and the name of the paper became the 
"Journal and Herald," with Drebert & Soper brothers as pro- 
prietors. A history of this paper has already been given. 

OWATONNA TRIBUNE. 

The "Owatonna Tribune" was established August 30, 1907, 
by the Soper-Merchant Printing Company. On January 1, 1908, 
Mr. Merchant withdrew, since which time the business of the 
paper has been conducted by the present owners, the Soper 
Printing Company. The paper is independent in politics. 

ELLENDALE EAGLE. 

The "Ellendale Eagle" was founded by J. F. Adams and 
George H. Chase, both of White, S. D., and the first issue was 
published in six-column quarto size, two pages home print, 
March 28, 1901. The second of May following, Mr. Chase dis- 
posed of his interest to George W. Delany, also of White S. D., 
by whom the paper was conducted under the firm name of 
Adams & Delany. September 19 of the same year, Mr. Adams 
disposed of his interest in the business to Mr. Delany, and on 
October 4 the latter sold a half interest to R. J. Dabell, at that 
time the local townsite agent and cashier of the Security State 



1020 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Bank. Up to this time the paper had no plant to speak of, and 
the press work was done in Albert Lea and the greater part of 
the job work sent to Owatonna. With the advent of the firm of 
Delany & Dobell, a complete plant was purchased and the num- 
ber of pages of home print increased from two to four. March 
1, 1902, the business was purchased by C. C. Campbell, of Brook- 
ings, S. D., the present publisher, who changed the paper tcr 
the seven-column six-page form in which it is now issued. Dur- 
ing the first days of its existence the "Eagle" had many abiding 
places, one which it occupied for a couple of years being now in 
use as an automobile garage. At present it occupies commo- 
dious quarters of its own in a good location on the main business 
street of the village. C. C. Campbell, the present proprietor, is 
a good, capable business man, being both a good job printer and 
a good editor. The newspaper, the "Ellendale Eagle," is a credit 
to Ellendale and well deserves the success it is achieving under 
its present able management. In politics it is Republican. 

BLOOMING PRAIRIE TIMES. 

The "Blooming Prairie Times" was issued for the first time 
on May 18, 1893. It was owned by a corporation under the 
name of the Times Printing Company, the stockholders being 
mostly business men of Blooming Prairie. W. M. Dynes was 
the first editor. The paper was published from the first as an 
eight-page paper, and has retained its original form. February 
7, 1895, W. H. Annett, of Spencer, Iowa, became owner and 
editor, but remained with the paper only a few months, until 
October 22 of the same year, when it was sold to W. L. Buck- 
sen, of Owatonna. who also became the editor. On August 2, 
1897, two young men of St. Ansgar, la., Albert Jeglum and K. 
Steenberg, bought the paper. Thej^ published the paper for six 
weeks, when it became the property of J. C. Brainerd, with Will- 
iam Merchant as editor, on September 17. On October 11 of 
the same year, Theodore P. Fagre purchased the plant and stood 
by for almost a year, W. L. Bucksen again becoming owner on 
July 27, 1898. Mr. Bucksen this time remained at the helm for 
almost six years, until June 1. 1906, when Theodore P. Fagre, 
who had settled in the village and been engaged in the general 
merchandise business, again turned his attention to journalistic 
efforts and became editor, with Samuel A. Rask as part owner 
of the paper. Mr. Fagre is the present owner and editor. 

It will thus be seen that the "Times" has been a "football of 
circumstances," having been kicked about considerably, and has 
changed hands seven times during its existence of seventeen 
years. Its life has proven the prevalent notion that it is difficult 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1031 

for one who has once entered Ihe newspaper field to stay out 
of it, as Mr. Bucksen owned tlie paper twice, and Mr. Fagre is 
now owning it the second time. The paper was run for many- 
years on independent lines as far as party politics were con- 
cerned, but when Mr. Bucksen became its owner again in 1898 
the paper began to lean toward Republicanism, and at present 
it is an outspoken organ of Republican principles and policies. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

NATIONAL GUARD. 

History of Company I, Second Infantry, Minnesota National 
Guard— Its Honors and Efficiency— Muster In— First Offi- 
cers—Changes in Officers— Erecting the Armory — Social 
and Disciplinary Advantages — Conclusion. 

Owatonna's crack military organization. Company I. Second 
Regiment of Infantry, Minnesota National Guard, deserves a 
place in the history of Steele county for especial reasons, in addi- 
tion to the fact of its existence for twelve years during the time 
when the National Guard was undergoing marked rejuvei.aL.on 
and improvement as a means of national defense. These espe- 
cial reasons which have made the company notable are such as 
pertain to the record of this command alone and make it unique 
among the National Guard companies of the state. 

From the time it was mustered into service, this company 
has continuously shown remarkable ambition. From the first 
it claimed first place for efficiency in the regiment to which it 
was assigned, and that ranking it has jealously guarded ever 

since. 

In 1902, at a time in the history of the guard when competi- 
tive markings were given the various companies at the annual 
inspection, Company I won the distinction of being declared the 
best company in the state, and it was the first company working 
under the disadvantages of a lone company in a small city which 
had ever achieved this distinction, which usually went to one 
of the companies in the large cities possessing superior advan- 
tages in the form of a large armory, club rooms, etc. The first 
rank rating came as the result of an inspection at Camp Lake- 
view, where all companies were upon an equal footing. The 
inspection markings took into account not only accuracy of 
drill movements, but general efficiency, marksmanship, discipline, 
care of public property and knowledge of the various duties of 
the soldier. 

But Company I did not rest upon these laurels, though it had 
no opportunity to win them again as the system of competitive 
markings was abolished soon after. Ever since that time the 
company has maintained an average of efficiency which has 
ranked it year after year as one of the five companies rated first 

1022 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1023 

class, out of from twenty-nine to forty company organizations 
in the Minnesota National Guard. 

This sustained record, during a time when the Guard was 
undergoing vast improvement, is one, we believe, not equaled 
by the record of any other company in the state. All companies 
have 3'ears when they are good and years when they slump in 
form, but Company I is known by every ofificer in the Guard 
as a company that always is and always has been first class. 

This record has naturally brought distinction to the city in 
which the company has its home, has spoken well for the general 
character of the city's young men from whom the company has 
been recruited, and has reflected credit upon the citizenship of 
Owatonna for the evident support and encouragement given the 
company. 

Another distinction belonging to the company is that it was 
the first company in the history of the Minnesota National Guard 
to manifest the enterprise to build its own armory, and until 
1910 it was the only company in the state owning its own 
armory. The armory property is valued at about $11,000, and 
is located on west Vine street. The building is 100 by 64 feet, 
and has a 32 by 66-foot lawn space in front, on which it is hoped 
some day to erect a suitable addition for offices and club rooms. 
The armory was built when the company was but three years old, 
through the financial efiforts of the members of the company, 
aided by generous contributions from business men and others. 

The company was mustered into the service in 1898, after 
Owatonna had in vain attempted to gain representation in one 
of the regiments sent into the Spanish-American war. A com- 
pany of 140 men was raised for the Fifteenth Minnesota Vol- 
unteer Infantry, but political reasons led the governor to ignore 
it. Finally came the Indian outbreak at Leach lake, in which 
Major Wilkinson and several men of the regular army lost their 
lives. The settlers in that part of the state became frantic with 
alarm, and it was brought home to the governor and the people 
of the state that they had no military protection, all the Guard 
regiments being in the United States service in the war. 

Governor Clough thereupon created the Fourth Infantry Re- 
serve Regiment of the Guard, and Owatonna provided Company 
G of this regiment, which later, as will appear, became Company 
I of the Second Regiment. 

The company was mustered in October 22, 1898, with Clayton 
H. Stearns, an experienced former guard officer, as captain ; W. 
E. McClintock, another former guard officer, as first lieutenant, 
and Emil W. Theimer as second lieutenant. Lieutenant Mc- 
Clintock resigned within a few weeks, owing to the pressure of 
private business, and at about the same time, on November 25, 



1024 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Captain Stearns was promoted to be a major of the Fourth Regi- 
ment. The resulting promotions made Lieutenant Theimer cap- 
tain ; Sergeant Harry C. Howe, first lieutenant, and Sergeant W. 
C. V. Nelson, second lieutenant, all being commissioned on De- 
cember 20, 1898. Major Stearns a little later became lieutenant 
colonel of the regiment. 

Under these officers the company made an excellent record 
at the first annual encampment of the regiment, but the uncer- 
tainties of its position made its maintenance, like the other com- 
panies of the regiment, very difficult. The equipment provided 
by the state was very meager, and the Fourth Regiment had 
failed to receive recognition from the legislature so that it could 
become a regular part of the state's military force. These con- 
ditions, coupled with Captain Theimer's unavoidable absence 
from the city at this critical time, finally brought the company, 
in the early part of the year I'JOO, to a condition wiicrein strenu- 
ous cfiforts were necessary to save the organization. 

The result of these efforts made by the loyal and enthusiastic 
members, resulted in Mr. Anton Schaefer's being induced to ac- 
cept the captaincy. Captain Theimer having resigned on March 
28. While Mr. Schaefer had had no military experience, he was 
a natural leader of men. a fine athlete, anrl of exceptionally fine 
character as a gentleman and as a good citizen. His acceptance 
of the captaincy immediately aroused the interest of the leading 
young men of the city, who, to the niunber of nearly thirty, en- 
listed in the company. 

The failure of the legislature to provide any support for the 
Fourth Regiment meantime had left the situation very critical, 
but Company G was fortified against official dissolution by rea- 
son of its record and condition of efficiency. Consequently, when 
the regiment finally fell to pieces in April, 1900, the company 
was transferred to fill a vacancy in the Second Regiment, and 
became Company I of that regiment. At the very first encamp- 
ment with the Second Regiment, the fine spirit and efficiency 
of the company attracted so much comment and praise that the 
company immediately assumed rank as the crack company of 
the regiment. This ranking it has never relinquished. 

At this point a digression should be made to mention that 
from its incei)tion the company had maintained high ideals of 
soldierly conduct and duty, and these, consistently maintained 
and added to by experience, created for the company traditions 
and an esprit dc corps which formed an unshakable foundation 
for I lie }'ears to come. 

It was under Captain Schaefer, aided by his capable officers. 
Lieutenants Howe and Nelson, who were fine drillmasters, that 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1025 

the company won its distinction of first place in the State Guard, 
in 1902. 

Second Lieutenant Nelson resigned on January 12, 1903, be- 
cause of removal from the city, and was succeeded by Sergeant 
Herbert W. Vinton. 

First Lieutenant Howe resigned October 22, 1903, because 
of the pressure of his private business. His loss was a severe 
one to the company, as he was most enterprising as well as a 
very capable officer. He was succeeded as first lieutenant by 
Lieutenant Vinton, and First Sergeant Herbert F. Luers became 
second lieutenant. 

These resignations were soon followed, on April 12, 1904, by 
that of Captain Schaefer, who surrendered the command in the 
loyal belief that his continual absence from the city, he being a 
traveling salesman, was a handicap to the company. His resig- 
nation was a most discouraging blow, and one which many com- 
panies could not have survived; but Company I's traditions and 
esprit de corps then, as since, proved it to be too well organized 
to be easily set back. 

The unanimous choice of the company for captain fell upon 
Second Lieutenant Herbert F. Luers, who thereby rose to the 
grade of captain from that of sergeant within a period of six 
months. He was commissioned April 25, 1904, as was also the 
new second lieutenant, Minot J. Brown, who was invited from 
civil life to take this commission. 

Under Captain Luers the company continued to hold its posi- 
tion in the advance of the great progress being made by the entire 
Guard. The debt which remained on the army was reduced from 
$4,000 to $2,700; and in addition the armory roof was replaced, 
a new hardwood floor laid, and the interior of the building dec- 
orated, all at a cost of over $1,200. 

First Lieutenant Vinton resigned August 1, 1906, because of 
removal from the city, and Second Lieutenant Brown was pro- 
moted to his place. Sergeant Albert E. Butsch was promoted to 
be second lieutenant. 

Captain Luers remained in command for si.x years, the long- 
est service of any of the company's commanders, and on July 11 
resigned because of that reason which has lost the Guard so 
many officers — the pressure of private business. He proved his 
intense interest and loyalty to the company, however, by imme- 
diately enlisting as a private in the ranks. 

The choice of the company for the captaincy fell upon Sec- 
ond Lieutenant Butsch, who was formally elected in September, 
1910, Lieutenant Brown having declined to consider taking the 
captainc)'. Sergeant Hugo B. Theimer, a brother of former 
Captain E. W. Theimer, was elected second lieutenant. 



1026 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

The new captain is, next to Captain Lueis, the oldest member 
of the company, having enlisted in March, 1900. He is a sub- 
stantial business man, the junior member of the firm of C. Butsch 
& Son, hardware dealers, and enjoys the entire respect of the 
community in general, as well as of the men of the company. 
He has been one of the most valuable members of the company, 
both as a soldier and in rendering loyal service in many ways 
outside the regular duties of a member, and there is no question 
but that under his command the company will maintain its high 
ideals and position at the front. 

What Company I has meant to Owatonna. aside from the 
reputation it has given the city, may be estimated from the fact 
that over 500 young men have received a measure of its fine 
training and discipline, during the twelve years of the company's 
existence. 

What this means may be further illuminated by the state- 
ment of the fact that, not by order but by force of tradition, 
liquor is never allowed either in the armory or upon the company 
street in camp, and the use of vile language in the company's 
quarters is frowned upon by common consent. This is signifi- 
cant of the place the organization holds in the afifection and re- 
spect of its members, and of what it means to be, or to have been, 
a member of Company I of Owatonna. 

The company has always been prominent in the social life of 
Owatonna, and it is noteworthy that its inspections by superior 
officers are always attended and witnessed by large numbers of 
the leading citizens and their families, who feel a most cordial 
interest in and respect for Company I. 



PART IV-BIOGRAPHICAL 



BIOGRAPHICAL 



John H. Adair, one of the leading- physicians of Owatonna, 
was among the first white children born in Steele county, having 
first seen the light of day in Havana township, Jidy 26, 1858. His 
parents, Robert and I'lora (Hunter) Adair, were sturdy old pio- 
neers, of Highland Scotch ancestry. Dr. Adair attended the 
schools of his neighborhood, graduated from Pillsbury Academy, 
and then completed a course in Carlton College, at Northfield, 
Winn. In 1880 he went to Chicago, entered the Rush Medical 
College, and graduated from that institution in 1883. He began 
to practice at Winnebago City, Minn., in 1883, but one year 
later came to Owatonna, where he has since remained. Dr. Adair 
has served in several offices of a local nature, was county coroner 
for many years, and has assisted in the progress of the city as a 
member of a number of important municipal boards. Being thor- 
oughly ethical in his practice, Dr. Adair has allied himself with 
the county, state and national medical societies, and has kept well 
abreast of his time in all departments of medicine and surgery. 
He was married September 15, 1887, to Mary Lundy Davidson, 
and this union has been blessed with two daughters, Flelen and 
Catherine. 

Robert Adair and his brother, John Adair, were the first white 
settlers of Havana township. They were born in the Highlands 
of Scotland, and after coming to America, lived for a time in 
Canada. They came from Racine county, Wisconsin, where they 
had lived five years, to Steele county, in 1855, by wagon, arriving 
July 15, 1855. They became prominent citizens, occupied a num- 
ber of important local offices, and were universally esteemed. 
Robert died June 7, 1877, and John ])asscd away August 4, 1897. 

John W. Adsit, the genial and accommodating hotel propri- 
etor of Owatonna, is a native of Steele county, born in Aurora 
township, December 12, 1869. He was reared on the farm, at- 
tended the public schools in his neighborhood, and then took a 
course at Pillsbury Academy. After leaving school, he spent 
three years buying and selling live stock, and then until 1895 
was in the boot and slioe business with his brothers, Charles 
and W. B. Adsit, under the firm name of Adsit Brothers. In 
the meantime, in 1900, tlie subject of this sketch became inter- 

1029 



1030 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

ested in the hotel business. In 1905 he accordingl}- disposed of 
his mercantile interests, and since that date, in partnership with 
Dr. G. G. Alorehouse, under the firm name of Morehouse & 
Adsit, has devoted himself to the management of the Owatonna 
Hotel, conducting it on the American plan with great success. 
Mr. Adsit is a public-spirited man and takes an active interest 
in affairs looking to the welfare of the community. He has 
served several years on the Public Library Board, and was one 
of the committee of the Hospital Board to select and purchase 
the site for its location. He is a member of the Commercial Club 
of Owatonna, and is identified with the Knights of Pythias, Inde- 
pendent Order of Odd Fellows, and Yeomen. He is independent 
in his political opinions and actions, and carefully weighs the 
issues of each campaign, choosing to consider the merits of each 
platform and the character of each candidate, rather than to 
blindly follow the dictates of party leaders. The family attends 
the Congregational Church. On September 29, 1896, Mr. Adsit 
married Miss Effie L., daughter of Dr. E. and Mrs. Lorinda 
(McRostie) Morehouse. Mr. and Mrs. Adsit have two children: 
Eugenia L. and Irene J. 

Dr. William W. Arms, a skilled optician of Owatonna, is a 
native-born son of the city where he now makes his head- 
quarters, having first seen the light of day February 22, 1870. 
He received his early education in the public schools of Owa- 
tonna. This was supplemented by a course at Pillsbury Aca- 
demy. After leaving the academy, he attended the Brad- 
ley Polytechnic Institute, of Peoria, Illinois. He is also a 
graduate of the American Neurophthalmology, Los Angeles, 
California. After graduating from this institution, he located 
at Owatonna, where he has since remained, doing a large and 
flourishing business. Aside from his regular office trade he 
has a circuit of towns which he visits every month, doing 
optometry work. He is the only person in Steele county 
practicing exclusively in this line of work. Dr. Arms was mar- 
ried June 29, 1904, at Owatonna, to Miss Nellie R., daughter of 
Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Ring, of Medford, Steele county, Minn. The 
mother died December 13, 1904. Two children have blessed the 
tmion of Dr. and Mrs. Arms, viz.: George E., born December 3, 
1906; Edward R., born December 19. 1908. The pleasant family 
home is located at the corner of Flowervale street and Riverside 
avenue. Dr. Arms affiliates with the Republican party. In relig- 
ious faith, he is a Baptist. He takes an active interest in church 
work and has long been a member of that denomination. He is 
also a member of the I. O. O. F.. a member of Minnesota State 
Optometry Association, and a member of the American Optical 
Association. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1031 

George W. and Abigail (Hughes) Arms, parents of Dr. Will- 
iam W. Arms, were natives, respectively, of Wisconsin and Can- 
ada, coming to Owatonna in 1861. The father is a retired car- 
penter and contractor. 

James Adair, manager of the Owatonna Creamery Supply 
Company, is one of the rising young men of the city, and in the 
eight years that he has been here has already established himself 
as a reliable and efficient business man. He was born in Wav- 
erly, Iowa, September 13, 1870, and received his education in the 
public schools, supplemented with a high-school course, from 
which latter he graduated in 1890. After teaching a few years 
in his native state, he began work in a creamery supply house, 
where he remained five years. In January, 1896, he moved to 
Albert Lea, Minn., and there remained five years longer, acquir- 
ing a proficiency in his business which might well be envied by 
many an older man. In September, 1901, after carefully looking 
over the field, he decided that Owatonna, as the center of a rich 
dairying district, was a suitable field for a creamery, whereupon 
he came here and established the Owatonna Creamery Supply 
Company, of which he has since been the manager. He has asso- 
ciated himself with the life of the community, has a pleasant 
home at 246 East Rice street, and has affiliated with the Odd Fel- 
lows and the United Commercial Travelers. He is a self-made 
man, and owes all that he is and has to his own faithful efforts. 
Mr. Adair was married October 23, 1898, at Waverly, Iowa, to 
Ella Bachcr, and to their happy union have been born three 
children: Helen M., Marion L. and Robert S., all at home. The 
family faith is that of the Methodist Episcopal church. James 
and Elizabeth (Stuart) Adair, parents of James Adair, came to 
Iowa from New York state in 1857, and engaged in farming. 
In 1881, the former was elected shcrifl' of Bremer county. He 
died in Waverly, Iowa, October 29, 1886, his wife having died 
May 30. 1872. 

Reynold H. Bach, one of the honored e.x-mayors of Owatonna, 
has taken an active interest in the business and civic progress of 
the city. Born in Marion, Olmstead county, April 12, 1868, he 
there received his education. He dates his residence in Owa- 
tonna from 1891, when he came here and opened a small retail 
music store, which grew and prospered. In 1907, Mr. Bach made 
his first venture in the jewelry business, which he has since con- 
ducted, still continuing, however, to handle music supplies of all 
kinds. He now has a well equipped, well appointed store, and 
carries a large stock of first-class goods. A branch store of this 
concern, known as the Bach Music Company, located in Roches- 
ter, Minn., is in charge of A. M. Bach, a brother of the subject 
of this sketch. Ex-Mayor Bach has met with marked success in 



1032 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

all his undertakings and is possessed of those qualities which 
count for popularity and respect in the communit}'. He served 
the city of Owatonna two years as alderman of the First ward, 
and in this capacity did such good service that he was the unani- 
mous choice of his party for mayor, and was elected by a goodly 
majority. Mr. Bach and family are active members of the Con- 
gregational church. In politics he affiliates with the Republican 
party. He belongs to the A. F. & A. M., the K. of P., the M. W. 
A., and the U. C. T. He is also a member of the Owatonna Com- 
mercial Club, and of the National, Alinnesota and Owatonna 
Automobile Clubs. Mr. Bach was married November 15, 1894, 
to Jessie Newsalt, daughter of Judge Jacob Newsalt. now de- 
ceased. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Bach has been blessed with 
three children : Lorraine, born December 26, 1904, and Con- 
stance L., born October 22, 1906, and one that died in infancy. 
The family residence is pleasantly located at 503 South Elm 
street. The parents of Reynold H. Bach, Reinhold and Barbara 
(Bauer) Bach, were born in Germany, and came to America in 
early childhood. The father spent his early life in Wisconsin, 
but in 1867 moved to Olmstead county, Minnesota, and took up 
agricultural pursuits on the tract of land which he still owns and 
conducts. Mr. Bach is a lineal descednant of John Sebastian 
Bach, the famous musician. 

Armin J. Bosshard, auditor of Steele county, is a lifelong resi- 
dent of this vicinit}-, having been born in Meriden township, 
November 25, 1878, son of Gottfried and Caroline (Theile) 
Bosshard, natives, respectively, of Switzerland and Germany, 
the former coming to America in 1851 and the latter in 1849. 
Armin J. received his early education in the district schools of 
his neighborhood, and in 1892 entered Pillsbury Academy at 
Owatonna, graduating in 1896. He then started his career 
as an accountant, working two years in the First State Bank 
of Owatonna, two years in the First National Bank and one 
year in the Farmers' National Bank. In 1903, for a short 
period of about two years, re resumed agricultural pursuits on 
the old homestead. In 1905 he was appointed deputy county 
auditor and was serving in this position in the fall of 1906, when 
he was elected to his present position, being re-elected in the 
fall of 1908. Mr. Bosshard is prominent in fraternal circles, and 
is a high degree Mason, a Knight of Pythias, an Elk and a Mod- 
ern Woodman. Public-spirited and progressive, he has taken an 
active interest in the welfare of Steele county, and has been 
closely identified with the dairy interests, being a stockholder in 
the Golden Rule Co-operative Creamery Association of Meriden 
township. He is also secretary of the North Star Poultry Asso- 
ciation. September 18, 1907, Mr. Bosshard was married to Anna, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1033 

daughter of John Meschkc, and the youui; couple are pleasantly 
domiciled at 415 South Oak street. 

Gottfried Bosshard was born in Germany and came to Amer- 
ica with his parents in 1851, locating in Wisconsin. Ten years 
later he enlisted in Company D, Ninth Wisconsin Volunteer 
Infantry and served three and one-half years with valor. In 
1867 he came to Steele county, purchased 160 acres in Meriden 
township and started successful farming operations, gradually 
adding to his place until he owned 255 acres. In 1893 he retired 
from active life and moved to Owatonna, where he now resides, 
enjoying an honored old age. 

John S. Brick, a prosperous merchant, of the firm of Brick 
& Misgen, Owatonna, is a native born son of Steele county, 
having first seen the light of day in Berlin township, December 
29, 1872, son of Thomas and Mary (Shea) Brick. He received 
his early education in the district schools of his neighborhood 
and Pillsbury Academy and later took charge of the old home- 
stead until 1901, being most successful in his operations. In 
1901, he determined to start in commercial life, and accordingly 
purchased a furniture establishment in partnership with M. R. 
Hastings. This business relation continued pleasantly for four 
years, after which Mr. Hastings sold his interest to F. J. Bush. 
October 15. 1909, Mr. Bush sold his interest to Charles M. 
Misgen. The company now carries on an extensive furniture 
business, and also conducts a well appointed funeral directing 
and embalming department. Mr. Brick is a Democrat in poli- 
tics, and attends the Roman Catholic Church. He is also promi- 
nent in fraternal circles, being a member of the C. O. F., the 
A. O. H., the K. of C. and the Y. of A. Mr. Brick is an enter- 
prising and public-spirited man who has risen in life by his 
own efforts, and being 3'et in the [irime of his activities, he has 
yet a splendid future. 

Thomas Brick, an early settler of Steele county, was born 
in Ireland, and from there migrated to the United States and 
engaged in railroad work. In 1856 he came to Steele county 
and took u]) his abode on a claim of 160 acres in Berlin town- 
ship, which he pre-empted. Later he purchased another quarter 
section, and on this farm of 320 acres carried on general agri- 
cultural operations, bringing the place to a high stage of devel- 
opment, improvement and cultivation. He was actively engaged 
in farming up to within a few days of the time of his death. In 
the family were eight children: John S., an Owatonna merchant; 
Mary, who died in youth; Ellen, who is in a convent; Catherine, 
who lives in Owatonna ; Margaret, Susan and Elizabeth, who 
are dead; William, who lives on the old homestead, and Thomas, 
who is a traveling salesman out of Owatonna. 



1034 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Lawrence C. Brown is a well known mechanic of Owatonna, 
Minnesota, who has made his own way in the world. He is a 
native of Washington county, Wisconsin, where he was born 
December 6, 1867. His father and mother, Peter and Margaret 
(Donsback) Brown were natives of Germany, wiio came from 
the Fatherland in 1846 and settled in ^Vashington county, Wis- 
consin, where the father took up a tract of land, which he 
subdued and improved and where he made a home and reared 
his family and carried on general farming until 1907, when he 
retired and moved to Fond du Lac county. The mother passed 
away October 21, 1903. Our subject grew up on the home farm 
in Wisconsin, having the usual experiences of the Western 
farmer boy, and after leaving the district school worked on the 
farm until he was eighteen years old. He then learned the 
blacksmith's trade in his native county and worked at it there 
some four years. On May 4, 1889, he took up his residence at 
Owatonna, Minnesota, where he followed his trade working for 
different parties seven years. On October 1, 18S)6, Mr. Brown 
opened a shop and began business on his own account, and has 
carried it on with marked success, having become widely known 
as an expert horseshoer. He conducted the business in his 
own name until April, 1904, when his brother, H. J. Brown, 
came in and since then this up-to-date horseshoeing shop has 
been conducted under the firm name of Brown Brothers. Since 
March 14, 1910, Mr. Brown has operated the shop alone, his 
brother moving to Denhoff, North Dakota, where he engaged in 
the same business. , 

Mr. Brown is a Democrat in politics and has represented the 
second ward of Owatonna in the city council. In 1910 he was 
elected a member of the council at large for a term of four 
years. He is active in fraternal societies, and is identified 
with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Maccabees, the 
Eagles and Knights of Pythias. October 13, 1892, Mr. Brown 
married Miss Augusta Bartsch whose parents were natives of 
Germany. The father, John Bartsch, was in the hotel business 
at Mayville, Dodge county, Wisconsin, and thence moved to 
Minnesota where both he and the mother died. 

Lewis C. Berg, of Owatonna, a veteran of the Civil War, 
was born in Norway, August 23, 1838, and there received his 
earlier education, coming to America with his mother in 1845. 
After attending the public schools of W'isconsin for a time, he 
learned the moulders' trade at Beaver Dam. in the same state, 
and was engaged in this business at the outbreak of the Civil 
War. In 1862 he enlisted in Company A, Twenty-eight Wiscon- 
sin Volunteer Infantry, as a musician and served three years, 
being discharged at Brownsville, Texas, and mustered out at 




L. ( . lilKlW \ 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1035 

Madison, Wis. For a short time Mr. Berg lived at Hartland, 
Wis., and in October, 1865, came to Owatonna, where he became 
a moulder for Lowth & Howe, Mr. Lowth having been his former 
employer in Wisconsin. He remained with this firm through 
various changes in ownership, and in 1888, when it was incor- 
porated under the present title of the Owatonna Manufacturing 
Company, he became ornamenter and painter, which position 
he still holds. In politics Air. Berg is a Republican. For 
eighteen years he served as a member of the Owatonna fire de- 
partment. He is also an enthusiastic worker in the James A. 
Goodwin Post, G. A. R., being now a past commander. A public- 
spirited man in every respect, he has taken a deep interest in 
the welfare of the community in which for so long he has made 
his home. Mr. Berg was married October 29, 1865, at Beaver 
Dam. Wis., to Ellen Lowth, daughter of Edward and Mary 
(DufTy) Lowth, who took up a government claim in Wisconsin 
in the early daj's and carried on general farming until their 
decease. Mrs. Berg was born in Pittsford, Vermont, July 9, 
1842. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Berg is blessed with two 
children : Frank L., who is now a druggist in Minneapolis, and 
Alice M., who is now Mrs. Egbert Brown, of Owatonna. The 
family faith is that of the Episcopal Church. The residence is 
pleasantly located at 240 East Broadway. Charles and Karen 
S. Stave Berg, parents of Lewis C. Berg, were natives of Nor- 
way. The father died in 1840 and the mother came to America 
five years later with her five children, locating in Waukesha 
county, Wisconsin. She died in 1896 at the ripe old age of 
ninety-four. 

Byron P. Chapin, a merchant of Owatonna, was born in 
Courtland county. New York State, March 20, 1851, son of 
Rufus H. and .Abigail S. (Putnam) Chapin, of New York State. 
The parents came west in 1870, locating at Owatonna, where 
the father engaged in the machinery and livery business. He 
continued this business until 1895, wlicn he retired from active 
life. The father died February 4, 1908, the mother passed away 
February 4. 1898. Byron received his early education in New 
York State. After leaving school, he engaged in the livery 
business, which he continued until 1870, when he came west with 
his parents. He purchased 208 acres of land in Havana town- 
ship, Steele county, and engaged in farming which he continued 
until 1888. He then rented the farm and came into the City of 
Owatonna, where he engaged with his father in the livery busi- 
ness until 1892. At this time, he bought twenty-five acres of 
land in the city limits and again took up agricultural pursuits, 
which he followed until April, 1909, when he rented the land 
and bought the second-hand store of J. W. Gillett, which busi- 



1036 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

ness he has continued successfully since. Mr. Chapin was mar- 
ried November 7, 1877, in Havana township to Lena Kate Lan- 
don. She passed awaj' February 5, 1898, leaving three children 
in the care of her husband, viz : George R.. a farmer of Montana ; 
Clara, now Mrs. Charles Stewart, of Montana ; Frank L., also 
living in Montana. Mr. Chapin was married a second time May 
9, 1901, to Miss Myra Greenwood. This union was blessed 
with one child, Elizabeth A. Mr. Chapin believes in the Pro- 
hibitionist part}-. He is a frugal, enterprising and progressive 
business man, who has gained what he posseses by his own 
efforts, a good citizen, well appreciated by all who know him. 
His home is located at 127 East Vine street. 

Guy J. Clefton, an enterprising and popular business man of 
Owatonna, was born in Mukwonago, Wis.. May 9, 1874, son of 
William VV. and Sarah A. (Smith) Clefton, natives of Wisconsin 
and descendants from old New England stock. The father still 
makes his home in Wisconsin. The mother died August 11, 1886. 
Mr. Clefton received his early education in the public schools 
of Wisconsin, after which he took up and learned the plumbing 
and heating business. He came to Faribault in 1890 and in the 
fall of the same year he moved to Owatonna. In 1895 he became 
identified with the Western Supply Company, of St. Paul, acting 
as traveling salesman, selling heating and plumbing supplies. 
He remained with this firm until 1905 whence he purchased an 
interest in the Clefton Plumbing & Heating Compan3% of Owa- 
tonna, with C. J. Clefton. February 1, 1910, they changed from 
a copartnership to a corporation and are now known as the 
Clefton Company ; Guy J. Clefton acting as general manager and 
treastu'er. They sell both wholesale and retail all kinds of 
plumbing, heating, gas and electric supplies, and are doing an 
extensive and constantly growing business in that line. 

The subject of this sketch was married January 5, 1898, at 
Owatonna to Ora Z. Barncard, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Z. 
Barncard, who now reside at St. Paul. Mr. Clefton is a staunch 
Republican. He with his family belong to the Universalist church. 
He is prominent in fraternal circles, belonging to the Masons, B. 
P. O. E., K. of P., and the Commercial Club. Mr. Clefton takes 
an active interest in public life, and is now serving as alderman 
of the first ward. Fle has a pleasant residence at 213 East 
School street. 

William P. Canfield, jiroprietor of the Canfield School of 
Business, Owatonna, was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Sep- 
tember 16, 1864. He is a son of J- Marshal and Mary (Mills) 
Canfield, natives of New York and T\entucky respectively, who 
came to Iowa in the early sixties, locating at Cedar Rapids. The 
father was engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods until 




CrV ,1. ( I.KI'TDN 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1037 

after the Civil War when he established a dyeing and cleaning 
business. He died December 3, 1906. The mother survived 
him and passed away September 5, 1909. William P. received 
his early education in the public schools of Cedar Rapids, which 
was supplemented by a course at the Epworth Seminary, Coe 
College and a course at the Cedar Rapids Business College, 
graduating from the latter institution in January, 1885. His 
talents were recognized and he was engaged as a teacher in the 
commercial department of the above named institution, which 
position he filled for two years. He then went to Richmond, 
Virginia, where he was engaged as teacher in the Smithdcal 
Business College for a short period. He then established a 
business as an expert accountant, remaining in Richmond until 
1891. Owing to illness he returned to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where 
he went to work for the Goodyear Publishing Company, remain- 
ing in their employ for six months, after which he went to 
Stillwater, Minn., and conducted the Stillwater Business College. 
He remained here until the fall of 1897, whence he moved to 
Owatonna and established the Canfield School of Business, which 
he has conducted with success ever since. Mr. Canfield was mar- 
ried September 7, 1888, at Bromley, Marshall county, Iowa, to 
Mary Moore. Five children have blessed their union, viz : Ross 
M.; Paul M.; Faith P.; Dwight R. ; Wyne W., all living with 
their parents. Mr. Canfield affiliates with the Prohibition party. 
He worships at the Methodist-Episcopal church. He is also a 
member of the I. O. O. F. The family reside at 512 East Main 
street. Mr. Canfield is a loyal citizen, a progressive educator, 
and has built up his institution by hard work and persevering 
effort. 

William B. Clarkson, a hustling and progressive citizen of 
Owatonna, Minnesota, was born July 16, 1862, in Bond county, 
Illinois. Shortly after his birth, his parents removed to Alton, 
Illinois, where he was educated in the public schools. Leaving 
school at the age of seventeen, he enlisted as an apprentice boy 
for the term of his minority in the United States navy, receiving 
an honorable discharge and continuous service certificate on his 
twenty-first birthday. He at once adopted the business of selling 
farm machinery and associated himself with his brother. James 
D., at Carthage, Missouri, severing his connections five years 
later to accept employment as a traveling salesman in the same 
line of business, and in this form of occupation he has been 
continuously employed to the present time. He is at present 
associated wiiii the Gale-Monroe Comi)any, of Minneapt)Iis. 
Minn., in charge of their southeast Minnesota territory, and 
has made his home at Owatonna since September 1, 1906, residing 
at 357 East Broadway. The Masonic order claims him as a 



1038 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

valued member, and lie is also identified with the order of 
United Commercial Travelers of America where his activities 
along fraternal lines have been mostly directed. At the time of 
this writing he is serving as Grand Junior Counselor in the Grand 
Council of Minnesota, the Dakotas, Manitoba. Saskatchewan 
and Alberta, United Commercial Travelers of America, one of 
the highest offices in the gift of this organization, and a sincere 
testimonial to the rank he holds in his profession. September 
29, 1886, at Nebraska City, Nebraska, he was married to Edith 
Eugenia Madison, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Madison, 
late of Nebraska City, since deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Clarkson 
have four children: Bessie Belle, a graduate of the Owatonna 
High school and the kindergarten department of the State Nor- 
mal at Winona, Minn.; she is engaged in teaching; Carol Lowell, 
who is an assistant librarian of the Owatonna public library; 
Eugene Douglas, a student in the local High school; and Mil- 
dred Edith, also a student in the local High school. The family 
are loyal supporters of the Congregational church. James and 
Elizabeth (Douglas) Clarkson, parents of William B., were 
natives of England, the father being born in Yorkshire, and the 
mother in Newcastle. Emigrating to America in 1850, thev first 
settled in McDonald county, Illinois, and in 1861 moved to Bond 
county, Illinois, near Greenville, the county seat, all of this time 
being engaged in farming until the fall of 1862 when they moved 
to Alton, Illinois, and entered the hotel business, in which they 
continued until after the close of the War of the Rebellion, later 
engaging in retail merchandising. Mr. James Clarkson (the 
father) passed over in 1874. Mrs. Elizabeth (Douglas) Clarkson 
(the mother) still survives, living at her home in Alton, Illinois. 
Levi A. Disbrow is a real estate dealer at Owatonna, Minn. 
He was born at Alden in McHenry county, Illinois, June 15, 
1848, to Nathan and Nancy (Battey) Disbrow, who were natives 
of the Empire state. Flis father, born in 1816, and a farmer by 
occupation, moved to Illinois in 1834. Lie was the first white 
man to make the trip from Chicago to the head of Lake Geneva 
with team, driving over the Indian trail and fording Fox river 
with the aid of Indians. He established a camp in the woods 
on the banks of Lake Geneva, building a log cabin, and there 
spent the winter of 1834-35. In the spring of 1835 he pre-empted 
a section of land near Alden in McHenry county, Illinois, and 
there established his home, experiencing all the hardships and 
privations and trials incident to pioneer life in a wild, unsettled 
country. But he persevered through all, and improved and culti- 
vated his land and here carried on general farming for fifty years 
and yet lives to enjoy the fruits of his labors. He sold his pos- 
sessions in 1895 and retired from work and now makes his 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1039 

home with his son. lie was an influential and leading man in 
his community and active in all matters looking to the develop- 
ment of the country, and took active part in the local affairs of 
the Republican party in its early history. His wife passed away 
in 1887. Levi A. grew to manhood on his father's farm and 
acquired a good common school education, and continued farm- 
ing till he was twenty-six years old. In the summer of 1887 
he built a creamery at Havana, Minn., which he conducted 
eight years, till his removal to Owatonna. Here he engaged in 
the manufacture of the combined churn and buttermakers some 
three years. For nine years following 1897, Mr. Disbrow gave 
his attention to the real estate trade. In 1906 he returned to 
the manufacturing business in connection with the Perfection 
Churn Manufacturing Company, but a little later sold his inter- 
ests here and resumed buying, selling and dealing in real estate. 
Mr. Disbrow takes an active interest in fraternal societies, being 
identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and 
Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is a Republican in his 
political opinions and action and in religious belief holds to the 
faith of the Methodist-Episcopal Church. On March 14, 1888, 
Mr. Disbrow married Mrs. Lothera Jones, widow of Mr. William 
Jones, deceased, and a daughter of Mr. Robert Hatley, of Havana, 
Illinois. Of two children born to Mr. and Mrs. Disbrow, the 
eldest, Roy R.. is deceased and Archie S. lives with his parents. 
Judge Francis A. Dunham of the Owatonna Municipal court, 
has taken an active interest in the growth and progress of Owa- 
tonna and Steele county. His articles written to give an im- 
petus to local industry have been of good effect, and his work 
in behalf of the various municipal interests of the city have 
been productive of satisfactory results. The part he has taken 
in public life is shown by the fact that he is at the present time 
serving as secretary of the Owatonna Commercial Club, secre- 
tary of the Steele County Street Fair Association, secretary of 
the Owatonna City Hospital Board (resigned, 1910, on account 
of press of other business,) and secretary of the Owatonna Busi- 
ness Men's Club. Francis A. Dunham was born in Faribault, 
Minn., March 1, ]875. son of Cornelius F. and Catherine Dun- 
ham, of English and Irish descent respectively. He spent his 
early boyhood in Owatonna, graduated from the Owatonna High 
school in 1897 and from 1898 to 1901 read law with the Hon. 
Thomas H. Quinn, at Faribault, being admitted to the bar in 
1901. In 1903 he purchased the law library from the late 
C. J. O'Brien, and became a member of the Disbrow, Kinney 
Land Company January 1, 1904. January 1, 1908, he purchased 
the insurance business of that company, and has been in busi- 
ness for himself since that time, enjoying a large patronage. 



1040 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

In 1908 he was elected judge of tlie municipal court of Owatonna, 
and his excellent work in behalf of the peace and order of the 
city won his election to succeed himself in 1910 without oppo- 
sition. 

Harvey S. Dartt is a wide-awake and influential citizen of 
Owatonna, Minnesota. A native of Green Lake county, Wis- 
consin, he was born June 16, 1866, to E. H. S. and Lucretia 
(Brooks) Dartt, who were natives of Vermont and Erie county, 
Pennsylvania, respectively. The father was a school teacher 
in early life and became a noted horticulturist. He went to 
Wisconsin in 1844, and lived there till 1869 when he settled 
with his family at Owatonna, where he entered the nursery 
business and later engaged in the real estate business and be- 
came the proprietor of Dartt's first and second addition to the 
city of Owatonna. Meantime he was interested in horticulture 
and conducted an experimental station for the state until his 
decease, which occurred June 30, 1903. The mother passed 
away January- 21, 1876. Harvey S. attended the public schools 
at Owatonna and graduated from the high school there with the 
class of 1886 and then turned his attention to civil engineering 
which he has since followed with marked success at Owatonna, 
where he has continuously lived, with the exception of nine 
years, during which he traveled for the Northwest Publishing 
Companj', of Des Moines, Iowa. Mr. Dartt made the surveys 
for the Crane Creek ditch in Steele and Waseca counties and 
also for Judicial District No. 1 of Dodge county. Mr. Dartt 
is decidedly a man of affairs and has filled numerous public 
offices at Owatonna. He has served as mayor of the city, as 
alderman two terms, two terms as county surveyor and three 
years as city surveyor, and has been a member of the Owatonna 
Hospital Board. He stands high in fraternal orders, being identi- 
fied with the local Masonic lodge. Knights of Pythias, Independ- 
ent Order of Odd Fellows and Modern Woodmen of America. 
In politics he adheres to Republican principles. On August 26, 
1896, Mr. Dartt married Ella M. Haworth, whose parents, How- 
ard and Margaret (Shelton) Haworth, removed from Indiana, 
their native state, to Fort Dodge, Iowa, where they now reside. 
Mr. and Mrs. Dartt have four children, viz : Mabel L., Donna 
Emir, Walter Scott and Harvey S., Jr., all of whom live at home 
with their parents. 

Christ P. Fynskov, a prominent merchant of Owatonna, was 
born at Madison, Wisconsin, July 24, 1875. son of Peter J. and 
Mary W. Fynskov, natives of Denmark. They emigrated to 
America in 1875, locating at Madison, Wisconsin, where they 
remained for a short time. In 1877 they came to Steele county, 
driving the whole distance by team, they located in Marton 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1041 

township, Steele county, where three years later the father pur- 
chased forty acres of land and engaged in general farming 
for five years. He then sold this first farm and bought eighty 
acres in Havana township ; some years later making an addi- 
tional purchase of eighty acres in Merton township where he 
was engaged in farming until 1902. He then sold the farm and 
went to Douglass county where he bought land ; he also bought 
land in Todd county adjoining the land in Douglass county, mak- 
ing a farm of 270 acres, which he still tills. They were the par- 
ents of nine children, viz: James, contractor and builder of De- 
troit, Michigan; Christ P., the subject of this sketch; Andrew, 
a retired sheep-ranch man, now of Detroit, Michigan; Mary, now 
Mrs. Albert Borderson, of Sebeka, Minnesota; Hans, a ranch- 
man in Dakota ; Anna, now Mrs. Segward Peterson, of St. Paul ; 
Henry. Martin and Ernest, who are all residing with their 
parents. 

The subject of this sketch received his early education in 
the district schools of Steele county. Then came to Owatonna 
where he learned the baker's trade; later he became engaged with 
the Robson Company, of Owatonna, who were conducting a 
dry goods store. He remained with this firm for sixteen years, 
ten years of which time he was department manager and buyer. 
On November 22, 1906, he formed a copartnership with a Mr. 
F. W. Simon. They opened a general store on South Cedar street 
where the)- built up a large business. The firm was known as 
Fynskov & Simon for three years; then Mr. George Webber 
purchased Mr. Simon's interest and the business has since been 
conducted under the firm name of Fynskov & Webber. They 
are both verj' enterprising and popular young men, doing a thriv- 
ing and increasing business. Mr. Fynskov was married June 
22, 1898, at Owatonna, to Helen, daughter of H. C. and Lena 
(Peterson) Larson, natives of Denmark, who emigrated to 
America in 1874, were married here and located in Lemond 
township, Steele county, where they have been engaged in farm- 
ing ever since. They had seven children, namelj-, Theodore, 
who lives at Owatonna; Helen, wife of our subject, was born 
January 9, 1878; Walter, lives in Denver, Colorado; Mary, lives 
at Owatonna; Alfred, who lives at Mankato; Louis and Edith, 
who are residing at home. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Fynskov 
was blessed with two children, Stanley E., born March 25, 1900, 
and Lowell, born March 18, 1904. Mr. Fynskov is a Republican 
in politics and belongs to the Lutheran church. He also belongs 
to a number of fraternal organizations, viz : K. of P., A. O. U. W., 
B. A. Y. The family is domiciled in a pleasant residence at 309 
South Cedar street. 



1043 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Henry F. Fritsch was born in Europe, May 17, 1887, son of 
Frederick and Anna (Simper) FVitsch, natives, of Austria. They 
came to America in 1893 and located at Garner, Iowa, where they 
still reside. Henry F. received his education in Austria and 
came to America with his parents in 1893 ; he attended school 
at Garner for about three years and then entered the studio 
with his father and after lie had learned the business formed 
a partnership with his father, and conducted a branch at Thomp- 
son, Iowa, for one year, when he sold out and bought a studio 
at Mason City, Iowa, in 1905, which he conducted for four 
years when he again sold out and came to Owatonna and pur- 
chased the old Mueller studio at 132 West Vine street. He is 
now the sole owner and proprietor and has met with marked 
success. He was married May 20, 1908, to Miss Adolphina 
Smith, of Garner, Iowa. In politics Mr. Fritsch is an independ- 
ent voter, and in his religious belief he is Catholic. He is a 
member of the I. O. O. F. and of the K. of C. He makes his 
home at his studio on Vine street ; he has won his success by 
his efforts and enjoys the respect of all who knuw liim. 

Charles Green, of Owatonna, was born in Pittsford, Ruth- 
land county, Vermont, May 28, 1853, son of Harvej' and Sophia 
(Segar) Green, natives of Vermont. He came west with his 
parents in 1866. locating in Somerset township, Steele county, 
where the father purchased eighty acres of school land. Fie im- 
proved the land, built a home and followed general and diversi- 
fied farming up to the time of his decease, March 2, 1874. The 
mother died March 13, 1900. Charles received his early edu- 
cation in the district schools of Somerset township. After leav- 
ing school, he worked at Faribault and Owatonna. In 1889 he 
was elected city marshal, which position he filled for seven con- 
secutive years. He then purchased a farm in Medford township 
and engaged in agricultural pursviits for a period of five years. 
At this time he sold the farm, came to the city of Owatonna and 
bought an interest, with Mr. Jefferson, in the livery and city 
bus line business. This business relation continued until 1901, 
when they took in a third partner, Mr. Twiford. They have 
built up a large trade making a specialty of the liver\' business. 
Their efficient service is recognized and they are popular among 
the traveling public. Mr. Green was married October 11, 1884, 
to Mary Layman, who died July 24, 1894, leaving four children 
in the care of her husband, viz: Ellen S., born October 15, 1885, 
married H. H. Peavey of Redwood Falls, Minnesota ; George H., 
born March 24, 1888,' died May 13, 1900; Nora M., born July 29, 
1890, lives at home ; Robert R., born February 18, 1894, also lives 
with his father. Mr. Green married a second time at Owatonna 
September 1, 1895, to Carrie S. Pratt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1043 

Pratt. Their union is blessed with two children, viz: Alice J., 
born March 26, 1897; Mary J., born February 25, 1899. Mr. 
Green is a Democrat. In religious faith he adheres to the Uni- 
versalist church. He is also prominent in fraternal circles, being 
a member of the I. O. O. F.. the B. P. O. E., the M. W. A., the 
W. 0-. \V.. the A. O. U. W. and the F. O. E. He is a loyal 
and highly respected citizen and has twice served his city as 
mayor. The family lives in a pleasant residence located at 506 
South Cedar street. 

C. Hudson Gordon, the leading photographer of Ovvatonna, 
has received high encomiums for his excellent and artistic work, 
taking, as he does, an aesthetic as well as commercial interest in 
his chosen line. He was born in Summit township, Steele 
county, June 4, 1875, son of Charles S. and Viola A. (Sheldon) 
Gordon. He received his education in the public schools, and 
after leaving school engaged in the grocery business with his 
father. In 1899, after the grocery business was disposed of, 
he learned the art of photography and opened a studio, which 
he has since conducted, putting out work of the highest degree 
of excellence. Mr. Gordon was married January 30, 1901, to 
Alice Moran, daughter of Cornelius Moran, and to this union 
has been born one son, Charles Irving, November 7, 1909. Mr. 
Gordon is a Republican in politics and affiliates with the Masonic 
fraternity. 

J. D. Gordon, and his worthy wife, were among the earlier 
settlers in Berlin township, Steele county, taking up their abode 
in that locality in 1857. Mr. Gordon was born in Lowville, 
Lewis county. New York, in 1823, and .spent his early life in the 
East. After farming in Berlin township from 1858 to 1881, he 
and his wife moved to Owatonna and retired. Their golden 
wedding anniversary, celebrated January 26, 1907, was the occa- 
sion of universal rejoicing among their friends and relatives. 
But scarcely had the rejoicings died awaj', when on February 
14, 1907, Mr. Gordon fell from a porch, and died March 9, at the 
age of eighty-four years. His wife is still living. Of their 
three children, C. S. died April 28, 1908; Anna L. is Mrs. A. J. 
Chamberlain and Henry died in 1901. 

Charles S. Gordon, business man and farmer, now deceased, 
was born in Lowville, Lewis county, New York, son of J. D. 
Gordon. He came to Steele county with his parents in 1857, 
completed his education in the schools of Berlin town.ship, and 
farmed for a number of years. In 1885 he moved to Owatonna. 
and engaged in the grocery business with his .son, C. H., under 
the firm name of Gordon & Son. In 1899, the firm sold out, 
and C. S. Gordon retired. April 3, 1908, he was stricken with 
paralysis, and died April 28, 1908, at the age of 59 years. His 



1044 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

wife, Viola Sheldon, a native of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, whom 
he married in 1871. is still living. The sole fruit of this union 
is one son, C. Hudson Gordon, of Owatonna. 

Stephen C. Goff, Jr., clerk of court of Steele count)', was born 
Ala}' 4, 1882, in Lemond township, Steele county, son of Stephen 
C. and Florence E. (Bemis) Goff, natives of the United States, 
of Scotch and English descent. The father came to Minnesota 
in 1879 and located in Dodge county, where he married. In 
1881, he came to Steele county, locating in Lemond township, 
where he has been engaged in farming up to the present time. 
The subject of our sketch received his early education in the 
common schools of Steele county. After leaving school, he took 
up teaching as a profession, which he followed from 1902 to 1905. 
He then accepted a position as shipping clerk for the Owatonna 
Creamery Supply Compan}', in which position he was engaged 
until in July, 1906. At this time he was elected clerk of court 
of Steele county, which office he has now filled for four jears. 
Mr. Goff was married May 4, 1909, at Owatonna, to Pearl M. 
Barnard, who died October 4, 1909. In politics Mr. Goff is 
Republican. In religious faith he affiliates with the Baptist 
church. He is prominent in fraternal circles, being a member of 
the K. of P., M. W. A.. F. O. E. and the Commercial Club. Mr. 
Goff is a progressive young man. He has gained his position 
by his own efforts and his uncompromising honesty in discharg- 
ing his duties as a public ofificer has won for him the confidence 
of the community as a good citizen, well liked by all who know 
him. 

Peter Ganser, proprietor of the Owatonna City Brewery, is 
one of those substantial citizens, who, in building the founda- 
tions for their own fortunes, find the time to take an interest 
in all wortliy causes that tend toward the development of the 
communit}'. He combines liberality with shrewd common sense 
and business ability, and from his first settlement here he has 
had an unbounded faith in Owatonna's future. Mr. Ganser 
was born in Prussia, Germany, June 24, 1836. He received his 
early education in the public schools and remained in his native 
country until 1854, when he came to America and located in Dane 
county, Wisconsin, where he lived for a time and then went to 
California. In 1863 he returned to Wisconsin and there remained 
imtil 1865 when he came to Owatonna and, together with his 
brother, Adam, purchased the city brewery, which they con- 
tinued together until 1872, at which time the brother died. The 
subject of this sketch then became the sole owner and proprietor. 
In 1878 the brewerj' was destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of 
about $12,000. Undaunted by this loss, Mr. Ganser rebuilt, 
but in 1884 again suffered a similar disaster. The present 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1045 

building, to which additions and improvements have been made 
from time to time, was erected in 1884. In 1879, Mr. Ganser, 
in company with Jacob Glaeser, erected the building then known 
as the Germania Hall. Mr. Ganser has carried on a large and 
increasing business from year to year. In 1894 he sold out his 
business and for six years lived a retired life. In 1900 he again 
came into possession of the brewery, which he has since con- 
ducted. Mr. Ganser was married in 1867 to Mary Knight, who 
was born in Indiana. The fruit of this union was three children, 
viz: Margaret, now the wife of William Fleckenstein of the 
Fleckenstein Brewery at Faribault ; Adeline, now Mrs. W. C. 
Zamboni ; Kate, now Mrs. H. D. Brown, of Owatonna. Mr. 
Ganser is a Democrat in political faith. He takes an active 
interest in public affairs, and served as a mayor of Owatonna one 
term, and alderman of the fourth ward for two years. Mr. 
Ganser is a self-made man, enterprising in business, and has 
won his position by persevering efforts. He lives in a very 
fine residence at 508 South Oak street. 

Thomas Y. Hostad, a successful real estate dealer of Owa- 
tonna, was born in Norway, August 30, 1876, son of Thomas 
and Gertrude Hostad, also natives of that country. The parents 
emigrated to America in 1877, and located in Dodge county, 
Minnesota, where the father followed agricultural pursuits until 
1887. They then removed to Westfield township and continued 
farming operations until 1906, in which year they died, the 
mother December 22, and the father December 24, both being 
laid at rest in the same grave. Thomas Y. received his early 
education in the district schools of Dodge county, and in the 
Blooming Prairie high school, this training being supplemented 
with a course at Darling's College, at Rochester, and one at 
Breckenridge College, at Decorah, Iowa. He then studied one 
and a half years under Attorney Littleton, of Owatonna, and 
subsequently took a correspondence course with the Chicago 
Law School. After following the occupation of bookkeeper at 
Blooming Prairie for a time, he opened a hotel, with livery and 
feed stables in connection, at Kenyon, Minnesota, in 1897. He 
sold this business in August of the same year and moved to 
Owatonna. Later in the season he went to Claremont, Dodge 
county, and purchased a stock of furniture and hardware, in 
connection with which business he had the agency for the 
McCormick farm machinery. He continued this business with 
success for one year and a half, then sold out, retaining the 
hardware department. This w-as soon burned, causing a loss of 
over $1,600. His next venture was at Blooming Prairie, where 
he engaged in the general merchandise business with his brothers 
and C. P, Stevens, the firm name being Hostad Brothers & 



1046 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Stevens. In January, 1900, the subject of this sketch sold out 
his interest in this concern, and accepted a position as manager 
for a retail shoe store in the same village, a position he retained 
one and a half years. Next he clerked for a similar period in 
Owatonna, and then took charge of the closing out of the Shea 
stock of clotliing, conducting sales in Owatonna, Wells, Minne- 
sota Lake and Blue Earth. Subsequently he again clerked for a 
short period, and then embarked in the real estate business, in 
which he has been most successful. His office is in the Parrott 
and Smith building, and here are handled various lines of real 
estate, insurance and abstracts in considerable volume. Mr. 
Hostad affiliates with the Repul)lican party and belongs to the 
Norwegian Lutheran church. He is an enterprising business 
man and a good citizen, taking an active interest in everything 
that tends toward the progress of the community. November 7, 
1895, he was married at Owatonna to Elizabeth M. Mason, of 
Blooming Prairie. This union was blessed with two children, 
Edna L. and \'era G. November 10, 1009, Mr. Plostad married 
Elizabeth A. Ochs, of Owatonna. 

Robert W. Hutchinson was born in Andover. Windsor 
county, Vermont, May 7, 1834, son of Moses W. and Parynthia 
(Dodge) Hutchinson, also natives of Vermont, where they 
were engaged in agricultural pursuits all their lives. The subject 
of our sketch received his early education in Ando\er. and when 
nineteen years of age, came West, locating in Wisconsin. Two 
years later, in 1855, he came to Steele county, where he filed 
on 160 acres of land. He made final proof of this land and in 
1857 returned to Wisconsin. There he joined the union army. 
Company L Thirty-second Regiment Wisconsin \'olunteer In- 
fantry, August 15. 1862. He served with this regiment until 
June, 1865, being honorably discharged at Washington, after 
which he returned to Wisconsin and remained there until 1866. 
He then came back to Steele county and engaged in farming on 
his claim, which he had filed on in 1855 in Owatonna township. 
He remained here until 1894, when he sold eighty acres of the 
claim and removed to Owatonna village, where he has lived a 
retired life since. Mr. Hutchinson was married October 6, 1862, 
to Percilla W. Benedict. She died January 24, 1867. He was mar- 
ried a second time December 10, 1871, to Mrs. Augusta (Lord) 
Pound. She died March 12, 1902. She had two sons by her 
first marriage, Charles L. Pound, of Owatonna, and William O. 
Pound, of Billings, Montana. Mr. Hutchinson believes in the 
principles of the Republican party, but never has aspired to 
public office. He is a consistent member of the Universalist 
church, and on account of his distinguished war record, has 
allied himself with the James A. Goodwin Post. G. A. R. The 



PUBLIC LIBR, 



ASTO'ft, LCNOX Aun 
TILDEH FOUN 




i 




TlliiMAS .1, iiowi-; 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1047 

subject of this sketch is an estinial)lc citizen in every respect, 
and has made his way in life unaided by outside influences. His 
pleasant home is located at 209 East Broadway in Owatonna. 
Although past the alotted "three score years and ten," Mr. 
Hutchinson is hale and hearty, and his judgment upon all im- 
portant matters is highly valued by his friends. 

Carl G. Herold, a progressive business man of Owatonna, was 
born in Germany, August 28, 1875. His parents, Jacob and 
Christina Herold, natives of Germany, left the shore of Europe 
to seek the larger opportunities and establish a home in the 
new world, in 1882, locating first at Owatonna and later going 
to Todd county, where they have been engaged in farming ever 
since. Carl received his early education in the public schools 
of Owatonna. After leaving school, he took up and learned the 
tinning and plumbing trade, which he followed until 1905. At 
this time he formed a copartnership with L. A. Schoen, establish- 
ing a plumbing and heating business. This business relation 
continued for two years, when Mr. Herold purchased his part- 
ner's interest in the firm, and then took as a partner Mr. J. W. 
Harty. The firm is now known as Herold & Harty, heating, 
plumbing, electrical and gas supplies. Mr. Herold was married 
September 16, 1899, to Bertha Buboltz. They reside in a pleasant 
residence at 408 Riverside avenue. 

He is a member of the order of I. O. O. F. Mr. Herold has 
made his way in the world by his own efforts and perseverance. 
He is a good citizen, well liked by all who know him, and the 
fact that he enjoys a large trade is proof of his business in- 
tegrity. 

Thomas J. Howe, a primiincnl manufacturer, now deceased, 
had an im])ortant part in the industrial upbuilding of Owatonna, 
and established the business which under the present name of the 
Owatonna Manufacturing Company has grown to wide propor- 
tions. He was for many years a familiar figure in and about 
Owatonna, where he was a leading citizen. Just to all and 
affable to his friends, he established for himself an enviable 
reputation in the community. His death was deeply mourned 
and his life and work will be long remembered. Thomas J. 
Howe was born in I'inckney, New York, January 15, 1827, son 
of Gideon and Mary ( Jeffers) Howe, natives of Jefferson county. 
New York. After receiving a common school education, he 
learned the business of woodworking in a mill owned by his 
father. In 1848. he came west to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, where 
he was emplojed at various occupations. Some ten years later, 
Mr. Howe entered the employ of J. S. Rowell & Co. in the manu- 
facture of grain drills and seeders, the plant being located at 
Beaver Dam. This business occupied Mr. Howe's attention 



1048 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

until 1865 when he came to Owatonna, and in company with 
Michael F. Lowth, established a plant for the manufacture of 
grain drills and seeders. As noted above, this plant has now- 
developed an important industry. Mr. Howe was a member of 
the Universalist church and a high degree Mason. In 1873 he 
was pursuaded to serve as mayor, and so successful was his 
administration of public affairs that he was reelected in 1874 
and 1875 with no opposition. He also did able service on the 
high school and librar}- boards for many years. August 27, 
1908, he departed this life, and his body was followed to its last 
resting place by a large concourse of sorrowing mourners. The 
subject of this sketch was married at Watertown, New York, 
May 6, 1861, to Sarah M. Chapman, who died July 3, 1893. To 
this union three children were born. Fannie was born April 
29, 1864, and died when six months of age. Jessie B. was born 
July 29, 1865, married George S. Barr and has one child, Virginia. 
Harry C, born November 16, 1873, is secretary and treasurer of 
the Owatonna Manufacturing Company. In September, 1903, 
Thomas J. Howe married Matilda S. Lieb, who survives him. 

Harry C. Howe is closely identified with the manufacturing 
interests of Owatonna, in which city he was born November 16, 
1873, to Thomas J. and Sarah M. (Chapman) Howe. He received 
his education in the public and high schools of his native town, 
graduating from the Owatonna High school in 1890. In the 
fall of that year he entered llie state university, and was dili- 
gently pursuing his course, when, in 1893, his assistance was 
demanded at his father's office at the plant of the Owatonna 
Manufacturing Company. Here he started as bookkeeper, gain- 
ing knowledge of every detail of the business, until in 1903 he 
was elected secretary of the company, which position he still 
holds, and in 1910 was elected secretary and treasurer. From 
1898 until 1903, Mr. Howe served as first lieutenant of Company 
I, Second Regiment, Minnesota National Guards. He was in 
the line of promotion to the captaincy, but was forced to resign 
by reason of the increase of his manufacturing interests. Mr. 
Howe is well liked in Owatonna, and is regarded as one of the 
rising young men of the community. He was married June 20, 
1900, to Jane Semple, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Milliken) 
Semple. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Howe has been blessed 
with two children: Sarah C, born November 10, 1901, and 
Samuel S., born October 4, 1909. The family faith is that of 
the Episcopal church. Mr. Howe is affiliated with the Masonic 
order, being a member of the Blue Lodge, chapter and com- 
mandery. 

The Owatonna Manufacturing Company was started in 1865 
as a partnership between Michael F. Lowth and Thomas J. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1049 

Howe, the firm name being Lowth & Howe. In 1873, H. N. La 
Bare purchased one-half of Mr. Lowth's interest, and the firm 
continued until 1878 under the name of Lowth, Howe & LaBare. 
At this time, Mr. Lowth disposed of his interest, and the name 
was changed to Howe & Co. August 20, 1888, the company was 
incorporated under the name of the Owatonna Manufacturing 
Company. D. J. Ames was elected president and T. J. Howe 
was elected secretary and treasurer. In 1898, Frank LaBare, 
son of H. N. LaBare, was elected president, and in 1903, Harry 
C. Howe, son of T. J. Howe, was elected secretary, T. J. Howe 
remaining as treasurer and general manager. The present offi- 
cers are: Frank LaBare, president; Geo. S. Barr, vice-president; 
H. C. Howe, secretary and treasurer. The company manufac- 
tures grain drills and seeders and a combined churn and butter 
worker for creamer}- use. 

Hon. Hector M. Hastings was one of the prominent millers 
of Minnesota and was universally esteemed both for his quali- 
ties as a man and his ability as a promoter. He was born in the 
little town of Horseheads, Chemung county. New York, in 1835. 
There he was reared to sturdy boyhood, receiving such advan- 
tages as the district schools of the neighborhood aflforded. Dur- 
ing this period surrounded by the love of a devoted mother and 
the care of a just father he laid the foundation of that staunch 
character which was to individualize his after-life. At the age 
of twelve years, in 1847, he was taken by his parents to Illinois. 
While there, he was married in 1854 to Mary A. Roberts who 
proved a loving and faithful companion throughout his life. Two 
years later the young couple decided to try their fortunes in what 
was then the new Northwest and accordingly settled near Elys- 
ian, in LeSueur county. There they were residing during the 
great Sioux outbreak of 1862. Mr. Hastings' conduct during 
that trying period illustrated the indomitable and vigorous 
character of the man. First bringing his family to Owatonna 
for safety he then proceeded to buy all the powder in the com- 
munity, amounting probably to one keg. With this he set out 
in a sulky to join Colonel Brackett's force, which was then 
proceeding against the Indians. Alone he traveled through the 
country and finally joined the command somewhere near the 
present site of St. Peter. He took part in the battle of Fort 
Ridgely from which he escaped unharmed. Later he witnessed 
the hanging of the thirty-eight Sioux ringleaders at Mankato. 
With this experience he sought to enlist in the Civil War, but 
was refused on account of a slight physical disability. In 1863 
Mr. Hastings moved to Steele county and settled in Lemond 
township where, in time, he acquired over two thousand acres 
of land. In 1885 he formed a partnership with O. E. Edson and 



1050 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

W. H. Willsey to go into the milling business under the firm 
name of H. M. Hastings & Company, purchasing the Reidell 
mill. Shortly afterward Mr. \\'illse3'"s interest was purchased 
by the Hon. J. M. Diment. The mill was destroyed by fire in 
1891, but such a disaster, great as it was, the property being 
uninsured, did not discourage such energetic and forceful busi- 
ness men as Mr. Hastings and his partner. They took Lynard 
Virtue into partnership and the firm became Hastings, Diment & 
Company. This concern purchased the old Beynon & Maes mill 
building, which they remodeled, refitted and enlarged. The 
business prospered and the fame of the mill grew imtil the name 
of the Hastings flour became known throughout this country 
and abroad, considerable quantities being shipped to England. 
The firm underwent some changes in 1897 when Mr. Hastings 
bought out his partners and changed the firm name to The 
Hastings Milling Company. But shortly afterward Mr. Virtue 
again bought an interest. 

Operated for a time by the estate after Mr. Hastings' death 
and eventually was sold to L. G. Campbell Milling Company. 

Mr. Hastings was a man of strong individuality. Trained 
amid the hardships and exigencies of early frontier life, he 
acquired a decision of manner and speech sometimes seemingly 
blunt, yet, on acquaintance proving a valued quality as men 
of plain and fearless speech are rare. He left no doubt in the 
mind of the hearer as to where he stood on any question and 
his energetic decision in business matters soon caused him to 
tower above most of his fellows as a successful man. He had 
many excellent qualities of mind and heart of which his liberality 
to the poor and the unfortunate deserves special notice. A 
staunch Democrat in politics, he was a delegate to nearly every 
Democratic state convention, and in 1879 he served with distinc- 
tion in the legislature. Aside from his milling interests he was 
president of the Central Dakota Telephone Comjjan}-. Mr. Has- 
tings died May 7. 1899. He was survived by three children, 
George W. Hastings, Mrs. Ida Slaid and Mrs. G. F. Cardofif. 

Mrs. Mary Adelia Hastings, wife of the Hon. H. M. Hastings, 
was one of Steele county's pioneer women and was held in high 
esteem by all who knew her. She was a true type of that ad- 
mirable class of w-omen — the wives of pioneers. Devoted to her 
husband, bright, unselfish and ambitious, she labored unceas- 
ingly and happily to foiuid a home, to care properly for her 
family and to advance its material and spiritual fortunes. The 
important share which such women have in the success attained 
by their husbands cannot be overestimated, and it is certain 
that Mrs. Hastings proved a rare helpmate to her husband all 
her married life. She was an unusually bright woman and found 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1051 

her greatest happiness in searching out and performing such 
duties as slie believed fell within her scope of action. One of her 
most prominent characteristics was the happiness and cheeriness 
of her disposition, which lightened the labors of all near her as 
well as her own. A reply she made not long before her death, in 
answer to the remarks that the early days must have been hard 
ones for women coming out into a new country to find homes, 
was characteristic of her. She declared that those early days 
of hard work and privation were the happiest of all. Even when 
sickness had laid its heavy hand upon her, Mrs. Hastings lost 
not one whit of her cheerfulness and hopefulness and to the last 
viewed the future with happy optimism as a place of joy and 
peace. This fact is believed to have prolonged her life past 
the time when the average woman would have succumbed to the 
cares of life and to the weight of years. It is not strange that 
such a woman should have won respect and confidence even 
though she was of a retiring rather than of a naturally sociable 
disposition. Mrs. Hastings' maiden name was Mary Adelia 
Roberts. She was born in Pennsylvania, September 17. 1837. 
While she was 3-et a small child the family removed to Rockford, 
Illinois, where in later years she met Mr. Hastings and became 
his wife. Aside from the three children mentioned above Mr. 
and Mrs. Hastings had a son, Frank, who died in early youth. 
Mrs. Hastings passed to the Great Beyond May 1, 1903, and her 
death caused a vacancy in the hearts of friends and relatives 
which will never be filled until the Last Resurrection. 

S. M. Hastings was one of the early settlers of Steele county, 
having come from Illinois in 1857. He was a native of New- 
York where little more than half of his life was spent, emigrating 
from there to Illinois in 1849. He lived to be one of the oldest 
residents of the county, and was highly respected by his many 
friends. He died in 1886. 

Thomas L. Slaid, who, after giving unusual promise of becom- 
ing one of the leaders in the business life of this vicinity, was 
cut off in the prime of his young manhood, was a native of Wis- 
consin, born at Beaver Dam. March 8, 1833. His parents, Oscar 
and Emily CIngraham) Slaid, were both natives of Massachu- 
setts. In 1844 they went to Wisconsin and there remained until 
1869, when they moved their family to Iowa. The father died in 
Dumont, Iowa, in 1905, and the mother passed away in 1884. 
Thomas L. received his early education in the public schools of 
Wisconsin and Iowa. After leaving school he came to Owa- 
tonna from Ackley, Iowa, in 1874, and entered the employ of 
Buxton & McReynolds, Mr. Buxton being his imcle. He con- 
tinued in this employ and some three years before his death was 
taken into the firm as a full partner. The firm was doing a 



1052 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

large business in tlie sale of agricultural implements and hard- 
ware at the time of his untimely death, which occurred February 
12, 1881. In politics Mr. Slaid was a Republican. He affiliated 
with the Odd Fellows. Mr. Slaid was married October 13, 1880, 
to Ida L. Hastings, a daughter of H. M. and Mary Adelia (Rob- 
erts) Hastings. To this union one child, a daughter, Thomasia 
A., was born August 22, 1881. She was married December 28, 
1904, to C. A. Tincher, and to this union one child, Richard S., 
was born December 25, 1906. Her death, April 2, 1907, caused 
profound mourning among those to whom her winning ways 
and lovable character had enshrined her in their hearts. 

Louis F. Hammel, the well-known contractor and builder, is 
giving the city of Owatonna an able administration in the 
mayor's chair. He is a native of Bayfield county, Wisconsin, 
and was born October 1, 1862. After completing his school days 
in Owatonna, to which city his parents moved in 1864, he joined 
his father in the contracting business, the firm continuing until 
the latter's death. From that time until October 1, 1909, Louis 
F. and John L. Hammel conducted the same business, under the 
firm name of Hammel Brothers, general contractors and builders. 
Mr. Hammel is a practical man of affairs and has filled various 
local offices, having served eight years as alderman from the 
Fourth ward of Owatonna and six months as acting mayor before 
being elected to his present position in March, 1909. In the lat- 
ter office he succeeded himself one year later. He has also done 
good service on the library board. The Democratic party has 
found in Mr. Hammel a loyal supporter, and in religious faith 
he holds to the tenets of the Presbyterian Church. He is iden- 
tified with the Modern Woodmen of America and also with the 
Masons, U. C. T., and the Modern Workmen. On June 20, 1889, 
Mr. Hammel married Celia, daughter of William and Ann (Hart- 
becker) Severin, and this union has been blessed with five chil- 
dren : Irwin William, Louis, Maria, Sidney and Kenneth. The 
parents of Mrs. Hammel came from Germany, their native land, 
and settled at Cedar Falls, Iowa, where the father died and 
where the mother now resides. John C. and Maria (Steagut) 
Hammel, parents of Louis F. Hammel, were both natives of Ger- 
many. The father, who was a contractor and builder, settled 
in Wisconsin in 1854, and ten years later removed to Owatonna, 
where he followed his regular occupation a quarter of a century, 
passing away in 1889. The mother died in 1871. 

Fred H. Joesting, proprietor of the Emporium store, Owa- 
tonna, was born at La Porte, Ind., Januarj^ 5, 1870. He is the 
son of Fredrick and Catherine (Voebert) Joesting, natives of 
Germany. They immigrated to the United States in 1863, locat- 
ing at La Porte, Ind., where the father was engaged in railroad 




L. 1-. JIAMMKI. 



ORlf] 



A8T0B. LfNOS 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1053 

work until 1880. He then removed to St. Paul, Minn., where 
he had charge of city parks up to the time of his death, in 
August, 1893. The mother returned to La Porte, Ind., where 
she now resides. The subject of this sketch received his early 
education at the public schools of La Porte and St. Paul. In 
1883 he began life as a salesman in a dry goods house at St. 
Paul. In 1892 the firm opened a branch store at Little Falls, 
Minn. There Mr. Joesting became manager, in 1900. The firm 
became incorporated, with Mr. Joesting as secretary and treas- 
urer, which position he filled with honor until 1905. He then 
sold his interest and came to Ovvatonna, where he opened the 
Emporium Department Store, of which he is sole owner and 
proprietor. He conducts an up-to-date establishment in every 
respect, and the fact that he enjoys a large and steadily increas- 
ing patronage proves his ability and honest dealings as a mer- 
chant. On June 19, 1899, Mr. Joesting was married, at La Porte, 
Ind., to Minnie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Decker, who are 
now living with Mr. and Mrs. Joesting, in Owatonna. Mrs. 
Joesting was born at La Porte, June 5, 1875. Five children have 
blessed their home, viz.: Theodore, born at Little Falls, July 11, 
1900; Fredrick H., born in the same place, July 15, 1903; Her- 
bert A. was born at Little Falls, Minn., April 17, 1905; Clement 
H., born in Owatonna, April 17, 1907, and Regina E., born May 
6, 1909. Mr. Joesting is a Republican in politics. In religious 
faith he belongs to the German Lutheran Church. The family 
resides at 227 East Mill street, Owatonna. 

Richard H. Jahreiss, of Owatonna, was i)orn in Germany, 
November 6, 1873, son of Leonard and Margaret Jahreiss (de- 
ceased). The parents spent their lives in their native land. Rich- 
ard received his early education in Germany. He then took up 
and learned the cabinetmaker's trade. He immigrated to Amer- 
ica when a boy of about seventeen years of age, in 1891. After 
arriving in America, he located in Owatonna, where he entered 
the employment of Fred Hagedorn. He continued to work at 
his trade here for five years. He then tended bar until 1903, 
when he entered the employment of Hammel Brothers, con- 
tractors, as foreman of their factory, which position he still 
retains. Mr. Jahreiss was married November 13, 1894, at Owa- 
tonna, to Mary, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. Her 
father is deceased; the mother still lives in Owatonna. Three 
children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Jahreiss, viz.: Ella, 
born June 26, 1896; Edwin, Edna, born June 26, 1900. The chil- 
dren are all attending school in Owatonna. Mr. Jahreiss is Dem- 
ocratic in his political views. The family attends the Presby- 
terian Church. He is a member of the F. O. E. and Mystic 
Workers. He is also a member of the Owatonna fire department. 



1054 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUxNTIES 

The family lives in a pleasant residence at 122 West School 
street. Mr. Jahreiss is an enterprising business man, a hard 
worker, and has made his \va}- in the world by his own efforts. 

Michael H. Keefe, marble and granite worker of Owatonna, 
was born in Bombay township, Franklin county, N. Y., Juh' 25, 
1851, son of David and Elizabeth (Gardner) Keefe, natives of 
Ireland. The father came to America in 1840, locating in New 
York, where he engaged in farming. The mother emigrated to 
this country in 1847. The father was a stone mason and con- 
tractor, which trade he followed together with farming both in 
New York state and after coming to Minnesota. They moved 
to Minnesota in 1863, locating on a farm in Freeborn county, 
where they remained until 1896, when the father retired from 
active life and moved with his family to Austin, IMinn., where 
he passed away December 13, 1905. The mother died May 28, 
1873. Michael received his early education in the district schools 
of New York state. He came to Minnesota with his parents 
when twelve vears of age. and finished his education in the public 
schools of Austin. He then started life as a farmer in Bloom- 
ing Prairie township. Steele county, where he owned 160 acres 
of land. He also owned considerable land in Freeborn county, 
but sold all except the 160 acres in Blooming Prairie, which he 
still looks after in connection with his business at Owatonna. 
He came to Owatonna in 1905. engaged in what is known as the 
Star Granite & Marble Works, and has since conducted a pros- 
perous and constantly growing business. IMr. Keefe was mar- 
ried February 24, 1881, to Margaret L. Farrell. Seven children 
have been born to them, viz.: A\Mlliam R.. who travels for his 
father; Charles J., who lives at Kenmare. N. D. ; Mary }■■ de- 
ceased; Florence, deceased, and George B., Margaret and John, 
residing at home. Mr. Keefe has made his way in the world 
by dint of hard work and persevering effort. He is a generous 
neighbor, a good husband, a loving father and a good citizen. 
He has served Blooming Prairie township as supervisor for sev- 
eral years, and as assessor for five consecutive years. He helped 
to organize the school district of which he served as clerk. Mr. 
Keefe is an independent voter. He adheres to the Catholic faith ; 
is a member of the Knights of Columbus and the M. B. A. 

S. Grant Kinney, of the firm of Disbrow & Kinney, has inter- 
ested himself in the upbuilding of the county and is a thorough 
believer in the future possibilities of the agricultural resources 
of this vicinity. He was born in Lemond township, this county, 
May 24, 1869, and received his earlier education in the district 
schools, supplemented by wide reading and ideal home train- 
ing;. His father, an advocate of higher education for boys, sent 
him to Pillsburv Academv, from which he graduated in 1888. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1055 

At once upon graduation he took up work on the home farm, and 
there remained until 1895, wlicn he went to Canby, Minn., and 
after a short period as a farm machine agent there, went on the 
road as a salesman for nursery stock, in which capacity his 
genial nature and knowledge of Northwestern farm conditions 
won him success and friends. Early in 1897 he was recalled to 
Steele county by the death of his father, and until late in 1898 
he looked after the family farm and estate. Subsequently he 
again went on the road, selling nursery stock two years for the 
Cannon Falls Nursery Company, In the meantime he purchased 
a tract of land in Dodge county, which he gave more or less of 
his attention. In seeing the opportunity for a live real-estate 
agency in this locality, he started in that line of business, 
with L. A. Disbrow for a partner. The office of this firm is in 
the Kelley Block on Broadway, where is done a large business in 
real estate and insurance. Mr. Kinney also handles nursery 
stock for O. F. Brand, of Faribault. Aside from various holdings 
in the county, Mr. Kinney owns stock in the Dan Patch Air Line 
Company. He is an independent voter and a member of the 
I. O. O. F, and the M. W. A. The family affiliates with the 
Universalist Church. Mr. Kinney has never cared to engage act- 
ively in politics, but at one time he consented to serve as assessor 
of the township of Owatonna. His residence is at 219 East Mill 
street. S. S. Kinney was married February 29, 1904, to Sadie 
Shank, of St. Paul. To this union has been born one daughter, 
Leona M., July 22, 1905. 

Judge Willis E. Kenyon, judge of probate for Steele county, 
is serving his first term in this position, and has already dem- 
onstrated his fitness for the ofifice. He wisely adjudicates the 
matters which are brought before his court, and has given gen- 
eral satisfaction to the people at large. Willis E. Kenyon was 
born in Chautauqua county, New York, November 5, 1852, son 
of Thomas and Mary (Smith) Kenyon, the former an early phy- 
sician of Steele county. The subject of this sketch secured his 
early education in the public schools of his neighborhood, and 
after leaving school engaged in farming for six years in Suniiiiit 
township. He then purchased eighty acres in Somerset town- 
ship and there followed general farming until 1903, when he 
sold his farm and moved to Owatonna. In the fall of 1908 he 
was elected to his present position. This, however, is not the 
only public service he has rendered his county. He served five 
years as assessor of the township of Summit and one year as 
chairman of the same town. For three years he was assessor of 
the township of Somerset. Being interested in the advancement 
of the interests of the farmers, he served seven years as secretary 
of the River Point creamery. Judge Kenyon was married Janu- 



1056 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

ary 10, 1884, to Annie Schweiso, and to this union have been 
born five children: Nellie M. is a public school teacher; Jessie 
M. is also a teacher; Irvin W.. Orrissa M. and Ferna A. are 
students in the Owatonna iiig'h school. The family residence is 
beautifully located at 235 East University street. 

Dr. Thomas Kenyon was one of the pioneer jdiysicians of 
Steele county, and his qualities as a man as well as his ability 
as a physician merit the high esteem in which his memory is 
held. He was born in New York state, November 29, 1812, being 
the oldest of a family of thirteen children. His schooling and his 
medical education were received in New York state, and there 
he practiced until 1856, when he came to Steele county and 
located in Somerset township. Here he engaged in farming, and 
also practiced his profession, being of the true type of rugged 
country ph3'sician. Some years before his death, which occurred 
April 17, 1882, he had retired from active practice. Dr. Kenyon 
was married August 18, 1833, to Mary Smith, born in New York, 
August 14, 1818. To this union were born ten children. Marion 
Ambrosia, wdio married Thomas J. Clark ; Phoebe, who married 
George Crooker ; Eliza, wdio married L. Robinson ; Edgar, who 
married AUecia Twiford ; Lois, who married S. Anderson ; Wal- 
ter, who married Abbie Smith; Willis, now judge of probate for 
Steele county; Frank, who married Sarah Hurlbert; Darwin, 
who married Dora Mitchell, and Fred, who married Minnie 
Schweiso. Mrs. Kenyon died January 10, 1906, and is laid at 
rest beside her husband in Somerset township. 

Emma A. Lewis, a skilled practitioner of osteopathy, is the 
only member of her particular profession in Owatonna, and has 
won much favor among a wide circle of patients. Dr. Lewis 
was born in Junction City, Ore., April 11, 1876, daughter of John 
and Rhoda (Thompson) Lewis. She received her early educa- 
tion in the public schools, graduated from the high school at 
Allison, Iowa, and took courses in the Minnesota School of 
Business at Minneapolis and the State Normal School at Winona. 
In 1890, after a thorough preparation, she was graduated from 
the Northern Institute of Osteopathy at Minneapolis. Her first 
office was at Prairie du Chien, Wis., where she successfully prac- 
ticed for two years. December 2, 1901, she came to Owatonna, 
and opened an office, her success being insured from the very 
start. Dr. Lewis has allied herself with the American and Min- 
nesota Osteopathic Associations. She has kept w'ell abreast of 
her times, not only in her own profession, but also in the profes- 
sions closely allied to hers, and her wide circle of friends predict 
for her a successful future, even more felicitous than her past. 

John Lewis, now living in retirement at Owatonna, was born 
in Indiana, and there spent his boyhood. He enlisted at Madi- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1057 

son, Wis., in Company K, Twelfth Wisconsin Volunteer Infan- 
try, and served three years under General Sherman, being dis- 
charged at Chattanooga, Tenn. While in the army, Mr. Lewis 
contracted the typhoid fever, from the effects of which he has 
never fully recovered. I lis wife, Rhoda Thompson, is a native 
of Ohio. They are the parents of four children: Nelson H. is 
a physician at McDonald, Kan. ; Emma A. is practicing at Owa- 
tonna; Zerelda is now Mrs. Charles I. Norman, of Minneapolis; 
and Eniillie is now Mrs. George Plood, of Allison, Iowa. 

Peter Mallinger, since 1866 a resident of Owatonna, with the 
exception of seven years' residence in Barnesville, this state, 
was born in Germany, and there spent his early life, embarking 
for America April 6, 1855. His first residence in this country was 
in PjufTalo county, Wisconsin, where he was living at the out- 
break of the Civil War. His excellent record during this con- 
flict is appended below. At the close of the war, Lieutenant 
Mallinger returned to Wisconsin, and five months later, in the 
fall of 1866, he came to Owatonna, engaging in the mercantile 
business, which he continued until 1882, when his store was 
destroyed by fire. He then retired from active commercial life, 
but remained in Owatonna until 1900, when he removed to Ban- 
ner City, Clay county, Minn., where he and his wife still reside. 
The Mallinger home has been blessed with six children: Anna, 
born July 29, 1868, is the wife of John Deviny, of Owatonna; 
Minnie, born February 11, 1870, is the wife of Michael Ryan, 
of Hillyard, Wash.; Adolph is chief of police at Owatonna; 
Gustav, born June 16, 1873, lives in Salt Lake City, Utah; 
Charles, born March 4, 1875, lives in Minneapolis, Minn. ; Mary, 
born December 3, 1877, is now Mrs. William Pennman, of De- 
troit, Mich. 

The following record is carefully preserved in the Mallinger 
family: "Certificate of Service. State of Wisconsin. Adjutant 
General's Office. No. 682, United States, 1895. This is to cer- 
tify that the records of this office show that Peter Mallinger, 
late a sergeant in Company F, of the Ninth Regiment of Wiscon- 
sin Infantry Volunteers, was enrolled at La Crosse, Wis., on 
the 4th day of November, 1861, was mustered into the military 
service of the United States at Milwaukee, Wis., on the 13th day 
of November, 1861, for the term of three years, and was mus- 
tered out with Company at Milwaukee, Wis., on the 3d day of 
December, 1864: appointed corporal October 10, 1862; sergeant, 
January 1, 1863. The records further show that Peter Mallinger 
enlisted in Company K, Forty-eighth Regiment of Wisconsin In- 
fantry, March 8, 1865, at Fountain City, Wis., was mustered into 
the U. S. service March 27, 1865, at Milwaukee, Wis., for one 
year; appointed first sergeant, .\pril 5, 1865; commissioned sec- 



1058 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

ond lieutenant of the same company, November 9. 1865 (not 
mustered), and was mustered out as first sergeant with company, 
March 24, 1866, at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The records further 
show that said soldier, when first enlisted, was twenty-five years 
old, had brown eyes, dark hair, dark complexion, was five feet 
ten inches in height, and by occupation a farmer. In testimony 
whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my official 
seal, at the capitol in the City of Madison, this 26th day of 
December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and ninety-five. Worthie H. Patton. Acting Adjutant General." 

Adolph Mallinger, head of the police force of Owatonna, has 
given the city excellent service in this capacity. L'nder his ad- 
ministration, the peace and order of the city has been excellently 
preserved, and the laws of the state have been duly observed. 
He was born in Owatonna, July 26, 1871, son of Peter and Cecelia 
(Buchstor) Mallinger, who were married July 13, 1866. He 
received his early education in the public schools of Owatonna, 
and at the age of nineteen years took up railroad work as brake- 
man for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, on the 
Iowa and Minnesota division. By hard work and strict attention 
to business he worked his way up, and in 189.S was promoted to 
conductor on the same division, continuing in that capacity until 
February, 1901, when he resigned. At this time, he was elected 
city marshal of Owatonna, which office he held two terms. In 
1904 he accepted a position as traveling salesman for the Clinton 
Falls Nursery Company. This he followed until March, 1908. 
when he was appointed captain of the night police force, serving 
in this capacity tmtil April 1, 1909, when he was again elected 
chief of police, which position he now holds. He was married 
April 5, 1890, at Owatonna, to Nettie Morgan, daughter of Mr. 
and Mrs. Clark Morgan, of Owatonna. Mrs. Mallinger was 
born May 24, 1874. Their union was blessed with two children: 
Guy, born January 8, 1892, is a graduate of the high school of 
Owatonna, and is now an operator for the Chicago & Northwest- 
ern Railroad Company, at the above place, which service he en- 
tered when seventeen years of age; Claude A., born September 
11, 1895, is a student of the liigh school of Owatonna. In political 
faith Mr. Mallinger is a Republican. He and his family worship 
at the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a member of the 
A. O. A. and Maccabees. He is a loyal and genial friend, a good 
neighbor, and a public-spirited citizen, taking an interest in every 
movement that has for its object the betterment of Owatonna 
and Steele county. 

Charles B. Misgen, one of the prosperous merchants of Owa- 
tonna, and partner in the firm of Brick & Misgen, the well- 
known furniture and undertaking house, was born in Pierce 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1059 

county, Wisconsin, April 5, 1859, son of John and Christine 
(Meyers) Misgen, who, before locating in Pierce county, came 
from Germany and lived for a time in Illinois. In 1863 they set- 
tled in Richland township. Rice county, and there became sub- 
stantial and respected agriculturists. In 1873 they removed to 
Berlin township, Steele county, where they have since followed 
farming. Charles B. was educated in the district schools of Rich- 
land and in the Faribault high school, and after leaving school 
took up farming with his father until 1896, when he came to Owa- 
tonna and served for three years on the night police force. He 
was then elected as sheriff of Steele county, and served in that 
office for four years. Subsequently he became chief of police of 
Owatonna and held that position for four years. In 1909 he 
went to Sauk Center, Minn., and engaged in the restaurant and 
confectionery business for a short time, but returned to Owa- 
tonna and bought the interest of Mr. Busch in the furniture and 
undertaking business, the firm now being Brick & Misgen. He 
was married July 12. 1893, at Owatonna, to Mary Degnan, who 
died August 18, 1894. He was married a second time January 
12, 1897, to Margaret Lonergan. Three children have been born 
to them : Harold, Glenerva and Herbert, all living at home with 
their parents. In his religious faith Mr. Misgen is a Catholic 
and in politics he is a Democrat. He is a member of the A. O. A. 
and of the E. F. U. By hard work and strict attention to busi- 
ness Mr. Misgen has won his success, and he has the respect and 
confidence of the citizens of Owatonna. 

James E. Malone, the popular insurance agent of Owatonna, 
was born in Norway, Racine county, Wis., February 2, 1855. 
July 4, 1856, he came to Steele county, at the age of one year, 
with his parents. His early education was received in the schools 
of Merton township, and later he studied two years in the paro- 
chial school in Faribault. This, together with wide reading, pre- 
pared him for the profession of teaching, which he followed for 
three years. The succeeding eight years were spent on a farm. 
In 1892 he came to Owatonna, and for seven years engaged in the 
retail coal and wood business. This gave him a wide acquaint- 
ance, and in 1899 he determined to enter the insurance business. 
Accordingly he sold his other interests and opened an office. 
He now represents twelve companies and does a heavy business 
in fire, accident, tornado and plate glass insurance. Mr. Malone 
is a Democrat in politics, and while living on the farm served 
his township as treasurer of the school board and as a justice of 
the peace. He has been assessor of the city of Owatonna for the 
past nine years. At one time he was vice president of the First 
State Bank of Owatonna for three years. He also served a like 
period in Company E, Third Regiment, Minnesota National 



106O HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Guard. Air. Malonc was married February 10, 1891, to Margaret 
Lonergaii. a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Lonergan. now 
deceased. Air. Malone has had his share in the upbuilding of 
the county, and liis opinions on public matters are highly re- 
garded by his friends. Patrick Malone and Julia Burke, his wife, 
were natives of Ireland. The father came to America in 1836, 
landed at Quebec, and then went to New York, from that city 
reaching Chicago, and finally settling in Racine county, Wiscon- 
sin, where he was married. After five years on a farm there, 
the}^ came to Merton township, Steele county, July 4, 1856. Here 
they pre-empted 160 acres of land, bringing it to a high degree 
of improvement. To this farm was afterward added 160 acres, 
making in all a fine place of 320 acres, on which they followed 
general farming until 189.^. They then sold their farm and 
came to Owatonna, where the mother died October 20, 1899, and 
the father in 1904. They were highly respected early pioneers, 
and their memory will long be honored in this county. 

Dr. George A. Nesse, a promising young dentist of Owatonna, 
was born at Mabel, Minn., December 6, 1883, to Theodore and 
Clara (Larson) Nesse, natives of Illinois. The father when 
first coming to Minnesota engaged in and conducted a flour mill; 
later he engaged in the hardware business for several ^ears, 
when he was burned out, stock and building being completely 
destroyed. He then engaged in general and diversified farming 
in Fillmore coiint_v. Minnesota, which vocation he has ever since 
followed. The subject of this sketch received his preliminary 
education at the district schools of Fillmore county, which wa5 
supplemented by one year at the Decorah Normal school at 
Decorah, Iowa, and two years at the State Normal of Winona. 
In 1906 he entered the State University of Minnesota, graduating 
from the dental department in 1909. On July 20, 1909, he came 
to Owatonna and opened a dental office, where he follows his 
profession successful!}- in all its branches. Dr. Nesse is inde- 
pendent in politics and does not affiliate with any party. Besides 
our subject there are three brothers and one sister in this family, 
viz.: Charles, James and Arthur, at the State University: Ella, 
who is a graduate of the university, is now a registered pharma- 
cist at Minneapolis. Dr. Nesse is an enterprising and painstak- 
ing young man, and has met with a marked degree of success at 
Owatonna. 

George Parrott, of the firm of Parrott & Smith, successful 
hardware merchants, was born in Schoharie, N. Y., April 11, 
1852, son of William and Maria (Beck) Parrott, substantial resi- 
dents of that state. He received his education in the public 
schools and then attended the Schoharie Academy, after which 
he learned the tinner's trade. In 1879 he came to Owatonna, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1061 

and followed his trade until 1884, when, with John Smith for a 
partner, he purchased the hardware business of D. O. Searle, 
forming the firm of Parrott & Smith. The firm owns its own 
building and carries a fine modern stock of hardware of all 
descriptions. In 1906 the store was destroyed by fire, entailing 
a loss of $15,000 above the insurance. Undaunted by this dis- 
aster, they at once erected a large fireproof brick block, three 
stories high, on the corner of West Vine and North Cedar 
streets, where they are now doing business. Mr. Parrott is a 
Republican in politics, and is now serving his seventh year as 
president of the school board, which board he has participated in 
as a member fourteen years. He belongs to the I. O. O. F., the 
K. of P., and the M. W. A. Mr. Parrott was married November 
17, 1882, at Owatonna, to Mary Cole, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. 
James Cole. This union has been blessed with two children : 
Alfred Cole, born December 14, 1883, now clerk for his father, 
and Roy William, born November 20, 1888, clerk in the National 
Farmers' Bank. William and Maria (Beck) Parrott, parents of 
George Parrott, came from England in 1830, and located at Scho- 
harie, N. Y., where the father followed his trade as a baker. 
Later he established the Parrott House, which he conducted at 
Schoharie for several years. The hotel still bears the same name. 
He then engaged in farming the remainder of his life, passing 
away in 1895. His wife died in 1854. 

Christian Peterson, M. D., was born in Denmark, April 5, 
1857, son of Cresten and Anna (Vaber) Peterson, natives of 
Denmark. The father died in Denmark in 1869. The mother 
immigrated to America in 1875, locating at Cleveland, Ohio. 
She moved to Minnesota in 1878 and passed away at Owatonna 
in 1903. The subject of our sketch received his early education 
in Denmark. He emigrated to America when a youth, coming 
here May 10, 1872. He first located at Perth Amboy, N. J., 
where he remained for three years. In 1875 he came to Cleve- 
land, Ohio, and followed the seafaring life on the lakes for a 
year. He then removed to Clinton, Iowa, where he was occupied 
as a clerk in a store one year. Leaving this occupation, he went 
to Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1878, and attended the high school of 
that place one year. He later attended the medical department 
of Michigan State University one year, and then went to De- 
troit, Mich., where he was employed as a pharmacist. In 1880 
he removed to Rochester, Minn., where he was employed in a 
drug store two years. From there he went to Blooming Prairie, 
Steele county, Minn., and purchased a drug store, conducting 
same until 1884. At this time he moved his stock of goods to 
Owatonna and entered into the drug business, which he con- 
ducted with success for twelve years. In 1896 he went to Chi- 



1062 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

cago, where he took up the study of medicine at the Illinois Uni- 
versity, graduating from that institution the same year. To 
gain an additional knowledge of the subject, he took a course in 
the Chicago Physicians' and Surgeons' College, supplemented 
by a course in the Illinois Medical College at Chicago. He has 
been in the practice of medicine and surgery at Owatonna since 
1896, and has met with a marked degree of success. Dr. Peterson 
was married December 29, 1883, at Blooming Prairie, to Anna 
M., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jens Johnson. Their home is 
blessed with two children, viz. : Alvin C, born November 28, 
1884, is now engaged as a telegraph operator and secretary at 
the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific station at Owatonna ; Ella J. 
is engaged with the Olkon Dry Goods Company. Dr. Peterson 
is a Democrat in political sentiment ; he is a member of the 
Lutheran Church, also a member of the A. O. U. \\'., the Danish 
Brotherhood, the E. F. U.. and the M. N. R. He has held a 
number of local offices, having served as county coroner one term 
and one term as justice of the peace. He was elected city physi- 
cian in 1899, which office he held for eight consecutive years. 
He was again elected in 1908 and 1909, and is still holding that 
office. The doctor resides in a pleasant residence on Flowervale 
street and West side. He enjoys a very extensive practice and 
makes a specialty of the treatment of the eyes. 

Rev. John N. Pivo was born in Bohemia on May 12, 186.^, 
son of Francis and Theresa (Svoboda) Pivo, natives of Bohemia. 
They came to America in 1888 and located at Chicago, where 
they remained for a period of fifteen j'ears, when they removed 
to Jackson, Minn., where they now reside. Rev. Pivo received 
his education in the classics at Budweis, Bohemia; he then went 
to Belgium and took up the study of philosophy in the American 
Seminary of Louvain ; he came to America in 1887 and entered 
the St. Paul Seminary and graduated from that institution Xo- 
veinber 15, 1890. He was ordained to the Catholic priesthood at 
St. Paul by Rt. Rev. McGolric,'of Duluth, Minn. He first took 
up his duties at Madison, Minn., but remained there only three 
months, when, on the death of Father Singer, pastor of the 
Sacred Heart Church, he received a call to that parish, on June 
14, 1891, where he has since remained. He has a congregation of 
100 families. 

Joseph W. Rowland, register of deeds for Steele county, was 
born in Liverpool, England, March 7, 1864, son of Dr. Henry M. 
and Ann Jane (Wren) Rowland, natives of England. His father 
was a physician and practiced his profession in the city of 
Liverpool until his death, December 23, 1864. His mother is still 
living. Joseph acquired his early education in the private schools 
of England, and after leaving school went to work in a cotton 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1063 

broker's office in his native city, where he remained for six years. 
In 1884 he came to America and located at Owalonna. He 
worked at farming for tyo years and then entered the hardware 
store of E. Y. Hunnewill, where he remained two years and 
then accepted a position as bookkeeper at the Owatonna cream- 
ery, where he was engaged two years. He then moved to Minne- 
apolis in 1889 and became assistant bookkeeper for the Minnesota 
Creamery Company. After remaining there for one year he went 
to Dukith and took charge of the wholesale commission house 
of the Potter-Lucas Companj-, where he remained for two years, 
and then returned to Owatonna and opened a real-estate and 
insurance office which he conducted until he was elected register 
of deeds of Steele county in 1904. He was re-lected in 1906 and 
1908 and still holds the office. In politics Mr. Rowland is a con- 
sistent adherent of the Republican party. Before assuming his 
present position, he served in various public capacities, including 
a three years' term as city recorder. Mr. Rowland has achieved 
his success by fidelity and hard work, and well deserves the hon- 
ored position he has attained. Amid a life filled with industry 
he has found time to develop the social side of his nature, and 
has affiliated with the Masonic order, the Knights of Pythias, 
the Royal Arcanum and the IModern Woodmen of America. The 
subject of this sketch was married March 11, 1891, at Owatonna, 
to Eva M. Doolittle, and this union has been blessed with two 
children, Frances M. and Josephine W., both living at home. 
The family residence is at 405 East Vine street, Owatonna. 

Henry R. Sander, a wide-awake merchant of Owatonna, was 
born in Columbus, Wis., March 23, 1879, son of Henry and 
Elizabeth (Reickman) Sander, natives of Germany. The father 
emigrated from his native land in 1873, locating at Madison, Wis. 
In 1874 he went to Columbus, Wis., where he engaged in the 
bakery business until 1879. He was married in 1877, to Miss 
Elizabeth Reickman. He then came to Owatonna and en- 
gaged in the same business, which he continued until 1902, 
when he sold out to his son, Henry R., and retired from 
active business. He died April 2, 1907. The mother is still 
living in Owatonna. The subject of this sketch received his 
early education in the public schools of Owatonna, which 
was supplemented with a course at Pillsbury Academy. Leav- 
ing school, he entered the employment of his father in the 
bakery in which capacity he continued until 1902. At this 
time he formed a co-partnership with Clarence Porter, and 
they purchased the bakery business from his father. In 1903 
Mr. Emil Buboltz purchased Mr. Porter's interest, and they 
then continued under the name of Sander & Buboltz until Janu- 
ary 14, 1908, at which time Mr. Sander bought out Mr. Buboltz, 



10G4 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

and lias since been tlie sole owner and proprietor. He conducts 
an up-to-date bakery and restaurant. He also manufactures ice 
cream and candy. He sells wholesale and retail and does a 
flourishing and steadily increasing business. Mr. Sander was 
married June 28, 1905, at Owatonna, to Mamie, daughter of Mr. 
and Mrs. John Huber, of Owatonna. Mrs. Sander's mother died 
November 27, 1896. In religious faith he belongs to the Lutheran 
Church. Mr. Sander is a good citizen and a deserving young 
business man. He resides at 117 North Cedar street. 

Dr. Clayton H. Stearns, one of the leading dentists of Owa- 
tonna, is well qualified both by nature and training for the pro- 
fession that he has adopted. He has a well equipped ofifice, and 
his skill has attracted patients from even beyond the limits of 
the county. Dr. Stearns was born in Dodge county. Minnesota, 
July 2, 1859, son of Truman and Cornelia (Thayer) Stearns. He 
grew to boyhood on the parental farm, and attended the neigh- 
borhood schools, after which he took up the study of dental 
practice and surgery. After thoroughly mastering his chosen 
profession, he started practice in Elkader, Clayton county, Iowa, 
in 1878. In April, 1880, he went to Zumbrota, in Goodhue 
county, Minn., where he followed his profession until 1897, when 
he was attracted to Owatonna by the wider opportunities offered. 
His well equipped ofifice, which he has since maintained, is a 
model for service and convenience. While in Zumbrota, Dr. 
Stearns served five years in Company D, Third Regiment, Minne- 
sota National Guard, and a part of that time was on the colonel's 
staflf, with the rank of captain. After coming to Owatonna he 
was instrumental in organizing a company which was known as 
Company I of the Fourth Regiment, and was made captain. Later 
he was promoted to major and one year later to lieutenant 
colonel, in which capacity he served until the regiment was mus- 
tered out. Pillsbury Academy had the advantage of five years 
of his service, during which time he had charge of the military 
features of that school as commandant. In the profession of 
dentistry Dr. Stearns takes high rank. He has devoted much of 
his time to the advancement of his chosen life work, has sub- 
mitted several results of his study and research to the state and 
national societies, and has written articles that have occasioned 
wide discussion. He is a member of the National and State 
Dental Associations, and of the Southern Minnesota Dental Asso- 
ciation. Of the latter he was one of the organizers and first 
president, and he has also been president of the state association, 
serving with credit. Although a stanch Republican in politics, 
he has not found time to mingle in public life. Dr. Stearns is 
a Chapter Mason, and belongs also to the Knights of Pythias and 
the Odd Fellows. Clavton H. Stearns was married May 17, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1065 

1886, at Waseca, to Clara Beierwalter, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. 
John Beierwalter. This union has been blessed with three chil- 
dren : Josephine, Genevieve and Geraldine. The two older chil- 
dren are students at Carleton College, at Northfield, Minn. The 
family residence is located at 908 South Cedar street. The par- 
ents of Dr. Stearns were Truman and Cornelia (Thayer) Stearns, 
natives of New York state. They came westward to Minnesota 
in October. 1856, and were consequently early pioneers. They 
located in Dodge county, took up a claim, and engaged in farm- 
ing in Ashland township. The mother died August 2, 1890, and 
the father, after renting his farm, took up his home with his son, 
and resided with him until his death, April 13, 1907. 

Andrew Stageberg, secretary of The Kelly Company, Owa- 
tonna, was born in Minneola township, Goodhue county, Minn., 
April 12, 1872, son of N. A. Stageberg, of Goodhue county. An- 
drew received his early education in the district schools of Min- 
eola township, which was supplemented by two years in the Red 
Wing Business College. Leaving school, he started life as a 
clerk in a general store at Roscoe, Minn., which vocation he fol- 
lowed for three years. Having learned the details of the general 
merchandise business, he accepted a position as manager of a 
store at Zumbrota, remaining there one year. The following 
year he engaged in the real-estate and insurance business at 
Zumbrota. September 28, 1899, he came to Owatonna and 
engaged as manager of the shoe department for J. H. Robson, 
in whose employ he remained for four years. At this time Mr. 
Robson sold to Mr. Kell)', and the establishment was incorpo- 
rated and is known as The Kelly Company. Mr. Stageberg 
became a stockholder in the new company, and was elected sec- 
retary, which position he still retains. Mr. Stageberg was mar- 
ried June 1, 1903, at Owatonna, to Marie J., daughter of C. 
Larson, of Lemond township, Steele county. One child was 
born to this union, viz.: Norman Clifford, born April 7, 1905. 
Mr. Stageberg affiliates with the Republican party. He is a mem- 
ber of the Lutheran Church, also a member of various fraternal 
organizations, viz.: M. S., B. A. Y., K. of P. Mr. Stageberg is 
a very enterprising young business man. 

F. M. Smersh, M. D., one of the honored physicians of Steele 
county, was born in Moravia, Austria. October 4, 1848, son of 
Thomas and Rosalie (Maca) Smersh. He came to America with 
his parents and lived in Pittsburg, Pa., and Davenport, Iowa, 
before coming to Owatonna in 1878. Dr. Smersh obtained his 
early education by much toil and self-sacrifice, mostly in the 
night schools of Pittsburg. He took a course in the Owatonna 
high school, and then attended the Kings Medical College of 
Des Moines, Iowa, one year, graduating from the Bennet Col- 



106G HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

lege of Eclectic Surgery, March 20, 1888. Subsequently he 
attended the Homeopathic Hospital College at Cleveland, Ohio. 
His first practice was at Allegheny City, Pa., but the climate not 
being suited to his health in that city, he came to Owatonna, 
where he has since been engaged in the practice of his profes- 
sino, having also an interest in the Smersh & Kubat Drug Com- 
pany. Being thoroughly ethical in his practice and profession, 
Dr. Smersh has allied himself with the national, county and 
state medical associations, and also belongs to the Minnesota 
Anti-Tuberculosis Society and the American Public Health Asso- 
ciation of the United States, Mexico and Canada. He has been 
chairman of the board of health of Owatonna since May, 1894, 
has served as alderman from the Third ward for a total of seven 
years, and has served on the library board for a number of terms 
past. The wide scope of his ofifice-holding shows the wide diver- 
sity of his interests, and the service he has given shows his 
ability as a man, a citizen and a physician. Dr. Smersh was 
married June 20, 1891, to Amelia Slezak, and to this union have 
been born three children : Jerome, Rosaria and Clement. The 
family residence is at 216 North Oak street. In addition to the 
sanitarj' and medical societies mentioned above. Dr. Smersh is a 
member of the I. O. O. P., the M. B. A., the P. O. E., the Sons 
of Herman, the Z. B. G.. and the C. S. P. S. His wife is also 
prominent in fraternal circles. Dr. Smersh is also at the head of 
the Ancient Order of Aztecs, being the chief ofificer of its grand 
lodge. Casper Slezak and Anna, his wife, were natives, respect- 
ively of Bohemia and Steele county. The former makes his home 
with Dr. Smersh, and the latter died July 29, 1898. Thomas 
Smersh and Rosalia Maca, his wife, parents of Dr. P. M. Smersh, 
were natives, respectively, of Moravia and Bohemia. In the old 
country the father was a weaver. They came to America in 
1867, and located in Pittsburg, Pa., remaining until 1876, then 
going to Davenport, Iowa. In 1878 they came to Owatonna, and 
here the mother died in Fel^ruarv, 1888. The father died June 
25, 1900. 

Harry W. Stout was born in Kasson, Minn., October 1, 1881, 
and received his early education in the neighborhood schools 
and in the Kasson high school. This he supplemented with a 
course in the Mankato Commercial College. In 1901 he came to 
Owatonna, and for two years worked for the Owatonna Hotel 
Company, winning many friends. In 1903, seeing a good busi- 
ness opening, he purchased the cigar stand and tobacco house of 
C. W. Zoehrlout. In this business he has since continued, the 
place having increased rapidly in popularity and volume of trade. 
Mr. Stout keeps everything found in an up-to-date store of this 
kind, and caters to the most fastidious tastes. Aside from his 



r\i' 




'ji 




C. J. SKKVATirs 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1067 

case trade, he does a large wholesale, jobbing and manufacturing 
business. In the manufacturing line, he makes a specialty of 
La Pelata, a clear Havana, which has met with much favor from 
discriminating smokers. The Force, a popular five-cent cigar, 
has also met with wide sales. The output of the cigar-making 
department of the establishment is about 300,000 cigars annually. 
Mr. Stout is a self-made man, and has made all he possesses by 
his own effort. That he has succeeded in life is testified by his 
constantly filled tobacco house and his large amount of orders. 
Although not an active politician, he is a stanch Republican in 
politics. Being of a fraternal nature, he has affiliated himself 
with the Knights of Pythias and the Union Commercial Trav- 
elers. June 9, 1909, Mr. Stout allied himself with Louise C. 
Rasskopf, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Rasskopf, of Owa- 
tonna. The family residence is at 362 East Main street. John 
L. and Jennie (Hemingway) Stout, parents of Harry W. Stout, 
came from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, and in 1870 located in 
Dodge county, where the father engaged in the furniture and 
undertaking business in the village of Kasson. In 1903 they 
removed to Kentry, Kan. John L. Stout is now practically 
retired, but still looks after his extensive real-estate interests. 

Charles J. Servatius was born in Faribault, Rice county, 
Minn., on Christmas day, 1868, a son of Henry and Margaret 
(Mayer) Servatius, natives of Austria, who came to America 
as children, the father locating first in McHenry county, Illinois, 
engaging in farming. In 1856 they came to Minnesota and a 
short time after reaching the state settled in Rice county, farming 
until 187(S, v.hen they moved to Owatonna and took up the busi- 
ness of market gardening, which vocation he followed until his 
death, on April 11, 1885. The mother is still living with her 
son. Charles received his education at the Sacred Heart Acad- 
emy of Owatonna. After leaving school, he commenced work 
for himself and filled various positions of trust until 1904, when 
he was elected city clerk of Owatonna. He has been elected 
every year since and still holds the office. His political affilia- 
tions are with the Democratic party, and in his religious belief 
he is a Catholic. He has been secretary of the Commercial Club 
for the past four years, has been a member of the Owatonna fire 
department for over nineteen years, and has served as secretary 
of the department for the past twelve years. He has been con- 
nected with the management of the Metropolitan Opera House 
for the past nine years, is now its active manager and has been 
for the past four years. Mr. Servatius is one of the enterprising 
young men of Owatonna, and is interested in all that pertains to 
the best interests of the city and county. He lives at his pleasant 



IOCS HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

home on South Oak street, with his aged mother, and enjoys the 
respect and esteem of all who know him. 

Herman Schmidt, a prosperous real-estate dealer of Owa- 
tonna, was born in German}-, Jul}- 27, 1838, son of August and 
Augusta (Frank) Schmidt, natives of Prussia. The father, who 
was a school teacher all his life, died September 17, 1862. The 
mother passed away December 23, 1880. Herman received his 
early education in the public schools of Prussia. Leaving school, 
he took up the mercantile business, which he followed until 1859. 
At this time he entered the military service, in which he remained 
two years and eleven months. He then clerked in a store for 
some time, and in 1864, when the war with Denmark broke out, 
he was again called to serve his country. He was discharged 
from service with honor the same year. At this time he obtained 
a pass from his government and emigrated to America, locating 
in New York City, where he remained for a short period. He 
entered the service of the United States during the time of the 
Civil War, being enlisted three years in the Army of the Poto- 
mac, Company C, Fourth Regiment New Jersey \^olunteer In- 
fantry, of the Sixth Corps. He was discharged with honor July 
16, 1865, at Hall's Hill, Va. After being discharged from the 
army, he went to Columbus, Wis., and engaged in the mercantile 
business, which he conducted until June, 1866. At this time he 
went to La Crosse, Wis., thence to St. Paul, thence to St. Cloud, 
and from there to Faribault. Leaving the latter place, he came 
to Owatonna, June 5, 1866, and engaged in the saloon and mer- 
cantile business, which he continued until 1878. At this time he 
sold out his mercantile establishment on account of ill health 
and engaged in conveyance, insurance and real estate, which 
business he has continued w-ith success ever since. Mr. Schmidt 
was married September 5, 1872, at Owatonna, to Mrs. Margaret 
Ganser (nee Bauer). Six children were born to this union, viz.: 
Mary, wife of C. F. Albcrtus, cashier of the Security Bank ; Carl 
A., who is engaged in the grocery business at Peever, S. D. ; 
Alfred, a clerk in the Security Bank of Owatonna ; Carl A. ; 
Hugo; and Ella, deceased. Mr. Schmidt is an independent voter 
and a member of the A. O. U. \\'. He is a man who is held in 
high esteem, and has served the city and county in a number of 
local ofifices, being six years a member of the city council, five 
years on the school board, tw-elve years county commissioner, 
serving eight years out of the twelve as chairman ; three years 
on the library board, serving part of this time as secretary of 
that board ; and thirty years as trustee of Forest Hill Cemetery. 
In 1895 Mr. Schmidt built a beautiful modern residence at 805 
South Cedar street. He also owns a block on North Cedar 




.1. II. VJ.NKK 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1069 

street, and is the owner of 124 acres of land in Otter Tail county, 
Minnesota. 

John Smith, of the firm of Parrott & Smith, hardware mer- 
chants, was born at Dittersbach, Austria, April 30, 1860. He 
was the son of Frank and Mary (Marek) Smith, natives of Aus- 
tria, where they w^ere engai^ed in farming. The father died in 
1885 and the mother in 1888. John was educated in the public 
schools of Austria, and emigrating to America in 1875, located 
in Owatonna township, where he went to work on a farm. He 
attended school in this country two winters and by persevering 
effort acquired a good knowledge of the English language. He 
followed farming until 1881, then came to Owatonna, where he 
clerked in the hardware store of D. O. Searle. He remained in 
the employ of Mr. Searle for three years, during the last part of 
which period he acted as manager. In 1885 he formed a co-part- 
nership with Mr. George Parrott. This partnership purchased 
the store from the D. O. Searle estate, and they have since con- 
tinued to do a flourishing business, enjoying a wide patronage 
and universal confidence. Mr. Smith was married January 1, 
1883, at Owatonna, to Eva Morrison, daughter of Isaac N. and 
Mrs. Morrison, of Clinton Falls township. The father died 
March 20, 1906. The mother is still living at Clinton Falls. In 
politics Mr. Smith is affiliated with the Republican party. In 
religious faith he, with his family, belongs to the Congregational 
Church. Mr. Smith is also prominent in fraternal circles, belong- 
ing to the Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights of Pythias, 
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the A. O. A. Mr. 
Smith is a good citizen, and takes an active interest in the public 
affairs of his community. He served as alderman of the First 
ward two years — 1900-1901. He was elected county commis- 
sioner and served four years — 1903-1907. The family is domi- 
ciled in a beautifid residence at 222 South Grove street. Novem- 
ber 19, 1906, the store of Parrott & Smith was completely de- 
stroyed by fire, entailing a loss of $15,000 above insurance. Not 
daunted by this loss, they immediately commenced to rebuild, 
erecting a beautiful three-story fireproof brick block, where they 
are now located. 

John H. Viner, the well-known proprietor of the Ideal Cement 
Tile Company, at Owatonna, is a native of Skane, Sweden, and 
was born May 25, 1868, a son of Hans and Annie (Person) 
Viner, both natives of that country. The father, a farmer by 
occupation, was active in political affairs, and represented his 
district in the Riksdagsman, or Swedish Congress, eleven years. 
He died March 28, 1883. The mother passed away in November, 
1898. John H. spent his boyhood on his father's farm, attended 
the public schools, and after leaving school worked as a farmer 



1070 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

in Sweden till he was thirt)--one years old. In 1899 he came to 
this country, landed at New York, November 11, and went 
thence to Chicago, where he was variously employed till the 
spring of 1900, when he came to Minnesota and for two years 
was employed at cement work. Settling at Owatonna, May 28, 
1902, he there followed the same occupation one year, and in 
February, 1903, purchased the business owned by Mr. Nels Nel- 
son, taking contracts for building sidewalks. He continued that 
line of work alone some six years. In the spring of 1909 Mr. 
E. L. Haines came into the business, and the present company 
was formed and the scope of the work enlarged to include all 
kinds of cement tile blocks, building material and every descrip- 
tion of cement work. Air. Viner has made a careful study of his 
line of work and is known as a thoroughly informed expert in 
everything pertaining to it. He has devoted himself closely to 
his business and has had little time for outside afifairs. He is a 
Democrat in his political principles, but has never sought or held 
any office. He is interested in fraternal fellowship, being identi- 
fied with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Royal 
Arcanum, and in his religious faith holds to the tenets of the 
Presbyterian Church. On October 5, 1900, Mr. Viner married 
Annie Nelson, who came from Sweden, where her father now 
lives, and where her niothed died in 1908. Mr. and Mrs. Viner 
have one child, Aneta Viola by name. 

O. E. Williamson, alderman of the Second ward in the city 
of Owatonna, and a prosperous business man, was born in Nor- 
way, February 20, 1875, son of Erick and Martha (Ristie) Will- 
iamson, who in 1879 came to America and engaged in farming in 
Kenyon. Goodhue county, Minn., where they still remain, being 
honored and esteemed citizens, now living retired from active 
work in Kenyon. 

Our subject came to America with his parents when but four 
years of age. He received his early education in the country 
schools. He then engaged in the meat cutting trade with D. 
Gochnauer & Son, of Kenyon, in whose employ he remained for 
nine years and three months, learning the trade from A to Z, 
from the slaughter-house to the block. In 1902 he came to the 
city of Owatonna and entered the employ of J. M. SchafTer, 
where he remained for two years. Then he entered the copart- 
nership with P. J. Rockwood, conducting a market until 1909, 
at which time he sold his interest to Mr. Rockwood and pur- 
chased the meat business of D. H. Denison, which is the old 
Schafifer place, where he first started in Owatonna. Mr. William- 
son is now the sole owner and proprietor, and carries on a very 
successful business. He buys and slaughters all his beef and 
manufactures all his lard, sausages, ham and bacon, etc. He 




O. ]•:. WILLIAMSON 



-T-UE ME"^ YCU.. 




THE NEW 
PUBLIC 



ASTOM, LtH. 
TILOK" FOUN' 




K. T. WOODAKT) 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1071 

keeps an up-to-date market, sanitarj^ in every respect. His hon- 
est dealings and integrity answer for his large and flourishing 
trade. Mr. Williamson was married T'ebrnary 4, 1903, at Austin, 
Minn., to Miss Charlotte E. Furtney, a faithful, loving and de- 
voted wife. Mr. W'illiamson is a Republican in political senti- 
ment. He is prominent in fraternal circles, belonging to the 
A. O. U. \V.. I. O. O. F.. F. O. E., K. O. P., and the Owatonna 
Commercial Club, which he aided in organizing. In January, 
1910, he was elected chancellor commander of the Knights of 
Pythias. In 1906 he was elected alderman nf the Second ward 
and re-elected in 1908 and 1910 without opposition. Ilis home is 
beautifully located at 222 East ?ilain street. 

William Wavrin, proprietor of the Owatonna Dye Works, 
was born in Steele county. December 4, 1879, son of Joseph and 
Paulina (Belina) W avrin, natives of Rohemia. The parents emi- 
grated from their native land in the fifties, locating in Steele 
county, where the father engaged in farming. William received 
his early education in the district schools of Merton township, 
which was supplemented with a high-school education. He later 
took a business course at Canfield Business College of Owatonna. 
Leaving the latter institution, he started life on his father's farm, 
where he remained until 1903. At this time he went to Owa- 
tonna and bought the dye works from his brothers, who had 
previously conducted that business. Mr. Wavrin is doing a flour- 
ishing business, his ability and business integrity being recog- 
nized by the public. Besides our subject there are four brothers 
and one sister in this famil}-, viz. : John, Frank and Joe, who are 
all farmers in Steele county ; A. M. works with William in the 
dye business; Anna, later Mrs. Jos. Martinck, died in the vear 
1904. 

Mr. Wavrin is a Democrat in political failh. lie is prominent 
in fraternal circles, being a member of the Modern Woodmen of 
America, the C. S. P. S., the A. O. A., and the Z. C. B. T. and 
C. A. O. S. 

Rufus T. Woodard, who has the distinction of having been 
one of the famous Roosevelt Rough Riders, has seen life in 
various parts of the globe, and has had a wider experience than 
usually falls to the lot of a native-born Minnesotan. He first 
saw the light of day in Berlin township, Steele county, August 
12, 1872. a son of R. L. and Julia (Barrett) Woodard, natives of 
Pennsylvania. He received his education in the schools of Fari- 
bault, and from several correspondence schools, and first started 
out for himself as an acrobat, traveling with a circus for two 
and one-half years, and visiting every state in the Union. He 
then traveled all over Europe with Colonel Cody's Wild W^est 
Show. He was there for a j'ear and one-half, and visited every 



1073 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

country in Europe. After his return to America he located in 
Chicago, 111., and worked at the trade of bricklayer, going from 
there to Kansas City, Mo., and thence to Galveston, Texas, 
where he worked at the concrete business for a while, and then 
moved to St. Paul, where he learned the sculptor and carver's 
trade. In the spring of 1898 he went to San Antonio, Texas, 
and at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War he enlisted 
in Troop H of the United States Volunteer Cavalry, "Roose- 
velt's Rough Riders." They were first ordered to Tampa, Fla., 
and thence to Cuba. He participated in all the battles of his 
regiment, and was mustered out September 4, 1898, at Montauk 
Point, Long Island. He then returned to San Antonio, where 
he put together a moving picture and vaudeville show, which 
was known as "Woodard's Congress of Rough Riders." and 
which he conducted for six months. In the spring of 1899 he 
went to St. Paul and engaged in the concrete business until 
August, when he returned to his old home in Faribault. During 
the year 1901 he went to California and worked in all the princi- 
pal cities to better acquaint himself with his line of business. 
In 1902 he returned to Faribault and in the spring of 1903 came 
to Owatonna and formed a copartnership with Mr. C. K. Ander- 
son by purchasing the Hammel interests in the contracting, con- 
crete and cement company of Hammel Brothers & Anderson, 
the business now being carried on under the name of "Guar- 
antee Concrete and Construction Company." Mr. Woodard was 
married September 9, 1892, at St. Paul, Minn., to Marie Dahl, a 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Dahl, of Walcott township. 
Three daughters have blessed the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wood- 
ard: Alivetta LaFlossetta. Virginia Lorina and Bluedella Corine. 
Mr. Woodard's political affiliations are with the Republican 
party, and in his religious belief he is a Congregationalist. He 
is a member of the U. C. T. and the F. O. E. and of the Owa- 
tonna Gun Club. He is also a member of the Armory Athletic 
Association, of which he has served as instructor for several 
years. He is a member of Company I, Second Regiment of the 
Minnesota National Guard, and also belongs to the North Star 
Poultry Association. Mr. Woodard is a self-made man, and 
lives at his pleasant home, No. 416 Glendale avenue. He is inter- 
ested in all that pertains to the best interests of his adopted city 
and enjoys the respect and esteem of all who know him. R. L. 
Woodard and Julia Barrett, his wife, were natives of Pennsyl- 
vania. They came to Steele county at an early day and located 
in Berlin township, engaging in farming until 1880, when they 
removed to Faribault, where R. L. is still living, his wife having 
died March 25, 1909. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1073 

Hans Peter Anderson was born in Denmark, April 3, 1859, 
son of Andrew and Stina Jacobson. The father was a car- 
penter and builder in Denmark, and lived there until his death 
in 1878. The mother died in 1860. Hans Peter received his edu- 
cation in Denmark ; coming to America in 1882, he attended the 
American schools for one year, and then located in Steele county 
and engaged in farming. In 1890 he purchased a farm of seventy- 
five acres in section 20, Blooming Prairie township, and here he 
has followed general farming ever since, dairying being his chief 
industry. Hans Anderson was married March 9. 1883, to Stina 
Jensen, of Denmark, and three daughters have blessed their 
union : Mary, born November 22, 1884, now Mrs. Amond Ander- 
son of Blooming Prairie township; Emma, born March 2, 1886; 
and Agnes, born July 3, 1890. In politics Mr. Anderson is a 
Republican, and a member of the Free Christian Church. He has 
twice served his township as supervisor, the first time for a 
period of three years, and was again elected in 1909, and still 
holds the office. He has served as a member of the school board 
of district No. 84, and is also the manager of the Union Creamery 
Association of Blooming Prairie township. He has a fine farm 
which is well improved. He is a self-made man and is highly 
respected by all who know him. 

John Antel, a well-known farmer of Havana township, Steele 
county, Minn., was born in Bohemia, June 27, 1850, where he 
passed his boyhood and received his education. He left the 
Fatherland in 1876, locating in Steele county, engaging in farm- 
ing. Ten years after his arrival in this country he purchased a 
quarter section of land, where he continued general diversified 
farming for some time. Later he sold eighty acres of this tract 
and, in 1899, bought what was known as the Hewett farm, con- 
sisting of 120 acres of good land, located in section 5, Havana 
township, Steele county. This, with his other eighty, now con- 
stitute his farm, on which he is still actively engaged in its culti- 
vation and improvement, having built up one of the most up-to- 
date and well cared for farms in the county. Mr. Antel has 
always given much of his time to dairying and is one of the 
stockholders in the Havana Creamery. In politics he is inde- 
pendent, believing in the best man for the office, regardless of 
his party affiliations. Community affairs have always claimed 
much of his attention, however, and he is at present serving his 
school district as a member of the school board. As to religious 
belief, he is a follower of the tenets of the Presbyterian Church. 
He is also identified with the Modern Woodmen of America and 
the C. S. P. S. June, 1887, he married Anna Relina, by whom he 
has four children, who. named respectively in the order of their 
ages, are: Wencl, Fredrick, Venc and Anna. 



1074 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

L. J. Brynstad, a native of Norway, was born September 17, 
1862. He passed his boyhood in his native country and there 
received his education, coming to tliis land of opportunity at the 
age of twenty years, and locating in Steele county, Minnesota, 
where he was engaged in carpentering for five years. He then 
purchased ninety acres of land in section 14, the cultivation of 
this taking his time and attention for the ne.xt five years, after 
which he bought 160 acres in section 26. Numerous buildings 
were erected Ijy him and other improvements added from time to 
time, in keeping with j^rogressive agriculture, thus making his 
farm one of the most modern and up-to-date in the county. Mr. 
Brynstad is a follower of the principles of tlie Republican party, 
and is always interested in enterprises for the upbuilding of the 
county. He is at present serving his school district as clerk, this 
being his fifth year of office. He has in\ested his savings in bank, 
creamery and elevator stock. The Lutheran Church claims him 
as a member. Januar\' 23, 1886, he was married to Elsie Quit- 
ber, only child of Mr. and Mrs. Axel Ouitber. Seven children 
have blessed this marriage: Clara, who is a student at the State 
Normal School at Winona; Jennie, a teacher, and .\lma, Robert, 
Laurence, Alice and Lydia, who live at home with their parents. 
Jens and Engel (Joakim) Brjmstad. parents of L. J., were 
natives of Norway, residing in the fatherland all their lives. The 
father was a sergeant in the Norwegian army. His decease 
occurred in 1908, the mother having died eighteen years earlier. 

Mrs. L. J. Brynstad's father. Axel Ouitber, was a native of 
Sweden, born January 31, 1827. in St. Olaf, in Skone. At the age 
of sixteen he learned the carpenter's trade and worked at this 
until thirty years of age, at which time he emigrated to America 
and located in Louisiana and Florida, where he kept up the same 
trade for three or four years. He came to the state in Minnesota 
in 1861 and located in Geneva. At that time the country was 
wild and part of it was surrounded with water so that people 
could paddle a canoe from Geneva to Owatonna. The same year 
he purchased 160 acres in section 26, which w'as covered with 
timber and shrubs. He was prominent in all doings which be- 
longed to a newly settled life. He w-as among the first ones that 
organized a congregation here. This congregation belonged to 
the Lutheran Church. It was called the Beaver Lake Congre- 
gation. He improved his farm from time to time until his death, 
which occurred October 23, 1889, when he left his property to his 
wife and daughter. Mrs. Carrie Quitber, mother of Mrs. L. 
J. Brynstad. was born in Aurland Sogn in Norway, where she 
spent her childhood, until the age of thirty years, when she emi- 
grated to this state. She died in 1898 and is now resting by her 
husband's side in the Geneva cemeter}-. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1075 

George S. Brainerd, a prominent business man of Rloomini^ 
Prairie. Minn., is a native of that town, being born August 7, 
1871. He received his education in the public schools, afterwards 
going into tlic lumber business with J. C. Brainerd and Company, 
his father being the principal stockholder. The company had a 
very extensive patronage, having yards located in Blooming 
Prairie, Bixby, Watham, Elkton and Albert Lea, all of Minne- 
sota, George S. being the manager of the Blooming Prairie 
branch and a stockholder. In 1904, they reorganized, incor- 
porating as the Northwest Lumber Company, Mr. Brainerd, 
becoming a director and retaining the management of the Bloom- 
ing Prairie yards until 1905, when he disposed of his lumber 
interests to Laird Norton and Company. The clothing business 
engaged his attention lor the following three years, after which 
he purchased the stock of the Veblin Mercantile Company, which 
he incorporated as the Blooming Prairie Mercantile Company. 
He is still proprietor of this establishment and has met with 
marked success. Mr. Brainerd is a staunch adherent of the 
Republican party and has served in numerous ofifices, being a 
member of the State Board of Equalization in 1904, a delegate 
to the National Farm Land Congress at Chicago, in 1909, and 
was a delegate to the celebrated Conservation Congress. He was 
also town treasurer for two terms. He is affiliated with num- 
erous benevolent and patriotic organizations, being a Mason, a 
member of the Blue Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order 
of Elks, Modern Woodmen of America and the Order of Hoo 
Hoo and is also a leading spirit in the local Commercial club. 
The Universalist church claims his attention in religious matters. 
August 9, 1893, he united in marriage with Mary A. Toher, 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Toher, of Ovvatonna. They 
have six children, Marie, born August 21, 1894; John C, born 
April, 1896; Richard K., David L., Thomas E., and William G. 
The family residence is on Second street. Mr. Brainerd is the 
son of John C. and Melissa ( Burnliam) Brainerd, whose sketch 
appears elsewhere. 

Andrew A. Berg was born in .Xorway. January 10, 1860, son 
of .Abraham and Xccolaia (Loceth) Berg, natives of Norway 
who came to America in 1864 and located in Wisconsin, where 
they engaged in farming until 1871, when they came to Minne- 
sota and located in Freeborn county, where the father followed 
his occupation of a farmer until his death October 1877, the 
mother died in 1901. .Andrew received his education at the dis- 
trict schools of Wisconsin and Minnesota. In 1880 he purchased 
eighty acres of land in Section 27. and since that time has added 
to it until he now has a farm of 280 acres all in Berlin township, 
on which he has built his home and buildings and carried on 



1076 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

general diversified farming. He owns in addition 240 acres of 
land in Grand Forks county. North Dakota. Andrew was mar- 
ried December 9, 1880, to Miss Isabelle Lageson. a daughter of 
Mr. and Mrs. (Elling) Lageson and twelve children have blessed 
their home: Edwin, with the Ellendale Mercantile Company; 
Nels, who conducts a saw mill and threshing machine ; Albert 
at home, farming part of home farm ; Henry, an engineer working 
for his brother, Nels ; Louisa, student at Pillsbury academy ; Ida, 
housekeeper for Albert; Arnold, Louis, Enoch, Mabel, Lillian 
and Bennett all living at home. In politics Mr. Berg is an inde- 
pendent Republican, and he attends the Norwegian Lutheran 
Church. He has served as a director of the school board for a 
good many years. He is a co-partner in the Ellendale Mercantile 
Company, vice-president of the Farmers Telephone Company, 
of Ellendale, is a stockholder of the Farmers Elevator Company, 
and also of the Ellendale Creamery association. He has won 
his success by his own efforts, and has the respect and confidence 
of all who know him. 

W. A. Bailey, the genial postmaster of Medford village, is 
a native of Minnesota, and was born May 28, 1860, in Waseca 
county, St. Mary's village. He is a son of John and Elizabeth 
(Erwin) Bailey, the former a native of New Hampshire and the 
latter of New York State. The father came West in 1855 and 
located in Waseca county, Minnesota, where he was married. 
He went into the general merchandise business at Waseca vil- 
lage. From there he went to Faribault remaining for some two 
jears and then removed to Prairieville, Rice county, where he 
conducted a general merchandise establishment until 1865. and 
then came to Medford, Steele county, establishing a similar busi- 
ness which he continued up to the time of his decease, December 
7, 1898. The mother still lives in :Medford, and will attain the 
venerable age of eighty-three years next August, 1910. Besides 
our subject there is a twin brotlier in this famih', who lives in 
Chicago. The subject of this sketch acquired his education in 
the public schools of ]\Iedford. Leaving school he was employed 
in his father's store, which occupation he followed until 1880 
at which time he and his brother. Arthur S.. bought an interest 
in their father's store. Arthur S. Bailey died in 1891. He bought 
his father's interest about one week before the latters death. 
Mr. Bailey continued this business until 1901. He then sold his 
stock and merchandise to John Brown of Lamoni, Iowa, being the 
first carload of goods shipped over the Rock Island road from this 
point. Mr. Bailey, as well as his father, has held positions of 
trust in their community for a long time. His father served as 
postmaster for many years, and W. A. still continues to fill 
that position up to the present time. He is also dealer in coal. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1077 

Mr. Bailey was married in 1882 to Ella M., daughter of 
James and D. V. ( ) McNitt, who were natives of 

New York and Michigan respectively. The family is blessed 
with two children, viz: Nellie V., now Mrs. C. E. Sanders, of 
St. Paul, and Leona E., who lives with her parents. A daughter 
was born to C. E. Sanders and wife June 11, 1910, named Eliza- 
beth Jane Sanders. 

In political faith Mr. Bailey is affiliated with the Republican 
party. His family belong to the Congregation Church. He is 
also a member of the Knights of Pythias and Yeoman; was a 
member of the Modern Woodmen. He is secretary of the Strait 
River Telephone Company. 

Mr. Bailey is distinguished as having had the longest con- 
tinued residence in the village of Medford. 

Ezra C. Bryant, was born in New York State, March 20, 1852, 
son of John A. and Clysta A. (Sage) Bryant, natives of New 
York State. They emigrated west in 1854, locating in Oshkosh, 
Wis., where the father engaged in farming remaining there until 
the spring of 1868, when he came to Meriden township, Steele 
county, and engaged in agricultural pursuits on 195 acres of 
land, which he had acquired. He followed farming all his life 
and passed away June, 1880, the mother is still living in Min- 
neapolis. Ezra C. received his early education in Wisconsin, 
and came to Steele county with his parents in 1868. He bought 
126 acres of land in Meriden township. This he later sold and 
removed to Lemond township, where he purchased 126 acres 
of land on which he carried on general and diversified farming 
until 1895. At this time, he moved to Owatonna, where he en- 
gaged in rug work for three years, then in 1903, he organized 
the Owatonna Rug Company, manufacturing all kinds of rugs, 
carpets and curtains. Mr. Bryant was married April 3, 1877, to 
Mary E. Davis. She died February 7, 1903. Eight children were 
born to this union. Earl C. of Esterville, Iowa ; James died May 
19, 1908; Bessie G., now Mrs. Walter Kitzman, lives in Ester- 
ville, Iowa; John A., lives in Minneapolis; Hattie lives at Fari- 
bault; Mary E. also lives at Faribault; William C. lives at Ester- 
ville, Iowa, and Angle died August , 1898. Mr. Bryant does 

not affiliate with any political party but votes for the man, who 
according to his opinion is the best qualified to fill the office. 

Anton M. Belina was born in Owatonna township, Steele 
county, January 22, 1876, son of Anton and Frances (Pavack) 
Belina, natives of Bohemia. They emigrated to the United States 
in 1855 locating on a farm in Owatonna township, where they en- 
gaged in general and diversified farming, the father following this 
occupation up to the time of his decease. February 25. 1887. The 
mother survives him and still resides on the old homestead. 



1078 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

The subject of this sketch received his early education in the 
district schools of Owatonna township, which was followed by 
a course in the public schools of Owatonna. While attending 
the public schools in Owatonna, he also learned the tinner's 
trade. In 1895. he entered Carlton college and took a general 
course after which he became salesman for the Black Manu- 
facturing Company of Erie, Pa. This he followed for two years. 
He then entered into the sporting goods business at Owatonna, 
where he is now located. He keeps a full line of everything car- 
ried in an up-to-date store of this kind, and in connection with 
this business, he also conducts the leading automobile garage 
of the city. 

Mr. Belina was married June 11. 1901. at Owatonna. to 
Mary S., daughter of I\Ir. and Mrs. Andrew Erdmann (deceased). 
A daughter and son have blessed their union, viz, Geraldine 
Evel3n born January 23, 1904, and Kenneth A. born September 
25, 1905. Geraldine Evelyn died June 23, 1904, when six months 
of age. Mr. Belina is a self-made man. He has gained his posi- 
tion by hard work and determined efifort. He is a good citizen 
and generous neighbor. In political sentiment, he is a Democrat. 
The family adhere to the Lutheran Church. He is also prominent 
in fraternal circles, belonging to the K. of P., the E. F. U., and 
the A. O. -A. Mr. and Mrs. Belina live in a pleasant residence on 
Franklin avenue. 

Charley F. Brown, a native of Minnesota was born in Aurora 
township, Steele county, on October 6, 1874, son of F. C. and 
Mar}' (Clark) Brown. Charley received his education in district 
No. 27. of Aurora township, and after leaving school he engaged 
for six }-ears in buying and selling horses, and in 1903 com- 
menced farming on his father's farm of 180 acres, located in 
Aurora township, in Sections 26 and 27. He has followed gen- 
. eral farming in all its branches, but dairying has been his chief 
pursuit, and he is also engaged in breeding short horn cattle, 
and Norman and Clyde horses. He was married February 27, 
1898, to Bertha ^lallman and they have one child: Edna E. born 
August 4, 1909. In his political views he is a Democrat, and he is 
a member of the Presbyterian Church, and of the Modern Wood- 
men of America. He has served his town as constable for one 
year, and is now serving his fourth year as road overseer, and he 
is also a Justice of the Peace. Mr. Brown also breeds a large 
quantity of poultry each year, Rhode Island Reds and Barred 
Rocks being his favorite varities. He is a stockholder in the 
Oak Glen Creamery, and is an enterprising and successful farmer 
respected by all who know him. 

Thomas M. Bruzek, cigar manufacturer of Blooming Prairie, 
was born in New Prague, Scott county, Minnesota, December 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1070 

4, 1880. lie is a son of Frank ami Anna (Jelenek) liruzek, na- 
tives of Austria-IIungar}", and of Cecil parentage. The parents 
located in Scott county, Minnesota, where the father enii^aged in 
farming. He died October 10, 1881, the mother is still living in 
New Prague, Scott county. Thomas received his earl}- educa- 
tion in the public schools. Leaving school, he took up and 
learned the cigar makers trade in Waseca, Minn. In 1902, he 
engaged in the manufacture of cigars at New Prague, which he 
continued until 1904. From there he went to Spokane, Wash., 
where he engaged in the same line of business. In 1907, he came 
to Blooming Prairie village and established a cigar factory, 
where he is doing a strictl}' wholesale business. His leading 
brands are the Lord Digby, ten cents, and the Club, five cents. 
He has a large and steadily increasing trade having established 
a reputation on the goods that he manufactures. He has met 
with a marked degree of success and is highly repected and very 
popular with the business men of the village. In political senti- 
ment, Mr. liruzek is a Republican. He is a member of the 
Catholic Church, also a member of the I. O. O. F. 

Henry J. Brown, known as an expert horse shoer and skill- 
ful workman in his line, was born in \\'ashington county, Wis- 
consin, June 6, 1876. He is a son of Peter and Margaret (Dons- 
back) Brown, who came hither from Germany in 1846 and set- 
tled on a tract of land in Washington county, Wisconsin, where 
they made a home and lived until 1907. The father was a pros- 
perous and thrifty farmer and after some sixty years of general 
farming, retired from active work and moved to Fond du Lac 
county. The mother died October 21, 1903. Henry J. grew up 
on his father's farm and attended the district schools and had all 
the ordinary experiences of the W^estern farmer boy. Of a 
mechanical turn of mind he worked as a carpenter in early life 
and in 1898 learned the blacksmith's trade making a specialty of 
horse shoeing. After moving to Owatonna he joined his brother 
L. C. Brown, and together, under the name of Brown Brothers, 
they built up an extensive trade in their special line, and were 
known near and far as expert, reliable and skillful mechanics. Mr. 
Brown has devoted himself to his business and has never held 
or sought any office. He is a Democrat in his political principles, 
and in religious belief holds to the Catholic faith. He is identified 
with several fraternal societies, being a member of Knights of 
Columbus, the Yeomen, Aztecs and Eagles. On October 4, 
1904, Mr. Brown married Annette, daughter of D. J. and Minnie 
(Inuker) Trisko, who came from Germany, their native land, to 
W'isconsin and thence moved to Owatonna where they now re- 
side and where the father has followed his trade for thirty-three 
years. Mr. and Mrs. Brown have one child, Raymond H., by 



1080 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUX'TIES 

name. In March, 1910, Mr. Brown severed his connection with 
the firm of Brown Brothers and moved to Denhoff, N. D., where 
he engaged in the same business. 

Claude C. Campbell, editor and owner of the "Ellendale 
Eagle" of Ellendale, Minn., was born in Garrettsville, Ohio, 
January 19, 1875. At the age of eleven he came with his parents 
to South Dakota, living successively at Sioux Falls. Holabird 
and Brookings. At the latter place he completed his education 
in the public schools and in the State Agricultural College, also 
of Brookings. He then entered the employ of the "Brookings 
Register," being connected with that paper at intervals till 1902. 
During this time, together with Richard Phenix, he established 
the "Converse County Press" of Douglass, Wyo., and was also 
associated with S. A. Cochrane in the publication of "The Indi- 
vidual" at Brookings. In 1902, he removed to Ellendale. Minn., 
and purchased the "Ellendale Eagle," a weekly newspaper, of 
which he has been sole proprietor and manager ever since. The 
paper's circulation has been tripled since he took charge. It is 
known as one of the newsiest and most fearless sheets in the 
county, and wields a wide influence throughout this section of 
the state. Mr. Campbell also has a large and increasing business 
in job and commercial printing, and is a co-partner with \\'. E. 
Galloway in the Ellendale Realty Company, one of the live insti- 
tutions of the village. He has served as postmaster since August 
8, 1909, which, together with his other affairs makes him a very 
busy man. 

The Ellendale Telephone Company numbers him among its 
stockholders. In politics, he is an active supporter of the Repub- 
lican party and is keenly interested in all that pertains to the 
welfare of his community. He has served one year as a recorder 
and two years as president of the village council. The Modern 
\Voodmen of America and the Masonic Order, count him a 
loyal member of their respective organizations. He w^as also 
identified with Company G, of the First Regiment of the South 
Dakota National Guard, while in South Dakota. March 20, 

1898, he was united in marriage with Lillian L. Lewis, at Brook- 
ings, S. D. They have two children: Cecil R.. born January 1. 

1899, and Richard V., who was born February 13, 1903. Daniel 
R. and Araminta (Sapp) Campbell, parents of Claude C, were 
born in Ohio, being of Scotch-Irish-Dutch descent. The father 
was a marble and granite importer, designer of monuments, 
vaults, etc., for many years, afterwards becoming engaged in the 
manufacture of pottery at Wellsville, Ohio, where he remained 
till 1883. He then went to Sioux Falls, S. D., residing there 
three years, when he joined the tide of landseekers drifting west- 
ward and located at Holabird in the same state. The country 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1081 

not developing as rapidlj- as anticipated, he took a position as 
general agent for the Masonic Aid Life Insurance, of Yankton. S. 
D., and established his headquarters at Winnipeg, Manitoba. 
The family was removed to Brookings because of the educa- 
tional advantages offered there, with the intention of taking 
up their residence in Winnipeg later. These plans were upset 
by the death of Mr. Campbell which occurred at Winnipeg, Sep- 
tember, 15, 1888. The mother is still living with her son Claude, 
who is her only child, a daughter. Bertha, having died at Brook- 
ings in 1892, at the age of twenty-three years. 

Robert Campbell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 
22. 1850. son of Robert and Jane Campbell, natives of Scotland, 
where the father died. The mother came to America in 1857, and 
died in Webster township, Rice county. Robert attended the 
public schools of Scotland until he was seven years of age, and 
then came to America with his mother. They located for one 
j'ear in Wisconsin, then moved to Minnesota and took up their 
home in Webster township, and there followed general farming 
imtil 1900 when he sold the old home and came to Steele county 
and purchased a 200 acre farm in Blooming Prairie township. 
Sections 26 and 27, where he has since followed general farming. 
He was married October 1, 1887, at Northfield, Minn., to Grace 
Campbell, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Campbell, of Dodge 
count3^ Her mother died in 1896 and her father is now living 
at Blooming Prairie village. Seven children have blessed the 
home of Mr. and Mrs. Campbell : Jennie, born December 6, 
1888; William, born March 26, 1890; James born September 13, 
1891; John, born April 7, 1893; Robert born April 20, 1896; Mar- 
garet, born August 15, 1898, and Grace born March 17, 1901. Mr. 
Campbell's political affiliations are with the Republican party and 
he is a member of the Presbyterian Church. He is now treasurer 
of school district No. 45 of his township, and is a stockholder 
in the Farmers Elevator Company, of Northfield. He is a self 
made man. and a good citizen, respected by all. 

Jay J. Cotter, a well-known farmer of Steele county, was born 
in Owatonna. October 8. 1876. His education was received in 
the public schools and completed with a course in Pillsburj' 
academy. He then came to Havana township and located on his 
father's farm where he has been engaged in general agriculture 
ever since. Mr. Cotter also owns forty acres in Section seventeen 
and eighty more in Section sixteen, all of which is largely under 
cultivation. The Farmer's Elevator Company, of Owatonna and 
the Havana Creamery count him among their stockholders and 
patrons. As to political faith, he is a believer in the tenets of 
the Democratic party, but has never sought public office, his large 
farming interests taking all his attention. He was married, 



WS-i HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

June 10, 1903, to Fannie E. Holmes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs., 
Byron Holmes, of Owatonna. The father is deceased. James 
A. and ^liranda (Jones) Cotter, parents of Jay J., were natives 
of Pennsylvania. The father emigrated to Minnesota as a boy 
in the early pioneer days, locating in Owatonna, then but a rough 
frontier outpost, wdiere he received his education. .A-fter his 
school days, he worked in a grocery store for several years, later 
being elected clerk of the county court and holding this ofifice 
for many years. He then purchased a hundred and sixty acres 
in Havana township, soon afterwards selling eighty of them, and 
followed general farming for a time. His election as deputy 
auditor put an end to his farming operations, and while holding 
this ofifice, he died from the effects of a stroke of apoplexy in May, 
1909. His wife is now living at Owatonna. 

M. J. Dunigan was born in Sauk county, Wisconsin, October 
24. 1858, son of Patrick and Margaret (Murphy) Dunigan, 
natives of Ireland who came to America in 1848 and located 
first in Washington. D. C, where they remained only a short 
time and then moved to Indiana, going from there in 1855 to 
Wisconsin w-here the father engaged in agricultural pursuits 
until 1862. This }'ear they moved to Goodhue county, Min- 
nesota, where they remained for one year and then went to Free- 
born County, Minnesota, remaining there until 1873 when they 
moved to Steele county locating in Berlin township on 240 acres 
of land in Section 34, which he had bought in 1871. Mr. Duni- 
gan broke, cleared and subdued this land with the help of his 
son, brought to a high state of cultivation, and here he followed 
general diversified farming until his death which occurred April 
28, 1878. His faithful wife followed in October, 1892. M. J. 
Dunigan received his education in the district schools of Free- 
born county, coming to Steele county in 1873 he engaged in 
farming with his father until his father's death, when he to- 
gether with his brother, Thomas, conducted the home farm tuitil 
1892, when he started out for himself on a 160 acre farm in 
Section 33 and 34 which was left him through the death of his 
father. In the Spring of 1893 he traded tliis farm for another 
160 acres in Section 33 of Berlin township, where he is now 
engaged in farming. Fie was married November 14, 1892 to 
Anna Wright, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Wright, 
who were early settlers of Steele county coming here in 1856. 
Both are now deceased. Five children have been born to Mr. 
and Mrs. Dunigan: Mildred, born November 17, 1894; Luella, 
born February 10, 1900, and Gerald, Ijorn July 15. 1905, and 
two died in infancy. In politics Mr. Dunigan is a Democrat, 
and in his religious belief he is a Catholic. He is a member 
of C. O. F. and the B. A. F. He served the town as supervisor 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1083 

for two jears, and was chairman of the tdwn board for fourteen 
years. He has served as director on the school board both 
in district No. 96 and in district No. 33. He is a stockholder 
in the I'"armers' Elevator Co., and has been president of the 
Farmers' Rural Telephone Co. since its organization. He is 
one of Steele county's prosperous and successful farmers. 

Thomas E. Dunigan is a native of Minnesota, having been 
born in Freeborn county, August 7, 1873. He is a son of Patrick 
Dunigan. Thomas received his education at the district schools 
after which he took up farming on the home farm with his 
brother, M. J. Dunigan, until, by the death of his mother in 
1893, he inherited 160 acres of the home farm in Section 34, 
Berlin township, on which, in 1905, he begun farming for him- 
self. He has greatly improved the land and the buildings. In 
1908 he erected a two story house, thoroughly modern and up- 
to-date. He is also a breeder of short horn cattle, and has met 
with great success in this line of work greatly improving his 
herd from year to year. In his religious belief he is a Catholic, 
and his political affiliations are with the Democratic party. He 
is a stockholder in the Farmer's Elevator Company, and in the 
Ellendalc Creamery. He has never aspired to public office, 
although always interested in whatever is for the best interests 
of his town and county. He is a single man with his sister 
Hannah as housekeeper, he is happily and comfortably situated 
in his beautiful farm residence where he enjoys the respect and 
confidence of all who know him. 

Louis C. Ditlevson was born in Denmark, September 4, 1850, 
son of Chris, and Carrie (Jenson) Ditlevson, natives of Den- 
mark. The father was a weaver by trade, and died in his native 
land in 1888, the nv)ther died in 1858. Louis received his edu- 
cation in Denmark, and then learned the weaver's trade which 
he followed until he came to America in 1873. He first located 
in Geneva in Freeborn county, Minnesota, he engaged in farm- 
ing and remained there for two years. In 1875 he came to 
Steele county and followed farm work for two years, and in 1877 
purchased eighty acres in Section 17, of Blooming Prairie town- 
ship. He has added to this at different times 140 acres and now 
has a farm of 220 acres all in Section 17. At the time of pur- 
chase it was nearly all wild land, but he has it now all under a 
fine state of cultivation, and within the last eight years he has 
erected a new home and all new out-buildings. He follows a 
general diversified farming. Mr. Ditlev.son was married Feb- 
ruary 9, 1875, to Mary Paulson, who was born in Denmark, 
November 6, 1857, and came to America in 1874. Sixteen chil- 
dren have blessed their union: Chris, born January 7, 1876, of 
Blooming Prairie township: Mary, born Mav 13, 1877, died 



1084 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

February 22, 1880; Hannah, born March 10, 1879, now Mrs. N. 
C. Nelson, of Blooming Prairie township ; Fred, born October 
17, 1880, now living in Wisconsin; Andrew, born July 16, 1882, 
now of Blooming Prairie township ; Henry, born May 6, 1884, 
now of Owatonna; Alay, born March 21, 1886, at home; Caro- 
line, born January 13, 1888, also at home ; William, born April 
7, 1890, now at Appleton, Minn., keeping books ; Eddie, born 
January 3, 1892; Arthur, born February 22, 1893; ilaggie, born 
March 11, 1894; Emanuel, born April 16, 1895; Myrtle, born 
April 9, 1897; Lawrence and Ella, twins, born December 6, 1899, 
the eight youngest children are living at home with their parents. 
In his political affiliations Mr. Ditlevson is a Republican, and he 
is a member of the Baptist Church. He has been a member of 
the school board of district No. 85 for seven years and he is 
now treasurer of the district, he is a member of the Union 
Creamery Association, and is a stockholder in the Farmer's 
Elevator of Blooming Prairie His is a good citizen and highly 
respected by all who know him. 

Edward Q. Ertel, a well known and popular physician of El- 
lendale, Minn., was born in Brookville, Ind., February 13, 1881. 
He received his early education in the district schools, and later 
attended the High school of Madison. S. D., after his graduation 
completing a course in the scientific department of the Valpariso 
University, of Valpariso, Ind. Leaving here, he entered the 
Chicago Medical college in which he remained two years, and 
then entered the medical department of the Cincinnati university, 
receiving his degree, in 1907. .\fter a year of service in the 
Good Samaritian hospital of Cincinnati as interne, he removed 
to Ellendale, Minn., opened offices, and launched into the prac- 
tice of his profession, having achieved an unusual degree of suc- 
cess and won the confidence of the community. He enjoys a 
large village and country' practice, and is an active member of 
the cotmty, state and American medical associations. In politics, 
he casts his ballot as the best interests of the community dictates, 
and takes an active part in public affairs, now serving as Chair- 
man of the local board of health and as a member of the Village 
Council. The Modern Woodmen of America count him a 
loyal member of their organization. December 9, 1908, he was 
married to Martha Spiegel, at Kewanee, 111. George and Caro- 
line (Knecht) Ertel, parents of our subject, were natives of 
Indiana, where the father followed general farming up to the 
time of his decease in December. 1891. His wife passed away 
the same month and year. 

Theodore P. Fagre, of Blooming Prairie village, postmaster 
and editor, was born in Mitchell county, Iowa, December 30, 
1869, he is a son of Nels and Ingeborg (Swenson) Fagre, both 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1085 

natives of Norway who came to America at an early day and 
located in Alitchell county, Iowa, where the father was engaged 
in farming all his life. He died in 1873 and the mother now 
resides with her children. Theodore received his education at 
the district schools of Iowa, and also attended the Cedar valley 
seminary, at Osage, Iowa, and the St. Angers seminary at St. 
Angers, Iowa, and after being graduated from the latter school 
attended the State university of Minnesota for three years. In 
1896 he came to Blooming Prairie and purchased the "Bloom- 
ing Prairie Times," becoming the manager and editor. lie con- 
ducted the paper for one year and tiien sold out and entered into 
the general merchandise business which he conducted for nine 
years when he sold out and again purchased the "Times" and has 
been its editor ever since. The "Times" is a weekly newspaper 
having a large and increasing circulation for a village publica- 
tion. He also makes a specialty of commercial and job printing. 
In 1906 Mr. Fagre was appointed postmaster of Blooming 
Prairie and he still holds the office. He was married May 15, 
1898, at Mitchell county, Iowa, to Anna K. Maakestad. Three 
children have been born to them : Kinley I., born October 24, 
1901, Nora O. born January 28. 1905 and Alfred T. born March 
17, 1908. In his political views Mr. Fagre is a Republican 
and in his religious belief he is a Lutheran. He has served as 
president of the Commercial club and as trustee and recorder of 
the village for several years. His pleasant home is located on 
second street in the village of Blooming Prairie. He is a self 
made man, and enjoys the respect and confidence of all who know 
him. 

Michael J. Fallon is a native of Minnesota, having been born 
in Blooming Prairie township on December 29, 1867, son of 
Michael and Martha (Powers) Fallon, mother born in New York 
State and the father in Ireland who came to America in 1856 and 
to Steele county in 1862 locating in Blooming Prairie township, 
where they look a homestead of 80 acres in Section 22. It was 
wild land and the father broke and cleared it and erected build- 
ings and later he added 40 acres adjoining and there he carried 
on general farming until his death February 21. 1909. The 
mother died in 1880. They had six children: John, Stephen, 
Elizabeth, Augusta, Ellen and Michael J., of whom only Michael 
J. and Augusta are now living. Mr. Fallon received his edu- 
cation at the district schools and after leaving school he followed 
farming with his father, and in 1888 he went to Dakota, and 
thence to the -State of Washington, where he was engaged at 
civil engineering for the Great Northern R. R. for four years. 
In the fall of 1893 he returned to the old farm and took charge 
and has remained there ever since doing a general diversified 



inSG HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIEiJ 

farming. Mr. Fallon is unmarried, in his political views he is 
an independent Democrat, and in his religious faith he is a Cath- 
olic. He has served for two years as constable, six years as chair- 
man of the town board of supervisors, and as a director of school 
district No. 45 for fifteen years. On his farm he breeds Jersey 
hogs, norman horses and short horn cattle. He had three uncles, 
his father's brother, Patrick, who came to Steele county at the 
same time his father did in 1862, their names were Patrick, 
George Tapliff and Thomas F., and they all took homesteads 
in Blooming Prairie town.ship, all are now deceased. 

H. F. Gronowski, a self made and progressive farmer of 
Havana township, Steele county, was born in Posen, Germany, 
November 22, 1862, emigrating to America with his parents at 
the age of twelve years and locating at Owatonna, Minn., where 
he completed his education. In 1880. he took charge of the 
160 acre farm in Section 4, Havana township, which his father 
had recently purchased. Here he has been engaged in general 
farming ever since, owing his success to hard and intelligent 
work. Mr. Gronowski erected a $3, .^00 house in 1909, and also 
a large, modern barn, making his farm, with the other improve- 
ments he has made from time, one of the best equipped and up- 
to-date in the county. y\I1 enterprises tending for the good of 
the community have always had his hearty support. He is a 
stockholder in the Havana creamery and in the Farmer's Elevator 
of Owatonna. In politics, he follows the guidance of the 
Democratic party. Public office has never attracted him, his 
other interests claiming all his time and attention. Joseph and 
Anna ( tlope) Gronowski, parents of our subject, are natives 
of Germany, leaving the Fatherland for America in 1874. They 
still live with their son on the i)ld homestead. 

Christopher N. Hillstad, a self made and progressive farmer 
of Havana township, Steele county, was born in Norway, Feb- 
ruary 19, 1858. He received liis education and passed his boy- 
hood in the Fatherland, emigrating to America at the age of 
fifteen, and locating in Sauk county, Wisconsin, where he was 
engaged in farming till 1877, when he removed to Havana 
township, Steele county, continuing in the same line of work. 
In 1892, he purchased an eighty acre tract in Section 21, Havana, 
later acquiring 100 acres of improved land in section 27 , same 
township, where he has followed general farming ever since, 
achieving his success by hard work and up-to-date farming 
methods. Mr. Hillstad owns a fine herd of cattle and pays much 
attention to dairying and stock raising. He is a stockholder in 
the Havana creamery. In jiolitics, he is a follower of the Repub- 
lican party, and though he has never sought public office, is 
interested in all that pertains to the good of the county. The 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1087 

Lutheran Church numbers him among its members. June 27, 
1884, he was united in marriage with Olena Nelson, daughter 
of Mr. and Mrs. Xels Nelson who died on the same day, March 
28, 1909, of old age. Mr. and Mrs. Hillstad have eight children, 
Christina, who is married to Theodore Thompson, of Havana, 
N'ilda, Eddie, Richard, Clarice, Cora, Ruth and Morris. 

Anton J. Haberman, a merchant of Bixby, was born in Steele 
county, Minnesota May 27 , 1885, son of John and Thresa Haber- 
man, natives of Germany. The parents emigrated from their 
native land in 1883, locating in Aurora township, Steele county, 
Minnesota, where the father has followed agricultural pursuits 
ever since. The mother died in 1903. Anton received his early 
education in the district schools which was supplemented with a 
course at the Canfield school of business of Owatonna. Leaving 
school he directed his attention towards mercantile pursuits, 
and in 1909 purchased the stock of F. R. Harzberg, general 
store at Bixby. He has carried on a thriving business at this 
place since. The Bixby Post Office is in Mr. Haberman's store, 
his brother being the postmaster. Mr. Haberman is not married. 
He does not affiliate with any political party, but casts his vote 
for the candidate who is best qualified in his judgment to fill 
the office, regardless of party principles. In religious faith he 
adheres to the Catholic Church. Aside from his store, Mr. 
Haberman is owner of twenty acres of land in Section 9, Aurora 
township. He is a public-spirited citizen, always interested in 
everything that is for the betterment of hi.s village and Steele 
county. 

G. J. Hovland was born in Norway, September 14, 1852, son 
of Gens and Rosa Hovland who came to America in 1875, and 
located in Wisconsin and engaged in farming which they still 
follow. G. J. Hovland received his education in Norway and 
came to America in 1872 and located in Wisconsin where he 
farmed for seven years and in 1879 he came to Steele county 
and located in Aurora township and bought 160 acres of land in 
Section 10, he has since erected a fine dwelling house and out 
buildings and has greatly improved his land, nearly all of which 
is under the plow. He carries on a general diversified farming, 
dairying and stock raising. He was married July 26, 1879, to 
Belle Thompson and eight children have blessed their home : 
Peter; Louis (deceased); Sena, now Mrs. Louis Olson; Belle; 
John; Gilbert, deceased; Rodena, a student at Owatonna High 
school; and Melvin. Mr. Hovland's political affiliations are 
with the Republican party, and he is a member of the Lutheran 
Church. He has served as town treasurer for two 3^cars, and has 
also served as treasurer of school district No. 13, for twelve years, 
and as road overseer for five years. He is a stockholder in the 



1088 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Pratt Rural Telephone Company, and is one of the prosperous 
and successful farmers of Steele county, having the respect and 
confidence of all who know him. 

Jas. F. Harty was born November 26. 1877, in Bath, Free- 
born county. Minnesota, son of Roger and Mary (Gannon) Harty, 
nati\"es of Minnesota. The father is a prominent farmer in 
Freeborn county. The subject of our sketch received his early 
education in the district schools, which was supplemented with 
a High school education at Albert Lea and Owatonna. After 
leaving school he began his career as teacher, and has followed 
the same ever since in Steele and Freeborn counties, largely in 
Steele. Since 1897. he lias also conducted a store in Blooming 
Prairie village, corner IMain and Railway streets. He carries a 
full and up-to-date line of wall paper and painter's supplies; 
also a line of holiday toys in season. During the summer months, 
he is engaged in paper hanging and painting. Mr. Harty was 
married September 25, 1907, to I\Iayme A. McNerney, who was 
born in Summerset township. March 17. 1880. She is a daughter 
of Patrick and Anna (Flemming) McNerney, a prominent 
farmer of Summerset township. The father is still living, the 
mother died March 5. 1894. ]\Ir. Hart}' is Democratic in his 
political views. In religion he adheres to the Catholic Church. 
He is a very promising young business man. always interested 
in what is for the good of Blooming Prairie and Steele county, 
a good citizen, highly respected by all who know him. 

William Henry Hart, a sturdy old pioneer, who contributed 
much to Steele county's upbuilding, was born in New York city, 
November 6, 1838. His father and mother were born and reared 
in Ireland and came to New York city in 1837. \\'hen William 
was six years of age. his parents with an older son James, emi- 
grated to Fox Lake, Wis., where they engaged in farming. 
When the Civil war broke out James enlisted as volunteer in 
the Nineteenth Wisconsin Volunteer infantry, leaving William 
with the cares of the home. In 1866 he moved with his parents 
and brother to Havana township where he now resides. After 
one year of hard frontier life, William returned to Fox Lake, 
Wis., to bring home a bride Katherine Cruden. Seven children 
were born to them: Harriet, George, John. William, Charles, 
Edward, and Alice, all of whom are living but John, who died 
when an infant of one year. William Hart is a prosperous and 
successful farmer. He has educated each of the six children so 
that they are ideal prosperous citizens. He has been foremost 
in the upbuilding of all new enterprises in the county. He 
worked hard for the location of Pratt station which has helped 
the growth of Havana township. He was one of the main 
leaders in the building of co-operati\"e creameries in this county 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1089 

and has been a staunch worker in that line since. lie has helped 
lay out and build every mile of road in his vicinity. He advocated 
and practices the keeping up of good roads. In politics he is 
Democratic, but he has always worked for the best man for the 
place, upholding the right and condemning the wrong. Steele 
county owes much to her early settlers who bore so many hard- 
ships and worked with untiring zeal for the building up and 
beautifying of it. 

Andrew Hjelmen, a prosperous farmer of Blooming Prairie 
township, was born in Dodge county, April 11, 1864, son of Ole 
and Ingeborg (Anderson) Hjelmen, natives of Norway. The 
parents emigrated to America in 1862, locating in Dodge county, 
where the father filed on a homestead of 80 acres. He added to 
the original homestead until he had 280 acres. This is all in 
Steele county except the original 80 acres. The father cleared 
and broke the wild land, made improvements, erecting farm 
buildings and turned the wilderness into a fertile farm, on which 
he followed general farming until 1889. He died November 
26, 1898. The mother passed away December 25, 1909. Andrew 
received his early education in the district schools. Leaving 
school, he took up farming with his father until he was twenty- 
two years of age. He then rented the old homestead and con- 
tinued to do so until the decease of his father. At that time, he 
fell heir to 80 acres of the homestead located in Section 13, 
Blooming Prairie township. In addition to the 80 acres, he rents 
land. He is a very progressive farmer and has met with very 
marked degree of success. Mr. Hjelmen was married April 18, 
1885. to Thea Bekkedahl. Three children ha\c blessed the 
union, viz: Ida Marie, dressmaker; Olga Louise and Iver 
Alfred, both students in the Blooming Prairie High school. Mr. 
Hjelmen is a Republican. He is a member of the Lutheran 
Church. He has served on the township board as supervisor of 
Blooming Prairie township. He is now serving the sixth year as 
a member of the school board of district No. 73. He is a stock 
holder in the Blooming Prairie Separator Creamery, also, in the 
Farmer's Elevator. He is a good citizen, highly respected by all 
who know him. 

Charles D. Hosfield, for many \ears an honored and respected 
citizen of .Steele county. Minnesota, was born on his father's 
farm near Ogsiluby, N. Y., September 6. 1856. He received his 
early education in the district schools, later being graduated 
from the Faribault High school after his removal to Minnesota, 
in 1874. His school days over, he engaged in general farming in 
Deerfield township, Steele county, with much success, until 
1892. when he entered the grain buying business in which he 
remained up to the time of his decease. April 2, 1899. He was 



1090 HISTORY OF RICE A.XD STEELE COUXTIES 

also interested in the I\Icdford Creamery as a stockheldcr. Mr. 
Hosfield was known as a progressive farmer, an upright business 
man, and in his home a tender and loving husband and father, 
being universalh- esteemed and respected by all with whom he 
caine in contact during his active and useful life. In politics, he 
gave his support to the Republican party, and was ever ready 
to assist any project for the welfare of the community. The 
Knights of Pythias counted him a valued member. December 
7, 1880, at Owatonna, he was married to Lillian A\'ier. by whom 
he had seven children, all of whom are living with the exception 
of Roy and Maude. Of the others. Ruby H. is a teacher in 
Warsaw township: Raleigh W.. is attending the State university; 
Fanny B., is engaged in teaching at Medford; Percy C, attends 
the Faribault High school; and Elizabeth L. is living at home. 
The famil}' worship at the Congregational Church. William 
Hosfield, father of our subject, emigrating from England to this 
country in his younger days, and settled in New York State, 
where he followed farming till his decease in 1865. The mother 
passed awaj- October 13. 1883. Mrs. Charles D. Hosfield was 
born to George and Isaljelle (Tupper) Weir, in Wisconsin, 
October 12, 1859. Her father was a native of England and her 
mother of Maine. The father came to America in his youth and, 
locating in Maine, was engaged as a millwright for several years. 
In 1850, he joined the pioneer movement West, settling with 
his family at Green Bay, Wis., where he conducted a sawmill 
until his removal to Steele county, Minnesota, in 1879. Here he 
followed diversified farming imtil his ileath, Xo\ember 18, 1883. 
His wife's demise occurred five years later. 

Wencl J. Jerele was born in Bohemia, October 15, 1873. son 
of Wencl and Barbara (Ripka) Jerele, natives of Bohemia. They 
came to America in 1877 and located in Steele cotmty and en- 
gaged in farming until 1903 when they retired and moved to 
Owatonna. The mother died in April, 1898. Wencl received 
his education in the district schools, and after leaving school 
and in the year 1897 he purchased 67 acres of wild land in 
Aurora township, near Bixby on Section 34 and 27. lie broke 
and developed it and has erected a good home and out buildings, 
where he carried on general diversified farming. He married 
Anna Ducek and they have three children : Rosa, Albert and 
Alice. In politics Mr. Jerele is an independent voter and he is 
a member of the Catholic Church and of St. Joseph Lodge No. 
7. He is now a director of school district No. 64. 

O. P. Jensen, of Blooming Prairie township, was born No- 
vember 10, 1875. The parents, Nels and Carrie (Olson) Jenson, 
natives of Denmark, immigrated to America in 1869, locating in 
Summit township, where the father followed agricultural pur- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1091 

suits until the time of his decease, September, 1889. The mother 
resides at Ellendale, Minn. 

O. P. Jenson received his early education in the district 
schools of Steele county, which was supplemented by a course 
in the high school at Albert Lea, Minn. After leaving school, 
he returned to the old homestead where he remained until he 
became of age. He then learned the butter-maker's trade. His 
first position was in Ellendale, where he remained for one year. 
From there he went to Wells, Minn., where he remained four 
years. Thence to Walters, Minn., where he was engaged for 
two years. In 1903, he accepted a position as butter-maker of 
the Union creamery association, which is located in Section 17, 
Blooming Prairie township. He has carried on the work success- 
fully there ever since. 

Mr. Jenson was married June 4, 1893, to Nora Towns. He is 
a Republican in political sentiment, and is a member of the 
Danish Lutheran Church. Mr. Jenson is a self made man, a 
highly respected citizen, well liked by all who know him. 

George J. Johnson, manager of the Laird-Norton lumber yard 
at Bixby, was born in Denmark, November 6, 1865. He is a son 
of Hans and Christina (Jorgenson) Johnson natives of Denmark, 
who emigrated to America in 1876, locating in Blooming Prairie 
township, Steele county, Minnesota. The father died in Feb- 
ruary, 1877. The mother still lives in Blooming Prairie. George 
received his early education in the public schools of Denmark and 
the district schools of Steele county. He being the eldest of the 
children, the responsibility to provide for the family fell on 
him at the time his father died. He remained on the old home- 
stead of 40 acres, in addition to which he owned 140 acres adjoin- 
ing in sections 4 and 11, until 1893. In 1893. he took up car- 
penter work, which he followed for three years. Then he 
accepted a position as manager for the J. C. Brainerd Lumber 
Yard at Bixby. Later this yard was sold to the Laird-Norton 
people, Mr. Johnson being retained as the manager, which 
position he has held up to the present time. Mr. Johnson was 
married July 7, 1897, to Freda Reeves. The wife died December 
12, 1902, leaving a son and a daughter, viz : ElmCr, horn August 
25, 1900, Alice, born October 30, 1902. Mr. Johnson is a Repub- 
lican and a member of the Danish Lutheran Church. He served 
as clerk of the .school board for district Xo. 47 for some time. 
He is a respected citizen and by his honest upright dealings, 
he has established a good reputation for the company he is 
connected with. 

Peter J. Johnson, a farmer of Berlin township, was born in 
Sweden, January 11, 1852. He is a son of John Benson and 
Carrie (Peterson) his wife, natives of Sweden, who engaged 



1093 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

in agricultural pursuits all their lives. The mother died in her 
native country in 1880. The father survived her five years, when 
he died also in his native countr}'. The subject of our sketch re- 
ceived his education in Sweden. In 1887, he left his native 
country to search the larger opportimilics of the new world. 
After arriving in America, he located at Red Wing, Goodhue 
county, Minnesota, where he remained for three years. He then 
went to Dodge Center, Dodge county, remaining there one 
y^ear. whence he came to Steele county and located in Berlin 
township, where he purchased a farm of 153 acres in Section 16. 
Here he erected a residence and all the necessary out-buildings, 
improving the farm until it is now very productive, he has fol- 
lowed general farming ever since. Air. Johnson was married in 
June. 1887. to Jennie Sundahl, a native of Sweden. Their home 
is blessed with three children, Arthur B., Alma F., Carrie E., 
who are all residing with their parents. Mr. Johnson is a Repub- 
lican in his political faith but he has never aspired to a public 
office. He with his family belong to the Baptist Church. He is 
a very progressive stock farmer, being a breeder of Holstein 
cattle, Poland-China pedigree hogs, and Percheron horses. He 
takes a great pride in and pays a good deal of attention to the 
above named stock. He is actively interested in the public wel- 
fare of his community, being a stockholder in the Farmer Ele- 
vator of Ellendale. He has acquired all he owns by his own 
efiforts and hard work. 

Smith Johnson, lately of Aledford, is a native of New York 
being born on February 28, 1828. He was a son of Smith and 
Elizabeth (Carpenter) Johnson, natives of Vermont and New 
York respectively. The parents came to \Visconsin in the early- 
days and thence emigrated to Minnesota and located at Medford 
where they farmed up to the time of the father's decease. Mrs. 
Johnson died in Wisconsin in 1869. The subject of this sketch 
came to Minnesota when a young man, and located at Medford 
where he erected a house for his parents. He was one of the 
first white settlers to come to this section of the country. He 
carried on general farming here, and later when his father died 
he became postmaster, following his father who was the first 
postmaster in Medford. lie held the office about one }ear and 
then again took up farming, which he followed up to the time of 
his death, which occurred .\ugust 12, 1907. On November 10, 
1857, Mr. Johnson married Sabrina, daughter of Kendall and 
Polly (Laughling) Wilkins, natives of Vermont. The father 
carried on farming in the above named state until he arrived at 
an advanced age when he came to Minnesota and lived near his 
son, where he resided until the time of his death. Mother also 
died in Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have one child, Mary 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1093 

L.. now Mrs. George B. Corey, who resides at Medford. Mrs. 
Johnson lives with her daughter in Medford. In politics Mr. 
Johnson was a Republican, and lie with his family belonged to 
the Universalist Church. 

George E. Johnson, the well known dairyman of Blooming 
Prairie, Minn., was born in St. Charles, Winona county, Minne- 
sota, October 22, 1859. He received his education in the public 
schools of St. Charles, afterwards assisting his father in the 
management and working of the home farm till 1883, when he 
removed to Blooming Prairie and conducted a farm for Edwin 
Morton seven years. Mr. Johnson then bought an eighty acre 
tract, partly inside the city limits and lying evenly on the bound- 
ary line of Steele and Dodge counties. Here he followed general 
farming, giving special attention to dairying, till 1900, when he 
started milk and cream routes, and now devotes his attention 
exclusively to dairying and the selling of the product. Thorough- 
bred Jersey and Shorthorn cattle are features of his establish- 
ment and have assisted him in the building up of his thriving 
business. In politics, he gives his allegiance to no party, always 
casting his ballot as the best interests of the community seem 
to dictate. He has served his village as alderman for a number 
of years, and held the office of Master Mason two years. The 
Blooming Prairie .Creamery Association counts him among its 
stockholders. Mr. Johnson is affiliated with the Order of Blue 
Masons and Modern Woodmen of America. He is also indenti- 
fied with the Presbyterian Church. In February, 1886, he was 
married to Mary A. Nelson, of Copenhagen, Denmark. They 
have five children, all of whom live at home with their parents, 
with the exception of Edith, who died in 1906. Named in order 
of ages, they are: Minnie, George H., Rose and Clinton. Mr. 
and Mrs. G. H. Johnson, parents of George E., are natives of 
Connecticut. Migrating west, they located in St. Charles, Minn., 
in April, 18.^6. the father following farming. 

Alfred E. Johnson, cashier of the Farmers' and Merchants' 
State Bank of Blooming Prairie, Minn., was born in Austin, 
Minn., April 28, 1870. He received his education largely in the 
public schools of his birthplace, and then completed a course 
at the Bayliss Business College of Dubuque, Iowa. After school 
he acquired his first business experience with the John W. 
Thomas Dry Goods Company, of Minneapolis, being connected 
with this firm till 1892, when he returned to Austin and entered 
the employ of George Hirsh (clothing) as a salesman, in which 
capacity he remained five years. He then entered the Citizens' 
National Bank of Austin as a bookkeeper, the value of his serv- 
ices being recognized two years later by his appointment as 
cashier, which position he capably filled until the fall of 1903. 



1094 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Mr. Johnson thence removed to Madison, Wis., where he was 
engaged as secretary of the American Plow Company till Janu- 
ary, 1904. In ]\Iay, 1904, he entered upon his duties as cashier 
of the Farmers' and Merchants' State Bank of Blooming Prairie, 
with which he is still associated, both as cashier and as a stock- 
holder. In politics the Republican party claims his allegiance. 
All movements for the good of the county or village are sure 
of his support. He is now serving his second term as a mem- 
ber of the local school board, and while in Austin held the office 
of cit)- treasurer. The Masonic Order, Blue Lodge, in which he 
officiates as secretary, and the Sons of Norway count him as a 
valued member of their respective organizations. January 2, 
1895, he was married to Clara J. ]\Iiller, daughter of Mr. and 
Mrs. Charles Miller, late of Austin, now deceased. Mr. and 
Mrs. Johnson have two children : Charles Seymour, born De- 
cember 23, 1895, a student in the local high school, and Grace 
Laurene, born November 4. 1901. The family worship at the 
Episcopal and Lutheran Churches. Their residence is on First 
street. Seymour and Lena (Johnson) Johnson, parents of our 
subject, were born and reared in Norway. Coming to this 
country in their younger days, they settled at Waupon, Wis., 
then but a rude pioneer village, the father being engaged as a 
blacksmith until the opening of the Civil War. He then enlisted 
with a volunteer regiment of infantry from Wisconsin, serving 
his adopted coimtry faithfully until he was mustered out with 
the rest of his comrades at the close of the war in 1865. Nearly 
all of the important battles of the struggle saw him as an active 
participant. He bore arms in Sherman's famous march to the 
sea. After the war he returned to Waupon for a short period. 
Later, in 1867, removing to Austin, Minn., he continued black- 
smithing and also carried a line of farm machinery, till 1902, 
when he disposed of his business interests and retired from active 
work. He still resides with his wife at Austin. Of his brothers 
and sisters, Frank and Florence died in infancy, and Stella L. is 
married to Dr. O. H. Higge, of Austin, having three children : 
Milda, Ralf and Valfreid. 

Lee Brothers, both natives of Minnesota, having been born 
on the farm where they now reside, in Berlin township, Steele 
county, Edward was born March 16, 1879, and Andrew, April 
8, 1886. Their parents were Ole and Mary (Johnson) Lee, 
natives of Norway, who came to America in 1856, and first 
located in Wisconsin, where they resided until 1866, when they 
moved to Steele county and located in Berlin township and en- 
gaged in general farming on 228 acres of land in section 26. 
This land the father broke and improved, built a home and out- 
buildings, and farmed until 1907, when he sold the farm to his 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1095 

two sons, Edward and Andrew. He then retired from active 
work until his death, which occurred January 28, 1908; the 
mother died April 27, 1908. Edward and Andrew received their 
education in the district schools and Andrew attended the Can- 
field School of Business at Owatonna, Minn., for two winters. 
After leaving school they took up farming with the father on 
the old homestead until 1907, when they purchased the place, 
and have followed general farming since that time. Two years 
previous to buying the old home Andrew farmed in Otter Tail 
county, Minnesota. In politics both brothers are Republicans, 
and they are members of the Lutheran Church. Edward has 
served as road overseer and as director of his school district. 
No. 83. Both are prosperous and successful and are highly 
respected by all who know them. 

John Johnson Lysne was born in Norway, November 2, 1846, 
and there he received his education. He was first married in 
1867 to Julia Johnson and they had one child, John Lysne. In 
1871 he came to America and located for one year at Kenyon, 
Goodhue county, and in 1872 he came to Steele county and 
located in Aurora township. In 1875 he purchased forty acres 
of land in section 23 ; he has added to this at dififerent times 
until he now has 220 acres, 140 in section 26, and eighty in sec- 
tion 23. He has built a fine home and outbuildings and follows 
general diversified farming. When Mr. Lysne came to America 
he had only one cent and he owed $25, but by his own perse- 
verance and industry he has won success in his new home. In 
1900 he was married a second time to Anna Luthen, and six 
children have been born to them : Joseph, Raymond. Martin, 
Nunda, Harry and Margaret. In politics Mr. Lysne is an inde- 
pendent voter, and in his religious faith he is a member of the 
Lutheran Church. lie is a stockholder in the Oak Glen Cream- 
ery Association of Bixb}-. He has never held or aspired to pub- 
lic office, but he is interested in all that pertains to the best 
interest of the community where he resides, and is a good citi- 
zen, respected by all who know him. 

Hans Larsen, thrifty farmer of Blooming Prairie township, 
was born in Denmark, October 8, 1850. His parents, Lars and 
Anna (Christiansen) Christiansen, natives of Denmark, died in 
their native country. Hans received his early education in the 
public schools of Denmark. After leaving school, he learned the 
milling trade, which he followed for five years. He then engaged 
in the bakery business. He served in the standing army of his 
country from April until September. In August, 1878, he immi- 
grated to America, locating in Blooming Prairie township, where 
he purchased a farm of 160 acres in sections 20 and 21. He has 
been engaged in agricultural pursuits ever since. Mr. Larsen 



1096 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

was married November 1, 1878. to Kirsta Johnsen. Two children 
have blessed the union: Mary, died December 11, 1902; Peter, 
born December 25, 1885, living with his parents. Mr. Larsen is 
a Republican in ])olitical sentiment. He is a member of the 
Baptist Church and a good citizen. He is one of those men 
who have aided in building up this great state. 

Hans P. Mork, an industrious and thrifty farmer of Steele 
county, was born in Denmark, March 16, 1859. He received the 
most of his education in the Fatherland, emigrating to this 
countr}^ with his parents at the age of thirteen, and remaining 
on his father's farm in Havana township. Steele county — which 
his father purchased immediately after landing — until attaining 
manhood. Since leaving home, he has been very successful in 
his farming operations, now owning 120 acres of improved land, 
sixty of which are under cultivation, the remainder furnishing 
a good income as pasturage and woodland. Stock raising is 
carried on quite extensively. Shorthorn and Durham cattle, 
Poland-China hogs and good horses being raised. An apple 
orchard of 100 trees is one of the profitable features of this farm. 
Mr. Mork has lived on his present place since 1892, and has 
added numerous improvements. In politics he is a believer in 
the doctrines of the Republican party, but his other interests 
have prevented him from seeking office. In 1884 he was united 
in marriage with Carolina Mortson, by whom he had nine chil- 
dren, eight of whom are living : Alfred, Mary, William, Lillie, 
Otto. Harry and Clarence and Charles are twins. The family 
attend worship at the Lutheran Church. Nels and Anna (Lar- 
son) Mork, parents of our subject, came over from Denmark in 
1872, and located in Havana township. Steele county, where the 
father followed general farming up till 1900. Five children, all 
boys, four of whom are living, were born to them. They are 
now living, retired, with their son. 

Erik J. Moe, a prosperous farmer of Havana township. Steele 
county, was born in Haflo-Prastjald, Indre-Sogen, Norway, 
April 4, 1857. He acquired his education in his native land and 
assisted on his father's farm till his emigration to America in 
1879. Arriving in this country, he first located near Sleepy Eye, 
Brown county, Minn., where he was engaged in farming for 
eight months, afterwards remo\-ing to Havana township, Steele 
county, and continuing in the same occupation till 1883, when he 
took a ten months" trip to the Pacific coast, returning to Steele 
county. Later, in 1890. he purchased a farm of eighty acres in 
section 9, Havana township, on which he has followed up-to-date 
farming ever since with marked success, making a specialty of 
raising and breeding high grade Durham cattle and Poland- 
China hogs. In June, 1902, Mr. Moe lost his barn, machine 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 109? 

sheds and other outbuildings by lire, but rebuilt the following 
fall, erecting his barn and other buildings after the most modern 
patterns. The Havana Creamery values him as a stockholder 
and patron. In politics he is a loyal adherent of the Republican 
party. The Lutheran Church also claims him as a member. 
December 24, 1883, he was married to Anna Johnson by Rev. 
Ole Melby, at Havana. They have six children : Lena and 
Mettina, who reside in Owatonna; and Anna, Agnes, John and 
Gerhard, living at home. Erik J. is a son of Johannas E. and 
Mattie (Quam) Moe. natives of Norway, where the father still 
follows farming. The mother died in 1901. 

Father David L. Murray was born in Providence, R. I., Sep- 
tember 1. 1850. He is a son of Lawrence and Mary (Ken^- 
neally) Murray, natives of Ireland, father of the city of Dublin 
and mother of the city of Cork. The parents immigrated to 
America in 1842, locating in Providence, R. I., where the father 
engaged in the lumber business all his life. The firm was 
known as Albert Daley & Co. The father died June 14, 1878, 
and the mother died August 15, 1888. The subject of our sketch 
received his early education in I^rovidence, and in 1871 entered 
the Holy Cross College at Worcester, Mass., graduating from 
the said institution in 1877. He then entered the Grand Semi- 
nary of Montreal. Canada, from which he graduated in 1881. 
September 25, 1882, he was ordained to the Catholic priesthood 
at St. Paul. Minn., by Bishop Ireland. On October 1, 1882. he 
came to Blooming Prairie as priest to the St. Columbanus parish, 
where he has about 360 souls. Father Murray is a Democrat 
in political sentiment. He is a member of the K. of C, Daugh- 
ters of Erin, Ladies' C. O. F., A. O. H., C. O. F. Father Murray 
has always taken an active interest in the welfare of Blooming 
Prairie, and is very highly honored by all who know him. 

H. C. Nelson, proprietor of Pleasant Hill farm, of Blooming 
Prairie township, was born in Denmark, April 15, 1857, son of 
Nels and Elizabeth (Christensen) Nelson, natives of Denmark, 
where they passed their lives. The subject of our sketch received 
his early education in his native land. Then he learned the 
weaver's trade, which he followed for a period of six jears. He 
then followed agricultural pursuits until 1882. At this time he 
emigrated from his native land to seek his fortune and establish 
himself in the new world. Arriving in .\mcrica, he located in 
Blooming Prairie township. In 1884 he purchased a farm in 
the above mentioned township, where he engaged in farming 
until 1892. At this time he sold his first purchase and bought 
eighty acres in section 23, where he erected a home and has fol- 
lowed general farming since. Mr. Nelson was married August 
22, 1889, to Mrs. Hannah (Johnson) Peterson. She had two 



lOOS HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

daughters by her former marriage. The union of Mr. and Airs. 
Nelson is blessed by one daughter, Alice, who lives at home. 

Mr. Nelson is a Republican and belongs to the Free Mission 
Church. He has served as a member on the school board. 

Roy H. Naylor, a native of Minnesota, was born in Merton 
township, Steele county, on December 9, 1877. He is a son of 
Arthur C. and Carrie (Jarrett) Naylor. The father was born 
in Illinois and the mother in Dodge county, Minnesota. In 1855 
the father located in Merton township, on section 35, where he 
carried on general farming until 1909, when he retired and 
moved to Owatonna. Roy received his education in the district 
schools in Merton township, and then took a two years' course 
at the Faribault high school and three 3-ears in the Owatonna 
high school. He then attended the Canfield School of Busi- 
ness and in 1903 accepted a position as steward at the state 
public school at Owatonna, which he now holds. He was mar- 
ried on August 27, 1904, at Prescott, Wis., to Miss Jessie K. 
Johnson. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Naylor : 
Sherwood L., born August 29, 1905, and Stanley R., born August 
3, 1909. In politics Mr. Naylor is a Republican, and he is a mem- 
ber of the Methodist Church. He is also a member of the 
Masonic Order, the I. O. O. F.. and the B. A. Y. He lives at 
his pleasant home, No. 446 Flora street, in the city of Owa- 
tonna, where he enjoys the respect and esteem of all whom 
know him. 

Robert P. Nelson, who owns a fertile farm in Blooming 
Prairie township, was born in Blooming Prairie village, Novem- 
ber 24, 1872. His parents, Peter and Christina (Miller) Nelson, 
natives of Denmark, immigrated to America in 1869. They 
located in Blooming Prairie township, where they acquired some 
land, which they greatly improved, cleared, broke, erecting the 
necessary buildings, etc. The father was engaged in general 
and diversified farming here imtil 1904, when he removed to 
Kerry county, Nebraska, where he now resides. The mother 
died in 1887. Robert received his early education in the district 
schools of Steele county, which was supplemented by a course 
at the St. Ansgar College at St. Ansgar, Iowa. He also studied 
at the Decorah Seminary, of Decorah, Iowa. Leaving school, 
he returned to Blooming Prairie and took up house painting. 
Later he accepted a position with Siegel, Cooper & Co., of Chi- 
cago, as traveling salesman. This he followed until 1902. He 
then took up painting, which he followed for four years. In 
1904 he returned to the old homestead and engaged in agricul- 
tural pursuits. The farm is located in sections 15 and 22 and 
consists of 160 acres. Mr. Nelson is a progressive farmer. He 
makes a specialty of raising Duroc-Jersey hogs. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1099 

Mr. Nelson was married May 20, 1903, at Ellendale, Steele 
county, to Hannah Jorgensen. Their union is blessed with two 
children: .Myrtle, born August 4, 1904; Loring, born June 6, 
1908. Mr. Nelson is a Republican. He is a member of the 
Lutheran Church. He is also a member of the M. W. A. and 
the Royal Neighbors. Mr. Nelson takes a good deal of interest 
in co-operative enterprises and is a member of the Union Cream- 
ery Association and a stockholder in the Farmers' Elevator at 
Blooming Prairie. He is a good, highly respected citizen. 

Lewis Odegard, who conducts a general mercantile business 
at Anderson, Havana township, Steele county, was born in 
Norway, February 5, 1856, coming to America with his parents 
the same year, who located in Dane county, Wisconsin. Four 
years later they removed to Goodhue county, Minnesota, where 
Lewis received his education, supplementing this with a course 
in St. Olaf College at Northfield. After school he followed farm- 
ing for two years in Steele county, and then went to Yellow 
Medicine county, same state, where he engaged in the carpenter 
trade, following this line throughout Dodge, Goodhue, Free- 
born, Yellow Medicine and Steele counties until April, 1907, 
when he started a general store at Anderson station, Steele 
county, of which he is still sole proprietor. Mr. Odegard is 
also postmaster of Lysne, which, with his thriving mercantile 
trade, makes him a very busy man. In politics he is a stanch 
Republican, and has always taken a keen interest in the welfare 
of the community, having served as town clerk, justice of the 
peace, assessor, and was at one time in charge of the Sioux 
Agency in Yellow Medicine county during the pioneer days. 
He is a follower of the teachings of the Lutheran Church. Janu- 
ary 7, 1904. he was married to Mary Johnson (Nelson). They 
have no children. Ole and Anna Odegard, parents of Lewis, 
were born in Norway, emigrating to America in 1856, and, set- 
tling in Dane county, Wisconsin, remained there four years. 
They then removed to Holden, Goodhue county, Minn., where 
the father carried on farming. Later went to Yellow Medicine 
county, in 1880, continuing to follow farming there ever since. 
The mother died in September, 1909. 

Nels H. Ohnstad was born in Urland, Norway, in 1847, son 
of Hans Nelson and Annie (Olson) Ohnstad, and came to 
America with his parents in the year 1870. They lived on a 
small farm near Cannon Falls, Goodhue county, Minn., until the 
death of Mr. Ohnstad, Sr., in 1890. Nels H. came to Steele 
county in 1874 and purchased a farm of 160 acres in section 25 
of Berlin township, where he now resides. Later he purchased 
forty acres, and then 180 acres more, making in all a farm of 
380 acres. He was married in 1874 to Miss Isabelle Hanson 



1100 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Vaugan, and nine children have been born to them, of whom six 
are now living. Hans died in 1876. at the age of one year; Hans 
Olai also died in 1878; Andrew is now a farmer in Berlin town- 
ship; Henry died in 1902. at the age of twenty-one years; Oli- 
ver, now a farmer in Berlin and Summit townships ; Isabelle, 
now Mrs. Charles Johnson, of Xew Richland; Hannah, now 
Mrs. Carl Aronson. of New Richland: Gabriel and Nicolai, both 
living at home with their parents. Mr. Ohnstad is a successful 
farmer. He has erected new buildings and greatly increased 
and improved his farm. He is a stockholder in the Ellendale 
Bank, the Ellendale Creamery, the Farmers' Elevator Company 
of Ellendale, and the Farmers' Telephone Company of Ellendale. 
Three years ago he made a visit to his old home in Norway, and 
was present at the coronation of the new king. In his political 
views he is a Republican, and he is a member of the Norwegian 
Lutlieran Church. 

Peter Pump, for many }ears a prominent citizen of Meriden, 
Steele county, was born in Holstein, Germany. September 28, 
1845. After receiving a good education in the Fatherland, he 
emigrated to this country in 1866, locating in Illinois, near St. 
Louis, and opening a blacksmith shop, though a locksmith by 
trade. A new country had more opportunities for a blacksmith, 
however, and so he continued in this line of work until 1876, 
removing to Meriden Station, Steele county, in 1870. For a 
time during the early days, when money was scarce, he was in 
very straightened circumstances and had difificulty in keeping 
the wolf from the door, but by hard work and economy he grad- 
ually fought his way upward. In 1876 he turned his attention 
to farming, meeting with much success, now owning 180 acres 
of well improved land in Meriden township, with a fine home on 
it, occupied by his son, Theodore, who conducts the farm. He 
is also the owner of a comfortable home in Aleriden Station, 
situated on an acre and a half of land. In political convictions 
he is a Democrat, and is still actively interested in local politics, 
now serving as chairman of the town board, and was formerly 
town treasurer four years. He was married in 1870, to Mary 
Vogelman, by whom he had six children, four of whom are 
living, named as follows : Metta, married to F. W. Schultz, a 
farmer of Meriden township; Lena, wife of Carl Kujaht, who is 
engaged in farming in Waseca county; Emma, now Mrs. Charles 
Enzenauer; Theodore, who has charge of the home farm, mar- 
ried Zena Altenberg. Thies and Metta (Page), parents of 
our subject, are still residing in Germany, their native country. 
The father has been across on a visit to his son. Marcus and 
Anna (Grimm) Vogelman, parents of Mrs. Peter Pump, passed 
all their lives in Gcrmanv. Thcv arc both deceased. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1101 

John Pichner, Jr., a well-known farmer of Owatonna town- 
ship, was born in Steele count}', October, 16, 1868. lie is a 
son of John Pichner, whose sketch also appears in this volume. 
After receiving his education in the district schools, John, Jr., 
assisted his father in carrying on the old home farm until his 
marriage in 1891. when he launched out for himself in Owa- 
tonna township. He now owns 100 acres of well improved land. 
which he has been very successful in making a paying proposi- 
tion. About half of the farm is under cultivation, the remainder 
yielding rich returns as woodland and as pasturage. Dairying 
claims much of Mr. Pichner's attention, since he has an un- 
usually fine herd of Durham cattle. He is a stockholder and 
patron of the Havana creamery. Mr. Pichner has been very suc- 
cessful in breeding and raising high bred Duroc hogs. In poli- 
tics he follows the guidance of the Democratic party, and has 
served seven years as township supervisor and five as town 
clerk. The C. S. P. S. and the Z. C. B. J. orders of Owatonna 
number him among their active members. He was married Sep- 
tember, 1891, to Mary Wavrin, daughter of Joseph Wavrin. 
AVilliam, John, Edward and Vlasta. all living at home, are the 
children of this marriage. Joseph Wavrin, father of Mrs. Pich- 
ner, is a native of Bohemia. Coming to Steele county at an 
early date, he engaged in railroad work for a number of years, 
and then purchased a farm in Owatonna township, on which 
he still resides. 

Louis Peterson was born in Denmark, July, 1872, and came 
to America with his parents, Nils and Johannah Peterson, when 
he was one year of age. In 1874 they located in Aurora town- 
ship, Steele county, and purchased eighty acres of land in sec- 
tion 23, where the father farmed until his death, December 12, 
1890. Louis received his education in the district school, and 
after leaving school engaged in farming on the home farm with 
his father until his father's death ; since then he has conducted 
the farm with his mother. They are engaged in general diversi- 
fied farming, and give especial attention to dairying and stock 
raising. Mr. Peterson has one brother and one sister: Mary, 
who lives at home, and Peter, of Blooming Prairie township. 
He is a single man, a Repulilican, and a member of the Lutheran 
Church. He is a stockholder in the Oak Glen Creamery Com- 
pany of Bixby. He has never held public office, but is a good 
and respected citizen. 

John J. Pribyl, of the Blooming Prairie Iron Works, was 
born in Summit township. Steele county. May 10, 1886, son of 
John and Anna (Seykora) Pribyl, natives of Bohemia. The par- 
ents emigrated from their native land in the early years, locating 
in Summit township, where they purchased 200 acres of land, 



110-.' HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

on which they have done general farming ever since. John 
received his early education in the district schools of Summit 
township. After leaving school he engaged in farming and 
carpenter work, which he followed until 1909. At this time he 
purchased the Srsen interest in the Blooming Prairie Iron 
Works, forming a co-partnership with F. H. Skalicky. They do 
all kinds of repairing, and manufacture flax cleaners, pump jacks, 
letter boxes for farm use, Srsen friction pulleys, Srsen roller 
feed mills, wood saws, three and four horse eveners, grain ele- 
vators, water tanks, trip hammers, emery stands. They also 
deal in automobile supplies, threshing machinery supplies, pipes 
and fittings, shafting hangers, rubber and leather belting, ma- 
chine oils, etc. They also manufacture hay slings. Mr. Pribyl 
is not married. He affiliates with the Democratic ])arty. In 
religious faith he adheres to the Catholic Church. He is also 
a member of the Catholic Workmen. Mr. Pribyl is a promising 
yoiuig business man, a good citizen : he has made his way in 
the world by his own liard work and persevering efforts. 

Joseph Pirkl, a thrifty farmer of Blooming Prairie township, 
was born in Bohemia, Februar_y 12, 1856. Fle is a son of Ber- 
nard and Josephine (Matejcek) Pirkl. The father was born 
May 8, 1824, and the mother, February 24, 1825. They came to 
America in 1870, locating in Wisconsin, where they remained 
for one year. They then moved to Steele county and located in 
Summit township, where the father was engaged in farming all 
his life. He died May 5, 1881. The mother died February 12, 
1890. Joseph received his early education in Bohemia. He 
immigrated to America with his parents in 1870. He was en- 
gaged in agricultural pursuits on his father's farm until twenty- 
four years of age. He then bought 120 acres of land in section 
16, Blooming Prairie township, to which purchase he added until 
he now has 200 acres. He erected buildings on this land, made 
all necessary improvements, and has been engaged in general 
and diversified farming ever since. Mr. Pirkl was married May 
2.3, 1879, to Josephine Strancky. She is a daughter of Joseph 
and Josephine (Skalicky) Strancky. Fourteen children have 
been born to them, viz.: Marie R.. born June 4. 1880, died March 
14, 1881; Joseph, born August 14, 1881; Marie, born July 11, 
1882, died July 14, 1885; Adolph, born April 26, 1884, died' July 
2, 1890; Josepliine, born December 26, 1885, died February 15, 
1907; Anna, born February 26, 1887, died June 8, 1894; Marie, 
born June 25, 1889; Matilda, born May 19, 1891, died September 
6, 1894; Frank, born January 16, 1893; John, born June 14. 
1895; Albert, born December 28, 1896; Ludmila, born January 
24, 1900; Albina, born and died the same day; Adolph, born and 
died October 4. 1901. Mr. Pirkl is a Democrat. In religious 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1103 

faith he adheres to the Catholic Church. He is a stockholder 
in tiie Union Creamery. He makes a specialty of breeding 
Shorthorn and Durham cattle, and has met with a marked degree 
of success in the enterprise. He is a progressive farmer and a 
good citizen. 

Peter Peterson was born in Denmark, May 11, 1844, son of 
Thomas and Walberg (Juul) Peterson (deceased). The parents 
spent all their lives in their native country. Peter received his 
education in Denmark. Then he took up agricultural pursuits, 
which he followed until he immigrated to America in 1872. 
After arriving here, he spent three years in Iowa, Illinois and 
Wisconsin. In 1875 he made a visit to his native land, Den- 
mark. Returning in 1876, he located in Blooming Prairie town- 
ship, where he bought 160 acres of land from William Rice, of 
Owatonna, in section 21. This being wild land, he had to clear, 
break, erect buildings, and make all necessary improvements. 
He developed the wilderness into a fertile farm, where he fol- 
lowed general and diversified farming until 1904. Since this 
time the farm has been conducted by his eldest son, Thomas. 
Mr. Peterson was married October 27, 1876, to Ilelene Marie 
Skov. The wife passed away April 16, 1907, leaving a family 
of six children to mourn her loss, viz.: Thomas, who resides on 
the old homestead ; Mary, now Mrs. Henry Jensen, of Blooming 
Prairie township ; Anna, now Mrs. Alvin E. Ashley, of Mason 
City, Iowa; Hans, who lives in Canada; Emma and Sena, both 
living at home. Mr. Peterson is a Republican. He belongs to 
the Lutheran Church. He was treasurer of the township for a 
good many years. He is also a stockholder in the Union Cream- 
ery, and the Farmers' Elevator of Blooming Prairie. He is a 
good citizen and highly respected by all. 

Thomas Peterson, a native born son of Minnesota, was Ijorn 
on the farm where he is now located, northeast quarter of section 
21, in the month of March, 1877, son of Peter Peterson. He 
received his early education in the district schools of .Steele 
county, which was supplemented by a course at Eekhom Col- 
lege of Iowa, where he went to school two wmters. He then 
learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for five years, 
two years in Canby, Yellow Medicine countw and three years 
in Blooming Prairie, Minn. In 1904 he returned to the old 
homestead, took charge, and has continued to improve it. and 
has looked after the farm since. Mr. Peterson is not married. 
He is a Republican in political sentiment, is a member of the 
Lutheran Church. He takes an active interest in public affairs, 
and although a young man. has served the township as assessor 
for tv.'O vears. He is now serving tlie fourth \ear as secretary 



1104 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

of the Union Creamery. He is a progressive, enterprising farmer, 
a good and highly respected citizen. 

Soren Peterson, manager of the Oak Glen Creamery, of 
Bixby, was born in Steele county, Minnesota, November 6, 
1876. He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Nis. Peterson. Soren received 
his early education in the district schools of Steele county, which 
was supplemented with a course at the Elkhorn College, of 
Shelby county, Iowa. In 1899 he engaged in butter-making, 
first at the Union Creamery Association of Blooming Prairie 
township, where he remained for nearly three years ; then he 
came to Bixby as assistant buttermaker for the Oak Glen Cream- 
ery. In 1906 he accepted a position as head buttermaker for 
the above named institution. He has filled that position with 
credit ever since, and has won a reputation for himself among 
the patrons of the creamery. Mr. Peterson was married October 
15, 1908, to Martha, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nels Ray. Their 
union is blessed with one child, Mildred Anna, born August 13, 
1909. Mr. Peterson believes in the principles of the Republican 
party. He is a member of the Danish Lutheran Church. He 
is recognized as a good citizen, a loving husband and father. 

Sam Ray, an enterprising merchant of Bixby. first saw the 
light of day in Aurora township. Steele county, June 25, 1882. 
He is a son of Nels and Annie Ray, natives of Norway. The 
father immigrated to America in 1877, the mother in 1880. The 
father first located in Freeborn count}-, where he remained for 
years. In 1879 he came to Steele county, locating at Aurora 
township, where, in 1880, he purchased 160 acres of land, on 
which he has followed agricultural pursuits ever since. Sam 
received his early education in the district schools, which was 
supplemented by a course at the Canfield School of Business at 
Owatonna. After leaving school he went West, where he 
remained for a period of four years. During this time he was 
engaged in various occupations, such as lumbering, farming, and 
for some time hotel clerk at Fargo, N. D. June 25, 1909, he 
purchased the stock of L. W. Thompson's general store at Bixby, 
where he has since been engaged in the general mercantile 
business. He carries a full line and has built up a good busi- 
ness. Mr. Ray was married November 12, 1907, to Jennie, 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. Johnson, of Aurora township. 
Their union is blessed with one child, Arnold Ray. Mr. Ray 
affiliates with the Republican party. In religious faith he is a 
member of the Lutheran Church. He is a good citizen and 
enjoys the respect of the whole community. 

T. A. Runge, a prosperous farmer of Havana township, 
Steele county, is a native of that township, his date of birth 
being April 10, 1872. He received his education in the district 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1105 

schools, helping his father with the working of his large farm 
meanwhile, and later devoting all his attention to it until 1897, 
when he bought 160 acres in section 15, Havana township, where 
he has followed generad diversified farming ever since. He is 
now completing a commodious and up-to-date barn, thirty-two 
feet by seventy, and has added numerous other improvements 
from time to time. Mr. Runge is a believer in intelligent farm- 
ing and his quarter section is a fine example of the results of 
such a course. As to politics, he stands independent, believing 
that no party should dictate his vote, and always casting his 
ballot for the man he considers the best qualified for the office. 
He is an adherent to the tenets of the Lutheran Church. In 
Ma}% 1897, he was married to Mary Schroeder, by whom he 
has four children : Adeline, Elsie, Bertha and Mary. Fred and 
Fredricka (Hanebuth) Runge, parents of our subject, were born 
in Germany, where they resided till their emigration to Amer- 
ica. Immediately after their arrival in the land of promise, they 
located in Chicago, soon afterwards removing to Steele county, 
Minnesota, and buying 320 acres of land in Havana township, 
where they followed farming till the father's death. They were 
among the very earliest pioneers of this county, and had their 
full share of the usual harrowing experiences and hardships. 
The mother is still living. 

Nels S. Ray was born in Xorway, January 13, 1853, son of 
Samuel Olson and Ingeborg (Nelson) Ray. The parents were 
natives of Norway, and the father died there in 1860. The 
mother came to America in 1880 and died in 1996. Nels re- 
ceived his education in Norway, came to America in 1878, locat- 
ing at Albert Lea, Freeborn county, and remained there for 
two years. In 1870 he came to Steele county and rented farms 
for two years, and then bought his present farm of 156 acres, 
located in section 34, of Aurora township, and here he has built 
his home and has followed general farming ever since. He 
was married June 6, 1881, to Anna Boe and six children have 
been born to them: Samuel, a merchant at Bixby ; Iver; Mar- 
tha, now Mrs. Swen Peterson; Sownwin, lives at home; Ilogan, 
of Faribault; and loa. In politics Mr. Ray is a Republican. He 
has been supervisor for two years, and treasurer of school dis- 
trict No. 63 for two years, and he is a stockholder in the Oak 
Glen Creamery of Bixby. He is a good citizen and has the con- 
fidence and respect of all. 

Fred R. Rosskopf was born in Washington county, Wiscon- 
sin, April 3, 1853, son of F. and Thresa (Miller) Rosskopf, both 
natives of Germany, who came to America in 1840, and located 
in Washington county. Wisconsin, where they engaged in farm- 
ing. In 1867 they moved to Waupon, Wis., where they re- 



1106 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

mained three }c'ars. In 1870 llie father came to New Ulm, 
Minn., and lived there until his death, in 1891. The mother died 
in W'isconsin. 'Mr. Rosskopf received his education in the pub- 
lic scliools of Wi.^consin and Minnesota, and after leaving school 
he first engaged in tlie liver}- business at New Ulm, Minn., in 
company with Iiis brother Charles, where they remained for four 
3'ears. In 1875 he came to Owatonna and engaged in the cigar 
business for a while, and then tended bar for ten years, when he 
again entered into the livery and transfer business, which he 
followed for sixteen years, when he sold a one-half interest to 
Mr. Jefferson and later his remaining interest to Mr. Green, 
going to Spokane, Wash., in 1901, where he engaged in the 
furniture business for a year and one-half, when he sold out 
and returned to Owatonna, where he assumed the management 
of Ow-atonna City Brewery, where he has since remained. Mr. 
Rosskopf was married July 13, 1877. to Miss Matilde Knight, a 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Knight, of Owatonna. Five chil- 
dren have blessed the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rosskopf: Lillian, 
Louise, now Mrs. H. F. Stout, of Owatonna; Harry, Magde- 
lene and John. Mr. Rosskopf's political affiliations are with the 
Democratic party, and in his religious faith he is a Congrega- 
tionalist. He is a member of the F. O. E. and the U. C. T. He 
has won his success by his own efforts, and has the respect and 
confidence of all who know him. 

Alois L. Srsen, a prominent and respected business man of 
Blooming Prairie, Minn., was born in Somerset township, Steele 
county, December 20, 1877. He received his education in the 
district schools, afterwards taking up tinsmithing at Owatonna 
for three years. He then learned the machinist's trade, follow- 
ing this line of work all the while in Owatonna, til! 1898, when 
he came to Blooming Prairie and opened a machine shop, which 
he conducted with much success until April 14. 1909. Mr. 
Srsen then sold out, and started a plant for the manufacture 
of automobiles and gasoline engines, in which he is still engaged, 
having a growing and thriving business. The Blooming Prairie 
Iron Works numbers him among its stockholders. In politics 
he follows the guidance of the Republican party, and is inter- 
ested in all that stands for the good of his town and count}'. 
Numerous fraternal organizations claim him as a member — the 
Modern Woodmen of America, E. F. U., Z. C. B. J., and the 
Western Bohemian Brotherhood. He attends the Catholic 
Church. September 21, 1899, in Somerset township, he was 
united in marriage with Anna Kapplan, by whom he has two 
children: Alfred, born December 29, 1900. and Hubert, l^orn 
August 17, 1902. Charles and Catherine (Mach), parents of 
Alois L., w'cre born and raised in Bohemia, leaving the Father- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1107 

land for America in 1865, and locating in Somerset township, 
Steele county, where tlic father followed general farming till 
1895, when he removed to Owatonna with his wife and family. 
He died in December 1900. and the mother in February, 1908. 

Emil Stangler, one of Steele county's leading farmers, was 
born in Le Sueur county, Minnesota, July 25, 1869. He re- 
ceived his education in the district schools, afterwards engag- 
ing in farming with his father until 1892, when he removed to 
Dakota, returning the following year to Le Sueur county. 
Three years later he purchased 200 acres of improved land in 
sections 30 and 31, Havana township, Steele county, where he 
has been engaged in general diversified farming ever since. Mr. 
Stangler is a stanch believer in scientific, progressive agricul- 
ture, and his farm is a splendid example of what an up-to-date 
farmer can accomplish. He has a full line of modern machinery' 
and his farm buildings are the best of their kind. Dairying has 
always claimed much of his time, and he is an active supporter 
of the Pratt creamery, having served as its president two years, 
and is still a stockholder. In politics he follows the guidance 
of the Democratic party. He has served his township as road 
superintendent. The Owatonna Catholic Order of Foresters, 
No. 678, counts him a loyal member. January 7, 1896, he was 
united in marriage to Ernstina Springer, daughter of Mr. and 
Mrs. Joseph Springer. They have two children : Leonard and 
Margaret. Joseph and Barbara (Spindler) Stangler, parents of 
our subject, were natives of Europe. They emigrated to this 
country in 1864, settling in Le Sueur county, where the father 
followed farming till his retirement in 1893. The mother died 
June 4, 1906. Her husband is still living. 

Joseph Skalicky, a thrifty farmer of Blooming Prairie town- 
shi]), was born in Bohemia, May 5, 1855, son of John and Emelia 
Skalicky, natives of Bohemia. The parents both died in their 
native country. Joseph acquired his education in Bohemia. He 
emigrated from his native country in 1874 to seek the opportuni- 
ties of the new world. Arriving in America, he located in 
Blooming Prairie township, where he engaged in farm work. 
Two \-ears later he purchased forty acres of land and in 1878 
he purchased 120 acres additional, adjoining the first forty 
acres. This was wild, unimproved land, which he has developed 
into a fertile farm, and on the place he has erected fine farm 
buildings. Mr. Skalicky was married January 21, 1876, to 
Matilda Pirkl. Thirteen children have been born to their union : 
Matilda, deceased ; Mary, now Mrs. B. Hurska, of Summit 
township; two Annies, deceased; Annie, now Mrs. Vine. 
Mikyska, of Wisconsin; Helena, married Frank Skalicky, of 
North Dakota; Frank, Ludmila, Frances, all deceased; Ma- 



1108 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

tilda, now Mrs. Frank Vasesicek. of North Dakota; Josephiena, 
Joseph, Bessie, all residing at home. Mrs. Skalicky was born 
October 1, 1859, daughter of Bernard and Josephiena Pirkl. 
The parents immigrated to America in 1851. They are both 
deceased. Mr. Skalick}- is a Democrat in political sentiment. 
He with his family are members of the Catholic Church. He 
is interested in several commercial enterprises, being stock- 
holder in tlie Farmers' Elevator in Blooming Prairie, and a 
member of the Union Creamery Association. He is a good citi- 
zen, highly respected by the community. 

A. Solberg, for many years a prosperous and respected busi- 
ness man of Blooming Prairie, Minn., was born in Norway, 
November 24, 1848. He received his education in the Father- 
land, coming to America at the age of nineteen with his parents 
and locating at Durand, 111., where he worked at the carpenter's 
trade with his father. Removing to Chicago, 111., in 1871, he 
pursued the same line until his arrival in Blooming Prairie, in 
1889, continuing in the same line for two years. He then started 
the retail lumber business, in which he has been engaged ever 
since with marked success. In Alay, 1903, the company was 
incorporated as the A. Solberg Lumber Company, with T. A. 
Halvig, president ; Soren Peterson, secretary and treasurer, 
and with Mr. Solberg as manager, under whose direction the 
affairs of the firm have grown and prospered to large propor- 
tions. Besides a well selected stock of all varieties of lumber, 
they carry a first-class line of windmills and pumps, with all 
accessories. In political matters the Republican party has his 
allegiance. He has ably served his village as president of the 
school board, and one year as assessor. The Modern Woodmen 
of America, Sons of Norv\'ay, and the local Commercial Club 
count him among their loyal members. He is also affiliated 
with the Lutheran Church. April, 1875, at Oxfordville, Wis., 
he was married to Carrie Brunvald. They have four children: 
Laura, wife of Anton Thorson, of Mackvvell, N. D. ; /\lfred, de- 
ceased; Ina, now Mrs. T. N. Osnuin, of Mackwell, N. D., and 
Melvin, of Wabasha, Minn. Johannas and Olava Solberg, par- 
ents of our subject, were natives of Norway. Coming to this 
country, in 1867, they settled in Durand. 111., still in its pioneer 
days, where the father followed his trade as a carpenter until 
his removal to Chicago, in 1872, continuing in the same line 
till 1877. He then moved to La Crosse, Wis., where he resided 
up to the time of his death, in 1891. The mother died in 1896. 

Frank Skerik, a native of Flavana township, Steele county, 
was born November 10, 1874. He received his education in 
the district schools, later assisting in the management of the 
home farm, and after the death of his father. May 13, 1906, 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1109 

assuming complete charge. Here he has followed general farm- 
ing ever since, having built up one of the best equipped and 
most productive farms in the county. Mr. Skerik is a valued 
stockholder of the Havana Creamery, and also of the Farmers' 
Elevator Company of Owatonna. In politics he is a supporter 
of the Republican party, and has served his school district, 
No. 24, as treasurer. The Presbyterian Church covmts him a 
loyal member. Joseph and Katherine (Janousek) Skerik, par- 
ents of Frank, are natives of Bohemia, emigrating to America 
October 28, 1873, and settling on an eight}'-acre farm in section 
30, Havana township, Steele county, where they engaged in 
farming. In 1895 they bought an adjoining tract of sixty acres, 
erecting a new home and adding modern outbuildings to their 
then 140-acre farm, which their son Frank now manages. Mr. 
and Mrs. Joseph Skerik had five children : Joseph, now of Silver 
Lake, McLeod count}', Minn.; Anna, wife of Joseph Wavrin ; 
John, a minister, located at Moravia, Austria ; Frank, our sub- 
ject ; and Mary, who is the wife of Carl Jirousek, of Owatonna. 
Erick E. Simes, a native of Norway, was born September 
13, 1871. He received his education largely in the Fatherland, 
supplementing this with a two-year course in the Valder Sem- 
inary of Decorah, Iowa, shortly after his arrival in this country 
in 1894, first locating at Leroy, Minn. After school he spent one 
year in a lumber yard at Blanchard, N. D., returning to Leroy 
and engaging in milling for the next six years, after which he 
traveled a season for the International Harvester Company. Mr. 
Simes then, in 1905, removed to Blooming Prairie, Steele county, 
and entered the employ of the L. G. Campbell Milling Company, 
as foreman of the loading department, soon afterwards being 
promoted to buyer and foreman of the feed department, and in 
September, 1909, was appointed local manager of the company, 
in which capacity he has been very successful. In politics the 
Republican parly numbers him among its supporters, though he 
has never aspired to political oftice, his other interests demand- 
ing all his time and attention. The Modern Woodmen of Amer- 
ica and the Sons of Norway count him a loyal member, as does 
the Lutheran Church. December 2, 1901, he was united in mar- 
riage with Josephine May Herman, at Osage, Iowa. They have 
one child. Kenneth Eugene, born August 11, 1908. The family 
residence is located on First street. Erick E. and Elizabeth 
(Hammer), parents, of our subject, are natives of Norway, 
where they still reside, the father being a captain in the royal 
army. 

George B. Stearns, manager of the Farmers' Elevator at 
Ellendale, is a comparatively new comer in Steele county, but 
during his residence he has been closely identified with its 



1110 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

business interests. Air. Stearns was born in Fond du Lac 
county, Wisconsin, December 26, 1854, and was taken by his 
parents to Waseca county, ^Minnesota, in 1856. He there grew 
to young manhood, receiving his education in the district schools 
and farming with his fatlier. In 1877 he purchased a farm of 
eighty acres in New Richland township, Waseca county, which 
he operated until 1884, when he became foreman for the famous 
Carsondale .Stock Farm, in the same county. In this position 
he remained three \ears. He tlien engaged in the general liard- 
ware business for himself in New Richland village, successfully 
continuing this business until 1894. In that year he disposed of 
his l)usiness and became a co-partner with Frank Blakeslee in 
circus life, their show being known as the "World's Fair and 
Wild West Hippodrome." After a short period he withdrew 
from this concern and became wheat buyer for tlie New Rich- 
land Milling Company, continuing for five and a half years. He 
then again entered the hardware business, this time conducting 
a store at A'V'orthington, Minn., for one year. .After a short 
period on his father's farm in Otisco, he came to Ellendale, 
Steele county, and accepted his present position as manager of 
tlie Farmers' Elevator and Milling Company, which position he 
now holds. He is also interested in the hardware business in 
Ellendale. .A. Republican in politics, Mr. Stearns was treasurer 
of New Richland village for two years. 

Gust Thiele, postmaster and general merchant at Pratt, is 
one of the highly respected and prosperous men of Steele county, 
who has risen to his present position by dint of his own energ\- 
and persistent industry. He was l^orn in Wisconsin. February 
8, 1866, his parents migrating thither from Germany. His 
schooling was received at North Bend. Wis. i\Ir. Thiele was 
a farmer in Somerset township from 1894 until 1902. In the lat- 
ter year he purchased a general mercantile business at Pratt 
village, Aurora township. He is also postmaster, having been 
appointed to that position in 1907. As a merchant. Mr. Thiele 
has met with marked success, and enjoys a very flourishing 
business. He was married October 2, 1894, to Libbie Sholes. 
Four children have blessed this union: Ethel, born .April 19, 
1896; Harvey, born August 14, 1900, died March, 1901; Hazel, 
born June 6, 1902; Archie, born November 14, 1906. Mr. Thiele 
is a Republican in politics and a member of the Presbyterian 
Church. He is clerk of school district No. 59 and a stockholder 
in the Pratt Creamery. Gust Thiele and his wife, Mary Ahl- 
born, the parents of Gust Thiele, of Prait, are natives of Ger- 
many. They came to America as small children, and after 
their marriage they located in Wisconsin, and engaged in farm- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1111 

ing until 1907, when they sold their farm and retired to a village 
home at Iron River, where they now live. 

J. A. Volker has served his community for nine years as 
chairman of the supervisors of Havana, and is a fine example of 
a prosperous and self-made farmer. He was born in Eleysing, 
Minn., August 24, 1866, where he received his education in the 
public schools, afterwards taking up general farming with his 
father. In 1884 he came to Steele county, being located in 
Aurora township for nine jears, then coming to Havana town- 
ship, where he purchased 120 acres in section 31, later adding 
eighty acres in section 32. He has erected commodious and 
modern buildings on his premises and through intelligent and 
progressive farming methods has achieved much success. Mr. 
Volker is a Democrat in political faith, and has always taken a 
lively interest in the affairs of the comtnunity. He is now serv- 
ing as secretary of the Pratt Creamery Association and is a 
stockholder in the Farmers' Elevator Company of Owatonna. 
The German Lutheran Church claims him as a member. Our 
subject is a self-made man in every sense of the word, having 
but $200 to his credit when he left the parental roof and started 
in life for himself. May 2, 1893, he married Lena Zimmerman, 
by whom he has three children, named, respectively, Fred, Carl 
and Harry. Air. and Mrs. August Volker. parents of our sub- 
ject, were natives of Germany, where they passed the most of 
their lives. 

Harry G. Wood, a physician located at Blooming Prairie, 
was born in Faribault, September 6, 1882. His parents, Fannie 
S. and William C. Wood, came \\'est in the sixties and reside in 
Faribault. Dr. Wood graduated from Shattuck School, at Fari- 
bault, in 1899, and received his medical degree from McGill 
University, Montreal, in 1904. He spent one year following 
graduation as interne at the Montreal General Hospital, and 
since 1905 has practiced medicine in Blooming Prairie. He is 
a member of the county and state medical associations, also of 
the B. P. O. E., the Masonic Order and the Ancient Order of the 
Mystic Shrine. 

John C. Wilker, a substantial farmer of Meriden township, 
was born in that township, June 19, 1876. He received his edu- 
cation in the schools of district No. 39, and after leaving school 
he worked on a farm until he attained his majority. In 191(> 
he settled on his present farm of 160 acres of well improved land 
and is at present following diversified farming with much suc- 
cess, his fine herd of Durham cattle being equaled by few in 
the county. In politics he gives his allegiance to the Republican 
party, and has served the community as a school officer for six 
year.s, now being both a member of the school board and of the 



1113 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

board of supervisors. He was united in marriage Alarch 2, 1910, 
with Anna Ahlers, daughter of John Ahlers, a native of Ger- 
many. They have two children : Ewaldt, born September 3, 
1903, and Erwin, born December 5, 1905. Mr. and Mrs. \\'ilker 
attend the German Lutheran Church. John H. and Emelia 
(Welk) Wilker. parents of our subject, are natives of Gutten- 
burg, Iowa, and of Stravabelauf, Germany. The father came to 
this country with his parents in 1856, and purchased land in 
Meriden township, where he followed general farming for many 
years, seeing the gradual development of the county from its 
earliest pioneer days to present times. The Republican party 
claims him as a member, and he has held many township offices 
of trust. In religious matters he is a follower of the teachings 
of the German Lutheran Church. Seven children were born to 
him by his first wife, only two of whom survive their mother, 
who died in 1891. They are John C, our subject, and Albert H., 
who is farming on the old homestead. Mr. Wilker was married 
again to Emma Drache, to whom was born one child, Minnie. 
The famih' reside on Walnut street, the father having retired 
from active work. 

Frank Zwiener, a retired farmer of Blooming Prairie town- 
ship, was born in Prussia, March 8, 1827, son of Frank and Lena 
(Stark) Zwiener, natives of Germany. The father was a mason 
by trade. The parents lived all their lives in Germany and died 
there. Frank received his education in Germany and then 
learned the cooper's trade, which he followed until coming to 
America. He immigrated to America in May, 1854, locating 
first in New York state. He then came west to Milwaukee, 
where he followed his trade for three years, after which he 
removed to Jefferson county, Wisconsin, where he engaged 
in farming. In 1876 he came to Steele county, locating in Bloom- 
ing Prairie township, where he purchased 160 acres of land, 
eighty acres in section 11 and eighty acres in section 12, where 
he erected his home and farm buildings, broke and improved 
the land, and followed general and diversified farming until 
1909. At this time he sold the farm to a son, F. A. Zwiener, 
but still resides on the old homestead. He also owns sixty-four 
acres in section 1 and seventy-four acres in section 2. 

Mr. Zwiener was married in Germany, February 28, 1852, to 
Thresa Bartsch. The wife died July 27, 1907. Five children 
were left to mourn her death : Anton J., farmer and clerk of 
Blooming Prairie township ; H. L., bookkeeper at Ortonville, 
Minn.; E. A., lives at home; F. A., who now owns and con- 
ducts the old homestead; and Almond, hardware merchant of 
Ortonville. Mr. Zwiener is a Democrat in political sentiment. 
In religious faith he adheres to the Catholic Church. He enlisted 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1113 

in the Uniun army, August 12, 1862, in Company E, Twentieth 
Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He was promoted to corporal 
and served in nine prominent battles with his regiment. He 
was discharged at the end of the service, in 1865, at Galveston, 
Texas, and mustered out at Madison, Wis. He is a member of 
the James A. Goodwin Post, G. A. R., of Owatonna. He has 
served seven years as supervisor of his township. He is also a 
stockholder in the Farmers' Elevator of Blooming Prairie. 

Eli Martin Morehouse, M. D., was an ideal representative 
of that type of rugged pioneer physician now long since passed 
from this section of the country. He was the first physician in 
Steele county, locating in Owatonna in 1855, with no other phy- 
sicians nearer at that time than Rochester, Mankato, the Twin 
Cities and McGregor. In the days of his early practice he kept 
relays of horses stationed at difTerent points quite long distances 
from town and would often be absent several days at a time, 
sometimes making hundreds of miles at a trip, his itinerary cov- 
ering all of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. For the 
first two or three years his riding was done on horseback, even 
in the winter months. With this experience he acquired a wide 
acquaintance and obtained a greater popularity than any other 
physician in southern Minnesota if not in the entire state. This 
popularity continued until the day of his death. The majority 
of his staunchest and truest friends were among common people. 
While he had a very large clientele among those in the higher 
walks of life, they received no favors that were not bestowed 
with equal cheerfulness upon the poor. As a practitioner of 
medicine Dr. Morehouse was a man of infinite resource. He pos- 
sessed that intuition which many men inherit from the maternal 
side, and which gives them an insight into the mysteries of 
nature often deeper than can be obtained by any manner of in- 
ductive reasoning. Dr. Morehouse was born at Warren, Trum- 
bull county, Ohio, March 2, 1835. His parents were Nelson and 
Sarah (Johnson) Morehouse. His father, Nelson Morehouse, 
was a mill owner and his grandfather, Eli Morehouse, was a 
veteran of the War of 1812. Eli M. received an academic edu- 
cation in his native town and commenced reading medicine when 
a mere lad. At seventeen he had graduated in medicine and at 
eighteen commenced practice at Warren, having received his di- 
ploma from the University of Medicine and Surgery at Philadel- 
phia. In 1853 Dr. Morehouse crossed the Mississippi and engaged 
in practice at Independence, Iowa. Early in 1855 he came to Min- 
nesota and from that time until the day of his death was in con- 
stant practice at Owatonna with the exception of a short period 
in 1864, when he took a trip to the Northwestern states and ter- 
ritory in search of gold and adventure. He was absent for about 



1114 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

two years, practicing jiart of the time at Virginia City, Nev. 
After this trip he again resinned his practice in Owatonna. In 
Maj^ 1871, he was one of the leading spirits in the formation 
of the Minnesota State Eclectic Medical Society, of which he 
was the first president. He was also a member of the National 
Eclectic Medical Association, having in his early life received 
diplomas from the New York and Cincinnati Eclectic Medical 
Colleges. He was chosen a member of the state senate in 1877 
and the following year was upon seven committees, including 
those of public lands, Indian affairs. State University and State 
Library. In the early days he was a Republican, but after the 
war became a Democrat. Aside from this he held many po- 
sitions of public trust and private honor and there were few po- 
sitions in the gift of his fellow citizens that could not have been 
his for the asking. He was an Odd Fellow and a high degree 
Mason. From his arrival in Owatonna until the date of his death 
Dr. Morehouse took an interest in the commercial prosperity of 
the city. In 1874 he built the old Morehouse Opera House, later 
the ]\Ierchants Hotel and still later the present Morehouse Block, 
which houses the Owatonna Hotel and many business concerns. 
In addition to this he owned hundreds of acres of improved land 
throughout the county. He was several times alderman from 
the Third ward, and at the time of his death was serving his 
third term as mayor of Owatonna. He was the prime mover in 
the installing of the water works system in Owatonna. For 
some years he was engaged in the general mercantile business. 
His death occurred May 23, 1891, at the age of fifty-six 3'ears. 
His funeral services were held in Central Park and were at- 
tended by probably the largest assemblage ever present on such 
an occasion in the history of the county. On August 19, 1868, 
Dr. Morehouse was united in marriage to Lorinda A. McRostie, 
a native of Ogdensburg, N. Y. To this union four children were 
born, viz: Eli Martin, practicing medicine at Yankton, S. D. ; 
Effie L., wife of John W. Adsit, of Owatonna; Timothy N., de- 
ceased ; Guel G., physician and surgeon of Owatonna. 

Dr. G. G, Morehouse, one of the younger of the successful 
physicians of Steele county, is a native born son of Owatonna, 
having first seen the light of day October 27, 1876. He attended 
public schools and then entered the high school, graduating with 
honors in 1897. Determined to follow in the footsteps of his 
father as a medical practitioner, he entered the Bennett Medical 
College at Chicago, receiving his diploma in 1902. The follow- 
ing year he spent at the University of Indiana at Valparaiso, 
graduating in 1903. He then took the usual hospital practice 
in the Cook county hospital for one year and a half. Thus being 
admirably equipped he returned to his native town in 1904 and 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1115 

has since continued the practice of medicine and surgery with 
considerable success. He has buik up a large practice and is 
highly regarded by his wide circle of friends. Being thoroughly 
ethical in practice he associated himself with the American state 
and county medical associations. He is a high degree Mason 
and affiliates also with the Knights of Pythias. He belongs to 
the Commercial Club and is a prominent member of the Minne- 
sota State and Steele County Automobile Clubs. Since 1905 he 
has served as examining surgeon for Company I, Second Regi- 
ment Minnesota National Guards. Aside from his professional 
interests Dr. Morehouse possesses business holdings in Owa- 
tonna and is one of the proprietors of the Owatonna Hotel, which 
is the leading hostelry of Steele county. 

Norman Evans, banker, financier and business man, is a fine 
example of successful American manhood, having by hard work, 
frugality and honesty attained his present rank of trust and 
honor in the community. He was born in the country village 
of Minerva, Essex county, New York, amid the picturesque 
scenery of the Adirondacks, his parents, Richard and Cynthia 
(West) Evans, being native New Yorkers. His ancestors on his 
father's side were of an old Welsh family, who settled in New 
York City in the eighteenth century, and on his mother's side 
were men and women of colonial and Revolutionarj' fame, who 
trace their lineage to the Mayflower. The early education of 
Norman Evans was received in the district schools of his native 
village. Being thorough believers in education, his parents sent 
him to a neighboring high school, and later on — after he had 
decided to devote his life to business rather than to the profes- 
sions — he pursued a business course in the Bryant and Stratton 
commercial college at Troy, N. Y. With this preparation, he 
started in life for himself as a general merchant in "Minerva. In 
1878, with a view of securing greater opportunities and a wider 
field, he came to Minnesota, and for three years conducted a gen- 
eral store at Dover, in Olmsted county, subsequently maintain- 
ing a similar store in Blooming Prairie, Steele county, for seven 
years. A venture in the shoe business in Sioux Falls, S. D., while 
proving a success financially, strengthened him in his resolve to 
make Minnesota his permanent home; consequently he came 
to Owatonna, and for eight years engaged in the drygoods busi- 
ness. He then started his career as a banker by buying a private 
bank, which he conducted in connection with a large real estate 
business in Dodge county. Later he organized the Farmers 
National Bank of Dodge Center, and became its president. In 
1904 he purchased a large interest in the First National Bank 
of Owatonna, becoming one of the directors of that institution 
which he served for three years. A trip to the coast, during 



11 IG HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

which he visited the large cities of the West, studying business 
conditions, was followed on his return by the purchase of a con- 
trolling interest in the Security State Bank of Owatonna, of 
which he has since been its honored president. Mr. Evans is a 
high degree Mason, a Knight Templar and a member of the 
Modern Woodmen. He is also a member of the Congregational 
church, of which he was a trustee for nine years. Although never 
active in politics, Mr. Evans did efficient work on the public 
school board, during his residence in Dodge county, and has on 
many occasions served his community in matters of trust and 
honor. He is an admirable citizen, and his record speaks for 
itself as to his ability, as well as to his interest in public affairs. 
He was married February 7, 1875, to Helena M. Bradley, daugh- 
ter of Commodore Henry Bradley, a prominent citizen of Essex 
county, New York. Two sons have been born to this marriage, 
Paul H., who is cashier of the Security State Bank, and Robert 
K., who is still in school. The family residence is "Gynnedd 
Crag" on South Cedar street. Richard and Cynthia W. Evans, 
parents of Norman Evans, spent the earlier years of their lives 
in New York state and moved to Olmstead county, Minnesota, 
in 1879. In 1890 they moved to Owatonna, making their home 
with their son the remainder of their days. Richard Evans was 
a heavy land owner and lumber dealer in New York and amassed 
a comfortable fortune, of which he gave generously to many 
Owatonna institutions. 

Paul H. Evans, the efficient cashier of the Security State 
Bank of Owatonna, was born in Minerva, N. Y.. April 5, 1876, 
son of Norman and Helena M. (Bradley) Evans. When two 
years of age he was brought by his parents to Dover, Minn., and 
from there went to Blooming Prairie, Minn. After attending 
the public schools of Blooming Prairie, he entered Pillsbury 
Academy at Owatonna, having moved to Owatonna in 1890 and 
graduated with honors in 1895. This was supplemented with 
a two years' course in Beloit College at Beloit, Wis. Thus 
equipped with a liberal education, he came to Owatonna and 
became a reporter on the Owatonna Journal, filling this position 
one year. In 1898, in company with his father and W. G. Brown, 
he engaged in a banking and real estate business in Dodge Cen- 
ter, Minn. This business continued until 1904, when the Farm- 
ers National Bank of Dodge Center was organized. The same 
year the Evans interests in this bank were sold, and Norman 
and Paul H. Evans purchased heavy holdings in the First Na- 
tional Bank of Owatonna. The subject of this sketch was elected 
cashier and director of the institution and held these positions 
until 1907. The Kinyons then acquired the Evans holdings by 
purchase, and Norman and Paul H. Evans secured a controlling 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1117 

interest in the Sccuril}- State Bank of Owatonna. Paul H. be- 
came cashier and director of this institution, and has had an im- 
portant part in bringing the bank to its present high standard 
of soundness and progressiveness. Mr. Evans is a high degree 
Mason, and belongs Ijoth to the Commercial Club of Owatonna 
and to the Tomahawk Club. He served four years as a private 
in Company I, Second Minnesota National Guard. Amid a 
career filled with business activities, he has found time to attend 
to the higher duties of life, and has done good service as super- 
intendent of the Congregational Sunday school. Mr. Evans was 
married July 26, 1905, to Adeline C. Wheelock, daughter of 
Lewis L. Wheelock, of honored memory. Mrs. Evans is a grad- 
uate of the Owatonna high school and a former student of Carl- 
ton College at Northfield. The Evans home has been blessed 
with two daughters: Norma W., born August 4, 1907, and Ruth 
B., born February 7, 1909. Mr. Evans is a progressive young 
man and is greatly interested in everything that tends toward 
the material development of Steele county. 

S. A. Kubat was born in Steele county June 20, 1870, son of 
Samuel and Matilda (Blazek) Kubat, natives of Bohemia. The 
father emigrated to America in 1856, locating at Freeport, 111., 
where he remained only a short time. He then came to Minne- 
sota in 1858, locating at Owatonna township, Steele county, 
where he engaged in general farming until 1906. At this time 
he retired from active life and moved to Owatonna, where he 
now resides. The subject of our sketch attended the district 
schools of Owatonna township, which was supplemented with 
a course in the high school at Owatonna. In the summer of 1892 
he entered the employ of Parrott & Smith, in whose employment 
he still reniains, now being the head man of their firm. Mr. 
Kubat was married in 1896 to Inga, daughter of Ole and Kath- 
erine Krogh, natives of Norway. The mother died when Mrs. 
Kubat was five years of age. Mrs. Kubat was born in Vadsa, 
Norway, February 21, 1872, came to America in 1886 and made 
her home in Owatonna ever since. Mr. Krogh has been in Alaska, 
but is now in the state of Washington. Besides our subject, 
there are two brothers and five sisters in this family, viz : Anna 
M., now Mrs. William Zatocill, at Michigan City, N. Dak. ; Will- 
iam O. lives in Owatonna; Henry L. farms in Havana township; 
Matilda, now Mrs. C. H. Markytan, farms in Owatonna town- 
ship ; Josie is married to J. W. Slezak and lives in Somerset town- 
ship ; Olga and Elsie live with their parents. Mr. Kubat is a 
Republican. The family reside at 139 West Mill street. 

Mr. Kubat is prominent in fraternal circles and is a member 
of the following orders: Star of the West, No. 14; I. O. O. F., 
Canton No. 12; .Mma Rcbckah, No. 27; OAvatonna .A.erie, No. 



1118 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

1719, F. O. E.; Tenoch Council, No. 16, A. O. A.; Grand Lodge, 
A. O. A. ; Owatonna Camp. No. 387, M. W. of A. He also be- 
longs to the Owatonna fire department and tlie Owatonna mili- 
tar)' band. In the Odd Fellows especially, Mr. Kubat has been 
an earnest worker. He has had all the honors in the subordinate 
lodge. Encampment and Canton. He has been district deputy 
grand master in the subordinate lodge, district deputy grand 
chief patriarch in the Encampment, and at present is captain of 
the Canton. He is a charter member of the Ancient Order of 
.\ztecs and has been honored with all the different offices therein. 
He is now grand vice commander and chairman of the finance 
committee of the grand lodge, A. O. A. 

Nels Lee, deceased, was born in Norway in May, 1843, where 
he received his education. He came to America in 1867 and lo- 
cated in Steele county, and three years later bought a farm in 
sections 22 and 22 of Aurora township, where he built his home 
and outbuildings and followed general farming until his death, 
which occurred May 11. 1903. In his political views ;\Ir. Lee was 
a Republican and he was a member of the Lutheran church. 
He never held or sought public office, but he was a good citizen, 
interested in evervthing that was for the best interests of his 
town and county, and respected by all who knew him. leaving an 
honored heritage to his children. Air. Lee was married in 1870 
to Anna Larson, and to them were born seven children : Mrs. 
Albert Anderson, of Pratt: Mrs. John V'ass, of Owatonna; Mrs. 
Charles Watts, formerly of Minneapolis, now deceased; Mrs. 
Thorvold Nylius, formerly of Minneapolis, now deceased; Rena 
Lee, of Minneapolis ; Mrs. August Arndt, of Owatonna ; Mrs. 
Edward Jackson, of Owatonna. Mrs. Anna Lee died in 1884. 
Mr. Lee was married June 6, 1887, to Hannah Johnson, born in 
Norway May 27, 1854, came to .\mcrica in 1884 and still survives 
her husband. Two children were born to this union. Bertha, 
born February 28, 1888, is now JNlrs. John Johnson, and lives on 
the old farm. Agnes, born March 2, 1892, is now Mrs. Knute 
Moe, of Aurora township. 

Roy H. Naylor, a native of Minnesota, was born in Merton 
township, Steele county, December 9, 1877, a son of Arthur C. 
and Carrie (Jarrett) Naylor, both parents were natives of Eng- 
land, they came to America, and in 18,^5 the father located in 
Merton township on section 35, where he carried on general 
farming until 190'^', when he retired and moved to Owatonna. 
Roy received his education in the district schools in Merton 
township and then took a two years' course at the Faribault 
high school. He then attended the Canfield school of business 
and in 1903 accepted a position as steward at the State ]niblic 
school at Owatonna, which he now holds. He was married on 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1119 

August 27, 1904, at Prescott, Wis., to Jessie K. Johnson. Two 
children liave been born to Mr. and Mrs. Naylor: Sherwood L.. 
born August 29, 1905, and Stanley R.. born Augu.st 3, 1909. In 
politics Mr. Naylor is a Republican and a member of the Metho- 
dist church. He is also a member of the Masonic order, the I. 
O. O. F. and the B. A. Y. He lives at his pleasant home. No. 
446 Flora street, in the city of Owatonna, where he enjoys the 
respect and esteem of all who know him. 

Martin Nelson was born in Denmark January 1, 1841. He 
came to America in 1868, first settling in Illinois. In 1875 he 
moved to Steele county and settled in Aurora township, where 
he farmed until 1895, when he rented his place and moved to the 
village of Bixby. In 1899 he sold the old homestead and is now 
conducting a feed stable. 

Francis M. Bassett, a successful and well known business 
man of Owatonna, and who has a beautiful home at 129 East 
Rose street, was born in New York City January 17, 1870. He 
is the son of Walter I. and Melissa (Nash) Bassett, of Brooklyn. 
N. Y. The father is a plumber by trade. In 1878 he emigrated 
West to Minneapolis to take charge of the plumbing business 
for J. J. Dunnigan, a large plumbing and steam fitting establish- 
ment. He had charge of all the plumbing and steam fitting at 
the Capitol and the Ryan Hotel at St. Paul, where he is now 
located. Our subject received his education at the public schools 
of St. Paul : then took up the plumbing trade for three years. 
He was then employed by the St. Paul Bottling Works for eigh- 
teen years, having charge of it for five years. He was also with 
the Highland Springs Company of St. Paul. On July 5, 1904, 
he came to Owatonna as manager of the Mineral Chemical Com- 
pany and has held that position ever since. Mr. Bassett was 
married September 6, 1896, to Kate Reinhard. Their home was 
blessed with one child. May Kate, who was born May 28, 1898. 
Mr. Bassett is a Republican. He belongs to the Episcopal 
church. He is also a member of the I. O. O. F., I. O. F., A. O. 
A. and F. O. E. 

James A. Kent, a well known dentist of Blooming Prairie, 
Minn., was born in Hamilton, Ontario, September 20, 1865. His 
education was received in the public schools of his birthplace 
and at the Niagara high school, near his home. He then went 
to Philadelphia and was enrolled in the Philadelphia Dental Col- 
lege, receiving his degree as a Doctor of Dental Surgery, in 
1887, and opening offices in Minneapolis the same year, where he 
remained in the practice of his profession until 1890, when he 
removed to Red W'ing, Minn., in which place he was engaged 
in dentistry for three years. In 1893 he removed to Blooming 
Prairie, his present location, and enjoys a large and growing 



11-20 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

practice. As to politics, Dr. Kent is a believer in the principles 
of the Republican party and has served one term as justice of the 
peace. The Knights of Pythias value him as an active member, 
as does the Congregational church. March 26. 1890, he was 
married to Laura Tubbesing. daughter of Peter and Margaret 
(Vogt) Tubbesing. of RecJ Wing, where the father still lives, the 
mother is deceased. Dr. and Mrs. Kent reside on Fourth street. 
E. R. and Sabra (.Angle) Kent, parents of James A., were natives 
of Sheffield, England, coming to Canada in their younger days 
and locating at Hamilton. Ontario, the father being engaged as 
a crockery and glassware manufacturer until 1881. He then en- 
tered the real estate business together with C). -\. Prav. R. F. 
Hulbert. Mr. Minnford and C. G. Pillsbury. of Minneapolis, the 
company having e.xtensive land and mining interests in Minne- 
sota and northwestern Canada. In 1888 he retired and returned 
to Hamilton, where he died in .Vpril. 1889. The mother died in 
Xovember of the same year. 

E. F. Laughlin, a hustling and progressive farmer of Merton 
township. .Steele county — his birthplace — was born Julv 2. 1868. 
After receiving a good education in the district schools he imme- 
diately engaged in farming, first with his father and later for 
himself. He now owns a hundred and si.xty acres of productive 
land, a hundred of which is tillable, the remaining sixty acres 
being used mostly for pasturage. In addition to general farm- 
ing he carries on stock raising on an extensive scale, breeding 
and raising thoroughbred Percheron horses, Holstein cattle and 
Duroc Jersey hogs : also breeder of Scotch collie dogs. The use 
of modern buildings and machinery add to the profits of the 
place, a large up-to-date barn, forty by sixty-four, fourteen-foot 
post, comfortably housing all the stock. Mr. Laughlin also has 
a modern dwelling house. As to political convictions he is a 
Democrat and has always taken an acii\e ])art in local affairs, 
having served as assessor during 1902 and 1903 and has been 
town clerk since 1905. He was married, in 1895. to Bertha A. 
Conlin. by whom he has si.x children: James .A.. Catherine L.. 
Edward E., Marv- E., Raymond P. and Lucile. John H., the 
father of our subject, is a native of Pennsylvania ; his mother, 
Katie, (Conway) of Steele county. Minnesota. The father joined 
the Westward tide of emigration, in 1866, locating on his farm 
in Merton township, Steele county, where he still resides. Be- 
sides attending to the working of his farm he was a stock buyer 
for three years during his younger days. His good wife lives 
with him on the old place. Patrick and Mary (McGrath) Conlin, 
parents of Mrs. E. F. Laughlin, are old settlers of Alinnesota, 
where the father carried on farming for manv vears. Thev are 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES U-'.l 

now living in California on a fruit farm, and also own some min- 
ing property. 

William Wanous, a hustling farmer of Steele county, was 
born in Owalonna township September 2. 1879. His boyhood 
was spent on his father's farm, meanwhile receiving his edu- 
cation in the district schools. Leaving .school he engaged in 
farming on the old homeplace with his father, and now has entire 
charge of his father's 160-acre farm in Owatonna township, and 
has succeeded in making it one of the most productive pieces of 
land in the county. Much of his attention is given to stock rais- 
ing, owning a well selected herd of Durham cattle and a large 
number of Poland China hogs. In politics he is a follower of the 
tenets of the Republican party. The C. S. P. S. and the Modern 
Brotherhood of America number him among their members. 
October 25, 1905, he was married to Emma Truhlar, daughter 
of Frank Truhlar, of Owatonna. Mr. and Mrs. Wanous have 
two children : Viola, born August 27. 1906. and Elmer, born 
March 27, 1910. Our subject is a son of John and Anna 
(Jerouscek) Wanous, the father being born in Bohemia August 
10, 1830. After acquiring his education in his native land he 
worked at the cloth-making trade for a time and then served 
nine years in the regular army. In 1862 he came to America, 
locating in Chicago two summers and subsequently removing 
to Steele county, where he followed farming on a rented farm 
for two or three years. He then purchased twenty acres of land, 
and by thrift and economy gradually became the owner of 455 
acres of good farm land. In politics he has always adhered to the 
doctrines of the Republicans and has been a loyal member of the 
C. S. P. S. for many years. In 1861 he was married to Arna 
Jerouscek, by whom he has eleven children, named as follows: 
John F., a farmer of Owatonna township: Joseph, also engaged 
in farming in this state ; Wcncl, farming on the homeplace : Anna, 
wife of Frank Simon, a farmer of Clinton Falls; Josephine, a 
dressmaker at Owatonna: Samuel, whose sketch appears else- 
where, is engaged in farming in Havana township; Mary, wife 
of Milo Kubat, a jeweler of Owatonna; Ida is clerking for E. J. 
Kasper & Co. ; ^\'illiam, our subject ; Eva, wife of Ben Reinhart, 
a lumberman ; and Aggie, wife of Frank Dostal, an electrician. 

Peter Eliason, a prosperous farmer of Deerfield township, was 
born in Sweden of Norwegian parents, February 10, 1854. Peter 
attended school in Norway. AN'hen he was eighteen years old he 
came to America and was employed a year by the Great North- 
ern Railway Company at St. Cloud. Coming to Goodhue county 
he worked near Zumbrota for five years before buying the 150 
acres of land upon which he has since made his home. The tim- 
ber with which much of his land was covered furnished materials 



1122 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

for farm buildings and improvements. j\Ir. Eliason in his gen- 
eral farming has taken special pride in the Durham cattle which 
nourish in his pastures. In the fall of 1877 Peter Eliason was 
married to Sarah Larson at Owatonna. Eleven children have 
resulted from this union, seven of whom are now living: Elias M. 
is a mail carrier at Owatonna ; Mrs. Pauline Schroeder has a 
home in South Dakota ; Mrs. Annie Lawrence ; Hans, a married 
brother, and Mrs. Mary A. Beese live in Deerfield ; Tina attends 
high school in Owatonna ; Palma is still at home ; Louis was 
killed in a railroad wreck at twenty-four years of age, and three 
children died in infancy. Mr. Eliason is a member of the Luth- 
eran church and the society of Modern ^\'oodmen. For more 
than twenty years he has served as chairman of the town board. 
.School district Xo. 92 was organized liy Mr. Eliason. who built 
the school house and has acted as clerk of the school board ever 
since. He is a stockholder in Meriden Creamery and the farmers 
elevator at Owatonna and has helped in the promotion of these 
enterprises. Elias Olson and Margaret Gilland. his wife, parents 
of the subject of this sketch, were natives of Norway, where the 
mother died in 1875. The father came to this country and made 
his home with his sons. He died at Peter's home in Meriden 
in 1897. 

Henry T. Blume is a nali\e son of Minnesota, having been 
born in Havana township, Steele county, on April 30, 1870. He 
is a son of Henry and Dorothea Blume. natives of Germany, who 
came to America and located at Havana township and engaged 
in farming and have lived there ever since. Henry received his 
education in the district schools of Havana township and after 
leaving school engaged in farming with his father until he was 
twenty-six years of age. In 1896 he came to Aurora township 
and purchased a fine farm of 240 acres located on sections 27 and 
34. He has erected a fine dwelling house and some fine and 
commodious farm buildings, has greatly improved his land and 
does general farming. He has a fine herd of Durham cattle and 
makes a specialty of dairying. Mr. Blume was married June 
27, 1897, to Caroline Kruger. and six children have been born 
to them, of whom four are now living: Albert, deceased: Annie, 
deceased; George, Elsie, Dora and Herbert. In politics he is a 
stanch Republican and he is a member of the German Lutheran 
church. He has served his town as constable for two years and 
also as road overseer. He has served on the school board twice 
by appointment to fill out unexpired terms. He is a stockholder 
in the Oak Glen Creamery of Bixby. He is a good citizen and 
one of the substantial farmers of Steele county. 

Charles F. Sette, a respected citizen of Owatonna, Minn., was 
born on his father's farm in Dodge county, Wisconsin, October 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1123 

26, 1855. His boyhood was passed largely in Steele county, 
Minnesota, where his parents removed nine years after his birth, 
and in the characteristic district schools of those rude pioneer 
times he acquired his education. After school he bought a farm 
near the old homestead and there followed general farming four 
years, then removing to Hand county. South Dakota, in 1884, 
where he purchased a 200-acrc tract of land on which he was 
engaged in progressive agriculture till 1905, having one of the 
model farms of that county. Mr. Sette then came to Owatonna, 
buying a charming home which is still his residence. In poli- 
tics the Republican party claims him as a member. He served 
the community as treasurer of his township and school board 
many years wiiile in South Dakota. Anything for the good of 
the city has his support. The German Methodist church counts 
him as one of its loyal members. December 11, 1878, he was 
married to Minnie Grabinski, who died in South Dakota June 
10, 1904. leaving two daughters, Esther, now Mrs. William Ebert, 
of Webster, S. Dak., and Clara, wife of Fred Hoffman, of Lane, 
S. Dak. Mr. Sette was married a second time October, 1906, 
to Mrs. Matilde Sorenson Bletner. Carl and Minnie (Franz) 
Sette, parents of our subject, were natives of Germany, coming 
to this country in their younger days and locating in Dodge 
county, then in its infancy, where the father followed general 
farming until 1864. They then removed to Steele county, pur- 
chasing a quarter section in Owatonna township, on which the 
father was engaged in farming till his retirement in 1898. His 
wife died in 1900 and his decease occurred in 1903. 

Ole J. Anderson is a son of John and Christy (Hove) Ander- 
son, natives of Norway, who came to America in 1864 and settled 
on a farm in Wisconsin, where they remained until 1872. when 
they came to Steele county, Minnesota, and purchased eighty 
acres in Berlin township and here the father continued farming 
until his death in 1898; the mother died in 1896. After the death 
of his father Ole took charge of the farm and has conducted it 
ever since. In 1904 he purchased 240 acres of land and follows 
general farming, giving especial attention to dairying. In 1887 
he was married to Mary Ellingson and twelve children have 
been born to them: John, who died in 1896 at the age of nine 
years; Annie, age twenty-one; Edward, age nineteen; Clara, age 
seventeen; Henry, age fifteen; Joseph, age thirteen; Jennie, age 
eleven ; Mary, age nine ; Edna, age seven ; Louisa, age five ; John, 
age three; Ole, age one and a half: all the children are living at 
home. In politics Mr. .Anderson is a Republican and he is a 
member of the Norwegian Lutheran church. He has served the 
town as supervisor for four years and was a trustee of the Nor- 
wegian Lutheran church for six years, of which he is a member. 



1154 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

He is a stockholder in the Ellendale Creani<.r\ and in the I'^arni- 
ers Elevator Company of Ellendale. Mr. Anderson is a very 
successful farmer and has won his success by his own eft'orts. 
He is a good citizen, highly respected by all who know him. 

August Petersen, a thrifty farmer of Blooming Prairie, was 
born in Denmark February 28. 1855. son of Peter and Monstina 
Petersen, natives of Denmark. The ])arents immigrated to 
America in 1885. The mother died in 1906. The father is still 
living with our subject. August received his early education in 
the public schools of Denmark. When t\\cnty-six years of age. 
in 1881, he left his native land to seek the larger opportimities 
of the new world. Arriving in America he located in Blooming 
Prairie township, where he purchased 160 acres of land in sec- 
tion 21. On this land he has made extensive improvements and 
followed general farming up to the present time. Mr. Petersen 
was married in November, 1880, to .\nna Hansdu, a native of 
Denmark. Ten children have blessed their union, viz.: Hannah. 
Fred. Mary. Peter. Albert, Dena, Alfred, Har\-ey, Richard. Luella. 
Mr. Petersen is a Republican in political sentiment. In re- 
ligious faith he adheres to the Baptist church. He is a good 
citizen, a jirogressive farmer and one of those men tliat have 
aided in making Minnesota one of the most productive states in 
the Union. 

Henry Nelson, a prosperous merchant of Blooming Prairie, 
was born in Denmark .August 17, 1867, son of Conrad and Mary 
(Francis) Nelson, natives of Denmark. The parents emigrated 
to America in 1872, locating at Saginaw, Mich., where they re- 
mained for about two 3-ears. In 1874 they came to Freeborn 
county, Minnesota, where the father engaged in agricultural pur- 
suits up to the time of his decease in 1898. The mother died in 
1875. Flenry received his education in the district schools. Lea\'- 
ing school he learned the harness-makers' trade. He followed 
his trade in different places in Minnesota and Iowa, going to 
Owatonna in July, 1891. He remained there two years and then 
located in Pdooming Prairie, where he opened a business for 
himself. He has met with a marked degree of success and now 
conducts two stores in the village. He manufactures light and 
heavy harness, does ail kinds of repair work and carries a com- 
plete line of horse furnishing goods. Dr. E. W. Coole}' is asso- 
ciated with Mr. Nelson as a partner. 

Mr. Nelson was married August 28, 189,^, to Mamie Jefferson, 
of Owatonna. Their union is blessed with eight children, \'iz : 
Mande, Rajmond, Helen. Leonard, Doris, Lucile, Carol!, Ruth, 
all living at home. The family home is located on Sixth street. 
Mr. Nelson is a Republican. He worships at the Baptist church. 
He is also a member of the M. W. A. Mr. Nelson is an enter- 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1135 

prising business man. a good and respected citizen. He has 
served on the city council for tliree terms. 

Rasmus Petersen, of Blooming Prairie township, was born 
in Denmark Fel)ruary 3, 1861. He received his early education 
in his native land, after which he followed the occupation of 
farming. In 1881 he left his native country for the New World. 
After arriving in .\merica he located in Blooming Prairie town- 
ship. In 1884 he went to Michigan, where he was engaged in 
the iron mines for one year. He then returned to Blooming 
Prairie, where he followed farm work, and in 1898 he purchased 
a 160-acre farm in section 14, Blooming Prairie township. He 
has greatly improved this farm and follows general and diversi- 
fied farming, but pays more attention to dairy and stock raising. 
Mr. Petersen was married September 5, 1888, at St. Paul to Lena 
Andersen, a native of Denmark. Their union is blessed with 
four children, Peter N., George. .Albert and Agnes. Mr. Peter- 
sen is a Republican in political faith. He with his family worship 
at the Danish Lutheran church. He is a member of the M. W. 
A. He is interested in everything that is for the good of the 
community and is a stockholder in the Blooming Prairie Cream- 
ery. He has made his way in the world by his own hard work 
and perseverance. He is a good citizen, respected by all. 

J. F. Finley, city weigh master of Owatonna, was born Octo- 
ber 22, 1860. in Richland township, Rice county, Minnesota. He 
is a son of J. H. and Emalinc (Close) Finley. natives of Ohio 
and Indiana respectively. The parents came West in 1855. lo- 
cating in Richland township, Rice county, where the father was 
engaged in general farming up to 1892. At this time he entered 
the hotel business in Owatonna, conducting what was known 
at that time as the Alooney House. Tie continued this business 
for a few years, then sold out and has since lived a retired life. 
Mrs. Finley died in 1873. The subject of our sketch received 
his education in tlie district schools of Richland town.ship. Leav- 
ing school he worked on a farm for some time, and in 1892 he 
came to Owatonna, entering the machine business in partnership 
with J. F. Wilson. They continued this business for five years, 
when they sold out their machine business, Mr. Finley going to 
Dodge Center, where he engaged in the harness business. He 
remained there for about one year, then returned to Owatonna 
and bought the dray business of George McCarty. He continued 
this business for about six months. About one month after pur- 
chasing the business he was taken seriously ill, and was unable to 
do anything for about four years. After recovering from his illness 
he entered the coal business, which he continued for six months, 
and then sold out to Pike & Robins. He then went to .Austin. 
Minn., and l)ought a half interest in a grocer\- and butcher busi- 



1126 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

ness, which lie continued for about four years. Disposing of his 
interest, he returned to Owatonna and engaged in buying and 
shipping stock, which he continued to do for about two and one- 
half years. He then bought a livery business of Henry Conklin 
and Gil Russel. He was engaged in this business for about one 
year, then sold out to Philip Anderson. In the spring of 1908 
he was appointed city weighmaster, which position he has held 
ever since. Mr. Finley was married in 1881 to Addie M., 
daughter of Edgar and Maria (Atwater) Horton. The parents 
were natives of New York state, where they both died. Four 
children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Finley : Lelia, now Mrs. 
Herbert Cruikshank; Alta, telephone operator at Faribault; Mat- 
tie and Clifford are both residing at home. The family resides at 
504 East Vine street. Mr. Finley is a Republican. He is a mem- 
ber of the Baptist Church, also a member of the M. W. A. and 
the E. F. U. Mr. Finley served as city treasurer of Owatonna 
four years. He also ser\ed four years as deputy sheriff under 
Sheriff Misgen. 

Orie H. Ferrell is a native of Minnesota, having been born 
in Owatonna March 7, 1869, a son of Theodore and Lucinda 
(Brown) Ferrell. Orie received his education at the district 
schools of Havana townsliip, supplementing with a course at 
Pillsbury academy. After leaving school he first engaged in 
farming, but in 1890 he removed to Owatonna, purchased five 
acres of land and engaged in market gardening, and for three 
years was employed as night moulder at the Owatonna Manu; 
facturing Company. He has purchased more land from time to 
time, and now has fifty-eight acres on which he follows farming. 
In 1902 he engaged in the sand and gravel business, both these 
products being found in abundance on his land. He was mar- 
ried on November 8, 1888, at Owatonna, to Frances A. Chase, 
a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Chase. The father died 
April 22, 1902, and the mother is still living at Spokane, Wash. 
Two children have blessed the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ferrell: T. 
Howard, born April 11, 1893, and Kenneth Paul, born January 
6, 1902. In his political principles Mr. Ferrell is a Prohibitionist, 
and in his religious belief he is a Baptist. He is a member of 
the A. O. U. W. and of the B. A. Y. He has succeeded by hard 
work, and the assistance of his devoted wife and lives at his 
home which is located at No. 3 Rose street, respected by all who 
know him. 

Alfred Camp, a native of Minnesota, was born in Freeborn 
county September 4, 1886, a son of Christopher and Ivatherine 
(Larson) Camp. Both parents were natives of Denmark, who 
came to America in 1880 and located at Albert Lea, Minn., 
where they remained until 1898. They then moved to Blooming 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1127 

Prairie, Steele county, where the father followed his trade of a 
mason for a few years, and from there moved to Summit town- 
ship, where he is now located, and is doing general farming. 
Alfred received his education at the public schools of Blooming 
Prairie. After leaving school Alfred came to Owatonna and 
learned the butter making trade, which he has followed ever 
since. On May 1. 1909, he accepted a position with the Farmers' 
Gilt Edge Creamery Association, and has full charge of their 
business. Mr. Camp is a member of tiie Lutheran Church, and 
his political affiliations are with tiie Republican party. He is 
also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. Though 
still a young man, he holds a responsible position and enjoys the 
confidence of his employers and the respect and esteem of all 
who know him. 

Leonard L. Bennett, president since its organization of the 
establislniicnl now known as the National Farmers' Bank, is 
one of the honored figures of Owatonna life. Few men can lay 
down a chosen profession in the prime of manhood and attain 
success in a line of activity entirely different, but Dr. Bennett, 
after attaining an enviable position for himself as a practitioner 
of medicine, turned from his profession and at the age of thirty- 
five took up the business of banking, becoming a leader in the 
financial circles of this part of the state. Dr. Bennett was born 
in Plainfield, Will county, Illinois, October 7, 1839, son of 
Robert Bennett and Sally Loomis Kent, his wife, the former 
being descended from a genuine old Connecticut "Yankee" 
family, while the latter, a New Yorker by birth, was of more 
immediate English descent. Their son, the subject of this sketch, 
was educated in the common schools in the neighborhood of the 
old Bennett homestead in Lake county, Illinois. In 1857 he 
graduated from the academic course in the Wauconda Academy, 
at Wauconda, 111., and in 1862 he was graduated with honors 
from the Rush Medical college, of Chicago. The following year 
he came to Owatonna, and practiced medicine successfully from 
1864 to 1874. attaining a substantial position in his profession. It 
was during that period that Dr. Bennett acquired that intimate 
knowledge of farm life and the character of the farmers in Steele 
county, that has made his bank the financial center of this agri- 
cultural region. In 1873, Dr. Bennett established the Farmers' 
National Bank, of Ow-atonna, and became its president, remain- 
ing in that position to the present day, the institution having 
become the leading financial enterprise in Steele county. One 
year after opening the bank, Dr. Bennett, gave up the medical 
profession. During all the years that have passed since then, 
the people of Steele county, in loving recognition of his services 
as a practitioner, have retained the title of "Doctor," in 



1128 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

addressing him. \\ bile devoting to his business much more 
time than the average man works, Dr. Bennett has still found 
time for public service, and his contributions to the progress of 
the community by four years work as county coroner, and many 
years as a member of the board of county commissioners and 
the city schol board will be long remembered. His fraternal 
association has been with the A. F. & A. M. and his church 
affiliations are with the local body of Universalists, of the 
founders of which, he and his wife are the only ones living. 
Dr. Bennett was married May 25, 1863, to Arabella Fidelia 
Brown, and to this union have been born two sons, Carl Kent 
Bennett and Guy Brown Bennett, both now holding official 
positions in the National Farmers' Bank, of Owatonna. 

Guy B. Bennett, cashier of the National Farmers' Bank, of 
Owatonna. i> actively identifying himself with the financial 
progress and stability of Steele county, and is regarded as one 
oi the rising young men of the city of Owatonna. He was born 
in Owatonna. September 27. 1871. a son of Leonard Loomis 
and Arabella I'idelia Bennet, long-time residents of this vicinity. 
The subject of this sketch attended the public schools and grad- 
uated from the Owatonna high school in 1889. The following 
fall he entered the academic department of Harvard University, 
and in 1893 received his degree from that institution. Returning 
to Owatonna he entered what had at that time just liecome the 
National Farmers' Bank, as bookkeeper. Gradually mastering 
the details of the business he was promoted to bookkeeper, 
paying teller, and assistant cashier successively, until August, 
1905, when he assumed his present position in which he has 
since served with credit and ability. In addition to his banking 
interests, he has found time to serve the city as member of the 
school board. For three years he was a bugler in Company E, 
Third Regiment. Minnesota National Guard. For ten years 
he has been treasurer of the Universalist Church. Mr. Bennett 
was married. June 30. 1900, to Winifred Fay Niles, daughter of 
Mr. and Mrs. John N. Niles, of Owatonna, and to this union one 
son has been born. Leonard N., July 22, 1909. 

Carl K. Bennett, vice president of the National Farmers' 
Bank, of Owatonna, had in charge the jjlanning and erecting 
of the solidly beautiful building which houses the institution of 
which he is an officer. The search for a suitable architect was 
his, as was also indeed, the inception of the idea that a building 
may be so designed as to exjircss its purpose. Mr. Bennett was 
born in Owatonna, October 6, 1868, a son of Leonard Loomis and 
Arabella (Fidelia) Bennett, l^ith descended from old New 
England families. He attended the public schools and in 1886 
graduated from Pillsbury Academy. He then entered Harvard 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1129 

University and graduated with a special degree in 1890. Since 
then he has taken his place in the business and social life of 
Uwatonna. In the summer of 1890 he entered the then Farmers' 
National Bank as bookkeeper, in December, 1890, he became 
assistant cashier, in August, 1891, cashier, and in August, 1905, 
vice president, which position he still holds. Mr. Bennett is 
president of the Perfection Churn Company, president of the 
Sperry Manufacturing Company, and one of the owners of the 
Owatonna Creamery Supply Company. For six years he was 
a member of the city council representing the first ward. He 
served on the library board ten years and a larger part of that 
time was secretary of that body. He is now president of the 
park commission. Being interested in preserving the records 
of the past as an earnest of the future, he has allied himself 
with the Minnesota chapter of the Sons of the American Revo- 
lution. Mr. Bennett was married November 21, 1898, to Lydia 
Honoria Norwood, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Norwood, of 
Owatonna, and to this union have been born three children — 
Beatrice, Sylvia and Arabella. The family attends the First 
Baptist Church, of which Air. Bennett was organist for many 
years. 

Lewis Lorenzo Wheelock, jurist, soldier and orator, now 
deceased, exerted on city, county and state, an influence that will 
be long remembered. A memorial of his life has said, "Judge 
Wheelock was not only a learned and well-equipped jurist, but 
a thoughtful student of jniblic afifairs. Honored and trusted 
by all who knew him, faithful to every cause which he espoused, 
considerate, brave and firm, he earned and maintained a high 
place in the afifectionate regard of his fellows. A man of wit, 
he was never caustic, except in defense of right. His conversa- 
tion was illumined with humor that was always kindly, wisdom 
that was always impressive and permeated with a deep under- 
lying principle of religious feeling. He was conservative in 
judgment and charitable in thought as well as in deed. A man 
among men, he had a heart tender as a child's and pitiful as a 
woman's." Lewis Lorenzo Wheelock was born in Mannsvillc, 
Jeflferson county, New York, November 12, 1839, son of Lewis 
Lorenzo and Mary (Howe) Wheelock. Left an orphan at the 
age of ten years, he secured an education through his own 
exertions, and at the age of twenty started teaching in Macedon 
Academy, Wayne county, New York, in which capacity he was 
serving at the outbreak of the Civil War. He enlisted as a 
private in the 160th New York Volunteer Infantry. August 13, 
1862; was promoted to first lieutenant of Company C, Septem- 
ber 1, 1862; and promoted to captain of the same company, 
June 9, 1865. He assisted in the fitting out of the Banks F.xpcdi- 



1130 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUXTIES 

tion to the Department of the Gulf, and with his regiment went 
to New Orleans in December, 1862. He served in independent 
command under Gen. Godfrey Weitzel, being engaged in 
numerous battles and skirmishes, including the destruction of 
the Confederate gunboat "Cotton," the reducing of Camp Bis- 
land, the siege and capture of Port Hudson, the expedition to 
Sabine Pass, Texas, and the battles of Bank's Red River cam- 
paign. He was then ordered north with his company and partici- 
pated in the battle of Deep Bottom, Virginia, July, 1864, under 
Hancock. He was then ordered to the Shenandoah valley under 
Sheridan. He participated in the battle of Opequan, Va., Sep- 
tember 19, 1864. In this engagement he was wounded in the 
right arm, and sent to the rear, being unable to join his regi- 
ment until after the battle of Cedar Creek. He marched in the 
Grand Review at Washington, and was discharged with his 
regiment November 1, 1865. After his discharge he assisted in 
the reconstruction by serving in the Freedmen's Bureau in 
Washington. After this he chose the law as a profession. His 
first training was received in the office of his colonel. Judge 
Charles C. Dwight, Auburn, N. Y., after which he entered the 
Albany (N. Y.) law school, graduating in 1869. In the meantime 
he established a residence in Owatonna, where he subsequently 
had a highly honorable career, serving as city attorney, judge 
of probate and state senator. The law firm of \Vheelock and 
Sperry, with Hon. W. A. Sperry as a partner, was formed in 
1879, and continued until the death of Mr. Wheelock. Judge 
Wheelock was a zealous member of the G. A. R., and served 
two terms as department commander for the state of Minnesota. 
He was selected by the Department Encampment of Minnesota 
as one of the committee to frame the bill for the establishment of 
the Soldiers' Home and Soldiers' Relief Fund. May 5, 1886, he 
was elected a companion of the Military Order of the Loyal 
Legion, through the Commandery of Minnesota, and was a mem- 
ber of the council from May 8, 1906, to May 14. 1907. The 
committee of this commandery at the time of his death passed 
the following resolutions following a recital of the biographical 
facts of his career: "Judge Wheelock was greatly beloved by his 
comrades throughout the state; his cheer}' disposition witty 
sayings and good judgment making him a great favorite. As 
a citizen Companion Wheelock was interested and active in 
everything that promoted the public welfare; he served as presi- 
dent of the board of education, and at the time of his death was 
president of the Owatonna Free Public Library board, as well 
as a director of the First National Bank. At one time he was 
postmaster. His large law business and public duties did not 
exhaust his energies. He was active in Freemasonry and was 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1131 

the prelate of the Commandery of Knights Templar at the time 
of his death. In the realm of things spiritual, Companion 
Wheelock was a sincere and devout believer. He belonged to 
the Congregational Church, but his breadth of view embraced 
all followers of the Christian religion. For more than forty 
years he was superintendent of the Sunday school, and with 
great ability occupied the pulpit when occasion required. And 
many were the souls he inspired to higher ideals in things 
spiritual." Lewis L. Wheelock was married in 1871 to Adeline 
Burch, of Hillsdale, Mich., who died February 24, 1901. To this 
union seven children were born. Of these four are living. 
Arthur B. resides in Seattle, Wash. ; Dwight is in Oro Fino, 
Idaho; Paul is a student at Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Mrs. Paul H. 
Evans lives in Owatonna. Mr. Wheelock was again married in 
April, 1902, to Mrs. Miranda A. Inglis, who resides at the family 
residence in Owatonna. 

C. K. Anderson, of the Guarantee Concrete and Construction 
Company, has taken an active part in the upbuilding of 
Owatonna, and the many beautiful buildings in whose construc- 
tion he has had a part, will long stand as a monument to his 
work. He was born in Owatonna, February 5, 1868, son of 
Silas and Adeline Amanda (Davenport) Anderson, long-time 
residents of Owatonna. The subject of this sketch received 
his early education in the graded and high schools of Owatonna, 
and after leaving school learned the bricklayers' trade with the 
idea of following in his father's footsteps as a general contractor. 
After thoroughly mastering this trade, he became a member 
of the firm of liammel Brothers & Anderson. In 1907, Mr. 
Anderson entered into partnership with R. T. Woodward under 
the firm name of the Guarantee Concrete and Construction Com- 
pany, doing all kinds of cement contracting, etc. The firm does 
a large business, and its work is its best recommendation. Mr. 
Anderson is a Democrat in politics, and his services for six 
years as alderman from the second ward have given general 
satisfaction. Being of a fraternal nature, he has interested him- 
self in the K. of P., the M. W. A., and the F. O. E. He was 
married in 1893, at Los Angeles, Cal., to Efifie Runklc, whose 
parents are residents of California. This union has been blessed 
with one son, Harold W. The family faith is that of the 
Universal ist Church, and the residence is a comfortable home at 
605 East Vine street. Silas Anderson, contractor and builder, 
was born in Pembrooke county, New York, August 5, 1832. His 
wife, Adeline, w-as born in Scoharie county. New York. They 
were married December 21, 1857. In 1865 he enlisted in Company 
F, First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and saw service in the 
southern states. He came to Minnesota with his wife in the 



113-2 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

early sixties and established a business at Ovvatonna, success- 
fully continuing same until his death. July 9, 1905. His wife 
died June 21, 1910. Their children were: Willard Edward, 
deceased; Cyrus K. ; Myrtie, now Mrs. George Lull, of Roches- 
ter: Charles, deceased; Nellie, deceased. 

Charles S. Crandall. Few men have contributed so greatly 
to the prosperity of southern Minnesota as Charles Scheretz 
Crandall, the subject of this sketch. He was born in Erie county, 
Ohio, January 18, 1840. and came to Steele county in 1857. 
During the more than fifty years that ho has resided here, he has 
taken an active part in county and state affairs, and for decades 
his council and advice have been sought by men of many walks 
in life. As journalist, law-maker, committeeman, merchant, 
county ofticer and postmaster his conduct has fulfilled a high 
ideal of manhood, and his influence has been of great impor- 
tance. In 1862, failing health and chronic asthma forced his 
retirement from farm life, and in that year he came to Owatonna 
and became a deputy in the offices of the register of deeds and 
the county auditor. Subsequently he was appointed register 
of deeds upon the resignation of that official. He held tne office 
fourteen months under this appointment, and was after that 
elected to the office for two terms. He served with distinction 
in the house of representatives of the state legislature one term, 
and in the state senate two terms. He was eight years post- 
master of Owatonna. and was eight years editor of the 
"Owatonna Journal." Having been instrumental in securing 
the location of the state public school at Owatonna, he was 
appointed by the governor a member of the board of control 
of that institution, and held the office twelve years, giving good 
service. He was also one of the board of managers of the State 
Reformatory at St. Cloud, Minn., for several years. He was 
removed from these boards upon the election of a Democratic 
governor, and his loss was keenly felt by those who had the 
interests of the institutions at heart. In addition to his other 
work, Mr. Crandall was one of the building committee of the 
Baptist Church building, though not a member of that organiza- 
tion. He was also one of the committee which constructed the 
Metropolitan opera house, to which he, as well as many other 
citizens, contributed. Mr. Crandall was married in February, 
1864, to Marietta E. Allen, a widow. To this union were born 
two children — Mary Elizabeth, February 22, 1865, and 
Georgiana Caroline, June 23. 1872. Marietta Crandall died in 
September, 1892, and Mr. Crandall married Irene A. I^uers, a 
widow, in October, 1893. Charles Chapin Crandall, father of 
Charles S. Crandall, was born at Canadagua, Ontario county. 
New York, and died in Lorain county, Ohio, in 1850. The 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1133 

mother. Caroline Scheretz, was born in Erie county, Ohio, and 
died in Steele county, Minnesota. Her family was of German 
origin. Her parents came from Pennsylvania to Ohio, which 
was then a wilderness, in 1809, and settled in the Connecticut 
Western Reserve. 

Herbert F. Luers, the energetic editor of the "Owatonna 
Journal-Chronicle," has taken a vital and active interest in the 
welfare of the city and county, and his editorial boostings of 
all things concerning this locality, have resulted in increased 
impetus in the progressiveness of Owatonna and Steele county. 
He was born in (3watonna, August 9, 1875, son of Herman 
Henry Luers and Irena A. Snedigar, his wife. Herbert F. 
started out in life with the intention of becoming a musician. 
At the age of ten years he started studying the piano and after 
eight years took up voice culture also. After attending the public 
schools of Owatonna, he graduated from Pillsbury Academy in 
1893, and from the vocal music department of the same school 
two years later. He attended the University of Minnesota, 
1893-94, in the academic department. He studied vocal music 
and the organ in New York City in 1896, and the year previous 
to that had taken a special course in the Curtiss Business College 
at St. Paul. After reaching maturity, Mr. Luers' tastes and 
energies demanded an occupation more connected with the 
world's work than the musical profession, and he therefore 
started on his journalistic career in 1896, as a reporter for the 
"Owatonna Journal." Jn 1897 he founded the "Owatonna Chron- 
icle" with E. K. Whiting. The story of the consolidation of these 
papers is found in the newspaper chapter in this work. Mr. 
Luers is now president of the "Journal-Chronicle" Company, 
and editor of the "Journal-Chronicle," daily and weekly. 
He is also secretary of the Steele County Good Roads Asso- 
ciation. During the Spanish-American War, Mr. Luers was 
elected captain of a company of 140 men, raised for the Fifteenth 
Minnesota Regiment, but this comjjany was not accepted by the 
governor. The subject of this sketcli enlisted in Company G, 
Fourth Infantry Reserve (later Company I, Second Infantry), 
Minnesota National Guard, in March, 1900. He was promoted 
through the grades of corporal, first sergeant, and second lieu- 
tenant, and was commissioned captain of the company, in April, 
1904. In March, 1910, he received a medal for ten years' faith- 
ful service, and in July, 1910, he resigned the captaincy on 
account of the pressure of private business. W'iiilc at college, 
Mr. Luers joined the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, lie was married 
March 5, 1901, to Anne Stuart Richardson, of Princeton, 111., and 
to this union have been born two children — Charles Herman 
Rich.irthon, aged S, and Irene \'ictoria, aged 7. Mrs. Luers 



1134 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUXTIES 

attended the University of Michigan, and is an accomplished 
vocalist, having studied with leading teachers in New York 
and elsewhere. Herman Henr}- Luers, father of Herbert F. 
Luers, was born in Germany and was a prominent druggist in 
Owatonna from 1874 until 1887, the latter year being the date 
of his death. His wife, now Mrs. Charles S. Crandall, has taken 
an active part in club work, and is an officer of the State Federa- 
tion of Women's Clubs. 

Samuel A. Rask, an energetic and hustling business man of 
Blooming Prairie, Minn., was born near Caledonia, Houston 
county, Minnesota. After receiving a common school education 
in the district schools of his county, he took and completed a 
course in the high school of La Crosse, Wis., subsequently com- 
pleting a course in English literature at the University of Chi- 
cago. Leaving school in 1894, he held a position with the Security 
Savings and the Exchange State Bank, of La Crosse, Wis., until 
1897, when he removed to the Twin Cities and engaged in the in- 
surance business till the outbreak of the Spanish-American War 
in 1898. He was then a member of Company F, of the First Min- 
nesota National Guard, which became Company F, of the Thir- 
teenth Minnesota Yolunteer Infantry after the company entered 
active service. Mr. Rask went to the front with his regiment as a 
corporal, but shortiv afterwards was taken sick and remained in 
the hospital at Camp Merritt, in San Francisco, Cal., until 1899, 
when he returned home, arriving but a few months before his 
company. Coming to Blooming Prairie, he was connected with 
the State Bank of Blooming Prairie as bookkeeper until 1901, 
when he was elected cashier, and five years later when the bank 
was reorganized as the F^irst National Bank of Blooming Prairie, 
he was retained in his present position as cashier and became a 
stockholder and director. He is also a director in the Citizens' 
National Bank of Austin, Minn., and is serving as secretar}' and 
treasurer of the Steele County Telephone Company, of Blooming 
Prairie. In political convictions he is a stanch Republican, and 
takes an active interest in local affairs. His fraternal affiliations 
are with the Masonic Order, Benevolent and Protective Order 
of Elks, Modern Woodmen of America, and Sons of Norway. 
June 23, 1902, he was united in matrimony with Harriet O. 
Miller, of La Crosse, W^is. They have one child, a daughter, 
Catherine Louise. Mr. and Mrs. Rask have a comfortable home 
located at the corner of Hazel and Second streets. Peter O. 
and Louise (Sundt ) Rask, parents of our subject, emigrated from 
Norwa}' to .America in 1856, first locating in Winneshiek county, 
Iowa, and, in 1858, settled in Wilmington township, Flouston 
county, Minnesota, where the father was engaged in farming 
until the spring of 1886, when they removed to La Crosse, Wis., 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1135 

where tliey now live retired. Mr. and Airs. J. P. Miller, parents 
of Mrs. Samuel Rask, were among the early pioneers of La 
Crosse, Wis. The father died January 3, 1908, and since then the 
mother has resided with her daughter and son-in-law at Bloom- 
ing Prairie. 

Merton J. Parcher, deputy county auditor of Steele county is 
a native son of Minnesota, he was born in Owatonna on 
March 17, 1874, son of Johnson and Sarah (Grandprey) Parcher. 
Merton received his early education at the public schools of 
Owatonna, then going to Big Stone City, S. D., where he finished 
his schooling. IJe then learned the meatcutters' trade which 
he followed for several years at Big Stone City, Ortonville and 
St. Paul Park, then he returned to Owatonna in the year 1889, 
and followed his trade until 1900, when he became a buyer, 
on the road of hides, wool and furs for Willet & Kilty for four 
years, and then with D. Bergman & Co., in the same line for 
four years. He then accepted a position with the Albert Lea 
Hide and Fur Company, but after working for them for six 
months again entered the employ of Willet & Kilty and con- 
tinued with them until February 1, 1909. On January 1, 1910, 
he was appointed deputy county auditor under A. J. Basshard, 
and is now holding that position. He was married at Owatonna 
on January 15, 1901, to Anna Brandick, a daughter of Mr. and 
Mrs. Joseph Brandick. Two children have blessed the home 
of Mr. and Mrs. Parcher — Irene and Dorothy, both living at 
home. In his religious faith Mr. Parcher is a Roman Catholic 
and in his political views he is a stanch Republican, he is a 
member of the Modern Woodmen of Ainerica, and has been 
secretary of his lodge for the past four years, he is also a member 
of the F. A. E., the K. of P.. and the U. C. T., and of the Consoli- 
dated Casualt}- Company, of Detroit, Mich. He has won his 
success by his own efforts, and has the esteem and respect of 
all who know him. Mis home is on the corner of University 
and Grove streets in the city of Owatonna. 

William H. Montgomery is of that race of pioneers, who, 
when Minnesota was still in the possession of the Indians, came 
to this state, and, undaunted by hardships and discouragements, 
persevered in their endeavors until the present prosperous con- 
ditions developed from a pioneer frontier. He was born in 
Madrid, St. Lawrence county. New York, July 20, 1834, and came 
to Minnesota in the fall of 1850, locating in Hastings, when the 
country was still occupied by the Indians. He was one of the 
early jurors of Dakota county, and in other ways participatea 
in public life. In 1865 he came to Steele county, and until 1872 
engaged in farming, afterward conducting a hardware business 
in Owatonna for eight years. Then he established the retail 
furniture store, now conducted bv Boice & Ilanna. With \V. S. 



1136 HISTORV OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Boice as partner, he remained in this business and then sold out 
to Milan Hastings, his retirement being necessitated by his 
wife's illness. Mr. Montgomery is a stanch Republican and a 
member of the Congregational Church. He was married May 18, 
I860, in Jefferson county, N. Y., to Diana Boice, who after a 
life of Christian piety and faithful devotion, died October 17, 
1890. To this union were born five children — Bion, Ella, Lester, 
and another son, not named, died in infancy. Nora, now of 
Los Angeles, married George Brown, a banker. Mr. and Mrs. 
Brown have two children, Stanley H, and Wilbur W., the joy 
and pride of their grandfather's heart. John and Margaret 
(Raney) Montgomery, parents of William H. Montgomery, 
were natives of Ireland, but of Scottish descent. They came to 
America in 1818, located in New York state, and engaged in 
farming and the general mercantile business. The father died 
in New York state in 1840 and the mother came to Owatonna 
where she died in 1877. 

John N. Schoen, a well patronized jeweler of Owatonna, was 
born there December 6, 1878. He is the son of Charles and 
Elizabeth (Meyer) Schoen, natives of Germany. They emigrated 
from Germany as children, the mother in 1842, the father in 
1846. They were married at Prescott, Wis., in 1861. The father 
first located in New York City, from where he moved to Mil- 
waukee, Wis., later removing to Madison, Wis., where he 
engaged in the manufacture of wagons. In 1865 he came to 
Owatonna and engaged in the manufacture of wagons and 
carriages, conducting a prosperous and steadily increasing busi- 
ness until 1900, when he retired from active life. He passed 
away October 17, 1902. The mother survived him jnd is still 
living at Owatonna. John N. received his education in the 
public and high schools of Owatonna, graduating from the latter 
in 1896. After leaving school, he took up the jewelry trade with 
Mr. Louis Watowa, remaining with him until 1905, learning 
every detail of the business. At this time he formed a co-part- 
nership with Mr. L. J. Mosher ; together they purchased the 
jewelry business of Julius Young. They conducted this business 
for three years after which, in 1908, Mr. Schoen sold his interest 
to Mr. Mosher, and formed a co-partnership with John Jurgen- 
sen. They together purchased the jewelry business of his old 
employer, Mr. Louis Watowa, located on West Park street. The 
company carries everything found in an up-to-date jewelry store, 
making a specialty of all kinds of repairing. Mr. Schoen was 
married August 6, 1907, at Madison, Wis., to Miss Christine, 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bollenbeck. Their union is blessed 
with one daughter, Esther C. born June 27, 1908. Mr. and Mrs. 
Schoen are domiciled in a ])leasant residence at 819 South Cedar 



F 




-M. I). AVIIITMAX 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1137 

street. Mr. Schocn is a Democrat in politics. In religious faith 
he is a Roman Catholic. He is identified with a number of 
fraternal organizations, viz. : the K. of P., M. W. A., and Com- 
mercial Club. Mr. Schoen is a wide-awake, enterprising young 
business man. well thought of by his large circle of friends and 
acquaintances. 

Adolph Uber is a wide-awake business man of Owatonna, 
Minn., who has achieved his success by persevering effort in the 
line of a settled purpose. He is of German parentage and was 
born in Washington county, Wisconsin, July 27, 1871. He is 
a son of Charles Uber who emigrated from the fatherland in 
1854, and settled in Washington county, where the father, a 
tanner by trade, followed that occupation all his life, his decease 
occurring in 1894, and where the mother still resides. Adolph 
acquired a good English education in the public schools of his 
native place and after leaving school learned the tanner's trade 
and worked at it with his brother under the firm name of Uber 
Brothers. He followed his trade also in Chicago, in New York 
and al Philadelphia, and in 1893 returned to Washington county 
and joined his brother in business. A year later, in 1894, he sold 
his interest to his brother and took up his residence at Owatonna 
and established the business to which he has continuously 
devoted his attention ever since, making a specialty of tanning 
sheep pelts and shipping the bulk of his products to eastern 
markets. In politics he is a Republican. He is identified with 
the Modern Woodmen and in his religious convictions holds to 
the faith of the Lutheran Church. On January 25, 1892, Mr. 
Uber married Miss Kate Komp, whose parents lived in Wash- 
ington county, where the father followed his trade as a harness 
maker, and where he died. The mother still lives there. Mr. 
and Mrs. Uber have two children, named respectively, Ilarley 
and Cordelia. 

M. D. Whitman, an old and respected pioneer of Steele 
county, was born in Grafton county. New Hampshire, October 8, 
1839. After receiving a limited common school education, he 
engaged in farming until the call to arms in 1862, when he 
entered the service of his country with Company H. of the 
Twelfth Vermont Infantry, enlisting at Bradford. His first 
assignment was on picket duty about the national capital. Later 
he was transferred to the First Army Corps, in which he served 
until he was mustered out with his company at Brattlcborough, 
Vt.. at the close of the war. Returning home, he remained there 
until 1867 when he migrated west to Winnebago county, Illinois, 
and carried on farming eight months, subsequently removing to 
Winnebago county, Wisconsin, and continuing to make his 
living as a farmer for a year and a half. He then came to 



1138 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Meriden township. Steele county, a year later moving into Som- 
erset to\vnshi]j and purchased a quarter section of school land, 
his present farm. In spite of his seventy-one years, he takes an 
active interest in its operation, his youngest son, Lynn, assisting 
him. All modern buildings and machinery of the latest types are 
found on this farm, which has greatly aided in making it one of 
the model farms of the county. It is located six miles from 
Ovvatonna. A beautiful modern home contributes to the com- 
fort of the occupants. Shorthorn cattle, Poland China and Berk- 
shire hogs are raised. Mr. Whitman was one of the main pro- 
moters of the Steele Center creamer}', which is situated almost 
at his door, and has held every office in the gift of the creamery 
association. In politics, he is an adherent of the Republican 
party, and has always taken an active part in the affairs of the 
community, having filled the office of postmaster at Steele Center 
for twenty-five years, and also that of chairman of the township 
supervisors. He is now acting as treasurer of his school board. 
The Owatonna post of the Grand Army of the Republic numbers 
him among its active members. He was married in 1867, to 
Anna (Bryant), daughter of Augustus and Angeline (Sage) 
Bryant. Mr. and Mrs. Whitman have seven children — Clarence, 
formerly a minister of the Baptist Church, located near Boston, 
but now a missionary to Africa ; George, an electrical engineer 
of Minneapolis; Frank, manager of a creamery at Avon, Minn.; 
Arthur, located at Good Thunder. Minn.; Hattie, wife of Geary 
Felton, a farmer of Merton township; Charles, engaged in farm- 
ing near Lyman, Lincoln county, Colorado; and Lynn, who 
assists his father in the working of the old home farm. The 
family are prominent in the Baptist Church. The parents of our 
sitbject were natives of New Flampshire where the father fol- 
lowed farming up to the time of his death. The mother also 
died in the east. 

Galen A. Merrill, the efficient superintendent of slate public 
school for Dependent and Neglected Children, was born in Kala- 
mazoo county, Michigan, December 28, 1859, a son of George 
and Sabra (Wallace) Merrill. His mother was a native of New 
York and his father of Connecticut. They went to Ohio at an 
early day and moved from there to Michigan, where the remain- 
der of their life was passed. The father died in the year 1867 
and the mother in 1889. Galen A. was brought up on a farm 
and received his early education in the district schools of Michi- 
gan and in the high school at Ludington, Mich. lie first took 
up teaching in 1879 and also commenced the study of medicine 
at the State University, but failed to complete the course, drop- 
ping it to accept the position of assistant superintendent of the 
State Public School for Dependent Children, a position which 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1139 

he held from 1882 to 1884, when he was appointed state agent 
of the same school, his duties heing to visit the children placed 
out in homes from that institution. He held this position for 
two years and in 1886 received a call as superintendent of the 
new institution of the same kind established by the state of 
Minnesota at Owatonna, a position which he has held since his 
appointment in that year. In this capacity for nearly a quarter 
of a century he has more than demonstrated his fitness. He 
combines those qualities of gentleness, firmness and justness 
so necessary in dealing with children, and scores of fatherless 
children who have now attained positions of responsibility and 
respectability in various communities regard him as a foster 
father and acknowledge their indebtedness to him for the impress 
of strong and honest humanity that his life has left upon their 
characters. Mr. ]\Ierrill is an active worker in the Methodist 
Episcopal Church and in 1896 was one of the lay representatives 
to the general conference of that church held at Cleveland, Ohio. 
Having attained prominence in his chosen line of work, he is an 
honored member of the National Association of Charities and 
Corrections, and as such was a delegate to the conference on 
the care of dependent children, held at the White House in 
1909 at the call of President Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Merrill's 
interests, however, have not been confined to his own profession, 
and at various times he has done valued service on the school 
and library boards of the city of Owatonna. He was married 
at Augusta, Mich., September 26, 1886, to Estella Ogden, and 
to this union two children have been born : Maude, now a 
student at Oberlin College. Oberlin. Ohio, and Paul O., a student 
at Pillsbury Academy, Owatonna. 

L. John Mosher, one of our most highly respected business 
men, was born at Owatonna, Minn., on February 12, 1874, his 
parents being Alonzo John and Mary (liogan) Mosher, the 
former a native of New York state and the latter of Wisconsin. 
They came to Owatonna in 1865 and the father engaged at his 
trade of carriage finisher, which vocation he has followed ever 
since. The subject of our sketch received his education at the 
public schools at Owatonna and liis first start in business life 
was that of railroad despatching agent. This he followed until 
1903, when he started in the jewelry business, forming a co-part- 
nership with Mr. J. N. Schoen. Two years and a half later he 
purchased the interest of Mr. Schoen and from that time he 
has been sole owner and proprietor. He carries a very heavy 
up-to-date stock, makes a specialty of high-grade cutglass and 
china, and docs an extensive repairing business. The fact that he 
enjoys a very large and steadily increasing trade goes to prove 
that his square dealing and uncompromising honesty has won 



1140 HISTORY ()1< RICE A\D STEELE COUNTIES 

lor him the enviable position which he now holds in this oily. 
Mr. Mosher was married to Julia E. Hughes at Dubuque, la., 
on May 23, 1907. One son has thus far blessed their union, 
Donald Byron, who was born September 31, 1908. Mr. Mosher 
is an independent voter and worships at the Roman Catholic 
Church, and is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias and Knights 
of Columbus. He has proved himself, by the interest he has 
taken in the betterment of this community, to be a good citizen, 
and is held in high esteem by all that know him. His store is 
located on West Main street. 

Charles W. Vinton, an enterprising business man of Owa- 
tonna, who resides at 134 East School street, is a native son of 
Minnesota. He was born in Summit township, .Steele county, 
July 4, 1862. to Charles E. and Birtena (Hulburtj Vinton, who 
came to Minnesota in the early fifties and located in Steele 
county on 160 acres of land in Summit township, where the 
father was engaged in general farming until 1878. He then 
removed to the village of Geneva, Freeborn county, where they 
are still located. The subject of this sketch acquired his educa- 
tion in the district schools of Summit township and in the public 
schools at Geneva. He then engaged in various labors, such as 
farming, trucking and teaming, until 1899, when he opened a 
store and creamery at River Point, Steele county, which business 
he successfully conducted until December, 1908. At this time 
he sold his business and came to Owatonna, where he entered 
into a co-partnership with Mr. William Cartin, which relation 
was continued until December, 1909, at which time Mr. Cartin 
sold to Ml'. Vinton's nephew, Mr. George Burke. The business 
is continued under the name of V^inton & Burke. The\" are 
doing an extensive business in grain, flour and feed. Mr. Vinton 
was married March 17, 1887, at Albert Lea, Freeborn county, 
Minnesota, to Julia Scheveisco. This niiinn is blessed with 
three chihiren, viz. : Earl, born Januarys 13, 1889, who is engaged 
as a teacher of manual training at Lisle, Minn.; Austin, born 
September 30, 1891, works with his father; Pdanche, Ijorn July 
15, 1894, lives at home. Mr. Vinton is not affiliated with any 
political party, but votes for the best candidate, regardless of 
party ])rinciples. He is a good citizen and true friend. He 
belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America and the A. O. A. 

N. P. Peterson, a prosperous contractor and builder of Owa- 
tonna, Minn., has attained his success by persistent and perse- 
vering hard work. He was born in Denmark, February 26, 
1858, and is a son of Peter and Christina (Nelson) Peterson. 
His parents came from Denmark, their native country, in 1875, 
with their family, and settled on a one hundred acre farm in 
Somerset township, Steele county, Minnesota. Here they made 



HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES lUl 

a home and reared their family, and the father carried on general 
farming until his decease in 1884. The mother survived till the 
spring of 1895. Our subject grew up in Denmark as a farmer 
boy and there attended the public schools and came to this 
coimtry with his father and mother. At the age of twenty-two, 
in 1880, he took up the carpenter's trade and followed it in St. 
I'aul and Minneapolis some four years. Returning to his home, 
in 1884, he established himself in business at Owatonna as a 
builder and contractor and so continued until recent years, 
during which he has worked more especially as a cement con- 
tractor, building sidewalks and doing other work in that line, for 
the most part in the city of Owatonna. Mr. Peterson is known 
as a straightforward, upright, reliable man in his line of work 
and by his honorable dealing has gained the confidence of all 
who know him. He has given himself closely to his business 
and has had little leisure for outside affairs. In his religious 
belief he adheres loyally to the tenets of the Baptist denomina- 
tion. In political sentiment he is a Republican. On December 
14, 1887, Mr. Peterson married Miss Hannah, daughter of Lars 
and Marie (Jensen) Peterson, who came from Denmark in 1883 
and settled on a farm in Blooming Prairie township, Steele 
county. The father carried on farming there till 1901, when he 
sold the home farm and moved with his family to Owatonna. 
Mr. and Mrs. Peterson have four children, of whom Mae C, 
the oldest, is a student at Carleton College ; Louis F. is a student 
at Pillsbury Academy, and N. Paul and Dorothy Harriet are 
home with their parents. 

Theodore Chambers, a substantial and respected resident of 
Owatonna and honored veteran of the Civil War, was born in 
Warrenville, Du Page county, Illinois, October 29, 1844, son of 
Joseph and Charlotte (Bargy) Chambers. He attended the com- 
mon schools and was a lad of but sixteen years of age when the 
news of the attack of Ft. Sumter was flashed through the North. 
He impatiently waited a year and in June. 1862, at the age of sev- 
enteen, enlisted in Company I*", 9Stli Illinois Volunteer Infantry, 
serving through the war and being mustered out at Springfield, 
III., August 17, 1865. At the close of the war he came to Minne- 
sota and reached Owatonna September 6, 1865. After doing 
various work a short time he wooed and won as a wife Emily 
Arnold, whom he married September 14, 1866, at Faribault. Six- 
months later he rented a farm in Owatonna township and 
engaged successfully in farming two years. He then purchased 
a farm of eighty acres in Meriden township, where he remained 
six years. He next moved to Berlin township, where he farmed 
twenty-six years. In 1905 he moved to Owatonna and took up 
his residence at 1005 South Cedar street. For a short time he 



114-3 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

was engaged in the draying and the coal and wood business in 
Owatonna. Mr. Chambers has served with distinction as chair- 
man of the county board of supervisors several terms, and when 
working on his farm he was several times chosen chairman of 
his township. Mr. Chambers is a Republican in politics and 
affiliates with the G. A. R. Of his five children. Edward lives 
in Osage county, Kansas ; James S. is a farmer in Lemond town- 
ship ; Marion is the wife of W. W. Day, Jr., an Owatonna coal 
dealer ; Frank C. lives in Frankfort, S. D., and Grace is now 
Mrs. L. O. Holmes, of Owatonna. Joseph Chambers and Char- 
lotte Bargy, his wife, were born in Xew York state and came 
to Illinois in the early forties. In 1863 they came to Owatonna 
and here remained. Joseph Chambers served eleven years as 
city treasurer and died in 1881. His wife died at Rochester in 
1897. Benjamin L. and Celia Stokes Arnold, parents of Mrs. 
Theodore Chambers, were pioneer hotel keepers of Owatonna. 
The former was born in Toledo, Ohio, and the latter in England. 
They came to Owatonna in 1855 and located on a farm where 
the state school is now located. In 1857 they erected the Eureka 
House, located where the Security Bank now stands, and in 
1866 they built the Arnold House, which is located on West 
Vine street. Mr. Arnold died in 1879 and his wife passed away 
one year earlier. 

John H. C. Schuldt, known as one of Steele CDiinty's progres- 
sive farmers, was born on the farm he now owns. January 13, 
1867. His education was received in the district schools, assist- 
ing his father most of the time while attending, and afterwards 
devoting his entire time to the work. Since his father's death,' 
in 1900, he has had entire charge and has more than maintained 
the three hundred and twenty acre farm in the well kept con- 
dition his father left it. Two hundred and eighty acres are 
under cultivation, and by hard work and adherence to common 
sense principles of agriculture he has developed one of the most 
productive farms in the county. He has a large number of 
unusually fine Poland-China hogs. A beautiful and thoroughly 
up-to-date residence adds to the comfort of Mr. Schuldt and his 
family. In political convictions he is a Democrat and has served 
the community as pathmaster. March 14, 1895. he was united 
in marriage with Mathilda Abbe, daughter of William Abbe, 
now deceased. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. 
Schuldt. Named in order of ages they are : Alfred, Martin, 
Edwin, Harold and Juanita. All live at home with the excep- 
tion of Edwin and Harold, who died in infancy. Anton and 
Katharena (Jans) Schuldt, parents of our subject, were natives 
of Mecklenburg, Germany, where the father was employed in 
railroad work. At the age of thirty he emigrated to this country, 




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A.\'l'(>.\ AMI KATIIARKiNA SCIU'LUT 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1143 

locating in Clayton county, Iowa, two years, and then removing 
to Steele county. Minnesota, with the aid of a yoke of oxen. 
Arriving here he homesteaded a claim in Lemond township, 
subsequently buying the place his son now operates and con- 
tinued to follow farming until his death in 1900. His wife died 
six years previously. Ten children were born to them : Mary, 
Henry, William, Fred, who died some years ago, Wilhelmina, 
Anna. August, John H. C. Emma and Bertha. The family are 
all loyal Lutherans, the father and John H. C. holding many 
offices of trust in the church. The father was also prominent in 
local politics, first as a Republican and later as a Democrat^ 
serving in many town offices. 

Nels C. Bailey, one of Steele county's progressive and thrifty 
farmers, was born in this county, June 29, 1864. His education 
was acquired in the district schools, after which he assisted his 
father for a time on the home farm before striking out for him- 
self. He is now the owner of a hundred and sixty acres of well 
improved land, on which he successfully follows general farming. 
Sixty acres are under the plow, almost every acre of which has 
been cleared by his own efforts. The buildings and machinery 
are well abreast of the times. Stock raising and dairying are 
important factors, high bred Durham and Holstein cattle yield- 
ing profitable returns. As to political convictions, the Repub- 
lican party claims his allegiance. He has always taken an active 
part in local affairs and is at present serving as patlimaster and 
as a school officer. In 1889 he was united in marriage to a 
daughter of James McKibbon, a native of Ireland. Two chil- 
dren have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Bailey : y\rchie and Elmer, 
both living at home. Levi and Sana (Clark) Bailey, parents of 
our subject, migrated from Pennsylvania in the early days to 
Minnesota, settling in Somerset township, Steele county, where 
the father followed farming until quite recently. He is now 
living retired at Owatonna. Of his family of thirteen children 
eleven are living. 

John W. Engel, wlu) holds the position of head buttermakcr 
of the Pratt Creamery, was horn February 19, 1882, in Meriden 
township. After receiving his education he first took up farming 
for seven years in Meriden township. He then engaged in the 
carpentering business for one year and in 1904 entered the Meri- 
den Creamery as helper, remaining there one year. Mr. Engel 
then became buttermaker at Deerfield Creamery, staying there 
four years. On April 1, 1910. he accepted the position as head but- 
termaker in the Pratt Creamery. Mr. Engel was given recently an 
eight-piece silver dinner service, awarded to him as first prize as 
the champion buttermaker of Minnesota for 1909. Average score 
for six months, 95.58. Lie took part in the Educational Butter 



1144 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Scoring Contest and was awarded this prize by the dairy and food 
department of Minnesota. This is something of which Mr. Engel 
may well be very proud. He was married on April 16, 1907, to 
Anna Dusbabek. Two children have been born to them — Elden 
J., born December 23, 1907, and Emily K., born December 30, 1908. 
Mr. Engel politically affiliates with the Democratic party and at- 
tends the Catholic Church. He is a good citizen, much esteemed 
by all who know him. William Engel and Laura Engel, his wife, 
parents of John W. Engel, are of German parentage, Mr. Engel 
having been born in Germany. They located in Meriden town- 
ship in 1880, where the father worked at his trade as blacksmith 
until 1886, when the family removed to Iowa, remaining there 
until 1894. They returned to Meriden township at this time, where 
Mr. Engel resumed his trade for a short period, then removing 
to Waldorf, Waseca county, where he has been employed at his 
trade ever since. Wencl Dusbabek and Amelia, his wife, parents 
of Mrs. John W. Engel, are natives of Bohemia and German}-, 
respectively. They located in Rice county, Shieldsville town- 
ship, where they are now farming. Mrs. Engel was born there 
on August 15, 1883. 

Andrew Gregerson, manager of the EUendale Lumber Com- 
pany, first saw the light of day in Racine, W'is., on January 9, 
1869. He received his education in Freeborn county, after which 
he engaged in farming until 1901. Coming to EUendale, Mr. 
Gregerson was employed by the EUendale Lumber Company 
and in the spring of 1904 was made manager of the company, 
which position he now holds. On August 22, 1905, Mr. Greger- 
son was married at Owatonna to Agnes Schultz, of Owatonna. 
They have one child. Elsie I., born I'ebruary 8, 1908. The sub- 
ject of this sketch is an independent voter and a member of the 
Baptist Church and of the B. A. Y. He served two terms on 
the EUendale city council. Mr. Gregerson has a pleasant home 
in EUendale and is a splendid citizen, always looking out for 
the welfare of his home community. Jens Gregerson and Elsie 
Anderson, his wife, parents of Andrew Gregerson, were natives 
of Denmark, coming to .'\merica in 1867 and locating in Racine, 
Wis. In the spring of 1869 they moved to Freeborn county, 
where they carried on general farming. Jens Gregerson died on 
the home farm in 1903. The mother still lives in Freeborn 
county. 

Jacob Haberman, a native of Bohemia, was born in that 
country on April 14, 1851, where he acquired his education. In 
1871 Jacob came to the United States with his parents, locating 
in Blooming Prairie township in 1890, where he got eighty acres 
from his father and added 120 acres, all in Section 19. When 
bought this land was very wild and by the hardest toil Mr. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1145 

Haberman now has a splendid farm as the result of his efforts. 
He has a comfortable home and outbuildings and takes great 
pride in his Holstein cattle. Mr. Haberman keeps seven' fine 
horses. The subject of this sketch was married on October 6, 
1884, to Amelia Blazk. Thej' have been blessed with six children 
— Amelia and Jacob, who died; Jacob, who is a farmer; Edward 
Joseph, Elsie and Freddie, all at home. Mr. Haberman is inde- 
pendent in his voting, serves as road overseer and owns shares 
in the F'armers' Elevator at Blooming Prairie, and is also a 
member of the Creamery Association. He acts as agent for the 
New York Mutual Life Insurance Company. Mr. Haberman is 
a self-made man and is a progressive citizen, esteemed by all who 
know him. 

Wencl Haberman and Rosa, his wife, parents of Jacob Haber- 
man, wxre natives of Bohemia, coming to America in 1871 and 
locating in Blooming Prairie township, where they engaged in 
farming the rest of their lives. Mr. Haberman died in 1893, 
his wife surviving him until 1903. 

Frank Hanzlicek, a progressive farmer of Blooming Prairie 
township, is a native of Bohemia, where he was born September 
1, 1848. He received his education in his native land and coming 
to America in 1881 located in Blooming Prairie township, where 
he bought 120 acres in Section 18. Mr. Hanzlicek has built good 
substantial buildings and improved his farm generally. He was 
married to Josic Matjeck in Bohemia in 1871. Their home has 
been blessed with nine children: Tillie, died when nineteen years 
of age ; Frances, now Mrs. John Potz, of Blooming Prairie town- 
ship; Amelia, now Mrs. Frank Krakora ; Mary, now Mrs. Luther 
Wheeler, of Blooming Prairie village; Josie, now Mrs. Irvin 
Treat, of Blooming Prairie township; Frank, who lives in North 
Dakota; Joseph, still at home; Rosa, now Mrs. Edward Ruzek, 
of Summit township ; Libbie, who stays at home. Mr. Hanzlicek 
is a member of the Democratic party and an attendant of the 
Catholic Church and a member of C. S. P. S. He has made his 
way by hard work and honest labor and is a man respected by 
the people of his section. 

Anton J. Hondl, a successful farmer of Aurora township, is a 
native of Bohemia, having been born in that country on October 
14, 1871. He attended the public schools of Bohemia and fin- 
ished his education in the schools of Aurora township, where 
he came with his parents in 1880. Leaving school, Anton worked 
with his father on the farm for three years. In the year 1890 
he decided to try farming in central California, where he 
remained three years. Returning to his old home in Aurora 
township, Mr. Hondl farmed for two years, finally purchasing 
the old home farm, which he has greatly improved. Very neat 



1146 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

and up-to-date buildings have been erected, including a very 
commodious barn, 36x72 feet. He has added more land during 
the past few years, until now he owns 360 fertile acres. Mr. 
Hondl and Lena Haubenshild were united in marriage on No- 
vember 22, 1898. and enjoy a family of five children: Helen, 
Beneta, Clarence, Myrtle and Clemance. The subject of this 
sketch is independent in his voting, is a member of the Catholic 
Church and of the M. W. A. Lodge. Mr. Hondl is a stockholder 
in the Pratt Creamery and a very enterprising citizen, highly 
respected by all who know him. John Hondl and Anna Groh, 
his wife, parents of Anton J. Hondl, were natives of Bohemia, 
coming to America in 1880. They lived in Columbus, W'is., 
one winter, after which they removed to Aurora township, where 
Mr. Hondl purchased 200 acres of land in Section 19, later adding 
sixty acres. Here he conducted general farming until his death 
in 1907. His wife passed away in the 3-ear 1905. 

Joseph E. Jerele is a native of Minnesota, where he was born 
in Aurora tDwnship, April 18, 1886. After receiving his early 
education at the district school he worked with h.is father on the 
home farm until the spring of 1910, when he rented the farm of 
eighty acres, all under cultivation, which is located in Section li, 
Aurora township, and now carries on general diversified farming. 
Mr. Jerele is single, having his sister Lydia as his housekeeper. 
Politically he is a Democrat, a member of the Catholic Church, 
and a highly respected and promising young man. 

Louis F. Jerele was born August 4, 1881, in Aurora township, 
where he attended the district schools during his boyhood. Fol- 
lowing his school days he worked on his father's farm until 
1903, when he engaged in farming for himself in Aurora town- 
ship, where he has eighty acres of land in Section 'hZ, which he 
has improved by careful cultivation. His farm buildings are 
up-to-date and he employs progressive methods in conducting 
the farm. Mr. Jerele makes a specialty of breeding Durham 
cattle and has some fine stock. On November 2i, 1904, Agnes 
Falteysek became the wife of Louis F. Jerele. They have one 
child, Edward, born September 15, 1905. Mr. Jerele afSliates 
with the Democratic party and is a consistent member of the 
Catholic Church. He is a good and respected citizen, whom the 
community holds in esteem. 

John Jansa, a prosperous farmer of Blooming Prairie town- 
ship, was born on August 2, 1849, in the land of Bohemia. John 
gained his education in his native land, coming to America in 
1874 and locating in Summit township in 1880. He then located 
in Blooming Prairie township, purchasing 160 acres of land in 
Section Z2. Here Mr. Jansa has followed general diversified 
farming ever since, making splendid improvements upon his 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1147 

land. On February 10, 1880, he was married to Albina Pirkl, 
daughter of Bernard Pirkl and Josephina Matejcek. They were 
married in Somerset township. Six children have blessed their 
home : John, born December 6, 1880, lives at home ; Annie, born 
April 19, 1882, is now Mrs. Joseph Pirkl, a carpenter; Ludmelia, 
born July 8. 1885, died December 26, 1906; William, born June 1, 
1889; Martha, born September 28, 1895, is at home; Helen, born 
September 1, 1899. Mr. Jansa politically is a Democrat and 
attends the Catholic Church, is a member of the Z. C. B. J. and 
D. P. J. He has served his township as road overseer for several 
years and owns shares in the Farmers' Elevator of Blooming 
Prairie township. Wencl Jansa and Terszi Bures, his wife, 
parents of John Jansa. were natives of Bohemia, where they both 
died. Bernard Pirkl and Josephina Matejcek, his wife, parents 
of the wife of John Jansa. were natives of Bohemia, coming to 
America in 1869. They located in Summit township, farming 
there until the time of death came to both of them. 

Joseph F. Kvasnicka, a section foreman for the Chicago, Mil- 
waukee & St. Paul Railway Company, is a native of Bohemia, 
where he was born August 4, 1881. He received his education 
at the district schools of Aurora township, after which he worked 
with his father on the farm until he became of age. Joseph then 
took up railroad work for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul 
Railway Company as section laborer, which work he followed 
until April, 1907. when the position of section foreman was 
offered him. His section covers six miles of line, three and 
one-half miles north from Pratt to two and one-half miles south 
from Pratt. In the year 1907 Mr. Kvasnicka was joined in 
marriage to Stella Hruska. One child has been born to them — 
Eli-zabeth, born June 22, 1908. The subject of this sketch is a 
Democrat in politics and attends the Roman Catholic church. 
He served his township as constable for two years. Mr. Kvas- 
nicka owns his home at Pratt and is a citizen esteemed by the 
people of his community. Joseph Kvasnicka and Frances Her- 
dana, his wife, parents of Joseph F. Kvasnicka. are natives of 
Bohemia. They came to the United States in 1881 and located 
in Aurora township, where they have conducted general farming 
€ver since. 

Lars Larson, a representative Steele county farmer, was born 
in Norway, July 29, 1855. At the age of eleven he emigrated 
to this country with his parents and gave what assistance he 
could to the building of the new home in Section 16, Lemond 
township. Steele county, Minnesota. The chances of acquiring 
an education were very meagre in those days and Mr. Larson, 
like most other pioneers, is self-educated. Shortly after attaining 
his majority he launched out for himself and now owns his 



1148 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

present farm of a hundred and sixty acres, whicli he has cleared 
and raised to a high state of productiveness entirely by his own 
efforts. Durham cattle and Poland-China swine are raised very 
successfully, contributing much to the profits of the farm. He 
spent five years in Owatonna while educating his family, work- 
ing for a lumber company and hauling gravel, afterwards return- 
ing to the farm, where he now resides. A comfortable house at 
144 Rose street, Owatonna, is his property also. In political 
convictions he is a Republican and has always borne his part in 
local affairs, having served as school supervisor for many years. 
In 1882 he was married to Julianna Hendrickson, by whom he 
has four children : Harry, living at home ; Jesse, interested in 
the automobile business in South Dakota; and Raymond and 
Grace, who are both living at home. The family are loyal 
attendants of the Lutheran Church. Hans Larson, father of 
our subject, came over from Norway in 1866, locating in Lemond 
township, Steele count}-, where he was engaged in farming up 
to the time of his death. 

August Linse, a prosperous farmer of Aurora township, 
Steele county, was born in Germany, September 7, 1851. After 
receiving his education in the Fatherland he emigrated to this 
country with his parents at the age of seventeen, locating with 
them on a farm in Dodge county, ^Visconsin. In 1872 he removed 
to Steele county, doing farm work for a time in Somerset town- 
ship and then in Owatonna, gradually acquiring the means to 
purchase the 160 acre farm he now owns in Aurora township, 
and on which he is still engaged in general diversified farming, 
making a specialty of the breeding and raising of high class 
Poland-China hogs and Shorthorn cattle. A nearby creamery- 
affords a good market for his milk and helps to make the dairy 
end of his business a profitable one. In politics he follows the 
guidance of the Democratic party and has always been actively 
interested in local aft'airs, at present serving as a member of 
the school board and has had several years in ofiice as super- 
visor. In 1875 he married Sophia Mueller, by whom he has five 
children : Mary, wife of August Longrehen, a farmer of Havana 
township; Minnie, married to Paul Howe, a railroad man of 
Minneapolis; Laura, wife of Ernest Hargefelt. a harnessmaker 
of Owatonna: William, a carpenter by trade, living at home; 
and August, who assists in running the home farm. Gottlieb 
and Minnie (Herford) Linse, parents of our subject, left Ger- 
many in 1868 for America, locating in Dodge county, W^isconsin, 
where the father followed general farming until his death in 
1872. The mother later made her home with a daughter in 
Somerset township, and died there in 1893. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1149 

Edward Linse, a progressive farmer of Aurora township, was 
born on Januarj- 8, 1880, in Aurora township, where he received 
his educaiion in the district schools. He then took up farming 
with his father until he became of age. Purchasing eighty acres 
from his father in Section 16 of his home township in 1901, and 
adding sixty more, making 140 fertile acres, Mr. Linse has 
greatly improved and developed his land. He has erected a new 
home and outbuildings in the past few years and carries on his 
splendid farm in a very up-to-date manner. On May 1, 1901, 
Mr. Linse was joined in marriage to Emma Ahlborn and their 
home has been made bright by four children : Ervin, Mamie, 
Elmer and Edwin. The subject is independent in his voting, a 
member of the Lutheran Church and a good citizen, respected 
by his community. Carl Linse and Augusta Lutz, his wife, 
parents of Edward Linse. are natives of Germany, coming to 
America at an early date. In 1874 they removed to Steele 
county and purchased 100 acres, which he sold later and again 
purchased 160 acres in Section 17, Aurora township, to which 
he added from time to time until he owned nearly 700 acres, all 
in Aurora township. He continued his general farming business 
until 1907, when he retired and removed to Owatonna, where 
he still lixes. 

Ferdinand Liebrenz, a very successful farmer of Merton 
township, is a native of Germany, having been born on May 28, 
1872. Ferdinand attended the schools of his native land, cominsT 
to America when he was eighteen years old and locating in Rice 
county, where he worked out on diflferent farms for two years. 
Removing to Steele county, he worked out until 1898, then pur- 
chasing 245 acres in Section 28, Merton township. Since that 
time Mr. Liebrenz has sold forty acres, leaving 205 acres, upon 
which he has done general farming up to the present time. He 
has made many splendid improvements. Within the past few 
years Mr. Liebrenz has planted an apple orchard and made a 
grove around his home. In 1897 he was joined in marriage to 
Hattie Schuelcr, to whom has been born three children : Annie, 
Alfreda and Myrtle. Mr. Liebrenz politically is a Republican 
and religiously is an attendant of the German Methodist Church. 
The subject is a self-made man, for whom his community has 
respect and admiration. 

Frederick Liebrenz and Tina, his wife, parents of Ferdinand 
Liebrenz. were natives of Germany. The father died in 1905, 
the mother in 1907. 

John Lageson, who conducts a general mercantile business at 
Ellendale, is a native of Houston county, Minnesota, where he 
was born March 1, 1875. He received his early education at the 
district schools. John then became interested in a general store 



1150 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

at Cooleysville. Upon leaving tlie store he attended the X'alder 
Business College at Decorah, la. Returning from college, he 
again started in business, remaining until 1901. At this time 
Mr. Lageson formed the Ellendale Mercantile Company, of 
which he is general manager. On September 30, 1899. the sub- 
ject of this sketch was married to Isabella Torgerson. Four 
children have been given ]Mr. and Mrs. Lageson: Edgar. Julian, 
Arnold and Melvin. Mr. Lageson is a Republican politically 
and a member of the Lutheran Church. He has served as alder- 
man for three 3-ears, is a stockholder in the Farmers' Elevator 
■of Ellendale and is interested in the Ellendale Rural Telephone 
Company. Mr. Lageson is a self-made man and a citizen much 
respected in his community. 

Filing Lageson and Martha Bakke, his wife, parents of John 
Lageson, were natives of Norway. They emigrated to America 
at an early date, locating in Wisconsin in 1851. Filing Lageson 
removed to Houston county, Minnesota, where he carried on a 
farm until 1876. Coming to Berlin township. Steele county, he 
conducted a farming business until compelled because of old 
age to retire from active life. Mr. Lageson died in December, 
1906. Mrs. Lageson still lives on the old home farm. 

Louis Monson, a sturdy old pioneer of Steele county, Minne- 
sota, is a native of Lerdoll. Bergen Stift, Norway, being born in 
1845. His boyhood was passed on his father's farm, having the 
usual experience of a Norwegian farmer boy and acquiring his 
education in the public schools. Leaving school at the age of 
eighteen, he spent a couple of years at various kinds of work in 
Christiania. and then emigrated to America, making the voyage 
on the "Quebec," one of the fast sailing ships of that period. 
Arriving in this country, he located near Decorah. Illinois, where 
he spent a summer working on a farm. The following year. 
1865, he removed to Steele county, and after several years of 
hard farm work amassed the means necessary for the purchase 
of his present well improved farm of eighty acres. In politics 
he inclines toward the doctrines of the Democratic party, but 
always casts his ballot for what he believes the best interests of 
the community. He was married, in 1875. to Ida Anderson, by 
whom he had eleven children, six of whom are living: Ole A., 
a farmer of Summit township ; Martha, wife of William Wein- 
knecht ; Dora, married to Cunar Fenkedall. a carpenter ; Martin, 
who resides at home ; Richard, of Summit township, and Edna, 
living at home. The family attend worship at the Lutheran 
church. The parents of our subject were natives of Norway, 
the father being engaged in farming all his life. 

Theodore Monson, a live and energetic young farmer of 
Steele county, is a native son of that county, his natal date being 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1151 

January 20, 1882. After receiving his education in the district 
schools he engaged in farming with his father and now conducts 
the old home place of 180 acres with his brother Mons. The 
brothers are believers in modern buildings and machinery and 
their farm is a splendid example of up-to-date agriculture. About 
sixty acres is under the plow, but much of the farm is devoted 
to stock raising, Durham cattle and Poland-China hogs being 
their specialty'. Andrew Monson, father of our subject, was 
born in Lerdahl, Norway, May 9, 1846. Completing his educa- 
tion in the Fatherland, he emigrated to this country at the age 
of twenty, first settling in Wisconsin and then in Steele county, 
Minnesota, where he followed farming until his death in 1908. 
Me was married to Betsie Thompson, also a native of Norway, 
by whom he had eight children, six of whom are now living: 
Mons, born in Steele county, April 12, 1872, is engaged in farm- 
ing in Havana township; Louis is a farmer of Waseca county; 
Anna is the wife of Edward Hanson, a farmer of Lemond town- 
ship ; Theodore, the subject of this sketch; Andrew is located 
at Waterloo, la., and Margaret is living at home. The family 
are loyal members of the Lutheran Church, in which the father 
held many offices of trust. In politics he was a Republican. 

Hans P. Paulsen, a very progressive farmer of Blooming 
Prairie township, is a native of Denmark, the date of his birth 
Ijeing June 14, 1865. Hans received his education in his native 
land, after which he engaged in farming until coming to America 
in 1884. Locating in Blooming Prairie township, in 1894, Mr. 
Paulsen purchased an eighty acre farm in Section 11 and in 1902 
sold this property and bought 160 acres in Section 9 of Blooming- 
Prairie township. He has built new and modern buildings, 
which include a s])lendid barn, 56x60 feet, and fully improved 
this land, upon which he makes his home. He makes a specialty 
of Shorthorn cattle and Duroc Jersey hogs and takes pride in his 
Belgian and Percheron horses. Mr. Paulsen was joined in mar- 
riage on October 20, 1894, to Mattie Nelson. Their home has 
been made happy by eight children, who are all at home : Rasmus, 
Esther, Mable, Emma, Lillie, Arthur, William and Clarence. 
Mr. Paulsen is a loyal Republican and religiously affiliates with 
the Danish Lutheran Church. He has always been interested in 
the welfare of his community, having been constable for two 
years, and is at present treasurer of the school district, which 
office he has held for six years. He is a member of the Union 
Creamery Association and a man highly respected by the people 
of his section. Christian Jensen and .^nna D. Paulsen, his wife, 
parents of Hans P. Paulsen, were natives of Denmark. Christian 
Jensen died in his native land in 18(S8 and Mrs. Jensen still 
remains in the old Denmark home. 



1153 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

Herman Frederick Pauzer, an enterprising farmer of Berlin 
township, was born in Prussia, Germany, thirl3'-eight years ago, 
coming to America with his parents in 1876 and settling in 
Owatonna. In 1896 Herman came to Berlin township and pur- 
chased eighty acres of land in Section 3, where he now lives. 
He conducts a general diversified farming business. Mr. Pauzer 
was married to Hannah Sommers on March 31, 1896. to uhom 
six children have been born: Ernest, who died September 21, 
1897: Grace, William, Herman, Rose, all at home; Hannah Eliza- 
beth, died April 24. 1910. Mr. Pauzer politically is a Democrat 
and an adherent of the German Lutheran Church. He has served 
his township as supervisor for two years, was constable for four 
years, justice of the peace for two years, and has been a trusted 
officer of the Deerfield Insurance Compan}- for eight years. Mr. 
Pauzer is a good citizen, always alert to the needs of his. 
community. 

Mr. Panzer's father, after coming to the United States in 
1876, worked out by the day until 1877. when he purchased a 
farm of eighty acres in Somerset township. u])on which farmingi 
was continued until the time of his death in 1899. The mother 
died in 1881. 

Joseph W. Brierton, of Aurora township, first saw the light 
of day in Lee count}-, Illinois, on July 21, 1851, where he acquired 
his education in district schools. Coming to Aurora township, 
Joseph farmed with his father until October 1. 1891, then bought 
the home farm of 160 acres in Section 7, Aurora township, and 
added 160 acres adjoining in Section 8, making 320 acres. In 
1902 he rented his farm and moved to C)watonna and resided 
there until 1907. when he returned to the home farm. 

John S. Renchin, for many years a well known farmer of 
Aurora township, is a native of Bohemia, his natal date being 
December 2h. 18.^1. At an early age he emigrated to this country 
with his parents, who located in Steele county, Minnesota, the 
father engaging in farming. John S. received his education in 
the district schools, after which he gave his whole attention to 
farming, with such success that he acquired his present farm of 
160 acres. Sixty of this is under the plow, the remainder being 
well utilized for pasturage and .woodland. Dairying is exten- 
sively carried on. a fine herd of Shorthorn and Durham cattle 
supplying milk, which nets a good price at a nearby creamery. 
Poland-China hogs have also been a factor in the success of this 
farm. All modern improvements have been added and a beauti- 
ful home adds to the comfort of the family. It is an eleven-mile 
drive from his farm to Owatonna, the usual market. In political 
faith Mr. Renchin is a Democrat, and though he has never 
aspired to office, he has served many years as treasurer of 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1153 

his school district. In 1890 he was married to Celia Zak, daugh- 
ter of Joseph Zak, a retired farmer. Five children have been 
born to this union : Josie. Johnnie, Walter, Lewis and Alice. 
The family worship at the Catholic Church. John and Catherine 
Renchin. parents of our subject, emigrated from Bohemia, locat- 
ing in Steele count}', Minnesota, where the father was engaged 
in farming up to the time of his death. The mother is still 
living at Owatonna. 

Peter Sorenson, a well known farmer of Steele county, was 
born in Denmark, July 14, 1863. At the age of nine years he 
crossed the waters with his parents, who located on a farm in 
Lemond township. Steele county, where he passed his boyhood, 
receiving a somewhat scanty education in the district schools. 
After leaving school he worked in St. Paul for three years and 
then returned to this count}- and engaged in farming on his 
present place of a hundred and twenty acres, every acre of this 
having been won from the wilderness by his own efforts. The 
entire farm is under cultivation, and through common sense agri- 
culture and hard work Mr. Sorenson has made it one of the 
model farms of the county. In politics he is a staunch adherent 
of the Republican party and is keenly alive to all that tends for 
the welfare of the community. He has served on the town 
board over ten years. June 13, 1891, he was married to Lena 
Erikson, daughter of Martin Erikson, of Bixby. They have five 
children: Harry, George, Alice, Herman and Clarence. The 
family are believers in the faith of the Lutheran Church. August 
and Lena (Hansen) Sorenson, parents of Peter, emigrated to 
this country in 1873, at once locating on a farm in Lemond town- 
ship, Steele county, Minnesota, where the father followed farm- 
ing up to his death in 1891. The mother died a year later. Mr. 
Sorenson was a Republican and a member of the Lutheran 
Church. Five children were born to them : Hans, a farmer near 
Owatonna; Mary, wife of Frank Johnson, of Owatonna; Chris, 
who married Sophia Peterson: Henry, engaged in farming in 
Clinton Falls township ; and Peter, our subject. 

A. G. Schmidt, an enterprising farmer of Meriden township, 
Steele county, was born in West Prussia, Germany, November 
2, 1874. At the age of eight he emigrated to America with his 
parents, who settled on a farm in Meriden township, on which 
he passed his boyhood, receiving his education in the district 
schools. After school he assisted his father on the home farm 
for a time, and then struck out for himself, acquiring his present 
farm of eighty acres of highly productive land by hard work 
and industry. Fifty-five acres are under the plow, the remainder 
yielding a good income as woodland and pasturage. A large 
herd of Holstein cows yield liberal returns, the milk being dis- 



1154 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

posed of to a nearby creamery at good prices. Poland-China 
swine are a specialty of Mr. Schmidt's. In politics he is a 
believer in the doctrines of the Republican party, and though he 
has never desired office has served three years as supervisor of 
Meriden township. He is associated with the Mutual Aid Insur- 
ance Company of Iowa. During 1905 he was married to Minnie 
Kottke. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt : 
Alice, Carl, Alvin and Mildred. The family attend worship at 
the Lutheran Church. Herman John and Carolina Schmi<lt, 
parents of our subject, crossed the waters in 1882, locating for 
a short time in .Somerset township, .Steele county, Minnesota, 
and then in Meriden township, where the father followed general 
farming up till 1904. He then moved to Owatonna with his 
wife, having since retired from active work. Four sons were 
born to them: A. G., our subject: .August and Emil, of Meriden 
township ; and Rudolph, of Iowa. 

O. D. Selleck, a prominent farmer of Steele county, was born 
in Racine, \Vis., June 19, 1854. While still an infant he came 
with his parents to Steele county, receiving what education pos- 
sible in the crude schools of those times and afterwards assisting 
his father on the farm before engaging in agriculture on his own 
account. His present place consists of 120 acres of productive 
land, all of which is under the plow with the exception of twenty 
acres devoted to woodland. Besides general mixed farming, 
dairying and cattle, sheep and horse raising is extensively car- 
ried on, Mr. Selleck having thirty head of high bred Shorthorn 
and Holstein cattle, which supply milk of the best quality to a 
nearby creamery, and seventy head of Shropshire sheep, which 
contribute heavily to the net profits. Good all-around horses are 
bred and raised. Up-to-date buildings and machinery assist 
much in the working of the farm. As to political convictions 
he is a staunch Republican and has filled many positions of trust, 
having served as town clerk, supervisor, school board member, 
and four years as county commissioner. The Knights of Pythias 
and the Ancient Order of United Workmen count him among 
their valued members. In 1874 he was married to Margaret 
Russell, daughter of Gilbert and Caroline (Ames) Russell, pio- 
neers of Steele county. Mr. and Mrs. Selleck have one daughter, 
Ada, who is engaged in teaching. Alson and Mary A. (Kent) 
Selleck, parents of our subject, are natives of St. Lawrence 
county. New York. Joining the tide of emigration westward, in 
1849, they located in Wisconsin, where the father continued a 
farmer six years, then removing to Steele county and pre-empt- 
ing the farm he still owns. After living in a tent for a short 
while they moved into a then luxurious log cabin, which was 
their dwelling for many years. Indians and other pioneer trials 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1155 

liad to be endured. Gilbert and Caroline (Ames) Russell, 
parents of Mrs. O. D. Selleck, now deceased, were also pioneers 
of this county, coming from New York state in 1867. 

Joseph Shubert is one of the prosperous farmers of Blooming 
Prairie township, where he has lived about thirty-five years. 
He was born in Bohemia and came to America in 1874, living a 
year in Indiana before coming here. He is assisted on his farm 
of 200 acres by his son, Anton Shubert, one of the well-liked men 
of the community. 

John Virtue, an old and respected farmer of Steele county, 
was born in the northern part of Ireland, December 14, 1833. 
After receiving his education in the Fatherland he emigrated to 
America, locating in Columbia county. New York, where he 
followed farming seven years. He then removed to Steele county 
in 1859, purchased his present 460-acre farm, on which he still 
resides, his son Emmett attending to the management. In poli- 
tics he has always been an active Democrat, serving one term 
as a member of the state legislature during 1893, and has filled 
all township offices and served as a member of the school board. 
The E]3iscopal Church values him as a loyal member. In Octo- 
ber, 1856. lie was united in marriage with Mary Dinan, who 
came over from Ireland in 1850. The children, five of whom are 
living, are : D. E., a manufacturer of Owatonna ; W. J., engaged 
in farming near Owatonna; Leonard, who owns and conducts a 
farm near Blooming Prairie; Emmett, who operates the home 
farm ; and Alice M., who lives at home. Emmett J., who con- 
ducts the home farm, was born on the old homestead, April 17,, 
1871. After receiving his education in the district schools and 
completing with a course in the Owatonna high school, he gave 
his attention to farming, which he has since followed, now 
having entire charge of his father's farm, and in addition owns 
200 acres of fine pasturage. High grade Shorthorn cattle are 
raised on an extensive scale, and modern improvements and 
equipments make economical farming. As to political convic- 
tions he is a Democrat, having served in numerous township 
offices. The C. O. F. and the Knights of Columbus count him 
as an active brother. In religious matters he follows the guid- 
ance of the Catholic Church. 

Albert Wilker, a prosperous farmer of Meriden township, is a 
native son of Steele county, his natal date being February 4, 
1878. His boyhood was passed on his father's farm, receiving 
his education in the district schools. His school days over, he 
engaged in farming, now owning 240 acres of finely cultivated 
land, with buildings and equipment of the most modern type. 
He makes a specialty of breeding and raising Shorthorn and 
Durham cattle and Poland-China hogs. In politics he is a fol- 



1156 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

lower ami belitvcr in the tenets of the Republican party. March 
7, 1903, he was married to Lena Ahlers, daughter of John Ahiers, 
a prominent farmer of Steele county. Two children have blessed 
this marriage, Edna and Irma. The family are loyal attendants 
of the Lutheran Church. Mr. Wilker is a son of John and 
Emelia (W'elk) \\'ilker, the father a retired farmer of Owatonna. 

William Woker, an up-to-date farmer of Steele county, was 
born in Washington county. Wisconsin. October 29, 1858. At 
the age of eight years he removed with his parents to Steele 
county, his father soon afterwards settling on a 160-acre farm 
in Meridcn township. After receiving his education in the dis- 
trict schools he assisted his father in carrying on the home place 
until 1880. when he bought his present farm, consisting of 160 
acres of well improved land, which he has brought to a high 
state of productiveness through hard work and modern methods 
of agriculture. Fine Durham cattle and Poland-China swine 
are his specialties. The Democratic jjarty claims his allegiance 
in matters of politics and he has ably served on the town board 
and thirteen years as school treasurer. October ,3, 1880, he was 
imited in marriage with Othilia Stelter, daughter of \\'illiani 
Stelter, a tailor by trade. Seven children have come of this 
marriage : George, an engraver and watchmaker of Oskaloosa, 
la. : and Ernest. Ida. Alfred, Eddie, Luella and Charles, all reside 
at home. The Lutheran Church counts the family as valued 
members. Herman and Wilhelmina (Hager) Woker, parents of 
our subject, were natives of Lippedepenold, Germany, where the 
father followed farming. Emigrating to America about 1848, he 
located near Freeport, 111., and engaged in farming three years, 
subsequently removing to AN'ashington count}', Wisconsin. In 
1866 he came to Steele county and after residing a year in Owa- 
tonna purchased a quarter section in Meriden townshij) and con- 
tinued farming until his death in 1887. The mother died five 
years later. He was prominent in the Lutheran Church and in 
the Democratic party, serving four years as justice of the peace 
while in Wisconsin. Eight children were born to him and his 
wife: Louisa, Riche. Christian. Henrietta, Minnie, Caroline. 
W'illiam and Fred. 

Samuel Wanous, a farmer of Havana township, Steele cotmty, 
was born in this county. ]\larcli 7, 1872. Completing his educa- 
tion in the district schools, he immediately engaged in farming 
and now owns a fine farm of 160 acres in Havana township, 
which he purchased in 1902. Two-thirds of this land is under 
the plow, the remainder being utilized to the best advantage as 
woodland and pasturage. Strictly modern and up-to-date build- 
ings and machinery, which have all been added by the present 
occupant, have been material in raising this farm to its high state 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1157 

of productiveness. High-grade slock furnishes milk tiiai brings 
the highest returns from the local creamery. Mr. Wanous also 
owns a large number of Poland-China hogs. In political convic- 
tions he is a Democrat, taking an active interest in all public 
affairs. He was married, in 1901, to Rosa Stursa, daughter of 
John and Anna Stursa. They have four children : Rosa, Georgia, 
Samuel and Alice, all living at home. John and Anna, parents 
of our subject, came over from Bohemia forty-seven years ago, 
at once locating in Steele county, where the father followed farm- 
ing. He is still living at Pratt, Steele county, enjoying a ripe 
old age. Eleven children were born to him and his good wife, 
all of whom are leading a useful life. 

N. O. Partridge, a self-made farmer of Steele county, was 
born in Dane county. Wisconsin, December 12, 1854. His edu- 
cation was received in the common and high schools of Dane 
county, concluding with a course in a commercial college at 
Madison. After his graduation he taught school for ten years 
and then emigrated west to Montana, where he accumulated most 
of his property, afterward returning to Wisconsin for a time, 
coming to Steele county in the spring of 1889 and purchasing 
eighty acres in Clinton Falls township and forty acres one mile 
east of Owatonna. The entire 120 acres is under the plow and 
in spite of poor health he has been successful in his farming 
operations. Much attention is given to dairying, graded stock 
being bred and raised. All modern improvements conducive to 
up-to-date farming and the comfort of the family have been 
added, the home being fitted with heat, gas and the other con- 
veniences. In politics he gives his allegiance to the Democratic 
party and has always taken an active part in local affairs, having 
served as county commissioner, chairman of township board of 
supervisors, president of Merton Creamery, president of Deer- 
field Insurance Company, vice-president of the Farmers' Ele- 
vator and Mercantile Company, secretary of Steele County Good 
Roads Association, and director of the school board. 

He is now a member of the Minnesota Co-operative Dairies 
Association, for the marketing of Minnesota butter; secretary 
of Merton Telephone Company, and member of town board. 
In 1889 he was married to Anna Van Buren, by whom he has 
three children: Jessie R., attending the University of Minne- 
sota as a junior; Charles A., a graduate of the Owatonna high 
school: and Osborne V. B., who is in his senior high school year. 
Joseph and Ruth Ann (Scott) Partridge, parents of our subject, 
were born and reared in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, respec- 
tively. The father was a merchant and shipper of Boston for 
many j-ears, but later removed to Wisconsin and engaged in 
farming. He died in 1861. The mother deceased at Owatonna 



1158 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

in 1885. Ten children were born to them, eight of whom are 
living. Martin and Rose (Buhhnan) Van Bnren, parents of 
Mrs. N. O. Partridge, resided in Wisconsin until the spring of 
1901, when they moved to Owatonna. He died in 1904. 

Conrad Henry Wilker, a well known farmer of Meriden town- 
ship, Steele county, was born in Guttenburg, la., August 22, 
1854. Two years after his birth his parents came to Steele county 
and here he received his education in the district schools and 
grew to manhood. Leaving school, he assisted his father in the 
carrying on of the home farm until he became of age, and then 
engaged in farming on his own account, having since acquired 
a well improved and highly productive farm of 320 acres, well 
stocked with cattle and high-bred hogs of the Duroc-Red variety. 
As to political faith he is loyal to the Republican party and has 
ably served four years as county commissioner and is now round- 
ing out his fifteenth year as a member of the district school 
board. He has also filled numerous township offices. April 5, 
1876, he was united in marriage with Dora Abbe, daughter of 
Henry Abbe, a resident of Meriden township, before his decease. 
Ten children have been born to this marriage : Martha, who is 
married to Fred Henkensiefken, a farmer of Berlin, has two 
children, James and Elsie; H. C, engaged in farming in Berlin 
township, is married to Lena Vanberg and has five children, 
Mamie, Oliver, Clarence, Alice and Ruby ; John, a farmer of 
Meriden, is married to Martha Dinse, has one child, Irena ; 
Emma, is the wife, of Carl Ruel, a farmer of Summit township, 
and has two children, Esther and Mabel ; Ella, now Mrs. Fred 
Dinse, has one child. Alma; and Mary, Mathilda, Herman, Clara 
and Dora all live at home. The family are loyal adherents to 
the faith of the German Lutheran Church. Christopher Henry 
and Louisa (Ribbe) Wilker, parents of Conrad Henry, are 
natives of Hanover, Germany. The father emigrated to the 
United States at about the age of twenty-one, and after working 
on a canal for a time and seeing a good deal of the country, he 
finally located in Guttenburg, la., where he followed farming. 
In 1856 he came to Steele county, together with other hardy 
pioneers, and homesteaded the farm now known as the Mrs. 
Brase place, in Meriden township, remaining here until 1890, 
when he removed to San Diego, Cal., where he now lives retired 
from active life. Ten children were born to him, six of whom 
are still living: John H., of Owatonna; Conrad Henry, the sub- 
ject of this sketch ; Anna, wife of John Scholljegerdes, a farmer 
of Lemond township ; William, engaged in farming in Summit 
township ; E. L., a farmer of Havana township ; and Mary, mar- 
ried to Frank Janke, a prominent fruit grower of California and 
interested in politics. 




ii. w ii.Ki.i; 



PUB. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1159 

T. E. Barker, one of Medford township's substantial farmers, 
is a native of tiie state of New York. He was born in Homer, 
Cortland county, April 28, 1845. In 1863 the Barker family 
came to Minnesota and located in Lemond township, where the 
subject of this sketch attended the district school. Upon leaving 
school Mr. Barker followed farming and when about twenty-four 
years of age purchased railroad land in Lemond township. Here 
he lived and labored for eighteen years. Selling this property, 
he bought land in Medford township, which he cultivated for 
three years, then disposed of this farm and removed to Missouri, 
where he bought land and lived six years. Returning to Minne- 
sota, Mr. Barker rented a farm for a year before he secured the 
162 acres in Medford township, upon which he still resides. In 
1874 T. E. Barker was united in marriage to Clara Curtis. Their 
home has been blessed by eight children: Ella Grace, Clara 
B., now a teacher in Oregon; T. F. Barker, a farmer in 
Havana township; W. G. Barker, now a resident of North 
Dakota; Charles B., deceased, W. S., Josephine and Esther still 
remain under the parental roof. Mr. Barker is a stanch Repub- 
lican, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and holds the 
office of pathmaster in Lemond township. He is interested in 
all that promotes the prosperity of his home community and is 
a stockholder in the Medford Creamery. Barzillai Barker and 
Serena Chollar, his wife, parents of T. E. Barker, were natives, 
respectively, of Rhode Island and New York. Mr. Barker was 
a blacksmith by trade, but left this occupation to engage in farm- 
ing. In 1863 he came to Minnesota and located in Lemond 
township, where he bought land, i)ut only lived one year after 
coming West. The mother died later on the old homestead. 

Riley A. Case, a progressive farmer of Steele county, his 
birthplace, was born August 22, 1868. After receiving all the 
education possible in the neighboring district school he engaged 
in farming on the home place with his father, now having the 
entire management. The farm consists of 160 acres of well 
improved land in Somerset township and is well equipped with 
modern buildings and machinery, far diilferent than it was in the 
early days when the grain was mowed with a scythe and a log 
cabin sufficed for a dwelling. A large herd of Durham cattle 
furnish milk of a grade which commands top prices at a neigh- 
boring creamery. Poland-China hogs are also a profitable fac- 
tor. In politics he gives his allegiance to the Republican party. 
Phelps and Catherine (Powell) Case, parents of our subject, were 
among the earliest settlers of this county, the father coming here 
from Connecticut and pre-empting the quarter-section now 
owned by his son in 18.S6. Every man had to depend on himself 
in those days, and the hardships and privations discouraged all 



1160 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

but the stoutest spirits. Mr. Case proved to be of true pioneer 
stuff, however, and now lives with his wife on his son's farm, 
enjoying the fruits of a well spent life. Nine children were born 
to him: William, the oldest is an architect at Duluth ; Addie 
May is deceased: Sam S. is engaged in the livery business at 
Rochester, Minn.; Delbert is connected with the wholesale firm 
of Stone, Ordey & Wells, of Duluth; Riley A., our subject; 
Charles, a farmer of Dodge county ; Jeanette is married to E. H. 
Naylor, a farmer of Merton township ; Mamie is the wife of T. A. 
Kuchenbecker; and Frankie died in infancy. Phelps Case has 
always been an active member of the Republican party, serving 
for eighteen vears as town clerk and in many school offices. 

Alexander Chambers, a live and progressive farmer of Steele 
county, was born in Havana township, Steele county. January 
12, 1873. The beginning of his education was received in the 
district schools of Havana, later attended Pillsbury Academy, 
and concluding with a course at Lawrence University, of Apple- 
ton, Wis. After leaving school he engaged in teaching five years 
and then liought a general store at Pratt, ]\linn.. in partnership, 
with Willis Chambers, remaining in this business for two years. 
After disposing of his mercantile interests he purchased the farm 
which he now operates, consisting of a hundred and sixty acres 
of well improved land, mostly under cultivation. All machinery 
and buildings are of up-to-date style, a cement silo furnishing a 
large proportion of the feed for his herd of thoroughbred Hol- 
steins. Fie is actively interested in the Havana Creamery, having 
served as its president five years and as secretary and manager 
one. A large number of Yorkshire hogs add to the productive- 
ness of the farm. Mr. Chambers takes an active part in local 
politics as a Republican, now serving as chairman of the trustees 
of Havana village. June 28, 1899, he was married to Rose M. 
Crickmore, daughter of Robert Crickmore, whose sketch appears 
elsewhere. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Cham- 
bers, four of whom are living. Named in order of ages they are: 
Robert Burton, Lindsey Alexander (deceased), Emma Lucy, 
George William, and Charles Frank. George and Emma (Burns) 
Chambers, parents of our subject, are natives of Belfast. Ireland, 
and New York, respectively. The father emigrated to this country 
at the age of twenty-one, locating in Cattaraugas county. New 
York, as a foreman on the Genessee Valley Canal. In 1856 he 
came to Steele county, shortly afterwards spending a winter in 
Winona, and then returned and purchased a farm in Havana 
township of Danforth Potter, on which he followed general farm- 
ing until his death in 1898. His wife followed him to the great 
beyond seven years later. He was prominent in local politics, 
serving as a member of the town board many years. In religious 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1161 

faith he was a Presbyterian and in his early days was an elder in 
the church of that denomination at Owatonna. Seven children 
were born to him : Sarah Isabel, wife of M. E. White, of Clare- 
mont : Minnie May, married to Emery Reynolds, of Indianapolis ; 
Margaret Jane, now Mrs. W. E. Williams; Alexander, the sub- 
ject of this sketch ; AVilliam J., who operates a tiling machine in 
partnership with his two younger brothers. George J. and 
Frank R. 

D. Searls, an old and prominent resident of Merlon township, 
Steele county, was born in New York state, March 27, 1838. His 
education was received in the district schools, afterwards work- 
ing on his father's farm until the outbreak of the war, when he 
enlisted with Company B, Thirty-fifth New York Volunteer 
Infantry, in May, 1861, the time of the first call to arms. His 
regiment formed part of the Army of the Potomac and he saw 
active service in all the battles of his regiment, among them being 
those of first and second Bull Run, in the latter of which he was 
wounded. South Mountain, Maryland, Antietam, Fredericksburg, 
Chancellorsville and Chantille. At the close of the struggle he 
was mustered out at Elmira, N. Y. Returning to civil life, in 
1865, he migrated west and settled on eighty acres, which he has 
now increased to 200, in Merton township, Steele county. Single- 
handed he attacked the virgin soil, gradually bringing it up to its 
present state of productiveness. At first he lived in a rude log 
shanty, but this was soon supplanted by a comfortable frame 
dwelling. He has about one hundred acres under cultivation 
and does general farming, raising cattle and Poland-Oiina hogs 
with much success. Roy, Ralph and Erwin, the three boys living 
at home, attend to the working of the place, though Mr. Searls 
takes an active part in the direction of affairs. In politics he is 
an adherent of the Republican part\'. James A. Goodwin Post, 
No. 81, Grand .'\rmy of the Republic, counts him a valued lucm- 
ber. In 1866 he was united in marriage with Celestine Wallace, 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. (Putnam) Wallace, of Vermont. Six 
children have blessed this marriage: Walter, of the state of 
W^ashington; and Marion, Gertrude, Roy, Ralph and Erwin, all 
living at home. The family attend the Methodist Church. 
Walter and Charlotte (Cook) Searls. parents of our subject, were 
born and raised in New York state, where the father followed 
farming up to the time of his death. The mother is also deceased. 
Eight children were born to them, four of whom are still living. 

Peter Brosen, an energetic young farmer of Steele county, his 
birthplace, was born July 6, 1880. After receiving a common 
school education in the district schools and a thorough knowledge 
of farming on his father's farm he launched out for himself, now 
■carrying on extensive farming operations on 160 acres of his own 



1162 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUXTIES 

in Section 26, Merton township, and on 400 adjoining which he 
rents. High-grade Durham cattle are raised, which supply cream 
of the best quality to a neighboring creamery, of which Mr. 
Brosen is a stockholder. Poland-China hogs are also a monej'- 
making factor. The house and barn, together with all the numer- 
ous outbuildings, have been remodeled and are now strictly up-to- 
date. As to political convictions he is a Republican, but has 
never aspired to office. In 1902 he was united in matrimony 
with Georgia Naylor, daughter of George and Jennie (Smart) 
Naylor, well known pioneer settlers of this county. Mr. and 
Mrs. Brosen have two children : George N. and Lester Emerson. 
Nels and Mary (Scott) Brosen, parents of Peter, are natives of 
Denmark. In 1873 the}- emigrated to this country, farming it 
in Wisconsin for a year, and then removed to Merton township. 
Steele county, still residing on the old farm, consisting of forty- 
three acres, adjoining their son"s property. 

Wilhelm F. Wilker, one of Sunnnit township's prosperous 
citizens, was a native of the state, having begun life in Meriden 
township, January 29, 1859. Here he went to school in a log 
cabin in the pioneer days of Minnesota. In 1880 Mr. Wilker 
was married to Minnie ]\Iueller, daughter of Adolph Mueller. 
Nine children have been added to their home: Carl, living in 
Summit township; Bertha, living in Owatonna : Anna, living in 
Arkansas ; Minnie, now in Meriden township ; August, Alma, 
Arthur, Elda and Wilhelm, Jr., still remain at home. Mr Wilker 
has a fine farm home of 160 acres in Summit township, twelve 
miles from Owatonna, where he has lived fourteen years. Prior 
to this he lived in Meriden township, also on a farm. A fine herd 
of Durham cattle thrive in his pastures, the milk from which is 
sold at the creamery. He raises Poland-China hogs and is pro- 
gressive in all his methods. Mr. Wilker is a member of the 
Lutheran Church, chairman of the township board, member of 
the town board and is a public-spirited citizen. 

Leonard Virtue, who is serving his county as state representa- 
tive, is one of its most honored and respected citizens. He was 
born in Clinton Falls township. Steele county, April 2, 1865, 
receiving his education in the district schools, the Owatonna 
high school, and concluding with a course in Pillsbury Academy. 
Leonard then taught school for two terms, after which he assisted 
his father on the old home farm until 1888, when he removed to 
Owatonna and engaged in the flour, feed and grain business. 
Two years later he became associated with the Hastings and 
Diment Mills, known as the Hastings ]\Iilling Company after 
Mr. Diment's retirement in 1893. Mr. Virtue's business ability 
soon made itself felt, and when the company was re-incorporated 
after Mr. Hastings' death he was elected president, successfully 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1163 

managing the plant till 1907, when he disposed of his interest and 
removed to Blooming Prairie. Here he purchased what is known 
as the "V'ig P"arm," consisting of six hundred acres of fine land, 
all in the corporate limits. On this magnificent estate Mr. 
Virtue still follows general farming, dairying and stock raising, 
having one of the finest herds of Durham cattle in the state. 
The Democratic party counts him as a very active supporter, 
his wide popularity making him a valuable candidate. In 1890 
he served the city of Owatonna as alderman of the Second Ward ; 
1895, he was elected mayor of the city, holding the office three 
times ; and in 1907 he was appointed on the Owatonna state 
school board of control by Governor Johnson for a term of six 
years. Two years later, in 1909, he was obliged to resign, having 
been elected state representative, which position he is now ably 
filling. During 1907 he was a member of the Owatonna free 
public library board for a few months, resigning shortly after his 
election on account of his removal to Blooming Prairie. Mr. 
Virtue was one of the stockholders in the old Security Bank of 
Owatonna. The Modern Woodmen of America, Ancient Order 
of United Workmen and the Owatonna Gun Club count him an 
active member of their respective organizations. He was identi- 
fied with the Owatonna Commercial Club for several years. At 
Minneapolis, Alay 30, 1889, he was united in marriage with Mabel 
L. Carpenter. They have one child, Gladys L., who is a student 
of the Southern Minnesota Normal College at Austin, Minn. 
The family attend the Universalist Church. John and Mary A. 
(Dinnin) Virtue, parents of Leonard, are natives of Ireland. 
Emigrating to America in 1855, they settled in New York state 
till their removal, four years later, to Clinton Falls township, 
Steele county, Minnesota, where the father has been engaged in 
general farming ever since. His wife died on June 25, 1901. 

Mathias P. Afdem, the well known poultry breeder of Bloom- 
ing Prairie, Minn., was born in Norway, August 1, 1871, where 
he acquired his education and had the usual experiences of a 
Norwegian farmer boy. In 1893 he left the fatherland and came 
to America, engaging as a hired man on a farm at Madelia, Minn., 
for three years. Then he removed to Chokio, Minn., where 
he engaged in the painting and decorating business until his 
removal to Blooming Prairie in 1900. Here he continued to follow 
his trade until 1909, when he launched into the poultry business 
to which he has devoted himself with much success ever since, 
making a specialty of raising and breeding thoroughbred stock 
of all the approved varieties. He has specialized to Single and 
Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds, Single and Rose Comb White 
Orpingtons, Partridge Wyandottes, besides many others. Six 
incubators of the most modern type having a capacity of 1,500 



1104 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUXTIES 

eggs, are kept continually in use. Mr. Afdem's trade is con- 
stantly increasing and his product is becoming more widely and 
favorabl)' known each year. He is an adherent to the principles 
of the Republican party, but always votes for what he considers 
the best interests of the community. As to religious belief, the 
Lutheran Church claims him as a member. Peter H. and Gurie 
Afdem, parents of our subject, were natives of Norway, where 
they followed farming all their lives. The father died in August, 
1908. and the mother in December. 1893. 

Thomas J. Rions, a native of Minnesota, was born in Dodge 
county July 24, 1860, a son of John P. and Angeline (Strock) 
Rions. Thomas J. received his education at the Concord public 
schools, after leaving school he worked as a clerk in a store in 
Dodge county for twelve years, and then worked at farming 
until 1892, when he came to Owatonna and took a position at 
the Forest Hill Cemetery until July 1. 1908, and since then has 
had charge of the Catholic Cemetery. He also does job printing 
at his home where he has a full equipment for this line of work. 
He was married on June 10, 1886 at Dodge Center, to Eva E. 
Race, a daughter of John J. and Lovina (Miller) Race, of New 
York state, who came west and located first in Wisconsin, and in 
1875 moved to Dodge Center, Minn. The father was a carpentei 
by trade and followed this line of work all his life. He died 
February 19, 1883. and the mother died June 23. 1887. Two 
children have been born to !Vlr. and Mrs. Rions: M. A., born 
December 4, 18S)0, now a teacher at Avon. S. D., and Raymond 
A., born August 8. 1898, living at home. They also have one 
adopted child, Ethel M,. born April 6, 1895. In politics Mr. 
Rions is a Democrat, and he is a member of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church. He also belongs to the Modern \V^oodmen of 
America and the Maccabees. 

John P. Rions was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, 
January 2^', 1820, the only child of George and E. Margaret 
Rions. The father died when J. P. was an infant and several 
years later the mother married William Pittman, who served 
in the war of 1812. J. P. left home when he was sixteen years 
of age, and then started out in life for himself. He was married 
December 29. 1841. to Maria Richardson, who died ten years 
later, leaving three children who are now dead. June 23, 1852. 
he married Angeline Strock, of Beaver, Pa., to whom was born 
eight children. After fourteen years working on the steamboats 
between Pittsburg, Pa., and Mobile, Ala., he came to Minnesota 
in 1855 and located in Concord, Dodge county. In the spring 
of 1859 he went to Pike's Peak, and in the spring of 1860 to the 
Yankton Sioux reservation. In February, 1863, he enlisted in 
Company E.. Third Minnesota Yohinteer Infantry, and served 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1165 

until mustered out at Ft. Snelling, September 16, 1865, at the 
close of the war. In 1887, he and his wife spent a season in 
their old home in Beaver, Pa. Mr. Rions died June 14, 1896. 

Anton Burzisnski, a prominent member of the Owatonna fire 
department, was born in Medford, Minn., May 24, 1885, removing 
with his parents at the age of six years to Owatonna, where he 
received his education in the Sister's school. His school days 
over, he was engaged in various kinds of labor for several years, 
after which he became a drayman, being located in Owatonna, 
all the while, with the exception of five months spent in Grace- 
ville, Minn., during the year 1905. Outside of his regular work 
in the draying line, he is a very active and loyal member of the 
fire department, having his residence in the Firemen's Hall. In 
political faith, he is a stanch believer in the principles of the 
Democratic party. Mr. Burzisnski is a popular member of the 
Catholic Order of Foresters and of the A. O. A. He is affiliated 
with the Catholic Church. Mr. and Mrs. Lanara Burzisnski, 
parents of our subject, are natives of Poland, emigrating to this 
country in 1875, and locating at Dulutli, Minn., where they 
remained till their removal to Medford township, Steele county, in 
1887. Here the father was employed as a railroad section hand 
for four years, then removed to Owatonna and took up farming on 
a small tract inside the city limits on which he is still engaged. 

Benedik Melby, a prominent physician of Blooming Prairie, 
Minn., was born at Whitehall, Wis., July 24, 1878, shortly after- 
wards removing with his parents to Merillan, same state. He 
received his education in the public schools, graduating from 
the Merillan high school, and then entered the medical depart- 
ment of the Alinnesota State University from which he was 
graduated in 1903. After some practical experience in hospital 
work, he went to Hayfield. Minn., where he was engaged in the 
practice of his profession till 1905. Dr. Melby then located in 
Blooming Prairie, succeeding Dr. Rakke, and has built up a 
large and growing city and country clientage, which he still 
enjoys. He is affiliated with the .Steele County Medical Associa- 
tion, State Medical Association and the American Medical Asso- 
ciation, being highh- esteemed by his professional brethren. 
The Modern Woodmen of America, Masons and Sons of Norway 
also number him among their loyal members. In politics he is a 
believer in the principles of the Republican party and takes an 
active interest in all that is for the good of his county and 
village. The Lutheran Church claims him as a member. Olaf 
and Johanna (Nelson) Melby, parents of Benedik, are natives of 
Norway, coming to this country in 1870, and settling at White- 
hall, \\ is., where the father conducted a general merchandise 
business till 1888, when he removed to Merillan. Wis., and 



116G HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

engaged in railroad work for several years. Later he returned 
to Merillan where he now resides with his wife. 

J. W. Lane, a progressive farmer of Merton township, was 
born in Merton township in 1877, on February 24. He acquired 
his education in the district schools of Merton township after 
which he engaged in farming. In 1898 he rented his father's 
farm and at the time of his death became owner of the farm, 
where he has done a general farming business ever since. He 
has made a specialty of stock raising. Mr. Lane was married on 
January 19, 1898, to Nellie S. Carson. Their home has been 
blessed with five children— John Albert, Alice, Mertie, Cloe and 
Florence, all at home. Mr. Lane politically is a Republican. He 
holds stock in the Merton Creamery and is a good citizen. John 
Lane and Sarah, his wife, parents of J. W. Lane, were natives 
of the state of Ohio, coming to Minnesota and locating in Merton 
township, where they homesteaded land before the war. Mr. 
Lane responded to the call for volunteers at the time of the 
Civil War and enlisted in the Tenth Minnesota, being in the 
service three years. At the close of the struggle, he returned 
to the home farm where he farmed until his death in 1901. His 
wife died in 1882. 

D. D. Hansen, a progressive and up-to-date farmer of Lemond 
township, Steele county, was born in Waseca county, Minnesota, 
January 30, 1870. After leaving school he at once engaged in 
farming and his present farm of a 160 acres of highly productive 
land is ample e\-idence of his success. Eighty of this is under 
cultivation, the remainder rendering good returns as woodland 
and as pasturage for his numerous stock. Durham cattle of 
good blood are raised, the milk being very profitably disposed 
of to a near by creamery. Poland-China hogs also help to swell 
the profits. The machinery and buildings are all of the best 
patterns for modern farming. In politics, he is a believer in the 
doctrines of the Republican part}', and has always taken an active 
interest in local affairs, having served on the town board eight 
years, four years as chairman, and as a school officer. In 18''4 
he was united in marriage with Tilda Jacobson, daughter of 
Peter and Lena Jacobson. Mr. and Mrs. Hansen have eight 
children — Holly, Hazel, Eldora, Guy, Helen, Ethel, Alice and 
Deloris (deceased in infancy). The family attend worship at 
the Norwegian Lutheran Churcli. Torger and Mary Hansen, 
parents of our subject, came over from Norway, their native 
land, about fifty years ago, locating in Minnesota where the 
father followed farming. He is now residing, retired, at New 
Richmond, Minn., with his wife. Seven children were born to 
them, all of whom are living. 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1167 

Joseph F. Wolesky, the popular and efficient buttermakcr of 
the Steele Center Creamery, was born in Zhor, near Aska 
Trebova, Bohemia, June 27, 1878. After receiving an education 
in the old country, he emigrated to the United States at the age 
of fourteen, locating at Bixby, Minn., and working a year and 
a half on the farm of P. A. Reichstatter, and then a year for 
William Boyle, after which he spent eight months on a Summit 
township farm, subsequently working for Christ Larson in 
Somerset township. His first creamery experience was next 
acquired, serving as helper in the same creamery he now operates 
for eighteen months, and deciding to make this line of work a 
life profession, he entered a dairy school at St. Anthony Park, 
Minn., and completed a course in butter and cheese making. He 
showed his ability to use his knowledge in practice when shortly 
after returning to Steele county, he started the creamery at 
River Point and successfully operated it for two years. Leaving 
here, he conducted the Cooleyville Creamery for a time, and then 
took charge of the River Point creamery again two years and 
three months longer, being called to the Steele Center Creamery 
where he is now giving the best satisfaction to all concerned. 
As to political convictions, he is a Democrat, and has served 
as constable. October 10, 1898, he was married to Anna 
Schuster, daughter of Frank and Anna Schuster, of Bohemia. 
Three children have been born to this marriage — Louis, Joseph 
and Alfred. The family attend the Catholic Church. In addi- 
tion to their comfortable home near the creamery, Mr. Wolesky 
owns a residence in Owatonna. Joseph and Frances (Zoufal) 
Wolesky, parents of our subject are natives of Bohemia, where 
the father followed his trade as a tailor up to his death, Feb- 
ruary 28, 1909. The mother is still living in the fatherland. Two 
children were born to them — Joseph F., our subject ; and Frank, 
a buttermaker at Owatonna, whose wife was formerly Lillie 
Kubicek. They arc stanch supporters of the Catholic Church. 

Henry Behne, an energetic and progressive farmer of Steele 
county, was born in Aurora township, this county, December 18, 
1873. His education was acquired in the district schools, after 
which he worked on a farm for several years, and then rented 
a farm which he conducted successfully for four years when he 
acquired his present place. It consists of 120 acres of pro- 
ductive land, sixty-five of which is under the plow, the remainder 
being profitably devoted to pa.sturage and woodland. Dairying 
is an important factor, cream being sold to a near by creamery 
at good prices. Jn politics, he votes absolutely independent of 
party, giving his support to the man he believes best qualified 
to serve the people. April 16. 1898, he was married to Elizabeth 
Kruckeberg. sister of Henry and John Kruckeberg whose 



1168 HISTORY OF RICE AXD STEELE COUNTIES 

sketches appear herein. They have five children — Lawrence, 
Herman, Robert, Helen and Myrtle. The family attend wor.ship 
at the German Lutheran Church. August and Mary (Ahrns) 
Behne, parents of Henry, are natives of Hanover, Germany, the 
father coming to this country at the age of seven years, and 
locating in Steele county, where, after attaining maturity, he 
engaged in farming. He is still living in Aurora township with 
his wife, actively interested in the management of his farm. He 
is a Democrat, and prominent in the German Lutheran Church, 
having served as a trustee. Eleven children were l)orn to them, 
all living except one. 

Fred Ahrens, a wide-awake and up-to-date farmer of Steele 
county, was born in Germany, June 17, 1850. He passed his 
bo)diood and received his education in the fatherland, coming 
to America with his parents in 1866. and locating in Havana 
township, Steele county, where he followed farming for a few- 
years with his father. He then purchased eighty acres of the 
parental homestead, acquiring tracts of wild land from time to 
time, which he cleared and improved, now owning 640 acres 
of the best farming land in the county. 520 acres of this being 
located in sections 28 and 33 in Havana township, and the 
remaining 120 in section 3, Aurora. Air. Ahrens is a stanch 
advocate of scientific, intelligent farming and every acre of his 
vast estate is utilized to the best advantage. The buildings are 
all of the most modern type, and in machinery and other equip- 
ment he is well abreast of the times. Dairying and stock raising 
are carried on on an extensive scale, having 125 head of cattle, 
seventeen horses and seven mules, besides a large amount of 
thoroughbred stock. Mr. Ahrens makes a specialty of breeding 
Shorthorn cattle, Poland-China hogs, and Shropshire sheep. In 
politics, he is a supporter of the Republican party, and in spite 
of his large agricultural interests, he has always found time 
to take an active part in community affairs. He has served four 
years as county commissioner during the time the erection of the 
court house was in progress, and was chairman of the Havana 
town board four years. The German Lutheran Church numbers 
him among its loyal followers. June 6. 1875, he was married to 
Dora Miller, by whom he has seven children — Elvina, now Mrs. 
Robert Bartsch ; Hulda, wife of George Hintz; Bertha, who 
resides at home ; Mary, married to Peter Nelson of Red Wing, 
Minn. ; and William, Robert and Fred H.. who live at home. 
Christopher and Corodena (Myer) Ahrens, parents of Fred, were 
natives of Germany, coming to this countr3% in 1866, and locating 
in Havana township, Steele county, Minnesota, where the father 
followed farming until his death. The mother is also dead. 



HISTORY OF RICE ANt) STEELE COUNTIES 1169 

M. T. McCrady was born in Fond Du Lac county, Wisconsin, 
February 3, 1859, he is a son of Peter and Ellen (Shay) McCrady, 
his father was a native of Glasgow, Scotland, and his mother 
of Kilkenny, Ireland. His father came to America in 1826, and 
his mother in 1846, the father first located in St. Lawrence 
county, New York, from there moved to McHenry county, Illi- 
nois, and thence to Wisconsin where he was married in 1853. He 
came to Steele county, Minnesota, in November, 1866, and located 
on section 15, in Aurora township, where he bought 160 acres 
of wild land which he broke and developed, erecting a home and 
out buildings and followed general farming for the remainder 
of his life. He died in June, 1894, and the mother died in Feb- 
ruary, 1901. Mr. McCrady received his education in District 
No. 13, Aurora township, and then engaged in farming with 
his father until 1893, when he began to work for himself on the 
old "Cogswell" farm owned by the Hon. Amos Cogswell, his 
wife's father. This farm covers 200 acres in sections 9, 10 and 15 
of .Aurora township. There he has erected his home and out 
buildings and has greatly improved his land and follows general 
diversified farming, making a specialty of raising White Leghorn 
fowls. Mr. McCrady was married June 3, 1893, to Abby Cogs- 
well, a daughter of Hon. Amos Cogswell. She was born on 
the farm where she now lives on March 29, 1861. Four children 
have blessed the home of Mr. and Mrs. McCrady— Francis C, 
born October 4, 1894; Amos C, born April 21, 1896; Lynn C, 
born July 11, 1899, died April 11, 1906; and Mark C, born May 2, 
1901. The family faith is that of the Catholic and Presbyterian 
churches. Mr. McCrady is a member of the A. O. U. W. and the 
M. W. A. He has served his town as assessor for one year, 
served as clerk for eight years, and has been both treasurer and 
clerk of School District No. 13. He is a director of the Pratt 
Rural Telephone Company and was for two years secretary 
of the Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company. He has twice 
been a delegate to the conventions of the Modern Woodmen of 
America held at St. Paul in the years 1899 and 1901, and in 1901 
was also a delegate to the National Convention of the M. W. A., 
which was also held in the city of St. Paul. In 1902 he was a 
delegate to the Republican State Convention held at St. Paul. 
He is one of Steele county's prosperous and successful farmers 
and has the confidence and respect of all who know him. 

S. D. Morford, a sturdy old pioneer of Steele county, IMinnc- 
sota, was born in Ontario township, Wayne county. New York, 
May 11, 1843. Shortly after his birth his parents removed to 
Dodge county, Wisconsin, where he received an elementary 
education in the district schools, concluding his schooling after 
coming to Owatonna in 1858. War breaking out in 1861, he 



1170 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

entered the service of his country in May of the same year, at 
Owatonna, being formally mustered in as a private in Company 
G, First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, at Fort Snelling, May 23, 
1861. Fle was actively engaged in all the battles of his regiment 
up to Second Bull Run, bearing arms in the first battle of Bull 
Run, at Berry ville, W. Va., Gainsville. Yorktown, Fair Oaks, 
Seven Day Battle, Savage Station. Peach Orchard and Mel- 
bourne Hill, most of these occurring under McClellan in the 
famous Peninsular campaign. During the summer of 1862 he 
was confined four weeks in a hospital at Harrison's Landing with 
malarial fever, and while serving in Pope's campaign, he was 
disabled by a spent ball and honorably discharged May 23, 1864, 
having proven himself a valiant and courageous soldier and 
winning the respect of his fellow comrades-in-arms. After leaving 
the service he returned to Owatonna and gave his attention to 
farming, later, in 1872, buying an eighty acre farm in Clinton 
Falls township, on which he remained till 1885, when he disposed 
of this property and purchased a 120 acre tract in section 29, 
Havana tov^mship. Here he followed general diversified farming 
up to the time of his retirement from active work in 1897, having 
erected new modern buildings throughout, and by application 
of the principles of scientific agriculture and hard work built up 
one of the finest farms in the county. He is now living retired 
at Havana Station, enjoying the fruits of a well spent life. Mr. 
Morford has ever been a loyal supporter of local enterprises, and 
served as a member of the board of directors of the Havana 
Creamery, of which he is still a stockholder, over twelve years, 
acting as president of the board three years, and as manager eight 
months during the absence of the regular manager. In politics, 
he is a supporter of the Republican party, and is actively inter- 
ested in all that tends for the improvement of the county. He 
is now serving the community as town clerk. September 24, 
1864, he was united in marriage with Tirzah E. Woods, of Som- 
erset township, Steele county, by whom he has three children — 
Nellie, a graduate of the State Normal School at Winona, now- 
teaching at Faribault : Roy D., married to Nellie Hickok, lives 
at Havana Station, but conducts the old home farm : Gertrude M., 
a State Normal School graduate, teaches school at Faribault. 
The family attend the services of the Baptist Church. C. W. 
and Mary A. (Dwight) Morford, parents of our subject, were 
natives of New York and Massachusetts, respectively. After the 
death of the mother in New York. 1843. the father migrated west 
with his family, settling in Dodge county, Wisconsin, and 
engaging in farming, encountering the usual hardships and priva- 
tions of those pioneer days. He also devoted a large share of 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1171 

his time to his trade as a carpenter, doing the first work in his 
line on the W'aiipun state prison. His decease occurred in 1857. 

John Kruckeberg, a prosperous farmer of Aurora township, 
Steele county, his birthplace, was born September 29, 1860. After 
receiving what education he could from the pioneer district 
schools, he engaged in farming with his father, now owning 
the old homestead consisting of 480 acres, 150 of which is under 
cultivation. In addition to general farming, stock raising and 
dairying is carried on very successfully, a large herd of high 
bred Durham and Shorthorn cattle supplying milk of a quality 
which commands top prices at a neighboring creamery. Poland- 
China hogs crossed with Duroc Jerseys are a paying factor. 
All improvements tending to facilitate up-to-date and economical 
farming have been added. A commodious, modern barn, and a 
beautiful dwelling house are conspicuous. As to political con- 
victions, he is a Republican, and has served in numerous school 
offices, and si.x years on the town board, one term as chairman. 
On January 3, 1883, he was married to Emelia Ohrmann, daugh- 
ter of William and Sophia (Behne) Ohrmann, by whom he has 
eight children, all living at home: George, John, Erna, Lydia, 
Arnold, Emelia, Nettie and .\lfre(l. The family are loyal attend- 
ants of the Lutheran Church. Fred and Sophia (Meyer) Krucke- 
berg, parents of our subject, came from Hessen, Germany, in 
1854, locating in Illinois for a short time and then in Aurora 
township, Steele county, Minnesota, where the father home- 
steaded eighty acres of land, gradually adding to this until at 
one time he owned over 1,000 acres. He died in 1894, and the 
mother in 1892. Thirteen children were born to them, ten still 
living. 

Samuel S. Hanson, was born in Lemond township, Steele 
county, on April 6, 1881, where he received his education. After 
gaining his schooling. Samuel engaged in farming with his father 
until September 1, 1906, when he came to Ellcndalc village and 
went into the livery business, which he conducted up to July 16, 
1910. Mr. Hanson met with success in his light and heavy livery 
and draying business. He runs an automobile in connection with 
his livery, is now general agent for the Northwestern National 
Life Insurance Company, of Minneapolis. Mr. Hanson was 
married to Julia Jacobson on June 11, 1903, and their home 
has been made bright with five children — Elsie, who died in 
infancy ; Stanley, Joyce, Lester, Clayton, all at home. The 
subject of this sketch is a Republican politically, and religiously 
affiliates with the Norwegian Lutheran Church. He has made 
his success in life by his own hard work and is a good citi/^en, 
respected by his home village. Seming Hanson and Emma, his 
wife, parents of Samuel S. Hanson, are natives of Norway, 



1172 HISTORY OF RICE Ax\D STEELE COUNTIES 

coming to America and locating in Steele county in 1860. Mr. 
Hanson engaged in farming until 1902, when he retired from 
active life. 

Fred E. Ribstein, a well known farmer of Merton township, 
Steele count}-, was born in Dodge county, Wisconsin. At the 
age of six he came to Steele county with his parents, receiving 
his education in the district schools. After school, he assisted his 
father in the working of the home farm for a while, and then 
engaged in farming on his own account, now having a highl_\- 
productive tract of 360 acres most of which is under cultivation. 
In addition to general farming, dairying and stock raising are 
important factors. Durham cattle and Percheron horses being 
specialties. All modern equipment and up-to-date buildings are 
found here. In politics he is a stanch adherent of the Republican 
part}-, active!}^ interested in local affairs, having served on the 
town board, part of the time as chairman. The Knights of 
Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America number him 
among their loyal members. Fred and Sophia (Smith) Ribstein. 
parents of our subject, were natives of Germany, the father a 
carpenter by trade. Coming to this country about 18.^0, he 
located at Ithaca. X. Y.. continuing at his trade here and after 
his removal to Dodge county, Wisconsin. Migrating to this 
county about 1868, he purchased land and engaged in farming 
up to the time of his death which occurred in 1892. The mother 
passed away a year later. Nine children were born to theni, five 
of whom are li\-ing: Lou, a hardware merchant at Bruce. S. D. : 
Frank, a wheat buyer, also located at Bruce, .S. D. ; Edward, in 
the hardware business in Idaho : Flora, wife of Henry Partridge, 
of Kenyon, Minn. ; and Fred, our subject. The family attend 
the Lutheran Church. 

Joseph Simon, of Aurora township, was born in Austria, Jan- 
uary 20, 1867. His parents, John and Barbara Simon, both lived 
and died in the old country. Joseph spent his boyhood in 
Austria where he received his education. At eighteen years of 
age, lured by the call of America and the freedom and oppor- 
tunities it offered, Joseph came to the United States and located 
at Faribault. Here he remained until 1892, employed by Donald 
Grant. In that year he purchased 146 acres of wild land in section 
28, Aurora township, Steele county, and with his wife located his 
home there. Here he has since lived. The unbroken prairie, 
under his industrious management, became fertile, cultivated 
acres. In 1907 new btiildings were erected, including a barn 
28x70 feet in size. He follows diversified farming and is a 
stockholder in Oak Glen Creamery. In politics, he is a Repub- 
lican and in his religious affiliations an adherent of the Catholic 
Church. On ]\Iarch 23. 1892, Joseph Sinion was married to Mary 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES IHS 

Haberman who was run over and killed by a railroad train while 
taking cream to the creamery on the crossing of the Chicago, 
Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, at Bixby, Alinn., September 12, 

1903. Mr. Simon was united in marriage on November 20, 1904, 
to Anna Palinka. Seven children bless his home. Four by 
his first marriage : John, George, Mollie and Edward. Three 
by his present wife : Freda, Joseph and Mary. 

Wm. Lonergan came to Berlin township in 1857, where he 
acquired over a section of land that is now owned by his sons, 
Peter A., Maurice J., H. Robert and Mrs. J. F. Lonergan. His 
other son, Wm. P., is at present living in Alberta, Canada, where 
he has two large farms and is engaged in ranching. Mr. Loner- 
gan has three daughters — Mrs. L. P. Devlin, of Bristol, Wis. ; 
Mrs. F. C. Annett, of New Richland. Minn., and Sister Claudia, 
of the Winona Seminary, Winona, Minn. 

William Hegland, a prosperous farmer of Merton township, 
Steele county, is a native of Goodhue county, his natal date 
being December 8, 1872. While still in his infancy, his parents 
removed to Steele county, locating on the farm he now operates. 
After receiving his education in the district schools, he assisted 
his father for a time on the home farm, and ever since has been 
engaged in general farming with the exception of four years 
spent in Duluth running a dray line. In 1904 he purchased his 
present farm, consisting of 200 acres all under cultivation and 
well improved by his father and self. Holstein cattle, Poland- 
China hogs and Percheron horses contribute heavily to the suc- 
cess of the farm. In politics he inclines toward the tenets of the 
Democratic party, but casts his ballot as he considers for the 
best interests of the community. He was married November 3, 

1904, to Randi Strandemo, daughter of E. Strandemo, of Elling- 
ton, Dodge county. They have two children — Edroy Tillman 
and Grace Angeline. The family are prominent in the Nor- 
wegian Lutheran Church, the father now serving as secretary. 
T. A. and Anna Hegland, parents of our subject, were born and 
raised in Norway, the family emigrating to this country in 1871 
and locating in Goodhue county, Minnesota, where he followed 
his trade as a carpenter for five years. He then removed to 
Steele county, buying the farm his son, William, now occupies, 
conducting the farm and doing carpenter work until his death 
in 1904. The mother is still living. Nine children were born to 
them, all living: Ella is married to Peter Ruen who lives in 
Kenyon ; Jennie is a dressmaker in Minneapolis ; Annon is a 
clothing merchant of Duluth ; Mary is married to Charles Jacob- 
son, a Steele county farmer; William, our subject; George con- 
ducts a general merchandise store in North Dakota ; James has a 
harness shop at Minneapolis; Tilla is a missionary, located at 



1174 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

JMadagascar ; and Martin is a professor, a graduate of the United 
Lutheran Church theological school at Hamline, and a minister 
of the Norwegian Lutheran Church. 

Edward R. Webster, a hard working and enterprising farmer 
of Clinton Falls township. Steele county, was born in Aurora 
township, this county, December 12, 1872. His education was 
received in the public schools of Aurora and Owatonna, subse- 
quently engaging in farming in which he has had unusual suc- 
cess. His present place is one of the best improved in the county, 
consisting of 310 acres practically all under cultivation. Holstein 
cattle and thoroughbred Belgian horses contribute to the profits. 
As to political convictions he believes in voting for the man 
best fitted for the office, regardless of his party affiliations. The 
Independent Order of Odd Fellows counts him a loyal brother. 
December 29, 1899, he was married to Fanny Schultz, daughter 
of D. C. Schultz, of Clinton Falls. Four children have been born 
to them, who. named in order of ages, are: Harlan, Pearl, Leon 
and Gilbert. The family attend worship at the Presbyterian 
Church. Richard and Fanny (Connor) Webster, parents of 
Edward R., were natives of Portsmouth. N. H.. and Ireland, 
respectively. The father was a carpenter by trade, working in 
the navy yards of Portsmouth for four ^ears. He received an 
honorable discharge. In 185.T he immigrated west, locating in 
Dixon, Lee county, and engaging in farming. Two years later 
he removed to Aurora township. Steele county, being one of the 
pioneer settlers, and purchased a homesteader's rights, following 
farming up to his death. April 25. 1898. In politics he supported 
the Republican party. Four of the nine children born to his 
wife are living. Abbie, wife of Lewis Johnson, a hardware mer- 
chant, of Beltrami county. Minnesota: Jennie S.. teaching at 
Yakima, Wash.: Fannie E., living at home: and Edward R., 
the subject of this sketch. 

Albert A. Peterson, of Blooming Prairie, was born in Austin, 
Minn., January 28, 1872, son of George A. and Isabella (Sletter) 
Peterson, natives of Wisconsin, of Norwegian parentage. The 
father is a prominent farmer of Dodge county, Minnesota. He 
is secretary of the A. Solberg Lumber Company, of Blooming 
Prairie, and director of the Farmer & Merchant State Bank. 
Albert received his early education in the public and hi.gh schools 
of Blooming Prairie, which was supplemented with a course 
at the Pillsbury Academy of Owatonna, from which institution 
he graduated in 1895. Leaving school he took up agricultural 
pursuits for a few years, he then went into the telephone industry. 
In 1901, he organized the Steele County Telephone Company of 
Blooming Prairie, becoming its president and general manager, 
which position he has since filled. Mr. Peterson has worked up 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1175 

& large business for this company and tlieir lines now extend 
through Steele, Dodge, Freeborne and Moore counties. Mr. 
Peterson was married October 23, 1901, at St. Paul, to Miss 
Regna, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Peterson. Two chil- 
dren have been born to their union, viz.: Irene J., born t'eb- 
ruary 22, 1905: Gladys S., born December 11, 1907. In political 
faith Mr. Peterson is a Republican. He is a member of the 
Lutheran Church. He is a High Degree Mason, being a member 
of the Shrine, was secretary of Prairie Lodge No. 123, of Bloom- 
ing Prairie, of which lodge he was secretary for three years, the 
Eastern Star, serving as secretary since it was organized, also 
member of the M. W. A. Mr. Peterson has taken an active 
interest in public aflfairs, serving four years as justice of the 
peace. He is now a city recorder and is also a member of the 
Commercial Club. On May 6, 1898, he became a member of 
Company G, Twelfth Regiment Minnesota National Guard., 
During the Spanish-American War he was stationed at Chicka- 
mauga, Ga., and Lexington, Ky. He was discharged with honor 
at New Ulm, Minn., November 6, 1898. Mr. and Mrs. Peterson 
reside on Fifth street. Mr. Peterson was instrumental in getting 
a franchise for the building of the city sewerage. He owns 
seventy-five acres of land in Dodge county which is used for the 
outlet of the city sewerage. During the time of the Boer War 
Mr. Peterson was engaged by the English government to buy 
horses in Montana. During the last five years he has been 
engaged in the buying and shipping of live stock. He is an enter- 
prising business man and a good citizen, always interested in 
what may be for the upbuilding of his city and Steele county. 

Alex H. Fjeldstad, a hustling and up-to-date business man of 
Blooming Prairie, Minn., is a native of Grand Meadow, Minn., 
his date of birth being May 23, 1873. A few years later his 
parents removed to Blair, Wis., and here he received his early 
education, completing this with a course in the high school of 
Alma, Wis., from which he was graduated in 1893. He then 
entered the pharmacy department of the Minnesota State Uni- 
versity, receiving his diploma two years later, and immediately 
thereafter accepted employment in a drug store of Minneapolis 
in which he remained six years. Mr. Fjeldstad thence removed 
to Blooming Prairie, forming a co-i)artnership with A. Olson in 
his previous line of work. The firm has one of the best equipped 
and thoroughly modern drug stores in this section of the state, 
making a specialty of their prescription department, and also 
carrying a well selected line of paints, oils, wallpaper, china, 
silverware, stationery and the usual sundries. The Steele County 
Retail Druggists' Association, which he is serving as president, 
the Alumni Association of the Pharmacy Department of the 



1176 HISTORY OF RICE Ax\D STEELE COUNTIES 

Slate University, also member ^Minnesota State Pharmaceutical 
Association, and the N. L. Y. V. S., of which he is treasurer, all 
number him as a loyal member of their various organizations. 
He is a stockholder in the Minnesota Pharmaceutical Manufac- 
turing Company, of St. Paul, and in the American Druggists' 
Association, of Long Island City, N. Y. In politics he gives his 
allegiance to the Republican party, being a member of the Steele 
Count}- Republican committee, and has served as village recorder 
four years, and clerk of the board of education three years, and 
was a delegate to the Minnesota Conservation and Agricultural 
Development Congress held March 16 to 19 of this year — 1910. 
He is affiliated with the local Commercial Club as secretary, and 
with the Sons of Norway. Mr. Fjelstad is also a valued supporter 
of the Lutheran Church. May 21, 1902, at Minneapolis, he was 
married to Marie Olson, daughter of Mrs. Julia Olson. They 
have two children — Alvin A., born August 29, 1903, and Ralf A., 
horn January 2, 1909. The family residence is on Hazel street. 
Andreas and Olive (Lee) Fjelstad, parents of our subject, were 
natives of Norway. Emigrating to America in 1866 they located 
at Sparta, Wis., the father being engaged for a time in railroad 
work and logging, and later entered into the mercantile business, 
first at Grand Meadow one and one-half years, then at Sparta 
two years, then at Blair, Wis., until 1893, where he remained until 
his retirement in 1893. He then removed to Minneapolis and died 
January 12, 1908. The mother still resides in Minneapolis. 

Edward C. Wolff is one of the prosperous young farmers of 
Steele county. He is a native of Aurora township and conducts 
the farm in section 17 on which he was born March 22, 1883. 
He received his education at the district school and worked upon 
liis father's farm until 1909. Since that time he has conducted the 
place himself. He is unmarried. His sister. Emma, keeps house 
for him. Politically Mr. Wolff is a Democrat and he is an 
adherent of the Lutheran Church. As a citizen, he is industrious 
and thrifty and well liked. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Wolff, the 
parents of Edward C. Wolff, were natives of Germany. In 
1876 the mother died. It was in 1879 that the father migrated 
to America, purchasing 203 acres in section 17, Aurora township, 
Steele county, Minnesota. Here he continued to farm until 
1909 when he retired from active life and removed to Owatonna 
where he is now located. The care of the farm was given over to 
his son, Edward C, who with the aid of his sister, Emma, now 
manages It. 

Phillip A. Reichstetter is one of the substantial Minnesota 
farmers whose thrift is an asset in the development of the 
state. His home is in Aurora township, Steele county. Bohemia 
is his native land and Mav 1, 18.38, the date of his birth. There 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1177 

Phillip secured his education and continued to live with his 
parents until 1881, when he emigrated to America, settling in 
Steele county. It was not until 1886 that he made his first pur- 
chase of land in section 3i and llien lie bought only twenty 
acres. In the years since he has added to this by successive 
purchases in the same section of adjoining lands until today his 
farm comprises 140 acres. This tract is all under cultivation 
with a pleasant country home, barns and buildings. He was 
married March 2, 1885, to Thcresia Ripka. They have six chil- 
dren — Mary, who is now Mrs. John Koasnicka, and Minnie, 
both living in Owatonna; Edward, Anna, Helen and Emil, living 
at home. Politically Mr. Reichstetter affiliates with the Demo- 
cratic party and he is a member of the Catholic Church. He 
owns nine shares in the Oak Glen Creamery of Bixby. He is 
regarded as a good citizen in the community where he has lived 
for more than a quarter of a century. John Reichstetter and 
Thcresia Fritscher. his wife, parents of Phillip Reichstetter, were 
natives of Bohemia, where their lives were .spent. Both are 
deceased. 

Perry J. Rockwood, a business man of Owatonna, was born 
February 22. 1877, at Owatonna. He received his early educa- 
tion in the public school and in the high school of that place, 
then after leaving school he took up and learned the meat market 
trade, which he has worked at and followed since sixteen years 
of age. December 23, 1902. he entered into the business, his 
first store being located on corner of Broadway and Cedar streets 
where he continued a flourishing business for a number of years. 
February 14, 1909, he formed a co-partnership with his brother. 
They handle all the produce that can be found in an up-to-date 
meat market. Their large and steadily increasing trade is due 
to their courteous manner and uncompromising honesty. They 
have enlarged their business and conduct two markets at this 
time, one at 119 North Cedar street and the other at 154 Bridge 
street. Mr. Rockwood was married June 24, 1903, at Owatonna, 
to Lillian Plummer. She was a school teacher, teaching four 
years in the district schools and three years in the public schools 
of Owatonna. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Rockwood is blessed 
with three children, viz.: Wayne P., born July 15. 1904; Dorothy, 
born February 28, 1907 ; Lorane A., born February 18, 1910. Mr. 
Rockwood is a Republican in politics. He worships at the 
Baptist Church. He is also prominent in fraternal circles, being 
a member of the K. of P., F. O. E., and the B. A. Y. The home 
of Mr. and Mrs. Rockwood is located at 239 Broadway. 

Hubert G. Rockwood is a native born son of Minnesota, being 
born in Owatonna May 31, 1879, son of George W. and Emily 
(Gillitte) Rockwood, natives of New York state. The parents 



1178 HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

immigrated west, lirst locating in Wisconsin; from there tliey 
came to Owatonna wliere the father engaged in the grocery 
business. Hubert G. received his earl>- education in the public 
schools of Owatonna which was supplemented by a high school 
education. After leaving school he was engaged as a clerk in a 
general merchandise store for three years. In 1893 he went to 
Minneapolis, where he conducted a real estate business for two 
years. Leaving Minneapolis he came back to Owatonna and 
engaged in the hotel business, which he continued for two years. 
After this he was engaged in agricultural pursuits for two years. 
He later returned to Owatonna and bought an interest in the 
meat market business with his brother. The firm is now known 
as Rockwood Brothers. They have two markets and are doing 
a very extensive business. Mr. Rockwood is an independent 
voter and does not affiliate with any political party. He is a 
member of the F. O. E., and the K. of P. He served for some 
time as a member of the Company I, Second Regiment Minnesota 
National Guards. 

Herman Wolff is a farmer living in Aurora township, Steele 
county. He owns 160 well cultivated and fertile acres in sections 
7 and 18 of that township, on which he has built a new and 
modern dwelling" with substantial barns and outbuildings. Stock 
raising and dairying largely engage his attention and he takes 
much pride in his Durham cattle and Percheron horses. Mr. 
Wolff is a native of Germany, where he was born April 6, 1872. 
He came to America with his father when he was seven years of 
age, locating in Steele county. Herman received his education 
at the district school and worked on his father's farm until 1896, 
then purchased the land on which he has since lived. He 
attends the Lutheran Church and politically is an independent 
voter. Our subject is much interested in good roads and has 
served as road overseer. l\lr. Wolff owns stock in the Pratt 
Creamery. He is unmarried. Edward W^olff and his wife, the 
parents of Herman Wolff, were natives of Germany, where Mrs. 
Wolff died in 1876. In 1879, with his three children, the father 
emigrated to America and located in Steele county where he 
engaged in farming. In l')09 he retired from active life and now 
lives in Owatonna. 

Edwin Morton, a prosperous citizen of Blooming Prairie, was 
born in Liveri)ool, England, July 1. 1849. He received his earl}^ 
education at St. Charles and later in a private school at Rochester, 
Minn. He received a business training of three years at St. 
Charles and in 1873 came to Blooming Prairie where he engaged 
in a hardware and implement business. Mr. Morton also owns 
a farm of 330 acres in Newray township, Freeborn county, where 
he makes a specialty of thoroughbred shorthorn cattle. August 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1179 

20, 1873, Edwin Morton was united in marriage at St. Charles, 
to Mabel Johnson. They have three children— Mabel W., now 
Mrs. George Taylor, of Manterville, Dodge county; Grace E., 
now Mrs. Warren Carmen, of Blooming Prairie; George E., who 
works for his father at home. Mr. Morton is an active Repub- 
lican, a member of the Presbyterian Church, .served as mayor 
of Blooming Prairie for seven years, and again for four years, and 
is a Mason and a Shriner. He is a progressive and respected 
citizen, working to upbuild home industries. He has stock in 
the Blooming Prairie Creamery Company. George Morton and 
Elizabeth Sharpless, his wife, were natives of England. In 
1849 they came to America, living for seven years in New York 
City. In 1856 they came to St. Charles, Minn., and engaged in 
farming. Mrs. Morton died in New Jersey in 18.S8, Mr. Morton 
surviving her until 1864. 

Dr. E. W. Cooley, the well known physician and business man 
of Blooming Prairie, Minn., was born in Easton, N. H., March 17, 
1860. He received his education in the public schools and in the 
New Hampton high school from which he was graduated in 
1885. A complete course in the Burnett Medical College of 
Chicago completed his education, receiving his degree as a Doctor 
of Medicine and Surgery in 1887. In June of the same year he 
came to Blooming Prairie where he has ever since been engaged 
in the practice of his profession, enjoying a large clientage. Dr. 
Cooley is aLso a partner in a harness business, and also conducts 
a drug store, and is sole owner and manager of the Cooley opera 
house, a commodious and up-to-date two story brick structure 
which he erected in 1896. It is well located on Fourth street, 
having a large store on the ground floor, the theater and the 
doctor's ofifice and residence taking up the second story. He 
is a stockholder in the Farmers' and Merchants' State Bank. In 
politics, the Democratic party has in him a stanch supporter. He 
has twice been a candidate for the state legislature, and has 
served his village twelve years as a councilman. Any enterprise 
that has for its object the good of the town or county is sure of 
his active sympathy. The Modern Woodmen of America and the 
Brotherhood of Yeomen claim him as a member. Alonzo and 
Emmeline (Wallace) Cooley, parents of our subject, were natives 
of New Hamjjshire where the father followed farming with much 
success till his decease in July, 1907. The mother died in 
December, 1908. 

Henry Lips, one of the progressive farmers of Wheeling town- 
ship, was born in Switzerland. March 2i. 1855. He came to 
America with his parents in 18.56 and attended the district schools 
of Wheeling during his boyhood. Leaving school he worked 
on his father's farm until 1876, when he purchased the place 



llsu HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 

where he continued to conduct a general farming business. In 
1883 he married Amelia C. Schroeder. Ten children have been 
born to Mr. and Mrs. Lips — Wesley is married and lives in 
South Dakota where he is engaged in the livery business ; Lydia, 
now Mrs. Eugene Bailey, of South Dakota ; Edward rents his 
father's farm ; Benjamin works out ; Ella died in infancy : Herbert, 
Arthur, Minnie, Esther and Emih- remain at home, the three 
3-ounger girls attending school. Mr. Lips is a Republican and a 
Methodist, a stockholder in the Farmers' State Bank and in the 
Farmers' Co-operative Creamery. He is one of the substantial 
citizens who have helped to make the Gopher state one of th& 
greatest in the Union. Henry Lips and Elizabeth Bosshardt, 
his wife, parents of the subject of this sketch, were natives of 
Switzerland where they were farmers. Coming to America in 
1856 they located in Wheeling township. Rice county, where Mr. 
Lips took a homestead of 160 acres in section 13 which he lived 
on and improved up to the time of his death in 1875. Mrs. Lips 
died in 1870. Charles and Rosa Schroeder, parents of Mrs. Lips, 
were natives of Germany, who came to America in the early 
sixties and located in Indiana, where Mr. Schroeder followed 
his blacksniithing" trade up to the time of his death in 1901. Mrs. 
Schroeder still lives in Indiana. 

E. M. Twiford, who has contributed much to the welfare and 
safety of Owatonna during his many years of service as chief 
of the fire department, was born in Pleasant Valley, Ohio, 
August 30, 1852, a son of Dr. Willis Twiford, whose sketch 
appears elsev^'here in this volume. At an early age he came to 
Somerset township, Steele county, with his parents, receiving 
his education in the district schools, and subsequently working 
on a farm until twenty-five years of age. He then came to 
Owatonna, acting as engineer for the Diamond Milling Company 
for a year and a half, after which he entered the hardware busi- 
ness with W. A. Dynes under the firm name of \V. A. Dynes & 
Co., in which he remained until he opened the Fountain meat 
market a few years later which he conducted for two and a half 
years. Disposing of his interests here he embarked in the grocery 
business with D. W. Sperrj', the firm being known as Twiford and 
Sperry, for eight years, when J. N. Niles purchased Mr. Sperry's 
interest. He remained in partnership with Mr. Twiford in the 
general mercantile line under the name of Twiford and Niles, 
five years. Mr. Twiford then entered the livery business in 
which he has ever since been engaged, operating alone as the 
Park livery for a time, and then formed his present partnership 
with N. P. Jefiferson and Charles Green, the firm being known 
as JeiTerson, Green and Twiford. They are doing a thriving 
general livery and transfer business. In politics he loyally adheres 



HISTORY OF RICE AND STEELE COUNTIES 1181 

to the Democratic party, and served as ma3or two terms during 
1893 and 1894. lie has also ably filled the office of chief of the 
fire department many years. His fraternal affiliations are with 
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Ancient Order of 
United Workmen, and the Modern Woodmen of America. He 
was married February 16, 1882, to .Anna Howard, daughter of 
David Howard, of Geneva, Freeborn county, Minnesota. Three 
children ha\e been born to them — Edna, a stenographer for the 
Great Northern Railroad at